Hindus don’t have equality with the minorities – Rajeev Mantri

Rajeev Mantri“Mother Teresa is seen as a saint by some devout Christians. But to assert that she was universally seen as a saint is not just false, but unacceptable to any liberal and secular individual. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat’s comment that Mother Teresa had an evangelical agenda is simply a statement of fact; it is something which she herself proudly admitted.” – Rajeev Mantri

Julio RibeiroAn article written by former police officer Julio Ribeiro, initially headlined “I feel I am on a hit list“, has ignited a debate concerning India’s Christians and their security under the Narendra Modi government.

The 86-year-old Ribeiro—who admitted later he “slightly exaggerated” to attract attention—makes a series of scathing allegations against the Modi government, writing, “I feel threatened, not wanted, reduced to a stranger in my own country.” He points to reports of church vandalism, asserting India’s Christians are threatened because of such incidents.

It speaks to the discourse prevalent in India that every incident of vandalism or crime where a minority community is involved is viewed through the lens of communalism and secularism. Investigations into these incidents have found that they were petty crimes and localized incidents, not necessarily motivated by religious hatred, but those who stoutly believe that minorities are under siege allege the investigations are compromised or influenced. No facts can convince them that there may be no grand design; the assertion of motivated attacks itself serves as proof that there is a conspiracy against minorities, and that assertion isn’t allowed to be undermined.

Mother Teresa & Michele Duvalier of HaitiRibeiro makes one tenuous claim after another. First, he asserts the Christian community has made significant contributions to India by building educational institutions and hospitals. Second, he proclaims that Mother Teresa was an “acknowledged saint, acknowledged by all communities and peoples”.

It is true that many of India’s leading schools and colleges are run by Christian organizations, and have done yeoman’s service for the country across generations. But this has not been entirely without an agenda. The missionary organizations running these institutions received substantial subsidies from the Indian public; in the British era and even after independence, missionary-run institutions received prime land in city centres at subsidized rates.

More importantly, they were allowed autonomy and freedom in how they should run their institutions. Even today, top ranked institutions like St Stephen’s College, Christian Medical College in Vellore, St Xavier’s College and countless missionary schools across India clearly declare themselves to be minority institutions and admit Christian students through explicit quotas; all of this is done at a subsidy, implicit and explicit, from Indian taxpayers, who are largely Hindus.

Dr Ida ScudderFor example, Christian Medical College clearly states in its admissions prospectus that its aim is to “train individuals for service in needy areas, especially in Christian mission hospitals”, and “a large number of Christian churches and missions make use of training” it offers in medical education. It has a special “sponsored category” constituting up to 50% seats, reserved for Christian applicants. For the nursing programme, 85% seats are reserved for Christians. The college says that “staff and student retreats led by eminent Christian thinkers are an important feature of the spiritual nature” of the college community.

Church of North India Minister Valson ThampuSt Stephen’s has a 50% Christian quota and lower entry cutoffs for Christian applicants. Its principal, Valson Thampu, made news recently when a staff member alleged he was being coerced by Thampu to convert to Christianity. The principal of St Xavier’s College in Mumbai went so far as to issue a political statement to the 3,000 students of his college criticizing the Gujarat government’s economic record and praising the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government during the 2014 general election campaign. Why must a college principal make political proclamations to his student body?

When premier schools and educational institutions funded by public money have large religious quotas—and protectionism through government regulation certainly helped these institutions achieve their premier position—it’s a clear incentive for Hindus to convert, for becoming Christian increases one’s chances of getting admission to some of India’s top schools and colleges. The obvious implication is also that India has a system of government-funded Christian evangelism; is that secular?

It’s acceptable that these institutions retain Christian quotas. The problem is the alternatives for Hindus are limited by state diktat because of stifling regulations in the education sector that have created artificial shortages.

By not liberalizing the education sector, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be supporting a quasi-monopoly enjoyed by Christian evangelical organizations. Liberalizing the sector would level the playing field and create a more equal India. By the same token, if non-Hindus enjoy the religious freedom to convert Hindus, Hindus too should have the freedom to propagate their faith.

Ramachandra GuhaBut these are facts that are well-known to even left-liberal intellectuals. Writing in June 2007, when St Stephen’s College talked of raising its Christian quota to 50%, eminent historian Ramachandra Guha had said, “According to the Union ministry of education, fully 95% of the expenses of the college are met by the University Grants Commission. Why should a college that draws so heavily on the public exchequer be allowed to choose 40% of its students from 2% of the country’s population?”

Today, because there is a government in New Delhi headed by a man and a party they despise, the intellectuals maintain a calculated silence and merrily bandy Ribeiro’s victimhood-filled article as evidence of a state conspiracy against minorities.

Mother Teresa is seen as a saint by some devout Christians. But to assert that she was universally seen as a saint is not just false, but unacceptable to any liberal and secular individual. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat’s comment that Mother Teresa had an evangelical agenda is simply a statement of fact; it is something which she herself proudly admitted.

A staunch Roman catholic, Mother Teresa was opposed to birth control and abortions, calling it “the greatest destroyer of peace” in her 1979 Nobel Prize acceptance lecture—the so-called liberal movie stars who jumped to Teresa’s defence might be blissfully ignorant of her beliefs.

Contrast Teresa’s regressive views on this issue with that of Modi, who said last year in an interview to a television channel, “Women should have every right to take all the decisions of their lives. How much they want to study, where they want to study, when to marry, whether to marry, what work to do, where to work, when to have children, how many children to have, whether to have children—all these decisions should be in the hands of the woman alone.” Yet, Teresa is a secular-liberal icon and Modi is a fundamentalist.

A committed harvester of souls for her God, Teresa received criticism for baptizing the impoverished on their death beds. It is for such unethical and fundamentalist acts that British writer Christopher Hitchens called her the “ghoul of Calcutta”.

Mohan Bhagwat & Narendra Modi“If my DNA is tested, it will not differ markedly from Bhagwat’s”, writes an impassioned Ribeiro. But the reality today is the Indian state treats a Ribeiro or a John differently from a Bhagwat or a Gupta. Christian educational institutions are regulated less strenuously than Hindu ones. Christian places of worship are not controlled by government, but Hindu temples are. In flesh and blood, Christians, atheists, Muslims, Parsis, Buddhists and Hindus may all be the same—but in the eyes of the Indian state, they are not.

Narendra Modi with Christian and Muslim clerics.Correcting this heinous perversity is the Modi government’s mandate—it is telling that not one self-described soldier of secularism ever asks that Hindus be granted this equality. During the 2014 general election campaign, Modi faced opprobrium from the intelligentsia for declining to wear the Muslim skull cap. Not wearing the cap amounted to an insult to Muslims and a violation of secularism, we were told. But Modi took the firm and principled position that as a practising Hindu, he could not and would not wear a religious symbol only to garner votes.

It’s a question that begs to be answered—will Hindus have to circumcise or baptise themselves to prove they are secular and tolerant?

It should be revolting to every secular Indian that Hindus and non-Hindus are treated differently by the Indian state. Under the Nehruvian template, special treatment of minorities in several areas has become the norm in our country. It is equally true that freedom has been denied in areas such as personal laws to minorities. Muslims, for instance, are forced to abide by a religious personal law code.

Jawaharlal NehruNehruvian India is a discriminatory, bigoted India that arbitrarily affords more freedom to one religious group and less to the other. This is immoral and grossly unfair, for the Indian state should not be favouring or disfavouring individual citizens based on their religion.

Given his mandate and his clearly articulated stand on religious freedom during and since the election campaign, Modi has a historic opportunity—an India where all citizens are equal in the eyes of the state is within reach. – Live Mint, 19 March 2015

» Rajeev Mantri is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, fund manager, writer, policy wonk, and WSJ Live Mint columnist. He tweets at @RMantri.

Thefts in Delhi's churches, gurdwaras, mosques, and temples.


Christians are not under attack in India – Maria Wirth

Maria Wirth“What is more of a hate crime: when a stone is thrown at a church by a drunkard or when respected clergy declare without any proof that Hindus are damned to eternal hell-fire if they don’t become a member of the Church, and when they brainwash Christian children to believe this? Will TV anchors be outraged at such a discriminatory, baseless allegation which can lead to real hate crimes?” – Maria Wirth

Bishop Joseph of Edessa: Thomas of Cana, a Mesopotamian merchant and missionary, brought a mission to India in 345. He brought 400 Christians from Baghdad, Nineveh, and Jerusalem to Kodungallur. He and his companion Bishop Joseph of Edessa sought refuge under King Cheraman Perumal from persecution of Christians by the Persian king Shapur II. The colony of Syrian Christians established at Kodungallur may be the first Christian community in South India for which there is a continuous written record. T.R. Vedantham showing his own perspective on Christianity was the first to propose in 1987 that Thomas of Cana was confused with the 1st century apostle Thomas by India's Syrian Christians sometime after his death, becoming their Apostle Thomas in India.There is probably no other country where members of other religions were as safe as in India. Hindus always gave shelter to those who were persecuted in their homelands. Jews gratefully acknowledged that India is the one country where they were never persecuted. Syrian Christians under their leader Thomas of CanaThomas the Apostle did not come to India—were given refuge in the 4th century. Parsis came in the 10th century to escape the Muslim invaders in Persia. And in 1959, some 100,000 Tibetan Buddhist refugees found shelter in India—only 12 years after the British had left the country, divided and poverty-stricken.

In contrast, the rich USA with an area three times the size and only a quarter of India’s population allowed only in 1991 one thousand Tibetan families to enter.

Indians never hesitated to accept those who were in trouble and who wanted to preserve their faith because they did not distinguish between human beings on religious lines. Their attitude was that all belong to one big human family and all have the same divine essence in them. For them “religion” was not an identity but a natural, ideal way of life.

So what happened that nowadays there is a lot of talk that Christians are under attack in India? Have Hindus become intolerant?

No. Hindus have not changed. All the so-called attacks on churches which were hyped up recently on many TV channels turned out to have been minor crimes unconnected with “Hindu extremists”. In other countries they would hardly find space in the local paper. Why were they flogged for days on TV channels? Why were Christian spokesmen given plenty of airtime to falsely blame the “Hindu right” and claim that Christians are under attack? There seems to be an agenda by the Churches and it would need to be investigated why so many TV channels obliged.

A smashed glass pane outside one church, a fire due to short circuit in another church, a theft of 8000 Rupees in a convent school, stones thrown by a mixed group of Hindus and Muslim surely don’t warrant hours of hyped coverage.

Yes, there was also the break-in into a convent school in West Bengal, where not only 1.2 million Rupees were stolen but a 72-year-old nun was allegedly gang raped.

This was shameful no doubt and this news reached in no time all corners of the world. It fitted well into the image that had already been crafted over the last 2 years—of India as a rapists’ nation. The Vatican radio spoke of India’s shame which went viral on the internet.

It turned out that Bangladeshi Muslims, probably encouraged by the Pakistani secret service, were behind it.

Cardinal Archbishop Baselios Cleemis is the current President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India.Typically, the media fell silent. The BBC ran a scroll that an arrest has been made in the nun gang rape in India. They didn’t mention that he was a Bangladeshi Muslim. Neither the Vatican, nor the cardinal or the bishop apologized for their wrong, greatly publicized pre-judgment of the case that it was connected with the Hindu re-conversion drive of RSS and VHP.

The campaign of media and Christian representatives against “Hindu extremists” is not likely to end soon. New incidents will come up and the Christian spokesmen will again peddle the “truth” that under Narendra Modi as Prime Minister the Hindus are emboldened to “attack” Christians in hate crimes and that Christians feel helpless and insecure. The TV anchors will continue to prod them: “Do you feel unsafe in India?” and all Christian spokesmen will again reply “Yes” and claim that hate crimes have increased since Modi came to power.

There are other voices, too, who do not take part in this back stabbing of their Hindu brothers and, probably closer to the truth, blame the Christian clergy for trying to sow discord between communities. Yet those Christians, like Robert Rosario or Hilda Raja, are not likely to get an invitation to represent the Christian side, because they wouldn’t further the agenda to portray Hindus in poor light.

Mainstream media has tremendous power to shape opinions. Churches have tremendous financial and political clout. Both obviously cooperate to portray Hindus as intolerant and hateful of other religions—contrary to facts. There is a third power that wants India to get a bad image the world over, at least as bad as its own image is. It is Pakistan. The Sunday Guardian of 21th March exposed that the Pakistani secret service increased its budget six-fold to achieve the goal that India is put into the same bracket with Pakistan on human rights issues and downgraded by the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

This goal has already been achieved in regard to projecting India as a rapist country. In the west, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are now seen as being on the same level. In fact, India stands out negatively: it is openly thrashed for its ‘anti-women attitude’, while it is politically incorrect to thrash Muslim countries. The German professor who quoted India’s rape culture as reason to reject an Indian shows the huge damage that this false portrayal of India has done.

Unfortunately, India did nothing to put the issue into perspective when the maligning campaign started, and it seems that India again does nothing to prevent an equally damaging, also false perception that Hindus are prone to hate crimes against Christians. Sometimes I wonder whether Indians are even aware how detrimental to India’s image abroad the media campaign has already been.

Over 2 lakh men and women raped in US prisons each year!At least the government, if not the public at large, would know that India is neither in the top league of rape countries, nor are Hindus known for hate crimes and discrimination against members of other religions.

They would know that India has presently a population of 1270 million, and that it is unfair to compare absolute numbers of crimes with other countries. If the crimes that happen in the USA, Canada, in all European countries including Russia plus Australia were added up, then they could be compared with the number of crimes that happen in India. Can the media be made to give a balanced reporting on the issues it takes up? Does anyone remember the hype that media created about AIDS some 20 years ago? “India second only to South Africa” they screamed. Nobody mentioned that India had 1000 and South Africa 50 million inhabitants.

If the media were fair, they would discern that the charge of 160 hate crimes against Christians in the last 10 months, especially when those include theft and a stone thrown by a drunkard, is no reason to shout “Christians don’t feel safe in India”? Why do they play into the hands of the west which will be pleased to get a stick to beat India with?

In England, there were over 1,000 hate crimes only against Jews in the last year. This would equal over 20,000 hate crimes in India if it is put in proportion to the population. In USA, several Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims were killed only because they were Sikhs, Hindus or Muslims. Should the USCIRF not put the US and Europe on its watch list, before it even thinks of condemning India?

There are several indicators that clearly show that Christians are not persecuted in India and are even pampered:

The percentage of Christians keeps increasing. Their places of worship multiply manifold and are free from government interference, unlike Hindu temples. Many Christians are in high positions. Missionaries have the guts to openly declare that they want to plant hundred thousand churches in India and “evangelize the whole country in this generation” (from a Christian youth magazine called “Blessings”). Christians and other minorities are privileged and get special benefits like scholarships, etc. Christians can teach the catechism in their schools to Christian students, while ethic teachers in those schools must not mention Sri Krishna, or Hindu philosophy to Hindu students. Compare this with the situation in Pakistan and it becomes evident that the “operation equal blame” depends entirely on spreading falsehood and manipulating the world opinion.

Former IPS officer Julio Francis RibeiroHow to counter this mischievous agenda? Certainly not by going on the defensive and giving special attention to Christians. “Justice for all, appeasement for none” is the way to go. The nun gang rape has been carried to the eight corners of the world as a ‘communal crime’ because the victim was a Christian. How would the kin of a Hindu girl feel who has been raped and maybe even killed by Muslims or Christians, yet neither the media nor even the police take any interest in the case, because it is not communal enough when Hindus are at the receiving end? Crimes need to be treated as crimes and religion should be out of consideration.

Hindus have no reason to be defensive. Spokesmen are dishonest when they claim that Christian are unsafe in India. It will be difficult to find any other country where Christians in minority are as safe and pampered, as among Hindus. If someone needs to be on the defensive, it is the Christian clergy and they may know it. Maybe that is the reason why they act as bullies in tune with the dictum ‘attack is the best defense’. They will stop playing the bully only when they perceive their opponent as strong.

Strength here doesn’t mean to bully back. It simply means to be clear, stick to truth and stick to dharma. It also means not to be afraid to point out the adharmic, divisive aspects in Christianity.

We live in the 21st century when science has discovered that there are different levels to reality. The apparent variety in this universe is based on uniform oneness. Our deepest essence is made of the same stuff, as it were. The Indian rishis knew this, ages ago. Where then is there place for a huge fire where billions or maybe trillions of heathens will burn for eternity after the Day of Judgment?

What is more of a hate crime: when a stone is thrown at a church by a drunkard or when respected clergy declare without any proof that Hindus are damned to eternal hellfire if they don’t become a member of the Church, and when they brainwash Christian children to believe this? Will TV anchors be outraged at such discriminatory, baseless allegation which can lead to real hate crimes? Will Hindus (and other heathens like Buddhists, atheists, etc.) demand an answer from the Churches?

Christians who originally came as refugees, and later went berserk during the Goan Inquisition, are now on a well-planned mission with huge funds from the west to change the broad-minded attitude of Hindus from “We revere ALSO Jesus” to a narrow-minded “We revere ONLY Jesus”?

Are Hindus Demonic Lunatics?Contempt and intolerance for other religions is inbuilt in Christianity. Its goal is clear: all must follow Christ. Hinduism must disappear. If they say something else in interfaith dialogues, it is deception. The spread of Christianity is not in India’s interest. It is not in humanity’s interest either.

Hinduism unlike Christianity and Islam, has no agenda and never had an agenda to wipe out other religions. In India, there always were innumerable paths to the one truth. It is India’s job not only to honour her valuable heritage and educate her own people and the world, but also prevent her people from being deceived, threatened or allured by unfair means to a divisive ideology.

The Churches don’t succeed anymore to enforce belief in unreasonable dogmas among Christians in the west, yet their financial and political power is mind-boggling. They have plenty of funds to defame Hindus and Hinduism the world over. India is no equal in this fight, as most of her own media seems to have switched sides.

Maybe the Prime Minister himself needs to point out on his visit to Europe that Christian Churches are on a massive conversion spree in India because they have this strange and baseless notion that otherwise Hindus go to hell. They should relax. Hindus won’t go to hell. Most Europeans will agree with him.

However, I don’t know how much damage the media campaign “Christians are under attack” has already done. I just checked with a cousin in Germany. Yes, he heard already that there were attacks on Christians in India…. – Maria Wirth Blog, 30 March 2015

Church and temple thefts in Delhi

Country comparison of rape rate per 100,000 of population.

South India Church Mission Logo

See also

  1. Part One: The Anti-Modi Christian Agenda
  2. Part Two: The Anti-Modi Christian Agenda

Ganja ban is elitist; it should go, says Tathagata Satpathy – Deeptiman Tiwary

Tathagata Satpathy

Deeptiman TiwaryBJD chief whip in Lok Sabha Tathagata Satpathy recently admitted in a social media chat that he smoked pot (ganja/marijuana) in his younger days. To the pleasantly surprised Net audience, the four-time MP from Dhenkanal in Odisha even showed the way to legally score the stuff in his own state. The comments have since gone viral, earning Satpathy many fans for his candid admission and frank opinion on what he says is an unfairly stigmatized subject. In this interview he explains his opposition to the “elitist” ban on cannabis consumption in India and how given an opportunity he would stand up for its repeal in Parliament. – Deeptiman Tiwary

Chillum BabaYou’ve admitted that you have smoked pot. Now, that’s a rare admission by an MP given that it’s a statutory offence to do so.

• I did it when I was young. I haven’t smoked pot for some time now. But I neither regret it nor have any remorse about it. I also don’t support the ban on cannabis consumption.

Why do you think cannabis consumption was criminalized? Was it wrong to do so and attach such stigma to its use?

• Intoxication, in various forms, has been part of societies across the world. Shiva had some kind of ras and Christ’s blood was wine. Since biblical times and even prior to that, including the Romans and South Americans, people have been using intoxicants. Whether it’s part of Indian culture, I don’t know. But it’s definitely a way of life in India. In Odisha (where cannabis consumption is not illegal), people smoking chillum is a common sight. It is not something you make note of just as you don’t notice someone drinking water or having tea. The only difference that I have experienced in life is whether you let an intoxicant overpower your life or you take it as a learning process, do something and then get out of it.

It has often been argued that it’s not the substance that makes you an addict….

• That’s correct. It’s not the substance but your character. People are addicted to sweets, salty food. It harms them as much.

Do you think in the late ’80s when it was banned, we overreacted to a scare created by the US?

• Yes, I agree.

Do you think it’s hypocritical of the Indian state to allow consumption of alcohol but not cannabis? It has been argued that alcohol is more harmful than cannabis.

• We are the US of the ’50s and the ’60s. We are wannabes. The thinking is that if you hold a wine glass people will consider you belong to the upper class. You roll a joint and people will call you charsi. It is an elitist bias. It was during Rajiv Gandhi‘s time that the Indian state was most elitist. A pilot married to a foreigner and forced into something he was not interested in. Indira Gandhi was not elitist in that manner. Cannabis suffered a ban because it was an intoxicant of the poor.

Should India revisit the ban?

• While it should, I don’t think it can. Unless there is some Act about medical us age of marijuana and then the civil society creates some kind of pressure to insert the word “recreational”. And then we can also demand a change in the NDPS Act.

If some day a debate comes up on this issue in Parliament, would you stand up for decriminalization of cannabis?

• Of course I will. I will seek the permission of my party president. I will try to convince him of what I think and why I think so. Whether he agrees or not I can’t predict. But if he is convinced, perhaps he will authorize me to officially support decriminalization of cannabis. After all, it is legal in our state.

Man SmokingTimes View

Since 1985, when the ill-conceived NDPS Act was enacted, this is the first time an Indian lawmaker has shown the courage of conviction to speak out against th law and ask for legalizing use of cannabis—the plant from which marijuana (ganja), hashish (charas) and bhang are derived. The NDPS Act had outlawed a way of life in India by bracketing ganja and charas with killer drugs like smack and heroin and prescribing a minimum 10-year jail term for the sale or possession of these drugs. Government shops that sold ganja and charas shut down and the poor man’s intoxicant was made illegal. Meantime, informal trade moved from these soft drugs to killer smack because while the punishment was the same, the profit margin for smack was 10 times higher than for ganja. And for the first time, we witnessed a drugs problem in India with the emergence of the desperate “smackiya”.

Several MPs knew what was happening, argued against the Act in private, but none spoke out against it. Some of it was because of American pressure (the US was losing patience with their pot-smoking flower children), but mostly because soft drugs like marijuana and hashish didn’t enjoy the respectability of alcohol with the upper classes. Since then, penalties for soft drugs have been made lesser than for hard drugs. But should there be a penalty at all on them? American research shows that marijuana is no more harmful to health than alcohol—in fact, some research suggests alcohol is worse. Several US states have legalized the medicinal use of marijuana and a growing number are legalizing it for recreational purposes too. And to think that it was India where marijuana and hashish were used as recreational drugs for as long as anyone can remember. Our scriptures talk of Lord Shiva’s fondness for it.

Last year, the NDPS Act was amended to allow the medicinal use of narcotic drugs. However, we should go further and allow the use of soft drugs like marijuana and hashish for recreational use. That would usher in a rational approach towards intoxicants, and set right a historical wrong. – The Times of India, 29 March 2015

Ganja shop in Puri, Odisha

See also

Cow is a sacred asset of the nation – Subramanian Swamy

Dr Subramanian Swamy“A single individual by simply not consuming meat prevents the equivalent of 1.5 tons of CO2 emissions in a year. This is more than the one ton of CO2 emissions prevented by switching from a large sedan to a small car. …  There is no justification whatsoever for one to continue to be a non-vegetarian knowing the devastating consequences of meat-eating.” – Dr Subramanian Swamy 

Bahadur Shah II (r. 1837-58) was the last Mughal emperor of IndiaWhen India fought the First War of Independence in 1857, and Bahadur Shah ‘Zafar’ was installed as emperor by the Hindus in Delhi for a brief period, his Hindu Prime Minister, on the emperor’s proclamation, made the killing of cow a capital offence. Earlier in Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s kingdom, the only crime that had capital punishment was cow slaughter.

One global patent has been granted for cow urine, neem and garlic as a pest repellent, fungicidal and growth promontory properties for all different crops.

Our West influenced intellectuals and mentally dominated by foreign idiom, sneer at the mention of the cow, leave alone speaking about the cow as an asset to the nation. But we know that these intellectuals first sneered at yoga, now it is a fashion for them doing pranayama at cocktail parties. They also sneered at our sannyasis, calling them disparagingly as “godmen”. Now they flock to ashrams with their white friends ever since the Beatles did. Who knows, they may soon boast of a cow in their backyards. For those of us who are desi by pedigree and conviction, I place some facts about the cow in the new perspective of modern Hindutva.

India has 150 million cows today (2009), giving an average of less than 200 litres of milk per year. If they could be fed and looked after, then these divine animals can give an average of 11,000 litres of milk as the Israeli cows do. That could provide milk for the whole world. The milk we produce today is the cheapest in the world. With enhanced production by raising the productivity of milch cows we can become the world’s largest exporter of milk and India’s biggest foreign exchange earner.

The cow was elevated to the status of divinity in the Rigveda itself. In Book VI, the Hymn XXVIII attributed to Rishi Bhardwaja, extols the virtue of the cow. In Atharvaveda (Book X, Hymn 10), the cow is formally designated as Vishnu, and “all that the Sun surveys.” This divine quality of the cow has been affirmed by Kautilya in his Arthasastra (Chapter XXIX) as well.

Kamadhenu & CalfThe Indian society has addressed the cow as gow mata. The Churning of the Sea episode brings to light the story of the creation of the cow. Five divine kamadhenus (wish cows), viz, Nanda, Subhadra, Surabhi, Sushila, Bahula emerged in the churning.

Cow is there in the company of Bhagwan Dattatreya and Gopal Krishna. Cow is the vehicle of Shaillputri and Gowri – two of the nine manifestations of Goddess Durga. Ancient coins with image of bull Nandi on them have been found in excavations.

Thousands of names of places, persons and things in our country have the name of the cow: e.g. Gauhati, Gorakhpur, Goa, Godhra, Gondiya, Godavari, Goverdhan, Gautam, Gomukh, Gokarna, Goyal, Gochar etc. , that signify the deep reverence and high ground reserved for the cow and her progeny in our culture. Why? Because of the deep abiding faith that the cow is verily the Annapurna.

In 2003, the National Commission on Cattle presided over by Justice G. M. Lodha, submitted its recommendations to the NDA Government. The Report (in 4 volumes) called for stringent laws to protect the cow and its progeny in the interest of India’s rural economy. This is anyway a Constitutional requirement under Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution which says: “The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle”. In 1958, a 5-member Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court ((1959) SCR 629) upheld Article 48 and the consequently held total ban on cow slaughter as a reasonable restriction on Fundamental Rights of all Indians.

Cow PujaFor a Hindu, the very appearance of a cow evokes a sense of piety. See how the most reckless bus driver avoids the cow that squats in the middle of the road. The cow is serene by temperament and herbivorous by diet. It is multi-product animal. Apart from milk, cow dung known for its anti-septic value is still used as fuel in its dried caked form in most Indian villages. It is also used in compost manure and in the production of electricity through eco-friendly gobar gas. Thus, Mahatma Gandhi had declared: “Cow protection is more important than even Swaraj”.

The cow, according to Vedas provides the following four products for human society :

1. Godugdha (cow milk): As per Ayurveda, cow milk’s composition has fat, carbohydrate, minerals, calcium, iron and vitamin B, and even a capacity for resistance of the body against radiation and regenerate brain cells.

2. Goghruta (cow ghee): Best among all kinds of ghee. As per Ayurveda classics it is useful in various kind of systematic, physical and mental disorders as well as it sustains the age for long time. When it is used in yajna, it improves the oxygen level in the air around.

3. Gomutra (cow urine): A total of 8 types of urine are used for medicinal purpose now a days. Among those, Cow urine is held to be the best. Hence the Americans are busy patenting while we are busy sneering about it. Anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal property is found in it. It is also having anti-oxidant and immuno modulator property, which is very much useful for immune deficiency diseases which are increasing now a days. In classics there are so many references available where cow urine is mentioned as a drug of choice. Even Parsis of Zoroastrian religion follow this practice.

4. Gomaya (cow dung): Gomaya is considered equally valuable as gaumutra and it is used to purify the environment. Cow dung has radium and it checks the radiation effects.

Gaunyle (Cow's Urine)Besides milk and dung, the ancient Hindu wisdom that cow’s urine has medicinal properties and hence accessible at low-cost to the rural poor, is borne out by patents granted in United States.

Two US patents have been granted for cow urine distillate (US Pat. No. 6410059 & 6896907) for anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer properties, also it is having a lot of antioxidants. Since it has got immunomodulatory compounds in it, it is a very good bio-enhancer to facilitate drug availability to high extent in our body. Patent from China is also granted to cow urine distillate as a DNA protector.

One global patent has been granted for cow urine, neem and garlic as a pest repellent, fungicidal and growth promontory properties for all different crops (WHO 2004/087618A1).

Sahiwal CowAnother US patent has been granted for strains obtained from Sahiwal cow milk for plant growth promoter phytopathogenic fungi controlling activity, abiotic stress tolerating capability, phosphatic solubilisation capability, etc. (US patent No. 7097830 dated 29/8/06).

Also CSIR has filed US patent for Amrit Pani (mixture of cow dung + cow urine + jaggery) from NBRI Lucknow for soil health improvement properties.

All the above claims had been made in Charaka Samhita, Sushrut, Vaghbhati and Nighantu, Ratnakar, etc.

The above examples very well prove the utility of cow dung and urine for sustainable agriculture as well as for almost curing or giving relief in many serious diseases like psoriasis, eczema, asthma, diabetes, blood pressure, renal failures and cancer, etc.

This confirms Vedic message: Gomay vasate laxmi, i.e., cow dung is a source of wealth, whereas in western culture dung and urine are considered to be waste, even if their modern medical research has begun changing its view.

Furthermore, the common argument in the west for slaughtering cows is no more uncontested. Beef is not of high protein content as believed. Any dietician’s chart shows that beef, with 22 per cent protein, ranks far below vegetable products like soybean (43), groundnut (31), pulses (24). Moreover, excess intake of protein is not good as it only contributes to obesity, a bane of modern civilization. Moreover, to procure 1 kg of beef (or for that matter any flesh) it takes 7 kg of crops and 7,000 kg. of water.

Swami Dayananda & Narendra ModiThus protection of the cow thus makes good economic and ecological sense. Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the scholar-sannyasi and convener of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, a body of all prominent Hindu religious heads, has argued that non-vegetarianism indirectly contributes heavily to green house gases and other pollution.

He quotes a report from the United Nations of the year 2006 that reveals the surprising fact that “raising animals for meat as food generates more green house gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined.” Ten of billions of animals farmed for food, release gases such as methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide through their massive amounts of manure. Animals such as cows and sheep, being ruminant, emit huge amount of methane due to flatulence and burping. “The released methane”, the report says, “has 23 times the global warming potential of CO2”. It is alarming to note that the livestock industry alone is responsible for 37 per cent of human induced methane emissions. To make room for these animals to graze, the virgin forests are cleared. The livestock industry also needs a vast stretches of land to raise mono-crops to feed the animals. The CO2 that the trees and plants store escapes back into the air when they are destroyed.

Growing fodder for farmed animals implies heavy use of synthetic fertilizers produced with fossil fuels. While this process emits a huge amount of CO2 fertilizer itself releases nitrous oxide (3) – a green house gas that is 296 times more potent than CO2. Alarming Roast Beefthough these facts are, Swamiji sees in them a reason for hope. All that the people ever have to do is to avoid red-meat eating. In the absence of demand for meat there is no more need for breeding millions of animals for daily slaughter. And then animals population would cease to be medicated or inseminated for continuous breeding, thereby the population would be regulated

A single individual by simply not consuming meat prevents the equivalent of 1.5 tons of CO2 emissions in a year. This is more than the one ton of CO2 emissions prevented by switching from a large sedan to a small car. One needs to have an honest commitment to save the mother earth who has been relentlessly patient and magnanimous since she began bearing life. There are a number of reasons for one to be a vegetarian. People given to meat-eating think that a pure vegetarian diet is optional. But now they have no choice if they are alive to what is happening to this life-bearing planet. There is no justification whatsoever for one to continue to be a non-vegetarian knowing the devastating consequences of meat-eating.

As Swami Dayananda Saraswati has noted:

Promotion of vegetarianism does not require any legislation from the State. It does require a change of heart on the part of meat-eating individuals anywhere on this planet. I cannot appeal to the tigers and wolves. They are programmed to be what they are. Being endowed with freewill only a human being can make a difference by exercising responsibly his or her choice.”

Celebrity VegetariansIf it is too much for one to switch to be a total vegetarian, then one needs to give up at least red-meat eating.

Cattle can be conveniently reared today only in villages because villages have open grazing lands and natural atmosphere and ponds, etc., which urban dwellings do not have.

But as the erstwhile Sarsanghchalak of RSS Sri Sudarshan has observed at a meeting of ‘Gobhakta’ industrialists in New Delhi recently, for rural economic development cow-based industries should be set up. An example of this is of Dr. Shrikrishna Mittal who successfully made tiles out of cow dung that could be used in rural housing for a long period. Of course cow dung gas has already come to stay.

Cow Dung Fiber BoardHence, a new fervour is necessary to create a cow-renaissance in the nation. As Bahadur Shah and Maharaja Ranjit Singh did, we should amend the IPC to make cow slaughter as a capital offence as well as a ground for arrest under the National Security Act, to give meaning and urgency to the total ban on cow slaughter. It is constitutional and is Hindutva.

The cow is thus a part of Hindutva, and we should defend it with all our might. – Folks Magazine, 28 November 2009

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali calls for Islam’s reboot – Maureen Callahan

Maureen Callahan“Ali thinks the West … should look to the lessons of the Cold War and recognize we are waging a battle of ideas — that in 17 Muslim majority nations, the state religion is Islam. … ‘We need to recognize that this is an ideological conflict that will not be won until the concept of jihad itself has been decommissioned.'” – Maureen Callahan

Ayaan Hirsi AliThere was a time when author and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali believed it all: that, according to Islam, the infidel should die, that the Quran is infallible, that those who violated sharia law — thieves, gays, adulterers — deserved to be stoned to death or beheaded, as they were each Friday in a public gathering place she and her brother called “Chop-Chop Square.”

Today, she is that rare thing: a public intellectual who, despite death threats and charges of bigotry, calls for an end to Islam — not just as the faithful know it, but as we in the West think we know it.

“The assumption is that, in Islam, there are a few rotten apples, not the entire basket,” Ali tells The Post. “I’m saying it’s the entire basket.”

In her book, “Heretic,” Ali argues for a complete reformation of Islam, akin to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Though her own education led her to reject Islam and declare herself an atheist, she believes that for the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, there must be another way.

“If you are a child brought up to believe that Islam is a source of morality” — as she was, in Africa and Saudi Arabia — “the Muslim framework presents you with the Quran and the hijab. I don’t want to be cruel and say, ‘You grow up and you snap out of it.’ But maybe we who have snapped out of it have not done our best to appeal to those still in it,” she says.

Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now - Ayaan Hirsi AliIn “Heretic,” Ali says there are three kinds of Muslims. There are the violent, the reformers, and what she believes is the largest group — those who want to practice as they see fit and live peaceably but do not challenge the Quran, the Muslim world’s treatment of women and the LGBT community, or terrorist attacks committed in the name of Islam.

Yet she refuses to label this group as moderate. She believes they have done nothing to deserve it. “I’ve never believed in the word,” Ali says. “It’s totally useless. I think we’re in a time now where we demand answers from Muslims and say, ‘Whose side are you on?’ ”

Ali argues for five amendments to the faith. “Only when these five things are recognized as inherently harmful and when they are repudiated and nullified,” she writes, “will a true Muslim reformation have been achieved.”

Those five notions are:

  1. The infallibility of the Prophet Muhammad and the literal interpretation of the Quran
  2. The idea that life after death is more important than life on Earth
  3. Sharia law
  4. Allowing any Muslim to enforce ideas of right and wrong on another
  5. Jihad, or holy war

Rejecting these ideas, some of which date to the 7th century, is a shocking proposition to the faithful.

“The biggest obstacle to change within the Muslim world,” Ali writes, “is precisely its suppression of the sort of critical thinking I am attempting here.”

Religious DissentDissent and die

Ali has firsthand experience. In November 2004, after collaborating with the Dutch artist Theo van Gogh on the documentary “Submission” — which criticized the Muslim world’s abuse of women — Van Gogh was shot to death by a Dutch-Moroccan Muslim. The assassin attempted to decapitate him and stabbed him in the chest, leaving a note affixed by the knife. It was a death threat against Ali.

She was forced into seclusion and given a 24-hour security detail. Today, she lives with her husband and young son in the United States yet remains a target.

“In no other modern religion,” Ali writes, “is dissent still a crime, punishable by death.”

She knows the greatest criticism she faces is that she is Islamophobic, that she is accusing all Muslims of adhering to jihad, to abuse, to the establishment of a caliphate.

In the book, Ali cites a 2013 report by the Pew Research Center on Muslims’ beliefs. It found that in Pakistan, 75 percent think those who leave Islam should be put to death. In Bangladesh, 43 percent think so. In Iraq, 41 percent.

Those who believe sharia is the infallible word of God: 81 percent in Pakistan, 65 percent in Bangladesh and 69 percent in Iraq.

She also cites a 2007 Pew study that found that among 18- to 29-year-old American Muslims, 7 percent had favorable opinions of al Qaeda, and they were twice as likely as older Muslims to believe suicide bombings in the name of their religion were warranted.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IslamophobiaWar of ideology

This is where Ali thinks the Obama administration has failed.

President Obama “has acknowledged Islamophobia, which is the worst thing you can do for Muslims who are trying to turn things around,” she says. Whether it’s ISIS or al Qaeda or the Taliban or so-called lone wolves — such as the Boston Marathon bombers or the Charlie Hebdo attackers or the suicide bomber who blew up 15 Christians in Pakistan last week or the ISIS suicide bombing that left 137 fellow Muslims dead — when these people say they are killing in the name of true Islam, Ali says, believe them.

She accepts that Obama’s administration is attempting a delicate balance — that to declare war on Islam is exactly what these fighters want — but says more can be done.

“Obama is saying, ‘Listen, Muslims, I’m on your side. I respect your beliefs, and I’d like you to help me fight these attacks committed in the name of your religion,’ ” Ali says. “He’s delivering, and they’re not.”

Western Europe, she says, is turning away from the threat of self-segregating Islamic immigrants at its grave peril. A 2009 study by the think tank Citivas found 85 operational sharia courts in Great Britain alone.

“I think with the Arab world, the West thinks we’re fighting an inferior enemy,” Ali says. “Look at the language we use: It’s jihad, it’s insurgency, it’s asymmetric.” Ali thinks the West, and the US especially, should look to the lessons of the Cold War and recognize we are waging a battle of ideas — that in 17 Muslim majority nations, the state religion is Islam.

“We did not say the Soviet system was morally equivalent to ours; nor did we proclaim that Soviet communism was an ideology of peace,” Ali writes. “In much the same way, we need to recognize that this is an ideological conflict that will not be won until the concept of jihad itself has been decommissioned.”

Sam HarrisThe “mother lode”

The greatest obstacle to an Islamic reformation is the diffuse nature of the religion itself. Unlike Catholicism, there is no leader, no papal equivalent to endorse or denounce jihad. In fact, there is no hierarchy of any kind, and any man who wishes can declare himself an imam.

Meanwhile, groups such as ISIS, al Qaeda and the Taliban are successful precisely because they have top-down leadership, codified warfare and an explicit, simple goal. “These groups are adapting to modern technology, to modern innovations in organization and management,” Ali says. “They know that without a hierarchy, human beings understand nothing.”

She is gratified by the stance taken by Sam Harris, a prominent American neuroscientist and author of “The End of Faith.”

“Sam realizes that among religions, Islam is unique in its atrocity, that everything we said about [violence in] Christianity and Judaism was hundreds of years ago. He calls Islam ‘the mother lode of bad ideas,’ which is extremely brave,” she says.

With “Heretic,” Ali is calling on those Muslims who reject jihad, acts of terror, and the subjugation of women and infidels to organize, to challenge, to speak out loudly and often against violence committed in the name of Allah — and she is calling on the West to actively demand it.

“This is a transformation of the West as we know it,” she says. “We’re at the beginning, and what we do right now is going to be consequential.” – New York Post, 22 March 2015

» Maureen Callahan has worked as an editor and writer at the New York Post for seven years, covering everything from the subcultures of the Lower East Side to local and national politics. She has also written for Spin, New York, and the late, lamented Sassy. In 2009, she was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by the New York Post.

Sam Harris

Pakistan: Religious women protesting against Charlie Hebdo Magazine

Repeal Section 377 – TOI

Modi & Ban Ki MoonGiven that there is tentative support in Parliament for Section 377’s repeal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi should lead the initiative for getting rid of this vestige of colonialism which is discriminatory to Indians and against the spirit of our Constitution. – TOI Editor

India disappointingly chose to support a Russian sponsored resolution at the UN, which sought to overturn this organisation’s decision to provide the same benefits for same-sex spouses of its staff as to spouses in heterosexual marriages. In doing so India joined the ranks of a clutch of illiberal nations such as Saudi Arabia, while 80 countries opposed the resolution. However this shouldn’t lead to despair, particularly in a week when the Supreme Court struck a blow for a liberal society by striking down the draconian Section 66A of the IT Act. In keeping with this spirit, NDA and other political parties should push repeal of Section 377 of IPC.

A visitor takes a picture of the artwork entitled "Travesty" by Altunin at an exhibition at the Muzei Vlasti in St. Petersburg.India’s case in supporting the Russian resolution has been rationalised by our government as a decision influenced by administrative issues at the UN. However, as long as Section 377 remains in statute books, this explanation will remain unconvincing. Section 377 was the outcome of morality that prevailed in the Victorian world. Our parliamentarians should be guided by the morality underpinning modern India’s Constitution. A law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation clearly runs counter to the philosophy of the Constitution.

ManvendraGetting rid of Section 377 is not necessarily a radical departure for Indian government. UPA-II indirectly supported its repeal. This government in 2012 told Supreme Court that it accepted the correctness of a Delhi high court verdict which concluded that Section 377 was at odds with the spirit of the Constitution. Given that there is tentative support in Parliament for its repeal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi should lead the initiative for getting rid of this vestige of colonialism which is discriminatory to Indians and against the spirit of our Constitution. We deserve better. – Times of India, 27 March 2015

IS about to throw gay man off high building in Mosul

Gay man executed by ISIS in Mosul

Two allegedly gay men lie dead in Mosul

 See also

Government offices will soon be cleaned with processed cow’s urine – Vasudha Venugopal

Vasudha Venugopal“Products like this will also make cow protection viable commercially. ‘There is no doubt that waste from our native breed cows have medicinal properties. But because they are not marketed properly, there are few takers and piles of cow dung and cow urine go waste in gaushalas. Such products make gaushalas sustainable, instead of depending on donations,’ claims Anuradha Modi of the Holy Cow Foundation.” – Vasudha Venugopal

Cow Urine CollectionPhenyl, usually the white variety, is the cheap cleaning liquid of choice for floors across India. Anyone venturing into the shopping aisles at the Kendriya Bhandar cooperative’s stores in the Capital can testify to this. Kendriya Bhandar also supplies housekeeping products to central government offices, which use the chemical to keep floors clean. But with a new mop swabbing all before it, even phenyl has to give way… to Gaunyle.

That’s the name of the cleaning liquid which will soon be making the Capital’s government office floors sparkle. It’s full of natural goodness, being derived from the urine of cows, containing neem and fragrant to boot, redolent as it will be with the scent of pine.

Gaunyle (Cow's Urine)The development is being seen as a “win-win” all round, since the liquid is said to be safer than synthetic cleansers and the trade will generate income for the gaushalas that house cows, regarded as sacred animals by Hindus, translating into better care and comfort for them.

“It is a great product for the health of the safai karamacharis as well as for the cows,” said Jagdish Bhatia, managing director of Kendriya Bhandar, which is awaiting a final proposal from the NGO that will be supplying the product, the Holy Cow Foundation, after which the deal will be sealed. Bhatia told ET that his organisation wanted to encourage such NGOs that provide alternative options.

ET learns that it was women and child development minister and ardent animal lover Maneka Gandhi who first floated the idea. “It is a win-win situation for us — no harm to janitors by way of daily exposure to chemicals, and cows will be valued more,” she told ET.

Anuradha Modi, who heads the Holy Cow Foundation, said Gaunyle has the “anti-microbial and antifungal” properties of cow urine and neem and is meant to “save cows and serve the nation”. She has been visiting gaushalas across the country for months now and has chosen a product that’s made “most scientifically”. The product is being sourced from gaushalas in Barsana near Mathura by Holy Cow.

Biogas-driven vehicle at IIT DelhiWhile the urine-based liquid may not be as strong as phenyl, the absence of harmful side-effects makes the organic product preferable, said Virendra Kumar Vijay, professor, Centre for Rural Development and Technology at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi.

This is not the first time the central government has shown interest in this regard, he said.

“In 2004, the government employed experts from leading research institutes to find out more about the disinfectant qualities of cow waste but the study was terminated even before the team could reach conclusive results,” he said. “However, from the preliminary studies, we understood that cow urine can be a good alternative to phenyl if mixed with the right components of other herbal extracts and scientifically treated.”

Anuradha ModiModi said Gaunyle’s efficacy had been established in tests.

“The product has been certified ‘excellent’ by labs in its pest-removing abilities. We have already submitted the certificate to the government and they have approved it,” Modi said. The product’s acceptance will lead to gaushalas putting the required infrastructure in place. “This will be a great impetus to gaushalas to have laboratory glassware including distillation ware to prepare the urine formulation to make cleaners from valuable cow waste that goes unutilised,” she said.

The process involves a hydro-distillation unit isolating the active ingredients that are mixed with extracts of pine, neem and various herbs that have antiseptic and disinfectant qualities. “Cow urine has inherent medicinal components, which are not removed during the process. It only gets more concentrated,” she said.

Cow Urine Mix“The product has been mixed with pine essence to smell nice,” Modi said, adding that the response of the government on the product’s use in central government offices was encouraging. “We have some last-minute documentation work left with them. After that we will start stocking the products to be used in all offices,” said Modi, who runs a cow farm at Delhi’s Sainik Farms

Modi said products like this will also make cow protection viable commercially. “There is no doubt that waste from our native breed cows have medicinal properties. But because they are not marketed properly, there are few takers and piles of cow dung and cow urine go waste in gaushalas. Such products make gaushalas sustainable, instead of depending on donations,” she said

Kendriya Bhandar officials said more than Rs 20 lakh is spent on phenyl in central government offices. The cost of an organic alternative such as Gaunyle might be on par with the current expenditure, they added. – Economic Times, 9 January 2015

» Vasudha Venugopal writes for The Hindu and Economic Times in New Delhi.

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