Rajya Sabha’s 2018 Calendar Reflects Modi’s Global Vision

A lot of research and planning has gone into Rajya Sabha’s 2018 calendar, which gives a glimpse of the transformation of India and the world and also reflects Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s global vision. The Chairman of the House of Elders, M. Venkaiah Naidu got the calendar unveiled by P.J. Kurien (Congress), Deputy Chairman. The calendar has pictures of 12 world leaders who addressed Members of both the Houses in the Central Hall of Parliament during 1955-2010 and their speeches capture the history of transformation of India and the world. The world leaders spoke of the ancient traditions of India and the country’s emergence as a vibrant democracy and a major global player. They had touched upon various issues relating to the Cold War, nuclear arms race, the non-aligned movement, multilateralism, peace, security, terrorism, international cooperation for sustainable economic growth for addressing poverty and the role India could play in addressing various challenges from time to time. The US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who addressed the MPs in December, 1959, had said “The welfare of America is bound up with the welfare of India.” Barack Obama, who addressed the MPs in November 2010, had said that “I am of the firm belief that relationship between India and the US will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.” The President of Afghanistan, Mohammad Daoud said in March 1978, that “The non-aligned movement does not signify lack of interest in, or keeping aloof from international issues.” Russian President Vladimir Putin, in October 2000, had observed, “You have negated the deep rooted stereotypes according to which the principles of democracy are only successful in the UK type countries.” French President Francois Mitterand, in November 1982, recalled that it was Napoleon I who created the first Chair for Sanskrit in Europe. Some other world leaders in the calendar are Nikita Khrushchev, Mikhail Gorbachev and Margret Thatcher, among others.

Caste no bar

‘Marathas and Mahars fought together in Koregaon’

Lieutenant General Vijay Oberoi (Retired), a former Vice Chief of Army Staff, has some facts about the 200-year-old Battle of Koregaon, which was the cause of violent clashes between Dalits and Marathas on 1 January. The battle was fought on 1 January 1818, between the British East India Company troops and forces of the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy at Koregaon Bhima in Maharashtra. The commemoration dates back to 1 January 1927, when Dr B.R. Ambedkar visited the site. Since then, thousands of his followers visit the site every New Year’s Day.

Oberoi says that the battle was a stalemate as both sides retreated, leaving their dead behind. The English claimed victory and built a victory pillar (obelisk) at the village. According to him, the Koregaon pillar inscription features the names of the 49 Company soldiers killed in the battle. The dead soldiers of Indian origin included 22 Mahars, 16 Marathas, eight Rajputs, two Muslims, and one or two Jews. On the Peshwa side too, soldiers as well as commanders belonged to varied classes, religions and castes.

In the 1800s, Oberoi points out that the Mahars were considered untouchables. Yet, when it came to military service, soldiers from all castes, creeds and religions were recruited; they served loyally, fought together and spilled blood for their masters. Even the Peshwas, who were high-caste Brahmins, had soldiers from all castes and creeds, and their elite soldiers were Arabs.

“Even in the post-Independence Indian Army,” he says, “there is no discrimination relating to castes and so on. My own regiment, the Maratha Light Infantry, which draws its inspiration from the great Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, has officers and soldiers of all categories serving in it, including Mahars, Coorgs, Muslims from South, Karnataka boys and others.”

Special training

Indo-Tibetan Border Police Goes For Israeli Martial Art

A deadly Israeli unarmed combat martial art, Krav Maga, has been adopted by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force, which is deployed all along the border with China. FBI and SWAT teams have been training in Krav Maga for long. It is also a part of the training of the British Special Air Service and the US Marines. Krav Maga contact-combat is a military self-defence and fighting system developed for the Israel defence forces and security forces that derived from a combination of techniques sourced from boxing, wrestling, Aikido, Judo, Karate, along with realistic fight training. Krav Maga has been made a part of the basic training being imparted to the ITBP recruits. The paramilitary force has one qualified instructor trained by a team from Singapore. So far, over 176 personnel have been trained.  The ITBP is the first force to go for Krav Maga. It is said that Krav Maga’s introduction in the Indian forces is a result of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel. The Special Protection Group, tasked with the protection of the PM has also introduced Krav Maga as part of its protection drills.

Krav Maga was derived from the street fighting experience of Hungarian-Israeli martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld, who made use of his training as a boxer and wrestler as a means of defending the Jewish quarters against fascist groups in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, in the mid-to-late 1930s.

Begin again

Life is an incredible show, says Failures Conclave

On the eve of the New Year, an out-of-the-box event was organised by a Dehradun-based NGO, Rural Litigation Empowerment Kendra (RLEK), associated with education, environment, panchayati raj and human rights.

The function was titled “Failures Conclave”. It brought many well-known personalities together who had failed in school or other educational forums but made it big in life. Talking to The Sunday Guardian, RLEK chairman Avdhash Kaushal (80) said that “the life is an incredible show”. He said that the idea behind this conclave was not to belittle the good performance of students but to bring confidence and courage to anyone who has failed in any class. Kaushal said that he had failed twice, in Class 7 and Class 9, but was not deterred. He ended up becoming associate professor at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy in Mussoorie before launching his NGO.

“Today,” he said, “I’m a proud recipient of not only Padma Shri but numerous other awards.” He also started India’s first Nehru Yuva Kendra in 1972.

Padma Shri Leeladhar Jagudi (73), noted poet from Tehri Garhwal and winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award, was the chief guest. He said, “When I was small, my mother died and my brother became blind. I failed in nearly every class, but I accepted my failures and moved on. I discovered my passion for singing and writing and worked on it. Everyone should find what they are gifted with.”

Sharing her life story, Prof Dr Pernille Gooch (70) from Sweden said, “I had failed to get selected in high school and my year was wasted while all my friends went ahead. From fishing to goat rearing, I have done everything for survival. At 40, I decided to do PhD and travelled to India. It took me 11 years to complete my doctorate, due to ill health. But I have always enjoyed what life has offered me.” She has done extensive fieldwork in the Himalayas, a region severely affected by global warming.

Great admirer

Azerbaijani loves Dharmendra

Actor Dharmendra has found a great admirer in Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic. An Azerbaijani television journalist-filmmaker, Namig Gurban (50) has made a 47-minute biographic documentary titled Dharmendra: A Messenger of Love. It was screened in Baku on 27 December.

“It is my tribute to my childhood hero,” Gurban told The Sunday Guardian. Unfortunately the 82-year-old actor could not attend the presentation due to his health. But he interacted with the audience through video conferencing. In the documentary, he tells Gurban, “People must take care of each other, help each other. That’s why we come into this world.”

The event was dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and India. Indian ambassador to Azerbaijan, Sanjay Rana said that “Azerbaijan and India have very close and friendly relations. This film will serve as a bridge that connects India and Azerbaijan.”The chronological documentary talks about Dharmendra Singh Deol’s life, work and wisdom. The documentary is available in Azerbaijani, English, and Russian languages. The process to translate it into Hindi and Arabic is near complete.

“Since my childhood, I have had a great love and respect for this handsome actor, who enriched world cinema with his roles. I met him in India and discovered the previously unknown to me facets of his work,” says Gurban. It was at the age of 13 that he saw Dharmendra for the first time on the big screen. “His battle scenes and funny jokes charmed me. He became my hero number one from that day.” A Belarus-based handicraft trader Amrit Jeet Singh worked as a translator and coordinator for this project.

Man Mohan can be contacted at


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