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Friday, November 9, 2018

South Korean First lady at Ayodhya

“Thank Indian Prime Minister  for inviting me to India. Happy to celebrate Diwali here, said the lady elegantly draped in a saree”.  From the moment she arrived in Ayodhya on Tuesday till she departed, the locals, especially the youth, applauded her at the multiple events she attended, along with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.She  landed in a chopper near the Ram Kath Park venue around 2:30 pm, and was welcomed by people chanting 'Jai Shri Ram'. She began her Ayodhya tour by offering tributes at the Queen Heo Memorial.

Goguryeo was a Korean kingdom, located in the northern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula and the southern and central parts of Manchuria. Along with Baekje and Silla, Goguryeo was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. It was an active participant in the power struggle for control of the Korean peninsula and was also associated with the foreign affairs of neighbouring polities in China and Japan. Goguryeo was one of the great powers in East Asia, until its defeat by a Silla–Tang alliance after prolonged exhaustion and internal strife. 

The First Lady of the Republic of Korea, is the wife of the President of South Korea. Francesca Maria Barbara Donner was the inaugural First Lady of South Korea, from 1948 to 1960, as the second wife of Syngman Rhee, the first President of the Republic of Korea.During the administration of President Park Chung-hee, his daughter, Park Geun-hye, assumed the duties of First Lady.  The first, and to date, only female president Park Geun-hye was never married in office so there is still yet to be a First Gentleman of Korea.

The current First Lady is Kim Jung-sook, wife of President Moon Jae-in, in office since 10 May 2017.  Kim Jung-sook is a South Korean classical singer,  spouse of Moon Jae-in, the 12th President of South Korea.  She is in news in India presently touring and is the one referred in the 1st para of the this post. 

South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), derived its name  from Goguryeo which was one of the great powers in East Asia. Archaeology indicates that the Korean Peninsula was inhabited by early humans starting from the Lower Paleolithic period.  It was annexed by the Empire of Japan in 1910. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided into Soviet and U.S. zones of occupations. A separate election was held in the U.S. zone in 1948 which led to the creation of the Republic of Korea (ROK), while the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) was established in the Soviet zone.

South Korea’s Supreme Court recently  acquitted a man who refused to serve in the military because of his religious beliefs, a ruling expected to affect the fate of the more than 900 conscientious objectors who are currently on trial for refusing mandatory service in the country’s armed forces.For decades, South Korea has required all able-bodied men in South Korea to serve in the armed forces and granted few exemptions under a conscription system seen as crucial to the country’s defense against North Korea. It has billed military service as a patriotic duty, and the punishment of those who refused to serve has been both uniform and harsh. Each year, South Korea has sent hundreds of young men, to prison  invoking its Military Service Act, which calls for up to three years in prison for those who refuse to serve without “justifiable” reasons.

Back home, the  northern Indian city of Ayodhya managed to break a Guinness World Record on 6.11.2018 by lighting 300,150 earthen lamps and keeping them burning for at least 45 minutes on the banks of the river Saryu as part of the annual celebration of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook attended the record-breaking event after meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a four-day visit to India.

Shri Yogi Adityanath, chief minister of the state of Uttar Pradesh, was given a certificate certifying the record by Guinness officials who had monitored the attempt with drone cameras.   At the venue, where a huge stage in traditional Indian architectural style was erected, South Korean first lady arrived wearing an elegant green saree and greeted the people on dais and in the crowd with folded hands, sending people into raptures.In her address, she recalled the historic ties between India and Korea and said she prayed for prosperity of both the countries, as they move towards a future of peace and prosperity together.Mentioning Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore, she said, "There is an Indian adage that sharing happiness multiples it. I am very happy to celebrate Diwali with in Ayodhya with all of you."

Her presence was significant because of a Korean legend that a princess from Ayodhya travelled to Korea and married a king, becoming a Korean queen in the year 48 AD.Later in the evening, she was treated to a dazzling display of over three lakh earthen lamps on the ghats of the Sarayu river. "Darkness cannot defeat light and if we all light up lamps together, we can remove any darkness," she said in Korean at the Ram Katha Park event. She also performed a ceremonial 'aarti'.

As dusk fell in Ayodhya, where God Lord Ram was born and where he returned after 14 years in exile, volunteers lit lamps, called diyas, snaking along the river, through lanes and at houses ~ it was happiness for all .. ..  Deepavali, festival of lights spreads happiness all over.

Jai Sri Ram ~ Happy Deepavali.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
8th Nov 2018.

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