The Young Reformist

Guru Ram Das; (1534–1581) was the fourth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism and was given the title of Sikh Guru on 30 August 1574. He was Guru for seven years. Ram Das was born in Chuna Mandi Lahore,Punjab in 1534. His father was Hari Das and his mother Anup Devi(Daya Kaur). His wife was Bibi Bhani, the younger daughter of Guru Amar Das. They had three sons: Prithi Chand, Mahadev and Guru Arjan.

His father-in-law, Guru Amar Das, was third of the Ten Gurus. Ram Das became guru on 1 September and was guru for 7 years.

Contributions

As a Guru, one of his main contributions to Sikhism was organizing the structure of Sikh society. Additionally, he was the author of Laava, the four hymns of the Sikh Marriage Rites. He was planner and creator of the township of Ramdaspur which became the Sikh holy city of Amritsar. He founded it in 1574 on land he bought for 700 rupees from the owners of the village of Tung. Earlier Guru Ram Das had begun building Santokhsar Sarovar, near the village of Sultanwind in 1564 (according to one source in 1570). It could not be completed before 1588. In 1574, Guru Ram Das built his residence and moved to the new place. At that time, it was known as Guru Da Chakk. (Later, it came to be known as Chakk Ram Das). In Amritsar, he designed the gurdwara Harmandir Sahib, which translates as “The Abode of God” also known as the Darbaar sahib.

There are 688 Hymns by Guru Ram Das which have various teachings for Sikhs—that are in the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh supreme granth
one of which can be found on page 305 as follows“ One who calls himself a Sikh of the True Guru shall get up early morning and meditate on the Lord’s Name. Make effort regularly to cleanse, bathe and dip in the ambrosial pool. Upon Guru’s instructions, chant Har, Har singing which, all misdeeds, sins and pains shall go away. ”

— Bani of Guru Ram Das Guruf on Sadhu People and Pilgrimage Bath.

Guru’s Bani is also part of Sodar Sahib andKirtan Sohila, the daily prayers of Sikhs.

Anand Karaj: Sikh marriage ceremony

The standard Sikh marriage ceremony known as the Anand Karaj is centered around a four-stanza hymn composed by Guru Ram Das. During the marriage ceremony the couple circumscribe the Guru Granth Sahib as each stanza of the Lawan is read. The first round is the Divine consent for commencing the householders life through marriage. The second round states that the union of the couple has been brought about by God. In the third round the couple is described as the most fortunate as they have sung the praises of the Lord in the company of saints. In the fourth round the feeling of the couple that they have obtained their hearts’ desire and are being congratulated is described.

‘Laavan’

Guru Ram Das composed a beautiful bani called Laavan about the meaning of marriage to a Sikh couple. Effectively, the Guru defines a Sikh marriage as a spiritual union in these two lines: “They are not said to be husband and wife who merely sit together. Rather they alone are called husband and wife, who have one soul in two bodies.”

Death

Guru Ram Das died on 1 September 1581, in the city of Amritsar in Punjab

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Martial the Artist

This European transfer window caught many eyeballs. Not just because it saw big transfers, but also because a not so known teenager went on the biggest transfer ever seen for a teen.Yes you guessed it right, its 19 year old French wonderboy Anthony Martial.He was taken by Manchester United.

Often dubbed as second Theirry Henry, he started playing youth football for CO Les Ulis and began his professional career at Lyon, then transferred to AS Monaco in 2013 for a fee of €6 million. He was a member of Monaco’s squad for two seasons, and signed for Manchester United in 2015 for an initial £36 million, the highest fee paid for a teenager in football history. He scored in his first match for United, and was named the Premier League Player of the Month in his first month in English football.

When asked about his playing style,Aziz Benaaddane, one of Martial’s coaches at Les Ulis, told the BBC in 2015 that as a six-year-old, Martial was able to run in a straight line to the goal: “We’ve got 400 youngsters playing for us but a talent like that arrives only once every five or six years. We felt it, we saw the potential and we pushed him”.Mahamadou Niakite, another coach, added that Martial was put in higher age groups, as at the age of six he had the ability of most eight-year-olds, and at around the age of 12–13 he was focussed on becoming a professional.

According to journalist Philippe Auclair, Martial plays in a style similar to former French international Thierry Henry, with speed and technical ability both in wide positions and up front. Henry himself praised Martial after his goalscoring debut, while Martial himself refuted the comparison, saying “I don’t think we have the same type of game – he was very quick whereas I rely more on power and technique. But it’s always good to be compared to great players”.

In the aftermath of France’s 2–1 win over Denmark in October 2015, defender Simon Kjær was reportedly stunned after playing against him to learn that Martial was just 19. He told French newspaper L’Équipe “He’s really good for 19. I didn’t know him when I was in France. He’s very, very hard to mark because he knows how to do a lot of things. Not only is he quick, but he’s also technically good.”

Ferguson Years- The golden era of Manchester United

Alex Ferguson joined the club from Aberdeen on the same day that his predecessor Ron Atkinson was dismissed, and guided the club to a 12th-place finish in the league.Despite a second-place finish in the Leauge, the club was back in 11th place the following season.Reportedly on the verge of being dismissed, victory over Crystal Palace in the 1990 FA Cup final replay (after a 3–3 draw) saved Ferguson’s career.The following season, Manchester United claimed its first UEFA Cup Winners Cup title and competed in the 1991 UEFA Super Cup beating European Cup holders Red Star Belgrade1–0 in the final at Old Trafford. A second consecutive Football League Cup final appearance followed in 1992, in which the team beat Nottingham ForestvF.C 1–0 at Wembley Stadium. In 1993, the club won its first league title since 1967, and a year later, for the first time since 1957, it won a second consecutive title – alongside the FA Cup – to complete the first Double in the club’s history.

Manchester United’s 1998–99 season was the most successful in English club football history as they became the first team to win the Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League, “The Treble” – in the same season.Losing 1–0 going into injury time in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final,Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjær scored late goals to claim a dramatic victory over Bayern Munich, in what is considered one of the greatest comebacks of all time. The club also won the Intercontinental Cup after beating Palmeira 1–0 in Tokyo.Ferguson was subsequently knighted for his services to football.

In 2000, Manchester United competed in the inaugural FIFA Club World Championship in Brazil, and won the league again in 1999–2000 and 2000–01 seasons. The team finished third in 2001–02, before regaining the title in 2002–03. They won the 2003–04 FA Cup, beating F.C Millwall 3–0 in the 2004 FA Cup Final at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.In the 2005–06 season, Manchester United failed to qualify for the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in over a decade, but recovered to secure a second-place league finish and victory over Wigan Athletic in the 2006 Football League Cup Final. The club regained the Premier League title in the 2006–07 and 2007–08 seasons, and completed the European double by beating Chelsea 6–5 on penalties in the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.Ryan Giggs made a record 759th appearance for the club in this game, overtaking previous record holder,Bobby Charlton.In December 2008, the club won the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup and followed this with the 2008–09 Football League Cup, and a third successive Premier League title, the first time any team had won three successive league titles more than once.That summer,Cristiano Ronaldo was sold to Real Madrid for a world record £80 million.In 2010, Manchester United defeated Aston Villa 2–1 at the Wembley
 to retain the League Cup, their first successful defence of a knockout cup competition.After 27 glorious years at The Theatre of dreams, Ferguson finally retired in 2013 after guiding the team to a record 20th English title.

Was Ravana really evil??

So its Vijaydashmi again.The day commemorated as day of killing of Ravana ( considered evil ) by Lord Ram. Ravana is considered to be the epitome of evil. But a question was doing rounds in my mind since morning. Was Ravana that evil? Or he like many others is a misunderstood figure. I decided to dig deeper into it.

First lets discuss the known facts about him. Why did he abduct Sita? Surpnakha met Ram in the forest and instantly fell for him. Ram declined her offer of marriage. At this She became furious and attacked Sita.Lakshman attacked Surpnakha and cut her nose. Was cutting her nose justified?? Whatever Ravan did was to avenge his sister’s humiliation. Path may be wrong but intentions were not. He kept Sita the best possible way. His proposal for marriage was also not forced on her. He apologized while dying. It won’t be wrong to say that Ravana was the best brother since he stood against the God for the sake of his sister and the one who can go to such an extent for his sister must be really very great.

Now some other facts to ponder:-

1. It’s a very well-known and widely accepted truth that he was a great Brahmin who worshipped on a regular basis following all the rituals and customs. Additionally, he also used to play Veena along with Sandhya Vandhanam.

2. Even though he grabbed Lanka from his step brother Kuber, Ravana was considered an efficient and compassionate king. After killing Ravana, Rama said that the world lost a nice soul.

3. Ravana was among Lord Shiva’s most devoted followers and obtained blessings in form of several boons from the God.

4. Ravana always followed the rules of war while Lord Rama killed Baali against the rules of battle.

More you know about him, the more you consider him great. For me he really is greatly misunderstood. For you, well its upto you to decide.

Intolerance:Fringe’s Credo or Modi’s??

Concerted effort is being made to project India as an intolerant majoritarian state. This is a fairly new phenomenon which began around one year back, after Narendra Modi took over as prime minster. It is being carried out by the mainstream intelligentsia and the mainstream media. Systematic distortion and selective reportage have been the backbone of this effort. And yet there is a sharp decline in incidents of communal violence after the new regime took charge. The erstwhile Lutyens cozy club, in their blind hatred and amplifying vulnerability, have sought to paint Mr. Modi and his government with the same brush as the right wing fringe.

The same group of pseudo-secular pseudo-leftist crooks attempted the exact same thing after the 2002 riots in Gujarat. The electorate gave them a fitting answer, not once but three times. Recently the judiciary too joined in. Sanjiv Bhatt, the façade of this malicious campaign has been proclaimed ‘liar’ by the Supreme Court.

Those who follow the mainstream media are often under the impression that Mr. Modi’s rise has emboldened the fringe. This impression is easy to create because both Mr. Modi and the fringe are part of the Indian right wing. But the underlying assumption that whatever stands right of center ideologically is negative, emerges out of ignorance and misinformation. It is true that right-wingers in most countries are conservative religious nationalists. The difference in India though lies at the core of the religion itself, if we may call it a religion at all. Hinduism, often described as a way of life rather than a religion, holds liberality as its main value. The fringe which calls itself Hindu, distorts, misinterprets, and considers erstwhile social practices as what Hinduism truly is. Organizations like the RSS and the BJP, perhaps in keeping up with this liberality as collectivities, are made up of liberals, fanatics and people of every shade in between. Fortunately, those at the helm of the BJP have always been the liberal right wingers and none more so than Mr. Modi himself.

As chief minister of Gujarat in December 2007, Mr. Narendra Modi was attending a conclave hosted jointly by two leading media houses. This was at a time when the Indian mainstream had reached its peak of peddling untruth in the context of the Gujarat riots. In a question-answer session, veteran journalist Madhu Trehan asked him if he thought Muslims had any place in India. Though the question was just that, the implication was quite clear. Mr. Modi answered that as per Hinduism, there was one truth that could be reached via many routes and that every religion was a route by itself. He stated examples of tolerance in ancient India and said that a true Hindu was somebody who followed his own path sincerely, and that path could be Islam. He ended by saying that religious conflict is always caused by religious sanctimony and that people raising questions such as Madhu’s had failed to understand Hinduism.

This was certainly not the fringe talking. This was not people who murder rationalists and beef-eaters, who come with verbal diarrhea and loaded inkpots. Mr. Modi has spoken about ‘the idea of India’ several times after assuming office. The two men he has quoted extensively and whose visions he has sought to emulate while speaking about this idea are Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo. Tolerance, sympathy for others and the need for each one to discover one’s own divinity within were cornerstones of the India that Swami Vivekananda envisaged. Sri Aurobindo has written about three essential ideas which are common to the Indian religious mind: One infinite existence, man’s manifold approach to it and its existence in man at an individual level. These, he says, are the credo of Hindu religion if any credo is needed. Noble and liberal thoughts such as these are in stark contrast to the prism through which Hindutva is perceived by the mainstream these days.

Unlike what the mainstream wants us to believe, Mr. Modi is not just about words. When the reins of law and order were in his hands, he delivered. As chief minister of Gujarat he suppressed right wing fringe organizations like VHP and Bajrang Dal. These organizations even worked against him in some pockets during the elections. After becoming prime minister, none of the communal cases that came to the fore were from BJP ruled states. Considering law and order is a state subject, the mainstream linking Mr. Modi to ongoing cases of intolerance is absurd.

We must keep in mind the wide spectrum that is the right wing in India. There is a difference of heaven and hell between Mr. Modi and the Bajrang Dal types. If the mainstream chooses to perceive Mr. Modi, the Bajrang Dal and the Sanathan Sanstha as part of the same ecosystem, it is only fair that they project the Gandhis, the Maoists and the Huriyat as part of one ecosystem. The liberal right that Mr. Modi represents has failed to make a mark in the mainstream as a clear-cut category by itself. Its emergence is the need of the hour. Distinctions need to be made, boundaries need to be drawn, the mainstream needs to be cleansed and most importantly, the fringe needs to be isolated.

With inputs from The Frustrated Indian