Follow me on Twitter

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Emperor has arrived . A new era in India Japan ties to begin-some good pics and column-The Emperor's pathway to India's heart

Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko pose for the photographers with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur on their arrival at AFS Palam in New Delhi

On Monday, the Imperial Couple will attend a ceremonial reception at the official residence of President Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi and visit Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. Later in the day, the president will hold a state banquet for them

The Times of
The Emperor's pathway to India's heart
30 November 2013, 09:21 PM IS

If in 1960 Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru received the visiting Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko, 53 years later, a Nehruvian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, receives the same couple, now the Emperor and Empress, having ascended the throne in 1990.  

What a coincidence.

It must be a result of his good karma for Japan, as he is indisputably the most popular and respected Indian leader in the Land of the Rising Sun. The speech he gave in Tokyo this year in May is reflective of his special feelings for the Japanese people. He mentioned Japan as an inspiration to India and envisioned a path of strategic cooperation, specially marking the maritime region. He said: "Asia's resurgence began over a century ago on this island of the Rising Sun.

Ever since, Japan has shown us the way forward. India and Japan have a shared vision of a rising Asia. Japan's rise as a modern, knowledge-based industrial power was a source of inspiration to India's great national leaders."

Nothing defines better the warmth and cordiality between india and Japan than the age-old cultural and civilizational ties. Shintoism, too akin to the Hindu beliefs, and the patriotic fervour of an average Japanese inspired Indian monks like Swami Ramtirth and Swami Vivekananda, made an everlasting influence on writers like Rabindranath Thakur and powered revolutionaries like Subhas Chandra Bose.  The economic and industrial relations might have witnessed delayed milestones, yet an average India grew on feelings of admiration for the Japanese products and friendliness.


t is on these trusted foundations that Tenno Heika (His Majesty the Emperor) and Kogo Heika (Her Majesty the Empress) get a hearty Namaste from a billion-plus Indians.

It's difficult for the ever revolting and 'eager to break tradition' new generation of India to understand the awe and reverence with which people in Japan look at their emperor and empress. In spite of a new constitution and the reduction in the powers of the royalty, their majesties are considered divine and even a letter handed over to them invites wide spread criticism and ridicule. Some time back when a young actress turned legislature suddenly gave a letter over Fukushima disaster to the Emperor, there were demands from all quarters that she should be asked to resign.

The Emperor himself is credited with breaking the tradition when he married a commoner; strictly the royalty is expected to marry only in the families of Japanese nobility. Both meet the common people as much as they can. The emperor, 79, underwent a bypass surgery last year, so Empress Michiko shoulders most of the burden of attending rituals and formal programmes on his behalf, yet its amazing to find that both attended more than 300 events last year. 

Their India visit is considered a proactive gesture by Prime Minister Shinjo Abe's government, which is keen to enhancing and strengthening India ties with a traditional strategic fervour. Abe mesmerized Indian parliamentarians when he addressed them in the Central Hall in 2007, quoting Dara Shikoh (perhaps the first foreign dignitary to remember the great symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity and Vedic scholarship) and Swami Vivekananda. It's not just 'Abeconomics' that is ensuring increased Japanese investments to India but his long-term maritime strategic policy that must make Indian presence and power in pacific and South China Sea more assertive and secure.

Here lies the key to lay the solid foundation of India-Japan strategic ties.

Dr Manmoghan Singh also had emphasized the need for an upgraded cooperation in maritime sphere in his May, 2013, speech in Tokyo. He had, unhesitatingly said, "The Indo-Pacific region is witnessing profound social and economic changes on a scale and at a speed rarely seen in human history ... this region faces multiple challenges, unresolved issues and unsettled questions. Historical differences persist despite our growing inter-dependence; India and Japan are among the major actors in this region. Our shared religious, cultural and spiritual heritage embodies the principles of peace, co-existence and pluralism." He added: "Maritime security across the linked regions of the Indian and Pacific Oceans is essential for regional and global prosperity. We should, therefore, uphold the principles of freedom of navigation and unimpeded lawful commerce in accordance with international law, resolve maritime issues peacefully and work together more purposefully to harness the potential of the seas and address common sea-based challenges such as piracy."

The Emperor's visit will make the entire Japan focus on India and the rest of the pathway will be cleared flawlessly.

It is important that from the Indian side an old Japan friend Salman Khurshid is appointed as Minister in waiting for the visiting dignitaries. From Japanese side, former Prime Minister Mori's inclusion in the royal entourage is significant. He is credited with laying the solid foundation of India-Japan cooperation in recent times and India has conferred Padma Bhushan on him.

This visit is a good omen for our bilateral ties and should be seen rising above the domestic political differences and ideological disagreements. After all Indian interest must occupy the highest place and hence, as one tricoloured Indians, we all must warmly welcome this visit.

Cherry Blossom Shower-- What Emperor Akihito’s visit should mean to India and my Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi columns

Cherry Blossom Shower
What Emperor Akihito’s visit should mean to India

Japan has on quite a few occasions displayed amazing shakti to re-emerge from the ashes. Nothing explains Japan’s resilience better than its love of tradition and its faith in ancient institutions. Present-day Japan’s bonds with the past are underpinned by the haka nasa philosophy: although everything, including life, keeps changing and is evanescent, memories are precious, and equally precious are the rites to honour ancestors. The attire and lifestyle may seem westernised, but because of an uninterrupted tradition of honouring civilisational icons, Japan retains its cultural soul and spirit. And to most Japanese, the quintessence of their culture—its humane face, as it were—finds representation in the emperor and empress of Japan.
Nothing can make Japanese society pay focused attention on any other nation or people as a visit of the royal couple. When Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko arr ive in India on a six-day tour, beginning November 30, all of Japan will be glued to the TV screen, watching India welcoming the couple they worship as living deities. The royals had visited India in 1960 as crown prince and princess and laid the cornerstone for the India International Centre in Delhi. Their second visit, as emperor and empress, comes 53 years later. It’s the most significant and strategically important visit of any foreign dignitary in many decades. It marks a new era of Indo-Japanese relations, which have the potential to definitively change the contours of power balance in the region.
If Japan and India are coming closer than they have been, it’s not because of the pressure of geopolitics, the Chinese factor or the need, as some pundits would sketchily emphasise, to strike an Indian presence in the growing competitiveness between the American and Chinese influence in the world. Instead, the coming together of Japan and India is the natural outcome of the “confluence of two seas”—the famous words of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who drew them from Dara Shikoh’s treatise on the Upanisads. Therefore, the visit of the royal couple is a gesture distinguishably singular and independent of any other strategic move.
In a widely appreciated speech at the United Nations, Emperor Akihito had underlined the importance of relations between people and connected it to water. He quo ted from Hojoki, an essay written 831 years ago by Kamo no Chomei, a Shinto priest, and hoped that people of the world would continue a journey “towards better relations between humans and water”. He clarified the connection, saying, “Water-related disasters, which account for over 90 per cent of all disasters in terms of lives affected, can hamper sustainable development of the world.” Definitely, this is a perceptive emperor with his feet firmly on earth and an understanding of the world’s long-term problems.
What I fear, however, is that India—still driven by a colonial mindset that counts a discarded prince from London more highly than a time-tested ally, friend and soulmate from the continent—may not accord the Japanese royal couple’s visit the salience it deser ves. This should not happen.
Indo-Japanese relations are measured more by trust than by economic data. It’s a relationship harking more than 2,000 years, even before Buddhism reached Japan. It’s believed there was a fair chance for the Japanese to use the Tamil script for their language, but a strange coincidence led them to adopt kanji (Chinese characters). Shintoism is close to Hinduism in the value placed on family, respect for elders and respect for nature. Then there is Japan’s help to Subhash Chandra Bose, its devotional admiration for Tagore, the chord struck in both cultures by temples and rituals—all of it capped by the eternally effervescent influence of Buddhism. All this puts India and Japan in orbits of mutual trust. It’s on this our future-perfect relationship has been based: the Maruti 800 revolution changed India in the 1980s. The recent Metro projects, the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor, joint military exerci ses—they mark the future of bilateral ties.
The couple’s visit also announces, in a subtle, typica lly Japanese way, a new assertiveness on the part of Japan, out of Washington’s foreign policy shadows. Already we have joint naval exercises. Now, Indo-Japanese cooperation will impact maritime strategies in the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea and the Pacific. The royal visit formally registers a paradigm shift, with a billion Sakuras blossoming for India.

(The writer is a Rajya Sabha MP and former member of the India-Japan Eminent Persons Group.)

2. My Gujarati column on Japanese Emperor's visit in the largest circulated Gujarati daily- Sandesh, Ahmedabad. Today 30th Nov 2013. Page 6

3. My Hindi column on Japanese Emperor's visit in the largest circulated Hindi daily- Amar Ujala ( 12 state editions) 11,0000 copies. Today, 30th Nov 2013 Page 12

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Amazing planet of Shiva- where bliss and divinity reign supreme-My new photo stream on Kailas Manasarovar

My new photo stream on Kailas Manasarovar

Like King Bharat, Sachin led a life of Chakravartin and renounced the empire too

Like King Bharat, Sachin led a life of Chakravartin and renounced the empire too
Here is link of my article published in today’s Sandesh Gujarati 

and also in Hindi Punjab Kesari, Delhi (attached).

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mother Courage

Mother Courage- a tribute to Smt Rajrani
“I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing away of your
mother, Smt. Raj Rani.

“Smt. Raj Rani was known for her dedication to the noble cause of
education of the poor. she was a role model for others and will be
remembered for her patronage of children from poor tribal families of
Assam.” Thus said President of India Shri Pranab Mukherji in a condolence message  sent to Shri Traun Vijay, son of Smt Rajrani.
She was a Mother Courage who faced tremendous odds in her life and dedicated herself for the education and the upliftment of the poor tribal childfdren of Uttarakhand , Ladakh, Rajasthan and the eight states of  the North East. 

Smr Rajrani never yielded to the difficulties and the challenges , in fact she invited newer challenges to defeat them.

नमस्कार मा़. भय्याजी से शोकसमाचार प्राप्त हुआ मेरी हार्दिक संवेदनाएँ दिवंगत जीव की सद्गति तथा सभी को धैर्य प्राप्ति के लिये प्रार्थना
-------------- मोहन भागवत

param pujyasarsanghchalak, RSS

Dear Tarun ji,

Please accept our heartfelt condolences on the loss of your dear mother. Our prayers are with you at this sad time. May her soul rest in peace.  

Warm regards,
Nirupama Rao , (Ambassador of India to the USA) and Sudhakar Rao

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Prince disregarded in his homeland, gets a royal welcome in an Indian democratic state-Charles didn't show remorse for the British atrocities, we overdid the welcome

7th Nov 2013- Dehradun- Welcome we must, but with Prince charles we overdid it-said Member of Parliament from Uttarakhand Tarun Vijay. The way Chakrata Road was blocked for almost an hour, near IMA which is the main artery connecting city with other states, and thousands of citizens were put in great inconvenience is reminder of the old colonial days, Tarun Vijay said. He said that Prince Charles is a guest from no ordinary country-he  represents a regime that subjugated our nation through deceit and cunningness, killed three million Indians in a man made famine in Bengal, made the people of Himalayan region, including ours to unspeakable torture,violated all norms of law and decency while looting our wealth to enrich British empire. If the visiting Prince had any sensitivity towards us, he would have expressed regrets for all those atrocities. But we overdid even while welcoming him, and in a disaster affected  state, grand and gala parties in his honor smacked of a slave mentality. 

Prince Charles was taken to only those places which were built during the colonial period, not a single place was he taken which would have shown him post-independence development. Uttarakhand govt pusillanimously presented him a picture of King George the Vth , of the occasion when he had visited Mussourie, as if that was an honorable event for Indians!!

The British should have returned us our wealth of books anfd manuscripts they had taken away to london illegally and unlawfully, Tarun Vijay said.

As a public representative of this great state of warriors and freedom fighters, I feel anguished and pained at this brazen display of unwarranted enthusiasm for a British Prince which caused a lot of inconvenience to local citizens too.

Justifiably so, the BJP distanced itself from the lavish dinner hosted in honor of the visiting Prince, who himself stands isolated and discarded in his home country. Even the queen doesn't trust him to make him the next King!!