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International Conference on Dara Shikoh to be held

The international conference on “Dara Shikoh: Reclaiming Spiritual Legacy of India” will be held on April 27 and 28. The conference will be organised by the Indian Council Of Cultural Relations (ICCR). The conference will see the participation of eminent scholars from the US, Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and India. The objective of the conference is to highlight Dara Shikoh’s contributions to bring about spiritual homogenisation of Hinduism and Islam and his initiatives in building a cohesive social and cultural edifice in India.

Dara Sikoh

Dara Sikoh was an intellectual, wise and a paragon of harmonious coexistence of various religions. He loved Muslims, Hindus, Sufis and Sikhs all alike. Dara Shikoh dedicated himself to create a bridge of Hindu-Muslim Unity and was so learned that translated 50 Upanishads from Sanskrit to Persian for the Muslim Scholars. This work is called Sirr-i-Akbar, the great mystery. Through his research, he reached a conclusion that a common spiritual basis existed between Hinduism and Islam. He wrote that a great deal of Quranic wisdom existed in Upanishads. He also documented the Quranic terms and their Sanskrit equivalents from Upanishads. He was invited to lay the foundation of the Golden Temple of Amritsar and he befriended with 7thGuru of Sikhs Guru Har Rai.

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PM Narendra Modi inaugurates exhibition marking 100 years of Champaran Satyagraha

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated an exhibition titled “Swachhagraha – Bapu Ko Karyanjali – Ek Abhiyan, Ek Pradarshani” in New Delhi mark the 100 years (centenary year) of Champaran Satyagraha.

The exhibition will showcase Champaran Satyagraha and it will connect essential principles of Satyagraha with Swachhagraha. It will also showcase the ground covered by the Swachh Bharat Mission in creating a mass movement towards a clean India.

About Champaran Satyagraha

  • Champaran Satyagraha was Mahatma Gandhi’s first experiment of Satyagraha. It was undertaken in the erstwhile undivided Champaran district in northern Bihar in April 1917.
  • It was undertaken after Mahatma Gandhi learned about the abuses suffered by farmers, who were forced into growing indigo by British planters and estate owners.
  • The tenants from Champaran were forced under the law to plant three out of every twenty parts of his land with indigo for his landlord under the so called Tinkathia system.
  • Initially, Gandhiji was reluctant to commit himself to the task but he was so persuaded by indigo cultivator Rajkumar Shukla that he decided to investigate the matter.
  • Gandhiji’s plan was to carry out an extensive inquiry in the district and demand action based on its findings. However, local authorities did not find his visit welcoming and they unsuccessfully tried to dissuade him.
  • But Gandhi began his work from the house of Babu Gorakh Prasad in Motihari, headquarters of the then Champaran district.
  • During this time, Gandhij was served with a court summon while he was making a spot visit to village. Gandhiji was charged with violating law and was told to leave Champaran, but he refused to leave.
  • On April 18, 1917 when Gandhi appeared in Motihari Court and was accompanied by nearly 2000 local people. The magistrate wanted to defer the trial and resulted in the collapse of trial.
  • The then Lieutenant Governor of Bihar ordered the withdrawal of case against Gandhi, and the Collector wrote to Gandhi saying he was free to conduct the inquiry.
  • This small step in the form of passive protest was a giant leap forward in the history of freedom struggle and heralded the advent of Gandhian era.
  • His protest led to abolishing of exploitative tinkathia system. The victory at Champaran established Gandhiji in India’s struggle against the British raj.

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Google Doodle pays tribute to India’s social reformer Savitribai Phule

Search engine giant Google honoured India’s 19th Century social reformer Savitribai Phule on the occasion of her 186th birth anniversary (3 January 2017) by dedicating a doodle on its webpage.

The ‘doodle’ had a narration by New Delhi-based NGO Zubaan, with colourful paintings by Malvika Asher on the different historical aspects of Savitribai’s life.

It showed a group of demure women assembled outside what could be a school for education in a skyblue starry background which also doubles as her blouse.

About Savitribai Phule

  • Savitribai was among the country’s first women to speak up for the rights of women. She was the first woman teacher of the first women’s school in India and also a first pioneer in modern Marathi poetry.
  • Born as Savitribai K. Patil on January 3, 1831 into a family of farmers. She was married at the age of nine to the 13-year old Jyotirao Phule.
  • She was home taught to read and write by her husband. Later the couple founded India’s first school for girls and women in Bhidewada, Pune (Maharashtra).
  • It started with just nine girls from different castes enrolled as students – but it became a historic step when female education was considered taboo in the orthodox Indian society prevalent then.
  • The school was started with just 9 girls from different castes. But it was considered as historic step when female education was considered taboo in the orthodox Indian society prevalent then.
  • During the British rule in India, the Phule couple had launched a crusade against social discrimination based on caste and gender, and also had sparked the flame for women’s equal rights.
  • During this highly patriarchal and orthodox Indian society when women had no say in anything, Savitribai’s courageous campaign covered social issues such as child marriages, child widows, practice of ‘Sati’, women education and fighting for equal rights for all women.
  • Even after death of Jyotirao Phule in 1890, she carried on legacy of his Satyashodhak. She died while serving people suffering from bubonic plague in Maharashtra in 1897.
  • As a tribute to her sheer courage and pioneering efforts in field of women education, social reform and gender equality Maharashtra government had renamed Pune University as Savitribai Phule University. India Post also had released a stamp in honour of Savitribai on March 10, 1998.

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