Tourism: A Means For Multifarious Development Of Personality

When we speak of personality, we name usually entire qualities and capabilities. Personality which is a psychological term has many virtues and tendencies which are required for a tour guide. A competent tour guide attempts at guiding with discretion (Viveka), pointing one in the right direction.Personality with discretion is a constant search for proper direction, so that the story of civilization is not incomplete. Today we have to face many challenges in life which tests our personality in many ways. To face the challenges one requires wide perspective,an open mind and a capability to make instant decisions, with patience, and courage. If one’s personality is lope-sided and is not in touch with many capabilities of life,one’s personality will be unbalanced. Such a person will be not successful in life lapsided. In all, one has to have a multifarious personality, which is the acme of personality growth.

Tourism is the medium through which our heritage survives. Our cultural tradition remains dynamic and free from conventionalism.  If reflects our social, cultural, and mental being. When we want to point out one who has little knowledge we call him a know-little Kupamanduka, a frog in a well that considers it the world. On the contrary he who travels abroad, meets different people, comes is contact with diverse cultures, rises above narrow mentality, this serves to break down walls of caste, religion, and nation. For that person it is easier to understand the aphorism vasudhaiva kutumbkam, “the whole world is a family”. One’s personality becomes complete and one’s development multi-facited.

Tourism fosters mutual association, which makes the personality multidimensional. When we harmonize with different cultures and milieus through tourism,it on one hand affects our personality and likewise our personality affects the culture and milieu. Human unity is implied in this process of mutual effect. Human unity gives a further dimension to knowledge and completes the journey on a healthy scientific path. Looking at human history one finds man gradually freeing himself from the lonely tribal instinct, because he wanted to march ahead in search of something. His contact with new cultures encouraged him and his brutish instinct came to an end. This very instinct took him towards truth and he climbed stairs of civilization in his craving for reaching the ideal. World history proves that roaming tribes ultimately established their skill and superiority. The Aryan in ancient time, the Arabs and the Turks in medieval time and more recently Columbus , Vasco-de-Gama, Sindbad and Al Barouni. They all devoted their lives traveling to quench there curiosity. Their travel and subsequent tales immortalized them. History lauds their Sagas.Numerous roaming tribes have left a deep impression on a great part of world population. Obviously this was because of there roaming tendency. Even now, those who are breaking down the walls of their native place,have gone on to become economically strong. They went to different places to do business or settled down whenever they found a source of livelihood; they did not not stick to there native place. This desire to tour beyond their native place gave them a multidimensional personality and taught them thre art of life.
It is a true that confined water becomes stagnant and polluted; likewise the confined person has a closed mind.
Tourism is actually a culture that frees one from the confines of a narrow mind and provides a wide perspective. Only the open mind can think of flying in the eternal sky. Man as a separate unit has contributed to the present form of society, human behavior and knowledge. The individual is an institution and an independent unit contributing to the development of civilization. Therefore completeness of man is completeness of society and today although divided into different groups, is human society. So we have to maintain constant contact through cultural exchange for our welfare. This is only possible through tourism.
Tourism not only completes our personality but also provides direction to future generation. What we have today was neither in the past nor will it be in the future.
One objective acquaints with many hidden facts. The unending curiosity enriches knowledge and because of beauty of knowledge one’s personality becomes attractive. In civilization process as worldly beauty is created so through medium of environment man moves towards completeness. Going to distant places is certainly an important medium for bringing peoples closer to realize cultural unity of a nation, to remove social ills and to search for new business possibilities. One has correctly put it:
“No gain in confinement
Catch the world coming out.”

Unfolding The Knot Of Darkness

The 6th century B.C. ushered in an era of intellectual upheaval and was, indeed a turning  point in the religious history of mankind. In China, we had Lao Tzu and Confucius; in Greece Parmenides; in Iran, Zarathustra; in India, Mahavira and the Buddha.

Buddha, the light of Asia, occupies a peculiar place among the greatest men of the world. Buddha was born around 563 B.C. when his mother Mahamaya was traveling from Kapilvastu her parents home in Devdaha to have her first child. On the way, the queen gave birth to a son in Lumbini (Nepal) in a grove between two Saal (Shorea robasta) trees. The queen died after a week and the prince was brought up by his step mother Mahaprajapati Gautami. The child was called Siddhartha, meaning “The one whose purpose has been fulfilled.”

There is no precise account of Lord Buddha’s life, but texts give parts of the life story interwoven with historical matter as well as colourful legends. The legend tells us that a prophecy was made by Astrologers that the prince would be either a monarch or a great ascetic. King Suddhodan observed his spiritual inclinations and tried his best to protect the young prince from worldly suffering. At the age of sixteen, Siddharth was married to Yashodhara, a lady from an aristocratic family of the Koliyas. They had a son named Rahul. Siddhartha led a life of comfort and luxury, but material comforts never satisfied him. He had a very meditative nature.

The prince went one day with a charioteer for an excursion from his palace and saw an old man, a sick man and a dead body followed by a recluse. This completely changed his thinking. Prince Siddhartha resolved to gain freedom from old age, sickness and death. The sight of the recluse, healthy in body, cheerful in mind, without any discomfort of life, impressed the prince. He decided to renounce the world and devote himself to discovering find solutions to the problem of suffering. One night he left his palace for the forest; he was 29 at the time. He subjected himself to severe ascetic torture for 6 years in Bodh Gaya. He had enjoyed the richest life of sensuous pleasures. Now, he witnessed the other extreme of life. He ultimately realized the folly of self-torture and resumed eating and sleeping in moderation. At that time, he accepted rice pudding offered by Sujata and thus he gave up his ascetic practices. He gained bodily health and mental vigor. He spent seven weeks under the shade of the Peepal tree (ficus religiosa) later known as Bodhi tree resolving to enter the perfect enlightenment (Sammasambodhi) through meditation. At the age of thirty five, sitting in a state of the deepest and most profound meditation on full moon day of Vaisakha (April-May) he entered the blissful state of Nirvana: Enlightenments: the state of desirelessness: Samyak Sambodhi: Buddhatva.

After the enlightenment, he came to Sarnath,, known in Buddhist literature as Rishipattana and Mrigadava. In this ancient seat of learning, Buddha preached his first sermon about the four noble truths to the five ascetics who had earlier left him in despair. The first sermon is called “The discourse on the turning of the wheel of law” (Ddharma-Chakra Pravartan Sutra). Buddha propounded the four noble truths (Arya Satya) viz,. suffering (Dukha), cause of suffering (Dukha Samudaya), cessation of suffering (Dukha Nirodh), and the path to eliminate suffering (Dukh Nirodhgami Patipada).

Life is full of misery and pain. Suffering is inherent in the very nature of things. All beings are subject to decay, disease,and death. Even pleasures and worldly happiness lead one to sorrow because they are transitory. The Buddha admits that there are different forms of happiness but they are impermanent, full of suffering and subject to change. Therefore, the Buddha is realistic when he says “Every thing is Dukha. O Monks! Suffering is the noble truth: birth is sufferin;, decay is sufferin;, illness is suffering; death is suffering; separation from the desired object is sufferin;, and not obtaining one’s desire is suffering”.

The cause of suffering is our craving. There is nothing in this world which is produced without any cause or condition. All the states of the mind and matter are being conditionally produced by other states of mind and they are conditionally produced by still others and thus the process, the wheel of becoming (Bhava Chakra) moves on. Thus things are interdependent, relative and conditional.

There are twelve constituents in the law of conditionality:

1)    Ignorance.

2)    Conditioned by ignorance comes (Karma formation) predispositions.

3)    Conditioned by “Karma formation” comes consciousness.

4)    Conditioned by consciousness comes mental and physical states.

5)    Conditioned by mental and physical states comes six mental and physical faculties.

6)    Conditioned by six mental and physical faculties comes contact with the object.

7)    Conditioned by contact with the object comes sensation.

8)    Conditioned by sensation comes grasping.

9)    Conditioned by thirst comes grasping.

10)    Conditioned by grasping comes process of becoming.

11)    Conditioned by process of becoming comes birth.

12)    Conditioned by birth comes death.

Thus, there are twelve connecting factors or spokes in the wheel of becoming (Bhavachakra). The conditional process goes on for ever till a person enters Nirvana.

The cessation of suffering is called ‘Nirvana’ beyond description. It is not a negative condition but a positive one an unconditioned state realized by mind, to eliminate suffering, one must eliminate its cause. Nirvana is nothing but elimination of craving. It is a placid state of mind, a place of liberation,an end to suffering,a sence of supreme joy, supreme tranquility, an end to the cycle of birth and death .

How can Nirvana be attained? By the fourth noble truth, the noble eight fold path. It is also called the middle path by which the wayfarer avoids two extremes. He neither follows the path of self mortification nor that of self-indulgence. Buddha has shown the path for removal of suffering. The noble eightfold path is an ethical path which when followed can removen and attain libration. The noble eightfold path consists of eight steps which are : (1) Right view. (2) Right resolution, (3) Right speech, (4) Right action (5) Right livelihood, (6) Right effort, (7) Right mindfulness and (8) Right concentration.

The first step is the right view. Rid yourself of all superstitions and animism. Give up your faith in the cruel animal sacrifice, in the inequality of human beings in the existence of a creator of the universe and depend on your own powers of pure reasoning. This is possible when the mind is free from all obsessions and impurities; this is achieved through ethical conduct and mental culture.

Right mental resolution is the foundation of all great achievements provided it is based on the right view. Right thought means the thought of renunciation, detachment, compassion, love and nonviolence. Words free from lies, anger, abuse and slander are the right speech which is followed by right action. Right action is refraining from killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct. It aims at promoting moral, honorable and peaceful conduct of a person.

Right livelihood is the product of right action. Wrong means of livelihood is doing those which cause suffering to others e.g. trading in weapons, living beings, intoxicants or poisonous articles.

Right effort consists in strenuous efforts by a person to raise his/her own mental and moral being. One should first give up one’s bad habits, keep oneself free from evil tendencies and promote the good qualities that one may have acquired already.

Right mindfulness means becoming constantly aware and mindful of activities of the body, sensations, mental states and ideas etc.Through right mindfulness man gains self-control and becomes self-possessed.One achieves a state of self-mastery.

The last step in the middle path is right concentration, the fixing of mental faculties on a single object. This ability is useful not only for mental uplifting but it is essential in all pursuits, whether they are scientific, literary, artistic or religious.

The noble eightfold path is a practical way shown by the Buddha for a tensionless, tranquil and peaceful life. It is the path of self purification. The essence of the path has been put in one verse by Buddha. “Abstinence from all evils, fulfillment of all good, purification of one’s mind.”

Thus in the Deer-park of Sarnath, Buddha proclaimed his Dhamma and unfolded the knot of darkness.

Lord Buddha and Human Welfare

Whenever there is mention of human welfare, Lord Buddha will be taken as its synonym. It is well known that once when he went around the city on royal chariot, he came across an old man, a sick man, a dead body, and an  ascetic. The scene agitated his heart. All previous beliefs, instructions, and visions vanished. And then was born a new Siddhartha. The world, death, birth, afflictions, old age, separation from the loved one, and unpleasant all are sorrows. On one hand, the mankind has been trying to get rid of these sorrows, on the other it has taken them as destiny. Buddha said, “Man himself is responsible for his sorrows”. There is nothing in the world which is without cause.Every mental state is born of other mental states and is still so caused by others. And thus the process of creation, i.e., Bhav Chakra (wheel of becoming) is ever active. Things are interdependent, relative and sanskarita. This is known in Buddhist literature as the law of “pratitya samutpada” i.e., if there is sorrow there is also its cause, elimination and control through the following of the ” Eightfold noble path” (ashtangika arya marga). It means right view, right resolution, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.
The correct vision resulting from realization of reality destroys the false vision. Following this eightfold path the suffering mankind may achieve a peaceful and tension free life. This is the path of self purification which is summarized by Buddha as :
” Sabba papassa akarnam, kusalassa upa sampada
Sacitta pariyodapanam, etam Buddhanusasanam”.
(“Abstinence from all evils, fulfillment of all good, purification of one’s mind.” is actually Buddha’s preaching.”)
The  end of sorrow is Nirvana which is indescribable. The elimination of the cause of sorrow is the end of suffering. Nirvana is nothing but absence of desire (trisna). It is calm mental state, liberation, end of sorrows, supreme bliss, supreme peace and termination of the worldly cycle (bhava-chakra).
In  renouncing worldly life, the lord was leading a life of apassion, (vitaragi) in the forest of Urubela. He lived the austere life of an ascetic.  Performing many experiments on himself, he finally reached the conclusion that we should keep away from extremes. He said, “Neither keep lute (vina) strings so loose that musical notes do not come, nor tighten them so much that they snap.” He was a scientist. Buddhist philosophy is based on reason and science the great scientist Einstein said, “If there is any scientist religion in the world it is Buddhism and its middle path liberty goal to adjust the rules of time and place; to establish room for logic and its verification; to eliminate devoid of superstitions and ostentations. It is standing upright on solid foundation of science.”  This is why many thinkers and philosophers like Dr. Ambedkar, Rahul Sankrityayana, Anand Koushalyaya consider it relevant for human welfare; modern India has embraced it.
Buddha is the only visionary whose religion is humancentric. His first principle is man’s duty to others.It has nothing to do with soul and soul. The world is full of sorrow and the aim of religion is to eliminate it. Other than this, there is s nothing. Buddhism declares man as master and controller; on the other hand, it tries to make man superior by extolling good conduct.Remember in Buddhism, good conduct has the same place as God or Allah in other religions. Man’s welfare require observance of “panchasila”; this is manadatory.
1.  Refrain from killing leaving beings.
2.  Refrain from stealing.
3.   Refrain from sexual misconduct.
4.   Refrain from telling a lie.
5.   Refrain from taking intoxicant.
These things distinguish Buddha and his religion from others. Buddhism neither makes man god nor demon, high or low. It makes all equal !!
Equal are all, neither slave nor master.
In this respect, Buddhism is an invention, a discovery that human life is a state of serious study and complete understanding of human instincts along with those tendencies giving birth to human history which may become the cause of his destruction. Buddha merely shows the path, he does not bestow liberation. Each has to work for his own liberation..Buddha never claimed that he was infallible. Every one has right to ask, test, and observe if one is on the noble path or not. He never declared any one as his successor. Religion alone is his successor.
He challenged the prevailing system. Man is just man. There can’t be any caste. Merit on basis of birth is outright wrong. Following culture of action instead of culture of birth is the only way for human welfare. He denied yajna, havana, sacrifice, puja and physical mortification.
He preached, “Be thy own lamp.” Eliminate your sorrow with your own efforts that you have verified on your own. What is required is to make all improper things proper in life. Every one is born with potentiality of enlightenment. One should try to work for enlightenment. Buddha is unique in all the world civilizations,because he gives so much importance to man. The basis of religion is that which is natural in life and events governed by natural laws.
When we think honestly, we realize that human welfare is only possible when our life is governed by correct prajna (wisdom), Samadhi and shila. The sorrows of the ignorant have a beginning but no end. So long as humanity consider others as the cause of its sorrow and worships and waits for some liberator its sorrow will increase. Buddha in renouncing his royal privilege presented a path for mankind to ponder; since then , man has been to secure its welfare. How can there be any path superior to it.
One may question whether there has been exploitation of man in other religions and by other leaders. Buddha with great courage exposed evils in name of religion and said that unrighteous religion has to be renounced. Unrighteousness has been centered on the innocent and illiterate in religions for ages. Buddha was the great warrior who raised his voice against it. He also spoke about the limits of religion. Religion is not an end in itself but a means to reach the end. Man is not for religion but religion is for man. Buddha compared religion to using a raft to cross a river and then leaving it; it is not to be used and abandoned. It is a secret means to reach a sacred end.
The whole world bows its head before Sakya, Muni, Gautam Buddha who showed the path of friendship, love, and sympathy for human welfare.
Homage to him the exalted one, the blessed one, the fully enlightened  one

Sarnath : The Land of the Enlightened One

Dear Children!

On vacation you go with your parents to some tourist place. Our country has many such places where not only we go but numerous foreign tourists go also.

Children! Tourism fosters our cultural and natural heritage and this keeps them viable. This keeps our cultural tradition dynamic and free from stagnation. It develops our society, culture and mind. When we travel to different places, meet different people and their cultures, it broadens our minds, breaking down the walls of caste,creed and regions. It helps us realize the aphorism ” vasudhaiva kutumbakam”, the world is a family widening our horizon. It helps multifarious development of our personality.

Sarnath is a unique tourist place attracting many tourists. Buddhists from all over come to see their sacred place, where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to his five disciples. Its old name was Mrigadava, i.e.” the forest of deer”. According to Buddhist literature, flocks of deer roamed, protected by the king of Kashi. Living at Sarnath, Buddha crossing the Varuna would walk down to Kashi to beg. Here Buddha established his first Sangha with Yash , son of a wealthy merchant of Kashi, his 54 friends and pachavargiya; monks he sent them to different places to spread Buddhism. The first Sangha was formed in Sarnath.

There are ancient archaeological remain here; stupa, museum, the Saraganath temple of Shiva, and many temples built by different Buddhist countries are worth visiting. After witnessing the large scale killing of people in Kalinga battle of 3 B.C, Emperor Ashoka vowed to renounce war and became a follower of Buddha. He built Dharma Rajika Stupa, the lion capital, and many memorials. According to chinese traveler Fa-Hien there were two stupas and four monasteries here. The glory of Sarnath continued till the reign of Kumargupta and Skandgupta. In the seventh century, during the reign of king Harsha, Huen Tsang visited Sarnath. According to him many monks lived here. There was a 61 meter high temple with a beautiful idol of Buddha. The Queen of Kannauj Kumar Devi was a Buddhist and built the Dharma Chakra Jin Vihara in 12th century.

The Modern world came to know of Sarnath in 1794 when Raja Chet Singh’s Divan Babu Jagat Singh demolished the Dharmarajika Stupa in search of construction material and used it to build the locality of Jagatganj in Benaras City. Inside the Stupa was a casket containing Buddha’s corporal relics. Col. Machenzie and later is 1936, Mr. Alexander Cunningham excavated the spot.

On the left and the right of the present remains are two viharas; a little further on north is the Dharmarajika Stupa built by Ashoka. Now, only its foundation remains. Inside it were Buddha’s relics. It was renovated many times. The two famous statues of Buddha were found here. One a huge statue of Budhisatva from the Kaniska period and the other of Buddha in “dharma charka pravartan” posture, the best in Sarnath. Now they are kept in the museum here.

About 20 meters north to the Stupa was the main temple, the Mulgandh Kuti Temple where Buddha would meditate. The grandeur of the temple can be imagined by the ruins around it and breath of the walls.   Near the southern wall is a vedika of the Maurya period built by Ashoka,it is carved out of a single stone. It is still shining; a characteristic of Ashokan period art. In the east is a long courtyard extending upto the Dhamekh stupa; it is full of small and big holy stupas and chaityas. To the west is the pillar of Ashoka, now broken in pieces. The pillar is inscribed with a royal edict, saying “if a monk or a nun causes dissension in the sangha, he/she will be condemned and banished”, forced to wear a white cloth. The pillar also contains writings from Kushan and Gupta period. On the east of the vast courtyard is the round Stupa called Dhamak or Dharmachakra; the Stupa is covered on all sides with ornamental stone slabs containing swastikas, floral fetters and different figures. Gupta artisans excelled in ornamentations with lines and creepers.

Cunningham excavated at the centre of the stupa and found an ancient remain in it. According to scholars perhaps Buddha delivered his first sermon here. Its grand ornamentation shows its importance among buildings here and people venerated it as the religious body of Buddha.

Coming out of the southern main gate from the ruins , one comes across the famous lion capital of Ashok which was a part of the pillar. It is now our national emblem. The four lions on it facing four direction are symbolic of lord Buddha looking in every direction. At the top is a wheel with 32 spokes whose broken remains are extinct. Four animals at the base are between four dharma charkas. Our national flag containing religious wheel with 24 spokes is this.

On the right side is the huge image of Bodhisatva established by Tripitakacharya  Bhikshu Bal of Mathura during the reign of kanishka where Lord Buddha would walk. In the north gallery we can see a most beautiful image of Buddha in “dharm charka pravartan” mudra, a unique work of art from the prospective of iconography, aesthetics, and history; it has been lauded by the art critic, A.K.Coomarswamy. Also, there are many statues and edicts ranging from the 3th century B.C. to the 12th century B.C;in the museum you can study with the help of museum officers or recognized guides.

The present Mulgandh kuti vihar temple built in 1931 is the centre of attraction for tourists; it has an image of the Lord, a replica of the famous Gupta period statues. Below the image are physical remains of the Lord found in Takshashila and Gunter. Every year on the full moon day of kartika (October-November) and Vaishakh (May) one may have holy sight of them. The frescoes on the temples walls painted by the Japanese artist Kosetsu Nosu are attractive and depict different episodes from the Lord’s life.

In the east near the temple in the holy bow (Boddhi) tree. The branches of the peepal tree beneath which Siddhartha received enlightenment were planted at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka by the daughter of Ashoka Sanghamitra, to propagate Buddhism. In 1931 to promote Buddhism, the reverent Anagarika Dhamma Pal of Sri Lanka planted branches of the tree here.

Dear Children! The Buddhists from Thailand, Burma, Srilanka, Korea, China, Japan and Tibat etc,. have build several beautiful temples and viharas  here. You must visit them. And don’t miss the animals and birds here moving freely.

Every year on “Vaishakh purnima” many programs about Buddha’s birth anniversary are scheduced; you can learn much about Buddhist culture. Sarnath is the holiest place for Buddhists in the entire world.

Being a Tour Guide is An Art

“Gentleman! History proves that many fall in love. Their love is last in the past. Few know about it and praise it. But if one raises his love to a great height, the whole world will notice it to the end. And this is the monument of love of Shahjahan and Mumtaj known to the world, as Taj Mahal. You are standing before it. It is our good fortune.”

This is what a tourist guide said to the tourists. What could be a better way to present this great monument of love. This is the art of guiding. In every country the guide shows the Tourists River, trees, hills, and buildings available in every country. Then why should a tourist, spending a lot to see them visit another country; because behind them lies a historical cultural story.A tourist guide’s art lies in the way he presents the story. It is like the art of serving cuisines elegantly to one’s guest. Presentation makes even the remains beautiful and worth seeing.

Making falling shrines and bricks of remains as artistic objects and presenting them to tourists is the art of guiding. When he stands before the remains, stupas and chaityas of Sarnath; he explains their histories and cultural significance to the tourists in an artistic manner, making the dead past come alive. This is the zenith of tourism with the tourist realizing the worth of his money and time. Presenting decaying remains clothed in terms of the culture is a great art and when the guide succeeds in doing so the tourist feels that the guide has breathed life in dead stones and bricks.

Such art and effort is the life and soul of the tourism industry. The guide through tourism introduces his culture to the peoplee of other countries.Such a cultural exchange makes the tourist guide a cultural ambassador.

A tour guide is like a stage actor and his expression, clarity, communicability and intimacy put life into the rivers, hills, and remains.

The oldest city of the world, Banaras can boast of its antiquity unaffected by the march of time on its life-style. But this depends on the guide’s presentation of the city so that going back to his country the tourist would write that after returning from Kashi his views changed. When prosperous tourists from the west come here they have cultural shock but the guide mentally prepares them to stand it. He, by his affectionate behavior, creates such atmosphere that the tourist feels a sense of belonging. So much so that when he leaves his eyes are filled with tears.

Showing the Chunar Fort one can say that the ancient fort is built by Kings which came to ruins because of their mutual conflict. But such dull guidance will not help tourism. What is required is an interesting presentation of cultural, historical significance; a story of treachery and deceit. This is an art which has to be learned. Artless guiding is a profession of necessity, not an attraction for the tourist. And why tourism without attraction, and guiding without art?

Sport and Tourism: Two Living forces For Mutual Understanding Culture And The Development Of The Societies

“We of the world, world ours”

“Everyone of the world, wherever he is, is mutually connected with each other.” This epigraph expresses the spirit of nature, transcending boundaries of colour, creed , gender and geography. The concept of  “vasudhaiva  kutumbakam“, the world is a family ; also the same that is common in human nature . By virtue of natural attributes each is related to all. Two people living in two ends of the globe may have the same blood group. They of different countries, colour or religion might not ever meet each other. Thus despite such distances and inequalities their thoughts, behavior and even face might be similar. This proves that nature has bound her entire creation with an invisible thread.

Indian culture since the beginning has propounded and nurtured the concept of world fraternity. This feeling not only spreads the sense of natural kinship of the world but is also capable of eliminating completely many man -made problems on physical and geographical level. But development has its own value and meaning. Since the earliest times as man distanced himself from nature,the gulf between men widened. Distances of various kinds – geographical, social, political, emotional and ideological – separated him from his creation and root.

The web of self made material development not only affected his natural capability but also unfortunately decayed human values. At times despite the rapid pace of development the results manifest slowly after centuries; now man has reached that point. He possesses numerous accomplishments, means of comfort and infinite power; yet he is not happy, for he has paid much more than he has achieved. He has inherent love, faith, belief, peace and the gift of nature, fellow-feeling which is the ultimate possibility of world welfare. The situation is worsening because of fanaticism, hostility and differences. The result is terrorism, the biggest casualty after decay of human values and natural fellow-feeling.

That is why civilized society is today looking for a means to unite the world and bind it with a common thread, so that all people are brought together. Man lives on hope. This streak of light is found even in darkness. Now when we become conscious of promoting human values, we find many things that can do the task.

Two such things are: Sports and Tourism. Recognizing whose efficaciousness the Madrid-based World Tourism Organization has chosen them as theme for 2004. This is a meaningful choice. This year’s Olympic Games were organized in Athens and the world has realized the potential for the two to promote human welfare and development.

Actually sports and tourism have similar objectives: Mutual understanding and Fellow-feeling. They erect bridges between different cultures and stimulate feeling of peace and goodwill in the world. They not only entertain but promote relaxation from daily stress and strain. This brings peoples closer. Games and sports since dawn of civilization have helped man relax. Whatever age the Games have nurtured healthy minds. The basic spirit and game bring people togather on an emotional plane. Victory of one party is inevitable, yet the defeated try to overcome defeat in the next games. Both parties respecting each others feeling; trying to give the best performance without any malice. They happily accept unbiased decisions of the referee. The defeated congratulates the victor and the victor inspires the latter to try again. Rules of the game have to be observed. The games teach players to be disciplined, restrained and unbiased.

Tourism creates the feeling that wherever we are, we are not separate from others. The tourist leaving his country and culture comes to a new country and society that opens his mind and heart. Coming to a new place, seeing a world out of his own, gives a new dimension to his perception and sensibility. There might be individual differences even in the same family yet there are universal feelings and love. This truth is unraveled by tourism.

Some times a tourist visiting a country of totally different culture identifies himself with it. This is clearly seen in Varanasi where a foreign tourist performes his marriage according to Hindu rituals or decides to live at ghats for spiritual gains. Searching for years, they found it here in no time. This is the basic feeling of tourism linking hearts and transcending geographical boundaries and cultures. That is why man today is resorting to games and tourism for world welfare.

These two can eliminate the negative aspects of world civilization; the two are actually complementary and supplementary to each other. International sports events promote tourism for professionals and fans. They increase the tourism potential of a country and also generate employment, economic resources and certainly entertain. They build infrastructures of various kinds, like hotels and restaurants give help to various tourism related employment.

On one hand tourism brings peoples together, on the other hand it generates the feeling of world kinship, tolerance and goodwill.

The World Tourism Organization and International Olympic Committee are performing important roles in this direction and several concrete measures have been taken. Both organization are helping mutual understanding and world welfare.

Every year on 27th September we celebrate the day for bringing the world closer. Games can bring countries closer, even hostile countries. What could be a better example than India and Pakistan? Cricket could do what diplomats could not in many years. Come let us bind the world with thread of human values and loves through sports and tourism. Let us reap the benefit of world welfare through entertainment and make full use of the two edged sports and tourism. Long live world peace and fellow-feeling among all.

Tourism : A Driving Force For Poverty Alleviation, Job Creation And Social Harmony

As in past years, today on 27th September we celebrate World Tourism Day. The World Tourism Organization, based in the Spanish Capital of Madrid, every year gives us a slogan, a subject to inspire us to move forward giving us an opportunity to understand the importance of tourism. It would be no exaggeration to say that tourism is the key that can open every door of development to the developing nations. The depressing shadow of poverty is looming large over four thousand millions of the world, out of which half of them, survive on less than a dollar per day. Undoubtedly removal of poverty is the greatest challenge before the world in this millennium. The world community considers tourism as a factor to remove poverty, create employment and bring about social harmony.

The developing nation like India has nurtured the dream of becoming a developed nation by the year 2020 wher every citizen rises above the poverty line and there basic need of food, clothing and house for all. There are prosperous developed nations like the U.S.A. and Japan on one hand and on the other hand you have India, Pakistan, Nepal etc. fighting against poverty.  The W.T.O.’s thinking about tourism is laudable. The role of tourism is so vast that it is difficult to express in words. It is present at every step of human development. The word tourism implies a great objective, utility and wide meaning. The merit of this smoke free industry is yet to be understood. This profession has huge employment potential provided we understand it properly. Our ancient land has many diversities. We have attraction for every kind of tourist. There are Buddhist pilgrims places, then there are sacred cities like Varanasi and Prayag (Allahabad) for the Hindus.

There are fertile Gangetic plains and lofty snowy peaks of the Himalayas; the unique Taj Mahal, stately palaces of Rajasthan; the Arabian Sea, the Indian ocean, rich sea beaches around Bay of Bengal, the remains of ancient civilization like Dhaulavir, Lothal and Kalibanga; the mixed life style of Goa etc; and the unique Indian concept of atithi devo bhava, the guest is god. What don’t we have? The world is eager to know, hear, and see the world leader India. Someone has rightly put it “discover India discover your self”.

If it benefits the skilled tourism professional, it also profits the laundry man and rickshaw puller. Tourism provides knowledge, understanding and culture on one hand and on the other provides employment to the educated unemployed. Have a look at various people benefited – airhostess, pilot, taxi driver,  porter, travel agent, tourist guide, hotel manager, receptionist, cook, bus driver, conductor,  salesman, craftsmen and seller, rickshaw puller, boatman, flower  seller etc.

In recent years the industry has attracted the youth and so has increased our attempt to attract tourists. But during the last two years the industry could not reap expected profit because of political instability, natural calamity, international conflict, and new infectious disease. This has given a severe blow to the tourism to remove poverty. Poverty is actually one of the cause of public discontent. Tourism through prosperity can eliminate this discontent and create a harmonious society.

When the  tourist visits another country and culture he is  affected by many things there. The feeling of world family is germinated in him. He cultivates the feeling of love and regard for another nation and its culture. He has the feeling of belonging. Lack of communication ends and comes the initiative to understand each other. Thus begins mutual interaction and fraternity.

Lack of education, ignorance, unemployment and population explosion give birth to religious fanaticism, factionalism and terrorism. The world grappling with starvation, poverty and unemployment is forced to fight against terrorism. Human bomb and suicide squads have made peace loving nations hapless. Under the circumstances if anything can bridge the gulf between the hearts of human beings, it is tourism. Reaching others, understanding them, making friends will creat a world state and every individual become its member; share each other’s sorrow and suffering. Tourism will bring people closer together.

Constitutional governments are failing to provide job, employment opportunities are shrinking and unemployment in causing hunger and discontent. Therefore we have to look for globally effective and meaningful alternatives. Our experience tells us that tourism is the solution. The W.T.O. has appropriately given the slogan to achieve this sacred objective. If we honestly translate the slogan into action, sure we would definitely contribute immensely to world welfare and attain laurels.

Ecotourism : Key To Sustainable Development

We celebrate World Tourism Day on 27th September and through different activities we carry the message of the importance of tourism to the masses. Every year the Madrid based World Tourism Organization(W.T.O) guides us by giving a slogan. It not only inspires us to follow the right path but also warns us about future dangers. It has been to awaken the present generation by giving such meaningful slogans like “Technology and Nature : Two challenges to tourism in the Twenty First Century” and “Tourism : Means For Peace and Dialogue Among World Civilization”. This year through a meaningful theme “Ecotourism: Key To Sustainable Development” has warned the world. Let us think it over.

Since the beginning of human development tourism is important not only economically but also socially, politically, culturally and educationally. Man’s roaming instinct has brought the world together, giving birth to the feeling of global family. When we visit another country we affect its ecology. Our presence and needs affect the culture, atmosphere and surroundings of a particular place one way or the other. The presence of a large number of tourists at a place also jeopardizes the vegetation, beings and lives of men. And hence begins imbalance in nature. This ecological imbalance upsets the harmony of life and man has to pay for it.

Modern man is grossly materialistic. He is puffed up calling himself modern. His vision is narrow, believing only in the present. He lives in the present calling the past backward and not concerned with the future. Leading a fast life, he is reduced to a machine. Years back the Hindi poet Dinkar had rightly expressed his concern :

“Listen, folks, if you can, man
Still violent, blood thirsty,
The mind demonic curious
To know the concrete
When thunders his ego
He spews venom fatal,
Forgetting the auspicious,
Science too mere source
Of destruction from him”

How can such man save the universe? When will he be concerned about the earth? Sure tremendous development has taken us to a new era. We are drunk on development. Our eyes are clouded with ignorance like Asian brown clouds over Asia. The development-afflicted eyes fail to see like such dangerous clouds that have changed the cycle of seasons. We have the turmoil of flood, drought, global warming and depletion of wild life and forest wealth.

Development dazzles us but we fail to observe the accompanying shadow of destruction. We are happy with development but years later when calamities rain from the sky we go for earth summits in Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg. Only time will tell how suicidal neglect of the earth will be for its inhabitants. But what is certain is that nature will bring about balance in whose process destruction is inevitable to prevent which we will have to consider ponder over ecological balance. We have increased resources for tourism development, facilities, and adopted new technology but have not bothered about safety from dangers caused by tourism or their solution. We have not opened doors to new destinations for tourists after assessing the enduring capacity of a particular place.

Recently my roaming tendency took me to Wyndham  Fall in Mirzapur, the adjacent district to my own. On my return the whole night many questions gnawed at me.. What right do we have to pollute the crystal waters of the fall or spoil the music of the murmuring stream with our loud tape music? To leave debris from our picnic and harm the ecology by leaving non-biodegradable plastic is a curse of modern civilization. We only know to receive, not to give. Man is cutting the branch on which he is sitting. He is bound to fall.The modern man in the name of myriad development projects is disturbing the flora and fauna and this act is as irresponsible as pulling down a great cathedral in order to grow potatoes on the site. If we were eco-friendly, things would change. Use paper, leaves, earthen pots instead of plastic.

The world has to come forward to promote ecotourism, to develop alternative nature sources of energy. A Government of India enterprise has provided, non-polluting bus from alternative energy to allow tourists to visit the Taj Mahal.; certainly a laudable effort. In Varanasi we prefer man-rowed  boats to motorboats for boat rides in the Ganga; a laudable step on part of Benarasis. But a lot more is to be done. We have only to look for the required vision. We have to love and regard Mother Nature, bearing in mind Coleridge’s lines that have become a dire necessity today.

” Lady, we receive but what we give
In Nature alone we live.”

Today we have forgotten that we are a constituent of nature. The only difference being that man with his endowment of wisdom and discretion has received more than others. For harmony and happiness all constituents have to be friendly. We have to realize that the entire universe is ours; we have to gird up our loins to wage global war against natural imbalance.

Material development is not the end, not the ultimate happiness. Human development is the ultimate goal.Mental purity alone can bring continuous development, otherwise material upliftment will prove futile. If we desire unbroken development we will have to stop the exploitation of the earth. For unhindered movement of development, we have to adopt ecotourism and to stop everything against nature.

Ecotourism alone is the key to every kind of development.

Tourism : A Tool For Peace & Dialogue Among Civilizations

Every year on 27th September we celebrate the world Tourism Day. This year we and the world are doing so. Every year the Madrid based World Tourism Organization gives a slogan to different countries as theme. This year it is tourism as a tool for peace and dialogue among civilization.

Let us think over this subject and urge all countries to initiate the march of the entire world on the noble path of world peace.

Man is just man, whether from Japan, Honolulu, Africa or the Indian sub-continent. Man every where has the same sensibility, emotions, flaws and qualities. He is a member of earth and, therefore, equally responsible for its betterment or fall.

Along with growth of civilization we shared our happiness and sorrows, inventions and accomplishments. Human instinct of curiosity and search unravelled the deep mysteries of the universe is benefiting everyone. But simultaneously came our fall in many respects. In rivalry of monopoly from countries came the destructive nuclear weapon. The terrible memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not forgotten. The blot on humanity cannot be removed easily. Whether conflict in Iran, Iraq, Philistine, India, Pakistan, Taliban’s destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha image – they all put us in dark. After all what do we want to achieve? Is there any end to mutual animosity and hate?The Attack on America by terrorists  in September 2001 and the killing of thousands of innocent people, suicide groups killing in Kashmir etc. are issues that remain unanswered . We have to find the answer.

And the answer is tourism. Discoveries by of Vasco De Gama and Columbus opened new gates of peace and dialogue. Surely tourism cuts down distance among peoples and make significant contribution to world peace. The bitterness between India and Pakistan can only be removed by free travel of peoples of the two countries. From time to time our leaders have taken initiative like the Lahore journey and Musharraf’s visit to India with his wife. The whole world looked keenly at the Agra summit whether as dialogue through tourism or vice-versa. The city of love Agra is chosen as venue. Whatever the outcome, indirectly the credit to this path of peace goes to tourism.

Tourism can be seen as a link of commercial and cultural exchange between two countries. When a tourist visits countries for study of the culture and sees monuments and remains he is influenced by the culture of the country. He goes back with objects purchased there and thus begins trade relationships. That naturally brings the peoples together. This closeness brings friendship and them comes dialogue between two nations. And this results in dialogue peace, and goodwill. Peace opens the gates of development and helps prosperity of nations.

Perhaps tourism is the only means today to bring amity to the warring countries of Central Asia; an opportunity to understand each other and bring peace.

Taken seriously tourism can play a vital role in bringing peace. Studies show that people want peace with neighbours and exchange of ideas. No nation wants to be confined to her boundaries. The broken remains of the Berlin wall grace drawing rooms of German people. Every German would be proud of unification of his country. They must be feeling contented pulling down the dividing wall and presenting an example before the world. They wouldn’t feel any hesitation in calling themselves superior.

Today man wants to see and know the world. He wants to find a place in people’s heart through the means of tourism. Today people of many countries have a special feeling and regard for India. This could only be possible through tourism. The unique India with her cuisine, colorful dress, monuments and palaces, hospitality, diversity etc.

Ancient civilizations of Egypt and China take the tourist to antiquity through pyramids and the Great wall. Bhutan and Tibet with ancient culture attract our mind.

Many buildings have been declared world heritage to be taken care of by the whole world so they remain intact for posterity. Tourism has increased peoples awareness for maintaining historical, cultural, and artistic heritage.

Undoubtedly tourism has emerged as a means of world peace and dialogue.
Let us carry the message of tourism to the masses. Be it national unity or vision of world state, tourism has a vital role to play. Some one has rightly said,

“What gained confined, found the world coming out.”

Technology & Nature: Two Challenges For Tourism At The Dawn Of The Twenty First Century

Every year on 27th September we celebrate World Tourism Day when we draw world attention to the importance of tourism and its role is social, economic and cultural sphere. At the dawn of the new century technology with its developments has opened new avenues for tourism. Information technology, transport facilities, worldwide internet reaches even villages; and mobile phone have ushered in a new era of the 21st century.

New technology has brought about revolutionary changes in tourism. Technology has entered every sphere of life, tourism has reaped its maximum benefit. Developments in the transportation sector would certainly make travel fast, secure, comfortable and easy. Science is both a boon and curse nectar or poison-depending on its use or misuse. The careless or irrresponsible use of technology can disturb the ecological balance and its impact upon Nature and Tourism could be devastating. Technology has given us many things but has made us unaware of future danger. Number of aware people caught up in the blind race for development have declined. Two challenges to increase tourism are: technology and nature.

Let us think over these challenges in the context by our country on World Tourism Day. This merits attention by the whole country, not simply those associated with tourism. Where will we stand in coming years? What will be our tourism policy? What will be the role of tourism in generating employment? The answer to these questions is in the womb of the future. But one thing is clear, this smoke-free industries with lesser investment in comparison to other industries generates more employment. Our country with its variety and vast area has everything to attract tourists, we need perception and will power. We have never estimated the economics of tourism. Giving direct and indirect employment to the millions, it strengthens the country economically by earning foreign exchange. We will have to think over how to keep pace in future tourism growth . Only the future will tell how far the youths are able to benefit by training themselves in new technology.

In present context none can deny that the man has to harmonize between technology and nature. It is inevitable and it cannot be attained by giving more importance to either. Both have equal importance. New technology makes life easier but natural imbalance is a threat to life. If innovation in medical science has freed man from many diseases it has also increased cancer like deadly diseases by damaging the ozone layer. Air pollution in big cities has made the masses victim of lung diseases. Harmony between development and ecology is essential.

How long will we exploit nature in the name of development? Material accomplishments have dazzled us, we are not aware of injustice meted out to nature. Now slowly the world is realizing the ecological imbalances caused by technology and tourism development. That is why we are mindful of maintaining the pristine form of ecology along with expansion of tourism maintaining and conserving the snowy Himalayas, wild-life, remains of ancient civilizations, the Taj, Ghats of Varanasi and many other places.

When the tourist visits a place this affects the ecology. . Tourism also creates love for natural scenes and wild-life which conserves them both.

It is not easy to keep our culture intact in today’s globalization. Cable TV has brought western culture to our rooms and we cannot stop its influence on the young. Foreign sexual behavior and clothes and life style brings about cultural pollution. Poisonous exhaust from automobiles pollutes the atmosphere. Pollution in rivers is a threat both to man and water creature.

The way out is to protect nature by new technology. Preference is to be given to the alternate sources of energy. Science has made everything possible. There are ways to stop every kind of pollution. The only thing needed is will to act. Both citizens and the government are responsible for nature’s imbalance. It is strange that a few months ago citizens of Varanasi would throw garbage in the bin because of a municipal officer but now would throw it anywhere.

Celebration of World Tourism Day, coverage in the press, drinking and meetings in five star hotels, flowery speeches, are not enough. Without genuine commitment to the nation, mother nature and the soil, every effort is meaningless. It is ridiculous to see people planning in air conditioned offices ignoring the people directly related to it. How long would paper horses run? They have to perish.

In the end, I appeal to all sensible citizens to understand the delicate relationship of technology, man and nature because they are interdependent and can not be separated. It is quite imperative that we harvest the benifits of modern technology and learn to give.