Prashanth Poojary is no Akhlaq and Moodbidri is no Dadri – Pradeep Thyagaraja

Prashanth Poojary

Pradeep Thyagaraja“Incidents like Dadri put India’s delicate yet unique plurality at risk, as per the Indian Secular Media. But incidents like Moobidri don’t.” – Pradeep Thyagaraja

As per the Hindu calendar, we have just concluded the Pitru Paksha for the year 2015. While in most of the families, the sons and daughters were offering shraadh for their deceased elders and ancestors. The unfortunate family of Poojary had to perform the funeral rites for their 29-year-old son, Prashanth Poojary.

From past one month we have seen the widespread coverage of a Muslim man called Aklahq who got lynched by a Hindu mob for allegedly stashing beef at his house in a far-flung village called Dadri in Uttar Pradesh. We have also seen many political parties approaching the bereaved family assuring them all the facilities, cash compensations, etc. Many film fraternities and Secular journalists have written open letters, Facebook posts, tweets expressing their concern over the growing dissent in the country. Surprisingly, we have also seen PETA activists asking Hindus to stop prying in others’ food practices . Even the President and the Prime Minister has come out, addressed the media and expressed their condolences and have appealed for harmony among the communities.

Unfortunately, Prashanth Poojary ‘s murder didn’t get such coverage in the national media. Can there be a more unfortunate life than that in which the parents outlive their children?

What really happened

Prashanth Poojary belongs to a humble Hindu family, which runs a family business of selling flowers in Moodbidri, Karnataka. 29-year-old Prashanth Poojary was also involved in the organized efforts and operations to stop illegal cow slaughter and smuggling of cows. As per a report in a popular print media paper,  Prashanth Poojary was “guilty” of being the member of Bajrang Dal.

As per the reportage, the “alleged” murder of Prashanth Poojary took place like this:

“According to the information, six men in two motorcycles came to the market around 7 AM, to the place where Prashanth Poojary and his father regularly sells flowers. They attacked Poojary with sharp weapons and fled the spot.”

We must prudently look into the selective reporting of such incidents and their choice of words. They were very apprehensive in not revealing the religion of those “alleged” perpetrators. Prashanth’s father gave the names of the “alleged” attackers to the police. Yet, the police didn’t reveal the names of the “alleged” offenders neither they’ve shown progress of any kind as far as the case is concerned. Bajarang Dal’s regional convener Sharan demanded the police to take necessary action. Alok Mohan, the Additional Director-General of Police, assured the public that they are on the trawl of offenders and they will be arrested soon.

VHP and BJP protests

Addressing the press meet in Moodbidri, VHP district president Jagadish Shenava exposed some shocking facts to the public while demanding 25 lakh rupees as a compensation for Prashanth Poojary’s family.

He said, “From past two years in the state, groups like SDPI (Social Democratic Party of India) and PFI (Popular Front India) goons have been involved in anti-national activities, cattle smuggling, slaughtering of cattle, love jihad to disturb the harmony among the communities”.

He also alleged that, “The Congress government in Karnataka has withdrawn many cases that was lodged against PFI and SDPI in which they were allegedly involving in the terrorist activities. Since the case withdrawal, the incident of cow smuggling and slaughtering has increased”.

VHP also said that, they will raise funds of 10 lakh rupees for Prashanth’s family. Karkala BJP MLA Sunil Kumar has urged the state government to give a compensation of 25 lakh. BJP MP Nalin Kumar Kateel also demanded a compensation of 25 lakh rupees to the family of Prashanth Poojary. He also hinted that, the Congress leaders are behind the incident. He criticized the district minister P. Ramanath Rai of Congress for being silence on the issue.

Eyewitness of the murder found dead

Sixty-six-year-old Vaman Poojary, who was an eyewitness of Prashanth Poojary ‘s murder died under mysterious circumstances. Vaman Poojary was a tender coconut vendor that owns the shop right next to the flower shop of Prashanth Poojary.

Circumstantial evidences also reveal that Vaman Poojary was traumatized upon witnessing murder of Prashanth Poojary and he wasn’t conversing with anyone since then. He probably would have been facing threats to his life too. But according to the police, Vaman Poojary “may” have committed suicide for reasons unknown.

Dadri vs. Moodbidri

Our media has no qualms in declaring the religion of the mobs that “allegedly” attacked Aklaqh of Dadri. Even the CM of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal went ahead and called the attackers Hindu. Would he or the media follow a similar standard while reporting Prashanth Poojary’s incident? No.

The attackers became “alleged attackers” and their religion, names, etc. Well … they were concealed like they are always concealed in similar cases!

Incidents like Dadri put India’s delicate yet unique plurality at risk, as per the Indian Secular Media. But incidents like Moobidri don’t. – The Frustrated Indian, 18 October 2015

» Pradeep Thyagaraja is a Technology Specialist at Bengaluru.

Weeping Cow

Hypocrisy of the Indian Left: Anti-Hindu and anti-‘fascist’-Modi – David Frawley

Vamadeva Shastri / David Frawley“The anti-Hindu Left retains a strong place in journalism and academia, which became entrenched during the long period of the Congress rule. We must remember that India’s Left holds positions far to the left of mainstream liberal political parties in the West, and uses the rhetoric of the communist era. The Left is upset that it is losing power since Modi’s unexpected landslide election in 2014 and will do what it can to discredit his attempts to benefit the country.” – Dr David Frawley

Narendra ModiIf one examines the charge of fascist in the media and press of India, it is a standard term of abuse against the RSS and its associates, notably the BJP and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi, extending to almost any Hindu affirmative organisation. It is seldom used for any other political group or religion, not even for recognised terrorist organisations like the ISIS.

This is not surprising because the anti-Hindu Left retains a strong place in journalism and academia, which became entrenched during the long period of the Congress rule. We must remember that India’s Left holds positions far to the left of mainstream liberal political parties in the West, and uses the rhetoric of the communist era. The Left is upset that it is losing power since Modi’s unexpected landslide election in 2014 and will do what it can to discredit his attempts to benefit the country.

The Left has long used the term fascist to denigrate its enemies, much as the old Christian Church called non-Christians “heathens” and “heretics”. Even warring Leftist groups call their conflicting Leftist opponents fascists. European Leftists call the United States a fascist country. The far Left in America calls the Republican right fascist.

Such emotionally charged terms are used to make us stop thinking and condemn the groups so designated without further consideration. Perhaps the best definition of fascist is any group that someone on the Left dislikes and wants to denigrate. For India’s Left that group is the Hindus. Even yoga in India, because of its Hindu connections, is looked down upon suspiciously as Right wing.

Hitler, Stalin & MaoThe historical record of the Left

The Left has produced the same type of violence, genocide and stifling of democracy associated with fascism. Joseph Stalin was as bad as Adolf Hitler and worse than Mussolini, killing millions of his own countrymen.

Stalin signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler in 1939, which cruelly divided Poland between them. This started World War II and allowed Hitler to invade France without the fear of a second front with the Soviets. It was only Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 that ended Stalin’s nexus with the Nazis. Yet the Left conveniently forgets Stalin’s alliance with Hitler that decimated Poland and started World War II.

Mao Tse Tung in China was another communist leader whose policies of dictatorship and state control rival the best of fascists. Millions died, numerous books were burned, and universities throughout the country were closed down under Mao’s cultural revolution from 1966-76. Yet in India, the Left never made an issue of Mao’s atrocities. Some Leftists defend India’s own Maoists and the violence they commit.

Chinese communists call the Dalai Lama a fascist and India’s Marxists support them. Soviet and Chinese communists as atheists destroyed numerous churches, temples and mosques. The Left prefers to criticise Hindus for religious intolerance, though Hindus have never invaded or tried to convert any country. It has no regard for Hindus in Pakistan, who have almost no political or human rights and are being wiped out altogether.

The Left is anti-Israeli to the point of anti-Semitism, in spite of the Jewish holocaust being the main act defining Nazi brutality. Those who sympathise with Israel in any way are likely to be called fascist, and growing attacks on Jews in Europe arouse little concern from the Left.

Left-oriented Indira Gandhi and her Congress party abrogated freedom of the press and democracy under the Emergency she imposed during 1975-1977. Shall we cite her for policies that for Hindu leaders would certainly be called fascist? And for communal violence, the attack on the Sikhs after her assassination remains the largest genocide since the Independence of the country.

Another hero of the Indian Left is Lalu Prasad Yadav, who kept Bihar backward and lawless under his many years of rule. Though Lalu was convicted and served time in prison, those who claim to stand against fascism, communalism and corruption have a political alliance with him in Bihar today.

Idea of India Beyond the rhetoric of the Left

Certainly there is little called fascist that Leftist leaders have not done. And the Left in India still does not adequately condemn its own despots.

Now the Left is criticising Hindus not for alleged terrorist events, but for isolated incidents over cow slaughter, which have occurred for years. We are told that beef banning Hindu groups pose the greatest threat to communal harmony. This borders on the absurd, particularly given the current situation in the Middle East, where multiple civil wars and devastating terrorist attacks are ongoing, and where there are no Hindus!

Of course, no one is beyond scrutiny or criticism. But the Left has its own set of failings and cannot claim to be the voice of truth and justice for humanity.

The selective outrage of the Indian Left that targets Hindus has a political bias and is covering over a greater violence, which the Left has often encouraged.

India—which Leftist groups never succeeded in raising up during their decades of domination—should give up the flawed logic and biased language of the Left and embrace its own dharmic traditions instead. – DailyO, 15 October 2015

» Pandit Vamadeva Shastri (Dr David Frawley) is an author and Sanskrit scholar recognized as a Vedacharya in India. His scope of studies include Ayurveda, Yoga, Vedanta and Vedic astrology, as well as the ancient teachings of the Rigveda. He is the Director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies in Santa  Fe, New Mexico.

 Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot & Kim Jong-il

See also

India’s thought police are angry with Modi – Tufail Ahmad

Tufail Ahmad“Here is the mirror Mr. Mehta: Your secularism is the intellectual barbarism of our age that has divided India’s youth to the benefit of your politics, poisoned the heart of Indians and pushed the Indian youths to the wall from where the only path open for them is to fight back. India’s youth no longer trust your type.” – Tufail Ahmad

Akhilesh YadavIn the last week of September at Dadri not far from the Indian capital, an angry mob lynched to death Mohammad Akhlaq over allegations that a cow was slaughtered and he ate beef.

In the 1970s and 1980s in Bihar where there was no Bharatiya Janata Party, cow slaughter was still banned and there were times when there would be conflicts over beef and policemen would visit homes.

Beef conflicts are not new to contemporary India. Cows are not slaughtered across the Islamic world, but the reason cows are slaughtered mostly in the Indian Subcontinent is because Indian Islamists introduced the practice of cow slaughter here as a challenge to Hindu religious practice of worshiping cows.

Fikr-e-Nau (New Thinking), a newly launched Urdu magazine published by Pakistani Marxists—explores the issue of cow slaughter (a translation will be published soon by the Washington D.C.-based Middle East Media Research Institute).

You can look further back into history.

AkbarDuring the 16th century when the BJP and RSS did not exist, Emperor Akbar outlawed the practice of cow slaughter but the greatest Islamic scholar of the time Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi lambasted the Mughal emperor asking why Muslims couldn’t slaughter cows under a Muslim government.

While Akbar was sensitive towards the majority Hindus’ religious sensibilities, Islamists like Sheikh Sirhindi, much like the present-day commentators, were not bothered about them. Fikr-e-Nau goes on to argue that in the lands comprising Pakistan today, cow slaughter was brought by Indian Islamist organisations arriving there after the Partition in 1947.

But the issue being debated about the Dadri lynching is not a religious one.

At this point in time when India is at the cusp of emerging as a global power, even the most so-called right-wing Hindus hold the following view: any person taking the country’s rule of law should be prosecuted and jailed without delay.

Lawmaker and prominent BJP member Tarun Vijay, in an [Indian Express] article dated 2 October, advocated this line of thinking, calling for handling this issue “via the lawful path that the Constitution has provided” and urging the Akhilesh Yadav government to “take serious note of this”.

A purely secular view requires this: the socialist government of Akhilesh Yadav must act ruthlessly and quickly against anyone taking the law into their hands. However, such a course is not advocated by India’s liberal-secular intelligentsia which loves to engage in religious politics instead—of late, crudely.

On 1 October, celebrity gossip columnist Shobhaa De tweeted: “I just ate beef. Come and murder me.”

For our liberal-secular intellectuals and Islamists, the issue is not the failing of our rule of law: the issue is politics, more of it if it is laced with religion.

For example, instead of writing a piece asking the socialist government of Yadav to prosecute the Dadri mob, noted left-liberal intellectual Pratap Bhanu Mehta trained his guns on 3 October at Tarun Vijay (who was critical of this sort of“secular” politics).

I view Liberals and Conservatives in the following theoretical framework: Conservatives view social realities as they exist on the ground, while Liberals describe social realities as they ought to be, colored in their own leftist vision.

Conservatives are rooted, truthful and pessimistic. Liberals are hopeful, divisive and untruthful when describing realities. John Lloyd, former editor of London’s leftist magazine The New Statesman, observed: Liberals “tell people to ignore their own experience and to think only in approved ways.”

Pratap Bhanu MehtaP. B. Mehta’s ideological-political base is located here: the kind of secular politics his tribe of academics and commentators supported ran the roost in the 1980s when the secular government of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi surrendered before India’s vocal Islamists.

Mehta’s ideological thought police expected that the country’s majority would keep watching this total surrender of secularism before Islamists in broad daylight, but these three decisions helped the Conservatives prosper and seek truth in the nation’s roots. Mr. Mehta, your tribe is responsible for three historic decisions that have damaged the Indian Republic: the Shah Bano law, opening the Ayodhya locks and the notorious ban on The Satanic Verses of Salman Rushdie.

Conservatives are truly Indians, unlike your secular tribesmen who appear to be masquerading as Pakistanis in India’s intellectual mainstream. Your politics is recurring. Notably, the secular Congress government in Rajasthan did not allow Salman Rushdie to visit Jaipur in 2012, surrendering before the Barelvi Islamists of the Raza Academy which had threatened to attack him.

Equally, Mehta’s ideological-historical base can also be located here: his ideological cousins and ancestors supported the Khilafat Movement, an Islamist political enterprise supported by India’s secular politicians led by Mahatma Gandhi and the global Islamists of the era—the Ali Brothers. Along with the Aligarh movement, the Khilafat movement would lead to the division of India in 1947.

The Khilafat Movement’s more violent version is nowadays led by Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State (ISIS), about whom India’s secular journalists and commentators are largely silent while scores of Indian Muslims are getting attracted to and many have joined the ISIS.

Mr. Mehta, your ideological cousins in our television studios and editorial offices recently supported Aurangzeb, the Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi of 17th century at whose orders Guru Teg Bahadur, the Shield of India, was beheaded in the public square of Delhi for refusing to convert to Islam in 1675 CE, much like and exactly for the same reasons the ISIS beheads non-Muslims in public squares of Iraq and Syria today.

In his piece, Mehta takes umbrage at India’s Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma for a slip of the tongue, noting:

“The minister of culture, for example, whose praise for A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was accompanied by a congenital suspicion—‘despite being a Muslim’—and who described Akhlaq’s death as an ‘accident’, prefigures the moral blindness that [Tarun] Vijay represents.”

As a still evolving democracy, Indians are electing members of parliament and state legislatures who might not have gone to universities: such lawmakers are innocent and honest but are being forced to declare their sophistication to suit the viewpoints of tie-clad suited-booted liberals with a felicity for writing glib pieces in dense prose.

Sometimes these lawmakers are asked to declare their degrees (the Election Commission has an explaining to do as to why it wants Indians to declare degrees). Such elected Indians may not be intellectually equipped like the graduates from the St. Stephen’s College; occasionally, they might not be able to distinguish between a certificate and a degree.

To Mr. Mehta: “the moral blindness” that you speak of has another name: political correctness—that is, of your own.

At the Aligarh Muslim University, I was taught sociology by Dr. Rashida Rana Siddiqui who once used the word “uncultured” in some context when teaching a BA first year class. When asked to explain the sociological meaning of “uncultured”—she looked back, pondered deeply and replied, “If you are so sensitive, do not use this word.”

Tunku Varadarajan, in his otherwise decent piece of 20 September, goes on to describe our minister as uncultured:

“Even if it were a slip of the tongue, let’s not forget that a man’s tongue often slips in a direction where a man’s mind has gone already. But when the uncultured politician who is India’s Culture Minister said that India’s late president Abdul Kalam was a great nationalist ‘despite being Muslim’….”

To Varadarajan and P. B. Mehta, India’s Muslim atheists and liberals are routinely dubbed by Islamic clerics as follows: not being Muslim, not sufficiently Muslim, not practising Muslim, not proper Muslim, not even half a Muslim, or murtad (apostate). 

To reverse this definition for a meaningful discussion of India’s discourse, this is what you get: you are not an Indian, you are not sufficiently Indian, you are not an Indian first, you are a Muslim first—the “you” being the Indian Muslim.

This binary—Islam versus Indian—resides in India’s discourse nurtured over the past century by secularists of Mehta’s type. To Varadarajan: the minister’s statement was not a slip of the tongue, it was hard truth of our social reality coming via his tongue. Even if you accept that “a man’s tongue often slips in a direction where a man’s mind” is, it appears there is a single mind from where Varadarajan, P. B. Mehta, and, oh, Amartya Sen speak.

Therefore, Mr. Mehta, it is not incidental that your tribesmen—journalists, academics, and TV anchors posing as objective journalists and commentators—do not like Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, the late scientist and former president loved the most even by our schoolchildren.

The question raised by the Culture Minister Sharma remains relevant. Here is a detailed look-back.

Prophet MuhammadYou can look back much further. In the 7th century CE, the non-Muslims of Mecca urged Prophet Muhammad to join them and share power, but he told them: “For you is your own religion, and for me is mine.” This Verse No. 109:6 from the Quran is often cited by liberals as an explanation of Islam’s co-existence, but the truth is it was revealed as an antithesis to the pluralism of Meccans. During the 1857 war, Muslims and Hindus fought together against the British. Soon after the war, Muslims separated from this togetherness: for example, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan established a university that would give birth to the Pakistan movement. This phenomenon was also evident in the 1980s when the Muslims fought together with the CIA infidels in Afghanistan in the 1980s, but soon after the war ended, the Muslims separated to launch the jihadist project elsewhere, namely in Kashmir, and this time on their own.

This is the precise reason Mahesh Sharma, in an un-secular moment of truth, blurted out the reality. In a very unconscious way, Sharma was juxtaposing Islamism of our times with the Constitution and history of India.

A.P.J. Abdul KalamSince the Amartya Sens and P. B. Mehtas are the power brokers of India’s intellectual discourse, Sharma was speaking truth to that power, and thus his tribe felt offended at the truth being revealed in this way.

It is instructive that the culture minister was speaking in the context of renaming the Aurangzeb Road after A. P. J. Abdul Kalam who is not liked by P. B. Mehta’s clan, who instead love and defend Aurangzeb, the butcher of Hindus.

We can debate whether A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was the right example to give, but Sharma’s speech was not scripted; inadvertently, his way of comparison was straight out of India’s national discourse for which largely the liberal-secular fraternity is responsible.

So, the Varadarajans, Amartya Sens and Mehtas need to do four things.

• First, stop beating up our members of parliament who may not be educated like you from the Presidency of Kolkata or Delhi’s St. Stephens College.

• Second, try to look within the corpus of your liberal knowledge and its moral relevance (for example in the context of 20 million humans butchered by Stalin in USSR and 65 million similarly dead in Mao’s China).

• Third, try to understand rationally and reasonably from where these “uncultured” and “uneducated” lawmakers and ministers come from.

• Fourth, offer reasoned analysis that will educate the Indian youths who are hungry to hear the truth about our society and history.

• If you wish, you can do a fifth point: keep your prejudices from your writings and to yourself.

Our lawmakers are the products of the great Indian democracy that we chose, but Mr. Mehta, your kind of analysts are products of the St. Stephens College, not of India’s College of Democracy.

There are also some Indian commentators who speak like Pakistanis in our media. It is profoundly enlightening that Mehta sees creativity in Pakistan’s chaos when Pakistan’s own writers are describing their social reality in more crystalized ways.

I hate to say this Mr. Mehta, but you appear like a Pakistani national masquerading as Indian in the Indian mainstream much like Gandhi who supported the hardcore Islamists of Turkey right here in India.

You taunt Tarun Vijay for seeing the loss of creativity in Pakistan’s cultural withering, but the true Pakistani and acclaimed historian Ayesha Jalal has described Pakistan for having entered a state of “cognitive disability”.

It also does not appear that your type of commentators are honest. You pose as a neutral analyst in our public discourse but the very first sentence of your article uses vile words that make your intellectual intent clear:

“If you wanted an example of how vile, nauseating and morally odious our public discourse….

Sorry, but this cannot be a way to begin a serious analysis especially given your stature as a serious and insightful commentator. It’s more of an abuse than an analysis. It is more of a vile attack from you on a sitting member of the Indian parliament.

It is interesting that Mehta’s article is titled Dadri Lynching: the Party and Its Poison.

The truth is this: you and your tribesmen in the academia and media industry are—to state it in academically neutral terms—both the seeds and fruit of this poison that this nation’s discourse is afflicted with.

Your article was also published by Huffington Post under the following title: “Dadri Lynching Incident Blame Has To Fall Entirely On Modi: Pratap Bhanu Mehta.”

Your article is published on the website of The Indian Express under the title: Dadri reminds us how PM Narendra Modi bears responsibility for the poison that is being spread.”

Frankly, Mr. Mehta do you really think that Modi was born in the Emperor Akbar’s era when beef conflicts used to occur? 

When spouses of Politburo members take over as editors—the Bihari writer George Orwell would have explained it better—scholarship is the casualty, truth is the George Orwellconcubine of the pen. Nowadays, India’s youth are left wondering if the motto of The Indian Express is “Journalism of Courage” or the “Practice of Cowardice.”

Of liberal intellectuals, George Orwell wrote:

[They] are more totalitarian than the common people…. Most of them are perfectly ready for dictatorial methods, secret police, systematic falsification of history, etc. as long as they feel that it is on ‘our’ side.

It is often noticeable that writers, journalists and commentators in India who have not lived the life of hunger are not on the side of social reality; most often they are secular, liberal and communist, the three-in-one intellectual of India who has forced our daughters to beg at traffic lights by his/her policy advocacy during the past six decades.

Most of India’s Left-Liberal activists are happy to spill blood from their pen from their posh apartments, some of them convert and find professorships, or long to marry a White professor and settle in the West.

The intellectual types of Mehta and Amartya Sens never put poverty on the nation’s agenda during six decades when their secular party was in power. Now, for the first time, a tea-seller has risen to the top but Mehta’s clansmen in our newsrooms are uncomfortable that Modi’s priority is to build toilets, clean our roads, and focus on skill development—in short, the most basic and fundamental reforms that will have a long-term, lasting and positive impact.

I do not want to defend the BJP and the RSS, but it is abundantly clear that at this turn in history, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is tirelessly working to make the BJP the most inclusive party of India, especially as democracy is robustly destroying the dynasty’s Congress party.

Mr. Mehta, it is due to your poison that our youths, especially those with B.Tech and M.Tech degrees, and middle and upper middle class working professionals have begun describing themselves on Twitter profiles in these terms: “Yes, I am a bhakt”; “Proud right-winger”;”Politically Incorrect”; “Right-wing Hindu”; “Nationalist and proud to be Hindu”; “India First”; “I am nationalist”; “Betrayed by Left”; “Indian nationalist national”; “Leftist in the past, Rightist in the present”; “Call me Sanghi”.

The three different titles under which Mehta’s article has been published in the aforementioned outlets remind us clearly that the purpose of his writing is not a concern for India, Indian Muslims or Hindu-Muslim relationship but to launch yet another attack on Modi.

Mr. Mehta, you take umbrage at Tarun Vijay’s comment that seculars don’t care for Dalits: but the fact is Tarun Vijay is correct here, not you.

India’s Constitution and democracy have cared for Dalits and empowered them in millions, but the secular Left has always abandoned them or has fed them with Marxist poison.

The best example of this is the history of India’s Left. For years, India’s Left has denied Dalits any representation in leadership. Generally, Brahmins have risen to the top of the communist parties’ leadership.

The intellectual hypocrisy of the Left was such that when it came to the issue of feminism, Leftists—morphed as “Liberals” today—like you reversed the Marxist principle: economy is the infrastructure and ideas are superstructure of society. You used this argument to deny caste identity and to simultaneously deny Dalits any presence in the Left’s leadership positions. However, you reversed it to accommodate upper caste women into top-posh ranks.

Mr. Mehta, you attack Tarun Vijay for falsehood, but how about looking into your own brand of intellectual heritage of past six-plus decades?

You ask Tarun Vijay to read more novels, but what are you reading? Secularists fail to grasp that your article is pure abuse published in a mainstream newspaper.

If you look within your soul, you will be able to grasp why the so-called rationalists are being murdered: charvakas were always welcome in India’s diversity. When Maoists are arrested, journalists from your tribe describe India’s laws as “draconian” for arresting these terrorists. When Indian’s Muslim youths join the ISIS, Hindus are being urged to go soft, just to please the seculariate.

Shockingly, Mehta writes: “Vegetarianism is an excuse for violence.” As history shows, secularism too, is the birther of riots. You write: “tradition is an excuse to assault freedom.” In India, the press too, is an assault on basic principles of journalism.

Amartya SenYou further write: “ideas are an excuse to curb debate.” I agree: India’s discourse has been poisoned by the likes of you.

You next write: “disagreement is an excuse for provocation.” Yes, disagreements of a personal nature are indeed an excuse for unprovoked intellectual attacks on Modi.

You still write: “facts are an excuse for mendacity.” But of course, this mendacity is rooted in the falsehood of our discourse nurtured by your type of three-in-one intellectuals.

India’s secular-liberal writers who have neither time nor shame to peer into their own hearts, pen such sentences: It is as if the nation is acting out the violent convulsions of a deranged being, with no calm light of reason, or compassion.

Frankly, what kind of seeds that you nurtured over the years that are flowering now? Here is the mirror Mr. Mehta: your secularism is the intellectual barbarism of our age that has divided India’s youth to the benefit of your politics, poisoned the heart of Indians and pushed the Indian youths to the wall from where the only path open for them is to fight back.

India’s youth no longer trust your type.

You write: The blame for this has to fall entirely on Modi. Those who spread this poison enjoy his patronage.

For now, please do enjoy the fruits of said seeds.

It is interesting to observe that social media has come to the aid of India’s common people, and it is more interesting that social media is disliked by India’s three-in-one thought brokers like you. More importantly, speed being the essence, social media can quickly expose your kind.

Narendra Modi & Mark ZuckerbergIt will be good if Narendra Modi worked out a partnership with Facebook to allow every Indian to publish an online newspaper. Such a development will prove a political graveyard for the Mehtas and Amartya Sens. It will demolish the Berlin Wall in India’s public discourse rooted in the half-Italian, half-Indian dynasty that disempowers India’s masses.

Meanwhile, here are your own article’s last sentences with a few alterations.

But we can be grateful to Pratap Bhanu Mehta for reminding us that the threat to India’s soul emanates from the centre of discourse, almost nowhere else. It is for that centre—and Mehta and Sen in particular—to persuade us otherwise. – IndiaFacts, 5 October 2015

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

A.P. J. Abdul Kalam

See also

Caste-based reservation system is neither rational nor moral – S. N. Balagangadhara

Prof Dr S.N. BalagangadharaThe caste-based reservation system is neither rational nor moral. One has to say that Indians are either irrational or immoral or both, if they defend reservation. The British were reluctant to give self-rule or independence to India because many were convinced that Indians were immoral and irrational. Looking from the outside today, one is compelled to ask: were the British telling the truth? — Prof Dr S. N. Balagangadhara

Hardik PatelThe problem that has plagued India since Independence has flared up again: caste-based reservations for education, employment and career promotions. In the last four decades of living in Europe, I have heard both sides of the debate. As an Indian living abroad, it appears to me that these debates actually raise one single question: Are Indians irrational or immoral, or both? This is the un-debated side of the reservation discourse in India. Let me explain. Is caste-based reservation a rational policy to follow? The answer to this question does not require a definition of ‘rationality.’ Instead, the issue is: does this policy eventuate in irrational consequences or effects?

Consider two individuals: one outside the reserved category, the other within. The former knows that to get an admission in a good university, he should belong to the top 0.5 per cent of the applicants. He knows too that he will not be part of the very few, who make the grade. Thus, what is the most rational thing for him to do? If putting in enormous effort and taking it easy both produce the same result, it is rational for him to expend less effort. Consider the latter. He knows that to get a seat in a good university, he only needs 35 per cent. Getting more marks will not increase his chances. No matter how little effort he puts in, he will get the desired seat. As a rational agent, therefore, he too takes it easy. Because knowledge and competence are mostly commensurate with the efforts put in to acquire them, expending little effort implies equivalent increase in ignorance and incompetence.

Since the caste-based reservation makes it rational for people both in and outside reservation to choose to be lazy, there is an incentive to remain ignorant, incompetent and inefficient. If this attitude is generalised (in colleges, courts and bureaucracy), it produces and reproduces such people. Result: the institutions they run cannot be more efficient than them. The inevitable consequence is the collapse of both the society and its institutions. That is how outsiders perceive India today: her courts, educational institutions, bureaucracy, police, governments, are in the process of breaking down.

Why does this rationality argument not figure in Indian discourse? There is a well-known answer: the reservation is the reparation for the injustice committed by one group of people against another over two millennia or more. In that case, moral considerations trump rationality. If we accept that it is irrational to follow policies that lead to the collapse of society because everyone is rationally encouraged to pursue irrational goals, the question becomes: is it moral to be rational?

In and of itself, there is nothing absurd about it. One can indeed speak of local rationalities, such as scientific, technological and ecological rationalities and raise ethical questions about them. So, let us ask: irrespective of its rationality, is the caste-based reservation system moral?

Archbishop Couto of Delhi Reservation DemonstrationToday, it is common sense to say that there is oppression of one group of people across the whole of India by another group of people spread equally widely across India. However, there can be no empirical evidence for this claim because say ‘Dalit’ or OBC (Other Backward Castes) is neither one social group nor one particular caste. Both names refer to sets of groups. It is only correct to say then that multiple groups have oppressed multiple other groups in the last millennia in India. One could, of course, name the oppressed groups as the Dalits or OBCs. Sadly, this fact of oppression is true for all human civilisations. Therefore, if the reservation system is a moral critique of oppression, it would have to follow that all other societies except the Indian are immoral, because they do not have such a system. This suggestion is implausible. Is the reservation system a payment for the sins of our forefathers, who instituted an unjust social system? This could be true, but only if one argues that the children of oppressors have to pay for the sins of their forefathers.

This moral stance is unique to the Judaic tradition, where the sins of the fathers visit their sons. No other moral tradition has coherently argued this. I am aware that some Indians do talk in this fashion but that is incoherent within the framework of Indian culture.

Rightly or wrongly, ideas like karma and punarjanma require that only the agent pays for his misdeeds. If one has to pay for the misdeeds of another, what do karma and karmaphala mean? The entire set of Indian traditions would become totally incoherent. Therefore, you cannot assume this ethical stance unless you are a Jew yourself. But Jewish Israel has no reservation system. Neither are Indians Jewish. Hence, this moral justification does not work.

Can we not say that the reservation system is the reparation of past damages, whether inflicted on one group or on multiple groups? Maybe. In the case of the Native Americans, for example, the white settlers took away their lands and became wealthy as a result. The Nazis deprived the Jews: of property, wealth, and life itself. African-Americans were displaced and transformed into slaves.

Perhaps, one could also address the British: for the damages inflicted by colonialism. In all these cases, a specific group appropriates unjustly what belonged to another specific group. Again, there is no historical evidence to indicate that there was dispossession of the property of one particular group by another specific group all over India.

Winston Churchill QuoteIf none of these arguments work, why does this policy appeal? Is it because of the demands of justice in general and of social justice in particular? If this is the case, one should give the criteria of justice and of social justice that make sense of caste-based reservation. Nobody has done so. Surely, those who question the morality of rationality mean something other than all these flawed arguments.

Here is one such. Just structures are preferable, since they always generate just consequences. However, it has been shown that just structures, in certain contexts, produce unjust consequences. Therefore, this claim is not a logical truth; we are compelled to show empirically that the reservation system is not generating unjust consequences. If that were to be the case, there would be no Patel, Gurjar or Jat protests, nor Mandal Commission. Thus, the reservation system is not an embodied critique of a local rationality (‘the’ caste system) nor is it about the morality of rationality.

Consequently, the caste-based reservation system is neither rational nor moral. One has to say that Indians are either irrational or immoral or both, if they defend reservation. The British were reluctant to give self-rule or independence to India because many were convinced that Indians were immoral and irrational. Looking from the outside today, one is compelled to ask: were the British telling the truth, after all? – The New Indian Express, 11 September 2015

» Prof Dr S. N. Balagangadhara of Ghent University, Belgium is the Director of the India Platform and Research Centre, Comparative Science of Cultures. E-mail him at:

Reservation demonstration in Gujarat

The native Sahib vs the Hindu – Vamadeva Shastri

Sonia Gandhi and Congress MPs

David Frawley“India appears like a nation without nationalism or at least without any national pride or any real connection to its own history. Self-negativity and even a cultural self-hatred abound. The elite that dominates the universities, the media, the government and the business arenas is the illegitimate child of foreign interests and is often still controlled by foreign ideas and foreign resources. It cannot resist a bribe and there is much money from overseas to draw upon. Indian politicians do not hesitate to sell their country down the river and it does not require a high price.” — Pandit Vamadeva Shastri

Robert VadraA defeatist tendency exists in the psyche of modern Indians perhaps unparalleled in any other country today. An inner conflict bordering on a civil war rages in the minds of the country’s elite. The main effort of its cultural leaders appears to be to pull the country down or remake it in a foreign image, as if little Indian and certainly nothing Hindu was worthy of preserving or even reforming.

The elite of India suffers from a fundamental alienation from the traditions and culture of the land that would not be less poignant had they been born and raised in a hostile country. The ruling elite appears to be little more than a native incarnation of the old colonial rulers who haughtily lived in their separate cantonments, neither mingling with the people nor seeking to understand their customs. This new English-speaking aristocracy prides itself in being disconnected from the very soil and people that gave it birth.

There is probably no other country in the world where it has become a national pastime among its educated class to denigrate its own culture and history, however great that has been over the many millennia of its existence. When great archaeological discoveries of India’s past are found, for example, they are not a subject for national pride but are ridiculed as an exaggeration, if not an invention, as if they represent only the imagination of backward chauvinistic elements within the culture.

There is probably no other country where the majority religion, however enlightened, mystical or spiritual, is ridiculed, while minority religions, however fundamentalist or even militant, are doted upon. The majority religion and its institutions are taxed and regulated while minority religions receive tax benefits and have no regulation or even monitoring. While the majority religion is carefully monitored and limited as to what it can teach, minority religions can teach what they want, even if anti-national or backward in nature. Books are banned that offend minority religious sentiments but praised if they cast insults on majority beliefs.

There is probably no other country where regional, caste and family loyalties are more important than the national interest, even among those who claim to be democratic, socialist or caste reformers. Political parties exist not to promote a national agenda but to sustain one region or group of people in the country at the expense of the whole. Each group wants as big a piece of the national pie as it can get, not realizing that the advantages it gains mean deprivation for other groups. Yet when those who were previously deprived gain power, they too seek the same unequal advantages that causes further inequality and discontent.

India’s affirmative action code is by far the most extreme in the world, trying to raise up certain segments of the population regardless of merit, and prevent others from gaining positions however qualified they may be. In the guise of removing caste, a new castism has arisen where one’s caste is more important than one’s qualifications either in gaining entrance into a school or in finding a job when one graduates. Anti-Brahminism has often become the most virulent form of castist thinking. People view the government not as their own creation but as a welfare state from they should take the maximum personal benefit, regardless of the consequences for the country as a whole.

Sundar Pichai at Stanford (1994)Outside people need not pull Indians down. Indians are already quite busy keeping any of their people and the country as a whole from rising up. They would rather see their neighbours or the nation fail if they are not given the top position. It is only outside of India that Indians succeed, often remarkably well, because their native talents are not stifled by the dominant cultural self-negativity and rabid divisiveness that exists in the country today.

Political parties in India see gaining power as a means of amassing personal wealth and robbing the nation. Political leaders include gangsters, charlatans and buffoons who would stop short at nothing to gain power for themselves and their coteries. Even so-called modern or liberal parties resemble more the courts of kings, where personal loyalty is more important than any democratic participation. Once they gain power politicians routinely do little but cheat the people for their own advantage. Even honest politicians find that they cannot function without some deference to the more numerous corrupt leaders who often have a stranglehold on the bureaucracy.

Politicians divide the country into warring vote banks and place one community against another. They offer favours to communities like bribes to make sure that they are elected or stay in power. They campaign on slogans that appeal to community fears and suspicions rather than create any national consensus or harmony. They hold power based upon blame and hatred rather than on any positive programs for social change. They inflame the uneducated masses with propaganda rather than work to make people aware of real social problems like overpopulation, poor infrastructure or lack of education.

Should a decent government come to power, the opposition pursues pulling it down as its main goal, so that they can gain power for themselves. The idea of a constructive or supportive opposition is hard to find. The goal is to gain power for oneself and to not allow anyone else to succeed.

To further their ambitions Indian politicians will manipulate the foreign press to denigrate their opponents, even if it means spreading lies and rumors and making the country an anathema in the eyes of the outside world. Petty conflicts in India are blown out of proportion in the foreign media, not by foreign journalists but by Indians seeking to use the media to score points against their own opponents in the country. The Indians who are responsible for the news of India in the foreign press spread venom and distortion about their own country, perhaps better than any foreigner who dislikes the culture ever could.

The killing of one Christian missionary becomes a national media event of anti-Christian attacks while the murder of hundreds of Hindus is taken casually as without any real importance, as if only the deaths of white-skinned people mattered, not the slaughter of the natives. Missionary aggression is extolled as social upliftment, while Hindu efforts at self-defense against the conversion onslaught are portrayed as rabid fundamentalism. One Indian journalist even lamented that western armies would not come to India to chastise the political groups he was opposed to, as if he was still looking for the colonial powers to save him!

 Laloo Prasad Yadav & Mulayam Singh YadavLet us look at the type of leaders that India has had with its Laloo Prasad Yadav (ex CM Bihar), Mulayam Singh Yadav (ex CM UP) or Jayalalitaa to mention but a few. Such individuals are little more than warlords who surround themselves with sycophants. Modern Indian politicians appear more like colonial rulers looting their own country, following a divide and rule policy, to keep the people so weak that their power cannot be challenged. Corruption exists almost everywhere and bribery is the main way to do business in nearly all fields. India has an entrenched bureaucracy that resists change and stifles development, just out of sheer obstinacy and not wanting to give up any control.

The Congress Party, the oldest in this predominantly Hindu nation, has given its leadership to an Italian Catholic woman simply because as the widow of the last Gandhi prime minister, she carries the family torch, as if family loyalty were still the main basis of political credibility in the country. And such a leader and a party are deemed progressive!

The strange thing is that India is not a banana republic of recent vintage but one of the oldest and most venerable civilizations in the world. Its culture is not trumpeting a militant and fundamentalist religion trying to conquer the world for the one true faith but represents a vaster and more cosmic vision. India has given birth to the main religions that have dominated East Asia historically, the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh, which are noted for tolerance and spirituality.

It has produced Sanskrit, perhaps the world’s greatest language. It has given us the incredible spiritual systems of Yoga and its great traditions of meditation and Self-realization. As the world looks forward to a more universal model of spirituality and a world view defined by consciousness rather than by religious dogma these traditions are perhaps the most important legacy to draw upon for creating a future enlightened civilization.

Yet the irony is that rather than embracing its own great traditions, the modern Indian psyche prefers to slavishly imitate worn out trends in western intellectual thought like Marxism or even to write apologetics for Christian and Islamic missionary aggression. Though living in India, in proximity to temples, yogis and great festivals, most modern Indian intellectuals are oblivious to the soul of the land. They might as well be living in England or China for all they know of their own country. They are isolated in their own alien ideas as if in a tower of iron. If they choose to rediscover India it is more likely to occur by reading the books of western travelers visiting the country, than by their own direct experience of the people around them.

The dominant Indian intelligentsia cannot appreciate even the writings of the many great modern Indian sages, like Vivekananda or Aurobindo, who wrote in good English and understood the national psyche and how to revive. It is as if they were so successfully brainwashed against their own culture that they cannot even look at it, even if presented to them clearly in a modern light!

Kanchi Acharya Jayendra SaraswatiGiven such a twisted and self-negative national psyche, can there be any hope for the country? At the surface the situation looks quite dismal. India appears like a nation without nationalism or at least without any national pride or any real connection to its own history. Self-negativity and even a cultural self-hatred abound. The elite that dominates the universities, the media, the government and the business arenas is the illegitimate child of foreign interests and is often still controlled by foreign ideas and foreign resources. It cannot resist a bribe and there is much money from overseas to draw upon. Indian politicians do not hesitate to sell their country down the river and it does not require a high price.

Fortunately signs of a new awakening can be found. There is a new interest in the older traditions of the country and many people now visit temples and tirthas. Many young people now want to follow the older heritage of the land and revive it in the modern age. The computer revolution and the new science are reconnecting with the great intelligence of the Indian psyche that produced the unfathomable mantras of the Vedas.

Slowly but surely a new intelligentsia is arising and now several important journalists are writing and exposing the hypocrisy of the anti-Hindu Indian elite. Yet only if this trend grows rapidly can there be a real counter to the defeatist trend of the country. But it requires great effort, initiative and creativity, not simply lamenting over the past but envisioning a new future in harmony with the deeper aspirations of the region.

One must also not forget that the English-educated elite represents only about three percent of the country, however much power they wield. The remaining population is much more likely to preserve the older traditions of the land. Even illiterate villagers often know more of real Indian culture than do major Indian journalists and writers.

Meanwhile overseas Hindus have become successful, well-educated and affluent, not by abandoning their culture but by holding to it. They see Hindu culture not as a weakness but as a strength. Free of the Indian nation and its fragmented psyche, they can draw upon their cultural resources in a way that people born in India seldom can. Perhaps they can return to the country and become its new leaders.

However, first this strange alienated elite has to be removed and they will not do so without a fight. The sad thing is that they would probably rather destroy their own country than have it function apart from their control. The future of India looks like a Map of Bharatvarshanew Kurukshetra and it requires a similar miracle for victory. Such a war will be fought not on some outer battlefield but in the hearts and minds of people, in where they choose to draw their inspiration and find their connection with life.

Yet regardless of outer appearances, the inner soul of the land cannot be put down so easily. It has been nourished by many centuries of tapas by great yogis and sages. This soul of Bharat Mata will rise up again through Kali (destruction) to Durga (strength). The question is how long and difficult the process must be. – Hindu Human Rights, 2 September 2013

» Pandit Vamadeva Shastri (David Frawley) is a guru in the Vedic tradition. In India, Vamadeva is recognized as a Vedacharya (Vedic teacher), and includes in his scope of studies Ayurveda, Yoga, Vedanta and Vedic astrology, as well as the ancient Vedic teachings going back to the oldest Rigveda. His website is here.

Congress secretary Rahul Gandhi parties after Mumbai attack in 2008.

Subramanian Swamy reminds Amit Shah about Ram Temple construction at Ayodhya – Upananda Brahmachari

Amit Shah & Subramanian Swamy

“Amit Shah may take up the issue during Dussera [October] and may declare a new plan for Ram Temple construction at Ayodhya.” – Upananda Brahmachari

Modi & Sri RamaOn the auspicious day of Gurupournima, Dr. Subramanian Swamy, Hindu Think Tank and National Executive member of BJP once again reminded his party president Sri Amit Shah to contemplate over the construction of Sri Ramjanmabhoomi temple at Ayodhya on and from January 1, 2016. Dr. Swamy requested Sri Shah to convene National Executive committee meeting of BJP to resolve the matter, as Swamy wrote a letter to Shah on the matter just on July 20. Both were exchanging their good wishes on the event of Gurupournima Utsav.

Dr. Subramanian Swamy suggested his party president Amit Shah to convene a special session of the National Executive to discuss the Ram Temple whose construction in Ayodhya should begin from January 1st next year. In a letter written on July 20 to Shah, Swamy said BJP should also obtain consent from the court for shifting the structure of a mosque present there.

Dr. R. Nagaswamy with Ayodhya Hindu artefact photo.The Narasimha Rao government, he said, had filed an affidavit before the court that if it is found that a temple pre-existed at the place where Babri Mosque was built then the Ram Janmabhoomi land would be handed over to Hindus for building a temple. Time and again, it has been proved there is a pre-existent temple under the disputed Babri construction. “Thus, our government should declare that from January 1, 2016, the construction project of building a Sri Ram temple in Ayodhya will commence,” he said.

Swamy said he had earlier written to Shah in March urging him to convene a special session of the National Executive to discuss this issue and other commitments made in the BJP”s election manifesto which are close to the hearts of party men and described as ”Hindutva” issues. “I urge therefore now again to schedule a special session of the National Executive. I am sure you will agree that Hindutva is the core issue of the BJP”s ideology and it needs special attention of the party.”

Sonia Gandhi As per occult perception, BJP president has no time now to go through the requests made by Dr. Swamy as his party is in a strangulated position in current Lok Sabha session and they are busy for ensuing Bihar election also. Sri Shah may take up the issue during Dussera [October] and may declare a new plan for Ram Temple construction at Ayodhya.

Many sadhus in Ayodhya, Varanasi and Haridwar are saying that PM Modi and his party may have to face the curse of Lord Sri Ram, if he does not start the construction of Sri Ram Temple immediately.

Experts opine that delay of construction of Sri Ramjanmabhoomi Temple at Ayodhya will cause a big Hindu frustration which may endanger the Hindu vote bank of BJP. – Hindu Existence, 1 August 2015

A Hindu approach to LGBT rights – S. Venkataraman & H. Voruganti

US Supreme Court 2015

“Some leaders associated with the Sangh Parivar remarked that homosexuality to be against Indian culture. What we have here, in reality, is a case where supposed defenders of Indian culture, and presumably Hinduism as well, from ‘western influence’ are not only wrong, but seem to be the ones acting under the very influence they seek to protect against.” – S. Venkataraman & H. Voruganti

Asoke Kumar Mukerji & Ban Ki-moonWill the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling declaring gay marriages legal in all 50 states restart the debate on LGBT rights in India? Far from discussion on marriage equality, there seems to be opposition to even decriminalizing LGBT relationships, not just among Christians and Muslims, but many Hindus as well. In fact, the Modi Government recently voted against the UN Secretary General’s decision to extend marriage benefits to LGBT couples, ostensibly because the UN did not discuss the matter with national governments. What should the Modi Government’s policy on LGBTs be? And what would a policy inspired by Hinduism or a more authentically Indian ethos look like?

Section 377 of the Indian penal code is a colonial law dating from 1860 that punishes sexual conduct “against the order of nature” with up to life imprisonment. In 2013, the Indian Supreme Court reversed an earlier Delhi High Court decision that had held section 377 to be unconstitutional, on the grounds that this is a matter for the people and their elected representatives, not the courts. At that time, some leaders associated with the Sangh Parivar remarked that homosexuality to be against Indian culture. What we have here, in reality, is a case where supposed defenders of Indian culture, and presumably Hinduism as well, from “western influence” are not only wrong, but seem to be the ones acting under the very influence they seek to protect against.

Victor Bruce, 9th Earl of ElginLet’s settle the obvious first. Section 377 is a product of Victorian [Christian] social mores. A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report titled This Alien Legacy describes how laws in over three dozen countries, from India to Uganda and Nigeria to Papua New Guinea, derive from a single law on homosexual conduct that the British colonial rulers imposed on India in 1860. The report demonstrates that the British saw conquered cultures as morally lax on sexuality. British viceroy Lord Elgin warned that British soldiers could succumb to “replicas of Sodom and Gomorrah” as they acquired the “special Oriental vices.”

“Colonial legislators and jurists introduced such laws with no debates or cultural consultations, to support colonial control,” the report says.  “They believed laws could inculcate European morality into resistant masses. They brought in the legislation, in fact, because they thought “native” cultures did not punish “perverse” sex enough. The colonized needed compulsory re-education in sexual mores. Imperial rulers held that, as long as they sweltered through the promiscuous proximities of settler societies, “native” viciousness and “white” virtue had to be segregated: the latter praised and protected, the former policed and kept subjected.”

Bible & CrossBritish leaders of the Victorian era acted against homosexual conduct based on their understanding of the famous Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah or the book of Leviticus that homosexuals were, simply by virtue of that conduct, denied entry into heaven.  Moreover, according to the HRW report, notions of polluting sex from which sodomy laws were derived, “traced to an old strain of Christian theology that held sexual pleasure itself to be contaminating, tolerable only to the degree that it furthered reproduction (specifically, of Christians).”  

What does Hinduism have to say on all of this? We at the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) believe that a genuine Hindu approach to this matter, just as on any social issue, must not only turn to, but draw on the distinction between srutis (scriptures like the Vedas and Upanishads that enunciate eternal truths) and smritis (those that detail social laws and practices bound by time, place, and circumstance like the Manu Smriti and Yagnavalkya Smriti). Smritis are time bound and subject to change, and such bifurcation, which is unique to Hinduism, underpins HAF’s approach to LGBT rights.  

Hindu sruti texts don’t address sexual orientation at all or indeed social issues in general. They state that every being is an eternal soul, or atman, incarnate and that the ultimate goal of life is not heaven, but rather moksha, freedom from the cycle of birth and death. Moksha is attained by one’s real self, or atman, which is distinct from one’s physical body and personality (ego) as well as outer attributes such as race, caste, gender, and sexual orientation.

Progress towards moksha comes through yogic spiritual practices, and the attainment of moksha implies transcending material desires and impulses, including sexual ones. To put it provocatively, an LGBT person who has mastered his or her impulses (sexual or otherwise) is actually closer to moksha than a non-LGBT person who is a slave to desires. Thus, unlike in other faiths, Hindus cannot point to anything in the sruti texts that supports treating LGBT persons as being inferior to non-LGBT persons, let alone supports their persecution.

Prof Arvind SharmaThe smritis, which are said to have laid down social laws historically, have imbibed the perspective of the srutis and have never advocated broad-based, harsh punishments for homosexuality. Professor Arvind Sharma, a Hindu academic at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, states in his essay on Homosexuality and Hinduism:*

“It appears from the foregoing account that, save for the emphasis on renunciation, Hinduism is a sex-positive religion in relation to all the (other) three ends of human life – dharma, artha, kama….”

The Manusmriti, to quote a favourite bugbear of many, does express mild opposition to the practice, but prescribes such quixotic punishments as bathing in public with your clothes on! (Manusmriti, 11:75) The most stringent punishment, that of cutting off two fingers (or shaving the head and riding a donkey), is prescribed for an older woman who has a relationship with a young virgin (ibid, 8:370). But the concern here is on virginity, not homosexuality. For the exact same, punishment of cutting off two fingers (plus a fine of 600 panas of gold) is prescribed for a man who violates a virgin woman just a few verses earlier (ibid, 8:367). And there is no such punishment in the case of two older women.

Thus, not only do the srutis lay absolutely no bar on moksha for LGBT persons, the codes of conduct of ancient India seem to have largely ignored the LGBT phenomenon, rather than persecute them. Prof. Arvind Sharma also points out that if traditional Balinese culture is taken to represent an older and at least a trans-Indian form of Hinduism, the Hindu attitude to homosexuality is one of mild amusement bordering on indifference. The Hindu epics mention several characters who demonstrate a range of sexual orientations and gender identities, including Shikhandi, Chitrangada (wife of Arjuna and mother of Babruvahana), and Brihannala from the Mahabharata. None of these characters are discriminated against because of sexual orientation or gender identity.  Rather, they are all treated with respect, and judged by their abilities rather than their sexuality.  

Ardhanarisvara (c.1800)The Arthashastra and the Kama Sutra have numerous mentions of LGBT individuals in various professions free from any persecution. And the stories of Ardhanareeshwara (Shiva as half-man, half-woman) and Lord Ayyappa (born to Shiva and Vishnu as Mohini) indicate the subtle approach that Hinduism adopts towards matters of gender.

Given all this, a Hindu approach towards LGBT issues in India would argue for scrapping Section 377. The wisdom of the old Hindu attitude can be seen when one reflects on the consequences of calling all LGBT persons “criminals.” The law relegates some people to inferior status based solely on how they look or who they love, invades their privacy, and degrades their dignity. It provides ample opportunity for political vendetta by other means as it can be used to discredit enemies, destroy lives, and provide a police force that is already perceived to be corrupt with a powerful tool to abuse innocent people. It also drives LGBT persons to live their life “underground.” HAF believes that scrapping Section 377 should be a part of the Modi’s government’s social agenda. Even the RSS indicated its support shortly after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, and just this week, India’s Union Law Minister Sadananda Gowda opened the door to repeal Section 377 and same sex marriage legalization in India.

Indian lesbian couple Baljit Kaur and Rajwinder Kaur Despite Gowda’s surprising statement on the matter, however, his subsequent claims to have been misquoted indicates that the transition to full marriage equality in India is likely to be a long process. America’s move to full marriage equality for LGBT persons came after a public struggle of over 30 years.  It was also preceded by the notion of “civil unions” in which many states accorded most secular benefits to LGBT couples, although not the religious sacrament of marriage. Civil unions could be an intermediate step in India as well, as it would help address several issues which have no religious basis by themselves. This includes employment benefits for LGBT partners, differences in tax and insurance rates, protection against discrimination in employment, housing, hotels, hospital visitations, property inheritance etc.  HAF supported marriage equality for all Americans, and we submitted amicus briefs in various US courts, including the US Supreme Court to this end.

Same Sex SaptapadiBut what about marriage equality for LGBT Hindus?  It must be emphasized that India actually has a long history of wedding rites for hijras, who are transgender people. And in recent years, some Hindu priests and same-sex couples in the US have adapted and found acceptance in traditional Hindu wedding rituals, especially in the Saptapadi, a key marriage ritual that enunciates seven vows of an ideal Hindu marriage.  The vows remind every couple about the true purpose of a life partnership: (i) nourishing one another; (ii) growing strong together; (iii) fulfilling spiritual obligations; (iv) working towards happiness and fulfillment through mutual respect; (v) working for the welfare of all living beings through raising virtuous children; (vi) praying for bountiful seasons which they may go through together, just as they would share their joys and sorrows; and (vii) praying for a life of understanding, loyalty, and companionship not only for themselves, but also for universal peace.  

Muslim, Hindu, & Christian leaders for Section 377Like other legal rights, the right to marriage may compete with the right to religious freedom. Sampradayas, temples, religious leaders, and priests thus have an inalienable right to define marriage in conformity with their traditions, as they continue to interpret and reinterpret them over time.  And because Hinduism has no central authority that controls theology, different groups are free to move as fast or slow as they desire on the religious front.  So while religious rites of same-sex marriage continue to evolve (and in many cases, not), governments (at least in the US and several other nations around the world), no longer discriminate in the matter of marriage as a legal right or social contract. We believe that this concept – namely that there remain freedom in the realm of religion to define and/or adapt the definition of marriage, but that governments should no longer discriminate and hold some marriages to be legal but not others – is an important nuance that is rarely articulated in Indian public discourse.  It also becomes especially relevant given the magnificent diversity of cultural practices within India and the lack of a uniform civil code in the country.

Krishna & Gopa KumarBut before India can actually discuss the issue of marriage equality of any sort, it will need to abrogate Section 377 first. As Hindus grapple with LGBT rights under Indian law, HAF suggests that the following should be key considerations:

1. We need to work with the scientific and medical conclusions that LGBT orientations occur naturally in a small percentage of most life forms. These are not acquired habits, and certainly not a disorder, handicap, or “disease to be cured.”

2. Hindu teachings hold the inherent spiritual equality of all beings, regardless of outer attributes.  As such, Hindus should not reject or socially ostracize LGBT individuals, but should accept them as fellow sojourners on the path to moksha.

3. Hinduism has wisely separated the spiritual from the social and allows for the understanding and interpretation of customs to change over time. Various historical smritis are testament to such changes, and even in ancient times, smriti never advocated broad-based, harsh punishments for homosexuality.

At HAF, we believe that it is important for Hindu leaders, both religious and lay, to work within our sruti/smriti framework to evolve a uniquely Hindu perspective on LGBT rights, rather than follow existing social mores in India which are profoundly influenced by non-Indic sensitivities. Colonialism physically left India decades ago.  It’s high time Indians let its social and psychological hold go too. – Swarajya, 4 Jul, 2015


* Prof Arvind Sharma is the Birks Chair of Comparative Religion at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. See “Homosexuality and Hinduism” in Arlene Swidler, Homosexuality and World Religions, Valley Forge, PA; Trinity Press International, 1993: pp 47- 80.

Demonstration against Section 377 in New Delhi
Demonstration against Section 377

See also


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