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President of India to Address the Annual Convocation of Visva-Bharati on November 11

 

Visva-Bharati University (Bengali: [biʃːɔbʱaroti]) is a public central university located in SantiniketanWest BengalIndia. It was founded by Rabindranath Tagore who called it Visva-Bharati, which means the communion of the world with India. Until independence it was a college. Soon after independence, in 1951, the institution was given the status of a university and was renamed Visva-Bharati University.

 

Rabindranath Tagore’s role in the freedom struggle

 

India’s National Movement for freedom was accompanied by a large wave of social, educational and economic awareness throughout the nation. Tagore, one of the foremost thinkers in the country at the time spent time in building educational infrastructure. A man of true talent, his contribution to the freedom movement is significant. Following are the events that are evident in showing his contributions to the freedom struggle;

  • His role during Bengal partition:In 1904, the Viceroy of India Lord Curzon announced that the Bengal providence would be divided into two parts. The British government was worried about the social integrity among different communities in Bengal and wanted to divide and rule. During this time Rabindranath Tagore wrote the song Banglar Mati Banglar Jol (Soil of Bengal, Water of Bengal) to unite the Bengali population. He started the Rakhi Utsav where people from Hindu and Muslim communities tied colourful threads on each other’s wrists. In 1911, the two parts of Bengal were reunited.
  • Literary works as weapons: Tagore, unlike most of the other freedom fighters of his time, exposed the depravity of the British rule by chronicling all his adversities with British imperialism through poetry and literary works. He wrote most of his pieces in his mother tongue, Bengali, to be later translated to cater to his vast audience. He used his literature as mobilization for political and social reform, hence allowing other nations to be aware and further apply international pressure to Britain to be accountable for its actions. He documented everything that would expose Britain’s true intentions in India.
  • Role in Jalianawalabagh:The Jallianwala Bagh massacre even in its centenary year brings out the same vivid experience of trauma felt on April 13, 1919. The incident completely altered the political scenario and composition of India fighting against the British government. The event caused many moderate Indians loyal to the British rule to abandon their loyalty to embrace nationalist values and grow distrustful of British. Many freedom fighters and political leaders were influenced by the incident too. Tagore’s actions against the cruel act also awakened the non-violent stand against the colonial rule.

Tagore during the time of the massacre was ‘Sir’ Rabindranath Tagore (knighthood conferred in 1915) and had been a Nobel Laureate for six years. On receiving the news about Jallianwala Bagh, he tried to arrange a protest in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and finally denounced the knighthood as an act of protest with a repudiation letter to Viceroy Lord Chelmsford dated May 30, 1919.

 

His ideas on Nationalism and patriotism

 

  • Tagore in his lectures at the Imperial University (now Tokyo University)urged to aspire for the ‘higher ideals of humanity’ rather than accept what he called as the ‘organized selfishness of Nationalism’.
  • He also added the equally severe admonishment that one should never “gloat upon the feebleness of its neighbours.” For Tagore, importantly enough, the idea of India was a moral project that needed to engage with its own deep and troubled history of “social adjustment.
  • In other words, for Tagore,the idea of India was to realize its civilizational possibilities and potential rather than to allow it to inhale the “fumes” of “patriotic bragging.”
  • In 1908, Rabindranath Tagore wrote a letter to his friend, A M Bose, and said, “Patriotism can’t be our final spiritual shelter. I will not buy glass for the price of diamonds and I will never allow patriotism to triumph over humanity as long as I live.”
  • Throughout his life, Tagore remained deeply critical of nationalism, a position that pitted him against Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Tagore argued that when love for one’s country gives way to worship, or becomes a “sacred obligation”, then disaster is the inevitable outcome.
  • Tagore thus considered the idea of nationalism as being profoundly alien to the Indian psyche and the subcontinent’s many pasts.

His views on education

 

  • As one of the earliest educators to think in terms of the global village, Rabindranath Tagore’s educational model has a unique sensitivity and aptness for education within multi-racial, multi-lingual and multi-cultural situations, amidst conditions of acknowledged economic discrepancy and political imbalance.
  • Rabindranath did not write a central educational treatise, and his ideas must be gleaned through his various writings and educational experiments at SantiniketanIn general, he envisioned an education that was deeply rooted in one’s immediate surroundings but connected to the cultures of the wider world, predicated upon pleasurable learning and individualized to the personality of the child.
  • He felt that a curriculum should revolve organically around naturewith classes held in the open air under the trees to provide for a spontaneous appreciation of the fluidity of the plant and animal kingdoms, and seasonal changes.
  • In Tagore’s philosophy of education, the aesthetic development of the senses was as important as the intellectual–if not more so–and music, literature, art, dance and drama were given great prominence in the daily life of the school.
  • In keeping withhis theory of subconscious learning, Rabindranath never talked or wrote down to the students, but rather involved them with whatever he was writing or composing
  • In terms of curriculum, he advocated a different emphasis in teaching. Rather than studying national cultures for the wars won and cultural dominance imposed,he advocated a teaching system that analyzed history and culture for the progress that had been made in breaking down social and religious barriers.
  • Tagore’s educational efforts were ground-breaking in many areas. He was one of the first in India to argue for ahumane educational system that was in touch with the environment and aimed at the overall development of the personality. Santiniketan became a model for vernacular instruction and the development of Bengali textbooks; as well, it offered one of the earliest coeducational programs in South Asia.
  • One characteristic that sets Rabindranath’s educational theory apart is his approach to education as a poet. At Santiniketan, he stated, his goal was to create a poem ‘in a medium other than words.

 

PM inaugurates Integrated Check Post and flags off 1st batch of pilgrims at Kartarpur Sahib corridor

 

 

WHAT IS KARTARPUR CORRIDOR?

 

  • The Kartarpur corridor involves a road link from Gurudwara Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur, India, for the Sikh pilgrims to visit the famous Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan, and this is around 6 km long.
  • The 16th century Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, which lies on the banks of the river Ravi, is important for Sikhs as this is the resting place of Guru Nanak Dev where he spent last 18 years of his life there.
    • The Gurudwara was established by the first Sikh Guru in 1522.
  • For decades, Sikh devotees have been demanding that India and Pakistan should collaborate to build this corridor.
  • Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had first suggested the corridor when he took the bus trip to Lahore in 1999.

PRESENT SCENARIO

 

  • At present, around 3,000 pilgrims visit Kartarpur Gurudwara every year on Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary.
  • Those pilgrims who cannot go to Pakistan, stops at the border and try to see the Kartarpur shrine through a pair of binoculars.
  • Pilgrimages between India and Pakistan are governed by the 1974 Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines, which includes a list of shrines in Pakistan and India open for visitors from the other country, and for which visas are required.
    • The Kartarpur Corridor, which will provide visa-free access from India to the shrine located 2 km inside the Pakistan, may need a separate treaty.

INFRASTRUCTURE

 

  • The construction includes a boarding terminal from where shuttle buses will run to the Kartarpur shrine.
  • Also an 800 metre long bridge over the Ravi.
  • There will also be temporary accommodation and tents for pilgrims, who will require special permits, but no visas.
  • Besides building the corridor, the government also plans to install a “high-powered telescope” on the International Border.
    • An Indian pilgrim who cannot go to Pakistan now uses binoculars to see the shrine on the other side.

PROJECT COST

 

  • In a 2010 feasibility report, Institute of Multi Track Diplomacy had put the cost of the project at $2.2 million for India and $14.8 million for Pakistan.

ADVANTAGES

 

  • The corridor will drastically cut down the travel distance from 150+ km to just 6 km.
  • Everybody views this as a good beginning and believes that this would pave the way for peace and greater progress of all our people.
  • It will not just be the reopening of a route closed by Partition but would also mark the beginning of an uncommon form of diplomacy.
  • It just shows that India Pakistan relations can change very quickly, and change over issues which are not expected.
  • This move may lead to the demand for other people-to-people initiatives, especially by Kashmiri Pandits-to visit the Sharda Peeth in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and by Sufis in Pakistan to visit the Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, Rajasthan.

HOW THIS HAPPENED

 

  • This seems to have become possible not through an agreement between India and Pakistan, but with one side deciding not to oppose what the other had decided.
  • Both are actively, and competitively, claiming ownership of a move that is a big leap forward for people-to-people relations.
  • This is probably the first instance of the two sides setting aside mutual hostility to bend to the will of the people.

 

PM calls for peace and harmony on Ayodhya verdict

 

Context: A bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi delivered the Ayodhya verdict alongside CJI designate S.A. Bobde, and Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S.A. Nazeer. The verdict was unanimous.

What was the issue?

 

At the centre of the issue is the belief among sections of Hindus that the Babri Masjid, named after Mughal emperor Babur, was built in Ayodhya after destroying a Ram Temple that marked the birthplace of the deity.

The Hindu parties wanted the land to themselves, contending that Lord Ram was born at a spot on which later the central dome of the mosque was built. The Muslim parties, however, contended that the mosque was constructed in 1528 by Mir Baqi, a commander of Babur’s army, without demolishing any place of worship and since the land rights had not been transferred to any other party, the space was rightfully theirs.

 

The verdict:

 

  1. The Hindus would get the entire disputed 2.77 acres in Ayodhya where the demolished Babri Masjid once stood.
  2. Possession of disputed 2.77 acre land will remain with Central government receiver.
  3. The Muslims will get alternate five acres of land either in the surplus 67 acres acquired in and around the disputed structure by the central government or any other “prominent” place.
  4. A trust will be formed in 3 months to build a temple on the disputed land. The court held that the Nirmohi Akhara is not the shebait or devotee of the deity Ram Lalla but will get to be a member of the Trust.

 

What is Article 142, invoked by SC to give land for a mosque?

 

The Supreme Court, implicitly referring to the demolition of the Babri Masjid at the disputed site, said that it was invoking Article 142 “to ensure that a wrong committed must be remedied”.

Article 142(1) states that The Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it, and any decree so passed or order so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India in such manner as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament and, until provision in that behalf is so made, in such manner as the President may by order prescribe”.

 

This was the first time that the court invoked this power in a case involving a civil dispute over an immovable property, involving private parties.

Who are the travellers quoted in Ayodhya judgment?

 

In its judgment, the Supreme Court relied in part on centuries-old travelogues, gazetteers and books to provide an account of the faith and belief that the Hindus placed in the Janmasthan. The travelogues that the court took note of included, among others, those by the European travellers Joseph Tieffenthaler, William Finch, and Montgomery Martin – these being written before the building of the grill-brick wall in front of the mosque during British rule.

  1. Tieffenthaler was an 18th-century missionary who travelled in India for 27 years, and wrote his travelogue titled “Description Historique et Geographique De l’Inde”. In India, he was commissioned at the famous observatory of Sawai Jai Singh, the Raja of Jaipur, and was later attached at the Jesuit College in Agra which was built with the patronage of Akbar.
  2. William Finch’s account has been recorded in the 1921 book ‘Early Travels in India (1583-1619)’ by the historiographer Sir William Foster.
  3. Originally from Dublin in Ireland, Martin was an Anglo-Irish author and civil servant. He practised medicine in Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka), East Africa and Australia. Martin then went on to work in Kolkata where helped found the paper ‘Bengal Herald’. He wrote the three-volume work ‘History, Antiquities, Topography and Statistics of Eastern India’.

 

What is adverse possession, the Muslim claim SC rejected?

 

One of the questions before the Supreme Court was whether the Sunni Wakf Board had acquired the title of the disputed land by adverse possession.

Adverse possession is hostile possession of a property – which has to be continuous, uninterrupted and peaceful.

The Muslim side had claimed that the mosque was built 400 years ago by Babar – and that even if it is assumed that it was built on the land where a temple earlier existed, Muslims, by virtue of their long exclusive and continuous possession – beginning from the time the mosque was built, and up to the time the mosque was desecrated – they had perfected their title by adverse possession. This argument has now been rejected by the Supreme Court.