WORLD HISTORY, RELIGION, CIVILIZATION,CULTURAL ENQUIRY
Postgraduate in International relations. Experience in writing in various journals, from BBC WORLD NEWS SERVICE to India's one of the oldest hindi daily. I like to write on international relations, religion, religious conflict. Social media has bridged the distance between writing and reading. Now writing is not just the expression of one's own thought, but also knowing the expression of people on various subject.
The word Benares (anglicized version of Banaras) has been used extensively in British documents and by British writers.
Hindu religious beliefs regarding Banaras.
AVIMUKTA “NEVER FORSAKEN”
According to this mythological History, Kashi is a place of the most profound antiquity, sanctity and splendor: it has survived in age a hundred lives of Brahma each of whose days is equal to 4320 millions of years; it stands apart from the earth, supported upon the trishul or trident of Mahadev, never shaken by earthquakes ; and the whole city was once of pure gold, but has since degenerated into stone and brick, along with the rapid deterioration of human virtue.
At the period of universal dissolution, Benares is unharmed, never being abandoned by Shiva, from which it derives another of its appellations, of frequent occurrence in the Puranas or Avimukta.
According to the great Irish poet W.B Yeats, high quality literature cannot be produced in the absence of faith. It is this faith among the Hindus that had gradually developed over thousands of years ago and has given rise to such high quality literature.
In mythological times, there was a king named Haryashwa in Kashi state who was killed by Veetahavya between Ganga and Yamuna.
Haryashwa’s son Sudev became the king of Kashi, Veethavya’s descendants defeated him as well, then Sudev’s son Divodas became the king here, the brilliant Divodas, knowing the strength of the Haihayavanshis, settled the city of Varanasi near the northern bank of the Ganges as per the orders of Indra.
King Divodas continued fighting for many days and later after the armies were weakened, and quite a lot of soldiers had died, he left.
Kings of Kasi, found in several Puranas, that it owed its rise to a branch of the lunar line of kings, whose dominions extended to the Dodb or Antarvddi, and whose capital was Pratishthdnay at the confluence of the Ganges and Jumna. Of this family, AVUS the son o f PUKIRAVAS , the grandson o f SOMA or the moon, had several sons: the elder continued to reign at Pratishthdna, but the second, KSBETRAVRIDDHIK was the first of the KASHI branch.
It seems probable) however, that the city was founded not by him, but by his grandson or great-grandson, denominated KASA and KASHI RAJA .
@ Kashiraj was on the side of Pandavas in the war of Kurukshetra [Bhishma Parva]
@ Kashi has been mentioned at many places in Ramayana and Mahabharat also.
@ The word Kashi is also found in Atharva Veda as well.
World’s oldest written stories are Jataka tales which is a collection of about 600 stories. This incident dates back to around 300 BCE. There is a detailed description of Varanasi in the Jataka stories. And one thing becomes clear from this that by the time Buddha arrived in Varanasi about 2600 years ago, Varanasi had already established itself as a major religious, economic, business and educational centre.
It becomes quite clear from this that Varanasi was established as a major city at least 3500 years ago, hence human settlement in Varanasi must have been established thousands of years earlier.
Evidence of ancient Varanasi city in archaeological excavations.
The remains obtained from the excavation of Rajghat prove that humans first started living here by clearing this swampy area around 1500 BC. At that time the main occupation of the residents was agriculture. The residents here lived in mud houses and thatched huts.
Many archaeologists believe that if a few more phases of excavation are conductec, the history of Varanasi can be traced back to at least 5000 years.
The authenticity of religious texts has been further strengthened by archaeological excavations.
Surprisingly, the existence of some Shivalingas as mentioned in the Puranas is being verified by the material obtained in the archaeological excavations.
Seals of Avimukteshwar, Gabhasthatheeshwar, Shri Saraswat, Yogeshwar, Pitkeshwar and Shivalingas have also been found.
These temples are also mentioned by the famous Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang who visited India in 630 AD.
The remains found in archaeological excavations near Rajghat in Varanasi are a slap on the face of Nehruvian and Marxist historians who deny the ancient history of India and consider Hindu religious texts inauthentic.
There is no doubt that Varanasi is a very ancient city, I believe that as modern technology develops, the ancient mystery of Varanasi will be revealed, may the glory of Varanasi always remain like this, this is what I pray to Mahadev.
I find that it seems that life in the ancient part of Varanasi city even today from sunrise till ten o’clock in the night is very much the same as it was Five thousand years ago.
The immense love of Hindus towards this city can be felt from this word “Mother Kashi” In ancient times, many litterateurs have described Kashi Nagar as mother.
Varanasi which is also known as Banaras and Kashi, had been recognized by many names in the past, many of its names are mentioned in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist texts, butVaranasi, Kashi and Banaras are by far the most popular names and are still in use.
The area between the confluence of two rivers (Varuna, Asi ) in the Ganges is known as Varanasi. The word Varanasi has originated from the combination of the names of these two rivers.
It is believed that Muhammad Ghaznavi attacked Varanasi around 1019 or 1022, during this time the king of Varanasi was Bannar.
Raja Bannar was killed in the battle against Muhammad Ghaznavi. But soon his son re-established his possession on Varanasi. It is believed that Varanasi was renamed as “Banaras” after the King “Bannar”. However strong evidence of this fact is not available, and so it is not possible to conclude anything on this subject.
The word Kashi is derived from the word Kas. The word Kas is synonymous with Prakash(Light) It is believed that “light” here is analogous with knowledge, possibly this is the reason Varanasi is also called the City of Light.
Varanasi is located in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and is situated on the banks of the sacred Ganges River. Varanasi has a history that stretches back thousands of years and is considered one of the holiest cities in Hinduism.
It is also called the cultural capital of India. And is also known as City of Temples, Mokshadahini, Mahasamsan, Shiva Nagari, City of Light, Capital of All Knowledge.
City of Temple:
Varanasi is also famous by the name of City of Temples. Construction of temples was banned during the reign Muslim rulers, but as soon as the Marathas and Sikhs became powerful, the temples were built on a massive scale, soon Varanasi regained its old reputation of the city of temples.
Varanasi has always been known as the city of salvation.
It is believed that a person who dies in Varanasi becomes free from the cycle of life.
Moksha: Freedom from bondage . Freedom from the process of taking birth and dying cyclically in the world. The Act of becoming free from this action is known as Moksha.
Samsaan: In Hindu religion, the place where the process of burning the dead body is performed, is called Samsaan.
There are two major Samsaans in Varanasi.
@ Manikarnika @ Harishchandra
Many stories related to both these places have been settled in the public consciousness for thousands of years.
Shiva’s favorite city
According to Hindu scriptures, Varanasi has always been dear to Shiva and it is believed that the city of Varanasi rests on Shiva’s trident.
City of light
As soon as the oldest cities of the world are mentioned, the names of cities such as Jerusalem, Athens, Peking and Varanasifirst emerge in the mind.
Without a doubt, these are the oldest cities on the planet.
From time to time, archaeologists have been discovering remains of old cities, some of which are considered to be older than Varanasi as well.
In India too, remains of the cities of Harappa and Mohenjodaro (Indus Valley Civilization ) have been found, which are considered to be the remains of the oldest city’s till date. If that is the case, what is the reason that Varanasi has got the title of Oldest Living City for years ?
Note : Recent studies done by IIT Kharagpur and Archaeological Survey of India revealed that the Indus Valley Civilization is at least 8000 years old.
Then why is Banaras called the oldest living city? And what is the reason behind this belief.
First of all, I think it is necessary to clarify what is the difference between an ancient city and an ancient living city.
@ Many ancient cities whose remains have been excavated had been deserted. There is currently no human settlement of any kind at that place. Furthermore a lot of ancient cities have shifted from their original places over time. In contrast to this, the city of Varanasi is still present at the very same place where its used to be thousands of years ago.
There is also one more reason why Varanasi is known as the oldest living city in the world, this reason however is a bit philosophical.
@ According to many historians, the activities of daily life carried out in Varanasi by the people who live here are pretty much the same as they were thousands of years ago or at least a glimpse of the ancient lifestyle of people living here can be seen in what they do today and this has persisted for thousands of years. This is one such point that cannot be seen anywhere else in any ancient city.
To understand this better you will have to visit Varanasi. Banaras is a place not just to be seen or read about but also to be felt.
Even today in Varanasi, getting up early in the morning and bathing in the Ganges, then offering the holy water of the Ganges to Mahadev in an ancient temple, chanting the verses of ancient religious texts, is a tradition which has been going on for thousands of years and is still an integral part of people’s life.
I find that it seems that life in the ancient part of Varanasi city even today from sunrise till ten o’clock in the night is very much the same as it was Five thousand years ago.
I request you to understand the context in the above lines and by no means interpret the text above as trying to project Varanasi as a dead city or as a city trapped in ancient times.
Varanasi is a modern city preserving its thousands of years of traditions. This city is proud of its culture and traditions. Reason being that it had fought for the protection of the culture and traditions, even in the most difficult times.
I don’t even know how many times foreign invaders had tried to destroy the Hindu tradition of this city, I don’t even know how many times the temples of the city were demolished and mosques were built on their debris, I don’t even know how many times efforts were made to silence the bells of the temples but Every time this city stood unconquered.
A stupa was build by Emperor Ashoka 2300 years ago at the place where Buddha gave his first sermon about 2600 years ago from today. Historians believe that this carving on the stupa was done during the Gupta dynasty. The Gupta dynasty ruled from 280 to 550 AD. A bell can be seen in the intricate carvings done during this time on the stupa.
The sound of temple bells when heard from a far off distance in the early morning (if one tries to listen it of course), gives a sense of pride, a feeling of victory in a struggle of thousands of years.
There is a belief that Varanasi is intact, indestructible, and if we try to look into the history of past five thousand years, this belief just seems to be more than true.
After India’s independence, Indian historians bowed down to one particular family, one particular ideology, and one particular religion.
@ The entire history has been dedicated to the sycophancy of one family. (Gandhi -Parivar)
@ The whole History was written to glorify a fake ideology~ Marxism.
@ The entire History writing has been devoted to showing Islam as a peace-loving religion and Hinduism as a conservative religion.
As a result, even today, to understand India’s freedom struggle, we have to look for those books which were written before India’s independence and whose writers themselves were a part of the freedom struggle.
Surprisingly these books were never included in the curriculum of Indian schools, universities. Not only this, these books are hardly ever seen in any school or college library as well.
“History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. (George Orwell)
(I) ANAND MATH
Author : Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay
Anand Math is a novel originally written in Bengali language by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay in the year 1882. It has been translated into most of the languages prevalent in India.
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee was the first person who dispelled Hindus from the mindset that they were a defeated race.
For this he did not resort to any new philosophy. He spread enthusiasm in the entire Aryavarta (as India was known before its division)by reminding the Hindus of the Karma Yoga of Gita. The Hindus saw the teachings of the Gita as an assurance of victory in the midst of despair and guilt of subordination.
Anand Math is undoubtedly the first novel which wrote the heroic saga of the revolutionaries who challenged the authority of the British and made the Hindus realize that freedom is their first right .
Over time, the song Vande Mataram mentioned in the novel became synonymous with India’s freedom struggle.
II INDIAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE or 1857 ka swatantraya samar
Author : Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
This was the first book in the world, which was banned even before its publication.
Some other key points regarding the book.
Book’s name, publication, printer were all unknown but the book was still banned before its publication.
This book, despite being banned from 1909 to 1947, continued to be translated into many languages and its versions continued to be distributed.
Even though it was banned in India however the book was easily available in nations like France, America, Holland etc. So many Indians returning to India from abroad used to secretly bring this book to India.
Before the publication of this book, many books were written on this incident(i.e on the revolt of 1857) but all were biased towards the Britishers, all of them described the incident of 1857 as a minor sepoy mutiny. Veer Savarkar was the first person who proved via this book on the basis of facts and evidence that the revolt of 1857 was not just a sepoy revolt, rather it was India’s first freedom struggle.
This epic piece of history written by Savarkar inspired the new generations to fight for Indian independence.
Note :- This book was originally written in Marathi and its language is so original that I’d say one should prefer to read it in its indigenous language itself, if possible.
III. Aankhon Dekha Ghadar
Author : Vishnu Bhat Godse
Generally, this book is not considered very authentic, the reason being that the author of this book was not a learned man, but he saw Ghadar (the revolt of 1857)from the point of view of a common Indian, being a witness to many historical events, the description of every event that he witnessed is so poignant, romantic and alive that one finds himself in that period of history.
Reasons why I really like this book.
1. This book made me understand how terrible cannon fire is and Why artillery was so important in the war of 1857?
Rani Jhansi’s struggle for her kingdom, despite being a woman at such a young age, despite very limited means, has been described very poignantly and accurately in the book.
3. A glimpse of Rani Laxmibai’s immense love for her subjects of Jhansi is also seen in this book.
(IV) Bandi Jeevan
Author : Sachindra Nath Sanyal
This book had the status of Gita among the revolutionaries. The author of this book was Sachindra Sanyal who was famous among the revolutionaries as Sachin Da.
Sachin da was the political guru of famous revolutionaries of that time including Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Trilokya Chakraborty, Bhagwati Charan Vohra, Govind Charan Kar, Baba Prithvi Singh and Nalini Kishore Guh etc.
Sachin Da’s was also a close associate of Subhas Chandra Bose, Ras Bihari Bose.
Sachin Da was sentenced to life imprisonment twice. He spend most of his life in prison. This book written by Sachin da answers many questions like how a revolutionarist’s mind thinks, and where does his inspiration come from, why he dedicates his life to a cause.
Many misconceptions about this book have been spread by fake historians, so I’d say that each and every person whoever is interested in India’s freedom struggle must read this book.
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” (George Orwell)
Marxists and Nehruists have made a malicious attempt to minimize the contribution of the authors of all these books.
The neo-Marxists who have worn the cloak of liberals after the collapse of the Soviet Union have caused a lot of damage to the history of India. Not only have they tried to erase the true sons of Mother India from history, but have also inserted many fictional characters in Indian history. History needs to be rewritten in India and the sooner this pious work is done the better it will be.
Dalmia house is an old building based on Danish architecture located in Varanasi
This building has been a witness to many important events in the modern history of India, that is the period between the advent of European races in India and India’s independence.
Dalmia Bhavan (Bhavan or Bhawan is a Hindi term for a building, palace, or mansion) is a 19th-century garden house located in Kamachha, Bhelupur at the center of Varanasi city.
Garden House :
In the nineteenth century the term “GARDEN HOUSE” was used in British India to refer to the residences built on flat land, which were located in the middle of a lawn or garden.
Such Garden Houses were very popular in those days as they served as the residences of Indian kings, wealthy merchants, the East India Company, and British officials.
According to Hindu religious texts, Kamachha is an ancient and holy place. This place is named Kamachha after the name of Goddess Kamakhya.
The ancient temple of Maa Kamakhya still exists here. Hindus believe that this temple was built in Treta Yuga. It is believed that this temple was built even before the birth of Lord Shri Ram and Shri Krishna.
DALMIA BHAVAN (Garden House)
Presently known as Dalmia Bhavan, this garden house is one of the prominent ones built in the nineteenth century in Varanasi.
It has been known by different names in different periods of time. The Dalmia Bhavan has been the property of the Dalmia family since the 1960s.
It is noteworthy that, the Dalmia family is not just a prominent business family of India, it is also known for its faith in Indian culture, strong nationalist views, and service to the country, as well.
The Dalmia House now belongs toKAHM Properties Pvt Ltda company of Kunal Dalmia and he is converting the house into a luxurious 5 start hotel/resort and will be named “SABO” after his mother’s pet name.
Laxminiwas Dalmia(Kunal Dalmia’s father) was married to Savitri Devi of Banaras. She was called SABO by her near and dear ones.
Late Laxminiwas DalmiaJi
Late Savitri Devi Ji (SABO)
Duli Chand DalmiaHostel
Late Laxminiwas Dalmia father of Kunal Dalmia had donated a 425-room hostel in the memory of his father Late Duli Chandji Dalmia to BHU in 1973. This Hostel is popularly known as Dalmia Hostel in BHU.( Banaras Hindu University)
Savitri Devi Dalmia Vigyan Bhavan
A Home science block for the students in BHU named “Savitri Devi Dalmia Vigyan Bhavan” was also donated to BHU
History of Dalmia Bhavan
Dalmia Bhavan has been a witness to many historical events, For our convenience we can divide its history broadly into two parts based upon the dates on which these events took place.
@ The 19th century events @ The 20th century events
(The 19th century events)
According to the documents related to 1910 AD kept in the archives of Banaras, this garden house was the property of Raja Kishori Lal Goswami.
(Raja Kishori Lal Goswami S/o Late Gopi Lal Goswami residence of Serampore District Hooghly Bengal).
These papers confirm that this garden house was the property of the famous Goswami Rajbari of Serampore. In those days the Goswami family was listed among the most prominent landlords and bankers of India.
RAJBARI: a mansion or palace built as a residence for a Hindu rajah, typically in Bengal.
SERAMPORE: The Danes, who arrived here in the early 17th century, named their flourishing trade settlement as Frederiksnagore, otherwise known as Serampore.
Christian IV, the king of Denmark, established the Danish East India Company on 17th March 1616 CE through a charter. Settlements were established at Tranqueber or Tamil Nadu in 1620 CE and Serampore in Bengal in 1676 CE. The Danish East India Company was headquartered at Serampore.
The members of the Goswami family were initially employees at the Danish East India Company, later generations of the family took up other professions.
Later, after the division of property among the Goswamis, this garden house was given to Raja Kishori Lal Goswami.
RAJA KISHORI LAL GOSWAMI
Kishori Lal Goswami was the son of Gopikrishna Goswami, he was a lawyer in the Calcutta High Court and a member of the Bengal Assembly. He was given the title of Raja(King) by the British Government.
After a family dispute, Kishori Lal Goswami got a new house constructed in Serampore and he started living there. The present municipality building of Serampore is named after him.
The Royal seal of Kishori Lal Goswami can be seen at the rear gate of Dalmia Bhavan. According to an old employee working in the building, earlier this used to be the main gate of the building, later when the new gate was installed, this gate was removed and installed in the rear part of the building.
THE ROYAL SEAL OF KISHORILAL GOSWAMI
SIDDHI SEBITAM BRATAH
The story behind this seal is quite interesting. The Goswami of Serampore had a different royal seal but when their property was divided, Raja Kishori Lal Goswami in 1910 after the division of the property made this very symbol his royal seal.
This is the royal seal of Kishori Lal Goswami if you look at it close enough you will notice the letters K, L, and G which not very surprisingly are the first letters of Kishori Lal Goswami’s first, middle, and last name respectively.
“Siddhi Sebitam Bratah” is what is written below the seal in a mixture of Bengali & Devanagari letters from the original Prakrit script. Meaning “Moksha or siddhi (i.e fulfillment) comes through serving people.”
Kishori Lal Goswami’s grandfather was Raghuram Goswami. He was the agent of Kolkata’s John Palmer & Company, he had amassed an enormous fortune. The Rajbari built by him is still present in Serampore.
A lot of tails regarding his riches are famous, the most famous of them being his attempt to buy the Danish town of Serampore. Raghuram Goswami had offered 11 lakh rupees to The Danish East India Company to buy Serampore, but the British East India Company did not allow him to do so. It is worth noting that 11 lakh rupees was a massive sum in 1845 AD.
Some old books indicate that a few properties were bought by Raghuram Goswami in Kolkata and Banaras. The Dalmia Bhavan was known as Goswami Bari in those days and it was most probably built/ bought by Raghuram Goswami.
At present, papers related to Goswami Bari of that time are not available in Banaras archives, but there are strong pieces of evidence suggesting that it was the property of Raghuram Goswami.
Listed below are a few of this evidence-:
1) According to the British Gazette of 1894, “This building was the property of a famous zamindar and banker of Bengal”.
2) From the beginning to the middle of the 19th century, many private buildings, schools, and temples were established by prominent Bengali kings in Kamachha and its surrounding area. (source: British Gazette)
3) Even today, this area is dominated by Bengali people who settled here in the middle of the 19th century. Talking to some of these people, I came to know that this Garden House was always known as Goswami Bari.
4) In 1781, Banaras was taken over by the East India Company.
It was only after 20-30 years that the construction of garden houses of western design started in Banaras and some major garden houses were built during this period. Goswami Bari, Kashi Naresh’s Nadesari Kothi, Nepal Raja’s Kothi, Raja Kali Krishna Thakur’s Garden House, Bhinga Naresh’s Garden House, Hathua Naresh’s Kothi, built during this period and all these can be seen even today.
BAPTIST MISSION IN BENARES (BANARAS)
It is necessary to mention one more thing here, remember that the first Christian preacher to come to Banaras was from Serampore. (1816 AD)
These missionaries of Serampore were also associated with the merchants of the East India Company of Denmark in Banaras (Varanasi).
The Goswami family comes from Serampore as well and during that time Harinarayan Goswami, father of Raghuram Goswami, was working as Diwan in the Danish East India Company of Serampore, so the possibility cannot be ruled out that this garden house was bought by the Goswami family from the Denmark East India Company because during this time the East India Company of Denmark was leaving India (1845)forever by selling all its business.
The historical significance of Dalmia Bhavan is a heritage of the history of 19th century India, especially Banaras(Varanasi).
We see that Dalmia Bhavan has been a witness to 3 main events, changes that took place in Banaras in the 19th century,
surprisingly there is very little evidence available related to these three events, due to which the historical importance of this garden house increases manifolds.
These 3 reasons are listed below-:
1)Currently in India, except for Tarangambadi (Tranquebar) in Tamil Nadu, and Serampore in West Bengal, buildings belonging to the Danish East India Company are very rare, whereas the connection of Goswami Bari can be clearly associated with the Danish East India Company.
2) Goswami Bhavan has been a witness to the struggle between the British East India Company and the Danish East India on the banks of the river Ganges and the eventual victory of the British.
3) Varanasi was one of the most important cities in India in the 18th century. Its importance can be understood from the fact that the Nawabs of Awadh, the Marathas, and the British all wanted to establish their supremacy over this city. But till the time the Great King Balwant Singh of Varanasi was alive, he let no one gain control over Varanasi. Unfortunately, Raja Balwant Singh died on 22 August 1770 AD.
The tyranny of the Nawabs of Awadh badly affected the trade of Banaras.
According to a letter published in the Calendar of Persian Correspondence, in 1754 AD many moneylenders of Banaras had gone bankrupt.
Amazingly, Banaras regained its old glory in just 4-5 decades and was once again listed among the prestigious business cities of the country.
This Garden House has also been a witness to the amazing story of Banaras transformation.
The commerce and wealth of the city had been remarked upon from the early decades of the nineteenth century. Thus, Bishop Heber, the Anglican Bishop of Calcutta, in his travels through the Upper Provinces in 1824 commented:
Benares (Banaras) is, in fact, a very industrious and wealthy as well as a very holy city. It is a great mart where the shawls of the north, the diamonds of the south, and the muslins of Dacca and the eastern provinces, Centre, and it has very considerable silk, cotton, and fine woolen manufactories of its own…
Some other important facts related to Dalmia Bhavan
Rajbari built by Raghuram Goswami in Serampore in 1815-20.Notice the design of the arch at the entrance
The arch made according to Danish architecture is clearly visible in the Dalmia Bhavan.
This very same design can be seen in The Dalmia Bhavan of Banaras also.
Wooden stairs were in vogue in the early and mid-19th century.
Cast Iron Wrought Railings.
Another prominent feature of buildings built in the early and middle of the 19th century is the heavy use of cast iron.
IRON RINGS (KUNDI)
Notice the 3 metal loops/rings
The iron loops/rings fitted in a straight line on the ceiling of the building were used for PUNKHA (fan).
PUNKHA:- A large swinging fan, fixed to the ceiling, pulled by a punkah wallah during hot weather.
It can be easily understood from this painting of a Western-style house in India in the 19th century how the “fan” worked.
Mrs Gladstone Lingham’s drawing room at her residence in Berhampore (India), 1863.
A glimpse of the glorious History of India
Some pillars in Dalmia Bhavan are made of Chunar sandstone, and there is no joint of any kind in them. It is to be noted here that the Rajbari built by Raghuram Goswami, which is located in Serampore, also has pillars made of Chunar sandstone.
Chunar: Situated at a distance of about 25 km from Varanasi, is an ancient place that has been famous for sculpture for thousands of years.
In the 19th century, the use of stone pillars made in Chunar in the houses of other cities of the country was limited to wealthy people because it was a very expensive process. After the artisans in Chunar manufactured the pillars, they were sent to the destination by bullock carts or by loading them on boats on the banks of the Ganges at Chunar.
The National Emblem of India is the Lion Capital, which is taken from the Ashokan Pillar located in Sarnath (Varanasi). This pillar was also built about 2300 years ago by Emperor Ashoka from the sandstone of Chunar, thus these pillars also reflect thousands of years old craftsmanship of Chunar.
Dalmia Bhavan: A Living Chronicle of History and Heritage.
(The 20th century events)
surajiye to hamesha se yahan aate rahe hain .
Swarajist always used to come here.
Tapan Ghosh: Tapan Da’s ancestors belonged to Nadia in Bengal but later settled in Kamachha, Varanasi in the 18th century.
The term Swarajiye was used for people striving for Swaraj from the beginning to the middle of the twentieth century.
SWARAJ :- Swarāj means self-governance or “self-rule“.
Why did prominent nationalists of that era visit Dalmia Bhavan often?
To answer this question it is necessary to know a few things about the history of Banaras and the unique geographical location of Dalmia House.
Even before she arrived in India, Annie Besant had earned worldwide fame as a British social reformer, a staunch supporter of women’s rights, a theosophist, writer, speaker, and someone who supported India’s independence.
Mahatma Gandhi met Annie Besant during his stay in England, and it was only after this meeting with Annie Besant, that he developed a desire to read Hindu religious texts and understood the propaganda of Christian priests who said that Hinduism was full of superstitions.
The arrival of Annie Besant in India
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, the ideology of nationalism began to flourish in India. In such circumstances, Annie Besant debuted in Varanasi.
Annie Besant had a dream of awakening the Hindus, both spiritually and politically.
Undoubtedly Banaras was the most suitable city to fulfill her dreams. Banaras has been famous for thousands of years as SARV VIDYA KI RAJDHANI (capital of all learning) and the most sacred city of Hindus.
After she arrived in Varanasi in 1895 AD, Annie Besant started putting in efforts to open a school for the upliftment of Hindus. And soon, Amma was indeed successful in doing so. (Amma is a term used by Hindus for mother. Annie Besant preferred to be addressed by this name). A Hindu school was started in the Saptsagar locality of Varanasi. After a few days, the school shifted to a building named Angrezi Kothi, which was located in the Nandan Sahu locality.
Impressed by Amma’s efforts, the king of Banaras granted her a huge piece of land in Kamachha. In 1899, Hindu school was established here. Presently this Hindu School is known as Central Hindu School(CHS) and it has been taken under Banaras Hindu University(BHU)
Note:- The place where the Hindu School was established is at a very short distance from the Dalmia House and this is one of the reasons why Dalmia House got the opportunity to host the nationalists.
Annie Besant’s house “Shanti Kunj” was completed in 1907, She later went on to live in this house for the rest of her life. This building is still located on the campus of the Theosophical Society near the Hindu School.
According to the people associated with the Theosophical Society, Annie Besant was staying in a garden house near Hindu School on rent for some years before shifting to Shanti Kunj Bhavan, Till date Dalmia Garden House near Hindu School is the only garden house that could be found in this area, so it is highly likely and almost obvious that, Annie Besant had lived in Dalmia Bhavan for some time before coming to Shanti Kunj Bhavan.
Some other evidence regarding Annie Besant’s stay at Goswami Bhavan (Dalmia Bhavan/Dalmia Garden House)
@ According to Banaras Gazetteer published in 1909 AD — The nearby houses were often used by people associated with the Hindu school.
@ In those days, the only residential house near the Hindu School was the Goswami (Dalmia )Garden House.
@ Annie Besant was counted among the fierce nationalists in those days. Her popularity was like that of Lokmanya Tilak in the whole country, not only this, she was seen as the forerunner of the awakening of Hindu culture, and as a result everyone considered it their moral duty to cooperate with her.
@ There is evidence of the Goswami family of Sirampur generously supporting the activities of the Hindu School over the years. The great Hindi litterateur Harivansh Rai Bachchan wrote at one place in his autobiography NEID KA NIRMAN FIR ( नीड़ का निर्माण फिर) the following lines.
The training college was a part of the university, but it was not in the university campus but in Kamchha. The college building was in two parts. Next was the King Edward Hostel, with the principal’s and warden’s residences at the two corners. At some distance behind, there was a big hall and many rooms connected to it, in which classes of different subjects were held. Nearby was a hostel for girls; In fact it was not a hostel building but a huge residential building in which six to seven college girls lived.
The last few sentences of Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s autobiography also point directly toward the Dalmia House which, perhaps has been referred to as the “Residential Building”.
Harivansh Rai Bachchan was the father of Amitabh Bachchan, the most popular actor in the Indian film industry to date.
A note kept in the Banaras Archives mentions the stay of Raja Indrajit Pratap Bahadur Shahi at Dalmia Garden House. Notably, Raja Indrajit Pratap Bahadur Shahi was associated with the Hindu School and following in the footsteps of Annie Besant, started compulsory education for children above the age of 5 in Tamkuhi State in 1925.
Here it seems necessary to mention two major events of that period.
Mahatma Gandhi (1902)
The below-mentioned lines are an account of Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi first visit to Banaras in 1902. At this point of time Gandhi wasn’t addressed by the name “Mahatma”.
After this visit to the temple, I waited upon Mrs. Besant. I knew that she had just recovered from an illness. I sent in my name. She came at once. As I wished only to pay my respects to her, I said, ‘I am aware that you are indelicate health. I only wanted to pay my respects. I am thankful that you have been good enough to receive me in spite of your indifferent health. I will not detain you any longer.’ So saying, I took leave of her.
Above mentioned lines are from Mahatma Gandhi’s Autobiography “The Story of My Experiments with Truth”.
Something similar has been described by Pandit Nehru in his autobiography “Jawaharlal Nehru an Autobiography”.
So I became a member of the Theosophical Society at thirteen and Mrs. Besant herself performed the ceremony of initiation, which consisted of good advice and instruction in some mysterious signs, probably a relic of freemasonry. I was thrilled. I attended the Theosophical Convention at Benares(Banaras) and saw old Colonel Olcott with his fine beard.
Both these incidents are of the same time when it is said that Annie Besant resided in Dalmia Bhavan.
Annie Besant shifted to her newly built house Shanti Kunj in 1907 and Dalmia Bhavan got the opportunity to host other nationalists, mystics, and scholars of the country.
Hindu School and Dalmia Bhavan
The Hindu School expanded under the able leadership of Annie Besant, the Kashi Naresh Hall was built in the Hindu School, in which many nationalistic conferences, meetings, and committees used to take place in those days.
Mahatma Gandhi’s secretary Mahadev Desai’s book Day to Day with Gandhi reveals that if any one place is mentioned the most in Gandhi’s letters, it is the Hindu School in Varanasi. Undoubtedly, the Hindu school had the status of Mecca among the Swarajists.
Note :- In the book “Gandhi ji in Uttar Pradesh” written by Ram Nath Suman, there is a mention of Gandhi ji coming to Banaras 11 times. It is notable that almost every time during Gandhiji’s visit to Banaras, Gandhiji visited the campus of Hindu School or shared one or the other platform with the people associated with Hindu School.
According to the local people, Goswami Bhavan (Dalmia Bhavan) had the privilege of hosting many nationalists of that era. This comes naturally because of its geographical location.
Unfortunately, none of the papers of that period are available in the Varanasi archives, but it is clear from the writings of litterateurs, intellectuals of that period, conversations with local residents that the arrival of famous nationalists, mystics of that period in Goswami Garden House was something, ~not so special.
The local residents still have memories of the stay of some great men in Dalmia Bhavan.
Some elders told a few interesting stories related to Mahatma Gandhi and his visit here. According to Tulsi Prasad (83 years), he has been hearing from his forefathers since childhood that Gandhiji had stayed in Dalmia House not only that, according to him, Gandhiji’s goats also stayed here along with him.
According to his story, Gandhiji’s goats were kept in a part of Dalmia Bhavan at the back, which was built for a wagon or horse carriage and that room thereafter came to be known as Gandhiji’s Goat Room for many years.
Mohandas K. Gandhi on his arrival from India at Marseille, France, on September 11th, 1931, going to England to attend the Table Round Conference. On his right is Madeleine Rolland, sister of Romain Rolland. On his left is Madeleine Slade, often called Mirabehn. Gandhi brought with him from India two goats to provide his daily ration of milk.
Why did Gandhiji keep goats with him?
According to Gandhiji’s autobiography, once his health deteriorated. He was advised by a doctor to consume milk. Gandhiji considered the process of cow milking as violence, so he refused to do so, then his wife Kasturba, who was standing nearby, proposed the consumption of goat’s milk, which was accepted by both Gandhiji and his doctor.
Tulsi Prasad also told that there is a well nearby, according to some people, once Gandhiji suddenly came here early in the morning and a huge crowd gathered within minutes.
Similarly, I came to know through some Bengali family that Gurudev (Rabindranath Tagore) too had once rested for a few hours at Dalmia Bhavan along with some other Bengali litterateurs. After a lot of research, I came to know some surprising facts regarding this incident.
Tagore had also come to Banaras many times, but his visit in 1923 had a great importance.
Nikhil Bhartiya Banga Sahitya Sammelan:
This conference was organized every year. The first annual conference was held at the Hindu School and the conference was presided over by Gurudev himself. (In 1923 this conference was organized by the name of Prabhasi Banga-Sahitya Sammelan)
Many eminent expatriate Bengali writers, poets took part in this conference under the chairmanship of Gurudev. From these facts it appears that Gurudev must have been visiting Dalmia Bhavan in 1923.
Some old residents also mention the incident of Sarojini Naidu staying at Dalmia Bhavan around 1947.
Sarojini Naidu :
Sarojini Naidu was also known as the Nightingale of India. She was a poetess and political activist. and the second woman President of the Indian National Congress and also the first woman Governor of India (U.P)
We see that the present Dalmia Bhavan is an ancient historical building, which contains about 150 to 200 years of history.
This building has been a witness to the famous events of the 19th century like the Danish East India Company, the famous Goswami Zamindar and Bankers of Sirampur, and the destruction and resurgence of Banaras, while in the 20th century this building has also closely seen the growth of nationalism, the struggle and victory of nationalists.
It would not be wrong to say that a glimpse of the gradual development of 200 years of Indian history can be seen in this building.
Sattu is the powder of barley, maize, or gram. Out of these 4, gram powder is most prevalent in North India.
Sattu and its preparations are a popular indigenous dish in North India, especially in Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh.
HOW IS SATTU POWDER MADE :
Making Sattu powder is actually really simple. Gram is soaked in water for a few hours. In olden times, women used to soak gram in water overnight to prepare sattu powder.
When gram gets well soaked in water, it is kept away for a while to dry up. After the gram gets dry, it is roasted After this, it is ground into fine powder. While grinding, cumin and black pepper are also added to it according to ones own taste. This powder doesn’t get spoiled quickly, so it is kept in a vessel.
HOW IS SATTU CONSUMED
Sattu is consumed either in the form of a solution or instead its powder is eaten by kneading and troughing it. To enhance the taste, black salt or ordinary salt can also be added to it, finely chopped onions and green chilies are also added as required. Red chili pickle and raw mango chutney make sattu taste even better in the summers.
Magadh (wikimedia )
Historians believe that the use of Sattu first came into practice in the ancient Magadha state of India (present-day Bihar).
SATTU AS AN ENERGY DRINK
In ancient times, Buddhist monks were determined to spread Buddha’s teachings not only in India but also in each and every corner of the world, as it follows these dedicated Buddhists had to travel long distances.
How Sattu became helped in the propagation of Buddhism.
During the Long walk (padayatra), all these Buddhist monks and nuns used keep sattu in-hand for consumption, so that if there were no alms on the way, or if there were no human settlements on the long deserted route, then the monks and nuns could satisfy their hunger by consuming sattu.
The ease of keeping and using sattu in travel made it popular among Buddhist monks.
Along with Buddha’s teachings, Buddhist monks and nuns also played a major role in the promotion of Sattu. An example of this is Tibet. At present, sattu is widely used in Tibet as well.
There is ample evidence of the use of Sattu in food items by the army of Veer Shivaji. At present, Sattu is also used as food by the Indian Army.
How did Sattu, synonymous with bravery, vitality, and struggle for thousands of years, become synonymous with poverty and helplessness?
THE GRAPES OF WRATH
Touching story of migrant labourers fighting against unemployment, poverty and hunger.
Some new cities in India, Calcutta now (Kolkata), Bombay now (Mumbai) were built by the British rulers in the early nineteenth century, soon all these cities emerged as new centers of economic activity.
Various types of buildings, residential houses, and factories were being constructed in these cities. At the same time, mass production in factories required many, many workers. In such a situation, large scale migration of villagers from Bihar, Purvanchal took place .
In these cities, peasants, mill workers used Sattu as their main food item to save their lunch expenses and to avoid the hassle of cooking food, in such a situation, the local residents who were not aware of this food item considered this as the so called “food of the poor” and following this Bihar and Purvanchal started being reffered to as theSattu Belt.
HOW TO BEAT THE HEAT
Life saving Sattu solution in summer
Sattu and its preparations have always been popular in Bihar and eastern U.P .
Sattu Paratha, Makuni, Baati, Litti, all these are included in the menu of almost every home kitchen and restaurant.
But as soon as the summer season comes, the consumption of Sattu increases manifold.
It is also an irony that where dishes made from sattu like paratha, makuni, bati, litti etc are popular in winters, it is customary to eat sattu solution in summers, and knead it like flour.
As soon as the summer season starts, shops of , sattu sharbat can be seen at every street corner.
It is a belief that consumption of beverages made from Sattu protects one from heat strokes, so when the sun is so high that even the coal tar on the road starts melting, the solution of Sattu acts like a life saver for those who have to go outside and work in order to earn their livelihood.
SATTU ON ITS JOURNEY OF BEING RECOGNIZED AS A GLOBAL DISH
What I’ve enjoyed most, though, is meeting people who have a real interest in food and sharing ideas with them. Good food is a global thing and I find that there is always something new and amazing to learn – I love it!
In today’s era of globalization, foods and drinks cannot remain limited to a particular region. No one would have ever imagined that the Indian dish Chicken Tikka would one day become the national dish of Britain. Even here in Varanasi, (eastern UP) the holiest city of Hindus, Pasta, Macaroni, Noodles, Manchurian are eaten with fervor.
Dosa of South India, Idli is equally popular in North India today, Punjabi Chhola-Bhatura is popular all over India today. Similarly, the sattu of Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh is also getting popular gradually.
Mr. Hiroshi Suzuki Ambassador of Japan visited Varanasi a few days back..
Mr. Hiroshi Suzuki Ambassador of Japan enjoying the dishes made from sattu. Buddha had given his first sermon in Sarnath (Varanasi), if Sattu was not available at that time, perhaps Buddhism would not have been able to travel from Sarnath to Japan.
Thus we see that sattu and dishes made from sattu are not only tasty to eat, but this historical food item has also played a major role in the cultural expansion of India. Sattu’s role in spreading Buddha’s teachings to the whole world will always be remembered in history.
A statue of Buddha has been found near the ancient city of Egypt.
According to a public announcement by Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities it was discovered by the Polish-American Joint Archaeological Mission, which had been working on this subject since 1994.
The statue of Buddha has been found at a place calledBERENIKE, Egypt. In ancient times this place developed as a port city.BERENIKE was an important trading port built by the Ptolemaic dynasty. This dynasty ruled Egypt for about three centuries.
Egypt was not only a major civilization settled on and around the banks of the river Nile, but it was also a place connecting all the prominent civilizations of that time together. These included the Mesopotamian, Indian, and Chinese civilization.
NOW IN EARLIER TIMES THE WORLD’S HISTORY HAD CONSISTED, so to speak, of a series of unrelated episodes , the origins and results of each being as widely separated as their localities , but from this point onwards history becomes an organic whole :the affair of Italy and Africa are connected with those of Asia and of Greece , and all events bear a relationship and contribute to a single end .
POLYBIUS (died 118 B C), on the rise of the Rome
UNEARTH BUDDHA STATUE
Historians are considering the received statue of Buddha to be about 1900 years old. This idol is made of stone and its height is 71 cm. Buddha is depicted in a standing position in this statue.
Salient features of the received idol
In the received idol, Gautam Buddha is depicted in a standing position.
The statues of Buddha in which he is depicted in a standing position are believed to be the oldest statues of Buddha. Sculpture depicting Buddha in standing posture is believed to be an attempt to depict Buddha in human form.
A sun-like structureis carved behind the Buddha’s head, to represent the spiritual powers of the Buddha, his majesty.
Some believe that the reason behind carving the sun-like structure was something else.
Buddha came from the Ikshvaku dynasty, this dynasty was one of the main dynasty of India.
The Ikshvaku dynasty is also called the solar dynastybecause like the dynasty of Japan, the origin of this dynasty is believed to be from the sun and the sun was their main deity, so the shape of the sun behind Buddha’s head represents his dynasty.
Buddha is depicted holding the end of his robe in one hand. The shape of a lotus flower is made under the feet of Buddha’s statue, in most of the ancient statues of Buddha found, Buddha has been shown sitting, meditating, or standing on a lotus flower.
The lotus flower has a prominent place in Buddhism, the lotus flowers were present in all monumental events such as birth, marriage, enlightenment or preaching of Lord Buddha, so for this reason the lotus flower is used in most of the statues of Buddha.
Apart from the statue of Buddha, an inscription written in Sanskrit has also been received.
What is the significance of the ancient statue of Buddha found in Egypt in context of India.
The ancient sea route which connected India to Egypt(Berenice).
Trade relations between India and Egypt date back much before the advent of Buddha.
Everyone is aware about the pyramids of Egypt. The mummies found inside the pyramids are still a matter of curiosity.
MUMMY:- is a dead body which was preserved long ago by being rubbed with special oils and wrapped in cloth .
Many bodies have been found inside the pyramids in ancient Egypt. To protect these dead bodies, these dead bodies were kept wrapped in special types of oil and clothes, Historians believe that the clothes used to protect and preserve the dead bodies were all made in India.
In ancient times, indigo was used to dye clothes. Many textiles found in the roman and the Egyptian empire display the usage of indigo in them. Indigo was supplied all over the world from India. This is trivial as Indigo got its name because of India itself.
According to old Persian stories, Indian steel was used in the making of high quality swords even during the time of Alexander.
There is evidence of large quantities of black pepper, silks, ivory ornaments and valuables being imported from India at a place called Berenice where the Buddha statue has been found.
All these Indian goods were sent to the Roman Empire from Berenice itself. In this way, India’s trade with Egypt was done on a large scale, as well as Egypt was a major stop of trade between East and West countries.
GRAND TRUNK ROAD
Note :- Trade between India, Egypt and Roman Empire was done not only through sea, ocean routes but by land route as well.
Starting from the remote part of India (now Bangladesh) via Peshawar, the Grand Trunk Road also connected Central Asia and Ancient Greece.
In ancient times, this road has mentioned by the name of Uttarpath “meaning ~ The Northern road”. During the time of Mauryan Empire (322 BCE), this road was renovated. The length of this road is about 2500 kilometers and it passes through almost all the major business cities of North India.
# The statue of Buddha found in Egypt once again well establishes the fact that India was the center of world trade for about 2000 years in ancient times.
# There was a huge demand for goods made in India all over the world and at that time the people of India had made good progress in chemistry, metallurgy as compared to other civilizations and empires.
# There was a great demand in Egypt and Europe for the clothes made in the Far East of India.
#In ancient India, the business of shipbuilding was in an advanced stage.
#Indian sailors had good knowledge of the sea route.
Here in Sarnath, Buddha gave his first sermon and ordered the Buddhist monks to spread his teachings in all four directions, following this order of Buddha, Buddhist monks spread all over the world and started promoting the teachings of Buddha for the development of human welfare.
As the layers of ancient history are being opened with the help of modern science, it is becoming clear that Indian traders also had a big role in the propagation of Buddhism across the world.
There was a situation of war between the two states regarding the water of a river. How did Buddha deal with this problem and why is this incident so relevant even in the present circumstances?
In general, water scarcity or water crisis makes us feel that this is a modern problem, and this problem is limited to some big metropolitan cities, to some extent it is okay to think so, but water problem has always been there and due to man’s greed, jealousy, fake pride, this problem has become even worse.
Similarly, around the time of Buddha, there was a violent dispute between two provinces regarding the usage of the water of a river.
The manner in which Buddha settled this dispute between the two states over the water of the river is equally relevant today.
About 2600 years ago from today. The boundaries of two major kingdoms used to meet at what is presently the Indo-Nepal border.
These two major kingdoms were Sakya and Koliya.
Rohini river used to flow between Sakya and Koliya kingdom. In this way, the geographical division of both the states was done by the Rohini river only. The relations between the two states were very good.
Current geographical location of Rohini river
The Rohini River originates from the hills of the Shivalik Mountains in the Kapilvastu Districts of the Lumbini region of Nepal and enters the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, flowing southwards. It joins the Rapti river near Gorakhpur inside the border of India, which joins Ghaghra and Ghaghra goes ahead and meets the Ganges river.
Drought and conflict between the states.
The residents of both the states used the water of the Rohini river in their daily life. Once it did not rain for many days, as a result of which there was a severe famine, both the states also had to face the shortage of water.
The farmers of both the states depended on the water of the Rohini river for agriculture. Due to lack of rain, water was not available in abundance in the Rohini river that year. At the time of rice planting, (Rice was the major crop of both the states). The farmers of both the states wanted to use the water as much as they possibly could, as a result, the farmers of both the states started showing their desire to use the water of the river by building dams in their respective borders.
People who had been living together for generations became enemies of each other due to lack of water. People on both sides wanted water. In the beginning, the farmers of both the states said bad things to each other, there was a round of accusations and counter-accusations between them, then a lot of ill-will was generated by the use of abusive language.
One day there was a fight between the farmers on both sides after listening to each other. Many farmers of both the states were injured in the conflict over the rights to the water of the Rohini river. The conflict increased so much that first the police of both the states and then later the army had to be deployed.
Relations between the two states had become extremely tense. An armed conflict could break out between the two states at any time.
Arrival of Buddha and solution to the problem
Buddha came to know about this incident, he immediately went to meet the kings of both the states to solve this problem.
Both the states were important to Buddha. Sakya region was thehomeland of Buddha, while Buddha’s mother and wife Yashodhara both came from Koliya region.
After meeting the members of the royal family of both the countries, Buddha also met the officials, farmers of both the states and took stock of the real situation. Buddha came to this conclusion after thoroughly understanding the problem:-
@ At the root of the problem is water scarcity. The people of both the states can overcome this shortcoming with mutual understanding.
@To deal with this problem long term measures were needed which was possible only with the efforts of the ruling class of both the states.
@Buddha found that corrupt politics and arbitrary behavior of officials had made the problem worse.
LIFE IS MORE PRECIOUS THAN WATER .
Buddha explained to the rulers of both the states that life is more precious than water. Buddha said that the lack of water had fanned the flames of anger and hatred among the people of the two kingdoms and this led to war. Had hatred and anger been kept under control, this unfortunate situation would not have arisen.
Buddha suggested the rulers of both the states to sit down and look forward for negotiations. Buddha also suggested the farmers of both the states to face this difficult time together. Buddha suggested equal distribution of water to the farmers of both the states, which was happily accepted by the people and rulers of both the states.
Buddha was highly respected both by the ruling class of the state and the public, so soon peace was established with the efforts of Buddha and warm and cordial relations were again established between the two states.
” THE NEXT WAR IN OUR REGION WILL BE OVER THE WATERS OF THE NILE , NOT POLITICS .“
BOUTROS BOUTROS GHALI
At present the whole world is suffering this water crisis. There is a situation of conflict between many countries regarding the distribution of water. Within countries, conflicts have also seen between provinces, or between cities and villages regarding the distribution of water.
Instead of solving this problem together, the ruling class escapes from its duty by inciting anger and hatred among the general public. People blinded by hatred do not even try to solve the root problem. If Buddha’s words are heeded, then undoubtedly it is possible to get rid of the world’s water crisis. Remember that Buddha’s teachings are also based on experience instead of pure idealism and public welfare is his one and only goal.
What is the significance of the four lions depicted in the National Emblem of India? What teachings of Gautam Buddha do these represent? Why did Emperor Ashoka get the statue of these four lions built on the top of the Ashoka pillar? Today, even after almost 2600 years, the embodiment of Buddha’s teachings is a unique example of the richness of the Indian culture.
Recently a controversy has arisen over the “Lion Capital”, the national emblem of India.
The reason for this controversy was the replica of the LionCapital to be installed on top of the newly constructed building of the Parliament of India.
Highlights of the Lion Capital statue to be installed on the roof of the new Parliament building
@ The Lion Capital statue to be installed on the roof of the newly built Parliament House is a replica of the original statue located in the museum of Sarnath, Varanasi.
@ The replica to be installed on the roof of the Parliament House ismade of bronze and weighs 16,000 kg. The total height of this replica is 6.5 meters.
@ The replica was made by 100 artisans over a period 9 months. This statue is completely hand made, no machine has been used in its construction.
The controversy behind this statue-:
Major opposition parties mainly Congress and Communist Party are attacking the ruling party over this statue. These political parties say that in the construction of this statue, the four lions have been shown as aggressive, whereas in the Lion Capital statue at Sarnath, the four lions have been shown calm and majestic.
Some people say that these lions seem to be violent and man-eaters.
This dispute increased so much that some people went to the court, well the court rejected this petition, but many people are still angry about this incident.
At first glance, it seems that because of being associated with Buddhism, these four lions must have been depicted with a calm nature in the Original statue.
Are the four lions actually depicted as calm & majestic in the original statue located in the Sarnath Museum?
Close up of Lion Capital in Sarnath Museum. (Wikimedia commons )
In fact, even in the original Lion Capital, the four lions are depicted in an aggressive posture.
All four lion’s mouths are open, sharp teeth, their tongue flapping, protruding veins, heavy mane, their claws sticking out (It is worth noting that lion’s claws are retractable and they come out of their paws only when hunting.) It becomes clear at the very first sight itself that all the four lions are depicted in an aggressive posture.
Now an important question arises here.
There is a lot of emphasis on non-violence in Buddhism, then why are the lions depicted in an aggressive posture in the Lion Capital ?
Along with this it becomes necessary to find answers to some more questions.
@ What does the Lion Capital built by Emperor Ashoka on the top of the pillar symbolize?
@ What teachings of Buddha did Emperor Ashoka consider as the basis for the construction of the Ashoka Pillar?
To answer these questions, we must turn to Buddhist literature and Lion Capital. Fortunately, all of these sources are available in abundance.
IN THE WORDS OF THE BUDDHA HIMSELF
THE SUTRA OF THE LION’S ROAR
A teaching of the Buddha was named the Sutra of the Lion’s Roar by his disciple Ananda. Buddha had emphasized the need of Buddhist organization(known as SANGHA, a BUDDHIST COMMUNITY) under this and highlighted the importance of organization.
SANGHA : Monastic community of bhikkhu (monks )and bhikkuni (nuns) Buddha described Sangha as the community that supports one along the path.
Buddha explained this importance of Sangha by giving the example of rice that joint effort is better than single effort, just as a rice grain has the natural tendency to turn into a rice plant, but for this to happen some other Factors are also required such as: sunlight, soil, water, air etc.
Similarly, a person can also try to attain enlightenment all by himself, but with the help of other people, his/her path becomes easier, so association is necessary for attaining knowledge. According to Buddha, by concerted effort under the Sangha, the wall of ignorance crumbles in the same way as darkness with the advent of light.
After explaining the importance of the Sangha, Buddha described the Sangha as powerful as a lion roaming in the jungle. According to Buddha, The lion is the king of the jungle, when he comes out of his cave, the message of his arrival spreads in all four directions. When the lion roars before the hunt, fear prevails in all the animals and all the creatures start hiding. Birds start flying high on hearing the lion’s roar, crocodiles start searching the depth of water, foxes hide in burrows, even the majestic elephants which are decorated with precious jewels, equipped with golden canopies start running away from the roar.
Sangha is the proclamation of the path of enlightenment like the roar of a lion in the jungle. Buddha says that Sangha is like the roar of a lion. All false ideas and misconceptions lurking in some corner are replaced with the ideas and concerted effort of the Sangh.
The teachings of the Buddha, known as the Sutra of the Lion Roaring, make it clear that the lion that the Buddha portrayed the Sangha as, was a majestic and aggressive one.
Now another question arises as to why did Emperor Ashoka get Buddha’s sermons depicting Sangha like a lion installed on the top of the pillars in the form of idols at Sarnath and some other places?
Not only did Buddha give the first sermon in Varanasi Sarnath, but he also gave the concept of the Buddhist Sangha here and established the Sangha. Later, a huge Buddhist monastery was also established here.
The great Chinese traveler Hieun Tsang, during his visit to India, mentioned the residence of 1500 monks and nuns in this huge Buddhist monastery.
In 1905, during the excavation of Sarnath, the ruins of the Ashoka Pillar were found. A picture from that period shows the Lion Capital, and the section of the pillar bearing Emperor Ashoka’s edict. Presently the top of the pillar is located in the Sarnath Museum and the fragments of the pillar are located in a glass show case among the Sarnath Ruins.
Ashoka Pillar Fragments and the warning of Emperor Ashoka can be seen in Sarnath.
English translation of Emperor Ashoka’s warning It is mentioned by Mr. F.O Oertal. The credit for the archaeological excavations of Sarnath in 1905 and the discovery of the Ashoka pillar goes to Mr. F.O Oertal.
Thus saith the beloved of the Gods announced in the Order of Monks and in the Order of Nuns. The Church (Baudh- Math)is not to be divided But whosoever, monk or nun, shall break up the Church, shall be made to dwell white garments and dwell in a place which is not a residence for the clergy. Thus must this edict be announced in the Order of Monks and in the Order of Nuns…………………
Key points of Emperor Ashoka’s warning
Emperor Ashoka was very upset and worried about the rising trend of rebellion in the Sangha. In order to convey his point clearly to the Buddhist monks and nuns, the emperor got his warning inscribed on a pillar.
The top of the pillar reflects Gautam Buddha’s description of the Sangha as a lion and reflects the majestic qualities of the lion, certainly for this reason, Emperor Ashoka built the Lion Capital on the top of the pillar.
Observing the teachings of Buddha himself in the Buddhist literature and the warning of Emperor Ashoka, which is still inscribed on the Ashoka Pillar and the top of the pillar kept in the museum of Sarnath, there is no doubt that the Lion Capital’s lions are majestic. Depicted in an aggressive and virtuous posture.
Basant Panchami, Saraswati Puja are not only the holy festivals of Hindus, but they also reflect the entire ancient “INDIANNESS”
The oldest signs of Hindu civilization are visible in this festival even today.
According to the Hindu calendar, the seasons have been divided into six types. These are:- 1.SPRING (BASANT) 2. SUMMER (GRISMA)3. MONSOON(VARSHA ) 4. AUTUMN (SHARAD)5. WINTER (HEMANTA )6.WINTER (SHISHIRA)
When spring (BASANT) arrives yellow mustard flowers start appearing all over North India.
yellow mustard flowers
Spring is called the king of all seasons. For this reason it is also addressed by the nameBasantraj.
There is neither too much heat nor too much cold in the spring season, the weather is very pleasant. In the spring season new leaves appear on the trees, new buds appear on the flowers, in a nutshell nature can be seen in its most beautiful form.
The festival of Basant Panchami is celebrated in the joy of the arrival of the spring season.
It is customary to wear yellow clothes on Basant Panchami,yellow clothes are probably a symbol of embracing the color of nature, because with the arrival of spring, yellow mustard flowers start appearing all over North India.
In rural areas, it seems as if the mother earth has worn yellow clothes. Mother Saraswati is worshiped on Basant Panchami, for this reason. Basant Panchami is also celebrated as Saraswati Puja Day.
According to the Puranas, Lord Krishna was pleased with Goddess Saraswati and gave her a boon that she would also be worshiped on Vasant Panchami,and since then Saraswati, the goddess of learning, was also worshiped on Vasant Panchami, which continues unabated till date.
Image : Wikimedia
Maharaja Ranjit Singh holding court outside near the Golden Temple in Amritsar with everyone dressed in Basant (yellow)
Image :From Wikimedia Commons
Maharaja Ranjit Singh on horseback with attendants with all dressed in Basant (yellow).
The Veena in the hands of Goddess Saraswati is a symbol of artistry and music. The book in the hands of Goddess Saraswati gives knowledge and the rosary gives the sense of piety and religion. The vehicle flamingo is the symbol of beauty and melodious voice.
GODDESS SARASWATI is considered as the goddess of knowledge .(the goddess of literature, music, arts etc.)
The description of Goddess Saraswati can be found in quite detail in ancient Hindu scriptures. The oldest description of Goddess Saraswati is given in Rigveda, the oldest of all the 4 Vedas.
VEDAS: Vedas are the most ancient religious texts of Hindu religion. There are four Vedas. 1.Rigveda 2.Yajurveda 3.Samaveda 4. Atharvaveda .Rigveda is the most ancient of them (Rigveda was composed around 1700 BC).
BEST OF MOTHERS, THE BEST OF RIVERS , BEST OF GODDESSES , SARASWATI.
Best of mothers:- In Hindu religion, the place of mother has always been considered the highest and most worshipable, therefore all Hindu goddesses are depicted and described as mothers.
The Best of Rivers :- In ancient times in India there was a river named Saraswati which was considered the most sacred of all the rivers. It is said that this river disappeared because of drying up around 2600 BC.
Best of Goddesses:- In Hinduism, knowledge has always been considered supreme, so it is natural to give the highest place to the goddess of knowledge.
In two other major branches of Hinduism namely-: Buddhism and Jainism, Goddess Saraswati has been praised with all respect. Since ancient times, India has always been known as the land of knowledge, this belief got further strength during the time of Buddha. During that time, when foreign students studying in major universities of India returned to their motherland after receiving education, they carried many Indian traditions with them.
Because of this, as Buddhism spread, so did the worship of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge. This resulted in the Chinese and the Japanese also worshiping Goddess Saraswati.
OM SARASWATYAI SVAHA (Sanskrit)
ON SARASOBATEIEI SOWAKA (JAPANESE)
IMAGE : WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
A sculpture of Benzaiten, Goddess of arts, Saraswati, Hase-dera Temple, Kamakura Japan.
IMAGE : WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
1150 CE Hoysaleswara temple Halebidu Karnataka, Dancing Saraswati.
INDIA’S LOST SARASWATI SCRIPT .
The pictographic script found in the Indus Valley Civilizations is also called the Saraswati writing .
Seals found in Saraswati civilization excavation.
The development of Saraswati civilization started about 8000 years ago. According to historians these seals date back to 15oo BC. Some figures are made on these seals and the text is written in Saraswati script, unfortunately historians have not been able to read Saraswati script till date.
THE SARASWATI CIVILIZATION ORINDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION
This civilization is also known as the Indus Valley Civilization due to the disappearance of the Saraswati River thousands of years ago and due to its present location on the banks of the Indus River. Historians like B. B. Lal, Dales, Danino, Kenoyer referred to this civilization as Saraswati Valley Civilization due to the fact that more than 60% area of the seven major cities found in Indus Valley Civilization and 80% of the remains found in Mohenjodaro were found on the banks of the lost Saraswati River.
AREA AROUND THE LOST SARASWATI RIVER
THE SARASWATI CIVILIZATIONOR Indus Valley Civilization is considered one of the most ancient civilizations of the world. According to research done in recent years, this civilization is at least 8,000 years old. This civilization was spread in the western part of South Asia, which is currently known as Pakistan and Western India.
The Indus Valley Civilization was the most advanced among other contemporary civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and China.
Evidence of worship of trees, rivers, earth, animals is also found in some seals found in the Saraswati valley civilization. It is quite possible that like the river Saraswati, the tradition of seeing and worshiping the Saraswati script as a mother has started from the time of Saraswati civilization itself.
GODDESS SARASWATI WORSHIP IN MODERN TIME
Idol worship was prohibited during the Islamic rule, but this ban was completely removed during the British rule, the tradition of celebrating Saraswati Puja once again gained momentum during the British rule. Another reason for the popularity of Saraswati Puja festival was the establishment of modern educational institutions during the British rule.
Hindus soon adopted the British education system and many educational institutions were also established by rich Hindus, Goddess Saraswati is considered the goddess of knowledge, so gradually the worship of Goddess Saraswati started in educational institutions. After the independence of India, the expansion of Saraswati Puja happened more rapidly which was natural. Presently Saraswati Puja is a festival celebrated in educational institutions across whole India.
The idol of Goddess Saraswati is made from clay and bamboo. Every year a new idol is made on the day of Basant Panchami.
The festival of Basant Panchami and Saraswati Puja is banned in Pakistan.
What an irony it is that celebrating Basant Panchami and Saraswati Puja is a crime at the place where mostly Saraswati Civilization remains are found, the place where Saraswati river used to flow, where the Saraswati script was born.
After the partition of India-Pakistan, Pakistan became an Islamic country, so Saraswati Puja was banned here, but the tradition of thousands of years of celebrating the festival of Basant Panchami continued till recent years with some changes.
The spring festival in Pakistan was limited towearing yellow clothes and flying kites,but a few years ago kite flying was also declared un-Islamic, possibly due to Taliban influence.
If viewed with this perspective, Saraswati Puja is not just a Hindu festival, but the history of the entire Hindu religion, and the saga of gradual development of India’s history is stored in itself. Definitely someday historians will succeed in reading Saraswati script and we all will get a chance to get acquainted with many untold, untouched aspects of the Saraswati civilization.
If you want to know India, study Vivekananda.
In him everything is positive and nothing negative. (Romain Rolland, in a letter written to Swami Ashokananda informed that Rabindranath Tagore once told him these words.
NATIONAL YOUTH DAY
Swami Vivekananda’s birthday, January 12th, has been declared as National Youth Day by the Government of India. The Government of India mentioned the significance of this day as follows-
“It was felt that the Philosophy of Swami ji and the ideals for which he lived and worked could be a great source of inspiration to the Indian youth”.
Swami Vivekananda was born in Calcutta on 12th January 1863, according to the Hindu calendar, that day was also the festival of Makar Sankranti.
On hearing the name ‘Swami Vivekananda’, an image of a serious personality emerges in one’s mind. This is also true to some extent, but there is another aspect of Vivekananda’s personality as well, which is Vivekananda’s funny nature.
Sometimes Swamiji used to explain many serious things in a very hilarious and light-hearted manner, I have compiled some such incidents here.
Why did Vivekananda shave without looking in the mirror?
In those days it was not customary to shave at home. Generally, people used to go to the barber shop to shave, everyone had their own favorite barber, but Swami Vivekananda, who lived in Bellur Math in those days, was famous for shaving himself, and that too without using a mirror.
When someone used to discuss this habit of his with Swami ji , he used to tell that he had developed this habit during his stay in America.
Swami ji used to mention an incident that once he went to a barber shop to get his beard shaved during his stay in America, but that barber refused to shave him.
The barber said that he could not shave them because if his white customers came to know that this barber has shaved a black person they would boycott his shop as black people are also shaved here. After this incident, Swamiji decided to shave himself and this habit of his remained even after he returned to India.
Is playing football more important than reading the Gita?
The Gita is one of the most sacred religious texts of the Hindus. Gita has the same importance among Hindus as Bible among Christians and Quran among Muslims.
Once a strange-looking young man came to Swami Vivekananda and urged that he wanted Swami Ji to explain him the knowledge of Gita in simple language.
Swami Vivekananda looked at the young man carefully and said that young man listen to me carefully “Playing football is more important for you than understanding the knowledge of the Gita”.The young man asked with surprise why so? Vivekananda smilingly said that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body. To understand the knowledge of Gita, it is necessary to have a healthy mind, and a healthy mind will nurture and cherish only when the body is healthy.
The young man, after listening to Swami ji went back and for 6 months spent his time playing football, exercising, and meditating which thereby resulted in a drastic improvement in his health.
After six months, the young man recovered and came to Swami Vivekananda and once again requested him to preach on Gita. Swami ji did not disappoint the young man this time and explained to him the essence of Gita in quite a detail.
The young man was so impressed by Swami ji’s lecture on Gita that he later founded Gita Prachar Mandal(an organization to explain the teachings of Gita in simple language to the general public) and wrote a poetic version of Gita in Bengali. That young man was none other than Satendra Banerjee.
THE MONK WHO LOVED TEA
CHA ~ TEA
Everyone is aware of Vivekananda’s love for tea. In those days tea was considered a stimulant drink and the consumption of tea was prohibited in monasteries. Swami Vivekananda used to drink about 20 – 25 cups of tea a day. He categorically refused to consider tea as a stimulating and harmful drink, describing it as an invigorating drink. Tea was also considered a beverage for the elite class in India, Swami Vivekananda had a major contribution in the democratization of tea. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS SUBJECT PLEASE VISIT : https://nithinks.com/2021/06/10/a-happily-tea-adict-country/
When swami Vivekananda got angry
Vivekananda very rarely got angry. But once in Varanasi, when people were not paying attention to his words because of his young age, he angrily said that “I shall not return until I burst on society like a bomb shell, and it will follow me like a dog”
People were stunned to see Swami ji angry, this anger of Swami ji was not a part of his nature but it was a fury born out of the neglect of the elite class.
People who were witnesses to this incident said that Swami Vivekananda was repeatedly urging the enlightened people of Varanasi city to donate to the welfare of the poor, but people were not paying much attention considering him young, so Swami ji could not control his temperament.
My effort in this post was to show some untouched aspects of Vivekananda’s life, if anyone of you has some unique information related to Vivekananda, please share it with me, I’d love to hear your thoughts.