A veteran, intelligent, great leader and a great visionary Shanta Kumar is a former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh and a former cabinet minister in Government of India. Born in a village in the foothills of Dhauladhar mountain ranges of kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, Shanta Kumar joined politics in 1953 when he was hardly 19 years and was arrested during Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee’s Kashmir Andolan. shanta Kumar started his public life as village panch of his village panchayat. He was elected to the Panchayat Samiti, Zila parishad, vidhan Sabha and then Lok Sabha. He also represented India in United Nations as a member of Parliamentary delegation in 2011. With a political career spanning more than five decades, he was fonder member of Bharatiya Jana Sangh. Shanta Kumar was jailed in emergency and remained in Nahan jail for 19 months. In 1977 he became the first-ever non-congress Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh. He was the national vice-President Of Bharatiya Janata Party and Member Parliament (Rajya Sabha) from kangra (H.P.). Presently, he is a Member Parliament (Lock Sabha). His first tenure as Chief Minister is remembered as Paaniwala Mukhya Mantri and for innovative Antyodaya Yojna for poor. During his second tenure as chief Minister, he introduced private sector participation to exploit the vast potential in power generation and tourism the state had. As Union Food and Rural Development Minister, he pioneered the Antyodya Anna Yoja, Hariyali, swajaldhara schemes which continue to be popular even today. A prolific writer, Shanta Kumar has written 17 books in Hindi which have been widely appreciated.
I had written this book on world renowned Swami Vivekananda 40 years ago in Hindi. I am grateful to the esteemed readers who appreciated whole-heartedly the first edition of the book. Many editions of the book have been published till today. On this occasion of republication of the book in English, I once again recall the inspiration behind writing this book.
In 1967, I had contested the State Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh and lost. My first election and my first defeat. Disappointment and sadness was natural. I had started my law practice only three years ago. However, my heart was not in the court rooms. Small courts, small cases pertaining to land disputes and petty quarrels. The malpractice of producing false witnesses and fabricating false evidences. All this was sufficient to make me sad within three years. Then came the elections. When it was decided that I would be contesting the elections, my heart had a new hope "...I will win...new field of work...could bid farewell to the court". But dreams are not always fulfilled.
After my defeat in the elections, apart from the disappointment of defeat, there was also the issue of starting the practice once again. I could not find a way out I have been greatly influenced by the Bhagvada Gita and Swami Vivekananda from the very beginning. Whenever there had been difficulties in my life, I had sought solace in these great works. I decided to spend some peaceful days with Swamiji's literature all alone and completely involve myself in his teachings. My wife, Santosh, had gone to her parent's house and I was all alone. I stopped going to the court. The moment I started reading Vivekananda's literature, I felt a new hope, a new enthusiasm.
On the third day, a thought came into my mind to write a book at the first instance on Swamiji's life. I had already read a great deal on his life. I had studied the whole literature. I decided to concentrate all my energies in writing about his life and teachings then I would decide on the next course of action. I managed to complete the book within a couple of days.
I left the practice and joined politics full time.
Swami Vivekananda is the architect of modern India, and also has been my source of inspiration from my childhood. I have read his works many times and have always tried to follow his ideals.
Today, when the nation has not only to address economic and security issues, but also the most important issue concerning the national character, Swami Vivekananda's life stands out as a beckoning light for today's youth who would be shaping up India's future. This book has been written keeping in mind the relevance of Vivekananda's ideals in the present situation.
It is not the subject of this book to analyse Swamiji's deep philosophical thoughts and his life's profound experiences. It is an attempt to portray Swamiji's patriotism in simple and lucid language. His life has been depicted in short paragraphs and essays so that the youth, and particularly the student community, can gain insights into his great life.
Three new chapters have been added in this book. I have not only studied Swami Vivekananda but tried to live up to his ideals throughout my personal as well as public life. The chapter "My Master -- My Guru" is the story of the practice of his ideals in my life.
In such a short span of life, Swamiji could manifest real Indian culture before the world. His important quotations are in one chapter. The tributes of some great men about him are in another chapter. These chapters will enrich the knowledge of the readers. I am grateful to all writers, Swamiji's colleagues and disciples, whose works have helped me to understand Swamiji.
My engagements in public life have always created problems in my reading and writing work. My friends, my publisher my wife were very keen to publish this book in English. Shri Satish Dhar and Shri S.K. Sood helped me very much. My wife who herself is a prolific writer, devoted all her efforts for completing this manuscript. The credit of good and early publication goes to my friend, publisher Sh. Prabhat Kumar. I am immensely greatful to all of them for their esteemed cooperation and support.
I am not worried about the success or failure of this attempt of mine. My only satisfaction is that I have been able to pay my obeisance to this great patriot-monk in my humble way in the form of this book. This remains a matter of pride and satisfaction to me.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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