Sunday, July 31, 2011
By Jack Hebner
"Juggernaut: a massive, inexorable force that crushes everything in its path."
— Oxford Dictionary
Spiritual and intellectual efforts of hundreds of millions of people over millennia have graced India with a rich and complex culture — a culture whose subtlety knows no rival. During the last three centuries the attempts of most Westerners to penetrate the spiritual dimension of Indian culture has at best been doomed to superficiality.
Although some sincere seekers of truth from outside India's borders have succeeded in their pursuit of Indian spirituality (and this is increasing as time goes on), still, the vast majority of the Western world remains caught in the slumber of misconception, much of which can be traced to an insufficient fund of knowledge and misinformation. Without the benefit of a preliminary briefing or education in Indian spirituality, a newcomer to India is certainly at a decided disadvantage, and is apt to view things according to his or her own cultural or religious biases. Of course this cultural cataract has marred many attempts to understand another's culture, yet the British view of India is perhaps one of the most vivid examples of misunderstanding that continues to take its toll today, some 40 years after Indian independence. Thus perhaps the richest spiritual heritage on Earth has been relegated to obscurity in modern times.
After a visit to India, Mark Twain once said, "East is East and West is West and ne'er the twain shall meet." This is certainly true on the physical plane, but the very nature of spirit is that it is neither Eastern or Western. India has, as her trademark, demonstrated an exemplary attitude of religious tolerance for many centuries, accommodating a vast number of different religious traditions within her borders: Jewish, Christian, Zorastrian, Muslim, and Hindu, among others, thus demonstrating that religious harmony does not depend on geographical considerations.
How the basic misconceptions about Indian spirituality first developed vividly comes to light when we examine history between 1690 and 1947, during which time Great Britain occupied India.
The East India Company
The British began their conquest of India from Calcutta, where they established the East India Company — a business venture that was destined to rule India with an iron fist for almost 250 years.
When the Britishers returned to their motherland, they depicted India as a barbaric, uncivilized country filled with polytheism, mythology, and idolatry. The scene they painted portrayed India as a country of primitive worshipers bowed down before a ghastly statue of some god or goddess. To them this represented one of the most hideous examples of human degradation, one of those horrors of ignorance which the British had long left behind. The British summed up India as a hodgepodge of heathenistic superstitions. This attitude toward India and her spirituality was shared by just about every Britisher in India and at home, from the King and Queen of England down to the desk clerk at the East India Company in Calcutta.
They felt nothing of value could be gained from the "primitive Hindus" except their abundance of gold and jewels. However, in actuality the British had stumbled upon the oldest and most civilized society — in terms of spiritual culture — in the world. Sadly, the British view of India was to become the prominent world view of India.
During the early days of imperial rule in India, the British received some of their first impressions of India's spiritual culture via their encounters in the holy city of Jagannath Puri — encounters which plunged the British deep into severe cultural shock.
Jagannath Puri is located on the east coast of the Indian sub-continent in the tropical state of Orissa, about 310 miles south of Calcutta. It has been a holy place of pilgrimage for devout Hindus since ancient times. The city is shaped like the silhouette of a conchshell. The shape of the conchshell bears the spiritual significance of Jagannath Puri being the abode of the Godhead, Vishnu, who carries a conchshell as part of his eternal paraphernalia. In the center of the conchshell silhouette there is a portion of raised ground called Nilgiri or "the blue hill." On the crest of Nilgiri stands an imposing temple complex dedicated to Vishnu as Jagannath, "the Maintainer of the Universe." In Sanskrit jagat means the universe, and natha means the maintainer.
It has been a standard practice in India since ancient times to develop a city or village around a central holy shrine. Thus the temple of Jagannath is established at the center of Jagannath Puri. Situating the temple at the center of the city had a twofold justification: apparent and transcendental. The apparent reason was a practical one; the temple being in the center of the community provided easy access for community gatherings. The transcendental reason was a philosophical one: the people of ancient India conceived of the Godhead as being at the center of the universe and at the center of all activities in the universe. Thus the temple being at the center of the community acted as a reminder that human life is ultimately successful when everything is dedicated to the Godhead at the nucleus.
The proper name of the temple in Jagannath Puri is Sri Mandir, and according to the palm leaf chronicles therein, the temple has existed for a very long time. The present temple structure, built in the twelfth century by King Chodaganga Deva, soars 215 feet into the air and spans an area of more than 428,000 square feet. Surrounding this massive structure is a stone wall 20 feet high with four large gates: the elephant gate, the lion gate, the horse gate, and the tiger gate. These gates face north, east, south, and west respectively; the temple itself faces east as is customary in Indian temple construction.
Within the main compound of Sri Mandir there are over one hundred shrines of lesser importance which are committed to the demigods in charge of universal affairs or the sub-controllers of the universe. In the midst of these lesser shrines is the main temple hall called the Bada-deula, in which resides the predominating deity of the temple, Sri Jagannath. The deity's eyes are large and round like the lotus flower, his complexion is blackish, and his nature is all-merciful to his devotees.
Sri Mandir is one of the best examples of spiritual culture found anywhere in India, past or present. The standards of worshiping the deity have been going on for many centuries without interruption in the grandest style imaginable. Fifty-four separate offerings of vegetarian food are prepared daily and offered to Jagannath. For the preparation of these offerings, an exceptionally large kitchen called the bhoga mandap is required. This happens to be the largest kitchen in Asia, and it employs 650 people as cooks and assistants.
It is believed that the food offered to Jagannath becomes prasadam, "the mercy of God," which when eaten, destroys one's karmic reactions and thus helps to purify one's existence. Over 50,000 people take prasadam at the Jagannath temple every day.
Before entering the main shrine of the deity there is a finely crafted hall with many pillars called the nata mandap or "dancing hall," and pilgrims, devotees, and worshipers of Jagannath often perform dancing and singing there for the pleasure of Jagannath. Previous to British rule, the Jagannath temple maintained several hundred devi dasis, or maidservants of Jagannath, who would frequently perform dance and drama in the nata mandap. The system of the devi dasis was a voluntary one, and never involved any kind of slavery, as was misconstrued by the British overlords during their rule in India.
In the bada-deula main hall of Sri Mandir, Jagannath rests on a five-foot-high stand called the ratna singhasan, the jeweled throne. The deity itself is also about five feet tall. To the right of Jagannath are two other thrones: one for Subhadra, the sister of Jagannath, and one for Baladeva, the older brother of Jagannath.
According to the worshipers of Jagannath, Godhead is never alone. He (in this case it is he, the male aspect of Godhead, purusha) is eternally engaged in transcendental pastimes via the manifestation of his own internal energies. These pastimes are said to exist eternally on the absolute plane of reality. Godhead, they say, is complete in his existence, yet for the pleasure of himself and his loving servants, he creates a world of transcendental variegatedness called the paravyoma, the spiritual sky. Subhadra and Baladeva are said to exist in the spiritual sky as members of the divine family and are thus worshiped along with Jagannath at Sri Mandir.
Six times a day beginning at 4 A.M. and ending at 9 P.M., the main hall is open to the devotees for viewing the deity. This is called darshan. During these times the worship of Jagannath is enthusiastically performed and the devotees become absorbed in ecstatic rapture.
How the deity of Jagannath appeared and came to be worshiped at Jagannath Puri is an interesting story which one can learn from any of the temple priests: A millennia ago there was a pious king named Indradyumna who ruled the province of Malava, extending from Jagannath Puri to the southern tip of India. King Indradyumna was a spiritual-minded man, and as such he always favored the association of sages and saintly persons. One day while listening to the sages, the king heard that the ultimate realization is that of the personal form of Godhead. From that day on the king cultivated a desire to see the form of Godhead in the core of his heart. Knowing that such a desire may take many lifetimes to perfect, the king continued to rule his kingdom and to associate with the saints and sages.
One night King Indradyumna had a dream that Vishnu came to him. During this dream, Vishnu said that the king would find a wooden log at the seashore and that he should take this special log and get it carved into a deity according to the direction found in the Shilpa Shastra, the authorized scripture which governs such things. When the king awoke from his dream he was exceedingly happy and went directly to the seashore, where he found a very large log lying on the beach.
King Indradyumna's men carried the heavy log back to the palace, and the king ordered his carpenters to begin the wood carving. However, the wood was so hard that whoever tried to carve it simply broke his tools. The king was very perplexed and thus he took rest for the night.
The next day, Vishvakarma, the architect of the celestial world, came to see King Indradyumna. Vishvakarma informed the king that the log which he had found at the seashore was daru-brahman or divine wood. Vishvakarma said that it would not be possible for any mortal to carve this wood, but that he himself would do it if the king desired.
As Vishvakarma prepared to do his work, he informed King Indradyumna that there was one stipulation: no one should be allowed to observe the work of carving until everything was complete. Vishvakarma said that if his meditation were disturbed, he would immediately abandon the king and return to the celestial world. The king agreed.
Many days passed and King Indradyumna patiently waited while Vishvakarma carved away in a secluded chamber. Unfortunately, the king's wife Gundicha was not so patient as her husband; Gundicha repeatedly urged her husband to take a peek at the progress. Remembering his agreement with Vishvakarma, King Indradyumna was naturally reluctant. Then one day, the noise of hammering and chiseling stopped and not even the slightest sound could be heard coming from Vishvakarma's studio. The suspense of silence pushed the king to the edge of his patience and he and Gundicha slowly opened the door to the studio. Before the door was halfway open, Vishvakarma vanished from sight, leaving his tools on the floor and his work unfinished.
King Indradyumna was mortified at this turn of events and his heart felt heavily burdened. In order to expiate for the interruption and incomplete work, the king decided to fast until death. While fasting he again had a dream in which Vishnu told him that the incompleted forms of the deities were in fact perfectly worshipable forms. The so-called incompleteness, he said, represented bodily transformations resulting from intense love in separation, a particular ecstatic mood known as vipralambha. In the case of Jagannath, it was the purusha's longing for his female aspect prakruti in intimacy. Overjoyed by these instructions, King Indradyumna arranged for the building of a beautiful temple and for the worship of the deity which continues even to this day.
The British regarded all these stories about the appearance of Jagannath as mythology and never took them seriously. Neither did the British ever enter the temple to observe the loving ecstasy of the devotees who worship Jagannath. They assumed the whole affair to be idol worship. However, there was one occasion when the British did get the opportunity to see Jagannath face to face and to witness the great devotion of his devotees. Every year the temple of Jagannath holds a marvelous festival called Ratha Yatra. It appears from the temple records that this festival is the oldest regularly performed spiritual function in human society.
The Ratha Yatra is held annually in mid-July and lasts for several days. Preparations begin months before with the construction of three exceptionally large chariots or rathas. To build the large chariots, vast amounts of wood are required, which is brought to the main road in front of the temple and placed in stacks. Day and night workers paint the individual parts of the chariot and begin to assemble them one by one; soon the shape of the chariots becomes manifest.
Each chariot towers three stories high while standing on sixteen wheels. When the super-structure is complete, the upper portion of each chariot is covered with a brightly colored canopy of red, yellow, black, and green silk. The wheels are eight feet in diameter and a slightly sagging hand rail encloses the upper deck of the chariot. On top of the canopy there is an impressive gold spire flanked by two green parrots carved in wood and a yellow silk flag.
Pilgrims are astonished to see the beautiful decorations of the chariots. The chariots have a celestial beauty and appear as high as a great mountain. The decorations include bright mirrors, white whisks, pictures, sculptures, brass bells, and iron gongs. When the chariots are completed, thousands and thousands of pilgrims begin to arrive from all over India. On the actual day of the festival, over one million people are present, including some of the top ministers in the Indian government, generals from the army, and occasionally even the prime minister. At the lion gate everyone gathers with an intense eagerness as they wait for Jagannath to be brought from the temple and placed on his chariot. Suddenly, heralded by the blowing of conchshells, the smiling face of Jagannath appears in the doorway of the temple. The crowd stands, jumps, and shouts a welcome praise to the Lord of the universe, "Jagannath kijay! Jagannath kijay! Jagannath kijay!"
As the deity emerges from the temple he is supported on both sides by strongly built men called dayitas. A series of sturdy cotton pillows called tulis are spread out from the temple door to the chariot, and the heavy deity of Jagannath is carried from one pillow-like pad to the next. Moving from pillow to pillow with a graceful swaying motion, Jagannath gradually ascends his chariot.
The dayitas say,"Jagannath is the maintainer of the whole universe. Therefore, who can carry him from one place to the next? Jagannath moves by his personal will just to perform his pastimes." This first aspect of the festival where Jagannath mounts his chariot is called the pandu-vijay and takes about one hour.
The deities of Subhadra and Baladeva are similarly transported to their chariots as the parade is about to begin. Joining Jagannath on his chariot are dozens of enthusiastic servants and devotees. Surrounding the chariots are devotees from Bengal and Orissa who begin to sing melodious devotional songs accompanied by the music of clay drums and hand cymbals. A minister of the government then comes forward and sweeps the road in front of the chariots with a gold and silver broom. Then sandalwood-scented water is sprinkled on the freshly swept road. Seeing the highly posted minister engaged in menial service to the deity, the people become very happy.
Four long, extra-heavy ropes are attached to the front of each chariot and extended into the crowd of people. Taking the ropes in hand, a hundred or more people on each rope, everyone awaits the signal from the chariot driver to begin to pull. A whistle sounds one long blast, the rope tightens, and the chariot begins to roll. The huge wooden wheels wobble from side to side as they squeak and turn on their heavy wooden axles. The chariot pullers, called gaudas, pull with great happiness. The chariot sometimes moves quickly, sometimes slowly. Mysteriously the chariots sometimes come to a complete stop even though everyone is pulling very hard. It appears that the chariots are moving by the will of Jagannath. Making their way along a stretch of road for about three miles, the chariots arrive in front of the Gundicha temple, where they remain for some days and then return to the Jagannath temple in a similar manner.
There is a profound spiritual meaning behind the Ratha Yatra which the great sages and devotees of Jagannath have described thus: "The worship of Jagannath is generally conducted on a grand scale of awe and reverence wherein his devotees see and revere him as the Supreme Godhead. This mood of awe and reverence, however, is not as pleasing to Jagannath as the mood of spontaneous love of God exhibited by his most confidential devotees the gopis, the milkmaids of Vrindavan. In the mood of awe and reverence, Jagannath is always found in the company of Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune. But sometimes Jagannath remembers the intimate loving affairs between himself and the gopis, and thus he is overwhelmed with feelings of separation and desires to return to Vrindavan. Jagannath then leaves his temple and mounts his chariot to go to Vrindavan and meet with the gopis. As Jagannath sees the white stretch of sandy road in front of his chariot with beautiful gardens on both sides, he is reminded of the Yamuna River and the groves of Vrindavan where he sported with his gopis. Jagannath's mind becomes filled with pleasure at these thoughts and he smiles intensely."
The esoteric meaning of the Ratha Yatra combined with the actual beauty of the event have inspired many devotees to compile excellent songs and poetry in praise of Jagannath. Famous in Jagannath Puri are the beautiful verses known as Jagannath-astakam, which are vibrated from the lips of thousands of pilgrims during the festival:
"Sometimes in great happiness Jagannath, with his flute, makes a loud concert in the groves on the banks of the Yamuna. He is like a bumblebee who tastes the beautiful faces of the cowherd damsels of Vrindavan, and his lotus feet are worshiped by great personalities such as Lakshmi, Shiva, Brahma, Indra, and Ganesh. May that Jagannath be the object of my vision."
"In his left hand Jagannath holds a flute. On his head he wears a peacock's feather, and on his hips he wears fine yellow silken cloth. Out of the corners of his eyes he bestows sidelong glances upon his loving devotees, and he always reveals himself through his pastimes in his divine abode of Vrindavan. May Jagannath be the object of my vision."
"Jagannath is an ocean of mercy and he is beautiful like a row of blackish rain clouds. He is the storehouse of bliss for Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune, and Saraswati, the goddess of learning, and his face is like a spotless, full-blown lotus. He is worshiped by the best of demigods and sages, and his glories are sung by the Upanishads. May that Jagannath be the object of my vision."
"When Jagannath is on his chariot and is moving along the road, at every step there is a loud presentation of prayers and songs chanted by large numbers of brahmanas (priests). Hearing their hymns, Jagannath is very favorably disposed towards them. He is the ocean of mercy and the true friend of all the worlds. May that Jagannath be the object of my vision."
Unfortunately, the British did not have the same visions of Jagannath as did his devotees. Not only did they see something less beautiful and charming but they saw something quite ghastly. Perhaps it was a projection of their own inner natures since it was they who had come to India as conquerors and not as seekers of truth.
The British described Jagannath as "a frightful visage painted black, with a distended mouth of bloody horror." Seeing the grand procession of the Ratha Yatra, the British experienced further disdain and coined the term "juggernaut." This word gradually found its way into the Oxford Dictionary with the meaning "a massive, inexorable force that crushes everything in its path." It could hardly be expected that the British should have immediately fallen in love with Jagannath or worshiped him, but at least they could have investigated the meaning and philosophy behind him. Instead they maligned Jagannath to the world as "a horrible, bloodthirsty idol." Lamentable as it was, the British view of India spread throughout the world, and thus for centuries the real beauty of India's spiritual conceptions remained undiscovered.
JagannathaBut fortunately, we in the Western world are gradually maturing culturally, and are becoming more open-minded and receptive than ever before to learning what India has to offer the West. And Jagannath's big eyes are still beaming, and his wide smile still invites all people to come to Jagannath Puri every year to enjoy the spiritual bliss of the Ratha Yatra. I have seen this festival with my own eyes, and I doubt that I will ever experience anything quite as prodigious and jubilant in my life.
A north-western state offers a glimpse of a possible industrial future for India
Jul 7th 2011 | AHMEDABAD | from the print edition of the Economist
SO MANY things work properly in Gujarat that it hardly feels like http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifIndia. In a factory packed with kit from Germany and China, slabs of rubber and bags of carbon black are turned into tyres. After being X-rayed for imperfections, they will be distributed across India or sent for export within three days. Sandeep Bhatia, a manager for CEAT, the firm that owns the project, says it took only 24 months to complete, including the normally fraught process of buying land. There is constant electricity, gas and abundant water. The state government, he says, kept red tape to a minimum, did not ask for bribes, and does not interfere much now.
The tyre plant is not the only sign of prosperity in Gujarat. A nearby village may have fodder strewn all over its alleys and mice scuttling across shampoo sachets in the local store, but it also has satellite dishes poking up from the roofs and power metres on the wall of every house. Most of the men, the villagers say, work for small industrial firms for a wage about 50% higher than they would get in the fields. The road to Ahmedabad, Gujarat's main city, is privately operated and boasts four lanes. It passes through a countryside that is visibly industrialising.
With a long coastline and too little rain for decent farming, Gujarat has always been famous for its traders. When it was hived off from Bombay to form a separate state in 1960, "the question was how Gujarat would survive," says Narendra Modi, who has been chief minister since 2001. These days Gujarat accounts for 5% of India's population but 16% of its industrial output and 22% of its exports. Its growth has outpaced India's (see chart) and it wins accolades from business people. A recent comparison of Indian states by McKinsey, a consultancy, waxed lyrical about Gujarat. It might yet play the role of industrial locomotive for the country, as Guangdong province did for China in the 1990s. There is lots of excited talk about exporters switching from China to India. Sanjay Lalbhai, the chairman of Arvind, a textiles maker and clothing retailer based in Ahmedabad, says such a move is "imminent" in his industry.
Chinese-style, big-ticket projects are part of Gujarat's formula, including refineries and ports, but so are networks of smaller firms and foreign companies which have now achieved critical mass in industries such as cars and pharmaceuticals. The state government uses the usual tricks to try to jump-start growth, including special economic zones. But more important, it has provided the bog-standard things that businesses pray for across India but often do not get—less onerous labour laws, passable roads, reliable electricity and effective bureaucracy.
Against the charge that some people have been left behind, Gujarat can point to reasonable growth in agriculture, helped by irrigation schemes. But the state has a black spot, which dates back to 2002 and an outbreak of sectarian violence. As many as 2,000 people (the official toll is lower) were killed in a month of riots, most of them Muslims. Some say Mr Modi and the state government were complicit in the violence or could at least have done more to stop it.
Might prosperity help heal the wounds? In Juhapura, a district on the outskirts of Ahmedabad dominated by the Muslim minority, a young mason grows angry when asked if he feels lucky to make 250-300 rupees a day ($6-7), saying he only gets work for 15 days a month. Others are more content. A bearded man down the road says his party-decoration business is booming. Behind the till of a shop selling top-ups for mobile phones and stationery for the nearby school, a man in a skull cap says life has undoubtedly improved, although his 82-year-old father, sitting in a deckchair, complains that everything went to the dogs when the British left.
Gujarat could be a vision of India's future, in which manufacturing flourishes, soaking up rural labour. Its economy is expected to grow by double digits, even as India's rate slows to 7-8% this year. The state may also be a springboard for Mr Modi, who may contest the national leadership of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, perhaps after state elections due in 2012. Mr Modi is enigmatic on this subject. He has yet to shed his polarising image, but he has at least built up an enviable record on the economy.
By Leanna B. Ehrlich,
CRIMSON STAFF WRITER
Published: Friday, July 29, 2011
Subramanian Swamy, is accused of penning an op-ed that is inflammatory towards Muslims.
In the wake of a controversial article written by Subramanian Swamy, the group Foundation for Individual Rights in Education sent a letter to University President Drew G. Faust on Wednesday urging her not to allow Harvard to take action against the Harvard Summer School instructor.
Swamy, a political leader in India who earned his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1965, penned an op-ed published July 16 in the Indian newspaper Daily News and Analysis that advocated for the removal of hundreds of mosques and the denial of voting rights to non-Hindus with the goal of stemming terrorist attacks in the country.
Following the publication of the article, several Harvard affiliates circulated a petition calling on the University to end its ties with Swamy, and in a statement, the dean of the Summer School said that the school “will give this matter our serious attention.”
But FIRE, a civil liberties group with a focus on academia, cautioned in its letter to Faust that the group is “concerned about the threat to freedom of expression” that may come about from that attention.
“The threat of a disciplinary investigation of Swamy stands in sharp and unflattering contrast to this admirable and appropriate understanding of the importance of freedom of expression in the academic community,” Adam H. Kissel '94, vice president of programs at FIRE, wrote in the letter.
Harvard has not explicitly said that it is investigating Swamy or that it has considered such an investigation. Messages to spokespeople for the University were not immediately returned.
Swamy teaches Economics S-110: “Quantitative Methods in Economics and Business” and Economics S-1316: “Economic Development in India and East Asia” at the Summer School.
In his letter, Kissel said that an investigation of Swamy’s article would go against Harvard’s commitment to free speech, as outlined in the “Free Speech Guidelines” adopted by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 1990.
“If members of the Harvard community are given to understand that Harvard might begin an investigation—with possible disciplinary consequences—of the views they express, they likely will self-censor,” he wrote. “This is precisely the result that a university dedicated to intellectual freedom must seek to avoid.”
“Harvard must honor its own promises,” he said in a phone interview. “Students have every right to protest for or against ideas in article, as does Harvard, but Harvard may not investigate or punish the expression.”
While in some instances a professor’s publicized opinions might warrant disciplinary action, in these “extreme cases,” the professor’s opinion would have to prevent him from successfully teaching the subject, he said.
“In this case, it’s an economics professor with political opinions, and his subject has nothing to do with politics,” he said. “The University cannot simply investigate someone for publishing an opinion piece.”
—Staff writer Leanna B. Ehrlich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Subramanian Swamy
Saturday, July 16, 2011 8:00 IST
The terrorist blast in Mumbai on July 13, 2011, requires decisive soul-searching by the Hindus of India. Hindus cannot accept to be killed in this halal fashion, continuously bleeding every day till the nation finally collapses. Terrorism I define here as the illegal use of force to overawe the civilian population to make it do or not do an act against its will and well-being.
Islamic terrorism is India’s number one problem of national security. About this there will be no doubt after 2012. By that year, I expect a Taliban takeover in Pakistan and the Americans to flee Afghanistan. Then, Islam will confront Hinduism to “complete unfinished business”. Already the successor to Osama bin Laden as al-Qaeda leader has declared that India is the priority target for that terrorist organisation and not the USA.
Fanatic Muslims consider Hindu-dominated India “an unfinished chapter of Islamic conquests”. All other countries conquered by Islam 100% converted to Islam within two decades of the Islamic invasion. Undivided India in 1947 was 75% Hindu even after 800 years of brutal Islamic rule. That is jarring for the fanatics.
In one sense, I do not blame the Muslim fanatics for targeting Hindus. I blame Hindus who have taken their individuality permitted in Sanatan Dharma to the extreme. Millions of Hindus can assemble without state patronage for the Kumbh Mela, completely self-organised, but they all leave for home oblivious of the targeting of Hindus in Kashmir, Mau, Melvisharam and Malappuram and do not lift their little finger to help organise Hindus. If half the Hindus voted together, rising above caste and language, a genuine Hindu party would have a two-thirds majority in Parliament and the assemblies.
The first lesson to be learnt from the recent history of Islamic terrorism against India and for tackling terrorism in India is that the Hindu is the target and that Muslims of India are being programmed by a slow reactive process to become radical and thus slide into suicide against Hindus. It is to undermine the Hindu psyche and create the fear of civil war that terror attacks are organised.
Hindus must collectively respond as Hindus against the terrorist and not feel individually isolated or, worse, be complacent because he or she is not personally affected. If one Hindu dies merely because he or she was a Hindu, then a bit of every Hindu also dies. This is an essential mental attitude, a necessary part of a virat (committed) Hindu.
We need a collective mindset as Hindus to stand against the Islamic terrorist. The Muslims of India can join us if they genuinely feel for the Hindu. That they do I will not believe unless they acknowledge with pride that though they may be Muslims, their ancestors were Hindus. If any Muslim acknowledges his or her Hindu legacy, then we Hindus can accept him or her as a part of the Brihad Hindu Samaj (greater Hindu society) which is Hindustan. India that is Bharat that is Hindustan is a nation of Hindus and others whose ancestors were Hindus. Others, who refuse to acknowledge this, or those foreigners who become Indian citizens by registration, can remain in India but should not have voting rights (which means they cannot be elected representatives).
Any policy to combat terrorism must begin with requiring each and every Hindu becoming a virat Hindu. For this, one must have a Hindu mindset that recognises that there is vyaktigat charitra (personal character) and rashtriya charitra (national character). For example, Manmohan Singh has high personal character, but by being a rubber stamp of a semi-literate Sonia Gandhi and waffling on all national issues, he has proved that he has no rashtriya charitra.
The second lesson for combating terrorism is that we must never capitulate or concede any demand, as we did in 1989 (freeing five terrorists in exchange for Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s daughter Rubaiya) and in 1999, freeing three terrorists after the hijack of Indian Airlines flight IC-814.
The third lesson is that whatever and however small the terrorist incident, the nation must retaliate massively. For example, when the Ayodhya temple was sought to be attacked, we should have retaliated by re-building the Ram temple at the site.
According to bleeding heart liberals, terrorists are born or bred because of illiteracy, poverty, oppression, and discrimination. They argue that instead of eliminating them, the root cause of these four disabilities in society should be removed. This is rubbish. Osama bin laden was a billionaire. In the failed Times Square episode, failed terrorist Shahzad was from a highly placed family in Pakistan and had an MBA from a reputed US university.
It is also a ridiculous idea that terrorists cannot be deterred because they are irrational and willing to die. Terrorist masterminds have political goals and a method in their madness. An effective strategy to deter terrorism is to defeat those political goals and to rubbish them by counter-terrorist action.Thus, I advocate the following strategy to negate the political goals of Islamic terrorism in India.
Goal 1: Overawe India on Kashmir.
Strategy: Remove Article 370 and resettle ex-servicemen in the valley. Create Panun Kashmir for the Hindu Pandit community. Look for or create an opportunity to take over PoK. If Pakistan continues to back terrorists, assist the Baluchis and Sindhis to get their independence.
Goal 2: Blast temples, kill Hindu devotees.
Strategy: Remove the masjid in Kashi Vishwanath temple and the 300 masjids at other temple sites.
Goal 3: Turn India into Darul Islam.
Strategy: Implement the uniform civil code, make learning of Sanskrit and singing of Vande Mataram mandatory, and declare India a Hindu Rashtra in which non-Hindus can vote only if they proudly acknowledge that their ancestors were Hindus. Rename India Hindustan as a nation of Hindus and those whose ancestors were Hindus.
Goal 4: Change India’s demography by illegal immigration, conversion, and refusal to adopt family planning.
Strategy: Enact a national law prohibiting conversion from Hinduism to any other religion. Re-conversion will not be banned. Declare that caste is not based on birth but on code or discipline. Welcome non-Hindus to re-convert to the caste of their choice provided they adhere to the code of discipline. Annex land from Bangladesh in proportion to the illegal migrants from that country staying in India. At present, the northern third from Sylhet to Khulna can be annexed to re-settle illegal migrants.
Goal 5: Denigrate Hinduism through vulgar writings and preaching in mosques, madrassas, and churches to create loss of self-respect amongst Hindus and make them fit for capitulation.
Strategy: Propagate the development of a Hindu mindset.
India can solve its terrorist problem within five years by such a deterrent strategy, but for that we have to learn the four lessons outlined above, and have a Hindu mindset to take bold, risky, and hard decisions to defend the nation. If the Jews could be transformed from lambs walking meekly to the gas chambers to fiery lions in just 10 years, it should not be difficult for Hindus in much better circumstances (after all we are 83% of India), to do so in five years.
Guru Gobind Singh showed us how just five fearless persons under spiritual guidance can transform a society. Even if half the Hindu voters are persuaded to collectively vote as Hindus, and for a party sincerely committed to a Hindu agenda, then we can forge an instrument for change. And that is the bottom line in the strategy to deter terrorism in a democratic Hindustan at this moment of truth.
The writer is president of the Janata Party, a former Union minister, and a professor of economics.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Nazi NATO is expanding.
Wayne Madsen has pointed out that even little Cyprus and Malta have been under strong pressure to join NATO.
And Israel, the countries in North Africa, and some of the countries in the Arabian peninsula may become linked to NATO.
(Wayne Madsen has written about NATO’S “Drang Nach Osten”m)
According to Wayne Madsen, NATO has offered "Associate membership" status to Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, India, Brazil, and South Africa.
"NATO is accomplishing what Adolf Hitler could only dream of: a Euro-Atlantic military alliance that dominates the entire world."
Bengal Famine 1943, while the British ran India.
Vladislav Gulevich has written about the Anglo-Saxon Roots of German Nazism.
Among the points made:
1. "From Imperialism to Fascism" by Prof. Manuel Sarkisyanz, has chapter titles such as:
England as the model for Hitler's 'Folk community'
Training new fuhrers by imitating England
Houston Stewart Chamberlain: British pioneer, seer of the third Reich
Britain's home-grown Fascism
Admiration of Hitler from Britain's establishment.
2. According to Sarkisyanz, Germany's Institutes of Education were modeled by the SS on British public schools.
3. From the early days of the Third Reich, British believers in racial supremacy met on a regular basis with their German imitators.
4. Hitler openly admired Great Britain's system of education with its strategy of producing 'masters of the world'.
5. Hitler sought to copy British colonial policies.
The British in India banned movies about German Nazism, evidently fearing that the similarities between the German fascists and British colonizers would not escape the local population.
6. The list of Britain's fascist sympathizers included:
The family of Lord Ridsdale,
Sociologist and commentator Houston Chamberlain
Leader of the House Of Lords Lord Halifax.
7. Until 1938 Hitler did not ban the operations of the British intelligence service in Germany.8. Hitler said that the two races – the British and the German – were cousins and therefore were destined to jointly rule the world.
9. Sarkisyanz notes that eugenics was a British invention.
Francis Galton held that people can be divided into various grades.
HG Wells believed that "There is only one sane and logical thing to be done with an inferior race, and that is to exterminate it".
Hannah Arendt wrote about social stratification in Britain and the upper classes' undisguised contempt for the lower classes.
10. According to Sarkisyanz, the British courts on the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey, a British territory occupied by Germany, prosecuted residents on charges of resisting the occupants.
On the Channel Islands, a part of the local population took part in the degrading treatment of the inmates of the German-run labour camps.
CanSpeccy points out:
"Carroll Quigley's account of Cecil Rhodes' secret society was published in the 1960's, by which time Quigley considered the project - as a British undertaking - entirely defunct.
"Since then, Britain has been replaced by America as the dominant World power."
Indian History books teach the pros and cons of British rule
The subject of British rule in India is an emotional one for most Indians but even those Indians who are aware that Britain plundered India and treated locals as sub-humans and killed the indigenous industry, reluctantly admit that Britain did build infrastructure and made English popular in India. Guess if it wasn’t for British rule all those years ago I wouldn’t be writing this very piece in English, would I? And well, Britain did unite all those little kingdoms and gave all of us a pan Indian identity.
But if most Indians believe that British rule did some good (not everyone agrees about the high price paid) I think the credit is due to the way we were taught history. The advantages of British rule were clearly brought out.
Britain apparently teaches a biased view of the British Raj
What surprised me was a front page report in today’s Times of India (Mumbai). It said that British school children are not taught the evil aspects of British rule – in fact there is a controversy going on in Britain right now about teaching school-children about Jallianwala Bagh, where hundreds of peacefully protesting Indians were massacred (including women and children). It’s difficult to understand why Britain wants to brush this under the carpet..after all if German school children can be taught about the evils of Nazi rule, why can’t British school-children be taught about the evils of British rule in India? Sure, the Nazis did more damage in a short period of time and killed millions of Jews.
But who has calculated the damage that Britain did? Are there any records of the number of Indians killed and enslaved by the British during the British Raj? Are there any records of ill-treatment meted out on a regular basis to the Indians? Has anyone calculated the economic damage caused to India because of the East India Company and British rule? Of course not.
Britain does not want to know
The truth is that the truth is too painful. And neither the Brits nor the Indians in Britain are trying very hard to do anything about it. On the other hand, it is because of the power of the Jewish community that Germany said sorry…and meant it. It is because of the Jewish people that today German school children know the truth. Surely, history is important?
Britain’s attempt to change the curriculum is being opposed
Britain is trying to change the curriculum to give British school-children a ‘valuable insight into shared, if painful and often controversial aspects of the relationship between Indian and Britain’ but there are groups opposing this because this kind of teaching is considered anti-British. How can the dissemination of truth be anti anything?
The root of racism
But then, this is the very root of racism. Children in developed countries are taught in school itself that they come from a ‘superior’ stock. They are taught to take on the ‘White Man’s Burden’. A burden which makes it mandatory for the ‘superior’ race to ‘civilize’ the ‘inferior’ races. This was the attitude of the British when they came to India. They came, they saw and they plundered. They believed it was their right as ‘rulers’. At the same time they came down heavily on some of the barbaric practices they saw in India.
Yes, some barbaric things went on in Indian society (and we are not completely rid of them) but what the British failed to see that what they were doing was equally barbaric. They robbed and enslaved not just a few people, but a whole country.
What Britishers did not realise was that India had a far longer history of ‘civilization’ than war-like Britain. The problem was that India’s civilization was cloaked in dhotis, saris and turbans and some ancient practices (not too far removed from equally medieval practices that took place in Britain). These differences convinced the shirts, skirts and trousers who came to India that India was uncivilized. Every culture and every country has it’s dark side…but the developed world can only see the evils of other countries…not their own.
What chance does truth stand?
What’s amazing is that the developed world today prides itself on freedom and democracy…so why not own up to the bad things of the past? True, Britishers were probably not as bad as the Nazis, but they did far greater harm than the Nazis by the very virtue of their being around for more than a hundred years. The British East India Company arrived in India as far back as 1757 (proxy rule by the British) and then direct British rule started in 1858, lasting until 1947. The Nazis under Adolph Hitler ruled only from 1933 to 1945 – which is just a dozen years! One does not need much of an imagination to realise the damage the British must have done to India.
The sad part is is that millions of young Britishers are growing up thinking that Britain did India a big favour by ruling her. Why, the Queen herself wears a diamond stolen from India in her crown. The Wikipedia calls this diamond the ‘spoils of war.’ Funny.
Friday, July 22, 2011
The raid and plunder of Hindu temples, which would qualify as the oldest and still ongoing reality show in the world, took a thrilling turn recently by the surfacing of Lord Padmanabha’s wealth in a tele-tsunami, flooding living rooms all over the world with news ripples. To a predominantly Mammon-worshipping, literally iconoclastic world which equates honour and even spirituality with money, the evidenced wealth seems to have bestowed a grudging admiration not only for Lord Padmanabha, but for temples and even for Hindus in general. In the Forbes richest deities’ list, Lord Padmanabha would top the world. It should be a stark reminder of the age (kaliyuga) we live in, when values hang upside down.
Probably for the same reason, what came to the fore in the latest episode is the overpowering haze of deliberate misinformation pervading the media, originating from the very guys who are supposed to tell us all what is what. Some reporters displayed such a feverish vigour in championing vested interests that they overlooked basic facts and their frenzied reports exuded an overall sense of being caught up in a sensational scandal.
In a concerted bid, purportedly licensed temple raiders tried in vain to convert the wealth into a nidhi (treasure), which would have then brought the wealth under the purview of the Treasure Trove Act offering the government a firm grip on it. However, the temple’s wealth in unknown quantities was no secret treasure as it was known all along to all those who had anything to do with the temple, including its countless local devotees. The Mathilakam Records (1941) and the Palace Manual besides a news report in the Hindu dated December 6, 1931, mention the wealth stored beneath the temple in no uncertain terms.
The bid was not entirely a foolish venture on the part of potential temple thieves, for there is legal precedence for raising rapacious hopes. As recent as 2007, the Kerala High Court had ruled that temple property unearthed while excavating a pit for a new nadapura for the ancient Sree Mullakkal Bhagavathy temple in Wadakkancherry was a “treasure trove” and therefore would belong to the government as per Section 3 of the Kerala Treasure Trove Act, 1968. The government’s clinching point was that nobody knew that the gold and silver coins (valued at Rs. 61,280) of antique value were lying in the soil under the temple at least for more than a hundred years.
The Mullakkal Kshetra Seva Samithi lost the case and a compensation, as was due, was offered to the Cochin Devaswom Board which managed the temple. The judgement recognised the coins as the temple’s property, but it qualified as “treasure”. There is no doubt whatsoever that the buried coins were part of what escaped Kerala’s Indiana Jones, Tipu Sultan, who was meticulous in raiding and plundering most of the ancient temples of that region. All the coins (14th to 17th C) found here predated the time of Tipu. People who knew about this little “treasure” were in all likelihood killed or converted to Islam by the fiend. It is famously known that the consecrated murti of Lord Guruvayurappan, another current hostage of the Kerala government, had to be buried and the utsava moorthy take refuge in Travancore during Tipu’s raids in North Kerala.
When the “treasure” tactic did not seem to work in Thiruvananthapuram, efforts got under way to establish the wealth beneath the temple as state wealth accumulated by the erstwhile Travancore State, which would then be the people’s wealth and liable to be taken over by the government. However, history proves that claim, too, to be bogus. Records show that the temple is much older than even the Travancore kingdom. Available records go back to 910 CE, whereas the kingdom was born in the mid-18th century. Even during the Travancore times, the state’s tax treasury known as “karuvalam” was separate from the temple treasury “ituveippu”, which was the deity’s treasury. So there is no doubt whatsoever as to who owns the unevaluated riches.
In India, a Hindu deity is a legal entity and can own and enjoy properties, a legacy from another era of Indian history that is still kept alive in their new role of “hostage of fortune”. The temples manage their wealth through their representatives. So, to divert the deities’ riches, one needs only to become their legal caretakers, a role the Kerala government has been enjoying for sometime now for several rich deities in the state. The money, gold, gemstones and other riches that accumulate every year at Guruvayur and Sabarimala are diverted to the impoverished Kerala government coffers on a regular basis on their way to being distributed, among other things, as salaries to teachers of Christian and Muslim institutions who are privately appointed by their respective clergy. The wealth of these two temples alone appropriated by the Kerala governments in the past few decades would come to enormous sums – “nidhi” in current parlance. A revenue department official once told me years ago that without the Sabarimala season, the government treasury would never be able to break even.
The myth of a civilising world
The modern rendering of the world doesn’t necessarily tell us the truth. The transformation from barbarians to “civilised” citizens is a pure misconception. The glimpses into the past give us a different picture, as the history of temples in Kerala demonstrates. At least the ancient “barbarians” never stooped to hate crimes. In contrast, there has never been a time as vicious as today, when innocents are torn down by miscreants for the sake of their deity, personified Hate. For example, the 2008 Mumbai massacre was a pure hate crime.
The ancient history of Kerala as far as we can unravel with any certainty is closely bound with its ancient temples and the Namboothiris who built them. Their origin and development are still inconclusive in terms of accurate dating, but there is no doubt that their origin is entangled with that of Parasurama, the Brahmin warrior who settled other Brahmins all along the West Coast of India, from Maharashtra downwards. Kerala is mentioned as “Bhargava (Parasurama) Kshetra” in puranic literature. However, the Namboothiris and their temples emerge in dated history only after the Kalabhra Interregnum (3rd to 6th centuries CE), which is termed the “dark ages” of South India. They also do not find mention in the Sangam literature (600 BCE to 300 CE).
Christians in South India are at present burning the midnight oil trying to fabricate history by depicting the Kalabhra Interregnum as a “Christian golden age”, but it is justified only as far as the “darkness” of the age is considered. Marxists are trying in tandem to establish a pre-Hindu “Dravidian” Kerala, which the Aryans are supposed to have invaded after conquering and consolidating North India. They have picked Muziris, the port on the Malabar Coast mentioned in ancient books, which sold gemstones and peacocks besides spices and fragrance to ancient civilisations, for this project and were digging up a village on the coast named Pashanam after renaming it as Pattanam (town). These ventures will be dismissed by a serious historian without even a question mark only on the grounds that in terms of civilisational aspects (rationality), Kerala never had a history to start with, apart from its Brahmins and their temples.
As a land ruled by the Brahmins, the temples and their deities were the de facto rulers of ancient Kerala. Every gramam (village) and every desam (region) had a temple which administered the day-to-day affairs of the village or region. These deities were the legal owners of the village. The Travancore Raja’s offering of the State to Lord Padmanabha (trichadidanam) in the 18th century can actually be traced to this ancient tradition.
It was under the presiding deity that all spiritual, civil and criminal issues of the village or desam were settled. These temples with shadadhara prathishta (with the 6 yogic chakras) were built according to the Sanskrit treatise Tantrasamuchayam Silpabhagam and are easily distinguishable from those built for and by other communities in later times. The outer temples known as “valiambalam” in Malayalam were technically termed “sabha” indicating their original function. All offenders in the village were originally tried by the sabha at the temple in front of the presiding deity and punished according to the Vedic books for prayaschitta.
It would be a hard exercise indeed to think of today’s people of Kerala, even by themselves, as truthful, pious and highly civilised. In recent days an epithet has even been coined: “God’s own country & the Devil’s own people”. But indications are indeed on the contrary. Despite the baseless modern-day accusations of oppression and class wars, the Kerala population seems to have been generally a peaceable and pious group of people characterised by simple living and high thinking. Seeing the satvic food they partook, it was a wonder for the Portuguese when they arrived that the natives ate so poorly. Even some of the despicable practices in ancient Kerala seem extremely civilised when compared to what went on in other lands during the same period, especially in the non-Hindu world. There is no evidence of a jail existing in Kerala before foreigners settled in this region.
After the centralised Kulasekhara rule disappeared in Kerala at the beginning of the 12th century, the emboldened local Rajas also started attacking temples which were under the control of the Namboothiri sabhas, not for their hidden treasures, but because they were traditional power centres that challenged these Rajas. The destruction of Thrikanamathilakam (14th C) and Panniyur villages along with their temples, which challenged the dictates of the Kozhikode Samuthiri, are the most important events that signature the power shift taking place in Kerala.
Guruvayur temple was a keezhedam (subordinate temple) of Thrikanamathilakam temple until the fall of the latter. But the Kerala Rajas, as can be evidenced by the present Travancore royal household, were not plunderers, but pious rulers who ruled their land according to the rajyadharma prescribed by the Hindu smrithis. It is a fact that Kerala Rajas started fighting each other only after the advent of foreigners (see Ibn Batuta’s accounts in the 14th C). Prior invasions always came from across the eastern hills. The donation of war loot to temples by Hindu Rajas as a common practice was a symbol of what they really thought any wealth was for – not for material aggrandisement, but for spiritual elevation.
In Kerala, it was the Portuguese who first began the temple raids. There are several Portuguese accounts of these raiders, but their dependency on some of the Rajas curtailed an all-out enterprise in the region. Then came Tipu Sultan down the eastern hills. [For more details on Tipu’s raids, see Sandhya Jain’s article of 12 July “Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy has been roused” on this site]. In 1719, the Guruvayur temple came under attack by the Dutch who made away with most of the deity’s wealth including the gold of the flagstaff. They also set fire to the western gopuram before they left. It was rebuilt in 1747. This coincided with the rise of Raja Marthanda Varma of Venad who founded the Travancore kingdom and inflicted a severe defeat on the Dutch when they attacked Travancore. Had the Raja been defeated, we can all guess what the fate of Lord Padmanabha’s wealth would have been.
While consolidating power for his kingdom, Raja Marthanda Varma also forcibly took over several temples from the Brahmins. The Sri Padmanabha temple was taken from the Pathillam Namboothiris (presumably 10 Brahman families) who were its traditional caretakers. Incidentally, two other famous temples similarly taken over from the Namboothiris by the Raja around the same time were Sri Vallabha temple of Thiruvalla and the Sthanumalayan temple in Suchindram. These temples even then were not only centres of wealth, but also power centres that challenged Kshatriya rule following the Parasurama tradition, and Raja Marthanda, in his attempt to break away from current tradition, was left with little choice.
The takeover of temples for their wealths climaxed in Travancore after Colonel John Munroe took over as the British Resident in early 19th century. Simultaneously, he prevailed upon the Travancore royals to part with land and money for Christian missionaries and forest thieves. The takeover of temples entered a new phase after 1947 when the British left with whatever they could manage. Then entered the local thieves hiding under different imported ideologies, Nehruvian-Stalinism, Marxism, or whatever you may call it, their eyes fixed on the temple wealths. The temples were already bereft of all political power whatsoever, so all that was left was their wealth and their potential role as golden geese.
Sri Padmanabha temple is the last of the old temples that has not been robbed or kidnapped, for which the whole world should be grateful to the Travancore royals not only for their honesty, but for their cleverness and agility in safeguarding this material symbol of immense spiritual wealth. These temples are a symbol of a bygone era in Kerala, when spirituality was the supreme ruler and everything else was subordinate to it. This was the case everywhere in India at one time or the other. It might have survived in Kerala a little longer due to its (relative) inaccessibility in those times to vandals and marauders. These temples being hostages of fortune under charlatans is the supreme evidence of the age we live in, when true spirituality is imprisoned by a criminal materialism as espoused by the world-dominating Abrahamic thought.
Jul 21, 2011
The arrest of Kashmiri propagandist Ghulam Nabi Fai in the US, allegedly for failing to report the fact that he was working for the Pakistani government and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), raises many questions. The main thought: are Indian liberals unwittingly or wittingly turning out to be the ISI’s “useful idiots”?
The term “useful idiots” was originally used to refer to Soviet sympathisers in the West, who naively thought they were friends of the Soviet Union. In reality, the Soviets had nothing but contempt for them. They were useful for propaganda purposes – and nothing more.
Kashmiri separatist leader Ghulam Nabi Fai. FBI has arrested Fai on Tuesday on charges of being an ISI agent who lobbied for the Pakistani spy agency and army on the issue of Kashmir. PTI
Two caveats are in order upfront: a witch-hunt of people who partook of Fai’s ISI-funded generosity at his annual Kashmir conferences is not on. Two, one should also presume that the US has suddenly woken up to the reality of ISI activities in America. They always knew what Fai was upto; it is just that the present moment is ideal to bring out his ISI connection.
On Friday, one news channel started an inquisition to find out who was hosted by Fai at its Kashmir conferences, which inevitably ended up supporting the Pakistani position of Kashmir – a fact Fai used to lobby with US politicians, including Dan Burton, a habitual India-baiter. Burton, too, now claims he didn’t know the ISI was funding his vocal cause.
As for Fai, we now know that his Kashmiri sympathies were compromised by his Pakistani connection. He used the money to create a fifth column within India to aid the Kashmiri effort.
Among the intellectuals who are known to have enjoyed the hospitality of Fai are Dileep Padgaonkar, who was the government’s J&K interlocutor, Kuldip Nayar, a known peacenik, Justice Sachar, who was author of the Sachar report on the economic status of Muslims in India, and Gautam Navlakha, a peace activist. Or so says The Indian Express.
It is stupid to pretend that all these people are traitors or were somehow wrong in appearing at Kashmir forums. Most of them either genuinely believed in what they were saying, or at least convinced themselves that they were doing the right thing. Now that they know how they were being used and who was paying for their five-star breakfasts and business class travel, they stand warned.
It is also worth noting that the arrest of Fai is not a sudden US gift to us. It is the result of US-Pak shadow-boxing to push the other into a corner. The US wants to paint the ISI into a corner from where it is forced to help the US extricate itself from Afghanistan without bringing in the old Taliban, with its Mullah Omars and reactionary fundamentalists. The Pakistan government, and especially the army, is playing its own games with the US to extract military aid and other benefits.
What the US did not do is arrest Fai for India’s benefit. They knew what he was doing all along, just as they knew what David Coleman Headley was upto, since he was their double-agent who turned jihadi. We are incidental to US calculations. We are the ones making a big song-and-dance about Fai or Headley. The US will act against them to the extent they can put pressure on the Pakistanis for protecting their own interests.
That said, the only things our own Padgaonkars and Kuldip Nayars need to do is introspect. Granted, they did not know their junkets were being bankrolled by the ISI. Now they need to think about how they have manipulated.
Whether it is Arundhati Roy or any of our human rights activists, the problem is their (presumably) honestly held views are being used and abused to promote a separatist ideology with communal overtones. In other words, from the ISI’s point of view, they are “useful idiots” who unwittingly serve a sectarian cause in Kashmir by assuming that the fight is about human rights – which it is partially, but not wholly.
The problem with conscientious liberals is that they speak loudly against the Indian state when it tramples human rights, but not when those who call for azaadi do the same, or worse. This is what makes them ISI’s “useful idiots.” What they say loudly can be used against India, and what they say weakly against the jihadis can be drowned out in the noise of verbal warfare.
Maybe, just maybe, it is time they learnt to balance their views. They may, in their liberal hearts, want to back calls for azaadi, but they bite their tongues when discussing what kind of azaadi we are talking about where an entire people have been ethnically cleansed from the Kashmir Valley.
Arundhati Roy raises the right questions (do we have the right to trample on so many Kashmiris?) in many ways, but what stands out is what the ISI wants the world to hear. Not her liberalism (Read her 2008 Outlook article and ask yourself what stands out – whether it is what the ISI wants to hear, which is the first half of her article, or her liberal inner side, which comes muted in the second half?)
Do our liberals want to remain the ISI’s “useful idiots” forever? They are all willing, like Yudhishtira at Kurukshetra, to say that “Ashwathama is dead” loudly, but mention the elephant (of communal separatism) under their breaths. This does not serve the cause of truth.
Urban terrorism in India has become synonymous with a group calling itself Indian Mujahedeen  (IM) that claimed responsibility for at least four blasts this year. Added to its attacks in Jaipur, Ahmedabad, and New Delhi, the latest target seems to be Mumbai on July 13.
Police believe that improvised explosive devices (IED) were used to trigger the blasts which coincided with the birthday of Ajmal Kasab , the lone Pakistani gunman in the 2008 Mumbai attack, an operation for which he has been sentenced to death. The latest terror attack, which claimed about 20 lives, comes only hours after two other suspected Indian Mujahedeen operatives, who provided vehicles used in the 2008 serial blasts in Gujarat that killed 56 people, were arrested in a Mumbai suburb by the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad (ATS).
Indian analysts believe that the IM emerged from militant elements in the Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) supported by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba  (LeT) and Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jihad-Islami (HUJI-B) . SIMI and IM endorse the goals of Osama bin Laden and also seek to provoke an Islamist revolution by India’s Muslims . SIMI/IM has long-standing ties to global Islamist organizations, including LeT  and Harkat-ul-Jihad-Islami (HUJI) , as well as Pakistani intelligence agencies. 
Some have suggested that IM does not exist at all as an independent group but is instead an effort by Pakistan’s external intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), to project an Indian face to the activities of Pakistan-based militant groups.
According to police reports, IM is a network of three groups active in different parts of the country: Gujarat, the United Province, and Mumbai. There is a twelve-member core group, according to unconfirmed, leaked Indian intelligence sources, but the only known member is Altaf Subhan Qureshi (alias Tauqeer).
The largest group is code-named Call of Islam. IM recruits tend to be lower- and middle-class Muslims opposed to both Hindu nationalism and Western values; IM also claims leaders and cadres from professional backgrounds, especially from the IT sector.
In claiming responsibility for the blasts, the group has clearly laid out its short- and long-term objectives. The immediate goals are retribution for injustices meted out to the Muslim minority in India including the Gujarat pogrom in 2002, the dispute in Kashmir, and the alleged discriminatory attitude of the police.
Instead of targeting specific leaders and officials involved in the above issues directly, the group seeks to undermine the Indian state’s will and ability to function by creating an environment of fear. The long-term objective is the establishment of a South Asia Islamic Caliphate in alignment with other jihadist groups like the LeT , HM, and JeM .
SIMI is believed to have enjoyed considerable international support, including that of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY)  in Saudi Arabia. The organization has chapters in 55 countries and was founded by Osama bin Laden’s nephew. It holds conferences and distributes literature that promote jihad as well as raises funds for terrorist groups such as Hamas. WAMY has been tied to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing .
India’s security concerns are now growing given the rising number of attacks and use of more sophisticated improvised explosive devices (IED) like those in Iraq. The key question is whether the Indian jihadist groups can move from a strategy of sporadic attacks to the ability to launch a full-scale war. And of course the backing and safe haven these groups get from Pakistan make the problem far more complex.
URLs in this post:
 a group calling itself Indian Mujahedeen: http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/mumbaiterrorstrike/Story.aspx?ID=NEWEN20080058894&type=News
 Ajmal Kasab: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/news/ITBP-sends-Rs-10cr-bill-for-Kasabs-security/videoshow/8556963.cms
 Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba: http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/lashkar_e_toiba.htm
 Harkat-ul-Jihad-Islami (HUJI-B): http://www.jamestown.org/uploads/media/TM_007_4_03.pdf
 Islamist revolution by India’s Muslims: http://www.hindtoday.com/Blogs/Docs/The_Rise_of_Jihad.pdf
 including LeT: http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/let.html
 Harkat-ul-Jihad-Islami (HUJI): http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/bangladesh/terroristoutfits/Huj.htm
 JeM: http://www.nctc.gov/site/groups/jem.html
 World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY): http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/2473
 World Trade Center bombing: http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC07.php?CID=104
A pastor of Bethel Church and Bethel Student Centre, charged with having sex with young girls and getting them to abort
Friday, June 17, 2011
A city pastor has been accused by his own wife of being a paedophile and of misappropriating church funds. The charges against K Shantaraju, the 45-year-old pastor of the Bethel Church and Bethel Student Centre in Siddhartha Nagar, Jalahalli West, are being probed by the police after a complaint was filed by his wife Priyalatha at Gangammanagudi police station on Wednesday.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
By CHARLIE SAVAGE and ERIC SCHMITT
July 19, 2011
The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Pakistan’s military, including its powerful spy agency, has spent $4 million over two decades in a covert attempt to tilt American policy against India’s control of much of Kashmir — including funneling campaign donations to members of Congress and presidential candidates, the F.B.I. claimed in court papers unsealed Tuesday.
The allegations of a long-running plan to influence American elections and foreign policy come at a time of deep tensions between the United States and Pakistan — and in particular its spy agency — amid the fallout over the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden at a compound deep inside Pakistan on May 2.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation made the allegations in a 43-page affidavit filed in connection with the indictment of two United States citizens on charges that they failed to register with the Justice Department as agents of Pakistan, as required by law. One of the men, Zaheer Ahmad, is in Pakistan, but the other, Syed Fai, lives in Virginia and was arrested on Tuesday.
Mr. Fai is the director of the Kashmiri American Council, a Washington-based group that lobbies for and holds conferences and media events to promote the cause of self-determination for Kashmir. According to the affidavit, the activities by the group, also called the Kashmiri Center, are largely financed by Pakistan’s spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, along with as much as $100,000 a year in related donations to political campaigns in the United States. Foreign governments are prohibited from making donations to American political candidates.
“Mr. Fai is accused of a decades-long scheme with one purpose — to hide Pakistan’s involvement behind his efforts to influence the U.S. government’s position on Kashmir,” Neil MacBride, the United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, said. “His handlers in Pakistan allegedly funneled millions through the Kashmir Center to contribute to U.S. elected officials, fund high-profile conferences and pay for other efforts that promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision-makers in Washington.”
A spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy denied any connection to matter, saying, “Mr. Fai is not a Pakistani citizen, and the government and embassy of Pakistan have no knowledge of the case.”
Law enforcement officials said Pakistan used a network of at least 10 unnamed straw contributors, which Mr. Ahmad helped organize, to make the campaign contributions and donate the bulk of the Kashmiri Center’s annual operating budget. The ISI would reimburse them — or their families in Pakistan — for the donations, the officials said.
Most of the straw donors who made contributions to the Kashmiri Center and to politicians in the United States were identified only by code in the court document, though the investigation was continuing and eight F.B.I. field offices executed 17 or 18 search warrants related to other suspected donors on Tuesday, an official said.
The goal of the group, according to internal documents cited by the F.B.I., was to persuade the United States government that it was in its interest to push India to allow a vote in Kashmir to decide its future. The group’s strategy was to offset the Indian lobby by targeting members of the Congressional committees that focus on foreign affairs with private briefings and events, staging activities that would draw media attention and otherwise to elevate the issue of Kashmir — the disputed region between India and Pakistan that each country controls in part but claims entirely — in Washington.
The F.B.I. said that there was no evidence that any of the lawmakers who received campaign funds from Pakistan were aware of its origins, and it did not name any of the recipients.
However, a search in Federal Elections Commission databases for contributions by Mr. Fai showed that he has made more than $20,000 in campaign contributions over the past two decades. The bulk of his donations went to two recipients: the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Representative Dan Burton, a Republican from Indiana.
Mr. Fai made numerous — though smaller — contributions to Democrats as well, including to Representatives James P. Moran of Virginia, Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio and Gregory W. Meeks of New York, and $250 donations to the 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns of Al Gore and Barack Obama.
Mr. Ahmad also donated to Mr. Burton, records show. For at least 15 years, Mr. Burton has been a champion for Kashmiri causes in Congress, appealing to Presidents Bill Clinton and Obama to get more involved in attempting to mediate a settlement between India and Pakistan over the border region. He has also endorsed allowing the Kashmiri people to vote on their own fate.
Mr. Burton said he was “deeply shocked” by the arrest of Mr. Fai, because he had known him for 20 years and “in that time I had no inkling of his involvement with any foreign intelligence operation and had presumed our correspondence was legitimate.” He said he would donate the funds provided to his campaign to the Boy Scouts of America.
Both Mr. Fai and Mr. Ahmad also donated to Representative Joe Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican who visited the region in 2001 and 2004, meeting with Pakistani and Indian leaders and calling for a cease-fire. He also introduced a resolution in 2004 calling for President George W. Bush to appoint a special envoy to help negotiate peace.
A spokesman for Mr. Pitts said he had donated $4,000 — an amount equal to the donations his campaign received from the two defendants — to local charities in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.
Among the evidence that Mr. Fai was working for Pakistan, the affidavit said, are annual budget requests he allegedly submitted to his handlers along with lists of accomplishments and strategic-planning documents. Other documents and intercepts showed that they sometimes quarreled over reimbursing him for the costs of trips or about contracts for which he had not gotten advance approval.
The board of the Kashmiri American Council comprises mostly physicians and lawyers from across the United States, and election records show that several board members have made significant donations to lawmakers who have championed peace in Kashmir.
Gulam Hassan Butt, a retired California physician and member of the council’s board whose name does not appear in the donor database, said in a phone interview that the council carried out a “regular, honest, open campaign” with lawmakers and the State Department to get the United States to help resolve the Kashmir issue.
He also said he was unaware of any money that Pakistan’s government might have provided to the Kashmiri American Council, but Mr. Fai did not inform board members about all the sources of the council’s revenue: “Where does he get the money?” Mr. Butt said. “I don’t know. Who gives him the money? I don’t know.”
Saturday, July 16, 2011
JULY 16, 2011
By Aatish Taseer, the son of an assassinated Pakistani leader, explahttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifins the history and hysteria behind a deadly relationship
Ten days before he was assassinated in January, my father, Salman Taseer, sent out a tweet about an Indian rocket that had come down over the Bay of Bengal: "Why does India make fools of themselves messing in space technology? Stick 2 bollywood my advice."
My father was the governor of Punjab, Pakistan's largest province, and his tweet, with its taunt at India's misfortune, would have delighted his many thousands of followers. It fed straight into Pakistan's unhealthy obsession with India, the country from which it was carved in 1947.
Though my father's attitude went down well in Pakistan, it had caused considerable tension between us. I am half-Indian, raised in Delhi by my Indian mother: India is a country that I consider my own. When my father was killed by one of his own bodyguards for defending a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, we had not spoken for three years.
To understand the Pakistani obsession with India, to get a sense of its special edge—its hysteria—it is necessary to understand the rejection of India, its culture and past, that lies at the heart of the idea of Pakistan. This is not merely an academic question. Pakistan's animus toward India is the cause of both its unwillingness to fight Islamic extremism and its active complicity in undermining the aims of its ostensible ally, the United States.
The idea of Pakistan was first seriously formulated by neither a cleric nor a politician but by a poet. In 1930, Muhammad Iqbal, addressing the All-India Muslim league, made the case for a state in which India's Muslims would realize their "political and ethical essence." Though he was always vague about what the new state would be, he was quite clear about what it would not be: the old pluralistic society of India, with its composite culture.
Iqbal's vision took concrete shape in August 1947. Despite the partition of British India, it had seemed at first that there would be no transfer of populations. But violence erupted, and it quickly became clear that in the new homeland for India's Muslims, there would be no place for its non-Muslim communities. Pakistan and India came into being at the cost of a million lives and the largest migration in history.
This shared experience of carnage and loss is the foundation of the modern relationship between the two countries. In human terms, it meant that each of my parents, my father in Pakistan and my mother in India, grew up around symmetrically violent stories of uprooting and homelessness.
But in Pakistan, the partition had another, deeper meaning. It raised big questions, in cultural and civilizational terms, about what its separation from India would mean.
In the absence of a true national identity, Pakistan defined itself by its opposition to India. It turned its back on all that had been common between Muslims and non-Muslims in the era before partition. Everything came under suspicion, from dress to customs to festivals, marriage rituals and literature. The new country set itself the task of erasing its association with the subcontinent, an association that many came to view as a contamination.
Had this assertion of national identity meant the casting out of something alien or foreign in favor of an organic or homegrown identity, it might have had an empowering effect. What made it self-wounding, even nihilistic, was that Pakistan, by asserting a new Arabized Islamic identity, rejected its own local and regional culture. In trying to turn its back on its shared past with India, Pakistan turned its back on itself.
But there was one problem: India was just across the border, and it was still its composite, pluralistic self, a place where nearly as many Muslims lived as in Pakistan. It was a daily reminder of the past that Pakistan had tried to erase.
Pakistan's existential confusion made itself apparent in the political turmoil of the decades after partition. The state failed to perform a single legal transfer of power; coups were commonplace. And yet, in 1980, my father would still have felt that the partition had not been a mistake, for one critical reason: India, for all its democracy and pluralism, was an economic disaster.
Pakistan had better roads, better cars; Pakistani businesses were thriving; its citizens could take foreign currency abroad. Compared with starving, socialist India, they were on much surer ground. So what if India had democracy? It had brought nothing but drought and famine.
But in the early 1990s, a reversal began to occur in the fortunes of the two countries. The advantage that Pakistan had seemed to enjoy in the years after independence evaporated, as it became clear that the quest to rid itself of its Indian identity had come at a price: the emergence of a new and dangerous brand of Islam.
As India rose, thanks to economic liberalization, Pakistan withered. The country that had begun as a poet's utopia was reduced to ruin and insolvency.
The primary agent of this decline has been the Pakistani army. The beneficiary of vast amounts of American assistance and money—$11 billion since 9/11—the military has diverted a significant amount of these resources to arming itself against India. In Afghanistan, it has sought neither security nor stability but rather a backyard, which—once the Americans leave—might provide Pakistan with "strategic depth" against India.
In order to realize these objectives, the Pakistani army has led the U.S. in a dance, in which it had to be seen to be fighting the war on terror, but never so much as to actually win it, for its extension meant the continuing flow of American money. All this time the army kept alive a double game, in which some terror was fought and some—such as Laskhar-e-Tayyba's 2008 attack on Mumbai—actively supported.
The army's duplicity was exposed decisively this May, with the killing of Osama bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad. It was only the last and most incriminating charge against an institution whose activities over the years have included the creation of the Taliban, the financing of international terrorism and the running of a lucrative trade in nuclear secrets.
This army, whose might has always been justified by the imaginary threat from India, has been more harmful to Pakistan than to anybody else. It has consumed annually a quarter of the country's wealth, undermined one civilian government after another and enriched itself through a range of economic interests, from bakeries and shopping malls to huge property holdings.
The reversal in the fortunes of the two countries—India's sudden prosperity and cultural power, seen next to the calamity of Muhammad Iqbal's unrealized utopia—is what explains the bitterness of my father's tweet just days before he died. It captures the rage of being forced to reject a culture of which you feel effortlessly a part—a culture that Pakistanis, via Bollywood, experience daily in their homes.
This rage is what makes it impossible to reduce Pakistan's obsession with India to matters of security or a land dispute in Kashmir. It can heal only when the wounds of 1947 are healed. And it should provoke no triumphalism in India, for behind the bluster and the bravado, there is arid pain and sadness.
—Mr. Taseer is the author of "Stranger to History: A Son's Journey Through Islamic Lands." His second novel, "Noon," will be published in the U.S. in September.