The Roti Fiasco: How the media communalised a non-issue – Ashok Chowgule

 Maharashtra Sadan at K.G. Marg in New Delhi

Ashok Chowgule“One of the Shiv Sena MPs took a rubbery chapatti and took it near the mouth of a member of the staff, asking him whether he could eat the rubbish that was being served.  The Marathi journalists who had covered the incident live gave no indication that the action of the MP was of a communal nature, and in fact he stopped his action within one minute when the staff said that he was fasting.  However, the English media, when they covered the event some days later, projected that the staff was singled out because he was a Muslim.” –  Ashok Chowgule

The Indian ExpressOn July 23, 2014, the front page of The Indian Express carried an article that claimed that a Shiv Sena MP force-fed a Muslim employee of the caterer of Maharashtra Sadan even as he was observing fast on account of Ramazan.  Given the practice of secularism in India, this report created a furore in the media that wears the badge of secularism supposedly proudly on its sleeve. 

And then there was a competition amongst the secularists to determine who would outdo the other in being more vicious.  And columnists had a field day in being provided what they thought was an easy target.  The event apparently had the necessary ingredients – a bugbear as a political party, and a Muslim as a victim.  The secularists truly salivated. 

However, two days later, The Hoot, a web-based news publication, came out with data that would indicate that the facts were very different than what the secularists imagined.  It is not that The Hoot sent out a reporter out in the field.  It just that the author of the article read the relevant newspapers of the days following the date of when the event actually happened, and talked to the concerned reporters. 

The main revelation in The Hoot report was that the event happened on July 17, that is SIX days before The Indian Express carried the story.  The concerned reporters realised that it was a small incident, and so carried the story in an inside pages, and given the small space that the incident deserved. 

The Hoot report is available here.

And from this report, we can gleam facts which the secular English media does not wish to provide to its readers.  Even since the Sadan was opened for occupancy in June 2013 (a year before the incident The Hoothappened), those using the facilities were complaining about the service.  At the time it was the MPs from the secular dispensation that were in majority – namely the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party.  The complaints were nearly in all aspects of the facilities, and not just the catering service. 

After the May 16 elections, the level of complaints reached a different scaled.  The Congress and the NCP were disseminated in the elections, and the number of seats that they won reduced from 17 and 8 to 2 and 4, respectively.  The Shiv Sena and the BJP increased their seats  from 10 to 18 and 9 to 22. 

There were thus many first-time MPs, who are yet to be provided the standard family accommodation that they are eligible for.  The earlier occupants have been taking their own time to vacate, and so these MPs were housed in the Sadan in single rooms.  Obviously they had to rely on the management of the Sadan to provide for cleaning services and also the food. 

One of the feature of the Sadans built by the various states is that the food happens to be a cuisine from the state. It was like promoting the cuisine in the country’s capital, and the restaurants in the Sadans are visited by the people living in Delhi.  This was not the case in the Maharashtra Sadan. 

The management of the Sadan would not provide for any special requests of those staying at the Sadan – like special food for those observing fasts on a religious day. 

For nearly a month, the MPs were making attempts to cajole the management to make improvements.  These fell on deaf ears.  They asked for a meeting with the resident manager, which was fixed for 9am on July 17.  The manager decided not to be present.  After waiting for some time, the MPs left the Sadan to go to the Lok Sabha, since the session was on. When they returned for lunch at 12:30pm, the manager was nowhere to be seen. 

Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare The frustration lead to anger, and some of the MPs went into the kitchen to protest with the staff that was present.  One of the Shiv Sena MPs took a rubbery chapatti and took it near the mouth of a member of the staff, asking him whether he could eat the rubbish that was being served.  The Marathi journalists who had covered the incident live gave no indication that the action of the MP was of a communal nature, and in fact he stopped his action within one minute when the staff said that he was fasting.  However, the English media, when they covered the event some days later, projected that the staff was singled out because he was a Muslim. 

Between the time the incident happened to the time when it was reported in The Indian Express, the management of the Sadan made no effort to rectify the situation. In fact the caterer decided to play a victim and discontinued the service at the Sadan.  Instead of reporting this high-handedness, the editors at The Indian Express decided to make it into a communal issue.  And the other publications and the electronic media also decided to be even more vicious. 

Even after The Hoot report, the media went on its communalisation spree.  

Then there is the incident relating to the remarks by the Telengana state BJP president in context of the appointment of Saina Mirza as the brand ambassador for the newly formed state.  His full statement on the subject was: “We respect and feel proud of what Sania Mirza has achieved as a sports person who Sania Mirzabrought laurels to the country. But you have made a person born in Maharashtra, brought up in Hyderabad and is a daughter in law of Pakistan – as a brand ambassador of Hyderabad. Especially in the context of your recent rule that only people who have their ancestor origins in Telangana before 1956 are eligible for education scholarships, aren’t these double standards?” 

He was speaking about the double standards, but the secular media chose to highlight a few words.  And just as in the case of the Maharashtra Sadan, the objective was the same – to communalise an issue where there is not even a trace of communalism.  The objective is not to sympathise with Sainaji but to try and put the BJP on the defensive.  This strategy does not succeed anymore because of the army of Internet Hindus. 

(For more on the case of Sainaji, please go here.)

Now that the blatant double-standards have been exposed, will the media apologise for what they have done.  Personally, I do not expect it to happen.  You do not apologies to the Hindus in general.  And apologising to the Shiv Sena and the BJP?  God forbid. – Hindu Vivek Kendra, 30 July 2014

» Ashok Chowgule is the Working President (External) of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

 

The Tapan Ghosh Interview – Souvik Ganguly & M. Santosh

Tapan GhoshTapan Ghosh is the founder and head of Hindu Samhati, West Bengal. He has been a tireless activist fighting for Hindus and Hindu causes in the state at immense personal risk. The following interview first appeared in Bong Voice.

How did the idea of founding an organization like Hindu Samhati strike you?

Well, it was the farthest thing from my future plan, when I opted out of RSS and VHP in 2007. I was frustrated with several things at that point of time and had thought of taking a break. It was the sheer pressure from my friends from all parts of the globe, which forced me to start Hindu Samhati. People seemed desperate to deny me a relaxed life. (laughs)

How has your journey been so far? Are you satisfied with the work that Hindu Samhati has done so far?

Journey was not easy. As you can very well imagine, it can never be easy for an organization like us. Not with an administration with ‘Muslim appeasement’ as the top most priority in place.

I am satisfied with the work that we have done in the last six and a half years. Having said that, I must confess, we are nowhere near to meeting the requirement of West Bengal. May be, we have managed to cater to one per cent of the total needs of West Bengal. There is a lot to be done, but the satisfaction is that, at least we have started.

Muslim aggression in rural areas has crossed all limits. I do not have any political backing. I do not have anything to offer to the common people of West Bengal. I cannot give posts, Panchayat memberships, widow allowance, school admissions, or anything for that matter. Still, I am always overcrowded. You need to understand why? Is it my credit? No. The credit goes to “Islamic Jihad-e-Junoon”. Jinnah had once said, “every Muslim heart has Pakistan inside it. However you may try, but you can never wipe that out.”

The conquering attitude of Muslims has affected the rural Hindus in a huge way. These victims do not get any response from political parties, thanks to their “secular” agenda. A rape is first checked for secularism, before being addressed as an issue. This is when the parents of the rape victim come to me as a last resort. You will be surprised by the number of such issues. We are still limited to only eight districts of West Bengal. We need to develop our infrastructure to be able to cater to the exact need of West Bengal.

You have been arrested by Mamata government . . .

Yes, but that was not the first time. I have never been a blind critic of anybody. Mamata’s naked and shameless Muslim appeasement is destroying West Bengal, but I cannot say that the entire onus of the current situation of West Bengal is on her. How will I forget that Salim, ‘Khonra Badsaah’ and Sahajahan Shekh (Sandeshkhali) have not been created by Mamata Banerjee? She has supported the growth of these anti social elements, but did not produce them. It is CPI-M, who had given birth to these elements. They had thrived on CPI-M’s lap once and now have shifted to Mamata’s lap.

Why do you think the political parties need these criminals?

It is natural, that these elements would boost the strength of any party. But, the main question is elsewhere and that is what the secularists would try to avoid. Supporting criminals should hit the image of the party in the concerned locality.

However, knowing that there will be a political loss, the parties are still supporting these elements. This is where you must understand the link between minority block vote and supporting criminals. The minority section is not getting displeased even when these minority criminals are being encouraged. The major section of the minority is in favor of these criminals as both are from the same religion.

Criminals can never be a major problem in any society if they do not get a structured social support. There is no scarcity of Hindu criminals as well, but they have never enjoyed social support. That is the sole reason why they were never a major threat. We can criticize CPI-M and Mamata for being a support system but can we ignore the actual source of this problem?

You have called Aamir Khan, a “dogla” in a recent tweet. Would like to elaborate?

He is the greatest “dogla” on Earth. When Narendra Modi was denied a US visa, Manmohan Singh had protested on the grounds of Indian honor. A group of celebrities headed by Aamir Khan criticized Manmohan Singh for his protest. Narendra Modi was communal then for him and now the same Aamir Khan is meeting Modiji and speaking good things about him. He is nothing but a two-faced person.

What do you feel about the current political condition of West Bengal?

Total chaos. It is completely out of Mamata’s control. I do not do politics. So, I am not looking for any political mileage when I say that Mamata has been able to do a good job in the context of development. She has been successful in several spheres of development, but the process in which she does her work is not good. Her threatening and arrogant attitude is not acceptable.

The way Adhir Choudhury controls Baharampur, she is trying to control West Bengal. She is unable to understand that this process can never be long-lasting.

In the context of law and order, Mamata is a complete failure. It is now out of her hands.

Corruption and extortion have reached the extreme line. I work within the system so I know that the police department is being used as a money collecting machine. A big chunk of share from the collected money goes to a noted leader of TMC.

Would like to name anyone?

No. I cannot. I do not wish to die right now. (smiles)

I would put it this way: Mamata wanted to do a lot of good things. She failed because of her inexperience and incompetency. Structured destruction of the administration by CPI-M for 34 years has also played a crucial role.

How can you develop a place without having a strong grip on law and order? Mamata is a good opposition leader, but as an administrator she has failed to deliver. She has to cater to her secular outlook and cannot take many steps, which must be taken to roll the development model.

You have always raised your voice against Muslim violence in West Bengal and illegal inflow of Bangladeshi Muslims. How do you propose to tackle this issue?

It is impossible to tackle. The root of Muslim violence is not a handful of rotten elements. People committing violence can be dealt with a structured law and order mechanism, but it is impossible to tackle the ones who support and provide shelter to these offenders. It is a myth that illegal immigrants from Bangladesh are responsible for Muslim violence in West Bengal. Local Muslims are responsible for the violence. The Masjid and Madrasah network along with the Haj system is responsible for Muslim violence in general. Haj is nothing but a brain washing machinery to boost violence.

How do you rate Narendra Modi as a prime minister?

Too early to comment. I have a lot of hope, but cannot comment before 6 months.

Whom will you blame for the current ISIS problem in Iraq?

America all the way. They have a strange knack of creating Frankenstein monsters. The US has never done anything to maintain a democratic and secular balance of the world. They have always treated their interest as the only priority. This attitude has bitten them back in the past and will bite them again in future. They just do not learn!

The main doctrine of Islam speaks of momin and kafir, Dar-ul-Islam and Dar-ul-Harb. Muslims are instructed by their religion to convert the entire world into momin and Dar-ul-Islam. It is a shame that the powerful nations of the world have might, but lack the will to control this chaos. Muslim terrorism is a snake fed by the Americans, but the source is Islam.

Can you relate the same Frankenstein model in West Bengal?

The current so-called secular parties will have their hands burnt in future. History warns them, but they are too short-sighted to see. East Bengal stands as a burning example. All secular leaders of East Bengal having Hindu origin had to seek shelter in West Bengal. Jogen Mondal, founder of Scheduled Caste Federation had formed an alliance with Muslim League and had supported Pakistan. He was the first law minister of Pakistan. That very person had to take disguise and run to save himself. He finally took shelter in India. He sent his resignation to the PM of Pakistan from India. He realized the blunder that he had done the hard way. Same fate awaits the current pseudo-secularists of West Bengal.

What is secularism for you?

In the academic context, the answer would be different. In the practical side of things, secularism in India is nothing but farce. It is a synonym for Muslim appeasement and is the foundation stone of total destruction of India. The nation got divided on the basis of two nation theory. Congress had opposed the idea. My question is, if you do not support two-nation theory, why did you opt for partition? The only practical person in Indian politics, Dr. Ambedkar had clearly stated that, if population exchange is not done, the process of partition will remain incomplete. This inevitable part of partition was not done by the pseudo-secularists back then.

You have always voiced against Love Jihad and Land Jihad. How do you plan to tackle these issues?

West Bengal will be destroyed if these issues are not taken care of. The controlling has to come from the national level. One good sign is that, Hindus are becoming conscious about these issues.

What is the future of BJP in West Bengal?

No comments.

You have requested the central government to reinstate the last two paragraphs of our national song, “Vande Mataram”. Did you get any positive feedback?

It is too early to get a feedback. It is important to understand that, pseudo-secularists are not only sitting in the opposition benches. There are some of them within the setup as well. “Doglas” like Aamir Khan need to be neutralized before taking such steps. We will need to give it some time.

What are your future plans?

To develop strong and spontaneous Hindu resistance all over West Bengal.

Any message for our readers?

A race, which doesn’t recognizes its history is sure to perish. It is important for us to be conscious about the threats and the counter measures. – Bong Voice – 28 June 2014

Hindu Samhiti

Bangladeshi infiltrators into India

See also

Indo-US Relations: Kamal Mitra Chenoy gives false testimony to US Commission on Religious Freedom – IndiaFacts Staff

Anti-Modi campaign from US

Felice GaerPreface

In its commitment to a better future for India, Hinduism, & public discourse, the researchers at IndiaFacts have dug up something explosive from the past. Something that has significant bearing on how Prime Minister Narendra Modi should fashion his policy towards the United States of America. In short, this concerns a treasonous and anti-national testimony against Narendra Modi delivered on foreign soil by an Indian citizen.

The name of this Indian citizen is Kamal Mitra Chenoy, a former professor on political theory and international relations at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi. Kamal Mitra Chenoy was also a central committee member of the Communist Party of India (CPI). He is now a prominent member of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) founded and headed by Arvind Kejriwal, who became the chief minister of Delhi earlier this year and resigned after just 49 days in office.

On 10 June 2002, Kamal Mitra Chenoy was in the US. The researchers at IndiaFacts were unable to obtain any information whether Kamal Mitra Chenoy mentioned to the concerned Indian authorities as to the actual reason for visiting the US. But the fact is that he was definitely present in the US on 10 June 2002.

On Monday, 10 June 2002, Kamal Mitra Chenoy was in Room 1302, Longworth House Office Building,
Washington, D.C. He was on Panel 1 whose topic title was: Events on the Ground in Gujarat. This panel was the first panel of the United States Commission On International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which had conducted a hearing, whose full title reads thus:

UNITED STATES COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

HEARING ON COMMUNAL VIOLENCE IN GUJARAT, INDIA 

AND THE U.S. RESPONSE

The hearing began at 9:12 A.M. and Kamal Mitra Chenoy was present at the appointed time.

On the same Panel 1 was also present Najid Hussain, a research scientist in Marine Studies at the University of Delaware. Najid Hussain is also the son-in-law of the deceased and former Member of Parliament Ehsan Jaffri from Gujarat.

The hearing was chaired by the former Commissioner of the USCIRF Ms. Felice D. Gaer who now directs the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights of the American Jewish Committee.

At the time of the hearing, Kamal Mitra Chenoy was profiled by the USCIRF and the Hearing as “Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Deli.” (spelling of “Delhi” as “Deli” reproduced here as is in that report IndiaFacts has accessed).

Prof Kamal A. Mitra ChenoyVerbatim testimony of Kamal Mitra Chenoy to the USCIRF

The first testimony before the USCIRF was by Mr. Hussain followed by Kamal Mitra Chenoy.

The following is the unedited version of Kamal Mitra Chenoy’s testimony before the USCIRF’s hearing chaired by Ms. Felice Gaer. No formatting has been changed.

CHAIRMAN GAER: Mr. Chenoy, would you present your testimony, please.

MR. CHENOY: Madam Chairperson, members of the Commission, ladies and gentlemen, Gujarat has been a state polarized by religious sectarianism, or what we call communalism, for quite some time. There were riots even prior to the partition of India and the creation of India and Pakistan, but the current phase really starts from 1969 when the earlier form of the dominant party in the ruling coalition departed, and the party of the earlier form departed, Jana Sangh had been involved in fomenting the riots. And the riot immediately prior to the events of February, March, and April is also instructive because the fanatics attacked Christians in Gujarat, especially around Christmas 1998 and January 1999. And particularly in the tribal district of Dangs. Christian churches, places of worship, were burnt down. Christians were attacked, priests were beaten up, and the police, the FIR arrest department, and the civilian bureaucracy was involved. In fact, in February 1999, the Director General of Police Intelligence of Gujarat sent out a secret circular dated 2nd February, 1999, where he asked for a census of all Christians and also asked that who–which are the foreign countries that encourage these Christian communities, how much money do they get, and then wanted to know what is the type of trickery being used by the Christian missionaries for their defilement activities, that is, for conversion. And this was an officially-sponsored campaign by the Gujarat government, which actually got approval from Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee when our prime minister went to Dangs for the first time in January 1999 where he said that there should be a national debate on conversion, even though the right to practice and propagate religion is a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution. So it is not that the attacks, though they have been by far the most brutal against Muslims, are not also against attacks on minorities in general.

Now, about this whole area of retaliatory violence, the incidents in Godhra that is with the Sabarmati Express followed a series of incidents on that train where the Hindu volunteers mistreated and humiliated Muslim men and women traveling by that train towards Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, or coming back towards Ahmedabad. And these instances were reported in the press. In early morning of the 27th February, the train was almost five hours late, and at the railway station an altercation took place over the nonpayment by the Hindu volunteers for the tea and snacks they had had. And then there was an attempt to abduct a young teenaged Muslim girl, Sophia, who was waiting for another train. They were not able to take her into the train, but the rumor of a Muslim girl being abducted reached the slums next to the railway station, and the attack that started barely a kilometer away from the railway station when the train stopped with the pulling of the alarm chain was based on these rumors and attention at the railway station.

Now, there was a mob of around 2,000 “Ganchi” Muslims from that slum, and about 1,500 Hindu volunteers on the train, so it was actually a kind of religious sectarian riot, not only an attack by one side. But, tragically, the Muslims had firebombs, the Indian versions of Molotov cocktails. And one coach, and only one coach seemed to have been singled out for attack. And in that coach first 58 people were killed and the 59th died in hospital, mainly women and children. 

Now, the Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi went to the site and said this has been planned by the ISI, that is, Pakistani Intelligence, and another minister, State Minister for Health Ashok Bhatt said Godhra has a notorious reputation, and went on to say, “We suspect that many Pakistanis live here illegally.” The Home Minister Gordhan Zadafia, who’s also a senior Vishwa Hindu Parishad activist, said, “The bogie burning is a terrorist act similar to the attack on the American Center in Kolkata.

The culprits in both cases are the same.” In other words, Pakistani-backed terrorists. And then he gave a dire threat, and I’m quoting, “We will teach a lesson to those who have done this. No one will be spared, and we will make sure that the forces behind this act will never dare repeat it.” Then the chief minister insisted that the bodies of the killed from the Godhra area should be transported back to Ahmedabad. They reached there the early morning of the next day. This was broadcast over the radio. Frenzied mobs gathered and had religious rites, and there were cries for retaliation and revenge.

Before that, on the 27th February, late evening, the chief minister had a meeting with top civil and police officials where they were told that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad had called for a bandh. A “bandh” is a kind of total strike where even vehicle traffic is stopped, and the VHP called for it with the ruling party, the BJP, supporting it. And in this meeting the chief minister told those officials that they were not to intervene. They were not to do anything which, and I quote, “hurt Hindu sentiments.”

Najid HussainSo then, now I want to just make a point about what Mr. Hussain has already pointed out, too. You see the kind of targeting that was done, these people had precise lists of Muslim establishments, institutions, residences, workshops, shrines. A number of the commercial establishments that were attacked, there were minority Muslim shareholders. After the earlier riots, many of these bodies had non-Muslim names, including hotels, restaurants, workshops and so forth, yet these were marked out with precision and attacked. Cooking gas was in short supply in Ahmedabad for weeks before the 28th February.

Yet these rioters carried thousands of cylinders of cooking gas which were used to explode buildings and burn people. They were led in buses, including luxury buses, in trucks, because cooking gas cylinders are heavy; you can’t just carry them. So this was a very systematically organized attack. And according to information through the National Human Rights Commission, Minister of State for Home Affairs Gordhan Zadafia flashed a victory sign while passing by mobs on the 28th of February and the 1st of March.

Minister for Health Ashok Bhatt was involved. The police control rooms in the capital, Gandhinagar and in the city of Ahmedabad were occupied by Civil Supplies Minister I.K. Jadeja and by Minister Ashok Bhatt.

All this, by the way, is illegal, and the real tragedy of the situation is that for the first time, violence also spread extensively to rural areas, and the tribal people, the Adivasi were involved (which, by the way, was what Dangs and the attack on Christians three years earlier was all about, to bring in a religious fanatic polarization amongst the tribals). And the related organizations of the BJP, that is the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal and others, had been working in these tribal areas, the economic situation was also extreme for the tribals. It was their fourth year of drought. So these people were all brought in, and you had this most brutal killing.

Now, on the state complicity, I would also like to submit that under Indian law the district magistrates, who are the local civil administration heads, have the right to call out the Army if there is a civil disturbance. No district magistrate did that. It is incumbent on the police to protect citizens, and if they think a cognizable crime is being committed, they have the right to fire.

Yet in the bulk of the incidents on 28th February and 1st March, the firing was on Muslims who were defending themselves. So in the list of the dead from police firing, there’s a disproportionate amount of Muslims. Then after the incidents of violence where curfew was imposed, overwhelmingly curfew was imposed on Muslim areas. Then, in the relief camps, there is limited government support, and there are 150,000 people there, limited government support in terms of foodstuffs. But it does not suffice with the population. The biggest camp at Shah Alam, which at one stage had 12,000 inmates, had just 22 toilets and less than that places where people can bathe. And now with the rains coming, the monsoon, there is no physical shelter for those people to stay. There is no security provided to these camps in terms of police, and, actually, the majority of Muslims, given their experience, do not trust the police; they would prefer the Army.

Now, the most serious thing in this is that it is not only that the local administration and the local politicians are involved, but even the union home minister, a couple of days after Godhra, said that this is an attack planned by Pakistani Intelligence. Now, if you say that an attack is planned by Pakistani Intelligence, you are implying that the Muslims are acting as Pakistani agents. Pakistan is a traditional enemy of India, so, in other words, the Muslims represent the enemy, and this has been part of the religious fanatic propaganda by the Sangh Parivar from the beginning–that Pakistanis operate in India through Indian Muslims. So Indian Muslims actually have extra-national loyalties and cannot be trusted.

Then even after–and this is why the Commission by appeal must take this seriously–even after the riots were over, Intelligence Bureau reports by the police have been reported in the press as saying that the chief minister is going to rural areas and still think that there is one community which is responsible for all of this. And I would conclude with two submissions:

No. 1: This is going to go on and may spread beyond Gujarat because it works for political mobilization of the kind of Hindu fanaticism that the BJP practices. So please do not think that this is over and this may not spread to other parts of India.

No. 2: and I end with this: This is likely to lead to extremism amongst the affected parties, not only in Gujarat but in the troubled state of Kashmir. The incident of Gujarat has been seen to show that India is not really a secular state, and Muslims and minorities are oppressed, which will further fuel extremism in Kashmir. And we now have reports that Al-Qaeda and others have moved into the Kashmir Valley. So two nuclear-weapon arms states which are in a military confrontation, and there Gujarat has profound implications, not only for the future of Indian multiculture democracy, but for relations between Pakistan and India, and for peace in the entire subcontinent. So really Gujarat is exceedingly important. Thank you once again for this opportunity. – IndiaFacts, 22 May 2014

Godhra Junction

Must Read

Indian secularism is not secular – Maria Wirth

Maria Wirth “Media and politicians … call parties that represent a religious group, ‘secular’, instead of ‘religious;’ which would be the correct term. When the state gives in to demands by the big religious bullies it is also—falsely of course—called ‘secular’. But WHY would the government do this? It clearly plays with fire. Does it want to give its citizens a firsthand experience of what the Dark Ages were like? In the interest of all Indians it would be wise for the State to simply ignore the powerful, dogmatic religions and focus on all its citizens equally. This means being ‘secular’.” – Maria Wirth

Religion & PoliticsFor years I did not know what opportunities to practice equanimity I had missed, till I finally got a TV set some 3 years ago. In the beginning, I certainly did not remain calm under all circumstances. What intense emotions in just an hour of listening to panelists on the news channels! However, slowly I learned to sit back. I could admire the quick-wittedness and the amazing ability to talk or rather shout while listening.

These anchors and panelists are no doubt intelligent, nevertheless their choice of topics is often pathetic, and they get some points consistently wrong. One such point is ‘secular’ or ‘secularism’. Since secularism is mentioned daily in Indian media and since it is a western ‘invention’, I would like to put it into perspective.

Contrary to the general perception in India, secular is not the opposite of communal. Communal as such is not objectionable either. It simply means ‘pertaining to a community’. In Germany, elections to local bodies are called “communal elections” (Kommunalwahlen).

Secular means worldly and is opposite to ‘religious’. Now ‘religious’ in this context refers to Christianity, i.e. to a well-organized, dogmatic religion that claims that it is the sole keeper of the ‘truth’, which God himself has revealed to his Church.

And what is this revealed truth? In short: the human being is born in sin, which dates back originally to Adam and Eve. But fortunately, some 2000 years ago, God had mercy on humanity and sent his only son Jesus Christ to earth to redeem us by dying for our sins on the cross, then rising from the dead and going back to his father up in heaven. However to be able to get the benefit of Jesus’ sacrifice, one must be baptized and become a member of the Church, otherwise one will be singled out for eternal hell on Judgment Day.

Francis Xavier SJUnderstandably, such claims did not appeal to those who used their brains, but for many centuries they had to keep quiet or risk their lives. The reason was that for long the Church was intertwined with the State, and harsh laws made sure that people did not question the ‘revealed truth’. Heresy was punished with torture and death. Even in faraway Goa, after Francis Xavier called the Inquisition to this colony, unspeakable brutality was committed against Indians. In many Muslim countries till today, leaving Islam is punishable by death.

Significantly, those centuries, when Church and State were intertwined, when the clergy prospered and the faithful sheep suffered are called the Dark Ages. And the time when the Church was forced to loosen its grip, is called the Age of Enlightenment, which started only some 350 years ago. Scientific discoveries, which could no longer be brushed under the carpet, played a crucial role for showing the Church her place. Now, more Europeans dared to oppose the stranglehold of religion. Many went to prison for doing so.

Slowly, the idea that reason, and not blind belief in a ‘revealed truth’, should guide society, took root and this lead to the demand for separation between State and Church. Such separation is called secularism. It is a recent phenomenon in the west.

Today, most western democracies are ‘secular’, i.e. the Church cannot push her agenda through State power, though most western democracies still grant Christianity preferential treatment. For example in Germany, the Constitution guarantees that the Christian doctrine is taught in government schools. Further, the Churches have retained special labour laws that make it obligatory for Church employees (alone in Germany over one million) to conform to Christian norms. Nevertheless, the present situation is a huge improvement over the Dark Ages when one had to pretend to believe unbelievable dogmas.

In India, however, the situation was different. Here, the dominant faith of the Indian people never had a power centre that dictated unreasonable dogmas and needed to be propped up by the State. Their faith was based on Voltaireinsights of the rishis and on reason, intuition and direct experience. It expressed itself freely in a multitude of ways. Their faith was about trust and reverence for the One Source of all life. It was about doing the right thing at the right time according to one’s conscience. It was about The Golden Rule: not to do to others what one does not want to be done to oneself. It was about having noble thoughts. It was about how to live life in an ideal way.

However, this open atmosphere changed when Islam and Christianity entered India. Indians, who good naturedly considered the whole world as family, were despised, ridiculed and under Muslim rule killed in big numbers only because they were ‘Hindus’ (which is basically a geographical term). Indians did not realise that dogmatic religions were very different from their own, ancient Dharma. For the first time they were confronted with merciless killing in the name of God. Voltaire, who fought the stranglehold of the Church in Europe, had accurately observed, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities”.

Guru Nanak left a testimony how bad the situation was, when he cried out in despair: “Having lifted Islam to the head, You have engulfed Hindustan in dread…. Such cruelty they have inflicted, and yet Your mercy remains unmoved….” (Granth Sahib, Mahla 1.360 quoted from Eminent Historians by Arun Shourie).

During Muslim rule Hindus had to lie low for fear of their lives, and during British rule they were ridiculed and despised by missionaries, and cut off from their tradition with the help of ‘education’ policies. Naturally, this took a toll on their self-esteem. In fact, till today, this low self-esteem especially in the English educated class is evident to outsiders, though it may not be so to the persons concerned. Swami Vivekananda’s efforts to give Hindus back their spine did not impact this class of people. Nevertheless, it is a great achievement that Hindu Dharma survived for so many centuries, whereas the west succumbed completely to Christianity and over 50 countries to Islam in a short span of time.

A "secular" Dalit ChristianComing back to secularism. Though Hindu Dharma survived and never dictated terms to the State, ‘secular’ was added to the Constitution of India in 1976. There might have been a reason, as since Independence, several non-secular decisions had been taken. For example, Muslim and Christian representatives had pushed for special civil laws and other benefits and got them.

However, after adding ‘secular’, the situation did not improve. In fact the government seemed almost eager to benefit specifically the dogmatic religions (for which secularism was coined) and occasionally had to be restrained in its eagerness by the courts.

This is inexplicable. Why would ‘secular’ be added and then not acted upon? And the strangest thing: ‘secular’ got a new, specific Indian meaning. It means today: fostering those two big religions which have no respect for Hindus and whose dogmas condemn all of them to eternal hell.

It is a sad irony. Can you imagine the Jews honouring the Germans with preferential treatment instead of seeking compensation for the millions of Jews killed? Yet Islam and Christianity that have gravely harmed Indians over centuries get preferential treatment by the Indian State, and their own beneficial dharma that has no other home except the Indian subcontinent, is egged out. And to top it, this is called ‘secular’!

Obviously Indians have not learnt from the European experience. Hindus have not yet realized the intention of the dogmatic religions, though they say it openly: Finish off Hinduism from the face of the earth. Hindus still ‘respect’ them, though this respect is not and cannot be reciprocated as long as those religions claim that their God wants everyone to worship exclusively Him. Hindus don’t realize that an ideology that uses God as a front does not become sacred, but all the more dangerous.

Hindu Golden RuleMedia and politicians do their best to muddy the water. They call parties that represent a religious group, ‘secular’, instead of ‘religious;’ which would be the correct term. When the State gives in to demands by the big religious bullies it is also—falsely of course—called ‘secular’. But WHY would the government do this? It clearly plays with fire. Does it want to give its citizens a firsthand experience of what the Dark Ages were like? In the interest of all Indians it would be wise for the State to simply ignore the powerful, dogmatic religions and focus on all its citizens equally. This means being ‘secular’.

However, western secular states are not role models either. There is a lot of depression, drug abuse, alcohol and people are generally not happy in spite of doing everything to ‘enjoy life’. Here, India has an advantage over the west. Her rishis have left a great heritage of valuable treatises not only dealing with how to live life in an ideal way, but also how to conduct economy, politics, management, etc. If those guidelines are considered, and if India becomes a state based on her ancient dharma, she has good chances to regain the lost glory as the wealthiest and most advanced country in the world whose citizen are open-minded and contented. If not, probably the west discovers this treasure trove and adopts it…..first. – Maria Wirth Blog, 2 May 2014

» Maria Wirth is German and came to India for a holiday after finishing her psychology studies at Hamburg University. With the blessing of a number of saints, she continues to live in India, sharing her insights with German and Indian readers through articles and books. However, when in recent years, she noticed that there seemed to be a concerted effort to prevent Indians—and the world—from knowing how valuable this ancient Indian heritage is, she started to point out the unique value of Indian traditions.

Indian secularism is anti-secularism!

The fatal flaw in Sonia-G’s communal politics – M. N. Buch

Modi for PM supporter in NJ

Dr. M.N. Buch is the former chief secretary of Madhya Pradesh.“Did it not strike Sonia Gandhi that if Hindus by implication are communal, against whom all Muslims must vote, then an appeal could be made to the Hindus to vote solidly for a party that stood for their interests? Has anyone of the Congress realised that if 20 per cent of the Hindu voters is polarised and as a single bloc vote for the BJP, that party will run way with at least 300 seats in Parliament?” – Dr. M.N. Buch

Sonia Gandhi & Syed BukhariOn April 1, Sonia Gandhi is reported to have met Ahmed Bukhari, the Imam of Jama Masjid, Delhi. The meeting obviously had a political purpose, which is to garner Muslim votes with the Imam’s blessings, because immediately after the meeting Sonia Gandhi is reported to have said that in the 2014 general election secular votes must not be split. The context of the statement was so heavily Muslim-oriented that by implication it meant that BJP is communal and a party of the Hindus that, therefore, becomes communal, in contrast with the Muslims who, by definition, are secular. The communal votes should split but the secular votes must remain solidly with the Congress.

Hindu politicsThe blatantly communal overtone of the statement, despite denials by the Congress, is horrifying in that it drives a clear wedge between Muslims on the one hand and Hindus on the other. Did it not strike Sonia Gandhi that if Hindus by implication are communal, against whom all Muslims must vote, then an appeal could be made to the Hindus to vote solidly for a party that stood for their interests? Has anyone of the Congress realised that if 20 per cent of the Hindu voters is polarised and as a single bloc vote for the BJP, that party will run way with at least 300 seats in Parliament? Much though it might pain the people who are now offering themselves as champions of secularism, the partition of India was brought about not because Hindus could not live with Muslims but rather because the Muslim League, under the leadership of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, advocated that Muslims could not live together with Hindus. The most secular of all, Mahatma Gandhi, till the very last opposed partition of the country on grounds of religion, going to the extent of advising Jawaharlal Nehru that rather than accept Partition he should offer the prime ministership of a united India to Jinnah. Without going into the merits of the case for Pakistan, the reality is the Muslim League, manifestly and overtly a party representing Muslims, insisted on the creation of a separate nation, whose state religion would be Islam.

One is not implying here that the Indian Muslim wants the creation of a theocracy in India. In fact, huge numbers of Muslims opted with their feet for India by refusing to migrate to Pakistan, resulting in India having the largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia. Since 1947, outbreaks of sporadic communal riots notwithstanding, the Indian Muslim has stayed true to this country. So much so that even after the 1993 riots in Bombay and the 2002 riots in Gujarat, Muslims have not migrated away from either Maharashtra or Gujarat. At the same time, Islam as a religion is openly practised and preached in India, so that there is a distinct Islamic identity to areas inhabited by Muslims. Whereas some people refer to Muslim localities as ghettoes, they are not more so than a Rajput mohalla, a Lohar mohalla or the predominantly Brahmin Kartik Chowk area of Ujjain. In the magnetic field like poles reject but in human relationships like does attract like. To read either secularism or communalism into this would be a travesty. Community groupings by caste, religion or class are to be found everywhere in the world and too much should not be read into it in terms of prejudice or preference.

Indian MuslimsOne of the hard facts of electoral politics is that every political party seeks the blessings of particular groups to garner support. It is in this context that the Muslims were always considered a safe group of voters so far as the Congress is concerned. The Left, the socialists and the parties which emerged out of socialist fragmentation, not to mention the Congress, have all tried to persuade the Muslims to vote en masse, not on grounds of acceptance of a particular political philosophy or ideology but as a solid anti-Hindu vote to keep BJP out of power.

At the time of the Babri Masjid demolition, the BJP did play a blatantly communal card in seeking Hindu support and this partially worked in favour of the party. Since that date much water has passed under the bridge and no longer can the BJP hope to get Hindu votes in the name of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya. The short point is that the Hindu is not prepared to be politically polarised because he votes on account of the party of his choice, caste factors, class stratification, even region or language. That is why whereas individual caste groups have been targeted as vote banks, the Hindus collectively are not considered a vote bank in the same manner as are the Muslims.

There is a codicil to the above statement. If because of Muslim polarisation brought about by blatantly communal appeals by the Congress and the so-called secular parties, with the Hindus being convinced that this is an anti-Hindu vote rather than an anti-BJP vote, then there can be real trouble because if specifically endangered in this manner there can be some possibility of the polarisation of at least a segment of the Hindu votes. Such communal divide has major law and order implications, but here I am referring only to politics. Sonia Gandhi’s statement, I would respectfully submit, by its blatantly communal appeal has in fact facilitated the polarisation of Hindu votes. Why is the Congress hell-bent on suicide?

Modi QuoteThe one bright light in this murky scenario is that so far the BJP’s response to such nakedly communal politics is low-key and restrained. The Ram Temple is not brought into focus, there is no mention of Hindutva, there is no appeal to Hindu dharma gurus to come out in favour of the BJP as a party of Hindus. In fact, even Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s highly abusive reference to Narendra Modi—as the elder brother of a puppy—has not attracted abusive counter fire. Development, infrastructure, economic prosperity, national unity are still the key components of the BJP’s election campaign. It is the Congress, Nitish Kumar, Farooq Abdullah and others who refer to Modi as divisive and, therefore, unfit for the prime minister’s post. Those who used violence to advocate Telangana, the Naxalites and the Left-wing extremists, the leaders of the anti-Sikh riots, the sponsors and supporters of and participants in the 1993 Bombay riots are not considered divisive. Only Modi merits that epithet. It is precisely this type and level of politics that has built Modi into someone larger than life.

Can we not revert to issue and policy-based politics, bereft of communal innuendos and personal invective? – The New Indian Express, 7 April 2014

» M N Buch, a former civil servant, is chairman, National Centre for Human Settlements and Environment, Bhopal. E-mail: buchnchse@yahoo.com

Modi supporter in NJ

Narendra Modi: I am sad about Gujarat riots, but have no guilt – PTI

Narendra Modi: A Political Biography by  Andy Marino

“Modi provides some details of how he handled the situation in the aftermath of the attack on a train carrying mostly kar sevaks from Ayodhya in the early hours of February 27, 2002 in which 59 people were burnt alive.” – PTI

Narendra Modi says that he was “sad” about the 2002 Gujarat riots but has no guilt, and that no court has “come even close to establishing” it.

He has suffered 12 years of public “Modi-bashing” since the time of the riots but says that he had decided early on to “let the media do its work; there will be no confrontation”.

“I never waste my time in confrontation”, the BJP‘s prime ministerial candidate is quoted as saying in a just-published biography written by a British author and TV producer Andy Marino.

Marino says in the book Narendra Modi; A Political Biography, published by Harper Collins, that he was given detailed access by Modi whom he accompanied aboard his helicopter during his campaign rallies and interviewed him over several weeks.

On 2002 riots, Modi says, “I feel sad about what happened but no guilt. And no court has come even close to establishing it.”

The 310-page book deals with the riots in some detail with “hitherto unpublished, authenticated documents”. It discloses that after the riots Modi wanted to resign as chief minister but was prevailed upon by the party to continue.

Gujarat Government Spokesman Jay Narayan VyasMarino says that the BJP strongman had confided in him “possibly for the first time in an on-the-record interview, that he no longer wanted to be the chief minister after the riots because he had decided it was unfair on the people of the state who had been subjected to extreme abuse because of him”.

Narendra Modi had resolved to step down at the BJP National Executive in Panaji on April 12, 2002, about a month after the post-Godhra riots.

The largely-adulatory book quotes Modi as having told the Panaji conclave, “I want to speak on Gujarat. From the party’s point of view this is a grave issue.

“There is a need for a free and frank discussion. To enable this, I wish to place my resignation before this body. It is time we decided what direction the party and the country should take from this point onwards.”

The chief minister told the biographer, “I wanted to leave this position but my party was not ready to leave me, the people of Gujarat were not ready to leave me, this situation is what I had (to deal with).

Salman Khan & Narendra Modi“It was not up to me. And I was not ready to go against party discipline; I don’t want to fight against my party. What my leaders say, I must follow it.”

Modi provides some details of how he handled the situation in the aftermath of the attack on a train carrying mostly kar sevaks from Ayodhya in the early hours of February 27, 2002 in which 59 people were burnt alive [see video below].

He says that after he had returned from Godhra to Gandhinagar late at night, “I informally asked my officers to alert the Army”. He was told that the Army was at the border because there was tension between India and Pakistan after the attack on Parliament.

The book states that Modi had appealed to his counterparts in three neighbouring states, Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan, Vilasrao Deshmukh in Maharashtra and Digvijaya Singh in Madhya Pradesh, to send aid in the form of law enforcement and para-military personnel. He sought 10 companies of armed police from each state. While Maharashtra had sent a very limited number of personnel to help, the other two states had quietly refused, it says. – Times of India, 25 March 2014

 

GCM Ministries: Christians employ ‘surrogate advertising’ to sell Jesus in Mumbai – Manohar Kamath

India Crossed-Out: Christian missionaries meet no opposition from Hindu organisations today.“‘Surrogate Advertising’ described in Wikipedia is a form of advertising which is used to promote banned products like cigarettes and alcohol, in the disguise of another product. It is said that birth of surrogate advertising happened in Britain, where housewives started protesting against liquor advertisements which provoked their husbands.” – Manohar Kamath

Johnny Lever: I do it for the money!A campaign named ‘Power to Change’ has hit Mumbai in November. I am witnessing buses carrying message of ‘Power to Change’ with brand ambassadors like Johnny Lever and Naghma, and telephone numbers of people who would rescue you out of your despondency. They are out to ‘save’ you.

There is similar campaign on radio too with Johnny Lever trying not to be funny and exhorting people to call and meet people who would change your life. Apparently, it does not look religious campaign. No mention of any religion etc. Another friend of mine called the ‘helpline’ and asked what was the free book that is being given, the person on the other side refused to say anything about the supposed book.

It was kind of hush-hush nudge-nudge approach. So, I approached our ultimate saviour – the net! And Yahoo! I found the link to Youtube promo which talked of ‘Jesus the Saviour’.

So, there you are! Surrogate advertisement has entered religious arena in a big way to stoke religious conversions. Much bigger than any such marketing campaign seen in India. Apparently it is a high cost, high impact marketing campaign for religious conversions.

There is a call centre, there are individual volunteers and then there are mass meetings too with testimonials etc. But, all this is unknown to innocent ‘sinner’ till he gets in touch with this group. From the look of it and from my experience of marketing, this blitzkrieg cannot cost less than 6-7 crore rupees.

If one had any doubt whether conversions are a big business or a purely religious affair where one propagates one’s religion openly and urges people to join, this campaign clears such doubts.

Banned Product!‘Surrogate Advertising’ described in Wikipedia is a form of advertising which is used to promote banned products like cigarettes and alcohol, in the disguise of another product. It is said that birth of surrogate advertising happened in Britain, where housewives started protesting against liquor advertisements which provoked their husbands.

The protest rose to a level where liquor advertising had to be banned and brand owners seeing no way out decided to promote fruit juices and soda under the brand name, the concept later emerged as Surrogate Advertisements.

A CBN report that I tracked is like a typical press handout from the promoters. It tells us that advertisements in major cities from Asia to the Middle East are introducing millions of people to a life-changing message about Christ. It gives details of such exercise earlier executed with finesse in Hyderabad in 2012.

I am told it also happened in Chennai. The PR person has a typically Hindu name Sushruth Pradhan, leader of Refreshing International Ministries. His language is typical language of ‘saviours’.

Dr. Hannu Haukka, International Director of GCM MinistriesThis report quotes Hannu Haukka, President of Great Commission Media Ministries, who helped develop the campaigns. He said it’s an effective way to saturate unreached, urban populations. Thousands of callers flood the campaign’s phone center requesting the free book with stories of lives changed by God.

“And we’re talking about Hindus, Muslims in the city of Hyderabad. It’s something that churches have never, never seen in that city,” he said. This report also quotes that during the past decade, Haukka’s Finland-based ministry has taken the Power to Change media campaign to more than 60 cities, including Jesus’ home town of Nazareth, in Israel.

Bhaskar ReddyOn further search you reach www.gcmediaministries.org This site takes us to the origin of these campaigns, called GCM Ministries with headquarters in Canada. It tells us that GCM Ministries, Great Commission Media Ministries (formerly IRR/TV), is a non-denominational modern missions organization which focuses on taking the Gospel to the nations of Russia, Asia, the Middle East, North Africa.

The tools of television, radio, the internet greatly enhance the fulfilment of the Great Commission of Christ. For the Church to prevail in missions these tools must be utilized massively by the Church in today’s world. The site proudly proclaims that their mission is – Win! Train! Send!

To achieve its goals of reaching the peoples of Russia, Central Asia, China, India and Israel GCM Ministries produces evangelistic radio programs, television programs, videos and literature in 40 languages. In addition GCM Ministries systematically trains indigenous workers in their respective cultures sending them to their own peoples. Humanitarian aid is provided in hard hit areas suffering from natural disasters and to children in Russia’s children’s prison camps.

The site also gives us a snapshot of this movement, started by Josh McDowell in 1967. By 2007 with 500 staff members in more than 15 ministries, thousands of supporters and an exciting new strategy, Campus Crusade for Christ, Canada makes a unified decision to become Power to Change Ministries.

Swami Dayananda SaraswatiAll this is apparently funded well by devout Christians of US and Europe who find their saved flock dwindling and wish to serve ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’ by recruiting followers from other gullible countries.

Swami Dayanand Saraswati says that religious conversion is a violence against spirit. It snatches a person away from his social and spiritual moorings and creates divide in the society. The religious conversion doesn’t stop just at changing your way of worship but also influences your life style and asks you to follow an alien culture. This is a major cause of schism where overt and covert conversion campaigns are taking place. Marx called religion opium for the masses. But, the world has seen largest massacres and holocausts in the name of religion. Wars have been mainly between Christians and Muslims called crusades or jihad by respective religious groups. Hindus have suffered millions of deaths or conversions during their history of more than 1000 years. Their fate is left unsung, suppressed historical accounts by our leftist secular historians. But, truth cannot be hidden. It has a nasty way of popping up from somewhere. It is sad that in spite of all this unrest our religious ‘competitors’ have not understood the enormity of damage they are doing to humanity by their efforts to spread their ‘exclusivist’ religions by all means fair or foul, direct or surrogate. – Hindu Voice E-Bulletin, Issue No.48, 24th-30th Nov. 2013

World Vision employs surrogate advertising to get Hindus to donate funds towards their conversion activities in Indian villages!

World Vision employs deceitful surrogate advertising to get Hindu business houses to donate funds towards their religious conversion activities in Indian villages!

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