Maneka Gandhi asks states to inspect all MOC childcare homes – Malini Menon & Jatindra Das

Maneka Gandhi

Emblem of IndiaWomen and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said in a statement on Monday she had also instructed states to ensure that all childcare institutions be registered and linked to the federal adoption authority within the next one month. – Malini Menon & Jatindra Das

India has instructed all its state governments to conduct an immediate inspection of all childcare homes run by the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic order founded by the late Mother Teresa, amid concerns over baby trafficking.

Earlier this month authorities shut down a home run by the order in Jharkhand that provides shelter for pregnant, unmarried women after a nun and a worker there were arrested for baby trafficking.

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said in a statement on Monday she had also instructed states to ensure that all childcare institutions be registered and linked to the federal adoption authority within the next one month.

“Taking cognizance of the recent cases of illegal adoptions carried out by Missionaries of Charity in Jharkhand, Maneka Gandhi has instructed the states to get childcare homes run by Missionaries of Charity all over the country inspected immediately,” the ministry said in the statement.

Missionaries of Charity spokeswoman Sunita Kumar could not provide an immediate comment to Reuters.

There has been a number of reports of babies and children being trafficked through charity-run homes and hospitals in India, which campaigners say is driven by a long waiting list for adoption.

The Missionaries of Charity stopped organising adoptions in India in 2015 saying they disagreed with government rules that made it easier for single, divorced, and separated people to adopt children.

The ministry said under the Juvenile Justice Act which came into effect more than two years ago it was mandatory for every shelter home dealing with children and their adoption to register and also link the organisation to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA).

However, about 4,000 institutions are yet to be linked, the ministry said.

The chairwoman of Jharkhand State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Arti Kujur, said the state had formed teams to inspect all its shelter homes and hoped to receive their reports in early August.

“If we find any one operating such homes illegally, strong action will be taken,” Kujur told Reuters.

Separately, Kujur said all four infants sold by the nun and the worker arrested this month had been recovered by the authority. – Reuters, New Delhi, 16 July 2018

Child trafficking protest in Kolkata


 

Advertisements

Taslima joins issue with Mamata over MOC child-trafficking racket – Swarajya Staff

Taslima Nasrin

Swarajya LogoAccording to police, 450 unwed mothers were admitted by the Missionaries of Charity Ranchi home for deliveries but records show only 170 child births. Where are 280 babies? – Swarajya Staff

Taslima Nasrin, the Bangladesh author who has been living on exile in New Delhi, is the latest to air her views on the controversy surrounding Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. There is nothing new with the charity selling babies, she said in a tweet on Friday (13 July) night, adding: “please don’t try to protect criminals only because they are famous.”

Tasreen’s tweet come in the wake of Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee saying that she suspected a BJP plot in trying to malign Teresa’s charity. In a tweet on Thursday, the Bengal Chief Minister condemned attempts to malign the Missionaries of Charity saying the Bharatiya Janata Party was targeting the missionaries sisters.

The Missionaries of Charity is in the eye of a storm after its employee and a nun were arrested by Jharkhand police in Ranchi at its Nirmal Hriday Home on charges of selling unwed mothers’ babies. The issue came to light after the state-owned child welfare committee complained to police about a missing child from the home. Police suspect some of the nuns in the organisations could have links with child trafficking network. Information on 280 children born at the home of the missionary, under scrutiny since 2014, is also not available.

According to police, 450 unwed mothers were admitted by the home for deliveries but records show only 170 child births. Police said the arrested duo had confessed to have sold at least four babies. – Swarajya, 14 July 2018

Mother Teresa

MOC Letter of Consent

Missionaries of Charity (MOC), the Roman Catholic order founded by Mother Teresa, made pregnant women at a Ranchi shelter sign a letter saying they would wilfully give their newborns to the organisation, India Today TV has learned.
India Today TV accessed a consent letter (see above), through which the women were asked to say they had no claims on their own children. The government says this was illegal.
“I want to hand over the custody of our newborn to the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity forever, willfully. I don’t want this baby,” the letter reads. “During delivery or the operation, if my daughter’s life is in danger, then the sisters won’t be responsible. It will solely be our responsibility,” it adds.
Either the child’s mother, or her family, had to sign the note. Often these pregnant women were minors from poor tribal families. Many of the women were illiterate. – India Today, 12 July 2018

 

Mother Teresa’s success facilitated by the failure of India’s broken civilisation – Rajeev Mantri

Mother Teresa

Rajeev MantriMother Teresa and her institution stand against every single modern value that we hope to see India embrace. She celebrated suffering and promoted superstition rather than seeking out science-based medical solutions with the substantial donations she amassed. She glorified poverty rather than finding ways to ameliorate the downtrodden. She practised and preached intolerance towards women while being one herself. – Rajeev Mantri

Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu arrived in Darjeeling during the British Raj as a teenager in 1929. She became a nun in 1931 and began her missionary work in India shortly after India became independent.

The Second World War consumed the early part of the tumultuous decade of the 1940s, and the nation became independent immediately in its aftermath. The Bengal famine of 1943, which historians have recently shown was worsened because of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s deliberate decision to hold back food supplies to India, killed up to four million people, or more than 5 per cent of Bengal’s population, at the time and ruined communities across the region. Moreover, communal tensions surrounding the Partition of India had torn Kolkata apart through the late 1940s, with thousands more killed. It was in this context that Bojaxhiu, who is today known as Mother Teresa, set up the Missionaries of Charity.

Independence did not bring much respite for Bengal, as militant trade unionism and communist state governments destroyed local industry over the decades. By the turn of the century, Kolkata, which had once been the commercial and political capital of India, become an also-ran, as cities like Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Pune raced ahead. It was over these same decades that Teresa built her operation, with the destitution and hopelessness enveloping the city providing the raw material for the missionary machine. It is no coincidence that the rise of Teresa coincides with the socio-economic ruination of Kolkata and Bengal.

Dissenting views on Teresa’s contribution and work are not new, the works of Christopher Hitchens and Aroup Chatterjee being the most prominent. As a devout Catholic, Teresa saw personal suffering as a service to Christ. As a missionary, Teresa came to India to convert Indians and did it with success. This is the reason why the Catholic Church has decorated her with its highest title. Let’s just say that the Church is not known for bestowing the title of Saint on those who are not believers.

It is well-established that Teresa frequently denied scientific treatment to the ailing, preferring to glorify human suffering as an end in itself. As Aroup Chatterjee has recorded, Teresa would baptise the dying, and openly accepted this fact when speaking at the Scripps Clinic in California on 14 January 1992, when she exulted that “29,000 have died … from the time we began the work in 1952” and “not one has died without receiving ‘ticket for St Peter’… we call baptism ‘ticket for St Peter'”.

What does it say about Teresa’s personal ethics that she sought to convert the infirm, who came to her seeking care and comfort, on their deathbed, at a time when they may not have been in the mental and physical state to make considered choices?

Robin Fox, writing in the medical journal The Lancet in 1994 after a visit to Teresa’s home for the dying in Kalighat, observed “systematic approaches are alien to the ethos of the home. Mother Theresa (sic) prefers providence to planning; her rules are designed to prevent any drift towards materialism; the sisters must remain on equal terms with the poor.”

Commenting on the ability of the sisters to mitigate pain, Fox wrote, “I could not judge the power of the spiritual approach, but I was disturbed to learn that the formulary includes no strong analgesics.”

By the 1990s, Teresa was an international figure and had raised millions of dollars in donations. If her home for the dying did not even provide basic pain management medication, how and where was the money being spent? Fox’s observations are a troubling indictment of Teresa’s approach of prizing faith and religion above science in the treatment of those who came to her for care. As she often eulogised suffering, it would not be uncharitable to say that Teresa’s faith prevented her from provisioning relief to the helplessly poor who came to her, even though she had the means to do so.

Teresa railed against the rights of women to choose what they do with their bodies. Delivering the Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 1979, Teresa proclaimed “the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion”. This was at the height of the Cold War when the world was on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe. “We are fighting abortion by adoption”, Teresa had said then.

Those sympathetic to Teresa saw this as a great social service. But in 2015, the Government of India relaxed adoption rules, permitting single individuals to adopt children. In response, Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity moved to shut down its adoption homes. Sister Amala of the organisation’s New Delhi orphanage told the Washington Post, “We do not wish to give children to single parents or divorced people. It is not a religious rule but a human rule. Children need both parents, male and female. That is only natural, isn’t it?”

“The new guidelines hurt our conscience. They are certainly not for religious people like us, maybe they are for secular people … what if the single parent who we give our baby turns out to be gay or lesbian. What security or moral upbringing will these children get? Our rules allow only married couples to adopt,” Sister Amala said on the issue.

It is a little-known fact that Teresa supported the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975. “People are happier. There are more jobs. There are no strikes,” she said blithely, even as tens of thousands were jailed and Indira Gandhi wielded dictatorial power. After she had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Teresa was given the Bharat Ratna by the Indian government in 1980. An official biography of Teresa was published in 1992, written by the infamous Navin Chawla, who went on to become chief election commissioner under the United Progressive Alliance government in 2009.

Chawla is a long-time courtier of the Nehru-Gandhi family and was particularly close to Sanjay Gandhi during the Emergency. The Shah Commission that investigated the dictatorial government’s actions during the Emergency observed in its report that Chawla was “unfit to hold any public office which demands an attitude of fair play and consideration for others” and said that Chawla had been authoritarian and callous, grossly abusing his powers in “cynical disregard of the welfare of citizens”.

In a 2007 article, Observer Research Foundation distinguished fellow Ashok Malik recorded in more detail some of Navin Chawla’s cruel actions during the Emergency. Chawla had supported the construction of jail cells with asbestos roofs to “bake” inmates, prevented student-prisoners from taking their exams to punish them and came up with a scheme that gave prisoners freedom if they agreed to be sterilised.

It was this man who was picked by Nobel Laureate and Bharat Ratna Mother Teresa to write her authorised biography when she could have selected practically anyone. What does this choice say about Teresa’s values, allegiances and personal character?

Despite this mountain of uncomfortable facts, Teresa enjoys a cult following among Indians, and people from Kolkata in particular. It would be simplistic to say that Teresa’s reputation persists because of ignorance—there is something deeper at play.

The identity of Kolkata and its residents has become enmeshed with Teresa. As people who have little to be proud of about their city, given its ruinous trajectory over the last several decades, they are inert to any honest discussion about Teresa because they see her as among the few icons they can take pride in.

Teresa’s success is ultimately only a reflection of the failures of India’s society, and of the defeated spirit of India’s wounded civilisation. Joining the bandwagon lionising Teresa is a quick and cheap way to rid oneself of any personal guilt at not having done something to address dehumanising destitution. In Teresa’s misguided efforts, we all take succour and seek emancipation that at least somebody tried.

But Teresa and her institution stand against practically every single modern value that we hope to see India embrace. She celebrated suffering and promoted superstition rather than seeking out science-based medical solutions with the substantial donations she amassed. She glorified poverty rather than finding ways to ameliorate the downtrodden. She practised and preached intolerance towards women while being one herself.

This is not to suggest that the Indian government should cripple or persecute Teresa’s organisation. They should be allowed to preach and practice what they please. After all, there is a difference between the values of the free Indian Republic and the fanatical dogma of missionary institutions out to harvest souls.

The correct way to tackle elements like Teresa is to reduce her customer base, to use a corporate analogy. Building an India that offers opportunity and uplifts all citizens is the surest recipe for ensuring that the twenty-first century does not see the emergence of another such person, and that project is well underway. The day India eradicates mass poverty, no Teresa will ever rise again. – Swarajya, 9 July 2018

» Rajeev Mantri is a columnist on technology, venture capital and entrepreneurship in India. He is the  executive director of Navam Capital and the co-founder of  India Enterprise Council in New Delhi.


Reawakening Indic thought – David Frawley

Marxist Flag

Leftist recolonisation of the Indian mind was perhaps more dangerous, devious and insidious than what the British had accomplished. It glorified those who exhibited a colonised mindset as true leaders of a country that they had invented, with Marxist historians and members of India’s Communist Party made into the true interpreters of India’s ancient culture – Dr David Frawley

India achieved its political independence in 1947, but did not establish the necessary intellectual independence to go along with it and effectively take the country forward.

It is not that India’s independence movement had not demonstrated an awakening of India’s own cultural values and intellectual traditions. On the contrary, India’s independence movement was based upon a staunch revival of an older Indic / Bharatiya ethos and its profound heritage of thought and meditation about the whole of life and every domain of culture.

India’s independence movement honored the Bhagavad Gita as its most important book since the time of Lokmanya Tilak in the late nineteenth century. India’s independence leaders drew strength and inspiration from the country’s yoga and dharmic traditions. They invoked India’s own idea of swaraj in challenging British foreign rule. They questioned British distortions of history and politics, and resisted their religious conversions efforts. An extensive cultural battle between the British and the Indians occurred that the Indians eventually won by invoking their own great dharmic civilisation.

Leftist takeover of the Indian mind after independence

Unfortunately—and sadly for those who honor India’s civilisation—after 1947 India’s ruling intelligentsia did not take this intellectual independence movement forward. India’s post-independence intelligentsia intentionally, methodically and resolutely moved the national discourse backwards into denigrating Western views of India, its culture and history that the independence movement had but recently thrown off. This formed a cultural reversal of unparalleled proportions that brought chaos into the minds of people and confusion into India’s diplomatic presentation of itself to the world of nations. Yet it occurred under the guise of progressive Leftist thought, not simply from the old colonial arrogance.

The new generation of India’s thinkers, academics and media personages after independence—including political leaders like Nehru—abandoned the intellectual and cultural gains of the independence movement, in what could be regarded as a massive cultural betrayal of the country and civilisation of Bharat. They further entrenched an alien colonial view of India into the heart of the educational system, trying to dissociate independent India from its venerable history and world-respected civilisation going back thousands of years.

The great icons of the independence movement such as Swami Vivekananda, Swami Rama Tirtha, Sri Aurobindo and Rabindranath Tagore—including Mahatma Gandhi who staunchly criticised Western civilisation—were replaced by Nehruvian intellectuals and Marxists who ended up dominating India’s intellectual discourse and chartings its course, looking at their own traditions as the main enemies of developing the country.

Worldwide awakening of Indic though

Besides their awakening in India, Indic thought and its dharmic traditions have been spreading throughout the world, influencing millions of people, including great thinkers and educated groups in countries East and West. This spread of India’s dharmic teachings began with the same group of thinkers like Vivekananda and Aurobindo who inspired the independence movement and made a clarion call to return to Yoga, Veda, Vedanta and Buddhism, not merely to throw off the British yoke but to discover a higher truth.

Indic thought placed in a modern language has a tremendous appeal to open and enlightened minds everywhere. Its science of consciousness and understanding of the subtle energy patterns of the universe remains at the cutting edge of modern science. Its depiction of the cosmos and the human being as a center of universal intelligence puts to shame the social and psychological theories of the Left.

The broader teachings honored behind India’s independence movement came to guide many people in the world, while India’s new Leftist intelligentsia tried to suppress them in India itself. India’s new intellectuals were not part of the worldwide spread of India’s spiritual teachings. They stridently opposed it, criticising India’s gurus and godmen, yoga traditions, mantra and meditation practices, and regretting their global influence.

Need to confront both the shadows of colonisation and recolonisation

These new Leftist intellectuals did not continue the decolonisation of the Indian mind but instead instituted a new “recolonisation of the Indian mind”, according to their own paradigms that sought to discredit and deny India’s profound traditions.

This Leftist recolonisation of the Indian mind was perhaps more dangerous, devious and insidious than what the British had accomplished. It glorified those who exhibited a colonised mindset as true leaders of a country that they had invented, with Marxist historians and members of India’s Communist Party made into the true interpreters of India’s ancient culture going back to the Vedas—which became but a sidelight to their new idea of India as a modern socialist state. They did lip service to Mahatma Gandhi and the independence movement while dismantling its intellectual and spiritual infrastructure.

It is necessary not only to remove the shadow of the British colonisation of the Indian mind, but to eradicate the Leftist recolonisation of the Indian mind.

Long term consequences of colonisation and its new offshoots

The British replaced traditional Indian education in favor of its own anti-India educational system. While modern education had its tremendous benefits for science and technology, its view of society and spirituality was regressive in the Indian context. This British mentality unfortunately became the basis for the educational system of independent India and influenced the media, politics and judicial system in a way that embedded prejudices against India’s own civilisational contributions.

Continued Christian missionary colonisation

The promotion of Christianity during their period of rule in India did not end after independence. After independence more freedom was given to Christian missionaries who worked to divide the country along religious lines, including clandestinely through their own NGOs. Right wing Evangelical groups from America have been most prominent and still promote the colonial view of India as a land of superstition, idolatry and oppression, yet they are strangely protected by the Left in India.

Saudi colonisation

Islamic rulers in India, with few exceptions, promoted Islamic culture, religion, and education over older Indian traditions and institutions. After independence, in which Pakistan opted to become an Islamic state, this Islamic colonisation of India did not end but assumed a new and more dangerous form.

The Islamic colonisation of India experienced a revival through petrodollars and the numerous Saudi inspired madrasas that dominate Islamic education in India today. Graduates of such regressive learning look to a new caliphate and sympathise with Pakistan. They are now promoting Islamism and in some instances supporting jihadi terrorism.

Leftist suppression of Asian culture

Communism in Asia did more to damage traditional cultures, and resulted in more genocide than perhaps colonial rulers. The Chinese Cultural Revolution is the most notable of such instances. The Left, though ostensibly against colonial rule, is still motivated by a Eurocentric political ideology that is hostile to and seeks to eliminate the older cultures of Asia. The Left merely offers an alternative form of colonialism under the pretext of fighting imperialism.

We should carefully note that Buddhism in Asia has been attacked by the Communists as much as Hinduism has been by the Left in India, and has been severely marginalised and denigrated at educational and political levels, often condemned as fascism. This suppression of Buddhism continues dramatically in the case of Tibet that Communist China is still trying to destroy at a cultural and social level.

The result of these colonisation and recolonisation movements—whether British, Islamic, Christian or Leftist—is that India’s educational system, cultural institutions, and media houses remain profoundly ignorant and blindly negative to the greatness of India’s older civilisation. They are often secular missionaries, if not proponents of Western theologies, trying to complete the cultural takeover that the British had set in motion.

Broader implications and cultural wars

To place the debate on colonialism in a broader context today, the noted clash of civilisations is also a clash of cultural influences and colonial expansions. Whether it is multinational businesses, global media, global arms sales or drug sales, missionary or jihadi activity, movements of refugees, even the guise of human rights, the same type of pushing for cultural dominance continues as part of a broader clash that includes both the vestiges of colonialism and its new offshoots

India must not merely erase the shadow of colonialism but needs to compete in this new cultural clash, in which the strength of its inherent culture, art and spirituality can prove resilient.

India’s educational system, especially textbooks, requires a thorough rewriting by scholars decolonised from both colonial and Marxists views. A new Bharatiya media and academia needs to prevail. This requires a cogent, inspiring, yogic model of the country that highlights India’s great independence thinkers. It should embrace the global spread of India’s dharmic traditions and new scientific paradigms.

India needs to create a new dharmic intellectual class rooted in the spiritual traditions of the country but able to communicate them according to the new information technology. India needs to reclaim its yogic culture as its soft power to restore its cultural influence on Asia and the world.

Just as the Western, Islamic and Christian worlds have their critiques of Indic thought, so too Indic systems of thought should present critiques of Western thought, not simply to be contentious but to create a deeper understanding. India’s spiritual conscience must awaken to guide the world. Western liberal values are not as truly ethical or compassionate as yogic and dharmic values.

Restoring India’s global influence in the post-western era

Yet while it is crucial to correct distortions, it is also necessary to project positive models of Bharatiya culture to the world that are relevant to all humanity. A proactive rather than just reactive policy is required.

Festivals of India’s culture, yoga and spirituality should be promoted. Vedanta should be highlighted in education along with meditation as a practice. Yoga and ayurveda should be brought into medical treatment and health care for body and mind.

The Indic mind brings in a dimension of consciousness and higher intelligence that is not trapped in religious beliefs, on one side, or mere information and mental concepts, on the other. It is not simply a matter of decolonising the Indian mind but of expanding the systems of Indic knowledge for the benefit of all humanity. – Vedanet / Organiser, 3 September 2017

Sitaram Yechury at JNU


 

India’s freedom fighters and secularism – Michel Danino

Bharat Mata

Prof Michel DaninoIn India the greatest opponent of nationalism has been our fuzzy, confused and infinitely elastic notion of secularism. – Prof Michel Danino

To a certain class of enlightened Indian intellectuals, nationalism is, at best, an obsolete and irrelevant concept; at worst, a dangerous one. Having generously labelled themselves “liberal”, they find that liberalism, resting on an uncompromising assertion of the individual’s rights and liberties, sooner or later clashes with the notion of a collective entity such as a nation. That notion fares even worse when confronted with postmodernism, which “deconstructs” its very legitimacy. Communism and Islam, both of which share in their original form a world-conquering ideology, promoted transnational allegiances, respectively to the Soviet Union and/or China and to the Ummah (it is something of an irony that our desi Communists call themselves “liberal” too, when historically Communism has been radically opposed to any form of liberalism—that is one of the many paradoxes of Indian politics).

In India, however, the greatest opponent of nationalism has been our fuzzy, confused and infinitely elastic notion of secularism (“The Great Secular Confusion”, 19 March; “Bogeyman of Majority in India”, 2 April; “In India, is it Secularism or Minorityism?”, 17 April). One way to study this conflict is to go back a little in time and revisit some of the ideas that animated the leading figures of India’s long struggle for freedom.

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee is a convenient starting point, with his Vande Mataram song and mantra that inspired generations of freedom fighters from all sections of Indian society—even some Muslims, as is little known but well documented at the time of the 1905 Partition of Bengal. There is nothing “secular” about India’s national song, even after the verses invoking Mother India as Durga and Lakshmi were chopped off. Nor about Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s revival of Ganesh Chaturthi, which proved to be effective in awakening nationalistic feelings cutting across caste barriers. In a 1906 speech at Varanasi, he said, “By the grace of Providence we shall ere long be able to consolidate all the different sects into a mighty Hindu nation. This ought to be the ambition of every Hindu.” At the same time, few leaders worked for Hindu-Muslim unity as much as Tilak. The same caveat applies to Sri Aurobindo (then known as Aurobindo Ghosh), who famously stated in his 1909 Uttarpara speech upon release from a year-long imprisonment in the Alipore Jail, “I say no longer that nationalism is a creed, a religion, a faith; I say that it is the Sanatana Dharma which for us is nationalism.” Or to Bipin Chandra Pal: “This ‘Mother’ in ‘Bande-Mataram’ … applied the old, the sacred, the dearly-beloved term, to a new concept, that of the Motherland. Through this salutation has come into being a new cult in the land, the cult of patriotism.”

This concept of Indian nationalism, for we must now distinguish the term from Western brands of nationalism, was shared by more stalwarts of the time, such as Lala Lajpat Rai or Subramania Bharati, the latter composing high poetry turning the cult of the motherland into bhakti. Our modern intellectuals and historians have often accused all these leaders of having “communalised” the Indian freedom movement (of course turning a blind eye to the communalisation of Muslim politics). However, building an exclusively “Hindu nation” was never their intention. As Sri Aurobindo put it in 1908, “The new [nationalism] overleaps every barrier; it calls to the clerk at his counter, the trader in his shop, the peasant at his plough; … it seeks out the student in his college, the schoolboy at his book, it touches the very child in its mother’s arms. … It cares nothing for age or sex or caste or wealth or education or respectability; … it spurns aside the demand for a property qualification or a certificate of literacy. It speaks to the illiterate or the man in the street in such rude vigorous language as he best understands, to youth and the enthusiast in accents of poetry, in language of fire, to the thinker in the terms of philosophy and logic, to the Hindu it repeats the name of Kali, the Mahomedan it spurs to action for the glory of Islam. It cries to all to come forth, to help in God’s work and remake a nation, each with what his creed or his culture, his strength, his manhood or his genius can give to the new nationality. The only qualification it asks for is a body made in the womb of an Indian mother, a heart that can feel for India, a brain that can think and plan for her greatness, a tongue that can adore her name or hands that can fight in her quarrel.” Gandhi later echoed this attitude: “Indian nationalism is not exclusive, nor aggressive, nor destructive” (although the earlier leaders did not reject violence as a legitimate means to achieve freedom).

Indian nationalism is thus not about “Hinduism” but about acknowledging the cultural foundations of Indian civilization. As Subhash Chandra Bose put it, “Indian nationalism is neither narrow, nor selfish, nor aggressive. It is inspired by the highest ideals of the human race, viz., Satyam (the true), Shivam (the good), Sundaram (the beautiful). Nationalism in India has instilled into us truthfulness, honesty, manliness and the spirit of service and sacrifice. … Even at the risk of being called a chauvinist, I would say to my countrymen that India has a mission to fulfil and it is because of this that India still lives.”

Most of India’s freedom fighters would have rejected the current slogan of secularism, as it runs against their very concept of the Indian nation.

» Prof Michel Danino is an author, guest professor at IIT Gandhinagar, and a member of the Indian Council of Historical Research.

Indian Leaders


Documenting blasphemy and unreason – B.S. Harishankar

Hypathia attacked by Xian monks in Alexandria

B. S. Hari ShankarThere are contemporary attempts to interpret India as a nation opposed to knowledge and reason. It is alleged that India’s past is now being constructed with fantasy and mythology. – B. S. Harishankar

Hypatia (370-415 AD) was a Hellenist, Neo-Platonist philosopher, astronomer and mathematician who lived in Alexandria, Egypt. She entered into a tough intellectual battle with Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria. In March 415, she was dragged into a nearby church known as the Caesareum where she was stripped naked and murdered.

Michael Servetus (1511-1553) made important contributions in medicine and anatomy. He was pronounced a heretic by Protestant and Catholic Churches, because he denied the Trinity. He was burned at the stake in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1528, Patrick Hamilton was burned at St Andrews for holding heretical opinions. Anne Askew, an English poet and Protestant, who was condemned as a heretic is the only woman on record known to have been both tortured in the Tower of London and burnt at the stake.

In 1592, Henry Barrow and John Greenwood, who preached congregationalism, were hanged at Tyburn for “obstinately refusing to come to church”. The real crime seems to have been to advocate the separation of Church and State.

Michael Sattler left the Roman Catholic Church to head the Anabaptist movement. Anabaptists are Christians who believe in delaying baptism until the candidate confesses his or her faith in Christ as opposed to being baptized as an infant. Sattler had his tongue cut out, was mutilated by red-hot pincers, and burned alive in 1527.

In 1600, Giordano Bruno was kept in prison for eight years and then taken out to a blazing market place in Rome and roasted to death by fire.

Inquisition was a religious court established during the Middle Ages in Europe, either by bishops or by the pope to suppress heresies which threatened the Roman Catholic faith. These are just some classic examples. There was a clash between science and Christianity in Europe. Rationalism and Christianity were opposed to each other. In Christianity there was one god, one holy text and church. Science which questioned the faith was condemned as anti-god and destroyed.

The Index Librorum Prohibitorum was a list of books banned for lay Roman Catholic readership. There are 3,000-plus authors and 5,000-plus individual titles cumulatively compiled and published in 2002 by Renaissance and Catholic censorship scholar J. M. de Bujanda. Some notable authors on the index include novelist Gustave Flaubert (Madame Bovary), historian Edward Gibbon (The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire), political intriguer and legendary lothario Casanova (his memoirs), and revolutionary astronomer Galileo (Dialogue on the Great World Systems was banned in 1634 and removed from the Index only in 1822).

The history of papal bigotry towards science and epistemology discussed by formidable scholars such as Bertrand Russell and Edward Gibbon has been quoted above since there are contemporary attempts to interpret India as a nation opposed to knowledge and reason. It is alleged that India’s past is now being constructed with fantasy and mythology. The recent issue of Frontline (June 23-July 6, 2018, Vol. 35, No. 13) has a cover story featuring India’s minority situation. It portrays India as passing through an “Age of Unreason”. Left historians K.M. Shrimali, Rizwan Qaiser, and Ali Nadeem Rezavi raise serious charges that rationalism and reasoning have been wiped out in contemporary India by Hindutva ideology. The remarks made by some individuals at public functions are interpreted as academic remarks by Left historians. These scholars were virtually silent and unseen when blasphemy and death threats were proclaimed in India by the Catholic Church and its outfits against an acclaimed rationalist who also headed the Indian Rationalists Association.

In 2012, Sanal Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalist Association was targeted by the Catholic Church after he tried to debunk the mysterious dripping statue at a Vile Parle church in Mumbai. Members of a group called the Association of Concerned Catholics challenged Edamaruku, and an encounter began between Edamaruku and Bishop Agnelo of the Archdiocese of Bombay. Soon after the incident, a first information report (FIR) was filed by the Association of Concerned Catholics against Edamaruku under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Catholic-Christian Secular Forum accused Edamaruku of blasphemy and the Archbishop of Mumbai asked him to apologise in exchange for dropping the charges. Edamaruku received death threats. He left India and lives currently in exile in Finland.

The animosity of the Catholic Church towards Edamaruku has a long history. Edamaruku has been a critic of Mother Teresa, her sainthood, and the “miracle” cure of Monica Besra. The Church’s evidence is based on a written testimony in English by Besra, an illiterate woman claiming a cure by a meditation by nuns. Edamaruku attributed her cure to the treatment she received in a government hospital in Balurghat and the North Bengal Medical College and hospital. After investigating her medical record, the former health minister of West Bengal, Partho De, vindicated her recovery as a result of medical care.

In 2006, predominantly Christian Nagaland banned the sale of the novel and screening of the film Da Vinci Code, which was followed by other states. There was no hue and cry by Leftists and their fellow travellers on this suppression of the freedom of expression.

In November 2016, suburban Mumbai’s Goregaon Social pub became the object of ire for Mumbai Catholics. They accused that its interiors are designed to look like a church. The Watchdog Foundation—an organisation claiming to represent Christian interests—and the Catholic Secular Forum filed a police complaint against the owner of Goregaon Social, demanding his arrest. The Archdiocese of Bombay released an official condemnation of the “blasphemous” decoration of the pub.

The Aligarh, Jamia Millia, JNU trio did not dissent and protest the bigotry and fanaticism of the Catholic Church in all such instances. None issued even a press statement condemning the utter zealotry and fundamentalism of the Catholic Church and its outfits in an era of rationalism. Their self-styled artists, writers, comrades, teaching community and student organizations were not seen in streets and campuses condemning dogma and chauvinism.

In the Frontline issue, Left historian K.M. Shrimali charges that mythology is being taught as history by Hindutva forces. It is now well known how a Rs 200 crore Muziris Heritage Project was launched in Kerala in 2006, jointly by the Left government and various church denominations, to establish the historicity of Apostle Thomas at Pattanam, a constructed archaeological site. Left historians from JNU, such as Professors K.N. Panikkar and Romila Thapar, marshaled the Pattanam project under the Kerala Council for Historical Research. Cultural relics were fabricated and excavated trenches were misinterpreted. A mythical marine township going back to the first millennium BC was constructed by Left historians.

Biblical historians such as Istvan Perczel, Roberta Tomber, Frederico de Romanis and Irving R Finkel were imported from Europe for this project, keeping at bay Indian universities and the Archaeological Survey of India. The Liturgical Research Centre of the Syro-Malabar Church held seminars on Pattanam and Apostle Thomas in 2005 at Kochi and 2011 at Mumbai. Left historians involved in the project participated in the seminars with vigour and vindicated their claims that Apostle Thomas landed at Pattanam in a divine ship.

Eminent archaeologists and historians such as Professors Dilip K. Chakbrabarti, M. G. S. Narayanan, R. Nagaswamy, A. Sundara, and T. Sathyamurthy vehemently denounced the attempts to link Pattanam with ancient Muziris and construct a story of Apostle Thomas in India. None of the Left historians and rationalists questioned or condemned this most unscrupulous academic project in Indian history to transform the myth of Apostle Thomas as history.

It is a national shame that Left historians and zealots who silently vindicated such bigotries and fanciful projects in the past now cry that India is currently in an age of unreason. – Vijayvaani, 29 June 2018

» Dr B. S. Hari Shankar is a Senior Archaeological Researcher.

Frontline Cross


 

B. R. Haran passes away – Aravindan Neelakandan

B.R. Haran

Noted writer and senior journalist B. R. Haran died of a heart attack on Wednesday (4 July). He suffered the attack at the Chennai Egmore railway station when he was on his way to take part in a popular drama on Subramanya Bharathi, the great Tamil poet. He was 54.

Almost everyone in the Hindutva circles of Tamil Nadu knows Haran. He wrote tirelessly in both English and Tamil. He worked with News Today, a popular newspaper. He contributed to Vijayvaani, a website run by scholar Sandhya Jain. He also contributed to Yuva Bharathi, the youth magazine of Vivekananda Kendra.

A prolific writer, he also wrote in Tamil for one of the oldest Tamil webzines, Thinnai.com, and he contributed regularly to Valam, a Hindutva literary magazine.

Haran was also active in ground work, often reporting about jihadist terrorism, fraudulent evangelical attempts at conversion, and Tamil separatist movements. He also worked on cattle protection and would be at ground zero busting cattle smugglers. Though his heart was with the cow rakshaks, he always opted for legal means.

During the police highhandedness at the time of the Aurangzeb exhibition, Haran was there, his presence adding a sense of protection to the women volunteers there. He was also involved in the temple protection movement. He wrote and strove ceaselessly for the liberation of temples. An ardent devotee of the Kanchi Sankaracharya lineage, his devotion for the Acharyas defined his life and work.

Today, the Hindus of Tamil Nadu have lost a selfless individual who worked for them—even as most of them perhaps did not even know him. He worked with no attachment to the fruits of his labour—work in itself was his reward. Serving Dharma and society through his writings was enough for him.

It is, therefore, a great loss and Swarajya shares with the people of Tamil Nadu the grief that accompanies the loss of such a wonderful and creative human being. May his dream of a Tamil Nadu vibrant in culture and spirituality become a reality, striving towards which shall be the best homage to him. – Swarajya, 5 July 2018