Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.


September 28, 2023 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 pm



 An Introduction

Bhagat Singh was born on September 28, 1907, in the village of Banga in Lyallpur district (present-day Faisalabad, Pakistan). A charismatic revolutionary, he was hanged for murdering British police officer John Saunders in 1931, at the age of only 23.

Bhagat Singh as a Martyrdom

His martyrdom and the coverage his trial received made him a folk hero, especially in northern India. Paeans (SONGS OF PRAISE) of his courage and heroism. While many freedom fighters laid their lives for India, few have been lionized in popular art and literature as Bhagat Singh.

On his 116th birth anniversary, here are five lesser-known facts about Bhagat Singh’s life.

Born into a family of progressive freedom fighters

Bhagat Singh’s father Kishan was frequently at odds with the colonial regime and even imprisoned briefly in 1910 for “flooding Punjab with seditious literature”. From an early age, Bhagat Singh grew up in an environment of anti-colonialism.

A very scholarly person

Singh was as much a scholar as he was a revolutionary. He was a voracious reader and prolific writer who preferred a pen over a pistol in his hand.

In the 1920s, he was writing for both Urdu and Punjabi newspapers in Amritsar. He also contributed to pamphlets and other ‘seditious’ literature criticising British colonial rule.

He also wrote for Kirti, the journal of the Kirti Kisan Party and briefly for the Veer Arjun newspaper, published in Delhi. He studied authors like Rabindranath Tagore, William Wordsworth, Wajid Ali Shah, Mirza Ghalib and Iqbal.

An atheist and a Marxist

Despite his present-day co-option by parties across the political spectrum, Bhagat Singh was a steadfast atheist and a Marxist with an anarchist tilt.

Criticizing religion, Bhagat Singh wrote in ‘Why I am an Atheist’ (1930), “All faiths differ on many fundamental questions, but each of them claims to be the only true religion. This is the root of evil.”

He considered the likes of Marx, Lenin, Trotsky and Bankunin as his inspirations. In his final testament, ‘To Young Political Workers’ (1931), he declares his ideal as the “social reconstruction on new, i.e., Marxist, basis”.

Jinnah eloquently defended Bhagat Singh in 1929

Mahatma Gandhi refused to intervene in the Bhagat Singh trial. As Yashpal, a comrade of Singh later wrote: “Gandhi considered it moral to put government pressure on the people for prohibition, but he considered it immoral to put people’s pressure on foreign governments to commute the sentences of Bhagat Singh etc.”

However, he received support from another nationalist giant of the time: Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Jawaharlal Nehru also defended Singh and met him in prison

Nehru was highly critical of the legal process and the injustice being perpetrated by the British.

Explaining Bhagat Singh’s actions, he said: “If England were invaded by Germany or Russia, would Lord Irwin go about advising the people to refrain from violence against invaders?”

While he himself was not fully in agreement with Singh’s methods, Nehru’s respect for him was clear.

In fact, Nehru even visited Bhagat Singh as a prisoner, along with other leaders such as Subhash Chandra Bose, Motilal Nehru, KF Nariman, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Mohanlal Saxena, etc.

Mains Questions

    1. Bhagat Singh was a man of his times. Comment (150 Words) 10 Marks

The two heroes of ‘Sanatana Dharma’, their insights

Why in the News?

Early in the month of September, we saw Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin and his son U Stalin and Kerala CM making statements against Sanatana Dharama.

They opined that, the core idea behind propagating ‘sanatana dharma’ was to ensure divisions in the society while safeguarding the wellbeing of cows and a particular caste in the society.

What is Sanatana Dharma?

Sanātana Dharma (Devanagari: सनातन धर्म, meaning “eternal dharma”, or “eternal order”) is an alternative name for Hinduism used in Sanskrit and other Indian languages alongside the more common Hindu Dharma.

The term denotes the “eternal” or absolute set of duties or religiously ordained practices incumbent upon all Hindus, regardless of class, caste, or sect.

Sanatana-dharma – duties performed according to one’s spiritual (constitutional) identity as atman (Self) and are thus the same for everyone.

General duties include virtues such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings, purity, goodwill, mercy, patience, forbearance, self-restraint, generosity, and asceticism.

When was the term used first?

In his book, ‘Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices’ (1994), Julius J Lipner, Emeritus Professor of Hinduism and the Comparative Study of Religion at the University of Cambridge, wrote that the term ‘Sanatan Dharma’ was used in the Gita by Arjuna, when he told Krishna that “when the clan is vitiated, the sanatan-dharmas of the clan are destroyed”.

Is Sanatana Dharma used only for Hinduism?

Although the term is most commonly associated with Hinduism, it is also used by Jains and Buddhists because these religions also believe in rebirth.

“It is not used for religions that believe in one life, that is Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which come from the Middle East,”.

What is Dharma?

Dharma is often translated as “duty”, “religion” or “religious duty”, but has a deeper meaning. The word comes from the Sanskrit root “dhri” which means “to sustain” or “that which is integral to something” (e.g. dharma of sugar is to be sweet, fire to be hot).

A person’s dharma consists of duties that sustain them according to their innate characteristics which are both spiritual and material, generating two corresponding types:

The reformists didn’t use the word Sanatana before Dharma

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan makes a point out of Sree Narayana Guru not using the word Sanatana as a prefix to Dharma in the name of his organisation.

The intention is to clearly distance progressive elements within Hinduism from the ‘majority’ who supposedly follow the casteist Sanatana version.

What Mr. Vijayan and other politicians do not seem to appreciate is that no Hindu reformer including Sree Narayana Guru criticized Sanatana Dharma or disowned it in favour of any other religion or philosophy.

Not using a word as prefix doesn’t mean not agreeing to it and looking down upon something in favour of another.

Sanatanists view as opponents of the Reforms

Orthodox opponents of 19th century reform movements such as Arya Samaj and the Ramakrishna mission called themselves Sanatanists’ to emphasize permanence of ancient textual doctrines over dynamism and change, as the essential feature of Hinduism.

Just like the many voices that resisted change right from the time of Adi Sankara to the Bhakti movement, these self-proclaimed Sanatanists’ also remained on the wrong side of history.

What they failed to realise — like some politicians of today — is that dynamism and propensity for reform are the most ‘Sanatana’ or ancient or original of Hinduism’s Dharmicfeatures.

Which is why the reformers had no qualms (doubts) in using the phrase Sanatana Dharma’ to describe their philosophies.

In the Satyartha Prakasa’, Swami Dayananda Saraswati called the ‘Vedic Dharma’, bereft of many prevailing features of Hinduism including untouchability and idol worship, Sanatana Nityadharma’.

Mahatma Gandhi as a Sanatani

Few can dispute that the proud Sanatani’, Mahatma Gandhi, had the greatest role in bringing women into the country’s social mainstream.

In fact, it was Gandhians such as Renuka Ray and Hansa Mehta who first campaigned for reform in Hindu family laws despite facing stiff opposition, once again from self-proclaimed Sanatanists’.

Vivekananda as a Sanatani and his Chicago Speech

Before Sree Narayana Guru built his movement for emancipation of low-caste Hindus in Kerala, Swami Vivekananda called the region a ‘lunatic asylum’ for the kind of barbaric practices Hindus perpetrated against each other.

This anger and call for action arose only from his grounding in Sanatana Dharma’.

Swami Abhedananda, Swami Vivekananda’s chosen successor for his international mission, called the Chicago speech “an outline of Sanatana Dharma”.

He described the import of Swami Vivekananda’s speech: “the word Sanatana Dharma, as you all know, means eternal religion. The eternal religion has no founder.

Religion is meant to give solutions of all the problems of life and death.”

It was this Sanatana Dharma that formed the basis of Swami Vivekananda’s attack on “Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, (which) have long possessed this beautiful earth”.

It is essentially different from any religion that is static by virtue of having a single source. It is different because it is antithetical to dogma.

In perspective

Recently, on September 11, Bharati was remembered on his death anniversary and the country celebrated the 130th anniversary of the Chicago speech at the World’s Parliament of Religions.

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan says, “Hinduism is not bound up with a creed or a book, a prophet or a founder, but is persistent search for truth on the basis of a continuously renewed experience.”

Any attempt to carve Hinduism into progressive and regressive blocks, labelling the regressive as ‘Sanathana Dharma’, cannot overcome the influence of Swami Vivekananda and Subramania Bharati.



The tiger (Panthera tigris) is the largest living cat species and a member of the genus Panthera. It is most recognisable for its dark vertical stripes on orange fur with a white underside.

An apex predator, it primarily preys on ungulates, such as deer and wild boar. It is territorial and generally a solitary but social predator, requiring large contiguous areas of habitat to support its requirements for prey and rearing of its offspring.

Tiger cubs stay with their mother for about two years and then become independent, leaving their mother’s home range to establish their own. The tiger was first scientifically described in 1758.

Status of Tiger

The tiger is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. As of 2023, the global wild tiger population is estimated to number 5,574 individuals, with most populations living in small, isolated pockets. India hosts the largest tiger population.

Tiger Reserves in India

The tiger reserves of India were set up in 1973 and are governed under Project Tiger, which is administered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, Government of India.

Tiger reserves were designated in 50 protected areas until 2018. In 2022, the 53rd tiger reserve was declared in Ranipur Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh, and the State’s third tiger reserve. India is home to 80 percent of tigers in the world.

Project Tiger

Project Tiger is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change launched in 1973 to provide central assistance to the tiger States for tiger conservation in designated tiger reserves in India.

The project is administered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

National Tiger Conservation Authority

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

It was established in 2005 following the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force.

It was constituted under enabling provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006, for strengthening tiger conservation, as per powers and functions assigned to it.

The Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE)

The Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of tiger reserves in India, 2022 (Fifth Cycle) report for Indian tiger reserves was prepared by the Wildlife Institute of India and the National Tiger Conservation Authority revealed a mixed picture of progress and challenges.

A study by Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences highlights the alarming situation of tiger poaching and trafficking in Bangladesh.

Concerns for India

Concerns are emerging as India’s wild tiger population has increased to a healthy 3,167 in 2022 from just 1,400 in 2006, prompting discussions about the nation’s forest capacity to sustain these numbers.

This may also end up in increased man and animal conflict. The possibility of increased instances of poaching and wildlife trafficking cannot be ruled out as well.

When is International Tiger Day?

29th July is observed as International Tiger Day (ITD) to promote the conservation of the striped cat as well as to advocate a global system for protecting its natural habitats.

ITD was established in 2010 at St Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia to raise awareness about the decline of wild tiger numbers, leaving them on the brink of extinction, and to encourage the work of Tiger Conservation.

Why Tiger is in the News?

A total of 10 tigers (six cubs and four adults) have died in the Nilgiris since the middle of August. The inability of the state forest department to trace the whereabouts of the two mother tigresses has raised concerns among conservationists about the welfare of the animals.

How did the tigers die?

The reported deaths of tiger cubs in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in Siriyur were due to starvation or umbilical infection.

The adult deaths were probably the result of fighting with another animal. However, the larger male, found dead nearby, had no apparent injuries. After an investigation, a man was arrested for poisoning the carcass of the cow in retaliation for the tiger hunting the animal.

Why are conservationists concerned?

In February this year, the forest department arrested four poachers from Rajasthan who had allegedly poached a tiger. In addition, the inability of the forest department to track down the two mothers of the six tiger cubs that died in Siriyur and Kadanad has raised concerns over their well-being. Camera traps and tiger trackers continue to look for the animals, but with little luck.

What are the reasons for the deaths?

One of the theories put forward by senior forest department officials is that the high density of tigers leads to increased competition between animals and more fighting, resulting in more deaths.

According to Nilgiris Division’s District Forest Officer, S. Gowtham, the division is now home to 54 tigers, a significant population.

Conservationists worry that this increase in population could lead to more negative human-animal interactions in the near future. They emphasise the need to regenerate degraded habitats that can be re-colonised by the tigers’ prey such as Sambar, spotted deer and the Indian gaur.

How are officials responding?

To department fears that poachers could be targeting tigers. There are also plans to begin annual monitoring of tiger populations. They have also increased perambulation (watch) of areas surrounding key tiger habitats.

Top-Performing and Poorly Performing Reserves:

Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala stands out as the best performer with a MEE score of around 94% followed by Satpura in Madhya Pradesh and Bandipur in Karnataka.

Sundarbans in West Bengal, the only tiger forest in the world with mangroves, continued to be in the ‘very good’ category and got a rank position of 32nd.

Dampa in Mizoram is identified as the poorest performing tiger reserve.

Overall, 29 tiger reserves have improved their status compared to the previous assessment, while two reserves deteriorated.

St. Petersburg Declaration on Tiger Conservation

Adopted In November 2010, by the leaders of 13 tiger range countries (TRCs) assembled at an International Tiger Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia

The resolution’s implementation mechanism is called the Global Tiger Recovery Program whose overarching goal was to double the number of wild tigers from about 3,200 to more than 7,000 by 2022.

13 Tiger range countries are: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Way Forward

  1. Strengthen forest management practices for better conservation of tiger habitats.
  2. Protect and restore tiger corridors to enable unrestricted movement between forest areas.
  3. Implement evidence-based strategies for managing human-wildlife conflicts.
  4. Expedite voluntary village relocation within tiger reserves to reduce conflicts.
  5. Adopt an inclusive approach to conservation, considering human rights and other species’ needs.
  6. Conduct research on tiger movements and social tolerance in human-dominated landscapes.
  7. Ensure sustainable infrastructure development to minimize habitat disturbances.
  8. Foster continued support from local communities for tiger conservation efforts.


September 28, 2023
7:30 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category: