Monday, July 29, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Denying one’s Roots – Why?
by Maria Wirth on 24 Jul 2013 10 Comments
Though I have been living in India for a long time, there are still some things I find hard to understand. For instance, why many so called educated Indians on television discussion forums become agitated whenever ‘Hindutva’ is mentioned. The majority of Indians are Hindus. India is special because of its ancient Hindu tradition. Westerners are drawn to India because of it. Why then is there this resistance by many Indians to acknowledge the Hindu roots of their country? Why do some people even give the impression that an India that values those Hindu roots is the most dangerous thing on earth? Don’t they know better?

This attitude is strange for two reasons. First, these speakers have a problem only with ‘Hindu’ India, but not with ‘Muslim’ or ‘Christian’ countries. Germany, for example, is a secular country and only 59 percent of the population is registered with the two big Christian Churches (Protestant and Catholic). Nevertheless, the country is bracketed under ‘Christian countries’. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor, stressed recently the Christian roots of Germany and urged the population ‘to go back to Christian values’. In 2012, she postponed her trip to the G-8 summit for a day to address the German Catholic Day.  In September 2011, the Pope was invited to address the German Parliament. Two major political parties carry ‘Christian’ in their name, including Angela Merkel’s ruling party. Government agencies even collect the Church tax (8 percent of the income tax) and pass it on.

Germans are not agitated that Germany is called a Christian country, though I would understand if they were because the history of the Church is appalling. The so called success story of Christianity depended greatly on tyranny. “Convert or die” were the options given not only to the indigenous population in America some five hundred years ago. In Germany, too, 1200 years ago, the emperor Karl the Great ordered the death sentence for refusal of baptism in his newly conquered realms. It provoked his advisor Alkuin to comment: ‘One can force them to baptism, but how to force them to believe?’ Heresy was put down with an iron hand. I still remember a visit to the Nuremberg castle prison as a school kid, where we were shown the torture chamber and torture instruments used during Inquisition. Inhumanly cruel!

Those times, when one’s life was in danger if one dissented with the dogmas of the Church, are thankfully over. Nowadays, many in the west dissent and leave the Church in a steady stream – in Germany alone over 2 million officially signed out in the last ten years and during a survey in 2011, 5.5 million Germans ‘thought about’ leaving the Church - partly because they are disgusted with the less than holy behavior of Church officials and partly because they can’t believe in dogmas like ‘Jesus is the only way’ and that God sends all those who don’t accept this to hell.

The second reason for my inability to understand the resistance to associate India with Hindutva or Hinduness is that Hinduism is in a different category from the Abrahamic religions. Its history, compared to Christianity and Islam, was undoubtedly by far the least violent as it spread in ancient times by convincing arguments and not by force. It is not a belief system that demands blind belief in dogmas and suspension of one’s intelligence.

On the contrary, Hinduism encourages using one’s intelligence to the hilt. The rishis enquired into truth, discovered universal laws and showed how to live life in an ideal way. Hinduism (please don’t get irritated by the use of this ‘modern’ word; today it covers the many streams of Sanatana Dharma) comprises a huge body of ancient texts, not only regarding Dharma and philosophy, but also regarding music, architecture, dance, science, astronomy, medicine, mathematics, economics, politics, etc. If Germany or any other western country had this kind of literary treasure, it would be so proud and highlight its greatness on every occasion.

We Germans have to be content with only one ‘ancient’ epic written around 800 years ago and probably referring to incidents around 400 AD. That is how far ‘antiquity’ reaches back in Europe, and of course children hear of this epic, ‘Nibelungenlied’, in school. Naturally westerners consider the existence of Sri Krishna and Sri Rama as myths. How could they acknowledge a civilization much more ancient and much more refined than their own?

Inexplicably, Indians cater to western arrogance and ignorance by downplaying and even denying their tradition. There is a “Copernicus Marg’ in New Delhi and Indian children do not get to hear in school that the rishis of the Rg Veda knew already that the earth is round and goes around the sun, thousands of years before westerners ‘discovered’ it (Rg 10’22’14)

When I read some Upanishads, I was stunned at the profundity. Here was expressed in clear terms what I intuitively had felt to be true, but could not have expressed clearly. Brahman is not partial; it is the invisible, indivisible essence in everything. Everyone gets again and again a chance to discover the ultimate truth and is free to choose his way back to it. Helpful hints are given for different types of persons, but not imposed.

In my early days in India, I thought that every Indian knew and valued his tradition. Slowly I realized I was wrong. The British colonial masters had been successful in not only weaning away many of the so called elite from their ancient tradition, but even making them despise it. It helped that the ‘educated’ class could no longer read the original Sanskrit texts and believed what the British told them. This lack of knowledge and the brainwashing by the British education may be the reason why many ‘modern’ Indians are against anything ‘Hindu’. They don’t realize the difference between western religions that have to be believed (or at least professed) blindly, and which discourage if not forbid their adherents to think on their own, and the multi-layered Hindu Dharma which gives freedom and encourages using one’s intelligence.

Many of the English educated class do not realize that on one hand, westerners, especially those who dream to impose their religion on this vast country, will applaud them for denigrating Hindu Dharma, because this helps western universalism to spread in India. On the other hand, many westerners, including Church people, well know the value and surreptitiously appropriate insights from the vast Indian knowledge system, drop the original source and present it either as their own or make it look as if these insights had been known in the west. In this manner, Hindu civilization is gradually being depleted of its valuable, exclusive assets and what is left is called inferior.

If only missionaries denigrated Hindu Dharma, it would not be so bad, as they clearly have an agenda which discerning Indians would detect. But sadly, Indians with Hindu names assist them in the agenda that Hinduism is inferior to western religions. They belittle everything Hindu without getting thorough knowledge. As a rule, they know little about their traditions, except what the British have told them, i.e. that the major features are caste system and idol worship.

They don’t realize that India would gain, not lose, if it solidly backed its profound and all inclusive Hindu tradition. The Dalai Lama said some time ago that already as a youth in Lhasa, he had been deeply impressed by the richness of Indian thought. “India has great potential to help the world,” he added. When will the westernized Indian elite realize it? 
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Excellent article. Every Asian must read it. This servility is created by the dominance of the church in education  - jan

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


US becomes battleground for Hindu-Muslim political feud

US becomes battleground for Hindu-Muslim political feud
A tactically leaked letter by 65 Indian lawmakers, many of them Muslims, to Barack Obama, pressing him not to revoke the ban on Narendra Modi from visiting US is the latest jab in the ongoing skirmish between the two sides.

WASHINGTON: As if politics in Washington and the United States isn't divisive enough, Hindus and Muslims from the subcontinent have brought their decades-old partisan feud to America.

A tactically leaked letter by 65 Indian lawmakers, many of them Muslims, to US President Barack Obama, pressing him not to revoke the ban on Gujarat chief ministerNarendraModi from visiting US because of his alleged role or inaction in the 2002 communal riots is just the latest jab in the ongoing skirmish between the two sides. In a separate development, 27 US lawmakers have written to Secretary of State John Kerry expressing ''profound concern over the escalating violence and intolerance towards religious minorities in Pakistan, including Hindus, Christians,Ahmadis, and Shia Muslims.'' 

The two letters are unrelated, but they are emblematic of the growing political activism in America of Hindu and Muslims groups from India. Although written several months back in 2012, the letter to Obama from Indian MPs was selectively leaked to the media only this week by the Indian-American Muslim Council, an advocacy group of Indian Muslims in America. The leak, on the eve of BJP chief Rajnath Singh's visit to the US capital, is ostensibly aimed at scuppering moves by the BJP and Hindu groups to seek a revocation of the ban on Modi, who is increasingly seen the BJP's prime ministerial candidate 

BJP sympathizers and activists too have been lobbying US lawmakers, resulting in at least three American lawmakers going against the administration's current policy and making a case for entertaining Modi in the US. The US business community itself has been drawn to Modi and his Vibrant Gujarat for some months now and has been quietly pressing the administration to re-examine the issue. But leftists, human rights groups, civil liberties activists, and now Indian-American Muslims have joined forces to stall any change. 

The fact that Indian MPs have brought their domestic political feud to President Obama's desk has surprised many commentators. ''It is almost unthinkable that Indian lawmakers would appeal to the United States to take a stand on an internal matter. Most Indian politicians, many of whom still nurse a Cold War-era suspicion of Washington, would bristle at the very thought of it,'' the Washington Post observed in a report on the development. 

But Indian-American Muslim activists who released the letter defended their action arguing that ''human rights are universal'' and they were well within their rights to lobby against Modi in the US because the BJP was trying to facilitate his visit to America. ''India took a moral stand in 'internal affairs' of other countries, such as against apartheid in South Africa, so why cannot President Obama be be involved? After all Rajnath Singh brought the issue to the US, coming with a begging bowl for visa and a laundry bag with Modi's dirty linen,'' Shaikh Ubaid, of the Indian Minorities Advocacy Network said. 

Asked about some MPs like CPM Sitaram Yechuri denying they had signed the letter to Obama, Ubaid said they had expected some MPs not to be able to withstand the heat from BJP attacks, but he insisted the signatures were genuine and other MPs were witness to the act. However, Shantaram Naik, Congress MP from Goa, also denied that he had signed the letter and said he was mystified how his name got attached to the letter. "My views on Narendra Modi are well known and I have criticized him many times. But I did not sign any letter to President Obama," he told TNN. The letters also showed at least one MP's name (AA Jinnah) on both the Lok Sabhaand Rajya Sabha list. 

At least 12 of the 25 Lok Sabha MPs who are said to have signed the letter are Muslim MPs , and in the case of the Rajya Sabha at least 10 out of 40 whose signatures were on the letter are Muslim lawmakers. 

The letter wars


Amartya Sen: The ignoble laureate – Sandeep

Sandeep Icon“Amartya Sen’s lengthy chronicle of skulduggery was to simply show why A=Arafat and A=Amartya. Like the dead Palestinian terrorist state-head who rewarded his loyal minions with power and position, Amartya Sen has used his Nobel Prize as both an academic and political pulpit to further both his economic and political ends throwing shame, fair play, ethics, and even basic decency to the winds.” – Sandeep

Amartya SenThe Nobel Prize lost any trace of respectability or merit ages ago. Apart from a few branches of pure science, the Nobel is simply a fancy title that converts obscure and spurious academics and nonentities into overnight millionaires and Universal Experts whose only strength lies in their ability to kiss the bottom that gets them the bounties. Of course, the Nobel isn’t restricted to just that: it includes a whole gamut of such phonies belonging to various categories—from politicians to terrorists.
Name some famous Nobel-winning names that begin with A. Two names immediately come to mind: Arafat and Amartya. The former was a gold-standard terrorist who won the Nobel for Peace, and the latter was a gold-standard academic obscurity who won the Nobel for Economics. Arafat asserted his terrorism in both word and deed and thus earns our respect because he was at least honest about his avowed intent to destroy Israel using sheer terror.
Here’s where Amartya poses a problem. He’s so versatile that you never know what to make of him: an agnostic, an arguer, an orator, an intellectual, an identity-explorer, an economist, a Buddhist, a Communist, or simply a species from Madagascar that has a projectile tongue and changes its skin colour on demand. His record is both impressive and scary. He won the Nobel for Economics. He’s always on tour lecturing about everything other than economics. He claims to also be a Sanskritist. He speaks glowingly about China’s cultural revolution. He writes books about argumentative Indians. He explores the nature of identities. He heads a panel constituted to revive a prestigious ancient Indian university.
Yasser ArafatGiven that he’s such a multi-faceted incomprehensibility, I’ll settle for the last: Amartya Sen is best defined as a species from Madagascar that has a projectile tongue and changes its skin colour on demand. That’s a biologist’s language. In the layman’s tongue, that species is called a Chameleon.
Amartya Sen is a classic example of mindless and uncritical celebrity worship in the academia, which naturally spills over to the media and public consciousness. This itself is an ugly by-product of a larger phenomenon. Over the years, someone who receives significant recognition in any field suddenly becomes The Expert on Everything. The Nobel being the most significant recognition has thus become the only qualification for such people who instantly become Mr/Ms Know-it-All and attain a Divine Right to indulge in unqualified snobbery.
Which brings us to the question nobody ever asks: what exactly is Amartya Sen’s distinction apart from writing reams of stuff on economics, which nobody reads much less understands? Nobody is grudging his Nobel. However, there are some vulgar mischief-mongers who unfairly sully the fair professor’s name by calling him Mister Rothschild and spread atrocious rumours that the Rothschild name had a lot to do with Dr. Sen getting the Nobel. But let’s not hit below the belt. However, this question is fundamental and necessary because Sen is projected as an expert on everything from ancient India to Hinduism to Sanskrit to Islam to Buddhism to society to philosophy to foreign policy, and is taken seriously. What exactly is his qualification and competence to head the ambitious and well-intentioned project of setting up the Nalanda International University, whose aim is to revive the glory of the original Nalanda? What’s your bet that he’d still be languishing in obscurity at Cambridge instead of doing what he’s doing now but for the Nobel?
It’s precisely because these questions aren’t asked that Sen gets away with—apart from terming Mao’s genocide of his own people as making “great strides”—being a casual apologist for Islamic terror.
… that’s quite different from using religious divisions for purpose of a sectarian division, and for purpose of perpetrating violence on people who do not share the religion but have another religion.
But that is not confined to Islamic – what you now call Islamic – terrorism. That is a very small group of people of the Muslim faith who happen to take a particular view about how to advance it; I think the vast majority of Muslims don’t take that view … the “global war on terror” is not our language, of course. When we refer to it, we call it the so-called “war on terror”
And in 2006 this self-confessed agnostic strongly urged Tony Blair to implement a policy, which calls for the takeover of Britain’s schools by the Church so the kind padres can catch ‘em young and begin to enforce strict mind control. In his own words,
Christian schools “are perfectly acceptable” but other faith schools “are a big mistake and should be scrapped if the Government wants to encourage a unifying British identity … Christian schools have evolved and often provide a much more tolerant atmosphere than a purely religious school would. A lot of people in the Middle East or India or elsewhere have been educated in Christian schools. A lot of my friends came from St Xavier’s in Kolkata — I don’t think they were indoctrinated particularly in Christianity.”
St. Xavier's College, KolkataWhich is another reason we need to be very wary and scared of Amartya Sen’s creed. His staggering hypocrisy is also dangerous: here’s an agnostic who openly, emphatically endorses religious schools on the assumption that such schools would promote a “unifying” (sic)” national (British) identity. As “evidence,” he claims that Christian schools provide “tolerant atmosphere than a purely religious school.” One wonders whether Sen even realizes the absurdity of his self-contradictory statement — if it’s a Christian school, it is by definition, a religious school unless you’re talking about an out-and-out religious seminary where only hardcore Christianity is taught. Sen’s hollow and fraudulent claim that Indian Christian schools provide an atmosphere of tolerance shows that a Nobel entitles you to lie shamelessly and still smile with confidence. This quick laundry list shows the delightfully tolerant atmosphere of Indian Christian schools:
  • Making it almost impossible for non-Christians to get admission unless they convert or belong to the Rich and the Famous club in society
  • Showing the Hindu students their place by employing various methods (see the subsequent bulleted points)
  • Prohibiting Hindu girls from wearing any adornment or mark that the school regards as Hindu on the school campus
  • Enforcing Bible studies in the guise of Moral Science, a compulsory subject mandated by almost all state boards
  • Insisting on speaking in English—I know a friend who was fined repeatedly in school for speaking in Kannada or Hindi.
  • Derogating the Hindu religion—and India as a country—in the guise of admonishing an errant student—I’m both an eyewitness and recipient of “bloody Indian!” and “bloody Heathen!” admonishments.
  • Glossy pamphlets stuck on the notice board describing the kindly exploits of this or that Reverend Eminence’s latest success in spreading the Love of God to remote villages, which were languishing under the Heathen religion.
St. Augustine's High SchoolAbundant tolerance no?
If anything, Amartya Sen is one of the most eminent instances of what Christian education does to Hindus (or followers of “Pagan” religions). The mind control that Christian schools indulge in is as incredible as it is multi-pronged. Years upon years of sustained Christian brainwashing culminates in drilling a feeling of unshakeable, lifelong shame into you. The result: the “Pagan” student ends up hating his religion, his country, and worse, himself, and the only way of overcoming this shame is by harping abuse on precisely these things. This is one of the explanations why Amartya Sen is Amartya Sen. Needless, you can find a million mini-Amartya Sens-in-spirit all around you whose worldview is primarily, immutably shaped and therefore distorted, by Christianity. Like an undiluted Christian fanatic, even those who claim to be agnostics, atheists, and religion-haters refuse to admit even the possibility that an alternate worldview based on different but sound principles can exist.
Even if we grant some lease to Sen’s open call for Church brainwashing of education on the grounds that he was trying to bootlick the British by out-Britishing them, he still sounds insincere. Let’s transport Amartya Sen to India and apply his words in the Indian context.
Hindu schools “are perfectly acceptable” but other faith schools “are a big mistake and should be scrapped if the Government wants to encourage a unifying Indian identity … Hindu schools have evolved and often provide a much more tolerant atmosphere than a purely religious school would. A lot of people in … [USA or Europe] or elsewhere have been educated in Hindu schools. A lot of my friends came from Narendrapur Ramkrishna Mission School in Kolkata — I don’t think they were indoctrinated particularly in Hinduism.”
What’s your wager that he would he make a speech of this sort? Actually, he won’t need to make such a speech because he’s already preempted this requirement by asserting that a “lot of my friends came from St Xavier’s in Kolkata — I don’t think they were indoctrinated particularly in Christianity.”
Subramanian SwamyHowever, hypocrisy is the least of Sen’s long list of sins.
Amartya Sen is also spineless. This powerful Harvard Professor who has wide contacts in the world’s political firmament preferred to remain mute when he should’ve actually used his position to uphold free speech. This selfsame Harvard university dumped Subramanian Swamy because the powerful Academic Mullahs in Harvard’s administration were pissed off with Swamy’s DNA article, which had angered the bloodthirsty Oil Oligarchs of the Middle East who now fund the Madrassa on the Charles.
Prof. Gopa SabharwalOf late, Sen has also added mooching and opacity to his list of sins. His adventures as the head of the Nalanda University revival project is one unending saga of elaborate hoax at taxpayer expense. A measure of Amartya Sen’s dangerous power is how he managed to ensure that India’s former president APJ Abdul Kalam resigned from the Nalanda Mentor Group. Not content, he also made sure that Kalam’s resignation remained a secret as long as possible. In a classic case of the tenant usurping the owner’s property, the Nalanda project, which was Kalam brainchild, has now been hijacked by the likes of Amartya Sen, who has mooched the Indian taxpayers of a gargantuan 17100000 Rupees till Feb 2009 in travel and accommodation bills alone, and he has shown zero Abdul Kalamprogress in return for spending all that money. Actually, let’s correct that: the only progress he has shown so far is writing a letter to Pranab Mukherjee (who was then the External Affairs Minister) to smuggle Sen’s favourite minion, Gopa Sabharwal as the Vice Chancellor. This letter, written on Sen’s Harvard Letterhead, was the only “due process” that Sen followed to get this woman, who’s neither qualified nor competent, to be a Vice Chancellor: she was merely a reader in Lady Shri Ram College. Ever since, Gopa has been drawing a princely salary of Rupees 5,06,513 per month.
Amartya Sen’s lengthy chronicle of skulduggery was to simply show why A=Arafat and A=Amartya. Like the dead Palestinian terrorist state-head who rewarded his loyal minions with power and position, Amartya Sen has used his Nobel Prize as both an academic and political pulpit to further both his economic and political ends throwing shame, fair play, ethics, and even basic decency to the winds.
Every platform or organization that has engaged and plans to engage him stands equally guilty of partaking in his sins. – The Rediscovery of India, 29 June 2012

Monday, July 22, 2013


'What is Hindu Nationalism ?'

17/07/2013 23:07:13  Dr. Vijaya Rajiva

Since that famous interview with Reuters when Shri Narendra Modi said that he was an Indian, a patriot, a nationalist and a Hindu by birth there has been a tsunami of ill timed and poorly argued criticisms of him by sundry journalists, organisations, the mainstream media etc. Many even spoke darkly about how dangerous Hindu nationalism is, etc. There was even a misguided comparison between Hindu nationalism and Khalistani nationalism, misguided because Khalistani separatists were just that, separatists, whereas Hindu nationalists like Shri Modi or for that matter anyone whose self description is Hindu nationalist, they do not favour the splitting of the country.

Quite to the contrary a Hindu nationalist has always supported the notion of Akhanda Bharat, undivided India.

What then is Hindu nationalism ? The word 'Rashtram' is a better way to describe Hindu Nationalism.To understand that one has to go back to the Rig Veda where the Goddess Sarasvati says : " I am the rashtri, working for the welfare of the people (Rig Veda, Book 10, 125 )." The word 'nation' is of recent origin, a Western concept that began with the nation state in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries.

In his book, Rashtram (2011, pp.23-24) Dr. S.Kalyanraman, Director of the Sarasvati Research Centre) cites definitions of nationalism/nationalists, from Paul Gilbert :

1. nominalist ( a nation is whatever a group of people who consider themselves a nation say it is).

2. nationalist (a nation is a group of people whose grouping is given by nature).

3. voluntarist ( a nation is a group of people bound by a commonly willed union).

4. territorial (a nation is a group of people attached to a specific territory).

5. linguistic (a nation is a group of people who share a common language).

6. axiological ( a nation is a group of people who shares distinctive values).

7. destinarian (a nation is a group of people who have a common history and a common mission).

(Paul Gilbert's The Philosophy of Nationalism, 1998).

A Hindu nationalist would have no difficulty in accepting this as definitions of Hindu Rashtram. Even no.7 would most likely find acceptance by Hindus such as the writer and senior journalist Radha Rajan who in her book The Eclipse of the Hindu Nation(2009) has argued that the state (rajyam) is for the defence of Rashtram, which she goes on to equate with the defence also of Hindu Dharma. This, she points out quite clearly, is the message of the Bhagavad Gita : defence of Dharma.

The present writer is of the view that from the Hindu viewpoint Dharma is derived from that overarching word 'Rtam', which stands for the order and harmony of the universe as envisioned by the Rig Vedic Rishis. This was the order that governed the entire universe of earth, atmosphere and the heavens. Dharma then is the social practice or understanding of Rtam and includes such concepts and practices as moral precepts and yajna (the Vedic ritual worship of the Devas and Devatas that they call upon in the Rig Veda) etc. From north to south and east to west the Hindu has been united by Dharma.

This unity lasted through invasions and conquests and the colonial period. It continues to this day.

For the Hindu then, the nation is both sacred geography and the customs and practices of Dharma. The lineage is traced back to the Rig Vedic Rishis and the Vedic peoples. Down the ages this Dharma was transmitted through the rituals of temple worship and as well household worship. In the Hindu world view Akhanda Bharat is the land from the Himalaya to Kanya Kumari in the south and from west to undivided Bengal.

Hence, what Abrahamic faiths call religion is not a suitable description for the Hindus. Dharma and nation are one. Hence, too, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid's comments about nation and religion are not applicable to Hindus or Hindu nationalism. He had said in the context of his criticism of Shri Narendra Modi :

" Religion can't have nation. Religion has no identity. Nation has an identity. Nationalism falls in a different category than religion " (Zee News, Friday, July 12, 2013).

For the Hindu there is no Abrahamic religion, there is Dharma, and this is practised by the nation that is called Akhanda Bharat and it derives its ancestry from the Veda- Agama. Thus when Shri Modi said in the same breath that he was an Indian and a Hindu nationalist he was expressing the existential situation of a Hindu nationalist who lives and works in the context of the Indian Constitution and the Indian State. This state (rajya) is now the field of his/her living, and does not require that the notion of Hindu Dharma and Akhanda Bharat be abandoned.

Some Hindus would even go as far as to say that the spirit and intent of the Indian Constitution are Dharmic.

Does this, should this cause problems ? It should not, provided that the machinery of the Indian State is not run by a dogmatic and ill informed government that is not sensitive to the issues mentioned above.

Is it possible for Salman Khurshid or for that matter the eminence grise at Delhi to understand the age long traditions of the Hindus ? Both are not equipped for this, nor have they made an attempt to come to grips with these questions.

(The writer is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university).



Someone put the following spoof on a Marathi blog called “Misal pav.” Here is a free translation…

A reporter from the Reuters is interviewing Mr Narendra Modi: “What is your favorite fruit Mr Modi?” to which Mr Modi answers--“Mango.”

Within a minute this exchange is carried by all news channels in India as “breaking news” with the header, “Modi does not like guavas.” Spokespersons of different political parties/NGOs are invited to give their reaction by Indian "secular" journalists.

Jitendra Avad: Mahatma Gandhi used to like banana, which is easily available all across India and cheap; so even the poor people can afford it. It is a fruit of "aam admi." Modi is basically against Mahatmaji. So it is obvious that he does not like bananas. He represents Nathuram Godse who killed Bapuji. 

Manish Tiwari: Modi does not like guava because of its green color! This shows his anti-Muslim bias!! Shame upon him!!!

Ajay Makan: Not surprised modi likes an expensive fruit like mango. By that choice, he is mocking the poor masses of India. 

Pappu aka Amul Baby: I am not like Modi who only likes specific things or items. My food intake is all inclusive and I respect all foods like I respect all religions. I like saffron mangoes, green guavas, and white amlas. Tomorrow I am going on a visit to the poor people of UP living in poor huts where I will share and eat green and yellow skinned bananas with them. 

[Dig]Vijay: modi is a rotten mango and must therefore be immediately removed from the basket. Otherwise all mangoes in the basket will rot. A rotten mango like modi has no place in the secular, all-inclusive basket of India. 

Nitin Wagle on Lokmat-IBN Ten O’Clock News: Welcome all! A new day and a new topic for discussion today. Modi has betrayed his ugly, communal façade by declaring that he likes mangoes. By deliberately avoiding green guavas from the list of fruits he likes, Modi has clearly demonstrated his anti-Muslim, communal mentality. We have among us Mr Madhav Bhandari of the BJP, Mr Sachin Savant of the Congress, and great and original thinker Mr Markandey Katju. Let’s start with…

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


SOOKTA 18 सूक्त १८

Devata  देवता ब्रह्मणस्पति  (बृहस्पति) आदि Brahmanaspati (Brihaspati) etc. (and additional devatas)

After several sooktas addressed to devatas already introduced and praised in the first four Sooktas
the Rig Veda embarks upon introducing additional Devatas. It is in the 18th Sookta a new devata is
introduced. While Agni is fully knowledgeable and cognizant of Reality (simply translated as Truth but literally सत्य a quality that makes an entity take on the form of a palpable or subtle reality) सत्यपरायण.

Certainly this अग्निदेवता is सत्यपरायण. So he knows the different states of existence beginning with the
Brahman and all its differentiated states of existence or aspects including the devas and devatas and in fact facilitates the transformation from one state to (a higher) another with this very knowledge. (Agni is  very much essential for negative entropy too).

What Devata gives Agni this knowledge?  The deepest intuitive knowledge of Rtvika leads him to thus recognize the presence of Brahmanaspati or Brihaspati the Guru of Devas and Devatas. The Devas and Devatas have super natural powers but the their intelligence (Universal Intelligence) too needs guidance and that is provided by Brahmanaspati. (Brahma and Saraswati are the male and female Deva and Devi respectively recognized for all the wisdom in the creation so Brahmanaspati is an aspect of brahman or Brahma and Saraswati with superior intellect and wisdom endowed to Devas and Devatas)

As soon as Rtvika discovers this aspect of Brahman, he immediately recognizes the uniqueness of this Devata which distinguishes it from other Devas and Devatas. Graced by Brihaspati he will attain the
fruits of his labor expeditiously (Brihaspati is indeed a शीघ्रफल दाता) because of the superior wisdom of this Devata. Among other abilities Brihaspati is knowledgeable about dissipating disease or disorder (रोग अपसारक) and enhancing healthy state (pushtivardhaka पुष्टिवर्धक) .

Whoever is exalted by Indra, Varuna and Soma becomes a brave man that cannot be eliminated. Such person needs to be protected from self engendered decline by Brahmanaspati, with the help of Soma, Indra and (here the Rtvik realizes the necessity of including a Devi) Dakshinadevi. The nature of Indra and Soma are discussed in previous Tit Bits of Rig Veda and will not be elaborated here. The reader is urged to go back and revisit the Sooktas 1  through  4.

This line of reasoning of the Rtvik clearly shows that he is illustrating how the Yajnya is moving step by step forward to attain its goal of acquiring Jnyana ज्ञान.

Here again the Rtvik comes back to praise Agni अग्नि without whose grace and blessings even a
ज्ञानवान् cannot attain success in his Yajnya यज्ञ, because it is Agni (अग्नि) that joins together the bits of thoughts in a cogently related manner (संबंधयुक्त मानसिक वृत्ति chitta vritti चित्त वृत्ति ). The analytic
mind of the Rtvik is postulating that even for rational thinking a सत्यपरायण reality oriented divine force like अग्नि is essential. Therefore, this wonderful highly desired protector of good people, beloved of IndraAgni, is approached to receive (ask for) the स्मृतिशक्ति power of memory. So there is a beginning of hints of an emerging Cognitive Science in the 18th Sookta that pays homage to Brihaspati or Brahmanaspati बृहस्पति or ब्रह्मणस्पति (as the Guru of all Devas and Devatas and with his grace they can attain their goals more expeditiously शीघ्रफलदाता hinting at the concept that even devas and devatas are in need of Gurukripa गुरुकृपा or need the wisdom of their Guru) 

(For those readers who are curious about Devas and Devatas it is again suggested that they read  several articles on Devas and Devatas on this blog by Achintyachintaka)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Literacy in the ancient Vedic world
Shrinivas Tilak
Recently, Professor Michael Witzel of Harvard University has claimed that Vedic people were illiterate. A close study of the Rigveda, however, suggests awareness of some kind of writing system in the ancient Vedic times and that the Vedic people were not illiterate:
(1) Rg 1:124.7 This sukta describes Ushas rising slowly in the morning. Her movement is compared to a brotherless widow climbing the steps of a courthouse to claim subsistence
(2) Rg 2:18 This sukta describes a large number of horses of Indra in a manner that suggests familiarity with the decimal system
(3) Rg 8:78.2 In this sukta a plea is made to Indra to bring with him ‘mana,’ which is said to be a gold coin
(4) 10:62.7 Here a rsi is asking for a cow in gift whose ear is branded with a sign or mark that resembles the number 8 (ashtkarnya). A similar branding practice is mentioned in Panini 6:3.11)
(5) 10:65.6 (Vivahasukta). In this important sukta the bride’s decorated garment is described as ‘gatha’ i.e. a dyed garment on which are embossed with certain signs or symbols that are similar to letters. This practice or custom has remained popular all along. Even in modern times we see girls and women (even some pujaris) wearing dyed kurtas embossed with mantras such as Shri Ram.
All references are from the Marathi translation of the Rigveda by Siddheshvarshastri Chitrav, Pune 1996.  
Shrinivas Tilak (PhD, history of religions, McGill University, Montreal)


Amazing way to do business in India!
After reading this I do not know whom to pity. 

After reading this you will think that you are in the wrong business
The Samosa Vendor : A must read
“Today in India its unbelievable .......The numbers are a little difficult to swallow, ......But interesting nevertheless.”
(Mail was Sent By A Friend)

 It was my regular train journey home from work.
 I boarded the 18:50pm train at from Paranur.
When the train was about to leave Guduvanchery,
A samosa vendor with an empty basket got on and took 
the seat next to me.
As the compartment was sparsely occupied and my 
destination was still far away,
I got into a conversation with him.

Me: "Seems like you've sold all your samosas today."
Vendor (smiling): "Yes. By God's grace, full sales today."

Me: "I really feel sorry for you people. Don't you get tired doing
        This tiresome job the whole day?"

Vendor: "What to do, sir? Only by selling samosas like this every day do
 We get a commission of .75 paise for each samosa that we sell."

Me: "Oh, is that so ? How many samosas do you sell on an average each day?"
Vendor: "On peak days, we sell 3,000 to 3,500 samosas per day.
On dull days, we can't even move 1,000 samosas a day.
On an average, we sell about 2,000 samosas a day."
I was speechless.....for a few seconds.
The guy says he sells 2,000 samosas a day; at .75 paise each,
He makes about 1,500 rupees daily, or 45,000 rupees a month.
That's Rs. 45,000 a month. OMG.
I intensified my questioning and this time it was not for time pass.
Me: "Do you make the samosas yourself?"
Vendor: "No Sir. Our proprietor gets the samosas through a samosa manufacturer
               And we just sell them. After selling we give him the money
               And gives us 75 paise for each samosa that we sell." 

I was unable to speak a single word more but the vendor continued...
"But one thing...most of our earnings are spent on living expenses.
Only with the remaining money are we able to take care of other business."

Me: "Other business? What is that?"

Vendor: "It is a land business. In 2007 I bought 1.5 acres in
Urupakkam for 3 lakh rupees and I sold it a few months back for 15 lakhs.
 Now I have bought land in Uthiramerur for 5 lakh rupees."

Me: "What did you do with the remaining amount?

Vendor: "Of the remaining amount,
 I have set aside 6 lakhs for my daughter's wedding.
 I have deposited the other 4 lakhs in the bank." 

Me: "How much schooling have you had?"

Vendor: "I studied up to third standard;
I stopped my studies when I was in the 4th standard.
But I know how to read and write.
Sir, there are many people like yourself,
Who dress well, wear a tie, wear shoes,
Speak English fluently and work in air-conditioned rooms. 
But I don't think you guys earn as much
 As we do wearing dirty clothes and selling samosas."At this point, what could I reply. After all, I was talking to aMillionaire! The train chugged into Chromepet station
And the samosa vendor got up from his seat.

Vendor: "Sir, this is my station...have a good day."Me: "Take care."
What more is there to say...!


Karan Thapar's Blunders'
14/07/2013 23:33:35  Dr. Vijaya Rajiva

This is not the first time that Karan Thapar of CNN-IBN has lost out when 'interrogating' (and yes that is the right word!) an opponent. Sometime ago he was bested in an interview with Dr. Subramanian Swamy on the controversy surrounding his remarks on minorities. A similar event took place when he interviewed Ravi Shankar Prasad (Modi is popular because of his governance, leadership qualities : Ravi Shankar Prasad' , July 14, 2013).

Karan's overall blunder was to draw knives (metaphorically speaking !) with a seasoned and brilliant lawyer like Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad. True, unlike Bhupendra Chaubey, Karan is sauve and has a way with words. When he started to get nasty in his comments on Shri Narendra Modi , he was driven back quickly by an alert opponent who questioned his motives and his agenda.

And indeed, it did look quite suspicious, coming so soon after Bhupendra Chaubey's ferocious attack about which the present writer has already written.

But let us give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that Karan was simply doing his journalist's job. He blundered badly on specifics. To start with, there was the by now familiar tirade against Shri Modi by the Congress and the mainstream media about his use of the analogy of the puppy falling under the car and how this would upset anyone. While Karan had the good sense to not pretend that Shri Modi was comparing Muslim victims of riots to puppies (as did his Congress compatriots) he did use the opportunity to point out that an aspiring leader of the country could have chosen better words. Not to make a fine point but did not Rajiv Gandhi say after the massacre of some 3,000 Sikhs in Delhi during the Congress watch, that when a big tree falls, the ground shakes (referring to the assasination of his mother Indira Gandhi by a Sikh and its aftermath) ? Be that as it may . . . .

But ofcourse, Karan's insinuations carried a touch of class bias. Narendra Modi, afterall, was from the backward castes and he had better mind his words. It is one thing for the grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru to use words carelessly, but surely not Mr. Modi.

Shri Prasad did not fall for this baiting. Neither probably did other objective viewers, especially Hindu viewers.

In the Hindu world view all creatures, great or small, are to be respected and the pain of any one of them is painful to a Hindu. Shri Modi was saying nothing new and Ravi Shankar Prasad presented this world view well also.

It is somewhat mystifying that Hindu journalists should make such blunders (of course Karan may not be a Hindu, or he may be one of those born again evangelists for whom the world was created for man's pleasure and enjoyment and the death of a puppy is nothing in the larger scheme of things; India  now under the new dispensation is known to be one of the largest exporters of beef). Karan did not speak about his faith (whatever that might be) since that thought had not even crossed his mind, most likely, but his insensitivity to the feelings of Hindus is telling. Most Hindus listening to Mr. Modi speak about a puppy under a car, would have empathised with his analogy. And, it simply baffles them as to why this is considered inappropriate, especially when Shri Modi went on to say that the pain of any being is painful to him ; he may be a chief minister but he is a human being and feels for people's suffering.

Karan, let us repeat this point once more. Rajiv Pratap Rudy was right in saying that Modi was showing his compassion and his heart is childlike. En passant, Karan, do make a distinction between childlike and childish. Truly great people are childlike, whereas you remarked that the word 'childish'  describes Mr. Modi's remark about puppies.

Now to the next blunder. Karan brought up the question of the 2002 riots and that in his interview  Shri Modi had not admitted to any culpability. Ravi Shankar Prasad had no difficulty in demolishing Karan's ill prepared brief ! No need to go over this much traversed ground.

Worse and worse, Karan brought out what he thought was his invincible astram, the fake encounters. Here too, Prasad countered him point by point and more. . . . To compound his errors Karan mentioned that he had no less a person than Teesta Setalvad who had allegedly provided proof of the Supreme Court's displeasure with Mr. Modi. He had no documented proof to show the audience and Shri Prasad lost no time in taunting him with having consulted Teesta Setalwad as evidence. By now, the Indian public at large knows that she has been discredited for alleged bribery and perjury etc. and has wisely crawled back into the woodwork !

The Indian public knows this.

The interview ended with Karan  repeating that he held to his view that Mr. Modi showed a poor choice of words, and furthermore had misled the Reuters reporter about his culpability in the Gujarat riots of 2002.

Shri Prasad (smilingly) : Modi is popular because of his governance and leadership qualities. Prasad had already pointed out in the interview that in the ten plus years since, there had been no communal riots in Gujarat and  development and prosperity had become the norm for Gujarati society.

Good luck next time Karan ! And if you wish to keep up the witch hunt against Shri Modi, please use a better opponent next time, someone who is unable to stand up to your subtle (or not so subtle methods)!

(The writer is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university).