Why Mayawati will never abolish caste – R. Jagannathan

Mayawati's one crore rupee garland

R. JagannathanMayawati is not trying to abolish caste; what she is trying to do is build a political super-caste by latching on to atrocities on Dalits and developing a larger tale of common victimhood that will make her powerful. – R. Jagannathan

Anybody who believes that Mayawati is protesting against the uncouth remarks made by Dayashankar Singh, or that the Dalit anger is about nothing but this insult and other atrocities perpetrated against them elsewhere, is missing the wood for trees. And to those pious “liberals” who think abolition of caste is something only the Brahminical Sangh leadership is opposed to, one can only say how little they understand human proclivities.

Let us be clear: caste tensions cannot be abolished. You can annihilate caste, as Ambedkar would have wanted, through extreme coercion and violence, but what you will get after this annihilation is another form of identity and differentiation that will again have tension in-built into it.‎ You may not call it caste, but ethnic, racial, religious and linguistic differentiation will exist. So trying to abolish caste by achieving some kind of uniform identity is impossible. People from the Buddha to Mahavira to Vivekananda to Ambedkar to Gandhi to Kanshi Ram to Periyar to the Communists have attempted it – and failed.

Dayashankar SinghMayawati is not trying to abolish caste; what she is trying to do is build a political super-caste by latching on to atrocities on Dalits and developing a larger tale of common victimhood that will make her powerful. This is no different from Muslim parties trying to build another powerful agglomeration, and the Sangh to build an overarching Hindu narrative. The Communists try and do this on the basis of class, but caste and religion offer better options for building common narratives than class, which tends to be fluid. Castes too were fluid once upon time, but the British tendency to slot people into boxes of identity and post-Independence electoral realities have ensured that castes have become more rigid than before.

Caste can wither away under the pressures of urbanisation and modernisation but can never be abolished through social action alone. The reason for this is simple: it is fundamental to human existence next only to biological imperatives like the need for food or sex. ‎

What is caste? It is a system of differentiation that allows human beings to decide who constitutes “us” and who is “not-us” or “them”. All systems based on the “us and them” narrative will ultimately degenerate into “us” thinking about “them” as somehow inferior, leading to the ultimate demonisation of the other.

If we didn’t have caste, we would use other markers to separate “us” from “them”. Why else would Muslims want to think of themselves as superior to non-Muslims, and why would Sunnis think of Shias and Ahmadiyas and Bahais as despicable, and so on, despite all of them believing in Allah and his Prophet? Is this not just another form of caste discrimination, even though caste is indeed different?

If, one day, we annihilate not only caste, but religious, ethnic, racial, and linguistic differentiation, we would still discriminate on the basis of which football club or IPL team we support.

So, rest assured, Mayawati is not trying to decry caste. She needs caste more than anybody else, for that’s all she has got. This is why when the BJP immediately tried to undo the damage done by Dayashankar by sacking him and expelling him from the party, Mayawati upped the ante and said she would have accepted this action as genuine if the BJP itself had filed an FIR against him and arrested him. And when her supporters threatened Dayashankar’s wife and daughter, far from apologising for the language of misogyny used by them, Mayawati said Dayashankar’s wife should have condemned her husband.

Dalit with Bahujan Samaj Party Flag‎In other words, Mayawati upped her demands every time they were met. This is not someone who is fighting casteism, but someone who is revelling in her caste identity and playing up victimhood for power and electoral gain.

The larger point is all the critics of caste tend to see caste in a unidimensional way, as a system of oppression. It is much more than that. It is kinship and social capital too. Critics of caste are on the wrong track. And political critics are empty vessels making all the noise. They like to use caste as a stick to beat their political opponents and also to demonise other castes, but they have gotten nowhere. The Communists did not abolish caste (show me one Dalit in the top rungs of any Communist party), the OBC parties did not abolish caste, the DK/DMK parties did not abolish caste, the Congress did not abolish caste, and even the Dalits are never going to abolish caste. Nor will the BJP do so, though it has the most to gain from a Hindu consolidation.

Caste will wither away when it is no longer useful to anybody, or to most people, but that day is far away. Right now caste is useful to everybody – to the ordinary individual, since it is a form of social capital, and to the political parties, as it helps mobilise voters to press the right EVM buttons. Ask Mayawati. There is a spring in her step, now that she has been insulted by the “upper caste BJP”. When she was ignored, she was in the dumps.

Caste may ultimately wither away, but in the short-term the best thing we can do is learn some political correctness, and ensure that it never results in violence. Fantasies about abolishing caste are just that: they will just drive discrimination underground. – Swarajya, 23 July 2016

» R. Jagannathan is a senior journalist and the editorial director of Swarajya Magazine.

Mayawati

 

 

A reply to Dr Zakir Naik – Maria Wirth

Ishwara

Maria WirthIf you are sincere, Dr Naik, you will realise that the wisdom of your ancestors scores high over the worldview and the mind-set of Abrahamic religions. The attitude of “We alone are right and you go to hell if you don’t accept our religion” is doing great harm to humanity. It may be helpful for world dominion, but do you want to live in a world where everyone has to wear a straight-jacket? — Maria Wirth

Hindus generally don’t criticise other religions in spite of the fact that Christianity and Islam not only criticise, but demean Hinduism badly. Zakir Naik is only one example. Do Hindus know what is preached in the innumerable churches and mosques across India? I know for sure that Hindu gods are called devils by Christian missionaries. Yet Hindus neither defend their gods nor challenge the Abrahamic dogmas in spite of having a solid philosophical basis for their beliefs, which is lacking in Christianity and Islam.

Zakir NaikSome years ago, Zakir Naik had ridiculed Ganapati and thrown a challenge to prove that Ganapati is God. I assume he means by God the Supreme Being that Muslims call Allah.

Now what do we know about Allah?

Foremost, Allah is great and merciful, and the faithful as well as the unfaithful are loudly reminded of it five times a day. He also knows what all human beings are doing, but is separate from them. It is claimed that Allah has communicated his final words to Prophet Mohammed. Those words are in the Quran. Allah declared that Islam alone is true. So, all human beings must follow Islam because other paths are wrong. And they must hurry up, because every human being has only one life.

Those, who do not accept Islam during their lifetime, will be thrown into eternal hell-fire where “boiling water will be poured over their heads that not only melts their skin but also the inner parts of their bellies….” (Quran 22:19-22)

Clearly, here is where Allah’s mercy ends. He does not brook any dissent. And the azan, which started compassionately, ends with: “Oh Allah, guide us to the Right Way. The Way of those whom You have favoured, not of those who have earned Your wrath….” (Al-Fatiha 1)

This means, Allah is merciful only to his followers who are called Muslims and he is wrathful to those who are not Muslims.

Dr. Zakir Naik, I am confident that I got the concept of ‘God’ in Islam right because Christianity has a similar concept. And I dare to claim that it is not true. Can you prove (and this challenge goes also to Christian clerics) that Allah / God is indeed so unfair and divisive? Can you prove there will be this huge cauldron of fire where billions of people will burn for ever after Judgment Day? Do these claims of “eternal hell-fire for unbelievers” not rather have the purpose to keep the flock in check? To divide and rule?

There are about two billion Christians, who are told they have to remain Christians, otherwise they can’t go to heaven. And then there are about two billion Muslims who are told that they have to remain Muslims, otherwise they can’t go to paradise. Both religions had plenty of time to sort out which one is true, but they did not do it. Why? Because they cannot prove it. They can only make claims and counterclaims and fight among themselves, between Muslims and Christians and with heathens or infidels. They do this for the last 2000 years.

Under these circumstances, can anyone claim that Islam or Christianity is beneficial for humanity? Is it not time to have a thorough check of what REALLY is the truth?

In regard to the absolute Truth, Dr. Zakir Naik, your ancestors, the Indian Rishis, made valuable contributions and you can be proud of them. In ancient times, long, long before Christianity or Islam appeared on the scene, the Rishis had a very mature understanding of Brahman which would be ‘Truth’ or ‘Supreme Being’ or ‘God’ in English. Brahman is not personal, not a superhuman entity somewhere in heaven, not male or female, not jealous of other gods, not revengeful if ignored, but It is sat-chit-ananda, the conscious, one essence in all names and forms—like the one ocean is the essence of all the waves.

The Rishis realised that this universe is a wrong perception of Brahman. They called it maya, not really true, only apparently true.

For anything to qualify as absolute Truth, it has to be always—past, present and future—and it has to be self-evident.

The Rishis came to the conclusion that nothing fulfils these criteria except pure (=thought free) consciousness. This consciousness is here and now, always, everywhere. Yet we miss it because we focus only on things or thoughts, emotions, etc.—like, when we focus a torchlight in a room only on the furniture and miss the empty space. Infinite space, which throbs with life and love is actually a good metaphor for sat-chit-ananda—the highest truth that underlies names and forms (nama-rupa).

Science has meanwhile discovered the sat aspect of the truth. Oneness is there. To discover that this Oneness is also aware (chit) and blissful (ananda) scientists would need to turn to their own consciousness to research further instead of looking outside. Let us see whether the scientists will support also the claim of the Rishis that this whole manifestation is alive and full of bliss.

In one point, however, you are right, Dr. Zakir Naik: There is only one Truth, one God, which the wise call by different names. But the nature of it you got wrong. It does not send non-Muslims or non-Christians eternally into hell-fire. The Supreme Being is indeed merciful and great.

GaneshaBut you wanted to know whether Ganapati is a deity.

May I explain a bit of your ancestors’ tradition which struck me as most profound when I came to know of it?

Sanatana Dharma is not only about intellectually knowing sat-chit-ananda, but about realising it. Since Brahman is all-pervading, it must be also in us (ayam atma brahma). So we can tap and feel it. For this, however, we need to follow certain rules. We need to purify ourselves, lead a moral life, speak the truth, etc. To eat plenty of meat and have plenty of sex is not conducive for this purification. Yet one factor is very conducive: bhaktilove for God.

Here Hindu Dharma brings in Ishwara.

The concept of Ishwara is close to the Abrahamic notion of a personal God but more benevolent. There is of course no eternal hell for unbelievers. Everyone gets chance after chance in life after life till he realises that he is not a separate wave, but one with the ocean.

Ishwara is God with attributes and has innumerable aspects, as this universe has innumerable aspects or human nature has innumerable aspects. These aspects are personified in different deities and the devotee can choose the one who is dearest to him. It helps to develop love for the invisible Truth—for example through Ganapati.

Those Devas are mistakenly much maligned by Christianity and Islam. They are not separate entities but kind of access points to the one Brahman, which is otherwise unimaginable. It is possible to feel familiar with them, to love them, to talk with them. And the scriptures leave no doubt that Devas are ultimately Brahman.

And here, Dr. Naik, you may get an answer to your question whether Ganapati is ultimately the Supreme Being.

The Ganapati Atharvashirsa Upanishad, which is part of the Atharva Veda, states: “Tvameva kevalam karta si, tvameva kevalam dharta si, tvameva kevalam harta si. Tvameva sarvam khalvidam brahmasi, tvam saksadatma si nityam.”

It means: You alone are the creator, You alone are the sustainer, You alone are the annihilator. All this is Brahman and You are that Brahman. You are indeed the Atman eternally.

This declaration, however, is not unique for Ganapati. It is said for other deities, too.

Yet the fact that this is written in a sacred text, is not proof enough. There are plenty of sacred texts in this world and if everything in them is blindly accepted as true, we end up with all kind of proclaimed truths which are not true. We need to verify what is declared as truth on the touchstone of reason, intuition and experience. If it contradicts all of these, it is not worth believing it and certainly not dying for it.

The proof that all deities are Brahman is because only Brahman really exists. Brahman is like the ocean. The waves are not separate from it. The name with which one worships the Divine, does not matter. What matters is how much devotion one feels. The greater the devotion, the more miracles can happen. Ganapati is loved by millions of Hindus worldwide. He is the door through which they try to access sat-chit-ananda.

Sanatana Dharma is very ancient. And yet the Rishis had such deep insights, for example that the world is a wrong perception of what is really true, like seeing a snake at dusk when in fact there is only a rope. Max Planck Universe PhotoWesterners who ridiculed Hindus because they believe that the world is an illusion keep now quiet as science supports the Hindu view.

Meanwhile NASA scientists have detected the building blocks of DNA in meteorites. The Max Planck Institute in Germany published the first picture of the whole universe. It had an oval shape. Could it be possible that those who ridicule Hindus for worshipping a Shiva lingam might soon rethink their attitude, as well, lest they embarrass themselves?

Great men have come and gone in India’s ancient civilisation. Some have been made into gods. There is nothing wrong with it. The Divine is in all.

It should make you reflect, Dr. Naik that science keeps validating the insights of the Rishis, for example the mind-boggling age of the universe, or the ultimate Oneness of all.

Attempts to vilify Indian tradition by you and others are successful because the British weaned Indians away from their tradition and most people know little about it. Yet if you are sincere, you will realise that the wisdom of your ancestors scores high over the worldview and the mind-set of Abrahamic religions. The attitude of “We alone are right and you go to hell if you don’t accept our religion” is doing great harm to humanity. It may be helpful for world dominion, but do you want to live in a world where everyone has to wear a straight-jacket?

If I were you, Dr. Naik, I would be worried especially about one thing: what if you wake up after death and there is NO paradise waiting for you? What if all those jihadis, who were inspired by you, cursed you after realising there was no paradise for them? What if you are taking birth again in another form and reap the fruits of your actions of this life where you consciously or unconsciously distorted the truth? Rebirth is not only mentioned in the Indian texts. There is also plenty of evidence for it—over 2500 cases are documented in the archive of Virginia University.

Dr. Naik, I don’t know how deeply you believe what you preach. I know from personal experience how effective brainwashing in childhood can be. But I also know that it is possible to get out of it, and it seems the older one is, the easier.

For me, it was a great relief to come out of the Christian religious straight-jacket and I would encourage you to also genuinely enquire into the truth. Your concept of God is not Truth. You quote a book as support. Truth does not fit into a book. Truth is THAT WHAT TRULY IS.

Your ancestors, the Indian Rishis, spoke from experience, not from book knowledge.

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

 Atman Brahman

Muslim clerics in India unite against televangelist Zakir Naik – Uzair Hasan Rizvi

 

Zafir Naik

Uzair Hasan RizviOne of the most powerful Muslim leaders in Bengal, Syed Mohammad Nurur Rahman Barkati, criticised the Muslim televangelist for misleading people and suggested a ban on all his preaching materials in India. “Zakir speaks rubbish,” said Barkati, who is the shahi imam of Kolkata’s Tipu Sultan mosque. “He is only amassing huge wealth. Who is funding him? The government should also investigate this.” – Uzair Hasan Rizvi

Superstar Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik claims to be a messenger of peace and harmony. Through his channel, Peace TV, he broadcasts his messages to around 200 million people across India and the world. Despite this, he has never been able to unite the different branches, sects and sub-sects of Islam in India. One sign of this is the fact that these various groups continued to celebrate Eid on different days earlier this month.

However, Naik seems to have finally united India’s Muslim clerics.

Showing unprecedented solidarity, Muslim clerics from all sects have come forward to urge strong action against Naik and his channel for misinterpreting the Quran and misleading Muslims with his evangelism.

Naik’s Islam is a particularly conservative brand of Salafism, the ultra-conservative reform movement within Islam, which aims to go back to what its proponents call the fundamentals of the faith.

In the aftermath of the July 1 attacks in Dhaka, there were reports that Naik’s provocative speeches had inspired the militants behind the attack in which 20 people, mostly foreigners, were killed. On Sunday, Bangladesh banned Naik’s channel.

Many clerics in India have now demanded a ban on Peace TV, which is broadcast from Dubai. In 2012, the channel was blocked in India after the Intelligence Bureau red-flagged it for broadcasting malicious and so-called anti-national content. However, illegal broadcasts continue and Naik’s sermons are also available online, thus making it hard for the government to limit Naik’s popularity.

Condemnation across the board

In his Eid sermon, one of the most powerful Muslim leaders in Bengal, Syed Mohammad Nurur Rahman Barkati, criticised the Muslim televangelist for misleading people and suggested a ban on all his preaching materials in India. “Zakir speaks rubbish,” said Barkati, who is the shahi imam of Kolkata’s Tipu Sultan mosque. “He is only amassing huge wealth. Who is funding him? The government should also investigate this.”

Clerics from the Barelvi school of Sunni Islam, which gets its name from Bareilly—the town in Uttar Pradesh where it originated from—also accused Naik of delivering anti-Islamic speeches. During his Eid sermon last week, Maulana Asjad Raza Qadri, head cleric of Bareilly, demanded a ban on Naik for his hate speeches, and said that his activities were against Islam and the culture of India.

In the past, Naik has criticised Sufism—the mystical form of Islam that has been present in India for over 1,000 years. The preacher condemned those who revere Sufi saints and visit their tombs as “grave worshippers”.

Last year, members of the All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board, an organisation of Sufi Muslims, protested at the India Islamic Cultural Centre in Delhi after the centre invited Naik for a conference. The members even lodged a complaint against Naik at a local police station, and demanded that he be arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Condemnation from Shias

Naik has also been criticised by the Shias—the second-largest branch of Islam after Sunni Islam.

Shia clerics in Lucknow have accused the televangelist of propagating ideas that attracted Muslim youth to extremism.

Prominent Shia Muslim cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad Naqvi demanded a complete ban on Naik’s books, speeches and lectures. “Zakir Naik is spreading terrorism,” he said. “Naik is a part of the Saudi Arabia-funded Wahhabi terror network, which creates scholars and clerics who in turn brainwash young Muslims.”

Another Shia cleric, Maulana Yasoob Abbas, led a demonstration against Naik in Lucknow during which Abbas burned Naik’s effigy and labeled him as anti-national and anti-religious. The protestors at this demonstration carried a banner, which read: “Protest Against Terrorism” and carried the photograph of Zakir Naik along with those of Islamic State chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed.

Condemnation from Deobandis

However, the most surprising condemnation comes from the Darul Uloom Deoband, the seat of the Deobandi school of Sunni Islam, which is headquartered in Deoband in Uttar Pradesh. The Deobandis are often referred as the Wahhabis, as they share many of their beliefs with Wahhabism. Darul Uloom has issued a series of fatwas against Naik since 2007.

The Deoband school said that religion should be learned through authorised ulema (Muslim scholars with specialised knowledge of Islamic theology) and books, and added that Naik was a self-styled preacher unaffiliated to any of the four schools of Sunni Islamic thought.

One of the fatwas issued by the Darul Uloom against Naik states that “Zakir Naik is an agent of Ghair Muqallideen, away from knowledge and wisdom from the four schools of thought, spreading mischievous things and misguiding simple Muslims to wrong path”.

Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, the deputy imam of Lucknow’s Eidgah, had once come to the defence of Zakir Naik. He had said that if Naik had committed a crime, he should be tried under the law, but harassing the man on a big platform was unethical.

However, in 2008, the deputy imam’s uncle, Mufti Abul Irfan Mian Firangi Mahali, issued a fatwa against Zakir Naik describing him as kafir, or disbeliever. Following that, the Lucknow deputy imam also condemned Naik, and referred to him as a fake scholar. Then, Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali said in an online statement that: “Naik has just mugged up some verses from the Quran and pretends to be an Islamic scholar.”

Solidarity from Kashmir

The one place in India where Muslim clerics have supported Zakir Naik is in Kashmir, where the Jamaat-I-Islami and Jamiat-ul-Ahlihadees have condemned what they called a campaign by the government and media against Naik.

According to a report in the Hindustan Times, members of the Islamic Fraternity, a Muslim youth body, held a demonstration in support of the televangelist at the Press Enclave in Srinagar last week. The report said that the protesters carried banners which read: “Dr Zakir Naik, Kashmir is with you”, “Zakir Naik is a man of peace and harmony” and “Stop false propaganda against Zakir Naik.”

Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the leader of the separatist Hurriyat, too recently issued a press statement in favour of Naik in which he said that the preacher was not involved with incidents of terror in Dhaka, Bangladesh, or anywhere else.

With sentiment against him brewing in India, Naik has released a video saying that he did not inspire the Bangladeshi attackers. Incidentally, in the past, he has, on several occasions, denounced the Islamic State, to which the Dhaka terrorists swore allegiance.

However, Naik is undoubtedly an influential Salafi ideologue whose influence has grown in India and around the world over the years. In fact, last year, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia presented Naik with the King Faisal International Prize for service to Islam, which carried a cash reward $200,000. – Scroll.in, 11 july 2016

» Uzair Hasan Rizvi is an independent multimedia journalist in Lucknow. His Twitter handle is @rizviuzair.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar & Zakir Naik

Must read critique of Zakir Naik and his monotheism: Punya Bhumi and the bleak landscape of one god-ism – Vijaya Rajiva

Zakir Naik & Salman Khan

Excusing Muslim terrorists and blaming Hindus – David Frawley

Acharya David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri)Muslim preachers like Zakir Naik are afforded respect even when teaching intolerance and excusing terrorism. Hindu gurus like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, on the contrary, are criticized and even sued for promoting world peace and the unity of humanity. And this is occurring in Bharat, which is not an Islamic country. – Dr David Frawley

Muslim preachers like Zakir Naik are afforded respect even when teaching intolerance and excusing terrorism. Hindu gurus like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, on the contrary, are criticized and even sued for promoting world peace and the unity of humanity. And this is occurring in Bharat, which is not an Islamic country.

Hindu gurus are kept in jail without bail, made the subject of long court cases, dragging out for years. The media presumes them guilty and does not ask for their release. When their names are eventually cleared, as in the case of Pujya Jayendra Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram, no apologies are offered for the derogatory stories published against them.

Hindu Sadhvi Pragya, accused of involvement in a terror attack, can be kept in jail for years without bail, drugged and tortured as a matter of investigation. This would not happen with a mullah or with a priest.

A Hindu politician like Kamlesh Tiwari can be held without bail for allegedly insulting Islam, while those insulting Hindu Dharma are excused or turned into media heroes, like the student protestors from JNU’s communist student union who denigrated Ma Durga—or for preachers like Naik who routinely demean Hindu deities, practices and theology on television shows.

A handout picture released by the King Faisal Foundation on March 1, 2015 shows Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz (L) presenting Zakir Naik, president of the Islamic Research Foundation in India, with the 2015 King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam in Riyadh. Naik was honoured for being one of the most renowned non-Arabic speaking promoters of Islam. He founded the Peace TV channel, billed as the world's only channel specialising in comparative religion. Inventing the Idea of Hindu Terror and Excusing Islamic Terrorism

Though there are numerous terrorist attacks by radical Islamists all over the world against various peoples and governments, including in Muslim majority states, Bharat’s media likes to blame Islamic terrorist acts in Bharat on Hindus for oppressing their Muslim minority. It attributes these horrific acts to poverty and discrimination, and will not associate them with Islam as a religion or speak of Islamic terror, in spite of such Muslim preachers as Naik for whom Islamic militancy is a matter of pride. On the contrary, Islam is taught as progressive or egalitarian, as if jihadist violence never had anything to do with it.

When very rare and questionable cases of terrorism are brought against Hindus, these are immediately labeled “saffron” or “Hindu terror”, as if the Hindu religion itself were the cause. The suggestion is that Hindu terrorism is on par with global jihad that has cost the world tens of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars in wars and protective measures. This negative approach continues though there have been no convictions for so-called Hindu terrorism in Bharat, or in any other country in the world, only allegations, while Hindus have frequently suffered from terrorist acts against them.

Hindu Dharma is said to be backward and in need of reform, but not Islam or Christianity. Hindu Dharma is identified with caste, oppression and social injustice, and its progressive and spiritual sides are ignored or belittled. Bharat’s leftist media is hesitant to promote Yoga Day as if Yoga were regressive or communal. While pride in Islam or Christianity is respected, for Hindus to express pride in being Hindus is deemed as communal and intolerant.

Salman bin Abdulaziz al-SaudNeed to Recognize Danger of Global Jihad

Mainstream Islamic countries, especially Saudi Arabia, are among the most intolerant and oppressive nations in the world. While looking at Islamic violence in Bharat, the roots of radical Islam outside of Bharat are not considered, as if there were no connection or communication between them. When the role of Pakistan in Islamic terror is brought out, Bharat’s media likes to blame it on extremist factions in Pakistan, though such radical groups often have government and military support.

ISIS, though it calls itself the Islamic State, is described by the media as following policies that are not Islamic, as if Islam of any sort was not part of its agenda. Yet ISIS follows a similar type of Islam to Wahhabis, whose Saudi-funded madrasas are common in Bharat and seldom regulated. While Saudi has of its own accord destroyed most of the mosques in its own country, Bharat’s media will not report such actions. But if a mosque is damaged in Bharat, great outrage is expressed and Hindus blamed. Destruction and defacement of Hindu temples under Islamic rule was conveniently erased from Bharat’s history books by Marxist historians.

When the current BJP government seeks to address the issue of terrorism, it is criticized for being anti-Muslim and pro-Hindu, though jihadi terrorism is the main global danger today. Meanwhile, a Congress Party leader such as Digvijay Singh can praise intolerant preachers like Naik in public programs and attend a book release on the 26/11 terrorist attack in Bharat for a book that blames this well-documented Pakistan-based jihadi attack on the Hindu RSS!

Zakir Naik & Digvijaya SinghContinuation of Old Anti-Hindu Policies

Such policies of Bharat’s Congress-backed media are nothing new and have been occurring for decades, ever since Nehru and his Congress Party began to rely on an Islamic vote bank. Keeping Muslims afraid and Hindus divided insured an en bloc Muslim vote for Congress and a division of the Hindu vote. Since then many left-oriented political parties have adopted the same vote bank strategy.

Given the dangers posed by global jihad, one would think that these vote bank and appeasement policies would come to an end for the safety of the entire country. But this does not seem to be the case given the political alliances forming for upcoming elections. Fortunately, the Bharatiya electorate is no longer accepting the old anti-Hindu propaganda. – Hindu Post, 9 July 2016

» Dr David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) is a Vedacharya and includes in his wide scope of studies Ayurveda, Yoga, Vedanta and Vedic astrology, as well as the ancient teachings of the oldest Rigveda. Tweet him at @davidfrawleyved.

Jihadis

Why are Indian historians in a denial mode? – David Frawley

Indus Valley Script

Vamadeva Shastri / David FrawleyIt is time for … deconstructionist historians to be deconstructed. Such historians, whose view of the world is purely outward, do not have the insight to appreciate India. … Their historical accounts reflect the attempt of a recent ruling elite to rewrite history in its own image—and to deny legitimacy for any other group, even if it requires denying the very existence of India before they assumed power! – Dr David Frawley

India today is a strange country in that, uniquely among the nations of the world, it seems to be afraid of its own history.

If we study current historical accounts, particularly by India’s academic left, the most important fact about the history of India is that there is no real history of India. This is because such scholars are unable to see the existence of any cohesive entity called India before 1947.

India as a real country in their view is attributed mainly to Jawaharlal Nehru and his followers after independence on a region that, though previously under the umbrella of British rule, was otherwise lacking in unity, continuity or perhaps even civilisational depth.

Such historians are happy to negate the history of their own country. Their accounts of India’s history are largely denials of any enduring country, civilisation or culture worthy of the name. Their history of India is one of foreign invasions, temporary or vanished empires, internal social divisions and conflicts, and a disparate and confused cultural diversity. They regard India as a melting pot or conglomeration of widely separated peoples and cultures coming together by the accident of geography that hardly constitutes any united country or national identity.

Unfortunately, such Indian historians, particularly with political alliances with left historians in UK and US, are introducing their anti-India ideas into Western academia, which still does not understand India’s very different civilisational model.

King Porus (Puru) & Alexander at the Battle of Hydaspes (Jhelum)Such studies forget that national identity is cultural, not simply political. India did not become a British state under British rule or an Islamic state under Muslim rule. The older Indian/Bharatiya culture continued.

These anti-India views are easily countered by a number of historical facts.

The first is that outside people and countries have long recognised a civilisation called India.

After Alexander the Great came to India in the fourth century BCE, the Greek historian Megasthenes wrote a book on the region called Indika, in which he noted an existing tradition in the country of 153 kings going back over 6,400 years. The Greeks overall lauded the civilisation of India.

 Chinese travelling monk in India Hiun Tsang (c. 602–664)Buddhist pilgrims in the ancient and medieval period, particularly from China, honoured India and its great culture during their travels. India’s cultural influence spread to Indonesia and Indochina in the East and into Central Asia, extending on a religious level to China and Japan.

The ancient Romans lost much of their wealth in a one-sided trade with India and the Europeans long sought the riches of India. Columbus, of course, found America by chance while looking for a more direct sea route to India.

Second, India, like many countries, has more than one name. The Indian Constitution says the “India that is Bharat”. Bharat is the main ancient name for the region going back to King Bharat, an ancient ruler long before Rama, Krishna or Buddha.

The Bharatas were the main people of the ancient Rig Veda, who ruled from the Sarasvati region. They eventually split into several groups, one of which, the Kurus, became dominant in late ancient times, as the main people of the Mahabharata.

Modern historians can more easily deny history to the name India than to Bharat and so ignore the other name of the country.

Third, India has probably the oldest, largest and most continuous literature of any civilisation. The Vedas with their many thousands of pages dwarf anything from the Middle East, Egypt or Greece of the ancient period.

Geography is an important topic in these texts. The Vedas speak of a land of seven rivers, Sapta Sindhu, extending to the ocean, of which the Sarasvati River was the most important. The Persians in their oldest Zend-Avesta remember the area as Hapta Hindu. Sindhu, Hindu and India are related terms.

The Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas outline a sacred geography of India/Bharat from Kailas in the north to Lanka in the south, Assam in the east to beyond the Indus in the west. Buddhist and Jain texts do the same, showing a common culture and geography.

Around this sacred geography, Indians built numerous temples and recognised numerous sacred sites, revealing this vast region and its cultural unity.

Sadhu with horn at Kumbha Mela 2013Along with these sacred sites are numerous festivals and pilgrimages. We see this in modern India, which has the largest tradition of pilgrimage in the world, notably the massive Kumbha Melas that bring in tens of millions of pilgrims. Pilgrims throughout India visit these sites, with South Indians commonly travelling as far as the Himalayan temples of the north. Festivals like Diwali are elaborately celebrated throughout the country.

Ancient Indian literature contains a calendar system still widely followed, the Panchanga. Indian calendars extend from historical time of thousands of years to cosmic time of billions of years.

Fourth, extensive new evidence of archaeology upholds the cultural continuity of the region. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) claims that in the Haryana/Kurukshetra/Sarasvati river area there is evidence of a continual development of agriculture and civilisation from 8000 BCE, extending through the Harappan urban era. This area hosts Rakhigarhi, the largest Harappan site, more extensive than Mohenjodaro or Harappa.

The Harappan Civilization—also called the Indus Valley or Saraswati Civilisation—is the largest and most uniform urban civilisation of the ancient world in the third millennium BCE. It ended with the drying up of the Sarasvati River around 1900 BCE, which the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has verified. The Vedas refer to the different stages of the Sarasvati river from an ocean-going stream to drying up in the desert, showing they resided on the river long before its termination.

Consistent with their negative line of thought, leftist historians ignore this information or accuse archaeologists of political bias in their findings.

Lastly, but equally important, the independence movement drew inspiration from the older history of India/Bharat, with such revered figures as Swami Vivekananda, Lokmanya Tilak and Sri Aurobindo seeking to revive the ancient culture. Even Mahatma Gandhi’s mantra was Ram and his idea of India was Ram Rajya.

Not surprisingly, most of these independence leaders have been ignored by the same group of historians, who have made Nehru tower over them, with some afforded diminished roles and others forgotten altogether.

Muziris (Muchiri) port marked on the ancient Roman map Tabula PeutingerianaThe Congress party, the main support for such historians, has since named every major institution or initiative in India possible after the three members of the Nehru family who became prime ministers. They have little regard for other Congress prime ministers like P. V. Narasimha Rao, whom they have also almost erased from history.

Yet at the same time today, India’s great culture and civilisation through Yoga, Vedanta, Buddhism, Sanskrit, Indian music and dance is once more influencing the entire world—expanding in spite of this historical denigration.

It is time for these deconstructionist historians to be deconstructed. Such historians, whose view of the world is purely outward, do not have the insight to appreciate India, because it is not a mere political formation but a vast spiritual culture.

Their historical accounts reflect the attempt of a recent ruling elite to rewrite history in its own image—and to deny legitimacy for any other group, even if it requires denying the very existence of India before they assumed power! – Vedanet, 30 June 2016

» This article originally appeared in Swarajya Magazine behind a paywall.

» Dr David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) is a Vedacharya and includes in his unusual wide scope of studies Ayurveda, Yoga, Vedanta and Vedic astrology, as well as the ancient teachings of the oldest Rigveda. Tweet him at @davidfrawleyved.

Sindhu Saraswati Civilizational Area Map

What Hinduism is lacking – Maria Wirth

Maria WirthIt struck me one morning that the respect for dogmatic religions is based on irrationality and how easily it could be corrected if Hindus would choose to be as irrational and if they would back up—this is an important ingredient—their irrationality with blasphemy laws. Hindus could take part in the one-upmanship of “only we are right” and threaten those who dare to dissent with death. – Maria Wirth

There seems to be some “defect” in Hinduism, because worldwide, it is clearly not as respected as Christianity and Islam. Hindus struggle to get a fair representation for Hinduism in the media or in textbooks whether abroad or even at home.

This is hard to understand, because Hinduism has the best philosophical basis of all and is in tune with modern nuclear science. It acknowledges that the essence in all is consciousness (spirit) and shows practical ways how to realize this one spirit as true. It is therefore even in tune with the ever growing tribe in the West who say “I am spiritual, not religious”.

When India was ruled by Christians and Muslims, it was understandable that those in power promoted their religion as the best and denigrated the “primitive native religion”. But today, when there is an open market of ideas, why is Hinduism still getting a rough and very unfair deal when it actually deserved the highest respect, and how can this be changed?

One fine morning I realized what Hinduism is “lacking” and how this could be rectified. Hinduism would finally be on the same footing as Christianity and Islam.

HellIt is simple.

The ancient rishis had left out only one important sentence after passing on their insights. This one sentence obviously makes all the difference whether a religion is respected, powerful and keeps gaining followers or whether it is demeaned, ridiculed and loses followers.

This sentence is:

If you don’t believe what we tell you, the supreme Divinity will throw you for all eternity into hell-fire.

Let’s imagine Maharishi Vyasa, after compiling the Vedas, had added this sentence: “Whoever does not believe in the Vedas as the only truth, will be thrown for all eternity into hell-fire by Bhagawan himself.”

Or after writing the Mahabharata, if he had added “Whosoever does not believe that Sri Krishna is the only true mediator between man and Ishwara, will burn eternally in hell”.

Or if Valmiki, after writing down the teaching of Yoga Vashishta to Prince Rama, had added that Vashishta alone is the true guru and whoever does not believe it will end up in hell.

Or even today, if Mata Amritanandamayi for example, who has several miracles to her credit and an unparalleled outflow of love, would claim that she is the only indigenous daughter of Bhagawan and who does not believe it, will be thrown into hell-fire forever….

If this had happened, Hinduism would not be the underdog. It would be on the same level with the respected religions. In fact, the newcomer religions probably had little chance to come up, because Hinduism was there ages before them and it could have easily declared those newcomers as inexcusable heretics that need to be put to death.

In fact, not all is lost. Since the Bible and the Quran were written down after Jesus and Mohammed had died and several earlier versions were discarded, maybe Hindus still could amend their sacred texts?

In case it is not clear, of course I am not serious.

But it struck me one morning that the respect for dogmatic religions is based on irrationality and how easily it could be corrected if Hindus would choose to be as irrational and if they would back up—this is an important ingredient—their irrationality with blasphemy laws. Hindus could take part in the one-upmanship of “only we are right” and threaten those who dare to dissent with death.

Actually, it is not so much irrationality but cunningness, because those who made those claims of eternal hell for outsiders in all likelihood did not believe it themselves. It could not possibly have come from RishiDivine inspiration but is driven by worldly power.

The rishis in contrast were truthful. They were not cunning or irrational, and Indians—all Indians—can be proud of them.

But pride is not enough. Present day Indians need to take care that this irrationality does not eat into their society because it will lead to its downfall. It is not difficult to find examples for such societies.

Dharma finds expression through people who stand up for it and if necessary fight for it. Adharmic forces need to be called out and challenged.

It seems, on this world stage, a Mahabharata war is always on, in all ages. Yet ultimately, at a higher level beyond the dichotomy of good and evil, all are absorbed in the one eternal Brahman from which all has originated.

There won’t be a huge cauldron of fire where billions of human beings will burn for all eternity. This claim by both Christianity and Islam does not deserve respect.

It deserves ridicule. – Maria Wirth Blog, 30 June 2016

» Maria Wirth is an author and psychologist who has lived many decades in Uttarakhand.

Hell

 

Why the war on terror won’t succeed – Balbir Punj

Jihadi Recruit Jihad

Balbir PunjThe international campaign led by America to eliminate terror will not succeed unless the mindset of the people in the Islamic world is sought to be changed. – Balbir Punj

The world has read about yet another massacre of the innocents by a foot soldier of the self-styled Islamic State—this time again in the United States in an Orlando club. In Bangladesh, jihadists have murdered yet another Hindu priest and also several leading Muslim liberals. Reports are that the IS is preparing many such killings across several countries.

Jihadi, Koran, GunEvery such event is followed by condemnation of the event-makers, assertions that it has nothing to do with religion, that Islam is a religion of peace, it does not mandate killing of innocents and so on—as if they are reading from a textbook of response. These textbook-like reactions make no dent or deter more such killings.

What inspires the unending flow of recruits to the massacring factories of the IS from Muslim families in non-Muslim countries including Europe, USA, India? Why is it that many of these recruits, well-educated, belonging often to affluent families, are so willing to lose life while themselves engaged in killing others, often as soon as they get converted into Islam or touched by the calls of the IS over the social media?

Several Muslim majority nations of West Asia, including the most influential, most wealthy of them all, Saudi Arabia, have combined with America and Europe to eradicate the IS. With America using its air power to take out the IS leaders one by one and the West Asian Islamic nations lending ground troops and intelligence inputs in the battle against the IS, a certain confidence is being created that the so-called Islamic State would be pulled out and eliminated sooner rather than later.

The much-publicised success of the US in tracking down and exterminating leaders of the Islamic State movement—the latest is the unconfirmed report that the caliph of the IS, Mr Baghdadi himself has been killed in a US air strike,—seems to be dwarfed by the widening of the appeal of the organisation itself to the common Muslims.

There is a basic contradiction in the official US stand against jihadi terrorism and the political alignment Washington has with countries like Saudi Arabia against the Islamists. Riyadh is the largest financier of madrasas—the Muslim religious educational institutions. Innumerable treatises have exposed the type of religious education that these institutions provide.

MadrasaThese are funded by Saudi money among the poor Muslim communities across the world. What is taught in these institutions, staffed largely by a priesthood that takes it as a command from God through their holy book, is that their religion is what God wants and that God has instructed their founder on how the society should be shaped and run to reflect his will. So, they believe that any change in the rules and practices that constitute a society is defiance of God and cannot be allowed. Attempts to make these changes will have to be fought and such a war is a holy war, the ‘jihad.’ To fight such a war is a Muslim’s duty.

When this is inculcated from the age of five in these madrasas as the unchanging, unchangeable truth, the common Muslim begins to see any deviation from the set of prescribed practices and rules as an evil to be fought against and those who do take up this task constitute God’s army.

What is happening in Pakistan is an object lesson. The constitution drafted by the military dictator Zia-ul-Haq had conceded to the clerics the right to veto government steps and had reintroduced capital penalty for deviation from a strict adherence to Islamic laws and whatever was defined as objectionable to God.

The conceding of civil power to the clerics enabled them to build a huge power base. The military and the state power nurtured the clerics to be used against perceived enemies among whom India stood at the Zia-ul-Haqtop. The lesson for the world is that Pakistan as a state will not cooperate with its neighbours to eliminate terror though it might pretend it wants to eliminate terror from its soil. The message from the Orlando massacre is loud and clear: terror as a creed has the support of ‘faithfuls’ cutting across nationalities and geographical boundaries through a mindset largely shaped by the system of exclusivity interpretation of everything from religion to all other aspects of human existence .

Madrasas play a pivotal role in creating this exclusive mindset which in turn transforms several ordinary persons into suicide bombers. Even without formal ties, structure, communication and organisational networking , the ‘faithfuls’ are wired together and programmed by their shared theological mindset, to carry their ‘holy war ‘ i.e. jihad, against Kafirs to its logical end.

The international campaign led by America to eliminate terror will not succeed unless the mindset of the people in the Islamic world is sought to be changed. All other approaches would only give a limited and partial result. Meanwhile, several analysts of the terror scene fear that the well-funded and well-armed terror outfits in Pakistan like JeM, LeT etc are planning to link up with the IS and truly create a worldwide “army of God.” Pakistan, it must be remembered, had always wanted to be at the head of an Islamic conquest of the world. – The New Indian Express, 28 June 2016

» Balbir Punj is a BJP Raja Sabha member and a Delhi-based commentator on social and political issues. Email: punjbalbir@gmail.com

“With this sword is civilization and humanity slaughtered.”

“With this sword is civilization and humanity slaughtered.”

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