Why does a particular class of people dislike Modi and Yogi? – Amrit Hallan

Amrit HallanI started taking note of Narendra Modi when he was being heavily trolled by those who identified themselves as left-liberal, and most of them pretended to be non-political. – Amrit Hallan

Ever since I started taking active interest in politics, one thing that has continuously intrigued me is what sort of intelligence people use to arrive at a particular political and ideological thinking?

What makes them decide which politician to support and whom to oppose?

What moral and ideological compromises are they ready to make to support and promote their preferred politicians?

Of course, as the title of the article suggests, when I’m writing this, my focus is going to be on Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath, because otherwise a whole research paper can be written.

I chose Modi and Yogi as they face the most strident opposition from a particular class of people, and here I’m not talking about political parties because they are supposed to take a contradictory stand. I’m talking about supposedly “non-political” or “neutral” people. I remember I started taking note of Narendra Modi when he was being heavily trolled by those who identified themselves as left-liberal, and most of them pretended to be non-political.

I’m writing about Modi and Yogi because they are targeted the most by not just our own, often self-righteous, news media and the coterie of intellectuals and activists, but also by the foreign press (although the foreign press has its own reasons).

Their every move is observed, given a different version, and seeded and propagated through television, print media or the Internet, to portray them as bigoted, communal villains.

Positive news is totally ignored or it is turned into something negative.

Even if you don’t support both of them, just for the sake of objectivity, just observe the way the news media reports about Modi and Yogi and then compare this to the way the same news media reports about, say, Arvind Kejriwal, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Yadav, Mamata Bannerjee, or even Sasikala in the South. If you cannot spot the difference then you shouldn’t be reading further, would be my advice.

The stunt that Sasikala pulled after Jayalalitha’s death wasn’t just a mockery of our political system, it was also a criminal activity, but no, our news media decided to be totally “objective” and report the happenings as they were. They simply say that her family is called the “Mannargudi mafia” as if they are not talking about a mafia but an RWA.

There was no outrage. The democracy didn’t come under threat. Minorites didn’t feel vulnerable. The Constitution wasn’t insulted. The foreign media didn’t put Indian on their op-ed map.

The same sense of objectivity suddenly vanishes when it comes to something that the BJP does. Take for example the anti-Romeo squads started by the new BJP government in Uttar Pradesh. The hatred for whatever the BJP does is so steep that a scheme launched to protect the women of the state is projected as an attack on personal freedom. Just imagine, in which country would you term the targeting of eve teasers, roadside goons, and even prospective rapists, as an attack on personal freedom?

The other day Captain Amrinder Singh was saying that he will never have anti-Romeo squads in Punjab because he believes in personal freedom. Fair enough; he is a politician and one of his jobs is to show himself different from his political opponents. But then a journalist, who should be objective and unbiased, giddily tweeted the statement as if the anti-Romeo squads were exclusively launched to mount attacks on personal freedom, not even making an effort to present an alternative view that the squads are for reining in the unsavoury elements in the society. Very few in the media explain the fact that these squads are not non-state groups of voluntary people; they are police persons.

The closure of illegal slaughterhouses was similarly reported as an attack on the eating habits of the minorities and all those who eat meat. In any other country, people would be happy that illegal establishments are shut down because they don’t follow the hygienic guidelines prescribed by the rule books, but no, not in our country. All hell broke lose. Even the so-called legal restaurants couldn’t procure meat for the legendary kebabs and people started collapsing due to malnutrition and hunger!

As this article points out, compare the liberal outrage and media coverage shutting down of illegal slaughterhouses in Uttar Pradesh generated with the same about shutting down of legal liquor business in Bihar.

Why is it so? Why is the BJP in general and these two individuals in particular, are so disliked?

BJP is not the party of the “ecosystem”

The intellectual class is mostly Left dominated. In the late sixties and the early seventies, Indira Gandhi made a deal with the Left and sold her soul to secure her political position. All major educational institutions and news organizations came to be under Left-dominated intellectuals. It became a mutually-supporting system: the Left would provide political support and look the other way when her government crossed the line, and the Congress would let it have a free run at educational, literary and media institutions.

The BJP is anti-Left, or at least that’s the general perception. So the Left-leaning individuals and organizations naturally want to keep the BJP away from power centers, and for that they are even ready to partner with anti-national forces.

The Leftist ecosystem further draws material support from all political dispensations whose sole purpose is to keep the country in a constant state of turmoil by pitting one caste against other, one linguist group against other, one class against other, and so on. The BJP strives to bring all these communities together under the umbrella of nationalism, which disturbs the conventional vote-banks.

Primarily this is the reason why the Leftist intelligentsia (that consists of sundry artists, self-declared intellectuals, variety of NGO workers, activists, sundry writers, socialist economists and of course, journalists) abhors Modi and Yogi—their rise means the decline of the Left-favouring ecosystem.

Narendra Modi is someone who strengthens BJP

I can’t say anything for the BJP, because barring a few people, the party isn’t much different from other parties, with the only difference being that it pretends to represent the interests of the majority Hindu community more vocally.

Narendra Modi completely turned around the BJP, a party that was in complete doldrums after losses in 2004 and 2009 general elections. They were almost happy playing the second fiddle to the Congress after string of defeats.

Take Narendra Modi out of the picture and the party would have either receded further or would have still been in the opposition benches, and quite smug at that. The BJP was an old and rusted Ambassador car that Narendra Modi turned into a Porsche with hard work, statesmanship and political acumen.

So, whatever the position of the BJP right now is, it is all because of Narendra Modi. And this is one of the crucial reason Modi is disliked. Now Yogi Adityanath appears to be doing the same to the party in the so-called cow belt.

Modi and Yogi are workaholics

This can be upsetting for people who are not used to working very hard and for whom things have come easily through connections, serendipity and “jod-tod”.

They both seem to have an infinite supply of energy. Just imagine, ever since Narendra Modi has become the PM he has not taken a single leave. Many cannot relate to this obsession with work.

In fact, people (his supporters and admirers) have started worrying that if he doesn’t take rest it may take a big toll on his health and consequently, he won’t be able to accomplish all that he wants to accomplish.

Yogi Adityanath, after becoming the CM, took 50 major decisions in the first 150 hours. From the first day onwards he has sent an unequivocal message to the bureaucracy, the education system and the police, that he means business when he talks about improving the situation in the state. Many of the major pre-poll promises that the BJP made have already been put into motion.

Modi and Yogi work like sadhaks (who think their work is a holy mission)

So much decisiveness and hard work unnerves people who are not used to our systems working efficiently. Somehow, they have internalized the concept that we’re not supposed to have efficient systems; such systems are only for developed countries, the first world nations. The Indian masses are supposed to live in wretchedness.

There is this inferiority complex that makes them believe that the people of India do not deserve good governments and efficient political leaders.

Additionally, when you don’t like working hard, even indirectly, you don’t want to be compared with people who work hard.

Even if somehow they can come to terms with the fact that India could have such leaders, they wish that such leaders would have emerged from their own ideological and political pool rather than from a political party they despise. It would be a stuff of dreams for them if a Rahul Gandhi or an Akhilesh Yadav or even a Kejriwal could have even 10% of the motivation that Modi and Yogi have.

How come a saffron-clad monk is way too smarter than their IIT-educated Magsaysay Award-winning crusader who is featured in the list of the top 100 influencers in the world, they must think? How come the “social engineering” pioneers fail to improve the lot of people for decades and Modi and Yogi start making a positive impact from the word go?

Modi and Yogi have a vision

Most of the politicians in our country don’t have a vision, neither for their parties nor for the country. Their only vision is to get elected and form the government so that they can carry out various scams and enjoy immense power; their vision does not extend beyond that.

This is a big reason that they are constantly running like headless chickens. They have been making the same old promises for the past 50 years. The Congress has been trying to “hatao gareebi” and uplift the “gareeb kisaan” for the past 60 years and if you leave it to the party, it will go on “hatao-ing gareebi” for the next 200 years, making the country poorer.

Mayawati has been trying to uplift the Dalits for years. Mulayam Singh Yadav has been trying to improve the lot of Muslims and Yadavs, election after election. Mamata Banerjee cannot see beyond blatant Muslim appeasement. Lalu thinks that its his rustic crassness and unapologetic corruption that gets him the votes. Nitish is too opportunistic for his own good. AAP rides on the wave of sheer stupidity. Except for Chandrababu Naidu, politicians in South score no better.

Within 30 days, Yogi Adityanath has set deadlines for making the roads pothole free. Schools have been instructed to furnish fee-structure by a deadline to ascertain if complaints about over-charging is true or not. To tackle the menace of mass cheating in exams, action has been promised within 3 hours after registration of complaint. Yogi government has declared that in the next 5 years there will be 6 new AIIMS and 25 new medical college in the state.

Modi and Yogi don’t just say this should be done or that should be done. They set definitive goals with well-defined deadlines.

The haters are frustrated by the fact that the leaders of their choice don’t manifest such traits. They can’t accept the fact that a “chaiwala” and a saffron-clad monk are far smarter and hard-working than their chosen ones who converse in accented English while sipping the costliest champagne and whiskey.

Modi and Yogi are proud Hindus and flaunt their Hindu beliefs unapologetically

This can be one of the biggest reasons why people dislike Modi and Yogi. The entire leftist cabal has thrived on demeaning Hindu rituals, Hindu culture and Hindu history.

The Leftist intellectuals and people who are influenced by them or who want to carry forward the agenda, have ensured that the concept of Hinduism becomes a strange mishmash of misconceptions in our country. People are not proud of their religion. Even if they are proud, they want to view Hinduism from a Western perception rather than from an indigenous, Dharmic perception. Let alone being assertive or being protective towards their religion, they don’t mind if other religions overtake Hinduism.

Modi and Yogi on the other hand practice their religious beliefs unapologetically. Modi’s insistence during his first American visit that he won’t interrupt his upvaas (fast) attracted vicious scorn from the so-called liberal and leftist intelligentsia simply because these people are not used to mainstream politicians practicing Hindu ways of life publicly, especially when visiting Western countries.

They don’t want the Western world to look at Hinduism from a strict adherent’s point of view. They want the Western world to look at Hinduism from their own myopic and biased view. They want the Western world to look at India from their point of view and if someone else, unapologetically promotes Hindu beliefs, they scoff and raise a hue-and-cry.

There is a photo comparison that often goes viral every few months: in one photo they show Jawaharlal Nehru showing to a group of foreign dignitaries a poor, emaciated snake charmer sitting on the floor; in the adjacent photo they show a collage of photographs showing how Narendra Modi shows majestic Indian temples to foreign dignitaries and makes them participate in the grand Hindu rituals.

For example when the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe visited India Modi took him to participate in the aarti in Varanasi. Recently Modi took the Australian PM to Akshardham Temple.

Such activities are a strict no-no among the class that dislikes Modi and Yogi. They squirm in great discomfort when Modi promotes Hindu rituals among the visiting dignitaries.

Yes, if you take some foreign dignitary to Jama Masjid or to a church, you are being secular and inclusive, but the moment you take someone to a Hindu temple, you have crossed the line and you are pandering to the Hindutvavadi forces.

The narrative goes somewhat like this: highlight non-Hindu religious beliefs while totally neglecting Hindu religious beliefs then you are fine. But if you highlight Hindu religious beliefs  it becomes incumbent upon you  that you also highlight non-Hindu religious beliefs. If you don’t do that, that is, you highlight only Hindu religious beliefs, then you must be branded as communal.

Even common folks with no specific political affiliations have internalized such biases.

Modi and Yogi inspire the people of the country to do their best

Which other Prime Minister prompted you to keep your county clean the last time? Which Prime Minister advised you to cease defecating in the open and start building indoor toilets? A senior BBC India journalist from Uttar Pradesh commented on television that the Prime Minister of the country shouldn’t indulge in such petty things as advising people to build toilets, such is the state of our intellectuals.

Which Prime Minister said that India shouldn’t​ just manufacture products but should manufacture the best products in the world? Take your cues from Germany, not from China. Which Prime Minister said before that our population is not a problem but an opportunity?

Our intellectual class, and people who like to think that they are smarter compared to the others, find inspiration very off-putting. If someone inspires you then you are forced to work or at least show the others that you should be working. Inspiration is for losers. They are too smart and evolved to be exposed to such inspiration.

Modi and Yogi are the antithesis of the atrophying “chalta-hai” attitude

Our chalta-hai attitude has been our undoing. Chalta-hai means dismissively accepting whatever is happening around us. If the government doesn’t work, chalta-hai. If we have a dilapidated infrastructure, chalta-hai. If there is rampant corruption, chalta-hai. If there are no schools and colleges, chalta-hai. If there is no health care for the poor, chalta-hai. If people don’t want to follow rules, chalta-hai. Kya karein? Saale Indians hain hi aise.

Both Modi and Yogi challenge this chalta-hai attitude. Why should things be mediocre in our country?

Modi and Yogi have dismantled the caste-minority political formula

The rajneetik samikaran (political arithmetic involving castes and minorities, especially Muslims) mentality still refuses to go among our Leftist journalists, intellectuals and  social commentators.

A big defence against the so-called communal politics, according to the Leftist intelligentsia and its political masters, used to be the caste and religious vote-banks that were​ initially controlled by the highly corrupt Congress party and then its various regional offshoots.

In the recently concluded UP elections the BJP has broken this vicious nexus. It has proven that Muslims no longer control who gets to form the government. The backward castes have realized that their champions were actually charlatans.

The ground level caste politics was backed with pseudo-intellectual explanation of these fault-lines in the society. Alternative reading and JNU brand sociology was presented as gospel facts, but Modi and Yogi are showing how these theories are flawed and failing.

The failing class can’t digest their own failure, so now they have to hate and pray that the duo fail in their mission. – Opindia, 19 April 2017

» Amrit Hallan is a content writer. He lives in Noida.

Indian media Left dominated!

Are Christian and Muslim nations ok and Hindu nations not? – Maria Wirth

The New York Times leads the world media in Hindu-baiting!European newspapers follow The New York Times!

Maria WirthNeither the West nor Muslim countries want a strong India. India was the cradle of civilisation and over most of the known history economically very powerful. They may fear that based on her ancient culture, India may rise again to the top. – Maria Wirth

I sometimes wonder who influences whom: the Indian mainstream journalists the foreign correspondents or the other way round, as they always hold the same view. Or is there even a directive from the top of the media houses about who must be protected and who can be abused?

Obviously, Hindus can be abused. I was shocked when I recently checked articles in major newspapers like The New York Times on the appointment of Yogi Adityanath as chief minister in Uttar Pradesh. Like in the run-up to the general elections in 2014, when a Modi victory loomed large, the media went berserk. The gist was: By appointing Yogi Adityanath, Prime Minister Modi has finally shown his true face of a Hindu fundamentalist who wants to make India a “Hindu nation” where minorities have no place. The articles peddled untruths and drew unacceptable conclusions. The Swiss NZZ for example wrote that it is hardly possible for Prime Minister Modi’s government to call itself the representative of all Indians after appointing a figure like Yogi Adityanath.

A Hindu nation is projected as the worst possible scenario by the wrongly called “liberal” media. Yet, the same media don’t react when America or most other western countries are referred to as Christian nations. Nor do they get agitated about the numerous Muslim nations; not even about those which still have harsh blasphemy laws. Why are these ok, and a Hindu nation is not ok? They don’t explain; they just insinuate that minorities (read Muslims and Christians) will suffer in a Hindu nation.

Maybe they came to this conclusion because minorities like Jews or Hindus suffer in certain Christian or Muslim nations though the media hardly pulls those countries up for it. However, even otherwise, this conclusion is wrong, as Hindus have a different mind-set. They are open towards other views, unlike “good” Christians and Muslims who feel obligated to make everyone believe what they believe, if necessary by deceit or force.

Hindus cannot be put into one single box. There are too many different ways to reach the goal of life. As it were, there are many minorities within Hinduism. But they all are based on the Vedic insight that everything, including our persons, is permeated by the same divine essence which is called by many names but is ultimately ONE. Our human consciousness (atman) is one with the cosmic consciousness (Brahman) and to realize this, is the goal and fulfillment of life. “Satyam vada, Dharmam chara” the Veda exhorts—speak the truth and do what is right under the given circumstances. And find out who you really are: you are not a separate entity but in the depths of your being one with all.

From this follows that “good” Hindus are those rare human beings whose dharma makes them regard all others as brothers and sisters. Their dharma makes them further respect nature and not harm unnecessarily any living being.

Hindus do not, unlike Christians and Muslims, divide humanity into those who are chosen by God and those who are eternally damned. Hindu children are not taught to look down on those who are not Hindus, unlike children of the dogmatic religions who are taught that their God does not love those others unless they join their ‘true’ religions.

Hindus are also comparatively kinder to animals. The great bulk of vegetarians worldwide are Hindus.

Hindus never fought crusades or jihads to establish their dharma in foreign lands. In fact, they didn’t need to, because they convinced most of Asia merely by solid arguments. Yet, for the past thousand years Hindus were at the receiving end of jihads and conversion campaigns and millions of Hindus were killed in cold blood because they were Hindus.

It has to be held in favour of Hindus that they held on to their tradition and did not succumb to the pressure and even violence brought on them to adopt blind belief that only one particular person has revealed the full truth. Instead, they continued trusting their sages who never asked for blind belief, but asked to verify their insights through experience.

So why do media worldwide get so worked up about “Hindu fundamentalists” and a possible “Hindu nation”. What is wrong with the fundamentals? There is nothing wrong with the fundamentals. But there is one major difference: For Hindus, the Divinity is in all and all is in the Divinity, whereas for Christians and Muslims the Divinity is separate from his creation watching us from somewhere.

The concept of Divinity is also different. For Hindus the best description for the absolute truth is sat-chit-ananda (it is true, aware and blissful). The many personal gods help the devotee to realize the Absolute. Christians and Muslims perceive Divinity in its highest form as a personal, superhuman entity who is jealous of other gods. The first commandment in Christianity and a very important issue in Islam is the claim that nobody must worship other gods except the “one true god”, which both religions claim is only with them.

In all likelihood the Hindu view comes closer to truth. When the first translations of Vedic texts appeared in the West, the greatest minds in Europe were greatly impressed by Indian thought. It did spread among scientists, too, who used it to push the frontiers of science further. It is no coincidence that modern science discovered that all is one energy after Vedanta became known in the west. It is also no coincidence that the Church lost much of its power in Europe when some of India’s wisdom filtered down to the masses

Why then are the media worldwide so worried about a nation where the Hindu roots are fostered? Where Sanskrit is taught, which is the most perfect, dignified, powerful language on earth and which is useful even for NASA? Where yoga is practised in schools, which is an ideal means for all-round development and which, on a deeper level, helps to find fulfilment in live? Where Vedic philosophy is studied, which inspired the new scientific discoveries for example in nuclear physics? Where the amazing wisdom of Mahabharata and Ramayana becomes common knowledge, which is already taught in business seminars abroad? Where children chant “Loka samastha sukhino bhavantu” (let all be happy) instead of Humpty Dumpty, which happens already in certain schools in the West?

Yet as soon as Hindus make suggestions for India to keep its Hindu character or rather, to gain back its Hindu character, as even after Independence, the youth was encouraged to abandon it, there is an outcry by the media that “Hindu fundamentalists” want to make India a Hindu nation and exclude religious minorities. Ironically, “Hindu” is a geographical term, with the same root as Indian—people who lived beyond the Sindhu or between the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean.

So why would Indians who rather recently converted to Islam or Christianity not be proud of the achievements of their ancestors? India was the cradle of civilization, a knowledge hub and the richest country on earth. It was known for its wisdom. Greeks, including Pythagoras, are said to have come to India for knowledge and today everybody knows his name, but not the name of the Indian mathematician—Baudhayana—who originally discovered the Pythagoras theorem. Surely Christians and Muslims cannot have any objection that students are taught this fact or the fact that the Rishis of the Rig Veda (10.22.14) knew many thousand years before Copernicus that the earth goes around the sun. Surely they also cannot have any objection that students chant “May all be happy” in Sanskrit, the language of their forefathers. If someone calls such teaching communal it is malicious. If someone objects to this teaching, should not he be shouted at by the media instead of those who want to revive their ancient culture? Is not he the one who tries to divide society and not those who say “Vasudhaiva kutumbakam” (all is one family) due to their philosophical outlook?

Hindus are the exemplary role model for “how not to exclude others”? Where else have religious minorities flourished and grown like in India? Is not the relative harmony in this amazing diversity in India generally admired abroad? Media persons need only to look around in the world to realize this fact.

Why then are Hindus of all people accused of excluding others?

The reason may be this: neither the West nor Muslim countries want a strong India. India was the cradle of civilisation and over most of the known history economically very powerful. They may fear that based on her ancient culture, India may rise again to the top. Is it the media’s job to put Hindus perpetually on the defensive by spreading this bogey of Hindu fundamentalism and prevent a better education policy which would give India an edge?

“Imagine, India would become a Hindu nation!” the media shout infuriated. The problem, however, is that they don’t imagine it and don’t ask basic questions. If they only imagined what a Hindu nation looks like, they might start propagating Hindu nations all over the globe for harmony and peace in the world.

One day, when people have become tired of blindly believing strange things, and when nobody is threatened any longer with dire consequences if he stops believing in those strange things, the world may be grateful to Bharat Mata that she has conceived and preserved over millennia those eternal, precious insights for the benefit of humanity. – Maria Wirth Blog, 21 April 2017

» Maria Wirth is a German author and psychologist who has lived in Uttarkhand for decades.

Yogi Adityanath

The roots of Indian racism – Tabish Khair

Race

Tabish KhairThe groping and verbal sexism that many blonde women tourists encounter is partly the result of bad Hollywood films and similar trash, through which ordinary urban Indians encounter the West. Knowing porn and not Plato, triteness and not Twain, their reactions to Western women are essentially sexist and racist. – Tabish Khair

There are Indian politicians who believe that there is no racism in India. Nothing that happens—most recently, the attacks on Nigerian students in what is basically a suburb of Delhi—can convince them otherwise. Of course, many of us who have African, black British, or African-American friends and acquaintances cannot understand this blindness on the part of such politicians.

Speaking personally, I know that I absolutely dread it when my black European friends or acquaintances announce that they plan to travel in India, particularly north and central India. I cringe at the thought of the experiences they might return with and what impression of my country, which also has so many things and people to admire, will remain with them. Because I know from having travelled with black Europeans and spoken to Africans in India, and from overhearing some of my fellow Indians, that we Indians can have more prejudices about Africans than most white Europeans today.

But there is another group of friends and acquaintances from Europe whose excursions to India, particularly north and central India, I dread almost as much. These are white, especially light-haired or blonde, women. Once again, I have travelled with them in India, and have experienced how some Indians behave and what they say (snide or public comments), which luckily my female companions, not knowing Hindi, stayed blissfully ignorant of.

Remnants of the past

Some of this has to do with colonial discourses which have seeped into India: for instance, the 19th century racist European association of Africa with cannibalism. After all, the mobs that attacked Nigerian students in Noida recently were ‘convinced’ that the Africans had ‘cannibalised’ an Indian student, who reportedly died of drug overdose.

Similarly, the groping and verbal sexism that many blonde women tourists encounter is partly the result of bad Hollywood films and similar trash, through which ordinary urban Indians encounter the West. Knowing porn and not Plato, triteness and not Twain, their reactions to Western women are essentially sexist and racist. This is exacerbated by the tendency in many conservative circles, so surprising given our proclaimed spirituality, to consider the material covering a woman’s body to be an indication of her soul and morality!

However, it does not do to put all the blame on our colonial inheritance or its neocolonial cultural ramifications. The main reason why such prejudices predominate in Indian caste circles has to do with internal reasons. As a nation, we are yet to face up to the racism and sexism that runs through many caste narratives. Before the British brought us stories of ‘African’ cannibalism, we had our own stories of cannibalism—associated, from classical texts down to some current Chitra comics, with dark-skinned, non-‘Aryan’-looking creatures. Similarly, the way we have often treated aboriginal women in India—partly because their dress codes and social mores differ from mainstream Hindustani (Hindu, as well as Muslim) ones—is simply shocking.

With some lower middle and middle castes riding the government’s ‘backward castes’ bandwagon for economic and other reasons, we tend to forget that the worst of internal prejudice in India has been traditionally aimed at ‘dark’ Dalits and dark-skinned aborigines (‘tribals’, not as much at castes like the largely ‘fair-skinned’ Yadavs or Ansaris). This has not changed substantially even today.

Different shades of racism

However, racism, unlike what some politicians believe, is not always a matter of colour; it is any kind of discrimination based on the false association of superficial physical differences—skin colour, shape of lips, hair, etc—with moral and intellectual qualities. However, it is also true that skin colour became its dominant index from the 18th century onwards, mostly because many Europeans wished to ‘justify’ the brutal enslavement of Africans.

Despite this link between skin colour and racism, one can argue that other kinds of racism have also existed. A major Irish novelist recently referred to the Irish as “the niggers of Britain”. What he meant was that in the 17th century, tens of thousands of Irish prisoners were sold to English settlers in the new world as slaves. As late as the early 20th century, with skin colour taking over, some English scholars were arguing that the Irish were related to “negroes” and not to the English—despite both the English and the Irish seeming indubitably ‘white’ to us.

There is an argument that the English worked out their initial theories of racism on the Irish before, in tandem with other Europeans, applying them on dark-skinned people, like many Africans. If so, one can argue that we Indians have worked out—and continue to work out—our racism and racism-tinged sexism on our aborigines and Dalits. It is not surprising that politicians who are unwilling to concede that Indians can be racist usually also refuse to accept that there is caste prejudice in India. – The Hindu, 16 April 2017

»Tabish Khair is an award-winning author from Bihar. He lives in Aarhus, Denmark.

African students in New Delhi

Northeastern students in New Delhi

From Orpheus to Jesus: The Trail of the Good Shepherd – Aravindan Neelakandan

Orpheus

Aravindan NeelakandanChristianity should come to terms with the truth that there is nothing exclusive about Jesus, and his mythology represents just one instance of the many dismembering-resurrection myths which can be found throughout the world. – Aravindan Neelakandan

Twelve years ago on a hot summer day in Wardha, we, a group of friends, were visiting Vinoba Bhave Ashram in Paunar, Maharashtra, after a rather strenuous but very useful camp on sustainable farming technologies. As we walked by the prayer hall, I noticed a rather interesting sculpture of Jesus playing a flute. I pointed it out to my Protestant friend accompanying me. He saw it and spontaneously reacted, “Impossible … this is a distortion….” I saw that he was not happy with the depiction and I changed the topic but deep inside I felt disturbed. Why is it that my Christian friend finds it uncomfortable to see Jesus with a flute … after all, the image of Jesus as a good shepherd is a powerful Christian iconography.

The shepherd imagery of Jesus features prominently in John’s narrative of Jesus mythology (John 10:11 and John 10:14). Christian theology relates this to Psalm 23 of David in the Hebrew Bible, which says that the God is his shepherd and that he shall not wander. However, in John, Jesus is a good shepherd and a good shepherd is defined as “one who lays down his life for his sheep” (10:11). Christian evangelists, who try to convert Jews, often use this statement as a kind of a continuity and fulfilment of Judaism in Christianity. Yet the Psalm 23, which begins as “a song of David”, speaks of God leading his herd to greener pastures and not “laying down his life”.

Hence it is interesting to see if the Christian imagery of “good shepherd” is really a continuation or even derived from Judaism or if it is inspired by non-Jewish elements. In this context, it should be noted the Jesus story of John is considered as the highly Hellenised version of all the four narratives endorsed by Council of Nicea in the fourth century CE.

Let us assume that a time machine has transported us to the Rome of early decades of the first two centuries of the Common Era. Standing in the streets of Rome, we ask for the Shrine of the Good Shepherd. We are led to a shrine. It is not that of Jesus but that of Orpheus.

Orpheus was a divine musician, who was also the good shepherd of ancient Rome. In the Pagan sacred shrines, the mosaics showed Orpheus seated in a mandala surrounded by animals which are attracted by his divine music. He holds a lyre. His mythology has striking parallels to that of Jesus.

In Greek mythology, Orpheus was the son of god Apollo. He was also a musician from Thrace who played the lyre. His divine music tamed the wild animals and even the rivers stopped to listen. He ultimately sacrificed his own life for the resurrection of his bride. He was dismembered by maenads, women devotees of Dionysus. It is a resurrection that failed at one level. Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung, however, asserts that “through dismemberment … the divine spark got into everything, the divine soul entered the earth … which guarantees resurrection”. In Christian theology, the believers are actually considered as being unified as an institutional body (Church), which in turn is seen as the bride of Jesus (2 Cor. 11:2). Now one can appreciate the mytho-theological parallels. Jesus sacrificed his mortal body for the salvation of his believers—or his bride—just like Orpheus did for his bride centuries ago. In Christian myth Jesus triumphed.

Orpheus shunned the females on his return from the netherworld and was killed. Jesus also meets a female in his mythical return from death. However, unlike Orpheus, Jesus meets a lonely, lamenting Magdalene. Immortalised in countless medieval Christian paintings, Jesus restrains Magdalene from touching him. Perhaps, this act of Jesus made famous by the words Noli me tangere (“Touch me not” John 20:17) may actually be scoring of a brownie point by Christian myth-makers over their Hellenistic counterparts. Orpheus allows himself to be murdered by women. Jesus orders Magdalene not to touch him. This may also be a subtle hint of the fear of murder by the females that proved fatal in the Orpheus mythology. Jesus after his brief sojourn into the world after resurrection ascends to heaven and lives eternally with his heavenly father. Orpheus too descends to the netherworld and lives eternally with his terrestrial bride, now transformed spiritually.

With these parallel elements of mythology, the early Christian art started depicting Jesus as Orpheus, the good shepherd—then a very famous attribute of one of the most popular Hellenistic [cults] of that period. Orphic mystery initiation was a great spiritual practice in ancient Rome and in this, Orpheus himself was seen as the chief messiah of Dionysus.

Like all Pagan religions, the Orphic school too was not an exclusive one. It allowed its own evolution through rich infusion of Mithraic imageries and Neoplatonic philosophic streams. Neoplatonism in turn contained in its elements of Indic wisdom. It will not be a far off speculation to consider that the music which captivated the beasts from the lyre of Orpheus could have been the Pythagorean music of the spheres. The Hellenistic mosaics show Orpheus with the characteristic headgear of Mithra worship.

In early Christian art, we see Christians adopting the Orphic imagery for Jesus. Here then is the more Pagan root of the Christian imagery of “good shepherd”. In early Christian catacombs of the fourth century, we meet Jesus-Orpheus compound figure still with Mithra headgear and the lyre. But starting sixth century, as the temporal power of Rome started becoming well established in the hands of institutional Christianity, we see a marked change in the Orpheus-Christ art. The figure of good shepherd is still there–significantly the lyre is gone and in its place there is the [crook] of a shepherd—shaped like a cross. The biodiversity surrounding Orpheus is progressively reduced with mono-culture of white sheep.

Now the divine musician, who bonded with multitude of animals through the celestial music is gone and in his place has come the shepherd king with the sceptre. As the authoritative Biblical and Theological Dictionary explains, sceptre, the Hebrew word, originated from the shepherd’s rod. In the Christian art of the medieval period as well as in later calendar art, Jesus the Good Shepherd permanently lost his musical instrument as he was handed over the power through the sceptre.

As the Pagan good shepherd’s mystery of dismembering and resurrection got mapped into the history-centric account of Christianity, the passion plays which depict the death and resurrection of Jesus became encapsulated with anti-Semitism. The passion plays have been focal points of spreading anti-Semitic violence in Christendom. In Adolf Hitler’s Germany, the Nazi Party was delighted in the use of passion plays in inciting violence against the Jewish community. And that is not limited to the pre-holocaust/Nazi period either. Actor Mel Gibson, who is known for his drunken anti-Semitic rants, has also been severely criticised for his movie The Passion of Christ (2004).

Abraham H. Foxman of Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found the movie as “the reincarnation of a story that became the legitimate basis for centuries of expulsions, murders and discrimination against Jews”. Sure enough, the flashback scene 11 of the movie talks about Jesus being the good shepherd, who dies for the flock.

The appropriation of the good shepherd imagery by Christianity achieved two things: the spiritual evolution of Orphic music was lost to Europe; the wilfully inaccurate anchoring of the good shepherd imagery to the Psalms of David, with the motive of proselytising Jews, created institutional anti-Semitism. It would take a burning of Bruno, inquisition of Galileo and countless torture and deaths of heretics, for the West to discover again the music of Orpheus at least in the realm of science. It would take 2,000 years of anti-Semitic persecution and a holocaust in the twentieth century to exorcise, though still not fully, the evil of anti-Semitism.

A contrasting evolution can be seen in the imagery of Krishna as the cowherd and flute player in India. Attested by the chronicles of Megasthenes, the Greek emissary, and Greek convert to Bhagwat Dharma in third and first centuries BCE respectively, the imagery of flute playing Krishna evolved uninterrupted by institutional power games for at least the last 2,000 years if not more. There are some rare sculptures of Krishna with shepherd’s staff. But the most dominant picture is that of the flute player.

Perhaps, Christianity too should shed its history-centrism and accept the Pagan archetypes on which it is based upon. It should come to terms with the earth-rooted spirituality of its images, forsaking its claims of messiah-hood appropriating Judaism. Christianity should also come to terms with the truth that there is nothing exclusive about Jesus, and his mythology represents just one instance of the many dismembering-resurrection myths which can be found throughout the world. Perhaps, then the Christian mind can come to terms with Jesus playing a flute. – Swarajya, 16 April 2017

» Aravindan Neelakandan is an author, economist and psychologist. He is a post-socialist thinker of cultural evolutionism and Indian ethnogenesis. He is known for the book Breaking India, which he co-authored with Rajiv Malhotra.

Jesus as Orpheus with Mithra cap and lyre. From the Catacombs of Peter and Marcellus, Rome, 4th century CE.

Jesus the Good Shepard. Orphic attributes replaced by cross as shepherd's crook and white sheep for the diversity of animals. Mosaic in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, 5th century CE.

Fundamentals of the Sri Ram Temple at Ayodhya – Subramanian Swamy

Sri Rama

Dr. Subramanian SwamyIt is well-established by GPRS-directed excavations done under the Allahabad High Court monitoring and verification in 2002-03, that a large temple did exist below where Babri Masjid structure once stood. – Dr Subramanian Swamy

True and devout Hindus believe Lord Sri Rama was born in Ayodhya, the then capital of a flourishing kingdom of the Suryavansha dynasty. Rama is venerated as Maryada Purushottam, and worshipped by Hindus of the north. As an avatar of Vishnu, he was first propagated by Tamil saints Nayanmars and Alwars; the north later came to accept Rama, especially thanks to the saint Tulsidas. In that sense, Sri Rama was the first truly national king of India, supra region, supra varna or jati.

The exact spot where Rama was born has been and remains firmly identified in the Hindu mind and is held as sacred. This is the very area where stood from 1528 till December 6, 1992, a structure that came to be known as Babri Masjid, put up in 1528 by Babur’s commander Mir Baqi.

Baqi was a Shia Muslim, and hence he intended it to be a place for Shias to perform namaz. Today, interestingly, the Shia clerics have made it clear to Hindu organisations that they would agree to have the site restored as a Ramjanmabhoomi. It is the Sunni Waqf Board, which entered the legal dispute as late as 1961, that has been claiming the title to the land on which the structure once stood. I call it a “structure” since it cannot be strictly called a mosque by Sunni edicts—because it did not have the mandatory minarets and wazu (water pool).

In Skanda Purana (Chapter X, Vaishnav Khand) the site is vividly described. Valmiki Ramayana also describes it beautifully. Less than two decades before Mir Baqi carried out the horrible demolition of the Ram Temple, Guru Nanak had visited the Ramjanmabhoomi and had darshan of Ramlalla in the mandir at the spot. Guru Nanak himself records in 1521 the barbarity of Babar’s invasions (in Guru Granth Sahib at p.418). In Akbar’s time, Abul Fazal wrote the Ain-i-Akbari in which he describes Ayodhya as the place of “Ram Chandra’s residence who in Treta Yuga combined spiritual supremacy and kingship” (Translated by Colonel H. S. Jarrett and published in Kolkata in 1891).

In Chapter X of the Report of the Archeological Survey of India, NW, and Oudh (1889) it is mentioned (p.67) that Babri Mosque “was built in AD 1528 by Mir Khan on the very spot where the old temple of Janmasthan of Ram Chandra was standing.”

It is recorded in many official and judicial proceedings. In 1885, for example, Mahant Raghubar Das in a Suit No 61/280 of 1885 filed in the court of the Faizabad sub-judge against the Secretary of State for India (who was based in London), prayed for permission to build a temple on the chabutra outside the mosque. His suit was dismissed on March 18, 1886.

However, in his order, the sub-judge, an Englishman, stated: “It is most unfortunate that a Masjid should have been built on land specially held sacred by the Hindus. But as the event occurred 358 years ago, it is too late now to remedy the grievance.”

It is well-established by GPRS-directed excavations done under the Allahabad High Court monitoring and verification in 2002-03, that a large temple did exist below where Babri Masjid structure once stood. Inscriptions found during excavations describe it as a temple of Vishnu Hari who had killed the demon king Dasanan (Ravana).

The Sunni Waqf Board does not accept these findings. It does not however matter if all this was indeed so or not, since under Section 295 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) it is prescribed that “Whoever destroys, damages or defiles any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons, with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defilement as an insult to their religion, shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.” – The New Indian Express, 3 October 2010

Ramlalla Temple on the Babri Masjid site after the demolition

Ramjanmabhumi Graphic

 See also

Modi’s India must abolish Regulation Raj – M.D. Nalapat

Make in India

Prof M.D. NalapatIt is axiomatic in a governance construct retaining the colonial ethos of pre-1947 days that the people of India are as little able to function without adult—i.e. official—supervision as small children. – Prof M. D. Nalapat

The Election Commission of India (EC) has decreed that even astrologers will not be allowed to forecast election results on television or in print. Even TV talk-show guests will be barred from giving forecasts. Clearly, CEC Nasim Zaidi and his colleagues would like astrologers and exit pollsters to exit from the idiot box, lest they “influence the voter”. Exactly what “influence” exit polls or astrological or other forecasting of results has on the voter has of course been unspecified by successive Election Commissioners. Such censorship is absent in practically any major democracy other than ours. Is it because the EC believes that voters in the many countries permitting exit polls and forecasting have a maturity of mind that the Indian voter lacks? But of course. It is axiomatic in a governance construct retaining the colonial ethos of pre-1947 days that the people of India are as little able to function without adult (i.e. official) supervision as small children. Which is presumably why the EC seeks to bar them from as much information as possible. This assumption of immature and wayward minds of the Indian citizen is why the bureaucracy in India crafts rule upon rule, regulation after regulation, thereby making the doing of anything painfully difficult in India.

This country’s forest of inchoate regulations and superfluous rules is why India has a pitifully low per capita income when compared to other major democracies. Those who took over the administration of this country after the British left, retained practically the entirety of an administrative structure founded on the premise that the people of India need supervision—indeed, control—at every stage of their lives and in all activities. As a consequence, much of the life of the citizen gets consumed in matters of compliance with the official regulations, prohibitions and commands needing to be obeyed on pain of punishment. A recent experience of this columnist concerned Aadhaar. Now that the government has made mandatory the use of the Aadhaar-based Unique Identification Number (in a context where 99% of citizens already have some or other such unique number, including that of the cellphone they own), a visit was made to an Aadhaar dispensing outlet. After waiting for an hour and 27 minutes, the shop registered details of every digit of both hands plus the irises of the eyes. However, when the Aadhaar card was sought to be procured ten days later, the reply was that “all the registrations done for those three days were disallowed by higher authority”. What happened to the biometric data taken from each applicant, including this columnist’s? Nobody knew or cared. And if months later, an ultra-high resolution camera takes images of both irises and imprints them on contact lenses, it would not be impossible for an imposter to access a facility that needs such identification for entry. As for the fingerprints, were someone to scan and imprint them on film, and that film subsequently used to plant fingerprint evidence at the site of a crime, it would be next to impossible to prove that the prints were stolen. Why? Because the biometric and other data stored through Aadhaar is regarded as too sensitive to be disclosed even to the person whose data it is. And in case the agency doing so makes other use of it, in the unlikely event of its getting found out, the only “punishment” would be blacklisting that agency for ten years. During that period, all that the owner would need to do would be to procure a new name board and get back into business, Dhoni or no Dhoni. Because of the not unusual disappearance of three days’ data of applicants at that particular location, another visit to the Aadhaar outlet will need to be made. Hopefully, this time the card will be ready, although there will continue to be zero transparency about what happens to the stored data. Unless, of course, one were to access some of the websites that claim to be revealing Aadhaar data to the public. Aadhaar must get cleansed of its imperfections to avoid future disasters. 

An encounter that same week with the Regulation Raj that India continues to be, involved buying a Wi-Fi device from a company that had advertised an attractive scheme. On the first visit, the relevant retail outlet declined the identity document offered. The next time around, it refused to process the request even when presented with a copy of passport details, because a passport photograph was not presented. Why this could not have been taken on the spot by the outlet through a mobile telephone remains a mystery. Fortunately, on the third visit to the store, armed with passport, photograph and loads of patience, success. Registration was done, as this columnist was informed just two days later on his mobile phone. The entire process (including the three visits) took 57 minutes to complete, including downtime. Not that the company or its outlet should be blamed. Failure to comply with any of the multiplying regulations involving telecom could well lead to prison for some of its officials. 

If India is to ever enjoy a growth rate high enough to generate 13 million additional jobs each year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will need to set up empowered working groups that would go through the country’s Walmart-sized lists of regulations. They need to trim some and remove the rest entirely, leaving behind only those applicable to 21st century needs and practices. By the time the 2019 Lok Sabha polls take place, India needs to have a leaner and citizen-friendly system of rules and regulations, so that a genuinely new India emerges from the shadow of growth-destroying mechanisms of governance. – The Sunday Guardian, 2 April 2017

» Prof M. D. Nalapat is an Indian academic and columnist. He writes extensively on security, policy and international affairs.

A graph rating bureaucracies in Asia.

Video: Decolonizing the Indian Civil Services – Rajiv Malhotra

Rajiv Malhotra says,

“In this talk, I analyze the ridiculous syllabus which is still being followed in UPSC exams to select government officials in India. Young civil servants are chosen through this ultra-leftist ideology controlled by breaking India forces. There is a blatant lack of balanced perspective.

“No wonder this ideology governs the mindset of many Indian diplomats, IAS officers, tax, police and various organs of the government.

“How ridiculous that Sheldon Pollock, Ananya Vajpeyi and various other anti-India ideologues are being hoisted as intellectuals, and our youth are required to understand and quote them. This awareness must spread. Please make this video viral.

“I am also troubled that the new government has not changed the ideology built into the college-level humanities and social sciences. All the bombastic manthans and gatherings about ‘decolonizing’ are useless exercises in self-promotion by some activists.”