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Krishna Kumar Singh, also known among friend circles KK and among close relative Krishna; Matriculation from Mithila High School Balour, Darbhanga in 1959, Graduated in Political Science Honours from C M College, Darbhanga, Bihar University in 1963; Joined post-graduate in Political Science the same year but dropped; joined Naxal movement under Charu Mazumdar, Kanu Sanyal, Satya Narayan Singh and Umadhar Singh in between but circumstances compelled to join literary work, clerk, proof readers etc in different publishing houses for livelihood; Finally joined journalism as career in different English newspapers and before my retirement from active journalism, I worked in The Times of India for about 19 years and retired as Chief Reporter  a few years back; continuing in journalism-reading more and more, writing more and more and praying to Almighty more and more-currently writing for different national English and Hindi dailies and magazines..

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

POLITICAL CLASSES , JUDICIARY RESPONSIBLE FOR DESTROYING SECULAR FABRIC OF INDIA !

Our founding fathers of the Indian Constitution has given us an ideal resolution by declaring in the Preamble of the Constitution in 1950, "The People of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute into a ' Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens:......................But in the past over 60 years, the political classes  as well as judiciary appear bent upon in subverting the Nobel Magnacarta-Indian Constitution. To begin with, the entire atmosphere in the country on at least  secular front has been vitiated and general people of the India are mute spectators !

Communal harmony in the country is at the lowest ebb. Communal ism  has been aggravated with successive events in Ayodhaya in the last over 60 years as well as recurring of communal riots in different parts of the country. In such nefarious games, both Congress and  Hindutva organisations like BJP in 'awatar (incarnation)' of Jan Sangh, Rashtriya Swambsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)  as well as judiciary appear equally responsible for destroying the secular fabric of the country.

It all started with "uncovering a wider plot to recast the Indian polity, of which the take over of the Babri Masjid on the night of December 22-23, 1949, was but a subplot"  Since the inception of India as independent country, the politics is being religionised.. A recent book-AYODHAYA-The Dark Night; The Secret History of Rama's Appearance In Babri Masjid-, authored by Krishna Jha and Dhirendra K Jha and its reviewer Eminent Jurist A G Noorani in the Frontline fortnightly, have depicted 'sordid episode' Resultant, the Sangh Parivar ( Hindutva organisations) seem "\all set to revive Ayodhaya issue and, as Noorani says, for the same reason for which it was seeking to make Narendra Modi its front man in 2004 Lok Sabha election and it is desperate because it had no vote getter. L K Advani's ambition have far outrun his abilities as a vote getter. Advani draws a yawn even in the  Parivar." About the lies repeatedly to cover-up the crime of December , 1949 in 'planting the idol of Ram Lala', Advani had said on August 01, 2003, by spreading a tale that idol of Ram "appeared" that night  and no prayers were held  at the mosque for years. The RSS organ , Organiser said, " it meticulously appeared-(March 29, 1987)."

Authors of the book have dwelt at length about planting of idol of Ram in the mosque on 1949 night.. As per the record the testimony of the Babri Masjid's last 'Muezzin" Muhmmad Ismail, who put up a fierce "resistance to the intruders who had scaled the walls and were about to plant the idol. He was beaten up and forced to flee and he spent the remaining years of his life as a muezzin in a mosque in Pahraganj Ghosania on the outskirts  of Faizabad.  The Muezzin delivers the azan, the call of prayer and looks after the mosque.

Comparing the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the authors recall, " The hands that jumped bullets into the chest of the of the Mahatma were that of Nathuram Godse, but, as proved later, the assassination was part of a conspiracy hatched by top Hindu Maha Sabha leaders led by V D Savarkar, whose prime objectives were to snatch political initiatives from the Congress and destabilise all efforts to uphold secularism in India. It was in many ways a reflection of the same  brutalised atmosphere that the surreptitious occupation of the Babri Masjid. Such act was planned by by almost the same set of people about two years later-on the night of December 22-23, 1949. While Mahatma\ was killed in full public view in broad day-light, the Babri Masjid was converted into a temple secretly in the dead of night. As a result, an event that so remarkably changed the political discourse in India continues to be treat as a localised crime committed spontaneously by a handful of local people led by Abhiram Das, a local sadhu"

.And  at the same time, there were deep divide within the congress between Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru, the secularist  and his Home Minister Sardar Ballabh Bhai Patel, the communalist..The Uttar Pradesh Congress was a house divided. Patel's supporters were led by the UP chief minister Govind Ballabh Pant and Nehru's by Rafi Ahmed Kidwai. Many political  developments had taken place during the period, questioning mark the secular credential of the Congress ! Being disgusted over the situation Pundit Jawahar Lal Negru commented "..........communal ism has invaded the mind and hearts of of those who were pillars of the Congress." But Pundit Nehru because of divide in the Congress had soft approach." There is a counter argument as well, which raises some pertinent questions. Was it necessary for Nehru to remain a mute spectators while Govind Ballabh Pant and Purshottam Das  played communal card to finish off their opponents in UP-specially Acharya Narendra Dev-and thus created ground conducive for the Hindu Mahasabhaites In Ayodhya ? Could it have been avoided ? Would  communalists still have succeeded in taking over the Babri Masjid and retaining the in the face all hue and cry, had Nehru opted for an uncompromisingly tough attitude towards right from the beginning? Would not a harder attitude have forced the state government to take effective steps to remove the idol from the mosque and thereby, undo the wrong committed on the night of December 22, 1949? Could the Hindu Mahasabha have succeeded in going that far in implementing its Ayodhaya strategy without Nehru's soft approach?. Nehru's mass appeal was far greater than Patel's, who controlled the party machinery and in this task Patel was aided by ranked communalists such as Rajendra Prasad, Pant, Ravi Shankar Shukla and B C Roy."

As per records with Faizabad district police, the book has quoted intensively about the incident of installing idol of Ram Lala in the mosque in December 1949. The Book says, " The first information report (FIR), lodged at 9 am on December 23, 1949, hours after the Ram idol was installed, speaks for itself. Pandit Ramdeo Dubey, officer -in charge , Ayodhaya police station, Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh, lodged this FIR against  Abhiram Das, Ram Sakal Das, Sudarshan Das and 50 to 60 others, whose names were not known under Sections 147 (rioting), 448 (trespassing) and 295(defilng a place of worship) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)------That at about seven in the morning when I Ramdeo Dubey reached the Janmbhoomi, I came to know from Mata Prasad (constable number-7 Ayodhaya police station) that a group of 50 to 60 persons have entered the Babri Masjid by breaking open the locks of the compound and also by scaling the walls and staircases and placed an idol of Shri Bhagwan in it and  scribbled sketches of Sita, Ramji etc in saffron and yellow colour on the inner and outer walls of it. That Hans Raj (constable number-70, who was on duty at the time when 50 to 60 persons entered) stopped them (from doing so) but they did not care. The PAC (Provincial Armed Constabulary) guards present there were called for help. But by then the people had already entered the mosque. Senior officials visited the spot and got into action. Later a mob of five to six thousands gathered and tried to enter into the mosque raising religious slogans and singing kirtans. But due to proper arrangements , nothing happened. Committers of crime Abhiram Das, Ram Sakal Das, Sudarshan Das with 50 to 60 persons, names not known, have desecrated  (naapak kiya hai) the mosque by trespassing the mosque through rioting and placing idol in it. Officials on duty and many others people have seen it. So the case has been checked. It is found correct."

To substantiate the facts, the then UP home Secretary Rajeshwar Dayal, mde a shocking disclosure in his memoirs-A life of Our Times. "Officials brought to him a a trunk load of plans for a holocaust obtained as a result of raids on the premises of RSS as well as intelligence report to assassinate Gandhi Jee. I pressed for the immediate arrest of prime accused Shri Golwalkar (the RSS supremo). Pant deliberately procrastinated. Golwarkar disappeared........." Since then, the issue of Babri Masjid continues to be complicated. by political classes for vote bank politics-BJP from majority community-Hindu and Congress and other non-BJP parties for minority community Muslims ! Not only that later in 1980 Indira Gandhi herself fouled the atmosphere in such a manner after her return in power following humiliating defeat in 1977. by encouraging Hindu chauvinism. After her assassination, her son Rajiv Gandhi took another strange stand and allowed 'shilanayas" and got opened the mosque for shila pujan in Ayodhaya. And ultimately, the the Babri masjid was demolished when Narsimha Rao of Congress was the prime minister of India. Rao remained out of bound when masjid was being demolished .Babri mosque was demolished by Hindu parivar fascist and fundamentalist forces led by L K Advani.

Even the Judiciary also remained lethargic in giving  prompt judgements  about the authenticity of Babri Masjid and after a long gap of time, the Allahabad High Court had delivered  a split verdict about Babri Masjid, complicating the case further . The case is right now pending in the Supreme Court. A number of civil suits are still languishing in lower courts  on Babri Masjid and Ram Janmbhoomo issues. Verdict on criminal cases against Hindu fundamentalists Advani, Uma Bharati, many others involved in the demolition of Babari Masjid are   lingering. In many cases even charge sheets have not been framed against the accused. There became many twists and turns in criminal cases against the big guns of Hnidutva parties !

Communal virus is spreading in India ! Is India being pushed back into the dark ages by obscurantist, fundamentalist and fascist forces? "Their appeasement......has today given them strength and the audacity to seek to destroy the very  basis of of our nation state.....The secular forces will have to be unitedly and determinedly meet this challenge if India is to survive as a democratic, secular, progressive , liberal and modern nation" Noorani laments and says, " Secularism demands not detachment but involvement in the entire range of nation's activities-economic, social, political and constitutional. The course they have followed in recent decades has furthered the fortunes of thugs in New Delhi, who claim to be their leaders, earned the  favours and marginalised Muslims."


Friday, 22 February 2013

Tribal and poor are being uprooted in India to benefit multinationals, corporates !


It is amazing but painful. Tribal ,poor and landless people have no say in India. Huge forest land as well as of poor farmers are being acquired forcibly for facilitating the industrial set-up by corporates, multi-nationals, industrialists and influential political classes Large number of adivasis are being uprooted from their homes and land in Orissa, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Chhatishgarh, Madhy Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand ,Bihar, Maharshtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka , Tamil Nadu etc for handing over the lands for industrial and mining purposes to multi-nationals, corporates like Korea-owned Posco, British-owned Vedanta , for mining and other industrial purposes..Trabal's betel vines and various crops farm land and houses  in hundreds of acres and  have been destroyed in the deep forest of Odisha  by the Odisha government for handing over the lands to Posco and Vedanta. Similar situations are prevailing in various states.

More over, such forcible occupation of lands and forest areas are in violation of  the provisions in the Constitution, laws and rules in India as well as international norms , laws and rules. Strangely, much-awaited. new bill  for acquisition of lands-draft Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (LARR) Bill is gathering dust for the last several years. This bill was supposed to replace the obsolete-Land Acquisition Act, 1984, enacted by the colonial British Raj. following a lot of discontent over land acquisition and rehabilitation.

A recent circular of the union government has dwelt a new blow in acquiring lands and tribal rights in India.The circular was adopted  at a recent meeting convened by the prime minister Manmohahan Singh and attended by the Environment minister Jayanti Natrajan and Tribal Affairs minister V Kishore Chand Deo, " which decided that  that , subject to (the) Forest Rights Act, there will not be requirement of consent to each of 'gram sabhas' through which such linear projects such as roads, canals, pipelines, transmission towers etc pass" The government announced recently that major infrastructures projects will be exempted for forest clearance from tribal communities living in forest. Such decisions undermine the importance of India's Forest Act. The Forest Act, implemented after much hue and cry for restoring forest rights to tribal, has been ignored by the union government surreptitiously to please multi-nationals in the name of setting up infrastructural facilities in India.Tribal, who have been given enough power for utilisation of their forest land under the Forest Act. Under new directive, originating from the PM secretariat; the power of 'gram sabha' has become meaningless. In accordance to the Act, the 'gram sabhas' of tribal has absolute rights in rejecting in building of roads, railways, transmission lines, canal system, pipeline or other projects that potentially violate their land rights.

This obnoxious directive, which would affect all traditional forest -dependent communities including those who have procured rights under FRA and those who are still struggling for its implementation in the areas, In  2009 itself, the ministry of foest and environment had made the consent of the affected forest communities for all projects that will destroy forest. Such thing happened in the wake of  an attempt by the British mining Company Vedanta to clear swaths of forest in Odisha state belonging to the Dongaria tribe. Now the recent directive of the union government will definitely help Vadanta and Posco at least in Orissa.

Dr Swati Shresth of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment has said, " This is serious breach of trust and a huge step back in ensuring the dignity and survival of traditional forest-dwelling people across the country. Forests are going to be cleared to make way for a particular kind of economic development; it will adversely impact communities and environment."

 In the Opinion of the popular British Daily, the Guardian; the 2006 Forest Act is a landmark piece of legislation recognising the rights forest dependent have over the landscape they have traditionally inhabited. It mandates that forest dwellers cannot be resettled unless their traditional rights have been recognised. It is seen as single mist important piece of legislation protecting and preserving the country's biodiversity and rights of tribal group. By no longer gaining the consent of communities, the government stands accused of effectively overturning key provisions of the Act.

However, the government rejects the claims that it is diluting rights in the name of streamlining big business, saying it will continue to enforce the provisions of the" Act " where there is significant impact on the lives and livelihoods." On the other hand Shresth further said, " The proposed changes will a enable land grabbing and violation of right of traditional forest dwellers and sends a clear message that rights granted under FRA are not inalienable, but subject to the whims of the government of the day." Such concerns were also expressed to the prime minister secretariat in a letter signed by a coalition of the international forest rights movements. The statement of the Movements said, " We believe that it is against the democratic principles to make centralised decisions about the extent of social impact worth considering while diverting forests over which individuals and\or village community may have "inalienable' forest rights vested through FRA. Overriding of such processes can lead to the danger of assuming that all rights can be monetised and negotiated"

Agitating activists are of the opinion that such free signal will allow industry to build roads or canal system for mining projects to transport extracted minerals to the refinery by exploiting tribal population. the only beneficiaries of the decision will be mining companies.  This is about  directive ,which will threaten the area's biodiversity. Interestingly " this is for GDP, not about the rights of India's tribal communities" said Sanjay Basu Mallick from All India Forum of Forest Movements. Apart from  that it will also discredit India's status as the current chair of the UN  Convention on Biological Diversity and of the Nagoya protocol and the implementation of these international obligations on sustainable use and protection of biodiversity.

Sadly, although many "noble, and humane ' clauses in the proposed bill-draft Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation bill, awaiting for Parliament approval, in place of Land Acquisition Act, 1984,, a concentrated attempt is being made to dilute and make it more private-investor-friendly; there will be compromises in the consent, rehabilitation and compensation clauses provided in the original bill. The contradictory views within various ministries, there have been attempts to water-down the present draft, which is inadequate in itself, under the pressure from the industry. Strangely, the provision in the draft bill in respect of PP projects, the consent clause has been reduced from 80 percent to 70 percent and only the consent of of the landowners, not all land losers, has been stipulated as being required. This apart , there is move to dilute in the original draft about compensation and resettlement and rehabilitation were to be given to both land losers and livelihood losers.

Considering the maneuverings at the government level to help vested interests to uproot tribal and poor and small land-holders, constituting over 70 percent in India,, the government instead of taking strong and appropriate measures, it is creating more and more problems. Alas , there is no move from the government end to acquire land for dalits, tribal, poorshomeless for a roof on their heads. Over 80 percent families in India have no houses of their own even after India achieving independence over 60 years back.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

'Free Democracy' (India) vis-a-vis 'restricted democracy' (China)

There are basic differences between two big emerging developing countries  in the planet -India and China -and their progress and development. It is sad that world's largest and vibrant democracy-India-is lagging behind 'restricted democracy' in China. Apparently, it appears that China is growing because of 'disciplined approach' while India is lagging behind in the development parameters because of 'weak leadership' More over , poverty, corruption and inequality have gripped India as well as 'haphazard implementation' of liberalised economy.Apart from that 'prevailning feudalism' in India where landlords and big industrial employers behave like petty tyrants and almost all new papers except a few not reporting all these misdeeds as they depend on advertisements from government and industries  and also judiciary, composed of friends and relatives of these feudal society, protecting the tyrants. Huge payment of pensions to retired employees and subsidies in the name of goodies to poor people, which hardly reach them, are also holding back the reforms in the economy of India.Economic measures in China is percolating to the common masses while in India such results are not going  down to underprivileged and marginalised!

As recent Davos meeting has suggested that India is doing worse than China. Not only that almost all indicators like growth, inflation, output per capita,  unemployment, budget deficit, corruption indicate that India is far behind China. A few years back , it was predicted by Davos men that India would emerge as most powerful and developed country in South-East Asia But that hopes are gradually belying .India, could achieve per capita GDP at $ 3,851 against China's $ 9,146. Official figures in India say that unemployment rate is double in comparison with China. On corruption front, the Transparency International's index has put China 80th rank in the globe while India has been ranked 94th and it is growing rapidly.Apart from that military preparations and manufacturing arms and ammunition by China are increasing leaps \and bound, whereas India is yet to give full thrust on the security of its border although India is one of the top-most buyers of arms and ammunition for its defence preparedness. (My blog Topic: "Arms and Ammunition manufacturing and acquisition at the top among Globe Nations: US , China heading for manufacturing lethal and sophisticated weapons"- December 6, 2012-www.kksingh1.blogspot.com).

According to cross-sections of the society and various news and views reports; the" rural people are hardly better off than they were two or three decades ago." A former Supreme Court judge, Krishna Ayyer, a towering survivor of the progressive personality  has expressed pain and anguish over prevailing situation in India and said, " more than 40 percent of the Indian children are malnourished-worse that in Africa, while detailing the report of the World Bank, depicting sad aspects on India.. Over 17, 000 farmers have committed suicide in 2010  on the failure of their crops. Timothy Garton Ash has written in the Guardian in its issue on January 31, 2013, " Even the most superficial, privileged travellers cannot avoid seeing the shocking proximity of wealth and want, whether in the garbaged-piled slums of Mumbai or the medieval-looking peasant farms visible just off a brand new expressway."

Well-known economist and a former union revenue secretary, now JD(U) MP from Bihar  N K Singh, who has recently returned after attending Davos's World Economic Forum meeting , has written in a national newspaper that  Davos men felt bad over 'inefficiency of  India government over  economic development in India."One European  participant has said in the meeting that Indians are seen every where in the meeting but not India!", Singh said and added that GDP of India has sharply declined because of coalition government , resulting into political instability.

"Unlike China but like Europe, India expends a vast amount of energy simply coping with its incredible diversity. The French President Charles de Gaulle once exclaimed how you can you possibly govern a country that has 246 varieties of cheese? Well, how about a country with 330 million gods"? And when you say a country; a 19th century English observer once observed that Scotland is more like Spain than Bengal is like Punjab. A poetic exaggeration, no doubt, but the country is a continent, a commonwealth, an empire itself. And like Europe, it is trying to manage this diversity in freedom. China has diversity too, in vast its sparsely populated areas of mainly Tibetan and mainly Muslim population, but it copes with it mainly by repression." India lacks united powerful narrative. Unfortunately, if unsurprisingly, many of these stories in India are sectarian, regional, petty-chauvinist narratives, dividing rather than uniting.

Secondly, one of the main reasons of poor growth story of India is legacy of British Raj bureaucracy. Licence and permit raj still exist in India indirectly.. Captains of  industry like Lakshmi Mittal and Tata's Ratan Tata prefer to invest elsewhere because it takes  eight to ten years to get all permission in India to open industrial units..The Guardian essay by Ash says, "If the bureaucracy of a post-colonial state is the problem, more deregulation and economic liberalisation should be answer; and so, in some respects, it is. This is, for instance, the only way that we will bet to an EU-India free trade agreement, which could bring great benefits to both sides. But the free market liberalisation that was let rip in the 1990s is also part of the problem. Take the media, India's media now boasts a commercial, sensationalists, race-to-the-bottom culture that makes Fox News look fair and balanced and the British tabloid the Sun look like a new bulletin for the Salvation Army. A few quality papers such as Hindu, are exceptions that prove the rule. Elsewhere paid news (corporations paying for favourable news coverage) is the order of the day."

More and more politicising the things is also responsible for poor show in India."Every one in Delhi but every where, there are general impression that business and politics in Delhi and elsewhere in India are cardinally inter wind like 'tantric gods and goddesses'. besides the shrill name-calling, regional and religious identity politics and dynastic politics (witness the irresistible rise of Rahul Gandhi in the Congress Party), there is monstrous condescension to the two out of every three Indians, who are still dirt people."

Ash remarks, "ruling political classes manly through to poor subsidies for basic foodstuffs, a few other cheap goodies, guaranteed low wage employment for a number of days a year-and buy their votes every election time. So is China bound to go on winning.No and again no, because while the Indian system is daily soap opera of small crises, the big crisis of China's self-contradictory system of Leninist capitalism is yet to come. And no, again because India is a free country, with the most amazing diversity of human talents, originally, personality and spirituality. Surely that free expression of human individuality must tell out in the end."

However, in his remarks on the essay of Ash on India, Prof James Manor of Institute of Commonwealth Studies, says, " Ash is wrong about Indian politicians buying votes of the poor. Even illiterate voters of India are too canny to be duped and they have thrown out more moneyed parties at state and national elections on majority of occasions since the late 1970s." Craig Jeffrey of the Oxford University has rightly said in his comment , " Ash provides a timely reminder of the need for broader-based social development in the subcontinent but stops short of taking India's government to task. The state in India is engaged in a curious strategy of allowing schools, hospitals and other government services to atrophy while dispensing huge sums via populist development programmes. How this strategy will play out is unclear, but in the meantime the poor are taking things into their own hands, and it is interesting that on the day of this article in the Guardian, a huge demonstration against manual scavenging reached its climax in Delhi."

But growth rate in China also seems to be in long-term decline.According to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Chinese GDP growth, year on year, which had fallen from 8.1 percent in the first quarter of 2012 to 7.6 percent in the second quarters and 7.4 per cent in the third quarter, had bounced back to 7.9 percent in the last quarter of that year. But sign of survival appears to be weak. as growth spiked in China when the government launched a $ 585 billion stimulus package in response to the 2008 crisis, which drove the year-on-year quarterly growth rate from 6.6 percent in the first quarter of 2009 to 12.1 percent in first quarter of 2010..According to an article in the on line edition of The People's Daily, China's first release of the Gini coefifcient for the past decade demonstrated the government's resolve to bridge the gap between rich and poor The director of the Chinese NBS  Ma Jiantang, has said ," The  statistics highlighted the urgency for our country to speed up the income distribution reforms to narrow the wealth gap."

Slower growth rate may be upsetting  Indian government, but it seems to be sign of achievement in China.


Monday, 4 February 2013

Gautam Buddha's life's journey towards Enlightenment and Salvation !



Before I begin on writing on Gautam Buddha's life journey towards his enlightenment and salvation, I must refer one quote of Geeta as Buddha was said to be the 'incarnation of Lord Vishu'. Lord Krishn has said in the texses sixth and seventh in the Chapter four of Bhagavad Geeta, "Ajopi sann avyayarma-bhutanam isvari pi san; prakrtim svam adhisthaya sambhavamy atma-mayaya (6), yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata-abhyutthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srjamy aham (7)....(Although I am unborn and My transcental body never deteriorates and although I am the Lord of all living entities, I still appear in every millennium in my original transcendental form. Whenever and where ever there is decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata and a predominant rise of irreligion-at that time I descend Myself.)........

Facts about Buddha's are reasonably certain.Upanisads are of Brahimanic order, which is of orthodoxy and did not harmonised other 'teachings' of  by 'heterodox sects.' For such change an yellow-robed  followers led by Gautam Buddha came to the scene  at the end of the sixth and beginning of fifth century B.C by establishing 'the enlightenment or Awakened'. If one considers the posthumous effects on the world at large, Buddha was certainly the greatest man to have born in India.. The story of his birth and early life found places in 'Buddhst Scriptures. His sermon, " Turning of the Wheel of the Law", which is said to be the first sermon preached after the Buddha's enlightenment and which is the basis teaching of all .Buddhist sects, have great relevance in the present-day society, engulfed under violence and untruthness.

Story of enlightenment of  Siddharth Gautam , at the age of 35 years old, has many facts. He was sitting beneath a large 'Peela tree' on the outskirts of of Gaya town ,under the regime of Bimbisara King of Magadh. A L Basham, in his book, The wonder that was India, has referred, " Sujata, the daughter of a nearby farmer, brought him a large bowl of rice boiled in milk. After eating some of this, he bathed and that evening, again sitting beneath the peepal tree, he made a solemn vow that, though his bones wasted away and his blood dried up, he would not leave his seat until the riddle of suffering was solved. So 49 days Gautam Buddha sat beneath the tree. At first he was surrounded by hosts  gods and spirits, awaiting the great moment of enlightenment; but they soon fled, for Mara, the spirit of the world and of sensual pleasure, the Buddhist devil approached. For days Gautam withstood temptations of all kinds. Mara, disguised as a messenger, brought news that wicked cousin Devadatta had revolted, thrown Suddhodhana into prison and seized Yasodhara but Gautam was not moved. Mara called him demon hosts and attacked him with whirlwind, tempest, flood and earthquake but he sat firm, cross-legged beneath the tree. Then the tempter called on Gautama to produce evidence of his goodness and benevolence; he touched the ground with his hand and the Earth itself spoke with  voice of thunder: "I am his witness."

"......Mara than tried gentler means of Gautama's resolve. He called his three beautiful daughter; Desire, Pleasure and Passion, who danced and sang before him and tried every means of seduction. Their wiles were quite ineffectual. They offered him Universal Empire, but he was quite unmoved. At last the demon hosts gave up the struggle and Gautama, left alone, sank deeper and deeper into meditation.At the dawning of the forty-ninth day he knew  the truth. He had found the secret of sorrow and understood at last why the world is full of sufferings and unhappiness of all kinds and what man must do to overcome them. He was fully enlightened--a Buddha. For another seven weeks he remained under the Tree of Wisdom (bodhi), meditating on the great truths he had found. For a time he doubted whether he should proclaim his wisdom to the world, as it was so recondite and difficult to express that few would understand it; but the god Brahma himself descended from heaven and persuaded him to reach the world. Leaving the Tree of Wisdom, he journeyed to the Deer Park near Banaras (the modern Sarnath), where his five former disciples had settled to continue their panances....."

Buddha's  birth and  upbringing up has also unique story. Gautam Buddha was the son of the King of Sakyas, a small Tribe of Himalayan foothills, namely Kapilvastu. One night  Mahamaya, the chief queen of Suddhodhana, king of Sakyas and mother of Gautam Buddha, had a dream that she was carried away to the divine lake Anavatapta in the Himalayas where she was bathed by the heavenly guardians of the four quarters of the universe. Subsequently a great white elephant with a lotus flower in his trunk approached her and assimilated inside her. The next day dream was interpreted by wise men of the kingdom --she has had conceived a wonderful son, who would be either king of the universe or teacher of the universe, The child was  born in a grove of sal trees called Lummbini, near the capital of Sakyayas, Kapilvastu while his mother was on the way to her parents' home for her confinement. At birth he stood upright, took seven strides and spoke: " This is my last birth-henceforth there is no more birth for me." He was named Siddharth. His 'gotr' name was Gautam, as he is known in Buddhist literature.

To prevent prophesy about Siddharth, the King Suddhodhan decided that the boy should never know the sorrows of the world and he was brought up in the Palace with all comforts, luxuries  and facilities. From that place, the king removed all sign of death, disease and misery. He was trained in all aspects of life as a prince is taught. Gautam excelled in learning as students. Thereafter, he married his" cousin Yasodhara, who he won at a great contest at which he performed feats of strength and skill which put to shame all other contestants including his envious cousin Devadatta.But even after his success and vast knowledge, Gautam was not at all happy. So many efforts of his father did not deter him to take a path to shape his destiny. One day Gautam was moving around the royal park with his faithful charioteer Channa, he saw an aged man, in the last stage of infirmity and decrepitude-actually a god, who had taken this in disguise in order that Siddharth Gautam might become a Buddha. Siddharth asked Channa who this repulsive being was and when he learned that all men must grow old he was even more troubled in mind. This was the first sign. The second came a little later, in the same way, in the form of a very sick man, covered with boils and shivering with fever. The third was even more terrible-a corpse, being carried to the cremation ground followed by weeping mourners. But the fourth sign brought the hope and consolation-a wandering religious beggar, clad in simple yellow robe, peaceful and calm with  inward joy. On seeing him Siddharth realised where his destiny lays, and set his heart on becoming a wanderer."

When the King could know all these developments, he stepped up his precautions to keep Gautam at a bay from all these evil things.. Siddharth was virtually made a prisioner, surrounded with luxuries and pleasures of all kinds. But Siddharth never remained  happy. One morning  Siddharth  was informed that Yasodhara  had given birth to his son.. But it gave him neither any pleasure nor any happiness to him.. That night was night of festivities in the Palace. When everybody enjoyed and later slept in deep pleasure sleep, he awoke Channa, who was 'ghorsawar' of his horse 'Kanthaka'  and he slipped in the midnight fro from the Palace. Surrounded by rejoicing demigods, who cushioned the fall of his horse's hoofs, so that no one could listen his leaving the Palace. " when far way from the city he stripped off his jewellery and fine garments and put on a hermit's robe, provided by an attendant demigod. Siddharth cut off his hear of head from his sword and sent it back to his father with his garments through  Channa. The horse Kanthaka dropped dead from grief when he found that he was to be parted from his master, to be reborn in one of the heavens. Thus Siddharth started his "great going Forth" (Mahabhiniskramana) and became a wandering ascetic, owing nothing but the robe he wore."

To begin with Siddharth started begging for his food as a wanderer. There after he became a forest hermit. A sage named Alara Kalama he learn ed the technique of meditation and the "lore of Brahman as taught in the Upanishads; but he was not convinced that man could obtain liberation from sorrow by self-discipline and knowledge, so he joined forces with five ascetics who were practising the most rigorous self-mortification in the hope of wearing away their karma and obtaining final bliss. He adopted very hard task that five quickly recognised him as their leader. For six  years , he adopted rigorous and tortured himself.. Just Gautam became walking skeleton. One day, worn out by penance and hunger, he fainted and his followers believed that he was dead. But after a while he recovered and consciousness and realised that his fasts and penaces had been useless. He again began to beg food and his body regained strength and started another round of meditation. The five disciples left him in disgust at his black- sliding.

After attaining enlightenment, Buddha, preached his first sermon or in Buddhist phraseology set in motion the "Wheel of Law." Five of his deserted disciples joined him and were so impressed with Buddha's new doctrine that they gave u p austerities and once more became his disciples. Later many more joined and Buddha sent them to different directions to preach the Buddhist Dharm. A few days later a band of sixty young ascetics became his followers and Buddha sent them to all directions. Soon his name got popularity in throughout the Ganges plain and greatest kings of that time favoured him and his followers. there are many stories about Buddha's long years of preaching.

Buddha returned to Kapilvastu and converted his father, wife, son Rahul as well as many other members of the court, including his cousin Devadatta, whose heart remain full of jealousy. At the request of his foster-mother and aunt," Krsa-Gautami, he allowed with much misgivings the formation of community of nuns. Devadatta grew so jealous of him that once he even tried to kill Buddha, by arranging for a mad elephant to be let loose in his path; but the beast, impressed by the Buddha's gentleness and fearlessness, calmly bowed at his feet. Not only that Buddha averted war between the Sikyas and neighbouring tribe of the Koliyas, by walking between the assembled armies and convincing them of the uselessness and evil of bloodshed. Buddha went alone to the camp of notorious bandit Angulimala and converted him and his followers from their evil ways."

Although his life was full of miracles and many wonders, the earliest traditions record few "miracles performed by Buddha himself. Once, indeed, he is said to have performed feats of levitation and other miracles at Sravasti, as a result of challenge from rival teachers, but he sternly forbade the monks to perform magical feats and there is no record of his healing sick by supernatural means.One touching story of the Buddha is interesting in this connection, since it contrasts strikingly with the Gospel stories of the miracles of Jesus. A woman, stricken with grief at the death of her only son and hearing that Buddha was in the vicinity, brought the child's corpse to his in the hope that he would restore it to life.He asked her first to go to the nearby town and bring a handful of mustard seed from a family in which no one had died. She went from house to house, but of course could find no such family, until at last she understood the inevitability of death and sorrow and became a nun."

Remarkably because of his growing reputation in over 40 years of his life , Buddha religious discourse made him a giant figure. And the Sangha (literally society, the Buddhist order) increased in number and influence..With the single exception of the conspiracy of " Devadatta, he suffered no persecution, though a few of his followers were maltreated by the religious opponents. His ministry was a long, calm and peaceful one, in this respect very different from that of Jesus."

The end of Buddha's life came at the age of eighty.. Buddha spent his last rainy season of his life near the city of Vaisali ( now in new Bihar) and after the rains he and his followers journeyed northwards to the hill country which had been the home of his youth. "on the way Buddha prepared his disciples for his death. He told them that his body was now like a worn-out cart, creaking every joint. He declared that he declared that he had made no distinction between esoteric and exoteric teaching, but had preached the full  doctrine to them. When he was gone they were to look for new leader-the Doctrine (dharma) which had preached would lead them. They must rely on themselves be their own lamps and look for no refuge outside themselves.........."

At last the "D" day came and at the town of Pava he was "entertained by a lay of disciple, Cunda, the sinmith and ate a meal of pork. Soon after this he was attacked by dysenery but he insisted on moving on the nearby town of Kusinagara (Pali, Kusinara), now in Uttar Pradesh.Here on the outskirts of the town, he lay down under a sal tree and that night he died. His last words were: "All composite things decay strive diligently!" This was his "Final Blowing-out" (Parinirvana). His sorrowing disciples cremated his body and his ashes were divided between the representatives of various tribal people and the King Ajatshatru of Magadh."

Even today the Buddhist holy places-the Lumbini grave at Kapilvasti, where Buddha was born, currently in Nepal, the Tree of Wisdom at Gaya, now in Bihar , India,, where g he gained enlightenment, the Deer Park near Banaras, where he preached his first sermon and the grove near  Kusinagara, now Kushunagar in Uttar Pradesh in India, where he died--were visited by many pilgrims including the Ashoka the great himself, who spread Buddhism throughout the globe during his period of Kingdom.

Buddha's teachings relevance are  gaining ground day-to-day year-to -year and Buddha is remembered throughout the Planet as a great saint and sage!

Sources:-  Readers could get more details in Pali forms as used in the Sthaviravada Buddhists. Many writings on Buddha in Pali , The Discovery of India of Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru,  The Wonder That Was India, written by A L Basham and other rare manuscripts in Pali, available in  Nalanda, Patna, Banars, Kushinagar and Kapilvastu. etc.