Why secularism in India lost its meaning – David Frawley

Congress Secularism

Vamadeva Shastri / David FrawleyIndia’s secularism became a form of communalism in disguise. … India’s secularism became synonymous with the idea that everything Hindu is bad and everything anti-Hindu is secular and good, extending even to Christian missionaries or Islamic jihad. India’s secularism can accommodate the Shari’ah or the Vatican, but not the Vedas or the Gita. – Dr David Frawley

The era during which the Nehruvian idea of secularism dominated India’s political discourse and dictated the country’s national narrative is definitely over. This opens the floodgates to real insight, vision and exploration about what India truly is, its great civilisation since ancient times, and its possible leading role in the knowledge-oriented world today.

Belief

The idea of secularism in India was not necessarily entirely bad to begin with. That a country of such religious and cultural diversity should not be driven by an exclusive theistic belief—such as motivated European secularists to counter Christian theocracy—did not at face value seem wrong, particularly to educated minds in India who aspired perhaps more than anything to be progressive.

The problem begins with the fact that such an idea of secularism is out of context in India, in which the dominant culture has been pluralistic and never theocratic, hegemonic or conquest-oriented. Theocratic-driven and supported armies invaded India but never represented its indigenous culture or dominant civilisation. They were the basis of colonialism and foreign rule that came to an end with the Independence of the country.

India’s adoption of secularism began with this dissonant note of a secular agenda from Europe that only created confusion in the Indian discourse. India needed a full national awakening from foreign rule, freeing both the land and the minds of its people, and casting off the centuries long denigration of its civilisation that attempted to destroy its heritage.

Unfortunately, this new idea of secularism in India worked to continue the oppression of the Indic mind and heart that had spread from such foreign rulers as Mahmud of Ghazni to Queen Victoria. Secularism, as it developed in India, represented another form of Eurocentric thinking that perpetrated the Western cultural assault on India.

In India, secularism became opposed to an opposite idea of communalism, identified with everything bad, with secularism as the highest good. Again, the idea of rejecting communalism does not at surface value sound bad. It suggests standing against divisive forces driven by theocratic-based compulsions of conversion and conquest. But such a threat of communalism as in Europe and West Asia was not relevant to India’s dharmic civilisation either, with its syncretic trends and unbroken continuity of culture.

Also, unfortunately, Europe’s new secular states, like Britain, were happy to support conversion agendas as a matter of foreign policy as much as they might question religious authority in their own countries, a policy that has continued even from the US. Conversion was justified in promoting the “civilising” forces of the West.

Communalism

The result was that India’s secularism became a form of communalism in disguise. It continued colonial agendas of keeping Hindu, Buddhist and dharmic traditions divided, discredited and suppressed. India’s secularism became synonymous with the idea that everything Hindu is bad and everything anti-Hindu is secular and good, extending even to Christian missionaries or Islamic jihad. India’s secularism can accommodate the Shari’ah or the Vatican, but not the Vedas or the Gita.

India’s secularism was further recast in a Leftist format that had also its origins and more appropriate place in Europe, invented for countering imperialism of which India was a victim, not a representative. India’s secularism quickly became a subterfuge for a larger Leftist agenda, allied with communism, the erstwhile Soviet Union and Communist China as role models for proper secular nations.

Secular views of India’s history became a mask for far-Left distortions and an attempt to cut Indians off from their own greater civilisational ethos, to which was added the new defamation of India’s culture as being anti-secular, on top of the old charges of heathen, kafir, idolatrous and superstitious.

In India, it became a sin not to be secular, an idea that journalists and academics were particularly infected with. And being secular could also provide forgiveness for all other sins and shortcomings, something that corrupt politicians could use to redeem themselves and justify their scams.

Nehruvian

This means that a post-secular India is the same as India in the post-Marxist, post-Nehruvian era. Post-secular India is India in the time during which the hegemony of the Congress in the country is over.

How do we define this post-secular era? It is not a new communal era, but the end of the secular promotion of communal divisions as electoral vote-banks. It is India completing its Independence movement by reaffirming its own civilisational identity. Post-secular India is the era of a New India, which is a renewed India or awakened Bharat. Such an India is beyond the right-left, secular-communal dualities of Western politics and reaffirms its own dharmic values and yogic culture.

Certainly there was a great effort to create such an awakened India during the Independence era itself by such inspired thinkers as Vivekananda and Aurobindo, but it fell short and became obscured by the Nehruvian secular socialist agenda that aimed to shut it down as an electoral threat to the new Congress dynastic rule.

As the darkness of this contrived and manipulative view of secularism gets removed, there is now space for India to emerge once more as a nation, culture, and civilisation in its own right, not a shadow of the very foreign ideologies and theocracies that have long been trying to subvert it. This is not only of tremendous value to the country but of inestimable value to the world that needs a different model of country, religion, and civilisation than current conflicting forms. The wisdom of India’s rishis and yogis remains relevant for India and for all humanity. – Daily-O, 8 September 2017

Secularism of Congress

 

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Brahmin-bashing has an agenda – Maria Wirth

Brahmin boys in a Vedic school

Maria WirthWhy are the so-called atrocities of the caste system so hyped? The reason may well be to divert the attention from those who actually should feel guilty about what they did and still do to India. … The goal is to make Vedic knowledge disappear in India, because it poses a danger for Christianity and Islam. – Maria Wirth

Common people in the West know hardly anything about India. But one thing they all know: India has an “inhuman” caste system, which is an important feature of their religion, Hinduism. Most also “know” that Brahmins are the highest caste, which oppresses the lower castes, and worst off are the untouchables.

I learnt this already in primary school, but knew nothing at that time about the concentration camps of Nazi Germany only a few years earlier or about the atrocities of slavery or colonialism. Yet the Indian caste system with Brahmins as villains was part of the curriculum in Bavarian schools in the early 1960s, and it still is today: some time ago I asked three young Germans in Rishikesh what they associate with Hinduism. Their prompt reply was, “caste system”.  Surely, they also had learnt that it was most inhuman. In all likelihood, all over the world school children are taught about the “inhuman” caste system. Why?

There is likely an agenda behind it.

Yes, the caste system exists, and untouchables, too. And it exists all over the world. Curiously, “caste” (casta) is Portuguese for race. It is not even an Indian term. The ancient Vedas mention four varnas—Brahmins, Kshatryas, Vaishyas and Shudras, which form the body of society, like the head, arms, thighs and feet form the body of a human being. It is a beautiful analogy which implies that all parts are important. True, the head will be given more respect, but will you ignore your feet? Not everyone is made for intellectual work, fortunately, because a society without farmers, traders, workers won’t be possible. All have their role to play. And in future lives, there are likely to be role reversals.

Varna was not hereditary originally. It depended on one’s predominant guna (quality of character) and one’s profession. The job of Brahmins was specifically to memorise the Vedas and preserve them absolute correctly for future generations. They had to have predominately satwa (pure) guna and had to stick to many more rules for purity than any other caste.

Brahmins were the guardians of the purity of the Vedas. So it is understandable that they would not touch those who for example remove the dead bodies of animals or clean the sewers, though a society needs people who do these jobs too. In the West, people also wouldn’t shake hands with them. But no issue is made out of it.

Due to their satwa guna, Brahmins were least likely to be abusive to other groups in society. Usually it is the group which considers itself socially just above another group, which looks down on those lower. This trait is there in all societies, but it is true that in India, unfortunately over time, the four varnas were inherited by birth. There are today many Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Shudras, who do not follow their dharma any longer and therefore should not consider themselves as belonging to their inherited varna.

But why is the structure of the society in India constantly decried, when nobody accuses for example the nobility, the highest “caste” in the West, that it does not mingle with workers and won’t live in their neighbourhood?

Why is nobody upset that the British allowed only “whites” into the club of Madikeri town in Karnataka and probably all over the country, as an old Indian gentleman told me? If I remember right, he said that the sign at the club read, “Dogs and Indians not allowed”.

Why is nobody upset that the agriculture policy of the British colonialists starved some 25 million Indians to death? 25 million men, women and children slowly dying because they had nothing to eat in a country that was one of the richest before the British took over…. There are terrible pictures on the net of Indians only being skin and bones, barely alive.

Why is nobody upset that the British, after slavery was abolished, sent indentured labour from India all over the world in cramped boats, where a big number died during the journey already (and were spared the torture in the sugar cane estates)?

Why nobody talks about what the Muslim invasions did to Hindus and especially to Brahmins? How cruel they were? How many Hindus were killed or made slaves? How many Hindu women committed mass suicide by jumping into fire so that they won’t fall into the hands of the Muslim troops?

Nowadays, due to ISIS we can well imagine what happened then, yet the Leftists and even “respectable” British parliamentarians are not concerned with all this. They are concerned with the “most inhuman caste system” of India. It can be safely assumed that the colonial masters tried to drive a wedge between the castes by “fixing” the former fluidity of varnas in their census from 1871 onwards. And today, their democratic successors, though without political power in India, try to drive a wedge with the help of manipulative media and even parliamentary legislation in their own country.

My point is: what Brahmins did by segregating themselves from others or even snubbing others is negligible in comparison what Christian colonialists and Muslim invaders did.

So why are the so-called atrocities of the caste system so hyped? The reason may well be to divert the attention from those who actually should feel guilty about what they did and still do to India. It’s not the Brahmins. Many of them suffer today, mainly due to reservation and, though poor in many cases, by being excluded from benefits which are given to religious minorities or lower castes.

But this is not the only reason why the caste system and Brahmins are being bashed worldwide. Another important agenda is to shame Brahmins, to make them feel guilty about their forefathers and to make them reluctant to follow their original dharma of learning and teaching the Vedas. The goal is to make Vedic knowledge disappear in India, because it poses a danger for Christianity and Islam. It can easily challenge their so-called “revealed truths”. Vedic knowledge makes sense and is therefore the greatest obstacles for Christianity and Islam to expand over the whole world.

Unfortunately, a lot of Vedic texts are already lost. The former Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram, Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati, says in his book “The Vedas” that out of 1180 shakhas, into which Veda Vyasa divided the four Vedas some 5000 years ago, only eight are still in use. (Just wondering: would a search in England, Germany and other countries rediscover some of this treasure?)

It is about time to stop this Brahmin bashing and stop portraying the Indian caste system as the worst that has ever befallen humanity. It sounds so fake, especially when ISIS gets neutral treatment by just mentioning facts, like, “ISIL burns 19 Yazidi women to death in iron cages because they refused to have sex with fighters” without any emotional colour or condemnation.

Some time ago, I saw an old Brahmin couple in a temple in south India. They had dignity, but were very thin. When prasad (sacred food) was distributed, they were in the queue before me. Later I saw that they joined the queue again…. It was in all likelihood due to poverty.

Brahmins don’t need to feel guilty about their forefathers. They can be proud of them, because it is only thanks to them that India is the only country that has preserved its precious, ancient wisdom at least partly. Yet others should indeed feel guilty, but those others are brazen and won’t. They rather vitiate the atmosphere with unjustified hatred for Hinduism and anti-Brahmanism.

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

Caste-based Reservations

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Nehru, not progeny, is the problem, Mr Guha! – Punarvasu Parekh

Jawaharlal Nehru was the archetypical Indian brown sahib

IconA society divided and unsure of itself, an economy grossly performing far below its potential for decades, a large but powerless nation in the world, a country at odds with its own roots—that is the legacy Nehru left, for which we are now expected to feel suitably indebted. – Punarvasu Parekh

President Ram Nath Kovind’s pointed omission of Jawaharlal Nehru and his progeny in his first presidential speech to parliamentarians has not gone down well with Congressmen and other secularists. Congressmen have availed of this opportunity to exhibit once again their loyalty to their first family, while some secularists have sought to remind us of Nehru’s greatness, such as it was. Court historian Ramachandra Guha  (“Rescue Nehru from his descendants”, The Hindustan Times, 30 July 2017) argues that Nehru’s legacy should be separated from mistakes and misdeeds of his progeny and respected properly with due gratefulness.

Essentially, the argument is that “Nehru contributed enormously to the making of modern India, by promoting universal adult franchise, linguistic and religious pluralism, and modern science. However, the actions of his descendants have deeply damaged his reputation.”

Guha is wrong on both the counts. Nehru’s contribution to the modern India is largely negative, and his descendants have only followed the lead given by him, though in a more crass and cynical manner.

Nehru’s biggest failure was his inability to appreciate the role played by Hinduism in defining and unifying India. He borrowed, through Marx, the colonial view of Indian society, Indian history and Indian civilisation. According to this view, Indian society is a loose conglomeration of disparate groups divided along every conceivable line (caste, community, ethnicity, language, religion, wealth and income, to mention a few) which is struggling to evolve some principle of unity. For him, this ancient land with a glorious civilisation running through millennia was a “nation in the making”. India’s history, according to this view, is a record of its conquest by successive groups of marauding invaders. To Nehru, Indian civilisation, at least at practical level, was a hotchpotch of irrational superstitions, empty rituals and meaningless metaphysics.

This view of India (now glibly flaunted as Idea of India) is not unexpected in a man who said that “by education I am an Englishman, by views an internationalist, by culture a Muslim and I am a Hindu only by accident of birth.” Nehru failed to see the cultural and spiritual unity reigning supreme over social divisions, a unity which makes it imperative to read Indian history as a vast and variegated narrative of a single people through the ages, and Indian civilisation as an elastic but unbreakable bond that held its people together despite their mind-boggling social diversity. No wonder he came to the conclusion that “to talk of Hindu culture would injure India’s interest. The ideology of Hindu Dharma is completely out of tune with present times and if it took roots in India it would smash the country to pieces.”

This suspicion of and disdain for everything that was Hindu propelled him to strenuously oppose India’s return to her roots after independence, saying that he did not want India to become a “Hindu Pakistan”, whereas, in fact, it was he who behaved like a Muslim monarch ruling over a Hindu kingdom.

Nehru is said to have promoted pluralism through secularism. However, Nehru’s secularism was an alien concept borrowed from the West, divorced from Indian tradition of respect for other viewpoints. Owing to his defective view of Indian society, history and civilisation (not to mention vote bank politics), secularism turned into a united front of anti-Hindu ideologies (Islam, Christianity, Communism) and became a powerful tool to suppress Hindu aspirations.

Nehru’s admirers project him as a world class visionary. They should explain why his foreign policy was such a disaster. His handling of the challenges posed by Pakistan and China was inept, to put it mildly. His quest for glory on the global stage led him to set up a talking shop of beggars better known as the Non-Aligned Movement and isolated India from countries that could and would have helped her in areas that mattered. It was no surprise that after four decades of that foreign policy, India stood friendless, voiceless and insignificant in the comity of nations.

As the late Girilal Jain observed so perceptively in his The Hindu Phenomenon, under Nehru’s influence we mis-defined the nature of the Indian state on several fronts. “Nehru saw himself as an arbiter between rival camps in the Cold War in disregard of the horror that was communism, just as he saw himself as an arbiter between Hindus and Muslims in the country. Obviously, the cost on both counts has been quite heavy. If non-alignment has meant isolation of India from true centres of power in our era, secularism has meant the moral disarmament of Hindus. Pakistan and China could not have posed the threat they have to our security if we had made common cause with the West and the Muslim problem would not have remained wholly unresolved if we had not mis-defined the nature of the Indian state”. (p.13)

Modi’s India is struggling to correct that mistake, however clumsily and ineptly, and that has rattled the secularist class.

Guha suggests that universal adult suffrage was Nehru’s gift to India. That is like suggesting that the sun rises because the cock crows. Nehruvians have long flaunted their democratic credentials. But their record is one of nepotism and lust for power. Their stranglehold on Congress has vitiated our polity.

The manner in which Nehru managed to sideline Sardar Patel to become Congress president in 1930 and prime minister in 1946 should put paid to his love for democracy. No doubt as prime minister he showed respect to his party colleagues, but then they were stalwarts in their own right, having risen from the ranks and passed through the crucible of the freedom struggle. They did not owe their rise and survival in politics to Nehru’s sufferance. Also, Nehru never missed an opportunity to cut his potential rivals to size. Witness the Kamraj Plan.

Nehru’s social policies have proved divisive and disruptive. Even at the height of his popularity, this votary of modernity did not oppose caste-based reservations. Nor did he dare touch the Muslim personal law while driving the Hindu code bill. Like an ordinary politician, he chose the line of least resistance. That is the not the mark of a visionary.

Nehru nurtured a deep hostility to private enterprise. In an effort to control this “evil”, he handed over the economy to control-minded planners and corrupt bureaucrats. The planned economy stifled innovation, discouraged enterprise and punished initiative.

Many people credit him with promoting science and scientific temper, but the bureaucratic state and restrictive policies suffocated growth and prompted migration of people of talent, either in industry or science. Indians prospered everywhere except in India, and Nobel Prize in Science was won by Indians who had left the country for good years ago to pursue research.

Nehru’s economic policies inspired by half-baked Fabian socialism kept the country poor, backward and underdeveloped in spite of a large, young and highly talented population, vast territory, rich mineral resources and willingness of other countries to help and cooperate. Followed faithfully for four decades, they drove the country to the brink of default on international loans.

It is not an accident that the country embarked on a high-growth path only after Nehruvian policies were dumped. And, that course correction is still hobbled by two pillars of Nehru’s approach to economic problems: state control and populism (mai-bap sarkar).

Nehru created an interventionist state which claimed to know better than the people what was good for them and sought to mould society, economy and polity in a pre-determined structure. The project was bound to fail since the conceived structure was anti-growth and alien.

The Babri mosque of Nehruvian edifice had three domes: secularism, socialism and non-alignment. Socialism kept us poor and backward in the name of growth with social justice. Secularism kept us divided and distrustful of each other in the name of communal amity. Non-alignment rendered us ineffective and friendless in the comity of nations. A society divided and unsure of itself, an economy grossly performing far below its potential for decades, a large but powerless nation in the world, a country at odds with its own roots—that is the legacy Nehru left, for which we are now expected to feel suitably indebted.

India cannot regain its rightful place in the world until Nehru’s legacy is undone and forgotten. That process has been on for some time now. President Kovind deserves to be complimented for according formal recognition to it.

» Punarvasu Parekh is an independent senior journalist in Mumbai.

Jawaharlal Nehru and Hindi Chini Bai Bai

Compradors out to destabilise India – Anirban Ganguly

Protesters in New Delhi (2017)

Dr Anirban GangulyThe efforts of these academic and political conglomerates have been directed at trying to stymie India’s growth. These compradors especially become active when a sturdy and accepted nationalist dispensation takes position in India. – Dr Anirban Ganguly

In his discussion on cultural self-alienation among a section of present-day Indians, social and political philosopher Ram Swarup makes an interesting description. He talks of a satellite ideology, a local satellite ideology that is derived from a dominant imperialist ideology, and then works through its advocates and mouthpieces in its own country and among its own people to undermine any effort that leads towards national consolidation. Such a satellite ideology, argues Swarup, shapes and gives birth to “not only economic and political compradors, but also to intellectual compradors” whose sole objective is to retard any forward march and confuse our discourse and direction.

During the heyday of communism, these intellectual compradors spoke for world communism, decried India as a whole, denigrated her past, heaped calumny on her society and people, and carried on a relentless campaign against the tenets of Hinduism, against Hindus as a whole and in general against anyone who spoke for India. The staple fare that they dished out and which earned them resources and recognition was “that India was not a nation but only a name for a geographical region occupied by successive waves of invaders, that its past was dark, its religion degraded and superstitious, and that its social system was a tyranny of castes and creeds.” As Swarup noted, “Started by the British, this intellectual programming received powerful reinforcement from Marxism, a new ideology arising in the West. In fact, it was old imperialism, establishing itself under new slogans. It was a new name for old facts. In the new dress it became even more effective, it remained about the same in its larger aims, yet it acquired a radical look into the bargain.”

Over the years, these intellectual compradors have managed to keep themselves afloat by aligning with certain political interests and by being the mouthpieces and advocates of certain political and academic conglomerates across the globe, especially in the West. The efforts of these academic and political conglomerates have been directed at trying to stymie India’s growth. These compradors especially become active when a sturdy and accepted nationalist dispensation takes position in India. Such a dispensation invariably faces their wrath, more so if it happens to be one led by the likes of PM Narendra Modi, who has, in no uncertain terms, made it clear that India’s national interest is paramount to his political worldview and that it is ‘India first’ which propels his actions.

Those who had gathered last week [July 2–8] in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar in someone’s name were in fact members of that class of intellectual compradors, whose sole objective, since May 2014 had been to hurl invectives on the choice that people made, in terms of electoral mandate, that summer. These intellectual compradors—all advocates and carriers of a satellite ideology, which has reshaped itself in the present times but with its core philosophy of seeing India degraded and depleted intact—have in the last three odd years not been able to come to terms with this decisive mandate that was given to and earned by Modi. Their sole objective and relentless pursuit, therefore, has been to project India, like their ideological ancestors did in the past, as a country in an advance stage of decay and degradation. Their outrages are selective, and it is this which gives away the plot and exposes the deeper conspiracy behind their acts—a conspiracy whose sole objective is to see India destabilised. – The New Indian Express, 8 July 2017

» Dr Anirban Ganguly is with the Vivekananda International Foundation. His areas of expertise include Civilisational and Cultural Studies, Indian Political Thought, Contemporary Indian Political History, and the Philosophy of Education.

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Where is the Brahmin, seeker of the highest truth? – Makarand Paranjape

Brahmin

Prof Makarand R. ParanjapeIndia is filled not only with Brahmin-baiters and Brahmin-haters, but also of brainwashed and de-brahminised Hindus. … The main strategy is to ascribe all the evils not only of the caste system but of Hinduism itself to “Brahminism.” – Prof Makarand Paranjape

No right-thinking Indian can justify the ancient régime of varna vyastha, whose injustices, inequalities, and indignities have survived into our own times. Yet, arguably, it is caste, not ideology, that is still the driving force in Indian society and politics. This contradiction of repudiation-reification makes us pose the moot question, “Has the Brahmin disappeared from India?”

Some 20 years ago, Saeed Naqvi, in The Last Brahmin Prime Minister of India, conferred that dubious distinction on P. V. Narasimha Rao. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s ascension to the august office proved Naqvi wrong. Rani Sivasankara Sarma’s autobiographical account in Telugu, The Last Brahmin, published soon after Naqvi’s, also asks similar questions, though from a socio-religious, rather than political, standpoint.

I was startled to learn that on his last visit to India in 1985, the great philosopher and teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti raised the same question in his conversation with Professor P. Krishna at Rajghat, Varanasi (A Jewel on a Silver Platter: Remembering Jiddu Krishnamurti by Padmanabhan Krishna). Krishnamurti is quick to clarify that “Brahmin” is “Not by birth, sir, that is so childish!” As the conversation unfolds, Krishnamurti narrates a story to illustrate.

After defeating Porus, Alexander is impressed by the efficiency of the former’s administration. Alexander hears that the person responsible, Porus’s Brahmin Prime Minister, has left the capital after the loss. Sending after him, Alexander is further surprised at the Brahmin’s refusal to call on him. Deciding to visit him instead, Alexander asks, “I am so impressed with your abilities. Will you work for me?” “Sorry,” says the Brahmin, “I must teach these children; I no longer wish to serve emperors.”

Krishnamurti’s tale is a variation of the story of Alexander the Great and the Stoic. The latter refuses to give up philosophy even in face of the monarch’s threats or blandishments; clearly, this story has both Greek and Indian versions. Krishnamurti concludes: “That’s a Brahmin—you can’t buy him. Now tell me, Sir, has the Brahmin disappeared from this country?”

In thus defining a Brahmin, Krishnamurti is following a tradition as old as the Buddha. In Canto 26 of the Dhammapada titled, “Who is a Brahmin,” the Tathagata says, “who is devoid of fear and free from fetters, him I call a Brahmin.” Verse after verse clarifies, enumerates, and explains the qualities: “He who is contemplative, lives without passions, is steadfast and has performed his duties, who is free from sensuous influxes and has attained the highest goal—him I call a Brahmin” (386). “Not by matted hair, by lineage, nor by birth (caste) does one become a Brahmin. But the one in whom there abide truth and righteousness, he is pure; he is a Brahmin” (393).

Traditionally, those born in the Brahmin jati were supposed to aspire to and espouse such high ideals, whether Vedic or Buddhist. But in these contentious times, the Buddha’s words themselves have been politicised. There are many “modern” translations of the Dhammapada where the word “Brahmin” has been removed completely. The Vedas, of course, are rejected altogether for being “Brahminical.” The object is clearly to attack, denigrate, and destroy the abstract category called “Brahmin.”

Often, the main strategy is to ascribe all the evils not only of the caste system but of Hinduism itself to “Brahminism.” Actually, the latter word was invented by Orientalists to refer to the worship of “Brahman” in contra-distinction to the Buddha, which was called Buddhism. The rule of Brahmins, though there was possibly never such a thing in actual Indian history, should more properly be termed “Brahminarchy”, a term no one uses. Much misinterpretation has also entered our own languages through the back translation of “Brahminism” as “Brahmanvad.” The latter is understood as the ideology of Brahmin domination promoting a hierarchical and exclusionary social system.

Maharaja NandakumarThe history of anti-Brahminism should not, however, be traced to Phule, Periyar, or even Ambedkar, who were all trying to reform rather than destroy Hindu society. The real culprit was more likely British imperialism. If the Muslim invaders tried to annihilate the Kshatriyas, the British attempted to finish off the Brahmins. After the East India Company assumed the overlordship of Bengal, their first execution was of “Maharaja” Nandakumar, a leading Brahmin opponent of the Governor-General, Warren Hastings. On 5 August 1775, Nandakumar was hanged for forgery, a capital crime under British law. But how was such a law applicable to India?

Macaulay, though an imperialist, called the execution a judicial murder. He accused Elijah Impey, the first Chief Justice of the Calcutta Supreme Court, of colluding with Hastings.

The hanging of Nandakumar took place near what is now the Vidyasagar Setu. The entire Hindu population shunned the British, moving to the other bank of the river, to protest against British injustice and to avoid the pollution caused by the act.

Today, India is filled not only with Brahmin-baiters and Brahmin-haters, but also of brainwashed and de-brahminised Hindus. My own university, JNU, is full of pamphlets and posters against Brahminism, one even blaming “Brahminical patriarchy” for the disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed, who went missing on 15 October 2016. Anti-Brahminism, however, is never considered hate-crime or hate-speech. Why? Don’t Brahmins have human feelings or rights? Brahmins, moreover, are soft targets, scripturally and culturally enjoined not to retaliate. As the Dhammapada (389) puts it, “One should not strike a Brahmin; neither should a Brahmin give way to anger against him who strikes.”

Is it time intellectually to re-arm Brahmins so that they maintain both their own dignity and the veneration of their inherited calling? Does the ideal of the Brahmin continue to be relevant to India, whether we define a Brahmin as one who cannot be bought, a seeker of the highest truth, or a teacher and guide? Shouldn’t such a person, regardless of the jati she or he is born in, continue to be a beacon of light and leadership? As to those born into the community, they may well remember the Kanchi Paramacharya’s sage advice: Fulfill the responsibilities but do not expect the privileges of your birth. – Swarajya, 6 January 2017

» Prof Makarand Paranjape is an author and teaches English at JNU, New Delhi. 

Brahmin & Moghul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BJP is not the party of the “ecosystem”

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

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

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

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

Narendra Modi is someone who strengthens BJP

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

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

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

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

Modi and Yogi are workaholics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Modi and Yogi have a vision

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Modi and Yogi have dismantled the caste-minority political formula

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indian media Left dominated!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yogi Adityanath