Need for citizenship bill was long overdue – Amar Bhushan

Citizenship Amendment Bill (2019)

Amar BhushanCAB seeks to provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists who were forced to flee Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and have since sought asylum in India. … These refugees had been victims of continuous persecution, forcible religious conversion and discrimination. More importantly, they had no country where they could escape to for safety of their life and faith. – Amar Bhushan

Home Minister Amit Shah has come up with one more bill that has invited misguided protests, misplaced apprehensions and mischievous propaganda. It is called the Citizenship Amendment Bill of 2019 (CAB) that amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 and seeks to provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists who were forced to flee Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and have since sought asylum in India on or before December 31, 2014. These refugees had been victims of continuous persecution, forcible religious conversion and discrimination. More importantly, they had no country where they could escape to for safety of their life and faith.

Ordinarily, this benevolence should have been applauded but political parties who see only votes in appeasing Muslims are crying hoarse why Muslims who suffered similar misfortunes have been excluded from the CAB. The reason is laid bare by simple statistics.

After Partition, Hindus constituted 15 per cent of Pakistan’s population, were 7 per cent in 1950 and 1.5 per cent in 2018, despite 3.5 per cent annual growth in their birth rate. Similarly, they were 30 per cent of East Pakistan’s population in 1947, 23 per cent in 1971 when Bangladesh became independent and are now about 7 per cent. The 90 per cent decline in their population over a period of 70 years is due to their unrelenting persecution. The fate of Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists has been even worse. CAB will ensure that approximately 35 lakhs of them do not perish as unwanted, deprived and dispensable commodity. India alone is their final resting place where they can seamlessly relate with the religious, cultural, psychological and social ethos of their promised land despite its million problems.

However, to treat 2.35 lakh odd Pakistani Muslims who are staying illegally in India as a religiously persecuted lot would be self-deceiving. They are here, thanks to a lax surveillance regime, to enjoy benefits of a thriving economy. This is also true of over 15 million Bangladeshis who have illegally migrated purely for economic reasons. In any case, Muslims facing political persecution would rather be happy emigrating to 45 Islamic countries to live in a shared religious relationship.

The allegation that CAB violates Article 14 and 15 of the Constitution is bizarre. It does not differentiate between citizens on the basis of faith but between illegal immigrants of different faiths where Constitution has no jurisdiction.

The concerns of Asom Gana Parishad, All Assam Students’ Union, North East Students’ Organisation, Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura, etc., that CAB will adversely impact their language, culture, custom and ownership of land, are wholly imaginary. The bill grants Indian citizenship to only a small group of hapless immigrants and like the rest of Indians, they will also be subject to local restrictions like Inner Line Permit and to laws that protect the cultural, political and economic rights of indigenous people. Once legitimised, these migrants may not even like to live in the northeastern states and move to other parts of India, looking for better opportunities and greater acceptability. Let crass electoral interests, for once, take a back seat to accept those non-Muslim communities who were worst victims of India’s partition in 1947 and thereafter. – The New Indian Express, 15 December 2019

Amar Bhushan is a former special secretary, Research and Analysis Wing, New Delhi.

Modi on CAB


Are we a people of books, or of The Book? – M. Nageswara Rao

Constitution of india

N. Nageswar RaoA debate on the nature of our constitutional and legal systems and their attitude towards indigenous religions and culture is overdue before they automatically rollover to the next generation to further erode Bharat, the longest extant civilisation in the world. – M. Nageswara Rao

Puttaparthi Narayanacharyulu (1914-1990), the great Telugu literary genius, was a polyglot adept in 14 languages. This versatile man had no formal academic qualifications. And thereby hangs a tale.

By the time he turned 12, he had already published Penugonda Lakshmi. As it was a work of fervour and imagination the Madras University prescribed it as a text for the Vidwan Examination. When goaded by a friend to acquire formal academic qualification, Puttaparthi took the exam and, ironically enough, failed! The apocryphal story is he was unaware of the various theories woven around his own poetry and hence failed.

To understand why I am recalling this anecdote, all you need to do is to substitute Puttaparthi with the venerable Ambedkar and Penugonda Lakshmi with the Constitution. You will easily realise that the doctrines woven around the Constitution would baffle even Ambedkar and the other members of the Constituent Assembly.

The Doctrine of Basic Structure (DBS) is the most important jurisprudential enunciation since we got the Constitution. It is as significant as the Constitution itself. But unlike the Constitution, which was created by a body constituted by the people for that purpose, the DBS is a judicial creation. Likewise, the Doctrine of Essential Religious Practices (DERP) is a judicial innovation for religious matters. Having been propounded in 1954, it is a precursor to the DBS. For any festival, ritual, custom, tradition or practice to judicially survive, it has to inter alia pass the DERP agni pariksha––its historicity or sentiments of the people notwithstanding.

Is DERP an indigenous innovation or inspired from elsewhere? The predominant indigenous religion Hinduism which primarily informs our ancient civilisation, is neither monotheistic nor monolithic. As Hinduism has no universal standard set of essential religious practices across time and space, it could not have been the source of DERP. Further, no other evidence is forthcoming to suggest its indigenous nature.

Broadly, religions are of two types––religions of books, and religions of The Book. The former are essentially organic syntheses of religious, philosophical and cultural practices evolved over millennia with no one founder, no one specific scripture and no central ecclesiastical organisation. In contrast, each of the major religions of The Book (collectively referred to as Abrahamism), has a set of easily discernible essential practices, from which the idea of DERP originates. Since our Constitution begins with ‘India, that is Bharat’, how Bharatiya is it to look at Bharatiya festivals, rituals and traditions evolved over centuries from the Abrahamic (or DERP) perspective and outlaw them?

The Doctrine of Basic Structure, both in its essence and scope, is a clone of the Abrahamic DERP. As in the case of a religion of The Book that has frozen its essentials for all times to come, the DBS also seeks to calcify certain aspects of our Constitution. Whether the DBS was actually envisaged by original framers of the Constitution is beside the point. The paramount concerns are the transgenerational implications of Abrahamising our Constitution, and thereby our religion, culture and ancient civilisation.

Seeking uniformity is the core object of Abrahamism. Whereas our ancient civilisation and its obverse Hinduism seek unity while celebrating diversity. As such, DERP and DBS are antithetical to the very foundational principles of our ancient civilisation as they seek to obliterate the diversity as expressed in our festivals, customs and traditions. The diversity in our civilisation mirrors Nature which abhors uniformity.

Our previous generation created the Constitution incorporating thoughts and ideas of their time. They never intended it to be morphed into some divinely ordained Book, good for all times to come. They were conscious that no divine authority can be conferred on a particular generation to deny a future generation the right of choice in all walks of life, for, when men are considered born free, how can they be enslaved to the system of their progenitors? Hinduism teaches that the past undoubtedly can be a guide but it cannot be used to create slaves of the past. Yet, the doctrine sophistry seeks just that. One of the greatest things about our ancient civilisation, primarily informed by Indic religions, is its profound notion that nothing including the universe is permanent. This civilisational concept of pervasiveness of anithya or impermanence is diametrically opposite to the Abrahamic notion of permanence.

The Constituent Assembly, cognisant of the nature of Hinduism which is the foundation of our ancient civilisation, crafted a flexible Constitution. They also embodied in the Constitution the fundamental laws of change and anithya, as Article 368 to prevent its fossilisation. However, as empirically evidenced, the DERP and DBS are seeking to convert us from the people of books to the people of The Book (Constitution), spelling a death knell to our ancient civilisation. Our civilisational continuity and dharmic existence are under threat. So a profound question that begs an answer: Whether the system is for the people, or the people are for the system?

We are into the 70th year of promulgation of the Constitution. Three generations have come into being since then. So a debate on the nature of our constitutional and legal systems and their attitude towards indigenous religions and culture is overdue before they automatically rollover to the next generation to further erode Bharat, the longest extant civilisation in the world.

Sabka Vikas by definition includes vikas of our ancient civilisation, our indigenous religions and our culture as well, for, dharmik/saanskritik vikas that gives us our identity is the obverse of aardhik vikas. – The New Indian Express, 9 December 2019

M. Nageswara Rao is a serving senior IPS officer. 

Supreme Court Judges



Supreme Court dismisses all review petitions against Ayodhya verdict – News18

Supreme Court Judges

News18A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S.A. Nazeer and Sanjeev Khanna considered the review pleas of only those who were parties to the four lawsuits filed initially in the vexatious dispute, and rejected all of them. – News18

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed all the review petitions challenging a Constitution Bench’s order in the Ayodhya case that had cleared the way for construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site.

The top court, which took these review pleas for consideration in-chamber, rejected them after finding no merit. A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S.A. Nazeer and Sanjeev Khanna considered the review pleas of only those who were parties to the four lawsuits filed initially in the vexatious dispute.

There were 18 review petitions, out of which nine have been filed by parties who were part of the earlier litigation and the other nine were filed by “third parties”.The apex court refused to entertain nine review pleas filed by those who were not party to the original litigation. Among the nine “third parties” were 40 rights activists who had jointly moved the top court seeking review of its verdict.
s also get dismissed.

A 5-judge bench, headed by the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, had in a unanimous verdict on November 9 decreed the entire 2.77 acre disputed land in favour of deity Ram Lalla and also directed the Centre to allot a five-acre plot to Sunni Waqf Board at an alternative site for building a mosque in Ayodhya.

A number of Muslim parties, including some supported by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, 40 activists, Hindu Mahasabha and the Nirmohi Akhara were among the parties who approached the apex court.

The petitioners had said they were aggrieved by the court’s decision, and stated that the decision needs to be reconsidered as there were errors apparent on the face of the record.

The Muslim side filed a review petition against the verdict contending that the relief to Hindu parties amounted to rewarding illegal acts of trespass and demolition committed against the mosque. The judgment was mostly based on Hindu faith than secular principles, contended another set of review petitions filed by persons backed by the All India Muslim Personal Law Board.

Nirmohi Akhara, whose claims of shebait (or management) of the deity were dismissed by the Court, had also sought review of the verdict.

Later, forty civil rights activists, who were not parties in the original case, had filed a review petition. They contended that the verdict impacted “the syncretic culture of the country and its secular fabric envisaged in the Constitution”.

A five-judge bench, headed by then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, had in a unanimous verdict on November 9 decreed the entire 2.77 acre disputed land in favour of deity Ram Lalla and also directed the Centre to allot a five-acre plot to Sunni Waqf Board at an alternative site for building of a mosque in Ayodhya. – News18, 12 December 2019

Proposed Ram Temple at Ayodhya


Maheshwara as Arunachala Hill at Tiruvannamalai – B.R. Haran

Arunachaleshwar + Apeethakuchambal

Arunachala Hill & Arunachaleshwar Temple, Tiruvannamalai, TamilNadu

B.R. HaranWhere there is no Maheshwara Seva and Mahajnana Seva, need will increase; when need increases, vision will change; when vision changes, approach will vary; when approach varies, aliens will get into the mind; when aliens get into mind, the mind will get confused and that confusion will lead to change. Thus to fulfil real necessities and avoid artificial needs, seva must increase. When seva increases, Dharma will be established. The established Dharma will save the nation, its people, its religion and civilization. – B.R. Haran

Priest-King of Indus CivilisationDharma, Seva and the Vedic Civilisation

The Vedic civilization evolved on the banks of Sindhu and Saraswati with Dharma as the basis of evolution. Though it got the name “Hinduism” in later times, it is still denoted as Sanatana Dharma. The Itihasas and Puranas have vividly described the crushing of adharma by different avatars of almighty Bhagwan, whenever it raises its head and attempts to rule over this world. In the Kaliyuga, though Bhagwan doesn’t descend as an avatar, he establishes the reign of Adi ShankaraDharma through His blessed avatara purushas such as Adi Sankara, Ramanuja, Ramana Maharishi and Ragavendra, et al. Such mahatmas bless and guide people through their immortal dharmopadesas.

In the Kaliyuga, as adharma raises its head quite often, we would be able to protect our land and safeguard ourselves only when we adhere to the dharmopadesas of our dharmacharyas and act accordingly. It becomes imperative for us to follow the path of Dharma to establish the truth of the age-old maxim, “Adharma will engulf Dharma; ultimately Dharma Sri Ramana Maharshiwill prevail”. “If we protect Dharma, Dharma will protect us” is the code of this land.

A huge threat is looming large over this bhumi known for punya and Dharma, surrounded by adharmic alien forces. It is essential for us to stick to Dharma to destroy the alien forces and safeguard our motherland. Though many Dharmic concepts have been described in our Vedic religion, for us, the two most important are Maheshwara Seva and Mahajana Seva.

Maheshwara Seva caters to (i) protection of temples and continuation of worship rituals flawlessly, (ii) construction of temples in places where there are none and daily rituals of worship, (iii) renovation of dilapidated temples and resumption of worship, and (iv) organising temple related festivals involving the local populace across castes and communities. Mahajana Seva caters to donating food, clothing, houses, education and medicines for the poor, downtrodden and incapacitated people, apart from social and community services.

The Vedic faith has identified specific auspicious days for specific worship for specific Devas and Devis. It is only during these special days, festivals and utsavams, that the entire place, village or town, comes together to worship and celebrate. So, if at all the people are to remain united and if at all the alien forces causing division among the people are to be defeated, frequent celebrations of festivals and utsavams is essential.

During these common celebrations, the “haves” must take care of the “have-nots”. The well off and capable must help the poor, downtrodden and incapacitated by establishing a system whereby the poor can be helped permanently. This will act as an impediment to the evil designs of alien forces and stop religious conversions as well.

The sacred town of Tiruvannamalai stands testimony to the fact that mahatmas reside permanently in places where Maheshwaram Seva and Mahajana Seva are carried out perennially without hindrance. The thought that my recent experience in Tiruvannamalai would be meaningless and become useless if it is not shared with others, has resulted in this column.

Kartigai Deepam on Arunachala Hill at Tiruvannamalai

Arunachaleshwar as Lingabhavad Maheshwara as the Mountain

Tiruvannamalai, the theyu sthal or agni sthal, is one of the pancha bhuta sthals where Shiva shows his jyoti swarup as lingabhava to Brahma and Vishnu, who made futile attempts to find his head and feet respectively. As the bhumi could not withstand the power of His jyoti swarup going beyond the universe (prapancha), Maheshwara compressed himself and became a mountain, Annamalai. This puranic incident is observed as Karthigai festival, and people observe the jyoti swarup by lighting the huge deepa on the peak of Annamalai in the month of Kartigai on Kartigai nakshatram day (November 23 this year 2018).

Tiruvannamalai has another significance in the Puranas: Bhagwan Shiva gave his left part to Shakti (Devi Parvati) and appeared as Ardhanarishwara. During the Karthigai festival, at the exact time of lighting the deepam on the mountain peak, the utsavamurthi blesses devotees as Ardhanarishwara inside the temple premises. Apart from being a pancha bhuta sthal, the five peaks of Annamalai denote the pancha bhuta concept, as Shiva himself is a personification of a mountain comprising the pancha bhutas of  earth, water, fire, air and ether.

Sri SheshadriA Siddha Bhumi Known for Sevas

Tiruvannamalai is considered a siddha bhumi, that is, a land of siddhas. Siddhas are considered representatives of God with complete mastery over the powers of nature. They are believed to have conquered death and live anywhere and everywhere without being seen, recognized or identified by ordinary humans, and other living beings. Certain places in general and mountain ranges in particular are considered permanent seats of siddhas; Tiruvannamalai is one such sacred place.

Gautama Rishi, Arunagiri Yogi, Namachivayar, Namachivayam (author of Annamalai Venba), Viroobatcha Devar, Arunagiri Nathar (author of Thiruppugazh), Kondappa Desikar, Jadini Shanmuga Yogini Ammal, Ammani Ammal, Seshadri Swamigal, Ramana Maharishi, Yogi Yogi RamsuratkumarRamsuratkumar are some of the great mahaans of later times, who lived and attained siddhi in Tiruvannamalai, apart from the countless Siddhas who are believed to be permanently seated in Annamalai.

Ramana Maharshi Ashram, Seshadri Swamigal Ashram, Yogi Ramsuratkumar Ashram, the mathams established by the disciples of Namachivayar, are some of the organisations which have been rendering great service to the people. In the recent times, in order to arrest the illegal and immoral evangelical and conversion activities by the Church and Christian missionaries and also to take care of the needs of the Hindu masses, many Hindu organizations have opened branches in Tiruvannamalai. Kanchi Matham opened a branch recently.

Arunachala Temple

Bhikshatana Shiva at TiruvannamalaiShort History of Tiruvannamalai Temple

Stone temples came into being only during the Pallava Dynasty. Tiruvannamalai Temple is one of the earliest stone temples built by the Pallava kings. Later, the Cholas, Vijayanagar Kings, Thanjavur Nayaks and others built many sanctums, mandapams and towers. The kings of the Tulu dynasty also made some edifices.

The Chola period inscriptions found in this temple start from Vijayalaya Chola’s time (849 CE – 9th century inscriptions) and go for about 400 years of Chola Samrajya up to 13th century CE, giving us a lot of historical information.

Then, from 13th century CE to 16th century CE, kings like Kadavarkon Kopperu Singan, Posala king Veera Vallaalan, Vijayanagara kings (Krishnadevaraya and others), Thanjavur Nayaks (Sevappa Nayak & others) marked their inscriptions with vivid details of their times. The inscriptions found in this temple are in Tamil, Sanskrit and Kannada.

Sage Meikkandaar, who blessed us with the divine treatise Sivagnana Botham donated a lot to this temple on 22 May 1232 CE. Even kings from far off places (Ganges and nearby kingdoms) donated wealth for this temple.

Arunachaleshwara & ApeethakuchambalAnnamalai in Literature

Annamalai has found place in all kinds of literatures such as Puranas, Anthathis, Venbas, Prabandhams, Pathikams, Vannam, Sathakam, Kovai, Maalai, Viruththam, Keertanas, Sthothras, Kummi and plays.

As far as Sangam literatures is concerned, Tiruvannamalai is mentioned in Akanaanuru and Natrinai. Thirugnana Sambandar (Thevaram), Thirunavukkarasar (Thevaram), Sekkizhar (Periyapuranam) and Ramalinga Swamigal (Thiruvarutpa) sung hymns on Tiruvannamalai. More than 60 sthal purans are available in Tamil, and in Sanskrit we have Arunachala stotras and Arunachala ashtakam. Tiruvannamalai is mentioned even in Keno Upanishad.

Full moon over Arunachala HillSanctity of Pournami

Although many festivals are celebrated in Tiruvannamalai every month, Karthikai Deepam and Chithirai Thiruvizha are quite famous and both culminate on or close to Pournami (full moon day). Pournami is a very important day for Hindus, and apart from Karthikai Deepam and Chithra Pournami, we have festivals like Thai Pusam, Vaikasi Visakam, Avani Avittam, Masi Magam (Ganga Snan in Prayag) and Panguni Uthram (Holi in northern and western India) being grandly celebrated on Pournami.

Satyanarayana puja is commonly performed on Pournami day by people across the country. Pournami vrat has been observed by Hindus since ancient times. People observe fast right from morning and end their fast only after sighting the moon and performing puja in the evening.

Sadhu feeding

Yogi Ramsuratkumar Ashram Medical CampDana the Prime Dharma

Dana and Dharma go together and we normally say “Dana Dharma” whenever we talk about seva. Dana refers only to annadana as denoted by the term dharmashala. Hindu Dharma says one should even sacrifice one’s life to save another life. While helping a person, we should not look into his/her caste or religion and we should not bother whether he/she is good or bad. Talking about annadana, Thirumoolar’s Thirumanthiram says, “Yaarkum idumin; avar ivar ennanmin”, or, “Give to anyone; don’t look into antecedents”. The most significant aspect of annadana is that it is the only service in which the acceptor will say “enough” and “I don’t want anymore”. Such words would not come from the acceptor if any other thing is given.

Arunachala Animal SanctuaryPoortha Dharma or Community Service

In our Vedic civilisation, the essence of Dharma lies in the concept pancha maha yagna comprising Brahma Yagna (reciting & teaching Vedas), Pitru Yagna (sradda and tarpana, etc.), Deva Yagna (puja and arati for Ishwara), Bhuta Yagna (feeding animals and birds) and Nru Yagna (serving atithis, guests). This concept of pancha maha agna caring and protecting all of creation is postulated only in the Vedic Religion.

Apart from this, social services have also been defined under Poortha Dharma in the Dharma Sastras. Various social services undertaken by a community as a whole belong to this category of Dharma: temple cleaning, temple renovation, road laying, constructing wells and tanks, annadana for locals and outsiders during temple festivals.

Pradakshina of Arunachala Hill ~ Click image for route mapPradhakshana Namaskaram

The uniting of Maheshwara Seva and Mahajana Seva is Dharma. The most important aspect of Maheshwara Seva is pradhakshana namaskaram, doing namaskaram after performing circumambulation. Circumambulation can be performed for a particular sannithi, or, for the whole temple, or, for the whole hillock or mountain if the temple is located on top. Circumambulation of a mountain is called Giri Valam or Giri Pradhakshanam.

Our whole body is engaged in the ritual of Pradhakshana Namaskaram. The mouth recites slokas, namavalis or sings bhajans. Hands play musical instruments; do archanas, ring bells or merely claps to the tune of bhajans. Legs perform the main task of Deepamcircumambulation; head bows down in reverence and bhakti. When we do namaskaram, the entire body from head to toe worships Bhagwan. Anga pradhakshanam is unique in the sense that it is a combination of both pradhakshanam and namaskaram.

Tiruvannamalai is a place where Bhagwan Shiva himself stands as Annamalai (mountain). That is why it attracts millions of devotees from world over for every Paurnami Day!

› The late B. R. Haran was a senior journalist in Chennai. 

Deepam Namaskar at Tiruvannamalai

Veganism has not saved animals but transformed into a money machine for food behemoths – Maneka Gandhi


Maneka GandhiVeganism was meant to be transformative, something that would make the world a gentler, happier place, save animals and reduce suffering. Instead, it is yet another fashion statement. – Maneka Gandhi

A few months ago a Veganfest was held in Delhi. It was attended by hundreds of young, affluent, well-read and enthusiastic people. The speakers were from all over the world. But each one represented a company that was making vegan products: mock meat, cosmetics, etc. There were no philosophers, no one to define what veganism could and should be. It was a consumer event.

That is what worries me about the rapidly spreading vegan movement. It is simply about buying “something else”. It was meant to be transformative, something that would make the world a gentler, happier place, save animals and reduce suffering. Instead, it is yet another fashion statement.

Let us look at the impact of veganism on the food industry. If 5 percent of the US and Britain are vegans then meat consumption should have dropped by that amount. Instead, it has increased by 10 percent.

In fact, the meat industry has embraced veganism as another way to make a quick buck. All meat chains have added a few vegan items to their menus. No restaurant has lost any customers due to veganism (which they should have), they have added new ones. Vegans go to McDonald’s and order a vegan burger which helps keep McDonald’s profits rolling so that they can kill more animals and make more meat burgers. Look at the economics. Greggs is a meat sausage roll company. They started a vegan sausage roll and their profits went up by 58 percent. But if customers were simply switching from the meat to the plant-based sausage roll, profits would have stayed the same. Has their meat production dropped? Not by one roll.

Papa John’s, the meat and dairy pizza chain, has also seen a boost from its vegan “sheese” range which it launched on the same day as its hotdog version. “Our vegan customers like to share on social media how happy they are that we are catering for them.”

Every supermarket has opened a vegan section. But it is nothing compared to their meat, cheese and dairy sections. Ice cream giants have non-dairy ice cream—but they also sell dairy ice cream. Burger King now has a vegan burger. Has this changed the people eating meat burgers? No. Burger King customers continue to buy beef burgers. But now vegans and vegetarians come through the doors too. They have simply widened their customer base, not changed habits or spending choices. The vegan movement, that should be doing all it can to put animal killers out of business, is now handing over its money to them.

Do Burger King, Mcdonald’s and KFC have a special fund into which they put vegan money in order to rescue animals, or clean up the planet? No, the core business of these corporations is animal slaughter for food. By financially supporting them, all vegans do is fund their ability to continue their environmentally damaging meals. If a burger chain offers one vegan option, you are not “flexing your vegan muscles” by giving them your money. You are falling into their capitalist trap. Likewise, giving money to leather boot companies that also have boots made of polyurethane plastic in every colour. The company that sells both has now doubled its sales in leather.

Vegans seem to believe that we can simply spend our way to animal liberation and saving the planet. All you have to do is descend on supermarkets and restaurant chains, stuff your trolleys and stomachs with vegan products and suddenly the world will become a better place for all species. But you don’t end exploitation by handing your money to exploiters. All you do is bankroll further exploitation. Vegans are not here to make the shopping aisles bigger but to end exploitation. You cannot spend your way to paradise.

This emphasis on buying different versions of the same products, from the same companies, has led to masses of clever advertising jugglery by companies. All the things that were always vegan, now have a vegan label on them: vegan beer, vegan sofas, even a vegan massage. Something that was called a soya protein shake is now a vegan protein shake. More restaurants, more clothes, more brands of cosmetics. Basically, it is just “greenwashing”.

For instance, Body Shop is where rich vegans buy their cosmetics. But Body Shop is owned by L’Oreal, one of the largest testers of animals in the cosmetic world. Body Shop is simply their outlet to capture the vegan consumer. Dairy-free ice-cream from Ben & Jerry’s may sound good, but it is owned by Unilever, the villains of vivisection.

That vegans are being taken for a ride, on the “vegan consumer train”, is obvious. Last year Daiya, the maker of vegan cheeses, sold their company to a Japanese pharmaceutical company that tortures animals for “research”. So many companies have built their business on veganism and then sold out to larger non-vegan conglomerates. Companies don’t care about the rights of animals, they care about the wallets of their owners. Corporations view the earth, nonhumans and humans, as capital to profit from and exploit.

Vegfests should not be simply about food, community and entertainment. Veganism is not a trendy lifestyle or something that you can show off with to other people at social events. Today, vegan magazines are just about food recipes and advertisers: clothing, travel, cosmetics. Not a single magazine or even blog undertakes to grapple with the real issues of veganism—education, government policies, critical thinking, speciesist language (you pig/dog/swine!) capitalism, non-human rights, the animal industrial complex. Should our Indian exports be solely based on meat/eggs and milk?

Veganism is now the 21st century version of California’s Haight–Ashbury hippie cult. Handled in an irresponsible style, and quickly seen as a drug-fuelled protest, this serious anti-war movement of the 60s was short-lived. Veganism now is seen as a temporary fad adopted by youthful, rebellious, teenagers in search of “self-expression”. Like all fads, it, unfortunately, belongs to a teenage world and will be outgrown in adulthood.

Going vegan is one tool which can be used to undermine the huge impact commercial animal agriculture has on our planet’s health, climate and biodiversity. But the simple eating of vegan food alone isn’t necessarily going to undermine these practices. What we eat, how it is produced, and the amount we consume, all are questions that need to be answered as we transform food production. These questions are not answered when our dietary choices boil down to choosing the latest cool vegan option. Vegans need to be wary about how the switch to plant-based diets can be easily incorporated into existing unsustainable food systems, making it not the lifestyle of ecological warriors but simply another mainstream consumer choice. – Firstpost, Nov 21, 2019

Maneka Gandhi is a BJP member of the Lok Sabha.  She is an animal rights activist, environmentalist, and has authored a number of books in the areas of etymology, law, and animal welfare. To join the animal welfare movement contact her at or go to

Einstein Quote


Was the river flowing through Harappa the Saraswati? – Aniruddha Ghosal

Ghaggar in spate in Punjab (2019)

Aniruddha GhosalScientists have argued that the  “revived perennial condition of the Ghaggar, which can be correlated with the Saraswati, likely facilitated development of the early Harappan settlements along its banks.” – Aniruddha Ghosal

With “unequivocal evidence” that the Ghaggar river, where the early Harappans built their settlements, was perennial, a recent study has argued that this is the river that later came to be known as the Saraswati.

The hypothesis that modern-day Ghaggar-Hakra river system, which flows intermittently between India and Pakistan, could be the River Saraswati that finds mention in the Rig Veda has been reiterated several times since the 19th century. However, with no proof of the river’s uninterrupted flow during the zenith of the civilisation, it has been argued that the Harappans depended on monsoonal rains.

In the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports on November 20, scientists from the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad and the Department of Earth Sciences, IIT Bombay presented what they called was “unequivocal evidence for the Ghaggar’s perennial past by studying temporal changes of sediment provenance along a 300 km stretch of the river basin”.

They argued that “this revived perennial condition of the Ghaggar, which can be correlated with the Saraswati, likely facilitated development of the early Harappan settlements along its banks.”

The study argues that “Harappans built their early settlements along a stronger phase of the river Ghaggar”, during a period 9,000 to 4,500 years ago, “which would later be known as the Saraswati”, but “by the time the civilisation matured, the river had already lost its glacial connection.”

The study notes that while the eventual “decline” of the “civilisation” at the Ghaggar-Saraswati valley postdates “the exceptional changes to the flow of the river”, “a stronger perennial phase appears to have helped the early societies sow the seeds of the earliest known civilisation of the Indian subcontinent.”

The presence of a large number of Harappan settlements along the banks of the modern-day Ghaggar Hakra stream, which had remained monsoon-fed for most of its history, has baffled archaeologists since the 1950s. The authors noted that the observation that “Harappans in the Ghaggar valley made little effort to harvest rainwater, unlike their counterparts in the semi-arid Saurashtra and Rann of Kachchh regions” in spite of a weakening monsoon raised “serious doubt about the conclusion that the Ghaggar had seasonal water supply.”

The researchers noted that two of its largest cities, Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, along with smaller settlements were built along the “mighty and frequently flooding Indus and Ravi, respectively.”

In spite of evidence of an increase in localised rainfall for a few centuries, during the urbanisation of the period, the study notes, “The important question that needs to be asked is: what made the early settlers build their cities along a supposedly dying river instead of the well-watered plains of neighbouring perennial Himalayan rivers.”

The researchers studied the temporal changes in the origin of the sediment along the 300 kilometer stretch of the river basin and established that 80,000 to 20,000 years ago, the river was receiving sediments from the Higher Himalayas and 9,000 to 4,500 years ago, from the Lesser Himalayas. “The latter phase can be attributed to the reactivation of the river by the distributaries of the Sutlej,” it added.

The study scrutinised the dynamics of the Harappan civilisation and found that “timing of the rejuvenated perennial phase of the Ghaggar”, which was between 9,000 to 4,500 years ago, “coincides with that of the flourishing of the Pre-Harappan and Early Harappan cultures along its banks.”

“Towards the end of the Mature Harappan phase (4.6-3.9 ka), there is a clear evidence of human migrations to the lower and upper reaches of the river, leaving the middle part sparsely populated … which could be attributed to the disorganisation of the river as established in this work,” it said, while adding that the lower reaches of the river “possibly remained perennial, through a connection from the Sutlej, supporting mature and post-urban Harappan settlements.” – News18, 24 November 2019

› Aniruddha Ghosal writes on politics, environment, health and science for News18 at New Delhi.

Saraswati River Map


AIMPLB, Jamiat petitions Supreme Court for review of Ayodhya judgement – R. Jagannathan

Muslim Law Board

Swarajya MagazineThe AIMPLB want to keep the flame of communal tensions alive for their own narrow purposes. They remain in perpetual denial about the destruction of temples during Islamic rule. – R. Jagannathan

The decisions of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind to file review petitions against the Supreme Court verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi case tells us two things: one, many Muslim organisations, egged on by Leftist trouble-makers, want to keep the flame of communal tensions alive for their own narrow purposes; and two, they will remain in perpetual denial about the destruction of temples during Islamic rule.

The first point is obvious, since the AIMPLB explicitly promised to abide by any court verdict repeatedly before 9 November. By now changing its tune when the verdict went the other way, it is clearly guilty of making false promises. Its decision to seek a review of the unanimous verdict of a five-judge bench, with one sitting chief justice and two future chief justices, is driven by mala fide intentions.

But the larger worry is that Muslims will be in implicit denial of the depredations of former Islamic rulers. This does not augur well for the future of Hindu-Muslim relations.

Soon after the verdict, the AIMPLB made the unambiguous claim that “the land of the mosque belongs to Allah and under the Sharia it cannot be given to anybody”. As this writer pointed out in an earlier article, India is not governed by the Sharia but by the Indian Constitution. The more worrisome aspect of this statement is that Muslims will not even acknowledge the reality that a mosque was built over the remains of a temple – and this is the case with hundreds of mosques in India.

One can always challenge a court judgement on technical grounds, but what the Supreme Court verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi case did was to use the law of adverse possession creatively to deliver civilisational justice to Hindus, who were wronged by the actions of bigoted and iconoclastic rulers in the past. These wrongs continue to be denied in the present by their religious successors – present-day Islamic organisations.

Just as Hindus can never remain in denial about caste injustices, Muslims can’t remain in denial of their own past, when temples were destroyed by bigoted rulers.

The Jamiat and the AIMPLB have a legal right to challenge any Supreme Court verdict, but they have no right to deny Hindus civilisational justice by refusing to acknowledge past injustices. The Ram Janmabhoomi verdict was minor recompense for widespread destruction of Hindu lives and temple properties in the past. It shows that they are unwilling to truly move towards a healthier relationship with Hindus of present-day India.

The Supreme Court should not only reject the review petitions peremptorily, but also deliver a stinging rebuke to the parties that want to deny the wrongs of the past. – Swarajya, 3 Decemeber, 2019

R. Jagannathan is the editorial director of Swarajya.

Subramanian Swamy

PGURUSSubramanian Swamy urges for amendments in the Places of Worship Act of 1991. – Team PGurus

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring amendments in the Places of Worship Act 1991, citing that certain provisions in the Act is against the spirit of Fundamental Right of Freedom of Worship, enshrined in the Constitution of India. In his letter, Swamy pointed out that Section 4 of the Places of Worship Act must be amended as it is ultra vires of the Right to Worship.

The Places of Worship Act passed by Narasimha Rao’s Government in September 1991 was brought in context to control the Sangh Parivar’s widespread movement for the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Section 4 of the Act says that except in the Ayodhya case, the status quo of temples and other worshiping areas will be maintained as on August 15, 1947, the day India attained Independence. As per this Act, no courts or tribunals can entertain cases on Temples and worshiping areas character and rights over it. This Act was enacted to prevent Sangh Parivar which has already sought the liberation of Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Mathura Sri Krishna Temple partially destroyed by Aurangzeb and masjids were constructed on them.

As the Ayodhya case was already in the Courts, the Government exempted it from controversial Places of Worship Act of 1991. The recent verdict of the Ayodhya case also gives details about this Act.

“I write this letter to seek your direction to the Ministry of Law to effect an amendment to The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 and in particular Section 4 which is offensive and ultra vires of my fundamental rights under Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution.  This Act was enacted by the Congress Government headed by Mr. Narasimha Rao. Fundamental Rights cannot be amended or modified by the Parliament or by any law passed by Parliament. It cannot have the overriding effect of extinguishing my fundamental right of freedom of worship under Article 25 and 26 as also faith enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution. This makes it a part of the Basic Structure of the Constitution.

Hence the Ministry of Law should bring an amendment to this Act starting that it is not applicable to those religious institutions where the question of fundamental right and faith is claimed. I shall seek an appointment with the Law Minister Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad to explain in detail this matter. I seek your intervention and appropriate direction to the Ministry of Law and Justice,” said Subramanian Swamy in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. – PGurus, 1 December 2019

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Aurangzeb's firman ordering the demolition of the Vishwanath Temple at Varanasi in August 1669 A.D.

See Aurangzeb’s temple-breaking legacy according to Mughal records – FACT