Dear Philips People,
This is probably my 8th-9th mail to you without eliciting any conclusive response from your side. Last time, I went almost two months without television. And it took you one and half month to decide if the problem can be rectified or not. And then it was replaced after much hassle. What amuses me is you people had no information for one and half month if you have spare parts in stock or not. A global conglomerate Philips works in such a shoddy way is surprising. The model was replaced on whims, and no new warranty card or information etc was provided, despite repeated reminders and calls to the local in-charge, technician.
The model since replaced after almost two months developed snag again, such is the trustworthiness of Philips brand now. And then I finally put up a complaint on 25th September. And I wanted the model to be replaced altogether. Without paying any heed, a 'technician' was sent a couple of days later. 'Technician' was neither dressed in a professional way, nor had any identity card to establish that, neither did he provide with any receipt. I believe your team here in Bihar, at least, lacks professionalism entirely. Neither his communication means suggested that he was some professional. Allowing him inside house, letting him open and take away parts was a matter of leap of faith for me. Your local Philips team amuses, surprises, shocks me to the core.
Moreover, today is 12th October. It has been more than 15 days. This is the second time in less than an year with Philips that it has taken this long. And less than six months for a newly replaced TV. In between, I received a mail which provided me with the contact detail of Rohit Kumar, supposedly in-charge of Bihar & Jharkhand. I called him a couple of times. On 6th October, after my repeated plea that it should be rectified at earliest, he assures me about it in next two days. It doesn't happen. I called him again today and reminded him of his promise. A complete unprofessional he is, his response matched the same. He told me that his engineer has taken sick. When I told him, I pay and buy a product and expect service for it, and no excuse. And it is not a matter of my concern if someone is sick or not. He in a very rude manner told me, 'Insaaniyat aapke andar ek dam nahi hai', which, when translated means. 'You are devoid of humanity'. Now this is beyond ignoble, disgusting and completely lacks professional attitude. Kindly make him aware about a few professional ethics. A customer pays for products and services, and he expects that. Secondly, what is shocking is that Philips has recruited a single technician for entire state of Bihar, for servicing 13 crore population, and if that technician takes ill then people of entire province be on mercy!
Philips fails on many account. Mainly,
A. Poor quality of product. Philips has lost its sheen on the account, for which it used to be known: Quality. Two television going kaput within few weeks, sadly, is a testimony to the fact.
B. Pathetic, shoddy, shabby service. Imagine yourself opening up your door to a person in un-presentable condition, dressed shabbily in colourful dresses, telling you that he is an authorized technician. You ask for identity card, there is none. You still allow him inside house, he converses in a very dismissive and tangential way, completely devoid of any resemblance of professionalism. He opens your television, and tells you a few part are faulty, and he needs to carry it. He opens away those parts, and you ask for some receipt, because you aren't sure about him being a technician, even if you were sure, he should give you some documents as guarantee. But no, he doesn't have any. What if he is a thief who is doing a recce of your home, after following you from mall, when you were talking on phone with customer support of Philips?
Funny part is Philips intend to sell its product in a market of 13 crore people, but decides to hire just one technician for entire state, or maybe capital city. And if he is ill, and by chance you called them up, and insisted on your appliance being serviced, be ready to hear maxims like, "You are completely devoid of humanity, cannot you see that person is ill?" Ohh well, it was your mistake since beginning to have complained, or purchased their product. Another funny part, Philips sells its product here, but keeps the spare part in another metropolitan city. In days of single day delivery across India, it takes them 15-45 days to send a requisition, know about availability, source them. Snail pace, is a bit too futuristic for Philips India, and Bihar team in particular.
They eat up on your warranty duration, and sit duck about it, feel cool about it, if you insist on quality service, they will sermonise you on humanity. That is Philips Bihar team for you!
I would as well request Reliance Digital, to stop stocking such shoddy products with unprofessional support team. They are a respected chain, and they should stop stocking products which they sell in certain market, but do not have any support ecosystem. Reliance Digital should only store Philips product in those town where they have service.
I want either refund of entire television along with compensation for lack of TV for more than two months, and mental agony they have caused me. I cannot be expected to bear with a shoddy product, and diminished two months of warranty or the refund of entire television along with compensation for lack of TV for more than two months, and mental agony they have caused me. Either/Or sentence prior to the current line wasn't a typo, it was written with the same intention. Pim Pressman, and Leaondro Mazzoni must take note, I expect an apology from the local Philips team for the rude and crude behaviour. Nothing less than this would suffice.
THE spectrum of regional inequalities in India is a very wide one. Punjab and Bihar with per capita incomes of Rs 25,048 and Rs 5,466 respectively represent the two ends of the wide spectrum. Though this might even have been the case historically, a cursory study of state GDP’s in the decades after independence reveals that the width of the spectrum has only widened. In 1965, Punjab’s per capita income was Rs 562, 1.7 times that of Bihar’s Rs 332. In 2001, Punjab’s per capita income grew 45 times over to Rs 25,048 and is now almost five times that of Bihar. In contrast, Bihar’s per capita grew by just 16 times to Rs 5,466. During the same period the national per capita grew from Rs 490 to Rs 16,707 or by 34 times. Quite clearly Bihar has been growing at a much slower pace than the rest of the country. It would seem that rather than ensuring greater equality, five decades of central planning has actually resulted in greater inequality between the states in particular and regions in general.
Compounding this extremely unhappy situation is the fact that the intra-state inequality too is much greater in Bihar than in Punjab. The Gini coefficient for Punjab is 0.29 while that of Bihar is 0.318.1 The Gini coefficient, a measure of the inequality of income distribution, fixes inequality on a scale of zero to one. Thus in a society where everyone receives the same income the Gini will be 0.0, while if one person were to get everything, the Gini would be 1.0. In other words, the higher the Gini, the greater the inequality. The movement of the Gini tells us about the kind of society a country has. In Cuba the Gini moved down from 0.55 in 1953 to 0.22 in 1986, while in the USA it rose from 0.35 in the 1970s to 0.40 now. Most European countries get Gini’s around 0.30 while most African countries have Gini’s in excess of 0.45. So we should not be surprised that Bihar’s Gini is so much worse than Punjab’s.
Sustained high economic growth leads to greater equalization, and economic growth, in India at least, is a direct outcome of public investment. That Punjab grew faster than Bihar because of higher public investment can be easily discerned by analyzing the size of the five year plans. In the first plan the outlay for Punjab was Rs 124 crore entailing a per capita expenditure of Rs 136.26, whereas it was Rs 104.4 crore and Rs 26.98 respectively for Bihar. The 10th plan envisaged an outlay of Rs 18657 crore for the now much truncated Punjab with a per capita expenditure of Rs 7684.1, whereas the comparable figure for a truncated Bihar was Rs 21000 crore, translating into Rs 2536.23 per capita.
Higher public investment in a state also has other long-term effects. For instance higher investment resulting in greater tax collections gives rise to an ever-increasing entitlement to central funds. In this manner the original injustice leads to perennial flow of ‘entitled’ funds.
Since its inception in March 1950, the main thrust of the Planning Commission has been to ‘formulate a plan for the most effective and balanced utilization of the country’s resources; and to define the stages, on a determination of priorities, in which the plan should be carried out and propose the allocation of resources for the due completion of each stage.’2
From the beginning India’s economy has been vigorously planned and continues to be so even after the so-called liberalization in 1992. The growth in the size of every plan is indicative of their pivotal role in shaping the economic destiny of India. The first five year plan (1951-56) had an outlay of Rs 1,960 crore while the GNP in 1951 was Rs 9,506 crore. The 10th five year plan (2002-07) in contrast has grown to Rs 15,92,300 crore while the GNP in 2002 was Rs 22,30,372 crore. Thus while GNP has grown 235 times over, plan outlays have grown more than 835 times. During the same period, per capita income has risen from Rs 275 in 1951 to Rs 16, 707 in 2002, or by about 61 times.
One very obvious inference is that the state has been the main engine of economic growth in India and the Planning Commission, as it sets priorities and apportions resources, is the driver of this engine. It is undeniable that there has been growth and Indian society has undergone a substantial transformation in the past five decades. A good part of the credit for this must accrue to the Planning Commission that so minutely plotted the path of growth and change. Having said that, it also follows that what happened as a result of the skewed priorities of the plans must also be ascribed to it.
Though the achievement of a greater equity between people and regions in India was not explicitly stated in the Constitution, the very notions of a socialistic society and democracy implies a determined thrust towards just that. Unfortunately, from all available data, it is obvious that this did not happen. In fact the divisions between regions and people only deepened, a fact detailed in many studies. So why did this not become a political issue? Is it that our leaders do not care? Or that they do not know? Or is it that the people in general do not care? Whatever be the reasons, we have over time come to accept certain stereotypes, such as the relative prosperity of the Punjab is due to the hard-working and innovative peasant, while the poverty of Bihar is due to the deep divisions in its society, corruption and lawlessness. Like most generalizations these too are seriously flawed.
Clearly Punjab prospered as India made huge investments in the state. These investments were often at the cost of other regions. Take the year 1955. In this year the total national outlay for irrigation was Rs 29,106.30 lakh. Of this Punjab got Rs 10,952.10 lakh or 37.62%. In contrast Bihar got only Rs 1,323.30 lakh, which is only 4.54% of the irrigation outlay. The Bhakra Nangal dam, one of Jawaharlal Nehru’s grandest temples of modern India, planned at an outlay of Rs 7,750 lakh, alone irrigates 14.41 lakh hectares. Even after excluding this from Punjab’s irrigation plan, we see that its outlay is almost 2.5 times that of Bihar.
Punjab has 50.36 lakh ha. of land and of this 42.88 lakh ha. is arable. Of this arable land 89.72% or 38.47 lakh ha. is irrigated. Looking at it in another way, 76.38% of all land in Punjab is irrigated, much of it owing to the munificence of the Government of India.
In contrast only 40.86% or 71 lakh ha of Bihar’s total area of 173.80 lakh ha is under cultivation. Of this cultivated area only 36.42 lakh ha or 51.30% is irrigated. Thus Bihar which is almost 3.5 times larger than Punjab has less irrigated land than Punjab. Even after accommodating for the difference in terrains in both states, the sheer difference in the quantum and percentage of irrigated acreage, the direct result of public spending on irrigation in Punjab, is telling. It is not without some irony that having benefited at the cost of other states, Punjab today denies any water to the neighbouring states.
As argued earlier, Punjab got much more than Bihar in each of the five year plans. There is no need to stress that the bulk of plan funds are provided by the Government of India. This is well known. But what goes unnoticed are other less obvious benefits. For instance, almost 50% of the foodgrains procurement by the FCI is from Punjab, which means about half the food subsidy of Rs 25,160 crore too flows into the hands of Punjab’s farmers. Likewise, since Punjab consumes 8.01% of the total fertilizers, it also benefited by Rs 1,060.85 crore on this account alone. Since subsidies only escalate, it is likely that in the years to come Punjab will get even more of them.
But what is more lucrative and perhaps the most unfair of the benefits that Punjab garners for itself at the cost of others is in cornering over a third of all positions in the Indian armed forces. Detailed statistics are not easily available, and military officials are understandably cagey about revealing details of a state-wise breakdown of military recruitment. The argument that some sub-nationalities are martial races and make better soldiers than others has been more than amply proven to be false by the battlefield showings of the other regiments of the Indian Army. Besides, it must also not be forgotten that the East India Company subjugated the entire Punjab with troops mostly drawn from present day UP and Bihar, who in turn were subjugated by troops drawn from southern India.
The skew towards recruitment from Punjab is best illustrated by the fact that the Indian Army derives two infantry regiments – the Sikh and Punjab – with about 40 battalions from the Punjab. In contrast the Indian Army has one Bihar Regiment with about 20 battalions. The skew does not end here. The Sikh and Punjab regiments consist mostly of troops recruited from the plains and foothills of Punjab, while the Bihar regiment draws its soldiers from Bihar, Jharkhand, eastern UP and abutting areas of MP and Chhattisgarh. Most of the non-infantry units also heavily draw recruits from Punjab. The Armoured Corps, for instance, is said to be almost 50% from Punjab.
An important point for us to consider is that the wage bill of India’s armed forces, 1.18 million strong at last count, in 2000-2001 was Rs 44,233.67 crore and Punjab got at least Rs 14,745 crore of it.3 There are currently 18,01,145 ex-servicemen in India. In addition we have 3,72,179 widows receiving pensions. The total pension bill of the armed forces was Rs 11,000 crore (est.) in 2003. In the past six years alone this amount has grown from Rs 4,947.42 crore to Rs 11,000 crore. This means in the past seven years at least Rs 22,000 crore of the Rs 65,000 crore paid by way of pensions has flowed into Punjab on this account.
In contrast Bihar gets a negligible amount in terms of both wages and pensions. It is Kerala which is often described as a money order economy. But facts seem to suggest that it is Punjab that better fits this description. With such subsidies and fund flows, both deserved and undeserved, it is little wonder that Punjab is doing better than others and much better than Bihar.
In recent years there has emerged a new trend of ranking states ostensibly on the basis of performance by magazines and other publications. Since they command considerable resources and are politically influential, such awards are public occasions with constitutional functionaries like the President of India lending a stamp of official confirmation of authenticity to the awards. Punjab does well in getting these awards. Two years ago the best administered state award given annually by the widely circulated India Today newsmagazine was presented to Punjab’s former chief minister, incidentally just a year before the people of Punjab ignominiously turned him out of power. It only proves that you can’t fool all the people all the time.
As we have seen in the case of Punjab and Bihar, unequal public spending has created an unequal economic situation. But this does not automatically establish that Punjab is better administered, as these publications would like us to believe. Punjab’s financial position is not much better than that of Bihar. Probably the best measure of how well a state is being administered is to look at its debt service ratio. Punjab is no better than Bihar in this regard.
Clearly both states are living beyond their means, but Bihar is doing better on this account with much smaller revenue expenditure to revenue gap. In 2002-03 this gap for Bihar was Rs 1,517 crore, whereas it was Rs 3,018 crore for Punjab. Both states have almost the same revenue levels. Bihar has a superior record than Punjab when it comes to the proportion of disbursements out of capital budgets.
If one has to go by the charges made by the present chief minister of Punjab against his immediate predecessor, and what the previous chief minister said about the present incumbent, corruption in Punjab is a much more serious problem. The sums involved at the top leadership level are quite astounding. There is no evidence to suggest that the incidence of subordinate corruption is lower in Punjab than Bihar. Clearly being better off does not make a state better run, especially when doing better just means getting more from the Government of India than size, needs and merit warrant.
The relationship between human development rankings and per capita income is an obvious one. Thus, generally speaking, the higher the per capita income, the higher is the human development ranking. While these rankings have not changed in any substantial way since 1981, the big change was in Tamil Nadu, which leapt from seventh place in the HDR to third place between 1981 and 1991. It stayed that way till 2001. Tamil Nadu also had the best economic growth during this period. In the decade 1991-2001, Tamil Nadu’s per capita income grew by 378% while that of Punjab grew by 306%.
How much more did Punjab get and how much less did Bihar get?
Five year plan
Actual plan allocation to Punjab
Projected plan allocation on basis of national average
Gap between I and II
Actual plan allocation to Bihar
Projected plan allocation on basis of national average
Gap between I and II
First FYP 1951-56
Actual plan allocation to Punjab: 124.00
Projected plan allocation on basis of national average: 52.71
Actual plan allocation: 104.00
Projected plan allocation on basis of national average: 423.22
Second FYP 1956-61
Actual plan allocation:1263.00
Projected plan allocation on basis of national average:110.37
Actual plan allocation: 194.20
Third FYP 1961-66
Actual plan allocation 231.40
Fourth FYP 1969-74
Fifth FYP 1974-79
Sixth FYP 1980-85
Seventh FYP 1985-90
Eighth FYP 1992-97
Ninth FYP 1997-02
Tenth FYP 2002-07
Diff: Gain of 9742.19cr more than they should have
Loss of (-)77161.50 than what should have been given
During this entire period political power in Tamil Nadu alternated between the two Dravidian parties, each with similarly quaint notions of good governance, probity in public life, and personal ethics. The point here is that the calibre and even character quotient of political and bureaucratic leadership does not vary much from state to state, yet some do better than others. Much of this has to do with public investment. To say some of our sub-nationalities are intrinsically better than others in qualitative terms is both unscientific and intellectually offensive. To make out that some deserve more than others is just as pernicious.
The accompanying table, derived from the documents of the Planning Commission, answers the question. It shows how Punjab consistently got more than the national per capita average and how Bihar progressively got less in each plan. When these amounts are totted up they are quite huge. Even without factoring the benefits due to the Bhakra Nangal project and border roads and canal networks, Punjab got Rs 9742.19 crore more, and Bihar got a huge Rs 77,161.50 crore less. Given this money it is likely that Bihar would have fared better. It will be worthwhile to recall that in 1952, Paul Henson Appleby, the well-known scholar, after a detailed study of public administration systems in the various states, concluded that Bihar had the best run government in India. We can now only speculate on the possibilities that might have been had the good government got requisite financial support.
It is this Rs 77,000 crore hurdle Bihar must vault over first, if it is to catch up with the rest of India. If we factor the last fifty years and the cost of human misery inflicted as a result of this neglect, the real cost will be truly astronomical!
-Mohan Gurusamy. Original article has been taken from here : http://www.india-seminar.com/2007/580/580_mohan_guruswamy.htm
1. Macroscan (August 2003): ‘Per Capita Income Growth in the States of India’, www.macroscan.org
2. Rediff.com Business Desk (19 July 2004): What does the Planning Commission do?
3. Kendriya Sainik Board, Ministry of Defence, GOI.
THE ECONOMIC STRANGULATION OF BIHAR!
The Prime Minister yesterday announced a Rs.50,000 crores package for Bihar. Just as he announced a Rs.100,000 crores package for J&K on July 12. The first question one must ask is why twice as much for J&K than over India's most poor and backward state? Bihar has a population of over 103 million andJ&K has a population of 12.5 million.
This is not a new story. Bihar has been systematically exploited by denying it its rightful and deserved share of central funds from the First Plan.
That Bihar is India's poorest and most backward state is undeniable. The facts speak for themselves. But what makes its situation truly unique is that Bihar is the only state in India where the incidence of poverty is uniformly at the highest level (46-70%) in all the sub-regions. The annual real per capita income of Bihar of Rs. 3650 is about a third of the national average of Rs.11, 625. Bihar is also the only Indian state where the majority of the population - 52.47% - is illiterate.
But Bihar has its bright spots also. Its infant mortality rate is 62 per 1000, which is below the national average of 66 per 1000. But what is interesting is that it is better than not just states like UP (83) and Orissa (91), but better than even states like AP and Haryana (both 66). Even in terms of life expectancy, the average Bihari male lives a year longer (63.6 yrs.) than the average Indian male (62.4 yrs) and the state's performance in increasing life spans has been better than most during the past three years. Bihar has 7.04 mn. hectares under agriculture and its yield of 1679 kgs. per hectare, while less than the national average of 1739 kgs. per hectare is better than that of six other states, which include some big agricultural states like Karnataka and Maharashtra. Despite this, in overall socio-economic terms, Bihar is quite clearly in a terrible shape.
As opposed to an All-India per capita developmental expenditure during the last three years of Rs.7935.00, Bihar's is less than half at Rs.3633.00. While development expenditure depends on a bunch of factors including a state's contribution to the national exchequer, no logic can explain away the per capita Tenth Plan size, which at Rs. 2533.80 is less than a third of that of states like Gujarat (Rs.9289.10), Karnataka (Rs.8260.00) and Punjab (Rs.7681.20).
Simple but sound economic logic tells us that when a region is falling behind, not just behind but well behind, it calls for a greater degree of investment in its progress and development. It is analogous to giving a weak or sick child in the family better nutrition and greater attention. Only in the animal kingdom do we see survival of the fittest with the weak and infirm neglected, deprived and even killed. But instead of this we see that Bihar is being systematically denied, let alone the additional assistance its economic and social condition deserves, but also what is its rightful due.
From the pitiful per capita investment in Bihar, it is obvious that the Central Government has been systematically starving Bihar out of funds. Quite obviously Bihar has also paid the price for being politically out of sync with the central government for long periods. The last one was for a dozen years from 1992 to 2004. For the last one year Bihar had a government in New Delhi that was supposed to be favorably disposed to the regime in Patna. Now it is out of sync again.
Quite clearly states that are in political sync do much better in terms of central assistance. Lets take a look at how Andhra Pradesh, a state that has stayed largely in political sync with New Delhi, has fared in the past few years. In terms of grants from the Central Government (2000 to 2005), Bihar fared poorly receiving only Rs. 10833.00 crores while AP got Rs. 15542.00 crores. Bihar has also been neglected as far as net loans from the center are concerned. It received just Rs.2849.60 as against Rs.6902.20 received by AP from 2000-02. It's only in terms of per capita share of central taxes do we see Bihar getting its due. This gross neglect by the central government is reflected in the low per capita central assistance (additional assistance, grants and net loans from the center) received by Bihar in 2001. While AP received Rs.625.60 per capita, Bihar got a paltry Rs.276.70.
The results of the economic strangulation of Bihar can be seen in the abysmally low investments possible in the state government's four major development thrusts. Bihar's per capita spending on Roads is Rs.44.60, which is just 38% of the national average, which is Rs.117.80. Similarly for Irrigation and Flood Control Bihar spends just Rs.104.40 on a per capita basis as opposed to the national average of Rs.199.20.
Now the question of how much did Bihar "forego"? If Bihar got just the All-India per capita average, it would have got Rs. 48,216.66 crores for the 10th Five Year Plan instead of the Rs.21,000.00 crores it has been allocated. This trend was established in the very first five-year plan and the cumulative shortfall now would be in excess of Rs. 80,000.00 crores. That’s a huge handicap now to surmount. Then it would have got Rs. 44,830 crores as credit from banks instead of the Rs. 5635.76 crores it actually got, if it were to get the benefit of the prevalent national credit/deposit ratio.
Similarly Bihar received a pittance from the financial institutions, a mere Rs.551.60 per capita, as opposed to the national average of Rs.4828.80 per capita. This could presumably be explained away by the fact that Bihar now witnesses hardly any industrial activity. But no excuses can be made for the low investment by NABARD. On a cumulative per capita basis (2000 to 2002) Bihar received just Rs.119.00 from NABARD as against Rs.164.80 by AP and Rs.306.30 by Punjab. It can be nobody's argument that there is no farming in Bihar. If the financial institutions were to invest in Bihar at the national per capita average, the state would have got Rs.40, 020.51 crores as investment instead of just Rs.4571.59 crores that it actually received.
Quite clearly Bihar is not only being denied its due share, but there is a flight of capital from Bihar, India's poorest and most backward state. This is a cruel paradox indeed. The cycle then becomes vicious. This capital finances economic activity in other regions, leading to a higher cycle of taxation and consequent injection of greater central government assistance there. If one used harsher language one can even say that Bihar is being systematically exploited, and destroyed by denying it its rightful share of central funds.
To even make a dent on the abysmal state that Bihar is now in, Bihar will need at least twice what it gets from the Centre, as of yesterday.
-Mohan Guruswamy, renowned scholar, financial expert
छठ पर्व एवं उसके पीछे के कारण
छठ पर्व बिहार और उत्तरी उत्तर प्रदेश का महा पर्व माना जाता है ! इसके पीछे का नवीनतम इतिहास महाभारत में मिलता है, जब सूर्य पुत्र कर्ण नाभि तक गंगा नदी में भागलपुर के पास सूर्य की उपासना करते थे! छठ करने की विधि सब को पता होगी, या अनन्य जगह पर मिल जायेंगे! मैं इसके पीछे के इतिहास के बारे में अपनी जानकारी अनुसार प्रकाश डालने की कोशिश करूँगा. अगर कोई त्रुटी हो, तो निसंकोच मुझे सही करने का कष्ट करे!
क्युकी ये पर्व दीपावली के छठे दिन होता है, तो मैं थोडा सा दिवाली पे भी प्रकाश डालना चाहूँगा! वर्षा ऋतू के ख़त्म होते ही जो कित-पतंग-कीड़े इत्यादि जो की अनेक बीमारियों के कारण होते है, हमारे घर और वातावरण में अपना स्थान बना चुके होते है! मिटटी के दीये जिसमे घी या सरसों तेल होता है, जलाने की मान्यता है, धार्मिक कारण आप राम को माने और महाभारत के अंश को या कुछ और, वैज्ञानिक कारण ये जरुर है की सरसों तेल और घी के ये दिये जलने से कित-पतंगों का नाश होता है, और घी के उपयोग से वातावरण स्वछ होता है! खैर, अब तो चीन निर्मित विद्युत् दीप का समय है……इससे सिर्फ चीनियों को ही फायदा होता है, जो हमारे वातावरण के अनुकूल दिक्कते है उनका समाधान नहीं!
छठ का वर्णन रिग्वेद में भी मिलता है! इससे यह तो अवश्य पता चलता है की ये मौजूदा पर्वो में सबसे पौराणिक है, रिग्वेद से भी पूर्व से!! मकर सक्रांति की अलावा ये दूसरा पर्व है जिसमे सूर्य भगवांन की उपासना की जाती है! मकर सक्रांति उत्तरायण के समय होता है, वही सूर्य षष्टि(छठ) दक्षिणायन में होता है. सूर्य को एक तरह से हम धन्यवाद कर रहे होते है पृथ्वी पे पूरी सृष्टि बनाये रखने के लिए! एक छठ कार्तिक में मनाया जाता है, तो दूसरा कार्तिक में दिवाली के बाद! छठी शब्द षष्टि का प्राकृत भाषा रूप है! और ऐसा भी माना जाता है की छत हथ योग में मौजूद छः विधियों की वजह से अपना नाम पाता है! हथ योग सूर्य से उर्जा प्राप्त करने की विधि है! वेदों में उषा जिनको सूर्य की पत्नी माना गया है, उनको छठी के नाम से जाना जाता है! उषा सूर्य की पहली किरण होती है, और प्रत्युष सूर्य की आखरी किरण, और छठ पर्व में इन्हें ही अर्ग्य दिया जाता है! आप यूं भी समझ सकते है की उषा हमारे अन्दर एक नयी उर्जा के संचार का प्रेरक है!
विधि पे थोडा सा प्रकाश डालना चाहूँगा, शायद आपको आनंद आये!
नहाये-खाए : व्रती सामान्यत: गंगा जल से स्नान करने के बाद उसकी के जल को घर लाते है, अपने भोजन को पकाने के लिए! गंगा नदी और एवं उसके जल की खूबी तो आपका ज्ञात ही होता, जब भागीरथी अलकनंदा से मिलके गंगा बनती है तब तक उसके पास अनगिनत खनिज का भंडार आ चूका होता है हिमालय के पर्वतो से, और कई जड़ी-बूटी जो उस इलाके में पायी जाती है उसमे विलीन हो चुकी होती है…जब ये बिहार में आते है और अन्य नदी से मिलते है जैसे की कोसी, गंडक(ये नदिया भी हिमालय से नेपाल के राश्ते हमारे यहाँ आती है) तब ये पानी कितना पवित्र कितना लाभ दायक होता होगा, आप इसका तुलना भर कर सकते है(मैं मौजूदा परिपेक्ष में मौजूद प्रदुषण के प्रभाव के बारे में नहीं बात करूँगा)! और जो खाना बनाने की प्रथा है वो मिटटी की बर्तन में है, जिसमे खाने का शुद्ध स्वाद आता है(पीतल और चांदी के बर्तनों का अपना लाभकारी महत्व हैं, परन्तु इस स्थान पे शुद्धता बिना सघन खनिज के, इस बात पे जोड़ होता है)! लौकी चना और अरवा चावल खाने की प्रथा है! लौकी क्षीराशय होता है जिससे पेट में कब्ज़ नहीं होता उपवास के दौरान भी, चने की दाल अपने आप में संपूर्ण आहार होता है, और अरवा चावल उर्जा का स्त्रोत! और इस दिन सफाई पे विशेष ध्यान होता है ताकि आप स्वच्छ वातावरण में रहे!
खरना: इस दिन सूर्य ढलने तक उपवास रखना होता है, और व्रती खुद आटा पीस कर पूरी और खीर बनाते है! खीर में सिर्फ गुड का उपयोग होता है, चीनी का नहीं! शायद आपको पता हो, हर व्रत त्यौहार में सिर्फ गुड का उपयोग होता है….क्यूंकि चीनी बनाने के क्रम में जानवर के हड्डियों का प्रयोग चीनी बनाने के शुरुवाती दौर में होता था, शायद अब भी होता है!
सांझी अर्ग्य: त्यौहार में बनाये जाने वाले प्रसाद की तैयारी की जाती है, घर पे! स्वच्छता पे विशेष बल होता है! और शाम में डूबता सूर्य की आखरी किरण को अर्ग्य दिया जाता है! इस मौके पे व्रती सफ़ेद साड़ी/धोती जो हल्दी से रंगी जाते है इससे पहनाने की विधि होती थी! और छठ के गीत गए जाते है! पांच ईख के नीचे एक दिया रखा जाता है, पांच ईख सूचक होते है पंचतत्व का जिससे हमारा शरीर बना हुआ है!
पारुन्न; अगले दिन उषा को अर्ग्य देकर प्रसाद का वितरण किया जाता है!
धार्मिक रूप से देखे तो यह इकलौता व्रत है, जिसमे पुजारी की आवश्यकता नहीं होती! क्यों? आप अगर काफी अन्दर जाए तो आप इसका योग, यौगिक, एवं वैज्ञानिक वजह पायेंगे…..जनमानस तक पहुचने के लिए मेरे सोच से धर्म का तरीका अपनाया गया होगा! अब वैज्ञानिक तरीके जो मैंने कही कही पढ़े, संगृहीत कर देता हूँ आपके लिए….
There is also a yogic process of Chhath that may have been associated with the religious observance of Chhath puja. All the traditional rules of Chhath puja have also got some strong scientific reasons behind it & by following that maximum benefits can be gained.
The Yogic Philosophy of Chhath
According to yogic philosophy, the physical bodies of all the living organisms are highly sophisticated energy conducting channels. The solar bio-electricity starts flowing in the human body when it is exposed to solar radiations of specific wavelengths. Under particular physical and mental conditions, the absorption and conduction of this solar-bio-electricity increases. The processes and the rituals of the Chhath puja aim at preparing the body and the mind of the Vratti (devotee) for the process of cosmic solar energy infusion.
The scientific process similar to Chhath was used by the Rishis of yore for carrying out their austerities without any intake of solid or liquid diet. Using a process similar to the Chhath puja, they were able to absorb the energy needed for sustenance directly from the sun, instead of taking it indirectly through food and water.
The retina is a kind of photoelectric material, which emits subtle energy when exposed to light. Hence, very subtle electric energy starts flowing from the retina. This energy (photo-bio-electricity) is transmitted from the retina to the pineal gland by the optic nerves connecting the retina to the pineal gland, leading to its activation. The pineal gland is in close proximity with the pituitary and hypothalamus glands (together, three glands are called Triveni) due to which, the energy generated in this process starts impacting these glands. Consequently, the pranic activity becomes uniform, giving the Vratti good health and a calm mind.
Stages of Chhath (Conscious Photoenergization Process)
According to Yoga philosophy, the process of Chhath is divided into six stages of the Conscious Cosmic Solar Energy Infusion Technique (Conscious Photoenergization Process).
Stage 1: Fasting and the discipline of cleanliness leads to detoxification of the body and mind. This stage prepares the body and mind of the Vratti (devotee) to receive the cosmic solar energy.
Stage 2: Standing in a water body with half the body (navel deep) in the water minimizes the leak of energy and helps the prana (psychic energy) to move up the sushumna (psychic channel in the spine).
Stage 3: Cosmic Solar Energy enters the Vratti’s pineal, pituitary and hypothalamus glands (Triveni complex) through the retina and optic nerves.
Stage 4: Activation of Triveni tri-glandular complex (pineal, pituitary and hypothalamus).
Stage 5: A kind of polarization happens in the spine, which results in the Vratti’s (devotee) gross and subtle bodies getting transformed into a cosmic powerhouse. This can also lead to the awakening of the latent psychic energy popularly known as the Kundalini Shakti.
Stage 6: The body of the Vratti (devotee) becomes a channel which conducts, recycles and transmits the energy into the entire universe.
Benefits of Chhath process
The Chhath process results in detoxification
The Chhath process stresses mental discipline. The discipline of mental purity is a result of this work. By employing a number of rituals, the vrattis focus on maintaining the cleanliness of the offerings and environment. Cleanliness is the most dominant thought that prevails in the minds of all the devotees during Chhath.
This has a great detoxification effect on the body and the mind as mental moods can result in biochemical changes. Now comes the physical detoxification. The fasting paves the way for detoxification at a material level.
Detoxification helps in regularizing the flow of prana and makes the person more energetic. The natural immune system of the body spends much of its energy in fighting the toxins present in the body. By using the detoxification methods such as pranayam, meditation, yoga and Chhath practices, the amount of toxins present in the body can be reduced to a great extent. Thus, with reduction in the amount of toxins, the expenditure of energy also reduces and you feel more energetic. It improves the appearance of the skin. The eyesight can improve and the ageing process of the body slows down.
Benefits of Chhath Puja
Photo-electro-chemical effect: physical benefits
The Chhath practice improves the immunity of the Vratti’s body.
Antiseptic effect: Safe radiation of sunlight can help cure fungal and bacterial infections of the skin.
Raktavardhak (increase in fighting power of blood): As a consequence of the practice of Chhath, the energy infused in the blood stream improves the performance of white blood cells.
The solar energy has a great influence on the glands, which results in balanced secretion of hormones.
Energy requirements are met by the solar energy directly. This will further detoxify the body.
Photo-electro-psychic effects: mental benefits
A state of creative calmness will prevail in the mind.
To a great extent, all negative responses have their origin in the disturbed flow of prana. With the pranic flow regularized, the duration and frequency of occurrences of anger, jealousy, and other negative emotions will be reduced.
With patient and sincere practice, the psychic powers like intuition, healing, and telepathy awaken. This depends on the concentration with which the practice is undertaken.
Daily sun meditation (Chhath process)
In the fast lifestyle of the present times, it may not be possible to follow the Chhath process very often. The detoxification can be undertaken through pranayam, yoga, meditation and Conscious Photoenergization Process known as Chhath Dhyan Sadhana (CDS).
Chhath Dhyan Sadhana (CDS): Conscious Photoenergization Process
Assume a comfortable position (standing or sitting) with back and spine straight. With eyes closed, face the Sun. Inhale completely, as slowly as possible. Do not strain in making the breathing slow. Maintain your comfort level. As you breath in, visualize (feelingly experience) the cosmic solar energy entering through your eyes and moving to the pineal gland through optic nerves and charging the pineal–pituitary–hypothalamus complex. Now, as you exhale, visualize the cosmic solar energy flowing down the pineal gland and spreading throughout your body with a revitalizing effect.
Thus, the process starts with inhalation and ends in exhalation. This constitutes one round. It is suggested to start with five rounds (two minutes), and increase it time permitting. On completion of the practice, thank the Sun for bestowing upon you the life giving solar energy. Thereafter, sit quietly for a minute, observing the good things in the environment around.
CDS should be practiced within one-hour window after sunrise or within one-hour window before sunset. Any person of any age can practice CDS. If you wish to practice CDS at any time other than sunrise or sunset, do not practice it in front of Sun. You can however, practice CDS in a room. Even a bed-ridden person can try and consciously draw in the solar energy while lying on the bed. With regular practice, he/she will notice an improvement in physical and mental health. For those who are not comfortable facing the sun, they can practice the technique in any room having proper ventilation. If you have time, you can also practice it twice a day. Do not hurry in increasing the number of rounds, as there are no shortcuts to success in this method. The nervous system of the body takes its own time in adapting and to be able to receive the energy.
Significance of emphasis on sunrise and Sunset periods
Only sunrise and sunset are the periods during which the majority of humans can safely obtain the solar energy directly from the Sun. However, there may be some exceptions. That is why, in Chhath puja, there is a tradition of offering Arghya to the Sun in late evening and in early morning. During these phases (one hour window after sunrise and before sunset), the ultraviolet radiation levels remain in safe limits.
[अंग्रेजी में दिए गए पाठ्य के स्त्रोत योग्श्री ओमकार की पुस्तक]