Thursday, April 30, 2009


Democracy and Nationalization of Higher Education

An article by Shree S. Vinekar, MD

“Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness,” and “EQUALITY”, of course -- These are the fundamental rights and the virtues of democracy. Over the last few centuries many civilized democracies have attempted to redistribute the national and individual wealth to reduce inequalities in their populations. This is accomplished through taxation, increasing national productivity, industrialization, and other peaceful measures. Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru chose the path of socialism for India. Shri Vinoba Bhave attempted to redistribute land. There are many peaceful measures to uplift the deprived and the disadvantaged, and, as such, these are all noble efforts. Over the last fifty eight years in “Independent” “India that is Bharat,” such gradual efforts to combat poverty have succeeded, to some degree, in spite of the rapid population growth. In keeping with all the progress and successful reforms, India’s politicians and policy makers say, “NOW IT IS TIME TO REDISTRIBUTE THE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES on a larger scale than ever before.” On the surface, it sounds like a very noble objective, designed necessarily to redress the injustices of the past. It is high time that the evils of caste system or even the caste system itself be entirely overthrown in modern India. There seems to be no justification for such system in the modern world that is going through global shrinking. For seekers of the vote-bank, however, overzealous “affirmative action” is indeed an opportunity to appease the “minorities.” Politics is now directly entering the universities and institutions of higher learning.

What is different about these just and noble sounding thrusts? The OBC reservation and quota system is an imposition on the current higher education systems both private and public. What is different about this protectionist proposal is that many deserving, hard working, meritorious students not belonging to OBC, classified as OC, both rich and poor, will be deprived of opportunities to further their careers that they have earned through their hard work and merit. Instead “their” “SEATS” in the universities and other institutions of higher learning will be offered by RESERVATION POLICIES in large numbers like 49 TO 70 PERCENT to students, for many of whom the only qualifications and admission eligibility may be their scheduled caste or minority classification, and not their merit nor their lower socioeconomic level. Needless to say that many students from the so-called “creamy layers” the well-to-do of OBC classes will claim access to these seats based upon their caste rather than merit. Significant number of non-deserving OBC students lacking merit will displace many deserving and meritorious students of the OC class as there are no current plans to sizably expand the current absolute number of educational opportunities or seats. This is the price the new generations of the OC class have to accept to pay to undo the injustices perpetrated by their past generations! Fair enough? Why do these OC brats whine and threaten to commit suicide when they lose opportunities, while their underprivileged brethren have lost a myriad of opportunities for many generations because of their caste, it may be asked.

There is a basic fallacy that underlies this policy. It views the “SEATS” in the universities as if they are equivalent to ownership of land or property, guaranteed by the phrase “Pursuit of Happiness.” By generously offering the “seats” to the non-meritorious underprivileged it is assumed that the recipients of these seats will graduate (and no doubt some will be sincere, hard working, students and will graduate with distinction) and acquire the necessary knowledge base and skills given simply an opportunity to progress in the educational field of their choice. This is a simple minded selling point for the proposed policy. Educational opportunities, when made available to meritorious and deserving students of all classes and castes, no doubt, enable them to acquire cognitive abilities but COGNITIVE ABILITIES CANNOT BE REDISTRIBUTED. Moreover, if such attempt to redistribute is made, it will be a caricature of communism in the intangible domain of educational psychology. During fifty eight years of social and educational experiment with 15 to 27 percent of total seats allotted to OBC students, one would assume the Government or the Ministry of Education would have both demographic and achievement related accumulated data to arrive at intelligent, scientific, and evidence based recommendations to uplift the deserving students of the OBC class. Such recommendations with altruistic and philanthropic intentions as well as for “social engineering” purpose will be welcomed by any and all reasonable and thoughtful people. Arbitrary imposition of numbers for reservation and quotas on all educational institutions and private employers without regard to any logic or evidence based results of past social and educational experimentation in this area of social reform, however, would lead to questioning the motivation of the politicians. Even the most developed older democracies of the world have their large sections of society that are not privileged to partake in higher education, not because of caste or class, and not even because of economic background. Some democracies are well endowed to provide free education and/or generous scholarships to their meritorious underprivileged students. Yet, not all are either equipped with prerequisites or are motivated to learn. Uneducated and/or undereducated sections within the society do not necessarily reflect discrimination of the minority by the majority. It must be clarified that this fact alone is not a justification for deliberate discrimination and deprivation of educational opportunity for low income meritorious students on any basis, caste, creed, color, or socioeconomic background.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR HIGHER EDUCATION SHOULD BE EQUAL FOR ALL. However, while these opportunities must be made available to all deserving students on the primary basis of merit, some concessions and allowances need to be made for the underprivileged by lowering the admission standards to facilitate their entry. That is, certain admission standards of most educational institutions understandably need to be lowered for those underprivileged students who show promise, but in whose case if it can be determined that they may have earned somewhat lower marks due to their social and economic circumstances. Sincere efforts must be directed to focus on minimizing, and if possible, eliminating cheating and fraud in the educational testing systems to ensure that merit is authentic, if all admissions to higher education are merit-based. There will need to be monitoring system in place to ensure compliance with regulations ensuring non-discrimination and affirmative action in the educational system.
Those who need scholarships based on their lower economic status would best be served by providing financial assistance or educational loans that could be written off, if their performance and achievement meet certain expectations. And, even then, such concessions must be contingent upon sustained satisfactory performance in their studies, e.g., minimum level of performance must be maintained for a set number of consecutive terms in order to qualify for the waivers. In this manner the deserving students of the minority class can be better served to bring about the social reform.

Such policies for social reform implementing affirmative action in higher education to raise the educational levels of the underprivileged are laudable and all political parties will welcome and endorse such policies. One of the goals of education is also to foster broad-mindedness to maintain harmony and cohesiveness within the society at large. Unfortunately, the self-serving interests of some political parties and their alliances to appease the vote-banks will only further divide and fragment the already fragmented society.

The transparent motivation for such short-sighted and self-serving reform is to create an increasingly manipulative spiral trend wherein the underlying intentions of any future policy will be more heavily weighted on how it will keep the party in power rather than how it will inherently help the society as a whole. Therefore, over time the political party in power desiring to sustain this authority, will exploit the current inequality in the educational status of the minorities for its political gains, implementing such policy designed purely to consolidate and maintain its position of control. As such these power politics motivated exploitations of all kinds of rifts in the society based on castes or other identities are not new tactics in politics. Unless all Bharateeyas wake up and view themselves as ONE FAMILY, such tactics of ripping apart India more than what the colonial rulers and missionaries have done over the centuries by coming into the country and instigating hostilities between different castes and social classes will be perpetrated unchecked. If united to gain political power, the majority in India will become truly independent at last after thousand years. Ultimately and in the long-term, social progress will be stunted or even halted by ill designed social reform of reservation and quotas which in reality is calculated to create more rift between the minority and majority than there ever existed. Any social reform whether affirmative action or social welfare projects must lead to social progress that is allowed to grow into an increasingly beneficial and self-sustaining feature of India’s further growth as a world power. Any social reform that further divides and weakens the very fabric of Indian society is inimical to the progress of Bharat.

The best way to eliminate inequality is to create an even playing field. One possible way to do this is by stressing the implementation of policies to ensure free and easy access to elementary and secondary education and high quality academic experience to all children. Such college preparatory education needs to be made available to all children. The bell-curve will again show that, given the basic opportunities, within all classes, (poor and backward as well as the rich and privileged), will be found a few students in the extremely high achieving range who will merit admission to institutions of higher learning. There are many “Institutions of Excellence” competing in the world educational industry that may be best left alone to select only the best but required to be non-discriminating. Some professions allow only a very narrow margin of error in their work. For example, neurosurgeons and ophthalmologists or nuclear physicists, higher level Information Technologists and experts in artificial intelligence, etc., are not to be chosen on the basis of their castes. As these prerequisite policies to uplift all lower socioeconomic class children to qualify them for higher education are put in place, fair and just policies addressing admission requirements to higher educational institutions of excellence should be effected concurrently to retain their pride of place in the country and also internationally. These private institutions of higher education need to be given free reign to select the best candidates and compete at the international level. Private industrialists, entrepreneurs and technocrats will thus have an incentive to fund and finance their own educational institutions that do not depend on the Central government financing and yet excel. These institutions could feed their own enterprises while they select their students purely on merit without any discrimination. If the burden of bureaucracy becomes excessive they may set up their institutions outside the country.

The economically disadvantaged must be given free tuition and scholarships. The admissions to the universities and higher education need to be merit based and should present as equal-opportunity for the rich and for the poor, the majority and the minority. Significant allowances may be made to redress the injustices of the past for the meritorious students of the disadvantaged classes. Examples would be arranging free room and board, pocket money, books and journals, special tutoring and instructions to bridge the gap with the advantaged students, etc. and not merely giving OBC students an admission to a college. However, let it be stressed that the principal intent behind any and all educational policies should be for the good of the students, themselves, and for the progress of Indian society, as a whole. And, above all, at no time should India’s youth be used as a political weapon wielded by the parties to further their vote-bank agenda. Good democracies help facilitate the evolution and progress of societies, and do not instigate revolutions. If care is not taken to ensure that educational structure, and policy-making, benefit the student first, and not the political party’s ability to sustain its position of power, then India could very well be faced with a slow but powerful transition from “the world’s largest democracy” to a state of despotism disguised as a democracy.

The allotment of a significantly large number of seats to less than meritorious minority students by reservation, especially if it is at the expense of other well-deserving students, will not result in directly proportional and significant increases in the number of highly educated intellectuals or professionals in the underprivileged classes. Neither do social promotions and the offering of phony degrees lead to a better educated or highly technically skilled population that is prepared and ready to compete in the global market. Rather, another possible solution that should be considered is for the government of India to first empower the minorities to start special universities and institutes of higher learning for their students. This enables educators and policy makers to better monitor and evaluate the progress and performance of these segments of the student population in comparison to the national standards before inundating the present classrooms filled by meritorious students with low achieving minority students. In all fairness such minority sponsored educational institutions will then be required to enroll a sizeable section of “majority” students in their student bodies on merit basis, if India is viewed as one family that is truly secular.

India is on a winning path, gaining increasing respect as a world presence. The reckless policies in the educational domain, with hidden political agenda secretly embedded throughout, will sabotage India’s progress in the world market. From this point of view, the reservation policy and the quota system in higher education is a prescription for failure, both in the economic domain and in the domain of social reform. Besides, the rifts created by such policies will be capitalized upon by the political parties endorsing such reform for corrupt gains in the ensuing elections, and will simultaneously be sacrificing the futures of a large number of bright and deserving, hard working, meritorious students who will unnecessarily harbor bitterness in their hearts.

However, it must be strongly stressed that violence and revolution are not viable or even acceptable answers. Self-immolation, suicides, etc., are not constructive solutions. Eccentric fanatic speeches and weird or violent comments on the web-sites for free _expression of hostilities directed at the majority or the minority are only indications of social immaturity, besides discrediting the web-site of “Youth for Equality.” Political dialogue, debates, facilitation of widespread awareness of the issues, and the bringing about of changes in the voting patterns: these are more adaptive democratic strategies. As regards the advocacy for the undeserving non-meritorious students of the underprivileged class, the political parties will probably gain some votes, but, this will lead to not much else as far as the betterment of the society.
Instead of educationists advising the politicians regarding educational policies, it seems that the politicians are advising the educationists. This trend, if it continues, will eventually irreversibly and irreparably weaken our nation’s economy. The caring and concerned, compassionate, youth is emerging to begin a "Bharat Abhyudaya Yajnya” in a typical Bahrateeya peaceful manner on a national scale, viewing it not as a “kranti” but rather as an “utkranti,” with heartfelt love for the poor and the downtrodden. Good education for all deserving Bharateeyas should be the primary objective to be accomplished through this Yajnya.

II Vande Mataram II

Friday, April 24, 2009




Seshachalam Dutta, Ph.D. & Shree Vinekar, M.D.

There is no equivalent to the term “secularism” in Indian languages. It was a term borrowed from the West and used without comprehending its proper meaning. It has been much abused by Indian journalists and politicians alike.

George Holyoakes's 1896 publication "English Secularism" defines secularism as:(Courtesy Wikipedia)

"Secularism is a code of duty pertaining to this life, founded on considerations purely human, and intended mainly for those who find theology indefinite or inadequate, unreliable or unbelievable. Its essential principles are three: (1) The improvement of this life by material means. (2) That science is the available Providence of man. (3) That it is good to do good. Whether there be other good or not, the good of the present life is good, and it is good to seek that good."

(None of the three principles are incompatible with Hindu philosophy or practice as expounded below in contrast to many other popular religions of today. In fact, there has not been any conflict with Science for the Hindus.)

Holyoake held that secularism and secular ethics should take no interest at all in religious questions (as they were irrelevant), and was thus to be distinguished from strong free thought and atheism. In this he disagreed with Charles Bradlaugh, and the disagreement split the secularist movement between those who argued that anti-religious movements and activism was not necessary or desirable and those who argued that it was.

Thus modified, "Secularism" is the assertion that governmental practices or institutions should exist separately from religion and/or religious beliefs. The term secularism was pejoratively used originally by the Christian Church in medieval period. The life of a common man in Europe was so miserable with widespread poverty and various form of slavery that Church in response to such misery, to protect the Nobles, propagated the doctrine that there is no happiness in this world and only by being “faithful” believer in this life, there will be happiness in the Heaven yearned for in ones imagined after-life. Anyone who advocates worldly pleasures was considered by the Church as secular and to be condemned. By the time of European Renaissance, with the recognition of the autocracy and corruption of the Church, the intellectuals in Europe defied the church, challenged its teachings and accepted the term secularism to characterize the worldly concern irrespective of the promise of afterlife. They drew their inspiration from the writings of the Greek and Roman Philosophers. One such philosopher was Epicurus, who held Gods are busy in their own world and have no interest in this world and Man should seek happiness and fulfillment in this world. The Church wrongly interpreted this pragmatic philosophy of his to mean that he was advocating licentious, immoral pleasures without caring for the heavenly salvation. Epicurus never advocated anti-social or immoral behavior; he simply advocated practical form of worldliness. Epicureanism was again revived in the 19th century by many philosophers, prominently by Karl Marx whose doctoral dissertation was on this subject. Marx took anti religious position and advocated pure dialectical materialism.

All the followers of Marxism avidly espouse antireligious secularism. Thus secularism had the connotation of anti-religiousness, as well as anti-traditional social attitude. Extreme individualism and defiance of social mores and norms as we witnessed by hippies and beatniks are attributed to this thinking, again unfairly. Several 20th century intellectuals, including scientists and Humanists like Julian Huxley and Albert Einstein called themselves secularists and interpreted the term to mean that their interest was to advocate welfare of this society in this world regardless of the religious beliefs of the members of the society. This thought was already prevalent among the framers of the American Constitution, especially Thomas Jefferson, who advocated strict separation of Church and State without diminishing the spirituality of the citizens. The word secularism was never used by Thomas Jefferson or any of the founding fathers of the United States of America to characterize religious neutrality of State.At the present day this interpretation of secularism as a principle of mainly advocating concern for the social welfare without deliberately antagonizing the Church has been accepted – the emphasis is in not to antagonize the church or faith. In fact, even Pope Pius coined the term “Secular Christianity” to promote the church priests’ social activism by who-so-ever willing to be active in matters of societal interest without wearing Church insignia.It is, therefore, clear to all who are familiar with the Indian political scenarios and also the above-mentioned senses, connotations, and authentic meanings of Secularism that the term Secularism is used in India with no clear concept except by the Indian Communists who correctly accept the atheistic Marxian doctrine of wiping out any religious influence, as Marx called it “the opium of the masses.” However, in practice the Communists in India are becoming close allies of the Christians and Muslims as most of them adopted these religions in rebellion towards to the majority Hindus prior to their espousing Communism. They do not give up their identity as a religious minority and declare themselves as atheists, especially when there are affirmative action and reservation benefits. This unholy alliance is particularly evident in Kerala, West Bengal, etc. The Maoists in India are becoming allies of the Christian missionaries. All of these related facts are mentioned to illustrate that even the communists in India are not truly Secularists in practice. Neither are they likely to be secular if they become the ruling power at the center.

Now, is there such a thing as Secular Hinduism? Where does secularism fit in with Hinduism? The relatively new term “secular” does not apply to Hinduism which has a history of nearly 10 thousand years, because Hinduism is both secular and spiritual. Refined form of Hinduism (Upanishadic) does not advocate that “salvation” is only to be achieved in the afterlife. It advocates Man’s perfection in this life, here and now, promoting spirituality as the means to achieve inner peace and tranquility in a dissonant and chaotic world; furthermore, spirituality is hoped to raise the “state of Man” to “Divine” which is seen as the highest human potential. Example: Bhagavat Gita, chapter 2, last verse:

Esha Brahmi sthitihi Partha nainaam prapya vimuhyati,
sthitwa asyaam antakale api Brahmanirvanam rucchati

Having not attained such a state of perfection (Brahmi Sthiti) one would be subjected to illusions about the reality (and will not be free of temptations and misinterpretations of reality) and after attaining this state one will always be grounded in reality; but holding on to this state of mind even until the end of ones life- (i.e., in this world itself), one would reach divine perfection (Rucchati meaning "goes to" - Brahma Nirvana) experiencing eternal bliss and attain nirvana, (nirvana meaning liberation from all imperfect frames of reference, caused by the genetically inherited memories or by learned paradigms, with the ability to recognize the true nature of the Brahman and to identify with It as the only ultimate reality.)

There is some semantic confusion as to whether the above quote can be considered purely philosophical and extra-religious in the Hindu tradition, and whether it could even be universally applicable to all human beings as a supra-religious philosophical principle, or is it "religious"in a narrow sense because Gita is considered to be one of the scriptures of the Hindus. Nevertheless, one must note that this verse from Gita does not presume presence of God, presence of after-life, etc., and limits itself to the concerns of attaining a state of mind in this life that will permit one to do good irrespective of any other considerations, and ultimately liberate one even from the usual hackneyed paradigms like "theology." In that sense it is a similar stance like the "Secular Christianity" but goes deeper than focusing on not wearing the insignia. (See "Dhee: The Essence of Hinduness" Part I and II on and http://www. with discussion on freedom of thought and absence of dogma which make the term "Hindu Fundamentalism" an oxymoron.)

Most Hindus know that freedom of thought, absence of dogma, and even atheism are totally compatible with Hinduism, therefore, secularism even with its focus on pure materialism is not new for the Hindu thinkers (as propounded by Charvaka). That secularism does not need to be taught newly to Hindus is historically a self evident truth. They have welcomed other religions and have practiced governance without regards to religious concerns long before the arrival of the British is well known. With all accusations about BJP being affiliated with Hindutva political philosophy, which is falsely characterized by the so-called "Secular" English media in India as anti-secular, these accusations of BJP being non-secular or anti-secular are unfounded when the governance by BJP dominated NDA government is scrutinized for its secular stance and performance in comparison to the stance taken by the Indian National Congress and policies implemented and endorsed by it when in power. (See "Indian Secularism: A Sham" Part I & II on this page)

So there is no such thing like “pseudo-secularism” in Hinduness, Hindutva, or Hinduism. There are both, secularism-this worldliness, and spirituality, which pertains to the inner life of human consciousness - in Hinduism; both of which are integral to reformed Hinduism as well as truly interpreted traditional Hinduism (as is by Kashmiri Shaivism). Both can co-exist and can be practiced concurrently by any knowledgeable Hindu. It is bothersome to hear the abuse of the term secularism by politicians and journalists alike but even more so when they portray it as totally absent in Hinduism and Hindu history or even more so when the word "secular" is used as an antonym of “Hindu.”

Hinduism in its philosophy, principles, and practice is historically the most open minded and open system religion and Hindu society has historically been more pluralistic than any other society dominated by religions other than Hinduism. This is an undeniable fact which the modern so-called secular English media conveniently ignore. In the history of India there have been million Gandhis among the ordinary people all over India who have not had to be taught religious tolerance, and therefore, viewing Mahatma Gandhi as the first and only proponent of tolerance of other religions is also a myth that is propagated by these media.

The other abused term is “Communalism” and particularly “Hindu Communalism” which is pejoratively used to label “Hindu Nationalism”, a universally accepted dignified term. On the question of Hindu Nationalism we could hold a healthy civilized debate without “name calling.” The words “Communalism” and “Hindu Communalism” are essentially a form of name calling with no room for any critical thinking to analyze these terms.What is communalism? It is not a bad word after all. People who formed the communes in the West like the Quakers and the Mormons and others who practiced collective agriculture and shared community life have used the term "communism." This word communism in this context was offensive to the orthodox leaders of these communes who associated the term with atheism as implied in Marxian parlance and hence preferred the term “communalism.”

The innocuous true meaning of the word communalism is "social organization on a communal basis "or "to a sociopolitical grouping based on religious or ethnic affiliation." This is a ubiquitous social phenomenon. The Catholics, Mormons, Episcopalian, and other denominations show this type of group forming dynamics and we can name many in the world based on common interests or social, political, religious or ethnic characteristics shared by the group. The Dalits unite in India as well as the Marathas to form their own groups. Actually the ecumenical or Eucharistic congress is a form of communalism treated with greatest respect in Mumbai, India in the 1960's by the Government of India as well as the State Government of Maharashtra. Who is to sit in judgment that the unity of one group is healthy and good, and the unity of another law abiding majority in any country is evil and to be labeled pejoratively?

How did we get this term in India with the currently distorted usage? We have to hold the original protagonists of this term responsible for this perverted use, and others have been only blind imitators. If we want to use this term strictly, for example, it applies to Tamils in Bombay who live together and have their own linguistic groups, Bengali groups in Bihar and Assam, and Andhra Maha Sabha in Delhi or in Chennai, etc. These are aptly described as communal organizations. There is nothing wrong in socializing with a group that shares ones language and culture. Is there anything like Hindu Communalists? Hindus are several communities or a conglomeration with different linguistic and caste divisions, as well as sub-cultures and, therefore, it is absurd to use the word Hindu Communalists.

This label or phrase of “Hindu Communalism” was framed by Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, mischievously to denigrate anyone that would advocate Hindu welfare exclusively or organize Hindus exclusively without the consent, cooperation or addition of Muslims - no body cared for Christians as a politically significant group at that time any way. The emphasis then and even now was to include Muslims at every turn in public life to fully integrate them into a homogeneous society. The ideal propagated then was that of “Hindu-Muslim Bhai-Bhai.” It is a wonderful Utopian concept (hoping for the brotherhood of Hindus and Muslims,) but inherently an oxymoron considering the fundamentalism of Islam as universally and historically refractory to any change. The attempt to unify Hindus and Muslims then in the early Independent Nehruvian India utterly failed because of the rejection of this thrust by Muslims themselves. This was amply demonstrated by Muslims when they responded to the call for Direct Action by Jinnah with their atrocious widespread violence towards the Hindus. Riots broke out throughout the country from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari, giving a foretaste of what was to come at the time of the partition of India.

In any case the phrase “Hindu Communalism” gained popularity as a pejorative term to malign anyone whose philosophy was to advocate welfare and protection of Hindus exclusively even in the face of such extreme violence directed exclusively at the Hindus by the Muslims or others. As a great skilled sloganeer Nehru managed to successfully convey in one innocuous sounding sweeping term, many subcomponents of absurd pejorative meanings including Hindu reactionary orthodoxy, narrow-mindedness, orthodoxy, "fundamentalism," fanaticism and alleged hatred of all other religions, especially Muslims! These meanings are now carved out in stone so to say in the Indian context especially in the so called secular English media and unthinkingly implied not only by other journalists in India but also by copycat foreign journalists and so called Western and Western educated and trained scholars.

Communists chose to translate the term as "Mata tatva vadins"- "advocates of religion or religious theories."- Hindu Nationalism is not of a religious identity, it is a cultural identity of a people, albeit belonging to religions of their native land, but as one people, of one origin, one culture, one shared history, and tradition. Cultural Nationalism invokes unity of all Hindus as “Vishva Hindu” no matter where the Hindus live in the world, whether in Sri Lanka, South Africa, UK or USA; Hindu nationalism means they are "our people" and most Hindus are broad-minded to include others who have adopted Hindu culture, who use indigenous Indian languages of the Hindus, and also attires and customs of the Hindus as “our people” regardless of their religions if they would be open minded to mingle freely with them and freely associate in a harmonious manner, as exemplified in many “India Associations” in foreign countries.

The overarching concern of Hindu Nationalist is to make the public and political life of India “Hindu-centric.” From the above discussion it should be clear that Hindu-centric society and government is not antithetical to Secularism. This is not as un-modern as some seem to think. We can see examples of similar lines of thinking and social processes elsewhere outside India demonstrated by the governments that are secular in a true sense more than the current Indian Government. With diverse immigrants entering the U.S, the leftists, anarchists and libertarians argue against sanctifying any traditions. Intellectuals like Patrick Buchanan and George Will in contrast have taken a position that America is and should be Judeo-Christian centric.

Multiculturalism may be allowed so far and no further, lest the other cultures may wipe out the soul of the Nation represented by its History, tradition, and faiths. This realization also came to France recently with the influx of large number of Muslim immigrants into that country demanding special treatment to distinguishing themselves as Muslims. President Sarkosy has stamped down on this trend. Similar message was given to the Muslim immigrants by the Prime Minister of Australia. In Denmark, the traditional free press was attacked by Muslims for hurting their sentiment by printing a picture of Mohamed. The Europeans are waking up to this intrusion or overbearing attitude of the Muslims in their countries. Germany has already made the laws to certify incoming religions and restricting proselytizing. They banned the church headed by Rev. Moon and did not allow Moon to enter into Germany. Likewise, Russia instituted certification of non-Russian, non-orthodox, churches. In UK where there is relatively liberal attitude, Muslims are demanding enforcement of Sharia Law for their people with an ambition to apply it to all people in their adopted country. The British are waking up and resenting this intrusion and threats of death directed at them in the absurd “peace march” by Jihadi Muslims.

People who argue against Hindu Nationalism (not communalism) should pause and think which way Indian liberalization goes. Such liberalism as is practiced under the name of secularism calling names like communalism to Hindu Nationalism will be a disaster in India, if it already is not. The Nation of Israel is based on Zionism which should be respected by anyone entering that country. Milk in coffee is not served in McDonald restaurants, for it offends Kosher. Countries like Saudi Arabia which is so vocal of protecting the rights of Muslims would not allow any non-Muslim religious symbols or scriptures into their country. As an atheistic Communist country, China was fighting Falun Gong and Unification Church of Rev. Moon. But, they do retain the ancient Chinese culture; therefore, initially supported Falun Gong which was native to their culture until political considerations caused the reversal of the policy.

From all this, there should be no surprise that Hindu Nationalists advocate the preservation of Hindu centric polity and civil society that honors the great traditions and languages of India that is Bharat. People have the freedom to celebrate Valentine day as long as they don’t scoff at Vasant Panchami which is more meaningful to the Hindus. They may celebrate demons and goblins of Halloween without demeaning Diwali or Holi. When it comes to the question of opening a male or female strip joint, offending Hindu sensibility and sentiments the line has to be drawn. Anarchistic individualism is not a right, it is a concession gifted by the society in which the majority shows a generosity, for no individual can survive without organized society which should have control on the limits of individual freedom. Hindus will draw that line of limits pursuant to their tradition. That is the essence of Hindu Centric society which is not to be called “communalism.” Such efforts to maintain decency in accord with the sentiments of the majority including ban of the cow slaughter is not “communalism.” This right of the majority of the community is respected in all nations and all societies. The people in the United States will not permit slaughter of dogs because this species is viewed as pets although in some Eastern countries dog-meat is routinely considered for table food.

The majority in all countries enjoy this privilege without stepping on the fundamental rights to liberty, life and pursuit of happiness of any individual belonging to any religions. If proselytization is a demographic assault on the majority, then the right to practice religion must not be expanded to include right to convert others, alienate and cleave them from the family bonds and native traditional culture, especially the members of the majority community. This is the contemporary crisis in present day Africa where competing Christian and Muslim proselytizing outfits have brought unending treacherous civil wars. The Pope has nothing to comment on this tragedy, while he is quite ready to condemn Evangelists who convert Catholics in Latin America; Evangelists don’t believe Catholics are true Christians! Such views of opposition to religious conversions are not “communalistic” and not even nationalistic. They are common sense mores in a live and let live type of harmonious living of groups belonging to different religions that need to learn to co-exist peacefully. Religious freedom is not freedom to attack and convert others; nor is religious tolerance religious acceptance.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Demystifying Shri Hanuman



Originally published on Aug 01, 2005; republished courtesy

Abstract: “Lord” knows where in the world the label “Monkey God” came from in describing Shri Hanuman in the Western world. However, it is imperative upon the Hindu Indians to trace its origin. It will help to understand the original intent of Rishi Valmiki, the original redactor of Ramayana, in creating a “divine” entity in the “character” of Shri Hanuman. This article will be in two parts. The first part will explore the common perceptions of the Western as well as the Hindu Indians. It will focus on the mentality leading to the choice of terminology used by the British Indologists in coining the names of the Hindu Deities. Second part will be presented as a philosophical article to expound the nature of Shri Hanuman and the meaning of “Vanara” in the same vein as my previous article on “Demystifying Shri Ganesha.”* * *The word in Sanskrit for a monkey is “Markata.” The Hindi word “Bandar” may be an apabhramsha or a distorted derivative of the Sanskrit word “Vanara” but neither you or I have come across the words “Markata Deva,” “Vanara Deva,” or “Bandar Deva” (and the vernacular equivalents of the same in other Indian languages such as Marathi or Gujrati like “Makad Dev” or “Vandaro Bhagwan” even presuming the word “God” is an equivalent of “Deva” or “Bhagwan.” This raises a serious question regarding the concept of “Monkey God” in the English language which is so foreign to Indian (Hindu) culture that there is no real equivalent for the English “Monkey God” in the Sanskrit derived or other Indian languages. However, we Indians have blindly followed the British rulers and their scholars in choosing the names of our deities in the English language as exemplified in the following description on “Hindunet.”“Hanuman is a “monkey god.” He is a noble hero and great devotee of Lord Rama of the Ramayana. This deity is a provider of courage, hope, knowledge, intellect and devotion. He is pictured as a robust monkey holding a mace (gadaa) which is a sign of bravery and having a picture of Lord Rama tattooed on his chest which is a sign of his devotion to Lord Rama. He is also called Mahaveera (the great hero) or Pavana-suta (son of air) or Bajarangabali.”

Another version of “Who Hanuman is” shows total ignorance of the meaning of the word “Hanuman” but recognizes him as a scholar, an eloquent speaker in Sanskrit language, an intellectual skilled in the Vedas, a linguist, and an accomplished musician who sings classical bhajans of Shri Rama. A unique cultured gentleman and a scholar with a broken jaw! What a funny concept!! See:

“Hanuman, whose name means "broken jaw," is the divine loyal servant of the king of the monkeys. He is the son of Vayu, god of the wind, and the goddess Punjikasthala, a god to the Vanara (intelligent monkeys, as the Nagas are intelligent serpents). He is one of Hinduism’s less well-known deities (to outsiders), best known for his aiding of Rama (an avatar of Vishnu) to recover his wife, Sita, from the Rakshashas, led by Ravana. Hanuman's abilities include growing to 100 times in height, which is still pretty impressive in his reduced state, to change form, as could his mother, and to stretch his prehensile tail indefinitely. He set it on fire and thrashed it around the Rakshasas' city. Hanuman has a tendency to be rather mischievous, but always presents himself as a gentleman, and honors all codes of warfare. He is also a skilled musician, and Vedic texts state that he daily sings of Rama. He is an eloquent speaker, skilled grammarian, learned linguist, and a scholar of Hindu scripture. He is also well known for his great humility.“He is invincible at the hands of all beings, but always reports this fact in a matter-of-fact manner, even to his enemies. His sensitivity and kindness, however, are considered to be his greatest attribute. Hanuman is probably the basis of the trickster-king monkey legend that was recorded as Saiyu-Ki (Journey to the West) in Japan. This monkey, however, does not appear to be divine, and tends to be a bit of a lecher. He was aided by a pig and a flounder.”

A childhood friend of mine visited me a few years ago and wanted to share a “recent” joke he felt was funny. There was usually some ethnic joke that he brought every time he met me. He said, “A new Hanuman temple was built in Mumbai and was inaugurated with great enthusiasm and publicity. Next week the people from the U.S. Embassy came to honor Him and to claim that Hanuman was an authentic American character like “Batman, Spiderman, and Superman,” and declared him as known widely in the American schools as “Hunman.” The American school teachers had found this character of interest for their preschool and early school age children. The following week the staff from the British Embassy came to honor Hanuman and declared that Hanuman was originally a British character as his name was typical British like the “Longman, Spellman, Coleman,” etc. and claimed that he was originally “Hanman.” Then the following week came the Muslims from the nearby mosque to honor Hanuman and said he was originally a Muslim like “Rehmaan, Sulemaan,” etc. Then came members of a particular ethnic group the following week to honor Hanuman and claimed he could be no one else but one of theirs. Their argument was that no one would endanger himself to rescue another man’s wife, and take such pains to set fire to his own tail and try to burn other peoples’ houses in the city of Lanka unless he had the special ability to think and behave like them in which they took pride. They felt no member of any other community could be so foolishly foolhardy.”

The joke aside, I asked my friend, “It is true that every one is confused about who “Hanuman” is, but can you truly tell me more about Hanuman and what the original meaning of the word Hanuman is and more about what He stands for that should make sense for a rational inquirer?” He agreed to bring the answers to my questions during his next visit to the U.S. He visited me after two years again and did not bring the necessary information from India and quietly avoided discussing the topic. A group of Hindi speaking college students from India was given ride by me and the topic of “Bajaranga Bali” came into our conversation. I asked them if they knew the origin of these words having learned Hindi as their mother tongue. One of them said that the name originated from the orange color (ranga) that Hanuman is depicted to have. Another student struggled with the word “Bali” as related to “sacrifice” or the mythical King subdued by Vamanavatara. None of them unfortunately had the background in Sanskrit to come up with the explanation that it was “Vajra Anga” meaning “body as strong as the diamond” and “Bali” standing for “Powerful” or “strong.”

These two experiences led me to raise a question to some of the Vedic scholars about the meaning of “Hanuman and Vaanara.” I was not satisfied with the answers. So, I decided to go to the original Sanskrit Valmiki Ramayana and research it for myself. I have come up with a fair solution for the mystery of Hanuman and would like to share it with the readers of Swaveda in my next article. Before I do that, however, I would like to indulge in exploring the mentality that leads to Western Indologists’ interpretation of the Hindu deities in English language. It is not difficult to understand the phenomenon. Take a toddler and give it a cell phone, a set of drums or a stethoscope. These articles are, say, totally unknown to the toddler in terms of their conventional use, hypothetically, from not being able to observe adults using them. They do not understand the context nor the value of the objects they are now exploring with curiosity. Interpreting any concept requires full comprehension of the context in which it is being used. Disregarding the context leads to translational flaws as well as wrong interpretations.The toddler will discover 1000 uses for each of the objects except the one that most knowledgeable adults will use it for. Replace the word monkey in place of the toddler and imagine what will happen to the objects. The British and all other Western Indologists were in the same situation as the toddler when they started becoming curious about the objects of worship of the Hindus. They did not have any parallel cultural paradigms or contexts to comprehend these images.

Just like the first two lunatics observed by Dr. Rorschach in the late nineteenth century who were arguing about what the spots on the walls of the asylum looked like, each coming up with a definite shape and form as well as meaning therein, these “monkey-brain” Indologists started giving wild explanations for the images that they neither could comprehend nor fathom with the inadequate cultural soft-ware they brought from the West. Dr. Rorschach devised the famous “Ink-Blot” Rorschach test for gaining insight into the mental make up of the human mind (for individuals over the age of 7 years). By reading the interpretations of these Indologists who have been busy with their “monkey business” of interpreting Hindu scriptures, Vedas, Darshanas, Puranas, Hindu deities, Tantras, and Hindu customs, one can gain insight into their unconscious minds and motivations. This will be an interesting subject of study for future students of Hindu culture and its mis-education in the Western and Eastern literature. It will especially lead to interesting speculations about their sexuality, perversions, and their sexual conflicts. Their preoccupation with “oral sex” is particularly intriguing in its pervasiveness in the Western culture to the point of recently becoming a “million dollar sport.” (a la Monica Lewenski) No wonder it fascinates people like Paul Courtright, Wendy Doniger, their readers and their supporters.

I will invite comments from the readers of Swaveda regarding their view of what Hanuman stands for and see whether the Hindus can do any better than their Western counterparts of the interpreters of Hindu culture in terms of a rational and cohesive concept of Shri Hanuman. This is not a challenge and but only a playful game just like the one I had set up with my childhood friend. I hope the readership does not disappoint the editor of Swaveda and me by not posting any comments. After studying your posted comments, I would like to present my view from Rishi Valmiki’s point of view. There is plenty of room for agreement and disagreement. The view is not going to be labeled as “far-fetched” I hope. I sincerely believe that my view of Shri Ganesha based on Sant Jnaneshwar’s description is much less “far-fetched” than that of the Western Indologists’ who have named Him the “Elephant God” with all of their base “projections” on this “Rorschach card” presented to them by the Hindu culture.

The “Monkey God” may very well be the next target of the Western Indologists and academicians in the Departments of Religious Studies who are currently busy studying obsolete “Sati” rather than “wife murders” and “child abuse” in their own countries, “Tantra” and “Devi worship” rather than the “Devil Worship,” “caste” rather than the ubiquitous racial discrimination in their own backyard, ‘human rights violations’ in other countries than what their own people have perpetrated upon the innocent large populations by disenfranchising them of decent land and water by banishing them into reservations, etc. while trying to denigrate a distant Hindu culture by seeking refuge and cushy jobs in the Universities of repute and shielding themselves with ill applied practice of “academic freedom” to continue their monkey business to prepare the ground for proselytization and to raise large amounts of funds for it in this country and other countries of the Western world. (Continued as Part II A and Part II B)


Read more: Swaveda - Articles - Demystifying Shri Hanuman - Also see Part II A & B(

Demystifying Shri Hanuman (Part II-A)



Aug 09, 2005

Now on a serene note, with great reverence, we have to turn to Rishi Valmiki to understand Shri Hanuman. Before we do that, there is a need to clarify some basic concepts of Vedic or Sanatana Dharma. The Vedas are the knowledge of the cosmogony or the origin of the Universe. This knowledge was intuitive and a direct revelation for the great observing and meditating minds. The perceptions were so exhilarating that these recipient seers were inspired by a faculty of the mind called “pratibha” that led to their poetic expressions. The poetry is called “Kavya” and the poet “Kavi.” “Ka” stands for an expression of wonder (“what a!” “what kind of” in the sense of wonder) though literally it means “who” or “what kind of” and “Vi” stands for the root signifying “knowing” or a “form of knowledge.” The poet marvels thus when he sees or perceives the world in a different light than that of the ordinary or every day perceptions and world-view of average human beings, and therefore, the learned and insightful poet is elevated to a special status that is even higher than that of the “intellectuals” or “vidvaan.” The “expressions of a Kavi” or “Kavyas” are more enriching than the “expressions of a vidvaan” (“vidvatta”). There is a usual spontaneous appreciation of this unique power of poetry when the listeners applaud repeatedly with “vah, vah,” or “ahaa, ahaa” as in the meetings of the sheeghrakavis, kavisammelanas, and “shayarees” or “maiphils.” That is a pure indescribable joy for those who appreciate poetry. “Ramayana” is acclaimed to be an epic or one of the largest and earliest "kavya" meaning “mahakavya” in the history of mankind. The poet Valmiki himself called it an “aadikavya” meaning the very first kavya. Kavi is known to take poetic liberties and is not bound by the mundane views nor by the usual rules of logic like an author who is writing a history or geography in a factual manner, and worse still, a writer of a scientific treatise. Everything in the epic “Ramayana” needs to be viewed from this perspective. A poet uses symbolism, similes, allegories, metaphors, rhymes, rhythms, meters and many other “alankaras” (akin to figures of speech) or decorative language to enhance the beauty of his Kavya and he becomes a master communicator by directly communicating with the unconscious aspects of the listeners’ minds. This special quality of communication or “joining with the others’ minds” at the deepest levels of emotional experience is called “saahitya” (literally, “togetherness”) which is a term used for high quality “literature” or “letters.” Sahitya always has the capacity to resonate with the deep seated emotional and factual experiences in the conscious and unconscious minds of the readers. The reader or listener is brought in touch with his old memories, love, longing, sadness, fears, dreams, ambitions, likes and dislikes, friendships, devotions, adoration, identifications, sense of fairness and justice, compassion towards oneself and others, and hidden parts of the self that were from the remote past that seemed to have been forgotten buried in the unconscious which sometimes gush into the conscious mind with full force of the old feelings while reading or listening to "kavyas" or "mahakavyas." New identification with the characters depicted in the mahakavya begin to emerge. The hero, heroin and villains come alive in the mental field as if they are real and one enters the drama of the mahakavya either wanting to be like them or empathize with them or abhor them and to avoid identifying with them. This suggestive or hypnotic power of mahakavya which attains historic continuity with cultural continuity of the human race molds the character of the young and old malleable minds, entire cultures, and many nations. The wonder and affects (feelings) as well as the joy it arouses in the reader makes sahitya or poetry most enchanting. A poet can talk about two or more issues simultaneously in one and the same sentence (or even in a single word) and create additional literary figures of speech. The sahitya has shabdartha, vakyartha, garbhitartha, goodhartha, matitartha, etc., signifying many levels of meanings that add different “rasas,” and give a quality of “rahasya” (for lack of better word “mystery”) that makes sahitya so fascinating to the readers. The enlightened reader continues to find ever new meanings and nuances in the literary works of art with each new reading or each new contemplation of the segments of mahakavya. One cannot interpret poetry with a concrete minded approach and cannot fully explain it to those with concrete minds who are lacking in the knowledge and appreciation of the cultural context. Ability for abstraction is necessary to understand the poetical as well as philosophical meanings and messages or morals conveyed by the mahakavya. Children with concrete minds can also enjoy the wonder and magical quality of events and characters of mahakavya though at a different level of comprehension. The poor souls that lack the cultural background and are endowed with only concrete minds or have axes to grind because of their own conflict ridden minds and negative self images that interfere with their ability to appreciate the work of art because of their unconscious “junk” that keeps interfering with appreciation of the beauty, are to be pitied, be they the Westerners or Indians, scholars or politicians. With this preamble, let me remind the readers that “Shri Hanuman” is unquestionably a poetic product of Rishi Valmiki’s “pratibha” and must be viewed only as such. We must respect Rishi Valmiki’s views and descriptions in his own words and then try to fathom what this greatest of great poets is trying to express. Viewing “Shri Hanuman” as a product of “pratibha” does not belittle “Him” as a “figment of imagination” as some Western scholars will be quickly tempted to conclude. Why that is a folly can only be appreciated by becoming aware of another higher faculty of the human mind that Rishi Valmiki fully possessed. Many of the Western and some of the Eastern scholars may not have any inkling of this faculty to adequately comprehend the acuity as well as the accuracy of Rishi Valmiki’s transcendental perceptions and expressions. That faculty of the mind is the sine qua non of Vedic knowledge which is grounded in “para vidya.” (For a brief description and discussion of apara vidya and para vidya please refer to my previous article on “Demystifying Shri Ganesha.” in “Swaveda”). Without prolonging the suspense of the readers let me reveal momentarily what faculty of the mind I am talking about, but let me first make an emphatic statement that the concept of such faculty of the mind is utterly lacking in the Western psychology and in the Western terminology. Therefore, let me warn you not to glibly translate it as “intuition.” I am referring here to the faculty of “prajna” which enabled Rishi Valmiki to comprehend the “tatvas.” “Pra” stands for “forwarding” “ahead of” or “leading to” and “Jna” stands for “Jnana” (Knowledge is a poor equivalent for Jnana and hence the words “Jna” and “jnana” are best left un-translated at least for the purpose of this article.)

“Tatva” literally means “Itness.” “It” stands for a phenomenon that can be distinguished by the faculties of the human mind which can distinguish one phenomenon from the other with a discriminating capacity sometimes requiring a high level of abstraction and/or a convincing direct experience at a deep spiritual level. To accept it this tatva needs to be consensually verifiable by many other seers. For the description of the first entity in the Universe identified by the Vedas and Vendanta which is also termed “IT” please refer to my article, “Hinduness for World Peace and Harmony” in Swaveda. When the “IT” begins to differentiate and dedifferentiate the manifest Universe emerges. One could accuse the Vedic seers as creating a fictional structure or a commonly shared cultural delusion about IT and the origin of the Universe. If so, the other cultures are not exempt in letting human imagination construct structures to explain the nature of God and the Universe. The Jury is not out on this yet. However, it is certainly not just a matter of belief for the Hindus in contrast to other cultures, as Vedic Hindus do not believe in belief or faith when analyzing their own faith and beliefs. Everything is open to debate and verification, including scientific verification, for the Vedic and Vedantic scholars. The basic premise of the Hindu Vedic scholars is: “That which exists is “SAT.” That which does not exist is “ASAT.” Only that which derives from “SAT” (SATYA) prevails. One’s personal pride, firmness of conviction, dogma, racial or national conceit, force of logical argumentation or persuasion, identification with any particular school of thought or a club one belongs to, or “truth” accepted only because it is propounded by an “authority” (prophet) do not stand the test of time. Man-made “ASAT” promulgated by misguided souls is exposed as ASAT in the end though it may rule for centuries or millennia in the mental domain of the human race or societies, Western or Eastern. The TATVAs if they are SAT have in their very nature an eternal permanence. Such permanence is termed “CHIRANJEEVEE.” The Brahman, TAT, SHIVA, SHAKTI, OMKARA (GANESHA) are tatvas that were discovered by the Vedic seers. Kapila described similar tatvas : PURUSHA, PRAKRITI and MAHAD. Narada brought home another set: NARAYANA, NARAYANI, and SHESHA. These are merely TATVAS but the word “merely” does indicate that they are by any means trivial. What is implied is that a “Tatvajnani” may not necessarily attribute divine characteristics to these tatvas. For example, Kapila did not attribute devatva or divinity to the concepts or tatvas he described in Sankhya. One does not, therefore, find temples of “Purusha,” “Prakriti” or “Mahad.” There are no temples of “Mahadhi.” Hardly ever one finds a temple of “Brahma” except in an antique temple of Brahma in Las Vegas, Nevada, and in the geological formation of the Grand Canyons. This observation has some profound implications. First, the concept of “God” is foreign to Vedic philosophy in the manner in which the Western Judeo-Christian God is conceptualized. That does not mean that Hinduism is atheistic. Since the concept of “Theos” is missing, one cannot say that Hinduism is monotheistic, polytheistic, or pantheistic. ( This is not to say that there is no folk-lore similar to the concept of God). We need to take this view in a proper perspective because atheists or non-believers in God are equated as non-spiritual or less than ethical human beings and the good nature is viewed a monopoly of the God fearing people. This view could lead to a total misconception of Hinduism. Hindus are not worshipping “many Gods” and neither are they less spiritual. They are in fact deeply spiritual, ethical, and have strong relationship at a very deep spiritual and personal level with their chosen deity (Ishta devata) while respecting and revering all other Devatas and also “God” of the monotheistic religions. These are all experienced as different aspects of the Brahman or Universal consciousness perceived differently by different human minds. Their right to do so is inviolable and is respected by the Hindus with natural expectation of reciprocity and gentlemanly civility in that Hindus do not appreciate proselytizing religions trying to throw their weight around harvesting souls and disrupting other societies. The words “Suras” “Devas” “Devis” are erroneously translated “Gods” “Deities” and “Goddesses.” One cannot change the course of history and the ubiquitous cultural acceptance of the terminology because of the closeness or a parallel between the Western and Vedic concepts. For all practical purpose one may resign to say “IT” is same as (monotheistic) “GOD” but objectively viewed they are not the same “TATVAS.” In the material sciences each “Padaartha” (Vaisheshika) assumes its different identification with a distinct “name” that indicates a distinct material entity with its characteristic “GUNADHARMAS” (For meaning of three basic gunas please see the article of Shri Ganesha) that are its unique physical and chemical qualities. TATVAS are intangibles like “id,” “ego,” or “superego” or phenomena like “inflation” that everyone capable of abstraction can understand. Tatvas are within the cognitive reach of the human mind. For example “libido,” “Eros,” are accepted as comprehensible entities in the Western culture. So also the tatva and mahatatva are considered comprehensible in the Vedic and Hindu culture. There is absolutely no need to be apologetic in using the terms like “PRANA” or “Kundalini” as these are universally accepted terms in the Vedic and Hindu culture. The Chinese use the term “Chi” without translating it. There is no real need to translate the term “Prana,” or “Kundalini” for that matter. One can live in the Western culture without fully comprehending the meaning of libido, id, or ego, and so also the Westerners or Indians can lead a successful life without the ability to comprehend the terms like “Prana” or “Kundalini.” However, these are as real as their equivalent concepts like “Bio-electric currents.” The meditating mind can perceive these after attaining certain level of sensory isolation and introspective depth because of the presence of interoceptors and proprioceptors which sense the flow of such bio-electric energy within the body. The sensation is comparable to the lightly flowing wind. Hence, Prana is also called Vayu, Vata, or Anila all standing for “wind” (not Vayu the air). Unfortunately the word “prana vayu” used for “oxygen” has an entirely different etymology. Here prana stands for “life” and “vayu” stands for “air.” Oxygen is needed for life and therefore it is called “pranavayu.” Such homonyms have caused much confusion of the semantics in Vedic and Hindu philosophy and especially in the descriptions of Shri Hanuman.

The Western and Indian scholars who did not comprehend these concepts have concrete translation of Vayu as Wind and for them Pavana-suta literally means “Son of the Wind” and to sound like more authentic Theologists, they further clarify the concept as the “son of the Wind God.” This type of translational flaws are partly responsible for the erroneoous depictions of Shri Hanuman. The astute readers are getting my drift by now. In the last part (II-B) of this series of three articles on “Demystifying Shri Hanuman” I will look into the mind of Rishi Valmiki with the direct quotes from his Ramayana. However, before we do that, let us try to understand “Narayana,” “Rama,” and “Narada.” I urge the reader to read the previous two articles namely “Hinduness for World Peace and Harmony” to understand the concept of Brahman, and “Demystifying Shri Ganesha” to understand “Shiva” “Shakti” and “Ganesha” and will give a hint that Rishi Valmiki directly perceived the three tatvas, “Rama”, “Sita,” and “Shri Hanuman” in the microcosm. These are the equivalents in the microcosms of the same three tatvas (shiva, shakti, and ganesha) perceived in the macrocosm by the Vedic seers. I will elaborate on this thesis in the “Part II-B”) of this article, a continuation that will be posted in the next few weeks.

“Nara” stands for the Human species, may be Homo sapien. That aspect of Brahman with infinite compassion and concern for the well-being and welfare of the Human species and its habitat was conceptualized as “Narayana.” Uttarayana, Dakshinayana are familiar words in which “ayana” means “moving towards or closer to.” “Narada” is an intermediary between “Narayana” and “Nara.” “Raama” is that tatva which is present in every human being as a “descended” aspect of Narayana “enjoying (rama, rata) or taking delight.” Narayana and Rama are equivalents of Purusha of Sankhya. Seeta is equivalent of Prakriti of Sankhya or Shakti. Shri Hanuman is an equivalent of Shri Ganesha in the microcosm. Here I will direct the reader to the first nine couplets of Tritiya Sarga (Canto III) of Valmiki Ramayana wherein the poet reveals that he received Ramayana directly from Narada while he was Yogamasthita meaning absorbed in yogic samadhi. He comprehended “tat sarvam tatvato drishtva” (viewing all of Ramayana as tatva or viewing the tatva of Ramayana) wherein he realized that Ramayana was “kamarthagunasamyuktam.” This clearly indicates that the poet is himself a yogi, a “tatva-jnani” who is by his attaining prajna and pratibha is a “mahamati” (A Great Mind). He has the ability to comprehend Rama that is engaged in the sense enjoyment while his life is also concurrently “dharmartha gunavistaram” exemplary for illustrating the meaning of Dharma and spreading virtues. The word “tatvatah” can mean “essentially” but is a clear reference to Rishi Valmiki’s superior knowledge and assimilation of “Dharma” and clear view of the Eternal tatvas that are at play in this Universe. The word Ramayana could also mean “That which takes you closer to Rama.” Shri Hanuman is the principal intermediary that brings Rama to Lanka, Rama’s message to Sita, locates the lost or missing Sita, is an emissary of Rama, and takes us all closer to Rama by demonstrating how an ideal Bhakta conducts himself.. The mystery of Shri Hanuman will be unraveled in the next article. So, please keep tuned in to the


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Demystifying Shri Hanuman (Part II-B)


Aug 09, 2005

Congratulations to the readers who have been patiently following this series of articles on Shri Hanuman. It turned out to be more complex than some of you expected. However, how can we undo several millennia or centuries of mis-education without covering the background and without finding our way through the maze of homonyms, synonyms, and sometimes antonyms as well as double, triple, and multiple meanings of the Sanskrit words? How can one understand poetry at different levels of meanings and extract the most applicable meaning possibly implied, though obvious on the surface, yet almost lost because of the age old accretions and mis-translations that are almost culturally accepted by several generations?

Going back to the topic of “Tatva,” for example, the mahavakya (note vakya is sentence -maha-"great"- sentence) “TATTVAM ASI” has caused confusion between Tatvam and Tattvam. The double “t” changes the meaning of “tatvam” from “Itness” to “It is you.” Entirely different concepts, but not paying attention to this slight change or even after recognizing this change in the “spelling,” scholars will argue to show that these are synonyms and not homonyms. Similarly recognizing Ramayana as essentially conceived by Rishi Valmiki many decades prior to the birth of Shri Rama, it is viewed as a supernormal clairvoyant sage’s vision of the future “historical” events which he could weave into a poetry that was even proactively “envisioned” as “sung” by Shri Rama’s twin sons (identical twins) captivating the hero of the story of Ramayana, Shri Rama, himself by the splendor of the Mahakavya and its beauty in the musical composition and melody presented by the “babe” vocal musicians, as yet unidentified by Shri Rama, who was depicted as seated in the audience, as his own sons entertained it. They are then introduced to Shri Rama by no one else but Rishi Valmiki himself from whose “pratibha” they originally originated but were also fostered in “real” life, educated, and trained in every way by the same sage. Such back and forth travel through time is almost a dream like experience but the difference for those who can appreciate the similarity between a dream and a creative writing or poetry, the former (the dream) is tinged with "tamas” while the latter (Mahakavya) is enriched with the “satva” guna. It is important to grasp this difference in quality and appreciate how dreams are analyzed and how the same method may need to be applied in analyzing the mahakavyas which are by nature very complex creations of the genius. Having said that, we can now venture to take a closer picture of Shri Hanuman almost using the same method used in the analysis of a dream without looking for a deep seated wish and dream as a wish fulfillment a la Sigmund Freud. The main thesis of this interpretation rests on the premise that Ramayana is an illustration of yogic insights Rishi Valmiki consciously attained and attempted to communicate to his readers in a creative and somewhat cryptic manner to reach the unconscious minds of his readers. He grasped some of the new “Tatvas” which he illustrated through his poetry. His prajna discovered these tatvas and comprehended them as eternally and ubiquitously applicable existential experiences of the “spiritually” evolving human race. When the mystique of these tatvas is to be simplified for inexperienced audience, special stories that sound like mythology are created by the sage. These are the “divya” kathas because they illustrate the “adhyatmic” meaning of the concepts (tatvas) in simple terms. Sometimes the listener is so fascinated by the stories that he/she gets lost in the concrete meaning of the stories. These are only tentative and indicative attempts to take the minds of the listeners closer to grasping the tatva. However, like the “tail wagging the dog” sometimes these stories become so enchanting and become such strong cultural influences that the tatva behind the stories is forgotten and only the stories are remembered and analyzed as if they are a reflection of the cultural unconscious amenable to psychoanalytic interpretations ( many a time by fly by night psychoanalytic interpreters like Paul Courtright or Wendy Doniger and their ilk who totally lack psychoanalytic training or background). "Gravity" is a tatva that needs to be grasped by the students of physics (bhoutika-shastra) and Purusha and Prakriti are tatvas to be viewed as subject matter of “meta-physics” (aadhibhoutika-shastra), Atma and Paramatma are tatvas to be studied and discussed in the “adhyatma” shastra of the Vedanta. Rishi Valmiki makes it clear that Valmiki Ramayana (V.R.) is his yogic insight into the nature of Man (Nara) or the Man with the highest potential (with qualities of Narayana himself). He poses that very question to Narada and asks, in the same vein as Arjuna asking Shri Krishna, (Sthithadhi kim prabhasheta, kimaseeta vrajeta kim?). See Balakanda Canto I. “Who in this present world is full of good qualities (gunas) or virtues, full of courage, cognizant of Dharma, full of gratitude and humility, whose vak (speech) emanates Satya, whose resolve is unshakable, whose character illustrates that he is engaged in caring for the well-being of all living beings, etc.,etc.” Here the reader is referred to the original V.R. and the section on discussion of this article if one wants to seek the full quote. Rishi Valmiki has raised the bar for defining the ideal “Nara” for Narada who is in constant communication with Narayana. The reader is asked to remember a famous phrase from Mahabharata here : “Naro va, Kunjaro va.” (“Could it be Nara, man or could it be an Elephant?”) The word “va” means “may be” or “could it be?” That is where after defining Rama as “jnatum evamvidham naram,” recognized to have so many splendid fulfilled potentials of mankind in one man, the entire human race in a manner of speaking becomes “Vanara” (doubtfully “Man”). Rishi Valmiki has great empathy and respect for the human race and wants to only tentatively suggest that “in comparison to Shri Rama all other human beings are Vanaras.” Curiously Vanara is also a term used for the species of primates variously described as apes, monkeys, etc. Vanara thus has two different meanings. Here not to insult his audience and readers, he is making a pun on this term Vanara and even attributes the characteristics of the other species to this large class of human beings who leave a doubt about their deserving to be called human beings. It is always palatable if the non-acceptable qualities of one’s self or one’s society are projected on another race or another society. (For example, Rakshasas may be symbolic representations of the undesirable and misguided primitive aggressive qualities, or unconscious cannibalistic or even terroristic tendencies of mankind but viewed as a different race in the same vein as Vanaras in this Mahakavya). In this manner human beings live in comfort with the social evils in their own society or with undesirable qualities in themselves by projecting them on others or other societies and focusing on them on far way objects, far away from themselves. For example, this is the main psychological benefit for the Western societies in funding the anal sadistic Western “Indologists” who are the cultural proctologists of the Hindu culture. In creating “the Vanara,” Sugreeva and Hanumana, Rishi Valmiki shows his creative genius and enormous empathy for the plight of the human race that has a long way to achieve and realize the full human potential although it has evolved to be the wisest and most gentlemanly amongst the species of primates. The human race has yet to evolve above the level of Vanaras and conquer and sublimate its own Rakshasi vrittis without blatantly acting them out in the real world.

This brings us to the Hanumat tatva. Rama is described as “Mahahanuh.” A resolute character with a stout chin. Mat stands for “thought.” One who is recognized (mat) by his Hanu (Chin). “Mana” is an expression to make adjective of “mat.” For example Shreemat and Shreeman. It is also a “measure” and “respect.” Hanumat thus becomes Hanumaan: One who is measured by his Hanu or respected and recognized for his Hanu.

We shall come back to “Hanu” and its esoteric significance but just to raise your curiosity, it would be intriguing to recognize that Shri Rama meets Sugreeva and through him meets Hanumana. Both of these names are referring to anatomical parts of the human body. Sugreeva means beautiful or good neck and Hanu clearly refers to the Chin. Is it purely accidental that Rishi Valmiki names two best friends of Shri Rama with anatomical parts? What is he trying to say? We can read into it? May be the Hindus have forgotten that the manner in which one holds one’s chin and neck reflects “PRIDE” and “HUMILITY.” Nara and Vanara (not monkeys) both need to have these qualities. This is just scratching the surface of the symbolism. The reader has already figured out that “Pavana” is an apabhramsha of “Prana” and Pavana-suta means nothing different than Prana-suta. Here again we see how the homonyms have caused confusion and the usage of the word pavana in Hindi for wind and the synonyms “Vayu” “Maruta” standing for prana have “made” Hanuman the “son of Maruta,” or “Maaruti.” The Hanuman tatva or Maaruti tatva exists and will eternally exist (chiranjeevi) in the make up of the human race. It is not a reflection of another “race” as would be interpreted by those who were influenced by the Aryan Invasion Theory. For them every culture reminded them of the White Christian culture than sends the missionaries first with their Bible followed by the state of the art weaponry and armies that invaded to take control of the land first scouted by the missionaries. For this paradigm the quote from another place that reflects the Christian missionary empire building strategy can be described as “Puratasvedah paschat dhanuh.” Viewing Ramayana in this light Rama is depicted as the “Aryan” prince who follows the Vedic missionaries into the unexplored land to discover the new “races” who are to be enslaved or made into dasas or dasyus. This wild imagination has corrupted the sublime humility or “dasa vritti” of the bhakti yogi into an abominable obsequious servitude or dasyu vritti of another subjugated race. Curiously, Shri Hanuman is deified and worshipped all over India, and therefore, this interpretation is even on the surface seems quite absurd even if glorified as an attitude of a true bhakta (of a different race, or different species, etc.) Such interpretations became very popular amongst the politicians and demagogues who always loved to divide and rule as well as create rifts in societies. No wonder some American “Indologists” with ill-will saw in Ramayana, a Mahakvya that was composed at least one and a half millennium before the birth of Islam, a reflection of the Hindu prince attempting to subjugate Muslims!! This was a total projection of “junk” in the conscious and unconscious minds of the so-called politically motivated Western or American “Indologists” given to denigrating attitude towards another culture and reflecting nothing but cross-cultural intellectual violence or vandalism by teaching this perverted version of Ramayana in the American Public Schools. Such stupidity is not to be condoned as “academic freedom.” The Hindu Americans (tax paying American citizens) need to be alert to such defamation of the Hindus in the American public schools and resort to all available legal channels to ensure that their children as well as all other children are not imparted by such perverted mis-education in the American public schools. The “adhyatmic” Ramayana is not to be reduced into a mundane history of “racial politics” and Shri Hanuman is not to be reduced into a “dasyu” of another implied inferior race nor Rama into an imperialist of a superior race or a chief of Homeland Security protecting the victims of Islamic terrorists. Hanuman is not be viewed as a symbol of the chief of the commando counter-terrorist force invading Ravana’s Sri Lanka. Such interpretations are nothing but projections of the viewers on the Rorschach card of Ramayana. As ridiculous, absurd, and unrealistic as these characterizations of Ramayana sound in this context, one is to remind oneself that there are many such politically motivated interpretations, be they Aryan-Dravidian rift motivated, or Sanskrit-Tamil rift motivated. All are based on “avidya.” The authors of such interpretations have lost sight of the basic cultural context in which the Mahakavya was inspired and composed. Let Hindus recognize that Shri Hanuman was the General of Prince Rama’s army. He was PROUD, BRAVE, FEARLESS, STRONG AS STEEL (DIAMOND), AND NAMRA AT THE SAME TIME. These are all qualities befitting a superior human being, although Shri Hanuman is addressed as Kapeendra or kapi. This poetic description needs to be deciphered and is not to be taken literally and only concretely if one has to understand what Rishi Valmiki saw when he said, “tat sarvam tatvato drishtva.”

Now some bold statements to arouse controversy. First, the translation of Vanara as Monkey misses the poetic meaning of the word Vanara. It is true that Sugreeva and other kapis are given the characteristics of monkeys by the poet including the tail but the very first meeting of Shri Hanuman with Shri Rama in canto iii of Kishkindhakanda very clearly shows that Hanuman appeared in Human form as a Bhikshu. He was well versed in the Vedas, eloquent in Sanskrit and civilized. Nara is afflicted with a basic klesha (drive) to assume an identity or role play (abhinivesha). Such “Human Being” afflicted by abhinivesha is a “va-nara.” Man assumes many such roles in his life time. Hanuman depicts symbolically this plight of mankind. He is an emissary between Sugreeva and Rama who is described as “Sushira.” These terms reflect an alliance between the pranic impulses between the body, “neck down,” with the superior consciousness or supreme consciousness reflected by Rama which rests in the higher cerebral centers. These tatvas have an interplay in rescuing Seeta (microcosmic representation of Prakriti – fully represented as a total product of everything derived from the Earth, and therefore, “Bhumisutaa”). The yogic insight Rishi Valmiki has been attempting to communicate through Ramayana seems to revolve around three principal tatvas, namely Rama, Seeta and Hanuman. It is the Prana-suta whose domain is measurable by the landmark of the Hanu, that is the original representative of the body not fully integrated “neck down” with the domain of Shri Rama. It is Shri Hanumana (Marutatmaja or son of Prana) that can truly connect Seeta (Bhumisuta) with Ramatatva. This is an esoteric concept and may be difficult for some to comprehend and may even sound rather autistic to them. However, all Ramabhaktas have realized the importance of Hanumana tatva. Even though Shri Hanuman is depicted as a supreme bhakta, a true devotee of Rama realizes that there is no access to Rama without the awakening of the Hanumana first. When born He rushes upwards as if to catch the Sun (Savitru) and is struck down (by Indra) and has to serve Rama with sincere devotion before attaining Rama.

There is no better artistic depiction of “internalization” “internalized object representation” of the “loved object” than that of Shri Hanumana splitting his chest open to show the image of Rama, Lakshmana and Seeta in his “heart.” This is an ideal representation of a bhakta (devotee) who has kept the “lord” in his heart (at least as old as 1500 B.C.). It has nothing to do with a tattoo on the chest of Shri Hanuman as is misinterpreted by some Western journalists.

I am sure the arcane nature of this aspect of Ramayana is difficult to fully expound in an article on the Internet, and therefore, some cryptic expressions are deliberately used but the spiritually (aadhyaatmically) astute reader will get the gist of what is said and will now view Shri Hanuman in an entirely different light, and once for all, give up the notion of a “Monkey God.” Hope this discussion of Shri Hanuman’s true swaroopa (Tatva) will inspire the readers to resonate with some new ideas or questions to clarify the intent of Rishi Valmiki and with the richness of his Mahakavya.


Friday, April 17, 2009


Terrorism: An Indian Perspective

By Achintyachintaka

Posted Jul 15, 2005 originally on and reproduced by courtesy of (This document is prepared for U.S. Citizens -second generation- of Indian origin mainly, and for Indian citizens who feel the need to be proper spokespersons in these difficult times. Recently there is unnecessary, and uninformed, mention of the “history” and political events of India in the media. That may naturally lead the misinformed public to turn to us Indians for clarification. It is hoped that this document will provide the proper bearings and an appropriate perspective for Indian viewpoint)(Caution: Use extreme caution in interpreting this article. It is not directed against any group or any followers of Islam. It is a clarification of events and in general denounces all terrorism, and especially the terrorism promulgated under the name of Islam. It also places Jammu & Kashmir issue in a legal and historical perspective.

Some of the U.S. media are pontificating on this issue stating that “Indian occupation of Jammu & Kashmir is illegal by virtue of not following the mandate of the UN as regards plebiscite.” This is a wrongheaded analysis and only a pro-Pakistan propaganda. Such position sides with totalitarian countries promulgating terrorism. The US is currently enamored of its two allies, namely the Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, whose duplicity and anti-US terrorism-mongering covert policies should have been amply transparent to the wise American politicians, journalists, and the media by now.

Unfortunately, the 9-11 incident has not yet fully awakened the concerned Americans. The Jammu & Kashmir issue is a product of Islamic terrorism and not the other way around. It is a red herring to detract people from the long-standing tactics of Islamic political expansionism. Handing over Jammu & Kashmir to Pakistan is nothing but yielding to Islamic terrorism and will have cascading consequences for the free world. The UN and the world community including the U.S. need to be alert to this issue. They must not maintain a flippant attitude of acting like a wise man on the camel in these matters simply because India turned to the UN 54 years ago. No country has truly any guidelines at present as to how to deal with a neighboring nuclear power engaging in blackmailing its neighboring country with terrorism over the last 54 years. Imagine Afghanistan in place of Alaska, Pakistan a nuclear power supported by China in place of Canada breeding terrorists on its territory to play havoc in the U.S. for 54 years over a terrorist created problem in Maine under the terrorists raid and regime! Leaders in India would want to do what President Bush did in his efforts to eliminate terrorism. Given the above hypothetical situation what would have been his response? At the same time, no responsible leader in India wants nuclear war. Yet, terrorism must end in the civilized world. Terrorism sponsoring Pakistan or any other country can never be considered as part of a civilized world.)*****************

The tragic attacks of September 11 have opened our eyes to a well spread, metastasized cancer of Islamic terrorism in the civilized world. In the words of the 2001 Nobel Laureate for Literature, V. S. Naipaul, Islam is a calamity on humanity. Obviously, he referred to the uncivilized Islam and not the civilized, cultured, and modern followers of Islam presuming such people exist in large numbers. The reader is cautioned to note that all references to Islam in this article refer to Islamic terrorism, Islamic political expansionism, and acts of terrorism committed under the banner of Islam that have been historically documented. The acts in the 20th century especially in the last 50 years are rationalized under different reasons. There is no question the Islamic populations probably experienced injustice especially in Palestine. This very well may be unjustifiable. However, long before Palestine-Israel conflict, there were instances of rampant violence, mostly unprovoked, against civilians throughout the last 12 to 14 centuries, under the name of Islam and Islamic Jihad that are quite difficult to justify.

This cancer of “Radical Fundamentalist Islamic Terrorism” requires radical treatment. There is nothing to be gained by saying there may be other cancers or other ailments in the civilized world. Everyone agrees there are many social evils. The most virulent one already detected has been growing and spreading for the last 12 to 14 centuries or more in different parts of the world though it gradually became obvious in the U.S. only in the last 15-20 years. The U.S. may have less empathy for those world populations that have been victims of such terrorism for many, many centuries. The usual view shared by most members of the Islamic world is that the U.S. is the greatest terrorist. However, the history of Islamic and Jihadi terrorism predates the birth of the U.S.

The Islamic terrorism creeps up slowly but it has already formed a “green belt” (here green stands for Islam) around half of the globe in the Northern Hemisphere. Islam is unquestionably a proselytizing religion and has historically used very cruel and violent means including massacres and extreme intimidation to spread itself, everywhere, from where it originated. It has justified its means on its scriptural basis and has used the term “Jihad” only in the violent sense for all these centuries not unlike now, regardless of the different scholarly meanings of this word. Escalating violence is not new to Islam.

The modern means of communication, shrinking of the global community, and increasing sophistication in the weapons of massdestruction, far superior to the sword recommended in the Islamic scriptures, change the picture entirely. It makes this type of terrorist activity far more dangerous than the nuclear warfare. The latter has usually more checks and balances as well as diplomatic restraints built into it. There is nothing to stop the Islamic terrorists from acquiring and indiscriminately using nuclear weaponry without restraints if such weaponry falls in the hands of the fanatic terrorists. Many other countries suffered the senseless violence on innocent populations, continuously and intermittently, for centuries at the hands of this type of primitive Islam.

The Western and most of the U.S. media tend to characterize unfairly the victims of such violence, reacting in their own defense, as the “militant groups”. These so-called “militant groups” mostly demonstrating “mob-mentality,” and using sticks and stones, or may be even swords in the past, do not go outside the borders of their respective countries or commit mass murders or hate crimes. They are perforce defending themselves against the imperialistic Islamic terrorists. These so called militant groups are in no way to be compared or confused with the above identified cancer, which has caused their origin in the first place.

These so called militant groups on the other hand have their sole purpose of combating the cancer and they will naturally cease to exist when the cancer is eliminated. This particular cancer of Islamic terrorism has historically presented or proclaimed itself as the victim of the people that have been the victims of its own aggression! Islamic terrorists have been adept at “turning things around” to make their arguments convincing for their uninformed followers. The world community needs to wise up to this tactic repeatedly used by the expansionist Islam that has a tendency to distort the facts completely. The educated world community needs to comprehend the larger geopolitical and historic picture. This tactic of assuming or crying out loudly their "victim role" after aggressing upon innocent people of the world is quite effective as a smoke screen and the gullible Western and even seasoned Indian media fall prey to such propaganda.

Judaism and Hinduism had to protect themselves from such Islamic terrorism for centuries; yet the expansionist fundamentalist Islam will project unjustified blame on the non-aggressive cultures and civilizations that have been its victims in reality. A good look at the geopolitical world map and a rudimentary knowledge of world history will convince any novice as to whether Judaism and Hinduism reflect any political expansionism on the map, in contrast to the blatant geographical expansionism and infiltration of Islam into widespread world territories ever expanding their influence and populations in other non-Islamic countries. Totally disregarding and defying “population control,” in the last fifty years, (when India and China have struggled hard to implement it in both these countries), Islam today boasts to be the “second largest religion in the world.” Islam maintains that “population control” is against its religion. The Islamic population has grown by 5% in the Indian Republic over 50 years but the population of the Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh is reduced to mere 3 to 5 % from 35% in 1947. It is thus competing with the only other aggressively proselytizing and expansionist religion in the world, namely Christianity (which in reality a twin of Islam with common origin of Abrahamic tradition of One Jealous God commanding them to expand their religion and proselytize the world population by "spreading their God's word."

Hence, the Islamic terrorists have a tendency to project the age-old “crescent versus the cross” conflict on the current war against the terrorism and discolor it to suit themselves. This is again the same clever tactic distracting attention away from its terrorist activities and blaming it on a religious conflict. Islam sees itself as fighting Christianity or Hinduism or Judaism ("non-believers" - kafars) while concealing its violent expansionism. In spite of this rhetoric some Americans continue to be confused and cannot tell who is their friend and who is their foe in forming its foreign policy. The U.S. foreign policy is only economically driven. It seems to lack idealism or commitment to “secular” democracies of the world. (Unfortunately the word “secular” does not mean the same to the average American and usually does not have the "lofty" connotation it has for an Indian.)

A short-term gain of such Western policy is to gain control over geological and other needed resources. It will be self-defeating. It is not in the larger interests of the world.There is no reason whatsoever, though, to compare the conflict between Pakistan and India with that between Palestine and Israel. These are not parallel conflicts though historically overlapping and equal in duration. The hostilities and violence committed by either side in the Palestine-Israel conflict are far greater in magnitude. There is also the factor of behind the scene involvement of the U.S. taking side with Israel as suspected by Islamic terrorists.

In these features, the Palestine-Israel problem differs markedly from the “Jammu & Kashmir” conflict. Some Arab countries question the very existence of Israel. In contrast, India has no problem with the existence of Pakistan and has not used any unprovoked aggression against it no matter how Pakistan wants to present the facts in a distorted fashion to International audience. India has never used terrorist tactics against Pakistan. Military defense is all that India has deployed for 54 years. However, but for the militant Islamic thrust and terrorist activities of Islamic fundamentalists of Pakistan in Jammu & Kashmir and other areas in India, India and Pakistan could have lived together in peace.

Recent coincident terrorists acts in London and Ayodhya indicate that India is possibly equated with the “bullying” West by the fundamentalist Islam while there is no such comparison justifiable. All of the above facts need to be placed in a new historical perspective for the educated world community. Denying that the cancer of Islamic terrorism is wildly spread, because we are extra cautious not to offend or appease some innocent civilized peace loving Islamic affiliates, will only interfere with efforts at eliminating this evil.

There is no doubt that we need to respect the nonviolent, peace loving affiliates of Islam and even protect them and ensure that they do not become victims of irrational retaliation. There is no question that this peace loving aspect of Islam is hardly recognized anywhere in the world because the history of Islam is so replete with horrendous overshadowing violence committed by the Islamic regimes all over the world for ages (14 centuries or more.) For those from the countries familiar with the dismal political history of Islam “Islam for Peace” is an “oxymoron.” Even so, peace loving rational civilized spiritually evolved Islamic population all over the world must be respected for what it is if it practices in reality peaceful co-existence with others.

We need not be blind to the duplicity in some of their militant members though, for example, the sleeping cells of terrorists taking cover in this noble section of the peace loving Muslims and in their mosques in the U.S. and Western Europe and U.K. Even recognizing the vulnerability of the heart and sentiments of such peace loving Islamic populations to be swayed in the direction of their terrorist and terrorizing fundamentalist brothers and sisters, they deserve to be given the proper benefit of the doubt in countries that respect civil liberties. However, forming alliance with those who have historically harbored, financed, and encouraged terrorism for their own political ambitions, not only against their own neighbors but also in far away countries like U.S. and U.K. will be dangerous in the long run. Flaunting them as allies of the U.S., could also be a disastrous move. It will, moreover, encourage and excuse their mendacity. This primitive, incorrigible element may not be capable of reform, and needs to be viewed for what it actually is: "An opportunist state." The spade must be called a spade.

The deceptive hypocrisy of such states is revealed by some of them making a one hundred and eighty degrees turn around to ostensibly "fight terrorism." It is a public knowledge, for example, that the lead terrorist of Sept. 11 attacks did receive $100,000.00 wired from Pakistan only a few days before September 11. It is also well known that Pakistan had hosted “bin Laden” and allowed him to operate his training camps on its own territory. The graduates of his terrorist training camps were used not only against India and against Indians in Jammu & Kashmir but also against the United States.

The terrorist organization “Lakshar-E-Toiba” is a well-known affiliate of “Al-Queda” terrorist network operating primarily against India. It is supported and financed by ISI, the Pakistani equivalent of CIA. This statement is made to highlight the possibility that the credibility of the Musharraf-led government of Pakistan could be quite questionable if the Americans kept their eyes open and as described by President Clinton in his recent autobiography. The U.S. media behave as if they are divorced from the history, and are trying to distort the obvious facts. They may be inadvertently misled if not voluntarily corrupted. How else could one characterize them when they repeatedly describe Pakistan as the "second largest “secular” “Muslim country" formed in 1947 to separate from "Hindu India?" The media need to know by now that Pakistan is a theocracy (a state based on religion) that is neither a democracy for the most part, nor has it ever been a “secular country.” In contrast, the so-called "Hindu India," (a misnomer quite akin to "Christian USA, Christian Germany, or Christian UK"), described by the media, has in reality chosen ever since its inception or independence in 1947 to remain a “secular democratic country.” Such false, 180 degrees opposite, characterization by U.S. media is deliberate and a self-serving appeasement tactics to please their Muslim allies if not a corrupt practice certainly not rooted in ignorance of world politics or history.

India, the largest or the most populated democratic country of the world, is also the second largest Muslim country in the world next to Indonesia. (Note Pakistan is neither the largest not the second largest Muslim country in the world.) This will be evident if the Muslim population in India, living for the most part peacefully in a democracy for over half a century voluntarily, enjoying the freedom and the right to vote, is recognized. It is high time that the expression (or, is it an epithet?) “Hindu India” is viewed as a mischievous “name-calling” and this epithet, if it is one, needs to be abandoned entirely by the informed people of the world.

The Muslim population of India needs to be viewed by the educated community worldwide for what it is. It is to be commended for voluntarily choosing to live in democratic India. Unfortunately, the cancer has in part infiltrated this population also for decades, and has been a source of concern for the majority of peace-loving Indian population of all religions besides being a source of terror and violence. This population sometimes fails to show true allegiance to India and its national interests and emotionally shows a conflict of loyalty by often siding with its theocratic neighbor not difficult to understand why. The Islam continues to have a spell of its imperialistic ambitions and mission for the spread by proselytization all over the world on its adherents. That is the reason why India readily volunteered its assistance to U.S. in its fight against terrorism. Islamist terrorists have no national boundaries and view themselves as driven to own the world not unlike the evangelical Christians who wants to spread Christianity and their Gods word to the entire population of the world.

India did not wish to be sucked into the war against terrorism waged by President Bush. Morally and in its own self-defense, it felt obliged to agree with the President of the US. India has been fighting its own war against terrorists for 66 years, but the U.S. and U.K. have yet to recognize it. The scourge of terrorism threatens the entire civilized world. This offer of friendship by India was interpreted by its neighboring country, Pakistan, as "taking advantage of the situation while not sharing even a mile of border with Afghanistan." Most of the 40 plus countries in the coalition against terrorism also do not share borders with Afghanistan and are not hopefully and in actuality viewed by Pakistan as "taking advantage of the situation."

On the contrary, Pakistan, merely by virtue of its geographic location, is in a unique position to “take advantage of the situation.” In fact, it has cleverly exploited this situation. The President of Pakistan has declared openly that the Prophet Mohammed also sided with the enemy, and made peace with them, when it was in the eventual interest of his people and his nation ("Mulk"). This was confessed in President Musharraf's first address to his own country to appease the lower one third of the socioeconomic fundamentalist Muslim class of Pakistan, by his own admission. Let us not forget that the numbers may be totally mistaken by the President of Pakistan. This element has been the calamity on humanity. It may turn against the President of Pakistan any time now, or in future, and it is this population that presents a threat to the stability of Pakistan and hence a danger to the free world also. It is to appease this population and divert its hostilities from the current regime that the government of Pakistan will need to fuel its so-called age-old enmity towards India. Only such lame move will assure some sort of stability for its political regime in Pakistan.

The rhetoric and hullabaloo over Jammu & Kashmir fits quite well in such strategy. The recent move to establish peace with India is encouraging and it remains to be seen if Pakistan officially and in actuality divorces itself from the terrorist Islam. It is only fair for Pakistan now to admit openly its activities and alliance with the terrorists and terrorist regime as a mistake of the past. It needs to confess its role in inflicting violent acts against the innocent victims in India and in “Indian occupied Kashmir,” and, possibly indirectly, in many other countries of the world by helping set up terrorist camps in Pakistan. Only coming out clean, in not only a confession, and rhetoric, but also in future deeds and commitments, discouraging all forms of terrorism seeking haven on its soil, Pakistan may assure peace with its neighbors. Such forthright position will win respect for Pakistan from the world community. Now, as regards the most often discussed but yet unresolved issue of Jammu & Kashmir, the semantics used by the media for international communication needs to be changed to match the historical facts. There is no “Indian occupied Kashmir.” Kashmir is not a “country” as is openly referred to in the U.S. media. Pakistan aggressed upon Kashmir. Kashmir is a province that had acceded to join secular democratic India in 1947. Several Muslim dominated provinces were annexed in the Republic of India. This should be a well-known fact.

India was not formed as a religious state in 1947, and it welcomed people of all religions as its citizens including the Muslim populations in Jammu & Kashmir as well as in all other parts and provinces of India. The legally accepted boundaries of Pakistan as per the agreement of the division of British India did not include Jammu & Kashmir. This needs to be loud and clear to the educated world. Pakistan has no legal claim to Jammu & Kashmir or any other “Muslim” dominated territory of India or any other country of the world any more than the U.K. has by virtue of it past domination and its past empires. Division of British India is a fait accompli. To reopen that issue now is like opening a Pandora’s box. It will be akin to the American Indians claiming a separate country or the African Americans, Mexican Americans, or the French Americans demanding to have a separate country. All of these are populations in the U.S. without a nation of their own and in contrast the Muslims of India have two separate nations already made available (Pakistan and Bangladesh). Instead of moving or migrating to these two countries the discontent want to claim more and more territories in India and same tactics will be used by the politically expansionist evangelical Christians staking claim on territories within India.

What is the justification for more territory after segregating nearly 33% of British India for Muslim occupation? In reality, as mentioned before, there is no “Indian occupied Kashmir.” There is only “Pakistan occupied Kashmir” without any legal standing. The U.S. media are misrepresenting the historical facts. India's legitimate claim to the entire province of Jammu & Kashmir originated by the decree of the then Hindu king of Kashmir to join India. Then, there was no understanding that the Secular India hand over any other Muslim majority territories within India to Pakistan in 1947, or even later, over and beyond what was agreed upon.

The “partition” had already created East and West Pakistan in full compliance with that understanding by August 15, 1947. The term “disputed Kashmir” is also spurious. There should have been no dispute over Kashmir but for the unwarranted aggression and transgression into Kashmir by Pakistan after the partition. This illegal transgression was in violation of the understanding about the division of “British India” leading to its partition. Therefore, the issue of protracted partition, or separatist agitation based on the religion of indigenous population is a spurious issue. It must not be forgotten that the Muslims of India are an artifact of the foreign invaders and their aggressive proselytization of the local indigenous population. The UN mandated plebiscite or referendum is also a wrongheaded solution of the problem. It is like recognizing illegal intruder and forceful violent unwanted dweller in your home to have a right to negotiate for ownership of room in your home.

It would be absurd to mandate a plebiscite in a territory where sixty seven thousand Hindus (Kashmiri Pundits) were slaughtered and hundreds of thousands made to flee and leave the territory over 54 years. If the logic of this spurious issue is legitimized by the UN or the International Community, chunks and chunks of India will need to be handed over to the Islamic neighboring nations (Pakistan and Bangla Desh). It would also be absurd to hold plebiscite in different regions of India. That would also set the precedent for Islamic nations all over the world to claim territories within other sovereign neighboring countries as their own all over the world.

This could happen readily in Russia and China. Based on the choice of the fundamentalist Islamic populations all over the world, such separatist tactics will continue to undermine the geographic integrity of democracies and other sovereign nations. Any fanatic religious groups with such political philosophy, if permitted, could divide India (or any other country) into many pieces as Christiandoms, Islamic nations, Buddhist, Zoroastrian and Jewish countries (within the subcontinent which is now India, the Bharat). This could happen to Russia and China, and God forbid, to the U.S. also. If the uninformed U.S. media continue to describe the “secular” democratic India as "Hindu India" 54 years after it chose to remain secular, and undivided based on religion, how would the media help resolve the Jammu & Kashmir issue? It should be clear by now that there is no country called “Hindu India.”

It is the fundamentalist Islamic population in Pakistan that is living in the past and is spinning its wheels in the 1940's. The governmental policies of Pakistan vis-à-vis Jammu & Kashmir reflect mostly this view and placate the fundamentalist and fanatic Islamist population. Some of its anachronistic primitive population is living in the last 12 centuries. This radical Muslim population, rather than learning to modernize, attempts to impose its antiquated views and ways of life and even Sharia laws on the “free” Muslims in India. This radicalism the fundamentalist Muslims will continue to try to impose on the Muslims wherever they live, even in the U.S. It is this population, as mentioned before, that threatens the stability of Pakistan also. Strangely enough, placating and appeasing this sentiment has become a necessity for gaining and maintaining political power within the Pakistani government. The continuous mention of Jammu & Kashmir issue and fueling enmity towards neighboring India unfortunately becomes a necessary tool for anyone wishing to win and hold political power in Pakistan.

The ambitious politicians of Pakistan have to gain the support of this primitive population that presents a threat to its own progressive or democratic government if there is one to be envisioned for Pakistan. If the lofty principles of civilized democracy and secularism are upheld by the UN, the solutions for peace in Jammu & Kashmir should be readily evident. Pakistan indeed has no legitimate claim to any territory in Jammu & Kashmir. It was the magnanimity of the peace loving Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime minister of India, which led to the referral of the Kashmir issue to the UN. Please take note, it was not the “aggressor Pakistan” that sought the help of UN. The UN has obviously failed to resolve the matter for 54 years by blurring the issues. However, if any Muslims in Kashmir wish to move to Pakistan or to a small portion of “Pakistan occupied Kashmir,” even now, and vouch to hold peace forever, they should be permitted to exercise their choice in a peaceful manner. They should then stop making any claims over Jammu and Kashmir which have always been part of India but wrongfully described as “Indian occupied Kashmir,” thereafter.

They need to understand that it is time to stop violent and subversive Pakistani infiltration, occupation, and terrorism in any territory of India. If the Muslims in Kashmir don't wish to be in India, (accepting Kashmir as integral part of India), they could move to Pakistan during a proposed window of 3 to 6 months. This will need to be monitored by international monitors who are not motivated to play any more mischief in India. Enough is enough with “Islam” based nations and their terrorism. Kashmir issue is viewed as an anti-Islamic issue rather than what it actually represents in reality. The Islamic terrorists intruders called themselves “Razakars” then and inflicted anti-democracy aggression upon democratic secular India in Jammu & Kashmir. The so-called “Kashmir dispute” is thus a product of Islamic terrorism and nothing else. It needs to be squarely viewed as anti-democratic and anti-secularism, and therefore, anti-Indian and should not be labeled “anti-Hindu.”

It is a shame, but quite truly, there are no other religions except “Islam” in this 21st century that want to have equivalents of “Islamic nations.” No country, whether democratic or not, claims to be a Christian Nation, Buddhist Nation, Hindu Nation, etc. (technically, except perhaps Israel, Vatican and Nepal). No other religions call for any unity of religiously based nations, or for a unity based on religious majority in different nations, to form a terrorist coalition, except the fundamentalist Islamic people. It is time for the fundamentalist Islamic nations to join the rest of the civilized world and stop calling themselves "Islamic," or allow the peaceful civilized Islamic people name themselves differently in some other noble manner.

They need to try to espouse modern civil laws, democracy, and secularism by reforming their own populations. It is high time they respect the right of the other civilized people to live in the free world, in democratic countries, and respect the boundaries of those countries and people. There is no “Islamic Nation” that is spread throughout the world pervading different countries. If Islamic people choose to live in any country, they need to learn to become loyal to their country of domicile. They need to live in peace there and not ever align themselves with foreign fundamentalist Islamic movements or start militant and violent domestic fundamentalist Islamic groups that are anti-national. Curiously, Islamic population of India chooses not to apply its antiquated Criminal laws to Muslim population in India. It enjoys the privilege in the Indian democracy of living with the “freedom” and still insisting on having separate “Muslim Law,” as the special Civil code for itself, permitting polygamy for its male population only. This type of discrimination against women is undemocratic besides being primitive and antiquated in the 21st century. It is demeaning to women who have no choice or voice in the oppressive Muslim Indian population.

The recent implementation of Sharia laws in India have victimized some Muslim ladies “legally.” Incidentally, it is worth noting here that in absolute terms the Muslim population has grown from 40 million in India after the partition to a present number of over 120 million. There are hardly any Hindus left to live in the so-called “secular” Muslim Pakistan. These numbers are quite eloquent. The genocide of Hindus in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and in Jammu & Kashmir is quite evident, while Pakistan officially accuses India of harassing Indian and Kashmiri Muslims unfairly in its efforts to eradicate terrorism.“Islam” is the only major organized religion that is living and behaving as if the civilized world has not moved into the 21st century. Terrorism is of the past and must not exist in this 21st century and beyond. Ending terrorism actively needs to be a primary goal for civilized Islam.

Non-Islamic efforts to end Islamic terrorism may not succeed in eliminating this cancer. There is no need to get lost in the semantics to define terrorism. The history speaks for itself. The prognosis for cure of this cancer is, not unlike any other cancer, “very poor.” The cancer has been present for 12 to 14 centuries now. What makes us believe that armed conflict with the use of sophisticated weapons will eliminate this cancer? That is not saying that the U.S. and the civilized free world need not make every effort to eradicate it by employing military means among others. The irrationality of the primitive Islamic people will be played upon by the terrorists to turn a large number of them to become their sympathizers, or worse their overt or covert allies to escalate and prolong their struggles. This will happen all over the world including the U.S., U.K. and Western Europe. The struggle against terrorism, therefore, may not end in 27 or 30 years as predicted.

The ideological and religious reform at the grassroots of Islam will need to come from the initiatives of the more civilized and peace-loving Islamic people themselves with a great force from within. There is a dire need to form a large and powerful international Islamic organization of peace loving and freedom loving civilized and educated modern but strong Muslims. When formed, it needs to be supported and welcomed by freedom loving civilized people of all religions of the world. It needs to be fortified and protected in its efforts of reforming “Islam”. Winning friendship and respect for Islam needs to be viewed as a more “holy” cause than “Jihad.” It is high time Islam prove itself worthy of its name as a “peace-loving” religion and not just use the term “peace-loving” as a scholastic interpretation of the religion only for the world media. The adjective is very difficult to justify on historical grounds, considering the political history of Islam. However, it is time to accept the mistakes of the past.

While trying to seek sympathies for injustices experienced by Islamic populations in some parts of the world, it is also noble to take courage to make amends for past and recent atrocities committed by Islam. All religions will be better off if they admitted to the presence of social evils perpetrated by their followers for ages and engage in a clean up campaign for the 21st century. By corollary, all religions including Hinduism may have to do soul-searching to eliminate many social evils. However, this is not the time for India to engage in any introspection. The recent attacks by suicide bombers on the Indian parliament to kill Indian leaders, and Pakistan’s continued denial of its involvement are similar to the strategies used by bin Laden and the Taliban in the 9-11 attacks. The attack on the Indian Parliament is an attack on the heart of the largest democracy in the free world.

It needs to be met with the same courage demonstrated by John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Crisis, and the exemplary courage shown by President George W. Bush. Terrorism needs to be eradicated from the face of the earth, and to this end, all means including military action must be contemplated by the entire free world and the coalition of the democratic countries. President Bush’s policies are not to be translated to mean that terrorism directed towards the US alone is evil, and to be resisted, and terrorism directed towards India or U.K. is to be tolerated with "peaceful tolerance.” One needs to commend the delegation of Indian Muslim leaders who met with the Home Minister of India, Mr. Advani to promise full support to the Indian Government. Regardless of what Advani said in Pakistan, the effort to build friendship now after 58 years is commendable though the past wounds are still oozing. Let the world know that India is the largest democratic Muslim country in the world.

The freedom of Muslims in India, Jammu & Kashmir and their choice to remain in the democratic free world, are also under attack by the Pakistani terrorists. The US did not entertain the demand to produce the proof when Taliban demanded it. There is no reason why Pakistan, who has been a well-known terrorist country, harboring, feeding, and financing terrorists against the US, Jammu & Kashmir, and India, should demand any proof of its involvement in terrorism. Irrespective of its role as the ally of the US in its action against Afghanistan, Pakistan is totally exposed as the supporter of terrorists. Its government has not taken sufficient action and demonstrated stands to take military action against its terrorist population within Pakistan or in Afghanistan. Repeated deceitful extension of hand of friendship while surreptitiously using terrorist tactics and war mongering is not a sincere gesture of move towards peace. It is another deceptive manifestation of the same cancer alluded to in the very first paragraph of this article. Islamic terrorism is the scourge of the 21st century and the free world, including the free Muslims, needs to unite to eliminate it forever.

This is a decisive moment. There is no room for lip service for the well meaning Islamic regimes, nor for the free world. Action alone will eliminate terrorism. “Jammu & Kashmir” should no longer be an issue. It is a smoke screen. The real offender is the age-old Islamic terrorism. If there is to be any war between India and Pakistan, it will be over the intolerance of Islamic terrorism that has been long tolerated by India. Any arguments regarding the unfairness of police actions against the suspected terrorists in India or in Jammu & Kashmir, and the huge outcry regarding human rights violations by India in this context are merely dust in the eyes of the uninformed public. These are, if verified in any measure, nothing but reactions to the pervasive Islamic terrorism. There is no moral high-ground for Pakistan to stand and denounce India when it is Pakistan that has been a country which has harbored and nurtured terrorists for decades and covertly practiced state sponsored terrorism.

Pakistan could invite the wrath of India having attacked the heart of India (Parliament and now Ayodhya) just as Afghanistan invited the wrath of the U.S. by bin Laden’s attack on the financial heart of the U.S. God forbid that the efforts of Advani to attain peace in the region be not sabotaged by internecine conflicts within BJP and Indian intelligentsia regardless how inept Advani is deemed to be by the historians for “what he said.” India needs to make its position crystal clear, and that is, regardless of any dispute over Kashmir, India will no longer tolerate terrorism. If Pakistan does not put a stop to it, and does not radically eradicate Islamic terrorism from its soil, Pakistan needs to be ready to face the consequences. India will have no choice now but to eradicate Islamic terrorism sponsored and supported by Pakistan from its very roots. No talks probably will be held over the Jammu & Kashmir issue or peace agreement now, until terrorism is eliminated from Jammu & Kashmir and India first! India’s heart has been attacked and India has every right to retaliate. The retaliation will probably only against the terrorists and those who harbor and support the terrorists. The threat of nuclear weapons must not be allowed to perpetuate terrorism. The entire free world community could be some day terrorized by the radical Islam. By perpetrating such nuclear threats or other threats of mass destruction, terrorism will be perpetuated to achieve its end.

We must therefore admire the strength of India. Strong India that eliminates terrorism with whatever means will be the beacon for terrorism-free "free world." The free world that has now only recently been the victim of Islamic terrorism must realize even more that it needs to unite with India that is the oldest and most deeply suffering victim of Islamic terrorism.


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