Kailash K.K. : Fri Feb 01 2013, 22:16 hrs
Sadly for Narasimha Rao, his affair with the Congress was one-sided
Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, while delivering the 7th R.N. Rao Memorial lecture last week shared a vignette about someone it appears we are condemned to forget, P.V. Narasimha Rao. In that tiny tidbit, Kalam gave us a glimpse of how the former prime minister and once Congress president worked. On the one hand, he was alive to the proprieties of parliamentary traditions and, on the other, the nugget revealed that he was not chasing history. Rao has seldom receivedcredit for any accomplishment and has more often than not been in the public eye for his miscalculations and omissions.
The disclosure about Rao and the bomb is, in any case, not new. The PM who succeeded him, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, as well as K. Subrahmanyam, another person closely associated with the nuclear policy, had previously acknowledged Rao’s key role in operationalising India’s bomb. This, however, is not about the unsung hero or about parliamentary niceties, but about Rao and his party, the Congress.
The man himself is singularly unusual among contemporary PMs. He was the last PM of a single-party cabinet and also the last to head both government and party at the same time. Significantly, he was also probably the last PM who exercised real power, controlled Parliament, set goals, determined policy lines and got decisions executed. As a leader, Rao backed his own political instincts and was willing to take bold decisions, which he thought would benefit the country and his party, even if it made him unpopular.
He was elected leader of the Congress and chosen to head the government not because he held specific views, but probably because he did not seem to have any. For those who elected him, Rao was, in many ways, the quintessential party man. And he remained so to the very end. He is reported to have said a day before he was sworn in as PM, “As an individual, I feel overwhelmed, utterly humble. But as a representative of a great party, I feel like a colossus.” He was clearly proud of his party. In 1996, when he was defeated and faced a revolt within his party, he told veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar, “Those whoask for my resignation do not appreciate my agony on the compulsion to continue. I have no choice. I have to rehabilitate the party, revive its ethos and put it back on the track.” Once again, it was the party.
Sadly for Rao, his affair with the party was one-sided. The party did not reciprocate this goodwill. For the Congress, he was an outsider. He is not recognised, acknowledged and remembered, and is probably spoken of only in whispers. He serves as their punching bag, to be blamed for all the wrongs. All this after he led the party and the government through one of the most turbulent periods in post-Independence India.
Why does the Congress want to bury Rao? As leader of the Congress and as PM, Rao was probably more concerned with achieving goals and showing results than with how those goals were reached. He knew that he had neither the luxury of time nor the support of friends who were willing to go the distance. Rao, therefore, did not tell us about his dreams or of his pet policy aims, but doggedly tried to set right what he thought was wrong. His single-minded pursuit of often unstated ends, without concern for the means employed, was not necessarily new. Indira Gandhi had been ruthless in her pursuit of partisan ends.
Party organisational literature may provide us with some clues as to why the Congress today wants us to believe that there was no Narasimha Rao. There is always a certain tussle between different elements in any party, especially between the party in public office and the party central office. Scholars of the Congress party identify three distinctive relationship patterns. In the first phase, the Nehru era, the party central office and the party in public office were distinct. The two elements respected each other and worked almost in tandem, with the party in public office playing a lead role. This relationship continued till the mid-1960s.
In the second phase, the difference between the elements collapsed. Indira Gandhi, who controlled both the government and the party, reportedly famously quipped, “Where is the party? I am the party.” Not only did she inaugurate the personality cult, but she also promoted her family. With Rajiv Gandhi taking over, the party and the family fused.
The third phase of the Congress party-government relationship carries features from the past. Inaugurated in 2004, the party central office and the party in public office are formally distinct, as in the first phase. However, the roles are reversed, with the government playing a subsidiary role to the central office. But unlike anytime in the past, the party-family link is much stronger.
Rao’s tenure came during phase two. As PM, he formally controlled both the party and government. However, the party-family link continued to exist, albeit informally. He was the first non-family Congress PM to complete a full term. Given his loyalty to the party or his own personal preference, depending on one’s perspective, he probably attempted to chart a new path, breaking those links. The winds of change threatened many who were accustomed to living “from, rather than for, politics”. For them, their position in the party was perhaps more important than the state of the party itself. Before any change could take root, those invested in the links hit back. When the party was defeated, Rao’s position as leader of the party weakened and he was forced to quit.
So, in today’s Congress, Rao is an odd man. He had attempted to steer a new path, which the party refused to take. If the party were to acknowledge him, it would implicitly give him and his actions legitimacy. It pays, therefore, to discredit him or, even better, to forget him.
The writer is with the department of political science, Panjab University, Chandigarh
Published Date: Feb 23, 2013 5:48 PM
Last Updated: Feb 23, 2013 5:52 PM
BJP today warned the government against going ahead with the Sethusamudram project, saying the sentiments of crores of Hindus are attached to the issue and it will not tolerate any tampering with the Ram Setu.
“We would like to warn the government on the Ram Setu issue. It is ignoring the recommendations of the R K Pachauri Committee report and going ahead with the project. This is an issue related to Hindu sentiments and beliefs,” party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.
The principal opposition party demanded scrapping of the project.
The Pachauri Committee, which submitted its report to the Supreme Court, has said the Sethusamudram shipping channel project is not viable on economic and ecological grounds.
Government has rejected the report and maintained that it intends to pursue the project which will cut through the Adam’s Bridge, popularly known as Ram Setu.
“BJP and the nation will not tolerate any tampering with the Ram Setu. Why is cutting through it the only solution?” Prasad asked.
Asked about the government’s contention that over Rs 800 crore has already been spent on the project, the BJP leader said it is not a question of what amount was spent but why this expenditure was incurred in the first place.
“Without the Ram Setu you cannot think of the Ramayana,” Prasad said, adding that sentiments of crores of Hindu are attached to the issue.
Ram Setu is the mythical bridge on which Lord Ram and his army crossed the sea to invade Ravan’s kingdom.
BJP has always been opposed to the Sethusamudram project which envisages dredging of a shipping channel, proposed to be 30 m wide, 12 m deep and 167 km long, across the Palk Straits between India and Sri Lanka.
Rameshwaram Ramasetu Protection Movement
6 MV Naidu St., Chetpet, Chennai 600043
President: S. Kalyanaraman National Secretary: D. Kuppuramu
Feb. 23, 2012
UPA Government together with the DMK of Tamilnadu should not attempt to revive the Setu channel project which has been declared to be an ecological and economic disaster by the Pachauri Committee.
We demand that there should be increased security in the Indian Ocean region of Sethusamudram in the context of increased Chinese naval presence in the Ocean and to safeguard the maritime traffic passing through the Indian Ocean.
We demand projects be implemented URGENTLY to provide livelihood opportunities for coastal people. The context is the recent changes to Law of the Sea which extends territorial waters beyond 20 nautical miles from the shoreline and creates a 200 nautical mile Special Maritime Economic Zone from the long shoreline of 8000 kms. of India. We demand that Marine cooperatives should be formed, fishing berths enhanced to berth larger fishing vessels, provided with air-conditioned storage facilities. Coastal people dependent upon coastal aquaculture activities should be provided with larger boats which they can ply upto 200 nautical miles of Special Maritime Zone on three days and nights fishing and aquaculture expeditions.
Setuchannel project was clearly envisaged to fill the pockets of politicos and foreign dredging companies. Any effort to revive such an uneconomic and ecologically disastrous project affecting the security and safety of the coastline near the fragile Gulf of Mannar in Sethusamudram will meet with severe protests from the coastal people of Tamil Nadu. Coastal People of Tamil Nadu congratulate the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Smt. Dr. Jayalalithaa for taking a clear and unequivocal stand in the Hon’ble Supreme Court declaring cancellation of the Setuchannel project and protection for Rama setu declaring it as a National Monument. Any mischievous political attempts of UPA Government supported by DMK which has lost peoples’ support will invite protests which will throw out the UPA Government from office.
S. Kalyanaraman, Ph.D.
National President, Rameshwaram Ramasetu Protection Movement
6 MV Naidu St., Chetpet, Chennai 600043
On Dr. Subramanian Swamy’s petition, Supreme Court, in April 2012 had directed Govt. of India to make available copies of the Pachauri Committee Report to the petitioners.
The following ‘DRAFT REPORTS’ dated June 2011 have been made available:
Volume 1: Environmental impact assessment for alignment 4A of Sethusamudram Channel
Part I: Marine EIA of National Institute of Oceanography, Goa (Pages 1 to 545)
Volume 2: Part II: EIA related to land environment and socio-economics by NEERI, Nagpur (Pages 1 to 198). and Part III: Cost-benefit analysis by IIM, Bangalore (Pages 199 to 477).
Key excerpts from the three parts of EIA and Cost-benefit analyses are presented in the following pages.
Comments by Rameshwaram Ramasetu Protection Movement:
The Setusamudram channel project should be abandoned. The project is NOT only economically unviable, but is a national security risk for the fragile coastline and conservation of nuclear resources of thorium. A world heritage zone should not become kaarasthan and an economic disaster for the shankha industry of keezhakkarai which yields Rs. 25 crores per annum income. Alternative transport systems between east and west coasts and alternative marine cooperatives as special economic zones for coastal people should be considered by Government.
1. The DRAFT REPORTS make no mention of the imperative of declaring Rameshwaram Island as sacred pilgrimage, and Ramasetu as national monument.
2. It is surprising that after a prolonged period since the Supreme Court gave directions to Govt. to explore alternative to the channel project, only DRAFT segmented reports have been made available, WITHOUT ANY INDICATION of the views and comments on these draft reports, from the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Finance, particularly because the Cost-benefit analysis (Part III) clearly states that,based on Stage 1 analysis, neither alignment 6 nor alignment 4A meets the “benchmark rate of return of 12% for a range of scenarios. Stage 2 is likely to add significant costs impacting viability further.” (Page 202 Part III Cost-benefit analysis, appended). Thus, it is clear that the channel project should be abandoned by the Government as UNVIABLE economically. Further, it is surprising that the Pachauri Committee did not consider alternatives to meet the objectives of navigation between the west coast and east coast of India by use of natural gas and fossil fuel pipelines between west and east, development of international standard container ports at Vizhinjam and Tuticorin with container freight corridors from west coast to the hinterland of India and to the east coast. Alternatives of laying railway line between Colombo and New Delhi could also have been considered.
3. Environment Impact Analyses contains many instances of suggestio falsi and suppressio veri. The impact of developing marine cooperatives as special economic zones with enhanced fishery ports with air-conditioned storage facilities to enhance the livelihood opportunities of the coastal people has NOT been considered. The impact of the recent changes in the Law of the Sea approved by many members including India of the United Nations, effectively extending the territorial waters from the shoreline to 200 nautical miles as special economic zones has NOT been considered. These changes will necessitate better berthing facilities for larger fishing vessels to effectively and sustainably exploit the resources of the Indian ocean.
4. In Part I a serious situation endangering the proposed channel is indicated, without suggesting any remedial measures. “Tectonics and Tsunami. The subsidence and submergence of the southern part of Dhanushkodi township in 1948-1949 along a WNW-ESE trending fault has been established…Shallow bathymetry and sidescan-sonar surveys, along with seabed sampling and underwater videography, have suggested vertical tectonic movement along the fault parallel to the coastline…The December 2004 tsunami entered the GoM (Gulf of Mannar) from the south and its effect was recorded in the tide gauge at Tuticorin…The impact of a tsunami on the channel itself, however, may be considerable.”(Part I, Pages 399-400). In countries like Japan which are prone to tsunamis, protective measures such as sea-protection walls are put in place. It is surprising that the Pachauri committee makes no comments on measures to be put in place in case another tsunami occurs in the region, particularly from the tectonically active Aceh region. The Part I report also notes clearly that Dhanushkodi is directly along the tectonic fault line. No measures are indicated to cope with this geophysical situation, apart from NOT considering the geological fact that Gulf of Mannar has dormant volcano(s) attested by the presence of volcanic rocks called Mannar volcanics.
The Pachauri Committee Draft Reports of June 2011 have NO INDICATION of consultation with and obtaining concurrence from Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, Wild life authorities, Minsitry of Agriculture (concerned with aqua-culture) and agencies concerned with the maintenance of the Marine Bioreserve of the Rameshwaram Island-Gulf of Mannar –Pamban Bay complex. There is also NO INDICATION that the accumulation and protection of the monazite sands near Manavalakurichi, Aluva and Chavara have been taken note of; the accumulation of the rare earths sand complex, so close to the project region, perhaps caused by the clock-wise and anti-clock-wise movements of waves of the Indian ocean, explaining the accumulation of the world’s largest thorium reserves so essential for the country’s nuclear programs. http://www.irel.gov.in/
5. Alignment 4A considered by the Pachauri Committee is close to Alignment 4 earlier rejected on environmental grounds by the earlier impact assessment done by NEERI. As to why these concerns have now been ignored has not been clarified in the draft reports. For example, the livelihood of people dependent upon the shell resources (shankha) of Keezhakkari and other locations has to be evaluated in detail. The shankha industry alone fetches an annual income of Rs. 25 crores to the coastal people with offices of the West Bengal Development Corporation having offices in Keezhakkari to acquire shankha products. Without a shankha bangle, marriages in Bengal and Orissa are not complete. This project region is a major source of shankha.
6. 5. A serious omission is non-adherance to the terms of reference set out for the Committee set out in Part I, pages 545 to 549. Item VI socio-economic and occupational health section demands evaluation, inter alia, of the following aspects of the project area:
· Economic history of the region
· Occupational distribution and location of work force
· Tourism and recreation
· Religious pattern
Reproduced from the email received from Dr.Ranganathan
-Here the presiding deity is Lord Cheluva-Narayana Swamy or Tirunarayana or Lord Krishna. In one of the annual report of Mysore Archeaelogical Department, it stated that people used to worship here even before Sri Ramanujacharya renovated this temple and offered prayer. From the records of that period there seems to Tamil influence and vaishnava worship in this area. Tamil influence one may argue from the name “Tirunarayanapuram”. The word “Thiru” is typically used in Tamil language. The Wodeyar kings of Mysore were special patrons of this temple and has bestowed special offers and protection. Raja Wodeyar in 1614 adopted vaishnava religion and offered a gold crown set with precious jewels known as Raja mundi. Krishnaraja Wodeyar III also present one such crown known as Krishnaraja mundi. There is another crown — Vairamudi or Vajramukuta, which seems to be older than the other two crowns but no one knows where from it came. The annual festival of this temple is known as vairamudi festival and it draws lakhs of people.
Melukote is a famous piligrimage center situated in Mandya district, Karnataka. This place is also known as Thirunarayanapuram, Yadavagiri or Yadugiri nestled in the Cauvery river valley. Two temples reside in this town, one on the foothills and the other on top of the hill. In the twelfth century the great Srivaishnava saint Ramanujacharya lived here for more than 14 years. These temples existed even before Sri Ramanujacharya came to this place.
The presiding deity of the temple on the foothills is Lord Vishnu known as Thirunarayana or Cheluvaraya installed by Lord Krishna. The utsavamurthy (small metal statue representing the main deity, that can be taken on a parade) is known as Cheluvapille Raya or Cheluvanarayana Swamy or Sampatthu Kumara Swamy whose original name is Ramapriya. Legend narrates that Shri Rama and his son Kusha has worshipped this statue and hence the name Ramapriya. This utsavamurthy was lost when the moghuls invaded the place and it was recovered by Ramanujacharya from Bibi Nachiyaar the daughter of Mohammed Shah. Bibi Nachiyaar was given this idol as a toy to play with and instead of playing with the idol, she worshipped it and became a devotee. She was heartbroken when her dad without consulting her gave away the statue to Sri Ramanujacharya. In search of her Lord she came to Melukote from Delhi on horseback and saw the statue and collapsed in front of it. Her soul in the form of a jyothi (flame) merged into the idol. Hence in honor of her devotion, she is worshipped along with the lord and her idol can be seen at the feet of both the main deity and the utsavmurthy.
There are three ponds in the town, two on the foothills and another on top of the hill. Beautiful stone carved pillared mantaps (pendals)surround the pond.
The temples have been under the patronage of the Mysore royal family and is endowed with valuable jewellery given to the lord by the Wodeyars. Two beautiful crowns have been gifted to the Lord by the Wodeyars known as Krishnaraja-mudi, Vairamudi or Vajramukuta and another crown, which is older than the other two is given to the Lord by an unknown person. The Vairamudi festival, which is the chief annual celebration in the month of March-April is attended by more than 400,000 people. On this day the main deity Tirunarayana is adorned with a diamond corwn and taken out in a procession. It is believed that this crown is not to be seen when it is not adorned by the Lord so, the chief priest is blindfloded while taking the crown out from the treasury.
A shrine houses Vishnu’s consort Yadugiri Taayaar. The hall in front of this shrine comprises of many ornately carved stone pillars. Each pillar is different from the other depicting scenes from various Hindu epics. The intricate latticework on the pillars is awesome.
The other temple is on one of the rocky hills at a height of 1,777 mtr above sea level. The majestic gopura is visible from far, which is the Yoganarasimha temple of Melukote. Legend says that the idol was installed by Prahalada, son of Hiranyakashap. This temple is referred in the holy texts of Vedic literature, which dates back to thousands of years. 400 steps lead to this temple. It is believed to be one of the seven holy centers of Narasimha worship.
Vairamudi Brahmostava will be celebrated at Melkote. This is an annual festival which gathers more than 2 lakh devotees of Lord Cheluva Narayana. Thirunarayana Puram another name for Melkote adorns a festive grandeur on this day when the Lord adorns the legendary diamond studded crown, the Vaira Mudi. It is believed that Lord Krishna Himself presented this crown to Cheluva Narayana. The Lord is taken in procession on the golden Garuda with His divine consorts Sridevi Bhudevi, around the main streets of the city.
Vairamudi, the diamond crown was stolen from Sriman Narayana, when he was asleep at his abode in the Ksheera Sagara (Milky Ocean), by Virochana. Virochana was the kind of demons and the son of Bhakta Prahlada. Garuda was asked by the lord’s devotees to bring back the crown. Garuda went after Virochana to the neither world, fought with the demon king and flew back with the crown.
According to the legend it is believed that Vairamudi lost its blue gem on the crest while Garuda was bringing it. The blue gem is believed to have fallen near Nachiar Koil, a temple town in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. The gem turned into a stream, called the Manimuttaru, which to this day flows in Thanjavur. On his way, he saw Bala Krishna playing with his friends in the mid day sun at Brindavana. Garuda protected the Bala Krishna from the sun by placing his wings as the shade placed the crown on his head. The local legends of Melkote claim that Krishna presented Cheluva Narayana with this crown.
Lord Cheluva Narayana is the son of Acharya Ramanuja, who was at Melkote for 12 years. It is believed that Cheluva Narayana, was also worshipped by Lord Rama, the King of Ayodhya.
Thirunarayan Puram now Melkote has the temple of Lord Narasimha which was consecrated by Prahlada. This has been a birth place for many Vaishanvite Acharyas. There is a research center for spiritual learning and Sanskrit Academy in the sylvan setting of Melkote.
Large number of devotees throng Mandhya district, on the previous night to witness the Procession of the Lord. The whole town of Mandhya prepares for the event.
The preparation for the Brahmotsava starts well before 2 weeks. Actual celebrations take place for 13 days. Garudotsava is celebrated a day before the Brahmotsava at Melkote. The district administration of Mandhya makes rigorous arrangements for bringing the Vairamudi crown from Mandhya treasury to the temple amidst stringent security measures. It is believed that the crown must not be exposed to daylight. Hence it will be placed in a special casket. Under vigilance of Mandhya police it arrives at the boundaries of the town. It is from here taken upto the temple with honors in a special palanquin. It reaches the temple by evening.
The crown is placed in front of sanctum of Sri Acharya Ramanuja and the head priest places the Vaira Mudi and fits it to the statue of the Lord Cheluva Narayana. It is tradition that even the head priest should not look at the Vaira Mudi in naked eyes till it is fitted to the Lord. Hence the priest covers his eyes with a silk cloth while fitting the crown.
This takes place in the night and then the Lord and his consorts are traditionally decorated and procession continues to the dawn of the next day. The quiet town of Melkote comes to life with the grandeur and majesty of the procession. Rajamudi, another crown studded with precious stones is adorned on the Lord on the next day of the Brahmotsava.
During the 13 day celebration, Kalyanotsava, Nagavalli Mahotsava will be held in the Holy Kalyani, followed by Maharatotsava
GALLERY OF VAIRAMUDI BRAHMOTSAVA:
Now even Govts think, Jammu Kashmir not Bharat?
Asks Dr Pravin Togadia after not being allowed to enter Jammu
New Delhi, February 21, 2013
For the officially announced public programmes & Darshan at Shri Bhagwan Raghunath ji temple, VHP International Working President Dr Pravin Togadia went to Jammu this morning. At Jammu airport itself he was stopped by the J&K state police & the Addl District Magistrate. He was handed over by them the ‘Prohibition for Entry’ order on his arrival at the airport where he was not allowed to get out of the airport for his programmes. The VHP officials & volunteers were waiting for him outside the airport, they had his medicine with them but even they were not allowed to meet him. Making him sit there at the airport since his early morning arrival, surrounded by the gunmen, he was being sent back by the late afternoon flight.
Reacting to this, Dr Togadia said, “Indian Parliament has passed a resolution a long time back that Jammu Kashmir including the current POK are an integral part of Bharat. But as a citizen of Bharat, while I have full right to travel anywhere in Bharat, today prohibiting me from entering Jammu, the Union & State govts gave in to the hands of the separatists who keep on claiming that Jammu Kashmir not Bharat. This is a violation of my fundamental constitutional rights. The Govt stopped me from even going for the Darshan of Bhagwan Raghunathji. This is a violation of my religious rights as well. Airport comes under the Union Govt. Allowing the state police on the airport is a decision of the Union Govt. This means that both the Union & the state Govts have connived against a citizen of Bharat for stopping him from entering Jammu. This is obviously to help the supporters of Afzal Guru who was hanged as a convict for the parliament attack. They announced revenge & both these Govts helped them achieve it by sending a VHP Working President back from the airport. Their letter says (like a future predictor): ‘Your inflammatory & provocative speeches WILL disturb LAND & order in the state & disturb the peace in the state.’ Stone pelting by the separatists: allowed; Yassin Malik, Sayeed Ali Shah Gilani allowed anywhere in Bharat; even Rehman Malik of Pakistan to Ajmer allowed when he says 26/11 Mumbai attack was done by Bharat; but Togadia not allowed in Jammu! This is sheer discrimination on the basis of religion & it is anti-constitutional & anti-Hindu.”
Dr Togadia further added, “Yassin Malik goes to Pakistan, sits with the wanted terrorist Hafiz Sayeed; thousands of separatists play havoc by stone pelting on the J&K streets. These young stone-pelters helped by Pakistan & the youth from POK claiming to have given up Jehad are given jobs in the J&K police dept & now today the J&K police stops nationalist like me from even entering Jammu. For long Hindus in & around Jammu have been facing injustice & discrimination in education, jobs, loans & safety. Many such families would have met me to give the details. Obviously Govts did not want their horrible plight to reach the rest of the nation. For vote bank politics, they have stopped Hindus from doing Darshan, from doing public programme for charity & also from exercising their fundamental right to travel & speak. Treating me like an infiltrator or a terrorist at Jammu airport, both the Union & the State Govt have hurt Hindu sentiments. Hindus will give apt answer democratically & peacefully to this anti-constitutional anti-Hindu politics through their votes in the state and nationally.”