“Kali Pooja in Orissa is symbolic of the necessity for a united battle of the oppressed against exploiters that are set to spread their empires, and not Diwali, that the exploiters now a days project.”
In the company of his parents and grand parents, maternal grand mother, aunt and uncle and younger brother, he had been recently to Andamans and has depicted his experience in a mail to me. While going through the same, I was as if seeing the serene islands in my eyes!
I feel, it deserves attention of my esteemed visitors. And here it is:
RENDEZVOUS WITH ANDAMANS
by Aditya Sircar
My journey to the Andamans was rewarding. Rewarding in the sense that I had experiences that one can hardly expect in towns and cities where we live. The serene islands with their elegance and the beauty of nature without much human interference has a charm of its own. The pollution free atmosphere and the greenery around is enchanting. The blue waters of the seas are so clear that you can clearly view the underwater sea life and corals up to a few feet.
Life there is much simpler and one with nature. The local people rely on agriculture and other farm and fishing activities for sustenance. The lack of industries is a boon as the environment remains free of pollutants and thus nature blossoms in full swing. There is Asia’s largest and oldest saw mill called Chatham Saw mill located in the seas. Our journey to the three islands located close to Port Blair was a wonderful experience. The ruins of British establishments in Ross Island, the Death chambers of Viper island, and the splendid water sports facility at North Bay with its beautiful beach are marvelous! How I wish I could have explored more….
Away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, its a beautiful respite for those who seek a getaway from their boring and tedious lives.
Monuments like the Cellular Jail evoke strong nationalist sentiments. Our freedom fighters who were tortured by the British in that monstrous edifice, died there in the hope that their nation would one day be free of foreign rule. Their sacrifices have made the place holy for every Indian. I salute our heroes!
Then there is the beauty of Mount Harriet. The view from the National Park at the top is just heavenly! The beautiful valley stretching vast into the sea is a wondrous sight to behold! Its an out of the world sight! Such views cannot be experienced anywhere else in India. My father rightly said, ” One should meditate in such places.” (about Mount Harriet) Truly the presence of God and his wondrous creations are revealed when one gets to see the beauty of nature. A lighthouse was visible at the very end of the valley on the sea shore! I felt for the first time that I have been blessed indeed that I could visit such a place in this lifetime. In the morning the view was even more beautiful with the sky covered with clouds and mist descending upon the sea….It churned up emotions of joy from the deep recesses of the soul. Oh! What a wonderful sight it was! Traveling to the various places feels less and less tiring as one experiences such beautiful things.
Another wonder of nature is the Havelock island with its gorgeous beaches. Radhanagar beach is truly Asia’s best as reported by the TIME magazine. The view of the island jutting out into the sea on one side and the beautiful greenery on the beach side was nothing short of awesome! People were basking in the sun and enjoying all kinds of water sport activities. During monsoon and early winter, Green Sea turtles lay eggs here! Snorkeling at Elephant Beach and Red Skin Coral island was a first time experience and that too an exhilarating one! One can experience the under water sea life and the best part is that you don’t need to know swimming at all! Thus everyone- from children to the old, can enjoy this sport. Racing on a water scooter was even more enthralling! I performed stunts that I couldn’t have imagined I could do. Maybe its the magic of the place which instilled such spirit into me. Swimming was also great especially in the Gobindanagar beach right in front of the Forest Rest House at Havelock, where we stayed.
The visit to the Red Skin Coral island was another great experience never to be forgotten. The view of the beautiful corals on the sea bed was awe inspiring! Snorkeling in the beautiful waters and getting close to the underwater life was just awesome! I could touch the various types of corals and even sea flora like sea cucumbers and could sea the beautiful fishes of all kinds while snorkeling! We traveled by glass bottom boats which have magnifying glasses fitted in the middle so that one can view clearly the underwater flora and fauna. The islands have rich flora and fauna. We saw deer and antelopes at Ross island! They are beautiful creatures and thrive in the greenery of the islands. Such exquisite natural environment is rare to see as today’s cities have become concrete jungles which lack vegetation and are simmering in heat from global warming!
Thus the journey to these ‘Jewels of the Sea’ was a lifetime experience for me. The islands also possess unique places on earth like the Snake island, full of all kinds of sea snakes, consisting of 9 varieties of such snakes which are not found anywhere else on earth! There is also the North Sentinel island which houses the only stone age tribe present today on earth called the Sentinelese. This tribe has remained totally cut off from civilization for over 60,000 years! Very little is known of these people! While other tribes are becoming extinct, these people mysteriously have thrived and increased in number and also managed to survive the 2004 tsunami without any external help! No one goes around this island as the tribesmen shoot arrows and kill oncoming foreigners! Its really awesome to think that such a place exists in our India which is indeed a wonder on earth! There is also the Barren island which has India’s only active volcano constantly emitting smoke!
I loved every moment of our trip. Even the sight of the islands from the window of the airplane when it descended was marvelous. I indeed wish to visit again maybe in the future and would ask all to visit this wonder of nature!
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Krushna was not a God. He was a character conceived and created by the revolutionary poet – Muni Vyasa – in his epic Mahabharata, epitomizing his concept of revolution against tyranny and exploitation.
He was generated by Vyasa’s thinking elites – represented by Devaki and Basudev – who, because of their opposition to oppressive autocrat Kansa, were being incarcerated time and again. And in the prison, they were giving shape to their concept of revolution, which again, every time, was being crushed within the prison compounds, before reaching the public.
In fact, it is the elites – persons of erudition, knowledge, ability to analyze socio-economic phenomena – that create revolutions against oppression and exploitation, against machinations in use by rulers to keep the people suppressed and subjugated.
Devaki and Basudev, the sister and brother-in-law respectively of Kansa, were, thus, symbolic of the then elite, who had tried to create a revolution against patriarch autocracy practiced by Kansa. All their attempts to create a revolution against the oppressive system were violently crushed by the tyrant Kansa. Yet, while perishing in his prison, they were giving shape to their revolutionary concept.
Amidst the masses
After seven such attempts failed, they felt that unless the people in general were involved with the revolution of their concept, they will not succeed in their endeavor.
So they decided to take their revolutionary concept into the midst of the common toiling masses.
On the eighth attempt, they succeeded in putting their concept at the disposal of the masses, symbolically projected as the cowherds.
This concept was christened Krushna, meaning the one that attracts everybody (Akarshayati Iti Krushnah) and when this Krushna grew up, it gave birth to such a massive mass upsurge that the tyrant Kansa died in fear, absolutely unable to face the challenge.
The same practice of crushing progressive revolutions by the rabid reactionary capitalists by implicating the revolutionaries in false cases, by incarcerating them and torturing them in the prisons, is galore everywhere including India.
If emancipation is essential, one is to understand the tricks of misleading the people aboub Krushna through concocted legends, to understand what Krushna really was and and address oneself to what he stood for in Mahabharata, instead of staying misguided by exploitive machinations that willfully and mischievously project Krushna as a God.
Before that, a difference
Before understanding Krushna, it is essential to know the background of his creator.
Vyasa, the creator of Krushna, was a Muni, not a Rushi.
When a person known for the brags that he has seen the God and the Veda being delivered by the God was called a Rushi (linked to ‘Drush’ – a seer), a person who was known for his views based on deep analysis was being called a Muni (linked to ‘Manana’, literally meaning ‘deep study’).
Vyasa was a Muni
Vyasa was a Muni. He was born out of rape of his mother Satyavati belonging to boatsman tribe by a Rushi namely Parasara, while she was ferrying him across a river.
The Vedic society was patriarch and in that society, under Vedic provisions claimed to have been ordained by the Almighty, any Arya male was entitled to rape any woman he desires, to beget a son; and when a son was born, to take away that son from that woman.
So, when Vyasa was born, Parasara had taken him away from his mother and given him education in the Vedic system.
But Vyasa had never forgotten the injury caused to his mother and to his own childhood by the patriarch system perpetrated by his father – a Rushi – in the name of Vedic privileges and hence he had refused the Vedic system pivoted on and preposterously contributing to blind belief.
He had emerged as an epoch making socio-political scientist whose works and words were based on practical analysis of discernible phenomena and intelligent interpretation of ancient wise words, if any, coined by the few progressive elements even in the Vedic system. He was therefore revered as Muni Vyasa.
An epic of war against oppression
As he had never forgotten the rape of his mother by Parasara, whom the Vedic system had projected as the grand son of Brahma, the greatest of the Gods whom creation of the universe was credited to, he created his Mahabharata as an epic of extermination of patriarchy and socio-economic oppressions it had legitimized.
Begins at Nahusa
In the first event placed in his epic is the episode of Nahusa. Nahusa was a man who was chosen by the Gods to rule over them, as their king Indra had been banished from the throne for his brutality and no God was capable of ruling over the rest.
In placing this matter before the public, Vyasa showed that human beings are better than the Gods.
He then proceeded to show how power corrupts.
Nahusa was chosen by the Gods to be their king, because he was a man of all humane virtues. But after occupying the most powerful position, he became too proud not to indulge in corruption. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, as they say.
Being consecrated as the king of the Gods – Indra, Nahusa wanted the queen of the Gods – Sachi – in his bed, which Sachi refused.
Then Nahusa tried to rape her. She ran in panic and besought refuge at citadels of all leading Gods including Brahma. But none of them dared to come to her rescue in fear of Nahusa’s wrath.
Only a Muni like Vyasa – Muni Narada – came to her rescue and bravely obstructed Nahusa. He castigated the new Indra – Nahusa – for the sin he was committing and dissuaded him from chasing Sachi, saying him that he should stay away from the wife of the dethroned Indra as that would be the worst of the sins. “Nibartaya Manah Papat Para Dara Vimarsanat” is what Vyasa uttered in the mouth of Narada. And, Nahusa, understanding the mistake he was going to commit, repented and prostrated before Sachi by accepting her as a mother.
Ends at Jaduvansha
Begun from this major episode, the Mahabharata ended with extinguishment of the clan of Krushna (Jaduvansha), who acquiring privileged positions that the popularity of Krushna had given them, had plunged themselves into enjoyment of sex to the extent of fetching by force any daughter of any king they liked.
By exterminating the entire Jaduvansha, Vyasa mercilessly punished the misusers of revolution.
And, in between the Nahusa episode and the Jaduvansha episode, he depicted a class war between the patriarch Kaurava autocracy and the matriarch Pandava democracy and made the patriarch autocracy – epitomized by Dhrutarastra and his son Duryodhana – obliterated in a war called ‘Mahabharata”, wherein classes were distinctly polarized.
In what is called Bishwarupa of Krushna, he showed how his revolution called Krushna was a synonym of everything best in the Universe.
His Krushna was the society in its entirety, in whose mouth, Vyasa had called upon human beings to extricate themselves from the labyrinths of religions as every religion was an obstacle to emancipation. “Discard all the religions (Sarva Dharman Parityajya) and accept me as the final refuge” (Mamekam Sharanam Braja), he – the epitome of the society – had said.
This word “Mamekam” was not difficult to understand in the context of Krushna’s Vishwarupa. Yet, it was further annotated when the supreme projection of Matriarchy – Devi Durga – declared “Aham Rastri Sangamani” – I am the collective power of the people that form the State.
We, the people of Orissa
And, on this perception only, we the people of Orissa have rechristened the greatest son of our soil – Gurudev Buddha, the first founder of world outlook beyond all mischiefs of sectarianism – as our national deity Sri Jagannatha and equated him with Vyasa’s Krushna.
When to us, “Nilachale Jagannatha Sakshat Dakshina Kalika” (In Nilachala Puri, Jagannatha is Dakshina Kalika), we also equate Krushna with Kali the most powerful symbol of matriarchy, by saying, “Kalou Kali, Kalou Krushna, Kalou Gopala Kalika”.
So the combined force of the people – Kali, as announced in “Aham Rastri Sangamani” – is Krushna, the revolution, as annotated in “Akarshayati Iti Krushnah”, gets sharpened by being adopted by the masses in the grassroots, as symbolized by the word “Gopala”.
And, such a revolution takes birth in the pernicious prisons of oppressive rulers.
Wish, it takes birth in every prison
To us, therefore, Krushna is the revolution that a poet of India – Muni Vyasa – had conceived of, against politics of tyranny and exploitation, that had given the clarion call to discard dilly-dally in matters of class war (“Kshyudram Hrudayadaurbalyam Tyaktotishtha Parantapa”) and to fight the class enemy come what may (“Hato Ba Preapsyasi Swargam Jitwa Ba Bhokshase Mahim“) and to achieve emancipation by exterminating the enemy (“Tasmaduttishtha Kaunteya Yuddhaya Kruta Nishchayah”). Under his scheme, everybody has a right to work (“Karmanyebadhikaraste“) sans any selfish claim on the result thereof (“Ma Phalesu Kadachana”), because such claim would help individual avarice spread to the detriment of societal collectivism and defeat the cause of emancipation. Thus, Vyasa’s Krushna was for a society where everybody works to the best of his/her ability for the Society and the Society fulfills his/her essential necessities for fair living.
We, therefore, celebrate the birth of Krushna and wish this Krushna to take birth every day in every prison of tyrants in every nation.
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I suffer sever shortage of words to offer my oblation to you; and I know, how much I say, it will never be the last oblation.
I am only one of crores of Oriyas, each of who had a heart that you reigned over.
But, I know, I have a corner in my heart where your rule shall continue for ever.
Subhas Chandra Pattanayak