Impressive launch of the Hindi edition of
My Country My Life
Mera Desh Mera Jeevan, the Hindi edition of Shri L.K. Advani’s memoirs, was released by renowned spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at an impressive function in Bhopal on June 30.
Mera Desh Mera Jeevan, the Hindi edition of Shri L.K. Advani’s memoirs published by Prabhat Prakashan, was released by renowned spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at an impressive function in Bhopal on June 30. The function, which was presided over by Shri Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, was also graced by Baba Ramdev, another eminent spiritual personality.
"There is a need to re-ignite the ideals of patriotism and humanism in our society, and Shri Advaniji’s book serves this purpose.”
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
More than 3,500 people attended the function, which was held at Motilal Nehru Stadium, Laal Parade Ground, in the capital of Madhya Pradesh. Three Chief Ministers — Shri Narendra Modi of Gujarat, Dr. Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh and Shri B.S. Yeddyurappa of Karnataka — added to the luster of the function with their special attendance.
Referring to the presence of the ‘Art of Living’ founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Yoga guru Baba Ramdev at the function, Shri Advaniji described them as two “Towering Saints'. Both praised Shri Advani’s service to the nation and commended his autobiography as a source of guidance and inspiration for the younger generation.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said, “This book has special significance at a time when persons with flashy lifestyles and criminal conduct are being projected as icons before society. Only a person who has dedicated his life to a lofty cause can write a book like this. There is a need to re-ignite the ideals of patriotism and humanism in our society, and Shri Advaniji’s book serves this purpose.”
"It takes a lot of time and energy for society to produce leaders like Shri Advaniji.”
In his commendation, Baba Ramdev said, “It takes a lot of time and energy for society to produce leaders like Shri Advaniji. The modern era needs leaders with transparency, commitment, dynamism, farsightedness and humility. Shri Advaniji possesses all these qualities.”
Baba Ramdev drew a spirited response from the audience when he criticized the recent decision of the Congress government in Jammu & Kashmir to revoke the allotment of land to provide amenities to Amarnath Yatra pilgrims. This point was also raised in the speeches of senior BJP leader Smt. Sushma Swaraj and RSS Joint General Secretary Shri Suresh Soni, who asked: “When Haj Houses can be built at several places in India, why can’t a piece of land be provided for the pilgrims of Amarnath in Kashmir?”
In her speech, which was repeatedly applauded, Smt. Swaraj said, “Shri Advaniji’s book reads like a running commentary on the ups and downs in the political life of independent India. It also tells the tale of the birth and evolution of the Bharatiya Janata Party, with a candid account of the hopes and disappointments experienced by all of us along the way. Another special feature of this book is that it describes the several unique contributions that Shri Advaniji has made to the political discourse in India through concepts such as Cultural Nationalism and Pseudo-Secularism. The future of India will be determined by the victory of Genuine Secularism in its struggle against Pseudo-Secularism. Shri Advaniji embodies the future in this struggle.”
Shri Suresh Soni opened that ‘Mera Desh Mera Jeevan’ should have been more appropriately titled as ‘Mera Desh Hi Mera Jeevan’. “This book encompasses the past, present and future of modern India. It is an authentic documentation of an important era in our nation’s history. Through his memoirs, Shri Advaniji has made a seminal contribution to the debate on the true meaning of secularism and Indian nationalism.”
"The future of India will be determined by the victory of Genuine Secularism in its struggle against Pseudo-Secularism. Shri Advaniji embodies the future in this struggle.”
Shri Achyutananda Mishra, noted journalist and Vice Chancellor of Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Mass Communication, also spoke at the function. “This is not an autobiography in the conventional sense of the term. It is an account and analysis of the most important developments in our national life in the past six decades. It has given expression to the pain and suffering of India during the times of crisis such as the partition of India at the time of Independence and the dictatorship that prevailed during the Emergency. Students and practitioners of politics will benefit by reading the saga of the journey of the Jana Sangh, the formation and disintegration of the Janata Party, the subsequent birth and rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the achievements of the Vajpayee government.”
Shri Mishra recalled that Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee had described Shri Advaniji as the “Second Deendayal Upadhyaya” in 1973 (when Shri Advaniji became the Jana Sangh president for the first time at the party’s conference in Kanpur). “Only a courageous leader like Shri Advaniji could have taken the risk of writing an autobiography while still being in active politics,” he remarked.
"This book encompasses the past, present and future of modern India.”
Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chauhan used the phrase “advait” (indivisible) to describe the relationship between Shri Advaniji and India. “He is the embodiment of the satvik karmayogi as described in the Bhagwad Gita. His greatness lies in his simplicity and humility. The concept of Cultural Nationalism popularized by him is the bedrock of India’s future.”
Alluding to the words of Shri Atalji in his preface to the book, Shri Chauhan said, “The best of Shri Advaniji is yet to come. That is when a new chapter will be added to this book.”
Speaking at the function, Shri Advani heartily thanked all the speakers and members of the audience. He stated that his personality was shaped by two “families” — his own family and the ideological family of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). “The RSS contributed to my ideological thinking, while I imbibed cultural traditions from my family.”
“Experience has taught me a lot,” Shri Advani said, and recalled his 19-month-long stay in Bangalore Central Jail during the Emergency (1975-1977). Comparing the Emergency declared by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi with the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler in Germany, he exhorted the young generation to learn from history and do its utmost to defend democracy in India.
"He is the embodiment of the satvik karmayogi as described in the Bhagwad Gita.”
Shivraj Singh Chauhan
The Ayodhya Movement being a high watermark in his political life, Shri Advaniji dwelt at length on an important chapter in his book — 'A Tale of Two Temples', which underscores the significance of the reconstruction of the Somnath Temple in early 1950s and also of the movement for the reconstruction of a Ram Temple at the birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya. He described the two temples as symbols of India’s national identity. “Not many people today know that the first government of independent India, led by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, took the decision to reconstruct the Somnath Temple in Gujarat. This dream was realized because of the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi, strong support from Sardar Patel and Babu Rajendra Prasad, and the determination of Dr. K.M. Munshi. When the Nehru government could do it in Somnath, why didn’t the government led by Rajiv Gandhi and others adopt a similar approach in Ayodhya?”
Pratibha Advani presented the vote of thanks in a manner befitting the memorable nature of the function. She brought tears to the eyes of her father when she read out ‘Footprints’, an inspirational poem that occupies an important place in Shri Advaniji’s life.
Earlier, Shri Prabhat Kumar and Shri Piyush Kumar of Prabhat Prakashan welcomed the guests.
The function, which began with the singing of ‘Vande Mataram’, ended with the singing of ‘Jana Gana Mana’.