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Gandhi’s Hinduism was neither flashing janeu, nor sporting tilak

Gandhi’s Hinduism was intended to bind a country together and fight in pursuit of independence. Different symbolism helped him bind the nation together.

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Visit to the affected area of Ramganj on foot, November 25, 1946. (Photo Courtesy: mkgandhi. org)

New Delhi, Sep 29 : Mahatma Gandhi was a staunch Hindu and definitely one of the earliest examples in Indian polity where religion was used for political purpose. Much ahead of BJP in 2014 or AIMIM in state polls.

One may blame the Lynch mobs in name of cow protection on the ruling party today, but the first Indian who propagated cow protection was Gandhi. He smartly interlinked religion to it to create a nucleus around which the independence movement could be taken forward. Gandhi’s last utterance ever was “Hey Ram”, the same For Ram who is at centre of a bitterly fought legal case in the Supreme Court right now.

But Gandhi’s Hinduism was inclusive and accommodative rather than exclusive and reactionary. Gandhi had elaborated his taken Hinduism, “Hinduism is not an exclusive religion. In it, there is room for worship of all the prophets of the world. It is not a missionary religion in the ordinary sense of the term. Hinduism tells everyone to worship God according to his own faith or dharma, and so it lives at peace with all religions.”

Gandhis Hinduism was an amalgamation of pragmatic use of religion for independence movement and upholding liberty. Though he was a firm believer of “Gau seva”, something he would preach to his followers, he refused to give in to demands for a cow slaughter ban.

When Gandhi was told his preaching had deep effect and around 25,000 letters were sent from across the nation demanding a nation wide cow slaughter ban, he didn’t give in. He had famously said, “I have another telegram which says that a friend has started a fast for this cause. In India no law can be made to ban cow-slaughter. I do not doubt that Hindus are forbidden the slaughter of cows. I have been long pledged to serve the cow but how can my religion also be the religion of the rest of the Indians? “

Gandhi’s Hinduism was unique. One cannot brand it as black or white but his beliefs lay in the grey.

In 1928, during the First Annual Meeting of Federation of International fellowship at Sabarmathi Ashramam, Ahmedabad, he said, “All religions are almost as dear to me as my own Hinduism… The aim of the fellowship should be to help a Hindu to become better Hindu, a Mussalman to become a better Mussalman, and a Christian to become a better Christian”

In spite of such liberal take on Hinduism, when he had shared a stage with Veer Savarkar in London in the early 1900 on invitation of the Indian diaspora, he ended up agreeing with the Hindutva icon when he had said that all religions have a right to flourish in India but around the core religion which shall remain Hinduism.

Gandhi believed in Geeta but he had its own interpretations, he followed Hindu scriptures but also other religious scriptures. Gandhi saw violence in Geeta. In the columns of Young India, Gandhi’s radical interpretation of the scripture started to appear, by 1931. Gandhi’s sense of Hinduism made him read and re-reda Geeta but his sense of “ahimsa” or non violence made him allege the author of Geeta used war imageries liberally. Some of his interpretations and beliefs were so radical that it led to his assassination in January 30, 1984. During his trial, Nathuram Godse, who had pulled the trigger on Gandhi had claimed that “Gandhiji’s views” had always been “detrimental to the Hindu community and its interests”.

But in spite of that, for Gandhi, politics bereft of religion was “absolute dirt, ever to be shunned”. Yet, he managed the contradictions that came along with it. Neither did he flash his Janeu like Rahul Gandhi, nor did he announce himself as a nonbeliever in God like our communists. He had balanced both. Gandhi’s use of symbolism in politics was unparralel. Yet stayed firm to his beliefs.

The word religion comes from a Latin word ereligare’. It’s meaning is eto bind again’. Gandhi’s Hinduism was intended to bind a country together and fight in pursuit of independence. Different symbolism helped him bind the nation together.

“I could not live for a single second without religion”, Gandhi had famously said. But he would also criticize the same religion to reform it. That was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

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Aatmanirbhar Bharat: Tribal Affairs Ministry to ink 2 MoUs with KVIC

A Tribal Affairs Ministry source related to development said that the two MoUs will be signed later this week.

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Employment Generation programme

New Delhi, Jan 17 : Giving a major thrust to the government’s ambitious Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the Tribal Affairs Ministry is all set to sign two MoUs with the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for procurement of Khadi fabric for tribal students and for partnering with KVIC in implementing the flagship employment generation scheme – Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP).

The ministry will purchase over 6 lakh metres of Khadi fabric worth nearly Rs 15 crore for uniforms of tribal students studying in Eklavya residential schools across the country.

As part of the second MoU, National Scheduled Tribe Finance Development Corporation (NSTFDC), an agency of the Tribal Affairs Ministry, will be roped in as KVIC’s partner in implementing PMEGP scheme. NSTFDC is an agency that provides concessional loan schemes for economic development of tribals in India for funding entrepreneurial ventures of aspiring scheduled tribes in all sectors of the economy.

A Tribal Affairs Ministry source related to development said that the two MoUs will be signed later this week.

The MoUs are in line with the government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan by creating local and self employment for Khadi artisans and the tribals. The huge purchase of Khadi fabric will create additional employment and income for artisans, a government official said. Similarly, roping in the Tribal Affairs Ministry with PMEGP will increase its ambit and also include more entrepreneurs from the ST community with local manufacturing.

Officials said the first MoU for purchase of Khadi fabric will be between NESTS and KVIC while the other one one will be between NSTFDC and KVIC.

The source said that the Tribal Affairs Ministry, which runs Eklavya residential schools where at present 75,000 students are studying, proposes to establish a total of 750 schools by 2022. He said that with 750 more schools, a total of 3.6 lakh students will be enrolled in these schools, which has been envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The source said that each school will have 480 students.

He further explained that the ministry has recently standardised school uniform design for the students in the schools with a distinct logo in partnership with National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) based in New Delhi.

The source said that keeping in view the focus of the government and the call of the Prime Minister to embrace Khadi as a philosophy and recently as a critical component of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat strategy, the Tribal Affairs Ministry felt it appropriate to source the fabric for uniforms of Eklavya residential schools from KVIC after several rounds of discussions.

He said that current requirement of around 6 lakh metres will increase in subsequent years as enrolment in the schools will go up.

“In order to take this forward, the Ministry through NESTS shall be entering into an MoU for procuring the fabric at an approximate cost of Rs 14.77 crore for 2020-21.”

The source further said that as two dresses are given each year and number of students will increase every year with establishment of new schools, this would be an annual affair and procurement is likely to multiply every year and expected to be of Rs 50 crore by 2022.

He also said that it would not only give quality dress material to the students but also give employment to thousand of artisans and workers across the country.

The source said that based on the success of school uniform initiative, other requirements of schools like bedding, towels, ‘dari’, and others can also be procured from KVIC in future.

“Therefore the proposed MoU between NSTFDC and KVIC will formalise this arrangement and will be a landmark initiative to bring synergy between NSTFDC and KVIC in reaching out to tribal entrepreneurs under the larger ambit of PMEGP scheme,” the source added.

The source further said that the MoU will be signed in presence of Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Arjun Munda.

(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

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Horror of Jan 1990 continues to haunt migrant Kashmiri Pandits

For a common Kashmiri, both Muslim and Hindu, world has never been the same after January 1990.

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kashmiri pandit

Jammu, Jan 17 : The world for 70-year-old Autar Krishan Raina has never been the same place, not after he left his home in Srinagar in the aftermath of that horrifying night in January 1990.

“I never believed that old wounds could hurt so hard. I have often been jolted out of sleep as if those frightening slogans are still going on outside my home.

“We lived peacefully among our Muslim neighbours in Aaali Kadal area of downtown Srinagar. I had grown up alongside my best friend, Afzal, who would sit beside my mother like her second son.

“My mother loved Afzal like she would have if I had a blood brother,” Raina recalls the good old days walking down the memory lane to identify his home in Aali Kadal which today is a half-fallen ruin.

He now lives in Jammu city where his son and daughter grew up.

The daughter is a doctor while his son is working in Mumbai as a software engineer. Raina lost his wife two years after the family migrated with hundreds of other Kashmiri Pandits to take shelter away from home.

“My tragedy is that I did not only lose my home and friends. I have lost faith in the goodness of humankind,” he recalled with moist eyes requesting not to be pushed to relive the horror he has been through.

The exodus of Kashmiri Pandits has haunted both local Hindus and Muslims. For centuries, the two communities had co-existed with intertwined destinies. Eid and Maha Shivratri had been common festivals.

The shrine of Sheikh Humza Makhdoom atop the Hari Parbat hillock in old Srinagar city has wonderfully blend with the neighbouring temple of Sharika Devi.

Muslims and local Pandits have paid obeisance at these two places of faith to pray for brotherhood, love and mutual respect. Their societal interests have been common. Imagining life without each other was impossible till 1990.

All that was shattered and lost during the January of 1990. Slogans of ‘Azadi’ (Freedom) had achieved just one objective, Kashmiri Pandits lost their home and hearth while the local Muslims lost their innocence.

For a common Kashmiri, both Muslim and Hindu, world has never been the same after January 1990.

Local Muslims have suffered immensely at the hands of those who hated their lofty traditions and the ideals of religious tolerance. Local Hindus have become refugees in their own country.

“We lost our homeland. Living as refugees in your own country is perhaps a tragedy only the Kashmiri Pandit has suffered. The future of my children is safe, but they have lost their roots,” Raina ends his story as he closes the door of his house away from home.

Will Kashmir ever be the same as it was before January 1990? Might be it will, but the wounds in the hearts and minds of those who suffered the horror of those days and nights will continue to fester because some wounds are never fully healed.

(Sheikh Qayoom can be contacted at [email protected])

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Congress’s women wing to observe ‘Mahila Kisan Diwas’ on Monday

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi and former party chief Rahul Gandhi joined the protest march here on Friday to show solidarity with the protesting farmers.

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Mahila Kisan Diwas

The women wing of the Congress has decided to observe “Mahila Kisan Diwas” (Women Farmers’ Day) on Monday, to show solidarity with the thousands of farmers’ protesting against the three controversial farm laws.

All India Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev said: “The All India Mahila Congress which has been at the forefront of the fight for women’s rights wholeheartedly welcomes this and will support this call to observe Mahila Kisan Diwas.”

The Congress’ women wing said that the farmers have played a critical role in the fight for justice and have shown the country the importance of women in agriculture and in revolution.

They have not only left their homes to protest against the farm laws, but also worked to ensure more awareness amongst people on how these legislations will destroy their livelihood.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi and former party chief Rahul Gandhi joined the protest march here on Friday to show solidarity with the protesting farmers.

Speaking on the occasion, Rahul Gandhi said: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not respect the farmers… the party is in farmerss support till these laws are withdrawn.”

Slamming the BJP, the Congress leader said the government is working for businessmen and these laws are not in favour of the farmers.

The Congress on Friday staged protests at all Raj Bhavans (Governor’s House) across the country and demanded the withdrawal of the farm laws.

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