Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sarthal Devi Ji Shrine - A hard Reality

The Sarthal Devi shrine , located in the Sarthal Block of Kishtwar District in J&K is a major shrine of Maa Bhuvaneshwari , the mother of universe . Hundred of thousands of devotees visit the shrine every year . The History of the shrine in sarthal dates back to the 11th Century , during the reign of King Agrasen of Kishtwar . The main attraction of the shrine is the Perfectly Carved Black -stone Idol of Maa bhagwati ,  in the form of Mahishasura-mardini , the idol represents Devi with 18 arms each carrying an object of significance – symbolizing the Union of all the energies of the universe . 18 arms is said to represent the Union of  Maa Kali ( 10 hands) , Maa Lakshmi ( 4 hands) & Maa Saraswati ( 4 hands) . Devi also has a 3rd eye representing the Shiva. Thus the devi is complete representation of the Hindu Pantheon .
 It is  believed that the idol of Devi is not made by any human & is believed to have existed from times immemorial and it Represents Devi itself, Others believe that it was Sage Kashyapa who during his stay in the Kashmir carved the idol to please the devi and put an end to the Demon living in Satisar . Thus the histories of Kishtwar and Kashmir are linked both Geographically as well as Spiritually .
 Thus the most accurate history of the shrine dates to the shrine of Sharika bhawani in the Kashmir Valley . In Kashmir , the mother is also called Chakreshwari ( Deity of the Holy Chakra) and believed to have existed since the birth of Kashmir ( According to Nilmat  Purana ) . Maa Sharika is said to have moved to (Galigarh-Kaligarh) Kishtwar and Bless the Simple people of the Hilly region. This coincides with the rise of Islamic Conquest in Kashmir and Sikandar Butshikan ( Sikandar, the idol destroyer) destroyed almost every temple and the Idols.
In Kishtwar , the arrival of Devi was a boon for the people , as they were greatly blessed by the Devi but after sometime the people became corrupt and lazy , so devi again became invisible and moved to a higher place called Sarthal ( Sri-sthal), It is where the Devi was represented as the Kuldevi of Kishtwar and each and every person of Kishtwar has a deep faith in Devi. The devi is popularly known as  Sarthal Wali Mata among the local populace .
Sarthal Devi Shrine also got a great recognition by the Kings of Jammu and Kashmir. Till day annual pilgrimage called Sarkari yatra ( government pilgrimage) is organized to remember the Golden days and worship the Devi . Also , one of the 16 samskaras , Mundan is done in the Holy Shrine since ages. So people of Kishtwar walked on foot ,travelled 25 km or so and celebrated the ritual in the shrine . Now also the yatra is organized for a 3-day long function including a 2 nights stay in the Dharamshalas ( Dormitories ) in the Shrine constructed in the times of the Kings.
But now, as the Population is Increasing at a faster rate and the number of pilgrims visiting the shrine also increasing the Dharamshalas became obsolete, so Newer Dharamshalas  were constructed , but at a slower rate owing to many reasons. The Land in the Shrine is limited, the topography doesn’t permit to build a large number of dharamshalas , The load of pilgrims is also entire the year, the Water availability is not sufficient , but the Biggest Problem is that of Drainage , and Disposal. During the 2 nights stay of the Yatris spanning  the year , the preparation of meals , heavy quantity of food wasted on a daily basis is just dumped in the slopes of the hills, The toilets are limited and one can see a number of yatris always in queue waiting for their turn . Days are gone when People would wait for the day, Now Modern technology is the solution of every problem . Some people who do not get their turn for a long time or see the taps running dry , defecate in open. The local residents are not unaware of this situation but they are also helpless. If one travels by a new road which is located below the toilets and dharamshala , His eyes would open towards the ignorance of the generations . a lot of sewage and solid waste generated is dumped in open giving rise to a bad odor and fly-nuisance and several other problems.
The Holy shrine is being converted to a dumping yard and whats more dangerous is that some people Drink alcohol in the dharamshalas. Although a number of things are banned including – Shaving , sleeping on bed, smoking, drinking, cutting trees etc.) but some people have made the mundan a sort of function that needs to be enjoyed and the main focus changes from the worship of Devi to the acts which will bury the head of humanity in Shame .
Strict laws should be implemented to check the use of alcohol in the shrine as this has become a reality now. Yatris should use their time and energy while they are in the shrine for the worship and betterment of the shrine , to clean the entire shrine.
A Shrine board should be formed so that the Money which goes uncontrolled in the hands of Pujaris should go for developmental activities . Government must see this issue and solve the problems in the Shrine , make more Dharamshalas and at a faster speed for the better living conditions of the Yatris .
And Ultimately it is us who have to change our attitude and put an end to the Alcohol –culture in the Shrine,  Donate money to the Trust rather than in the temple so that the money will be used for betterment of the shrine and Use the precious time in the Shrine for Developmental activities and Cleaning of the Shrine. Otherwise day will not be far when the Devi becomes Invisible again .

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Exploited Chenab Valley

The political situation of Jammu & Kashmir is always in crisis. Day and again issues keep resurfacing which are harmful for the integrity of India . Still a majority of population of Jammu and kashmir are proud Indians , but due to the minuscule anti-social elements the society is always in a turmoil , jobless youths being brainwashed by goons and put to use for their own ambitions . But Kashmir is not the worst sufferer of this turmoil , Neither is the Jammu City , Reason Being , After 1947 the center of political operations has been kashmir only and  the legislators have to keep in mind the wishes of Kashmiris , So a huge percentage of Annual Budget is utilized in the province that covers only 11% area of the state , In any state selection list the number of people selected from Kashmir valley is far in excess of people selected from Jammu+Ladakh combined .
The development of jammu and Kashmir is thus done on a sole motive to earn Kashmiri support, the worst sufferers are not Jammuities ( People of Jammu City) but the populace of the Entire jammu and ladakh region , we have seen a sort of lack of unity in the Populace of Jammu region as some areas like Chenab valley and Pir Panchal region identifies themselves  closer to Kashmir than Jammu and have been used by the propagandists to win the elections, and if one travels the length and breadth of Jammu and Kashmir state, he may know the difference , the Chenab Valley and Pir Panchal region are full of natural resources . Chenab Valley is capable of generating 9000MW of electricity and is able to run the State of J&K alone keeping aside the Forests, Mineral and Human resource . Tourism in this region is scanty and that too because of  Local Support than the state Govt. The conditions of Roads are not hidden from anyone, Day and again accidents keep happening in the Chenab Valley region. If one travels form Kishtwar to Anantnag via Sinthan , there will be a line of clear demarcation on the road , the road from Kishtwar to Sinthan is Unmotorable , (recently on July 8th 9 people including 2 doctors lost their lives in an accident on this road ), but from Sinthan onwards the Road is 4-lane and perfectly black topped & tourists are rushing from Srinagar to Sinthan generating ample revenue for the Kashmiris , but what for the  Poorest populace that has been left with no alternative than working as labourers .
 The only alterntive is to get aligned to get what is ours, what We people from Chenab valley  deserve . People of Kishtwar , Doda, bhaderwah need to come forward irrespective of region and Religion and fight for our rights and identity , the only way is to shun the Kashmir based Political parties which have always exploited the Poorest people of J&K to feed the ever hungry class. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Release of 46 Indian Nurses : Diplomatic Success or International Achievement

The situation of Iraq & Syria is not hidden from anyone , The third world is the most affected by this development because the two superpowers - USA & Russia have been playing their dirty games in the Oil Rich Playground . Their own desires have always created turmoil in the region and also affecting the South & South east Asia .
   But this time it was not the same , the developments have been taking place in Syria from last two years , the Reign of Assad, Use of Chemical Weapons, America crying Human Rights Violations, Russia Silent , America Helping Syrian Rebels, was in International Headlines from past two years , but recently Old friend of Al-Qaeda - Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi who took the advantage of these happening ,and Made An Ultra-Sunni group called Islamic state of Iraq & Levant (ISIL) to fight the Final Jihad against Democracy in Syria & Iraq.
 The crackdown on Mosul , the second Biggest city in Iraq in June this Year , made everyone bite their nails. It happened all under the Eyes of USA & Russia , but they kept mum, Reason being USA has met her energy security for over a 20 years & Russia has  recovered recently from Ukraine Crisis and All the US allies have imposed massive sanctions over her , Thus Mother Russia was more careful about Internal matters than Iraq.
For India , attack over Mosul By ISIS terrorists was the biggest external issue, much greater than Pakistan . Because Iraq affects Security, geopolitics and Economy of India to a large extent .
 After Saudi Arabia , Iraq is the major source of  Crude Oil for India , More than 10,000 Indian Citizens were in Iraq before the turmoil , most of them Engineers, workers & Nurses .
 But the real issue was something more dangerous , Iraq has never been the Known Friend for India as Iraq was preoccupied with The West and the Shia-Sunni divide.
 Now , who is the real Player then? USA out of sight . Russia silent , India Unimportant , Pakistan looking towards USA , Afghanistan itself passing through  bad phase ( NATO leaving ) , Saudi Arabia happy over the developments , Jordan , UAE , Kuwait want to stay out of it  as it affects the economy of these countries adversely.
 So the Ball was in IRAN's Court , & Iran Internally was boiling after the Ethnic Cleansing (  targeted killings) of Shiites  and Iran wanted to end the suffering of minorities of Iraq . Several times Iran gave open warnings to ISIS and gave signals about joining with Iraqi Govt. against the fight .
 And then the Friend of Iran , Russia ( both are open enemies of USA & Israel ) came into picture . Russia is fighting against the ISIS using the Air-strikes, Iran has prepared an Army against ISIS .
 ISIS declared its Islamic Caliphate on June 29th , 2014 , but Iran & Russia were more bothered about their defeat , ISIS is now circulating Online Threat Videos , beheading of Innocent men & Women, Children etc .
to create terror in the eyes of the World , but in reality if Russia is serious about the mission , then ISIS is on its way of defeat & the Sunni Caliphate is impossible !!
 The release of 46 Indian Nurses is not a simple thing , It means a lot for India . It means India has got her spine now, That India is now capable of Handing issues which USA & Russia can't take with such tranquility.
 46 Indian Nurses were released without any Hostage Crisis, Without any bloodshed , without any External support( Of Superpowers) . & without any International Debate .
Kudos to Indian Diplomates & All those involved in the Mission & last but not the least , thanks to The Indian Nurses , who were so Courageous and Patient during this turmoil and did not malign their Profession.

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