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6 things to know about Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, the man who founded RSS

Dr Hedgewar brought a new dimension to the process of nation building

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Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar

Born on April 1, 1889, Nagpur

Founder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

It was on April 1, 1889 that Dr Keshav Baliram Hedgewar was born in Nagpur of Maharashtra. Popularly known as Doctorji, Dr Hedgewar is the founder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, India’s most powerful social organization which has influential stake in the power mechanism of more than 23 states in India.  Even though he was born on April 1, according to the English calendar, his followers celebrate his birth anniversary according to the Indian calendar.

Born to Baliram Pant Hedgewar and Revati, Hedgewar had a phenomenal life which culminated with the establishment of India’s largest nationalistic organization known as the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). While he was studying in the high school, Hedgewar was known for his nationalistic credentials and dared to spread the message of freedom despite the challenges posed by the British Indian-loyalists.

With an aim to take the nation to the pinnacle of national glory, Dr Hedgewar founded Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on the Vijayadashami day of 1925

He had to walk out from Neel City High School in Nagpur for singing “Vande Mataram” as he violated a circular issued by the British government.

Here’re six things you should know about the exceptional activist who happened to be the visionary behind modern Hindutva movement in the country.

Post matriculation, Hedgewar had gone to West Bengal to pursue medical studies. That’s how Hedgewar became Dr Hedgewar.

Dr Hedgewar was actively associated with the activities of Indian National Congress. But he was terribly disappointed with many of their policies in nation building

Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak , Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, and B S Moonje had profound influence in Dr Hedgewar’s thoughts

Dr Hedgewar thought that only internal transformation in a man leads to ultimate freedom, and he presented an alternative way of nation building with the ideals of India’s cultural heritage

With an aim to take the nation to the pinnacle of national glory, Dr Hedgewar founded Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on the Vijayadashami day of 1925

Dr Hedgewar died on June 21, 1940 in Nagpur

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Culture

Here’s the palace built for Aswathi Thirunal Umayamma, popularly known as Umayamma Rani

Koyikkal Palace was built for Umayamma Rani, the regent of Venad between 1677 and 1684

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Situated at Nedumangadu, Thiruvananthapuram district, in South Indian state of Kerala, Koyikkal Palace Museum opened for public post refurbishment in the last week of May.  The architectural marvel has opened after four years of renovation.

Reflecting the affluent culture of Kerala, the palace was built in the 16th century, marking the traditional Kerala ‘nalukettu’ style. It’s a double storeyed palace built for the regent of Venad Royal family, Umayamma Rani. She was the regent of Venad from 1677 to 1684.

The renovated Koyikkal Palace

A Folklore Museum and Numismatics Museum make the palace more intriguing for history lovers.

Since 1980, the Archaeology Department of Kerala has been maintaining the palace, and it is touted as a tourist destination too. The Museum has got exceptional stuff including rare ancient coins, traditional music instruments, weapons and a wide range of folklore objects.

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Not a mere sepoy; Mangal Pandey was the man who sparked off the great rebellion of 1857

Mangal Pandey was the man who sparked off the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Here’s what you need to know about the great ‘sepoy’ when we celebrate the 161th anniversary of the great rebellion of 1857

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One of the most inspiring figures in the Indian independence movement and widely known as the man behind the great rebellion of 1857, Mangal Pandey became a symbol of India’s rage against the British.

Pandey was a sepoy (soldier) with the 34th Bengal Native Infantry regiment of the infamous British East India Company. A hero for the Indian masses, he successfully played a crucial role in the unrest that resulted in the rebellion of 1857, which became a turning point in India’s struggle for independence.

The unrest against the British East Company turned intense when they had come up with the norm of using cartridges that made up of cow and pig fat. This was something unacceptable for both the Hindus and Muslims for religious reasons. Mangal Pandey was working at the Bengal Infantry in Barrackpore then.

The protests had no result. Finally Mangal Pandey decided to challenge the British with the arms in his hands. Mangal Pandey had succeeded in gaining the support of Indian soldiers against the inhuman actions of the British East India Company’s army.

Savarkar’s work, The Indian War of Independence, 1857, had become a sacred book for the nationalists across India to lead their struggle against the invaders

On March 29, 1857 Pandey dared to fire Lieutenant Baugh, the Adjutant of the 34th Bengal Native Infantry, but he missed the shot. The valiant effort by Pandey had paved the way for Sepoy Mutiny, and he was sentenced to death bu the British.

Pandey was hanged on April 8, 1857 by the British. In 1909, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar published a book named The Indian War of Independence, 1857, which celebrated the sacrifice of Mangal Pandey and the Sepoy Mutiny as two path-breaking events to inspire the revolutionary movements in India. Savarkar’s work had become a sacred book for the nationalists across India to lead their struggle against the invaders.

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Centre's Adopt a Heritage initiative matters a lot; Red Fort sold. What's next campaign is nothing but petty politics

Red Fort sold. What’s next? The question aired by Modi’s detractors has little substance as the Adopt a Heritage project is all about exploring the possibilities of CSR initiatives to preserve our heritage sites

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Red Fort/Pixabay Pixabay

“If you hire someone to clean your house doesn’t mean you are selling your house to them. No, Red Fort is not being sold. It’s an innovative way to save the government some money and preserve a monument,” celebrity Indian writer Chetan Bhagat tweeted amid the controversies on the so-called handing over of the nation’s pride, the Red Fort, to Dalmia group, a powerful business empire in the country spanning across sectors from cement to energy.

Certain reports appearing in local and national media outlets state India’s Red Fort was sold to Dalmia group. But the reality is that the hullabaloo has no logic as Chetan Bhagat said, hiring someone to clean house doesn’t mean we’re selling the house to him.

Dalmia group has adopted Red Fort as part of the government’s ‘Adopt a Heritage’ programme, an innovative initiative to preserve and maintain our heritage sites with the participation of corporates, making their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative more meaningful and creative.

It’s a part of responsible tourism programme, where the corporates will get an opportunity to build quality tourism infrastructure in a non-profit mode, according to the government’s press note.

The MoU signed for ‘Red Fort ‘ with Dalmia group is ‘only’ for the development, operations and maintenance of tourism amenities in and around Red Fort. No handing over of monument’ is involved, claimed the clarification note issued by the government

“It aims to involve public sector companies, private sector companies and corporate citizens/individuals to take up the responsibility for making our heritage and tourism more sustainable through development, operation and maintenance of world-class tourist infrastructure and amenities at ASI/ State heritage sites and other important tourist sites in India,” states a press note issued by the government of India.

The website named adoptaheritage.in makes it clear that it is a project aimed at entrusting heritage sites to private and public sector companies and individuals for the development of tourist amenities there. It has to be noted that the tourist infrastructure at our historical monuments has little to offer for travellers and history lovers, and because of our bureaucratic inefficiency many important monuments are on the brink of losing its significance. Just look at the recent statement made by the Supreme Court of India on India’s wonder, the Taj Mahal.

The argument that the private companies would benefit a lot, in monetary terms, from this handing over process has no logic

What is wrong in inviting private players to be part of a noble cause? Protecting all monuments is a herculean task for the government. What the government and ASI need to do is supervising the maintenance without any compromise.  The argument that the private companies would benefit a lot from this handing over process has no logic, according to the terms and conditions released by the government.  Everything about this project is transparent and one can see it in detail on the website of Adopt a Heritage-from the list of heritage sites to making an expression of interest and signing MoU.

Moreover, this is implementing as part of their CSR initiative so that the issue of making monetary benefits seems to be not practical. This is what the official website of Adopt a Heritage project states on the benefits for Monument Mitra (in this case, Dalmia), “The ‘Monument Mitras’ would associate pride with their CSR activities. They would also get visibility in the monument premises and in the Incredible India website.”

“The Memorandum of Understanding signed for ‘Red Fort ‘ with Dalmia group is ‘only’ for the development, operations and maintenance of tourism amenities in and around Red Fort. It envisages limited ‘access’ of non-core areas and ‘no handing over of monument’ is involved,” claimed the clarification note issued by the government.

Then, what is the merit of the slogan, ‘Red Fort sold, what is next?’ It is nothing but a political vote-bank statement to make use of every single issue to corner Narndra Modi, indeed, a less civilized way of dealing things in politics.

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