Discussion:
WHY THE BIG FUSS OVER ONE MUSLIM LEADER CONDEMNING TERRORISTS?
(too old to reply)
and/or www.mantra.com/jai (Dr. Jai Maharaj)
2010-03-04 00:05:52 UTC
Forwarded message from Ashok Chowgule

I do not know why there is such a big fuss about this so-called
fatwa.

Others have done so before, and there have been so-called rallies
against terrorism.

Yet no one has specifically condemned any of the terrorists by name.
Here are a couple of quotes:

A former Kuwaiti information minister, Sad bin Tefla, wrote an
article in a London Arabic daily, Al Sharq Al Awsat, last Sept. 11
entitled "We Are All Bin Laden.'' He asked why Muslim scholars and
clerics had eagerly supported fatwas condemning Salman Rushdie to
death after he wrote a novel deemed insulting to Islam, "The Satanic
Verses,'' but to this day no Muslim cleric has issued a fatwa
condemning Osama bin Laden for murdering nearly 3,000 innocent
civilians, badly damaging Islam.

Thomas L. Friedman, "The Battle of the Pump", The New York Times,
October 7, 2004

In Jan 2008, 30 leading Deobandi religious scholars, while declaring
suicide attacks 'haram', rationalised these as a mere reaction to the
(Pakistani) government's wrong policies in the tribal areas...... Why
do Pakistanis suddenly lose their voice when it comes to suicide
bombings? The bomber - even if he kills pious Muslims or even those
in the act of prayer - kills in the name of Islam. Therefore, people
mute their criticism lest they be regarded as irreligious or even
blasphemous. Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, in an article ("They Only Know How
To Kill", The Times of India, March 12, 2002)

Namaste
Ashok Chowgule


Muslim leader condemns terrorists

Daily Mail Reporter
Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The leader of a worldwide Muslim movement today issued a fatwa
condemning terrorists and suicide bombers as the enemies of Islam.

Pakistan-born Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said there were no 'ifs or
buts' about terrorism and such acts had no justification in the name
of Islam.

In a news conference today he called on Islamic leaders to convey the
message that acts of terrorism cut people off as true followers of
Islam. Muslim scholar, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri,

Muslim scholar, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, launches a fatwa - or
Islamic religious ruling - that condemns suicide bombings today

'They can't claim that their suicide bombings are martyrdom
operations and that they become the heroes of the Muslim Umma (the
wider Muslim community), no, they become heroes of hellfire, and they
are leading towards hellfire,' he said.

'There is no place for any martyrdom and their act is never, ever to
be considered Jihad,' he said.

Dr Qadri, who spoke at length in both English and Arabic before his
audience, said his fatwa, a religious edict or ruling, was an
'absolute' condemnation of terrorism without 'any excuses or
pretexts'.

'Good intentions cannot convert a wrong into good, they cannot
convert an evil into good,' he said.

'Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence and it has no place in
Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it, or any
kind of excuses or ifs or buts.'

7/7 bomber Shehzad Tanweer

7/7 bomber Shehzad Tanweer in a jihadist video recorded before his death

He insisted that Islam was a religion of peace that promotes beauty,
'betterment', goodness and 'negates all form of mischief and strife'.

The 600-page fatwa by Dr Qadri, founder of the global Minhaj-ul-Quran
movement, which has thousands of supporters across the world as well
as in the UK, will be translated into English in the coming weeks.

His talk will also be made available online in an attempt to counter
extremist versions of Islam available on the internet.

The fatwa has been billed as 'arguably the most comprehensive'
theological refutation of Islamic terrorism to date by counter-
extremism think-tank the Quilliam foundation.

The Minhaj-ul-Quran movement said it runs courses in combating
religious extremism in educational centres throughout Britain
including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Nelson, Walsall and
Glasgow. It currently has an office in Dundee.

A fatwa, an edict issued by a learned Muslim scholar, may concern any
aspect of Islamic life.

The term became famous in the Western world in 1989 after the author
Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding following a 'death fatwa'
issued by Ayatollah Khomeni, then Supreme Leader of Iran, on the
grounds that his book, The Satanic Verses, had 'insulted' Islam.

Readers' comment:

Twin Towers destroyed - September 2001
Bali bombings - October 2002
Madrid bombings - March 2004
London bombings - July 2005
Mumbai bombings - July 2006 (and attacks November 2008)
Fatwa issued - February 2010

Question -- why does it take nearly a decade for a solitary muslim
voice to condemn terrorism?
- Paula, Warks, England, 02/3/2010 15:09

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1254855/Muslim-leader-condemns-suicide-bombers-fatwa.html

End of forwarded article from Ashok Chowgule

Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Om Shanti

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that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as
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information for research, comment, discussion and educational purposes by
subscribing to USENET newsgroups or visiting web sites. For more information
go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
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Since newsgroup posts are being removed
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bademiyansubhanallah
2010-03-04 08:14:50 UTC
Post by and/or www.mantra.com/jai (Dr. Jai Maharaj)
Forwarded message from Ashok Chowgule
I do not know why there is such a big fuss about this so-called
fatwa.
Others have done so before, and there have been so-called rallies
against terrorism.
Yet no one has specifically condemned any of the terrorists by name.
A former Kuwaiti information minister, Sad bin Tefla, wrote an
article in a London Arabic daily, Al Sharq Al Awsat, last Sept. 11
entitled "We Are All Bin Laden.'' He asked why Muslim scholars and
clerics had eagerly supported fatwas condemning Salman Rushdie to
death after he wrote a novel deemed insulting to Islam, "The Satanic
Verses,'' but to this day no Muslim cleric has issued a fatwa
condemning Osama bin Laden for murdering nearly 3,000 innocent
civilians, badly damaging Islam.
Thomas L. Friedman, "The Battle of the Pump", The New York Times,
October 7, 2004
In Jan 2008, 30 leading Deobandi religious scholars, while declaring
suicide attacks 'haram', rationalised these as a mere reaction to the
(Pakistani) government's wrong policies in the tribal areas...... Why
do Pakistanis suddenly lose their voice when it comes to suicide
bombings? The bomber - even if he kills pious Muslims or even those
in the act of prayer - kills in the name of Islam. Therefore, people
mute their criticism lest they be regarded as irreligious or even
blasphemous. Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, in an article ("They Only Know How
To Kill", The Times of India, March 12, 2002)
Namaste
Ashok Chowgule
Muslim leader condemns terrorists
Daily Mail Reporter
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
The leader of a worldwide Muslim movement today issued a fatwa
condemning terrorists and suicide bombers as the enemies of Islam.
Pakistan-born Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said there were no 'ifs or
buts' about terrorism and such acts had no justification in the name
of Islam.
In a news conference today he called on Islamic leaders to convey the
message that acts of terrorism cut people off as true followers of
Islam. Muslim scholar, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri,
Muslim scholar, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, launches a fatwa - or
Islamic religious ruling - that condemns suicide bombings today
'They can't claim that their suicide bombings are martyrdom
operations and that they become the heroes of the Muslim Umma (the
wider Muslim community), no, they become heroes of hellfire, and they
are leading towards hellfire,' he said.
'There is no place for any martyrdom and their act is never, ever to
be considered Jihad,' he said.
Dr Qadri, who spoke at length in both English and Arabic before his
audience, said his fatwa, a religious edict or ruling, was an
'absolute' condemnation of terrorism without 'any excuses or
pretexts'.
'Good intentions cannot convert a wrong into good, they cannot
convert an evil into good,' he said.
'Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence and it has no place in
Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it, or any
kind of excuses or ifs or buts.'
7/7 bomber Shehzad Tanweer
7/7 bomber Shehzad Tanweer in a jihadist video recorded before his death
He insisted that Islam was a religion of peace that promotes beauty,
'betterment', goodness and 'negates all form of mischief and strife'.
The 600-page fatwa by Dr Qadri, founder of the global Minhaj-ul-Quran
movement, which has thousands of supporters across the world as well
as in the UK, will be translated into English in the coming weeks.
His talk will also be made available online in an attempt to counter
extremist versions of Islam available on the internet.
The fatwa has been billed as 'arguably the most comprehensive'
theological refutation of Islamic terrorism to date by counter-
extremism think-tank the Quilliam foundation.
The Minhaj-ul-Quran movement said it runs courses in combating
religious extremism in educational centres throughout Britain
including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Nelson, Walsall and
Glasgow. It currently has an office in Dundee.
A fatwa, an edict issued by a learned Muslim scholar, may concern any
aspect of Islamic life.
The term became famous in the Western world in 1989 after the author
Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding following a 'death fatwa'
issued by Ayatollah Khomeni, then Supreme Leader of Iran, on the
grounds that his book, The Satanic Verses, had 'insulted' Islam.  
Twin Towers destroyed - September 2001
Bali bombings - October 2002
Madrid bombings - March 2004
London bombings - July 2005
Mumbai bombings - July 2006 (and attacks November 2008)
Fatwa issued - February 2010
Question -- why does it take nearly a decade for a solitary muslim
voice to condemn terrorism?
 - Paula, Warks, England, 02/3/2010 15:09
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1254855/Muslim-leader-condemn...
End of forwarded article from Ashok Chowgule
Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Om Shanti
     o  Not for commercial use. Solely to be fairly used for the educational
purposes of research and open discussion. The contents of this post may not
have been authored by, and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the
poster. The contents are protected by copyright law and the exemption for
fair use of copyrighted works.
     o  If you send private e-mail to me, it will likely not be read,
considered or answered if it does not contain your full legal name, current
e-mail and postal addresses, and live-voice telephone number.
     o  Posted for information and discussion. Views expressed by others are
not necessarily those of the poster who may or may not have read the article.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This article may contain copyrighted material the use of
which may or may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright
owner. This material is being made available in efforts to advance the
understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic,
democratic, scientific, social, and cultural, etc., issues. It is believed
that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as
provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title
17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without
profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included
information for research, comment, discussion and educational purposes by
subscribing to USENET newsgroups or visiting web sites. For more information
go to:  http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this article for purposes of
your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the
copyright owner.
Since newsgroup posts are being removed
by forgery by one or more net terrorists,
this post may be reposted several times.
http://groups.google.com/group/soc.culture.indian.marathi/browse_thread/thread/8a1efe054a3bf157#

...and I am Sid Harth
bademiyansubhanallah
2010-03-04 08:19:39 UTC
Post by and/or www.mantra.com/jai (Dr. Jai Maharaj)
Forwarded message from Ashok Chowgule
I do not know why there is such a big fuss about this so-called
fatwa.
Others have done so before, and there have been so-called rallies
against terrorism.
Yet no one has specifically condemned any of the terrorists by name.
A former Kuwaiti information minister, Sad bin Tefla, wrote an
article in a London Arabic daily, Al Sharq Al Awsat, last Sept. 11
entitled "We Are All Bin Laden.'' He asked why Muslim scholars and
clerics had eagerly supported fatwas condemning Salman Rushdie to
death after he wrote a novel deemed insulting to Islam, "The Satanic
Verses,'' but to this day no Muslim cleric has issued a fatwa
condemning Osama bin Laden for murdering nearly 3,000 innocent
civilians, badly damaging Islam.
Thomas L. Friedman, "The Battle of the Pump", The New York Times,
October 7, 2004
In Jan 2008, 30 leading Deobandi religious scholars, while declaring
suicide attacks 'haram', rationalised these as a mere reaction to the
(Pakistani) government's wrong policies in the tribal areas...... Why
do Pakistanis suddenly lose their voice when it comes to suicide
bombings? The bomber - even if he kills pious Muslims or even those
in the act of prayer - kills in the name of Islam. Therefore, people
mute their criticism lest they be regarded as irreligious or even
blasphemous. Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, in an article ("They Only Know How
To Kill", The Times of India, March 12, 2002)
Namaste
Ashok Chowgule
Muslim leader condemns terrorists
Daily Mail Reporter
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
The leader of a worldwide Muslim movement today issued a fatwa
condemning terrorists and suicide bombers as the enemies of Islam.
Pakistan-born Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri said there were no 'ifs or
buts' about terrorism and such acts had no justification in the name
of Islam.
In a news conference today he called on Islamic leaders to convey the
message that acts of terrorism cut people off as true followers of
Islam. Muslim scholar, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri,
Muslim scholar, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, launches a fatwa - or
Islamic religious ruling - that condemns suicide bombings today
'They can't claim that their suicide bombings are martyrdom
operations and that they become the heroes of the Muslim Umma (the
wider Muslim community), no, they become heroes of hellfire, and they
are leading towards hellfire,' he said.
'There is no place for any martyrdom and their act is never, ever to
be considered Jihad,' he said.
Dr Qadri, who spoke at length in both English and Arabic before his
audience, said his fatwa, a religious edict or ruling, was an
'absolute' condemnation of terrorism without 'any excuses or
pretexts'.
'Good intentions cannot convert a wrong into good, they cannot
convert an evil into good,' he said.
'Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence and it has no place in
Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it, or any
kind of excuses or ifs or buts.'
7/7 bomber Shehzad Tanweer
7/7 bomber Shehzad Tanweer in a jihadist video recorded before his death
He insisted that Islam was a religion of peace that promotes beauty,
'betterment', goodness and 'negates all form of mischief and strife'.
The 600-page fatwa by Dr Qadri, founder of the global Minhaj-ul-Quran
movement, which has thousands of supporters across the world as well
as in the UK, will be translated into English in the coming weeks.
His talk will also be made available online in an attempt to counter
extremist versions of Islam available on the internet.
The fatwa has been billed as 'arguably the most comprehensive'
theological refutation of Islamic terrorism to date by counter-
extremism think-tank the Quilliam foundation.
The Minhaj-ul-Quran movement said it runs courses in combating
religious extremism in educational centres throughout Britain
including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Nelson, Walsall and
Glasgow. It currently has an office in Dundee.
A fatwa, an edict issued by a learned Muslim scholar, may concern any
aspect of Islamic life.
The term became famous in the Western world in 1989 after the author
Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding following a 'death fatwa'
issued by Ayatollah Khomeni, then Supreme Leader of Iran, on the
grounds that his book, The Satanic Verses, had 'insulted' Islam.  
Twin Towers destroyed - September 2001
Bali bombings - October 2002
Madrid bombings - March 2004
London bombings - July 2005
Mumbai bombings - July 2006 (and attacks November 2008)
Fatwa issued - February 2010
Question -- why does it take nearly a decade for a solitary muslim
voice to condemn terrorism?
 - Paula, Warks, England, 02/3/2010 15:09
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1254855/Muslim-leader-condemn...
End of forwarded article from Ashok Chowgule
Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Om Shanti
     o  Not for commercial use. Solely to be fairly used for the educational
purposes of research and open discussion. The contents of this post may not
have been authored by, and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the
poster. The contents are protected by copyright law and the exemption for
fair use of copyrighted works.
     o  If you send private e-mail to me, it will likely not be read,
considered or answered if it does not contain your full legal name, current
e-mail and postal addresses, and live-voice telephone number.
     o  Posted for information and discussion. Views expressed by others are
not necessarily those of the poster who may or may not have read the article.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This article may contain copyrighted material the use of
which may or may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright
owner. This material is being made available in efforts to advance the
understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic,
democratic, scientific, social, and cultural, etc., issues. It is believed
that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as
provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title
17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without
profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included
information for research, comment, discussion and educational purposes by
subscribing to USENET newsgroups or visiting web sites. For more information
go to:  http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this article for purposes of
your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the
copyright owner.
Since newsgroup posts are being removed
by forgery by one or more net terrorists,
this post may be reposted several times.
http://groups.google.com/group/soc.culture.indian.marathi/browse_thre...
...and I am Sid Harth- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
http://groups.google.com/group/soc.culture.indian.marathi/browse_thread/thread/3f5e2a3be4798e7d#

...and I am Sid Harth
Sid Harth
2010-03-04 18:58:12 UTC
Subramanian Swamy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Subramanian Swamy

Member of Indian Parliament (Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha), Union Cabinet
Minister for Commerce & Law

In office
1973–1991
Prime Minister Chandrasekhar
Preceded by A. G. S. Ram Babu
Succeeded by P. Mohan

Born September 15, 1939

Nationality Indian
Political party Janata Party
Spouse(s) Roxna
Profession economist, Politician
Religion Hindu

Dr. Subramanian Swamy (b. 15 September 1939 at Chennai, sometimes
spelt as Subramaniam Swamy) is a politician from India. He is also a
trained economist.

Personal life

Subramanian Swamy has two daughters, Gitanjali Swamy and Suhasini
Haider. Suhasini is a journalist with Indian television channel CNN-
IBN. His wife Dr. Roxna Swamy is an Advocate in the Supreme Court of
India.

Association with Harvard

Following his time at the Indian Statistical Institute, he was awarded
a doctorate by Harvard University in 1964. Two of his advisors at the
time were Simon Kuznets and Paul A. Samuelson[1]. For a time, while
completing his dissertation in 1963, he worked in the UN Secretariat
at New York as Assistant Economics Affairs Officer. He subsequently
worked as a resident tutor at Lowell House, and as an assistant
professor for the Harvard Economics department where he later became
an Associate professor in 1969. Subsequently he has been a regularly
teaching at the rank of full Professor at the Harvard Summer School.
He is accounted by some to be an authority on the comparative study of
India and China[2] and is also well-versed in the Mandarin Chinese
(Hanyu) language[3].

Association with IITs

He was Professor of Economics at the Indian Institute of Technology
Delhi from 1969. He was removed from the position by its board of
Governors in the early 1970s but was legally reinstated in the late
1980s by the Supreme Court of India. He continued in the position till
1991 when he resigned to become a cabinet minister. He served on the
Board of Governors of the IIT, Delhi (1977-80), and on the Council of
IITs (1980-82).

Political career

He is regarded as a proponent of Hindutva as a political concept. He
first came into spotlight for protesting against the emergency imposed
in 1975. He was one of the founding members of the Janata Party and is
its president since 1990. He was elected member of parliament 5 times
between 1974 and 1999. He has twice represented the city of Mumbai
North East during 1977 and 1980, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in the
Parliament.

He is known for his efforts in normalizing relations with China and
Israel. In 1981, he persuaded Deng Xiaoping to open the Kailash
Mansarovar in Tibet to Hindu pilgrims from India[4]. In 1990-1991, he
was a minister in the Chandra Shekhar cabinet and was in charge of the
ministries of Commerce and Law and Justice.

He was also a member of the Planning Commission between 1990 and 1991.
Between 1994 and 1996, he held the position of Chairman of the
Commission on Labour Standards and International Trade (equivalent to
the rank of a cabinet minister) under the P. V. Narasimha Rao
government. Dr. Swamy has been subject to several defamation cases. He
is known to argue these cases himself without the agency of lawyers.

He has enjoyed a strange maverick relationship with J. Jayalalithaa.
He was perceived as instrumental in bringing the disproportionate
assets case of J. Jayalalithaa into public notice in the 1990s but by
1997, he had become her political adviser and was instrumental in
convincing her to withdraw support from the Vajpayee Government in
1999. The alliance with Jayalalithaa ended after she lost the General
Elections held in the same year.

In October 2004, he along with other members of the erstwhile Janata
Party established the Rashtriya Swabhiman Manch to oppose the policies
of the ruling UPA.

He has played an important role in fighting for the cause of
preventing the destruction of Rama Sethu bridge. He moved the Supreme
Court of India and successfully obtained a stay for the Sethusamudram
Shipping Canal Project at the final hours on August 31, 2007. The case
is under hearing before the Supreme Court.

Most recently Dr. Swamy has been crusading for proper electoral
governance in the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in the
Indian Elections. Dr. Swamy has been one of the few petitioners, who
has successfully petitioned the Indian Courts to look in to serious
electoral mis-management potential in the use of Electronic Voting
Machines (EVM) during the Indian Elections from 2001 through 2009.
Following a preliminary hearing in the Delhi High Court in late 2009,
the Chief Justice of the High Court concurred with Dr. Swamy's
petition and admitted the matter for a full hearing in early 2010. Dr.
Swamy has argued that any electoral mechanism such as an EVM must
provide full audit-ability, account-ability and transparency and that
Indian Election Commission's current EVM has neither of the three.
Additionally the technology is in direct violation of the Indian
Information Technology Act. The matter is currently under
consideration in the Indian Courts.

He has been very effective in the Courts fighting for justice and has
used the Courts effectively on issues of public importance. It is
worth noting that he is an economist but has been very successful
arguing PILs in Court for the public good.

Stance against the LTTE

He is noted for his consistent stance against the LTTE which is
proscribed as a terrorist organization by 31 countries

(see list)

Commenting:

“ LTTE is a terrorist organization which moreover killed Rajiv Gandhi
and has spewed poison online about India[5] ”

“ LTTE is a part of the Sri Lankan problem, and can never be a part of
the solution[6] ”

His stance against the LTTE has had five successive Indian governments
place him in the Z category of Indian security, with security cover of
at least 22 personnel because of the high LTTE threat to his life.[7]
Subramanian Swamy was attacked by a group of pro-LTTE lawyers .[8]
Violent clashes between the Tamil Nadu police and practicing lawyers
occurred on the 19th of February 2009 on the Madras High Court
premises.

Books

Dr. Subramanian Swamy is the author of numerous books and writes
regularly in various journals and newspapers, some of his books are :-

Economic Growth in China and India, 1989
Hindus Under Siege. (2006)

Notes

^ Boumans 167
^ Prospects for India-U.S. relations better: Swamy The Hindu - January
23, 2008
http://www.thehindu.com/2008/01/23/stories/2008012360151400.htm
^ About Dr. Subramanian Swamy
http://www.kamakotidevotees.org/london/dr-swamy.html
^ Pilgrims' route The Tribune - September 26, 1998
http://www.tribuneindia.com/1998/98sep27/spotlite.htm
^ Subramanian Swamy on LTTE, Defence Agreement and the right to
station Indian Troops in non-Tamil areas in Sri Lanka Asian Tribune -
June 28, 2004
^ India will Never Support Eelam; Dr Subramanian Swamy Says Nidahasa
News - October 8, 2007 http://news.nidahasa.com/news.php?go=fullnews&newsid=348
^ Transcripts - Parliament of India http://parliamentofindia.nic.in/lsdeb/ls12/ses2/0405089808.htm
^ [1] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/Lawyer_arrested_for_pelting_eggs_at_Swamy/articleshow/4152259.cms

References

Boumans, Marcel (2005). How Economists Model the World Into Numbers.
Routledge. ISBN 0415346215.

External links

Biography on Janta Party site http://www.janataparty.org/president.html
Subramaniam Swamy's views on the influence of Hinduism

Subramaniam Swamy in Janata Party's website
An article by Dr. Subramanian Swamy on how to face defamation
litigation
http://www.hindu.com/2004/09/21/stories/2004092103551000.htm
Subramaniam Swamy fined Rs. 5 lakhs by the Delhi High Court for making
libellous allegations against Jayalalitha Jayaram
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20060104/nation.htm#16
Basic Islam for Hindu Dhimmis - Subramanian Swamy
http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=159&page=31

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subramanian_Swamy"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subramanian_Swamy

Swamy sees insecurity among minorities
By Our Staff Reporter

RAMANATHAPURAM, FEB 26. The people belonging to minority communities
will always live in fear if the Bharatiya Janata Party is voted to
power again in the coming Lok Sabha elections, the Janata Party
president, Subramanian Swamy, told presspersons at Pasumpon village on
Thursday.

Dr. Swamy said the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance had failed to
ensure the welfare of minorities and it was evident from the fact that
Muslims were put to untold hardships in Gujarat. "They feel a sense of
insecurity throughout the country."

The Government should take necessary steps to arrest the general
secretary of the MDMK, Vaiko, if he continued to support the LTTE or
praise its leader in public meetings.

No party would get simple majority in the coming Lok Sabha elections,
he said and predicted a hung Parliament.

Dr. Swamy wondered how the DMK president, M. Karunanidhi, could
tolerate the issue of the foreign origin of the Congress president,
Sonia Gandhi, as he had termed the former Chief Minister, M.G.
Ramachandran, a Malayalee when the AIADMK formed the Government in the
State.

Dr. Swamy urged the Government to give no objection certificate to the
Central Government to name the Madurai airport as Pasumpon
Muthuramalinga Thevar Airport. The State Government had twice rejected
the requisition of the Central Government.

The Janata Party would approach the court to issue a direction to the
State Government in this connection after the elections.

Earlier, speaking at a function organised by the family of
Muthuramalinga Thevar in recognition of his (Dr. Swamy's) efforts in
installing the Thevar statue in Parliament House, Dr. Swamy said the
Janata Party would take the necessary steps to set up a modern
university in the name of Thevar at Pasumpon.

He appealed to the Government to include the life history of Thevar as
one of the subjects in the college curriculum in order to facilitate
the younger generation to know about the heroic deeds of Thevar and
his dedication towards the betterment of society.

http://www.hindu.com/2004/02/27/stories/2004022706661100.htm

Need for ‘Hindu vote bank’: Swamy
Special Correspondent

TIRUPATI: Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy on Monday said the
only way to counter vote-bank policies blindly pursued by governments
and political parties was to develop a strong and formidable “Hindu
vote bank.” It was the only way to check the “continued neglect and
subjugation of Hindus and Hindu temples,” he said.

Dr. Swamy criticised the United Progressive Alliance government for
its attempt to “bend over backwards” to protect mosques and churches
while showing “utter indifference” to protect the Hindu shrines and
sentiments.

He was addressing a convention organised by the Andhra Pradesh Hindu
Temples Protection Committee.

Dr. Swamy said that though there were 42 mosques in Ayodhya where no
prayers were offered, Muslims were laying claim to the disputed Ram
Janmabhoomi alone.

http://www.hindu.com/2009/02/17/stories/2009021759811100.htm

GOVERNMENT

Pulls and pressures
The days leading up to the swearing-in of the BJP Government were
marked by hard bargaining by some of the party's allies.

V. VENKATESAN
in New Delhi

IMMEDIATELY after the Election Commission formally notified the
results of the Lok Sabha elections and informed President K.R.
Narayanan about it on March 10, the President began a consultative
process to constitute a new government. The Election Commission had
earlier announced that the new Lok Sabha would be constituted before
March 12, and the leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its
allies, which had emerged as the largest combination of pre-election
allies but had fallen short of a majority in Parliament, were under
the impression that the numbers game would begin on or after March 12.
The initial public statements of leaders of the Congress(I) and the
United Front seemed to indicate that they would endeavour to prevent
the BJP from coming to power.

Thus, when the President invited BJP Parliamentary Party leader Atal
Behari Vajpayee for a discussion on government formation on March 10,
BJP leaders were taken by surprise. Vajpayee was holding talks with
the alliance partners when the President's invitation was received.
Vajpayee read out the contents of the letter to newspersons. In his
letter, Narayanan offered his felicitations to Vajpayee on his
election as the leader of the BJP Parliamentary Party. He gave
Vajpayee the first opportunity to let him know whether he would be
able and willing to form a stable government which could secure the
confidence of the Lok Sabha. The President noted that the BJP had
emerged as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha and the political
formation that it headed was the largest combination of pre-election
allies.

However, when Vajpayee gave a written undertaking to the President
that he was in a position to form a stable government that could
command the confidence of the House, the President asked for documents
to support the claim that the BJP and its allies had strength of 252
seats. The BJP had hardly expected the President to insist on
documentary proof of its parliamentary support.

Only a day earlier, the leaders of the BJP and its allies had met at
Vajpayee's residence in New Delhi to discuss the contents of the
National Agenda for Governance, a programme of action for a government
of the BJP and its allies. It did not occur to any of the BJP's
strategists that they should secure formal letters of support from the
leaders of the allies. The BJP took the support of its pre-election
allies for granted, when it publicised the letters of support given by
the post-election allies and some independents. With the assured
support of 12 more MPs - either independents or those belonging to
post-election allies - the saffron alliance was seemingly in a
position to secure 264 votes.

In the belief that the process of securing letters of support from the
alliance partners would be a mere formality, Vajpayee decided to get
back to the President on March 11 with the letters. But trouble arose
when four of the BJP's five allies in Tamil Nadu - the All India Anna
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the Pattali Makkal Katchi, the
Janata Party and the Tamizhaga Rajiv Congress - did not send in their
letters. (The fifth ally, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
(MDMK), had sent its letter of support by facsimile to the President
and a copy of it to Vajpayee.)

Unable to secure all the letters, Vajpayee postponed his meeting with
the President to March 12. Anxiety was writ large on the faces of BJP
leaders as AIADMK general secretary Jayalalitha, who was coordinating
the actions of the smaller parties in her alliance in Tamil Nadu,
continued to hold back although she had repeatedly made public
statements right up until March 9 to the effect that her party and its
allies would offer "unconditional support" to a Vajpayee-led
government. The BJP was also concerned that the perception of a
misunderstanding with a major alliance partner would not bode well for
its claim to form a stable government.

A senior leader in charge of party affairs in the southern States said
that the delay had been occasioned by the fact that Jayalalitha was
unwell on March 11. All of March 12, BJP leaders in Delhi desperately
tried to contact Jayalalitha in Chennai, but she was incommunicado.
More ominously for the BJP, she persuaded the MDMK to withdraw the
letter of support it had faxed to the President.

SHANKER CHAKRAVARTY
AIADMK general secretary Jayalalitha leaving Rashtrapati Bhavan after
the swearing-in ceremony.

The first indication of the reasons for the delay in the despatch of
the letters from Chennai came from Janata Party leader Subramanian
Swamy. Appearing on television, Subramanian Swamy said that
Jayalalitha had requested the BJP to appoint him Finance Minister and
TRC leader Vazhapadi K. Ramamurthy Home Minister. Subramanian Swamy
said that BJP leaders had refused to concede the request. Subramanian
Swamy's references to the demand for the dismissal of the Dravida
Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Government in Tamil Nadu in the light of the
February 14 Coimbatore blasts seemed to indicate that a commitment on
that was a "pre-condition" for the AIADMK's "unconditional" support
for a BJP-led government.

Although some sections in the BJP were in favour of conceding
Jayalalitha's "demands", Vajpayee and party president L.K. Advani were
unwilling to appease her beyond a point. The BJP refused to concede
Jayalalitha's request on ministerial appointments, and were not quite
so categorical on the demand for the dismissal of the DMK Government.
It was for this reason that the AIADMK and the PMK said that they
would not join a BJP-led ministry.

BJP leaders were nevertheless optimistic that the letters of support
would arrive in Delhi with a special messenger on the morning flight
from Chennai on March 12. What they did not know was that the letters
of support had already been despatched to Delhi: they were in the
custody of a senior AIADMK leader who was waiting for a nod from
"Amma" in Chennai so as to deliver the letters to the President.

After waiting for nearly two days, Vajpayee virtually gave up his
efforts: he met the President at 7.30 p.m. on March 12 and furnished a
list of 240 MPs from whom he had letters of support. The names of the
three MDMK MPs who had withdrawn their letters of support, however,
figured in this list. In effect, as on March 12, Vajpayee had the
support of only 237 members of the Lok Sabha, considerably short of a
majority. Vajpayee, therefore, did not stake his claim, but left it to
the discretion of the President to decide whether he could be invited
to form a government. The President then announced that he would begin
consultations with leaders of the other political formations without
dismissing the BJP's claim.

Meanwhile, Subramanian Swamy stepped up his efforts to widen the gulf
between Jayalalitha and the BJP. He accused the Rashtriya Swayamsevak
Sangh (RSS) of blocking his appointment as Finance Minister - for
which, he claimed, he was eminently qualified, given his teaching
experience in Harvard. Ramamurthy suggested that the BJP was paying
the price for taking its allies in Tamil Nadu for granted.

Subramanian Swamy refused to concede that the AIADMK-led grouping's
alliance with the BJP had broken down or that it would have to explore
other alternatives. He, however, said that he believed that the door
was open for talks with the Congress(I) and that he expected
Congress(I) leaders to open channels of communication with Jayalalitha
in the changed political context. Subramanian Swamy envisaged a grand
alliance, which would include the Congress(I), the AIADMK and its
allies, all the United Front constituents except the DMK, the Tamil
Maanila Congress and the Telugu Desam Party, a few other minor parties
and some independents. Senior Congress(I) leader Sharad Pawar was
reportedly in touch with Jayalalitha, seeking her support for a
Congress-led government.

In their meetings with the President, leaders of the Congress(I) and
the U.F. reportedly sought four days' time to hold consultations and
explore the possibility of forming an alternative government. This in
effect gave the BJP and the AIADMK an opportunity to patch up. But
even on March 13, Jayalalitha showed no signs of relenting. She denied
that she had insisted on the allotment of key portfolios for her
allies or the dismissal of the DMK government in Tamil Nadu as a pre-
condition for extending support.

However, she accused the BJP leadership of displaying a "negative
attitude" when she raised issues that were of importance to Tamil Nadu
at a meeting of the BJP and its allies in New Delhi on March 9 (see
separate story). BJP leaders, in turn, wondered why Jayalalitha had
not raised the issue when she addressed newspersons and expressed her
total and unconditional support to a BJP-led government after the
meeting. They said that while all her demands could be negotiated, the
manner in which she had raised them - on the eve of the President's
invitation to Vajpayee to form a government - was somewhat mystifying.
"We expected her to behave in a mature way," a senior BJP leader from
the South said.

Finally, on March 14, Jayalalitha announced her decision to forward
the letters of support to the President. Relieved, the BJP prepared to
send a senior emissary on behalf of Vajpayee to meet her on March 15
in Chennai. Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh, who met her in Chennai on
March 15 and showed her a draft of the National Agenda, succeeded in
persuading her to drop her demand to give Subramanian Swamy a
ministerial post; he also got her to agree to the AIADMK, the PMK and
the TRC joining the Ministry.

The draft of the National Agenda incorporated, even if only in
somewhat vague terms, all her publicly stated demands.

WHAT explains the turnaround by Jayalalitha? AIADMK leaders in Delhi
explained that she was persuaded to fall in line and support the BJP
in view of the adverse criticism in the media holding her responsible
for blocking Vajpayee's assumption of office as Prime Minister.

Jayalalitha's decision that the AIADMK and some of its allies would
join the Ministry was prompted by the knowledge that the President was
unlikely to invite Vajpayee to form a government unless these allies,
which command a combined strength of 27 MPs in the Lok Sabha, were
ready to join the Government.

On March 15, after Jayalalitha announced in Chennai that the AIADMK,
the PMK and the TRC would join the Government, the President contacted
the AIADMK's Parliamentary Party leader, G. Swaminathan.

He indicated that only if all the constituents of a coalition
participated in the government would the coalition remain cohesive; he
further indicated that his decision on whether to invite Vajpayee to
form a government would hinge on this.

Shortly after receiving her confirmatory message, the President
appointed Vajpayee Prime Minister and set March 19 as the date of the
swearing-in of the government. He also asked Vajpayee to seek a
confidence vote in the Lok Sabha by March 29.

Significantly, the President did not consider it necessary to insist
on a commitment from the Trinamul Congress, a member of the BJP-led
alliance, that it would participate in the government. The Trinamul
Congress has only seven MPs in the Lok Sabha, whereas the AIADMK-led
combine has 27 members.

In a communique issued on the night of March 15, in which he detailed
the consultation process he had initiated since March 10, the
President referred to Congress(I) president Sonia Gandhi's reported
remarks to newspersons that the party did not have the numbers to form
a government.

He also took into consideration the Telugu Desam Party's stand -
ascertained in a telephonic discussion with its leader N. Chandrababu
Naidu - that the party would remain neutral during the vote of
confidence.

It was these two factors that finally convinced the President that a
Vajpayee-led Government would be able to secure the confidence of the
House.

India's National Magazine
From the publishers of THE HINDU
Vol. 15 :: No. 07 :: Apr. 4 - 17, 1998

http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1507/15071180.htm

India's National Magazine
From the publishers of THE HINDU
Vol. 15 :: No. 10 :: May 09 - 22, 1998

COVER STORY

Dealing with Jayalalitha
After the Jaswant Singh-Jayalalitha meeting, the AIADMK has fallen
silent; Subramanian Swamy, however, has stepped up his offensive
against the BJP.

T.S. SUBRAMANIAN
in Chennai

GOING by the current mood in BJP circles in Tamil Nadu, the party will
adopt a tough stand with respect to the All India Anna Dravida
Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). AIADMK general secretary Jayalalitha will
now have to choose between the BJP and Janata Party leader Subramanian
Swamy. The BJP is said to have indicated to her that she would have to
make her choice before the Budget session of the Lok Sabha begins on
May 27. BJP sources in Chennai told Frontline that the party would not
accept Subramanian Swamy's presence in the AIADMK-led front in Tamil
Nadu if he continued to say that he would topple the Vajpayee
Government.

BJP leader Jaswant Singh flew in from Delhi and met Jayalalitha at her
Payyanoor retreat, 60 km from Chennai, on April 25. Sources said that
Jaswant Singh did some "plain talking". He apparently told Jayalalitha
that the BJP would not accept her three major demands: dismissal of
the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Government in Tamil Nadu; the
removal of Ram Jethmalani and Ramakrishna Hegde from the Union
Cabinet; and action against a private television channel based in
Chennai. The sources added that Jaswant Singh ruled out a place for
Subramanian Swamy in the coordination committee. He also told her to
put an end to attacks by some AIADMK functionaries on Jethmalani and
Hegde.

Jaswant Singh met Jayalalitha against the background of a slanging
match between Jethmalani and Hegde on the one hand and AIADMK
Ministers at the Centre, M. Thambi Durai, R. Janarthanan and R.K.
Kumar, on the other. The row followed the April 8 resignation of Union
Surface Transport Minister Sedapatti R. Muthiah of the AIADMK after a
Chennai court framed charges against him in a case of acquisition of
assets disproportionate to his known source of income during his
tenure as the Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Assembly from July 1991 to
October 1994.

VINO JOHN
Jaswant Singh outside Jayalalitha's Payyanoor Bungalow retreat near
Mamallapuram.

The situation worsened a week later. After a meeting of the AIADMK
executive committee on April 15, Jayalalitha demanded that all Union
Ministers who were charge-sheeted in corruption cases resign or be
dismissed by the Prime Minister. The next day, Jethamalani and Hegde
strongly criticised her and predicted that these "pinpricks" would end
soon.

On April 18 Jayalalitha wrote to Vajpayee naming three Ministers -
Communications Minister Buta Singh, Urban Development Minister
Jethmalani and Commerce Minister Hegde - as being involved in cases of
corruption and demanding their removal or the re-induction of Muthiah.
On April 19 Jethmalani again launched a broadside against Jayalalitha.
He took on Subramanian Swamy too. "It is clearly Dr. Subramanian Swamy
who is pushing her into making all these wild demands," he said. Hegde
wanted Vajpayee to go in for fresh elections instead of giving in to
Jayalalitha's "blackmail". In reply, Thambi Durai, Kumar and
Janarthanan, in a statement on April 23, asked Vajpayee to "advise Mr.
Hegde to either shut up or get out."

It was at this stage that the BJP high command intervened and sent
Jaswant Singh to meet Jayalalitha. Jaswant Singh had earlier come in
March to placate her when she delayed giving the letters of support
that would enable Vajpayee to form the government. BJP sources said
that this time Jaswant Singh made it clear that junior Ministers of
the AIADMK should not speak out of turn. If the AIADMK leadership had
something to say, Jayalalitha should be the one to say that, he said.
He also advised her against rushing to the media. The BJP high command
was annoyed that her letter to Vajpayee had been released to the
media.

Jaswant Singh was reportedly categorical about the BJP's decision not
to invoke Article 356 to dismiss the DMK Government. A senior BJP
source said: "We are tightening the screws. The idea is that this war
of words cannot go on... You will find a change from now on."

There was no word from Jayalalitha about the meeting. Sources in
Chennai indicated that there was no meeting ground between Jayalalitha
and Jaswant Singh. Jaswant Singh, however, claimed that the "mission
was a success". On the welter of charges and counter-allegations made
by Union Ministers, he said that the Prime Minister "will take such
action as he deems fit and proper."

The same day K.L. Sharma said in New Delhi that Subramanian Swamy
would not be included in the coordination committee because he had
failed to vote for the Government in the vote of confidence.

WHETHER by accident or design, a DMK executive meeting presided over
by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on April 25 condemned the demand for
the dismissal of the Government that emanated from an "enemy party"
and Union Ministers belonging to it as "blatant blackmail" and "devoid
of any merit at all". It added that the demand was made "to subserve
their vested interests, with palpable mala fides in order to avoid
accountability to the courts of law in the pending cases of
corruption."

The resolution also condemned the transfer of Union Special Secretary
for Home Ashok Kumar, one of two officials sent as part of the Central
team to study the law and order situation in Tamil Nadu, and said that
this was done because he told the "truth". The resolution said that
this approach amounted to "burying" federalism and marked a
"dictatorial trend in interfering in the State Government's affairs."

The resolution added: "In the event of any such proclamation (for
dismissal) being made in Delhi because of the blackmail of the vested
interests," it would be "resisted by constitutional, lawful and
peaceful methods in courts of law." The executive committee appealed
to all democratic forces "to support this resistance movement."

When a reporter asked Karunanidhi whether the resolution was driven by
the fear that his Government would be dismissed, he said: "This is
only a reply to the threats from some terrorists in Poes Garden."

The Chief Minister called the resolution "an advance notice to the
Centre that it should not give room to some people who have been
trying to paralyse the administration and disrupt law and order by
repeatedly claiming that the DMK Government will be dismissed."

AFTER the Jaswant Singh-Jayalalitha meeting, AIADMK leaders fell
silent. However, Subramanian Swamy stepped up the offensive once it
was known that he was not welcome to the coordination committee. He
alleged on April 26 that the BJP citing his not having voted for the
Government was an "excuse" to exclude him from the coordination
committee. According to him, the real reason for the crisis was the
"asymmetrical application of the criterion" on who should be a Union
Minister. He said that while Muthiah was asked to resign, "tainted"
Ministers such as Hegde and Advani were allowed to continue. Advani's
crime - he was charge-sheeted in the Babri Masjid demolition case -
was not a "political crime", he said, but "a crime against humanity
and the integrity of the nation..."

Swamy met Jayalalitha in Chennai on April 27 and said that he was
"free to explore the possibility of creating an alternative, secular,
patriotic front" at the Centre. He declared that henceforth "in
national politics, I am a free bird." He claimed that Jayalalitha had
told him that Jaswant Singh "never discussed the matter" of his
exclusion from the coordination committee. Although he would consider
breaking away from the BJP-led alliance, he asserted that he continued
to be part and parcel of the AIADMK-led front in Tamil Nadu.

Jayalalitha, BJP sources said, was faced with a difficult situation.
"If Swamy remains in the AIADMK front in Tamil Nadu, then there is
nothing wrong in the BJP getting close to somebody who is against her,
such as the DMK. She has to choose between the BJP and Swamy."

Meanwhile, Subramanian Swamy has been busy floating the idea of a
secular front to oust the BJP-led coalition Government at the Centre.
He met Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Samajwadi Party president
Mulayam Singh Yadav and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Laloo Prasad
Yadav. Meanwhile, Congress(I) leader Madhavrao Scindia met Jayalalitha
in Chennai, apparently in a bid to build bridges between his party and
the AIADMK.

Political analysts believed that Jayalalitha was left with "no
choice". She could not part company with the BJP because the stakes
involved were high - there were corruption cases pending against her
and her former Ministers, and breaking away from the BJP would weaken
her.

The response of the other constituents of the AIADMK-led front to
Swamy's challenge will have a bearing on Jayalalitha's future course
of action. Of the three of them - Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra
Kazhagam (MDMK), the Pattali Makal Katchi (PMK) and the Tamizhaga
Rajiv Congress (TRC) - the PMK and the TRC are participants in the
Central Government. The PMK had indicated its position when its leader
S. Ramadoss hinted that his party would not play along with
Subramanian Swamy.

http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1510/15100120.htm

Swamy seeks Manmohan’s sanction to prosecute Raja
Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy has sought the Prime
Minister’s sanction to prosecute Union Communications Minister A. Raja
in the wake of CBI raids on Sanchar Bhavan offices to investigate
alleged irregularities in spectrum allotment.

In a statement, Dr. Swamy said he filed a petition for sanction as
early as on November 29, 2008 with Dr. Singh, as required under the
Prevention of Corruption Act, to launch a criminal investigation
against Mr. Raja under Sections 11 and 13 of the Act.

The CBI raids made the granting of permission by Dr. Singh a “mere
formality,” Dr. Swamy said.

An independent case filed by him in the designated sessions court for
trying cases under the Act would be the best recourse for a fair trial
of the spectrum deals and the CBI investigation could supplement the
legal process, he said.

Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Saturday, Oct 24, 2009
ePaper | Mobile/PDA Version

http://www.thehindu.com/2009/10/24/stories/2009102461211000.htm

Sanatana Dharma Foundation Honors Dr Subramanian Swamy and Dr S.
Kalyanaraman for their Courageous Effort in Protecting the Historic
Rama Sethu Sanatana Dharma Foundation, Dallas, Texas organized its
first Hindu Unity Day, at the DFW Hindu Temple, in Dallas on the 19th
and 20th of July, 2008. Symbolizing Hindu Unity, Representatives of
Dallas Chapters of several organizations like the Art of living
Foundation, Ammachi Satsang, Hare Krishna ISCKON group, Gayatri
Parivar, Brahmakumaris, Carribbean Mandir, Chinmaya Mission, Hanuman
Temple, Sathya Sai groups, Datta Yoga Peetam and other prominent Hindu
personalities from the local Dallas-Fort Worth community in Texas,
were present at this unique event. Dr Subramanian Swamy's latest book
"Rama Sethu Symbol of National Unity" was released and distributed at
the Event, to key members of these organizations and other prominent
members of the community.

Rama Sethu Symbol of National Unity

Hindu Dharma Rakshaka Kshatriya Award

This award, a first of its kind, has been instituted to honor and
celebrate the 'Kshatriya Spirit', specifically the courage shown by
Hindus in taking risks and standing up to fight for the protection and
preservation of Dharma. The word Kshatriya is a Sanskrit word that
refers to the royal and noble class of Hindus who historically
defended their nation, and the Dharma of the land.

Rama Sethu Symbol of National Unity

Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) July 26, 2008 -- Dr Subramanian Swamy, PhD,
visiting professor of Economics, Harvard University and former Union
Law Minister of India, and Dr S. Kalyanaraman, Director, Saraswati
River Research Center, and President of Sri Rameshwaram Rama Sethu
Raksha Manch, received awards in Dallas, Texas for their courageous
effort in protecting the historic Rama Sethu, from being destroyed by
the Government of India in the name of a development project.

NASA Photograph of Rama Sethu

Rama Sethu is the original Sanskrit name given to a bridge built by
the legendary King Rama, who crossed over to Sri Lanka from India to
fight the King of Lanka, Ravana, recover his wife Sita, and restore
Dharma (Order) in the land of India. While it is difficult to
establish the exact historical age of these events, the bridge is
thought to be at least 5000 years old, if not much older, making it
the oldest causeway built across an ocean channel. The Rama Sethu is
referred to in numerous ancient Sanskrit texts and scriptures, as a
man made structure, and in recent times, it has been vividly
photographed by both NASA and Indian Satellites.

When India fell under Colonial rule, the British renamed this
construction as "Adam's Bridge". The Government of India, in recent
years, has been trying to establish a Shipping Channel between India
and Sri Lanka, by breaking and destroying the continuity of this
ancient structure. Hindus in India and around the world have been
protesting and fighting this decision of the Government of India, and
have demanded that the Rama Sethu be declared a monument of historic
importance and a world heritage site. On May 8th, 2008, the Supreme
Court of India directed the Government of India to go back to the
drawing board to see if it can create an alternate shipping route, and
at the same time, study the Rama Sethu as a monument of historic
importance. It is yet to be seen if the Government of India will
comply with the Court's direction, and thereby uphold due
constitutional process, or continue on its path of destroying the Rama
Sethu, dis-regarding the Supreme court's direction.

Sanatana Dharma Foundation, (www.sdfglobal.org) a Dallas based Non-
Profit organization inspired by the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha,
(www.acharyasabha.org) the apex body of Hindus in India, presented the
"Hindu Dharma Rakshaka Kshatriya Award" to Dr Subramanian Swamy & Dr
S. Kalyanaraman on the occassion of the Hindu Unity Day organized at
the DFW Hindu Temple in Dallas, Texas on July 19, 2008. Speaking on
the occasion, the President of Sanatana Dharma Foundation, Kalyan
Viswanathan, said that "This award, a first of its kind, has been
instituted to honor and celebrate the 'Kshatriya Spirit', specifically
the courage shown by Hindus in taking risks and standing up to fight
for the protection and preservation of Dharma. The word Kshatriya is a
Sanskrit word that refers to the royal and noble class of Hindus who
historically defended their nation, and the Dharma of the land."

The Highlight of the Hindu Unity Day Event was the speech by Dr
Subramanian Swamy on his personal experiences during his defense of
Rama Sethu in the Supreme Court of India, which was greeted by a
spontaneous standing ovation. In presenting the "Hindu Dharma Rakshaka
Kshatriya" Award, his fearless defense in the Supreme Court of India,
getting a critical and timely stay order, the subsequent withdrawal of
the Government of India's petition, and the later Verdict of the
Supreme Court were all highlighted.

Dr S. Kalyanaraman made a scholarly presentation on the River
Saraswati, highlighting the recent research findings, the origins of
the Vedic civilization on the banks of River Saraswati and the fact
that it holds the central "Key" to the re-writing of the history of
India and re-establishing the real historicity of the Vedas. While
presenting the Award, his dedicated research in supporting the
struggle of the Rama Sethu, and his pioneering contributions in
researching and resurfacing the River Saraswati were lauded.

Symbolizing Hindu Unity, Representatives of Dallas Chapters of several
organizations like the Art of living Foundation, Ammachi Satsang, Hare
Krishna ISCKON group, Gayatri Parivar, Brahmakumaris, Carribbean
Mandir, Chinmaya Mission, Hanuman Temple, Sathya Sai groups and other
prominent Hindu personalities from the local Dallas-Fort Worth
community in Texas, were present at this unique event. Dr Subramanian
Swamy's latest book "Rama Sethu Symbol of National Unity" was released
and distributed at the Event, to key members of these organizations
and other prominent members of the community.

Smt. Ranna Jani, President, DFW Hindu Temple in Texas speaking on the
occassion on behalf of the Temple, thanked both Dr Subramaniam Swamy &
Dr S. Kalyanaraman for coming to Dallas and sharing their experiences
with the participants. On the second day, a workshop was organized,
where challenges facing Hinduism today, were discussed. Presentations
on the state of Hindu Temples in India, challenges posed by
Christianity and Islam were also discussed. The session was very
interactive, and educational, as per the feedback received.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/Sanatana/Dharma/prweb1146784.htm

CHENNAI, January 22, 2010 Swamy against Nalini’s release
Special Correspondent

Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy calling on Tamil Nadu
Governor Surjit Singh Barnala at the Raj Bhavan in Chennai on
Thursday. Photo: Special Arrangement
Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy on Thursday met Tamil Nadu
Governor Surjit Singh Barnala and urged him not to sign any
recommendation of the State government for freeing Nalini Sriharan, a
life convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

Dr. Swamy told the Governor that the issue pertaining to premature
release of Nalini was still pending before the Madras High Court, and
any decision on the issue would amount to contempt of court.

He also made a mention before the First Bench to expedite the hearing
of his writ appeal in the matter.

Later speaking to journalists, Dr. Swamy said that he came to know
from a section of the media that the review board had reportedly
decided to release Nalini.

He said that he had mentioned before the bench comprising Chief
Justice H.L. Gokhale and K.K. Sasidharan that any decision of the
board would render infructuous his appeal against the single judge
order to the State government to reconstitute the board to decide the
case of Nalini.

The Chief Justice had asked him to file an application to the High
Court Registry for speeding up his appeal, he said.

He said the constitution of the board itself was illegal. He planned
to move for restoration of death penalty for Nalini. He said the State
government had earlier said that it would oppose the premature
release, now it cannot go back on its stand.

http://beta.thehindu.com/news/national/article87758.ece

Hindu's under SIEGE

aumprakash
January 14, 2007

it's fromt the talk given by Dr.subramanya swamy on the day of his
book relese "hindu's under siege- the way out" http://www.kksfusa.org/
it's fromt the talk given by Dr.subramanya swamy on the day of his
book relese "hindu's under siege- the way out"
http://www.kksfusa.org/

Hindu's under SIEGE
3:13
Added: 3 years ago
From: aumprakash
Views: 3,128

All Comments (30 total)

Loading...nazimquraishi (1

politicians since nehru and including him (the pundits alinged with
the raja of kashmir, who wanted kashmir to not be free like rest of
india)

found themselves out of power. so they figured out a formula to get
back in power in the democratic structure of india and it worked.

so wake the f up (my indians) my hindus. politicians are only about
themselves and their ideas. Not about you.

nazimquraishi (1 week ago) Hindu was a generic term used to refer to
anyone who lives south of hindukush mountains and south of Hindu River
(Indus per the brits).

Hindu = citizen of hindustan, indian = citizen of india & french =
citizen of france.

Prior to monotheism most countries were polytheists.Ancestors of
Indian Muslims were polytheists too.

The confusion between religion and nationality was caused and
encouraged by the british after they realized what a rebellion like in
1857 could do to them.

anirudhnandan (10 months ago) Comment removed by author

raghaa (3 weeks ago) thats what they learnt from birtish my friend.
What will a poor hindu will do if there is no basic fullfilment? he
will convert into christian. its happening right now ;)

winnerji (11 months ago) When his lips are pronouncing HINDUS...it's
all about only Brahmins....Will he do anything for Dalith
people....is he considering Dalith as Hindus.....?????? FRAUD....

NanakLove (1 year ago) stand up for dharma my brothers. the 9th Sikh
Guru even gave his life for kashmiri pundits.

ndshastri (1 year ago) Show S.Swamy orkut comm
search :::::: Sri Subramanian Swamy

Metaemipricus (1 year ago) Christian Evangelists, Islamic Jihadis and
leftist naxal terrorists - the three most violent sectarian cults have
come together to destroy India. Wake up Hindus.

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nmohan101 (1 year ago) this guy is a racist; Hinduism in not under
siege...

dd1857 (1 year ago) who say not.. Every where that is the case..
Christanity and Muslims...are book based.. attacking all

kafirpandit (1 year ago) Hindus are the bravest people on the earth.
All Muslims and Christian missionaries should be thrown out of
Bharatvarsh.

tonyshit80 (11 months ago) I saw Muruga last week, he motion less
pls help him my dear friends

TAPS711 (1 year ago) Leave the Hindus alone. They have a right to
believe what they want. They are peaceful people.

tonyshit80 (11 months ago) No, I will not allows the such things
happen....

Radian1991 (1 year ago) Hindu Society has been suffering a sustained
attack from Islam since the 7th century, from Christianity since the
15th century, and this century also from Marxism. The avowed objective
of each of these three world-conquering movements, with their massive
resources, is the replacement of Hinduism by their own ideology, or in
effect: the destruction of Hinduism.-Dr.Koenraad Elst

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arnotkaling (1 year ago) swamy bastard should be shot. He supports
sinhala terrosm in sri lanka. he fully supported indian terrost
invasion of sri lanka.

NanakLove (1 year ago) not just hindu's but sikhs too..we gotta stand
up together brothers

TAPS711 (1 year ago) You are right.

emperor0989 (1 year ago) sikhs are hindus only, and hindus are sikhs.
we are cousins, if not brothers.

haridham (1 year ago) Show Hide 0 Marked as spam Reply lol
haridham (1 year ago) Show Hide 0 Marked as spam Reply watch?
v=XcFA8iSXf2c

EXChristian0 (2 years ago) Excellent video clip! Thanks! DOWN WITH
ANTI-HINDU ELEMENTS (anti-hindu govt, pseudo-secular anti-hindu
media, Christlamist Communist thugs, deceitful and cunning missionary
pests). Come on Hindus, WAKE UP, UNITE AND FIGHT FOR DHARMA! Jai Hind!

EXChristian0 (2 years ago)

DOWN WITH ANTI-HINDU ELEMENTS (anti-hindu govt, pseudo-secular anti-
hindu media, Christlamist Communist thugs, deceitful and cunning
missionary pests, ISLAMIC jihadis etc). Come on Hindus, WAKE UP, UNITE
AND FIGHT FOR DHARMA! Jai Hind!

chocolayer (2 years ago)

Aumprakash a digital RSS propagandist. A muslim hater and non brahmin
hater. His lowly life is based on lies and he survived on lies.

humbleRaj (2 years ago)
Nice ideo Aumprakash Ji :)

badmashguy (2 years ago)
It might be true for Hinduism....but isn't it true for every other
religion too....
humbleRaj (2 years ago) Show Hide +3 Marked as spam Reply Nope,None
of American Politicians speak against christianity or None of The
leaders from Islamic Countries condemn Islam, but Indian politicians
abuse Hinduism in India.
Peenp (3 years ago)

I agree with you Aum.

http://www.youtube.com/comment_servlet?all_comments&v=IFU-iAP43M0&fromurl=/watch%3Fv%3DIFU-iAP43M0

Hinduism under siege, says Subramanian Swamy

Coventry, UK | December 07, 2005 8:11:13 PM IST

http://news.webindia123.com/news/showdetails.asp?id=184292&cat=India

Janata Party President and former Union Minister Dr. Subramanian Swamy
today told a large UK Hindu gathering at the Sri Krishna Temple here
that to combat the invisible and multi-dimensional siege against
Hinduism, all the Dharmacharyas of Hindu religion must come together
in a formal body with a permanent secretariat in New Delhi.

He said that Swami Dayananda Saraswati of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, near
Coimbatore had already convened a Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha in Mumbai
in mid-October last, and resolved to do so.

Dr. Swamy said that the siege has a religious dimension because of the
pernicious and subtle denigration of Hindu icons and Institutions such
as through filing bogus cases against the Kanchi Shankaracharya, a
psychological dimension by inculcating a confused mindset through a
one-sided secularism, a cultural dimension in propagating that Indians
are Caucasian invaders from beyond Afghanistan through the baseless
Aryan-Dravidian theory, and in the physical dimension by induced
conversions to Christianity and Islamic terrorism.

"Hindus are being driven out from their homelands in Kashmir,
Bangladesh and even Mau in UP, but the political leadership in India
lacks the virile mindset to challenge this denigration of Hindus in a
83 percent Hindu populated nation" he added.

Dr. Swamy further said that India is distinctive only because of it's
Hindu foundation and continuing civilisation. Hence India as Hindustan
means a nation of Hindus and those Muslims and Christians who accept
their ancestors are Hindus.

Parsis may have come from Persia but they accept Hindu culture as
their own. This is our Hindustani identity. Hence, those Christians
and Muslims who do not accept their ancestors as Hindus should go back
from where they came from or lose their voting rights.

Even Hindus who claim to be racially Aryans or Dravidians have no
place in Hindustan. In Rig Veda "Arya" only meant civilised, while
Dravida is a Sanskrit word coined by Adi Sankara to mean south India-
where three seas meet.

Dr. Swamy said that without demolishing the caste system a cogent
cohesive Hindu identity can not be forged. Hence the Acharya Sabha
should issue a nirdesh" (direction) that according to the Vedas and
Uttara Gita, varna and jati are not birth based but determined on
gunas (merits) and occupation.

"Varna is a choice not a compulsion," he added. (ANI)

http://www.nchtuk.org/content.php?id=288

December 21, 2008

Out of the box
By Subramanian Swamy

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 caste basis was made in 1932 when the
British imperialists offered the scheduled castes a separate
electorate.

What does the despicable terror and mayhem in Mumbai on November 26
signify for India? Shorn of the human tragedy, wanton destruction, and
obnoxious audacity of the terrorists, it signifies a challenge to the
identity of India from radical Islam. Cinema actor Shahrukh Khan may
wax eloquent about the ?true Islam? on TV, but it is clear that he and
other such Muslims have not read any authoritative translations of the
Koran, Sira and Hadith which three together constitute Islam as a
theology, and which is a complete menu of intolerance of peoples of
other faiths derisively labeled as kafirs. Hence, instead of talking
about the ?correct interpretation? of Islam they ought instead be
urging for a new Islamic theology consistent with democratic
principles.

In 2003, two years after the 9/11 murderous and perfidious Islamic
assault on USA, resulting in killing of more than 3000 persons within
two hours, and which was perpetrated by leveraging the democratic
freedoms in USA, the Saudi Arabian Embassy in the website of its
Islamic Affairs Department [www.iad.org] laid down what a ?good?
Muslim is expected to do. Dr. Steven Stalinsky of the Middle East
Media Research Institute[MEMRI] based in Washington DC accessed it and
published it in issue No.23, of the Institute newsletter, dated
November 26[what irony!] 2003. I have to thank a NRI in US, Dr.
Muthuswamy for this reference. In that site it is stated:

?The Muslims are required to raise the banner of Jihad in order to
make the Word of Allah supreme in this world, to remove all forms of
injustice and oppression, and to defend the Muslims. If Muslims do not
take up the sword, the evil tyrants of this earth will be able to
continue oppressing the weak and helpless?

Now who is more authoritative?Sharukh Khan or Saudi Arabia ? Obviously
the latter. The above quote is what in substance is being taught in
every madrassa in India, and can be traced back to the sayings of
Prophet Mohammed. I can quote a plethora of verses from a Saudi
Arabian translated Koran [e.g., verses 8:12, 8:60, and 33:26] which
verses justify brutal violence against non-believers. If I delved into
Sira and Hadith for more quotes, then I could risk generating much
hatred, so it will suffice to say that Islam is not only a theology,
but it spans a brutal political ideology which we have to combat
sooner or later in realm of ideas.

Some may quote back at me verses from Manusmriti about brutality to
women and scheduled castes. But as a Hindu I have the liberty to
disown these verses [since it is a Smriti] and even to seek to re-
write a new Smriti as many, for example, Yajnavalkya have done to
date. Reform and renaissance is thus inbuilt into Hinduism. But in
Islam, the word of the Prophet is final. Sharukh Khan and other gloss
artists cannot disown these verses, or say that they would re-write
the offensive verses of the Koran. If they do, then they would have to
run for their lives as Rushdie and Taslima have had to do. Leave alone
re-writing, if anyone draws a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed, there will
follow world-wide violent rioting. But if Hussein draws Durga in the
most pornographic posture, the Hindus will only groan but not
violently rampage.

We Hindus have a long recognised tradition of being religious liberals
by nature. We have already proved it enough by welcoming to our
country and nurturing Parsis, Jews, Syrian Christians, and Moplah
Muslim Arabs who were persecuted elsewhere, when we were 100 per cent
Hindu country.

Moreover, despite a 1000 years of most savage brutalisation of Hindus
by Islamic invaders and self-demeaning brain washing by the
Christians, even then, Hindus as a majority have adopted secularism as
a creed. We have not asked for an apology and compensation for these
atrocities. But the position of Hindus in this land of Bharatmata,
where Muslims and Christians locally are in majority, in pockets?such
as in Kashmir and Nagaland, or in small enclaves such as town
panchayats of Tamil Nadu, is terrible and despicable. Even in Kerala
where Hindus are 52 per cent of the population, they have only 25 per
cent of all the prime jobs in the state, and are silently suffering
their plight at the hands of 48 per cent who vote as a vote bank.

The 26/11 Mumbai slaughter therefore should teach us Hindus that the
time has come to wake up and stand up?it is now or never. If we do not
stand up now to Islamic terrorism, then India will end up like Beirut,
a permanent battlefield of international terrorists, buccaneers,
pirates and missionaries.

What does it mean in the 21st century for Hindus to stand up ? I mean
by that a mental clarity of the Hindus to defend themselves by
effective deterrent retaliation, and also an intelligent co-option of
other religious groups into the Hindu cultural continuum.

Mental clarity can only come if we are clear about the identity of the
nation. What is India? An ancient but continuing civilisation or is it
a geographical entity incorporated in 1947 by the Indian Independence
Act of the British Parliament ? What then does it mean to say ?I am an
Indian?? A mere passport holder of the Republic of India or a
descendent of the great seers and visionaries of more than 10,000
years ? Obviously our identity should be of a nation of an ancient and
continuing Hindu civilisation, legatees of great rishis and munis, and
a highly sophisticated sanatana philosophy.

If Hindu culture is our defining identity then how can we co-opt non-
Hindus, especially Muslims and Christians ? By persuading them by
saam, dhaam, bheda and dand that they acknowledge with pride the truth
that their ancestors are Hindus. If they do, it means that they accept
Hindu culture and enlightened mores. That is, change of religion does
not mean change of culture. Then we should treat such Muslims and
Christians as part of our Brihad Hindu family.

Noted author and editor M.J. Akbar calls this identity as of ?Blood
Brothers?. It is an undeniable fact that Muslims and Christians in
India are descendents of Hindus. In a recent article in the American
Journal of Physical Anthropology, an analysis of genetic samples [DNA]
show that Muslims in north India are overwhelmingly of the same DNA as
Hindus proving that Muslims here are descendents of Hindus who had
been converted to Islam, rather repositories of foreign DNA deposited
by waves of invaders.

Akbar thus asks rhetorically: ?When have the Muslims of India gone
wrong?? and answers: ?When they have forgotten their Indian roots?.
How apt ! Enlightened Muslims like Akbar therefore must rise to the
occasion and challenge the reactionary religious fundamentalists. That
is India is not Darul Harab to be trifled with. In a conciliatory
atmosphere the minorities would willingly accept this. It is also in
their interest to accept this reality. Hindus must persuade by the
time honoured methods Muslims and Christians to accept this and its
logical consequences.

This identity was not understood by us earlier because of the
distorted outlook of Jawaharlal Nehru who occupied the Prime Minister?
s chair for seventeen formative years after 1947 and for narrow
political ends, had fanned a separatist outlook in Muslims and
Christians.

The failure to date, to resolve this Nehru created crisis, has not
only confused the majority but confounded the minorities as well in
India. This confusion has deepened with winter migratory birds such as
Amartya Sen descending on the campus of the India International Centre
to preach inane taxonomies such as ?multiple identities?.

There has to be an over-riding identity called national identity, and
hence we should not be derailed by pedestrian concepts of multiple or
sub-identities.

?Without a resolution of the identity crisis today, which requires an
explicit clear answer to this question of who we are, the majority
will never understand how to relate to the legacy of the nation and in
turn to the minorities. Minorities would not understand how to adjust
with the majority if this identity crisis is not resolved. In other
words, the present dysfunctional perceptional mismatch in
understanding who we are as a people, is behind most of the communal
tension and inter-community distrust in the country.

?In India, the majority is the conglomerate or Brihad Hindu community
which represents about 81 per cent of the total Indian population,
while minorities are constituted by Muslims [13 per cent] and
Christians [3 per cent]. Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, and some other
microscopic religious groups, represent the remaining three per cent.
Though also considered minorities, but really are so close to the
majority community in culture that they are considered as a part of
Hindu society. Unlike Islam and Christianity, these minority religions
were founded as dissenting theologies of Hinduism. Even Zoroaster can
be traced to leader of Vahikas in Mahabharata who migrated to Persia.
Kaikeyi in Ramayana was from Persia when that country was hundred per
cent Hindu. Thus these religions share the core concepts with Hindus
such as re-incarnation, equality of all religions, and ability to meet
God in this life. That they feel increasingly alienated from Hindu
society nowadays is also the consequence of India?s identity crisis
caused by British historians and their Indian tutees in JNU.

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 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 by his fast unto death and Dr. Ambedkar by his
visionary rejection of separate electorate, foiled the attempt by
signing the Poona Pact.

But the possibility that such attempts at dividing India socially may
be made again in the future, a possibility that cannot be ruled out.
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 to destroy national
identity and thereby cause the political division of the nation
itself. Yugoslavia is a recent example of this, which has now been
divided into four countries, largely due to Islamic separatism and
Serbian over-reaction.

Virat Hindutva can be achieved in the first stage by Hindu
consolidation, that is achieved by Hindus holding that they are Hindus
first and last, by disowning primacy to their caste and regional
loyalties. This would require a renaissance in thinking and outlook,
that can be fostered only by patient advocacy and intellectual
ferment.

For this we need a new History text, and a proper understanding of the
distinction between the four varnas [not birth based but by codes of
behavior for devolution of power in society] and jati [which is birth
based and mostly for marriages]. Just as Valmiki and Vyasa are
regarded as Maharshis despite being of different jati from Parasuram,
hence Dr. Ambedkar should be called a Maharishi for his sheer depth of
knowledge of Indian history. That he had become bitter because of
Nehru systematically sidelining him is no reason not to do so.

India thus needs a Hindu renaissance today that incorporates modern
principles, e.g., of the irrelevance of birth antecedents, fostering
gender equality, ensuring equality before law, and accountability for
all. It is also essential to integrate the entire Indian society on
those principles, irrespective of religion. 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, hence comes the resistance to a eminently
reasonable value. The Muslims think that this is the first step in
several to subjugate them or wipe out their identity. But Muslims have
quietly accepted Uniform Criminal Code [the IPC] despite that it
contradicts the Sharia.

In other words, Hindutva has two components?one that Hindus can accept
[such as caste abolition, eradication of dowry etc.] without any other
religion?s interests to consider. The other is the embracing by
minorities of the core secular Indian values which have Hindu roots.
This would require, particularly Muslims and Christians, to
acknowledge that their ancestry is Hindu, and thus own the entire
Hindu past as their own legacy, and to thus tailor their outlook on
that basis. This would integrate Indian society and make the concept
of an inclusive[Brihad] Hindutva and rooted in India?s continuing
civilisation.

Thus, if India has to decide to have or not have good relations with
Israel, Pakistan, Iran or US, it cannot be on the basis how it will
impact on India?s Muslims and Christians, but on what India?s national
interests require. If India has to dispatch troops to Afghanistan,
Iraq, Sri Lanka or Nepal to combat terrorism, that policy too has to
be decided on what is good for India, and not what any religious or
linguistic group identifies as it?s interest.

Thus such an Hindutva is positive in outlook, while raw Hindu
xenophobia is negative and based on Hindu hegemony which will frighten
all. Such a Hindutva will resolve our current energy-sapping identity
crisis, which otherwise will completely emasculate India in the long
run. The choice for the patriotic Indian is thus clear: We need a
clear and positive view of our national identity based on our Hindu
past and a Hindu renaissance to unite the Hindus with constructive
mind-set as well as persuade the minorities to be co-opted culturally
with Hindu society.

Once being Indian means Virat Brihad Hindutva, we can tackle terrorism
by an effective strategy of defence. What are the components of that
strategy is the subject matter of my next column here.

(To be concluded)

http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=268&page=10

December 28, 2008

Out of the Box

Isolate and confront the rogue state, war no option
By Subramanian Swamy

Hindus and such Muslims and Christians together constitute the
Hindustan nation. All others are either permanent residents or
foreigners, but therefore should have no voting rights. NRIs abroad
who also acknowledge to be of Hindustani descent can be permitted to
be voters in India.

Since the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has yet not condemned Pakistan
for allowing its territory to be used by ?non-state actors?, such a
Commission is all the more necessary. Pakistan cannot be allowed to
wash its hands off responsibility in this by silence of those who are
paid to speak in Parliament by the tax-payer on behalf of the Indian
nation.

Coming back to the question of retaliation for the Mumbai 26/11
attack, I advocate US-Israel-India coordinated aerial strikes at all
the prominent training bases of the LeT and JeM in PoK, which action,
since it is on a part of India, will not mean an act of war, whatever
Pakistan may think. This is the mirror-image of the argument that
Pakistan itself has used while invading India in 1999 in the Kargil
sector i.e., since they consider J&K not a part of India, hence
Pakistan can invade it!

Terrorist attacks such 26/11 Mumbai carnage can be deterred only by
effective retaliation which will serve as a deterrence against future
attacks. What is an effective retaliation for the 26/11 attacks ? In
my view, it is bombing of LeT camps in Pakistan and Pakistan-held
territories. That means war declared by Pakistan. War is however a
terrible event in human affairs. It is against the finer and civilised
instinct of the human being and a temporary triumph of the base
emotions. Wars are imposed either on evil intentions or by
miscalculations. Civilised societies to survive have to be prepared
for such wars. My quick answer thus to the question whether war with
Pakistan is then inevitable is: Yes!

My substantive answer is that the war will be imposed on us anyway
whether we retaliate or not, by the compulsions of Pakistan?s polity,
and we should prepare for a formal war with that country which could
come anytime within the next four years. The terror genie is now out
of the bottle in Pakistan, and an informal ad hoc proxy war is already
on between India and Pakistan through Pak-trained terrorists. It
cannot be ended without a decisive formal war. We cannot also go on
bleeding like we have during last 20 years, each occasion at the time
and place of choosing of the terrorists of Pakistan. To top it all, we
are being dished out Pakistan?s inane argument on the need providing ?
proof?, by a government which is a puppet of the trainers of these
terrorists.

Unlike the 1965, 1971, and 1999 wars with Pakistan, this time we
should first prepare instead react by reflecting on who are our real
allies in this coming war, and what the post-war situation of a
destructed and disarmed Pakistan should be. In 1971, USSR was claimed
to be our ally, but it would not let us smash the West Pakistan
military machine when the Pakistan army was on all fours on the
floor.

This time, because of nuclear weapons on both sides, the war has to be
decisive. Pakistan must be sanitized and/or further dismembered beyond
recognition. The new Pakistan or the former Pakistans must be led by
those who understand India?s retaliatory capacity.

One thousand years of the foreign invasions of this land have proved
that Hindus will not submit, no matter what the tribulation and
personal tragedy. Iran, Babylonia, Turkey, Egypt and others of the
Middle East had in contrast submitted and became majority Muslim
countries within a few decades. But Hindus as a whole, despite 1000
years of brutality and impoverishment, have stood defiantly. In Akhand
Hindustan, we are still 75 per cent of the total population despite
all the atrocities.

But now defiance is no more enough. Now we must decisively and finally
settle the issue and defeat our centuries? old tormentors and the
violent theology behind it.

In my last column I had stated that Islamic terrorism cannot be fought
unless we adopt a virat brihad Hindutva concept of identity for
Indians, which identity I defined as the mindset of Hindus, who are
proud of their Hinduness, and ready to co-opt Muslims and Christians
as blood brothers and sisters if they too proudly acknowledge the
truth that their ancestors are Hindus and that despite change of
religion their culture does not change [Culture is a secular concept
defined on the myriad of human relations and attitudes].

Hindus and such Muslims and Christians together constitute the
Hindustan nation. All others are either permanent residents or
foreigners, but therefore should have no voting rights. NRIs abroad
who also acknowledge to be of Hindustani descent can be permitted to
be voters in India.

This mindset in responding to terror must focus on retaliation as a
deterrent against terrorism, which is the real meaning of ?zero
tolerance? for terrorism. The retaliation cannot be confused with
vengeance but has to be defined as effective actions to nullify the
political objectives of the patrons of terrorists.

What is, for example, the retaliation for the 26/11 terrorist attack
on Mumbai? Or for that matter, the ?menu? of retaliation for all the
terrorist attacks since 1989 beginning with when 500,000 Hindus and
Sikhs were driven out by terrorists from the Kashmir valley?

The retaliation has to be tailored in each terrorist attack to nullify
the political objective of the patrons which objective motivates that
attack.

In the 26/11 attack, the political objective was to demonstrate to the
world that India is a wobbly, flabby, and corrupt country that cannot
defend itself, that anyone can bribe his way with Indians to achieve
his nefarious goal. Hence, they want to demonstrate that India is a
corroding civilisation, and unworthy being a reliable ally of any
country. That is why foreign tourists of friendly countries, such as
US and Israel, were chosen for murder.

The terror patrons of Pakistan have, in my opinion, achieved
substantially this objective by putting a question mark on our
integrity as a people. How could such an operation, foreigners now
ask, be put through without the intelligence having a clue? Is it
because India ignored timely US intelligence of September that made
the LeT postpone its dastardly project scheduled of September 27th to
26/11?

The truth is more bizarre: Intelligence Bureau and RAW did know, but
the information was not acted on by the Maharashtra government. Why?
It is rubbish to say that the information was not ?actionable?, i.e.,
not specific enough to take counter measures. I have had access to
some of the intelligence supplied to the Maharashtra government, some
of it are dated two years ago, which disproves this claim.

One such advisory actually states that LeT-trained terrorists
numbering about a dozen are likely to enter from the sea in the
Gateway area, and take control of high profile targets such as hotels!
Is this not actionable? Or was the Maharashtra Police prevented from
taking action by Ahmed Patel on behalf of Sonia Gandhi as alluded to
by former Chief Minister of the state, Mr. Narayan Rane?

I thought therefore the Opposition in Parliament would have demanded
at least a Commission of Inquiry headed by a sitting judge of the
Supreme Court to go into all the lapses. Instead they wallowed in
talking of national unity. This is not the time to talk of unity with
the government. We are not yet in a formal war to need to talk of
unity with the government. A horrible incident had taken place, and it
is over now. Hence, it is the duty of the Opposition to put the
government in the dock, and at least demand a Commission to go into
the lapses. When a formal war is launched we can at that stage unite
with the government in a show of unity.

But not now. Since the UPA chairperson Ms. Sonia Gandhi has yet not
condemned Pakistan for allowing its territory to be used by ?non-state
actors?, such a Commission is all the more necessary. Pakistan cannot
be allowed to wash its hands off responsibility in this by silence of
those who are paid to speak in Parliament by the tax-payer on behalf
of the Indian nation.

Considering that the first employer in London in 1965 of Ms. Sonia
Gandhi was a Pakistani called Salman Thassir, a dubious business
magnate with perhaps ISI connection, and that the guest of honour at
the select gathering of just 35 invitees to her daughter Priyanka?s
wedding, was Farida accompanied by her husband Munir Ataullah, both
known bag persons of prominent Pakistan politicians with ISI
connections, hence, it is a matter of concern that Ms. Sonia Gandhi
has not condemned Pakistan for the 26/11 attack, and in fact she has
not condemned even one terrorist attack starting Mumbai 1993.

Coming back to the question of retaliation for the Mumbai 26/11
attack, I advocate US-Israel-India coordinated aerial strikes at all
the prominent training bases of the LeT and JeM in PoK, which action,
since it is on a part of India, will not mean an act of war, whatever
Pakistan may think. This is the mirror-image of the argument that
Pakistan itself has used while invading India in 1999 in the Kargil
sector i.e., since they consider J&K not a part of India, hence
Pakistan can invade it!

The US and Israel will probably not agree at present to help in a
military strike since India has never come to the assistance of US or
Israel in their hour of grief. In fact when on the day Saddam Hussein
was toppled in 2003, a joint BJP-Congress resolution was passed by the
Lok Sabha condemning US ?imperialism? in Iraq! Nor have we ever
offered Israel help whenever a terrorist attack took place in that
country?

Hence, to get the US and Israel effectively on our side in this war on
terror, we too have to commit to help them in this war, not merely by
ministers paying a visit to Washington and waxing eloquent about
being ?natural allies?. For all their duplicity, Pakistan under
Musharraf in contrast had made a world of difference to the US in its
war on terror. Hence the soft corner for Pakistan in US and Europe.

For example, when New York Times reporter Daniel Pearl?s throat was
slit by LeT, the Pakistan government caught the mastermind Omar Sheikh
[whom we had released in the IC hijack matter at Kandahar] and sent
him to Guantanomo prison without making noises about ?proof?. More Al
Qaeda leaders have been captured or killed by the US with the
cooperation of Pakistan than by direct action of the US. Nor can the
US keep the Taliban out of Afghanistan without the active support of
Pakistan. Hence, it is understandable that the US is in a catch-22
situation on Pakistan and we in India, if we want US cooperation, have
to concretely provide a way out of that.

If we strike at the terrorists camps in PoK, the various governments
of Pakistan cannot sit quiet. There are four other governments of
Pakistan besides one headed by Zardari. In addition to his government,
there is the Army government operating through the seven corp
commanders, the ISI government working abroad through fake currency
and beautiful women, the Mullah government through Friday prayers in
mosques and by brainwashing in madrasas, and the de facto Taliban
government in the frontier areas. Anyone of these four governments can
declare a war against India on the war cry of jehad, and the other
four will have to follow. So war is the outcome of any retaliatory
action of India.

http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=269&page=6

Opinion - Leader Page Articles

Defamation litigation: a survivor's kit

By Subramanian Swamy

The Supreme Court judgment in the Nakkeeran case is the main tool in
the survival kit for honest media and other critics of politicians
against libel litigation.

ON SEPTEMBER 17, the Tamil Nadu Government filed an affidavit in the
Supreme Court stating that it had ordered the withdrawal of 125
defamation cases filed against The Hindu and various other
publications. This is a tribute especially to The Hindu `parivar' for
showing guts and challenging the constitutionality of the cases filed
against its representatives. The Jayalalithaa Government chose
discretion over valour by not risking the Supreme Court striking down
the libel statute itself as unconstitutional. Rather than lose
permanently the weapon of state harassment of critics that defamation
law represents, the Government chose to back down.

This is the second time that the AIADMK State Government has directed
a carte blanche withdrawal of defamation cases. The first time was on
January 1, 1994 when the Tamil Nadu Government withdrew numerous
defamation cases filed against me in several Sessions Courts in the
State. The reason then was the same: the Supreme Court Bench of Chief
Justice M.N. Venkatachalaiah and Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy had heard
extensive arguments from me as petitioner in person and the Tamil Nadu
Government counsel on the defamation law, and then orally asked why
the law should not be struck down. The Government counsel then asked
for time, and came back a week later to say that all the cases against
me had been withdrawn. Hence, the cause of action for my petition
disappeared, and my petition became infructuous. I was personally
relieved but the law survived for use on another day.

But Justice Jeevan Reddy, who had listened to me with great care, went
on to write a landmark judgment in the Nakkeeran case [1994] that
incorporated the core of my arguments and citations from the United
States Supreme Court and the United Kingdom's House of Lords. That
judgment today c. The judgment however needs to be developed further
by more decided cases further clarified by continued challenge to
state-sponsored defamation litigation that has become far too frequent
in the country, so that freedom of speech and expression can become
more deep and extensive than at present.

Under the Indian Constitution, the fundamental right to free speech
(Article 19) is subject to "reasonable restrictions." What is
reasonable is subjective in a society; it can only be developed to
some objectivity by cases decided in courts [`case law'] and according
to the political culture of the times. At present, reasonableness is
codified in two laws — first, in exceptions to criminal culpability
incorporated in Sections 499 and 500 of the British colonial statute
known as the Indian Penal Code (1870), and second, the limits to civil
liability incorporated as tort law. In India, defamation proceedings
can be initiated under either or both, together or in sequence. Most
democratic countries have however done away with the criminal law,
which is archaic and draconian. But India has not yet done so.

What is one to do if one receives a court summons for alleged
defamation? For example, I once received a summons from a Delhi court
because I had called a BJP leader, V.K. Malhotra, "an ignoramus." The
remark was made by me during the Lok Sabha proceedings, but lifted by
a sub-editor and inserted in a column I wrote for the magazine.

Under the law, I had to prove that it was true — or face imprisonment.
Now, how does one prove that a person is an ignoramus in a court of
law? Add to that the harassment I would have to suffer of travelling
to court at least 10 times a year for at least five years to attend
the case or face a warrant for my production in court. Or I would have
to engage a lawyer who would charge me a hefty sum. All this for a
mild rebuke of a political leader? The editor of the magazine decided
he could not stomach it, so he apologised for printing the remark. I
was left holding the bag.

However, I fought the case and won. Mr. Malhotra was directed to pay
me Rs.8,000 as compensation for my petrol bills, which he paid with
some reluctance. Now how did I do it?

I pulled out of my survival kit the first tool of defence: in a
defamation case, the aggrieved person must prove "publication," which
means Mr. Malhotra would have to prove first that I had, in the
original text given to the magazine, written what was printed. The
onus was on him to produce the original. Now which magazine keeps the
original? He failed to produce it and I won.

In a 1997 press conference, I made some charges against Chief Minister
M. Karunanidhi. He used Section 199 of the Criminal Procedure Code to
get the Public Prosecutor to file a defamation case. This meant the
contest in court was between me and the state, and not between me and
the Chief Minister personally. Thus the Government would spend the
money out of the public exchequer and use Government counsel to
prosecute me, a totally unequal contest and wholly unfair (even if
legal).

If Section 199 had not been there, the Chief Minister would have
personally been the complainant and I would have had the right to
cross-examine him. Now which busy politician would like that? Hence, I
pulled out the second tool in my survival kit. I filed an application
before the judge making the point that the alleged defamation related
to the personal conduct of the Chief Minister and not to anything he
did in the course of public duty. I argued that Section 199 would not
apply. Thereafter, the State Public Prosecutor quickly lost interest
in the case. Had the judge rejected my prayer, I would have gone in
appeal to the Supreme Court and got Section 199 struck down. But alas,
I could not.

In 1988 another Chief Minister, Ramakrishna Hegde, filed a suit
against me under tort law for Rs.2 crore damages for my allegation
that he was tapping telephones and using his office to benefit a
relative in land deals. Although ultimately, the Kuldip Singh
Commission and a parliamentary committee studying the Telegraph Act
upheld my contentions, I would have had a problem had the court
decided the case before these inquiry reports came out.

So I pulled out the third tool in my survival kit, namely the U.S.
Supreme Court case laws, the most famous of which was The New York
Times case decided in 1964. Contrary to popular impression, U.S. case
laws on fundamental rights are applicable to India following a Supreme
Court judgment in an Indian Express case in 1959.

Furthermore, since 1994, these U.S. case laws have become
substantially a part of Indian law, thanks to Justice Jeevan Reddy's
judgment in the Nakkeeran case.

The principle in these case laws, restricted to public persons suing
for damages, is wonderfully protective of free speech: if a person in
public life, including one in government, feels aggrieved by a
defamatory statement, then that person must first prove in court that
the defamatory statement is not only false, but that the maker of the
statement knew it to be false. That is, it must be proved by the
defamed plaintiff to be a reckless disregard of the truth by the
defamer defendant. This principle thus reversed the traditional onus
on the defamer to prove his or her allegation, and placed the burden
of proof on the defamed.

This reversal of burden of proof is just, essentially because a public
person has the opportunity to go before the media and rebut the
defamation in a way aggrieved private persons cannot do. If criticism
and allegations against a public person have to be proved in a court
of law, what is likely to happen is that public spirited individuals
will be discouraged and thus dissuaded from making the criticism. This
is what the U.S. Supreme Court in the famous New York Times case
characterised as a "chilling effect" on public debate; it held this to
be bad for democracy.

Hence the need to balance the protection of reputation in law with the
democratic need for transparency and vibrant public debate. The U.S.
Supreme Court admirably set the balance for freedom and democracy.

Since Mr. Hegde was an intelligent man, he recognised what my survival
strategy meant. He would have come on the stand in court. He would
have been examined and cross-examined on why what I said was not true,
and how he knew that I had known all along that my charges were false
and yet I made them. He therefore sent me a message one day wanting to
know if I would call it quits. So his defamation case went from one
adjournment to another, until it lapsed upon his death. Before his
passing, Hegde and I met. Both of us agreed that it was unwise for
politicians who have so much access to the media to rebut charges to
file defamation cases and waste the time of already overburdened
courts. I got the impression that some sharp lawyer was behind his
temporary loss of judgment in filing the case.

Today, with developing case laws, defamation litigation has become a
toothless tiger for politicians to use against the media. There are
enough dental tools in my survival kit to ensure this. I am therefore
writing a full Manual on how to expose dishonest politicians and get
away without being harassed in court. I hope honest critics will no
more hesitate to speak their minds about what they know to be the
truth even if they cannot prove this in court beyond a reasonable
doubt.

I am happy therefore that The Hindu chose to fight it out rather than
capitulate. More should follow its lead for a better democracy and a
freer media.

(The author, an economist, is a former Union Law Minister. As a rule
he argues his own cases in court without the agency of lawyers.)

http://www.hindu.com/2004/09/21/stories/2004092103551000.htm

Swamy fined for charge against Jaya

New Delhi, January 3

The Delhi High Court today imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on Janata Party
President and former Union Minister Subramaniam Swamy for levelling
charges against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa that she
knew about the plan of the LTTE to assassinate former Prime Minister
Rajiv Gandhi at Sriperumbudur in May 1991.

Mr Justice Pradeep Nandrajog said Mr Swamy had failed to establish
that Jayalalithaa had received information and money from the banned
LTTE for the assassination of Gandhi.

“The defendant (Swamy) had exceeded the limits of qualified privilege
as his statement was quite unconnected with and irrelevant to the
situation and suffers from redundancy of the expression,’’ said the
order.

The M.C. Jain Commission of Inquiry was constituted on August 23, 1991
by the Centre to look into the circumstances leading to the
assassination of Gandhi.

Appearing before the commission, Mr Swamy had said Ms Jayalalithaa was
tipped by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) about the
assassination of Gandhi by its suicide bombers on April 17, 1991. —
UNI

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2006/20060104/nation.htm#16

December 03, 2006

Thinkpad

Basic Islam for Hindu Dhimmis
By Subramanian Swamy

Temples have been demolished in the Valley on a daily basis. The world
could not care less. An American had once told me: ?Why should we
care? Indian democracy is led by the majority who are Hindus and you
want us to talk about the human rights of the community of rulers??

We do not have much time, in fact about 45 years, as the X-graph of
statistical regressions estimated by J.S. Bajaj and colleagues shows. ?
X? represents the two trends?Hindu percentage declining and Muslim
percentage rising, and intersecting in the year 2061.

We Hindus must understand the true nature of Islam before we can
formulate a strategy to defeat those who threaten us.

Thanks to Shri Vedantamji of the VHP, I had visited Thondi and
Rasathipuram Municipalities of Ramanathapuram and Vellore districts
respectively, and was truly shocked by what I saw. Both these
municipalities are in Muslim-majority areas, and the local bodies
election had empowered the Muslims with their capture of the
municipalities.

The Muslim-ruled municipalities have thereafter converted these areas
into mini Dar-ul-Islams, in a Hindustan of 83 per cent Hindus! The
minority Hindu areas of the municipality were thus denied civic
amenities, funds for schools, garbage clearing etc., and sent notices
in Urdu. Hindus were bluntly told convert to Islam if they wanted
civic facilities.

I could not believe that in South India this was possible where Hindus
are actually above national average at 90 per cent of the population.
I know that in Kashmir Valley, Muslims who are in majority have
actively or passively connived in driving out half a million Hindus
out of their homes and made them refugees in their own country.
Temples have been demolished in the Valley on a daily basis. The world
could not care less. An American had once told me: ?Why should we
care? Indian democracy is led by the majority who are Hindus and you
want us to talk about the human rights of the community of rulers??

Such atrocities are happening not only in Kashmir, but in other parts
of India as well in pockets wherever Muslims are in majority, e.g.,
Mau and Meerut. In pocket boroughs of India, thus, Dar-ul-Islam has
today returned to India after two centuries. Considering that a
demographic re-structuring is slowly but surely taking place, with
Hindu majority shrinking everywhere, Dar-ul-Islam in pockets might
indeed, like amoeba, proliferate, coalesce, and jell into a
frightening national reality?unless we Hindus wake up and take
corrective action now, actions for which we shall of course not get a
Nobel Peace Prize.

Dar-ul-Islam is a Muslim religious concept of a land where Muslims
rule, and the non-believers in Islam are termed as Dhimmis. The term
Dhimmi was coined after the Jews were crushed in Medina [Khaybar to be
exact], and the defeated Jews accepted that if they did not convert to
Islam, then they would accept second-class status politically,
culturally, and religiously. This included zero civil rights including
the right to modesty of women, and the special tax jaziya.

There is thus no scope for Muslims and non-Muslims uniting as equals
in the political, cultural, or social system in a Dar-ul-Islam where
Muslims rule. Secular order in India thus is possible only when
Muslims are not in power. Thondi, Rasathipuram and other places prove
that the Muslim mind suffers from a dangerous duality?of seeking
secularism when out of power and imposing a brutal demeaning theocracy
for non-Muslims when in power.

It is this duality that patriotic Hindus must re-shape by modern
education and other means, as also retain its demographic overwhelming
majority in India. We do not have much time, in fact about 45 years,
as the X-graph of statistical regressions estimated by J.S. Bajaj and
colleagues shows. ?X? represents the two trends?Hindu percentage
declining and Muslim percentage rising, and intersecting in the year
2061.

The dhimmitude of Jews in Medina and later in Mecca represents the
beginning of religious apartheid inherent and basic to Islamic mores,
and practised long before what we saw in South Africa on the basis of
colour and race, and that which became prevalent during the Islamic
imperialist rule in parts of India. Hindus had been dhimmis for six
hundred years in those parts of India despite being a bigger majority
in the country than even today. Hence, a majority is not enough.
Hindus need also a Hindu mindset to be free.

In his presidential address to the Muslim League in Lahore in 1940,
Mohammed Ali Jinnah had articulated this concept of apartheid in his
own inimitable way:

?To visualise Hindus and Muslims in India uniting to create a common
nation is a mythical concept. It is only a fancy dream of some
unawakened Hindu leaders?. The truth is that Hindus and Muslims are
two different civilisations?. since their thought process grow on
different beliefs.?

Large sections of Muslims in India then had rejected Jinnah and his
concept of non-compatibility of Muslims with Hindus. But after
Independence and Partition, instead of building on this rejection by
many Muslims, the Nehru era saw increasing pandering precisely to the
religious element that believed in this apartheid. Indira Gandhi
vigorously continued this appeasement thereby nurturing the apartheid
mentality of Muslim orthodoxy.

But the final undermining of the enlightened Muslim came when the
government capitulated in the Shah Bano case. Thousands of Muslims had
demonstrated on the streets demanding that the government not bring
legislation that would nullify the Supreme Court?s judgment in the
Shah Bano case but in vain. Rajiv Gandhi, I learnt later, on counsel
from his Italian Catholic family, had surrendered to the hard line
clerics who protested that the Supreme Court had no right to interfere
and to de facto amend the Shariat, the Islamic law code. These
relatives on a directive from the Vatican thought that if secular law
would be applied to Muslims, it can be to the Christians too.

This was a nonsense argument of the Muslim clerics, since the Shariat
had already been amended, without protest, in the criminal law of
India. The Indian Penal Code represents the uniform criminal code that
equally applies to all religious communities. I therefore ask the
clerics: if a Muslim is caught stealing, can any court in India direct
that his hand at the wrist be cut off as the Shariat prescribes? If
Muslims can accept a uniform criminal code what is the logic in
rejecting the uniform civil code?

In India, Dhimmi status for Hindus during Islamic imperialist rule has
had other social implications. Defiant Brahmins and Kshatriyas, who
had refused to convert and chose to remain Hindus, were forced to
carry night-soil and suffer great indignities for their women folk. Or
it meant gross mental torture. Guru Tegh Bahadur, for example, had to
see his sons sawed in half, before the pious Guru?s own head was
severed and displayed in public.

The debasement of Hindu society then was such that those targeted
valiant Brahmins and Kshatriyas, who had refused to convert and thus
made to carry night-soil, were disowned by other Hindus and declared
to be asprashya or ?untouchable?. The ranks of the Scheduled Caste
community, which was not more than 1 per cent of the population before
the advent of Islam in India, swelled to 14 per cent by the time
Mughal rule collapsed.

Thus, today?s SC community, especially those who are still Hindus,
consists mostly of those valiant Brahmins and Kshatriyas who had
refused to become Muslims but preferred ostracization and ignominy in
order to remain Hindus. Hindu society today should offer koti koti
pranams to them for keeping the Bhagwa Dhwaj of Hindu religion flying
even at great personal cost and misery.

I have already written enough in these columns about Hindus being
under siege from Islamic fanatics and Christian proselytizers. I have
suggested that we can lift this siege only if we develop a Hindu
mindset, which is a four dimensional concept. But that mind must be
informed, and understand why others do what they do to Hindus before
we can defeat their nefarious designs. Here I suggest therefore that
we Hindus must understand the true nature of Islam before we can
formulate a strategy to defeat those who threaten us. In a later
column I will write about the true nature of Christianity and how to
combat the menace of religious conversions of Hindus.

At this juncture let me add even though I oppose conversion as
violence, as Swami Dayanand Sarasvati boldly wrote to the Vatican
Pope, nevertheless if an Indian Muslim or Christian changes his
religion to Hinduism today, I will not regard it as conversion because
it is a return to the Hindu fold of those whose ancestors had been
forcibly converted.

Unlike Hinduism, which says not a word against non-believers, in fact
says that other religions also lead to God, Islam is harsh on them,
and justifies violence against them as sacred. The choice to non-
believers in Islam is: convert or accept dhimmitude. Hence, the
explanation for Thondi, Rasathipuram, Mau etc., and the duality in
ethics practised by Muslims everywhere. A true Muslim is Dr. Jekyll
when in minority, and Mr. Hyde when in majority.

So what should we Hindus do? First, recognise that being a pious Hindu
is not enough. Hindus must unite and work to install a Hindu-minded
government. If 35 per cent of the 83 per cent Hindus unite to vote for
a party, absolute majority is attainable. If Hindu Dharma Acharya
Sabha, RSS, and VHP decide to mobilise the voter to support a party
that espouses an approved Hindu agenda, then the union government is
within reach through the ballot box. Second, search for those Muslims
who are ready to openly and with pride declare that their ancestors
were Hindus. My guess is that about 75 per cent of Muslims will be
ready to do so. These are the Muslims who can be co-opted by Hindus to
fight Islamic fundamentalism. If we do not do so, then the Muslim
clerics will have a free run of their fanaticism.

For this a required reading is Sri Sri Ravishankar?s Hinduism & Islam:
Dedicated to the People of Pakistan Who have Forgotten Their Own Roots
[www.artofliving.org]. In this Sri Sri Ravishankar has shown how ?
Muslims have completely forgotten that their forefathers were Hindus,
so they have every right to Vedic culture?. He in fact traces the pre-
Islam origins of the K?aaba. Third, invest heavily in primary
education to make it world class, ban the madrasas for any student
below 21 years, and make Sanskrit a compulsory language for all
students.

(The writer is a former Union Law Minister.)

http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=159&page=31

...and I am Sid Harth
Sid Harth
2010-03-06 18:55:55 UTC
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Published on 14-04-2007 In National
Viewed 2935 times | Written by Cho Ramaswamy
Social injustice

Karnataka government's ignoring rulings of the courts' in the Cauvery
tangle is unjust. The Kerala regime's brazen contempt for judgements
in the Mullaperiyar issue is the worst example of chutzpah. But, the
Tamil Nadu has attempted to do something worse against the Supreme
Court by organising a general strike against its interim pronouncement
because it is supposed to be "social justice."

The Apex Court had spoken its mind in the matter of 27 percent
reservation for "Other Backward Castes" in higher education and
ordered an interim stay on the law in this respect. Though the TN
government opposed and decried the ruling as do most political parties
in the length and breadth of the nation, this is the only state that
dovetailed its allies' [and the entire opposition's] support for a
state sponsored "bandh."

Senior counsel Vijayan has pointed out a hitherto unnoticed aspect of
this issue.

"When the case came up for the first time, its plaintiffs – a certain
youths' association was in the process of organising a strike.

The Supreme Court's interim orders, at that point in time, were in
favour of the government which had opposed it. Forced to accept the
call of the courts, the body called off its mass action. Now, the
state government has acted in a manner so as to insult the voice of
the judiciary. Shouldn't the present regime exhibit the same sense of
responsibility shown earlier by a voluntary organisation," Vijayan
demands to know.

The Supreme Court expressed itself explicitly while ordering an
interim stay in the matter of reservation in education.

The court reiterated its earlier orders which had clearly stated that
the reservations cannot exceed 50 percent…This upper limit [aimed to
keep out] the creamy layer within the Backward Castes was an aspect of
the [collective] wisdom expressed in the articles enshrined in The
Constitution. If breached, this would defeat the very purpose of the
assurance of "equal opportunities" which are the bedrock of all our
laws, the court said. Ensuring that reservations do not go beyond the
prescribed 50 percent limit, that all those who have already been
benefited by the statute are kept beyond its purview and prevention of
their indefinite continuance are the duty of the government.
Backwardness cannot be a permanent feature and therefore ought not to
become endless, the court reflected in its interim order.

These above sentiments expressed by the courts have been stressed in
many articles published several times in Thuglak.

This time, the Supreme Court has pointed out that the census of 1931
cannot be the basis to determine OBCs. Further it said that such an
old yardstick cannot be accepted as the justification for 27 percent
reservation in [central] educational institutions.

Those who oppose these averments of the Apex Court naturally point to
the fact that it did not question reservations in government jobs. But
these sections have failed to comprehend a simple facet of the whole
issue. Different articles in the Constitution have dealt with
reservations in jobs and educational institutions separately and have
differentiated between the two.

While tackling the matter of reservations in jobs, the Constitution
clearly says they are applicable only "to those Backward Classes which
do not have adequate representation."

Shorn of legalese, this means that the founding fathers of our
Constitution had accepted the fact that certain sections of the
population weren't represented in government posts.

But the statute doesn't accept this premise while dealing with the
issue of reservations in educational institutions. The article that
deals with this matter clearly says that the special arrangement is
meant for the uplift of "socially and educationally backward sections"
of the population that encompasses "oppressed and scheduled castes
[and] tribes…"

Since this was based on the situation that prevailed in 1931 [when the
last census was conducted] questions are bound to be raised about its
present applicability.

If this distinction between jobs and education is understood, nobody
would say that the two are on an equal plane.

Between the creation of our Constitution and the present day,
different amendments were made to include several sections in the
populace purely to increase political parties' vote banks. This
resulted in those who depended on merit being totally outnumbered in
blatant violation of the tenets of equality stated clearly in the
Constitution.

Every time the courts opposed such moves, political parties assailed
the judiciary as a matter of habit. The present order of the Supreme
Court isn't a final denouement. Yet, several political outfits are
condemning it as such. The Tamil Nadu government simply went a step
further and organised a "bandh."

"On what basis can the ruling party in Tamil Nadu insist on our
obeying the Supreme Court in the Cauvery and Mullaperiyar issues," is
a poser bound to be raised by the ruling [coalitions] in Karnataka and
Kerala respectively.

Naturally the two "K" states can demand the right to be on an equal
footing with Tamil Nadu in ignoring the Supreme Court!

On several occasions, for different reasons, the powers that be in
many states as well as at the centre have accorded short shrifts to
judgements pronounced in courts. At times, they have rendered their
orders meaningless by amending the laws.

It may happen on this occasion as well.

The words of the judiciary have tasted bitter to governments
regardless of their being regional or national because the courts base
their orders on the Constitution while ruling political arrangements
treaded a different measure due to political conveniences.

The latest imbroglio is an attempt on the part of the political
parties to decimate the bulwarks of democracy enshrined in our laws –
equality and justice for all. If the political class succeeds in its
quest, it would be meaningless to call ourselves a democratic state.
The alibi for this – the cause of "social justice" – is its very
antithesis.

(Translated from Thuglak by TSV Hari)

http://indiainteracts.in/columnist/2007/04/14/Social-injustice-/

Social injustice

Social justice in India means many things to most people. It is a coin
that offers the solution on one side, and promises to retain its
premium value if the extent of social injustice is allowed to grow on
the other. The side that pays the most during election-time is not the
one that has the solution. To the authors of the Constitution ushering
in social justice was an honest commitment with an unrealistic time-
limit. It was this error in the original document that allowed the
political class to turn the policy of job reservation into an
opportunity for creating a captive vote-bank. The two-day national
convention of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other backward
communities in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, organised by the Bharatiya Janata
Party is the latest example of the scale of confusion that politicians
are willing to create by making promises that fly in the face of law
and logic. Of course, since every political party is now playing the
Dalit card, why should the BJP not follow the policy? In the highly
competitive political game of appearing to be different from the other
in championing the Dalit cause, parties are constantly inventing new
agendas. The BJP convention in Mhow has promised to introduce job
reservation in the private sector.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh stole the Dalit thunder
last year by organising a conference of Dalit intellectuals that
adopted a charter of action called the Bhopal Declaration. With
assembly elections round the corner, the BJP has decided to offer
everything short of the moon to break the Congress’ grip over the
levers of power in Madhya Pradesh. Real issues becoming “victims” of
narrow and self-defeating politics have slowed down India’s march
towards economic progress. Population control is a real issue, that no
party wants to touch for the odium attached to it because of Sanjay
Gandhi. Social justice was a low-key issue until 1989. After Mr V. P.
Singh implemented the Mandal Commission report on job reservation, no
leader has shown the moral courage to question the rationale of a
policy that has increased the level of general tension without
offering social and economic emancipation to the country’s vast
underclass. Adopting a resolution is not going to make the private
sector offer jobs without applying the test of merit. Creation of
merit will help the Dalits join the expanding mainstream of
professional excellence without having to feel small in the eyes of
their colleagues. How about a policy that allows Dalits admission in
the best schools in the country? That is where the foundations of
academic excellence are laid. Thereafter, merit alone should be the
benchmark for admission to premium professional courses. Creating
social tension by expanding the size of job reservation will some day
cause an explosion that would make the post-Mandal riots in the
country look like a mild tantrum.

Satyameva jayate

The Union Cabinet’s nod to a proposal to make “truth a defence” in
contempt cases where aspersions have been cast against a judge is
laudable, in that it can remove a gross discrepancy. So far, the
contempt law has been an exception to the fundamental right to the
freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution.
Actually, the Contempt of Court Act, 1971, is silent on whether truth
can be a defence. Perhaps the law was taciturn on this issue because
it was considered inconceivable that a judge could be fallible. But
this silence was interpreted in some cases to mean that even if an
aspersion was true, it still constituted a contempt of court because
it lowered the authority and dignity of the court. While attempting to
remove this grey area, the government has rather enhanced the
authority of the judiciary because the judges occupy such an exalted
place in society that fingers should not be pointed at them, not just
because the law says so, but because the people at large actually
consider them to be beyond reproach. If there is foolproof evidence
against any member of the fraternity that he erred, then the person
making the allegation should not be hauled over coals just because the
wrongdoer happened to be a judge. This immunity was liable to be
misused. One black sheep could have brought a bad name to the entire
community. Even if the unthinkable did not happen, there were chances
that people’s faith in the integrity of the judges would not be as
unflinching as it should be.

Many countries like Australia and New Zealand already have truth as
defence in contempt cases. The Cabinet’s decision that can make the
judiciary more accountable without compromising its autonomy is in
line with the proposals of the National Commission to Review the
Working of the Constitution (NCRWC). In fact, many legal luminaries
have been supporting the move strongly. Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer had
advocated in a signed article last year that “… truth and good faith
must be reinstated as sound defences, so that a judge who has
something to hide may be exposed to the … light of truth”. As he had
concluded in the Mulgaokar case dealing with “unsavoury” allegations
against a senior sitting judge, “a benign neglect, not judicial
intemperance, is the sensible therapy of contempt law”. If a political
consensus develops on the proposal, the contempt law can be changed
without amending the Constitution.

Welcome move on Kashmir
Why peace must be pursued
Praful Bidwai

Whatever one’s reservations about Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee’s political
style and his party’s ideology, one must heartily and unstintingly
welcome his decision to visit Kashmir and launch an initiative for
reconciliation and peace. His visit was undoubtedly a landmark: on
April 18, he became India’s first Prime Minister to address a public
meeting in the valley since the “azadi” militancy broke out in 1989.
This is itself commendable. It also speaks of a positive change in
ground reality. His visit, coming six months after the largely free
and fair Legislative Assembly elections, has kindled new hopes, If his
overture is followed up with wise and purposive moves, we could see
some real progress in resolving one of the most troubled, complex and
bloody disputes in the world.

In Srinagar, Mr Vajpayee attempted a “double whammy”. He held out the
“hand of friendship” to Pakistan, significantly, from Kashmiri soil.
And he offered a dialogue between the Centre and different currents of
opinion in Jammu and Kashmir. Both offers were soon hedged in with
conditions. And yet, they indicate a welcome softening of New Delhi’s
stance. The change of tone and tenor has outlasted the somewhat
dampering effect of the qualifying statements Mr Vajpayee himself made
the following day, reiterating that the talks leading to peace with
Pakistan would only take place once there is an end to cross-border
terrorism. Yet, the impact of the new tone and tenor is welcome.

Of the two initiatives, on Pakistan, and on domestic arrangements
pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir, the first is both more important and
likelier to succeed more quickly than the second — for three reasons.
First, Pakistan has responded remarkably positively to India’s offer
of a dialogue and said it is willing to hold it “any time, at any
place and any level.” It has added that it hopes to work out specific
dates for negotiations “within days”. Second, there is growing
recognition within both governments that they cannot indefinitely
sustain their mutual hostility. They are under increasing pressure
from the major powers to defuse rivalry and reach mutual
accommodation.

Only six months ago, India and Pakistan were all ready to go to war.
The reasons why they didn’t basically continue to hold today. The
global situation emerging after the Iraq war has discomfited both by
highlighting their own vulnerability on account of the Kashmir and
nuclear issues. Washington, in its most aggressively unilateralist and
expansionist phase today, has threatened to extend the Iraq conflict
and also turn its attention to South Asia. On March 31, Secretary of
State Colin Powell told The New York Times that “the whole of the
subcontinent’s problems” were part of the “broad agenda” that the US
plans to address soon. South Asian tensions have figured prominently
in the deliberations of Russia, France and Britain too, who have all
called for an India-Pakistan dialogue.

And third, a certain momentum favouring a short time-frame for an
India-Pakistan meeting has been generated, with the planned visit to
South Asia of US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in early
May. Despite the latest suicide attacks by militants, it is likely
that both India and Pakistan will make some positive gestures just
ahead of that visit. Minister of State for External Affairs Digvijay
Singh says there is already some clarity on certain “modalities” for a
possible India-Pakistan summit and its agenda. More important, Mr
Armitage will probably mediate informally between the two governments
and “facilitate” a future summit — just as he brokered peace between
them twice last year.

This doesn’t argue that a Vajpayee-Musharraf meeting will certainly
happen or succeed. After all, even one terrorist act in India, whether
or not sponsored by Pakistan, can scuttle it altogether. Its success
will depend on how far the two governments are prepared to move away
from their stated “first positions” and explore a new detente or
agenda of peaceful coexistence.

This, in the first place, means they must accept that war is simply
not an option. Neither side can win it. Their nuclear capability has
been a “great leveller”. Nuclear wars cannot be won; they must never
be fought.

To make the summit successful, Islamabad will have to drop its
traditional emphasis on a plebiscite on Kashmir and 50-year-old UN
Security Council resolutions. More important, it will have to
verifiably give up supporting militant violence in Kashmir as an
instrument to coerce India to the negotiating table. It has to
recognise that its support to terrorist militants who kill innocent
civilians at will done nothing to advance the cause of the Kashmiri
people. New Delhi too must do something so that the issue is opened
up. The Kashmiri people must be involved in settling it.

India must take the Shimla Agreement of 1972 seriously. Under it, all
bilateral issues are to be resolved through peaceful discussion. So
far, New Delhi has cited the Shimla accord mainly to oppose a
multilateral dialogue — but never once discussed Kashmir bilaterally
with Pakistan. Changing all this won’t be easy, but if a robust
beginning is made on the basis of some mutually accepted principles,
the process of reconciliation could get rolling. At times like these,
process is everything.

The biggest obstacles here will be the hawks in the two countries who
have a stake in perpetuating a state of mutual hostility. In Pakistan,
they are jehadi Islamists both inside and outside the army. In India,
they are the BJP’s right-wingers who oppose reconciliation with
Pakistan.

This time around, the BJP has supported Mr Vajpayee’s peace gesture,
but somewhat reluctantly. Its first response on April 18 was to oppose
it. Earlier, it enthusiastically welcomed External Affairs Minister
Yashwant Sinha’s diatribe against Pakistan as a “fitter case” than
Iraq for pre-emptive war. Ideological antipathy to Pakistan apart,
this is an important election year for the BJP. In four major Assembly
elections it is pitted against the Congress. Rather than embark on a
new, uncertain, Kashmir and Pakistan policy, it might be tempted to
fall back upon a hawkish line which appeals to its urban elite
constituency.

Piloting a peace process in such a situation will need statesmanship.
Even more difficult will be the domestic Kashmir reconciliation
agenda. Here, the Centre has no clarity whatsoever, although people
like Mr Vajpayee sense that J&K today offers a great opportunity
because of its relatively credible election, and the installation of a
state government which generates hope with its “healing touch”.

However, the Centre is fumbling at the level of strategy. It said it
would talk to all those who abjure violence. Yet, it refused to invite
the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference, representing 23 different groups,
to talks. But it should know that there is little political sense in
talking only to “elected representatives”, for most of whom J&K’s
integration with India is unproblematic. It is the others that it must
win over. They include the APHC. The Hurriyat’s influence may have
declined. But it still represents a significant current of opinion in
Kashmir. The Hurriyat would, of course, like the government to apply
the “Nagaland formula” to Kashmir: talks at a high political level;
exclusively with one group; and a ceasefire. In reality, there are too
many differences between Kashmir and Nagaland, and the APHC and the
NSCN. But talking to the Hurriyat on a non-exclusive basis is surely
necessary.

A breakthrough on Kashmir will probably have to wait upon serious
progress in India-Pakistan relations. But the process of
reconciliation must start, both internally and externally. Far too
much is at stake — not least, the lives of millions who could turn
into radioactive dust should war break out. There is simply no
alternative to peace.

MIDDLE

Pathbreaking research!
S. Raghunath

A reader writing to the “letters” column of a national newspaper has
said that the principal reason for the continued brain drain from the
country is that peons in India are paid more and enjoy a better status
than scientists.

The All-India Confederation of Peons (AICP) has taken strong exception
to the tone and tenor of the letter calling it in poor taste and
lacking perspective and smacking of an anti-peon bias.

Talking to mediapersons, a spokespeon said: “We peons have been at the
receiving end of malicious and motivated attacks for far too long and
it’s about time we took a stand. In actual fact, peons are
spearheading pathbreaking research in some of the most esoteric fields
and their work promises to push back the frontiers of knowledge and
pure science. Let me briefly elaborate.”

“Visitors to government offices might have seen surly and ill-tempered
peons sitting motionless for hours on end on rickety wooden stools.
Actually, this is part of an ongoing and well-funded research in three-
dimensional structural analysis and dynamics of lattice bodies whose
object is the development of a one-legged wooden stool for use by
peons in government offices. Just imagine the savings in scarce wood
that will result from the development of one-legged stools!”

Continuing, the spokespeon said: “We peons are heavily involved in
research in greenfield areas of behavioral sciences and reaction of
human psyche under deliberate stress. We let visitors who call at
government offices to transact legitimate business wait for hours on
end, all the while smirking and giving maddeningly vague and evasive
answers to the query, ‘Will I have to wait much longer to see the
sahib?’ and under controlled clinical conditions, we study the stress
caused by our overbearing attitude. I ask you, have Carl Jung or
Sigmund Freud done any work in these fields of human psychology? We
peons are doing it and what do we get in return? Only brickbats and
not bouquets.”

“You’ll be interested to know that peons are also actively pursuing
research in fibre chemistry and textiles. We wear the same khaki
uniform for up to 11 months without washing them even once and we’re
studying the metabolism of sweat glands on khaki cloth. We hope to
soon achieve a breakthru’ in the development of sweat resistant
artificial fibres and textiles.

“No aspect of science and research has escaped our attention and we’re
heavily into medical research, too. Peons of our New Delhi chapter and
working in South Block and Shastri Bhavan are engaged in studying the
effect of caffeine in coffee and tea in cardiac functions of well-
heeled babus and they have observed marked clinical symptoms like
lethargy in disposing of important files and tying the red tape, but
alacrity in demanding higher dearness allowance to neutralise the
rising wholesale price index. They have submitted learned papers to
the Lancet and the British Medical Journal and they are being held
over for publication.”

The spokespeon concluded: “So you can see for yourself that we peons
are working away from the glare of publicity and contributing our
humble mite to the advancement of scientific research and
progress.”

Sanskrit faces uncertain future in Punjab
Jangveer Singh

A part of the Punjab Institute of Oriental and Indian Languages in
Patiala which has been declared unsafe. — Photo Subhash

Imagine a college with three windowless rooms measuring 12 by 12 feet,
having half-broken small wooden benches-cum tables, half of which have
been placed in the lone verandah of the institution. It is housed in a
building, part of which is unsafe and out of bounds for the students.

This is the Punjab Institute of Oriental and Indian languages in
Patiala. In 1963 the institute was named the Government Institute of
Oriental and Modern Indian Languages, Patiala. Before that, it was
known as the Sanskrit Vidyala. It is the oldest Sanskrit institution
in the state having been set up as early as 1860.

This institution, which was once the pride of the state, has been
ignored for decades. It now houses another institution - the
Government Sanskrit Mahavidyala of Nabha - which was transferred to
Patiala in October, 2002. This effectively means there are three small
rooms, a verandah which, on many occasions, is used as a classroom,
and a library hall for the staff of the Sanskrit institution, which
now goes by the high-flying name of Institute of Oriental and Indian
Languages.

“The government has changed the name to give the impression that it
was creating a new institution in which it was merging the Nabha
college”, says one of the teachers of the institution. He adds the
government has not given even a single paisa for the new institution,
that shows how concerned it is even about maintaining the lone
Sanskrit teaching institution of its kind. The institution does not
have even a single room which can be rightly called a classroom. There
are some rooms on the first floor which are used by the Government
Primary and Middle School. An order to vacate the rooms was passed by
a former Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir.

The teacher says part of the college has been renovated through a Rs 1
lakh grant given by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during a
Sangat Darshan programme. The amount was used to strengthen the roof
of the library hall and its adjacent verandah, besides renovating two
rooms, now occupied by the office staff. “This has ensured that at
least the roof will not fall on our heads”, remarks the teacher,
adding that part of the building seems to be beyond repairs and has
been sealed off to ensure that no student steps inside.

But the four teachers at the Sanskrit Mahavidyala, Nabha, didn’t have
a safe roof above. Their college was closed and they were told to
report for duty at the Patiala institute in October last year. Three
of the teachers joined duty at Patiala, while the fourth is fighting
it out in court.

The Nabha institution was run by Acharya Sadhu Ram before it was taken
over by Maharaja Hira Singh of Nabha. Subsequently, it was taken over
by the Pepsu government and, finally, by the Punjab Government on the
Pepsu state’s merger. A teacher, Basant Lal, now posted at the Patiala
institution, says the institution was upgraded to a college in 1972
and was earlier housed in the Nabha fort from where it was shifted to
a government building. However, when the building was declared unsafe,
it was shifted to a rented building in 1983. In March, 2002 the
college management was asked not to make new admissions on the plea
that the building was unsafe and the students’ strength had also
declined. The college was subsequently merged with the Patiala
institution to form a new institution.

The institutions may have had a tragic history, but sadder still is
the fate of the Sanskrit language in the state. The student strength
in the new institute has come down to an all-time low of 29 against
last year’s 45. Teachers blame this on lack of any reservation for
students going in for the Shastri graduate course, which is taught
only in Sanskrit. They say the students have to compete for jobs with
students with Sanskrit at the graduation level in which it is taught
in the Hindi medium. “If this is the respect given by the government
to an advanced Sanskrit course, there is little hope for Sanskrit, its
teachers or Sanskrit institutions in the state”, add the teachers.

Panjab University’s low priority to top centre
Ravinder Sud

A view of the V.V.B. institute of Sanskrit at Hoshiarpur

The Vishveshvaranand Vishav Bandhu Institute of Sanskrit and
Indological Studies located at Sadhu Ashram, Hoshiarpur, is fast
losing the very purpose for which it was set up about 100 years ago on
account of the indifferent attitude of the authorities of Panjab
University, Chandigarh.

This world-renowned research institute, situated on the outskirts of
Hoshiarpur city on the Una road and run by Panjab University, offers
five-year postgraduation courses in Shastri and Acharya. There are 75
students, including 30 girls and five research scholars. They are
generally from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Jammu and
Kashmir. Stipends are given to the students of oriental studies.

Dr Damodar Jha, a former Chairman of this institution, tells The
Tribune that there are only 14 teachers as against the sanctioned
posts of 32. Four of them are above 60 and four others are going to
retire shortly. None of the posts, which had fallen vacant on the
retirement of any teacher in the past, was filled.

Besides, the university authorities have shifted six posts from here
to Chandigarh. This has not only adversely affected the studies of
students, but also research work in Sanskrit and indological studies,
including Vedic interpretation.

There is no hostel facility for girl students and the hostel for boys
is run in the rented building of Vishveshvaranand Vedic Research
Institute, adds Dr Jha.

This institute has a big library having 73,408 books, 2,676 hand-
written manuscripts, 123 research journals and 3,093 photocopies of
rare books which are out of print now. But this institution has not
been developed further, he complains.

Tracing its genesis, Prof Inder Kumar Uniyal, Director, VVRI, says
that in 1903 Swami Vishveshvaranand and Nityanand started an office in
Shimla for preparing word indices of the four principal Vedic Samhitas
and a dictionary of the texts. The word indices were issued in four
volumes in 1908-10 and considerable basic material was collected for
the dictionary.

In 1924 the office was shifted to Lahore where it was put under the
charge of Acharya Vishva Bandhu. Under him, the scope of the institute
was widened so as to include the study of different branches of
indology. The institute also set up a teaching wing with classes for
MA, Vidyavachaspati and Shastri in Sanskrit and Prabhakar in Hindi.
Panjab University, Lahore, gave a grant of Rs 1,000 in 1936-37 and an
equal amount in 1937-38.

The university accorded recognition to the work done by the institute
by publishing “A Vedic Word Concordance” and a complete etymological
dictionary.

After partition, the institute got uprooted from Lahore. After much
suffering and loss, it was restarted on its present premises at Sadhu
Ashram, Hoshiarpur.

In 1957, at the instance of the institute, Panjab University opened
its Department of Devanagari Transcription of South Indian
Manuscripts.

Earlier in 1950, Panjab University had extended affiliation to the
institute for starting various courses of study in Hindi and Sanskrit
and the University Grants Commission began to give liberal financial
aid to the institute. The same year the institute extended its
academic activity to Chandigarh by setting up a research centre
there.

In the beginning of 1965, Panjab University made a proposal that the
institute, while continuing to function from Hoshiarpur and
maintaining its entity, should integrate itself with the university.
This proposal was accepted. Accordingly, a part of the institute was
taken over by the university under the new name Vishveshvaranand
Institute of Sanskrit and Indological Studies (VISIS).

At present 12 research projects, including the compilation of a
dictionary of Vedic interpretation, are being pursued. There is a long
list of 49 research works in various fields of indology published by
this institute.

The Manuscript and Text Editing Section has a collection of more than
10,000 ancient manuscripts, of which 8,360 were catalogued
descriptively in the volume and were published in 1959. A
supplementary catalogue dealing with the remaining manuscripts came to
light in 1975. However, with the transfer of the Lal Chand collection
of rare books and manuscripts to DAV College, Chandigarh, the
institute now has about 2,300 ancient manuscripts.

The VVRI has published 16 volumes of Vedic Concordance of more than
1,1000 pages. The compilation of the dictionary of Vedic
interpretation, which was started by the late Acharya Vishav Bandhu in
1965, is yet to be completed.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2003/20030429/edit.htm#5

Social Issues

What Are The Current Social Issues In India? We have already written
on the most common social issues in india and we keep adding more and
more articles regarding the contemporary social issues in india and
social problems faced by India. This is an effort to bring to the
social evils of India to the notice of as many people as possible. You
can contribute and share your views, ideas and articles on "Social
Issues" that ail India.

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http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/juveniledelinquency.html
Girls, Women and Poverty12th-June-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/girls-women-and-poverty.html
Untouchability in India12th-June-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/untouchability-in-india.html
Infant Mortality in India12th-May-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/infant-mortality-in-india.html
Water problem in India15th-Apr-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/water-problem-in-india.html
Child Malnutrition in India11th-Apr-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/child-malnutrition-in-india.html
The problem of old age in India11th-Apr-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/problem-of-old-age-in-india.html
Global Food Stocks Fall7th-Apr-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/global-food-stocks-fall.html
Millennium Goals India Position7th-Apr-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/millennium-goals-india-position.html
Population -The trends in India7th-Apr-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/population-the-trends-in-india.html
Tuberculosis in India7th-Apr-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/tuberculosis-in-india.html
Female Literacy in Kishanganj District18th-Mar-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/female-literacy-in-kishanganj-district.html
Polio in India -Latest Situation07th-Mar-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/polio-in-india-latest%20situation.html
Prostitution in India16th-Feb-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/prostitution-in-india.html
Beggary in India4th-Feb-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/flood-management-in-india.html
Flood Management in India18th-Jan-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/flood-management-in-india.html
Crime against women in India18th-Jan-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/crime-against-women-in-india.html
Decline in number of out of school children in India: A Pratham survey
report17th-Jan-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/decline-of-school-children.html
Polio in India8th-Jan-08
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/polio-in-india.html
Child Soldiers of India3rd-Dec-07
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/child-soldiers-of-india.html
Latest Figures on HIV/AIDS-20073rd-Dec-07
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/latest-figures-on-hiv-2007.html
HIV/AIDS situation in North-East India3rd-Dec-07
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/hiv-situation-in-north-east-india.html
Literacy Situation in India1st-Dec-07
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/literacy-situation-in-india.html
Hunger in India - Impact on Children27th-Nov-07
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/hunger-in-india.html
State of Rural Healthcare in India-NRHM Report23th-Nov-07
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/rural-healthcare-in-india.html
World HIV/AIDS Figures Low23th-Nov-07
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/world-hiv-aids-figures-low.html
Gender Gap in India15th-Nov-07
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/gender-gap-in-india.html
Birth Registration in India12th-Nov-07
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/birth-registration-in-india.html
Recent trends in employment in India10th-oct-07
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/recent-trends-in-employment-in-india.html
Elementary Education in India 2005-06 –A Report 10th-oct-07
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/elementary-education-in-india.html
Corruption in Education system in India – A UNESCO Report 10th-oct-07
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/education-system-in-india.html
Plight of HIV/AIDS affected children10th-oct-07
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/plight-of-HIV.html
Rural Sanitation in India10th-oct-07
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/rural-sanitation-in-india.html

Recent Trend of Divorce in India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/divorce-in-india.html
Relevance of National Rural Health Mission
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/national-rural-health-mission.html
Reproductive Health Status of Women in India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/reproductive-health-status-of-women-in-india.html
Female Infanticide in India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/femaleinfanticideinindia.html
The Status Of Education And Vocational Training In India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/thestatusofeducation.html
Plight of Indian Women: Victims of NRI marriages
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/plight-of-indian-women.html
Problem of Child Abuse
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/child-abuse.html
Sustainable Development
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/sustainable-development.html
Class Struggle
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/class-struggle.html
Women Employment in India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/Women-Employment.html
Literacy Rate In India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/literacy-in-india.html
Woman Empowerment In India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/Women-Empowerment.html
Drug Abuse in India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/Drug-Abuse-in-India.html
Dowry System in India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/dowry-system-in-india.html
HIV/AIDS in India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/aids-in-india.html
Poverty in India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/poverty-in-india.html
Population of India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/india-population.html
Child labour in India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/child-labour-in-india.html
Rural Girls Education
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/girl-education.html
State of Maternal Health in India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/Unemployment-in-India.html
Unemployment in India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/Unemployment-in-India.html
The status of children in India - Findings of UNICEF 2005 report
HIV/AIDS and Women
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/children-of-India.html
Situation of HIV /AIDS in Bihar
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/AIDSinBihar.html
Girl and Women Trafficking in India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/WomenTrafficking-in-India.html
Gender Inequality In India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/GenderInequality.html
Domestic Violence Against Women
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/DomesticViolence.html
Development and Environment are not Contradictory Paradigms
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/Development-and-Environment.html
Urbanization Is A Blessing In Disguise
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/Urbanization-blessing-disguise.html
NACO covers less than 10% of HIV –infected in India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/naco-covers.html
Deadly AIDS numbers rising across the world
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/deadly-aids.html
Status of children in India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/status-of-children.html
Status of Dalits in India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/status-of-dalits.html
Crime Against Children
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/crime-against-children.html
Migration In India
http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/migration-in-india.html

http://www.azadindia.org/social-issues/index.html

Key Texts on Social Justice in India
Published by Sage Publicatio...

Editors: Roohi, Sanam Samaddar, Ranabir
ISBN: 978 81 321 0064 5
Format: Hardback
Pages: 1116
List price(s): 150.00 GBP
Publication date: 30 May 2009

Short description

A compendium of key texts on social justice. It brings out the
relational nature of justice as well as the fragmented nature of its
existence. It explores how law fares in delivering justice, how
violence becomes an essential part of the popular notion of justice
and how the dynamics of justice is linked with the emergence of
marginal situations.

Full description

Volume I: Social Justice and Enlightenment: West Bengal is edited by
Pradip Kumar Bose, Professor of Sociology, Centre for Studies in
Social Sciences, Calcutta, Kolkata and Samir Kumar Das, Professor of
Political Science, Calcutta University, Kolkata. This first volume of
the series The State of Justice in India: Issues of Social Justice is
a collection of writings on the state of social justice in the present-
day West Bengal. It studies the strong disjunction between the notion
of enlightened politics, on which the constitutional Left in West
Bengal has thrived for several decades, and social justice. The
articles probe the question: is there a necessary connection between
the politics of communism and attainment of social justice? Social
Justice and Enlightenment: West Bengal is based on ethnographic
studies which suggest that while there is a general regime of justice
in West Bengal, the rule of law as the main mechanism of justice makes
little sense in the presence of specific local judicial practices. It
questions why the archaic rule of law still remains fundamental in the
state governance and concludes that the West Bengal experience
demonstrates that while democracy may widen through the mass entry of
workers, peasants and the rural and urban poor, and though this may
facilitate long-denied political justice for them, this does not
ensure social justice per se. Volume II: Justice and Law: The Limits
of the Deliverables of Law is edited by Ashok Agrwaal, Lawyer,
researcher and civil rights activist and Bharat Bhushan, Editor of the
Daily Mail Newspaper . This second volume of the series The State of
Justice in India: Issues of Social Justice brings together the tension
that brews between law and justice in India. It begins with how our
legislators had engaged in the discourse on justice at the time of the
making of the constitution. The articles highlight the way law has
created dichotomies in its attempt to be the guardian for justice. The
authors have coined the idea of 'justice gap', which unveils the gap
between the claims for justice and governmental regime of justice.
Justice and Law: The Limits of the Deliverables of Law also deals
extensively with the issue of reservation. It has one article
documenting the history of reservations in India, in the background of
political contentions, elections, and judicial activism. The other
article traces how the 'policy game' goes on in the language of courts
and law. Both the articles indicate how the issue of justice is
closely linked to the issue of expansion of democracy. Another article
measures the success of the legal system in providing justice to those
in the margins. This one-of-its-kind book will be an invaluable
resource for academics and researchers studying sociology, law, social
justice, political theory and Indian democracy. It will also be useful
for human rights activists, policy makers, policy analysts and NGOs.
Volume III: Marginalities and Justice is edited by Paula Banerjee,
Head of the Department of South and South East Asian Studies,
University of Calcutta, Kolkata and Mahanirban Calcutta Research
Group, Kolkata and Sanjay Chaturvedi, Professor of Political Science
at the Centre for the Study of Geopolitics and Honorary Director,
Centre for the Study of Mid-West and Central Asia, Panjab University,
Chandigarh. This third volume of the series The State of Justice in
India: Issues of Social Justice shows how marginalities in social
spaces marked by power raise the issue of justice. It deals with the
situation of people living in the margins of the society and their
relationship with communities that enjoy enough material well being to
secure their rights. It reveals how effective governance
unintentionally uses strategies of inclusion, exclusion, differential
exclusion, and, most importantly, techniques of turning spaces into
'marginal enclaves', giving rise to injustice, and thereby, the demand
for justice. Marginalities and Justice demonstrates that justice may
emanate from the dynamics of marginality. The same governmental
techniques that to some extent address issues of social justice, may
produce marginal positions too. Thus, this collection suggests the
existence of a remainder; it demonstrates what remains outside the
operations of governmentality and explores the arrangement of social
spaces. Volume IV: Key Texts on Social Justice in India is edited by
Sanam Roohi, Programme Associate, Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group,
Kolkata and Ranabir Samaddar, Director, Mahanirban Calcutta Research
Group, Kolkata. This fourth volume of the series The State of Justice
in India: Issues of Social Justice is a compendium of key texts on
social justice. It brings out the relational nature of justice as well
as the fragmented nature of its existence. Key Texts on Social Justice
in India explores how law fares in delivering justice, how violence
becomes an essential part of the popular notion of justice and how the
dynamics of justice is linked with the emergence of marginal
situations. Each article is, on one hand, an appeal for justice, and,
on the other, a manifesto that state actions fall short of ensuring
justice. This compilation is meant for the students and researchers
working in the fields of justice, sociology and law. It will serve as
supplementary text in law as well as a source book that gives a
comprehensive analysis of justice in the Indian scenario.

Table of contents

VOLUME I: SOCIAL JUSTICE AND ENLIGHTENMENT: WEST BENGAL - Pradip Kumar
Bose and Samir Kumar Das Series Acknowledgement - Ranabir Samaddar
Series Introduction - Ranabir Samaddar Introduction - Pradip Kumar
Bose and Samir Kumar Das Land Acquisition Act and Social Justice: A
Study on Development and Displacement - Ratan Khasnabis Two Leaves and
a Bud: Tea and Social Justice in Darjeeling - Roshan Rai and Subhas
Ranjan Chakrabarty Deprivation and Social Injustice in a Rural
Context: An Ethnographic Account - Kumar Rana with Amrit Paira and Ila
Paira On the Wrong Side of the Fence: Embankment, People and Social
Justice in the Sundarbans - Amites Mukhopadhyay Prescribed, Tolerated,
& Forbidden Forms of Claim Making - Ranabir Samaddar VOLUME II:
JUSTICE AND LAW: THE LIMITS OF THE DELIVERABLES OF LAW - Ashok Agrwaal
and Bharat Bhushan Series Acknowledgement - Ranabir Samaddar Series
Introduction - Ranabir Samaddar Introduction - Ashok Agrwaal and
Bharat Bhushan Justice in the Time of Transition: Select Indian
Experiences - Sabyasachi Basu and Ray Chaudhury The Founding Moment:
Social Justice in the Constitutional Mirror - Samir Kumar Das Indexing
Social Justice in India-A Story of Commissions, Reports and Popular
Responses - Bharat Bhushan Trivializing Justice: Reservation Under
Rule of Law - Ashok Agrawaal The Fallacy of Equality: 'Anti-Citizens',
Sexual Justice and the Law in India - Oishik Sircar VOLUME III:
MARGINALITIES AND JUSTICE - Paula Banerjee and Sanjay Chaturvedi
Series Acknowledgement - Ranabir Samaddar Series Introduction -
Ranabir Samaddar Introduction - Paula Banertjee and Sanjay Chaturvedi
Gulamiya Ab Hum Nahi Bajeibo: Peoples' Expressions for Justice in
Jehanabad - Manish K Jha Ethnography of Social Justice in Dalit Pattis
(Hamlets) of Rural UP - Badri Narayan Tiwari Rights and Social Justice
for Tribal Population in India - Amit Prakash AIDS, Marginality and
Women - Paula Banerjee Towards Environmental Justice Movement in
India? Spatiality, Hierarchies and Inequalities - Sanjay Chaturvedi
VOLUME IV: KEY TEXTS ON SOCIAL JUSTICE IN INDIA - Sanam Roohi and
Ranabir Samaddar Series Acknowledgement - Ranabir Samaddar Series
Introduction - Ranabir Samaddar PART I. DEVELOPMENT AND DISCONTENT:
THE QUESTION OF INJUSTICE Section Introduction Ethnic Politics and
Land Use: Genesis of Conflicts in India's North-East - Sanjay Barbora
Contexts and Constructions of Water Scarcity - Lyla Mehta Karnataka:
Kudremukh: Of Mining and Environment - Muzaffar Assadi Report of
Investigation into Nandigram Mass Killing - Sanhati Eroded Lives:
Riverbank Erosion and Displacement of Women in West Bengal - Krishna
Bandyopadhyay, Soma Ghosh and Nilanjan Dutta PART II. SOCIAL JUSTICE:
THE STATE AND ITS PERCEPTIONS Section introduction The Communal
Violence (Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims) - Bill
The National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy,
Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999 The Right to
Information Act, 2005 The National Rehabilitation and Resettlement
Policy, 2007 The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005
PART III. JUSTICE: LAW AND BEYOND Section Introduction Illegality and
Exclusion: Law in the Lives of Slum Dwellers - Usha Ramanathan Illegal
Coal Mining in Eastern India: Rethinking Legitimacy and Limits of
Justice - Kuntala Lahiri Dutt Verdict on an HIV case, Supreme Court of
India Reproduced in Medhina - Laya, Dipika Jain and Colin Gonzalves An
Indian Charter for Minority Rights - Sabyasachi Basu and Ray Chaudhury
PART IV. WOMEN AND MARGINALITY: An Issue of Gender Justice Section
Introduction Gender: Women and HIV - Medhini, Laya, Dipika Jain and
Colin Gonzalves National Policy for the Empowerment of Women (2001)
Women, Trafficking and Statelessness in South Asia - Paula Banerjee
PART V. JUSTICE: Marginal Positions and Alternative Notions Section
Introduction Voices From Folk School of Dalit Bahujan & Marginalised
to Policy Makers - Peoples Vigilance Committee on Human Rights Social
Assessment of HIV/AIDS among Tribal People in India - NACP III
Planning Team Caste is Dead, Long Live Caste - G P Deshpande Tehelka
Debate: Beyond Caste - Puroshottam Agarwal Report from the Flaming
Fields of Bihar PART VI. FREEDOM AND EQUALITY, RIGHTS AND SOCIAL
SECURITY: BUILDING BLOCKS OF JUSTICE Section Introduction Jungle Book:
Tribal Forest Rights Recognised For First Time - Nandini Sundar
Informal Sector in India: Approaches for Social Security Arguments,
Protests, Strikes and Free Speech: The Career and Prospects of the
Right to Strike in India - Rajeev Dhavan Democracy and Right to Food -
Jean Dreze

http://www.newasiabooks.org/publication/key-texts-social-justice-india

Retro-modern India. Forging the Low-caste Self
Published by Routledge

Author: Ciotti, Manuela
ISBN: 978 0 415 56311 6
Format: Hardback
Pages: 312
List price(s): 55.00 GBP 95.00 USD
Publication date: 23 February 2010

Short description

Set in the socio-political milieu of the state of Uttar Pradesh in
north India, this book puts forward an original theoretical approach
to analyse subaltern configurations of modernity within the nation
state. It substantiates this approach by weaving the low-caste
Chamars’ core ethical concerns of humanism with ethnographic accounts
of resilient — as well as newly forged — socio-economic hierarchies,
internalised ideologies of betterment and reform, and the social race
for progress where contestants are very often same-nation citizens.

Full description

Firmly situated within the analytics of the political economy of a
north Indian province, this book explores self-fashioning in pursuit
of the modern amongst low-caste Chamars. Challenging existing accounts
of national modernity in the non-West, the book argues that subaltern
classes shape their own ideas about modernity by taking and rejecting
from models of other classes within the same national context. While
displacing the West — in its colonial and non-colonial manifestations
— as the immanent comparative focus, the book puts forward a unique
framework for the analysis of subaltern modernity. This builds on the
entanglements between two main trajectories, both of which are viewed
as the outcome of the generative impetus of modernisation in India:
the first consists of the Chamar appropriation of socio-cultural
distinctions forged by 19th-century Indian middle classes in their
encounter with colonial modernity; the second features the Chamar
subversion of high-caste ideals and practices as a result of low-caste
politics initiated during the 20th century. The author contends that
these conflicting trends give rise to a temporal antinomy within the
Chamar politics of self-making, caught up between compulsions of a
past modern and of a contemporary one. The eclectic outcome is termed
as ‘retro-modernity’. While the book signals a politics of becoming
whose dynamics had previously been overlooked by scholars, it
simultaneously opens up novel avenues for the understanding of non-
elite modern life-forms in postcolonial settings.

The book will interest scholars of anthropology, South Asian studies,
development studies, gender studies, political science and
postcolonial studies.

Table of contents

Orthography and Transliteration.
Glossary of Selected Terms. Foreword. Acknowledgements.

1. Chamar Modernity: Progressing into the Past

2. ‘Today We Can Touch Anything’: Reflections on the Crux of Identity
and Political Economy

3. Ethnohistories behind Local and Global Bazaars: Chronicle of a
Weaving Community and its Disappearance

4. ‘We Used to Live like Animals’: Education as a Self- and Community-
engineering Process

5. Nonrational Modernity? Religious Agency, Science and Spirits

6. Beyond the Vote: Politics as Sociality, Imagination and Identity

7. The Bourgeois Woman and the Half-naked One: Gendering Retro-
modernity

8. The Politics of Indian Modernity. Bibliography. About the Author.
Index.

Biography

Manuela Ciotti is a social anthropologist with a PhD from the London
School of Economics. She is currently Research Associate at the Centre
for South Asian Studies, University of Edinburgh. She has published
several articles in leading journals on topics ranging from education,
labour ethnohistory, gender and class transformation, and women’s
political activism.

Drawing on research she carried out during the tenure of a Nuffield
Foundation New Career Development Fellowship, Ciotti is completing her
second monograph entitled Political Agency and Gender in India
(forthcoming). An edited volume entitled Femininities and
Masculinities in Indian Politics (forthcoming) develops the different
aspects of the gender and politics nexus. Ciotti’s focus on South
Asian Studies is intertwined with her interests in anthropological
epistemologies and the politics of location and representation;
converging on these, a monograph provisionally entitled 'Producing
Knowledge in Late Modernity: Lessons from India' is under preparation.


Buy here: http://www.routledgepolitics.com/books/Retro-modern-India-isbn9780415563116

http://www.newasiabooks.org/publication/retro-modern-india-forging-low-caste-self

Jinnah and Tilak: Comrades in the Freedom Struggle
Published by Oxford Universi...

Author: Noorani
ISBN: 978 0 19 547829 7
Format: Hardback
Pages: 350
List price(s): 15.99 GBP
Publication date: 26 August 2010

Short description

The distinguished Indian lawyer and writer, A. G. Noorani, urges his
readers in this incisively argued book to look again at some of the
key events and personalities in the struggle against British colonial
rule in India.

Full description

The distinguished Indian lawyer and writer, A. G. Noorani, urges his
readers in this incisively argued book to look again at some of the
key events and personalities in the struggle against British colonial
rule in India. He begins with 'the forgotten comradeship' between
Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
Whatever their other differences, both felt passionately about the
cause of Indian freedom. Jinnah defended Tilak in his trial in 1916 on
sedition charges, and ultimately secured his acquittal. The full text
of the legal proceedings, including Jinnah's powerful speeches for the
defence, are included as an appendix. After Tilak's death in 1920,
Jinnah continued to work closely with political leaders of all
persuasions and was regarded by the British as one of their most
formidable opponents. Noorani argues that only in 1937, following the
conflict over the formation of the provincial ministry in the United
Provinces, did Jinnah abandon his hopes of working jointly with
Congress to achieve independence. Noorani is firmly of the view that
Jinnah wanted a loose confederation in which the rights of the Muslim
population were fully guaranteed rather than the separate state of
Pakistan as it eventually emerged in 1947. He discusses Jinnah's
tactics during the crucial months in 1946 when the Cabinet Mission
Plan was on the table, and argues that the Plan offered a viable
possibility of avoiding Partition. In his opinion, the blame for its
failure rests squarely with Congress and with Gandhi in particular,
although trust and imagination were in short supply on all sides. The
book includes three additional essays by the author, on respectively
why the Suhrawardy-Bose plan for a united Bengal failed, the failure
to provide effective safeguards for minorities in the partition
scheme, and the Haroon report of 1940, together with the text of some
key documents.

Table of contents

CONTENTS LIST;

PREFACE;

1. A Forgotten Comradeship;

2. After Tilak: Jinnah and Gandhi's Congress;

3. The Widening Divide;

4. Wrecking India's Unity;

5. The Gandhi-Cripps Pact;

6. Demise of the Cabinet Mission's Plan;

7. An Embittered Separation;

8. The United Bengal Episode;

9. Assessing Jinnah;

APPENDICES;

1. JINNAH'S DEFENCE OF TILAK: THE COURT PROCEEDINGS;

2. JINNAH'S BATTLES FOR PRESS FREEDOM;

3. THE LUCKNOW PACT, 1916;

4. JINNAH'S 14 POINTS, 1929;

5. JINNAH-RAJENDRA PRASAD PACT, 1934;

6. THE LAHORE RESOLUTION, 1940;

7. STAFFORD CRIPPS' OFFER 1942;

8. THE C.R. FORMULA 1944;

9. JINNAH'S OFFER OF 12 MAY 1946;

10. THE CONGRESS' OFFER OF 12 MAY 1946;

11. THE CABINET MISSION'S PLAN OF 16 MAY 1946;

12. THE MUSLIM LEAGUE WORKING COMMITTEE'S RESOLUTION ON 31 JANUARY
1947 AT KARACHI;

13. THE PARTITION PLAN OF 3 JUNE 1947;

14. JINNAH'S SPEECH TO PAKISTAN'S CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY ON 11 AUGUST
1947;

15. SIR CHIMANLAL SETALVAD'S ARTICLE ENTITLED 'INDIA DIVIDED: WHO IS
TO BLAME FOR PARTITION?' THE TIMES OF INDIA; 15 JUNE 1947;

16. MAULANA HASRAT MOHANI'S POEM ON TILAK; AND (A) URDU ORIGINAL (B)
ENGLISH TRANSLATION;

17. JINNAH AND THE MUSLIMS OF INDIA; 18. THE HAROON REPORT

http://www.newasiabooks.org/publication/jinnah-and-tilak-comrades-freedom-struggle

Key Texts on Social Justice in India
Published by Sage Publicatio...
IndiaSocial issuesLaw & society

Editors: Roohi, Sanam Samaddar, Ranabir
ISBN: 978 81 321 0064 5
Format: Hardback
Pages: 1116
List price(s): 150.00 GBP
Publication date: 30 May 2009

Short description

A compendium of key texts on social justice. It brings out the
relational nature of justice as well as the fragmented nature of its
existence. It explores how law fares in delivering justice, how
violence becomes an essential part of the popular notion of justice
and how the dynamics of justice is linked with the emergence of
marginal situations.

Full description

Volume I: Social Justice and Enlightenment: West Bengal is edited by
Pradip Kumar Bose, Professor of Sociology, Centre for Studies in
Social Sciences, Calcutta, Kolkata and Samir Kumar Das, Professor of
Political Science, Calcutta University, Kolkata. This first volume of
the series The State of Justice in India: Issues of Social Justice is
a collection of writings on the state of social justice in the present-
day West Bengal. It studies the strong disjunction between the notion
of enlightened politics, on which the constitutional Left in West
Bengal has thrived for several decades, and social justice. The
articles probe the question: is there a necessary connection between
the politics of communism and attainment of social justice? Social
Justice and Enlightenment: West Bengal is based on ethnographic
studies which suggest that while there is a general regime of justice
in West Bengal, the rule of law as the main mechanism of justice makes
little sense in the presence of specific local judicial practices. It
questions why the archaic rule of law still remains fundamental in the
state governance and concludes that the West Bengal experience
demonstrates that while democracy may widen through the mass entry of
workers, peasants and the rural and urban poor, and though this may
facilitate long-denied political justice for them, this does not
ensure social justice per se. Volume II: Justice and Law: The Limits
of the Deliverables of Law is edited by Ashok Agrwaal, Lawyer,
researcher and civil rights activist and Bharat Bhushan, Editor of the
Daily Mail Newspaper . This second volume of the series The State of
Justice in India: Issues of Social Justice brings together the tension
that brews between law and justice in India. It begins with how our
legislators had engaged in the discourse on justice at the time of the
making of the constitution. The articles highlight the way law has
created dichotomies in its attempt to be the guardian for justice. The
authors have coined the idea of 'justice gap', which unveils the gap
between the claims for justice and governmental regime of justice.
Justice and Law: The Limits of the Deliverables of Law also deals
extensively with the issue of reservation. It has one article
documenting the history of reservations in India, in the background of
political contentions, elections, and judicial activism. The other
article traces how the 'policy game' goes on in the language of courts
and law. Both the articles indicate how the issue of justice is
closely linked to the issue of expansion of democracy. Another article
measures the success of the legal system in providing justice to those
in the margins. This one-of-its-kind book will be an invaluable
resource for academics and researchers studying sociology, law, social
justice, political theory and Indian democracy. It will also be useful
for human rights activists, policy makers, policy analysts and NGOs.
Volume III: Marginalities and Justice is edited by Paula Banerjee,
Head of the Department of South and South East Asian Studies,
University of Calcutta, Kolkata and Mahanirban Calcutta Research
Group, Kolkata and Sanjay Chaturvedi, Professor of Political Science
at the Centre for the Study of Geopolitics and Honorary Director,
Centre for the Study of Mid-West and Central Asia, Panjab University,
Chandigarh. This third volume of the series The State of Justice in
India: Issues of Social Justice shows how marginalities in social
spaces marked by power raise the issue of justice. It deals with the
situation of people living in the margins of the society and their
relationship with communities that enjoy enough material well being to
secure their rights. It reveals how effective governance
unintentionally uses strategies of inclusion, exclusion, differential
exclusion, and, most importantly, techniques of turning spaces into
'marginal enclaves', giving rise to injustice, and thereby, the demand
for justice. Marginalities and Justice demonstrates that justice may
emanate from the dynamics of marginality. The same governmental
techniques that to some extent address issues of social justice, may
produce marginal positions too. Thus, this collection suggests the
existence of a remainder; it demonstrates what remains outside the
operations of governmentality and explores the arrangement of social
spaces. Volume IV: Key Texts on Social Justice in India is edited by
Sanam Roohi, Programme Associate, Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group,
Kolkata and Ranabir Samaddar, Director, Mahanirban Calcutta Research
Group, Kolkata. This fourth volume of the series The State of Justice
in India: Issues of Social Justice is a compendium of key texts on
social justice. It brings out the relational nature of justice as well
as the fragmented nature of its existence. Key Texts on Social Justice
in India explores how law fares in delivering justice, how violence
becomes an essential part of the popular notion of justice and how the
dynamics of justice is linked with the emergence of marginal
situations. Each article is, on one hand, an appeal for justice, and,
on the other, a manifesto that state actions fall short of ensuring
justice. This compilation is meant for the students and researchers
working in the fields of justice, sociology and law. It will serve as
supplementary text in law as well as a source book that gives a
comprehensive analysis of justice in the Indian scenario.

Table of contents

VOLUME I: SOCIAL JUSTICE AND ENLIGHTENMENT:

WEST BENGAL - Pradip Kumar Bose and Samir Kumar Das

Series Acknowledgement -

Ranabir Samaddar Series Introduction -

Ranabir Samaddar Introduction -

Pradip Kumar Bose and Samir Kumar Das Land Acquisition Act and Social
Justice: A Study on Development and Displacement -

Ratan Khasnabis Two Leaves and a Bud: Tea and Social Justice in
Darjeeling -

Roshan Rai and Subhas Ranjan Chakrabarty Deprivation and Social
Injustice in a Rural Context: An Ethnographic Account -

Kumar Rana with Amrit Paira and Ila Paira On the Wrong Side of the
Fence: Embankment, People and Social Justice in the Sundarbans -

Amites Mukhopadhyay Prescribed, Tolerated, & Forbidden Forms of Claim
Making -

Ranabir Samaddar

VOLUME II: JUSTICE AND LAW: THE LIMITS OF THE DELIVERABLES OF LAW -

Ashok Agrwaal and Bharat Bhushan Series Acknowledgement -

Ranabir Samaddar Series Introduction -

Ranabir Samaddar Introduction -

Ashok Agrwaal and Bharat Bhushan Justice in the Time of Transition:
Select Indian Experiences -

Sabyasachi Basu and Ray Chaudhury The Founding Moment: Social Justice
in the Constitutional Mirror -

Samir Kumar Das Indexing Social Justice in India-A Story of
Commissions, Reports and Popular Responses -

Bharat Bhushan Trivializing Justice: Reservation Under Rule of Law -

Ashok Agrawaal The Fallacy of Equality: 'Anti-Citizens', Sexual
Justice and the Law in India -

Oishik Sircar

VOLUME III: MARGINALITIES AND JUSTICE -

Paula Banerjee and Sanjay Chaturvedi Series Acknowledgement -

Ranabir Samaddar Series Introduction -

Ranabir Samaddar Introduction -

Paula Banertjee and Sanjay Chaturvedi Gulamiya Ab Hum Nahi Bajeibo:
Peoples' Expressions for Justice in Jehanabad -

Manish K Jha Ethnography of Social Justice in Dalit Pattis (Hamlets)
of Rural UP -

Badri Narayan Tiwari Rights and Social Justice for Tribal Population
in India -

Amit Prakash AIDS, Marginality and Women -

Paula Banerjee Towards Environmental Justice Movement in India?
Spatiality, Hierarchies and Inequalities -

Sanjay Chaturvedi

VOLUME IV: KEY TEXTS ON SOCIAL JUSTICE IN INDIA -

Sanam Roohi and Ranabir Samaddar Series Acknowledgement -

Ranabir Samaddar Series Introduction -

Ranabir Samaddar

PART I. DEVELOPMENT AND DISCONTENT: THE QUESTION OF INJUSTICE

Section Introduction Ethnic Politics and Land Use: Genesis of
Conflicts in India's North-East -

Sanjay Barbora Contexts and Constructions of Water Scarcity -

Lyla Mehta Karnataka: Kudremukh: Of Mining and Environment -

Muzaffar Assadi Report of Investigation into Nandigram Mass Killing -

Sanhati Eroded Lives: Riverbank Erosion and Displacement of Women in
West Bengal -

Krishna Bandyopadhyay, Soma Ghosh and Nilanjan Dutta

PART II. SOCIAL JUSTICE: THE STATE AND ITS PERCEPTIONS Section
introduction The Communal Violence (Prevention, Control and
Rehabilitation of Victims) -

Bill

The National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy,
Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999

The Right to Information Act, 2005

The National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005

PART III. JUSTICE: LAW AND BEYOND

Section Introduction

Illegality and Exclusion: Law in the Lives of Slum Dwellers -

Usha Ramanathan Illegal Coal Mining in Eastern India: Rethinking
Legitimacy and Limits of Justice -

Kuntala Lahiri Dutt Verdict on an HIV case, Supreme Court of India
Reproduced in Medhina -

Laya, Dipika Jain and Colin Gonzalves An Indian Charter for Minority
Rights -

Sabyasachi Basu and Ray Chaudhury

PART IV. WOMEN AND MARGINALITY: An Issue of Gender Justice Section
Introduction Gender: Women and HIV -

Medhini, Laya, Dipika Jain and Colin Gonzalves National Policy for the
Empowerment of Women (2001)

Women, Trafficking and Statelessness in South Asia - Paula Banerjee

PART V. JUSTICE: Marginal Positions and Alternative Notions Section
Introduction Voices From Folk School of Dalit Bahujan & Marginalised
to Policy Makers -

Peoples Vigilance Committee on Human Rights Social Assessment of HIV/
AIDS among Tribal People in India - NACP III Planning Team Caste is
Dead, Long Live Caste -

G P Deshpande Tehelka Debate: Beyond Caste -

Puroshottam Agarwal Report from the Flaming Fields of Bihar

PART VI. FREEDOM AND EQUALITY, RIGHTS AND SOCIAL SECURITY: BUILDING
BLOCKS OF JUSTICE

Section Introduction Jungle Book: Tribal Forest Rights Recognised For
First Time -

Nandini Sundar Informal Sector in India: Approaches for Social
Security Arguments, Protests, Strikes and Free Speech: The Career and
Prospects of the Right to Strike in India -

Rajeev Dhavan Democracy and Right to Food -

Jean Dreze

http://www.newasiabooks.org/publication/key-texts-social-justice-india

Social Justice: Sunset or Dawn
Published by Eastern Book Co...

Author: Iyer, V.R.Krishna
ISBN: 978 81 7012 144 2
Format: Hardback
Pages: 176
List price(s): 12.00 GBP
Publication date: 23 July 2008

Short description

Contains lectures that make an impassioned plea for social justice for
India's poor millions who the author says have been denied social
justice by the three great wings of the government the Executive, the
Judiciary and the Parliament.

Full description

Justice Krishna Iyer is a great proponent of social justice. In these
lectures he makes an impassioned plea for social justice for India's
poor millions who he says have been denied social justice by the three
great wings of the government the Executive, the Judiciary and the
Parliament. A prolific writer, Justice Krishna Iyer is known for his
hard hitting but eloquent lectures and writings. First published under
the title, Some Half Hidden Aspects of Indian Social Justice , the
book was sold out within a very short period of time. It has now been
enlarged and two new chapters have been added. The Bhopal Gas Tragedy
case has been given wide treatment, as also other current issues.

http://www.newasiabooks.org/publication/social-justice-sunset-or-dawn

Politics of Social Exclusion in India, The
Published by Routledge

Editors: Bhattacharyya, Harihar Sarkar, Partha Kar,
Angshuman
ISBN: 978 0 415 55357 5
Format: Hardback
Pages: 208
List price(s): 80.00 GBP 130.00 USD
Publication date: 7 December 2009

Short description

Social exclusion and inclusion are issues of fundamental importance to
democracy. Using an interdisciplinary approach, this book examines at
the multidimensional problems of social exclusion and inclusion, and
the long-term issues facing contemporary Indian democracy.

Table of contents

Introduction - Harihar Bhattacharyya, Partha Sarkar, and Angshuman
Kar

1. Some Theoretical Issues Concerning Social Exclusion and Inclusion
in India - Sobhanlal Datta Gupta

2. Social Exclusion and the Strategy of Empowerment - T. K. Oommen

3. Identity Politics and Social Exclusion in India's North-East: The
Case for Redistributive Justice - N. K. Das

4. Inclusion in Nationhood: Bhudev Mukhopadhyay's Concept of
Jatiyabhav - Harihar Bhattacharyya

5. Rabindra Nath Tagore's Concept of Social Exclusion and Inclusion in
India: A Nation without Nationalism - Jyotirmay Bhattacharyya

6. Identity and Social Exclusion-Inclusion: A Muslim Perspective -
Asghar Ali Engineer

7. Inclusive and Exclusive Development in India in the Post-Reform Era
- Provat Kuri

8. Social Exclusion in India: Evidences from the Wage Labour Market -
Rajarshi Majumdar

9. Polavaram Dam Project: A Case Study of Displacement of Marginalized
People - Sudipti Banerjea

10. Purity as Exclusion, Caste as Division: The Ongoing Battle for
Equality - Jasbir Jain

11. Narrating Gender and Power: Literary and Cultural Texts and
Contexts - Sanjukta Das Gupta

12. The Fire and the Rain: A Study in Myths of Power - Anima Biswas

13. Conclusion: Democracy at the Crossroads - Harihar Bhattacharyya,
Partha Sarkar, and Angshuman Kar List of Contributors

Biography

University of Burdwan, India

http://www.newasiabooks.org/publication/politics-social-exclusion-india

Social Movements I: Issues of Identity
Published by Oxford Universi...

Editor: Oommen
ISBN: 978 0 19 806327 8
Format: Hardback
Pages: 272
List price(s): 24.99 GBP
Publication date: 31 January 2010

Short description

This volume brings together a selection of readings on movements
related to religion and caste, as well as regionalism, and linguistic
and tribal movements in India, examining them with respect to the
construction and perception of identity.

Full description

In the ongoing process of social transformation, new identities are
often constructed, while existing identities may mutate or transform,
and some might even be rendered obsolete. Social Movements I: Issues
of Identity, part of the Oxford in India Readings in Sociology and
Social Anthropology (OIRSSA) series, examines the phenomenon of social
movements in India with respect to the construction and perception of
identity. It brings together a selection of readings on movements
related to religion and caste, as well as regionalism, and linguistic
and tribal movements in India. It specifically addresses (a) the
abbreviation and even abrogation of identities versus elaboration of
identities; (b) the tensions between group identity and individual
equality believed to be pulling in opposite directions; (c) identity
as the basis of inclusion and exclusion of citizens in the
participatory processes in the polity and economy; and (d) perceiving
identity of minorities as a source of threat for the nation and the
state by the dominant majority, as against invoking identity as the
route to justice by the weak/dominated minorities. These issues are
relevant in situating identitarian movements in the wider context.
This reader will be useful for students and scholars of sociology,
anthropology, social history, Indian politics, and those studying
Indian society and social movements in particular.

Table of contents

PREFACE, ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS;

GENERAL INTRODUCTION: ON THE ANALYSIS OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS (T.K.
OOMMEN);

SECTION I - RELIGIOUS AND CASTE MOVEMENTS;

INTRODUCTION TO SECTION I;;

1. Socio-religious Movements of the Twentieth Century (Kenneth W.
Jones);;

2. Ethno-religious Mobilization and the Politics of Secularism
(Christophe Jaffrelot);;

3. Caste and Conversion Movements (Walter Fernandes);;

4. Different Shades of Dalit Mobilization (Vivek Kumar);;

5. The Tabhlighi Jama'at: The Making of a Transnational Religious
Movement (Shail Mayaram);;

SECTION II - REGIONAL, LINGUISTIC AND TRIBAL MOVEMENTS;

INTRODUCTION TO SECTION II;;

6. Foundations of the Dravidian Movement (Robert L. Hardgrave);;

7. The Shiv Sena Movement (Dipankar Gupta);;

8. The Assam Movement (Sanjib Baruah);;

9. Tribal Solidarity Movements in India (Surajit Sinha);;

10. Christian Conversion Movements in the North East (Frederick S.
Downs); Notes on Contributors

http://www.newasiabooks.org/publication/social-movements-i-issues-identity

Social Movements II: Concerns of Equity and Security
Published by Oxford Universi...

Editor: Oommen
ISBN: 978 0 19 806328 5
Format: Hardback
Pages: 376
List price(s): 26.99 GBP
Publication date: 31 January 2010

Short description

This reader brings together a selection of writings on peasant and
labour movements; women and students youth movements; and ecological
and environmental movements. It discusses contemporary social
movements in India from the perspective of equity and security.

Full description

Inequity manifests in different forms in different contexts - it could
based on income disparity, gender, and class, and impact different
aspects of society. Social Movements II: Concerns of Equity and
Security, part of the Oxford in India Readings in Sociology and Social
Anthropology (OIRSSA) series, examines the phenomenon of social
movements in India with respect to the concerns of equity and security
as two forces behind contemporary social movements. The issue of
equity is concerned not only with income and class but is also related
to ideas of development and distributive justice for peasantry and
labour. It is also the focus of groups such as women and the youth,
which occasion protests and mobilizations. Moreover, in the current
scenario, booming economies, soaring populations, and choices of
development strategies have a bearing on the rise of social movements
related to ecology and the environment. This reader brings together a
selection of essays that explore the various dimensions of equity, and
also covers issues of environmental and ecological security. These are
imperative in situating related social movements in the wider context.
This reader will be useful for students and scholars of sociology,
anthropology, social history, Indian politics, and those studying
Indian society and social movements in particular.

Table of contents

PREFACE; ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS; GENERAL INTRODUCTION: ON THE ANALYSIS OF
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS (T.K. OOMMEN);

SECTION I - PEASANT AND LABOUR MOVEMENTS;

INTRODUCTION TO SECTION I;;

1. Indian Peasant Uprisings (Kathleen Gough);;

2. Naxalbari Peasant Movement (Partha N. Mukherji);;

3. The Bhoodan Gramdaan Movement (T.K. Oommen);;

4. . The new Farmer's Movement in Maharashtra (D.N. Dhanagare);;

5, The Indian Labour Movement: Growth and Character (S.M. Pandey);;

6, Changing Industrial Relations: India, 1950-2000 (Debashish
Bhattacharjee);;

7. Labour Activism and Women in the Unorganised Sector (Supriya Roy
Chowdhury);;

SECTION II - WOMEN AND STUDENTS YOUTH MOVEMENTS;

INTRODUCTION TO SECTION II; ;

8. Changing Terms of Political Discourse: Women's Movement in India,
1970s-1990s (Indu Agnihotri and Vina Mazumdar);;

9. The Anti-dowry Movement in Delhi (Rajni Palriwala);;

10. The Self-Employed Women's Association (Martha A. Chen);;

11. The Transformation of the Indian Students' Movement (Philip G.
Altbach);;

12, Student Power: Mobilization and Protest (T.K. Oommen);

Section III - Ecological and Environmental Movements;

Introduction to Section III;;

13. Ecology Movements in India (Vandana Shiva);;

14. . Parks, People and Protest: The Mediating Role of Environmental
Action Groups (Ranjit Dwivedi);;

15. . Protest against Displacement by Development Projects (T.K.
Oommen);

Notes on Contributors;

Index

http://www.newasiabooks.org/publication/social-movements-ii-concerns-equity-and-security

Sovereignty and Social Reform in India: British Colonialism and the
Campaign Against Sati

Published by Routledge

Author: Major, Andrea
ISBN: 978 0 415 58050 2
Format: Hardback
Pages: 192
List price(s): 75.00 GBP 125.00 USD
Publication date: 30 June 2010

Short description

Offers an important reinterpretation of major themes of sovereignty,
authority and social reform in colonial South Asian history. Focusing
on the British prohibition of sati in 1829, this book shows how the
debates that preceded this legislation have been instrumental in
setting the terms of post-colonial debates about sati.

Full description

This book offers an important reinterpretation of major themes of
sovereignty, authority and social reform in colonial South Asian
history. Focusing on the British prohibition of sati in 1829, the
author shows how the debates that preceded this legislation have been
instrumental in setting the terms of post-colonial debates about sati,
as well as of defining the terms and parameters of British involvement
in Indian social and religious issues more generally.

Table of contents

1. Introduction 2. Princes, Politics and Pragmatism: British Policy on
Sati in the Indian States 1830-1860 3. Prohibition, Prevention and
Prosecution: The Practicalities of Suppressing Sati 4. Romance, Race
and Rule: Imagining Sati in Rajput Society 5. Victimhood and Volition:
British Encounters with the Satimata 6. Conclusion

Biography

Andrea Major is Lecturer in Wider World History at the University of
Leeds. Her research interests relate to the nature of the colonial
encounter between Britain and India, and in particular their
interaction on social and gender issues.

http://www.newasiabooks.org/publication/sovereignty-and-social-reform-india-british-colonialism-and-campaign-against-sati

...and I am Sid Harth
chhotemianinshallah
2010-03-07 15:37:41 UTC
Hindu Rulers, Muslim Subjects:
Islam, Rights, and the History of Kashmir
Mridu Rai

Paper | 2004 | $28.95
320 pp. | 5 x 8

Paper $20.00

Full Text of this book, thanks to the Google.
http://books.google.com/books/princeton?hl=en&q=Hindu+Rulers%2C+Muslim+Subjects%3A&vid=ISBN9780691116884&btnG.x=15&btnG.y=10#v=snippet&q=Hindu%20Rulers%2C%20Muslim%20Subjects%3A&f=false


Disputed between India and Pakistan, Kashmir contains a large majority
of Muslims subject to the laws of a predominantly Hindu and
increasingly "Hinduized" India. How did religion and politics become
so enmeshed in defining the protest of Kashmir's Muslims against Hindu
rule? This book reaches beyond standard accounts that look to the 1947
partition of India for an explanation. Examining the 100-year period
before that landmark event, during which Kashmir was ruled by Hindu
Dogra kings under the aegis of the British, Mridu Rai highlights the
collusion that shaped a decisively Hindu sovereignty over a subject
Muslim populace. Focusing on authority, sovereignty, legitimacy, and
community rights, she explains how Kashmir's modern Muslim identity
emerged.

Rai shows how the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was formed as
the East India Company marched into India beginning in the late
eighteenth century. After the 1857 rebellion, outright annexation was
abandoned as the British Crown took over and princes were incorporated
into the imperial framework as junior partners. But, Rai argues,
scholarship on other regions of India has led to misconceptions about
colonialism, not least that a "hollowing of the crown" occurred
throughout as Brahman came to dominate over King. In Kashmir the Dogra
kings maintained firm control. They rode roughshod over the interests
of the vast majority of their Kashmiri Muslim subjects, planting the
seeds of a political movement that remains in thrall to a religiosity
thrust upon it for the past 150 years.

Review:

"Rai's contribution lies in the extremely thorough and painstaking
documentation that she provides when tracing the marginalization of
the native inhabitants of Kahmir, the chicanery of the British, and
the fecklessness of the Dogra rulers. Her account of the growth of
Muslim religio-political consciousness in the early part of the
twentieth century . . . unearths a wealth of detail. . . . Rai's book
is a useful one. Those interested in understanding the background of
the continuing tragedy in Kahmir will find much to consider in her
substantial account of the historical backdrop."--Sumit Ganguly,
Journal of Asian Studies

Endorsements:

"Hindu Rulers, Muslim Subjects is a brilliant work of historical
scholarship that will become indispensable reading for all those
interested in the modern history and politics of the subcontinent. It
a pioneering historical study of rights, religion, and regional
identity in Kashmir that could also inspire future studies on other
regions of the subcontinent."--Sugata Bose, Harvard University

"This is a major contribution to Kashmir studies and should set the
standard for the next generation of publications on Kashmir.
Challenging the existing literature, this work is heady and fresh--and
deserves attention."--Alexander Evans, King's College London and the
Royal Institute of International Affairs

"Mridu Rai's book reminds us powerfully of the crucial importance of
colonial history to the present. She is able to de-essentialize
religion and secularism in the Kashmir conflict, which is very useful
in light of India's secularist claims and the ways in which some
sociologists have theorized those claims. Carefully researched and
lucidly conceptualized and written, this book forwards an important
thesis on an important topic."--Peter van der Veer, University of
Amsterdam

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgements x
Abbreviations xii
Introduction 1

CHAPTER 1: Territorializing Sovereignity: The Dilemmas of Control and
Collaboration 18

CHAPTER 2: The Consolidation of Dogra Legitimacy in Kashmir: Hindu
Rulers and a Hindu State 80

CHAPTER 3: The Obligations of Rulers and the Rights of Subjects 128

CHAPTER 4: Contested Sites: Religious Shrines and the Archaeological
Mapping of Kashmiri Muslim Protest 183

CHAPTER 5: Political Mobilization in Kashmir: Religious and Regional
Identities 224
Conclusion 288

Glossary 298
Bibliography 305
Index 319

Book Review

Mridu Rai. Hindu Rulers, Muslim Subjects: Islam, Rights, and the
History of Kashmir. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 2004. Pp.
xi, 335. Cloth $65.00, paper $22.50.

Chitralekha Zutshi. Languages of Belonging: Islam, Regional Identity,
and the Making of Kashmir. New York: Oxford University Press. 2004.
Pp. xvi, 359. $35.00.

Ever since the India-Pakistan near war of 2001–2002, we have been
subject to an incessant flow of words on the Kashmir conflict. Sadly,
this deluge has done little to enhance our knowledge of the subject.
Bar changing the odd adjectives, adding a little detail, or inserting
the views of the proverbial man on the street, little has been added
to Sumit Ganguly's Crisis in Kashmir: Portents of War, Prospects of
Peace (1997) or Victoria Schofield's Kashmir in Conflict: India,
Pakistan, and the Unending War (2000). Two new histories have been
widely applauded for constituting a happy break with this dismal
tradition. Little attention has been paid, however, to the
considerable theoretical and empirical problems presented by Mridu
Rai's and Chitralekha Zutshi's books. 1
Both Rai and Zutshi deal with a critical period in the history
of Jammu and Kashmir: the century of Dogra monarchical rule that
preceded the independence of India and Pakistan, and the division of
the state between the two powers in the course of the war of 1947. It
was in this period that the welter of territories that constitute
modern Kashmir were welded together under a single power, a
consequence of Britain's handing over of the region to Maharaja Gulab
Singh, a prince who sided with the empire's war of conquest against
the Sikh kingdom of Lahore. Like the other semi-independent states of
princely India, Kashmir witnessed a constant struggle for influence
between the monarchy and the imperial government. It was to become the
site of a number of other contestations: of monarch against democrat;
of empire against nationalist; of Hindu against Muslim; of peasant
against landlord. 2
Rai sees this century as one in which a "Hindu State" was
formed, the consequence of the Dogra monarchy's search for legitimacy.
Lacking any real basis for its sovereignty over the peoples whose
destinies it now controlled, it responded by inventing a history in
which the Dogra dynasty represented both the Hindu faith and Rajput
martial tradition. Rai maps this process by carefully documenting the
Dogra monarchy's growing control of Hindu religious practice in
Kashmir, notably through state-controlled trusts. Since the state was
Hindu in character, Rai concludes, "religion and politics became
inextricably intertwined in defining and expressing the protest of
Kashmiri Muslims against their rulers" (pp. 16–17). 3
Zutshi arrives at similar conclusions, but with considerably
more attention to nuance and detail. Her study of the workings of
Dogra rule suggests the need for a careful examination of what, if
any, meaning the notion of a "Hindu state" may have actually had to
contemporaries. There was, Zutshi's narrative suggests, no unilinear
project of Hinduization under the Dogras; rather, there were complex
and fluid processes of collaboration and conflict among various
categories of elites, both Hindu and Muslim. Kashmir's small Brahmin
community, the Pandits, whom Rai sees as key collaborators of the
Dogra project, emerge at least one point in Zutshi's book as its most
bitter opponents. Notions of a homogeneous Kashmiri Muslim identity,
Zutshi's analysis suggests, need to be tempered by an understanding of
the working of caste, class, and ideology.

http://www.historycooperative.org/cgi-bin/justtop.cgi?act=justtop&url=http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/ahr/110.3/br_31.html

Customer Review

The Challenging Natures of Kashmir, May 25, 2007
By T. Dodge

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)

"Hindu Rulers, Muslim Subjects" covers the macro historical, social,
religious, and political highlights in Kashmir from about 1840 to
1950. It is a fascinating view into a world far distant but fearfully
close as two modern nuclear armed adversaries seek domination over the
mystical lands of Kashmir. This is a book of essential preliminary
understandings to the current situation in the region and of the
volumes I have encountered is the best. I hope the author contemplates
another book dealing with the post 1947 era. For those seeking recent
political happenings, I suggest "Kashmir" by Sumantra Bose.

http://www.amazon.com/review/R1TLIUMBUTBR1D

Hindu Rulers, Muslim Subjects: Islam, Rights, and the History of
Kashmir
by Mridu Rai

maryum's review

excellent book!!! really worthwhile reading and very meticulous
research on the impact of colonialism on kashmir. one of the few books
that looks at the kashmiri conflict from the perspective of the
kashmiris and not as a pawn in an india-pakistan chess match.

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/370620

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Mainstream Weekly

Mainstream, Vol XLV, No 38

Book Review: ’The Hindu-Muslim Divide : A Fresh Look by Amrik Singh’
Sunday 9 September 2007

[(BOOK REVIEW)]

The Hindu-Muslim Divide : A Fresh Look by Amrik Singh; Vitasta
Publishing Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi; 2007; pp. XIV+238; Rs 345.

It is ironic that around the time we are celebrating 60 years of
India’s independence, the subject under discussion here is the Hindu-
Muslim divide, instead of it being harmony between members of
different communities in our free country. But one has to face the
facts and hence this discourse.

The author of the book under review, Dr Amrik Singh, starts it with a
painful note: “As generally recognised, the Hindu-Muslim divide has
existed in India for about thousand years. The partition of India into
India and Pakistan in 1947 was the latest instalment in this
longstanding dispute.” (p. 3) But soon he sounds a note of optimism:
“But one thing is clear that, despite signals to the contrary, the two
warring communities are nearer an understanding with each other than
ever before.” No convincing reason is provided for the optimistic
note, and the author goes further and adds that the situation is
likely to change in about half a century or more (what a satisfying
thought!), even though it is stated: “In these matters, no one can be
precise.”

It is not very easy to agree with the author’s assertion about the
thousand year old Hindu-Muslim divide. For, India is known for its
composite culture, and quite a good part of the last thousand years
have been known to be marked by considerable harmony with some
aberrations. But aberrations are at times unavoidable and even the
intra-community conflicts and divisive trends have been there in the
concerned groups. When the Pakistani leader, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,
during the more fanatic phase of his political life (something the
author makes a reference to) had talked about a thousand year war, his
bravado had the future in mind.

One would, in fact, like to go back to much older times, than the last
thousand years. It may be pointed out that composite culture had been
the feature of India even before the beginning of the first century
AD. The contributing influences all these years had been the teachings
of Gautam Buddha, the Vedic and Vedantic ideals of tolerance and
spiritual values, the disarming qualities of the Sufi value and the
noble sentiments of the Bhakti movement, and, more recently, the
thoughts of personalities like Swami Vivekananda, Maulana Azad, Altaf
Husain Hali and those believing in secular ideals among other factors.

While the commingling of Sufi and Bhakti ideals is an extremely
cherished heritage of the past, the state of confrontation, in recent
times, one has to admit, between the campaign of Tableegh and Shuddhi
(mentioned by the author while stating the effort of Hinduism for
‘semitisation’) (p. 132) is a tragic episode in our saga of composite
culture : like a bad dream one would perhaps like to forget.

EVEN without agreeing fully with the basic statement of the author
with regard to a thousand year old divide one would like to praise him
for covering the subject of Hindu-Muslim divide in a very
comprehensive manner particularly in the recent past. Dr Amrik Singh
has covered the entire ground by recounting how the spirit of mutual
understanding and conciliation gave way to conflict between the
Muslims and Hindus. Much discussion is available about the factors
responsible for this conflict leading to the partition of the country
along with its independence, the roles of leaders of the two
communities during those traumatic years and, indeed, the shape this
conflict has taken in today’s India.

The book is in the form of notes on different subjects relevant to its
theme, probably written at different points of time. But it contains a
wealth of information on the nature and cause of the divide—the
machinations of the British rulers, the folly of partition, the
practice of separate electorates, and even the complexities of adult
franchise and a joint electorate, the polarisation between the two
communities, the present concept of Hindutva and many other factors
that the author has painstakingly gone into. The author has laid great
emphasis on the need for pluralism and for a policy “in the direction
of reducing the Hindu-Muslim divide and work towards what has been
described as pluralism,” as he puts it.

Dr Amrik Singh has given some very perceptive opinions of acknowledged
experts on Hinduism and Islam, some approvingly while others with his
note of critique. Consider the quote from the eminent historian, Prof.
M. Habib (whom he describes as the “tallest historian of medieval
India”):

A Hindu feels it is his duty to dislike those whom he has been taught
to consider the enemies of his religion and his ancestors; the Muslim,
lured into the false belief that he was once a member of a ruling
race, feels insufferably wronged by being relegated to the status of a
minority community. Fools both! Even if the Muslims eight centuries
ago were as bad as they were painted, would there be any sense in
holding the present generation responsible for their deeds? It is but
an imaginative tie that joins the modern Hindu with Harshvardhana or
Asoka, or the modern Muslim with Shahabuddin or Mahmud.

“That these words were written several years after the partition makes
them even more relevant than they would have been otherwise,” says Dr
Amrik Singh and every rightly. (p. 200) Members of both the
communities can gain from introspecting in the light of the late
historians’ observation.

At another place, the author quotes Girilal Jain who, according to
him, “apart from being a leading journalist, was a keen student of
Hinduism”: Unlike the Muslims, the Hindus do not possess a vision of
the future, which is rooted in the past for a variety of reasons, one
of them being that, unlike the Muslims, they have not been able to
invent a golden age which can be located in any kind of history and
that they cannot invent one. While, they would, if challenged, vaguely
own up all Indian history up to the beginning of the Muslim invasions
of north India in the 11th century, they do not identify themselves
with any particular period. Indeed, they have little sense of history.
So how can they have a golden age and how can a people without such a
sense engage in revivalism? What can they seek to revive? Hinduism is
an arbitrary imposition on a highly variegated civilisation, which is
truly oceanic in its range. Such a civilisation cannot be enclosed in
a narrow doctrine. It cannot have a central doctrine because in its
majestic sweep it takes up all that comes its way and adapts it to its
over-widening purpose, rejecting finally what is wholly alien and
cannot be accommodated at all. Attempts have been made to build
embankments around this ocean-like reality to give it a shape and
definition. But these have not succeeded. The spirit of India has
refused to be contained. To put it differently, Hinduism has refused
to be organised. By the same token, it has refused to be communalised.
(p. 135)

Amrik Singh reacts to Jain’s stipulations: “While it is true that
Hinduism has refused to be organised and it has refused to be
communalised, how is it that today we witness what Nehru once
described as ‘non-Muslim aggression among Muslims’?” The author says
that this phrase of Nehru occurs in one of his letters addressed to
the Chief Ministers after the police action in Hyderabad.

IN the context of the Hindutva philosophy, it would be relevant to
consider the following quote from the late K.R. Malkani who became
known as the Editor of the RSS mouthpiece, Organiser, and an ideologue
of the Bharatiya Janata Party:

The Muslim Indian should realise that Hinduism is not a religion, but
a culture. That he is Muslim by religion but Hindu by culture. Let
Indonesia with its Muslim religion and native Hindu culture be the
model for the Muslim in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. (p. 138)

Malkani’s prescription is not possible, says Amrik Singh, either in
terms of physical or political considerations or in terms of their
historical evolution. “While Hinduism has a hoary tradition behind it,
the pre-Islamic traditions in Indonesia are not even clearly defined.”

Incidentally, at the time of writing this review a mammoth gathering
of Muslim men and women with hijab (about 100,000) including scholars
and religious leaders from different parts of the world, is
deliberating in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, in search of ways to
establish a single Muslim government in the Islamic world (on the
ideals of Khilafat-e-Islamia) largely at the initiative of a group of
Indonesian Muslims. But that is another story that needs to be
considered in its own context.

The author feels that the effort to remove the present divide has
largely to be on the part of the Congress party. The removal of the
divide is linked with economic and political development of the
country. He says, “The Congress—currently in power—owes it to the
Muslims to bring them at par with others and thereafter involve them
in the process of development, both economic and political. The
Congress also has the further obligation to help the Muslims to draw
abreast of others socially.” (p. 191)

The author says that in seeking to separate from India, they (the
Muslims) followed a path which culminated in the partition of India in
1947. In the ultimate analysis that was a mistake, which Jinnah and
those who followed him had made. “Since the kind of Islamic future
that the Muslims of the subcontinent had aspired for themselves is
running into problem, sooner or later the thinking of the Muslim world
will make them learn from experience and come to terms with the
changed reality. But when? It is difficult to answer this question,”
the author says.

The author is of the view that the solution to the Hindu-Muslim divide
is linked, to a great extent, with the normalisation of relations
between India and Pakistan. The problem in India cannot be isolated
from the problem in Pakistan. The triumph of fundamentalism will be
bad for Indian Muslims as well. An end to confrontation would help
remove the divide in India, he says.

What, according to the author, is the prospect of the Hindu-Muslim
divide disappearing?—one may ask. He talks very enthusiastically of an
Indian version of globalisation. This globalisation is the result of a
“new mix of policies”, that are going to help all Indians including
Muslims.

He states: What has made it easier for India to adjust to the changing
world relatively more easily is partly because Hinduism is more
adjustable to the logic of the contemporary idea of development. If
India succeeds in this experiment, as seems to be happening, the
Indian Muslims too can before long, become a part of this experiment.
Currently, they are somewhat estranged from the mainstream. (p. 225)

Dr Amrik Singh would want the Indian Government to push ahead
vigorously with the spread of education and the Indian Muslims to give
evidence of some “political initiative” and “political maturity”.

According to the author, the confrontation with the United States now
“...is partly coming in the way of the Islamic world breaking with her
past”. If the US were not so confrontationist, he says, things in the
Islamic world would to some extent start changing, “sooner than is
happening at the moment”. According to him, India’s role in this
context is “positive, if not also praiseworthy”. And, India’s version
of globalisation can prompt others, even those in the Islamic world,
to move in that direction.

Dr Amrik Singh feels that if what is stated above happens, the “Hindu-
Muslim divide in India will gradually weaken”. More than that, he
says, this would give rise to “a new era in world history in more than
one sense”. What happens in India, according to him, would be of
considerable historical significance. “Indeed, it can also prove to be
a development of a wider economic and cultural significance.” Amen!

The reviewer, a veteran journalist who worked for several years in
Mainstream, currently edits the periodical Alpjan.

http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article302.html

Mainstream Weekly

Mainstream, Vol XLVI No 28

Day One in Calcutta
Monday 30 June 2008, by From NC’s Writings

Ten years ago, in the afternoon of June 27, 1998, Nikhil Chakravartty
breathed his last. Remembering him after 10 years, we are reproducing
some of his finest reports, editorials and articles that appeared in
this journal and elsewhere over the last sixty years. We are also
reproducing the speech that our former President, K.R. Narayanan,
delivered while unveiling N.C.’s portrait at the Press Council of
India (New Delhi, February 28, 1999), and publishing several
reminiscences by those who knew him intimately.


The following report by Nikhil Chakravartty, the Calcutta
correspondent of People’s Age (published from Bombay), appeared in the
weekly’s August 24, 1947 issue (it was wired from Calcutta on August
17, 1947) under the following headlines : ‘End of a Nightmare and
Birth of New Dawn!’; ‘Calcutta Transformed by Spirit Of Independence’;
‘Hindus, Muslims Hug Each Other In Wild Joy—Tears Roll Down Where
Blood Once Soaked The Streets’.

Frenzy has overtaken Calcutta. It is a frenzy which no city in India
has ever felt through the long years of thraldom under the British.

When the clock struck midnight and Union Jacks were hauled down on
August 15, 1947, the city shook to her very foundations for a mad
frenzy overtook her 40 lakh citizens. Nothing like this has ever
happened before.

I have racked my brains for hours; I have looked up all despatches in
the Press; but still I find no adequate words to communicate the
unforgettable experience that has overwhelmed me in the last three
days. It is like a sudden bursting of a mighty dam: you hear a
deafening roar of water sweeping away everything in the flood. It
comes with a crushing suddenness and strikes with the strength of a
thousand giants.

That is how all of us in Calcutta have felt in the last few days—all
of us, old or young, man or woman, Hindu or Muslim, rich or poor. In
this mighty sweep of the flood none was spared. And the floods carried
off a lot of dirt and stigma of our slavery.

Calcutta is Reborn

ONE hundred and ninety years ago, it was from Calcutta that Clive set
out of conquer this land of ours and it was this city which was the
seat of all his vile intrigues that divided our ranks and brought
about our defeat. But today in the sweeping torrent of freedom all
that has been wiped away, and once again this beloved city of ours
stands out clean and full of radiance with the glow of lasting
brotherhood.

Everybody felt nervous about August 15. Weeks ahead authorities were
on tenterhooks; more police and military were being posted to ensure
peace. Ministers would not permit meetings in the open to celebrate
the transfer of power, afraid that the goondas might create trouble.
East Bengal Hindus were nervous that one little spark in Calcutta
might throw the entire province into the flames of a civil war;
Muslims were panicky that they might be finished off in Calcutta and
many had left the city.

Gandhiji had already moved his camp to one of the most affected areas—
Belliaghata—and cancelling his East Bengal trip, had decided to spend
a few days here with Suhrawardy. But even he was disturbed by rowdy
goondas, backed by communal groups, accusing him of being an enemy of
Hindus. News from the Punjab was bad. On the whole an uncanny fear
gripped everybody and the day of independence seemed like a deadline
for disturbances.

But how wrong were our calculations! With all our pretensions of
knowing our people, with all the prophecies and warnings, bans and
precautions, no one really knew how the people—common men and women
among both Hindus and Muslims—would come forward to celebrate August
15. It was this unknown factor, which in every turn of history is the
determining factor, that has made all the difference in our
calculations and the actual happenings on that day.

People’s preparations for the celebrations of the day went on briskly,
though imperceptibly. The demand for Tri-colours knew no bounds;
whatever be the material, whatever the make, every flag was literally
sold out. Even the poorest of the poor, coolie, scavenger or rickshaw-
puller, bought the Jhanda. In paras and mohallas boys and girls were
getting ready practising drills or formations, organising Prabhat
Pheris. Party differences, personal bickerings, etc. were forgotten.

Discordant voices there were, but they did not matter. Mahasabha first
raised the slogan of black flags, but then piped down and declared non-
participation. But all the prestige of Shyamaprosad could not make any
impression on the very people whom he had swayed during the Partition
campaign.

Forward Bloc and Tagorites also opposed the celebration on the ground
that real freedom was yet to be won. But despite the fact that
thousands of Bengali homes paid homage to Netaji that day hardly a
handful abstained from participation. Every school, factory, office,
every home—be it a mansion or a bustee—awaited the great day with
hearts full of jubilation.

As the zero hour approached, the city put on a changed appearance. On
the streets, people were busy putting up flags and decorating
frontage. Gates were set up at important crossings, bearing names of
our past titans like Ashoka or our martyrs in the freedom movement.
The atmosphere was tense; should there be a new round of stabbings or
shootings among brothers, or should there be return to peace and
normalcy?

All Barriers Broken

THE first spontaneous initiative for fraternisation came from Muslim
bustees and was immediately responded to by Hindu bustees. It was
Calcutta’s poor toilers, especially Muslims, who opened the floodgate,
and none could have dreamt of what actually took place.

Muslim boys clambered up at Chowringhee and shouted, “Hindu-Muslim ek
ho” and exhorted the driver to take them to Bhowanipore. But the
driver would not risk that and so they came up to the border only.

But then all of a sudden in the very storm-centres of most gruesome
rioting of the past year—Raja Bazar, Sealdah, Kalabagan, Colootolah,
Burra Bazar—Muslims and Hindus ran across the frontiers and hugged
each other in wild joy. Tears rolled down where once blood had soaked
the pavements. “Jai Hind”, “Vande Mataram”, “Allah-ho-Akbar” and above
all renting the sky “Hindu-Muslim ek ho”.

Curfews were ignored; men rushed out on the streets, danced, clasped
and lifted each other up. It was all like a sudden end of a nightmare,
the birth of a glorious dawn.

As midnight approached, crowds clustered round every radio set and
Jawaharlal’s ringing words sent a thrill round every audience,
“Appointed day has come —the day appointed by destiny..”

With the stroke of midnight, conch-shells blew in thousands, conch-
shells blown by our mothers and sisters from the innermost corners of
our homes—for the call of freedom has reached every nook and corner.
And with the conch-shells were heard the crack of rifles and bursting
of bombs and crackers. The very arms that were stored so long to kill
off brothers were being used to herald the coming of freedom.

A torchlight procession started in North Calcutta. Tram workers, in
all spontaneity, brought out a couple of trams crowded with Hindus to
the Nakhoda mosque and were feted by Muslims with food and drink. In
Burra Bazar, Muslims were treated the same way and all embraced one
another. Hardly anybody slept that night—the night choked with
passionate emotions welling up in so many ways.

As the morning came the city was already full of excitment and
pavements were thronged with people. Prabhat Pheris came out singing
songs of the national struggle. Boys and girls marched through the
streets with bands and bugles—bright and smart, free citizens of
tomorrow.

Flag salutations in every park, in every school and office. Buses
plied free, giving joy rides to thousands. Trams announced that all
their returns would be sent for relief. And they ran till late at
night along all mixed routes which were closed for the past year.

At the Government House, our own Government was to unfurl the
Tricolour, but invitees were confined to Burra Sahibs and officials,
the rich and elite, Ministers and Legislators. They came in big cars,
many with their wives dressed in all their fashionable clothes.

Government House—People’s Property

COMMON people, those that have made freedom possible, they too came in
thousands, but they were kept outside, beyond the huge iron gates. Why
must this be so? Why must this occasion be celebrated in the way the
White Sahibs have done so long?

I watched that crowd growing restless every minute and found among
them the very faces that you come across in the streets every day or
at the market or in your own home: babu, coolie, student, Professor,
young girl and shy wife—all jostling with each other, impatient at
being kept out. Sikh, Muslim, Bhayya and Bhadralok clamoured for the
gates to be opened and when that was not done, they themselves burst
into the spacious grounds and ran up towards the Governor’s stately
mansion.

The burst into the rooms much to the annoyance of the officials and
perhaps also of the marble busts of many of the White rulers that have
never been disturbed in their majesty.

For hours they thronged there, thousands over thousands of them,
shoving out many of the ICS bosses. But it would be a slander to say
that they were unruly. How little did they touch or damage? Had they
been unruly, as somebody had reported to Gandhiji, the whole place
would have been a wreck in no time.

They went there for they felt that it was one of their own leaders who
had been installed as their Governor. And when the annoyed officials
ran up to Rajaji to complain to him about the crowd swarming into the
rooms, C.R., it is reported, replied: “But what can I do? It is their
own property. How can I prevent them from seizing it?”

The sense of triumph, of pride that we have come to our own could be
seen in the faces that entered the portals of the Government House. It
is symptomatic of August 15 no doubt. For though there were
restrictions and curtailments to real freedom in the elaborate plans
the Dominion Status, the people—the common humanity that teems our land
—have taken this day to mean that that have won and no amount of
restrictions will bar the way, just as no policeman could stop the
surging crowd that broke into the Government House.

Outside, all over the city, houses seemed to have emptied out into the
streets, lorries came in hundreds, each packed precariously beyond
capacity; lorries packed with Hindus and Muslims, men and women.
Streets were blocked and the people themselves volunteered to control
traffic.

Rakhi Bandhan Again

LORRY-LOADS of Muslim National Guards crammed with Gandhi-capped young
Hindu boys shouted themselves hoarse “Jai Hind”, “Hindu-Muslim ek ho”.

Somebody in Bhowanipore waved a League flag under a Tri-colour. What a
sight and what a suspense. But the days of hate were over and all
shouted together, “Hindu-Muslim ek ho!”

A batch of Hindu ladies went to Park Circus to participate in the flag
hoisting. They tied rakhi (strings of brotherly solidarity made famous
during Swadeshi days) round the wrists of Muslim National Guards. And
the Muslim boys said, “May we be worthy brothers!”

Hindu families, quiet and timid Bhadralok families, came in hundreds
to visit Park Circus with their wives and children in tikka gharries
piled by Muslims. Muslims, well-to-do and poor, visited Burra Bazar,
and Ballygunge in endless streams. And this was going on all these
three days.

They are all going to paras or mohallas they had to leave or where
they had lost their near and dear ones. Today there is no area more
attractive and more crowded than the very spots where the worst
butcheries had taken place. As if to expiate for the sins of the last
one year, Hindus and Muslims of Calcutta vied with each other to
consecrate their city with a new creed of mighty brotherhood.

On the evening of August 16, one year back, I sent you a despatch
which could describe but inadequately the mad lust for fratricidal
blood that had overtaken Calcutta that day. To mark the anniversary of
that day I visited the crowded parts of Hindu Burra Bazar and the
Muslim Colootola where in this one year hardly anyone passed alive
when spotted by the opposite community. But this evening Muslims were
the guests of honour at Burra Bazar and Hindus, as they visited
Colootola, were drenched with rose-water and attar and greeted with
lusty cheers of “Jai Hind”.

On the very evening, at Park Circus, was held a huge meeting of Hindus
and Muslims. Suhrawardy, J.C. Gupta, MLA, and Bhowani Sen spoke. It
was here that Suhrawardy asked the Muslims to go and implore the
evicted Hindus to come back to Park Circus.

At Belliaghata, Gandhiji’s presence itself has brought back hundreds
of Muslim families who had to leave in terror of their lives only a
few weeks back. And Gandhiji’s prayer meetings are attended by an ever
increasing concourse of Hindus and Muslims—themselves living symbols
of Hindu-Muslim unity.

Reports from Bengal districts also prove that this remarkable upsurge
of solidarity was not confined to Calcutta alone. In Dacca, despite
panic, Hindus and Muslims jointly participated in the celebration of
Pakistan, and Muslim leaders themselves intervened in one case where
the Congress flag was lowered, and the flag was raised again.

Everywhere Hindus showed response by honouring the Pakistan flag.
Joint Hindu-Muslim demonstrations were the marked features of the
occasion.

Reports from Comilla, Kusthia, Dinajpore, Krishnanagore, Munshinganj,
Malda and Jessore, all show that August 15 had passed off in peace and
amity. Only local fracas were reported from Kanchrapara, but the great
and good tidings from Calcutta eased the situation there.

In this mighty flood of freedom and brotherhood there is yet the sense
of suspense, for it came with such an incredible suddenness and
magnitude that many think it is too good to last long. It is like
holding a precious glass dome in your hands while you are in suspense
that it might fall and break at any moment.

Spontaneous assertion of people’s will for freedom and brotherly
solidarity needs to be harnessed in lasting forms and that is where
our leaders will be tested in the coming weeks.

Whatever happens, August 15 will be cherished for Calcutta’s grand
celebration on the eve of the end of the dark night of slavery and the
dawn of freedom. Calcutta yesterday was the symbol of our servitude
and fratricidal hate. Calcutta today is the beacon-light for free
India, asserting that freedom once resurrected can never be curbed or
destroyed, for all our millions of Hindus and Muslims together are
ready to stand together as its proud sentinels.

(People’s Age, August 24, 1947)

http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article801.html

Mainstream Weekly

VOL XLV No 21

1857 In Our History
Monday 14 May 2007, by P C Joshi *

[(The one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Great Indian Revolt
of 1857 is being observed this month. Though the spark for the Revolt
was lit by Mangal Pandey at Barrackpore earlier the same year, the
Revolt actually began in May at Meerut: on May 6, 85 sepoys of the 3rd
Bengal Cavalry at Meerut refused to use the cartridge, the cause of
the rebellion—all of them were placed under arrest; on May 9 these
sepoys were brought to a general punishment parade at the Meerut
Parade Ground, sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment and stripped of
their uniforms. When the 11th and 12th Native Cavalry of the Bengal
Army assembled at the Parade Ground on May 10, they broke rank and
turned on the Commanding Officer Colonel Finnis who was shot dead—this
was the first incident of Revolt at Meerut; thereafter the sepoys
liberated the imprisoned sepoys, attacked the European Cantonment and
killed all the Europeans who could be found there. Then in conjunction
with the Roorkee sepoys, called to Meerut following the uprising, they
marched to Delhi where the first major incident took place on May 11
with the killing of Colonel Ripley.

We are carrying here excerpts from a seminal article “1857 In Our
History” by the former General Secretary of the Communist Party of
India, P.C. Joshi, whose birth centenary is being observed this year,
to mark the occasion. This article was presented at a symposium held
to observe the centenary of the 1857 Revolt in 1957; later it was
published alongwith other articles presented at the symposium in book
form (also edited by P.C. Joshi) by the People’s Publishing House, New
Delhi. —Editor)]

The few contemporary Indians who wrote on 1857 did so for the British.
The dominant British attitude is revealed in entitled, “The Bengali
Press, How to Deal with It”, published on August 9, 1896, in Pioneer,
a very influential British organ of the times:

We know how Englishmen within the memory of living men treated their
own newspaper writers… If a gentle and graceful writer forgot himself
so far as to call the Prince Regent ‘an Adonis of forty’ he got two
years’ ‘hard’. If a clergyman praised the French Revolution and
advocated Parliamentary reform and fair representation, he was
condemned to work in iron manacles, to wade in sludge among the vilest
criminals.

The writer advocated the infliction of the same punishment on an
Indian who dared to write on the Indian Mutiny of 1857.1

Indians thus had no say in this controversy but our rebel ancestors
with their heroic deeds and by shedding their warm blood had made
their contribution more eloquent than words....

It is inspiring to recall here what Marx thought of the 1857 national
uprising. As early as July 31, 1857, on the basis of Indian mail
carrying Delhi news up to June 17, he concluded his unsigned
newsletter to the New York Daily Tribune with these words:

By and by there will ooze out other facts able to convince even John
Bull himself that what he considers military mutiny is in truth a
national revolt.2

India’s historians may go on arguing and differing about the character
of the 1857 revolt but the mass of the Indian people have already
accepted it as the source-spring of our national movement. The hold of
the 1857 heritage on national thought is so great that even Dr R. C.
Majumdar concludes his study with the following words:

The outbreak of 1857 would surely go down in history as the first
great and direct challenge to the British rule in India, on an
extensive scale. As such it inspired the genuine national movement for
the freedom of India from British yoke which started half a century
later. The memory of 1857-58 sustained the later movement, infused
courage into the hearts of its fighters, furnished a historical basis
for the grim struggle, and gave it a moral stimulus, the value of
which it is impossible to exaggerate. The memory of the revolt of
1857, distorted but hallowed with sanctity, perhaps did more damage to
the cause of the British rule in India than the Revolt itself.3

The controversy whether the 1857-58 struggle was a sepoy revolt or a
national uprising can be resolved only by squarely posing and
truthfully analysing the character of the contestants on either side
and the nature of the issues—political, economic and ideological—
involved in this struggle. In short, a sound historical evaluation
demands that who was fighting whom and for what be correctly
stated....


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE British conquest of India implied not only the imposition of alien
rule but, something worse still, a pitiless destruction of the
traditional Indian social order itself and disruption of its own
normal development towards a new order. Marx was the only thinker of
the period who studied this tragic phenomenon scientifically and
formulated the role of British imperialism in India in such a correct
manner that his conclusions were borne out by the subsequent
researches of Indian scholarship and they helped Indian patriots to
understand Indian reality better and give a progressive orientation to
Indian national thought.

As early as 1853 when the Indian situation was being debated in the
British Parliament on the occasion of the renewal of the East India
Company’s Charter, Marx stated in an article entitled “British Rule in
India”: All the civil wars, invasions, revolutions, conquests,
famines, strangely complex, rapid and destructive as the successive
action in Hindustan may appear, did not go deeper than its surface.
England has broken down the entire framework of Indian society,
without any symptoms of reconstitution yet appearing. This loss of his
old world, with no gain of a new one, imparts a particular kind of
melancholy to the present misery of the Hindu, and separates Hindustan
ruled by Britain, from all its ancient traditions, and from the whole
of its past history… It was the British intruder who broke up the
Indian handloom and destroyed the spinning wheel…British steam and
science uprooted over the whole surface of Hindustan, the union
between agriculture and manufacturing industry.4 ...

After the conquest of Bengal and eventually throughout India, the
method of enforced and unequal trade was used to loot India and this
led to its economic ruination. R. P. Dutt states how the situation
underwent a qualitative change after the British became the ruling
class in India, how methods of power could be increasingly used to
weight the balance of exchange and secure the maximum goods for the
minimum payment.5

By the end of 18th century and much more clearly by 1813-33, a shift
had come over British policy towards India. After a period of
primitive plunder and the systematic ruination of Indian trades and
crafts, the British bourgeoisie, with the completion of their
Industrial Revolution, began to use India as a dumping ground for its
industrial manufactures and, above all, textiles. Marx noted this
sharp shift, and, in one of his articles during 1853, wrote:

The whole character of trade was changed. Till 1813 India had been
chiefly an exporting country while it now became an importing one; and
in such quick progression, that already, in 1823, the rate of
exchange, which had generally been two-sixth per rupee sunk down to
two per rupee. India, the great workshop of cotton manufacture for the
world, since immemorial times, became now inundated with English
twists and cotton stuffs. After its own produce had been excluded from
England, or only accepted on the most cruel terms, British
manufactures were poured into it at a small or merely nominal duty, to
the ruin of native cotton fabric once so celebrated.6

The policy of the East India Company also annihilated the independent
merchant bourgeoisie as well as the artisans and craftsmen. Prof
Ramkrishna Mukherjee describes the process in the following words:

Along with thus turning the Indian artisans ‘out of this ‘temporal’
world’, as Marx remarked caustically, proceeded the liquidation of the
Indian merchant bourgeoisie. Monopolising Indian products for the
English meant that the Indian merchants could no longer survive. Only
those could maintain their profession who acquiesced in becoming
underlings of the Company or of its servants engaged in private inland
trade in India or of the private English merchants residing in India
for the same purpose. Otherwise, they had to find a new source of
livelihood. Not only were the Indian merchants prohibited from buying
commodities directly from the producers which were monopolised by the
English, but the agents of the Company and its servants forced such
goods on the Indian merchants at a price higher than the prevailing
one.7

By annihilating the independent merchant bourgeoisie, which to some
extent also fulfilled the role of the manufacturing bourgeoisie, the
monopolist East India Company destroyed that very important class in
Indian economy which could be their rival.

Another aspect of this phenomenon is noted and analysed by K. M.
Panikkar in the following words:

With the establishment of European trade centres in the main coastal
areas of India, there had developed a powerful Indian capitalist
class, closely associated with the foreign merchants, and deriving
great profits from trade with them… The Marwari millionaires of Bengal
have become the equivalent of the compradore classes of Shanghai of a
later period …The emergence of this powerful class, whose economic
interests were bound up with those of the foreign merchants and who
had an inherited hatred of Muslim rule, was a factor of fundamental
importance to the history of India and of Asia.8

These Indian agents of the Company and of the British merchants were
called gomasthas and bannias and played the role of sub-agents of
foreign capital and a pro-British role in the 1857 uprising.

How did intelligent Indians react to the above economic situation and
policies?

It is useful to quote Allamah Fazle Haq of Khayrabad, an eminent
Muslim scholar of the traditional school who took a leading part in
the 1857 revolt and was transported for life:

Having seized power they (the British) decided to bring under their
hold the various sections of the people by controlling eatables, by
taking possession of the ears of corn and grain and giving the
peasants and cultivators cash in lieu of their rights of farming.
Their object was not to allow the poor men and villagers a free hand
in buying and selling grains. By giving preference to their own
people, they wanted to control the cheapening or raising of the rates
so that the people of God might submit to their (Christian) policy of
monopoly, and their dependence on them (Christians) for their
requirements might force them to meet the purpose of the Christians
and their supporters, and their desire and ambitions which they had in
their hearts and the mischiefs and evils which they had concealed in
their minds.9

In the above background, the appeal of the manifesto issued by Bahadur
Shah on behalf of the insurgent centre at Delhi had its own
significance. The manifesto appealed in the following words to the
merchants: It is plain that the infidel and treacherous British
Government have monopolised the trade of all the fine and valuable
merchandise such as indigo, cloth and other articles of shipping,
leaving only the trade of trifles to the people and even in this they
are not allowed their shares of the profits, which they secure by
means of customs and stamp fees, etc., in money suits, so that the
people have merely a trade in name. Besides this, the profit of the
traders are taxed with postages, tolls, and subscriptions for schools,
etc. Notwithstanding all these concessions, the merchants are liable
to imprisonment and disgrace at the instance of complaint of a
worthless man. When the Badshahi Government is established all these
aforesaid fraudulent practices shall be dispensed with and the trade
of every article, without exception, both by land and water shall be
opened to the native merchants of India who will have the benefit of
the Government steam-vessels and steam carriages for the conveyance of
their merchandise gratis; and merchants having no capital of their own
shall be assisted from the public treasury. It is, therefore, the duty
of every merchant to take part in the war, and aid the Badshahi
Government with its men and money, either secretly or openly, as may
be consistent with its position or interest and forswear its
allegiance to the British Government.10...

The economic and political operation of the East India Company in
India led to a systematic squeezing of our national wealth which has
been described by India’s economic historians as the economic drain.
Let us examine this as it existed on the eve of the 1857 revolt.

There was the so-called Indian Debt, which was incurred by the Company
in order to consolidate its position in India and to spread its
influence further through expeditions and wars, and at the same time,
paying high dividends to share-holders in England, tributes to the
British Government since 1769 and bribes to the influential persons in
England.11

R. C. Dutt makes the following comments as regards the genesis and
mechanism of this Indian Debt:

A very popular error prevails in this country (England in 1903) that
the whole Indian Debt represents British capital sunk in the
development of India. It is shown in the body of this volume that this
is not the genesis of the Public Debt of India. When the East India
Company cessed to be the rulers of India in 1858, they had piled up an
Indian Debt of 70 millions. They had in the meantime drawn a tribute
from India, financially an unjust tribute, exceeding 150 million, not
calculating interest. They had also charged India with the cost of
Afghan wars, Chinese wars and other wars outside India. Equitably,
therefore, India owed nothing at the close of the Company’s rule; her
Public Debt was a myth; there was a considerable balance of over 108
millions in her favour out of the money that had been drawn from her.
12

Montgomery Martin, an Englishman with sympathy for the Indian people,
wrote as early as 1838:

This annual drain of £ 3,000,000 on British India amounted in 30 years
at 12 per cent (the usual Indian rate) compound interest to the
enormous sum of £ 723,997,917 sterling; or, at a low rate, as $
2,000,000 for 50 years, to £ 8,400,000,000 sterling! So constant and
accumulating a drain even on England would have soon impoverished her;
how severe then must be its effect on India, where the wages of a
labourer is from 2d. to 3d. a day?13....

Prof Ramkrishna Mukherjee goes even further and states:

A total picture of this tribute from India is seen to be even greater
than the figure mentioned by Martin in 1838. During the 24 years of
the last phase of the Company’s rule, from 1834-35 to 1857-58, even
though the years 1855, ’56 and ’57 showed a total import-surplus of £
6,436,345—(not because the foreign rulers had changed their policy,
but because some British capital flowed into India to build railway in
order to prepare her for exploitation by British industrial capital),—
the total tribute which was drained from India in the form of ‘home
charges’ and ‘excess of Indian exports’ amounted to the colossal
figure of £ 151,830,989. This works out at a yearly average of £
6,325,875, or roughly half the annual land revenue collections in this
period!14

The above was the grim reality, grimmer than any ever witnessed in the
whole course of India’s age-old historic development. As Marx stated,
there cannot, however, remain any doubt but the misery inflicted by
the British on Hindustan is of essentially different and infinitely
more intensive kind than Hindustan had to suffer before.15

The British, under the East India Company’s rule disrupted the whole
economic order of India, they turned the traditional land system topsy
turvy, they smashed the trades and manufactures of the land and
disrupted the relationship between these two sectors of the Indian
economy, systematically drained the wealth of our country to their
own, and destroyed the very springs of production of our economy.
Every class of Indian society suffered at this new spoliator’s hands.
The landlords were dispossessed and the peasants rendered paupers, the
merchant bourgeoisie of India liquidated as an independent class and
the artisans and craftsmen deprived of their productive professions.
Such unprecedented destruction of a whole economic order and of every
class within it could not but produce a great social upheaval and that
was the national uprising of 1857. The all-destructive British policy
produced a broad popular rebellion against its rule.

Within Indian society, however, those productive forces and classes
had not yet grown (in fact early British policy had itself destroyed
their first off-shoots) that could lead this revolution to victory.
The revolt of 1857 as also its failure were both historical
inevitabilities. But it also was a historical necessity, for after it
followed those modern developments..., from which emerged the modern
national liberation movement of the Indian people and those new social
forces which led it to victory.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE religious factor played a big part in the revolt in 1857. The
British statesmen and chroniclers exaggerated and deliberately
misinterpreted the role played by this factor to prove their thesis
that the 1857 uprising was reactionary, revivalist and directed
against the progressive reforms that they were introducing in Indian
society. The early generation of English-educated Indian intellectuals
swallowed this imperialist thesis uncritically because they themselves
had suffered under the old reactionary religious influences. A true
historical outlook demands that we do not forget the historical stage
which Indian society had reached on the eve of 1857, the ideological
values which would be normal to this society and the ideological forms
in which the Indian people could formulate their aspirations....

It is abundantly clear... that the British rulers purely for their
imperialist motives were out for some decades preceding 1857 to
culturally denationalise India by the method of mass conversion to
Christianity. This was seen as a menacing danger by the mass of
Indians, irrespective of their viewpoint whether it was Sir Syed Ahmad
Khan or Bahadur Shah, whether it was the enlightened Bengali
intellectual in Calcutta or the Nana Saheb at Bithoor, by the mass of
sepoys both Hindu and Muslim. Thus when the religious factor played a
big role as it did in the struggle of 1857, it was as a part of the
national factor. The mass of Indians took up arms to defend their own
religions and they were fighting not only in defence of their religion
but to defend their way of life and their nationhood. Of course, there
were several reactionary features within Indian society but then the
only healthy way to change them was through the struggle of the Indian
people themselves.

This is not all. Our rebel ancestors used religion to advance the
revolutionary struggle. They did not let religion stupefy them. But
they used religion to get the strength to fight the Firinghis.

A proclamation was issued at Delhi with royal permission urging upon
the Hindus and Muslims to unite in the struggle in the name of their
respective religions.

To all Hindus and Mussalmans, citizens and servants of Hindustan,
officers of the army now at Delhi and at Meerut send greetings:—it is
well known that in these days all the English have entertained these
evil designs—first, to destroy the religion of the whole Hindustani
army and then to make the people by compulsion Christians. Therefore,
we, solely on account of our religion, have combined with the people
and have not spared alive one infidel, and have re-established the
Delhi dynasty on these terms. Hundreds of guns and a large amount of
treasure have fallen into our hands; therefore, it is fitting that
whoever of the soldiers and people dislike turning Christians should
unite with one heart, and, acting courageously, not leave the seed of
these infidels remaining.16

When the struggle in Oudh after the fall of Lucknow was on the
downgrade, and insurgents were heroically fighting defensive and
mostly losing battles, the captured sepoys used to be asked by the
British why they had joined the revolt. Their answer used to be:

The slaughter of the English is required by our religion. The end will
be the destruction of the English and all the sepoys—and then, God
knows!17

The Rajah of the Gond tribes was living as a pensioner of the British
at Nagpur. He had turned a traditional Sanskrit sthotra recited in
worshipping the devi into an anti-British hymn. The London Times of
October 31, 1857 gives the translation of the prayer: Shut the mouth
of the slanderers and Eat up backbiters, trample down the sinners,
You, “Satrusamgharika” (name of Devi, ‘destroyer of enemy’) Kill the
British, exterminate them, Matchundee. Let not the enemy escape, not
the wives and children Of such oh! Samgharika Show favour to Shanker;
support your slaves; Listen to the cry of religion. “Mathalka” eat up
the unclean, Make no delay, Now devour them, And that quickly, Ghor-
Mathalka.

During the siege of Delhi, British agents repeatedly tried to
transform the joint Hindu- Muslim struggle into a fratricidal Hindu-
Muslim civil war. Even as early as May 1857, British agents began
inciting the Muslims against the Hindus in the name of jihad and the
matter was brought before Bahadur Shah.

The king answered that such a jihad was quite impossible, and that
such an idea an act of extreme folly, for the majority of the Purbeah
soldiers were Hindus. Moreover, such an act could create internecine
war, and the result would be deplorable. It was fitting that sympathy
should exist among all classes… A deputation of Hindu officers arrived
to complain of the war against Hindus being preached. The king
replied: ‘The holy war is against the English; I have forbidden it
against the Hindus.’18

Thus did our rebel ancestors use religion to organise and conduct a
united revolutionary struggle against foreign domination. In the
historic conditon of 1857, the ideological form of the struggle could
not but assume religious forms. To expect anything else would be
unrealistic and unscientific.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE British text books on Indian history contained only the story of
the “atrocities of the mutineers,”—dishonouring of women, killing of
children and so on. The reality, however, was the opposite. Again, the
early generation of educated Indians like Savarkar and others began
exposing from British sources themselves the story of unprecedented
British atrocities against the Indian people. During the non-
cooperation movement of the twenties, the British terror during 1857
was related to Jallianwallabagh to rouse the people to struggle more
valiantly and unitedly than our ancestors had done during 1857.
Thereafter came Edward Thompson’s The Other Side of the Medal which
tried to put across the thesis that there were atrocities on both
sides which are best forgotten.

The question of questions is: can the two sides be put on the same
plane? Can the crimes committed by the enslavers of the people be
equated with some mistakes and excesses committed by the fighters for
freedom? The two cases are different....

If tales of Indian “terror” are largely mythical, British brutality
got even Lord Canning worried. On December 24, 1857, the following
Minute appears in the proceedings of the Governor-General-in-Council:

…the indiscriminate hanging, not only of persons of all shades of
guilt, but of those whose guilt was at the least very doubtful, and
the general burning and plunder of villages, whereby the innocent as
well as the guilty, without regard to age or sex, were
indiscriminately punished, and in some cases, sacrificed, had deeply
exasperated large communities not otherwise hostile to the government;
that the cessation of agriculture and consequent famine were
impending; …And lastly, that the proceedings of the officers of the
Government had given colour to the rumour…that the Government
meditated a general bloody persecution of Mohammedans and Hindus.19...

In the History of the Siege of Delhi, written by an officer who served
on active service, it is graphically described what the British
officers did on the way from Ambala to Delhi.

Hundreds of Indians were condemned to be hanged before a court-martial
in a short time, and they were most brutally and inhumanly tortured,
while scaffolds were being erected for them. The hair on their heads
were pulled by bunches, their bodies were pierced by bayonets and then
they were made to do that to avoid which they would think nothing of
death or torture—cows’ flesh was forced by spears and bayonets into
the mouth of the poor and harmless Hindu villagers.20

How the sepoy and the civilian, the guilty and the innocent alike were
butchered by the British victors after the capture of Lucknow is
described below by one of them:

at the time of the capture of Lucknow—a season of indiscriminate
massacre—such distinction was not made and the unfortunate who fell
into the hands of our troops was made short work of—sepoy or Qudh
villager it mattered not—no questions were asked; his skin was black,
and did not that suffice? A piece of rope and the branch of a tree or
a rifle bullet through his brain soon terminated the poor devil’s
existence.21

What happened in the countryside, between Banaras, Allahabad and
Kanpur during General Neill’s march through the area is described by
Kaye and Malleson in the following words:

Volunteer hanging parties went out into the districts and amateur
executioners were not wanting to the occasion. One gentleman boasted
of the numbers he had finished off quite ‘in an artistic manner’, with
mango trees for gibbets and elephants as drops, the victims of this
wild justice being strung up, as though for past-time in ‘the form of
a figure of 8’.22...

Pandit Nehru has rightly stated the problem of race mania as it faced
our insurgent ancestors and faced us subsequently in the whole course
of our struggle for freedom.

We in India have known racialism in all its forms ever since the
commencement of British rule. The whole ideology of this rule was that
of the Herrenvolk and the master race, and the structure of Government
was based upon it; indeed the idea of a master race is inherent in
imperialism. There was no subterfuge about it; it was proclaimed in
unambiguous language by those in authority. More powerful than words
was the practice that accompanied them, and generation after
generation and year after year, India as a nation and Indians as
individuals were subjected to insult, humiliation, and contemptuous
treatment.23...

Our forefathers suffered and bled during 1857. Subsequent generations
kept up the struggle and went on making the needed sacrifice. If after
independence we forget our past experience and began to consider
British imperialism as our new friend instead of our traditional foe,
we will not be able to safeguard Indian independence nor discharge
India’s duty towards the struggling colonial peoples in Asia and
Africa...


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IN the broad historical perspective of India’s struggle against
British domination what needs being stressed is not the limitation and
narrowness of the 1857 uprising but its sweep, breadth and depth. The
1857 uprising stands sharply demarcated from all the earlier anti-
British wars of resistance fought on Indian soil.

The first is the sheer vastness of the area covered by the 1857
uprising and the still wider sympathy and solidarity it commanded. It
is admitted by all historians and chronicles, British and Indian
alike, that the 1857 national insurrection was the biggest ever anti-
British combine that had so far been massed in armed struggle against
British authority in India.

The second is the qualitative difference between this and all other
anti-British wars. In the earlier wars people of a single kingdom,
which very often coincided with a specific nationality, fought single-
handed. For example, the Bengalis alone fought at Plassey. The same in
the Karnatak and the Mysore and the Maratha, the Sikh and the Sind
wars. Earlier attempts at broader combinations had failed. But during
1857 people of various castes, tribes, nationalities, religions, who
had lived under different kingdoms rose together to end the British
rule. It was an unprecedented unity of the Indian people. Marx, the
most far-sighted thinker of the age, duly noted this new phenomenon.

Before this there had been mutinies in the Indian army but the present
revolt is distinguished by characteristic and fatal features. It is
the first time that the sepoy regiments have murdered their European
officers; that Musalmans and Hindus, renouncing their mutual
antipathies, have combined against the common masters; that
‘disturbances, beginning with the Hindus, have actually ended in
placing on the throne of Delhi a Mohammedan Emperor’; that the mutiny
has not been confined to a few localities.24

As it is important to stress the above positive aspect of the 1857
national uprising, it is equally important to state its negative
aspect and state which decisive areas and sections of the Indian
people did not join the national uprising and how some were even led
to supporting the British side. There were several factors involved
but let us examine the main, the national factor. The Gurkhas and the
Sikhs played a decisive role on the side of the British. The Nepal war
had been fought by the British with the help of the Hindustani Army.
Rana Jung Bahadur, who was centralising Nepal under Ranashahi, was
promised by the British a permanent subsidy and large tracts in Terai
and he brought his Gurkha soldiers down, in the name of revenge, for
subduing Oudh.

The Sikhs had their own historic memories against the Moghuls and
after initial hesitation the British were able to recruit the
unemployed soldiers of the Khalsa Army and the retainers of the Sikh
princes and sardars.

From the Marathas the heir of the Peshwas had risen in revolt but the
Maratha princes had their own rivalries and historic feuds both with
the Nizam in the South and the Moghuls in the North.

The Rajputana princes had their own historic memories of earlier
Moghul and later Maratha domination, besides their being under British
grip now.

These historic memories from the past of our feudal disunity kept the
people of large parts of the country paralysed and moved by their
feudal self-interest the Indian princes helped the British usurpers.
Nehru has put the whole position in very succinct words:

The revolt strained British rule to the utmost and it was ultimately
suppressed with Indian help.25

As it is true that the 1857 revolution was the biggest national
uprising against British rule, so it is equally true that the British
were able to suppress it by using Indians against indians. Divide and
rule was the traditional British policy and they used it with
devastating effect during 1857....

The peasant was anti-British but his outlook was confined within his
village, his political knowledge did not go beyond the affairs of the
kingdom in which he lived under his traditional Raja.

The political-ideological leadership of the country was yet in the
hands of the feudal ruling classes. They shared the general anti-
British sentiment but they feared their feudal rivals more. They were
a decaying class and their historic memories were only of the feudal
past of disunity and civil wars and the vision of a united independent
India could not dawn upon them.

Love of the country in those days meant love of one’s own homeland
ruled by one’s traditional ruler. The conception of India as our
common country had not yet emerged. Not only did the feudal historic
memories come in the way but the material foundations for it, the
railways, telegraph, a uniform system of modern education, etc., had
not yet been laid but had only begun.

The conception of India as common motherland grew later and the great
experience of 1857 rising helped it to grow. The London Times duly
noted the rise of this new phenomenon.

One of the great results that have flowed from the rebellion of
1857-58 has been to make inhabitants of every part of India acquainted
with each other. We have seen the tide of war rolling from Nepal to
the borders of Gujarat, from the deserts of Rajputana to the frontiers
of the Nizam’s territories, the same men over-running the whole land
of India and giving to their resistance, as it were, a national
character. The paltry interests of isolated States, the ignorance
which men of one petty principality have laboured under in considering
the habits and customs of the other principality—all this has
disappeared to make way for a more uniform appreciation of public
events throughout India. We may assume that in the rebellion of 1857,
no national spirit was roused, but we cannot deny that our efforts to
put it down have sown the seeds of a new plant and thus laid the
foundation for more energetic attempts on the part of the people in
the course of future years.26


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WHAT was the aim of the insurgents, what sort of a political and
social order did they seek to establish in India? A sound
characterisation of the 1857 struggle depends upon the correct answer
to the above problem. For it will help to decide whether it was
reactionary or progressive.

It is amazing that there is virtual agreement on this question between
not only British and some eminent Indian historians but also some
foremost Indian political leaders.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru has stated his opinion thus: Essentially it
was a feudal outburst, headed by feudal chiefs and their followers and
aided by the widespread anti-British sentiment… Not by fighting for a
lost cause, the feudal order, would freedom come.27

Dr Majumdar’s conclusion is: The miseries and bloodshed of 1857-58
were not the birthpangs of a freedom movement in India, but the dying
groans of an obsolete aristocracy and centrifugal feudalism of the
medieval age.28

Dr Sen, the official historian, improves upon and carries forward the
Prime Minister’s characterisation:

The English Government had imperceptibly effected a social revolution.
They had removed some of the disabilities of women, they had tried to
establish the equality of men in the eye of the law, they had
attempted to improve the lot of the peasant and the serf. The Mutiny
leaders would have set the clock back, they would have done away with
the new reforms, with the new order, and gone back to the good old
days when a commoner could not expect equal justice with the noble,
when the tenants were at the mercy of the talukdars, and when theft
was punished with mutilation. In short they wanted a counter-
revolution.29...

One can understand British statesmen and historians advancing the
thesis of the Old Man vs. the New, of their own role being progressive
and the insurgent cause reactionary, in sheer self-defence. But when
Indian leaders and historians repeat the same old British thesis the
least one can say is that they are mistaking the form for the
substance. It is true that the 1857 uprising was led by Indian feudals
(but not them alone!) and they were not the makers of events, nor sole
masters of India’s destiny. There were other social forces of the
common people in action during this struggle and they had brought new
factors and ideas into play. It is a pity Drs Majumdar and Sen and
Pandit Nehru have given no thought nor weight to them. If we study
them carefully and seriously, the conclusion is inescapable that
during the 1857 national uprising, the popular forces were active
enough, healthy in their aspirations and clear-headed enough in their
ideas to prevent a reactionary feudal restoration in India.

One of the great positive achievements of the 1857 uprising acclaimed
with justified pride by the Indian national movement has been the
noble attempt to forge, and sustained efforts to maintain, against
British machinations, Hindu-Muslim unity for the successful conduct of
the struggle.

Playing upon Hindu-Muslim differences had become so much a part of the
flesh and blood of the British representatives in India that Lord
Canning spontaneously began thinking, when the first signs of the
storm burst during May 1857, whether the Hindus or Muslims were behind
it? Kaye states the problem and the significance of the new situation
facing the British rulers: But, before the end of the month of April,
it must have been apparent to Lord Canning, that nothing was to be
hoped from that antagonism of Asiatic races which had even been
regarded as the main element of our strength and safety. Mohammedans
and Hindus were plainly united against us.30

The British officials, however, did not give up but persisted in the
policy of stirring Hindu- Muslim dissensions. “I shall watch for the
differences of feelings between the two communities,” wrote Sir Henry
Lawrence from Lucknow to Lord Canning in May 1857. The communal
antipathy, however, failed to develop; Aitchison ruefully admits:

In this instance, we could not play off the Mohammedaa against the
Hindu.31

The insurgent leaders were fully aware of this disruptive British
tactic. Allamah Fazle Haq, himself a Muslim revivalist, wrote: They
(the British) tried their utmost to break the revolutionary forces by
their tricks and deceptive devices, make ineffective the power of the
Mujahids and uproot them, and scatter and disrupt them…. No stone was
left unturned by them in this respect.32

The insurgent leaders consciously laid great stress on Hindu-Muslim
unity for the success of the struggle. Bahadur Shah, the sepoy
leaders, the learned Ulema and Shastris issued proclamations and
fatwas stressing that Hindu-Muslim unity was the call of the hour and
the duty of all. In all areas liberated from British rule the first
thing the insurgent leaders did was to ban cow-slaughter and enforce
it. In the highest political and military organ of insurgent
leadership Hindus and Muslims were represented in equal numbers.33
When Bahadur Shah found that he could not manage the affairs of state,
he wrote to the Hindu Rajas of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Alwar that if
they would combine for the purpose (of annihilating the British) he
would willingly resign the Imperial power into their hands.34

An insurgent Sikh regiment in Delhi served under a Muslim commander.35
Such instances can be multiplied....

There is another very important aspect of this problem. Hindu-Muslim
unity was one of the important keys in deciding the fate of the issue.
The British side knew it and tried their hardest and best to disrupt
it. The Indian side also knew it and did their utmost to realise and
maintain it. But this by itself would be a static statement of the
problem. The better Hindu-Muslim unity was forged in the insurgent
camp, the longer the struggle could last; the longer the struggle
lasted, the more chances the popular forces got to come to the fore
and the more the ideological-political influence of feudal forces
became weakened; the more the feudal forces weakened the less chances
were left of a feudal restoration. Such is the dialectics of all
popular and national struggles. During the last phase of the struggle
in 1857-58, the feudal forces stood thoroughly exposed and weakened.
The popular forces were not yet powerful, conscious and organised
enough to overwhelm them and carry on the struggle to victory. What
actually took place was British victory and not feudal restoration.
When the modern national movement began in the next generation, the
glorious heritage of Hindu-Muslim unity was taken over from the 1857
struggle and the next two generations gave a more and more democratic
programme to the conception of Hindu-Muslim united front against
British domination.

The British side also learnt its lesson from this historic phenomenon.
Forrest in his Introduction to State Papers, 1857-58, states:

Among the many lessons the Indian Mutiny conveys to the historian,
none is of greater importance than the warning that it is possible to
have a revolution in which Brahmins and Sudras, Hindus and Mohammedans
could be united against us, and that it is not safe to suppose that
the peace and stability of our dominions, in any great measure,
depends on the continent being inhabited by different religious
systems…. The mutiny reminds us that our dominions rest on a thin
crust ever likely to be rent by titanic forces of social changes and
religious revolutions.36...

Inside the disintegrating feudal order that was India of those days,
new currents of democratic thought and practice were arising; they
were not yet powerful enough to break the old feudal ideological bonds
and overwhelm British authority; they were menacing enough to make the
real Indian feudals seek a new lease of life as a gift from the
British after beseeching due forgiveness for having joined the
insurgent cause.

The destruction of the ancient land system in India and the law on the
alienation of land stirred the whole countryside into action against
the government whose policies had made the old rural classes, from the
zamindars to the peasants, lose their lands to the new section of
merchants, moneylenders and the Company’s own officials, and which had
played havoc with the their life. The large-scale peasant
participation in the 1857 uprising gave it a solid mass basis and the
character of a popular revolt. The Indian peasants fulfilled their
patriotic duty during 1857.

Peasants joined as volunteers with the insurgent forces and, though
without military training, fought so heroically and well as to draw
tributes from the British themselves... At the battle of Miaganj,
between Lucknow and Kanpur, the British had to face an Indian
insurgent forces of 8000, of whom not more than a thousand were sepoys.
37 At Sultanpur, another battle was fought by the insurgents with
25,000 soldiers, 1,100 cavalry and 25 guns and of these only five
thousand were rebel sepoys!38 After the fall of Delhi, the British
concentrated upon Lucknow. As the British massed all their strength
against Lucknow so from the villagers of Oudh came armed, peasant
volunteers for the last ditch defence of their capital city. In the
words of Charles Ball, The whole country was swarming with armed
vagabonds hastening to Lucknow to meet their common doom and die in
the last grand struggle with the Firangis.39

After the fall of Bareilly and Lucknow, the insurgents fought on and
adopted guerilla tactics. Its pattern is contained in Khan Bahadur
Khan‘s General Order:

Do not attempt to meet the regular columns of the infidels because
they are superior to you in discipline, bandobast and have big guns
but watch their movements, guard all the ghats on the rivers,
intercept their communications, stop their supplies, cut their dak and
posts and keep constantly hanging about their camps, give them (the
Firinghis) no rest!40

Commenting on the above, Russell wrote in his Diary:

This general order bears marks of sagacity and points out the most
formidable war we would encounter.41

The heavy responsibility for carrying into practice the above line of
action and aiding the scattered insurgent forces to prolong the anti-
British war of resistance fell on the mass of the peasantry. All
contemporary British chronicles of the story of this war in
Rohilkhand, Bundelkhand, Oudh and Bihar contain numerous stories of
how the Indian peasantry loyally and devotedly carried out the behests
of the insurgent high command. Let us take only one example:

Even when the cause of the mutincers seemed to be failing, they
testified no good will, but withheld the information we wanted and
often misled us.42

In a national uprising that has failed, the role and contribution of
any class can best be estimated by the amount of sacrifice it makes.
Measured in these terms, the peasantry is at the top of the roll of
honour of the 1857 uprising. Holmes states:

The number of armed men, who succumbed in Oudh, was about 150,000, of
whom at least 35,000 were sepoys.43 ...

The rural population as a whole rose against the new land system
imposed over their heads by the British rulers. Secondly, that the
pattern of struggle was to eliminate the new landlords created under
the British regime, destroy their records, hound them out of villages
and seize their lands and attack all the symbols of British authority
especially the kutchery (law-court), the tehsil (revenue office) and
the thana (the police outpost). Thirdly, the base of the struggle was
the mass of the peasantry and the rural poor while the leadership was
in the hands of the landlords dispossessed under the British laws.
Fourthly, this pattern of struggle fitted into the general pattern of
the 1857 national uprising, the class struggle in the countryside was
directed not against the landlords as a whole but only against a
section of them, those who had been newly created by the British under
their laws and acted as their loyal political supporters, that is, it
was subordinated to the broad need of national unity against the
foreign usurper.

Talmiz Khaldun’s thesis that during this uprising “The Indian
peasantry was fighting desperately to free itself of foreign as well
as feudal bondage” and that “the mutiny ended as a peasant war against
indigenous landlordism and foreign imperialism” is thus an
exaggeration. There is no evidence whatsoever that the Indian
peasantry during this struggle decisively burst through the feudal
bonds either politically or economically to transform a broad-based
national uprising into a peasant war. On the other hand all the
evidence that is known is to the contrary....

The Indian peasants made a compromise with the traditional landlords
in the interests of the common struggle but the landlords became
terrified by this alliance when they saw it in the living form of a
revolutionary popular struggle. Gubbins, who had wide personal
experience of Oudh and other Eastern districts, states:

Much allowance should, no doubt, be made in considering the conduct of
the Indian gentry at this crisis, on account of their want of power to
resist the armed and organised enemy which had suddenly risen against
us. The enemy always treated with the utmost severity those among
their countrymen who were esteemed to be friends of the British cause.
Neither their lives nor their property were safe. Fear, therefore, no
doubt entered largely into the natives which induced many to desert us.
44

Narrow class interest and fear of the “armed and organised” masses,
whom the British rightly called “the enemy,” ultimately led the Indian
feudal gentry to desert the revolutionary struggle and seek terms with
the foreign rulers. The situation led to feudal treachery and
suppressoin of the national uprising, and not to the strengthening of
feudalism in the minds and the later movement of the Indian peasantry
and the people.

Dr R.C. Majumdar himself quotes the Supreme Government “Narrative of
Events” issued on September 12, 1857:

In consequence of the general nature of the rebellion and the
impossibility of identifying the majority of the rebels, the
Magistrate recommended the wholesale burning and destruction of all
villages proved to have sent men to take active part in the rebellion.
45

This is how the British understood the peasant contribution to the
1857 uprising. Could there be a restoration for the feudal order in
India on the shoulders of such a peasantry?


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The 1857 uprising is a historic landmark. It marks the end of a whole
historic phase and the beginning of a new one. On the British side it
finished the Company’s rule and led to direct government under the
British Crown. The period of rule of the merchant monopolists of the
East India Company ended and the dominance of the industrial
bourgeoisie of Britain in the affairs of India began. On the Indian
side, the revolt failed but the Indian people got that experience
which enabled them to build the modern Indian national movement on new
foundations and with new ideas, and the lessons of 1857 proved
inestimable. Both sides drew and applied their lessons from the 1857
experience in the subsequent period. The British were the victors,
they went into action soon; we were the vanquished, we took longer.

From their experience of the 1857 uprising the British rulers sharply
changed their policy towards the Indian feudal elements, and
discarding the old policy of attacking their interests, they adopted a
new policy of reconciling them as the main social base of their rule
in India. The Indian people from their experience of the Indian
feudals drew the lesson for the next phase of their movement that
their anti-British struggle to be successful must also be an anti-
feudal struggle. Those who were so far regarded by the Indian people
as their traditional leaders were now rightly considered as betrayers
of the 1857 uprising and the Indian puppets of the British power.

As regards the Indian princess, the policy of annexations was given
up. Queen Victoria in her Proclamation promised them:

We shall respect the rights, dignity and honour of native pricess as
our own. Very candidly Lord Canning in his Minute of April 30 noted:
The safety of our rule is increased and not diminished by the
maintenance of native chiefs well affected to us.

How the Indian national movement understood the post-1857 British
policy towards the princes is best reflected in Nehru’s Discovery of
India where he states that the retention of the native states was
designed to disrupt the unity of India,46 Indian princes playing the
role of Britain’s fifth column in India.47....

The Army was reorganised after the sepoy mutiny, which had set the
country aflame. The proportion of British troops was increased and
they were primarily used as an “army of occupation” to maintain
internal security while the Indian troops were organised and trained
for service abroad to subjugate Asian and African territories for
British imperialism. The artillery was taken away from the Indian
hands. All higher appointments were reserved for the British, an
Indian could not even get the King’s Commission nor get employment in
the Army headquarters except as a clerk in non-military work. The
Indian regiments were reorganised on the principle of divide and rule
and recruitment confined to the so-called martial races.

But in the long run nothing availed the British. The memory of the
sepoys’ role during 1857 never died not only in the memory of the
Indian people but also of the Indian armed forces. As the modern
national movement grew, it could not leave the Indian Army, however
“reorganised”, untouched. During the 1930 national struggle, the
Garhwali soldiers refused to fire at the Indian demonstrators at
Peshawar. During the post-war national upsurge after a series of
“mutinies” in the Indian Army and Air Force, the Royal Indian Navy
revolted on February 18, 1946 and the next day the British Prime
Minister announced the dispatch of the Cabinet Mission to India and
negotiations for the independence of India began.

The Indian administrative machine was reorganised as a colossal
bureaucratic machine with Indians employed only in subordinate
positions, all real power and responsibility resting in British hands.
The Queen’s Proclamation had promised that there would be no racial
discrimination against the Indians in employment in government
services. The reality, however, was different...

After 1857, politically, even Sir Syed Ahmad Khan had suggested that
Indians should be included in the Legislative Council to keep the
government in touch, with the people. In 1861 the Indian Councils Act
provided for the inclusion for legislative purposes of non-official
members. In 1862, three Indians were so nominated. These legislatures,
in which real power remained with the exclusive British Executive,
were used by patriotic Indian statesmen as tribunes of the Indian
people and to unmask British policies and thus aid the growth of the
national movement. The British tactic of divide and rule, however,
succeeded in another way. The institution of separate electorates for
the Muslims was the first expression of the poisonous two-nation
theory which ultimately resulted in the partition of the country at
the very time of gaining independence.

The British Government, which claimed credit for early social reform
measures like banning of sati, widow remarriage, etc., after the
experience of 1857 and its subsequent alliance with the Indian feudal
reaction became the opponent of all progressive social measures.

Hindu law was largely custom and as customs change, the law also was
applied in a different way. Indeed there was no provision of Hindu Law
which could not be changed by customs. The British replaced this
elastic customary law by judicial decisions based on the old texts and
these decisions became precedents which had to be rigidly followed…
Change could only come by positive legislation but the British
Government, which was the legislating authority, had no wish to
antagonise the conservative elements on whose support it counted. When
later some legislative powers were given to the partially elected
assemblies, every attempt to promote social reform legislation was
frowned upon by the authorities and sternly discouraged.48

The British Government thus became the defender of social reaction in
India, after 1857!

The British overlords had created an English educated Indian middle-
class to get cheap and efficient and denationalised Indian cadres for
the lower essential rungs of their administration.

Educated natives took no part in the sepoy mutiny: despite the charges
to the contrary, they heartily disapproved of the revolt and showed
themselves faithful and loyal to the British authorities throughout
the course of that crisis.49

The above is not wholly true. Dr Sen states: Even this small minority
(of modern educated Indians) were not unanimous in the support of the
Government. An educated Hindu of Bengal complained of ‘a hundred years
of unmitigated active tyranny unrelieved by any trait of generosity’.

“A century and more of intercourse between each other,” he adds, “has
not made the Hindus and the Englishman friends or even peaceful fellow
subjects.”50

Calcutta was the biggest centre of these modern educated Indians. They
were at the time themselves concentrating upon the struggle against
Hindu orthodoxy and the religious terms in which the cause of the
insurgents was clothed repelled them. Because of their historic origin
and the limitations of their political experience they wrongly
identified progress with British rule. They were not, however,
“faithful and loyal” in the sense Earl Granville imagined them to be,
servile to the British rulers. This was proved in the very next year
after the 1857-58 uprising was suppressed when the Bengali
intelligentsia stirred the whole of Bengal in solidarity with the
Indigo Revolt, with the peasants of Bengal and Bihar who were victims
of unimaginable oppression and exploitation of the British planters.
Again it was Surendranath Banerji who took the initiative to run an
all-India campaign against lowering the age for the ICS, which
patently went against the Indian candidates. Then came the campaigns
regarding the IIbert Bill and racial discrimination in courts and the
Vernacular Press Act and so on. As the new intelligentsia saw more and
more of India under the British Crown all their illusions about Queen
Victoria’s 1858 Proclamation being the Magna Carta of Indian liberties
gradually evaporated and they began to agitate for political reforms.
In 1882 the Grand Old Man of Indian nationalism, Dababhai Naoroji,
wrote: Hindus, Mohammedans and Parsees alike are asking whether the
British rule is to be a blessing or a curse...This is no longer a
secret, or a state of things not quite open to those of our rulers who
would see.51...

Even before 1857, From India a policy of imperial expansion was
planned and the British Government of India was set on the perilous
road of conquest and annexation in the East for the benefit of
Britain, but of course at the cost of the Indian tax-payer.52

Thus Malacca and Singapore were occupied, Burma conquered, Nepal and
Afghan wars conducted and the Persian war managed.

The age of the Empire, based on India, began after 1857. India now
became in fact no less than in name a British possession. The Indian
Empire was at this time a continental order, a political structure
based on India, and extending its authority from Aden to Hongkong.53

In this period, Afghanistan and Persia were made virtual British
protectorates, expeditions and missions were sent to Sinkiang and
Tibet in the North and the British position in South-East Asia and
China consolidated.

“The continental involved a subordinate participation of India”54 as
policemen, traders and usurers, and coolies in the plantations of
Britain’s growing colonies. Indian resources and manpower were thus
used not only to conquer but maintain and run Britain’s colonial
Empire.

This, however, was only one side of the picture. As part of winning
foreign support for the Indian uprising Azimullah Khan, Nana’s
representative, is reported to have built contacts with Russia and
Turkey. Rango Bapuji, the Satara representative, is also reported to
have worked with Azimullah. Bahadur Shah’s court claimed Persian
support. All this was in the old principle that Britain’s enemies are
our friends. But Britain was the colossus of that period, and the
feudal ruling circles of these countries could never be in any hurry
to come to the aid of the Indian revolt. They could at best exploit it
and await its outcome.

This was, however, not the attitude of democratic circles in these and
other countries... there was in all democratic circles of the
civilised world great sympathy for the Indian uprising. Great and
historic is the significance of the Chartist leaders’ solidarity with
the Indian national uprising. Modern British labour movement dates its
birth from the Chartists. Modern Indian national movement dates its
birth from the 1857 uprising. What a new fraternal vision emerges from
the memory that the British proletariat and the Indian people have
stood together ever since the beginning of their respective movements.
The Chinese date the birth of their modern anti-imperialist national
movement from the Taiping uprising as we date ours from the 1857
uprising. The Chinese paper (presented at the symposium on the
centenary of the 1857 Revolt) documents the hitherto unknown story
that the Chinese people responded sympathetically to the 1857 uprising
and the Indian sepoys deserted to the Taipings and fought shoulder to
shoulder with them against the common enemy. Marx noted the new
phenomenon that the revolt in the Anglo-Indian army has coincided with
a general disaffection exhibited against supremacy by the Great
Asiatic nations, the revolt of the Bengal Army being, beyond doubt,
intimately connected with the Persian and Chinese wars.55

Thus the great national uprising of 1857 laid the foundation for the
worldwide democratic solidarity with the Indian struggle in its next
phase and our new national movement built itself on healthy
internationalist traditions. For example, in the twenties, the Indian
national movement vigorously opposed the imperialist policies in the
Middle East and expressed solidarity with the Egyptian struggle under
Zaglul Pasha, in the thirties it expressed practical solidarity with
the Chinese people’s struggle against the Japanese invaders and the
worldwide anti-fascist movement and so on. It was thus no accident
that after the achievement of independence India emerged as a great
world power championing the cause of world peace and the liberation of
all subject nations....n

[*NOTES

1. Major B.D. Basn, Rise of The Christian Power in India, (1931), p.
953.

2. Marx, unsigned article, “The Indian Question”, New York Daily
Tribune, August 14, 1857.

3. Quoted by R.C. Majumdar, The Sepoy Mutiny and Revolt of 1857, p.
278.

4. Marx, “The British Rule in India”, New York Daily Tribune, June 25,
1853.

5. R.P. Dutt, India Today, p. 98.

6. Marx, “The East India Company—Its History and Results”, New York
Daily Tribune, July 11, 1853.

7. Ramkrishna Mukherjee, The Rise and Fall of the East India Company,
p. 174.

8. K.M. Panikkar, Asia and Western Dominance, p. 99.

9. Allamah Fazle Haq of Khayrabad, “The Story of the War of
Independence 1857-58”, Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society,
vol. V, pt. 1, January 1957, p. 29.

10. National Herald, May 10, 1957.

11. Mukherjee, op. cit., p. 223.

12. R.C. Dutt, The Economic History of India in the Victorian Age, p.
xv.

13. Montgomeny Martin, Eastern India, Introduction to vol. I.

14. Mukherjee, op. cit., pp. 224-25.

15. Marx, “The British Rule in India”, New York Daily Tribune, June
25, 1853.

16. Majumdar, op. cit., p. 229.

17. Charles Ball, Indian Mutiny, vol. II. p. 242.

18. Sir T. Metcalfe, Two Narratives of the Mutiny at Delhi, pp. 98-99.

19. Quoted by Edward Thompson, The Other Side of the Medal, pp. 73-74.
20. Quoted by Savarkar, Indian War of Independence, p. 134.

21. Majendie, Up Among the Pandies, pp. 195-96.

22. Kaye & Malleson, History of the Indian Mutiny, vol. II, p. 281.

23. Nehru, Discovery of India, p. 281.

24. Marx, unsigned article, New York Daily Tribune, July 15, 1857. 25.
Nehru, op. cit., p. 279.

26. Quoted by Savarkar, op. cit., pp. 534-35.

27. Nehru, op. cit., p. 279.

28. Majumdar, op. cit., p. 241.

29. S.N. Sen, Eighteen Fifty Seven, pp. 412-13.

30. John Williams Kaye, A History of the Sepoy War, vol. I, p. 565.

31. Quoted by Asoka Mehta, The Great Rebellion, p. 42.

32. Fazle Haq, op. cit., p. 33.

33. Vide Talmiz Khaldun’s paper “The Great Rebellion” presented at the
symposium held on the occasion of the centenary of the 1857 Revolt.

34. Metcalfe, op. cit., p. 220.

35. Ibid., Jeewanlal’s Diary, under date 26 August.

36. G.W. Forrest, op. cit., vol. II, p. 150.

37. On October 5, 1858. See Col. G.B. Malleson, Indian Mutiny of 1857,
Vol. III, p. 287.

38. On February 3, 1858. See Ibid., vol. II, p. 334.

39. Ball, op. cit., vol. II, p. 241.

40. Quoted by Asoka Mehta, op. cit., pp. 51-52. Also Savarkar, op.
cit., p. 444.

41. W.H. Russell, My Diary in India in the Year 1858-59, p. 276.

42. M.R. Gubbins, An Account of the Mutinies in Oudh, p. 53.

43. T.R. Holmes, History of the Seopy War, p. 506.

44. Gubbins, op. cit., p. 58.

45. Majumdar, op. cit., p. 217. 46. Nehru, op. cit., p. 284. 47.
Ibid., p. 268. 48. Nehru, op. cit., p. 285. 49. Earl Granville,
February 19, 1858, in the House of Lords in reply to the charges of
the President of the Board of Control, Lord Ellenborough.
Parliamentary Debates, 3rd series, CXL VIII, 1858, pp. 1728-29.

50. Quoted by Sen, op. cit., p. 29.

51. Dadabhai Naoroji, “The Condition of India”. Correspondence with
the Secretary of State for India, Journal of the East India Affairs,
XIV, 1882, pp. 171-172.

52. K. N. Panikkar, Asia and Western Dominance, p. 105.

53. Ibid., pp. 162-163.

54. Ibid., pp. 164-165.

55. Marx, unsigned article, New York Herald Tribune, July 15, 1857. *]

http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article107.html

Mainstream Weekly

Mainstream, Vol XLVI No 41

Dissecting Anew Hindu-Muslim Ties And Partition
Wednesday 1 October 2008, by Amarendra Nath Banerjee

[(BOOK REVIEW)]

HINDU-MUSLIM RELATIONS IN A NEW PERSPECTIVE BY PANCHANAN SAHA
(FOREWORD BY DR ASGHAR ALI ENGINEER); BISWABIKSHA, KOLKATA; PP.
FORWORD +392; RS 300.

Hindu-Muslim relations are very much complicated—the knottiest problem
in Indian history. Since the advent of Islam in the Indian
subcontinent more than millennium years ago, India faced a powerful
challenge from a militant and vigorous religion with an egalitarian
appeal. India failed to stem the tide of the rapid spread of Islam due
to internal squabbles and degeneration of society. In the caste-ridden
Brahminical society the lower castes were denied proper human rights.
They were not only socially degraded but also economically exploited.
It is no wonder, therefore, that millions of them welcomed Islam as a
religion of deliverance and to gain human dignity. The theory of
social liberation seems to be right for substantial reasons in
Islamisation in India. Swami Vivekananda had rightly said:

The Mohammedan conquest of India came as a salvation to the
downtrodden, to the poor. That is why one-fifth of our people have
become Mohammedan. It was not the sword that did it all. It would be
the height of madness to think that it was all the work of sword and
fire.

But it does not mean force was not at all applied in Islamisation.
However, the major role was played by the Sufi saints and Pirs in it.
Nevertheless, wholesale Islamisation did not take place in India like
Afghanistan, Persia and other countries perhaps due to the inherent
strength of the Hindu philosophy in spite of its many drawbacks.

The advent of Islam produced tremendous reactions in India. Hinduism
wanted to protect itself by going into its inner shells with stricter
caste rules and regulations. But this hardly helped in preventing the
egalitarian influence of Islam on Hindu society. The Bhakti movement
was its product.

But living hundreds of years side by side, eating the same grain from
the common fields, drinking the same water and inhaling the same air,
the Hindu and Muslim societies and religions underwent profound
changes. Islam of India today is not the same as what it was when it
arrived. Hinduism also could not remain the same. Both the religions
had influenced each other. There was some kind of assimilation between
the two in spite of frequent clashes and mutual hostility. But
unfortunately a composite Indian nation has failed to emerge
assimilating the two major religions in India due to various factors
which led ultimately to the partition of the country.

Dr Panchanan Saha’s new book, Hindu-Muslim Relations in a New
Perspective, is projected on a large canvas from the advent of Islam—
gradual Islamisation and its causes, conflict and assimilation,
sprouting of the seeds of separation by the conscious British policy
of divide-and-rule, Hindu-Muslim revivalism and the short-sighted
policy of the Indian political leaders which ultimately led to the
communal carnage and partition of India.

In the chapter, “Conflict and Assimilation”, Saha emphasises the role
played by the Sufi saints, Bhakti movement as well as attempts of the
Mughal Emperor, Akbar, and his great grandson, Dara Shiko, to help the
process of reconciliation between the Hindus and Muslims. But
unfortunately this process was not properly taken forward due to
various factors, particularly the emergence of Wahhabism and Hindu-
Muslim revivalism.



IN his analysis Saha has been seldom swayed by emotion; rather he has
remained mostly faithful to rationalism. He holds that the causes of
spread of separatism among the Muslims of India are to be found in the
refusal of the already matured Hindu bourgeoisie in sharing power with
the newly emerging Muslim bourgeoisie. Muslim bourgeoisie developed
later due to their empathy to British rule and Western education.

Saha has sympathetically discussed the Fourteen Points of M.A. Jinnah
in this direction and the rejection of the Congress to share power
with the Muslim League in Uttar Pradesh after the elections of 1936
and to collaborate with Fazlul Haque in Bengal for forming a secular
Ministry. It seems class interest played a more decisivie role in
making this choice than the greater interest of the country.

There is a simplistic explanation of Hindu-Muslim cleavage by putting
the sole responsibility on the British policy of divide-and-rule. But
Saha appears to be correct when he cites Tagore—“The Satan cannot
enter unless there is a hole to get in.” Tagore believed that division
among Hindus and Muslims existed and the cunning British rulers
utilised it to prolong their rule.

In his last chapter, entitled “Was Partition Inescapable?”, Saha has
not traversed the beaten tracks of numerous scholars of partition. He
has used substantial Pakistani literature on partition to prove his
point.

There is an enigma why Gandhiji, in spite of opposing partition on the
basis of religion tooth and nail, ultimately accepted it as a fait
accompli. The Frontier Gandhi, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, lamented that
they were thrown to the wolves. What went on behind-the-scenes is a
mystery to this day.

It seems that the Hindu big bourgeoisie wanted an unchallenged market
even in partitioned India. They seemed to think that a truncated
Pakistan would not be viable. Whatever the reasons, it is evident that
had the Indian leaders shown true sagacity and leadership free of
class or emotional bias, there might have been a Confederation of
India based on the Cabinet Mission’s Plan which the Congress initially
accepted but subsequently refused to do so for reasons that are
unknown. Hence it is not inappropriate to quote The Times of India:

It is legitimate to enquire who is responsible for this debacle. ….
the parties concerned, the Congress, the British Government and the
Muslim League, are all more or less responsible, although on the facts
set forth, the Congress should get the first prize.

One could have expected that such a serious book should have remained
free from printing and editorial errors.

http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article957.html

Mainstream Weekly

Mainstream, Vol XLVI, No 50

Hindu Terrorism: The Shock of Recognition
Wednesday 3 December 2008, by Badri Raina

Epigraph

“Underlying these religions were a common set of beliefs about how you
treat other people and how you aspire to act, not just for yourself
but also for the greater good.”

(Obama in his interview about Religion given to Cathleen Falsani,
March 27, 2004; cf. to his mother’s teaching about the validity of
diverse faiths and the value of tolerance.)

I

So, now, India is home to “Hindu” terrorism. Departing from the more
usual banner-appelation, “Saffron Terror”, I wish the fact to be
registered that saffron is drawn from the stamin of a delicate and
indescribably pretty mauve flower grown exclusively in my home valley
of Kashmir, and exclusively by Muslims. My inherited memories of it
are thereby sweet and secular to the core. Also, saffron when used to
grace milk products, Biryani, or to brew the heavenly kehwa is a thing
of the gods truly.

It is only when it is coerced against the use of nature to colour
politics that it rages against the sin. Then, don’t we know, what
gruesome consequences begin?

I think it proper, therefore, to stick with the more direct and honest
description, “Hindu” terrorism, since, much against their grain, even
India’s premier TV channels are now bringing us news of “Hindu”
terrorism, so compelling the materials gathered by the investigating
agencies thus far. This despite the fact that in my view the term
“Hindu” trerrorism is as erroneous as the term “Muslim” terrorism.
Even though not a religious man myself, I am able to see that being
Hindu or Muslim by accident of birth has no necessary connect with how
one’s politics turns out to be in adult life. A plethora of specific
contexts and shaping histories are here provenly more to the point.

II

It was way back in 1923 that Savarkar, never a practising Hindu
(indeed a self-confessed atheist) had first understood that from this
benign term, “Hindu”, could be drawn the toxic racial concept
Hindutva, and made to serve a forthrightly fascist purpose. That
Brahminism had always been a socially toxic form of Hinduism was of
course an enabling prehistory to the new project.

He it was who established Abhinav Bharat in Pune (1904), that
theoretical hotbed of twice-born Brahminical casteism against which
low-caste social reformers such as Phule, Periyar, and Ambedkar were
to struggle their whole lives long.

Such casteism was made the instrument of communalist politics to serve
two major objectives: one, to overwhelm and negate the specific
cultural and material oppressions of the low-caste within the Hindu
Varna system , and two, to elevate the low-caste as a warrior of a
common “Hindutva” army against the chief common “enemy”, the Muslim.
Such an army has been seen to be needed to salvage the “real” nation
from this so-called common enemy who continues to be represented to
this day by the RSS and its hydra-headed “educational” front
organisations as an “invader” still bent on seeking to convert India
into an Islamic theocratic state.

Aided in these mythical fears and constructions by the British during
the crucial decades leading upto Independence, India’s majoritarian
fascists continue thus to keep at bay all consideration of secular
oppressions based entirely in the brutal social order of Capitalist
expropriation.

Savarkar thus counselled how a resurgent nation could result only if
“Hinduism was militarised, and the military Hinduised”.

Clearly enough, the serving Army Colonel, S.P. Purohit, and the other
retired Major, one Upadhyay, who the Mumbai ATS (Anti-Terrorist Squad)
tells us, are at the centre of the Malegaon terrorist blasts of
September 29, 2008, alongwith Sadhvi Pragya and the rogue-sadhu,
Amreetanand—and very possibly complicit in half-a dozen other blasts
as well—seem to have heeded Savarkar’s advice to the hilt.

Indeed, in his narco-test confessions, Colonel Purohit, sources have
told some TV channels (Times Now), admits to his guilt and justifies
his actions as retribution for what he thinks SIMI (Student’s Islamic
Movement of India) have been doing. He is understood to have further
indicated that the rogue sadhu, Amreetanand, nee Dayanand etc., has
been the kingpin and chief coordinator and devisor of several other
blasts carried out by this cell, including the blasts at the revered
Ajmer Dargah (Mausoleum of the 12th century Sufi saint, Chisti, which
to this day draws devotees across faiths the world-over), and at
Kanpur.

The ATS are now busy exploring the routes through which huge sums of
money have been brought into the country for such terrorist activity
as hawala transactions, and whether the RDX, suspected to be used in
the Malegaon blast, was procured by Colonel Purohit through Army
connections. It is to be noted that Purohit has been in Military
Intelligence, and serving in Jammu and Kashmir, where it is thought he
made contact with the rogue sadhu, Amreetanand.

(Indeed, as I write, news comes of the ATS claiming that Purohit
actually stole some 60 kilos of RDX which was in his custody while
doing duty at Deolali, and that in his narco-test confession he admits
to passing it on to one “Bhagwan” for use in the blast on the
Samjhauta Express train in February, 2007.)

Needless to say, that alongwith the courts, we will also require that
the ATS is actually able to obtain convictions rather than merely pile
on evidence which may not be admissible in law.

To return to the argument:

As I suggested in my last column, “Notions of the Nation” (Znet,
November 4), Hindutva militarism since the establishment of the Hindu
Mahasabha and the RSS has been inspired by the desire to emulate and
then better Muslim “aggressiveness” seen as a racial characteristic
that defined “Muslim” rule in India, and rendered Hindus “limp” and
“cowardly”.

Thus, if Savarkar established Abhinav Bharat, Dr Moonje, an avowed
Mussolini admirer who in turn inspired Dr Hedgewar to establish the
RSS on Vijay Dashmi of 1924 (victory day, denoting the liquidation of
the Dravidian Ravana by the Aryan Kshatriya warrior, Ram), established
the Bhondsala Military Academy at Indore (1937). It now transpires
that this academy has been playing host to the Bajrang Dal for
militarist training routines etc., and its Director, one Raikar, has
put in his papers. Unsurprisingly enough, both these institutions are
now under the scanner.

III

Over the last decade, terrorist blasts have occurred in India across a
wide variety of sites and in major cities and towns.

Many of these blasts have taken place outside mosques and known
Muslim- majority locations, as well outside cinema halls that were
thought to be showing movies inimical to Hindu glory.

Briefly, these sites are: cinemas in Thane and Vashi in Maharashtra,
Jalna, Purna, Parbhani, and Malegaon towns, again all in Maharashtra—
and all areas of high Muslim density, in Hyderabad outside a famous
old mosque, and in Ahmedabad and Surat in Gujarat.

Curiously, in the Surat episode, some sixteen odd bombs were found
placed along the main thoroughfare in tree branches, on house-tops, on
electric poles and so forth. Not one of them however exploded. This
was thought to be the result of defective switches. Curious
circumstance that; besides the wonder that Ahmedabad’s Muslims could
find such sprawling access to such strategic locations without Modi
knowing a thing.

Yet, regardless of where the blasts have taken place, almost without
exception the Pavlovian response of state agencies as well as, sad to
say, media channels has been invariably to point fingers of suspicion
and culpability towards one or the other “Islamic” outfit.

Often, young Muslims men have been rounded up in the scores and held
for days of brutal questioning without the least prima facie evidence.
Nearly in all such cases, however reluctantly, they have had to be let
off.

The most recent case is that of some fifteen young Muslims picked up
after the Hyderabad blasts. Tortured with electric shocks, they have
nevertheless been found to be innocent and let go.

Indeed, after the gruesome blasts in the Samjhauta Express—a train
service of reconciliation and confidence-building between India and
Pakistan—in which some 68 people were burnt to cinders, 45 of them
Pakistani citizens, fingers were immediately pointed towards the SIMI.

Yet, the ATS of Mumbai now suspects that this may also be the doing of
the “Hindu” terrorists in custody. These speculations have been raised
by the circumstance that the suitcases that held the bombs had Indore
labels on them.

Just as the ATS now suspects that more than half a dozen blasts (the
two at Malegaon, in 2006 and 2008, at the cinemas in Thane and Vashi,
at Jalna, at Purna, at Parbhani, provenly at Nanded and Kanpur) have
all been the handiwork of “Hindu” terror groups.

IV

For some years, reputed civil and human rights organisations, and
individual members of civil society that have included journalists,
judges, lawyers, writers, artists, teachers, students, and labour
organisations, besides organised Muslim fora and Left parties, have
been cautioning both state agencies and media conglomerates to:

• desist from the Pavlovian haste with which some one or other Muslim
group is immediately named and labelled literally within an hour of
the occurrence of a blast, thus contributing to the maligning of the
entire Muslim community;

• to consider the possibility that groups other than those involving
Muslims could be involved;

• to refrain from covering up prima facie evidence which points to
such possibilities; indeed, where such evidence seems conclusive, as
the complicity of the Bajrang Dal at Nanded and Kanpur;

• to ponder the question as to why Muslims should effect blasts within
their own localities or outside their mosques;

• to weigh the consequences for the Muslim psyche of the failure of
the state to prevent repeated pogroms against them, and to find or
punish the guilty; not to speak of active state connivance in those
pogroms (Moradabad, 198o; Nellie, 1983; Hashimpura, 1987; Bhagalpur,
1989; Mumbai, 1992-93; Gujarat, 2002, to cite just the more recent
ones);

• to permit transparency in the matter of police investigations with
due regard for the Constitutional rights of those held in custody—such
as visitation, access to legal defence, norms of the recording of
confession and other evidence etc.;

• to respect the obligatory presumption of innocence until anyone is
juridically found guilty;

Time and again these cautions and rightful prerogatives have been
trampled under foot.

Aided by the loud biases of the corporate media which have tended to
reflect the predilections both of free-market imperialism and
comprador urban middle class sentiments in India’s metropolitan towns,
India’s state agencies and that “all-knowing” species, the
Intellegence expert, who seems ever present to reinforce anti-Muslim
prejudice, have tended to feed massively into the politics of the
Hindu Right-wing.

For years on end, India’s chief malady has been sought to be seen to
reside in “Islamic” terrorism, and in the complicit refusal of the
secularists to allow draconian preventive laws to be brought back on
the books. Not in poverty, malnutrition, disease, absence of health
care or clean drinking water, or lack of steady work among the urban
poor, or the ousted tribals, disenfranchised farmers, chronic failure
of primary schooling and so forth among some 75 per cent of Indians.
And most of them belonging to the Muslim, Dalit, and Tribal
communities.

And to repeat for the nth time, this three-fourths of Indians able to
spend just or under Rupees Twenty a day, all according to the
governments’ own Arjun Sengupta Committee Report.

Not to speak of the venomous communalisation of the polity, the
alienation and ghettoisation of the minorities, and the state’s
failure or unwillingness to carry through schemes that could redress
these maladies.

As to new terror laws, the government of the day may protest that it
has all the laws it wants, and more; as well as the fact that the
worst terrorist attacks took place when laws like the dreaded POTA
(Prevention of Terrorism Act) was on the books during the tenure of
the NDA regime led by the ultra-”nationalist” BJP. Small dent is made
by any regime of empirically-founded facts, or fair-minded arguments
on the right-wing fascists and their fattened constituency.

V

Now, of course, a radically transformed milieu is unravelling.

Photos and videos are doing the rounds that show the “Hindu”
terrorists currently under investigation in close and intimate
proximity to top leaders of the RSS, the VHP, and the BJP as well.

Had POTA indeed been on the books today, such evidence would have
authorised the police to put them all behind bars on the charge of
associating with those under investigation for “terrorism”. And all
that without any recourse to bail either.

Predictably, nonetheless, after some days of dumbfounded
crestfallenness (remember that the main electoral plank of the BJP in
the elections now under way in several states and in the soon-to-be-
held parliamentary polls is the failure of the Congress to eradicate
“terrorism” because of its “minority appeasement” policies), the Right-
wing fascists are back to brazen form.

Even as the projected Prime Ministerial candidate, Advani (the high-
point of whose career remains the successful demolition of the Babri
mosque) seeks to strike a stance of caution, party hard-liners have
taken to peddling outrageous theories.

As a complement to the well-known Pavlovian hunch that “all terrorists
are Muslims”, we are now told by the likes of Rajnath Singh, the party
President, that “no Hindu can be a terrorist”, that is to say even
when he or she is found to be one.

This for the reason that what the ordinary man calls “terrorism” is in
fact “nationalism” where any Hindu be involved. Live and learn.

Other than that, it is both interesting and laughable that spokesmen
and women of the BJP are today reduced to gurgitating every single
argument that Muslims and civil rights organisations have to this day
voiced:

• presume innocence until found guilty;

• desist from the “political conspiracy” to malign a whole community;

• do not let enemies of the Hindu-right propagate fake evidence
against them, since all evidence against them must be fake in
principle;

• and most outlandishly, do not communalise terrorism; that from
India’s rank communalists who have done nothing but communalise
terrorism ever since we remember!

VI

Even as these new developments point to a potentially mortal combat
among “Hindu” and “Muslim” terror groups, I venture to think that the
situation also offers opportunities of far-reaching redressal for all
three axes that matter: the state and its agencies, the party-
political system, and the polity generally.

First off, if, as has been the case, the Congress’ secular credentials
have consistently been vitiated by, willy nilly, playing second-fiddle
to Hindu-communalist appeasement, the denuding of the Hindu-Right
offers it the opportunity of a lifetime to assert the supremacy of the
constitutional scheme of things, without fear or favour.

It is indeed a circumstance that can now help the Congress and other
secular parties to come down like a ton on communalism of all shades
that underpin the fatal subversion of the secular republic without the
need for apology.

In this endeavour, its greatest inspiration must come from two factors
on the Muslim side of the issue:

one, that over the last year every single major and influential Muslim
cultural and religious organisation has publicly, and repeatedly,
denounced through speech, act, and fatwa “terrorism” as un-Islamic and
a rightful candidate for punishment under law;

and, two, that without exception they have pleaded only and ever for
fair and just treatment at the hands of the authorised instruments of
state, both when victimised by pogroms and suspected as culprits; and
for credible pursuit of those that persecute them.

Not once has any Muslim organisation worth the name suggested that
Muslims have any claims that override the cosntitutional regime of
laws and procedures pertaining to all citizens of the Republic.

All that in stark contrast to the refusal, however camouflaged or
strategised, of the RSS and its affiliates to accept either the
secular Constitution or the notion of secular citizenship.

It is to be recalled that the RSS tactically acquiesced to
acknowledging the primacy of the national flag over its own saffron
one in 1949 as a quid pro quo to its release from the ban imposed on
it after Gandhi’s murder.

To this day it seeks to overthrow the Republic as constituted by law
and to replace it by a theocratic Hindu Rashtra wherein the
prerogatives of citizenship will be determined not by secular,
democratic equality but racial difference among Indians (all that
brutally codified in Golwalker’s two books, We, and Our Ntionhood
Defined; and, the later Bunch of Thoughts which explicitly designates
Muslims as the nations’s “Enemy Number One” in an exclusive chapter).

However Hindu cultural politics may have come to infect sections of
the fattened urbanites, the Congress must show the conviction that
none of these in this day and age would be willing to back what is
explicitly “terrorist” activity, indistinguishable from any other,
once the matter is proven.

This then is a fine moment to release a new energetic politics that
recharges the conviction and inspiration of the non-discriminatory
humanism that informed the leaders of the freedom movement, and thus
to disengage whatever popular base the Hindu-Right has built over the
years since the demolition of the Babri mosque from its fascist
leaderships and cadres.

Just as, in fact, many BJP supporters are busy thinking whether they
are indeed willing to carry their love of Muslim-haters quite to the
point where those other dreams of Indian super-powerdom are seriously
jeopardised by a war of competing terrorisms.

It is also a golden opportunity for the Congress-led UPA, should it
come back to power, to take a hard look at the communalist virus that
has infected law-enforcement agencies over the decades, and to make
bold to effect reforms of a far-reaching character, such as include
the recruitment of Muslims and other “minorities” in due proportion to
the forces, and not just among the lower ranks.

Speaking of the Army, some three per cent Muslims are today among its
ranks—some sixty years after Independence. And I won’t make a guess as
to how abysmal might in fact be its share among the officer core,
colonel and above. And wouldn’t I dearly like to take a peek into what
sort of Indian History is taught India’s future officers at Khada-
kvasla and Dehradun? Truly; and who does the teaching as well.

VII

As to the BJP: it has another opportunity as well, namely, to
reconstitute itself as a secular party on the Right, bearing full
allegiance to the Constitution in letter and spirit (remember now that
among other things on the street-level, the NDA regime led by the BJP
did constitute a Constitution Review Committee—an ominous enough move
that, thankfully, was duly aborted in course), and shunning once and
for all its enslavement to the RSS and its fascist vision of India,
its history, culture and state.

Failing to do so, the BJP may succeed in causing further mayhem; but
it is highly unlikely now to attain the sort of ascendance it seeks
through fair means and foul.

Most of all, the BJP must understand that the Muslims of India, and
Christians as well, have the inalienable right to live and work in the
country on the terms set by the Constitution, not by the RSS or the
Sangh Parivar.

And, conversely, that the BJP itself is as subject to those
constitutional stipulations as any another collective of Indians who
practice their beliefs and politics.

Let the BJP notice the epigraph chosen for this column; it comes from
the new President-elect of the one country that the BJP adores. Or
will it now, with a Black man at the helm?

A different voice floats from there.

Time for the BJP to change its langoti, and say “yes we can” also be
peaceable and law-abiding citizens of the Republic of India. And to
prize and protect its magnificent plurality like all sensible and
humane Indians.

http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article1067.html

Mainstream Weekly

Mainstream, Vol. XLVII, No 34, August 8, 2009

Will RSS see the Ground Reality and join to Salve India‘s Core Values?
Sunday 16 August 2009, by Sailendra Nath Ghosh

Of late, the RSS has been accusing the BJP of inconsistency and also
of failure to convey the real meaning of Hindutva. The BJP has
certainly been inconsistent. It has been in two minds because like the
Congress, it, too, is preoccupied, not with any principle or any
concern for correct ideation, but with the slogan that can help it
capture power. But on the question of the real meaning of Hindutva, is
the RSS itself clear and consistent? It has a very large and committed
cadre. Why does it depend on the BJP to “convey the real meaning”? To
what extent has the RSS itself succeeded in conveying the supposedly
real meaning?

The RSS has been saying that anybody who regards India as his/her
motherland and a holy land is a Hindu and that the Indian Muslims are
Mohammadi Hindus and the Indian Christians are Isahi Hindus and so on.
Now, there is a large body of people who plainly call themselves
Hindus. They are not the followers of any one Prophet or of any one
Book. They have a large body of sacred books – the Vedas, the
Upanishads, the Geeta and Puranas. They venerate many Rishis and adore
some maryada-purushes like Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. How should they
be described? They cannot be called Ramiah Hindus or Krishnaiah
Hindus. They would not like to be called Sakti-ite Hindus, or Shivaite
or Vaishnavaite Hindus. Saktism, shaivism, and vaishnavism have got so
merged in their thinking that they are partly sakta, partly shaiva and
partly vaishnava. They worship all these principles as different
manifestations of the one Supreme Reality in differing circumstances.

If they are to be called “Sanatan dharmis” or in brief, “Sanatanis”,
why did the RSS not launch a movement insisting that the members of
the community, now plainly called Hindus, add a prefix “Sanatani” to
bring consistency? Not to do that would mean they would continue to
describe themselves as Hindus by religion, and again, as Hindus by
nationality. This becomes ridiculous.

Hinduism is no particular religion. It is a philosophy of religions.
The great nationalist leader, late Bipin Chandra Pal, described
Hinduism as a “confederal principle of co-existence of all religions”.
In deference to this spirit, the RSS had composed a verse in which the
names of pious Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Jains were included
as persons to be remembered and revered early every morning, before
beginning the day’s work.

Socio-Cultural Heritage got Degraded

IF this is Hinduism, how does Hindutva differ from it? The RSS’s
cryptic answer is, Hindutva is the concept of “geocultural
nationalism”. Implicitly, it says that long before India’s political
unification, India had achieved cultural unification from Jammu and
Kashmir to Kanyakumari, and from Arunachal and Meghalaya to Saurashtra
through the medium of two great epics, the Ramayana and the
Mahabharata, and the Geeta (which is truly a part of the Mahabharata).
These great works of the ancient Indians, then universally called
Hindus, had imparted values of parental love, filial duties, brotherly
love, unshakeable fidelity to the spouse, the monarch’s obedience to
the people’s wishes, the triumph of dharma over the mightiest wrong-
doer—that is, values to be cherished in perpetuity. Hence Hindutva is
value-orientation, the RSS claims. But can the RSS deny that during
the so-called Hindu period, caste hatred had taken firm roots as a
value? In ancient India, desertion of the wife for no fault of hers
also had become a tradition, as in the case of Sita. Murder of a
shudra for reading the Vedas was sanctioned by the social ethos.

Merit of Religio-Confederal Concept

THE RSS needs to accept that the ancient Hindus had, at a certain
stage, come to indulge in regressive social discrimination. The
obverse side of “geocultral nationalism” was socio-cultural dominance
of the higher castes and of the males among them. In the sphere of
philosophical concepts, however, the ancient Hindus were the most
liberal and the highest in cosmopolitanism (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam).
Hence if the RSS does not want to nurture caste inequality and gender
inequality, it should give up its “geo-cultural nationalism” (read the
socio-cultural concept) of Hindutva. If it seeks to promote the
philosophy of co-existence of all faiths, which is the ideal of
Hinduism, it should opt for the religio-confederal concept of
Hindustaniyat. The Muslims of this country have no problem with this,
because they have been traditionally describing themselves as
Hindustanis. The word Hindustan itself came from the verbiage of the
Iranians.

Four Cardinal Considerations

THE RSS needs to recognise four things. First, the usage of a word in
a restricted sense over centuries changes the original acceptation of
the word. Secondly, the Koran not only teaches the oneness of the
Creator. Its esoteric message is the unity of all of creation. The
bigots fail to see this. Hence, for ages, the raging controversy
within Islam, in the words of the eminent historian, the late Prof
Mohammad Habib, has been “between Wahdat-ul-wujud (God is everything)
and Wahdat-ush-shuhud (everything comes from God)”. Those who believe
in the former become attuned to tolerance, amicable relations between
all religious and racial communities and (Emperor) Akbar’s doctrine of
sulh-I-kul (Universal Religious Peace). The doctrine of Wahdat-ush-
shuhud led to the worship of external shariat (shariat-i-zahiri) and
communal hatred. (Vide Prof Habib’s Foreword to Dr S.A.A.Rizvi’s book
“Muslim Revivalist Movements in Northern India in the Sixteenth and
Seventeenth Centuries”)

From the above, it follows that the pious people in other faiths
should help in resolving the worldwide intra-Islamic controversy in
favour of the former. Declaration of the principle of confederal
principle in religion in India would largely help resolve Islam’s
global problem and be a powerful blow against bigotry, for world
peace.

Thirdly, India’s religio-philosophy’s contribution to Sufism in Islam,
and Islam’s contribution to spurring religious reform movements in
India constitute a glorious chapter in the world’s history. Historians
agree that the growth of Sufism in early Islam was inspired as much by
its internal urges as by the influences of Buddhism, the Vedanta and
the Hellenistic religions. Islam’s strident call to equality was
wedded to the Arabian nomadic tribes’ aggressive traits. It needed an
Indian response. This provided the spark for the religious reform
movements led by Ramananda, Kabir, Namdev, Tukaram, Guru Nanak and Sri
Chaitanya. To talk of inequitous socio-cultural Hindutva as the motto
is to belittle the fruitful intermingling of the religio-philosophical
thoughts of early Islam and its contemporary Hinduism.

Sharing is a positive value within Islam. Sharing the means of
sustenance is also an ideal of Hinduism so much so that Swami
Vivekananda had proclaimed that the “Hindu ideal is socialistic”.
Hence there is considerable convergence between the pristine Islamic
and Hindu spirituality.

Fourthly, all the ideals of love and selfless service which the
Ramayana and the Mahabharata had taught are getting eclipsed under the
influence of the now globally dominant commercialism, selfism, and cut-
throat competitivism in the name of efficiency. To restore ancient
India’s sublime values, we need a joint fight of all people against
the West’s consumerist and acquisitive philosophy of life and its
accompanying paradigm of development. The Biblical value of universal
love, the Koranic value of Raham and the Upanishadic teaching “love
others as you do yourself” can join together to beat back the narrow
self-centric modes of thought. For this also, the fascination for the
word “Hindutva” needs to be given up to salve the basic values.

Hinduism’s ideal is synthesis, ever higher synthesis. It requires
reconciliation by dissolving the sources of conflict in every
unfolding situation. Its ideal is integration of the heart and the
head (that is, emotion and intellect) of every individual; integration
of individuals with the society; integration of the communities by
elevation to newer peaks of harmonious existence. Its form of address
must, therefore, be such as has a psychological appeal to all people.
The language of negativism, or a language that has the flavour of bias
against any group is alien to the spirit of Hinduism. We need
inclusivism in letter and spirit.

Inclusivism is not an apologia for overlooking anybody’s hateful,
divisive or separatist trends. But to successfully fight separatism,
we must have a robust faith in the ultimate victory of the cause for
universal good and the preparedness to make sacrifices for it. Success
is assured if the approach is positive. Mere criticism/condemnation of
any trend without a pointer to the workable alternative serves only to
widen the gulf. It defeats the national purpose.

True, the virulent anti-Hindu, anti-Shia mujaddid movement in the 16th
century, the bigoted ulama’s secretive conspiracies against Emperor
Akbar’s policy of religious tolerance in the 16th century, the wave of
Wahabi Jihadism from Arabia in the 18th century, the ani-Hindu tirade
of the later-day incarnate of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in the late 19th
century and the mayhem for a separate homeland for the Muslims led by
the later-day incarnate of Mohammad Ali Jinnah were all abominations
and deserved condemnation. But the turning of the usually unruly
Pathans into the volunteers of non-violence led by the Frontier Gandhi
( Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan) was an index of the wonder that communal
harmony and national unity could achieve.

Indian Muslims had no Pathological Separatism

IT must not be imagined that the Indian Muslims had always been under
separatist influence. It is well known that in undivided Punjab,
undivided Bengal and in Sind and the NWFP, and Balochistan, that is,
in the Muslim-majority States which were to constitute Pakistan later,
the Muslim League’s influence was meagre. In the elections to the
provincial legislatures and the Central Assembly in 1937, just a
decade before the Partition, the Muslim League had cut a sorry figure.
In Punjab, it contested only seven out of 84 Muslim reserved seats and
won only two. In Bengal, out of 117 Muslim reserved seats, it had won
only 38. In Sind out of 133 Muslim reserved seats, it had secured only
38. In the NWFP, the League was trounced. The League did not get even
a single seat in the Central Assembly. This showed the Muslims could
be mobilised for national purposes if the national leadership could
act wisely and avoid falling into traps.

True, a decade later the results were reversed. The Muslim League won
all the 30 reserved seats for Muslims in the Central Assembly and 428
seats out of 492 reserved seats for Muslims in provincial
legislatures. That happened because the elections were held in an
atmosphere in which no civilised country would ever allow an election
to take place. The ambience was vitiated by the British rulers’
intrigues, the Imams’ fatwas and false propaganda blitz that in the
event of Muslim League’s defeat, the Muslims would not be allowed to
congregate to offer prayers or to bury their dead and that the
madrasas would all be closed. The Indian National Congress, which had
the necessary moral resources and international prestige, could have
asked for postponement of the elections unless there was a stoppage of
the false propaganda and a calming down of the tempers. Moreover, it
should never have agreed to the elections— a virtual referendum —
being held on the basis of restricted franchise in which only 10 per
cent of the population had the right to vote!

Deadly Poison Mix of Ruling Party’s Pseudo-Secularism and RSS’
Hindutva

IN post-independence India, the ruling Congress party, in the name of
secularism, has been following a policy of appeasing the bigoted
Muslim clerics. Thereby it encouraged “minority aggressivism” and
further fuelled the communal fire. But Hindutvavad was no answer to
this. Instead of mitigating the communal fire, it only served to
corroborate Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s and later Jinnah’s thesis that the
Muslims and the Hindus were two separate nations. What was needed
instead was the pointer that concessions to the clerics were only a
cloak for neglect of the Muslim masses’ material, intellectual and
spiritual interests. Only Mahatma Gandhi’s kind of response could have
been effective. During his Noakhali tour, with his ever-present
declaration of Universal Love, he had challenged the communalist
leaders to show him where the Koran had enjoined the killing of people
of other faiths. Could the RSS challenge the communalists the way the
Mahatma did?

One only wishes that the Mahatma had shown the same grit by standing
steadfastly with Maulana Azad and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in resisting
Partition.

Hinduism’s unique teaching is: “Hate the sin, not the sinner.”
Hinduism also teaches: “Love others as you do yourself.” “Love has the
power to heal.” The Biblical teaching, too, is Universal Love. The
Koran teaches Khuda’s Raham pervades the universe. Criticism by the
way of pointer to the error is essential. But criticism without
concern for the welfare of the wrong-doer is of no avail.

Half-hearted Compromise is no Solution

IN its latest meet, the BJP’s National Executive has tried to make a
compromise between the RSS’ clamour for Hindutva and many of the BJP
leaders’ belated realisation that the Hindutva slogan alienates not
only the Muslims, Christians and large sections of the Dalits, but
also the secular “caste-Hindus”. L.K. Advani’s middle-path declaration
that the party would not accept “any narrow, bigoted, anti-Muslim
interpretation of Hindutva” indicates it is unable to shed its
fascination for the word it has so long been pledged to. In fact, the
BJP would not be able to shed it until the the RSS realises how, by
sticking to this word, it is hampering national unity and also
defeating its own cherished values. This tightrope walking by the BJP
will not have the healing touch. This will not unify the people.

Clearly discarding Hindutva and accepting Hindustaniyat will not mean
any loss of face. This will rather show the courage to steer a change
propelled by the depth of patriotic fervour.

If the RSS and/or the BJP could drop Hindutva as its motto, it would
be able to challenge the Muslimist bigots more effectively. Like Dr
Rafiq Zakaria and in one voice with all truly secular people, it will
be able to tell the bigoted clerics:

During the British rule, you accepted the replacements of the Koranic
punishments by those which the then rulers had imposed in their civil
and criminal courts. At that time, you acquiesced in the banning of
the stoning of the adulterous to death, though this ban violated the
Koranic injunction. You paid interest on the loans taken from the
banks though it was prohibited by the Koran. Now, you raise a hue and
cry about carrying out some essential reforms in Muslim Personal Law
even though some Muslim countries have already enacted them. In
protest against the Supreme Court’s righteous verdict in the Shah Bano
case, you got enacted a law of maintenance which has thrown many
Muslim women divorcees to the streets. ‘Triple talaq at one go’ is
barbaric and against the spirit of the Koran; still you cling to it.

After it drops the outmoded Hindutva slogan, it would be able to mock
the shariat enthusiasts in the manner of Akbar Allahabadi: “The Shaikh
advised his followers, why do you travel by train when you could
travel on camel’s back?”

Writing on the Wall

MAYBE, all these pleas will fall flat in the RSS leadership’s ears. In
that case, the RSS should read the writing on the wall: the RSS will
break up or become moribund. Despite its claim of being a monolith
with no divergence of views among its members, the RSS will face a
grave existential crisis if it does not change its tune in keeping
with the times. There are already sufficient indications. In the1980s—
I forget the exact year—I was invited by Deendayal Research Institute,
headed by Nanaji Deshmukh, to give a series of lectures on my ideas of
environment and development. Lala Hansraj Gupta was in the chair. When
I came to say “Hinduism is no religion. It is a way of life”, I heard
an exclamation in endorsement: “Exactly. Those who talk of ‘Hindus,
Hindus’ but have no interest in the lives of Muslims are not genuine
Hindus.” The voice was Nanaji’s. I was pleasantly surprised because
Nanaji was a prominent RSS member and I did not expect this from an
RSS leader of his stature. Later I had many discussions with him, in
course of which I asked him: “Why don’t you tell your opinions to
Balasaheb Deoras?” He told me that he was writing down his viewpoints
but these would be published after his death. Presumably, he did not
want to annoy the RSS leadership for fear of their non-cooperation in
his other constructive activities at Gonda or Chitrakut.

I know some senior BJP leaders who would be happy if Hindutva is
dropped as the guiding principle. How long can the RSS keep such
people together under the banner of Hindutva? The slogan of Hindutva
does conjure up fear of “Hindu cultural domination” in the minds of
today’s non-Hindus, even if Hindu Rashtra is ruled out. Rationalising
has its limits.

If the RSS changes its archaic ideas and accepts Hindustaniyat as the
religio-confederal principle, it can play a much larger role on the
national horizon. During invasions by China and by Pakistan, its
volunteers played a very useful role in mobilising the people against
the invaders, and working as service providers to our military and
internal security forces. It also played a significant role in
regulating traffic and maintaining law and order even-handedly. In
recognition of this, the then Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri,
invited the RSS leadership to be a member of the National Security
Council. In times of violent attacks on the Sikhs following Indira
Gandhi’s assassination, it did laudable work in giving shelter and
succour to the Sikhs. Dr Hedgewar had links with Bengal’s legendary
revolutionary leader, Trailokya Nath Chakrabarty also known as
‘Maharaj’; and therefore, this nation’s hero, Subhas Chandra Bose, had
even thought of utilising the RSS’ organisational skill in raising a
nationalist volunteer force. During Jayaprakash Narayan’s anti-
corruption and anti-Emergency movements and Bihar flood relief, the
RSS had earned fulsome praise from JP.

Will the RSS let all this goodwill to be besmirched or lost by its
dogmatism and obsolete ideas? It needs to realise that its Hindutvavad
does stir up, among its unthinking followers—which is by far the
larger part—fanaticism, blind prejudices and hatred against all those
who now refuse to see themselves as “Hindus”. If the RSS did not
suffer from the Nelson’s eye syndrome, it would have seen that a large
section of the Dalits and even the Sikhs, who were once the vanguard
of saving the Hindus from forced conversion, do not now like to be
counted as Hindus.

The author is one of the country’s earliest environ-mentalists and a
social philosopher.

http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article1571.html

Mainstream Weekly

VOL XLV No 01

Sachar Committee Report : A Review
Tuesday 24 April 2007, by Anees Chishti

The report of the High-Level Committee appointed by the Prime Minister
under the chairmanship of Justice Rajindar Sachar, retired Chief
Justice of the Delhi High Court, to study the ‘Social, Economic and
Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India’, has been a
subject of wide discussion in the press, among parliamentarians and
other politicians as well as in other informed sections of the
society.

The seven-member Committee had as its members eminent personalities
like Sayid Hamid, former Vice-Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim
University and currently Chancellor, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, Prof
T.K. Oommen, former Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University and a
sociologist of world renown, among others. Dr. Abusaleh Shariff, Chief
Economist, National Council of Applied Economic Research, who is noted
for his perceptive research on various issues of national concern, was
the Member-Secretary. There was no woman member: surprising, as the
condition of women is very important for any survey of the social
scenario among the Muslims. And, the Committee has tried to look at
the predicament of the Muslim women in as good a manner as it could.

The Committee had several consultants from different disciplines and
had commissioned specialists on various aspects of the subject under
coverage to write papers for its use in its study of the complex
issues.

The Committee collected data from the various Censuses, the National
Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), banks and, of course, from the
Central and State Governments.

The members of the Committee visited different parts of the country to
assess the grassroots situation and grasp the realities by experience
rather than merely with the help of statistics brought to their desks
by investigators. The Committee tried to sift the perception of
members of the Muslim community (as well as of non-Muslims) and
understand the nature and magnitude of the community’s grievances, to
be able to judge the veracity or otherwise of the expressions of
negligence and deprivation.

Most of the grievances of the community are common knowledge and those
who have access to the Urdu press in different parts of the country
are fully aware of the endless stories of ‘woes’ and ‘miseries’ of the
community. But a systematic study of these grievances had to be made
and the Sachar Committee ventured to do that. We shall deal with the
grievances briefly later but, first, a review of the findings of the
Sachar Committee in different areas of its concern.

II

It would be appropriate to begin a survey of the Sachar Committee’s
findings with the fundamental issue of education. The literacy rate
for Muslims in 2001 was, according to the Committee’s findings, far
below the national average. The difference between the two rates was
greater in urban areas than in rural areas. For women, too, the gap
was greater in the urban areas.

When compared to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes the growth
in literacy for Muslims was lower than for the former. The female
urban enrolment in literacy ratio for the SCs/STs was 40 per cent in
1965 that rose to 83 per cent in 2001. The equivalent rate for Muslims—
that was considerably higher in 1965 (52 per cent)—recorded a figure
of 80 per cent, lower than the figure for the SCs / STs.

According to the Sachar Committee’s findings, 25 per cent of Muslim
children in the 6-14 age-group either never went to school or else
dropped out at some stage.

The disparity in Graduate Attainment Rates between Muslims and other
categories has been widening since the 1970s in urban and rural areas.
According to the Sachar Committee, only one out of 25 undergraduate
students and one out of 50 post-graduate students in ‘premier
colleges’ are Muslims. The percentage of graduates in poor households
pursuing post-graduate studies is significantly lower for Muslims:
Hindus General (29 per cent); SCs/STs (28 per cent); OBCs (23 per
cent); Muslims (16 per cent). The unemployment rate among Muslim
graduates is the highest among all Socio-Religious Categories (SRCs),
poor as well as non-poor.

In the midst of the widespread discussion about the role of madrasas
in the life of Muslims, it is interesting to note that only three per
cent of Muslim children go to madrasas.

Some figures of the Committee are very revealing, when the situation
of OBCs is considered. In education upto matriculation, graduation and
employment in the formal sector all OBCs lag behind in terms of the
all-India average. Muslim OBCs (that have been defined here a little
later) fall below the Hindu OBCs in all categories. And, General
Muslims fare the worst being behind both Hindu and Muslim OBCs.

An important cause for the low level of attainment of Muslims in
education is the dearth of facilities for teaching Urdu and other
subjects through the medium of Urdu (mother tongue) in lower classes,
the Committee points out. It cites the better examples of Karnataka
and Maharashtra in this context. These two States are much better
equipped with Urdu medium schools at the elementary level. Karnataka
has the additional feature of concurrent facilities for English medium
as well in a good number of schools, the Committee points out.

In an indirect reference to the utility of reservation, the Committee
says that the SCs/STs have reaped advantages of targeted government
and private efforts thereby pinpointing the importance of ‘affirmative
action’.

Employment

According to the findings of the Sachar Committee, Muslims have a
considerably lower representation in jobs in the government including
those in the Public Sector Undertakings compared to other SRCs.
According to these findings, in no State of the country the level of
Muslim employment is proportionate to their percentage in the
population.

It is pointed out that the situation of government jobs is the best in
Andhra Pradesh where a “fairly close” representation (in proportion to
the population) has been achieved. Other States with a better picture
of representation are: Karnataka (8.5 per cent job share in a
population proportion of 12.2 per cent); Gujarat (5.4 per cent against
9.1 per cent); Tamil Nadu (3.2 per cent against 5.6 per cent).

According to an analysis, in all other States, the percentage of
Muslims in government employment is half of their population
proportion. The highest percentage figure of government employment for
Muslims is in Assam (11.2 per cent) even though it is far less than
the State’s Muslim population (30.9 per cent).

The most glaring cases of Muslims’ deprivation in government jobs are
found in the States of West Bengal and Kerala where, according to
common perception, egalitarianism has been the cherished norm in all
walks of life. In West Bengal where almost 25 per cent population
practises the Muslim faith, their share in government jobs is a paltry
4.2 per cent. In Kerala the Muslim representation in government jobs
is 10.4 per cent, a figure that is short of half of their population
percentage. In Bihar and UP the percentages of Muslims in government
jobs are found to be less than a third of their population
percentages. Those governing these States need to monitor their
actions to bring the situation in conformity with their professed
objectives and claims.

There are some factors that need to be considered in view of the low
employment figures for Muslims on an all-India basis. The Sachar
Committee observes that the low aggregate work participation ratios
for Muslims are ‘essentially’ due to the much lower participation in
economic activity by the women of the community. Also, a large number
of Muslim women who are engaged in work do so from their homes rather
than in offices or factories. Their figure in this regard is 70 per
cent compared to the general figure of 51 per cent

There is a high share of Muslim workers in self-employment activity,
especially in urban areas and in the case of women, the Committee
points out. Whether this trend is due to compulsion or their non-
expectation for jobs in the government or non-government formal
sector, or due to their inclination for certain types of work that are
done best under a self-employment scheme, would be an important
subject for study. The fact has to be considered that Muslims in
regular jobs in urban areas are much lower in numbers compared to even
the SCs/STs. And, surprisingly, the Muslim regular workers get lower
daily earnings (salary) in public and private jobs compared to other
socio-religious categories, as the Committee points out.

The point that needs special notice is that, according to the
Committee’s findings, Muslim participation in professional and
management cadres is quite low. Their participation in security-
related activities (for example, in the Police services) is
considerably lower than their population share (four per cent
overall).

In the context of employment of Muslims at the level of the Central
Government, the Committee’s findings are very revealing. In the Civil
Services, Muslims are only three per cent in IAS, 1.8 per cent in IFS
and four per cent in IPS. (While the figures are shockingly low
compared to the population percentage, the fact also needs to be
considered that there were only 4.7 per cent Muslims among the
candidates at the Civil Services examinations in 2003-04. The figure
would be almost identical for other years.)

In the Railways, 4.5 per cent are Muslims and, significantly, ‘almost
all’ (98.7 per cent) are in low level positions. Are you listening,
Laloo Prasad Yadav?

Figures for other Departments are: Education 6.5 per cent, Home 7.3
per cent, Police Constables (for which no special educational
qualifications are required) six per cent.

Also to be considered is the finding that in the recent recruitments
by State Public Service Commissions, the employment of Muslims has
been as low as 2.1 per cent.

Minorities other than Muslims are not placed as delicately as the
Muslims. According to the Committee’s findings, 11 per cent of Group A
jobs are with minorities other than Muslims. Deprivation of Muslims in
the State judical set-up seems to be among the most worrying aspects
of their overall backwardness.

The data collected by the Committee in this sector are about all
levels of the officers and employees: Advocate Generals, District and
Sessions Judges, Additional District and Sessions Judges, Chief
Judicial Magistrates, Principal Judges, Munsifs, Public Prosecutors,
and Group A, B, C and D employees. The overall Muslim presence of 7.8
per cent in the area of judiciary in 12 States with high concentration
of Muslim population is considered very low by experts.

To come back to an old theme, in West Bengal with a Muslim population
of over 25 per cent, the figure of Muslims in ‘key positions’ in the
judiciary is only five per cent. In Assam with a Muslim population of
30.9 per cent, this figure is 9.4 per cent. Surprisingly, in Jammu and
Kashmir (where the Muslim population is 66.97 per cent), the
community’s share in the State judiciary is only 48.3 per cent. Andhra
Pradesh once again scores over other States in terms of equitable and
even more than equitable sharing of jobs: Muslims have a share of 12.4
per cent in the State judiciary against a population share of 9.2 per
cent.

Experts feel that for an inclusive democracy, an equitable share for
all sections of the society in the judiciary is essential: it creates
greater public confidence in the judicial process. It would be useful
to survey the situation in this regard in some other developing and
developed countries to be able to arrive at some remedial measures for
this crucial sector of decision-making.

Health and Population

Along with education and employment, health and population welfare are
the other areas that have to be assessed for estimating attainments of
any society. The Sachar Committee has done this exercise in a
comprehensive manner.

First, the overall population picture: According to the 2001 Census,
the Muslim population of India was 138 million (13.4 per cent of the
total population). This figure is estimated to have crossed the 150
million mark in 2006. According to the estimate cited by the
Committee, the share of the Muslim population would rise ‘somewhat’
and stabilise at just below 19 per cent in the next four decades (320
million Muslims in a total population of 1.7 billion). There are many
areas where the Muslim population is 50 per cent or more; and in nine
out of 593 districts (Lakshadweep and eight districts of Jammu and
Kashmir) the Muslim population is over 75 per cent.

On the positive side, the period 1991-2001 showed a decline in the
growth rate of Muslims in most States. According to the Committee’s
findings, the Muslim population shows an increasingly better sex ratio
compared to other Socio-Religious Categories. Infant mortality among
Muslims is slightly lower than the average. (It is beyond the
Committee’s understanding how Muslims should have a child survival
advantage despite lower levels of female schooling and economic
status.) Life expectancy in the community is slightly higher (by one
year) than the average, and this should again surprise many.

The Committee’s finding is important that the Muslim child has a
significantly greater risk of being underweight or stunted than is the
case with other Socio-Religious Categories: the risk of malnutrition
is also ‘slightly higher’ for Muslim children than for ‘Other Hindu’
children. This again seems to be a contradiction vis-à-vis the
reported child survival rate.

Economy

Related to the existing economic condition of Muslims is the issue of
providing legitimate support by state and private agencies for the
members of the community to improve their position. One would like to
examine the situation with regard to trends in the support system of
existing instruments. Banks have been seen as an important source of
credit to support citizens’ economic and commercial ventures. The
picture regarding bank loans to members of the minority is not bright,
according to the findings of the Sachar Committee. It says that the
share of Muslims in ‘amounts outstanding’ is only 4.7 per cent. This
figure is 6.5 per cent in the case of other minorities. Further, on an
average the amount outstanding per account for Muslims is about half
that of the other minorities and one-third of ‘others’.

The pity is that, according to the report, many areas of Muslim
concentration have been marked by many banks as ‘negative’ or ‘red’
zones where giving loans is not advisable. Something would, indeed,
have to be done to put an end to such blanket bans, particularly in
view of the Committee’s finding that very large numbers of Muslims are
engaged in self-employment ventures.

The Reserve Bank of India’s efforts at banking and credit facilities
under the Prime Minister’s 15-Point Programme for the welfare of
minorities have, according to the Committee’s findings, mainly
benefited minorities other than Muslims, thus “marginalising Muslims”.

Apart from the formal banking sector there are two other institutions
that are meant to extend loans to the disadvantaged for economic
ventures: the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation
(NMDFC) and National Backward Classes Finance and Development
Corporation (NBCFDC). For loans from the NMDFC, one has to obtain a
guarantee from the concerned State Government. According to the
Committee, this is the biggest hurdle in the processing of loan
applications. And members of minority communities are very adversely
affected due to this factor.

Poverty Factor

The Committee has found that substantially large proportion of Muslim
households in urban areas are in the less than Rs 500 expenditure
bracket. According to calculations mentioned in the Committee’s
report, using the Head Count Ratio (HCR), overall 22.7 per cent of
India’s population was poor in 2004-05. In absolute numbers, this
amounts to over 251 million people spread across India. The SCs/STs
together are the most poor with an HCR of 35 per cent followed by
Muslims who record the second highest incidence of poverty with 31 per
cent people below the poverty line. The H(indu)-General is the least
poor category with an HCR of only 8.7 per cent and the OBCs hold the
intermediary level HCR of 21 per cent, which is also close to the all-
India average.

The Committee has observed that the inequality is higher in urban
areas compared to rural areas in most States. It says that poverty
among Muslims is the highest in urban areas with an HCR of 38.4 per
cent. Significantly, the fall in poverty for Muslims, according to the
data provided to the Committee, has been “only modest during the
decade 1993-94 to 2004-05 in urban areas, whereas the decline in rural
areas has been substantial”. Poverty leads to neglect, or the other
way round: the Committee found a “significant inverse association”
between the proportion of Muslim population and educational and other
infrastructure in small villages. Areas of Muslim concentration are,
somehow, not well served with pucca approach roads and local bus
stops.

An analysis by the Committee showed a fall in the availability of
medical facilities with the rise in the proportion of Muslims,
especially in larger villages. A similar but sharper pattern can be
seen with respect to post/telegraph offices.

Affirmative Action

Under the existing constitutional provisions, affirmative action in
the form of reservation cannot be possible for the entire Muslim
community even though, according to the findings of the Sachar
Committee, the entire community has been left behind in terms of
education, employment and economic status. A way can be found to lift
a significant segment of the community’s population if social
stratification is defined and officially accepted within the Muslim
community. It could be done in case of Hindus, and subsequently for
Mazhabi Sikhs and neo-Buddhists in terms of caste demarcation. But it
would not be easy to have official acceptance of the caste principle.
The resistance against acceptance of social stratification on caste
lines among Muslims would come largely from the clerics and other
orthodox sections of the Muslim community itself which would be
adamant in its insistence that caste does not exist within the
community. This, even though the fact is that, whether one likes it or
not, the Muslim community is divided with caste demarcations almost on
the lines of the Hindus. A via media has to be found for a clearly
defined backward class like the OBCs among the majority community.

The Sachar Committee has talked of the issue of social stratification
among Muslims. It points out that the 1901 Census had listed 133
social groups, “wholly or partially Muslim”, in India. This
classification thus recognised the fact of social stratification in
the community. The Committee has identified different groups of
Muslims based on studies by sociologists. The community, according to
these studies, as mentioned by the Committee, is placed into

two broad categories , namely, ashraf and ajlaf. The former, meaning
‘noble’ (emphasis added), includes all Muslims of foreign blood and
converts from higher castes. While ajlaf, meaning ‘degraded’ (emphasis
added) or ‘unholy’, embraces the ‘ritually clean’ occupational groups
and low ranking converts. In Bihar, UP, Bengal, Sayyads, Sheikhs,
Moghuls and Pathans constitute the ashrafs, The ajlafs are carpenters,
artisans, painters, graziers, tanners, milkmen, etc. According to the
Census of 1901, the ajlaf category includes “the various classes of
converts who are known as Nao Muslim in Bihar and Nasya in Bengal. It
also includes various functional groups such as that of Jolaha or
weaver, Dhunia or cotton carder, Kulu or oil presser, Kunjra or
vegetable seller, Hajjam or barber, Darzi or tailor, and the like.”
The 1901 Census also recorded the presence of a third category called
Arzal: “It consists of the very lowest castes, such as Halalkhor,
Lalbegi, Abdal and Bedia.” The Committee has taken note of the fact
that the Presidential Order (1950), officially known as Constitutional
(Scheduled Caste) Order, 1950, restricts the Scheduled Caste status
only to Hindu groups having “unclean” occupations. Their non-Hindu
equivalents have been bracketed with the “middle caste converts” and
declared OBCs.

The Committee has noted that at least 82 different social groups among
Muslims were declared OBCs by the Mandal Commission (1980). Owing to
this declaration many Muslim social groups got reservation in
different parts of the country under the Backward Classes category.
Only two States, Kerala and Karnataka, have provided reservation to
the State’s entire Muslim population (minus the creamy layer). The
roots of this policy have to be traced to the colonial days.

In Karnataka (the erstwhile princely state of Mysore), affirmative
action started in 1874 (with 80 per cent posts in the Police
Department having been reserved for non-Brahmins, Muslims and Indian
Christians). In Karnataka today, all Muslims with income of less than
Rs 2 lakhs per annum enjoy four per cent reservation in jobs and
admission to institutions in the category of ‘More Backwards’. In
Kerala Muslims enjoy 12 per cent reservation, with some other
communities and social groups too being provided reservation.

Tamil Nadu, which had a tradition of reservation to Muslims since
1872, withdrew such reservation following independence. Currently even
though there is no reservation in the State on the basis of religion,
nearly 95 per cent Muslims have been provided reservation as Backward
Classes, according to the data provided by the State Government to the
Sachar Committee. Significantly enough, reservations in Tamil Nadu
stand at 69 per cent, much above the limit of 50 per cent fixed by the
Supreme Court. Looking at the state of public employment for OBCs the
Committee found that unemployment rates were the highest among Muslim
OBCs when compared to Hindu OBCs and Muslims General. In the formal
sector (government/PSUs), the share of Muslim OBCs was much lower than
those of Hindu OBCs and Muslims General.

At the workers’ level, the Committee estimated that out of every
hundred workers about eleven were Hindu OBCs, three were Muslims
General and only one was a Muslim OBC.

The Committee had divided public employment into six ‘agencies’ of the
Central Government including PSUs and universities. It found that the
Hindu OBCs were under-represented. But their under-representation was
less than that of Muslim OBCs in five out of the six agencies, less
than that of Muslims General in three out of the six agencies. In the
State services the Committee found that Muslim OBCs had a better share
at the Group A level, but their presence was insignificant at other
levels.

In the context of Muslim OBCs, the Committee concluded that the
abysmally low representation of Muslim OBCs suggests that the benefits
of entitlements meant for the Backward Classes are yet to reach them.
The Committee also concluded that “the conditions of Muslims General
are also lower than the Hindu-OBCs who have the benefits of
reservations”.

III

While the Sachar Committee has done a laudable job of assembling a
huge body of data and presenting it in an easily digestible manner, it
has not been as meticulous in formulating its recommendations. Perhaps
it was due to the fatigue after an enormous amount of legwork on a
national scale and the subsequent analysis of the compiled information
that its members had to do in about 15 months of actual work, coupled
with the desire of submitting its report rather urgently and the fact
that much of the information about its findings had already been
accessed by a section of the press. In view of the mind-boggling
findings and the very sensitive nature of the ground it was traversing
a very comprehensive matrix of recommendations should have been
presented by an able and competent panel blending experience and fresh
thinking. Unfortunately this could not be achieved by the Committee.
The most important recommendations of the Committee can be summarised
as under:

• Creation of a National Data Bank (NDB) where relevant data about
different socio-religious communities could be stored to facilitate
any study and subsequent action.

• Setting up of an autonomous Assessment and Monitoring Authority
(AMA) for a regular audit of the benefits of different programmes of
the government reaching the concerned communities or groups.

• Establishing an Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) to examine and
analyse the grievances of deprived groups, the inspiration
understandably for it coming from the Race Relations Act, 1976 of the
United Kingdom that finds mention in the Committee’s recommendation.

• Exploring the idea of introducing some incentives to a ‘Diversity
Index’ in the realms of education, government, and private employment
and housing programmes. Special mention has been made of a possible
programme of incentives to colleges and institutions under the
University Grants Commission linked to diversity in the student
population.

• Evolving some sort of a ‘nomination’ procedure for enhancing the
levels of inclusiveness in governance.

• Certain measures like removal of anomalies in Reserved
Constituencies for General Elections against complaints of declaring
Muslim concentration areas as SC/ST reserved seats.

• Institutionalising evaluation procedures for textbooks, alternate
admission criteria in regular universities and autonomous colleges;
cost friendly reasonable hostel facilities for minority students as a
priority; making teacher training oriented to ideals of pluralism;
state-run Urdu medium schools for primary education in mother tongue;
ensuring appointment of experts from minority community on interview
panels and boards; linking madrasas with higher secondary schools
facilitating shift of students who might opt for a mainstream
education system after a few years; recognition of degrees from
madrasas for competitive examinations (a recommendation hard to find
acceptance in any section of concerned quarters); on the economic
front, provision of financial and other support to initiatives built
around occupations where Muslims are concentrated and that have growth
potential.

The above suggestions have given considerable food for thought with
regard to the panacea for deprivation of the Muslim community in
various spheres. But a more comprehensive and concrete programme
should have been suggested by the Committee.

This task could have been performed best by the able members of this
panel who had travelled far and wide and acquainted themselves with
the grassroots realities rather than leaving it for another possible
committee for a start from a scratch. This was essential to get action
initiated on the basis of its findings instead of letting this venture
too meet the fate of the earlier Gopal Singh Committee over two
decades ago that had similar findings (although it had a narrower
coverage than the Sachar Committee). Now it is for the Prime Minister
and his government to decide the future course of action to remedy the
situation regarding the travails of the Muslim community.

IV

Much of the Sachar Committee’s endeavour was in pursuance of the
perception among Muslims of utter neglect and apathy, and even
suspicion, towards the Muslim community on the part of governmental
agencies—right or wrong! An oft-repeated remark by many members of the
community was that Muslims carried a double burden of being labelled
as ‘anti-national’ and as being ‘appeased’ at the same time. Or,
whenever any act of violence or terror occurs Muslim boys are picked
up by the police. “Every bearded man is considered an ISI agent,” the
Committee has quoted someone as saying. It was also pointed out that
“social boycott of Muslims in certain parts of the country have forced
them to migrate from places where they lived for centuries.”

The Committee has also observed that identification of Urdu as a
Muslim language and its politicisation has complicated matters. A
worrying observation is that Muslims do not see education as
necessarily translating into formal employment. And, many a time
madrasas are the only educational option for Muslims.

On the economic front, the Committee observes that liberalisation of
the economy has resulted in displacement of Muslims from their
traditional occupations, thus depriving them of their livelihood.

The Committee has reported that there were many complaints of Muslims’
names missing from electoral rolls. It could not look into the
veracity or otherwise of this complaint. But what the Committee found
in case of complaints that a number of Muslim concentration Assembly
constituencies are declared as ‘reserved’ seats for the SCs
(deliberately?) should certainly worry those involved with the work of
delimitation of constituencies. Its analysis of reserved
constituencies for SCs in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal proved
that there was truth in the allegation of the members of the minority
community in this regard.

With the perception of Muslims not being quite favourable to official
agencies, the revelation of the findings of the Sachar Committee with
regard to over-representation of the community in the country’s
prisons, reported (before the submission of its report to the Prime
Minister) by The Indian Express, in its series of reports entitled
‘The Missing Muslim’, created a sensation. The Urdu press was on fire
and questions were asked why prisons were the only place where Muslims
were over-represented compared to all other communities and in some
cases their representation being much higher than their population
proportion.

In Maharashtra, the percentage of Muslim jail inmates in all
categories was found to be way above their share in the population
(share in population: 10.6 per cent; share in prison inmates: 17.5 per
cent). In Gujarat the position was: share in population: 9.06 per
cent; share in jail inmates: over 25 per cent). The situation was on
similar lines in other States too although the jail inmate share might
not be as bad in other States as in the States mentioned above.

Following the submission of the report to the Prime Minister, The
Indian Express reported that the data with regard to prisons were
edited out of the Sachar report, following the concern expressed on
these figures in different quarters. Some observers felt that the
prison figures should not have been omitted, as they would have given
a clear picture of some of the Muslim grievances with regard to the
more sensitive issues.

The remedy for the travails of the Muslim community can be found
largely by the community’s bolder initiatives in the field of
education that would empower them as nothing else would.

The government, on its part, seems to be ready for whatever remedial
measures can be adopted by its different agencies. The recent
initiative taken by the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, K. Rehman
Khan, to arrive at a consensus for action on an all-party basis,
through a conclave of Muslim MPs (including some from the Bharatiya
Janata Party, which has been very critical of the very appointment of
the Sachar Committee), seems to be a significant one. One only hopes
that such an initiative would have the support of the government and
some concrete steps would be taken without much delay.

http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/article95.html

...and I am Sid Harth
Sid Harth
2010-03-07 22:55:41 UTC
India

James Heitzman and Robert L. Worden, editors. India: A Country Study.
Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1995.

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank individuals in various agencies of the
Indian and United States governments and private institutions who gave
their time, research materials, and special knowledge to provide
information and perspective. These individuals include Hardeep Puri,
Joint Secretary (America) of the Ministry of External Affairs;
Madhukar Gupta, Joint Secretary (Kashmir) of the Ministry of Home
Affairs; Bimla Bhalla, Director General of Advertising and Visual
Publications, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting; Amulya Ratna
Nanda, Registrar General of India; Ashok Jain, director of the
National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies; T.
Vishwanthan, director of the Indian National Scientific Documentation
Centre; G.P. Phondke, director of the Publications and Information
Directorate of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research; Air
Commander Jasjit Singh, director of the Institute for Defence Studies
and Analyses; G. Madhavan, deputy executive secretary of the Indian
Academy of Sciences; Sivaraj Ramaseshan, distinguished emeritus
professor, Raman Research Institute; H.S. Nagaraja, public relations
officer of the Indian Institute of Science; Virendra Singh, director
of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research; Bhabani Sen Gupta of
the Centre for Policy Research; Pradeep Mehendiratta, Vice President
and Executive Director, Indian Institute of American Studies; and
Richard J. Crites, Chat Blakeman, Peter L.M. Heydemann, and Marcia
S.B. Bernicat of the United States Embassy in New Delhi. Special
thanks go to Lygia M. Ballantyne, director, and Alice Kniskern, deputy
director, and the staff of the Library of Congress New Delhi Field
Office, particularly Atish Chatterjee, for supplying bounteous amounts
of valuable research materials on India and arranging interviews of
Indian government officials.

Appreciation is also extended to Ralph K. Benesch, who formerly
oversaw the Country Studies/Area Handbook Program for the Department
of the Army, and to the desk officers in the Department of State and
the Department of the Army who reviewed the chapters. Thanks also are
offered to William A. Blanpied, Mavis Bowen, Ainslie T. Embree, Jerome
Jacobson, Suzanne Hanchett, Barbara Leitch LePoer, Owen M. Lynch, and
Sunalini Nayudu, who either assisted with substantive information or
read parts of the manuscript or did both.

The authors also wish to thank those who contributed directly to the
preparation of the manuscript. They include Sandra W. Meditz, who
reviewed all textual and graphic materials, served as liaison with the
Department of the Army, and provided numerous substantive and
technical contributions; Sheila Ross, who edited the chapters; Andrea
T. Merrill, who edited the tables and figures; Marilyn Majeska, who
supervised editing and managed production; Alberta Jones King, who
assisted with research, making wordprocessing corrections to various
versions of the manuscript, and proofreading; Barbara Edgerton and
Izella Watson, who performed the final wordprocessing; Marla D.
Woodson, who assisted with proofreading; and Janie L. Gilchrist, David
P. Cabitto, Barbara Edgerton, and Izella Watson, who prepared the
camera-ready copy. Catherine Schwartzstein performed the final
prepublication editorial review, and Joan C. Cook compiled the index.

Graphics support was provided by David P. Cabitto, who oversaw the
production of maps and graphics and, with the assistance of Wayne
Horne, designed the cover and the illustrations on the chapter title
pages; and Harriet Blood and Maryland Mapping and Graphics, who
assisted in the preparation of the maps and charts. Thanks also go to
Gary L. Fitzpatrick and Christine M. Anderson, of the Library of
Congress Geography and Map Division, for assistance in preparing early
map drafts. A very special thank you goes to Janice L. Hyde, who did
the research on and selection of cover and title-page illustrations
and photographs, translated some of the photograph captions and
textual references, and helped the editors on numerous matters of
substance and analysis. Shantha S. Murthy of the Library of Congress
Serial Record Division provided Indian language assistance. Clarence
Maloney helped identify the subjects of some of the photographs.

Finally the authors acknowledge the generosity of individ-uals and
public and private organizations who allowed their photographs to be
used in this study. They have been acknowledged in the illustration
captions.

http://countrystudies.us/india/1.htm

Preface

This edition supersedes the fourth edition of India: A Country Study ,
published in 1985 under the editorship of Richard F. Nyrop. The new
edition provides updated information on the world's second most
populous and fastest-growing nation. Although much of India's
traditional behavior and organizational dynamics reported in 1985 have
remained the same, internal and regional events have continued to
shape Indian domestic and international policies.

To the extent possible, place-names used in the text conform to the
United States Board on Geographic Names, but equal weight has been
given to spellings provided by the official Survey of India.
Measurements are given in the metric system.

The body of the text reflects information available as of September 1,
1995. Certain other portions of the text, however, have been updated.
The Bibliography lists published sources thought to be particularly
helpful to the reader.

http://countrystudies.us/india/2.htm

History

THOSE "WHO WEAR COTTON CLOTHES, use the decimal system, enjoy the
taste of [curried] chicken, play chess, or roll dice, and seek peace
of mind or tranquility through meditation," writes historian Stanley
Wolpert, "are indebted to India." India's deep-rooted civilization may
appear exotic or even inscrutable to casual foreign observers, but a
perceptive individual can see its evolution, shaped by a wide range of
factors: extreme climatic conditions, a bewildering diversity of
people, a host of competing political overlords (both local and
outsiders), enduring religious and philosophical beliefs, and complex
linguistic and literary developments that led to the flowering of
regional and pan-Indian culture during the last three millennia. The
interplay among a variety of political and socioeconomic forces has
created a complex amalgam of cultures that continue amidst conflict,
compromise, and adaptation. "Wherever we turn," says Wolpert, "we
find . . . palaces, temples, mosques, Victorian railroad stations,
Buddhist stupas, Mauryan pillars; each century has its unique
testaments, often standing incongruously close to ruins of another
era, sometimes juxtaposed one atop another, much like the ruins of
Rome, or Bath."

India's "great cycle of history," as Professor Hugh Tinker put it,
entails repeating themes that continue to add complexity and diversity
to the cultural matrix. Throughout its history, India has undergone
innumerable episodes involving military conquests and integration,
cultural infusion and assimilation, political unification and
fragmentation, religious toleration and conflict, and communal harmony
and violence. A few other regions in the world also can claim such a
vast and differentiated historical experience, but Indian civilization
seems to have endured the trials of time the longest. India has proven
its remarkable resilience and its innate ability to reconcile opposing
elements from many indigenous and foreign cultures. Unlike the West,
where modern political developments and industrialization have created
a more secular worldview with redefined roles and values for
individuals and families, India remains largely a traditional society,
in which change seems only superficial. Although India is the world's
largest democracy and the seventh-most industrialized country in the
world, the underpinnings of India's civilization stem primarily from
its own social structure, religious beliefs, philosophical outlook,
and cultural values. The continuity of those time-honed traditional
ways of life has provided unique and fascinating patterns in the
tapestry of contemporary Indian civilization.

http://countrystudies.us/india/3.htm

Harappan Culture
http://countrystudies.us/india/4.htm
Vedic Aryans
http://countrystudies.us/india/5.htm
Kingdoms and Empires
http://countrystudies.us/india/6.htm
The Mauryan Empire
http://countrystudies.us/india/7.htm
The Deccan and the South
http://countrystudies.us/india/8.htm
Gupta and Harsha
http://countrystudies.us/india/9.htm
The Coming of Islam
http://countrystudies.us/india/10.htm
Southern Dynasties
http://countrystudies.us/india/11.htm
The Mughals
http://countrystudies.us/india/12.htm
The Marathas
http://countrystudies.us/india/13.htm
The Sikhs
http://countrystudies.us/india/14.htm
The Coming of the Europeans
http://countrystudies.us/india/15.htm
The British Empire in India
http://countrystudies.us/india/16.htm
Company Rule, 1757-1857
http://countrystudies.us/india/16.htm
The British Raj, 1858-1947
http://countrystudies.us/india/17.htm
Sepoy Rebellion, 1857-59
http://countrystudies.us/india/17.htm
After the Sepoy Rebellion
http://countrystudies.us/india/18.htm
The Independence Movement
http://countrystudies.us/india/19.htm
Mahatma Gandhi
http://countrystudies.us/india/20.htm
Political Impasse and Independence
http://countrystudies.us/india/21.htm
Independent India
http://countrystudies.us/india/24.htm
National Integration
http://countrystudies.us/india/22.htm
Jawaharlal Nehru
http://countrystudies.us/india/23.htm
Indira Gandhi
http://countrystudies.us/india/24.htm
Rajiv Gandhi
http://countrystudies.us/india/25.htm

Geography and Demographics

Geography

Coasts and Borders
Rivers
Climate
Earthquakes
Population
Population Projections
Population and Family Planning Policy
Health Conditions
http://countrystudies.us/india/35.htm
Health Care
Education
http://countrystudies.us/india/37.htm

Religion

The Vedas and Polytheism
http://countrystudies.us/india/39.htm
Karma and Liberation
Jainism
http://countrystudies.us/india/41.htm
Buddhism
http://countrystudies.us/india/42.htm
The Worship of Personal Gods
http://countrystudies.us/india/43.htm
Vishnu
Shiva
Brahma and the Hindu Trinity
The Goddess
http://countrystudies.us/india/47.htm
Local Deities
http://countrystudies.us/india/48.htm
The Ceremonies of Hinduism
Domestic Worship
Life-Cycle Rituals
Temples
Pilgrimage
Festivals
Islam
http://countrystudies.us/india/55.htm
Sikhism
http://countrystudies.us/india/56.htm
Tribal Religions
http://countrystudies.us/india/57.htm
Christianity
http://countrystudies.us/india/58.htm
Zoroastrianism
http://countrystudies.us/india/59.htm
Judaism
http://countrystudies.us/india/60.htm
Modern Changes in Religion
http://countrystudies.us/india/61.htm

Language, Ethnicity, and Regionalism

Linguistic Relations
Diversity, Use, and Policy
Languages of India
Hindi and English
Hindi
English
Linguistic States
The Social Context of Language
http://countrystudies.us/india/69.htm
Tribes
http://countrystudies.us/india/70.htm
Jews and Parsis
http://countrystudies.us/india/71.htm
Portuguese
http://countrystudies.us/india/72.htm
Anglo-Indians
http://countrystudies.us/india/73.htm
Africans
http://countrystudies.us/india/74.htm
Regionalism
http://countrystudies.us/india/75.htm
Telangana Movement

Jharkhand Movement
http://countrystudies.us/india/76.htm
Uttarakhand
http://countrystudies.us/india/77.htm
Gorkhaland
http://countrystudies.us/india/78.htm
Ladakh
http://countrystudies.us/india/79.htm
The Northeast
http://countrystudies.us/india/80.htm

Society

Themes in Indian Society
Family
Veiling and the Seclusion of Women
Life Passages
Children and Childhood
Marriage
Adulthood
Death and Beyond
Caste and Class
The Village Community
Urban Life

The Economy

Structure of the Economy
The Role of Government
Labor
Industry
Government Policies
Manufacturing
Energy
Mining and Quarrying
Tourism
Science and Technology
Agriculture
Crops
The Green Revolution
Livestock and Poultry
Forestry
Fishing

Government and Politics

The Constitution
Politics
The Congress
Opposition Parties
Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rise of Hindu Nationalism
http://countrystudies.us/india/113.htm
Communist Parties
Regional Parties
Caste-Based Parties
http://countrystudies.us/india/116.htm
Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir
http://countrystudies.us/india/117.htm
Hindu-Muslim Tensions
http://countrystudies.us/india/118.htm
Corruption
http://countrystudies.us/india/119.htm
The Media
The Rise of Civil Society

Foreign Relations

Pakistan
http://countrystudies.us/india/123.htm
Bangladesh
http://countrystudies.us/india/124.htm
Sri Lanka
http://countrystudies.us/india/125.htm
Nepal
http://countrystudies.us/india/126.htm
Bhutan
http://countrystudies.us/india/127.htm
Maldives
China
http://countrystudies.us/india/129.htm
Southeast Asia
Middle East
http://countrystudies.us/india/131.htm
Central Asia
Russia
http://countrystudies.us/india/133.htm
United States
http://countrystudies.us/india/134.htm
Britain, Australia, Canada, Western Europe, and Japan
United Nations

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FOCUS GROUP ASIAN SUBCONTINENT:

Muslim-Hindu Relations in India

Beside being one of the most populous nations in the world, India is
also one of the most religiously and ethnically diverse. Islam and
Hinduism are the main religions in India, however, and the two have
had a very long and sometimes violent coexistence. After the British
left India in 1947, in particular, the continent split into the
nations of the Muslim Pakistan and a majority-Hindu India in a violent
partition which cost the lives of approximately one million people and
dislocation of no fewer than eleven million.

Since 1947 India and Pakistan have fought three wars with each other
since then; and violence between Hindus and Sikhs and Muslims in India
itself have also been bitter and violent. The secular regime in
democratic India that Mahatmas Gandhi help establish in 1947 professes
to be one country for all Indians, no matter their religion; but
enmity between religions continues to plague India. The tide of Hindu
communalism continues to roll across the Indian subcontinent, and with
a literacy rate of just 30% and horrific poverty India's democracy
faces strong challenges in the future. Combine that with the
conflicts in Kashmir with Pakistan and the proliferation of nuclear
weapons in the area, and the situation is particularly dangerous.

Questions to keep in mind: What historical events in history
contribute to present day bad feelings between Muslims and Hindus on
the Asian subcontinent? What are the wars, conflicts, rivalries that
Muslims and Hindus have suffered between them? What was the influence
of the life and death of Mohandas Gandhi? How many Muslims are there
compared to Hindus and Sikhs in present day India? What conflicts
have arisen on sites considered "holy" by both Muslims and Hindus?

RESOURCES:

At Yahoo! check out the following categories: Indian history in
general, India by time period, and Mohandas Gandhi. Also check out
this excellent CNN perspective on India and Pakistan: 50 Years of
Independence. This is also an excellent article about Indian and the
recent elections there.

Check out these links also: Redif India Online, Discover India, India
Express, Hello India!, India Review, Inet India, and India on
Internet.

Check out these official Indian government pages: Indian Parliament
Home Page, and The President of India.

This is a cool link about Hindu vs. Muslim values in India. This is
also good. Read this article about tensions between Indian Muslims
and Hindu nationalists.

Check out the below NPR radio broadcasts to get an in-depth analysis
of events:

India-Pakistan: Tit for Tat
Tensions rise anew with the shooting down of a Pakistani military
plane and a reported retaliatory missile firing (8/23/99)

CNN broadcasts: Pakistan/India Partition, India/Pakistan at 50, India
Acquires Nuclear Weapons, Pakistan Nuclear Weapons, India Hindu-Muslm
Tensions, India Diverse Country (good link!)

http://dir.yahoo.com/Regional/Countries/India/Arts_and_Humanities/Humanities/History/
http://dir.yahoo.com/Regional/Countries/India/Arts_and_Humanities/Humanities/History/By_Time_Period/

INDIA ELECTION '98

March 4 1998
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer Transcript

Leaders of a Hindu nationalist party are demanding the right to form
India's next government after nearly complete election returns show
the party winning the most seats in the parliament. But conflicting
claims have led to bitterness and confusion. Fred de Sam Lazaro has
this report on the party's rise to power.

A RealAudio version of this segment is available.

http://www.rjgeib.com/biography/milken/crescent-moon/asian-subcontient/hindu-islam-history/hindu-islam.html

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Ramesh Chand Thomar has served in India's
parliament since 1991, representing a semi-rural district in the
Northern, Uttar Pradesh province. He began this campaign day with a
stop at a Hindu temple, part of a routine that emphasizes the central
theme of his BJP or India People's Party. Called Hindutva, the slogan
has few specifics but declares India "a nation of Hindu values." He
insists this does not violate the secular democratic tradition of
Mahatma Gandhi, on which the nation was founded. Thomar says it simply
calls on Indians to be patriotic.

RAMESH CHAND THOMAR: Indian must think first of India, the development
of India, the prosperity of India, we like that. The people are living
here and they are thinking about other countries.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: What other countries specifically?

RAMESH CHAND THOMAR: Neighboring countries, whatever they have in
their mind, I cannot say.

BJP strategy: anti-muslim rhetoric?

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: The BJP's critics say that's code language aimed
at India's Muslim minority. They are often accused of being loyal to
Pakistan, India's Islamic neighbor and adversary in three wars,
according to Syed Shahabuddin, a former member of parliament and
publisher of a journal called Muslim India.

SYED SHAHABUDDIN, Publisher, Muslim India: This is precisely their
method of trying to undo, or rather to do a minority out of its due
share. Point one, look, he's the enemy, he is the other, he is the
enemy, he is the adversary, he's with them; he's the fifth columnist.
He's at the beck and call of Pakistan. And Pakistan, of course, you
know, is always leaving difficult responsibilities against us. And
this is how you create a miasma of fear, and that is how you create
distrust. That is how you inject poison into the body politic of this
country, and that is how you create an atmosphere in which any amount
of violence can take place.

Religious tensions become political issues.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Critics blame the BJP for trying to reignite
religious tensions that date back centuries. In the early 1990's, the
party led a campaign to remove a 16th century mosque, called Babri
Masjid, and replace it with a Hindu temple. They claimed India's
Muslim conquerors built it in a sacred spot; the birthplace of the
Hindu God Rama. Murali Manohar Joshi, a BJP leader, explained the
campaign to foreign reporters.

MURALI MANOHAR JOSHI: If Hitler would have been victorious in the
second world war and there would have been a statue of Hitler in
Trafalgar Square, and in 1990 the Britishers would have been liberated
from Hitler's yoke, what would they have done to that statue of
Hitler?

The ruling party faces voter resentment.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: In 1992, rioters stormed the mosque called Babri
Masjid and razed it. The incident sparked violent clashes that claimed
dozens of Hindu and Muslim lives, and for a while, it seemed to
alienate many voters from the BJP, but political observers say it also
hurt the ruling Congress Party government, which was criticized for
not cracking down on the rioters. At the same time, the Congress
government, which had ruled India almost uninterrupted for four
decades, began to face increasing voter resentment for policies that
failed to deliver even basic amenities. It's frustration that's still
very much in evidence.

MAN: (speaking through interpreter) Take a look at the condition of
our village. Do you see any water taps? We have to go two kilometers
to get water, and we still get water from an open well.

TEACHER: (speaking through interpreter) The minister came here, he
promised to expand this school. We're still waiting. We only go to the
fifth grade. I'd love to see kids go to the eighth.

SECOND MAN: (speaking through interpreter) When it comes time for our
votes, they say they'll do this, they'll do that, in the end they
don't do anything.

THIRD MAN: (speaking through interpreter) The Congress Party has been
in power for a long time. They haven't done anything for the poor, the
lower castes.

The Congress Party faces allegations of corruption.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Perhaps the biggest reason for the Congress
Party's fall from grace were allegations of widespread corruption.
It's an issue the BJP has seized. A BJP promise to clean up politics
has struck a responsive chord, even among some Congress Party members,
like Colonel Ram Singh.

COLONEL RAM SINGH: I really got so disgusted. Every minister, barring
four or five of us, there is about 65, every minister was looting the
country literally with both hands, and it was shameful.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Singh, who ran for parliament this time as a BJP
candidate, believes his adopted party is divorcing itself from its
extremist past.

COLONEL RAM SINGH: I think that is gradually being removed. I mean, my
total outlook has always been, and will always be that every religion
should have equal place, equal rights, and they should be no
persecution of anybody on religious grounds.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Singh describes himself as a moderating force in
the BJP and the party has gone out of its way to tone down its
Hindutva rhetoric, according to H. K. Dua, editor of the Times of
India.

H. K. DUA, Editor, The Times of India: They are trying to project more
a centrist party, keen to do the business of the state, taking the
others along, than the kind of image they had tried to project
earlier. Possibly they are seeing it's politically necessary. They
won't be able to come to power if they are taking an extreme position.
So there is a definite attempt to demarcate themselves from the old--
the old Hindu image. But they're doing it softly, lest they may lose
their old constituency.

RAMESH THOMAR: India is a secular country, and it will remain always
secular.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Hard-line BJP candidates, like Ramesh Thomar,
insist they're committed to freedom for all religions, but at the same
time, Thomar says a temple must be built at the site of the demolished
Babri mosque.

RAMESH THOMAR: Construction of the temple is the permanent solution,
and most of the Muslim people also wants that the temple of Rama in
Ayodhya that should be constructed.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: So you would like to see a temple constructed
in--

RAMESH THOMAR: Must, must, must.

Which party will control the future of India?

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Election results show the BJP won the most seats
in parliament but not the majority needed to form a government. Its
position on the temple and other issues will be the subject of intense
and difficult negotiations as it seeks coalition partners. Kuldi
Nayyar is a columnist and former diplomat.

KULDIP NAYYAR, Columnist: The roots of tolerance, the roots of secular
polity, the roots of sense of accommodation are very deep, because
even last time, they tried their best to get others to join them.
Fourteen, fifteen parties came together to keep them away because
these people represent a philosophy or an ideology which is alien to
this country.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Opposing the BJP in the race to form a coalition
government is the once dominant Congress Party, whose campaign was led
by a woman with India's best-known political name, Sonia Gandhi. It
finished a distant second and will try to team with a group of smaller
parties called the United Front to stop the Hindu Nationalists.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/asia/jan-june98/india_3-4.html

http://www.rjgeib.com/biography/milken/crescent-moon/asian-subcontient/hindu-islam-history/hindu-islam.html

...and I am Sid Harth
bademiyansubhanallah
2010-03-08 11:07:37 UTC
Actions belie his words

There is a popular saying about the newly appointed president of BJP,
Nitin Gadkari … that he manages to elicit results with the least of
efforts. It was with great pomp that Gadkari had raised the apt issue
in Indore that the party was in need of combative people, not of
sychophants or yes-men. But it is not hidden from anyone as to how
serious the gentleman, whom Gadkari himself kept portraying as Mr
Genius from Indore to Delhi, is about political issues. Even
otherwise, in Gadkari’s regime the people who were first appointed to
various posts are all known to be the flagbearers of the practice of
doing the rounds of the powers that be. For example, the newly-
appointed president of Punjab BJP Ashwini Sharma or Khimi Ram,
Himachal’s executive president who has been made a full president by
Gadkari. The BJP president wanted to send Prabhat Jha as the president
of Madhya Pradesh BJP; in Bihar he is advocating the need of handing
over the reins to another loyal-tag owner Mantoo Pandey alias Mangal
Pandey. One Alok Kumar has been appointed the chief of the all India
training camp of the party. Or the saffron flag of aggression of the
yes-brigade is flying high during the Gadkari rule.

http://www.gossipguru.in/gossipguru/%E0%A4%AA%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%95%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%AE%E0%A4%BE-%E0%A4%95%E0%A4%BE-%E0%A4%AA%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%BE%E0%A4%95%E0%A5%8D%E0%A4%B0%E0%A4%AEactions-belie-his-words

Gadkari's Govindacharya

BJP president Nitin Gadkari has started the process of selecting his
team. But for Gadkari, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe is the most important
person right now and if sources are to be believed then Gadkari’s is
moving fast forward on Sahasrabuddhe’s brains. In a way Sahasrabuddhe
is working as the political secretary of Gadkari. This association is
exactly like the relationship Govindacharya once shared with Advani.
Sanjay Joshi and Bal Apte are also going to play an important role in
identifying and selecting the new team for Gadkari. In view of the
importance of the forthcoming Assembly election in Bihar, Leader of
Opposition in the Upper House Arun Jaitley is being made the in-
charge. One finds it difficult to recall if earlier a Leader of
Opposition had played the role of an election in-charge. What kind of
a precedent is being set by Gadkari?

http://www.gossipguru.in/gossipguru/%e0%a4%b8%e0%a4%b9%e0%a4%b8%e0%a5%8d%e0%a4%b0%e0%a4%ac%e0%a5%81%e0%a4%a6%e0%a5%8d%e0%a4%a6%e0%a5%87-%e0%a4%95%e0%a5%80-%e0%a4%ac%e0%a5%81%e0%a4%a7%e0%a5%8d%e0%a4%a6%e0%a4%bfgadkari%e2%80%99s-govindach

Poll

Is BJP a sinking boat?

Yes (67.12%)
No (32.88%)

http://www.gossipguru.in/gossipguru/%e0%a4%85%e0%a4%ac-%e0%a4%9f%e0%a5%82%e0%a4%9f%e0%a5%87%e0%a4%97%e0%a4%be-%e0%a4%9a%e0%a4%bf%e0%a4%a6%e0%a4%82%e0%a4%ac%e0%a4%b0%e0%a4%ae-%e0%a4%95%e0%a4%be-%e0%a4%ad%e0%a5%8d%e0%a4%b0%e0%a4%aechidamb

BJP too trying to earn some brownie points

Anita Saluja
First Published : 07 Mar 2010 03:49:00 AM IST

NEW DELHI: Sensing that history may be created on the centenary of
International Women’s Day in India, if the Rajya Sabha succeeds in
passing the controversial Women’s Reservation Bill, enabling 33
percent reservation of seats for women in Parliament and State
Assemblies, the BJP on Saturday lent a helping hand to the UPA
Government.

The BJP core group meeting, which was convened by BJP president Nitin
Gadkari, appealed to all political parties to vote in favour of the
Women’s Reservation Bill.

After the meeting, leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said, “The
BJP was the first party to demand one-third reservation for women in
Parliament and state Assemblies. It has promised the Centre full
support to the Bill in the Rajya Sabha.” Leader of the Opposition in
the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley was optimistic of the passage of the
Women’s Bill in the Upper House and said that on its own, the BJP was
mobilising support for the Bill.

Claiming that the BJP has always stood for empowerment of women, being
the first party to give one-third reservation to women in the party
organisation, Gadkari said that it had issued whip to all the party
members of Rajya Sabha.

He said that it was the NDA Government, which first moved the Bill in
Parliament and mooted the idea to set apart 33 percent of the total
seats in Parliament and state Assemblies for women in BJP National
Council meeting at Vadodara.

Unlike in 1996, when the BJP was riven with dissensions on the Women’s
Reservation Bill, with firebrand leader Uma Bharti opposing the
legislation inside the Lok Sabha, this time around, there is no
dissenting voice.

Uma Bharti is no more in the BJP and with Sushma Swaraj leading the
party in the Lok Sabha, no one dares to challenge her ruling. “We have
to prove our own credibility,” remarked a senior leader from the Rajya
Sabha.

Apart from the three Yadavs, Mulayam Singh of the SP, Lalu Yadav of
RJD and Sharad Yadav of JD (U), the BJP alliance partner in
Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena, is also opposing the Bill in its present
form.

Comments

Right & time demand step by leading political parties in national
interest.
By Kapil Pathak
3/7/2010 10:04:00 AM

http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=PM+confident+of+women%E2%80%99s+quota+Bill+passage&artid=0wcbTOGE2j4=&SectionID=b7ziAYMenjw=&MainSectionID=b7ziAYMenjw=&SEO=Women%E2%80%99s+Reservation+Bill&SectionName=pWehHe7IsSU=

I don’t want to make a show of it

BJP youth wing leader Poonam Mahajan spills the beans on why she
skipped her brother’s big fat TV wedding

By Anand Holla and Vickey Lalwani
Posted On Monday, March 08, 2010 at 03:12:45 AM

The Mahajans have a way of making it to the headlines. This time it is
Rahul, who tied the knot, for the second time, with a 21-year-old
Bengali model and item girl in a televised event on Saturday which was
attended by his mother, but not his sister.

Poonam Mahajan-Rao

Poonam Mahajan-Rao, who had always stood by her elder brother during
the darkest phases of his life - the drug scandal for instance – was
missing from the scene.

This sent the media and commentators in a tizzy, as Rahul and his
spokespersons found themselves struggling to deal with speculations
that Poonam, who is a BJP youth wing leader, wanted to stay away from
the reality drama.

After considerable effort, Mirror managed to speak to Poonam. “I am a
very private person, and for me, an event like a marriage is a private
affair.” However, Rahul’s ‘private affair’ was a high-voltage mega-TRP-
driven event with millions watching it live as it unfolded. When asked
why she didn’t join in the much-watched ceremony, Poonam defended, “I
am the kind of person who prefers to sit at home rather than make a
show out of things. I even keep my son’s birthday party as private as
possible. That’s how I am.”

Incidentally, Poonam was very much around when Rahul married his
childhood sweetheart Shweta in a private ceremony in 2006. They
divorced two years later.

Speaking about her own wedding which was a low-key affair, Poonam
said, “Ten years ago, I made a choice of getting married to the person
I wanted to. Now, Rahul has made his choice and being his sister
support him entirely.”

Rahul with his newly-wedded wife Dimpy Ganguly after the reality show
concluded

When asked if there are any differences within the Mahajan family over
Rahul’s choice and decision, Poonam said, “Rahul is my elder brother
and his decisions are totally his. I will be there for him just like
I’ve always been there for him, even during the tough times. I wish
him all the luck with this marriage. Together, we want to take forward
our father’s legacy by helping each other.”

Not just Poonam, missing from what was purported to be Rahul’s big day
was his uncle Gopinath Munde, BJP national general secretary and MP.
Munde has been constantly by the side of late BJP leader Pramod
Mahajan’s family since he was shot dead three years ago by younger
brother Pravin.

BJP sources said Munde along with national president Nitin Gadkari and
leader of state legislature Eknath Khadse were in Nashik for their
felicitation. “The felicitation programme was finalised few months ago
and Munde had accepted the invitation. In fact he made it a point to
attend the Nashik event as his absence at previous felicitation event
in Aurangabad was being blamed on intra party tussle with Gadkari,’’ a
party leader remarked.

But the speculations over Poonam’s absence refuse to die down. “Poonam
may have deliberately avoided not to attend the much publicised
wedding show for political reasons. She is keen to establish herself
politically and does not want to get embroiled in any controversy,’’
the source said.

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/article/15/201003082010030803124526953f94fde/I-don%E2%80%99t-want-to-make-a-show-of-it.html

Parties divided, but government determined to push women’s bill

PM says the Centre is moving towards providing one-third reservation
for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures

By PTI
Posted On Sunday, March 07, 2010 at 04:12:40 AM

New Delhi: Affirming his commitment to women’s empowerment, Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the Government is moving
towards providing one-third reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and
state legislatures.

Inaugurating the women’s leadership summit here, he said the
Government is committed to social, economic and political empowerment
of women, whatever effort and resources the task might take.

Minister of State (Independent Charge), Women and Child Development,
Krishna Tirath welcomes Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the
inauguration of the Women’s Leadership Summit 2010

The Women’s Reservation Bill providing for 33 per cent reservation of
seats for women in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies is expected to come
up in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

Observing that reservation for women in local bodies has
revolutionised governance at the grass-roots level, he said, “We hope
to give this movement of political participation of women further
fillip by increasing the number of seats reserved in Panchayats and
city and town governments to 50 per cent.

“More significantly we are moving towards providing one-third
reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures," he
said.

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, in a message read out by Women and Child
Development Minister Krishna Tirath, said women in the country have
broken glass ceilings but those in rural areas have not been able to
avail of many opportunities.

LS Speaker Meira Kumar said that though Indian tradition provides high
status to women by worshipping them as gods, the practise is reversed
in society.

The three-day summit being held as part of women's day celebrations
would be attended by women achievers from all fields.

JD-U divided

However, sharp divisions have emerged among the opponents of the Bill
with Bihar Chief Nitish Kumar supporting the measure, pitting himself
against his party President Sharad Yadav who is opposed to it.

SP also opposes

The Samajwadi Party, which opposes the Bill in its present form, on
Saturday said it will register its “protest” on Monday. The SP has
suggested reservation within reservation for OBC women, not more than
20 per cent.
BJP supports

Asserting that it was determined to ensure passage of the Bill, BJP
sought to make political capital on the issue by stating that since
the UPA coalition was in minority in the RS, the onus of getting it
adopted was with the main opposition.

BJP President Nitin Gadkari on Saturday convened an emergency meeting
of the party Core Group to discuss the Bill.

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/index.aspx?Page=article&sectname=News -
Nation&sectid=3&contentid=2010030720100307041240664ef9a81db

JD(U) Hints At Softening of Opposition to Women’s Bill

New Delhi, March 7 – With the numbers favouring the passage of the
women’s reservation bill in the Rajya Sabha Monday, the Janata Dal-
United (JD-U), a prominent party opposing it, Sunday indicated a
softening of its position.

JD-U chief whip in the Rajya Sabha Ali Anwar Ansari said the party
will consider the opinion of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in
support of the bill, which seeks to reserve 33 percent seats for women
in parliament and state legislatures.

‘A meeting of JD-U MPs will be held at party president Sharad Yadav’s
residence Monday morning. We will take a unanimous decision,’ Ansari
told IANS.

The JD-U has not issued a whip to its MPs to either support or oppose
the bill.

Ansari said the bill is expected to be passed by the upper house of
parliament and ‘there is no point of opposing it for the sake of
opposition’.

‘We are taking the opinion of all our members and a decision will be
taken,’ he said.

Ansari, who spoke to both Yadav and Nitish Kumar Sunday, ruled out the
possibility of the party abstaining from the vote on the bill.

Nitish Kumar, who will lead the JD-U charge in campaign for Bihar
assembly elections later this year, Saturday spoke in favour of the
bill.

With more and more parties coming out in favour of the legislation,
the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) remained
its only two vocal opponents. Both parties are demanding quotas for
backward classes and minorities within 33 per cent reservation for
women. While the SP has 11 members in the Rajya Sabha, the RJD has
four.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which has 12 members in the upper
house, has not opened its cards yet with regards to the bill.

For the bill to be passed, it has to be supported by two-thirds of
those present and voting. This figure should also be at least 50
percent of the total number of members in the house.

With an effective strength of 233, the Constitution (108th Amendment
Bill), 2008, needs support of 155 members in the Rajya Sabha if all
the members are present.

While the combined strength of the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP) and the Left – three main supporters of the bill – comes to 138
in the upper house, many other parties, including the DMK, AIADMK,
Biju Janata Dal, National Conference, Nationalist Congress Party and
Shiromani Akali Dal have expressed their support for the path-breaking
legislation.

With the ruling Congress having timed the consideration of the bill
with the International Women’s Day and party president Sonia Gandhi
making a strong pitch for its passage, the BJP too has joined the race
to claim credit.

BJP president Nitin Gadkari, who appealed to all parties to support
the bill, said the party was conscious that the ruling coalition was
in minority in the Rajya Sabha. He said the National Democratic
Alliance (NDA) government had first moved the bill in parliament.

The Constitution (108th Amendment Bill), 2008, provides for
reservation of one-third seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies
for 15 years from the date of commencement of the Act on rotation
basis.

The proposal to provide such reservation to women has been pending for
the last 13 years due to lack of political consensus.

Posted by Vamban on Mar 7, 2010 @ 6:00 PM

http://www.vamban.com/jdu-hints-at-softening-of-opposition-to-womens-bill/

Latest News

•Lok Sabha Adjourned for Fourth Time
http://www.vamban.com/lok-sabha-adjourned-for-fourth-time/
•BJP Condemns SP, RJD for Tearing Up Women’s Bill
http://www.vamban.com/bjp-condemns-sp-rjd-for-tearing-up-womens-bill/
•Women’s Bill Moved, Torn to Shreds in Rajya Sabha
http://www.vamban.com/womens-bill-moved-torn-to-shreds-in-rajya-sabha/
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http://www.vamban.com/jd-u-joins-sp-rjd-to-protest-womens-bill/
•85 Million Women Missing in India, China: UNDP
http://www.vamban.com/85-million-women-missing-in-india-china-undp/

http://www.vamban.com/jdu-hints-at-softening-of-opposition-to-womens-bill/

BJP to oppose any proposal for autonomy to Kashmir
By IANS
January 19th, 2010

NEW DELHI - Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari
Tuesday said his party will oppose any proposal for granting autonomy
to Jammu and Kashmir.

Speaking at a function here to mark 20 years of exodus of Kashmiri
Pandits from the valley, he said a solution to the Kashmir problem
should be found within the parameters of the Indian Constitution.

“We will oppose autonomy with full force. If such a proposal comes to
Parliament, we will be against it,” he said.

Gadkari termed as “dangerous” the report of Justice Saghir Ahmad - who
headed the working group on Centre-State relations - recommending
giving autonomy to the state. The report was submitted to the Jammu
and Kashmir government last month.

The BJP chief blamed the Congress for the problems in Jammu and
Kashmir. “Congress has messed up things in the state,” he said, adding
that the “mistakes” should not be repeated.

The function was organised by the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Foundation.

http://blog.taragana.com/politics/2010/01/19/bjp-to-oppose-any-proposal-for-autonomy-to-kashmir-13998/

Dhumal ordered tap on Virbhadra Singh’s phone, CD tells
By IANS
January 19th, 2010

SHIMLA - In another twist to the corruption cases against union Steel
Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh, a new audio
compact disc (CD) from an unknown source was circulated here Tuesday
in which Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal is purportedly directing the
vigilance chief to tap the phones of the couple.


Two other CDs were also released here — one audio in which Dhumal was
heard talking about former union ministers Sukh Ram and Shanta Kumar
and the other video in which Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
parliamentarian Virender Kashyap was shown accepting some cash in
regard to granting permission to an educational institute in the
state.

In the alleged conversation recorded in the first CD, Director General
of Police (Vigilance) D.S. Manhas asked Dhumal regarding Singh and his
wife’s phone tapping. At this Dhumal replied: “Do it.”

Manhas then said: “Yes, we will do it, we will do it. If the CID
(Criminal Investigation Department) is doing it, its staff will leak
it.” Dhumal replied: “This is right.”

Dhumal and Manhas allegedly also talked about some Rs.25 crore (Rs.250
million).

However, a senior police official said there was no proof of the
authenticity of the CD. “It is released when the vigilance is almost
ready to start within a month the prosecution against Virbhadra Singh
and his wife,” he said.

The cases against Singh and his wife were registered Aug 3, 2009,
under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The complaint against Singh
alleges misuse of his official position and criminal misconduct when
he was the chief minister of the state in 1989.

Interestingly, they were booked on the basis of an audio CD released
by Singh’s political adversary Vijay Singh Mankotia in 2007.

Meanwhile, Dhumal refuted the allegations in the new CD. He told IANS
on phone from Delhi Tuesday: “Right now I am not in the state. I have
not seen the CD and not even heard about it. I am not in a position to
comment on it.”

“The government machinery is not involved in phone tapping of Singh
and his wife. It’s just a white lie,” he added.

The CD that showed BJP parliamentarian Virender Kashyap talking to
someone on the issue of granting permission to an educational
institute in the state was recorded April 17, 2009 when Kashyap was
only a party activist.

In the conversation, Kashyap was insisting and telling the person
sitting opposite to him to first complete the formalities and then
seek formal permission. The CD also showed Kashyap being offered some
cash, which he hesitantly accepted.

However, Kashyap was not available for comments.

http://blog.taragana.com/politics/2010/01/19/dhumal-ordered-tap-on-virbhadra-singhs-phone-cd-tells-13989/

Prosecution against Virbhadra likely within month: Police
By IANS
January 1st, 2010

SHIMLA - Police is likely to start within a month the prosecution
against union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha
Singh in corruption cases registered against them, an official said
here Friday.

“We are still awaiting a few forensic reports from a Central Forensic
Science Laboratory (CFSL)… most likely the prosecution against
Virbhadra Singh and his wife would start within a month,” Director
General of Police (Vigilance) D.S. Manhas told reporters.

Regarding the questionnaires sent to the couple, Manhas said: “We got
the replies to the questionnaire. Both the questionnaires have about
25 questions.”

The cases against Singh and his wife were registered Aug 3, 2009, by
the state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau under the Prevention of
Corruption Act.

The complaint against Singh alleges misuse of his official position
and criminal misconduct when he was chief minister of the state in
1989.

According to police, they were booked on the basis of an audio CD
released by Singh’s political adversary Vijai Singh Mankotia in 2007.

In the CD, Singh was heard referring to some monetary transactions on
the phone with former Indian Administrative Officer (IAS) officer
Mahinder Lal, who is now dead. The CD also contained recordings of his
wife and some industrialists.

Manhas said that four of the nine people identified in the CD are
dead.

“Four are dead out of the nine accused. It is still to be decided that
who is the main accused,” the police official added.

Singh has already refuted the allegations, saying the state’s ruling
Bharatiya Janata Party was trying to malign him.

http://blog.taragana.com/politics/2010/01/01/prosecution-against-virbhadra-likely-within-month-police-11083/

Revival of Friends of BJP
March 8th, 2010

I was part of a small team from Friends of BJP that was invited to
attend the BJP National Council meet in Indore in mid-Feb. It was
quite a gathering - over 5,000 people brought together from all over
the country.

Among the announcements made was that of the revival of Friends of
BJP.

Here is what Nitin Gadkari said in his Presidential Address: “We are
also planning to revive Friends of BJP, an associate organisation of
the non-member Well Wishers of the party. All patriotic citizens,
especially all young professionals who look forward to BJP as an
instrument of making India a resurgent republic are welcome to join
this forum.”

We will be back with more details soon. My hope is that we can help
bring about a change in India’s political and policy climate in the
coming years.

3 responses so far ↓

1 Santosh // Mar 8, 2010 at 10:29 am

Rajesh,
I was one of the individuals who wanted BJP voted back to power in
2004 because of what they achieved in their last term. And I firmly
believe that BJP was pro-reforms in their term.

But seeing what India has been able to achieve in last 6 odd years
shouldn’t be undermined. Ofcourse, Congress isn’t the reformist that
most urban Indians want and India has managed the growth because of
sheer efficiencies of private enterprise.
For what we have achieved in last 6 years, I don’t go all out against
them. Today, I don’t see any reason why BJP should be supported -
There is no great leader remaining whom we can trust to take our
country forward. They don’t play the role of constructive opposition
at all. They find baseless arguments in blocking/ criticizing every
Congress move.

I fail to understand what is it that you see so strongly in BJP to go
& support them. I don’t to vote for a government shouts from roof-top.
I want a clear plan of what they would do & who is the team that is at
work. Unfortunately, I don’t see either.

2 Alok Mittal // Mar 8, 2010 at 11:17 am

What is really needed is not revival of Friends of BJP, but revival of
BJP itself. I think Congress has won a lot of erstwhile BJP supporters
over the past 6 years; and BJP has lost a lot of supporters over the
past 2 years. There is a critical distinction between the two, and the
latter can only be addressed by the BJP leadership itself.

3 Adarsh Jain // Mar 8, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Alok and Santosh,

I think for the future of the country there should be a worthy
opposition. After Nitin Gadkari became party president, I believe BJP
is ready for transformation and play the role of constructive
opposition till next election

http://emergic.org/2010/03/08/revival-of-friends-of-bjp/

India's women quota bill triggers uproar in parliament
Foreign 2010-03-08 17:23

NEW DELHI, March 8 (AFP) - An attempt by India's government to pass
legislation reserving a third of all seats for women in parliament
provoked uproar on Monday as opposition politicians forced repeated
adjournments.

The government had been confident that the Women Reservation Bill,
which has been stalled for 14 years, would gather the required votes
to pass in the upper house on Monday after being presented on
International Women's Day.

The upper house was adjourned twice on Monday as politicians opposing
the bill shouted down speakers and refused to allow the introduction
of the proposed legislation and a scheduled debate.

The ruling Congress party, its allies and the main opposition
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have pledged their support in public, but
several socialist parties oppose it.

They argue that the law, which would reserve a third of seats for
women in the parliament and state assemblies, would lead to a monopoly
by upper-caste women at the expense of lower caste and religious
minority Muslims.

"We are not anti-women but we want reservations for women hailing from
minority and backward classes first," Mulayam Singh Yadav, a leader of
the pro-Muslim Samajwadi (Socialist) party said outside parliament.

Attempts to pass the bill have been blocked by various political
groups in the past who have demanded separate quotas for women from
Muslim and low-caste communities.

Yadav said the bill was an attempt by the Congress and the BJP to
appease the rich and the influential upper class.

The controversial proposal to reserve 33 percent of seats, first
introduced in parliament in 1996, would dramatically increase women's
membership in both houses of parliament where they now occupy about
one in 10 seats.

Because the bill involves a constitutional change, it needs the
approval of two-thirds of legislators in the upper house after which
it will go before the lower house where it also requires a two-thirds
majority.

Women currently occupy 59 seats out of 545 in the lower house. There
are just 21 women in the 248-seat upper house.

"Our government is committed towards women empowerment. We are moving
towards one-third reservation for women in parliament and state
legislatures," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told a women's leadership
summit on Saturday.

Sonia Gandhi, president of the Congress party and regarded as India's
most powerful politician, has thrown her weight behind the bill,
saying she attaches the "highest importance" to it.

It will be a "gift to the women of India if it is introduced and
passed" on International Women's Day, she told party lawmakers last
week.

Political analysts said the government was testing the waters by
introducing it in the upper house first instead of the lower house,
where most proposed legislation is sent.

Some accused the government of playing politics by seeking to appease
women by proposing the legislation but without having any realistic
chance of it passing.

Politics in India has traditionally been a male bastion, but women now
hold prominent positions, including President Pratibha Patil and Sonia
Gandhi. India has had one female prime minister, Indira Gandhi.

Panchayats -- local governing bodies in towns and villages -- already
reserve a portion of their seats for women and experts say the move
has given women greater status in their communities. (By Rupam Jain
Nair/ AFP)

MySinchew 2010.03.08

http://www.mysinchew.com/node/36074

Why Lalu-Mulayam exit worries government

NDTV Correspondent, Monday March 8, 2010, New Delhi

The Prime Minister is holding emergency meetings with his senior
ministers to discuss the Women's Bill and the impact of Lalu Prasad
and Mulayam Singh Yadav announcing they will withdraw their support to
this government. (Read & Watch: Mulayam, Lalu withdraw support to
govt)

Lalu and Mulayam have said the Women's Bill is being forced upon them
by the Congress, and that it does not protect the interest of Dalit
and Muslim women.

The Rajya Sabha is meant to vote on the bill today.

For the Women's Bill, the government is not worried about the numbers
because the Opposition - the BJP and the Left, along with smaller
parties, are in favour of the bill.

However, the Finance Bill has not yet been passed. And that's what the
government is worried about.

The UPA government believes that without Lalu and Mulayam's MPs, it
can still count on 274 votes in favour of Pranab Mukherjee's budget.
The number of votes required to pass it is 273. So the government's
margin is tiny. And that's what the BJP and Left will try to exploit.
Both have already attacked Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee over the
budget, in particular, over the hike in petrol and diesel prices. The
government's key allies including the DMK and Mamata Banerjee have
also expressed their concern over the fuel hike, and the government's
new numbers weaken its position if it finds it must negotiate with
these allies.

http://www.ndtv.com/news/india/why-lalu-mulayam-exit-worries-government-17380.php

Women's Bill: Mulayam, Lalu withdraw support to government

NDTV Correspondent, Monday March 8, 2010, New Delhi

The Congress-led UPA government finds itself in a spot. Set to table
and get the Women's Reservation Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha, it now
has to contend with the threat of withdrawal of support from two
traditional opponents of the Bill - the Samajwadi Party and the RJD.

Both parties have announced they are withdrawing support to the UPA
government over the Bill. While the government does not need their
support to pass this Bill, since the BJP and the Left will vote in
favour, it will find itself on an uncomfortable, wafer-thin majority
for other legislation, like the crucial Finance Bill, without the
buffer of the 22 Samajwadi Party MPs and 4 RJD MPs in the Lok Sabha.
(Read: Why Lalu-Mulayam exit worries government)

Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Yadav have said they oppose the Women's
Bill because it does not protect the interests of minorities and Other
Backward Castes.

The bill reserves 33% seats for women in Parliament and in state
assemblies.

"Reservation should be for Muslims and Dalits," said Mulayam Singh
Yadav.

"The government is trying to force the bill upon us. The Congress
does not listen to anyone. The bill must bring the Asli Bharat
forward...the Congress is leaving women and Muslims behind, " said
Lalu.

The government is in a huddle right now on what next steps should be.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is holding meetings with senior
colleagues like Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Parliamentary
Affairs Minsiter PK Bansal to evolve a strategy.

Not to press ahead with the Women's Bill today will mean a big loss of
face, especially given that the Bill is close to Congress President
Sonia Gandhi's heart and the many statements that she and other
Congress leaders and ministers have already made. But the party cannot
risk Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad Yadav actually carrying out
their threat and officially withdrawing support.

Along with the BSP, the two parties have already ensured that
Parliament proceedings are anything but smooth. As Lok Sabha opened in
the morning, Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh rushed to the Well of the
House.

In the Rajya Sabha too, the SP and RJD disrupted Question Hour. Here
they demanded the implementation of the Ranganath Mishra Commission
report first. (Read: Chaos in Parliament over Women's Bill)

Both Houses reconvened at noon only to be adjourned again.

http://www.ndtv.com/news/india/mulayam-lalu-to-withdraw-support-to-government-17373.php

Chaos in Parliament over Women's Bill

Press Trust of India, Monday March 8, 2010, New Delhi

Mulayam Singh Yadav, and Lalu Yadav have announced the withdrawal of
their outside support to the UPA government over the Women's
Reservation Bill.

The government is attempting history in the making, but the
proceedings have got off to a very rocky start. There was chaos in
both the houses when they opened on Monday morning.

Rajya Sabha:

The Rajya Sabha witnessed unprecendented scenes leading to an
adjournment for the third time on Monday as determined SP, RJD, LJP
and BSP members entered the well of the House, ripped off mikes and
tore up papers in an attempt to stall the Women's Reservation Bill
from being taken up for consideration.

An attempt was made to snatch the Bill from the Chairman's table which
was prevented by marshals. However, they snatched some papers from the
Secretary General's table and tore them up.

Mr Kamal Akhtar of Samajwadi Party, Mr Sabir Ali of LJP and Mr
Gangacharan Rajput of BSP along with other party members spearheaded
the stalling tactics. Some of them then got on the reporters' table in
the well of the House.

All members of various political parties were on their feet. Seeing
these antics many looked shocked.

The ruling Congress party members, especially women, were seen making
a protective ring around Law Minister M Veerappa Moily who will move
the Bill for consideration.

Shocked over these developments, the Chairman adjourned the House till
3 pm.

Earlier, the House was adjourned twice within minutes of assembling as
members of the SP, RJD, LJP, and BSP raised slogans from the well of
the House demanding implementation of the Ranganath Mishra Commission
report.

Lok Sabha:

The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the third time on Monday afternoon
when SP, RJD and JD(U) members trooped into the well protesting the
Women's Reservation Bill in its present form.

When the House, which was earlier adjourned twice on the same issue,
reassembled at 2 pm, members of these parties led by RJD chief Lalu
Prasad, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and JD(U) President Sharad Yadav,
stormed the well shouting slogans.

As the slogan-shouting continued, Trinamool Congress members including
its chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, were seen singing the
famous song - "We shall overcome some day".

Other Trinamool members, including Minister of State for Health Dinesh
Trivedi, chief whip Sudip Bandopadhyay and cine-star turned MP
Shatabdi Roy, were heard singing the song in the House.

As the din continued, Deputy Speaker Karia Munda adjourned the House
till 3 pm.

http://www.ndtv.com/news/india/rajya-sabha-adjourned-after-uproar-over-womens-bill-17368.php

BJP too to quit JAC?

Express News Service
First Published : 08 Mar 2010 05:43:00 AM IST

HYDERABAD: The BJP is contemplating quitting the Telangana political
JAC and evolve its own programme of action to rouse public opinion in
favour of separate Telangana State.

The State leadership of the party wants to strengthen the party’s base
at ground level in villages. It will have `Jai Telangana’ slogan in
Telangana areas and `Jai Andhra’ in Andhra districts.

The party’s approach to Telangana that all legislators should resign
and force a constittutional crisis has changed after it encountered
opposition within the party. Those who opposed it argued that MLAs of
neither the Congress nor the TDP resigned.

This was the reason why these elements got together and ensured the
election of Kishan Reddy as the party’s State president who too
subscribed to the idea and refused to resign. In such an event, the
point that is being discussed at length is why stay in the JAC when
the party is not in a position to honour its decisions (of quitting
the Assembly).

To make this easy for Kishan Reddy’s supporters, the BJP National
Committee too expressed displeasure over the BJP continuing in the JAC
and wanted it to make an honourable exit from the panel so that it
would not be misconstrued by the people.

Already, the ABVP, which has an ideological affiliation with the BJP,
is carrying on the movement for Telangana without joining the JAC and
has already made a mark. The BJP wants to toe the same line so that it
will be able to preseve its identity and strengthen its base.

The Stare party leadership has asked the district units to organise
Telangana programmes in districts only in the name of the party and
will not have anything to do with the JAC. This apart, the JAC leaders
are not on good terms with the new chief of the State unit.

Comments

PEOPLE AND STUDENTS OF T-REGION REJECTED KCR/TRS & TRAITORS IN
TELANGANA CONGRESS FOR PUBLICITY STUNTS AND RESIGNATION DRAMAS AND KCR/
TRS MP NOT RESIGNED AGAINST THEIR OWN ADVISE TO OTHERS AND KCR
ATTENDING RAJ BHAVAN DINNER EVEN AFTER KNOWING THE WITH SRI KRISHNA'S
TOR- SEPARATE-T NOT FEASIBLE HAS GONE AGAINS THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.
TRS/KCR WILL REALISE THIS IN BYE-ELECTION RESULTS THAT IS WHY KCR/TRS
MP NOR RESIGNED.

By JAC-T= KCR/TRS+KO-DANDA ONLY.
3/8/2010 1:19:00 PM

http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=BJP+too+to+quit+JAC?&artid=FPykUG9SeSM=&SectionID=e7uPP4%7CpSiw=&MainSectionID=fyV9T2jIa4A=&SectionName=EH8HilNJ2uYAot5nzqumeA==&SEO=

BJP demands bill on bifurcation

Express News Service
First Published : 08 Mar 2010 05:42:00 AM IST

HYDERABAD: The BJP State Council has demanded that the Centre
introudce a bill in Parliament for bifurcation of the State.

The council, which met here yesterday, said in its political
resolution that the constitution of the Justice BN Srikrishna
Committee was intended to prolong the issue and saw no need for the
party to make a presentation to the Srirkrishna panel since it
beleived that the committee’s purpose was other than formation of two
States.

“Bifurcation of the State is the only answer to backwardness of the
two regions,’’ it said and criticised other parties for their
dichotomy on the issue.

By another resolution the council expressed concern over the
deteriroration of administration which led to increase in the prices
of essential commodities as well as breakdown of law and order.

The murder of Sri Vaishnavi in Vijayawada and the hooch tragedy in
East Godavari district were indicative of the breakdown of the law and
order machienry, the council said. It alleged that the State
Government had miserably failed to come to the rescue of people
affected by the unprecedented floods in Kurnool, Mahaboobnagar,
Krishna and Guntur districts.

Though the Centre annoucned Rs 1,000 crore for mitigation of the
suffering of the flood-affected people, the funds had so far not been
transferred, it pointed out.

A resoultion said that the adminsitraion was in a state of suspended
animation with Chief Minister K Rosaiah, who was asked to step into
the shoes of YS Rajasekhara Reddy who died in a helicopter crash,
being unable to perform.

By another resolution the party demanded that the State should take
immediate steps for controlling the prices of essential commodities
which have been going through the roof and supply power for nine hours
to the farm sector to save standing crops.

http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=BJP+demands+bill+on+bifurcation&artid=7oMMyEgPRtw=&SectionID=e7uPP4%7CpSiw=&MainSectionID=fyV9T2jIa4A=&SectionName=EH8HilNJ2uYAot5nzqumeA==&SEO=

Lalu declares 'war' against women's Bill
TNN, Mar 8, 2010, 05.42am IST

Women's Bill: 'Conspiracy to eliminate minorities'PATNA: RJD chief
Lalu Prasad on Sunday declared he will fight tooth and nail against
women's reservation Bill. "Yuddh hoga (There would be a war)," he
thundered and added the OBC brigade will roll up sleeves against the
move.

Lalu said BJP and Congress are making a 'historical blunder' by
issuing a whip to their MPs to vote for the Bill in its present form.
"If they (Congress and BJP) think they will get women's votes, they
are mistaken. It's a male-dominated society (where women go by what
their menfolk say while voting). If I ask my wife, Rabri Devi, to vote
for a particular party, do you think she will vote for another party?"
he asked at a presser and added nowhere in the world women get
reservation in legislative bodies.

Even if it has to be given, there should be quota for deprived
sections within this reservation, Lalu said and added the faces of
women belonging to minority community, backward castes, Dalits and
tribals should be visible through this reservation. "The quota should
be for those who cannot enter the legislative bodies on their own," he
said.

By introducing the Bill, the RJD leader said, the Congress is trying
to divert people's attention from main issues like price rise,
unemployment, growing regionalism and threat to national security.
"The BJP and Congress want to get votes of Muslims, Dalits and OBCs,
but they do not want to safeguard their interests," he said.

Lalu hit out at Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for changing tack on
the issue. "Nitish is a `bahurupiya' (a master of disguise)," Lalu
said, recalling Nitish earlier gave a note of dissent as a member of
the parliamentary committee which looked into this issue.

Also, Nitish's party colleague and JD(U) national president Sharad
Yadav once declared he would consume poison if the women's reservation
Bill in its present form was introduced. "By advising Sharad to ensure
the passage of the Bill now, Nitish has shown his real face to the
Muslims, Dalits and OBCs," Lalu said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/opinions/5656141.cms

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Lalu-declares-war-against-womens-Bill/articleshow/5656141.cms

. BJP, Justice Sagheer in agreement on Kashmir Accord
Working Group Report on Centre-State Relations-V

Syed Junaid Hashmi

JAMMU, Mar 7: The historical comment of former Prime Minister late
Indira Gandhi “The clock could not be put back in this manner” is
central theme of ‘some kind of restoration of autonomy’ recommended by
Justice Sagheer Panel on centre-state relations and clearly, in
contrast to vehement claims of ruling coalition.

The recommendation is in agreement with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
led union cabinet’s decision on Autonomy resolution of Jammu and
Kashmir on July 5, 2000. The then union cabinet while rejecting
autonomy resolution of then National Conference (NC) led government in
Jammu and Kashmir had accepted that there is a clear case for
devolution of more financial and administrative powers and functions
to the states alongside taking suitable steps to ensure harmonious
centre-state relations in the light of the recommendations of the
Sarkaria Commission.

Interestingly, the union cabinet had then rejected autonomy resolution
by referring to Kashmir accord, more commonly known as Indira-Sheikh
Accord. It had said that issue of restoring constitutional situation
in Jammu and Kashmir to its pre-1953 position had been discussed in
detail by late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah with former Prime Minister
late Indira Gandhi in 1974-75. The decision had noted that agreement
signed after these negotiations had affirmed that provisions of the
Constitution of India already applied to the state of Jammu and
Kashmir without adaptation or modification are unalterable.

Justice (Retd) Sagheer in his report on Pages 93 and 94 has referred
to speech of former Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi in the
parliament on February 24, 1975 in which she had remarked, “The
constitutional relationship between state of Jammu and Kashmir and the
union will continue as it has been and extension of further provisions
of constitution to the state will continue to be governed by procedure
prescribed in Article 370.”

Justice Sagheer further notes, “Sheikh Abdullah was very anxious that
to start with, the constitutional relationship between the state and
the centre should be as it was in 1953 when he was in power. It was
explained to him that the clock could not be put back in this manner.
Mirza Afzal Beg pressed for transfer of provisions relating to
fundamental rights to state constitution, removal of the supervision
and control of Election Commission of India over elections to the
state legislature and the modification of Article 356 to require the
state government’s concurrence before imposing president’s rule in the
state.”

Late Indira Gandhi while outrightly rejecting these demands had said,
“It was not found possible to agree to any of these proposals. I must
say to the credit of Sheikh Abdullah that despite his strong views on
these issues, he has accepted the agreed conclusion.” After this,
Justice (Retd) Sagheer has referred to clause 3 and 4 of the Kashmir
Accord.
The panel while referring these two clauses has concluded that if any
provision of the constitution of India had been applied to the state
of Jammu and Kashmir without adaptations and modifications, then such
modifications are unalterable. But with respect to provisions applied
with adaptations and modifications, it was agreed that they can be
altered or repealed by an order of President under Article 370 but
each individual proposal in this behalf would be considered on its
merits;

“With a view to assuring freedom to the State of Jammu and Kashmir to
have its own legislation on matters like welfare measures cultural
matters, social security, personal law and procedural laws, in a
manner suited to the special conditions in the State, it is agreed
that the State Government can review the laws made by Parliament or
extended to the State after 1953 on any matter related to the
Concurrent List and may decide which of them, in its opinion, needs
amendment or repeal. Thereafter, appropriate steps may be taken under
Article 254 of the Constitution of India. The grant of President's
assent to such legislation would be sympathetically considered,”
Justice Sagheer has noted from the Kashmir Accord as relevant to
present discourse on autonomy.

Concluding debate on autonomy, Justice Sagheer Ahmed has referred to a
Supreme Court decision in Sampat Prakash vs. State of Jammu and
Kashmir in which it was held that inspite of the dissolution of
constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, the constitutional
provisions could be extended to the state of Jammu and Kashmir with
such adaptations and modifications as the president may deem fit. It
is after these referrals that Justice Sagheer has recommended for
examining the question of autonomy in the light of Kashmir Accord.

Interestingly, the ruling coalition through 10 page recommendatory
notes of report had claimed that Justice Sagheer had recommended what
National Conference (NC) led government had proposed central
government through a resolution properly passed and vetted by more
than 60 members of state legislative assembly on June 26, 2000. The
resolution which was rejected by the then BJP led NDA government on
July 5, 2000.

[Kashmir Times]

Related news

:. Saghir reports to Omar, 24 Dec 2009
http://www.kashmirwatch.com/showheadlines.php?subaction=showfull&id=1261696873&archive=&start_from=&ucat=1&var0news=value0news

Posted on 08 Mar 2010 by Webmaster

http://www.kashmirwatch.com/showheadlines.php?subaction=showfull&id=1268044174&archive=&start_from=&ucat=1&var0news=value0news

...and I am Sid Harth
chhotemianinshallah
2010-03-08 16:41:11 UTC
COLUMN

Between despair and hope
PRAFUL BIDWAI

The Rae Bareli court's discharge of L.K. Advani in the Ayodhya
demolition case is a mockery of justice, but the Supreme Court's
intervention in the Best Bakery matter revives hopes that the Indian
legal system might prevail in bringing the perpetrators of communal
hate crimes to book.

THE waywardness of India's police and justice delivery systems has few
parallels when it comes to punishing communal offences and hate
crimes. What began as a devious process of manipulation of the first
information reports in the Babri mosque demolition case, and the
totally illegitimate dropping of conspiracy charges against the
principal accused, turned into a grotesque parody of justice on
September 19 when the Special Court of Magistrate Vinay Kumar Singh in
Rae Bareli framed charges against seven persons, including Murli
Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati, Vinay Katiyar and other Vishwa Hindu
Parishad leaders, but discharged Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani.
Advani is the man who spearheaded, planned and ideologically inspired
the raucous agitation that led to the razing of the mosque on December
6, 1992.

Precisely what charges are framed against the remaining seven will be
only known on October 10. The list of offences filed by the CBI under
the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is not long: Section 147 (rioting), 149
(committing a crime), 153A and 153B (spreading communal hatred) and
505 (creating ill will). But it is clear that the indictment will not
include the all-important charge of criminal conspiracy, nor offences
under Sections 295 and 295A of the IPC (defiling places of worship and
indulging in acts intended to outrage the religious feelings of any
class).

Thus, the perpetrators of one of the worst hate crimes in India's
history - who pulled down a monument which had become a symbol of
pluralism - will not even stand trial for destroying a mosque and
exploiting communal hatred, which they so clearly did.

This is bad enough. What is downright outrageous is that Advani, who
was the most important leader of the anti-Babri movement which the BJP
took over in the late 1980s, and who conducted the infamous Somnath-to-
Ayodhya rath yatra and played a direct, preponderant role in the
events leading to December 6, has been let off the hook. The
ostensible reason made public for this is the curious argument that
the CBI cited two conflicting testimonies, one of which claimed that
Advani tried to calm down the restive crowd (while the other said he
did nothing to restrain leaders like Uma Bharati and Sadhvi
Ritambhara, with whom he shared the dais who made extremely
inflammatory speeches).

Basing himself on this claimed contradiction, the Magistrate gave
Advani the "benefit of the doubt". Strangely, he cited the Supreme
Court's ruling in the Praful Kumar Samal case, that if the scales of
evidence presented against the accused during a trial are "even" then
that is a fit ground for acquittal. This conforms to the canonical
rule that a person must be considered innocent until proved guilty.

Logically, this rationale can come into effect only at the conclusion
of a trial, not before it, at the stage of framing charges. It does
not stand to reason that a person against whom there is weighty prima
facie evidence should be simply let off. The Supreme Court had said:
"If an element of grave suspicion is there and the accused has
explained the doubts then he can be discharged." Advani manifestly did
not explain away any "doubts".

The Magistrate has erred in exonerating Advani. Independent
investigations have turned up overwhelming evidence of Advani's
pivotal role in the processes and events that led to the demolition,
including the happenings of December 6. The Citizens' Tribunal on
Ayodhya, comprising Justices O. Chinappa Reddy, D.A. Desai and D.S.
Tewatia documented Advani's role at length in its Report of the
Inquiry Commission (July 1993) and in the Judgement and
Recommendations (December 1993), both published by the Tribunal (K-14
Green Park Extension, New Delhi 110016).

These show that Advani was central to the build-up to the events of
December 1992 - from numerous kar sevas, the 1990 rath yatra, and
manipulation of the State government (then under the BJP's Kalyan
Singh), to misleading the courts, and organising crucial coordination
meetings of the Sangh combine. The intention to raze the mosque was
repeatedly and unambiguously stressed during these events. The very
purpose of the rath yatra was to kindle "Hindu pride" and "get even"
with history - of "conquest and humiliation" of the Hindus by
"foreigners". The main slogans of the yatra were provocative: "there
are only two places for Muslims - Pakistan or kabristan
(graveyard))".

The Inquiry Commission recorded detailed testimony of eyewitnesses to
show that plans for December 6 were launched by the BJP-VHP-Bajrang
Dal with a lalkar saptah starting November 29. By December 2, 90,000
kar sevaks had gathered at Ayodhya. By December 3, they numbered
150,000. On December 5, Advani addressed a public meeting in Lucknow
and was to go to Varanasi, reaching Ayodhya/Faizabad on December 5.
He, however, altered his plans so as to reach Faizabad to join an all-
important closed-door meeting at Vinay Katiyar's house, where the
ultimate, detailed, nuts-and-bolts plans for December 6 were
finalised.

Among those present were the RSS' H.V. Seshadri and K.S. Sudershan,
the VHP's Ashok Singhal, Vinay Katiyar and Acharya Dharmendra, the
Shiv Sena's Moreshwar Save, and the BJP's Pramod Mahajan. Meanwhile, a
rehearsal of the demolition operation took place the same day near the
Babri mosque.

According to the Commission, on December 6, Advani arrived at the site
at the same time as Joshi (10-30 a.m.). He, among others, addressed
the kar sevaks. His speech was intemperate. Meanwhile, some kar sevaks
had breached the security cordon and were in a highly excited state.
At 11-30 a.m., Uma Bharati made a highly inflammatory speech,
including slogans "tel lagao Dabar ka, naam mitao Babar ka", "Katue
kate jayenge, Ram-Ram chillayenge", and so on.

At 11-45, Advani reportedly announced, "We don't need bulldozers to
pull down the mosque; [we can do it manually by removing chunks of its
wall]". The assault on the mosque began. Advani then ensured that the
demolition would continue and be completed without the intervention of
Central paramilitary forces stationed nearby. At 3-15 p.m., he urged
kar sevaks "to block all entry points to Ayodhya to prevent Central
forces from entering, and warned the armed forces not to touch the kar
sevaks." The eight accused were present at the site for a full seven
hours and made no gesture to distance themselves from the destructive
and illegal actions of the day.

The December 6 events were videographed and photographed by numerous
journalists, by Indian and foreign TV channels and, above all, by the
Intelligence Bureau, which reportedly has nine hours of tapes.
(Curiously, the CBI did not present all of these to the special
court).

Yet, the Sangh Parivar has launched a disinformation campaign which
claims that Advani did his best to restrain the kar sevaks and shed
tears at the demolition! It is relevant to ask if these were tears of
sorrow or of joy: Advani has consistently described the anti-Babri
agitation as a "national" movement for Hindu self-assertion, which
finally removed what he called the "ocular" insult in the form of the
mosque.

The disinformation and evasion of responsibility speaks of monumental
cowardice on the part of Advani & Co. They revelled in the
destruction, and hugged one another in exultation and mutual
congratulation.

The BJP rode to political power at the Centre on the anti-Babri Masjid
movement. In all honesty, its leaders must face trial and declare
either that they stand by their role or that they regret and repent it
and apologise. They cannot both take credit for the act and attribute
its planning and execution to mysterious, unknown and unknowable
forces - as Sangh ideologue K.R. Malkani once did, by blaming the
CIA.

There was a clearly identifiable human agency behind December 6: the
BJP-VHP-RSS-Bajrang Dal-Shiv Sena's top leadership, including Advani
and Joshi. But cowardice is a Sangh characteristic. Following Gandhi's
assassination, the RSS was banned. Thousands of its members quickly
stopped participating in its activities and claimed they were never
its members.

The Rae Bareli order is odious. But Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister
Mulayam Singh Yadav has decided not to appeal against it - on the
grounds that "I am a firm believer in the judiciary and of the view
that the court verdict on Ayodhya should be acceptable to all ... I
welcome the court's decision and have nothing more to say ... " Amar
Singh has gone even further to say that the government cannot appeal
against it. This strengthens the suspicions of a secret collusive deal
between the BJP and the Samajwadi Party. Mulayam Singh Yadav has
decided to accept the BJP's Kesarinath Tripathi as Speaker and not to
poach on the party's MLAs. This makes the whole matter all the more
sordid. It sets back hopes of a just trial and further shakes the
public's confidence in India's justice delivery system.

IN contrast to this comes the Supreme Court's intervention in the Best
Bakery case. Through two hearings on September 12 and 19, the court
effectively began piloting and guiding the Gujarat government in its
handling of the consequences of a "fast-track" special court's
judgment exonerating all the accused for the burning of 14 Muslims.
While questioning Gujarat's Chief Secretary and Director-General of
Police directly, Chief Justice V.N. Khare obtained an assurance that
Gujarat's Advocate-General would now take full charge of the matter.
He would redraft the appeal against the "fast-track" court verdict.

The Supreme Court tried to establish three things: the Best Bakery
investigation was faulty because 37 of the 43 witnesses turned
hostile; there was miscarriage of justice; and there is a case for re-
trial of the accused outside Gujarat. The Gujarat government did admit
that there was miscarriage of justice and there is a case for re-trial
(although that should not be outside Gujarat). It also claimed the
investigation was not faulty. However, the Supreme Court asked it to
file an affidavit on October 9 to say on what lines its appeal would
be drafted. This suggests close supervision or stewardship of the
process of litigation.

Welcome as this intervention is, the Court needs to go beyond the Best
Bakery case and look at the horrendous crimes committed during the
Gujarat pogrom in their totality. Crimes Against Humanity, the report
of the Concerned Citizens' Tribunal, comprising eminent jurists and
scholars, concluded, after examining 2,094 statements and 1,500
witnesses, that the pogrom that lasted several weeks amounted to
genocide in the strict sense of the term. The pattern of violence
shows: selective targeting of Muslims, inhuman forms of brutality,
military precision and planning, and use of Hindu religious symbols.
This was planned, sustained and prolonged through hate speech,
intimidation and terror by the RSS, the BJP and the VHP-Bajrang Dal,
with the complicity and participation of policemen and bureaucrats,
encouraged by Narendra Modi.

It is clear that Muslims were targeted not because they did this or
that act, but simply because they were Muslims. The killer mobs'
declared intention, as revealed by their own slogans, was to
liquidate, mentally harm, humiliate and subjugate Muslims and "destroy
them", "wipe them out from Gujarat", and cleanse the state of Islam.
The physical violence directed against Muslims, the calculated
destruction of the economic basis of their survival, and sexual
assaults against Muslim women as an instrument of terror, all point to
genocide.

Article II of the International Convention on Genocide, 1948 defines
genocide as "any of the following acts committed with intent to
destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or
religious group" like: "(a) killing [its] members; (b) causing [them]
serious bodily or mental harm; (c) deliberately inflicting on the
group conditions ... calculated to bring about its physical
destruction... ; (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births
within the group; (e) forcibly transferring [its] children ... to
another group."

The Gujarat pogrom unambiguously fits the definition. As a signatory
to the Convention, India is obliged to punish the perpetrators of
genocide through a competent court. This demands a special independent
National Tribunal for hate crimes and genocide. This alone can meet
the ends of justice.

For this to happen, we must see the numerous cases of violence not as
discrete acts, but in their totality as genocide. This sui generis
process of litigation will need special agencies for investigation and
prosecution as well as victim protection. It would be a historic
tragedy if the Indian state once again fails to bring the perpetrators
of hate crimes to book.

Volume 20 - Issue 20, September 27 - October 10, 2003
India's National Magazine
from the publishers of THE HINDU

http://www.flonnet.com/fl2020/stories/20031010005312500.htm

India's National Magazine
From the publishers of THE HINDU
Vol. 16 :: No. 04 :: Feb. 13 - 26, 1999

COVER STORY
A bitter aftermath

The pattern set in the aftermath of the Staines killing shows that
there are enough voices in positions of authority willing to justify
heinous crimes committed in the name of religion.

SUKUMAR MURALIDHARAN

SENSITIVITY to public opinion was at a premium in the aftermath of the
grisly murder of Australian missionary Graham Stewart Staines and his
two young boys by a lynch mob in Orissa on January 23. Union Home
Minister L.K. Advani put on record his strong condemnation of the
event, as did Minister for External Affairs Jaswant Singh, the latter
describing it as a "crime against humanity". But for each such
concession to the demands of rectitude, there was a gesture that
tended to work to the contrary purpose. One such act was Advani's
preemptive exculpation of the Bajrang Dal - his claim that he had
authoritative information that the organisation was not involved in
the crime. Another was BJP president Kushabhau Thakre's assertion that
Christian missionaries were inviting trouble through their activities.
He said: "I appeal to the missionaries that they are sitting on a
stack of hay. They better be careful."

Thakre's remarks conformed to a pattern of morally dubious conduct by
the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliate organisations
after the Staines murder. In what could only be construed as a gross
act of dishonouring the dead, Vishwa Hindu Parishad vice-president
Giriraj Kishore asserted that the work of Graham Staines amidst
leprosy sufferers was a facade, since there were no such people within
a wide radius of where he lived and worked. As an intervention in an
emotionally fraught situation, this was only slightly less coarse than
that of Hindu Jagran Manch's Orissa unit president Subhash Chouhan. He
said that Graham Staines was killed because he was engaged in
proselytisation. The pattern set in the aftermath of the killing was
very clear. Adherents to the RSS worldview who happen to be in the
Government felt obliged to issue deprecatory noises. But those outside
the Government felt few such restraints.

EASTERN PRESS AGENCY
Australian Christian missionary Graham Stewart Staines with wife
Glade and children Philip, Esther and Timothy, in a picture from the
family album.

A three-member team of Cabinet Ministers visited the site of the
murder as part of the Government's crisis management strategy. Prior
to his departure to the spot, Union Minister for Steel and Mines
Naveen Patnaik made it clear that he looked at the event through the
miasma of his antagonism to the Orissa unit of the Congress(I).
Defence Minister George Fernandes and Human Resource Development
Minister Murli Manohar Joshi chose a strategy of prudence in advance
of their visit - the former because he is a key member of the BJP-led
Government's crisis management effort and the latter because of his
well-advertised proximity to hardline elements in the RSS.

The ministerial trio spent one hour at the scene of the crime. On its
return to Delhi, the team issued a statement which ascribed
responsibility for the crime to an "international conspiracy" by
"forces which would like this Government to go". If this effectively
ruled out the culpability of the Sangh Parivar and its affiliates, the
team also urged that a judicial commission of inquiry be constituted
to look into the murder in order to uncover the conspiracy.

Shortly afterwards the Government announced, on the advice of the
Chief Justice of India, that a sitting Judge of the Supreme Court,
Justice D.P. Wadhwa, had been appointed as a one-man commission of
inquiry into the Staines killing. Union Minister for Information and
Broadcasting and Cabinet spokesman Pramod Mahajan said that the
inquiry report would be completed by April, so that it could be placed
in Parliament in its next session.

The Director-General for Investigations in the National Human Rights
Commission, D.R. Karthikeyan, visited the scene of the crime. His
report is expected to be submitted by the middle of February, though
with the appointment of the judicial commission it could become an
input for the broader inquiry. Certain suggestions that he made in the
context of the local police investigation, such as entrusting it to
the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the State police and
putting an officer of the rank of Superintendent in charge of it, have
been accepted.

A two-member team from the National Commission on Minorities
comprising James Massey and N. Neminath also went to the site. Its
report is also expected to be an important input into the inquiries of
the judicial commission.

AP
During their visit to Manoharpur village in Orissa a few days after
the murder of Graham Stewart Staines and his sons, members of the
Cabinet team, Defence Minister George Fernandes, Human Resource
Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi and Minister for Steel and
Mines Naveen Patnaik, make inquiries.

IN the midst of these exertions, the ambivalence of official
utterances continues to cause disquiet. It is well known that the
Bajrang Dal - as in the case of most organisations in the RSS
constellation - does not maintain membership rolls. Established in
1984, just when the Ram Janmabhoomi movement was beginning to take
shape in the strategies of the RSS, the Bajrang Dal honed its
agitational and inflammatory skills in the lethal campaign to bring
down the mosque in Ayodhya. The slogans it crafted as part of this
campaign still ring with menace and were often chanted by the riotous
mobs which took a heavy toll of human life during the six years
leading up to the demolition.

Many modern legal systems have a category of offence known as "hate
speech". Slogans and declamations that tend to engender a sense of
antipathy towards any group of people are an offence in themselves.
And if they are issued in close temporal or spatial connection with
actual incidents of violence against these groups, a direct
association is drawn. The onus is then on those who raise the
inflammatory slogans to prove that there is no connection with the
actual act of violence.

By this reasonable benchmark, the BJP spokesmen who have, at every
juncture since the cycle of anti-Christian violence began, exerted
themselves in the cause of strife rather than harmony bear a share of
the blame for the Staines killing. And their conspicuous lack of
remorse after the event has certainly contributed to the sustenance of
an atmosphere of violence. This has been most recently exemplified in
the alleged gang-rape of a Catholic nun on February 3 in Mayurbhanj
district in Orissa. Heinous crimes have been justified by the supposed
sense of rage at the incursions of alien religions into what is deemed
to be Hindu territory. For the BJP leaders who today represent
governmental authority, this has concurrently become an alibi for a
complete abdication of responsibility.

http://www.flonnet.com/fl1604/16040220.htm

Volume 24 - Issue 08 :: Apr. 21-May. 04, 2007
INDIA'S NATIONAL MAGAZINE
from the publishers of THE HINDU

COLUMN

Politics of intimidation
PRAFUL BIDWAI

The Bharatiya Janata Party is trying to browbeat the Election
Commission and its critics on the anti-Muslim CD issue.

SUBIR ROY

BJP State president Kesri Nath Tripathi with senior leader Lalji
Tandon in Lucknow on March 30.

NO Indian political formation can even remotely match the Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP) when it comes to violating norms of political
decency, defying the law, and pursuing an outrageously divisive and
sectarian agenda. The latest instance is its release on April 3 of a
viciously anti-Muslim compact disc (CD) entitled Bharat ki Pukar (the
call of India) as part of its campaign material for the Uttar Pradesh
Assembly elections.

The BJP has disowned the CD and feigned ignorance of how it got to be
commissioned, written, approved and released — without sincerely
apologising for it. Worse, it has tried to turn the tables on a
constitutional authority, the Election Commission, as well as its
political opponents. It has also used threats and intimidation to
resist reasonable pressure to play by the ground rules of electoral
politics.

Even more disgracefully for the Indian political system, the BJP has
for all practical purposes got away with its offensive conduct. As
this is being written, during the third round of polling in the seven-
phase U.P. elections, it seems highly unlikely that the BJP will be
made to pay politically for its defiance of the prohibition against
using hate speech to win votes, itself a crime against democracy.

The Election Commission issued the BJP a notice asking the party to
explain why it should not be punished under the Representation of the
People Act, 1951 and its Model Code of Conduct, which was in force
when the CD was released. But the BJP, true to type, launched a
counter-offensive and tried to divert attention from this central
issue by demanding that Naveen Chawla, one of the Election
Commissioners, recuse himself from hearing its case. It took this
secondary issue to the Supreme Court on April 13, which has deferred
its hearing to May 8.

Regrettably, the BJP has thus succeeded in getting any resolution of
the issues raised by the CD postponed until it ceases to matter for
the all-important election campaign in U.P.

Now, it can hardly be disputed that the CD is flagrantly anti-Muslim.
It perversely portrays all Muslims as anti-Hindu and anti-national.
They are depicted as duplicitous devils: they trick Hindus into
selling them cows by pretending they will look after them, only to
butcher them in a gory way. They oppress their own women and turn them
into mere reproductive machines - so as to change India's demographic
balance.

The CD shows Muslim men abducting innocent Hindu girls and eloping
with them - only to convert them forcibly. (The effect of this was
reinforced in real life by the systematic hounding of mixed couples
from Bhopal and elsewhere, and by orchestrated "protests" against
their marriage, including a typical Hindutva-style attack on a Star
News studio in Mumbai.)

The CD was clearly calculated to incite hatred against a religious
community, divide citizens, and provoke a militant reaction - probably
with a view to triggering a Hindu-communal backlash. There is nothing
vague or unambiguous of its purpose: it is to win votes in U.P., where
the BJP faces a double-or-nothing prospect.

It simply will not do for the BJP to pretend that the CD was
unauthorised and produced by a junior-level "worker" without prior
approval by the party's top leaders, including Lalji Tandon and State
unit president Kesri Nath Tripathi. According to Virendra Singh,
director of the Bulandshehr-based Fakira Films, which produced the CD,
the State BJP leadership was consulted "at every stage of the writing
of the CD" and whenever the script was "modified... and fine-tuned...
" This stands to reason. Withdrawing the CD cannot mitigate the
original offence because the disc is in circulation and has been
viewed by large numbers of people - in excerpts aired on television,
as well as original copies.

V.V. KRISHNAN

The controversial CD.

Prima facie, there is an irrefutable case against the BJP for
violating the election law in a depraved manner and for offending
Sections of the Indian Penal Code that pertain to spreading hatred
against a particular group or using appeals to religious identity and
which prohibit and punish the use of inflammatory communal material.

The Election Commission was not only right to issue a notice to the
BJP, it was duty-bound to act against it. Logically, such action can
take many forms: publicly reprimanding the BJP, imposing a hefty fine,
and derecognising it at least so far as the use of the lotus symbol is
concerned. The E.C. is not merely meant to disqualify a candidate in
retrospect for communal propaganda. Article 324 of the Constitution
gives it a broad mandate, which includes preventing, precluding and
punishing the use of such propaganda during elections.

The "retrospective" argument just does not stand up to scrutiny. The
E.C.'s core job is to do all it can to prohibit effectively the use of
unfair electoral practices. That is why it is empowered to requisition
police and paramilitary forces, transfer and appoint civil servants,
and set rules for the conduct of the electoral process in its minutest
details.

Implicit in, and central to, the E.C.'s function as a statutory
authority is preventive and pre-emptive action so as to guard the
sanctity of elections. To use an analogy, its principal task is not to
punish arsonists but to prevent fires, which vitiate the selection of
the people's representatives - a process vital and indispensable to
democracy. The E.C. would be perfectly within its powers to demand an
explicit, binding commitment from any political party that it will not
use communal means of canvassing electoral support, a breach of which
would automatically entail disqualification and derecognition.

The case for doing so is especially strong because only last December,
the BJP officially released a CD similar to the April avatar. This was
done during its National Council meeting in Lucknow, where the CD
featured as part of the press kit. The BJP fully owns and stands by
this CD. It cannot claim innocence about its cousin/derivative.

It has since produced equally obnoxious advertisements questioning the
patriotic intentions of Muslims through the caption: Kya inka irada
Pak hai? (Are their intentions pure). Several of its top leaders,
including its chief ministerial candidate Kalyan Singh, have publicly
defended their content as "truthful".

The plain truth is that the BJP has tried to browbeat its opponents -
by raising a diversionary issue and by resorting to the melodramatic
(but mercifully aborted) tactic of courting arrest and launching a
self-righteous protest agitation against the E.C.'s notice. (It is
another matter that it also put up a dummy candidate in Tandon's
constituency - his own son - in case the U.P. BJP's topmost leader
faces punitive action.)

This is not the first time that the BJP has resorted to bluff and
bluster, by threatening a "mass agitation", by pretending that any
E.C. action against it would amount to an "electoral emergency", and
by creating a climate of fear. This is a familiar tactic. It takes
recourse to majoritarianism and arouses concern that should a Hindutva
force be even brought to book, the consequences in the form of
disruption of order would be unacceptable.

The BJP did exactly this after the Babri Masjid was demolished in
December 1992, when it prevailed upon the Centre to allow the patently
illegal makeshift Ram-Lala temple built on its rubble to remain.
Indeed, even before that ghastly episode, our courts were reluctant to
take pre-emptive action except of a tokenist variety against it. So
was the government, which retreated each time the BJP adopted an
aggressive posture.

Here too, the fear of a "majoritarian backlash" trumped all
considerations of constitutional propriety, defence of secularism and
plain legality. Since December 1992, no government has dared to assert
the law of the land. Nor have the demolition's planners and
perpetrators been brought to book.

A similar fear gripped the Establishment after the Gujarat pogrom. The
Centre failed to dismiss the BJP-ruled State government although it
had caused, and continued to preside over, a total breakdown of all
constitutional order: even High Court judges and senior police
officers had to flee their homes in fear. The Opposition too failed to
mount enough pressure on the Centre to impose President's Rule, for
which there has never been, and could not have been, a fitter case.

Worse, elections were allowed to be held while a whole community had
been terrorised, democratic governance had collapsed, and free and
fair canvassing, polling and exercise of rational choices had become
impossible — given the continuing harassment and intimidation of
Muslims, inflamed Hindu-communal sentiments, the BJP-VHP's (Vishwa
Hindu Parishad) goonda raj, and the prevalence of a generalised
climate of fear.

All that the E.C.'s initial and salutary intervention in Gujarat
resulted in was postponement of the elections by a few months - when
the obvious remedy was President's Rule, followed by full return to
normalcy and systematic prosecution of the pogrom's perpetrators. The
Supreme Court's off-the-cuff pronouncements indicating its opposition
to deferring elections did not help.

S. SUBRAMANIUM

Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami flanked by Election
Commissioners S.Y. Quraishi and Naveen Chawla, in New Delhi.

The Establishment, in effect, has repeatedly permitted the BJP to hold
and exercise a veto over vital political processes, exercise of police
and prosecution powers, and the running of the administration in
crisis situations such that it would be suborned by the forces of
Hindu communalism.

This does not argue that the Indian government/Establishment has
turned actively communal over the years, only that it has made
deplorable compromises with Hindu communalists or passively accepted
that they deserve to be treated differently from other communalists,
as well as secularists. It is both noteworthy and shameful that the
worst abuses of freedom and the most ferocious attacks on democracy,
secularism and the rule of law in India's recent history have occurred
in situations where Hindu communalism was ascendant or rampant.

Similarly, the Establishment has allowed the BJP and its associates
virtual veto power on a number of policies, especially those
pertaining to religion and politics, to Kashmir, to relations with
Pakistan and other neighbours, and to defence and national security.
BJP leaders have arrogantly begun to assert such "primacy". Three
years ago, L.K. Advani claimed: "The BJP alone can find solutions to
our problems with Pakistan because Hindus will never think whatever we
have done is a sell-out."

The underlying assumption seems to be that by virtue of being
majoritarian or Hindu-communal, the BJP or the Sangh Parivar is a more
authentic representative of Indian opinion than other political
currents or parties. Nothing could be more false. Looked at
historically, the BJP has been a minority current in Indian politics
until the 1990s. Even at its peak, it has never commanded more than a
quarter of the national vote.

Even more important, the assumption is dangerously misguided and
unbecoming of a society and state that aspires to be secular by
drawing a line of basic demarcation between religion and politics. It
simply cannot accord primacy to a particular religious group by virtue
of its large numbers.

This situation must be remedied. That can only happen when progressive
political opinion and civil society pressure is mounted on the
Establishment so that it stands up to the bullying tactics of the
majoritarian communalists. One must hope that the E.C. will set a
positive example in the CD case.

http://www.flonnet.com/fl2408/stories/20070504002810800.htm

Volume 17 - Issue 13, June 24 - July 07, 2000
India's National Magazine
from the publishers of THE HINDU

COMMUNALISM

An assault on Christians

Emboldened by the weak response of governments to attacks against
Christian places of worship, the affiliates of the Sangh Parivar
unleash a new wave of terror against the community.

PARVATHI MENON
in Bangalore

EVER since the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance
government assumed power at the Centre, there has been a low-intensity
war against Christians in India, especially nuns and priests, by
groups and organisations loyal to the Sangh Par ivar. A wave of
attacks against Christian evangelists and places of worship through
1998 culminated in the murder of the Australian missionary Graham
Staines and his two sons on January 23, 1999. Dara Singh, a Hindutva
fanatic with links to the Sangh Par ivar, has been arrested in that
connection. A second wave of terror against Christian missionaries,
that extends now to the States of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and
Andhra Pradesh, has culminated this June in a series of bomb blasts in
churches in Ka rnataka, Goa and Andhra Pradesh.

SHERWIN CRASTO/AP
During a peace march in Mumbai on June 17, Christian priests carry a
portrait of Brother George Kuzhikandam, who was bludgeoned to death in
Mathura.

The bombs that went off in churches in the towns of Vasco in Goa, Wadi
in Karnataka, and Ongole and Tadepalligudem in Andhra Pradesh, point
to a qualitatively new phase in the campaign of organised violence
against Christians in the country. Although the identity of the forces
behind the blasts is yet to be established, the nature of the attacks,
their target and timing, point the finger of suspicion at the Sangh
Parivar. In fact, the month of May alone saw two bomb attacks in
Andhra Pradesh; the first in Machlipatnam where 30 persons were
injured in a bomb blast at a prayer meeting on May 21, and another in
Vikarabad where an explosive device planted in a church was
fortunately defused in time. The simultaneous bomb blasts in the four
towns suggest th at the perpetrators have been emboldened by what has
been seen as a weak and non-serious state response to the terror
campaign so far.

At 6 a.m. on June 8, a bomb exploded on the precincts of the St. Ann
Catholic Church in the industrial town of Wadi in Gulbarga, shattering
glass panes. A second blast occurred at 9 a.m. after the police had
reached the spot, surveyed the area and recove red residual material
of the earlier blast. When a car parked in the church precincts was
moved, a tin box was found protruding from the ground. But it exploded
before the bomb disposal squad could defuse it. One person was injured
in the blast. Wadi has a Christian population of about 80 families.

Around the same time a blast at the St. Andrews Church in Vasco in
south Goa shattered windowpanes and twisted grills out of shape. At
8-15 a.m. that day, the Gewett Memorial Baptist Church in Ongole was
the scene of a bomb blast which because it took pl ace after the
morning service, only injured three persons. A bomb went off at the
Mother Vannini Catholic Church at Tadepalligudem in West Godavari
district, around the same time.

The police have already established certain significant facts with
regard to the blasts. "We are now certain that the same group of
conspirators were behind all the three blasts," C. Dinakaran, Director-
General of Police, Karnataka, told Frontline . In all the cases, he
said, the timing device and the detonators used were of the same type.
While in Andhra Pradesh the explosive had a plastic casing, in Goa and
Karnataka the explosives were encased in tin. The bombs were placed,
in all the cases, ne ar the gates or windows of the church. Gelatine,
an explosive commonly used for blasting in the stone quarries and
cement factories of Gulbarga in Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh was the
raw material used. "The other significant fact is that all the towns
have railway stations and we suspect that this may have determined the
choice of place. The conspirators possibly took trains from one place
to another," said Dinakaran.

K. RAMESH BABU
Inside the Mother Vannini Catholic Church at Tadepalligudem in West
Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh which was damaged in a bomb blast
on June 8.

THE serial blast mark a new phase in the continuing two-year-long
violence against the Christian community in the country. The fact of a
conspiracy is now clearly established. This points not only to careful
and coordinated planning, but also to new leve ls and strategies of
planned violence suggestive of a deadly seriousness of purpose. No
longer need mobs be mobilised in the destruction of places of
Christian worship as in the past. The terrorism of the bomb gives the
criminal a degree of invisibility, and widens the range of attack. The
serial bombs were in the nature of a message of intimidation, not just
to those who work for Christian organisations but to Church
congregations, from prayer meetings to Sunday school gatherings. With
the perpetrators of the crime distanced from the scene of the crime,
it is much easier for a compliant state machinery to give them
protection. The fear of indiscriminate strikes anywhere and at any
time has already created a sense of panic amongst Christians. After
all , ifa bomb can be planted in a town as innocuous as Wadi, it could
happen anywhere in the country.

"I read in all this a pattern of violence. These were similar
explosive devices that were used, " Fr. Dr.H.R. Donald De Souza,
deputy secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India
told Frontline. "We suspect an organised movement b y fundamentalist
groups who have been emboldened by the inaction of the government," he
added.

The serial blasts give the lie to the theory of 'secular violence'
that the BJP and the government it heads have put out regarding the
recent attacks on minorities in different parts of the country.
Despite evidence to the contrary, the government held t hat the
innumerable acts of violence against members of the Christian
community, in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and elsewhere, was not communally
motivated but were incidents of "dacoity and loot" by "criminal
gangs".

According to the United Christian Forum for Human Rights (UCFHR),
there have been 35 recorded anti-Christian crimes between January and
June this year. The most recent of these was the murder of Brother
George Kuzhikandam, who was bludgeoned to death in the Paulus Memorial
School in Navada, Mathura, in U.P. on June 7. Within days of this
incident, a group of nuns were attacked in Mathura by a couple of
scooter-borne assailants. In the case of George Kuzhikandam, U.P.
Chief Minister Ram Prakash Gupta ins isted that money was the motive
behind the murder. "The BJP and the State government reach conclusions
even before the police start investigation," John Dayal, national
convener of the UCFHR said. "Why would a gang of thugs choose to kill
a poor priest i n his school during the holidays ? Or attack nuns who
run a convent school that charges the lowest fees in the area?" Dayal
said that the U.P. Police had promised to post police units at
Christian institutions but these were soon withdrawn. "A police out
post was stationed at the nuns' ashram in Agra. They proved more of a
nuisance as they insisted on being fed and looked after, and were in
any case taken off duty a few days later!" The U.P. government's stand
on the attacks received support from an unexpected quarter. The
National Minorities Commission (NMC) sent an investigative team to the
Agra-Mathura region and its report upheld the official view that the
cases of physical viol ence and murder were committed by anti-social
elements. "The NMC report was prepared by nominees of the present
government. So it is not surprising that they arrived at the
conclusion they did,"said Fr. Donald De Souza. "A group of Christian
parliamentar ians led by P.C. Thomas conducted another enquiry and on
the basis of the same evidence wholly disagreed with the NMC report,"
he added.

THE BJP responded to the serial blasts even before the government did.
While the Home Ministry "waited for reports from the States," the BJP
announced that the blasts were the handiwork of Pakistan's Inter-
Services Intelligence (ISI), which, it said, is bent on fomenting
hatred between Hindus and Christians in the country. Prime Minister
Atal Behari Vajpayee had no information to give as to what action the
State governments had taken when a delegation from the UCFHR called on
him three days after the bl ast. By then police investigations could
not establish any ISI involvement.

K. RAMESH BABU
The facade of the church.

Preliminary investigations into the blasts appear to discount the
theory of ISI involvement. "We cannot rule out anything," said DGP
Dinakaran. "But if an organisation as well-funded as the ISI is
involved, we expect they would use more sophisticated bom bs. Why must
they depend on gelatine and not the more expensive and deadly RDX
(research department explosive)?"

Christian leaders attach importance to the proliferation of hate-
literature that has provided the fuel for the attacks, and which also
provides evidence, for a law enforcing agency that wishes to use such
evidence, of who is behind the violence. Hate-lit erature is freely
printed and distributed in States where the Sangh Parivar is active,
and in States where the BJP is in government or is an ally of the
government, as in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. Most hate-pamphlets do
not carry the name of an organis ation that has an address. For
example, there are pamphlets signed by the 'Hindu Jagaran Manch,
Kashi', or by 'Supporters of Dara Singh, the God Who Descended from
Heaven'. While some of the books are directly incendiary, others come
in the garb of work s of historical 'research', and yet others are
books/pamphlets on how to harass Christian missionaries in order to
prevent them from proselytising. For example, a booklet published in
Gujarat suggests that one way to prevent missionaries from working is
to foist false cases on them so that they are always tied up in the
courts.

These are faceless, addressless, front organisations of the Sangh
Parivar. If the law enforcing mechanism is slow in apprehending the
culprits in an attack of communally motivated violence, it is even
slower in tracing and taking action against the print ers and peddlers
of hate-literature. The environment in all the three States where the
serial blasts occurred has been vitiated by the activities of the
Sangh Parivar. "We are alarmed at the statements of important people
in the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamseva k Sangh) and the BJP, such as B.K.
Modi and Ashok Singhal, who have been talking of the need to build a
pan Buddhist-Hindu alliance against Christianity and Islam in South
Asia," said Dayal. "The RSS chief speaks of an "Epochal War". What
does all this m ean?" he asked. The NDA government has already swept
the uncomfortable issue of the serial blasts, which they were briefly
confronted with, under the carpet. A passing worry presented itself
when Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N.Chandrababu Naidu was reported to
have tol d a delegation of Christian leaders that he would even
consider withdrawing support to the BJP-led government if the rights
of the minorities were not protected. But that concern too was
dispelled when the Telugu Desam Party leader denied that he had sai d
anything of the sort.

To the Christians in the country, the targets of a sustained two-year-
long cycle of violence, there is little room for comfort. And for
assurances there are few positive measures that have been taken for
their protection.

http://www.flonnet.com/fl1713/17130210.htm

India's National Magazine
From the publishers of THE HINDU
Vol. 15 :: No. 26 :: Dec. 19, 1998 - Jan. 01, 1999

COLUMN
RSS and Christians

The Sangh Parivar's violent hatred against Christianity is deep-rooted
and decades old, as is the case with its animosity against several
other communities.

A. G. NOORANI

ON December 4, 1998, nearly 23 million Christians across the country
observed a protest day demanding that the governments at the Centre
and in the States check the growing violence against members of the
community. A letter of protest, drawn up by the United Christians'
Forum for Human Rights (UCFHR), said: "Since January 1998 there has
been more violence against the Christian community than in all the 50
years of the country's Independence. Nuns have been raped, priests
executed, Bibles burnt, churches demolished, educational institutions
destroyed and religious people harassed." This is persecution in the
strict dictionary meaning of the word "pursue with enmity and ill-
treatment". Mabel Rebello of the Congress(I) told the Rajya Sabha that
day that "50 per cent of these (incidents) have occurred in Gujarat
where the BJP is in power".

On October 8, Gujarat's Director-General of Police, C.P. Singh,
confirmed in an interview to Teesta Setalvad, co-editor of Communalism
Combat (October 1998): "One thing was clear in the pattern of
incidents. It was the activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and
Bajrang Dal who were taking the law into their own hands, which posed
a serious danger to peace in Gujarat. Many of the attacks on the
minorities were after these organisations had whipped up local
passions of conversions (by Christian missionaries) and allegedly
forced inter-religious marriages... our investigations revealed that
in most cases these were entirely baseless allegations."

Two disturbing features of the campaign stand out in bold relief. One
is that the attacks mounted steeply after the Bharatiya Janata Party-
led Government assumed office in March 1998. The Archbishop of Delhi,
Alan de Lastic, said: "What I have noticed is that ever since this
Government came to power at the Centre, the attacks on Christians and
Christian missionaries have increased" (Sunday, November 22). The
other is the Government's wilful refusal to condemn them. Prime
Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's remarks on December 5 were virtually
forced out of him. Union Home Minister L.K. Advani has been false to
his oath of office ("do right to all manner of people in accordance
with the Constitution and the law without fear or favour, affection or
ill-will"). He said in Baroda on August 2 (The Hindu, August 3):
"There is no law and order problem in Gujarat." Three days later the
DGP said, according to The Hindustan Times (August 6), that "the VHP
and the Bajrang Dal were taking the law into their own hands." He also
said that incidents of communal violence had increased manifold over
the last few months; recently the crime rate in the State had
increased by as much as 9.6 per cent. On an average, 39 crimes of
serious nature like murder, rape and dacoity were reported in the
State every day." A member of the investigation team sent by the
Minorities Commission revealed: "After initial reluctance, the
officials named VHP and Bajrang Dal allegedly involved in the mob
attacks on Christians and Muslims" (The Indian Express, August 12).
Advani's certificate of good conduct speaks for itself.

Christians did not rush to register their protest, as they did on
December 4, but for long kept pleading for succour. On October 1, the
national secretary of the All India Catholic Union (AICU), John Dayal,
pointedly remarked: "The AICU is surprised that Union Government and
members of the ruling coalition, including the BJP, have not come out
categorically in denouncing the violence against Christians."

The Bajrang Dal has threatened Christian-run educational institutions
in Karnataka with dire consequences if they did not "Hinduise" them.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Rajendra Singh declared at an RSS
camp in Meerut on November 22: "Muslims and Christians will have to
accept Hindu culture as their own if Hindus are to treat them as
Indians" (an Agence France Presse: report in The Asian Age; November
23). The UCFHR bitterly complained in an open letter published on
November 19: "The state has failed to do its duty in protecting the
life, dignity and property of the victims. At many places, it seems as
if the Centre and the State governments have tacitly supported the
communal groups. How is it otherwise that the State governments have
not taken any action against the virulent and anti-national statements
of the VHP, RSS, Jagran Manch and Bajrang Dal?" (emphasis added,
throughout).

While the Sangh Parivar's animosity towards Muslims is well-known, its
attitude towards Christians has taken many people by surprise. But,
Vishwa Hindu Parishad general secretary Giriraj Kishore said in
Chandigarh on November 25: "Today the Christians constitute a greater
threat than the collective threat from separatist Muslim elements."
Describing G. S. Tohra, president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak
Committee, as a "separatist", he said, "all minorities including
Muslims and Christians must accept that their ancestors were Hindus."
Ergo, they must all return to the Hindu fold.

Violence in speech inevitably inspires violent acts. As the Jaganmohan
Reddy Commission that went into the Ahmedabad riots (1969) noted, once
communal tension is created in a city, all that is needed is "only a
match to set on fire and a fan to fan the city ablaze." Riots erupt
over trifling incidents only because the atmosphere has been fouled
up. Hence, the need for "a proper appreciation of the communal
atmosphere in a State, in a town or in any particular area," the
Commission stressed. Those who spread hate are the real perpetrators
of violence. The ones who wield the weapon are their mindless agents.

We have tended to ignore a fact that brooks no neglect - the real
cause of the communal riots is the rise of the Sangh Parivar. There
was communal peace even in the early years after Partition. A Home
Ministry review presented to the National Integration Council in 1968
noted: "From 1954 to 1960, there was a clear and consistent downward
trend, 1960 being a remarkably good year with only 26 communal
incidents in the whole country. This trend was sharply reversed in
1961. "That was when riots erupted in Jabalpur - thanks to the Jan
Sangh, the BJP's ancestor. Communal violence has not "looked back"
since.

Justice P. Venugopal, a former Judge of the Madras High Court, who
inquired into Hindu-Christian clashes in Kanyakumari district in March
1982, noted: "The RSS adopts a militant and aggressive attitude and
sets itself as the champion of what it considers to be the rights of
Hindus against minorities. It has taken upon itself the task to teach
the minority their place and if they are not willing to learn their
place, teach them a lesson. The RSS has given respectability to
communalism and communal riots and demoralise administration (sic).
The RSS methodology for provoking communal violence is: (a) rousing
communal feelings in the majority community by the propaganda that
Christians are not loyal citizens of this country..." Report after
report has indicted the RSS specifically or its affiliates (Ahmedabad
1969; Bhiwandi 1970; Tellicherry 1971; Jamshedpur 1981; and Mumbai
1993).

VIOLENCE is an integral part of the RSS credo. "It should be used as a
surgeon's knife... to cure the society... Sometimes to protect non-
violence itself violence becomes necessary," RSS leader M.S. Golwalkar
said in 1952. (Spotlights: Guruji Answers, pages 110 and 188). In his
fine work India as a Secular State, Donald Eugene Smith recalled the
desecration of a church in Bihar in 1955 and the almost total
destruction in 1957 of the Gass Memorial Centre at Raipur.

V.D. Savarkar wrote repeatedly in his book Hindutva (1923): "Hindutva
is different from Hinduism." For once, he was right. Hinduism is a
great religion, it is ancient. Hindutva is an ideology of hate. It is
recent. He grouped Muslims and Christians together as ones who do not
share "the tie of the common homage we pay to our great civilisation -
our Hindu culture." He added: "Christian and Mohammedan communities
who were but very recently Hindus... cannot be recognised as Hindus as
since their adoption of the new cult they had ceased to own Hindu
civilisation (Sanskriti) as a whole... For though Hindusthan to them
is Fatherland, as to any other Hindu, yet it is not to them a Holyland
too. Their holyland is far off in Arabia or Palestine."

They are not the only offenders: "Look at the Jews; neither centuries
of prosperity nor sense of gratitude for the shelter they found can
make them more attached or even equally attached to the several
countries they inhabit."

Golwalkar revealed on May 15, 1963 that his first book We or Our
Nationhood Defined was based on Savarkar's brother Babarao's book in
Marathi on the same theme, Rashtra Mimamsa. Golwalkar's second book,
Bunch of Thoughts, praised the book Hindutva and amplified its
ideology. The BJP has used it as a political weapon with dangerous
consequences. Chapter XII of Bunch of Thoughts is devoted to three
"Internal Threats" - Muslims, Christians and the Communists. Of the
first two he wrote: "Together with the change in their faith, gone are
the spirit of love and devotion for the nation. Nor does it end there.
They have also developed a feeling of identification with the enemies
of this land. They look to some foreign lands as their holy places."
They are asked to return to the Hindu fold.

Not that that will be of much help. "For a Hindu, he gets the first
sanskar when he is still in his mother's womb... We are, therefore,
born as Hindus. About the others, they are born to this world as
simple unnamed human beings and later on, either circumcised or
baptised, they become Muslims or Christians." The hatred is
unconcealed. They have no right to proselytise. Hindus alone have it,
for, "returning to one's ancestral faith is not conversion at all, it
is merely home-coming."

Bunch of Thoughts first appeared in 1966 but the good work has been
stepped up since. To the three "internal threats", a fourth is added -
"Nehruism" - and among the perils we face is "Macaulayism". In Delhi
functions an outfit, Voice of India, which proclaims: "We are not
general booksellers and handle only books listed in this catalogue.
Please do not ask for other books." It is an outfit with a mission.
For the catalogue has an "appeal" which reads thus: "Hindu society and
culture are faced with a crisis. There is a united front of entrenched
alien forces - Islam, Christianity, Communism, Nehruism - to disrupt
and discredit the perennial values of the Indian ethos. All who care
for India need to know what is happening, and what is to be done if a
major tragedy is to be averted. Voice of India aims at providing an
ideological defence of Hindu society and culture, through a series of
publications."

SOME people were surprised by Advani's assertion at a seminar on
November 6 at Sarnath that "the Buddha did not announce any new
religion. He was only restating with a new emphasis the ancient ideals
of the Indo-Aryan civilisation." The Buddha, he added, derived his
teaching from the Bhagvad Gita and was an avatar of Vishnu. Rebuttals
from Buddhists were swift and sharp (see "Hindutva's fallacies and
fantasies", Frontline, December 4, 1998).

However, no one familiar with the stuff churned out by this factory,
for over four decades, would have been surprised. Its literature is
intolerant of any cultural and religious diversity. It fosters a siege
mentality among Hindus and speaks disparagingly of all others - not
excluding Sikhs and Jews. That is not all. A Hindu who does not share
its bigotry is attacked as being "anti-Hindu". Its literature
represents the spirit, outlook and ethos of the Sangh Parivar. The
writings cited below reveal a revolting virulence. Its moving spirit
is one Sita Ram Goel.

The Parivar's organ Organiser only recently (October 18, 1998)
published a paper he had written in 1983. He wrote: "The English-
educated Hindu elite which controls the commanding heights in
government, educational institutions and mass media has failed the
test either because it has become indifferent to Hindu society, as a
result of having imbibed the current cosmopolitan culture, or because
it has been trained to look at Hindu society through eyes which are
not of its own ancestral culture and, as a result, has become
sceptical about, if not actually hostile to, the merits of Hindu
society. This desperate situation has been made more difficult by a
degenerate politics through which vote-hungry, sloganised, short-
sighted and nominally Hindu politicians weaken Hindu society by
dividing it on the basis of caste, sect, language and region, disarm
Hindu society by sanctimonious and one-sided appeals in the name of
traditional Hindu tolerance, strengthen alienated and aggressive
communities by supporting their separatist demands in the name of
secularism." His intolerance brings all within the sway of his
indictment, bar the Parivar itself.

TO return to Advani's notions on Buddhism, a pamphlet entitled
"Buddhism vis-a-vis Hinduism" published 40 years ago by Ram Swarup for
the outfit asserts: "Buddha, his spiritual experiences and teachings,
formed part of a Hindu tradition... A good Buddhist has perforce to be
a good Hindu too." He went on to attack "foreign" religions. "The
indigenous religions of the countries of the two Americas have been
completely overwhelmed. In the African sub-continent (sic) the local
religions are under a systematic attack from Islamic and Christian
ideologies." The Parivar takes a dim view of the United States.

Golwalkar was asked in July 1967: "What is your opinion about present-
day America?" There was lot to comment about - racial conflict,
Vietnam policy, and so on. All he could say was: "Do you not yourself
see that the American youth is fast dissipating himself in all kinds
of sensual indulgence?" Simplistic, sweeping, defamatory judgment
comes easily to the tribe.

Ram Swarup's tract Hinduism vis-a-vis Christianity and Islam continued
his refrain about "native" faiths. "What is happening in India is also
happening elsewhere. In America even the vestiges of once (sic), a
rich spiritual culture of the Indians, is no more." He developed the
theme in its sequel Hindu View of Christianity and Islam (1992). "The
two ideologies have been active and systematic persecutors of pagan
nations, cultures and religions... We have spoken here with sympathy
and respect not only of pagan Americas and Africa but also of the
pagan past of Egypt, Greece, Rome, Iran, Syria and Arabia." V.S.
Naipaul is in good company with the Sangh Parivar. Unlike him, it
indicts Christianity as well as Islam on this score.

"Hinduism can help all peoples seeking religious self-renewal, for it
preserves in some way their old Gods and religions, it preserves in
its various layers religious traditions and intuitions they have lost.
Many countries now under Christianity and Islam had once great
religions; they also had great Gods who adequately fulfilled their
spiritual and ethical needs... during the long period of neglect, they
lost the knowledge which could revive those Gods, Hinduism can help
them with this knowledge. In its simplest aspect, Europeans can best
study their old pre-Christian religion by studying Hinduism."

Ram Swarup goes on to quote approvingly: "Gore Vidal says that from a
'barbaric Bronze Age text known as Old Testament, three anti-human
religions have evolved - Judaism, Christianity and Islam'; he also
calls them 'sky-god religions'."

Ram Swarup damns all three religions as "great persecutors". The Hindu
response of old was wrong. He writes:

"First, they tried to 'reform' themselves and be like their rulers...
One God, a revealed Book and prophets.... The Brahmo Samaj, the Arya
Samaj, and the Akalis also claimed monotheism and iconoclasm ... in
the case of the Akalis, the new look has also become the basis of a
new separatist-militant politics....

"The second way the Hindus adopted was that of 'synthesis'. The
synthesizers claimed that all religions preach the same thing. They
found in the Bible and the Quran all the truths of the Upanishads and
vice versa. They culled passages from various scriptures to prove
their point... It is by such methods that they proved that the Bible
and the Quran were no different from the Upanishads...."

The wrath wells up as he proceeds and delivers a message which
explains why the country has had to undergo what it has all these
years, especially since 1990: "India became politically free in 1947,
but it is ruled by anti-Hindu Hindus. The old mental slavery continues
and it has yet to win its cultural and intellectual independence.
India is entering into the second phase of its freedom struggle; the
struggle for regaining its Hindu identity. The new struggle is as
difficult as the old one. Hindus are disorganised, self-alienated,
morally and ideologically disarmed. They lack leadership; the Hindu
elites have become illiterate about their spiritual heritage and
history and indifferent and even hostile towards their religion...
India's higher education, its academia and media are in the hands of a
Hindu-hating elite."

Note what Ram Swarup has to say of the caste system:

"Once when Hinduism was strong, castes represented a natural and
healthy diversity, but now in its present state of weakness these are
used for its dismemberment. Old vested interests joined by new ones
have come together to make use of the caste factor in a big way in
order to keep Hindus down.

"Hindus have been kept down too long. Everyone including the victims
think that it is the natural order of things. Therefore, now when the
Hindu society is showing some signs of stir, there is a great
consternation. Already a cry has gone out of Hindu fundamentalism, we
must expect more of it in future." The readers have been warned. But
India will not be the only country to be saved. "America is awaiting
to be rediscovered in a characteristically Hindu way, not the
Christian way".

THIS represents a worse-than-narrow world-view. It is redolent of the
bigotry of medieval times. This book was published in 1992. His
earlier pamphlet, "Cultural Self-Alienation and Some Problems Hinduism
Faces", also characterised "castes and denominations" as expressing a
"natural and healthy diversity". The ignorance is astounding. "To
Marx, the British conquest of India was a blessing." Hinduism faces
attacks "both from inside and outside. While the forces of self-
alienation are increasing within society, external enemies have
intensified their attack.... Communism, Islam, Christianity have
powerful international links... their World-Centres. Commu-nists have
their Comintern working overtly or covertly." By 1987, Ram Swarup
ought to have known that the Comintern was dissolved on May 22, 1943
and that the "Islamic International, a kind of Muslim Vatican, Rabitah
al'-alam al-Iscaniya" (Muslim World League) is a Saudi-sponsored non-
governmental organisation (1962) which counts for little in India.
Hindus, by comparison, are at a disadvantage, he moans. "They do not
even have a government of their own." Socially, they are falling prey
to "vulgarity"; that is, "gambling, drinking, vulgar film music...
Cinemas (sic) are becoming great moral and social pollutants."


ANU PUSHKARNA
The Christian missionary centre at Nawapara in Jhabua district,
Madhya Pradesh, where four nuns were gangraped on September 23.

So, combat these and go over to the offensive and "look at Islam,
Christianity and Communism... from the Hindu angle." Sikhs are not
spared. Ram Swarup adopts a dual approach in Hindu-Sikh Relationship
(1985). He woos them as "the members of Hindu society" and denounces
them for thinking that "they were different". Base motives are freely
attributed: "Thanks to the Green Revolution and various other factors,
the Sikhs have become relatively more rich and prosperous. No wonder,
they have begun to find that the Hindu bond is not good enough for
them and they seek a new identity readily available to them in their
names and outer symbols. This is an understandable human frailty."

He defends the storming of the Golden Temple. It "became an arsenal, a
fort, a sanctuary for criminals. This grave situation called for
necessary action which caused some unavoidable damage to the
building." There followed "protest meetings, resolutions", which he
deprecates. "The whole thing created wide-spread resentment all over
India which burst into a most unwholesome violence when Mrs. Indira
Gandhi was assassinated. The befoggers have again got busy and they
explain the whole tragedy in terms of collusion between the
politicians and the police. But this conspiracy theory cannot explain
the range and the virulence of the tragedy. A growing resentment at
the arrogant Akali politics is the main cause of this fearful
happening."

This is of a piece with the Organiser's defence of Mahatma Gandhi's
assassination in its editorial (January 11, 1970) - "turned the
people's wrath on himself." Its editor then, K.R. Malkani, is now vice-
president of the BJP.

SITA RAM GOEL does not lag behind. His pamphlet "Hindu Society under
Siege" (1981) paints a frightening future: "The death of Hindu society
is no longer an eventuality which cannot be envisaged. This great
society is now besieged by the same dark and deadly forces which have
overwhelmed and obliterated many ancient societies. Suffering from a
loss of its elan, it has become a house divided within itself... Hindu
society is in mortal danger as never before."

One is reminded of the loonies of California, the minutemen who lived
in dread of a Soviet conquest of the U.S. The familiar ghosts of old
are revived - "Islamism", "Christianism" and a new one to keep them
company, "Macaulay-ism" (the educated Hindu who rejects the Parivar's
voodoo credo and the mumbo-jumbo of its shrill rhetoric).

"Ideologically, Communism in India is, in several respects, a sort of
extension of Macaulayism, a residue of British rule. That is why
Communism is strongest today in those areas where Macaulayism had
spread its widest spell." In no other parts of the country, though,
are Indian languages and culture more highly respected than in West
Bengal and Kerala. "Macaulayism is wedded to Secularism and Democracy.
It has to find out for itself as to who are the enemies of Secularism
and Democracy and who their best friends. This can be done only by
looking beyond the United Front of Islamism, Communism and
Christianism."

In the U.S., the minutemen belonged to the lunatic fringe. In India,
the Parivar's ideology is espoused by the party in power, even if it
be through dubious alliances. Scruples are not the Parivar's
strongpoint. On April 4, 1980, L.K. Advani and A.B. Vajpayee endorsed
a formulation in the National Executive of the Janata Party which
pledged its members to accept "unconditionally and strive to preserve
the composite culture and secular state established in our country."
After splitting the Janata Party both rejected the concept of India's
"composite culture." On April 8, 1998, at the BJP's Agra session, its
then president, Advani, denounced the concept of composite culture -
just as the Jan Sangh had done in December 1969.

HARSH NARAIN was a Visiting Professor at Aligarh Muslim University and
Reader at the North-Eastern Hill University. His Myths of Composite
Cultural and Equality of Religions (1990) reveals the unspoken
thoughts of the Parivar; the sub-text beneath the avowed text.

"Mere permanent settlement in a country does not entitle a plunderer
to be looked upon as indigenous. It must first be seen whose interests
he is out to serve. What is his attitude towards Indians? Take an
example. European settlers entered America and ruined the original
inhabitants, whom they named 'Red Indians'. To expect the remaining
Red Indians to regard their European-born rulers as equally indigenous
would be a cruel joke beyond their understanding.

"Islam was out to deal a death blow to the equilibrium, exuberance,
and cosmopolitan character of Indian humanity, later designated as
Hindu culture in juxtaposition to Indian culture."

To him, the Taj and the Qutub Minar are specimens exclusively of
Muslim, not Indian, sculpture. For, he holds: "The Muslims have been
religiously indifferent to, if not contemptuous of, Indian sculpture.
Thanks to the taste of the Sufis, the Muslims took some fancy to
Indian music. The main gamut of Indian literature has also been
untinged with Muslim literature and historic-cultural allusions...
Urdu language and literature, the much-vaunted symbols or vehicles of
composite culture, are not the result of intermingling of Hinduism and
Islam but reflected the Muslim image in Indian garb... nor have the
Hindu heroes and servants been fortunate enough to be honoured by the
Muslim community."

This can only be deliberate falsehood, since he flaunts familiarity
with Urdu. The much-maligned Iqbal wrote whole poems in praise of the
Buddha, Ram, Guru Nanak, and Swami Ram Tirtha. He was an admirer of
the Sanskrit poet, Bhartruhari, and had drunk deep at the fount of the
Gita and the Upanishads. Another great poet, Maulana Hasrat Mohani, a
confirmed leftist, wrote nostalgically of the soil of Mathura and in
praise of Krishna. He was also an ardent admirer of Bal Gangadhar
Tilak. But this is understandable of one who stoops to libel one of
the greatest mystics and martyrs of all time, Mansur al-Hallaj. He was
beheaded and his life forms the subject of the feat of scholarship,
Louis Massignon's four-volume The Passion of al-Hallaj. He is accused
of converting to Islam "the Dudwalas and Pinjaris of Gujarat." No
authority is cited in support of the charge.

Harsh Narain holds that while "a sizable section of the Sufis had been
comparatively free from the proverbial emphasis on coercion ... the
role of Sufi tradition in bridging the gulf between Islam and Hinduism
or laying the foundations of a composite culture has been greatly
exaggerated."

All this and more only in order to expose "the mad propaganda of
composite culture" and to prove that "Muslim culture cannot be said to
be an integral part of Indian culture and must be regarded as an
anticulture or counter culture in our body politic." This is no
different from the RSS chief's demand (November 22, 1998) that the
minorities Hinduise themselves.

The author turns his attention to Jainism ("failed to develop any
cultural identity of its own") and Buddhism ("basically a life-
negating religion, having little interest in social order, strictly
speaking"). Conclusion? "Our national culture, Indian culture, is a
unity describable as Aryan culture, Hindu culture... Indian culture is
Hindu culture... Muslim and Christian cultures are counter-cultures."
And Parsi culture is "something like" a sub-culture.

So "Hindu culture alone deserves the credit of recognition as the
national culture (abhimanin) of this country, as the culture owning
and possessing this great nation, along with other Indian-born
cultures like Buddhist and Jain cultures as its sub-cultures; Muslim
and Christian cultures being in the nature of tenant-cultures. The
distinction of master-possessor-owner culture and tenant-parasitic
culture has its own significance." One can guess what he is hinting
at.

Sita Ram Goel writes in the same vein. His ardour is reflected in his
three books Catholic Ashrams, Papacy and History of Hindu-Christian
Encounters (304-1996). His preface to the second edition (1996) of the
book on Hindu-Christian encounters explains a lot: "The Sangh Parivar,
which had turned cold towards Hindu causes over the years, was
startled by the rout of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 1984
elections, and decided to renew its Hindu character. The
Ramajanmabhumi Movement was the result. The Movement was aimed at
arresting Islamic aggression. Christianity or its missions were hardly
mentioned. Nevertheless, it was Christianity which showed the greatest
concern at this new Hindu stir, and started crying 'wolf'. Its media
power in the West raised a storm, saying that Hindus were out to
destroy the minorities in India and impose a Nazi regime. The storm is
still raging and no one knows when it will subside, if at all." Thus
"the storm" was unleashed for reasons of power through election
victories.

Goel's writings alone prove that the Parivar's ire against Christians
is decades old. In an article published in March 1983 he had asserted
that the ancient Hindu precept sarva dharma samabhava (all religions
are equal) should not be applied to Christians or Muslims.

IT is with some hesitation that one turns to Goel's book Jesus Christ:
An Artifice for Aggression (1994); so wantonly offensive it is. The
focus now is not on the missionaries, or politics, or history. The
target is the faith itself; Christianity as a religion. Why? Because
hitherto "we Hindus have remained occupied with the behaviour patterns
of Muslims and Christians and not with the belief systems which create
those behaviour patterns. We object to Christian missions, but refuse
to discuss Christianity and its God, Jesus. We object to Islamic
terrorisms, but refuse to have a look at Islamic and its prophet,
Muhammad. I see no sense or logic in this Hindu habit."

Is there any other country in the world where such theses are written
for such a purpose? One wonders. "Now, I could see why the history of
Christianity had been what it had been. The source of the poison was
in the Jesus of the gospels."

The Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary is attacked wantonly. There
are chapters on Jesus of history, of fiction and of faith. The thesis?
He did not exist in history. "The quantum of crimes committed by
Muhammad's Islam was only slightly smaller than that of the crimes
committed by the Christianity of the Jesus Christ... The parallel
between Jesus and Hitler was seen as still more striking. The Nazi
creed, as laid down by Hitler, did not sound much different from the
Christian creed as preached by Jesus in the gospels."

Goel is dismayed to find that Jesus Christ "should continue to retain
his hallow" (sic) in India. "Christianity is accepted as a religion
not only by the westernised Hindu elite but also by Hindu saints,
scholars, and political platforms."

Jesus Christ has been "praised to the skies, particularly by Mahatma
Gandhi." But, "it is high time for Hindus to learn that Jesus Christ
symbolises no spiritual power, or moral uprightness. He is no more
than an artifice for legitimising wanton imperialist aggression. The
aggressors have found him to be highly profitable so far. By the same
token, Hindus should know that Jesus means nothing but mischief for
their country and culture. The West where he flourished for long, has
discarded him as junk. There is no reason why Hindus should buy him.
He is the type of junk that cannot be re-cycled. He can only poison
the environment."

THE virulence of the language reveals the depths of the hatred. This
is what Indians are up against - a powerful hate group, enjoying the
patronage of many politicians in power and in the administration,
which is out to wipe out all traces not only of secularism and
democracy but of religious tolerance, religious and cultural diversity
and, indeed, of decency itself from India.

It shall not come to pass. The answer lies not in forging a united
front of the minorities; it lies in a renewal of the secular ideal in
our politics and in the nation at large.

http://www.flonnet.com/fl1526/15261230.htm

Volume 19 - Issue 09, Apr. 27 - May 12, 2002
India's National Magazine
from the publishers of THE HINDU

Plumbing new depths

No Indian Prime Minister has justified a communal pogrom the way
Vajpayee has. The BJP's Goa conclave marks the lowest point in
Hindutva's hardline evolution, underlining the need to punish the BJP
politically.

ATAL BEHARI VAJPAYEE'S public address at the April 12 BJP National
Executive meeting in Goa has rudely convulsed the secular conscience
of India's citizens. Many were jolted out of the complacent
assumption, promoted by sections of the media, that Vajpayee is some
kind of "moderate" or "liberal" - "the right man in the wrong party" -
a leader "secular" at heart, whose political "compulsions" regrettably
drive him from time to time to compromise with Hindutva. Yet others
attributed the tone and tenor of his speech to his interaction with
the party's young "hardliners" immediately before the Goa meeting,
such as Pramod Mahajan, Arun Shourie and M. Venkaiah Naidu, or to the
temporary "influence" of L.K. Advani, which made him reverse the
stance he adopted during his April 4 Gujarat visit.

The significance of Vajpayee's address goes much beyond his personal
"unmasking". His adoption of a virulent communal posture - which looks
at Indian society in terms of a division between Hindus and Others,
and accords social and political primacy to the majority community -
is shocking, but not really surprising. Vajpayee has never claimed to
be secular in the sense of separating religion from politics, or even
to have cut his umbilical cord to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Several public statements can be readily cited, which indicate
Vajpayee's ideological-political inclinations: for instance, "the
Sangh is my soul" (1995), "I will always remain a
swayamsevak" (September 2000), the Ram temple agitation is a "national
movement", not a sectarian-parochial one (December 2000), and his
Uttar Pradesh election speech in February 2002, in which he chided
Muslims for not voting for the BJP, but also warned them it could come
to power without their support. These are not aberrations. Nor is his
annual obeisance to the Sangh in the form of guru dakshina. Vajpayee
is as dedicated to Hindutva or "cultural nationalism" as any RSS
pracharak.

The true significance of Vajpayee's disquisition in Goa lies in its
relationship to the BJP's recent rightward evolution, and secondly, in
the new low political depths it plumbs. Never before has a Prime
Minister of India, of whatever persuasion, descended to making a hate-
speech against Muslims or Christians, castigating them as "outsiders".
Never before were our religious minorities humiliated by a Prime
Minister who would want them to feel grateful for being "allowed to
pray" - that is, for exercising their fundamental constitutional
right.

Never before has an Indian Prime Minister used such aggressive body
language to justify the Gujarat pogrom by citing the "who-cast-the-
first-stone" argument. Vajpayee blamed the victims of India's worst
communal pogrom for their own suffering. No other Prime Minister has
so blatantly undermined public confidence in the rule of law and in
the possibility of minimal justice for all in this society.

We now know, from numerous independent media accounts, and from
several highly credible and sensitive reports*, that the Godhra
killing of 59 Hindus was not, causally, "the first stone". The post-
February 27 carnage in Gujarat, which has claimed upwards of 850
lives, would probably have occurred even if the Godhra incident had
not. The conditions were ripe for the massacre of Muslims in that
"Hindutva laboratory" State. Elaborate preparations had been under way
for weeks before the massacre, in particular after kar sevaks were
dispatched daily to Ayodhya following the stepping up of the temple
campaign.

For instance, according to sources in Vadodara, lakhs of anti-Muslim
leaflets were illegally printed on slow treadle machines - which must
have taken months. Bombs and trishuls were stockpiled over a period of
weeks. The gap, exceeding 24 hours, between the "trigger event" and
the anti-Muslim violence - in contrast to, say, the immediate reaction
in Delhi to Indira Gandhi's assassinatio - only confirms the
organised, unspontaneous, planned nature of the pogrom.

Reconstruction of the Godhra incident, for example in the Citizens'
Forum report, suggests that it was a spontaneous, rather than an
elaborately planned, over-reaction to the daily harassment of local
Ghanchi Muslims (oil-pressers by occupation) by communally charged kar
sevaks returning from Ayodhya. Had there been serious preparation for
the attack on the Sabarmati Express, scheduled to reach Godhra at 2-55
a.m., there would have been a large crowd on the railway platform at
dawn. There was not.

When the train rolled in five hours late, there were only a handful of
vendors, porters and passengers on the platform. An altercation broke
out between the kar sevaks and Muslim tea vendors. It was only when a
rumour spread that young Sophia Khan had been dragged into coach S-6
that a crowd gathered near Signal Fadia, a basti known for communal
tension and criminal activities.

Seven weeks on, the government has failed to provide credible evidence
linking the Godhra episode to a "conspiracy" involving Pakistan's
Inter-Services Intelligence or even an organised group in Gujarat or
elsewhere. Nor can it explain why towns such as Ratlam, which are
physically far closer to Godhra, and which have a similar composition
of Hindus, Muslims and Adivasis, did not register any "retaliatory"
violence, while distant Ahmedabad did.

The reasons are self-evidently Gujarat-specific and political. They
have to do with the Narendra Modi government's conscious decision to
support the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's February 28 bandh call and the
authorities' decision to transport the bodies of the Godhra victims by
train to Ahmedabad in a ceremonial manner calculated to inflame
passions. It is impossible to separate the post-February 27 violence
either from the Modi government or Gujarat's communalised context.

The fact that Vajpayee stooped to endorse Modi's "action-reaction"
logic to justify violent retribution upon a falsely constructed
collective culprit (Muslims) speaks of an utterly debased mind. The
logic of such revenge is ultimately the logic of "getting even" with
history, of Nazism, of barbarism. That is now unfolding before our
eyes.

Clearly, the BJP has decided to embrace a virulent form of Hindutva,
one that bases itself on a contemporary version of the "Two-Nation"
theory. Its disgraceful defence of Modi, its coercive tactics in the
NDA, its prolonged refusal to discuss Gujarat under Rule 184 in the
Lok Sabha, and its wholly unapologetic, brazen, attitude towards the
continuing climate of fear, intimidation and terror in Gujarat all
confirm this. The very fact that the BJP seriously threatened to hold
mid-term Assembly elections in Gujarat in a vitiated atmosphere, and
used it as a bargaining chip in negotiating with its allies, testifies
to its cynicism.

The consequences of this stance are already apparent. Thus, BJP
spokesman V.K. Malhotra made a revoltingly aggressive statement
likening the Congress to the pre-Partition Muslim League - merely
because the Congress expressed concern at the butchery of Muslims
(although not to the exclusion of concern for Hindus too). And one
cannot fail to note Modi's deviousness in transferring honest police
officers who tried to maintain a semblance of impartiality, or his
gross insensitivity to traumatised Muslim children in thrusting
examinations on them at centres located in areas where Muslims were
butchered.

Gujarat is a fit case for compelling the State government to abide by
the Constitution under Article 355 and for imposing President's Rule
under Article 356. True, Article 356 has been repeatedly misused to
dismiss Opposition governments. The demand for its use is being voiced
by forces with an extremely dubious record. But there could be no
fitter case than Gujarat to which the following description from the
Constitution applies: "a situation has arisen in which the government
of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of
the Constitution."

The constitutional machinery patently broke down in Gujarat on
February 28 when scores of citizens were massacred with the full
complicity of the state, and when it could not even protect a guardian
of the constitutional order, a High Court Judge, who happened to be a
Muslim.

It is precisely for such contingencies that President's Rule was
envisaged. The Gujarat situation cannot get normalised with Modi's
replacement alone. If hardcore sanghis like Goverdhan Zadaphia or
Ashok Bhatt were to take over, it could worsen. It is essential, but
not enough, that Modi be sacked. The whole government must be
dismissed and Gujarat placed under President's Rule with advisers of
impeccable integrity and experience, recommended by Parliament as a
whole.

It will take months for Gujarat to recuperate and achieve normalcy in
any real sense. Such normalcy must include reconciliation between
estranged neighbours and communities, full physical, psychological and
economic rehabilitation, and restoration of public confidence in the
impartiality of the government as regards different religious groups.

The danger of half-hearted reconciliation should be obvious. If the
one lakh Muslims who are in relief camps - and three or four times as
many, whose livelihoods have been affected - are forced to fend for
themselves without state and community assistance, they will probably
leave Gujarat altogether, or create "safe" ghettos for themselves. The
greater the ghettoisation, the greater the mutual estrangement of
religious groups, the lesser their social interaction - and the
greater the scope for conflict.

That is the last thing Gujarat needs. Indeed, it would be a recipe for
another communal pogrom. That is precisely what Hindutva craves most.
If the BJP succeeds in its game plan in Gujarat, by whipping up anti-
Muslim hysteria, it will replicate the same trick nationally - if
necessary, by staging another Godhra. If the Nazis could stage the
Reichstag fire, the BJP can create a Godhra-II, through agents
provocateurs.

These comparisons are not far-fetched. In foundational premises of its
ideology and politics, the BJP shares a great deal with the Italian
fascists, the German Nazis and the Taliban. They all reject the
emancipatory heritage of the Enlightenment. They privilege tradition
(itself ill-defined and distorted) over modernity. They are profoundly
intolerant of difference. They hate democracy and equality. And they
do not believe in just and fair means to achieve just ends. They are
prone to despotic methods and barbaric violence.

It will take a lot of effort to fight a force like the BJP-RSS-VHP. It
has already captured a number of institutions and key positions in
government and civil society. It has a dedicated, if fanatical, cadre.
Even in the short run, it will not be possible to isolate the Hindutva
forces unless the perpetrators of the Gujarat violence are severely
punished for their grave crimes, along the lines described in the
previous Frontline column (issue of April 26), and unless the BJP is
politically punished, that is, made to pay a heavy price through
systematic boycott and isolation.

One wishes this would happen both nationally, in the National
Democratic Alliance, and in Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP is about to
form a government with the Bahujan Samaj Party. Regrettably, the BSP
leadership seems to be bent on using its Dalit base as virtual common-
fodder for Hindutva - for dubious, at best petty, short-term gains.

Fighting Hindutva will be a long haul. But the struggle would not even
have been joined unless the Opposition mounts relentless pressure on
the NDA, both inside and outside Parliament, through dharnas, rallies,
public meetings and mass mobilisation. The People's Front should
consider launching a relay dharna in Gujarat's major cities.

The Opposition will do well to join hands with citizens' groups such
as SAHMAT, Aman Ekta Manch, People for Secularism and the Citizens'
Initiative (Ahmedabad), which have done a great deal to highlight the
Gujarat issue and collect donations for the victims' relief. For
instance, SAHMAT mobilised artists to donate their paintings and
raised Rs.5.5 lakhs through their sale.

One thing is clear: it will be a crying shame if the BJP is allowed to
go unpunished for its grievous assault on India's secular-democratic-
constitutional order, and on the foundations of this plural, diverse,
multi-cultural society.

*Citizens' Forum: Gujarat Carnage 2002, by an independent fact-finding
mission composed of S.P. Shukla, K.S. Subramanian, Achin Vanaik, and
Kamal Mitra Chenoy; State-Sponsored Carnage in Gujarat, Report of a
CPI(M)-AIDWA delegation; The Survivors Speak, by a Women's Panel
sponsored by Citizen's Initiative, Ahmedabad; Ethnic Cleansing in
Ahmedabad, by SAHMAT; and A Report on the Gujarat Carnage, prepared by
the People's Union for Civil Liberties.

http://www.flonnet.com/fl1909/19091280.htm

Undermining India

Sitting here in our village home, keeping in touch with the world
through the Internet, the newspapers and magazines like yours, we ask
ourselves, how many fires can we fight? And yet it appears that there
is really no option except to keep fighting them and to stand up for
what we see as the values and beliefs which are intrinsic to the
foundations on which this civilisation (if indeed we can use that term
any longer) is based.

We have been reading the comprehensive coverage in your magazine of
the ghastly and inhuman murder of members of the Staines family in
Manoharpur and the hard-hitting articles on the politics of hate
("Undermining India", February 12). We have also read (on the
Internet) the highly slanted report of the murders (from Rashtradeep -
Orissa) with its not so oblique insinuations that Staines and his
family deserved what they got. What a coincidence that the Santhals
and the Kolhas apparently lost their patience 34 years after Graham
Staines came to work and live in Keonjhar and decided to attack him
when there is a BJP Government at the Centre, and the Sangh Parivar
has targeted Christians as the new enemies! It is hard to believe that
the so- called educated people hold these views and, more sinister,
use their power and technology to propagate these views in the most
dangerous fashion on the Internet from their comfortable spaces in
American universities. It is also interesting that the fact that
millions of dollars are sent by non-resident Indians to support
fascist activities in the name of Hindutva is not questioned or
attacked.

If only we can learn from history, we would see that we are moving
inexorably towards fascism - and the silence of the majority can only
hasten this process.

We too are Hindus, comfortable in the freedom of thought that it
provides, and because of this we can also look at our own tradition
critically and see and understand all the warts and distortions that
it accommodates. But what is propagated in the name of Hinduism is a
far cry from the philosphy to which we subscribe. Had we been born
Dalits or tribal people, or experienced oppression and discrimination
in the name of religion, we too might have opted for Christianity,
Islam, Buddhism or any faith which promised us a better deal and the
hope of social justice and dignity. Certainly, India's Constitution
guarantees each of us that freedom.

In all the polemics and passion that we see around us, one hears
little, if any, questioning or critiquing of the built-in inequities
of Hinduism - only the shrill and fearful howls of the advocates of
Hindutva with its distorted and dangerous ideology of linking religion
with nationalism and patriotism. If we believe that it is the spirit
of inquiry and search for truth that is the hallmark of both science
and religion, then let us stop blaming others and begin looking
inwards in the real quest for self-knowledge and encourage our people
to bring about the changes within, rather than demonising other
faiths, other denominations. But the politics of hate is so much
easier to practise than the quest for truth. It has always been
convenient to mobilise mobs - be it against masjids or mandirs,
Dalits, tribal people, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, 'Madrasis',
'Bangladeshis', 'Pakistanis'. We continue to rely on fanning the
flames of hatred for 'the other', to exercise power instead of coming
to grips with the real issues of this country - poverty, education,
employment and all-pervasive inequality. The issue is not one of
conversions or Christianity, but of how to exploit people who have no
identity or no hope of getting a space under the sun, as the foot
soldiers in the service of the armies of destruction and mayhem who
can terrorise, garner votes when needed, and ensure political power at
all costs. Ultimately, it is through economic policy decisions and the
right kind of education in our classrooms that we can hope to build
the kind of India that our Constitution has promised. For now, we can
only ask and hope that the right-thinking majority of people in this
land, regardless of their religious affiliations, will speak up before
it is too late.

Admiral Ramu Ramdas
(former Chief of the Naval Staff)
Lalita Ramdas
Bhaimala, Maharashtra

* * *

Your crusade against the diabolical designs of the Sangh Parivar is
commendable.

The riots in Suratkal, the persecution of Christians in Gujarat, and
the outrage against a missionary in Orissa expose the Parivar's game
plan. When the Babri Masjid was demolished, people in authority
remained passive spectators. They remain so when the minorities are
attacked. As long as the minorities have insufficient representation
in the police force and secular values are not instilled in the
guardians of law, there is no hope.

The biggest irony is that L.K. Advani, one of the accused in the Babri
Masjid demolition case, has become the Home Minister of this country.
A.B. Vajpayee has proved to be the weakest Prime Minister of India.
During his visit to Gujarat, instead of assuaging the hurt feelings of
Christians, he suggested a national debate on conversions. With this
he dropped his mask of moderation.

Ubedulla
Mysore

* * *

It was with a sense of dismay and shame that one watched the Home
Minister making a humiliating trip to Mumbai to pacify the Shiv Sena's
"paper tiger". It is a pity that the BJP Government with all the power
at its command could not counter the threat to a visiting cricket
team. The Shiv Sena's attack on the BCCI's office or threats to
release poisonous snakes into the playground only proved its
cowardice. If India is to progress, the culture of violence and
terrorism should give way to goodwill, harmony and peace.

Dr. A.K. Tharien
Oddanchatram, Tamil Nadu

* * *

January 23, the day Graham Stewart Staines and his two young sons were
burnt alive, was the blackest day in the history of our country. One
is at a loss to understand why such a harrowing punishment was meted
out to the missionary who had served leprosy patients in India since
1965.

Why does the Prime Minister hesitate to take stringent action against
Bal Thackeray, at whose instigation the cricket pitch at the
Ferozeshah Kotla stadium was damaged and the BCCI office in Mumbai was
ransacked? Is the Sena chief so indispensable?

Mani Natarajan
Chennai

* * *

It was a unique and informative Cover Story. The need of the hour is
unity, integrity and peaceful coexistence of various communities. We
should uphold our secular values and fulfil the hopes and aspirations
of every citizen.

Shaik Rafeeq Ahamed
Rayachoty, Andhra Pradesh

* * *

The expectation that the experience of heading a government in a
modern democracy will soften Hindu fundamentalists, has been belied.
With the assumption of power by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the
process of undermining India started. The aim is to throw the country
back into an era when power, wealth and education were concentrated in
the hands of people who belonged to the upper strata of society. But
we have come a long way. A government which owes allegiance to the
Constitution has to go by the principles enshrined in the
Constitution.

A. Jacob Sahayam
Vellore, Tamil Nadu

Arundhati Roy

Indian culture is rich and vibrant and Dalits' contribution to it is
no less than that of any other section of our society. Unless this
aspect is researched and brought out, Dalits will not get the kind of
respect they deserve. In this context, Arundhati Roy's proposal to the
Dalit Sahitya Akademi on the publication of the Malayalam translation
of her novel was really pathbreaking ("In solidarity", February 12).

Dhiraj Kumar
Delhi

Role of bureaucrats

I read with great interest A.G. Noorani's article on Admiral Bhagwat's
case in your February 12 issue. As usual Noorani's article is very
scholarly and unbiased and would serve as reference material. I would,
however, like to point out two references made to me in the article.

First, Noorani should have mentioned that I had also said in my letter
to The Times of India that "he will therefore have to look for another
Cabinet Secretary". This would have clarified that my intention was
that I would rather vacate the post of Cabinet Secretary than sign the
notification.

Secondly, the reference to the 1989 general elections. I do not know
the basis on which it is mentioned that "and that the announcements in
that behalf should be made by the Commission forthwith and before 2.00
p.m. on that date, in any case". This was not my belief at all. In an
article I wrote on T.N. Seshan, published in November 1994, I have
said that "I can only write about late Peri Shastri because I knew him
well. It required a lot of courage to stand up to a strong Prime
Minister like Rajiv Gandhi who decided to appoint two Election
Commissioners obviously to control Peri Shastri. Seshan may say that
he was not consulted here but he went out of his way to force the Law
Ministry to issue the notification urgently. When Rajiv Gandhi decided
to announce the general elections, an urgent Cabinet meeting was held
when the Cabinet approved the proposal. Seshan as Cabinet Secretary
should have been sent to Peri Shastri to convey the decision, but
Rajiv Gandhi said, 'let us not send the bull into the China shop. Let
Deshmukh go and settle it in his own quiet way.' I accordingly went
across after sending a message to Peri Shastri. When I entered his
room, I found him agitated, saying that he would not be dictated to by
the Government in fixing the dates for the elections. There was a
sharp exchange between us and tempers rose. I then decided to keep
quiet and let Peri Shastri blow off steam. When he quietened down I
convinced him that the Government was right in suggesting the dates as
it had to make various administrative arrangements. Ultimately, the
notification was issued accordingly."

This should make it clear that I was not the "civil servant who was
sent as an errand boy". My brief was to persuade Peri Shastri to agree
to the Government's suggestion. It should also be added that at that
time I was not a serving civil servant but was re-employed to hold the
post in the Prime Minister's Office.

B.G. Deshmukh
Mumbai

A.G. Noorani writes:

I was not called upon to mention, as B.G. Deshmukh insists, that he
had asked the President "to look for another Cabinet Secretary". His
intimation to President Zail Singh that he would not notify any order
dismissing Rajiv Gandhi in 1987 as Prime Minister, was wrong enough.
It was not his place to do so; least of all ask the President "to look
for" a substitute especially since the office is in the bounty of the
Prime Minister.

As for the 1989 Lok Sabha elections, the words in quotes are taken
from Justice P.B. Sawant's judgment in the case brought by one of the
two Election Commissioners whom Rajiv Gandhi appointed to overrule
Peri Shastri, the CEC (S.S. Dhanoa vs Union of India & Ors. (1991) 3
Supreme Court Cases 567 at pages 581-582, para 22).

Deshmukh confirms my comment. It was based on Justice Sawant's
reference to his mission as Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.
It is pointless to shift the blame to T.N. Seshan, then Cabinet
Secretary, when he himself carried out an order he knew to be illegal
and politically immoral. On his own showing, there was "a sharp
exchange" between him and the CEC Peri Shastri and "tempers rose".

This would not have happened unless a zealous Deshmukh had tried to
force the upright Peri Shastri to accept the election dates
peremptorily urged by Rajiv Gandhi. He relented because the two
Election Commissioners had been appointed to overrule him. "The bull
in the China shop" could hardly have performed worse than Deshmukh
himself did at the meeting. Significantly, Deshmukh has not a word of
criticism of the man who sent him, Rajiv Gandhi. His Cabinet's
decision was palpably illegal and politically immoral.

Judging by his own account, Deshmukh was far worse than the "civil
servant who was sent as an errand boy". Both Seshan and Deshmukh
carried out an illegal order with competitive enthusiasm. Servitors
while in service, lecturers on retirement. The Constitution makes the
CEC an umpire between the ruling party and the others. It is his
prerogative to fix the dates. Two of the foremost civil servants of
the day tried to suborn him.

Ban all Senas

The twin massacres by the Ranvir Sena in Jehanabad district are a
testament to V.D. Savarkar's call to "'militarise Hinduism". As the
blood of 12 Dalits (from Khoja Narayanpur, February 10) and of 23
Dalits (Shankarbigha, January 25) flows in central Bihar, the Sangh
(more like, Jang) Parivar offers its regret from one side of its
mouth, while it is gleeful on the other.

The Progressive Forum of India (PFI) condemns the Ranvir Sena for its
violence as well as the Jang Parivar (notably the BJP) and the
erstwhile Bihar Government for their studied negligence.

The Ranvir Sena, like the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra three decades
earlier, was set up in 1994 to counter the growth of Left
organisations in central Bihar. From the first, the organisation was
prone to violence. Before its formation, landlords (many of whom are
Bhumihars) formed private militias that massacred, for instance, seven
Dalits in Sawanbigha village in Jehanabad in 1991. In December 1997,
the Ranvir Sena killed over 60 people in Lakshmanpur-Bathe, again in
Jehanabad. Further, on January 9, 1999, a Ranvir Sena leader announced
that his fascist band planned to conduct a massacre larger than that
in Lakshmanpur in the near future. Neither the State Government nor
the Jang Parivar did anything against him. Progressive forces in Bihar
and elsewhere underscored the danger, but nothing was done. In fact,
The Times of India reported that Vinod Sharma (Ranvir Sena) travelled
with a police officer to Arwal at the time of the massacre. The PFI
condemns this nexus between the landlord militia, the Jang Parivar and
the institutions of the state.

The Ranvir Sena has been set up to undermine popular movements. It
resorts to violence and to authoritarian acts against the oppressed.
The PFI offers its support to those who feel the strong arm of such
organisations and we call upon all progressive people to condemn and
challenge such fascist bands.

Vijay Prashad
(for the Progressive Forum for India)
received on e-mail

http://www.flonnet.com/fl1605/16051120.htm

Volume 21 - Issue 02, January 17 - 30, 2004
India's National Magazine
from the publishers of THE HINDU

ANALYSIS

HOW ADVANI WENT SCOT-FREE

A.G. NOORANI

The Rae Bareli court judgment in the Ayodhya case discharging Deputy
Prime Minister L.K. Advani is against the weight of the entire
evidence and violates the law as declared by the Supreme Court.

VINO JOHN

Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani.

THE Deputy Prime Minister and Union Home Minister, Lal Krishna
Advani's discharge in the Ayodhya case on September 19, 2003, was no
"honourable acquittal" after a full trial on the merits. It was a
gross miscarriage of justice, which precludes a proper trial. A
perusal of the English translation of the 130-page judgment in Hindi
by Vinod Kumar Singh, Special Judicial Magistrate, Rae Bareli, reveals
that the grounds for his discharge could well apply also to other
accused such as Union Minister Murli Manohar Joshi and Madhya Pradesh
Chief Minister Uma Bharati. Conversely, the grounds on which charges
will be framed against them apply also to Advani. The judgment is
utterly unconvincing in the distinction it draws between him and the
other accused, including Ashok Singhal, V.H. Dalmiya, Giriraj Kishore,
Vinay Katiyar and Sadhvi Ritambara.

The judgment is against the weight of the entire evidence and violates
the law as declared by the Supreme Court. The reasoning is laboured to
a degree. It must be emphasised that what the Magistrate pronounced
was an order of discharge at the stage of framing the charge not an
acquittal on merits after a trial. A discharge does not bar another
prosecution, an acquittal does.

In the face of such a judgment the behaviour of the Central Bureau of
Investigation, the prosecuting agency, was true to form. It did not
move the High Court for quashing the order. The prescribed period of
limitation is three months. The CBI bestirred itself ostentatiously
thereafter in view of public censure. Rajnish Sharma reported in The
Hindustan Times (December 31, 2003) that "CBI sources claim that the
agency's top-brass still differ on whether to move the High Court or
not. Initially, it was decided that the CBI should not go in for an
appeal against Advani. However, faced with mounting criticism for
having failed to appeal against the lower court order, the opinion
seems to have changed.

RAMESH SHARMA

Murli Manohar Joshi.

"While announcing its decision, even the Rae Bareli court had strongly
criticised the agency's role as it felt the CBI had deliberately
weakened the case against Advani. Agency sources now claim that once
the courts reopen, they will file a petition explaining the reasons
for the delay."

IT is necessary to recall the background in order to appreciate the
judgment. The CBI had filed a charge-sheet in court against Advani and
other accused, on October 5, 1993, charging them with conspiring to
demolish the mosque. Two courts found that a prima facie case on this
charge did exist - Special Judicial Magistrate Mahipal Sirohi on
August 27, 1994, while committing the accused to the Sessions Court,
and the Additional Sessions Judge, Lucknow, Jugdish Prasad Srivastava,
on September 9, 1997, while framing the charges.

The Sessions Judge concluded that "in the present case a criminal
conspiracy to demolish the disputed structure of Ramjanmabhoomi/Babri
Masjid was hatched by the accused persons in the beginning of 1990 and
was completed on 6.12.1992". Advani and others hatched criminal
conspiracies "to demolish the disputed premises on different times at
different places". A prima facie case was found to charge Bal
Thackeray, Advani and others, including Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma
Bharati, under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

Advani and his colleagues, Joshi and Uma Bharati, faced two charges in
two courts - delivering inflammatory speeches on December 6, 1992,
prior to the demolition, and hatching a conspiracy to demolish the
mosque from 1990. Immediately after the mosque was demolished, two
first information reports were filed in the same police station. One
was filed at 5-15 p.m. against "lakhs of unknown kar sevaks" for
offences committed at 12-15 p.m.; mainly the demolition. Spread of
communal hate was one of them. Very properly, conspiracy was not
alleged since the facts were not known then and no particular person
was cited either. This was Crime No. 197 (demolition).

S. SUBRAMANIUM

Uma Bharati.

The next FIR, filed only 10 minutes later, was Crime No. 198
(speeches) against eight named persons - Advani, Joshi, Uma Bharati,
Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, V.H. Dalmiya, Vinay Katiyar and
Ritambara. It alleged that they had delivered communally inflammatory
speeches at 10 a.m. prior to the demolition (Section 153A IPC). This
charge was common to both FIRs. FIR 198 (speeches) said also that
"during the speeches of these leaders, repeated indications (sic:
"incitement") were given to demolish the mosque. As a result, lakhs of
kar sevaks attacked and pulled down the disputed structure". The
leaders were named because their identities were known. Conspiracy was
properly not alleged in either FIR because it requires a long probe.
There were 47 other FIRs for offences against the media.

After the imposition of President's rule in Uttar Pradesh, the
demolition case (197) was assigned to the CBI while the State police
dealt with the speeches case (198). Both were parts of the same
transaction and were linked inseparably. Eventually, the CBI was
assigned the speeches case as well. It, therefore, submitted a
composite, damning charge-sheet in court on October 5, 1993. But there
was a technical flaw in the assignment of the cases to courts, which
was pointed out by Justice Jagdish Bhalla of the Allahabad High Court
on February 12, 2001. He struck down as invalid the reference of Case
198 (speeches) to the Lucknow court from the Rae Bareli court. His
judgment of February 12, 2001, upheld everything else, including the
joint charge-sheet. He thrice said that the defect was "curable" by
another notification after consulting the High Court. Obviously,
justice required that the two cases, 197 (demolition) and 198
(speeches), be tried together in one court.

Neither the Rajnath Singh government nor the succeeding Mayawati
regime had any intention of "curing the defect". Nor has Mulayam Singh
Yadav's government now. The High Court issued a notification on
September 28, 2002, assigning Case No.198 (speeches) to the Rae Bareli
court. On November 29, the Supreme Court upheld it, holding that no
one had a right to insist on a particular venue. It overlooked the
background, the mala fides and the obvious miscarriage of justice. A
review petition has been filed against this order. (vide the writer's
article, `Reprimand for delay', Frontline, March 30, 2001).

To be precise, Justice Bhalla upheld: 1) the Sessions Judge's order of
September 9, 1997, framing the charges in Case No. 197 (demolition);
2) the validity of Vijai Verma's appointment as Special Judge and his
cognisance of all cases (save No.198); 3) the notification of the
Special Court in Lucknow; 4) the CBI's investigation; and 5) the
consolidated charge-sheet of October 5, 1993. Even if the one
concerning the speeches of December 6, 1992, is dropped, the
conspiracy case survives.

C.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Ashok Singhal.

But let alone a notification to cure the defect and ensure trial of
both the connected cases in one court, in the interests of sheer
justice, the course which the two cases took subsequently in different
courts was, to say the least, surprising. The High Court's ruling was
set at naught by the Sessions Judge at Lucknow, Srikant Shukla, on May
4, 2001, which he had no right to do. Justice Bhalla had merely struck
down the transfer of the speeches case (198) from Rae Bareli to
Lucknow. Shukla went beyond it and dropped even the conspiracy charge
in Case No.197(demolition) before him. The reasoning was tortuous. He
confined FIR 197 (demolition) to kar sevaks alone; ignored the
conspiracy charges and exonerated the leaders. They were held
accountable only in FIR 198 (speeches) - which he could not try. He
wrote: "Two distinct cases were registered which are different. In the
first FIR were kar sevaks who pulled down the structure... and in the
other FIR are conspirators/abettors who instigated the kar sevaks.
This way, the State has considered both the cases different and
separate and has treated them so."

This was in flat contradiction to Justice Bhalla's judgment. What
Shukla did was to transpose the conspiracy charge, which properly
belonged to the demolition case (197) which he was trying, to the
speeches case (198), which he could not try. Having done so, he
dropped proceedings on the conspiracy charge against the eight accused
leaders who also figured in the speeches case and 13 others besides
who did not. Thrown back at the Rae Bareli court like a shuttle cock,
the conspiracy charge was buried there by the CBI two years later in
its charge-sheet of May 30, 2003. On September 1, the apex court
issued notices to Advani and other accused on a petition challenging
this omission. The CBI had curiously moved the High Court on June 19,
2001, against Shukla's order. On August 6, 2003, Justice N.K. Mehrotra
ordered stay of proceedings in the Lucknow court till September 24.

But the conspiracy charge cannot vanish so easily. It covers events
since 1990. Abetment by incitement occurred on December 6, 1992.
Shukla's reference to "conspirators/abettors who instigated" truncates
the conspiracy charge - and drops it. The CBI's joint charge-sheet of
October 5, 1993, explicitly said: "Investigations revealed that on
5.12.1992, a secret meeting was held at the residence of Shri Vinay
Katiyar which was attended by S/Shri L.K. Advani, Pawan Pandey, etc.
Wherein a final decision to demolish the disputed structure was
taken." Sessions Judge J.P. Srivastava's order of September 9, 1997
also mentioned this very date. He traced the beginning of the
conspiracy to 1990, how it picked up speed in 1991 and the stages
leading to its culmination with the demolition of the mosque. In each
stage Advani's role was narrated in detail. "Conspiracy is planned
secretly," he remarked. It cannot be limited to the public speeches on
December 6, as Shukla did. The High Court upheld the validity of the
conspiracy charge.

TWO recent disclosures support the charge. It has been revealed that
on October 1, 1993, the Home Ministry itself sanctioned the CBI's
charge. It mentioned an interesting detail: "In pursuance of the
criminal conspiracy", Pramod Mahajan and Ashok Singhal met Bal
Thackeray on November 21, 1992, and secured the Sena's participation
in the "kar seva". On June 7, 2003, five of the accused alleged
instigation by the leaders. R.N. Das, one of the priests at the site
where the idols were placed inside the mosque before its demolition,
told the media: "I was a witness in a meeting held by Advani and
others... on December 5 night" - and spilled the beans. Justice Bhalla
remarked: "According to the prosecution, the accused persons are
either rich, influential or politically strong." He recalled the
Supreme Court's remarks in the case of the former Chief Minister of
Karnataka, S. Bangarappa: "The slow motion becomes much slower motion
when politically powerful or rich and influential persons figures as
accused."

The demolition case (197) was thus put out of the way. All that the
leaders faced was the speeches case (198) alone. On May 30, 2003, the
CBI filed a supplementary charge-sheet in the Rae Bareli court trying
the speeches case. On July 5, the CBI's advocate, S.S. Gandhi, opened
the case and cited statements by witnesses testifying to inflammatory
speeches and to instigation of the kar sevaks to demolish the mosque.
He said he would produce audio and videocassettes as evidence. On July
30, astonishingly, the CBI said that "the video cassettes did not show
them giving any speech". Special Judicial Magistrate Vinod Kumar Singh
delivered judgment on September 19, 2003, in this case.

He begins by reproducing the FIR in case No. 198 which is revealing:
"I, Sub Inspector Ganga Prasad Tewari, in-charge of the police post
Ramjanmabhoomi, police station Ramjanmabhoomi, Faizabad, was engaged
today, on 06.12.92, in maintenance of peace and order during the kar
seva organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Checking duty near the
disputed Ram Chabutara and Sheshavatar Mandir, I reached the meeting
place in Ram Katha Kunj at about 10 a.m. where the Vishwa Hindu
Parishad General Secretary Shri Ashok Singhal, Joint Secretary Shri
Giriraj Kishore, Shri Lal Krishna Advani, Shri Murli Manohar Joshi,
Shri Vishnu Hari Dalmiya and BJP M.P. from Faizabad and Bajrang Dal
convenor Shri Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharati, Sadhvi Ritambara, etc. all
the speakers were seated on the dais. The above mentioned speakers
were inciting the kar sevaks by their incendiary speeches; their
slogan was `Ek dhakkar aur do, Babri Masjid tod do,' and destroy this
khandahar (rubble) that is symbolic of the Mughal age slavery. Incited
by their incendiary speeches, the kar sevaks were now and then raising
slogans - "Jab katue kaate jaayenge, tab Ram Ram chillayenge; and
Ramlala, hum aayenge, Mandir yahin banayenge." The intention to
destroy the mosque was again and again indicated (in) these leaders'
speeches. As a consequence, lakhs of kar sevaks broke through the
barricades and destroyed the disputed structure, which has hurt the
national unity seriously. The said event was seen, apart from the
police and administration officials and employees, by the audience and
journalists. Therefore, the report must be entertained and necessary
action taken."

The secret meeting of December 5 was followed by the speeches on
December 6 which incited the demolition. The rest followed as planned.
The judgment recites statements by eyewitnesses on the leaders'
speeches, before the Babri mosque was demolished, as recorded by the
police under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, four video
cassettes, three audio cassettes, photographs and news reports. It is
well settled that at the stage of framing the charges all that the
court has to consider is whether a prima facie case is made out. It is
not to enter into a trial on the merits. Section 227 of CrPC says that
if the Judge considers "that there is not sufficient ground for
proceeding against the accused, he shall discharge the accused", as
distinct from an acquittal which can follow only after a trial on the
merits of the charges.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1979 that "even a very strong suspicion
founded upon material before the Magistrate, which leads him to form a
presumptive opinion as to the existence of the factual ingredients
constituting the offence alleged, may justify the framing of charge".
Nor is the court bound to consider evidence produced by the accused.
It has to consider whether the prosecution case, if unrebutted,
establishes a case in law. That is what a prima facie case means in
law.

KAMAL NARANG

Sadhvi Ritambara.

The sole issue before the Magistrate, therefore, was whether the
police statements produced before him by the prosecution established
such a case. Thirty-odd such statements are reproduced in the
judgment; some contradict others. The contradiction is to be resolved
only in the trial proper; not while framing the charges unless, of
course, the ones against the accused are manifestly untrue or absurd.
In this case, they were not.

Consider the very first two statements which the judgment quotes:
"Shri Ram Kripal Das, disciple of Mahant late Bharat Das, PS
Ramjanmabhoomi, Faizabad, has made, in the main, the following
statement under Section 161 CrPC: "On 6.12.1992 I remained near my
temple the whole day. Through my door and the windows inside, sounds
coming from the Ram Katha Kunj and words (like) Sheshavatar Mandir,
vivadit dhancha (disputed structure) vivadit chabutara (disputed
platform) can be heard. That day, a crowd of kar sevaks had started to
gather since morning. The kar sevaks were raising slogans and loudly
saying: today we would not stop even if some leader tries to stop us.
We will demolish it today... On the Ram Katha Kunj side, leaders were
making speeches one by one that a temple has to be built. There was a
lot of noise. Lal Krishna Advani, Ashok Singhal, Vinay Katiyar, Murli
Manohar Joshi, etc. spoke. All the leaders were making enthusiastic
speeches. I had seen with my own eyes the above leaders going towards
the temple. When there was a hullabaloo and they were demolishing the
disputed structure, none of the leaders was preventing them. If these
leaders had told the kar sevaks not to break any dome, they would have
obeyed it, because they had called the kar sevaks to come here. Vinay
Katiyar was much active from the very beginning and was prepared to do
everything right or wrong for temple construction" (emphasis added,
throughout).

Dhanpat Ram Yadav made the following statement under Section 161 CrPC:
"On 6.12.92, I was on the roof of the Sita Rasoi (Sita's kitchen) from
early morning. That day I saw Vinay Katiyar, Lal Krishna Advani, Uma
Bharati, etc. coming in a crowd of kar sevaks. They were making
speeches that were provoking the kar sevaks, saying Mandir bana kar
jaayenge, Hindu Rashtra banayenge (we will leave after building a
temple and we will build a Hindu Rashtra). When the kar sevaks had
climbed the domes in large numbers and were demolishing them, none of
the leaders prevented anyone or told to stop. All stood silent... "
Another 10 statements were in the same vein followed by that of
Chandra Kishore Mishra who said "inflamed by the very speeches of
these leaders, the kar sevaks brought down the structure". Advani was
specifically mentioned by him as one of them.

The Additional Superintendent of Police, Faizabad, Anju Gupta was
detailed to provide security to Advani. She saw people running towards
the mosque with tools in their hands. If she could see that so, one
would think, could "the leaders". She said "Then Shri Lal Krishna
Advani asked me what was happening inside the temple. I asked the
control room and came to know that kar sevaks had entered it and were
busy demolishing the structure; then I told him the same. I also told
him that many people had got injured and were being brought near the
Ram Katha Kunj for treatment. Then Advani told me: I want to go and
tell them to come down. I conferred with S.P. Intelligence and
Commandant of the 15th Battalion who were with Shri Murli Manohar
Joshi. He said it was not proper to go into the crowd as these people
were inflamed. Shri Advani talked to his comrades and told me that he
won't go but somebody would have to be taken there. Then I sent Uma
Bharati and two others there. The crowd surrounded my jeep near Dorahi
Kuwan and did not allow us to go ahead. Then Uma Bharati and we
proceeded on foot. I saw after sometime that people had come down from
the domes. They were talking of doing the kar seva from below, not
from above. Advani told me he wanted to talk to the DM. He also told
about talking to the Chief Minister, but I pleaded helplessness. One
person, who had come with Uma Bharati, was making fun of the Supreme
Court. After some time, Advani and Joshi went to the office of Ram
Katha Kunj, and told me they were talking to the Chief Minister. I saw
fire and smoke rising at all sides in Ayodhya. Advani told me... [page
92 bottom: seems some lines are missing here]... began to distribute
sweets... . Advani came back at about six and a half. With him there
were Murli Manohar Joshi, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya, Ashok Singhal and Vinay
Katiyar etc. About the speeches from the stage, I have already told. I
remember the atmosphere became surcharged with Advani's arrival.
People were raising slogans, but I could not hear any other slogan
because of being busy with other works. Joshi had spoken earlier, he
had said whatever Narasimha Rao could say, the temple would be
constructed here. I did not see these leaders making any attempt to
prevent the kar sevaks from demolishing the disputed structure. Advani
was sad that people were falling from the domes and dying... on the
fall of the first, second and third domes, Uma Bharati and Ritambara
had embraced each other; sweets were also distributed. The two had
also embraced the males. Embracing Advani, Joshi and S.C. Dixit, Uma
Bharati and Ritambara were expressing their happiness. On the fall of
the domes, all the said eight accused and Acharya Dharmendra etc were
congratulating one another. All were expressing happiness."

Vinay Katiyar.

Renu Mittal confirmed reports in The Hindu and The Indian Express
(December 7, 1992): "L.K. Advani began to address the kar sevaks over
the mike from the protection of the Ram Katha Kunj platform. In the
rush of shouts and the milling confusion he could be overheard telling
the kar sevaks to block all entry points to Ayodhya to stop anyone
entering the town. He also announced that the kar seva that begun
today would only end once the mandir nirman was completed... . At 3-30
p.m. the left dome of the Babri Masjid was demolished. Many of the kar
sevaks were injured and some of them were buried under the falling of
the debris of the dome."

Triyugi Narayan Tewari told the police: "The RSS workers also climbed
the domes and demolished the disputed structure. Sh. Ashok Singhal,
L.K. Advani, Uma Bharati, Vinay Katiyar, Murli Manohar Joshi, Acharya
Dharmendra, Sadhvi Ritambara were also present there and were inciting
the kar sevaks."

A few statements, about 5 or 6, averred that Advani urged the kar
sevaks to climb down; evidently for their own protection. For, some
were buried in the debris.

Vishnu Hari Dalmiya.

The Magistrate's observations on the course the case took are
significant. "This is an indisputable fact that the High Court had
before itself a combined charge-sheet in cases 197/92 (demolition) and
198/92 (speeches) and, compared to this court, the High Court was
presented with much more evidence/statements of witnesses. Apart from
it, the High Court had before it the charge under Section 120 IPC
(conspiracy), which was not included in the charge-sheet filed in this
court. After the said judgment, an order was passed by the Special
Judge (Ayodhya Prakaran), Lucknow, in which 21 accused were recognised
as accused in case 198/92 (speeches) and proceedings against them were
ordered to be stopped. These included the eight accused named in the
charge-sheet filed in this court. Thereafter, the CBI requested the
State government to rectify the said shortcoming in the notification
dated 8/10/93, but the said shortcoming was not rectified by the State
government. After that, special writ petitions were filed by Bhure Lal
and three others against the said judgment of the High Court, on which
the Supreme Court issued its judgment/order on 29/11/2002. Under the
said order of the Supreme Court, a petition has been filed by the CBI
in this court constituted under the former notification, on which the
CBI was directed to get the papers in case 198/92 (speeches) and
present in this court. The record of case 198/92 (speeches) was
received and then the CBI filed a supplementary charge-sheet. At
present the case is being heard in this court under the Supreme Court
order dated 29/11/2002. Thus this court has considered the material
presented to it about this charge. Statements of some more witnesses
were considered after the CBI filed a charge-sheet and some evidence
along with it and, later, after its advance investigation."

THUS the CBI itself dropped the conspiracy charge (Section 120 IPC).
The Magistrate lists some 19 considerations for framing the charges.
Two of them read thus: (2) "If the case falls in the area of doubt, it
cannot take the place of proof at the conclusion of the hearing. But
if there is serious doubt in the initial stage and it leads the court
to think that there is ground to believe that the accused has
committed the offence, then the court is not allowed to say that
enough ground is not there for proceeding against the accused... (8)
If material has been presented before the court and that creates
serious doubt against the accused and has not been adequately
explained, it is justified for the court to frame charges and start
hearing." He violated both.

He recorded: "In the videocassettes presented to the court, no leader
is seen making a speech during the demolition of the said structure on
6/12/92. From a perusal of all the statements under Section 161 CrPC
and the available material, it appears prima facie that there were two
groups during the event - one was demolishing the disputed structure
while the other was, along with the security forces, attempting to
prevent the demolition of the disputed structure. The prosecution
witness Shri Ram Kripal Das has said in his statement, among other
things, that the kar sevaks were greatly excited and loudly telling
that (they) would not stop even if some leader tried to stop them.

AJIT KUMAR/AP

Acharya Giriraj Kishore.

"In her statement, Anju Gupta has specifically said that on 6/12/92
she was deployed for Lal Krishna Advani's security. She has also said
that the S.P. Intelligence and the Commandant of the 15th Battalion
were with Murli Manohar Joshi Ms. Anju Gupta is an IPS officer and, as
is evident from her statement, she was deployed for Lal Krishna
Advani's security. Therefore, Anju Gutpa's statement is extremely
important regarding L.K. Advani. She has said the following in her
statement: "I had seen some boys advancing towards the disputed
structure from the Kuber Tola side, with tools in their hands. Then
Shri Lal Krishna Advani asked me what was happening inside the
temple... ."

"From this statement, the prima facie conclusion emerges that at that
time L.K. Advani did not know that demolition of the disputed
structure had started. Besides, Advani's contention in Anju Gupta's
statement that `I want to go and tell them to come down' generates
another view contrary to the prima facie charge against him. In her
statement, Anju Gupta has not indicated any such contention by any
other leader. She has also said Advani had asked her what was
happening at other places and she had said she did not know. The fact
of Advani inquiring about what was happening at other places prima
facie reveals his ignorance." How does his ignorance of what was
happening at "other places" in the city prove his ignorance of what
was happening before his and everyone else's eyes - demolition of the
mosque. His reasoning is palpably wrong. First, there were no "two
groups" of leaders, implying that Advani belonged to one that tried to
pacify the mob while the rest instigated it. Who were Advani's allies
in the pacificatory effort or was he alone in this? There were in fact
two sets of statements before the court. It is not the number but the
quality that matters. Even so, the overwhelming majority explicitly
implicated Advani along with the rest as an instigator. The minority
is not only small but pathetically laboured in its apologia.

Secondly, from a mere query by Advani to Anju Gupta, Vinod Kumar Singh
jumps to the astonishing conclusion that "L.K. Advani did not know
that demolition of the disputed mosque had started." The demolition
was surely there for all to see. The query was "what was happening
inside the temple" (sic.). His concern was not to stop the demolition,
else he would not have urged barricading of the roads to prevent
Central forces from arriving. The reason for his disquiet was
different as she clearly mentioned: "Advani was sad that people were
falling from the domes and dying."

DOUGLAS E CURRAN/AFP

Kar sevaks stop the Babri Masjid five hours before the structure was
demolished on December 6, 1992.

Thirdly, the Magistrate holds that "Anju Gupta has not indicated any
such contention (sic.) by any other leader." On the strength of this
solitary statement, Advani alone is exonerated. Her statement itself
is palpably misconstrued. Lastly, the Magistrate embarked on the
evaluation of the evidence. He singles out her statement, misconstrues
it, and ignores the enormous bulk, which clubbed Advani with the rest.
This is in clear breach of the law as laid down by the Supreme Court.

The Magistrate holds: "On the basis of the material presented to the
court, and having considered the extensive possibilities and the total
impact of the evidence in the light of both sides' arguments, I am of
the opinion that two views appear probable only about the prima facie
charge brought against the accused Lal Krishna Advani. One view is
that, prima facie, the crime was caused by Lal Krishna Advani to be
committed and the other view is that, prima facie, the crime was not
caused to be committed by him. After having considered the available
material and the two sides' arguments, in my opinion, suspicion but no
serious suspicion, seems to exist about the accused Lal Krishna Advani
having caused the crime to be committed under Sections 147/149/153A/
153B/505 IPC. On the contrary, having considered the available
material on record in the light of the two sides' arguments, I am of
the opinion that serious suspicion exists about the crime having been
caused under Section 147/149/153A/153B/505 IPC by the other accused
Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, Ashok Singhal, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya, Acharya
Giriraj Kishore, Sadhvi Uma Bharati, Vinay Katiyar and Sadhvi
Ritambara, which the said accused have been unable to explain... . As
per the above discussion, as two views are possible regarding the
accused Lal Krishna Advani's offence and there exists only suspicion
(keval sandeh) that he caused the said crime to be committed,
therefore under the said ruling the accused Lal Krishna Advani
deserves to be acquitted from the charge in the case in question.

"As per the above discussion, serious suspicion (ghor sandeh) exists
that the crime was caused to be committed by the accused Dr. Murli
Manohar Joshi, Ashok Singhal, Vishnu Hari Dalmiya, Acharya Giriraj
Kishore, Sadhvi Uma Bharati, Vinay Katiyar and Sadhvi Ritambara, which
the said accused have been unable to explain, therefore in the light
of the said ruling, a prima facie case is made against the accused Dr.
Murli Manohar Joshi, and the rest."

The Magistrate, in effect, tried Advani on the merits instead of
framing charges against him since a prima facie case was disclosed
warranting a full trial. Only at the end is the accused entitled to
benefit of the doubt. The reasoning is tortuous in the extreme. The
conclusion is manifestly demonstrably wrong. Magistrate Vinod Kumar
Singh's judgment prevents Advani's trial on grounds that are
manifestly wrong. Criminal proceedings in the Ayodhya case have taken
a bizarre course. In the Sessions Court at Lucknow, the Judge Srikant
Shukla drops the conspiracy charge on May 4, 2001, in breach of the
High Court's ruling on February 12, 2001. In the Rae Bareli court the
CBI drops that charge in its "supplementary" charge-sheet on May 30,
2003. What are we coming to? The civil proceedings are as disquieting;
especially after the order for excavation by the Special Bench of the
High Court last March. As for the CBI's role the less said the
better.

http://www.flonnet.com/fl2102/stories/20040130002204700.htm

Resolved Question
Hindu Hate Crimes?

Why doesn't anyone ever point out the Hindu hate crimes against
Muslims in India and Pakistan while they are talking about Religious
Extremism?
3 years ago

Additional Details
Thomas, please see answer below, thanks
3 years ago

by Thomas B Member since:
June 12, 2007
Total points:
5188 (Level 5)


Best Answer - Chosen by Voters
Dear Please list some.

Most Hindu attacks in India are retaliation to what the stupid Muslims
start.

Please show us a proof of Muslim oppression with facts to support your
claim.

Whatever Kalebow has stated comes from an extremist platform christian
news network. I am a Christian and still don't buy this BS spread by
the Evangelical Christian Media. Just the same I don't buy that
Muslims in Pakistan want peace.

All what Kalebow has said has supposedly happened in Burma and Sri
Lanka, he does not answer your question about India, please provide
proof of Hindu crimes against Muslims in Pakistan? are you joking.

When India and Pakistan were separated in 1947 Hindu population in
Pakistan was more than 14% today entire Pakistan is has less than 2%
minorities Pakistan is 98% Muslim State.

Where as India at Sepration had a 7% Muslim population which today is
more than 12% and 12% Muslims in India equal to the entire population
of Pakistan.

Please check your facts about ethnic cleansing then talk.
3 years ago
60% 3 Votes

Other Answers (4)

by MikeInRI Member since:
July 06, 2006
Total points:
87738 (Level 7)

Because for most people in the west they never hear about them and
lets face it Hindus are not mass killing Christians and Jews like
Muslims have been trying to do - it just does get the interest of most
in the west. Most actions taken by Hindus - although are bad - are
usually retalitory in nature which makes thems to a certain extent
seem justified to some.

Good Luck!!!
3 years ago
0% 0 Votes
3 Rating: Good Answer 1 Rating: Bad Answer Report Abuse by Cathy
Member since:
May 09, 2007
Total points:
10890 (Level 6)

Because there comes a point in discussing Religious Extremism where
you just have to start leaving religions and incidents out--EVERY
religion has zealots that commit such crimes.
3 years ago

2 Rating: Good Answer 1 Rating: Bad Answer Report Abuse by wwhy
Member since:
May 03, 2007
Total points:
1734 (Level 3)

The Buddhist state of Burma openly plans to Abolish Christianity and
nobody calls them terrorists ?

The Burma Government May Move to Abolish Christianity With Buddhist
Support ?

Government officials have shut down churches in this capital city and
have disallowed the construction of new church buildings. The number
of bibles allowed for import is limited and in-country printing of
bibles and Christian literature is restricted.

"Some Buddhist monks came and started shouting, 'don't worship God
here – he has nothing to do with us,'” David said. “They said we were
trying to establish Christianity in the village and they did not want
it. The monks and others threw stones at us. They hit us like a hard
rain. Some of us were hit in the cheek, the neck and the forehead."

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/cwn/012607Bur…

Report: Burma Plans to Wipe Out Christianity

A leaked secret document claims to reveal plans by the Burmese
military regime to wipe out Christianity in the southeast Asian
country.

Inside the memo were detailed instructions on how to force Christians
out of the country, according to Telegraph.

Instructions included imprisoning any person caught evangelizing,
capitalizing on the fact that Christianity is a non-violent religion.

“The Christian religion is very gentle,” read the letter, according to
Telegraph, “Identify and utilize its weakness.”

Burma, also known as Myanmar, has a Christian population of about four
percent, according to the CIA World Factbook. Persecution against
Christians have come in the form of church burnings, forced conversion
to the state religion of Buddhism, and banning children of Christians
from school.

http://www.christianpost.com/article/200…

Christian children forced to become Buddhist monks.

CHILDREN from Christian families in Burma, between the ages of five
and ten, have been lured from their homes and placed in Buddhist
monasteries. Once taken in, their heads have been shaved and they have
been trained as novice monks, never to see their parents again.

http://www.canadianchristianity.com/cgi-…

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/content/news_s…

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/ch…

Buddhist Extremists Attack Christian-Run Children’s Home in Sri Lanka

A 200-man mob, accompanied by extremist Buddhist monks, has attacked a
children’s home, which was being run by the Dutch Reformed Church in
central Sri Lanka at the beginning of August.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a human rights organisation
which specialises in religious freedom, has reported that the mob
fiercely attacked the home, following which, they climbed to the roof
and planted a Buddhist flag on the roof.

Tina Lambert, Advocacy Director of Christian Solidarity Worldwide
(CSW), said: "We are extremely concerned about the continuing violence
against Christians in Sri Lanka. This latest incident, in which child
care workers have been threatened, is unacceptable and we urge the Sri
Lankan authorities to bring the perpetrators of such violence to
justice."

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/bu…

Hindu and Buddhists united to opose Christian evangelism

Hindu and Buddhist priests from across Asia are uniting to oppose
Christian proselytism. The 1,000 delegates to a three-day conference
in Lumbini, Nepal, discussed Pope John Paul II's recent call to
evangelize Asia. Evangelism constitutes "a war against Hindus and
Buddhists" and is a "spiritual crime," they said.

Hindus attacking Christian churches and
Reports of Christian persecution in Nepal continue

http://www.wtcf.org/www.viamission.org/n…

Buddhist Cambodia Limits Christian Activities :

Cambodia's government issued a directive preventing Christians from
promoting their religion in public places, or using money or other
means to persuade people to convert, officials said Tuesday.

Cambodian Buddhists generally tolerate other religions, but last year
about 300 Buddhist villagers DESTROYED a partially built Christian
church near Phnom Penh.

Also last year, a group of Christian worshippers was caught
distributing sweets to young people in the countryside while trying to
convert them, Sun Kim Hun said. Such activities are illegal.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wire…

INDIA (Newsroom) – Six Christian missionaries participating in a
gospel campaign called "Love Ahmedabad" were beaten so savagely in the
state of Gujarat last week that one of the men may lose his arms and
legs.

Members of the Hyderabad-based Operation Mobilization (OM) were
distributing Bibles and religious tracts in Ahmedabad, about five
miles from Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat, the afternoon of May 5
when they were attacked by members of the Hindu extremist groups
Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). Operation Mobilization
ships tons of Christian literature around the country. The assailants
also burned copies of the Bible and tracts.

http://www.worthynews.com/news-features/…

Christian missionaries beaten in public for 'converting' Hindus

Television channels showed Hindu activists kicking and punching the
two young priests while dragging them through Maharashtra's Kolhapur
town.

News footage showed an activist knee one priest in the groin, making
him double up in pain. Another kicked the missionary in the head. The
crowd accused the priests of forcibly converting poor Hindus, and
handed them over to police.

http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/07/…

The violence of Buddhist extremists it’s being compared to the killing
fields of Cambodia. In Sri Lanka religion has become mixed with
politics and nationalism - creating a toxic brew of hatred and fear.
They are…… forcibly trying to convert people to Buddhism and forcing
people to kneel down to declare Buddha is our god! Read about it

http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=7…

3 years ago

2 Rating: Good Answer 2 Rating: Bad Answer Report Abuse by
anser_qu... Member since:
January 22, 2007
Total points:
1489 (Level 3)

great answer Thomas...
Unfortunately these bigots that make these false calims only see
though their lens and are not mature enough to realise the facts..
3 years ago

Any my Hindu brother will accept nithyananda swamiji is their guru,
after his crime...? if s why..?.?
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=As4N.azjWH.QVon7PCP20wjd7BR.;_ylv=3?qid=20100308072451AAYK8du
Any one accept nithyananda swamiji is their guru, after his crime...?
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AotF_sqWOe_Lk7tfFDNher7d7BR.;_ylv=3?qid=20100308072237AAd8GeG

Christians, can you give several examples of scriptures (to add to
this) that show us how precious...?
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AnF9GzIAaTjwzchT.UEaegHd7BR.;_ylv=3?qid=20100308072220AAxqgd2

Why do religious people think that suicide is a sin?
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=ApdmH190JzBD8onJU9H2_W3d7BR.;_ylv=3?qid=20100308072151AAI7dpX

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070724133507AAtHOJI

THE OTHER HALF
From the land of hate
KALPANA SHARMA

`We have found a lot of happiness here,' said one girl. Happiness?
After spending just three days in an overcrowded, hot, dirty city?....
The story of 19 young Muslim women from Gujarat.

ON the surface they looked like any group of college girls. A little
conservative, perhaps, compared to their counterparts in Mumbai. But
these were not just college girls. You could tell if you looked more
closely, if you looked into their eyes, if you noticed the anxiety.

Nineteen young Muslim women from Gujarat with 19 stories to tell. All
of them unexceptionally disturbing and tragic. They were invited to
visit Mumbai by Aawaz-e-Niswan, a remarkable organisation that works
with Muslim women in Mumbai and is now extending its work to women in
other cities. The very ordinary, mostly lower middle class Muslim
women from this organisation, many of whom have been personally seared
by communal riots such as those that tore Mumbai apart in 1992-93,
decided to reach out to their sisters in Gujarat after the communal
carnage of 2002. They visited some of the worst affected areas; they
heard the stories from women who did not know how they would pick up
the threads of their lives again. And they decided that they would do
something for the younger women, many of whom expressed a
determination to continue with their education, to seek professional
qualifications and to work and be independent.

For some of the girls from Dahod, Fatehpura, Jalod and Vadodara, even
travelling in a train was a novel experience. The five from Fatehpura,
a small town bordering Rajasthan, had never seen a film in a cinema
theatre. The women from Jalod said there was a theatre in their town,
but women never went there. So one of the highpoints of their visit to
Mumbai was seeing a film in a theatre. They could not get over the
fact that as women they could do this.

Also for the first time, these women travelled around the city by
night. Mumbai by night, or any city by night, was something they could
not have imagined doing in their wildest dreams. Yet they went around
and no one looked at them strangely. They were just some among
thousands of men and women who inhabit Mumbai's public spaces till all
hours of the night.

"We have found a lot of happiness here," said one girl. Happiness?
After spending just three days in an overcrowded, hot, dirty city?
"The love we see on the faces here we don't see there," said another.
"We never get izzat (respect) anywhere in Gujarat," said another. It
was interesting to see how the very anonymity of a big city can mean
so much to people who live surrounded by hate.

That hate lurks around every turn, they said. Everyday they see on the
streets the perpetrators of the crimes that led to the death and
destruction of their community. "Even now if we pass by, they shout at
us, use bad language," said a primary school teacher from Godhra. "We
can see our things, our furniture, even our clothes, being used by
other people," said a student from Fatehpura. She broke down as she
spoke of how her house was burnt and looted, forcing her family to run
across the border to Rajasthan.

If there is one good thing that has come out of this evil, say many of
the girls, it is the increasing emphasis on women's education. "We
girls thought that if we had been educated, we could have taken a good
job and supported our families," said one. Families with no earning
member left did not get anything more than a meagre compensation.
This, she said, forced many parents to realise the value of education
and professional training.

So what did they want to do once they graduated? Most said they wanted
to become teachers. But at least two said they wanted to join the
police.

But the down side is that many girls never had a chance to make that
choice. With parents worried about the future of their daughters in
the immediate aftermath of the violence, many girls were married off
to men they had never met at the relief camps. It is unlikely that
these young women will have the freedom to travel to Mumbai at the
invitation of a women's group, to go to the theatre, to wander around
the city at night, to travel in trains and buses.

Life for the Muslim women of Gujarat, as was evident from the way
these 19 spoke, consists of "earlier" and "now". "Earlier", they had
Hindu friends, went to each other's homes, even celebrated each
other's festivals. "Now" this is not possible, they are even afraid to
go through Hindu areas and the question of enjoying each other's
festivals does not arise. "Even today we are told, Pakistan is yours,
go to Pakistan. The Hindus have come back to the city, the Muslims
have moved out. India has already been divided but now even our city
of Vadodara is divided into India and mini-Pakistan," said Nilofer.

Just a day before we met these women, the Supreme Court had ordered
the reopening of over 2,000 cases filed during the communal trouble of
2002 that the local police had closed. A 10-member committee has been
set up.

The process is forcing all of us to revisit the horror of those days.
The arrest of Police Sub-Inspector R.J. Patil, for instance, who
admitted that he had burnt 13 bodies of the victims of what is known
as the Ambika Society massacre, without sending specimens for forensic
analysis, is only the beginning of more gruesome details that will
emerge.

Yet, even this tentative beginning represents hope for many Muslims in
Gujarat. Said Nilofer from Vadodara, "Even if these cases are
reopened, and regardless of whether there is justice or not, at least
in front of society these people will be named." She felt that the
arrest of men like Patil was an important gesture for her traumatised
community.

E-mail the writer ***@thehindu.co.in

http://www.hindu.com/mag/2004/09/05/stories/2004090500290300.htm

No time for coffee in Copenhagen

TABISH KHAIR is not writing about the numerous lives lost in a
senseless and criminal act of violence on September 11. Instead, he
writes about the voices he has heard thereafter; a sound that has a
certain tone to it and which has set him wondering about abstract
hatred and prejudice.

THERE are moments that cleave Time into two. Everything that happens
afterwards happens in a different world. World War II was one such
moment for Europe. The suicide-hijack-crashing of four passenger
planes and the destruction of the World Trade Center is such a moment
for the world.

I will not write about the 5,000 lives lost in a senseless and
criminal act of violence. Such human loss escapes the limits of
language and representation. One can only stand silent in front of the
monuments of sorrow that tens of thousands - relatives, friends,
colleagues - will carry in their hearts for the rest of their lives.
It is a sorrow the rest of us can only share in silence.

I cannot write about silence. And I should not for, in Copenhagen, I
have been deluged with sound: the opinions of ordinary people, the
film-like coverage of the tragedy by Cable News Network (CNN), the
voices of commentators and politicians. Much of this sound had a
certain tone to it and that tone set me wondering. Is there much of a
difference between the terrorists who struck back at a group of
politicians by targeting tens of thousands of innocent people and
those voices that seem to be using the cruel act of a handful of
presumed Islamic terrorists to tarnish and blame entire populations of
Muslims and Arabs? Do not both the acts demonstrate the same type of
abstract hatred and prejudice?

But the questions never end. On the margins of time, in the split
space between worlds, one is always deluged with questions.

For example, the first Danish person who brought me news of the
tragedy said that he was against violence of any kind and added that
he would understand it if Americans decided to hit back. Why is it
that we always justify our own violence, while the violence of the
enemy is sheer sacrilege? Isn't that why there were shocking pictures
of some Palestinians celebrating: people who have become so used to
the idea of missiles being launched at their own buildings by Israeli
forces and the notion of reciprocal violence that they could not feel
the inhumanity of their celebration?

But, then, is this what we can write about: this spiral of violence
and inhumanity? Is this immense tragedy going to remain at such a
general level of discourse?

The answer seems to be "yes" if various media discussions in the West
are to be believed. But it has to be "no" if we are to salvage some
sense from the wanton destruction.

It is easy for us to sit here in our cosy sitting rooms in Copenhagen,
holding a cup of coffee, munching a biscuit, watching the tragedy
unfold almost as fluently as a film on the idiot box, and speak in
general terms. What we are doing is celebrating our own humanity, and
all human beings - even terrorists - are convinced of their own
superior humanity. Many of the most inhuman acts known to humanity
have been the consequence of such a conviction. We need to go beyond
it. We owe it to the victims of the tragedy to go beyond it.

The second person who called me with news of the tragedy was my
father: a devout Muslim doctor who has lived most of his life in a
small town in Bihar. He was shocked by the news. How could anyone do
this, he said again and again. The word he used was "anyone". I went
back to the TV and, in spite of the fact that no one knew anything
about the identities of the terrorists, I did not hear too many people
say "anyone". I heard "Muslim", "Islamic", "Middle Eastern", "Arab".

These were people who had already decided to exclude entire
populations from the circumference of their definitions of humanity.
My father's "anyone" had been reduced by many of these contributors to
"Arab" or "Muslim", even to the very type of an Arab or Muslim. I
could feel the irreligious "Muslim" in me cringe every time I heard
such discussions. I could feel my father being put in the dock.

It is so comfortable, this celebration of our own humanity. It can be
so inhuman, this celebration of our own humanity.

But what about violence?

Thomas Burnet, the late 17th century English divine, wrote that the
Roman Catholic Church persecuted prophets of Apocalyptic violence
(even though Apocalypse and the millennium were prophesied in the
Bible and, as such, should have been welcome to the church), because
it was in those days a church of privilege. Apocalyptic violence,
Burnet argued, was always the last resort of the persecuted and would
be disliked by those who "have lived always in pomp and prosperity".

Violence, in other words, is seldom a free choice. It is predicated
upon most individuals by circumstances. These individuals are usually
those who labour under an overpowering feeling of injustice and
deprivation. However senseless it might be, behind all violence lies
the rubble of shattered hopes, of real and imagined injustices, of
human desperation and, consequently, inhuman hatred. Let us not take
refuge in the easy excuse that we are against violence. For all of us,
given certain circumstances, are capable of violence or sympathy with
violence. While a thousand candles have been lit in Copenhagen for
those who died in the United States, let us also light a candle or two
for those who die - and thousands do every day, with or without
"Western" complicity - in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Rwanda .... Let
us not traffic in the worth of human lives.

No, large descriptions like "violence" do not help if we stay confined
to that general level. Neither does the kind of cry for vengeance that
one heard in the voice of many Americans and Europeans. It is true
that we have to take a stand against violence. Not just violence of
one kind, we have to take a stand against all kinds of violence - the
violence of terrorists as well as the violence of State agencies,
physical violence that leads to the death of bystanders as well as
economic violence that leads to the starvation of millions in a world
that has enough to go around. More than enough.

It is time we in the West think a bit before we bite into the cake of
our affluence and drink the coffee of our civilised condemnation.

If general sentiments will not do, what, then, about the specific
lessons that we can draw from this tragedy?

One of the things that this outrage has demonstrated is the
ineffectiveness of any kind of military shield. The only shield that
can be effective is the shield of a more just world. And for the world
to be made just and equal, it not only needs some of the resources of
the affluent, it also has to be made democratic.

Unfortunately, the U.S. has made itself into the target of extremist
groups largely because it has tried to go solo or exert undue
influence in certain international quarters. The internal democracy of
the U.S. seldom gets translated into international democracy. Had
certain decisions been taken through the channels of the United
Nations (not a military alliance of the privileged, like the North
Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)), the U.S. would have been only
one nation among many. The burden, the "blame" and the risks would
have been shared. There are advantages to democracy at the
international level, but it has to be true democracy. And the final
lesson is that of the dangers of abstract hatred and prejudice. The
act of one leader or a group cannot be blamed in a generalised way on
an entire people or country, as the terrorists seem to have done. But
this is a lesson that we should also remember every time someone uses
the dastardly act of a handful of presumed Islamic terrorists to
implicitly or explicitly blame entire populations of Muslims and
Arabs.

The crashes that reduced the World Trade Center to rubble and the two
terror-inducing plane crashes elsewhere have cleft our age into two.
On the other side of this smoking chasm of blood and bitterness, lies
another world. It can be a world in which all the mistakes of the past
- global inequality, socio-economic exploitation, lack of
international democracy, lack of national democracy and literacy in
some nations, prejudice, hatred - all these mistakes are consolidated
into a world of greater violence and suffering. Or we may, finally,
learn to work towards a world, a very different world, where we will
tackle not the consequences of senseless tragedies but the reasons for
them. A world in which we will condemn not only a certain kind of
violence, but all violence; a world in which we will love not only our
humanity, but all humanity.

In order to make this choice we have to look deep into our own hearts
before we tidy away the tea things and swap the channel in places like
Copenhagen.

People who commit hate crimes against Americans with Middle Eastern
backgrounds in the wake of the terrorist attacks will be prosecuted
"to the fullest extent of the law", according to a top Justice
Department official.

According to new federal hate crime statistics released recently:

* Hate crimes accounted for nearly 3,000 of the roughly 5.4 million
victim-related crimes examined in a study which looked at cases
reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) by local police
in more than a dozen states from 1997 to 1999.

* Among the racially motivated incidents, 60 per cent targeted Blacks,
30 per cent targeted Whites and the rest targeted Asians and American
Indians. Forty-one per cent of the incidents involving religious bias
targeted Jewish people.

* Violent crime was the most serious offence in 60 per cent of the
hate crimes, typically involving intimidation or simple assault.

* More than half of the violent hate crime victims were 24 years old
or younger. Among the offenders, 31 per cent of violent offenders and
46 per cent of property offenders were under age 18.

Source: Internet

(The writer is Assistant Professor, Department of English, Copenhagen
University, Denmark.)

http://www.hinduonnet.com/2001/10/07/stories/13070612.htm

...and I am Sid Harth
chhotemianinshallah
2010-03-09 13:04:11 UTC
WELCOME TO NAVYA SHASTRA

Dear Friends:

Hinduism is facing a great many challenges, both external and
internal. On the outside, ill-wishers are trying to malign and
dismantle it. Within, we have practitioners and leaders who are
insensitive to, or unaware of the social, political, and ethical
forces that are sweeping the world. Navya Shastra consists of a group
of Hindus who deeply love and care for our rich and ancient tradition.
We are also very concerned about its future.
We strongly feel that one major blemish in the Hindu world (within
India) is the pernicious aspect of the caste system which denies equal
spiritual rights to all Hindus, and imposes a conceptual hierarchy
that considers some Hindus to be superior/inferior to other Hindus on
the basis of their birth. We do not think that the dehumanization of
Hindus or of any other people is part of the Vedas, Sanskrit or
Tamil.

If some shastras tolerated or encouraged caste-based social
injustices, we reject them, and declare it is time to formulate a
system of values consistent with the age in which we live
(yugadharma). We are against caste hierarchy and caste injustices, not
only because they are not sanctioned in the Vedas, but also because
they are morally wrong, unacceptable, and anachronistic in the world
in which we live. We also need to rid Hindu society of its caste
constraints, because they undermine the future of the religion as a
viable system in the modern world. We are dreaming of a day when the
loftier Hindu visions in Sanatana Dharma will spread all over the
world. There will come a time when practitioners of other religious
systems will resonate with the universal values and visions that are
implicit in the roots of Hinduism.

We invite all our Hindu brothers and sisters to join us in raising
their voices against casteism, and for making Hinduism a greater
religion than what she has ever been.

Lobby all dharmacharyas to reflect on the fossilized iniquities in
Sanatana Dharma. We will actively strive to catalyze the Hindu
leadership into addressing the caste issue and other salient social
issues.

Engender a national debate on a Navya Shastra--one that would redress
the inequalities inherent in the caste system. While the spiritual
intuition of our sages is timeless and eternal, the social tenets
which govern Hindu society have never been static--our lawgivers have
reinterpreted them in different eras.

Conduct a respectful dialogue on reformulating the social tenets of
Sanatana Dharma, in which all members of our community are welcomed to
participate.

Track and promote the efforts of Hindu/Indian organizations and
charities who are working to eradicate caste discrimination in India.
_________________________________________________

Special Announcement: Listen to Jaishree Gopal, Chairman of Navya
Shastra on National Public Radio

http://shastras.org/

NAVYA SHASTRA VISION STATEMENT

Most Hindus are shocked to know that, according to the ancient
Dharmashastras, over 80% of the Hindu population is forbidden to read
the Vedas. These law books were written by sages as procedural and
legal outlines for governing society, and they have remained de facto
authority on religious matters to this day. For example, some
traditional mathas still forbid Vedic instruction to anyone who is not
a ?dwija?--a male born into one of the three upper castes.

A recent Supreme Court of India decision held that non-brahmins are
now entitled to serve as temple priests, effectively opening up the
Vedas and Agamas to all seekers. While the ruling is laudable, we
wonder whether this judicial activism is sufficient to transfigure the
often miserable status of the so called lower castes. Most religious
leaders have remained conspicuously silent on the decision and,
whether out of indifference or disapproval, have not publicly
reflected on the potential consequences of the decision for Hindu
society. Until we have a convergence of sentiment towards a true
casteless society--one acknowledged by religious leaders, the
government and the Hindu community alike--all steps towards
improvement will be tentative gestures, at odds with recrudescent
casteist power structures that operate frightfully and efficiently in
rural India.

Rather than bemoaning, with the fatalists, the inexorably static
nature of society, or assuming, with the optimists, that change is a
natural process, we have decided to take matters into our own hands by
inciting a public debate on the caste issue and other salient social
issues. Would a Navya Shastra (or a comprehensive reinterpretation of
existing Dharmashastras), proposing a more egalitarian configuration
of Hindu society, be a beneficial template for affecting change? We
believe shastric and social reform is important for several reasons.

1. The caste system, as it is currently structured, spiritually
disenfranchises the vast majority of Hindus: Shudras, Dalits,
Adivasis, women and converts. No one, we believe, has studied the
negative psychological implications of such birth-based
classifications on the so called lower castes. A recent wave of Dalit
atrocities morbidly reveals that caste discrimination is still rampant
throughout India. This leaves many spiritually inclined Hindus feeling
that they are unwanted, peripheral stragglers, giving credence to
Hegel?s assertion that the caste system breeds ?spiritual serfdom?. A
Navya Shastra would open the Vedas (as they are traditionally taught)
to everyone, regardless of birth.

2. Until we have a Navya Shastra, the old Dharmashastras will remain,
by default, the governing authority on matters concerning the
religious status of Hindus. It would be rather absurd for the
government to comment on every religious controversy affecting Hindus.
After all, in a truly secular society, the government does not
interfere in religious matters. The will to change must come from the
Hindu leadership itself.

3. Non-Hindus who wish to convert to Hinduism cannot truly do so,
because the Dharmashastras make no place for them. This is very
unfortunate; arresting what was once a great enthusiasm for the Hindu
Dharma in the West.

4. Women are treated as second class citizens. A Navya Shastra would
also increase the status of women.

5. Though there are many reformist sects that have sought to redress
these inequalities, we feel it is crucially important for orthodoxy to
assent to this effort. Otherwise we will have a fractured Hinduism,
with different groups asserting that they alone represent the truth.

Please join our effort by participating in our community forum. We
welcome all sincere strategies for social change. We have an
unprecedented opportunity to make a difference together. Let?s not let
anyone else make it for us.

http://shastras.org/

Truth and Tension in Science and Religion, authored by noted physicist
and religious scholar V. V Raman

Exploring the Connections and Controversies Between Science and
Religion, August 11, 2009

Article on Dalits in Leading Brazilian Newspaper in Special Edition on
India
by Mukunda Raghavan, August, 2009

Navya Shastra on Article 377
Supporters Hail Delhi’s Landmark Pro-Gay Ruling
from India West, July 09, 2009

The organization was particularly critical of the Vishwa Hindu
Parishad, which came out against Article 377. "Unable to find any
strong theological basis in Hinduism for opposing homosexuality, the
VHP relied on the old canard that the family structure would somehow
be threatened by the decision," said Sugrutha Ramaswamy, a Navya
Shastra activist. "This is an unscientific understanding of
homosexuality, which is not a lifestyle choice but rather an inherent
human condition," she added. ....

Other news coverage
Edge Boston, July 10, 2009

India Abroad on Caste in the US
Caste Adrift, May 22, 2009
Caste and US, May 22, 2009

60 seconds chief

Hindu Business Line, March 16, 2009
60 seconds chief Blog, March 16, 2009

Story of a Reformer by Jaishree Gopal, a chapter in the book
Reflections by IITians published by Ram Krishnaswamy

Excerpt from Reflections by IITians, Dec 2008

I want to change what people do and believe in Hindu society,
especially with regards to caste and gender discrimination.
Dr. Jaishree Gopal, IITM & IITD Alumna
Co Founder of Navya Shastra
Interview with D. Murali of Hindu Business Line

Future of Religious Practice
from The Hindu Business Line, Dec 22, 2008
The Hindu, Dec 21, 2008
Food for Thought, Dec 20, 2008

Navya Shastra on Proposition 8
Hindus Urged to Vote Against Prop. 8
from The Advoocate, Nov 1, 2008

Navya Shastra, the international Hindu reform organization based in
Troy, Mich., sent out a press release Friday urging California voters
to reject Proposition 8, which would eliminate the right of same-sex
couples to marry under California law. ....

Other news coverage
Chakra News, Nov 3, 2008
Go Magazine, Nov 3, 2008

Navya Shastra on "Love Guru", the Movie
Hindu reform group opposes Love Guru protests
from Hindustan Times, May 20, 2008

...Navya Shastra, the organisation based in Troy, Michigan, which
earlier spoke out against astrology, female foeticide and Dalit
discrimination, has argued that hyper-sensitivity over inaccurate or
distorted religious depictions in mass media erodes the tradition of
tolerance of criticism in the Hindu faith....

Other news coverage
Zee News, May 22, 2008
Times of India, May 21, 2008
LA Times, May 2008
Asia Arts, UCLA, May 30, 2008

Navya Shastra on Female Feticide
Navya Shastra concern over India's foeticide epidemic
from The Indian Star, May 07, 2008

...Navya Shastra also called on the Hindu community and its
organizations to allow daughters to impart final rites at the funerals
of their parents. "One religious reason why boys are favored among
Hindus is because of the anachronistic belief that only a son can
formally conduct this ceremony, so a girl is totally worthless in this
regard," said Dr. Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra Chairman....

Other news coverage
Pro-Life Blog, May 07, 2008
Also appeared in Print Edition of India West

Navya Shastra on Malaysia
Navya Shastra condemns the Government of Malaysia for anti-Hindu
discrimination
from Asian Tribune, November 27, 2007

...One Navya Shastra member who participated in the rally reported
anonymously: "We have changed the political equations at home and
inspired minorities everywhere. We walked the talk. We smelled the
tear gas and it swelled our chests. Like Rosa Parks we said, 'No!'" It
further added that Navya Shastra stands in complete solidarity with
the Hindu community and all other minorities in Malaysia who are the
victims of government persecution.... ....

Navya Shastra Award of Recognition
Navya Shastra Award to two students from Karnataka
from Manglorean.com, August 15, 2007

...These two young women have demonstrated that by challenging
outmoded institutions and customs in a personal way, one can have an
impact on society at large. To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, it is
important for our youth to 'be the change' they want to see," said Dr.
Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra Chairman.... ....

Navya Shastra confers the title of Acharya Vidyasagar on Professor
V.V. Raman
Professor V.V. Raman receives title "Acharya Vidyasagar"
from Rochester Community Newsletter, May 28, 2007

...Navya Shastra of Troy, Michigan, the international Hindu reform
organization, honored Professor V.V. Raman by conferring on him the
title "Acharya Vidyasagar" in recognition of his many contributions to
Hinduism. Dr. Jaishree Gopal, Chairman of Navya Shastra, said “In
ancient India, an acharya was a teacher of profound truths, a guide on
the spiritual path, and someone an entire community looked up to....

Other news coverage
Metanexus Magazine, May 18, 2007

Navya Shastra on Temple Entry
Hindu reform organisation slams Jagannath temple priests
from Hindustan Times, March 5, 2007

..."We are appalled to know about the mindless throwing away of large
amounts of food by the Puri temple administration at the instigation
of pujaris (priests) with a medieval mindset at a time and place where
there are thousands of poor and hungry people," said the
organisation's chairman, Dr Jaishree Gopal. ....
Other news coverage
India's Tolerance Levels Tested as American Enters Forbidden
Sanctuary, March, 2007

Report from a Dalit village
Ghosts of the Past
from India Abroad, Feb 18, 2007

...It left me with the thought that true prosperity was impossible
until social advancement and a sense of equality became firmly
entrenched in our communities. ...

Navya Shastra on Manglik-related rituals of Aishwarya Rai
US Hindu reform group condemns rituals by Bachchan
from Daily News and Analysis, February 12, 2007

..."What concerns us is that millions of people may rationalise their
mistreatment of women based upon the Abhishek-Aishwarya example," said
Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra Chairman, in a press statement. ....
Other news coverage

Zee News, February 12, 2007
Malaysia Sun, February 12, 2007
Daily India, Fl, February 12, 2007
Philippine Times, February 13, 2007
Japan Herald, February 13, 2007
Yahoo India, Movies, February 12, 2007
The Telegraph, February 12, 2007
New Kerala, February 12, 2007

Navya Shastra Apology to Dalits
Navya Shastra Organization Apologizes for Untouchability
from Hinduism Today, hpi, December 20, 2006

We, at Navya Shastra, deeply regret and apologize for the atrocities
committed on the sons and daughters of the depressed communities of
India, including the tribals, the "untouchables" and all of the castes
deemed as low.... ....

An Unqualified Apology to Every Untouchable by Dr Bhaskar Dasgupta
from desicritic, February 2, 2006

...So here it is, I fully endorse and join Navya Shastra, in
apologising to the other castes, for what I and my forefathers may
have done and promise that I will raise my voice against this
disgusting practice, and hopefully help remove this by my words as
well as my behaviour.... . ...

Navya Shastra in Books
Opening the Doors of Wonder: Reflections on Religious Rites of Passage
by Arthur J. Magida
from Amazon, 2006

...thousand members of Navya Shastra and other reform groups are
seeking to go one step beyond Gandhi ....

Mending A Torn World: Women in Interreligious Dialogue (Faith Meets
Faith Series) by by Maura O'Neill (Paperback - Oct 31, 2007)
from Amazon, 2007

... Dr. Jaishree Gopal, a woman activist, commends the government of
India for working to end discrimination ..." ....

Navya Shastra on TV in Chennai
Temple inauguration in Dalit village, Idamani
Temple Inauguration, July 2006

...This event was aired on Chennai TV station, Thamizhan ....

California Textbook Controversy
Indian Groups Contest California Textbook Content
from New American Media, February 17, 2006

...They also say that it would serve the dalits' cause better if the
textbooks said that "untouchability is a living reality in India,"
instead of simply going by the Hindu groups' suggestion that the books
say that it is illegal to treat someone as an untouchable, Vikram
Masson, co-founder of Navya Shastra, a U.S.-based non-profit
organization that speaks out against caste-related issues, told India-
West. ....
Navya Shastra Organizations Calls for Fairer View in California
Textbooks
from HPI, February 2, 2006

...Navya Shastra is also dismayed that the school board is considering
redacting out any mention of Dalits. While the former untouchables of
India have been called or call themselves many things, including
Avarna and Harijan, the term Dalit is increasingly considered an
empowering symbol of unity among a section of the former untouchables,
including those who still retain their Hindu affiliation, and eliding
their identity must be viewed as an act of upper-caste hegemony. . ...

Hindu view on Papal Succession
Pope Vows to Pursue Outreach by Church
from Washington Post, Thursday, April 21, 2005; Page A18

..."A U.S.-based group of Hindu activists called Navya Shastra,
meanwhile, called on the pope to learn more about Hinduism. "Clearly
he is misinformed about the central practices and tenets which bind
the world's 800 million Hindus," said co-chairman Vikram Masson. ....

Other Faiths Recall Pope's Zeal as Faith Defender
from Reuters, April 20, 2005

...A U.S.-based group of world Hindu activists, Navya Shastra, hoped
the new Pope would learn more about its religion. "Ratzinger has
described Hindu meditative practices as 'auto-erotic' and has stated
that the Hindu doctrine of karma is 'morally cruel'," its co-chairman
Vikram Masson said. "Clearly he is misinformed about the central
practices and tenets which bind the world's 800 million Hindus....

THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH'S VIEWS ON OTHER FAITH GROUPS, AND THEIR
REACTIONS
from Religious Tolerance

..."Dr. Jaishree Gopal, is co-chairperson of Navya Shastra. She wrote:
"What is needed now is ecumenism and mutual trust. We hope that the
new Pope comes to understand this, because religious difference and
competition is causing mounting global conflict." ....
US Hindu organisation accu
ses VHP of casteism
from Times of India, Mar 06, 2005

..."This is a bizarre act of conceptual dehumanisation," the statement
quoted Navya Shastra co-chairperson Jaishree Gopal as saying. The
statement urged all Hindu organisations involved in proselytising
activities to do away with attaching cast labels to new converts.
"Surely all modern Hindu reformers agree that there is no spiritual
merit attached to any caste affiliation," the statement added....
(This news item also appeared in various other publications: Hindustan
Times, Pluralism.org, Kerala News, Kerala Next, Express Newsline,
Yahoo India)
God's Wrath in India?
from Beliefnet, Jan 5, 2005


...Another Hindu group, the reformist Navya Shastra, issued a press
release condemning Hindu organizations that have bought into the act-
of-God view, comparing their remarks to those of Christian leaders
like Jerry Falwell. While acknowledging, like Vaishnav, that karma
could have played a role in the deaths, the group, made of Hindu
scholars, practitioners and priests outside India, suggested that it
was more important to focus on helping survivors than trying to
explain why the disaster happened. ....
Tsunami News Coverage
from Times of India, Dec 28, 2004
NEW YORK: With people relating tsunami to God's wrath, a Hindu group
is out to re-educate masses.
from Hindustan Times, Dec 28, 2004
A Michigan-based Hindu group has condemned labelling Sunday's tsunami
tragedy a "vengeful act of God" and asked the global Hindu community
to contribute generously to assist victims of the catastrophe....
from Express Newsline, Europe, Dec 28, 2004
Navya Shastra, a global organization of scholars, activists, priests
and lay people dedicated to fostering the spiritual equality of all
Hindus, has called upon the global Hindu community to contribute
generously to the victims of the December 26 earthquake-cum Tsunami
wave attack in South East Asia. ...
from Guardian UK, Dec 28, 2004
As the world grapples with the scale of the disaster of Indian Ocean
tidal wave, the Guardian's Martin Kettle poses a troubling question
for those who believe in God. ...But a Michigan-based Hindu group,
Navya Shastra, has condemned organisations in India for describing the
disaster as a "vengeful act of God" for the arrest of a Hindu seer, on
murder and other charges. ...
This news item also appeared in various other publications: Yahoo
India, MSN news, Bangladesh Sun, WebIndia, NetIndia, Manorama Online,
Kerala News, Kerala Next, ReligiousTolerance.org
Hindu American Foundation Files Amicus Brief with US Supreme Court in
Ten Commandments Case HPI
from hpi archives, Dec, 21, 2004

...The 34-page brief was signed by HAF, Arsha Vidya Pitham, Arya Samaj
of Michigan, Hindu International Council Against Defamation, Hindu
University of America, Navya Shastra, Saiva Siddhanta Church
(publisher through its teaching wing, Himalayan Academy, of Hinduism
Today and HPI), Federation of Jain Associations in North America,
Interfaith Freedom Foundation and prominent Buddhist scholar and
Director of Tibet House, Professor Robert Thurman....

Hindu group criticises Kanchi Shankaracharya
from Newindpress, Oct 15, 2004

...Navya Shastra research director Gautham Rao, said money for the
crown had come through donations and it could have been put to better
use. "Clearly at this time in Indian history, when the majority of
Indian citizens continue to live at or near poverty levels, we felt
the money should have been spent on social service," he
said.... ...Navya Shastra also questioned the participation of
(Christian) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy in
the "opulent" (Hindu) ceremony.
(this news item also appeared in Yahoo India, MSN India, Indian angle,
123Bharat.com, New Kerala portals)

Hindu Temple Society of North America, et al. v. New York Supreme
Court, et al.
from Becketfund

...On September 2, 2004, ten organizations--representing various
religious denominations--submitted an amicus (friend of the court)
letter (PDF format, 66K) in support of The Becket Fund's motion for a
preliminary injunction against the defendants of the federal suit. The
Hindu American Foundation presented the letter on behalf of AGNI
Corporation, the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, the
Hindu Human Rights Group, the Hindu International Council Against
Defamation, Hindu University of America, Ile Obatala Oya, Kanchi
Kamakoti Seva Foundation, Navya Shastra, and the Queens Federation of
Churches....

NRI group battles Hinduism's "inequalities
from India Abroad, June 18, 2004

...While the Indian government has encouraged such reforms to an
extent, the organization insists that Hindus themselves should take up
the cause while avoiding factionalism. At the same time, the group has
been critical of Dalits for highlighting caste discrimination without
actively working with Hindu leaders to resolve the problem.... ....

US body condemns discrimination against Dalit student
from Newindpress, June 06, 2004

A Hindu organisation in the US has condemned reported discrimination
against a Dalit student who was allegedly victimised for offering
prayers in a Hindu temple in India's Andhra Pradesh state....

(this news item also appeared in Yahoo India, NRI Worldwide, MSN
India, Kerala News, Kerala Next)

Local priest supports movement to reform Hindu customs
from India Herald, May 24, 2004

...Navya Shastra is a large group of believers of the Hindu Dharma
domicled in various countries. We believe that chariot of Hindu
society cannot move forward if any of the five horses lag behind. We
have therefore committed ourselves to the mission of facilitating
optimal spiritual development of all Hindus regardless of caste or
gender....
Bound by the same thread
from India Abroad, Teenspeak, Jan 23, 2004

...Let us start modifying our traditions as seen fit without
destroying the essence, beginning with allowing women and all Hindus
to take part in Upanyanam and feel equal in this manner.

Hindu Group Criticizes Dalit Representatives at World Social Forum
from HPI Archives, Jan 23, 2004

Navya Shastra, a US-based global Hindu organization of scholars,
activists, priests and laypeople, has criticized the Dalit
representatives and organizers of the World Social Forum for
highlighting the Hindu dimensions of discrimination against the Dalit
community while refusing to work with the Hindu leadership to bring
about religious reforms...
Solar Flares by Harsh Kabra
from Outlook, Dec 15, 2003

..."The Vedas and its chanting tradition form the fountainhead, the
very epicentre, of the religious beliefs of over 800 million people,"
Vikram Masson, co-chairman, NS, told Outlook from New Jersey. "Be it a
farmer in Tamil Nadu or a fisherman in Bengal, some part of his
spiritual worldview has been inspired by the utterances of the rishis.
By closeting the Vedas with other cultural expressions, UNESCO has
marginalised and diminished the most important scriptures in the Hindu
tradition."....

End caste discrimination, Hindu leaders urged
from IANS, Nov 28, 2003

...Here we have a historic opportunity to declare to the world that
Hinduism will reform itself for ever of caste discrimination," said
Vikram Masson, Navya Shastra co-chairman. "Hinduism, which is
thousands of years old, has never had a significant reformist
movement,"...

Don’t place Vedas in a cabinet of curios
from Deccan Herald, Nov 26, 2003

...Several noteworthy Hindu reformers and thinkers, including Swami
Dayanada Saraswati and Dr. Sarvapelli Radhakrishnan, have advocated
that the Vedic tradition be open to all. We should not ignore their
wisdom.

Hindu group protests clubbing Vedas with folk arts
from Hindustan Times, Nov 19 2003

A US-based Hindu organisation has protested to Unesco against its
decision to club Vedic chanting tradition as a folk art along with the
Belgian carnival of Binche and Indonesia's Wayang puppet theatre....

(this news item also appeared in Newindpress, Hinduism Today, India-
Tribune, India-West)

http://shastras.org/

A New Year Resolution for Hinduism: Opening Temple Doors to All

A recent report of a study conducted across 1,655 villages in the
Indian state of Gujarat, representing 98,000 Dalits, revealed the
shocking fact that 97% of them feel that they are unwelcome at Hindu
temples, religious gatherings and public discourses on scripture.
Researchers did not find a single village that was free from the
practice of untouchability. (“No temple entry for dalits in Gujarat,”
Times of India, 7 December 2009). Such exclusion is neither infrequent
nor limited to Gujarat. The BBC News (“Fury over south India temple
ban,”15 October, 2009) reported an incident of stone throwing to
protest Dalits entering a temple near Vedaranyam in the state of Tamil
Nadu. Last month the High Court of Chennai issued an order, against
the wishes of temple trustees, that a temple procession pass through a
Dalit community in the Villipuram District. Dalit (oppressed) is the
name preferred by those who have been relegated to the lowest rungs of
the caste ladder and regarded as untouchable by members of upper
castes. Dalits constitute around 20% of the Indian population.

Although the exclusion of Dalits from places of Hindu worship ought to
be a matter of deep concern and distress, there is hardly a ripple of
protest in the sea of Hindu complacency. Shutting the doors of Hindu
temples to Dalits stands in bewildering contrast to the anxiety in
other religious traditions about dwindling numbers and the expenditure
of considerable resources to attract the faithful. It should not
surprise that those debarred from Hindu sanctums enter, in significant
numbers, the open and inviting doors of others. Those in India and
outside who are vociferous opponents of religious conversion must
understand and acknowledge the Dalit experience of the Hindu tradition
as oppressive and negating their dignity and self-worth. Conversion is
a challenge for Hindus to consider the relationship between religious
practice and systemic oppression. Exclusion from temples is only one
manifestation of such oppression.

It troubles deeply also that, with notable exceptions, the principal
voices of protest over exclusion are not those of Hindu leaders. In
the case of anti-Dalit violence in the town of Vedaranyam, referred to
above, the protests were led by supporters of the Communist Party of
India –Marxist. In other cases, secular-minded human rights activists
are at the forefront of the agitation on behalf of the Dalits. Earlier
this year, Navin Pillay, UN Commissioner for Human Rights, condemned
caste as negating the human rights principles of equality and non-
discrimination and called for a UN convention to outlaw discrimination
based on caste. The response of silence from Hindus may be interpreted
as support for barring Dalits from places of worship. Even more
importantly, indifference gives validation to the wrong impression
that the Hindu tradition has no theological ground or core for
challenging the human inequality that is at the root of the Dalit
ostracization and oppression.

The assumptions of human inequality that explain the continuing
persistence of untouchability need an urgent, vigorous and unambiguous
theological repudiation originating from the non-negotiable heart of
the Hindu tradition. Although Hinduism is admittedly diverse, its
major traditions are unanimous in affirming the equal existence of God
in every being. “God,” the Bhagavadgita proclaims, “ lives in the
heart of all beings.” This core theological teaching must become the
basis for the assertion of the equal dignity and worth of every human
being and the motivation for challenging and transforming the
oppressive structures of caste that, in reality, deny and violate the
luminous presence of God in all. Although every unjust expression of
caste needs to be denounced, the shutting of temple doors to persons
pleading for the opportunity to worship challenges, in a special way,
the meaning and legitimacy of Hinduism as a religious tradition. For
this reason, Hindus must commit themselves with tireless determination
to the work of welcoming Dalits into every Hindu place of worship.
Such work must be seen as fundamental to Hindu identity and the
meaning of belonging to the community of Hindus.

While we must commend and support Hindu leaders and movements working
already for the well being of Dalits and their equality and dignity,
we must recognize also that many Hindu leaders may not be at the
forefront of such a religiously inspired movement. They are the
beneficiaries of the privileges of caste and immune to the pain of
those who live at the margins. All Hindus who understand the
contradiction between teachings centered on God’s embodiment in every
human being and the exclusion of people from places of worship must
embrace this cause. Hindus settled outside of India who enjoy the
privileges of living in free societies and the protection of the law
against unequal and unjust treatment, have special obligations in this
matter. They need to lift their voices in protest against practices in
the name of Hinduism that denigrate human beings. They must ensure
that Hindu leaders, and especially those who travel often to the West
and who are the recipients of their donations and reverence, hear
their voices. They must make clear the unacceptability of religious
discrimination and demand that leaders renounce silence and
indifference and become active advocates for change. Every Hindu
leader must be challenged to take a stand in this matter.

The Constitution of India specifies, “The State shall not discriminate
against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of
birth.” Constitutional and legal measures, as necessary as these are,
have not and will not eliminate all forms of discrimination based on
caste inequality. Legal measures can never cause the joyous embrace of
all that follows from awakening to God’s presence in each heart.
Religious vision and wisdom can be the source of such transformed
relationships. Hinduism needs an unequivocal theological proclamation
that complements constitutional law by repudiating caste injustice and
that commits Hindus to the equal worth of all human beings. Opening
the doors of all Hindu temples to Dalits is an important step, an
urgent religious matter and an opportunity for the Hindu tradition, in
our time, to define itself. Let this be our collective Hindu
resolution in 2010.

Anantanand Rambachan
Professor and Chair
Religion Department
Saint Olaf College
1520 Saint Olaf Avenue
Northfield
MN 55057
E-mail: ***@stolaf.edu

http://shastras.org/rambachan.html

Exploring the Connections and Controversies Between Science and
Religion
New book provides overview and historical perspective on centuries-old
debate

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
by William Dube, Aug. 11, 2009 —
Follow William Dube on Twitter
Follow RITNEWS on Twitter

A new book seeks to enhance understanding of the interconnections
between science and religion and promote greater harmony in the long-
running debate between the empirical and spiritual schools of thought.

Truth and Tension in Science and Religion, authored by noted physicist
and religious scholar V. V Raman, provides a historical overview of
the development and spread of scientific inquiry and its interaction
with various religious schools of thought. It also seeks to present a
balanced review of the key tenants of both science and religion and
explore the similarities and areas for cooperation between them.

“While most people can name the many differences between scientific
inquiry and faith, there are as many similarities between the two
schools and, in fact, one has been influenced by the other for
centuries,” says Raman, professor emeritus of physics and humanities
at Rochester Institute of Technology. “Science and religion are much
more interconnected than we often realize and by examining this I hope
to reduce the tension between theologians and scientists and increase
collaboration.”

For example, Jaishree Gopal, director of Navya Shastra, the
international Hindu reform organization, notes that “even while
quoting the best of ethics from various religious traditions, Raman’s
book makes it clear that it is the modern world view, imbued with the
scientific perspective, that has led to our collective moral awakening
regarding practices such as racism, slavery and untouchability.”

Raman has spent nearly three decades studying the intersections
between philosophy, religion and science and currently serves as a
senior fellow of the Metanexus Institute on Science and Religion. He
is the author of 11 books and in 2006 was awarded the Raja Rao award
for outstanding contributions to South Asian literature.

http://www.rit.edu/news/?v=46939

Indian GLBTs the World Over Hail Sexual Decriminalization Ruling
by Kilian Melloy
Friday Jul 10, 2009

Indian GLBT equality proponent Manohar Elavarthi

The decriminalization of same-gender intimacy between consenting
adults in India is viewed by GLBT equality advocates as a major step
forward, but not a cure-all for the societal prejudices faced by
Indian gays.

As reported at New American Media on July 10, the section of the
Indian penal code, Article 377--a relic of the days when Britain
dominated the country under colonial rule--was struck down on Jyly 2
by the Delhi High Court, which found the law to be in violation of
constitutional protections.

The article carried a quoted from GLBT equality proponent Sandip Roy,
who said, "The community here has reacted ecstatically. Most people I
talked to said over and over again that they did not think it would
happen in their lifetime."

Celebrations took place all over the globe. Said Roy, "There were
impromptu celebrations in many cities. People went down to the
Stonewall Inn in New York where the modern gay rights movement began
in 1969.

"In San Francisco, friends distributed mithai at a bar in Castro.

"With Facebook and e-mail these days, the news was huge news as soon
as it broke," Roy noted.

The article cited a Berkeley, CA life coach, Krishnakali Chaudhuri, as
also hailing the ruling, though he tempered his remarks with the
observation that societal bias still remains.

"I think overall it’s a small step in the right direction," said
Chaudhuri, "but we have a long way to go."

One specific point of note, said Choudhury, was the distinction
between decriminalizing same-sex consensual intimacy between adults
and making it legal.

Said Chaudhury, "The international community of human rights is really
applauding the ruling but we have to understand that we have just
decriminalized homosexuality but we haven’t legalized it yet."

Added the GLBT equality advocate, "We need to legalize homosexuality
and then we can make changes to all the qualities of workplace,
marriage unions or health or everything else."

The article said that an American organization comprised of Indian
Americans had also hailed the court’s decision.

The Michigan-based Hindu organization Navya Shastra issued a statement
reading, "For over a century, the law has given license to the state
to persecute individuals based on their sexual orientation.

"Navya Shastra urges the Government of India not to challenge the
ruling or to be swayed by religious chauvinists of any persuasion who
would deny equality to all citizens based on ancient interpretations
of religious texts."

The group took exception to the opposition of a Hindu political party
in India, which spoke out against the repeal.

Stated Navya Shastra’s Sugrutha Ramaswamy, "Unable to find any strong
theological basis in Hinduism for opposing homosexuality, the VHP
relied on the old canard that the family structure would somehow be
threatened by the decision."

Added Ramaswamy, "This is an unscientific understanding of
homosexuality, which is not a lifestyle choice but rather an inherent
human condition."

Others in India also spoke out against the repeal, including a guru
whose claims concerning the health benefits of yoga extend to saying
that gays can be "cured" through the practice of yoga.

A Rediff News.com article from July 10 reported that guru Baba
Ramdev’s insistence that homosexuality is a pathological condition,
and that it can be alleviated through yogic practice, was panned not
only by health professionals but also by his fellow yoga proponents.

The article said that Ramdev took his claims to the Indian Supreme
Court, which had previously been approached by a prominent astrologer
with a petition to re-implement the anti-gay statute.

Said the astrologer, Sushil Kumar Kaushal, "...even animals don’t
indulge in such activities," going on to assert that higher rates of
HIV/AIDS would result from the decriminalization of adult consensual
relations between gays.

But health care professionals in the country have long lobbied for the
end of the statute, pointing out that gay Indians were less likely to
get tested and to practice safer sex as long as legal sanctions were
in place against consensual same-sex adult intimacy.

Under the anti-gay law, same-sex intimacy could be punished by jail
terms of up to ten years.

Moreover, scientists have noted same-sex courtship behavior and even
long-term partnering among some 4,000 animal species.

Ramdev’s claims were rebuffed by, among others, a physician named Dr.
Devdutt Pattanak, who said, "Is his statement based on scriptural
evidence or evidence-based medicine? It is neither."

Added Dr. Pattanak, "It is just a subjective remark."

Dr. Pattanak went on to point out that health professionals had
arrived at a quite different conclusion than had Ramdev.

"Thousands of hours of research have gone into the classification of
diseases, and neither the World Health Organization nor any
psychiatric or psychology journal recognizes homosexuality as a
disease," Dr. Pattanak noted.

"Do we believe scientific research or just an individual’s opinion,
which may simply be a marketing gimmick?"

Yoga practitioner Deepika Mehta, who found healing through yoga after
being paralyzed in an accident, also spoke out against Ramdev’s
claims, the article said.

Ms. Mehta took exception with Ramdev’s essential thesis that
homosexuality is a disease, suggesting rather that, as most medical
experts attest, it is innate and natural to gays.

Said Mehta, "Yoga is about acceptance and coming to terms with who you
really are, your purest core.

"It helps you shed the layers imposed by society.

"And in my experience, yoga has helped a lot of people come to terms
with their sexual orientation, rather than live in denial," added Ms.
Mehta.

Furthermore, Ramdev’s medical claims have no more basis in spiritual
teaching than in medical fact. Said Dr. Pattanak, "Not even the
scriptures recognize homosexuality as a disease."

The article quoted from an article Dr. Pattanak, who is also an expert
in Indian mythology, had written.

"An overview of temple imagery, sacred narratives and religious
scriptures does suggest that homosexual activities--in some form--did
exist in ancient India," observed Dr. Pattanak’s article.

"Though not part of the mainstream, its existence was acknowledged but
not approved," the article continued. "There was some degree of
tolerance when the act expressed itself in heterosexual terms--when
men ’became women’ in their desire for other men, as the hijra legacy
suggests.’"

Nitin Karani, of the GLBT equality group Humsafar Trust, noted, "While
we don’t know what leads to it yet... we do know that homosexuality is
innate.

"And it is not a Western phenomenon, as some people are trying to
label it," added Karani.

"Neither is it a disease."

Noted Karani, "A lot of gay people I know are into yoga and meditation
and are extremely spiritual, but it has not resulted in any overnight
conversions."

In a separate interview published July 10, Rediff.com News spoke with
Indian GLBT equality proponent Manohar Elavarthi, who told the
publication, "Now it is a question of social tolerance. Just because
the law has changed it does not mean that the attitude of the people
will change.

"However, I must add that the court verdict has opened things up for
all of us. I only hope that the Supreme Court upholds the verdict."

Added Elavarthi, "What we want is a complete repeal of the Section 377
of the Indian Penal Code.

"The IPC is guided by a feudal set up and it has not changed with the
times," Elavarthi went on. "About social acceptance, we need to work
towards it.

Elavarthi reposnded to concerns that repealing the entire Article,
which also addresses sexual assault and abuse, by saying, "...along
with this we need to ensure that laws regarding sexual abuse, be it
male or female or children related laws need to be strengthened."

Elavarthi noted that religious objections were not entirely grounded
in scriptural sources.

"In Hinduism there is nothing to show that it is anti-homosexuality."

Indeed, added Elavarthi, "There are instances to show that some of the
Gods have undergone a sex change.

"I don’t understand how Baba Ramdev and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad are
opposing this.

"Where Christianity is concerned," Elavartha continued, "the community
is divided in its opinion.

"There are gay churches and the Vatican too says that gays should not
be criminalized.

"Speaking of Islam, there are few who claim that the Quran says that
it is anti homosexuality.

"Shariat law speaks of punishment for men indulging in homosexuality.
However we don’t have this law in India and the laws in India does not
speak of any punishment."

Kilian Melloy reviews media, conducts interviews, and writes
commentary for EDGEBoston, where he also serves as Assistant Arts
Editor.

http://www.edgeboston.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=&sc2=news&sc3=&id=93587

http://shastras.org/indiaabroad1

http://shastras.org/indiaabroad2

http://www.blonnet.com/mentor/2009/03/16/stories/0316.pdf

http://60secondschief.blogspot.com/

http://reflectionsbyiitians.blogspot.com/

Future religious practice
Jaishree Gopal, Co-Founder & Chairperson, Navya Shastra, US.

India is perhaps the only place in the world where people of different
religions have been interacting with one another for centuries. In the
West, however, this is the first time they are interacting with many
religions, including those from the East, as a result of modernisation
and globalisation.

Though traditionally religions have been dividing us all, we have
become more conscious of the differences as a result of increased
knowledge about other religions. However, eventually, people are going
to be learning from one another. For instance, yoga and meditation
practices from Hinduism are very common in the US. And some of the oft-
emulated messages of Christianity and Islam are charity and peace,
respectively.

Thus, even though you may continue to identify yourself to a
particular religion, you are going to be incorporating in your life
good elements from other people’s religion, while at the same time
discarding those aspects of your religion that don’t seem right to you
any more. As a result, compassion is going to increase for those whom
we call ‘others’. Definitely, the way we practise our religion is
going to change in the future, more and more.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/mentor/2008/12/22/stories/2008122250421100.htm

Saturday, December 20, 2008
Jaishree Gopal

It is very important for all Indians to get involved in social reform
movement of all kinds, and especially think of caste and gender issues
in Hinduism without being defensive or apologetic, with an eye to
reform rather than justify the current exclusive practices.

Jaishree Gopal, A contributor to 'Reflections by IITians', Co-founder
of Navya Shastra (http://www.shastras.org/)
December 20, 9.15 am

The future of religious practice
Posted by Murali at 9:15 AM

AM I A HINDU? International Best Seller said...
Namasthe Jaishree: What you wrote is very true.

Every religion and every culture has the GOOD, the BAD and UGLY
aspects in it and dwell on the negative aspects do not make any sense.

At the same time, we have to do everything in our power to eradicate
BAD and UGLY aspects where ever we find them.

The very best aspect of Hinduism is

"ABOSULTE FREEDOM OF THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS."

Voltaire in Essay on Tolerance wrote: "I may disagree with what you
say, but I will defend to the death, your right to say it. "Hinduism
is the symbolic representation of what Voltaire wrote.

May 26, 2009 7:41 PM

http://muralilistening.blogspot.com/2008/12/jaishree-gopal.html

November 01, 2008
Hindus Urged to Vote Against Prop. 8

Navya Shastra, the international Hindu reform organization based in
Troy, Mich., sent out a press release Friday urging California voters
to reject Proposition 8, which would eliminate the right of same-sex
couples to marry under California law.

Navya Shastra, the international Hindu reform organization based in
Troy, Mich., sent out a press release Friday urging California voters
to reject Proposition 8, which would eliminate the right of same-sex
couples to marry under California law.

The organization notes that Hinduism has never classified
homosexuality as a sin. While some ancient law codes have been
critical of homosexual acts, the denomination has never called for the
persecution of gays. In fact, there is ample evidence that alternative
lifestyles have been accepted throughout Hindu history. Several modern
Hindu leaders have also spoken positively of gay rights; however, many
American Hindus remain uncomfortable with homosexuality.

“According to the Hindu contemplative tradition, we are all
manifestations of the one universal spirit, straight or gay, and
worthy of the same respect and rights” said Jaishree Gopal, chairman
of Navya Shastra, in the release. “We urge American Hindus in
California to remember this central insight of their faith when they
vote on November 4.” (The Advocate)

http://www.advocate.com/article.aspx?id=42352

US-based Hindu group slams Jagannath temple priests
New York, March 05, 2007
Published: 17:21 IST (5/3/2007)

A US-based Hindu reform organisation has criticised the destroying of
huge quantities of food at the Jagannath temple in Orissa by the
temple authorities because an American had entered the complex - an
act seen as defiling the 12th century Hindu-only premises.

The Navya Shastra, an international Hindu reform organisation, said
the act of the temple authorities had no vedic sanction.

"We are appalled to know about the mindless throwing away of large
amounts of food by the Puri temple administration at the instigation
of pujaris (priests) with a medieval mindset at a time and place where
there are thousands of poor and hungry people," said the
organisation's chairman, Dr Jaishree Gopal.

A 59-year-old American engineer from New York was thrown out of the
temple complex last Thursday, fined, taken to a local police station
and later released, despite his protestations that he was unaware of
the temple's restrictions.

The Michigan-based Navya Shastra was founded in the United States in
2002. According to its website, the organisation stands against
"...caste hierarchy and caste injustices, not only because they are
not sanctioned in the Vedas, but also because they are morally wrong,
unacceptable, and anachronistic in the world in which we live.

"Given the high levels of malnutrition among India's children, this
act (throwing away food), assuredly without vedic sanction, must be
deemed unacceptable," a press release by the organisation, said.

"The organisation is saddened and surprised that no Hindu leader of
any consequence has protested this unconscionable and anachronistic
behaviour. Instead of purifying the premises, the priests should seek
to purify their own hearts and minds, and, along with other leaders,
set a positive example for all devotees," said Dr Bala Aiyer, an
advisor of the organisation said.

Foreigners are not allowed to enter leading Hindu temples in Orissa,
including the Jagannath temple at Puri and the Lingaraj temple there.

An American Christian woman, Pamela K. Fleig, who converted to
Hinduism after marrying an Indian from Uttar Pradesh, was denied entry
into the 11th century Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar in 2005.

Thailand's Crown Princess Sirindhorn was also not given permission to
visit the Jagannath temple in the same year, as she was a foreigner
and Buddhist.

Even late prime minister Indira Gandhi - a born Hindu - was not
allowed to enter the temple when she was in power because she had
married a Parsi.

http://shastras.org/mukundabrazil

Hindu group opposes Love Guru protests

New York, May 22: A Hindu reform organisation in the US has opposed
the growing protests by Hindu groups against upcoming Hollywood film
The Love Guru , saying that calling for a ban on the comedy starring
Mike Myers would be going too far.

Navya Shastra, the organisation based in Troy, Michigan, which earlier
spoke out against astrology, female foeticide and Dalit
discrimination, has argued that hyper-sensitivity over inaccurate or
distorted religious depictions in mass media erodes the tradition of
tolerance of criticism in the Hindu faith.

"Hindus have a remarkable history of freedom of thought and
expression. Unfortunately, this is being eroded these days by
hypersensitive and misguided chauvinistic pressure groups, perhaps
taking their cue from more chauvinistic traditions," Gautham Rao,
Navya Shastra's research director, was quoted as saying in a press
release.

It said while it respects the right of the groups in the US and
elsewhere to protest against the film, it strongly believes that
calling for a ban on the comedy goes too far.

The reform organisation further notes that in the era of electronic
media, monitoring and controlling religious depictions and imagery is
a daunting, near impossible task.

"Hindus should set a spiritual example for others by combating social
ills and discrimination," said Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra
chairman.

The protests against the film, which opens June 20, have been
spearheaded by Rajan Zed, Hindu leader based in Reno, Nevada. On
watching the film's trailer some weeks ago, he started accusing the
film of lampooning Hinduism.

Bureau Report

http://international.zeenews.com/inner1.asp?aid=201859&sid=bus

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/homeentertainment/la-et-religion-pg,0,3434889.photogallery?index=2

Navya Shastra concern over India's foeticide epidemic
From the Community
Posted: Wednesday, May 07, 2008, 01:17 am EST

Troy, Michigan: Navya Shastra, the international Hindu reform
organization has voiced concern over the declining female-to male sex
ratio in India.
It calls Indian feminist leaders to address the causes for this
deplorable situation and to urge their government to take more
effective action to curb and put an end to this sad and disgraceful
situation in the country.
It is ironic that the epidemic continues to worsen, despite a
burgeoning economy and rising literacy levels.

The bias against girls has existed for a long time across the
socioeconomic spectrum. Navya Shastra notes that even in the
wealthiest areas of the nation's metros, abortions of the girl-child
based upon prenatal ultrasound technology continue to rise, though
there seems to be a growing awareness of the problem.
"Clearly a cultural preference for boys in Indian society is the
driving force behind the rise in female feticide," says Rahul Saxena,
a Navya Shastra member from Bareilly, UP , "technology in this case is
simply serving an ancient prejudice."
Navya Shastra also called on the Hindu community and its organizations
to allow daughters to impart final rites at the funerals of their
parents. "One religious reason why boys are favored among Hindus is
because of the anachronistic belief that only a son can formally
conduct this ceremony, so a girl is totally worthless in this regard,"
said Dr. Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra Chairman.

(Compiled from a press release)

From India Abroad February 16, 2007, Pg M11
Ghosts of the Past

Ramya Gopal visits an Indian village where time and tradition appear
to have stood still

The urban scene of India has become a dichotomy between prosperity and
poverty, modernity and tradition. Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore are
hungry for steel: tall skyscrapers, metro stations, and multistoried
shopping complexes. However, the morning warbles of the subjilawallas,
the colorful temptation of street clothing, and the barber under the
banyan tree have refused to disappear into wistful oblivion.

This modern story of India is one with which we have all become
familiar; the miracle India praised on the covers of magazines and
newspapers. Yet in its villages, this dichotomy is replaced by a one-
sided reliance on ancient tradition. When I visited a village near
Chennai this past summer, I saw for the first time the archaic India
described in the stories of the Mahabharatha and the Ramayana.

As we drove away from Chennai, the roads dwindled from paved to dirt
and then sand. The air of the coast was permeated by a pungent odor of
fish, but one that the people seemed to relish. The hot sand calloused
my feet but there was no litter for me to avoid as I had in the
cities. Women in colorful saris and men in dhotis were squatted on the
slimy floor sorting the fish. Repulsed, I strayed away from the stink,
but it nostalgically reminded me that fishing villages initiated the
story of the Mahabharata. Satyavati, the embodiment of mothers in the
epic, was the daughter of a fisherman, and it seemed as if these
fishermen were continuing the legacy. Interrupting my musing, my host
beckoned me to a row of small motorboats shuddering against the coast.
Boats were the only method of transportation across the lake and to
the village.

On the island, I walked, with seaweed in my toes, past small huts with
thatched roofs. The main attraction in the island was an ornate temple
surrounded by everyone in the village. A tent had been strung beyond
with seats lined in rows like a movie theatre. I stood awkwardly in
the sun, unsure of the village mores, until a few older girls beckoned
to me. They had pulled out a chair and formed a towering circle around
me. The girls had matching plaits and silver anklets.

A few were wearing simple cotton pavadais (petticoats), more
traditional to Tamil Nadu, although one was wearing a nightgown. We
gawked politely at each other; American suburban girl meets Indian
village girls. "Why do you have your hair like that? In a bun?" they
asked me in Tamil. Taken aback, I didn't have an adequate response, so
I steered the conversation away from me to them. I discovered that the
girls were between 18 and 20 but had only studied in school until 10th
grade. In between giggles, they added that one of them was engaged.
The girls were at the ripe age for marriage and their parents were
looking for grooms for them. However, they could not marry out of
their village because it was the only "untouchable" village in the
area. This social discrimination as a result of caste distinction
echoed again in their stories about the old temple.

One reason for my visit to Idamani--the place I was in-- was to
witness the opening ceremony of a new temple. The old temple had been
destroyed by the tsunami two years ago. As the girls began to open up
to me, I listened to their stories of backward practices associated
with the temple. One example was the men's inability to wear a poonal,
the sacred thread, because they were not "upper caste". Other families
would not even visit their homes because they were untouchables. Women
were not allowed in the temple when the men held their meetings. These
restrictive traditions had been eradicated in the cities and other
parts of the world but persisted in this village.

The inauguration ceremony of the temple was announced by the ringing
tones of the nadaswaram and the temple quickly became crowded. Some
women looked out coyly from their thatched huts. Young girls were made
up in magenta colored lipstick, designs around their eyes, and traces
of dried turmeric on their faces. In the center of the temple was a
large (homam )fire and shahstri (priest) sang bhajans with the
villagers repeating after him, clapping. Colorful flowers, rice, and
butter for prasadam on aged yellow banana leaves completed the
ceremony.Interestingly, while members of the "higher" caste had rarely
visited the old temple, the inauguration ceremony had been attended by
many outsiders. The new temple would, hopefully, become an emblem of
caste reform.

Even as economic development brings modernity to India's villages,
strong social divides still linger. In this village, for instance,
water purification infrastructure has been put into place yet women
still quit studying in favor of marriage. It was the most striking
difference between the city and the village; caste lines more sharply
divided and a central part of daily life. It left me with the thought
that true prosperity was impossible until social advancement and a
sense of equality became firmly entrenched in our communities.

http://shastras.org/Untouchability_IA.html

India's Tolerance Levels Tested as American Enters Forbidden Sanctuary
Deepak Mahaan
Correspondent

New Delhi (CNSNews.com) - An American tourist caused an uproar when he
wandered into a Hindu temple strictly closed to non-Hindus, in an
incident that highlighted the challenges India faces in presenting
itself as an enlightened democracy.

Detained for several hours by local police in India's Orissa state,
Paul Roediger, a 59-year-old engineer from New York, was later
released on condition he pay a token fine, after what authorities at
the Jagannath temple called an "act of desecration."

Roediger's inadvertent wandering into the shrine of Hindu deity Vishnu
triggered calls from some Hindus for severe punishment, but local
policemen managed to convince temple administrators and angry
adherents that he had trespassed in error.

Unaware of rules banning entry of non-Hindus, the American, who is
interested in temple architecture, walked into the temple's inner
"sanctum sanctorum."

Roediger expressed regret but also blamed temple authorities, noting
that no guard had prevented him from entering the area.

Police Inspector Alekh Pahi said Roediger and two Indian companions
had been released as "there is no provision in law to take any action
against for entering the temple."

Temple authorities afterwards "purified" the "defiled" premises by
washing with water and milk. Food worth nearly $5,000, meant for
distribution among Hindu devotees as part of religious ritual, was
deemed "polluted" and destroyed.

The decision upset a U.S.-based Hindu reform organization, which said
it was appalled by the waste.

The Navya Shastra organization said it reflected "a medieval mindset
at a time and place where there are thousands of poor and hungry
people."

The incident has focused renewed attention onto controversial
religious and cultural practices that survive in India despite its
stated commitment to secular, democratic principles.

"Low-caste" citizens and "untouchables" (dalits) are still denied
entry to various temples or forbidden to use water wells, in
contravention of constitutional guarantees.

Dr. Rashmi Patni, director of the Gandhian Studies Centre at the
University of Rajasthan, argues that such customs go against the
tenets of Mahatma Gandhi who he said stood for human dignity and
equality irrespective of caste, sex, creed or color and fought for
temple entry for dalits.

"Like in every society, social discrimination in India is born out of
centuries' old legacy," she said. "It is similar to the problem and
differences among blacks and whites in the U.S. and cannot be
eradicated merely by enactment of constitutional statutes."

Patni said, however, that the growing affluence of the middle class,
increasing literacy levels and the spread of information technology
was making issues of caste, gender and religion of little importance
to younger Indians.

Sawai Singh, an activist espousing Gandhi's ideas, said successive
Indian governments have failed to curb the menace of religious
intolerance, because politicians prefer to pander to their respective
constituencies.

"If punishments for social discrimination and depravation were to be
severe, many of these evils would get eradicated automatically," Singh
argued.

Ironically, the Jagannath temple is immensely popular among pilgrims,
because unlike some centers, it does not discriminate between higher-
and lower-caste Hindus.

Nonetheless, the temple does not allow entry to non-Hindus or
foreigners - with the exception of Western Hare Krishna devotees, who
throng to the temple each year in large numbers.

Former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was once turned away from
the main gates of the shrine, as she was deemed to be non-Hindu,
having married outside of the religion.

Make media inquiries or request an interview about this article.

http://www.crosswalk.com/news/11531055/

An Unqualified Apology to Every Untouchable
December 19, 2006
Dr Bhaskar Dasgupta

http://desicritics.org/2006/12/19/103610.php

The untouchables of Hinduism are a wretched lot. For hundreds and
thousands of years, this group of people have been forced to inhabit
the bottom end of the Hindu totem pole.

While it is not at the level of genocide, it is an institutionalised
social

discrimination over a very long period of time. When I read a press
release from a Hindu reformist group apologising to the Untouchables
for the deep seated discrimination, it struck a chord in my mind and I
wanted to write about it, as well as share in this apology.

For example, only recently there was a big brouhaha when a temple in
India refused entry to dalits (who are also Hindu) simply because they
were of a lower caste. In this day and age! I was so furious and when
I complained bitterly that none of the mainstream Hindu organisations
or leaders in India did anything, I was accused of patronising them.
These so-called Hindu organisations are very quick off the mark when
absolutely silly things go on, but when there is clear cut painfully
evident confirmation that there needs to be reform, they are nowhere
to be found. This is absolutely ridiculous and a clear example of
intellectual incoherence at best and incompetence at worst. But I
digress.

Apologies are very strange and at the same time, very human. It is
extremely powerful and at the same time, looked upon with deep
cynicism. It is also extremely difficult to do so, while there is
nothing like this to draw the teeth out of any angst ridden situation.
Just ask me, I have to apologise regularly to my sister. But this
apology is one, which is valid on so many different levels and this is
an apology to the untouchables of Hinduism.

The basics of this religiously mandated behaviour are well known and I
will not spend too much time on going deeper into the intricacies of
this. Other than saying that the idea of difference and discrimination
was institutionalised despite a huge amount of debate on what this
differentiation meant. On one hand, there were statements effectively
saying that everybody is born the same, while on the other hand, there
are statements in religious books talking about how some are born from
the head and some from the foot. Irrespective of what the religious
justification is, one found that there are literally thousands of
groups who consider themselves different from other groups. This
groupism extended to bans on intermarriage, taking meals together and
even extended to group dedicated watering holes and wells.

Quite a lot of Hindu reformers ranging from Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma
Gandhi, Guru Rabindranath Tagore, Dayananda Saraswati, etc. kept a
strong pressure on changing this religious practise, but even when
India became independent, this was still present.

The then leader of the untouchables, Shri Bhimrao Ambedkar, a
brilliant lawyer, even incorporated caste based reservations into the
constitution, to provide them with the leg up.

As it so happens, this is something which I disagree with, because
this has institutionalised discrimination and is not leading anybody
anywhere towards the true equality in the eyes of the state and
citizens, but that's beside the point.

Discrimination was outlawed by the Indian constitution in 1936, but
little has changed for the 300-400 million people who belonged to the
Untouchable Castes of India. I am also conscious of the fact that
calling it 'the caste system' is dangerously simplifying it, as the
actual theological aspects behind the differentiation is much more
complex.

What is also beside the point is that all other religions and cultures
have had the same groupism and differentiation and were trying to
create a separate identity through religious or cultural factors.
Whether we are talking about the Japanese way of looking at the
difference between the samurai and peasants, the difference between
the faithful and the dhimmi, the difference between Catholics and
Protestants, the difference between white and black skin, the
difference between Christian and pagan, you name it, discrimination
has occurred all the time and everywhere. And yes, just because it
happened in other religious, regions and cultures, it just tells me
that it is pretty much human. This is, however, neither an excuse nor
a reason to stop trying to rip out this disgusting practise.

But what good is an apology? We have to address the cynics in our
midst as well, because I have seen this form of visceral reaction from
both sides.

The side of the Hindus, who totally refuse to accept that this
happened and go off into theological arguments and ignore the real
life actions around discrimination. The other side are the Dalits, who
would be happy to tear down the entire country to satisfy their rather
strange desire for revenge. Both extremely simplistic in the extreme
and frankly not worth talking to or about, but then, that's what
happens to fanatics. Their feet are planted firmly in the air!

But this is not for the fanatics, they won't listen anyway, it is for
the vast majority of Hindus, people who have a social conscience, care
about their culture and are conscious of a vast historical injustice
done to a whole group of other people. And it is not a simple binary
equation, high class Brahmins discriminating against lower class
dalits. It happens on every group intersection, so there is no point
in getting up on the high horse about just one group.

An apology is a very good means to bring things out in the open.
Hiding behind a religious tract or pointing at other instances does
not change the situation on the ground. Every Hindu has to be open
about this discrimination, and understand what this has done to us,
our culture, history and reputation. No longer! This apology means
that we understand and accept the fault. Not only that, but an apology
actually provides the impetus or the foundation to do something about
it.

This is the other good thing about an apology for the cynics out
there. Once one has gone through the cathartic process of apologising,
one can start to address this issue, if only by small measures. If a
friend says something demeaning about a lower caste person, even a
raised eyebrow is a small but significant step in telling people that
this form of behaviour is not appropriate.

One will definitely ask me the question if somebody might actually
accept the apology? I am afraid this is the wrong question. When Tony
Blair apologised for the British role in Slavery, he did not do it
because he was worried whether anybody might or might not accept it.
He did it because this was the right thing to do. Despite the fact
that I am personally not responsible for this reprehensible and
horrible historical fact, as a Hindu and as a human being, it is but
right to apologise. As a Hindu, I hold responsibility to my religion,
my nation, my society, my government, and indeed to my children as
well. An apology can, in a small way, lead towards making the world a
fairer place.

The Hindu Reformist group, Navya Shastra (http://www.shastras.org/),
who actually made the public apology, also invited a whole host of
other Hindu luminaries to join in this effort. I am not sure how far
this went but it should be remembered that this caste based
discrimination is not simply religiously mandated, but also socially
mandated. Hence besides religious figures, cultural and social figures
need to be brought into this as well. In many ways, an appeal by one
of the Bollywood actors may actually provide more push to changes in
behaviour, rather than very many Hindu religious leaders combined. But
still, more luminaries joining in to complain, apologise and push
Indians to remove this distressing social condition is good.

So here it is, I fully endorse and join Navya Shastra, in apologising
to the other castes, for what I and my forefathers may have done and
promise that I will raise my voice against this disgusting practice,
and hopefully help remove this by my words as well as my behaviour.

At the UN World Conference on Race (WCAR) held August 31-September 8
2001 in Durban, South Africa, President Thabo Mbeki said:"...there are
many in our common world who suffer indignity and humiliation because
they are not white ...These are a people who know what it means to be
the victim of rabid racism and racial discrimination. Nobody ever
chose to be a slave, to be colonised, to be racially oppressed. The
impulses of the time caused these crimes to be committed by human
beings against others."

And while there was quite a hullabaloo about whether 'casteism' is
appropriate in this race conference, this is quibbling over details.
Discrimination existed, it exists and it behoves us to address it. May
this apology be a first start to a better implementation of religion!

All this to be taken with a grain of salt!

Dr. Bhaskar Dasgupta works in the city of London in various capacities
in the financial sector. He has worked and travelled widely around the
world. The articles in here relate to his current studies and are
strictly his opinion and do not reflect the position of his past or
current employer(s). If you do want to blame somebody, then blame my
sister and editor, she is responsible for everything, the ideas, the
writing, the quotes, the drive, the israeli-palestinian crisis, global
warming, the ozone layer depletion and the argentinian debt crisis.

Indian Groups Contest California Textbook Content

India-West, News Report, Viji Sundaram, Posted: Feb 16, 2006

HAYWARD, Calif. – Even as the California Board of Education (CBE) is
trying to grapple with the contentious and loudly debated issue of
corrections requested from Hindu groups in proposed textbooks for
sixth-graders, another group is trying to make its voice heard over
the din.

Some dalits (widely thought of in India as an oppressed people) across
the U.S. are demanding that the term, dalit, used only in one of the
nine proposed textbooks currently being reviewed by the CBE, not be
elided (omitted), as the Hindu groups want, and that a photo of a
dalit cleaning a latrine be replaced with one of a dalit engaged in a
faith practice.

They also say that it would serve the dalits' cause better if the
textbooks said that "untouchability is a living reality in India,"
instead of simply going by the Hindu groups' suggestion that the books
say that it is illegal to treat someone as an untouchable, Vikram
Masson, co-founder of Navya Shastra, a U.S.-based non-profit
organization that speaks out against caste-related issues, told India-
West.

Acknowledging that "the Hinduism sections (in the textbooks) are
extremely poor to begin with" and need to be corrected, Masson, who is
himself not a dalit and is a parent of a school-going child in New
Jersey, observed: "It is curious (the Hindu groups) would want to
elide the word, dalit. We believe the heritage of Hinduism is positive
enough, and there is no need to cover up any inadequacies."

New Jersey resident Jebaroja Singh, whose dalit grandparents converted
to Christianity many years ago, seemed to echo those sentiments.

"When there has been a history of discrimination against dalits, why
should we paint a rosy picture in the textbooks?" asked Singh, who
teaches racism and sexism in the U.S. at William Patterson University
in Wayne, N.J. Masson is married to a Christian priest.

But others argue that since the textbooks primarily deal with ancient
India, a time when the word, dalit, was not even coined, to not remove
it would be inappropriate.

For over a year now, two U.S.-based Hindu groups - the Hindu Education
Foundation and the Vedic Foundation - as well as scores of Hindu
parents, have been pushing for corrections in the social studies and
history courses in the sixth-grade textbooks, saying that the books
not only do not accurately represent India's ancient culture and
history, they sometimes denigrate it. Every six years, textbook
publishers offer the CBE drafts of textbooks they plan to bring out
for the board's acceptance. Public hearings form an integral part of
the review process.

At those hearings last year, the Hindu groups asserted that the books
were historically inaccurate in saying such things as Hinduism evolved
in India from the Aryans who invaded the country in 1500 B.C.; that
Sanskrit was a dead language; that Hindi is written in Arabic script;
that the Aryan rulers had created a caste system, under which the
dalits were forced to perform menial tasks.

According to many scholars, prior to 600 A.D., the terms used in India
to describe a so-called untouchable were chandala and shudra, and only
about one percent of the population fell under that category.

Citing from the book, "The Wonder That Was India," by the late ancient
history scholar A.L. Basham, southern California resident and retired
UCLA ancient history professor Shiva Bajpai told India-West: "In fact,
it was not blood that made a group untouchable, but conduct."

"So a Brahmin could be viewed as a chandala if he behaved badly,"
Bajpai said.

Over the last several decades, the term dalit – a Marathi word that
means oppressed - has been gaining more currency in India, with the
rise of growing activism among the approximately 150 million people at
the bottom of the caste system, who accuse members of the upper caste
of pervasive discrimination for centuries.

The late Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution,
struggled to win dalits like himself equal rights. He renounced
Hinduism in the process, saying the religion perpetuated the caste
system. Mahatma Gandhi worked toward uplifting the dalits' status,
bestowing upon them the term, Harijan, which means "children of God."
However, many dalits and activists do not like to be called that.
"They say if you are born from God, your parentage is questionable,"
said Masson.

Even the group of historians and academics headed by Harvard
University Sanskrit professor Michael Witzel, who is opposing many of
the corrections the Hindu groups have suggested, accusing them of
attempting to whitewash Indian history, has accepted the Hindu groups'
suggestion to delete negative references to untouchability, said Santa
Rosa, Calif., resident Vishal Agarwal, who described himself as an
"independent scholar."

Related Stories:

Missing from Racism Summit Agenda - India's Caste System

America: Welcome to the Third World

http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=41bc3d55ffe78d0686112ba99ae75766

US Hindu organisation accuses VHP of casteism

IANS[ SUNDAY, MARCH 06, 2005 07:27:31 PM ]

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MICHIGAN: A US-based Hindu organisation has accused the Vishwa Hindu
Parishad (VHP) of "casteist practices" at a mass conversion campaign
in Etah in Uttar Pradesh last month.

Navya Shastra, the organisation which boasts of scholars and priests
"dedicated to fostering the spiritual equality of all Hindus" among
its followers, said the VHP, which claimed to have converted 5,000
Christians to Hinduism at Etah, had classified them as Dalits in their
new religion.

"While we applaud all efforts to spread the Hindu religion through
peaceful and legitimate means, we are utterly baffled that the VHP
would insist that the new converts be labelled as untouchables," it
said in a statement here.

"This is a bizarre act of conceptual dehumanisation," the statement
quoted Navya Shastra co-chairperson Jaishree Gopal as saying.

The statement urged all Hindu organisations involved in proselytising
activities to do away with attaching cast labels to new converts.
"Surely all modern Hindu reformers agree that there is no spiritual
merit attached to any caste affiliation," the statement added.

Organisations like the VHP, which envisions a caste-free society,
should follow their own advice, it maintained.

http://shastras.org/VHP_NS

God's Wrath in India?

Hindu resentment over Christian activity in India fuels religious
explanations of tsunami tragedy.
BY: Arun Venugopal

Resize - Minus Resize - Plus As the world attempts to tackle the
tragedy in South Asia, the focus for the vast majority of South Asians
has been on relief. But the tsunami has also magnified already-
existing tensions between Hindus, Christians and others in the
devastated region. In India--a country often seen as a spiritual
battleground, where religions fight over the souls of the poor and
dispossessed--some conservative Hindus have used the tsunami to
criticize both a Hindu leader's arrest and the presence of Christian
missionaries in India. Meanwhile, evangelical Christian groups may
proselytize as they help tsunami victims.

Last week, a column on the widely-read Indian news site Rediff.com
suggested that the tsunami was a sign of retribution against
Christians, whose activities are seen as betraying India's essentially
Hindu character. (Full disclosure: I work for a publication owned by
Rediff.com, and my articles occasionally appear on Rediff.) Columnist
Rajeev Srinivasan pointed to several religion-related factors he sees
as pertinent. Referring to the earthquake as the "Christmas quake," he
implied that the timing wasn't mere coincidence. He also noted that
the tsunami hit a church at Velankanni, one of the most significant
Christian pilgrimage points in South India, resulting in the death of
50 people. Finally, he connected the tragedy to what many see as the
recent mistreatment of a revered Hindu leader.

In November, a holy man known formally as Shankaracharya Jayendra
Saraswathi was
arrested in connection with the murder of a former official of his
religious order. Hindus around the world decried the arrest, even
organizing mass email petitions maintaining that the entire affair was
politically motivated and related to a longstanding fight with the
current head of the state government of Tamil Nadu, where the most
tsunami-related deaths later occurred. Before long, the
Shankaracharya's sympathizers had solidified their opinion that anti-
Hindu forces were to blame, with some going so far as to point fingers
at the Vatican.

For Srinivasan, the Shankaracharya's arrest seemed the most plausible
explanation for the subsequent disaster. "The devastation by the
tsunami in Tamil Nadu, could it be a caveat from Up There about the
atrocities being visited on the [Shankaracharya]?" he asked. "About
adharma"--evil--"gaining ground?" In summarizing, he wrote, "It is
said that the very elements can be affected by the mystical powers of
sages who have acquired superhuman powers through meditation and
sadhana. I think we should all tread carefully, for now we are
treading on things we do not know."

Srinivasan's comments may seem like isolated rants--and even many of
his longtime readers rejected them--but other groups have echoed his
feelings. The Kanchi Kamakoti Seva Foundation, which defends the
Shankaracharya, recently sent an email to its supporters linking the
tsunami to the holy man's arrest. The email says "God has given a
strong signal with this disaster when the injustice to Dharmic
followers have crossed the tolerance limit." It instructs readers to
pray that the tsunami will be "an eye-opener for the Tamil Nadu
Administration and for the media to stop abusing their powers and
bring out false charges against H.H. [His Holiness]."

Most Hindus find the "act of God" tsunami theories irrelevant, if not
offensive. "Such a controversy, if at all there is one, is a product
of some small minds," said Gaurang Vaishnav of the Vishwa Hindu
Parishad of America, one of many Hindu organizations in the United
States that has rallied to aid the victims.

"Hindus do not believe in a vindictive God. There are always actions
and reactions in accordance with the theory of karma. But to attribute
a wholesale destruction and death of thousands of innocent people to a
single act of a state government is ridiculous, insensitive and
insulting to human compassion that crosses the boundaries of religion
at times of natural disasters."

Another Hindu group, the reformist

Navya Shastra

, issued a press release condemning Hindu organizations that have
bought into the act-of-God view, comparing their remarks to those of
Christian leaders like Jerry Falwell. While acknowledging, like
Vaishnav, that karma could have played a role in the deaths, the
group, made of Hindu scholars, practitioners and priests outside
India, suggested that it was more important to focus on helping
survivors than trying to explain why the disaster happened.

Such act-of-God charges also tap into larger Hindu resentment over the
notion that traditional Hindu culture is giving way to forces such as
Western materialism or other faiths. Opposition to Christian
missionary work and the conversion of Dalits, or low-caste Hindus, is
not confined to Hindu nationalists. Many people react negatively to
the idea that some of India's tribal peoples may be exposed to the
Bible even as they are taught how to read, or may take on a Christian
name. The state of Tamil Nadu has special significance for many
Hindus. It was there that a controversial Anti-Conversion Bill was
passed in 2002, meant to prevent poor Hindus from being forcibly
converted to Christianity, especially via financial inducements.
Christian leaders have denied offering such inducements.

But some mission groups see tsunami relief efforts as an opportunity
to spread the gospel in South Asia. In an

article on the evangelical website Crosswalk.com

, Dr. Ajith Fernando of Youth for Christ was quoted as saying, "We
have prayed and wept for our nation for many years. The most urgent of
my prayers has always been that my people would turn to Jesus. I pray
that this terrible, terrible tragedy might be used by God to break
through into the lives of many of our people."

Another evangelist, Gospel for Asia's K.P. Yohannan, said, "In times
like these, we know that God opens the hearts of those who suffer, and
we pray that as our workers demonstrate God's love to them, many of
them will come to know for the first time that real security comes
only through Him."

The statements were immediately distributed to watchful Hindus through
the e-mail news digest Hindu Press International ("Christians See
Conversion Opportunities in Disaster Relief"), a service from the
publishers of the U.S. magazine Hinduism Today.

For some Hindus, the Christian call to evangelize was expected, and
served to favorably contrast Hinduism's non-proselytization with what
they consider the insidious nature of certain Christian groups. "You
will not find an RSS or VHP volunteer converting a non-Hindu to Hindu
Dharma after helping him in his time of need," said Gaurang Vaishnav.
"This is the true meaning of seva"--service in the spirit of
sacrifice--"to a Hindu."

However, these same Hindu aid groups are themselves under scrutiny. An
email distributed by the leftist group

Campaign to Stop Funding Hate

told Indians interested in donating to disaster victims to avoid Hindu
groups such as the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS), Seva International
and the VHP of America. These organizations, says CSFH, have a history
of using grassroots efforts to advance a militant Hindu political
agenda. According to Kaushik Ghosh, an anthropologist at the
University of Texas, they may create organizational bases, increase
membership, establish political legitimacy or fundraise.

"During [2001's] Gujarat earthquake, the amount of money that flew
into these organizations was unbelievable," said Ghosh. "The
accounting of such money is relatively murky ...NGOs and relief-
development work can become the source of money for a whole range of
'behind-the-camera' projects." For its part, the VHPA states, "funds
for relief work are distributed without consideration of province,
race or religion."

Despite the religious struggles in the press and among advocacy
groups, the interfaith situation appears to be more positive on the
ground, where aid groups and neighbors are working together to help
survivors. One Indian blogger, Amit Varma, reported a growing
friendship between local people of different faiths responding to the
devastation. While spending time in the village of Parangipettai, in
Tamil Nadu, Varma wrote, "A deep bond had been formed between the
villagers, who were all Hindus, and these Muslim men who rushed to
help their neighbours because they believed that to be the way of
their religion. ...Faith, that can be so divisive in times of peace,
can also bring communities together in times of strife."

http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Hinduism/2004/11/Gods-Wrath-In-India.aspx

Hindu group criticises Kanchi Shankaracharya
Friday October 15 2004 18:31 IST
IANS

NEW YORK: A US-based organisation has criticised India's leading Hindu
seer, Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati, for having been part
of a ceremony where a Rs.20 million ($425,000) diamond-studded crown
was placed on a deity, saying the money could have been spent on
social service instead.

The Navya Shastra, a Hindu organisation, said the seer was part of the
Oct 2 "kumbhabhishekam" ceremony in Andhra Pradesh state's Tirupati
temple where the deity, Lord Venkateswara, was adorned with the crown.

The crown, encrusted with two marble sized emeralds and rare Burmese
rubies besides diamonds, has been donated by the Goenka business
family of Kolkata, India.

Navya Shastra research director Gautham Rao, said money for the crown
had come through donations and it could have been put to better use.
"Clearly at this time in Indian history, when the majority of Indian
citizens continue to live at or near poverty levels, we felt the money
should have been spent on social service," he said.

"We had hoped the Acharya would use his considerable influence to
direct the funds for programmes for the betterment of struggling
Hindus and members of the lower castes, many of whom continue to live
on the peripheries of Hindu society," he added.

Navya Shastra also questioned the participation of Andhra Pradesh
Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy in the "opulent" ceremony.

http://shastras.org/Kanchinews.htm

NRI group battles Hinduism's "inequalities"

by Arun Venugopal

When Tukaram, a 19-year-old Dalit fresh from his exams, prayed at a
Hanuman temple in Andhra Pradesh earlier this month, he probably never
anticipated the outrage it would cause.

Upper caste villagers issued an injunction against his entire
community, before scrubbing down the entire temple with cow dung and
urine in a symbolic act of purification.

Ths situation might have remained another footnote to the ongoing
story of India's caste divisions, but for the efforts of a group of
reformist NRIs. The group, Navya Shastra, publicly condemned the
actions of the upper caste villagers and announced a Rs 10,000 (about
$200) scholarship for Tukaram.

This is just the latest in a series of actions the group has taken to
address what it feels are inequities in the religion. Unlike secular
groups that rail against caste and gender discrimination, however,
Navya Shastra comprises devout, temple-going Hindus.

These include a leading priest from Houston and a number of academics,
as well as converts to the religion. Among the advisers is Arun
Gandhi, founder of the MK Gandhi Center for Nonviolence, and O P
Gupta, India's ambassador to Finland.

According to Jaishree Gopal, the molecular biologist in Michigan who
founded Navya Shastra with New Jersey resident Vikram Masson, the
group formed after discussions on an online Hindu bulletin board two
years ago.

"There are lots of apologists writing on the Net these days." said
Gopal. "We saw some articles posted that there is no caste
discrimination in Hinduism (but we know) that Dalits are discriminated
against."

Its this inequality, the group contends on its website, which has lead
to an "epochal tide of conversions to religions thats supposedly
preach egalitarian values. There is compelling evidence that the
number of actual conversions in India is vastly understated by both
missionary organizations and the government."

Aside from access to temples for members of all castes, the group
promotes the right for anyone--man or woman--to receive the sacred
thread and/or become a priest.

While the Indian government has encouraged such reforms to an extent,
the organization insists that Hindus themselves should take up the
cause while avoiding factionalism. At the same time, the group has
been critical of Dalits for highlighting caste discrimination without
actively working with Hindu leaders to resolve the problem.

According to Gopal, it is not a coincidence that Navya Shastra is
based outside of India.

"As NRIs, we become more aware of our religious identity when you are
young, as opposed to India, where it just permeates the atmoshere",
she said. "We are used to answering questions about caste over here.
And we can't always justify the discriminatory aspects."

Another member, Sri Rajarathina Bhattar, agreed with this assessment
and cited the grip of "superstitous beliefs" on many Hindus in India.

The priest emeritus at Houston's Sri Meenakshi Temple, Bhattar has
been conducting a letter writing campaign to newspapers and orthodox
leaders in India, stressing the need for reform.

So far, he said, there continue to be a number of priests who insist
on maintaining the status quo.

"But priests who are well educated seem to agree with me." he said.
"The main reason most of them disagree is due to the fear that they
may lose certain rights as a priest."

This article appeared in June 18, 2004 issue of India Abroad

http://shastras.org/ArunVenugopal.html

US body condemns discrimination against Dalit student
Monday June 7 2004 12:52 IST
IANS

TROY (MICHIGAN): A Hindu organisation in the US has condemned reported
discrimination against a Dalit student who was allegedly victimised
for offering prayers in a Hindu temple in India's Andhra Pradesh
state.

Navya Shastra, which professes spiritual equality of all Hindus, has
also promised financial assistance to Tukaram, 19, to meet his
educational costs.

The boy scored a first class in his intermediate examinations and
visited the village temple of Hanuman to make the traditional coconut
offering in Allapur, Andhra Pradesh. When members of the upper caste
community discovered this they condemned the boy and extorted Rs.500
fine from his apologetic father, Tulsiram.

They also purified the temple by washing it with cow urine and dung so
as to efface the imprints of an "untouchable," according to Vikram
Masson, co-chairman of the organisation.

Such community-based discrimination continues in India despite a
constitutional ban and strict legal safeguards against community
discrimination. "Tukaram must know that others in the Hindu world
strongly condemn such actions," said Jaishree Gopal, the other co-
chairman of the organisation.

"Navya Shastra will award Tukaram a scholarship to help his family
with Tukaram's educational costs and sincerely hopes that the Indian
government and religious leaders will pay more attention to the
apartheid in our midst," said Gopal.

http://shastras.org/Newindpress.com

End caste discrimination, Hindu leaders urged

New York, Nov 28 (IANS) A global Hindu group has urged leaders of the
faith to end caste discrimination in their institutions. The group,
Navya Shastra, also said in a press note that the Vedic chanting
tradition should be opened to all instead of being restricted to upper
caste Brahmins. Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra co-chairperson, said:
"The only way to save the Vedic chanting tradition is to initiate
sincere members of all castes, ...

…resulting in a dwindling supply of Vedic experts. The organisation is
lobbying Hindu leaders to implement caste blind initiation policies at
an Acharya Sabha meet to be held in Chennai from Saturday.

… "Here we have a historic opportunity to declare to the world that
Hinduism will reform itself for ever of caste discrimination," said
Vikram Masson, Navya Shastra co-chairman.

"Hinduism, which is thousands of years old, has never had a
significant reformist movement," said Arun Gandhi, Navya Shastra
adviser and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. "I believe the new millennium
now offers Hinduism an opportunity to change its ancient ...

http://news.eians.com/2003/11/28/28end.html , 27997 bytes

http://shastras.org/IndoAsian

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Produktinformation

Taschenbuch: 208 Seiten
Verlag: Vintage Books; Auflage: N.-A. (4. August 1997)
Sprache: Englisch
ISBN-10: 0749390697
ISBN-13: 978-0749390693
Größe und/oder Gewicht: 19,4 x 12,6 x 1,4 cm
Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3.3 von 5 Sternen Alle Rezensionen
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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

"A witty documentary satire.... Mehta embraces an enormous variety of
life and death. Her style is light without being flip; her skepticism
never descends to cynicism. [Karma Cola is] a miracle of rationalism
and taste."

-- Time

Sometime in the 1960s, the West adopted India as its newest spiritual
resort. The next anyone knew, the Beatles were squatting at the feet
of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Expatriate hippies were turning on
entire villages to the pleasures of group sex and I.V. drug use. And
Indians who were accustomed to earning enlightenment the old-fashioned
way were finding that the visitors wanted their Nirvana now -- and
that plenty of native gurus were willing to deliver it.

No one has observed the West's invasion of India more astutely than
Gita Mehta. In Karma Cola the acclaimed novelist trains an unblinking
journalistic eye on jaded sadhus and beatific acid burnouts, the
Bhagwan and Allen Ginsberg, guilt-tripping English girls and a guru
who teaches gullible tourists how to view their previous incarnations.
Brilliantly irreverent, hilarious, sobering, and wise, Mehta's book is
the definitive epitaph for the era of spiritual tourism and all its
casualties -- both Eastern and Western.

"Evelyn Waugh would have rejoiced."

-- The New York Times Book Review
Kurzbeschreibung

Beginning in the late '60s, hundreds of thousands of Westerners
descended upon India, disciples of a cultural revolution that
proclaimed that the magic and mystery missing from their lives was to
be found in the East. An Indian writer who has also lived in England
and the United States, Gita Mehta was ideally placed to observe the
spectacle of European and American "pilgrims" interacting with their
hosts. When she finally recorded her razor sharp observations in Karma
Cola, the book became an instant classic for describing, in merciless
detail, what happens when the traditions of an ancient and longlived
society are turned into commodities and sold to those who don't
understand them.

In the dazzling prose that has become her trademark, Mehta skewers the
entire Spectrum of seekers: The Beatles, homeless students, Hollywood
rich kids in detox, British guilt-trippers, and more. In doing so, she
also reveals the devastating byproducts that the Westerners brought to
the villages of rural lndia -- high anxiety and drug addiction among
them.

Brilliantly irreverent, Karma Cola displays Gita Mehta's gift for
weaving old and new, common and bizarre, history and current events
into a seamless and colorful narrative that is at once witty,
shocking, and poignant.
Alle Produktbeschreibungen

http://www.amazon.de/Karma-Cola-Gita-Mehta/dp/0749390697

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Karma Cola

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Die hilfreichste positive Rezension Die hilfreichste kritische
Rezension

3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Amazing

Ms. Mehta is undoubtedly the best Indian author alive!
I dothink the person who wrote the two sentence review probably does
not know the meaning of 'trash'. 'Trash' is the heaps and heaps of
books that get published every year in the US and somehow make it to
the NY Times best seller list just beacuse Oprah thinks it is a good
book or because it can be made into a tv...

Vollständige Rezension lesen ›
Veröffentlicht am 20. April 2000 von SL

› Weitere Rezensionen anzeigen: 5 Sterne, 4 Sterne

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:

Useful & entertaining
Humorous description of overseas visitors looking to India for
spiritual enlightenment twenty years ago. I read this while visiting
Pune, India, location of Bhagavan Shri Rajnish's ashram, which made it
even more appropriate. Very entertaining & perceptive.

The book is not about India--it is about Western misperception of
India.

Veröffentlicht am 29. Januar 2000 von J. G. Heiser


0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Decent but nothing special, 21. Juni 2000
Von Meredith Billman Mani -

Rezension übernommen von: Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East
(Vintage International) (Taschenbuch)
While Ms. Metha is an extremely talented writer I find it distracting
to have to wade through her obvious attempts to describe every minute
detail to the reader. It gets to be too much. This is a nice book that
offers (too much) description and a very one sided view of India.
She's writing for an American audience and it's as though she wants
them to laugh at the customs and norms in India. This is not my
favorite book on india or even by the author. This is a middle of the
road book as far as I'm concerned. I don't hate it, but then again I
don't love it either.

0 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
This book is not good., 5. Mai 2000
Von Ein Kunde

Rezension übernommen von: Karma Cola (Taschenbuch)
This book mocks europeans and americans who have earnestly gone to
India to seek out "enlightenment" and an element of spirituality that
they think is lacking in their home cultures. Gita Mehta employs all
sorts of cliches and negative stereotypes to depict this class of
"foreigner" in India. This is not a very challenging literary task.
Her language is as slick and taught as advertising text. Sometimes
clever, but more often simply rank and mean, Mehta indulges in trite
pseudo subaltern "slamming" of hippies and spiritual seekers.

I wonder what Mehta's reaction would be if an American author started
penning stories of the immature, body-stenched, fashion impaired
Indian immigrants who flock to America to shop in outlet malls and
stuff their cheap luggage full of cheaper nick-nacks for the glass
bureaus back in Delhi and Dehra Dun...

Everyone is looking for something: Westerners look for something
spiritual in India / Indians look for something material in the West.

And you are looking for my opinion on this book: dont waste your time
with this one -- go buy a Rushdie novel you don't already have.

3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Amazing, 20. April 2000
Von SL (OakPark, IL) -

Rezension übernommen von: Karma Cola (Taschenbuch)
Ms. Mehta is undoubtedly the best Indian author alive!
I dothink the person who wrote the two sentence review probably does
not know the meaning of 'trash'. 'Trash' is the heaps and heaps of
books that get published every year in the US and somehow make it to
the NY Times best seller list just beacuse Oprah thinks it is a good
book or because it can be made into a tv movie.

This book is a classic. Her use of the language is extra-ordinary. She
touches on the most 'Indian' of values with a great sense of humor and
almost trivialises them. She makes you really think about issues that
matter and drove(still drive) thousands of Westerners to India. She
has also done a great job of contrasting the Eastern and Western view
of life, death and everything spiritual.

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Useful & entertaining, 29. Januar 2000
Von J. G. Heiser (Sunninghill, Berks) -

Rezension übernommen von: Karma Cola (Taschenbuch)
Humorous description of overseas visitors looking to India for
spiritual enlightenment twenty years ago. I read this while visiting
Pune, India, location of Bhagavan Shri Rajnish's ashram, which made it
even more appropriate. Very entertaining & perceptive.
The book is not about India--it is about Western misperception of
India.

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
An Essential Book for Travelers to India, 29. Dezember 1999
Von Peter Theis (Minneapolis, USA) -

Rezension übernommen von: Karma Cola (Taschenbuch)
This book is a must-read for those travelers bound for India,
especially for those seeking enlightenment. I lived in Varanasi for a
year, and I met many travelers who believed that India was some sort
of textbook Hindu holy land. These people lived in their ideas,
creating a shield around them that kept real India out. Karma Cola
helps show that India isn't a book-ideal made up of gurus and yogis
performing divine-inspired miracles on every street corner. It shows
that India, like any other country, is made up of people: helpful
people and crooks, prude people and perverts. If you go to India,
don't go there to experience some sort of religious miracle. Go there
to see real India and meet real Indians, and read this book before you
go!

0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
A 'scholarly' (not!) book, 3. August 1999
Von Ein Kunde

Rezension übernommen von: Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East
(Vintage International) (Taschenbuch)
Nothing but trash! I can not believe that this stupid book is
recommended reading by Lonely Planet!


Witty at times, cynical at others, 30. Juli 1999
Von Michael Washbrooke (Sydney, Australia) -

Rezension übernommen von: Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East
(Vintage International) (Taschenbuch)
Written so as to remind each of us that there's a sucker (or seeker)
born every minute, Mehta's book shows us how easy it is to fool
gullible Westerners looking for enlightenment, and that there's a big
difference between open-hearted curiosity and gullibility. Westerners
created a market for gurus, and India filled it. But somewhere among
the amusing anecdotes that Mehta relates in a clucking tongue there's
a tale that's really rather sad. On the whole, I enjoyed the book and
found it witty and amusing, but thought it was perhaps a little
satisfied at its own superiority. For anybody thinking about going to
India to "find themselves," it would be a good primer.

Another thought, 13. Juli 1998
Von ***@aol.com (Washington, DC) -

Rezension übernommen von: Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East
(Vintage International) (Taschenbuch)

In addition to what I've already written, let me also state that the
book is also a criticism of Indians who capitalize on westerners' need
for spiritual fulfillment. On a personal note about the Chapter in
which the illegal route from Pakistan to India is discovered and the
foreigners coming through that route by taking advantage of the
hospitality of the villagers, this is not uncommon even today. I've
had several people stay at my house who basically used me as a cheap
place to stay and without even thanking me for cooking for them or
providing them with a roof over their heads. The ability to take
unashamedly persists. Hospitality is one of the greatest things about
Indian/South Asian culture, but as Mehta demonstrates in the chapter,
it also exposes Indians to a great deal of abuse as anyone who's had
an ungracious house guest can testify.

Not the usual view of India, 7. Februar 1998
Von ***@gnosys.co.nz (New Zealand) -

Rezension übernommen von: Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East
(Vintage International) (Taschenbuch)
Karma Cola is definitely required reading for any westerner interested
in things Indian or perhaps contemplating hitting the Dharma trail.
Its recognition that misunderstanding goes both ways (eg. the
anecdotes about gurus treatment of their Western students) is a good
reality check for those of us whose spiritual search has taken us
there. Ms Mehta gently reminds us that trying to absorb 5000 years of
experience and living may take a little more than a few weeks of squat
loos, and some Om Mani Padme Hums.

This is the first time I've ever read a book about the move of Eastern
thought into the West which was not written by a Westerner. In some
ways sobering, it is also witty and at times poignant.

By the way, an earlier reviewer lambasted the author for attributing
the wrong language to clerks from Kerala. That mistake has been fixed
in the edition I have (Minerva 1997 paperback).

Sucks!!!, 15. Dezember 1997
Von ***@zonker.ecs.umass.edu (Amherst, MA) -

Rezension übernommen von: Karma Cola (Taschenbuch)
Pardon me, but the author's ignorance is showing. The book has very
little to do with reality and panders to every fear and stereotype in
the mind of an Western audience. Here is an instance of the author's
ignorance, a quote from Chapter VI titled Behind the Urine Curtain,
Section 3 (pg 84 in the Vintage paper back edition)-she is talking
about the different people who use the local trains in Mumbai- "There
to the left is a clutch of stiletto-heeled and skirted Goan
secretaries, exchanging office gossip in Portuguese. Close behind them
are the Kerala clerks in white bush shirts and gray trousers,
conversing in (emphasis mine)*KANNADA*". Now anyone with an iota of
knowledge about India and its languages will know that the people of
Kerala speak Malayalam and not Kannada which is the language of the
neighboring Karnataka. Malayalam and Kannada are not obscure tongues
but are each spoken by atleast a few million people. Someone who
doesnt even know this should NOT set out writing a book about India.
Makes one wonder at the autheticity of the other anecdotes in the
book. Throwing in some high sounding philosophical jargon does not
make a book intellectual either (Chapter XIII- Om is Where the Heart
is). In all a very pathetic attempt to make a quick buck out of the
"mystic" of the East. She seems to be the one living up to her book's
title- Karma Cola- Marketing the Mystic East.

A look at the consequences of India's "spiritual draw"., 1. Dezember
1997
Von Ein Kunde

Rezension übernommen von: Karma Cola (Taschenbuch)
An interesting look at what draws "spiritually starved" westerners to
India and the consequential fallout. The author assumes a lot from the
reader, particularly a working knowledge of spoken French and a
rudimentary understanding of Hindu mythology. I'm lacking on both
accounts so a lot of the book went over my head. One particular
passage that sounds to me like it's important but I didn't fully
appreciate, was the one where she is talking about the meaning of
Karma and its perverted meaning by westerners. She relates the story,
from the Bhagavad Gita, of Arjuna asking Krishna why he needs to go to
war when understanding is superior to action in this case. Krishna
answers that one is bound by action and that only by acting can one be
free of the bondage of action. "That is exactly Karma" says the
author. Now, here is where I have a problem, probably because of my
limited understanding of Hinduism. *I* thought that Karma had to do
with the totallity of ones actions and is *the* factor determining
your next level of reincarnation. What the author seems to be implying
is that Karma is, instead, the bondage of action, i.e. fate. That is,
karma is the thing which predefines our actions rather than the
measure of our actions. I am confused ..... On the other hand, her
very pragmatic telling of the western approach to "instant nirvana"
and the "distressed westerner" abdicating to the nearest Guru is
actually quite refreshing and devoid of the mythical. :-) However,not
quite so overtly there is the implication that the invasion of
confused westerners has had a very destructive impact of the lives of
ordinary Indians. When relating the story of the westerners who
figured out a illegal route into India from Pakistan by taking
advantage of the hospitality of Indians, the protaganist of the story
is said to have said "One cannot make an omelet without breaking some
eggs". The author continues by saying, "and from where I stand the
ground is covered with broken egg shells". This I found quite sad ....
the narcissistic westerners completely lacking in self-restraint and
enough appreciation to understand that the path of "enlightenment"
requires endurance and cannot be delivered at will. Mind you that's
what Christianity preaches; just give your faith to god and you will
be saved. Where is the prerequisite toil and self-sacrifice?

An excellent book on the "other" perspective., 1. Dezember 1997
Von Ein Kunde

Rezension übernommen von: Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East
(Vintage International) (Taschenbuch)

This is an excellent book for those who want to know what "sensible"
South Asians think about the appropriation and manipulation of their
culture. I'm sure that it would seem rather acerbic to those who
control the discourse on culture and identity but every once in a
while a book comes along and gives voice to the perspective of the
"other." Those of us who have seen their karma, their food, their
noserings, their clothes and their cultural, religious and national
symbols reinvented, recycled and resignified will appreciate this book
as an attempt to point out the folly of such doings. For westerners,
this is like looking in a mirror that does not lie.

A rather cranky view of westerners in India., 16. August 1997
Von ***@alaska.net (Girdwood, Alaska) -

Rezension übernommen von: Karma Cola (Taschenbuch)
The author has some fun describing the follies and adventures of
westerners in India, but falls into the "more Hindu than thou" mode a
bit. An interesting read.

http://www.amazon.de/product-reviews/0749390697/ref=cm_cr_dp_all_helpful?ie=UTF8&coliid=&showViewpoints=1&colid=&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

Produktinformation

Taschenbuch: 944 Seiten
Verlag: St. Martin's Press; Auflage: Reprint (November 2005)
Sprache: Englisch
ISBN-10: 0312330537
ISBN-13: 978-0312330538
Größe und/oder Gewicht: 20,8 x 13,7 x 4,3 cm
Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.4 von 5 Sternen Alle Rezensionen
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Amazon.de Verkaufsrang: Nr. 308 in Englische Bücher (Die Bestseller
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Crime and punishment, passion and loyalty, betrayal and redemption are
only a few of the ingredients in Shantaram, a massive, over-the-top,
mostly autobiographical novel. Shantaram is the name given Mr.
Lindsay, or Linbaba, the larger-than-life hero. It means "man of God's
peace," which is what the Indian people know of Lin. What they do not
know is that prior to his arrival in Bombay he escaped from an
Australian prison where he had begun serving a 19-year sentence. He
served two years and leaped over the wall. He was imprisoned for a
string of armed robberies peformed to support his heroin addiction,
which started when his marriage fell apart and he lost custody of his
daughter. All of that is enough for several lifetimes, but for Greg
Roberts, that's only the beginning.

He arrives in Bombay with little money, an assumed name, false papers,
an untellable past, and no plans for the future. Fortunately, he meets
Prabaker right away, a sweet, smiling man who is a street guide. He
takes to Lin immediately, eventually introducing him to his home
village, where they end up living for six months. When they return to
Bombay, they take up residence in a sprawling illegal slum of 25,000
people and Linbaba becomes the resident "doctor." With a prison
knowledge of first aid and whatever medicines he can cadge from doing
trades with the local Mafia, he sets up a practice and is regarded as
heaven-sent by these poor people who have nothing but illness, rat
bites, dysentery, and anemia. He also meets Karla, an enigmatic Swiss-
American woman, with whom he falls in love. Theirs is a complicated
relationship, and Karla’s connections are murky from the outset.

Roberts is not reluctant to wax poetic; in fact, some of his prose is
downright embarrassing. Throughought the novel, however, all 944 pages
of it, every single sentence rings true. He is a tough guy with a
tender heart, one capable of what is judged criminal behavior, but a
basically decent, intelligent man who would never intentionally hurt
anyone, especially anyone he knew. He is a magnet for trouble, a
soldier of fortune, a picaresque hero: the rascal who lives by his
wits in a corrupt society. His story is irresistible. Stay tuned for
the prequel and the sequel. --Valerie Ryan -- Dieser Text bezieht sich
auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of this massive, thrillingly undomesticated potboiler, a
young Australian man bearing a false New Zealand passport that gives
his name as "Lindsay" flies to Bombay some time in the early '80s. On
his first day there, Lindsay meets the two people who will largely
influence his fate in the city. One is a young tour guide, Prabaker,
whose gifts include a large smile and an unstoppably joyful heart.
Through Prabaker, Lindsay learns Marathi (a language not often spoken
by gora, or foreigners), gets to know village India and settles, for a
time, in a vast shantytown, operating an illicit free clinic. The
second person he meets is Karla, a beautiful Swiss-American woman with
sea-green eyes and a circle of expatriate friends. Lin's love for Karla
—and her mysterious inability to love in return—gives the book its
central tension. "Linbaba's" life in the slum abruptly ends when he is
arrested without charge and thrown into the hell of Arthur Road
Prison. Upon his release, he moves from the slum and begins laundering
money and forging passports for one of the heads of the Bombay mafia,
guru/sage Abdel Khader Khan. Eventually, he follows Khader as an
improbable guerrilla in the war against the Russians in Afghanistan.
There he learns about Karla's connection to Khader and discovers who
set him up for arrest. Roberts, who wrote the first drafts of the
novel in prison, has poured everything he knows into this book and it
shows. It has a heartfelt, cinemascope feel. If there are occasional
passages that would make the very angels of purple prose weep, there
are also images, plots, characters, philosophical dialogues and
mysteries that more than compensate for the novel's flaws. A
sensational read, it might well reproduce its bestselling success in
Australia here.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier
Inc. All rights reserved. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere
Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .
From Booklist

A thousand pages is like a thousand pounds--it sounds like too much to
deal with. Nevertheless, Roberts' very long novel sails along at an
amazingly fast clip. Readers in the author's native Australia
apparently finished every page of it, for they handed it considerable
praise. Now U.S. readers can enjoy this rich saga based on Roberts'
own life: escape from a prison in Australia and a subsequent flight to
Bombay, which is exactly what happens to Lindsay, the main character
in the novel; once in Bombay, he joins the city's underground. Roberts
graphically, even beautifully, evokes that milieu--he is as effective
at imparting impressions as any good travel writer--in this complex
but cohesive story about freedom and the lack of it, about survival,
spiritual meaning, love, and sex; in other words, about life in what
has to be one of the most fascinating cities in the world. One's first
impression of this novel is that it is simply a good story, but one
soon comes to realize that Roberts is also a gifted creator of
characters--not only Lindsay but also Prabaker, who becomes Lindsay's
guide, caretaker, and entree into various elements of Bombay society.
Soon, too, one becomes aware and appreciative of Roberts' felicitous
writing style. In all, despite the novel's length, it is difficult not
to be ensnared by it. And, be forewarned, it will be popular. Brad
Hooper

Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --
Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .

Pressestimmen

"Shantaram is a novel of the first order, a work of extraordinary art,
a thing of exceptional beauty. If someone asked me what the book was
about, I would have to say everything, every thing in the world.
Gregory David Roberts does for Bombay what Lawrence Durrell did for
Alexandria, what Melville did for the South Seas, and what Thoreau did
for Walden Pond: He makes it an eternal player in the literature of
the world."

- Pat Conroy

"Shantaram has provided me with the richest reading experience to date
and I don't expect anybody to unseat its all-round performance for a
long time. It is seductive, powerful, complex, and blessed with a
perfect voice. Like a voodoo ghost snatcher, Gregory David Roberts has
captured the spirits of the likes of Henri Charrière, Rohinton Mistry,
Tom Wolfe, and Mario Vargas Llosa, fused them with his own unique
magic, and built the most gripping monument in print. The land of the
god Ganesh has unchained the elephant, and with the monster running
amok, I tremble for the brave soul dreaming of writing a novel about
India. Gregory David Roberts is a suitable giant, a dazzling guru, and
a genius in full."

- Moses Isegawa, author of Abyssinian Chronicles and Snakepit

"Shantaram is, quite simply, the 1001 Arabian Nights of the new
century. Anyone who loves to read has been looking for this book all
their reading life. Anyone who walks away from Shantaram untouched is
either heartless or dead or both. I haven't had such a wonderful time
in years."

- Jonathan Carroll, author of White Apples

"Shantaram is dazzling. More importantly, it offers a lesson...that
those we incarcerate are human beings. They deserve to be treated with
dignity. Some of them, after all, may be exceptional. Some may even
possess genius."

- Ayelet Waldman, author of Crossing the Park

“Utterly unique, absolutely audacious, and wonderfully wild, Shantaram
is sure to catch even the most fantastic of imaginations off guard.”

---Elle

“Shantaram had me hooked from the first sentence. [It] is thrilling,
touching, frightening...a glorious wallow of a novel.”

---Detroit Free Press

“[A] sprawling, intelligent novel…full of vibrant characters…the
exuberance of his prose is refreshing…Roberts brings us through
Bombay’s slums and opium houses, its prostitution dens and ex-pat
bars, saying, You come now. And we follow.”

---The Washington Post

"Inspired storytelling."

--People

“Vivid, entertaining. Its visceral, cinematic descriptive beauty truly
impresses.”

--USA Today

“Few stand out quite like Shantaram …nothing if not entertaining.
Sometimes a big story is its own best reward.”

--The New York Times

"...very good...vast of vision and breadth."

--Time Out

“This massive autobiographical novel draws heavily from Roberts’ vida
loca. Don’t let the size scare you away – Shantaram is one of the most
gripping tales of personal redemption you’ll ever read.”

--Giant Magazine

“This reviewer is amazed that Roberts is here to write anything.
Swallowed up by the abyss, somehow he crawled out intact….His love for
other people was his salvation…Powerful books can change our lives.
The potency of Shantaram is the joy of forgiveness. First we must
regret, then forgive. Forgiveness is a beacon in the blackness.”

--Dayton Daily News

" Shantaram is loads of colorful fun, [it] rises to something grand in
its evocations of the pungent chaos of Bombay. "
--Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Shantaram is a true epic. It is a huge, messy, over-the-top
irresistible shaggy-dog story.”
--The Seattle Times

Kurzbeschreibung

A stunning debut novel based on the author's dramatic and
extraordinary true story. After escaping from a maximum-security
prison, Roberts hid in Bombay, establishing a medical clinic, working
in Bollywood and joining the mafia. A gripping and superbly written
adventure story which will receive review and feature coverage. "A
masterpiece...sure to be a bestseller around the world" "The Age" --
Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare
Ausgabe dieses Titels.

Über den Autor

Gregory David Roberts was born in Melbourne, Australia. Sentenced to
nineteen years in prison for a series of armed robberies, he escaped
and spent ten of his fugitive years in Bombay---where he established a
free medical clinic for slum-dwellers, and worked as a counterfeiter,
smuggler, gunrunner, and street soldier for a branch of the Bombay
mafia. Recaptured, he served out his sentence, and established a
successful multimedia company upon his release. Roberts is a now full-
time writer and lives in Bombay.

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Shantaram

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21 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Shantaram

I grew up in Bombay in the fifties and early sixties, and have not
visited the city for the past odd 20 years. This amazing book has
basically summed up life in one of the most fascinating cities in the
world. Besides the adventure, which is unique in itself, the author
has managed a description of the city and its unbelievable vibrant
atmosphere and street life to pass...
Vollständige Rezension lesen ›

Veröffentlicht am 21. Januar 2005 von Simon Khosla


› Weitere Rezensionen anzeigen: 5 Sterne, 4 Sterne
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Weniger ist mehr

Shantaram - wärmstens empfohlen nicht nur von Amazon-Usern und deren
Rezensionen, sondern unter anderem auch aufgrund vieler positiver
Berichte in diversen Zeitschriften. Nachdem ich nun die 932 Seiten
"geschafft" habe zu lesen, wusste ich nicht recht ob ich zufrieden war
mit dem Buch oder ob ein wenig die Enttäuschung überwog.

Das Buch ist in 5 Teile...
Vollständige Rezension lesen ›
Vor 8 Monaten von Chevy veröffentlicht

21 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Shantaram, 21. Januar 2005
Von Simon Khosla (Schaffhausen, Switzerland) -

Rezension übernommen von: Shantaram (Gebundene Ausgabe)
I grew up in Bombay in the fifties and early sixties, and have not
visited the city for the past odd 20 years. This amazing book has
basically summed up life in one of the most fascinating cities in the
world. Besides the adventure, which is unique in itself, the author
has managed a description of the city and its unbelievable vibrant
atmosphere and street life to pass like a film in front of ones eyes.
It is the best book I have ever read about the city.

8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Weniger ist mehr, 1. Juli 2009
Von Chevy -

Rezension übernommen von: Shantaram. (Abacus) (Taschenbuch)
Shantaram - wärmstens empfohlen nicht nur von Amazon-Usern und deren
Rezensionen, sondern unter anderem auch aufgrund vieler positiver
Berichte in diversen Zeitschriften. Nachdem ich nun die 932 Seiten
"geschafft" habe zu lesen, wusste ich nicht recht ob ich zufrieden war
mit dem Buch oder ob ein wenig die Enttäuschung überwog.

Das Buch ist in 5 Teile untergliedert, zu insgesamt 43 Kapitel. Bis
zum Ende des 3. Teiles war ich schwer begeistert wie Roberts über
seine Flucht, sein Untertauchen, das indische Dorfleben, das Leben im
Slum oder aber auch über die Menschen die er trifft und liebt
schreibt, teilweise auch sehr humorvoll. Er malt viele der Szenen,
teilweise bis ins Detail beschrieben, sehr ausgiebig.

Allerdings hat der Autor ein großes Manko. Respekt davor was der Autor
erlebt haben möchte (da die Rahmengeschichte ja doch irgendwie der
Realität entspricht), allerdings scheint es, vor allem gegen Ende des
Romans, sehr oft, als Lobe sich der Autor selbst. Teilweise kämpft er
alle drei Seiten gegen einen neuen Gegner und beschreibt detailliert
wie er diese zumeist K.O. schlägt. Auch die Storyline nimmt mit den
letzten zwei Kapiteln, der Mafia und Aufghanistan stark ab, der Roman
wird zu sehr in die Länge gezogen. Dies ist natürlich sehr schade, da
es zu Beginn wie gesagt ein Buch war das ich den meisten Leuten blind
empfehlen würde. Philosophisch gesehen birgt der Roman Ansätze über
einen evtl Sinn des Lebens, allerdings motivieren diese aber nicht,
sich weiter damit auseinanderzusetzen.

Alles in allem kann ich das Buch als Urlaubsroman empfehlen, aber auch
nur denjenigen, denen Kampfszenen nichts ausmachen. Wirklich
empfehlenswert meinerseits sind daher eigentlich nur die ersten 3
Teile. Deshalb auch die 3 von 5 Sternen.

19 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Hail Shantaram!, 15. April 2005
Von "kojanko" -

Rezension übernommen von: Shantaram. (Abacus) (Taschenbuch)
This book is simply amazing.
It is a classic adventure book first of all, filled with deep
realizations about life, love and death. It is beautifully crafted,
and Gregory Roberts writing style is gripping, colorful and profoundly
simple (in the best way). It always displays an honesty and
authenticity even in the most outragous moments of this tale - and
there are many of those. Shantaram is everything a reader could ever
want from a book - it is poetic, moving, philosophical and extremely
alive. You'll be very sorry when you get to the last of the 900+
pages.

Very sorry, indeed.

Read it.

11 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
An epic novel set in India, 21. Juni 2005
Von Philippe Horak (Zug, Switzerland) -

Rezension übernommen von: Shantaram (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Mr Roberts's voluminous novel tells the story of one narrator who
escaped from prison in Australia and travelled to Bombay on a false
New Zealand passport. He doesn't devote much time talking about his
criminal activities in his home country apart from stating that he
used to rob banks and deal in drugs and then chose to abandon his wife
and children for the life of a fugitive. Upon his arrival in the
Indian capital, he met Prabaker Kharre, a loveable character who
showed him round the city, particularly the areas rarely visited by
mainstream tourists. At Leopold's, a bar where illegal business is
conducted by many Indians and a few foreigners, the narrator was
introduced to Karla Saaranen, a beautiful woman who is often the
object of his thoughts throughout the novel due to the difficulty she
has in feeling love for anyone.

As he settled down in Bombay, he learned to speak Marathi and Hindi
and during the adventurous years he spent in the city he became
acquainted with a whole array of characters and he became to be known
as Lin, Linbaba or Shantaram. The most impressive passages in the
novel are the narrator's visit to Prabaker's native village of Sunder,
his work in the zhopadpatti slum, his experience with the monsoon and
the cholera, his work for Abdel Khader Khan and the Bombay Mafia, his
stays at the Arthur Road Prison and the Colaba lock-up and finally his
fight for the mujaheddin cause in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Mr Roberts wonderfully shows both the generosity and the violence of
the Indian people's character. The spirit of Bombay is rendered in
splendid descriptions so that altogether this novel is thoroughly
enjoyable to read.

10 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Ein grossartiges Werk!, 13. Mai 2008
Von Don Paesano "retito" -

Rezension übernommen von: Shantaram. (Abacus) (Taschenbuch)
Ich konnte das Buch für volle vier Tage nicht aus den Händen legen.
Ich las immer und überall, während dem Essen, auf dem Klo, auf dem Weg
zum Klo, auf dem Rückweg vom Klo. Und schliesslich mit einer
Stirnlampe in der Hängematte. Das Buch nimmt einem mit auf eine Reise
mit David Roberts, die durch ein Indien führt wie ich es noch nie
beschrieben bekommen habe. Die Geschichte geht vorwärts wie ein
Güterzug. Seite für Seite etwas Neues, Aufregendes, Spannendes. Die
Sprache ist gut verständlich und wunderschön geschrieben. Ich
schliesse mich meinen Vorrednern nicht an, die die Philosophie zum
Teil als "cheesy" beschreiben. Ich war vielmehr beeindruckt vom Autor,
diesem unglaublichen Typen, der Dinge erlebt und so wunderbar
beschreibt, die weit weit über übliche "Reiseerfahrungen" hinweg
reichen.
Das Buch hat mich zum Lachen gebracht und mich zu Tränen gerührt. Es
war keine Seite (!) langweilig. Im Gegenteil. Fesseln, spannend,
intensiv, fordernd. Das Ende, wie viele Abschnitte zuvor, musste ich
gleich mehrmals lesen...Gänsehaut!

Habe das Buch bereits x-mal verschenkt - uneingeschränkter Lesetip!

3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Biblische Geschichten, 31. Mai 2009
Von Helmut Janus -

Erschöpft bin ich nach 933 Seiten am Ende der englischen Ausgabe von
Shantaram angekommen. Das Buch ist durchgehend gut zu lesen. Es gibt
eine unglaubliche Fülle an spannenden Episoden, gut geschriebenen
Dialogen, interessanten Typen, Milieuschilderungen und
Hintergrundgeschichten. Das alles ist in der Inhaltsangabe schon
ausführlich beschrieben worden. Womit ich allerdings meine
Schwierigkeiten hatte, war das Ego des Autors und seine philosophisch-
religiöse Grundeinstellung. Die ganze abenteuerliche Lebensgeschichte
handelt vom Suchen nach dem Guten im Menschen, von immer neuen
Versuchungen, Fehlschlägen und schließlich doch dem Sieg des Guten,
Gerechten und Liebenden. Es sind nicht einzelne philosophische
Schwafeleien, die die Handlung unterbrechen, sondern alles, was
Roberts erzählt, ordnet sich diesem Muster unter. Wenn er in Kämpfe
verwickelt ist, streicht er seine Fähigkeiten als Messerstecher
heraus, aber im entscheidenden Augenblick sticht er ordentlich ins
Fleisch seines Gegners, bringt ihn aber nicht um. Wenn er nach Monaten
einer unfassbaren Tortur aus dem Gefängnis frei kommt, versäumt er es
nicht, noch ein paar Mitgefangene zu retten. Wenn er aus Verzweiflung
wieder Heroin nimmt, dann auch richtig, indem er drei Monate in einer
Opiumhöhle abtaucht und anschließend durch die Hölle des "cold turkey"
geht.

Es sind biblische Geschichten in modernem Gewand, die Roberts erzählt,
die Läuterung vom Saulus zum Paulus. Aus Neugier habe ich mir seine
Website angesehen, und hier entwickelt er auch seine Philosophie von
der "cosmosophy". Ich bin nicht in die Details eingestiegen und habe
dazu auch keine große Lust, weil ich Bücher lese, um mich unterhalten
und zum Nachdenken anregen zu lassen, nicht aber um mir den großen
Wurf einer Welterklärung anzutun. Shantaram lässt mich etwas ratlos
zurück. Vielleicht muss ein solcher Eifer sein, um ein so gigantisches
Werk zustande zu bringen.

7 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Amazing, 21. August 2006
Von danyboy "eternalflame2" (Brunnen, Schweiz) -

Rezension übernommen von: Shantaram. (Abacus) (Taschenbuch)
I have not yet finished reading this book but I already need to
comment on this masterpiece. Shantaram may not be a flawless work and
parts of the book and especially sometimes the imagery and phrases
used appear a bit cheesy. A few comparisons and philosophical thoughts
are either a bit far-fetched or very general and superficial.

This may sound like a book of which one can use the paper to lit a
fire with on a cold winter day. BUT, despite some (undisputable) flaws
I give the book 4 stars because it, nevertheless, has become one of my
favourite books. The amazing and outstanding qualities of the book let
you forget the (minor) flaws mentioned above.

The story is thrilling, funny and never boring. One starts to feel
that what this guy writes is what he really experienced (at least most
of it) and I prefer an honest, true, heart-breaking, interesting story
with a few stylistic flaws to over-intellectual, cold and too perfect
works by some acclaimed literary authors. This is the story of a man's
life, which is far from being a common, everyday one. Let me tell you
one thing: this man has got a lot to tell you. Buy the book, sit down,
make yourself comfortable and dive into the world of Greg David
Roberts. I bet you won't regret it...

4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
One of the best books ever!!!, 1. Juni 2005
Von "natalie0208" -

Rezension übernommen von: Shantaram. (Abacus) (Taschenbuch)
Shantaram is one of the best books I ever read, and I read an awful
lot!!! The Author has a great gift of storytelling, the plot is
terrific, his descriptions of the places, the people, their culture is
absolutely gorgeous. So don't hesitate, read this book, it is worth
every cent and you'll not put it down till you reach the last page.

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
A definite MUST-READ!, 23. September 2009
Von S. Gould -

Rezension übernommen von: Shantaram. (Abacus) (Taschenbuch)
Others have already given this book the raving reviews it deserves. I
won't attempt to add to their comments, except to simply say that you
shouldn't be put-off by the size of this book - once you start reading
it you won't be able to put it down! (and will sadly be through it
faster than you wished!)

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
einfach nur klasse, 23. Juni 2009
Von bücher-wurm "leo3009" -

Rezension übernommen von: Shantaram. (Abacus) (Taschenbuch)
Ein faszinierendes Buch, das ich nur empfehlen kann. Die plastische
Darstellung des Autors läßt einen in eine komplett fremde Welt
versinken. Extrem gut geschrieben, spannend (zugegebenermaßen hast das
Buch zwischendurch ein paar Längen, die aber die Gesamtheit für mich
nicht beeinträchtigen) und manchmal auch sehr hart, so daß ich bewußt
das Buch zur Seite gelegt habe um die Passagen zu verdauen.
Prinzipiell langweilen mich Kriegsbeschreibungen, aber Gregory Roberts
hat es ausgezeichnet verstanden, auch solche Themen dem Leser nahe zu
bringen. Den Leser erwartet eine große Portion Philosophie, vielleicht
neuer Denkansätze, und das Buch entführt somit in eine (zumindest für
mich) absolut fremde Lebensweise. Wer einmal über den eigenen
Tellerrand hinauschauen möchte, ist genau richtig. Ob man die
Entscheidungen von "Lindsay" verstehen kann oder nicht, auf jeden Fall
ist großer Unterhaltungswert garantiert! Ich freue mich auf die
Verfilmung.

1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
The Heart of India, 21. Mai 2009
Von R. Müller-Heinrich "Goldkalb" (Pulheim, Deutschland) -

I have read many books on India and spent time in Bombay and Delhi. No
book, no sojourn has brought me so close to and deeply into the Heart
of India. The simplicity of style, the at times almost brutal honesty
of Gregory Roberts, the expressions of love for the people he met, the
lessons he learned, remind me of Barack Obama's "Dreams from my
Father". Shantaram is an amazing book which lets you feel you are
there. You feel the humid heat of Bombay, you smell all the smells,
good or bad, you see the purple sunset, you are amongst his friends
and could almost touch them. You could find your way into the slum and
feel sure of a welcome, even as a stranger. I felt encompassed by
Prabaker's smile, felt the loyalty of Lin's friends as if they were
mine. I felt the struggles Lin went through to find his way in life,
as if they were my own. I never could condemn him for his "evil"
deeds, as he was giving all the love he had to give at the same time.
As someone already said, I was very sorry when I came to the last
page, because it meant coming back to my own world, like after a
holiday. And my world seems drab and poor, though I don't live in a
slum. And no news report has shown me the futility, the atrocity, the
heart-wrenching sadness of Afghans killing their Afghan brothers,
supported by profit-seeking Americans and Russians for their own
goals. Shantaram. (Abacus)

6 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Spitze, 26. Juli 2006
Von Frank Bittermann -

Rezension übernommen von: Shantaram (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Durch die Meldung von Querelen bei der Produktionsvorbereitung des
Films von und mit Jonny Depp bin ich auf diesen Roman aufmerksam
geworden. Auch muss ich zugeben, dass ich Indien immer noch für heiss,
schmutzig und völlig überbevölkert halte, aber dieses Buch hat mir die
Menschen dort näher gebracht. Ein von der ersten bis zur letzten Seite
spannender, lustige, trauriger und vor allem nachdenkenswerter
Schmöker. Ein durchweg gelungenes Erstlingswerk, bei dem ich auf einen
Nachfolger hoffe, denn der Autor hat offensichtlich soviele Abenteuer
erlebt, da kann man nur mit den Ohren schlackern...

Well-read mix of Bombay life, with mafia-cheese and self-
indulgence, 6. Februar 2010
Von Jakarta_expat (Indonesien) -

Rezension übernommen von: Shantaram (Audio CD)
Shantaram No doubt about it, from the moment the story teller embarks
from the plane to sticky Bombay, the reader is hooked and will press
on to read about slum dwellers, their modes of survivals, boozy white
expats making a living in Bombay and other exciting stuff. The problem
is: The whole long book is mixed with a sense of self-indulgence by
the author lecturing us on life and philosophy. Which alone is not so
bad would he not to press on to tell the most boring love story ever
put into writing. the book is worth your time if you are interested in
India, slum life, street fighting and wanna-be philosophic
excursions.

I listened to the unabridged audio book, and enjoyed the speaker's
different voices. He catches the Bombay accents very well (as far as I
can tell). The female characters annoying me most in the book are read
with a certain ironic "flat" tone as if the audio book reader would
share my feeling of boredom with them as well. Nice touch.

Book: ***, Unabridged audio production: ****

The Precursor to Slumdog Millionaire, if you like, 27. Dezember
2009
Von Oliver Koehler (Berlin, Germany) -

Rezension übernommen von: Shantaram. (Abacus) (Taschenbuch)
Not the best of stories [in terms of fairly imagery and love "scenes"]
but nevertheless so far a gritty tale of his descent into India's
underworld and his involvement in the Russian-Afghan war - with some
very vivid descriptions of the India that I have come to know and love
and hate over the past years! Nevertheless unputdownable... For a
quick fix if you've ever been to India and want to get past the colour
of the place, an eye-opener at times and a jaw-dropper too. What I did
like - although it has been a point of criticism in other reviews - is
the fact that it sometimes is very loosely constructed. After all, it
is suppoed to be an autobiography - or a memoir? Who knows?

Mind-blowing!, 28. November 2009
Von Stein Claudia Dr "Claudia Stein" (Genf, Schweiz) -

I have lived a couple of years in India in the 1990's (about 800 km
south of Bombay) and can only confirm that the ambience, the life, the
colours and smells of India truly come to life in this book. It is
honest and authentic but what makes this book an amazing piece of
literature is the fantastic story - because it is fantastically told.
I could hardly put the book down, although I would imagine that the
author may have taken some artistic licence in some of his
descriptions. This does not detract from the book which - no doubt -
will one day be a Holly/Bollywood movie. An absolute must-read.

Gripping from start to finish!, 1. Dezember 2008
Von Léonie M. "book fanatic" -

Rezension übernommen von: Shantaram. (Abacus) (Taschenbuch)
Shantaram is one of that kind of books that calls for a rainy or foggy
November day, for a cosy chair and a good, steaming Indian Darjeeling
cup of tea.
It is a strong and satisfying novel, with a taste that lingers the
memory.
I love it very much because of the first-person narrative and of a
wonderful, admirable writing style as well.

After escaping from an Australian most inhuman prison in the early
80s, Gregory David Roberts, an armed robber and heroin addict was
using the name Lindsay Ford from a false New Zealand passport for
smuggling himself to India to go underground in the slum of Bombay
(Mumbai). Since he escaped, he flew across the world because he was
the most wanted man of his country.

Here he tells his story about his first trip to India. Living in the
land where heart is the king, left everything behind, he was just
running on instinct and pushing his luck. Accordingly to his
experiences the simple and astonishing truth about India and Indian
people is that, when you go there and you deal with them, your heart
always guides you more wisely than your head. It was one of his best
decisions of his life as he trusted the Indian fellow on sight and he
got the chance to know and to love him as friend.

The luck led him to know a mysterious but beautiful woman, he has ever
seen, green-eyed Karla Saaranen, on his very first day on the street
of Bombay. She was reasonably good at being a friend, but at being an
enemy also. In his opinion Karla had that kind of power to make men
shine like the stars, or crash them to dust.
Lindsay learned some Indian languages Hindi, Marathi  but himself
became to be well known by the nicknames Lin, Linbaba, Shantaram or
even The Bite of the Tiger.
Using his first-aid kit as the basis, he established in poverty of
Bombay illegal slum a little open-air health clinic. Just trying to do
the right thing, he found often a quantum of solace in his work and by
his friends like Prabaker Kishan Kharre or Abdullah Taheri.

Fate put him into the game of the Bombay mafia. Worked as a gunrunner,
as a smuggler and a counterfeiter. He found some honourable men. Of
course, it is strange and incongrous to hear how he describes
criminals, killers, and mafiosi as men of honour who were amongst
them. Nevertheles, he had some strange experiences and this is the
extremly gripping story of his life, told with all his heart. It was a
real blow to him to be buffeled by fate but he kept on his aim at
writing under the hardest circumstances.

Now, Gregory David Roberts is a fulltime writer. He lives in
Melbourne.
He created the atmosphere of the slum in the suburbs of Bombay and its
events in the richest details. His enthralling debut novel tells an
adventure about love, hate, fight, betrayal and conspiracy. You can
get lost into for days, not just hours.

It is really worth reading!

4 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
One of the best books I 've ever read, 9. Oktober 2005
Von Mama Orange -

Rezension übernommen von: Shantaram. (Abacus) (Taschenbuch)
This book is hard to put out of Your hand - it is intense and
adventurous, it is excellently written and it is full of deep
insight.

1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Packender Schmöker!, 5. September 2008
Von Tina "Reading Is Great" (Wien) -

Rezension übernommen von: Shantaram. (Abacus) (Taschenbuch)
Toller, sehr gut zu lesender Roman!Lustig, gut geschrieben,
farbenreich. Wer in Indien war, wird vieles verstehen und
nachvollziehen können. Für Freunde von Schmökern, die nicht allzu tief
gehen und einfach aber extrem fesselnd zu lesen sind, ist dieses genau
und exakt das Richtige.LESEN!

1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Always a new surprise, 4. Februar 2008
Von Hans-Curt Flemming "Amano" (Mülheim/Ruhr) -

This is a fascinating book which I could not leave alone - I had to
read it and was intrigued about what would come after the next corner.
And the next...
A completely new perspective of the Bombay slum and of the social
networks. Plus, the bittersweet love story. It is well written and
bears the touch of reality.
Absolutely worthy entertainment. I would be very much interested to
learn how he was captured finally and what he is doing now.

0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Black Bombay, 9. Dezember 2009
Von N. I. Body -

Bei Shantaram handelt es sich unstrittig um eine der besten
Darstellungen von Bombay, bzw. Indien in den 80er Jahren des vorigen
Jahrhunderts. Es werden das Leben in den Slums, Kriminalität,
Korruption, Krankheiten und Brutalität in allen Details (944 Seiten)
geschildert.

Das Buch basiert mehr oder weniger auf dem bewegten Leben des Autors.
Wie er selbst angibt, hat er nicht alles, was er beschreibt erlebt,
sondern auch Teile der Geschichte frei erfunden. Stellenweise ist die
Story recht langatmig, es wird seitenlang über den Sinn des Lebens,
Sinn des Leidens, Vergebung, Liebe, Hass usw. diskutiert. Auch werden
belanglose Gespräche und Begegnungen der Hauptperson zum Teil wörtlich
wiedergegeben. Das führte dazu, dass ich manchmal die Seiten nur noch
überflog - bis die eigentliche Story wieder weiterging.

Was mich aber doch recht gestört hat, ist die Art, in der sich der
Autor, (zu 19 Jahren verurteilter Bankräuber; Ex-Junkie) selbst
darstellt. Seine Verbrechen rechtfertigt er mit seiner gescheiterten
Beziehung und seiner daraus resultierenden Heroinsucht. Nach seiner
Flucht aus dem Gefängnis (zu Beginn des Buches) wandelt er sich zu
weissem Ritter und Heiligen in einem. Den, ihn aufs übelste
folternden, indischen Gefängniswärtern "vergibt" er. Er ist offenbar
der "guteste Gutmensch" von ganz Bombay (so ekelhaft wie das klingt,
liest es sich stellenweise leider auch). Er hilft jedem - immerzu,
ohne Rücksicht auf sich selbst und ohne zu zögern. Dass er dabei aber
weiterhin kriminellen Machenschaften (Drogenhandel, Mafia, usw.)
nachgeht, ist für ihn offenbar ganz "normal". Diese Art der
Selbstdarstellung/-inszenierung beginnt mit der Zeit zu nerven.

In der unsympathischen Hauptfigur liegt zugleich auch das größte Manko
des Buches, neben der teilweise zu langatmigen Schilderung der
Ereignisse. Tip: Es lohnt sich, die "echte" Biografie des Autors im
Netz nachzulesen.

Anzumerken ist noch, dass in meinem Exemplar ca. 10-15 Seiten
unleserlich (zu Hell; Fehler beim Drucken) waren.

12 von 28 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Räucherstäbchen, 3. Juli 2007
Von agardenchair (Germany) -

Rezension übernommen von: Shantaram. (Abacus) (Taschenbuch)

Zugegeben, dies ist bestimmt ein ordentlich geschriebener
Abenteuerroman. Und er ist an manchen Stellen auch lustig. Sprachlich
bewegt er sich in etwa auf der Höhe eines Dan Brown, mit dem
Unterschied, daß Gregory D. Roberts eine Vorliebe für komplizierte
Adjektive hat. Sollte man eine weitere Vorliebe dieses Schriftstellers
angeben, so wäre man gezwungen, das Sammeln von Aphorismen anzuführen.
Mit dem Konvolut von unheimlich sinnreichen Sprüche, die in diesem
Buch angehäuft sind, könnte man ganze Abreißkalender ausstaffieren.
Beispiele: "Truth is a bully, you'd like to know", "Es war nicht die
Hölle, aber es gab keinen Himmel", etc. Wieso nicht einfach
weitermachen mit: "Manchmal ist das Leben nicht schwarz oder weiß,
sondern grau" oder "Es gibt Gutes und es gibt Schlechtes, aber
meistens bekommt man beides serviert", etc.?

An allen Ecken und Enden des Romans findet man diese sprachlichen
Räucherstäbchen, die Tiefe suggerieren wollen. Der Roman liest sich
stellenweise wie ein ausgesprochener Jugendroman. Hier wird der Sound
großer gleichnishafter Erzählungen im Stil von Hemingway oder Conrad
imitiert. Ein Nachfolger Hemingways oder Conrads ist der Autor deshalb
nicht.

12 von 28 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Räucherstäbchen, 3. Juli 2007
Von agardenchair

Zugegeben, dies ist bestimmt ein ordentlich geschriebener
Abenteuerroman. Und er ist an manchen Stellen auch lustig. Sprachlich
bewegt er sich in etwa auf der Höhe eines Dan Brown, mit dem
Unterschied, daß Gregory D. Roberts eine Vorliebe für komplizierte
Adjektive hat. Sollte man eine weitere Vorliebe dieses Schriftstellers
angeben, so wäre man gezwungen, das Sammeln von Aphorismen anzuführen.
Mit dem Konvolut von unheimlich sinnreichen Sprüche, die in diesem
Buch angehäuft sind, könnte man ganze Abreißkalender ausstaffieren.
Beispiele: "Truth is a bully, you'd like to know", "Es war nicht die
Hölle, aber es gab keinen Himmel", etc. Wieso nicht einfach
weitermachen mit: "Manchmal ist das Leben nicht schwarz oder weiß,
sondern grau" oder "Es gibt Gutes und es gibt Schlechtes, aber
meistens bekommt man beides serviert", etc.?

An allen Ecken und Enden des Romans findet man diese sprachlichen
Räucherstäbchen, die Tiefe suggerieren wollen. Der Roman liest sich
stellenweise wie ein ausgesprochener Jugendroman. Hier wird der Sound
großer gleichnishafter Erzählungen im Stil von Hemingway oder Conrad
imitiert. Ein Nachfolger Hemingways oder Conrads ist der Autor deshalb
nicht.

Shantaram. (Abacus) 0349117543 Gregory David Roberts Little, Brown
Book Group Shantaram. (Abacus) Alle Produkte Räucherstäbchen
Zugegeben, dies ist bestimmt ein ordentlich geschriebener
Abenteuerroman. Und er ist an manchen Stellen auch lustig. Sprachlich
bewegt er sich in etwa auf der Höhe eines Dan Brown, mit dem
Unterschied, daß Gregory D. Roberts eine Vorliebe für komplizierte
Adjektive hat. Sollte man eine weitere Vorliebe dieses Schriftstellers
angeben, so wäre man gezwungen, das Sammeln von Aphorismen anzuführen.
Mit dem Konvolut von unheimlich sinnreichen Sprüche, die in diesem
Buch angehäuft sind, könnte man ganze Abreißkalender ausstaffieren.
Beispiele: "Truth is a bully, you'd like to know", "Es war nicht die
Hölle, aber es gab keinen Himmel", etc. Wieso nicht einfach
weitermachen mit: "Manchmal ist das Leben nicht schwarz oder weiß,
sondern grau" oder "Es gibt Gutes und es gibt Schlechtes, aber
meistens bekommt man beides serviert", etc.?

An allen Ecken und Enden des Romans findet man diese sprachlichen
Räucherstäbchen, die Tiefe suggerieren wollen. Der Roman liest sich
stellenweise wie ein ausgesprochener Jugendroman. Hier wird der Sound
großer gleichnishafter Erzählungen im Stil von Hemingway oder Conrad
imitiert. Ein Nachfolger Hemingways oder Conrads ist der Autor deshalb
nicht. agardenchair 3. Juli 2007
Insgesamt: 5
Insgesamt: 5

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Diskussionsbeiträgen
Ersteintrag: 16. November 2008 00:10 CET
Edith Juratschski meint:

Warum schreiben Leute über Dinge, von denen sie keine Ahnung haben?
Beurteilungen eines arroganten 18jährigen brauche ich nicht. Das Kind
soll erstmal begreifen, dass es was zu lernen hat. Solange soll es
schweigen. Und erst rumtönen, wenn es jemanden interessiert.

Antwort auf den Eintrag von Edith Juratschski:
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Auf diesen Eintrag antworten

Antwort auf einen früheren Beitrag vom 15. Dezember 2008 17:11 CET
Zuletzt vom Autor geändert am 16. Dezember 2008 22:37 CET
agardenchair meint:

Edith Juratschski braucht keine Beurteilungen eines arroganten
"18jährigen". Dafür weiß sie, was arrogante Achtzehnjährige brauchen -
klare Ansagen: Als Kinder haben sie zu schweigen. Und dürfen erst
rumtönen, wenn das Rumtönen jemanden interessiert. Wie gut, dass wir
nun wissen, wie es die Erwachsenen mit arroganten Kindern zu halten
haben. Danke, Frau J..

Antwort auf den Eintrag von agardenchair:
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Veröffentlicht am 14. Januar 2009 16:20 CET
Stephan Peischl meint:
[Vom Autor gelöscht am 13. Februar 2010 22:49 CET]

Veröffentlicht am 24. Mai 2009 10:18 MEST
Malenkow meint:

Dem kann ich uneingeschränkt zustimmen. Ich habe den Roman nach der
Hälfte nur noch quer gelesen.

Antwort auf den Eintrag von Malenkow:
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http://www.amazon.de/product-reviews/0312330537/ref=dp_db_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/images/0312330537/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&n=52044011&s=books-intl-de

Holy Cow!: An Indian Adventure (Taschenbuch)
von Sarah Macdonald (Autor) "I have a dreadful long-term memory ..."

Kundenrezensionen
Holy Cow!: An Indian Adventure

7 Rezensionen
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Die hilfreichste positive Rezension Die hilfreichste kritische
Rezension

4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Fantastic and funny

The author is writing about her experiences in the sub-continent in a
vey funny and humorous way. Especially for people like me, who are
living in India as a foreigner or planning a trip to India, the book
is recommendable. She is describing the every-day problems people with
a "wester culture" have to face with because of the cultural
differences between the...
Vollständige Rezension lesen ›
Veröffentlicht am 5. Juli 2004 von Amazon-Kunde

› Weitere Rezensionen anzeigen: 5 Sterne, 4 Sterne
A definite "OK" book

I just finished this book and am disappointed overall. There was too
much religion and personal soul-searching by the author. I wanted more
INDIA. Yet this book did feed my desire to go to India one day, so it
wasn't all that bad. I took some notes on festivals and villages I
would like to see, but I was expecting more after reading the other
reviews.
Veröffentlicht am 20. März 2007 von beegowhite

› Weitere Rezensionen anzeigen: 3 Sterne, 2 Sterne, 1 Sterne

Hilfreichste Bewertungen zuerst | Neueste Bewertungen zuerst

4 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Fantastic and funny, 5. Juli 2004
Von Amazon-Kunde "Amazon" (Düsseldorf) -

The author is writing about her experiences in the sub-continent in a
vey funny and humorous way. Especially for people like me, who are
living in India as a foreigner or planning a trip to India, the book
is recommendable. She is describing the every-day problems people with
a "wester culture" have to face with because of the cultural
differences between the "Wester world" and India.
I recommend the book for everyone who is planning a long-time or
travel-trip to the beautiful country of india. You can learn about the
indian culture and about "not-understandable" cultural differences in
a funny way...

Great book at all!!!

5 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Witzig, unterhaltsam und lehrreich!, 10. November 2004
Von Ein Kunde

Ich war 1999 für drei Monate in Indien und habe es geliebt und
gehasst. Sarah Macdonald ruft alle meine Erinnerungen wach und bringt
mich zum Lachen. Sie beschreibt alle Arten von Gefühlen und
Erfahrungen, die man als "western foreigner" in Indien durchlebt. Es
ist sehr empfehlenswert, auch für Leute, die eine Reise nach Indien
planen. Ich habe es sehr gern gelesen.

A definite "OK" book, 20. März 2007
Von beegowhite (Luxembourg) -

I just finished this book and am disappointed overall. There was too
much religion and personal soul-searching by the author. I wanted more
INDIA. Yet this book did feed my desire to go to India one day, so it
wasn't all that bad. I took some notes on festivals and villages I
would like to see, but I was expecting more after reading the other
reviews.

4 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
oberflächlich und mit Klischees behaftet, 1. Dezember 2006
Von Emma -

Sarah ist unglücklich zum zweiten Mal in Indien gelandet zu sein. Um
sich die Zeit zu vertreiben, begibt sie sich auf eine Art Hopping
durch die verschiedensten Glaubensrichtungen und spirituellen
Strömungen - von Amma bis zu den Sikhs. Leider schafft es die Autorin
in keiner Weise der Realität Indiens gerecht zu werden. Oberflächlich
blickt sie auf Kultur und Menschen und bedient dabei nur die typisch
westlichen Indienklischees.

Ich habe mehr Zeit in Indien verbracht als die Autorin und konnte das
Buch nur noch völlig entnervt zur Seite legen. Miss Mac Donald
interessiert sich nicht für Indien, weder für die Menschen, noch für
die Kultur und auch nicht besonders tiefgründig für die religiösen
Strömungen, die von ihr besucht wurden. Sie möchte lediglich
unterhalten (was ihr nicht sonderlich gut gelingt) und begreift das
Fremde, das ihr begegnet nicht als Chance etwas Neues zu lernen,
sondern beurteilt es mit arrogant westlichem Blick. Besonders
entnervend ist das Fazit, das die Autorin am Ende jedes Kapitels über
ihr Erlebtes zieht. Jedem, der sich wirklich mit Indien, der Kultur
und den Religionen des Landes auseinandersetzen möchte und nicht einen
pseudospirituellen "Fast Food Reisebericht" lesen möchte, kann ich nur
raten: Finger weg!

1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
very interesting, 21. Juni 2006
Von Bücherwurm "sandrasemails" -

I've never been to India but will go there after I've finished my
studies.
The book takes you on a journey with Sarah MacDonald which is exciting
and funny and sad sometimes.

You can imagine the things she describes even if you've never been to
India. But it definitely will wake the wish in you to go there.

0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Educating, entertaining and inspiring, 8. August 2007
Von Wombatsbooks -

"Holy Cow" was meant to be a beach read, but proved to be not only
entertaining, but also educating and inspiring:

Macdonald herself calls her second stint in India "a pilgrimage
through India's spiritualistic supermarket" and herself a "karma
chameleon". "Holy Cow" presents the diversity of India's manifold
religions, deals with their differences and similarities. Macdonald
spends several days in an ashram, attends the Kumbh Mela in Benares,
celebrates Pesach with a group of Israelis, visits a church in the
South of India, immerses herself into Bhuddism, Hinduism etc. She
meets lots of people, makes many a friend and addresses different
attitudes, styles, beliefs and traditions. But most of all she
portrays India as the fascinating land of contrasts that it is.

Reading this diary-like account is nearly like being in India: it
assaults all your senses and yet is very lovable. It is written in a
light-hearted yet sensitive manner and probably politically incorrect,
because Macondald speaks her mind;-). But that makes the read all the
more worthwhile!

Result: Not to be missed! In fact her style reminds me a bit of Bill
Bryson's books. So if you are a fan of Bill Bryson's you might like
this one as well!

0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich:
Sehr gutes Buch über Indien, 12. Februar 2007
Von Marie Senoner "musikfan4" (Österreich) -

Das Buch fängt schon super an und steigert sich immer mehr. Es ist
wirklich empfehlenswert für alle die mehr über Indien, die Kultur und
die Menschen Indiens erfahren wollen. Manchmal muss man als Europäerin
schon den Kopf schütteln, aber so ist es Indien...
Unbedingt lesen!!!

Produktbeschreibungen

From Publishers Weekly

Australian radio correspondent Macdonald's rollicking memoir recounts
the two years she spent in India when her boyfriend, Jonathan, a TV
news correspondent, was assigned to New Delhi. Leaving behind her own
budding career, she spends her sabbatical traveling around the
country, sampling India's "spiritual smorgasbord": attending a silent
retreat for Vipassana meditation, seeking out a Sikh Ayurvedic
"miracle healer," bathing in the Ganges with Hindus, studying Buddhism
in Dharamsala, dabbling in Judaism with Israeli tourists, dipping into
Parsi practices in Mumbai, visiting an ashram in Kerala, attending a
Christian festival in Velangani and singing with Sufis. Paralleling
Macdonald's spiritual journey is her evolution as a writer; she trades
her sometimes glib remarks ("I've always thought it hilarious that
Indian people chose the most boring, domesticated, compliant and
stupidest animal on earth to adore") and 1980s song title references
(e.g., "Karma Chameleon") for a more sensitive tone and a sober
understanding that neither mocks nor romanticizes Indian culture and
the Western visitors who embrace it. The book ends on a serious note,
when September 11 shakes Macdonald's faith and Jonathan, now her
husband, is sent to cover the war in Afghanistan. Macdonald is less
compelling when writing about herself, her career and her relationship
than when she is describing spiritual centers, New Delhi nightclubs
and Bollywood cinema. Still, she brings a reporter's curiosity,
interviewing skills and eye for detail to everything she encounters,
and winningly captures "[t]he drama, the dharma, the innocent
exuberance of the festivals, the intensity of the living, the piety in
playfulness and the embrace of living day by day..--he drama, the
dharma, the innocent exuberance of the festivals, the intensity of the
living, the piety in playfulness and the embrace of living day by
day."

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier
Inc. All rights reserved. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere
Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .
From Booklist

Australian MacDonald didn't fall in love with India her first time
there, at age 21. So when her boyfriend, Jonathan, a reporter for ABC,
is sent there for work, she reluctantly follows after a year of
separation. At first, life in India is as bad as she remembered it--
overcrowded, smoggy, disturbing. A serious bout of pneumonia puts her
in an Indian hospital, but as she recovers, she begins to make friends
in India and to understand the culture. She finds herself attending
lavish Indian weddings and trying to comfort her friend Padma, whose
mother commits suicide after Padma marries without her permission.
MacDonald makes an effort to understand the many diverse religions of
the area, including taking a 10-day sojourn in a Buddhist temple and
discussing religion with Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, and even a group of
visiting Israelis. With Jonathan, she takes a trip to war-torn
Kashmir, an area that is at once achingly beautiful and devastatingly
dangerous. A lively, snappy travelogue. Kristine Huntley

Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --
Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .

Kurzbeschreibung

“India is like Wonderland. In this other universe everyone seems mad
and everything is upside down, back to front and infuriatingly
bizarre . . .”In her twenties Sarah Macdonald backpacked around India
and came away with a lasting impression of heat, pollution, and
poverty. So when an airport beggar read her palm and told her she
would return to India -- and for love -- she screamed, “Never!” and
gave the country, and him, the finger.

But eleven years later, the prophecy comes true. When the love of
Macdonald’s life is posted to India, she quits her dream job to move
to the most polluted city on earth, New Delhi. For Macdonald this
seems like the ultimate sacrifice for love, and it almost kills her,
literally. Just settled, she falls dangerously ill with double
pneumonia, an experience that compels her to face some serious
questions about her own fragile mortality and inner spiritual void. “I
must find peace in the only place possible in India,” she concludes.
“Within.” Thus begins her journey of discovery through India in search
of the meaning of life and death. Holy Cow is Sarah Macdonald’s often
hilarious chronicle of her adventures in a land of chaos and
contradiction, of encounters with Hinduism, Islam and Jainism, Sufis,
Sikhs, Parsis, and Christians, and a kaleidoscope of yogis, swamis,
and Bollywood stars. From spiritual retreats and crumbling nirvanas to
war zones and New Delhi nightclubs, it is a journey that only a woman
on a mission to save her soul, her love life -- and her sanity -- can
survive.

Synopsis

After backpacking her way around India, 21-year-old Sarah Macdonald
decided that she hated this land of chaos and contradiction with a
passion, and when an airport beggar read her palm and insisted she
would come back one day - and for love - she vowed never to return.
But twelve years later the prophecy comes true when her partner, ABC's
South Asia correspondent, is posted to New Delhi, the most polluted
city on earth. Having given up a blossoming radio career in Sydney to
follow her new boyfriend to India, it seems like the ultimate
sacrifice and it almost kills Sarah - literally. After being cursed by
a sadhu smeared in human ashes, she nearly dies from double pheumonia.
It's enough to send a rapidly balding atheist on a wild rollercoaster
ride through India's many religions in search of the meaning of life
and death. From the 'brain enema' of a meditation retreat in
Dharamsala to the biggest Hindu festival on earth on the steps of the
Ganges in Varanasi, and with the help of the Dalai Lama, a goddess of
healing hugs and a couple of Bollywood stars - among many, many others
- Sarah discovers a hell of a lot more.
Über den Autor

Sarah Macdonald is a journalist and radio broadcaster who lives in
Sydney with her husband, ABC journalist Jonathan Harley, and their
baby daughter Georgina. HOLY COW! is her first book.

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APwa 12/15 1455 Rajneesh Conspiracy

By BRIAN S. AKRE Associated Press Writer

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A lawyer for Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
claims the federal government poisoned the Indian guru in 1985 as
part of a conspiracy to force him out of the United States.

Swami Prem Niren, who served as Rajneesh's chief attorney
during the rise and fall of the Rajneeshpuram commune in central
Oregon, said Monday that Rajneesh believes he was poisoned in
late 1985 while he was in an Oklahoma City jail.

Rajneesh, 56, recently has been ill, and doctors concluded his
symptoms were consistent with thallium poisoning, Niren said in a
telephone interview. However, he said tests found no trace of
the rare, poisonous element in Rajneesh.

Veet Mano, director of the Rajneesh Press Services in Los
Angeles, charged in a news release received Monday by The
Associated Press that "the United States government conspired to
murder Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh." Niren said, however, there was
no evidence of that.

"That is an unfortunate phrase," he said. "It's one of those
things. PR people say things different than lawyers do."

Rajneesh now lives in Poona, India, where his movement was
based before he moved to a remote, 64,000-acre Oregon ranch in
1981. He was deported in November 1985 after he pleaded guilty
to immigration fraud in a plea agreement with federal
prosecutors.

Rajneesh has been suffering for the past two months from
nausea, fatigue, pain in his extremities and a lack of resistence
to infection, and was near death for a while, Niren said.

An Indian health official said recently that Rajneesh had
AIDS, but his disciples say a test proved the claim was false.

Rajneesh first experienced poisoning symptoms after a meal in
a jail in Oklahoma City, leading him to believe he was poisoned,
Niren said. Niren said he does not believe jailers in Oklahoma
City were responsible for the alleged poisoning. He speculated
the CIA was involved.

"Of course, years after the event I don't expect anyone in the
government or anywhere else to come forward and say, `I'm
responsible for it,"' Niren said.

Rajneesh, who was arrested in Charlotte, N.C., in October 1985
while allegedly trying to flee the United States, was held
overnight in Oklahoma City while being taken back to Oregon to
face criminal charges.

Niren, who said he is writing a book about his experiences
with the Rajneesh movement and the commune's legal battles, said
the government never had evidence linking Rajneesh to any crimes.

Niren said he recommended Rajneesh accept the plea bargain
that led to his deportation because of concerns over the guru's
health.

"Otherwise the government persecution would continue and he
couldn't take it," he said. "They intended to persecute him until
he left or was broken."

Charles H. Turner, the U.S. attorney who led the prosecution
of Rajneesh and several of his lieutenents, dismissed Niren's
allegations today.

"It's a total and complete fiction and you have to consider
the source," Turner said. "The man has no credibility."

Turner noted that a federal judge determined that Rajneesh had
committed crimes, and the guru was represented by "three
extremely skilled lawyers," including Niren. If Niren had
recommended Rajneesh plead guilty to a crime he did not commit,
the attorney could be disbarred, Turner said.

Rajneesh also had access to any medical care he needed while
he was in jail, Turner added.

"I stood next the man in court and there wasn't anything wrong
with him at all," he said.

The commune disbanded after Rajneesh's departure and the
property remains for sale.

Rajneesh, a self-described "rich man's guru," teaches
meditation as a means to enlightenment.

Niren, also known as Philip J. Toelkes, said he traveled after
the commune broke up and has been practicing law in San
Francisco.

http://www.skepticfiles.org/cultinfo/gurupois.htm

Osho, Bhagwan Rajneesh, and the Lost Truth
by Christopher Calder

When I first met Acharya Rajneesh at his Bombay apartment in December
of 1970, he was only 39 years old. With long beard and large dark
eyes, he looked like a painting of Lao-Tse come to life. Before
meeting Rajneesh I had spent time with a number of Eastern gurus
without being satisfied with their teachings. I wanted an enlightened
guide who could bridge the gap between East and West and reveal the
true esoteric secrets, without what I considered to be the excess
baggage of Indian, Tibetan, or Japanese culture. Rajneesh was the
answer to my quest for those deeper meanings. He described for me in
vivid detail everything I wanted to know about the inner worlds and he
had the power of immense being to back up his words. At 21 years old
I was naive about life and the nature of man and assumed that
everything he said must be true.

Rajneesh spoke on a high level of intelligence and his spiritual
presence emanated from his body like a soft light that healed all
wounds. While sitting close during a small gathering of friends,
Rajneesh took me on a rapidly vertical inner journey that almost
seemed to push me out of my physical body. His vast presence lifted
everyone around him higher without the slightest effort on their
part. The days I spent at his Bombay apartment were like days spent
in heaven. He had it all and he was giving it away for free!

Rajneesh possessed the astounding powers of telepathy and astral
projection, which he used nobly to bring comfort and inspiration to
his disciples. Many phony gurus have claimed to have these mysterious
abilities, but Rajneesh had them for real. The Acharya never bragged
about his powers. Those who came near soon learned of them through
direct contact with the miraculous.

Rajneesh, aka "Osho"
at his arrest in
October 1985

One or two amazing occult adventures was all it took to turn
doubting Western skepticism into awed admiration and devotion.

One year earlier I had meet another enlightened teacher, known
to the world as Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti could barely give a
coherent lecture and constantly scolded his audience by referring to
their "shoddy little minds." I loved his frankness and his words were
true, but his subtly cantankerous nature was not very helpful in
transferring his knowledge to others.

Listening to Krishnamurti speak was like eating a sandwich made
of bread and sand. I found the best way to enjoy his talks was to
completely ignore his words and quietly absorb his presence. Using
that technique I would become so expanded after a lecture that I could
barely talk for hours afterwards. J. Krishnamurti, while fully
enlightened and uniquely lovable, will be recorded in history as a
teacher with very poor verbal communication skills. Unlike the highly
eloquent Rajneesh, however, Krishnamurti never committed any crime,
never pretended to be more than he was, and never used other human
beings selfishly.

"Ma Anand Sheela,"
Osho's Top Deputy,
at her arrest in 1985

Life is complex and multilayered and my naive illusions about the
phenomena of perfect enlightenment faded with the years. It became
clear to me that enlightened people are as fallible as anyone. They
are expanded human beings, not perfect human beings, and they live and
breathe with many of the same faults and vulnerabilities we ordinary
humans must endure.

Skeptics ask how I can claim that Rajneesh was enlightened given his
scandals and disastrous public image. I can only say that Rajneesh's
spiritual presence was identical to that of J. Krishnamurti, who was
recognized as enlightened by every high Tibetan Lama and revered Hindu
sage of the day. I do sympathize with the skeptics, however. If I
had not known Rajneesh personally, I would never believe it myself.

Rajneesh pushed the envelope of enlightenment in both positive and
negative directions. He was the best of the best and the worst of the
worst. He was a great teacher in his early years, with innovative
meditation techniques that worked with dramatic power (see explanation
and warning about Osho's Dynamic Meditation technique near the bottom
of the page). Rajneesh lifted thousands of seekers to higher levels
of consciousness and detailed Eastern religions and meditation
techniques with luminous clarity.

When former university professor Acharya Rajneesh suddenly
changed his name to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, I was dismayed. The
famous enlightened sage Ramana Maharshi was called Bhagwan by his
disciples as a spontaneous term of endearment. Rajneesh simply
declared that everyone should start calling him Bhagwan, a title which
can mean anything from 'divine one' to God. Rajneesh became irritated
when I would politely correct his mispronunciations of English words
after his lectures, so I felt in no position to tell him that I
thought his new name was inappropriate and dishonest. That change in
name marked a turning point in Rajneesh's level of honesty and was the
first of many big lies to come.

One false move, one grand error.

Rajneesh lived in an ivory tower, rarely leaving his room unless to
give a lecture, his life experience cushioned by throngs of adoring
devotees. As most human beings who are treat as kings, Rajneesh lost
touch with the world of the common man. In his artificial and
insulated existence, Rajneesh made one fundamental error in judgment
which would destroy his teaching.
Rajneesh calculated that the majority of the earth's population
was on such a low level of consciousness that they could not
understand nor tolerate the real truths. He thus decided on a policy
of spreading seemingly useful lies to bring inspiration to his
disciples and, on occasion, to stress his students in unique
situations for their own personal growth. This was his downfall and
the prime reason he will be remembered by most historians as just
another phony guru, which he undoubtedly was not.


Originally Osho gave himself the lofty title "Sri Bhagavan Rajneesh"


Acharya, Bhagwan Shree, Osho...all the empowering names taken by
Rajneesh could not cover up the fact that he was still a human being.
He had ambitions and desires, sexual and material, just like everyone
else. All living enlightened humans have desires. All enlightened men
have had public lives that we know about and all have had private
lives that remained secret. The vast majority of enlightened men do
nothing but good for the world. Only Rajneesh, to my knowledge,
became a criminal in both the legal and ethical sense of the word.

Rajneesh never lost the ultimate existential truth of being. He
only lost the ordinary concept of truth that any normal adult can
easily understand. He rationalized his constant lying as "left-handed
Tantra," but that too was dishonest. Rajneesh lied to save face, to
avoid taking responsibility for his own mistakes, and to gain personal
power. Those lies had nothing to do with Tantra or any selfless acts
of kindness. What is real in this world is fact and Rajneesh
misrepresented fact on a daily basis. Rajneesh was no simple con-man
like so many others. Rajneesh knew everything that Buddha knew and he
was everything that Buddha was. It was his loss of respect for
ordinary truthfulness that destroyed his teaching.

Rajneesh's health collapsed in his early thirties. He suffered from
what Europeans call myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or what Americans
call Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). His classic symptoms included
the obvious fatigue, extreme sensitivity to smells and chemicals (now
called "multiple chemical sensitivity"), allergies, recurrent low
grade fevers, photophobia, and orthostatic intolerance (neurally
mediated hypotension). Rajneesh also had Type II diabetes, asthma,
and severe back pain.

Rajneesh was constantly sick and frail from the time I first met
him in 1970 until his death in 1990. He could not stand on his feet
for long periods of time without becoming lightheaded because he
suffered damage to his autonomic nervous system which controls blood
pressure. This neurally mediated hypotension (low blood pressure
while standing) causes chronic fatigue and can also lower IQ due to a
lack of sufficient blood and oxygen being pumped to the brain (brain
hypoxia). When he was most ill he would complain of becoming
lightheaded as soon as he stood up. He thought he was getting a
different cold or flu every week. In reality he suffered from a
singular chronic illness with flu like symptoms that can last for
decades.

In his last years Rajneesh used prescription drugs, mainly
Valium (diazepam), as an analgesic for his aches and pains. He took
the maximum recommended dose of 60 milligrams per day. He also
inhaled nitrous oxide (N2O) mixed with pure oxygen (O2) which helped
his asthma and brain hypoxia, but which did nothing for the quality of
his judgment. Naive about the powerful effects of Western medications
and overconfident about his own ability to fight off their potentially
negative effects, Rajneesh succumbed to addiction. His downfall and
humiliation followed swiftly.

Rajneesh was a physically ill man who became mentally corrupt.
His drug addiction was a problem of his own making, not a government
conspiracy. Rajneesh died in 1990, with heart failure listed as the
official cause of death. It is probable that the physical decline
Rajneesh experienced during his incarceration in American jails was
due to a combination of withdrawal symptoms from Valium and an
aggravation of his ME/CFS due to stress and exposure to allergens.

There was much speculation in the American media that Osho had
actually committed suicide by taking a drug overdose. As no one has
confessed to giving Osho a lethal injection, there is no hard evidence
to support the suicide theory. A compelling circumstantial case could
be made for such a scenario, however, with suicide provoked by Osho's
constant ill health and disheartenment over the loss of Vivek, his
greatest love. Vivek had taken a fatal overdose of sleeping pills in
a Bombay hotel one month before Osho's passing. Pointedly, Vivek
decided to kill herself just before Osho's final birthday
celebration. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh had threatened suicide at the
Oregon commune several times, hanging his death over the heads of his
disciples as a threat unless they obeyed his wishes. On his last day
on earth, Osho's is reported to have said "Let me go. My body has
become a hell for me."

The rumor that Osho was poisoned with thallium by operatives of
the United States Government is entirely fictional and contradicted by
undeniable fact. One of the obvious symptoms of thallium poisoning is
dramatic hair loss within seven days of exposure. Osho died with a
full beard and no exceptional baldness other than ordinary male
pattern baldness at the top of his head. Many of the symptoms which
may have led Osho's doctors to suspect thallium poisoning were in fact
common symptoms of dysautonomia (damage to the autonomic nervous
system) caused by ME/CFS. Those symptoms can include ataxia
(uncoordinated movements), numbness, standing tachycardia (rapid heart
rate upon standing), paresthesia (sensations of prickling and
itching), nausea, and irritable bowel syndrome, which causes
alternating between constipation and diarrhea.

The only proven cases of poisoning related to Osho were carried
out by Rajneesh sannyasins themselves (a sannyasin is an initiated
disciple, one who takes sannyas). The victims included totally
innocent people at an Oregon restaurant, two Wasco County
Commissioners, and members of Rajneesh's own staff who were poisoned
by Ma Anand Sheela, Rajneesh's personal secretary. Sheela had the
habit of poisoning people who either knew too much or who had simply
fallen out of her favor. Sheela spent two and a half years in a
federal medium security prison for her crimes while Rajneesh pled
guilty to immigration fraud and was given a ten year suspended
sentence, fined $400,000., and deported from the United States of
America.

Rajneesh felt that teaching ethics and morality was unnecessary
because the increased consciousness of meditation would automatically
lead to good behavior. Rajneesh's own actions and the behavior of his
disciples proves that theory to be untrue. There is no direct
connection between meditation and ethics and the dangers and
limitations of teaching ethics are far outweighed by the destructive
anarchy that a lack of teaching creates. Certainly students of
meditation should at least be reminded that lying, cheating, stealing,
and killing are not acceptable behavior. But Osho taught that you
should do as you please and many of his disciples and he himself
committed many ethical crimes. This lapse of judgment was largely due
to the arrogant and downright fascist attitude that one can become so
high and mighty that one is beyond the need for something as old
fashioned as polite and sane ethical behavior.

Those unfamiliar with the Rajneesh story can read the book
Bhagwan: The God That Failed, by Hugh Milne (Shivamurti), a close
disciple of Bhagwan during his Poona and Oregon years. Originally
published by Saint Martin's Press, the book can be found through
Amazon.Com and Amazon.Com.UK. I can verify many of the facts that Mr.
Milne states about the life of Rajneesh in Bombay and Poona though I
have no first hand knowledge of the tragic events at the Oregon
commune. My contacts with people who were there lead me to believe
that most of the facts Mr. Milne presents of the Oregon era are also
highly accurate. Hugh Milne is due great credit for a well written
and entertaining book which is a sincere effort at complete honesty.
On a few occasions, however, I differ from Mr. Milne's interpretations
of what the facts he presents actually mean.

Firstly, Rajneesh did not suffer from "hypochodria," as Mr.
Milne suggested. Rajneesh had a very real neurological disease,
probably inherited, which he mistook for frequent viral infections.
Rajneesh became unusually afraid of germs only due to his very
innocent and understandable medical ignorance. I fully agree with Mr.
Milne that Rajneesh suffered from "megalomania," however, and will add
that Rajneesh had a Napoleonic, obsessive and compulsive personality.

The Void has no ambition whatsoever, a fact which current Osho
disciples keep forgetting. Rajneesh could only speak for his own
personal animal mind, which is the case for all of us. The animal
mind may want its disciples to "take over the whole world," but the
Void does not care because it is beyond any motivation. The Void is
infinity and beyond human desire, so how can that which is beyond the
human mind have human ambitions? The phenomena we called Rajneesh,
Bhagwan, and Osho was only a temporary lens of cosmic energy, not the
full cosmos itself. Personality worship is not spiritual in any way
and self-indulgent attachment to guru is no better than obsessive
clinging to money, power, and social privilege. I am sure Mr. Milne
has learned that fact very well, but many fanatic Osho disciples have
missed the point entirely.

Mr. Milne also suggests that Rajneesh used "hypnosis" to
manipulate his disciples. Rajneesh had a wonderful, melodic, and
naturally hypnotic voice which would be a great asset to any public
speaker. However, in my personal opinion, Rajneesh's power came from
the intense energy field of the universal cosmic consciousness which
he channeled like a lens. Hindus call this universal energy phenomena
the Atman. As a Westerner, I prefer more scientific terms, and
describe the Atman as a highly evolved manifestation of time-energy-
space, the TES (see The TES Hypothesis).

Enlightenment is not something you own. It is something you channel.

Whatever term you use for the phenomena of enlightenment, it is
scientifically accurate to say that no human being has any power of
their own. Even the chemical energy of our metabolism is borrowed
from the sun, which beams light to the earth, which is then converted
by plants through photosynthesis into the food we eat. You may get
your bread from the supermarket but the caloric energy it contains
originated from thermonuclear reactions deep in the center of a nearby
star. Our physical bodies run on star power. Any spiritual energy we
channel also comes from far beyond, from all sides of the universe,
from the complete TES, from beyond the oceans of galaxies and onto
infinity. No human being owns the Atman and no one can speak for the
TES.

Rajneesh, as George Gurdjieff, often used the power of the Atman
for clearly personal gain. Both men used their cosmic consciousness
to overwhelm and seduce women, which was largely a harmless affair in
my opinion. Gurdjieff was ashamed of his own behavior in this regard
and vowed many times during his life to end this practice, which was a
combination of ordinary male sexual lust backed up by the potent
advantage of oceanic spiritual power. Rajneesh went even further and
used his channeled cosmic energy to manipulate masses of people to
gain a kind of quasi-political status and to aggrandize himself far
beyond what was honest or helpful to his disciples. In Oregon he even
declared to the media that "My religion is the only religion."
Diplomacy and modesty were not his strong points.

Gurdjieff, to my knowledge, never reached the extremes of self-
indulgence of Rajneesh and even warned his disciples not to have blind
faith in him. Gurdjieff wanted his students to be free and
independent with the combined abilities of clear mental reasoning and
meditation. Rajneesh, by contrast, seemed to believe that only his
thoughts and ideas were of value because only he was "enlightened."
This was a grand error in judgment and revealed a basic flaw in his
character.

Rajneesh earned his psychic abilities honestly through many
lifetimes of intense inner work. Unfortunately, when he finally
achieved the ability to fully channel the vastness of the Atman, he
failed to apply the needed wisdom of self-restraint. His human mind
so rebelled against Asian asceticism, which he claimed to have
practiced for many lifetimes, that he failed to ensure that his
borrowed power was only used for the good of others.

"Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac." Henry Kissinger

After leaving India, Rajneesh created his Oregon commune from
his own powerful mind. He made himself the ultimate dictator, his
picture placed everywhere as in an Orwellian bad dream. That
totalitarian atmosphere was just one of the many reasons I did not
stay at the Oregon commune beyond several brief visits. I was
interested in meditation, not in a big concentration camp where human
beings were treated like insects with no intelligence of their own.
Rajneesh put such a high emphasis on his disciples following orders
without question that they did just that when Ma Anand Sheela,
Rajneesh's personal secretary, gave absurd orders to commit crimes
which Rajneesh himself would have never approved of.

When you decapitate the intelligence of human beings you create
a situation that is highly dangerous and destructive to the human
spirit. You cannot save people from their egos by demanding "total
surrender." The anti-democratic technique of forcing blind obedience
did not work well for Hitler, Stalin, or for Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.
Germany, Russia, and the Rajneesh Oregon commune were all destroyed
because of authoritarian imperial rule. A diversity of opinion is
always healthy because it acts as an effective counterbalance to the
myopic arrogance of those who would be king. Bhagwan never understood
this truth of history and referred to democracy scornfully as "mob-
ocracy." Rajneesh was an imperial aristocrat, never a generous and
open minded democrat, and he put his contempt for the democratic
process into highly visible action in Oregon.

In an attempt to subvert local Wasco County elections, Rajneesh
had his sannyasins bus in almost 2,000 homeless people from major
American cities in an effort to unfairly rig the voting process in his
favor. Some of the new voters were mentally ill and were given drug
laced beer to keep them manageable. Credible allegations have been
made that one or more of the imported street people died due to
overdosing on the beer-drug mixture, but to my knowledge that charge
has not been conclusively proven. Rajneesh's voting fraud scheme
failed and the once again homeless were returned to the streets after
the election was over, used and then abandoned. If Rajneesh
sannyasins had only held truth above all instead of obedience to guru
above all, then no crimes would have been committed and the commune
might still be in existence today.

Rajneesh used people, spoke out of both sides of his mouth, and
betrayed the trust of his own disciples. This betrayal caused Vivek,
his longtime girlfriend and companion, to commit suicide. Rajneesh
even lied about her death, slandering his greatest love in her grave
by falsely claiming that she was chronically depressed due to some
intrinsic emotional instability. Vivek was never depressed during the
years I knew her and she was the most radiant women I have ever
known.

Vivek was a highly advanced, literally glowing student of
meditation, but her only meditation method was being with Bhagwan and
absorbing his tremendous spiritual presence. When her one method and
one true love collapsed into insanity, she took her own life out of
overwhelming grief. Rajneesh drove her to suicide because she could
not understand nor tolerate his mental decline and collapse. Rajneesh
lied about her death simply to avoid taking responsibility for his own
bizarre behavior, which was the underlying cause of Vivek's despair.

The very same Western disciple who administered nitrous oxide to
Osho has been spreading negative rumors about Vivek, claiming that she
was not a meditative person (as himself) and that she committed
suicide because of a hormonal imbalance and also because she was
depressed about reaching the age of forty. This same sannyasin denied
to me emphatically that he gave Rajneesh irresponsible levels of
nitrous oxide, but later admitted to others that he gave Rajneesh one
to two hour nitrous oxide "treatments" every day for five months.
That level of exposure is clearly dangerous drug abuse with no
legitimate medical justification.

The young Acharya Rajneesh started his life as a teacher who
condemned false gurus and he ended his life as one of the most
deceitful gurus the world has ever known. The difficult fact to
comprehend is that he was enlightened when he was an anti-guru puritan
and he was still enlightened when he was the ultimate self-indulgent
guru himself. This seemingly irreconcilable contradiction is the real
reason I write this essay. I love to go into uncharted territory
where others fear to tread.

When you combine man's natural tendency for selfishness with an
ivory tower lifestyle, you have a situation where ethical behavior can
appear to be optional. Combine the unhealthy atmosphere of self-
deification with a debilitating progressive illness that lowers IQ,
and on top of that add drug abuse, then you have a cliff that even an
enlightened man could fall from. That fall could happen only if the
enlightened man makes one wrong choice, one false move, from both the
heart and from the mind.

Bhagwan's wrong choice was to disregard truthfulness in favor of
what he thought were useful lies. Once you make that wrong turn, away
from ordinary straightforward truth, you have lost your way. No human
being can disregard fact on a regular basis without finding himself in
a sea of turmoil because by discarding fact you discard the ground
beneath your feet. Little lies grow into big lies and the now hidden
truth becomes your enemy, not your friend and ally.

Rajneesh overestimated himself and underestimated his own
disciples. The real seekers of knowledge around him could have easily
handled the truth and were already motivated without the need for
propaganda. But Rajneesh had been a high guru for such a long time,
not just in this life but in previous lives as well, that he came to
see himself in grandiose terms. He was indeed an historic figure but
he was not the perfect superman he pretended to be. No one is! His
disciples deserved honesty but he fed them fairy tales "to give them
faith."

Jiddu Krishnamurti had been more honest than Rajneesh in
repeating relentlessly that "there is no authority" due to the
intrinsic nature of the cosmos. Ardent Rajneesh disciples didn't heed
Krishnamurti's warnings and put blind faith in a man who claimed to be
all-seeing, to have all the answers, and who once in 1975 brashly
proclaimed that he had never made a single mistake in his entire
life. Clearly Rajneesh made as many mistakes as any human being.
Just as obviously, his basic existential enlightenment was no
guarantee of functional pragmatic wisdom.

While Rajneesh was a brilliant philosopher, he was a lost babe
in the woods when it came to the world of science. Worried about
worldwide overpopulation, Rajneesh pressured his disciples to undergo
medical sterilization procedures. Unfortunately, he did not consider
the demographics of population growth. The current population
expansion is largely a phenomena of poor, third world nations, not a
problem originating in the USA, Canada, and Europe, where birth rates
are actually falling. North America and Europe are only experiencing
population increases due to legal and illegal immigration from third
world nations. Having his European and North American disciples
medically sever their reproductive capabilities only added to this
imbalance and many former disciples now regret they complied without
question to his thoughtless edicts.

Rajneesh also declared that the AIDS epidemic would soon kill
three quarters of the world's population and that a major nuclear war
was just around the corner. He thought he could escape nuclear
holocaust by building underground shelters and slow the spread of AIDS
by having his disciples wash their hands with alcohol before eating
meals. His more reasoned admonition was for his disciples to always
use condoms. To enforce his sexual rules, which also involved
elaborate instructions on the use of rubber gloves during sexual
encounters, Rajneesh encouraged his sannyasins to spy on each other,
reporting the names of those who failed to conform to his orders.

"When it comes to gurus, take the best and leave the rest." Ramamurti
Mishra

The disaster of Rajneesh appointing himself the singular great
brain of the universe was compounded by his lack of real world
reasoning skills, and this was the case even before he started taking
large amounts of Valium. Rajneesh could weave magnificent
philosophical dreams and addict his disciples to imagined worlds of
spiritual adventure, but those dreams did not have to stand any
empirical test of truth. In the world of science you have to prove
what you say is true through testing. In the world of philosophy and
religion you can say anything you desire and throw caution to the
wind. If your words sound good to the masses they will sell, whether
they are fact or fiction.

Rajneesh had no understanding of, or appreciation for, the
scientific method. If he thought something was true, in his own mind,
that made it true. His disciples had to obey his words or be banished
from the mini-nation he created in the Oregon desert. Rajneesh ruled
his empire as a warlord with his own private army and puppet
government. His visions and ideas, faulty or not, were taken without
question as the word of God. His disciples were judged by their
ability to surrender to his will and any opposing views were branded
as negativity and an unspiritual lack of faith.

Rajneesh's poor reasoning became even more apparent during and
after the Oregon commune scandal. After being jailed and then
deported from the USA, Rajneesh angrily declared Americans "subhuman,"
ignoring the fact that it was he, an Indian, who pled guilty to felony
immigration fraud and that it was Sheela, an Indian, who ordered the
most serious crimes which brought his empire to ruin. Even in his
fifties Rajneesh was still lying to get his own way, still demanding
to always be the center of attention, and by 1988, suffering from drug
and illness induced dementia, was pouting that his box of toys, his
expensive car collection and jewel encrusted watches, had been taken
away.

Rajneesh's disciples thought they were following a reliable and
authoritative "enlightened master." In reality they had been mislead
by a highly fallible enlightened human animal who was still a little
boy at heart. Rajneesh had not only misrepresented himself
personally, but he misrepresented the phenomena of enlightenment
itself. The idealized fantasy of perfect enlightenment does not exist
anywhere in the real world and it has never existed. The universe is
far too big and complex for anyone to be its master. We are all
subjects, not "masters," and those who pretend to be infallible and
all-knowing end up looking even more the fool in the end.

The famous sages of old seem perfect to us now only because they
have become larger than life myths. The long passage of time has
allowed their followers to effectively cover up their guru's flaws,
just as Rajneesh disciples are currently rewriting and censoring
history to cover up Rajneesh's great failings. Rajneesh was never
more infallible than any other human being. What we call
enlightenment is not a cure-all for faults and frailties that cling to
human animals even after they achieve maximum possible consciousness,
which is perhaps a more realistic definition of the term
"enlightenment."

The ultimate existential truth is silent and beyond all words.
Rajneesh embodied that truth up to the day he died. Visitors to his
ashram in Poona, India, who are open to meditation, will feel a giant
wave of consciousness there. That wave use to be connected to a human
body we called Rajneesh. The body has been turned to ashes but the
wave can still be felt. In the same way J. Krishnamurti's presence
can still be felt at Arya Vihara, his former home in Ojai,
California.

"What you tell them is true, but what I tell them (the useful lies) is
good for them." Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh 1975

The contradiction of corruption and enlightenment can occur
because the brain is never enlightened and enlightenment never says or
does anything. In a way no one ever really becomes enlightened.
Enlightenment happens at the place where you are standing but you
cannot own it or possess it. All the words of so-called enlightened
men come from the human mind and body which interprets the phenomena
of enlightenment like a translator. The words do not come froM the
enlightenment itself. By definition enlightenment cannot speak. It
is absolutely silent and beyond any need to speak.

There are many layers to our beings. Some traditions have
categorized those layers as seven bodies, the first being the physical
body and the seventh the nirvanic, the void from which all is born.
No matter how you count the layers they do exist and the purely mental
layer is always there if you have a physical body. That layer can be
affected by disease and chemical exposure.

Osho died addicted to Valium and he experienced all the negative
symptoms of drug addiction, which included slurred speech, paranoia,
poor judgment, and lowered intelligence. At one point his paranoia
and confusion were so great that he thought a group of German cultists
had cast an evil spell on him. His physical disabilities and drug
abuse were simply more than his mortal brain could take. His biggest
flaw, his disregard for the ordinary concept of truth, was his
ultimate downfall and for that crime he must be held fully responsible
with no excuses.

"Never give a sucker an even break." W.C. Fields

Bhagwan lied when he said he had enlightened disciples. He lied
when he said he never made a mistake. Later he was forced to admit he
was fallible as his list of bungles grew to monstrous proportions. He
lied by pretending that the therapy groups run by his disciples were
not mainly a money making device. Rajneesh broke immigration laws and
lied about it in court. He lied by saying that he was adopted in a
phony scheme to get permanent residence status. Bhagwan Rajneesh was
no murderer or bank robber, but he certainly was a very big liar. The
ridiculous thing is that all of his lies were totally unnecessary and
counterproductive. Honesty really is the best policy.

Sadly, Rajneesh lied when he claimed he was not responsible for
the horrors of the Oregon commune because he hand picked Ma Anand
Sheela and the people who committed the major crimes of conspiracy to
commit murder, poisoning, first-degree assault, burglary, arson, and
wiretapping. The fact that Rajneesh did not order or have pre-
knowledge of the most serious crimes does not mean he was not
ethically responsible for them. If a teacher puts a drunken sailor in
charge of driving a school bus and the children end up dead, then the
teacher is responsible for their deaths. Rajneesh knew what kind of
person Sheela was and he chose her because of her corruption and
arrogance, not in spite of it. In a cowardly attempt to evade his own
failings he changed his name from Bhagwan to Osho, as if a change in
name could wash away his sins.

Some may be horrified that an enlightened soul could become a
convicted felon, but that has not stopped me from seeking the ultimate
existential truth. Rajneesh's life is a lesson for us all to practice
what we preach. Bhagwan gave great advice but he could not heed his
own wise words. He is also a reminder not to take what people say
very seriously. It is better to observe how people live and put less
emphasis on what they speak. Talk is cheap. Actions are more costly
and telling.

Do enlightened men have egos? In my younger idealistic years I
would have said the answer is no. Rajneesh, Gurdjieff, and even J.
Krishnamurti prove to me that they do (see links near the bottom of
the page). I became convinced that Rajneesh had an ego when I saw him
on television in chains being transported from jail to an Oregon
courthouse. In response to a reporter's question he looked into the
television camera and spoke to his disciples saying "Don't worry.
I'll be back." It was not what he said but the look in his eyes that
was positive proof for me. I could see his ego in action, calculating
and manipulating. Once you see something that clearly no
rationalizations can cover up the basic truth. Rajneesh was
magnificently enlightened but he was also profoundly egotistical.

For ordinary humans the ego is the center of awareness and the
Void is perceived only at the periphery. People look at a picture
taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and they see the Void as an
outside object, not as a personal identity. When you become
enlightened, either temporarily in a satori or permanently as a
Buddha, the situation is reversed. Now the Void is your center of
awareness and the ego is at the periphery. Ego does not die, it just
no longer takes the center stage of our attention.

Enlightenment is a functional and desirable disassociation of
identity which is rooted in subtle body development and in physical
brain function. The human brain is a biologically created thinking
machine that has evolved for both personal self-preservation and the
survival of the human species. The ego, which is a selfish motivating
force, is needed to protect our colony of living cells, the physical
body, from danger and to keep our cells replenished with food and
water. If you did not have an ego you would not be able to think,
speak, or find food, shelter, and clothing. The ego function is so
vital for survival that the human brain evolved with two potential ego
mechanisms, one a centralized ego and the second a larger and more
diffuse backup system utilizing less central portions of the brain.

If the body and brain becomes physically ill with high fever and
the centralized ego center is damaged, the backup ego mechanism may
temporarily take over its function. This is ego displacement without
enlightenment. The backup self-maintenance system keeps sleep walkers
out of danger and helps enlightened human animals find food and the
basics of life so they do not physically die as a result of their own
deep meditation.

Enlightened humans do not feel their more diffuse ego and thus
they feel as free as space (the Void) itself. In actuality ego is
still present and working, just as our autonomic nervous system keeps
on working whether we are aware of its function or not. You do not
have to consciously tell your heart to beat 70 times a minute because
it will keep on beating regardless of your awareness. The brain
function that controls heart rate is automatic (autonomic) and does
not need our consciousness to make it work.

Nature has also provided human animals with a strong, virtually
unstoppable sex drive to ensure reproduction of the species. Because
of the overwhelming importance and power of sex, most gurus,
enlightened or not, have maintained active sex lives which are often
kept secret for purely political reasons. In his early years Rajneesh
lied about his strong sexuality, but to be fair this has to be
understood in the context of a rigidly anti-sexual, and highly
hypocritical, Indian social structure. Later on, after his position as
a guru had become solidified, Rajneesh publicly bragged about having
sex "with hundreds of women."

Rajneesh's sex life was of no interest to me and I do not find
any fault with him for having the same sexual desires that all men
have. I do find fault when he was dishonest and cruel for selfish
reasons. While living in Bombay, Rajneesh made one young woman
pregnant through an aggressive and unasked for seduction. The young
woman was highly upset and forced by circumstance to have an
abortion. Rajneesh, protecting his image as a great guru, lied about
his involvement and claimed that she had imagined the whole affair.
In her anger, the young woman told the American Embassy her story.
That incident marked the beginning of Rajneesh's troubles with the
United States Government. Most of Rajneesh's close disciples believed
the young woman, not the much older "enlightened" man. Similarly,
decades later many would believe a young White House intern, not a
much older Presiden Bill Clinton. Being President, or being
"enlightened," does not always ensure good behavior.

All human beings are animals, specifically mammals. It has been
proven that human DNA is at least 98% the same as chimpanzee DNA.
World history, Asian mythology, politics, and the world of alpha male
gurus makes allot more sense if you keep that unavoidable scientific
fact in mind. Our most primal subconscious motivating forces come
from the animal world, which we are still a part of.

Some enlightened human animals have become fooled by the
phenomena of ego displacement and thought they no longer had any
personal selfishness that could cause trouble. Meher Baba spent much
of his life bragging about how great he was yet at his center he felt
perfectly egoless. In truth he was very egoistic and should have
realized that even enlightenment is no excuse for bragging. The same
fundamental misjudgment plagued Acharya Rajneesh. He became fooled
into thinking that he was above arrogance but that was simply not the
case.

Even enlightened humans have to mind their manners and realize
that the Atman is the wondrous phenomena they should promote, not
their own fallible and temporary personalities. Ramana Maharshi had
the right approach in this regard and that is one reason he is still
beloved by all. Ramana Maharshi promoted the Atman, the universal
cosmic consciousness, but never his own mortal body and mind.

Everyone who experienced Acharya Rajneesh's oceanic energy still
loves him, myself included. It is only because I value the truth
above all that I write what I believe are needed criticisms. If we
cannot honestly analyze our mistakes then our suffering was a waste of
time. The ongoing cover-up of Bhagwan's frailties by his
establishment disciples will only destroy the possibility of learning
from his tragedy.

I miss Acharya Rajneesh, never Osho, because he was at his
finest when he had no manipulating political organization surrounding
him. When Acharya Rajneesh was just a man in an apartment with one
old Chevrolet, not dozens of Rolls Royces, he was more honest and
true. When he became his own political establishment things started
to go wrong and that is often the case with men of great power.

How can the ocean go into the drop if the drop has an ego in
it? My answer, as previously stated, is that the ego is an integral
part of the structure of the human brain. It is not simply
psychological but also neurological and hard wired into our neural
pathways (see neurological basis for a sense of 'self'). The self-
survival, self-defense mechanism we call 'ego' cannot be destroyed
unless the body dies.

Huston Smith, the well known author and professor of world
religions, believes that no man attached to this mortal coil can
achieve the ultimate transcendence. You first have to physically die
and when the last coil is broken you are totally free. I believe the
ego steps aside and becomes less of a problem for most enlightened
men, but it is never totally destroyed as long as you have a physical
body.

The Rajneesh scandal exposed the unconscious slavery of Bhakti
Yoga and the underlying fraudulence and corruption of "left-handed
Tantra." What is needed is an honest path, built on self-observation,
self-reliance, and respect for truth. The days of the know-it-all
guru are over. It is time to realize the source of all things
directly.

It would be wonderful to believe that enlightened men were
perfect in every way. That would make life simpler and sweeter, but
it would be fiction, not fact. In a way Bhagwan's tragedy has given
me more hope. If we have to become perfect human beings to become
enlightened then who among us will ever reach that goal? If we
realize that enlightenment is just a gradual progression of expansion
of consciousness then the goal is attainable by all of us, given
enough time. If we work for hundreds of years, through many births
and deaths, with a simple goal of just going a little deeper every
day, then with scientific certainty I believe those who seek
enlightenment will attain it in time. All of the enlightened men I
have known or have read about have made that statement in their own
words. I believe that is a fact that can be trusted.

Addendum - On letters I have received

Any thoughtful person can imagine the range of leters I have
received as a result of posting my Web essay on Acharya - Bhagwan -
Osho - Rajneesh. To date about half of the letters have been from
former Rajneesh disciples who generally agree with my comments and who
thank me for putting them on the Web. Those who agree tell me they
see "compassion for all involved" on my Web page and that I got it
"just about right."

The other letters I receive are from current disciples of the
now deceased Osho, many whom have never actually met the man in
person. Those letters range from death threats from several German
disciples to poorly written and often unsigned insults. The Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance also gets lots of hate mail, but
from many different cults, not just from one. It is interesting to
see how most cults are alike in this regard. The us vs. them
mentality takes over and anyone who does not tow the party line of the
cult is deemed a villain.

Meditation has nothing to do with cults, organizations,
politics, or business, but for many meditation is a secondary issue.
For them it is all about hero worship and blind obedience to the
memory of a now dead guru, which is a silly waste of time in my
opinion. Why not go directly to the source of all gurus and religions
through your own meditation? There is an old Zen saying that "One
should not become attached to anything that can be lost in a
shipwreck." Certainly this admonition applies to gurus as well.

Several Rajneesh sannyasins have written me claiming to be
enlightened and I hear reports that many Rajneesh disciples now make
that claim. One man said that he was "the new Osho" and invited me to
visit his Web page. His page displayed a large heroic picture of
himself, much self-promotion, and an advertisement for prostitutes in
Russia who he claimed were practicing "Tantra." So for him
"enlightenment" and being "the new Osho" literally means to be a
pimp.

Another man, who had never met Osho in person, seemed to claim
that reading Osho's books helped him get over his "mental illness" and
now he was "enlightened" himself. He then forcefully instructed me to
rewrite my Web page to make it "less judgmental" and suggested that
Osho's hypocrisy was just a means to convey his enlightenment to
others. Well, he certainly conveyed his hypocrisy to others! One
young woman, who grew up on the Rajneesh Oregon commune, asked me how
she could make money out of teaching Osho's meditation techniques. I
replied that she should go to an employment agency and get an honest
job. Meditation and business do not mix and there are too many money
hungry gurus out there already.

It shocks me to find that many Osho disciples do not care about
the crimes that were committed and are not bothered by the lies and
hypocrisy of their own movement. They don't seem to comprehend that
as a result of the germ warfare attack committed by Rajneesh
sannyasins on a restaurant in Oregon that meditation groups have
gotten a very bad name around the world.

The unrelated but equally infamous Aum Shinrikyo (a Japanese
cult) nerve gas attack on a subway station in Tokyo worsened this
situation considerably. The attitude of many Osho sannyasins seems to
be that as long as they get their psychic kicks out of a cult that it
does not matter who was hurt or how unethical and disgraceful the
behavior was. In their minds everyone else in the world was
responsible for the Oregon debacle except them. As a result of this
careless attitude many Americans now feel that if a meditation group
starts an ashram nearby it is time to buy a gun and a gas mask.

The amount of historical revisionism and propaganda put out by
some Rajneesh disciples rivals the efforts of Maoists during the 1960s
and their state of mind is similar. If you want to believe in one
perfect man, a Pope of the universe, then anyone who criticizes that
Pope is deemed a devil. Thus all the subtleties of my essay are lost
on these disciples and all they claim to see on my Web page is "hate
and anger." Of course they do not see the hate in themselves directed
at anyone who does not share their own narrow beliefs.

One long time disciple of Rajneesh expressed to me how angry she
was at the Dalai Lama for only visiting the Rajneesh ashram in Poona
once. So for her the Dalai Lama is now a villain just because he did
not want to go back for a second visit. The level of intolerance and
narrow mindedness in the Rajneesh cult is mind boggling to me and I
cannot understand how so many seemingly intelligent people can live in
such a small mental space, barricaded against all those who do not
believe exactly as they do.

The last time I visited the Rajneesh ashram in Poona, India, was
in 1988. It was literally like a loud convention of German Brown
Shirts by that point. Osho was still very popular in Germany, due in
part to his comments in the German magazine Stern which were widely
interpreted to be pro-Hitler. I myself do not believe Osho was a
serious supporter of Adolf Hitler. It seemed to me that he was just
playing with people's minds, but he made his position ambiguous
enough, with enough expressed sympathy for the Axis cause, that many
young Germans were thrilled by his words. Those who lost loved ones
during World War II were justifiably shocked.

At one point Rajneesh stated that "I have fallen in love with
this man (Adolf Hitler). He was crazy, but I am crazier still." I do
not believe Rajneesh meant that statement literally. He was joking,
but he had lost the common sense to know that one does not joke about
loving a man who has killed millions of innocent people. Mel Brooks
can get away with it because he is Jewish and has relatives who were
killed by the Nazis. For a "spiritual" man who portrayed himself as
the world's smartest, highest, and greatest soul, such a remark was
proof that his drug taking was destroying the quality of his
judgment.

At the time of my visit Osho was in silence as he was angry at
his own disciples. He wanted his sannyasins to demonstrate in the
streets of Poona against some Indian officials who had spoken out
against him. Wisely, no one was interested in creating a new
confrontation. This spell of sanity among the flock irritated Osho
who canceled public talks as punishment. I was thus only able to see
him on video tape. On the taped lecture Osho was ranting emotionally,
and factually incorrectly, about how the police in the United States
had stolen his collection of jewel encrusted watches. He said that
they would never be able to wear them in public because his sannyasins
would see the watches on their wrists, at airports etc., and start
screaming out loud that "you stole Bhagwan's watch!" His words and
manner were so childishly irrational that he reminded me of Jim
Jones. This Osho was a far cry from the serene, dignified, and highly
eloquent man I had met years earlier.

Why did Osho own 90 Rolls Royces? Why does Saddam Hussein own
dozens of luxurious palaces? Those desires are products of the base
animal mind of two men who grew up in poverty. Enlightenment does not
care about symbols of power and potency. Looking for hidden esoteric
explanations for obsessive behavior is pointless. Is there an occult
reason that Elton John spends over $400,000. per month on flowers? Is
there a secret spiritual reason that Osho had a collection of dozens
of expensive ladies' watches? The universal cosmic consciousness is
completely neutral and without any need to possess, impress, or
dominate. It also cannot drive or tell time.

Shivamurti's book, Bhagwan: The God That Failed, could have
easily also been entitled The Man Who Became His Own Opposite, or The
Man Who Betrayed Himself. I often tell people that if they could go
back in time and kidnap the Acharya Rajneesh of 1970, then bring him
up through the years to meet the Osho of the late 1980s, that the two
men would be at war with each other. Acharya would have hated Osho's
pompous self-indulgence and Osho would have never tolerated the young
Acharya's brash criticisms. Acharya Rajneesh spoke of freedom and
compassion. Osho once said that he wished someone would
"shoot" (assassinate) former Soviet leader Mikael Gorbachev because he
was leading the Soviet Union to Western style capitalism instead of
his own imagined "spiritual communism." The change in his teaching
was remarkable, to say the least.

I would like to think that the early Acharya Rajneesh would have
approved of my essay, but who can say for sure. For those who suggest
I am not being loyal to Osho, I counter that I am honestly trying to
be loyal to Acharya Rajneesh, the man I took sannyas from, not Osho.
He was a man I still deeply love and respect. But that Acharya
Rajneesh died along time before Osho was even born and the two men
were as different as day and night.

My message to letter writers is to go ahead and write me. You
can vent anger or thank me, but neither will have much effect on me as
I have heard it all before, from both sides. I can only sigh and ask
myself how Acharya Rajneesh, who started out as an anti-guru
extraordinaire, ended up as he did with this current crop of
disciples. Perhaps it shows that power does corrupt and that the
means rarely justifies the ends.

In the end where is meditation in all of this? "Color
Puncture," "Tantric Tarot Readings," encounter groups, and every phony
crackpot scam in the book is being peddled by Osho disciples for large
sums of money. But what about meditation? Then I think back to the
day when the just turned 40 year old Acharya wisely instructed a
friendly Japanese woman, who was starting a new Rajneesh meditation
center in Tokyo, that "Meditation must not be made into a business."
The corrupt means have gotten so far out of hand that the original
intent of the ends, Acharya Rajneesh's original noble vision, has long
been forgotten by many, but not by me.

"No Saint comes to the world with a new teaching or philosophy; he
brings the same
ancient wisdom."

Maharaj Charan Singh, Sikh Guru
From "Divine Light," p. 144

"They [the sages] conduct themselves in the everyday life in
accordance with the time-hallowed rules of conduct..."

"He should be known as the killer of the Brahman, who is a renegade
beyond the pale of all recognized schools of thought."

The Jivan-Mukti-Viveka of Sri Vidyaranya

Translation of Pandit Subrahmanya Sastri, F.T.S., The Theosophical
Publishing House, p. 170, p. 218

"Rajneesh/Osho is the worst thing that ever happened to spirituality
in the west. He rode herd over a mob of naive, idealistic spiritual
seekers, but definitely lacked the traits of an enlightened master.

"Enlightened masters are not drug addicts. They do not turn Dharma on
its head -- like calling "sannyasins" those who adopt a path exactly
opposite of Indian sannyas. They generally don't get arrested and have
their mug shots taken, and ignomiously deported -- especially the
Indian saints. (Christ was one notable historical exception to this
rule.) A true saint, by his spiritual power, is never humiliated or
bested. He has sufficient merit to receive protection and his honored
in his lifetime.

"More to the core, an enlightened master does not encourage his
disciples to abandon time-honored moral norms -- especially the
dharma concerning sex restraint. Osho was basically a kind of pimp who
used the base desires of average people, along with their beautiful
hunger for real spirituality, to build a financial empire and a
following of worshippers who would do whatever he asked.

"When I think back about that 'baby boomer generation' of sincere
spiritual seekers -- all those intelligent, skilled young men and
women of European descent like me -- it makes me so sad. What a
harvest of potential saints that was! How much good might have arisen
if all those young, idealistic westerners could have fallen in with a
legitimate spiritual master -- say, a Vivekananda or a Ramakrishna. We
will never know! I look at them today, and their condition, and they
have missed the boat.

"Thousands of sincere western seekers were misled and harmed by the
novel teachings of Osho. I have seen many of them in the aftermath.
They always lack the satvic glow that comes from yogic sex restraint;
they look like spent rakes aged well beyond their actual years. Even
in their age -- when they might show some spiritual attainment -- many
still crave sex, and all the ordinary base things. Despite Osho's
"indulgence technique," they never got over sex addiction and lust.

"This was one of the Big Lies that Osho told: That by indulging your
sex desire you would transcend it. The great sages of Yoga spoke the
real and opposite truth: You get over sexual lust not by feeding it,
but by restraining it until you encounter the higher thrill of
meditative bliss. Meanwhile, it is only that renunciation -- the
storing of the sexual energy -- that enables one to contact the
transcendental bliss. This has been the message of the sages through
all time, including Lord Buddha, who was frequently ripped off by
"the Bhagwan." Osho's teachings, though sprinkled here and there with
mystical truths, were dead wrong in the most basic ways, and
ultimately spiritually destructive.

"The proof is in the pudding. Christ said that one can know a true
Master by the "fruit" that emerges from him. Through his disciples
Osho gave us moral and family breakdown, drug addiction, a disturbed
childhood for many, and crime -- even terrorism. Osho set Yoga back in
the west perhaps hundreds of years.

"The saddest thing is what happened to all those children of Osho
followers. Osho wanted them to grow up not knowing who their Fathers
were; raised by a mob, with no particular person as Parent. I can't
think of anything much more ignorant, or more cruel. Krishnamurti was
right:
Osho was a criminal."

-- Julian Lee
www.Celibacy.info

Osho/Rajneeshism

Concise summary and history of the Osho/Rajneesh mess

The Rise And Fall of Rajneeshpuram

Sympathetic account of the Osho mess, but with a good accounting of
their criminal activites

"It was later revealed in court testimony that Sheela’s [Rajneeshee
group] had attempted to poison two local communities by dumping
salmonella into salad bars of several local restaurants . . . This
episode has the unfortunate distinction of being the first instance of
modern bioterrorism in the U.S.

"Sheela’s group also allegedly fire-bombed a county records office in
The Dalles. One of the charges most heavily investigated was the
poisoning of Swami Deveraj (later Amrito), Bhagwan’s personal
physician. After the July 6 discourse, Ma Shanti Bhadra hugged
Deveraj and jabbed him with a needle. The syringe contained a still
unidentified poison concocted by Rajneeshpuram nurse Ma Puja. Deveraj
became gravely ill and almost died at the Madras hospital."

"My Life In Orange"

The child of an Osho disciple recounts his crazy life growing up under
the "Rajneesh." Find out how bad it was. Many letters here from other
grown Osho children, or those raised in similar situations.

http://rajneesh.info/

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
An Apologetics Index research resource

Rajneesh founded the Rajneesh Foundation International, and is one of
the most controversial of modern gurus. In 1981 he was deported from
Oregon under a bevy of serious criminal charges associated with his
ashram, or spiritual community. His recent death did little to stem
his influence in Europe or America.
John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs
Harvest House Publishers, Oregon, 1996.

[A]lso called OSHO AND ACHARYA RAJNEESH, original name CHANDRA MOHAN
JAIN, Indian spiritual leader who preached an eclectic doctrine of
Eastern mysticism, individual devotion, and sexual freedom while
amassing vast personal wealth.

In 1981 Rajneesh's cult purchased a dilapidated ranch in Oregon, U.S.,
which became the site of Rajneeshpuram, a community of several
thousand orange-robed disciples. Rajneesh was widely criticized by
outsiders for his private security force and his ostentatious display
of wealth. By 1985 many of his most trusted aides had abandoned the
movement, which was under investigation for multiple felonies
including arson, attempted murder, drug smuggling, and vote fraud in
the nearby town of Antelope. In 1985 Rajneesh pleaded guilty to
immigration fraud and was deported from the United States. He was
refused entry by 21 countries before returning to Pune, where his
ashram soon grew to 15,000 members. In later years he took the
Buddhist title Osho and altered his teaching on unrestricted sexual
activity because of his growing concern over AIDS.

Rajneesh, Bhagwan Shree Encyclopedia Britannica

(...) the only known successful use of biological weapons in the
United States was by the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh cult in 1984. The
group contaminated salad bars in 10 restaurants in The Dalles, Ore.,
with Salmonella Typhimurium, causing several hundred people to become
ill.

Biological and Chemical Warfare Q and A, ABC News, Sep. 24, 2001

Hinduism is not by nature a proselytizing religion, however, in part
because of its inextricable roots in the social system and the land of
India. In recent years, many new gurus, such as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
and Satya Sai Baba, have been successful in making converts in Europe
and the United States. The very success of these gurus, however, has
produced material profits that many people regard as incompatible with
the ascetic attitude appropriate to a Hindu spiritual leader; in some
cases, the profits have led to notoriety and even legal prosecution.
Hinduism Outside India Encyclopedia Britannica

Name Change

In 1988 thirty years after taking the title, ''Bhagwan,'' (which means
''the embodiment of God'') Rajneesh admitted the title and his claim
to be God were a ''joke.'' ''I hate the word... I don't want to be
called Bhagwan (God) again. Enough is enough. The joke is over,''
stated Rajneesh saying he was really the reincarnation of Buddha and
claiming for himself the new title of ''Rajneesh Gautaman the
Buddha,'' (Star Telegram, Dec. 29, 1988; Sec.1, p. 3). Later he took
the title, ''Osho Rajneesh,'' a Buddhist term meaning ''on whom the
heavens shower flowers.'' (Ibid, 1/20/90).

Guru Rajneesh Dead at 58, Watchman Expositor, Vol. 7, No. 2, 1990

Guru Rajneesh Dead at 58, Watchman Expositor, Vol. 7, No. 2, 1990

Old Bhagwan, new bottles ''A 'new' spiritual guru turns out to have a
past that includes lavish spending, orgies and bacterial terrorism.'',
Salon.com, Oct. 20, 1999

Ever wonder what ever happened to the guy whose religious followers
were linked to the only episode of domestic mass bioterrorism in
America? Well, in the case of the late, notorious Bhagwan Shree
Rajneesh, old renegade sex gurus never die. He just ''left his body''
somewhere in India in 1990 and later emerged as a thriving, modern-day
publishing machine known as Osho.

Rajneesh's flock caught much of his meditative bon mots on tape, and
now incessantly recycle these ponderings as spiritual wisdom under the
author name of Osho.

Rajneesh, Bhagwan Shree Entry in Encyclopedia Britannica

Rajneeshpuram: Another Tragedy in the Making? Statement by the
Christian Research Institute

The Story of a Truly Contaminated Election Columbia Journalism
Review, Jan/Feb 2000

The only proven incident of bioterrorism the United States has ever
experienced, we learned, was a bizarre plot by the Rajneeshees, a
religious cult, to steal a county election in Oregon in 1984. The
Rajneeshees, followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a self-proclaimed
guru exiled from India, had moved into a ranch in rural Wasco County,
taken political control of the small nearby town of Antelope, and
changed its name to Rajneesh. Next, the cult sought to run the whole
county by winning the local election in 1984.

The amazing story of the Wasco County election scandal was revealed to
the conference's riveted participants by Leslie L. Zaitz, an
investigative reporter for The Oregonian, and Dr. John Livengood, an
epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control. To win the county
election, the Rajneeshees planned to sicken a good portion of the
population in the town of The Dalles, where most Wasco County voters
live. Their weapon of choice to keep local residents from voting was
salmonella bacteria. Cult members decided to test the use of
salmonella and, if successful, to contaminate the entire water system
of The Dalles on Election Day. First, the Rajneeshees poisoned two
visiting Wasco County commissioners on a hot day by plying them with
refreshing drinks of cold water laced with salmonella. Then, on a
shopping trip to The Dalles, cult members sprinkled salmonella on
produce in grocery stores "just for fun." According to reporter Zaitz,
that experiment didn't get the results they wanted so the Rajneeshees
proceeded to clandestinely sprinkle salmonella at the town's
restaurant salad bars. Ten restaurants were hit and more than 700
people got sick.

Wasco County Sheriffs This history includes a recounting of the
Rajneeshees involvement in this Oregon community

More Information:

Apologetics Index (apologeticsindex.org) provides 40,870+ pages of
research resources on religious cults, sects, new religious movements,
alternative religions, apologetics-, anticult-, and countercult
organizations, doctrines, religious practices and world views. These
resources reflect a variety of theological and/or sociological
perspectives.

The site provides information that helps equip Christians to logically
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in their comparison of various religious claims. Issues addressed
range from spiritual and cultic abuse to contemporary theological and/
or sociological concerns.

Apologetics Index also includes ex-cult support resources - including
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cult news (Religon News Blog: ReligionNewsBlog.com), articles on
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Apologetics Index™

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1565071603/christianministr

also called Osho or Acharya Rajneesh, original name Chandra Mohan
Jain
born Dec. 11, 1931, India died Jan. 19, 1990, Pune, India

Indian spiritual leader who preached an eclectic doctrine of Eastern
mysticism, individual devotion, and sexual freedom, while amassing
vast personal wealth.

As a young intellectual, Rajneesh visited with and absorbed insights
from teachers of the various religious traditions active in India. He
studied philosophy at the University of Jabalpur, earning a B.A. in
1955; he began teaching there in 1957, after earning an M.A. from the
University of Saugar. At the age of 21 he had an intense spiritual
awakening, which inspired in him the belief that individual religious
experience is the central fact of spiritual life and that such
experiences cannot be organized into any single belief system.

In 1966 Rajneesh resigned from his university post and became a guru
(spiritual guide) and a teacher of meditation. In the early 1970s he
initiated people into the order of sannyasis, who traditionally
renounced the world and practiced asceticism. Reinterpreting the idea
of being a sannyasi in terms of detachment rather than asceticism,
Rajneesh taught his disciples to live fully in the world without being
attached to it.

The first Westerners came to Rajneesh in the early 1970s, and in 1974
the new headquarters of his movement was established in Pune. The
basic practice taught at the centre was called dynamic meditation, a
process designed to allow people to experience the divine. The centre
also developed a diversified program of New Age healing adopted from
the West. Rajneesh became well-known for his progressive approach to
sexuality, which contrasted with the renunciation of sex advocated by
many other Indian teachers.

Rajneesh moved to the United States in 1981 and, the following year,
incorporated Rajneeshpuram, a new city he planned to build on an
abandoned ranch near Antelope, Ore. During the next few years many of
his most trusted aides abandoned the movement, which came under
investigation for multiple felonies, including arson, attempted
murder, drug smuggling, and vote fraud in Antelope. In 1985 Rajneesh
pleaded guilty to immigration fraud and was deported from the United
States. He was refused entry to 21 countries before returning to Pune,
where his ashram soon grew to 15,000 members.

In 1989 Rajneesh adopted the Buddhist name Osho. After his death his
disciples, convinced that he had been the victim of government
intrigue, voiced their belief in his innocence and vowed to continue
the movement he started. In the early 21st century it had some 750
centres located in more than 60 countries.

John Gordon Melton

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/490155/Bhagwan-Shree-Rajneesh

Vol. 7, No. 2, 1990
Articles on the New Age

Guru Rajneesh Dead at 58

Controversial Indian Guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, "who turned a
central Oregon town into a tumultuous commune of free love, hedonism
and murder plots before being deported," died on Jan. 19th of heart
failure in Poona, India. (Ft. Worth Star Telegram, 1/20/90).

Rajneesh captured the nation's attention in 1981 when he moved his
ashram community and 93 Rolls-Royces to Antelope, Oregon and advocated
"enlightenment" through sexual promiscuity. Oregonians were concerned
when Rajneesh's followers, who outnumbered the permanent residents of
Antelope, took over the small town changing its name to "City of
Rajneesh." Critics charged that the Guru later tried to take over the
county by bussing in street people gathered from the nation's inner
cities to out-vote the regular citizens.

Ma Anand Sheela, the Rajneesh's personal secretary, later pled guilty
to a number of charges including, "plotting to kill Mr. Rajneesh's
physician with a poison-filled syringe and orchestrating a food
poisoning outbreak that sickened more than 750 people in The Dalles,
the county seat, as part of a plot to take control of the
county," (Ibid).

The Bhagwan was also arrested and deported on charges of immigration
fraud as part of a plea bargain arrangement with U.S. officials. He
returned to his native India after unsuccessfully attempting to
immigrate to several other countries.

Rajneesh's teachings included, "sex is fun, materialism is good and
Jesus was a madman," and the claim that he was "the world's greatest
lover." His "Bible" called, The Orange Book described a typical yoga
session, "Explode! Go totally mad.... Jump up and down shouting the
mantra `Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!' ...Each time you land on the flats of your
feet, let the sound hammer deep into the sex center," (Ibid).

In 1988 thirty years after taking the title, "Bhagwan," (which means
"the embodiment of God") Rajneesh admitted the title and his claim to
be God were a "joke." "I hate the word... I don't want to be called
Bhagwan (God) again. Enough is enough. The joke is over," stated
Rajneesh saying he was really the reincarnation of Buddha and claiming
for himself the new title of "Rajneesh Gautaman the Buddha," (Star
Telegram, Dec. 29, 1988; Sec.1, p. 3). Later he took the title, "Osho
Rajneesh," a Buddhist term meaning "on whom the heavens shower
flowers." (Ibid, 1/20/90).

Thousands of the Guru's followers welcomed his death as "a liberation
of the soul" and celebrations began in the Poona, India compound as
soon as his death was announced.

http://www.watchman.org/na/rajneesh.htm

WEDnesday, Oct 20, 1999 09:00 EDT
Old Bhagwan, new bottles

A "new" spiritual guru turns out to have a past that includes lavish
spending, orgies and bacterial terrorism.
By Dennis McCafferty

Ever wonder what ever happened to the guy whose religious followers
were linked to the only episode of domestic mass bioterrorism in
America? Well, in the case of the late, notorious Bhagwan Shree
Rajneesh, old renegade sex gurus never die. He just "left his body"
somewhere in India in 1990 and later emerged as a thriving, modern-day
publishing machine known as Osho.

Rajneesh's flock caught much of his meditative bon mots on tape, and
now incessantly recycle these ponderings as spiritual wisdom under the
author name of Osho. This Osho has now generated an impressively
diversified empire of books, video tapes, television shows, corporate
seminars (via Osho "trainees") and even a 34-acre luxury spa in Pune,
India. With more than a dozen titles published and still going strong,
his worldwide book and audio book sales now surpass $1 million
annually. Due out in mid-November from the ever-prolific (albeit,
technically dead) Osho: Three new titles from St. Martin's Griffin --
"Creativity," "Courage" and "Maturity," all priced at $11.95 -- to
mark the 10th anniversary of his death in January. And in May 2000, a
new "autobiography" with the working title "Osho: The Autobiography of
the Spiritually Incorrect Mystic."

To date, the published works of Osho have left readers with little
clues as to his former identity. So consumers may not know that
they're actually plunking down their cash for rehashed ramblings from
the late Rajneesh, the controversy-plagued spiritual leader kicked out
of the United States after his legal woes heated up in the mid-1980s.
Rajneesh made headlines with a lifestyle that included a convoy of
more than 90 Rolls-Royces, flashy jewelry and enough hedonistic
pursuits to earn him the title "world's most famous sex guru."

Rajneesh and his followers settled on a 65,000-acre ranch near
Antelope, Ore., wrestled political control from town office holders
and renamed Antelope "Rajneeshpuram." But they were essentially the
sect that couldn't shoot straight. During a conflict with Oregon
authorities, the followers were accused of arson and attempted murder.
In perhaps the most notorious incident, some members of the Rajneesh
crew were linked to a 1984 case in which salmonella bacteria was
sprinkled on the contents of local restaurant salad bars and sickened
750 people. Rajneesh was deported on immigration fraud charges and
died in Pune on Jan. 19, 1990.

However, Rajneesh lives on with an estimated 5,000 of his lectures now
marketed as Osho tapes and books. He'll answer e-mail questions on the
Web and make the occasional remark on current affairs. (Live! From the
Osho Commune International home base in Pune: "Clinton needs Tantra
Sutra, not Kama Sutra.")

The books are less than enlightening about Osho's time spent here on
Earth; their references to Rajneesh are rare and fuzzy. In the
current, uncorrected proofs of the three new St. Martin's titles, for
example, the brief "About the Author" section makes no mention at all
of Osho's prior identity.

Says Klaus Steeg, president of Osho International in New York: "He
changed his name. He was called Bhagwan. But the year before he died,
he dropped that. It's a complete deconstruction of his personality."
And perhaps more importantly, of all the bad P.R. that his former name
brings to mind.

Steeg promises that, while the "autobiography" will tie up some of
these loose connections, the wealth of Osho's heavily marketed inner-
self discourses do not because they're intended as guides. Michael
Denneny, the St. Martin's senior editor currently overseeing Osho
titles, says the publishing company, as is its policy, provides a
picture of Rajneesh in the books. Still, the photos identify him only
as Osho. "If he changed his name to Osho," Denneny reasons, "then it's
like Muhammad Ali and Cassius Clay." As far as how forthcoming the
autobiography will be, that remains to be seen. Osho "distinguishes
between what is true and what is fact," Denneny says. "He prefers the
truth." Jim Fitzgerald, who edited a 1998 St. Martin's-published work
from Osho called "The Book of Secrets," is more blunt: "I'd be
shooting myself in the foot to say that's the guy [whose people]
poisoned salad bars.''

Well, forgive and, most of all, forget, right? At least a few media
types have short memories. Last year, the New York Times featured a
puff piece on Osho International's Lexington Avenue office digs,
describing Osho as a now-deceased Indian mystic and making no
reference to Rajneesh. A 1998 travel piece in Yoga Journal describing
the Pune attraction as a "New Age Xanadu" did connect Osho to the
Rajneesh name, but blithely omitted mention of the salad bars or other
unsavory details.

http://www.salon.com/books/feature/1999/10/20/osho/

The Story of a Truly Contaminated Election
BY LAWRENCE K. GROSSMAN

On November 30, when Vice President Gore's vote challenge was making
Florida the epicenter of the universe, I happened to be in St.
Petersburg, Florida, moderating a conference on "Bioterrorism and the
Media." Terrible as the subject of the bioterrorism conference is, it
promised at least to offer a welcome respite from the endless but
irresistible election mess. As it turned out, I was wrong. The
centerpiece of the conference was, of all things, the case study of a
truly contaminated election.

The only proven incident of bioterrorism the United States has ever
experienced, we learned, was a bizarre plot by the Rajneeshees, a
religious cult, to steal a county election in Oregon in 1984. The
Rajneeshees, followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a self-proclaimed
guru exiled from India, had moved into a ranch in rural Wasco County,
taken political control of the small nearby town of Antelope, and
changed its name to Rajneesh. Next, the cult sought to run the whole
county by winning the local election in 1984.

The amazing story of the Wasco County election scandal was revealed to
the conference's riveted participants by Leslie L. Zaitz, an
investigative reporter for The Oregonian, and Dr. John Livengood, an
epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control. To win the county
election, the Rajneeshees planned to sicken a good portion of the
population in the town of The Dalles, where most Wasco County voters
live. Their weapon of choice to keep local residents from voting was
salmonella bacteria. Cult members decided to test the use of
salmonella and, if successful, to contaminate the entire water system
of The Dalles on Election Day. First, the Rajneeshees poisoned two
visiting Wasco County commissioners on a hot day by plying them with
refreshing drinks of cold water laced with salmonella. Then, on a
shopping trip to The Dalles, cult members sprinkled salmonella on
produce in grocery stores "just for fun." According to reporter Zaitz,
that experiment didn't get the results they wanted so the Rajneeshees
proceeded to clandestinely sprinkle salmonella at the town's
restaurant salad bars. Ten restaurants were hit and more than 700
people got sick.

"They apparently didn't expect it to be such a huge success," Zaitz
said. "The attention attracted by the salad bar escapade brought
hordes of health officials and investigators into The Dalles. It
dashed the cult's plan to do worse on Election Day." Health officials
soon pinned down salmonella as the cause of the sudden outbreak, but
put the blame on food handlers. In 1984, who could have imagined
bioterrorism?

The Rajneeshees also bused in homeless people by the hundreds from all
across the country to register in Wasco County so they could vote in
the '84 election. That plan failed when, alerted by the mass
registration of the homeless, the state threatened to conduct
administrative hearings on every new local voter. The cult's
conspiracy to contaminate the election failed and a year later, the
entire Rajneeshee commune collapsed under the weight of an internal
conflict. Cult informers confessed to numerous crimes, including plots
to kill the U.S. attorney, the state attorney general, and the guru's
doctor, as well as the plot to contaminate the election. Vials of
salmonella were found on the Rajneeshees' ranch.

Zaitz and his investigative reporting team produced a twenty-part
series on the Rajneeshees for The Oregonian starting in June 1985.
After the commune collapsed they went back and produced a follow-up
series. Among other things, they learned that the Rajneeshees had
secretly put together a top-ten hit list on which Zaitz's name
appeared as number three.

"If anything, the local news media were restrained and conservative in
their coverage of the salmonella episode," Zaitz told the conference.
"There was nothing alarmist, nothing to trigger a public panic. More
aggressive coverage perhaps would have heated up already tense
community relations with the commune. Yet the benign treatment also
gave the Rajneeshees comfort that they could get away with it . . . .
Fortunately, the commune collapsed before that could happen. But
consider this: If they knew reporters were watching closely, would
they have even tried?"

Something like that might be said of the presidential balloting mess.
If, in the days before the voting, reporters had focused on the
botched job the nation's election districts were doing with voting
procedures for the central political event of our democracy, the
election of a president, would the balloting and ballot-counting have
been quite so off-base?

For epidemiologist Livengood, however, who had been dispatched to
Wasco County to solve the cause of the mysterious outbreak, the story
had a different, simpler moral: "Don't eat at salad bars."

Lawrence K. Grossman, a former president of NBC News and PBS, is a
regular columnist for CJR.

http://web.archive.org/web/20020614093959/http://www.cjr.org/year/01/1/grossman.asp

Ernest D. Mosier followed Harold Sexton and was Sheriff of Wasco
County two different times. He first served from 1953 to September,
1963, when he resigned. He came back to spend six more years as
Sheriff from July 1971 to 1977 when he was appointed to replace the
resigning William L. Bell.

A native of The Dalles, Mosier graduated from The Dalles High School
and later attended Willamette University. Before joining the Sheriffs'
Office, Mosier was an office manager at a number of companies in The
Dalles area.

Sterling Arthur Trent was appointed to take Mosier's place when he
resigned. A native of Gorin, Missouri, Trent served as Sheriff of
Wasco County until June 1968, when he died in office. He moved to
Oregon in 1913 and was a Deputy Sheriff from July 1954 until he was
appointed Sheriff in September 1963.

A graduate of The Dalles High School, Trent worked in the construction
business for a time and also managed a tire shop and was a stock
rancher for a while. When Trent died, Grant Cyphers was appointed to
take his place, but Cyphers served only a month before it was dis-
covered he was of the wrong political party.

William L. Bell was appointed to take Cyphers' place and remained
Sheriff of Wasco County until July 1971, when he resigned to take a
job with the Board on Police Standards and Training. A native of Long
Beach, California, Bell moved to Oregon in 1947.

Bell graduated from Wheeler County High School in Fossil and attended
five terms at the University of Oregon and two terms at Oregon College
of Education. He signed on with The Dalles Police Department in 1957
as an officer but left for two years to serve in the United States
Army from 1958 to 1960. He remained with The Dalles Police Department
until 1968, when he was appointed to take the place of Cyphers.

Ernest Mosier came back to serve as Sheriff when he was appointed to
take Bell's place, remaining this time until 1977, when John B. Magill
was elected. Magill-- whose family was an old ranching family in Wasco
County -- served a four-year term before Robert G. "Bob" Brown was
elected in 1981.

Born in Council Bluff, Iowa, Brown moved to Oregon in 1963 from South
Dakota. He graduated from the University of Nebraska in Omaha in 1962
with degrees in business administration and engineering. He worked for
seven years as a superintendent and engineer for Peter Kiewet & Sons
in Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Washington and
Oregon. From 1967 until 1980, Brown worked for Tenneson Engineering in
The Dalles.

Art Labrousse won the 1984 election and was re-elected in 1988 to
become the first two-term Sheriff in Wasco County since 1968.

Big Muddy-ed Affair

In 1981, Wasco County school children learned a new word:
Rajneeshees. Even before the start of the school year, a few lessons
on this strange East Indian word and what it meant. Followers of the
nomadic Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh purchased the rambling,
64,229 acre Big Muddy Ranch in Wasco and Jefferson counties in July of
1981 as the central commune for the Bhagwan and his devoted
followers.

At first, the residents of nearby Antelope viewed the sudden
appearance of the red-clad Rajneesh disciples, known as Sannyasins but
more commonly referred to as Rashneeshees, as nothing more than a
curiosity. It wasn't long, however, before they realized the
seriousness and full intentions of the Rajneesh movement, or
"invasion,'' as some locals preferred to call it.

While the Bhagwan's chief aide Ma Anand Sheela was declaring the
movement's plan to operate a simple farming commune in the desert, his
other disciples were busy in the background developing grand plans for
a huge resort city for up to 100,000 Rajneeshees.

Within a matter of weeks, construction began on a number of buildings
within the newly-christened Rancho Rajneesh, including a shoppng mall,
restaurant, a resort-like motel and commune service offices. In many
cases, Bhagwan followers moved ahead without securing proper county
building permits.

In the meantime, new recruits continued pouring into the desert
commune -many of them wealthy European and American followers who were
more than willing and able to finance the Bhagwan's movement.

But the Rajneesh movement began to falter in October 1981 when two
months after arriving at Rancho Rajneesh, the Bhagwan applied to the
U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service for an extension of his
visa. Immigration officials began a full-scale investigation into the
activities of the religious sect, focusing on the guru's intent in
coming to the United States and a pattern of suspect marriages between
the U.S. citizen and foreign followers.

The investigation turned up information that the Bhagwan and his
followers left India in the spring of 1981 owing the Indian government
more than $6 million in unpaid taxes. An Indian tax court voided the
Rajneesh organization's tax-exempt status and assessed millions of
rupees (Indian currency) in back taxes.

But the movement forged ahead in the Oregon desert. In April 1982,
Rajneeshees, voting as a bloc, managed to secure enough votes to take
over the town of Antelope, which was renamed Rajneesh. They also voted
to incorporate Rancho Rajneesh -- the former Big Muddy Ranch as the
town of Rajneeshpuram.

With this newly-acquired power, Rajneesh leaders began making more
demands on county and state leaders. They demanded access to records
and reports by Wasco County officials pertaining to the commune and
its activities. They also demanded state basic school support for the
Rajneeshees' school, even though the state rejected the demand, saying
public tax dollars go to support public schools, not private ones like
the Rajneesh school.

But problems were just beginning for the movement. Over the next three
years, Rajneeshee leaders were accused of the salmonella poisonings of
hundreds of residents of The Dalles and some 500 persons filed suit
against the sect. Sheela, along with two other disciples, were accused
in a 1985 federal grand jury indictment of plotting the unsuccessful
murder of the Bhagwan's private physician.

And the Bhagwan himself broke his own vow of public silence in
September 1985 with a scathing attack on Sheela and a half dozen of
her allies, claiming they had betrayed him and his followers and that
they had stolen $55 million from the commune. An article in The
Oregonian on Sept. 17, 1985, quoted the Bhagwan as saying Sheela "and
her gang had turned my commune into a fascist concentration camp."

The Bhagwan's claims that militant Rajneeshees had been stockpiling
assault weapons and had been engaged in illegal wire-tapping at the
ranch touched off a multi-agency investigation into the alleged
criminal activity which proved to be the beginning of the end for
Rajneeshpuram.

On Oct. 23, 1985, a federal grand jury in Portland secretly indicted
the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Sheela and six other Sannyasins for
immigration crimes. Two days later, a Wasco County grand jury returned
indictments against Sheela and two others, charging them with the
attempted murder of Swami Devaraj, the Bhagwan's personal doctor.

By that time, Sheela and about 25 of her followers had already fled
the ranch to Germany.

But Rajneeshpuram was thrown into turmoil on Oct. 28, 1985 when the
Bhagwan' s loyal followers leared he had been arrested in Charlotte,
N.C., trying to flee immigration authorities on a privately-chartered
jet bound for Bermuda.

At about the same time, word arrived from Germany that Sheela and two
Rajneesh women had been arrested by West German police.

The Bhagwan was returned to Oregon to face a 35-count federal
indictment for immigration-related crimes, although he initially pled
innocent to all 35 counts. But as part of the plea-bargaining
agreement with federal prosecutors, the Bhagwan on Nov. 14, 1985,
agreed to plead guilty to two of the felony counts, to pay the court
costs and to leave the United States.

The Bhagwan returned to India and promptly told reporters gathered at
a New Delhi airport that the United States -the place he called a land
of religious freedom and opportunity four years earlier -- was "just a
wretched country."

Within a week of his departure, thousands of former followers were
leaving Rajneeshpuram in busloads. Within a month of their departure,
residents of the former Antelope reclaimed their town -and its
original name. But legal action against the Rajneeshees would continue
for many years.

Sheela and 20 other disciples later were indicted on federal wire-
tapping charges. Numerous civil suits were filed against the bankrupt
religious sect, some of which still have not been resolved.

On July 22, 1986, Sheela was sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and
ordered to pay a $400,000 fine after pleading guilty to state and
federal charges which included masterminding a massive electronic
eavesdropping system at Rancho Rajneesh, plotting the attempted murder
of the Bhagwan's physician and plotting the salmonella poisoning of
about 750 people in The Dalles.

For many Rajneeshees, the dream of carving a utopian Shangri-la out of
the barren, Central Oregon desert ended long before Jan. 18, 1990--
the day Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh died in Ashram in Pune, India, at the
age of 58.

For Wasco County Sheriff Art Labrousse, it was a rare learning
experience -- one he says he will never forget.

"They were well organized," Labrousse recalls. Or at least, better
prepared to take control of the tiny town of Antelope than local
officials were prepared to stop them. Labrousse and his 13-Deputy
force had their hands full trying to maintain law and order with the
sudden invasion of thousands of red-clad Rajneeshees into Wasco
County.

What made it so difficult, says Labreusse, was the cloak of secrecy
which seemed to engulf Rancho Rajneesh.

"Few people actually knew what was going on out there," he said.
Labrousse recalled the telephone call to his office on July 3, 1985,
from someone at the ranch reporting a possible drowning in a lake on
the ranch. Before he could summon the Wasco County medical examiner to
the scene, LaBrousse received another call, this time reporting that a
young man had been pulled from the lake and briefly revived. The man
was taken to the medical center in Jefferson County, but died,
Labrousse was told.

Since the attending physician, who was a Rajneeshee doctor, also was
the assistant medical examiner for Sherman County, Labrousse was told
by the state there was no need to call in the state medical examiner.
No body fluid or any other evidence was obtained by the assistant
medical examiner.

"They had a doctor who was an assistant medical examiner for Jefferson
County -- he ruled the man's death was accidental drowning," Labrousse
said.

Two days later, Labrousse was drinking coffee with an Oregon State
Police officer in Antelope. "We were talking about the Fourth of July
fire in The Dalles, caused by fireworks, when one of the Rajneesh
peace officers from Antelope said, 'Well, we had a great fireworks
show ourselves -- we cremated a boy who just died."

©1998 Roxann Gess Smith
All Rights Reserved

Visit Wasco Co. on The American Local History Network

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Labrousse cringed, not only because it was too late to do anything if
there had been a criminal deed, but because he had heard of similar
cremations occurring at Rancho Rajneesh in the past.

"We'll never know how many were cremated out there," he says. "But
every time they had a festival or celebration out at the ranch, there
was a death."

Labrousse said he sent a memorandum to the Wasco County Board of
Commissioners, suggesting the county not permit any future festivals
or celebrations at the ranch unless Rajneesh officials agreed in
advance that any deaths which occur during the event would be
investigated by the Wasco County medical examiner.

But the county never had to act on Labrousse's recommendation. Within
two weeks, the Bhagwan himself would expose Sheela and her gang and
Rajneeshpuram would begin to crumble.

The Missing Thumb Killer
Pictured Left: Levi Chrisman

Levi Chrisman was involved in dozens of puzzling murder and criminal
investigations during his 22-year tenure as Wasco County Sheriff. But
few were as complex as the shooting death of Jim Doran, a Bend lumber
mill worker, in early September, 1921.

The only clues to the killer's identity were a missing Dodge touring
car and a missing left thumb.

Doran's body had been found by a young couple, driving a lonely
country road two miles west of The Dalles, late one Saturday night.
Doran had been shot four times -- once in the head and at least three
times in the chest. The body was partially hidden behind some bushes
alongside the country road.

In their initial search of the victim's clothing for some type of
identification, investigators found an expensive gold pocket watch and
a few dollars in change. This led Chrisman and his Deputies to assume
robbery was not the motive behind the murder.

Chrisman's Chief Deputy Guy Elton noticed what appeared to be a trail
of blood leading away from the body into a grove of trees. The Sheriff
followed the trail and found a second gunshot victim with a bullet
wound in his shoulder. The man was rushed to a hospital in The
Dalles.

After undergoing successful surgery to remove the slug, the man agreed
to talk to Chrisman and Elton. He said his name was Bill Ducharme, and
he identified his slain companion as Jim Doran. Ducharme said he and
Doran had left Bend earlier that day with a third man, whose name he
could not recall.

Ducharme told the Sheriff that he and Doran had finished work at the
lumber mill and both were anxious to get to Doran's ranch at
McMinnville. But they didn't have transportation. The man, who
appeared to know Doran, offered to drive them in his car if they paid
his expenses. They agreed.

After having dinner in The Dalles that night, Ducharme said the
stranger offered to take them to a friend's place just outside of town
where they could spend the night. But a short way out of town,
Ducharme said the man pulled his car to a halt and told him they would
have to walk across a field to get to his friend's place.

Ducharme told Chrisman he had started out ahead of the other two when
he heard a shot. He turned and saw Doran tumble to the ground. Then,
Ducharme recalled, the stranger started firing at him so he began
running. One of the shots caught him in the shoulder, Ducharme said,
but he kept running until he collapsed in a grove of trees.

The wounded man could give only a general description of the gunman:
Approximately 40 years of age, medium build, black hair, gray eyes.
His description of the man's car was even more general: A large, black
touring car. He couldn't recall the make and didn't notice the license
number.

Chrisman put out the obligatory dispatches to all police officers and
agencies within a 100-mile radius, telling them to be on the lookout
for a large, black touring car with a dark-haired man in his early 40s
behind the wheel. He didn't hold out much hope, however.

When they received no response to the telegrams, Chrisman and Elton
went back to the murder scene the following morning. They found a
clear set of tire tracks in the soft, dirt shoulder of the road and
had the tracks photographed, hoping they could come up with a match
after searching The Dalles for the missing touring car and its tires.
But the hunch proved both time-consuming and futile.

Next, Chrisman and his men went to the lumber mill in Bend, where
Ducharme and Doran had worked, figuring the killer might also be
employed at the mill. None of the employees could remember seeing a
stranger with Ducharme and Doran at the mill the previous Friday when
the mill closed.

With their search for clues at a standstill, Chrisman suggested
investigators canvass gas stations and restaurants along the road the
three men were traveling Saturday, to see if anyone recalled seeing
the trio. The plan worked. A gas station owner reported three men
drove into his station Saturday afternoon in a nearly-new Dodge
touring car. The observant station owner said when the car's driver
paid for the gas, he noticed the man's left thumb was missing. The
station owner described the other two men in the car and they matched
the descriptions of Ducharme and Doran.

Encouraged at last by some useful leads, lawmen began compiling a list
of all new Dodge touring cars in the county and their owners. If one
of the owners had a left thumb missing and the car's tire tread marks
matched those of the tracks found near the murder scene, Chrisman felt
confident they would have their killer.

Unfortunately, Chrisman discovered, there were about 100 persons in
the county who owned newer Dodge touring cars. But with the help of
Deschutes County Sheriff S.E. Roberts and his Deputies, lawmen were
able to whittle the list of possible prospects to four. The first two
men on the list had two thumbs. The third was a man named Abe Evans,
who lived just outside of Bend.

They didn't find Evans at home, but his wife provided the information
they had been seeking: Her husband was missing his left thumb.

Mrs. Evans said her husband had gone to Salem looking for work. She
was able to provide officers with a license number for her husband's
car.

Lawmen put out an all-points bulletin on Abe Evans, along with the
license number of his car and a complete description of the vehicle.

After hearing the broadcast, Jefferson County Sheriff H.C. Topping and
his men began a wide-scale search of county gas stations, restaurants,
garages and motels for the wanted man and his car. They finally found
a motel owner in Metolius, not far from Madras, who informed them he
had rented a room to a man with a missing left thumb and a Dodge
touring car.

They found Evans, in an obvious state of intoxication, in one of the
motel rooms, trying to sleep off his miseries. They took Evans into
custody and transported him and his car to Deschutes County. Chrisman
checked the Dodge touring car's tire treads with his photographs. They
were a perfect match.

Evans denied shooting Ducharme and Doran, claimed he had left them at
a hotel in The Dalles, that he took off on his own, got drunk and
couldn't remember anything after that. But a search of the suspect
turned up $130 in cash. After two days of questioning, however, Evans
broke down and confessed.

He admitted knowing Doran for some time. He said he met Doran in
downtown Bend on Friday, the day before the shooting, and the two
walked to Doran's bank to cash his $150 paycheck from the mill. Doran
told Evans that he and a friend were going to McMinnville to spend the
winter, and Evans admitted that's where he got the idea to offer them
a ride as a way of getting them out into the country where he could
kill and rob them.

Evans told investigators he believed he had killed Ducharme, too. He
said he took Doran's billfold with most of the cash, but left the gold
watch and the change so it would not look like a robbery. He said he
threw the gun into some bushes, drove back to The Dalles to get some
whiskey, and drove south to the motel in Metolius.

A Wasco County Grand Jury indicted Evans of first-degree murder. Evans
pled not guilty by reason of insanity. A Wasco County Circuit Court
jury, however, convicted Evans of first-degree murder, with no
recommendation for mercy.

On Oct. 8, 1921, Evans was sentenced to hang for the killing of Jim
Doran. His attorney appealed the sentence to the Oregon Supreme Court.
But the high court, after numerous legal delays, upheld the sentence.

Evans never went to the gallows, however. On June 5, 1924 -- the day
before he was to be executed-- Gov. Walter M. Pierce commuted Evans'
sentence to life imprisonment.

http://gesswhoto.com/sheriff-wasco3.html

Apologetics Index News Archive - Search Results

Headline: Anand Sheela tends patients in Switzerland
Source: The Oregonian

Date: 1999/12/26

Description: Former Rajneeshee leader Anand Sheela -- once notorious
in Oregon as the spokeswoman for Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh -- now takes
care of frail and elderly patients in two private nursing homes in
Switzerland.

Headline: Indian guru follower Anand Sheela arrested after German TV
show
Source: The Oregonian

Date: 2000/01/22

Description: German police picked up Anand Sheela in a town near
Frankfort, Germany, last week after she appeared on a television show
to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of her former mentor, Indian
guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Sheela was quickly released, however,
because the Interpol warrant for her arrest had been canceled.

Headline: Experts Assess Risk of 'New Terrorism' Threat
Source: Los Angeles Times

Date: 2000/02/07

Description: They called it the ''new terrorism:'' a virulent strain
of anti-American aggression in which enemies without scruples would
use germs and toxic gases, not guns and bombs, to kill tens of
thousands of civilians at a stroke.

Headline: Meditation protected by patent
Source: NZZ Daily Edition

Date: 2000/06/29

Description: Now a dispute has broken out over that in India which
has burst the scintillating soap bubble of the symbiosis of money and
spirit. Professor Jain still likes to talk so beautifully about
dissolving all restricting relationships and he plunders the world's
literature in doing so, but when it comes to bringing his insights of
''One World'' to the people, he pays very close attention to setting
up his own boundary posts in the form of trademarks, patents,
copyrights and license agreements. Even Dynamic Kundalini Meditation
has been reported as a trademark.

Headline: A Sign of Mammon
Source: taz (Germany)

Date: 2000/07/20

Description: Who would be surprised that, in the commune, a bitter
power struggle is raging for control of hundreds of meditation centers
around the world, for the marketing rights of 1,500 book titles, and
of sound cassettes and videotapes of lectures from the Master.

Headline: Expert: US Open To Bioterrorism
Source: AP

Date: 2000/08/22

Description: Advances in technology make the United States more
vulnerable to bioterrorism than to nuclear attack, a leading expert in
defending against biological weapons said Tuesday.

Headline: Former cult camp becomes playground for children
Source: AP

Date: 2000/08/27

Description: The middle schoolers go about their summer camp
activities, unaware that all around them, thousands of followers once
toiled in the service of their leader, the Bhagwan Shre