Shani Shignapur and Women’s Entry! Do Women Really Want It? Is It Positive or negative?

Bhumaata brigade broke 400 years old tradition by entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Shani Shignapur  temple yesterday. Bhumaata brigade has been trying hard to achieve this goal since long and has emerged victorious at last by doing so. Their point was that women should also be allowed to enter in the sanctum sanctorum or garbhagriha of a temple where women are not allowed and should be equally allowed to worship god as men have been doing. They want women to get equal rights and get equal status as men in the society which is a very brave, good, and positive mission.


Women can obviously do that because god has created both men and women and is equally benevolent to all and thus all have right to worship god. But I don’t know why I can see very little of progressive attitude in this issue and what is more evident to me is the tumultuous situation being created everywhere by this attitude. I will tell why I think so.

First of all, let me be very clear that I do believe in women empowerment and I think women should be allowed to worship god like any other person allowed and it’s good for the better society. But the problem comes in the anarchy being prevailed all this while. I today saw news about the women of Nalgonda district of Telangana district of India. These women walk for kilometers to get water for their basic necessities and carry utensils-carrying in many cases 50 liters of water-over their head.


This is not the case in Nalgonda only but in many parts of the country like Rajasthan (which is known to be such a place for women even in movies, books and even paintings), and even Nandgaon of Mathura where I went to visit the temple and witnessed women carrying earthen pots over their head carrying water.

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Now my point is that how women would be empowered just by entering temples by force and extreme chaos and anarchy when so many women in so many parts of the country are fighting PER DAY to get water which is so easily available to I think everyone reading this article. Women of Nalgonda said that pain in their neck, backbone, head and other joints of the body is very common among them because of carrying such heavy utensils and pots and it’s extremely painful for them but the importance of water and its scarcity in their area and availability in their homes has been forcing them to do so since long.

Now can anyone tell me what betterment in life and uplift would women realize by “entering the temples where they are not allowed” by force when their counterparts are facing such crisis on diurnal basis. Is it extremely progressive for women to enter temples forcefully and is it satisfactory for them to see their counterparts facing such calamities? In a country where farmers have been committing suicide at such a huge scale and cases of dowry and sanitation and rural toilets are in mind of women and they really want something to be done in these areas; isn’t it a waste of power, energy and potential to channelize them in such a way and not in the areas concerning water facilities for women, rural toilets or toilets in rural houses for them, or something for the dowry system?


If they believe in god so much then don’t they think they should be helpful for other women of the country who are living in extremely bad conditions? Shouldn’t they do anything for the women of areas like Marathwada or Karnataka-areas which are facing extreme drought?

Women indeed have the rights to worship god equally as men do. They have all the rights to enter the sanctum sanctorum or garbhagriha of temples but is it that important that women who can do something for other women are doing it with such force and struggle when they can do a lot with such energy which can make lives of so many other females all over the country much better? Would it be wrong if I say that issues calling for immediate attention and action such as that one of Nalgonda are in need of such enthusiastic women leaders more than this case of entering the garbhagriha of the temples? If these women of brigade have such power that they can challenge the 400 years old tradition and the government then I just wonder what they can do for their counterparts all over the country.

Anyways, this is good news for women who wished to enter Shani Shignapur since long time and I congratulate them over their victory but my heart weeps when I see women of so many areas of the country in pain. Thank you.



By-Shekhar Srivastava

Strange Similarities Between Darwin’s Theory of Evolution & Lord Vishnu’s Dashavatar


Presence of life on earth has always been one of the most fascinating and intriguing topic for all humans since thousands of years. How so many species came into being? Who created them? Did they all come into existence together on this planet the moment life started or did they evolve themselves through variations? All these questions reached their end when Charles Darwin, a naturalist proposed his theory of evolution. He proposed that the natural selection was the reason behind it and proposed that all species of organisms aroused and developed through the natural selection of small, and inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. Those species which couldn’t accept this variation died off and got vanished. However the reason I’m writing this piece is the striking similarity between some theories of evolution and the concept of Dashavatar.


Hindu religion and mythology is probably the oldest in the world. Not only this but it also tells about the wonderful concept of AVATARS of lord Vishnu-the preserver in the Hindu pantheon-which is very similar to that of Darwin’s and other theories of evolution. Vishnu is the god almighty. He is omnipotent and has been manifesting himself on this earth since the time immemorial to save it from the evil and to get earth rid of all the corruption and anarchy prevailed.




But the interesting and very significant aspect of his AVATARS or manifestations on the earth is that it has unmatched similarity with the Darwinism theory of evolution as well as other theories.


The way Darwin told the world that the species adapted certain variations and developed themselves accordingly and the way Vishnu’s manifestations have taken shape in the stories is quite same. All this is very very mysterious and unknown as to how the evolution known to scientists much later had already been told thousands and may be more than thousands of years before it. Let’s have a look at these points. The evolution of Darwinism tells us that the life originated from a common ancestor. Theories also suggest that life originated from the sea, in the sea. In Hindu mythology, it has been told that the world originated from Aadi Jal (eternal cosmic water).

Lord Vishnu HD Wallpapers 6

Now comes the theory of evolution and Dashavatars of lord Vishnu. Life, according to theory of evolution, started with the invertebrates and then came vertebrates in the ocean in the form of fishes. In Hindu mythology, Vishnu’s first incarnation of the Dashavatar is Matsya avatar and Vishnu appears in the form of a fish to save the life from Mahapralaya (ultimate destruction) on earth.


Next, theory of evolution tells that the life came out of ocean and the beings of ocean started walking the land to some extent or we can say that the amphibians came into existence from the vertebrates or aquatic animals. Amphibians have aquatic gills which means they can survive both on land and in sea. Tortoise is an amphibian and this is second avatar of Vishnu in the Dashavatar. Vishnu appeared as Kurma (tortoise) avatar in the form of a tortoise to have Mandara Mountain put on his back to support the churning of the ocean by the devatas and asuras in order to bring amrit (nectar of life) out from the ocean.


After this, the evolution tells us about these being who became more efficient in walking the earth becoming land animal and losing ability to be inside ocean and adapted very conveniently the climate and conditions of the land but they also were swamp animals means they could live in low oxygen water and boar is one such wild animal which is the next and third avatar of lord Vishnu. Vishnu, to save the earth-who beseeches to him to save her from evil demons-manifested himself as a wild boar who is considered as extremely ferocious and cruel.


This also shows how the wild animals ruled the land in the initial stages of the evolution process.

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Next link in the evolution is the early extinct human ancestors who were like the link between apes and humans or the link between the apes and their early beings. There are many theories claiming that some links in the process of evolution are missing and are very mysterious as to how animals evolved as humans. This link aptly resembles the fourth avatar of Vishnu.


Lord Vishnu this time manifested himself as half human- half lion and came as Narsingh avatar to kill evil demon king Hiranayakashyap and to save his ardent devotee Prahlad. This stage tells how transition took place from animals to humans.

In the process of evolution now humans came and evolved. They appeared not as they appear today. They COULD probably be midgets means dwarf. They were not as same in appearance as we are today  and due to evolution and due to new climatic condition for their new form, might have looked like midgets because they were not like us at least back then. In accordance, next, which is the fifth avatar of Vishnu, is the form of a dwarf called Vaaman avatar and is similar to this new evolved human kind. This time he came to send the benevolent but asura king Bali to the underworld.



In the series of perfect evolution, now came the humans who were somewhat like us but lived in caves and are known  to us as early man. In the Dashavatar theory also, Vishnu’s sixth avatar was that of Parshuram. We know that in this age, in the history of human kind, early men would live in forests and caves and would use weapons of wood and stones and so did lord Parshuram. He lived in mountains doing penance. He is famous for his anger and at the same time, he always carries an axe (made of stone and wood). Early men at this stage used to act without much reason and did not know the reason of life. It  does not completely but to some extent resembles the story of Parshuram who was so  short tempered that he killed and vanished the whole Kshatriya clan from the earth mercilessly. He would do penance to know about consciousness and indeed, was a conscious soul at the same time.


When early men came out of their caves and started living in the society as civilized humans, they made rules and followed them to lay the foundation of a society which is based on righteousness. They gave more importance to relationships, respect, righteousness and justice. All this factors can be seen with perfection in the next and seventh avatar or lord Vishnu. Lord Ram who was the seventh avatar of Vishnu was perfect in respecting relationships and elders. He was perfect in justice. And he was perfect in establishing a society based on the policies of righteousness (Ram Rajya).


This is extremely wonderful to see how society of lord Ram’s time was very much similar to earlier civilized societies of human kind whether it is something related with caste system, related with land disputes or the relationship between the ruler and the ruled subjects.

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Now here the evolution comes to an end as far as physical appearance is concerned. But mentally, humans evolved even more after this stage and are still evolving. When men established the good society where everyone was satisfied, then major issues started taking place such as land disputes at a major level, not only living with sheer righteousness but also how to take right decisions to achieve righteousness. At this point man started knowing more about intelligence of mind not only in terms of physical reality but also in terms of metaphysical reality. Man started realizing about philosophy and metaphysics, knowing self, identity, time, space, life and death etc. Materialism was indeed an important factor for man of this stage but more important was the philosophical knowledge. I think many of us can guess which avatar I am talking about now. Yes, Vishnu’s next and seventh avatar is that of Lord Shree Krishna who is more perfect than perfection itself, in every sense. He is the master of philosophy, he tells the ultimate knowledge of Gita to the world.


He is completely self conscious and knows what inner life is. He knows about every aspect of life and life after life or death. He knows about karmas, moksha, and how to be one with god (who is Krishna only). Krishna told how to achieve what is your right by being adaptable, hardworking and by taking right decision which suits the condition that you are facing.

Lord Krishna Vishwaroop Virat Swaroop (1)

After this stage man-aware of philosophical terms and knowledge-started practicing it and tried achieving moksha (not all humans but some). What lord Krishna told in the eighth avatar of Vishnu was about to be practiced and shown to the world by his ninth one. This avatar was that of Gautama Buddha. He preached the world what enlightenment and nirvana is. Nirvana, another word for moksha, was achieved by Buddha. He is an enlightened one. Man rose above the materialism and started practicing the philosophy of metaphysics. This stage of mental evolution is equal to Buddha’s enlightenment teachings.


Now comes the final stage in which we are living. We have seen above nine stages of evolution both physical and metaphysical. But what now? What is to be achieved after nirvana or moksha has been realized by humans?

The evolution many times proposes that whatever is created has to be destroyed in order to begin the process of creation all over again. And this very aptly fits into the theory of Dashavatar. The human when achieves everything physical and metaphysical, when he knows what is materialism and what is the meaning of “POWER”, when everything possible is achieved by him, then anarchy obviously prevails because the power hungry leaders wants to rule the earth and they not only just crave for land but also for the absolute power. Then comes the time when this rampant anarchy and tumultuous situation is to be defeated. A rise of new power by the righteous, virtuous and benevolent person takes place. This is what the tenth and final avatar of Vishnu is all about.

When morality and dharma or righteousness will be in hearts of few handful men; when even Brahmans would become charlatan and would stop being learned and full of knowledge and wouldn’t be able to hold dharma; when man will be the biggest enemy of other man; when one will try and get success by killing others literally or otherwise; when the rulers won’t think about ruled and would become extremely selfish and tyrant; and when there will be no justice for the common man and sheer injustice would prevail everywhere and when some handful good humans will be forced to live in the caves and forests out of fear of others; then the Kalki avatar of Vishnu will arrive and will destroy the whole creation except few humans who believe in dharma. This avatar will be completely perfect and would know every aspect of life. He will be self realized person yet will end the creation for the world would be too imperfect and defective by then. He will use extremely powerful sword of his to destroy worlds. Species will be finished by him and the whole process of creation would take place again.


Here the extremely powerful weapons of Kalki may have the similarities with the nuclear and other extremely powerful weapons that the world has today. Also the world is living on the heap of nuclear weapons today and probably the holocaust caused by these weapons would make the world imperfect and pave the way for the final avatar of lord Vishnu. He also will have the equal and even more powerful weapons to destroy the imperfect world for the new creation and for the fresh evolution process.

I don’t know if I am right or wrong but these similarities compelled me to write and express and share what I have written about the striking similarities between the process of evolution and the Dashavatars of lord Vishnu. The way humans have evolved or the way life has evolved on this earth and the way we have lived since the beginning till this modern period is extremely similar with the Dashavatar theory. Every avatar fits in so perfectly with the advancement of humans that I find it extremely mysterious and interesting.

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By-Shekhar Srivastava

Book Review-The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi 1857

lastmughal.jpgThe Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi 1857

by William Dalrymple

578pp, Penguin India

In the May of the year 1857 when British introduced the New cartridges with the cow and pig fat, they did not know that this would not only establish their rule in India as a complete authority but also would end the rule of a dynasty which had hitherto ruled India for 330 years with all its magnificence which had astonished the people and the dynasties all over the globe. But what they also did not know was the bloody way which they had to cross to achieve India with them as complete sovereign and that they had to face the biggest mutiny India or the world had ever seen. Also, British east India Company had never faced such a rebellion that too by the sepoys who were trained by them, by then. Even after the mutiny of 1857, British never had to suppress such a mutiny and rebellion as it never happened anywhere else in any of the colonies of the British.

The last Mughal by William Dalrymple is another historical piece of writing covering this dark incident of Indian history and is great in every aspect. William Dalrymple in this book has very aptly narrated all the incidents that took place in the mutiny but the best part is that he has used the mutiny papers very well and it’s  probably the first time when someone has brought them to the reach of the world so easily. Dalrymple has used papers from national archives from Delhi as well as from Burma which has made this masterpiece a perfect one.

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On one May morning the sepoys from Meerut reached Delhi and after dire struggle entered the city of Delhi and thus the red fort. They asked Bahadur Shah Zafar to be their patron and wanted to fight under his patronage against the British to re-establish the Mughal rule of which they still believed they were the loyal subjects of. Bahadur Shah Zafar was a very noble and gentle man. He was more of a mystic than an emperor. If people say that he failed to stand against the British because he was weak then it’s totally wrong because on a wider perspective, we know that it’s not the perimeter to know how weak or strong of a man he was. When the sepoys reached him he was already 82 years old and was too weak to say no to them and stand against their will. Apart from that he had never seen any battle in his life let alone be fighting. As far as his own palace and administration were concerned, he has been quoted as a henpecked husband by British writers and in various books. His sons were not capable of either fighting or to rule the country their ancestors had been ruling since last 330 years with great gallantry. So much was his helplessness that he could not say no to the sepoys when they asked for his support even when he himself didn’t want to support them. They compelled him and they were in his palace after killing soldiers of the fort making it their camp and he had to give them his consent which he did eventually. He was also a gullible person who was expeditious in making decisions which were generally wrong quite all the time. Actually Zafar was not like the earlier emperors of his dynasty. He never had any quality to accomplish him as a king. He himself called him a Sufi fakir many times in his life. But one quality that he had had made him a highly deferential monarch of his dynasty at the time of his realm. It was his pluralistic nature which makes him somewhere close to being a great ruler. Such was the faith of both his Hindu and Muslim subjects in him that the sepoys which included both the communities wanted to fight and rebel under his Mughal flag and his patronage. Had it not been the case, rebellious sepoys whose sixty percent included Hindus would not have headed towards him ready to fight against the British. But nothing helped the people of the most civilized and cultured city of Hindustan at the time of the mutiny-Delhi. The moment the rebellious sepoys entered the city of Delhi and had taken over the fort- they commenced the acts which left the city scarred to an extent that those scars were very very hard to be forgotten by the people who saw their people being butchered, who witnessed it and escaped it somehow. All the shops were plundered, mass slaughter of Christians irrespective of their age and gender left the literature hub of the country like butchery. But what is worth noticing here is that not only Christians but in the name of rebellion and fighting against the Christians, sepoys also looted and killed many shopkeepers, businessmen or in short elite class of the city who were of course no Christian. Abductions and rapes were rampant in the same intensity. Many of the people belonging to particular communities also got involved in the pillage and some people took the advantage to settle scores with the people they held personal grudges for. Zafar was summoned in his own court as a convict. He was completely broken-down by then. He was too old and dilapidated to endure the treatment he was being given by the authority of the company. According to some letters of the officers present at his hearing event, he wouldn’t even pay any heed to what was going on. He would lean back on the cushions and his eyes were closed except at some moments when he would suddenly open his eyes and look to see what seemed to be an interesting thing to him or something relevant to his golden era of rule.

At last he was found guilty and was exiled to Rangoon where he died in the year 1862 in sheer destitute. This was Bahadur Shah Zafar and this was his story. But if you are going by the name of the book and under the impression that this book is a biography of Zafar of cover his lifespan, you might get disappointed as it deals with the mutiny phase and how Mughal empire came to an end as the book’s name very aptly suggests.

The manoeuvre in which Dalrymple has described each single event is highly commendable. Not only this but to make the point clear and to make people understand the dire situation of the city of Delhi at the time of the outbreak and its aftermath, he has also very perfectly shown how Delhi looked like before the mutiny; how it once was a literary hub of the nation; how Hindus and Muslims coexisted with each other heartily in the reign of Zafar before the outbreak and also how rich Delhi was in terms of culture, art, literature, culinary and other such civilized manners. Dalrymple has used the epistles written by the officers of the time perfectly at places and has mastered the skill of narration. “The city of Djinns” writer has a perfect command over storytelling and has woven the whole background of outbreak and it’s after effects till the death of the last Mughal and the end of a magnificent dynasty of Asia in an impeccable manner. Dalrymple has used different books as well to quote or tell different versions or take of different personnel regarding different incidents.  

In short The Last Mughal is another masterpiece by Dalrymple and a must read for all the history lovers. Not only history lovers but it’s also for readers who have a craving for the books which are class apart from the others not so good bestsellers these days. It has reality, it has hard and bitter truth and it’s a journey or a beginning of an end of an emperor and thus has to be on the book shelf of every book lover.

Hey friends, I have written my debut novel, “The Monsoon Marigolds”! read it and show me some love! 🙂 It will be very special for me!


By-Shekhar Srivastava