India Forum Archives
Friday, October 22, 2004
  The Great Indian Political Debate - Secularism v/s Hindutva - 1.a
Posted by: Nalwa Mar 1 2004, 08:50 PM
They are traitors because they have a strong sense of "self-loathing" The Arun-dhat-tere ki, the Kul-deeps, the Purefool's etc. They are all hindu hating hindu's
Posted by: Mudy Mar 1 2004, 08:52 PM
To be truly global, the intellectual must become anti-national. He must disavow motherhood and apple pie in New York, defy the Tebbit test in London and proclaim "anyone but England" and confront the effrontery of India to aspire for life beyond the Third World. He must perennially confront what the philosopher Roger Scruton calls "ordinary decencies."
When India is aiming for the skies, the intellectual is prying into the gutter and triumphantly dissecting the sewage
Very much true. They are traitors not intellectuals.
Posted by: k.ram Mar 2 2004, 08:34 AM
QUOTE (Mudy @ Mar 2 2004, 09:22 AM)
To be truly global, the intellectual must become anti-national. He must disavow motherhood and apple pie in New York, defy the Tebbit test in London and proclaim "anyone but England" and confront the effrontery of India to aspire for life beyond the Third World. He must perennially confront what the philosopher Roger Scruton calls "ordinary decencies."
When India is aiming for the skies, the intellectual is prying into the gutter and triumphantly dissecting the sewage
Very much true. They are traitors not intellectuals.
Mudy, An interesting book to read about "intellectuals" is "End of Utopia". I do not recollect the author's name, but you can google it. IMHO, it is so close to our indian situation
Posted by: k.ram Mar 3 2004, 07:57 AM
The Campaign to Stop Funding Hate - Press Release Date/Time: March 01 2004 The Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (CSFH) thanks the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) for its statement of February 27th, 2004 clarifying that the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF) is indeed a "Hindu organization", closely related to the Sangh Parivar. That has been our claim all along. In contrast to the current RSS statement, the IDRF continues to mislead the public by claiming to be a secular, broad based organization funding "development" and "relief" programs in India. It is nothing more than a US fundraising front for RSS groups in India. Just as the Foreign Exchange of Hate (FxH) report published by Sabrang in November 2002 showed that IDRF was RSS' s funding arm in the US, so also the recently released British Report by Awaaz South Asia Watch ( shows a comprehensive connection between Sewa International UK (SIUK), HSS and the RSS. Just as the IDRF did in November 2002, SIUK and HSS have over the last two days claimed that they have no connection with the RSS. Mere assertion, however, proves nothing. If the RSS/IDRF wishes to refute the core findings of the FxH report it must do so with evidence. The meticulously detailed FxH report's ( main findings are: * Over 80% of the funds available to IDRF for disbursal between the years 1992 and 2000 were distributed to organizations which form part of the Sangh Parivar. The close links between IDRF and RSS were not acknowledged during that period and have yet to be fully acknowledged by IDRF. * IDRF is misleading the public by claiming to raise money for development and relief projects. Many of the charities extensively funded by the IDRF are heavily engaged in promotion of Hindutva. For example, Sewa Bharati MP, which received $77,050 from IDRF in the year 2001 [1] writes in its report to IDRF, dated 11/03/2001 [2]: To cultivate faith in our religion in the minds of Tribals Sewa Bharati has picked up 23 Tribal youths and 4 tribal girls, they were sent to Ayodhya to undergo training in "Shri RamKatha Pravachan" (Discourses of Ramayan). This training lasted 8 months under the guidance of special Saints and Mahatmas. Now "Anubhav Varga" has been formed at Jashpur Nagar, from where groups of two will visit 5 days in each five villages. They will live in the villages and propagate "RamKatha". IDRF is directly implicated in violence against minorities because of its long and continuing support of the various Vanvasi Kalyan Ashrams. The FxH report highlighted the case of Swami Aseemanand, of Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad, Gujarat, who was instrumental in creating the atmosphere of terror and fear amongst the Christian communities in the Dangs in 1998, 1999, where he conducted forcible conversions of Christians, and also organized large-scale rallies on Christian religious days. After the Gujarat carnage of 2002, the Swami has resurfaced in the Dangs again, as the head of the Mata Shabari Sewa Samiti and is reportedly holding Ram Kathas which are accompanied by extensive anti-Christian pamphleteering by the VHP, and have been attended by Narendra Modi and his cabinet minister, Karsan Patel, amongst others [3]. The IDRF has yet to explain its relation to Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad which is listed as "IDRF supported project in Gujarat" and is part of the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram family, which received $63,205 from IDRF in 2001 [4]. If the RSS/IDRF wishes to refute the above findings, they will have to place before the public evidence that contradicts the main findings of the FxH report. Instead of directly challenging any of the claims of the FxH report, IDRF/ RSS have been content to question the motivations of the authors of the report, and label it as "malicious propaganda." This pattern is again evident in the RSS response to the UK group Awaaz-South Asia Watch's report on Sewa International UK and its ties with the RSS. Each time the practices of RSS and its front organizations are brought into focus, RSS tries to shift the focus from the claims and contentions, onto the people challenging the RSS and their motivations. We welcome the media to check our credentials—the CSFH collective consists of professionals and academicians from the Indian diaspora, belonging to different religious faiths and political persuasions, who have a long history of being actively involved in many struggles for social and economic justice. However, we feel that the interests of the public are better served if the focus remains on the data presented in the report, and an examination of its conclusions, rather than the credentials of the authors and supporters. ---------------------------------------- [1] Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Tax, 2001 filed by IDRF, available at [2] Letter from Vishnu Kumar, Kshetra Sewa Pramukh, Sewa Bharati dated 11/03/2001 [3] Gujarat mantri threatens Dangs Christians, by Deepal Trivedie, Oct 23, 2002 available at , Dangs' tribals get a dose of Modi's Hindutva by Tanushree Chakraborty, Indian Express, Oct 23, 2002 and VHP pamphleteering worries Christians in Dangs, by Manas Dasgupta, The Hindu, Oct 25, 2003 .htm [4] Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Tax, 2001 filed by IDRF, available at -- End --
Posted by: Viren Mar 9 2004, 07:38 AM
Pioneer 9thMarch2004 Left: clean-bowled by History By Sandhya Jain A sense of irony grips me as I recollect the late Ramesh Thapar's contempt for family members who served the British Empire; "toadies," he would sneer. Impressed by what appeared a rare display of courage, I never forgot the word, partly because it formed part of Thapar's unique repertoire and partly because it rolled so convincingly off his tongue. 'Toadies' now comes to mind as one sees Left historians bending backwards to wrest legitimacy for a discredited interpretation of Indian history, one supported by Western universities that patronize the self-same scholars with fellowships, seminar invitations, and other freebies. This is a tightly controlled intellectual circuit, and regardless of the party in power in these Western nations, the political-intellectual establishment subscribes to a specific view about non-Western and non-Christian countries like India. Communists, Leftists, assorted socialists and minority intellectuals opposed to the rise of an autochthonous intellectual and civilizational framework are thus natural allies of Western establishments. It is India's tragedy that the regime that assumed power at independence elected to sponsor a sectarian history and disallowed reinstatement of the autochthonous civilization as foundational ethos of the fledgling modern nation-state. Decades of State patronage gave India a version of history that negated the greatness of the ancient past in which seekers from the known world came to genuflect before our sages; equated Islamic iconoclasm with ordinary banditry; deleted the sustained Hindu resistance to the invaders; purged the sheer scale of massacres of soldiers and ordinary citizens in every military encounter; and expunged all mention of the flourishing slave trade in Hindu men, women and children for several hundred years. As such a history was mandated by political calculations and the political ideology of its chief patron, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, its rectification, especially at the level of school textbooks, required the presence of a non-Nehruvian dispensation. Although the BJP has shown far less sensitivity to civilizational issues than desired, it did permit the writing of new history textbooks, if only because the prevalent ones were badly written and hopelessly outdated. Today, the NCERT textbooks have emerged as the principal ideological battlefield as they are in a sense even more important than Ayodhya. The writing of history free from Leftist biases and control has brought India's civilizational struggle to the forefront of the intellectual arena. This has given the contest a piercing immediacy, accentuated by the fact that non-Left historians will not accommodate Marxist denials of historical truths. At the same time, the growing popular demand for a more honest chronicling and interpretation of the past has forced the Left to recognize that it has lost its old hegemony and credibility. It now retains audience only with the virulently anti-Hindu media and Western academic circles. Here too, the returns are diminishing as events queer the pitch for those determined to promote an imagined past. It is poetic justice that Ayodhya has emerged as a major area of denouement, despite Marxist desperation to maintain the hegemony of the invader Babur in defiance of common sense. Last year, the Archaeological Survey of India not only uncovered a Gupta era temple structure beneath the old Babri Masjid floor, but found evidence of human habitation at Ayodhya from 1500 BC. In one stroke, this took the history of Ayodhya back by seven hundred years and convincingly settled an old academic mystery about the antiquity of the Ramayana vis-à-vis the Mahabharata. Hitherto, archaeologists had speculated that the Mahabharata might possibly be the older epic as all findings related to a period identified with it. Yet Hindu tradition was adamant that the Ramayana was older, and this civilizational memory was finally vindicated in 2003. Ayodhya presents a salutary lesson to honest historians about how ancient civilizations preserve the memory of their past. To demean or disown one of the single-most important archaeological and historical discoveries of the modern world merely because it imperils a discredited ideology is an insult to the intellectual quest for truth. To try to dismiss it as an expression of religious nationalism (whatever that means) is intellectual chicanery at its worst. A corollary of the unilateral exoneration of Islamic atrocities by Marxist historians is their sustained denial of the glories of pre-Islamic India and their rabid insistence - despite convincing evidence to the contrary - that an alien race of Aryans (who came from God knows where) are the ancestors of today's upper caste Hindus. Currently, some White racists are working overtime to prove that upper caste Hindu men have descended from White Aryan men and native (presumably Dravidian) women. I fail to understand how such an obscenely sexist and racist proposition can be sustained even theoretically, and this may explain why it has not been adopted by our intellectual peddlers. Excavations over far-flung sites of the Indus-Harappa-Saraswati civilization prove beyond doubt that there was neither an Aryan invasion nor migration to India, and that the civilization was entirely indigenous in its origins. Its Vedic roots have been established by distinguished archaeologists like Dr. R.S. Bisht and Dr. Gregory Possehl, and cannot be denied by low level quibbling. The Indus-Saraswati culture has continuity with our contemporary culture, and as its authors called themselves Arya (noble, not a race), we owe it to ourselves to spurn Hindu-baiters and honour ourselves with the epithet. Those unfit for inclusion in this category are, of course, mleccha (uncultured). It bears repetition that the primary identity of a nation will necessarily derive from the culture and traditions of the indigenous people (Gaul in France, Saxon in Germany). This is particularly so when this culture survives and continues into the present, and its adherents remain - despite the entry of other groups - the majority community in the land. Hence there can be no legitimate dispute, much less grievance, that what is today known as 'Hindu' is the primary identity of India, Bharat, Hindustan. The land of Bharat has ever existed as a distinct idea and entity in the primordial memories of its people. Vedic poetry resounds with deep love for the land. The Vedic seers, however, linked the terrain with pride in a unique culture, the acceptance of which conferred upon one the membership of both land and community. In other words, Arya culture involved territorial assimilation through cultural integration. As Sukumar Dutt argued, our ancestors expanded not so much by political conquest as by amalgamating with Arya culture. The mother country was thus built through spiritual and cultural affinities, which bestowed a special uniqueness and unity to what would otherwise be only a political or geographical unit. Over the centuries this spiritual unity welcomed into its fold even immigrant groups willing to accept Arya culture. For here, as Dutt asserted, culture, and not race or language, was the passport for admission. Cultural assimilation could thus transform even foreign origins into birthright, granting the immigrant community even a leadership role in the socio-spiritual-cultural polity. It was in this manner that the Gurjara Pratiharas evolved into the Agnikula Rajputs at Mount Abu, and earned their spurs in the defence of dharma. Centuries later, this same spiritual-cultural impulse produced modern-day nationalism and the anti-colonial movement. Historians who equate the mainstream national movement with the pro-colonial behaviour of the Muslim League need to be sent back to grammar school. End of matter
Posted by: muddur Mar 9 2004, 02:31 PM
This bill is brought up to embrass DEMOCRACY ???? thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif,~Mufti~can't~kill~the~Bill The general feeling in the Valley is in support of the bill. "It (bill) is projected as anti-woman but it actually plugs the entry gates for on-state subjects in J&K", says Shafia Qadir, a university student adding: "There is nothing new in the bill. The law which was enforced in 1927 has only been upheld". "This is an emotional issue and has to be guarded", says Ghulam Nabi Mattoo. "If India boasts of free and fair elections of 2002, why the bill passed by the legislators elected in that election is being questioned? ", he asks. "If the bill is forced to falter, the Kashmiris will loose remaining faith in the elections and democratic process", says Tariq Rahman, a lawyer in the lower court.
Posted by: Viren Mar 10 2004, 04:29 PM
Calling the 'Secular' Bluff by Balbir K. Punj (sorry no URL - came via email) The volte face by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, on the issue of half-day closure of educational institutions on Fridays underlines the rise of a healthy trend in Indian politics. The original decision was meant to curry favour with the Muslim electorate. But Muslims refused to walk into the trap, opposed the move, and made it clear that they are no longer willing to be used as mere voting tools by the secularists. While Muslims in India appear to be gradually getting objective, secularists continue to pander to Muslim conservatism, and practice divisive and communal politics. Both Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav and former Chief Minister of Bihar, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, have promoted the worst forms of communal and casteist politics, with the rest of the "secular pack" (a section of the media, academia and political formulation such as Congress, CPI, CPI-M) acting as cheer boys on the sidelines. It was not surprising that none of them took up the cudgels on behalf of Mr Yadav for his jumma namaz decision. This is the second incident in the recent past when Muslims have acted with discretion and sanity. In both the cases, they have acted independent of the "secularists". Recently, Dar-ul-uloom, Deoband, gave a call to Muslims to respect the sentiments of Hindus to not slaughter cows during Bakr-Id. It took me back to the days of the 1857 uprising which was the golden period of Hindu-Muslim relations. It did not need any "secularist" to advise Mangal Pandey, a Brahmin, to fire the first shot while launching an armed struggle against the British for restoration of the throne to the aging Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah 'Zafar'. On regaining his throne in 1857, Bahadur Shah issued his first firman making cow slaughter a capital offence, in deference to the religious beliefs of Hindus who formed the majority of his subjects. The Mulayam incident was egregious. It was Islamic conservatism openly encroaching on secular space. Interestingly, our "progressive" Marxist friends refrained from commenting on this move of their friend. Their patriarch, Mr Jyoti Basu, campaigned for Mr Yadav at Moradabad during the 2002 UP Assembly elections. At around the same time, in February 2002, Marxist mandarins of Calcutta had raised a furore against their own Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadev Bhattacharya, for expressing dismay over the proliferation of illegal madrasas along the Indo-Bangla border. After all, a tiger can't change its stripes-in 1940 it was the Communists who supplied Jinnah with the intellectual arsenal of "right to self-determination" to justify his demand for Pakistan. One might recall that way back in September 1998, when both India and Pakistan were placed under economic sanctions following the Pokhran nuclear tests, Mr Yadav had advised the Vajpayee Government to give Rs 2000 crore to Pakistan to help it tide over its financial difficulty. Within months, our "hard-pressed neighbour", even without Mr Yadav's munificence found enough funds for the Kargil invasion. One-sixth of UP's population is Muslim. In absolute terms, it is the highest amongst any Indian State. Their crying need is not the lack of leisure for namaz or dearth of religion. The real issues before them are education, health, hygiene, women's empowerment and employment. A decision having positive bearing on their real needs should be a good trendsetter for the rest of the country. With dilapidated school buildings and lack of teachers, primary education is certainly not in good shape in Uttar Pradesh. However, it would not be fair to blame the Yadav duo or the Marxists alone. Practically every other "secularist" party is guilty of indulging in the same game. The lion's share of the blame, of course, lies with the Congress, which institutionalised Muslim appeasement in electoral politics. It is despite the fact that Gandhian Congress received a bloody nose from the Muslim League in pursuance of its "secularism". At the Congress session in Karachi in 1931, one Maulana Zafar Ali had insisted that the proceedings be adjourned for namaz. As a compromise, Mahatma Gandhi conceded to conduct less important business while Muslims could offer namaz. But Zafar Ali found this inadequate and left the session, infuriated. Under the profound influence of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan's (founder of Aligarh Muslim University) legacy, Muslims had always kept aloof from the Congress in pre-independent India. Gandhi, in his peculiar manner, tried to alter this scenario by integrating the Khilafat Movement with the Non Co-operation Movement. While in Turkey, Kemal Ataturk was trying to bring Muslims out of obsolete political order, Gandhi's joining hands with Mohammed Ali and Shaukat Ali helped Islamic revivalism in India. The vast majority of Indian Muslims construed Swaraj as reestablishment of Islamic rule in India. This is exactly what happened in the Mopla riots of August-September 1921 in Malabar (Kerala), where thousands of innocent Hindus were slaughtered, maimed, outraged or raped. But Gandhi did not call off his Non Cooperation Movement for Mopla for transgression of non-violence, which he did for Chauri Chaura (UP) incident six months later, where 22 policemen had lost their lives. While at the annual Khilafat Conference of Cocanada, 1923, the Ali brothers raised funds for Mopla orphans, no Congress leaders came forth for aid of thousands of Hindu disabled, orphans or widowed. Long before "Hindu-Muslim unity" became a slogan, many leading Muslims had identified themselves with the nationalist cause and worked in tandem with Lokmanya Tilak-Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Dr Ansari, Hakim Ajmal Khan. But is it not a fact that Hindu-Muslim relations tended to deteriorate whenever skewed "secularism" was on the rise? Yet, Gandhi's appeasement could at least be justified in that he was fighting for India's independence. Single-handedly, he converted the barristers' forum that was the Congress into a mass movement. But Mr Yadav's unsolicited appeasement was solely aimed at securing his Muslim votebank. This time it may go into unpredictable hands, for AMU has rejected Congress president, Ms Sonia Gandhi, and many Muslims are turning to the BJP. The "growth and development" plank used by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has put "secularists" at a disadvantage in the forthcoming elections. The "secularist" conspiracy of all these years has been pandering to the emotive demands of Muslims like Urdu, madrasas, burqas, skull-caps and mosques. The Muslim fascination for these badges of identity predates Independence. Baba Saheb Ambedkar, the father of the Indian Constitution, observes in his book, Thoughts on Pakistan (1940), republished as Pakistan or Partition of India (1946): "Muslim politics takes no note of purely secular categories of life, namely, the difference between rich and poor, capital and labor, landlord and tenant, priest and layman, reason and superstition. Muslim politics is essentially clerical and recognizes only one difference, namely, that existing between Hindus and Muslims. None of the secular categories of life have any place in the politics of the Muslim community and if they do find a place-because they are irrepressible-they are subordinated to one and the only governing principle of the Muslim political universe, namely, religion" (p.233-34). He further writes: "Muslim politicians do not recognize the secular categories of life as the basis of their politics because to them it means the weakening of the community in their fight against the Hindus." (p.236, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches Vol. 8). But even after the trifurcation of the country along communal lines, things deteriorated in Independent India where "secularism" became a profitable, yet safe electoral card. The Supreme Court's verdict on Mohammed Ahmed Khan vs Shah Bano case, 1985, was altered by the Rajiv Gandhi's Government with its absolute majority. By rejecting the verdict that was the voice of reason and true secularism, Congress played into the hands of Ulema. Even in the 21st century, "secularists" are keeping this lunacy alive with such self-defeatist moves. But this time Muslims have called the "secularist" bluff.
Posted by: Mudy Mar 10 2004, 04:43 PM
Cong behind ex-communication of 54 Muslims: BJP NEW DELHI, DHNS: The BJP on Wednesday alleged that Congress had a hand in “the ex-communication” of 54 Muslims by a local clergy in Agra after these Muslims reportedly expressed the view that singing of national song “Vande Mataram” was not un-Islamic. “Nothing could be more fundamentalist and foolish. We strongly condemn the action, ” BJP spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra said here. He said the clergy’s action was engineered by the Congress and “we should understand that Vande Mataram is not performing of Puja but paying respect to the motherland.” “The entire nation, including Muslims, have been singing the song “maa tujhe salaam” by A R Rahman and saluting the motherland. Such an act therefore cannot be unIslamic,” he said. Fifty-four Muslims have reportedly been ex-communicated and their marriages nullified by a maulvi in Agra after they reportedly expressed the view that singing Vande Mataram was not un-Islamic. While issuing the fatwa, the maulvi Abdul Quddus Rumi declared that singing of the national song “would lead them (Muslims) to hell” and added those advocating the song were deviating from Islam. All the Muslims who made the statement in favour of the song should offer prayers to renew their faith in Islam and remarry according to Islamic rites, maulvi Rumi said. According to reports, among those excommunicated were Mutwallis (heads) of the Loha Mandi and Shaheed Nagar mosques. Of the 54 who were excommunicated, 13 asked for forgiveness.
Posted by: k.ram Mar 15 2004, 10:39 AM
Satire: Who broke Shiva’s Dhanush? By: Aarati Buchwala March 13, 2004 Aarti was a new grad student of Journalism on Michigan campus. Soon, she found two friends Rundi (Arundhati) and Manju (Manjari) majoring in Linguistics. They had become such good friends as they shared a nice apartment close to campus, a short walk to classes and The Michigan Union. Manju and Rundi had known each other right from their undergrad years in Jowahari-Marks University (JMU) in New Delhi. Aarti graduated.gifd from Hindu college, Guntur in AP. Frequently Manju and Rundi talked about their friends, professors and courses they took in JMU. Aarti came to know a lot about JMU’s reputation as a premier university of learning in India, with world-class programs in Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (emphasis on the Science of Political Correctness). The Chancellor, Rumi Tharpar, was the founder/director of Ancient India Studies Center (AISC) at JMU. One evening after dinner, they began comparing their undergrad course work: Aarti: “Heh! Manju, how many courses in Sanskrit you had to take for your minor at JMU?” Manju: “The Sanskrit Department offered its own courses from traditional classic texts. AISC developed in parallel a few of its own courses in Sanskrit with the help of some US scholars, like Professors Waltzell and Dronier. As AISC students, we were required to take only two, SANS 110 and SANS 210 for our minor. Arundhati: We were fortunate to have had these from Professor Tharpar. She was such a sweet charming lady with full of humor for all occasions. Aarti: “Have you learnt to converse in Sanskrit?” Manju: “ Oh! Not much. Rundi can speak better. She was the valedictorian of our class.” Rundi: “Na, Sakhi, Samskruta sambhashanameva sulabham nasti| (No, friend! Conversing in Sanskrit is not easy.)” Aarti: “ It sounds so nice to hear. Girl, you are a pundit.” Rundi: “Nay, we just got by heart a few sentences like that, just to pass the courses.” Manju: “Arundhati panditaa ca caturaa asti | ( Arundhati is a pundit and clever.)” Rundi: “Ha! Manju, your Sanskrit is not bad, you ranked second in our class.” Manju: “Rundi, you were the star of the show for the SANS 210 class on the day when the UGC (University Grants Commission) team came to examine AISC programs.” Aarti: “Looks very interesting. Tell me.” Manju: “Ok Aarti baby, I am going to narrate a wonderful story.” “The two course sequence (SANS 110 and 210) of AISC covers part of India’s great epic Srimad Raamaayanam. Aruna and I had been in those courses together. In April 2002, an accreditation team (of the UGC) of distinguished educators/scholars chaired by Dr. Imran Harboob of Alimar Muslim University came to evaluate AISC programs. Professor Shreeman L. Yadav, who earned his reputation as a scholar in Caste Politics Studies, but a big zilch in Sanskrit, was an obvious political appointee included in the team. Chancellor Tharpar received the visiting team and after the routine formalities, the team began a long day of interviews with several batches of graduating senior class students of AISC. Our class interview began that afternoon in Indira Gandhi Auditorium.” Manju continued as Aarti listened enthusiastically. “Dr. Harbib: ‘Thank you, Chancellor Tharpar! Congratulations to you, bright young Sankritists and the graduating class of 2002 ! Let me start with this question to the class: (He takes out an envelop from his coat pocket, opens it and poses the first question.) ‘ Shivadhanum ko bhangitavaan?’ Shreemaan Yadav: ‘Professor Harbib Ji, Mujhe Samskrut nai maalum, krupaya Angraji/Hindi me boliye.’ Dr. Harbib: ‘Jarur, ProfessorYaadav ji, the question is: Who broke the Shiva’s bow?’ Your answer can be first in Sanskrit and then in English. “The syllabi for SANS 110 & 210 consisted of excerpts from Sundara kaanda and Yuddha Kaanda of Raamaayanam. We had never heard of Shiva Dhanush or its Bhangam episode, so none of us could come up with an answer. We all looked at each other hoping someone will come up with the right answer. After a couple of minutes of desperation, we all looked at Arundhati, our brilliant class valedictorian (perfect GPA 4.0). All of us were staring at her, as the committee waited anxiously for an answer. Arundhati was quite nervous, as Shreemaan Yadav had been looking all over her very coyly. “Picking up courage, Arundhati arose and said: “Mama naama Arundhati Raye, Shivadhanur bhangam aham na kritavaan (My name is Arundhati Raye, I have not broken Shiva Dhanush). Suddenly the class found something to cheer and applaud Arundhati for coming up with an answer to an intractable question. The entire class, one after another, parroted: ‘Aham dhanurbhangam na kritavaan.’ “Ms. Raye then continued with gusto: “Asmakam kakshye dhanurbhangam ko’pi na kritavaan “(Also, none in this class had broken the bow.) “Professor Yadav, who was charmed first by the looks of young Arundhati, now was truly impressed with her forthright answers in Sanskrit and bravely defending the entire class. He, however, had to show off his investigative talent: ‘Thum nai kia, ye kalaas me koyee nai kia. Theek hai. Jabthab kaun kia Arundhati jee?’ (You had not done it; no one in the class had done it. Okay. Then who did it, Arundhati jee?) Again, there was total silence. “Chancellor Tharpar suddenly had felt the need to intervene. She said: ‘Arundhati comes from a very noble family of Syrian Christians and as such, she would never commit a crime or lie about it. I have full faith and confidence in her answer.’ Looking pleadingly at the committee, she said: ‘I will put all our university resources to find the culprit that broke the dhanush and bring him to book.’ The committee members were hesitant at first. But then, they were quite aware that the Chancellor was a world famous authority; and so they had to accede to her wish. Shreemaan Yadav insisted on a dead line. ‘Okay, Madam Chancellor! Find the culprit who broke it by tomorrow evening, as I have more important business to attend to in Patna.’ That closed out the student evaluation for the day. “The Chancellor charged the campus police immediately into action. The police report came back: ‘The police couldn’t find any broken dhanush, and without any evidence there was no way to nab the culprit(s).’ The same evening, the Chancellor called for an emergency meeting of the University Council of Deans and Directors of JMU at Chancellor’s Mansion. It was a very stormy session, as one after another, the deans expressed profound shock and anger at the breaking of dhanush. ‘It must be a terrorist activity by rogue elements; and lately Bajrung Dal had been making strong inroads into the student body’, thumped Dean B. J. Matthew of School of Humanities. Dean Kaldip Nayyar of the School of Journalism soundly echoed his arguments. Dr. Psec Bidwai, Dean of Political Science, lashed at the covert support the Hindutva student fascists had been getting from the outside. The council members asked for a CBI enquiry into the crime; but then some cooler heads prevailed: ‘why fuss so much about an old bow broken or stolen by some vandals? It can be replaced with a brand new one for less than one thousand rupees.’ The visiting Professor Wendy Dronier, who happened to be present as chancellor’s special invitee, offered to get a new Shiva dhanush made by finest craftsmen in USA as a goodwill gift to JMU. That settled and relieved the Council from serious embarrassment, as Dr. Tharpar adjourned the meeting with a big sigh of relief. The visiting committee was now completely satisfied by the JMU Council decision, and approved the full accreditation for the AISC programs and left the city.” “Was that the end?” Aarati asked while struggling to control her laughter. “ No, there is more, let me finish”, said Rundi. “Unfortunately, that was not to be the end of the story. The word got around fast (Shreeman Yadav had trouble keeping his big mouth shut). The English media made headlines the next day: ‘Bajrang Dal fascists on JMU campus broke The Shiva Dhanush. The culprits left no trace of the crime. The crime demanded a full scale CBI enquiry.’ Durdarshan and Star TV interviewed the famous deans of JMU. Bajrang Dal swiftly followed with a strong denial and blamed the Marxist-Naxalites on campus for the dastardly crime and chastised the ‘P-sec media for false allegations and outright propaganda.’ JMU campus witnessed sporadic violent attacks between ‘fascists’ and ‘Naxalites’, as other campuses in the city joined the fray. As the city hospitals admitted scores of students with broken bones, the authorities had to apply round the clock curfew and shut down the campuses for a long week of holidays. “The next day’s Hindustan Times news reported: The question, ‘Who broke Shiva Dhanush’ somehow found its way to the Prime Minister’s desk. The wise PM quipped, ‘had I broken it, would I still remain a bachelor?’ ” Thus ended Rundi’s narration as Aarti quietly listened while controlling her laughter from bursting out. Finally, Aarti said: “Vaah, what a story! Incredible! Now I know why your Alma Mater and its Chancellor are world famous.” Rundi was thinking aloud: “If only we had taken SANS310 in JMU, we could have known the answer to Shiva dhanurbhangam. Well, next semester I will look for an advanced course here in Michigan.” Few seconds later, Manju blurted: “Even to this day I don’t understand what PM ji meant by his quip. What do you think, Rundi?” Rundi: “Oh! I guess the old man, at seventy seven, is getting tired of being a bachelor.” Aarti: “Vaarre, vaah, panditaah dwayam! You had four splendid years under mahaa punditaa Tharpar! You just need four more under Mahaa-mahaa panditaa Wendy to get your answers. Good luck, good night and sleep well.” The End: The story is fictional and any resemblances to real names are purely accidental. Aarati Buchwala is a freelance writer and satirist. She can be reached at: Aarati Buchwala
Posted by: adishankar Mar 15 2004, 04:34 PM
Re.Awaaz report. This malicious report from a leftist South asia watch group primarily accuses Sewa International UK, of funding RSS which is accused of spreading sectarian hatred and violence against minorities. There are atleast 2 worthies mentioned in the subsequent press coverage one Suresh Grover and another Chetan Bhatt a lecturer from Goldsmith college London. These commies in UK are obviously well connected with the marxist outfits in India which range from sundry human rights orgs to terrorist groupd such as PWG, Naxalites, CPML etc. Does anyone in the forum have factual info which traces links of these people via the leftist chain to the terror groups. for example I know that one Kannabiran of PUCL is also a spokeman for PWG.
Posted by: acharya Mar 16 2004, 02:36 PM
DPM propagates BJP brand of secularism Sanjay Singh/ Bangalore The Yatra is not just about seeking votes. While asking for a fresh mandate for the Vajpayee Government, Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani is also propagating BJP's own brand of secularism - without being apologetic to Hindutva. The message is broad-based to include the minority community. The main thrust of his appeal is based on "a comprehensive connectivity revolution", not just in terms of the infrastructure but "also for a connectivity of heart of all people from Kanniyakumari to Kashmir". The theme this time is somewhat different from his two previous yatras. In 1990 Ram Rath Yatra and 1997 Swaran Jayanti, he was fighting against "pseudo secularism." He had then pitted his philosophy of "cultural nationalism or Hindutva against vote bank politics." Having won against a dominant theme, he is now trying to send right messages to minorities, particularly to the Muslims. Talking to The Pioneer, he said: "Secularism as opposed to its western concept has a different meaning for the Sangh Parivar. The Hindu polity has always regarded the state as secular. I first came to know of various interpretations of the term secular at the age of 20 in 1948, when the RSS was banned by the Govern-ment in wake of assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Pt Jawaharlal Nehru then said the RSS was not secular." "This came as surprise to Guru Golwalkar who then said it was ironical that Pt Nehru did not consider the RSS as secular when he had adopted Ashoka's pillar as the state emblem when the fact remained that Ashokan empire was the first theocratic state in India. Hindu polity had always considered state as secular. Secularism is therefore a part of a tradition to the ideology to which we belong," Mr Advani said. On whether it was time for an image overhaul for the party and for himself, Mr Advani said he did not need an image correction. "Image and reality are two different things. My perceived image is different from what I am." After being in power for the last six years, the BJP leadership realises the need to reach out to a wider social base. It is not without context that Mr Advani considers Swaran Jayanti Yatra, undertaken as part of the golden jubilee celebrations of Independence by the BJP, as the most gratifying. What is most significant is the fact that despite being in power for the last six years, anti-incumbency is not an issue this time. An enthused Deputy Prime Minister says "incumbency otherwise a liability for any political party, in fact, is the biggest asset for us." The Hindutva is now packaged as an all encompassing concept of putting the task of nation building, the Bahartaiyata is linked with cultural nationalism. He said: "An increased numbers of Muslims, particularly those who followed events in the last five years, have come closer to the BJP. The VHP's criticism of the Government and the party has not damaged us but on the contrary, it has convinced the Muslims that the Government did not endorse the VHP's views. We take VHP's attacks in stride and have asked our party men not to react to them. This may give solace to the Congress that there was rift in the Sangh Parivar, and to an extent create some confusion in our support base but it has in some ways boosted our credibility."
Posted by: Hauma Hamiddha Mar 16 2004, 07:57 PM
Posted by: acharya Mar 17 2004, 12:03 PM
India does not have any minorities: RSS chief By Sunny Sebastian JAIPUR, MARCH 16. India does not have any minorities as 99 per cent of the people who live here have their ancestors belonging to this land. The concept of "minority" and "majority" is from the West, which has been forcing its ways on the people all these days, according to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief, K.S. Sudarshan. The RSS Sarsanghchalak, who was speaking here after releasing a book, Sansad Mein Sanskritik Rashtravad (Cultural nationalism in Parliament), a compilation of speeches made by the former Rajya Sabha member, Mahesh Chandra Sharma, in Parliament, said any individual who accepted the "soul" of India was a Hindu. In India, the only groups who could be described as minorities were the Jews and Parsis and both these communities had given up using the term "minorities," he said. "Merely changing the religion — and everyone is free to do that — does not mean that one can snap one's ties with the past." "India is a multi-cultural nation but it has one soul. It has different civilisations, people with different lifestyles, eating habits and languages but one bhav (inherent feeling)," said Mr. Sudarshan. The function was attended by the Rajasthan Governor, Madan Lal Khurana. Warning against allowing the West to influence "our thoughts," he said the country was experiencing a new awakening. "Now the world will have to follow our ways and not the other way round." Asserting that the country had not been moving in the right direction in the first 50 years of its Independence, Mr. Sudarshan blamed the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, for this. "It went in the opposite direction to what Gandhiji had written in a letter to Jawaharlal in October 1945 asking the latter to focus on the villages and to live in huts and not in palaces," he said. According to the RSS chief, making Nehru the Prime Minister was one of the two mistakes made by Mahatma Gandhi. "The other was the support he extended to the Khilafat movement which ultimately led to the division of the country." Gandhiji made Nehru the Prime Minister even when various State committees of the Congress had recommended other names including Sardar Patel. "Nehru was not attuned to the soul of India while Patel was," he said. "Later on Acharya Kripalani and Jayaprakash Narayan too accepted that choosing Nehru was a mistake." IUML flays Sudershan's remarks on minorities New Delhi, March 17. (PTI): Criticising RSS Chief K S Sudershan for his remark that India does not have minorites, the Indian Union Muslim League today alleged that it was part of the Sangh's effort to negate the privileges guaranteed by the Constitution to the minorities, including Muslims. "Sudershan's statement shows that RSS is not prepared to accept the existence of Muslims as a religious minority and the constitutional rights and privileges guaranteed to the community," IUML General Secretary, E Ahamed, said here. While the BJP-led government at the Centre is "drumming up" before Islamic nations that India has the second largest Muslim population in the world, the RSS, which guides its policies, is trying to negate the constitutional rights and privileges of the minorities, including Muslims, he alleged. "Is it only to propagate the RSS philosophy that the BJP is actively enlisting Muslims in that party?" Ahamed said. "I warn the Centre that the Muslims will not allow their Constitutional right and privileges to be taken away and oppose tooth and nail any effort to do away with the status of minorities in India," he said. The IUML leader appealed to all secular forces to fight the "machinations" of the 'Sangh Parivar' outfits to target Muslims. Sudershan had said yesterday in Jaipur that India did not have any minorities as 99 per cent of the pople who live in the country have their ancestors belonging to the land. "Only Jews and Parsis can be described as minorities in India and both the communities have themselves given up using the term minorities."
Posted by: krishna_kss Mar 17 2004, 06:06 PM A really thought provoking article by Subramaniam Swamy. Krishna Redefining secularism By Subramanian Swamy The real reason secularism as propounded by Nehru has floundered is that it lacked the positive content of providing a process for assimilation of the lower castes into the elite. WITH THE countdown to the General Elections on, secularism will be a much-bandied-about subject during the campaign. Unfortunately, those political parties who have been swearing by it all these years have failed to persuade the masses that secularism is good for country. In fact, secularism as defined and propagated today has lost its relevance. The concept as understood by the masses of India stands thoroughly discredited. Hence the question is whether we should redefine secularism to make it acceptable to the masses in the polls, or capitulate to the rising fundamentalism in the country. When Martin Luther had defined secularism in Europe, it simply meant that the power of the state would be exercised independently of the directions of the Church. Thus, a secular government would act to safeguard the nation-state, even if such action was without Church sanction. Later Marx, calling religion the `opium of the masses,' defined secularism to completely eschew religion, in fact to debunk the very idea of any religious adherence. In India, Jawaharlal Nehru and his followers subscribed to the later Marxist re-definition of the concept by which even in public function cultural symbolism such as lighting a lamp to inaugurate a conference or breaking a coconut to launch a project was regarded as against secularism. This orthodoxy induced a reaction in the Indian masses for whom religion was a way of life. Nehru had also failed to define what historical roots ought to be a part of the modem Indian, and what was to be rejected. Instead in the name of `scientific temper', he rejected most of our past as `obscurantism' although in his later years especially after the 1962 debacle he came under the influence of at least one mystic. His orthodox secularism sought to alienate the Indian from his hoary past. Since nearly 85 per cent of Indians are pan-Hindu in beliefs, and Hindu religion from its inception has been without a `Church', `Pope' or `Book' (in contra-distinction to Christianity or Islam), therefore neither Martin Luther nor Marx made any sense to the Indian masses. Since there was little political challenge to Nehru after the untimely death of Gandhiji and Patel, the Marxian secularism concept superficially prevailed in the Indian milieu till his demise in 1964. The masses therefore had humoured Nehru out of respect for him without imbibing his concept of secularism. A conceptual void of what secularism means for India, and what part of history was to be owned however remained to be filled. The Congress Party continued thereafter even after Nehru to fail to provide a political concept of secularism by which an Indian citizen could comprehend how he should bond "secularly" with another citizen of a different religion or language, or region and yet feel equally Indian. The Hindu instinctively could not accept the idea that India was what the British had put together, and that the country was just an area incorporated by the imperialists. Such a ridiculous idea, fostered quixotically by Jawaharlal Nehru University historians, found just no takers amongst the Indian people. The void remained thus, but the yearning in the masses to be Indian grew over the years with the growth of the mass media. This void had therefore to be filled and the yearning of national identity required to be articulated for the masses. As nature abhors a vacuum, this void is now being increasingly filled, using religious symbols, by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. India being 85 per cent Hindu, and furthermore since the folklore in this religion has been pan-Indian, it was easy for the masses to understand the religious bonding. For example, the Ramayana narration traverses from the Himalayas to the Punjab to Sri Lanka. Mahabharata covers incidents from Assam to Gujarat. Adi Shankara connected Kerala to Kashmir. The RSS therefore produced a heady mixture of facts, half-truth and blatant lies and served it to the people through a vast network of propagandists (called Pracharaks). The mutilation of Indian history by the British and later by the JNU camp came in very handy for these RSS pracharaks, because the absurd Aryan-Dravidian two-nation two-race theory for example, propounded by the British had been rejected by all Indian seers and patriots whether it was Swami Vivekananda, or Subramania Bharati, or Dr. Ambedkar. Yet till recently, the Nehru acolytes had assiduously propagated it and incorporated it into school curriculum. To reject it did not mean that one was an RSS adherent, but that was what the Nehru secularists precisely alleged. The RSS made most of this. Now it is pathetic to see these very secularists capitulating in the new power dispensation when revision of history has become official state policy. For example, for decades Professor Romila Thapar of the JNU propagated the Aryan-Dravidian two-race theory. But in 2002, in her book Penguin History of Early India she has disowned the Aryan-Dravidian race/nation theory altogether. She states now that: "To refer to `the Aryan' as a race is therefore inaccurate." Better late than never, but it is a pity that she has done it after the RSS has found power at the Centre and launched revision of textbooks. Under cover of correcting the distorted history of India, which history had hurt the sentiments of not only the masses but of all non-anglicised intellectuals of India, the RSS has very nearly destroyed the natural appeal of secularism in the country. The RSS pracharaks have also re-defined secularism and painted it as appeasement of the minorities. This unfortunately because of the historical context has struck a responsive chord in the hearts of the Hindu masses. Hence if we are to reject the Martin Luther, Marxist, Nehruvian and the RSS version of secularism, then it is imperative to define how we are to positively structure a new concept that has appeal for the Indian masses. To do that we have to recognise the process that the doyen of sociologists, Dr. M.N. Srinivas, had termed Sanskritisation. This term has nothing to do with the ancient language. Instead it comes from the word Sanskriti, which means culture. This learned scholar had told me years ago that the Indian masses first ape, then digest, and finally assimilate elite behaviour. He had decades of published research to prove this. The final co-option of the upward mobile sections of the masses for assimilation as elites, happens with religions sanction. To see this in reality, one has to study how the Nadars in Tamil Nadu, Ezhavas in Kerala, and Jats in Uttar Pradesh became elites in society. The Thevars may be the next caste to be so assimilated. The great Ramanuja had even assimilated well-educated Scheduled Castes into the socially prestigious priestly class. It is my view that the real reason secularism as propounded by Nehru has floundered is that it became an obstacle to this process of Sanskritisation. That is, secularism as defined by Nehru in fact froze the Hindu social order by either nonchalance to religion or by its implied negative rebuke. It lacked the positive content of providing a process for assimilation of the lower castes into the elite. It is interesting to observe that the Hindutva propounded by the RSS has attracted more of the lower and deprived castes that the so-called upper castes. In Uttar Pradesh, the Yadavas, Kurmis, and Lodhs were the most enthusiastic adherents of Hindutva since it enabled Sanskritisation through political empowerment. The Babri Masjid was demolished by mobs of the backward castes. Uma Bharti or Sadhvi Ritambara are from these castes. Hence, today Yadava leaders like Mulayam Singh, Kurmi leaders like Nitish Kumar and Lodh leaders like Kalyan Singh are feeling the heat of Hindutva and the pressure to conform. The RSS may be Brahmin-dominated at the leadership level, but its storm troopers like the Bajrang Dal are mostly of the Hindu "proletariat." Hence, rather than surrender or capitulate to this Hindutva blitzkrieg, and thus cause a frightening re-run of 1930s Germany in our country, secular patriotic forces now ought to and should redefine secularism as a neo-Gandhi-Patel concept rejecting the Nehruvian variety. For this Sanskritisation should be promoted by a call declaring the caste system as anti-Hindu. Not that it will abolish the caste system, but it will begin the ferment for it. There is sufficient theological basis for such a call. Dr. M.V. Nadkarni has written a masterpiece on this in Economic and Political Weekly (November 8, 2003) titled "Is Caste System Intrinsic to Hinduism — Demolishing a Myth." He has made out a convincing case that birth-based caste system is actually against the tenets of Hindu religion. Incidentally, Dr. Ambedkar, himself a scholar of Hindu religion and history, has all along held this view in his numerous and now buried writings. Dalit writers of today have totally distorted his concepts, and hence contributed to the obscuring of his writings. Only an approach of incorporating Sankritisation in a concept of secularism can insulate the Indian mind from communal pollution and halt fascism. Indian culture needs modernisation, but not westernisation. In other words, we have to set religion to curb religious fanaticism in India much as Vivekananda, Subramania Bharati and Gandhiji had tried to do. The task is incomplete and in fact interrupted by the Nehru interlude and the RSS vulgarisation. It needs to be boldly rectified today. (The writer is president, Janata Party.)
Posted by: acharya Mar 17 2004, 07:35 PM
It is a good article but the mistake he makes that RSS is vulger and its methods crude. That is wrong. -- The Hindu instinctively could not accept the idea that India was what the British had put together, and that the country was just an area incorporated by the imperialists. Such a ridiculous idea, fostered quixotically by Jawaharlal Nehru University historians, found just no takers amongst the Indian people. The void remained thus, but the yearning in the masses to be Indian grew over the years with the growth of the mass media. This void had therefore to be filled and the yearning of national identity required to be articulated for the masses. it is imperative to define how we are to positively structure a new concept that has appeal for the Indian masses. To do that we have to recognise the process that the doyen of sociologists, Dr. M.N. Srinivas, had termed Sanskritisation. This term has nothing to do with the ancient language. Instead it comes from the word Sanskriti, which means culture. This learned scholar had told me years ago that the Indian masses first ape, then digest, and finally assimilate elite behaviour. He had decades of published research to prove this. The final co-option of the upward mobile sections of the masses for assimilation as elites, happens with religions sanction. That is, secularism as defined by Nehru in fact froze the Hindu social order by either nonchalance to religion or by its implied negative rebuke.
Posted by: krishna_kss Mar 18 2004, 09:46 AM
QUOTE (acharya @ Mar 18 2004, 08:05 AM)
It is a good article but the mistake he makes that RSS is vulger and its methods crude. That is wrong.
Acharya I agree with you 100 %. In an otherwise good article he inserts the usual Marxist/Misssionary/Mullah b.s about RSS, BJP etc. Krishna
Posted by: acharya Mar 18 2004, 08:19 PM
Review of the Constitution—Real Issues and Hidden Agendas Prajasakti Book House, Hyderabad (prajahyd@h...) Pages: 44 Price: Rs. 20 Constitution’s Review: A Conspiracy Publisher: All-India Federation of Scheduled Castes, Tribes, Backwards and Minorities Employees Welfare Associations, New Delhi Pages: 80 Price: Rs.40 Reviewed by: Yoginder Sikand Hindutva groups have consistently been attacking the Indian Constitution, either calling for its revision or demanding that it be completely scrapped. The Hindutva opposition to the present Constitution is presented in different guises. Thus, it is claimed that the present Constitution somehow promotes instability or threatens the unity of the country or that it imposes a major drain on the public exchequer, and so on. Sometimes, however, the cat is let to slip out of the bag, and Hindutva ideologues vociferously demand that the Indian Constitution has to be scrapped on the grounds of being allegedly anti-Hindu. Some Hindutvawadis have gone so far as to assert that the ‘Hindu Rashtra’ of their dreams India should be ruled by the Manusmriti, the Bible of Brahminism that consigns the ‘low’ caste majority, women and all non-Muslims to the status of slaves or worse. These two booklets provide an interesting glimpse into the sinister agenda behind the Hindutva demand for reviewing or replacing the present Indian Constitution. ‘Review of the Constitution—Real Issues and Hidden Agendas’ contains several short essays written from a leftist perspective, linking the Hindutva critique of the Constitution to the growing crises faced by India’s ruling classes. In his essay the Marxist leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet argues that the Hindutvawadis are opposed not just to certain aspects of the Constitution but to the very essence of the document—democracy, secularism and social justice. Hindutva represents the interests of India’s dominant elites, who see democracy as a major threat to their own entrenched hegemony. This, in turn, explains their opposition to the Constitution. Singh analyses the BJP’s arguments for the revision of the Constitution, and points out that several of its demands, such as a presidential system of governance, a fixed five-year term for the Lok Sabha, are aimed essentially at the perpetuation of ‘bourgeoisie-landlord rule’. Further, Singh writes, in the name of revising the Constitution, the Hindutvawadis want to scrap the Constitutional legal guarantees for non-Hindus and to do away with reservations for Dalits, Tribals and Backward Castes. Prabhat Patnaik echoes much the same view, locating the Hindutva attack on the Constitution as a response to the threat perceived by India’s ruling classes/castes from the growing politicization of the ‘low’ caste masses that the present system of parliamentary democracy has enabled. Patnaik writes that the presidential stem that Hindutvawadis advocate is aimed at throttling the increasing political assertiveness of the ‘low’ caste majority and to bolster the structures of authoritarian rule in order to serve the interests of the Indian ruling classes and their western imperialist masters. The ‘globalisation’ that swadeshi-mongering Hindutvawadis have embraced with such alacrity actually demands the rolling back of democracy, which is precisely what the Hindutvawadis are now attempting to do by pressing for a review of the Constitution. In his essay the CPI (M) leader Prakash Karat traces the BJP’s case for a presidential system of governance, and argues that the BJP’s claim that this would provide for more ‘stability’ reflects the dilemmas of the Indian ruling classes who see their entrenched hegemony as being increasingly challenged, which, in turn, leads to what they perceive as menacing instability. Karat writes that the Hindutva demand for a review of the Constitution is a major step in the direction of fascism, for the Hindutva worldview is inspired by a vision that brooks no democratic dissent and has no space for genuine multiculturalism. The essays included in the booklet ‘Constitution’s Review: A Conspiracy’ look at the Hindutvawadi demand for a new or radically revised Indian Constitution from a Dalit-Bahujan perspective. In his introduction Sangeetha Rao, a Dalit leader from Andhra Pradesh, argues that the ‘Hindu’ Constitution that the Hindutvawadis wish to impose on India is aimed essentially at preserving Brahminism, promoting the interests of the ‘upper’ caste minority and further reinforcing the subjugation of the ‘low’ caste majority. He sees fascism and authoritarianism as intrinsic to Brahminism, insisting that ‘The Hindu social order does not recognize the necessity of representative government’. ‘Hindutva, based on inequality’, Rao writes, ‘cannot be reconciled with social justice’. He appeals for Dalits, Tribals and Backwards Castes and non-Hindu groups to jointly struggle against Hindutva, seeing Hindutva as a grave challenge to all the vast majority of the Indian populace—that is to say, all Indians other than the ‘upper’ caste minority. Likewise, R.D. Nimesh sees the Hindutva opposition to the present Constitution as calculated to promote ‘upper’ caste rule and to deny even the limited spaces that the Constitution affords to the ‘low’ castes to progress or articulate dissent. Several other articles in the booklet make the same point. With elections in India just round the corner, the Hindutva demand for a revision of the Constitution is bound to get shriller. It is no one’s case that the Constitution is a sacred document that brooks no change. It has its own limitations, of course, but the changes that the Hindutvawadis want to bring about in it are only calculated to promote the interests of the dominant classes/castes, while leaving the vast majority of Indians even more vulnerable.
Posted by: acharya Mar 19 2004, 05:44 PM
Check this trash. The assumption being that there are no hindus at all in India The return of Manu By Shamsul Islam 16-29 Feb 2004 The Indian Republic in its 55th year of existence is increasingly coming under horrifying threats from the Hindutva gang. Shockingly, such attacks do not even get reported, what to speak of creating ripples in the democratic fraternity of our country. The latest brazen violation has taken place in the state of Madhya Pradesh and there has been no protest from any quarter. The recently enthroned BJP Government of Madhya Pradesh led by Uma Bharti has promulgated an Ordinance (January 23, 2004) banning cow slaughter in the state. But this was not the end of the story. Astonishingly, the official statement explaining the rationale behind this step refers to Manu Smriti (Codes of Manu) to justify the ban. It reads: "Manu Smriti ranks the slaughterer of cow as predator and prescribes hard punishment for him." Uma Bharti a well-known sadhvi of the RSS needs no introduction. She played a highly nefarious role as an orator in spreading hatred against Muslims in late 1980s, which subsequently led to the organized carnage and mass murder of Muslims in different parts of the country and demolition of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992. It is no place to discuss the merits and demerits of a ban on cow slaughter. The RSS claim that beef eating started with the arrival of Muslims in India is not even in keeping with the Vedic version of history. Undeniably, the poor cow has become another tool in the hands of RSS for mobilisation of communal hatred. This is being done in complete disregard of the historical facts and findings of the Hindu saints like Swami Vivekananda who is otherwise publicly revered by the RSS. Vivekananda while speaking on the theme of the 'Buddhistic India' at the Shakespeare Club, Pasadena, California on February 2, 1900 said: "You will be astonished if I tell you that, according to the old ceremonials, he is not a good Hindu who does not eat beef. On certain occasions he must sacrifice a bull and eat it."1 Other research works sponsored by the Ramakrishna Mission established by Vivekananda himself corroborates this. "The Vedic Aryans, including the Brahmanas, ate fish, meat and even beef. A distinguished guest was honoured with beef served at a meal. Although the Vedic Aryans ate beef, milch cows were not killed. One of the words that designated cow was aghnya (what shall not be killed). But a guest was a goghna (one for whom a cow is killed). It is only bulls, barren cows and calves that were killed."2 But the most worrisome part for the future of the Indian Republic is the official commitment of the Uma Bharti Government to enforce the Manu Smriti as part of the constitutional law of the country. It is probably for the first time in the constitutional history of Independent India that a law is being justified for being in tune with Manu Smriti. The Codes of Manu may be dear to RSS but it is known as anti-thesis to the existence and rights of women and Dalits. Manu Smriti or Manavadharmasastra also known as Codes of Manu is believed to have been composed by saint Manu in 1500 BC. It presents in totality the system of jurisprudence of Hinduism. The German Indologist Max Muller got this translated as the 'Laws of Manu' which was first published in 1886 under the series, 'The Sacred Books of the East'. Manu as a saint and learned Brahmin is held in reverence by the high caste Hindu world of thought. Besides prescribing persecution for cow slaughter as claimed by the MP Government it denigrates lower castes and women. There has been a demand to install a magnificent statue of Manu in the Parliament House in Delhi, though one such statue stands outside the High Court of Rajasthan in Jaipur, despite strong protest from the organizations of Dalits. It is to be noted here that Dr. Ambedkar himself burnt a copy of Manu Smriti on the banks of Narmada River in 1928. If Uma Bharti Governement has decided to implement the Codes of Manu it is surely going to be the end of the road for Dalits and women in India. To what miserable and dehumanized status their lives will be reduced can be known by a glance of the Manu Codes about them. Following are some of the prescriptions of Manu for Sudras or lower castes. "For the sake of the prosperity of the worlds (the divine one) caused the Brahmana, the Kashtriya, the Vaisya and the Sudra to proceed from His mouth, His arm, His thighs and His feet. One occupation only the lord prescribed to the Sudras, to serve meekly these (other) three castes. A Sudra who insults a high caste man with gross invective, shall have his tongue cut out for he is of low origin. If he (Sudra) arrogantly teaches Brahmanas their duty, the king shall cause hot oil to be poured into his mouth and into his ears. A low-caste man who tries to place himself on the same seat with a man of high caste, shall be branded on his hips and be banished, or (the king) shall cause his buttock to be gashed. Let (the first part of) a Brahmana's name (denote something) auspicious, a Kshatriya's be connected with power, and a Vaisya's with wealth, but a Sudra's (express something) contemptible. (The second part of) a Brahmana's (name) shall be (a word) implying happiness, of a Kshatriya's (a word) implying protection, of a Vaisya's (a term) expressive of thriving, and of a Sudra's (an expression) denoting service. The service of Brahmanas alone is declared (to be) an excellent occupation for a Sudra; for whatever else besides this he may perform will bear him no fruit. The remnants of their food must be given to him, as well as their old clothes, the refuse of their grain, and their old household furniture. No collection of wealth must be made by a Sudra, even though he be able (to do it); for a Sudra who has acquired wealth, gives pain to Brahmanas. The son of a Brahmana, a Kshatriya, and a Vaisya by a Sudra (wife) receives no share of the inheritance; whatever his father may give to him, that shall be his property. Let him (Brahmana) not dwell in a country where the rulers are Sudras, nor in one which is surrounded by unrighteous men, nor in one which has become subject to heretics, nor in one swarming with men of the lowest castes. Let a Brahmna not give to a Sudra advice, nor the remnants (of his meal), nor food offered to the gods; nor let him explain the sacred law (to such a man), nor impose (upon him) a penance. For he who explains the sacred law (to a Sudra) or dictates to him a penance, will sink together with that (man) into the hell (called) Asamvrita. On women Manu Smriti's prescriptions are no less fascist. "Day and night woman must be kept in dependence by the males (of) their (families), and, if they attach themselves to sensual enjoyments, they must be kept under one's control. Her father protects (her) in childhood, her husband protects (her) in youth and her sons protect (her) in old age; a woman is never fit for independence. When creating them Manu allotted to women (a love of their) bed, (of their) seat and (of) ornament, impure desires, wrath, dishonesty, malice, and bad conduct. Through their passion for men, through their mutable temper, through their natural heartlessness, they become disloyal to their husbands, however, carefully they may be guarded in this world. For women no (sacramental) rite (is performed) with sacred texts, thus the law is settled; women (who are) destitute of strength and destitute of (the knowledge of) Vedic texts (are as impure as) the falsehood (itself), that is a fixed rule.3 It has been a long standing demand of the RSS to replace the Indian Constitution with the Codes of Manu as specified in Manu Smriti. When the Constituent Assembly of India finally passed the Constitution (November 26, 1949), the RSS organ Organizer came out with an editorial (November 30, 1949) titled 'Constitution'. It read: "The worst about the new Constitution of Bharat is that there is nothing Bhartiya about it.There is no trace of ancient Bhartiya constitutional laws, institutions, nomenclatures and phraseology in it.Manu's Laws were written long before Lycurgus of Sparta or Solon of Persia. To this day his laws as enunciated in the Manu Smriti excite the admiration of the world and elicit spontaneous obedience and conformity. But to our constitutional pundits that means nothing." How holy and sacred is Manusmriti for the Hindu Right needs no explanation with the following utterances of the philosopher and guide of Hindutva and RSS, VD Savarkar. According to Savarkar, "Manusmriti is that scripture which is most worship-able after Vedas for our Hindu Nation and which from ancient times has become the basis of our culture-customs, thought and practice. This book for centuries has codified the spiritual and divine march of our nation. Even today the rules which are followed by crores of Hindus in their lives and practice are based on Manusmriti. Today Manusmriti is Hindu Law."4 When India was declared a Sovereign Democratic Republic on January 26, 1950, Sankar Subba Aiyar, a retired High Court Judge, on behalf of the RSS demanded immediate promulgation of the Manu Codes. He wrote in the RSS organ ('Manu Rules Our Hearts'): "Even though Dr Ambedkar is reported to have recently stated in Bombay, that that the days of Manu have ended it is nevertheless a fact that the daily lives of Hindus are even at the present day affected by principles and injunctions contained in Manu Smrithis and other Smrithis. Even an unorthodox Hindu feels himself bound at least in some matters by the rules contained in the Smrithis and he feels powerless to give up altogether his adherence to them."5 Uma Bharti Government's espousal of Manu is in fact fulfillment of Hindutva gang's old dream of converting Indian Republic into a theocracy with complete Brahmanical hegemony. Cow may be the mascot but real price will have to be paid by common Dalits and women. The tragedy is that there are no whistle-blowers for the Republic of India. The flag-bearers of the Sovereign Democratic Secular India are in a coma waiting for the Hindutva gang to make public the obituary of the Indian Republic. Footnotes 1. Swami Vivekananda, The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Vol 3, Advaita Ashram, Calcutta, 1997 reprint, p. 536. 2. C. Kunhan Raja, 'Vedic Culture', in Suniti Kumar Chatterji and others (eds.), The Cultural Heritage of India, vol. 1, Ramakrishna Mission, Calcutta, 1993 (first edition 1937), p. 217. 3. All codes cited from Max Muller edited edition. 4. V. D. Savarkar, 'Women In Manusmriti' in Savarkar Samagar, A collection of Savarkar's writings in Hindi, volume 4, Prabhat, Delhi, 2000. p. 416 ). 5. Organiser, February, 6, 1950 p. 7. [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Posted by: acharya Mar 19 2004, 05:48 PM
IMC-USA denounces Indian cricketer Zaheer Khan's pandering of Bal Thackeray For Immediate Release: March 17, 2004 New York, N.Y.,Indian Muslim Council-USA, an advocacy group of Indian-Americans dedicated to the preservation of India's pluralist ethos, denounced Indian cricketer Zaheer Khan's pandering of Hindutva-fascist leader Bal Thackeray. Zaheer Khan has reportedly implied to the media that only "subversive" elements of the Indian society consider Hindu militant leader Bal Thackeray as anti-Muslim. Dr. Shaik Ubaid, President of IMC-USA said, "Bal Thackeray is complicit in the murders of thousands of innocent Indians and his appalling views on Muslims and minorities are well known. To refer to Bal Thackeray as secular is the ultimate insult to secularism." Bal Thackarey has reportedly expressed satisfaction on the remarks of Zaheer Khan, and that according to Dr. Ubaid, "speaks volumes of Thackeray's guilt that seeks a certificate of legitimacy from a sportsman." Dr. Ubaid further added that Indian Muslims are constantly under pressure from the militant Hindu supremacists to prove their loyalty to India and believes that Zaheer Khan, who has just come off the injury list and is struggling with his form, is under similar pressure. "Zaheer should cement his place in the Indian team through his performance and not by appeasing mass murderers who consider Adolf Hitler as their role model," declared Dr. Ubaid. Dr Ubaid also castigated the Pakistani media for asking questions that would have caused difficulties to Zaheer Khan at the hands of Hindutva-fascists if answered truthfully. "It could be a distraction tactic by the Pakistanis to counter Zaheer's effectiveness as India's premier strike bowler." Dr. Ubaid exhorted the young Indian paceman to tackle the Pakistani media googlies with prudence and stay away from appeasing mass murderers. Contact: Shaik Ubaid Tel: 516 567 0783 Email: media@i... Indian Muslim Council-USA 265 Sunrise Highway, Suite 1-355 Rockville Centre, NY 11570
Posted by: Sunder Mar 19 2004, 06:21 PM
QUOTE (acharya @ Mar 20 2004, 06:14 AM)
Check this trash. The assumption being that there are no hindus at all in India The return of Manu By Shamsul Islam 16-29 Feb 2004 This is being done in complete disregard of the historical facts and findings of the Hindu saints like Swami Vivekananda who is otherwise publicly revered by the RSS. Vivekananda while speaking on the theme of the 'Buddhistic India' at the Shakespeare Club, Pasadena, California on February 2, 1900 said: "You will be astonished if I tell you that, according to the old ceremonials, he is not a good Hindu who does not eat beef. On certain occasions he must sacrifice a bull and eat it."1 When Buddhism went down that way, there came they inevitable reaction. There is but one entity in the wholes world. It is a unit world. The diversity is only eye-service. It is all one. The idea of unity and what we call monism — without duality — is the idea in India. This doctrine has: been always in India; [it was] brought forward whenever materialism and scepticism broke down everything. When Buddhism broke down everything by introducing all sorts of foreign barbarians into India — their manners and customs and things — there was a reaction, and that reaction was led by a young monk [Shankarâchârya]. And [instead] of preaching new doctrines and always thinking new thoughts and making sects, he brought back the Vedas to life: and modern Hinduism has thus an admixture of ancient Hinduism, over which the Vedantists predominate. But, you see, what once dies never comes back to life, and those ceremonials of [Hinduism] never came back to life. You will be astonished if I tell you that, according to the old ceremonials, he is not a good Hindu who does not eat beef. On certain occasions he must sacrifice a bull and eat it. That is disgusting now. However they may differ from each other in India, in that they are all one — they never eat beef. The ancient sacrifices and the ancient gods, they are all gone; modern India belongs to the spiritual part of the Vedas. Buddhism was the first sect in India. They were the first to say: "Ours is the only path. Until you join our church, you cannot be saved." That was what they said: "It is the correct path." But, being of Hindu blood, they could not be such stony-hearted sectarians as in other countries. There will be salvation for you: nobody will go wrong for ever. No, no. [There was] too much of Hindu blood in them for that. The heart was not so stony as that. But you have to join them.
Posted by: k.ram Mar 20 2004, 10:40 AM
thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif [known traitor] A Sample Letter to the President or Senator: *Demand the Ban of Hindu Fascist Organizations* Note: To obtain the contact information of a Senator from your State, please visit Dear President/Senator ____________: I am writing to request you to intervene with the India government to halt the pogroms in progress in the state of Gujarat. As I write this letter, unarmed innocent Muslim children, women, old and the sick are being targeted by the police in collusion with the rampaging Hindu fanatical mobs. Human rights groups, peace makers, secular Hindus, Christians, untouchables and Muslims have been crying for a while about the violence committed by the Hindu fascist organizations: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bajrang Dal. These groups are responsible for several hundred riots which have claimed at least 15,000 lives in the last one year More than 570 people have died in the past five days. Millions of dollars worth of property is burned to ashes, while more than 25 mosques are raised to ground and hundred of thousands of Muslims are made refugees. The United States is justly waging a war against terrorism everywhere. India, thus cannot be an exception. India's millions of Muslims are totally defenseless against the Hindu police and the paramilitary. Majority of Indian newspapers and journalists have spoken out against the recent wave of violence and oppression in India, in which all the minorities--Christians, Muslims, former untouchables, women, and the poor, are being targeted. It should also be noted that some of the Hindu temples in the United States are allegedly involved in raising funds for these extremist Hindu organizations in India, and thus fuel the violence. Therefore, it is a moral obligation of the US government to ban these organizations from the United States. As a person who has defended the rights of minorities everywhere, I do hope that India's Muslims, Christians and others will not be an exception to your noble efforts. Sincerely, Your Name -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- * A previous version of this letter issued on March 5th 2002, five days after the carnage in Gujarat started, was issued by the ImanNet and not the Indian Muslim Council-USA (IMC-USA). It stated that “all Hindu temples” were involved in raising funds that may be going to fund the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat. This letter predates the existence of IMC-USA, which was formed on August 15th 2002 and as such IMC-USA cannot take full responsibility of it. Nonetheless, ImanNet was one of the 3 organizations that merged to form IMC-USA. IMC-USA acknowledges that such a statement was wrong and Dr. Shaik Ubaid, the president of IMC-USA has apologized to the Hindu community for the inadvertent mistake. The statement was written at a time when very disturbing news of killings and rapes were coming out of Gujarat and ImanNet volunteers were overwhelmed with appeals for help and were extremely busy, desperately trying to increase awareness of the pogrom that was in full swing. It was meant to say that all the Hindu temples that are run by the Hindutva organizations in the the US were involved in raising funds for the Hindutva extremists. Indian Muslim Council-USA’s position with respect to this issue is that it considers Hindu temples to be the representative centers of Hinduism and the mainstream Hindu community. A blanket statement alleging all temples to be involved in funding hate amounts to stereotyping of the entire Hindu community and should not be made by anyone. Far from subscribing to such stereotyping, the Indian Muslim Council-USA is itself working with moderate Hindu leaders to promote communal harmony and establish strong inter-community relations between the Hindu and the Muslim communities. IMC-USA is a transparent organization that is engaged in attempts to safeguard the secular-democracy of India along with monitoring the growth of Hindutva-extremists in the US. IMC-USA has always stood up against stereotyping and is grateful to the friends of IMC-USA who have brought this inadvertent mistake to our attention and who have defended IMC-USA during this campaign to defame it. IMC-USA hopes that the timing of this campaign to exploit an inadvertent mistake is not intended to divert attention from the hugely successful IMC-USA's convention that concluded in Santa Clara on June 28 where leaders of all religious communities came together with secular groups and representatives of Human Rights organizations and academic experts on India to analyze the growth of religious extremism in India. The speakers expressed alarm on the ongoing persecution of Christians and Muslims in Gujarat .This ongoing persecution is detailed in the Human Rights Watch's new report on Gujarat due for release tomorrow, Tuesday, July 1st. [Admin: removed web link to traitors site]
Posted by: k.ram Mar 20 2004, 03:32 PM
Review of the Constitution—Real Issues and Hidden Agendas Prajasakti Book House, Hyderabad (prajahyd@h...) Pages: 44 Price: Rs. 20 Constitution’s Review: A Conspiracy Publisher: All-India Federation of Scheduled Castes, Tribes, Backwards and Minorities Employees Welfare Associations, New Delhi Pages: 80 Price: Rs.40 Reviewed by: Yoginder Sikand Hindutva groups have consistently been attacking the Indian Constitution, either calling for its revision or demanding that it be completely scrapped. The Hindutva opposition to the present Constitution is presented in different guises. Thus, it is claimed that the present Constitution somehow promotes instability or threatens the unity of the country or that it imposes a major drain on the public exchequer, and so on. Sometimes, however, the cat is let to slip out of the bag, and Hindutva ideologues vociferously demand that the Indian Constitution has to be scrapped on the grounds of being allegedly anti-Hindu. Some Hindutvawadis have gone so far as to assert that the ‘Hindu Rashtra’ of their dreams India should be ruled by the Manusmriti, the Bible of Brahminism that consigns the ‘low’ caste majority, women and all non-Muslims to the status of slaves or worse. These two booklets provide an interesting glimpse into the sinister agenda behind the Hindutva demand for reviewing or replacing the present Indian Constitution. ‘Review of the Constitution—Real Issues and Hidden Agendas’ contains several short essays written from a leftist perspective, linking the Hindutva critique of the Constitution to the growing crises faced by India’s ruling classes. In his essay the Marxist leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet argues that the Hindutvawadis are opposed not just to certain aspects of the Constitution but to the very essence of the document—democracy, secularism and social justice. Hindutva represents the interests of India’s dominant elites, who see democracy as a major threat to their own entrenched hegemony. This, in turn, explains their opposition to the Constitution. Singh analyses the BJP’s arguments for the revision of the Constitution, and points out that several of its demands, such as a presidential system of governance, a fixed five-year term for the Lok Sabha, are aimed essentially at the perpetuation of ‘bourgeoisie-landlord rule’. Further, Singh writes, in the name of revising the Constitution, the Hindutvawadis want to scrap the Constitutional legal guarantees for non-Hindus and to do away with reservations for Dalits, Tribals and Backward Castes. Prabhat Patnaik echoes much the same view, locating the Hindutva attack on the Constitution as a response to the threat perceived by India’s ruling classes/castes from the growing politicization of the ‘low’ caste masses that the present system of parliamentary democracy has enabled. Patnaik writes that the presidential stem that Hindutvawadis advocate is aimed at throttling the increasing political assertiveness of the ‘low’ caste majority and to bolster the structures of authoritarian rule in order to serve the interests of the Indian ruling classes and their western imperialist masters. The ‘globalisation’ that swadeshi-mongering Hindutvawadis have embraced with such alacrity actually demands the rolling back of democracy, which is precisely what the Hindutvawadis are now attempting to do by pressing for a review of the Constitution. In his essay the CPI (M) leader Prakash Karat traces the BJP’s case for a presidential system of governance, and argues that the BJP’s claim that this would provide for more ‘stability’ reflects the dilemmas of the Indian ruling classes who see their entrenched hegemony as being increasingly challenged, which, in turn, leads to what they perceive as menacing instability. Karat writes that the Hindutva demand for a review of the Constitution is a major step in the direction of fascism, for the Hindutva worldview is inspired by a vision that brooks no democratic dissent and has no space for genuine multiculturalism. The essays included in the booklet ‘Constitution’s Review: A Conspiracy’ look at the Hindutvawadi demand for a new or radically revised Indian Constitution from a Dalit-Bahujan perspective. In his introduction Sangeetha Rao, a Dalit leader from Andhra Pradesh, argues that the ‘Hindu’ Constitution that the Hindutvawadis wish to impose on India is aimed essentially at preserving Brahminism, promoting the interests of the ‘upper’ caste minority and further reinforcing the subjugation of the ‘low’ caste majority. He sees fascism and authoritarianism as intrinsic to Brahminism, insisting that ‘The Hindu social order does not recognize the necessity of representative government’. ‘Hindutva, based on inequality’, Rao writes, ‘cannot be reconciled with social justice’. He appeals for Dalits, Tribals and Backwards Castes and non-Hindu groups to jointly struggle against Hindutva, seeing Hindutva as a grave challenge to all the vast majority of the Indian populace—that is to say, all Indians other than the ‘upper’ caste minority. Likewise, R.D. Nimesh sees the Hindutva opposition to the present Constitution as calculated to promote ‘upper’ caste rule and to deny even the limited spaces that the Constitution affords to the ‘low’ castes to progress or articulate dissent. Several other articles in the booklet make the same point. With elections in India just round the corner, the Hindutva demand for a revision of the Constitution is bound to get shriller. It is no one’s case that the Constitution is a sacred document that brooks no change. It has its own limitations, of course, but the changes that the Hindutvawadis want to bring about in it are only calculated to promote the interests of the dominant classes/castes, while leaving the vast majority of Indians even more vulnerable.
Posted by: k.ram Mar 22 2004, 07:45 AM
Leftist Tabloid Exposed by Laura Kelly How not to denigrate a Hindu Sacred festival? Subject: Negative Coverage of a Hindu sacred festival by the leftist Tabloid Frontline ( India )March 13 - 26, 2004 fl210600.htm According to eyewitness and official sources, The 'Hindu-frontline' reporters never were in the vicinity of the Mahamaham conference organised by (Hindu sanyasis of all sects ).The reporters came during the lunch hour had their fill, along with the devotees, who were fed by the VHP, and wanted the RSS to take out a march with lathis, to take photos, for negative propaganda, a request which was turned down by the RSS, and hence the 'Frontline' had to contend with a cover photo of the VHP holding few saffron flags, during the sacred hour at the Mahamaham tank, when devotees were waiting for the clock to strike. The Leftist propaganda machine is at work, by selective application and manipulation of photos /visuals and cunningly position them to cause maximum negative impact on the hindu community at large and Hindu organisations in particular. Most of the photos in the issue were from the photo library, rather from the festival site. In the same magazine there are articles by leftist professor K.N. Panikkar, who does not know a word of sanskrit, but has managed to lodge himself into the chair as vice chancellor of Sankaracharya University at kalady,kerala!Snaskrit is sine quo non for any Hindu study position. In another article Arivind Rajagopal, says "Members of Hindu nationalist organisations in the United States often subdue their political rhetoric, and concentrate on issues of cultural reproduction, presenting themselves as well-meaning guardians of Hindu values." ... "Today Consuls-General in the U.S. are reported to call university department heads to "aggressively promote" content related to India, and to maintain links with known RSS activists and sympathisers." (A good sign that the letists are receding.) He writes" In 2002, a major scandal broke out about the diversion of charity funds raised for development purposes to RSS outfits in India. The Maryland-based India Development Relief Fund (IDRF) was proven, through activist efforts, to be sending money not for development as such but for religious conversion of tribal people and other related Sangh activity. The Campaign to Stop Funding Hate discovered, through an examination of the IDRF's tax returns, that barely two per cent of the recipients of its funds were secular. Meanwhile, in 2000 alone, $1.7 million made its way from the U.S. to the Sangh. Coming in the wake of the Gujarat carnage, this received widespread coverage. As a result, the VHPA and the Hindu Swayamsewak Sangh, the RSS's foreign arm, are visible mainly through their publications rather than as programme sponsors. " ----------------------------------------------------------------------- see Reply 1. A Factual Response to the Hate Attack on the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF) availavle on HVk site. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- "At a recent screening of a documentary on Gujarat at Barnard College in New York last year, the campus police had to be summoned to escort Sangh activists away for disorderly conduct on private premises. Organisations such as the Infinity Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, set up by a wealthy entrepreneur Rajiv Malhotra, are energetic in seeking to influence student perspectives on Hindu culture, both by direct outreach and by volunteering for teacher-training workshop programmes in city school districts. In the press, reputable professors like Wendy Doniger of the University of Chicago and Paul Courtwright of Emory University have been charged with belittling Hinduism. The Sangh chooses for its public campaigns only those intellectuals who would be identified as "white", and therefore "obviously" infected by colonial and Oriental stereotypes. If scholars of Indian origin were named, and at present there are few who would adopt a pro-Sangh position, it would complicate the clear dichotomy between a beleaguered Hindu culture and white colonial oppression. Such complexities would be unlikely to interest the media abroad, and hence there is no mention of internal critiques of "Hinduism". The contortion of critical scholarship here is interesting. The term "Eurocentrism", for example, emerged as a way of "provincialising Europe", to quote historian Dipesh Chakraborty, and asking why the world could not be re-imagined from other places, as indeed it has been. The Sangh's own absorption of Oriental stereotypes is extensive; hence it ends up attacking those on both sides of the debate, the few who retain an attachment to textualised and ahistorical categories, and the rest who critique them. Intellectually, the Sangh is thoroughly marginalised as a result. This does not however, stop it from adopting select terminology and appearing au courant with the latest scholarly buzzwords. SUCH attacks are as a result increasingly addressed to those lacking expertise in such terminology, but able to be impressed by its use. College undergraduates are a favourite target. Of youth organisations promoted by the Sangh, the most prominent is the Hindu Students Council (HSC). Established in May 1990 and run entirely by students, the HSC claims over 50 chapters and thousands of members across college campuses in the United States and Canada. They publish a weekly bulletin across the net called `Hindu Digest' and publish a quarterly newsletter (previously a monthly), Samskar (culture). The organisation is divided more or less equally between graduated.gif students from India, many of whom may return to India, and Indian-Americans raised in the U.S. Senior members of the Hindu Right repeatedly spoke of the HSC as having highly dynamic members who were critical in expanding its membership. In 1993, the HSC organised a youth conference parallel to VHP's Global Vision 2000 Conference in Washington D.C. It was attended by over 2,100 youth. (More recent website inspection suggests this figure has been inflated over time.) The HSC has been instrumental in expanding the Hindu Right's presence on the Internet, creating sites for each university chapter, and as well, organising an overarching website, the Global Hindu Electronic Network, containing links to numerous other sites, including those of the various branches of the Sangh. In addition, conferences are regularly held at different universities, combining the celebration of "cultural diversity," code for American Hindu identity in this case, with carefully selected history and philosophy lessons, and ending with the obligatory garba raas and some partying. If, as the saying goes, all politics is local, identity politics is no different. Those who champion Hindu nationalism in the U.S. have always been keenly aware of multiple constituencies. For Indians and Indian-Americans in the U.S., local and personal issues are usually pre-eminent, while politics in India often appears too complex to comprehend. Religion and cultural identity become the thematic bridges in the attempt to forge a global Hindu network. And the Sangh Parivar provides the organisational resources to encompass these differences, sending activists, designing programmes, mobilising support and, above all, coordinating diverse activities under the umbrella of a resurgent Hindu identity. If funding is the most immediate benefit, with contributions from well-heeled but ignorant supporters in the U.S., it is the next generation that appears to be up for grabs; at any rate this is what emerges from the discernible pattern of activity. Here for all of their intellectual clumsiness, the Sangh may yet have an advantage, through the numerous Sunday schools and community centre-based workshops they are able to oversee and influence for children of all ages. The content they provide, of course, has much closer links with the cultural information already available to parents. By contrast, the scholarly material college professors produce often requires effort in assimilating, especially for laypersons. The challenge of Hindutva seeking to blend into the mainstream thus demands attention in the U.S. as well as elsewhere. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1. In 1980 there were 3,61,531 Indians. By 1990 this had increased by 125.6 per cent, and by 2000 it had increased by 105.8 per cent, to 1.67 million Asian Indians, according to the 2000 U.S. census. Compiled from The Asian population: 2000. Census 2000 Brief. U.S. Department of Commerce, February 2002; John R. Logan, From Many Shores: Asians in Census 2000. Report by the Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research, University at Albany, October 6, 2001; Indian American Population, published by the Indian American Center for Political Awareness. Accessed on June 19, 2003. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Arvind Rajagopal teaches Media Studies at New York University. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Reply 1 He has not bothered to check for the reply given by VHP. A Factual Response to the Hate Attack on the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF) availavle on HVk site. Reply 2 Rajagopal has not botherd to check for the challenge thrown to Professor Paul Courright, by Kalavai Venkat, moderator Indian civilisation@yahoo groups.Prof.Courtright has not dared to reply. This was also published in two part article by ,"when cigar becomes phallus", by Kalavai Venkat and Vishal Agarval. Can someone challenge this guy if he/ she gets the email id? ----------------------------------------------------------------------- sincerely, Laura Kelly
Posted by: acharya Mar 23 2004, 04:56 PM
Very important to understand how the secularists interpret the Hindutva Everybody should read this article Kelly How not to denigrate a Hindu Sacred festival? Subject: Negative Coverage of a Hindu sacred festival by the leftist Tabloid Frontline ( India )March 13 - 26, 2004 fl210600.htm
Posted by: acharya Mar 24 2004, 03:31 PM
Double Defeat | Liberal India on the Defensive Ramachandra Guha MARCH 23, 2004 Nearly 40 years ago, Marathi writer Hamid Dalwai wrote a fascinating series of essays on the lack of a liberal movement among Indian Muslims. The leaders of the community, he argued, were incapable of critical introspection. As he put it, "When they find faults, the faults are invariably those of other people. They do not have the capacity to understand their own mistakes...". If progressive Muslims could not create a wider movement, it was because "the moment they became liberals they lost the confidence of their backward and orthodox community". By contrast, there was a large and influential class of Hindu liberals. Here there was a "vast gulf that separates the intelligentsia of the two communities". Compared to the Hindus, "the Muslims today are culturally backward. They ought to be brought on a level with the Hindus. This would imply the creation of a liberal class in the Muslim commu- nity. The Indian Muslims today need, most urgently, a liberal movement". Indian Muslims, wrote Hamid Dalwai, needed an "avant garde liberal elite to lead them". Otherwise, the consequences were dire, and not just for Muslims. For "unless a Muslim liberal intellec-tual class emerges, Indian Muslims will continue to cling to obscurantist mediaevalism, communalism, and will eventually perish both socially and culturally. A worse possibility is that of Hindu revivalism destroying even Hindu liberalism, for the latter can succeed only with the support of Muslim liberals who would modernise Muslims and try to impress upon these secular democratic ideals". The prediction has come chillingly true. In 2004, as in 1968, Muslim liberals exercise little influence. There are indeed exemplary individuals, such as Asghar Ali Engineer and Mushirul Hasan. Yet, these thinkers are treated with suspicion or indifference by the vast bulk of their co-religionists. To be a liberal Muslim still implies that you do not have the confidence of your community. Historically, a major blow to a reform movement among Indian Muslims was the migration of many of their number to Pakistan. Those who left were the cream of the professional class — lawyers, doctors, professors. Had they remained they might just possibly have led a movement for liberalism. In Pakistan (as one might have foretold) they were marginalised. In this respect, Hindus were luckier. For one thing, there was no single holy book they had constantly to make obeisance to. If the Shastras sanction untouchability, said Mahatma Gandhi, then we must reject them. (By contrast, even the most emancipated Muslim has to take recourse to the Quran.) This freedom from dogma allowed the Hindus to develop a robust and self-confident liberal class. This was the class represented by Gandhi and Nehru, by the Congress party, by the Constituent Assembly, and, for decades, by the government of India. Hamid Dalwai could write with awe, and perhaps a little envy, of the extraordinary influence of a man like Jawaharlal Nehru. He recalled that when anti-Muslim riots broke out in Bihar in 1946, "Nehru threatened to bomb the rioting Hindus if they would not stop their violence; and yet the Hindus continued to accept Nehru as their leader. In spite of Partition, Nehru gave this nation a secular Constitution; he gave Muslims equal rights; and yet a large majority of Hindus accepted him as a leader". The great German writer, Friedrich Schiller, once remarked that "the first law of decency is to preserve the liberty of others". This is a law that Gandhi and Nehru made their own. They were male, upper caste, and Hindu, yet worked ceaselessly to safeguard the rights of Indians different from themselves — women, low castes, and minorities. And they successfully converted other Hindus to their point of view. Thus we came to be governed by a secular, democratic, and egalitarian Constitution, rather than by the Laws of Manu. In recent decades, this tradition of Hindu liberalism has come under grave threat. Consider thus the increasing presence of sants and sadhus in our political life. In his 17 years as prime minister, Nehru never entered a temple or mosque or church. The domains of statecraft and spiritualism were kept separate, as is proper in a civilised society. But with the Bharatiya Janata Party it is hard to tell where governance begins and religion ends. Chief ministers are sworn in before a row of saffron sadhus; prime ministers ask Shankaracharyas to solve matters that should not be within their purview at all. For the moment, at least, Hindu revivalism is triumphant. Its triumph is reflected in the mimicry of its methods by its opponents, by the desperate attempts of the Congress to present itself as Hindutva's B-team. It is also reflected in the sense of siege that has overcome the progressive Hindu thinker and writer. I write here from experience. To speak of secularism and mo-dernity, or even of tolerance and dialogue, is to be dismissed as a 'deracinated intellectual'. The more liberal a Hindu is now, the less of a Hindu he is said to have become. The cause of Indian liberalism has thus suffered a double defeat. There is still no credible liberal movement among Indian Muslims. And Hindu liberalism, too, has been pushed into retreat by the advancing forces of revivalism.
Posted by: acharya Mar 24 2004, 04:22 PM
Double Defeat | Liberal India on the Defensive Ramachandra Guha MARCH 23, 2004 Nearly 40 years ago, Marathi writer Hamid Dalwai wrote a fascinating series of essays on the lack of a liberal movement among Indian Muslims. The leaders of the community, he argued, were incapable of critical introspection. As he put it, "When they find faults, the faults are invariably those of other people. They do not have the capacity to understand their own mistakes...". If progressive Muslims could not create a wider movement, it was because "the moment they became liberals they lost the confidence of their backward and orthodox community". By contrast, there was a large and influential class of Hindu liberals. Here there was a "vast gulf that separates the intelligentsia of the two communities". Compared to the Hindus, "the Muslims today are culturally backward. They ought to be brought on a level with the Hindus. This would imply the creation of a liberal class in the Muslim commu- nity. The Indian Muslims today need, most urgently, a liberal movement". Indian Muslims, wrote Hamid Dalwai, needed an "avant garde liberal elite to lead them". Otherwise, the consequences were dire, and not just for Muslims. For "unless a Muslim liberal intellec-tual class emerges, Indian Muslims will continue to cling to obscurantist mediaevalism, communalism, and will eventually perish both socially and culturally. A worse possibility is that of Hindu revivalism destroying even Hindu liberalism, for the latter can succeed only with the support of Muslim liberals who would modernise Muslims and try to impress upon these secular democratic ideals". The prediction has come chillingly true. In 2004, as in 1968, Muslim liberals exercise little influence. There are indeed exemplary individuals, such as Asghar Ali Engineer and Mushirul Hasan. Yet, these thinkers are treated with suspicion or indifference by the vast bulk of their co-religionists. To be a liberal Muslim still implies that you do not have the confidence of your community. Historically, a major blow to a reform movement among Indian Muslims was the migration of many of their number to Pakistan. Those who left were the cream of the professional class — lawyers, doctors, professors. Had they remained they might just possibly have led a movement for liberalism. In Pakistan (as one might have foretold) they were marginalised. In this respect, Hindus were luckier. For one thing, there was no single holy book they had constantly to make obeisance to. If the Shastras sanction untouchability, said Mahatma Gandhi, then we must reject them. (By contrast, even the most emancipated Muslim has to take recourse to the Quran.) This freedom from dogma allowed the Hindus to develop a robust and self-confident liberal class. This was the class represented by Gandhi and Nehru, by the Congress party, by the Constituent Assembly, and, for decades, by the government of India. Hamid Dalwai could write with awe, and perhaps a little envy, of the extraordinary influence of a man like Jawaharlal Nehru. He recalled that when anti-Muslim riots broke out in Bihar in 1946, "Nehru threatened to bomb the rioting Hindus if they would not stop their violence; and yet the Hindus continued to accept Nehru as their leader. In spite of Partition, Nehru gave this nation a secular Constitution; he gave Muslims equal rights; and yet a large majority of Hindus accepted him as a leader". The great German writer, Friedrich Schiller, once remarked that "the first law of decency is to preserve the liberty of others". This is a law that Gandhi and Nehru made their own. They were male, upper caste, and Hindu, yet worked ceaselessly to safeguard the rights of Indians different from themselves — women, low castes, and minorities. And they successfully converted other Hindus to their point of view. Thus we came to be governed by a secular, democratic, and egalitarian Constitution, rather than by the Laws of Manu. In recent decades, this tradition of Hindu liberalism has come under grave threat. Consider thus the increasing presence of sants and sadhus in our political life. In his 17 years as prime minister, Nehru never entered a temple or mosque or church. The domains of statecraft and spiritualism were kept separate, as is proper in a civilised society. But with the Bharatiya Janata Party it is hard to tell where governance begins and religion ends. Chief ministers are sworn in before a row of saffron sadhus; prime ministers ask Shankaracharyas to solve matters that should not be within their purview at all. For the moment, at least, Hindu revivalism is triumphant. Its triumph is reflected in the mimicry of its methods by its opponents, by the desperate attempts of the Congress to present itself as Hindutva's B-team. It is also reflected in the sense of siege that has overcome the progressive Hindu thinker and writer. I write here from experience. To speak of secularism and mo-dernity, or even of tolerance and dialogue, is to be dismissed as a 'deracinated intellectual'. The more liberal a Hindu is now, the less of a Hindu he is said to have become. The cause of Indian liberalism has thus suffered a double defeat. There is still no credible liberal movement among Indian Muslims. And Hindu liberalism, too, has been pushed into retreat by the advancing forces of revivalism.
Posted by: Mudy Mar 24 2004, 06:19 PM
In his 17 years as prime minister, Nehru never entered a temple or mosque or church.
Complete lie. 1949 Prime minister Nehru visited the Vancouver Sikh temple with his daughter Indira Gandhi. While searching net regarding Nehru visit found this
People ask, "Where is God?" . But without knowing it, a so-called unbeliever believes in God. Once, Prime Minister Nehru visited Madurai in South India. He was not interested in spiritual matters. God had no meaning for him. His agnosticism was a product ff the environment in which he grew up. The local leaders took him to Meeriakshi temple, whether he was inclined to visit the temple or not. During the visit, the leaders who were with Nehru praised the ornaments worn by the Goddess and told him that the diamonds and gems in the jewels on the idol were worth crores of rupees. After listening to them, Nehru remarked "Why is it that these valuable gemstones are placed on a valueless idol?" After that he was returning from the sanctum. He did not notice the door and he hit against it and stumbled. At that moment, he cried out: "Oh ! my God !" . This shows each one has his own God and refers to Him as `my God.'
He did visited temples and Mosques (in Srinagar and Delhi). Whether he offered prayer, God knows. If Muslims are not libreal, it is still okay but if Hindu practise religion it is a defeat. Author tried it best that Hindu should move away from religion. Partition riots reference is only one sided. devilsmiley.gif
Posted by: acharya Mar 26 2004, 04:03 PM
Milli Council urges secular forces to `save the nation' By Our Special Correspondent JAIPUR, MARCH 26. The All-India Milli Council today called upon the secular forces to close ranks and "save the nation'' from the "fascist and communal'' agenda pushed forward by the National Democratic Alliance Government during its five-year rule in the Centre. It warned that the coming Lok Sabha elections would be the last chance to redeem the country's secular pledge. The Milli Council released a white paper on the performance of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA Government in 20 State capitals, including Jaipur, and in New Delhi, while accusing the alliance of failing to fulfil its own 42-point national agenda for governance. It said the "feel good'' and "India Shining'' campaigns were hollow rhetoric aimed at concealing the Government's poor performance. The white paper asked the secular forces to forget their likes and dislikes and rise to the occasion to defeat the "designs" of the BJP and its sister organisations and alliance partners. "They must not forget that they have already lost a chance in the past following the BJP-led coalition Government's fall in 1999,'' it pointed out. The Milli Council's State general secretary and a noted lawyer, Abdul Qayoom Akhtar, releasing the white paper here, said "bhookh, bhay and bhrashtachar'' (hunger, fear and corruption) — which the national agenda had promised to remove — had deepened and spread further. "The prevailing poverty and inequality, communal situation and corruption prove that the NDA has helped them spread their tentacles,'' he said. The white paper dealt with issues such as employment, poverty, agriculture, health care, foreign policy, corruption, situation of Dalits and Other Backward Classes, denigration of democratic institutions, promotion of Sangh Parivar's causes, saffronisation of education, rights violation and communal situation and said the Government had failed on all fronts. "The bad effects are visible in all sectors of the economy and the decline and subsequent stagnation in investment occurred despite the visible signs of movement in sectors like telecom and highway construction,'' it said. Similarly, India slipped from 124th to 127th place in the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme under the NDA regime. Commenting on the Government's foreign policy, the white paper said that some serious efforts had been made to normalise relations with Pakistan, but the Government could not establish cordial relations with other neighbours. There was also a clear departure in the foreign policy vis-à-vis the Arab-Israel conflict with increasing proximity to Israel, it said. "The largest number of scams and financial irregularities have occurred during the NDA regime,'' it said and alleged that the Central Government had denigrated the key institutions of democracy as well as the gubernatorial and ambassadors' posts. "These institutions were taken over by RSS pracharaks,'' it alleged. Referring to the BJP's "new-found love'' for Muslims, the white paper said the "cosmetic changes'' in the party were being made to get some share of the community's vote percentage which had registered an increase in the Assembly elections in 2003. However, the BJP's claim of having checked the occurrence of communal riots was false with 731 major riots, including the Gujarat carnage, reported between 1998 and 2002. Mr. Qayoom Akhtar said Muslims would not believe in the alleged change of heart. "There is no change in the BJP's approach to the contentious issues such as the uniform civil code and building of temples in Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura and other places after demolishing the existing mosques,'' the white paper said.
Posted by: Gargi Mar 26 2004, 04:18 PM
"There is no change in the BJP's approach to the contentious issues such as the uniform civil code and building of temples in Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura and other places after demolishing the existing mosques
Why Hindu should not built temple in these three most scared place of Hindus? Uniform code is must to stop islamisation of India.
Posted by: G.Subramaniam Mar 28 2004, 09:11 PM
Pakistani muslims have a higher fertility than Indian muslims and they infiltrate in illegally
Posted by: Gargi Mar 29 2004, 06:10 PM
This is in India where majority populataion don't have freedom to practise religion. While the Mohoram processions are flagged off by Laloo-Rabri governemnt, RamNavmi is declared a communal festival & celibrations banned......... Security Tightened for Ramnavmi, Section 144 Imposed Patna: March 29, 2004 The district officials in Patna, on the occasion of Ramnavmi that falls on March 30th, has ordered tightening of the security in the capital while also imposing Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code to maintain peace in the area. A directive to this effect was issued by the District Magistrate Deepak Prasad and the Senior Superintendent of Police who said that in view of the current election environment and the Ramnavami in the state, the police must remain cautious of any suspicious activities in the state and take stern actions against anyone who try to create communal disturbance in the district. Law enforcement officials have been advised to set-up temporary police outposts in all sensitive areas and deal with anti-social elements severely under Section 107, 116 and 151 of the Indian Penal Code. The administration has also banned any kind of procession or rally on Ramnavami devilsmiley.gif and has ordered the Patna Municipal Corporation to ensure the cleanliness of all roads. Fire brigades and ambulances have also been put on alert in case of any contingency that may arise on Ramnavami day.
Posted by: Gargi Mar 29 2004, 06:17 PM ... thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif Take for instance, Raman Kumar’s Sarhad Paar which stars Sanjay Dutt, Tabu and Mahima Chaudhry in lead roles. The film which has Dutt playing a Sikh character for the first time is 90 per cent complete. But after witnessing the response of the cricket series, the makers have decided to make a last-minute inclusion—a Pakistani actor who will show his country in positive light. Talks also abound to get Pakistani singers to render playback for the film. Says Kumar,‘‘Our film deals with a PoW who crosses the border. I can’t show my actor crossing Turkey so we had to show Pakistan. Since Pakistan is part of the story, we are trying to get a Pakistani actor and singers.’’ Considering the film is set for a June release, isn’t it too late to make these changes? ‘‘We were always trying but earlier we couldn’t see any possibility. Now that’s not the case,’’ adds Kumar. .... thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif Anil Gadar Sharma is also trying to play it safe this time round. Known for his shrill jingoism and Pak-bashing cinema, Sharma is toning down his ambitious war saga Ab Tumhare Hawaale Watan Saathiyon which stars Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar and Bobby Deol. Sources in Sharma’s crew said the maker is rewriting dialogues that came down too heavy on Pakistan.
Posted by: acharya Mar 30 2004, 06:02 PM
Secularism under siege By K.N. Panikkar Rather than redefining secularism, what is more compelling is rethinking secular practice, particularly by the political class. THE SURGE of Hindu communalism during the last few years is a reflection on the inadequacies and weaknesses of secular practice in India. It has neither lived up to its principles nor adopted innovative modes of communication to reach out to the people. At least so believe many even among those who have been engaged in defending the secular space. Several others hold that the concept of secularism, borrowed from the West by a modernising elite headed by Jawaharlal Nehru, itself is flawed and irrelevant in Indian conditions, since it is not rooted in Indian social, cultural or political experience. According to them, this rootlessness has adversely affected its vibrancy and acceptability. Therefore they believe that secularism has no chance of survival and is doomed to an eventual and inevitable death, unless it is reconceptualised. Hence the plea in recent times to `rethink' and `redefine' secularism. Such a view is shared by people of diverse ideological and intellectual persuasions. Hindu communalists reject secularism as a Leftwing conspiracy intended to undermine the Hindu nation and to appease the minorities. The alternative they advocate is a `true secular' polity guided by Hindu religious tenets. India is secular, they argue, and would remain so only because it is Hindu. For others, its exogenous origins and links with European modernity are the critical factors. Earlier confined to a small group of intellectuals, the number of sceptics and critics has marked some increase recently. The discomfort now appears to have spread also to some politicians who claim to be the defenders of secularism, even if their past practices do not betray any commitment to the cause. Whether it is an election itch only the future can tell. Not that the political practices did not influence the process. They surely did, but the secular state in India as conceived by the Constitution was not an exclusively political-intellectual construct, but it reflected the social and cultural reality of Indian society, even if the example of other countries has been useful precedents. The choice of secularism as one of the guiding principles of Indian nation, despite the communal conflagration during the Partition, is influenced by the historical experience of Indian society. Both Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru were alive to the social reality. That is the reason why they attached great importance to communal harmony, if secularism was to survive in India. What the Sangh Parivar is now trying to set aside are the social relations and political structure which history has bequeathed to the nation. Their success is not because a void existed in socio-political consciousness, but because they created a new one by obfuscating religious identity as national identity and by organising politics around emotionally charged religious issues. Much of the debate about secularism, influenced by the European model, revolves around the relationship between state and religion. The focus therefore is on the secularisation of polity as happened in the West through the separation of the church and the state. There is hardly any society, including the Indian, which has not undergone the process of secularisation, even though the trajectories are not necessarily the same. In a multi- religious society such as India, secularisation is not a purely political phenomenon; it equally embraces the social and the cultural. By the time India achieved Independence, the necessary pre-conditions for a secular society and polity had already evolved through a process of secularisation in the social, cultural, administrative and intellectual domains. The common participation of people, regardless of their denominational differences, marked the engagements in all these fields. The state institutions, from the medieval times itself, had officials, generals and soldiers drawn from all religions. Muslim and Hindu rulers liberally employed the followers of other religions, particularly in the revenue administration and the army. Sher Shah Suri, Akbar, Aurangazeb, Shivaji, Ranjit Singh and a host of others did so. These rulers also took care to ensure that the officials conducted themselves in discharging public duties with a non-religious outlook. Building upon this tradition, the colonial rule created a secular administrative structure, which was able to withstand even the communal onslaught of the Partition days. The movements in the intellectual-cultural field also prepared the ground for the emergence of secular ethos in society. The Bhakti and Sufi traditions enabled Hindus and Muslims to understand one another's religious and philosophical systems and thus to bridge their social differences. What they had initiated was carried forward by innumerable heterodox sects who, by challenging the Brahminical order, tried to recover their own cultural personality. They did not champion Sanskritisation, but in a way the reverse of it by trying to construct an identity distinct from that of the upper castes. Sanskritisation advocated as a strategy for erasing caste differences is a part of the communal agenda, as it privileges the Brahminical practices. Therefore, adopted as a conscious strategy, instead of ushering in secularism, it is likely to promote the communal cause as it would reinforce the Brahminical hegemony. It would also undermine the cultural identity of the lower castes. Sanskritisation as a means for homogenisation is, however, entirely different from the social process, which M.N. Srinivas had conceived. The intellectual basis for the creation of a secular society and polity was conceived, elaborated and disseminated during the course of the 19th century. It was integral to the intellectual and cultural movements, which tried to unravel the religious truth common to all faiths. They were inspired by the ideas drawn from both indigenous and exogenous sources. The monotheism of the Vedas and monism of the Vedanta, on the one hand, and rationalism and humanism of the Enlightenment, on the other, moulded their perspective. From this engagement emerged the notion of religious universalism, which generated the intellectual rationale for people to participate in secular public sphere. It was in this secular space that the anti-colonial politics emerged and operated. Neither the intellectual movement nor the politics that followed were monochromatic. There were several fissures within. Yet among Hindus, communalism did not strike strong roots during the colonial period. And only a section of Muslims opted for religious politics. By the time India achieved Independence, the overwhelming sentiment was in favour of secularism, despite the Partition and the communal riots that followed it. During the early days, when the Republic was struggling to find its moorings, Donald Smith, a sympathetic American political analyst, had observed: "It is far too early to dismiss the possibility of a future Hindu state in India. However, the possibility does not appear a strong one. The secular state has far more than an even chance of survival in India." Today many may not share the optimism of Smith about the survival of secularism as Hindu communalism threatens to conquer the society. Over the last 50 years, communalism has transformed itself from a marginal force to the centre stage of Indian politics. Such a transformation is not purely the result of its organisational success and emotional appeal, however strong and effective they were, but more due to the weakness of secular forces or at least those who claim to be secular. During the early days of the Republic, the Hindu communal forces lacked legitimacy in popular estimation and hence could not make an advance in Indian politics. Suspected to be involved in the assassination of the Father of the Nation, their ideology was understood as anti-humanist, obscurantist and violent. They were therefore outside the mainstream of bourgeois politics and were not looked upon by people as an acceptable political alternative. Overcoming this stigma took years, but they did overcome it with the help of secular parties. The coalition experiment beginning with the post-Emergency government and those that followed thereafter at the Centre and in the States, earned the communal forces a legitimate place in mainstream politics. The lure for power persuaded the bourgeois parties to discard their initial reservations and objections and to collaborate and ally with the communal forces. Even those who were ardent advocates of secularism do not now hesitate to be in the company of communal forces. The legitimacy and acceptance the communal forces thus gained is the most decisive transformation Indian politics has undergone during the last few years, which has enabled communalism to control and operate state power. If secularism is under siege today the major responsibility for it rests with those `secular' politicians who made communal advance possible by legitimising communalism and helping it to come to power. It is unfortunate that there is no realisation that the rising tide of communalism can be stemmed only by an uncompromising secular stand. This is not to suggest that the success of communal forces is only due to the political opportunism of secular political formations. On the contrary, much of their advance was made possible because of the continuous intervention in the cultural life of people through the activities of innumerable organisations set up in different parts of the country. Through such activities, they have succeeded in transforming the cultural consciousness of people from the secular to the religious. This is a qualitatively different effort from that of the secular forces who mainly concentrate on cultural intervention, the impact of which is limited and transient. The difference between cultural intervention and intervention in culture distinguishes the cultural engagement of the communal and the secular and their relative success. Rather than redefining secularism, what is more compelling is rethinking secular practice, particularly by the political class.
Posted by: G.Subramaniam Mar 31 2004, 06:17 AM
The blame for this goes to fellow hindus We dont take care of our socio-economically weaker hindus M-Y vote banking is recent Until 1980, the upper castes in bihar were doing vote banking with muslims We vote on basis of caste than religion
Posted by: Gargi Mar 31 2004, 10:10 AM
Only Imam Bukahri can give anti Hindu and anti India speeches, but Togadia can't give pro Hindu speeches. Do we call it justice? Mullah can punish muslim for singing Vande Mathram, but they will not get punished and our SC will sleep on these issue. Again it is punishing majority population just to appease minority and they call this secularism. BS devilsmiley.gif
On the eve of Lok Sabha polls, the Supreme Court today ruled that no person, even the most popular leader, should be allowed to give speeches to destroy the country's secular fabric and upheld a Karnataka Government ban on VHP leader Praveen Bhai Togadia from visiting certain areas in the State last year. "No person, however big he may assume or claim to be, should be allowed irrespective of the position he may assume or claim to hold in public life to either act in a manner or make speeches which would destroy secularism recognised by the Constitution of India," a Bench comprising Justice Doraiswamy Raju and Justice Arijit Pasayat said.
Posted by: Gargi Mar 31 2004, 12:37 PM
Caste based politics started only after Mandal commission. Before Mandal, majority of Hindus whether upper or lower caste used to vote for Congress or sometime independent candidates. Majority population was brainwashed or never seen or voted for any other option except post emergency. Muslim candidates used to vote for muslim candidates or independent candidates and later started voting for Congress. After Ayodhya and Shah Banu case, Upper caste and urban Hindus started voting for BJP. Muslim votes split between independent muslim, BSP, SP and last and least Congress-I. Jan Sangh/RSS was banned, objectitive was to fracture Hindu unity. Even now Cong-I is targeting them, they always under estimated Hindu unity, even so called seculars are in minority or near extintion. Socio-economic sections need support but now they have become tools for exploitation. They are so called vote bank, and are USED and ABUSED by their own caste people just to gain power. Mayawati, Laloo or Mulyam, all of them belongs to lower caste and turn out to be worst manager. They did more harm to their community then anyone else. Bihar and UP is in drain where majority of low caste people live. These two states are bring down Indian economic growth and using maximum resources.
Posted by: G.Subramaniam Mar 31 2004, 07:36 PM
Caste based politics was started by Nehru His formula was Brahmin + Dalit + Muslim In Bihar until 1980s, the congress formula was Dalits + Forwards + Muslims Seeing that muslims could be used as a vote bank, by ignoring their Jihadism, The lohiaites ( OBC ) started doing same In each state the congress used a different formula, the common factor was muslim As far as mandal goes, the very fact that you are griping about mandal gives an opening to muslims and xtians to separate OBC hindus from forward caste hindus This is what leads to appeasement of minorities I come from south India where we have 70% reservations as opposed to 49% ( Mandal ) in north India I cant understand why north Indian hindus dont see the big picture and not rock the boat and give openings to muslims and xtians
Posted by: acharya Apr 1 2004, 07:19 PM
Cow slaughter and Indian Muslims By Ayub Khan Milli Gazette 1-15 Mar 2004 The recent advisory from Darul Uloom Deoband asking Indian Muslims to refrain from cow slaughter, in states where it is banned, is being viewed by the Sangh Parivar as some sort of a belated victory. The advisory was wrongly termed as a "fatwa" and the saffron press was delighted in promoting it as such. "Deoband ka Fatwa, Gai ki Qurbani sey Tauba," screamed a headline in the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh mouthpiece Panchjanya. The article tried to project the act of cow slaughter as some sort of a sin, which the Muslims have been committing until now. The fact is that Muslims have been voluntarily abstaining for many years from cow slaughter, in keeping with the law in the states where it has been banned, and in respecting the sensibilities of the Hindu population. The appeal from Deoband was just a formality issued on the eve of Eid ul Adha when the animals are sacrificed. Vishwa Hindu Parishad General Secretary Dr Pravin Togadia welcomed the step of the Muslim community saying that 'such a bold step has not been taken during the last one thousand years.' Well, it looks like the doctor needs a refresher in Indian history. There have been many instances where Muslim rulers and other notable of India have asked the Muslims to refrain from cow slaughter. More recent to contemporary times we can cite the example from 1920’s of Maulana Muhammad Ali and Maulana Abdul Bari Firangi Mahli. As a friendly gesture towards the Hindus they stopped eating beef and advised the Muslim community to do the same. For the first time Eid was celebrated in many Muslim homes without beef. This created such an atmosphere of unity that the then Viceroy, Lord Reading, was compelled to write, 'the bridge over the gulf between Hindu and Muslim' has been created. The above example shows a lot can be accomplished by showing respect to each other’s sensitivities. The Muslims have made the first move in the regard. Will those who claim to represent the Hindu populace reciprocate the gesture? M Ayub Khan, Toronto
Posted by: Bhootnath Apr 14 2004, 12:15 AM
Hi Wed Apr 14 12:46:34 GMT 2004 Trial by ire The Pioneer Edit Desk The Supreme Court has ordered retrial of the Best Bakery case, and its transfer to Maharashtra from Gujarat. This will predictably provide grist to the overactive mill of demonisation Chief Minister Narendra Modi has long faced. But it is not his gratuitous branding as modern-day "Nero" that makes the judgement unfortunate. The more disturbing aspect is that the order is a vote of no-confidence against Gujarat's entire judicial machinery. Ironically, the High Court, dismissing the Modi Government's prayer for retrial, had voiced "concern" over "a definite design" to target "the system as a whole". It could hardly have conceived of a gravely anomalous situation in which it would have its own integrity doubted by the nation's highest court of appeal. The SC has not passed an insignificant stricture against a lower court. The Gujarat High Court itself stands demeaned-for no other reason than having discharged its duty in a manner prioritising national interest, based on its view that Best Bakery hinged on a self-confessed perjurer who could well be a tool in the hands of stakeholders in social unrest. It may be asked if the SC wishes to imply that Gujarat's judges are so spineless and susceptible to 'political pressure' that they can deliver judgements tailormade for supposedly venal politicians. In the popular perception, certainly, its order represents the judiciary's indictment of itself, one to be set right only by assuming guilt-in advance. For, the apex court has unambiguously suggested that an official conspiracy was afoot to 'protect' the killers of innocent women and children. It would follow that no verdict but of 'guilty' could lay Best Bakery to rest, that the charge of institutional collusion needs no further verification and that culpability may be established without concrete, and credible, evidence-all because a key prosecution witness changed her story at will, that too only after the Vadodara court gave its verdict. With its Gujarat counterpart painted as incapable of dispensing justice, the Maharashtra judiciary seems to have been issued a virtual directive on how to deal with Best Bakery. Under the Constitution, law and order is a State subject. Inquiry has to be conducted by State authorities and cases represented by government prosecutors. Since perjurers allege the Gujarat authorities obstructed justice, surely there is little to guarantee the latter's future model conduct. The Vadodara court had acquitted the accused only after Zaheera Sheikh's retraction. Given lack of evidence, it could hardly have done otherwise. After perjury was admitted, the High Court ruled out retrial. Yet the SC has put the Modi regime in the dock, using the harshest language possible to express contempt for a democratically elected Government. That this very regime appealed the Vadodara verdict and sought retrial does not seem pertinent; its view justice could be done within Gujarat even less so. All of this can only bolster Mr Modi's contention that a relentless vilification campaign has been waged against Gujarat and its people. Given the media circus over Best Bakery and its uses for publicity-hounding human rights champions, his charge has always had takers. That the SC should also appear partisan, or swayed by people carrying out a virtual out-of-court trial, can only be rued as a sad day for the judiciary. Innumerable cases of justice miscarried or denied have gone unmourned. Anti-Sikh riot survivors may ask why their call for retribution has not been heard. During the Punjab crisis, no TADA case was transferred. No one spoke of the human rights of terrorised victims. They too could demand fair trial, asking why they have never prompted the kind of concerted activism always at hand when judicial resolution of social conflict is given a communal colour. The judiciary and society at large need to think of answers, so that dispensation of justice can be authenticated as more than an institutional pretension.
Posted by: Bhootnath Apr 14 2004, 12:19 AM
Wed Apr 14 12:46:34 GMT 2004 Would Supreme Court have given a similar decision if plaintiff was a Hindu or Sikh ?? Will an average Hindu understand the implication of this judgement or ??? Well then really deserve getting raped by muslims in Bengal and elswhere .. Trial by ire The Pioneer Edit Desk The Supreme Court has ordered retrial of the Best Bakery case, and its transfer to Maharashtra from Gujarat. This will predictably provide grist to the overactive mill of demonisation Chief Minister Narendra Modi has long faced. But it is not his gratuitous branding as modern-day "Nero" that makes the judgement unfortunate. The more disturbing aspect is that the order is a vote of no-confidence against Gujarat's entire judicial machinery. Ironically, the High Court, dismissing the Modi Government's prayer for retrial, had voiced "concern" over "a definite design" to target "the system as a whole". It could hardly have conceived of a gravely anomalous situation in which it would have its own integrity doubted by the nation's highest court of appeal. The SC has not passed an insignificant stricture against a lower court. The Gujarat High Court itself stands demeaned-for no other reason than having discharged its duty in a manner prioritising national interest, based on its view that Best Bakery hinged on a self-confessed perjurer who could well be a tool in the hands of stakeholders in social unrest. It may be asked if the SC wishes to imply that Gujarat's judges are so spineless and susceptible to 'political pressure' that they can deliver judgements tailormade for supposedly venal politicians. In the popular perception, certainly, its order represents the judiciary's indictment of itself, one to be set right only by assuming guilt-in advance. For, the apex court has unambiguously suggested that an official conspiracy was afoot to 'protect' the killers of innocent women and children. It would follow that no verdict but of 'guilty' could lay Best Bakery to rest, that the charge of institutional collusion needs no further verification and that culpability may be established without concrete, and credible, evidence-all because a key prosecution witness changed her story at will, that too only after the Vadodara court gave its verdict. With its Gujarat counterpart painted as incapable of dispensing justice, the Maharashtra judiciary seems to have been issued a virtual directive on how to deal with Best Bakery. Under the Constitution, law and order is a State subject. Inquiry has to be conducted by State authorities and cases represented by government prosecutors. Since perjurers allege the Gujarat authorities obstructed justice, surely there is little to guarantee the latter's future model conduct. The Vadodara court had acquitted the accused only after Zaheera Sheikh's retraction. Given lack of evidence, it could hardly have done otherwise. After perjury was admitted, the High Court ruled out retrial. Yet the SC has put the Modi regime in the dock, using the harshest language possible to express contempt for a democratically elected Government. That this very regime appealed the Vadodara verdict and sought retrial does not seem pertinent; its view justice could be done within Gujarat even less so. All of this can only bolster Mr Modi's contention that a relentless vilification campaign has been waged against Gujarat and its people. Given the media circus over Best Bakery and its uses for publicity-hounding human rights champions, his charge has always had takers. That the SC should also appear partisan, or swayed by people carrying out a virtual out-of-court trial, can only be rued as a sad day for the judiciary. Innumerable cases of justice miscarried or denied have gone unmourned. Anti-Sikh riot survivors may ask why their call for retribution has not been heard. During the Punjab crisis, no TADA case was transferred. No one spoke of the human rights of terrorised victims. They too could demand fair trial, asking why they have never prompted the kind of concerted activism always at hand when judicial resolution of social conflict is given a communal colour. The judiciary and society at large need to think of answers, so that dispensation of justice can be authenticated as more than an institutional pretension.
Posted by: acharya Apr 14 2004, 01:00 PM
Strange LOGIC Indian liberal democracy is confronting an aggressive communal pull towards a Hindu majoritarian state.The pariamentary election has reached to a new stage of communal politics.Most of the indian mainstream political parties have selected their candidates on Majoritarian lines.A crystal clear majoritarian politics is witnessing in indian parliamentary politics.While examinining kerala scenario,this type of majoritarian politics has totally outdated any secularist political morality. In kerala,Christians,Muslims,Nairs,Ezhavas are the largest religions and communities.The mainstream political fronts of kerala(The ruling UDF and The opposing LDF)political candidates belong to these religions and communities.The reserved constituiencies are only for sc and sc candidates.The rest of the communities have no representational values.In Malappuram where Muslims are the Majoritarian religion .Both fronts candidates are the Muslims.This is happenining all over the India.Elections have a clear cut majoritarian agenda which divides people on Majoritarian and minoritarian lines.This is questioning the democratic foundations of the indian society.Political parties are intersted to build up majoritarian constituencies by challenging the secular citizenship of indian state.The public sphere of the democratic citizenship has an absurd idea.The overt and covert majoritarian political game should be resisted to create a pluralistic political morality where majority and minority politics will have no political relevance because india is a multicultural and multi religious country. The democratic representations of the different communitires and religions in the political constiuencies are the real values of the vibrant democratic society.Indian electorate has to internalise the democratic agenda of the parliamentary election to oppose the majoritarian agenda.The trap of the worst majoritarian manipulations of the indian political elite has already crushed the vitality of the democratic election .But,election time is a chance to check these undemocratic majoritarian politics and populist elements.The immediate election after the emergency time Indian electorate had expressed a real democratic morality. This election time gives such historic chance to raise a voice against authoritarian majority agendas.
Posted by: Mudy Apr 14 2004, 01:41 PM
ROTFL.gif He/she is suggesting that majority should hate themselves just to appease minority. Minority should rule just to make him happy. It means he was happy with British Raj and Mughal barbad raj. thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif
Posted by: SSridhar Apr 16 2004, 05:56 AM There is the great secularist who does the above at the first murmur whereas he offended Hindu sentiments many times more and was/has been defiant about it. He had spoken passionately about "freedom of expression for artists" etc. and at the first signs of trouble from his own community has given a go-by to such freedom. We saw a plethora of "eminent personalities" like A.Roy, N.Ram, Anjolie Ela Menon, the Great Basu Da, Wagah Candle Kisser Nayyer, Sabrang-map-fame Teesta Setelvad, the other secularist Shabna Azmi etc. raise a huge hue-and-cry when M.F.Hussain's nude paintings where objected to and I am pretty sure they will keep a studied silence now. We also remember the great comrade Basu da of Bengal who took offence at the screening of "Taurus", a Russian picture which critically looked at Lenin, and promptly withdrew it after the selection committee had included it for screening in an International Film Festival at Kolkatta. That's the double standard the majority of this nation must understand.
Posted by: Gargi Apr 16 2004, 09:38 AM
Hindus should open their eyes and mind and see how 4 muslim group can make anyone silent. This scare tactics is missing in Hindus.
Posted by: acharya Apr 16 2004, 01:03 PM
Laine may apologise over Shivaji issue April 16, 2004 17:19 IST The Oxford Printing Press on Friday told the Bombay high court that US-based author James Laine was ready to apologise for making derogatory references to Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji in his book Shivaji : Hindu king in Islamic India. It also said that it was ready to withdraw the objectionable portion from the publication. Bringing Laine back: Easier said than done Senior counsel Mahesh Jethmalani and Pranav Badheka, appearing for the Oxford Printing Press, submitted a draft of their affidavit to Justice S Radhakrishna and Justice R S Mohite, who adjourned the matter to April 27 as the Maharashtra government sought time to consider it. The state's counsel, Shekhar Naphade, said he would consult the chief secretary after going through the draft and explore the possibility of arriving at a solution. The court was hearing a petition filed by the Oxford Printing Press and its India representative Mazhar Khan(Anybody know who this guy is), urging for a direction to the Pune police to quash the first information report registered against them. The court had earlier suggested Laine to consider withdrawing the distorted remarks about Shivaji. It had also inquired whether Laine would state that he had no doubts that Shahji was Shivaji's father. A group of members belonging to Sambhaji Brigade had on January 5 stormed into the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune and destroyed rare manuscripts and artefacts. Although Laine had apologised, the mob ransacked the institute as he had drawn material for the book from its library. Jethmalani argued that a scholarly book in history could not attract penal provisions for promoting enmity between two groups. He said the book did not intend to pit one community against the other.
Posted by: Mudy Apr 17 2004, 11:16 AM
Let's see how he reacts and leftist reaction to Hindus demand.,0008.htm?headline=Sangh~forum~asks~Hussain~to~withdraw~'Saraswati'~painting~» Press Trust of India Thiruvananthapuram, April 17 Pro-RSS cultural forum Bharatiya Vichara Kendram on Saturday accused celebrated artist M F Hussain of buckling under fundamentalist pressures in withdrawing the film "Meenaxi-a tale of three cities" while refusing to stop exhibiting his controversial "Saraswati" painting. Charging Hussain with "sheepishly surrendering to the demand of the fundamentalists", the Bharatiya Vichara Kendram wanted the artist to "stop displaying the 'Saraswati' painting which offended the sentiments of the Hindus all over the world through the depiction of the Goddess in nude". devilsmiley.gif "If Hussain has the least grain of honesty in him, he must unconditionally withdraw all his offensive paintings and tender unconditional apology. If he does not do it, it will only prove that he is an Islamic fundamentalist, who is happy to insult Hindus or a coward or both", a statement issued by the Kendram's central team said. "Hussain had ignored protests by Hindus all over the world against his depiction of Saraswati in nude glossing over the Goddess' traditional representation as fully dressed in white robes", it said.thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif "The so-called secularists had been vociferously supporting Hussain while abusing the protestors as fundamentalists and terrorists out to destroy the artist's basic freedom of expression, betraying sheer hypocrisy and double standards on their part", the statement said.
Posted by: k.ram Apr 20 2004, 07:40 AM
Not really sure where this article fits, admins please do the necessary wink.gif (fwd) Many of you know of the Ganesha denigration and general Hinduphobia by certain powerful scholars. Recently, Washington Post did a front- page major story on this matter (quoting me heavily), but in a very biased way that caters to the public relations machinery of the academic establishment. My rejoinder that appeared today on points out many journalistic biases, the broader underlying forces that cause Hinduphobia, and especially the nasty role being played by certain Indian writers who dish out what the system rewards them to produce. Since it is a long article, it is best to get a printer-friendly hard copy. WASHINGTON POST AND HINDUPHOBIA: Regards, Rajiv
Posted by: acharya Apr 20 2004, 05:15 PM
ADVERTISEMENT Pioneer 21st March 2004 Review of Romila Thapar's "Somanatha, The Many Voices of a History" (Penguin 2004), Rs. 375 By Meenakshi Jain Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Teen Murti, Delhi. Indian Marxists, notwithstanding their claims to originality, have always been faithful followers of Western intellectual trends, often long after these were dated in the west. Thus, well after Western academics expounded upon European feudalism, Indian Marxists continue to search for point-by-point parallels between post-Gupta India and the West. Similarly the once-in-vogue notion of `imagined' communities continues to bewitch our Marxist brethren who remain committed to fitting the history of the subcontinent to this maxim. Only the western rethinking on old patriotisms underpinning the new nationalisms has yet to win the allegiance of Indian Marxists. As of now, they continue to argue that the genesis of the Hindu community dates back to only the nineteenth century and is inextricably linked to the competition for middle class employment. For a Hindu community, Marxists allege, became a requisite for political mobilization under colonial rule, when representation by religious community became the key to power and economic resources. Hence, Marxists want us to believe that though the peculiarly Hindu institution of caste existed from early historic times, the Hindu community itself did not then come into being. So, while Brahmins, Rajputs, Vaniks, Chandals and Doms evolved from amorphous entities to identifiable groups, the Hindu community as a whole did not emerge from its parts. The same was true of the Hindu tradition. Shaivites, Vaishnavites, Shaktas, Buddhists and Jains, all stretched back into antiquity. Yet Hinduism itself was claimed to be a nineteenth century western-inspired abstraction. Romila Thapar's "Somanatha, The Many Voices of a History" (Penguin 2004), represents one such attempt to reinvent the past. Inverting remembered history, Thapar dismisses notions of Hindu trauma over Islamic iconoclasm as a later-day fabrication. Rather, she alleges, in medieval times Hindu kings often vandalized temples and images, even if they did not surpass the Muslim record in this respect. Contemporary Hindu sources are silent about Mahmud's attack on Somanatha, she assert, because "the looting of a temple (was) not such an extraordinary event, given that some Hindu rulers also attacked the temple of those they had conquered, or in order to confiscate the wealth of the temple." Thapar however ignores the pertinent fact that the alleged attacks by Hindu kings on images and temples did not rest upon any shastric commandment. In the few known incidents when images were taken away from enemy kings, the Hindu ruler honoured the idols thus acquired and built stately temples for them. As for the so-called Hindu destruction of Buddhist and Jain places of worship, even the evidence for such acts is vague and unconvincing. Strangely for a historian, Thapar takes no cognizance of the Prophet smashing 360 idols at Kaba and the Quranic injunction: "Fight them until idolatry is no more and God's religion is supreme". Artificially insisting that political and economic motivations superseded iconoclastic compulsions, she never explains why all Muslim (and not just Turk) attacks on temples always resulted in the desecration of idols. Indeed, Arab literature on Sind and Hind is obsessed with idolatry. The Arab rulers of Sind even sent cartloads of idols to Baghdad in lieu of revenue. The Turkish assault on Hindu idols was more thorough, as their Indian encounter was lengthier than that of the Arabs. Iconoclasm, as Thapar well knows, was a feature of Islamic polity till its very end; few rulers were an exception to this rule. Mahmud's assault on Somanatha electrified the Muslim world because it was viewed as a sequel to the Prophet's action at Kaba. Muslims identified the Somanatha idol as that of Manat, believed to have been ferreted out of Mecca just prior to the Prophet's attack on its temple. By destroying Somanatha, therefore, Mahmud was virtually completing the Prophet's work; hence the act was hailed as "the crowing glory of Islam over idolatry". To establish economic motives for iconoclasm, Thapar contends that exaggerated reports of wealth motivated ghazis to join Mahmud's Indian campaigns. But this ignores the evidence of early migration of Ghazis from Central Asia to eastern Bengal in service of the Crescent. Muinuddin, founder of the Chishti order in India, set up his headquarters in Ajmer, the heartland of the Hindu military aristocracy. Sufis participated in warfare in the Deccan during the 13th and 14th centuries, to extend the frontiers of Islam. The lure of lucre is difficult to discern in these cases. Equally awkward is Thapar's claim that substantial numbers of mercenaries in the Ghaznavid armies "were Indians, and, presumably Hindu." Surely she does not suggest that the Turkish conquest of India was a Hindu-Turk joint venture? Thapar views the construction and destruction of Somanatha as a "counterposed legitimation," whereby re-consecration gave legitimacy to Hindu kings and destruction validated the Turkish Sultans. Surely this proves the conflicting value systems of the two communities. Marxists must explain why Turkish vandalism was almost always directed at non-Islamic objects, but not against mosques or other sacred architecture associated with rival Muslim kings. For instance, when Mahmud attacked the Ismailis of Multan, he did not destroy their mosque. Thapar makes much of the contemporary Hindu silence on Somanatha as if, barring it, the Hindus catalogued every other instance of Islamic iconoclasm. The fact is that the Turkish intolerance of imagery deeply preoccupied Hindus. Medieval Hindu historiographical works, temple hagiographies (mahatmyas), site histories (sthala puranas), dharma nibandhas and even inscriptions, all bear witness to the experience of cultural disruption and desecration of the sacred by the Turks. Islamic iconoclasm lay at the heart of the psychological rejection of the Turks (turushkas) and is central to the remembered medieval past of the Hindus. Medieval Hindu literature grapples with the searing issues raised by Islamic iconoclasm. In the Ekalinga mahatmaya, the sage Narada enquires of the God Vayu how an image of God could be destroyed by Muslims if it was indeed God himself. Vayu responds that just as the demons had tried to harm Gods, so the Yavanas had a natural tendency to destroy divine images. Though they had the capacity to retaliate, the Gods understood that their conflict with the demons was eternal and that each was fated to suffer setbacks, for periodic dissolution of the world was part of the natural order. The Vimanarcanakalpa, a medieval priestly handbook of the Vaisnava Vaikhanasa school, lays down ritual procedures for burying images in times of danger. The rich body of medieval Jain literature is notable for its strident assertion of the power of the faith and images to withstand the Islamic onslaught. Images that had retreated or gone into exile reappear more powerful than ever, and even those mutilated reveal increased ability to perform miracles. Jain literature discusses the entire gamut of problems related to image worship in the medieval era, including the appropriate medium in which to fashion icons in times of Muslim threat, the sufferings of the true faith in an age of declining virtue, the necessity of hiding images for safety, the divine order to unearth images and resume their worship, the smashing of images by "those wicked Muslims" and their final restitution through the agency of a devotee. Thapar overlooks all these concerns and equates Turkish iconoclasm with an imagined Hindu vandalism. Notwithstanding her attempts to invoke the class factor, medieval Hindu literature associates all sections of society, viz., kings, saints, and ordinary devotees, with the heartbreaking task of protection and restitution of images in temples. The recovery of buried images invariably follows a divine communication to a humble cowherd. In the case of the Sri Ranganatha image, a female devotee follows the Sultanate army all the way to Delhi and is instrumental in the eventually retrieval of the idol. Thapar makes much of a land grant by the Hindus of Somanatha to a trader from Hormuz for constructing a mosque some two centuries after Mahmud's raid. Yet this Hindu gesture only reinforces the opposing perspectives of the two sides. While the Arab trader wished Somanatha might come to Islam, his Hindu hosts showed no desire to convert him, and facilitated the construction of a mosque so he could properly adhere to his faith. Thapar's shoddy insistence that the gesture was dictated by the greed of Hindu traders for a share of the Arab trade is typical Marxist drivel. Events in the erstwhile Soviet Union (the former Mecca of those supposedly in the vanguard of the proletariat) prove that man does not live by bread alone. The overt manifestation of Christianity in Mother Russia (briefly the Soviet fatherland) should convince Marxists of the need for deference to the spiritual underpinnings of Indian civilization. Going through Thapar's bibliography, one is struck by a major omission. Though Thapar cites a volume recently edited by Sheldon Pollock, she studiously ignores two of his most seminal articles on the Islamic encounter with India. In the first, Pollock demonstrates that the period between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries represented a special historical juncture in which a Ramayana imagery became predominant in the public political sphere. And the Hindu rulers of the time deliberately styled themselves as Rama incarnates, dedicated to complete his mission against demon forces. In the second article, Pollock shows that massive volumes of intellectual works emanated from the courts of Hindu kings around this time. At one level, these dharmanibandhas were digests on social- religious codes of conduct for Hindu society. In essence, however, they were a major reaffirmation of dharma which, for the first time since the writing of the dharmasastras, faced in the persona of the Central Asian Turks, a radically different and resolutely unassimilating social and religious formation. It would have been interesting to know Thapar's response to such crucial observations.
Posted by: Mudy Apr 21 2004, 10:50 AM April 21, 2004 Pravin Togadia of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad was recently prevented from making a speech in Trivandrum. The district authorities, supported by the ruling Congress-led government of A K Antony, prohibited him from addressing a meeting organised by a Hindu Unity Foundation, on the topic of the rights of Hindus. The reason given? That Togadia had come to Maraad, Kerala some months ago and given a speech 'instigating communal bias,' even though he had promised that he wouldn't. This, it was felt, was enough reason to walk all over his constitutional right of free expression and his right to propagate his religion, both of which are brandished endlessly by the usual suspects whenever Christians and Muslims are caught red-handed fomenting communal violence or conversion. I don't exactly know what Togadia said in Maraad. But let us remember that Maraad is the place in Malabar where Muslims massacred eight unarmed Hindu fishermen with malice aforethought on May 2, 2003. They had planned the attack well, to ensure that they could inflict maximum damage and melt away in the confusion at dusk, and they even stored the bloodstained weapons in a mosque. So what might Togadia have said? Maraad is worrying precisely because of the 1921 Moplah Rebellion. Muslims, allegedly unhappy about the disbanding of the Caliphate in distant Turkey by Mustafa Kemal Pasha and the British, went on a rampage against their Hindu neighbours who had done neither them, nor the Caliphate, any harm, nor provoked them in any way. Apparently the Muslims wanted to kill Britons, but since none were available, they killed Hindus. In the words of B R Ambedkar, not known to be excessively fond of Hindus, 'The Hindus were visited by a dire fate at the hands of the Moplas. Massacres, forcible conversions, desecration of temples, foul outrages upon women, such as ripping open pregnant women, pillage, arson and destruction -- in short, all the accompaniments of brutal and unrestrained barbarism, were perpetrated freely by the Moplas upon the Hindus… The number of Hindus who were killed, wounded or converted is not known. But the number must have been enormous.' (page 163, Ambedkar, Writings and Speeches Vol 8). There is more, too: consider an article in the Chennai newspaper called The Hindu, dated March 24, 2004, titled 'Swords recovered from Marad area.' Apparently five more swords had been found in a field. 'The police had earlier seized about 50 swords and other weapons from the Marad Juma Masjid and other places on the beach.' And so if there was such a well-planned operation, would Togadia have been at fault in warning Hindus to beware? Surely they have the right to self-defence? The Catholic Pope came to India a few years ago and gave a fundamentalist and insensitive speech. Violating the atithi maryada of not embarrassing one's hosts, he showed his disdain for the religions and cultures of Asia, expressing his wish for a 'harvest' of souls of Asia in this millennium. Mocking Deepavali, he suggested that true light is only in the acceptance of Christian dogma. What he did not acknowledge is key: that the native religions of Asia are valid spiritual paths. He did not ask his flock to live in peace with them: cross planting is all he was interested in. This qualifies as communal, provocative speech. No wonder China, Sri Lanka and many other Asian nations refused to allow him to visit, anticipating this. This is the same Pope who complains that Protestants are preying upon his flock like wolves in Latin America. This is the same person who has apologized, on various visits to West Asia and elsewhere, to Muslims, Orthodox Christians, Jews, and so forth, about the depradations wrought on them by his church in centuries past. But he has never felt obliged to apologize to Hindus for the great sins committed against them by his cohorts. For instance, the Inquisition in Goa, the destruction of Hindu temples like Chennai's Kapaleeshwar, and sundry other acts. Yet, unlike native son Togadia whose freedom of speech has been violated, the Pope, a foreign prince and ruler of Vatican City, was allowed free rein. The chatterati of the English language media in India, and the Nehruvian Stalinists who claim to be the conscience-keepers of India, all nodded their approval of the old Polish man's one-sided fundamentalism; just as they applauded the violation of Togadia's rights as a citizen of India. This is just one example of the double standards that are practiced in India. In summary, here is the truth. A Hindu, or Sikh, or Jain, or Buddhist, or even a Parsi, has no rights in India. A Muslim, Christian or Marxist, especially a foreigner with white skin, has ten times more rights than a poor brown-skinned member of Indic religions. For instance, consider the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 in New Delhi. Thousands were hunted down like so much vermin, burned alive, raped, murdered in cold blood immediately after Indira Gandhi's assassination. According to the Nanavati Commission, a number of Congress bigwigs, such as Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, were responsible for instigating the violence against Sikhs. Yet, wonder of wonders, these selfsame Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler find themselves as Sonia Congress candidates from New Delhi for the 2004 election. Yes, clearly, the Congress is extremely 'secular.' I do hope all Sikhs will remember how much the Congress cares about their sentiments. Or about their lives. Oh, by the way, another very 'secular' new member of the Congress: Syed Shahabuddin, perhaps the most stubbornly obscurantist Muslim in India, or at least the one who is most willing to admit it. In one of his articles, in the Pioneer in 2002, Shahabuddin says: 'As followers of a strictly monotheistic religion, Muslims tend to look with surprise, sometime with horror and even derision, at the worship of objects and persons, living or non living. Monotheism tends to breed a sense of religious superiority in the average Muslim.' How secular indeed! Similarly, when foreign white Christian missionary Graham Staines was murdered, the system lost no time in sentencing native son Dara Singh for the crime. In most countries, citizens have greater rights than foreigners; in the US, visa violators are treated very harshly. But in India, the reverse is true, even though Staines was violating his (tourist) visa: according to the court judgment in the Dara Singh trial, 'Graham Staines's missionary activities did lead to conversion of tribals belonging to Ho and Santal tribes to Christianity.' This is illegal, as there is no such thing as a missionary visa. Citizens, especially of Indic religious persuasion, are attacked and killed routinely, sometimes by foreign terrorists, sometimes by local terrorists of the Muslim and Christian persuasion. Consider the case of Shanti Tripura. Shanti who, you ask. Precisely the point. He was a Hindu priest shot in his temple on August 28, 2000 by Christian fundamentalist terrorists of the NLFT in Tripura. But did his case get an iota of the publicity that Staines's case got? In fact, did his case get any publicity at all? Of course not. Did his murderers ever get caught? Of course not. These cases are symptomatic of a large disease: the systematic and endemic apartheid against Indians of Indic religions. Laws are interpreted to give the maximum benefit of the doubt to those of Christian, Muslim and Marxist religious faiths; but turn around, and these laws are interpreted extremely stringently for Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. This is very similar to how the US discriminates vigorously against its black population, and how apartheid South Africa discriminated against its own non-whites. This disdain for the civil and human rights of Indic religionists is endemic amongst the 'secular progressives,' who for reasons unknown, are solidly anti-Indic. They are happy to make excuses for Muslims if they attack Hindus. Here, for instance is what one such worthy said, in the aftermath of the Godhra massacre, where 59 Hindu pilgrims were burned to death on a train, as reported by The Washington Post. Teesta Setalvad, head of Communalism Combat, a group that opposes religious extremism in India, said that 'while I condemn today's gruesome attack, you cannot pick up an incident in isolation. Let us not forget the provocation. These people were not going for a benign assembly. They were indulging in blatant and unlawful mobilisation to build a temple and deliberately provoke the Muslims in India.' If she were truly even-handed, Teesta Setalvad could have said the following about the ensuing Gujarat riots: 'While I condemn the gruesome violence in Gujarat, you cannot pick up an incident in isolation. Let us not forget the provocation. These people were not going for a benign assembly. They gathered in a two thousand strong mob at 7am at Signal Falia, armed with Molotov cocktails, before the train was torched. They were indulging in blatant and unlawful mobilization to incinerate people and deliberately provoke the Hindus of India.' But, of course, Teesta Setalvad said no such thing. In other words, according to her, provocation and attacks against Hindus are acceptable, but not against Muslims, and she is willing to argue this all the way to the Supreme Court. One is forced to conclude that according to her legal stance, the Indian Constitution's guarantees to life and liberty do not apply to Hindus. The recent decision where the Honorable Court ordered the retrial of the Best Bakery case is another example where Old Leftists have continued to badger the courts. I have some points of disagreement with what the Honorable Court said, but in fear of contempt of court, I shall say nothing. But I do wonder, are there different rules for different people in India? Are some more equal than others in the eyes of the Constitution or the arms of government? For instance, without naming names, let me point out that there is a well-known individual who has done a number of things that would normally bring the wrath of the law down on them. This individual had, for many years, a web site with the external boundaries of India shown incorrectly, with Kashmir, for instance, given to Pakistan. This is a serious, non-bailable offense, and many people have been arrested for it. This person, however, got away scot-free. The same person heads an NGO which acted as a 'front' organization for the Congress in the 1999 election, running large advertisements that were Congress-friendly. Nobody made a fuss about this. The same person has an NGO which indulges in loud and continuous anti-India propaganda, often collaborating with other like-minded groups overseas. This NGO also raises money overseas, and spends it on boondoggles for its staff, in violation of tax-exemption rules. This does not attract the attention of the powers that be. So some individuals are more equal than others: the strictures of the Constitution and the Indian Penal Code may not apply to them as they do to lesser mortals. An Indian filmmaker recently won some prize for his documentary about Gujarat, The Final Solution. Funny, there are successful final solutions all around India where Hindus are the victims, but our Old Left propagandists don't shed any tears about the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits (400,000 of them), of Bangladeshi Hindus (down from 25% in 1971 to less than 10% of the population), and so on. A Kashmiri Pandit's own documentary, And the World Remained Silent by Ashok Pandit is the only one that I remember; this staggering film breaks your heart if you see it. All this is encouraging open season on India's Hindus. See the following story from the Kerala Kaumudi of April 17, 2004, an article titled 'Guru mandirams and temples were attacked to create riots: Accused admits.' Translation from Malayalam mine. Guru mandirams are simple roadside shrines to Sri Narayana Guru, the revered religious and social reformer, who, ironically, preached unity of castes and religions. His shrines have been attacked, including his samadhi at Varkala, where the main lamps were stolen recently. These are acts intended to hurt the sentiments of the backward-caste Ezhava community, into which the Guru was born. Adoor: By destroying Guru mandirams, temples and churches, the main aim was to create Hindu-Christian riots, according to the statement given to police by principal suspect Mohammed Sirajuddin (28) of Bismillah Manzil, Adikkattukulangara. He was arrested in the case involving attacks on Guru mandirams and temples. Temple hundis from Panthalam, Poozhikkad, Ulavukkad as well as Guru mandirams in Vallikkunnam, Thamarakkulam and Pavumba were the targets of attacks. When temples and Guru mandirams were destroyed, there would be hartals, and in the chaos of the hartal, the idea was to attack Christian churches, thus instigating Hindu-Christian communal riots, the suspect admitted to police. However, despite the attacks on the hundis and the Guru mandirams, the situation did not deteriorate sufficiently, and therefore it was decided to make petrol bombs and destroy temples. On December 4th, a group of men had set out to bomb and destroy the Chamakkavu temple. However police apprehended them in Edappone, and that caused the plan to be aborted. On that day, the architect of the plan, Mohammed Sirajuddin, had evaded the police, and had been living underground in Madurai, Sikandar, Malappalli, Trivandrum and Beemapalli. He was planning to flee overseas when caught by the police. Three passports with his photograph were recovered from his possession, one issued from Cochin in 1993, another from Trivandrum in 1997, and a third recently from Cochin. Not surprisingly, even the Islamist terrorist Sirajuddin decided that it is safe to attack Hindu shrines but not Christian churches. (Unlike Deendar Anjuman, a Pakistani-funded group, which did attack churches, and caused Hindu organizations to be blamed a while ago.) Even though Adoor is in the Bible belt of Kerala, where there are Christian shrines roughly every 100 yards, Sirajuddin and cohorts only chose to attack Hindu temples. Why? Because it is the 'secular' thing to do. Such is the spread of apartheid in India: attacking Hindus is natural. Postscript I got some interesting mail about Rahul Gandhi's degrees based on my column 'The Great White Hope.' Reader Hindu Sitah sent me the following link to the affidavit filed by Rahul as part of his nomination as a candidate for elections in Uttar Pradesh. Here is what it says about his education in a sworn and notarized statement: Senior Secondary from CBSE in 1989 M Phil [Development Economics] from Trinity College, Cambridge University in 1995 Very interesting. The man does not list an undergraduate degree from St Stephens or from Harvard, yet he has managed to apparently get straight to a pre-doctoral degree without a Bachelor's or Master's. How is this possible? Some clues: Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi were both students at this same Trinity College. Maybe there are different rules for the high and mighty. But the question remains: why are Rahul's handlers lying about his education? What else are they lying about? I think voters have a right to know. Most companies will withdraw job offers if a candidate is found to have lied about their qualifications. Why should the job of being an MP have any less stringent qualifications, especially if the MP is not just a run of the mill member, but is going to be 'India's Future Prime Minister'? Rajeev Srinivasan
Posted by: acharya Apr 21 2004, 11:40 AM
Senior Secondary from CBSE in 1989 M Phil [Development Economics] from Trinity College, Cambridge University in 1995 Very interesting. The man does not list an undergraduate degree from St Stephens or from Harvard, yet he has managed to apparently get straight to a pre-doctoral degree without a Bachelor's or Master's. How is this possible? Some clues: Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi were both students at this same Trinity College. Maybe there are different rules for the high and mighty. Trinity college is funded by Rockefeller Foundation. US power brokers would like to influence and buy out the elite and influential in the Indian polity. They have managed this with other countries also.
Posted by: Nikhil Apr 21 2004, 02:05 PM
hindusita(sangetha) is none other than webmaster and forum admin for
1) It is NOT hindusita (hindu+sita), it is hindusitah (saare jaha se acha, hindusitah humara.. that hindusitah). 2) hindusitah is HE, not she (sangetha, i think you are confusing him with Dr. Sangetha of SAAG) rest is bit confidential so i cant reveil much here..
Posted by: rhytha Apr 21 2004, 10:22 PM
oops sorry
Posted by: varava Apr 22 2004, 10:49 PM
What about the funds flowing to the missioneries, madrassas and the terrorist groups in J&K from UK and USA leftist and mullah groups? The dog of Congress Kapil sibal has this to say.
Posted by: SSridhar Apr 24 2004, 11:57 PM Desperate attempts are now being made to show that such evil ideas have originally come from the Hindus...
No doubt, they take their cues from their counterparts on the Hindutva side,
And, true to nature, lies can be expected to be peddled as well...
So eventually Husain withdrew his film from the market, just as he had withdrawn his Saraswati painting when it was subjected to the ire of Shiv Sena activists.
And, attempts to "manufacture" excuses...
Why did he "appease" the Muslim ulema for Meenaxi when he was a bit more defiant in the case of the Shiv Sainiks ransacking his exhibition? One easy answer is that he did not want to go through the same level of distress again, which is perfectly understandable at the personal level.
And then attempts to blatantly justify all this...
One must also wonder whether this act of the Ulema Council, representing as it does an increasing insularity, is not related to an emerging siege mentality within the Muslim community. After all, it's now becoming fashionable in the Indian mainstream to express impatience with the minority community, with a tradition of secularism increasingly viewed as appeasement.
Posted by: Kaushal Apr 26 2004, 12:32 AM
After all, it's now becoming fashionable in the Indian mainstream to express impatience with the minority community, with a tradition of secularism increasingly viewed as appeasement.
It is not the tradition of secularism that Hindutva protagonists oppose but the selective application of secularism to hindus only that nauseates them. Why is it that muslims are not asked to be secular to the same extent as Hindus. Why should a special constitution apply only to states where there are a majority of Muslims. And why dont Kashmiri muslims behave in a secular manner and stop killing and driving out their Hindu brethren from their homes. More importantly why does the secular press not highlight the fact that the only non-secular community in India are the Muslims (or at least a majority of them). The word secular is considered apostasy in islam and there is not a single country with a majority of Muslims which advertises itself to be secular.
Posted by: SSridhar Apr 26 2004, 01:12 AM - Tavleen Singh
Posted by: Viren Apr 26 2004, 07:36 AM
A passing student, in Islamic skull cap and beard, intervened here and told me that in any case the Maulana would not see me because I was not in purdah. Unveiled women were banned, he said, and because this struck me as curious, I did my own, un-permitted tour of the Dar-ul-Uloom premises and saw only two women, both covered in black from nose to toes
Safe to say Maulana and Ms Maino won't be meeting any time soon wink.gif
Posted by: k.ram Apr 26 2004, 08:18 AM
Editorial- Building Brand 'Hindu' (Source: The Hindu Renaissance, Varsha Pratipada-Yugabda 5106) There is one "side-effect" of the feel-good factor, which neither the "India Shining" nor the "India Cheated" peddlers seem to have noticed. The increasing confidence with which many Hindus are owning up their dharmic identity has certainly something to do with the economic growth within the community. The "Hindu Rate of Growth" has finally come home to roost! This is precisely why many a wise man has commented that we must be not too harsh in judging the BJP led NDA government in spite of its backtracking on almost all Hindu issues. 'India Shining' alone, it is said, is a sufficient reason to give them another chance. The nationwide Loksabha elections in April-May will test the truth of this view. Indeed, none of us would like to identify with a religion that appears to shackle its adherents in poverty. That is precisely why economically weak Hindus have been highly vulnerable to poaching by dough-wielding missionaries. In addition, connect all the imaginary social evils under the sun to Hinduism and you have the perfect recipe long used by anti-Hindus to annul the Hindu identity. The average Hindu is thus left with no choice but to adopt a new non -Hindu public identity that brings acceptance and prestige. Plenty of such alternatives have been provided to us in exchange - you can become a rational atheist, humanist, modernist, socialist, secularist in India or a South-Asian Indian-American hyphenated hybrid in the USA. Fear of the Other In recent years, the Hindu identity has also been increasingly defined in comparison with the aggressive and cohesive identity of Muslims and Christians. While this has served the intended purpose of consolidating the in-house differences within the Hindu community, it has also led to an unnecessary fear that this modern Hindu identity is an aggressive sociopolitical handle to do away with the 'other'. This false image has gained strength thanks to the ballyhoo in the national propaganda machine (the so-called the English Press) against the Sangh Parivar and Hindutva. Hence, the popular perception that Hindus who openly call themselves Hindus are 'fundamentalists" of one Parivarian hue or the other. Both these negative stereotypes deserve to be challenged. Our Hindu identity is primarily based on the positive value-system that forms the driving force of Sanatana Dharma. Thus, a Hindu is one who inherits this value-system by virtue of being born a Hindu or one who adopts it consciously. The assertive social identity described above is a secondary aspect of this primary and positive Hindu identity. Yet, the secondary aspect is important and fulfils the concurrent need of answering the challenge posed by the exclusive and monotheistic worldviews of the Semitic faiths. Subaltern Identities within Hinduism Time was not far off when even Hindu religious leaders and ashrams who were supposed to provide us with the necessary leadership and initiative in creating a positive communal image, instead, withdrew from the mainstream Hindu identity - Ramakrishnaism, Aurobindonism and Arya Samajism are distressing examples of identity denial and failure of Hindu leadership. Happily, the trend is being reversed today by revered preceptors who have more substance and courage and a time will come when these subaltern Hindus will be forced to join the mainstream by the growing strength and confidence of the community. The Business Model of Religion It appears that our religious identity has more to do with economics than the India Shining admen can ever imagine. In a multicultural world marred by religious and cultural conflicts, it is important to understand that organised religions behave much like business corporates in promoting their brands or selling their products. We must study this business model carefully, for our task today is very much businesslike! Each one of us is consciously or unconsciously contributing to the formation of a new brand - 21s' century Hinduism. We must play our roles well so that the 21st century Hindu stops being ashamed of his identity. "Garv se kaho hum Hindu hain' should not remain merely an emotional slogan; it should come from the depth of one's soul, from wisdom born out of a deeper understanding and practice of Sanatana Dharma. The Future of Hinduism This issue is dedicated to young Hindus, especially American Hindus, many of whom have begun to rediscover their Hindu identity. They face an uphill task for being Hindu in a modern world is not child's play. On the one hand is peer pressure ("it's not 'cool' to be a Hindu") and on the other hand is the apathy and sometimes even hostility of parents who are often more ignorant themselves and seek to impose their secular worldview on their children. Some parents, in addition, have, a mortal fear that their children will renounce the world and become ascetics if they took too much interest in religious matters (images of naga sadhus from the Kumbh Mela coverage in the media probably haunt their mind!). It is the duty of every Hindu parent and teacher to facilitate such self-enquiry, instead of discouraging and injuring these blooming lotuses. This rediscovery is literally a rebirth and involves deep mental churning and soul searching. May our young Hindu friends be reborn like the twice-born dvijas of yore. May their tribe increase! Source: The Hindu Renaissance, Varsha Pratipada-Yugabda 5106)
Posted by: SSridhar Apr 28 2004, 09:43 AM asks people to stand up against "communalism"
Married to a Hindu girl, the 38-year-old Khan in an interview to BBC's Asia Today programme decried “misuse of religion for very small benefits, very small unimportant agendas".
I d not know about Mr. Khan. But, generally, I have seen such cross-religious personalities do not bring up their children in the Hindu fold. Then, they talk about secularism.
Posted by: k.ram Apr 28 2004, 12:02 PM
QUOTE (SSridhar @ Apr 28 2004, 10:13 PM) asks people to stand up against "communalism"
Married to a Hindu girl, the 38-year-old Khan in an interview to BBC's Asia Today programme decried “misuse of religion for very small benefits, very small unimportant agendas".
I d not know about Mr. Khan. But, generally, I have seen such cross-religious personalities do not bring up their children in the Hindu fold. Then, they talk about secularism.
Then you met one right here Sridhar! biggrin.gif
Posted by: acharya Apr 28 2004, 05:58 PM Please read it
Posted by: Gargi May 7 2004, 05:25 PM Hypocrisy In The Name Of Secularism Mr. Shahabuddin's latest ideological piece Will You Walk Into My Parlour? reeks of blatant hypocrisy. Indeed, he is not alone in such an exercise; such hypocrisy has been part and parcel of Muslim leadership for the past fifty years. ARSHAD ALAM Mr. Shahabuddin's latest ideological piece Will You Walk Into My Parlour? reeks of blatant hypocrisy. Indeed, he is not alone in such an exercise; such hypocrisy has been part and parcel of Muslim leadership for the past fifty years. It is appalling to note that the Muslim leadership has always blamed others for the pitiable state of Muslims in India. It is high time that they should be made equally accountable for failing the Indian Muslims. Mr. Shahabuddin is right when he says that we should not forget the horrible carnage of Gujarat. But why does he forget Bhagalpur? Why doesn't he mention the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984? Both were heinous crimes which should not be forgotten and both were committed with Congress complicity. How can one forget the role of Congress in the Babri Masjid controversy and the consequent riots afterwards? It seems that after opportunistically hitching the Congress bandwagon, Mr. Shahabuddin forgot everything about the soft Hindutva practiced by the Congress for years. Suddenly he has come to the realization that the 'secular' Congress can save the Muslims from the 'communal' BJP. Perhaps he should remember that it was the same Congress which did not have the spine to send its Muslim leaders to campaign in the Gujarat elections after the pogroms. It is repugnant that someone who considers himself as 'Muslim' leader is advocating for a party which has so much blood on its hand. Mr. Shahabuddin has nailed thirteen demands on the doors of BJP. These demands themselves are vacuous but more on that later. First of all one is tempted to ask if the BJP accepts these demands, will Mr. Shahabuddin advice the Muslims to join the BJP? Such an understanding means that any party which accepts these so called 'Muslim demands' automatically becomes 'secular'. Such a warped understanding had done much harm to the practice of secularism in India. The bane of Indian secularism is that it is completely devoid of any democratic agenda. The real debate in India should be about the practice of democracy and rule of law. It is hard to imagine how secularism can thrive in a country whose people do not appreciate differences of opinions and lifestyles. In a situation where even dissent is hardly tolerated within communities, it is too much to expect any kind of religious tolerance. Far from talking vacuously about secularism, leaders like Mr. Shahabuddin need to look within their own communities. It need not be overemphasized that there are people in all Indian communities who are deeply patriarchal, anti-democratic and consequently anti-secular. Unfortunately, within the Indian Muslims, these are the very people who are at the helm of affairs and who decide the politics of vast majority of Indian Muslims. Apart from empty sloganeering of 'Islam in danger', they have done little for the Muslims. It is time perhaps that Indian Muslim leadership introspects what they have done for the democratization of Indian Muslims. If anything, they have actively contributed in strengthening the regressive tendencies within the Indian Muslim society. The Shah Bano case is a perfect example of how Muslim leaders in alliance with the myopic Congress government could not tolerate even nominal empowerment of Indian Muslims women. Talking of secularism without democratic empowerment is nothing but shadow boxing and a ploy to divert the attention of people from issues of real importance. Now let us turn our attention to the demands which Syed Shahabuddin has placed before the BJP. Mr. Shahabuddin wants the BJP to grant 50 seats to Muslim candidates and that there should be 10% Muslims in the council of Ministers. Now one is intrigued whether his own party, the Congress has done so. And if he is trying to suggest that these 50 MPs (hoping that the 'secular' Congress gives 50 seats to Muslims and all of them win) will work for the rapid advancement of the Muslims, then he is completely mistaken. Perhaps he needs to be reminded that Kishanganj, which made him an MP in 1991, still has a shameful female literacy rate of only 18%--the lowest in India. Incidentally (?), Kishanganj has one of the highest concentration of Muslims in the country. Clearly then there are other constituencies where Muslims have made advancements without having a Muslim representative. Mr. Shahabuddin's demand is essentially communal badly presented in a secular garb. His other demands include more schools in the all areas of deprivation and reservation for Muslims in Legislatures, higher education, public employment, etc. in proportion to their population. Now one is tempted to ask whether demanding more schools in deprived areas is solely a Muslim issue. Is it not a collective issue which all Indians who have been left behind should agitate for? Had leaders like Mr. Shahabuddin ever been interested in such an alliance of the disadvantaged sections of India, things would have been very different now. Instead Muslim politics has essentially revolved around religious issues like Muslim Personal Law, Babri Masjid, etc. It is highly unfortunate that Muslim leadership has seldom agitated on issues which affect all Indians irrespective of their religious affiliations. One fails to understand why issues like economic liberalization are not worthy of debate within the Muslim leadership. Don't these issues affect the Muslims too? As a result of which the Muslim masses have become apathetic to issues other than those which are religious. Such apathy can only lead to resignation which is precisely what any fascist party wants. One is tempted to think that Muslim leadership has a great role to play in the rise of fascist ideology in India. One can only hope that they do something rethinking before it is too late. Reservation for Muslims is one of the pet demands being floated these days by the Muslim leadership including Mr. Shahabuddin. It is at once preposterous, impractical, unprincipled and unethical idea. It is impractical because it requires a constitutional amendment which is very difficult in the present scenario. But more importantly it is unethical and in contravention of the principle of reservations itself. It is well known that sections of Muslims are quite well off and that they possess the required economic and cultural capital to be successful. On the other hand the majority of Muslims lack access to even basic education and proper nourishment. Stratification within the Muslims is not only based on class but also on caste which places the lower castes and classes in various degrees of exclusion. Introducing reservation in such a stratified society will be detrimental to its very purpose. Only the better placed sections within the Muslims will reap the benefit of such a system. And perhaps Mr. Shahabuddin knows this very well that's why he is putting this demand with such force. He knows that the benefits of reservation will not percolate to those poor Muslim women in Kishanganj whom he left unlettered but will be siphoned off by the likes of Syed Shahabuddin who are already well placed within the system. Comparing the situation of Muslim with Dalits is completely erroneous as sections of Muslim have not faced the systemic exclusion and abuse which the Dalits have faced for centuries. Moreover, it is extremely dangerous because a backlash of such a policy will most definitely translate into massive electoral gains for the BJP. Finally, the religious demands of Mr. Shahabuddin ask the BJP to stop the performance of Hindu rituals at state functions, non-interference of state in matters of religion and abide by the Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya question. It is a well known fact that religious rituals at state functions have a long history and Congress has done nothing to maintain that most important secular principle of the distance between state and religion. One wonders if Mr. Shahabuddin will put the same demand to the Congress now that he has joined that party. It is rather annoying to hear Mr. Shahabuddin asking BJP to respect the decision of the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya dispute. Well one can legitimately ask him what his position was on the Shah Bano case. After all, the Muslim leadership did not accept the Supreme Court judgment at that time. Isn't it hypocritical of Mr. Shahabuddin that he is now advocating the finality of the same Supreme Court? He should be made to understand that leaders like him, by pandering to the conservative sections of Muslim society have actually taken the Muslims backwards. In the name of religion, leaders like him have ossified the Muslim society and have inhibited the inculcation of progressive ideas. But more importantly what are these religious matters which Mr. Shahabuddin is trying to shield from state intrusions? Well mostly they are matters relating to Muslim family laws. These laws are based on the Sharia which has been modified from time to time throughout Islamic history. After all the family laws in Pakistan, Indonesia and other Muslim countries have been modified many times. It is not immutable as Mr. Shahabuddin seems to suggest. There is a section within the Muslims, including Indian Muslim women who are demanding changes in it. So far the conservative section has been resisting changes in the family laws which clearly are detrimental to Muslim women's interests. I feel like asking leaders like Shahabuddin that if they are so much guided by Islamic principals, why they don't demand the extension of religious laws to criminal cases also? This would mean that a Muslim rapist should be stoned to death and a thief's hands should be cut off. I wonder if the Muslim leadership in India who always compete with each other in terms of 'Islamic lifestyle' will agree to put such a demand. But as we all know perhaps patriarchy is more powerful than religion. In conclusion, Mr. Shahabuddin assures himself that Muslims will not vote for the BJP because as he says 'it cannot meet these demands'. But the truth is somewhat different and he knows it quite well. There are Muslim who are joining the BJP and the Muslim leadership is particularly responsible for it. Mr. Shahabuddin says that Muslims can see the difference between 'flawed democracy and fascism'. But he forgets that Muslims can also see where the Muslim leadership has taken them. In the name of Muslim politics they have seen how Muslim leaders have exploited them time and again. Their patience is running out and they cannot find any other alternative. And, of course, they do not trust the Congress for what it has done to them in the name of protecting secularism. This election should be an eye opener for the Muslim leadership. Those Muslims who are joining the BJP are sending a clear message to Muslim leaders like Syed Shahabuddin. And this message is that Muslim leaders cannot use Islam and Muslims for their own partisan gains anymore. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Arshad Alam is International Ford Fellow, Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural History, University of Erfurt, Germany.
Posted by: acharya May 9 2004, 07:42 PM
`Religion-neutral society must for secularism' By Our Staff Reporter BANGALORE, MAY 9. There is a growing impression that one's secular credentials can be proved only through anti-Hindu utterances, and it is very unfortunate, the eminent scholar M. Chidanandamurthy has said. Participating in a consultation on "Communalism and Secularism" organised by Jana Jagruti here today, Dr. Murthy said that true secularism was possible only when society was religion neutral. Religious conversion with the objective of increasing the population of a particular community was not a good sign at all. The 1991 Census had shown that there had been a significant drop in the percentage of Hindus in the country's population, while that of Christians and Muslims had shown an increase. It could only be attributed to an assiduously pursued agenda of conversion. The writer and scholar L.S. Seshagiri Rao said the nation's secular fabric would be ruptured if a leader abandoned the task of looking after its interests to consider the interests of a particular religious community. People should not be regarded as lifeless statistics in a real democracy and they should not be used as pawns to play one religion against another, Prof. Rao said. R.L.M Patil, former chairman of the Department of Political Science, Bangalore University, said references to religion in the Constitution provided a study in contradictions. On the one hand, freedom to practise and propagate religion was guaranteed. On the other, there were a slew of concessions given to minority religions that could be interpreted as restrictive on other religions. The writer Marulasiddaiah blamed intellectuals for the disturbances and agitations that religions seemed to be afflicted with in these times. Ordinary people were not interested in stoking hatred and, by their lifestyle and the choices they made, were proving that communal harmony was possible. Debating issues that had no direct bearing on the daily life of the common man was no way to promote communal harmony, he said. The former Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University, N.R. Shetty, who presided, said this unhealthy trend was seen when the controversy over Saraswathi Vandana caused a great deal of heartburn among many groups. "Singing the Saraswathi Vandana is a normal, spontaneous practice all over the country. Where was the need to make an issue of it," he asked. The writer Sumathindra Nadig said it had become a fashion to brand articulate people who spoke their mind as "communal" and this needed to be curbed. People should be able to voice their opinion freely, especially those who spoke up for communal harmony, he said. Jana Jagruti's S. Shamsunder said the consultation had been organised to counter the growing feeling that a section of the media and intelligentsia had created an atmosphere that was inhibiting free and frank discussion on issues such as the role of religious conversions in demographic stability, or the need for a uniform civil code and the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution. This was the first of a series of discussions planned by Jana Jagruti to raise awareness, and the presentations at the consultations would be published and released for debate, he said.
Posted by: varava May 12 2004, 12:38 PM
I have send the following feedback to RSS/BJP/VHP, some other known friendly websites and organizations, few national security experts including B.Raman today. This email went to almost 50 people. I would like to share it with you. For fairness sake, please do not come to a conclusion unless you read it completely. Thank you. Addressed to RSS: Sir, I believe Mr.Vajpayee has cheated Hindu supporters (the people who put him there) and also messed up this elections big time. This is not an issue of how many seats NDA manages. 275, 285 or 300 is not the point. Important thing is what BJP achieved in the last 5 years. IMPORTANT THING IS, WHY IS CONGRESS LEAD BY SONIA STILL AROUND. This should have been the last election for Sonia Gandhi & Congress but the trend indicates that she actually gained. The credit for all this goes to Mr.Vajpayee and few people around him. He got carried away with the label of a statesman by the secular media. Right from the beginning, it was a big ploy by the pseudo-secular media to co-opt him into doing things their way. First they criticized his govt. in every possible way during 1998 & 1999. Having realised that they cannot win the 'secularism' argument, they choose the next best option i.e co-opt him while keeping the rest of the parivar including Advani at a distance. I do not know what feedback you are getting lately but having interacted with lots of people here in US, I can tell that RSS/BJP has let down it's supporters all over the world and within India by dropping core issues. In fact people were angry. Just when we all thought that we are gaining the upper hand aginst these pseudo-secularists, Mr. Vajpayee hijacked our agenda just to protect his PERSONAL legacy. I couldn't believe that one man is allowed to destroy everything that RSS/VHP/BJP worked so hard to build since independence. If Sonia Gandhi becomes the PM, we all can kiss good bye to all that we hoped for. Compromising with Pakistan, dropping the scrapping of article 370 issue, dropping Ayodhya issue were never favoured by the people. It was an excellent manipulation done by the secular media to say that people were in favour of what Vajpayee was doing on all these issues. I am afraid Advaniji is also going in the direction of Vajpayee. The biggest mistake Vajpayee did in this election was to believe that it was a great political strategy to occupy the political space of the Congress. He forgot that people (read Hindus) do not want anything that resembles Congress. They don't like the way Congress suck upto the mullahs, pandering to their demands and wishes. People want change in the system, not parties. Why will the people get energised to come out and vote if they see just another party with the SAME SET OF IDEAS for this nation? Vajpayee blurred that distinction between BJP & Congress by pandering to the demands and wishes of muslims. Also, BJP got corrupted just like Congress, distributing seats to family members, making calculations based on caste and religious lines. It's ditto Congress style. Now the problem is, people don't see the difference between Congress and BJP. Both Vajpayee and Advaniji WERE some leaders but their time had passed. Now the Hindu cause should precedence over these two leaders. You have been dragging the foreign origin issue and Ayodhya issue so long that people are loosing interest in your causes and ideals. The other day Vajpayee was heard saying that he was never in favour of raising the foreign origin issue on his own. Was he suggesting that it was BJP's idea and not his? He got it all wrong. He has to understand that people are oppposing a foreigner not because they want to see Vajpayee as the PM but for a larger cause i.e to secure the future Hindu generations from foreign rule. After all, who can guarantee that Sonia Gandhi will not settle in a western country after retirement and leak our state secrets. That is one of the dangers if she becomes the PM. Since our constitution does not bar PM's from residing in western countries after retirement, the danger is for real. There is a high probability. If that happens, what are we going to do? Is the Indian govt. going to keep an eye on her for the rest of her life? That is one more reason why we all oppose her for PMship. Today we have to watch the spectacle of a christian becoming the CM of a large and important state like AP. What a disgrace for the BJP? Some of the issue BJP promised were: 1) Abrogation of article 370 on J&K 2) Ayodhya temple 3) Common civil code 4) Deportation of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Pak 5) Cow slaughter ban 6) Ban on conversions 7) Ban on foreigners occupying high posts 8) Strong national security and dealing Pak terrorism with an iron hand. You will be astonished to find that BJP moderated it's position on all of them. In addition to that, we were sitting like ducks when Pakistan attacked our parliament. No retaliation. Shamelessly, we even invited Musharaaf to Agra, allowing him to sit with our leader infront of Taj Mahal on a full moon day. What the hell was that? Was there some love fest going on? You think Hindus will forgive such acts of stupidity. Can you imagine Bush inviting Saddam Hussein to Camp David or to his Texas ranch? He would loose his job the next moment. But here, we are acting more stupid in praising Vajpayee's vision. Was there a vision at all? People often makes jokes on Bush but he is atleast smart enough to realise that it doesn't make good politics to upset the core supporters. If Vajpayee thinks that our ideals are too far-right in nature, he should have switched to Congress. He has no right or business to moderate the party's core believes to his standards. He has no right to criticize Modi or keep apologizing for Gujarat riots. I am sure you will receive lots of feedback in the coming days from Hindus all over the world. I would like to contribute my part in putting some sense into BJP leaders. I have few ideas of my own which I believe will bring back RSS/VHP/BJP to it's glory. You can choose to ignore them at your own peril. 1) Please force Mr. Vajpayee out of PM's chair. RSS/BJP/VHP should appoint a dynamic and young leader to take over the reins. Even Advaniji is too old for this chair. Leaders in India at that age will have only one thing in mind i.e LEGACY. Indian history proves that all the time. American Preisdents leave office ensuring the safety and interests of the nation before transferring power to the President-in-waiting. They might think about legacy but they would never ever allow such petty things come in the way if it compromises national interests. They never think about Noble Peace Prize. That is not the case with Hindu leaders. We need someone like Arun Shourie, a great communicator or Modi, a leader with guts. We need a leader who has the guts of Ariel Sharon and shrewedness of Tony Blair. At any given time we always should have a younger Hindu leader. It is the first pre-requisite for inspiring people. Relieve Venkiah Naidu, Mahajan from their position. These two are also responsible for the moderation of BJP. Demand our national security advisor Brijesh Mishra to vacate the position. After that, he can have all the time he wants to sit with Musharaaf's aide and watch cricket in Karachi. Even Vajpayee can go with him, write poetry in the stadium while watching cricket. National security is a serious business and we need a hardcore national security expert like B.Raman as our national security advisor. It never makes good politics to let anyone who is above age 65 to sit in the PM's chair. The job requires the leader to travel the length and breadth of this vast country, meeting people, younger generation, give public speeches at universities, in cities, towns, villages, inspiring them to vote for our CAUSE. That means the leader should be physically fit and mentally strong. Not someone who cannot stand on his own or someone who forgets the names of his cabinet members occassionally. 2) The PMO's office should appoint an office of press secretary. The secretary should interact with the media regularly, speaking the mind of the PM. The PM himself should interact with the media very often. Why is that Musharaaf from a beggar's nation makes more effective usage of foreign trips than our PM's. Reciting poems at NRI meetings or insultating from foreign press while on foreign tours does not make sound foreign policy. It's waste of tax payers money. Also, it is a big turn off for host leaders who are much younger, physically fit and who are good in communication skills. To be honest, a Mushraaf in the company of Bush seems better than a Vajpayee in the company of Bush or Blair or Putin. 3) Forget the idea that muslim votes are needed to get into power. They are just 120 millions compared to 850 million Hindus in India. Unite the Hindus. Some liberal minded Hindus think that it was a great step by Vajpayee to unite with muslims as he is doing in this election campaign. It is true that muslims in India are comparatively moderate but they are still muslims. Their loyalty lies with Allah and fellow muslims. If the situation warrants, they would rather join hands with an unknown muslim far off in Malaysia rather than with a known Hindu in the neighborhood. History has repeatedly proved that muslims never joined the mainstream in any country where they are in a minority . They simply won't. They do not believe in man made boundaries. Their strategy is to take advantage of liberal immigration laws of other countries to immigrate, then multiply their population and then start some sessionist movement under some pretext, something like that it was Allah's wish or it was some noble cause mandated by Koran or some Jihad sanctioned by Islam etc.. etc... Even US, UK, China, Russia are having problems with them lately. Aren't you reading newspapers everyday??? THEY WILL NEVER JOIN THE MAINSTREAM NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO TO PLEASE THEM. Many of the people are clueless why Vajpayee is even having hopes on them. That will be his downfall, leading to disgrace at the end of his career. I have to acknowledge that there is a very minority section of muslims, say one in a lakh who loves this country as much as we do but they don't count much. They are not willing to take on these muslim fundamentalists. On the other hand, these moderate muslims are very much prone to get swayed by the muslim fundamentalists on slight pretext. 4) Aggressively push for scrapping article 370 of the constitution. Hindus consider it a blot on our constitution. It is also a very sensitive issue to them. Mr.Vajpayee repeatedly talks about compromise with Pak on J&K. Many people have one question on this. Haven't we made enough compromises already by placing large chunks of our land under China and POK under Pakistan? What more sacrifices do we need to make? This is what every Hindu has in mind, in India and outside India. India is the last bastion for Hindus. It's not the same for minorities. They have so many countries to pick and choose in the middle east and in the western world. So, we have to fight to survive. We have to fight to protect our land. 5) Amend the constitution to ban foreign origin people from occupying security sensitive posts like President, VP, PM, DPM, CJI, Defense and Home minister. We have debated this issue for ages. People are loosing interest on this issue now. This is not a political issue. It is a national security issue. Now is the time to legislate. Why is that no BJP leader explained it to the people that the foreign origin issue is not restrcited to Sonia Gandhi but for a larger cause. The moment they sounded like they are targetting Sonia, people saw it more like a political issue rather than a national security issue. 6) Highlight the activities of missionaries and madrassas on Doordarshan everyday. Let the secular media bark. Over a period of time, they will be on the defensive. That is what I call proper usage of Doordarshan. Do not chicken out the moment secular media starts lashing at you. More the contraversary, more chances that Hindus will pay attention to what exactly is happening in the country. The govt. should investigate the funds received by missionaries, madrassas, pseudo-secular English newspapers, terrorists in J&K. The supply line should be choked. The press council of India should be mandated to investigate the citizenship status of every journalist working with Indian media organizations. This is a country where you don't need a work permit to get a job. Who knows if Pakistani nationals are working in our media organizations under false names. Let's not forget that a Paki national recently tried to stand for our lok sabha elections using forged documents. Media is a very critical sector and some independent commission should keep a watchful eye, if not the govt. directly. I do not think it is just a concidence that all the English reading newspapers, NGO's and human rights organizations are dying to install Sonia as PM, not to mention the role of churches and madrassas in the election process. Looks like they have a better plan than us. RSS/VHP/BJP should infiltrate our English media & Bollywood. This is the most important and critical task before them. It is not enough if it keeps saying that it is doing something on it. We keep hearing that for the past ten years. Going to remote areas and converting the tribals into Hinduism is like achieving 30% of the goals. The bigger war is going on in the media and that is where we are getting a sound thrashing. Future elections will be fought in the media. Days of street rallies are gone. Voters are getting much smarter and better informed by the media. At this time, your media management is very very poor compared to the Congress. Literally every newspaper and TV channels like IE, TOI, Hindustan Times, The Hindu, Rediff, NDTV, Sify, ZeeTV, Star TV are totally in favour of Congress. How did this happen? You need to think about it.You need to open a special media cell to go after rogue journalists like Praful Budwai of Rediff, Prem Shankar Jha, Anita Pratap, Arundhati Roy of Outlook, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Kuldip Nayar (an MP) of IE, N.Ram, Ravi of The Hindu and most fo the staff of TOI, IE, The Hindu and Hindustan Times.This is a big criminal enterprise working with anti-national elements. They have made it their mission to destroy Hinduism one way or other and they will not stop at anything until they achieve their goals. They have been bombarding the readers for years and years with their perverted thoughts about Hindus and India. What is the response of our organizations? NONE. We should make their life hell the same way. Next time they advocate a foreigner as the PM, we should ask them to go and advocate the same concept in the middle east and western countries, I mean a migrated Hindu as the king of S. Arabia and a migrated Hindu as the President and PM of US and UK. If these secularists can convince these countries, we should not have any problem. Until then, they should be asked to shut up. The flow of information to the population living in India is highly restricted by our secular media, reporting only issues that are favorable to the minority community. Many of the Hindus living in India still think that everything is fine within the country and secularism is working wonders. They have no idea what’s happening with these conversions, illegal immigration, activities of madrassas and things like butchering of Hindu families in Kerala. That is one reason why they baulk at the very thought of RSS/VHP. We need to rectify that. Fortunately, Indians living outside India has full access to info. from various sources and they know what’s happening in India. Coming to Bollywood it is the same. They have corrupted younger generations. It is disappointing that the younger generation has no conern for national or social issues. They seem to be more concerned with Rai's, Khan's and their lifestyles. Some people even think that it is narrow minded to worry about national issues. That is what these secular institutions taught these younger generations. Now with the love fest going on between Bollywood and Pakistan, things are going to get much worse. I wouldn't be surprised if Bollywood releases a movie tomorrow showing Indians as terrorists and Pakistani's as peace loving people. That day is not far off. It already started with Main Hoon Na, a movie produced by Khan, directed by Khan and acted by Khan. The credit for this goes to Vajpayee for opening our borders, calling for people to people contacts and co-production of movies. The man even asked for common currency at one point for S. Asia. Is he nuts? ISI will open special cells to mint money and ruin our economy. There is no problem with people to people contact but not unless Pakistan makes some fundamental changes that includes stopping terrorism in J&K completely, install a democractically elected govt. in their country with real control over their armed forces & ISI and publicly declare that it gave up claims on J&K. Our younger generation should be exposed to the historical events like 1971 Pak war, China war, Kargil and all those things that calls for unity. 7) Next time, Pakistan or it's terrorists even stage a minor attack in J&K, DO NOT LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT. Do something that hurts them in one way or other. There should be proportional response. These kind of things will always unite Hindus. It is also a noble cause. Same with Bangladesh. You have no idea how people were upset with the meek response given the Indian govt. when our BSF soldiers were killed by Bangladeshi rifles in 2000 and played with their dead bodies. What was our leadership thinking? People will praise it for the meek response? The same thing happened with the airline hijacking to Kandahar in Afghanistan. It was a total disgrace to watch our External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh escorting the terrorists for exchange. We need to raise some battalions for conducting covert operations in Pak and Bangladesh. Next time, they kill our soldiers or BSF men and play with their dead bodies, go for a covert military operation to neutralize every soldier, military commander of Bangladesh who was involved in the act. Don't even try to deny/accept such covert operations. It will send the right message to the world that we know how to take care of our security. Also, these kind of things always unite Hindus. RAW should be made to do some real work in Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. We should start using ISRO experience to build satellites for purposes other than for agriculture. They should be used for defensive purpose and also revealing the truth of Paki hand behind J&K attacks to the whole world. People punished Sonia Gandhi once before for her role during Kargil war. I wonder how BJP forgot that. 8) Stop all contacts with Pakistan, diplomatic, sports, movies etc.. until they agree to negotiate POK, not J&K. J&K is ours and it is non-negotiable. The talk by the secular media that 80% of Indian population favours peace with Pakistan is a BIG LIE. It only reveals half truth. It is true that Indians want peace with neighbors but not at the cost of making compromises or loosing territory. The secular media in India is very manipulative. While taking polls they would ask very generalised questions that goes something like this: Do you want peace with Pakistan? The appropiate question should be something like this: Do you think it is acceptable to make peace with Pakistan by making compromises or giving Kashmir? Basically the media will not give a choice to the people to speak their mind clearly. Mr. Vajpayee fell for it and he thought it will pay rich dividens for him personally (a noble peace prize may be?) and for the BJP electorally if he makes peace with Pakistan. LikeVajpayee, after him, future Hindu leaders should stop talking on behalf of Pakistani people. They got Musharaaf to speak for themselves. How stupid it is for Vajpayee to act more Pakistani than the Pakis themselves by saying that people from Pakistan wants peace with India and they want to fight terrorism by joining hands with us. Is he blind or does he think people are stupid? How can he possibly talk such rubbish when the Pakistani terrorists continue to cross the border to kill our people? How many media outlets all over the world have confirmed that 80 to 90% of the Pakistani population are fundamentalists, who would take rallies in support Bin Laden or a Kashmiri terrorist. Is something wrong with our BJP leaders that they don't understand the implications of such exposures by the media? We also need to constantly rubbish Musharaaf in the international fora. Keeping silent is causing lot of damage to our position in J&K. The wily fox is constantly talking about J&K on every foreign trip and because of our silence, the perception is growing that we have something to hide on J&K. How difficult is it for govt. leaders to tell the world that India desires peace with it's neighbours but J&K is our to keep and we need to open negotiations on POK instead. Can't we atleast open our mouth and speak the truth. Is the peace process more important than speaking the truth. 9) Raise BSF batallions, seal the borders and implement a strict visa regime with fingerprinting. Deport as many illegal Bangaldeshis as possible, ignoring the cries of secular media. HIGHTLIGHT THE JOBS TAKEN AWAY BY THESE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS IN THE NE states and WEST BENGAL. Highlight the security threats posed to the nation by these illegal immigrants. Nothing pisses off the citizens than the thought of illegal immigrants taking their jobs away. Communists and Congress talked about dwindling employment oppurtunities in the last 5 years but they won't admit that they are encouraging Bangladeshi's to cross the border illegally, then legalize them with ration cards, given them voting rights (a very very serious issue) and let them snatch whatever few jobs that the govt. was able to generate, not to mention the burden on the society, on the broken civil supplies and infrastructure. Even loosing one job to an illegal immigrant means keeping one entire Indian family in poverty. Not one BJP leader has the guts to raise this issue during campaigning. They are all under the great Atal spell. No wonder, communists continue to rule W.Bengal without a break despite their pathetic economic performance. 10) Liberalize the economy. Pursue labor reforms. As this election result shows, rural people and those sections who were left out of the India shining ship are mad. Pump money into rural economy, rural infrastructure as well while not loosing sight of IT and manufacturing sector. The more people get educated, the less likely they will vote for Congress. Expand the tax base to include rich farmers. Govt. should implement policies that would facilitate employement generation. It should not become an employer by itself. Days of socialism are gone. BJP should find ways to provide housing, water, roads and schools to every section of the society. Without these, there won't be any support for our hardcore issues. Even RSS should maintain a hands-off approach. This is one issue where pragmatism is required, not ideaology. Do not let religion or politics interfere with economics. Without economic success, nothing can be achieved. Learn from China. Do whatever it takes to keep the GDP growth a minimum 8.5%. The trick lies in achieving results fast. People do not have any patience to wait until the results show after 15 to 20 years. The verdict of these elections is not against economic reforms. Majority of the population is left behind and they want to be part of the process. They want to enjoy the fruits of reforms. That is what this is all about. BJP should depute pro-reform lobby headed by DPM, Arun Shourie and others to every state to explain the concept of privitization, labor reforms to the people. It is no good to sit in Delhi and issue press statements once in a while. People needs to be taught the benefits of the process. Most importantly, people should be made part of the transition process. Our goal is to make Indian an economic super power. Pro-reform ideas should constantly be shown and explained in the media. Success stories of private companies and sad stories of loss making, corrupt public sector units should be shown in the media, atleast on Doordarshan. Govt. should get out of areas where it has no business to do business in the first place. Our valuable funds should be used for infrastructure and employement generation. Govt. should continue to invest heavly in R&D. 11) Create a federal police force in the lines of FBI of USA to get a grip on internal security. The federal govt. should also find a way to insulate the state police forces from political influence. Borrow some ideas from western countries if necessary. The said agency should have total jurisdiction (including J&K) and tight control over immigration, spying, terrorism, border management, fake currency racket. It should have offices in every state and town. It should become the nodal agency for intelligence sharing with state police forces. This is one area that needs immediate attention. Ethics and moral values should become a major factor in recruitments and promotions. When people see some changes on this issue, they will get a feeling that this govt. is doing something. 12) Ethics and moral values should become a factor in all walks of life, be in politics, beauracracy, govt. departments, law enforcement agencies, school books and judiciary. The recent attempt to induct some Yadav, a notorious criminal in UP for short term political gains did damage the party's image. There is no use in pointing that Congress has criminals too. That is simply wrong. BJP should set a standard for other political parties to follow. That is when people will realise that the BJP is different from Congress. Weed out all corrupt elements who entered BJP in the past 5 years. Only people who believe in our causes should be given role in the party. Anyone who is caught taking bribes should be kicked out of the party, no matter how high he is or who exposed it. BJP should attract the best and the brightest candidates who's aim is to do something that we believe in, not to make money. 13) Reserve parliamentary seats to national security experts and ex-military men. We need their services badly in our parliament. Not Laloos who troop to the well of the house on slight pretext. If the experts cannot manage to win lok sabha polls, they should be elected to the Rajya Sabha at the very least. When criminal elements use back door entry to Parliament, there is nothing wrong in sending these experts one way or other into parliament. Establish think tanks to debate and formulate national security strategies. We cannot let sentiments and personal desires for peace creep into national security policies. Many people have no clue why our PM woke up one fine morning and declared several peace measures with Pakistan. These things cannot be done on adhoc basis. There must and should be a rationale for every step taken. The military should be given a bigger institutional role in formulating such policies though the final authority in decision making should rest with the PM and his core national security team. There will be some advantages to such practices. Sometimes people get swayed by stupid things and elect Sonia as PM. Then the built-in constitutional mechanism (institutionalised role of armed forces in decision making process upto certain level) would restrain people like Sonia from acting in ways that would comprome national security interests. If People are stupid to elect Sonia, we should find other ways to secure the nation. 14) Honour our fallen soldiers and armed forces. Build memorials in some metros like Madras, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Calcutta, Bangalore, Pune etc.. We need things like these to unite Hindus and patriotic Indians. They were the ones who needs to be remembered more than Gandhi's and Nehru. BJP should have done this small thing by now. Modernize the armed forces to make them more lethal. Same with the state police forces to tackle crimes, not to harass common man or serve their political masters. 15) Reform our political system to make only educated, honest leaders eligible to stand elections. Any criminal, corruption, tax evasion charges in their or close family member's history should be investigated by CBI before filing nomination papers. Parliament as well as Union Cabinet should be given fixed terms. Direct elections to the Chief Executive of this nation needs to be conducted along with Lok Sabha elections. That is the only way to ensure stability. Parliament's business is to frame laws and perform over sight function over the executive. They should not be in the business of electing or breaking of govt's. MP's should have no role in govt. formation (union cabinet) except lawmaking. People should have the power to choose the executive branch directly. That is the only way to ensure stability and economic progress. That is the only way to put people like Laloo, Mulayam, Hari kishan Surjeet, Jyoti Basu away from playing a role in govt. formation.These nuts cases should be put out of business. They have caused enormous damage to this country already. This should be followed by judicial reforms to provide justice to people in time. These are just few things that I can write at this time. These are some really critical tasks before us. I do not know about others but Vajpayee is not the right person to accomplish these things. The man sleeps half the time and we are still hanging onto to him. In 1999, I thought Vajpayee and Advani are going to do some great things to unite this country. But I am greatly disappointed. Vajpayee is so fixated comparing his own image with Gandhi and Nehru (as if majority of Hindus believe in the greatness of Gandhi or Nehru) that he is just not listening to anyone who loves this country with a passion. He is only concerned with his legacy and praises from the media. He is capable of making compromises on vital national security interests that the coming generations will suffer. Coming to Advaniji, he isn't as smart as I thought him to be. We keep calling Laloo a clown but this clown knows how to keep his Yadav-muslim vote bank in tact. Look at Advani. Secularists consider him to be a hardliner but I don't see anything in him that fits that description. He acts more like a clown. He keeps talking about fighting terrorism but he couldn't even implement a strict visa regime, make changes to our passport security futures, secure our borders, implement ID's nationwide, regain jurisdiction on immigration issues. He backs off the moment any CM objects to those measures. He needs to bulldoze his way in securing the nation. That is his mandate as a federal home minister. Instead this is what we witness everyday. Army soldiers sacrifice their lives catching terrorists on one hand and Mufti Sayeed releasing them on the other side. Bangaldeshi's cross border illegally, then communists and Congress govt.'s issue ration cards to legalize them. ISI has a free pass to this day to enter this country at anytime, any place of it's choice and prepare for planting explosives in Delhi, Mumbai etc.. Pakistani's come into this country and disappear among the masses. It's all a big circus. It doesn't sound like we are fighting terrorism. Advani is just fooling the people. Instead, he is getting ready to become PM by following the path of Vajpayee by appeasing minorities. Now the Hindu cause takes precedence over these two leaders. Remember how we are suffering to this day for the stupidity of Gandhi during partition and Nehru on J&K and China war. Let's not make the same mistake. It is time to think what is more important. A grand old Vajpayee in power or a strong SECULAR, superpower India that protects Hindu interests. People would rather vote for an inexperienced but younger person like Rahul Gandhi rather than a tired, out of tune but experienced leader like Vajpayee. I will still choose Vajpayee over Rahul at anytime but we cannot say for sure about the illiterate masses in India. They can be manipulated very easily. Please bring hardline leaders like Modi, Arun Shourie into the center stage. That may create a huge contraversary but that is the whole point. That is the only way to expose these pseudo-secularists. Statesmen were made because they make tough decisions to protect the country's interests at any cost, not because they make compromises or retreat on every issue like Mr. Vajpayee do. That impresses no one but the pseudo-secularists. We need a very young, strong, charismatic, dynamic leader who can match the might of the pseudo-secular-minority-anti-national-criminal nexus in this country. Otherwise BJP is in for big trouble in the coming years. This is NOT A CALL for suppressing minorities or their rights. This is a call for Hindus to stop infighting, stand united, open their eyes and defend their religion before it is too late. This is NOT a call for Hindu Rashtra. I believe India should remain secular but not the kind that is currently being practiced or advocated by criminals in the country. Not the kind of secularism where we have to keep proving the world by electing a Christian as the PM. I am talking about the kind where minorities respect and accept majority views. Muslims in USA gladly accept the country’s policies without a murmur but here in India they take to violence on slight pretext. Why is that? It is pretty obvious that Hindus have created a weak image for themselves since independence. I have a problem when the govt. subsidizes Haj pilgrimage but bans Sri Ram Navami rallies in Bihar as happened recently. If Ram navami rallies are not celebrated in India, where will we celebrate? S. Arabia ??? In the end, I strongly believe that India can continue to make rapid economic progress, providing EVERY section of the society a descent living, water supply, roads, food at an affordable price, house, schools etc... while pursuing the core political issue. I apologize for being curt but that is what BJP needs at this time. There is no point in writing things that pleases you. Congress is used to that. Not us. Thank you. Venkat
Posted by: acharya May 21 2004, 01:46 PM
The snakes are out Calling India's freethinkers By Meera Nanda A principled insistence on drawing clear distinctions between science and religion is crucial in India. MURLI MANOHAR Joshi has learned the hard way that astrology does not work after all. The will of the Indian voters has overturned the alignment of auspicious stars in the astrological charts of the BJP, just as it has defied the numerology of the pollsters. Indian voters have thrown out the obscurantist-in-chief and the party he represented. Even though most of the 370-million-strong voters did not consciously set out to punish the BJP for its obscurantist cultural and educational policies, they have inadvertently created the conditions where secularism has a second chance to succeed. This by itself is reason enough to cheer and hope. But it is also a time to reflect and reaffirm the role of rationalism in the Indian society. Sure, throwing out the peddlers of superstitions is no mean task. But harder still is the task of creating a society where superstitions lose their hold on the public imagination. Ridding the government of those who would freely and arbitrarily mix science and spirituality is undoubtedly a great achievement. But greater still is achieving a society that has internalised the principle of separation between science and spirituality. Without this deeper secularisation of the cultural commonsense of the Indian people, secularism will remain a shallow legalism, forever at the risk of a saffron take-over. This is where the intellectuals come in: the Indian voters have done their part, now the intellectuals must do theirs. Secular-minded citizens, scientists, writers, intellectuals, and the liberal, forward-looking clergy of all faiths will have to join the battle for a deeper secularisation of the Indian society. Scientists will have to step out of their laboratories and humanists will have to give up their haughty disdain for modernity. Those Left-inclined intellectuals seeking a "third position" between wholesale Westernisation and a nostalgic traditionalism will have to get over their preoccupation with cleansing modern science of its Eurocentrism. It is time for a no-nonsense commitment to the much-trashed idea of "scientific temper." The objective of a genuine and sustainable secularisation is not to denigrate the religious impulses of ordinary people — that would be foolish, because all societies need a sense of the sacred in order to celebrate the rhythms of life and death. The purpose of secularisation is not to hasten the disappearance of the sacred, but to keep it within the limits of reason. In the case of Hinduism, secularisation must involve a critical engagement with those aspects of Hindu sacred teachings that make empirical claims regarding the presence of a disembodied spiritual element in nature "seen" in the mind's eye by mystics and yogis. The fact is that people everywhere need a way to reconcile their faith with modern learning driven by science and technology. Fundamentalists (and unfortunately, many postmodernist defenders of "alternative epistemologies" as well) offer one way to reconcile faith with science: they relativise science and, in effect, declare religious cosmologies to be as rational within their own assumptions, as modern science is within its own materialistic and Western (or "Semitic") context. This road leads to Vedic sciences and the phony Hindutva slogans of "all truths being different only in name." Indian secularists have to offer a more honest way to reconcile Hinduism with modern science. They must refuse the cheap comforts of relativism. They must insist that all truths are not equal. In the name of respecting popular religiosity, they must not close their eyes to the glaring contradictions between what we scientifically know about how nature actually works, and what our sacred books, our gurus and our godmen preach. The first challenge before India secularists is to carefully but firmly un-twine the wild and uncontrolled intertwining of science and spirituality that has been going on in Hinduism since the time of Swami Vivekananda in the late 19th century. Public intellectuals, in collaboration with progressive scientists, will have to explain — over and over again, through demonstrations and argument — why modern science is not another name for the same truths known to our Vedic forefathers. Indeed, Indian secularists will have to challenge the deep-seated and self-serving habit of Hindu apologists to draw wild parallels and equivalence between just about any shloka from the Vedas and the laws of quantum mechanics and other branches of modern science. The second challenge will be to bring what we know about the natural world through science to bear upon the cosmological assumptions of such "Vedic sciences" as astrology, vaastu, Ayurveda, yagnas, Vedic creationism, "consciousness studies" and the like. Indian secularists must sow seeds of doubt in the popular imagination about these "sciences" so that the masses reject the worldview of Hindutva on rational grounds. A principled insistence on drawing clear distinctions between science and religion is crucial in India because Hinduism maintains a grip on this-worldly affairs by claiming to be "just another name" for science and reason. Hindu gurus and godmen stake a claim to extraordinary and extra-constitutional powers not by invoking God's commandments or by a literal reading of a sacred book — such stratagems are easy to laugh off in this day and age. Hindu apologists instead stake a right to intervene in secular matters by claiming for Hinduism a rational and empirical "holistic" knowledge of the "higher" and "subtle" levels of the material world. Indeed, even a cursory reading of the voluminous writings of Murli Manohar Joshi, K.S. Sudarshan (or any number of RSS ideologues), David Frawley, Subhash Kak, N.S. Rajaram and the host of other apologists associated with the Ramakrishna Mission and Aurobindo Ashram can show that Hinduism's unique "scientificity" constitutes the central dogma of Hindutva. Hindutva ideologues stake their claims to make "Hindu India" into a "guru of nations" on the notion that only Hinduism is compatible with modern science, while all the "Semitic" faiths have been proven to be false by modern science. Hindutva's self-serving and entirely fallacious equation of Hinduism with modern science — Hindutva's central dogma — can be summarised as follows: Hindu dharma is rooted in the eternal, holistic or non-mechanistic laws of nature discovered "in a flash" of insight by the "Vedic Aryans." These laws have been affirmed by modern science and therefore, Hinduism is uniquely scientific. Because the Hindus live in accord with a scientifically proven order of nature which unifies matter with higher levels of spirit, they are more rational and ecological as compared to those of Abrahamic faiths who derive their moral laws from an imaginary supernatural being, and who treat nature as mere matter, devoid of spiritual meaning. Because Hinduism is so scientific, there is no need for an Enlightenment style confrontation between faith and reason in India. To become truly and deeply scientific, Indians — indeed, the entire world — must embrace the teachings of the Vedas and Vedanta. It was this central dogma that gave Dr. Joshi and his fellow travellers the chutzpah to install departments of Vedic astrology in public universities, to pour taxpayers' money into every superstition under the sun, and to try to take over public institutions like IITs and IIMs. It should now become the first order of business of Indian intellectuals to demolish this central dogma. We must demolish this dogma not because we do not want India to shine and prosper and take its rightful place in the community of nations. We must demolish this dogma because it is based upon false parallels and correspondences between modern science and Vedic metaphysics. We must demolish this dogma because it denies the existence of deeply oppressive superstitions, including the occult notion of the presence of consciousness in matter. And we must demolish this dogma because of its deeply Hindu and Aryan supremacist overtones. This dogma can only be demolished by drawing clear distinctions between scientific evidence and the evidence of religious and/or mystical experience. Clarifying what is science and what is superstition must become the top priority of India's freethinkers.
Posted by: RajK May 24 2004, 11:02 AM
Article based on reality... -------------------------------------- Some politically incorrect questions (Colonel Anil Athale (retd)) May 24, 2004 In this season of being 'politically correct' post the recent election, one wishes to raise some questions. The 'right' tone was, of course, set by The New York Times, that doyen of American wisdom, when it editorially castrated Indians opposing Sonia Gandhi as prime minister for being xenophobic nationalists, conveniently forgetting that US law prohibits a foreign-born citizen from becoming president. Italy, the country of Sonia Gandhi's origin, bans even transit visas to Indians. We are lumped with countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran who are on a terrorism watch list. Some reciprocity indeed. Sonia Gandhi has acquired Indian citizenship under section 5 of the Citizenship Act that decrees that the rights of such citizens will be strictly on a 'reciprocal' basis. Does Italy have the same laws as ours? The recent election campaign saw constant reiteration of the Ahmedabad riots, with documentaries being screened in Bengal to revive memories of the horror. Secular activists went on an all India tour staging street corner plays on the Best Bakery episode to drive home their point. If in retaliation the opponents also showed footage of Godhra, Akshardham, Ghatkopar and the Gateway of India bomb blasts, would it have been acceptable? No wonder there were no VIPs to pay their respects when the commando who was in coma after the Akshardham attack died a few days ago. Now that a secular government is in place in Delhi, would some of the anti-national and pro-Pakistani members of the Muslim community (mark the caveat: not all, but some Muslims) stop aiding and supporting agents and terrorists? Will we ever get people to testify against the arrested terrorists? Or did the bomb blasts in Mumbai, the attack on Akshardham and Parliament never happen? The Left and DMK have demanded scrapping of POTA. Has the terrorist threat to India ended so we do not need a stringent law like POTA? Is that the assessment of the intelligence agencies? The Left is also demanding an end to the special relationship with Israel. It is through this relationship that we are to get the Phalcon airborne systems (denied to China) that is necessary to deal with the Pakistani doctrine of nuclear 'first strike.' Whose interests would be served by this measure? We have received up to date surveillance devices and anti terrorist gear from Israel, which has had a salutary effect on infiltration across the Line of Control in Kashmir. Does the new government want to help the infiltrators? Also read: Relations with Israel may be affected India has been catching up with China on the economic front and emerging as its competitor. China receives ten times more foreign investment than India. Yet the Marxists want India to shut the door on foreign capital and drive it away to China. In 1962 when China attacked India, these very Communists supported it and blamed Nehru and India. Do the Marxists want to play the same game again, now on the economic front? Is the Congress aware of the Marxists' past and their loyalties to China? St Thomas the Apostle arrived in India in the first century AD and gathered adherents in the south, when the Romans in Italy (yes Italy) were feeding followers of Christ to hungry lions. The Syrian Christian Church in India is older than the Vatican's Roman Catholic Church. Muslim historians from al Barauni to Ibn Batuta have mentioned the existence of Arab Muslim colonies existing peacefully on the West coast and Kerala, much before Mohammed Bin Qasim's invasion of Sindh and much before the subjugation of north India in 13th century. Do the secularists believe that tolerance and pluralism in India began on August 15, 1947? There is a law in some states where using casteist abuse against Dalits is a criminal offence, but similar abuse against the so-called forward castes is not. Repeated rhetoric against the so-called forward castes is permitted by the law and extolled as 'progressive.' Is this not absurd? Spreading hatred or disaffection on the basis of religion is wrong and is also punishable. But the Marxists continue to spread hatred on the basis of economic class. Is this progressive? How is one hatred less damaging than another? These are some questions that come to mind in the light of recent events. Will the India/Hindu (not RSS) bashing 'intellectuals' respond?
Posted by: acharya May 26 2004, 06:25 PM
Science & religion Sir, — In her article, "Calling India's freethinkers" (May 22), Meera Nanda calls for making a clear distinction between science and religion in India. This is unexceptionable and applies with no less force to the Christian West with its record of hostility to free thinking from the persecution of Galileo 400 years ago to the banning of evolution in American schools today, which have no counterpart in Indian history or tradition. She then goes on to accuse me (along with David Frawley and Subhash Kak) of equating "Hinduism with modern science." I cannot speak for others, but at no time in my 30 years as a scientist (and engineer) have I ever made such a claim. Nor have I ever called for the "cleansing" of scientific temper. There is much more to scientific temper than ritually invoking science, for science can be misused no less than religion. As American physicist Robert Park observes in his book Voodoo Science: "Two hundred years ago, educated people imagined that the greatest contribution of science would be to free the world from superstition and humbug. It has not happened. Ancient beliefs in demons and magic still sweep across the landscape, in the language and symbols of science." As examples of such misuse, one can cite 19th century race theories and attempts to revive them in the guise of genetics research. This is not science but scientific name-dropping. N.S. Rajaram, Bangalore
Posted by: acharya May 27 2004, 03:22 PM
Remembering Jawaharlal By Inder Malhotra A 40th death anniversary tribute to Jawaharlal Nehru. In the multi-coloured pageant of modern Indian history, he marches a few steps behind the Mahatma but way, way ahead of everyone else. OF THE numerous towering leaders of the second half of the twentieth century, few are remembered so respectfully as is Jawaharlal Nehru, independent India's first Prime Minister for 17 long and formative years, who passed into history exactly 40 years ago today. There could not have been a more eloquent tribute to his memory than that, just before his 40th death anniversary, the Indian people should have voted back to power the inheritors and upholders of his legacy that had been in the wilderness for eight years. What makes this all the more remarkable is that for many years now there has been a campaign to denigrate Nehru, to hold him responsible for everything that is wrong with India today, and indeed to demonise him and the values he stood for. This campaign of vilification has had two main sources. The first is the visceral hatred of Nehru on the part of those ideologically driven to dismantling his greatest achievement — the founding of a modern, democratic and secular Indian state committed to protecting and preserving the country's plurality and inclusiveness. In this venture, he may not have succeeded fully but he certainly did substantially (to borrow his own words used in a different context). His mentor, indeed master, Mahatma Gandhi, was India's liberator; Nehru was its moderniser. The practice of secularism has never been perfect. Often enough lapses from it have been serious. But the bottom line is that the foundations of secularism and equality before the law that Nehru laid have withstood the worst of onslaughts on them. During the last six years, the Hindutva hotheads have done all they possibly could, with active help from some at least of those entrenched in the power structure, to convert this country into a "Hindu Pakistan." If they have failed, the credit goes primarily to Nehru. This has only accentuated the frustration and fury of his detractors. In this context it is remarkable that when Andre Malraux, then France's Minister of Culture, had asked him what his "greatest difficulty" since Independence had been, Nehru's answer was "instantaneous." "Creating a just State by just means," he had said and then, after a brief pause, had added: "Perhaps, too, creating a secular state in a religious country. Especially when its religion is not founded on an inspired book." The second source of Nehru-bashing is the utter ignorance about the country's recent history of the burgeoning younger generation that would never know what a privilege it was to live under his civilised rule. These innocent souls have apparently convinced themselves that the "joys of globalisation" would have reached them much earlier had Nehru not embarked on wrong-headed policies of socialism and egalitarianism. Some of his critics have gone so far as to denounce his essentially Fabian approach and constant quest for the middle path as `Stalinist'. To say this is not to deny that even in his time, the then popular doctrine of state control of the "commanding heights" of the economy had started turning into the "licence-quota-permit Raj." But the reckless and ill-conceived expansion of the public sector — which became the breeding ground of political and bureaucratic aggrandisement, rank inefficiency and rampant corruption — took place later, largely during the watch of his daughter, Indira Gandhi. Even so, Nehru's traducers have been able to do him little damage. Ironically, he has suffered more at the hands of those Nehruvians who went on building plastic pyramids in his honour but thought nothing of compromising his legacy with all kinds of communal elements, most deplorably with that Frankenstein's monster, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, in Punjab. Sadly, Nehru too once blotted his copybook in this respect, which underscores that, like all human beings, he was not perfect but had his share of flaws, failings and foibles. In an uncharacteristic violation of democratic norms in July 1959, he dismissed Kerala's Communist Ministry, with Indira Gandhi, then Congress president, clamouring for "getting rid of the Reds." And then, in the ensuing State Assembly elections he acquiesced in the State Congress' alliance with the Muslim League. However, Nehru's fall from high standards in Kerala was an aberration, not part of a pattern. In any case, it did nothing to diminish his fervour for safeguarding democratic values and strengthening democratic institutions, especially Parliament. No other Prime Minister has shown the national legislature the respect that he did. No wonder Parliament has lost much more besides its efficacy. The paramount role that Nehru was to play after Independence had cast its shadow during the freedom struggle. In 1942, the Mahatma had appointed Nehru his "political heir," calling him the "jewel of India," and proclaiming that the nation would be "safe in his hands." Several senior leaders of the movement such as C. Rajagopalachari, better known as Rajaji, Sardar Patel, and Rajendra Prasad, had reservations. Nehru's socialism, they said, was a negation of the Gandhian vision of India "as a loose federation of half-a-million self-sufficient and largely self-governing villages." The Mahatma told them: "After I am gone, he will speak my language." Nehru may have spoken Gandhi's language but he stuck to his resolve to industrialise the country and build a strong industrial, technical and scientific infrastructure. Urging his countrymen to develop a "scientific temper," he set up a network of high-class institutions of science and technology, including national laboratories, IITs and the superb atomic energy establishment. But for this pioneering work, India could not have become a "software superpower" and a nuclear weapons power. To speak of Nehru's pre-eminence in the arena of foreign policy and as a major actor on the world stage would be to stress the obvious. But what a painful paradox it is that his worst failure was also in this very area. The collapse of his China policy that led to the brief but brutal border war in the high Himalayas in 1962 was catastrophic. It shattered not only his dreams of Asian solidarity but also national morale and Nehru himself. The remaining two years of his life turned into a tragic twilight period. And yet it was during this period that Nehru reinvigorated the Congress through the instrumentality of the Kamaraj plan. More importantly, he made a last-ditch attempt to solve the Kashmir problem that is still with us. On April 8, 1964, Nehru released from a eleven-year imprisonment his old friend and Kashmir's tallest leader, Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, and encouraged him to go to Pakistan and explore whether the Gordian Knot could be cut. Along with other colleagues, I was with the Sheikh. He secured from Ayub Khan an agreement on a mid-June summit between Nehru and the Field Marshal. The next day Nehru died. To this day I cannot forget the deep and sincere sorrow and mourning that engulfed Pakistan. Those who had cursed Nehru a day earlier for having become an "obstacle" to a Kashmir settlement wept uncontrollably. It was a measure of both the complexity of the subcontinent and Nehru's unique place in it. No feminist could have fought so hard for the emancipation of Indian women as Nehru did. Despite stiff opposition from his party as well as the Republic's then President, Nehru staked the future of his government on the Hindu Code Bill, the law that, for the first time, gave Hindu women the right to divorce and property. He later told The Guardian that he was sorry he could not do much for Muslim women because the community was not yet ready for reform. There isn't enough space for discussing other facets of Nehru's life and work. So let me conclude by citing the summing up of Nehru by three prominent individuals, none of whom can be accused of being his uncritical admirer. Dean Acheson, the U.S. Secretary of State during the Truman years, frankly confessed that he and Nehru were "not destined to be friends." But, he added, "India was so important to the world and Nehru so important to India that if he did not exist, then — as Voltaire said of God — he would have had to be invented." At a time when the undivided Communist Party of India was hostile to Nehru, one of its leading lights, Hiren Mukerjee, wrote a biography of Nehru under the telling title, Gentle Colossus. Even so trenchant a critic as Nirad C. Chaudhuri described Nehru as "India's Ineffectual Angel." Niradbabu has a point that given his stature, authority and the people's adoration of him, Nehru could and should have been more effective than he was. But others point to the formidable obstacles he was up against. India, for all its agonising faults, is a better place to live in because Nehru had lived. In the multi-coloured pageant of modern Indian history, he would march a few steps behind the Mahatma but way, way ahead of everyone else.
Posted by: acharya Jun 1 2004, 04:55 PM
DEFEAT OF NDA, VICTORY OF SECULARISM Asghar Ali Engineer (Secular Perspective May 16-31, 2004) Crushing defeat of NDA led by the BJP in the recent general elections is certainly victory of secular forces. The BJP-led NDA had won in 1999 not so much as for its ability to deliver and provide better governance but because the BJP understood the significance of coalition politics and the Congress did not. When the Congress realised the importance of coalition it entered into electoral arrangement with different secular parties in different regions and inflicted crushing defeat on NDA. The NDA defeat was so massive that its leaders were totally stunned by it. One can say that this was liberation of the country from communal forces who had bared their fascist fangs in Gujarat in 2002. It would be wrong to say that only Narendra Modi was guilty of the Gujarat carnage of 2002; the BJP-led NDA at the Centre was equally responsible for it. Despite hue and cry from all over the country the central leadership of the BJP and NDA not only kept quiet but extended full support to Narendra Modi in his fascist-like pogrom of Muslims in Gujarat. Mr. Fernandese even said in Parliament debate on women being raped and their wombs split that there is nothing new in this and that it has happened in this country for years. The TDP leaders may not have lent active support like Mr. Fernandese but kept silent and never insisted on removal of Narendra Modi. Mr. Chandrababu Naidu allegedly settled for few hundred crores for his state and continued to support the NDA Government despite blood bath in Gujarat. His conscience was also not shaken. He also paid heavily and was swept out of power in Andhra Pradesh as Muslims refused to vote for him. Though this was not the only reason, it was one of the important factors for his being voted out. The BJP leaders of course less said the better. They supported Narendra Modi to the hilt. When the BJP won Gujarat elections after the carnage with two-third majority all BJP leaders not only praised Narendra Modi but maintained that we would repeat the Gujarat model throughout the country i.e. that we would like to win elections in other states by organising blood bath of innocent members of minorities. What a shame? These were public statements made in full glare of T.V. cameras. Even Mr. Vajpayee when asked whether BJP would repeat the Gujarat Model averred "Will you repeat Godhra?" rather than firmly discounting such possibility. "Can then Mr.Vajpayee be described as statesman?" Will a statesman ever lend moral and political support to such carnage? He would rather resign than lead such a party which thrives on blood bath of innocents. There is no doubt that BJP is a Hindu nationalist party and is firmly aligned to the RSS ideology. Mr. Vajpayee himself said at Straiten Island in USA among his VHP supporters that he has RSS soul. Who does not know that in 1978 also the Bharatiya Jan Sangh preferred to resign from the Janata Party rather than severe its relations with the RSS when Raj Narain, Madhu Limaye and George Fernandese raised dual membership controversy. Thus its loyalty to the RSS is unquestionable and its commitment to what Vajpayee used to call `coalition dharma' was very superficial. It is nothing but a political arm of RSS. One must not forget that in these five years it never tired of implementing the RSS agenda. In this respect its so-called `coalition dharma' never came in its way. And its coalition partners who styled themselves as secular also became party in implementing this RSS agenda. The whole education system was communalised. That is the first priority of all communal and fascist forces to control education. Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi was a hard core RSS man and he was put at the helm of Human Resources Ministry. He successfully implemented RSS agenda by communalising our education system. The RSS schools teach textbooks openly preaching hatred against minorities, especially in Sishu Vihars. Thousands of students study in these schools. The premier social and historical research organisations like the Indian Social Science Research Organisation and Indian Historical Research Organisation were handed over to hardcore RSS and VHP persons. All this will have to be wrested back from their control. It was a systematic conspiracy. Similarly key personnel were appointed from RSS supporters in premier educational research body like the NCERT which prepares text books which form the minds of lakhs of students every year. Mr. Joshi got these textbooks changed in keeping with his RSS commitment. Many eminent historians protested but to no avail. The damage was done and Mr.Joshi was to prepared to undo his RSS agenda. It was to implement this agenda that he was given this ministry. Now the new coalition government led by the Congress and supported by the left (or may be the Left also joins the Government) will take over and it should be its top priority to undo the damage done to the education system. As pointed out before education system plays very crucial role in shaping the minds of its future citizens particularly in a multi-religious, multilingual and multi-cultural country like India who, of necessity, should have a secular polity to build a integrated healthy nation. The RSS tried to lay the foundation of Hindu Rashtra dividing and polarising the country on religious lines. The Secular coalition will have to give top priority to this agenda of secular education and an education system, which would inculcate equal respect for all religions and eliminate the traces of hatred from our text -books. The earlier Congress Governments also never sowed firm commitment to promote secular education. The history text books in particular, have never been seriously overhauled. It was because of this that it became very easy for the BJP to consolidate its position on issue like Babri Masjid-Ramjanambhoomi controversy. Those who had read these text-books during fifties and sixties grew up to be full citizens of this country and uncritically swallowed the Sangh Parivar propaganda about Ramjanambhoomi and captured power easily. The secularity of the country is most essential ideological asset of our nation. The Sangh Parivar has seriously damaged it already and all Efforts should be made to restore its secular character. The Human Resource ministry should be headed by someone strongly committed to secularism and his/her priority should be to restore secular character of our education and necessary changes in history text-books. Nothing can be of greater importance than this. Also, ICSSR and ICHR should be liberated from the clutches of communal forces. These are premiere social and historical research organisations. It should also be remembered that the BJP would like to revert to its original communal agenda. In order to win secular and minority votes it was trying to project itself as non-communal organisation. In the last days of campaigning the BJP also tried to convince the Muslims that it is not against them and Mr. Vajpayee even promised Muslims in Kishanganj, Bihar that if elected to power again NDA Government would like to appoint 2 crore (perhaps it was slip of tongue and meant two lakhs) Urdu teachers. But Muslims refused to be persuaded as how could they forget Gujarat after all and vote for a party that idolised Narendra Modi as Hindutva hero. The Muslims voted very cleverly to defeat BJP candidates all over India and particularly in U.P. where BJP had maximum stake. Therefore, there is every chance that the BJP might go back to its communal agenda to win back a section of upper caste Hindu votes and since it is already being reprimanded by its ideological masters like the RSS and VHP that it lost because it diluted the Hindutva agenda. Thus the new secular government will have to be very cautious in its approach towards communal problem. The Home Ministry also has been stuffed with those closed to the RSS ideology in various positions. Mr. Advani too is known to be RSS man and it is not imaginable that he would defy it in placing people in key positions. Also, there is great need to strengthen the intelligence machinery. Intelligence failure is very common phenomenon in any major communal violence. Also, communalisation of police particularly during last twenty five years of communal hype by the Sangh Parivar, is something to be taken very seriously. I have conducted more than 150 police workshops and have seen raw prejudices among the police personnel. It is highly necessary to have re- orientation courses for the police. These things should not be taken lightly. All our developmental efforts will succeed only if there is peace and harmony in the country. And for this the secular government should do everything possible to restore secular values and confidence of the minorities. It would also raise the status of India in the comity of nations. Gujarat has considerably damaged it. Muslims and Christians have greatly suffered under the BJP-led NDA rule. The Congress should also reflect seriously on its past mistakes. It often allowed free play to communal forces. Now it should not repeat those mistakes. Since the Left will be supporting or joining the government it is hoped that it would continue to put pressure on the Congress to contain communal forces with great determination. It is not easy to cleanse the whole system but it is highly necessary to restore sanity and integrity. The minorities should also have full faith in the Indian democratic system. It was free and fair elections, which could bring about complete change in the situation. Many Muslims had despaired that no change is possible. Some even joined BJP out of this desperation. All of them have been belied. Indian democracy has great resilience. Long live Indian democracy. And the masses also defy all caste and communal barriers on such crucial junctions and vote to restore social and national health. ---------------------------------------- Centre for Study of Society and Secularism Website:-
Posted by: Mudy Jun 1 2004, 05:06 PM
They call themselves secular but they are worst kind of communal writers. Pick any muslims writer they will not hesitate to bash Hindu, RSS or any Hindu organization or schools, but they will not talk about Madarsa, Jammu and Kashmir, Godara or 100s of mini riots started by muslim all over India. How proudly he is saying that mulims voted on religious line, it means muslim still wants to stay in 7th century till they can hurt majority religion. But he still say muslim are secular and Hindus are communal. It doesn't matter to him whether forigner run country or criminals, till they are not Hindu.
Posted by: acharya Jun 15 2004, 01:35 PM
This inner voice too needs hearing Tavleen Singh Indian express June 13, 2004 One of our new 'secular' ministers talks of making the Sindhu Darshan festival less communal. The new HRD Minister, the venerable Arjun Singh, constantly talks of detoxifying textbooks. Excuse me? My inner voice has been giving me a hard time again. In this new dawn of shining secularism, when ''succular'' (sic) thinkers, writers, artistes and politicians tell us daily that India's social fabric has been saved from being ripped asunder by the ''communal'' BJP, my inner voice has been urging me to speak up. Stand up, it says, and point out that the word Hindu is being used as a term of abuse. My inner voice is a bit of a nag and I might have told it to shut up had Madhu Kishwar not drawn my attention to the need for someone to examine how many times the word Hindu is used pejoratively. You might find, she said ominously, that it is used mostly in pejorative terms. After this I began to read and listen more carefully to ''succular'' voices and found to my horror that Madhu was right. Hindu fanatic, Hindu fundamentalism, Hindu nationalist, Hindutva. Mostly, that is how the word Hindu gets used and nearly always pejoratively. I am not a Hindu, but with this I have a serious problem because the debate appears no longer confined to the cloistered world of priests, or even the self-serving one of politics, it has expanded into a challenge to Hindu civilisation. So, one of our new secular ministers tells us that the Sindhu Darshan festival, started by the last government to celebrate the river India gets her name from, will be made less communal. Excuse me? From the venerable Arjun Singh we hear constantly about the need to ''detoxify'' textbooks and from the Congress president and her progeny come endless references to the collapse of our social fabric. This idea is picked up by loyalists, so last week in this newspaper an ex-MP called Madan Bhatia said of Gujarat: ''What actually took place was an occurrence the like of which had never taken place in independent India. There was state-sponsored terrorism and riots in which thousands of innocents, Muslim men, women and children, were butchered.'' Mr Bhatia must have been living in another country in 1984 or he may have noticed that exactly the same thing happened in Delhi with the Sikhs, only the toll was nearly double that of Gujarat and not a single Hindu was killed. He complains that the Army was not called out in time in Gujarat. Nor was it in Delhi until 3,000 ''innocent men, women and children were butchered'' and this despite former prime minister Chandrashekhar going personally to Rajiv Gandhi to beg him to deploy troops. As this column has pointed out before, under ''secular'' Congress rule, there were many riots as bad as Gujarat (Bombay, Bhagalpur, Moradabad, Meerut), not to mention that the Babri Masjid came down under a Congress prime minister. But, let's get beyond this to the wider attack on Indian civilisation that this pejorative use of the word Hindu represents. It bothers me that I went to school and college in this country without any idea of the enormous contribution of Hindu civilisation to the history of the world. It bothers me that even today our children, whether they go to state schools or expensive private ones, come out without any knowledge of their own culture or civilisation. It bothers me that when I ask a priest in a temple the meaning of a ritual he has no idea, or when I go to the Vishwanath Mandir in Benares and listen to the most powerful, magical aarti I hear from the priests that the knowledge of it will probably die because the temple is now controlled by secular bureaucrats. It bothers me that when I wanted to do a profile of B K S Iyengar in my television programme, my young producer did not know who he was until Time magazine mentioned him as among the 100 most influential people of the last century. Young Indians have taken to yoga because it has come back to us from the West and because Madonna swears by it. You cannot be proud of a heritage you know nothing about, and in the name of secularism, we have spent 50 years in total denial of the Hindu roots of this civilisation. We have done nothing to change a colonial system of mass education founded on the principle that Indian civilisation had nothing to offer. For me, evidence of our contempt for our culture and civilisation manifests itself in the fact that there is not a single Indian city where you will find a major bookshop that sells books in Indian languages. Is this not evidence of a country that continues to be colonised to the core? Our contempt for who we are gets picked up these days by the Western press, which routinely uses the word Hindu in a pejorative sense. When Signora nearly became prime minister, respectable magazines and newspapers saw this as racism, which they equated with Hindu nationalism. For countries that gave us slavery and apartheid that really is rich, but who can blame them when we think so badly of ourselves. As for me I would like to state clearly that I believe that the Indic religions have made much less trouble for the world than the Semitic ones and that Hindu civilisation is something I am very proud of. If that is evidence of my being ''communal'', then, my inner voice tells me, so be it.
Posted by: acharya Jun 15 2004, 06:42 PM
The invention of the Hindu Hinduism is largely a fiction, formulated in the 18th and 19th centuries out of a multiplicity of sub-continental religions, and enthusiastically endorsed by Indian modernisers. Unlike Muslims, Hindus have tended to borrow more than reject, and it has now been reconfigured as a global rival to the big three monotheisms. In the process, it has abandoned the tradition of toleration which lie in its true origins. By Pankaj Mishra Author arlier this year, I was in Rishikesh, the first town that the river Ganges meets as it leaves its Himalayan home and embarks upon its long journey through the North Indian plains. The town's place in Indian mythology is not as secure as that of Hardwar, which lies a few miles downstream, and which periodically hosts the Kumbh Mela; nor is it as famous as places like Allahabad and Benares, even holier cities further down on the Ganges. People seeking greater solitude and wisdom usually head deep into the Himalayas. With its saffron-robed sadhus and ashrams, its yoga and meditation centres, and its internet and dosa cafes, Rishikesh caters to a very modern kind of spiritual tourist: the Beatles came, most famously, in the sixties to learn Transcendental Meditation™ from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Their quick disillusionment seems not to have deterred the stylishly disaffected members of the western middle class that can be found wandering the town's alleys in tie-dye outfits, trying to raise their kundalini in between checking their Hotmail accounts. I was in Rishikesh to see my aunt, who has just retired to one of the riverside ashrams. She has known a hard life; widowed when she was in her thirties, she worked in small, badly paid teaching jobs to support her three children. In my memory, I can still see her standing at exposed country bus stops in the middle of white-hot summer days. She had come to know comfort, even luxury, of sorts in later life. Her children travel all over the world as members of India's new globalised corporate elite; there are bright grandchildren to engage her at home. But she was happiest in Rishikesh, she told me, living as frugally as she had for much of her life, and devoting her attention to the end of things. True detachment, however, seemed as difficult to achieve for her as for the spiritual seekers with email. I had only to mention the political situation—India was then threatening to attack Pakistan—for her to say, angrily: "These Muslims need to be taught a lesson. We Hindus have been too soft for too long." In the last decade, such anti-Muslim sentiments have become commonplace among the middle class upper-caste Hindus in both India and abroad who form the most loyal constituency of the Hindu nationalist BJP. They were amplified most recently in Gujarat during the BJP-assisted massacre in early 2002 of over a thousand Muslims. They go with a middle class pride in the international prominence of Indian beauty queens, software professionals and Bollywood films. Perhaps I wouldn't have found anything odd about my aunt's anti-Muslim passions had I not later gone up to her monastic cell, one of the several in a large quad around a flower garden, and noticed the large garlanded poster of a well-known Sufi saint of western India. Did she know that she revered someone born a Muslim? I don't think so. The folk religion to which the Sufi saint belongs, and which millions of Indians still practise, does not acknowledge such modern political categories as "Hindu" and "Muslim." I think the contradiction between her beliefs and practice would only be clear to the outsider: the discrepancy between the narrow nationalist prejudices she had inherited from her class and caste, and the affinities she generously formed in her inner world of devotion and prayer. It is not easily understood; but it is part of the extraordinary makeover undergone by Hinduism since the nineteenth century when India first confronted the West, and its universalist ideologies of nationalism and progress. Back to top THE REMARKABLE quality of this transformation is partly shown by the fact that there was no such thing as Hinduism before the British invented the holdall category in the early nineteenth century, and made India seem the home of a "world religion" as organised and theologically coherent as Christianity and Islam. The concepts of a "world religion" and "religion" as we know them now, emerged during the late 18th and early 19th century, as objects of academic study, at a time of widespread secularisation in western Europe. The idea, as inspired by the Enlightenment, was to study religion as a set of beliefs, and to open it up to rational enquiry. But academic study of any kind imposes its own boundaries upon the subject. It actually creates the subject while bringing it within the realm of the intellect. The early European scholars of religion labelled everything; they organised disparate religious practices into one system, and literally brought into being such world religions as Hinduism and Buddhism. Not only Hinduism, but the word Hindu itself is of non-Hindu origin. It was first used by the ancient Persians to refer to the people living near the river Indus (Sindhu in Sanskrit). It then became a convenient shorthand for the Muslim and Christian rulers of India; it defined those who weren't Muslims or Christians. Modern scholarship has made available much more information about the castes, religious sects, folk and elite cultures, philosophical traditions and languages that exist, or have existed, on the Indian subcontinent. But despite containing the world's third largest population of Muslims, India is still for most people outside it, a country of Hindus; even a "Hindu civilisation" as it featured in Samuel Huntington's millenarian world-view. The persistence of such labels in the West is not just due to ignorance, or to some lingering Christian fear of unconvertible heathens. Perhaps, the urge to fix a single identity for such diverse communities as found in India comes naturally to people in the highly organised and uniform societies of the West, where cultural diversity now usually means the politically expedient and hardened identities of multiculturalism. Perhaps, people who themselves are defined almost exclusively by their citizenship in the nation-state and the consumer society cannot but find wholly alien the pre-modern world of multiple identities and faiths in which most Indians still live. Certainly, most Hindus themselves felt little need for precise self-descriptions, except when faced with blunt questions about religion on official forms. Long after their encounter with the monotheistic religions of Islam and Christianity, they continued to define themselves through their overlapping allegiances to family, caste, linguistic group, region, and devotional sect. Religion to them was more unselfconscious practice than rigid belief; it is partly why Indian theology accommodates atheism and agnosticism. Their rituals and deities varied greatly, defined often by caste and geography; and they were also flexible: new goddesses continue to enrich the pantheon even today. There is an AIDS goddess which apparently both causes and eradicates the disease. At any given time, both snakes and the ultimate reality of the universe were worshipped in the same region, sometimes by the same person. Religion very rarely demanded, as it did with many Muslims or Christians, adherence to a set of theological ideas prescribed by a single prophet, book, or ecclesiastical authority. This is why a history of Hinduism, no matter how narrowly conceived, has to describe several very parochial-seeming Indian religions, almost none of which contained an evangelical zeal to save the world. The first of these—the Vedic religion—began with the nomads and pastoralists from central Asia who settled north India in the second millennium BC. It was primarily created by the priestly class of Brahmans who conducted fire sacrifices with the help of the Vedas, the earliest known Indian scriptures, in order to stave off drought and hunger. But the Brahmans who also formulated the sacred and social codes of the time wished to enhance their own glory and power rather than propose a new all-inclusive faith; they presented themselves as the most superior among the four caste groups that emerged during Vedic times and were based upon racial distinctions between the settlers and the indigenous population of north India and then on a division of labour. Back to top A NEW RELIGION WAS also far from the minds of the Buddhists, the Jains and many other philosophical and cultural movements that emerged in the sixth and fifth centuries BC while seeking to challenge the power of the Brahmans and of the caste hierarchy. People dissatisfied with the sacrificial rituals of the Vedic religion later grew attracted to the egalitarian cults of Shiva and Vishnu that became popular in India around the beginning of the first century AD. However, the Brahmans managed to preserve their status at the top of an ossifying caste system. They zealously guarded their knowledge of Sanskrit, esoteric texts, and their expertise in such matters as the correct pronunciation of mantras. Their specialised knowledge, and pan-Indian presence, gave them a hold over ruling elites even as the majority of the population followed its own heterodox cults and sects. Their influence can be detected in such Indian texts as the Bhagavad-Gita which was interpolated into the much older Mahabharata, and which, though acknowledging the irrelevance of ritual sacrifices, made a life of virtue, or dharma, inseparable from following the rules of caste. At the same time, India remained too big and diverse to be monopolised by any one book or idea. Today, the Hindu nationalists present Muslim rulers of India as the flagbearers of an intolerant monotheism; but there was even more religious plurality during the eight centuries of Muslim presence in India. Sufism mingled with local faiths; the currently popular devotional cults of Rama and Krishna, and the network of ashrams and sects expanded fast under the Mughal empire. Medieval India furnishes more evidence of sectarian violence between the worshippers of Shiva and Vishnu than between Hindus and Muslims. In the 18th century, the British were both appalled and fascinated by the excess of gods, sects, and cults they encountered in India. It was a religious situation similar to the pagan chaos a Christian from the eastern provinces of the Roman empire might have encountered in the West just before Constantine's conversion to Christianity. As it turned out, like the powerful Christians in Rome, the British in India sought and imposed uniformity. There were intellectually curious men among them: a judge called William Jones founded the Asiatic Society of Bengal, whose amateur scholars began in the late 18th century to figure out the strange bewildering country the British found themselves in. Jones, a linguist, confirmed the similarity between Sanskrit and Greek. Another official, James Prinsep, deciphered the ancient Indian script of Brahmi, the ancestor of most Indian scripts, that the British found on pillars and rock faces across south Asia, and threw the first clear light on the first great patron of Buddhism, Ashoka. A military officer called Alexander Cunningham excavated the site near Benares where the Buddha had preached his first sermon. These days, there is a common enough presumption, which was popularised by Edward Said's Orientalism, that much of western scholarship on the Orient helped, directly or not, western imperialists. Some people take it further and assert that any, or all, western interest in India is tainted with bad faith. Back to top IT WOULD BE TOO simple to say that this great intellectual effort, to which we owe much of our present knowledge of India, was part of a colonialist or imperialist enterprise of controlling newly conquered peoples and territories. What's more interesting than the by now familiar accusations of Orientalism is how the assumptions of the earliest British scholars mingled with the prejudices of native Indian elites to create an entirely new kind of knowledge about India. These scholars organised their impressions of Indian religion according to what they were familiar with at home: the monotheistic and exclusive nature of Christianity. When confronted by diverse Indian religions, they tended to see similarities. These similarities were usually as superficial as those found between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But the British assumed that different religious practices could only exist within a single overarching tradition. They also started off with a literary bias, which was partly the result of the mass distribution of texts and the consequent high degree of literacy in Europe in the eighteenth century. They thought that since Christianity had canonical texts, Indian tradition must have the same. Their local intermediaries tended to be Brahmans, who alone knew the languages—primarily Sanskrit—needed to study such ancient Indian texts as the Vedas and the Bhagavad-Gita. Together, the British scholars and their Brahman interpreters came up with a canon of sorts, mostly Brahmanical literature and ideology, which they began to identify with a single Hindu religion. The Brahmanical literature, so systematised, later created much of the appeal of Indian culture for its foreign connoisseurs, such as the German romantics, Schopenhauer, Emerson and Thoreau. The strange fact here is that most Indians then knew nothing or very little of the hymns, invocations and liturgical formulae of the four Vedas or the philosophical idealism of the Upanishads that the British and other European scholars in Europe took to be the very essence of Indian civilisation. These Sanskrit texts had long been monopolised by an elite minority of Brahmans who zealously guarded their knowledge of Sanskrit. It was these Brahmans who educated the British amateur scholars. So they studied earnestly the canon of what they supposed to be ancient Indian tradition and managed to remain mostly unaware of the more numerous non-textual, syncretic religious and philosophical traditions of India—for example, the popular devotional cults, Sufi shrines, festivals, rites, and legends that varied across India and formed the worldview of a majority of Indians. But the texts provided the British the standards with which to judge the state of contemporary religion in India. Since few Indians at the time seemed capable of the sublime sentiments found in the Bhagavad-Gita and the Rig-Veda, Hinduism began to seem a degenerate religion, full of such social evils as widow-burning and untouchability, and in desperate need of social engineering: an idea that appealed both to British colonialists and their Brahman collaborators who had long felt threatened by the non-Brahmanical forms of religion that most Indians followed. It was equally convenient to blame the intrusion of Islam into India for Hinduism's fallen state, even the caste system, and to describe Hindus as apathetic slaves of Muslim tyrants: a terrible fate from which the British had apparently rescued them in order to prepare their path to a high stage of civilisation. These ideas about the Muslim tyrants, Hindu slaves and British philanthropists were originally set out in such influential books as History of British India, written by James Mill, a Scottish utilitarian, and the father of John Stuart Mill. Such books now tell you more about the proselytising vigour of some enlightened Scots and utilitarians than about Indian history. Back to top BUT THEY HAVE HAD very serious political consequences. Many westernised upper-caste Indians, including middle class Hindu nationalists, now believe that Muslim invaders destroyed a pure and glorious Hindu civilisation, which a minority of Brahmans then managed to preserve. The rather crude British generalisation that Hindus and Muslims constituted mutually exclusive and monolithic religious communities—a view which was formed largely by historians who never visited India, such as James Mill, and which was then institutionalised in colonial policies of divide-and-rule—was eventually self-fulfilled, first, by the partition of British India, and then by the hostility between India and Pakistan. Even at the time, these ideas had a profound impact on a new generation of upper-caste Indians, who had been educated in western-style institutions, and so were well placed to appreciate the immense power and prestige that Britain then had as the supreme economic and military nation in the world. These Indians wished to imitate the success of the British; do for India what a few enterprising men had done for a tiny island; and they found a source of nationalist pride in the newly-minted "Hinduism." In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, educated people everywhere in the colonised countries of Asia and Africa were forced into considering how their inheritance of ancient tradition has failed to save them from subjection to the modern West. This was what preoccupied such Muslim intellectuals as Mohammed Iqbal, the poet-advocate of Pakistan, the Egyptians Mohammed Abduh, the intellectual founder of modern radical Islamist, and Sayyid Qutb, the fundamentalist activist who inspired Osama Bin Laden. These were mostly people from the middle class who were educated formally in western-style institutions and who became the leading modernist thinkers within their respective traditions. Their most crucial encounter was with the West whose power they felt daily in their lives, and whose history they learned before they learnt anything else. Travelling to the West in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, they came up against the paradox that the western nations, which were mortal enemies of each other, and brutal exploiters in their colonies, had created admirably liberal civilisations at home. They remained opposed to the colonial presence in their countries and aspired for independence. But they were also dazzled by the power and prestige of the West, and they couldn't but grapple with the complex question of how much space to give to western values of science, reason, secularism and nationalism in the traditional societies they belonged to. Back to top THIS QUESTION BEGAN to haunt Vivekananda when in 1893 he travelled to the West for the first time in his life. Born in a middle class family in Calcutta, he was educated in western-style institutions, and was studying law, in preparation for a conventional professional career, when he met the mystic Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and renounced the world to become a sannyasi. He travelled all across India and first exposed himself to the misery and degradation most Indians then lived in. When he travelled to the Parliament of Religions as a representative of the Hindu religion in 1893, he hoped partly to raise funds for a monastic mission in India and, more vaguely, to find the right technology for alleviating poverty in India. The Parliament of Religions was part of a larger celebration of Christopher Columbus's so-called discovery of America. The organisers planned to "display the achievements of western civilisation and to benefit American trade." Vivekananda addressed himself directly to such self-absorption. He spoke eloquently and enthrallingly on Hinduism in Chicago, drawing on his great knowledge of western philosophy. He claimed that it was an Indian achievement to see all religions as equally true, and to set spiritual liberation as the aim of life. Americans received his speech rapturously. He lectured on Hinduism to similarly enthusiastic audiences in other American cities. The news of Vivekananda's success flattered insecure middle class Indians in India who wished to make Hinduism intellectually respectable to both themselves and to westerners. But Vivekananda himself, during the next few years he spent travelling in America and Europe, was to move away from an uncritical celebration of Indian religion and his hostility towards the West. He came to have a new regard for the West, for the explosion of creative energy, the scientific spirit of curiosity and the ambition that in the nineteenth century had made a small minority the masters of the world. He could barely restrain his admirations in letters home: "What strength, what practicality, what manhood!" Vivekananda also claimed to sense a spiritual hunger in the West, which he said India was well-placed to allay. He thought that India could be Greece to the West's Rome, by offering its spiritual heritage to the West in exchange for the secret of material advancement. Together, he hoped, India and the West would lead a new renaissance of humanity. Vivekananda returned to India after three years, his admiration for the West undiminished. He set up a monastic order devoted to social service and to reforming Hinduism which he saw as a decadent religion. In the midst of his endeavours, he died young, at thirty-nine. Nothing much could come out of what was mostly well-intentioned rhetoric: India was too far away from the West, which was then only in the middle of its extraordinary rise. It was not up to India, then a subject country, to impose terms on anyone. Vivekananda appeared to have struggled in his short life with many new ideas. He didn't always have clear solutions. His value lies in that he was among the first Indians to realise clearly the fact of western dominance over the world; he attested above all to the inevitability of the West's presence, if not superiority, in all aspects of human life. There were other people who had reached the same conclusion: Europe is progressive. Her religion is....used for one day in the week and for six days her people are following the dictates of modern science. Sanitation, aesthetic arts, electricity etc are what made the Europeans and American people great. Asia is full of opium eaters, ganja smokers, degenerating sensualists, superstitious and religious fanatics. This could be either Vivekananda or Iqbal. It is actually Angarika Dharampala, the greatest figure of modern Buddhism. Born in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in 1864, Dharampala was just a year younger than Vivekananda. He even went to the Parliament of Religions in Chicago as a representative of Buddhism but was more prominent than his Indian colleague. Like Vivekananda, Dharampala was influenced by the West, particularly by the Protestant missionaries that came with British rule over Sri Lanka, and came to denounce traditional religion in Sri Lanka as corrupt and unmanly. He wished to modernise Buddhism and also give it a political role. Following these contradictory desires, he became an anti-colonial nationalist, and the major icon of the Sinhalese nationalism that later brought Sri Lanka to civil war in the 1980s. Back to top COMPARED TO SUCH Hindu and Buddhist modernists as Vivekananda and Dharampala, the Muslim intellectuals were more divided in their attitudes towards the West. Some of them, such as the young Turkish intellectuals of early twentieth century, wished totally to remake their countries along western lines so as to reach the summit of power and affluence that the West had arrived at. There were many others who chose the way of suspicion or antipathy. Iqbal stressed the need of Indian Muslims to form their own state where they could follow Islam in its most spiritual form and be able to resist the material ways of the West. Qutb advocated a return to the Koran and preached revolutionary violence against the West and its values that he saw incarnated in Arab nation-states. But whether choosing nationalism or revolution, almost all of these intellectuals from colonised countries seemed to concede that the West had become the best source of ideas about effecting large-scale change and organising human society. They admitted the need for modernisation even in the sphere of religion and for cultivating a rational and scientific outlook. Back to top ONLY A TINY MINORITY of upper-caste Indians had known much about the Bhagavad-Gita or the Vedas until the eighteenth century when they were translated by British scholars and then presented as sacred texts from the paradisiacal age of something called "Hinduism." But in the nineteenth century, movements dedicated to reforming Hinduism and recovering its lost glory grew very rapidly. The inspiration or rhetoric of these neo-Hindu movements might have seemed archaic. In fact, they were largely inspired by the ideas of progress and development that British utilitarians and Christian missionaries aggressively promoted in India. Modernist intellectuals in Muslim countries then exposed to European imperialism similarly absorbed western influences, but their distrust of the Christian and secular West was deeper. Unlike Muslims, the Hindus tended to borrow more than reject. Ram Mohun Roy (1772-1932), who is often called the "father of modern India," was a Unitarian. He founded the Brahmo Samaj, a reformist society that influenced the poet Rabindranath Tagore and filmmaker Satyajit Ray, among other leading Indian intellectuals and artists, as part of an attempt to turn Hinduism into a rational, monotheistic religion. The social reformer Dayananda exhorted Indians to return to the Vedas, which contained, according to him, all of modern science, and echoed British missionary denunciations of such Hindu superstitions as idol-worship and the caste system. Even the more secular and catholic visions of Gandhi and Nehru—the former a devout Hindu, the latter an agnostic—accepted the premise of a "Hinduism: that had decayed and had to be reformed. Gandhi drew his political imagery from popular folklore; it made him more effective as a leader of the Indian masses than the upper caste Hindu politicians who relied upon a textual, or elite Hinduism. But it was Swami Vivekananda who in his lifetime was witness to, and also mostly responsible for, the modernisation of Hinduism. Vivekananda was the middle-class disciple of the illiterate mystic Ramakrishna Paramhans; but he moved very far away from his Guru's inward-looking spirituality in his attempt to make Hinduism, or the invention of British and Brahman scholars, intellectually respectable to both Westerners and westernised Indians. In his lectures in England and America, where he acquired a mass following, he presented India as the most ancient and privileged fount of spirituality—a line that many Indian Gurus were profitably to take with their western disciples. At the same time, he exhorted Hindus to embrace western science and materialism in order to shed their burden of backwardness and constitute themselves into a manly nation. Vivekananda borrowed from both British-constructed Hinduism and European realpolitik. In doing so he articulated the confused aggressive desires of a westernised Indian bourgeoisie that was then trying to find its identity. But his ambition of regenerating India with the help of western techniques did not sunder him entirely from the folk religious traditions he had grown up in. He remained a mystic; and his contradictory rhetoric now seems to prefigure the oddly split personality of the modern Hindu, where devotion to a Muslim saint can co-exist with an anti-Muslim nationalism. Back to top HIS IMPORTANCE DOESN'T END THERE. The marriage of Indian religiosity and western materialism Vivekananda tried to arrange makes him the perfect patron saint of the BJP, a political party of mostly upper caste middle class Hindus that strives to boost India's capabilities in the fields of nuclear bombs and information technology and also reveres the cow as holy. A hundred years after his death, the BJP has come closest to realising his project of westernising Hinduism into a nationalist ideology: one which has pretensions to being all-inclusive, but which demonises Muslims and seeks to pre-empt with its rhetoric of egalitarianism the long overdue political assertion of India's lower caste groups. Vivekananda's modern-day disciples are helped considerably by the fact that the Indian bourgeoisie is no longer small and insignificant. It is growing—the current numbers are between 150-200 million. There are millions of rich Indians living outside India. In America, they constitute the richest minority. It is these affluent, upper caste Indians in India and abroad who largely bankrolled the rise to power of Hindu nationalists, and who now long for closer military and economic ties between India and western nations. The new conditions of globalisation—free trade, faster communications—help them work faster towards the alliance Vivekananda proposed between an Indian elite and the modern West. As a global class, they are no less ambitious than the one which in the Roman empire embraced Christianity and made it an effective tool of worldly power. Hinduism in their hands has never looked more like the Christianity and Islam of Popes and Mullahs, and less like the multiplicity of unselfconsciously tolerant faiths it still is for most Indians. Their growing prominence suggests that Vivekananda may yet emerge as more influential in the long run than Gandhi, Nehru or Tagore—the three great Indian leaders, whose legacy of liberal humanism middle class India already seems to have frittered away as it heads for intellectually and spiritually oppressive times. PANKAJ MISHRA Author. Regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, The New Statesman and the Times Literary Supplement as well as several Indian publications.
Posted by: Bhootnath Jun 16 2004, 06:06 AM
> Tavleen Singh Agreed & gripe deleted.
Posted by: Kaushal Jun 16 2004, 08:26 AM
One has to respect the individuality of human beings. No 2 human bengs are alike in every respect (even identical twins). We have to ask ourselves whether a person is being helpful in this situation or not and if he/she is being helpful,we have to learn to overlook differences provided they are not deep and work for a common cause. People wonder why India has a fractured mandate. Because Indians keep looking for the perfect politician, one with whom they can completely agree. This is a chimera and will never occur. we have to work with reality and learn not to bite the hand that is helping. Frankly, I find Tavleen Singhs column to be very refreshing and she is to be commended for going against the ruling dispensation and speaking her mind. That does not mean i agree with everything she says.
Posted by: acharya Jun 16 2004, 09:54 AM
National Government detoxifying education: Arjun Singh SHILLONG, JUNE 15. In its bid to undo the ``saffronisation'' of education initiated by the previous NDA regime, the present Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government has started a ``detoxifying'' process, the Union Human Resources Development Minister, Arjun Singh, said today. ``The process got under way with the setting up of a three-member panel of eminent educationists of the country three days ago,'' Mr. Singh told reporters here. ``We are not de-saffronising education but detoxifying it. The panel was asked to look into the issue and give reports by 15-20 days,'' he said. Seeking to go deep into the problem, the HRD Minister said ``already thousands of text books were printed (by the previous Government) and if all of a sudden we issue some instruction for withdrawing those, the student community would be in serious problem. So we did not wish to do it.'' Mr. Singh said the three-member panel consisted of Prof. S. Sattar, Radhakrishnan, National Institute of Advanced Studies in Banglaore, Prof. J.S. Grewal, Vice-chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University and eminent historian, Prof. Barun De. — PTI
Posted by: acharya Jun 17 2004, 04:32 PM
Towards an agenda for secular Cultural Mobilisation By KN Panikkar (Following is the text of the Keynote Address delivered on December 28, 1998 by Prof. Panikkar at Dastak, a five-day SAHMAT convention and festival on secular cultural action held in Delhi. It is reproduced here with the permission of the author.) We are meeting almost at the end of the millennium when Indian polity and society are pregnant with several possibilities. What future holds, however, is uncertain; its nature and direction would largely depend upon human intervention, not only in the domain of politics, but also in the social and the cultural. At this historical conjuncture, therefore, the secular initiatives assume certain immediacy, if Indian society and polity were to preserve and strengthen their democratic character.
Posted by: Viren Jun 21 2004, 08:16 AM
link recycles - so posting in full On Secularism: Kuldip Nayar and the response by Ashis Nandy
Outlook [India] May 31, 2004 opinion ABHOR SINGULARITY! The critique of secularism by Nandy et al confuses tradition with religion Kuldip Nayar I met Ashis Nandy the other day to find out if the message I got from his writings on secularism was correct. What I understood, I told him, was that he did not believe that secularism was suited to the genius of India. He replied: "You are more or less correct." He's not the only one. In fact, there's a growing breed of intellectuals which has arrived at similar conclusions. They think the secularism agenda has flawed the Indian state right from the beginning. According to some of them, secularism, by virtue of being a western concept, is alien to India. For others, it is anti- religion and, therefore, in contradiction with the bedrock of our society's beliefs. I wonder why scholars like Nandy have lost faith in the pluralistic ethos of the country. I can imagine their disgust over the contamination of the educated Hindu middle class. But I hope this is not their dialectical materialism that builds political theory on political 'fact'. According to me, they should have fought against prejudice and bias instead of rationalising them, conferring credibility on them in the process. When they claim that in India tradition and religion are synonymous, they mock at the synthesis the country has managed over the years, enabling respect for the sanctity of individual entities. I have no quarrel with those who equate religion with tradition so long as they realise that the Indian tradition does not have the stamp of any particular religion. My difference arises when this tradition is mistaken for Hinduism. Our tradition is that of accommodating different religions and separate faiths. Secularism is a product of that process. It has gone through the crucible of tolerance and understanding. So, secularism is about not mixing religion with the state or politics. I recall my short stint at London as India's high commissioner. Margaret Thatcher was the prime minister then and the Soviet Union was crumbling. After her return from Moscow, Thatcher met me at a party. I asked her how she found Mikhail Gorbachev, then the boss at Moscow. She said Gorbachev told her that the country was slipping away from his grip and that he could not hold it together. She said she had advised him to go to "your friend" India and see how people there had lived together for centuries despite their different religions, castes, languages and standards of living. Thatcher then asked me what I attributed this to. It took me sometime to put my thoughts together. I told her that we in India did not think that things were either black or white. We believed there was a fuzzy area of overlap which we went on expanding. That was secularism. And the sense of tolerance and the spirit of accommodation that grew out of it was the glue that held us together. True, the proponents of Hindutva are chipping away at it. They are making secularism look anti-Hindu and are equating it with 'minorityism'. And intellectuals like Nandy fail to realise precisely this. Religions, as Jawaharlal Nehru said, have laid down values and have pointed out principles for the guidance of human life. They should not be mistaken for attributes of a completely formed and closed culture that we have inherited. The fight between secularism and chauvinism is nothing new. In Europe, all experiments with religions, holy wars, theocratic concepts of states have been discussed. After fighting wars for hundreds of years, the continent has come to the conclusion that religion and state should be separated. Even Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the exponent of the two-nation theory, said after Partition that religion shouldn't be mixed with politics. What I hear in support of Hindutva today is nothing new. In fact, it was worse following Partition in August 1947 because after the struggle for independence, something that was conducted keeping the secular ideals in mind, the division of India on the basis of religion was a staggering blow.At that time, the Hindutva forces were up in arms to drive out the Muslims who were told that they had their 'share' in the shape of Pakistan. The Gandhian thoughts of pluralism and peace were pooh-poohed. It was considered a cowardly response to 'Islamic jingoism'. There were many intellectuals who argued that India was culturally and traditionally Hindu and must reflect the same thinking in the Constitution it was framing. Still, Jawaharlal Nehru, Abul Kalam Azad and Sardar Patel stood their ground and rejected the outmoded, unscientific way of thinking in the name of tradition. So, India, Partition's aftermath notwithstanding, adopted the most liberal Constitution which gave the minorities the right to even preach and propagate their religion. The country continued to face political religiosity or what is now sold in the name of culture. But its standard-bearer, the Jana Sangh, a forerunner of the BJP, never went beyond the one-digit figure in the Lok Sabha till the mid-'70s. I believe that Mahatma Gandhi's assassination saved the nation from the hot wind of communalism, which blew fiercely at that time. The pro-Hindutva intellectuals and the pro-BJP think-tanks did not relish secular thoughts but dared not open their mouths. What is now accepted as the lure of cultural or traditional impulses was then considered an expression of communalism. But such confusion can't be an excuse for righting a wrong. It only shows that intellectuals like Nandy are faltering in their commitment.
o o o o o
Outlook [India] June 21, 2004 opinion A BILLION GANDHIS Down the ages, a natural tolerance—tinged with faith—has been our subsoil. Why do my friends foist a dry import like secularism upon this rootedness? Ashis Nandy Secularism is not communal amity; it is only one way of achieving such amity. As an ideology, it is not even 300 years old. Yet, despite the consistent failure of secularism to contain the growth of both Hindu nationalism and Islamic, Jewish and Christian fundamentalism in recent years—both in India and elsewhere in the world—only a few seem to have the courage to look beyond it. In a recent column in this magazine ( Abhor Singularity, May 31), my friend Kuldip Nayar has lamented my rejection of secularism and loss of faith in the plural traditions of South Asia. Nayar, whom I have given company in many battles—including some he would call secular— has got me entirely wrong. Actually, my criticism of secularism is an aggressive reaffirmation of these proto-Gandhian traditions and a search for post-secular forms of politics more in touch with the needs of a democratic polity in South Asia. The concept of secularism emerged in a Europe torn by inter- religious strife, warfare and pogroms, when the resources for tolerance within traditions were depleted and looked exhausted. This has not happened in India, not even probably in most of South Asia. In India, a huge majority of riots—indeed nearly all of them—take place in the cities. Even the few that take place in villages begin almost always in the cities. Perhaps then it's no surprise that in the last 50 years, less than 4 per cent of all riot victims in India have died in villages—where nearly 75 per cent of Indians stay; more than 96 per cent have died in cities, where 25 per cent of Indians stay. To go to an Indian village to teach tolerance through secularism is a form of obscene arrogance to which I do not want to be a party. These ideas of tolerance in ordinary people and everyday life are tinged with popular religious beliefs, however superstitious, irrational and primitive they may seem to progressive, secular Indians. Modern India, till today, has not produced a single hero of secularism except for that fading star, Jawaharlal Nehru. If Ashoka, Akbar, Kabir and Gandhi, whose names the secularists routinely mouth, could do without the concept of secularism, so can the people of South Asia. They do not need leaders, vanguards, preachy academics or journalists vending fancy theories to educate them in the niceties of tolerance and respect for other faiths. The time has come for us to decipher the language and culture of those humble Indians who live by their `inferior' beliefs and have made our society livable. In a democracy, people will bring their values into politics, whether we like it or not. Instead of imposing on them an idea that makes no sense to the non-English-speaking majority—even the term dharmanirapekshata is a translatese that literally means amorality— why can't we learn from and build upon indigenous concepts that have worked in real life over the centuries? If secularism only means the traditional tolerance of South Asia, why do we need an imported idea to talk about that local tolerance? And why import an idea from countries that have such shoddy records of religious, racial, cultural and ethnic tolerance? Why not, for instance, borrow the concept of convivencia from Medieval Islamic Spain, arguably the only truly plural polity Europe has produced in the last one thousand years? However, I also know that it is pointless to raise these questions. Some things are just not possible in the dominant, colonial culture of India's knowledge industry and among our official dissenters. Otherwise, at least the Indian Left would have picked up a thing or two from the aggressively non-secular, liberation-theology-based ideology of the Sandinistas. Instead of obsequiously aping, in the name of secularism, the Leninist crudities of a cut-throat regime that killed 6.2 crore of its own citizens during its so-called revolutionary rule to become the exemplar of India's brain-dead, pre- war, colonial Left. I am a child of modern India and a non-believer myself. It has taken me many years to turn a traitor to my class—the urban, western- educated, modern Indians—and to learn to respect the people who have sustained Indian democracy using their tacit theories and principles of communal amity. That has not turned me into a believer but forced me to rediscover, study and reaffirm these theories and principles in my work during the last 20 years. In this effort, I have been guided by Gandhi's maxim that those who think that religion has nothing to do with politics understand neither religion nor politics. I leave it to the next generation of South Asians living in South Asia to judge if it has been all a waste of time.
Posted by: Spinster Jun 21 2004, 08:36 AM
The New Orbit Of Power On the wreckage of a nascent right-wing establishment rises a brand new elite that draws its power from its liberal past. These Soniaites and leftists are everywhere, altering the course of governance, if not history.
India Today cover story. This is what leads us to when the best opportunity given to Atal & co is squandered away. ( can somebody post the entire article. TIA)
Posted by: Mudy Jun 21 2004, 09:08 AM
Spinster, The New Orbit Of Power - article is not online yet.
Posted by: acharya Jun 22 2004, 10:22 AM
Andhra Pradesh - Others Poll defeat has weakened BJP, says Jaipal Reddy By Our Staff Reporter SURYAPET (NALGONDA DT.), JUNE 21. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is facing a severe crisis following the electoral defeat, according to the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, S. Jaipal Reddy. "The party, which has played the communal card in the election, is facing a severe political crisis and it is a good sign for a secular country. The developments in the party clearly indicate that it is going to be weakened further," he said at a public meeting organised by the Congress to felicitate him and the newly elected MLA, Vedaasu Venkaiah. Dubbing the recent election as a fight between the ideologies of Gandhi and Godse, Mr. Reddy said: "The Congress, which represents the Gandhian philosophy has emerged victorious over the National Democratic Alliance's Godse ideology." The DCC president, Mallesh Goud, the Zilla Parishad chairperson, K. Laxmamma and other leaders took part. Meanwhile, a Congress leader of Atmakur (S) roughed up another leader at the entrance of Balaji Garden, venue of the meeting, in full public view. The incident took place at the end of the meeting leading to confusion for sometime. `Threat averted' Earlier, addressing a public meeting on Saturday night at Kodad town, Mr. Jaipal Reddy, said a great danger posed to the nation by the NDA had been thwarted by its defeat in the elections. "A great threat was averted by the electorate in the country," he said. The local Congress leaders felicitated Mr. Jaipal Reddy and N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, the local MLA.
Posted by: Mudy Jun 22 2004, 05:04 PM
Posted by: k.ram Jun 22 2004, 06:35 PM
Posted by: k.ram Jun 29 2004, 10:26 AM
Posted by: ankit Jun 29 2004, 01:28 PM
Media Watch - M.V. Kamath The truth has to be faced M.V. Kamath | Friday, June 18, 2004 11:30:6 IST To our President all one can say is: "Sir, we have the highest respect for you. But please don't take us for a people who have lost our memory." THE President of India - bless his heart - is not an independent man as one would think. If he addresses a joint session of Parliament his speech reflects the government's point of view. That is an accepted norm. Never mind that no English language newspaper carried the full text of his speech. But excerpts of his speech have been published. Deccan Chronicle (June 8) thus published a paragraph that said: "It is a matter of serious concern that the forces of communalism have been able to vitiate the atmosphere in the country leading to an outbreak of riots, 'the most gruesome' face of which was witnessed recently in Gujarat". (emphasis added). "Most gruesome?" On Sunday, July 13, 2003 The Times of India carried an article entitled: 'The X-files. Where the mob goes free'. The article compared what happened in the Mumbai riots, in the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in November 1984 and the Gujarat riots of February 2002. In the Bombay riots 872 people were killed. In the Delhi anti-Sikh riots 2,733 people were killed. Killing of Sikhs Writing in The Telegraph (November 2, 1984), M.J. Akbar who since then has become editor of The Asian Age, wrote, describing the killing of Sikhs and the looting of Sikh shops: "The police simply looked the other way... The looters were totally unembarrassed. The desire for revenge was the controlling theme of the day..." On Sunday, November 3, 2003 the Chandigarh-based The Tribune in its Spectrum supplement carried an article by the well-known journalist Rajinder Puri that recalled the events that followed Indira Gandhi's assassination. Writing in great detail about what followed the day after the assassination, Puri noted: "The anti-Sikh riots began. It was a systematic massacre. Sikh homes were earmarked and then torched. Sikhs were pulled out of their homes and killed 'or burnt alive'. I witnessed the carnage at several places. A mob burnt a shop near Regal Cinema in Connaught Place while a policeman looked on silently. 'Why don't you stop them?' I snarled. He shrugged. 'What can I do?" he said with a smirk. 'This continued for several days'... Later I learnt that the same mob went further 'and set fire to a car with a Sikh locked inside. He was burnt alive... The Army offered to control the situation at the first signs of an ugly situation. 'The government bluntly ordered the Army to desist'. (emphasis added). Only after the carnage, 'after more than 3,000 Sikhs had been slaughtered' (emphasis added), after forty to fifty thousand had been rendered homeless, did the government take steps to stop the violence..." May it be suggested to the President of India that he get a copy of The Tribune (Nov. 3, 2003) for careful reading? Puri has, to the best of one's knowledge, never been repudiated. According to The Times of India which hates the BJP and Narendra Modi, approximately 1,000 were killed in Gujarat between February and May 2002. Puri says that 3,000 Sikhs were killed. He has not been challenged again to the best of one's knowledge. A report on the Delhi killings has still not seen the light of day. Why? And may one suggest that the President also finds time to read Inder Malhotra's excellent work Dynasties of India and Beyond? Malhotra is no friend of the BJP and takes every possible occasion to damn it. But in his book he writes: "He (Rajiv Gandhi) had been slow to control the shameful anti-Sikh riots in Delhi... More disagreefully, there was also evidence to show that several Congress-I leaders... had joined in engineering the pogrom. To make matters worse, he (Rajiv Gandhi)... played very heavily on anti-Sikh sentiment...." That book has to be read to be believed. Incidentally, during the Gujarat riots, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation had a Congress majority. Not one Congress corporator stepped out into the streets to make even a modest attempt to stop the killings. That is the spirit of Gandhian Congressmen, if you please. And what about the Supreme Court when the anti-Sikh riots were going on in Delhi? Has anybody heard of Neros? Congress party hypocrisy, one can understand. But media hypocrisy? And while we are on the subject of killing, may one be permitted to quote The Statesman (May 24, 2004) datelined Gopiballavpur, Midnapore west? The report says: "Adikanta Dolui (45), Satragram panchayat secretary and BJP loyalist 'was burnt alive' (emphasis added) by a mob allegedly backed by the CPI-M. Around 40 shops and houses were robbed and set ablaze following the murder. The rampage was reportedly the fallout of the murder of senior CPI-M leader Ardhendu Satpati.... An hour after Satpati's killing, about 1,000 men, armed with bows, arrows, tangi and knives raided homes and shops belonging to BJP supporters at Birsachowk Bazaar.... Dolui (BJP loyalist) was dragged out, the men chopped off his limbs and set him on fire after sprinkling petrol on him from the tank of his two-wheeler parked nearby.... The mob then set fire to about 40 shops and houses after robbing them. Several two-wheelers and bicycles parked in the market were destroyed in the blaze. The police posted in the market reportedly watched in silence...." A man has his limbs chopped off and then burnt alive. Remember the killing of Staines? The media cried murder. But Dolui? Ah, he is a BJP loyalist, isn't he? Serves him right. And, apart from The Statesman, how many English-language media does one think, reported this event? A man is burnt alive. A thousand men armed with bows and arrows, tangi and knives go berserk and there is not a word of it in most of our English language papers. If Communist goondas kill a BJP loyalist it is not news. (yawn, yawn, yawn). Communist goons Does anyone remember that some months ago a BJP teacher was similarly killed and tortured by Communist goons right in front of students in the classroom who witnessed the gory scene, way out in Kerala? That's the last one heard of that. Hypocrisy must stop. The witch-hunting against Narendra Modi must stop. Congressmen and Communists have turned out to be the worst - most gruesome murderers. And Sajjan Kumar has now become an MP. The Asian Age (June 6) editorially noted that "there is also a feeling that Sajjan Kumar was allegedly involved in the rioting against the Sikhs, post-Mrs. Gandhi's assassination..." That must be dismissed as the great under-statement of the year. To our President all one can say is: "Sir, we have the highest respect for you. But please don't take us for a people who have lost our memory". And please stop this BJP-baiting. It doesn't reflect very well on the presidency. Kindly look at Rajiv Gandhi's record and the Congress record after Indira Gandhi's assassination. And the Communist record of killings. You will have a better appreciation of the meaning of the word 'gruesome!'. And forgive this columnist for quoting from past records. The truth has to be faced.
Posted by: acharya Jun 29 2004, 05:26 PM
[ On Secularism: Kuldip Nayar and the response by Ashis Nandy; the articles are pasted below] The Nayyar, Nandy article was posted earlier in this thread.
Posted by: acharya Jun 29 2004, 05:36 PM
One of the perennial discucssions on "Secularism" on another list drove me to write this: In my view, the problem is that most people that express views for *OR* against "secularism" today--especially South Asians--equate it with being against the very existence of religion in any realm. Whether they will admit or not--even to themselves. The phrase, folks, is *SEPARATION* of church and state--not destruction of one or the other. Just like the indepedence of the three branches of government and the media from each other does not mean we should abolish, say, the courts. Personally, I think the word [secularism] is at best a red herring or a red rag and at worst the biggest, most unfortunate, most distracting, and irrelevant concept we have in the discussion of how society can and should be made better. The "secularists" use it as some kind of high holy concept they wrap--dare I say hide--their anti-religion emotions and passions in [notice I don't say logic or rationale? it's intentional]; while the "religiousists", if I may call them that, use it as some kind of bugbear and code word for satanism. A pox on both houses For they only use the discussion to try to further their ideas--not to make the life of humankind any better. _Mazhab thoe buss mazhab-e-dhil hai; baqee sub gumraahee hai_, as a South Asian poet once said; and frankly, neither today's "defenders of Islam" nor the "enlightened liberal thinkers" act like they have a heart--they have rationales and logic, they have right on their side, they have truth, history, geography, anthropology, sociology, neonatology and every other kind of -ology. No heart. A pox on both houses. For if you don't have a heart, sir, you're heartless. And if you are heartless, you fit neither my understanding of the words "Muslim" or "Hindu" or "Christian", nor my understanding of the words "enlightened" or "liberal". Can't we all just ... do something for the common human? Insan? Remember that concept? Huqul Ibaad anyone? The tired, the poor, the huddled masses, anyone? Sabahat
Posted by: Sudhir Jul 2 2004, 10:53 AM
Posted by: acharya Jul 2 2004, 02:09 PM
Nation above all RC Sharma In his rejoinder, "Communal logic" (Second Opinion, June 26), to my article, "Who is secular" (June 2), Mr N Jamal Ansari brands the BJP as "communal" but fails to justify how votaries of the Muslim League's Two-Nation theory, could claim to be "secular"? The Muslim League had demanded not only the division of India for a separate Muslim homeland, but also the exchange of Hindu-Muslim population. Nehru retained most of the 98.1 per cent votaries of League's Two-Nation theory in India. Special provisions for them were incorporated in the Constitution. Nehru thus took advantage of the average Indian's ignorance and illiteracy. Jawaharlal Nehru's descendants in successive Congress governments meticulously followed the policy of Muslim appeasement. Can such political groups be called "secularists"? Mr Ansari and his ilk hate Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, Baba Saheb Ambedkar and other patriotic Indian nationals, as they were against Nehruvian policies that provided special privileges to Muslims in India. It was Nehru who, after the State of J&K had acceded to India, prevented Indian Armed forces from driving the Pakistani forces out of the State and got Article 370 incorporated in the Constitution. Mahatma Gandhi also forced the Indian Government to grant Rs 55 crore to Pakistan, which fought the Indian Army in the Valley a year later. Thus, Mr Ansari's praise for the Congress is valid as the Congress has worked for Muslims against the wider interests of all Indian nationals. Mr Ansari alleges the RSS specialises in recruiting young boys into informal militia bands called shakhas without stating that these shakhas are open to members of all communities, where all are trained to help in case of natural disasters and otherwise. The madarsas on the other hand teach Muslim children intolerance towards non-believers of Allah. As for the confirmation of VD Savarkar's views in his book, Hindutva: "Their (Muslims) holy land is far off in Arabia and Palestine. Their mythology and Godmen, ideas, and heroes are not the children of this soil. Consequently, their names and outlook smack of foreign origin." Mr Ansari should refer to the 1956 edition of a book, Tareek-e-Pakistan-Hind taught in Pakistan schools which narrates: "Pakistan came to be established when the Arabs under Mohammed bin Qasim occupied Sindh and Multan in the early years of the eighth century (AD 712)" and Mohammed bin Qasim "laid the foundation for Muslim rule in India". The book states that "after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, the process of disintegration of Mughal rule set in, and weakend the Pakistani spirit". Muslims in India should be thankful to Hindus that they have not met with the same fate in India as Moors/Muslim invaders had faced in Spain and Europe. There churches converted into mosques were reconverted into churches and Muslims were forced either to embrace Christianity or die if they wished to remain in Spain or Europe. Mr Ansari continues to find fault with Hindus for their demands for the enforcement of Uniform Civil Code, abolition of Article 370 and restoration of Hindu monuments and places of worship. But what about the atrocities committed against Hindus in India since the invasion of bin Qasim in AD 712, forceful conversion and the conversion of Hindu monuments into Muslim mosques or wakfs? It would be in the interest of communal harmony, unity and integrity of India, if the meaning of secularism enshrined in the Constitution is defined such that public funds are not diverted to appease a particular community.
Posted by: rajesh_g Jul 2 2004, 02:58 PM
Muslims in India should be thankful to Hindus that they have not met with the same fate in India as Moors/Muslim invaders had faced in Spain and Europe.
Thats an interesting question. The answers should be compared over the decades. I practically grew up hearing these stories about how TFTA meta-eating folks are bigger-better-meaner then daal-roti eating hindus. But I am sure all that might have changed over the last decade.. (1) human-rights industry became very effective and suddenly "being persecuted" was in, while being TFTA-meat-eating-rambo was out. (2) Some handy jhapads were finally delivered.. (3) H&D took severe beating. It would be interesting to see what happens when the dawood-shakeel mafia is finally reigned in.
Posted by: rajesh_g Jul 2 2004, 04:45 PM Bush campaign wants church lists Spokesman: 'Important to reach out to every single supporter' Friday, July 2, 2004 Posted: 5:43 PM EDT (2143 GMT) WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- President Bush, seeking to mobilize religious conservatives for his reelection campaign, has asked church-going volunteers to turn over church membership directories, campaign officials said on Thursday.
Posted by: Mudy Jul 5 2004, 09:20 AM Srinivasan
There is a crying need to rethink the entire idea of 'secularism.' The current enthusiasm shown by the UPA government to rewrite history textbooks is an example of the extreme, and extremely harmful, effects of dogmatic 'secularism.' Fifty years of education in India have been warped because textbooks, and policies, have been written by proponents of this falsification. It shows: this is why India is never able to stand up and demand its rights in international fora. For our history, and our self-image, have been negated so that the dubious flat-earth creed of 'secularism' can be 'proved.' This is why I think the word 'secularism' has been so overloaded with inherent contradictions that it has become entirely meaningless. The smrtis, sutras and sutradharas of 'secularism' need to be exposed for the frauds they are.
Posted by: k.ram Jul 7 2004, 07:35 AM
"Desaffronization" or Apology? Vinod Kumar July 2004 On June 28, 2004, The New York Times reported that "a resolution of formal apology for "a long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies" has been quietly cleared for a Senate vote, with proponents predicting passage." True, no federal reparations or claim settlements are at stake. The resolution acknowledges the genocidal wounds suffered by the American Indians as a result of the government's offensive history. Among genocidal wounds suffered by the American Indians it lists specially the Trail of Tears, the Long Walk, the Wounded Knee Massacre. Though the resolution has been received with mixed reaction among the tribal leaders but it is still "a good first step". The resolution shows that a mature civilization can rise above times and is willing to accept its past mistakes and apologize for them. And it is not for the first time that such apologies have been offered. The relationship between Jews and Christianity has been one of continual animosity. The primary reason has been the propaganda that it was due to the Jews that Christ was nailed to the cross. Christ's teachings were supposed to have weakened Judaism and so he became the 'enemy' of the Jews. There have been numerous cases of discrimination against the Jews in various countries. The climax was the German Holocaust. The silence of Vatican in not condemning the atrocities at the time they were perpetuated has been a major bone of contention. The Vatican has "begged for God's pardon" and asked "the Jewish people to hear our words of repentance." (Newsweek, October 13, 1997, quoted from Similarly, in January 1995, the German Roman Catholic bishops have accepted that the Catholics share responsibility for the Nazi holocaust, since they failed to act against Nazism. In what is said to be an unusually blunt confession of guilt, the bishops said, "The denial and guilt that was prevalent in those days also came from the church. During the period of the Third Reich, Christians did not carry out the required resistance to racist anti-Semitism." As per a leading Catholic theologian, Shri Johann-Baptist Metz, there was a "a new quality" in the statement, and predicted that it would inspire "Christian moral courage." (Stephen Kinzer, "German church admits to holocaust guilt", The Times of India, Jan 30, 1995. -- quoted from Denial of Jewish Holocaust is a crime in Germany. Holocaust museums have been set up all across Germany and the West. During the period of Japanese occupation between 1910 and 1945, Korea was systematically strip-mined for its raw materials and cheap labor to build Japan's newly industrializing economy. Later it also supplied the Japanese war machine, most notoriously in the form of female sex slaves for the army. Though all Koreans are not satisfied but the Japanese Prime Minister Obuchi during his visit to Korea in October 1998 apologized in writing to the Korean people. "I would like to express deep remorse and heartfelt apologies over the pain and damage Japan inflicted on the South Korean people during its colonial rule," he said. In 1994, the then prime minister Tomiichi Murayama apologized personally to all Asian peoples for Japan's colonial rule and wartime actions. ( It is accepted that the apology today will not change the past and also in general such apologies have failed to satisfy the wronged but still as accepting the apology from Japan, the Korean President said he believed it would finally settle the issue of past history and enable the two countries to look forward to future cooperation. All this stands is stark contrast to when it comes to the Hindu civilization. Starting from Muhammad bin Kasim's occupation of Sind in 712 CE and till today, the Hindu civilization has been repeatedly ravaged by Islam and for centuries by Christianity. This is not the place go into the details of genocidal and barbaric nature of such ravages -- the chronicles written by the Islamic and Christian adventurers and rulers speak for themselves. While the contemporary Islamic and Christian chroniclers have made no attempt to hide and deny depredations on the Hindu civilization -- as a matter of fact they wrote about them with glee and with great pride -- some Hindu groups, in the vile hope that this will promote communal harmony, are burning the proverbial "midnight oil" to deny the crimes committed against their own civilization. This Hindu reaction has to seen in relation to the reaction of the American Indians, the Jews and the Koreans, who are still not fully satisfied with the apology. No one holds the current Americans or the Germans or the Christians or the Japanese responsible for the crimes committed in the past by their compatriots or co-religionists against the American Indians, the Jews or the Koreans -- to take the few examples -- but there is a collective feeling of guilt and it is felt that such acceptance of guilt and formal apology go a long way of laying the foundations of a new peaceful future. Whether one admits or not, one cannot deny the policies of the contemporary governments or the tenets of the religion were, in great measure, responsible for such crimes to have happened. And it is equally true in the case of depredations heaped upon the Hindu civilization. The Arabs, the Afghans, the Turks, the Portuguese or others did not have anything personal against the Hindus, as such other than the Hindus were not Muslim or Christian. They were Hindus. They committed the crimes against the Hindus in the name of their religion and frequently quoted from their Holy Books in support of their actions. While the Catholic Church is apologizing left, right and center to the Jews and others, it has refused to do so to the Hindus. Ashok Chowgule, President of Maharashtra State unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in his book Christianity in India - The Hindutva Perspective has narrated the acts of atrocities by the Catholic Church on the Hindus. Not only has the Church refused to apologize, it even refuses to accept it had caused any harm to the Hindus. ( As far as Islam is concerned, to the best of my knowledge, it has never apologized to anyone. It regards the period of depredations on other civilization as period of its glory. By a strange incomprehensible sense of logic, some Hindu groups who call themselves as "pillars and defenders of secularism", have gone beyond all limits. Any attempt to write the history of this dark period of Hindu civilization, from its original sources written by contemporary Muslim chroniclers and invaders themselves, is termed "saffronization" -- a color associated with Hindu religion. History books that mention atrocities on the Hindus, specially by the Muslims, is termed "saffron" history. How can the history written by the Muslim (and Christian) chroniclers be termed "saffron" (?) -- an argument lost on the "secular" brigade of India. Others, and specially Arun Shourie, have written much about "desaffronization" and "secularization" of history -- I need not go into those details. Since the new government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, under the banner and guiding principle of promoting secularism, has taken office, "desaffronization" -- denial of the truth of history -- has taken momentum of its own. Truth has to be sacrificed at the altar of "secularism". It is really an irony in itself that the present government claims its legacy, among others, prominently, from Mahatma Gandhi known specially for his penchant for truth if nothing else. Also, the only words from the Upanishads, written in Devanagari script, on official emblem and seal of the Government of India, with three lions and the Dharma Chakra are "Satyameva Jayate" -- truth alone triumphs. ( Isn't the concept of "desaffronization" -- denial of history -- a mockery of the message on its own official emblem and seal? Why not let the truth speak for itself? The road to a peaceful co-existence and future is not in denial but in accepting the realities of the past. No one is asking for reparations. The past cannot be undone. All what is needed is acceptance of history as it happened, a simple apology and repudiation of ideologies and policies that led to such horrendous crimes against the Hindu civilization. If secularization and communal harmony is the aim, denial of truth in the name of "desaffronization" is not the way. Apology will be "a good first step".
Posted by: Pathmarajah Jul 7 2004, 10:38 AM
Nothing less than a full and formal apology by the Catholic church, the Portugese govt, the Afghans, the Turkmen of Turkmenistan (for and on behalf of the Mongols under Timur), as well as Arabia - as the mother of all genocides will do. Else, they stand to face the same consequences at a future date. To Hindus, an apology would mean a state sponsored temple- citadel, a ala Madurai in the Vatican, in Mecca, Lisbon, Baghdad, Samarkhand and Kandahar. Words wont do. I know its not possible in these decades, but this sets the low water mark for future generations of Hindus on foreign policy vis a vis these nations. Some day other Hindus will fulfil this demand, and we take this opportunity to thank them in anticipation, for restoring our honour. Therefore, we maintain our heads high. Regards.
Posted by: Mudy Jul 7 2004, 11:15 AM
Pathmarajah specool.gif At this stage India or Hindus are not united, even third rated monarch of UK refused to apologize. I want to hear an apology from them in my life time for the crimes they have commited on Indian over 200 years..
Posted by: k.ram Jul 8 2004, 06:38 AM
Posted by: k.ram Jul 8 2004, 08:38 AM M.V.Kamath
Posted by: Mudy Jul 8 2004, 09:28 AM
Narendra Modi was not responsible for the torching of two railway coaches at Godhra. Then why should he be held responsible for what followed? Has Hitendra Desai been charged with fomenting riots in 1969? Why not? For that matter was Rajiv Gandhi ever charged with fomenting riots in Delhi after his mother was assassinated? More Sikhs were killed in those riots than were killed in Gujarat.
Posted by: acharya Jul 13 2004, 03:20 PM
Irfan Habib criticises failure to reverse `saffronisation' By Our Staff Correspondent NEW DELHI, JULY 13. Historian Irfan Habib believes that the present United Progressive Alliance-Government is more afraid of its opponents than concerned about its constituents, who had voted it to power. This is more so in the case of its failure to reverse the "saffronisation" process, initiated by the previous regime. Speaking at a convention on education organised by the Students Federation of India (SFI) here today, Prof. Habib asked: "If we were to agree with what our predecessors said, why did we vote for a change?" According to him, the priority should have been reversal of the "saffronisation" and "communalisation" of history textbooks, which, unfortunately, figured lower on the list of priorities of the Human Resource Development Minister, Arjun Singh. "De-saffronisation" was a major issue on the Common Minimum Programme agenda and the old textbooks should have been totally rejected by now. "There appears to be a curious nervousness about the matter in the Ministry and it appears that by not changing the curriculum, the Ministry has approved the deeds of the previous regime," he said and demanded reinstatement of the textbooks used before the "saffronisation." According to Prof. Habib, all that had been achieved in the field of education in the past 50 years had been altered by the BJP Government; they needed to be replaced urgently. The fact that the BJP Government had been voted out of power meant that the people had rejected all their policies. The HRD Minister's statement that he would continue some courses such as astrology if the people so wanted suggested that he had little understanding of the people's mandate. "The changes by the new Government appear superficial because the HRD Ministry's priorities were admissions to the management schools and finalising its fee and not de-saffronisation," he said. Drawing the attention of the audience to the drawbacks in the higher education system, Prof. Habib wanted more funds and better utilisation of these funds to improve the content. The SFI general secretary, Kallol Roy, said a lot of damage had been done to education by the previous Government; it had tried to introduce the Sangh Parivar's ideology. Some academically-unqualified people had "infiltrated" into various committees and caused "immense damage." The CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, Sitaram Yechury, was present on the occasion.
Posted by: muddur Jul 16 2004, 10:44 PM So far all the policies that this current govt is talking revolves only around RELIGIOn, caste, temples, and minority community... When ever this govt opens their mouth, they talk religion, caste and temples and nothing else ... PATHETIC ... Flush.gif With this government in place India's southward march has begun.. By the time Hindu's realize their mistake of electing these crooks, they will be slaves yet again .... With government like this ruling, I wonder why Pakistan still has to try to match us militarily. We will defeat ourself and GOI itself is moving towards another division of the nation. UP govt plans to take control of temples Flush.gif pakee.gif grenade.gif TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ FRIDAY, JULY 16, 2004 11:28:44 PM ] LUCKNOW: In what appears to be taking over administrative control of bigger temples including disputed shrines of Ayodhya and Mathura, the Mulayam government plans to take appointment of priests/heads of temples in its hands and bring them under the purview of the state audit. In a government order dated June 28, 2004, the Mulayam government has directed all the 70 DMs to furnish details about temples having an annual income of Rs 1 lakh and more. "Bring all such temples under the purview of the audit and make rules for the appointment of priests and heads of temples by fixing a minimum educational qualification for their appointment," the order issued by Kanshi Ram, special secretary, religious endowment, said. There are over 350 temples in the state which have an annual income of more than one lakh. However, some of them earn several lakhs. The most famous among them are the makeshift Ram Lala Temple at Ayodhya, Hanumangarhi, Vindhyawasini in Mirzapur, Krishna Janamsthan shrine at Mathura and Kali temple in Lucknow. Although there are provisions in the Charitable Religious Endowment Act 1890 (Act 6 of 1890) that the government can interfere in the administration of any religious site but whenever such attempts were made they were strongly resisted by pro-Hindu organisations. One such attempt was made by then Kalyan government in 1997 when the state cultural minister Ramesh Pokhariyal had proposed certain amendments in the century-old Act.
Posted by: acharya Jul 19 2004, 02:49 PM
The Telegraph, July 18, 2004. Sunday THE OTHERS IN THE STATE A nation-state must wipe out rival nations within, potential or actual Nivedita Menon Caught in their war : Nation-states have a logic of their own. So insidiously is this logic purveyed through the state's institutions that it becomes common sense, particularly among the educated. Perspectives that differ from this common sense are then easily seen as signs of illiteracy, or more dangerously, treachery. A woman employed for housework by a Pakistani living for a while in Delhi could never quite understand where her employer was from. "Bahar se?" she would ask,"Amreeka se?" No, would come the patient reply: from outside, yes, but not from America, from Pakistan. Where is that? Well, you know that "here" is Bharat? India? Hindustan? And yet again, the bewildered response - "Yahan matlab Dilli?" Here, meaning Delhi? Illiteracy and ignorance, of course. She seemed to have escaped even the common sense that demonizes Pakistan. Had she gone to school, had she been a migrant from another part of the country, she would have had some notion of India-that-is-Bharat. But that is precisely the point: the recognition of the Nation, the feeling of belonging to it, must be learnt. It must, as Benedict Anderson famously put it, be "imagined". Which is not to say that the Nation is imaginary, in the sense of unreal, but rather, that it has to be imagined, conjured up, called into being by a vast political project operating at many levels - the Nation is not simply that land-mass lying in the ocean, an easily recognizable object. This imagining excludes as many groups as it includes, and when they in turn, fail to recognize the nation, it is they who are the traitors. I remember overhearing a snatch of horrified conversation between students of Delhi University - "You know, Naga students say 'India' for 'Delhi' whenever they leave Nagaland." The horror is - we consider Nagaland to be part of India, but they don't consider themselves to be part of us. How generous and inclusive our nationalism, how separatist and exclusionary theirs. Consider the conflation here between Us and India, and the division between the territory and the people. The territory that is Nagaland is an "integral part" of India, but the Naga people can be Indians only under stringent conditions - not on their terms, but on ours. Nagaland is ours, but not the Naga people, not if they insist on being Naga. I learnt recently from a friend working on textbook revision in Leh, that for decades, schoolchildren of Leh have read textbooks using images that make no sense to them - flora and fauna not local to the region, for example. But what I found most striking was that generations of Ladakhis have read the same textbooks used all over the country, that say: "The Himalayas lie to the North of us." Really? Not if you are in Ladakh. Check out a basic tourist guide. How could any Ladakhi have felt part of that "us"? So, should we work towards a more inclusive nationalism? But to whom does that pronoun "we" refer? Can Ladakhis or Nagas ever say, referring to the rest of India, "we" should include "them"? That proud "we" can only be occupied by dominant, mainstream groups within the nation. Hence, We won the test match, We have the bomb. But never We are about to be drowned, any day now, by the Indira Sagar dam on the Narmada. The first "we" is eleven men, the second "we" a tiny state elite, the third "not-we" thousands of inhabitants of twenty-five villages in Harsud. But no, numbers don't count. The point then, is not about inclusion. The point is to question the very legitimacy of the nation-state as the arbiter of inclusion, of identity. To question the barbed-wire borders, the ethnic cleansing, the National Interest, the "illegal" immigrants, why shouldn't people simply move to wherever there is work? After all, there are no barbed wires for capital, not any more. At Wagah, on the border between India and Pakistan, at sundown you can witness the sad spectacle of nation-states producing identity. The "Beating the Retreat" ceremony enacted daily is a dramatized performance of hostility. The drill is a series of choreographed moves of aggression, and this performance is wildly applauded by the audience onboth sides, with shouts of Pakistan murdabad or otherwise, as appropriate. (One evening at Wagah would certainly sort out the domestic worker I referred to earlier. An effective crash course on what yahan means). Once upon a time, when nation-states emerged, in the 19th century in Europe and in the 20th in Asia and Africa, they bore the electric charge of opposition to empires. Once settled in however, each nation proceeded to obliterate rival nations within, both potential and actual. The process of creating the French citizen, the historian Eugen Weber tells us, was no less violent than colonialism. Nation-states can only be authoritarian. These reflections were set off by being in Sri Lanka. The country is experiencing, ironically, a cease-fire between the state and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, while a new war has started between the LTTE and the breakaway Karuna faction in the East. Having physically eliminated all internal voices of dissent, the LTTE claims to be the sole representative of the Tamil people, but Karuna speaks for Eastern Tamils. Many in the East support him, since Jaffna Tamils dominate every institution in the east. Of course, the LTTE condemns this as "regionalism" - once the "Tamil Nation" has been formed, other voices within are, by that logic, traitorous. But the immediate issue for Tamils today is the forcible conscription of children and young adults into the LTTE army, in effect to be used as cannon fodder in the factional war. Desperate parents are preparing to resist, in pockets, in a hopeless act of defiance. Some years ago, several parents committed suicide, helpless in protecting their children. In the disarray caused by Karuna's revolt, parents all over the East went in thousands to the camps to force the release of their children, most of whom have been there for two years or more, both boys and girls. Because of the confusion caused by Karuna's revolt, the camps were opened up, and for days the roads were flooded with children streaming home, carrying little bundles, hopping into buses, hitching rides. However, re-recruitment by the LTTE has begun, resisting parents have been beaten up, people working with them have received death threats. But that is what states do. The next government of the United States of America, whether Democrat or Republican, is expected to bring in a bill for compulsory army service for all adults. During Vietnam, young men had to go to jail or into voluntary exile not to have to learn to kill and be killed. The LTTE is a quasi-state in the north and east of Sri Lanka. Fascist? Authoritarian? Anti-people? Hey, it's only doing what states do. Is there no difference then, between fascist states and liberal democratic states? Yes, there is, and personally, I would much rather live in one than the other. I just wonder though, whether the villagers of Harsud, choosing death over being uprooted from their homes in the National Interest, and rehabilitation into urban slums and unemployment, are so much better off than the desperate Tamil parents in Sri Lanka. (The author is Reader in Political Science, Delhi University)
Posted by: acharya Jul 19 2004, 03:45 PM
Temple takeovers By Pratap Bhanu Mehta .htm Government involvement in the running of temples is detrimental to both politics and religion. IN STATES all across India, Governments are using one pretext or the other to take over the running of Hindu temples. The Haryana Government recently enacted legislation to take over dozens of temples in the State, following closely on the heels of the "Kurukshetra Shrine Bill" that allowed the State to take over the functioning of 75 temples in the Kurukshetra area. The Archaeological Survey of India recently acquired jurisdiction over the famous temple in Pushkar, Rajasthan. This takeover of temples by Governments follows the precedent set by numerous southern Governments that have over the years acquired a substantial stake in tens of thousands of temples. In many southern States, there are full-fledged Ministries running temples. The Andhra Pradesh department of endowments now controls 70,000 personnel, claims to run approximately 33,000 temples and religious endowments. Tamil Nadu has what amounts to a parallel civil service for the running of temples. The extent of state regulation of temples is often not confined merely to management of property matters. It extends to appointment of priests and regulation of religious routines in temples. Forinstance, the Andhra Pradesh Department of Endowments proudly announces that one ofits functions is to "ensure the proper performance of pujas." The involvement of the state in the regulation of temple affairs was, to some extent, inevitable. Issues such as temple entry and appointment of priests were at the heart of debates over social reform. In many other temples, the vast sums of money collected and properties owned seem to cry out for some regulation. The logistics of many religious activities impinge upon the state. In some rare instances, the state stepped in to preserve monuments of national importance. But these plausible justifications for occasional state intervention in the affairs of temples have now become pretexts for the state to indiscriminately take over temples. The practical takeover of thousands of temples has been facilitated by the thrust of The Report of the Hindu Religious Endowments Commission that recommended that legislation be used to treat all `maths' as if they were public. A series of judicial pronouncements have greatly facilitated this trend. The Courts tried to confine regulation to the secular aspects of an endowment and not its religious affairs, but this distinction has proven to be elusive. As Rajeev Dhavan and Fali Nariman wrote, "in this process both the government and the judiciary tend to overlook the simple fact that under the guise of regulatory control, religious endowments are, and have been, nationalised on a massive scale." The "nationalisation" of temples has implications for politics. This issue has fuelled the politics of resentment amongst many Hindu organisations. They argue that it is vastly easier for the state to take over Hindu temples and endowments whereas minority institutions are protected from such takeovers. On the other hand, it also allows state support for maintaining and subsidising temples. There is some irony in the fact that often members of the Sangh Parivar object to this kind of state entanglement in religious affairs, whereas defenders of secularism have been turning a blind eye to an increasing material entanglement of state and religion. State takeover of temples violates the freedom of communities to manage their religious endowments. But it is also an imprudent policy. State involvement in the running of temple trusts politicises religious endowments. It is often claimed that religious endowments are corrupt and need regulation. This argument is fallacious. It is not clear that the state will be any less corrupt than the current managers of these endowments. There is good evidence that Governments are taking over temples in order to control the resources of these temples. Besides, if the "corruption" is not at taxpayers expense there is no reason for the state to intervene. Who says it is the state's business to correct every folly in society, or to decide even that the ways devotees or trustees spend their money is indeed a folly? The ASI, which relishes taking over temples and mosques claiming that these national monuments need to protected, is often not the best agency to preserve these monuments. Government takeovers of temple management often disrupt historical patterns of use that have allowed temples to flourish for centuries. Government involvement in the running of temples is detrimental to both politics and religion. There is something amiss when the state gets into the business of appointing priests, regulating pujas and taking over temples. Temple takeover legitimises Hindutva in two contradictory ways: on the one hand, it fuels claims that Hindu endowments are discriminated against and not given enough autonomy; on the other hand, these takeovers make it appear but natural that the state should be in the business of running things like temples. The day is not far where we may need a Union Public Service Commission for appointments of priests, a minister for religious affairs and a financial regulator for religious endowments! The future of secularism is being put at risk by the machinations of Governments, of all ideological stripes, that cannot keep their hands off religious institutions. We need to return to the banal truism: the state should leave religion alone. (The writer is Professor of Philosophy and of Law and Governance,
Posted by: k.ram Jul 20 2004, 07:27 AM
Need strong protests against UP govt plans to take control of temples Here is a disturbing report that Mulayam Singh's government is taking over administrative control of temples in UP. (Please circulate) The order issued by Kanshi Ram, special secretary, religious endowments said "Bring all such temples (with over one lakh of annual revenue) under the purview of the audit and make rules for the appointment of priests and heads of temples by fixing a minimum educational qualification for their appointment". There are reportedly over 350 temples with income over one lakh (attachment A). As a reminder of the situation in UP here are a few examples from the recent past: A) Mr. Mulayam Singh ordered closure of govt. run schools on Friday afternoons (attachment B) in February 2004, but due to strong protests by BJP and others and threats of agitation, the order was withdrawn. B) However, a day after scrapping its controversial order on closing schools for half a day on Fridays to facilitate Muslims to offer prayers, the Uttar Pradesh Government set up an integral university that would reserve up to 50 per cent seats for students belonging to the minority community (attachment C) . All this for pleasing Muslims for electoral advantage ahead of the elections in April/ May, 2004. C) There was a news in April 2004, "that as many as 18 sadhus were brutally murdered in and around Jaunpur district in the last twelve months, triggering panic among the priests inhabiting the 300-odd temples in the region. And while the body count continues to rise , the police remain as clueless as it was when the first priest was killed over a year back (attachment D)". Mr. Mulayam Singh, like other secularist (read anti-Hindu) politicians encourages a fundamentalist jihadist minority on the one hand; and injures the tolerant majority Hindu community on the other, by taking control over temples and their resources meant for propagating ancient culture and for sewa and dharma prachar. Why should he, as head of a secular govt., decide about the qualification of priests and about the temple audits (read management of revenues)? This should be done only by the Hindu community through autonomous boards (like the Muslim and Christian religious institutions), under the guidance of Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha. Such brazen actions in contravention of democratic norms and in violation of the laws can be adequately met only through "dharnas" outside the assembly in UP, mass awareness campaigns, public protests, fasts and hunger strikes, across the state, etc. Hope Hindus can save their temples and religious infrastructure in UP, from disintegrating under govt. control as in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. Krishan Bhatnagar Hindu Jagran Forum Maryland July 20, 2004 ================================ Attachment A UP govt plans to take control of temples Times of India , July 17, 2004 LUCKNOW: In what appears to be taking over administrative control of bigger temples including disputed shrines of Ayodhya and Mathura, the Mulayam government plans to take appointment of priests/ heads of temples in its hands and bring them under the purview of the state audit. In a government order dated June 28, 2004, the Mulayam government has directed all the 70 DMs to furnish details about temples having an annual income of Rs 1 lakh and more. "Bring all such temples under the purview of the audit and make rules for the appointment of priests and heads of temples by fixing a minimum educational qualification for their appointment," the order issued by Kanshi Ram, special secretary, religious endowments said. There are over 350 temples in the state which have an annual income of more than one lakh. However, some of them earn over several lakhs. The most famous among them are the makeshift Ram Lala Temple at Ayodhya, Hanumangarhi, Vidhyawasini in Mirzapur, Krishna Janmasthan shrine at Mathura and Kali temple in Lucknow. Although there are provisions in the Charitable Religious Endowment Act 1890 (Act 6 of 1890) that the government can interfere in the administration of any religious site but whenever such attempts were made they were strongly resisted by pro Hindu organisations. One such attempt was made by then Kalyan government in 1997 when the state cultural minister Ramesh Pokhariyal had proposed certain amendments in the century- old Act. ====================================== Attachment B UP schools, colleges to function till 12 noon on Fridays In a move that could have political ramifications in the run up to Lok Sabha elections, the Mulayam Singh Yadav government has directed all government schools and colleges up to intermediate level in Uttar Pradesh to wrap up their teaching work by 1200 noon on Fridays. A government order issued to this effect on February 16 without stating any reason directed that all government school and colleges affiliated to the UP Board to now conduct the teaching work till 1200 noon on Fridays. The respective officials have been asked to implement the orders with immediate effect. Though officials here refused to give any reason for the decision, the Opposition BJP alleged that it is a politically motivated move to woo Muslim voters and help them to offer Friday namaz. The state unit president of BJP, Vinay Katiyar termed it a move aimed at "communalising education" and demanded that a similar relaxation should also be made on Tuesdays to help Hindus offer prayers at temples. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Lalji Tandon said state government was playing with the future of the children. This move is aimed at appeasing the minorities, he added. On the other hand Muslim organsiations have welcomed the decision claiming that it was a long pending demand of the community which had been seeking relaxation for offering namaz on Fridays. ========================================== Attachment C Now seats for Muslim students The Hindu, February 22, 2004 LUCKNOW, FEB. 21. A day after scrapping its controversial order on closing schools for half a day on Fridays to facilitate Muslims to offer prayers, the Uttar Pradesh Government today set up an integral university that would reserve up to 50 per cent seats for students belonging to the minority community. A Bill to this effect was passed by the assembly by a voice vote despite opposition from the BJP members. The University will be set up after dissolving a voluntary organisation, the Islamic Council for Productive Education Society, which runs schools and colleges, including an integral technical institute here. The BJP member, Hukam Singh, said the move was against the spirit of the constitution. Replying to the charges, the Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav, said there was no attempt to break society on religious lines. "We bridge the chasm between communities so that people can live in peace and brotherhood". PTI ===================================== Attachment D Police clueless about killing of Sadhus Times of India: Friday April 9, 2004 PERVEZ IQBAL SIDDIQUI Times of India Network, [Friday, April 2, 2004 02:22:47 AM] Lucknow: As many as 18 sadhus have been brutally murdered in and around Jaunpur district in the last twelve months, triggering panic among the priests inhabiting the 300-odd temples in the region. And while the body count continues to rise , the police remain as clueless as it was when the first priest was killed over a year back. Nobody knows why the sadhus are being routinely targeted. One theory suggests this as the handiwork of a maniac on the prowl. Another plausible explanation of these mysterious murders is the element of superstition vesting with a particular criminal tribe which believes that if their baton (branch of a tree which they use as a club) is smeared with a sadhu's blood it brings them 'good luck' in future acts of crime. The police, however, have dismissed this insinuation as folklore. "Such a coincidence is unlikely .... But then it is a 'coincidence' after all," says Jaunpur ASP Atul Saxena, who was associated with the investigation into most of these murders. Coincidence or not, there certainly is a method in the madness: The modus-operandi -- use of batons and boulders to smash the victim's head and sharp-edged weapons for inflicting injuries which were found on the bodies. ........................
Posted by: acharya Jul 21 2004, 02:13 PM
Will Congress ever let peace reign in Gujarat? By M.V. Kamath Organiser July 18, 2004 A report presently doing the rounds states that the Congress-led UPA government in Delhi is planning to have a fresh inquiry into the Gujarat riots of February-May 2002. It should be obvious to everyone that the aim is not so much to find the truth but to embarrass the Narendra Modi government and, if possible, to tarnish him with the blackest of paints. If inquiries have to be made, may it be suggested that they should start from the riots in Calcutta following the Direct Action Day that Muslims were asked to observe by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, when rivers of blood flowed in Kolkata’s streets. And the inquiries should go into great detail of every riot that has since taken place. Their number goes into dozens and they have occurred in practically every part of India. One study is already available in R.N.P. Singh’s Riots & Wrongs: Islam and Religious Riots. Singh is a highly respected retired police official whose distinguished career in the Intelligence Bureau has been commended by no less than K.P.S. Gill. In his foreword to the book, Gill has been remarkably frank and blunt. He writes: “While lip service to the idea of ‘secularism’ has been universal, the actions of all political parties­including, if not especially, those that claim ‘secularism’ as their primary platform­can hardly withstand an objective scrutiny in this regard.” Furthermore he adds: “Much of the ‘secular’ discourse in India has been based on a ‘politically correct’ refusal to confront the nature of religious communities and institutions, and their past and present activities... The truth is, unless communities acknowledge reality­warts and all­and recognise the transgressions of their own history within a constructive context, no real solution to the issue of communal polarisation and violence in India can be brought about.” Gill is so right. Our ‘secular’ parties refuse to face up to reality. And it has encouraged Islamic fundamentalism to flourish. It has invariably had the direct or indirect support of the secularists. One has to go through the chronological study of riots in India from AD 1713 onwards to understand the Muslim mind in India. A classic instance is the Moplah Rebellion in Malabar when “massacres, forcible conversions, desecration of temples, foul outrages of women, arson and destruction were perpetrated freely...”. The Army had to interfere. In the end 2,266 Moplas (Kerala Muslims) were killed in action, 1,615 were wounded, 5,688 were captured and 38,256 surrendered. Is peaceful co-existence an anathema to Islam? What is even more tragic, no matter how a riot started, the tendency among secularists is first to blame Hindus when the truth is anything but. These days it is the BJP or the RSS, which is held guilty. Forgotten is the role of the Congress in some situations. There is the case recorded by M.J. Akbar in his work Riot after Riot when innocent Muslims were ‘massacred’ in “one of the most bestial crimes committed in recent years. This was in 1987.” According to Akbar “more than two dozen young Muslims were picked up from the Hashimpura area by the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) on the bank of the Hindun canal in Ghaziabad that night, shot dead and dumped into the water where their bodies floated downstream till they were fished out next morning... Survivors are talking of a figure around 200 dead... The administration says calmly that 2,568 people were picked up from about seventy mohallas...” This happened in Uttar Pradesh under a Congress government. The point is not whether Vir Bahadur Singh or Narendra Modi or anyone else has had a hand in riots. We have to ask the larger question, which is, why is there Hindu-Muslim riots at all? And why have they been persistent since 1713? Has anyone made an honest attempt to understand both the Muslim and Hindu psyches? Are Hindus always to blame? Is the root cause economic as is made out by some and religious, linguistic and ethnic differences only provide the excuse and motivation to indulge in mindless violence? Why is it that secularists invariably side with Muslim trouble-makers, no matter what contrary evidence shows? How come that a historian like Bipin Chandra alleges that Hindu communalists and Hindu communal views are responsible for the Hindu-Muslim divide in the Indian sub-continent? How can there be any solution of the problem if blame is constantly and aggressively thrown always at the majority community? When any one party openly and pointedly anoints itself as ‘secular’, thereby implying that other parties are inimical to peace, what kind of interaction between them is possible? At some point in time, and the sooner the better, Hindu and Muslim historians must get together if only to understand themselves before trying to understand history. Each has to understand the psychology of the other. One sometimes wonders whether India would have been better off, if, following partition, it openly professed to be Hindu where the Hindu laid down the law. Take the case of Malaysia, where only 60.14 per cent of the population are Muslim. Here Islam enjoys State patronage and the federal government funds masjids. As per official rules on matrimony between a Muslim and a non-Muslim, the non-Muslim partner must adopt Islam. Non-Muslims are prohibited from propagating their religion amongst Muslims whereas no such restrictions are placed on Muslims in propagating their faith. And nobody charges Malaysia of being communal. For five centuries the Portuguese ruled over Goa. There was one common law for all Goans, including Muslims. No one objected. That was the law and the law had to be obeyed. By opting for ‘secularism’ we have handcuffed ourselves. The Muslims have won both ways: they have got their Pakistan and in India they have got their way. And the country is poorer. Islam is holding secularism to hostage. Our secular friends have to be warned. Sometime there is going to be a terrible backlash. Narendra Modi has more admirers among the non-BJP and non-RSS groups than many would wish to concede. When hundreds, if not thousands, attend Ishrat Jehan’s funeral, it is a bad sign. It is as if terrorism has the support of Mumbra Muslims in an unspoken way. The time has come to stop talking about secularism and to look inwards into our past, into our history and find ways to come to terms with it. That way lies wisdom. That exercise is not going to be easy, but Hindus and Muslims must talk with each other and not at each other. And in their own interests, if not the interests of the country, the so-called secularists must disengage themselves from their perversity and try to understand why many Hindus are the way they are. That way lies salvation.
Posted by: acharya Jul 21 2004, 08:44 PM
Dialogue January - March, 2004 , Volume 5 No. 3 Secularism vs. Hindu Nationalism: Interrogating the Terms of the Debate Makarand Paranjape Rethinking Secularism and Communalism: The Case for India I would like to begin this section with a plain statement: India is not a secular country. It is not secular in the sense that it is not irreligious or even non-religious. Furthermore, I believe that India is a communal country, communal in the sense that Indians usually define their identities in terms of the community to with they belong. The above observations, I contend, certainly apply to the Indian people by and large, and, to a lesser extent, also apply to the Indian state. Hence, it is clear to me that the Hindi equivalent for secularism, dharmanirpekshta, is a misleading and unfortunate coinage. This is not a dharmanirpeksh country, that is a country which disfavours dharma. Instead, we are a dharmasapeksh country, a country which favours dharma but, as our constitution stresses, does not favour any specific religious sect or tradition--we are not dharmanirpeksh but mat-nirpeksh. Similarly, as has been repeatedly pointed out, secularism in the Indian context does not imply a disregard for religions, but a equal respect for all of them. Mahatma Gandhi used the phrase sarva dharma samabhava to describe this position; in recent times, Pandurang Shastri Athavale, the inspiration behind the Svadhyaya movement, has extended it to sarva dharma sweekar--an acceptance of all religions. Finally, we must bear in mind that though India is a religious country, what we do have is a clear separation of religion and state. It is also useful to bear in mind that through almost the entire sweep of Indian history upto to the Muslim conquest of India, there never was a state religion. Even when there was one, as in the case of Ashoka, there was tolerance for other faiths. Those who invoke fears of a theorcratic state might therefore take solace from the fact that such a system is against the natural genius and inclination of the Indian people. From such a point of view the implications of a Dharmic perspective on secularism are clear: while there is a genuine and emanicpatory space within the discourse of secularism, such a space cannot be seen as secularism's exclusive preserve. Secularism cannot afford to be intolerant to Dharma, especially in a country like India, where a majority of people are, or profess to be, both God-fearing and Dharmic. Secularizing Indian society is therefore not the way to combat religious fanaticism. Instead, secularism will have to define for itself a different Dharma. What this Dharma might be, I shall try to spell out at the end of the paper. But the bulk of what follows is devoted to examining a more specific debate that has dominated Indian academics since Ayodhya, the debate between secularism and Hindu nationalism. It is my contention that this debate, for most part, shows a profound lack of awareness of the issues at stake. Willy-nilly, the debate widens rather than lessens the divide between genuine Dharma and genuine secularism by positing a mutually exclusive polarity between them. This paper is a plea against the divisive manner in which this debate has been conducted. II Hindu Nationalism as a Category One of the main planks of the secularlist attack on the forces of Hindutva is their use of a rather ambiguous category called "Hindu nationalism." It seems to me that Hindu nationalism--as distinct from Hindutva--is a rather specious and suspect category. It is a category invented by the official champions of resistance as a convenient whipping-boy. It used to be that the oppositional categories were "nationalism" vs. "separatism," or, if these nouns needed qualifying adjectives, "Indian," not Hindu nationalism vs. "Muslim," separatism. It was assumed that Indian nationalism was not necessarily of exclusively Hindu parentage, that Muslims, Parsis, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, and so on, also championed it and contributed to it. Nationalism, by definition, was not seen as the exclusive property of one class, community, caste, region, or religion, but of the entire country. As opposed to this cooperative and collaborative project, a section of vested interests raised the slogan of Muslim separatism and, with the help of the British, secured an independent country for themselves, using the disguise of Islam to camouflage their political ambitions. This used to be what we were brought up to believe. It, alas, is no longer good enough for us. With the failure of the project of Nehruvian secularism, we have begun to suspect that what was thought of as Indian nationalism was simply Hindu nationalism, with the token participation of other communities thrown in as window dressing. What was worse, it seemed that all we had to do was to scratch an Indian and beneath him lurked a Hindu fundamentalist. How else would our secularist intelligensia explain the rise of the proto-Facistic BJP? For this left-liberal intellectual class, which had grown complacent and secure under state patronage for decades, what could be a greater disaster than the destruction of the Babri Masjid? This class conveniently forgot that not only were several thousands of temples destroyed during eight hundred or so years of Muslim rule, but there has been a history of conversions in this country, not only of individuals and communities, but also of places of worship. Thus, there are records of Buddhist viharas being converted into Hindu temples, of Hindu temples being converted into Jaina shrines, or Shiva temples being transformed into Vaishnava temples, and so on. What is more, these were secular acts, not necessarily religious ones. They were secular because they were sanctioned by the state which by definition always acts in the secular space. These captures and conversions of shrines were fueled by worldly greed and the compulsions of realpolitik, not by motives of spiritual advancement. There are competing and conflicting versions of such take-overs, crossings, and conflicts. Thus, as has shown us, a site of religious conflict gradually becomes transformed into a site of religious syncretism. Or, the villains and heroes change depending on whose version you're listening to. In the Periapuranam, which is a Shaiva text, the Jainas appear to be villainous. If one goes to Sri Lanka, then the Shaivas are portrayed as blood thirsty and treacherous while the Buddhists are ethical and compassionate. Gandhi wished to down-play majoritarian politics in his vision of democracy. In a Gandhian democracy, the single individual, the absolute minority, was as important as the masses who belonged to any one ethnic or religious group. Of course, the Congress, which ruled continuously for three decades, was always playing the numbers game, dividing and ruling, cobbling together a majority by forming a collective of minorities, each wooed, appeased, and maintained. India, then, has never been a secular state in the Gandhian sense. It has been a state in which the minorities had enjoyed a disproportionate political power because of their capacity to vote en-block. The destruction of the Babri masjid was a signal that the politics of minoritarianism has suffered a serious set-back by the newly emerging majoritarian politics. This was a political and secular crisis, not a religious one. Threatened with the rising tide of Hindu majoritarianism, our secularist, left-liberal academic community, naturally, panicked. No one way buying their histories. Their explanations as well as their prognostications had been falsified. They came together, as never before, to denounce the destruction of the masjid. That was, of course, a good thing. All thinking people, including several people of faith, also denounced this act of senseless vandalism. Gandhians, spiritualists, Sufis, Sai Baba devotees, followers of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo, the Radha Saomis, and several other sects also expressed themselves, both publically and privately, against the demolition. This wider, people's displeasure was, of course, underplayed by the secularists. Their agenda was to isolate and corner the Hindutvavadis, to give them no place to run. So anyone who refused to accept the dominant, secularist terms of discourse was, willy nilly, branded a Hindu fundamentalist. This led to the absurd situation in Indian academics wherein Hindu fundamentalism became the default mode: the only way to prove you were not one was to declare yourself to be a secularist. If you're not one of us, you must be one of them--was the logic, not very different from the logic, or should one say, illogic of the Cold War. Though more books and collections of critical essays have been published on the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi issue than on any other single political event since independence, the people, the voters have not been listening. I predict, somewhat cynically, that if the BJP is voted to power in the elections, several of our secularist academics will be singing a different tune. Because, after all, our intellectuals are not so much secularist as statist; there is only a slight of difference of shade between the red and the saffron. My point is that the tendency in recent times to equate communalism with nationalism, to consider both to be invented through similar processes and manipulations, is an example of back-formation, the attempt of the beleagured secular intelligensia to invent a past for Hindu fundamentalism. What better way to do this than by suggesting that Hindu fundamentalism and Indian nationalism, which seemed to be opposed discourses, are actually co-extensive and overlapping. It is only one more rhetorical step before subsuming the whole of Indian nationalism into the category of Hindu fundamentalism: this way you can kill both the Hindu and the nationalist, two birds of the same feather, with one discursive stone. A brilliant conflation thus turned all Indian nationalists into Hindutvavadis. III The Dharmic Challenge to Secularism I have spoken thus far about the secular challenge to the religious outlook, particularly the manner in which the category of Hindu nationalism has been deployed to discredit the whole Dharmic impulse behind our quest for Svaraj. In fact, it might even be useful to reverse the terms and to talk of the Dharmic challenge to the secularist extremism. Because, the fact is that secularist discourses have begun to wield greater and greater institutional authority. They are backed, to varying degrees, by political and administrative power and have become the officially sanctioned ideologies of our times. This is not to imply that the forces of religiosity and obscurantism no longer operate in India or that they have ceased to oppress the masses. On the contrary, we must remind ourselves that religious intolerance and fanaticism exist simultaneously with the unprecedented power and patronage that the secularist academic and nonacademic sectors of our intelligensia enjoy. It would be a dangerous mistake to overlook or deny the power and privileges of one because of the real threat and danger of the other. It is important to recognize that these officially sanctioned discourses, sometimes with unbelievably brutal cynicism, exploit the very oppression of their constituencies to extract greater benefits and privileges for themselves, somewhat in the manner in which our NRI novelists sell the poverty and exoticism of India to avid Westerners. The time has come to question not just Hindu nationalism and its hegemonies, but also to interrogate secularist challenges and the counter-hegemonies that these engender. This is not to equate the violence of the oppressed with the violence of the oppressors, but to question the ideology which believes that violence can only be overcome by counter-violence, that means justify the end, that it is better to violate the other than be violated by the other. The real choice is not between the oppressor and the oppressed but between both and neither, between being either oppressor or oppressed and between being neither oppressor or oppressed. If so, then sooner or later, not just the so-called Hindu nationalist, but Hindutvavadis, Muslim fundamentalists, adivasis, women, Dalits, nationalists, critics of nationalism, and all kinds of others will have to find ways of talking to one another, negotiating with one another. But in order to do this, they must all agree on an agenda of minimum cooperation and coexistence. And this will happen only if we abandon the politics of special interests and accept the broader framework of sarvodaya, or universal responsibility. Of course, we need not give up our special interests in order to do so, but only align them to ever widening concentric circles of universal human welfare. After all, I must recognize that my interests are not inherently incompatible with the interests of others--true, they may appear to be so, but ultimately they are not. This ought to be my belief. But if, on the other hand, I were to believe that my interests can be secured only by denying or negating the interests of others, then I place myself in a state of continuous warfare and conflict. IV Re-aligning Secularism We need a much greater degree of introspection and self-examination before we can occupy the higher moral and intellectual ground from which to mount an attack on Hindutva. But instead, we find ourselves incapacitated and blinded by the deceptions and distortions of the very secularism which we claim to espouse, having enjoyed several undeserved privileges for decades as its official high priests. Instead of preserving and protecting such a decadent and debilitating secularism, perhaps we need to abandon it in favour of those neglected yet vital religious traditions which still hold the keys to our survival as a civilization. Or, if we cannot abandon our secularism, we need at least to modify it, purify it, recognize that it can at best be a minority position in a country such as ours, a vast majority of whose denizens are people of faith and dharma. If we accept this we shall try not to convert these so-called ignorant and superstitious masses to our superior brand of secularism, but instead align our secularism with those benign and emancipatory Dharmic forces which have both defined and sustained India's unique civilizational orientation for thousands of years. Our secularism cannot afford to be intolerant or insensitive to the religious identities and self-definitions of our fellow-citizens; rather, it needs to strengthen the best of these traditions by configuring itself into them, in a supportive and complimentary role if necessary. What we need to recognize is that hyper-secularism is also a corruption, just as Hindutva itself is. This secular fundamentalism secularism projects itself as the self-righteous other of Hindutva, the only anti-dote to the excesses and insecurities of the latter. In fact, secular fundamentalism is a product of the assault of modernity upon our civilization. Such hyper-secularism, which takes us away from ourselves, is appealing to many of us at an early stage in our lives. Later, several of us, invariably return to the faith of our ancestors, finding the whole spiritual terrain of modernity invariably barren and sterile. In fact, the only secularism which survives such a crisis is one which has a strong humanitarian and communitarian component. But the more humanitarian and communitarian it becomes, the more it begins to resemble Dharma. In fact, I would go so far as to argue that without recourse to the metalanguage of Dharma, such humanitarian secularism still remains incomplete and flawed. If we agree that the rise of the forces of Hindutva is an alarming and dangerous trend, then we will have to do better than to knead all its adherents into one ideological dough. That would only betray our need to create a demonology against which we can begin our self-serving intellectual crusades. The room for a dialogue must be created precisely by wedging into the tell-tale divergences not only between larger entities like the Shiv Sena and the BJP, but between the various members and factions of the so-called Sangh Parivar. Unless we recognize the differences between Govindacharya and Ashok Singhal, between Uma Bharati and Sadhvi Rithambara, we will make a dangerous and costly error. We shall have to admit that there is a space in India not only for a right-wing party, but also for one which claims to espouse the interests of the Hindus. What we must argue, however, is that the interests of the Hindus are not really different from the interests of the Muslims and of the other minorities because these interests are economic, political, social, and cultural. If the BJP tries to claim Gandhi's swadeshi for itself, we shall have to remind them that swadeshi is for both Hindu and Muslim, that the desh belongs alike to all those who live in it. We shall have to remind them that our religion does not condone, let alone encourage, the destruction of the shrines of other religions, that it does not equate temporal power and glory with spiritual upliftment. In brief, Hindutva can be challenged by showing how un-Hindu it is. We can defeat it not by retreating from Hinduism, leaving its rich and nourishing terrain to be appropriated by Hindutva, but by contesting Hindutva's claims over Hinduism, by disputing them, fighting them, and, ultimately disproving them. Hinduism must not go on the defensive, apologetically seeking refuge in secularism; instead, it must take the fight into the enemy's camp, challenging Hindutva to prove its bona-fides. Hindutva can be defeated not by substituting Hinduism with secularism, but by replacing a corrupt and rotten secularism with a genuinely pluralistic and satisfying Hinduism. Or, to put it in another way, Hindutva can be defeated only when a genuine secularism works to support a genuine Hinduism. Right now, however, what we have is a rotten secularism weakening and undermining an already embattled Hindu tradition by a politics of counter-minoritarianism or militant minoritarianism, which its colonized mind has copied and derived from certain trendy modes of Western scholarship. Such university-bred radicalism cannot survive without a continuous patronage from the West because, ultimately, it derives not only its agenda but its legitimacy from the West. Dalits and women, especially those among them who have reaped the benefits of affirmative action and social reform, and who now share the same privileges for which they attack high-caste Hindus, can make a crucial contribution at this stage by opting out of their pseudo-victim positions, abandoning the politics of special interests, and trying to evolve common causes with caste Hindus. A politics of cooperation and mutual responsibility needs to replace a politics of opposition and mutual hatred. And here, a sensitive and responsive majority looks towards a courageous and unselfish minority to take the lead. Conclusion What, then, we might ask, might the Dharma of secularism be? Surely, it would be to continue its fight against forces of religious intolerance and violence, to prevent the politicisation of these forces so as to create vote blocks, to prevent political parties which espouse such ideologies of opposition and hatred from assuming power. What is more important, such criticism or resistance ought not to be partial and selective, but fair and consistent. But the duty of secularism is much more than this. It is to show tolerance for its Other, which is religious, the spiritual, the Dharmic. Only when secularism can display a genuine understanding and respect for our Dharmic traditions can it play a useful role in our intellectual and political life. Without such understanding and respect, it will merely mirror what it opposes, its own fanaticism pitted against that of Hindu fanatics. The Dharma of secularism, at the least, is to show the same kind of tolerance to the religion as religion has shown to it in India. The result is that the best of our intellectuals and sages either demonstrate a Dharmic secularism or a sort of secular Dharma. Either will do, provided it is sincere and serious. What will not do is either religious or secularist extremism. Epilogue I wrote this paper six years back when the academic rhetoric against Hindutva was most strident. Some of the main intellectual opponents of Hindutva thought they would ensure its defeat by speaking and writing against it. Instead, Hindutva only became stronger. In the intervening years, many things have changed. Most people in the intellectual spectrum have recognized that some sort of right-wing politics is here to stay. Grudgingly, people from this hated group have been given opportunities to speak, whether in public debates or in the media. The schizophrenia of the Indian academy, however, is far from over. The untouchability practiced so unflinchingly earlier, still persists, albeit in a somewhat abated form. The paper was meant to be a reflection on academic pragmatics in contemporary India. More particularly, I tried to examine how the predominantly secularized, Hindu academy has responded to the threat posed by the political upsurge of right-wing, Hindu majoritarianism. I have argued that the academy has responded by a peculiar politics of its own, a politics which, by virtue of its apparently oppositional and progressive stance, cheats itself into feeling that it is fighting religious fanaticism, but is actually ineffective in doing so. This "false consciousness" prevents it from discharging its larger social and cultural responsibilities, something which it appears so eager to do. In other words, this paper tries to show that much of the counter-communalistic academic discourse is, paradoxically, a distorted reflection of the very thing that it seeks to defeat and destroy. This discourse which has its own paranoias and insecurities, upon closer scrutiny, reveals an uncanny resemblance to Hindu fundamentalism itself. Consequently, the secular academy is not just fearful and aggressive, but also partial and selective in its methods and strategies. Simply speaking, anti-Hindutva academics is born out of the insecurities of the secular Hindu intelligensia. Alarmed that the very middle-classes whose vanguard and champion it supposed itself to be was now deserting it allured by what was so obviously an inferior ideology, it has reacted with predictable anger and bitterness. This secular intelligensia had almost come to equate Hinduism with its brand of secularism, having been paternalistically tolerant of minority fanaticism, whether Muslim, Sikh, radical, or caste-based. None of these extremisms threatens it in the way Hindutva does. This sort of selective opposition to Hindu political militancy suggests the presence of an inverse communalism at the very core of this discourse. Such implicit tolerance or even support of minoritarian extremism actually lends strength to the insecurity of the majority, thus, perversely abetting militant majoritarianism. Hence, ironically, the academy ends up feeding and energising the very beast that it wishes to bind and tame. Dialogue (A quarterly journal of Astha Bharati)
Posted by: acharya Jul 22 2004, 07:42 PM
India in the balance ESSAY/ The Hindu nationalist ideology represented by the ruling Indian People's Party (BJP), is the most powerful force in the country's politics, and has underprinned the worst outbreaks of ethnic violence. But the days of reliable majorities are over in India. Its politics are underpinned by a vibrant pluralism. Ultimately, matters of economy and class will decide whether stability can be maintained. By Sten Widmalm Political Scientist Translated by Phil Holmes FOR THE FIRST TIME since India became independent, a government not led by the Congress party has completed almost a full term in office. Jawaharlal Nehru, whose political philosophy was founded on secular ideals, would surely have regarded this achievement as a defeat, as it is a Hindu nationalist party that has succeeded in providing stable government for almost five years. When India goes to the polls, on the 20th of April, this is not the only thing that will have changed since Nehru's days. In the "old" India, which lasted from independence to the mid 1980s, the political landscape was dominated by the Congress party and the Nehru/Gandhi dynasty. A majority of the population was poor or very poor; the middle class was small, and a tiny minority belonged to an enormously rich upper class. The economy was centrally managed, and whatever reforms were attempted it did not grow—from which we get the expression "the Hindu rate of growth." Most people worked in agriculture, and lived in the countryside, and families produced large numbers of children. At a national level the modern secular goals became fixed, whilst the countryside was imbued with the hierarchical rules of conduct of the caste system. The opportunities for people of low-caste to become upwardly mobile were very limited. A great deal of the old India remains of course, but much has changed. The dominance of the Congress party came to an end as early as the late 1980s, and today the party is plagued by a divided organisation and weak leadership. At a national level and in many of the states the Hindu nationalists, primarily the BJP, hold the political initiative. The economy has grown relatively rapidly during the 1990s and is continuing to do so. Industry is expanding and diversifying, with an exceptional IT sector which is taking jobs from the West and other parts of the world. The dominance of the caste system over social relations is finally weakening; literacy is growing and women are to an ever increasing degree gaining power and the opportunity of controlling their fertility. The Hindu nationalists are still making headway, but those of low caste have also gained a more sympathetic hearing for their views. Democracy has been revitalised, and groups of voters who previously had little power have begun to participate in elections. Otherwise a low-caste woman would not, for example, have been elected to govern the major state of Uttar Pradesh. The class dimension is becoming increasingly prominent in Indian politics. Class divisions are growing, but more and more people are succeeding in escaping from poverty into a kind of affluence. The middle classes now comprise a mixed bunch of both high caste and low caste people whom the market and the political actors are doing everything to propitiate. But there is also a flipside to this development. Many people who previously held a unique position in society now see themselves as being left behind and regard themselves as losers. Those people who now belong to the well-to-do provide strong support to the Hindu nationalists, who, whilst officially supporting a democratic social structure, form part of a larger movement whose ideological roots contain totalitarian modes of thought. The elections in a month's time will show whether the Hindu nationalists will continue to gain ground in India. Back to top TO THE EXTENT THAT in the years between independence and the 1980s a middle class existed at all, its desire to spend was held in check by a strictly regulated market. Nehru derived inspiration from the Soviet Union, and the state acquired enormous powers of control over firms and production. Consumption was regulated by erecting tariff barriers against the outside world. Although the Indian economy failed to take off, Indira Gandhi continued in her father's footsteps, and even extended state control to the banks. State and market were drawn together into ever closer relations. Regulating economic activity in a country the size of India was, of course, impossible, but they did the best they could by means of regulations, permissions and licenses for pretty well every imaginable economic activity. The "License Raj" that developed finally became so sluggish and unproductive that the Congress party realised the necessity of rolling back at least some of the state encroachments. After some failed attempts in the 1980s Prime Minister Narasimha Rao succeeded at the beginning of the 1990s in initiating a deregulation and liberalisation process which got growth going. Even if Indian shareholders have to endure a roller coaster ride on one of the world's currently most volatile stock-markets, the Indian economy is now characterised by constant growth. The Congress party should really take the credit for this among voters, but it is the Hindu nationalist BJP which is gaining political advantage from the fact that the economy is doing so well. Back to top IN THE RUN UP to the election the daily newspaper Indian Express published a list of the Congress party's weaknesses. Firstly, the party lacks ideas and an identity. Secondly, communications within the party do not work well. Thirdly, the leaders are starting to get old and cannot face the challenge from Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Vajpayee and his party, the Bhartiya Janata Party, are doing very well in the opinion polls. The surprising thing about this is that it is not the opposition who have put it together. These points were taken straight from an internal working paper intended solely for the leadership of the Congress party.1 The Congress party has never before given such a weak impression in the run up to a general election. Party leader Sonia Gandhi is struggling on, but her position is increasingly being questioned. Many people have difficulty coming to terms with the idea of an Italian as Prime Minister. Sonia Gandhi's final card, which she may possibly play just before the poll, is to allow one or both of her and Rajiv Gandhi's children, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, to stand as candidates for the Congress party. Most observers have the greatest faith in Priyanka who fits easily into politics and is reminiscent of her grandmother Indira. Rahul is considered to be too sulky, quite simply too like his father, who really had other interests but was sucked into the political leadership in 1980 after his brother Sanjay, the party's then crown prince, was killed in a flying accident. The Congress party is doing its level best to create a united front against the BJP and its allies. But the BJP is a better organised and more strategically conscious opponent. Back to top HINDU NATIONALISM in India is not being advanced by one party alone. It consists of several organisations, more or less closely linked to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS or the Association of National Volunteers), an ideological think tank for the entire Hindu nationalist movement. RSS was formed in 1925 with the express aim of "preserving" Hindu culture. In 1951 its political wing, Jana Sangh, was formed. Later, in the 1960s, the action group Vishna Hindu Parishad (VHP or the World Hindu Council) was formed, and in recent years several other smaller groups have arisen which to differing degrees are part of sangh parivar or "the family." But for a long time it was difficult for Jana Sangh to grow as a party as the Congress party dominated politics. The ideology of the party was directly opposed to Nehru's secular ideals, and the movement came to be regarded as anything but housebroken after the murder in 1948 of Mahatma Gandhi, which was committed by an RSS supporter. Only in the mid 1980s, after revising its political strategies, strengthening its party apparatus and recreating itself as Bhartiya Janata Party—The Indian People's Party (BJP)—did the tide turn. The BJP openly exploited the "Ayodhya question" in order to build up support. In the town of Ayodhya a mosque had been built on the spot where, according to interpretations of Hindu mythology, the god Ram was born. The Hindu nationalists claim that where the mosque now stands lay a temple devoted to Ram, a temple that was torn down by the Mogul emperor Babur after his invasion of 1526; he had the mosque built at the same place as a symbol of Islam's dominance over Hinduism. In the 1980s the BJP demanded that the mosque should be demolished and that a new temple to Ram be built. The cadre organisations that make up part of the RRS family had, what is more, suggestions for several hundred other mosques that ought to be demolished or "moved" according to the official phraseology of the movement, for various reasons. The BJP gained increasing popularity by pursuing this matter, and in December 1992 the BJP and VHP organised a march to the mosque which the sitting Congress party was not able to stop. Volunteer cadre members, kar sevaks, tore down large parts of the mosque, and in the large-scale riots that followed, Muslims in particular were the victims. In order to avoid further conflict the then Prime Minister, Narasimha Rao, allowed the ruined mosque to remain. No temple was to be built in the ruins, but nor was the mosque to be repaired. Hindu nationalist activists began, however, to collect together the constituent parts for a new temple not far from the ruined mosque. For several years kar sevaks undertook a pilgrimage to Ayodhya, and one route used passed through Godhra, a town in Gujarat that had long been troubled by riots and conflicts between Muslims and Hindus. When the activists' trains stopped in Godhra there were, as often as not, attacks on Muslims. On 27 February two years ago one of the trains was stopped just after having left the station. A Muslim mob set fire to one of the carriages containing not only Hindu activists but also women and children who had nothing to do with the movement. Fifty-seven of them lost their lives. The incident led to widespread attacks on Muslims in Gujarat. Prime Minister Vajpayee warned the VHP to withdraw its supporters, but nothing helped. In one week two thousand Muslims lost their lives. The Chief Minister of the state, Narendra Modi, who is a member of BJP, was completely passive at the beginning of the week in which the pogroms took place. Subsequently the police and bureaucrats were accused of having been accessories. The aftermath has been depressing for those people attempting to gain redress. Courts have been unwilling to try cases, and witnesses have been subjected to systematic pressure from extreme Hindu nationalists. Many people considered that the least Modi could do was to resign, but he stayed put with explicit support from Prime Minister Vajpayee. Modi led the party in the state elections the same year, which were a great victory both for him and for the BJP. The respected columnist and social researcher Praful Bidwai characterises the massacres in Gujarat as "the worst pogroms against an ethnic minority in independent India." But his observation itself raises the question of why this incident has to be regarded as worse than, for example, the massacres of Sikhs following the murder of Indira Gandhi in 1984. The similarities are striking. In Gujarat the violence was triggered by the attack on Hindus in Godhra, in Delhi the violence was triggered when Indira Gandhi was murdered by her Sikh bodyguards. In Gujarat the governing party supported the pogroms or refrained from intervening when the massacres were going on; the same thing happened in Delhi when the Congress party was in power. Few of the next of kin of the Sikh victims or of the injured survivors won any legal redress after 1984; nor did Muslims after 2002. There are, however, two differences. Firstly, the events in Gujarat can be understood on the basis of the ideology of the RSS family, to which the BJP belongs. According to a prominent figure in RSS, MS Golwalkar, Muslims have no rights in the Hindu nation. In one of his central publications Golwalkar writes: The foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no ideas but those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture […] or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deriving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment—not even citizen's rights.2 As Bidwai points out, RSS and parts of the Hindutva movement have long seen Nazi Germany as a model of how a country should maintain "racial purity." Christophe Jaffrelot, the sociologist who has perhaps familiarised himself most deeply with the movement, gives a slightly different interpretation. Golwalkar's totalitarian view differs in that it is cultural rather than racial unity that is being emphasised. But for the Muslims in India this does not matter. If Golwalkar's teaching were carried out, the Muslims and other minorities would lose all legal rights. The massacres of the Sikhs occurred in connection with an ongoing separatist conflict. The action of the Congress party was taken in revenge, but was not a logical result of an ideology that was expressly aimed at Sikhs. This is no defence of what happened, but it is, for all that, an important difference. Secondly, there is a great deal of evidence indicating that the character of the violence in 2002 was considerably different from that in 1984. It seems to have been remarkably sexualised. The violence was directed to a great extent towards women's sexual organs and breasts. Gang rapes were pursued systematically. Children were the victims to a great extent, and cruelty of an unusual kind seems to have been used to send a message to the Muslim population. It is, therefore, understandable that Bidwai regards the attacks on Muslims as the worst on a minority in India since independence. During the BJP's years in power Hindu nationalism's hegemonic claims have won both violent and silent victories. Literature has been introduced into schools which contains complete falsifications of history in order to make propaganda for the superiority of Hindu civilisation. The "RSS family" has grown and acquired increasingly radical and militant supporters. In particular one should note Bajrang Dal, which has become infamous for its acts of violence against Christians and Muslims. In Maharashtra, where a large part of the movement has its roots, and which during the 1990s was governed by, among other Hindu nationalist parties, Shiv Sena, Hinduification can be seen most clearly. The leader of Shiv Sena, Bal Thackeray, has expressed his admiration for Hitler's extermination of the Jews. The sitting state government has also forbidden literature that might be regarded as offensive to Hindu nationalists, and at the Mumbai International Film Festival several entries dealing with sensitive issues, such as the attacks on Muslims in Gujarat, were not allowed to compete. This year the organisers for the first time demanded that domestic entries had to have passed Indian film censorship. There is, however, strong protective cushioning in India preventing a party like the BJP from going too far. The democratic constitution in combination with pluralism is the most important. Despite its successes the BJP is far from achieving a majority on its own in parliament. It has to rely on a large number of regional parties who in no way share its extreme version of Hindu nationalist ideology. This is why Vajpayee is Prime Minister. He adopts a "moderate" position, and is seen as one of the least chauvinist leaders within the BJP. Back to top TO CARRY OUT A HEALTH CHECK on democracy in India we can use the World Value Survey's measurements of attitudes to democracy, which is regularly inspected on a global basis. The two most recent surveys were carried out in 2000/2001 and in 1995. The BJP came to power in 1998, and if it has influenced the country as a whole in an anti-democratic direction, this should be reflected in the measurements. There are, however, no unequivocal patterns. The citizens' support for democracy, as in most countries, remains very high. A good 90 per cent of those asked expressed their support for this form of government.3 If, on the other hand, citizens are asked to what extent they prefer "[a] strong leader who does not need to bother about parliament and elections," you can deduce certain changes from their answers. From 1995 to 2000/2001 the number of citizens who thought this was "very good" has increased from 27 to 35 per cent. On the other hand the number who thought that this was "quite good" dropped from 42 to 24 per cent. In total the proportion of citizens who considered strong leadership as to any degree positive dropped by nine percentage points. What did, however, stand out in this study was that while 28 per cent of the upper classes gave "strong support" to the alternative of "a strong leader" when the study was conducted in 1995, this figure had more than doubled in 2000/2001, ending up at 70 per cent. In the "lower middle class" group the proportion giving strong support for the model with a strong leader had increased from 18 to 33 per cent. The support for anti-democratic views has therefore increased significantly among the well-to-do. If we wish to delve more deeply into the question of the health of democracy, we can make use of a study recently carried out in 24 villages in the quite underdeveloped state of Madhya Pradesh and the better off Kerala.4 In Madhya Pradesh, where Muslims are in a clear minority and the BJP is strong, widespread suspicion is prevalent among Muslims. If Hindus in Madhya Pradesh are asked spontaneously to state which group in society they dislike the most, more than 30 per cent answer Muslims. In Kerala it is the opposite. There the mix of Christians, Muslims and Hindus is more evenly balanced. The BJP only has weak support, and there is scarcely any suspicion of Muslims by the Hindus. In Madhya Pradesh the suspicion is greater among BJP supporters, if you compare with other parties. But the difference is, nevertheless, not as great as one might suppose. Forty-nine per cent of all those belonging to a non-BJP party state that you cannot trust a Muslim, while the figure for BJP supporters is 58 per cent. The figures expose a rift in society that is worrying. If you look at the links between attitudes to Muslims and socio-economic position, a clear pattern emerges. The conditions for having a negative attitude towards Muslims are highest if one is a Hindu, belongs to a high caste, votes for the BJP and above all, has a low standard of living. If you factor into this a high level of education the disapproval of Muslims increases even more. The disapproval of Muslims in Madhya Pradesh, andprobably several other parts of India, is due in part to the fact that those of high caste have increasingly lost their leading socio-economic status. If belonging to a high caste group used to imply significantly increased chances of an individual gaining access to the standard of living of the upper class, today it may not even provide a reliable ticket to the lower middle class. A significant section of those of high caste now see themselves being left behind in socio-economic status, which causes an increased suspicion of Muslims. One does not need to go so far as to adopt the hypotheses of the modernisation school to understand the tensions that are growing. It is perhaps sufficient to understand the concept of "relative deprivation" developed by Ted Gurr in the early 1970s in order to put your finger on the mechanism of discontent. Differences in affluence measured in absolute terms do not necessarily create conflict and distrust; it is the subjective experience of change which is important. The ideology of the BJP makes it easy to designate the Muslims as scapegoats. But Kerala also shows that pluralism in combination with a high level of education can to a great extent mitigate conflicts between groups. Back to top ALTHOUGH THE BJP has the wind in its sails, the outcome of the elections is not a foregone conclusion. Neither the BJP nor the Congress party will be able to gain an overall majority. Whichever party gains the most votes, the party forming the government will have to rely on support from other parties. Up to the end of the 1980s things were different. Then the elections were decided by great tidal waves produced by voting intentions being magnified by the majority voting system. But India has for a long time defied "Duverger's Law," which says that plurality system (in single member districts) tends to produce a two-party system. The elections results today are, as Yogendra Yadav, working in the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), points out, primarily an aggregate result of the outcomes in the states in which regional parties play a prominent role. If we look at the support as share of the vote, then the BJP and Congress do not differ as much as might be implied by the BJP's command of parliament. Besides, neither the BJP nor the Congress party is standing in all constituencies. It might appear paradoxical, but the BJP has based its successes in the 1990s on standing in fewer and fewer constituencies.5 The strategy is that you concentrate your forces in places where you have a reasonable chance of winning, and withdraw from those constituencies where your allies are standing, or where the opposition is too strong. The Congress party, which is still attempting to maintain its image as a national party, is slowly beginning to realise that it will itself be forced down this path. The days of reliable majorities are over in Indian politics. I recently visited CSDS to talk to Yogendra Yadav about the role caste and class will play in the coming elections. "The class dimension is prominent in voting patterns in India today," says Yogendra Yadav. "The irony is that Marxists and western intellectuals, who should have taken this up, have turned their backs on all kinds of quantitative studies, as they have adopted a postmodernist stance. So much of academic thinking is determined not by what is happening in politics but by other factors, such as, for example, what is trendy at the major American universities. But class voting was discernible in the 1990s, and the rise of the BJP is clearly related to this. A point that Anthony Heat and I have made is that the Congress party does not possess a unified support group at national level. The people the Congress party appeals to depends to a great extent on who the challengers are at a regional level. When the Congress party is challenging the left in Tripura, West Bengal, Kerala and so on, the Congress party is the party of the privileged. When it is challenging the BJP, it is the party of the underprivileged. "We use the unflattering metaohor that the Congress party is like a cushion that takes the shape of the person that last sat on it. But when it is challenging regional parties its strategy is not as clear. A study recently carried out by Sanjay Kumar at CSDS shows that, if among the voters of New Delhi you divide up the caste categories into class categories, interesting patterns emerge. The upper class Brahmins, for example, vote for the BJP, while working class Brahmins vote for the Congress party. In earlier studies I show that the BJP has created a block of voters who are neither class-based nor caste-based. On the other hand you can see that the BJP has gained strong support among those of high caste and the upper and middle classes, whilst the Congress party has support from those of low caste and the lower classes. What we mean by middle class represents the top 10 per cent of the population, and by upper class the top few percent. Which is why it is not so interesting in an analysis of the electorate to maintain a clear distinction in particular between upper and middle class. Together they are a strong consumer group which represents between 10 per cent and 14 per cent of the population. Then we have a large group that falls below the poverty line. In between we have a grey area with for example "upwardly mobile groups," where the BJP has attracted increased support. Nor must we forget that the BJP has succeeded increasingly well at gaining support among very poor groups. But the real battle for the electors in 2004 is to do with the upper echelons of the lower class groups that have no fixed allegiances." Back to top YADAV INDICATES that those groups are a mixed bag of which we only have scattered depictions. On the one hand they include people of high caste who seem to be on their way down the socio-economic ladder. But there are also low caste people who are on their way up. We have for a long time seen that urbanisation tends to reduce the significance of caste. Caste rites of different kinds are indubitably still practiced, but for more and more they are an outward manifestation, something like baptisms, weddings and the celebration of Christmas in Sweden, which for most people have no religious significance, meaning or content. But there are dramatic changes taking place in rural India as well. Much depends on the growth in literacy. The number of children per family is dropping rapidly, and forecasts of catastrophic overpopulation have to give way to discussions about India within the foreseeable future ending up at even under the "replacement level". Anirudh Krishna has described how this influences the opportunities for subsistence among those of low caste. Not so long ago it was almost exclusively those belonging to a higher caste who could read. For this reason they gained a central position as local entrepreneurs—but were then primarily a resource for other high caste people. The entrepreneurs could help out in minor tasks, everything from getting a prescription from the doctors in the towns to helping with more complicated business deals, for which political contacts were necessary, for example applying for permission for business activities of different kinds. Today they have been replaced by new entrepreneurs or "the new leaders"—Naye netas—who can be low caste but who are enormously industrious and successful.6 These entrepreneurs have, what is more, swept up a larger client base than their predecessors, as they have better contacts and move more easily among the underclass and those of low caste. To be of low caste in India does not any longer mean that you are doomed to live with a low standard of living. Which is why one can say that a new India is emerging. But parallel with this development, we can also see that an ever stronger group of Hindu nationalists are gaining control of politics, culture and debate. At present this movement has no single strong political counterweight in the rich diversity of parties. Muslims and other minorities find themselves in an inferior position and feel directly threatened. Which is also part of the new India. STEN WIDMALM Ph.D. in Political Science at Uppsala University Back to top Footnotes: 1. "Cong puts it in black & white: we lack idea, identity", by Kota Neelima, Indian Express, New Delhi (Late City), Feb. 1, pp.1-2). Back 2. M.S. Golwalkar, We, or our nationhood defined, Nagpur: Bharat Prakashan, 1939, p. 251. Quoted in Christophe Jaffrelot, The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics – 1925 to 1990s, New Delhi, Penguin Books, 1999, p. 56. Back 3. Information from the latest survey has been analysed in collaboration with Thorleif Petersson, Department of Theology, Uppsala University. Back 4. The survey material was obtained in the project "Decentralization and Governance in India" which was financed by SIDA (The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) and Uppsala University.
Posted by: k.ram Jul 23 2004, 04:59 AM Hindu nationalism a major threat: UN NEW DELHI: A United Nations report lauded India - home to the world’slargest Hindu and second-largest Muslim populations - for achieving economic progress despite religious diversity, but called the rise of Hindu nationalist groups a “grave challenge”. The Human Development Report 2004, prepared by the UN Development Program, focused this year on cultural liberty, and rejected notions that cultural differences drag down growth and cause social, economic and religious conflict. “The report challenges the notion that a ‘clash of civilisations’ is inevitable,” Maxine Olson, head of the United Nations in India, told reporters. The report placed India at 127, the same as last year, on overall development indices among 177 countries, but praised it for providing cultural freedom to its citizens. “India has managed its diverse cultures with pluralist policies and 15 official languages, and made remarkable progress in economic growth and in health and education,” the UN report said. Muslims, at 12 percent, form the largest minority in Hindu-majority India, which has a population of more than 1 billion. However, the report underscored rising tensions between Hindus and Muslims -such as the months of clashes in 2002 in the western state of Gujarat. Atleast 1,000 Muslims were killed in reprisal attacks after a train carrying Hindus was burned, and the local government accused Muslims of responsibility. “Modern India is facing a grave challenge to its constitutional commitment to multiple and complementary identities with the rise of groups that seek to impose a singular Hindu identity on the country,” the UN report said. “These threats undermine the sense of inclusion and violate the rights of minorities in India today.” India is currently witnessing an economic boom and one of the fastest growth rates in the world, but large parts of the population remain in poverty, and the country’s politics is deeply interwoven into religion and caste differences. “When I read the report, I felt proud as an Indian,” said Information and Broadcasting Minister Jaipal Reddy. “It amounts to the ideological validation of all the insights and policies in India’s constitution.” “Cultural liberty and democracy are Siamese twins,” he said. “India has been able to maintain unity in diversity because of its democracy.” For the fourth year in a row, Norway topped the United Nations’ development index, which ranks nations according to income, life expectancy and education levels. It was followed by Sweden and Australia. ap
Posted by: Viren Jul 23 2004, 02:43 PM
[url=]Secularism vs. Hindu Nationalism: Interrogating the Terms of the Debate [/url]
Posted by: manju Jul 23 2004, 05:20 PM
Why I think Secularism is IRRELEVANT TO INDIA. I had this writtin last year when there was discussion going on with my buddies thru email. Please bear with typos and a few errors inprose... Some random thoughts Would appreciate feedaback on this... Why Secularism is IRRELEVANT TO INDIA History of Secularism: If you look a bit into history it very interesting how the concept of "secularism" evolved. I don’t claim to be an authority on history by any stretch of imagination. I have done some reading here and there. Consider the definition of secularism definition here: Mariam-Websters definition of "Secularism". Function: noun, Date: 1851 (NOTE THIS YEAR) : Indifference to or rejection or exclusion of religion and religious considerations 1. secular spirit or tendency, esp. a system of political or social philosophy that rejects all forms of religious faith and worship. 2. the view that public education and other matters of civil policy should be conducted without the introduction of a religious element. ONCE AGAIN CLOSELY OBSERVE THE MEANING GIVEN ABOVE... as you read below Secularism was in response to the dogma of the church in Europe. This period coincides with the major changes in Europe- renaissance,,,, scientific discoveries..etc........ In western civilization, secularism was in response to the fanatic church doctrine, which controlled all aspects of life in medieval Europe. It was a means to get rid of the shackles of the Christian dogma. Remember the Galileo story: the church condemned him for proclaiming that earth went round the sun .........the church was too nosy and interfering in matters of science..etc about which it had no clue... So, Fact 1. It is not an original indian concept. We borrowed many things from the West- good, bad and in-between... Today we have been burdened our self with this imperative to measure/evaluate Indian society with this tool/standard called secularism. This is a burden of colonial hangover and ignorance about our history, culture and spirituality. India has simply borrowed it into its vocabulary and I am not sure how many in the so called "secular brigade" in India are aware of this- I mean the Laloo’s, Mulayam’s, the Congresswallah’s (they were responsible for Sikh riots which saw several hundred Sikhs killed). Because of the non-dogmatic nature of Hindu philosophy there is NO separation between spirituality and other aspects of life, be it science, music, mathematics. Spirituality and entities like education, politics, art (which fall under the rubric of secular institutions in the western concept) are not mutually exclusive in the Hindu spiritual world. Hindu Dharma is a way of life and not just a belief system. It is broaden enough to include the nastikas (atheists), agnostics (? Jains and Buddhists) and..what ever else, collectively called as Indian spiritual thought. In Indian spiritual philosophy (includes teachings of Buddha, Mahaveera,,,,amongh other Indian thought leaders) there is no concept of heathen, non believer and such other names which are used liberally by the Abrahami religions (Judaisn, Christianity and Islam). All view points are accepted (not just tolerated) including those that contradict or oppose the very foundations, for eg Vedas are not accepted as the foundation of Hindu dharma by some schools of philosophies in India ( I dont know the details. For e.g. there is a philosophy which believes in pleasure principle, so they encourage drinking…. And there are other schools which call themselves as Nastikas. These ideas were debated but the proponents of alternative ideas were never persecuted). Consider the Alabama (a state in USA) case where a high court chief justice as put up a ten commandments monument in a High Court Building. For beginners, a few of the TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE : 1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (So, all Idol worshipping Hindus living in western world would have been damned in the western nations had there been no separation of church and the state) 4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. below are some of the punishments for not following the commandments: Ten Punishments Exodus 22:20: He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed. Leviticus 24:16: And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death. (CHECK THE DICTIONARY FOR THE MEANING OF THIS WORD-BLASHPHEMY. For beginners: All Hindus who pray to a god other than the one described in the bible are committing a blasphemous (syn: sacrilegious, irreligious) act as per the Bible Exodus 31:15: Whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Mark 16:16: He that believeth not, shall be damned. (MEAN: He who does not believe in the god of the bible will be damned) Malachi 2:1-4: And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. If you will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart to give glory to my name, ... behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces. ---- You may Probably now be getting an idea as to why the framers of constitution in the west, in this case America decided to keep the state and the church separate. Based on above discussion you can easily argue that there is no reason to separate dharma from raajneethi (politics), education, science as there is not inherent conflict. In fact they are meant to complement one another- spirituality, science, arts, music....etc. So, the concept of secularism in the Indian context (where Hindus are at least 85% of population) is irrelevant. The only reason we waste our energy debating it in India is we cant get over the colonized mentality. Coming back to Indian version of secularism- It is a big JOKE. It has been mainly Christian and Muslim appeasement and Hindu bashing (overtly and covertly) to put it mildly.
Posted by: Mudy Jul 23 2004, 06:56 PM
manju, Excellent post. Actually, today's Indian politicians have not read any history books and they are clueless. It is now fashionable to call secular without understanding. E.g current education minister Arjun Singh proudly claims he had never read any Ancient Hindu literature. In Indian context it is façade to appease Muslims and Christian and alienate Majority population. Another Nehru baggage.
Posted by: Mudy Jul 25 2004, 05:09 PM
'If there is no religion in politics, it is of no use to me' -Pioneer PTI/ Ahmedabad The Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, LK Advani, today said "if there was no religion in politics then it was of no use to him". Addressing a gathering at the opening ceremony of a physiotherapy centre in the city, he said "there is a section of leaders who talk about good politics and secular politics and according to them religion should not be involved in political matters. But if there is no religion in politics it is of no use to me". The former Deputy Prime Minister went on to explain that "religion is ingrained in politics as it is in Indian culture. According to me, secular politics is not keeping religion away from politics but not letting religious matters interfere in political affairs". Citing an example, Advani said several religious organisations had helped people irrespective of castes and religions during the earthquake in the state three years ago. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who was also present on the occasion, raised the tainted-ministers' issue without naming any person or political party, saying a new trend was arising in politics and nowadays politicians were emerging from the barell of a gun rather than from a freedom struggle or a social cause. "Earlier in our country there was caste-based politics and now we are in an era where criminals are becoming leaders of the nation. Democracy will gasp to death under such leadership", he said.
Posted by: acharya Jul 26 2004, 12:48 PM
Keralaonline, July 25, 2004, Sunday COMMENTARY: SECULAR OR COMMUNAL KERALA J. Ajith Kumar If Gujarat is the crucible of Communalism, Kerala is the laboratory for Secularism in India. Kerala model in state economy has busted and no economist will advocate a Kerala model for development now. The other major facet of social life in Kerala viz. Secularism is also under severe strain nowadays and all are eagerly waiting for the final outcome. Left movements are supposed to be the protector & nourisher of Secularism worldwide and Kerala is one of the 'Left Havens' in India. Though West Bengal has been under Left rule for more number of years, the laboratory remains in Kerala because of its higher literacy and better social indices. After all, Secularism has to succeed in a developed & modern society and then only it will become a relevant model for others. For a dispassionate analysis, let us start with the basic assumption that both Secularism and Communalism are valid alternatives of state policy and both are equally good or bad. From time immemorial there have been friendly migrations and unfriendly onslaughts on the Kerala society, mostly through the sea. In all the major port cities along coastal Kerala, we find remnants of this in the form of a wide demographic mix. Then there have been organised exercises in religious conversion going on unrestrained (sometimes even welcomed) for years. The severe caste inequalities that existed in the native Hindu society only helped the work of missionaries. Emergence of Sree Narayana Guru from one of the backward castes and his strong reaffirmation of the native faith blunted the efforts of organised religions. But for him, the missionaries would have done a clean and almost complete work thanks to their overwhelming financial and political clout especially during the British Raj. Though this is an important historical fact that had far reaching consequences, I am yet to see any historian recording it as a major factor that shaped our present day society. Much water has flown down the forty four rivers since then. Officially, Kerala is now a state with roughly 55% Hindus, 25% Muslims and 20% Christians. Such figures are highly questionable given the fact that deprived sections of our society, including Adivasis and Scheduled Castes, do not participate properly in any exercise of census. Another point to consider is regarding the definition of these religious categories itself by those who carry out the census. While Christians and Muslims can be better identified by common customs and rituals, Hindu society is nothing but a myriad of castes, sects and tribes. In effect, all those who do not fall into any other religion get classified under Hinduism and its apparent majority status is only a myth at best. Then there is the major dichotomy between those who practise & profess any religion and those who are just born into them. Again we can find the number of unbelievers, non-believers and anti-religionists disproportionately higher in the so-called majority religion. I believe that if we can take a count of the genuine practitioners, the split would be something like 25:22:18. It is with this delicate demographic balance that Kerala is trying to emerge successful in its experiments with Secularism. All the major communities in Kerala are organised and our vital social service sectors like education and health are 'infested' with institutions belonging to different communal organisations. Here let me correlate between communal organisations and Communalism. All communal organisations are essentially communal and the only logical definition for Communalism is that of organising & bargaining on the basis of belonging to various communities. In contrast, Secularism as a state policy is not to take cognisance of the community of a citizen for rendering any assistance or while implementing any rule or law. In recent times this was amply exemplified by the way a new French law was implemented in their public schools. They were bold and truthful enough to ban even religious symbols in order to avoid any identification and consequent segregation. Attempts by some of our own intellectuals to take a stand that all communal organisations do not represent Communalism is a highly subjective viewpoint and hence illogical. Similar is the case of involvement of religious men in public activities like agriculture, industry and business. Poojaris, Moulavis, Clergy etc., are meant for activities within the places of worship and the moment they step out into public activities, they are communalising these fields. Any public movement led by religious men is also communal and denotes Communalism. Leftist ideologies are essentially atheistic and should be opposed to any form of religion (as a way to reach God). But in a deeply cultural environment like in India this has proved to be impractical. Silence (and helplessness) of party functionaries when immediate family members of almost all the communist stalwarts resort to purely religious rituals immediately after their deaths, talk volumes about the failure of pure communism in Indian context. The stance of other Leftists has always been opportunistic whenever it comes to the question of their association with religious forces. It is this loose conglomeration of Left forces that is backing up Secularism in its critical fight against Communalism in the 'Left Haven' of Kerala. Will Secularism succeed as an acceptable and practical policy of the State? Or will we end up accepting Communalism as the policy and proceed to the extent of accepting the different communal organisation as part of the state machinery to implement government programs? If social justice is distribution of common wealth in direct proportion to the population of various communities, perhaps Communalism is a better alternative to usher in a just society. On the other hand, if justice is meant for the meritorious, irrespective of the community, it is Secularism that should guide the government. Let us see wait and see the final outcome of this decisive battle.
Posted by: acharya Jul 26 2004, 02:16 PM
DHARMIC ECOLOGY AND THE NEO-PAGAN INTERNATIONAL: THE DANGERS OF RELIGIOUS ENVIRONMENTALISM IN INDIA by Meera Nanda [Paper Presented at Panel No. 15 at the 18th European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies, 6-9 July 2004 Panel Title: From Landscapes to Genomes: Authoritative Knowledge in Contested Domains 8 July, Lund, Sweden ] Paper Abstract: The Context: Politics in India is undergoing a process of sacralization, or religionization. The founding principles of India's secular democracy are being reformulated in the concepts, symbols and rituals derived from the elements of orthodox and neo-Hinduism. In keeping with the fabled "inclusivism' of Hinduism, Hindu nationalists are trying to co-opt the key modern ideals of liberalism, secularism and humanism as being always-already present in the eternal truths of the Vedas. Hindutva is "modern" in rhetoric, for, unlike the paleo-religious fundamentalists like the Taliban, it is not turning its back to the modern world. But Hindutva is deeply anti-modern in reality, for, like all "respectable" religious fundamentalist parties (e.g., Moral Majority in the US, or the Mullahs in Iran), it seeks to co-opt modern ideals and deny any contradiction, any break and any secularization of the Hindu understanding of nature and society. The problematic: The rhetoric of "Vedic spirituality-as-science"/ "spiritual science" is playing a key role in the erosion of secular public discourse in India. There is a concerted, state-sponsored effort by Hindu ideologues to reinterpret modern science as a mere footnote to Hindu spiritual traditions which see the phenomenal world of nature as an expression of the Spirit or Brahman. Hindu nationalists and their intellectual allies including numerous gurus and swamis, inside and outside the government, all claim that the most advance research in physics, neurosciences, biology, ecology and mathematics all confirm the holistic worldview of the Vedas and/or are already presaged in the Vedas. Conversely, they justify esoteric, paranormal and pseudo-sciences like astrology, vastu, faith-healing, telepathy, and reincarnation memories etc. as legitimate sciences within the holistic, non-dualistic worldview of Vedic Hinduism. The introduction of astrology is one prominent example of such thinking, as is the state-sponsored "research" and propagation of Vastu shastra, cow-urine, scientific benefits of yagnas and "Vedic" mathematics. The question this panel asks is: how and where "authoritative knowledge is created about such imponderables as genes - or atoms. Who is the God of the really small things?" My paper will offer one possible answer to this question: authoritative interpreters of knowledge of material things, big and small, are none other than the "Intellectual kshatriyas" of the Sangh Parivar. URL FOR FULL TEXT : 072004_D_Ecology_MeeraNand\a.pdf
Posted by: bgrkumar Jul 29 2004, 02:38 PM
How consequential was the Siwan massacre in the "Republic of Bihar"? It may not be much in its face value but it proved that Dalit-Muslim unity or Yadav-Muslim consolidation is a political sham not a social reality. These are inventions of 'secularists' who feel there is enough scope of fragmenting the Indian society without paying for it. Bihar has traditionally been a bastion of 'secularism' despite its pervasive religiosity. Yet it can produce luminaries like Babu Rajendra Prasad who called Nehru's bluff when the latter advised him not to join the inauguration of renovated Somnath temple as the President. Remember also that Sikhs were at the forefront of Hindu resistance during the Great Calcutta Killings of August, 1946. Similarly, the Hindu backlash against Direct Action came from Bihar, which convinced Jinnah that he could not walk away with Pakistan with his intimidating tactics in a Hindu majority country. Similarly, if people like Shahabuddin and Taslimuddin are allowed their ways in secular India, somewhere or the other it could produce unfortunate reactions. This would be unfortunate because innocent people like alm-seekers are killed while the real culprits escape. The right response that civil society in Bihar can produce is by having an honest discourse on this perverted "secularism".
Posted by: acharya Jul 29 2004, 05:58 PM
------------------ 'The Glories of India': Indian Patriotism in Islamic Discourse By Yoginder Sikand In Hindutva discourse, Muslims are routinely projected as the great, menacing 'other'. Hindutvawadis claim a monopoly of India nationalism, insisting that Indian nationalism is synonymous with their understanding of Hinduism. Accordingly, those who fall outside the pale of Brahminical Hinduism are deemed to be 'anti-national' and 'traitors', and, consequently, are said to have no right to exist in India o­n their terms. Muslims, in particular, are singled out as the 'enemies' of the Indian nation. The allegation of Muslim perfidy, of Muslims being inveterate foes of 'Bharat Mata and as conspiring to destroy India from within, is tirelessly repeated in Hindutva propaganda. The same message is often put across, although somewhat less crudely, in 'secular' 'nationalist' discourse, which, while claiming to speak for the entire 'Indian nation', is overwhelmingly dominated by 'upper' caste Hindu, north Indian, male voices. The claims of the Hindutvawadis to monopolise nationalist discourse can easily be dismissed. If nationalism is not to be reduced to 'nation-worship', but, instead, is understood as a firm commitment to the cause of the people of the 'nation', particularly to the oppressed and the marginalized, Hindutva, which reflects the interests and worldview of the Brahminical minority elites, can be said to actually be unambiguously 'anti-national' in its ethos. After all, Brahminism has operated for centuries as a thoroughly anti-people ideology, reducing the vast majority of the inhabitants of this country to ritually sanctioned slavery. Likewise, the claim that Muslims are necessarily disloyal to India because of their religion can be easily countered. This claim is often articulated in the context of discussions about the Partition of India. Without going into the complex factors behind the Pakistan demand, suffice it to say that the Muslim League did not receive the support of the majority of the Indian 'ulama, nor even of the majority of the Indian Muslims, who, in any case, did not have any voice in deciding the political future of the country. The League was led by western-educated Muslims, mainly from the landlord and middle classes, who were largely hostile to the claims of the 'ulama. They tended to see the 'ulama as hopelessly 'obscurantist' and as major rivals to their own claims to speak on behalf of all the Muslims of India. They envisioned Pakistan to be a Muslim state, but were opposed to the notion of an Islamic polity. It is, however, another matter that they did manage to win over some 'ulama to back their cause. On the other hand, many among the 'ulama, particularly the majority of those associated with the Deoband school, the largest and most influential madrasa in the country, were vehemently opposed to the League and its Pakistan scheme. Clearly, if the Hindutva argument that Muslims cannot be loyal citizens of India because of their commitment to Islam had any validity at all, this could not have been the case. The role of a major section of the Deobandi 'ulama in opposing the League and in supporting the demand for a united India, where all communities would enjoy equal rights, is conveniently glossed over in Hindutva and even 'secular' 'nationalist' narratives of India's anti-colonial struggle. Although these Deobandi 'ulama were thoroughly conservative in religious and social matters, they were unflagging in their commitment to a form of Indian nationalism that transcended religious boundaries. In doing so, they insisted that there was no contradiction between being Muslim and Indian at the same time. A recently reprinted Urdu booklet, bearing the revealing title of 'Hamara Hindustan Aur Uske Faza'il' ('Our India and Its Glories'), brilliantly articulates this commitment of leading Deobandi 'ulama to the cause of composite Indian nationalism. The booklet consists of two essays, one each by Maulana Husain Ahmad Madni, rector of the Deoband madrasa and head of the Jami'at ul- 'Ulama-i Hind ('The Union of the 'Ulama of India'), and his disciple and the general secretary of the Jami'at, Maulana Syed Muhammad Miyan. The two essays were first published sometime in the early 1940s, in response to the Muslim League's demand for a separate Muslim state and to counter the claim articulated by many 'upper' caste Hindu leaders that Indian nationalism was necessarily synonymous with 'Hindu nationalism', thus effectively excluding the Muslims from the Indian nationalist project. Challenging the League's claims of speaking for Islam and on behalf of all the Muslims of India, they argued, from within an Islamic framework, for a united India, while also critiquing the Pakistan demand. At the same time, they stridently questioned the Hindu 'nationalist' insistence that Muslims had no place in the free India unless they agreed, for all practical purposes, to abandon their allegiance to Islam and be submerged in the Hindu fold. Both essays were based on the argument that India had a special, revered place in the Islamic tradition. Hence, they insisted, the Muslims of the country should consider themselves particularly honored to have been born in the country. Because India had been specially blessed by God, they argued, the Muslims must work for the welfare, including the unity of the country. Contrarily, to demand the partition of the country, they suggested, would be to defy the Divine Will itself. At the same time, using the motif of India being specially blessed by God, for which they drew upon resources within the larger Islamic tradition, they sought to counter the assertion put forward so aggressively by 'upper' caste Hindu 'nationalists' of Islamic identity being necessarily contradictory to Indian nationalism. Madni's essay, titled 'Hamara Hindustan' ('Our India'), draws upon narratives contained in the works of classical Islamic scholars to illustrate the 'glories' (faza'il) of India. He writes that Islamic tradition has it that God directed Adam, the first man and the first prophet, to be sent down to earth to India. It was thus from India that the human race sprang from Adam's progeny. This implies, Madni argues, that the Indian Muslims must consider India as their 'ancient home' (watan al-qadim). In addition, Madni refers to the Qur'an as mentioning that God has sent prophets to every nation, and Madni takes this to mean that prophets must have also been sent to India as well. This, he says, is further suggested by the fact the numerous Muslim saints (awliya-i allah) have 'discovered', through 'spiritual encounters' (ruhi mulaqat), the graves of various prophets in India. Since, as the Qur'an says, the religion (din) taught by all the prophets of God, including those who were possibly sent to India, was one and the same-al-Islam ('The Surrender'), it is obvious that from ancient (i.e. pre-Muhammadan) times onwards Islam has been present in India. In fact, Madni argues, 'it is an unchallengeable fact that from the very beginning India has been the land of Islam (islam ka watan)'. Madni's appeal to Muslims to oppose the Pakistan demand was rooted in his insistence that Islam itself required Muslims to love their country and work for its unity and prosperity. India was as much the motherland of the Muslims as it was of other communities in the country. In a rhetorical statement that might appear as somewhat quixotic, Madni went so far as to claim that Muslims do, or at least should, display an even greater concern for India's welfare than other communities because while many Hindus burn their dead and throw their ashes into rivers, and the Parsis let vultures feed on their dead, the Muslims bury their dead in the bosom of the earth, in the very soil of their motherland. In contrast to the Hindus and the Parsis of the country, the mortal remains of the Muslims remain in India in their graves and shall remain so till the Day of Judgment. The Hindus believe in reincarnation of the dead, and there is no guarantee that their dead would be reborn in India, while the Muslims believe they shall remain in their graves till the Day of Judgment. Hence, Madni argues, it is only the Muslims who remain faithful to India even after their death. This itself means, he writes, that Muslims are, or should be, more attached to India and concerned about its welfare than people of other communities. No community can, therefore, claim a monopoly of Indian patriotism, Madni insists, challenging Hindu assertions to the contrary. Just as the Aryans, the Huns and the Greeks came to India and settled here and made this their home, he writes, so did the early Muslims. The only difference between the Muslims and the others is that the former arrived in India earlier. In fact, Madni argues, the Muslims, as a whole, can be more legitimately said to be the original inhabitants of India, since the vast majority of the Indian Muslims are descendants of converts from India's pre-Aryan aboriginal people. Hence, he asserts, it is completely misleading to claim that India is not the land of the Muslims or that it belongs to the Hindus alone. We have crackpots writing about any thing now The welfare of all the communities of India, including the Muslims, depends on the overall welfare of the country, and this is yet another reason why the Indian Muslims must love and serve their country. Madni insists that the Muslims cannot not leave India and depart for any other country, nor would any other country accept them. The Indian Muslims would have to live and flourish in India itself. While recognising that the Indian Muslims have a spiritual bond with Muslims elsewhere owing to adherence to a common religion, Madni argues that this does not come in the way of their patriotism. Nor are the Indian Muslims alone in sharing such spiritual ties with their co-religionists elsewhere. The Indian Hindus, Madni notes, are linked through a common religion with Hindu communities outside India, such as in South Africa, Mauritius and Fiji. If that does not lead to their patriotic credentials being questioned, he asks, why should the Indian Muslims' spiritual links with Muslims elsewhere be regarded as suspect? Maulana Syed Muhammad Miyan's article, titled 'Sarzamin-i Hindustan Ke Faza'il' ('The Blessings of India'), echoes the spirit of Madni's article, arguing that Muslims are bound to love and serve India primarily because Islam commands them to do so. As in the case of Madni's article, Miyan's piece is directed at both the Muslim League as well as Hindu 'nationalists', for both of whom Islam and Indian nationalism are seen as somehow mutually contradictory. Like Madni, Miyan insists that India has been accorded a special status by God Himself. Hence, he argues, Muslims are required by their faith to work for India's unity and welfare. His thesis is based on an Arabic text written by the eighteenth century north Indian Muslim scholar, Ghulam Azad Bilgrami, which puts together Hadith reports attributed to the Prophet Muhammad and Qur'anic verses that are said to refer to the 'glories' (faza'il) of India. Quoting Bilgrami, Miyan writes that while undoubtedly Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem are the 'most holy' places in the world, Islamic tradition has it that India, too, is a 'blessed land' (mutabarruk sarzamin). According to such revered Muslim figures as Imam 'Ali (cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet), Ayesha (one of the Prophet's wives), and leading companions of the Prophet such as Ibn 'Abbas, Anas and 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar, Adam was sent down to earth to India, to the island of Serendip or modern-day Sri Lanka, while Eve was sent to Jeddah. Adam then travelled to Arabia, where he met Eve at a place near Mecca. After building the Ka'aba at Mecca, Adam took Eve with him and returned to India, where they settled down and had children. The famous incident involving the sons of Adam, Cain (Qabil) and Abel (Habil), occured, or so Miyan says, in India. After Abel was killed by Cain, Adam had another son, Sheesh, who, according to some accounts, is buried in the town of Ayodhya, which is sacred to many Hindus today. Adam is said to have undertaken forty pilgrimages (haj) from India to Mecca on foot. He is also said, some 'ulama claim, so Miyan tells us, to have died in India and to have been buried here. This close connection between Adam and India points to what Miyan claims to be the obvious fact that Islamic tradition accords to India the status of a 'blessed land'.This suggests, Miyan writes, that India had a special place in God's scheme of things for the world, which Muslims living in the country need to recognise. The fact that Adam first appeared in the world in India means that the world's first dar ul-khilafa ('abode of the Caliphate) was India, because this was where God's first khalifa or deputy was sent down. The island of Serendip, which can be said to be, in some sense, a part of 'greater India', was the first place in the world where God sent his revelation. Adam, the first man and the first prophet, was made out of Indian soil. Since Adam is the father of all human beings, including all the other prophets and the saints, the rest of humanity was also fashioned out of the mud of India, or so Miyan claims. To reinforce his argument of India being accorded the status of a 'blessed land' in the Islamic tradition itself, Miyan notes that some Muslim scholars believe that the oath (ahad) of 'alast', which the Qur'an refers to, also took place in India. On that occasion, God gathered all the souls of men who would appear in the world till the Day of Judgment and addressed them, asking them if He was not their Lord (alasto bi rabbikum). All the souls answered that He indeed was. This shows, Miyan writes, that India was the country where the 'slaves' (bande) of God first acknowledged Him as Sustainer (rububiyat), from which started the long chain of spiritual advancement of humanity. Through this incident the land of India was 'brightened (munawwar) by the 'light of all the prophets'. According to the Qur'an, Miyan adds, at the time of taking the above- mentioned oath, another oath was taken from all the prophets, in which each prophet testified to the prophet who would succeed him. Since the chain of prophets ended with Muhammad, every other prophet testified on that occasion to Muhammad being a prophet, reposing faith in him and promising to help him. This second oath, too, was taken in India. Hence, Miyan writes, 'India is that holy (muqaddas) land where the chain of religious instruction (rashd-o hidayat), and knowledge of the closeness of God (ma'arif-i qurb-i ilahi) and salvation in the hereafter (nijat-i akhiravi)' had its origins. The story of God having chosen India to send Adam, the first man and the first prophet, has other crucial implications, Miyan suggests, which reinforce the special place that India is said to occupy in the Islamic tradition. Miyan writes, echoing a view held by many Sufis, that the first thing that God created was the nur-i muhammadi or the 'light of Muhammad'. This light was first put into Adam and was then transferred through all the prophets till it reached Muhammad when he appeared in Mecca. Because Adam lived in India, the first time that the nur-i muhammadi appeared on earth was in India, and the last time that it appeared was in Arabia, this establishing a firm spiritual link between the two lands. In support of this argument, and to underline his assertion of India being a particularly 'blessed land', Miyan quotes a verse by Ka'ab bin Zaheer, a famous poet and a companion of the Prophet: 'Undoubtedly, the Prophet is a light (nur) from which light is obtained. [He] is God's naked sword which was made in India (hindustani sakhit ki hai)'. In this regard, and to further stress his point, Miyan refers to another story, one related by Abu Huraira, a companion of the Prophet, according to which the Prophet is said to have declared that when God sent Gabriel to comfort Adam, Gabriel mentioned to Adam the name of Muhammad, telling him that Muhammad would be the last prophet from among Adam's children. This shows, Miyan writes, that it was in India that for the first time the Holy Spirit (ruh-i muqaddas) appeared on earth, that the glory ('azmat) and unity (tauhid) of God was mentioned, and that Muhammad's prophethood was announced. This further stresses the need, Miyan says, for the Indian Muslims to recognise that 'it is our good fortune that this India is our beloved country (watan-i 'aziz)'. Because India is said to have held a special place in God's plan for the world, Miyan argues, God has blessed it with numerous assets. The source of all good things (ni'mat) is heaven, and whatever good things are found on earth are a limited reflection of their heavenly counterparts. All good things that are found in the world were first brought by Adam to India, from where they spread to the rest of the world. This explains, Miyan argues, why India has the 'largest store of heavenly blessings in the world', including sweet-smelling plants, spices and fruits. Adam, Miyan tells us, was also taught various crafts, which is the reason why India has always excelled in these fields and hence can rightfully claim to be the 'first teacher' 'ustad ul-awwal' of the world in many crafts and industries. Besides the Adam connection, Miyan marshals other 'evidence' to put forward his claim of India's special status in Islamic terms. Thus, he writes that some Muslim scholars believe that Noah built his ark in India, and that India was unaffected by the Great Flood in Noah's time. In addition, several companions of the prophet, thousands of Muslim saints (awliya, 'abdal), martyrs (shuhada) and pious 'ulama made India their home and died and were buried here. All these facts clearly suggest, Miyan contends, that from the Islamic point of view the 'greatness' of India is 'undeniable'. Hence, he stresses, it is the religious duty of the Muslims of India to work for the sake of the unity and prosperity of the country as a whole. Hence, too, he suggests, the claim of Hindu 'nationalists' to have a monopoly of Indian patriotism and their arrogating to themselves the authority to define the Indian nationalist project must be challenged and countered. As Deobandi 'ulama, Madni and Miyan might well be faulted for their conservatism in social matters, such as in matters of gender relations, but their commitment to India's unity and welfare can hardly be doubted. The two were far from being isolated voices among the 'ulama of their times. Numerous less well-known 'ulama also spoke in similar terms, forcefully opposing both the Muslim League as well as the Hindu Mahasabha and Hindu 'nationalists' within the Congress. These voices have been deliberately suppressed, however, in order to create the misleading impression of Muslims as inveterate foes of 'Mother India'. At a time when there is much discussion about the 'de-saffronisation' of our textbooks, there is an urgent need to bring voices such as Madni's and Miyan's back into our classrooms. op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=97&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0
Posted by: acharya Jul 29 2004, 06:05 PM
Religion, Power and Violence A view from India Ram Puniyani The world scene has seen immense and horrific violence in recent times. Two planes ram into the World trade center, nearly three thousand people perish into oblivion, an "Islamic terrorist" Osama bin Laden thanks Allah for this act. US President George W. Bush launches an attack on Afghanistan to catch hold of Osama bin Laden and call this attack as crusade. Separated by thousands of kilometers, in another part of the World, Gujarat, India, a train coach is burned. Instant investigation by the Chief minister of that state gives him the insight that this was an act of Islamic terrorists in collaboration with local Muslims. His associates give the call that Hindus are in danger and he signals that revenge process will not be disturbed. He instructs his staff to sit back. His administration goes a step further and assists the rampaging marauders out to kill Muslims. Two thousand people loose their life. The plight of women and children is beyond description. What these victims share in common is the religion called Islam. Just a few years ago people in Bosnia and Rwanda died in thousands for belonging to the `wrong' religion. Last three decades have seen the violence world over under the flag of religions. Is this violence done to save some religion or its followers? Is it done to protect the moral values, din, ethics, and dharma of the particular religions? Is this violence done to save the traditions and communitarian ethos of the followers of those religions? How are religions related to the massive violence, which goes on in their name? One recalls that even in medieval times the phenomenon of crusades, jihads and dharmayudhs, which, kings undertook on the pretext of religion. Were these meant to expand religion or were they meant to expand their empires. One recalls that the identity of religions is associated more with the clergy and less with the moral values of the religions. It does not require too much of knowledge to realize that in pre-industrial society the clergy, the most visible part of religions was associated with the landlords and the kings in different forms. Somewhere in direct collaboration from top to bottom, somewhere in fragmented form. Also there was another set of people associated with religions, the saints, who were away from the power centers. These were the saints, the bhakti saints in Hindu tradition, the Sufi saints in Islamic tradition and mystiques and later liberation theologian in Christian tradition, were away from the centers of power and were close to the poor, exploited and oppressed sections of society. The rulers did not tolerate the saints. The clergy, the official upholders of the religion, were hostile to bhakti saints, who were killed in various ways. The two facets of religion were always counter-posed to each other. Since the traditions close to power are more dominant, the Church, Olema and Brahmins are presented as the vehicles of religion. The parallel traditions of saint's remains on the margins, snubbed by the social and political powers. A sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya refused to receive the emperor in his dargah, Tukaram was done to death, Chokhamela reprimands God himself for the plight of the poor. These traditions emphasize on the message of love and amity in contrast to the clergy, which gives importance to rituals and the written word. In India the saints, mostly came from low caste and did proclaim that they have no capacity to learn the heavy tomes of their religion written in Devbhasha (language of Gods, upper caste) Sanskrit, which was denied to them anyway, because of their low caste status. During the process of secularization the role of clergy declined from the social and political space. The structural hierarchies of caste and gender, which this clergy legitimized in the name of religion started getting challenged, got abolished in countries where industrialization took place in the early period. These societies strove for the values of Liberty Equality and Fraternity (community). In colonies the nexus between colonial powers and the landlords, kings blocked the secularization process. And in country like India these declining classes, Landlord-Clergy, threw up the politics in the name of religion, known as communal politics. For example in India it came up as Muslim league and Hindu Mahasabha-RSS, but these were marginal streams. At World level the politics was dominated by the colonial powers. Later US emerged as the major World power and national liberation struggles in the colonies took the inspiration from Russian and Chinese revolutions, at many places under the flag of socialism. During this era the global violence was presented as the struggle between the `free world' and communism. After the cold war era, the decline of socialist economies, the hegemony of US started becoming indisputable. Its machinations in the oil zone where Islam was the dominant religion, the new offensive of Imperialism took the garb of religious language and the `backward Islam' started being targeted by the US and its cohorts. It is to support this imperialist ambition that the theory of Clash of Civilizations (Samuel Huntington) came up as a cover for US policies. This theory very cleverly counter poses the advanced Western Civilization against backward Islamic civilization. Here the Western civilization is not Christian, and the Middle East Muslims and others are clubbed to be having the backward Islamic civilization. The wars launched by US against the people of Afghanistan and Iraq is presented as a logical extension of this thesis, to set right the wrongs of backward Muslims. Around this time in India the rise of Hindutva politics has goals similar to the ones of the US as far as targeting Muslims and Islam are concerned. This Hindutva ideology is a politics based on Brahminical stream of Hinduism and had base earlier in the declining classes of Landlords and clergy (Jamindar, Brahmin, Bania) and now it flourishes amongst the new middle class thrown up by the so called development process. This middle class, affluent and the core of `Shining India' has gained immensely from the process of industrialization and also from the mindless globalization from eighties onwards. It is this middle class, which sustains a new breed of religious people, in saffron or any other color. This new set of Gurus and Acharyas, Sri Sri Ravishankar, Asaram Bapu, Pandurang Shastri Athwale, Sudhanshu Mahraj, Aniruddh Bapu and the like, are the nerve soothers for the existential tensions of the middle class. These Gurus are pushing the Manusmsirit and the feudal values of caste and gender hierarchies in a new language, the language laced with modernity, so to say. Globally and locally various phenomenon are overlapping. Now as the offensive of power seekers at world level is masked in the language of religion, particularly anti-Islam, those aspiring for control on social and political power at home are also using this Hindutva, religion based politics. The language of religion is deceptive. It gives it a type of moral sanctity, it creates a sort of mass hysteria, and it offers a sort of platform for the retrograde ideology. The goals of power are creating violence, condoned by those who should have different types of social power. Violence is the superficial layer of this politics of power in the name of religion. It is more than a coincidence that while, religion targeted by US at the level of the World and the one targeted in India by Hindutva are the same. The camaraderie of those using religion for their political goals cannot be missed. Religion has diverse functions in society. The way it is being used (! abused) by Hindutva and US and its cohorts, is its most dominant face. The clergy at many times plays diverse roles as well. At times it has played the role of projecting the religion, which is the opiate of the masses, it has also been the sigh of the oppressed in this heartless world. The Sufis and saints had particularly played the latter role. While the opiate role has been played by the section of clergy tied to the apron strings of those in political and social power, acting as legitimizers of their exploitative and oppressive role. One sees the Church of old times associating with Kings, and the one currently, which is opposing the US offensives as the same institution playing diverse role with change of time. One can see in Indian context the fleet of gurus with immense wealth under their control serving as the base for creating the opinion and opium for Hindutva politics. One also sees the saffron clad sadhus of Vishwa Hindu Parishad asking for revenge against Muslims. Religion, if one regards moral values as its core, should not be associated with power. Different types of people associated with religion have at times played as handmaiden to the power centers, legitimizing their violence in turn. The triad of religion power and violence gets connected once we see the ambitions of those using religion for their narrow goals. If the people of religion cannot be associated with the plight of poor and oppressed they are handmaidens of the powerful. And in turn then they are legitimsers of violence. The examples of these abound. It is time that the people associated with religion realize the abuse to which religion has been put. Some streams of religion are for this goal in a blatant fashion. Than there are other streams of religion which play a soothing role for the exploited sections of society. This section of religious people, true to the moral values of religions, can live their religion only by associating themselves with the plight of the poor, oppressed and the underdogs. Association of religion with power is the crux of its negative role in society. A severance of this will surely put religion more as the vehicle of sigh of the oppressed and this can only be achieved by firm advocacy of the causes of this section, this can be achieved by associating with their struggles for the justice, gender, economic, social and political. (Excerpts from the talk delivered at 6th W.A. Vissert Hooft Memorial Consultation, Ecumenical Institute Bossey, June 2004), and on
Posted by: acharya Jul 30 2004, 06:12 PM
Phoney heroes of secularism Udayan Namboodiri An esteemed colleague, obviously peeved at The Pioneer's continued focus on Mr Arjun Singh's bizarre antics with the NCERT history text books, asked the other day why I wasn't using my talents on more gainful projects. Like battering Mr Narendra Modi for instance. "The man performed quatal-e-aam in Gujarat but you didn't write one word against him", he said. Had he given me the chance to frame a reply, I would have told him two things. First, I don't buy the dope that Modi was personally responsible for the terrible vengeance wreaked on the Muslims for Godhra. A communal riot is impossible to suppress till it reaches a certain fatigue level. Moreover, in the selective morality deployed to demonise Modi, it was easily overlooked that at least a third of those who perished in the post-Godhra period were non-Muslims : half riot victims and the other half, shot by Modi's police while in the act of rioting. Even Ram Vilas Paswan admitted this after his visit to Gujarat during the closing stages of that terrible summer. Secondly, the purge of history which Mr Singh is currently preoccupied with, carries in it the seeds of further social tensions. The Gujarat riots were not the first in India's history and nor is it likely to be the last. Why do I say this? Because, as a rule, we Indians are blind to history. If the axiom "those who don't read history are condemned to repeat it" is transposed on the Indian reality, it will be seen that most Indians, especially the educated classes, are blissfully ignorant of the fact that the virus of communalism is transmitted from generation to generation by projecting the wrong heroes and obfuscating facts.The old NCERT texts which the Minister is seeking to reintroduce were not only guilty of gross misrepresentation of historic events, their authors-"eminent" historians they call themselves-also played the role of apologists for tyrants to whose doorsteps must go the blame of originally formulating the two nation theory. In the process, there developed a large gap between the collective memory of "Bharat" and the official history of "India". The former is timeless. It is nourished through oral tradition from father to son, is timeless and conditioned to weather frequent twisting and stretching to suit five-yearly cycles of political expediency, which, unfortunately, is the hallmark of the latter. There is no getting away from this truism. I am reminded of it almost every day as my work forces me to drive down two important thoroughfares in Lutyen's Delhi. Road signs that read "Firoz Shah Road", "Tuglaq Road" or "Aurangzeb Road" reveal the emptyness about Independent India's professions to "secularism". Most Indians, to be precise 99.9 per cent of even the most educated ones, are in the dark about these these two rulers' "secular" styles of governance. Firoz Shah Tuglaq of the Delhi Sultanate, was the first to impose the hated jizyah tax on Hindus. He was the one who sacked the Jagannath temple at Puri. As for Auragzeb, the less said the better. I wonder if today's Nehruvians have read Jawaharlal's Discovery of India -I recommend they turn to it for more information on this "last great" Mughal. Granted, it was the British who originally named these two roads-after all, by 1911 when they shifted their capital to Delhi, they had begun to see themselves as inheritors of a long tradition of foreign-origin empires in India. But it beats me why the rulers of free India persisted with these names. Could it be mere ignorance of History? Unlikely. Maybe they postponed it for later. That too is unbelievable-recall how they changed the names of Kingsway, Queensway, Curzon Road and the zeal with which they rechristened streets after Madhavrao Scindia and Sheila Dikshit's father-in-law? Street names are a barometer for gauging the temper of a nation. Sometimes they make a statement. In 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War, the Commuinists of West Bengal renamed Calcutta's Harrington Street as "Ho Chi Minh Sarani" just to insult the United States because the office of its Consul-General happened to be located there. Governments always weigh every aspect of the life and contribution of a figure from national or local history before dedicating a road or a park or even a bus terminus to his or her memory. It sends a message to our future generations- these are the people who are chosen as models before them. If "secularism" is one of the pillars of our nationhood, how can we justify the immortalisation of Aurangzeb, Firoz Shah Tuglaq, Babar, Akbar (yes, Akbar, because if we are to metaphorically hang Narendra Modi this ruler should also go with him- whether or not our Leftist historians approve) and Shah Jahan right in the heart of the our nation's capital? The message it sends could carry the risk of being interpreted that India's rulers, in their skewed wisdom, makes a distinction between "good" communalists and "bad" communalists. In an earlier column, I had spoken of a memorial erected in my home town by the Communist goverment of Kerala to make martyrs out of the Moplahs who carried out the worst riots in the history of pre-Indepedence India. It serves as a symbol of humiliation for the Hindus and the day is not far when some politician will seek to reap dividends from this ill-feeling. In the days to come, The Pioneer's Mumbai correspondent will tell the full story of how the Congress-NCP government of Maharashtra allotted land to build a memorial for Afsal Khan on the very spot where Shivaji killed this hated general of the Bijapur nawabs. This constitutes a kick on the teeth of Maratha self-esteem. And he was not only a hero to the Hindus. Muslims considered Shivaji as their true protector and they served in his Army as generals. But the Congress has never had much use for this kind of Muslim. It is here that we get the scent of a conspiracy: The Congress and the Communists, in their combined perversity, had decided a long time back that the route to the Muslim vote lies in reminding the community that it once ruled India. Mahatma Gandhi had made the first mistake of linking the downtrodden, poor Muslims of India with the rise and fall of the Khalifa in distant Turkey. Why should the poor Muslim weaver in Aligarh or fisherman in the Sunderbans be concerned with Dar-ul-Islam when by soul and colour of skin he is as much Indian as his Hindu neighbour ? But this logic falls flat before the twisted worldview of the Indian Leftist who, by a national quirk, slipped into positions of authority in India's History scholarship right under Congress rule. They glossed over historic evidence that the Indian convert to Islam, suffered nearly as much ignominy and persecution under the Turks, Afghans, Persians and Mughals as his Hindu brothers. Conversion, whether forced or voluntary, did not lead to substantial upward social and economic mobility. So, this secularism sucks. History, especially when taught to school children, must be used as an instrument of reconciliation and engendering national self-esteem in every citizen. Tell the Hindu child of the evils of the caste system, but don't conceal from the Muslim the true nature of so-called "Islamic" rule. Unify the two by revealing to them their true heritage, one whose essence could not be disfigured by the conqueror's sword, and whose future lies in cherishing the positive civilisational ethos of India. The NCERT books which give our communist rulers-no denying the fact that they and not the Congress are wearing the pants in this marriage called UPA-tried to set a positive trend by introducing a structured learning process based on shared values. [B]But since a Communist "revolution" cannot happen in a society at peace with its diversity-much like pond scum this ideology called Marxism-Leninism thrives on class enmity and social tension-the entire exercise was deemed "toxic".[/B] One recalls here the Stalinist demonisation of "revisionists" and "couter-revolutionaries": If our Indian comrades hope they can achieve their crude objectives here, they've got another think coming. And, yes, in the backlash that will follow, they might end up recalling a "moderate" called Narendra Modi.
Posted by: sridhar k Jul 30 2004, 08:44 PM
In Tamil Nadu, Majority of the Hindu temple are under the control of the Hindu Endowment board, which is a TN Govt. body. As a result, some temples open as late at 8.00 in the morning, like a Govt office.
Posted by: Bhootnath Jul 31 2004, 05:22 AM
> Tell the Hindu child of the evils of the caste system, but don't conceal from the Muslim the true nature of so-called "Islamic" rule. Not only that, even on web fore "caste system" is brought in , when the intellectual prostitutes of all hues see that the discussion is not moving in the direction as they desire. Point the IPimps this, then depending upon who you are , once is likely to spout non-sense like "bouncing off ideas" , One can easily see this when the discussion is on ills of Islam and Conversion .. bring in Caste System to balance it out and ofcourse ban ppl as next step.
Posted by: Bhootnath Jul 31 2004, 05:24 AM
Saint with the widest vision The statue of St. Ignatius Loyola with the institution in the background. TOMORROW, JULY 31, marks the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, the Father of Human Resources Department, in modern parlance; and we in India are particularly beholden to him, for millions of Indian youngsters have been moulded into men of substance by his successors at the Society of Jesus, the best example being President Abdul Kalam, who graduated from St. Joseph's College, Tiruchi. Born into an aristocratic Basque family in 15th century Spain, Ignatius Loyola was a man of the world who went to battles and won laurels for courage. It was during a yearlong convalescence after being badly wounded in war, that he turned to spirituality. He read the gospel while recovering but instead of just taking the vows and becoming the typical priest steeped in prayer and mass, he boldly stepped out to chart a new path for Catholic priests that of the Karmayogi from the pure bhakti marga he went on to the Karma-marga tempered by prema and bhakti. He did not have a papal decree or a command from a church but he spent a year in voluntary isolation in a cave seeking the counsel of God and conscience. He emerged with a clear vision and penned the famous classic, "Spiritual Exercises." Away from battlefront Ignatius Loyola, the warrior, laid down his arms and took up the pen. He went to grammar school and college at the best educational centres in Spain and finally took Master's degree from the Sorbonne at Paris. By this time he had gathered together a band of likeminded young men intellectuals with a heart who together formed the Society of Jesus. One gets a feeling of déjà vu when one reads how Swami Vivekananda, likewise, formed the Ramakrishna mission with his brother monks, declaring that "Maanava Seva" was the best form of "Madhava Seva". India is home to over a sixth of the Jesuits and Tamil Nadu is the State that has probably benefited the most from them. The Jesuits have proved to be among the most forward looking of the various Christian denominations and have demonstrated the widest vision; for though their primary aim is to uplift poor Catholic students, about half their students are non Catholics and in all their institutions, they truly practise and encourage multi-religious tolerance. A one-man army When one thinks of the European influence on India, one usually thinks of the British, French and Portuguese. But the one man Spanish army of Ignatius Loyola has touched India's soul more deeply than any other European force has. A young man who joined Brother Ignatius when he founded the Society of Jesus, was Francis; whom we venerate as St. Francis Xavier, the Patron Saint. The Vedas state that there are two kinds of progeny kama putras who are born of lust and prema putras who are born of love. Aswathaama was Dronacharya's kama putra while Arjuna was his prema putra. In that sense, President Abdul Kalam, Sir C.V. Raman and a host of others who were the products of Jesuit institutions, are the prema putras of St. Ignatius Loyola. So on July 31, on the occasion of the feast of Loyola along with all his prema putras, let us bow in reverence and gratitude to Saint Ignatius Loyola who did so much to develop the human resources of this great nation. May his blessings be upon all of us! DR. HIRAMALINI SESHADRI Printer friendly page Send this article to Friends by E-Mail
Posted by: rhytha Jul 31 2004, 06:33 AM
hmm i don't know about ig.loyola guy, but I am from loyola chennai, afaik there is no preaching or stuff like that, only catholic students were stressed to attend the friday mass(though most of my christian friends would bunk that too), we guys had our first hour off biggrin.gif And most of the deans and prof. were hindus, my HOD was a muslim wink.gif
Posted by: Bhootnath Aug 1 2004, 01:53 AM
> hmm i don't know about ig.loyola guy, but I am from loyola chennai, afaik there is no preaching or stuff like that, only catholic students were stressed to attend the friday mass(though most of my christian friends would bunk that too), we guys had our first hour off biggrin.gif > And most of the deans and prof. were hindus, my HOD was a muslim wink.gif Hi nice to see your post smile.gif) , do post more often its your own property smile.gif) What I found uncomfortable abt the writeup was the attempted syncretism ( spl ?) I find that nauseating. Just to give an example , shld I appreciate your/Rytha's efforts to provide time/efforts/resources for this Forum only because somewhere Seetal of brf has done ?? That is injustice to both of you .. and shows my shallowness. That is why I find Sheshadri very cheap... Would the Sheshadri fellow have come up with an article so soothing abt a Hindu Saint ? I doubt .. To me this writeup come across as a "suckup" piece. His comparision of Vivekananda to Christian Priest was like I telling my friend that his hairs look good because they look like Sharookh Khan ... What a pity ... That prem putra and lust putra .. stuff this chap a convert ?? And as for > afaik there is no preaching or stuff like that, only catholic students were stressed to attend the friday mass(though most of my christian friends would bunk that too) Why shld any thing religious stuff happen in school/college et all ? Remember Saraswati Vandana .. I am sure ppl are not forced to sing , you just have to stand along with other students ,.. ... Arent these Fathers and Priest at the forefront of Secularism sh1t .. I am a highly non-religiuos person , my problem is with Hypocracy of Christians and gullibilty of Hindus ( some seem to derive some kind of status out of this ) .. If you observe closely its very subtle , that is the trick part ... I sang "Our father in heaven" ten years w/o cribbing and they shout pogrom when it comes to Sarswato Vandana. When anti conversion rule (TN) was being passed, all Christians Schools and Church said they had rather discontinue ( check Hindu for that perriod ) if it was persued .. little do the People of India know that Union of India provides them ( Minority run Institution ) money and grants ( which is not given to Hindu run Schools -- threfor Ramakrishma Mission ), so its the money of ppl + the fees they give latter on makes it possible to run these school and conversion activities , while Xtian go arround claiming "free services to poor ppl", Recently in Kerala it seems AK Antony wanted to bring in a bill to allow private Education Instituion , but these Xtian's ( children of Jesus ) went on strike against it .. so why shld they claim higher moral ground .. they are cheating ppl .. This is how they retain hold over school & colleges by blackmailing tactics and do not allow other schools to come up .. but in front of prostitute media the claim to be providing humble services... To say we wld not be where we are if not for Christian schools is an insult to ourself !.. Its subtle, all so subtle ... till the middle class hindu is rendered totally servile .. Ah ... those days of mugging up "Psalm 139" .. and being hit by thin "Neem" stick because I just cldn't do it smile.gif No hard feeling Sisten Sylvia .. but hey these are part of my memories smile.gif > And most of the deans and prof. were hindus, my HOD was a muslim wink.gif My HOD in graduation was a Sikh , great teacher ( I was a bad student ) and was the *bestest* abuser in my memory smile.gif
Posted by: rhytha Aug 1 2004, 09:52 AM
ehh bhoot i don't know what your talking about, but your post had ig.loyola and iam from loyola(i thnk the college was found by some bertram), i thought let me post my experince(first hand). iam not responsible for any conslusions smile.gif
Posted by: Bhootnath Aug 1 2004, 10:37 AM
> iam not responsible for any conslusions smile.gif Of course , you aren't responsible Never said so. smile.gif
Posted by: acharya Aug 2 2004, 06:06 PM
When India obtained independence in 1947 it took three years to careful-ly develop a constitution that reflected a number of Western models, especial-ly that of the U.S. However, a growing complaint within India today is that itsindependence leaders were too quick to apply Western secular forms of gov-ernment to an Eastern cultural reality that required its own unique stateresponse. There is now a strong strain away from the combination of a secularstate and religious politics towards that most volatile alternative of a religiousstate with religious politics, which I described earlier. The argument holds that a secular state may work well enough in a coun-try like the U.S., but that it is discordant within an Indian society that remainsso intransigently non-secular at its core (Madan 1992, 1998). Indeed, the veryimposition of Western secularism has served perversely to fan the flames ofreligious extremism by forcing religious advocates to adopt aggressive mea-sures to make their case—measures that even include communal violence. Some go so far as to suggest that India is not just a deeply religious country buta fundamentally Hindu society that can only be led by a Hindu government.As Hinduism finds its natural expression in state control, it will revert back toits natural historical tolerance of the minority religions in its domain.And yet this is only one reading of the Indian case.
Posted by: acharya Aug 2 2004, 06:09 PM
From the very outset, religion was implicated in the Indian con-stitution and the government it conceived (Smith, 1963). From the beginning,there were controversial religious actions, including a state exemption forMuslims to follow Islamic rather than national laws in personal matters, as wellas liberal reforms of Hinduism concerning such matters as temple administra-tion and a continuation of the British “reservations policy” designed to providea form of occupational affirmative action for dalits (“untouchables”). These exceptions in secular state policy have festered over the years. Froma neutral vantage point, religious personal obligations are fine as long as they do not contradict the minimal rights and responsibilities of the citizenry atlarge. Some argue that rather than use religious status as a basis for reservingjobs, affirmative action should be based on more general socio-economic dis-advantage, and that it is educational access that should be reserved, not actualemployment.
Posted by: rajesh_g Aug 9 2004, 11:17 AM
From this...
A precise parallel is our Supreme Court’s judgment that children belonging to the Jehovah’s Witnesses need not sing the national anthem in their school’s morning assembly because they feel that Jana Gana Mana deifies the Motherland
I didnt know this..
Posted by: k.ram Aug 10 2004, 06:26 AM
Posted by: k.ram Aug 10 2004, 06:54 AM
Posted by: acharya Aug 11 2004, 01:19 PM
Does not understand that people like him writing divisive issue created the sense of violence in India over the last 30 years in the name of secularism The changing face of India KULDIP NAYAR Certain remarks leave you in the cold. You know what has been said is true. Still you cannot point a finger at the right spot. Before Mrs Gladys Steins, a life-long missionary, left India for the good, she said: “The people of India sustained me here with love. But some things have now changed.” What was she referring to? The country will be 57 years old in a few days’ time. Which are the things that have changed? She could not be giving vent to her anger because she had stayed for five and a half years after the Bajrang Dal had burnt her husband and children alive. She even said she had forgiven the killers. True, certain political parties had brought hatred towards the missionaries to such a pitch that even the cold-blooded murder of one of them did not touch the respondent chord that used to be the case until some years ago. It showed the darker side of India: the lessening of tolerance which has made the society somewhat conformist and coward. We prefer to keep quiet against an outrage because it is politic to do so. We do not want to stick our neck out. Yet there were times when we followed Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King who said: The day we see the truth and cease to speak is the day we begin to die. Mrs Steins would admit that there was a wave of indignation, more so revulsion, which swept across the country. Was Mrs Steins looking for the spirit of accommodation which has been India’s biggest asset? For centuries, the sense of understanding has sustained relations among people of different castes, different religions, different languages and different states. They have lived together in peace and harmony. She probably found the stringing part loosening, the glue of unity thinning. What is really disturbing is that violence is in the air. Too many murders, too many rapes and too many communal clashes have disfigured India and its fair name. Even in conversation, people believe that the principle can only be defended by the language of violence and by condemning those who do not accept it. For them, there is only black and white, no shades. Tolerance is at its lowest ebb. Maybe, the mere struggle for existence has hardened people. They simply shrug their shoulders or look to the other side when a crime is committed before their eyes. Hardly does a car stop to help carry the injured to hospital. It is as if the nation has lost its sensitivity. Once world famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin remembered the country differently: “When I myself think of India, I think of a quality specifically Indian which in my imagination holds something of the innocence of the fabled and symbolic Garden of Eden. To me, India means the villages, the noble bearing of their people, the aesthetic harmony of their life; I think of Gandhi, of Buddha, of the temples, of gentleness combined with power, of patience matched by persistence, of innocence allied to wisdom, of the luxuriance of life from the oxen and the monkeys to the flaming trees and the mangoes. I think of the innate dignity and tolerance of the Hindu and his tradition. The capacity of experiencing the full depth and breadth of life’s pleasures and pains without losing a nobler resignation, of knowing intimately the exalted satisfaction of creation while remaining deeply humble, are characteristics peculiar to these villages.” Over the years, too much greed has tainted whatever is good in the society. The cup of sympathy is empty to the dredges. I recall, not long time back, when ordinary men and women would be out on the streets after a flood, an earthquake or any other tragedy, going from house to house, collecting clothes, utensils, foodgrain or whatever else they could. No volunteer or organsiation worth the name has come to the aid of hundreds of thousands who have been marooned by the floodwaters in Assam and Bihar for weeks. No newspaper has started flood relief fund, a routine in the past. Even the story of people’s suffering does not make it to the print. It is not a page three item because the half-naked women died of hunger. What derives the media as well as the civil society is consumerism. A family in a metropolitan city spends during one night at a posh restaurant what the whole village cannot afford even in a full year. There is seldom any protest against the ostentation or wasteful spending. It is the youth which pulls or pushes the society. But it is too engrossed in careerism to think about how people in villages eke out their living. Colleges used to provide the ground for radical thinking, an ideology of sorts, a tilt towards the left. There were endless debates and seminars on social justice. These are now considered a waste of time. Educational institutions have become centers of fun and fashion. The Hindutva is squeezing out even the last streak of idealism. A nation which prided itself in values does not have even awareness of what is right and a desire to act according to what is right. The Lakshman rekha crossed during the emergency does not exist now. Once the line between moral and immoral gets erased, people do not know or, for that matter, mind on which side they are standing. Politicians are the worst culprits because most of them have no value system to follow and no ideology to pursue. To expect any norm from them is futile because there is nothing wrong so long as it gives them “results.” When Jawaharlal Nehru was Prime Minister, Petroleum Minister K.D. Malaviya had to quit because he could not render proper account of the money he had received from a business house for the polls. Chief Minster Pratap Singh Kairon had to resign because he had misused the services of a civil surgeon. Lal Bahadur Shastri quit the cabinet after a train mishap at Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu. This is the same society which has produced people who have fought the freedom struggle, the rigours of the emergency and the scourge of Hindutva. The nation seems to have lost its sense of direction. Probably, Mrs Steins was trying to convey that India should get back on track.
Posted by: acharya Aug 11 2004, 10:38 PM
PROPHETS FACING BACKWARD Postmodernism, Science, and Hindu Nationalism Hardback / 320pp / ISBN 81-7824-090-4 / Rs 695.00 / South Asia rights / Copublished by Rutgers University Press This book argues that the secularization of cultural commonsense is the best answer to Hindu nationalist bigotry in contemporary India. It demonstrates how, under a Hindu nationalist regime, the country took a turn towards reactionary forms of modernism, acquiring cutting-edge technologies-including nuclear weapons-while reviving superstition in the guise of 'Vedic Sciences'. Aggressive modernization in the technological sphere accompanied an assault on modernity in the cultural sphere. [...]. MEERA NANDA is the author of Breaking the Spell of Dharma and Other Essays, and Planting the Future: A Resource Guide to Sustainable Agriculture in the Third World. Trained as microbiologist, she received her second Ph.D. in Science Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA. She was a recipient of a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies. PERMANENT BLACK D-28 Oxford Apartments, 11, I.P. Extension, Delhi 110092. Phones: (011)-2272-1494 / (0)-98184-03242 website: CHECK THIS HATE FEST Dear Sir, Your anger against spread of fascism and it's ability to tear apart the society and the Indian body polity is understandabe. However it cannot be 'weeded out' as you think! It requires debate amongst the intelectuals and the left to begin to understand the preliminary characteristics of Fascism. I give below my own understanding of basic tenets of Facsism. In my view Fascism cannot be either defined or understood or defeated unless their founding principles and characteristics are understood. Historically, Fascism as an ideology , as a group, as state apparatus and as mass movement has exhibited the most subversive and ridiculous characteristics. It appears (only appears) to contradict Marxist understanding of laws of social history due to it’s characteristics. The most Prominent characteristics of Fascism as a mass movement is that it draws social institutes and civilization towards past by literally regressing towards and drawing the energies from the socio-psychical ‘archaic’ past of the human beings. These characteristics can be further defined as follows. a) Fascism takes shape as a mass movement through an unknown process of complete ‘disangagement of ‘forces of ‘repressed sexuality’ from ‘Collectivist modes of Human work.’, Fascism develops and succeeds by “pitching the repressed forces of sexuality against collective Human forms of work and culture”, by creating a disharmony between these fundamental forces of Human constitution. b) Fascism as an ideology and as propaganda plays at the level of what psychoanalysis defines as ‘primary repression’. Tensions are continuously generated within two tenets of primary repression. One disciplinary force compelling the submission and disciplinary surrender before Authority of Father and the other ‘anti father rebellion’. Psychoanalysis identifies this conflict as ‘Oedipus complex or castration complex.! As a psychic compromise the tensions are articulated or manifested as displaced, transposed, condensed , dispossessed and perverted rage and expression of this complex at socio –psychological level. The masculine and racial imagery, xenophobic language, symbols of bloody and sexual acts so dominantly present in fascist violent riots and pogroms demonstrate these characteristics. Primal myths facilitate their expression on social scale. c) The mythical past once acquired historically and in the childhood, does not perish ( Refer Discoveries of Psychoanalysis) in spite it being overlaid by latter Development of capitalism. It springs to life under abnormal despairing socio-economic conditions. Fascist ideology and propaganda is directed not only to recast the social character of individuals but also to give lurid expressions, (like the ones we encounter in dreams) to culturally acquired fears, phantoms, myths and phobias in the psychic life of the masses. What I have stressed is that the regressive characteristics of Fascism is decided and influenced by the ‘law like’ inexorable force exercised by the ‘repressed sexual and other instincts’ (residing in the unconscious) which transforms the hardened, rabid ideologies into Fascist ideology. However it’s success depends upon it’s ability to work on the process of ‘disengagement’ or sundering the of ‘repressed sexuality’, the foundations of civilization, from experiences rooted in the progressive process of ‘collective forms of resistance, work and culture’ created by mass of working people. S. Freud has defined this process as ‘return of the repressed’. Can you please reply me per return, how to weed out Fascism? Regards, Anil P. Gokhale "India Thinkers Net at" wrote: Read HTML version online: WEED OUT FASCISM -------------------------------- Hindu terrorism is tearing the nation apart. Unless it is banned, outlawed, excised, purged from the system, this culture of crime will begin passing muster both as religion and as nationalism. And, it is neither. The dragon seeds of hatred and violence sown all over India by the various synonyms of Hindu terrorism (RSS, VHP, ABVP, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, Shambhaji Brigade, Durga Vahini, etc.) can only legitimise anarchy and genocide of targeted individuals or collectives. This amounts to overturning the Constitution, and smashing the secular -egalitarian- democratic- pluralistic matrix of India as a civilization and as a nation-state. Those sympathetic to it, those dedicated and committed to it, have defined their nationalism to be consisting of liquidation of the minorities via pillage and bloodshed, rape and arson, murder and violation. This brutal savagery is deemed necessary and culturally national by the upper caste/upper class Hindutva elite, privileged as patricians over several millennia. A partyline that attempted several times to murder the Mahatma and finally succeeded in its evil mission on Jan.30,1948, has proudly called itself Hindutva. (See SPITTING AT THE SUN by Chunnilal Vaidya, Gujarat Loksamiti, Lal Darwaja, Ahmedabad-380001, 1998). It is this cancer that needs weeding out from the body politic of India. Religion directing and dictating the state can only be a monstrous tyranny and rampant terrorism, and hence totally unacceptable. India is facing severe threat to its existence from the pseudoHindu terrorists swathed in saffron. The active planning and well-coordinated direction (by the state machinery in Gujarat) of the Muslim pogrom in 2002 has given a glimpse of the hell that Hindu Rashtra wants India turned into. It is this conspiracy, this crime, this treason, that must be thwarted and uprooted wholesale if India is to saved. Our bureaucracy and police, educational network, radio and TV are all now totally infiltrated by the ogres of communal fascism and Hindu terrorism. War must now be declared on them. It is already too late. No quarter need be given them. No legalism should be allowed to grant them immunity or longevity. No pussyfooting, no dilly dallying will redound to the credit or the health of the nation. Foreign funds pouring in from abroad for the sole purpose of destroying the nation by divisive violence must be staunched, scrutinised, and strangled. Those funding the communal fascists of Hindutva must be treated as co-conspirators of the terrorists, and as terrorists funding disaffection among people and inducing them to destroy India. Unless speedy and massive steps are taken to weed out this communal cancer it will have succeeded in wrecking India. IKS/Aug.9,04.
Posted by: acharya Aug 17 2004, 04:11 PM
Check this hate fest. There seems to be coordination for a attack and large scale vilification. The author is asking for more hate discussion. Dont be surprised. Just like the jehadis in TSP are being dealt with the Indian version communalist are being targetted in India. See the parallel Go Arjun, go By Harish Khare The RSS-Arjun Singh battle should embolden the liberal community to rediscover its voice and its faith in Nehruvian values. THE UNION Human Resource Development Minister, Arjun Singh, has intrepidly called the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's bluff. Rather than getting cowed down by the RSS' threat of a legal case, the Union Minister has virtually told the Nagpur brass to take a hike. The onus is now on these self-styled desh bhakhts to decide whether they want to expose their organisation to what could become an exacting judicial scrutiny and a prolonged public exposé. The country does need a grand trial on the question of culpability of those other than Nathuram Godse in Mahatma Gandhi's assassination. It would be a wonderful tonic for the entire country to learn a little about the men, their ideas and infatuations and the organisational habits of a group that never accepted the Mahatma or his message of secular brotherhood. Quite unwittingly, Mr. Singh has stumbled upon a stratagem that could help the polity rediscover its liberal equilibrium. Expectedly, the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and their spear-carriers in the media have raised questions about Mr. Singh's motives in taking on the RSS. The insinuation is that the Minister's real target is the Prime Minister, not the Sangh. Mr. Singh's reputation perhaps invites these kinds of suggestions. However, anyone familiar with the current realpolitik power equations of the Congress party can easily arrive at two simple and obvious inferences. First, the Arjun Singh of 2004 is not the Arjun Singh of 1994-95; today he has very little personal following in the party. No one in the party thinks of him as a Prime Ministerial contender. Whereas in 1991 he could easily walk into the Narashima Rao Cabinet as the undesignated No. 2, his entry itself into the Manmohan Singh Government was a touch and go affair. Second, in 1994-1995 when he took on the then Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, he could entertain the fiction that he had the silent consent, if not the connivance, of 10 Janpath. Today, there is no scope for him — nor for that matter, for anyone else in and out of the Congress — to misunderstand or misinterpret Sonia Gandhi's total commitment to the Manmohan Singh Government's success and longevity. However, given his many enemies, within and outside the Congress, doubts will persist about the wisdom of Mr. Arjun Singh's anti-RSS pinpricks. He is quite capable of dealing competently with his detractors. The only worthwhile caveat against the Union Minister that needs to be taken note of is the argument that he has created a situation whereby the BJP leadership would be forced to come to the aid of the Jhandewalan gang. This is too facile an argument. If the BJP embraces the RSS, so be it. After all, it is not Mr. Singh's or the Congress party's obligation to help the BJP leaders extricate themselves from the RSS company. Nor, to be precise, do these leaders want to liberate themselves from their "soul" called the RSS. The Congress certainly stands nothing to lose if the so-called "moderates" within the BJP were to appear as cut from the same RSS cloth as the self-styled hardliners. Indeed, the Congress should welcome a BJP that is seen as totally tied to the RSS apron strings; the middle classes in India would then be forced to rethink their ambivalence towards the Hindutva party. However, there is a much larger context to the Arjun Singh-RSS battle of nerves. The RSS threat of legal action against Mr. Singh is to be seen as part of the Sangh Parivar's strategy of manufacturing judicial respectability for itself. After having questioned for long the judiciary's competence to pronounce in "a matter of faith" (Lord Rama's birth place), the Sangh Parivar has gleefully seized upon the Supreme Court's majority judgment in the Hindutva case. The Sangh and its ideologues selectively used Justice J.S. Verma's words to proclaim the apex court had legitimised their definition of Hindutva and its core beliefs. Ever since the Verma judgment, the Sangh Parivar has been only too prone to threaten its political detractors and rivals with a legal battle. It has tried to instil a fear among its critics that their opposition to the Parivar would entail the additional complication of a legal entanglement. It is indeed an irony that an inherently anti-democratic group should be able to use the legal accoutrements of a liberal Constitution to browbeat its critics. The threat against Mr. Singh is part of a familiar pattern and it is about time someone picked up the RSS' gauntlet. The trials relating to the post-Godhra violence have exposed the Hindutva brigade to unflattering judicial scrutiny, and it would be an act of national catharsis if the judiciary at the highest level were to undertake a kind of audit of the Sangh Parivar's historical role in the pre- and post-Partition events. Building on this spuriously manufactured judicial sanction for its Hindutva beliefs, the BJP began garnering political respectability for the RSS and its agenda. It helped the party win over a section of the middle classes; once in power at the Centre, the party milked the Kargil nationalism to enhance the Hindutva agenda. It was even tempted to redefine the basic constitutional scheme of things; the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution was a sleight-of-hand attempt to create quasi-judicial sanction for a majoritarian governing arrangement. The BJP establishment proceeded on the assumption that the judiciary was no longer averse to granting it its sectarian wishes; in particular, after 9/11, the Sangh Parivar presumed that it had the global understanding and the American nod to indulge in its anti-minority reflexes. We have some fine imagination here The deliberate delusion that the Sangh Parivar has the judicial sanction to carry on its business needs to be demolished, and the Sangh Parivar-Arjun Singh spat might just do that. As it is, the ambivalent and the timid in the civil and police bureaucracy have already come to terms with the essence of the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. Even the BJP crowd has lost its aggressive voice. Look at Narendra Modi. On August 15, 2003, he had moved the traditional Independence Day function to Patan, the seat of the Solanki dynasty in 8th-11th Century that lost its glory when Mahmud of Ghazni attacked it in 1024; the Chief Minister pointedly donned the RSS black cap while hoisting the national flag. This year, it was an altogether different scene. The Chief Minister instructed all his Cabinet Ministers to sport the traditional saffa (conventional headgear) and to talk of Sardar Patel and development. Mr. Modi could hardly run the risk of giving a sectarian colour to a secular and democratic rite; nor could he dare invite the displeasure of the Centre. The RSS threat against Mr. Arjun Singh is the last roll of the dice in the hope of recouping, through a judicial verdict, its lost fortunes. It is about time there was a discussion of the RSS and its role in the affairs of the BJP and, by extension, in the national arena. Its claim to being a nationalist organisation does not absolve the outfit of the obligations of transparency and accountability. A grand trial would add a new chapter to our national education; here is a group of people that claims a right to interfere in how the BJP behaves in and out of power — even foists a Deputy Prime Minister on the country — and yet has escaped a scrutiny of its extra-constitutional role. It is about time. More than judicially putting the Sangh Parivar in its place, the RSS-Arjun Singh battle should embolden the liberal community to rediscover its voice and its faith in Nehruvian values. It is a different matter that the Congress party itself is guilty of jettisoning many of Nehru's liberal instincts. That does not mean that the RSS' claims and pretensions cannot be challenged. And in any case, the battle for Nehru's idea of India cannot be left to be fought only by the Congress. Mr. Singh has become just an accidental soldier in a battle that was long overdue.
Posted by: acharya Aug 25 2004, 03:59 PM
Check this out How cheeky Name of the Book Decolonizing the Hindu Mind –Ideological development of Hindu Revivalism Author Koenraad Elst Publisher Rupa & Co. , New Delhi Year 2001 Pages 657 + xvii Price Rs 595 (HB) Reviewed By Ayub Khan In the past decade Belgian scholar Koenraad Elst has emerged as the most prominent advocate of Sangh Parivar in the West. His vociferous defence of the Hindu right is equally matched by his rabid attacks on Islam. In order to escape being branded a bigot he follows a route, which is much popular among anti-Muslim writers these days. He insists: “not Muslims but Islam is the problem.” (See Koenraad Elst review of Thom Blom Hansen’s The Saffron Wave). Elst’s commitment to the Sangh Parivar can be gauged from the fact that he unabashedly defended it even as the fires of Gujarat were still raging last year. (See Elst’s Dr.Hathaway’s Patronizing Conclusions published at Such is his importance in Hindutva circles that L.K.Advani quoted him at length while deposing before the Liberhans Commission investigation the demolition of Babri Masjid. Based on his PhD thesis Elst’s Decolonizing the Hindu Mind is a study of the history and ideological development of the extremist Hindutva movement, which he prefers to call “Hindu Revivalism.” In this book Elst tries to promote a humane face of the Hindutva fanatics while at the same time indulging in polemical attacks on Islam and Christianity. He rejects the charges of fascism, fundamentalism, extremism, etc. lobbed against the Hindu supremacist movement, instead opting for the voguish “revivalism.” It is Elst’s contention that the Muslims along with British were also colonizers of the Hindu civilization and that Nehruvian secularism and Islam are two major adversaries that are obstructing the revival of Hindu religion. Hindu thought he argues is finally coming on its own after “centuries of being under the shadow of Islam and Christianity.” This ‘revivalism’ is not a recent phenomenon but began in the early stages of the British rule of India by groups like Arya Samaj and Brahmo Samaj under the leadership of influential reformers like Vivekananda, Dayananda Saraswati and Swami Shraddhanand. . Nor is this revivalism limited to those within the Sangh Parivar or other similarly oriented organizations. According to Elst “the most interesting formulations of Hindu revivalist thought have been provided by individuals outside the said organizations, from Bankimchandra Chatterjee and Sri Aurobindo to Ram Swarup , Sita Ram Goel and their younger friends.” (p.584) While charting the history of this movement Elst relies almost exclusively on sources associated with Hindu groups giving only partial and that too mostly negative consideration for the other viewpoints. He writes that Arya Samaj leader Shradhhananda became active in Shuddhi work only after discovering Dai-e-Islam , the so-called ‘secret’ pamphlet of Khwaja Hasan Nizami, which called upon Muslims to engage in Dawah work. Elst doesn’t mention the fact that the activities of Khwaja Hasan Nizami and other luminaries of the Tabligh/Tanzeem movement were a reaction to the massive conversion efforts of Arya Samaj and not vice versa. The Dai-e-Islam was not a ‘secret’ pamphlet but was distributed widely in the public. The year 1923 alone, in which it was first published, saw three editions of the book. By 1925 it has already seen its fifth edition. Does any book that was supposed to be secret, ever published on such a massive scale? Additionally Elst doesn’t mention that there were similar allegations of a ‘secret’ Shuddhi book from the Muslim side. Tabligh leader Ghulam Bhik Nairang had claimed that the Kashmiri ruler Maharaja Ranbir Singh had commissioned a 21-volume Hindi encyclopaedia by the name of Ranbir Karit Prayaschit Mahanibandh (Ranbir’s Great Essay on Repentance), which suggested strategies for converting to the Hindu-fold many neo-Muslim communities in India. This encyclopaedia was alleged to have been secretly circulated among prominent Hindus so that the Muslims remain unaware of the plot. An unbiased scholar should have mentioned this allegation as well but may be that is too much to expect from a person like Elst. One cannot but help notice Elst’s attempts to whitewash the horrible heritage of the Hindutva movement. He defends RSS’ less than patriotic record during the freedom movement by creating lame excuses. Hence RSS founder Hedgewar kept his outfit away from Gandhian agitation “partly for safety reasons, not to endanger the young sapling, and partly because he had a metapolitical project in mind.” (p.145) We have often read this infamous statement of Golwalkar from his book We,Our Nationhood Defined: “From this standpoint, sanctioned by the experience of shrewd old nations, the foreign races in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverance Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e. of the Hindu nation, and must lose their separate existence to merge in Hindu race; or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment- not even citizen’s rights.” Elst explains it way away as a “juvenile mistake” on part of Golwalkar and that he (Golwalkar) himself withdrew it and that a majority of Hindu nationalists have never read it. One only needs to look at the statements of current RSS chief Sudarshan where he routinely asks Muslims and Christians to Indianise (read Hinduise) to realize the falsity of this argument. If we are to believe Elst, the Bharatiya Janata Party is more secular than other parties and that RSS is Boy Scouts like organization whose members think that it deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for their ‘constructive work.’ (p.155) According to him BJP has outdone even the Congress and other secularist parties in reaching out to the Muslims. He criticises the BJP ministers for not introducing even an ounce of Hindutva when they are in power. They are simply too nice. (p.245). They have gone soft and are acting like the “secularists.” The growing militancy of Parivaris is simply not good enough for him. He is pained by the token gestures that BJP makes towards Muslims. Downplaying RSS’ shrewd tactics he says it is a “big dinosaur in a small brain.” (p.234) He is exasperated with the RSS’ culture of “anti-intellectualism” and argues that other parties profit from this scenario. A glaring omission from the book is the analysis of RSS’ propaganda machinery. It is really surprising how Elst could miss the Sangh’s masterful use of catchy slogans, provocative art and inflammatory rhetoric. The RSS is anything but innocent when it comes to propaganda but Elst blissfully ignores it. Anyone with some familiarity with the Sangh’s tactics knows that all these gestures of goodwill towards Muslims are just a façade to mask its real dangerous intentions and to gain acceptability in the populace. Elst himself hints towards this when he writes that the shift from “Hindu” to “Indian” in the formation of BJP was not due to conviction but to fear. (p.158) At another place he admits that ‘anti-Muslim feelings are hiding just beneath the surface of Muslim-friendly statements.’ (p.362) While the Sangh is hiding its anti-Muslim feelings Elst is more forthcoming in his animosity towards Islam and Muslims. He is smitten by the age-old biases about Islam. Two fanatical writers namely Sita Ram Goel and Ram Swarup shape his views on Islam. A careful study of these pseudo-historians indicates that there is nothing original in their works. They have just recycled the old orientalist works with the addition of inflammatory comments. For Elst however these two characters are heroes and whose books all Hindu revivalists should read. He says that the Islamic civilization did not create any substantial contribution in the development of India and there is nothing special about the Indo-Saracenic architecture. He says that Muslims did not work towards the elimination of caste-system in India but only preserved it. He falsely claims that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) never enjoined class equality. (p.398) Obviously he has not read the last sermon of the Prophet (SAW). Elst narrates with relish the myth about the execution of 900 Jews at the order of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in Madina without realizing that this has been debunked long time ago by classical Islamic scholars like Ibn Hajar and Imam Malik and recently by Barakat Ahmed in an article in The Journal of The Royal Asiatic Society. Similarly other arguments made by messrs Sita Ram Goel etc have been refuted but Elst would care less. In the bizarre world of Elst and his Hindutva fellow travellers Islam is to be blamed for all the ills of the Indian society as well as the world. From child marriage, caste inequalities to violence and poverty. In his maniacal zeal Elst hopes for a similar destruction of Islam as had happened to Communism. He wants the Parivar to concentrate more in attacking the Islamic belief systems. He writes: “But the implosion of Soviet Communism has alerted people to the possibility that giants on clay feet can crumble surprisingly fast, and in particular, that Pakistan and the rest of the Islamic world may soon see the collapse of their dominant ideology from within.” (p.591) It looks like he needs a refresher course in world history. Islam has survived much more destructive scenarios (civil wars, Mongol invasion, dismantling of the Caliphate, etc) in its history than the one it is currently facing. If Elst and his fellow daydreamers think that they can destroy Islam by indulging in pedestrian attacks they are simply fooling themselves. With regards to Indian Muslims Elst once again repeats the many urban myths that they are a pampered lot, always start riots, are multiplying at an alarming rate etc. If these claims are true then why are Muslims still so down trodden and impoverished ? In discussing the alleged Indian Muslim power to ban books Elst makes a patently false claim. He says that Richard M.Eaton’s Sufis of Bijapur is banned in India because in it ‘a few marginal sentences casts an unfavourable light on the Sufi tradition.’ (p.318) According to Dr.Richard Eaton this book was never banned. As a matter of fact when the book went out of print with its original publisher, Princeton University Press, it was picked up by Munshiram Manoharlal in New Delhi and is still available from them. Elst accuses other India watchers of not meeting any Hindutva leaders in their research while at the same time he himself has not interviewed any Muslim to get his viewpoint. Not one Muslim, not even the BJP ones, figures in his long list of people that he has interviewed. His hostility towards the Muslims is evident when he describes the mild-mannered Syed Shahahbuddin as a “proverbial fanatic.” Compare this with that of Elst’s description of Advani whom he calls a “soft-spoken gentleman” who had tears in his eyes when his vandals destroyed the Babri Masjid. Expectedly Advani’s tears were shed not at the demolition of the Babri Masjid but at the “breakdown of RSS discipline.” (p.175) Regarding Babri Masjid Elst continues his blame game by pointing fingers towards Narasimha Rao and V.P.Singh. He writes: “I was told at the BJP office that Prime Minister V.P.Singh had suggested to Advani that he create some public opinion pressure on the Government concerning Ayodhya. That way, V.P.Singh (who rejected the claim that the disputed building was a “mosque”) could explain to his Muslim supporters that in the face of such mighty pressure, he would be unable to keep his promise to give them the disputed site. So, possibly that is how the BJP decided to have the Rath Yatra.” (p.174) V.P.Singh has always denied this charge. With regards to Narasimha Rao’s government’s involvement in the demolition of the Babri Masjid Elst writes: “Consider the matter from his (Narasimha Rao’s) viewpoint: as long as the “mosque” (for the BJP, “the disputed structure”; for commentator Girilal Jain, “the non-mosque”) was standing, the BJP could use it as a rallying-point, a visible “sign of national humiliation imposed by the invader Babar” kept in place by the “pseudo-secularist” Congress Government. On the other hand, if the building was demolished in a BJP-related action, this could be used against the BJP and the whole Hindu movement, a reason to dismiss the BJP state governments and ban the Hindu mass organizations. This is at any rate what effectively happened; the Ayodhya theme was killed as a BJP vote-getter, and the BJP’s march to power was temporarily reversed.” (p.175) Apart from Muslim bashing Decolonizing the Hindu Mind throws up some interesting sides notes as well. For example that one of the nieces of L K Advani converted to Islam and married a Muslim man with his blessings. According to Gurudatt Vaidya, a prominent Arya Samaji,Jana Sanghi, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, Jan Sangh leader, died of a heart attack in his prison cell because he ate two chickens against his doctor’s orders. So much for Sangh’s advocacy of vegetarianism. In short Elst is a very useful writer for the Parivar even though he admits that the relationship has soured because of his criticism of RSS. But despite that it appears that the Parivar is taking him seriously. The very selective appointments of Sangh oriented individuals in scientific, educational, cultural and literary councils, and attempts to re-write the history, aggressive campaigns against Muslims and other minorities, all indicate that slowly but surely Elst’s recommendations are being implemented. The relationship between the two is mutually beneficial. The Parivar gets a seasoned and ardent advocate for its agenda in the West and Elst (a self confessed apostate from Christianity and one whose sole source of income is writing) gets an ideology to hold on to, apart from the material benefits that come along with it.
Posted by: muddur Sep 6 2004, 03:03 PM''Ram~Vilas~Paswan~is~a~two-legged~mobile~party,~not~a~four-legged~animal_he~is~free~to~go~anywhere~he~wants,''~says~Laloo~Prasad~Yadav,~supremely~unconcerned~about~Paswan's~decision~to~break~off~the~alliance~with~him.... NEW DELHI: ``Ram Vilas Paswan is a two-legged mobile party, not a four-legged animal_he is free to go anywhere he wants,'' says Laloo Prasad Yadav, supremely unconcerned about Paswan's decision to break off the alliance with him and take on the RJD in the Bihar assembly elections early next year. Surrounded by his RJD ministerial colleagues, a spittoon by his side, Laloo is in full flow_revelling in his new-found avatar as the chief bete noire of the Sangh Parivar, looking forward to vanquishing the ``python'' in the Bihar elections and to watching the ``frogs'' and ``rats'' in its belly come tumbling out. ``The BJP is a python,'' he explains to his bewildered audience, ``which has swallowed all these `bhagwa socialists'_Nitish (Kumar), George (Fernandes), Sharad (Yadav). And once I beat it dead, those little creatures will be jumping all around.'' And no, he does not need Paswan or indeed anyone to help him fight the ``Fascist forces''; he has fought them singlehandedly since the day he arrested L K Advani and stalled his rath yatra all those years ago, and has been battling them ever since. In fact, too many allies will only be a headache. ``If the Congress, Left, Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) and others come on board, what will I be left with? Each of them will demand 50, 60, 70 seats (of the 234 assembly constituencies) and I will be left with just 10 or 15,'' cribs Laloo, to the appreciative nods of his RJD flock. ``I made a mistake in tying up with Paswan during the Lok Sabha elections. If I had not backed him, his LJP would not have won even a single seat,'' he insists, and laughs away the contention that Paswan brought the alliance some crucial Dalit support. But didn't he project Paswan as a future prime minister during the election campaign? ``Did I?'' asks Laloo. And then adds, with mock seriousness, that he could not have said something so insulting. ``Ram Vilas Paswan koi chota-mota neta nahin hain. Unka naam Ginni book main hai. Wo national nahin, international neta hain. Pradhan mantri to sirf national neta bante hain (Ram Vilas Paswan is not a minor figure. His name is in the Guinness book. He is not a national leader but an international one. And only national leaders become prime ministers).'' Then, his voice dropping to a whisper, Laloo asks this reporter, ``Have you actually seen his name in that 'Ginni' book?'' No, but everyone knows that Paswan won with the biggest margin in 1977 and made it to the record book. ``Well, everyone knows because he doesn't stop talking about it. But no one I know has seen it.'' Paswan, though, is the least of his concerns. At the moment, he is enjoying the way he has made the BJP squirm over the Godhra inquiry. ``Abhi to circus shuru hua hai. Dekhte rahiye (The circus has just begun, keep watching),'' he says, with barely concealed glee. If the BJP has decided to target him and his RJD colleagues on the ``tainted ministers'' issue, Laloo is determined to pay back by being a perpetual thorn in their hide. That is why, even as the Left largely confines itself to economic issues and the Congress remains divided and diffident over the extent of its ``ideological battle'' against the Sangh Parivar, Laloo has emerged as the sword arm of the UPA both inside and outside Parliament. Be it backing Mani Shankar Aiyar on the Savarkar issue and Arjun Singh in his anti-RSS campaign, attacking the Dharam Singh government for going soft on Uma Bharati, or taking on Narendra Modi on the Godhra issue, Laloo is the ringmaster taking on the BJP ``circus'', in the deceptive guise of a clown. The UPA Government, he insists, is the best thing that could have happened to him. For the first time in 15 years, the Bihar government and the Centre are being run by the same coalition. The ``historic neglect'' of Bihar may finally come to an end, he says, listing the various irrigation, roads and power projects which have been sanctioned in the last 100 days.
So will he fight the Bihar elections on the development plank this time? The RJD supremo is far too shrewd to fall for the `bijli, sadak, paani' line just yet. ``Yes, 'vikas' will be an issue. But what is 'vikas' without social justice and communal harmony? The python (Sangh Parivar) is writhing with pain but it is still alive. I have to crush its head_that is my first priority in Bihar and the rest of the country,'' says Laloo. 'Dekhte rahiye'.
Posted by: Mudy Sep 6 2004, 07:58 PM
This man is modern jaichand devilsmiley.gif
Posted by: gangajal Sep 7 2004, 03:54 PM
The frightening 36 % rise in muslim population during 1991-2001 must be balm to our "secularists". India can be truly "secular" once muslim population reaches 25 % of the population. Once that occurs 50 % of all jobs will have to be reserved for muslims. Muslim leaders are already demanding give muslims jobs and education or else....
Posted by: bgravi Sep 13 2004, 12:50 PM
From Asian Age, not archived...
If the majority is in minority... - By Siddhartha Reddy India is the world’s largest democracy. In any other democracy, only the majority population would occupy apex governing positions. In the United States, the so-called champion of equal rights, it is unthinkable to have a non-Christian President or vice-president. No European nation would tolerate a non-Christian head of government. In England it would be considered blasphemy to even think of having a non-Protestant Prime Minister. Sri Lanka won’t tolerate the idea of a non-Sinhala President or PM. It is impossible to imagine a non-Muslim President in Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia or Turkey. But in India, the President is a Muslim, the Prime Minister is a Sikh and the ruling Congress party’s president is a Christian. The Leader of Opposition is a Sindhi who does not pray to any Hindu deity. The NDA convenor is a Christian. However, the majority of Hindus are not perturbed by the situation. It can happen only in India. It is now the Congress’ turn to sensitively reciprocate Hindu feelings. Their secular magnanimity must not be taken for granted. This incredible situation of locking out the majority population for too long a time from all apex positions cannot be sustained in any democracy. Smoothly and quickly, well before the next Lok Sabha polls, the Congress must replace either its Prime Minister or its president with a Hindu. Hindus should be congratulated for their political magnanimity. They have happily allowed non-Hindus to hold all pivotal positions because they truly believe in equality. The majority-minority syndrome does not affect the majority of Hindus. That India is secular, is because most Hindus want it that way. Secularism is in their blood, thought and action. Secularism is India’s soul. Mahatma Gandhi understood India better than any other politician. He was pained that Congress fell into the British trap of partitioning India. He knew that the majority of the Hindus were in tune with him. So to prevent Partition he proposed that Jinnah be made India’s Prime Minister. After Jinnah, a Hindu could become the PM. This dramatic move would also prevent Partition. Jinnah was ready, but a communal Congress leadership was not. They wanted their Prime Minister. So what if India was partitioned? The British created the Congress, and when the time of reckoning came, the latter served British dictates, not Indian interests. The Congress partitioned India, and broke Gandhi’s heart. Godse only killed Gandhi’s body. Congress had already assassinated Gandhi. Vajpayee tried to find the secular India of Gandhi’s dream. He persisted with the peace process with Pakistan. Vajpayee tried to undo Partition. But his inability to be firm allowed Advani to destroy the government. Advani undid Vajpayee. Advani’s BJP neither understands nor represents Hindus. It was un-Hindu to call the Prime Minister “Shikhandi” (eunuch). In Mahabharat, Bhishma could have single-handedly destroyed the Pandavas such was his might. However, he had pledged not to battle those who are not men. To fight Bhishma, Shikhandi was put on Arjun’s chariot with Lord Krishna as the charioteer. Arjun, on Lord Krishna’s instructions shot his arrows standing behind Shikhandi to fell Bhishma. Advani’s pseudos did not realise that if the Prime Minister is compared to Shikhandi, it also amounts to equating the BJP with the Kauravas, Sonia Gandhi with Arjun, and Congressmen with the Pandavas and their descendants blessed by Lord Krishna. No wonder, Hindus no longer vote for Advani’s BJP! Even if Manmohan Singh turns out to be India’s worst Prime Minister ever, the BJP must not abuse the institution. The party must apologise to India for using the term “Shikhandi” and must expel the culprit from the party. Today’s BJP leadership is no disciple of either Mahatma Gandhi or Guru Golwalkar. The party apex consists of the self-serving, profiteering, dirty dozen who have privatised the party. They would not pass the morality and integrity tests of either the Mahatma or Golwalkar. To distract public attention from resource mobilisation, the supremo threatens to take the BJP on the path of pseudo-Hinduism. BJP karyakartas pray to God every day, to liberate their party from Advani’s orchestra. President Kalam is a Muslim and is also secular. He does not surround himself with Muslims. He recites Hindu scriptures. He is a great man, and should be admired by all secular leaders. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has no pretensions. He insists on appointing a Sikh as the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission. Had he overruled a Sikh to insist on a Hindu, secular Hindus would have admired him. Why should both chairman and deputy be Sikhs? He aggravates the problem by supporting Amarinder Singh to deny water to Haryana’s Hindus. He did not even chide Amarinder and thus conveyed the perception that he is communal. He insists on a controversial Sikh, of the Airbus-320 deal fame, as Manipur governor. Why can’t Manmohan think of a Hindu governor? As for Sonia Gandhi, she does not wear any fig leaf. A Christian party president should not keep any other Christian in the party’s higher echelons. Unless, a choice is inevitable because of electoral popularity or visionary brilliance. But Sonia Gandhi inducted seven Christians in the working committee, not one of whom can win a Lok Sabha election. Sonia Gandhi has a Christian general secretary and two Christian secretaries. Another general secretary has a Christian wife. The most powerful general secretary has a Christian daughter-in-law. A Christian is made to head the party’s organisational elections. Then she inducts Christian governors. And since having a Christian as political secretary is ridiculous, she gets a Muslim, but not a Hindu. In Kerala, against a strong Muslim-Hindu sentiment she artificially retained a Christian CM who was making a mess of things. She finally sacks him but picks another Christian. She has a Christian in the CWC and a Christian AICC secretary. In Andhra she appoints a Christian chief minister, inducts another Christian to the working committee. From Karnataka, she inducts a Christian Union minister, a Christian AICC general secretary and a Christian secretary. A dispensation led by Sonia-Manmohan duo without reciprocating to the secular feelings of the majority Hindus will lead the government, the party and the country to disaster. If this goes on, in the next Lok Sabha elections, Sonia and Manmohan will ensure a Hindu wave against the Congress. Since the BJP does not represent Hindus, Hindus will go to the third front parties not involved with either a Christian-led Congress or a Sindhi-led BJP. • Siddhartha Reddy is a political analyst. He can be contacted at
Posted by: acharya Sep 13 2004, 02:07 PM
I think this email should be read by all . It shows the rotten "secular" system that we have in India. It is in a question format, very direct and to the point. And see if it makes you feel PROUD, SHAMEFUL or simply ANGRY ??? Are you a Secularist? Then please answer these questions, 1. There are nearly 52 Muslim countries. Show one Muslim country which provides Hajj subsidy. 2. Show one Muslim country where Hindus are extended the special rights that Muslims are accorded in India? 3. Show one Muslim country which has a Non-Muslim as its President or Prime Minister. 4. Show one country where the 85% majority craves for the indulgence of the 15% minority. 5. Show one Mullah or Maulvi who has declared a 'fatwa' against terrorists. 6. Hindu-majority Maharashtra, Bihar, Kerala, Pondicherry, etc. have in the past elected Muslims as CMs; Can you ever imagine a Hindu becoming the CM of Muslim - majority J&K? 7. They say Hindus are intolerant. Today Hindus are 85%. If Hindus are intolerant, how come Masjids and Madarsaas are thriving? How come Muslims are offering Namaz on the road? How come Muslims are proclaiming 5 times a day on loudspeakers that there is no God except Allah? 8. When Hindus gave to Muslims 30% of Bharat for a song, why should Hindus now beg for their sacred places at Ayodhya, Mathura and Kashi ? 9. Why temple funds are spent for the welfare of Muslims and Christians, while muslims and christians are free to spend their money in any way they like? And they have ample funds and resources of their own. 10. When uniform is made compulsory for school children, why there is no Uniform Civil Code for citizens? 11. In what way, J&K is different from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu or Uttar Pradesh, to have article 370? 12. Why Gandhiji supported Khilafat Movement (nothing to do with our freedom movement) and what in turn he got? 13. Why Gandhiji objected to the decision of the cabinet and insisted that Somnath Temple should be reconstructed out of public fund, not government funds. When in January 1948 he pressurized Nehru and Patel to carry on renovation of the mosques of Delhi at government expenses? 14. If Muslims & Christians are minorities in Maharashtra, UP, Bihar etc., are Hindus not minorities in J&K, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya etc.? Why are Hindus denied minority rights in these states? 15. Do you admit that Hindus do have problems that need to be recognized. Or do you think that those who call themselves Hindus are themselves the problem? 16. Why post - Godhra is blown out of proportion, when no-one talks of the ethnic cleansing of 4 lakh Hindus from Kashmir? 17. In 1947, when India was partitioned, the Hindu population in Pakistan was about 24%. Today it is not even 1%. In 1947, the Hindu population in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) was 30%. Today it is about 7%. What happened to the missing Hindus? Do Hindus have human rights? 18. In contrast, in India, Muslim population has gone up from 10.4% in 1951 to about 14% today; whereas Hindu population has come down from 87.2% in 1951 to 85% in 1991. Do you still think that Hindus are fundamentalists? 19. Do you consider that - Sanskrit is communal and Urdu is secular, Mandir is Communal and Masjid is Secular, Sadhu is Communal and Imam is Secular, BJP is communal and Muslim league is Secular, Dr. Praveen Bhai Togadia is ANTI-NATIONAL and Bhukari is Secular, Vande Matharam is communal and Allah-O-Akbar is secular, Shriman is communal and Mian is secular, Hinduism is Communal and Islam is Secular, Hindutva is communal and Jihadism is secular, and at last, Bharat is communal and Italy is Secular? 20. When Christian and Muslim schools can teach Bible and Quran, Why Hindus cannot teach Gita or Ramayan? 21. Abdul Rehman Antuley was made a trustee of the famous Siddhi Vinayak Temple in Prabhadevi, Mumbai Can a Hindu ever become a trustee of a Masjid or Madrassa? 22. Dr. Praveenbhai Togadia has been arrested many times on flimsy grounds. Has the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Delhi, Ahmed Bhukari been arrested for claiming to be an ISI agent and advocating partition of Bharat? 23. When Haj pilgrims are given subsidy, why Hindu pilgrims to Amarnath, Sabarimalai & Kailash Mansarovar are taxed? A Muslim President, A Hindu Prime Minister and a Christian Defence Minister running the affairs of the nation with a unity of purpose. Can this happen anywhere, except in a HINDU NATION - BHARAT ? "Hinduism is not a religion it is a way of life". ---- Swami Vivekananda.
Posted by: acharya Sep 13 2004, 04:59 PM National Policy on Education violated by Arjun Singh in banning NCERT books and replacing them with old ones. The National Policy on Education ( NPE-1986)'s Plan of Action (1992) which made some minor changes while formulating a programme for the implementation of NPE had specifically stated that the National Curriculum Framework of School Education must be reviewed every five years. The Planning Commission also reiterated this. The NCERT textbooks now in circulation were written under the National Curriculum Framework of School Education. Before the September 12, 2002 Judgement of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India on the "saffronisation" petition filed by Aruna Roy & Others, there was a Stay on the publication of the Social Sciences, History and Hindi textbooks as the petitioners had alleged that these contained "communal" passages. But the Writ Petition was dismissed when the Hon'ble Apex Court rejected the Petition and held that the National Curriculum Framework did not violate Article 28 of the Constitution. The NCERT's History and Social Science textbooks conform to the National Curriculum Framework-2000. Arjun Singh has now decided to ban these books from the next academic session and replace them with the books published under the National Curriculum Framework-1988. This violates not only NPE-1986, but constitutes Contempt of Court because : 1. National Curriculum Framework-2000 had recommended the teaching of History, Geography, Civics and Economics from single textbooks on the Social Sciences from Class VI to Class X. This was done to present the study of these subjects in a thematic fashion so as to reduce the academic burden on students. History was to be taught as a separate subject to only those who opt for it in the Higher Secondary (Classes XI and XII) stage. It may be noted that even Physics, Chemistry and Biology were merged into "Science and Technology" for students of Classes VI through X. This was greeted with relief by students, their parents and teachers. Even private publishers who have brought out books in these disciplines conform to the new format. Incidentally, NCERT's textbooks sold six crore copies in 2003-04, which proves their unprecedented acceptability ; 2. Now Arjun Singh wants to bring back the books published under the National Curriculum Framework-1988. Though the 1988 Framework had recommended the teaching of History, Geography, Civics and Economics from single textbooks, the then NCERT had dishonoured its own prescription and had continued to publish separate books in these subjects till their replacement by the present textbooks which conform to National Curriculum Framework-2000 ; 3. It is not in the national interest to continue with an outdated educational system. Moreover, bringing back the old textbooks would place unnecessary burden on the students. Arjun Singh is trying to push Communist propaganda through History textbooks Leftist scholars, many of who are known to be card-carriers of the communist parties or have participated in politics, authored the old textbooks. Their books have been found to be containing facts that hurt the sentiments of the Brahmin, Sikh, Jat and Jain communities. They are also full of information which have been disproved by the latest research : for example the Aryan invasion theory is still promoted, the existence of the Saraswati River is ignored, the continuity between the Indus-Saraswati and Vedic civilisations is deliberately ignored, the persecution of Hindus under Islamic rule is glossed over and needless apologies are made for Firoz Shah Tuglaq and Aurangzeb. The contribution of Veer Savarkar to the freedom movement is ignored. There are many other sins of commission and omission in the books. The NDA government took the step of banning several passages in these books from study in December 2001 and this met with widespread acclaim. The Communist parties have not apologised for the books. CAMPAIGN POINTS 1. The HRD Minister has violated NPE-1986 and has committed Contempt of Court by ordering the reintroduction of the old NCERT textbooks ; 2. Arjun Singh is a promoter of the Leftist group called SAHMAT. When he was HRD Minister he had even earmarked Central funds for this organisation. SAHMAT is the chief votary for the old NCERT textbooks because they are designed to brainwash young children with Communist dogma ; 3. The old NCERT textbooks hurt the sensitivity of Hindus and Sikhs and must not be brought back ; 4. The present NCERT textbooks must be allowed to continue till such time as a new National Curriculum Framework is developed through a nation-wide consultative process and a reconstituted CABE approves it.
Posted by: acharya Sep 19 2004, 01:10 PM
Shivaji in Pakistani textbooks FOC Aug 29, 2004 The Organiser The Congress-led UPA government may well be talking of bringing about a change in the education system by desaffronisation. It may be considering any talk of Hindu patriots like Shivaji, Savarkar and others as communal, but today, history of Shivaji´s glorious reign is being taught to students in Pakistan. Its description is somewhat as follows: Maharaj Shivaji was an extremely able administra-tor. The administration of his kingdom was very strong and well-managed. He constituted a ministry of eight ministers, so that the kingdom would run efficiently. Shivaji divided it into three parts. Every department had an able chief with each department situated in the centre of the district. The money received from the village through agriculture was handled by the accounts department. During Shivaji´s reign, laws relating to the land were based upon the laws laid down by Raja Todarmal and law and order was handled by the judiciary over whom a chief justice ruled. One-fifth of the agriculture produce had to be given to the royal kingdom. One-fourth part of the royal earnings was spent on meeting the expenses of the army and the soldiers. On the basis of his own strength, Shivaji Maharaj built up a strong army. The prime strength of his army was provided by soldiers on horses and foot-soldiers. To control corruption, the administration had put a curb on the system of zamindari (land-lordism) and efforts were made constantly to increase the strength of his army. Very few people are aware that apart from being an able administrator, Shivaji Maharaj was fully literate. His contribution in nation-building was an important landmark in history. Beginning from a small princely state, Shivaji expanded his kingdom through his strong will power and bravery. He infused a new life in the Maharashtrians of the time and encouraged the growth of a new spirit towards service to their nation. Shivaji himself was a conservative follower of Sanatan Dharma; he was kind to the core; he believed in giving full respect to women and gave a new direction to Sanatan Dharma. In short, he was an extremely disciplined and intelligent man. Because his personality has been well projected among the Hindus, Shivaji Maharaj is being described here.
Posted by: Viren Sep 28 2004, 11:40 AM
Came via email... == Secularist sycophancy Competitive sycophancy to please Sonia Gandhi is leading to 'secularists' attacking national symbols and icons. N.S. Rajaram in Vijaya Times, Sept. 26, 2004 The emerging similarities between the British colonial government and the Sonia Gandhi controlled UPA government are extraordinary. On April 5, 1930,Mahatma Gandhi, at the end his famous Dandi Salt March, challenged the British Government's unfair law by making salt. The British arrested him. More recently, the Congress led Karnataka Government, controlled by Sonia Gandhi, arrested Uma Bharati on a trumped of charge- of having hoisted the national tricolor on Independence Day ten years ago. What makes Uma Bharati's arrest even more repugnant is the accompanying disinformation campaign- that she "hurt the religious sentiments" of minorities by flag hoisting at a site named after Kittur Chennamma, a great freedom fighter. As part of this disinformation, the maidan, to which (according to the courts) Muslims have no claim, is repeatedly being referred to as the Idgah Maidan. Even then, why should any Indian -Muslim or Hindu - be offended by the sight of the national flag at a public place? This is only the beginning. At almost the same time, Mani Shankar Aiyar launched an attack on Veer Savarkar in the name of secularism, by comparing him to Jinnah. Who is Mani Shankar Aiyer anyway, to pass judgment on Savarkar? While at Cambridge, he is said to have raised funds for Chinese soldiers when Indian soldiers were laying down their lives? He may now deny it, but it is a matter of record that the same Aiyar, as a columnist in the now defunct weekly Sunday, recommended handing over the Jinnah House to Pakistan and even suggested that Pakistani control of Kashmir would be acceptable in return for access to Central Asian oil and gas. (Read his book Pakistan Papers to see his consistently pro-Pakistani bias.) Obviously Savarkar, who suffered more for the country than almost anyone else, doesn't need a character certificate from the likes of Mani Shankar Aiyar. But that is not really the point. Neither the Karnataka CM nor a Gandhi family retainer like Aiyar would engage in such acts without the approval if not the prompting of the Congress "High Command." They know too well which side their bread is buttered. This is what has led to "competitive sycophancy," with each trying to outdo the other in Hindu bashing- from the mean spirited witch hunting of Arjun Singh to the vulgar rhetoric of Aiyar. Now Ghulam Nabi Azad seems to have joined the fray with a witch hunt of his own. This points to a fundamental apprehension on the part of the powers behind the UPA Government- of nationalism as a threat and a feeling that national symbols should be attacked and discredited at every opportunity. This fear seems to be behind its every move-from "detoxifying" textbooks to discrediting national heroes like Savarkar. It is of course not necessary to agree with everything Savarkar did or said to acknowledge his greatness. After all, even Mahatma Gandhi had his critics. No less a historian than the late R.C. Majumdar wrote that Subhas Bose and the INA rather than Gandhi's Quit India Movement was responsible for India gaining independence in 1947. But he did not deny Gandhiji's greatness. Also, what does the Sonia Gandhi controlled Congress today have to do with Mahatma Gandhi and his ideals? Gandhi wanted the Congress after independence to give up power and become a social and service organization. If any organization today reflects Gandhi's teachings and ideals of simple living and sense of service it is the RSS, not the Congress with its five star culture of scams and tainted ministers. Today, for the Congress to claim the legacy of the Mahatma is like the Bofors gun maker claiming the legacy of Gandhiji's charaka. To see how far the Congress has moved away from Gandhi, it is interesting to see what Gandhi and the Congress had to say about the British rulers in launching the Civil Disobedience Movement that began with the Dandi Salt March: ".Politically, India's status has never been so reduced as under the British regime. ...The tallest of us has to bend before foreign authority. [Is it any different today in the Congress - under the Sonia Gandhi regime?] Culturally, the system of education has torn us from our moorings, and our training has made us hug the very chains that bind us." (Italics added.) In other words, the main thrust of the British rulers was to destroy all sense of pride in the nation and its achievements, and force Indians to worship imported rulers and their imposed alien values. This they tried to achieve not entirely with British men and women but with alienated Brown Sahibs working as stooges. The secularists today are their successors- not of Gandhi. National symbols and nationalist feelings are being attacked in the name of "protecting secularism" so that nothing that is rooted in India' s age-old history and tradition can be part of national life. Secularism today is what imperialism and the "White Man's Burden" used to be under the British. This is leading to a virtual disenfranchisement of the Hindus and their symbols from all areas of national life- from education to the highest political offices to the media. In order to gain favor of the powers that be, it has become necessary for aspiring Hindus to deny and denounce their heritage. Even the British did not go so far as the present day 'secularists ' like Mani Shankar Aiyar, Arjun Singh and Ghulam Nabi Azad with their witch hunts and denunciations. They had learnt from the 1857 uprising the lesson that offending the feelings of the common people can have serious consequences. But the secular Brown Sahibs today seem to be oblivious to his lesson from history. In a strange way, by attacking national symbols in the name of fighting Hindutva, the secularists have unwittingly demonstrated that Hindutva is nationalism. What is Hindutva but the national ideology rooted in India's age-old Sanatana Dharma? In the words of Sri Aurobindo: "I say no longer that nationalism is a creed, a religion, a faith; I say that it is the Sanatana Dharma which for us is the nationalism." This is what the secularists also fear, and this is why they have launched this campaign against national symbols- to disenfranchise the Hindus and erase national symbols which they equate with Hinduism. Sri Aurobindo made another prediction, that even after gaining freedom from the British, India may need another freedom movement to gain full independence. Only history will tell if what we are seeing today is the beginning of such a freedom movement.
Posted by: rajesh_g Oct 15 2004, 11:24 AM
Not about India but I found this very interesting... From debate #3 Bush/Kerry
SCHIEFFER: Senator Kerry, a new question for you. The New York Times reports that some Catholic archbishops are telling their church members that it would be a sin to vote for a candidate like you because you support a woman's right to choose an abortion and unlimited stem-cell research. What is your reaction to that? KERRY: I respect their views. I completely respect their views. I am a Catholic. And I grew up learning how to respect those views. But I disagree with them, as do many. I believe that I can't legislate or transfer to another American citizen my article of faith. What is an article of faith for me is not something that I can legislate on somebody who doesn't share that article of faith. I believe that choice is a woman's choice. It's between a woman, God and her doctor. And that's why I support that. Now, I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade. The president has never said whether or not he would do that. But we know from the people he's tried to appoint to the court he wants to. I will not. I will defend the right of Roe v. Wade. Now, with respect to religion, you know, as I said, I grew up a Catholic. I was an altar boy. I know that throughout my life this has made a difference to me. And as President Kennedy said when he ran for president, he said, "I'm not running to be a Catholic president. I'm running to be a president who happens to be Catholic. " My faith affects everything that I do, in truth. There's a great passage of the Bible that says, "What does it mean, my brother, to say you have faith if there are no deeds? Faith without works is dead. " And I think that everything you do in public life has to be guided by your faith, affected by your faith, but without transferring it in any official way to other people. That's why I fight against poverty. That's why I fight to clean up the environment and protect this earth. That's why I fight for equality and justice. All of those things come out of that fundamental teaching and belief of faith. But I know this, that President Kennedy in his inaugural address told all of us that here on Earth, God's work must truly be our own. And that's what we have to -- I think that's the test of public service.
Posted by: Mudy Oct 15 2004, 11:49 AM
In India, Hindu political leaders can't make such statement; they will be labeled as Fascist, Hindu terrorist or Saffron brigade by christian, muslims and commies.
Posted by: acharya Oct 19 2004, 09:44 AM
Sparking a Hindu renaissance Monday, 18 October , 2004, 13:32 By Subramanian Swamy Since Independence in 1947, Indians have been grappling with the question of who we are. This as-yet-unanswered question represents India’s identity crisis. The failure to date to resolve this crisis has not only confused the majority but confounded the minorities in India as well. Without a resolution of the crisis, which requires an explicit, clear answer to this question, the majority will never understand how to relate to the legacy of the nation and, in turn, to the minorities. The minorities will understand how to adjust with the majority only if this identity crisis is resolved. In other words, the present dysfunctional perceptual mismatch in understanding who we are as a people is behind most of the communal tension and intercommunity distrust in the country. Discuss: India's bane is its diversity, other religions will not accept the Hindu legacy. In India, the majority is the conglomerate Hindu community, which represents about 81 per cent of the total Indian population, while the minorities are constituted by Muslims (13 per cent) and Christians (3 per cent). Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and some other microscopic religious groups that represent the remaining 3 per cent are also considered minorities, but really are so close to the majority community in culture that they are considered offshoots of Hindus. Unlike Islam and Christianity, these minority religions were born as a dissenting theology in Hinduism. They share the core concepts with Hindus such as reincarnation, equality of all religions, and ability to meet God in this life. That they are feeling increasingly alienated from Hindu society is also the consequence of India’s identity crisis. Over the past five centuries, there have been attempts to divide the Hindu community into castes and races. If they had been successful, these attempts would have made the Islamic faith the single-largest community in India. The religious tax, the jazia, was one such instrument to widen the caste gulf. Hindus bore it and did not, by and large, succumb. The India of today would not have been in existence had the attempts to divide Hindus succeeded. In the 20th century, a sinister attempt to divide the Hindu community on a caste basis was made in 1932, when the British imperialists offered the Scheduled Castes a separate electorate. But, shrewdly understanding the conspiracy to divide India, Mahatma Gandhi, through his fast unto death and Dr B R Ambedkar, through his visionary rejection of a separate electorate, foiled the attempt by signing the Poona Pact. The possibility that such attempts at dividing India socially may be made again in the future cannot be ruled out. Recently, under an implicit direction from Congress president Sonia Gandhi, a Congress leader from Karnataka, H Hanumanthappa threatened a fight-to-the-finish to get a separate electorate for the Scheduled Castes. Indian patriots will have to watch such attempts very carefully. Segmentation, fragmentation and, finally, balkanisation have been part of the historical process in many countries, designed to destroy national identities and, thereby, cause the political division of entire nations. Yugoslavia, which has now been divided into four countries, is a recent example of this. The majority-minority question has dogged India for the 57 years since Independence. Paradoxically, Hindus, despite being over 80 per cent of the total population, are suffering from a minority complex; the Hindus of today are confused whether the Republic of India, founded in 1947, is a legatee of the ancient Hindu India or a new nation altogether forged as a byproduct of British rule. This confusion is at the core of the contemporary identity crisis. This confusion will, however, disappear if we can manage to decide which of these we are. Indian history books, written by the British authors under an imperialist patronage and digested by the English-educated intellectuals in India, have sought to foist the second concept. They have made out that India is a fusion of foreign invaders: first the Dravidians, then the Aryans, and then others. The British, they authors argue, gave us a central government. All this is, of course, bogus history, as Dr Ambedkar, in his forgotten writings on Indian history, has clearly shown. Fortunately, since the English language was known to only a small, if influential, fraction of the people (and even today English is a canned language for Indians), the broad masses of India’s uninfluenced have adhered to the former concept. Thus, under Jawaharlal Nehru’s reign, in which the English-tutored elite ruled the roost, there emerged a conceptual lack of synch between the rulers and the ruled. That has caused the confusion and the consequent identity crisis that we see today. Even the minorities and unbiased foreign scholars now acknowledge that the reality is the concept of Modern India as the legatee of the ancient Hindu past. Hence, Urdu newspapers refer to India not as “Bharat” but as “Hindustan”. Even today, China refers to India as “Yinndu guo” (Hindu nation). But the minorities, especially Muslims and Christians, naturally feel more comfortable with the second concept, because then there are less adjustments for them to make. Fundamentalists are the real threat In such an India, the fundamentalists amongst them are free to treat the Indian nation as something like a body incorporated under the Companies Act, whose ownership can be changed as if by purchase and sale of shares; it is, for example, similar to if the trustees of a temple convert to Islam, the temple also becomes a mosque. Such a concept of India then makes the country a target for grabbing by fundamentalists and crusading missionaries. As a reaction, the failure to resolve this crisis till today has also thrown up dangerously simple versions of the first concept. Hindutva is one such simple concept. Discuss: India's bane is its diversity, other religions will not accept the Hindu legacy. As it is propagated today, it regards Hindu consolidation negatively, as necessary to combat the “perfidy” of minorities and not positively in terms of what Hindus should do to integrate their society. However, Hindu consolidation achieved in terms of Hindus holding that they are Hindus first and last, disowning caste and regional loyalties, is the most potent way to resolve the identity crisis. This would require a renaissance in thinking and outlook that can be fostered only by patient advocacy and intellectual ferment. Hindu fundamentalists have no patience for this. They are looking for shortcuts, which they found in the Babri Masjid issue. But, fortunately, fundamentalists have now been undermined by political expediency and insincere leadership. When Syed Shahabuddin, unjustly known as a fundamentalist, was in the Janata Party, I had many hours of debate with him on the question of an Indian identity. Furthermore, due to my family connections, I have had access to the thinking of the intellectuals of the largest minority, the Muslims, and the smallest, the Parsis. I was surprised to find that in both their communities, thinkers were prepared to go as far as to accept that while Indian culture is composite, it has a Hindu core. They were prepared to internalise a Hindu cultural ethos in their daily lives. In the case of Parsis, they had in 600 AD signed a document contracting with the Dwarka Shankaracharya to be culturally assimilated, and they have kept to the compact. As a consequence, Parsis evoke no animosity in the majority Hindu community, even though they have a disproportionate share of the national wealth and positions of power. However, what the minorities are not prepared to accept is that they have lesser claim to being Indian than Hindus, or that they have to prove their Indianness. The constant undercurrent harangue that a Muslim is, prima facie, a Pakistani, or a Christian an agent of a foreign missionary, is what makes them resist the cultural assimilation of Hindu values. They naturally do not want to be perceived as having capitulated to the Hindu fundamentalist. They also do not know when and where it will stop. This is what causes religious polarisation, a deadly foe of national integrity. India needs a Hindu renaissance that incorporates the modern principles of the irrelevance of birth antecedents, of gender equality, and of accountability. It is also essential to integrate the entire Indian society on those principles, irrespective of religion. A uniform civil code for example, is something that the vast majority of Muslim women want, but because this demand has been usurped by those who deny the equality of nationality to the Muslims, the resistance to an eminently reasonable value grows. The Muslims think that this is the first step in several to subjugate them or to wipe out their identity. While I was Union law minister (1990-91), the so-called hotheads in the Muslim community had agreed to give up the Babri Masjid to enable a Ram temple to be built on the site, on the religious argument that if there was a demolished temple under the mosque, no namaaz could take place there. But the Hindu fundamentalists would not agree to this conciliatory approach. And now that the mosque has been forcibly demolished, the problem has become intractable. The solution is obvious — only a temple can be built there. But the question is how to make the Muslim community willingly and happily agree to that. Till we can find a way out of this bind, the status quo must be maintained. As eminent historian K M Pannikar has admirably expounded in his Survey of Indian History, the distinctiveness of India, whether it be music, art, architecture, science or philosophy, is in its Hindu character. Even where we consider India’s Islamic art or music or architecture, its distinctiveness is in the Hindu influence on it. This is what all Indians of every religion must accept in modern Hindustan. It is also an undeniable fact that Muslims and Christians in India are descendents of Hindus. In a conciliatory atmosphere, the minorities would accept this. It is also in their interest to accept this reality. One of the most perceptive writers going, journalist M J Akbar, asks rhetorically, “When have the Muslims of India gone wrong?” He answers, “When they have forgotten their Indian roots.” How apt! But such thoughts of remembering their roots cannot be forced down their throats by Hindus. Enlightened Muslims must rise to the occasion and challenge the reactionary religious fundamentalists. India is not Dar-ul harab that it can be trifled with. But once this is accepted, India’s identity crisis can be resolved. In other words, a Hindu renaissance has two components: one, that Hindus can accept (such as caste abolition, eradication of dowry, etc) without any other interests to consider; two, the embracing by minorities of the core secular Indian values which have Hindu roots. This would require, particularly of Muslims and Christians, the owning of the entire Hindu past as their own legacy and tailoring their outlook on that basis. Thus, if India has to decide to have or not to have good relations with Israel, Pakistan, Iran or the US, it cannot be on the basis of how these countries treat their Muslims and Christians, but on what India’s national interests require. If India has to dispatch troops to Iraq, Sri Lanka or Nepal, it has to be decided on what is good for India, not on what a religious group identifies as in its interest. Thus, a Hindu renaissance would be positive in outlook, while Hindutva, as it is formulated today, is negative and codifies Hindu hegemony. The former will resolve our energy-sapping identity crisis, while the latter will completely emasculate India, in the long run. The choice for the patriotic Indian is clear. Courtesy: Hardnews Syndication Service
Posted by: acharya Oct 20 2004, 01:34 PM
article appearing in the People's Democracy of October 17, 2004 THE year (1992), in which Babri masjid was demolished, is a watershed in many ways, in the history of independent India. The terms of political discourse since then have been set by the right wing forces, particularly the Hindutva forces. What becomes a matter of debate is carefully planned out by them, the entire nation is held to ransom on a particular issue, and intellectuals are made busy refuting what the Sangh Parivar has made into a campaign point. The specific issue of debate sometimes furthers the Sangh Parivar's political agenda. Thus in this one decade we have had a resurgence of right wing mobilization and debates around temple destruction, conversions, the census, and cow-protection and beef eating, Savarkar, Shivaji, Muslim appeasement etc -- all aimed at re-presenting and consolidating the case for a Hindu rashtra, which had been conclusively demolished at the time of Independence, when India declared itself a secular republic. Secular intellectuals have been kept busy arguing and proving that Babar had not demolished any temple at Ayodhya, and that no Ram temple had in fact existed at that spot. We are forced to say the instance of bigamy is more among Hindus than Muslims, population growth rate has more to do with poverty and backwardness than religion, that far from being appeased Muslims have much less representation in government services, and industry than Hindus in relation to the percentage of their population, and that they are far more deprived in terms of assets ownership and benefits of welfare schemes. The record must be set straight and people should know what is what. It would not do for people in this country to be victims of communal propaganda, not only for reasons of politics, but because correct information, a scientific temper, and knowledge are assets in themselves. It is a truism that an informed people are the strength of democracy and popular movements. The secular and left activists and intellectuals have been quite conscious of this, and every aspect of the RSS- initiated propaganda has been adequately countered in terms of evidence, and, if not adequately, then in some substantial measure, in terms of dissemination as well of the true facts that belie the Sangh Parivar's propaganda. EXPOSING THE RSS BLUFF Yet there is a need to call the Sangh Parivar's bluff in more political terms. There is a need to move towards a more sanguine situation where we can say, and when the large majority of the Indian people can say: "So what?" In other words, what if it were true that Babar had destroyed some temple in Ayodhya; is it in keeping with the values of a humanist tradition, that we should wreck revenge on others for no fault of theirs, so many centuries later? Is the issue of the temple so significant that we should allow people to be butchered, and our whole polity to be divided along lines of religion? Are we to sanction the destruction of mosques and dargahs, something that has actually been happening in the last decade, which is against our constitution and the spirit of religious tolerance, even if some rulers (incidentally of all religious persuasions) had done so in bygone ages? There was little in the recently publicized Census figures to provoke the reaction that it did, even if we do not take into account the corrected and revised information given out by the Census authorities. (It is a separate matter that what should have caused concern, the decline in female population, did not become the subject of headlines). As several concerned citizens have pointed out, "such illicit dramatizations of misrepresented statistics are quite compatible with demands for ethnic cleansing tomorrow", and manufactured hysteria and diversionary violence such as is being voiced by the votaries of the Sangh Parivar must be strongly and uncompromisingly resisted, intellectually of course, but also morally, and politically. Why should it matter if the growth rate among Muslims is higher? How does it affect the state of the nation for one, and, two, how would most Hindus feel if some sections of Indians resented their being born? To do so is inhuman and amounts literally to questioning the birth right of those who are citizens of this country. Basically people are required to take a stand along these lines, if we are to call the bluff of the Hindutva forces. The RSS, understands the relationship between information and politics very well. They use their 'facts' effectively only because they are able to link this so-called information with the aspirations of people for a better life. With all their influence in the media and the resources and cadre at their command they attempt to transform popular 'common sense' into a highly irrational approach of the people. RELEVANCE OF SANGH PARIVAR'S FACTS A large mass of populace goes along with them not because people are cruel or inhuman, but because they are led to believe that the 'facts' being marshalled by the Sangh Parivar have some relevance in explaining their increasingly difficult life situation. The Muslims, not globalization policies, are the cause of their inability to obtain for themselves a slice of the national cake. More particularly, if increasing population, rather than scarcity or criteria for just distribution, can be made the issue, it is that much easier for right wing organizations to create enemies from among those who ought to be seen as friends. In short, the Sangh Parivar is successful in creating the connection between its 'facts' and people's lives because it has relied on its sectarian politics to create 'facts' in the first place. This is something that cannot be done by the secular forces. The secular forces cannot concoct facts; they can only interpret facts differently, and from the point of view of the people. But what they can do is to always have a two-pronged strategy for campaign, in which the criteria of justice and equality are paramount. Secular forces should be able to say: "So what? Even if what the Sangh Parivar says is true, our methods and goals are to be guided by our social vision rather than an unpalatable fact." Material reality is not created by facts alone. When Marx talked about the primacy of material life he saw it as a relation, not as something outside the world of ideas, which he saw as transforming reality all the time--for good or for bad. RESEARCH SANCTIFYING RSS'S FACTS None of the current campaigns of the Sangh Parivar are new, nor the claims made with regard to them new. Most issues dear to their heart emerged in the early twentieth century, when the movement for independence assumed a mass base, and they took from the nineteenth century heritage what fitted, and only what fitted, into their political scheme. The same have been resurrected now, with the additional respectability of 'research' and scholarship attached to them. The BJP government gave actual entry to the RSS shakha as an ideological factor in social science research. Conversely the National Curriculum Framework of the BJP was sanctified and given respectability on grounds of such new research, the 'facts' 'discovered' through 'academic endeavors'. A smooth interactive passage between shakha and 'academic' joins politics with scholarship; through emotion rather than reason as in the case of all fascist forces. Again, the secular and democratic forces cannot rely on emotional appeals alone; one, because they are not sufficient; and two, because we stand by a scientific temper. But we can and must appeal to people's sense of justice and reason, on rationality in approach to all issues, and humanism. Without establishing a strong connection between democratic values and facts it would be impossible to meet the challenge of the fascist association between shakha and 'facts' created by the Hindutva forces.
Posted by: acharya Oct 20 2004, 01:35 PM
RSS Propaganda is Dotage and Dementia [I.K.Shukla] --------------------------------------------------------- The saffronazi propaganda machine is geared to deflection and diversion. If, as it wants, the democratic and patriotic forces would busily spend their time and energies in refuting it, the ogre of Hindutva has won, its mission achieved. Falsehoods fabricated and touted as facts by the Rashtriya Shatru Sangh can never be refuted and demolished because they are fictitious. It entertains and inflames people with fiction in the name of politics. If people can be deflected from their grinding poverty and massive privations, Hindutva gains time to steal and would have nothing to do to alleviate misery and illiteracy, spend on infrastructure, clinics, schools, i.e.,onsocial programs crying for allocations and action on an urgent basis. Therefore, it needs diversion and deflection not just as a tactic, but also permanently as a strategy. It is not in pique I call it National Enemies Association. It started as one, it lived up to its pledge of Quslingship and fracturing India, it organized pogroms and genocides. It is no mystery that it had a hand in Gandhiji's assassination. How else to explain its advance exhortations to its acolytes to expect big events on the days when M.L.Pahwa threw a bomb missing Gandhiji and when Nathu murdered him, as Goyal recently pointed out. No scholastic refutations and civil scholarship can faze the HinduTaliban fascists. To cover up their crimes they will manufacture inventive history and lies, bold and bulging. For example,they are asking Hindu women each to produce 8 children to match and outdo the rise of Muslims. Would that not impoverish India? Would that stregthen India? Muslims are in their rights to feel scared by the massively crushing majority of Hindus. This is one more anti-India stance of the saffros. They must be countered forcefully by their total excision from the socio-cultural-political scene.END.
Posted by: k.ram Oct 20 2004, 04:54 PM
Essay Competition:Democracy versus Communal Fascism: Why India Needs to Remain a Democracy To: anhad_delhi@y... CREATIVE WRITING COMPETITION FOR DELHI AND MUMBAI STUDENTS DELHI: ESSAY COMPETITION What is Communalism? Why we need a Democracy? What is fascism? Can U stop Gujarat from happening again? Would U like to discuss these questions and many more with Rahul Bose? Enter the Youth For Peace (Anhad) Essay Writing Competition and Interact With Rahul Bose. EXPRESS YOUR VIEWS / WRITE Topic Democracy versus Communal Fascism: Why India Needs to Remain a Democracy Last date: November 15, 2004 Results to be declared: November 20, 2004 The winners meet Rahul Bose on: November 24, 2004 For entering the competition read the rules & regulations. Rules 1. The Essay Writing Competition is open to students : CATEGORY I-studying at the graduate level of various colleges, universities and institutes based in Delhi and CATEGORY II- students of class IX-XII of schools based in Delhi. 2. The entries should be in English or Hindi. 3. The essays should be CATEGORY I- 2,000 to 3,000 words , CATEGORY II- 1500-2000 words. The entries should be typewritten, on A4-size paper with all pages numbered. 4. A separate cover sheet with the following details should be included: essay title, student's name(s), name of the school/ college/ institute, class, age, home address and contact number and e-mail if any. The student's name should not appear in the main essay. 5. The closing date of the competition is November 15, 2004. Entries which are not in compliance with any of the competition rules will be disqualified. 6. The essays will be assessed in confidence by an independent panel of judges. No appeals will be entertained. The results of the competition will be announced on 20, November 2004. 7. The essays will not be assessed separately on the basis of the language in which they are written, but the best essays would be selected from all received entries. 8. A viewing list and reading list is provided . It is advisable for the students to view at least one documentary/ film and read at least one book from the provided list before writing the essay. 9. The editorial board reserves the right to edit essays selected for publication. 10. For further information, please call Mansi Sharma/ Moyna Manku at Anhad- 23327366/ 67 11. The entries should be sent to Anhad by either post/ personally or through e-mail latest by November 15, 2004: Anhad, 4 , Windsor Place, On Ashoka Road, Opp Kanishka Hotel ( new name – La Shangrila Hotel), New Delhi-110001, tel- 23327366/ 23327367, e-mail: anhadinfo@y... Topic: Democracy versus Communal Fascism: Why India Needs to Remain a Democracy Prizes 11. Prizes will be awarded as follows Best 100 essays: Commendation Certificates (50 from CATEGORY I and 50 from CATEGORY II) Best 50 essays from across India ( these competitions are being organized in other cities also)will be published in a book and also put on Anhad's website (under construction) (25 from CATEGORY I and 25 from CATEGORY II) Best 20 essays (10 from each category) : Students whose essays are selected as the best 20 (10 from CATEGORY I and 10 from CATEGORY II) would : 1. Receive Rs. 1500 and a plaque 2. On November 24, 2004 have an interaction on the issues related to secularism and democracy from 10am to 12.30 pm with the Film Actor Rahul Bose. 3. November 24, 2004 Lunch from 1-2 pm with Rahul Bose, the Full Panel of Judges and Anhad activists. Viewing/ Reading List The following documentaries/ films can be borrowed and screened in colleges/ schools or students can come and view them at the Anhad office (Between 4pm to 8 pm from Monday to Saturday and 9am-8pm on Sundays). It is preferred that students come in groups of not less than 5, however even students coming individually can view the films. Students should ring up the Anhad office and inform the time when they would like to come. The books are available on sale at the Anhad office. We are not in a position to lend the books, however if there are some students who want to read the books at the Anhad office they are welcome to do so. Documentaries and Films Men in the Tree- Producer & Director- Lalit Vachani Final Solution- Producer & Director-Rakesh Sharma In Dark Times- Producer & Director-Gauhar Raza Naata- Producer & Director-KP Ravishankar and Anjali Monterio In The Name of God- Producer & Director- Anand Patwardhan Mr & Mrs Iyer- Director- Aparna Sen Naseem- Director- Saeed Akhter Mirza Garam Hawa- Director-MS Sathyu Zakhm- Director- Mahesh Bhatt Books- The books are not published by us, we are trying to negotiate special rates for students. Apart from the books listed below there are many other books available, which students can refer to at Anhad: Communalism: A Primer- by Bipan Chandra- Rs 30 (in Hindi and English) Communalism: What is False, what is True? –Ram Puniyani- Rs. 5-(in Hindi and English) Before the Night Falls- Prof. KN Panikkar- Rs 150 ( In English) Communalism: An Illustrated Primer-Ram Puniyani Rs. 175 (student's concession-Rs. 100) -(in Hindi and English) Cry, My beloved Country- Harsh Mander- Rs 95 ( In English) YOUTH FOR PEACE ANHAD 4, Windsor Place, New Delhi-110001 Mumbai: Creative Writing Competition Why India must remain a democracy? What is Fascism? Can we stop violence? Is it possible to counter hatred? Can I make a difference? Can you make a difference? Do these questions bother you? Do you want to remain a silent spectator? Or do you want to stop this madness? CAN YOU MAKE PEACE COOL? Youth For Peace (Anhad) & Youth for Secular Democracy Invite entries on Communal Harmony, Secularism, Peace, Democracy ANY FORM OF CREATIVE EXPRESSION (lyrics, poetry, essays, short stories, slogans, songs, articles ) Rules 1. If you are a student of any college, school, institution in Mumbai you can enter the competition. 2. The entries can be in English, Hindi, Marathi, Urdu 3. The entries can be sent to anhad_maharashtra@y.../ or can be sent to Anhad Office, c/o Bhupesh Gupta Bhawan, 3rd Floor, Leningrad Chowk, 85, Sayani Road, Prabhadevi, Mumbai-400025 4. All entries would be pooled together and would be judged by an independent panel of judges on the basis of quality and content as a whole. There would be no separate categories for language or form while judging. 5. All entries must have the following information: name, college, age, address home, telephone, e-mail –if any. 6. Last date November 15, 2004 7. Awards would be announced on November 20, 2004 Awards 1. The students whose entries are selected amongst the first 25 entries would: Get a cash prize of Rs.1000/ each Get an opportunity to present her/ his work at a public function in Mumbai on November 25, 2004, attended by prominent people from the creative field and prominent activists working on the issue. Shubha Mudgal has confirmed to interact with winners. 2. Best 50 entries( from all over India) irrespective of form & language would be published in a book by Anhad. 3. Best 100 entries get appreciation certificates. ------------------------------------------------------ Courtesy:Harsh Kapoor/SACW
Posted by: Sunder Oct 20 2004, 05:25 PM
QUOTE (k.ram @ Oct 21 2004, 05:24 AM)
Essay Competition:Democracy versus Communal Fascism: Why India Needs to Remain a Democracy To: anhad_delhi@y... What is Communalism? Why we need a Democracy? What is fascism? Can U stop Gujarat from happening again?
Can one actually conduct such "essay writing" events that has an ugly motive ? What if someone, with good intentions, and intellectual integrity, wanted an essay contest on "Terrorism in Islam", or "Genocides by Ghazis", or "Genocides by Congress - let's not allow a 1984 to happen." will it be allowed?
Posted by: Mudy Oct 22 2004, 09:13 AM
Pointing out that 'Marxputras' (leftists) and 'Macaulayputras' (English-educated elite) were among the prominent opponents of the Sangh, he said, "By chance they are in a position today to do backseat driving in the government and therefore are engaged in conspiring to harm the Hindu forces. "Because of their negative thinking, the Marxputras can do only destructive work. Never can they do anything constructive. Otherwise, they should have transformed West Bengal, where they enjoyed uninterrupted power for 27 years
The RSS chief, who in his earlier addresses had called for the 'Indianisation' of the Church and asked Muslims and Christians to accept their Indian ancestry, asked the government to change the education policy of madrasas, "as has been done in other Islamic nations".
New BJP president Lal Kishenchand Advani and the party's youth leader Varun Gandhi were present during the annual address at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur
Posted by: rajesh_g Oct 22 2004, 10:05 AM
Marxputras.. ROTFL.gif ROTFL.gif ROTFL.gif I think I have heard this for the first time.. Notice the spin in the end..
The former deputy prime minister saluted the saffron flag in RSS style with his hand raised up to the chest, while Gandhi merely stood when the Sangh anthem was played.
They dont like gandhi khoon going out of family. They will try to embarass Varun till he quits..
Posted by: Mudy Oct 22 2004, 10:14 AM
Media still can't believe Gandhi's can attend RSS meeting. Public is so brainwashed they think RSS is bad organisation.

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