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tributes

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Indira Gandhi is the tallest leader of the century and his name will always be remembered in the annals of Indian and global history in the centuries to come. A towering world personality who as Indian prime minister for 17 long years not only kept the imperialist and colonial powers at bay but endeavoured hard to established cementing relations with the then USSR and now Russia who always came to India’s rescue in terms of its precious contributions in industrial, economic, trade, commerce, cultural and above all military relations, particularly when during the Bangladesh war of 1971 it not only vetoed in UN’s favour in the United nations but also sent its 8th fleet to compell United States of America take a U turn, which was fastly marching towards India in the Indian Ocean to help Pakistan.

These words were expressed by the former Speaker and union minister and the daughter of former defence minister of India late Babu Jagjivan Ram at a function cum seminar organised by the Indo Russian Friendship Society at USSR cutural centre in New Delhi to pay tribute to late prime minister Indira Gandhi on her 1st birth centenary. The title of the seminar was Indira Gandhi’s contribution in strengthening the Indo Russia Friendship during her prime ministership. Those who spoke beside former speaker Meera Kumar were former MP and Delhi State Congrss chief Jai Prakash Aggrawal, the Russian diplomats F Robosky and the director of Russian affairs stationed at New Delhi. Several prominent personalities of various fieds including two Arjun awardee were also felicitated with honours on this occasion. While addressing the august gathering Meira Kumar said that she had seen and known Indira Gandhi as a child when she alongwith her family were shifted to Delhi in 1946 when the forst interim government was formed before general elections and India was to get full freedom in a year or so.

Her father late Babu Jagjivan Ram was also in the first council of ministers that comprised of 19 ministers under the first Indian Prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. It was under the regular guidance of her father that Indira Gandhi was tutored in socio political hierrchy and finally after becoming the prime minister Mrs Gandhi by the dint of her hard work, grit, determination and perceverence not only gave the nation a pro people leadership by empowering the poor, youths, women and peasents socio economically but had also established a strong bond of friendship with Russia by signing a historical peace and friendship treaty alongwith further strengthening the non aligned movement of which she was later on elected the chairman. pronouncing her as the Iron lady of the country Meira kumar said how strong, confident, fearless, brave and powerful was she can be gauged from the fact that during the 1971 war she didn’t care about United State’s intervention of threatening who then stood solidly with Pakistan but creating the vertical division of Pakistan and created Bangladesh.

And when the 7th fleet of America was marching towards India sought the then USSR’s help and requested the latter to send its 8th fleet after which mighty super power had no option but to take a U Turn, thus leading to the enemy nation’s surrender of 90 thousand military soldiers in Dhaka under general Niyazi. Calling a multifaceted and multi dimensional global leader Meira Kumar said that the friedship ties and the treaty signed by Mrs Gandhi during her prime ministership with the then USSR still stands intact and would incessantly continue in the years to come. The Russian Diplomat F Robosky and the Director, Russian Affairs in India called Indira Gandhi as a tall determined towering leader of the 20th century who left no stone unturned to side with USSR keeping the then super power America away. They said Indira Gandhi was a towering personality.who brought adocal socio economic, industrial and military reforms in India despiye facing tremendous dissent within and outside her party and government.

She stood and fought for the poor and encouraged green revolution in India by incorporating modern agricultural inputs and bringing reforms in agricultural sector. Despite USA’ s presure India lead the non aligned movement and succesfully conducted non the aligned summit in Delhi. From 1960 onwards she helped in strengthening the bond of friendship  between India and Russia called strategic partnership between the two countries. Mr. Robosky added that the 1971 Bangladesh war decided the fact that USSR stands with India at the time of crisis who also helped India while vetoing in India’s favour compelling mighty America  to send back its 7th fleet marching towards India in the Indian ocean to attack India.

The period of Indira’s tenure marked the growth of patnership between India and Russia in the field of bipartisan trade, space and military research and also helped India send Indian astraunaut to Moon. In  1970 Russia saw a tremendous growth in the field of cultural and movie exchanges. He further said: She will be remembered in the centuries to come. We cherish her fond memories.The celebration of Indiraji’s 100 anniversary will continue as Russian plans to hold future exhibitions on Indiraji’s memories in Russia and India.

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The Sai Baba Of Shirdhi who is considered to be the last walking God on earth and worshiped by billions around the globe always believed in simplicity and had no greed for any material gains but instead had only one objective in mind and that was service to the poor and needy and make them self sufficed by all means. For Sai Baba Guru is God and the one who surrenders to his or her Guru in totality is considered the true disciple who can ultimately reap the real fruits of the Guru’s blessings.The Guru will take care of such disciples, protect them and finally lead them to salvation. It should be complete and total surrender on the Guru’s feet with special emphasis on “total” and any doubt or mental reservation on the part of the disciple will not only be unproductive but will also render him as a non- achiever. Sai Baba who reigned as a spiritual leader, the greatest saints of all times finally became God who walked on earth by his infinite miracles for the welfare of the hapless, poor and needy including the lepers who not only became economically self reliant and got cured from the dreaded diseases but also achieved salvation by His grace and ever lasting divinity.

I honestly consider my good luck and feel it my proud privilege for having been able to compile articles on Sai Baba, the real incarnation of Lord Shiva and Vishnu Who not only provide me special potential to do so but also gives enough knowledge to be able to pen my inner feelings about Baba. Baba was and is so great, omnipresent and omniscient that storehouse of knowledge and senior journalist like Rangaswamy Parthasarthy has also written lot about HIM and shed special light on Baba’s karmas for the welfare and upliftment of the poorest sections of the society during His lifetime.Lot and lot has been written about Baba and His miraculous feats for the last hundred years which has not noly benefited billions of His ardent devotees world over to follow His most precious sermons and religious discourses and imbibe them within themselves for attaining purity of mind, heart and soul but Baba’s blessing and divinity has also given complete BLISS to them who pray in veneration at HIS pious feet in total surrender. Let’s therefore know about Baba’s actual existence as a HUMAN and his various feats and miracles during his lifetime in Shridhi where  he came as a fakir through a marriage party(Baraat), was teased by children and frowned upon by sceptically villagers initially and later on remained to reign as a spiritual leader thus finally becoming the most sought after and adoring spiritual leader of all times.
It is said that Sai Baba was five feet six inches tall, neither stout nor lean. His complexion was Golden yellow, his eyes bluish, which shone bright mysteriously in darkness. Indeed His eyes were the object of wonder to the devotees. His nostrils were prominent. At the time when Sai Shradhanandji, who has given the above description of Baba in the book titled, God Who Walked On Earth- The Life and Times of Shridhi Sai Baba,authered by Mr. Rangachari, Sai Baba had some of His teeth missing and the rest were not pure white, rather pale.He never brushed His teeth but only rinsed His mouth with a little water every morning. He did not drink tea but did not ask His devotees to abstain from them. He never disclosed anyone how and when He got into the habit of smoking a pipe. He always used the same clay pipe although devotees often offered Him many pipes which he did not use but stocked them in the hollow portion of the Masjid Wall.
The piece of cloth tied around His head called Kafni was very rarely changed and never washed. Whenever Sai Baba decided to change His Kafni, He sent for the local tailor and said, Get me a Kafni,. When it was given to Him He always paid the tailor more than its worth. Left to Himself Baba spoke very little. He always preferred to be a silent spectator than to be talkative. He was more at the receiving end, always chanting God’s name within Himself. Baba usually remained calm and quite and spoke only when absolutely necessary. He never laughed loudly but smiled quietly. Whenever a devotee approached to Him for Darshan, He glanced at him. Sometimes He did not even do that. He adored children very much and whenever got the opportunity, played with them merrily. He never sat leaning against the wall in the mosque. Even when he sat with His legs outstretched, He always sat a few feet away from the wall. He never slept during the day and seldom visited any temple in Shridhi during his lifetime, may be because since He Himself was the God in Himself, the real an true incarnation of Lord Shiva,Rama, and Vishnu.
Sai Baba used to usually get His head shaved. Marthand son of Mhalsapati said that on certain occassions Baba sent for a barber, Balanari and had His head shaved completely. After the haircut Baba used to put His hand into His pocket and pay the barber whatever came to his hands. But it was always much in excess of the normal payment for a shave. Baba maintained a small beard. He had a wide forehead and always wore a plain Kafni.
The clay pipe was often renewed by His devotees who used to encircle Him whenever the pipe smoking session was in process by passing the rustic pipe to each other one by one. Baba never had any reservation of sharing the pipe though it was also smoked by one of the lepers’.In one of the notings in his diary by his devotee Kharparde, it is revealed thus,” Today I have shampooed the legs of Sai Baba. The softness of His limbs is wonderful. This example shows how privileged His devotees felt by washing his legs”.
Similarly a woman devotee of Baba has also recorded her emotions and impressions about Baba’s personality,:” There was such power and penetration in His glance that none could continue to look into His eyes.One felt that Sai Baba was reading Him or her mind through and through. Soon one lowered one’s eyes and bowed to Him. One felt that He was not only in one’s heart but in every atom of one’s body. A few words or a gesture would reveal that Baba knew all about everything else. There was nothing else to do for one except to submit trustfully and to surrender to Him in totality. And then He was to look after every minute detail and guide one safely through every turn and vicissitude of life. He was in real sense an Antaryami, call Him God or Satpurush or a walking humanitarian on earth born for the welfare and well being for the humanity around the globe.
Baba was so reserve from within and completely devoted to GOD that His words were always short, limited, pithy,deep, full of meaning and well balanced. He once said,” Though I have become a fakir, have no house, wife and though devoid of all the material gains, I have stayed at one place, the inevitable Maya teases me often. Though I forget myself, I cannot forget her. She envelopes me. This maya teases God Brahma and others as well then what to speak of a poor fakir like me? Hence according to Baba, those who take refuge in Lord will definitely be freed from the clutches of Maya with His grace.
An ardent devotee of Baba said : many saints went into a trance or samadhi, forgetting their body and they would display their supernatural powers and knowledge through such feats. But in case of Sai Baba He never had to go into a trance to achieve anything or reach any higher position. As Baba was always exercising a double consciousness every moment , the ego called Sai Baba and the antaryami, superseding all egos and finally resting in the Lord, the Parmatma. Baba was always in the state of exercising and manifesting the powers and features of both states of consciousness. The devotee says: When I sit in His presence I always forget my pain, nay,the body itself with all its mundane concerns and anxieties. Hours would pass and I would be in a blissful condition unconscious of the time passing. He was all in all for us and we could never think of His having limitations.
One notable instance of Baba’s miracle was when a portion of the mosque which was in a very dilapidated state, started to crumble with a loud noise while Baba and His devotees were taking the afternoon meals,”
On seeing this, Baba lifted his hands in anger and said loudly: SAHA, SAHAR,” meaning wait, wait. And suddenly the noise stopped and after the meal was finished and everyone came out comfortably, a big portion of the dilapidated mosque came down with a shattering noise and huge bang, exactly at the place where Baba and his devotees were having the lunch. Lateron the renovation work of mosque was taken and the dilapidated mosque repaired, forthwith.Similarly Baba used to used His intestines regularly by vomiting them out first and after adequately cleaning them would swallow them again. This miraculous feat is also something never witnessed anywhere in the world. Such supernatural power was He. There are hundreds and thousands of such instances that prove beyond doubt that Sai Baba of Shridhi was not an ordinary saint or a spiritual leader but a God in Him self who till today is providing overall bliss, all round progress and prosperity to billions and billions of his devotees around the globe with His blessings and divinity.OM SAI RAM.
SUNIL NEGI