Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bhai Jeewan Singh

Bhai Jeewan Singh rode the horse in full speed, he had to cover 300 Km from Delhi to reach Anandpur Sahib. As the teenager travelled in lightning speed his thought went back in time when a group of Kashmir Pandits had an audience with Guru Teg Bahadur.
Aurangazeb decided to convert his kingdom to be a full Islamic kingdom. Some of the Kashmiri Pandits came to Guru Teg Bahadur and informed them about their predicaments.
Guru Teg Bahadur instructed the Pandits to tell the Mughals that the Pandits would be ready to convert if Teg Bahadur gets converted to Islam. Bhai Jeewan Singh, who was the witness of this incident, did not know at that time that Guru Teg Bahadur was getting ready to sacrifice his life for the Hindus!
The Mughals arrested Guru Teg Bahadur and also their disciples including Bhai Jeewan Singh.  Guru Teg Bahadur wrote 57 Slokas and asked Bhai Jeewan Singh to take it to Guru Teg Bahadur’s son Gobind Rai. Aurangazeb’s daughter  Bibi Jabunisha helped  Bhai Jeewan Singh escape the jail.
Bhai Jeewan Singh gave Gobind Rai the slokas and informed him of the tortures that Guru Teg Bahadur had to undergo.
When it became clear that Teg Bahadur would sacrifice his life, Gobind Rai called congregation of devotes and commanded as to who would bring back the body of Guru Teg Bahadur from Delhi after his martyrdom. There was pin drop silence in the congregation and nobody could muster courage to undertake such a challenge. Bhai Jeewan Singh came forward and said he would accomplish the task.
Bhai Jeewan Singh reached Anandpur Sahib with the beheaded corpse  of Guru Teg Bahadur and Gobind Rai performed the final rites on 16th November 1675.
After the ritual was over Gobind Rai asked Bhai Jeewan Singh,  “Please tell me how you brought my father’s corpse. I heard that Aurangazeb gave an order that whoever tries to take the corpse would be put to death. How did you accomplish this task?”
Bhai Jeevan Singh said, “You know how similar your father and my father, Bhai Sada Nand were”
Gobind Rai’s heart skipped a beat!
Bhai Jeevan Singh said, “My father gave an order..”
Gobind Rai exclaimed, “What your father sacrificed his life and you beheaded your own father!!”
Bhai Jeevan Singh replied, “Yes! I replaced the corpse of gurudev with that of my father. So the Mughals will not know that we are taking the Gurudev’s corpse”
This incident made an indelible impression on Gobind Rai who went on to become Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru of Sikhs. Guru Gobind Singh formed the Khalsa Order in 1699.
Bhai Jeevan Singh participated in at least 14 wars alongside with Guru Gobind Singh. In the year 1704, when Aurangazeb violated the ceasefire and attacked Chamkaur Sahib, Bhai Jeevan Singh and fellow disciples pleaded Guru Gobind Singh to escape. Bhai Jeevan Singh attained martydom while fighting the invaliding Mughal in Chamkaur.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pingali Venkaiah

“It hurts me deeply that we host the union jack flag, in Congress Maha Sabha! It puzzles me that we have not yet thought about a national flag for India”, thought Pingalai Venkaiah, the year was 1906.

Venkaiah decided to study flags of nations and to design a flag for India.

In 1916, Venkaiah published a book “A National Flag for India” in which he put forth 30 models for National Flag.

During the Indian National Congress held at Vijayawada, in April 1921, Gandhi asked Pingali Venkaiah to draw a National Flag. Venkaiah completed the design in less than three hours.

This flag evolved further in 1931 and it was officially adopted by Congress

Venkaiah’s original thinking was not restricted to Flags alone but also to many different streams. When Gandhi started the ‘Kadhi’ movement, Venkaiah decided to experiment with different varieties of cotton corps. He zeroed in on Cambodian Cotton and created a hybrid Indian variety. The British government recognized his research and conferred him honorary membership of the Royal Agricultural Society of Britain. Pingali came to be known as Patti (‘Cotton’) Venkayya.

This versatile man was also a prolific writer, a Japanese lecturer and a geophysicist!