Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mahapadma Nanda - The first Shudra king of Magadha

Mahapadma Nanda a barber by caste established The Nanda Dynasty or Nanda Empire in the territory of Magadha.Nanda Empire was one of the famous Ancient Indian Dynasties. It ruled in India at the time of 4th and 5th century BC. During the peak of its glory, the Nanda Dynasty had its stretch from Punjab to the west to Bengal to the east, and in the distant south upto the Vindhya Mountain Range.
He conquered the dynasties of Panchalas, Aikshvakus, Haihayas, Kasis, Asmaka, Kalinga, Maithilas, Kuru, and Sursenas and added these provinces to Magadha. Mahapadma Nanda is also refered as Smarat (King with wide territory and acceptance) Ugrasena( Terribly strong) or Mahapadmapati ( Most magnanimous Conqueror).

Mahapadma Nanda Was the first king of the Nanda dynasty. He was  also the first Shudra king of Magadha belonging to barber  sub caste of Hindu Religion classification.   Nanda Dynasty was established after Pradyota dynasty. Since Sisunga earlier a minister to the last Pradyota dynasty king and people made him the king.  Sisunga  belonged to the line of Bimbisara, so this dynesty is also called as Sisunga Dynasty. Mahapadma Nanda  has been described as "the destroyer of all the Kshatriyas". He  was the son of Mahanandin, a Kshatriya father from the Sisunaga dynasty and a Shudra mother.  Other Sons of Mahanandin from his Khatriya wives opposed the rise of Mahapadma Nanda, on which he eliminated all of them to claim the throne. The Indologist  F. E. Pargiter dated Nanda's coronation to 382 BCE, and R. K. Mookerji dated it to  be 364 BCE.Mahapadma Nanda established the first greatest North Indian empire having its power centre in Maghada. He vanquished the old dynasties of North by, dethroning all kings.The Nanda Empire at its greatest extent under Dhana Nanda circa 323 BC.Mahapadma Nanda is recognized as  most powerful  (Chhakervarti samarat ) king of the entire land. The collapse of the old Kshatriya dynasties under the rigorous power politics of Mahapadma Nanda, who is explicitly denigrated as the son of a Shudra, and he extended   support to followers of non-Vedic philosophies. But the Vedis philosophers described the rise of Mahapadma Nanda as a mark of Kali Yuga because of their religious hate and narrow mindlessness. He was the ruler of the Nanda dynasty for all but 12 years of the dynasty's  100 years Rule. He is reported to have enjoyed his life span of 88 years.

Mahapadma Nanda, defeated the Panchalas . Panchalas was an ancient region of northern India, which corresponds to the geographical area around the Ganges River and Yamuna River, the upper Gangetic plain in particular. This would encompass the modern-day states of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh , Kasis, Haihayas(Malwa region includes districts of western Madhya Pradesh and parts of south-eastern Rajasthan), Kalingas (central-eastern India, which comprised most of the modern state of Odisha, as well as the Andhra region of the bordering state of Andhra Pradesh), Asmakas, Kurus, Maithilas, Surasenas and the Vitihotras; to name a few]. Due to his ruling qualities and military power he expanded his territory south of the Deccan plains too.                                                                                                                                                                         The Nandas are also described as the first empire builders in the recorded history of India. The Nanda Kings made the collection of taxes methodical, by regularly appointed officials. They had a strong administrative system. Their treasury was continuously supplemented to match the government expenditure. Nandas had large stock of wealth’s. The Nanda kings also built canals and in land water ways to establish an effective  irrigation system by digging new canals. On this, basis of a typically crop cultivation-oriented agriculture developed. Agriculture infrastructure was developed in a big way. The possibility of an imperial structure based on an essentially agrarian economy began to take firm roots in the Indian mind set.  This encouraged economy to develop on sound footing. This made their subjects prosperous in all fields of life.  They are reported to have developed standered weighing and measuring mechanism. The people enjoyed prosperous life conditions with out any danger from the out side invaders. Even the Great conqueror Alexander the Great (356 –323 BCE), did not dare to cross over present day Beas river to intrude into Nanda kingdom territory when he heard of  the military might stories from the natives.  The King Porus had also put up a brave fight against the Alexander army. But when intruding army heard of even mightier Nanda King’s army  , they refused to go across Beas river. So the bravest barber Chakervarti   Smart  forced the marching Alexander  army  stop from further  march so his loot and massacre of Indian masses was put to stop. Alexander’s dreams of conquering whole of India were dashed to ground by the Nanda smarat Dhana Nanda

The Nanda King inherited the large kingdom of Magadha and wished to extend it to yet more distant frontiers. To this purpose they built up a vast army, consisting of 200,000 infantry, 20,000 cavalry, 2,000 war chariots and 3,000 war elephants (at the lowest estimates).[3] According to Plutarch, the Greek biographer the size of the Nanda army was even larger, numbering 200,000 infantry, 80,000 cavalry, 8,000 war chariots, and 6,000 war elephants (294,000 troops ).  Since the  military might of Nandas had spread far and wide so no king including the  intruder Alexander could dare to  invade Nanda territory. There for the Nandas never had the opportunity to see their army up against  even Alexander.  Nandas proved that preparedness for war is preparedness for peace and hormony. Alexander invaded India at the time of Dhana Nanda, and confined his campaign up to the plains of Punjab. Alexander’s forces were, frightened by the prospect of facing a militarily powerful enemy and so mutinied at the Hyphasis River (the modern day Beas River) refusing to march any further. This was the might of the untouchable kings. But alas their religious peers reduced them to be non fighting persons, so the country was enslaved for centuries. 

The people enjoyed freedom of following the religion of their faith with out any fear. The people followed Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. But the rulers of the Nanda Empire embraced Jainism. Once the Nanda rulers took over the kingdom of Kalinga, they made Pataliputra (Patna Bihar), their capital. Revered Jivasiddhi, the Digambar saint, was adopted as master by Dhana Nanda the last Nanda Samrat. Pataliputra was then known all over the world for being the place of enlightenment of Lord Mahavira and learning . Lord Mahavira propagated Jainism whose message was asceticism, austerity and non-violence. The Nanda dynasty rulers were also known for their appreciation of writing and art. They offered support to a number of academics and researchers. Panini, the eminent linguist, was born during this era.  The Nanda dynasty kings were great builders too. The majority of the stupas of Rajgir and at other major Hindu religious holy places were constructed during last Nanda ruler. 

The following Nanda dynasty rulers came during a short period of 12 years after great Mahapadma Nanda Smarat ,the destroyer of Kshatriyas. They were Panghupati, Pandhuka, Bhutapala, Govishanaka, Rashtrapala, Kaivarta, Dashasidkhaka, Mahendra, and Dhana Nanda (also known as Argames) (? – c. 321 BC).

The Nanda dynasty was over run by the Chandergupta the founder of Maurya Dynasty. The Maurya Dynasty ruler ruled over India between 322 BCA to 185 BCE with Chandergupta as the founder to little after Ashoka the Great. It was Ashoka the Great, who himself converted into Buddhism, and it is in his reign that Buddhism spread to other parts of Asia. During the Mauryas, the Hinduism took the shape that fundamentally taught the religious principles which are followed even to the present day.                                                            

Mahapadma Nanda Smarat was the founder of a huge  Nanda Dynasty empire and was the first non-Kshatriya ruler of northern India during that  time. Following his extensive regime and demise, the kingdom was assumed by Pandhuka. Subsequently, a succession of rulers arrived and ruled over Magadha. Mahapadma Nanda Smarat shall be long remembered as a great just ruler during whose rule his subjects enjoyed the life benefits with out fear or favour. No foreign invader could dare to cross over to the Magadha territory with an evil eye.

References:-1. Ancient India, Text Book (Class XI )NCERT 2002
                      2. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Minorities in India

The establishment in 1992  of the National Commission for Minorities  and its continued existence till then is a fact contrary to the proclamations by  the worth writer. This commission was established under UN Declaration of 18th December 1992. Article 29 of the Indian Constitution gives directions and protection to such acts of the Union Government. Besides the NCM the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes and National Commission for Education Institutions are the facts which no body can negate and prove that the problems of the Minorities warrant express solutions for National Unity.
 The circumstances and exigencies for continuing such commissions still exist in our country. To say that all is well with the minorities is a propaganda campaign by a few of  those who have enjoyed the full cake  of progress at government expenses for centuries and now to  share it  with others is becoming heavy for them . A small number of high dignitaries from the minorities as counted by the writer should be eye opener as from a population of over 85% of the Indian minorities their presence can still be counted on fingers.

Dr Ambedkar’s Democratic Constitutuition of India is based on ideals of Democracy, socialism,  and equality striving for establishment of fraternity. Democracy as defined by the Father of Indian Statue is a way of associated living. Where as Manusmriti laws are discriminatory based on caste, creed, sex, colour and family status? Manu devised the formula claiming it having Divine sanction. He made the provision of 100% reservation of education, education related services, warrior services, agriculture, trade and administrative services for Brahmins, Khatriyas and Vaishyas. He also reserved 100% service jobs to Untouchables with blocking education, marshal services and trade or owning any property for them. But all religious ceremonies were made compulsory for them too. They were slaves living on the mercy of other three castes but doing all service class jobs. This arrangement kept India  slave for centuries .The invaders used the services of the three upper caste people to suppress the minorities.

The share of minorities can be judged from the facts and statistic. Out of 14Prime Ministers since 1947only 2 from minorities.  From 14 Presidents of India minorities had only 5, and  from 12 Vice President with personalities only 4 from minorities and only  4 Home ministers   from minorities out of 20.

The data given by Prof.(Dr) Ramnath former Vice Chancellor of Chander Sheikher Azad Agriculture and Technical University Lucknow( U.P) in his  Hindi book( Youita, Meri Jutti 2009) Gotam Book Centre Delhi is not only interesting but eye opening too.
 Break up of  Upper Castes15% Population( Brahmins3.5%; Khatriyas 55.5% and Vaishaya 6%).Their share in services( Politics41%plus 15% plus 10%= Total 66%) services(64%plus10%plus 10%= Total84%) ;Trade (10% plus20%plus60%= Total 90%) Land ownership (5%plus80%plus9%=Total 94%) Priesthoods ( 100% plus zero plus zero respectively.)
Also a fortnightly News Paper The Himayati Delhi (4-2-2013) has given the following data about Brahmin % in services in (1990) Union Ministers(60%) ;Secretaries, Add. Secretaries and Joint secretaries (62%); Chief Secretaries (54%);SC Judges(51%); High Court Judges in 1985(50.3%);Governors(50%) Secy. to Governors (54%) Higher Officers in Union Govt(56%)  but in states(52%);IAS (60%) with MP’s Rajay Sabha(36%)
In the union budget2013-14 total planned exp.(  allotted) Rs5,55,322 Crores with share  of S/C and S/T 22.5% of Rs107896.3 but allotment made is onlyRs66159 having discrepancy or shortfall as Rs58788.45 Crores. Where as Shri P.G. Bannerji in his book “  A Hand Book of the Fighting Races of India” and Sir Gorge Makmen Col Commandant of Royal Artillery in his book”  Marshal Races of India” have written that Brahmins and Vaishes are non fighting races so they are unfit for Army and Police forces. But now the conditions are contrary to it. For all failures in India Minorities are counted as first culprits which is far from truth.

The minorities have contributed to the welfare of India more than any body else. The Sino-Indian War of 1962 with total humiliation and defeat of India was managed fully by Upper castes managers. But Bangladesh War 1971 was won when PM Mrs. Indra Gandhi ( Brahmin lady married to a  Parse), Babu Jagjivan Ram Defense Minister a Chamar and Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw all from Minorities. Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Constitution of India are written by Dalits.

Let the race for merit be on the level ground between persons equipped with similar social, economic and educational standards. Bravo to those Dalits who are qualifying competitive examinations while studying in  Govt. schools with out roofs, adequate staff strength, water & toilet facilities, where  others in the race  are with Doon, Dalhousi, Massouri, Jaipur etc.situated English Medium schools with ultra  modern facilities.

Swami Vivekananda   while writing to one of his friends wrote, “  Human society is in turn governed by four castes—the priests, the soldiers, the traders, and labourers, each state has its  glories as well as defects”

“When priest (the Brahmins) rules, there is a tremendous exclusiveness on hereditary grounds—none but they have the right to impart knowledge. Its glory is that at this period is laid the foundation of the science”

The military (Kshtriya) rule is tyrannical and cruel, but they are not exclusive and during that period art and social culture attains height” The commercial (Vaishya) rule comes next. It is awful in its silent crushing and bloodsucking power. Its advantage is, as the trader himself goes everywhere, he is good Disseminator of ideas collected during the two previous states. They are still less exclusive than the military, but culture begins to decay.” “Last will come labourer (Shudra) rule. Its advantages will be distribution of physical comforts, its disadvantages (perhaps) lowering of culture. There will be great distribution of education ...”

“The first three have had their day. Now is the time for the last—they must have it. I am a socialist not because it is a perfect system, but half a loaf is better than no bread. The other systems have been tried and found wanting. Let this one be tried. A distribution of pain and pleasure is better, than always the same persons having pains and pleasure”

For the National Unity let every body contribute to his/ her ability & get as per his/ her needs. Let us not produce Doctors, Engineers, scientists, Educationists, who are not prepared to respect the Rule of the country, serve the poor and rural India. Let every doctor or engineer fill up a bond to serve his country in the rural area for at least 10 years before going abroad to  serve or settle their . This theft of going abroad soon after getting qualifications is casting dear to India. Who these majority Qualified persons are which are draining our national resources by going abroad in search of greener postures. Definitely majority is from upper castes.

Ignoring advice of Lord Krishna by Koravs to accede the due share of Pandavas resulted in Mahabharata. I fear ignoring the advice of Indian Parliament (Enactment of 93rd Constitution Amendment Of India) on Rights of Minorities may not result in triggering troubles for the country.. The welfare measures for 85% Indians are going to strengthen India not to weaken it. Even Manu the Hindu Law giver says “ What ever law is agreed upon by an assembly of ten people or more, or even three people or more----------the law should not be disputed 12 ( 110 )”.

Let us avoid the old saying “No matter how big the lie: repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as a truth”. Let us change our old habits and share happiness and sorrows together as Indians and not as majority and minority. In India Minorities and majority are equal share holders, need to be provided equal opportunities. Disparities in Education, employments, trade and commerce, social and religious fields is dangerous, let us strive to remove them  unitedly before they cause us harm.

Friday, March 8, 2013

SAVITRI BAI PHULE - Mother of Women Education In India

                                 MADAM   SAVITRI BAI PHULE               
                             Mother of Women Education In India
                           (Saluting her On the Eve of International Women Day 2013)
The first women known in the Indian history which lived and died for the social upliftment of down trodden. Her name was Savitribai  who was born on 3rd of January 1831 in Naya Ganj , Tehsil Khandala ,District Satara of Maharashtra. Her father’s name was Khado Ji Nevse Patil . At the time of her birth, no body could realize that the small ray of light which had descended on the earth in the form of Savitribai shall become a torch bearer for many, who were suppressed, illiterate, ill fed , ill clothed and a lightening for suppressors and oppressors inflicting tyranny in the name of caste and sex, on millions
         At the tender age of 9 years in 1840, she was married to a great social revolutionary Jyotirao Phule, who was then 13 years old. The union of two small lights later emerged as a big Light House for millions of their fellow countrymen and pulled them out of their ignorance, illiteracy and ill treatment meted out to them by upper caste Hindus. They jointly fought for   the down trodden people of India to live with dignity keeping spine erect. Jyotirao Phule, later affectionately  called  Mahatma Jyotirao Phule proclaimed that illiteracy the ill of all ills causes lack of intellect which in turn causes lack of moral which results in stagnation, promoting   further  loss of riches  and fortune which caused fall of Shudras. So ban of education to Shudras in Brahminical literature caused their all round degradation, so he gave preference to impart education to Shudras for their over all upliftment.
            The Education to Savitribhai was imparted at home by her husband, who had passed his Secondary Education Examination in 1847 from Scottish Mission High School Poona and  had decided not to accept any job under the government.  On reading Paine’s famous book “The Rights of Man” revolutionized the young mind of Jyotirao Phule and he in turn influenced the tender mind of Savitribhai, who also took oath to help her husband for Social Revolution even at the cost of her life and comforts.
            They jointly opened the very first Girl’s School in 1848 against the vicious campaign launched by orthodox upper caste Hindus for such an act of the Phule couple, as education to girls was coded as unlawful in the laws of orthodox Hindus, although they claimed to possess the most knowledgeable books called “VEDAS” but practically treating Shudras & women worse than animals. No upper caste Hindu teacher came forward to teach in this newly opened Girl’s School in which untouchables girls , besides Hindu Girl’s were admitted. Therefore, Savitribai was appointed as Headmistress of this school on I st January 1848 by Jyotirao Phule. This school was run from the house of a Brahmin in Budhwara Peth, with majority of Brahmin girl students. The orthodox Brahmins raised a great hue & cry against carrying on women education including those of Shudra girls, which stood banned by the Hindu scripture. As soon as Savitribai came out from her house to go to school, people would throw on her cow dung and mud spoiling here dress, which she washed at the school and at her residence. But ill treatment meted out to her by upper caste Hindus did not deter her from her strong convictions and she carried on with the noble cause for the social change. She, instead , opened another school on 15th May 1848 in untouchable’s colony and it was run by her widowed sister –in-law (husband  ‘s sister) Smt. Suganabai. On this again the reactionaries, raised objections and threatened Govinda Rao (Jyotirao ’s father) with dire consequences, if, he failed to dissociate himself from the activities of his son & daughter-in-law.So he asked the couple to leave his home as both of them refused to give up their missionary  endeavor. Both shifted to a Muslim Mian  Usman Sheikh’s house. Smt. Fatima Sister of Mian Sheikh known as first Muslim women teacher of 18th century, started educating Dalit children in this school opened by a Dalit couple. This was an extremely difficult task during those days of Brahmin domination in government and social circles, but Savitribai did it by dint of her courage, determination, intelligence and her commitment to the cause of Dalit upliftment through spread of Education the only road to their empowerment.
             Mahatma Jyotirao Phule blamed the British Government for spending profusely a large portion of the state revenue on the education of the higher castes, which resulted in monopoly of all higher offices under the Government by the Brahmins. The dedicated couple wanted to break this monopoly so as to prepare the down trodden masses for struggle of having equal rights as human beings in their own motherland. Jyotirao Phule for the first time , made strong demand in memorandum submitted to Hunter Commission in 1882  for free & compulsory education to all. This plea was accepted on the instance of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and incorporated in the Constitution of Free India in 1950.  
            Widow re-marriage was banned then and the child marriages were very common among the Hindus including Brahmins. Many Hindu widows resorted to Sati (burning of the bride with the dead body of their husbands) in full public view.  Many women got windowed in their young age and not all of them could live in a manner in which orthodox people expected them to live. Some of the helpless widows resorted to abortion or left their illegitimate children to their fate by leaving them on the streets. Out of pity for them Jyotirao Phule established on orphanage, possibly first such Institution founded and funded by a Hindu. The Phule couple gave protection to pregnant widows and assured them that this orphanage would take care of their children and Savitribai Phule Shouldered the responsibility of managing the orphanage. It was in  this orphanage where a Brahmin widow named Kashi Bai gave birth to a boy in 1873 and the Phule couple adopted new born as their son and heir giving him name as
 Yashuwant, who was given education to become a qualified doctor. During 1876-77 famine she feed and cared about 200 children with the help of her doctor son free of cost. She was a great source of strength to her husband.
            Savitribai was not only an educationist but a great philanthropist, social revolutionary, writer and poet. Perhaps she was the first Indian woman revolutionary who worked against all odds for the emancipation of week and downtrodden women & children. Her poetry book first published in 1854 was titled as “KABYE PHULE” In one of her poems she makes out that the British succeeded in establising their rule in India due to denial of Educational opportunities by the Aryans to the original inhabitants of India. During various invasions the 85% of the population were made mute spectators when their  motherland was occupied forcibly by   the foreign invaders, for which nobody else but Brahmins and caste system  were responsible. When she was told by her brother to follow the path shown by Bhats (Brahmins) she rebuked him by telling that she was following the just path being followed by her husband and she could not be blind follower of Brahmins like her brother. She also tauntingly said to him, “Go and love the cow and the goat and offer milk to snakes on Nagpanchmi,, even then the Brahmins shall turn you out of Puja Sathal branding you as untouchables. This shows her strong conviction and  will power, when actually she was very poised lady having her heart filled with love for all.
            After the death of her husband in November 1890, she successfully managed for seven years the affairs of “SATYA SHODAK-SAMAJ” established by her husband to look after the needs of unfortunate children.

            During the spread of Cholera in Maharashtra in 1897 she opened a number of helping centers for all sufferers in rural and urban areas. She used to carry patients personally to the clinic of her son Yashuwant, who cured hundreds of them free of cost.
             While carrying personally a cholera ridden Mahar boy to the clinic of her son and to get him admitted there, she got infected from the Mahar boy and she died of cholera on the 10th of March 1897.
            We salute the iron lady who struck hard  to break the shackles of religious progeny, caste and dynasty to establish social order of Universal Brotherhood. She was first Indian women leader, who worked for the upliftment & dignity of women & children and was a staunch opponent of orthodox laws including Untouchability. She was mother to helpless orphans, a teacher to illiterates and solace to ill and suffering masses. She deserved to be honored as “Mother of Women Education in India”
            She is even now a source of inspiration for establishing a rule based on equality, justice and fraternity. Let us draw inspiration from her life& works and re-dedicate ourselves for the service of down trodden and Dalits besides those sections of society who are deprived of equal opportunities of life.
 Can be contacted on or
  1. The Nagmay Sanskriti Ujjain (MP) Dated 8-7-1997.
  2. Slavery By Mahatma Jotirao Phule (Vol I) Translated by Prof.P.G. Patil                     Education Deptt.Govt of Maharastra Bombay 1991
  3. Jotibha Phule (Hindi) By Durga Prasad Shukal NCERT April 1991
  4. Dr Ambedkar & His Mission By Danajay Keer
  5. Shoshit Samaj Ke Krantikari Pravertak ( Hindi) by C.S. Bhandari Publishars