Friday, November 10, 2017

Freelance Vehicular Jihad

Halloween afternoon got off to an ugly start in New York City as a 29-year-old Muslim Uzbeki man named Sayfullo Saipov drove onto a pedestrian path in lower Manhattan, killing 8 people.

Then came the usual spin. Police sources initially stated that incident wasn’t terror related, but quickly backtracked after multiple eyewitnesses reportedt hat the suspect shouted “Allah Akbar” (God is greatest), the instantly recognizable battle cry of jihadists everywhere.

Notable vehicular jihad attacks have taken place (clockwise from top left) in Nice in July 2016, Berlin in December 2016, and London in March and June 2017.
Then, just a few hours after the attack, came assurances from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, other officials, and most of the mainstream media that Saipov’s killing spree was a “lone wolf” attack – the go-to misnomer for anyone seeking to disconnect Islam from jihad attacks. This despite the fact that police had discovered a note from the assailant claiming ISIS affiliation and an ISIS flag, hadn’t had a chance to interrogate Saipov (in surgery for much of the afternoon) at any length, and presumably hadn’t investigated his activities before arriving in the US in 2010 on a “diversity visa.”

In fact, no jihadists have ever been true “lone wolves.” Scores of terrorists misidentified by law enforcement as lone wolves shortly after their attacks were later discovered to have significant links to ISIS, Al-Qaeda, or other jihad organizations. Often their social media and email accounts demonstrate that these lone wolves are not lone at all but in fact are part of a cyber pack, directed by jihad ideologues like Anwar al-Awlaki, whose sermons continue to recruit new members via the web years after he was killed by a CIA drone. Such attackers should more appropriately be labeled “freelance jihadists.”

So, what did this particular freelancer need? A rented Home Depot flatbed truck. Trucks are as easy to acquire today as they were when Ramzi Yousef’s cell bombed with World Trade Center in a rented Ryder truck from New Jersey. But Yousef was nowhere near the scene when the bomb went off in the North Tower on February 26, 1993. Vehicular jihad requires a driver, who rarely survives the attack, making it technically a form of suicidal terrorism.

Vehicular jihad seems to have originated in 2006 when Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar drove a rented Jeep into a crowd of students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jihad theorists soon recognized that even larger vehicles unleashed on even larger crowds could bring about mass casualties.

Capitalizing on the ease of acquiring vehicular killing machines through rental or theft, and of finding online guidance on technique and targets, freelancers have carried out high-profile vehicular jihad attacks in FranceGermanySwedenEngland, and Spain. And those are just the highlights. The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) documents “at least 34 vehicular terrorist attacks since 2006, collectively resulting in the deaths of at least 194 people and the injury of at least 1,049 others.”

Vehicular jihad has become an ISIS specialty. Issue 7 of Dabiq, an ISIS online magazine, calls for Muslims in the West to kill non-Muslims “whether with an explosive device, a bullet, a knife, a car, a rock, or even a boot or a fist.” Later exhortations to commit vehicular jihad became more explicit. One year ago, Issue 3 of Rumiya (another ISIS online magazine) contained a veritable seminar of vehicular jihad in a feature candidly titled “Just Terror Tactics.” It advised that the most effective weapons are large, load-bearing, heavyweight vehicles, with the rear axles bearing “Double-wheeled, giving victims less of a chance to escape being crushed by the vehicle’s tires.”

It’s a relatively simple and inexpensive way to kill, so more of it is likely. The question is, how to prevent it? Governmental reactive approaches to counterterrorism will lead to more jersey barriers and security bollards appearing around pedestrian areas. Knowing Andrew Cuomo, he’ll be calling for truck control.

But the best first step is to stop looking for lone wolves and start addressing the ideology that creates freelance jihadists. Calling them “cowardly” (as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio did) or “wolves” is no substitute for understanding their thought process and motivation.


By- A.J. Caschetta (Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum and a senior lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology.)

Monday, October 30, 2017

Swami Vivekananda – A Brief Life Sketch


Swami Vivekananda  (12 January 1863 – 4 July 1902), born Narendranath Dutta  was the chief disciple of the 19th century mystic Ramakrishna Paramahansaand the founder of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. He is considered a key figure in the introduction of Hindu philosophies ofVedanta and Yoga to the “Western” World, mainly in America and Europe and is also credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduismto the status of a major world religion during the end of the 19th century C.E.Vivekananda is considered to be a major force in the revival of Hinduism in modern India.[5] He is perhaps best known for his inspiring speech which began: “Sisters and Brothers of America,” through which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions at Chicago in 1893.
Swami Vivekananda was born in an aristocratic Bengali kayastha family of Calcutta on January 12, 1863. Vivekananda’s parents influenced his thinking—his father by his rationality and his mother by her religious temperament. From his childhood, he showed an inclination towards spirituality and God realization. His guru, Ramakrishna, taught him Advaita Vedanta (non-dualism); that all religions are true and that service to man was the most effective worship of God. After the death of his Guru, Vivekananda became a wandering monk, touring the Indian subcontinent and acquiring first-hand knowledge of conditions in India. He later traveled to Chicago and represented India as a delegate in the 1893 Parliament of World Religions. He conducted hundreds of public and private lectures and classes, disseminating Vedanta and Yoga in America, England and Europe. He also established the Vedanta societies in America and England.
150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda
Early days: Swami Vivekananda was born in 3, Shimla Pally, Calcutta (presently known as Kolkata) on 12 January 1863, Monday at 6:49 A.M.,during the Makara Sankrantifestival in a traditional Kayastha family,and was given the name Narendranath Dutta. His father Viswanath Dutta was an attorney ofCalcutta High Court. He was considered generous, and had a liberal and progressive outlook in social and religious matters. His mother Bhuvaneshwari Devi was pious and had practiced austerities and prayed to Vireshwar Shiva of Varanasi to give her a son. She reportedly had a dream in which Shiva rose from his meditation and said that he would be born as her son. Narendranath’s thinking and personality were influenced by his parents—the father by his rational mind and the mother by her religious temperament. From his mother he learnt the power of self-control. One of the sayings of his mother Narendranath quoted often in his later years was, “Remain pure all your life; guard your own honor and never transgress the honor of others. Be very tranquil, but when necessary, harden your heart.” He was reportedly adept in meditation and could reportedly enter the state of samadhi. He reportedly would see a light while falling asleep and he reportedly had a vision of Buddha during his meditation. During his childhood, he had a great fascination for wandering ascetics and monks.
Narendranath had varied interests and a wide range of scholarship in philosophy, religion, history, the social sciences, arts, literature, and other subjects.[18] He evinced much interest in the Hindu scriptures like theVedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas. He was also well versed in classical music, both vocal and instrumental and is said to have undergone training under twoUstads, Beni Gupta and Ahamad Khan. Since boyhood, he took an active interest in physical exercise, sports, and other organizational activities.[18] Even when he was young, he questioned the validity of superstitious customs and discrimination based on caste and refused to accept anything without rational proof and pragmatic test. Narendranath started his education at home then he joined the Metropolitan Institution of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in 1871 When his father moved to Raipur in 1877 for 2 years then Narendranath along with the whole family shifted there. At that time there were no good schools in Raipur so he spent his time with his father and had discussions on spiritual topics. Narendranath learned Hindi in Raipur and for the first time the Question of existence of God came to his mind. It is believed that once he experienced an ecstasy during this period of life. The family returned to Calcutta in 1879 but it is believed that these 2 years were the turning point in his life. Raipur is sometimes termed as the “Spiritual Birthplace” of Swami Vivekananda.

College and Brahmo Samaj

In 1879 after his family moved back to Calcutta, he passed the entrance examination for Presidency College, Calcutta, entering it for a brief period and subsequently shifting to General Assembly’s Institution. During the course, he studied western logic, western philosophy and history of European nations. In 1881 he passed the Fine Arts examination and in 1884 he passed the Bachelor of Arts.
Narendranath is said to have studied the writings of David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Baruch Spinoza, Georg W. F. Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer,John Stuart Mill, and Charles Darwin.Narendra became fascinated with the Evolutionism of Herbert Spencer, and translated Spencer’s book on Education into Bengali for Gurudas Chattopadhyaya, his publisher. Narendra also had correspondence with Herbert Spencer for some time. Alongside his study of Western philosophers, he was thoroughly acquainted with Indian Sanskrit scriptures and many Bengali works. According to his professors, student Narendranath was a prodigy. Dr. William Hastie, the principal of Scottish Church College, where he studied during 1881-84, wrote, “Narendra is really a genius. I have travelled far and wide but I have never come across a lad of his talents and possibilities, even in German universities, among philosophical students.” He was regarded as a srutidhara—a man with prodigious memory. After a discussion with Narendranath, Dr. Mahendralal Sarkar reportedly said, “I could never have thought that such a young boy had read so much!”
Narendranath became the member of a Freemason’s lodge and the breakaway faction from the Brahmo Samaj led by Keshab Chandra Sen. His initial beliefs were shaped by Brahmo concepts, which include belief in a formless God and deprecation of the worship of idols. Not satisfied with his knowledge of Philosophy, he wondered if God and religion could be made a part of one’s growing experiences and deeply internalized. Narendra went about asking prominent residents of contemporary Calcutta whether they had come “face to face with God”. but could not get answers which satisfied him.
His first introduction to Ramakrishna occurred in a literature class in General Assembly’s Institution, when he heard Principal Reverend W. Hastie lecturing on William Wordsworth’s poem The Excursion and the poet’s nature-mysticism. In the course of explaining the word trance in the poem, Hastie told his students that if they wanted to know the real meaning of it, they should go to Ramakrishna of Dakshineswar. This prompted some of his students, including Narendranath to visit Ramakrishna.
WITH RAMAKRISHNA:
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
Narendranath’s meeting with Ramakrishna in November 1881 proved to be a turning point in his life. About this meeting, Narendranath said, “Ramakrishnalooked just like an ordinary man, with nothing remarkable about him. He used the most simple language and I thought “Can this man be a great teacher?”. I crept near to him and asked him the question which I had been asking others all my life: “Do you believe in God, Sir?” “Yes”, he replied. “Can you prove it, Sir?” “Yes”. “How?” “Because I see Him just as I see you here, only in a much intenser sense.” That impressed me at once. […] I began to go to that man, day after day, and I actually saw that religion could be given. One touch, one glance, can change a whole life.”[40][41] Even though Narendra did not accept Ramakrishna as his guru initially and revolted against his ideas, he was attracted by his personality and visited him frequently.[42] He initially looked upon Ramakrishna’s ecstasies and visions as, “mere figments of imagination”, “mere hallucinations”. As a member of Brahmo samaj, he revolted against idol worship and polytheism, and Ramakrishna’s worship of Kali.He even rejected the Advaitist Vedantism of identity with absolute as blasphemy and madness, and often made fun of the concept
Though at first Narendra could not accept Ramakrishna and his visions, he could not neglect him either. It had always been in Narendra’s nature to test something thoroughly before he would accept it. He tested Ramakrishna, who never asked Narendra to abandon reason, and faced all of Narendra’s arguments and examinations with patience—”Try to see the truth from all angles” was his reply. During the course of five years of his training under Ramakrishna, Narendra was transformed from a restless, puzzled, impatient youth to a mature man who was ready to renounce everything for the sake of God-realization. In time, Narendra accepted Ramakrishna as guru, and when he accepted, his acceptance was whole-hearted and with complete surrendering as disciple.
In 1885 Ramakrishna suffered from throat cancer and he was shifted to Calcutta and later to Cossipore. Vivekananda and his brother disciples took care of Ramakrishna during his final days. Vivekananda’s spiritual education under Ramakrishna continued there. At Cossipore, Vivekananda reportedly experiencedNirvikalpa Samadhi. During the last days of Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and some of the other disciples received the ochre monastic robes from Ramakrishna, which formed the first monastic order of Ramakrishna. Vivekananda was taught that service to men was the most effective worship of God. It is reported that when Vivekananda doubted Ramakrishna’s claim of avatar, Ramakrishna reportedly said, “He who was Rama, He who wasKrishna, He himself is now Ramakrishna in this body.” During his final days, Ramakrishna asked Vivekananda to take care of other monastic disciples and in turn asked them to look upon Vivekananda as their leader. Ramakrishna’s condition worsened gradually and he expired in the early morning hours of August 16, 1886 at the Cossipore garden house. According to his disciples, this was Mahasamadhi.
As a Sanyasi:
Wandering_Monk
Later, In 1888, Vivekananda left the monastery as a Parivrâjaka—the Hindu religious life of a wandering monk, “without fixed abode, without ties, independent and strangers wherever they go.” His sole possessions were a kamandalu (water pot), staff, and his two favorite books—Bhagavad Gita and The Imitation of Christ. Narendranath travelled the length and breadth of India for five years, visiting important centers of learning, acquainting himself with the diverse religious traditions and different patterns of social life. He developed a sympathy for the suffering and poverty of the masses and resolved to uplift the nation. Living mainly on Bhiksha or alms, Narendranath traveled mostly on foot and railway tickets bought by his admirers whom he met during the travels. During these travels he gained acquaintance and stayed with scholars, Dewans, Rajas and people from all walks of life—Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Pariahs (low caste workers) and Government officials.
Northern India
In 1888, he started his journey from Varanasi. At Varanasi, he met pandit and Bengali writer, Bhudev Mukhopadhyay and Trailanga Swami, a famous saint who lived in a Shiva temple. Here, he also met Babu Pramadadas Mitra, the noted Sanskrit scholar, to whom the Swami wrote a number of letters asking his advice on the interpretation of the Hindu scriptures. After Varanasi he visited Ayodhya, Lucknow, Agra, Vrindavan, Hathras and Rishikesh. At Hathras he met Sharat Chandra Gupta, the station master who later became one of his earliest disciples as Sadananda. Between 1888-1890, he visited Vaidyanath, Allahabad. From Allahabad, he visited Ghazipur where he met Pavhari Baba, a Advaita Vedanta ascetic who spent most of his time in meditation. Between 1888-1890, he returned to Baranagore Math few times, because of ill health and to arrange for the financial funds when Balaram Bose and Suresh Chandra Mitra, the disciples of Ramakrishna who supported the Math had expired.
The Himalayas
In July 1890, accompanied by his brother monk, Swami Akhandananda, he continued his journey as a wandering monk and returned to the Math only after his visit to the West. He visited, Nainital, Almora, Srinagar, Dehradun, Rishikesh, Haridwar and the Himalayas. During this travel, he reportedly had a vision ofmacrocosm and microcosm, which seems to be reflected in the Jnana Yoga lectures he gave later in the West, “The CosmosThe Macrocosm and The Microcosm“. During these travels, he met his brother monks —Swami Brahmananda, Saradananda, Turiyananda, Akhandananda and Advaitananda. They stayed at Meerut for a few days where they passed their time in meditation, prayer and study of scriptures. At the end of January 1891, the Swami left his brother monks and journeyed to Delhi alone.
Rajputana
At Delhi, after visiting historical places he journeyed towards Alwar, in the historic land of Rajputana. Later he journeyed to Jaipur, where he studied Panini’sAshtadhyayi with a Sanskrit scholar. He next journeyed to Ajmer, where he visited the palace of Akbar and the famous Dargah and left for Mount Abu. At Mount Abu, he met the maharaja, Ajit Singh of Khetri, who became his ardent devotee and supporter. Swami Tathagatananda, a senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order, and the Head of Vedanta Society, New York wrote as follows :
At Khetri, he delivered discourses to the Raja, became acquainted with the pandit Ajjada Adibhatla Narayana Dasu, and studied Mahābhāṣya on sutras of Panini. After two and a half months there, towards the end of October 1891, he proceeded towards Rajasthan and Maharastra.[57][64]
Western India
Continuing his travels, he visited Ahmedabad, Wadhwan, Limbdi. At Ahmedabad he completed his studies of Muslim and Jain culture. At Limbdi, he met Thakore Sahed Jaswant Singh who had himself been to England and America. From the Thakore Saheb, the Swami first got the idea of going to the West to preach Vedanta. He later visited Junagadh, where he was the guest of Haridas Viharidas Desai, the Diwan of the State, who was so charmed with his company that every evening he, with all the State officials, used to meet the Swami and converse with him until late at night. From there he also visited Girnar, Kutch, Porbander, Dwaraka, Palitana, Nadiad where he stayed at Diwan Haridas Viharidas Desai’s house Nadiad ni haveli and Baroda. At Porbander he stayed three quarters of a year, in spite of his vow as a wandering monk, to perfect his philosophical and Sanskrit studies with learnedpandits; he worked with a court panditwho translated the Vedas.
He later traveled to Mahabaleshwar and then to Pune. From Pune he visited Khandwa and Indore around June 1892. At Kathiawar he heard of the Parliament of the World’s Religions and was urged by his followers there to attend it. He left Khandwa for Bombay and reached there on July 1892. In a Pune bound train he met Bal Gangadhar Tilak. After staying with Tilak for few days in Poona, the Swami travelled to Belgaum in October 1892. At Belgaum, he was the guest of Prof. G.S. Bhate and Sub-divisional Forest officer, Haripada Mitra. From Belgaum, he visited Panjim and Margao in Goa. He spent three days in the Rachol Seminary, the oldest convent-college of theology of Goa where rare religious literature in manuscripts and printed works in Latin are preserved. He reportedly studied important Christian theological works here. From Margao the Swami went by train to Dharwar, and from there directly to Bangalore, in Mysore State.
At Bangalore, the Swami became acquainted with Sir K. Seshadri Iyer, the Dewan of Mysore state, and later he stayed at the palace as guest of the Maharaja of Mysore, Chamaraja Wodeyar. Regarding the Swami’s learning, Sir Seshadri reportedly remarked, “a magnetic personality and a divine force which were destined to leave their mark on the history of his country.” The Maharaja provided the Swami a letter of introduction to the Dewan of Cochin and got him a railway ticket.
From Bangalore, he visited Trichur, Kodungalloor, Ernakulam. At Ernakulam, he met Chattampi Swamikal, contemporary of Narayana Guru in early December 1892. From Ernakulam, he journeyed to Trivandrum, Nagercoil and reached Kanyakumari on foot during the Christmas Eve of 1892. At Kanyakumari, the Swami reportedly meditated on the “last bit of Indian rock”, famously known later as the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, for three days. At Kanyakumari, Vivekananda had the “Vision of one India”, also commonly called “The Kanyakumari resolve of 1892″.
From Kanyakumari he visited Madurai, where he met the Raja of Ramnad, Bhaskara Setupati, to whom he had a letter of introduction. The Raja became the Swami’s disciple and urged him to go to the Parliament of Religions at Chicago. From Madurai, he visited Rameshwaram,Pondicherry, he travelled to Madras and here he met some his most devoted disciples, who played important roles in collecting funds for Swami’s voyage to America and later in establishing the Ramakrishna Mission in Madras. With the aid of funds collected by his Madras disciples and Rajas of Mysore, Ramnad, Khetri, Dewans and other followers Vivekananda left for Chicago on 31 May 1893 from Bombay assuming the name Vivekananda—the name suggested by the Maharaja of Khetri.
FIRST VISIT TO WEST:
His journey to America took him through China, Canada and he arrived at Chicago in July 1893.[78] But to his disappointment he learnt that no one without credentials from a bona fide organization would be accepted as a delegate. He came in contact with Professor John Henry Wright of Harvard University.[79] After inviting him to speak at Harvard and on learning from him not having credentials to speak at the Parliament, Wright is quoted as having said, “To ask for your credentials is like asking the sun to state its right to shine in the heavens.” Wright then addressed a letter to the Chairman in charge of delegates writing, “Here is a man who is more learned than all of our learned professors put together.” On the Professor, Vivekananda himself writes “He urged upon me the necessity of going to the Parliament of Religions, which he thought would give an introduction to the nation.
Parliament of World Religions:
The Parliament of Religions opened on 11 September 1893 at the Art Institute of Chicago. On this day Vivekananda gave his first brief address. He represented India and Hinduism. Though initially nervous, he bowed to Saraswati, the goddess of learning and began his speech with, “Sisters and brothers of America!”. To these words he got a standing ovation from a crowd of seven thousand, which lasted for two minutes. When silence was restored he began his address. He greeted the youngest of the nations in the name of “the most ancient order of monks in the world, the Vedic order of sannyasins, a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance.” And he quoted two illustrative passages in this relation, from the Bhagavad Gita—”As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take, through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee!” and “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths that in the end lead to Me.”[83] Despite being a short speech, it voiced the spirit of the Parliament and its sense of universality.[83][84]
Dr. Barrows, the president of the Parliament said, “India, the Mother of religions was represented by Swami Vivekananda, the Orange-monk who exercised the most wonderful influence over his auditors.” He attracted widespread attention in the press, which dubbed him as the “Cyclonic monk from India”. The New York Critique wrote, “He is an orator by divine right, and his strong, intelligent face in its picturesque setting of yellow and orange was hardly less interesting than those earnest words, and the rich, rhythmical utterance he gave them.” The New York Heraldwrote, “Vivekananda is undoubtedly the greatest figure in the Parliament of Religions. After hearing him we feel how foolish it is to sendmissionaries to this learned nation.” The American newspapers reported Swami Vivekananda as “the greatest figure in the parliament of religions” and “the most popular and influential man in the parliament”.
He spoke several more times at the Parliament on topics related to Hinduism and Buddhism. The parliament ended on 27 September 1893. All his speeches at the Parliament had one common theme—Universality—and stressed religious tolerance.

Back in India (1897-1899)

Colombo to Almora

Vivekananda arrived in Colombo on January 15, 1897 and received an ecstatic welcome. Here, he gave his first public speech in East, India, the Holy Land. From there on, his journey to Calcutta was a triumphal progress. He traveled from Colombo to Pamban, Rameshwaram, Ramnad, Madurai, Kumbakonam andMadras delivering lectures. People and Rajas gave him enthusiastic reception. In the procession at Pamban, the Raja of Ramnad personally drew the Swami’s carriage. On way to Madras, at several places where the train would not stop, the people squatted on the rails and allowed the train to pass only after hearing the Swami. From Madras, he continued his journey to Calcutta and continued his lectures up to Almora.While in the West he talked of India’s great spiritual heritage, on return to India the refrain of his ‘Lectures from Colombo to Almora’ was uplift of the masses, eradication of the caste virus, promotion of the study of science, industrialization of the country, removal of poverty, the end of the colonial rule.These lectures have been published as Lectures from Colombo to Almora. These lectures are considered to be of nationalistic fervor and spiritual ideology. His speeches had tremendous influence on the Indian leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi, Bipin Chandra Pal and Balgangadhar Tilak.
On 1 May 1897 at Calcutta, Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission—the organ for social service. The ideals of the Ramakrishna Mission are based on Karma Yoga. Its governing body consists of the trustees of the Ramakrishna Math- the organ to carry out religious works. Due to the close association between the two, both have their headquarters at Belur, near Calcutta. This was the beginning of an organized social and religious movement to help the masses through educational, cultural, medical and relief work.
Two other monasteries were founded by him- one at Mayavati on the Himalayas, near Almora called the Advaita Ashrama and another at Madras. Two journals were also started, Prabuddha Bharata in English and Udbhodan in Bengali.The same year, the famine relief work was started by Swami Akhandananda at Murshidabad district.
Vivekananda had inspired Sir Jamshedji Tata to set up a research and educational institution when they had travelled together from Yokohama to Chicagoon the Swami’s first visit to the West in 1893. About this time the Swami received a letter from Tata, requesting him to head the Research Institute of Science that Tata had set up. But Vivekananda declined the offer saying that it conflicted with his spiritual interests.
SECOND VISIT TO WEST and LAST YEARS:
Vivekananda once again left for the West in June 1899, amid his declining health. He was accompanied by Sister Nivedita and Swami Turiyananda. He spent a short time in England, and went on to America. During this visit, he founded the Vedanta societies at San Francisco and New York. He also founded “Shanti Ashrama” (peace retreat) at California, with the aid of a generous 160-acre (0.65 km2) gift from an American devotee. Later he attended the Congress of Religions, in Paris in 1900. The Paris addresses are memorable for the scholarly penetration evinced by Vivekananda related to worship of Linga and authenticity of the Gita. From Paris he paid short visits to Brittany, Vienna, Istanbul, Athens and Egypt. For the greater part of this period, he was the guest of Jules Bois, the famous thinker. He left Paris on October 24, 1900, and arrived at the Belur Math on December 9, 1900.
Vivekananda spent few of his days at Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati and later at the Belur Math. Henceforth till the end he stayed at Belur Math, guiding the work of Ramakrishna Mission and Math and the work in England and America. Thousands of visitors came to him during these years including The Maharaja of Gwalior and in December 1901, the stalwarts of Indian National Congress including Lokamanya Tilak. In December 1901, he was invited to Japan to participate in the Congress of Religions, however his failing health made it impossible. He undertook pilgrimages to Bodhgaya and Varanasi towards his final days.

Death

His tours, hectic lecturing engagements, private discussions and correspondence had taken their toll on his health. He was suffering from asthma, diabetesand other physical ailments. A few days prior to his demise, he was seen intently studying the almanac. Three days before his death he pointed out the spot for this cremation—the one at which a temple in his memory stands today. He had remarked to several persons that he would not live to be forty.[120]
On the day of his death, he taught Shukla-Yajur-Veda to some pupils in the morning at Belur Math.[121] He had a walk with Swami Premananda, a brother-disciple, and gave him instructions concerning the future of the Ramakrishna Math.
Vivekananda died at ten minutes past nine P.M. on July 4, 1902 while he was meditating. According to his disciples, this was Mahasamadhi. Afterward, his disciples recorded that they had noticed “a little blood” in the Swami’s nostrils, about his mouth and in his eyes. The doctors remarked that it was due to the rupture of a blood-vessel in the brain, but they could not find the real cause of the death. According to his disciples, Brahmarandhra — the aperture in the crown of the head — must have been pierced when he attained Mahasamadhi. Vivekananda had fulfilled his own prophecy of not living to be forty years old
Source : Samvada.org

Monday, October 23, 2017

SWASTIKA/ CULTURE & HERITAGE: PIOUS SYMBOL DISTORTED BY WEST

SWASTIKA/ CULTURE & HERITAGE: PIOUS SYMBOL DISTORTED BY WEST


Swastika is the only symbol in the world which has no barriers of culture, religion, race, language and civilisation

Hemant Padhya

Deepawali is the cardinal festival in the Vedic or Hindu calendar. Although it is known as festival of lights, it is also a festival of feast, worship and colourful floor patterns called Rangoli. The colourful floor patterns drawn during the Deepawali festival to welcome Goddess Lakshmi is dominated by the symbol of Swastika as it represents Shakti and good luck. Swastika has a great significance in all Vedic or Hindu religious rituals and sacraments. Swastika appears everywhere whether it is in Rangoli form, at the entrance of house, on the worshiping pots or kalash, on the shrine, on the lamps, on the lanterns, on greeting cards, on safes and on the account books etc. In fact it is worshipped during Deepawali along with Lord Ganesh, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati.

Wrong Perception
Although almost all Hindus respect, revered and worship Swastika, many Hindu elites educated in western
institutes  and the new generation of Hindus born and brought up in western world have wrong perception about Swastika symbol as they were taught wrongly in their schools and colleges on the subject of Swastika. They are only taught about Swastika in context with World War II and its association with Hitler and Nazi Party and the holocaust only. They have never been taught about the ancient history and importance of Swastika before World War II. Due to anti-Swastika propaganda, they are suffering from Swastika phobia along with the people of western world who has been connecting and blaming the Swastika symbol in context to Hitler and his Nazi regime without any other logical reason except it was being used as symbol by Hitler and his Nazi Party to persecute Jews and other ethnic communities and waging war against British imperialism and other states of Europe.  
          
Swastika, the universal and most revered and powerful symbol of auspiciousness, good luck and wellbeing, has been portrayed as the symbol of horror by the western world after World War II. Hitler and his Nazi regime perverted the positive and true meaning and standing of Swastika and had given it a bad reputation and name. They tarnished the traditional image of Swastika from being a
mystical symbol of love, peace, good luck, fortune and wellbeing to a symbol of hatred, fear, and barbaric atrocities as inhumane acts inflicted on to Jews and other minorities living in Germany and Europe and causing destruction and a barbaric slaughter of millions in World War II by Adolf Hitler and his supporters.  After the Second World War, Swastika, the symbol of benevolence, good luck and good fortune, has been looked uponby Americans, Jews and European people as the symbol of
holocaust, fascism, genocide, horror, death, cruelty, extermination, racial intolerance, hatred and destruction. Hitler and his Nazi Party is responsible for misusing and defaming the symbol of Swastika but unfortunately, majority of people from western world also carried the grudge against the innocent symbol of Swastika and blamed Swastika for Nazi misdeeds. The American, British and European governments and people launched a systematic propaganda war of hate against Swastika symbol to mutilate the positive meaning and pristine image and status of Swastika to extreme negative connotation inpresent context and  started vigorous campaign to defame and to impose a ban on the display of the symbol of Swastika in the western world.  

Due to the misrepresentation and anti-Swastika  propaganda by the American and European governments after World War II, many people living in the western world  wrongly accused Swastika as a symbol of hate, horror, terror and a reminder of the atrocities committed by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party to Jewish and other ethnic communities in Europe. The new generations of west after 1930 were misinformed, misguided and subsequently misunderstood the real meaning, importance, true image and pristine status of Swastika.  The demonising of Swastika by British, European and American people and Government after World War II is still systematically in process and Swastika is being  taught as the symbol of genocide, fascism, hate, anti-sematic   and racist in western schools, colleges and Universities. 

Most Sacred Symbol
Swastika is the most ancient symbol that has believed to be brought luck and joy since many millennia   and it continues to do so in the present day. It was worshipped as a symbol of good fortune long before Hitler’s use of it to symbolise his evil dictatorship and anti-sematic ideology. Swastika represents harmony, love, universal brotherhood and wellbeing of human race and it is still worshipped, revered and respected as sacred, holy and auspicious symbol by more than half population of the world.  

Swastika is the oldest religious symbol known to the human race and is widely recognised in various cultures all across the world. Swastika derives from the oldest religion of the world called Vedic Dharma or Sanatan Dharma, which is the original form of present day Hinduism. Vedic Dharma is the philosophy of life taught by God through the four scriptures called Vedas. Swastika represents all four Vedas and the root word Swasti has been mentioned in Vedas numerous times.
Geometrically speaking, the symbol of Swastika consists of four parts which point towards four directions. If the Swastika is turned around from the centre clock-wise or anti-clockwise, it does not make any geometrical or physical changes. This represents it’s unchanging, all directional and endless and eternal nature of God. It is the symbol of divinity therefore and is a fundamental part of all religious ceremony in Sanatan Dharma or Hinduism. It can be seen adorned in ceremonies of birth, marriage, death and festivals. 

The word Swastika and its symbol do not come from anti-semitic origin but is derived from the ancient language of Vedic Dharma called Sanskrit. In Sanskrit, Swastika means auspiciousness and wellbeing. Vedic Dharma or its sects which include Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism, have never done anything wrong to other religions or race, they have never waged any atrocities on other faiths. Vedic (Hindu) Dharma teaches the principles of help, charity, tolerance and non-violence with
exceptional limitation of self-defence. The living example of its greatness is in the thousands of years old settlements of Jews and Parsis (Persian Zoroastrians) in Bharat, who have practised their faith freely and without any persecution. 

 Other Civilisations
The presence of Swastika is evident in various civilisations such as the Egyptians, Mayans, Native Americans, Romans, Greeks and Celts to name  a few. Swastika has migrated across many cultures, civilisations and religions.  People may think Swastika had no place in a Christian church, but it has a long history as a symbol for Christ. During the first three centuries Swastika was the only form of Cross used by Christians and it was a disguised form of the Cross and a unifying symbol among those who survived a common persecution by Roman Empire. In Rome, it is called Crux Dissimulata because the early Christians concealed themselves and the Church did not adopt the crucifix until the sixth century when Christianity had become the official religion of Rome. Swastikas can be seen decorating the Christian Catacombs of Rome. 

In the present day it is evident that Swastika is worshipped in many religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Shinto and it is revered, respected and worshipped by millions in the Asian Continent. In Hinduism, Swastika is symbol of Lord Ganesh, the destroyer of obstacles and provider of good luck and fortune, and Shakti, the divine power and love of a woman. Swastika is also considered as the symbol of love, peace, prosperity, divine power, good luck and good fortune in Vedic or Hindu religion. Swastika is believed to be the powerful representation of Yantra, Tantra and Mantra all in one.  In Buddhism, Swastika is a symbol of universal harmony, prosperity, plurality, good luck, abundance, dharma, fertility, long life, and eternity and it is considered as ‘A Seal on Buddha’s Heart’’. In the Zoroastrian religion of Persia, the Swastika was a symbol of the revolving sun, infinity, or continuing creation. In Mithraism, the religion practised in Roman Empire, the Swastika is the representation of the Sun of Helios and Mithras and it also represents the chariot of Mithras. In Shinto and Buddhist religions of Japan Swastika is called Manji, named after an ancient God and It is found on temples and street-corner shrines all over Japan and even on road maps to indicate the location of temples and Pagodas. In Shamanic religion Swastika is the symbol of the Sun and the power.  

The lesser-publicised aspect of the Swastika symbol is the positive presence of Swastika in the western world prior to World War II, at that time the Swastika was widely used on good luck greeting cards, as part of company logos and promotions. Even the world famous drinks company “Coca-Cola”, in 1925, made a lucky watch fob in the shape of a Swastika. There is much evidence that Swastika was used as a lucky talisman in Britain, America and much of Europe just prior to the Second World War. In 1908, the American Sears catalogue had many ladies Swastika hatpins and pendants for sale. In Scandinavia, Swastika is called the Hammer of Thor, which derived from the Vikings and commercially it found its way to become the registered trademark of Carlsberg lager as early as 1881 and continued to be used up until 1938. The Finnish Air Force marked Swastika in blue paint as a national emblem and good luck symbol which they call Haka Risti (locked cross), on all their planes from 1918 until 1945 when it was changed because they were mistaken for Nazi planes. In 1916 the British printed War Savings Stamps with white Swastika, which was years before Nazi’s adopted it as their symbol. These are but a few examples of Swastika’s presence in the world as a symbol of goodness.  

To a big astonishment and surprise, there is plenty of evidence that the Swastika has existed in Judaism. From second century BC to the end of the first century AD a secret, monastic brotherhood of Jews called the Essenes lived in Palestine. The Swastika to them was a sacred sign representing the Wheel of Eternal Life. In Vedic and Buddhist Tantrism, the Swastika is often drawn inside a six cornered star to form a Yantra. This star is known in Judaism as The Star of David.  Another example of the use of Swastika by the people of Jewish origin can be found in the USA. In 1916, the Portland Oregonian Newspaper ran an advertisement for Pacific Coast Biscuits, a Jewish firm that made Matzos. A large Swastika dominates the advertisement, which claimed that the product, together with the Swastika was a “Symbol of Purity & Quality, the trademark stands for supreme quality”. It is clear that Jews, as well as other people across the globe have used the Swastika as a decoration, a symbol of pride, spirituality, good fortune, prosperity, purity and love. 

Christian religion used the symbol of Swastika extensively in ancient churches, robes and scarfs of bishops, on grave stones and catacombs and in Churches as well. The living example of the proof is the ancient church of the Nativity in Jerusalem where Jesus Christ believed to be born. The place marked with the Jesus birth spot have surrounding walls depicted with several Swastika symbols. The ancient European Pagans, Celts and Druids used it during Medieval Period. Many mosques in Middle East bear the symbols of Swastika on their surrounding walls and entrances.  Even there are many publications of Quran depicting big Swastika symbol on the back cover of Quran too.  Swastika symbols were freely used by Romans, Greeks, Mayans, Aztec, American Native Indians, Africans, Persians, Egyptians and many others.   

Defaming  Swastika 
The symbol of Swastika has been bombarded and attempted to be destroyed by the political and psychological cruise missiles by western world since World War II. Hitler and his Nazi Party hijacked The ancient Swastika symbol for their evil and dirty political ambition in Germany during  1920s and 1930s and used it extensively during Second World war era on the name of nationalism and their anti-semitic and White supremacy ideology  to persecute millions of Jews and other ethnic minorities in Europe.  Swastika, once world’s most famous and revered  symbol of good luck and fortune and wellbeing since millennia, had the worst misfortune imposed upon it  first by Adolf Hitler and Nazi regime and later by Europeans, British, American and Jewish community who suffered the most heinous atrocities  in second World War II. They blamed the mere symbol of Swastika for the brutal atrocities committed by Adolf Hitler and his allied people and army.

They systematically started political propaganda warfare against the symbol of Swastika to punish and tarnish its reputation and to destroy its existence in revenge after World War II. They portrayed Swastika as a symbol of horror, cruelty, atrocity, barbarism and terror. They systematically introduced anti Swastika educational system to tarnish and punish the symbol of Swastika by holding it responsible for the war, atrocities and destruction happened during World War II. They left no space in insulting, humiliating, spoiling, defaming and destroying the reputation of Swastika symbol which has also been respected, revered and worshipped in western wold since thousands of years.  
 The hate mongering propaganda against the symbol of Swastika by western world is still live and ongoing even after three quarter century of World War II.

The treatment and attitude toward Swastika must not be any different to that of the Holy Cross of Christians for many Black Americans  were persecuted by the Ku Klux Klan and burnt alive on Crosses. Those events in history are more recent than that of Hitler’s dictatorship even though the western people have not made the Holy Cross a symbol of terror or death and the symbol has not been condemned for the heinous acts, unlike the fate of Swastika. Moreover, under the authority of green flag of Islamic ideology carrying the symbol of star and crescent, the most inhumane atrocities were carried out in past and present which can be marked as the biggest holocaust of the world. It is strange and discriminatory that no Christian nation of the world have ever asked or dared to ban the green flag and the symbols of star and crescent under which the greatest holocaust of human ever
carried out by the followers of Islamic ideology. So why the symbol of Swastika is only symbol blamed punished for? If a mad or fanatic man or woman uses the knife to murder someone that does not constitute knife to be the guilty for the murder. Therefore punishing, condemning and hating a symbol that has no real connection to a megalomaniac’s misguided interpretation and use is unjustifiable and inappropriate. The Swastika has such a rich history that it transcends cultures, races, religions and continents since many millennia. It is a great injustice that centuries old fact, truth and history is being deliberately and intentionally wiped out by western world due to the negative portrayal and ignorance of this beloved symbol of the world. 

Western Gameplan
The systematic propaganda and educational programme to tarnish, defame and humiliate the symbol of Swastika after World War II by America and European countries of west have resulted in a bitter hate in the minds of new generation in Western world. As a part of the ongoing agenda of European countries against Swastika, several attempts were made to ban the use of Swastika symbol in Europe by European Parliament but its ill plans were challenged and successfully stopped due the strong opposition by many organisations of Eastern religions, Eastern countries, many Pagans of west and many western people who love and respects the ancient symbol of Swastika for its true meaning, true image and glorious significance.  The faith and dedication put into this symbol over the centuries by its many followers is coming to an age where the goodness of this sacred symbol may cease to exist, in the minds of the generations to come due to brain washing propaganda process of the western countries. Now, the time has come to reclaim the symbol of Swastika with all the dignity, honour and respect it has enjoyed since thousands of years.  

A Sign of Good Luck
Swastika is neither a sign of genocide nor horror and hatred. It is a sign of good luck, well-being and benevolence. It is also an emblem of prosperity peace, passion and progress. Swastika has been considered as a symbol of auspicious, good fortune and well-being by almost all civilisations, races and religions in this world and utilised it as an omen since thousands of years. Swastika is not inherently evil or morally wicked or horrible. The people who believe, respect, worship and revere the symbol of Swastika understand and sympathise with all those victims of the holocaust who suffered the unspeakable horror and agony which lead them to hate the symbol. The Jews community and other minorities who suffered the most during World War II must also realise and understand the apathy of those people’s thousands of year old sentiments, beliefs, faith and ideology they inherited in positive manner for Swastika. Holding Swastika symbol responsible by western world for the inhumane atrocities in Second World War is nothing but misapprehension and ignorance.

 Hitler’s Misrepresentation
 It is a big linguistic mistake or error to call or name Hitler’s symbol a Swastika as Hitler and his followers never ever used the term Swastika for their symbol but instead referred it and called it as ‘Hakenkreuz’ meaning ‘Hooked Cross’ in German language. It was the  British who branded, called and popularised term of  Hitler and Nazi Party’s symbol as Swastika instead of its original and  true name ‘Hakenkreuz’ termed by Hitler. The nearest popular word found in English language is Fylfot which is widely and commonly used by Christians of Britain for Swastika symbol but the cunning and clever British did not use the word fylfot for Hitler’s  ‘Hakenkreuz’ to detach themselves completely. To label, call, and popularise the term of ‘Hakenkreuz’ as Swastika instead of Fylfot was
a secret and deliberate political conspiracy of the British Government, British Royal Historian and linguistics and religious leaders of Christianity in Britain to humiliate and discredit Aryans or Hindus and their religion as the word Swastika belongs to Sanskrit, the language of Vedas of Aryans meaning the noble human beings. 

Adolf Hitler and his followers of Nazi Party adopted and fought their dirty battle of their inhumane and cruel ideology under the banner of Swastika. They hijacked and transformed Swastika, an ancient symbol of humanity, auspicious and benevolence, into a symbol of hatred, horror, racism and oppression. The world must understand that Swastika was just a mere symbol which was not responsible or guilty of the barbaric acts but the perpetrator definitely was responsible. How can a symbol commit a crime?  The use of Swastika symbol by Hitler and his Nazi regime was a legacy of misappropriation and any blame game imposed on a poor symbol of Swastika is inappropriate and illogical and it must be stopped once and for all. The western people and the people from Jewish community who nurtured the habit of hating Swastika symbol after World War II, must learn to  distinguish and understand the difference between the symbol of  Hitler’s horrific  Hakenkreuz and sacred Swastika of  the Hindus, the Jains, the  Sikhs and the Buddhist and many more people of eastern and western religions and sects. Those people must come to better understanding and come to the term that Swastika is not a symbol of devil or evil but it is a symbol of divinity which is respected, revered and worshipped by more than half of the population of this world. Present efforts of educating ignorant people by Hindu organisations, saints and individual activists and  the lovers of Swastika symbol in positive sense or pro-Swastika people has brought fruitful results to bring better understanding among Jewish community as they have started positive educational  campaign on their community websites about the history of ancient Swastika. The new efforts of understanding, co-operation and help from Jewish community organisations are praiseworthy and welcoming. Any rehabilitation programme of Swastika symbol in positive context must be supported and canvassed by all Swastika lovers and worshippers. They must demand to reinstate the true image of Swastika and educate, persuade and convince the political and educational institutions to teach new generation about the glorious past and history of the Swastika in the curriculum before it is too late. 

Divine Law
It is a divine law that if any one misuse or taint the power of divinity is bound to be punished and destroyed by God and that is proved true in case of Hitler and his Nazi party. They and their mighty power were destroyed as they inflicted inhumane atrocities on
innocent people and spread hate under the symbol of Swastika. We, the lovers and worshippers of Swastika,  must make a resolution  to educate and eradicate the ignorance prevailing among the people of western world  regarding Swastika and make them realise the sacred, glorious and
pristine image and status Swastika symbol has  enjoyed since millennia. 

(The writer is UK based management
professional and a columnist on cultural issues)

Bhārat’s Pride : Veer Nāri Kittur Rani Chennamma

Bhārat’s Pride : Veer Nāri Kittur Rani Chennamma

Nāri Shakti” has always played a pivotal role in Bharatiya Itihas. There have been innumerable examples of women contributors since Vedic times, whether it is for Self protection, protecting the Rashtra (nation) or for upholding Dharma, all that speak of spiritual knowledge and wisdom as well as valour and courage. To recall those great spiritual as well as mighty valiant personalities, is to worship the female form of divinity as a symbol of “Shakti”.
लक्ष्मी अहल्या चन्नम्मा रुद्रमाम्बा सुविक्रमा |
निवेदिता शारदा च प्रणम्य मातृ देवताः ॥
(Lakshmi Ahalyaa Channammaa Rudramaambaa suvikramaa
Niveditaa Shaaradaa cha praNamya maatRu devataaH)
In “ekAtmata Stotra”, this “sloka” invokes the two brave women by the same name of “Chennamma”: one was the queen – Rani of Keladi (from Sagara, Karnataka) and the other being Rani of Kittur (Belagavi District of Katnataka). The Moghul tyrant Aurangazeb, after killing the elder son of Shivaji i.e, Sambhaji went in pursuit of his second son, Raja Ram. At this time of trouble, Chennamma, the Rani of Keladi by providing refuge (protection) to Raja Ram, indirectly protected the newly arisen kingdom of Shivaji and she with her power of army retaliated against the Mughals.
Chennamma, the Rani of Kittur, a province in Karnataka, picked up a fierce fight with the British forces in order to foil their desire to grab Kittur after the untimely death of her husband. The Britishers were forced to enter into a peace-treaty with Chennamma. Later the English captured Chennamma, by deception, and kept her as prisoner in the Bailhongal Fort.
Like the Rani of Jhansi, both these Ranis sacrificed their lives for the sake of Independence of India.
(Picture Courtesy: HinduHistory.com)
Kittur Rani Chennamma (23 October 1778 – 21 February 1829) led armed rebellion against the British forces in the year 1824, when not many rulers were familiar with the evil designs of the British through their British East India Company.
Chennamma was born in Kakati, a small village (in today’s Belagavi district of Karnataka) in the year 1778 that is almost 56 years earlier than Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi. From a very young age she received training in horse riding, sword fighting and archery. She was well known for her brave acts across her town. She was married to Mallasarja Desai, ruler of Kittur at the age of 15. Her married life seemed to be a sad tale after her husband died in 1816. With this marriage she had only one son, but fate seemed to play a tragic game in her life. Her son breathed his last in 1824, leaving the lonely soul to fight against the British rule. After his death, his son Shivalingarudra Sarja who had no children adopted a boy, Shivalingappa who was his relative. Shivalingrudra died prematurely and Chennamma ruled as the regent (a person appointed to administer a state because the ruler is a minor, is absent or is incapacitated). After the death of her son, she adopted another child, Shivalingappa, and made him heir to the throne. However, the British East India Company did not accept this under the “Doctrine of Lapse”, a policy of annexation devised by the British East India Company.

Queen Chennamma during the British rule

The “Doctrine of Lapse” was an annexation policy imposed on native states by the British, devised by Dalhousie, who was the Governor General for the East India Company in India between 1848 and 1856. Under this declaration, native rulers were not allowed to adopt a child if they had no children of their own. Their territory formed part of the British Empire automatically (would automatically be annexed if the ruler was either ‘manifestly incompetent or died without a male heir’). The state of Kittur came under the administration of Dharwadcollectorate under The East India company’s collector and political agent, Mr. St. John Thackeray. Mr. Chaplin was the commissioner of the region. Both did not recognize the new ruler and the regent, and informed that Kittur had to accept the British regime. Thackeray wished to capture Kittur to expand the British Empire. He was a clever strategist and refused to recognise the adoption as legal according to the “Doctrine of Lapse” imposed on all the states by the British. He sent his people to oversee the affairs of the kingdom and wished to take over the entire kingdom and its treasury. Both the local people and Rani Chennamma opposed strongly British high handedness. Thackeray invaded Kittur. In the battle, hundreds of British soldiers along with Thackeray were killed by the Kitturu forces. Amatur BalappaChennamma’s lieutenant, was responsible for his death and the losses to the British forces. Two British officers, Sir Walter Elliot and Mr. Stevenson, were also taken as hostages. Rani Chennamma released them after a promise from the British that the war would end.
(Picture Courtesy: Essay on Doctrine of Lapse)

War against the British

The humiliation of defeat at the hands of a small ruler was too much for the British to swallow. The British cheated her and re-started the war. This time, the British officer Chaplin actually continued the war with more forces. They brought in bigger armies from Mysore and Sholapur and surrounded Kittur. Chennamma tried her best to avoid war; she negotiated with Chaplin and Governor of Bombay Presidency under whose regime Kittur fell. It had no effect. Chennamma was compelled to declare war.
Rani Chennamma fought the second battle fiercely with the aid of her lieutenant Sangoli Rayanna and Gurusiddappa. During this second round of war, the Sub-collector of Sholapur, Mr. Munrow, nephew of Sir Thomas Munro, was also killed. For 12 days, Chennamma and her soldiers relentlessly defended their fort, but yet again, Chennamma was made prey to deceit –as is the common trait, the traitors sneaked in and mixed mud and dung in the gunpowder in the canons. Two soldiers of her own army, Mallappa Shetty and Vankata Rao, betrayed Chennamma by mixing mud and cow dung with the gunpowder used for the canons. Ultimately, Kittur Chennamma and her forces were outnumbered by the large strength of the British forces. Rani Chennamma was defeated in her last battle and captured by the British, who imprisoned her at the Bailhongal Fort for life, where she passed away on 21 February 1829.
She spent her days reading holy texts and performing pooja till her death in 1829 CE. Kittur Rani Chennamma could not win the war against British, but she etched her presence for many centuries in the world of history. Along with Onake Obavva, Abbakka Rani and Keladi Chennamma, she is much revered in Karnataka as an icon of bravery. Chennamma became a legend. During the freedom movement, her brave resistance to British formed theme of plays, songs, and song stories. Folk songs or “Lavani” were a legion and freedom struggle got a good boost through singing bards who moved throughout the region. (Lavani are the traditional folk songs and the dance format Tamasha contains the dancer (Tamasha Bai), the helping dancer – Maavshi, The Drummer – Dholki vaala & The Flute Boy – Baasuri Vaala).
It is heartening that a statue of Kittur Chennamma was installed in the Parliamentary Building premises at New Delhi on 11th September 2007. However, limiting ourselves to only garlanding the statues will not suffice. The immense contributions of these great warriors to our Freedom Struggle have to be taught to children at homes as well as in schools as part of the school curriculum. Every year Kittur Rani Chennamma’s jayantihas to be celebrated as in “Kittur Utsav”, where skits, elocution and debates have to be conducted depicting the great warrior queen’s life and personality, and showcasing the queen’s grit and determination in fighting the enemy. This will increase the self-confidence in children, as well as inculcate a sense of pride towards the nation, to achieve ultimate glory of our motherland, Bhārat.

References & Acknowledgement:

  1. Heroes of Freedom Struggle – Rani Chennamma of Kitturu – By Dr. Nanditha Krishna
  2. Rani Chennamma – posted in hinduhistory.info by Ranbir Singh
  3. Essay on Doctrine of Lapse by Mamta Aggarwal (historydiscussion.net).
  4. Rani Kittur Chennamma: India’s Valiant Freedom Fighter – By Shagun Gupta
  5. Rani Chennamma of Kittur – (www.indianscriptures.com)
  6. Kittur Rani Chennamma – One of India’s first warrior queens – by Prateeksha Nayak
  7. Kittur Rani Chennamma : Earliest ruler to fight British rule – posted in http://www.hindujagruti.org
  8. Rani Chennamma Statue at Parliament – published in The Hindu daily.
  9. Heroes of Civilization : Shakti – posted in www.AriseBharat.com