Western media is facing an existential crisis in India – Minhaz Merchant

Western Media

Minhaz MerchantWestern media is facing an existential crisis in India. Advertising revenue has dried up. Circulation of dailies is falling. Western TV networks are losing viewers to digital platforms. … As the influence of Western media has shrunk, its anti-Indian tone has acquired new venom. – Minhaz Merchant

You don’t need to watch the BBC or read The New York Times to gauge the appalling level of bias that infects the Western media in its reportage on India.

Of course, it shouldn’t matter.

The footprint of Western print and electronic media in India is shrinking. Few watch the BBC or CNN. Neither features in the Broadcast Audience Research Council’s (BARC) top ratings.

The BBC’s Indian language service and digital media offering suffers dwindling credibility.

False narrative

It wasn’t always so.

On October 31, 1984, when PM Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards, her son Rajiv—who was on the campaign trail in West Bengal at the time—said he believed the news of his mother’s death only after he heard confirmation on BBC radio.

Rajiv’s colonial reflex was excusable. He was born three years before Independence. India had been reduced to penury by 190 years of the malign British Raj (about which the economist Professor Utsa Patnaik has recently written a detailed analysis that requires, and will receive, follow-up action).

Indian media was rudimentary.

Foreign media filled the vacuum.

Over three decades later, the tables have turned. Western media is facing an existential crisis. Advertising revenue has dried up. Circulation of dailies is falling. Western TV networks are losing viewers to digital platforms across both news and entertainment genres.

Indian media, in contrast, is growing robustly, driven by rising purchasing power and a new audience in smaller towns.

As the influence of Western media has shrunk, its anti-Indian tone has acquired new venom.

Earlier, the tone was patronising. Now, it is filled with invective. A false narrative is fixed. Facts are moulded to fit that narrative. The arrival of the Narendra Modi government sharpened the invective.

Here was a PM who, unlike the colonised Lutyens’ dynasts of old, refused to grant access to Western journalists. They reacted with an outpouring of bile.

In Britain, Roger Boyes wrote in The Times: “We can warn our Indian friends, in case they haven’t worked it out for themselves, Mr. Modi is potentially big trouble.” (In case they haven’t worked it out for themselves. Note the superciliousness).

Amol Rajan, The Independent’s Indian-origin editor, wrote: “The charge sheet against Narendra Damodardas Modi is familiar and well-founded: the stench of Hindu nationalism covers him.”

What drives such journalism, much of it drivel?

Why does Modi provoke such intolerance in the Western media?

Here’s what I wrote in 2014: “The answer is largely cultural—Modi doesn’t fit in. He’s neither a clubby sort whose mind Western journalists can pick over Darjeeling tea, nor a jokey regional leader who craves Western attention and can be mocked behind his back. Modi regards the Western media—not all of it but much of it—with the same contempt it reserves for him. He gives them minimal access. He does them no favours. He asks for no editorial favours in return.”

Complicit coverage

The Anglo-Saxon (American and British) branch of Western media hunts in packs.

At crucial moments, they function as propagandists for their respective governments.

During the 1990-91 Gulf War, for example, CNN acted as the voice of the US military, dealing in fraudulent narratives to discredit Iraqi forces.

More egregiously, British and American media launched a choreographed campaign against Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad to help the US, British and French governments effect regime change.

The six-year-long propaganda campaign failed after Russia’s intervention in the devastating Syrian civil war where terror groups opposed to al-Assad were armed and funded by the US and its allies.

The most recent example of how “independent” Western media organisations are co-opted by their governments is their complicit silence over the humanitarian crisis caused by the brutal Saudi-led war on Yemen.

The Saudi-UAE assault, backed by US, British and French weapons and logistics, began in March 2015.

Nearly four years later, after 10,000 civilian casualties and millions of Yemenis near starvation, Western media has suddenly woken up to the tragedy. Their silence for much of the ruinous war shows how easily Western newspapers and television networks bend to their governments’ will.

Error-ridden

When the narrative is pre-meditated and facts scrambled to fit that narrative, errors abound.

In an error-speckled piece by the editorial board of The New York Times titled “Narendra Modi’s Rise in India”, the newspaper wrote: “Modi’s economic record in Gujarat is not entirely admirable. Muslims in Gujarat, for instance, were much more likely to be poor than Muslims in India as a whole.”

When the error was pointed out (Muslims in Gujarat are actually among the least poor in India), The New York Times was forced to recant: “An earlier version of this editorial relied on a 2012 Indian government report on poverty rates, which included the rate for Muslims in Gujarat in 2009 and 2010. Newer data shows that poverty among that group has declined substantially in the last two years.”

The BBC’s strategy is more nuanced. In its recent contentious story on how fake news spreads hate crimes, it used an “ethnographic” methodology – rather than a large, straightforward sample survey – to arrive at half-baked conclusions.

The Washington Post has been equally capricious in using data sets from Indian fact checkers that don’t hold up to public scrutiny.

The antidote to bad journalism is precisely such scrutiny. With digital media offering real-time scrutiny, it’s “time’s up” for biased Western media narratives. – Daily-O & Mail Today, 29 November 2018

»  Minhaz Merchant is the biographer of Rajiv Gandhi and Aditya Birla. He is a media group chairman and editor, and the author of The New Clash of Civilizations.

Media Bias


 

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India as a Western scholar saw it – David Frawley

Rashtrapati Bhavan

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

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

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

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

‘Overwhelming’ Minorities

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

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

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

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

Being anti-Hindu, anti-India

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

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

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

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

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

Not a banana republic

Let us look at the type of leaders that India has had, with its Lalu Prasad Yadav (ex-CM Bihar) or Mulayam Singh Yadav (ex-CM, UP) to mention but a few. Such individuals are little more than warlords who surround themselves with sycophants. Modern Indian politicians appear more like colonial rulers looting their own country, following a divide and rule policy, to keep the people so weak that their power cannot be challenged.

Corruption exists almost everywhere and bribery is the main way to do business in nearly all fields. India has an entrenched bureaucracy that resists change and stifles development, just out of sheer obstinacy and not wanting to give up any control.

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

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

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

The irony is that rather than embracing its own great traditions, the modern Indian psyche prefers to slavishly imitate worn out trends in Western intellectual thought like Marxism or even to write apologetics for Christian and Islamic missionary aggression. Though living in India, in proximity to temples, yogis and great festivals, most modern Indian intellectuals are oblivious to the soul of the land. They might as well be living in England or China for all they know of their own country.

They are isolated in their own alien ideas as if in a tower of iron. If they choose to rediscover India, it is more likely to occur by reading the books of Western travellers visiting the country, rather than by their own direct experience of the people around them. – Organiser, 23 April 2018

~ Dr. David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) is a renowned author and teacher of Vedic knowledge, including Yoga, Ayurveda, Vedanta and Jyotisha. In March 2015 he received the prestigious Padma Bhushan award from the Government of India.

Media Theories


 

Hindus and Hindu Gods are not safe in Tamil Nadu – Team PGurus

Ganapati (with caption)

PGURUSNews gathered by Team PGurus proves beyond any doubt that Hindus could live in Tamil Nadu only under the laws and conditions prescribed and decided by the Islamic and Christian fundamentalists (Chrislamists). 

Hindus and even Hindu Gods are not safe in Tamil Nadu. While the Dravidian officials of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department (HR&CE) controlling the temples in the state are vying with one another in illegally disposing of the idols of the temples across the State,  the Tamil Nadu Government is bent upon destroying the vestiges of Hindu religious festivals.

More than 6,000 idols, dating back to thousands of years have been reportedly stolen from the temples with the active connivance of the senior officials (these antique and ancient idols command billions of US dollars in the global market). The HR&CE officials move around the State in high-end limousines and own acres and acres of farmhouses in places like Kodaikanal ( கொடைக்கானல்), Ooty (உதகமண்டலம்) and Courtallam (குற்றாலம்) purchased with the booty mobilised by “selling” Hindu Gods and temple lands. It is another story and we will discuss it later.

The news gathered by Team PGurus proves beyond any iota of doubt that Hindus could live in Tamil Nadu only under the laws and conditions prescribed and decided by the Islamic and Christian fundamentalists (Chrislamists). The Dravidianism propagated by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the followers of anarchist E. V. Ramasamy Naicker states that Hindus are second-class citizens in Dravida Nadu.

This is no exaggeration of any kind. The events witnessed in Tamil Nadu during the last three days in connection with Vinayaka Chathurthi prove beyond doubt that Hindus could survive and the State only by the charity shown by the minority groups which are slowly and stealthily overtaking the Hindu population.

Let us come to Operation Brass-tacks. The festival season in Tamil Nadu gets going by the Tamil month of Aadi and culminates with Pongal, which falls on January 15. While the month Aadi marks festivals in various Amman (Durga) temples across the State, the month of September stands out because of Vinayaka Chaturthi, a  festival quite sentimental to anyone with a little bit of Hinduism in him/ her.

Idols of Ganesha, the removal of all obstacles and symbol of prosperity and education, are installed in public places, poojas are offered and taken out as a procession with the chanting of “Pillaiyaar, Pillaiyaar, Perumai vaayndha pillaiyaar” (Pillaiyaar, Lord Ganesha, the famous one who lives under the Banyan tree). And immersed with reverence either in the nearby sea or river.

The Vinayaka Chathurthi is important to the Hindus because it is this festival which brought together all Hindus to overcome and surmount the British law of 1892 which had banned the festival. The event was revived by Bala Gangadhara Tilak, with the famous slogan “Ganapathy Bappa Moriya” as a community festival and to inculcate the spirit of nationalism among the Indians. It has been celebrated since then with gaiety and fervour.

Over the years, the Dravidians at the instance of Muslims and Christians started enforcing rules and laws to kill the spirit of Vinayaka Chathurthi. The local Jamaat and Churches started dictating to the Hindus the routes through which they could take the procession to immerse the Ganesha idols. The chanting of Ganapathi Bappa … and even Bharat Matha Ki Jay was declared illegal by the police, court and the secular brigade.

On Wednesday, September 12, the serene landscape of Shencottai (செங்கோட்டை), 70 km south of Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu lost its peace as threats of communal riots loomed large over this town bordering Kerala. The 2018-2019 festival season in Tamil Nadu began in a shocking note on Saturday (September 15) as Hindus in Shenkottai municipality decided to economically and socially boycott their Muslim [neighbours].

The Vinayaka Chathurthi began in a tension-filled atmosphere as the idols of Vinayaka had to be immersed in the picturesque Gundar River on Friday and Saturday amidst heavy police security.

“Lord Vinayaka could not come out of temples in this town without the police escort. Even Gods are not safe here,” said Shenkottai Sriram, a writer who was born and brought up in this town.

Though there were some skirmishes between the communities in the year 2011, they were sorted out and peace was restored thanks to the timely intervention of the district administration. But over the last seven years, things have gone from bad to worse as the number of outsiders who had made Shencottai their home has increased manifold, according to a police official.

Trouble erupted this year on Wednesday as a Vinayaka idol was being brought to be installed for poojas in a locality which has some Muslim population. “Nearly a dozen Muslim families reside here and they opposed the procession with the Vinayaka statue. But there are no mosques in this particular street and their opposition was to express their dominance over the area,” said Gauthaman, a local resident.

But the intervention of the district administration and deployment of police saved the situation from getting worsened. To ensure peace, the district collector declared Section 144 and this helped in maintaining law and order.

“Friday, the day of immersion, saw many incidents of rioting, stone pelting and shops being set on fire by miscreants,” said the police official. More than 30 Vinayaka statues were immersed in Gundar River. ‘By the time the devotees came back to their homes after the immersion function, someone had hurled petrol bombs at a house as well as demolished a small Vinayaka temple. This further aggravated the situation,” said Shriram.

A police official on condition of anonymity said that Islamic domination is visible all over Shencottai though the Hindus constitute the majority. “The Muslims have a commanding  position in the town’s economy and it is also discernible. But the Hindus should learn to adjust with their counterparts in other community. Isn’t it possible to avoid high decibel music and drum beating during the processions?” asked the official. He also pointed out that deployment of police during religious procession shows that the situation itself is not conducive for peace.

The rioting of the last three days resulted in many houses and business establishments owned by Hindus getting charred. Saturday saw H. Raja, the BJP national secretary entering into a verbal duel as police in Puthukottai district prevented Hindus of the locality from installing Ganapthy idols under the pretext of executing orders issued by the Madras High Court.

Though the Court has not set any stringent rules for installing Ganapathy statues, the DMK fundamentalists went around the Chennai city creating a reign of terror. From next year onwards, Lord Vinayaka may have to submit an advance application form to the State Police to get a reasonably good pooja as well as immersion. – PGurus, 16 September 2018

» Team PGurus are an association of focused individuals with expertise in at least one of the following fields viz. Journalism, Technology, Economics, Politics, Sports & Business. We are factual, accurate and unbiased.

Shilpa Prabhakar Satish


In India, is it secularism or minorityism? – Michel Danino

Secularism

Prof Michel DaninoIn India, “Hinduphobia” is conspicuous in the treatment of interreligious conflicts: by definition, minorities are victims while an imaginary “majority” is invariably the aggressor. – Prof Michel Danino

In a recent keynote address to a history conference held by the Indian Council of Historical Research, Dr. R Nagaswamy affirmed, “Secularism in India means anti-Hinduism.” Is such a statement, coming from an acclaimed archaeologist, epigraphist and art historian, justified?

Earlier (The Great Secular Confusion, March 19; Bogeyman of Majority in India, April 2), I argued that the Indian Constitution and state are unsecular, despite their claims to the contrary, as they neither enshrine nor practise equal rights and, instead, deprive a perceived but largely constructed “majority” of privileges accorded to minorities. This, of course, has led to charges that India’s brand of secularism rests on minority appeasement. Although I hesitate to use terms with such a historical baggage, “appeasement” is justified when one recalls a “secular” Rajiv Gandhi’s 1986 overturning of the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Shah Bano case, his ban two years later on Satanic Verses (which neither he nor his complainants had read), or the ban by seven Indian states on the film The Da Vinci Code, even as the Supreme Court rejected petitions to have its screening stopped.

Should these examples sound a little old, let us turn to Taslima Nasrin. The Bangladeshi writer was debarred in 2012 from the 36th Kolkata International Book Fair “following protests from fundamentalists”. Her crime? Highlighting atrocities against Hindus in Bangladesh. Last year, invited to the Jaipur Literature Festival, she called for the “urgent” implementation of a common civil code in India: “Why are Islamic fundamentalists against a uniform civil law? Is not having a uniform civil law democratic?” she asked. “What do you mean by secularism, does it require you to encourage Muslim fundamentalists?” The Rajasthan Muslim Forum promptly protested that Nasrin had “too much freedom” and declared they had secured an assurance from the Fair’s organisers that she would not be invited to the event again—which the organisers abjectly confirmed. When, six months later, Taslima Nasrin landed at Aurangabad on a visit to Ajanta and Ellora, crowds awaited her at the airport: a leader of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen declared, “We will not allow her to step on the soil of our city.” The police had to send her back.

The recent case of the young Kerala actress Priya Prakash Varrier, of winking fame, appears tame in comparison, yet is symptomatic enough: Muslim groups from Hyderabad filed complaints against her and the film makers, objecting to a supposedly blasphemous (but actually Muslim) song that “outraged their religious feelings” and adding that winking is “forbidden in Islam”.

Did we hear indignant statements from our intellectuals and academics against such “intolerance” (of which hundreds more examples could be cited) and violations of the sacrosanct “freedom of speech”? Did we witness national or international campaigns? I recall no such thing—yet such protests and campaigns occur with clockwork regularity every time a Hindutva group resorts to similar goondaism. As columnist Minhaz Merchant put it recently, “Islamophobia is rightly condemned. Hinduphobia though is acceptable in living rooms across upper middle-class urban India where secular poseurs are many in number.”

This “Hinduphobia” is conspicuous in the treatment of interreligious conflicts: by definition, minorities are victims while an imaginary “majority” is invariably the aggressor. If one protests—as one should—acts of aggression against minorities, one is secular; if one points out—as one equally should—that Hindus have often been victims too, one is “communal” or a “Hindutva” proponent. It is secular to condemn the 2002 riots in Gujarat; it is unacceptable to argue that they flared up in response to the unprovoked massacre of 59 harmless Hindu pilgrims at Godhra. No mainstream academic journal will entertain research papers on Hindu victims in Kashmir, West Bengal or Kerala (recall the massacre of eight Hindu fishermen at Marad, for which 62 members of the Indian Union Muslim League were convicted). No Indian academic will be invited abroad to speak on Islamist attacks on Hindu places of worship, from Gandhinagar’s Akshardham temple complex (where 30 devotees were killed in 2002) to the Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple at Varanasi four years later (ten dead, with some eighteen more elsewhere in the city). If at all, those acts of aggression are treated apologetically: the attackers had been “provoked”. If some condemnation of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots has been heard, albeit quite tame, it is perhaps because Sikhs are seen as a minority. And expectedly, if Hindus happen to become demographic minorities, as in Kashmir or a few Northeastern states (and soon in some districts of West Bengal), no one clamours for their minority privileges to be enforced.

Such language is deemed offensive in our “liberal” intellectual and academic spheres. Yet all it does is to call for equity: an equal state treatment of all communities regardless of their religions, an equal condemnation of attacks on any community whatsoever, and an equally firm strike at the roots of all religious fundamentalism—which includes foreign funding to religious organisations.

Meantime, our “secular” political parties go on further creating minorities for their short-term gains. In 2001, the Rajasthan High Court rejected a plea by a Jain educational trust; Justice M. R. Calla warned, “If we go on making classifications like this, … perhaps the pious concept of WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA would be defeated and frustrated and the people as a whole shall stand divided in innumerable parts.” Yet a “secular” UPA government accorded Jains minority status in January 2014, just as Karnataka’s Congress government recently did with the Lingayats. Justice Calla was right: division is indeed the rule of the game. – The New Indian Express, 17 April 2018

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

Hindu Human Rights

Why is Hinduism denigrated? – Maria Wirth

Hinduphobia

Maria WirthWhy is Hinduism being denigrated in spite of being the most reasonable system of living? 

This was a question on Quora, to which I replied. Yet again, I got a message from Quora that “the question has been marked as needing improvement and will be in a restricted state until edited.”

So I post it here because there is nothing wrong with the question or my answer. Here it is:

Both points in the question are right: Hinduism is the most reasonable system of living and it is being denigrated.

In case some people, who don’t know much about Hinduism and believed those who denigrate it, have doubts if it is indeed the most reasonable system, this may clear the doubts:

Even just the main point in Vedic philosophy, that Brahman—in the form of Ishwara—has become this universe and beyond, is—apart from being the truth—clearly the best possible foundation for a society. If you believe—and it can be reasonably and scientifically concluded—that the essence in everything is the same and divine, there will be respect for others, including animals and nature.

There are many more very worthwhile aspects in Hinduism, for example the four goals of life (purusharthas), four stages of life (ashramas), the different dharmas connected with each stage, plus the huge knowledge in the ancient texts which is even scattered over the world, and others have benefitted from those texts without acknowledging it.

But this is not the topic here.

The question is: Why is it that Hinduism is being denigrated?

Incredibly, the reason is because it is the most reasonable system of living. Because it is so profound. Because it comes closest to truth—which cannot be put into words, but it can be pointed to. Because Christianity and Islam are no match for it. And because those two religions need to protect themselves if they don’t want to lose their power and influence to the most reasonable system of living.…

This means it is after all not so incredible. Here is an explanation:

When the Vedic knowledge first reached Western universities, the intellectual elite there were deeply impressed. Prominent personalities like Voltaire, Mark Twain, Schopenhauer, the Schlegel brothers, Paul Deussen and many others spoke in glowing terms about India’s tradition. And even later, in the early 20th century scientists like Heisenberg, Schroedinger, Oppenheimer, Pauli, Einstein and Tesla were in their research inspired by Vedanta and acknowledged it. Voltaire had praised the Vedas as the greatest gift for humanity. He even said “we are eternally indebted to India”.

There was real danger that the Church would lose her sheep as the Christian view of the “true” God, who sits in heaven, is jealous of other gods and sends all those who are not baptized into eternal hellfire, was no match for the Indian concept of Brahman which is the one conscious essence in all forms, like the one ocean is the essence in all the waves.

Of course the Church was not keen on losing even more power. It had lost already due to people like Voltaire who fought against the Church’s unreasonable dogmas.

It surely wanted to put an end to this praise of India’s great civilization. And the strategy was simple and time-tested:

Teach children all over the world negative aspects about Hinduism and later generations will be convinced that it is worthless because that’s what they have learned.

But which negative aspects were there to project?

“Idol worship” was projected as a top negative aspect, without even trying to understand it. They did not understand that the different “gods”—“deva” was mischievously translated as god—are in essence the same as Brahman. “Idol worship” is a great sin, both in Christianity and Islam. So to point out that Hindus worship sun-god, tree-god, or a god with an elephant head did its job of making Hinduism look as primitive as the Western Pagan traditions were made to look primitive.

I remember how in school our ancestors were ridiculed that they worshipped trees or thought that god is angry when there was thunder. Children easily believe what they are told and we indeed felt lucky that we now knew the one true God, who loves us so much that he even sent his own son….

Next, they projected an “oppressive caste system”. Incidentally the term caste is not there in any ancient Indian text. The Vedas speak of four varnas, which were compared with the different parts of a human body, and varnas were fluid, not determined by birth.

Why did the British choose “caste”, a Portuguese term for class or race? Did they want to give the impression that the Hindu social system is “cast in stone”? The worst term they projected was “untouchables”, which convinced every school kid that those Hindus, and especially the Brahmins, must be plain evil, forgetting that “not touching” somebody is far less evil than butchering people because they did not accept Christianity or Islam.

I won’t go into how the British cemented the “caste system” and created untouchables by declaring whole tribes as “criminal from birth”. Those who are interested can search the net, for example the interviews with Satish K. Sharma. Just so much: Hindus need not go on the defensive when “caste system” is thrown at them. There is no need to get rid of the varna or the jati system, which has certain advantages, only because “caste” is so heavily criticised. Yes, by all means give up any discrimination (and as a consequence, reservation). Yet discrimination is not inherent in Hinduism. It is inherent in human nature all over the world.

Neither need Hindus go on the defensive when “idol-worship” is thrown at them. Acknowledging and worshipping the different powers in this universe, without which life would not be possible, surely makes sense. To greet the sun makes more sense than to turn your back to him claiming, he is only a ball of helium. To touch the earth in reverence makes more sense than exploiting her. Not only are these powers absolutely essential for our life on earth, but are also permeated by that great Brahman. It means they are alive. Everything is alive.

I wonder when scientists will come to the conclusion that the oneness of all, which they have already discovered, is conscious, too. Individual scientists consider it as possible though mainstream science has not followed yet.

But one thing strikes me as strange: While the clergy of both dogmatic religions maliciously denigrate Hinduism, the Hindu clergy does nothing of this sort to the dogmatic religions. Hindus don’t even mention unacceptable claims by those religions which are in the public domain, like “Hindus will burn in hellfire if they don’t convert”. Why don’t Hindus do it? Wouldn’t it be in the interest of truth to point out their flaws?

Maybe the major reason why Hinduism is constantly being denigrated is to keep Hindus busy with defending themselves and in this way prevent them from realising that the others have serious flaws. – Maria Wirth Blog, 9 June 2018

» Maria Wirth is a German psychology graduate and author who lives in Uttarakhand.

Idol worship

Indian churches conspire with Vatican to destabilise govt, says VHP – PTI

Surendra Jain

VHP LogoThe Vatican not only denigrates Hindus all over the world but also India as a nation, and Indian churches are acting as puppets in their hands. – VHP Joint General Secretary Surendra Jain

Amidst veiled criticism of the Modi government by two archbishops, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today accused churches in India of conspiring with the Vatican as “contract killers to destabilise elected governments” and prop up the “puppet” ones.

Weeks within his Delhi counterpart stirred up a debate, the Archbishop of Goa and Daman Father Filipe Neri Ferrao on Monday wrote a letter to churches saying that the Constitution is in danger and most people are living in insecurity.

Reacting sharply to these letters, VHP Joint General Secretary Surendra Jain said it is now amply clear that the “churches in India are in collusion with the Vatican and are trying to create an atmosphere of distrust against the present government.”

“On the contrary, Constitution of India is in danger because of the attacking political stand of the church and its agenda of religious conversions,” he alleged.

“This is not the church’s view-point, but a conspiracy to install governments which can run on the directions of the Vatican. Like the award-wapsi gang, the church too is acting like a contract killer to destabilise the elected governments,” Jain claimed—referring to a group of artists and academicians returning Pope Francis the Actorgovernment awards in protest of perceived intolerance.

He further said the Vatican not only denigrates the Hindus all over the world but also India as a nation and the Indian churches are acting as puppets in their hands.

“The same Church remains a mute spectator when emergency was imposed in the country, Kashmiri Hindus were brutally killed in the valley and Sikhs were butchered in the 1984 riots. For the Church, these events do not put the Constitution in danger,” Jain argued.

“Why does the Church behave in this fashion only when BJP-led government is in office,” he asked.

“A malicious campaign about attacks on churches was started by these people when Modiji took over as Prime Minister. When their falsehood was exposed, they did not show the courtesy of apologising for the same,” Jain added.

In a controversial letter addressed to all the churches in the national capital, the Archbishop of Delhi had last month said that there was a “turbulent political atmosphere” in the country which “threatens” democracy and secularism.

Archbishop Anil Couto, in his letter dated May 8, has also urged all the priests in Delhi to “pray for the country” ahead of the crucial 2019 Lok Sabha election, in which the BJP hopes to retain power.

“We are witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our constitution and the secular fabric of our nation,” Archbishop Couto had said in his letter.

The letter had triggered a sharp response from the ruling BJP. – The Times of India, 7 June 2018


Filipe Neri Ferrao

Read Archbishop of Goa Filipe Neri Ferrao’s ‘political’ letter to his parishioners HERE

Archbishop Couto is instigating a political conspiracy to destablise Bharat – C.I. Issac

Archbishop Anil Couto of New Delhi

C. I. IssacWhat is the moral right of a parochial and authoritarian Catholic Church to call its believers to pray for secular and democratic principles in our country? – Prof C.I. Issac 

Catholic Archbishop of Delhi Anil J. T. Couto, through a pastoral letter of  May 8th—which was released on  May 12th—calls its laity for prayer campaign—an undeclared civil war?—ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. No doubt, it is an ecclesiastical political melodrama. Anyhow, it should be taken seriously. Consider it as an early warning. His provocative call is for reciting of prayers as a political game until the next general election, with fast and performing of the Eucharistic adoration (Holy Mass) of the faithful of every parish, is not an ignorable move.

It is a calculated one and part of an international conspiracy against a nation and its people. Above all, it is an order to generate chaos and an insecurity in the nation as well as to defame the Hindu nation with a time-honoured tradition of democracy and peaceful coexistence of religions (upasana systems). The only available weapon of the Archbishop in the Indian specific situation has been unsheathed well through the “pastoral letter”. He knows well the pastoral letter’s power in the Indian scenario. This weapon was tested in Kerala successfully several times, including during the “liberation struggle” against the first democratically elected Communist ministry of Kerala during 1958. Even though the Indian Communists are suffering from amnesia, to the students of history it is a significant milestone in the annals of our history.

The Vatican is a 110 acre sovereign state which is ruled by an absolute monarch, the Pope. Catholic Church is the only religious organisation ruled by a hierarchical structure and has no relevance to democratic principles. This hierarchy is not answerable to any terrestrial authorities, especially in India. But they are being derogatory of the Indian democracy. While talking of India they forget the excesses committed through the Inquisition Court. The Church burned thousands of innocent children and women through the court. The people of Goa have a lot to say about the atrocities of the Church. Francis Xavier was the man solely responsible for the establishment of the Inquisition Court at Goa in 1560, under which Hindu women were raped and burnt alive and the Hindu temples were demolished. (Kanayalal M. Talreja, Holy Vedas and Holy Bible, New Delhi, 2000, p. 170).

So far the Church has not tendered an apology for this excess. Then what is right of the Church to talk about secularism? Is Vatican a secular country? If they are secularist why can’t they invite other religion to Vatican? Why they are not allowing the construction of a mosque or Protestant church or synagogue or temple in Vatican? Are they truly secular? Then what is the locus standi of the Delhi Bishop’s blame on the Indian democracy? No doubt, it is “his master’s voice”.

Then what is the moral right of the Church’s call to its believers to pray for guiding our country in which the poor, tribal and Dalits are considered and respected with  equal dignity.

This pastoral letter is prima facie against the spirit of Bible and teachings of Jesus. Jesus was against religious interference in the politics. Without any hesitation, he cleared this question, “Well, then, pay the Emperor what belongs to the Emperor, and pay God what belongs to God” (Mark 12:17). Catholic Church from the days of Rome’s conversion to Christianity (325 CE) blatantly interfered in politics. Ecclesiastical interference resulted in the “struggle between empire and papacy”.  After the Italian unification, Pope lost his small name-sake kingdom. From 1861 to 1929 Papacy reduced to ecclesiastical status. For regaining the lost statehood of Vatican, Pope Pius XI opposed Communism and supported all cruelties of Benito Mussolini and his Fascism. Finally, on February 11, 1929, the Lateran (Palace) Treaty between the Holy See (Pope) and the Kingdom of Italy was signed by Benito Mussolini, prime minister of Italy, on behalf of King Victor Emmanuel III and by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri for Pope Pius XI.

Hereafter, the Pope became a ruler as seen today. As a gratitude for it, later popes forced to be loyal to the dictators of the day. Pope Pius XII supported the butchering of six million Jews by Hitler and justified Hitler’s invasion in Russia as a “gallant action in the defense of foundation of Christian culture.” The Church justified this stand until 1998. Finally in 1998 the Vatican was forced to apologise to Israel for its eunuch policy towards Hitler’s Jew hunting. (March 17, 1998, Washington Post).

Church and Dalits

Delhi Bishop’s concern about Muslims, tribals, Dalits and the concern of equality are thought-provoking. Hence, he ignores the Church’s approach towards Dalits, tribals in the Christian majority states of India. Untouchable churches are very popular in these areas. “Their churches had started out by encouraging converts from low castes, but after some time Syrian Christians could not stomach former untouchables sitting side by side with them on the same pews, and there had been a cleavage. Now, there were separate churches at some places, though converts were still admitted.” (Nirmala Aravind, Video, a Fridge and a Bride (novel), p. 181).

Bishop’s observation of Indian situation of a “turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution and the secular fabric of our nation” is a hypocritical one. His lamentation for the cause of Muslims is not sincere but intended to inflame communal turbulence. He is well aware of the condition of Christianity under the Muslim regimes from the medieval times onwards. But he is closing his eyes towards this reality in order to destabilise and balkanise mother India.  Is he satisfied with the condition of Christians in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Middle East, Egypt, China or in the Protestant Countries? Are they better than Hindu India? The freedom to issue such pastoral letter is sufficient proof of the religious freedom guaranteed by all tolerant Hindus.

The image of the Catholic Church in general, particularly in India now-a-days, is at its lowest ebb. Sr. Jesme (52), Congregation of Mother Carmel Convent (CMC), Principal of St. Marys College quit her 30 years nun life in 2008 on the ground of licentious life of in the nunneries, harassment and mental torture. She was in distress out of the “licentious life of priests and nuns”. (Sr. Jesme, Amen: The Autobiography of a Nun).

Paedophilia is the worst virus which hounds the Church all over the world.  Pope Benedict XVI accepted this truth and confessed “shock to me and great sadness”. Pope Francis started the trial of Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski (65), a Polish cleric on a charge of paedophilia.  He was placed under house arrest. He was defrocked in June. He had abused minors during 2008-13. He was charged with two counts: sexual abuse of minors and possession of child pornography. The Christian Priests in India are not above this viciousness.

The vote-bank and money power of the Church bail them out of all sins of the priests and nuns. It is the exclusive Catholic tradition that priest in the Church should be chronic bachelors. Unfortunately, the sky is the limit of their licentious life. Check and balance system of the Church do not function effectively and they are not answerable either to laity or god or inside the hierarchy of the Church. If they are in need of money, they would fulfil their requirements by looting the laity. – Organiser, 28 May 2018

» C.I. Issac is a retired Professor of History, Vice-President of the Bhartheeya Vichara Kendram, Thiruvananthapuram, and member of the Indian Council of Historical Research..

Sri Lankan Catholic priests demonstrate in support of LTTE leader Prabhakaran