Prez relishes ‘desi’ cows’ milk
We are told that President Ram Nath Kovind loves drinking the milk of indigenous cows from Punjab. The Rashtrapati Bhavan has five Sahiwal cows sent to him late last year by Swami Kishnanand Maharaj, who heads a gaushala at Chandpur Rurki in Nawanshahr district. Kovind had visited Chandpur Rurki several times before becoming the First Citizen. In the summer of 2015, a few months before moving to Patna as the Bihar Governor, Kovind spent five days at gaushalas in Malout, Barnala and Nurmahal and stayed for two days at Kishnanand’s gaushala at Chandpur Rurki. Led by Kishnanand, a group of “gaurakshaks” met Kovind on 6 September, 2017. Keemti Bhagat, former chairman of the Punjab Gau Sewa Commission, and current vice-chairman Dargesh Sharma were members of the delegation. Kishnanand is also the national president of the Gau Sewa Mission. Bhagat told The Sunday Guardian that “Kovindji is very fond of desi cows’ milk, especially the Sahiwal breed.” Pointing out that Kovind holds Swami Kishnanand in high esteem, Bhagat said that when Kovind became the Bihar Governor, three Sahiwal cows were sent to Raj Bhavan.During their meeting with the President, Bhagat said that they had sought his help to save cows. “We asked him if he needed more cows and he told us to send two more.” According to him, the President asked one of his staff members to remain in touch with them. “A few weeks later, we had sent two more Sahiwal cows, which are being reared at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The cows were medically examined before permitted inside the President’s official residence.”
‘Alter the design’
‘There Can’t Be Two Golden Temples’
Can there be two Golden Temples? No, the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) says firmly. The Sikh religious body has taken cognisance of a “Golden Temple replica” at Mastuana Sahib in Sangrur, Punjab, and set up a four-member inquiry committee. The issue has been hanging fire for long. In 2009, Akal Takht had asked the SGPC “to alter the design of the controversial structure of a Golden Temple lookalike”, situated on the premises of Gurdwara Sachkhand Angitha Sahib. Akal Takht had also ordered SGPC to fill the sarovar of this gurdwara with sand, remove the bridge and change the rooftop design.Jathedar Parshotam Phaguwala, state general secretary of the United Akali Dal, sat on an indefinite fast some days ago outside Gurdwara Patshahi Nauvin Sahib at Bhawanigarh, demanding the implementation of Akal Takht’s directions. He ended his fast on Wednesday on an appeal from Gobind Singh Longowal, SGPC chief.Longowal told The Sunday Guardian that “No other gurdwara in India or abroad can be designed on the pattern of the Golden Temple. No one has the right to construct a replica of the Golden Temple as it hurts the religious sentiments of all Sikhs.”Darshan Singh, Jathedar of Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Mastuana Sahib, has denied the allegations of construction of a replica. “Our gurdwara,” he points out, “was constructed around 30 years ago and changes were made in its design 20 years ago. We have closed ‘Har ki Pauri’ and made other changes in its design, but still some persons are raking up the issue for political gains.”
Uttar Pradesh almost became Aryavarta
The Yogi Adityanath government observed 24 January as “UP Diwas” as Uttar Pradesh came into existence on this day in 1950. It is learnt that Yogi Adityanath responded to state Governor Ram Naik’s suggestion to celebrate the day on the lines of Maharashtra Day to create awareness among the people about its history and culture. It is true that not many people know how this state was named Uttar Pradesh. In 1950, the then Governor-General of India passed the United Provinces Order 1950, renaming the then United Provinces as Uttar Pradesh. It was published in the Uttar Pradesh Gazette on 24 January 1950. An interesting account of about how Uttar Pradesh was born appears in Gyanesh Kudaisya authored Region, Nation, Heartland: Uttar Pradesh in India’s Body Politic. A detailed account shows that the post-Independence leadership in UP considered itself the heartland of the newly independent nation. Since 1902, the province had been known as the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, which in 1937 was shortened to United Province or UP. Within days of Independence, the UP legislature began debating a “suitable name”. Around 20 names emerged during discussion, but consensus could not be reached for long. In October 1949, the state leadership realised that they must decide fast as drafting of the new Constitution was nearing completion and had to include the names of the provinces. The matter was put before the Provincial Congress Committee, which met at Banaras in November 1949.
An overwhelming majority of 106 members supported a motion in favour or “Aryavarta”, while “Hind” received 22 votes. Prominent Congress leader G.B. Pant conveyed the decision to the Constituent Assembly, which shot it down. A member, R.K. Sidhwa feared that United Provinces was anxious to monopolise the name of India. He charged UP of looking upon itself as the “super most province of India”. The Law Minister, Dr B. R. Ambedkar then moved a bill empowering the Governor-General to alter the names of provinces to the Union.
Pant promised to refrain from suggesting pompous names like “Aryavarta”. The Congress members from UP in the Constituent Assembly were asked to work out a compromise on “Uttar Pradesh.” The rest is history.
Biggest RSS assembly in Feb
Only one Muslim man has registered himself for the RSS’ biggest congregation of swayamsevaks in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh on 25 February. Meerut was a strong base for the RSS nearly 15 years ago. After the BJP returned to power in the state last year, the RSS has been concentrating in the Jat land to deepen its roots there. Many of the districts of western UP are dominated by Dalits and Muslims.
The February event, Rashtrodaya Swayamsevak Samaagam, will be addressed by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Garh Road in Meerut. The RSS has made the registrations online, for a fee of Rs 50. A collection of Rs 1.5 crore has already come.
Over three lakh people have registered themselves in the last three months from the districts in the “Meerut region”—Meerut, Sambhal, Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Amroha, Moradabad, Saharanpur, Bijnor and Rampur. Ghaziabad and Noida too are under the Meerut unit.
So far, only one Muslim man has come forward to register himself for the event. Of the three lakh people, around 1.70 lakh are new to the RSS and will wear “Ganavesh”, the RSS uniform, for the first time.
“It will be the biggest assembly of RSS volunteers in the history of the organisation. We have made registrations in each of the 10,580 villages in the entire Meerut pranth,” an RSS office bearer told The Sunday Guardian, claiming that “now we are proud to have a swayamsevak in every village.”
Sholay act to stop Padmaavat
In a Rajasthan town, a 22-year-old man, Upendra Singh, repeating actor Dharmendra’s act from Sholay, climbed atop a water tank in Bhilwara district on Monday morning to demand a ban on Padmaavat.
In Sholay, the entire village had repeatedly urged Veeru (Dharmendra) to come down as he was threatening to commit suicide if Mausi did not permit her niece Vasanti’s (Hema Malani) marriage with him. Upendra Singh threatened to commit suicide if Padmaavat was allowed to be screened in the area.
The police and district administration officials were on their tenterhooks to convince Upendra Singh, a worker in a private factory, to come down.
Finally, he did at 1 pm and submitted a memorandum to the district administration, demanding a ban on the film.
War of words
Cap politics in Himachal Pradesh
An interesting war of words has started over Himachali caps of the hill state’s Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and former CM Virbhadra Singh. It started with Singh’s maroon cap jibe against Thakur, leading to anger in the BJP’s rank and file. After becoming CM on 27 December, Thakur started donning maroon caps at government functions. Three BJP legislators, Rakesh Pathania, Suresh Kashyap and Jeet Ram Katwal, described Thakur’s cap as “Vikas ki Topi (cap of development)” and said that Singh’s green cap was “a symbol of dynastic ego and autocratic style of functioning”, which once unleashed fear in the Chief Minister’s Office.
BJP leaders and workers visiting the CMO are seen donning maroon caps, which was once identified with former BJP CM P. K. Dhumal, who lost in the recent Assembly elections despite being projected as the BJP’s CM face. Virbhadra Singh hit back, accusing Thakur of starting “cap politics” in the state and said that the new CM “lacks knowledge on financial matters”.
The BJP legislators are saying that “Virbhadra Singh is the father of ‘cap politics’ and it was he who had thrown away the maroon cap presented to him by one of his Cabinet colleagues at a function at Peterhoff last year.”