Ganga pollution load has increased four times between 2009 and 2016 – Ritwick Dutta

Ganga at Varanasi

Ritwick DuttaThe river Ganga is viewed as a sewage drain even in areas where it is regarded as the most sacred, for example in Varanasi, Haridwar, Prayag (Allahabad) and Rishikesh. – Ritwick Dutta

In 1985, the Supreme Court of India issued directions to various authorities to clean up the river Ganga. The Supreme Court’s intervention in M. C. Mehta versus the Union of India was seen as unprecedented at that time. The apex court became the epitome of judicial activism and innovation. The concept of “continuing mandamus”, the “polluter pay principle”, and “liberal locus standi”, led to judgements of the Supreme Court being quoted the world over. Environmental jurisprudence in India was born principally out of the various orders to clean the most polluted, yet, sacred river. The “Ganga Pollution Case” as it is known,  is a test case to examine the efficacy of public interest litigation (PIL) as a panacea for environmental problems.

The Supreme Court itself acknowledged the ineffectiveness of its directions in order of October 29, 2014.

“We regret to say that the intervention and sustained effort made by us over the past 30 years notwithstanding no fruitful result has been achieved so far, except shutting down of some of the polluting units. This is largely because while orders have been passed by us, the implementation remains in the hands of statutory authorities including the CPCB and the State PCBs which have done practically nothing to effectuate those orders or to take independent steps that would prevent pollution of the river. A total lack of monitoring by the statutory bodies has contributed to the current state of affairs”.

The above observation reflects the sorry state of implementation of orders and disdain for the orders of even the highest constitutional court of the country. The court felt that given the necessity of close monitoring of the cleaning of the river, the National Green Tribunal is better placed to adjudicate on the issue and in October  2014, transferred the case to the NGT.

The National Green Tribunal on July 13, 2017, delivered a 543-page judgement on the river Ganga. The Tribunal, painstakingly, went into minute details and perused report after report on a “drain to drain” basis on the stretch of the river Ganga between Haridwar to Kanpur. The Tribunal’s task was not easy: It had less to do with the actual cleaning and more to do with getting information from the agencies and balancing conflicting interests. The varied and conflicting stands of Central Pollution Control Board, the various State Pollution Control Boards as well as the Municipalities and Industry Association made the task of the Tribunal difficult.

One of the most startling facts that has come out in the judgement is that the pollution load in the river Ganga has increased by nearly four times from 2009 to 2016 in the stretch between Haridwar to Kanpur. This is the same stretch which has seen the maximum judicial orders as well as government expenditures for cleaning up of the river. The judgement refers to the challenges faced in the cleaning of the river Ganga. Firstly, there is open and indiscriminate dumping of both industrial and domestic sewage into the river with no treatment of the effluents. This is the most important reason for the pollution. Secondly, while common effluent treatment facilities/sewage treatment facilities exist, they are not equipped to treat major pollutants such as faecal coliform and finally, where the technical facilities exist with the capacity to treat pollutants, they are not operated in order to reduce the costs. How this will change with the NGT’s direction, only time will tell. We must not forget that we live in a culture of tolerance toward those who have a disdain for rule of law. Violation of the law is seen as a democratic right and the “right to pollute” is seen as a component of the fundamental right of expression.

The Supreme Court, in order to deal with the Ganga pollution case, used the legal tool of “continuing mandamus”. A mandamus is a direction (writ) issued by the Court and the government is obligated to implement it in letter and spirit. Given the complicated nature of the issues related to the cleaning of the river, the Court felt that rather than a single comprehensive direction, there is a need to issue directions on a continuing basis. “continuing mandamus” was, therefore, an innovation of the Supreme Court and is now followed by many judiciaries across the world. However, the fact that despite series of directions, the orders of the Supreme Court were not followed, raises serious questions about the efficacy of continuing mandamus as a tool for ensuring compliance. The NGT, in its latest judgement on the Ganga pollution, has taken some innovative and not so innovative steps. First, rather than an adversarial approach of litigation it has followed what it has termed as “stakeholder consultative process of adjudication” which involves judges, officers and scientific bodies sitting across the table and trying to resolve complicated issues in a more cordial atmosphere. The second is the Tribunal’s recognition that there needs to be segmental watershed based approach to rivers and that a river basin approach needs to be adopted. However, in place of a more decentralised model for treatment of effluents, the Tribunal has, in fact, approved an “end of the pipeline of each drain as a solution”.

Only time will tell how seriously the NGT’s order will be followed. History does not inspire much confidence. The Supreme Court’s orders for cleaning up the Ganga were flouted with impunity. After 30 years of effort, not a single officer was held guilty for wilful and deliberate violation of the orders of the highest constitutional court armed with powers of contempt. Sadly, river Ganga’s plight is no different from the holy cow. The sacred view towards the cow does not insulate it from the unimaginable cruelty the animal suffers throughout its life as both a dairy and draught animal. The river Ganga is viewed as a sewage drain even in areas where it is regarded as the most sacred, for example in Varanasi, Haridwar, Prayag (Allahabad) and Rishikesh. As a result, ironically, the river regarded as sacred by a large number of people in the world, is also among the worlds’ most polluted river. The latest judgement of the NGT is one more effort by the court to clean the river. Hopefully, the efforts of the court will not go down the drain. – Business Standard, 19 July 2017

» Ritwick Dutta is an environmental lawyer.

Alain Danielou

 

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Anarchists stoking campus unrest – K. G. Suresh

AISA at JNU

K. G. SureshPseudo intellectuals who have made a fortune through the liberal largesse of successive governments in the past, are finding themselves cornered today with the new regime strictly implementing academic discipline and norms. – K. G. Suresh

A planned, deliberate exercise is being undertaken by sections of frustrated, desperate and ideologically isolated faculty and students to denigrate and destabilise prestigious educational institutions, including universities, across the country. That these anarchist elements, who have enjoyed the fruits of power over the last several decades at the cost of academic discipline, accountability and standards, are becoming unnerved by the loss of their empire, is evident from the artificial protests and propaganda being unleashed from time to time ever since a new dispensation has taken over the reins at the Raisina Hill.

From Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the north and Film and Television Institute of India in the west, to Hyderabad University in the south and Jadavpur University in the east, these elements have been trying to foment trouble and orchestrate campaigns over flimsy issues to project the government and its appointees as anti-Dalit, anti-women and anti-minorities, in connivance with fellow travellers in the media.

The pattern is the same. The foot soldiers of an ideology, which carried out the inhuman purge in Russia, the ruthless cultural revolution in China, the ethnic cleansing in Tibet, the gross human rights violations in Siberia and Xinjiang, the suppression of democracy by crushing students under military tanks in Tiananmen Square, have become ironically the self-proclaimed champions of democracy and human rights in India.

From Gajendra Chauhan to Pahlaj Nihalani and B. B. Kumar, among others, all appointees of the present regime are portrayed as ‘mediocre’, agents of the RSS and accused of saffronisation. The spit-and-run tactics of these foreign-funded activists in the garb of academics and students include making wild, sweeping, unsubstantiated allegations the moment any effort is made to make them accountable or disciplined.

They are trying to build a new narrative—that students should be consulted before the appointment of any head of the institution, and administration should not take any decision without taking faculty into confidence, even on non-academic matters. Any effort to make them accountable, including insistence on biometric attendance, is outrightly rejected. Any attempt to get vacated their long-held positions or ineligible occupation of hostels are construed as undemocratic acts, and licence to abuse is touted as freedom of speech and expression.

These pseudo intellectuals, who have made a fortune through the liberal largesse of successive governments in the past, are finding themselves cornered today with the new regime strictly implementing academic discipline and norms.

Over the years, they had penetrated every institution thanks to undeserving patronage extended to them by their godfathers. In the process, they also ensured that those who disagreed with their world view were denied their due. Being a nationalist became the albatross around the neck of many deserving academics. Nobody talked about their freedom of thought and expression—their academic freedom. They were at the receiving end in academic appointments and promotions. The nation’s academia was dominated by a mafia, which determined their fate and pushed them into the netherworld with contempt and ruthlessness.

The current protests and propaganda are only acts of desperation by these so-called scholars who have realised that their time is over, their game is up and the golden days of their dominance over national institutions are no more. The crusade undertaken by institutions such as JNU to remove the scourge of political untouchability, discrimination and apartheid that have been pursued over the last several decades, must be appreciated by all right-thinking people and supported by the government. Only then can Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of a New India be fully realised. – The New Indian Express, 16 July 2017

» K. G. Suresh is the Director General of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in New Delhi.

AISA anti-national protest at JNU

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.

Delhi Police Protest Ad

Sonia Gandhi and the toxicity of the Congress party – Minhaz Merchant

 

Sonia Gandhi & Rahul Gandhi

Minhaz MerchantIn 1998, when Sonia Gandhi took over the presidency of the Congress, the full toxicity of the party became evident. – Minhaz Merchant

Without quite realising it, the Congress under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi has become a toxic force in Indian politics.

The 1975-77 Emergency, during which more than one lakh journalists, Opposition leaders and civil society activists were jailed (including L. K. Advani and Arun Jaitley), exposed the first autocratic gene in the Congress. Indians’ fundamental rights were suspended for nearly two years. The Constitution was subverted.

The attempt by the Congress to censor Madhur Bhandarkar’s new film on the Emergency, Indu Sarkar, underscores how keenly aware the Congress is of the human rights violations it committed during the Emergency.

In 1986, Rajiv Gandhi—an essentially decent man whose career was impaled by bad advisors—planted the seed of communalism in mainstream politics by overturning through parliamentary legislation a 1985 Supreme Court order that had granted maintenance to an elderly divorced Muslim woman Shah Bano.

But it wasn’t till 1998, when Sonia Gandhi took over the presidency of the Congress, that the full toxicity of the party would become evident. The crude, thoughtless overnight eviction of then Congress president Sitaram Kesri was an early sign.

When the Congress took power at the Centre in 2004 after a hiatus of six years, it showed its true colours. While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the gentle, erudite face of the Congress-led UPA government for ten years, Sonia called the shots behind the scenes.

The party had four organisational layers. The first comprised senior lawyer-ministers P. Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid and Veerappa Moily. The second was made up of senior loyalists Jairam Ramesh, Kamal Nath and Anand Sharma.

The third layer was led by ground-level operators Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad. The fouth layer comprised Rahul’s young turks – Jyotiraditya Scinda, Sachin Pilot, Milind Deora, Deepender Hooda and Jitin Prasada—all dynasts.

Working seamlessly, monitored closely by a stentorian Sonia, the four-tiered Congress team presided over the UPA’s two terms from 2004-14, widely regarded as India’s decade of scams and sectarian politics.

The communal seed planted after the Shah Bano case in 1985-86 had by now grown into a forest of trees with “saffron terror” carved on the bark of each tree trunk by the Congress’ slick four-layered operation.

The greatest disservice the Congress did was to set back by decades the cause of bona fide secularism. As I wrote in the article, “The Ayatollahs of Secularism”, in The Times of India: “The two real enemies of the Muslim—communal politicians masquerading as secular politicians to win votes and mullahs deliberately misinterpreting the holy book to retain power over their flock—form a natural alliance. Together they have enriched themselves but impoverished India’s Muslims, materially and intellectually, in the name of secularism. Influential sections of especially the electronic media, suffused with hearts bleeding from the wrong ventricle, are part of this great fraud played on India’s poor Muslims: communalism dressed up as secularism. The token Muslim is lionised—from business to literature—but the common Muslim languishes in his ghetto.”

Scams meanwhile profilerated. Three years after the Congress plunged from 206 MPs to 44 in May 2014, most though inexplicably remain unresolved—to the NDA government’s and the judicial system’s discredit. But each one—AgustaWestland, 2G, Scorpene, CWG, Coalgate—is a reminder of how corruption became the new normal in 2004-14.

Cut to the present. The Congress clearly hasn’t learnt its lesson. K. C. Tyagi, a Rajya Sabha MP from the JD(U), the party on whom rests the Opposition’s hope of stitching together a credible mahagathbandhan in 2019, had this to say of the Congress: “We are very upset at the behaviour of the Congress. The character assassination of our leader, Nitish Kumar, has also happened. The Congress today is not the Congress party of 1952, 1962 or 1984. It is not even a legitimate Congress party.”

When even a chronic Modi-baiter like Tyagi berates the Congress as not “legitimate”, Indian politics has clearly reached a point of inflection.

Borewell of toxicity

The Congress today is in real danger of immersing itself in a self-made borewell of toxicity. Its decision to boycott the special session of Parliament on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is only the latest in a series of self-destructive moves.

Note the other parties which joined the Congress’ GST boycott: RJD, DMK, TMC and the Left. What do they have in common? Serious charges of corruption.

1. The RJD’s Lalu Prasad Yadav is looking at fresh jail time in the fodder scam. He is meanwhile battling charges of undeclared assets against his two sons, daughter and wife.

2. The DMK’s A. Raja, in and out of jail since the 2G scam broke, has implicated senior Congress ministers in the telecom license corruption case.

3. The TMC’s top leadership faces charges in the Saradha, Rose Valley and Narada scams which have singed Mamata Banerjee’s reputation for probity, quite apart from her inaction over communal riots in West Bengal.

4. The Left has been implicated in a slew of brutal communal killings in Kerala where its government is accused of complicity.

Virtually every other Opposition party, including the SP, BSP, JD(U), NCP and the JD(S), was represented at the special midnight GST parliamentary session. The four holdouts—RJD, DMK, TMC and the Left—who joined the Congress boycott spoke volumes for the party’s diminished reputation.

Sonia has over the 19 years of her presidency converted the Congress into a family business ruled with an iron fist. Rahul has been inheritor-in-waiting for three years. It is an indictment of Indian democracy that India’s second largest political party continues to operate like a feudal family firm.

India deserves better. – Daily-O, 7 July 2017

» Minhaz Merchant is an author and journalist in Mumbai.

UPA-2 Scams

Farmer cause real, violence political – Sandhya Jain

Farmers protest in Nagpur

Sandhya JainThe Congress’ ability to stage mini-colour revolutions to derail its opponents is unparalleled. – Sandhya Jain

The agility with which the Congress party raises an uproar and/or takes to the streets to protest the alleged sins of omission or commission of the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre or in States ruled by it, is admirable. The BJP, in comparison, tends to be sluggish in its responses and often loses the perception battle, at least initially.

Certainly the Madhya Pradesh administration could not have expected a “spontaneous farmers’ agitation” at the height of the vegetable sowing season (June 1), or the violence that forced policemen to open fire to control mobs that ran berserk. As an unfortunate corollary, five farmers (later six) died in Mandsaur district. Thereafter, mobs blocked highways and torched dozens of vehicles across several districts. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was wise to go on indefinite fast from Saturday, June 10, (ended Sunday afternoon), to lower temperatures and bring aggrieved farmers to talk to him directly.

Agricultural experts are astonished that farmers would agitate at a time when they should be busy sowing gourds of all varieties, cucumber, brinjal, cauliflower, okra, onion, broad bean, tomato, pepper, all crops that will earn the next seasons income. Yet, the agitation began in the rich, opium-growing Mandsaur.

The rapid spread of arson and violence to Shajapur, Dhar, Sagar, Dewas, Guna, Indore, Bhopal, Vidisha, Gwalior, suggests planning reminiscent of the sudden Patidar uprising for quotas in Gujarat in July 2015 and the Jat reservation agitation in Haryana in February 2016. All three states are ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP); Assembly elections are due in Gujarat (2017) and MP (2018). Congressmen led the protests; many trains had to be cancelled for safety. It is difficult to believe that all protestors were farmers as liquor shops were looted and an ATM machine set on fire after attempts to loot it failed. A toll plaza was vandalized in Mandsaur and approximately Rs 8 to 10 lakh looted. In Maharashtra, another BJP ruled state, farmers called off protests after the government succumbed to pressure to waive loans.

Madhya Pradesh under Chouhan won the Centre’s Krishi Karman award five times consecutively, pulled itself out of the category of BIMARU states, and recorded around 20 per cent growth in agriculture for the past few years. Despite such sterling achievements, Chouhan showed undue panic in announcing ex-gratia relief of Rs one crore each for the families of the five farmers. This forced the administration to extend the same relief to the (Congress-affiliated) farmer who died later in hospital, by which time the Congress party’s role in instigating the crowds was fully known.

Once Congress party MLA, Shakuntala Khatik, was caught on camera instigating protestors to burn a police station in Mandsaur, ignoring a policeman beseeching her with folded hands, a clever party and State apparatus would have kept the spotlight on Congress and the frustration of its leadership in losing state after state. The fact that Congress came third in the recent municipal elections in Delhi shows how far removed it is from popular aspirations. At the time of writing, the authorities had booked over 60 persons (many linked to Congress) for perpetrating violence. Sources hint that some big farmers were also behind the stir, to extract higher prices. Besides Rahul Gandhi [and Hartik Patel], social activists Medha Patkar, Yogendra Yadav and Swami Agnivesh were turned back from Mandsaur.

The Congress’ ability to stage mini-colour revolutions to derail its opponents is unparalleled. Recall the well-timed sting operation against the Aam Aadmi Party when it became apparent that it was sweeping the polls in 2013; the novice Arvind Kejriwal was so deflated that he stopped campaigning for four crucial days until galvanised by the now estranged stalwart, Shanti Bhushan. As a result, the AAP lost seats that would have given it a clear majority and was forced to form a coalition with the Congress.

It is undeniable that farmers may have genuine problems in repaying loans and deserve higher prices for produce. However, Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel has warned that farm loan waiver is a “slippery path” that could dissipate gains made by states in fiscal rectitude since 2014. But the heavily pressured Chief Minister promised to work on a crop loan settlement scheme to waive interest for about 30 per cent of farmers, which would cost the exchequer around Rs 2000 crore. The government is also preparing a ‘debt resolution scheme’ to mitigate pressure on loan defaulters, along with a price stabilisation fund of Rs 1000 crore, which will help farmers get the exact cost of their produce.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, between February 2016 and mid-February 2017, around 1,982 farmers and farm labourers committed suicide in the State. Most deaths were attributed to inability to pay off debts taken from private moneylenders on high rates of interest. The usurious practice of private moneylenders was also behind a spate of suicides in Maharashtra some years ago.

Under Chouhan, Madhya Pradesh became the fourth-largest vegetable producer in the country (14.2 million tonnes in 2013-14), and horticulture production rose 69 per cent between 2006-07 and 2014-15. But the absence of adequate storage and processing facilities has proved a dampener; these will now have to be prioritised as 33 per cent of onion procured by the government reportedly rotted due to inadequate storage facilities.

It is unfortunate that the State’s second consecutive bumper onion harvest saw prices crash to Rs 2 to 3 per kg; this was later fixed at Rs 8 per kg. Chouhan has also announced the new procurement price of moong dal (Rs 5,225/quintal), tuar and urad (Rs 5,050/quintal), to be purchased between June 10 and 30. Amidst a slew of sops, he declared that purchase of farm produce below the centrally announced minimum support price would be considered a crime.

While just, the demand for remunerative prices is part of a larger national paradigm of immediate and adequate storage of produce so that the harvest of one region can be duly absorbed by a national market and bumper crops yield bounteous profits and not crash prices.

Despite three years of sustained efforts in agriculture by the Modi government, much remains to be done. One goal must be to reduce chemical inputs in agriculture to improve its nutritional status, as exhorted by late Anil Madhav Dave at the Vichar Kumbh (Indore, May 2016) that coincided with the Kumbh Mela at Ujjain. Speakers at the gathering made a passionate plea for reviving natural farming methods. – Vijayvaani, 13 June 2017

Rahul Gandhi arrested in Mandsaur

Shakuntala Khatik instigates mob to burn down police station

Beware of media painting BJP and RSS as fascists – David Frawley

Rahul Gandhi & Chidambaram

Acharya David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri)Apart from manufacturing perpetual outrage, the Left has no positive agenda for national growth or futuristic development of the country. Congress and the Left are leaderless and self-destructing, with a number of their prominent representatives becoming figures of public derision. – Dr David Frawley

The old Leftist rhetoric that has dominated India’s politics for decades is now falling on deaf ears and becoming rejected by voters. Both recent UP and Delhi elections indicate this trend. Though the old Indian media continues to raise a shrill campaign of Leftist outrage against the dangers of Narendra Modi and the BJP, voters have gone over to them in a landslide.

Strategies

Special media and campaign strategies were implemented in India prior to 2014 to keep the BJP out of power, and after Modi’s victory in 2014 to weaken his influence and remove him from power. These strategies reflect the propaganda approaches of the old socialist-communist mind-set, with exaggerations, allegations, and name-calling, but little by way of actual facts. Let us examine the most relevant of these charges.

The charge of fascism has been made for decades against BJP/RSS, even comparing the Sangh with the Islamic State. Yet, the fact is that the BJP national and state governments are the most competent in recent India, doing more for the poor and to improve administration and infrastructure. This is a welcome change from the corruption of the old Congress dynasty and its regional warlords, with their divide-and-rule policies that prevented development and perpetuated social unrest. The truth is that the Left historically has promoted militancy and genocide, extending to the murdering of Hindu workers in communist Kerala and Maoist violence in India today.

Similarly, a charge of intolerance is raised against Hindus, as if they were the main group inhibiting harmony in India. This includes exaggerating or inventing Hindu attacks on Muslims and Christians. The fact is that Hindus are more tolerant than any other religious group because they don’t follow any theology of salvation and damnation. Far from suppressing other religions, Hindus continue to be targeted by missionary aggression inside India and outside. In addition, Christians and Muslims in India have more freedom than in any other country in Asia. Hindus in Pakistan comparatively have a marginal existence and are being systematically eliminated.

The charge of majoritarianism is another key part of the anti-Modi agenda with the claim is that there is now an oppressive Hindu majority in power. Actually democracy is majority-ruled, so the majority does have a right to rule within the bounds of the law. In this regard, the majority in India, which is largely Hindu, is much more accommodating than the majority in any Islamic country. Those who make the charge of majoritarianism have long been cultivating minority vote banks, defined on caste and religious grounds. They are afraid of national unity that would compromise their electoral base.

The charge of Hindu or saffron terrorism is perhaps the most extreme Leftist claim. This is one of the biggest falsifications brought about by affording repeated media attention to a few isolated cases eventually dismissed as false. All Hindu terrorist charges could highlight is a Hindu woman swami, Sadhvi Pragya, kept in jail without bail for nine years until the case against her was dismissed for lack of evidence. Compare this to ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Taliban, with their organised armies, massacres and terrorist attacks that the media hesitates to call Islamic terror.

Danger

Cow vigilantism and the attempt to make cow protectors as dangerous as ISIS and jihadi terrorism are false equivalents. Incidents of violence relative to cow smuggling and cow protection have occurred for decades, but this is hardly a Hindu attack on non-Hindus, much less a national security issue. In addition, India, like all countries, would benefit by less meat in the diet. Only in India do liberals emphasise beef eating rather than reduction of unnecessary meat consumption.

Assault on student freedoms relative to JNU student protests is another frequent item of Leftist outrage. Yet JNU communist student unions have long promoted anti-government, pro-Maoist, pro-Kashmiri separatist sentiments under the guise of freedom of expression. India’s sympathetic media has portrayed such students as innocent victims of state aggression, for questioning their motives or actions. The same JNU students try to prevent any pro-Hindu speakers from doing programmes.

Allegation

A new allegation is the danger of having a swami as chief minister, mixing religion and politics, with Yogi Adityanath taking up the reins of Uttar Pradesh. Since before Mahatma Gandhi, a spiritual voice has been present in Indian politics and social discourse. Yogi Adityanath is performing better as CM than did the previous so-called secular government known for its corruption and decay of law and order, and the Yogi is gaining respect accordingly. It is performance that matters today, not simply name or background.

Apart from manufacturing perpetual outrage, the Left has no positive agenda for national growth or futuristic development of the country. Congress and the Left are leaderless and self-destructing, with a number of their prominent representatives becoming figures of public derision.

Meanwhile the BJP has come to represent aspirational India at both economic and cultural levels. There is nothing wrong with such national pride and enthusiasm. It is a long overdue change from the old socialist era in which individual initiative was blocked and India’s culture denigrated. Such unity is needed for India to progress in the world of nations, which the Nehruvian-Marxist alliance could never deliver.

India has a great dharmic civilisation with much to offer the world. The world should be happy that India is willing to move forward according to its own civilisational ethos and no longer function as another failed socialist state looking for global sympathy. Yet, it seems the Leftist media was happier with a Lalu Prasad and his backward Bihar than Narendra Modi and his new dynamic India. Fortunately, voters can no longer be deceived. – Daily-O, 13 May 2017

» Dr. David Frawley (Pandit  Vamadeva Shastri) D. Litt., is a teacher in the Vedic tradition. He is recognized as a Vedacharya, and includes in his unusual wide scope of studies Ayurveda, Yoga, Vedanta and Vedic astrology, as well as the ancient Vedic teachings going back to the Rigveda.

Sitaram Yechury at JNU

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