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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

UP Elections ~ Varanasi and Steve Waugh immerses in Ganges

Steve Waugh the man with 10927 test runs is in news ! ~ While many from the cricketing world have already branded it as “fine cheating”, former Australia skipper Steve Waugh was prepared to believe it as ‘brain-fade’.

Standing on the western bank of India's holiest river Ganges, Varanasi is the oldest surviving city of the world and the cultural capital of India.  It is in the heart of this city that there stands in its fullest majesty the Kashi Vishwanathji  Temple in which is enshrined the Jyotirlinga of Shiva. Here gravitate the teeming millions of India to seek benediction and spiritual peace by the darshan of this Jyotirlinga undertake pilgrimage to other Hindu temple towns including Rameswaram in south Tamilnadu.

The Nation is following the 17th Legislative Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh held in  7 phases. In the previous election in 2012, the Samajwadi Party won a majority and formed government in the leadership of Akhilesh Yadav.  The seventh and final phase of elections in Uttar Pradesh is taking place today. Polling took place in 40 constituencies including PM Sri Narendra Modiji’s Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi. The last week saw a series of rallies and campaigning by leaders from all parties, especially in Varanasi. Prime Minister Modiji spent three days in his constituency taking out two road shows and addressing two major rallies. Polling will be held till 5 pm in all constituencies, except the Naxal-hit Duddhi, Robertsganj and Chakia seats, where polling will end at 4 pm.

Varanasi, famously Benares is a city on the banks of the Ganges in the Uttar Pradesh - 320 kilometres (200 mi) south-east of the state capital, Lucknow, and 121 kilometres (75 mi) east of Allahabad.  The divine place is important for Buddhists too.   Varanasi lies along National Highway 2, which connects it to Kolkata, Kanpur, Agra, and Delhi, and is served by Varanasi Junction and Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport.  The Kingdom of Benares was given official status in 1737, and continued as a dynasty-governed area until Indian independence in 1947, during the reign of Dr. Vibhuti Narayan Singh. In 1791, under the rule of the British Governor-General Warren Hastings, Jonathan Duncan founded a Sanskrit College in Varanasi.  It held its place in the freedom struggle also.

On Sunday, when Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi visited the family of his former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri, the dom raja of Kashi Jagdish Chowdhary was at the Manikarnika Ghat, doing what he does every day — provide the first set of five logs of wood required for the funeral pyre.  “Shastriji’s last rites were done over there,” he said, pointing to the right. As Varanasi gets ready to vote on Wednesday, the last phase of the ongoing UP election, the dom raja said the CM of the state should be someone who takes everyone along. “There is a lot of clamour for Modiji to take charge of UP. I like that he speaks about all communities, about ending caste discrimination. It is important that a leader reaches out to all communities,” said Chowdhary, whose family has been in the traditional occupation for generations, reports Economic Times.   

Legend has it that Raja Harishchandra worked as a helper to the Kalu dom, who tended the cremation grounds centuries ago. The king had sold himself to the ‘dom’. Since then, the head of the doms, the chief cremator at Varanasi have taken on the title ‘Dom Raja.’ There are around 30 main doms and after them come the 500-odd doms, who form the second rung of hierarchy.

Former Australian cricketer Steve Waugh on Tuesday visited the Ganga ghat in Varanasi to immerse the ashes of a friend. To fufil his friend’s last wish, Waugh reached the Manikarnika ghat on tuesday. Steve was accompanied by his another friend Johnson.

Indian Express reports that - up until his death two months ago, Brian Rudd — a homeless man in Sydney — lived a destitute life. The 58-year-old shoe-shiner, better known as Shoeshine Brian, would ply his trade at his regular pitches at the city’s Central Station, Martin Place and on the Pitt Street Mall. There was, however, one life-long wish; to visit India. When that began to look increasingly improbable, Brian instead asked for his ashes to be scattered in the Ganges in Varanasi, adhering to the Hindu belief that the ritual frees one from the cycle of life and death.

That wish came true on Tuesday, when former Australia captain Steve Waugh performed the last rites for Brian at the Dashashwamedh Ghat. Waugh, in India in connection with the ongoing Test series, had said he was proud that he, along with his foundation, could “play a small role in making the final wishes of a much-loved Sydney character come true”. According to the organisers, the ritual — which was meticulously planned for a month — was conducted according to proper Hindu custom.

As soon as the journalists and media got to know about his presence on the ghat, they reached on the spot. There he told the media that his friend Stephen was a part of Iskon temple and he prayed lord Krishna. He said, “Stephen was my very loving friend. His last wish was that after his death, his mortal remains to be immersed here.” That is why he was in Varanasi. On that note, the media also asked the former captain about the series that was played between India and Australia. They asked about which team is good according to his point of view. To this, Waugh answered whichever team wins is good. However, after sometime, India won the match against Australia.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

8th Mar 2017.

1 comment:

  1. Wide range of covering events connect I ng two different subjects. Thanks a lot.