100th Year of Formation of Bihar


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           AUGUST 08, 2012         01. 15 A.M.

This year in 2012 Bihar is celebrating 100 years of its existence as a province of India . Before 1912 Bihar was included in the erstwhile Bengal Presidency of British Indian Empire .

But Bihar’s history is much older that the British Indian Empire and even the rule of Afghans and Mughals .

Ancient Bihar (which consisted of Anga, Videha/Mithila, Magadha and Vajji/Vrijji) was a centre of power , learning and culture in ancient and classical India . From Magadha arose India’s first and greatest empire , the Maurya empire as well as one of the world’s most widely adhered-to religions , Buddhism . Magadha empires , notably under the Maurya and Gupta dynasties , unified large parts of South Asia under a central rule . Its capital Patna , earlier known as Pataliputra, was an important centre of Indian civilization . Nalanda and Vikramshila were centres of learning established in the 5th and 8th century respectively in Bihar , and are counted amongst the oldest and truly international universities , where people from all over the world came to study. Bihar has distinction of giving the world its first democracy through Lichchivi Ganarajya [ modern-day Vaishali district ] during ancient era . Though today , for some , Vaishali is more associated with Aamrapali , than with democracy . But for lovers of history , Vaishali will always be known as the epicentre of the FIRST PARLIAMENT OF THE WORLD .

I am posting few maps , which amply make clear the importance of Bihar and its significant contribution to the cultural ethos of India . From the mythological Magadh of Jarasandh and Anga of Karna of Mahabharata era , to the Maurya period and Chankya era and to the Golden Age of Guptas , Bihar has seen it all .

The approximate extent of the Magadha Empire i...

The approximate extent of the Magadha Empire in the 5th century BC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The ‘16 Great Nations’; Anga is the easternmos...

The ‘16 Great Nations’; Anga is the easternmost, south of Vrijji and east of Magadha (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Nanda Empire at its greatest extent under ...

The Nanda Empire at its greatest extent under Dhana Nanda circa 323 BC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chandragupta's empire when he founded it c. 32...

Chandragupta’s empire when he founded it c. 320 BCE, by the time he was about 20 years old. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chandragupta Maurya's empire in 305 BC after h...

Chandragupta Maurya’s empire in 305 BC after his conflict with Seleucus Nicator. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Maurya Empire after Bindusara's death 269.

The Maurya Empire after Bindusara’s death 269. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ashoka the Great subdued Kalinga, during the K...

Ashoka the Great subdued Kalinga, during the Kalinga War circa 265 BC, and the southern kingdoms. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A map of the Maurya Dynasty, showing ...

English: A map of the Maurya Dynasty, showing major cities, early Buddhist sites, Ashokan Edicts, etc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pataliputra as a capital of Gupta Empire. Appr...

Pataliputra as a capital of Gupta Empire. Approximate greatest extent of the Gupta Empire. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Patliputra as a capital of Sunga Empire. Appro...

Patliputra as a capital of Sunga Empire. Approximate greatest extent of the Sunga Empire (circa 185 BCE). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the end of this glorious and ancient chapter and after the end of not so significant Afghan and Mughal era , East India Company conquered large parts of northern India and became the de – facto rulers . After the Battle of Buxar (1764), the British East India Company obtained the diwani rights (rights to administer, and collect revenue or tax) for Bihar, Bengal and Orissa , [ now Odisha ] . The rich resources of fertile land , water and skilled labour had attracted the foreign imperialists , particularly the Dutch and British , in the 18th century . Bihar remained a part the Bengal Presidency of British India until 1912 , when the province of Bihar and Orissa [ now Odisha ] was carved out as a separate province . Since 2010, Bihar has celebrated its birthday as Bihar Diwas on 22 March . In 1935 , certain portions of Bihar were reorganised into the separate province of Orissa [ now Odisha ] .

Map of United Bihar

Map of United Bihar

In 2000 , Bihar was divided into two and North part of undivided Bihar became Bihar and the Southern part was carved as a separate province and is now known as Jharkhand .

Bihar of Present Day

Bihar of Present Day

After partition , present day Bihar is the 12th largest state of India in terms of geographical size and 3rd largest in population . Apart from Hindi , Bihar is the home of some of the dialects of Hindi , like ; Bhojpuri , Magadhi , Maithili , Angika and Vajjika . For administrative purposes Bihar is divided into 9 divisions and 38 districts .

Location of Bihar in India

Location of Bihar in India

After independence and under the rule of Chief Ministers like ; Krishna Sinha and Anugrah Narayan Sinha , Bihar for some time , basked in the old glory of Patliputra . But it suffered a lot during the rule of Congress in later years . During the 15 year rule of Lalu Prasad Yadav and his wife Rabdi Devi , Bihar reached at its nadir . Lawlessness and anarchy ruled supreme . Day time murders became order of the day . Ransom became a respectable business . Reputation of Chankya’s Bihar and Chandragupta Maurya’s Patliputra was massacred and mutilated by RJD’s Lalu Prasad Yadav . It was further defaced and defiled by his inefficient wife Rabdi Devi .

After all the turmoil and tribulations , Bihar finally rejected RJD of Lalu and elected BJP , JD [ U ] combine in 2005 . Bihar is now marching ahead under the NDA rule . After Gujarat , now it is the second fastest growing state of India .

I am happy that in the centenary year of its existence , Bihar is shedding its infamous and nefarious image and gaining international respectability and appreciation . Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dal [ United ] combine deserve kudos for that . Though it is still miles behind of other states but definitely it is moving ahead and moving fast . May this centenary year be the golden year of Bihar .

I am happy because I have my roots in Bihar . My forefathers originally hailed from the state and only later on they migrated to Uttar Pradesh .

[ Some facts and figures of Bihar have been taken from Wikipedia . I express my gratitude . ]

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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150 Years of Swami Vivekananda


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 31 , 2012           11.40 P.M.

Русский: Свами Вивекананда Свами Вивекананда в...

Swami Vivekanand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I have stated in my earlier blog about Charles Dickens , I was introduced to the world of books and knowledge by my grandfather . Later on , I was encouraged by my father , who used to buy books for me and saw to it that I should read them . My Maa , who too was a voracious reader , also encouraged me to read good books and magazines and thus a life – long passion started very early in my life .

English: Swami Vivekanand

A Young Swami Vivekanand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My father introduced me to the world of Swami Vivekanand . One day he came with a book titled ” UTTISHTHATA JAGRATA ” . I was a book of the lectures of Swami Vivekananda , compiled and edited by Shri Eknath Ranade , a Hindu ideologue and RSS Pracharak .

It was my first brush with the renowned sanyasi of India . I started reading the book and was mesmerized by the sheer beauty of the poetic language and powerful thoughts . His speech in the Parliament of the World’s Religion in Chicago is epitome of lucidity in language . It is something which I have not imagined . It is something which will never be obfuscated from my memory . The words uttered by Swami Vivekananda in his Chicago sermon still keep on ringing in my ears , though I read it many years ago .

English: Higher detail image of Swami_Vivekana...

Higher detail image of Swami_Vivekananda.jpg Swami Vivekananda, September, 1893, Chicaco, signed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After I finished reading ” UTTISHTHATA JAGRATA ” , I bought many books about Swami ji and read them . ” UTTISHTHATA JAGRATA ” and all the other books still adorn my library in my ancestral house at Deoria . I became admirer , follower and a virtual disciple of Swami Vivekananda .

Swami Vivekananda ;  (12 January 1863–4 July 1902), born Narendra Nath Datta  , was a key figure in the introduction of Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the western world , and was credited with raising interfaith awareness , bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion in the late 19th century . He was a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India , and contributed to the notion of nationalism in colonial India . He was the chief disciple of the 19th century saint Ramakrishna and the founder of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission .He will always be known for his inspiring speech beginning with “Sisters and Brothers of America,” through which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893.

Parliament of the World’s Religions opened on 11 September 1893 at the Art Institute of Chicago as part of the World’s Columbian Exposition . On this day Vivekananda gave his first brief address . He represented India and Hinduism , and began his speech with, “Sisters and brothers of America !” .To these words he got a standing ovation from a crowd of seven thousand, which lasted for two minutes . When silence was restored he began his address . He greeted the youngest of the nations in the name of  “the most ancient order of monks in the world , the Vedic order of sannyasins , a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance .” And he quoted two illustrative passages in this relation , from the Bhagavad Gita“As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea , so , O Lord , the different paths which men take , through different tendencies , various though they appear , crooked or straight , all lead to Thee !” and “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form , I reach him ; all men are struggling through paths that in the end lead to Me .” Despite being a short speech , it voiced the spirit of the Parliament and its sense of universality.

Dr. Barrows, the president of the Parliament said, “India, the Mother of religions was represented by Swami Vivekananda , the Orange-monk who exercised the most wonderful influence over his auditors .”  He attracted widespread attention in the press , which dubbed him as the “Cyclonic monk from India”. The New York Critique wrote, “He is an orator by divine right, and his strong, intelligent face in its picturesque setting of yellow and orange was hardly less interesting than those earnest words, and the rich, rhythmical utterance he gave them.”  The New York Herald wrote, “Vivekananda is undoubtedly the greatest figure in the Parliament of Religions. After hearing him we feel how foolish it is to send missionaries to this learned nation.” The American newspapers reported Swami Vivekananda as “the greatest figure in the parliament of religions” and “the most popular and influential man in the parliament”. The Boston Evening Transcript, reported on 30 September 1893 that Vivekananda was “a great favourite at the parliament…if he merely crosses the platform, he is applauded”. He spoke several more times at the Parliament on topics related to Hinduism and Buddhism and harmony of religions . The parliament ended on 27 September 1893 . All his speeches at the Parliament had one common theme of universality , and emphasised religious tolerance .

Whenever I read above mentioned facts about him or try to visualize his presence in Chicago congregation , a sense of pride engulfs me completely . Adoration for him , which started very early in my life , refuses to subside even today.

I wish to visit his birth place and the place where he was cremated and the Rock memorial at Kanyakumari , which incidentally was spearheaded by Shri Eknath Ranade , whose book ” UTTISHTHATA JAGRATA ” hooked me to Swami ji .

English: Birth place of Narendranath Dutta (Sw...

Birth place of Narendranath Dutta (Swami Vivekananda), now it is maintained by the Ramakrishna Mission. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Swami Vivekananda temple at Belur Mat...

Swami Vivekananda temple at Belur Math, at the place where he was cremated. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Memorial for Swami Vivekananda, offsh...

Memorial for Swami Vivekananda, offshore, Kanyakumari, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I feel myself lucky to be born in the same country , where Swami ji was born . I feel myself fortunate to follow the tenets of same Hinduism , to which he also subscribed . I am blessed that by writing this blog on his 150th Anniversary , I could claim that I am also a part of the celebration , though insignificant , though just a spec in the scheme of things , but still I am a part of it .

Swami Vivekananda at Chicago in 1893.

Swami Vivekananda at Chicago in 1893. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Goosebumps and a strange kind of sensation overpowering me at this time , as I am completing this blog .

[ I have taken some facts and some quotes from Wikipedia . I express my gratitude . ]

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Vidur’s Travel Diary – 14 : Sarnath


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 04 , 2012           01.05 A.M.

On the morning of June 17 , 2012 , I started for my native place Deoria from Varanasi . I decide to visit Sarnath , which is world-famous centre of Buddhist religion and is just 13 km. away from Varanasi on Varanasi – Gorakhpur national highway . This was my second visit of Sarnath . I had earlier visited this place almost 30 years back .

It is here in the Mrigadava [ deer park ] , Gautam Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment in Bodh Gaya . According to Buddhist folklore , Lumbini , Bodh Gaya , Sarnath and Kushinagar are the four most important places connected with the life of Gautam Buddha . Lumbini [ Place of his Birth ] , Bodh Gaya [ Place of his Enlightenment ] , Sarnath [ Place of his First Sermon or Dhammachakkappavattan ] and Kushinagar [ Place of his Nirvana ] are pilgrimage centre and visited by devout Buddhists .

Out of these 4 holy cities of Buddhist religion , I have visited 2 cities . Kushinagar was a tehsil headquarter in Deoria district and now it is a separate district . It is 34 km. away from Deoria . I have visited it many times . And this time it was my second visit to Sarnath .

Buddha gave his first sermon or Dhammachakkappavattan in Sarnath . He also spent his first rainy season at Mulagandha Kuti .

Two pillars at the two sides of the road indicate the starting of the boundary of Sarnath .

Main Entrance of Sarnath City

Main Entrance of Sarnath City

Main Road of Sarnath City

Main Road of Sarnath City

Mulagandhakuti Vihara is a modern monastery built in 1930 by king of Sri Lanka Anagarika Dharamapala . It has a golden statue of Gautam Buddha and beautiful murals on the inner walls .

Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple - Sarnath

Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple – Sarnath

My Wife at Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple - Sarnath

My Wife at Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple – Sarnath

Inside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple - Sarnath

Inside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple – Sarnath

Inside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple - Sarnath

Inside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple – Sarnath

Inside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple - Sarnath

Inside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple – Sarnath

Outside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple - Sarnath

Outside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple – Sarnath

My Wife Outside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple - Sarnath

My Wife Outside Mulagandhakuti Vihara Buddhist Temple – Sarnath

Statue of Anagarika Dharamapala , King of Sri Lanka , Who Built The Temple

Statue of Anagarika Dharamapala , King of Sri Lanka , Who Built The Temple

The Inscription

The Inscription

Dhamek Stupa is another important shrine . It is 128 feet high and 93 feet in diameter .

The Dhamekh Stupa - Sarnath

The Dhamekh Stupa – Sarnath

The Dhamekh Stupa - Sarnath

The Dhamekh Stupa – Sarnath

Me & My Wife At The Dhamekh Stupa - Sarnath

Me & My Wife At The Dhamekh Stupa – Sarnath

Me & My Wife At The Dhamekh Stupa - Sarnath

Me & My Wife At The Dhamekh Stupa – Sarnath

Very close to Dhamek Stupa , in Singhpur village , there is birthplace of Shreyansnatha , the 11th Tirthankara of Jainism . A temple is built on that holy place .

Birthplace of Shreyansnath , 11th Tirthankara of Jainism

Birthplace of Shreyansnath , 11th Tirthankara of Jainism

Birthplace of Shreyansnath , 11th Tirthankara of Jainism

Birthplace of Shreyansnath , 11th Tirthankara of Jainism

At Statue of Buddha Giving First Sermon to His Desciples

At Statue of Buddha Giving First Sermon to His Disciples

At Statue of Buddha Giving First Sermon to His Desciples

At Statue of Buddha Giving First Sermon to His Disciples

My Wife At Statue of Buddha Giving First Sermon to His Desciples

My Wife At Statue of Buddha Giving First Sermon to His Disciples

Bell , Donated by Dalai Lama

Bell , Donated by Dalai Lama

The latest in the list of temple is a Thai temple . It has a gigantic statue of Gautam Buddha .

Thai Temple - Sarnath

Thai Temple – Sarnath

Me & My Wife at Thai Temple - Sarnath

Me & My Wife at Thai Temple – Sarnath

Me & My Wife at Thai Temple - Sarnath

Me & My Wife at Thai Temple – Sarnath

Buddha Statue - Thai Temple - Sarnath

Buddha Statue – Thai Temple – Sarnath

Main Entrance of Sarnath City

Main Entrance of Sarnath City

Sarnath is a small town . I completed my visit within few hours and after visiting local museum proceeded for Markandeya Mahadev temple in Aundihar . I have written about that temple in my travel diary of Varanasi .

Like Varanasi , Sarnath is also not a remote place . I intend to visit it again in winters . But again the same feeling ; who knows ?

पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;

बिछी पैरों में नदी ज्यों दर्द की रेखा , विहग शिशु मौन नीड़ों में ; 

मैंने आँख भर देखा , दिया मन को दिलासा ; 
पुनः आऊँगा , भले ही बरस दिन , अनगिन युगों के बाद ;

क्षितिज ने पलक सी खोली , दमक कर दामिनी बोली ;
” अरे यायावर ! रहेगा याद ? “
………………………………………………..अज्ञेय 
[ Tenderness of mighty mountains reflected in pine trees ,
Upward moving pathways symbolizing my enthusiasm ,
River , flowing deep down like a line of pain ,
Tiny tots of birds sitting silently in their nest ,
I saw everything with contentment ,
Consoled myself , I would come again ,
After a year or may be after ages ……….
Horizon opened its eyes , lightning dazzled in the sky ,
As if saying ………………
O Wanderer ! Would you ever even remember ? ]
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