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How ‘Gandhara’ Became ‘Kandahar’

How Gandhara Became Kandahar

Afghanistan’s epic history starts when it was an important region of ancient India called ‘Gandhara’. One of its most frequently mentioned cities in the world today is ‘Kandahar’, made infamous by the Taliban. The earlier name of the city was ‘Quandhar’, derived from the name of the region of Gandhara. Erstwhile home to Al-Qaeda today, it was always a strategic site, being on main Persian routes to Central Asia and India. Hence, it has a long history of conquests. Kandahar was taken by Alexander in 329 B.C.E., was surrendered by the Greek to Chandragupta in 305 B.C.E., and is dignified by a rock inscription of Asoka. It fell under Arab rule in the 7th century C.E., and under the Ghaznavids in the 10th. Kandahar was destroyed by Genghis Khan and again by the Turkic conqueror Timur, after which it was held by the Mughals. Mughal Emperor Babur built 40 giant steps up a hill, cut out of the solid limestone, leading to inscriptions recording details of his proud conquests. In 1747 it became the first capital of a unified Afghanistan.

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10 Targets of Subramanian Swamy

10 targets of subramanian swamy

The Income Tax department is likely to issue notices to Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi asking them to pay tax and penalty on "income" of Rs 1,300 crore that investigators believe they earned from the transfer of shares of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), publishers of the now-defunct party newspaper the National Herald, according to a report in The Indian Express.

Officials told the newspaper that the move follows investigations conducted on a complaint received from BJP leader Subramanian Swamy who alleged that the Gandhis misappropriated AJL assets while transferring their shares to the newly formed Young India Ltd. According to I-T records, 83.3 per cent of Young India Ltd is held by Sonia and Rahul, 15.5 per cent by Congress veteran Motilal Vohra and the remaining 1.2 per cent by party loyalist Oscar Fernandes.

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Dharma Bypasses ‘History-Centrism’

Dharma Bypasses History-Centrism

Most of the religious conflicts and wars involving the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) stem from disputes over what exactly God said and how he said it and what exactly it means. To ensure that order prevails, canons of “authentic” texts are formed and creeds, or condensed forms of crucial affirmations and beliefs, are debated, written down, and carefully observed as litmus tests for participation in the faith.

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Seven big ideas and Hinduism’s integral unity – Rajiv Malhotra

Seven big ideas and Hinduisms integral

I have written extensively on Hinduism and my book, Being Different, explains what is distinct about Hinduism, whereas Breaking India describes how certain forces are trying to undermine it. These two books may be seen as positive and negative, respectively: positive in the sense of defining what Hinduism is and negative in the sense of exposing the threats it faces.

Both aspects get combined and taken forward in my subsequent book Indra’s Net. I will briefly summarise the seven major ideas I want readers to take away from this book - ideas that are not widely appreciated but that are vital for engaging today’s discourse.

The Vedic paradigm of Indra’s Net:

My writings have extensively described the principle of integral unity with origins in ancient Indian texts. Conceptually, the term ‘Indra’s net’ is often used as a metaphor to describe something similar: interconnectivity, interdependency and flux. It is nowadays used by writers in a wide range of topics in quantum physics, environmentalism and social harmony. Indeed, many aspects of post-modernist theories (such as resistance to reductionism) are based on such notions. However, this metaphor is widely presented as a Buddhist idea.

It is obvious that Indra is a Vedic deity. So I decided to investigate the matter. This is how I discovered that Buddhism first elaborates on this metaphor in the Avatamsaka sutra, and that this Buddhist sutra was adopted from the Vedas. The Avatamsaka sutra was written in Sanskrit and then translated into Mandarin. However, large parts of the Sanskrit original have survived.

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Freeing temples from state control – Subramanian Swamy

Freeing temples from state

What is scandalous is the corruption after the takeover of temples as politicians and officials loot the temple’s wealth and land, and divert donations of devotees to non-religious purposes. – Dr Subramanian Swamy

The Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgment on January 6, 2013, allowing my Special Leave Petition that sought the quashing of the Tamil Nadu Government’s G.O. of 2006 which had mandated the government takeover of the hallowedSri Sabhanayagar Temple (popularly known as the Nataraja Temple).

The Madras High Court Single Judge and Division Bench had in 2009 upheld the constitutionality of the G.O. by a tortuous and convoluted logic that new laws can overturn past court judgments that had attained finality earlier. The Supreme Court in 1953 had dismissed the then Madras Government’s SLP seeking the quashing of a Madras High Court Division Bench judgment of 1952 that had upheld the right of Podu Dikshitarsto administer the affairs of the Nataraja Temple while dismissing all charges of misappropriation of temple funds against the Dikshitars. The Supreme Court thus made this judgment final and hence that which cannot be re-opened. But in 2009 the Madras High Court did precisely that. In 2014, in my SLP, the Supreme Court Bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and S.A. Bobde therefore termed this re-opening of the matter as “judicial indiscipline” and set aside the 2009 Madras High Court judgment as null and void on the principle ofres judicata.

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Revival of Sanskrit – Roadblocks and Strategy

Revival of Sanskrit

An acute need for promoting Sanskrit back into academics

The year 2016 saw my fourth book The Battle for Sanskrit: Is Sanskrit Political or Sacred, Oppressive or Liberating, Dead or Alive? or TBFS in short, finally being published and released. This book kindled interest, respect, and curiosity among the masses, as it dealt with reclaiming Sanskrit and Sanskriti from the clutches of the faulty theorization by western academia. However, it is only the beginning and there is a long way to go in terms of reclaiming the discourse. When I was writing The Battle for Sanskrit, Shri Chamu Krishna Sastry helped me by providing information, insights, and references to counter Sheldon Pollock, the western scholar whose theories I attempt to refute in the book. We also had extensive discussions on the problems that plague Sanskrit and its study in India. I will elaborate on the nature of the issues in this piece.

Sanskrit Bharati has approximately 5000 centres in India and branches in about 15 other countries. About 10000 volunteers are working selflessly to popularise Sanskrit

Brief Introduction: Shri. Chamu Krishna Sastry and Samskrita Bharati 

Shri. Sastry is the creator of Samskrita Bharati, an organization which was established to revive Sanskrit as a language of the common man. It has approximately 5000 centres in India and branches in about 15 other countries. About 10000 volunteers are working selflessly to popularise Sanskrit. This organization has taught spoken Sanskrit to about 10 million people and has trained around one lakh teachers since its inception 35 years ago. It has also published more than 500 books and CDs.

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10 rare facts about BJP leader Subramanian Swamy

10 rare facts about BJP

Five time parliamentarian, two-time Union Minister, Swamy - a Tamil Brahmin, began his academic career as a Harvard professor at a very young age.

Swamy, an alumni of the Harvard University, from where he was dropped over his articles in a newspaper was one of the founding members of Janata Party. He, however, in 2014 merged his party with the BJP.

Usually referred as a one man army, Swamy is today one the most revered politicians in Indian history after Independence.

He played a crucial role in exposing the 2G spectrum scam during UPA regime, which led to the arrest of former telecom minister and DMK leader A Raja.

10 things you probably don't know about this leader:

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