History, Birthdays and Historic Events of 16 January-
- January 16, 1556 – Huge earthquake came in China (Shenxi, Gansu and Shanxi) in which More than 800,000 people died.
- January 16, 1630 – Guru Har Rai, seventh Sikh guru, was born on 16 January 1630. He was the grandson of sixth Sikh leader Guru Hargobind Singh ji and became the Sikh leader at age 14, on 8 March 1644. He guided the Sikhs for about seventeen years, till his death at age 31 on October 6, 1661.
- January 16, 1681 – Sambhaji was crowned as the successor of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at Raigad Fort.
- January 16, 1761 – British took control of Pondichery in India on 16 January 1761, against the French.
- January 16, 1818 – The Rana of Udaipur signed a treaty with the British to protect Mewad.
- January 16, 1858 – Baithi, Laikha, Ratna, Maani and all other women were hanged who participated in Meerut Kranti at Gudgaon (now Gurugram) .
- January 16, 1901 – Death of Govind Ranade, scholar, social reformer and founding member of Indian National Congress, passed away who was born on January 18, 1842.
- January 16, 1926 – Birth of O. P. Nayyar, Indian director and composer who died on 28 January 2007.
- January 16, 1938 – Sarat Chandra Chatterji, alternatively spelt as Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, famous Bengali novelist and writer, passed away. He was born on 15 September 1876 and remains the most popular, most translated, most adapted, and most plagiarized Indian author of all time.
- January 16, 1941 – Ashok Vajpai, veteran critic and Hindi poet, was born.
- January 16, 1946 – Kabir Bedi was born on 16 January 1946 who is an Indian actor.
- January 16, 1954 – Baburao Painter, pioneering Indian film director, pass away who was born on 3 June 1890.
- January 16, 1973 – Om Prakash Mehra, Air Chief Marshal PVSM, became the Air Officer Commanding, India Command.
- January 16, 1985 – Balram Jakhar was elected as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
- January 16, 1990 – All Governors were asked to resign.
- January 16, 1992 – Prices of steel and iron were decontrolled.
- January 16, 1995 – Missile carrier vessel ‘Vidhrut’ was dedicated to the nation.
- January 16, 1995 – Avalanches following heavy rain sweeped two buses off the highway between Srinagar and Jammu in Kashmir. Two more days of avalanches in the area eventually killed more than 200 people; 5,000 others had to be rescued.
- January 16, 1996 – Supreme Court said trial courts should hold trial of rape cases in camera.
- January 16, 1996 – Union Cabinet Minister V.C. Shukla, Balram Jhakar, Madhavrao Scindia, and others including BJP President L.K. Advani, Arjun Singh and Devi Lal chargesheeted in the multi-crore Jain `Hawala’ case.. L.K. Advani resigned from Lok Sabha membership.
- January 16, 2002 – The UN Security Council unanimously establishes an arms embargo and the freezing of assets of Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaida, and the remaining members of the Taliban.
to be Continued ..
History, Birthdays and Historic Events of 17 January-
- January 17, 1601 – Akbar entered Asirgarh fort on 17 January 1601, after eight month’s siege, which was one of the strongest forts in India.
- January 17, 1888 – Babu Gulabrai, Indian author, critic and historian, was born on 17 January in Etawah who died on 13 April 1963.
- January 17, 1905 – Dattathreya Ramchandra Kaprekar (1905–1986), an Indian recreational mathematician, was born on 17 January 1905 who described several classes of natural numbers including the Kaprekar, Harshad and Self numbers and discovered the Kaprekar constant, named after him.
- January 17, 1917 – Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran, popularly known as M. G. R., an Indian actor and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was born at Kandy, Sri Lanka on 17 January 1917 and died on 24 December 1987.
- January 17, 1941 – Subhashchandra Bose went underground at Calcutta. He appeared in Moscow after some days.
- January 17, 1945 – Javed Akhtar, born on 17 January 1945, is an Indian lyricist, poet and scriptwriter. He is a recipient of the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, the Sahitya Akademi Award as well as five National Film Awards.
- January 17, 1949 – The first Volkswagen Beetle ( The Peoples Car ) arrived in the U.S. from Germany, designed by Ferdinand Porsche at the request of Adolf Hitler.
- January 17, 1951 – Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, Indian poet, playwright, and director, died on 17 January 1951 and was born on 17 June 1903.
- January 17, 1964 – Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia agree for a cease-fire and a Foreign ministers conference held in Bangkok.
- January 17, 1981 – Central Government of India offered full statehood to Mizoram.
- January 17, 1989 – Colonel J. K. Bajaj was the first Indian who reached the geographic South Pole on 17 January 1989.
- January 17, 1997 – Indian Government ruled out granting dual citizenship to NRIs.
- January 17, 1997 – Supreme Court banned all non-forest activities including running of saw mills and mining in forest areas.
- January 17, 2014 – Suchitra Sen, iconic Indian Bengali actress died on 17 January 2014. She was born on 6 April 1931.
- January 17, 2014 – Mohammed Burhanuddin, Indian spiritual leader, 52nd Da’i al-Mutlaq, died on 17 January 2014. He was born on 6 March 1915.
to be Continued ..
History, Birthdays and Historic Events of 18 January-
- January 18, 1842 – Mahadev Govind Ranade, a distinguished Indian scholar, social reformer, author, was born on 18 January 1842 who was a founding member of the Indian National Congress (INC). He died on 16 January 1901. He was the chief architect of Bombay Prathana Samaj.
- January 18, 1853 – First train in Asia, 36 km section opened between Bombay (Mumbai) and Tannah (Thane).
- January 18, 1886 – Modern hockey was born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England.
- January 18, 1896 – An X-ray generating machine was exhibited for the first time by H. L. Smith.
- January 18, 1925 – Gajanan Johari, famous Marathi writer, was born on 18 January 1925.
- January 18, 1927 – Sundaram Balachander, Indian veena player, actor, and singer, was born on 18 January 1927 and died on 13 April 1990.
- January 18, 1930 – Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore (Thakur) and Mahatma Gandhi met at Sabarmati Ashram on 18 January 1930.
- January 18, 1936 – Rudyard Kipling, famous English writer and author, died in Burwash, England on 18 January 1936. He was born on 30 December 1865 and wrote in verses, stories, novels childen’s stories like The Jungle Book, Kim and Just-50 stories. He was honoured with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.
- January 18, 1945 – Balagangadharanatha Swamiji, Indian religious leader, was born on 18 January 1945 and died on 13 January 2013.
- January 18, 1947 – K.L. Saigal (Kundanlal Saigal), Indian singer and film actor, passed away on 18 January 1947 and was born on 11 April 1904.
- January 18, 1948 – Mahatma Gandhi broke 121-hour fast in New Delhi, after halting of Muslim-Hindu riots in Calcutta.
- January 18, 1950 – India is declared a secular republic. Constitution makes Hindi official national language, English to continue for 15 years, 14 major state languages are recognized.
- January 18, 1955 – Saadat Hassan Manto, Pakistani author, born on 11 May 1912, died on 18 January 1955.
- January 18, 1959 – Miss Meera Behn, follower of Gandhi, left India.
- January 18, 1968 – The Resolution on Official Languages was passed by both the houses of the Parliament, making the knowledge of either Hindi or English compulsory for recruitment to the services of the Union.
- January 18, 1969 – Lekhraj Khubchand Kripalani, also known as Dada Lekhraj and Indian spiritual leader, born on 15 December 1876, was the founder of the Brahma Kumaris. He died on 18 January 1969.
- January 18, 1972 – Vinod Ganpat Kambli, cricketer, was born in Bombay on 18 January 1972.
- January 18, 1976 – Subhrajit Mitra, born on 18 January 1976, is an Indian Film Maker.
- January 18, 1977 – After 21 months of emergency rule, Indhira Gandhi announced the release of Morarji Desai and other leading opponents, hence suspended her ban of political parties and called a free election.
- January 18, 1978 – Shri Bhim Sen Sachar, freedom fighter, leader and Chief Minister of Punjab, passed away on 18 January 1978.
- January 18, 1982 – Six thousand labor activists were arrested in two days and national strike was called in New Delhi.
- January 18, 1990 – Farooq Abdullah, Jammu & Kashmir CM, quitted.
- January 18, 1991 – Iraq attacked Tel Aviv, and Haifa, with Scud missiles, hoping to bring Israel into the Gulf War and turn it into a wider conflict including other Arab Nations.
- January 18, 1992 – Muthuswami Pillai, father of Bharat Natyam classical dance, passed away on 18 January 1992.
- January 18, 1996 – N. T. Rama Rao, former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, passed away at Hydrabad.
- January 18, 1997 – India’s first electric car ‘Reva’ launched in Bangalore on 18 January 1997.
- January 18, 1997 – Phase II of Pulse Polio Immunisation Programme began on 18 January 1997.
- January 18, 1997 – SC said telephone tapping as violation of fundamental rights but permitted it by government in special circumstances.
- January 18, 1998 – Justice M. M. Punchhi was sworn in Chief Justice of India.
- January 18, 1999 – Gul Panag was crowned Femina Miss India Universe at the Miss India 1999 beauty pageant in Pune.
- January 18, 1999 – Prof. Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate, was selected for Bharat Ratna.
- January 18, 2000 – S. S. Dawra was appointed new Director of the Enforcement Directorate.
- January 18, 2003 – Harivansh Rai Bachchan, a noted Indian poet of the Nayi Kavita literary movement, born on 27 November 1907 and died on 18 January 2003.
- January 18, 2012 – Anthony Prabhu Gonsalves, Indian composer, born on 12 June 1927, died on 18 January 2012.
- January 18, 2012 – Several thousand websites joined in a blackout protest over US lawmakers’ SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protest Intellectual Property Act). Websites like Google and Wikipedia made a statement against the proposed laws, saying the the laws would not stop piracy and lacked cohesive definitions that could turn into an abuse of power.
- January 18, 2016 – A Pakistani court had acquitted former military ruler Pervez Musharraf over the 2006 killing of a Baloch rebel leader, one of three legal cases he faced after returning from exile.
to be Continued ..
History, Birthdays and Historic Events of 18 January-
- January 19, 1855 – Ganapathy Dikshitar Subramania Iyer, born on 19 January 1855, was a leading Indian journalist, social reformer and freedom fighter who founded ‘The Hindu’ newspaper on 20 September 1878. He died on 18 April 1916.
- January 19, 1892 – Chintaman Vinayak Joshi, a famous Marathi humorist and a researcher in Pali literature, was born on 19 January 1892.
- January 19, 1905 – Debendranath Tagore, Indian philosopher and religious reformer, born on 15 May 1817, died on 19 January 1905.
- January 19, 1919 – Dharam Singh, field hockey player for Indian Team at Olympics-1964 and Gold Winner, was born on 19 January 1919.
- January 19, 1919 – Omprakash Mehra, former Indian Air Chief Marshal and former Governor of Maharashtra, was born on 19 January 1919.
- January 19, 1931 – The first Round Table Conference held in London, attended by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar also, was ended.
- January 19, 1935 – Soumitra Chatterjee or Soumitra Chattopadhyay, born 19 January 1935, is an Indian Bengali film and stage actor.
- January 19, 1936 – Ziaur Rahman, president of Bangladesh (1978-1981), assassinated by army officers on 30 May 1981, was born on 19 January 1936.
- January 19, 1948 – India and Pakistan, both accepted U.N. mediation in New York.
- January 19, 1966 – Indira Gandhi was elected Prime Minister of India and announced her intention to have a non-alignment politics.
- January 19, 1977 – World’s largest crowd gathering so far when the Hindu Kumbh Mela in India attracted a then record 15 million people.
- January 19, 1982 – Mizo National Front and allied organizations was declared illegal.
- January 19, 1982 – Bombay High Court finded allegations against Chief Minister A. R. Antulay justified and he resigned.
- January 19, 1983 – Apple announces “The Apple Lisa” the first commercial personal computer to have a graphical user interface GUI and a computer mouse.
- January 19, 1990 – Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Indian religious leader, also known as Osho (Chandra Mohan Jain), Indian spiritual and philosophical figure, born on 11 December 1931, died on 19 January 1990. He is also being remembered as a great orator and for founding of Rajnishpuram in USA.
- January 19, 1990 – Mr. Jagmohan took over the administration in J&K as the new Governor after CM Farukh Abdulla resigned.
- January 19, 1991 – Iraq fires a second Scud missile into Israel, causing 15 injuries.
- January 19, 1996 – Upendranath ‘Ashk’, noted Hindi literary figure known for his disputed writings, passed away on 19 January 1996.
- January 19, 1997 – Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad arrived in India on a 4-day visit.
to be Continued ..
History, Birthdays and Historic Events of 18 January
- January 20, 1684 – Treaty was done between Marathas and Portuguese.
- January 20, 1817 – Ram Mohun Roy started Hindu College in Calcutta with the help of Justice H. East David Hare which was renamed as the Presidency College later.
- January 20, 1871 – Sir Ratanji Jamshedji Tata, famous Indian industrialist, was born on 20 January 1871.
- January 20, 1879 – Raghunath Chaudhary, famous Assamia nature poet, was born on 20 January 1879.
- January 20, 1926 – Qurratulain Hyder, Indian novelist, was born on 20 January 1927 who died on August 21, 2007.
- January 20, 1939 – Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe, great Indian astronomer, was born on 20 January 1939.
- January 20, 1940 – Krishnam Raju, born on 20 January 1940, is an Indian actor and politician, known for his works in Telugu cinema.
- January 20, 1948 – Bomb exploded near Birla House during a prayer meeting of Gandhi.
- January 20, 1948 – United Nations Security Council Resolution 39, adopted on 20 January 1948, offered to assist in the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir Conflict by setting up a commission of three members.
- January 20, 1949 – Junagarh was merged with Saurashtra formally.
- January 20, 1949 – Afro-Asian meeting, aimed to support the Republic of Indonesia, was held in New-Delhi.
- January 20, 1957 – First Indian Atomic Reactor ‘Apsara’ at Trombay, Mumbai, was dedicated to the nation on 20 January 1957.
- January 20, 1969 – East Pakistani police killed student activist Amanullah Asaduzzaman. The resulting outrage was in part responsible for the Bangladesh Liberation War.
- January 20, 1972 – Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura became Indian union states while Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram became Union Territories. Assam’s North East Frontier Agency (Nepha) was renamed as Arunachal Pradesh.
- January 20, 1972 – Pakistan launched its Nuclear weapons program few weeks after its defeat in Bangladesh Liberation War and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
- January 20, 1988 – Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Pashtun Nationalist and non-violent freedom fighter, born on 6 February 1890, died on 20 January 1988. He was the follower of Mahatma Gandhi and is better known as Sarhadi Gandhi or Frointier Gandhi.
- January 20, 1992 – Air Inter Flight 148, an Airbus A320-111, crashed into a mountain near Strasbourg, France killing 87 of the 96 people on board.
- January 20, 1993 – Captain Karamjeet Singh, first Param Vir Chakra Awardee, passed away on 20 January 1993.
- January 20, 1993 – Bill Clinton was inaugurated the 42nd President of the United States of America.
- January 20, 1995 – Supreme Court ordered closure of 84 industries in and around Taj Mahal in UP due to pollution.
- January 20, 1999 – The Chinese News Service announces restrictions including control of news and information on Internet often referred to the “Great Firewall of China” which blacklists thousands of web sites use in China.
- January 20, 2011 – George W. Bush was inaugurated the 43rd President of the United States of America.
- January 20, 2005 – Parveen Babi, Indian actress, born on 4 April 1949, was an Indian actress who died on 20 January 2005.
- January 20, 2009 – Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States on 20 January 2009.
- January 20, 2010 – An aftershock has rocked Haiti, eight days after the original quake.
- January 20, 2013 – Former US President Barack Obama was sworn in for his second-term in office.
- January 20, 2017 – Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America, becoming the oldest person to hold the office.
to be Continued ..
Subhas Chandra Bose (1897-1945 C.E.) was born on 23rd January 1897 in Cuttack, Orissa. He is famously known as Netaji. Netaji was one of the prominent leaders who struggled for India’s Independence from British rule. He is most famously known for building Indian National Army with Japanese support.
Netaji’s famous slogan “You give me blood, I’ll give you Freedom” has continued to inspire many even today. He was strongly influenced by Swami Vivekananda’s teachings and was known for his patriotic zeal as a student. He also adored Vivekananda as his spiritual Guru.
When he started schooling came out brilliant and scored top ranks throughout his study in school and university and completed his BA in Philosophy with a first class score in 1918. His father sent him to England to appear for the Indian Civil Service Examination as he wanted him to become a civil servant. Bose was placed fourth with highest marks in English. But his urge for participating in the freedom movement was intense that in April 1921, Bose resigned from the coveted Indian Civil Service and came back to India.
He joined the Indian National Congress, and also elected as the president of the Youth wing party. He had been a leader of the younger, radical, wing of the Indian National Congress in the late 1920s and 1930s, rising to become Congress President in 1938 and 1939. He was expelled from Congress leadership positions in 1939 due to differences with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
Netaji always believed that non-violence would never be sufficient to secure independence and advocated violent resistance. On the outbreak of the war Bose protested against Viceroy’s decision to declare war on India as he advocated mass campaign of civil disobidience.
He escaped from India in 1941 for Germany to work for India’s independence and travelled to a number of countries, including Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, so as to seek alliance with each and to attack the British government in India. He went to Singapore to lead the Indian Independence league in 1943 and re built Indan Azad Hind Fauj or Indan National Army. Under his leadership, thousands of ex-prisoners and civilian volunteers from Malaya (Malaysia) and Burma joined the army, and together they fought to drive the British imperial rulers out of the country.
Along with the Japanese army they brought independence to Andaman and Nicobar Islands and came all the way to Manipur in India. He established the Azad Hind Radio station in Germany and led the Indian nationalist movement in East Asia.
Sources reported that death of Subhash Chandra Bose was caused after his overloaded Japanese plane crashed and Bose suffered third degree burns. After his death several conspiracy theories surrounded his death.
Although it was believed that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose died in a plane crash on 18 August 1945, his body was never recovered. There have been many theories put forward regarding his disappearance. The government of India has set up a number of committees to investigate the case and come out with truth.
Most recently, in April 2017, someone named Sayak Sen issued a Right to Information (RTI) application asking about Gumnami Baba — the identity that many claim Netaji had taken up after surviving the plane crash. The RTI application also asked if the government has any information about Netaji’s whereabouts after August 18, 1945. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) responded to RTI saying that the government, after considering reports from various commissions, has concluded Netaji had indeed died in the 1945 plane crash.
The National Girl Child Day is celebrated in India on January 24. It is celebrated to spread awareness about the inequalities faced by the girl child in the country, to encourage the girl’s situation in the society, to offer more supports and new opportunities to the girls in the country and to aware them that they have equal rights of the good education, nutrition and health care.
It was initiated by the government in 2008. Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has been taking different initiatives to address and reverse the trend of declining sex ratio in the country. The trend of decline in the Child Sex Ratio (CSR), defined as number of girls per 1000 of boys between 0-6 years of age, has been unabated since 1961. The decline from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001 and further to 918 in 2011 is alarming and reflects both, pre-birth discrimination manifested through gender biased sex selection, and post birth discrimination against girls. Government has announced Beti Bachao Beti Padhao initiative which is a joint initiative of Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Human Resource Development with objectives of preventing gender biased sex selective elimination, ensuring survival & protection of the girl child and ensuring education and participation of the girl child.
The Ministry has come up with many steps to contribute to the upliftment of the girl Child like to take the Pride in daughters, to oppose the mindset related to Paraya Dhan, to promote equality between boys and girls, to secure admissions and retention of girl Child in schools, to Support women’s right to inherit and own property and much more.
The objective of all these initiatives is to work towards ensuring that girls are born, loved and nurtured and grow up to become empowered citizens of this country with equal rights and opportunities. Also, International Day of the Girl Child, started from 11 October 2012, is observed on 11 October as declared by the United Nations. It is also called the Day of the Girl and the International Day of the Girl.
India commemorates the day of 26th January as Republic Day when Constitution of India came into force in 1950. It is the same day when Declaration of Independence was promulgated by the Indian National Congress and this day were chosen to honor that event. This day celebrates the anniversary of the Constitution of India and the transition of India from a British Dominion to a republic on 26th January, 1950. After getting freedom from the British rule on 15th August 1947, India was headed by King George VI till the constitution of India came into force on 26th January 1950. On this day India is declared as a democratic republic nation. Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the first president of India.
It is one of the three national holidays of India, including Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti. Being a gazetted holiday all government offices and most businesses are closed on Republic Day.
Republic Day is celebrated with a great pride and enthusiasm throughout India. The main parade takes place in the national capital New Delhi, at the Rajpath before the president who unfurls the national flag. The parade starts from the Raisina Hill near the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President’s Palace), along the Rajpath, India Gate and on to the Red Fort. The different regiments of the Army, the Air Force and the Navy participate in the parade with all their finery and official decorations. The President of India, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, takes the salute and addresses the nation. Celebrations are also held in state capitals where the Governor of the state unfurls the national flag.
Vasant Panchami, also spelled Basant Panchami, is a Hindu spring festival. It is observed on the fifth day of the Indian traditional calendar month of Magha, which typically falls in the Gregorian months of January or February. This day is dedicated to Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge, music, arts, science and technology. Goddess Saraswati is worshipped on Vasant Panchami. Vasant Panchami is also known as Shri Panchami and Saraswati Panchami.
People worship Goddess Saraswati to get enlighten with knowledge and to get rid of lethargy, sluggishness and ignorance. This ritual of initiating education to children is known as “Akshar-Abhyasamor Vidya-Arambham/Praasana” which is one of the famous rituals of Vasant Panchami. Schools and colleges arrange pujas in the morning to seek blessing of the Goddess.
Purvahna Kala, which is the time between the sunrise and the midday, is considered to decide Vasant Panchami day. Vasant Panchami is celebrated on the day when Panchami Tithi prevails during Purvahna Kala. Due to which Vasant Panchami might also fall on Chaturthi Tithi. Many astrologers consider Vasant Panchami as Abujha (अबूझ) day which is auspicious to start all good work. According to this belief whole Vasant Panchami day is auspicious to perform Saraswati Puja.
The colour yellow has a great significance in the celebration of Vasant Panchami. It is believed to be the symbol of blossoming flowers of mustard. Yellow attire is therefore worn by the followers of Saraswati. Moreover, the sweets and dishes prepared for the festival are usually yellow and saffron in color.
Another legend behind Vasant Panchami is based on the Hindu god of love called Kama. It is remembered as the day when Parvati approached Kama to wake up Shiva in Yogic meditation since the Maha Shivaratri. The other gods support Parvati, and seek Kama’s help to bring Shiva back from his meditation to do his duties in the world. Kama agrees and shoots arrows, made of flowers and bees, at Shiva from his heavenly bow of sugarcane in order to arouse him to pay attention to Parvati. This initiative is celebrated by Hindus as Vasant Panchami.
Guru Ravidas (1377-1527 C.E.) was a famous saint of the Bhakti Movement. His devotional songs and verses made a lasting impact upon the Bhakti Movement. Guru Ravidas is also known as Raidas, Rohidas and Ruhidas.
According to historians Guru Ravidas was born during 1377 C.E. at Mandhuadhe in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. There is controversy on the exact birth date of Ravidas. According to some scholars it was year 1399 when Guru Ravidas was born. As per Hindu calendar Guru Ravidas was born on Magha Purnima. Hence his birth anniversary is celebrated on Magha Purnima as per Hindu lunar calendar.
His belief in one God and his unbiased religious poems won him numerous followers. In fact, around 41 of his poems were included in the religious text of the Sikhs, “Adi Granth” or “Guru Granth Sahib”. Those poems were compiled by the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Arjan Dev. The Sant was a thinker, a socio-cultural reformer, a traveller, a spiritual figure, and, most important, a humanist who dedicated his whole life to the banishment of a treacherous caste-system. He openly denounced the notion of a Brahminical society (where Brahmins are perceived as supreme beings) and even established Begumpura, a state sans any hierarchical system of caste or creed. Guru Ravidas said, “If God actually resides in every human being, then it’s quite futile to segregate persons on the basis of caste, creed and other such hierarchical social orders.” He opposed the myth that caste plays a very important role in establishing a relation with God. He was of the belief that God is omnipresent, and anyone with a clear conscience and “bhakti” can reach God through simple prayers.
Widely known as Raidas, Guru Ravidas was an eminent figure in the Bhakti Movement which started in North India around the 15th century. His birthplace is now known as Shri Guru Ravidas Janam Asthan and it is a major place of pilgrimage for the followers of Guru Ravidas.
Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati was the legendary catalyst who changed the tide of times. He is heralded as the grandfather of Indian Freedom Movement giving birth to the concept of ‘Swadesh‘. His call for ‘Back to the Vedas’ in late nineteenth century ushered in a widespread social and moral transformation worldwide which continues till today.
Tankara, a town in Saurashtra of the present Gujarat State, There lived a wealthy brahmin, Karshanji Laiji Tiwari by name; he was also the tahsildar of Tankara. His wife, Amrith bai, was a beautiful and virtuous woman. She was like a mother to all the villagers. In 1824, a son was born to the couple. They named. him Moolashankar. According to the custom of the place, he was also called Dayaram. This child was to become famous as Maharshi Dayananda. When he attained the age of five, Moolashankar’s education started. At the age of eight, his Upanayana Samskara (being invested with the holy thread) was performed. The boy used to perform religious rites like ‘Sandhyavan dana’ with devotion. He had a very good memory. By the time he was fourteen he had learnt by heart the Yajurveda, the scriptures and the upanishads.
Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati authored more than 70 works in all, including a 14 volume explanation of the six Vedangas, 9 volumes of Rigveda Bhasya and 4 volumes of Yajurved Bhasya. His most important and referred works are Satyarth Prakash, Sanskarvidhi, Rigvedadi Bhashya Bhumika, Rigved Bhashyam (up to 7/61/2) and Yajurved Bhashyam.
Maharshi completed his vedic studies under Swami Virjanand in 1864. Thereafter, he travelled across India till 1874 AD for Vedic propagation and learning. Maharshi’s first major authorship was Panchmahayajya Vidhi in 1874 AD. The Paropkarini Sabha located in the Indian city of Ajmer was founded by the Swami himself to publish and preach his works and Vedic texts in 1882.
Maharshi passed away in 1883; at that time his Rig Veda Bhasyam was only more than half way. But within his short span of 10 years of work, he created a vast, deep and research based literature on the Vedic lore.
Shivaratri is great festival of convergence of Shiva and Shakti. Chaturdashi Tithi during Krishna Paksha in month of Magha is known as Maha Shivaratri according to South Indian calendar. However according to North Indian calendar Masik Shivaratri in month of Phalguna is known as Maha Shivaratri. In both calendars it is naming convention of lunar month which differs. However both, North Indians and South Indians, celebrate Maha Shivaratri on same day.
According to one story from Puranas, during the samudra manthan, a pot of poison emerged from the ocean. This terrified the Gods and demons as the poison was capable of destroying the entire world, and they ran to Shiva for help. To protect the world from its evil effects, Shiva drank the deathly poison but held it in his throat instead of swallowing it. This made his throat turn blue, and he was given the name Neelakantha, the blue-throated one. Shivaratri is the celebration of this event by which Shiva saved the world.
According to another legend in the Shiva Purana, once the other two of the triads of Hindu Gods, Brahma and Vishnu, were fighting over who was the superior of the two. Horrified at the intensity of the battle, the other gods asked Shiva to intervene. To make them realize the futility of their fight, Shiva assumed the form of a huge column of fire in between Brahma and Vishnu. Awestruck by its magnitude, they decided to find one end each to establish supremacy over the other. Brahma assumed the form of a swan and went upwards and Vishnu as Varaha went into the earth. But light has no limit and though they searched for thousands of miles, neither could find the end. On his journey upwards, Brahma came across a Ketaki flower wafting down slowly. When asked where she had come from, the Ketaki replied that she had been placed at the top of the fiery column as an offering. Unable to find the uppermost limit, Brahma decided to end his search and take the flower as a witness. At this, the angry Shiva revealed his true form. He punished Brahma for telling a lie, and cursed him that no one would ever pray to him. The Ketaki flower too was banned from being used as an offering for any worship, as she had testified falsely. Since it was on the 14th day in the dark half of the month of Phalguna that Shiva first manifested himself in the form of a Linga, the day is especially auspicious and is celebrated as Mahashivaratri. Worshipping Shiva on this day is believed to bestow one with happiness and prosperity.
At Maha Shivratri, People keep fast of whole day and night and all the Shiv temples e.g. Kashi Vishwanath temple gets congregated by the young and old devotees from the very early morning. They come to the temple to perform the puja of traditional Shivalingam and hope to get what they have prayed to the god. They take bath in the holy water of the Ganga (Symbol of the purity) early in the morning before sunrise and wear a clean clothe after the sacred bath.