Maharashtra Temple News

"Sena Defamed Due To Betrayal": Uddhav Thackeray On E Shinde's Turf
Ndtv | 4 days ago | |
Ndtv
4 days ago | |

Uddhav Thackeray said Sena has been defamed due to the "betrayal". (FILE)Thane: Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday inaugurated a medical camp in Maharashtra's Thane city on the eve of the birth anniversary of late Anand Dighe, a hugely popular politician considered the mentor of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.Anand Dighe's massive popularity made Thane one of the safest seats of the undivided Sena but Shinde's rebellion last June led to a vast majority of the rank and file in the region moving to the latter's Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena.Mr Thackeray's visit as well as the mega medical camp organised to commemorate Dighe's anniversary, which falls of Friday, are being seen as an attempt to rebuild the Shiv Sena (UBT) in Thane.He also paid floral tribute to Dighe at Anand Math, the de facto centre of the Sena movement in Thane for decades now.Speaking on the occasion, Mr Thackeray said Shiv Sena and Maharashtra have been defamed due to the "betrayal and defections" that took place, a reference to MR Shinde and 39 MLAs bringing down the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.Mr Thackeray said Thursday's visit was a brief one to take care of the "health of citizens here" but promised he would return to address a mass gathering to take care of the "political health of Thanekars"."I am satisfied that despite the present foul situation, the Shiv Sena has not moved away from its goal. I am proud of it. The Shiv Sena supremo (Bal Thackeray) has taught us that 80 per cent is social work and only 20 per cent political work. The real Sainiks are with us," he said.Those who left preferred to sell themselves, MR Thackeray said, with the crowd shouting "Rs 50 crore" when he asked them if they knew what was the sale price.Mr Thackeray said slogans centred around Rs 50 crore (taunting the BSS leaders) were being heard even in the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir, he claimed, adding a video of this was shown to him by party Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut."These slogans have travelled across the country. But in the process, Maharashtra has been defamed as well as the Shiv Sena. There is no need to mourn for those who have left because the real Sainiks will light the 'mashaal' (party symbol of Thackeray's faction)," he asserted.Thane Lok Sabha MP Rajan Vichare and Nationalist Congress Party MLA Jitendra Awhad accompanied Thackeray.Later, addressing a function at a Jain Temple, he said he had been introduced by one of the earlier speakers as an a "athithi" (guest) but he wanted to reiterate he was one of them.He added that his father had also visited this temple to seek blessings.Mr Thackeray said he had visited the renowned 'Shreenathji' (in Nathdwara in Rajasthan) eight days ago and now he was here to get blessings again.On one of the speakers at the function saying those assembled were willing to give their blood for him, Mr Thackeray said he just wanted their votes.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe relationship between the Jain community and his father will be made stronger, for which he had come here to get the blessings of 'acharyas', the former chief minister said.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayMalaika Arora And Arbaaz Khan Share A Hug After Seeing Off Son Arhaan At Airport

"Sena Defamed Due To Betrayal": Uddhav Thackeray On E Shinde's Turf
  • Betrayal, defections defamed Maharashtra, Shiv Sena, says Uddhav Thackeray in Shinde stronghold Thane
  • Times of India

    THANE: Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday inaugurated a medical camp in Maharashtra's Thane city on the eve of the birth anniversary of late Anand Dighe, a hugely popular politician considered the mentor of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.Dighe's massive popularity made Thane one of the safest seats of the undivided Sena but Shinde's rebellion last June led to a vast majority of the rank and file in the region moving to the latter's Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena.Thackeray's visit as well as the mega medical camp organised to commemorate Dighe's anniversary, which falls of Friday, are being seen as an attempt to rebuild the Shiv Sena (UBT) in Thane.Speaking on the occasion, Thackeray said Shiv Sena and Maharashtra have been defamed due to the "betrayal and defections" that took place, a reference to Shinde and 39 MLAs bringing down the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.Thackeray said Thursday's visit was a brief one to take care of the "health of citizens here" but promised he would return to address a mass gathering to take care of the "political health of Thanekars". "I am satisfied that despite the present foul situation, the Shiv Sena has not moved away from its goal. I am proud of it. The Shiv Sena supremo (Bal Thackeray) has taught us that 80 per cent is social work and only 20 per cent political work. The real Sainiks are with us," he said. PTI

  • Maha: Betrayal, defections defamed Maha, Sena: Uddhav in Shinde stronghold Thane
  • The Economic Times

    Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday inaugurated a medical camp in Maharashtra's Thane city on the eve of the birth anniversary of late Anand Dighe, a hugely popular politician considered the mentor of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. Dighe's massive popularity made Thane one of the safest seats of the undivided Sena but Shinde's rebellion last June led to a vast majority of the rank and file in the region moving to the latter's Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena. Thackeray's visit as well as the mega medical camp organised to commemorate Dighe's anniversary, which falls of Friday, are being seen as an attempt to rebuild the Shiv Sena (UBT) in Thane. He also paid floral tribute to Dighe at Anand Math, the de facto centre of the Sena movement in Thane for decades now. Speaking on the occasion, Thackeray said Shiv Sena and Maharashtra have been defamed due to the "betrayal and defections" that took place, a reference to Shinde and 39 MLAs bringing down the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. Thackeray said Thursday's visit was a brief one to take care of the "health of citizens here" but promised he would return to address a mass gathering to take care of the "political health of Thanekars". "I am satisfied that despite the present foul situation, the Shiv Sena has not moved away from its goal. I am proud of it. The Shiv Sena supremo (Bal Thackeray) has taught us that 80 per cent is social work and only 20 per cent political work. The real Sainiks are with us," he said. Those who left preferred to sell themselves, Thackeray said, with the crowd shouting "Rs 50 crore" when he asked them if they knew what was the sale price. Thackeray said slogans centred around Rs 50 crore (taunting the BSS leaders) were being heard even in the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir, he claimed, adding a video of this was shown to him by party Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut. "These slogans have travelled across the country. But in the process, Maharashtra has been defamed as well as the Shiv Sena. There is no need to mourn for those who have left because the real Sainiks will light the 'mashaal' (party symbol of Thackeray's faction)," he asserted. Thane Lok Sabha MP Rajan Vichare and Nationalist Congress Party MLA Jitendra Awhad accompanied Thackeray. Later, addressing a function at a Jain Temple, he said he had been introduced by one of the earlier speakers as an a "athithi" (guest) but he wanted to reiterate he was one of them. He added that his father had also visited this temple to seek blessings. Thackeray said he had visited the renowned 'Shreenathji' (in Nathdwara in Rajasthan) eight days ago and now he was here to get blessings again. On one of the speakers at the function saying those assembled were willing to give their blood for him, Thackeray said he just wanted their votes. The relationship between the Jain community and his father will be made stronger, for which he had come here to get the blessings of 'acharyas', the former chief minister said.

'Nari Shakti' Dominates Tableaux Of Several States At Republic Day Parade
Ndtv | 5 days ago | |
Ndtv
5 days ago | |

Kerala's tableau connected women empowerment with literacy mission.New Delhi: "Nari shakti" and women empowerment dominated the theme of tableaux of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Tripura at the Republic Day parade here on Thursday.Kerala presented the tableau of "Nari Shakti and Folk Traditions of Women Empowerment" that includes Kalaripayattu, a martial art with more than 2,000 years history, percussion and tribal traditions.Kerala has the highest women's literacy rate in the country and has the world's largest women's self-help network, Kudumbashree.The tableau connected women empowerment with literacy mission.The tractor portrayed Karthyayani Amma, the winner of Nari Shakti Puraskar in 2020 who topped the literacy examination at the age of 96. Nanchiyamma, the first tribal woman to bag the national film award in 2022 for best playback singing is seen saluting the nation.Women are performing Kalaripayattu and the legendary Unni Archa who is known for expertise in Kalaripayattu in Kerala's folklore is portrayed at the top.Tribal dance from the Irula community is shown on the sides and Kudumbashree activities are showcased at the back portion.Karnataka's tableau also celebrated the power of nari shakti. Sulagitti Narasamma, a midwife, Tulsi Gowda Halakki, known as Vruksha Maate (mother of trees), and Salumarada Thimmakka (Thimmakka of row of trees) have become noted names due to their selfless contributions to the society.The Centre honoured them with the Padma Shri, the country's fourth highest civilian award, for their outstanding achievement.In the foreground of the tableau was Sulagitti Narasamma, a midwife, rocking the cradle with a baby in it and playing with the children in her arms.Narasamma is an expert in performing deliveries in a traditional way in the absence of skilled doctors. More than two thousand such deliveries have been performed by her in the last seven decades.At the centre of the tableau was Tulsi Gowda Halakki, nurturing the plants. Tulsi is an expert in identifying and cultivating rare species of plants. She has the credit of planting more than 30,000 saplings. This is shown in the form of her sitting amidst the plants and nurturing them.The last part of the tableau showed Salumarada Thimmakka, a tree planter, who planted 8,000 trees and watered them with the help of her husband along highways.Tamil Nadu's tableau was based on women empowerment and culture of the state which prevailed from the Sangam era to the present day.The front portion of the tableau showcased a statue of poet Avvaiyar, an icon for intellectual women. She wrote "Aathichoodi" and "Kondraiventhan" amongst several other finest poems. She is also known as a noble and worshipable saint of exponential morality.On either side of the front portion, the statue of Veeramangal Velu Naachiar riding on a horse is placed. She was the queen of Sivaganga (1780-90), who stood as an epitome of bravery and waged war against the East India Company.The middle portion of the tableau showcased statues of eminent women personalities namely Carnatic singer M S Subbulakhsmi, the great Bharatanatyam exponent Tanjore Balasaraswati, social reformer and doctor Muthulakhmi Reddy, author and political activist of the Dravidian Movement Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar and Pappammal, a popular organic farmer still active at the age of 105 in her agriculture field.The rear portion of the tableau showcased the replica of Thanjavur Brihadeeswarar Temple built by Chola King Rajaraja Chozhan.The temple is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.On ground, the artistes were seen performing Karagaattam, along with a group of musicians in traditional attire playing Kombu (Horn), Naadaswaram and Thavil.The tableau of Maharashtra on the background of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav presented "Sade Tin Shaktipithe and Nari Shakti".Goddesses are considered as sources of power, reflected through this tableau. In the front part of the tableau, the Ghondali associated with the goddess can be seen playing the instrument sambal. On the main body, one can see replicas of three and a half Shaktipeeths.At the centre of the tableau there is a folk art form Potraj and Aaradhi, associated with the goddess. A Maharashtrian woman depicted on the back side of tableau represented feminine power.Apart from that, folk art forms such as Bhop Bhutye, Jogwa are also shown on tableau.Tripura tableau's theme also revolved around women's power. It highlighted sustainable livelihood through tourism and organic farming in Tripura with active participation of women.The tableau depicted the Mahamuni Pagoda (Buddhist stupa) at the front. The middle part showed various indigenous performing art forms of Tripura such as homgiri momitete.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe composite culture of Tripura and participation of women in different fields were depicted through self-help groups women at work, women with baskets of pineapples, cottage, tea plantation workers and woman dressed in colourful traditional costumes walking alongside the tableau.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

'Nari Shakti' Dominates Tableaux Of Several States At Republic Day Parade
‘Clear message to BJP’: Oppn bigwigs in tow, KCR gears up for Khammam
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao is all set to address a massive public meeting at Khammam on Wednesday evening. The meeting, scheduled to begin at 5 pm, will also be attended by national Opposition heavyweights, sending out a message to the BJP.All roads leading to Khammam are choked with traffic as thousands of vehicles with supporters of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) proceed to the venue. This is the first mega public rally of the CM, popularly known as KCR, since his party changed its name from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi.Before arriving in Khammam, KCR and the top Opposition leaders visited the Yadagirigutta in two helicopters to offer prayers at a temple. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav, CPI national general secretary D. Raja, state ministers Vemula Prashanth Reddy and Talasani Srinivas Yadav, MP Joginapally Santosh Kumar, and MLC K Kavitha were also present. KCR and the Opposition leaders will fly to Khammam from Yadadri in two choppers.On Chief Minister Sri K Chandrashekhar Rao’s invitation, all of them came to Pragathi Bhavan at 9.45 am on Wednesday morning.On this occasion, CM KCR hosted breakfast for the national leaders.#BRSforIndia #AbkiBaarKisanSarkar pic.twitter.com/hbe2soaoHk— BRS Party (@BRSparty) January 18, 2023The public meeting has been billed as a massive show of strength and a precursor to the formation of an anti-BJP alliance ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Telangana, where the BJP is trying to establish itself as an alternative to the BRS, will go to polls later this year.State minister T Harish Rao said BRS and the other party leaders would send a “loud and clear message to the BJP” that they were ready to face it and throw a challenge. “The entire BRS leadership including state and district level leaders will attend the meeting. At least five lakh people are expected to attend. It will surpass the meeting held at Karimnagar in 2001 when the TRS was launched,” said the minister.For the meeting, BRS leaders have mobilised cadre from the 10 Assembly constituencies of the former Khammam district and four other nearby districts.At the rally, KCR will outline his national vision for his party and announce farmer-friendly policies. Several leaders of farmer unions and associations will attend the meeting.BRS leaders said the transformation of the TRS to the BRS was drawing attention and response from all corners of the country as an alternative political force under the leadership of KCR.

‘Clear message to BJP’: Oppn bigwigs in tow, KCR gears up for Khammam
  • Battleground Khammam: As BJP eyes weak link, KCR readies for challenge
  • The Indian Express

    The Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) is set to kick off its Assembly election campaign on January 18 in Khammam, where it has traditionally not fared well electorally. The BJP is looking to pose a tough challenge to the ruling party in Khammam this time.This will be the first public meeting of the BRS since its name change from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi. Assembly elections are due in Telangana later this year.At the Khammam meeting, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, popularly known as KCR, will also outline his party’s plans in other states. The occasion is the launch of the second phase of “Kanti Velugu’’ — an eye check-up and screening camp. It will also be a show of strength as KCR will be flanked by his counterparts Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), Bhagant Mann (Punjab) and Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala), and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav.The BJP is also going all-in in Khammam. It is set to induct former Khammam MP Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy, who is currently in the BRS, this week to shore up its organisation. This will put it in a position to challenge the BRS in the region. The undivided Khammam district — which was bifurcated to form the new Bhadradri Kothagudem district — has 10 Assembly segments. Srinivas Reddy won from Khammam on a YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) ticket in 2014, bucking a massive pro-TRS wave, but later joined the BRS. However, the KCR-led party denied him a ticket in 2019, preferring Nama Nageshwara Rao. An upset Srinivas Reddy who has a good support base in Khammam remained in the party but aloof. Reddy will take at least two former MLAs and local BRS leaders to the BJP. The 10 Assembly segments in the former Khammam district have always voted differently, often against the prevailing wave.In 2014, the TRS rode on a pro-Telangana sentiment to win 63 of 119 Assembly seats but managed to bag only one in the former Khammam district — Kothagudem. The Congress won four — Yellendu, Khammam, Palair, and Madhira (SC) while the YSRCP won Pinapaka, Wyra, and Aswaraopet (ST). The CPI (M) won Bhardrachalam (ST) while the Telugu Desam Party won the Sathupale (SC) seat.The TRS won the December 2018 Assembly elections in a landslide, sweeping entire districts, but in Khammam the party won only one seat — Khammam. The Congress won six, the TDP won two, and one constituency went to an Independent. However, except for the Congress’s Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, all the other nine MLAs subsequently joined the BRS.Khammam is known to be the testing ground for all political parties. On December 21, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu addressed a public meeting here, hoping to revive his party in Telangana again. The BJP too is likely to hold a public meeting there once Srinivas Reddy joins.A day after the BRS public meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Hyderabad on January 19 to inaugurate a slew of projects and address a public meeting in Secunderabad. The PM will lay the foundation stone for modernisation of the Secunderabad railway station. Union Minister G Kishan Reddy said the PM would also flag off a Vande Bharat train between Secunderabad and Visakhapatnam. The BRS leaders from Khammam who will join the BJP will also meet the PM.

3 Pune runners set off to cover 338 km in 72 hours to raise diabetes awareness
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

Three Pune ultramarathoners, sports shop owner and blueBrigade running club founder Ajay Desai, merchant navy officer and film producer Prashant Pethe, and trekker and fitness coach Shyamal Mondal, began a run on Wednesday to create awareness about diabetes. The runners plan to run a distance of 338 km individually and aim to finish the run in 72 hours.Shiksha Education Society’s Innovera school in Loni will be their base and the runners will run in a loop of 25 km towards Ramdara temple and back – a route used for the annual Pune Ultra Marathon.Desai, who has diabetes and suffers from hypertension, said he set up blueBrigade in 2015 to impart the knowledge he gained by controlling his ailments just by running. From just 10 people when it began, the blueBrigade running club now has over 600 members and functions at eight different locations in Pune.While Yusuf Devaswala, an architect, and Satej Kalyani, a software engineer, will run 161 km each in support of the three main runners, other runners from blueBrigade will also run and support them, Desai said.The main objective of this run is to “create awareness about diabetes – the real pandemic” and to raise donations for Nityaasha Foundation, which works with underprivileged children with Type 1 diabetes, Desai added.Several celebrities from the Marathi film industry are supporting the run, helping it reach a wider audience.Training with blueBrigade is free of cost. In December 2021, six blueBrigade runners ran from Pune to Kolhapur, a distance of 220 km, and raised around Rs 2.5 lakh for Nityaasha Foundation.

3 Pune runners set off to cover 338 km in 72 hours to raise diabetes awareness
At BJP National Executive, a new slogan: 'Governance of saturation'
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

The policies and the initiatives taken by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government has taken the he country to “a politics of saturation and governance of saturation” and transformed Indian from “one among the fragile five economies to the fifth largest economy”, the BJP said in its socio economic resolution adopted in the national executive meeting.The resolution moved by Maharashtra deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and seconded by union minister V Muraleedharan and party MP from Haryana Sunita Duggal, lauded Modi for his achievements and for the G 20 presidency.The resolution also praised Modi’s efforts for the fast construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya. “The opposition was trying to ridicule the BJP asking for the time schedule for the Ram Temple construction. Now the Temple is being made and now the dates are also announced,” said Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan who was briefing the media on the socio economic resolution.Pradhan listed the government’s welfare initiatives which included free ration to poor, direct benefit transfer of Rs 22.6 lakh crore for the beneficiaries in order to check leakages and the increase in the fund for PM housing schemes (from RS 75 000 per unit to 1.5 lakh per unit ). “India is fast becoming the leader in the digital transaction and Joe 40/100 digital transactions happen in India,” he saidPradhan said the unicorns and start ups have made the Indian youth from job seekers to job providers. “The government’s initiatives have not only strengthened the economy and made it Atmanirbhar (self reliant), an awareness also has been created about India’s position,” the minister said.The minister said India’s contribution in global GDP has gone up from 2.6 percent 3.5 percent.According to Pradhan, the Modi government has led to the country to a “politics of saturation and governance of saturation” Explaining it, he said that the government has made its promise of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas a reality by reaching the benefits of its programs to every common citizen irrespective of religious or caste or region. “The vyavasta is for everyone. The bottom of the pyramid people get the delivery at their doorstep. That’s what we meant by governance of saturation,” Pradhan said.

At BJP National Executive, a new slogan: 'Governance of saturation'
Lessons on nationalism, globalism – and Hinduism – from RRRSign In to read
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Many in India and the diaspora are rightly feeling cheerful about the success of RRR at the Golden Globe Awards.Some critics, of course, are concerned about identity and appropriation issues in and around the movie. In parts of the US media that hold a rather monolithic view of South Asian politics, critics warned RRR’s Western fans that the movie had some “regressive” politics and themes (“because Ram” as one might put it these days). In India, some critics have said that the movie fails to do justice to subaltern viewpoints, portraying Bhim as subservient to Ram, for example.These academic debates are well-known, but there is a broader lesson from RRR’s growing global profile that is both practically useful – and urgently relevant – for everyone confused and confounded by questions of identity in a world that is both intensely global, and yet deeply nationalistic, at political, cultural, and existential levels.Indians, and by extension, India, I believe face a crisis of lack of understanding and competence in international communication, which might have been less alarming in a less interconnected time in the past, but is proving disastrously divisive and self-defeating for us at this time — whether this “us” is what these days is called “Left” or “Right”. After colonialism, after the declining Nehruvian experiment, after Mandal and Mandir and Masjid and all that has come, we are more confused than ever, in my view, about what it means to invoke a sense of togetherness in the name of the nation, in the name, specifically, of India.How do we communicate, as Indians and as all the multiple identities that often go alongside being Indian, in regional, local, religious or cultural terms? Is there a lesson from RRR’s global appeal, which might be nationalism, or might be despite nationalism?There are two examples from the past few days we could consider here.The first of these was about RRR. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy tweeted that RRR had made Telugus proud only to be rebuked by singer Adnan Sami who insisted that the Telugu evocation would stoke separatism just like Partition had once done.Was it a case of cultural misunderstanding by Sami, or just social media fingers? I do not know, but this incident was a stark reminder of how ludicrous the obsession with policing “anti-nationals” has become in some circles.As a Telugu person myself, and one who saw the division of our state into Andhra Pradesh and Telangana unfold in my own life, I thought that the chief minister’s comment about the “Telugu flag” flying high (and RRR’s own rather explicit Telangana-Andhra brotherhood themes), was a welcome gesture in celebrating our own historical “unity in diversity” as it were. Suggesting that a “Telugu flag” might be hostile to the “Indian flag” as Sami did, seemed bizarrely misplaced (and I hope he realises that we Telugus actually have a bit of a friendly claim on being able to call the Indian flag itself a “Telugu flag” because of Pingali Venkayya!)The second example of “anti-national” invocations that misfired is not about RRR though and is actually a bit more disturbing.A Hindu temple of the Swaminarayan tradition in Australia was desecrated recently with graffiti praising Sikh militant leader Jarnail Bhindranwale and condemning Prime Minister Narendra Modi.What is peculiar about the reactions to this incident is that the temple management condemned the incident on social media not for being “anti-Hindu”, but rather explicitly for being “anti-India”.Although some anti-Hinduphobia activists clearly saw the vandalism as anti-Hindu in nature (after all, if the grievance of the perpetrators was with “India”, why did they not protest at the Indian mission, why did they pick on a Hindu temple?), it is a telling comment on the naivety or complicity of many in the Indian diaspora with a dated conception of nationalism in a global age.Simply put, the phrase “anti-national” or “anti-India” does not mean anything negative at all in a global context today where there are people, not only non-Indians but even fellow South Asians, who do not see being “anti-India” as a sin, crime, or problem in any way.To an average Australian or Canadian or American, someone of South Asian descent claiming to be a proud Indian or proud Tamil or Kashmiri or Punjabi does not really make a difference. The diaspora can’t simply expect a phrase that might have some currency in India to have the same persuasive effect in a global context, unlike say, a universal, human rights concept that highlights something far more fundamental, like religious hatred.If a Hindu temple is attacked, the word for it is “Hinduphobic”, not “anti-India.”Yet, this is where much of the diaspora and the patriotic Indian’s conversation is stuck these days, a result perhaps of too much state and social media indoctrination at near-religious levels around the label of the nation.To conclude on a less pessimistic note though, I believe RRR is still more evocative of a harmony between the universal, national and local than critics would admit.Some in the West might fault the movie for its monolithic depiction of the British as cruel racist colonisers, but the fact remains that this did not prevent a lot of Western viewers from being entertained, and charmed, by RRR’s unique mix of Telugu-nativity and pan-Indian diversity.At the end of the day, we humans probably want stories where the underdog rises again from defeat and pain to win, and where a man seemingly on the wrong side of the story actually turns out to be not quite so at all.And we humans, most of all, perhaps want to see movies in which as heroic, strong, and decent as our heroes are, they are only human, and our planet, with its forests, animals, goddesses, and gods is more than human — Anthropocene and anthropocentricity notwithstanding.RRR roared for the gods; not “my gods” or “your gods”, but just “the gods”, and it showed.The writer is professor of media studies at the University of San Francisco

Lessons on nationalism, globalism – and Hinduism – from RRRSign In to read
Asked Driver To Slow Down But...: Man Who Survived Nashik Bus Crash
Ndtv | 2 weeks ago | |
Ndtv
2 weeks ago | |

10 people were killed and 22 injured after a private tourist bus collided with a truck.Mumbai: One of the passengers, who survived the deadly collision between a private bus and a truck in Maharashtra's Nashik district on Friday, said he had asked the bus driver twice to slow down as he was over-speeding.At least 10 people were killed and 22 injured after a private tourist bus on its way to the temple town of Shirdi in western Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district collided with a truck near Pathare Shivar village in Nashik's Sinnar tehsil, around 180 km from Mumbai, in the early hours of Friday."We don't know how it happened as everybody was asleep. But, I woke up to the sound of a crash," the passenger said.As the packed bus collided with the truck and toppled, the survivor said he could hear other passengers screaming for help."I was sitting in the second last seat. It was dark, but I managed to break the glass and got out of the mangled vehicle," the passenger said.The lucky survivor claimed he had asked the bus driver to slow down on two occasions, but the latter turned a deaf ear to his requests.The bus driver, who was speeding, had applied the emergency break twice, because of which sleeping passengers kept hitting the seats in front of them, the man said.Many of the passengers of the private tourist bus were workers of a company located in Ambernath in Thane district and heading for Shirdi with their families, including women and children.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comA couple, a mother-daughter duo and a 15-year-old girl were killed in the accident.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayRumoured Couple Tamannaah And Vijay Varma Pose Together At An Event

Asked Driver To Slow Down But...: Man Who Survived Nashik Bus Crash
10 Killed As Shirdi-Bound Bus Collides With Truck In Nashik
Ndtv | 2 weeks ago | |
Ndtv
2 weeks ago | |

The front cabin of the truck was a mangled heap, the bus was cut open along one sideMumbai/Nashik: Ten persons were killed and at least 22 others injured - most of them workers of a packaging firm and their families - after a private tourist bus on way to the temple town of Shirdi collided with a truck in Maharashtra's Nashik district on Friday morning, police officials said.The impact of the crash was so powerful that both the vehicles were completely wrecked. While the front cabin of the truck was a mangled heap, the bus was virtually cut open along one side and reduced to a shell.Many of the passengers of the private tourist bus were workers of a company located in Ambernath in Thane district and heading for the temple town of Shirdi in western Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district with their families, the officials said.The dead included a couple, a mother-daughter duo and a teen aged girl.At least six of those dead were from Morivali village in Ambernath tehsil, said a local official.The accident took place around 6 am on Nashik-Ahmednagar road near Pathare Shivar village in north Maharashtra's Nashik district's Sinnar tehsil, around 180km from Mumbai, the officials said.As per state highway control room officials, one side of the two-lane Sinnar-Shirdi stretch of the road had been closed for some work near the accident spot.Sajid Khan, a survivor, said the bus was over-speeding and the driver fled the spot after the accident.More than 50 passengers, including workers of the private company and their family members, were travelling in the bus, said Khan, who was sitting in the last row."The bus driver was driving at a very high speed and lost control over the wheels, leading to the collision with the truck," he said.After the crash, the bus toppled and kept sliding for a few metres before coming to a halt, Khan said.The bus started journey from Ambernath and the driver was driving decently till Ulhasnagar, located on Mumbai's outskirts, he said."All was going well till 5 am, but then the bus collided with the truck shortly after 6 am," said the survivor.Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the loss of lives in the crash and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh from the PM National Relief Fund to the next-of-kin of each deceased. The injured would be given Rs 50,000 each, the PMO tweeted.Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, in a tweet, expressed grief over the incident and separately announced financial help of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased, while ordering an inquiry into the cause of the accident.A list published by the district administration said all the deceased were from Ambernath in Thane district.The administration gave the names of the deceased as Naresh Manohar Ubale, 38, Vaishali Naresh Ubale, 32 (couple), Shravani Suhas Baraskar, 30, Shraddha Suhas Baraskar, 4 (mother-daughter duo), Pramila Prakash Gondhali, 45, Balaji Krishna Mohati, 25, Diksha Santosh Gondhali, 18, Ayushaman alias Sai Prashant Mohati, 5 and Roshni Rajesh Wadekar, 30. A 15-year-old girl is yet to be identified.The injured were taken to the Government Rural Hospital and Yashwant Hospital in Sinnar.Chief Minister Shinde said the state government will bear expenses of the treatment of the injured persons, a statement from his office said.Shinde spoke to the Nashik divisional commissioner and asked him to shift the injured immediately to Nashik and Shirdi for treatment and also conduct an inquiry into the causes of the accident, it added.Nashik guardian minister Dada Bhuse met some of the injured persons undergoing treatment at various private hospitals in Sinnar and also spoke to their relatives.Talking to reporters after meeting the victims, Bhuse said, “A packaging company based in Ambernath had organised the Shirdi trip for its employees and arranged 15 buses (one of which met with the accident) for the trip." He said that the state government will bear all medical expenses of the injured victims.After a recent accident on the Nashik-Aurangabad highway, which had claimed 13 lives and injured many, the authorities are working to identify accident-prone areas in the city and the north Maharashtra district, the guardian minister said.The injured persons were admitted to three private hospitals, while those with minor wounds were discharged from Sinnar Rural Hospital after treatment.Ambernath tehsildar Prashanti Mane told PTI that six of of the deceased were residents of Morivali village.All of them worked as packers at Balaji Packing Company, and it was a tradition with the company employees to arrange tours to pilgrimage sites every year, she said.A pall of gloom descended on the village as news of the tragedy came.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comLocal MLA Balaji Kinnikar visited the village and assured that government will extend all help to the victims' families.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayNo Survivors Found After Nepal Plane Crashed With 72, 5 Of Them Indians

10 Killed As Shirdi-Bound Bus Collides With Truck In Nashik
In Joshimath, the question is: What is the cost of pilgrimage?
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

The pandas of Jagannath Puri in Odisha are often chastised for aggressively demanding daan and dakshina from pilgrims. They argue the temple is their mother — she feeds them through those who visit the temple. This idea that pilgrim spots are also commercial spots, and sources of livelihood for many, has often been a contentious issue, not just in India but around the world.In the New Testament, Jesus Christ drives out the money changers and dove sellers and other traders from the temple at Jerusalem, accusing them of defiling a sacred space. Recently, the Jain community held silent protest marches on learning that the sacred Shikharji mountains of Jharkhand and Palitana in Gujarat were being earmarked for tourism.While the Vatican in Rome is open to tourists, Mecca is not. And yet, the Hajj and Umrah have been monetised. As soon as consulting firms told the royals of Saudi Arabia that oil may not have a great future, they turned their attention to Mecca, and went out of their way to build some of the best pilgrimage infrastructure the world has ever seen. Every Muslim is expected to visit the House of God, or Kabbah, in this holy city, at least once in his lifetime — for this is where the Prophet Muhammad prayed, before him Abraham, and even before him Adam and the angels. The pilgrim needs food, transport, lodgings, and a bit of entertainment. Besides hospitality, he also needs banking and health services. This has created a vast number of jobs, and so, goodwill across the Islamic world. Thanks to 2.5 million annual pilgrims, Saudi Arabia’s revenue from religious tourism is expected to reach about $350 billion in 2030. What is India’s potential, considering there are so many pilgrim spots in India?Let’s take a look at the numbers. On the most auspicious day of the Mahakumbha Mela at Prayagraj, there can be over 50 million people. This happens every 12 years. In the remaining 11 years, during the annual Magh Mela, Prayagraj can witness up to half a million people seeking to take a dip in the Sangam. The Puri Rath Yatra in Odisha is witnessed by a million people on a single day. It once yielded a pilgrim tax of Rs 9 lakh as per Mughal and Company records, until the pilgrim tax was outlawed in 1840. The scale of pilgrimages in India — which are voluntary and not mandated by any religious authority — boggles the mind. The financial potential is huge. It would be foolish to ignore such an asset.India is a religious country, with hundreds of Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Islamic and Christian pilgrim spots dotting its mountains, plateaus, plains, and coasts. India is also a poor country. People need jobs. Tourism creates jobs. Religious tourism assures sustainable income. For many Indians, pilgrimage is the only tourism they can experience. Pilgrim spots are thus assets. And this has been realised long ago by the government and industry bodies like FICCI. So it makes sense to develop these pilgrim sites and provide the infrastructure that helps more pilgrims travel easily, and comfortably. This means roads, railways, airports, hotels, taxis, restaurants, hospitals, shops, entertainment zones, and even spiritual theme parks. Kashi Vishwanath has transformed. Ujjain has transformed. Amritsar has transformed. Puri has transformed. Ayodhya and Mathura will soon transform. Revenues of several crores are being generated from these sites, with hardly any gestation period. This is good, right?But what is the cost of such development? There are reports on the ecological impact of the infrastructure work in Mecca, the carbon footprint created in the fragile desert ecosystem, but such conversations can easily be deemed Islamophobic. The same can happen in India, where politicians accuse activists of being Hinduphobic anti-development atheist Naxalites.But nature does not care for politics. Uttarakhand, holy since Vedic times as the place where Ganga moves from the mountains into the plains, is home to many sacred spots such as Kedarnath, Badrinath, Haridwar, Rishikesh and Joshimath. The area is ecologically fragile. And in recent times, there have been a series of calamities such as floods, earthquakes, and landslides, calling into question development activities, and the push for infrastructure.Politicians are still angry about temples broken centuries ago by invading Muslim warlords. But none of them is angry about the destruction of sacred groves known as the Devrais of Goa. These were for centuries out of bounds to farmers and pastoralists. They were believed to be the home of the Goddess. This ensured biodiversity. But these are being destroyed by mining activities and new infrastructure. Unlike well-organised Jain protests, protests to save sacred groves of tribal communities do not garner media attention. The subaltern holy spot is easy to ignore.India is a land created not by kings or merchants, but by pilgrims who followed sages to the isolation of mountains, or the fertility of river deltas, river confluences or river bends. These are where pilgrim spots are located. This is where mythological figures like Ram, Krishna, Shiva, and Durga performed magnificent deeds. This is where their power still throbs – power that people seek in their daily lives, which makes them want to visit these sites. This is encouraged by kings who realise the economic and political power of such movements. Let us not forget how the Kanwar yatra in the Gangetic region has been completely politicised, and how there are attempts to politicise the Varkari yatra in Maharashtra.Politicians care for power. For this they need people. Merchants care for wealth. For this they need markets. Neither care for nature. For them the pilgrims are sheep, and the tribal is a savage, easy to exploit and abuse. They milk the earth-cow ruthlessly, like Vena of the Bhagavata Purana. But they forget, the earth-cow will have the last laugh. As per Hindu lore, she will ask Parasuraman, Ram and Krishna to slaughter greedy kings. And if they fail, she will turn into the wild Kali and express her rage with disease and disasters and quench her thirst with blood.The writer is a mythologist and author of Pilgrim Nation (Aleph)

 In Joshimath, the question is: What is the cost of pilgrimage?
  • In Joshimath, the question is: What is cost of pilgrimage?
  • The Indian Express

    The pandas of Jagannath Puri in Odisha are often chastised for aggressively demanding daan and dakshina from pilgrims. They argue the temple is their mother — she feeds them through those who visit the temple. This idea that pilgrim spots are also commercial spots, and sources of livelihood for many, has often been a contentious issue, not just in India but around the world.In the New Testament, Jesus Christ drives out the money changers and dove sellers and other traders from the temple at Jerusalem, accusing them of defiling a sacred space. Recently, the Jain community held silent protest marches on learning that the sacred Shikharji mountains of Jharkhand and Palitana in Gujarat were being earmarked for tourism.While the Vatican in Rome is open to tourists, Mecca is not. And yet, the Hajj and Umrah have been monetised. As soon as consulting firms told the royals of Saudi Arabia that oil may not have a great future, they turned their attention to Mecca, and went out of their way to build some of the best pilgrimage infrastructure the world has ever seen. Every Muslim is expected to visit the House of God, or Kabbah, in this holy city, at least once in his lifetime — for this is where the Prophet Muhammad prayed, before him Abraham, and even before him Adam and the angels. The pilgrim needs food, transport, lodgings, and a bit of entertainment. Besides hospitality, he also needs banking and health services. This has created a vast number of jobs, and so, goodwill across the Islamic world. Thanks to 2.5 million annual pilgrims, Saudi Arabia’s revenue from religious tourism is expected to reach about $350 billion in 2030. What is India’s potential, considering there are so many pilgrim spots in India?Let’s take a look at the numbers. On the most auspicious day of the Mahakumbha Mela at Prayagraj, there can be over 50 million people. This happens every 12 years. In the remaining 11 years, during the annual Magh Mela, Prayagraj can witness up to half a million people seeking to take a dip in the Sangam. The Puri Rath Yatra in Odisha is witnessed by a million people on a single day. It once yielded a pilgrim tax of Rs 9 lakh as per Mughal and Company records, until the pilgrim tax was outlawed in 1840. The scale of pilgrimages in India — which are voluntary and not mandated by any religious authority — boggles the mind. The financial potential is huge. It would be foolish to ignore such an asset.India is a religious country, with hundreds of Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Islamic and Christian pilgrim spots dotting its mountains, plateaus, plains, and coasts. India is also a poor country. People need jobs. Tourism creates jobs. Religious tourism assures sustainable income. For many Indians, pilgrimage is the only tourism they can experience. Pilgrim spots are thus assets. And this has been realised long ago by the government and industry bodies like FICCI. So it makes sense to develop these pilgrim sites and provide the infrastructure that helps more pilgrims travel easily, and comfortably. This means roads, railways, airports, hotels, taxis, restaurants, hospitals, shops, entertainment zones, and even spiritual theme parks. Kashi Vishwanath has transformed. Ujjain has transformed. Amritsar has transformed. Puri has transformed. Ayodhya and Mathura will soon transform. Revenues of several crores are being generated from these sites, with hardly any gestation period. This is good, right?But what is the cost of such development? There are reports on the ecological impact of the infrastructure work in Mecca, the carbon footprint created in the fragile desert ecosystem, but such conversations can easily be deemed Islamophobic. The same can happen in India, where politicians accuse activists of being Hinduphobic anti-development atheist Naxalites.But nature does not care for politics. Uttarakhand, holy since Vedic times as the place where Ganga moves from the mountains into the plains, is home to many sacred spots such as Kedarnath, Badrinath, Haridwar, Rishikesh and Joshimath. The area is ecologically fragile. And in recent times, there have been a series of calamities such as floods, earthquakes, and landslides, calling into question development activities, and the push for infrastructure.Politicians are still angry about temples broken centuries ago by invading Muslim warlords. But none of them is angry about the destruction of sacred groves known as the Devrais of Goa. These were for centuries out of bounds to farmers and pastoralists. They were believed to be the home of the Goddess. This ensured biodiversity. But these are being destroyed by mining activities and new infrastructure. Unlike well-organised Jain protests, protests to save sacred groves of tribal communities do not garner media attention. The subaltern holy spot is easy to ignore.India is a land created not by kings or merchants, but by pilgrims who followed sages to the isolation of mountains, or the fertility of river deltas, river confluences or river bends. These are where pilgrim spots are located. This is where mythological figures like Ram, Krishna, Shiva, and Durga performed magnificent deeds. This is where their power still throbs – power that people seek in their daily lives, which makes them want to visit these sites. This is encouraged by kings who realise the economic and political power of such movements. Let us not forget how the Kanwar yatra in the Gangetic region has been completely politicised, and how there are attempts to politicise the Varkari yatra in Maharashtra.Politicians care for power. For this they need people. Merchants care for wealth. For this they need markets. Neither care for nature. For them the pilgrims are sheep, and the tribal is a savage, easy to exploit and abuse. They milk the earth-cow ruthlessly, like Vena of the Bhagavata Purana. But they forget, the earth-cow will have the last laugh. As per Hindu lore, she will ask Parasuraman, Ram and Krishna to slaughter greedy kings. And if they fail, she will turn into the wild Kali and express her rage with disease and disasters and quench her thirst with blood.The writer is a mythologist and author of Pilgrim Nation (Aleph)

BJP workers scuffle with police over Ganga Aarti programme in Kolkata
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

BJP workers scuffled with police personnel in Kolkata’s Babughat area on Tuesday after the party’s West Bengal unit president Sukanta Majumdar along with others took part in a Ganga Aarti programme even as they were denied permission to do so.The Kolkata Police had on Tuesday denied nod for the programme citing the rush of pilgrims for the ensuing Ganga Sagar Mela and the ongoing G20 meeting in the city.When the BJP workers were stopped at Baje Kadamtala Ghat, Majumdar performed aarti at a nearby ghat. When the police intervened, a major scuffle took place between them and the party supporters. A large number of police personnel were rushed to the spot and several BJP workers and leaders, including Majumdar, were taken to Lalbazar in a van.Majumdar said, “This is nothing new. We are used to it. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) doesn’t believe in democracy. They want to be in power as well as in Opposition.”Majumdar alleged the police even dismantled the stage set up for the programme.Convener of the BJP’s Namami Gange wing, Gopal Sarkar, had earlier said that Ganga Arti will be done as scheduled.The police had requested the opposition party to postpone the programme after the Gangasagar Mela. Earlier in the day, BJP councillor Sajal Ghosh and 12 others were detained around 1 pm when they went to see the preparations for the event.TMC’s social media incharge Debangshu Bhattacharya said, “We have seen as how three people lost their lives after BJP’s Suvendhu Adhikari held a programme in Asansol even as police denied them permission. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is trying to initiate Ganga Aarti in Bengal and the Jagannath temple is being constructed in Digha. The BJP should first come and support these initiatives.”

BJP workers scuffle with police over Ganga Aarti programme in Kolkata
Haryana’s ‘Jalebi Baba’ gets 14-yr jail for raping minor, 2 disciples
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

A fast-track court in Haryana’s Fatehabad Tuesday awarded 14 years in jail to self-styled godman Amarpuri, alias Billu, for raping three women disciples, including a minor, and making videos of the act.Additional district judge Balwant Singh pronounced the quantum of sentence. According to Advocate Sanjay Verma, who appeared for the victims, the court awarded seven years imprisonment to Amarpuri, also known as ‘Jalebi Baba’, under Section 376 C of the IPC; 14 years under Section 6 of the POCSO Act and five years under section 67A of the IT Act. The jail terms will run simultaneously.Verma said: “In the court, the accused faced allegation of raping six women, including a minor. But the judge has convicted him for raping two women and the minor on the basis of available evidences.”On the other hand, Amarpuri’s lawyer Gajender Pandey said they will challenge the verdict in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. “Prima facie, this case was lodged on the basis of a CD. There was no direct application from any of the six victims against Amarpuri,” Pandey said.An FIR was registered against Amarpuri on the basis of a complaint from the SHO of the police station concerned, he added.The Haryana Police had in 2018 arrested Amarpuri from Tohana town of Fatehabad and recovered his 120 purported sex video clippings. The then Fatehabad women’s police cell incharge Bimla Devi had confirmed that the 120 sex videos were recovered from the mobile phone of Amarpuri, who was a mahant at Baba Balak Nath Mandir in Tohana.During investigation, it came to fore that the women used to approach Amarpuri, who had developed a reputation as a tantrik (occultist), to resolve their problems. “He allegedly used to offer drugs to the women in some for or other, sexually exploit them and make videos of the act. Then he used to blackmail these women for money by threatening to make videos public,” Bimla Devi had then said.As per the police, Amarpuri sold jalebis in Tohana’s main market for about 13 years, before he came in contact with a tantrik who introduced him to occult practices.He then shut down his shop, bought a house in Tohana and also built a temple with a basement where he carried out his nefarious activities. He was first booked for rape in 2017 after a woman accused him of sexually assaulting her at his residence. However, he has soon secured bail in the case.

Haryana’s ‘Jalebi Baba’ gets 14-yr jail for raping minor, 2 disciples
No plying of private vehicles nor use of loudspeakers in Beladakuppe temple fair, say police
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

The Saragur police under the Mysore division have recently sent a letter to wildlife conservationist Giridhar Kulkarni, apprising the latter of the steps the forest department and the district administration took to minimise the impact of the Beladakuppe temple fair held inside the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka.The annual fair was conducted from November 20-23, 2022. The police said they did not allow private vehicles to enter the venue or permit the use of loudspeakers at the fair. Kulkarni had in October 2022 urged the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Karnataka forest department, and the Mysuru district administration to impose necessary restrictions to reduce the impact of the fair on wildlife. Notably, Beladakuppe Sri Mahadeshwara Swamy temple is located in the Hediyala forest range, which forms the core tiger habitat of Bandipur Tiger Reserve.“Only KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) buses were allowed. No provisions were made to set up shops next to the temple. Also, no plastics or loudspeakers were allowed. There were no provisions to cook Prasada… All these measures were taken to protect the forest and the wildlife. If the government permits conducting the temple fair outside the temple premises, the police will provide the necessary protection,” the police said. The NTCA had on November 11, 2022, sought a factual status report from the Karnataka forest department on the measures it took to conduct the temple fair, the Bandipur Tiger Reserve administration, however, is yet to submit its response. The factual status report was sought based on Kulkarni’s representation.“I am grateful to the Bandipur Tiger Reserve Administration, Mysuru district administration, and the Mysuru district police for their relentless efforts to take effective measures during the Beladakuppe fair that concluded in a safe and peaceful manner – which is good for both people and wildlife. It would be more helpful if the state government takes the decision to shift the entire celebrations outside the forest this year. It is important that Bandipur Tiger Reserve administration submits its factual report to the NTCA,” Kulkarni said.

No plying of private vehicles nor use of loudspeakers in Beladakuppe temple fair, say police
Ram Temple and Congress: A political dilemma and tightrope walkPremium Story
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

Home Minister Amit Shah last week contrasted the BJP’s decisive approach to the Ram Temple with the attitude of Congress-led governments that he said had kept the matter in the courts for years.“…From the time the country gained Independence, Congress people got it (the temple) embroiled in courts — Sessions Court, High Court, Supreme Court, again Sessions Court. (Then) Modiji came. One morning, the Supreme Court order came. Modiji performed the bhoomi pujan for Ram Lalla’s temple and the construction work began,” Shah said at an election rally in Tripura on January 5.Mocking Rahul Gandhi for never committing to a date to build the temple, he advised people to “book their tickets” to Ayodhya — because “on January 1, 2024, you will find a grand Ram temple ready”.Over the decades, the Congress attitude towards the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute was never unequivocal. In its attempts to keep both Hindus and Muslims happy, the party vacillated — and ultimately got the support of neither.Parivar ups anteIn the 1980s, when the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute was already in the courts for several decades, the RSS and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) adopted the position that the construction of a temple was a matter of faith, not of litigation. In 1986, the RSS Pratinidhi Sabha urged the government to “hand over the Janmabhoomi site and adjacent land to the Ram Janmabhoomi Trust”; the following year, it said that like the Somnath temple in Gujarat, “the ancient but dilapidated Ram Janmabhoomi temple too needs to be restored to its old glory”.The BJP too held the view that the dispute was outside the purview of courts. Its Palampur Resolution of 1989 said it “should be resolved through mutual dialogue between the two communities or, if this was not possible, through an enabling legislation. Litigation is in no way a solution for this matter.” In later years, in keeping with its coalition dharma, the party revised its position in favour of a resolution in court or through aapsi baatcheet (consultations).Opening of locksIn the VHP team for the agitation, Ashok Singhal included former UP Congress leader and minister Dau Dayal Khanna and former IPS officer Shreesh Chandra Dixit. The VHP held several meetings with officials of Rajiv Gandhi’s government, but no resolution was reached. The VHP remained firm on its demand for opening the locks of the Babri Masjid.The Congress was unable to either address Hindu sentiments around the temple or pacify its Muslims voters. On September 24, 1985, the Congress, fighting an erosion of its support base, replaced N D Tiwari with Vir Bahadur Singh as chief minister of (undivided) Uttar Pradesh. On February 1, 1986, a local court in Faizabad (now Ayodhya) ordered the opening of the locks of Ram Janmabhoomi. Congress leaders could not openly claim credit for the development, but worked to silently spread the message that it was their government that the locks had been opened.Congress flip-flopsThe BJP under L K Advani ratcheted up the pressure with allegations of “pseudo-secularism”, and by openly joining the Ram Temple movement. After the opening of the Babri Masjid locks, the Sangh accelerated its campaign for the temple through programmes of “mass awakening”. There were communal riots in several places, including in Barabanki and Allahabad (now Prayagraj). In 1987, personnel of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) massacred Muslims in Hashimpura near Meerut. The Vir Bahadur Singh government was accused by several Congressmen of allowing a pro-Hindu line on the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute — allegations that Singh denied.In his attempts to keep both the Congress’s Hindu upper caste and Muslim bases intact, Vir Bahadur tried to play both sides. In June 1986, his government impounded three raths of the VHP’s Ram Janmabhoomi Mukti Yagya Samiti in Ayodhya, but on November 22, sent them to Lucknow under police escort to appease the VHP. Earlier on December 19, 1985, Singh had attended a three-day Ramayan Mela in Ayodhya, an annual gathering of sants and mahants that one of his predecessors, Sripati Mishra, had started in 1982.Loss in, and of, UPThe Congress was fighting multiple crises at the time, including the rebellion of V P Singh, one of its tallest leaders in UP and chief minister of the state from 1980-82. In June 1988, after V P Singh won the Lok Sabha by-election from Allahabad, Rajiv called Vir Bahadur to Delhi as a Union Minister, and N D Tiwari was sworn in as chief minister for the fourth time.The Congress was facing an exodus by then, with several leaders joining either V P Singh or the BJP. In 1989, the party lost its governments in both Delhi and Lucknow. The government of Prime Minister V P Singh held a series of deliberations with the state government led by Mulayam Singh Yadav and the VHP. After the BJP withdrew support from the governments of V P Singh and Mulayam Singh, the Congress propped up the government of Chandra Shekhar in Delhi and saved Mulayam’s government in UP.But the Congress’s days as a consequential player in UP were ending. Mulayam took a hard line on the temple and captured the Congress’s minority vote bank. The BJP’s social engineering project combined the politics of kamandal with that of Mandal, and in the Assembly elections of 1991, the party won 221 out of 425 Assembly seats on a consolidation of Hindu votes.Efforts by Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao to resolve the temple issue did not succeed. The demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, and the dismissal of BJP governments in four states did not bring the Congress any benefit. In UP, the political polarisation was between the BJP and parties like the SP and BSP.

Ram Temple and Congress: A political dilemma and tightrope walkPremium Story
The voice of Punjab in Canada
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

Name: Maninder Singh GillClaim to fame:I am the CEO of Radio India. A pioneer of modern Punjabi broadcasting in Canada, it brought Punjabi music and culture to the Canadian soil by organising musical shows. I am also a social activist for the Punjabi community issues worldwide and a strong advocate of Indo-Canadian co-operation.Roots in Punjab:I come from Sherpur village in Nakodar PunjabThe move to Canada : My family moved to Canada in 1979 when I was a young boy.Challenges:There was rampant racism against Indians at that time, we had to fight hard for equal rights.What is it that you miss the most about Punjab :These days people to people connection between India and Canada is great, you get all things Punjabi, be it in terms of culture or food in Canada. What I miss the most of praying at the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple).What is it about Punjab that pains/disappoints you the most :Punjab has made a lot of progress since we left, one thing that pains me the most is we the people of Punjab have no sense of ownership of Punjab. It is our duty to be good citizens, keep our surroundings clean, create a healthy society.What is it that Punjab can replicate from Canada:Urban planning in Canada is great, Punjabi cities have a lot to learn in proper town planning, especially the drainage system.Secret Sauce:I have always been bold , and I never shy away from calling a spade a spade, that is the secret of my success though it can also cause harm at times!My daily fix:Radio IndiaLooking ahead:The journalistic ethos have faded to the background these days, I plan to create great informative content for our listeners. Friends of Canada & India Foundation, will continue to work for strengthening the Indo-Canadian ties.(As told to Anju Agnihotri Chaba)

The voice of Punjab in Canada
United Arab Emirates says it will teach Holocaust in schools
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

The United Arab Emirates will begin teaching about the Holocaust in history classes in primary and secondary schools across the country, the country’s embassy in the US says.The embassy provided no details on the curriculum and education authorities in the Emirates, a federation of seven sheikhdoms, did not immediately acknowledge the announcement on Monday.However, the announcement comes after the UAE normalised relations with Israel in 2020 as part of a deal brokered by the administration of President Donald Trump.“In the wake of the historic (hashtag)AbrahamAccords, (the UAE) will now include the Holocaust in the curriculum for primary and secondary schools,” the embassy said in a tweet, referring to the normalisation deal that also saw Bahrain and ultimately Morocco also recognise Israel.Ambassador Deborah E. Lipstadt, the US special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, praised the announcement in her own tweet.“Holocaust education is an imperative for humanity and too many countries, for too long, continue to downplay the Shoah for political reasons,” Lipstadt wrote, using a Hebrew word for the Holocaust. “I commend the UAE for this step and expect others to follow suit soon.” The announcement comes ahead of a planned meeting of the Negev Forum Working Groups in Abu Dhabi this week, which grew out of the normalisation.The meeting will see officials from Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, the UAE and the US attend. Egypt has diplomatically recognized Israel for decades.The Holocaust saw Nazi Germany systematically kill 6 million European Jews during World War II.Israel, founded in 1948 as a haven for Jews in the wake of the Holocaust, grants automatic citizenship to anyone of Jewish descent.Other Arab nations have refused to diplomatically recognise Israel over its decades-long occupation of land Palestinians want for a future state.The announcement by the UAE also comes after it and other Arab nations condemned an ultranationalist Israeli Cabinet minister for visiting a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site for the first time since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new far-right government took office.The site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is the holiest site in Judaism, home to the ancient biblical Temples.Today, it houses the Al Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam. Since Israel captured the site in 1967, Jews have been allowed to visit but not pray there.

United Arab Emirates says it will teach Holocaust in schools
Tavleen Singh writes: Is BJP getting worried of Rahul Gandhi?Premium Story
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

Two things became clear in the first week of this year. The BJP is going to use Hindutva as its main weapon in the next general election. And Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra appears to be causing concern at the highest levels of Narendra Modi’s inner circle. I base this bit of political analysis on a speech that the Home Minister made in Tripura. As reported on the front page of this newspaper last Friday, Amit Shah directed his remarks at ‘Rahul baba’ and said that he should ‘open his ears and listen carefully’ to the announcement that on January 1, 2024, the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya will be ready to welcome worshippers.This revelation was preceded by fulsome praise of Narendra Modi and a short history lesson. “From the time Babur destroyed it and left, from the time the country gained independence, these Congress people got it embroiled in courts – sessions court, High Court, Supreme Court again sessions court. One morning the Supreme Court order came. Modiji performed the ‘bhoomipoojan’ for Ram Lala’s temple and the construction work began.”When the second most powerful politician in India invokes Babur’s name in the same breath as he attacks the Congress Party for not building the temple, it tells us a few things. It tells us that the Ram Temple will open just weeks before the next general election. And making the announcement now means that we can expect a campaign in which temples and Hindutva will be used to deepen the fault lines that exist between Hindus and Muslims. Hindus will be reminded that there are terrible wounds in this country’s past. And Muslims will be reminded that Muslim invaders caused those wounds. Does it also tell us that Hindutva and historical grievances will be used to distract voters from dwelling on unpleasant subjects like high unemployment and high inflation? It is hard to say for sure because the Lok Sabha election is still 16 months away and who knows what changes could happen by then.It intrigued me that for the second time in the past few weeks, senior ministers of the Government of India have spoken directly to Rahul Gandhi. First it was the Health Minister who wrote a letter to him with the warning that unless Covid protocols were followed, the Bharat Jodo Yatra would not be allowed to go forward. To make the warning seem serious, senior BJP leaders appeared in Parliament that day wearing masks. This exercise has now been abandoned. This time it is the Home Minister who is talking directly to ‘Rahul baba’. Why? And why did the Home Minister choose to refer to him in the way in which ayahs address their wards?Could it be because there is growing concern in the highest echelons of the BJP about Rahul emerging as a mature leader who can no longer be mocked and jeered at? It has been a favorite pastime of BJP spokespersons to mock him in primetime TV debates as a man who is too juvenile and too much of a clown to pose any threat to the big leader. But there are signs that they are no longer as sure that their derision is working as well as it did in those pre-Yatra years when Rahul was hard to take seriously because he disappeared so often on mysterious foreign travels. And, because he was given to making muddled speeches about issues that he seemed not to fully understand.His speeches still sound very confused when he speaks on economic issues. He recently said that the only purpose of demonetisation was to take the people’s money and give it to Adani and Ambani. There was a great deal wrong with demonetization even if it was legal (as the Supreme Court has ruled) but it was not done to steal money from ordinary people and give it to the two richest Indians. Clearly, when it comes to economic issues the Dynasty’s heir has much to learn. This does not diminish the astonishing image makeover that Rahul has achieved with his Bharat Jodo Yatra.It is not possible yet to assess if the huge crowds he has drawn on his journey from Kanyakumari will vote for Congress. What it is possible to say is that Rahul’s political messaging has been appreciated even by people who do not count as Congress supporters. What it is possible to say is that Rahul’s personal stature has grown remarkably and there is no question that he has emerged as Modi’s main challenger. When the Home Minister mocks him as ‘Rahul baba’ he appears not to have noticed that the jibe is no longer effective.What it is possible to say is that millions of Indians are sick of religion being dragged into politics as it has been in the past eight years. What it is possible to say is that slowly but surely there is space being made in India’s political landscape for a leader who can pose a challenge to Modi. As someone who once said that the Bharat Jodo Yatra was a waste of time, I admit that I spoke too soon. But it may still prove to be a waste of time if immediate efforts are not made to revive the Congress Party’s crumbling organisational machinery. Unless this happens, Congress will not be able to take on Modi’s electoral juggernaut.

Tavleen Singh writes: Is BJP getting worried of Rahul Gandhi?Premium Story
  • Is BJP getting worried about Rahul Gandhi?Premium Story
  • The Indian Express

    Two things became clear in the first week of this year. The BJP is going to use Hindutva as its main weapon in the next general election. And Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra appears to be causing concern at the highest levels of Narendra Modi’s inner circle. I base this bit of political analysis on a speech that the Home Minister made in Tripura. As reported on the front page of this newspaper last Friday, Amit Shah directed his remarks at ‘Rahul baba’ and said that he should ‘open his ears and listen carefully’ to the announcement that on January 1, 2024, the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya will be ready to welcome worshippers.This revelation was preceded by fulsome praise of Narendra Modi and a short history lesson. “From the time Babur destroyed it and left, from the time the country gained independence, these Congress people got it embroiled in courts – sessions court, High Court, Supreme Court again sessions court. One morning the Supreme Court order came. Modiji performed the ‘bhoomipoojan’ for Ram Lala’s temple and the construction work began.”When the second most powerful politician in India invokes Babur’s name in the same breath as he attacks the Congress Party for not building the temple, it tells us a few things. It tells us that the Ram Temple will open just weeks before the next general election. And making the announcement now means that we can expect a campaign in which temples and Hindutva will be used to deepen the fault lines that exist between Hindus and Muslims. Hindus will be reminded that there are terrible wounds in this country’s past. And Muslims will be reminded that Muslim invaders caused those wounds. Does it also tell us that Hindutva and historical grievances will be used to distract voters from dwelling on unpleasant subjects like high unemployment and high inflation? It is hard to say for sure because the Lok Sabha election is still 16 months away and who knows what changes could happen by then.It intrigued me that for the second time in the past few weeks, senior ministers of the Government of India have spoken directly to Rahul Gandhi. First it was the Health Minister who wrote a letter to him with the warning that unless Covid protocols were followed, the Bharat Jodo Yatra would not be allowed to go forward. To make the warning seem serious, senior BJP leaders appeared in Parliament that day wearing masks. This exercise has now been abandoned. This time it is the Home Minister who is talking directly to ‘Rahul baba’. Why? And why did the Home Minister choose to refer to him in the way in which ayahs address their wards?Could it be because there is growing concern in the highest echelons of the BJP about Rahul emerging as a mature leader who can no longer be mocked and jeered at? It has been a favorite pastime of BJP spokespersons to mock him in primetime TV debates as a man who is too juvenile and too much of a clown to pose any threat to the big leader. But there are signs that they are no longer as sure that their derision is working as well as it did in those pre-Yatra years when Rahul was hard to take seriously because he disappeared so often on mysterious foreign travels. And, because he was given to making muddled speeches about issues that he seemed not to fully understand.His speeches still sound very confused when he speaks on economic issues. He recently said that the only purpose of demonetisation was to take the people’s money and give it to Adani and Ambani. There was a great deal wrong with demonetization even if it was legal (as the Supreme Court has ruled) but it was not done to steal money from ordinary people and give it to the two richest Indians. Clearly, when it comes to economic issues the Dynasty’s heir has much to learn. This does not diminish the astonishing image makeover that Rahul has achieved with his Bharat Jodo Yatra.It is not possible yet to assess if the huge crowds he has drawn on his journey from Kanyakumari will vote for Congress. What it is possible to say is that Rahul’s political messaging has been appreciated even by people who do not count as Congress supporters. What it is possible to say is that Rahul’s personal stature has grown remarkably and there is no question that he has emerged as Modi’s main challenger. When the Home Minister mocks him as ‘Rahul baba’ he appears not to have noticed that the jibe is no longer effective.What it is possible to say is that millions of Indians are sick of religion being dragged into politics as it has been in the past eight years. What it is possible to say is that slowly but surely there is space being made in India’s political landscape for a leader who can pose a challenge to Modi. As someone who once said that the Bharat Jodo Yatra was a waste of time, I admit that I spoke too soon. But it may still prove to be a waste of time if immediate efforts are not made to revive the Congress Party’s crumbling organisational machinery. Unless this happens, Congress will not be able to take on Modi’s electoral juggernaut.

As Kharge slams Shah, a look at who is in charge of Ayodhya's Ram temple
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

After Union Home minister Amit Shah recently announced that the Ram temple in Ayodhya would be ready on January 1, 2024, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge Friday (January 6) questioned his credentials to declare the opening date of the temple.Shah’s statement, made in Tripura, was the first time a date was officially announced for the opening of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.A day later, at a rally in Haryana’s Panipat, Kharge said, “Are you the pujari of the Ram Temple/ Are you the mahant of the Ram Temple? Let the mahants, sadhus and sants talk about it. Who are you to talk about the opening of the temple? You are a politician. Your job is to keep the country secure, maintain law, and ensure food for the people and provide farmers with adequate prices.”Given Shah’s stature and position in the government and his party, any statement by him would carry weight. Kharge’s criticism is primarily in the nature of a political statement. Even so, whose job technically would it be to make an announcement about the temple? Which body is in charge of the construction, and who are its members? We explain. The Supreme Court, in its November 2019 verdict in the demolished Babri mosque case, had ruled that the 2.77 acres of disputed land in Ayodhya be handed over to a trust for the construction of a Ram temple. This trust was to be set up within three months. Accordingly, the Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust (SRJBTKshetra) was set up by the central government.Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the formation of the trust in Lok Sabha on February 5, 2020.The trust has 15 members, of which 12 were nominated by the Government of India and three were selected in its first meeting, held on February 19, 2020.Champat Rai, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) international vice-president, is the general secretary of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, while Mahant Nritya Gopal Das is the president. Swami Govind Dev Giri is the treasurer.Senior lawyer K Parasaran is the founder trustee member, while the other members include Swami Vasudevanand Saraswati, Swami Vishwaprasannatheerth, Yugpurush Paramanand Giri, Vimlendra Mohan Pratap Mishra, Anil Mishra, Kameshwar Chaupal, and Mahant Dinendra Das.The ex officio members (meaning their inclusion is on the basis of the office they hold) include Nripendra Misra, former principal secretary to PM Modi, Awanish K Awasthi, Advisor to the Uttar Pradesh CM, the District Magistrate (DM) of Ayodhya, and IAS officer Gyanesh Kumar.According to the trust’s website, the temple’s construction committee has seven members, with Misra as chairman. The other six are Shatrughan Singh, former Chief Secretary of Government Of Uttarakhand; Diwakar Tripathi, retired IAS officer and Managing Head, Hanuman Temple, near Lucknow University; Prof Raman Surie, retired dean, school of architecture, Delhi; KK Sharma, former DG, BSF; Anoop Mittal, former CMD, National Building Construction Corporation; and Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Comptroller & Auditor General of India.The trust approved the construction committee on November 11, 2020.In September 2022, Misra had said that the ground floor of the Ram temple would be ready by December 2023 and devotees would be able to offer prayers by January 2024, after ‘pran pratishtha’, or the installation of the deity.Misra had told The Indian Express, “While the ground floor that will house the sanctum sanctorum will be complete by December 2023, the first and second floors of the temple will be ready by December 2024, even as the entire carving work will be complete by the end of 2025.”According to the trust’s website, the temple will have a built-up area of 57,400 sqft, and a height of 161 feet. It will have three floors of 20 feet height each.Earlier this week, Ram temple chief priest Acharya Satyendra Das had “blessed” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra. A day later, Champat Rai and Swami Govind Dev Giri both spoke in support of the Yatra.And a day after Ram temple votaries in Ayodhya backed Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra, Amit Shah, while targeting the Congress leader, announced the date for the Ayodhya temple’s completion.

As Kharge slams Shah, a look at who is in charge of Ayodhya's Ram temple
  • Who are you to announce Ram Temple opening: Kharge asks Amit Shah
  • The Indian Express

    A day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced that the Ram temple in Ayodhya will be ready on January 1, 2024, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge Friday hit out at him questioning his credentials to declare the opening of a temple.Kharge said Shah’s job is to ensure security of the country but he is instead talking about the temple. Addressing a rally in Panipat in Haryana along with Rahul Gandhi where the Bharat Jodo Yatra has reached, Kharge accused the BJP government of not fulfilling their promise of creation of jobs.“There is an election in Tripura. (Amit) Shah goes there and says Ram Temple is being constructed and its inauguration is on (January) 1st. Everybody has faith in God but why are you announcing it during the election?” Kharge asked.He added, “Are you the pujari of the Ram Temple. Are you the mahant of the Ram Temple? Let the mahants, sadhus and sants talk about it. Who are you to talk about the opening of the temple? You are a politician. Your job is to keep the country secure, maintain law and order, ensure food for the people and provide farmers with adequate prices.”Kharge said the government had promised to double the income of the farmers but it has not happened. “They talked about increasing the MSP. Did that happen?”The AICC president added, “They (BJP) are roaming around with a dagger, dividing society and pitting castes and religions against each other.” Kharge said Rahul’s Bharat Jodo Yatra is aimed at bridging that divide. “It is not for votes. This is in the national interest, this is in your interest, this is in the interest of the farmers, youth, women and the Dalits,” he said.Addressing a rally in Tripura’s Sabroom where the Assembly election is due in March, Shah Thursday criticised the Congress and Rahul over the temple issue and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for expediting its construction.“Babur destroyed it and left and from the time the country gained Independence, these Congress people got the case embroiled in the courts – Sessions Court, then the High Court, then the Supreme Court, again back to the Sessions Court. Modiji came and then one morning, the Supreme Court order was out. Modiji performed the bhoomipujan for Ram Lalla’s temple and the construction work began,” he said while announcing that on January 1, 2024, the temple will be opened.

  • Ram temple will be ready on Jan 1, 2024: Amit Shah's message to Rahul Gandhi
  • The Indian Express

    A day after Ram temple votaries in Ayodhya backed Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, targeting the Congress leader, announced that theRam temple will be ready on January 1, 2024.This is the first time that a date has been announced publicly for the opening of the temple under construction in Ayodhya.Addressing a rally in Sabroom in Tripura where Assembly elections are due in March, Shah criticised the Congress and Rahul Gandhi over the temple issue and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for expediting its construction.“From the time Babur destroyed it and left, from the time the country gained Independence, these Congress people got it embroiled in courts – Sessions Court, High Court, Supreme Court, again Sessions Court. Modiji came. One morning, the Supreme Court order came. Modiji performed the bhoomipujan for Ram Lalla’s temple and the construction work began,” he said.“Friends, I have come to tell you one thing. In the 2019 elections, I was president of the party (BJP) and Rahul Baba was president of the Congress. Rahul Baba would say everyday ‘mandir wahin banayenge, tithi nahin batayenge (will build a temple there but will not tell you the date).”#WATCH | Congress hindered the construction of Ram Temple in courts…After the SC verdict came, Modiji began the construction of the temple…Ram Temple will be ready on 1st January 2024: Union Home minister Amit Shah in Tripura pic.twitter.com/d7lZ8eegwS— ANI (@ANI) January 5, 2023“Rahul Baba kaan khol kar sun lo, Sabroom walon aap bhi ticket kara lo (Listen, Rahul Baba, and people of Sabroom, book your tickets): On January 1, 2024, you will find a grand Ram temple ready in Ayodhya,” he said.Flagging off the Sabroom segment of the BJP’s Jan Vishwas Yatra, Shah said the BJP government has just shown a “trailer” of development in Tripura, and “the picture is still left”.He appealed to people to repose faith in Modi’s development model and promised to make Tripura the “most prosperous state” among small states in the country in the next five years.Targeting the Congress, he said Pakistani intruders would often cross the border and kill Indian soldiers during the 10 years when the Congress-led UPA government was in power. Ever since the BJP came to power, firm replies were given for the Uri and Pulwama terror attacks, he said.The BJP yatra started from Dharmanagar in north Tripura and Sabroom in the south. It will cover 1,000 km across all 60 Assembly constituencies over 8 days and include 200 meetings, 100 padyatras and 50 road shows.Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha said the ‘Chalo Paltai’ (Let’s change) slogan of 2018 (which ended Left Front rule in the state) was based on faith in good governance, which was delivered in the last five years. “Our government delivered good governance with support from the Centre. We are confident the BJP will return to power in all 60 seats,” he said.

  • Ram temple in Ayodhya to be inaugurated on January 1, 2024: Amit Shah
  • The Indian Express

    Union Home Minister Amit Shah Thursday announced that the temple of Lord Ram in Ayodhya will be inaugurated on January 1, 2024.Addressing a public rally in poll-bound Tripura, Shah said that the Congress and CPI(M) had hindered the construction of the temple and put the issue in the jurisdiction of the court for long, news agency PTI reported. “… After the Supreme Court verdict came, Modiji began the construction of the temple,” he said.#WATCH | Congress hindered the construction of Ram Temple in courts…After the SC verdict came, Modiji began the construction of the temple…Ram Temple will be ready on 1st January 2024: Union Home minister Amit Shah in Tripura pic.twitter.com/d7lZ8eegwS— ANI (@ANI) January 5, 2023“Rahul baba, listen from Sabroom, that a mammoth Ram Mandir will be ready on January 1, 2024,” the home minister said. Shah, who has started his 11-state tour with poll-bound Tripura, on Thursday flagged off the party’s first election rath yatra in the state, asserting a message of “vikas” or development. The rath yatra was launched a day after the BJP state government announced a 84-point ‘Report Card’ of its performance under 10 major headings, claiming it had fulfilled all of its 2018 poll promises.The country is safe at the hands of Modi, he said. “Ten days after the Pulwama incident in Kashmir, Indian soldiers went inside Pakistan and carried out a successful operation under Modi’s leadership,” Shah added. With inputs from PTI

Woman gets 3-month jail for killing biker in Mumbai
Times of India | 3 weeks ago | |
Times of India
3 weeks ago | |

MUMBAI: Observing that it was her duty to drive at a moderate speed and take care of others and vehicles passing by her society, a magistrate's court convicted and sentenced a now 33-year-old woman to three months' jail, 13 years after she rammed her car into a motorcyclist, leading to his death as his pillion-riding wife was also injured. Zankruti Parikh was driving out of a Vile Parle (E) housing society. "It was the duty of the accused that she should drive her car in moderate speed by taking care of others and the vehicles passing from Tejpal Road, adjacent to the society. But the evidence of prosecution witness 1 (deceased victim's wife Rashmi Sawant) shows that accused did not taken care and drove rashly and negligently and dashed the motorcycle...and caused death... not amounting to culpable homicide. The evidence of... shows that the presence of her at the time of incident is natural and she is also injured in the incident. Therefore, her evidence cannot be said to be the evidence of interested witness as she is wife of deceased Mandar," metropolitan magistrate C P Kashid said. The magistrate said Rashmi's deposition was clinching, cogent, reliable and believable. The magistrate refused to let the accused off on a bond of good behaviour. Under the Probation of Offenders Act, an accused can be let off on a bond of good behaviour instead of serving a sentence. "Considering the gravity of offence against the accused, accused is not entitled to get benefit of Probation of Offenders Act," the magistrate said. The accused was directed to pay Rs10,000 as fine. Out of this amount, Rs8,000 is to be paid to Rashmi as compensation. Rashmi submitted that on March 19, 2010, her her husband and she had been to the temple beside Parle biscuit factory at Vile Parle at about 10am. After offering prayers, they started to return to their home by Tejpal Road on their motorcycle. They were passing in front of Vireshwar Co-operative Housing Society.

Woman gets 3-month jail for killing biker in Mumbai
As Yatra finds unlikely friends in UP, a new spring in Congress steps
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

In Uttar Pradesh, where the Congress is now reduced to one MP, two MLAs and less than 2 per cent vote share, the three-day Bharat Jodo Yatra through the state was a reason for cheer after a long time.Having decided to stay away, Opposition parties were taken by surprise at the crowds generated by the Yatra, not least because at least two influential West UP outfits – Jayant Chaudhary’s RLD and Naresh Tikait’s BKU – lent it support, breaking away from Opposition ranks to do so.The ruling BJP’s silence told its own story. Far from the usual mocking tone against an initiative by Rahul Gandhi, it watched quietly as several influential voices associated with the Ayodhya Ram Temple went out of their way to acknowledge the Congress leader’s “efforts” — both in walking and in his message of “unity”. Union Minister Amit Shah chose a rally in Tripura to indirectly get back, declaring a date for inauguration of the Ram temple, in an assertion of the BJP’s role in it.By all accounts, even the Congress leadership was taken off-guard, with a decision taken to not react to the support coming from Ayodhya, for now. The RLD and BKU’s support also drew a measured response, with the party refraining from any comments that could be seen as it asserting its predominant position as the major Opposition party – and raise defences of the other parties jostling for that space. The voluble Jairam Ramesh, one of the main forces behind the Yatra, restricted himself to saying it had been like a “sanjivani (life giver)” for the Congress.Sources said the party is particularly pleased about the reception of the Yatra by the minorities and Dalits. Rahul raised the issue of OBC reservation during his Yatra and engaged with several representatives belonging to the communities.The RLD appeared to have picked up these signals better than its ally Samajwadi Party. Having been in a coalition with the Congress earlier, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav was unusually harsh in his first reaction to the invite to him to join the Yatra, saying he saw no difference between the Congress and BJP. Days later though, he was generous in his praise of the march, though he did not join it, and neither did the BSP.Sources said that the RLD is looking at the broader picture, being already aligned with the Congress in Rajasthan and thinking about a similar arrangement in Haryana – both states where the RLD has a vote bank in the form of Jats, and both states where the Congresshas a fighting chance to win elections. The RLD would have been happy with the response the Yatra – which crossed its stronghold of western UP – drew.Among other parties which joined the Yatra in UP were the Mahan Dal, founded by OBC leader Keshav Dev Maurya, which was earlier part of the SP-Congress alliance, and the Peace Party, whose vote bank is Muslim. The BKU, a prominent face in the agitation against the farm laws, also pitched in.But if this was the situation on the ground that the Yatra covered, its reverberations far away were much louder. The chief priest of the Ram temple, Satyendra Das, was the first to extend “blessings” to the Yatra, to which BJP Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak had a feeble response, saying Rahul touched only a few districts and was “afraid to travel through UP”.Then, Champat Rai, general secretary of the Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust and ‘international vice -president of the VHP, said he appreciated Rahul for the fact that “the young man (was) travelling the country on foot despite weather adversities”. The next day, asked about the Yatra during a visit to Mumbai, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath questioned the “intent” of those undertaking it.In private, BJP leaders admitted that they were not expecting the endorsement of it from such unexpected quarters. However, they pointed out that crowds might not mean much in the ultimate picture. “They held a kisan panchayat, which attracted crowds, but the public did not support them during the elections. Their joint rallies with Akhilesh too had attracted crowds but failed to get public support. Their ‘Ladki hoon, ladh sakti hoon‘ campaign was also popular before the 2022 polls, but people did not even see them as an option for forming the government. They have lost connect with the people and such gimmicks will not work till they have actual cadre on the ground,” a BJP leader said.Most Congress leaders too see that as a realistic view. A senior Congress leader, who travelled with the Yatra, said: “The response that the Yatra got here was amazing. While it would certainly encourage the top leadership to spend more time in UP, which they seem to have abandoned after the 2022 Assembly polls, we are not getting our hopes up. Our biggest challenge has always been to take forward the momentum created by the senior leadership to the grass-roots.”

As Yatra finds unlikely friends in UP, a new spring in Congress steps
Tribal bodies step up demand to ‘free’ Parasnath hills from JainsPremium Story
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

A day after the Union Environment Ministry stayed a provision of Parasnath Eco-Sensitive Zone banning all forms of tourism, various leaders of the tribal community, including an MLA of the ruling coalition’s Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Friday protested the move, saying it has “hurt” their religious sentiments.Lobin Hembrom, JMM MLA from Borio of Sahibganj, said the Parasnath Hill is revered as “Marang Buru” (supreme deity or literally the great mountain), specially for the people of Santhal community and they have a “right to practise” their religious rituals.On Thursday, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren had written to Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav, seeking to cancel the notification that had declared Jain community’s religious place “Sammed” as eco-sensitive zone. Soren had said that his government aims to develop it as an “area of religious pilgrimage”.However, tribal leaders said the decision has taken a “toll on their religious freedom” as there will be no meat or liquor consumption within ‘10 km radius’ of the Hill, which is against their tradition of performing animal sacrifice as a religious ritual.In a press conference on Friday, Hembrom said: “Wherever Santhal community settles down, we establish one ‘Manjhthan’ in a village and one ‘Jaherthan’ as a religious place, but there is one ‘Jug Jaherthan’ in the country established on the top of our Marang Buru i.e Parasnath Hill. President Droupadi Murmu had visited this place. But now beauty, purity and the forest reserves of the place are getting depleted.” He said now that one particular community has asserted the right for their religious freedom, the adivasi community, too, asserts its right as the entire land belongs to the community.All India Santhal Council president Naresh Murmu said the Jain community sent various letters to the PMO last year, complaining about the disturbances in the area created by the adivasis. “…Now we know through the notification that there will be no consumption of meat and liquor in the temple vicinity. This is in direct contradiction of our beliefs. We sacrifice animals as our offerings… People of Jain community go around the hills offering prayers, many without much clothes, but it has never offended our community. So, now we too seek proper integration.”Sikander Hemdrem of ‘Marang Buru Sanwanta Susar Baisi’ said as per the Hazaribagh Gazetter of 1957, the entire adivasi community has ownership of the land around Parasnath Hill. “…We have proof as many people from the tribal community have land records… It is clear that the adivasis and moolvasis are treated as slaves and the Jains as feudal lords. What kind of demand is this…,” he said.Giridih DC Naman Priyesh Lakra said: “We have called leaders from both the communities on January 8. The two MLAs will also be present there.”

Tribal bodies step up demand to ‘free’ Parasnath hills from JainsPremium Story