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ARYAN JAMBOREE WAS SPIRITUALLY REWARDING
By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
ISHWAR has been kind to me and to hundreds of thousand Aryas professing the Vedic Dharma enunciated by Maharishi Swami Dayanand Saraswati in the nineteenth century India that is Bharat. He had founded the Arya Samaj on 10 April 1875 to carry forward the mission of preaching and propagating the Vedic Dharm as enunciated by him in his treatise, Satyarth Prakash and buttressed by Rigvrdadi Bhashya Bhumika and Sanskar Vidhi. Of course, through his Will and Last Testament finalized in Maharana’s Udaipur in February 1883, the reformer Swami reconstituted the Paropkarini Sabha designating it as his successor to continue his mission of Reformation. Now 129 years after the sad demise of the Rishivar, as we address Dayanand Saraswati, a big Jamboree was held at Rohini, Delhi to take stock of the present position and formulate plans for the future.
SEEING IS BELIEVING
Had I not seen the scenes of Aryas from all over India and thirtytwo other countries and from the five Continents assembling at the Swarna Jayanti Park smoothly and comparing notes cheerfully, I would not have believed an official of the Delhi Arya Pratinidhi Sabha describing these scenes in glowing terms. I was present there all along and lodged nearby in a guest house so that I remain constantly in touch with the events of the Antar-Rashtriya Arya Mahasammelan-2012. Although 26 Sammelans were held in years gone by in different countries and the present one was termed as the 27th Maha – Sammelan, it was not officially designated as such. However, Prakash Arya, General Secretary of the Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha vouched for its authenticity. However, never before had Aryas assembled in such large numbers at one place in furtherance of a common aim, Propagation of the Vedic Dharm.
My wife, Sudha and I arrived at the Reception a day earlier so that we do not miss any event or a conversation concerning conversion of others to the Vedic viewpoint on various topics under the sun. I am not sure if we progressed on this road but we did travel a long time. They were highly educated men and women and some of them had no association with any faith or an organized religion. Nevertheless the keen interest that the non-believers took in the proceedings convinced the Arya Samaj officials that here was a rich crop of fence sitters mentally prepared to be convinced and converted to the Vedic Dharm.
Brahmachari Raj Singh, an ardent Arya Samajist who practices what he preaches, presently Pradhan of the Delhi Arya Pratinidhi Sabha was the moving spirit behind such a mammoth show never held by any Arya Samaj before. He had spent long hours pouring over problems and discussing with friends, colleagues and fellow office bearers of the Delhi Sabha so that no minor details were left unattended. Vinay Arya, Mantri of the Arya Pratinidhi Sabha ably assisted the Pradhan and other office bearers were always around to tender their advice as and when called upon to do so. It was indeed amazing that no one among them raised the pitch of voice or used epithets showing annoyance or anger while debating pros and cons of a particular proposal. A pleasant surprise indeed.
I had landed there in the midst of this kind of environment to collect papers to be presented to the hotel or a guest house that would lodge me and my wife for the next four days plus. However, despite the prevailing efficiency around, the responsible people just did an irresponsible act by sending me to a hotel that had no room available for us that day or thereafter. The volunteer at the Reception counter was informed about it and he was indeed apologetic. Thereafter, we were guided to the correct place of stay after roaming around and burning our expensive automobile fuel of the hired taxi. That made my purse a bit more light than it should have been. In a soliloquy I told myself, Never mind old boy, such things do happen. I chose to forget it just as we forget a bad dream. Soon came Sachdeva, a volunteer in-charge of allotting accommodation and apologized profusely. I could see through his sincerity and accepted what he said as the gospel truth.
Sachdeva, a bank official, and I became friends thereafter and he was with us all along catering to the administrative requirements. Nice guy he is and I told him so. Later he doubled up as the PRO of the Delhi Sabha and provided me the required background material required for doing my running commentary on the flag hoisting ceremony next day, the morning of 25th October 12.
AUM DHWAJ HOISTING CEREMONY
The Sun rose in the East as usual. We did our Vedic Sandhya and left the living room after a frugal breakfast. Sachdeva, our new friend was there at the main gate to receive us and escort us to the venue of the Flag-hoisting ceremony. The tribal dancers from Chhattisgarh looked lovely in their tribal attire and gave us a few glimpses of their performance. Enjoyable indeed.
A quick rehearsal of the final performance was very welcome. The music was as exotic as the costume. The costume contained some outlandish items and the children present there just wanted to pluck the shiny musical bells that jingled with the slightest movement of the dancer’s body or a whiff of fresh air. After the performances of various dances, the dancers themselves presented items that had enamoured our future citizens and leaders. Mirth and merry-making pervaded the clean environment.
In the centre of the ground there was a square raised platform. In its centre was the Rifle in reverse order with a helmet on top of the butt. This position of the personal weapon of a soldier denotes that the warrior has made the supreme sacrifice and he is being paid a solemn tribute by the surviving soldiers.
The drill of paying a SHRADDHANJALI was quickly gone through volunteers of the Arya Veer Dal in uniform and ceremonial regalia.
Prakash Arya came soon after, I offered that he share d the commentary time with me and he readily agreed., I exercised my privilege of dpening the commentary on the Aastha channel. I must make a mention of the national flags of 28 countries( a few did not bring theirs) fluttering in the morning breeze. We were informed that we were to make our own arrangements for sustenance in the evening. No problem, we muttered.
At the entrance to the flag square stood Mahashay Dharmpal Ji, MDH masala fame, Chairman of the Reception Committee of this mega event, his son and joint Adhyaksh of the Reception Committee, Shri Rajiv Gulati Ji to do the ceremony of flag-hoisting. As I mentioned their arrival for the event at the gate, Prakash Arya went there to receive them and escort them to the Dhwaj Sthal and brief them. Prakash Arya gave a short account of the AUN flag and its short history. I went on the air again to explain the military significance.
I think it would be in order to make a mention of a lot of students who came from the Delhi Gurukul run by the Arya Samaj where Brahmcharis from all the North-Eastern states are brought for value based education and development of National Thought and Action. They looked bright and happy to be here.
The Guest Duo hoisted the flag. A CD on the AUM DHWAJ GEET prepared for this august occasion was played and it went on the air too. Inspiring Anthem indeed.
Vinay Arya, Mantri of the Delhi Arya Pratinidhi Sabha thaked all personnel concerned. He was generous in his appreciatory remarks. On that note, the first event of the first day of the 4-day Arya MahaSammelan came eo an end. All assembled Aryas were requested to please move to the main Lecture Pandal. Thus the focus of attention was ow on the main platform and the lectern. Thus came to an end my first assignment of the opening day.
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WHY HIMALAYAN WAR INDIA LOST
By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
The People’s Liberation Army, commonly called PLA of the People’s Republic of China, rolled down the Himalayan slopes into NEFA on 20th October 1962 in the wee hours of the morning and caught the defending Indian Army’s 7 Infantry Brigade unawares. The Chinese land forces launched simultaneous attacks in Ladakh and in northern Uttar Pradesh to overwhelm the Indian Army on all fronts. The Chinese troops had captured the town of Tawang on the main axis of Sela-Bomdilla, Walong on the Eastern front of NEFA, ignored the pockets of Indian troops in UP and fought a battle in Rezangala in Ladakh and won decisively. In the Eastern sector of Nefa, now Arunachal Pradesh, the fear of Enemy numbed the Indian Army troops and officers into inaction or put them into the disorganized withdrawal mode where they ran like headless chicken bereft of guidance by a robust leadership. Commanders had fled drom the conflict zone before the battle had begun leaving frightened forces to fend for themselves.
The Chinese army initially butchered many fleeing Indian soldiers but later took prisoners of war in thousands.
It was the same story all over the Himalayan front from Ladakh to NEFA but for some saga of bravery like that of Major Shaitan Singh of 13 Kumaon at Rezangla where they faced the enemy and fought to the last man and last round, bore the bullets on their chest and never thought of disengaging with the invading Chinese army. The snow fell and preserved bodies of the Brave in the assault position where none had a bullet mark on the back right from Major Shaitan Singh, company commander to a rifleman in the hurriedly dug shallow trench. Major Shaitan Singh was honoured by the nation with the highest gallantry award, the Param Vir Chakra.
A JCO in the NEFA sector, Subedar Joginder Singh too was awarded the Param Vir Chakra for gallantry beyond the call of duty. Of course, a Garhwal Rifles battalion that was made POWs, commanding officer downwards also received Maha Vir Chakra and so on.
The Indian Army had never suffered such an ignoble defeat and were never so much ashamed of their behavior unbecoming of a Jawan of the Indian Army as the one narrated heretofore. Unsoldierly and unofficerlike, to say the least.
WHO TOOK THE BLAME
None, my countrymen, none. Here lies the tragedy of human behavior where an exercise is launched to find the scapegoat. The tendency of human beings to pass the buck was never so much in evidence as during the post-defeat in the Sino-Indian war of 1962.
Among major reports that were prepared with great insight is the Henderson-Brooks report. However, that is still under wraps and classified as Top Secret. So a student of military history cannot do objective research into the causes of the NEFA debacle where the PLA had a walk over. Some senior officers of the Indian Army resigned or opted to retire prematurely because many an accusing finger of specialists in matters military had been pointing at them all along. Of course, among the heads of top brass that rolled were those of the Chief of the Army Staff, General Thapar, Chief of General Staff, General B.M. Kaul who had taken over as the General Officer Commanding of 4 Corps assigned to defend the entire Eastern Sector. However, instead of being with is vast corps of officers and Jawans in the mountains during the difficult days when PLA overran the Indian defences, General Kaul was enjoying the cool comforts of his bedroom at home in New Delhi ostensibly nursing a sore throat. Many other officers at various levels chose to write an obituary of their military career themselves rather than face an enquiry for Desertion and Dereliction of duty resulting in their trial by a General Court Martial.
The biggest bat to fall then was that of VK Krishna Menon, the then Defence Minister. The public perception was that he carved out a private army of loyalists who were at his beck and call 24 by 7 and went to the extent of disobeying the lawful command of their own immediate superior officers. Krishna Menon thus destroyed the ethos of the Corps of officers. He employed the army for achieving non-military results like building housing colonies or doing farming in army cantonments. Thus the army had no time or inclination for military training and in due course of time became unfamiliar with their own weapon system. Tactics and collective training remained on pages of pamphlets. Thus Krishna Menon, a communist card holder, reduced the professionally sound Indian Army to just a rag-tag army fit for farming but NOT fit for war. When a real shooting war began, the farming army took to heels and lost its reputation as a professional army. Krishna Menon never thought that a friendly China would attack India but the unfolding events proved how wrong he was.
Jawaharlal Nehru cannot escape the blame of being an architect of India’s ignominious defeat as the Prime Minister of India. He blindly relied on Krishna Menon and accepted his insane advice as gospel truth ignoring or summarily rejecting the well considered military opinion of the battle hardened Generals who had a vast experience of matters military. Nehru was myopic in many cases like not considering China as a potential enemy even for the sake of an academic discussion. Nehru was so immersed into the concept of Hindi-Cheeni Bhai Bhai and the theory of Panchsheel that he regarded the Chinese people as twin brothers of the Indian people. Zhou Enlai and Jawaharlal Nehru had a number of formal and informal meetings in New Delhi and Beijing but the end result was that the border dispute continued to be where it was on Day One. The Chinese Army prepared for war while their Prime Minister and the Indian PM enjoyed smoking pipe of peace.
The Chinese people in general and their political leadership are an enigma to the rest of the humanity. Many experienced Sinologists find it difficult to fathom the depth of their inner thoughts by reading the face. The face remains unchanged despite many emotional upheavals in the mind. Nehru too never understood what the real intention of the Prime Minister of China was. The Republic of India paid for this costly failure of Nehru. Nehru too suffered a stroke within a year or so of losing the war and could never recover from this sad illness.
MILITARY ASSESSMENT OF GENERAL THORAT
Lieutenant General SPP Thorat was C-in-C of the Eastern Command of the Indian Army then located in the Lucknow Cantonment. An experienced and down to earth General he had a psychological understanding of an average China man. General Thorat had studied their nature and the reactions of their commanders who were PoWs of the UN in the Korean War when General Thorat was the GOC of the Custodian Force guarding prisoners of war of both Koreas. He utilized this knowledge in making a military assessment of the potential war scenario on the India-China border along the Himalayas. General Thorat’s assessment was that the PLA of China would be egged on by their political leadership to attack NEFA and Ladakh of India, the areas that the Imperial China had been claiming as theirs.
One political theory is that Chairman Mao wished to consolidate his position in the political system there and so a military adventure was required. In my opinion this scenario is a far fetched one. Mao Zedong had himself told Henry Kissinger of USA that he had advised the Chinese military commanders to avoid a military engagement with our neighbour, India. However, when Nehru made a provocative public statement that he had ordered the Indian Army to throw out the Chinese, we thought that China must return the courtesy to India. Thus the war began.
Returning to the well documented military assessment of General Thorat that he had the intelligence report about the Chinese army massing their troops and armaments along the borders even before 1960. General Thorat had also prepared a counter plan of defence and wished to have to implement it on the ground.. He, however, never got the nod of the govt. The then Defence Minister just rubbished it and he was advised to concentrate on defending India against an attack by Pakistan.
An important fact that emerges from General Thorat’s Assessment is the deployment of the Indian Air Force to bomb the concentration of the Chinese troops on the other side of the borders. We had air superiority compared to the Chinese air force and our deployment of the IAF would have made considerable difference to the outcome of war fifty years ago and averted the massive defeat of the Indian Army. Unfortunately the political leaders of India had a pro-China mindset and it was beyond their comprehension that the Indian bombers would bomb the Chinese troops on the Chinese soil.
Jawaharlal Nehru and VK Krishna Menon gave a cold shoulder to General Thorat and dismissed his plan of deployment of the Indian Air Force in the 1962 India’s China war with just a wave of hand.
Moral of the story is that the sound advice and considered opinion of the Army Generals in Matters Military must be heeded to by the civilian leadership running the government. A failure to do so may result in a military debacle like the one that India suffered half a century ago at the hands of China. Wise men learn from their past mistakes and India must draw a lesson for future.
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HAVAN IS A GREAT SOCIAL LEVELLER
By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM
The Arya Samaj founded by Maharishi Swami Dayanand Saraswati in 1875 in Mumbai with one hundred members on roll lays an emphasis on Havan. Havan purifies the environment, cleanses by-products of pollution that come into play because of human existence on Planet Earth. When we humans pollute the environment, it is indeed our social duty to cleanse everything around to let our fellow human beings breathe clean air and get rid of both seen and unseen pollution. Havan is indeed the medium of cleansing the environment right from Day One when Man was passed on the divine knowledge in the form of Vedas.
WHAT IS HAVAN
HAVAN is one of the Five religious obligations that an Arya Samajist is called upon to perform daily. The first two of the Five yajnas have gained more importance than the other three and, therefore, are known to just about everyone owing allegiance to the realm of the Vedas. The first one is Vedic Sandhya or the Brahm Yajna and the second one is HAVAN or the DEV YAJNA. Let us dwell on them a little bit in detail for the benefit of those Aryas who have joined the Arya Samaj in the last few years and also are the first generation Arya Samajists. Indeed it is the social duty and religious obligation of the comparatively older Arya Samajists to initiate their co-religionists into the proper form of religious obligations as laid down by no less a person than Maharishi Swami Dayanand Saraswati himself.
PANCH MAHAYAJNA VIDHI
With a view to defending your universal Vedic Dharma against an onslaught of Mr Ignoramous, it is essential that our Grihastha should have an adequate grounding into the Vedic Dharm .A Vedic preacher who has acquired sufficient knowledge of theory and practice of the Vedic Dharm as interpreted by Maharishi Swami Dayanand Saraswati may consider himself adequately armed to defend and protect the tenets of the Vedic Dharm and at the same time to launch a frontal attack on the adversary so that he blows the bugle of Retreat. Thus the Vedic preacher will gain additional votaries and increase the number of followers of the Vedas who would adhere to its tenets.
One does not expect a new co-religionist to be a master of tenets of the Vedic Dharm overnight. It takes a good grounding and constant practice to gain mastery over the basics. Indeed the first and the foremost book recommended to form the Base is SATYARTH PRAKASH, a magnum opus of the founder Swami himself. That should give a good base and the other two books in the series are called the SANSKAR VIDHI and Rigvedadi Bhashya Bhumika. Of course, the last two may wait until the first one, LIGHT OF TRUTH is read time and again and the fundamentals of the Vedic Dharm are imbibed, absorbed and digested to be a part of personality forever. Indeed the Sandhya and Havan will go on simultaneously as these two never interfere but supplement self study.
Let us list the five YAJNAS that an Arya Samajist is expected to perform daily. These are: Brahma Yajna or SANDHYA and a devotee recites mantras of the Vedic prayer, Sandhya twice a day. In the wee hours of morning, just after the twilight, an Acharya or Purohit takes his Aasan on a raised platform and invites undivided attention of the congregation to performing Sandhya collectively. A devotee should withdraw from the outer world and concentrate on the inner self. Let no thoughts disturb you and on recitation of the Gayatri mantra, peace prevails all over. One recites the Ved mantras in the same order as given by the founder of the Arya Samaj. Right at the end is the Samarpan mantra written by the Maharishi himself wherein a devotee seeks the blessings of the Almighty for the fulfillment of his wishes and the four fundamentals, that is Dharm, Arth, Kama and Moksha as early as possible.
I shall be taking up Havan later and dwell on that at length as a collective form of prayer coupled with discharge of an important social commitment. The other yajnas of importance are the Pitra yajna, Atithi yajna and the Balivaishvadev yajna. Pitra refers to parents who are our progenitor and protector. Looking after them, taking care of them when they need it most is the sacred duty of children, especially the sons. The shastra says that parents are like a god, that is one who always gives something or the other. PITRA DEVO BHAV, SO SAY OUR SCRIPTURES AND ENJOINON US TO FOLLOW IT BOTH IN LETTER AND SPIRIT.
Atithi Devo Bhav – a guest is a god and must be looked after to the best of our ability and financial as well as physical capacity. If as a host, I fall deficient in one sphere or the other, our devotion to the guest must make it up elsewhere.
Balivaishvadev Yajna is observed by making offerings of the residual, ghrit and mixing it with Mishri etc to the lighted fire. Ten offerings are made while Ved mantras are recited. Bali means Havi and the offerings are made for cleansing the environment.
Maharishi Yajyavalk has described Yajna or Havan glorifying it as the most desirable deed; “Yajyo wai shreshthatamam Karma”, so says the Rishi and who dares disagree with the great saint.
There cannot be two opinions about the environment being polluted by human beings in ample measure besides what other living beings do. Since we are many notches above animals who know not how pollutants they are, we humans know and feel guilty about it. But that is not enough. Remedial actions have to be taken by us, human beings to ensure that the environment is restored to its former glory before our acts and omissions caused concern to environmentalists. They,in turn, motivated law makers to enact laws to bring culprits to book to punish them so that it became a deterrent to other polluters-to-be and they had second thoughts about pursuing their dangerous hobbies. Indeed it was through imparting education in environment culture and adopting its practical application like performing Vedic Havan on a grand scale in large numbers that purification of environment was achieved.
We should not lose sight of the fact that there are many agents of pollution and unless HAVANS are performed more frequently than what it is now, the environmentalists will be fighting a losing battle. The human beings must make a pledge that they wish to win the battle against environmental pollution for their children and children’s children to let them breathe air as fresh as ever. Havan will be a great friend of human beings in the project Pollution-Free Environment.
In this battle for achieving the goal of getting pollution-free environment,all sections of society will keep performing Havans day after day as fellow human beings without any distinction of caste, creed, colour, region or religion. May God be with us to fight the last ditch battle with Havan mantras on our lips, offerings of non-pollutants in our hands and cheerful lips and faces as old stalwarts of pollution-free environment chanting the Ved mantra,
AUM SARVAM WAI PURNAM SWAHA.
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