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FESTIVALS OF LOHRI AND MAKAR SAMKRANTI
It is one of the most important festival of Northern India which is celebrated with utmost fanfare in traditional style. This festival is always celebrated on 13th January. Lohri  marks the end of winter season and it is the day when the sun changes its course also which is also called ‘Makar Samkranti’ which too is celebrated throughout India which marks the start of auspicious days. Makar Samkranti marks the transition of sun from Saggitarius to Capricorn during winter in the northern hemisphere which is called ‘Uttrayan’ (Sun starts moving towards northern side).  In Northern India It is called ‘Makar Samkranti and celebrated on 14th January.  In other parts of India, it is celebrated with different names like Pongal in South India, Bihu in North East India etc.  People who are inclined towards old traditions and religion, take a dip in the morning in the holy water of sacred rivers or ponds etc and worship the Sun to give them peace and prosperity. People also give charities to the poor and needy ones in the form of food, clothes and also money etc. These traditions are still alive and in small town and cities of India which are not fully affected by modernism, one can find stalls distributing hot food, clothes and money to the poor and needy ones on the day of Makar Samkranti.  This tradition is continuing since the time immemorial and finds its mention in our ancient scriptures as well.
As regards Lohri, it is a festival of Punjab in India and it has its origin in Punjab and nobody knows as to how it started and how old it is. There are various stories popular behind this festival.
Some people believe that it is related to the famous tale of a person namely ‘Dulla Bhatti’. Dulla Bhatti was a highway robber in Punjab during the reign of Akbar who was the emperor of India at that time in 16th Century. Dulla Bhatti used to rob the rich only for specific purpose to help the poor and needy with the money he robbed from the rich. He also used to rescue the girls who were kidnapped and taken forcibly for sale in  the slave markets of other neighbouring countries. He also used to give money to the parents of the rescued girls for arranging their marriage. As such he was a superman for the people of Punjab during that time.  That is why the most famous song of  Lohri  which everyone in India is well acquainted and sings with great zeal has his name in almost every line of the song to express gratitude to Mr Dulla Bhatti, a bandit by profession but a noble soul.
 When the festival of Lohri starts approaching in January, small groups of boys and girls knocks at the door of houses and start singing the famous song of Lohri i.e. “Chunri Munri ho, Tera Kaun Bichara ho, Dulla Bhatti wala ho………….”. People take it as auspicious if the groups of the little boys knocks their doors singing this song. In turn, people give them popcorn, peanuts, dry fruits, crystal sugar, sesame seeds (til), jaggry as well as coins. Though, in big cities, this tradition of boys knocking the doors on Lohri is getting reduced, but in small towns and cities of Punjab and Northern India, one can discern these things very easily for at least 15 days before the festival finally comes on 13th January.  
Some people are of the belief that the festival of Lohri has  its an other link. It has derived its name Lohri from the word  ‘Loi’ who was wife of a famous poet cum saint, Kabir Das who also lived during the period of Akbar in 16th century. In local Punjabi dialect, Lohri is pronounced as Lohi. Some people associate this festival with an other ancient legend of Holika, and Lohri is believed to be the sister of Holika. Holika was burnt in the holy fire by Hirnakashyap who was against even the recital of God’s name. Holika burnt in the holy fire but Lohri survived after that. And people celebrate this festival to remember her. As regards Holika, Hindus celebrate a separate festival for her holy sacrifice in the fire, called Holi which too is celebrated in the month of February or March every year. Holi is the festival of colors which is well known all over the world.
 
Celebration of Lohri is very simple but very attractive which tightens the relationship and emotional bonds between the people. Freinds, relatives and family members gather  in the open space in or outside home and light a bonfire at sunset. All sings together and move around the bonfire dancing, rejoing and chanting  Lohri songs. They also throw some peanuts, jiggery and sesame seeds (reoris) etc in the bonfire to worship it. In addition to this, they sit around this bonfire gossiping, cracking jokes, doing mimickery, singing songs, playing antakshri etc for hours making the atmoshpere more pleasant.This continues for 2-3 hours till 10-11 pm. Really It is fantastic to celebrate such festivals in India. Some people organise dinner etc on this occasion which adds to the celebration. In villages of Punjab, people celebrate this festival whole of the night.
May God bring peace, harmony and prosperity in the world ….. Let us do our Ek Koshish one attempt to make the world a single family through these festivals !
 Ek Koshish one attempt
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Anna Hajare second Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhian Anna Hazare Succeeds to Awake Parliament from its Slumber on the Issue of Corruption
There has always been a lurking doubt in the mind of today’s youth whether Gandhi Ji’s philosophy of Ahimsha (non violence), Satyagriha, Anshan (fasting) is relevant. But Anna Hazare’s movement against corruption has proved its relevance even today. This movement has proved that Gandhi’s philosophy is still relevant in modern times.   
In addition to his philosophy of Ashimsa, Gandhi ji had a vision of an ideal society along with its own political and economic prescriptions. Youth of today has always raised  a question whether India should go through this route and if so, how to achieve the vision which Gandhi Ji perceived.  
People have criticised very often his vision and philosophy variously. These critics have blamed Gandhi ji as conservative and out dated in modern times and his puritanical approach was no longer helpful in development of the country. But Anna Hazare has proved and silenced all critics by giving a message worldwide that Gandhi Ji’s political approach, his satyagriha, Ashimsa, fasting is still relevant for a happy and peaceful society. Anna  Hazare by his 12 days fasting has proved the theory of Gandhi Ji that it is superiority of soul that cannot be potholed by any group of tyrants in a political system.
Gandhi Ji propounded that putting the soul pitting against the powerful ones leads to achieve the target and this pitting results in a massive public movement what we read in the history of our independence and now we see happening again in India. Really this is the mantra of Gandhi Ji which Anna Hazare has espoused not only to fight against the entire political system but also has successfully awaked the people of India to fight collectively against the virus of corruption in a very peaceful and non violent manner.   
Like Gandhi Ji, Anna Hazare has also envisaged an equal and egalitarian society and he boldly declared amidst lacs of people on Ram Lila ground today that he believed in decentralisation of power. Hazare declared that it is the centralisation of power which is the root cause of corruption. Hazare believed in village based economy and political system which would certainly eradicate corruption from top to bottom.
Anna Hazare has astonished the entire world by showing power of idealism and spirituality and their relevance in progress of a society with values. It seems that it is for the first time after Gandhi Ji that Hazare has succeeded in raising his voice in a Gandhian Way. It is the victory of our people who have supported him fully throughout India and abroad. It is symbolic that people too believe in the power of soul and want to live in a world of peace and harmony if people like Anna Hazare leads humanity.
Today is historical and would always be remembered in golden words in Indian History. Though our parliament has agreed unanimously to adopt many of the provisions of Jan Lok Pal Bill as proposed by Anna Hazare, but the important question is that people of India rising above all other things have stamped a mandate that they want a peaceful secular society which would be corruption free. Some people have raised a question that it would lead to conflict between the parliament and the people. But they are wrong in their thought due to the reason that Anna Hazare and his uncountable supporters throughout India and abroad who participated in this mass movement against corruption were just conveying their message and sentiments to the parliament where elected representatives of the people were sitting and watching silently this virus of corruption ruining the people. Nowhere in the entire movement it was evident that people were challenging the duly elected Government and the Parliament.
 JAI HIND …………..
EK KOSHISH One Attempt
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