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    Published On : Thu, Oct 22nd, 2015

    Dashera celebrations across Nagpur show city’s truly cosmopolitan nature

    mohan-bhagwat-mainNagpur: We are seeing them coming into Nagpur from all four directions over the last week, mostly walking. They come in walking briskly but quietly on the side of the road, sometime single file sometime three deep. There are women, youth, men and even little children.

    A fair sprinkling of elder also who still manage to make the trek.They are all headed for the Budha Stoopa at the Deekshabhoomi in Nagpur, where over 5 decades ago their supreme leader Babasaheb Ambedkar renounced Hinduism to embrace Budhism. It was a grand symbolic gesture signalling the end of slavery of his people at the hands of a tyrant religion that had all but dehumanized them.

    Year after year, in the evenings of Dashera, the chants of “Budham sharanam gachchami” still rent the skies with lakhs saying it in unison echoing what had happened on that eventful day.

    About 7 Kms away, in the same city of Nagpur, another group – mostly of khakhi clad men – assemble to celebrate Vijadashami, an important festival of the very religion that these lakhs are renouncing. For this event too, swayam sevaks come from all over the country, because Nagpur is their H.Q.

    Isn’t it strange that both these events happen, very peacefully, year after year, in the same city of Nagpur?

    Dr. Ambedkar was not a Nagpurian; he spent most of his lifetime in Mumbai and Pune – yet why did he chose Nagpur for his most significant action, the culmination of his life’s work?

    Many assume that it was precisely because this was where RSS was based. But in an interview he gave to the BBC, a few days before his demise, so what was essentially his last interview, Babasaheb laughed at the notion.

    Deekshabhoomi (3)“Even that thought had not entered my mind” he said. He explained that he had chosen Nagpur as it was the ancient land of the Nagas, historic race of Indian people who spread Budhism across the world later.

    This is what he said in his own words “The reason for choosing this city is different. Those who read Buddhist history will come to know that in India, if anyone spread Buddhism, it was the Nag people. The Nag people were fearful enemies of the Aryans. A Fierce and fighting war went on between the Aryans and non-Aryans.

    Examples of the harassment of the Nags by the Aryan people are found in the Puranas. Agasti Muni helped only one Nag man to escape from that. We spring from that man. Those Nag people who endured so much suffering wanted some great man to raise them up. They met that great man in Gautam Buddha. The Nag people spread the teaching of Buagwan Buddha all over India. Thus we are like Nag people.It seems that the Nag people lived chiefly in Nagpur and the surrounding country. So they call this city Nagpur, meaning city of Nags. About 27 miles from here the Nag Nadi river flows. Of course the name of the river comes from the people living here.

    In the middle of the Nag habitation runs the Nag Nadi. This is the main reason for choosing this place. Nagpur was chosen because of this. In this matter, there is no question of a lie to provoke someone. This is not such a mental twist. The reason of the R.S.S. did not even come into my mind, and no one should take that explanation as true.

    Deekshabhoomi (2)The R.S.S. on the other hand is based in Nagpur because it was established by the inspiration of a Nagpur man Dr. Hegdewar. Born in Nagpur, Dr. Hegdewar received Medical training and became a Doctor from Calcutta. The organisation initially drew inspiration from European right-wing groups during WW2. Hedgewar, drew inspiration from Adolf Hitler’s ideology of race purity, while Golwalkar admired Jews for maintaining their “religion, culture and language” So there is a contradiction right within the RSS itself! Remember, it was the Germans who massacred millions of Jewish people?

    Nagpur is an equally important place for people of other religions also. Since it was a very important administrative centre for the British, it has many churches, catering to all sects of Christians, but mostly Protestant.

    If you look at Nagpur’s sky line from a height, you see it dotted with churches, masjids and a very prominent Gurudwara too. Lately RSS has been inviting Swayamsevaks of Sikh and Muslim community to celebrateVijayadashmi Utsav at Buddha Park, East Nagpur.

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