(सौजन्य - राजभाषा विभाग एवं सी डेक)
Prakash : Listen, Deepa. Did Anant call? By now Anant and his friends must have reached Manali. Did you keep warm clothes and a blanket in his things or not? In the month of March it must be quite cold there in the morning and evening.
Deepa : Anant's call had come. He said that they were staying in some hotel one kilometer above Mall Road. There are mountains on all sides of the hotel whose peaks are covered with snow.The fields are blooming with mustard. There is a small village a little ahead of the hotel. Seeing the natural beauty Anant was spell-bound. Tomorrow morning they are going to see Vashistha Rishi, Devi Hidimba and Manu temples. Right now they must be preparing for tomorrow's journey.
(Next day in the evening)
Prakash : What is the children's programme in the evening?
Deepa : I don't know, no call has come yet. They must have bathed in the Vyas river this morning. After the bath they must have visited temples. Right now a camp fire must be taking place in the hotel lawn. The children must be singing and dancing. They must be eating and drinking.
Prakash : Deepa, Anant may have gone to Solang valley today. There Para-gliding and skiing takes place too.
Deepa : Your guess is right. Today they must be in Solang valley situated in the midst of snow-clad mountains. Seeing the snow covered valley it seems as if cotton-wool has been spread out for miles. The children must be really having a thrilling experience. Somebody must be paragliding while someone must be skiing on the ice. Some children must be sitting on tyros and slipping down the hills. Anant would have surely captured the natural beauty in his movie camera. When he returns we will see the whole scene.
Prakash : Truly, I have never before seen such a charming place like Manali. Because of its beauty it is also called the region of Gods.
Deepa : Yes, I still remember the Manali trip.
Prakash : It's good that for some time the children must be enjoying the beauty of nature free from the tension of studies. They will always remember the days spent in the lap of nature along with their friends and colleagues.
Mr. Shivnath lived in Mumbai. He worked in the postal department. He was a very happy natured and social man. He would often tell jokes and in the middle burst into loud laughter. Mr. Shivnath was getting a house built in Nasik. After retirement he wanted to stay away from the hustle-bustle and lead a peaceful life. He had left his family in Nasik. He thought that this way the house would get built and the children's education would also continue unobstructed. To build the house Mr. Shivnath had taken advance money from his provident fund account. Whatever he saved by cutting down his needs he put that also for the same use. To make the house according his choice he kept thinking about going to Nasik. He would not only go there on Sundays or gazetted holidays, he would utilize restricted holidays also the same way.
In lieu of overtime work when he got compensatory leave, he would go there only. For this purpose he would take two to four days casual leave also. Once a year he would surely take long, earned leave and he would also keep going there after taking permission to add Sundays, etc. to other holidays. He would often think about his children and of how his son was studying. Was he studying according to the time-table or not. The thought that his daughter has grown up kept coming to his mind. She must be going to college by bus. How would she be preparing for the exams? On coming to Nasik whenever his wife spoke of going out or seeing a film he would answer that only a few more days of austerity were left, after which they could lead their lives as they desired. Finally one day after retirement Mr. Shivnath reached Nasik. He took over the management of the house in his hands. He experienced a sense of satisfaction that he was totally fulfilling his responsibilities. In this over enthusiasm he would often give advice to his son. Understand the value of time, don't be lazy, if you want to achieve success in life then you have to work hard. He would also point out to his daughter. He would say not to bother about fashion. Stay simple. The children did not like this. He would ask his wife to go out with him. With shyness and hesitation his wife would say, In this old age I don't like to go out roaming with you. The way I have been staying here, let me continue to stay the same way.` Mr. Shivnath felt that these people didn't like his staying here. His father says the right thing, this has been happening forever. What mistake am I doing in this? But it doesn't feel good staying as an unwanted person also. He thought, why not go back to Mumbai? Then the thought came is his mind that once he should talk to everyone. Next day Mr. Shivnath called everyone together. On the breakfast table he told them that parents keep thinking for the good of their children only. What is wrong in that? If you don't like my staying here then I will go back to Mumbai. I will continue to stay as I was staying earlier. You can also stay as you want to. His wife and children realized their mistake. They asked Mr. Shivnath to forgive them and said to remove the thought of going to Mumbai from his mind.
Under the United Nations the organization which carries out work worldwide is known as UNICEF meaning United Nations Children's Education Fund. In our country this organization is working since the year 1949.This organization works for children's organizations all over the world. This organization is making an endeavor for the development of children. Under the United Nations Children's Education Fund thousands of activists work to protect the rights of children and towards their development throughout the world. For example :- Necessary medicines for children, education, health and providing help in emergency situations, etc. Since birth every child is rightfully entitled to his name, national identity, proper care and good health and education. In this connection UNICEF officials get laws made for the benefit of children by the governments of countries.
Most countries in the world have given their consent to UNICEF for the protection of the rights of their children. Putting an end to gender discrimination in children, for their good health UNICEF ensures that they get a balanced diet. Through the governments of different countries it provides children the facilities of cleanliness, drinking water and basic education. Along with this it makes an effort to free children from exploitation and torture and provide them a clean environment. With the aim of controlling and reducing the death-rate amongst new born infants this organization distributes balanced food to pregnant women to save them from malnutrition and runs necessary immunization campaigns also. From the birth of the baby till the first six months along with providing advice on mother's milk, use of mosquito nets for protection against malaria and drinking of life-saving solution for protection against diarrhea, it also provides other facilities. With the co-operation of voluntary organizations, this organization does extensive publicity to create alertness amongst the general public. Along with blindness in children and polio eradication, for protection against goitre, whooping cough and diphtheria, UNICEF provides Vitamin A, Iodine and other medicines. In this way UNICEF is an organization that is dedicatedly working for the welfare of children throughout the world. It enforces its' programmes through the governments of the world, voluntary organizations and people.
The later half of the nineteenth century is of special importance in the history of our country. At that time many great men were born in our country. Amongst these great men were reformers of society, thinkers and world famous politicians too. Swami Vivekananda was one of them. On 12th January, 1863 on Makar Sankranti day Vivekananda was born in the house of Calcutta's renowned lawyer, Mr. Vishwanath Dutt. In childhood Vivekananda was lovingly called Naren/Narendra. Since childhood Narendra was very intelligent and his memory was very sharp. Naren passed Inter and B.A. examinations from Calcutta University. During his college days he took special interest in reading books on various topics. In his study room wherever you saw you would see only books. His English professor W.W. Hasty has written that Naren was a talented student. The kind of talent and capability which I saw in Naren, I have not seen anywhere else. In fact such a talented student could not be found even amongst the students of Philosophy in the universities of Germany. Along with studies he had special interest in music too. He was not satisfied with just bookish knowledge but made continuous effort to gain knowledge based on truth. At the same time Raja Ram Mohan Roy established the Brahma Samaj in Bengal. Vivekananda was quite impressed with him and got associated with the Brahma Samaj. But he could not find the solution to many of his doubts there.15th January 1882 was the most important day in Naren's life. On that day he met Swami Ramakrishna Paramhansa. He was greatly impressed by Swami Ramkrishna's preaching. His knowledge awakened and people started calling him Swami Vivekananda. On 11th September, 1893 at the World Religion Congress convened at Chicago (America) when he opened his speech with the address Brothers and Sisters living in America, the hall reverberated with applause. In the hall whenever you looked you could see people eager to hear him. This unknown saint from India suddenly became world famous because in his speech there was such a blend of Indian and western culture which was not there in anyone else's speech. In his personality there was a unique attraction and seriousness. There was magic in his voice. He did not speak like a preacher but spoke will full authority. In his view work is true worship. In the field, threshing floor, school, factory or playground, work done honesty in any field is true religion and these placed are as sacred as a saint's hut on the doors of a temple. In this way he considers labour (deeds) to be the true path to meet God in your life. Where on one hand Swami ji explained about religion, on the other hand he stressed on reforms in society. The sovereignty and socialism which are visualized in the constitution, Vivekananda had sown their foundation much earlier. He always spoke about the upliftment of the poor. He layed stress on women's education and freedom for women. He considered education as the base for the development of people and the society. In our country the birthday of Swami Vivekananda is celebrated as Youth Day. This is our true tribute to Swami Vivekananda.
I was reading the newspaper in the morning. On the first page of the newspaper only there was a big advertisement, in which there was information of a huge exhibition in Ram Lila ground. As it was a Sunday I wanted to rest the whole day. After just a little while the bell of my mobile phone rang. The call was from my close friend. He insisted that I should go with him to see the exhibition. Although I did not wish to go out, I could not refuse him. After a short while my friend brought his car and came.
The exhibition ground was not very far so we reached the exhibition site in just half an hour. Due to the crowd and special security it took very long to park the car. The grandness of the exhibition could be seen from outside only. In a little while we reached the ticket window. Although the ticket for the exhibition was quite expensive, still there was a big crowd of visitors. Maybe some special guests were coming to see the exhibition today. We took the ticket and went inside. Not only was there a crowd of children, old people and youth, but a large number of ladies had also come. Here were many halls in the exhibition. On one side there was a stall of ready-made garments, while on the other side there was a stall of leather and rackseen goods. There were so many crowds in the stall of ladies garments as if you were getting things free. Although the things were not cheap, still there was lot of sale. There were many stalls of furniture and electronic gadgets. Mostly electronic goods were exhibited. Although everything from mobiles to computers was available in these stalls, still there were few buyers. Though we didn't want to buy anything specific, still we asked the prices of goods. We even liked some things, but we were not sure of their quality. We ended up buying a few things of daily use. Although we were quite tired, still we wanted to roam about more. In the end we sat down in an open restaurant to relax. The restaurant had plenty of idli-dosa, pav-bhaji and Rajasthani dishes. After eating pav-bhaji, we had tea and after a little while we returned home.
This evening I had just returned home from office when my wife handed me a letter. In today's mobile, fax and e-mail world getting a letter was no less than a surprise. These days people have forgotten to send even letters of greetings. Greeting messages for New Year, Holi, Diwali, Pongal, etc. are now being sent via the telephone and e-mail. As soon as I took the letter in my hand I saw the stamp of the post-office of Imphal. Seeing it the days I spent in Imphal during the period 1981 to 1984 started roaming before my eyes like a film. It seemed as if Lokhan Singh of 21 years ago had come and stood before me. I had got my first job at the post of translator in the Directorate of Census Operations situated in Manipur. Around the same time as me Lokhan Singh was also appointed at the post of deputy class clerk. Lokhan's house was in Bishanpur, approximately 26 kms from Imphal. With an ordinary face, pure Manipuri features and a strong body Lokhan Singh looked somewhat different from the common Maitaiyee. Due to his free laughter and steady behaviour I started getting attracted towards him and slowly our friendship became deep. Both of us would sit for hours and discuss various topics. Although Maitaiyees are of very introvert nature, they don't like mixing with outsiders, even then they greatly respect their guests. For them inviting someone to their house is probably giving greatest respect to him. One day Lokhan Singh invited me to his house for food. I was very happy to receive the invitation. The next day in the morning I reached the bus stop. There the bus going to Choodachandpur was standing. This bus would go via Bishanpur. It takes about one hour to reach Bishanpur. While sitting in the bus I started thinking about his house and fell asleep. As soon as I got down from the bus Lokhan Singh started waving his hands and calling me. As soon as we reached the house, his father came out of the house. Lokhan introduced me to him. I said 'Khurarmajri' (Namaste) and wished him. His father had retired from the post of a teacher. His sister had completed her studies and had got a job. His clay-tiled house gave a glimpse of characteristic Manipuri culture. The pond behind the house was filled with lotus flowers. In the sitting room decorated with bamboo furniture the food had been laid out. There were many types of chutneys in the food, in which 'Iromba' was very tasty. I had eaten papaya and banana vegetables before, but I ate bamboo vegetable and bamboo pickle for the first time. The food was very tasty. After food we started talking. It became evening and the sun was setting. Just as I was returning, his father gave me a bamboo basket he had made with his own hands and his sister gifted me a Manipuri shawl and sheet. These gifts which were a symbol of love are very valuable for me even today. On the way back they asked me to come to Lokhtak lake. Since I had seen that place earlier, I did not go there. Those days the office used to work six days a week. The office timing was also from 10.00 in the morning till 5.00 in the evening. The second Saturday of every month was a holiday. On holidays it was very nice to roam around close-by. In Imphal also multi-storied buildings and office related premises had started being made. Some buildings had been made and some were being made. The construction of a sports complex had started on B.T. Road near Paona market. In the letter he had invited me to come to Imphal along with my family. Reading the letter I had a keen desire to meet Lokhan Singh. I started planning to go to Imphal with my family.