An Open Letter To Indian Prime Minister

Dear Mr Prime Minister,
First let me tell you that many a times, I felt that some Divine Force was inspiring you – the way Sri Aurobindo said that Churchill was guided by Him to fight the Nazis…

But then, I have to say, as someone who travels extensively in India & has spent a lot of time in Delhi for the last 40 years (I have interviewed 7 Indian PM’s), that nothing much has changed. Your ministers are still as unreachable as the Congress ones, functioning in the same system with four layers of secretaries. Even if you have an important work – there is no way you can meet one of your ministers unless you have some pull. Your MP’s, as the Congress ones before them, once they come to Delhi, with their cars, bungalows, countless aides, and so many sycophants coming for favours, quickly lose sight of why they were elected. You need to send them BACK to their constituencies the way Mao Tse Tung sent back all his cadres to the countryside. Delhi is a microcosm of India and you seem to have lost there some of the Hindu electorate who voted for you UNITEDLY, from the Dalit to the businessmen. Some of us had seen this coming for a few months already.

You need to have around you people who will tell you what the mood of the people is – without ANY FEAR – for I have seen, even with gurus, that their followers always want to please them, flatter them and thus shield them from the truth. It is something inherent to the Hindu psyche. If this had been done, maybe we could have told you that the middle class and lower class Hindus who voted for you, want a change at the grass root level. They are not concerned about Obama and nuclear energy, or the way you are skillfully loosening the Chinese encircling grip, or the remarkable unifying of intelligence and their agencies you are doing with Mr Doval, but about the daily problems and the constant bribes that are asked by petty bureaucrats and policemen. I myself experience this in Maharashtra as I am asked bribes for getting permissions for a Museum, which is free, dedicated to Shivaji Maharaj and a sewa project !

Also they do not understand why you were so fiery and outspoken while campaigning – and now that you are elected, you do not seem any more to be promoting their Hindu causes. They cannot fathom, for instance in their simple minds, why you are being so friendly to Sonia Gandhi, who wanted you in prison or even dead – and why you are keeping away from those who supported you in your darkest hours, when nobody thought that you would become PM. These old friends of yours are still keeping quiet, out of respect for your work, but I know many who are bitter.

The common Hindu man does not comprehend either why no one in your Government stands by reconversions of Christians or Muslims to Hinduism. During the last Tsunami, at least 10% of the Tamil Nadu fishermen were converted by Christian missionaries, using financial baits, such as free boats. I was there and SAW it. Or why when one of yours says that Hindus must produce more children, he is booed down. We know that Muslims produce seven to eight children per couple and in some areas of India they are now in majority and will NOT vote for you. It is true that there have been vandalizing of churches in Delhi, whether intentional, or just by some common thieves. But this is an old trick of Indian Christians to evoke sympathy from Obama and C° and bring pressure & discredit upon you. You should know better than that: Christians have been the aggressors in this country & the Pope still thinks that India is a fair target for mass conversions.

We understand that you must be the Prime Minister of all Indians and that you have to rise above sectarism, but there has to be in the public a perception that you are the PRIME MINISTER OF HINDUS BECAUSE IT IS THEY WHO VOTED FOR YOU – not the Muslims – whatever Ram Madhav told you before the Kashmir elections, which is going to be another thorn in your heel (and if you do not remove article 370 soon, most Hindus will lose faith in your government). To cultivate the Muslims, thinking that they will like you in the end, as Mr Vajpayee did, under the influence of the nice but misguided Suddeendhra Kulkarni, is not only a waste of time, but also may ALIENATE YOU HINDU VOTERS, whom you are going to need in four years again and at different state elections.

Let the Muslims of India know that they possess the same rights as any Hindus, Sikhs or Christians, which they actually have, including total freedom of worship, that Hindus have neither in Bangladesh, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, but do not go out of your way to please them. When the common man of Delhi sees that you received Aamir Khan, whose film PK is a deliberate insult to all Hindu gurus & Hindus, they think something is not right. Also they do not understand why so many Hindu gurus and activists such as sadhvi Pragya and Colonel Purohit, whose innocence has been proved, are still languishing in jail. Congress had no qualms in favouring their people and flouting all decent rules. This isn’t about ethics, but if your aim is just, dharmic, and I believe it is, it does not matter what means are used.

The Congress got elected and elected again with mostly the Muslims votes, till Kejriwal came, You need to CULTIVATE THE HINDU ELECTORATE Sir, by making gestures, even if you let your people do them and stand back. And that has to be done QUICKLY. If they are convinced that you are working for them, you will have the two or even three terms you need to achieve a real Renaissance of India. Democracy is a beautiful but skewed system, easy to hijack by adharmic forces. To realise all the great things you have undertaken, YOU NEED A UNIFIED HINDU VOTE.

The trap now is to listen to the Media which says that your party lost in Delhi because of ‘communal’ reasons – vandalizing of churches, statements by your people about reconversions, or your so-called ten lakh suit. This will prod you and your government to go more secular, let go of more of the pledges you made for the Hindu cause during your campaign, the same way the Vajpayee Government veered away gradually from its Hindu ideals – and lost the elections to Sonia Gandhi.

But think of it like that : you got elected in May last year with a massive mandate BECAUSE of your dedicated, sincere and fiery HINDU promises. There is no reason why it should not work the same way now that you have the power. You need to stick by what your pledged Sir – whatever the Media, Obama, your bureaucrats or the Foreign Press says…

Namaste/ Francois Gautier.

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Soghomon Tehlirian : The Armenian Avenger

The film 588 Rue Paradis starts with news of the acquittal of Soghomon Tehlirian, who had killed Talaat Pasha in Berlin. The announcement is greeted with elation and everybody is rejoicing because Talaat Pasha, who was the Minister Of Interior and later the de facto Head Of The Turkish Government, had set and overseen the execution of the policy which had made the Armenian dispensable and had resulted in widespread massacres between 1915 and 1921. Soghomon was one of the Armenian survivors of that extreme experience, who was still in citizen of Turkey while living in Germany.

It was a very peculiar trial in which the defendant said he was not guilty because ” his conscience was clear !”

He said, ” I have killed a man but I am not a murderer.” He added that he saw his mother’s corpse, done in by the Turkish Government policies drawn by Talaat Pasha and his clique of Young Turks, which (the corpse) just stood up before him and and told him, “You know Talaat is here and yet you do not seem to be concerned. You are no longer my son.”

The events in the background of that trial were very close and important to people of Armenian origin everywhere.

Soghomon Tehlirian had witnessed the 1915 massacre at his hometown, Erzinga, in Asian Turkey. Thereafter, his well – off family went through the hell of displacement and suffered much privation. At his trial, he reported that there had been a massacre in Erzinga in 1894 as well. Some 40,000 Armenians were massacred in Adana in 1909. So, they all lived in fear of a repeat.

In May 1915, word had spread that all schools were to be closed and that the leaders of the Armenian community and the teachers were to be sent elsewhere in groups. In June early, the people were gathered, stripped of their money and valuables, and marched out. His parents were killed on the first day of march and the soldiers robbed them of whatever was left with them. He had no idea how many days it had gone on. They cracked open the skull of his brother, raped and killed his sister. He was left injured in the leg and a bleeding arm. He escaped and found shelter and care with an old Kurdish woman’s family; but that sanctuary was available to him only untill he had healed.

As a fugitive since then, Soghomon came across news of massacres elsewhere : they had been widespread. Without a hat or shoe, he crossed the mountains into Persia and was arrested by Russian soldiers. In 1916, when the Russians captured Erzinga, he returned to his hometown, only to find that just two Armenian families had survived and both had converted to Moslem faith. Of the 20,000 people in the village, only 20 odd had lived. He dug out 4800 gold pieces the family had hidden in the home, which he found shattered and in ruins. He shifted to another town, learnt Russian language for five months and, in 1919, went to Constantinople, where he placed an advertisement for his lost family members. He moved over to Greece, then to Salonika for curing his nervous disorder, and finally to Paris.

At Constantinople, Soghomon had found out the main culprit behind the massacres, the Armenian genocide. It was Talaat Pasha who, along with Kemal and Erver, had been to sentenced to death by a court martial in the city. Kemal was found and hanged. Living in Paris, Soghomon studied French for a year, then went to Geneva before landing in Berlin, where he hired a tutor to teach him German. It was there that he saw Talaat Pasha and discovered the building in which he lived.

Soghomon too moved over to a building in Charlottenburg, just across from Pasha’s residence. He was still a nervous wreck, who played mandolin, took dancing lessons and, as the indictment declared, was a student of Mechanical Engineering. One day, he saw Pasha come out of his building, with all the gruesome images of the massacre in his mind and the wrenching loss of his parents and his family members in his heart. He pulled out the loaded pistol he’d concealed with his underclothes, followed Pasha from across the street untill he came level, then crossed over and shot Talaat Pasha point blank in the head.

Upon arrest, Soghomon admitted to the act of killing the killer of his parents and the Armenian people.

At the trial, one of the witnesses co-habiting the same building described Soghomon thus : The defendant lived in my building. I have only complimentary things to say about him. He was very well behaved and modest. I have no maid and, therefore, I do all the housework. The defendant always did whatever he could to make my job easier. For example, he used to polish his own shoes. In every respect, he was decent and modest.

In her deposition, the landlady said — He was a kind, modest, quiet, and clean young man. He kept everything in order. On the morning of March 15th, day the incident occurred, the maid came in to tell me that the defendant was in his room crying. A little while later, I thought I would go up to see how he was doing. I was surprised to find him sitting in his room, drinking cognac. Soghomon clarified that he a took a measure of cognac with his tea to overcome his weak physical condition.

At the same trial, one of the female survivor of the genocide spoke of the massacre in these terms : — Only the men were killed this way. When it grew somewhat dark, the gendarmes came and selected the most beautiful women and girls and kept them for themselves. A gendarme came and wanted me as his woman. Those who did not obey were pierced with bayonets and had their legs torn apart. They even crushed the pelvic bones of pregnant women, took out the fetuses and threw them away… They split open my brother’s head. My mother dropped dead upon seeing this. A Turk came toward me and wanted to take me as his woman; because I would not consent, he took my son and killed him.

PRESIDING JUSTICE — Is all this really true ? You are not imagining it ?

WITNESS — What I have said is the truth. In reality, it was much more horrible than it is possible for me to relate.

The complete transcript of the trial proceedings is available here. There are undeniable facts on record here, on the religious and political drives that made an entire Armenian population dispensable in the eyes of the Turkish Governement !

Not much different from what the Jews meant to the Nazis during World War II.

____________________________________________________

The above narration is part of a comprehensive review of the films-duo : Mayrig and 588 Rue Paradis.

Manu Smriti : An Amazing Origin

I have chanced upon this remarkable reduction of Manu Smriti @ http://satyavidya.org … The treatise contains a set of codified, socially agreed laws to regulate human society, right through the reigns of successive Solar dynasty kings upto Rama Daasratha of Ayodhya and thereafter, until the rise of Lunar dynasts that came to overwhelm the subcontinental firmament around the Mahabharata times.

The laws, framed anytime between 12000 – 8000 BC at the origin of Sanatan civilisation, seem astoshnishingly contemporary except for contradictory portions that appear to have been appended later, perhaps after the dominance of Solar kings was on the wane and during the chaos of several rising Lunar principalities around 4000 – 3000 BC.

The entire text can be accessed @ http://sanskritdocuments.org/all_pdf/manusmriti.pdf

DR VIVEK ARYA helpfully points out … (Manu 2/8)

“But a learned man after full scrutiny with the eye of knowledge should perform his duties in accord with the intent of the revealed texts.”

The exhortation encourages due situational analysis and agreeability with values prevailing in the age.

Let us then inquire into the common unfavourable perception that the Smriti text supports casteism, inferior status of women, meat eating, etc. The book is considered by many as having a bias in favour of the upper castes and is often selectively quoted to establish that women were an inferior gender, to be chastised and put down, and that casteism was prevalent in Vedic times.

Swami Dayanand, the great Vedic scholar of the 19th Century, writes : “I believe in that part of Manu Smriti which is not interpolated (appended later) and is in accord with the Vedas.” He concludes that the Manu Smriti we read today is not as originally laid down by Swayambhu  Manu, the first Chief of Humanity. As it now is, he found the text as self contradictory and against the values espoused in Vedas, and hence injudicious. He therefore rejects those prejudicial texts which advocate discrimination against populations with alleged inferior status.

Let us look up the text itself pertaining to women and the “lower” castes …

Smriti Text … On Women

3/56. Where women are honoured, there the gods are pleased; but where they are not, no sacred rite yields the desired result.

9/26. Women who bear (our) children secure many blessings (for the family and the society at large); they are worthy of worship, who suffuse (their) dwellings with prosperity; there is no difference between them and goddesses of good fortune.

2/138. Way must be made for a man in a carriage, one who is above ninety years old, who is diseased, who carries a burden, and for a woman, the learned, the king and for a bridegroom.

3/114. A person may offer food without hesitation, even before serving the guests in one’s house, to newly-married women, infants, the sick, and to pregnant women.

3/60. Where the husband is pleased with his wife and the wife with her husband, happiness will assuredly be lasting in such families.

3/62. Where the wife is radiant and happy, the whole house is heaven-like; but if she is unhappy, all will appear as hell.

3/59. Hence, men who seek (their own) welfare, should always honour women on holidays and festivals with (gifts of) ornaments, clothes and  food (as desired by them).

3/55. Women must be honoured and well – adorned by their fathers, brothers, husbands and brothers-in-law, who desire (their own) welfare.

9/13. These six causes spell ruin for women : drinking (spirituous liquor), associating with wicked people, separating from their husbands, rambling abroad, sleeping (at unseasonable hours), and dwelling with other men.

3/57. Where the female relatives live in grief, the family wholly perishes soon; where they are not unhappy, the family ever prospers.

3/58. Houses perish completely, as if destroyed by magic, on which female relatives pronounce a curse, upon not being duly honoured.

9/28. Upon one’s wife alone depends the welfare of the offsprings, due and fruitful performance of religious rites, faithful service of all in the family, superior conjugal happiness and the blissful existence of our ancestors in heaven and of ourself.

4/180. Let no man quarrel with his parents, his female relatives, brothers, his son and his wife, and with his daughter and his servants.

8/389. Neither a mother nor a father, nor a wife nor a son shall be cast off; unless guilty of a crime causing loss of caste (or social status earned over one’s lifetime), he who casts them off shall be fined six hundred (panas).

9/130. A daughter, who is even (as) oneself, (such a daughter) is equal to a son; how can another (heir) take the family estate, while such (an appointed daughter who is even as oneself) lives ?

9/131. The property of the mother is the share of the unmarried daughter alone and the son of an (appointed) daughter shall take the whole estate of (his maternal grandfather) who leaves no son of his own.

9/192. But when the mother has passed away, all uterine brothers and sisters shall have equal share of their mother’s estate.

Smriti Text … On Marraige and Remarraige (Of Women)

9/176. If she be (still) a virgin or has returned (to her first husband) after leaving him, such a woman is worthy to again perform the (nuptial) ceremony with her second (or first deserted) husband.

9/90. Three years let a damsel wait, though she is marriageable; but after that time let her choose for herself a bridegroom of her choice.

9/89. (But) the maiden should rather stay in (her father’s) house until death, though marriageable, than that be given to a man without good qualities.

8/28. In like manner, care must be taken of barren women and those who have no sons, as of those whose family is extinct, of wives and widows faithful to their lords, and of women afflicted with disease.

8/29. A righteous king must punish those relatives who appropriate the property of such females during their lifetime, as is due to thieves.

3/52. But those (male) relations who, in their folly, live on their woman’s property, their beasts of burden, carriages and clothes, commit sin and will sink into hell.

8/367. But if any man through insolence forcibly contaminates a maiden, two of his fingers shall be instantly cut off and he shall pay a fine of six hundred (panas).

8/323. Men stealing from a noble family, especially women, and precious gems, deserve corporal (or capital) punishment.

8/352. Men who commit adultery with wives of others, the king shall cause to be marked by punishments which cause terror, and they shall be banished thereafter.

9/232. The king shall put to death forgers of royal edicts, those who corrupt his ministers, who slay women, infants, (learned) Brahmins, and those who serve his enemies.

 9/96. Women were created to be mothers and men to be fathers; religious rites, therefore, are ordained in the Veda to be performed (by the husband) together with the wife.

4/149. She must not seek to separate herself from her father, husband, or sons; by leaving them she would make both (her own and her husband’s) families contemptible.

Contradictory Provisions In Smriti Appended Later …

2/213. It is the nature of women to seduce men in this (world); for that reason the wise are never unguarded in (the company of) females.

5/ 154. Though destitute of virtue, or seeking pleasure (elsewhere), or devoid of good qualities, (yet) a husband must be constantly worshipped as a god by a faithful wife.

5/ 157. At her pleasure let her emaciate her body by (living on) pure flowers, roots, and fruit; but she must never even mention the name of another man after her husband has died.

9/ 17. (When creating them) Manu allotted to women (a love of their) bed, (of their) seat and (of) ornament, impure desires, wrath, dishonesty, malice, and bad conduct.

As against these, Manu Smriti mentions equal status, good conduct, equal rights, freedom of choice and the right to remarriage.

Clearly, these interpolations are to be rejected.

Smriti Text … On The Under Privileged

Manu proposes varn vyastha — which was based on merit and not on account of one’s birth.

2/157. As an elephant made of wood, as an antelope made of leather, such is an unlearned Brahmana; those three have nothing but the names (devoid of virtues respective to their kind).

2/28. This (human) body is made fit for (union with) Brahman by study of the Vedas, by vows, by burnt oblations, by (recitation of) sacred texts, by (acquisition of the) threefold sacred science, by offering (to gods, sages and manes), by (procreation of) sons, by great sacrifices, and by (the Srauta) rites 

(The above texts lays the qualifications to be acquired, with great dedication and effort at specified works, in order to become a Brahmin, and not merely by being born to a Brahmin father.) 

The varn of a person (caste or status in society) was decided after completion of his education.

Two births were considered for a person in Vedic period : first, when he was born to his parents, and, next, when he completed his education with due thoroughness. It was after second birth (twice born) that the varn of person was determined.

The following text from Manu Smriti makes it even more clear.

2/148. But that birth which a teacher acquainted with Vedas entire, in accordance with the law, procures for him (the student) through the Savitr (Sun), is real and exempt from his birth, age or death.

2/146. Between him to whom one is physically born and him who gives (the knowledge of) the Vedas, the giver of the Veda is the more venerable father; for birth through arising in the knowledge of the Veda (ensures) eternal (reward) both in this (life) and that (afterlife).

A person who remained uneducated and devoid of the knowledge of Vedas was considered a Shudra.

That is, the Shudra varn was not based on birth but on merit.

10/4. Brahmana, Kshatriya and the Vaisya castes (Varna) are twice-born (educated) but the fourth, the Shudra, has one birth only; there is no fifth (caste).

2/172. He who has not been initiated with teaching of the Vedas is like a Shudra.

Manu also advises not to insult a person of lower Varna.

4/141. Let him not insult those who have redundant limbs or are deficient in limbs, nor those destitute of knowledge, nor very aged men, nor those who have no beauty or wealth, nor those who are of low birth.

Why Manu started varn vyastha?

1/31. But for the sake of the prosperity of the worlds he caused the Brahmana, the Kshatriya, the Vaisya and the Shudra varn origin in form of the body of the society : as its mouth, its arms, its thighs and its feet, respectively.

(Only the ignorant consider the shudra as being originated from the feet of god.)

1/87. But in order to protect this universe He (God), the most resplendent one, assigned separate (duties and) occupations to those as done in a body by mouth, arms, thighs, and feet.

1/88. To Brahmanas He assigned teaching and studying (the Vedas), sacrificing for their own benefit and for the welfare of others, giving and accepting (of alms).

1/89. The Kshatriya he commanded to protect the people, to bestow gifts, to offer sacrifices, to study (the Vedas), and to abstain from attaching himself to sensual pleasures;

1/90. The Vaisya to tend cattle, to bestow gifts, to offer sacrifices, to study (the Vedas), to trade, to lend money, and to cultivate the land.

1/91. One occupation only the Lord prescribed to the Shudra : to serve these (other) three castes.

Manu considered anyone who is without knowledge or capacity for skilled deeds as a Sudra; so any uneducated person is fit only for being in the service, under the guidance, of others who have the requisite knowledge and skills.

Isn’t that how we are organised even today ?

Manu also advises people to exert in order to acquire a higher varna, and change his or her allotted Varna.

The advisory leaves varn vyastha changeable, fluid, and not based on birth but on merit alone.

10/65. (Thus) a Shudra attains the rank of a Brahmana, and (in a similar manner) a Brahmana sinks to the level of a Shudra; and know that it is the same with the offspring of a Kshatriya or of a Vaisya.

9/335. (A Shudra who is) pure, accompanies his betters and is gentle in his speech, free from pride, and always seeks a refuge with Brahmanas, attains a higher Varna (Brahmana, Kshatriya or Vaisya) based on his qualities.

4/245. A Brahmana who always connects himself with the most excellent (ones), and shuns all inferior ones, (himself) becomes most distinguished; by an opposite conduct he becomes a Shudra.

Is it not said : the company one keeps makes a man better or worse ? 

2/103. But he who does not worships in morning, nor in the evening, is like a Shudra and he shall be excluded, just like a Shudra, from all the duties and rights of an Arya (one of noble qualities).

2/168. A twice-born man who, not having studied the Vedas, applies himself to other (and worldly study), soon falls, even while living, to the condition of a Shudra; and so do his descendants (after him).

2/126. A Brahmana who does not know the form of returning a salutation, they must not be saluted by a learned man; they must be considered as a Shudra.

A Sudra too can teach the other castes.

2/238. He who possesses faith may receive pure learning even from a man of lower caste (Shudra), the highest law even from the lowest, and an excellent wife even from a base family.

2/241. It is prescribed that in times of distress (a student) may learn (the Vedas) from one who is not a Brahmana; and that he shall walk behind and serve (such a) teacher, as long as the instruction lasts.

Superior rights given by Manu to shudras.

2/136. Wealth, kindred, age, (the due performance of) rites, and, fifthly, sacred learning are titles to respect; but each later-named (cause) is more weighty (than the preceding ones).

2/137. Whatever man of the three (higher) castes possesses most of those five, both in number and degree, that man is worthy of honour among them; and (so is) also a Shudra who has entered the tenth (decade of his life).

In above text Manu gives respect to any Shudra who is in tenth decade of life.

That is, anybody who lives long enough transcends the varna vyavastha.

3/116. After the Brahmanas, the kinsmen, and the servants have dined, the householder and his wife may afterwards eat of what remains.

Householders are advised by Manu to dine after sudras or the servants !

8/335. Neither a father, nor a teacher, nor a friend, nor a mother, nor a wife, nor a son, nor a domestic priest must be left unpunished by a king, if they do not keep within their duty.

8/336. Where another common man would be fined one karshapana, the king shall be fined one thousand; that is the settled rule.

8/337. In (a case of) theft the guilt of a Shudra shall be eightfold, that of a Vaisya sixteen fold, that of a Kshatriya two-and-thirtyfold …

8/338. … that of a Brahmana sixty-fourfold, or quite a hundredfold, or (even) twice four-and-sixtyfold; (each of them) knowing the nature of the offence.

Manu advises strict punishment for a higher varna : punishing the Brahman many times more than a lower varn, say, a Shudra.

The above text is evidence of Manu’s unbiased social hierarchy and structure.

He considered a behavioural error as being more unpardonable in case of the learned one than for the ignorant.

Following are the examples of changing of varn vyastha in past.

Rishi Brahma, son Manu Swayambhu himself, was born to a Brahmana but became a Kshatriya king.

Manu’s eldest son, Priyavrat, became a king, a Kshatriya.

Out of Manu’s ten sons seven became kings while three became Brahmanas. Their names were Mahavir, Kavi and Savan. (Ref Bhagwat Puran Chap. 5)

Kavash Ailush was born to a Shudra and attained the highest varna of a Rishi. He became mantra-drashta to numerous hymns in Rig-Veda : 10th Mandal.

Jabala’s son, Satyakaam, born from unknown father became Rishi by his qualities.

Matang became a Rishi after his birth in low varna.

Maharishi Valmiki was born in inferior varna and became a Rishi.

Mahatma Vidur was born to a Dasi (maid) and became the prime minister to king Dhritarastra.

Raja Vishvanath, a Kshatriya, became a Brahmana – Rishi Vishwamitra.

There are many examples of varn vyastha to inferior level.

Ravan king of Lanka was son of a Brahmana Rishi Pultasya became a rakshasa.

Shri Ram’s ancestor, Raja Raghu’s son, Pravidh, was declared of inferior varna due to lack of qualities.

Shri Ram’s ancestor, Raja Samar’s son, Asmanjas, was declared a Shudra due to his bad qualities.

I leave the contradictory appended textsfor now … the ones that make the varna structure hard and fast, as indeed happened later.

A letter to Amartya Sen

Sen must return to his philosophical texts and learn, once more, that silence is often more eloquent than words, says the author, Sandipan Deb

Source : http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/jzZ7IgpYykSbY4YUMsTDMP/A-letter-for-Amartya-Sen.html

Stupa of Sariputta's relics in Nalanda Univers...
Stupa of Sariputta’s relics in Nalanda University, Bihar, India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Dr./Bharat Ratna/former Master of Trinity/current Thomas W. Lamont professor at Harvard/Nobel laureate/economist/moral philosopher/Sanskritist/ greatest living authority on Adam Smith/the last great Bengali/lodestone of the greater good/town crier for the oppressed/the last word on social justice, welfare economics, good and evil, and many other things, etc., etc., Sir…

It is only a deep sense of inquiry (which you must agree is a good thing) and disquiet (which you have made a brilliant career out of) that compels me to write this.
Sir, you have suddenly been in the news for the last two weeks, which I am sure has nothing to do with the publication of your latest co-authored book, and have been making statements on various issues. There is this Gujarati economist—who possibly deserves the Nobel Prize as much as you did, and is stuck at Padma Vibhushan, one rung below you in the India honours list—who also has a co-authored book out and has been carping at you. For us Indians, it’s getting a bit too much. So, some questions.
Sir, do you really believe you are still an economist? Your career trajectory surely indicates that you have left that dismal science far behind. You have spent much of the last four decades studying philosophy, especially moral philosophy, and ancient Indian texts that no one other than you has heard of. Yes, your contribution to the field of economics is immense, and your Nobel Prize came 28 long years after the seminal contribution you made in social choice theory, and forced every economist worth his or her salt to re-examine all assumptions.
But what have you done after that? Your much-touted Kerala development model is a joke, especially among Malayalis who have a sense of humour. The state—which, anyway, is a money order economy—leads the country in suicide rates, the number of mentally ill people, domestic violence, alcoholism, bandhs and man-days lost, and lust for gold jewellery. Reams of statistics have been hurled at you, and yet you keep speaking about it, but then, philosophers don’t care about data, do they? Only economists do.
Any number of economists have expressed doubts about your data and your methodology in some of your most well-known works. For the food security Bill which you have been championing from every forum, you even went to the extent of concocting a random figure: that a thousand Indians will die per week if the Bill was not passed. And then, you brazenly admitted that this number was fictitious; “to capture people’s attention, you have to have a number” was what you said.
All government data shows that shoving free cereals down the throats of the poor (if the cereals ever reach them) makes no sense. India’s problem is malnutrition, which has to do with access to food other than cereals, sanitation and healthcare. The food security ordinance is ruinous for the economy and will help no one other than the already obese lower bureaucracy.
Let’s come to the growth versus development debate then (which should not be a debate at all, but you and that Gujarati have got into it). You have said that a focus on growth helps the “already-privileged”. In fact, if your own life is any indication at all, the “already-privileged” have it good any way, growth or bust. You created a world record when you became professor and head of the department of economics in Jadavpur University at the age of 23 (may be Robert Mugabe anointed a grandson as vice-chancellor of some university in Zimbabwe at the age of 18, I wouldn’t know). You weren’t even a Phd then.
But you were from the aristocratic Brahmo Samaj clique. P.C. Mahalanobis, czar of the Indian planned economy and another Brahmo, was your father’s friend and was impressed with you, and there you were, airdropped from a masters degree in Cambridge onto the throne. India was stuck in the Hindu rate of growth, but that didn’t hamper your career, did it? One can only hope that this extreme nepotism shaped your ideas when you grew older. But I have never heard you say that you were privileged in any way.
Ah, vice-chancellor? Who, may I ask, is Gopa Sabharwal, vice-chancellor of the Nalanda International University that you are supposed to be the big boss of, after A.P.J. Abdul Kalam left in disgust? Three names were forwarded to the government for the vice-chancellorship—Ramachandra Guha, Pratap Bhanu Mehta (I hope these two men need no introduction) and Gopa Sabharwal, an associate professor at Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi. You put your weight behind Sabharwal, even justified it in public, and she has been drawing a salary of over Rs.5 lakh per month for the last two years, with no university in sight. I think, sir, you are in a rather weak position when you talk of privileges.
And you are the icon of secularism. So you’ve said recently that Narendra Modi should not be prime minister. Fair enough. You are free to voice your opinion. As you did in 2006 when you said in Britain that if a school had to be religion-based, it should be a Christian school. Many of your friends, you said, were educated in St Xavier’s, Kolkata, and they were fine men. But other religions you were suspicious about. How do you justify that, sir?
So my humble request, sir, is that you return to your philosophical texts and learn, once more, that silence is often more eloquent than words, and that—you needn’t go to ancient Sanskrit texts for this—people who live in grass houses shouldn’t stow thrones. They fall right back on your head.
Sandipan Deb is a senior journalist and editor who is interested in puzzles of all forms.
English: Shot by uploader. Photo of the terrac...
English: Shot by uploader. Photo of the terracota seal of Nalanda University on display in the Archaeological Survey of India museum in Nalanda. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At The Edge, In Kerala

 

 

This is actually an adaptation of the response I posted to a critical blogpost, on the aggressive partisan reviews a recent Malayalam movie was panned with … Left, Right, Left. Yes, that’s the name of the movie. It apparently takes up the cause of India’s right … the conservatives who hold sacred both the land and its values — social, religious, cultural and spiriual. Events in the movie allude to Communist and Muslim League group practices since playing out in real-time Kerala society…

 

http://mirrortoindia.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/infusing-hindutva-agenda-in-a-movie/#comments

English: Triprayar_Sri_Rama_Temple; Kerala; India
Triprayar_Sri_Rama_Temple; Kerala; India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

_ _ _

 

 

Manya, first, I felt that you have expressed what you wanted to … rather well. I was without a doubt on that score. Thank you for that.

 

But I, who never watch TV tu-tu-mai-mai ever, also have a sense that your outpouring is basically highlighting the current context that prevails in Kerala : Hinduism and the Sanatan way, which made Kerala “God’s own country,” is no more the hallmark of life in the State. That open, embracing culture, which welcomed the Muslims, Christians and Communists, has been displaced and vitiated by communal identities of the very same communities. All with vehement political upmanship.

 

The reception the movie “Left, Right, Left” received is a consequence, not the cause, of what is happening in the State, in general with Arab money and in particular with this race among Saud Wahabi, the Vatican and the Communists for grabbing and rash-powering their respective followers.

 

So, the movie is making religious and political statements alright that people are reading into it. Saying, it is just a film, is to shy away from its context.

 

The battle with propaganda-ideology critics can only be taken forward on their premises, not backwards … to the days of our innocence.

 

 

Taken from Munnar , Kerala One of the most pop...

Journal : June 20, 2013

It’s a depressing morning.

The colossal calamity due Nature’s fury in Uttarakhand is heart wrenching and the global despair I read in outpourings of minds aware dumps me in darkness. In the celestial underground, Sisyphus eyes the rock before starting to heave against it, in order to roll it back up to the top of the hill.

*  *  *

Bank of America- Funding Coal, killing Communities

‘We Were Told To Lie,’

Say Bank Of America Employees

http://fe.gd/yuH

“The government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP),

which gave banks cash incentives to modify loans under certain standards,

was supposed to streamline the process and help up to 4 million struggling homeowners

(to date, active permanent modifications number about 870,000). In reality, Bank of America used it as a tool, say these former employees, to squeeze as much money as possible out of struggling borrowers before eventually foreclosing on them. Borrowers were supposed to make three trial payments before the loan modification became permanent; in actuality, many borrowers would make payments for a year or more, only to find themselves rejected for a permanent modification, and then owing the difference between the trial modification and their original payment.”

Six former employees and one contractor say Bank of America’s mortgage servicing unit consistently lied to homeowners, fraudulently denied loan modifications and offered bonuses to staff for intentionally pushing people into foreclosure.

The allegations were made in sworn statements added to a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Massachusetts.

Have we evolved as yet
to having severely punishing laws
against Corporate lies and fraudulent behaviour ?

*  *  *

Call 1098, if you have after-party food that is likely to be wasted !

It’s the Child Helpline in India. They will come and collect the food. It’ll nourish the starved and the half-hungry; and, perhaps, inform him of how the more advantaged in society, in his very own country, live it off.

*  *  *

How Money Makes You Lie and Cheat

http://fe.gd/yuM

The Rich Are Different :

More Money, Less Empathy

http://fe.gd/yuN

Capitalism channelises bothe the strengths and failures of humanity. Unfortunately, the strengths are few; failures more severe and far too many.

But humanity’s misfortune does not end there. It quadruples with capitalist success; for then, they have concentrated the resources and the means of Surround Propaganda, to beat the dead horse to wonderful tunes of intoxicating music !

*  *  *

In my country …

English: Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand
Kedarnath Temple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several Thousands have been killed.

Hundreds of Thousands are stranded for days …

in Uttarakhand.

 ‘I watched my wife being swept away by the torrent’ …

Scores of entire villages have been washed away.

The venerated Kedarnath Temple site is back to how it was 500 years ago !

The catastrophe renders our political process so peurile.

The populist democracy has nothing in it to take up long-term interests of humanity.

Do we need an autocratic leadership then ? Yes, but in this very democratic and institutional set up.

English: Narendra Modi in Press Conference
Narendra Modi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We need a leader who strong and wise.

Which is why I regard Sudheendra Kulkarni’s eulogy for BJP‘s LK Advani,

his former boss and mentor, as trash;

his diatribe against Narendra Modi, the one leader I have come to trust for now,

is pure dickscum.

The fellow is making career out political brokering.

Then, there are these small minds who’ve begun their ‘aerial’ visits

and announcing a few ‘millions’ in assistance.

Typically Congressmen, who neither have the balls nor the intelligence

— a perfect mix for moral torpidity, corruption and debauchery.

It has taken the spine out of watchdog institutions,

the bureaucracy and a good part of judiciary.

The Congress leaders compare so vulgarly with the champions who’ve waded the ground with their personal presence, their hand and

RSS Flag
RSS Flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

provisions, medicines and relief. They are the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

the RSS, who are the first and completely engaged with any national calamity anywhere.

Am I ‘Sanghi’ ? They don’t even know that I exist.

Or a ‘BJP’wala ? The answer is the same. I’ve never been anywhere close to them anytime in my life.

All that I observe and assess draws my empathy and affiliation. It political, not politics.

Hell, I would not even exactly agree with the slogan : India First …

If it also does not mean : People First ! That’s where my entire concern is anchored.

the-log-hut-blog-header-009.jpg

Indian Muslims … In Cowardice !

From When They Were Being Made …

Edited Version Of The Interview Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Gave In April, 1946.

Full Version Published May 28, 2012 In Journal : The Poet… Watching History : I

Flag adopted by the Indian National Congress i...
Flag adopted by the Indian National Congress in 1931.

Q : But the question is how Muslims can keep their community identity intact and how they can inculcate the attributes of the citizens of a Muslim state.

A : Hollow words cannot falsify the basic realities nor slanted questions can make the answers deficient. It amounts to distortion of the discourse. What is meant by community identity ? If this community identity has remained intact during the British slavery, how will it come under threat in a free India in whose affairs Muslims will be equal participants ? What attributes of the Muslim state you wish to cultivate ? The real issue is the freedom of faith and worship and who can put a cap on that freedom. Will independence reduce the 90 million Muslims into such a helpless state that they will feel constrained in enjoying their religious freedom ? If the British, who as a world power could not snatch this liberty, what magic or power do the Hindus have to deny this freedom of religion ? These questions have been raised by those, who, under the influence of western culture, have renounced their own heritage and are now raising dust through political gimmickry.

If the Muslims still feel under threat and believe that they will be reduced to slavery in free India then I can only pray for their faith and hearts. If a man becomes disenchanted with life he can be helped to revival, but if someone is timid and lacks courage, then it is not possible to help him become brave and gutsy. The Muslims as a community have become cowards. They have no fear of God, instead they fear men. This explains why they are so obsessed with threats to their existence — a figment of their imagination.

The world needs both, a durable peace and a philosophy of life. If the Hindus can run after Marx and undertake scholarly studies of the philosophy and wisdom of the West, they do not disdain Islam and will be happy to benefit from its principles. In fact they are more familiar with Islam and acknowledge that Islam does not mean parochialism of a hereditary community or a despotic system of governance. Islam is a universal call to establish peace on the basis of human equality.

In future India will be faced with class problems, not communal disputes; the conflict will be between capital and labour. The communist and socialist movements are growing and it is not possible to ignore them. These movements will increasingly fight for the protection of the interest of the underclass. The Muslim capitalists and the feudal classes are apprehensive of this impending threat. Now they have given this whole issue a communal colour and have turned the economic issue into a religious dispute. But Muslims alone are not responsible for it. This strategy was first adopted by the British government and then endorsed by the political minds of Aligarh. Later, Hindu short-sightedness made matters worse and now freedom has become contingent on the partition of India.

Jinnah himself was an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. In one Congress session Sarojini Naidu had commended him with this title. He was a disciple of Dadabhai Naoroji. He had refused to join the 1906 deputation of Muslims that initiated communal politics in India. In 1919 he stood firmly as a nationalist and opposed Muslim demands before the Joint Select Committee. On 3 October 1925, in a letter to the Times of India he rubbished the suggestion that Congress is a Hindu outfit. In the All Parties Conferences of 1925 and 1928, he strongly favoured a joint electorate. While speaking at the National Assembly in 1925, he said, “I am a nationalist first and a nationalist last” and exhorted his colleagues, be they Hindus or Muslims, “not to raise communal issues in the House and help make the Assembly a national institution in the truest sense of the term”.

In 1928, Jinnah supported the Congress call to boycott Simon Commission. Till 1937, he did not favour the demand to partition India. In his message to various student bodies he stressed the need to work for Hindu Muslim unity. But he felt aggrieved when the Congress formed governments in seven states and ignored the Muslim League. In 1940 he decided to pursue the partition demand to check Muslim political decline. In short, the demand for Pakistan is his response to his own political experiences. Mr Jinnah has every right to his opinion about me, but I have no doubts about his intelligence. As a politician he has worked overtime to fortify Muslim communalism and the demand for Pakistan. Now it has become a matter of prestige for him and he will not give it up at any cost.

Q : It is clear that Muslims are not going to turn away from their demand for Pakistan. Why have they become so impervious to all reason and logic of arguments ?

A : It is difficult, rather impossible, to fight against the misplaced enthusiasm of a mob, but to suppress one’s conscience is worse than death. Today the Muslims are not walking, they are flowing. The problem is that Muslims have not learnt to walk steady; they either run or flow with the tide. When a group of people lose confidence and self-respect, they are surrounded by imaginary doubts and dangers and fail to make a distinction between the right and the wrong.

The true meaning of life is realised not through numerical strength but through firm faith and righteous action. British politics has sown many seeds of fear and distrust in the mental field of Muslims. Now they are in a frightful state, bemoaning the departure of the British and demanding partition before the foreign masters leave. Do they believe that partition will avert all the dangers to their lives and bodies ? If these dangers are real then they will still haunt their borders and any armed conflict will result in much greater loss of lives and possessions.

Q : But Hindus and Muslims are two different nations with different and disparate inclinations. How can the unity between the two be achieved ?

A : This is an obsolete debate. I have seen the correspondence between Allama Iqbal and Maulana Husain Ahmad Madni on the subject. In the Quran, the term “qaum” has been used not only for the community of believers but has also been used for distinct human groupings generally. What do we wish to achieve by raising this debate about the etymological scope of terms like millat [community], qaum [nation] and ummat [group] ?

In religious terms, India is home to many people — the Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Sikhs etc. The differences between Hindu religion and Islam are vast in scope. But these differences cannot be allowed to become an obstacle in the path of India gaining her freedom nor do the two distinct and different systems of faith negate the idea of unity of India. The issue is of our national independence and how we can secure it. Freedom is a blessing and is the right of every human being. It cannot be divided on the basis of religion.

Muslims must realise that they are bearers of a universal message. They are not a racial or regional grouping in whose territory others cannot enter. Strictly speaking, Muslims in India are not one community; they are divided among many well-entrenched sects. You can unite them by arousing their anti-Hindu sentiment but you cannot unite them in the name of Islam. To them Islam means undiluted loyalty to their own sect.

Apart from Wahabi, Sunni and Shia there are innumerable groups who owe allegiance to different saints and divines. Small issues like raising hands during the prayer and saying Amen loudly have created disputes that defy solution. The Ulema have used the instrument of takfeer [ fatwas declaring someone as infidel ] liberally. Earlier, they used to take Islam to the disbelievers; now they take away Islam from the believers. Islamic history is full of instances of how good and pious Muslims were branded kafirs.

Prophets alone had the capability to cope with these mindboggling situations. Even they had to pass through times of afflictions and trials. The fact is that when reason and intelligence are abandoned and attitudes become fossilised then the job of the reformer becomes very difficult. But today the situation is worse than ever. Muslims have become firm in their communalism; they prefer politics to religion and follow their worldly ambitions as commands of religion. History bears testimony to the fact that in every age we ridiculed those who pursued the good with consistency, snuffed out the brilliant examples of sacrifice and tore the flags of selfless service. Who are we, the ordinary mortals; even high ranking Prophets were not spared by these custodians of traditions and customs.

Gandhi addressing AICC in Bombay, July 1946.
Gandhi addressing AICC in Bombay, July 1946. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)