Al-Wahhab the mad mullah of Islamic terrorism and his Saudi patrons – Javed Anand

Javed Anand“Because of his extremism, al-Wahhab was driven out of Iraq and later had to flee the town of his birth, Uyainah. Then he found an ally and protector in Muhammad bin Saud, a small-time but politically ambitious local ruler from the Saudi clan in neighbouring Diriyah. In 1741, the two entered into a “win-win” relationship. Al-Wahhab bestowed religious legitimacy on Saud, who in turn would forcibly impose the former’s ultra-radical theology as the “only true” Islam on all Muslims.” – Javed Anand

Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-SheikhIn his Haj sermon on October 4 to the nearly two million Muslim pilgrims from across the globe assembled in Mecca, the Saudi Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, proclaimed that the killing of innocent human beings is the worst fitna (strife) and is strictly forbidden in Islam. Moving on from the general to the specific, he described the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the “enemy number one” of Islam and humanity.

Sounds good, but it’s hardly good enough. Along with some other Sunni-majority Muslim countries in the region, Saudi Arabia is now part of the US-led coalition ostensibly committed to “degrading” and “destroying” the very monster they had until recently collectively nurtured in Syria and Iraq. Given the long-standing, mutually legitimising relationship between the Saudi royal family and the country’s ulema, the Grand Mufti’s belated discovery of Islam’s message of peace and the denunciation of the ISIS was only to be expected.

Muhammad ibn Abd al-WahhabBut it does not address the uncomfortable question Muslims, including many from within the Arab world, are asking: How can those who are part of the problem be part of the solution? Who can deny that the Saudi royalty and clergy on one hand, and the ISIS on the other, are part of the same theo-genetic pool as they all draw inspiration from the same “Shaikhul Islam”, Muhammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab?

The story goes back to the 18th century. Al-Wahhab was born in a family of Muslim theologians in Uyainah, a small town in the Najd region of Arabia. He grew up into a manic monotheist determined to root out what to him were the illicit innovations, heretical and idolatrous practices that had crept into Muslim practice. He enunciated a version of Islam that was puritanical, rigid, inflexible, intolerant, violent.

Al-Wahhab had a simple solution for Muslims who did not subscribe to his militant theology: they should be killed, their daughters and wives enslaved, their property confiscated. “You will see much evil from my son Muhammad,” his own father, a recognised orthodox Sunni scholar, , is reported to have lamented shortly before his death.

Because of his extremism, al-Wahhab was driven out of Iraq and later had to flee the town of his birth, Uyainah. Then he found an ally and protector in Muhammad bin Saud, a small-time but politically ambitious local ruler from the Saudi clan in neighbouring Diriyah. In 1741, the two entered into a “win-win” relationship. Al-Wahhab bestowed religious legitimacy on Saud, who in turn would forcibly impose the former’s ultra-radical theology as the “only true” Islam on all Muslims.

The arrangement yielded rich political dividends; a local fiefdom grew into a state. By 1790, the fanatics had captured most of the Arabian Peninsula where Shias and Sufis were the worst victims. Muslims in the newly conquered areas were given an option: swear allegiance to Wahhabi Islam or face the sword. In 1801, the holy city of Karbala in Iraq was attacked, several thousand Shia Muslim men, women and children were butchered, many shrines, including that of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, were destroyed.

The holy cities of Mecca and Medina too were targeted, citizens terrorised, historic monuments and shrines razed to the ground. The terror campaign ended only in 1815, when on behalf of the Ottomans the Egyptians crushed the Saudi-Wahhabi forces. Three years later, the Ottomans destroyed the Wahhabi capital of Diriyah.

Ibn SaudA century later, as the Ottoman Empire collapsed in the midst of World War I, the Saudi-Wahhabi coalition led by Abd-al Aziz (Ibn Saud) made a dramatic comeback, capturing Mecca, Medina and Jeddah between 1914 and 1926. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 with Abd al-Aziz as its reigning monarch. (It’s the only country in the world that is named after a single clan). The astute king realised that the 20th century world was very different from the 18th one (when the first Saudi state was founded). Recognising the need to woo the new world powers, the US and UK, he redefined Wahhabism. The “new” Wahhabism would retain its arid, puritanical, ultra-orthodox, rigid, intolerant, “true Islam” strain. But it would abandon its earlier Jacobin-like reign of terror and mutate instead into an ideology of Islamist supremacism.

Ibn Saud’s “revisionism” brought him into headlong confrontation with the purists who were crushed with brute force. Those willing to see the light were co-opted into the new doctrine.

In due course, with the discovery of oil, the Saudi rulers switched to the use of soft power in a bid to “Wahhabise” Islam. In recent decades, it has poured billions of petro-dollars into Muslim quarters across the globe (India included), seeking to destroy the reality of a diverse faith and replacing it with a single intolerant, supremacist creed.

For millions of Muslims across the world, the seemingly benign Saudi Wahhabism is bad enough. But for those who still remember and revere its theological founder, Muhammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab, it is not good enough. Among the latter is the ISIS and its numerous followers, not only in Iraq and Syria but in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and elsewhere too.

Abul A'la MaududiThis takes us back to where this column began. The ISIS is not a foreign object that can be purged through a simple surgery. It’s a cancerous growth within the theo-genetic make-up of Wahhabi doctrine. In its savagery and brutality, the ISIS is only acting strictly in accordance with the teachings and practice of al-Wahhab who enjoyed the active political support of the founder of the first Saudi state.

To effectively counter the ISIS and sundry other violent Islamist outfits, Saudi Arabia and Muslims elsewhere must question the three modern-day ideologues of political Islam: al-Wahhab (Arabia), Syed Qutb (Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt), Abul A’la Maududi (Jamaat-e-Islami, Indian subcontinent). One way or another, the world-view of Muslims still hallucinating about khilafat (caliphate), shariat (Islamic law), jihad and shahadat (martyrdom) can be traced back to one or the other of these worthies.

When you have a problem tree in the orchard, chopping branches won’t help. Get to the roots of the problem. – Deccan Chronicle, 15 October 2014

» Javed Anand is the General Secretary of Muslims for Secular Democracy. He is not a friend of Hindus or Hindutva but he writes a good history of Wahhabi Islam not found elsewhere.

ISIS flags and stone throwing in Kashmir

ISIS in Kashmir

Hinduism is the heritage of Hindus, not their fiefdom, says Mohan Bhagwat – IBN & ENS

Ansari & Bhagwat

Encyclopedia of Hinduism“It is true that Hinduism emanated from Hindustan and evolved further here but people of the country have never considered it as their fiefdom and have only considered it as their heritage, which is meant for the world” – Mohan Bhagwat

Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat said people of India have not treated Hinduism as their fiefdom but as their heritage meant for the world and there is a greater need for people in the country to have knowledge of its roots than those abroad.

Speaking at a function for the launch of the international edition of “Encyclopaedia of Hinduism” at Vigyan Bhawan in the national capital, he said that it is important to give information to children about their roots as this is currently missing from their education and learning system.

“The word Hindu was not there before. The tradition and religion was there but the word itself was not there. It was then known as humanity.

“It is true that Hinduism emanated from Hindustan and evolved further here but people of the country have never considered it as their fiefdom and have only considered it as their heritage, which is meant for the world,” he said.

“There is a greater need for people in the country to have knowledge of Hinduism than those abroad…. We need to provide knowledge about our roots to our children as the same is not made available in education and neither by their parents,” Bhagwat said.

The RSS chief noted that people related religion to rituals and that was the reason why today’s problems have cropped up and asserted that what is right in principle has to be practically correct also as per Hindu religion. – IBN Live, 11 October 2014


Swami Chidanand Saraswati“The wisdom, truths, teachings and insights of Indian and Hindu culture are not limited to only Hindus or Indians. Rather they belong to the world and can deeply benefit the world.” – Swami Chidanand 

Vice-President Hamid Ansari, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, HRD Minister Smriti Irani, prominent Islamic leaders and a Bollywood actor — they all came under one roof on Friday to launch the international edition of Encyclopedia of Hinduism.

The key message from the function was Hinduism is a global legacy, with Bhagwat saying that it is not an “ancestral property” of Indians, but it is for everyone.

“Religion always unites and what divides people is not religion,” he said. Interpreting the word “dharm”, the RSS chief said it has a wider meaning than “religion”.

According to Bhagwat, the Encyclopedia on Hinduism, a project of India Heritage Research Foundation, would help Hindus as well as Indians answer the questions asked about the religion to the next generation and the outside world.

Swami Chidanand Saraswati, the founder chairman of the IHRF and spiritual head of the Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh, stressed that no one can stake claim on Hindu religion. “The wisdom, truths, teachings and insights of Indian and the Hindu culture are not limited to only Hindus or Indians. Rather they belong to the world and can deeply benefit the world,” he said.

Imam Umer Ahmed IlyasiAjmer Sharif Dargah Diwan Zainul Abedin Ali KhanImam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, president All India Imams Organisation, and Dewan Syed Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, Ajmer Dargah Sharif, said Hinduism is an “assimilative” religion.

Vice-President Ansari, the chief guest at the function, spoke on the history of encyclopaedias. “Available evidence shows that the encyclopaedia ‘industry’ is now flourishing. One count puts the figure of these in the market at anything between six and ten thousand. At this rate, there may even be a need for an encyclopaedia of encyclopaedias,” Ansari said. – Express News Service, 11 October 2013

Foreign funding of NGOs reaches new high – R. Vaidyanathan

Prof. R. Vaidyanathan“In the context of the Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) report on anti-development activities of many foreign-funded NGOs, it may be time to constitute a commission of experts including those from the IB to comprehensively study this sector. Also, to use experiences of other countries like Russia, China and the US in dealing with NGOs and formulating regulation to govern them. Perhaps, it is also time to re-look the foreign funding of NGOs in the context of compulsory CSR contributions introduced in the Companies Act 2013—since we are no more the white man’s burden!” – Prof R. Vaidyanathan

NGO India is a fascinating country. The number of stock exchanges we have, as per official records is 20, but the number of functioning exchanges is only two. The number of scrips listed on the Bombay Stock Exchanges (BSE) is nearly 9,000, only 3500 of these are traded at least once a year, and the top 50 securities constitute nearly two-third of the turnover. Actually only 250 to 300 are “active” traded scrips. Interestingly, the latest Handbook of Statistics on Indian Securities MarketNGO Foreign Donations published by the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has dropped the column for number of scrips listed on the BSE! It is one way to solve the issue of numbers.

In a similar fashion, we decided to probe the number of not-for-profit or non-governmental organisations (NGO) in India. Being in the teaching line, we have the habit of probing issues that are otherwise not to be probed at all! Let sleeping dogs lie is the national dictum in such matters.

NGOs are also known as Voluntary Organizations (VOs) or Voluntary Agencies (VAs) and more recently as Voluntary Development Organizations (VDOs), Non-Governmental Development Organizations (NGDOs) or Non-Profit Institutions (NPIs). There are equivalent names for NGOs available in different Indian languages. In Hindi NGOs are called Swayamsevi Sansthayen or Swayamsevi Sangathan.

Prior to the enactment of the Societies Registration Act of 1860, voluntary action was guided mainly by religious and cultural ethos. Subsequently, a series of legislations addressing the non-profit sector were promulgated. The starting point in this respect was Article 19 of the Indian Constitution which recognized a number of civic rights including the right “… to form associations or unions”. It constitutes the legal basis of relevant legal provisions applicable to the non-profit sector. There are also non mandatory provisions that allow any group with the intention of starting a non-profit, voluntary or charitable work to organize itself into a legally registered entity. However, given the optional nature of these provisions, there is a large group of voluntary bodies that are not registered.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India and the UN Volunteers (UNV) programme had organized a Forum in January 2006 at UNDP’s Delhi office to discuss the issues relating to implementation of the UN Handbook on Non-profit Institutions (NPIs) in the System of National Accounts in India.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the Planning Commission, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), NGOs, UNV Headquarters, and the Centre for Civil Society Studies of Johns Hopkins University, which is leading the effort to implement the UN NPI Handbook throughout the World.

At this Forum, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP India Resident Representative stressed the need to implement the UN Handbook in order to capture the contribution of NPIs to the national economy. It was mentioned that the voluntary sector played a significant role in the economic and social change of the country and contributed significantly to the development in both rural and urban areas. The Forum therefore urged that India should take suitable steps to implement the UN Handbook on NPIs and compile accounts of NPIs functioning in the country.

The National Policy on the Voluntary Sector, adopted in May 2007, presumably under the guidance of the National Advisory Council, pledges to encourage, enable and empower an independent, creative and effective voluntary sector, with diversity in form and function, so that it can contribute to the social, cultural and economic advancement of the people of India. It constitutes the beginning of a process to evolve a new working relationship between the government and the voluntary sector, without affecting the autonomy and identity of voluntary organizations (GoI Planning Commission, 2007). Accordingly, it is expected that the enabling environment will be further enhanced to encourage the development and active engagement of the non-profit sector, including volunteerism, in the community’s affairs and developmental efforts.

So we can conclude that at the beginning of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)’s second term, the so-called voluntary or NGO sector was fully ensconced in decision-making and fund collecting activities.

NGOs can be registered under several regulations or none—the latter is more common.

The main statutory laws governing the various types of registered non-profit organizations are: The Societies Registration Act, 1860; The Indian Trusts Act, 1882; Public Trust Act, 1950; The Indian Companies Act (Section 25), 1956

Religious non-profit organizations can be registered under: the Religious Endowments Act, 1863; The Charitable and Religious Trust Act, 1920; Mussalman Wakf Act, 1923; Wakf Act, 1954 and the Public Wakfs (Extension of Limitation) Act, 1959

By 2009, a total of 33 lakh societies reported as “Societies registered under the Societies Registration Act/ Mumbai Public Trust Act”. Of these, the State Directorates of Economics and Statistics (DES) were able to collect information for about 22.58 lakh units and computerize the information relating to about 21 lakh units.

But when the Central Statistics Office (CSO) sent people searching for these NGOs in the states, it could not trace lakhs of them. Of the roughly 22 lakh NGOs it tried to verify, only 6.95 lakh could be traced.

These figures did not include non-profit organizations registered under the Charitable and Religious Trust Act, 1920, which, if counted, would add a few thousands to the number. Then there are non-profit companies under the Indian Companies Act,1956, and other laws that also help set up trusts.

The numbers also did not include many groups and associations, which, in common parlance are referred to as mass-based groups, usually operating at block and village levels, at times federating into larger organizations for specific purposes or campaigns. A study by PRIA and Johns Hopkins University suggested, nearly 50% of the total voluntary organizations in India were not registered under any law.

The antiquated societies registration law is blind when it comes to classifying these registered groups. It treats all registered societies the same way. These numbers include societies that run hugely profitable schools, colleges, hospitals and sports bodies in the country. Remember, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is also an NGO, registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act. The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) too is an NGO, under the law.

The major findings from the CSO Survey are as follows

The CSO’s study covered only the societies registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860/Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950 and companies Registered under section 25 of Indian Companies Act, 1956.

Data available from the first phase shows that there are about 31.7 lakh NPIs registered in India and that 58.7% of these are located in rural areas. A majority of NPIs are involved in community, social and personal services, cultural services, education, and health services.

The number of NPIs formed after 1990 has increased manifold. This is the post economic reform period when global powers began to show interest in India. There were only 1.44 lakh societies registered till the year 1970, followed by 1.79 lakh registrations in the period from 1971 to 1980, 5.52 lakh registrations in the period from 1981 to 1990, 11.22 lakh registrations in the period from 1991 to 2000, and as many as 11.35 lakh societies were registered after 2000.

Since there is no clause in the Act for the de-registration of defunct societies, the first phase of the survey results give number of societies and their distribution on the basis of records available with the registering authorities.

About 18 lakh societies have been visited during the second phase, i.e. 57.6% of the registered societies. Out of these, results are available for 4.65 lakh. The top three sectors where these societies were engaged is as follows: engaged in Social Services (35%), followed by Education & Research (21%), and Culture & Recreation (15%). The top three activities account for 71% of the registered societies.

The data on total work force includes volunteers and paid workers. Out of the 144 lakh work force, only 11 lakh are paid workers. The CSO used the sum of their operational expenditures to come to a value of their economic output at a whopping Rs 41,292 crore!

Non Profit Institutions are also registered under the Indian Companies Act (Section 25), 1956. The financial data in respect of 2,595 companies listed with Ministry of Corporate Affairs has been obtained and analyzed. However, no information could be obtained in respect of the workforce of these companies and activities/purposes in which they are involved.

CSO decided to limit the coverage to the Societies registered under Societies Registration Act 1860, Mumbai Trust Act and the Indian Companies Act (Section 25), 1956. This is because a majority of the NPIs are registered under Societies Registration Act 1860. This also means that NGOs under various religious non-profit organisations were excluded and they constitute a large number.

The study found that in most States, the provision of submitting financial statements is not strictly enforced. Even if societies file financial statements with the registrar’s office, there is no mechanism to maintain this database.

Maharajas among NGO’s

A category of NGOs are registered with Ministry of Home Affairs under Foreign Contributions Regulations Act (FCRA). These can be called Euro or Dollar NGOs who get funds from private charities as well as Government organizations abroad.

Trends over last 10 years

Year No. of Registered Associations No. of Reporting Associations Amount of Foreign Contributions Rs Cr
2002-2003 26404 16590 5046.51
2003-2004 28351 17145 5105.46
2004-2005 30321 18540 6256.68
2005-2006 32144 18570 7877.57
2006-2007 33937 18996 11007.43
2007-2008 34803 18796 9663.46
2008-2009 36414 20088 10802.67
2009-2010 38,436 21,508 10,337.59
2010-2011 40,575 22,735 10,334.12
2011-2012 43,527 22,702 11,546.29
Total 2002-2012 97,383.53 Rs Crore
(Source: Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division, FCRA Wing)

The salient features for 2011-2012 are as follows

I. A total of 43,527 Associations have been registered under the FCRA until 31 March 2012. During 2011-12, as many as 2001 associations were granted registration and 304 associations were given prior permission to receive foreign contributions.

6. 22,702 Associations reported a total receipt of Rs 11,546.29 crore as foreign contributions. [Under or non-reporting is common.]

III. Delhi reported the highest receipt of foreign donations at Rs 2,285.75 crore, followed by Tamil Nadu (Rs 1,704.76 crore) and Andhra Pradesh (Rs 1,258.52 crore). 

7. Among districts, Chennai reported the highest foreign donations (Rs 889.99 crore), followed by Mumbai (Rs 825.40 crore) and Bangalore (Rs 812.48 crore).

8. The list of donor countries is headed by the US (Rs 3,838.23 crore), followed by UK (Rs 1,219.02 crore), and Germany (Rs 1,096.01 crore).

9. The list of foreign donors is topped by the Compassion International, US (Rs 183.83 crore), followed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, US (Rs 130.77 crore), and the Kinder Not Hilfe (KNH), Germany (Rs 51.76 crore).

Believers Church Logo World Vision IndiaVII. World Vision of India, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (Rs 233.38 crore) received the highest foreign donations among NGOs, followed by the Believers Church India Pathanamthitta, Kerala (Rs 190.05 crore) and Rural Development Trust, Ananthapur, AP (Rs 144.39 crore) 

VIII. The highest foreign contribution was received and utilized for Rural Development (Rs 945.77 crore), Welfare of Children (Rs 929.22 crore), Construction and Maintenance of school/colleges (Rs 824.11 crore) and Research (Rs 539.14 crore). Activities other than those mentioned above received Rs 2,253.61 crore. 

Interestingly establishment expenses (Building / Cars/ Jeeps / Computers / Cameras etc.) constituted the bulk of expenditure in most of the NGOs.

Need of the Hour

In the context of the Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) report on anti-development activities of many foreign-funded NGOs, it may be time to constitute a commission of experts including those from the IB to comprehensively study this sector. Also, to use experiences of other countries like Russia, China and the US in dealing with NGOs and formulating regulation to govern them. Perhaps, it is also time to re-look the foreign funding of NGOs in the context of compulsory CSR contributions introduced in the Companies Act 2013—since we are no more the white man’s burden! – Vaidyananthan’s Blog, 2 July 2014

» Prof R. Vaidyanathan, Finance and Control, has taught at IIM Bangalore for over three decades and is consistently rated as one of its most popular teachers. Prof Vaidyanathan has coined the term India Uninc for the largest component of the Indian economy comprising small entrepreneurs, households. Prof Vaidyanathan sits on the advisory boards of SEBI and the RBI. 

See also

Dharm Jagran spends Rs 50 lakh a month to ‘bring back home’ converted Hindus – Rajiv Srivastava

Reconverting to Hinduism

Hindu activist raising the Bhagwa Dwaj over a Cross.“Re-conversion holds no meaning if the members of the caste they belong to don’t accept them back into their fold, … and … [an effort is made] to ensure that the re-converted families aren’t discouraged. The cost on an average the Dharm Jagran has to bear on community feasting comes to around Rs 40,000 to 50,000 per month.” – Rajiv Srivastava

For reconversion or ‘ghar wapsi‘ of Hindu families that converted to other religions, outfits like Dharm Jagran have to bear a huge cost. An offshoot of the Rashtriya Swayemsewak Sangh (RSS), Dharm Jagran coughs up on an average Rs 8 to 10 lakh per month alone mainly as fuel cost and some miscellaneous expenses in the western UP area alone.

Claiming that on an average 1,000 families are re-converted, mostly in western UP region in a month, the cost incurred on such programmes comes to around Rs 50 lakh per month. The average cost incurred on each family comes to around Rs 5,000, Dharm Jagran’s western UP in charge Rajeshwar Singh told TOI.

The fuel cost incurred is meant for the outfit’s about 100 full-time volunteers, whose job is to identify people who converted to other religions from Hinduism, make them aware about what good they are missing by not being a Hindu and convince them to re-convert. ‘Ghar wapsi‘ is what Rajeshwar Singh called this re-conversion as.

Interestingly, this is not the only expenditure incurred by the Dharm Jagran. Since most of these volunteers are full-timers, they have a task in hand to carry on such awareness campaigns in the region throughout the year. On most of the occasions, once a family gets convinced to re-convert, volunteers have to pay for the affidavit on behalf of the family head, Ajay Sinha, a full-timer (as they are called within the organization) from Shahjahanpur told TOI. Interestingly, the requirement of affidavits is mandatory only in case of certified Christian converts, Rajeshwar told TOI, added that while for the ghar wapsi of those whom he refers to as “crypto-Christians”, there is no need for certificate as such people are not converted on papers but have adopted the tradition and culture associated with Christianity.

Since the number of certified Christians is far less as compared to the ‘crypto’ category, the expenditure on affidavits hardly comes to Rs 2,000 per month, he said. According to a rough estimate, ghar wapsi of around 1,000 families is done on an average every month in the western UP area, Rajeshwar claimed.

Though not every time, the organization also spends money for holding ‘shuddhi yagya‘ (purification ritual), a must for those who are reconverting. Since most of the times such yagyas are held with the contribution from Shuddhi Yagnaeither the family re-converting or through voluntary contribution by like-minded people, the average expenditure on such yagyas comes to Rs 20,000 per month per district, Rajeshwar said.

But holding shuddhi yagyas or submitting affidavits is not end the job for the Hindu outfit. The fact that the re-conversion holds no meaning if the members of the caste they belong to don’t accept them back into their fold, he said and added that [an effort is made] to ensure that the re-converted families aren’t discouraged. The cost on an average the outfit has to bear on community feasting comes to around Rs 40,000 to 50,000 per month.

A full-time volunteer from Meerut praant requesting anonymity said on an average RSS provides Rs 12 to 15 lakh as annual budget to each of Dharm Jagran’s praants and rest is through contributions from the respective districts. This funding by the RSS is reviewed annually, he said.

Such expenditure is nothing in view of the impact of such efforts, said Ajay from Shahjahanpur. Rajeshwar claims members from other communities claim to spend at least Rs 3 crore on one family that converts to their religion from Hinduism. Rajeshwar claimed he was busy with his aim of ‘ghar wapsi‘ of around 20,000 families or 1.25 lakh individuals in December. – The Times of India, 22 September 2014

Tamil Nadu Government’s scant regard for cow protection – B. R. Haran

Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious Charitable Endowments Department

B.R. Haran“While devotees donate thousands of cows and calves in the belief that they would be taken care of well, the HR & CE Department shows scant regard to their religious sentiments and to the welfare of the hapless animals. This pathetic state of affairs prevails across the state. … Hundreds of cows have vanished from the goshala of Sri Ranganathar Temple, Srirangam, which is the first Vaishnavite Divya Kshetram and the Chief Minister’s own constituency. … A review … in November 2012 showed that 5,389 cows have vanished without a trace from the goshala attached to the famous Thiruchendur Murugan Temple. They had been sent to private goshalas for maintenance, some of which exist only on paper! Neither the department had records, nor did officials have any answer!

The CowGlorious Bharatiya tradition

When it comes to religious tradition and the cultural heritage associated with it, our culture stands foremost in the world, with thousands of temples more than millennia old, a continuous legacy of pious worship by Hindus from across the world. Since ancient times, temples have been seats of learning. The temple tradition includes protection, preservation and progression of Vedas, agamas, literature, arts, architecture, gau samrakshana, music, fine arts and culture.

As we worship the deities installed inside the temple, we also worship the vrukshaas and theerthas associated with them. We also worship the vaahanaas of the deities. However, if there is one animal to which we give equal importance as that of the deity, it is the cow. To no other animal in the Hindu pantheon does the Sanatana Dharma give so much of sanctity and importance.

In ancient times, each and every temple had its own nandavanam (garden) and goshala attached to it. Devotees visiting the temples would visit the goshala and offer worship to the cows and feed them. Products like milk, komiyum (cow urine) and cow dung cakes used for daily rituals like abhishekams and homams were all taken from the goshalas. Even the vibhuti (sacred ash) was prepared from cow dung.

Degeneration caused by political instability and governmental apathy

Even while our nation was oppressed by the invaders for a thousand years, our religious tradition and cultural heritage almost remained intact and continued, though practising them was made difficult. Our worshipping pattern didn’t change at all. Our culture of worshipping the cow continued.

Although, the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department was established during the British period itself in Madras, the temples of Tamil Nadu bore the brunt of loot and mismanagement only after the takeover of the endowments by the governments formed by the Dravidian parties. With the advent of the Dravidian governments since 1967, the temples have been systematically mismanaged and their wealth looted alternatively by the DMK and AIADMK governments. The temple tanks, nandavanams and the goshalas became extinct due to total disregard. Even those left are not getting the required attention from the government.

High Court’s direction

In the third week of August, the Madras High Court constituted a three member committee to investigate the status of goshalas attached with the temples under the purview of Tamil Nadu government’s Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR&CE) Department and ordered the committee to submit its report within two months.

The High Court gave this order after hearing a petition (WP 28793 & 28794 of 2013) filed by writer and animal activist Radha Rajan. The petition said, “The Goshalas attached to the Temples under its purview are maintained by the HR&CE Department itself. However, more than a dozen cows died in the Goshala attached to the famous Thiruvannamalai Temple due to lack of sufficient food and improper maintenance”, and prayed for the constitution of a committee to look into the omissions and commissions with regards to the HR&CE Department’s maintenance of temple goshalas.

When the petition, submitted by advocate Sathish Parasaran, came up for hearing by the First Bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishen Kaul and Justice M Sathyanarayanan, Government Pleader S Kandaswami submitted that L Anantha Padmanaban, Joint Director of Animal Husbandry Department, has been appointed to review the maintenance of temple goshalas. Accepting the submission of the government pleader, the High Court also included Dr Sumathi of the Animal Welfare Board of India and Radha Rajan in the committee and ordered them to submit a report within two months after investigating the temple goshalas. The case was adjourned for 27 October.

Save the Cow!Background of the case

In October 2013, the media reported sudden deaths of several cows at the goshala attached to the famous Annamalaiyar Temple in Thiruvannamalai. While donating the cows, the devotees also part with a decent amount for their maintenance; moreover, the revenue of the temple is huge, running into several crores of rupees. So, it is not difficult for the HR&CE Department to manage the goshala. However, as several cows died within a short span of time, cadres of Hindu Munnani and animal lovers resorted to hunger strike in front of the temple. The district authorities pacified them and ordered an investigation by an organisation called Arunachala Animal Sanctuary and Rescue Center.

When the veterinary doctor and other officials from the centre visited the goshala situated within the temple premises, there were a total of 105 cows in it. All were donated by devotees and local people who could no longer care for them. Many of them had given Rs. 10,000 for the maintenance of the cows. After investigating the status of the goshalas and health of the cows the center gave the following report:

  • Cows and calves are seriously undernourished and have lost the ability to chew well
  • The care-taking is inadequate. There is only one caretaker and an assistant for all the animals.
  • They are fed twice a day. Each feeding in total consists of: 25 kg of oil cake, 25 kg of black gram covers, 25 kg of bran, and hay. (They never get green grass). That is enough food to sustain only 15 adult cows.
  • There is adequate space, but no protection against rain.
  • In case of acute illness, or injury, the Government Veterinary Hospital responds promptly.

While the temple revenue runs into crores, the HR&CE Department appointed only two people to attend to 105 cows and cattle feed enough for only 15 adult cows! If this is the condition of the goshala, is there any surprise in the reported deaths of cows? If this is the condition of a goshala attached to such a big temple, imagine the status of goshalas in smaller temples.

In this background, Radha Rajan filed a writ petition requesting the High Court to order the government to submit a status report with details about the number of goshalas and cows maintained therein, the status with regards to the purchase and distribution of cattle feed, hygienic condition of the goshalas, etc. She prayed for constitution of a committee to investigate the goshalas. Thus, the HC constituted the three member panel.

Seal of Tamil NaduPathetic condition across the state

While devotees donate thousands of cows and calves in the belief that they would be taken care of well, the HR&CE Department shows scant regard to their religious sentiments and to the welfare of the hapless animals. This pathetic state of affairs prevails across the state. Let us see the state of affairs in a few other temples too.

Thiruchendur Murugan TempleFive thousand cows vanished from the goshala of famous Thiruchendur Murugan Temple

A review by the department’s internal auditors in November 2012 showed that 5,389 cows have vanished without a trace from the goshala attached to the famous Thiruchendur Murugan Temple. They had been sent to private goshalas for maintenance, some of which exist only on paper! Neither the department had records, nor did officials have any answer!

When the number of cows donated by the devotees exceeds the limit and the goshala runs out of space, the department used to send them to private goshalas; this practice still prevails. However, it was found that the officials violated the norms, which resulted in thousands of cows missing. It was even suspected that the cows could have been sold to butchers by the officials themselves. (Dinamalar, 30 November 2012)

The HR&CE Department has “integrated goshalas” in places like Srirangam, Palani and Thiruchendur for maintenance of cows in large numbers, as most of the temple goshalas lack sufficient space. In October 2010, a building was constructed inside the integrated goshala premises at Thiruchendur for proper maintenance. Veterinary doctors were placed there for regular check up of the cattle. The department bought one Bolero jeep for inspection purposes. However, at present the integrated goshala is in a pathetic condition without even a single cow. The place stands abandoned with plants and bushes grown all over and frequented by anti-social elements. While the officials enjoy joy rides in the Bolero jeep, they didn’t bother to maintain the integrated goshala. The department wasted more than a crore of rupees on this “project”.

From temple to beef stalls, a one way ticket for cows in Srirangam

Hundreds of cows have vanished from the goshala of Sri Ranganathar Temple, Srirangam, which is the first Vishnavite Divya Kshetram and one of the most famous temples in the world. Tamil weekly Kumudam Reporter (27-12-2007) ran a detailed cover story with photographs exposing that:

As the number of cows donated by bhaktas keeps increasing, some are deliberately allowed to die without food. Then they are accounted as ‘death due to disease’ and sent for burial. They are cut into pieces at the burial ground and transported to beef stalls in and around Srirangam. On an average, two or three cows are transported in this fashion every day. Many cows do not find a place in the ‘death list’ either.

The internal audit report noted the disappearance of 105 cows in a single year, thereby confirming the weekly’s cover story. This writer is given to understand that the sad story of cows’ death continues even now in Srirangam, the Chief Minister’s own constituency.

Mysterious Pazhani goshala     

Pazhani Murugan Temple is a famous temple bringing crores of rupees revenue for the Tamil Nadu government. In 2008, the HR&CE Department established an “integrated goshala” here in 240-acres at Seemanampatti, 40 kms from Pazhani town. The main purpose was to bring cows from the various temples and maintain them with adequate food and water and vast grass lands. But, when this writer and his colleagues from Vedic Science Research Center visited the integrated goshala on 4 March 2014, there were only 9 cattle (3 bulls, 2 cows and 4 calves). Though there are 20 staff on the payroll to attend to the cattle, only one was present on the spot. The ‘Cattle Officer’ had gone out. We spent more than three hours there but the ‘Cattle Officer’ did not return.

The area suffered severe water scarcity and the locals said they couldn’t find water even at 1200 feet. We could find only two small tanks filled with water and only two mounds of haystack. There was no semblance of any other cattle feed. When asked, the available staff said that green grass and fruit skins (left over from fruits used for preparing the famous Panchamrutham) used to be brought from Pazhani, but we couldn’t see any of them.

An organisation called ‘Pazhani Temple Protection Council’ has taken up various issues concerning the temple with the concerned authorities. A member of the organisation said that hundreds of cows donated by devotees have died in the last two years. We were given to understand that the HR&CE Department charges Rs. 1000/- for maintenance of each cow donated by devotees and that 300 cows were sent to women self-help groups without proper official procedures like notification, government order, etc.

If temple authorities are sending cows donated by bhaktas to self-help groups, why should they charge the devotee Rs. 1000/- for maintenance? Are there proper accounts of the money collected and for which other purpose is the money being used? What are self-help groups doing with the cows—are they maintaining them or selling them? Does the department keep track of those cows? If the cows are being sold by the self-help groups, why is the department giving the cows to them? Has the department taken any action against groups which have sold the cows?

So many questions arise! But there was no responsible official in that 240 acres integrated goshala to give proper answers. Ironically, the department spent Rs. 1,39,27,176/- for this goshala between 2008 and 2011!

Blatant violation of rules

When the HR&CE Department sends cows to private goshalas for proper maintenance, it is supposed to follow certain rules and regulations in this aspect:

  • The department can send the cows to only goshalas which are recognized and approved by the Animal Welfare Board of India. Those private goshalas must take care of the cows properly.
  • Each and every cow must be insured in the name of either the Joint Commissioner of the department or the Executive Officer of the concerned temple. If an insured cow meets with death, 70% of the insurance amount must be given to the goshala and the balance 30% to the temple.
  • The concerned goshala must duly inform the Joint Commissioner and Executive Officer about the death of cows which are sent by the temple.
  • HR&CE Department officials must inspect the cows at the concerned goshala at least once in two months.

These rules are violated at will. The officials knowingly send the cows to unrecognized private goshalas; they do not inspect the cows and goshalas, and do not maintain proper accounts. Thus, slaughter houses serve as the final destination of these poor cows. No wonder people allege that officials are making money out of such an evil practice.

Ramanathaswamy Temple in RameshwaramPathetic condition of cows in Rameshwaram Temple

At the following YouTube link one can see the pathetic condition of cows in the goshala of the famous Rameshwaram Temple, which shows the attitude of HR&CE Department officials for cow protection.

In the first week of this month (Sept 2014) this writer visited goshalas in five famous temples in Thanjavur and Kumbakonam, and found all in sordid condition.

Thirunageswaram Shiva Temple:  This is “Raagu Stal”, one of the famous Navagraha temples. There were only 2 cows and the shelter was in a pathetic condition. One could not see any cattle feed or even a haystack! No staff was seen taking care of the cows, which were tied near the Annadhana Hall.

Oppiliyappan Venkatachalapathi Temple: Only 3 cows seen in the vegetable garden, which had very little vegetation. Only haystack was available in the badly maintained shelter. Here also no staff was seen taking care of the cows.

Sarangapani Perumal Temple: There were 20 cows (14 cows and 6 calves) and the single shelter was not sufficient to hold them. Some masonry works were going on there. HR&CE Department has solicited donations for providing cattle feed through a notice board which states that the goshala has 32 cows. Only one staff (Gopalan) was there to look after 20 cows. The cows are not given bath on daily basis, but only on auspicious days or when he has time. Only haystack was seen and no other cattle feed. Though Gopalan said the cows were fed with other cattle feed such as oil cake and bran, he showed just a little quantity of oil cake which would not be enough for a single cow. The shelter was badly maintained.

Patteeswaram Durga Temple: Total 10 cattle (6 cows and 4 calves) were there. The milk is being used for pujas and abishekams by the temple itself. The shelter is badly maintained. There is also space for nandavanam, which is not used for cultivation of green grass or other cattle feed. Two staff (Mohan and Gopal) are taking care of the cows, but only Mohan was there during the visit. One HR&CE Department staff was seen taking count of the cows. Mohan said they take counts regularly and veterinary doctors visit regularly. He said the department doesn’t arrange any cattle feed apart from the haystack.

Swamimalai Murugan Temple: Though I was given to understand that the famous Swamimalai Murugan Temple has a goshala, I couldn’t find one when I visited. On enquiry, I learnt that a goshala functioned till two years back. When I visited the place where the nandavanam and goshala existed, I saw a lot of construction underway, such as toilets, hall for annadhanam and kitchens. One building for lodging government staff was also there apart from mobile toilets.

All these five temples are huge and famous and bring lots of revenue for the government. In spite of that, the cows and goshalas are badly maintained. This status of temple goshalas after the constitution of a panel by the High Court reveals the seriousness shown by the government and the HR&CE Department not only to cow protection, but also to the Judiciary.

J. JayalalithaaDestruction of cattle wealth and government’s indifference

On one side, temple cows are allowed to die and sent to slaughter houses, on the other side lakhs of cattle are trafficked from and via Tamil Nadu for meat and leather. The Tamil Nadu government is the culprit on both counts. It can easily streamline the temple goshalas utilising the temple revenue and it can end cattle trafficking by instructing the authorities to strictly implement the transportation rules.

But the government is just not bothered and allows all sorts of violations to happen. It doesn’t seem to realize that depleting cattle wealth will have a lasting long-term negative impact upon our agriculture and environment.

Worse, there is not a single mention about cow protection in the HR&CE Department’s Policy Note for the year 2014-15 submitted under Demands (no:47) for grants in accordance with the budget. In fact, the word “cow” is not to be found in the entire Policy Note! Even during her speech under Section 110 in the Assembly, the Chief Minister made no mention about cow protection and temple goshalas, while she waxed eloquent on things such as constitution of committees, appointment of trustees, regularising encroachments, and renovations, et al.

Madras High CourtCourt of law is the last resort

In this kind of disgusting and dreadful scenario, it is heartening that the High Court understood the plight of the hapless animals and constituted a committee to investigate the temple goshalas and submit a report. It gives confidence that the High Court will give requisite directions and pronounce orders for the proper maintenance of goshalas with clear systems in place, thereby ensuring the welfare of cows. The onus lies on the government to respond positively to the High Court’s orders and directions. – Vijayvaani, 25 September 2014

References

  1. http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Panel-to-Study-Condition-of-Goshalas/2014/08/21/article2390292.ece
  2. http://www.dinamalar.com/news_detail.asp?id=833228
  3. http://www.dinamalar.com/News_Detail.asp?Id=595054
  4. Tamil Weekly Kumudam Reporter dated 27-12-2007
  5. http://tinyurl.com/prw8n72 from www.vsrc.in
  6. http://cms.tn.gov.in/sites/default/files/documents/hrce_e_pn_2014_15.pdf  

» B. R. Haran is a senior journalist based in Chennai.

VIDEO: Durga Saptashati (Full) – Markandeya Rishi

The Devi Mahatmyam (Sanskrit: देवीमाहात्म्यम्), or “Glory of the Goddess”) is a Hindu religious text describing the victory of the Goddess Durga over the demons Madhu-Kaitabha, Mahishasura and Shambha-Nishumbha. It is part of the Markandeya Purana, one of the secondary Hindu scriptures, and was composed in Sanskrit around c. 400-500 CE, with authorship attributed to the sage Rishi Markandeya.

Devi Mahatmya Sanskrit MS Nepal 11c

The oldest surviving manuscript of the Devi Māhātmya, on palm-leaf, in an early Bhujimol script, Bihar or Nepal, 11th century.
  • Text in Sanskrit of the Devi Mahatmyam here
  • Text in Tamil of the Devi Mahatmyam here
  • Text in English of the Devi Mahatmyam here

Arab money funding terrorism since the 1980s – Taki

Royal Palace, Riyadh

Taki Theodoracopulos“In cahoots with the Saudis and the Kuwaitis, the Qatari ruling family allowed various so-called private businessmen to raise money for jihad. Saudi money funnelled through Islamic charities has been funding terrorism since the 1980s. Ditto the Kuwaitis. These private fund-raisers are an obvious charade. It’s the Kuwaiti, Saudi and Qatari ruling family’s money that ends up in terrorist hands. It’s called protection money. ” – Taki

Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-SabahNext time you read about an auctioneer’s gavel coming down on a $150 million painting bought by some flunkey representing the ruling family of Qatar, don’t ooh or aah, but think of those monsters in Iraq and Syria who have their children pose on video while holding up the severed heads of innocents. And no, it’s not a stretch — without Qatar’s gold Islamic State would not exist, not even in the movies.

Let me put it another way: had Calvin Coolidge or Herbert Hoover given White House dinners for Al Capone, the outcry would have been heard all the way down to Patagonia. Yet, as reported in these here pages by Charles Moore, not only did the head of the family lunch with the Queen at Windsor, a cousin and his mother also lunched the next day at Windsor and caused a stir because they were not included in the Queen’s carriage. They sponsored Ascot this year, and Elizabeth Anson was their PR person. She burst into tears after failing to include them in the lead carriage. All I can say is shame on Ascot, more shame on Anson, and eternal shame on the stuffed shirts who forced the Queen to break bread with these characters.

Saudi King Abdullah with Dick Cheney & George H.W. BushThey say Brits will do anything for money, but the rest of the Western world is just as bad. Just look at how a tiny Gulf nation of 250,000 goatherds managed to land the World Cup in 2022. To call the bribes Qatar must have paid to Fifa delegates colossal would be an understatement. But forget the 50-degree-Celsius heat and that football is unplayable in that hellhole, the scandal of modern-day slavery as practised by the Qataris is a far bigger depravity, overlooked by the West. In fact, calling foreign workers indentured servants is a euphemism; they are modern-day slaves. Foreign workers do not enjoy a minimum wage in Qatar, nor do they have any rights. They are not allowed to change jobs, however feudal the conditions, get a driving licence, rent a room or open a checking account unless they have their employer’s permission. Thousands have died while working in appalling conditions (hundreds of Nepalese alone), which provoked an investigation by the Norway-based Global Network for Rights and Development, which sent a researcher and a photographer. Last week the Qatari government confirmed that the two have been arrested and are in prison. So much for European influence in that sweaty hellhole.

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al ThaniIn their craven search for money, Europeans have sold everything to these ghastly goatherds but their mother, because the Qatari gang is obviously not interested in the latter. Nothing is sacred, everything’s for sale. Qatar owns a share in Sainsbury’s, owns Harrods outright, owns a large share of Heathrow airport, large stretches of real estate in Knightsbridge and in the City it wanted to buy Claridge’s, has bought the French football team PSG and owns a share in Germany’s Volkswagen. Last but not least is the Al Jazeera TV network, one that poses as an unaligned network but in reality works for the gang called Thani.

So far so bad, but it gets much worse. In cahoots with the Saudis and the Kuwaitis, the Qatari ruling family allowed various so-called private businessmen to raise money for jihad. Saudi money funnelled through Islamic charities has been funding terrorism since the 1980s. Ditto the Kuwaitis. These private fund-raisers are an obvious charade. It’s the Kuwaiti, Saudi and Qatari ruling family’s money that ends up in terrorist hands. It’s called protection money. All three ruling ‘monarchies’ are basically illegitimate, and their power derives not from the people but from their oil and gas wealth and their ability to bribe Uncle Sam and other Western powers to keep them as heads.

Taliban office in QatarThe three desert satrapies had a falling out after the military overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The Saudis stuck with Sisi, the Qataris and Kuwaitis stuck with the Brotherhood. Qatar allowed the Taleban to open an office, and openly finances the bloodthirsty Islamic State. No matter how bloodthirsty and extreme the IS murderers became, Qatar chose to keep on paying and will do so unless the US Marines land and force the head towel to Guantanamo, where he belongs.

Saddam HusseinHow have we come to this? Big oil had a lot to do with the First Gulf War. Saddam was our friend and ally yet we chased him out of Kuwait, which was sort of a province of Iraq when it was still Mesopotamia. The Israeli lobby ‘ordered’ the Second Gulf War — no ifs or buts about it — and Israel is enjoying the slaughter going on in Syria and Iraq almost as much as it enjoyed crushing Gaza. (Only 6 per cent of Israelis were against the invasion and subsequent killing of innocent people.)

What is to be done? That’s an easy one, but it will never happen until money goes out of style. Reading the riot act to Qatar, the Saudis and the Kuwaitis is an exercise in futility. If I were Obama — and he’s been a very good president in resisting the Israeli lobby that has been at him to carpet-bomb Iran — I’d overthrow the Qataris ‘pour encourager les autres’. But don’t hold your breath. See you at Ascot next year. – The Spectator, 20 September 2014

» Taki Theodoracopulos is a Greek-born journalist and writer who lives variously in New York City, London and Switzerland. He is a social columnist and publishes his own magazine here.

Emir's Palace, Doha, Qatar

See also

  1. Hundreds of migrant workers dying in Qatar
  2. Qatar confirms arrest of UK rights workers
  3. Shockingly awful living conditions of construction workers in Qatar
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