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Posts Tagged ‘deepavali’

  1. Blasts "rock" Guwahati after Diwali

    November 2, 2008 by Sunit Nandi

    Diwali is finally over and everything was well when a set of blasts ripped through Assam, especially Guwahati. The 2008 Assam bombings occurred on October 30, 2008, before noon in markets in Guwahati city and the surrounding area of western Assam. Reports indicated as many as eighteen bombs went off, causing at least 81 deaths and 470 injuries. This was the worst blast till date in Guwahati. This is what my friend Namrata had to say:

    Friends, the act of brutality that we have witnessed is unprecedented in Assam. We all are shocked, disgusted, horrified and totally hopeless with the government structure on which our lives are dependent upon. People we know are dead – if not so this time, next time it can be and it maybe one of us. Anyone looking at the pictures of the dead is bound to have spasms in their heart. Friends, I know we all want to do something to make things better, to ensure that nothing like this is ever repeated again. To do that we need proper planning but there’s something we all can do today to show our love and care for the dead Axomiyas. There might have been Assamese speaking people, local Muslims, Marwaris, Biharis etc. among the victims but all of them are Axomiyas – this feeling of integrity is particularly essential in times like this. Let us all light a saki, diya whatever you may call it in front of our houses. It’s the least we can do to show that WE ALL CARE. Something is better than nothing my friends, please keep that in mind. We can follow it up with other events but for that we all need proper planning.

    I would love to have your feedback and your comments on the events in our state. This is a small community so please forward the message to all those whom you know. I have expressed my views on the proceedings in Assam through the following lines, read it if you are interested:

    “THE SOUL OF ASSAM is frozen due to the blasts. Friends, we being the students of a good school can do something to make things better. Seriously, we can make a difference and to do something we’ll have to get together: truly, unity is strength. Our people are hopeless: our government is hopeless, our police system is hopeless, and the entire government structure is flawed. Two instances I would like to give to highlight the insincerity on the part of our government:
    1. The first Ganeshguri blast took place at 11:15 and was followed by the second an hour later. One hour gap: so much could have been done, but not by our policemen! Our policemen didn’t even have the common sense that the first blast may be followed by another and so the place should be cleared. What can we expect in a state where the majority of government jobs are obtained by bribing our fat MPs, MLAs and other govt. officials who in the first place came to power by bribing others??
    2. Tarun Gogoi: WHAT A HOPELESS FIGURE TO LEAD US! Man, we’ve got to blame ourselves for electing him. Did you notice the indifference and proud attitude he had while commenting on the blasts saying that ‘yes, blasts do take place occasionally and we have the influx under control.” My foot, old man! Tarun knows that by handing out wine bottles and blankets to Bangladeshis the day before elections he can make it to the top. What more can we expect from a Congess man (this is not the same pre – independence Congess my friends)?

    It’s a pity how people lost their lives. My relatives’ silk house was destroyed in front of the police station in Pan Bazar (that’s ironical, isn’t it? But the terrorists can plant bombs wherever they want, when ever they want (courts and police stations are no problem), we have hopeless officials to assist them!) and one person I know lost his life. Another person working there is battling for his life in GMC but chances of his survival are slim. I’ve heard that a girl who studies in our school has lost her mother. It was just fate that it wasn’t my or your mother. But the next time it can be yours. We have all the more reason to go out there and do something. Two things MUST be done:
    1. First, our International border with Bangladesh should be sealed (in NE TV it was shown how stretches above 100 km were lying open with no fencing). Through these gaps, arms and ammunitions are being smuggled. I wonder how the govt. has done nothing about it? That’s probably because they’ve done nothing about anything apart from painting the road when Sonia or Manmohan arrives.
    2. The security should be enhanced. In places like Ganeshguri where 19 blasts have taken place in the last 6yrs, parking vehicles shouldn’t be allowed after specific periods and vehicles should be checked regularly (I say regularly because we are living in Assam and not in Himachal Pradesh or Switzerland).

    All of this is well known. But has anything been ever done? We have hopeless, greedy, pocket filling assholes sitting on the most responsible seats of our state. These people don’t know what reality is, my friends. I got this line in Amar Axom editorial, “Lankat gola ravana hoboi lagibo” or somewhat like that. Even good people become bad after getting fat bundles of money.

    What more can I say? DO SOMETHING, RISE…I actually don’t find fault in people who turned to vandalism. They were those people who heard bombs exploding around them, saw people being burnt alive around them. They lost all fear of life and started protesting. What can you expect from people who’s anger upon the government, police, late arrival of ambulances and fire brigades had reached such a boiling point? Those were people who knew nothing will be done as nothing has been done all these years to stop terrorism. They knew something drastic had to be done. My heart, like yours, pains to see the skulls and limbs of people who should never have died. These were people bound to live meaningful and peaceful lives. For their sake, for our sake cause we never know if our heads or worse if our near one’s bodies will be lying charred and unidentifiable when the next string of blasts occur. If nothing is done they’ll sure occur as they’ve always occurred.”

    This is what I had to say:

    It is very sad to see the conditions of the people who and dead and those who are still writhing in pain in the Assam blasts. Does that remind us of something?
    Yes, every time a blast has taken place, there is a confusion, a commotion and the govt just reassures the people that they will take action. But everything goes in vain. Little blasts have become such an “integrated” part of our life that they are passed off and forgotten, often without the criminals being arrested. It could possibly be the reason why the terrorists find it a very good place to try out their various experiments. Probably this is why, the most serious blast in the history of Assam took place. As usual, the bombs went of one after another, nobody in the govt was there to care. God knows what might happen in the future?
    Also there is a great problem of illegal immigrants coming into India. The come in through every little gap or broken fencing in the border. The govt has taken least care to seal the border from the very beginning. Thousands of people stream into India every second, every minute, every day, every year. There is no one to put a check on them. They illegally settle here, get their ration cards and become Indian citizens. But in their heart, they really support the country they came from and do such horrendous acts. If they are citizens of India now, should they not be charged with treason?
    A latest news report shows that the Border Security Forces are trying to defend the border from illegal migrants. Also, they are blocking cattle smuggling, which is a tough job. The BSF is complaining that they are spending most of their energy on stopping smuggling that they cannot block anything else. They feel that cattle smuggling should be legalised and that would solve their problems. Ok, then also legalise unchecked migration and make the border porous. Thou have no work to be done. Get lost! Let everyone stream in and out.
    Now everything lies in our own hands how to solve these problems. Probably we should stage a big revolution. What do you all have to say?
    What do you say?
    Please don’t stay mum. Give a comment!

  2. Diwali greetings to everyone!

    October 26, 2008 by Sunit Nandi

    Hello everyone!

    My exam results are out now. It wasn’t that good but somehow managed to get 80.8%.

    Now the Diwali/Deepawali/Deepavali fever is in the air, so, I’d like to give you all some info about it:

    How much do you know about …**

    **The WHEN, HOW & WHY of DIWALI!******

    ** **

    **_Diwali is celebrated for 5 consecutive days_**

    _ _

    *1^st Day of Diwali**: *The first day of Diwali is called Dhanvantari Triodasi also called Dhan Teras. This day marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations.

    *_WHEN?_*

    It is celebrated on 13th lunar day of Krishna Paksh (the dark fortnight) of the month of Kartik.

    *_HOW?_*

    On this day at sunset, Hindus take bath and offer a lighted deeya with Prasad to Yama Raj (the Lord of Death) and pray for protection from untimely death.

    *_WHY?_*

    _Legend-1_

    The legend is about a King Hima’s Son. As per his horoscope he was doomed to die by snakebite on the 4th day of his marriage. On that particular day his young wife did not allow him to sleep. She laid all the ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a big heap at the entrance of their boudoir and lighted innumerable lamps all over the place. And she went on singing devotional songs. When Yama, arrived in a guise of a Serpent, the dazzle of those brilliant lights blinded his eyes and he could not reach the husband. So he climbed on top of the heap of the ornaments and coins and sat there whole night listening to the melodious songs. In the morning he quietly went away. Thus the young wife saved her husband from the death. Ever since, this day of *Dhanteras* came to be known as the day of “*Yama-Deep-Daan*” and lamps are kept burning throughout the night in reverential adoration to Yama.

    _Legend-2_

    Another legend has it that, On this day, Lord Dhanwantari, who is the physician of the Gods and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, came out of the ocean which was being churned by the Gods and the demons with Ayurvedic medicine for the welfare of the mankind.

    *2nd Day of Diwali**: *The 2^nd day of Diwali is called Narak Chaturdasi.

    *_WHEN?_*

    It is celebrated on the 14th lunar day of the dark fortnight of the month of Kartik

    *_HOW?_*

    On this day, it is customary to massage our bodies with oil to relieve it of tiredness, bathe and rest so that we can celebrate Diwali with vigour and devotion.

    *_WHY?_*

    _Legend-1_

    One famous story behind this day is about the demon king Narakasur who was the evil king of Pragjyotishapura, a province to the South of Nepal, some claim that it is now in present-day Assam. In a war he defeated Lord Indra and snatched the magnificent earrings of Mother Goddess Aditi who was not only the ruler of Suraloka but also a relative of Lord Krishna’s wife, Satyabhama.

    Narakasur also imprisoned 16,000 daughters of Gods and saints in his harem. Along with Lord Krishna, Satyabhama defeated Narakasur and released all the women from his harem and also restored earrings of Mother Goddess Aditi. The rescue of the 16,000 girls is said to be the origin of the story that Krishna had 16,000 wives.

    As a symbol of that victory Lord Krishna smeared his forehead with the demon king’s blood. The womenfolk massaged scented oil to his body and bathe him to wash away the filth from his body. Since then the custom of taking bath before sunrise on this day has become a tradition. In South India People wake up before sunrise prepare blood by mixing Kumkum in oil and after breaking a bitter fruit that represents the head of the demon King, apply that mixture on their foreheads. Then they have an oil bath using sandalwood paste.

    _Legend-2_

    Another legend is about King Bali of the nether world whose mighty power had become a threat to the gods. In order to curb his powers Lord Vishnu in the guise of a Batu Waman- a small boy- visited him and begged him to give him only that much land which he could cover with his three steps. Known for his philanthropy King Bali proudly granted him his wish. That very moment that small boy transformed himself into the all-powerful Lord Vishnu. With his first step Lord Vishnu covered the entire heaven and with the second step the earth and asked Bali where to keep his third step. Bali offered his head. Putting his foot on his head Vishnu pushed him down to the underworld. At the same time for his generosity Lord Vishnu gave him the lamp of knowledge and allowed him to return to earth once a year to light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness and ignorance and spread the radiance of love and wisdom.

    *3rd Day of Diwali**: *Actual Diwali

    *_WHEN?_*

    It is celebrated on the 15th lunar day of the month of Kartik on the night of NO-MOON.

    *_HOW?_*

    This is the day when worship unto Mother Lakshmi is performed.

    *_WHY?_*

    _Legend-1_

    According to 1st one, on this day, Goddess Lakshmi emerged from Kshira Sagar, the Ocean of Milk, during the great churning of the oceans, Samudra manthan.

    _Legend-2_

    The 2nd legend relates to the Vamana avatar of Vishnu, the incarnation he took to kill the demon king Bali, thereafter it was on this day, that Vishnu came back to his abode, the Vaikuntha, so those who worship Lakshmi on this day, get the benefit of her benevolent mood, and are blessed with mental, physical and material well-being.

    *_HOW & Why – in different regions & religions?_*

    *__*

    *_In North India_*

    Diwali celebrates Rama’s return from fourteen years of exile to Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana. It is believed that the people of Ayodhya, lit oil lamps along the way to light their path in the darkness. */This is the reason, why the festival is celebrated a day earlier in South India since Lord Rama travelled from the south to his kingdom in the north/*.

    *_Sikhs _*It is beleived that the foundation stone of the Golden Temple at Amritsar was laid on Diwali in 1577.*__*

    _Legend-1_

    Sikhs celebrate Diwali as the day when their 6th Guru, Guru Har Govind ji came back from the captivity of the fort of Gwalior city in 1619, hence also called as Bandi Chhorh Diwas. The Sikh tradition holds that the Mughal Emperor Jahangir had imprisoned Guru Hargobind and 52 other princes. Emperor Jahangir had imprisoned the sixth Nanak because he was afraid of the Guru’s growing following and power. The Emperor was asked to release Guru Hargobind which he agreed to do. However, Guru Hargobind asked that the princes be released also. The Emperor agreed, but said only those who could hold onto his cloak tail would be allowed to leave the prison. This was in order to limit the number of prisoners who could leave. However, Guru Hargobind had made a large cloak with 52 pieces of string and so each prince was able to hold onto one string and leave prison.

    _Legend-2_

    *Martyrdom of Bhai Mani Singh Ji*

    Bhai Mani Singh was a great scholar and he transcribed the final version of Guru Granth Sahib upon dictation from Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1704. He took charge of Harmandir Sahib’s (Golden Temple) management on 1708. In 1734, he received permission from Mughal governor of Punjab, Zakarya Khan for celebrating Diwali at Golden Temple for a massive tax of Rs. 5,000 (some authors say it was Rs 10,000). Invitations were sent to the Sikhs all over India to join Bandi Chhorh Diwas celebrations at Harmandir Sahib. Bhai Mani Singh had plans to collect the tax-money from the Sikhs who would assemble for Diwali Celebrations. But he soon learned that Zakarya Khan secretly conspired to kill the Sikhs during the gathering. He immediately sent message to all Sikhs not to turn up for celebrations & so he could not arrange the tax money. On failure of his plan Zakariya Khan ordered Bhai Mani Singh’s assassination at Lahore by ruthlessly cutting him limb-by-limb to death. Ever since, the great sacrifice & devotion of martyr Bhai Mani Singh Ji is remembered on Diwali or Bandi Chhorh Diwas.

    *_For Jains_*

    Diwali marks the attainment of Moksha (Nirvana, or eternal bliss) by the founder of Jainism, Lord Mahavira, on this day at Pavapuri on Oct. 15, 527 BCE, on Chaturdashi of Kartika.

    *_In Nepal _*

    Diwali commemorates the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon king Narakaasura. In Nepal, Diwali is known as “Tihar”. Here the festival is celebrated for five days and the traditions slightly vary from those followed in India. On the *1^st Day, *cows are given offerings, in appreciation of the food they have given and agricultural work they have performed. On the *2^nd Day, *dogs and all living animals are revered and offered special food. On the *3^rd Day,* celebrations follow the same pattern as in India, with lights and lamps and much social activity. On the *4^th Day,* Yama, the Lord of Death, is worshipped and appeased. On the *5^th and final day*, brothers and sisters meet and exchange pleasantries.

    *_In Malaysia_*

    Diwali is known as “Hari Deepavali,” and is celebrated during the seventh month of the Hindu solar calendar. It is a federal public holiday throughout Malaysia. In many respects it resembles the traditions followed in the Indian subcontinent. ‘Open houses’ are held where Hindu Malaysians welcome fellow Malaysians of different races and religions to their house for a sumptuous meal.

    *_In Singapore_*

    The festival is called “Deepavali”, and is a gazetted public holiday. Observed primarily by the minority Indian community, it is typically marked by a light-up in the Little India district and is most known for the fire-walking ceremonies not practiced as part of the festival in other countries.

    * *

    *4th Day of Diwali***

    *_WHEN?_*

    The next day after Diwali, it also marks the beginning of new Hindu calendar year.

    *_HOW?_*

    On this day, Goverdhan Pooja is performed. Also called Annakut. For Annakut a mountain of food is decorated symbolizing Govardhan mountain lifted by Lord Krishna. In Maharashtra it is celebrated as Padva or BaliPratipada. Men present gifts to their wives on this day.

    *_WHY?_*

    _Legend_

    It is written in the Ramayan that when the Vanar army was building the bridge, Hanuman was bringing a mountain as material for the bridge. Midway he learned that that enough material has already been obtained. Due to lack of time, He could not return the mountain to its original place & placed the mountain down. The deity- Goverdhan presiding over this mountain asked Hanuman the reason for leaving the mountain there. Hanuman said that it should remain there until Dwapar Yug when Lord Rama incarnates as Lord Krishna in the form of man. He, Lord Krishna will shower his grace & it will then be worshiped in the ages to come.

    During the Dwapar Yug, the people of Gokul used to celebrate a festival in honour of Lord Indra and worshipped him after the end of every monsoon season. Once, young Krishna saw these huge preparations & debated with the villagers about what their ‘dharma’ truly was. They were farmers & should do their duty (‘KARMA’) and concentrate on farming and protection of their cattle. Lord Krishna told them that it was Mount Govardhan (Govardhan Paevat) and not Lord Indra who caused rains therefore they should worship the former and not the latter. The villagers were convinced by Krishna, and instead held special puja for the Montain. Indra was angered over this & flooded the village. Lord Krishna came forward to ensure their security and after performing worship and offering prayers to Mount Govardhan lifted it as an umbrella on the little finger of his right hand so that everyone could take shelter under it. After this event Lord Krishna was also known as Giridhari or Govardhandhari.

    Indra finally accepted defeat and recognized Krishna as supreme. */This aspect of Krishna’s life is mostly glossed over – but it actually set up the basis of the ‘karma’ philosophy later detailed in the Bhagavat Gita. /*

    * *

    *5th Day of Diwali** – *The fifth day of the diwali is called Bhratri Dooj or Bhai Dooj. This is also known as Bhai fota among Bengalis. In Gujarati/Marathi-speaking belt it sis called “BHAI-BIJ” and in Nepal by the name of “BHAI-TIKA”.

    *_WHEN?_*

    The last & final day of Diwali celebrations.

    *_HOW?_*

    Brothers visit their sisters’ home and offer them gifts. Sisters also make various dishes for their brothers and also give gifts to them.

    *_WHY?_*

    _Legend-1_

    As the legend goes Yamraj, visited his sister Yami or Yamuna on this particular day. She put the auspicious tilak on his forehead, garlanded him and made special dishes for him. Both of them together ate the sweets, talked and enjoyed themselves to their heart’s content. Yama showered blessings on Yamuna and gave her a boon as a gift that if a brother visits his sister on this day he would be blessed with health and wealth. That is why this day of Bhayyaduj is also known by the name of “*Yama-Dwitiya*”
    *Specific dates for Diwali till year 2010 are as below*

    November 9 , 2007

    October 28, 2008

    October 17, 2009

    November 5, 2010

    Hope you all liked it! Wishing your all a very happy, prosperous, warm and enjoyable Diwali!