The fact that Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birth Anniversary is one of the most important occasions for the country can be seen from the numerous celebrations and enlightenment programs taking place not only all over India but world over. However, when every state in India celebrated the historic event, government of Maharashtra gave a cold shoulder to it citing lack of funds!
As shocking and shameful as it sounds, the incident was revealed by Swami Sarvalokananda (Adhyaksha, Ramkrishna Math Mumbai) during the 151st Janma Tithi celebrations of Swami Vivekananda at Ramkrishna Math and Mission Mumbai on Sunday. “I personally approached Maharashtra Government. They asked us to prepare a budget for it. We did the hard work of preparing it and submitted it to them. But for six months we didn’t hear anything from them,” he said.
He further says that he again approached them but they just received fake assurances for several months. “Then I was told that the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister have rejected the proposal citing shortage of funds,” he says. Naturally, the people gathered at the venue started exclaiming “Shame, shame.”
According to him, along with several others, this is a matter of shame when governments from several states in India have celebrated the event and spread the message of Swami Vivekananda. This is more ironical when we take into account that the great patriot monk had visited Mumbai (then Bombay) thrice in his lifetime. “The city is blessed thrice by Swamiji. In fact, he left for the historic Parliament of Religions in Chicago from Mumbai’s naval port,” said Swami Sarvalokananda.
Leader of opposition Vinod Tawde, who was the chief guest at the event, revealed how he too tried in vain to persuade the government in doing something for the event. “I called the Chief Minister regarding this but he always kept delaying it,” said Tawde during his electrifying and enlightening address to the people gathered in large numbers.
Earlier in the day, Tawde, Swami Sarvalokananda and other prominent personalities unveiled the opening of Swami Vivekananda Chowk, just outside the lane of the Math. The day was also celebrated in various ways at the Mumbai Math and all over India.
(From the website - Road to Divinity)
The keenly awaited 150th Birth Anniversary of the greatest sage Swami Vivekananda will be celebrated in a grand manner throughout India through a number of events organized by the Ramakrishna Mission. In fact, they have planned a year long program to celebrate the occasion and spread Swamiji’s message starting from January 12.
The celebrations will be kicked off on January 12 with the inaugural ceremony of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swamiji and National Youth Day at Shanmukhananda Hall, King’s Circle, Mumbai from 2:00 pm onwards. The passes of the same are available at Ramakrishna Mission Math office in Khar, Mumbai.
The rest of the events planned to celebrate Swamiji’s Birth Anniversary are as follows:-
January 27, 2013 (Sunday)
Bengali Drama BILAY by Lokkrishti, Kolkata at Ravindra Natya Mandir, Prabhadevi, Mumbai at 7:00 pm
Tickets available for Rs 300, 200 and 100 at Ramakrishna Mission Math office, Khar, Mumbai
March 16, 2013 (Saturday)
Musical tribute to Swami Vivekananda by renowned artists from Kolkata. (More info shall up updated soon)
August 24, 2013
Youth Convention on Philosophies and Teachings of Swami Vivekananda. (More info shall up updated soon)
November 29 to December 1, 2013
Parliament of Religions and Spiritual Retreat (More info shall up updated soon)
December 21, 2013
Classical Musical Tribute to Swami Vivekananda by Ustad Rashid Khan, Pandit Debashis Bhattacharya, Pandit Bikram Ghosh, Pandit Uday Bhawalkar and others. (More info shall up updated soon)
There are many more such events. Please BOOKMARK this page for further updates.
Three weeks back, I finally got a chance to visit Goa for the first time in my life. Since I had never seen the place before in real, all my knowledge about the place came from Hindi films. As almost all Bollywood films have portrayed the place in the same manner (except few films like Dum Maaro Dum), not since years but decades, I kind of developed an image of the place from what I have been seeing on celluloid.
This is how Hindi films have portrayed Goa:-
- Goa is all about beaches. In fact, beaches are the only things worth seeing in the place.
- The place is thronged by hardcore party lovers who consume as much beer or some liquor as we consume water. Of course, some of the males have to be topless and the females, skimpily clothed.
- Every now and then you will come across a person humming a song in English or their local language while playing a guitar. It is mandatory for the person to wear a typical Goa shirt (with pictures of coconut trees), shorts and of course a big hat made out of cane.
- Locals add the word ‘man’ after every sentence while speaking Hindi. Examples – 1) Hi man! 2) Kaisa hai man? 3) Kya baat kar raha hai man? 4) God tumhara prayer zaroor sunega man.
Due to such portrayal of Goa, I wasn’t too keen on visiting the place, more so because I am not fond of beaches and I simply can’t stand these so-called parties with liquor. But since I badly needed a change, I went ahead with the trip. And today as I look back, I think it was one of the best decisions of my life. The reason I am saying this is because Goa is much, much more than what Hindi films have shown us. Of course, the above mentioned scenarios are experienced over there but, from what I saw, not often.
As surprising as it may sound, I found Goa very serene and peaceful. I experienced this not only in the locality where we stayed (Calangute) but also in the places we visited – the peaceful Thivim Railway station, Avenida Dom Jao Castro Road in Panaji, Sinquerim Beach, Fort Aguada, Vagator Beach, Dona Paula, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Shantadurga Temple and lastly Margao (Maybe you can feel the same in the pictures posted here). A lot of calmness is also felt while travelling from one destination to the other as one could see the beautiful small houses or huts, local shops, a group of locals chit chatting under a tree in villages, lakes, forests, picturesque mountains, small roads of small towns, etc.
I firmly believe that the beauty of a particular place multiplies if the locals are warm hearted and sweet. After my experiences and interactions with the locals in Goa, I can surely say the same for Goa. This definitely adds on to the peace. The big example of this was our guide Ramakant. Although he was hamming his way while explaining the places, it was his sweet and friendly nature that stood out.
But another thing that hugely impressed me is the cleanliness practiced by the people (even on the beaches) and the civic maintenance in every part of Goa. I hardly saw any litter or waste lying on the roads. I don’t even recollect anyone spitting on the streets. Although this increased my respect for the place, it also made me feel bad thinking about the state of my hometown Mumbai where people consider the whole city as a dustbin, toilet and what not.
And talking about the civic body of Goa, I feel the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) is a big joke in comparison to it. The former not only makes sure the place is clean and tidy but also puts in lots of effort and money to add beauty to the place. So henceforth, I would laugh at anyone who would label Mumbai as the most developed city. Insanely building more and more skyscrapers, letting miscreants destroy the city and unnecessarily buying cars thereby adding on to the traffic is certainly not development.
So regardless of what Hindi films show, the real Goa is seen only after visiting it. From the points mentioned above, it is needless for me to say that I will visit the place again.
Some more pictures: -
Time and again we keep saying India has developed over the decades. To justify our statement, we give examples of the emergence of malls, multiplexes, technological brilliance (laptops, smart phones, etc), skyscrapers, rail metros, high paying jobs in cities, etc. However, when it comes to equality and humanism, I am sorry to say India is one of the most underdeveloped nations. This is exactly what I thought after watching yesterday’s (July 8) episode of Aamir Khan's Satyameva Jayate, which showed how inequality on the basis of caste is still prevalent in India in the most inhuman of levels!
No matter how much we develop in terms of science, technology and urbanization, we can never be called developed in the true sense as long as this cruel differentiation among the same species continues. In order to be called one, we need to develop a mindset similar to Justice Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari. He is the real hero of India who proudly revealed on the show how he has discarded all identities born out of biological accidents (religion and caste).
(Article continued after picture.)
Following is my fictional interpretation of God’s reaction to this mindless man-made division amongst humans: -
One day, God was sitting with an expression of worry and disappointment. Seeing this, his disciple asked him, “Why are you looking so dejected?” God looked up to him and said, “I feel this way every time I look at humans living on earth. Thousands of years ago, I created humans, hoping them to be the most intelligent of all animals. But today when I look down, I am hardly able to find any humans. All I can see is Hindus, Muslims, Brahmins, Shudras, Kshatriyas, Christians, Parsis and what not!
“When I created them, I took special care in creating everyone physically and emotionally alike. Yet, they have created this division amongst them. If I have not created any difference between them, who are they to do so? Are they trying to show they are superior and more intelligent than me? What’s worse is, they have killed millions of people from their own species on the basis of the differentiation which they themselves have created! I feel insulted by my own creation!
“Well, like every time, I would now like to concentrate on other animals. They make me feel much better although they are unable to speak and are not as intelligent as humans. At least, they have preserved the identity which I gave them and have not divided themselves mindlessly.”
Social worker Bezwada Wilson provided a very interesting and easy method of degenerating caste system - inter-caste marriage. He rightly criticized those parents who strictly wish to get their child or children marry someone from their own caste. According to me, such parents are indirectly giving fuel to the inhuman caste system and encouraging the so-called superior castes to oppress the wrongly titled lower castes.
Many might argue that they are just following traditions and some religious books. But what’s the need to follow those traditions and religious books which divide humans and oppress innocents? To hell with such traditions and so-called religious books! After blindly following something so terrible, it’s high time the word caste is reduced to ashes!
Watch the eye-opening episode of Satyameva Jayate on caste system and untouchability: -
Music Has No Language - I have heard this phrase time and again but never really believed in it. In 2000, when I boarded a train for Jaipur from Mumbai Central station, I didn’t have an iota of idea that I would start believing in it after the end of the journey. Almost all pleasant experiences in my life have taken place in the most unexpected situations. This was one such instance.
When our train entered the territory of Rajasthan, I was all excited and eager to reach Jaipur. Just an hour or so before reaching the final destination, an usual sound startled me when I was busy appreciating nature during the journey. Initially it irritated me as I don’t like being disturbed when I am relishing nature from my window seat. I saw it was some performer playing a musical instrument in order to raise money (I will never call him a beggar).
After half a minute of or so, I started liking the sound. Then came the big splash! The man, while playing the instrument, also started singing. Within seconds my whole attention was hooked onto him as I was super impressed by his voice and style.
The passion with which he sang, the pain and anguish in his voice, his dedication, all sent me in a musical trance from which I didn’t want to return. It was that kind of satisfaction which one experiences at a concert after paying a hefty amount for the ticket. But here it was, all for free. Well, not quite. I paid him before he even asked for it.
But in all this, where does the phrase ‘music has no language’ fit in? It does fit in for the man was singing in Rajasthani language. As I don't understand that language, I hardly understood the song or its meaning. But still, it produced one of the most long lasting and impressive musical effects on my mind. Hence, I started believing that music has no language. It all happened in a totally unexpected situation. Such is the magic of Indian Railways where almost every journey becomes memorable!
Ramkrishna Mission Mumbai and Bhavan’s Cultural Centre (Andheri) have organized a variety of cultural programs in Mumbai to celebrate 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The day is also celebrated as National Youth Day across India.
Events: A mono act play on Vivekananda by Shekhar Sen. There will also be few other plays on the great disciple of Ramkrishna Paramhansa along with dance, skits and elocution performances. There will be an atmosphere of festivity throughout the event.
Time: 3pm to 9pm
Address: Bhavans Campus, Convocation Centre, Kalangan No 1, Behind Wadia High School, D N Nagar Cross Road No. 1, Andheri (West), Mumbai (Ample parking space).
NO ENTRY FEE. ALL ARE WELCOME!
On the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand, a Hindi play will be staged in Mumbai based on him. The play is titled Yuganayak Swami Vivekanand and it will focus on the life and principles of the great disciple of Ramkrishna Paramhansa.
Title: Yuganayak Swami Vivekanand
Presented By: Adhyatma Vidya Mandir Ahmedabad and Vikram Academy of Performing Arts
Director: Dr Vikram Panchal
Date: Sunday January 8, 2012.
Venue: Bhaidas Auditorium, Juhu Scheme, Road No. 1, Vile Parle (West), Mumbai - 400056.
The play is free for all but one needs to collect passes from the office of Ramkrishna Math at Khar or call Jayesh Shroff on 9820293242.