2022 marks the 100th anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri’s sad demise. He was the second Prime Minister of Independent India, and Mahatma Gandh’s beliefs and teachings had a tremendous impact on his life. He gave the slogan “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan,” which means “Hail the army, Hail the farmer.”
Let’s take a closer look at Lal Bahadur Shastri’s life.
Lal Bahadur Shastri was born on 2nd of October 1904 in Mughalsarai, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. His parents were Sharada Prasad Shrivastava and Ramdulari Devi is Ramdulari. He was married to Lalita Devi. He was part of the Indian National Congress (INC) political party. Lal Bahadur Shastri passed away on 11th January 1966 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. A memorial in his honor can be found at the Vijay Ghat, New Delhi.
Lal Bahadur Shastri attended Mughalsarai and Varanasi’s East Central Railway Inter College. In 1926, he received his diploma from the Kashi Vidyapeeth. Vidya Peeth bestowed upon him the title “Shastri,” which means “Scholar,” as part of his bachelor’s degree award. He was greatly inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Lokmanya Tilak.
On May 16, 1928, he married Lalita Devi. He became a life member of Lala Lajpat Rai’s Servants of the People Society (Lok Sevak Mandal). He began working for the upliftment of the underprivileged there, eventually becoming the President of the Society.
Shastri ji joined the Indian Independence Campaign in the 1920s, when he took part in the non-cooperation movement. The British imprisoned him for a period of time.
He also took part in the Salt Satyagraha in 1930, for which he was imprisoned for over two years. He became the Organizing Secretary of the U.P. Parliamentary Board in 1937. In 1942, after Mahatma Gandhi delivered the Quit India speech in Mumbai, he was again imprisoned until 1946. Shastri has served a total of nine years in prison. He read books and became acquainted with the writings of western philosophers, revolutionaries, and social reformers during his time in prison.
Achievements in Politics
Lal Bahadur Shastri became the Parliamentary Secretary in Uttar Pradesh after India’s independence. In 1947, he was also appointed Minister of Police and Transport. For the first time as Transport Minister, he appointed female conductors. As the minister in charge of the Police Department, he issued an order instructing officers to use water jets rather than lathis to disperse enraged crowds.
Shastri was appointed General Secretary of the All-India Congress Committee in 1951, and he was successful in publicizing the poll and other election-related activities. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh in 1952. In 1955, as Railway Minister, he installed the first machine at Chennai’s Integral Coach Factory.
Shastri was re-elected as Minister of Transport and Communications in 1957, and then as Minister of Commerce and Industry in 1958. He became Home Minister in 1961, and he established the Committee on Corruption Prevention. He devised the well-known “Shastri Formula,” which included language uprisings in Assam and Punjab.
Lal Bahadur Shastri was elected Prime Minister of India on June 9, 1964. He was a proponent of the White Revolution, a nationwide push to boost milk production. He was also a proponent of the Green Revolution, which aimed to boost India’s food output.
Though Shastri maintained Nehru’s non-alignment policy, he also established a friendship with the Soviet Union. Concerned about the position of Indian Tamils in Ceylon, he struck an agreement with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike in 1964. The Srimavo-Shastri Pact is the name of this arrangement.
In 1965, Shastri paid an official visit to Rangoon, Burma, and re-established excellent relations with General Ne Win’s military government. In 1965, India was attacked by Pakistan again during his presidency. He gave the Security Forces the freedom to react and declared, “Force shall be met with Force.”
On September 23, 1965, the Indo-Pak conflict came to an end. On January 10, 1966, Russian Prime Minister Kosygin volunteered to mediate the signing of the Tashkent Declaration by Lal Bahadur Shastri and his Pakistani counterpart Ayub Khan.
On January 11, 1966, Lal Bahadur Shastri died of a heart attack. In 1966, he was posthumously given the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour.
Lal Bahadur Shastri was well-known for his honesty and skill. He was a humble, tolerant man with immense inner power who spoke the common man’s language. He was strongly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings and was also a visionary leader who guided countries toward prosperity.
Lal Bahadur Shastri’s little-known facts
- Lal Bahadur Shastri, India’s second Prime Minister, was born on October 2nd, the same day as Mahatma Gandhi.
2. He was awarded the title of ‘Shastri’ by Kashi Vidyapeeth University in 1926 as a symbol of intellectual achievement.
3. Shastri swam the Ganges twice a day to get to school and wore books on his head because he could not afford to rent a boat at the time.
4. When Lal Bahadur Shastri was the Minister of Uttar Pradesh, he was the first to employ water jets instead of lathi charges to disperse crowds.
5. He coined the phrase “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” and was instrumental in defining India’s destiny.
6. He was imprisoned because he participated in the non-cooperation movement during Gandhi Ji’s Freedom Struggle, but he was released because he was still a minor, aged 17 years old.
7. After independence, as Transport Minister, he mandated the hiring of female conductors and drivers in public transit.
8. He accepted a Khadi cloth and a spinning wheel as a dowry in his wedding. He criticized and protested the dowry and caste systems with his voice up.
9. He took part in the Salt March and was sentenced to two years in prison.
10. While serving as Home Minister, he established the first anti-corruption committee.
12. He became involved in the freedom movement in the 1920s and became a senior leader of the Indian National Congress.
13. He had also backed the White Revolution as a means of raising milk output in the country. He established the National Dairy Development Board and backed the Anand, Gujarat-based Amul milk cooperative.
14. On January 10, 1966, he signed the Tashkent Declaration with Pakistan President Muhammad Ayub Khan to terminate the 1965 conflict.
15. He was a self-disciplined individual with excellent morals and self-esteem. After becoming Prime Minister, he did not even buy a car.
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India celebrates Republic Day every year on January 26th, and this year will be the country’s 73rd Republic Day, commemorating the day India became a sovereign republic.
While India acquired independence from the British in 1947, the Indian Constitution did not come into effect until January 26, 1950.
Dr. BR Ambedkar, also known as the Architect of the Indian Constitution, authored the Indian Constitution. The date of 26 January was chosen because the Indian National Congress opposed colonial authority and declared Purna Swaraj, or “full liberation from the British,” on the same day in 1929.
The Indian Constituent Assembly enacted the Constitution on November 26, 1949, and it went into effect in 1950 under a democratic governance structure. This marked the end of the country’s transition to an independent republic.
Every year on Republic Day, the defense forces, including the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force, police, and paramilitary forces, parade on Rajpath, which is aired on television, in addition to hoisting the Indian flag, singing the national song, and organizing performances and activities.
Stunts on motorbikes, tanks, and other armament systems are also showcased in addition to air shows. They are accompanied by ornately constructed tableaus depicting the diversity and beauty of India’s several states.
Let us bring you a sneak peek at the pertinent details of India’s constitution on this Republic Day.
10 FACTS ABOUT INDIA’S CONSTITUTION:
- The Indian National Congress issued the historic Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) on January 26, 1929, in opposition to British rule.
- On December 9, 1946, the Constituent Assembly convened for the first time in New Delhi, at the Constitution Hall, which is now the Central Hall of Parliament House.
- Dr. B R Ambedkar was appointed as the chairman of a drafting committee charged with creating the Indian Constitution.
- The Constituent Assembly took over three years to finish its historic mission of drafting the Constitution for Independent India (two years, eleven months, and seventeen days to be exact).
- On November 4, 1947, the Indian Constituent Assembly received the proposed constitution. The 308 members of the Assembly convened in public sessions for 166 days over a period of two years and made improvements.
- The Indian Constituent Assembly approved the Constitution on November 26, 1949.
- Finally, the Assembly members signed two handwritten versions of the Constitution, one in English and one in Hindi, on January 24, 1950, paving the way to the status of republic two days later, on January 26th, 1950.
- The Indian Constitution is the world’s longest written constitution. Dr. Rajendra Prasad became the first President of the Indian Union on the same day.
- Under the transitory provisions of the new Constitution, the Constituent Assembly ceased to exist and was replaced by the Parliament of India.
- The Indian Constitution, which replaced the Government of India Act (1935) as the country’s governing document, is hence commemorated on January 26 yearly.
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What is the origin of the Diwali Festival?
Also known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali does not have the same story across regions of India. In the north, we celebrate the return of King Rama, an incarnation of the God Vishnu, to his kingdom, Ayodhya, after a fourteen-year exile. In the South, a different story is associated with the festival: According to legend, Narakasura, a demon king, tormented people for a long time until the day when the God Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, killed him. The people celebrated the demon king’s defeat and since then the custom has continued. Regardless of the origin of Diwali, Hindus share the idea of celebrating the victory of good over evil, of light over darkness.
How do Indians celebrate Diwali?
Wherever you are in India, prepare yourselves for a splendid day and night – cities are lit up, firecrackers and fireworks are ringing everywhere, paper lanterns brighten the streets, and every household is looking at its best.
The festivities are traditionally spread over 5 days. While traditions and customs differ from region to region, here are some interesting facts:
The 1st day, Dhanteras, is devoted to the preparations. The houses are cleaned, tidied, and illuminated to please Lakshmi, the Goddess governing emotions and refinement, who comes to visit her devotees. People buy new utensils, objects, or jewelry as it is believed that the Goddess will enter homes in the form of new things.
On the 2nd day, Chhoti Diwali, the victory of Shri Krishna over the demon Narakasura is celebrated, which symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. The legend says that Krishna, after killing the demon, took a bath to purify himself. Some Hindu families follow the ritual of taking a bath with natural oils that day before sunrise.
On the 3rd day, Diwali, the festival is at its peak: Mother Lakshmi is celebrated; new clothes are worn, and people adorn themselves with new jewelry. Oil lamps are lit around and inside homes, as well as in the streets. Gifts are exchanged to strengthen bonds with family and friends.
The 4th day, Annakut, is the day of abundance: food is distributed, and offerings are made to the Gods. In temples dedicated to Krishna, the deity is given a ritual milk bath and adorned with his most beautiful clothes and jewelry.
On the 5th day, Bhai Dooj, worship ceremonies, commonly called pujas, are the focal point. This day is also dedicated to siblings. The sisters apply a tilak (a red mark) to their brother’s forehead and pray for a prosperous life, while the brothers bless their sisters with gifts.
Some particularities of Diwali in South India
Firstly, the Southern States celebrate this holiday always one day before the Northern States, and it usually only lasts 4 days. These differences can be explained by divergent beliefs about the origin of Diwali.
The 3rd day of the festival is considered the last of the year, according to the Hindu Vikram calendar used in northern India. And so, the next day is the start of the Hindu New Year. But this is not the case in South India, because another calendar is used, that of Shalivahana.
In Tamil Nadu, on Diwali Day, the oldest family member applies sesame oil on the heads of all family members before sunrise. Then it is an oil bath for everyone, starting with the youngest in the family.
Kerala is the only state in India where Diwali is not a major festival. There are several reasons for this: first because Diwali also represents the end of the monsoons and the start of a new harvest season, but, in Kerala, the agricultural season does not start at that time, so it does not coincide. In addition, the weather is not favorable during this period and it is therefore less easy to turn on lights outdoors or start fireworks. Finally, although there are a considerable number of Hindus, there are also many Christians and Muslims in this state.
In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the festivities take place over two days – Naraka Chaturdasi and Deepavali Amavasya. The festivities begin early in the morning. Most of the time, people are engaged in shopping and decorating their homes.
In Karnataka, the festival begins with a religious ceremony called neeru tumbo habba, during which the houses are cleaned, washed, and painted. The next day, Lakshmi puja is performed. On the fourth day, the house, especially the entrance, is decorated with flowers and floor rangolis (drawings of coloured powder or rice powder) to invite the Gods to their homes. A special entrance to the house is built, made of cow dung (gomaya) and sandalwood (siri-chandana).
The common theme of Diwali throughout India is centered around the celebration of abundance and lovingly sharing it with close ones.
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Ram Navami is a festival celebrated to commemorate Lord Ram’s birthday. This falls on nineth day of the spring Navaratri festival, which is on the Shukhla Paksha (waxing phase of the moon) of the month of Chaitra as per Hindu calendar. Navaratri is a festival celebrated over nine days, dedicated to Mother Divine. “Nav” means nine and “ratri” means night, which means nine nights. Devotees worship Mother Divine in her aspect of Goddess Durga, which is further subdivided into nine forms. These nine forms are worshiped for nine days by fasting and worshipping, as per the individual’s will and capability.
The spring navratri culminates with the celebration of the birthday of Lord Rama, at noon. Rama is widely worshipped among Hindus and also across the world, where the Indian diaspora is present. He is also known as Seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu as per Hindu mythology. His whole life event has been described and written in the epic RAMAYANA.
Where was Lord Rama born?
As per Ramayana, which was millenniums ago, Lord Rama was born in Ayodhya district of Uttar Pradesh, India. Ayodhya is also known as Rama Janambhoomi( “Janam” means birth and bhoomi means “place”)
One must visit this place to learn about the heritage and culture of the city which is prevailing since thousands of years. To know more about this watch:
How is Ram Navami celebrated?
People fast for Navaratri and offer oblations to Goddess Durga for nine days consecutively. Navratri is celebrated five times a year. These are named as per month names of Hindu calendar : Chaitra Navratri, Ashadha Navratri, Sharad Navratri , Pausha and Magha Navratri. Chaitra month is basically from March to April. On this day people worship Lord Rama and go to temples to offer prasadam (oblation) of fruits and coconut based sweets called ladoos, kheer (sweet dish made of rice and milk), halwa (a mixture of semolina and milk) etc. This is the beauty of Hinduism, everyone allow their heart to influence their mode of worship. All festivals aim at purification of the self from greed and fasting, which has health benefits of its own. To heal internally as well as physically many such festivals are celebrated all over India and that’s this unity in diversity is popular all over the world.
Maha Shivaratri is celebrated mainly amongst Hindus. Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion, and its evidence can be found in The Vedas which are 5000 years old written texts. Hindus have settled down all over the world. In India, Maha Shivratri will be celebrated on the 11th March 2021, date which differs every year, as the Hindu calendar is based on the luni-solar calendar, differentiating it from the Gregorian calendar. If we break down the Maha-Shiva-Ratri word: Maha means big, Shiva is Lord who is worshipped, personified or impersonified, for this is the energy on which the entire creation rests, and Ratri means night which gives rest and comforts one. Hence this night is about contemplating on physical and mental peace along with spirituality.
Actually, Shivaratri happens every month and Maha Shivaratri, once a year. The festival of Maha Shivaratri is celebrated on the Chaturdashi of the Krishna Paksha of Phalgun month as per Hindu calendar.
So why is Maha Shivratri celebrated and what is done during the festival?
As per Hindu mythology Maha Shivaratri celebrates the marriage of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati. There are other stories as well behind this festival, and all over India people have personal beliefs linked to their devotion. Shiva is often referred to as the Lord of destruction while Goddess Pravati is known as Goddess of fertility, love and beauty. Many devotees of Shiva fast on this festival, worshipping him in temples or from their own home, in the form of Shiva Linga, an iconic representation of Shiva, reminding one of the impersonal nature of the divine. Many are those who stay awake and worship him all night long, chanting Har Har Mahaadev or Om Namah Shivay.
Shiva temples are usually busy on this particular day, with devoted souls flocking in with offerings of fruits, flowers, milk, honey and seeds.
Devotees do Rudra Abhishek of Shiva Linga where the linga is bathed with different substances like water, curd, milk, honey, Datura fruit as well as other offerings made to Lord Shiva. An offering of Dhatura, scientifically known as Datura stramonium, or Thorn Apple (Datura) is believed to help one get rid of envy, terror, wicked nature or any other negative tendencies. Offerings are made as per one’s own will and capacity.
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Why do people fast?
Married and unmarried men and women both worship Shiva and typically fast. Fasting is good for health and has many scientific merits to it, as it allows the body to go into autophagy. Some only drink water; some might keep to a fruit diet while others might have only one meal in the evening. It all depends on the individual and his/her faith. There is no absolute path in the Hindu religion.
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Maha Shivaratri : A day of devotion and patience
This day is an opportunity for people to align with the all-pervasive consciousness by fasting and chanting. Lord Shiva is known as the annihilator of evils and also the first yogi. This is a special day where people pray to seek blessings and perform rituals, which give them immense tranquility and comfort. On this day, we wish everyone a Happy Maha Shivratri and happiness to each and every being on Earth.
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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is taken very seriously in India. In fact, it is the only country to have a mandatory CSR spending law in the world. It was introduced for the first time in India under the Companies Act 2013 under section 135. Its rules were notified in Feb 2014 and came into effect since April 2014.
What is CSR?
The basic principles of CSR: Although the ideals of CSR have a long history in India, its roots can be traced to Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of building a self-sustainable society. Gandhiji was of opinion that concentration of wealth with one group of people is of no good to the welfare of the society. Which is why he formulated the trusteeship model so that wealthy industrialists are obligated to invest in the welfare of society. This was, however, limited to very few activities. After Independence and the subsequent liberalization of Indian economy, globalization ensured global standards were met. Although many industrialists like TATA, Birla and even PSUs (Public sector Units) were doing activities in line with current CSR practice, the CSR laws were proposed in India.
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India still needs to improve in terms of development and CSR can catalyse such endeavors because Indian businesses spend around ₹15,000 crore a year on CSR as per pre-pandemic official estimates.
Corporate social responsibility law
This law is applicable to all companies incorporated in India and have either of these in their preceding financial year:
- Net worth of INR 500 Cr or more or
- Turnover of INR 1000 Cr or more or
- Net profit of INR 5 Cr or more
It has also been clearly mentioned that under this law, pure philanthropy or mere donations cannot be considered as CSR endeavors.
The list of activities and areas under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are defined clearly under CSR law. All organizations have to spend at least 2 % of their average net profit for three consecutive fiscal years as per CSR law. A lot of development has been happening in this space to make every work accountable. The Indian government keep making efforts for impactful results. Many changes have been happening for FDI (foreign direct Invesment) as there were some reports of fund misuse. As many companies which do CSR are not doing what they should do or NGOs which get funds but not making good use of the money. Recently many changes also happened in the CSR policy with amendments in terms and definitions as notified under the MCA ( Ministry of corporate affairs) notifications 2021. Here’s some of the key changes:
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- The definition of administrative overheads has been introduced and it excludes expenses directly incurred for designing, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of a particular CSR project.
- Now there is compulsory registration electronically with Ministry of corporate affairs so that government knows exactly where and which agencies are doing implementations
- New terms have been included under the international organisation section so that instances like NGOs or any organisation working in this sector can take help from such international organisations in designing, monitoring and evaluation type activities.
- The Impact assessment has been added new in the policy so that any activity done by any the organisation can be verified. It can happen through proper CSR assessment and reporting methodology. To know more about it, view this course, linked below. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the bell so such content get pushed to you!
We have only covered a few of the many updates in this topic. There are many rules and policies which keep changing acording to time and requirements.
Currently India stands at a low HDI(Human development ranking ) and much more is needed to remove poverty, hunger and many more issues like child malnutrition, education, the fight towards climate change. The CSR structure has the potential to bring together government, NGOs and international organization to work together for the benefit of the society.
The following videos are valuable knowledge sources for getting a deeper understanding of CSR in India:
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There is a wonderful celebration in India that takes place over several days. It is with joy in the heart that people, from all walks of life, exchange sweets with their relatives, friends, neighbors, colleagues, to anchor the values associated with this celebration of light, Diwali. Let’s find out how this celebration unfolds in this blog from masteringindia.org
What could be better than a video to get you in the mood
Why celebrate light?
The light symbolizes victory over ignorance, hatred and lethargy. It is with this in mind that everyone, everywhere, illuminates their homes, workplaces and businesses. Traditionally lit with earthen lamps filled with oil, and nowadays with electric garlands, the night of Diwali, said to be the darkest of the year according to the lunar calendar, turns into the most sparkling one. There are many stories linked to this story. The most popular ones are that of Rama, an incarnation of God Vishnu, who returned to his Kingdom of Ayodhya after defeating Ravana, in Southern India. The other story is that of Krishna, still an avatar of God Vishnu, having been instrumental in the release of a thousand damsels taken captive by the demon Narkasura. If you want to know more about these stories, leave us a comment ☺
The celebration of Diwali is unique. Everyone partakes in it. Shops and houses are lit up. Shopping for new clothes and decorative items begins a few weeks earlier, as does maintenance and painting. Everything must shine to welcome good luck into ones home.
Who says celebration says… sweets!
This is one of the great specialties of Diwali, sweets of all kinds! India is vast, and it is also a mix of traditions unique to each ethnicity spread across the states of India. The exchange of cakes is done for the pleasure of everyone. Do you have Hindus around you who offer you sweets on Diwali? Wish them “Happy Divali,” they will certainly appreciate it very much.
Discover these famous dessert ideas that will be all the rage if you serve them to end a dinner with loved ones!
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The unfolding of Diwali
Diwali is celebrated over five days.
Day One: The Dhanteras marks the start of the festivities. The houses are cleaned again from top to bottom, decorated with electric bulbs, rangolis (multicolored designs in mandala style on the floor), flowers and earthen lamps. The God of Ayurveda and Health, Dhanwantari, is celebrated to obtain his blessing. Before nightfall, a lamp made of flour is lit with sesame oil at the back of the house in the southern corner, out of respect for Yama, the God of death, asking for his protection from any premature death.
Day Two: The monkey-headed God, Hanuman, is celebrated, asking for his help in obtaining divine grace. Some traditions also celebrate Kali and Krishna and their victories over demons and their benevolence in liberating souls in torment. The second day is also the day where delicious cakes are made or purchased.
The most important day is the third, which coincides with the darkest night of the lunar calendar. On this day, Goddess Lakshmi is celebrated, thanking her for her benevolence and asking her to maintain it perpetually. At sunset, the oil lamps are lit, often by the children, and fireworks and firecrackers are detonated.
The fourth day: The Govardhan Puja is celebrated. Sweets are offered to the God Krishna, another avatar of Vishnu, to commemorate the story about him protecting his childhood village from torrential rains by lifting Govardhan Hill on his finger. It is also customary for men to give gifts to their wives on that day.
On the fifth day, it is Bhai Duj, which anchors the bond between siblings. Usually the brother will visit his sister, unlike Raksha Bandhan, another festival celebrating brotherhood.
Time for a prayer
A popular mantra from Vedic times demonstrating the importance of enlightenment in this part of the world is as follows: “Om Asatoma Sat Gamaya, Tamasoma Jyotir Gamaya, Mrityorma Amritam Gamaya. This prayer translates as follows:
Take me from ignorance to knowledge, from darkness to enlightenment, from mortality to immortality.
Diwali propagates this message of Vedic times so well, this fundamental wish to be transported to the light. These small earthen lamps which sparkle all night long, encourage cohesion, to join them for the dissipation of darkness. What kind of darkness do we want to free ourselves from? Discontent, stress, dissatisfaction, misery, anger, lack of enthusiasm, … To get out of the many evils that surround us, let us light the lamp of joy in our hearts, thus bringing internal illumination. May we attain internal enlightenment, may the supreme light awaken your mind. May we attain the spiritual wealth of the Eternal. May we prosper gloriously in material as well as spiritual reality.
The importance placed on knowledge and working tools for Diwali
One thing that stands out for a foreigner like me is the importance placed on working tools during Diwali. Books, charge books, computers,… are blessed with prayers on the eve of Diwali, also known as the Choti (Small) Diwali, or Dhanteras. The avatar of Vishnu, Dhanwanteri, who is the God of Health and Ayurveda, is also celebrated on this day.
Diwali is a time for gifting loved ones and friends. While there are many suggestions always doing rounds on what would be the best gift to give, our recommendation as a learning platform, would be, to gift a book! Here are some suggestions on Indian authors who write in English.
Must Watch: Indian writers following the English era
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The effigy of grace in its simplest form
Laxmi, the Goddess of abundance, unconditional love and refinement, is celebrated by the Hindu people for Diwali, asking her for her perpetual grace in order to support their lives and those around them. Many don’t know this, but the grace of abundance doesn’t just mean financial wealth. Eight aspects are related to Ashta (eight) Laxmi:
Adi Lakshmi – The Primordial Mother Goddess
Dhana Lakshmi – The Mother Goddess of material wealth
Dhanya Lakshmi – The Mother Goddess of the harvest and grain
Gaja Lakshmi – The Mother Goddess of power and strength
Santana Lakshmi – The Mother Goddess of children and offspring
Veera Lakshmi – The Mother Goddess of courage and perseverance
Vijaya Lakshmi – The Mother Goddess of success
Aishwarya Lakshmi – The Mother Goddess of comfort
Are these eight attributes important to the successful development of an individual? Share your opinion in the comments.
Diwali is a universal celebration symbolizing sharing, acceptance, respect, refinement and volunteerism. It’s easy to lose the sense of the importance of the most important things in life. Taking time by participating in this kind of event helps to refocus and value the relationships that we share with others.
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Dussehra (pronounced Duh-shei-ra) is a popular celebration in India. It is also celebrated in countries which have welcomed the Indian diaspora and amongst practitioners of Hinduism scattered all across the globe. Why is Dussehra so popular despite the millennia? Let’s experience this colourful celebration together, exclusively in this MasteringIndia blog. We’ve also included an interesting short video, which you can watch below; courtesy of e-learning specialist SLX Learning.
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The Status of Women in Indian Society
Dussehra is synonymous with piety, love, and gratitude to the Feminine Divine. It is with joy in their hearts that devotees celebrate the creative force for nine nights. It can be celebrated four times during the year, but the one during the lunisolar month of Ashwin, which varies each year, from August to October, depending on the astral plane, is the most popular one. Dussehra derives from the Sanskrit Dash, which means ten. It is the tenth day of the Navratri festivities: nine nights of devotional prayers and songs offered to Devi, the representation of divine feminine strength. The fundamental role of women has always been recognized in the Hindu tradition and she is honored during these ten days.
This festivity is rich in emotions. Many a times, it is women, who, concerned about the well-being of their families, dedicate themselves body and soul to the Divine Mother, with unparalleled devotion. Depending on the regional traditions, some devotees fast during these ten days: vegetarian meal only, either savory or sweet depending on the individual’s preference, frugivorous meals or only water! Others feast and even consume meat, with the exception of beef, which is sacred in Hinduism. This fervour is often in gratitude for prayers that have been answered or which are yet to be manifested. Dussehra gives expression to the desires buried in the depths of one’s heart.
Indian culture is based on fundamental human principles, as the Dussehra demonstrates so well. People from all walks of life, rich, poor, transgenders, among others, gather in Shakthi Peeth or in the temples dedicated to Devi during these ten days. Garba dances and other folk styles are integral part of these nights of celebration.
Why nine nights of prayer?
In Hinduism, Devi, the Feminine Divine, has nine aspects associated to her. Each of these nine forms uniquely facilitate the evolution of the faithful, while still being an integral part of the primary form of Devi. Some practices also divide the nine days into multiples of three and associate each three with the goddesses Kali, Lakshmi and Saraswati, three main forms of Devi. Kali is related to the body and health and dominates tamas, lethargy. Lakshmi, on the other hand, is linked to the heart, to feelings and to refinement, which hold the secrets of abundance and prosperity and govern rajas, feverishness. As for Saraswati, she promotes intellectual and artistic efforts, as well as pursuits of spiritual wisdom and presides over satva, self-control. On the tenth day, Devi is commonly celebrated in her form of Mahishasura Mardini, the one who defeated the demon Mahishasura.
Mahishasura Mardini in Indian culture
According to the story passed down from generation to generation through the millennia, a demon named Mahishasura had been granted the boon of being invincible to attacks of men. Arrogance inebriated him and he became a nuisance to humans, who pleaded to the Gods to help them. The Gods combined their forces, which resulted in the manifestation of Durga, also called Chamundeshwari. After defeating the demon Mahishasura, she came to be known as Mahishasura Mardini (conquer). From another point of view, this story can be interpreted as invoking the Feminine Divine for overcoming inner demons and self-limitations.
The open-mindedness of Hinduism and the flexibility of India
More and more people practice Hinduism around the world, despite not having Indian origins. Hinduism is a beautiful religion open to all schools of thought: those worshiping idols, those focusing on Vedic chants and mantras, those believing in the unmanifest aspect of God, those spreading unconditional love to all, and even atheists! There are no rituals for conversion to Hinduism because it is a way of life. Many celebrities, like Julia Roberts, practice Hinduism and enjoy the well-being that it imparts. This thousands-of-years-old way of life holds many secrets that are beneficial to the contemporary man. Let’s learn, again and again, there is no age limit!
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