"Until the lions have their own historians the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter...."
- Chinua Achebe

2014, മാർച്ച് 31, തിങ്കളാഴ്‌ച

Inscriptions of Asoka – D C Sircar

Inscriptions of Asoka – D C Sircar

Gauthama the Buddha and Maurya emperor Asoka are two of the greatest sons of India and the world, and their lives and achievements stand among India’s best contributions to human civilization.

The present English translation of the Inscription of Asoka, one of the most sincere followers of the Buddha, was undertaken at the request of the Budda Jayanthi Working committee formed by the Government of India in connection with the celebration of the 2500th anniversary of the Lords Maha-Parinirvana. The objective is to carry the message of Asoka’s edict of the public. Although the translation closely follows the test of the epigraphic records, it has been made slightly free so that it would be easily intelligible to the general reader. A sincere attempt has been made to present to the author’s meaning without slavishly adhering to mere expression. It was felt that a strictly literal translation might render the message of Asoka difficult to understand at last for the class of readers for which the book is intended. The same feeling also underlines the use of the Sanskrit forms of proper names, etc, in the translation of inscription, which are couched in Prakrit.

The work has not been burdened with citation of references to authorities in support of any of the points raised, and difference of opinion among scholars on the interpretation of certain difficult words and a passage occurring in the inscription has been indicated only in a few cases. But a small bibliography has been appended to the monograph with a view to helping the more inquisitive among the readers to pursue the study of the subject.

The historical background of Asoka’s career and records has been concisely set forth in a short introduction. The readers are expected to find in the answers to some of the queries that may occur to them while going through the translation of the inscriptions. The classification of the epigraphs in this work has also been explained in it. An annotated list of the personal and geographical names occurring in the records as well as Sanskrit expressions retained in the translation has been supplied in an Appendix for ready reference.

When an edict is found in different versions, generally one of the most well-preserved texts has been selected for translation and its find spot has been indicated in all cases. Only in a few cases, the texts of some other versions have been additionally translated either in whole or in part. This is indented to draw the readers’ attention to important variations in the different texts of an edict. A few records included in the monograph fall outside the category of edicts.

One of the passages in which Asoka explains the reason underlying the incision of his edicts on rock and pillars of stone reads as follows in translation:

“This records relating to Dharma has been caused to be written by me on stone for the following purpose, viz., that people may act according to it and that it may endure for a long time. And he who will act thus will do what is meritorious” – Pillar Edict II.

The book has been carefully revised in the light of recent discoveries, and the present edition is expected to be useful to the readers like its predecessors.

Courtesy: From preface of the book “Inscriptions of Asoka” written by D C Sircar, published by Publication Division, India.

2014, മാർച്ച് 30, ഞായറാഴ്‌ച

Buddhist shrines in India

Buddhist shrines in India

Gautama Buddha has left his footprints on the soil of India and his mark on the soul of mankind. In the course of the growth of his religion, his human teacher eclipsed even the heavenly gods and the places consecrated by his presence were held in great veneration. Before he entered Nirvana the Buddha himself spoke of the four places which a pious believer ought to visit with feelings of faith and reverence : the Lumbinivana where the Tathagata was born. Gaya (Bodh-Gaya) where he reached perfect Enlightenment, the Deer Park at Isipatana (Saranath) where for the first time he proclaimed the law, and Kusinagara where he reached the unconditional state of Mahaparinirvana. He dilated on the merits of pilgrimage to these places and declared that "they who shall die on such pilgrimages shall be reborn, after death, in the happy realm of heaven".

The other four places of pilgrimage which, with the above four, make up the atthamahathanani (ashtamahasthanani), or eight sacred places, were the scenes of four of the principal miracles that the Blessed One was said to have performed. Though not particularly cited in the early Buddhist texts as places of special veneration, these sites also grew in a sanctity on account of the Master's connection with them. One of these places is Sravasti, the capital of Kosala, where the Buddha, according to legend, gave a display of miraculous powers to confound Purana Kasyapa, the leader of the Tirthika sect. After this miracle the Buddha, in accordance with the custom of the previous Buddhas, ascended to the Heaven of the Thirty-three Gods;preached the Abhidhamma to his deceased mother and descended to the earth at Sankasya, by a triple ladder constructed by Indra's architect. Rajagriha, the capital of Magadha, was the scene of the third miracle in which the Buddha tamed the infuriated elephant, Nalagiri, let lose by his jealous cousin, Devadata, to encompass his death. The fourth miracle happened at Vaisali, where in a mango-grove a number of monkeys offered the Buddha a bowl of honey. These and other events in his life were favourite subject of representation in early Buddhist art and the eight conventional events, as enumerated above, formed stereotyped stelae composition in sculptures beginning with the Gupta period. In early year manuscript paintings of eastern India and Nepal such scenes have been very frequently represented and some of these illustrate the finest tradition of painting of those days.

Those holy places, because of their association with the history of the venerable religion, were great centres of attraction for the pious believers and pilgrimage to them was religiously performed. Asoka call such a pilgrimage dhammayata (dharmmayathra), or tours of pity. Besides the above, many other places rose into prominance in the course of the development of Buddhism - the site of important stupas, monasteries, etc - and they also claimed the devotion of the followers of the faith. All such a place were held sacred with great veneration, maintained with care and adorned with religious establishments of various kinds. In their flourishing days, their splendour and magnificence, no less than their sanctity, attracted visitors from everywhere. With the disappearance of Buddhism from India, such places, however, were gradually neglected and ultimately fell into disrepair and ruins; many were completely forgotten. With the recent advance in Indian archaeology it has been possible to resuscitate them from their long oblivion.

Courtesy; Publication Division, India.

2014, മാർച്ച് 29, ശനിയാഴ്‌ച

Pranar: the Great Dalit Poet of the Sangha Period....

Paranar the Great Dalit Poet, who lived in Sangha Period, and was the poet laureate of the King Velkezhu Kuttuvan.who the son of the King Neduncheralathan, and the name of their clan was 'Kuttuvan'. King Nannan, who ruled Ezhimala, his son Uthiyan, Perumpekan, who ruled Nallor,and Eyinan who was a lord among Shepherd's clan, all were contemporary of Poet Paranar, the historical period of South India is known as Sangha Period, it has a grateful literary works called 'Sangha Sahithyasa'. These literature gives many valuable accounts of poets like Paranar among others.

One of the great work of Sangha Shithya, called 'Purananooru', in which Avvayar, another  singer poet and sister of the Great Thiruvalluvar, the creator of "Thirukkural", mentioned about Paranar. Udiyancheral, the first ruler of Sangha Period, his wife Nellini, was the daughter of Veliyan, one of the Shepherd's clan. North Malabar and Kasaragod district of Kerala were the part of their Kingdom. Nellini's brother Eyinan, also called 'Athikan' was famous for his kindness to others. Paranar mentioned Eyinan in many of his singsongs.  "One who praise Eyilan in his courtyard, who he would prized with elephants", was sung by Paranar. At that period there was a cruel fighter in Ezhimala kingdom, called Nannan. He fought with Uthiyancheral, the Chera King and occupied some part of the Chera kingdom. Eyinan lead army against Nannan, to help his sister and brother-in-law, but died in war. The tragic deth of Eyinar is also mentions in Paranar's singsongs. Nannan was a cruel ruler at their period. His penalties were more cruel  even small crimes too. He defeated many of neighbouring kings, at last killed by Narmudicheral, the son of Nedumcheralathan, in a port city of Vakaperumthurai.

Some of songs shows that Paranar was a depender in the court of the king Nallor Pekan, in a short period. Nalloor, the place was included in Kerala, but none could't know about where the  place was situated. Pranar remembering Peka as the 'goodness of rain' in Purananooru. Even he could't show kindness to his subjects, no unawareness in warfare. Paranar wrote many of songs to praise to Pekan.

Once king Nedumcheralathan fought with Peruviralkkilli, both were died in that war. At the battle field there was Paranar too. The son of Nedumcheralathan was Chemkuttuvan. Once Chemkuttuvan threw the spear and stopped the sea. After that he known as "Chemkuttuvan".(One who won the sea in battle) He was a skilful warrior, so historians realized this skill and it is caused to break the legendary story made around him.  But in all the song, Paranar mentioned Chemkuttuvan only as "Kuttuvan". Scholars said that another "Chenkuttuvan" in Chilappathikaram, written many centuries later to Paranar, but he is different from this "Kuttuvan". Paranar gives a great  atmospheric  account on that period, and beauties among Sangha's. The whole songs sung by Paranar is praising of Kings and geographical status, because, when  threre were no slavery and difficulties of Aryans invasion in their Sangha Period.

Poet Paranar came from the clan of 'Panar' , those who were the Singers and Poets in the Sangha Period. Now the clan Panar, became Dalits, one of the untouchable community in Kerala.The Basic Data Collection Report of Kerala State Government 2013 says that "The traditional occupation of Panan community differs from region to region. In Travancore they are tailors and associated with local 'Bhagavathy' temples. In Malabar area they are umbrella makers with palm leaves, messengers and sorcerers. In Plakkad they act as barbers of Ezhava community.The population is 38511 including 18733 males and 19778 females, registering sex ratio as 1000:1056. About 1.62 percent of the Scheduled Caste are Panan community.

*The image in the post is related to Sangha Period, not to Paranar, taken from internet.

Rudy: Autobiography Reveals Real Story Behind the ...

Rudy: Autobiography Reveals Real Story Behind the Legend

We all know the story of Rudy, the undersized legend whose fierce desire to play football for Notre Dame made him one of the school’s most famous graduates in history. Rudy has the kind of tenacity you can’t help but admire. That’s the thing about underdogs, they never give up.
Now that the 1993 movie “Rudy” from Tristar Productions has been immortalized on the shelf as a beloved classic, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger shares the real, no-holds-barred, story in his autobiography “Rudy: My Story.”
If you think you know the man who sacked the quarterback in the last 27 seconds of the game as fans chanted his name, you likely only know the Hollywood sports icon. But the book shows the story behind the man — Ruettiger’s childhood and his motivations, his failures and successes.
He was the oldest son of an oil refinery worker in a strapped family of 14 children. It wasn’t the kind of childhood that encouraged ambitious goals, but Rudy’s dreams rose out of his modest home on the outskirts of Chicago. Those dreams took him from the clutches of despair to the glory of being a Notre Dame walk-on. He was carried off the football field on the shoulders of his teammates. But it wasn’t all easy living from there.
Although Ruettiger is an inspirational hero who showed us how pure integrity and perseverance always triumph, his autobiography goes behind the scenes to reveal a regular guy. Ruettiger now uses the mistakes he made and the lessons he learned to motivate audiences across the country as an inspirational speaker.
As one of the most popular speakers in the U.S., Ruettiger reminds us how humble fame is born out of dire conditions. Fans and Midwest locals know that talk of Notre Dame means talk of the legendary Rudy — one of the most illustrious universities in America still celebrates an average Joe from Joliet, Ill.
But anyone who reads “Rudy” the book will learn more than that. They’ll learn of a little boy’s growing love for the Fighting Irish as he watched them at night on TV.
“Growing up in the Midwest, you start hearing about this place called Notre Dame before you can talk. It’s a Catholic thing. You weren’t even sure what college really meant, but the idea of it, the myth of it, the legend loomed large: If you were Catholic, you automatically had this dream of Notre Dame planted in your head. And if you went to Notre Dame, you were somebody.”
Learn more at www.thomasnelson.com.

2014, മാർച്ച് 28, വെള്ളിയാഴ്‌ച

Buddha fir the young- Dr. Sabyasachi Bhattacharya....

To begin with, one ask question. What is relevant today in the life of Buddha who died more than 2,500 years ago? It is likely that Buddha himself would have said that each of us should judge for ourselves the answer to that Question. The opportunity to know about him, so as to make that judgement, has to be offered. It has to be offered particularly to the young. That is why this book.

This is not a book about Buddhism. It is about Buddha. To the extent his life was his message the book touches upon his teaching as well. The main aim has been to take look at Buddha in the light of what he said about himself. People like to think Of Buddha in certain ways. How much of that is true to facts? It is the business of the historians to tell us what we find in the past and how it matches with what people think had happened. In the last few decades historians have changed many of our ideas about Buddha and his times. There has taken place another kind of change as well. A fast changing world bring about changes in our ideas about the past and what its means. Thus new meanings may take the place of old ones. What Buddha said and did may appear to us, specially to the young, in a new light.

There are many stories and legends about Buddha which have not been retold here. These stories were accepted as true ones by those who were devoted to Buddha. Now, there is a kind of truth that you find in a poem, and there is another kind of truth which you expect to find in documents, newspapers, accounts from witnesses, and so forth. The true of the first kind is often at the core of some of the beautiful stories and legends. But it is difficult to find out which of them are true in the same way as an authentic document tell us things which happened at a known time and were recorded by known witnesses. Since in in this book we shall try to rely upon what Buddha himself said, many of these legends do not find a place in this book.

Why have we chosen to rely mainly on Buddha's own sayings, excluding many other possible sources of information? We shall try to get the story of Buddha as far as possible in his own words, because of a single reason. What he said was treasured, remembered, repeated by disciples, and later written down also. It is true that these were written down many, many ears later and that, as time passed, legends and stories were added on. But it is very probable that an effort was made to preserve accurately the words of Buddha, as they were remembered by his listeners, out of reverence for the Master. For this reason we deepened on what Buddha himself said about his own life.

In order to put up his message to the people, Buddha used the language of the common people in North-Eastern India in his times, the language called Magadhi and later Pali. The Buddhist texts were also written later in that language. We shall use the earliest of these texts for they are more likely to be closer to the original form known in Buddha's times. These Pali texts are available in English Translation. These translations have been used here and those who develop an interest may go further into the texts mentioned at the end of the book.Unfortunately, many of the English translations are in a rather stilted language, perhaps because translators wanted to give it a spiritual flavour. But there is no reason why Buddha should be maid to speak in the style of the English Bible of King James' period. Today there is even less reason, since that version has been now modernised in recent editions. The same simplification is needed for Buddha's saying in translations.

In this book the names of people and places are given both in Sanskrit, the language of the learned in those days in many parts of India, and in Pali (the Pali version within brackets). The names are spelt here the way these are commonly spelt in India, without the special symbols which experts use to show how names should be pronounced. Those interested in pronunciations may look up the page on it at the end of the book. Likewise, the book from which the saying of Buddha have been taken are listed at the end of this book.

Dr. Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, formerly Vice-Chancellor of Visva Bharathi University, Santiniketan, now teaches History at Jawarharlal University, New Delhi. The paragraph is taken from the preface of his book "Buddha for the Young", published by National Book Trust of India in the year 1996. Price Rs.25.

The Many Faces of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Everyone has a different vision of what Martin Luther King, Jr. meant to the world. King was a philosopher, a preacher, a man of peace and a risk taker. He was strong, thoughtful, intelligent and direct in his mission to spread hope, justice and democracy for all.

There have always been strong opinions regarding our national memorials -; from the location and aesthetics of the National World War II Memorial to the abstract design of the Vietnam Memorial.
A passionate discussion has surfaced surrounding the design of the Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial.
Recently, we received a letter from one member of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) regarding the Stone of Hope, calling the image “confrontational” and creating a stir in the press. What did not get reported was that there are seven design elements required for CFA final approval, and we had received a “green light” on all but one.
While it is not unusual for the CFA and foundations similar to ours to have creative differences, we were surprised at the criticism, since we had submitted images of the Stone of Hope to the CFA since November.
We scheduled a face-to-face meeting with the chairman of the CFA this week. We agreed that some tweaking needs to be made, not a major overhaul. We will submit an updated image, and it is our hope to receive final CFA approval.
During our Design Competition in 2000, our team considered more than 1,000 images and pictures of Dr. King. It was ultimately decided that the image of him with his arms folded, as portrayed by photographer Bob Fitch, was ideal.
Mr. Isaac Newton Farris Jr., the nephew of Dr. King and president and chief executive officer of The King Center in Atlanta, agreed with our selection. “He said, “My uncle was very strong and confrontational with the weapon of love and nonviolence.”
Now, we should work on the task at hand -; building a four-acre memorial honoring Dr. King. The memorial will be the first on the National Mall to honor a man of peace and a person of color. The Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation has already raised $93 million from individuals, corporations and foundations, and we anticipate beginning construction shortly.
McKissack & McKissack, an African American woman-owned architectural and construction firm, will head the Design-Build team. The majority of the granite used will be domestic granite -; we will soon announce the sources of that granite.
We are confident that, at the end of the day, we will build a memorial which honors the legacy of Dr. King and one that inspires visitors from across the globe.

Dogsled Racer Blazes Trail for Visually Impaired R...

Rachael Scdoris, a 28-year-old outdoors enthusiast, has been a competitive dogsled racer for well over a decade. Thanks to the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), a division of the Library of Congress, she’s been an avid reader for the past year.
Scdoris was born and raised in the wilderness of Bend, Ore., where she traversed mountains and deserts on the back of a sled with her father, who spent 36 years as a musher—a trail his stubborn daughter was determined to follow no matter what. Scdoris was born with a rare vision disorder called congenital achromatopsia, robbing her of colors, distinct shapes and many layers of depth. But her flat, fuzzy world was more of a challenge for others and their misconceptions than for her.
To the legally blind musher, a disability is a mere state of mind. “What it really boils down to is people saying ‘Well, if I were visually impaired, I couldn’t do it, so clearly you can’t.’”
The 2003 decision to allow the teenage Scdoris to enter the Super Bowl of dogsled racing, the Iditarod, was “a major controversy.” She competed in the Iditarod three times after that—through blizzards and frost bite—before the word “gimmick” was finally laid to rest. Now, as a fully established racer, Scdoris is waiting on major sponsorships before undertaking the Alaskan legend again.
In the meantime, Scdoris juggles a variety of balls—including training for her newest competitive interest, tandem cycling, giving commercial sled-dog tours and caring for more than one hundred huskies. That’s a kennel the size of a football field.
In 2012, Scdoris was also a guest speaker at the national conference of libraries that partner with NLS to provide extensive reading materials in audio and braille to people with visual or physical disabilities. She first started receiving books through NLS programs as a child but didn’t use the service again until last year.
“They told me about all this cool technology they’re using to make it easier for their patrons, and I really wanted to take advantage of that again,” said Scdoris, who favors authors like Paulo Coelho and Christopher Moore. “What takes most people 20 minutes to read would take me an hour or more. To have the book on audio and be able to listen to it faster than most people could read it—that was a nice thing.”
But, even when the self-proclaimed bleeding-heart liberal is enjoying political reads, her furry teammates aren’t far from her mind, “They’re amazing. The definition of teamwork is many individuals working toward a common goal. They’re all individuals but they become such a unit when it’s important. I’m kind of the leader, caretaker of that. I’ve been doing this my entire life, and I’ve tried to explain it my entire life, and I really can’t. It’s a feeling unlike any other.”
If you or a loved one are blind, have low vision or can’t hold a book due to a disability or illness, the NLS talking-book program will help you keep reading for free. To learn more, visitwww.loc.gov/nls or call 1-888-NLS-READ.

Audio-book Service Helps Blind Vets Recover Indepe...

In December 1967, a young soldier lay in a hospital bed after sustaining severe eye injuries from a land mine in Vietnam. Tom Miller, now executive director of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) in Washington, D.C., was blind, and his mind raced over all of the things he’d never be able to enjoy again. “I’ve spent the past 44-plus years erasing that list, or finding new things I can do.”
Miller says he owes many thanks to thetalking-book program of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), part of the Library of Congress.
“The program is a godsend,” he says.
Veterans—and any U.S. resident or citizen living abroad—are eligible to become NLS readers if they are blind, have low vision or have an illness or disability that prevents them from handling a book or printed material.
According to a 2011 report by the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, 16 percent of the wounded soldiers evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan battle zones have suffered eye injuries—the highest rate of eye injuries since the Civil War. In response—and in support—NLS works with BVA rehabilitation staff, military hospitals and rehabilitation centers to offer digital talking-book players to eligible members of the military. The digital players are designed for easy use by those who can no longer read or handle printed materials. NLS director Karen Keninger says the hospital program is the most effective way to guarantee that blinded and disabled veterans who need access to books will have it.
Audiobooks and players are delivered to NLS readers by mail at no charge through more than 100 cooperating state and local libraries. NLS readers have access to bestsellers, biographies, self-help books, magazines and more.  Plus, those with access to the Internet can download audiobooks and magazines using the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD), the NLS online delivery system.
NLS’s convenient system allows Miller to devour 60 to 75 titles a month. Miller recalls how much he enjoyed the first NLS talking book he read: “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote. In rehab, he ran back and forth to his room between classes to finish the book.
People who lose their sight may think their life is over, but it’s not, Miller says. The talking books and magazines that NLS provides are one way blind and visually impaired individuals can stay engaged with the world. “You have access to so many different titles, and you’re only a phone call away from cooperative libraries,” he says. “It reopens an aspect of your life you thought was lost forever.”
Learn more or sign up for the talking-book program at www.loc.gov/nls or call 1-888-NLS-READ.

2014, മാർച്ച് 27, വ്യാഴാഴ്‌ച

The Many Faces of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Many Faces of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Everyone has a different vision of what Martin Luther King, Jr. meant to the world. King was a philosopher, a preacher, a man of peace and a risk taker. He was strong, thoughtful, intelligent and direct in his mission to spread hope, justice and democracy for all.

There have always been strong opinions regarding our national memorials -; from the location and aesthetics of the National World War II Memorial to the abstract design of the Vietnam Memorial.
A passionate discussion has surfaced surrounding the design of the Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial.
Recently, we received a letter from one member of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) regarding the Stone of Hope, calling the image “confrontational” and creating a stir in the press. What did not get reported was that there are seven design elements required for CFA final approval, and we had received a “green light” on all but one.
While it is not unusual for the CFA and foundations similar to ours to have creative differences, we were surprised at the criticism, since we had submitted images of the Stone of Hope to the CFA since November.
We scheduled a face-to-face meeting with the chairman of the CFA this week. We agreed that some tweaking needs to be made, not a major overhaul. We will submit an updated image, and it is our hope to receive final CFA approval.
During our Design Competition in 2000, our team considered more than 1,000 images and pictures of Dr. King. It was ultimately decided that the image of him with his arms folded, as portrayed by photographer Bob Fitch, was ideal.
Mr. Isaac Newton Farris Jr., the nephew of Dr. King and president and chief executive officer of The King Center in Atlanta, agreed with our selection. “He said, “My uncle was very strong and confrontational with the weapon of love and nonviolence.”
Now, we should work on the task at hand -; building a four-acre memorial honoring Dr. King. The memorial will be the first on the National Mall to honor a man of peace and a person of color. The Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation has already raised $93 million from individuals, corporations and foundations, and we anticipate beginning construction shortly.
McKissack & McKissack, an African American woman-owned architectural and construction firm, will head the Design-Build team. The majority of the granite used will be domestic granite -; we will soon announce the sources of that granite.
We are confident that, at the end of the day, we will build a memorial which honors the legacy of Dr. King and one that inspires visitors from across the globe.

2014, മാർച്ച് 25, ചൊവ്വാഴ്ച

What Buddha taught - Walpola Rahula,

What Buddha taught - Walpola Rahula,

Member of the Institute de France, Prof. of College de France Director of the Buddhist Studies at the School of Higher Studies (Paris)
WalPola Rahula,
Here is an exposition of Buddhism conceived in a resolute modern spirit by one of the most qualified and enlightened representatives of the religion. The Rev. Dr. W Rahulareceived the traditional training and education of a Buddhist monk in Cylon, and held eminent positions in one of the leading monastic institutes (Pirivena) in that island, where the Law of the Buddha flourishes from the time of Asoka and has preserved all its vitality up to this day. Thus brought up in an ancient tradition, he decided, at this time when all traditions are called in question, to face the spirit and the methods of international scientific learning. He entered the Cylon University, obtained the B A Honours degree (London), and then won the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the Cylon University on a highly learned thesis on the History of Buddhism in Cylon. Having worked with distinguished Professors at the University of Calcutta and come in contact with adepts Of Mahayana (the Great Vehicle), that form of Buddhism which reigns from Tibet to the Far East, he decided to go into the Tibetan and Chinese texts in order to widen his ecumenicism, and he has honoured us by coming to the University of Paris (Sorbonne) to prepare a study of Asanga, the illustrious philosopher of Mahayana, whose principal works in the original Sanskrit are lost, and can only be read in their Tibetan and Chinese translations. It is now 8 years since Dr. Rahula is among us, wearing the yellow robe, breathing the air of the Occident, searching perhaps in our old troubled mirror a universalized reflection of the religion which is his.

The book, which he has kindly asked me to present to the public of the West, is a luminous account, within reach of everybody, of the fundamental principals of the Buddhist doctrine, as they are fount in the most ancient texts, which are called "The Tradition" (Agama) in Sanskrit and "The Canonic Corpus" (Nikaya) in Pali. Dr. Rahula, who possess an incomparable knowledge of these texts, refers to them constantly and almost exclusively. Their authority is recognized unanimously by all the Buddhist schools, which were and are numerous, but none of the which were deviates from those texts, except which the intention of better interpreting the spirit beyond the letter. The interpretation has indeed been varied in the course of the expansion of Buddhism through many centuries and vast regions, and the Law has taken more than one aspect. But aspect of Buddhism here presented by Dr. Rahula - humanistic, rational, Socratic in some respects, Evangelic in others, or again almost scientific - has for its support a great deal of authentic spiritual evidence which he only had to let speak for themselves.

The explanations which he adds to the quotations, always translated which scrupulous accuracy, are clear, simple, direct, and free from all pedantry. some among them might led to discussion, as when he wishes to rediscover in the Pali source all the doctrines of Mahayana; but his familiarity with those sources permits him to throw new light on them. He addresses himself to the modern man, but he refrains from insisting on comparisons just suggested here and there, which could be made with certain current of thought of the contemporary world: socialism, atheism, existentialism, psycho - analysis. It is for the reader to appreciate the modernity, the possibilities of adaptation of a doctrine which, in this work of genuine scholarship, is presented to him in its primal richness.

-Foreword from the book by Paul Demieville.

2014, മാർച്ച് 23, ഞായറാഴ്‌ച

Kavithilakan Pandit K P Karuppan (1885-1938) - Dr....

Kavithilakan Pandit K P Karuppan (1885-1938) - Dr. George K Alex, Elizabeth John

Born on 25 May 1885, Karuppan belonged to the Vala Community and was educated in traditional schools. He raised his voice against caste discrimination. He was a well-known teacher and a Member of the Cochin legislature. He expired on 23 March 1938.

Pandit K P Karuppan was a revolutionary of his age. He liberated poetry from the Savarna Caste, re-shaped the traditional concepts of poetry and sowed the seeds of reformist aspirations in the literary arena. His contributions to literature markedly reflect his political life and his social activism and he is acknowledged as a social reformer,especially because of his writings, which focused on the anti caste struggle.

Jatikkummi, published in 1912, is a poem by Karuppan, sung in the metre of the Kummi, a folk art form, sung during weddings in the Ezhava and Araya communities. The work written to be sung at such social gatherings, evolved in the form of debate between Sankaracharya, the founder of Brahmanism, and Shiva, a Chandala God. The poem narrates how Sankaracharya, on his way to Kashi, confronted a Praya, a person of the low caste. He demanded the Paraya to move away from his path, but the later was obstinate and stood his ground. A heated argument ensued, during which the Brahmin sankaracharya realized that futility of the caste system. The Paraya was then Transformed to the Shiva.

The poem develops its plot from Sankaracharya's ' Maneeshi Panchakam', but it is an independent work, passionate in its urge for emancipation. The origin of the caste system is well depicted in the poem, which aids the common man's understanding of it.

Stage plays were forms of art, introduced in South India by the Portuguese missionaries towards the close of the 19th century. Stage plays were enacted during religious ceremonies. Plays were used by Malayali writers as tools of social criticism and for rectification of social evils. In 1893 Kodungalloor Kochunni Thampuran wrote a play, in which he condemns certain Hindu traditions and practices. K P Kocheeppan Tharakan wrote Mariyamma Natakam 1n 1893 with a view to reforming the Christian comminity and K C Keshava Pillai wrote Lakshmi Kalyanam, which was targeted at the Nair Communited.

Balakalesham by Pandit Karuppan, written 193, excoriated the caste system, untouchability and a few other unhealthy Hindu practices. This play, staged in 1918, stands out among Malayalam plays as the first to present a Pulaya, a person of a low caste, on the stage. The play also has the disnction that it challenged the traditional concepts of the Sanskrit plays and modernized the concepts of drama.

The Pulaya was treated with contempt and disdain by the society till the 20th century. Karuppan's revolutionary aspirations introduced a Pulaya character on the stage. This gradually paved the way for a reconstruction of the Kerala society.

Buddha and His Dhamma - Dr. B R Ambedkar.

Buddha and His Dhamma - Dr. B R Ambedkar.

Indications of a growth in the volume of interest in Buddhism are noticeable is some sections of the Indian people . Along with it there is naturally a growing demand for a clear and consistent statement of the life and teachings of the Buddha.

Anyone who is not a Buddhist find it extremely difficult to present the life and Teaching of the Buddha in a manner which would make it a consistent whole. depending on the Nikayas, not only the presentation of a consistent story of the life of the Buddha becomes a difficult thing and the presentation of some parts of his teachings becomes much more so. Indeed it would not be an exaggeration to say that of all the founders of religions in the world the presentation of the life and teachings of the founder of Buddhism presents a problem which is quit puzzling if not baffling. It is not necessary that these problems should be solved and the path for the understanding of Buddhism be made clear? Is it not time that those who are Buddhist should take up these problems at least for general discussion and throw that light they can on these problems?

With a view to raise the discussion on these problems I propose to set them out here. The first problem relates to the main event in the life of the Buddha, namely, Parivraja. Why did the Buddha take Parivraja ? The traditional answer is that he took Parivraja because he saw a dead person, a sick person and an old person. the answer is absurd on the face of it. The Buddha Parivraja at the age of 29. If he took Parivraja as a result of these three sights, how is it he did not see these three sight earlier ? These are common events occurring by hundreds and the Buddha could not have failed to come across them earlier. It is impossible to accept the traditional explanation is not plausible and does not appeal to reason But if this is not the answer to the question, what is the real answer.

The second problems is created by the four Aryan truths. Do they from part of the original teachings of the Buddha ? The formula cuts at the root of Buddhism. If life is sorrow, death is sorrow and rebirth is sorrow, then there is an end of everything. Neither religion nor philosophy can help a man to achieve happiness in the world. If there is no escape from sorrow, then what can religion do, what can Buddha do to relieve man from such sorrow which is ever there in birth itself ? The four Aryan truths are a great stumbling block in the way of non-Buddhist accepting the gospel of Buddhism. For the four Aryan truths deny hop to man. The four Aryan truth make the gospel of Buddha a gospel of pessimism.  Do they from the part of the original gospel or are they a later accretion by the monks ?

The third problem relate the doctrines of soul, of karma and rebirth. The Buddha denied the existence of the soul. But he is also said to have affirmed the doctrine of karma and rebirth. At once a question arises. If there is no soul, how can there be rebirth ? These are baffling questions. In what sense did the Buddha use the words karma and rebirth ? did use them in a different sense in which they were used by the Brahmins of his day ? If so, in what sense ? Did he use them in the same sense in which Brahmins used them ? If so, is there is not a terrible contradiction between the denial of the soul and the affirmation of karma and rebirth ? This contradiction need to be resolved.

The fourth problem relates the Bhikkhu. What was the object of the Buddha in creating the Bhikkhu ? Was the object to create a perfect man? Or was his object to create a social servant devoting his life to  service of the people and being their friend, guide and philosopher ? This is a very real question. On its depends the future of Buddhism. If the Bhikkhu is only a perfect man he is of no use to the propagation of Buddhism because through a perfect man he is a selfish man. If, on another hand, he is a social servant he may prove to be the hope of Buddhism. This Question must be decided not so much in the interest of doctrinal consistency but in the interest of the future of Buddhism.

If I may say so, the pages of the journal of the Mahabodhi Society make, to me at my rate, dull reading. This is not because the materiel presented is not interesting and instructive. The dullness is due to the fact that it seems to fall upon a passive set of readers. After reading an article, one like to know what the reader of the journal has to say about it. But reader never gives out his reaction. This silence on the part of the reader is a great discouragement to the writer. I hope my questions will excite the readers to come and make their contribution to their solution

Mahatma Jotirao Phule - Tarkateertha Laxmanshastri Joshi.

Mahatma Jotirao Phule was well-known social reformer of Maharashtra in the nineteenth century. He worked ceaselessiy for education of the woman and the Dalits, for upliftment of the underprivileged and the downtrodden, and the reform of the Indian social structure. He was revolutionary in his thinking and is a constant source of inspiration for the new generation of intellectuals.

1990 was the death centenary year of Mahatma Jotirao Phule, 1991 was the birth
centenary year of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar—the two great men who died to free the
Hindus from the curse of caste ism

.Jotirao’s offensive against Hinduism, especially the Brahmin-dominated Hindu social
system and culture, was in sharp reaction to a particular historical, social and political
situation. There is no doubt that it was justified. Towards the end of the Peshwa regime
and the subsequent British rule, the importance of Brahmins increased in Maharashtra
and social inequality became more pronounced, causing much concern to other reformers
too, like Lokahitavadi, M.G. Ranade, Agarkar and Tilak.

After Jotirao’s death the Satyashodhak movement in Maharashtra was reduced to a
Brahmin versus non-Brahmin conflict. Much of Jotirao’s rationalism and belief in
universal brotherhood was lost. In the post-Independence era, while democracy has been
transferred into power in the hands of non-Brahmins, the threat of inter-religious conflicts
looms large. Jotirao’s ideology can diffuse this potential danger. His message that truthful
(righteous) conduct is the only true religion stands as a powerful guiding light for all.

Among everything that has been written about Mahatma Jotirao Phule so far,
Tarkateertha Laxmanshastri Joshi’s essay Jotinibandha holds pride of place. This little
booklet, published in 1947 by the Pradnya Pathshala of Wari, has also been included

Tarkateertha Laxmanshastri Joshi was a well-known Sanskrit and Marathi scholar and
writer. He has written books such as Vedic Sanskruticha Vikas (Evolution of Vedic
Society) and Hindu Dharamchi Samiksha (A Critique of Hinduism) besides editing the Dharmakosha (Encyclopaedia of Hindu Religion) in Sanskrit and the Vishvakosha
(World Encyclopaedia) in Marathi. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for his
literary contributions.


Mulk Raj Anand , Role and Achievement - Amrik Singh.

A novelist, short story writer as well as an art critic, Mulk Raj Anand was among the first few Indian writers in English who gained international recognition early in his life. His novels Untouchable (1935) and Coolie (1936) impressively articulate the abuses of an exploited class.

A dynamic personality, impeccably dressed , Anand befriended great writers like E.M. Forster, Herbert Read and George Orwell. Till 1947, he spent half his time in London and half in India. It was therefore inevitable for him to be drawn to India’s struggle for independence. The most important influence upon Anand was that of Gandhi who shaped his social conscience. With success, Anand came to firmly believe that a writer’s work is an illustration of a ‘fiery voice of those people who through his own torments transmutes in art all feeling thus becoming the seer of new vision’.

Anand was proactively associated with the Progressive Writer’s movement of India and was one of the moving spirits behind the drafting of its first manifesto. Equally noteworthy was his passion for the arts whose best expression were the issues of Marg which he founded and edited for a quarter century. Even after he withdrew from its editorship, it continued to be the leading art journal of India.

This book is the first ever attempt to put together the biography of such a vibrant personality who left no stone unturned to realize his dreams. With Raja Rao and R.K. Narayan, Anand is regarded as one of the founding fathers of the Indian English novel.

Amrik Singh, the author of this volume got to know Mulk Raj Anand in 1983 and remained in touch with him all his life. During his long career, he been a teacher, an educational administrator, an author of several books on educational policy a playwright in Punjabi and also a human rights activist.

What is Dalit literature and who are Dalits- Dr. G...

What is Dalit literature and who are Dalits- Dr. George K Alex, Elisabeth John

Dalit literature is the expression of the pain and agony of the oppressed and their longing for a caste-less society. It emanates from the day-to-day struggle of the oppressed people It is a struggle reinventing identity. The identities of they oppressor and the oppressed are contextual and are defined in the context and frame of the socio-political environment were they are embedded.

The movement for alternative polities were generally termed as the movements of identity. In this sense, Habermas remarked that the 'new politics' is the politics of identity and it is totally different in nature and from the traditional  class movements. According to him, the old politics is the politics of 'class' and new politics is the politics of 'identity'. Dalit literature is an 'identity centric' literature movement., which is also political and thus distinguishes itself from the mainstream literature.

Reinventing identity is the central theme of Dalit literature. Identity is heterogeneous in nature, multifarious in operation. An identity is referred to in a particular context, determined by the hegemonic political structures. Hegemony predominantly works through the medium of language and culture. 'Dalit' is contextually referred identity, confined by the forces of super-structure and base-structure. Identity is a reference point and refers to the totality of the societal structures, within which it exists. thus any movement in the social system directly or indirectly affects the total environment of the social system and its units move either vertically or horizontally to capture a legitimate position. The Dalit's struggle for a legitimate position only affects the Dalit community, but also disturbs the other unit of society, demanding a re-legitimization of units, is a process we can term as 'reinventing identity'. The Nama Sudra movement of Bengal is the best example of such re-legitimization. Re inventing identity affirms a new identity, a new cultural space and capturing of political power through value additions. Thus, the struggle of the Dalits for dignity, equality and social justice is a continuing struggle for reinventing identity.

Ambedkarism is treated as one of the inevitable ingredients of true Dalit literature. Dalit literature is undoubtedly a struggle of power, justice and equality. In this sense, it is a counter hegemonic movement. In essence Dalit literature is a self search of a subjugated mind. It is the process of re-inventing identity. DWD has classified writers as Dalit Writers in this perspective. Hence the writers introduced in the Directory are drawn from the literary world in general.

Dalit's the plural form of the term Dalit, literally means 'distorted and subjugated'. The term is used in Sanskrit as both, a noun and adjective. It has been derived from the root dal which means to crack, open, split ete. When used as noun or objective it means burst, split, broken or torn asunder, downtrodden, scattered, crushed, destroyed etc. 

2014, മാർച്ച് 21, വെള്ളിയാഴ്‌ച

Anita Pariyar and Feminist Dalit Organisation (FED...

Anita Pariyar and Feminist Dalit Organisation (FEDO)

UNTOUCHABALITY in the name of caste is a deep-rooted problem in South Asia. It is very difficult to say how we can eliminate such inhumanity in society. It is very painful even to think about the life and social status of Dalit people in Nepal. There are many stories of pain, agony, sorrow and tears that are hidden.

To briefly introduce myself, I am Anita Pariyar from the eastern part of Nepal. There are six children in my family (three daughters and three sons). I was born into a tailor's family and am thus known as a Dalit, or Untouchable, in Nepal's Hindu society. Moreover, as the member of a tailor's family, my subcaste is considered the lowest even among Dalits themselves. My parents are not well educated, are economically disadvantaged, politically neglected and socially untouchable, as are about 20 percent of the total population of our country of 23 million. My mother gave birth to a child when she was only 19 after getting married at the age of 18. She had to have many children, as my father required her to have a son. 

When I was born, my father was not happy because he had hopes of having a son, and I was a daughter. Especially in my village, they think that to support a daughter is "like pouring water into the sand," a sentiment felt by other men in our society. I was encouraged though to study by my parents who wanted me to have a better life than themselves so that I could lead other women of the community. During my school years, however, I had to face many difficulties related to my caste because I received a scholarship by Sarah and Maggie Jacoby Fund and had to go to a different district, Siraha-Bastipur, where I stayed in a village. After I received the scholarship, it was a major problem for my father to find a place for me to live as there was no hostel for girls. No one was ready to provide me with a room, even if we paid rent, just because of my caste and because they thought it would be impure if they provided a room to a Dalit. My father though found one Dalit family; and after my father made a request, they allowed me to stay with them. There was no place to study, however. After one week, I decided that I could not study if I stayed with them because no one was there in the family to understand the problems of a young student as they did not send their children to school. I told my father about this concern of mine. 

Now it was another major problem for him to find a different place for me. There was a meeting with the villagers to find a room for me. His friends have rooms, but they could not provide a room to his friend's daughter. The domestic helper of one of my father's friends was listening to my problems though. He belongs to an ethnic community that dared to help me and allowed me to stay in one of their homes. In the evening, I saw that it was a hut with two rooms. I entered inside and found two goats. I replied though to my father that I liked it. I cleaned the rooms, made it warm with firewood-there was no electricity-and I stayed there alone when I was 12 years old in seventh grade. My father had to go home, and I was alone. The owner though took me inside their home at around 11:30 p.m. and woke me up at 3 a.m. and said I had to go to my room. Because they provided me with a room, their neighbours shunned them. As a result, the man's wife used to scold me and quarrelled with her husband, asking him why he accepted me. 

The owner of my room used to provide food to students, and I joined their meals. All of the other students were boys, and I could not eat first and could not serve myself because I was a Dalit girl. Instead, I had to wait until they finished and then had to stay behind and eat later. I also had to wash my dishes, although it was not necessary for others as we all paid for our food. I even could not touch the tap that they were using. After I used it, they used to clean it to make it pure. I spent four years there and finished my schooling. During my days there, people, especially women, used to make complaints to my teachers, saying that I am making them impure. 

I went to college in Kathmandu where, again, there was a problem to find a place to stay since I did not have any relatives there. I started to stay with my friends at a so-called non-Dalit's house. After several months, when they realised that my surname belongs to the Dalit community, they said I had to leave the room. The house owner was a chief district officer. Up to now, I have left three places just because I am a Dalit. I have found that there is always a social gap between Dalits and non-Dalits. 

For instance, there is a temple nearby my house where I could never enter, but my friends could enter. As I was born in a Hindu society, I wanted to worship and touch the statue of the so-called god, but my mother used to say that it is not good to go inside the temple. How can I go there if my mother thinks it is not good for me? Now I realise that she did not want to say that I am impure and cannot enter the temple. 

I am a young woman fighting against caste and gender discrimination. I have had many bitter experiences when I work, go to visit rural areas, as well as in Nepal's capital city. I have had to face many problems caused by my caste. For example, I am not allowed to enter the temple, use public water taps, restaurants and the houses of so-called higher castes-something even a dog can do. A UNICEF report said that about 60 percent of Dalit women are victims of trafficking because of their poverty. These are all factors that motivate me to press ahead as a Dalit woman activist. I am involved in gathering information about these events of inhuman behaviour toward Dalit people. I am building a coalition and support network to influence opponents for positive change and to reduce the inhumane acts upon us. 

Now I am working for the Feminist Dalit Organisation (FEDO), the only Dalit women's organisation in Nepal, as a central board member since 2000. Previously, I was a staff member of FEDO for two years beginning in 1998. Being an executive board member of the FEDO, I have represented Dalits at the regional preparation workshop on World Conference against Racism, AMARC 8 Conference 2003, UN Commission on Human Rights 2003. I have worked as a journalist at the Radio Nepal, Nepal Television and other community radio stations in Nepal, highlighting issues of caste-based and gender discrimination. Since September 2003 I have been interning at the Hong Kong-based regional human rights NGO Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). 

FEDO was established in 1994 with the mission to uplift and empower downtrodden Dalit women economically, educationally, socially and politically and to advocate against caste and gender discrimination from the grassroots level. By generating awareness and unity among Dalit men and women and by co-operating with our international friends, such problems will gradually be eliminated. Working together, it is possible to change the views of society and attain justice. We work at the grassroots level because we believe that if we can create change from the bottom to the top there will be effective results and we will not have to hang our heads. 

I look forward to this opportunity to share my experiences with women activists in all around the world and to learn more about the lives of women and how they have sought to overcome the discrimination they face in their community. 

2014, മാർച്ച് 20, വ്യാഴാഴ്‌ച

Kumara Gurudevan - Prof. Dr. Suresh Mane.

Kumara Gurudevan - Prof. Dr. Suresh Mane.

Kumara Gurudevan
Along with Sree Narayana Guru and Mahatma Ayyankali, the place of Sree Kumara Gurudevan (Poikayil Yohannan, 1879 - 1939) the founder of 'Prathyakshz Raksha Daivs Sabha' (PRDS-!908) is also of prime importance. Born as a child of slaves, he struggled for a new identity for the scheduled castes in Kerala. His vision was a caste-less society. The PRDS, set up in 1908, was a concrete example of caste-less, creed-less and a cosmopolitan Dravidian society. The principles of the PRDS were,

1. To reject both the Christianity and Hinduism.

2. To believe that the God will incarnate to liberate the untouchables.

3. to believe in liberty, equality and fraternity of all.

4. To pray in the name of the creator but not to offer any sacrifice.

 PRDS is the one of liberation movements of untouchable or Dalit people in Kerala. The movement considered Hinduism was an oppressive political institution and Christianity was a dreaming force to identity crisis. PRDS could be rightly described as the protestant movement after the conversation of Dalits to Christianity. Kumara Grudevan himself had converted to Christianity initially but had found no difference between Hinduism and Christianity because system of gradation and degradation, untouchability was also prevalent among the Christians. He given his massage through songs. In one of his composition he said,

Church after church has come up in time,
I find distinctions still not removed
The master has a church
The serf has another
A church for Pulaya
A Church for Paraya
A church for "Moracken"
The fisherman.

He openly said that Christianity could not do away with caste distinctions. Due to radical methods
of Kumara Gurudevan he was implicated in several false cases and upper caste people - landlords also made in attempt to eliminate him.

Kumara Gurudevan told his followers that they were of Dravidian origin and were a set of people with no class of caste distinction. He stood for the social needs of all the untouchables and backward classes. Twice he was the member of Sree Moolam Praja Sabha. As a member, he made revolutionary and radical demands and appealed to the government to give.

1. Land of the landless
2. Financial aid for farmers
3. Permission to enter and study in public schools
4. Free education and Educational concessions
5. Free food and clothing
6. Reservation in government service
7. Appointment of the educated in all service etc.

The dimand enlisted him as one of the greatest visionaries and social reformers of the 20th century Kerala. Although PRDS and the movement of Kumara Gurudevan was in essence a protest movement or one of the several social revolts in the century in the subsequent period it assumed the form of religio-social organisation of lower caste people irrespective of their personal caste or religion. The followers of PRDS belive Kumara Gurudevan as the incarnation of God and they don't believe in any other God or Goddess.

PRDS have provided the unique alternative method to annihilate a caste by permitting inter-caste marriages between the followers of PRDS faith. Thus it has also work as the source of emancipation and unification of the depressed. Therefor in a dispute over the status of PRDS in the year 1966-67, in a case the District Judge give a ruling that PRDS is a Christian organisation but Justice Raghavan of the Kerala High Court overruled it by declaring that PRDS is not a Christian organisation. The Jude also observed that PRDS is not even a Hindu creed but only a new venture to start a new casteless creed for the depressed and the socially disabled communities. Even the Teaching of Kumara Gurudevan that not to have the ornaments of any kind on any part of human body could be seen as one of the method to build up the lost economy of downtrodden classes. In Kerala Kumara Gurudevanwas the first to open an English medium school for the untouchables.