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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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Mahesh Babu and Sony Pictures to produce movie on Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan

Sony Pictures and Mahesh Babu are on their way to make a movie based on the life of 26/11 hero Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan

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First look poster of Major

Global media giant Sony Pictures has announced their entry into Telugu cinema, joining hands with super star Mahesh Babu to make biopic on 26/11 hero Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan.

The film, titled Major, is a bilingual-in Hindi and Telugu. Directed by Sashi Kiran Tikka of Goodachari fame, Major will be the next outing of Adivi Sesh.

Sashi Kiran Tikka’s Goodachari turned out to be one of the best spy thrillers in Telugu last year, making the audience and critics satisfied at the same time.

Major will hit the screens in 2020, according to a statement issued by the team.

Came from a Malayali family in Bengaluru, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan had served at the elite Special Action Group of the National Security Guards (NSG). Major led the commando operation launched on 27th November 2008 to root out terrorists from Hotel Taj Mahal in Mumbai, saving 14 hostages before he gave up his life.

Sandeep Unnikrishnan was awarded India’s highest peacetime gallantry award Ashok Chakra on 26 January 2009.

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Yoga guru Baba Ramdev may head India’s first Vedic Education Board

Modi government has great plans to make Vedic education more popular by standardising Indian traditional knowledge

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Image: Facebook/Swami Ramdev

Good news for the followers of Baba Ramdev. The celebrated yoga guru may head the first ‘formal’ board for Vedic education under the aegis of central government.

Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Ved Vidya Pratishthan (MSRVVP), an autonomous body functioning under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, earlier invited Expression of Interest from private players for setting up Bharatiya Shiksha Board (BSB).

Similar to other school boards in the country, BSB will have the right to draft its own curriculum, conduct examinations and issue certifications, marking a new era in modern India’s education scenario.

According to a report in The Indian Express a selection committee came to the conclusion that Ramdev’s Trust submitted the best bid for setting up the BSB.

MSRVVP was founded in 1987 for the development of Vedic Studies by establishing and supporting Ved Pathshalas in the country. They have been entrusted the responsibility of appointing a private player for materialising BSB.

The Indian Express report says that Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth is willing to invest Rs 21 crore for the development of BSB.

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Sanskrit Prayer in Kendriya Vidyalayas all about Indic legacy and Dharma, not about communalism

The moment we become sceptical about our Indic legacy, the game is lost. It’s the Vedas and Upanishads that sculpted the spirit of India

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Image: Pixabay

The recent hullabaloo targeting one of the most popular yet powerful mantras in Indic culture over the Morning Prayer in Kendriya Vidyalayas makes no sense, but it assumes great significance in the present socio-political context as one can easily interpret it as a move to undermine the very identity of India.

What’s the issue all about?

An advocate from Madhya Pradesh has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) to ban the morning recitation of the famous ‘asatoma sadgamaya’ mantra in Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs).

Kendriya Vidyalaya is a system of central government schools in the country that are instituted under the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

As the KVs are state-funded institutions, he thinks chanting the Sanskrit verse is religious, communal, anti-secular, and it needs to be stopped at any cost. And the advocate approached Supreme Court to achieve his mission.

What’s the status?

On January 28, the Supreme Court of India referred the petition demanding a ban on chanting Indic mantras in KVs to a constitution bench comprising five judges. They will decide whether chanting this mantra offending the sesne of secularism in government-run schools. According to Article 28 (1) of the Indian Constitution, no religion instruction shall be provided in any institution funded by the State.

The Indic View: It’s not about religion

The mantra in the limelight is taken from Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, and it goes like this…

Om asato ma sadgamaya

tamaso ma jyotirgamaya

mrtyorma amritam gamaya

om shanti shanti shanti.

The gist of the mantra can be interpreted like this. Lead me from falsehood to truth, from darkness to the light, from death to immortality. It’s all about the cosmic truth and Multiversal ethos. Nothing more nothing less. Connecting religion and communalism with this mantra is totally unacceptable and it needs to be discouraged.

Vedas and Upanishads form the heart of Indic civilisation; one cannot equate them with the present form of religion, indeed in the Semitic sense. The mantras are not about religion, it’s about the culture and heritage of this country, inspiring all Indians to be proud about their legacy.

Great Indic leaders like Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati, Swami Vivekananda, and Sri Aurobindo unambiguously defined the very character of our country. India is all about spirituality and knowledge. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad itself means the great forest of knowledge. The moment we become sceptical about our legacy, the game is lost.

Not just KVs…

It needs to be noted that many of other public institutions have phrases extracted from Indic texts.

The Upanishad text on Indian State emblem: Satyameva Jayate (Truth alone triumphs- Mundaka Upanishad)

Supreme Court motto: Yato Dharmastato Jayah (Where there is dharma, there is victory- Mahabharata)

Motto of Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW): Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha (dharma protects those who protect it; the Mahabharata)

Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, LIC…. the list goes on and on…

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