Jagmohan, in the strikingly original work, tells us how he carried out the management and other reforms concerning the famous shrine of Vaishno Devi, and what tremendous benefits, social, economic and cultural, have flowed from it. In the process, he takes the readers to the ‘cancer wards’ of the Indian society and points out how s seriously is India afflicted with near fatal diseases and how badly is she in need of a ‘root and branch’ treatment.
With rare insight, which is backed by vast practical experience and strong evidence marshaled from dispassionate study of history, the author examines a number of key questions. Who are Hindus? What is their origin? Did their forefathers come from outside India as invaders, or are they the sons and daughters of the soil? What is Hinduism? How has it shaped during its long march in history? W hat is its basic structure, and has this structure been damaged by the spurious stuff emanating from its peripheries?
After examining these and allied questions, Jagmohan builds up his case for a Reformed, Reawakened and Enlightened Hinduism- a Hinduism which is in perfect harmony with the fundamental forces of modern science and modern humanism and would lead to the emergence of a new Hindu. This contemplative and has a clean conscience. He believes in a cohesive society, and is committed not only to the purification of his own soul but also to the purification of the souls around him. He would be a Hindu who could provide a motivational underpinning to all state institutions and make them vibrant, honest and service and result-oriented. Such a Hindu would be best suited to serve the three Mothers- Mother Goddess, Mother Earth and Mother India- and would also be in the best position to offer a new design of life to the world whose very existence is endangered by its imbalanced development.
Jagmohan also warns that if the present attitude of being chauvinistic on the part of some, or being excessively critical or dismissive on the part of others, continues, whatever little remnants of the soul of Hinduism remain would vanish, leaving merely a cold and dreary frame behind.
Jagmohan is the only person who has held the office of Lt. Governor of Delhi twice, of Governor of Jammu and Kashmir twice and nationally honoured twice by the award of Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan, he has also been a distinguished Member of Parliament for fourteen years and a Union Cabinet Minister for five and a half years, holding charge of such significant portfolios as communication, Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, culture and Tour ism. Throughout his long career, he has been a model of clean public life and efficient and effective governance.
A profound scholar and thinker, Jagmohan has published over 600 articles in leading newspapers and journals and seven books: Rebuilding Shahjahanabad; The Walled city of Delhi; Island of Truth; The Challenge of our cities; My Forzen Turbulence in Kashmir; Soul and structure of Governance in India; Shaping India’s New Destiny; and Crisis of Environment and Climate change. Jagmohan was conferred the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Guru Nanak University, Amritsar, as well as by Kurukshetra University. A household name in India, he formulated and carried out the historic reforms of the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine.
As in the case of my previous se v en publications, this book revolves around my personal experience and he ideas and ideals embedded in that experience. It has two main sections.
Section I deals, in the larger context of the current state of the Indian society, with my unique experience of reforming the management and other affairs connected with the famous shrine of Vaishno Devi. It begins with a chapter which reflects upon my commitment to the three Mothers- Mother Goddess, Mother India and Mother Earth- and provides the background for the action I took. It is followed by a chapter, A Journey to remember, in which I take the readers along with me and point out to them some of the ‘cancer-wards’ of India’s social and moral decadence, wherein one enters with courage and commitment to treat the terribly sick patients but generally ends by getting himself locked in and knowing not what to do- which locks to break, which doors to demolish and whom to call for help!
Nevertheless, in the subsequent chapters of this section, I carve a way out and show how an earnest and skillful surgeon can root out the deadly tissues, cure the inmates of the seemingly irreversible diseases and convert the wards of despair and darkness into those of hope and light.
After my first visit, I had recorded a note which inter alia, said: If one were to see moral and material degeneration of the present-day India, all that one has to do is walk from Katra to the Mata Vaishno Devi Bhavan. The entire area looks like one ‘grand abomination’. Here, despiritualisation of India seems to be total. The self-appointed guardians of ‘gods’ have poisoned the entire environment and established a tyranny of corruption and crookedness and caused a waste-land of superficiality and superstitions. Even the most denuded landscape would have a patch or two of green, but none was here.
Consequent to the management-reforms and other measures, undertaken by me, during the Governor’s rule of 1986m radical and all-around improvements have come about. Culturally, the ancient philosophy of Shakti has been given a proper context and those who are knowledgeable now see it as a science of the soul. Environmentally, the entire area in and around the Shrine has been upgraded and made congenial to the realization of spiritual powers which usually lie buried underneath the ‘dust and din’ of day to day life. Economically huge resources have been mustered and ploughed into the region for its development. Socially, the evil of beggary has been rooted out in the area and a number of new avenues opened up for providing employment to the deprived and disprivileged, especially women. Administratively, a new model for creative, constructive and effective governance has been evolved and presented to the nation. And, above all, the core-component of Hindu faith has been put in its highest orbit and its humanistic and service-oriented face brought out for the education and enlightenment of millions of pilgrims, from India and abroad, who now visit the Shrine every year. Tradition and modernity have also been synthesised in a manner which underlines the significance of both of them in building a new India.
Apart from unfolding the pattern of thought and action which brought about the aforesaid transformation, Section I invites attention, in Chapter VI, to the larger meaning of images and symbols of the Shrine Chapter VII, titled: Stones, Shakti and Sciences, has a special significance. It has been put before Chapters VIII and IX, pertaining to action and results, to underscore the point that the motivation for the reforms came not from any narrow religious considerations but from the need to show how deep were the links between the basic structure of Hindu thought and modern sciences.
In Chapter X, I have dealt with the case of aborted reforms pertaining to the Amarnath Shrine, with the main objective of showing how, in our country; the negative forces are acquiring ascendancy in most spheres of public life.
I believe that reforms of Vaishno Devi or other shrines or one or two aspects of Hinduism would have little lasting value it they are not a part of an overall plan for reforming this religion. In Section II, therefore, I discuss my blue-print for a reformed, reawakened and enlightened Hinduism. This section has five chapters. In chapter XI, the objects and principles of the reforms are spelt out. In the next three chapters, to provide a proper backdrop to my proposals and propositions, the following vital questions have been dealt with:
(i) Who are Hindus? Did their fore-fathers come from outside, or are they sons and daughters of the soil who initiated a process which culminated in the growth of Hindu civilization?
(ii) What is Hinduism? What is its basic structure, and also the character and contents of its peripheries?
(iii) Has the basic structure of Hinduism been damaged by the spurious stuff emanating from its peripheries?
After examining these and allied questions, I spell out, in the last chapter, the pattern of my reforms, and also the manifold services that these reforms would render to the Three Mothers- Mother Goddess Mother India and Mother Earth- about whom I have indicated my commitment in chapter I.
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