The Hindu View of Food and Drink: A critique – Shrivathsa B.

Hindu Education

Shrivathsa B.“The purpose of revisiting the question of “whether the ancients ate beef?” is funny. What if one were to discover that our ancients did indeed eat men? Do we tolerate those who do it today? Or even better, give scriptural justifications as to why it may have been or should be done today?” – Shrivathsa B.

Learned readers may read an article by a scholar of our times, Dr R. Ganesh (RG from here on) here. The title of the article is “The Hindu View on Food and Drink” and has been published in India Facts. As the article touches quite a few aspects spanning history, dharma, etc., it is difficult to write a comprehensive response in the comments section.

Dr R. GaneshA few disclaimers

Dr Ganesh is a respected personal friend and I have benefited intellectually from his long but irregular association. The association is old enough for me to analyze his article’s position vis-a-vis his positions about other issues that he has held in the past. To this extent, my judgment of RG and his article is coloured. Certain points of his article are analyzed here avoiding personalizing the argument to the extent possible. This article is not about RG’s scholarship for which he doesn’t need any certificates.

Food and drink vis-a-vis airplanes in ancient India or the “utility”

By “utility” we mean the purpose of revisiting the past. This involves asking questions such as: did our ancients indulge in incest, were they cannibals, etc. RG’s article fails this test. Let us analyze it further. Here is a similar case from the recent past.

Recently there were reports of a few overenthusiastic people trying to prove that ancient India did indeed have planes. At that time, it was a reasonable stance of various scholars (one would reasonably include RG) that:

  1. The purported planes as quoted in the Vaimānika Sāstra as studied and analyzed by two scientists of the Indian Institute of Science, simply cannot fly.
  2. Whether our ancients indeed flew planes is irrelevant to the current crying weaknesses in our own aviation sector and this gloating amounts, at best, to precious nothing and at worst, leads to self-congratulatory complacence.

The purpose of revisiting the question of “whether the ancients ate beef?” is funny. What if one were to discover that our ancients did indeed eat men? Do we tolerate those who do it today? Or even better, give scriptural justifications as to why it may have been or should be done today?

The “utility” argument is not a censor, but it will be useful to the authors to nuance their arguments.

Annapoorani DeviThe title

One is at a loss to understand the purpose the title “The Hindu View on Food and Drink”. One could have titled it to suit the contents of the article as: “The Hindu View of Meat-Eating, Beef-Eating and Drinking”. But then, this much can be given as gratuitous advice and nothing more. One would have been forgiven for looking forward to an exposition about food as in the Hindu śāstra granthas. To see the beef question again was a let-down. But then, this may be quite subjective and we will also have to account for the possibility of the title being sanitized by the editors (a reasonable speculation).

Having said the above, the authors need to be told that the confusion and let-down may have been the experience of many people. If causing such a confusion was intentional, something like a snare to get the unprepared reader hooked on to more controversial questions, is something that the authors / editors may convey to us (if at all) at their convenience.

The purpose

Many are too intellectually small to tell RG that either articles have a purpose, or ultimately they are utilized. The latter is what some “activists” are concerned about (in the comments section). The exchange is quite emotional and heated. The fear being that scholars such as RG with a purported Hindu background are espousing a position which is ill at ease with the current status of cows in India. The charge being that the scholars are unwittingly scoring a self-goal. This self-goal is dangerous, considering that the consequences of wrong utilization of the article’s thesis has to do with

  1. lives of animals which are exceptionally beneficial to the national economy;
  2. food security: proper utilization of cow dung, cow urine, etc. will result in healthier soils which can preserve productivity over longer periods of time;
  3. reducing and alleviating soil degradation: cow dung and cow urine have a beneficial effect on degraded soils;
  4. agricultural profitability: farming using cow dung, etc. will result in greater productivity and hence greater profits sustainably. Utilization of compost, cow dung, cow urine, etc. is the way to a sustainable agriculture. 

Exhortation to, or justification of beef-eating will jeopardize all the above.

Common SenseProgress of traditions and need of Dharma changing its definition / application dynamically

There can be no dharma which goes against common sense. To espouse neutrality about eating beef in India is against dharma. Let us explore this in more detail.

RG as far as I know, forcefully asserts that the definition and application of dharma changes dynamically with time. This is a reasonable position to take, but appears opposite to the intent of the current article. Let us paraphrase the intent of the article in simpler words (if the author meant something else, one will be fortunate to be enlightened):

  • Indians ate beef in ancient / medieval India.
  • We, as Hindus, as confirmed by our texts, did not take any moral stand about meat-eating and beef-eating.
  • Hence, we, as Hindus today shouldn’t take a moral stand about meat-eating and beef-eating.

Where does the above message sit with the consistent and reasonable position that regardless of whatever the ancients did, we have to bother about the current day and age. That is, the definition of dharma being dynamic, doesn’t allow one to override common world considerations. Consider the above, with the possibility of desi breeds of cows becoming extinct due to rampant culling. India is also staring at the possibility of becoming a net importer of milk very soon. In the face of this, to maintain a neutral stance about eating beef is intellectually irresponsible. RG has been a signatory to a recent petition seeking a review of the way history is being written and taught in India. A bit of intellectual responsibility is not too much to expect of him. Intellectual irresponsibility is a charge which can be fairly thrown at RG’s article, in spite of the exhortation at the end about being responsible about meat-eating, etc. (which appears more as an afterthought).

Hence, the line of arguing whether or not ancient Indians ate beef, whether they indulged in incest, or ate human flesh, etc. neither satisfy the utility requirement, nor are they in tune with the dynamic definition of dharma. What matters is the current definition of dharma which seems unequivocally against eating beef.

Dharma and nīti

Any nīti (principles / law applied in real world) adopted should be conducive to establishment and nourishing of dharma. The naitika line adopted by the article seems ill at ease with this.

Current dhārmic requirement on nīti needs to take into account the following:

  1. Growing population and unsustainable models of chemical-based agriculture has led to a scary situation where soil degradation threatens long-term food security. This should be seen in the light of the benefits of sustainable models of organic agriculture. No use scoffing at this, any visit to any Krishi Mela will convince one of the growing awareness in farmers about issues connected to this.
  2. The prospect of cow dung playing a part in the long-term energy security of the country. According to estimates, about 1 lakh 32 thousand crore rupees per year can be saved in fuel costs by adopting dung derived methane as an alternative fuel. Just consider shutting down an industry which produces profits of Rs 1 lakh 32 thousand crore only through byproducts. Will any sane government / community allow this?
  3. The role the cow plays in the rural economy as a tool of economic empowerment.

Apparently, one finds killing a man for his coat to be offensive, what about killing a cow for merely its leather or meat?

Palm Leaf ScriptureScriptural justification for acts committed by people

The article, wittingly or otherwise also ends up being an apology for people who seek to eat beef. If someone wants to eat beef, why would he require scriptural authority to do so and vice versa? Just because we are faced with a culture which seeks to make beef-eating as acceptable, do we capitulate before such a culture and find out scriptural justifications for eating beef? In other words, do we make the definition of dharma so dynamic as to include adharma?

If the above is misconstrued as merely rhetorical, the substantial arguments against eating beef can be found in the texts themselves. It will become amply clear that RG has presented a one-sided view of tradition and its interpretations without looking at the counter arguments in the same texts.

Evidence from brāhmaṇa literature

The definitive argument against eating any form of meat is found in the most ancient text concerning Vedic rites, the Aitareya Brāhmaṇa. The eighth and ninth khaṇḍas of the sixth adhyāya contains a brāhmaṇic story of  a puruṣa who was about to be sacrificed in a yajña (conducted by devas). The best material in him escapes because of the fear of death and enters various animal bodies and escapes them in sequence. It finally enters earth and then the grains. The sum and substance of the brāhmaṇic story is that the person conducting a sacrificial rite using puroḍāsha (a grain preparation) is indeed doing an animal sacrifice. This is  because of the yajña paśu has passed the bodies of various animals, earth and finally the grains. The drift being that grains have the best essence of all animals and the earth. The text also provides equivalence between the body parts of an animal and the different parts of a grain.

This seems to suggest that there was either (1) a parallel tradition which practiced sacrifices using grain alone; or (2) an opprobrium associated with animal sacrifice—which led to a brāhmaṇic story such as the above.

In any of the above cases it can be safely argued that the concept of sacrifices of the animal variety as the only means of attaining heaven was being reviewed by the ancients (thereby the story extolling grain over meat).

Gadhimai FestivalAnimal sacrifice prohibited according Mahābhārata

The anuśāsana parva of Mahābhārata holds a view strictly against animal sacrifice of any sort. This is explained by the story of King Vasu. The story being: A king by name Vasu goes to heaven as a result of conducting yajñas. After he reached heaven, there happens to be a debate among the devas and ṛṣis about the use of goats, etc. in sacrifice. In this debate, the devas are in favour of goat sacrifice and ṛṣis favour oblation of unsprouted seeds. The tussle is about the word “aja” which can either mean unsprouted seeds or a goat. They decide that as Vasu has reached heaven performing yajñas, he is the right person to be consulted. Vasu, who is now a deva himself decides to be partial to the deva view and gives the verdict in favour of goats being killed. As a result of this, he is cursed immediately to be born on earth as a snake.

A question of proportion

Whenever any argument is made, it makes sense for it to preserve proportions. The argument presented in RG’s article fails the above test. It seeks to promote a view that Hindus were beef-eaters, as though they were eating beef at least once a week (if not every day). Let us ask a few questions and answer them.

Que:  Who are the ancients who are supposed to have eaten beef, if at all?

Ans: A subset of Brahmins called yājñika Brahmins who have done or taken part in somayāga. This is a “difficult” yāga to conduct owing to the requirement of numerous priests of a very high erudition. Generally the convention was for the yajamāna and his next seven generations to carry surnames such as somayājī, vājapeyī, etc. Any cursory population analysis of the Brahmins will reveal that the number is minuscule. Brahmins had other vocations such as temple duties, official duties in the royal court and the like. In fact, some communities in Brahmins are classified as (1) Kammis (corruption of “karmī”, i.e. worker) who were predominantly officials by tradition. (2) Ācārya: who were traditional school teachers. (3) Joshi: the ones predominantly traditional astrologers (4) Purāṇika: the ones who were traditional story tellers, bards etc. This being the case, the number of those who have eaten beef, if at all, is minuscule.

Que: How often did they eat beef (if at all)?

Ans: Somayāga was not a daily event. It had strict restrictions on its conduct including restrictions on

  1. the time of the year: certain varṇas had to conduct it in certain seasons;
  2. the yajamāna (the one on behalf of whom the yajña is conducted): before even beginning a somayāga, he should have (a) been an āhitāgni, (b) conducted the sapta pāka and sapta havissamsthas. Except in the case of a chosen few who probably had royal backing, to be an āhitāgni and have finished the samsthas is quite difficult practically;
  3. Ayajño vā etadadakṣiṇaḥ (that which doesn’t have substantial dakṣiṇā is not fit to be called a yajna) goes a famous maxim. Stories abound in itihāsa and purāṇa about kings giving away everything they had. The rājasūya sacrifice calls for giving away even the loin cloth worn by the king. Given this, the number of those even among even the yājñikas who were regularly conducting yāga is logically low;
  4. once seven Somayāgas are done, the yajamāna is supposed to have attained the merit of going to heaven, hence it isn’t necessary for him to do any more yāgas. So, at the most, he and the priests may have eaten beef seven times in their life (if at all).

The above being the case, any argument based on right proportions should qualify RG’s argument as follows:

“There were a minuscule few people in ancient India who used to conduct occasional sacrifices involving killing of animals, this too, in spite of scriptural injunctions against such a practice.”

To conclude in any other way will be intellectually dishonest and the authors of the article are indeed guilty of distorting proportions in a discussion on history.

MadhuparkaThe incompatibility of beef in madhuparka

The article touches the oft-repeated Uttararāma Carita instance where Vasiṣṭha is purportedly served beef madhuparka.

Interested people may read the book A Review of Beef in Medieval India here. The book provides logical arguments refuting the idea of beef in madhuparka. A summary is given below:

  1. Impracticality of sacrificing a cow or a calf in the welcome ritual: All acts of arghya, pādya, etc. are to be done continuously. One cannot give pādya and ask the visitor to wait till a calf is brought, killed, meat extracted, cooked, mixed with other ingredients and served. It is clear from this that the calf would have been shown to the visitor, if he be interested in taking it home, he give consent, otherwise ask the host to let it free.
  2. The incompatibility between what is meant in the mantra and what was purportedly done. The mantra clearly says, “don’t kill a cow.”
  3. The incompatibility of mixing beef in madhuparka. The authors of the book have written to the best chefs of international hotels. The chefs have attested to the incompatibility of mixing cooked beef with a sweet preparation made of milk and curd.
  4. The ritual of madhuparka which has been preserved in its non-beef form even in a monastery situated in a hard-core-meat-eating country.

In view of all the above, it can be safely concluded that RG’s article cannot be considered the “Hindu” view of food.

SayanaSelective invoking of certain commentators

A scaremongering trick indulged in many of those arguing on behalf of RG in the comments section is selective invoking of commentators such as Sayana, etc. At times this is done in an aggressive display of faux scholarship with a “you know nothing” tone. To such people, we may submit the following: even if there are references to animal sacrifice, it serves nobody’s long-term interest today to justify slaughtering cows. There have been many customs which we have either willingly or otherwise given up, what about giving up a thing which wasn’t a custom at all?

May better sense prevail on the authors. They have written a rebuttal to the comments they have received, we will try to analyze that article at a later date. – ParyAyavAk, 23 November 2015

» Shrivathsa B. is the Director of Bhagirathi Engineering Solutions in Bengaluru. He also teaches Valmiki Ramayanam and is a student of Sama and Rig Vedas.

Onam feast for monkeys in Kerala

See also

Modi changes the discourse in London – Sandhya Jain

ANTALYA, NOV 16 (UNI)- Prime Minister, Narendra Modi (2nd R) with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk and the President of the European Commission, . Jean Claude Juncker in a bilateral meeting, on the sidelines of G20 Summit 2015, in Turkey on Sunday. UNI PHOTO-17U

Sandhya Jain is the editor of Vijayvaani.“Never has such a meticulously choreographed circus by Western (mainly US) academicians, Indian writers, artists and sundry activists, aimed at demonizing a popular leader, collapsed so colossally. As Hindu sages aver, it’s all about time and place. As the real Taliban cousins—ISIS—turned up uninvited at a rock concert in Paris, … the high decibel calumny against Mr Modi looked embarrassingly false and ill-timed. Both Silicon Valley and Wembley shunned the agent provocateurs; this could make future mobilisation counter-productive.” – Sandhya Jain

Modi unviels Basaveshwara statue in LondonPrime Minister Narendra Modi used his London visit to transcend the negative discourse about his regime by projecting a confident and aspirational India, receptive to foreign investment and collaboration, while remaining wedded to its civilisational moorings. Hours before he unveiled the statue of medieval sage Basaveshwara on the banks of the Thames in Lambeth borough, the savagery of terrorist attacks in Paris made the peddlers of “Hindu Taliban” and “Intolerant India” look like snake oil salesmen.

Never has such a meticulously choreographed circus by Western (mainly US) academicians, Indian writers, artists and sundry activists, aimed at demonizing a popular leader, collapsed so colossally. As Hindu sages aver, it’s all about time and place. As the real Taliban cousins—ISIS—turned up uninvited at a rock concert, the stadium where President Francois Hollande was watching a soccer match with the German foreign minister, and other places, the high decibel calumny against Mr Modi looked embarrassingly false and ill-timed. Both Silicon Valley and Wembley shunned the agent provocateurs; this could make future mobilisation counter-productive.

Dodging calls for reparations for colonial exploitation, Mr Modi said the two nations shared some traditions and gracefully acknowledged the British education of several Indian freedom fighters and leaders, from Jawaharlal Nehru to Dr Manmohan Singh. Ironically, even as the Prime Minister rectified previous gaffes of criticising former regimes on foreign soil, the Congress party’s student wing put out posters in Allahabad comparing Jawaharlal Nehru to the celebrated Raja Bhoj and scorning Mr Modi’s caste background.

Jaguar by TataMr Modi, however, had more important things on his mind and during the course of his three-day visit, set about enticing Britain with mention of the iconic Jaguar (Britain’s largest private sector employer, now owned by Tata), Brooke Bond tea, curry, and of course cricket. The Modi-speak moment came when he said every young Indian footballer wants to “bend it like Beckham”.

Coming to business, he offered £1 billion rupee-denominated bonds from Indian railways at the London Stock Exchange. Claiming India’s business environment has eased, he promised there would henceforth be no retrospective taxation. He explained recent reform measures to Chancellor of Exchequer Gordon Osborne and top CEOs of India and Britain, including further relaxation in FDI norms in 15 sectors, and pledged to protect Intellectual Property Rights of innovators and entrepreneurs, for which a comprehensive National IPR policy is being finalised. The fact that FDI into India has increased by 40 per cent reflects international confidence in India.

The main purpose of the visit was to attract investment for development, particularly smart and sustainable cities, for which he secured a five-year partnership to develop Amravati, Indore and Pune. Given that nearly half the British Indians are of Gujarati Air Indiaorigin, he offered a direct Air India flight between London and Ahmedabad from December 15. Interestingly, British observers noted, one reason why Prime Minister Cameron spread the red carpet for Mr Modi was that in the general election in May, the Tories for the first time received one million votes from ethnic minorities, mainly Asians, and outpolled Labour among Hindus and Sikhs.

By all accounts, it was a productive visit, with student visas possibly the one issue that evaded quick resolution. Mr Modi raised the matter twice, pointing out that Indian students are among the best in the world, but difficulty in getting visas had led to a fifty per cent decline in those studying in the UK in the past three years, forcing them to go to America or Australia. To NRIs he offered a digital platform, MADAD, to resolve visa and related issues.

In all, deals worth £9 billion were announced, including inking a civil nuclear pact, and collaboration in defence and cyber security. Mr Cameron offered a government-to-government framework to help India, the world’s largest defence importer, to modernise her capabilities by increasing cooperation in new technologies and new capabilities, like cyber security and aircraft carriers. Britain is helping to establish a new centre to train one King's College Hospital Londonmillion Indian cyber-security professionals and offering assistance to set up a new Indian cyber-crime unit.

The consortium, Indo-UK Healthcare, committed to invest over Rs 10,000 crore to bring the famous NHS Hospitals and other leading educational institutions and universities to India over the next few years. The first hospital, King’s College Hospital, England will come up in New Chandigarh at an investment of Rs 1,000 crore. Investment in joint UK-India research from the UK Research Councils, the Government of India and third parties was enhanced by £72-million.

Mr Modi’s two key concerns included terrorism and climate change. Even before the Paris carnage occurred, he mentioned a world “where instability spreads quickly and poses challenges of radicalisation and refugees”. The fault-lines between nations, he stated presciently, “are shifting from borders to societies, making terrorism and extremism a global force of new dimensions”.

Stressing the urgency for the United Nations to adopt a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, he reiterated India’s position that the world must not distinguish between terrorist groups or discriminate between nations, but isolate those who harbour terrorists and stand with nations that fight them honestly. It was a polite way of saying India had ploughed a lonely furrow in the matter of externally-funded terrorism; the Paris UN Security Council New York Cityattacks a few hours later underlined the reality of mobile terrorism. On his part, Mr Cameron reiterated support for India getting a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

At Paris (COP 21), Mr Modi emphasised, the world must initiate a low carbon age for the sustainable future of the planet, and nations with the means and know-how must help meet humanity’s need for clean energy and a healthy environment. India plans to achieve 175 GW of additional capacity in renewable energy by 2022 and reduction in emission intensity of 33-35 % by 2030.

Stressing the importance of international agreement to limit global warming to two degrees by 2050, Mr Modi invited Britain to join India’s initiative for an International Solar Alliance (Surya-putra) for tropical countries, to make solar energy an integral part of our lives, especially in remote villages that have not received electricity. A fund of £10 million has been set up for joint research collaboration into low-cost, low-carbon energy technologies, along with a comprehensive package of £3.2 billion for commercial deals and initiatives to share technical, scientific, and financial and policy expertise.

By the time Mr Modi landed in Antalya, Turkey, for the G20 summit, global security concerns had eclipsed the Cassandras and professional hate-mongers.  – The Pioneer, 17 November 2015

» Sandhya Jain is a senior journalist with The Pioneer in New Delhi.

G20 2015 Summit Leaders on Turkish Postage Stamps. Modi's stamp is third from left in second row.

Manoj Bhargava is investing his fortune to save the world – Anne Quito

Manoj Bhargava

Anne Quito“Among Stage 2’s inventions is Free Electric, a bicycle-powered machine that can convert human mechanical energy to electricity. One hour of pedaling is transformed to 24 hours of electricity for off-grid areas of the world—enough to recharge a cellphone, light up a house or power an electric kettle—all without waste or utility bills. Next year, Bhargava plans to ship 10,000 of these free bikes to India, with initial pilot testing planned in the northern state of Uttarakhand before the nationwide roll-out.” – Anne Quito

5-Hour EnergyFor legions of truck drivers, employees chasing deadlines, and students burning the midnight oil, Manoj Bhargava’s best-selling invention, 5-hour ENERGY drink, has already been a lifesaver. 

Since launching the caffeine-based power-drink in 2004, Bhargava, 62, has quietly amassed a $4 billion fortune. (Not to mention some scrutiny last year in light of controversy over the marketing of the drink.) But it’s not all about the profits: A former monk, Bhargava dabbled in a variety of odd jobs early in his career—taxi driver, construction worker, printing press operator, business manager—and seems to have gained a little extra empathy for the plight of the working poor. 

In a new self-produced film called Billions in Change, released Oct. 5, Bhargava has pledged to give away 99% of his fortune to charity. 

A huge stake of that wealth will go into a design and engineering laboratory called Stage 2 Innovations. Housed in a building within his 25-acre corporate campus in Farmington Hills, Michigan, the “tinkerer’s workshop,” as he calls it, has a singular mission: to create technologies that provide a livelihood boost for people in the developing world. 

To change the world, all you have to do is invent more stuff, says Bhargava in his film. 

“I think most people in the United States forgot that [inventors and engineers] brought us to where we are,” he later reflected during an interview with the Huffington Post. “The wealth that has been created over the last 120 years came from guys who actually built stuff.”

“We just concentrate on things that can be incredibly useful,” explained Bhargava. “If you come up with something cool that’s not, we don’t do it. I have no interest. I don’t want to be cool…. Actually, I’m never going to be cool.” 

Cool or not, some of Stage 2’s projects are impressively ambitious—setting their sights on ending the planet’s energy and clean water resource crisis. 

Among Stage 2’s inventions is Free Electric, a bicycle-powered machine that can convert human mechanical energy to electricity. One hour of pedaling is transformed to 24 hours of electricity for off-grid areas of the world—enough to recharge a cellphone, light up a house or power an electric kettle—all without waste or utility bills. Next year, Bhargava plans to ship 10,000 of these free bikes to India, with initial pilot testing planned in the northern state of Uttarakhand before the nationwide roll-out. 

Bhargava is also investing heavily to develop graphene cables that might one day conduct heat from the core of the earth directly to the surface. Heat, after all, is energy, and could potentially end the need for oil rigs and nuclear energy plants. If he is successful, Bhargava could provide a sustainable, round-the-clock energy solution long after the buzz of caffeine wears off. – Anne Quito, 11 November 2015

» Anne Quito is a design writer and critic for Quartz in New York.

Fascism emanates from India’s newsrooms and television studios – Tufail Ahmad

The Indian Express's "military coup" story!

Tufail Ahmad“The fascism emerging from India’s newsrooms is backed by big businesses and the nation’s dynasty. Corporates and dynastic centres of power pose a threat to democracies in every country. Indian media houses are ideologically configured. Fascism is conveyored by the paid mainstream media, which militates against the unpaid social media. Indian journalists describe every Twitter user who questions them with the power of facts and arguments as a Sanghi. In the West, such truth-tellers are dismissed as Zionists.” – Tufail Ahmad

FascesIn any society fascism emerges from the educated class of people, never from the masses.

In an article in the Hindi newspaper Dainik Jagran of October 15, this writer argued:

“India is witnessing the emergence of fascism from newsrooms, a movement of totalitarian ideas that divides us in order to win.”

Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Marxist, said:

“All men are intellectuals, but not all men have … the function of intellectuals.”

In the Gramscian sense, journalists, activists and Twitterati are intellectuals. The term ‘fascism’ was unique to Italy, but as a movement of totalitarian ideas it is relevant to explaining the Indian condition.

One, in any society fascism emerges from the educated class of people, never from the masses. All journalists and intellectuals howling at the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi are highly educated.

Fascism of the educated class fears new ideas. F. A. Hayek, author of The Road to Serfdom, wrote:

“It is perhaps the most characteristic feature of the intellectual that he judges new ideas not by their specific merits but by the readiness with which they fit into his general conceptions….”

Since Modi advocates new ideas, journalists and intellectuals feel threatened.

Sudheendra Kulkarni & Khurshid Mahmud KasuriTwo, fascism’s conveyors are alive to the workings of media, the key concern of George Orwell in 1984. Media is fascism’s key ally. Baba Ramdev, the yoga guru, can claim that he tried to escape an ink attacker. But Sudheendra Kulkarni allows Shiv Sena to blacken his face, more thoroughly the better, waits for TV crews and proceeds to host former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri in Mumbai. He will not release Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai’s book in her birthplace, Swat. He knows where to host book events, and where not to host.

Three, the fascism emerging from India’s newsrooms is backed by big businesses and the nation’s dynasty. Corporates and dynastic centres of power pose a threat to democracies in every country. Indian media houses are ideologically configured. Fascism is conveyored by the paid mainstream media, which militates against the unpaid social media. Indian journalists describe every Twitter user who questions them with the power of facts and arguments as a Sanghi. In the West, such truth-tellers are dismissed as Zionists.

Four, in the pre-democracy era, fascism had a leader in Benito Mussolini, and marched with his regime and the army. In democracies, it is surviving as a movement of ideas, as the armies now serve the people and are accountable to civilian leaders elected by voters. As a movement of totalitarianism, fascism in India was silent as long as its leaders were in power. Even now, it shields the socialist leaders of Uttar Pradesh for the Dadri killing, or the communist leadership of Kerala despite 250 Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh workers being murdered. Its silence is murder.

Nirupama SubramanianFive, fascism is anti-democratic. It counters the leaders elected by masses if such leaders are not its allies. Since the elected leaders may not be educated, journalists target them to assist the march of fascism in Indian society. Journalist Nirupama Subramanian selected the rustic Haryana chief minister M. L. Khattar to seek his views on beef. She would never choose the more suave Arun Jaitley, or go to any village chowk to seek people’s views on beef because it will not serve fascism’s purpose, which is to undermine the elected government.

Six, fascism describes itself as working for people’s interests. For example, North Korea calls itself as the Democratic Republic; China describes itself as the People’s Republic; Cuba dubs itself a Republic. In fact, they are essentially totalitarian. Fascism does not work for people’s interests. Aided by journalists, it whips up passions in which public sentiment runs counter to public interest. Currently, India’s authoritarian and dynastic Congress party is being defended, note not by its own leaders, but by journalists and intellectuals. The Congress hopes to win by remaining silent.

Seven, journalists pose as moralists as teaching ethics to the government on varied issues such as the killing of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri or the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M. M. Kalburgi. Such stance could be in public interest, but invariably these moralists are silent when Taslima Nasrin is attacked in Hyderabad, or Professor T. J. Joseph’s hand is chopped off and reformist Islamic scholar Chekannur Maulavi is killed by Islamists of Kerala. Fascism disregards the republic’s Rule of Law, loves the anarchism of Arvind Kejriwal.

Eight, the fascism emerging from television studios mushrooms into large-scale intolerance when the voters elect leaders not in ideological compliance with it. It fears vote. On the eve of elections, it searches for new issues that will serve its objective. Fascism hopes to win by dividing us. The lynch mob is at issue only when the victim is a Muslim. In Faridabad, journalists painted the deaths of two kids in fire as an attack on Dalits. ABP news channel described Chhota Rajan as a “Hindu don”. When a Naxalite is arrested, journalists describe Indian laws as ‘draconian’.

Khushwant Singh was Indira Gandhi's court poet!Nine, since the fall of the USSR, fascism is allying with wickedness. Globally, the left-liberal journalists are in bed with jihadists. Indian journalists are silent on the rise of burqa in public life, or about the anti-women Shah Bano law because it came from their party. Fascism is anti-rights, anti-women and anti-democracy. One newspaper reported a non-existent military coup, the editor’s desire. In the Emergency, most journalists licked the boots and Khushwant Singh was lauded. Except ideology, what explains that Salman Rushdie will stand by his tormentors?

Ten, this fascism seeks allies in the enemy camp. It would not like to invite Malala Yousafzai to Mumbai because its allies in Pakistan would not like it. It is more comfortable with the Pakistani state’s representatives, whether Maulana Tahir-ul-Qadri or those in the Track II underworld, or even the arch-enemy General Pervez Musharraf. It does not serve Indian Muslims. It serves Islam—or burqa, triple talaq and skullcap. Essentially, it shuns Muslim commentators who call for equality of Muslim women. It is not incidental that TV journalists love maulvis.

Eleven, the Berlin wall in Indian society fell in 2014 when the voters elected new leaders not liked by this class of fascists. Its debris is still clearing as journalists howl and awards are returned by those who benefited from the party, the dynasty, the ideology. Karl Marx said that man makes history but he does so in some given circumstances. Modi emerged victorious because India’s voters noticed that the fascist class of journalists and intellectuals serves its own interests, not the nation’s half-clad daughter begging at the traffic lights for a few coins.

Narendra ModiTwelve, Hayek argued that the intellectuals are “professional second-hand dealers in ideas”. Now that Modi, the first-hand dealer in original ideas, has grasped the Hayekian view that economic freedom is a prerequisite for all other freedoms, Indian intellectuals are unwilling to tolerate the voters’ judgement. Aided by journalists, intellectuals are using television studios to accuse India of being intolerant. As the democracy matures, this class of intellectuals will die. The only path open for this landed fish is to search for a new moral universe. – Hindu Vivek Kendra, 2 November 2015

» Tufail Ahmad is Director of South Asian Studies Project at the Middle East Media Research Institute, Washington, D.C. E-mail:

The Indian Express

Warning sign in New Delhi during Indira Gandhi's emergency dictatorship.

Statement on Hypocrisy and Indian History by 48 Scholars of Indian Civilization

Nalanda, Bihar

A public statement by concerned Indian historians, archaeologists and scholars of Indian civilization 

On 26 October, 53 Indian historians voiced alarm at what they perceived to be the country’s “highly vitiated atmosphere” and protested against attempts to impose “legislated history, a manufactured image of the past, glorifying certain aspects of it and denigrating others….” This was soon followed by an “Open letter from overseas historians and social scientists”, 176 of them, warning against “a dangerously pervasive atmosphere of narrowness, intolerance and bigotry” and “a monolithic and flattened view of India’s history.”

Such closely-linked statements appearing with clockwork regularity in India and abroad — there have been several more from various “intellectual” circles — are a well-orchestrated campaign to create a bogeyman and cry wolf. They are neither intellectual nor academic in substance, but ideological and, much more so, political.

As historians, archaeologists and academics specializing in diverse aspects of Indian civilization, we wish to respond to these hypocritical attempts to claim the moral high ground. Many of the signatories of the above two statements by Indian and “overseas” historians have been part of a politico-ideological apparatus which, from the 1970s onward, has come to dominate most historical bodies in the country, including the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), and imposed its blinkered view of Indian historiography on the whole academic discipline.

Anchored mainly in Marxist historiography and leftist ideology, with a few borrowings from postmodernism, the Annales School, Subaltern and other studies, this new School, which may be called “Leftist” for want of a better term, has become synonymous with a number of abusive and unscholarly practises; among them:

1.  A reductionist approach viewing the evolution of Indian society almost entirely through the prism of the caste system, emphasizing its mechanisms of “exclusion” while neglecting those of integration without which Indian society would have disintegrated long ago.

2. A near-complete erasure of India’s knowledge systems in every field —philosophical, linguistic, literary, scientific, medical, technological or artistic — and a general underemphasis of India’s important contributions to other cultures and civilizations. In this, the Leftist School has been a faithful inheritor of colonial historiography, except that it no longer has the excuse of ignorance. Yet it claims to provide an accurate and “scientific” portrayal of India!

3. A denial of the continuity and originality of India’s Hindu-Buddhist-Jain-Sikh culture, ignoring the work of generations of Indian and Western Indologists. Hindu identity, especially, has been a pet aversion of this School, which has variously portrayed it as being disconnected from Vedic antecedents, irrational, superstitious, regressive, barbaric — ultimately “imagined” and, by implication, illegitimate.

4. A refusal to acknowledge the well-documented darker chapters of Indian history, in particular the brutality of many Muslim rulers and their numerous Buddhist, Jain, Hindu and occasionally Christian and Muslim victims (ironically, some of these tyrants are glorified today); the brutal intolerance of the Church in Goa, Kerala and Puducherry; and the state-engineered economic and cultural impoverishment of India under the British rule. While history worldwide has wisely called for millions of nameless victims to be remembered, Indian victims have had to suffer a second death, that of oblivion, and often even derision.

5. A neglect of tribal histories: For all its claims to give a voice to “marginalized” or “oppressed” sections of Indian society, the Leftist School has hardly allowed a space to India’s tribal communities and the rich contributions of their tribal belief systems and heritage. When it has condescended to take notice, it has generally been to project Hindu culture and faith traditions as inimical to tribal cultures and beliefs, whereas in reality the latter have much more in common with the former than with the religions imposed on them through militant conversions.

6. A biased and defective use of sources: Texts as well as archaeological or epigraphic evidence have been misread or selectively used to fit preconceived theories. Advances of Indological researches in the last few decades have been ignored, as have been Indian or Western historians, archaeologists, anthropologists who have differed from the Leftist School. Archaeologists who developed alternative perspectives after considerable research have been sidelined or negatively branded. Scientific inputs from many disciplines, from palaeo-environmental to genetic studies have been neglected.

7. A disquieting absence of professional ethics: The Leftist School has not academically critiqued dissenting Indian historians, preferring to dismiss them as “Nationalist” or “communal”. Many academics have suffered discrimination, virtual ostracism and loss of professional opportunities because they would not toe the line, enforced through political support since the days of Nurul Hasan. The Indian History Congress and the ICHR, among other institutions, became arenas of power play and political as well as financial manipulation. In effect, the Leftist School succeeded in projecting itself as the one and only, crushing debate and dissent and polarizing the academic community.

While we reject attempts to portray India’s past as a glorious and perfect golden age, we condemn the far more pernicious imposition by the Leftist School of a “legislated history”, which has presented an alienating and debilitating self-image to generations of Indian students, and promoted contempt for their civilizational heritage. The “values and traditions of plurality that India had always cherished in the past” are precisely those this School has never practised. We call for an unbiased and rigorous new historiography of India. 

Statement signed by

1.   Dr. Dilip K. Chakrabarti, Emeritus Professor, Cambridge University, UK; Dean, Centre of Historical and Civilizational Studies, Vivekananda International Foundation, Chanakyapuri, Delhi; member, ICHR

2.   Dr. Saradindu Mukherji, historian, retired from Delhi University; member, ICHR

3.   Dr. Nanditha Krishna, Director, CPR Institute of Indological Research, Chennai; member, ICHR

4.   Dr. M.D. Srinivas, former professor of theoretical physics; former vice-chairman, Indian Institute of Advanced Study; chairman, Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai; member, ICHR

5.   Dr. Meenakshi Jain, associate professor of history, Delhi University; member, ICHR

6.   Michel Danino, guest professor, IIT Gandhinagar; member, ICHR

7.   Prof. B.B. Lal, former Director General, Archaeological Survey of India

8.   Dr. R.S. Bisht, former Joint Director General, Archaeological Survey of India

9.   Dr. R. Nagaswamy, former Director of Archaeology, Govt. of Tamil Nadu; Vice Chancellor, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Viswa Mahavidyalaya, Kanchipuram

10. Dr. B.M. Pande, Former Director, Archaeological Survey of India

11. Prof. Dayanath Tripathi, former Chairman, ICHR; former Head, Dept. of Ancient History, Archaeology and Culture, D.D.U. Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur; former Visiting Professor at Cambridge, British Academy

12. Prof. R.C. Agrawal, President, Rock Art Society of India; former Member Secretary of ICHR

13. Prof. K.V. Raman, former professor of Ancient Indian History & Archaeology, University of Madras

14. Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam, Dancer and Research Scholar

15.    Prof. Kapil Kapoor, former Rector, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; Chancellor, Mahatma Gandhi Antararashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Wardha (Maharashtra)

16. Prof. Madhu Kishwar, Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi

17. Dr. Chandrakala Padia, Vice Chancellor, Maharaja Ganga Singh University (Rajasthan); Chairperson, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla

18. Sachchidanand Sahai, Ph.D. (Paris), National Professor in Epigraphy, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, Advisor to Preah Vihear National Authority under the Royal Government of Cambodia; member, ICHR

19. Dr. J.K. Bajaj, Director Centre for Policy Studies, Former Member ICSSR

20. Dr. Makarand Paranjape, Professor of English, JNU; Visiting Global South Fellow, University of Tuebingen

21. Dr. Nikhiles Guha, former professor of history, University of Kalyani, West Bengal; member, ICHR

22. Prof. Issac C.I., member, ICHR

23. Prof. (Dr.) Purabi Roy, member, ICHR

24. Prof. Jagbir Singh, Former Professor and Head, Dept. of Punjabi, University of Delhi; Life Fellow, Punjabi University, Patiala.

25. Dr. G.J. Sudhakar, former Associate Professor, Dept. of History, Loyola College, Chennai

26. Dr. Bharat Gupt, Former Associate Professor, Delhi University

27. Prof. O.P. Kejariwal, Central Information Commissioner & Nehru Fellow

28. Dr. S.C. Bhattacharya, former Professor and HOD, Ancient History, Culture and Archaeology, Allahabad University; former National Fellow, IIAS, Shimla

29. Prof. S.K. Chakraborty, former professor, Management Centre for Human Values, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta

30. Dr. Amarjiva Lochan, Associate Professor in History, Delhi University; President, South and Southeast Asian Association for the Study of Culture & Religion (SSEASR) under IAHR, affiliated to the UNESCO

31. Dr. R.N. Iyengar, Distinguished Professor, Jain University, Bangalore

32. Professor (Dr) R. Nath, former Professor of History, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur

33. Kirit Mankodi, archaeologist, consultant to Project for Indian Cultural Studies, Mumbai

34. Prof. K. Ramasubramanian, Cell for Indian Science and Technology in Sanskrit, IIT Bombay; Council Member International Union for History and Philosophy of Science; member, Rashtriya Sanksrit Parishad

35. Dr. M.S. Sriram, Retired Professor and Head, Department of Theoretical Physics, University of Madras; Member Editorial Board, Indian Journal of History of Science; Former Member, Research Council for History of Science, INSA

36. Dr. Amartya Kumar Dutta, Professor of Mathematics, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata

37. Dr. Godabarisha Mishra, Professor and Head, Dept. of Philosophy, University of Madras

38. Dr. R. Ganesh, Shathavadhani, Sanskrit scholar

39. Sri Banwari, Academic and Journalist; former Resident Editor, Jansatta

40. Dr. S. Krishnan, Associate Professor, Dept of Mathematics, IIT Bombay

41. Dr. Rajnish Kumar Mishra, Associate Professor, Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

42. Dr. Vikram Sampath, Director, Symbiosis School of Media and Communication; former Director of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) – SRC; historian and author

43. Prof. K. Gopinath, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

44. Prof. M.A. Venkatakrishnan, former Professor and Head, Dept. of Vaishnavism, Madras University

45. Dr. Sumathi Krishnan, Musician and Musicologist

46. Dr. Prema Nandakumar, Author and translator

47. Dr. Santosh Kumar Shukla, Associate Professor, Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

The above list was released on 17 November; on 18 November, three scholars who had been contacted but could not send their answer in time owing to the flood situation in Chennai have added their names. We include them here for the record:

48.  Dr. Siniruddha Dash, former Professor & Head, Dept. of Sanskrit, University of Madras

49.  Dr. Mamata Mishra, Managing Trustee, Prof. K.V. Sarma Research Foundation

50.  Dr. Chithra Madhavan, historian and epigraphist

Those who wish to express their support for the important statement above, may sign the petition at HERE. Make sure you keep your name visible and, if you wish, add a comment.

An open letter to Dr P. M. Bhargava on his return of Padma Bhushan award – Jayasree Saranathan

Dr P. M. Bhargava

Indian WomanRespected Dr Bhargava,

This letter comes from an ordinary citizen of this country who thinks that Padma awards are given to those Indians who are regarded as jewels in the crown of India and who have added glory to the Nation by their exceptional contribution in some fields that make India a great nation. When I read the news reports that you have returned it, I wondered what you were trying to convey. Is it because you no longer consider your contribution as a worthy something or you consider that India is not a worthy nation to have you honored?

In your letter of return to the President you have cited the reason as “an expression of my concern at the currently prevailing socio-politico situation in the country.” (The link to the news report that I read is here). So you think that the prevailing conditions in the country are not good; in other words you think our country is not doing great. By returning the award do you mean to convey that India is not a worthy nation to have you as a jewel of honor? Or you don’t want  an honor from a country that is “divisive, unreasonable and unscientific” – the description you have given to the RSS for which the BJP is the political front, to quote your words.

According to the news report you go on to quote Mr Mohan Bhagawat on what he thinks on the role of woman (“that marriage is a contract according to which the woman is supposed to be only a housewife and not work outside”). I don’t know in what context Mr Bhagawat had said that, because technically speaking ‘Vivaha’ is a contract of complementary roles for the partners to run a household while fulfilling their Purusharthas. If one works outside, the other works at home. But what struck me was that you have taken objection to this as a reason for returning the Padma award!

Shah Banu BegumLooking back in time when you received this award, Dr Bhargava, there was a huge controversy raging on Shah Banu case. You received the award in 1986 and in the same year the Rajiv Gandhi Government overturned the Supreme Court verdict on alimony to the hapless Muslim housewife and enacted a new act that was divisive, autocratic and yielding to religious bigotry. The same President who conferred the award on you sanctioned that act. I don’t know which happened first, you receiving the award or the act that changed the fate of Muslim women.

My question is where were you and your sensibilities when such a draconian act was enacted purely based on the tenets of a religion? Why didn’t you refuse the award then or return the award at that time itself? After all, Mr Bhagawat’s comment is not going to change the life of an average Hindu housewife. But the Shah Banu act did spell doom on countless Muslim women and for all the years since then. Where was your humanism and spirit of inquiry at that time? Or was it developed by you only later and has woken up now on hearing Mr Bhagawat speak?

The Hindu report then quotes you calling the Dadri incident as a plan controlled by the BJP. May I ask you the proof you have in hand to make this accusation? You are a person steeped in scientific temper and rational thinking and therefore you cannot be expected to make claims without proof. What is the proof you have for this that made you take an extreme step of returning the award which was not returned even in 1986 despite the more provocative Shah Banu case?   

Dadri & Moodbidri: A Tale Of Two KillingsI have another question for you in this connection. If the ruling Governments are responsible for the incidents like the Dadri one, would you in the same breath take the Congress party and the Government in Karnataka to task for the lynching of Prashanth Poojary? Have you at least expressed your displeasure over the killing of Poojary? Why this hypocrisy for you and your fellow intellectuals and awardees?

Quoting the Dadri case you have lamented that the BJP wants to control what we eat, what we read and so on. But your attention must in fact turn to those places where even naming one’s child is controlled by the Government. Don’t you know that one cannot name one’s child as Rama in Saudi Arabia (read here)? But In India there are many Hindus who voluntarily name their kids with Christian and Muslim names. But you won’t come across an Indian Muslim or Christian naming his child as Rama or Krishna or any Hindu name. Such is the level of tolerance among them – the minorities for whom your heart was bleeding when you returned the award.

You said, “Minorities are made to feel that they are second class citizens of the country”. You invoke the clause ‘intolerance’ in this context. I know that you are a pioneering head of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) of Hyderabad. CCMB has earned an eternal name in having discovered the ANI and ASI genes (excuse me for the colloquial terms) as mother of all Indian population. An ordinary citizen that I am, this kind of researches led me to know more about the genesis of minorities in India. You as one engaged in such studies must have very well known that the Muslims of India whom you call as minorities were indeed culturally transformed ones and not genetically different from the Hindus.

A research study published in 2006 by Ramana Gutala, Denise R. Carvalho-Silva, Li Jin, Bryndis Yngvadottir, Vasanthi Avadhanula, Khaja Nanne, Lalji Singh, Ranajit Chakraborty and Chris Tyler-Smith did show that Muslims of India were indigenous people culturally changed into their present religion. It was found out that “Islamization in India did not involve large-scale replacement of Hindu Y chromosomes”.

Similar results were published in the Journal of Human Genetics in June 2009  by another group of researchers consisting of Muthukrishnan Eaaswarkhanth, Bhawna Dubey, Poorlin Ramakodi Meganathan, Zeinab Ravesh, Faizan Ahmed Khan, Lalji Singh, Kumarasamy Thangaraj and Ikramul Haque who said that “the spread of Islamic faith in the Indian subcontinent was predominantly cultural transformation associated with minor gene flow from West Asia” and that they are closest to the geographical neighbors of the Hindu communities – implying that these Muslims were originally Hindus and were converts later.

Yet another study by the Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, University Park, Miami, done on the mtDNA of Sunni and Shia Muslims of Uttar Pradesh showed that they are of Indian origin and when integrated with Y chromosome results showed the Indo Hindu to Islamic conversion in those two populations of UP (abstract here).

All this information, known to me from news paper publications must have been known to you as one in the related scientific field. What is the message these studies convey? Are they not a proof of integrated India where Muslims are not minorities but are natural sons of this soil whose ancestors were not as fortunate as the Hindus in their surroundings in having escaped from the atrocities heaped on them by the invaders? Why your scientific temper and urge for things scientific failed you to understand the cultural history of Muslims? If I were in your place I would have striven for unifying Hindus and Muslims as one stock using more and more of such studies and have truly lived up to the Padma honour given by the country.

DhanvantariYou are known for the spirit of inquiry and humanism. Where were they when you quoted Charaka Samhitha? You attributed the following to Charaka Samhitha: “The flesh of the cow is beneficial for those suffering from the loss of flesh due to disorders caused by an excess of vayu, rhinitis, irregular fever, dry cough, fatigue and also in cases of excessive appetite resulting from hard manual work”. How many Hindus do you think subscribe to this remedy? The spirit of inquiry taught by Krishna is not to accept even his teaching verbatim but to think and act. Even if it is true that Charaka Samhitha gave this prescription, don’t you think that this sounds too general and not specific as a medicine for the said diseases? I never heard of anyone who ate beef for getting relief from dry cough and nor have known any Ayurvedic doctor prescribe beef for rhinitis or fever. The spirit of inquiry must teach us what to follow and what to discard.

More than the spirit of inquiry, it is compassionate humanism that must dominate our thinking if something like eating beef is prescribed by the scriptures. Ahimsa is the supreme Dharma declared by Hindu scriptures. The Swasti Vachan of Vedas wishes good will for all plants, bipeds and quadrupeds besides wishing peace at all levels of existence. Such being the compassion and care for all beings in our surroundings, how can a Hindu medical scripture subscribe a cure that can be got through violence? I expected you to condemn and not concur with this passage from Charaka Samhitha – as one known for reformist and humanist tendencies – and denounce beef on compassionate grounds.

Your thirst for scientific inquiry also seems to have taken a back seat, as you seem to have ignored the many research findings on harmful and adverse effects of beef on human health and environment. Just before you returned the award, WHO and UNEP published their findings on need to avoid eating beef. How come you failed to take note of them?

From your comment that the present government is least knowledgeable and least concerned about science, it is known that this government is not up to your level of knowledge. Let it be so. But couldn’t you have exhibited the knowledge of the highest order by recognizing the right to life for the cows and other animals who share most of our genes? Why couldn’t your knowledge of biology infuse a sense of love and respect for the fellow living things with which we share our space? You must have been in the forefront of promoting compassion for other lives.

That four lettered word b… was a bad word even to utter for the Hindus not because the Hindus were less knowledgeable or low in scientific temper. It is because they have a heart full of compassion and gratitude for the animal that gives them food and livelihood. Knowledge makes one powerful, but compassion makes one Godly. Knowledge that does not teach compassion is a waste. Don’t you agree Dr Bhargava?

With respects,

Jayasree Saranathan

The article from The Hindu that made me write to you:
P.M. Bhargava sends back Padma Bhushan award to President

» Jayasree Saranathan is a freelance writer and non-commercial, research-oriented astrologer in Chennai. She blogs at Non-Random Thoughts, where this open letter originally appeared.


Rahul declared himself British citizen on company document, says Dr Swamy – PNS

Subramanian Swamy

Rahul Gandhi aka BossAt a press conference in New Delhi, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy shared copies of the company’s annual returns, in which Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s identity is certified as British. – The Hindu

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Monday alleged that Rahul Gandhi had declared himself as a British citizen before the authorities in the United Kingdom (UK) and demanded that the Congress vice-president be stripped of his Indian citizenship, as well as his Lok Sabha membership.

Addressing the media, Swamy said he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 12 about Rahul’s secret British citizenship and the details of his company in London. “There will be action. As per Article 9 of the Indian Constitution, an Indian citizen can’t hold the citizenship of any other country, and he will lose Indian citizenship automatically as and when he acquires another citizenship. I will also write to the Lok Sabha Speaker seeking expulsion of Rahul Gandhi from Parliament,” Swamy maintained.

“I am enclosing with this letter some authenticated documents regarding the registration in 2003 and dissolution in 2009 of a private limited company in the UK with an address located in London. The name of the company is Backops Limited and the director and secretary of this company was Rahul Gandhi [reference states NATIONALITY UNKNOWN].

“As you can see from the company’s annual returns, Rahul Gandhi has given his date of birth correctly but has declared himself to be a British national with an UK address,” said Swamy in his letter to Modi. Swami released a copy of the letter to the Prime Minister and a set of documents running into 13-pages, supporting his claims, to the media.

Rahul had 65 per cent shares in the company and his co-director Ulrik McKnight, a US citizen, had 35 per cent shares. McKnight is the son-in-law of former Union Minister Eduardo Faleiro.

Pictet & Cie Bank Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland.Swamy also alleged that Rahul has an illegal undeclared account in Pictet Bank and was taken into custody on September 24, 2001 by US authorities at Logan Airport for carrying $1,60,000 in cash.

To questions on his future action, Swamy said he hopes the Government will take action on his complaint. “Why should I go to court? During the National Herald expose, the UPA was in power and so I went to court. Now it is our Government and it will take action,” he said.

In the documents produced by Swamy, Rahul had shown two London addresses in the company registry.  The first address in London was 2 Frognal Way, NW3 6XE. The other address was 51 Southgate Street, Winchester, SO23, 9EH.

Stung by Swamy’s revelations, after three hours, the Congress came out with the incorporation documents of Rahul’s till-date hidden British company Backops Limited. The document shows him as an Indian citizen.

Reacting to the Congress’ counter, Swamy tweeted that the Congress’ statement was “stupid”.  He said, the Congress statement says Rahul had stated in 2003 that he was an Indian citizen but why not in 2005, 2006 and 2009? He asked the Congress to show the entire records of the British company and who owns the house in Frognal area.

Congress HandCong rejects allegation as dirty tricks

Hitting back at Subramanian Swamy’s allegation that Rahul Gandhi was a British citizen, the Congress later came out with a detailed counter asserting its vice-president Rahul Gandhi has been an Indian citizen right from his birth and has never held the citizenship of any other country.

The Congress released the company’s incorporation document showing Rahul as an Indian citizen. However, the party did not come out with a clarification on the other documents of the company (from 2005 to 2009) where Rahul declared himself a British citizen.

In a one-page press release issued after a meeting, attended by Ahmed Patel and others at Rahul Gandhi’s residence at Tuglak Lane, the Congress termed the allegations as a “petty, mindless activity of the BJP and its dirty tricks department headed by Swamy” to save face after the humiliating Bihar election defeat.

“From the day he was born, Rahul Gandhi has held Indian citizenship and Indian passport and has never held citizenship of any other country nor has he represented as such. The allegation of Swamy is entirely false. The Certificate of Incorporation of the said company is enclosed and clearly mentions Rahul Gandhi as an Indian national.

“Rahul Gandhi has never held any account in Pictet Bank nor has he ever been questioned or detained at Logon Airport with undeclared cash. This is a complete falsehood that Swamy is in the habit of falsely repeating for decades for his malicious political motives and to gain cheap publicity,” said AICC’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala in a statement.

“Frustrated by their humiliating defeat in Bihar elections and internal revolt brewing amongst the senior-most leadership, the BJP’s dirty tricks department led by Subramanian Swamy is resorting to petty mindless mud-slinging. The sole purpose appears to be to divert attention from inner revolt and paralysis of policy and governance being questioned all around including the leadership of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said the statement.

Earlier, shortly after Swamy’s Press conference Congress leader Ajay Maken had sought to dismiss the allegations as his publicity stunt. “Swamy is having the habit of mudslinging. He is now sidelined in the BJP. So he does all these type of activities to stay in limelight,” he said. – The Pioneer, 17 November 2015

Rahul GandhiSubramanian Swamy's letter to Narendra Modi (1) Subramanian Swamy's letter to Narendra Modi (2)

  • For the documentation attached to Dr Swamy’s letter, go to the VSH website HERE

See also


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