Importance of 31 May: One International and One National (India)

In this article, the importance of 31 May is presented by highlighting two events- One International and one National (India). One is ‘World No Tobacco Day’ and another is from our country (India) completion of Dakshineswar Kali Temple (31 May 1855) situated near the bank of the Hooghly River, West Bengal.

1)      World No Tobacco Day: Tobacco is not good for health as it contains Nicotine. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), every year, more than 8 million people die because of tobacco consumption. Also according to WHO, most tobacco-related deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries.  It is unfortunate to mention here that those who stay nearby smokers are also affected. In this regard, WHO may be quoted, “Tobacco can also be deadly for non-smokers. Second-hand smoke exposure has also been implicated in adverse health outcomes, causing 1.2 million deaths annually. Nearly half of all children breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke and 65 000 children die each year due to illnesses related to second-hand smoke. Smoking while pregnant can lead to several life-long health conditions for babies”. It is pertinent to mention that, “The Member States of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. In 1987, the World Health Assembly passed Resolution WHA40.38, calling for 7 April 1988 to be “a world no-smoking day.” In 1988, Resolution WHA 42.19 was passed, calling for the celebration of World No Tobacco Day, every year on 31 May”, (who.int/campaigns/world-no-tobacco-day). The campaign theme of World No Tobacco Day 2021 is “Commit to Quit” and in this regard WHO desires that pledge should be taken by signing in the campa. Although in 1988 resolution has been passed as “a world no- smoking day” but in the Sikhism, tobacco is totally banned that is, in general Sikh people should not smoke as religious practice.

2)      Dakshineswar Kali Temple:  The temple situated near the bank of Hooghly River was constructed on 31 May 1855 by Rani Rashmoni, a philanthropist and a devotee of Kali (Hindu Goddess). At the tender age of 11, Rashmoni was married to Babu Rajchandra Das of JanBazar of Calcutta. Babu Rajchandra was non Brahmin,  a member of a wealthy zamindar family (zamindar means colossal landlord). It is observed from various publications that in the year 1847, Rani Rashmoni prepared to go on a long pilgrimage to visit Kashi  ( presently known as Varanasi). Rani was supposed to travel in 24 boats, carrying relatives, helpers and essential goods. It is believed that the night before the pilgrimage, she had a dream and in the dream the Divine Mother Goddess Kali reportedly said, “There is no need to go to Banaras. Install my statue in a temple on the banks of the Ganges River and arrange my worship there”.  And thus on 31 May 1855 the Temple was completed. She patronized Shri Ramkrishna Paramhangsha as the priest of the Dakkhineshwar temple. Her other development  works  inter alia were the construction of a road from Subarnarekha River to Puri for the pilgrims, Babughat (also known as Babu Rajchandra Das Ghat), Ahiritola Ghat and Nimtala ghat for the everyday bathing at the Ganges by the common people. She also offered considerable charity to the Imperial Library (now the National Library of India), the Hindu College etc. For her outstanding, development, social and spiritual works, people called her Rani i.e. the Queen.

The following websites have been consulted while writing the article: 

  1. https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-no-tobacco-day
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibitions_in_Sikhism#
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakshineswar_Kali_Temple
  4. http://www.dakshineswarkalitemple.org/rashmoni.html
  5. http://www.dakshineswarkalitemple.org/rashmoni.html

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