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Scrap FCRA and Save the Republic

Introduction

Normally reticent and mild mannered Manmohan Singh in an interview to Science magazine during February mentioned that American NGO’s are funding the protests against Kudankulam nuclear plant. He also blamed protests against genetically modified crops on groups which were funded from the US and Scandinavian countries.

He said that “they are not fully appreciative of the development challenges that our country faces” . This is a major revelation coming from the PM and unfortunately our media which is frenzy or agenda driven has not fully comprehended the dimensions of the issues raised by our PM. Let us understand the nature of the threat posed by these NGOs or WMD’s –Weapons of Mass Destruction – to our republic and the need to stem the rot here and now.

Among the largest members of the Indian economy is the NGO sector or what is known as the Third Sector or Civil Society (other than government and private) in academic circles.

Two important criteria are that they should be independent from government and organizations not meant for making profit. But many get money from the government or from foreign governments. The type of activities they are involved is mind-boggling which can extent from “aging issues” to “corruption” to “human rights” to “waste management”. Many of them call themselves “Civil Society” and involve in socio-political activities even though they do not directly participate in the electoral process. Many are Church-related organization and others involve in human rights issues as a civil society organization. The funding for many of these civil society groups is substantially international.

Before we proceed let us look at some numbers.

The international flow of funds is regulated by the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act [FCRA Act] of the Central Government which the ministry of home affairs has re-formulated now. In the period from 2001 to 2010 [ 9 years] such organizations received more than Rs 70000 crore and in the year 2009-10 [of which data is available] it was Rs 10338 crore

Salient Features for the year 2009-2010 [ year for which latest data is available]

Its salient features are as below:

I. A total of 38436 Associations have been registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act up to 31.3.2010. During the year 2009-10, 2022 Associations were granted registration and 388 Associations were granted prior permission to receive foreign contribution.

II. 21508 Associations reported a total receipt of an amount of Rs.10, 337.59 crore as foreign contribution.

III. Among the States and the Union Territories, the highest receipt of foreign contribution was reported by Delhi (Rs. 1815.91 crore), followed by Tamil Nadu (Rs. 1663.31 crore) and Andhra Pradesh (Rs. 1324.87 crore).

IV. Among the districts, the highest receipt of foreign contribution was reported by Chennai (Rs. 871.60 crore), followed by Bengaluru (Rs. 702.43 crore) and Mumbai (Rs. 606.63 crore).

V. The list of donor countries is headed by the USA (Rs. 3105.73 crore) followed by Germany (Rs. 1046.30 crore) and UK (Rs. 1038.68 crore).

VI The list of foreign donors is topped by the Gospel For Asia Inc, USA (Rs. 232.71 crore) followed by the Fundacion Vicente Ferrer, Barcelona, Spain (Rs.228.60 crore) and the World Vision Global Centre, USA (Rs.197.62 crore).

VII. Among the Associations which reported receipt of foreign contribution, the highest amount of foreign contribution was received by the World Vision of India, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (Rs.208.94 crore), followed by the Rural Development Trust, Ananthapur, A.P. (Rs.151.31 crore) and Shri Sevasubramania Nadar Educational Charitable Trust, Chennai, T.N. (Rs. 94.28 crore).

VIII The highest amount of foreign contribution was received and utilized for Establishment Expenses (Rs. 1482.58 crore), followed by Rural Development (Rs. 944.30 crore), Welfare of Children (Rs. 742.42 crore), Construction and Maintenance of school/college (Rs.630.78 crore) and Grant of Stipend/scholarship/assistance in cash and kind to poor/deserving children (Rs. 454.70 crore).

(We have provided some salient statistics from the Home ministry web site in Tables 1 to 5- See Appendix)

Some important observations.

Establishment expenses consist of buying land, buildings, jeeps, setting up offices, mobiles, laptops, cameras, salaries, consultancy fees, honorarium, and foreign travel etc., constituting nearly 50 % of the expenses and in some cases as high as 70%. This goes against the grain of service motto where the ultimate recipient is supposed to get the maximum. Now, such organizations even recruit “executives” from management institutions. Most of the top recipients are Church or Church related organizations. They use the funds for service as well as religious purposes.

However, they are not covered by Right to Information Act as they are not part of Government. For instance, this writer has tried unsuccessfully to get the annual accounts from the web site of the top 25 recipients, many of whom are often reported in newspapers and TV and stressing the importance of “transparency” in the functioning of the government. Many do not have any information on their web sites. Some of the web sites contain nothing on finances. These Civil society groups who day in day out harangue us on TV talk shows about transparency and disclosures for the government and corporate sector etc., should practice what they preach

There is a long list of illustrative programmes /activities to be carried out by these associations receiving foreign contributions. This is given in the Home Ministry web site.

More importantly the amended act suggests that acceptance of foreign contributions should be within the broad parameters as listed in the appendix 1

We have provided in Appendix 1 to 4 some salient aspects of the act including a paltry punishment for violating the act.

Issues

Nature of Use of Funds:

Significant portion of the received funds are used for ‘Establishment Expenses” which is against the basic cannon of charity work. It is expected that Charity involves lesser fixed assets creation particularly of the flamboyant nature. Also the jet setting aspect of the NGO’s provide clues to the nature of expenditure. Whether it is New York or Geneva we find members of Indian NGO community lobbying for some cause mostly of human rights. This creates a closed loop wherein they receive money to further some agenda and for that they receive more money

Religious Conversion:

Large amount of funds go to Christian organizations whose purpose is conversion. This act of “soul harvesting” or “planting of the Church” is an anachronistic practice of nineteenth century which is totally incongruous in the twenty first century where faith based political movements like the Church movements are disappearing from Europe their cradle of growth. Europe which has given up on the Church is trying to overcome its guilt by exporting Christianity to India. The recipient organizations may argue that they are serving poor but do they need European money to serve Indian poor.

Also some organizations like World Vision appear to be secular or non-denominational in India. But the fact of the matter is that is Christian in origin and membership. This has been affirmed by the Supreme Court of USA. We can take them as a representative example wherein they do not mention much about their exclusive Christian identity when campaigning for funds within India

To quote from their website

History of our Christian identity

World Vision was founded 60 years ago as a Christian humanitarian organization. Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, World Vision’s work with the poor and oppressed is a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people.

As a Christian organization, World Vision has virtually the same Statement of Faith included in its September 1950 articles of incorporation. While about 20 percent of our worldwide staff are of other faiths, all prospective staff at World Vision U.S. are required to sign that Statement of Faith or, as an alternative, the Apostles’ Creed.

Far from being narrow in scope, the Apostles’ Creed and World Vision’s Statement of Faith reflect the basic theological beliefs shared for millennia by the vast majority of orthodox Christian traditions — Roman Catholic, Mainline Protestant, Pentecostal, evangelical, or Orthodox.

Issues of the current court case

The issues at the center of the Spencer case — the plaintiffs’ denial of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus Christ — are central to Christianity. By definition, a Christian believes that Jesus Christ is the only son of God. World Vision believes one can be a good person, a moral person — even a religious person — without believing this. But World Vision believes that one cannot be a Christian unless one can confess, as the Apostle Peter did in Matthew 16:16 (NIV), “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

To be clear, we hire Christians, imperfect and flawed, not because we think they are superior, but because we believe that any real success will come only through the presence of Christ in each employee’s heart and His power through prayer in each staff member’s mind and hands.

The plaintiffs in this case signed the Statement of Faith when they were hired, but later changed their core beliefs. It was only when these staff members stopped attending World Vision’s weekly chapel services and instead began alternative worship and study sessions at work that the change in their beliefs became obvious. We regret the departure of our former colleagues, and we pray they have been able to find areas of humanitarian service that are compatible with their new beliefs.

Hiring people of shared beliefs

World Vision believes that staff commitment to core Christian beliefs as we understand them from the Bible is essential for maintaining our Christian identity. Organizationally, our humanitarian work is done as a reflection of — and an extension of — our Christian faith. We represent Christ in our work.

Hiring people of shared belief is a common practice among charitable institutions, many of whom receive federal funding. A non-profit that advocates for animal rights, for example, would be unlikely to hire a hunter or a non-vegetarian. An environmental organization is unlikely to hire a global warming skeptic. Non-profit organizations are defined by their core mission and motivation. To hire those uncommitted to that mission would be to undermine the organization

Who we are and how we serve

World Vision has worked hard to be clear with our donors in our communication and transparent about our Christian identity. We do not want to take donations under false pretences.

Similarly, World Vision always identifies itself as a Christian organization in the communities where we serve, including many where there are few, if any, Christians. World Vision works in many countries where the majority of people follow another religion, including some areas where Christian teaching is not welcome. In all cases, we respect the local culture and abide by local laws.

World Vision is a signatory to the Red Cross Code of Conduct and does not proselytize. That is, we never require aid recipients to listen to a religious message as a condition of our help, nor do we use aid as an inducement for recipients to change religion. We also never discriminate on the basis of religion in giving aid; we serve every child in need that we possibly can, of any faith or

Our staff worldwide

More than 80 percent of World Vision’s 40,000 staff members worldwide are Christian.

We work in some countries where there are few Christians with the needed professional qualifications, and in some where it is illegal to hire only Christians. However, in each of the nearly 100 countries where World Vision works, our leadership is Christian.

Federal law

In the United States, nearly 50 years of federal law has guaranteed that faith-based organizations can consider religion in hiring staff. The 1964 Civil Rights Act explicitly allows religious preference in employment by any “religious association, corporation, educational institution or society.”

Similarly, Congress has never said that faith-based organizations lose their hiring rights if they receive federal grants. Neither have the courts. In 1987, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that religious hiring rights do not violate the Constitution’s ban on government preference for religion.

The above mentioned quote highlights the dubious role played by mainly religious organizations presenting themselves as social or secular organizations in our context but receiving massive funds for global Christian activities

Not only that, we also finds that the Government of India involves mainly Christian organizations for carrying out their social agenda about Aids or reducing TB. Lets take another instance.The Organizations that currently comprise the National TB Consortium India are the Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA), Damien Foundation India Trust (DFIT), German Leprosy and TB Relief Association (GLRA), LEPRA Society, PATH India, Project Concern International (PCI) India, TB Alert India and World Vision India

We do not find Rama Krishna Mission or that of Amritanandamayi in these government funded endeavors

The power of the Converting Lobby

The planting of the cross [conversion] among the poorer and weaker segments creates social tensions. If a girl gets converted then her parents and siblings are impacted giving raise to family and social tensions. But if even SC points this out there is a furore and the court is asked to erase it from its records.

How much the power of the church and its lobbies has spread far and wide is illustrated by the Supreme Court altering the wordings in its judgment in the famous Dara Singh Case

In the supreme Court of India-Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction.Criminal appeal nb. 1366 of 2005 Rabindra Kumar Pal @ Dara Singh …. Appellant(s) Versus Republic of India…. Respondent(s) with Criminal appeal no: 1259 of 2007 And Criminal appeal nos: 1357-1365

Its original verdict, the apex court observed, “the intention was to teach a lesson to Graham Staines about his religious activities, namely, converting poor tribals to Christianity. All these aspects have been correctly appreciated by the High Court, which modified the sentence of death into life imprisonment with which we concur”. This was later modified as, “more than 12 years have elapsed since the act was committed, we are of the opinion that the life sentence awarded by the High Court need not be enhanced in view of the factual position discussed in the earlier paras.”

Secondly, the sentence, “It is undisputed that there is no justification for interfering in someone’s belief by way of use of force, provocation, conversion, incitement or upon a flawed premise that one religion is better than the other” (the meaning of the constitutional principle of equality of faiths and non-discrimination in matters of religion) was replaced by “There is no justification for interfering in someone’s religious belief by any means”.

The facts are as follows: while upholding the life sentence on Dara Singh, main accused in the Staines murder case, Justices P. Sathasivam and B.S. Chouhan observed that the murder had taken place in an atmosphere that had been poisoned by the conversion activism of foreign missionaries in that part of Orissa. They said in their judgment pronounced in open court:

 “It is undisputed that there is no justification for interfering in someone’s belief by way of use of force, provocation, conversion, incitement or upon a flawed premise that one religion is better than the other.”

However, our two Supreme Court judges, proved even more nimble-footed than what John Dayal and company had expected. The original judgement was pronounced on 21 Jan. (a Friday), and the cacophony orchestrated by the Christian lobby started straightaway, reaching a crescendo during the weekend and on the following Monday.

On 25 Jan. (Tuesday), Sathasivam and Chouhan re-opened the matter in open court and announced the deletions / changes. There are some reports that the counsels for the two parties (the State and Dara Singh) were given notice to attend, but this is not verifiable as yet. What is certain is that there was no application for a Review Petition or any other form of legal representation before the two judges, asking them to reconsider their observations already on record. It was a suo motu act by the two judges. Clearly, Dayal and his cohorts would have been delighted and overjoyed with the supersonic speed of the two judges and their commendable powers of foresight and anticipation.

What can possibly account for this change of mind and heart? Divine intervention, a hyperactive conscience? Impossible to pinpoint, for mere mortals. What happened was the observations quoted above (“It is undisputed that there is no justification for interfering in…) were deleted / expunged and replaced by the platitudinous and ambivalent sentence, “There is no justification for interfering in someone’s religious belief by any means.” This piece of pontification has no judicial import at all, either in the case under discussion or in general. All that can be said is that the somersault of this Bench in this case will be debated for quite some time.

The above mentioned example shows that the power of Church for converting religion has been made in to a major fundamental right and it is supported by Global funds. We would like to point out that the right to convert does not include the right to convert using foreign money.

We also find that from the point of funding as well as conversion activities the so called “New Age or Evangelical” or “born again Christians” are much more active compared to the traditional Catholic or Protestant churches of India. Of course this needs another article.

Read more at
http://centreright.in/2012/05/scrap-fcra-and-save-the-republic-part-1/2/

Indian Muslim looks at Kashmir as a Hindustani not as a Muslim: Syed Ali Shah Geelani

Indian Muslim looks at Kashmir as a Hindustani not as a Muslim: Syed Ali Shah Geelani

By Mohd. Ismail Khan, TwoCircles.net,

Syed Ali Shah Geelani the grand old man of Kashmir popularly known as ‘Baba-e-Kashmir’ in the region is a prominent Kashmiri nationalist leader. He is the chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference and enjoys huge support in the valley for his strong and unaltered commitment for the independence of Kashmir. In an exclusive interview to Twocircles.net Mr. Geelani spoke about his views on the Indian Muslims ignorance regarding  Kashmiri nationalist movement and oppressive policies of Indian government on Kashmiri Muslims.

Many a time you have criticized Indian Muslims for not supporting the independence movement of Kashmir, why do you think it is important for an Indian Muslim to support Kashmiri cause?

It is (Farz) absolute duty of Indian Muslim to support their Kashmiri Muslim brothers, but it can happen only when they start thinking like a Muslim. But the tragedy is 20 Crore Muslims of India are shaping their opinion about Kashmir as a Hindustani not as a Muslim. This 20 crore Muslim population is having sinful silent when in their backyard, their own Muslim brothers are being oppressed by the Indian army, exploited by the Indian political class, harassed by intelligence agencies, and even when Muslims are tortured, raped and killed mercilessly. In Islam it is Farz for every Muslim to help oppressed Muslim brother, and then this makes absolute duty for the Indian Muslims to speak about the atrocities committed by India on Kashmiri Muslims.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani

 

There is a general fear among Indian Muslims that if Kashmir gets independence and even if they support it or not they will be the victim of the backlash of Hindutva forces. What do you think about this perception?

12 million people of J&K can’t be hijacked by India, by raising the bogy of fear. See Kashmir cause and Indian Muslims are two different issues. If Muslims in India are targeted after the secession of Kashmir then it is the result of anarchy and tyranny of the nation which they are living in, and it will have nothing to do with Kashmiri independence. When you are going to uphold truth and justice then you should also be ready for the ache which is unavoidable. That hurt will be the test of Allah, and a true Muslim who believes in the Day of Judgment and who believes that this world is predetermined, and the world here after is infinite then he will definitely uphold the truth and justice, irrespective of backlash it will accompany. But if a Muslim is more worried about his life and property rather than truth and justice then he should prepare to live his life under the shadow of a tyrant.

Indian Muslims protest frequently whenever any where in the world Muslims are targeted, but when in Kashmir the same thing happens, no Indian Muslim raise their voice against it. As Kashmiri Muslim how do you feel about it?

I always tell whenever I meet people from Jamaat-e-Islami Hind or any other Indian Muslims that they will be questioned in the Day of Judgment by Allah for their dangerous silence on the atrocities on Kashmiri Muslims by the Indian army. But they always give excuse that if they speak against the Indian government they will be banned, censored or restricted and then it will be difficult for them to carry out their functions.

I think all this rhetorics of Indian Muslims is the result of week Imaan (faith), they fear Indian state more than Allah. Indian army have taken our land on the gun point, they raped and killed hundreds of Muslim women, I myself have inspected some instances where mother was raped in front of her little daughter, and wife in front of husband. Every one knows how two Muslim women in Sofian were raped and killed by Indian army. Because of all this humiliation when young Muslims were on  the streets without any weapons they were killed on point-blank range by the Indian army, even a seven year old boy was killed by the army. From 2009 till now 125 unarmed Muslim protesters were shot down by the army. And even after all this Indian Muslims are silent, I and all the Muslims in J&K have serious complaint against them.

I think they are silent because of the fear of wrath from the majority, but a true Muslim will always support the truth. I remember there was a huge public meeting in Darul Uloom Deoband and Aziz Burney, editor of Sahara Urdu daily said we will condemn hundred times the violence against Muslims in Kashmir, but will reiterate thousand times that Kashmir is an integral part of India. Aziz Burney represented the mindset of Indian Muslims that because of the fear from majority community and to appease them they are ready to tell the truth 100 times but will support a lie 1000 times. Indian Muslims will be answerable to Allah.

You look quite distressed from Indian Muslims, what will be your message to them?

I will urge to the Indian Muslims to protect and preserve their identity, they should always feel proud of what they are i.e. Muslims. They should not just be a Muslim by name but should be a practicing Muslim. They should protect their culture, because with out their culture Muslims are nothing but just like any other community. In Jammu & Kashmir we are facing a cultural aggression from India; Indian army is trying every bit to destroy our Islamic culture, and Muslims of Kashmir is resisting that cultural aggression, Indian Muslim should take lesson from Kashmir. Indian Muslims should get united as a single ummah and leave their ideological differences to fight against their adversaries.

Twenty crore Muslim population of India should get united and in one voice should support the Muslims of Kashmir for their genuine cause and pressurize the Indian government to fulfill their promise made in UN resolution. But till now it has been seen that Indian Muslims are keeping quiet on the atrocities done on Kashmiri Muslims by the Indian army, I can tell with whole confidence that if Indian Muslims are going to continue this type of laxity then they will be questioned by Allah. And I don’t hesitate in saying this thinking that Muslims of India will get angry with me, because a Muslim should fear only Allah and I am sure Allah will ask Indian Muslims why they were silent when their brothers in their backyard were subjugated.

http://twocircles.net/2012apr25/indian_muslim_looks_kashmir_hindustani_not_muslim_syed_ali_shah_geelani.html

 

Indian Muslim looks at Kashmir as a Hindustani not as a Muslim: Syed Ali Shah Geelani

Indian Muslim looks at Kashmir as a Hindustani not as a Muslim: Syed Ali Shah Geelani

 By Mohd. Ismail Khan, TwoCircles.net,

Syed Ali Shah Geelani the grand old man of Kashmir popularly known as ‘Baba-e-Kashmir’ in the region is a prominent Kashmiri nationalist leader. He is the chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference and enjoys huge support in the valley for his strong and unaltered commitment for the independence of Kashmir. In an exclusive interview to Twocircles.net Mr. Geelani spoke about his views on the Indian Muslims ignorance regarding  Kashmiri nationalist movement and oppressive policies of Indian government on Kashmiri Muslims.

Many a time you have criticized Indian Muslims for not supporting the independence movement of Kashmir, why do you think it is important for an Indian Muslim to support Kashmiri cause?

It is (Farz) absolute duty of Indian Muslim to support their Kashmiri Muslim brothers, but it can happen only when they start thinking like a Muslim. But the tragedy is 20 Crore Muslims of India are shaping their opinion about Kashmir as a Hindustani not as a Muslim. This 20 crore Muslim population is having sinful silent when in their backyard, their own Muslim brothers are being oppressed by the Indian army, exploited by the Indian political class, harassed by intelligence agencies, and even when Muslims are tortured, raped and killed mercilessly. In Islam it is Farz for every Muslim to help oppressed Muslim brother, and then this makes absolute duty for the Indian Muslims to speak about the atrocities committed by India on Kashmiri Muslims.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani

 

There is a general fear among Indian Muslims that if Kashmir gets independence and even if they support it or not they will be the victim of the backlash of Hindutva forces. What do you think about this perception?

12 million people of J&K can’t be hijacked by India, by raising the bogy of fear. See Kashmir cause and Indian Muslims are two different issues. If Muslims in India are targeted after the secession of Kashmir then it is the result of anarchy and tyranny of the nation which they are living in, and it will have nothing to do with Kashmiri independence. When you are going to uphold truth and justice then you should also be ready for the ache which is unavoidable. That hurt will be the test of Allah, and a true Muslim who believes in the Day of Judgment and who believes that this world is predetermined, and the world here after is infinite then he will definitely uphold the truth and justice, irrespective of backlash it will accompany. But if a Muslim is more worried about his life and property rather than truth and justice then he should prepare to live his life under the shadow of a tyrant.

Indian Muslims protest frequently whenever any where in the world Muslims are targeted, but when in Kashmir the same thing happens, no Indian Muslim raise their voice against it. As Kashmiri Muslim how do you feel about it?

I always tell whenever I meet people from Jamaat-e-Islami Hind or any other Indian Muslims that they will be questioned in the Day of Judgment by Allah for their dangerous silence on the atrocities on Kashmiri Muslims by the Indian army. But they always give excuse that if they speak against the Indian government they will be banned, censored or restricted and then it will be difficult for them to carry out their functions.

I think all this rhetorics of Indian Muslims is the result of week Imaan (faith), they fear Indian state more than Allah. Indian army have taken our land on the gun point, they raped and killed hundreds of Muslim women, I myself have inspected some instances where mother was raped in front of her little daughter, and wife in front of husband. Every one knows how two Muslim women in Sofian were raped and killed by Indian army. Because of all this humiliation when young Muslims were on  the streets without any weapons they were killed on point-blank range by the Indian army, even a seven year old boy was killed by the army. From 2009 till now 125 unarmed Muslim protesters were shot down by the army. And even after all this Indian Muslims are silent, I and all the Muslims in J&K have serious complaint against them.

I think they are silent because of the fear of wrath from the majority, but a true Muslim will always support the truth. I remember there was a huge public meeting in Darul Uloom Deoband and Aziz Burney, editor of Sahara Urdu daily said we will condemn hundred times the violence against Muslims in Kashmir, but will reiterate thousand times that Kashmir is an integral part of India. Aziz Burney represented the mindset of Indian Muslims that because of the fear from majority community and to appease them they are ready to tell the truth 100 times but will support a lie 1000 times. Indian Muslims will be answerable to Allah.

You look quite distressed from Indian Muslims, what will be your message to them?

I will urge to the Indian Muslims to protect and preserve their identity, they should always feel proud of what they are i.e. Muslims. They should not just be a Muslim by name but should be a practicing Muslim. They should protect their culture, because with out their culture Muslims are nothing but just like any other community. In Jammu & Kashmir we are facing a cultural aggression from India; Indian army is trying every bit to destroy our Islamic culture, and Muslims of Kashmir is resisting that cultural aggression, Indian Muslim should take lesson from Kashmir. Indian Muslims should get united as a single ummah and leave their ideological differences to fight against their adversaries.

Twenty crore Muslim population of India should get united and in one voice should support the Muslims of Kashmir for their genuine cause and pressurize the Indian government to fulfill their promise made in UN resolution. But till now it has been seen that Indian Muslims are keeping quiet on the atrocities done on Kashmiri Muslims by the Indian army, I can tell with whole confidence that if Indian Muslims are going to continue this type of laxity then they will be questioned by Allah. And I don’t hesitate in saying this thinking that Muslims of India will get angry with me, because a Muslim should fear only Allah and I am sure Allah will ask Indian Muslims why they were silent when their brothers in their backyard were subjugated.

http://twocircles.net/2012apr25/indian_muslim_looks_kashmir_hindustani_not_muslim_syed_ali_shah_geelani.html

 

Indian Muslim looks at Kashmir as a Hindustani not as a Muslim: Syed Ali Shah Geelani

Indian Muslim looks at Kashmir as a Hindustani not as a Muslim: Syed Ali Shah Geelani

 By Mohd. Ismail Khan, TwoCircles.net,

Syed Ali Shah Geelani the grand old man of Kashmir popularly known as ‘Baba-e-Kashmir’ in the region is a prominent Kashmiri nationalist leader. He is the chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference and enjoys huge support in the valley for his strong and unaltered commitment for the independence of Kashmir. In an exclusive interview to Twocircles.net Mr. Geelani spoke about his views on the Indian Muslims ignorance regarding  Kashmiri nationalist movement and oppressive policies of Indian government on Kashmiri Muslims.

Many a time you have criticized Indian Muslims for not supporting the independence movement of Kashmir, why do you think it is important for an Indian Muslim to support Kashmiri cause?

It is (Farz) absolute duty of Indian Muslim to support their Kashmiri Muslim brothers, but it can happen only when they start thinking like a Muslim. But the tragedy is 20 Crore Muslims of India are shaping their opinion about Kashmir as a Hindustani not as a Muslim. This 20 crore Muslim population is having sinful silent when in their backyard, their own Muslim brothers are being oppressed by the Indian army, exploited by the Indian political class, harassed by intelligence agencies, and even when Muslims are tortured, raped and killed mercilessly. In Islam it is Farz for every Muslim to help oppressed Muslim brother, and then this makes absolute duty for the Indian Muslims to speak about the atrocities committed by India on Kashmiri Muslims.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani

 

There is a general fear among Indian Muslims that if Kashmir gets independence and even if they support it or not they will be the victim of the backlash of Hindutva forces. What do you think about this perception?

12 million people of J&K can’t be hijacked by India, by raising the bogy of fear. See Kashmir cause and Indian Muslims are two different issues. If Muslims in India are targeted after the secession of Kashmir then it is the result of anarchy and tyranny of the nation which they are living in, and it will have nothing to do with Kashmiri independence. When you are going to uphold truth and justice then you should also be ready for the ache which is unavoidable. That hurt will be the test of Allah, and a true Muslim who believes in the Day of Judgment and who believes that this world is predetermined, and the world here after is infinite then he will definitely uphold the truth and justice, irrespective of backlash it will accompany. But if a Muslim is more worried about his life and property rather than truth and justice then he should prepare to live his life under the shadow of a tyrant.

Indian Muslims protest frequently whenever any where in the world Muslims are targeted, but when in Kashmir the same thing happens, no Indian Muslim raise their voice against it. As Kashmiri Muslim how do you feel about it?

I always tell whenever I meet people from Jamaat-e-Islami Hind or any other Indian Muslims that they will be questioned in the Day of Judgment by Allah for their dangerous silence on the atrocities on Kashmiri Muslims by the Indian army. But they always give excuse that if they speak against the Indian government they will be banned, censored or restricted and then it will be difficult for them to carry out their functions.

I think all this rhetorics of Indian Muslims is the result of week Imaan (faith), they fear Indian state more than Allah. Indian army have taken our land on the gun point, they raped and killed hundreds of Muslim women, I myself have inspected some instances where mother was raped in front of her little daughter, and wife in front of husband. Every one knows how two Muslim women in Sofian were raped and killed by Indian army. Because of all this humiliation when young Muslims were on  the streets without any weapons they were killed on point-blank range by the Indian army, even a seven year old boy was killed by the army. From 2009 till now 125 unarmed Muslim protesters were shot down by the army. And even after all this Indian Muslims are silent, I and all the Muslims in J&K have serious complaint against them.

I think they are silent because of the fear of wrath from the majority, but a true Muslim will always support the truth. I remember there was a huge public meeting in Darul Uloom Deoband and Aziz Burney, editor of Sahara Urdu daily said we will condemn hundred times the violence against Muslims in Kashmir, but will reiterate thousand times that Kashmir is an integral part of India. Aziz Burney represented the mindset of Indian Muslims that because of the fear from majority community and to appease them they are ready to tell the truth 100 times but will support a lie 1000 times. Indian Muslims will be answerable to Allah.

You look quite distressed from Indian Muslims, what will be your message to them?

I will urge to the Indian Muslims to protect and preserve their identity, they should always feel proud of what they are i.e. Muslims. They should not just be a Muslim by name but should be a practicing Muslim. They should protect their culture, because with out their culture Muslims are nothing but just like any other community. In Jammu & Kashmir we are facing a cultural aggression from India; Indian army is trying every bit to destroy our Islamic culture, and Muslims of Kashmir is resisting that cultural aggression, Indian Muslim should take lesson from Kashmir. Indian Muslims should get united as a single ummah and leave their ideological differences to fight against their adversaries.

Twenty crore Muslim population of India should get united and in one voice should support the Muslims of Kashmir for their genuine cause and pressurize the Indian government to fulfill their promise made in UN resolution. But till now it has been seen that Indian Muslims are keeping quiet on the atrocities done on Kashmiri Muslims by the Indian army, I can tell with whole confidence that if Indian Muslims are going to continue this type of laxity then they will be questioned by Allah. And I don’t hesitate in saying this thinking that Muslims of India will get angry with me, because a Muslim should fear only Allah and I am sure Allah will ask Indian Muslims why they were silent when their brothers in their backyard were subjugated.

http://twocircles.net/2012apr25/indian_muslim_looks_kashmir_hindustani_not_muslim_syed_ali_shah_geelani.html

 

Suspended for chanting Hindu prayer: Teacher

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/article3025885.ece

Suspended for chanting Hindu prayer: Teacher

Lavanya M.

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A chemistry teacher of SBOA School and Junior College in Anna Nagar West was suspended last week for ‘manhandling and misbehaviour’, but the teacher claimed that she was punished for reciting a Hindu prayer to students of Class XII .

On March 13, as the students were gearing up for their examination, teachers were about to recite their routine prayer. “Since the usual group of teachers pray before every examination, I volunteered this time. I said a prayer invoking the blessings of Hindu, Christian and Muslim Gods,” said the teacher, P. Abirami.

Even as Ms. Abirami was reciting the prayer, some of the other teachers allegedly turned off the microphone. “If they had an issue with my prayer, they could have called me aside and spoken to me rather than behaving rudely in front of students,” she said. “I did not give up but continued to say the prayers even more fervently,” she added.

Students on Wednesday said it was unusual for teachers to behave in this way. “Usually a Christian prayer is said before we write examinations. But last week a teacher said some Hindu mantras and the other teachers tried to stop her by turning off the microphone,” said a student.

Principal P. C. Selvarani, said that disciplinary action was taken against the teacher for behaving in an inappropriate manner . “The teacher does not handle Class XII and was on paper-correction duty that day. In spite of this, she came to up the dais, grabbed the mike and started speaking,” she said. “It was against the code of conduct. She just intervened.,” she said.

This sparked off protests by the BJP, VHP and the Hindu Munnani. Their activists staged a protest outside the school on Wednesday, following which 60 people were arrested and later released.

 

Comments to the above article from the readers:

It was a very deplorable act.Though I belong to RCM I condemn this attitude of other teachers for obstructing their fellow teacher from reciting the prayer by putting off the mike as if she committed a grave mistake.Action may therefore,be taken against the school authorities concerned including teachers responsible for the ill treatment meted out to the poor teacher and advise all the school authorities irrespective of their religious affiliation to strictly recite only VANDEMATARAM.I appreciate the teacher for her boldness for not giving up saying the prayer in spite of the odds.

from:  Anthony Rao Reddy

Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 02:12 IST

why Christian prayers. SBOA school is not a christian mission school. then why Christian prayer? Schools should have national anthem and general Tamil prayers praying for all welfare. The principal should be taken to task and case filed against her for communal incitement.

from:  honga singh

Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 08:24 IST

This incident is very true, I was also shocked when I heard that the teacher was not allowed to say the hindu prayers. SBOA is not a christian school, but seems like its being dominated by them. I hear that only christian prayers are allowed. VERY SAD. There are so many prayers which do not stress on religion, which should be made universal instead of following certain religion prayers…

from:  sandy

Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 14:23 IST

I was a student at the school from its small beginning and finished my XII there. I am a proud alumni of the school and have always been thankful for the education I received there even before its rise. But I am very disappointed in the action of the school and the principal, who was a long-time and favourite teacher of mine. It was always run as a Christian school and the majority of the staff were Christian as well. Hope they apologise to the teacher in question and the community as a whole.

from:  sowmya

Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 15:29 IST

This is shocking. From what the student says that only Christian prayers are recited before exams. What kind of a secularism is that, particularly if a teacher is punished for reciting a Hindu prayer on one of the days? An enquiry should be conducted and if indeed there is communalism being practiced by the principal in favour of Christianity, strict action should be taken. Secularism does not mean “anti-hinduism” and it is the government’s duty to ensure that.

from:  Sreedhar Pothukuchi

Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 16:02 IST

the SBOA management is seeding hatred among the students especially to the Hindus. SBOA is not a christian institution hence how come the students pray christian songs. The matter has to be probed. the principal should immediately put under suspension pending inquiryby Education dept. This clearly shows high handedness of the management.Let them know that this is a democratic country where they can make any non sense.

from:  t r subramanian

Posted on: Mar 22, 2012 at 22:59 IST

And if the opposite would’ve happened then the entire Indian media would
be up in arms in this travesty of secularism.
Shame really!

from:  Sujan Bandho

Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 10:35 IST

I am student of SBOA, and sad to hear this.. we had always had Christian prayers before examinations.. Not a wrong one.. but by not allowing a teacher to say a prayer other than Christian one is really bad.. Then there is no secularism there.. sigh.. my school is in the news for all wrong reasons 😦

from:  Ram G

Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 21:35 IST

I studied in this school. The current Principal, Selvarani mam was one of the best Math teachers in Chennai. All students used loved her method of teaching. I am very appalled to know that she would act in this manner. It would have been perfectly fine if no religion was showed down the student’s throat. That has never been the case in SBOA. It always felt like we were studying in a Christian Missionary school. While the school is funded by State Bank Officer’s association, the school management has no business to run it like a Christian Missionary. The State Bank Officer’s Association is also responsible since they turned a blind eye to all these issues over several years. Now is the time for some stern action.

from:  Anand

Posted on: Mar 23, 2012 at 21:52 IST

Prayer has no place in schools. You cannot offend athiests or students of religions other than ones listed.

from:  Ram Narayanan

Posted on: Mar 24, 2012 at 06:13 IST

Its not really an issue here. No real Christian prayers have been
traditions of SBOA. They were just prayers in English, if I remember
right. It must have been real unusual to hear a Sanskrit recital having
had English prayers as a decadal practice that’s all. Anyway, I think
the information provided here is way away from legitimate to draw
any conclusion. I think there is far more to it than is portrayed. The
article gives a real amateurish picture of the school, which is NOT.

from:  Shreyas Narayan

Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 06:50 IST

To all who commented. i am surprised people react to newspaper reports.
It wasn’t a Hindu prayer that caused the suspension . There has to be a history to the suspension.a truant teacher who finally got what she should have got long ago is the way I see it ..students both passed and present the school strives to give you the best what you deserve.Proper behaviour in front of students is what is called for and that is what led her being shown the the door.

from:  aloyusius

Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 14:08 IST

I am suprised that a former student Anand, does not remember the subject Ms.selvarani the principal and his best teacher taught.She was a chemistry teacher, man.I am also appalled at you making comments from just news paper reports. No one at the drop of a hat can get the BJP and similar religious organisations to support you. Could it not be that they were waiting in the wings and she pulled a stunt to bring them in to overcome her otherwise unbecoming ways as teacher. Anand, Get your facts right .The Assocition does not fund the school .It is students fees that sustain the school. The officers are the custodians and have been from different faiths .The Principal does not suspend any teacher. It is the office bearers of the trust. There are Hindus and yet again the corespondent of the school is a Hindu what Have you to say about that? If it was a religious issue would they have overlooked their sentiments and supported the Principal ,a X’ian?

from:  Carole

Posted on: Mar 28, 2012 at 15:41 IST

I am also an ex-student of SBOA and I don’t remember any Christian prayer recited in the school. SBOA is not a Christian mission school and the number of Hindus studying in the school is comparatively higher than the Christian students.
As said above if Christian prayers are only followed in the school then the parents could have raised an issue with the administration via Parent Teachers Association (PTA). Was this issue was raised by any of the parents or the students earlier?
To all the ex-students, if you believe that Christian prayers was not followed in the school then why you didn’t raise this as an issue earlier ? Was the school rude to you? I don’t think so. Everyone who studied there is proud about the fact they are alumni of the school. One can be proud about it only when the teachers are good, the organization is good and kind enough to take our concern and fulfils them and I strongly believe SBOA is doing a great job for the last 25 years. KUDOS to the School..

from:  Sudarsan

Posted on: Mar 30, 2012 at 09:38 IST

A perennial SBOA School Annanagar issue. I was a student from KG till 10th from 1987 to 1998. The incident mentioned above is not surprising me. For I have seen and faced many such in the SBOA school. Many of my friends and I were bold enough to take one such incident of a hindu prayer not allowed during a “skills for adolescence -special class” to the then headmaster (Mr.C.Subramanian )who even took prompt action once against a teacher for allowing only christian prayers. It is not wrong to prophes ones religion but not in a non-minority school such as SBOA.
Pathetically the SBIOA trust management has “never” taken these type of incidents seriously and continue to support the management’s anti-secular approach.

from:  Sivasundar

Posted on: Apr 9, 2012 at 12:59 IST

Being a retired officer of the State Bank of India,and knowing the functioning of the school since its inception,it pains me to read this news item.This school is a model that was followed by other regions of India to start similar schools by the respective officers association.The concept of starting a school by an officers association was unique and first of its kind anywhere in the world and this Annanagar school was appreciated by educationalists and the general public.What I wanted to emphasise was instead of fighting for benefits to its members,the officers association in chennai circle devoted its time and money to do public service by starting this school.

from:  Saivenkataraman

Posted on: Apr 15, 2012 at 09:32 IST 

New Vocabulary, Not New Values By Sadhvi Bhagawati

New Vocabulary, Not New Values

By Sadhvi Bhagawati  

                                                                                                         

“What this country really needs,” the middle aged father from Delhi was saying in the evening satsang, “is leaders like Pujya Swamiji and yourself to give new values to our youth. They are not interested in the values of our generation. They need new values and you can bring that to them.”  While the compliment was flattering, and the truth of youth’s waning interest in their own culture certainly undeniable, something pierced me sharply about what he said. Some great error had been committed. Suddenly I responded, “It is not new values they need. It is simply a new vocabulary.”

I have lived in Rishikesh for the past 15 years and have witnessed a great shift in Indians’ mindset, particularly the younger generation. While they are ardently patriotic, while they are prepared to fast with Anna Hazare, to march for kilometres waving political flags, while they join Facebook groups with names like “Yuva Bharat”, “Bharat Swabhiman” and “Bharat Nirmaan Sena” despite all of this tenacious and fervent commitment to India and her future, they are not, in most cases, convinced by the culture.  In fact, night after night, in the evening satsangs and question-answer sessions in Pujya Swamiji’s jhopadi following Ganga Aarti, Indian youth ask questions that evidence their dissatisfaction or disinterest in what we call culture, or values or sanskaras. “Why can’t we date before marriage? Why do we have to live in a joint family? I believe in God but I don’t believe in temples or puja. Why can’t my parents understand this?”  They are turning from vegetarians to non-vegetarians, from teetotalers to drinkers, , from virgins to promiscuously “cool” young adults at alarming rates.  “What’s wrong with our children?” many parents bemoan in the satsangs. “They have gone completely astray.”

I have watched this carefully. My academic background is psychology from Stanford University, hence I have a predisposition to analysis. Further, I came to India at age 25, having grown up in Los Angeles, in the heart of American upper class, “modern” culture and was so enraptured by the grace, the truth, the divinity and the depth of traditional Indian culture that – despite protests from every single person I knew back home –  I stayed.  So I have seen both worlds, up close.  I have seen hip American culture where acceptance is based on how you look in a black mini-skirt, with how many times a week you’re seen drinking coffee past 2 am in the local “hot spot”, with how many drug-filled dens of decadence you visit on a particular Saturday night. And I have seen the results.  Fifteen-year olds killed in drunk driving accidents, cocaine-induced pregnancies and abortions at seventeen, anorexia and bulimia stealing the minds and lives of Ivy-League students, third marriages by the age of twenty-five, a country where the most commonly prescribed medicines are anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, sleeping pills and Viagra.

There is much to be emulated about Western culture. There is a commitment to excellence and perfection unmatched by most other countries. Punctuality, reliability, fulfillment of promises, adherence to contracts, integrity and honesty are all attributes which other countries, especially India, would benefit by adopting.  However, tragically, these are not the values being adopted by many metropolitan Indian youth. Rather, it is the illusion of sophistication, the allure of glamour, the myth of material enjoyment that are seeping into Indian culture.

It is not that India needs new values. Indian culture, values, ethics and traditions form, in my opinion, the very foundation of a successful, meaningful and fulfilling life.  If you ask a random person in Los Angeles, stepping out of her Mercedes car, “How are you?” chances are you will get a litany of things that are wrong.  My back is hurting, the housekeeper didn’t show up, the store ran out of my favourite cereal, there was too much traffic on the freeway, etc.  If you ask the same question to an elderly village woman in the Himalayas carrying pounds of firewood on her head, back to cook the family’s one meal a day, chances are your question will be answered with “Sab Bhagawan ki kripa” or “Ganga ki kripa.” This is the fruit of culture: deep satisfaction despite the ups and downs of daily life.  Objectively God’s kripa certainly seems to have showered significantly more upon the woman in the Mercedes. Yet, she needs a pill to go to sleep, a pill to wake up, a pill to make it through the day.  The woman in the Himalayas sleeps and wakes with a smile on her face.

Indian culture is one that feeds first and eats second. I cannot count the number of times a family that doesn’t have the means to feed itself has begged me to come home for a meal. Or, if I continually refuse a meal, at least a cup of tea or “cold drink.” That I vehemently explain, over and over, that I don’t drink “cold drinks”, that even before coming to India I never drank Coke, is taken by them as mere social nicety. It is inconceivable that I, an American, don’t drink Coke. Hence, despite my protests they send the eldest child to the market to spend ten or twelve rupees on a cold drink.  That those twelve rupees were the funds for dinner is irrelevant.  They are as happy watching me try to graciously drink a Coke as if they were eating thalis full of food.  This is Indian culture.  Abundance is not measured by a bank balance. It is measured by whether one feels that one’s cup is overflowing. If my instinct is to share, to give, if I feel that I have more than enough and hence I want to feed others, I am rich, even if my feet are bare. If I feel that I don’t have enough and my instinct is to hold and to hoard, then I am poor, regardless of what the bank statements say.

India does not need new values. The values are what have kept India strong and united despite thousands of years of invasions. The values are what have kept Indians’ minds and hearts independent even when their country was colonised and oppressed.  However, today what is needed is a new vocabulary. The youth of today are being raised differently than any generation prior to them. Information is at their fingertips. Everything has an answer. If you don’t know it, Google it. Modern science and technology have rendered that which was inexplicable, enigmatic and impossible a decade ago child’s play today.  So we cannot expect them to accept “because I said so” or “because God made it that way” or “because it doesn’t look nice” or “just because” as reasonable motivation for doing anything. Whether it’s lighting the diya on the family mandir, being a vegetarian, giving daan, abstaining from sex before marriage or meditating, we are going to have to provide them compelling reasons and answers.  Fortunately there are compelling, scientific, rational reasons for all of these. However, most of us don’t know them.

Most middle-aged Indians today would never have dared question or disobey their parents. Therefore, their children’s rebuttals and incessant mantra of “why?” seem insolent and disrespectful.  They assume their children are intractable, when really they are simply bringing the new culture of questioning from school to home.  The youth of today are being raised and primed to ask, to wonder, to question, to investigate, to discover. They will not be appeased by the same answers that kept their parents’ generation in check. However, that doesn’t mean they’re off the track or in need of new values.  Rather, what we need is to find the vocabulary with which to give them the same values, but in a way that makes sense to their inquiring minds.  For example, I have heard innumerable parents exhort their children to believe that the cow is holy and therefore they must not eat hamburgers.  “But why is the cow holy?” they ask, typically quite sincerely.  “Because it is,” or “Because our scriptures say so,” or “Don’t be insolent” are the common answers.  When there is an answer for everything today, the lack of an answer to this makes them naturally and understandably suspicious.

However, there are scientific, rational, pragmatic reasons to be vegetarian, regardless of whether one believes the cow is holy.  The fact that the meat industry is the single greatest contributor to world hunger as well as environmental destruction is quite compelling.  The wastage of grain, land, water and energy used in the production of meat is enough to convince most.

This is just one example but it illustrates the fact that it’s not the values which need to be changed. The values are correct. It’s simply our method of explaining them, transmitting them that needs to be updated.  This of course puts greater responsibility on parents. They need to find real answers and not rely on the age-old tactics of “because I say so.” They need to make sure that their spiritual and cultural practices are real and true and not simply ritual.  A young child recently said to Pujya Swamiji, “I don’t ever go in the temple. I don’t believe in temples.” When questioned further the child explained, “My mother and my father go into the temple every morning and every evening.  They spend so much time in the temple, lighting this, doing that. But whenever they come out of the temple all they do is fight. I don’t want to spend my life fighting so I am avoiding temples.” So, we need to make sure that the values we are trying to pass onto our children are ones that we have truly, not merely superficially, adopted in our own lives.

India is, in my opinion, the richest country in the world. I am not referring to the GDP/GNP if all black money came back, but rather to the depth of culture, values, ethics and tradition.  There is nothing in Indian culture that is not compatible with modern technology, science or industry. There is nothing backward or old fashioned or obsolete.  The values and ethics of centuries ago are just as valid and just as applicable today as then. However, we have to put in a little effort to adapt the vocabulary and the method of transmission to today’s youth. Otherwise, if we hold tenaciously to the vocabulary of yesterday, which is unconvincing to today’s youth, they will continue to turn more and more to Western culture, depriving themselves, their families and future generations of one of the world’s richest treasure chests, a treasure chest of not only information but also inspiration.

(The author American-born, Stanford graduate, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, PhD moved to India in 1996. She was officially ordained by Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji into the tradition of sanyas and lives at Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, where she serves Swamiji’s humanitarian projects, provides seva for the Ashram, teaches meditation, gives discourses and counsels individuals and families.   sadhvibhagawati@parmarth.com)

X-ray of rare Shiva statue surprises Amsterdam museum

X-ray of rare Shiva statue surprises Amsterdam museum

By ANI | ANI – Tue, Jan 17, 2012.

Nevada (US), Jan 9 (ANI): Prestigious Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam recently conducted an X-ray of its thousand-year-old monumental Shiva-Nataraja statue as a part of research and was surprised to know that it was cast in solid bronze.

Hollow sculptures have reportedly been a common practice in Europe since the Greek Antiquity. The museum discovered that even the aureole and the demon under Shiva’s feet were also solid.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has applauded Rijksmuseum for its interest in Hindu artifacts.

This Dancing Shiva statue was X-rayed using high-energy digital radiation, along with the lorry transporting it, in the most powerful X-ray tunnel for containers of the Rotterdam customs authority, normally used to scan sea containers for suspicious contents. It is said to be the first research of its kind on a museological masterpiece.

At 153 cm x 114.5 cm, this 300 kilograms Shiva statue is claimed to be the largest known bronze statue from the Chola Dynasty kept in a museological collection outside of India. “This solid bronze Shiva is evidence of a high level of mastery of bronze casting”, a Museum release says.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged the major museums of world to acquire more Hindu sculpture and art; dedicate permanent space to Hindu artefacts; and organize more exhibitions of Hindu art, sculptures, and architecture to make the present and future generations aware about their richness.

Rajan Zed argued that because of their richness and other factors, Hindu artefacts were becoming a favourite of museums in America and the West. Many prestigious museums already owned Hindu sculptures and other artefacts and many were planning to acquire them.

Even some formations in world famous Grand Canyon National Park of USA were named as Shiva Temple, Krishna Shrine, Vishnu Temple, Rama Shrine, Brahma Temple (7851 feet), and Hindu Amphitheatre, Zed pointed out.

According to Rajan Zed, various renowned museums in USA which have acquired statues and other artefacts of Hindu deities include Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, California; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond; Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California; Museum of Art and Archaeology in University of Missouri-Columbia, Missouri; Mingei International Museum in San Diego, California; American Museum of Natural History, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art in Pennsylvania; Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland; Dallas Museum of Art, Texas; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri; etc.

Zed further says that other prestigious world museums, which possess statues of Hindu deities, include British Museum in London, United Kingdom; Musae Guimet in Paris, France; Museum for Asiatische Kunst in Berlin, Germany; Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand; Beijing World Art Museum, China; National Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada; Victoria and Albert Museum in London, United Kingdom; etc. Thailand reportedly has a private Ganesha Museum.

Rajan Zed asked foremost art museums of the world, including Musee du Louvre and Musee d’Orsay of Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Los Angeles Getty Center, Uffizi Gallery of Florence (Italy), Art Institute of Chicago, Tate Modern of London, Prado Museum of Madrid (Spain), National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, etc., to frequently organize Hindu art focused exhibitions, thus sharing the rich Hindu art heritage with the rest of the world.

The Rijksmuseum is the national museum of the Netherlands, whose collection comprises 1.1 million objects dating from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Its history goes back to 1800 and it attracts about 900,000 visitors each year. A. Ruys is Chair while Anna Slaczka is curator of South Asian Art of this Museum which contains many stone and bronze sculptures from India.

Zed said that art had a long and rich tradition in Hinduism and ancient Sanskrit literature talked about religious paintings of deities on wood or cloth. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.(ANI)

http://in.news.yahoo.com/x-ray-rare-shiva-statue-surprises-amsterdam-museum-122456298.html

Aseemanand questions bail to Malegaon 7, claims was tortured

Aseemanand questions bail to Malegaon 7, claims was tortured
Author: D K Singh
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: November 28, 2011
URL:
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/aseemanand-questions-bail-to-malegaon-7-claims-was-tortured/881306/0

Ten days after seven accused in the 2006 Malegaon blast case were
released on bail, partly because of his confession that Hindu extremists
were behind the attack, Swami Aseemanand has questioned the decision,
reiterating that he had already retracted that statement made by him
under “extortion”.

In a memorandum sent to President Pratibha Patil yesterday, with copies
to the prime minister, home minister and the National Human Rights
Commission among others, Aseemanand also alleged that he had been
tortured “on account of my religion”.

“How can my extorted confession that was retracted be taken… to the
aid of the Malegaon accused when no court has pronounced on my retracted
confession? How can NIA (National Investigation Agency) support the bail
pleas of Muslim accused in the Malegaon case in the face of the
confession by these accused and the inputs shared by the government of
India with the US and the UNO?” Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Aseemanand, who
had been arrested in Mecca Masjid blast case in 2007, says in the
memorandum.

“What a travesty of justice! On one hand a Hindu sanyasi like me is
being made to suffer unimaginable and unbearable indignities by
investigating agencies and state actors so as to extort my confessions.
On the other hand, Muslim accused in the Malegaon case are allowed bail
on the stand of the Union Home Ministry and the NIA using this extorted
(retracted) confession,” stated Aseemanand.

In November 2010, he had been arrested by CBI officials from Haridwar en
route Delhi, said Aseemanand. “CBI officials on several occasions
stopped the vehicle on the roadside in pitch dark and made me kneel on
the ground. After putting pistol on my temple they threatened to kill me
if I did not act as per their desire. Upon my refusal they threatened
that they would push me towards on-coming speeding traffic and that my
death would be in accident. In this situation I felt ashamed that as a
Hindu I have no human rights; I was subjected to torture on account of
my religion. In custody, I was isolated. Losing all hope and to save my
family members, I succumbed to their pressure and torture.”

He said that CBI officials “tortured” him to give 164 statements. He
alleged that even in judicial custody CBI and NIA personnel enjoyed free
and unregulated access to him. “On occasions even after midnight I was
insultingly treated and (accused of) involvement in various blast cases.
They also threatened to eliminate my mother, brother, and other
relatives if I did not succumb to their demands,” stated Aseemanand,
adding that when he was produced before the magistrate in Delhi on
December 18, 2010, CBI officials were present in plainclothes and one of
them “directed” him to depose “as per his instructions and the typed
statement given by him”.

“Because of the immense mental and physical pressure I could not muster
enough courage to tell the magistrate that I was making the statement
under compulsion.”

He gave graphic details of his “unbearable physical torture” and stated,
“They indicated that if I ever failed to tow their line, my mother would
be brought from Hubli, I would be subjected to indignities before her
after being undressed.”

“While in judicial custody in Tihar jail, I was kept in a cell along
with two Muslim prisoners. They knew who I am. I was under traumatic
condition and had no courage to resist the threats. I made the statement
before the court as desired and tutored by the CBI officials,” said
Aseemanand.

He said on January 15, 2011, he was taken to the room of “Dept”
Superintendent, Central Jail Ambala, where NIA officials were present.

They gave him draft of the statement and directed him to make the said
statement before the magistrate.

“Surrounded by such desperately deadly law enforcement agencies I again
succumbed to the dictates of NIA officials and got recorded confessional
statement on 15.01.2011 before the Panchkula court,” said Aseemanand,
adding that ATS Rajasthan too “forced” him to write an application to
become approver in the Ajmer blast case.

“Madam President, my confession was a result of the unimaginable
physical and mental torture. This has been retracted. No judicial court
has pronounced on my confession one way or the other. How can the
accused in the Malegaon be shown indulgence of bail on the basis of my
retracted confession when they had themselves given their confessional
statement in the case? I get an impression that I am being targeted
because I am a Hindu…,” said Aseemanand.

He added, “Madam President, it is astonishing to learn how after
carrying out detailed investigations, and having informed the United
Nations and the US about the involvement of Lashkar-e-Toiba and HUJi
terrorist behind the Samjhauta blast, the home ministry has taken a
summersault and started to rely upon criminally extorted confessional
statement, which has already been retracted by me.”

Bunker Roy: Learning from a barefoot movement

Bunker Roy: Learning from a barefoot movement

Forces halting our n-surge

The agitation against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant has been running as a TV reality show for weeks now. The news-starved visual media has reduced the Koodankulam nuclear plant — a national investment of Rs 13,000 crore and just about to start — to a day-matinee-night show. The Koodankulam theatre is plagiarised on the Anna Fast model for media to hype it. The media too obliged and packaged it as hapless villagers fighting for their right to live. For long, it had winked at the scriptwriters, directors and actors behind the show. But does the media know — or not — that Koodankulam is no isolated event? And that the goals and mission that drive it link it to the stir that is on for almost two decades in the distant and remote West Khasi Hills in Meghalaya against uranium mining? The scriptwriters, directors and actors behind both have a common mission. The Koodankulam stir blocks the building of a nuclear plant for India. The West Khasi Hills agitation prevents the building of nuclear arsenal for India. Who are the directors and actors and what is their mission?

See what nuclear technology means to India. India needs nuclear power and nuclear weapons. There are, in the world, 22,000 nuclear bombs, 8,000 actively targeted at one another’s perceived enemy. China has some 240 bombs targeted mostly at India. Pakistan has some 80 bombs targeted only at India. India has 100, less than a third of both. No one deeply concerned for India can even remotely undermine nuclear technology for power or weapons. On the other side, our energy security, heavily import-dependent, is at risk. We, a sixth of humanity, remain a burden on the world. Shamefully. We import oil, coal and gas. Our energy imports is $100 billion a year. Of which, coal imports, now 100 billion tons, alone cost $5 billion; it will reach $45 billion in 2020, $250 billion by 2050. We today produce 1,50,000MW of electricity. We need to raise it, by over six times, to 9,50,000MW, by 2030. This is not doable through imported fuel. It needs no seer to tell us that, in the long run, we need indigenously fuelled power. For which a prime candidate is nuclear power.

Now, compare the environmental and human risk in thermal and nuclear power. The risk in one is the merit of the other. Experts say that a 1,000MW coal power plant causes annually 400 deaths by air pollution and climatic change. Nuclear energy does risk accidents — but once in decades — just four accidents in 60 years, involving 66 direct and 4,000 related deaths. It is far less risky compared thermal power. Air accidents kill some 1,000 persons in the world annually. Traffic accidents killed 1.14 lakh people in 2007 in India alone. Yet to think of banning coal, nor air or automobile travel will be laughable. The balance sheet of nuclear energy is thus superior, less risky, and more clean. Why do some brand nuclear power as evil? Now see how do we produce nuclear power and also weaponise India.
Now uranium drives our nuclear programme. Our minimal uranium reserves are mainly located in Khasi Hills in Meghalaya, Jaduguda in Jharkhand and Tummalappalle in Andhra Pradesh. Global uranium trade is political, controlled by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The NSG sells uranium only to an approved country and its nuclear reactors are subject to NSG supervision. India signed a loaded nuclear treaty with the US only to win the NSG approval to access imported uranium. Now 14 of our 22 nuclear reactors are subject to global supervision. Only the unsupervised eight are usable for producing nuclear weapons. India can import uranium from the NSG for its nuclear power reactors, but import is only a short term answer, and costly for a country of our size. To fuel large nuclear power plants and for energy security, we cannot rely on imported uranium for long. Ultimately it has to be indigenous fuel. Fortunately, we have the world’s largest deposit of thorium, an alternative to uranium and the nuclear fuel of future. We are perfecting the technology to use thorium for producing power. But, till that happens, we need to mine indigenous uranium, first, to reduce the dependence on imports for our nuclear power programme and, next, for operating the eight reactors to produce nuclear weaponry. The two facts are self evident. And now lift the veil and see the common faces behind the two decade-old Khasi Hills agitation against uranium mining and the agitation against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant — that is against nuclear India itself.

That the Koodankulam stir is the show of the Catholic Church has become out, but a bit late. Neutral media reports now confirm that S P Udaykumar, who leads the agitation, stays with the parish priest Father Jaikumar at Idinthakarai village; Fr Jaikumar openly supports the stir; Fr Thadyuse, the priest of the church in Koodankulam, too is forthright in his support; Fr S Peter, priest at the popular St Antony’s Church in the coastal village Ovary, sends his flock to partake in the relay fast at Idinthakarai; local Christians priests confirm that the Bishop at Tirunelveli supports the stir. The church hierarchy is therefore fully at it. According to reports, transport, cash and biriyani are provided to mobilise protesters and they are motivated to throw stones at the maintenance officials of the plant to force its closure. Remove the church, the agitation will stop.

Now see the face behind the agitation in the Christian-majority Meghalaya, which has a sixth of India’s uranium reserves. Not a kilogramme of uranium has been mined out of Meghalaya since 1990, thanks to 20-year long agitation by Khasi Hills students against mining it. The church in Meghalaya is backing, actually organising, the students. Violent incidents, blockade, picketing, huge rallies, setting fire to government offices and paralysing government marked the agitation (http://wise-uranium.org/upinml.html). And who talks for the agitators? The archbishop of Shillong, Dominic Jala. (http://www.cathnewsindia.com/2009/10/29/uranium-mining-archbishop-wants-dialogue-2/). Take the church out, there will be no stir. Even the uranium reserve in Jharkhand is at risk. A huge tribal campaign, with NGOs patronised by the church backing it, is thwarting uranium mining in Jharkhand.

QED: The campaign against mining uranium in Meghalaya and against the Koodankulam nuclear plant is by the same directors and actors with global links and money. Their target is nuclear India. They are driven by a geopolitical agenda to de-nuke India. But they actually nuke India.

http://expressbuzz.com/opinion/columnists/forces-halting-our-n-surge/333225.html

S Gurumurthy is a well-known commentator on political and economic
issues.

E-mail: comment@gurumurthy.net

Truth Exposed: The reality behind Church attack at Mangalore of November-3-2011

Truth Exposed: The reality behind Church attack at Mangalore of November-3-2011
http://samvada.org/2011/news/truth-exposed-the-reality-behind-church-attack-at-mangalore-of-november-3-2011/
A Love story and A Church attack!
Mangalore: On November 3rd 2011, there was another incident happened in Mangalore which drew national headlines within an hour after occurrence. After a gap of atleast an year there was an alleged Church attack. This time it was St Alphonse Catholic Church, Kankanady, located in heart of Mangalore City.

Shibu Jalligudde- the lover turned attacker!!
The incident of ‘attack’ took place at 8.30pm, but according to police sources they were informed after an hour, at 9.30pm. There was an intentional delay in informing the police though the Police Station was nearer, the Church being in a city like Mangalore. However a youth by name Shibu, was arrested, sent for judicial custody till November 22.
Few national and local media’s took no time to declare that this is again an attack from Sangh Parivar. Copying these reports few International media too reported the same. Few Irresponsible Media brought name of Sangh Parivar like ‘Taken for granted’. They publicized the report in an exaggerated and often misleading manner beyond the reality.
Now the truth is unfurled by a Weekly ‘Vikrama’ for national resurgence.
According to VIKARAMA report, the truth was shocking!
Shibu, a local person from Jalligudde Mangalore was a bus conductor by profession. He had a love affair with a Nun (Christian Woman Priest) of that church since long time. She used to travel in his bus regularly. Whenever Church’s Father was out of Church, Shibu used to go to Church to meet her. There was an alleged sexual relationship between Shibu and her. To prove that inner-wears from a branded company was obtained on the spot.

Inner-wears obtained on the spot
When few people in Church knew this and opposed about the same. Shibu got angry when he was opposed. Either Shibu damaged Statue of Jesus Christ and Mother Mary or Men in church themselves damaged these and later made this fake allegations. The following question arises here.
• The incident of ‘attack’ took place at 8.30pm, but according to police sources they were informed after an hour, at 9.30pm
• Church The incident took place in Father’s room. If Father was not there, how Shibu gets the key of the room?
• If Shibu, being a representative of Hindu Organisation who purposely attacked Church, why he was caught easily inside the church, even prior to an escape attempt?
• Why Shibu’s clothes, including a Jockey Underwear was found inside the room?
• On November 7th, few persons from Church called Shibu’s father to a secret place for compromise discussions?
• What made Church people to ask Shibu’s father to declare that his son to is ‘mentally diseased’?
• What benefit the Church gets if they claim Shibu mentally unfit?
• Why still district’s administrations and Police not declared the investigation report even after 12 days? Why there is silence?
Hence still there is an uncertainty. According to Sangh Parivar Sources as told to VSK, the man caught Shibu has not connected to it. He is a ordinary man with emeotins, may did the attack after frustration of love with his woman. Its unfortunate to blame Sangh Parivar for anything and everything, though we have good ties with many Christian leaders, said a Top RSS Functionary from Mangalore. We condemn any attack on any religious sentiments, he said.
People of Mangalore eagerly waiting for the final Police inquiry report.

Damaged statue
ಬೆತ್ತಲಾದ ಚರ್ಚ್ ಪ್ರಕರಣ
ಮಂಗಳೂರು: ನಾಗರಿಕ ಪ್ರಜ್ಞೆ ಇರುವ ಮಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ಮತ್ತು ಮತೀಯ ಶಾಂತಿಗೆ ಧಕ್ಕೆಯಾಗುವ ಘಟನೆಗಳು ಮರುಕಳಿಸಲೇ ಬಾರದು. ಇದನ್ನೇ ಜನ ಬಯಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಜನ ಸೌಹಾರ್ದಯುತ ಬದುಕುನ್ನು ಕಾಣುತ್ತಿರುವಾಗಲೇ ವಿಚಲಿತಗೊಳಿಸುವ ಮತ್ತೊಂದು ಘಟನೆ ದಕ್ಷಿಣ ಕನ್ನಡ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆದಿದೆ.
ದ.ಕ. ಜಿಲ್ಲೆಯ ಯಾವುದೇ ಭಾಗದಲ್ಲಿ ಆರಾಧನಾ ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರಗಳ ಮೇಲೆ ದಾಳಿಯಾದರೆ ಮೊದಲು ಆರೋಪ ಕೇಳಿ ಬರುವುದು ಸಂಘ ಪರಿವಾರದ ಮೇಲೆಯೇ.. ಇದು ವಿಪರ್ಯಾಸ.
ಗಾಳಿ-ಮಳೆಗೆ ಹಾನಿ ಸಂಭವಿಸಿದರೂ, ಮೂರ್ತಿಗಳು ಭಗ್ನಗೊಂಡರೂ ಅದು ಸಂಘ ಪರಿವಾರದ ಕೆಲಸ ಎಂದು ಹೇಳಿಕೆ ನೀಡಲು ಮತ್ತು ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರೀಯ ಮಾಧ್ಯಮಗಳಿಗೆ ಸುದ್ದಿ ತಲುಪಿಸಲು ತುದಿಗಾಲಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಂತಿರುವ ದೊಡ್ಡ ಬಳಗವೇ ಮಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿದೆ. ಆ ಬಳಗವನ್ನು ಪೋಷಿಸುವ ಹಿತೈಷಿಗಳೂ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಸದಾ ಕ್ರಿಯಾಶೀಲವಾಗಿರುವುದು ಕೂಡಾ ಅಷ್ಟೇ ಸತ್ಯ.
ನವೆಂಬರ್ 3ರಂದು ಇಲ್ಲಿನ ಕಂಕನಾಡಿಯ ಸೈಂಟ್ ಅಲ್ಫೋನ್ಸಾ ಕ್ಯಾಥೋಲಿಕ್ ಚರ್ಚ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆದ ದಾಂಧಲೆಯ ಸುದ್ದಿಯೂ ಅತಿ ಶೀಘ್ರವಾಗಿ ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರೀಯ- ಅಂತಾರಾಷ್ಟ್ರೀಯ ಸುದ್ದಿ ಮಾಧ್ಯಮಗಳಿಗೆ ತಲುಪಿದೆ. ಮಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಸಂಘ ಪರಿವಾರದಿಂದ ನಿರಂತರವಾಗಿ ಚರ್ಚ್ಗಳ ಮೇಲೆ ದಾಳಿ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿದೆ ಎಂಬ ಅರ್ಥ ಬರುವ ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅದೇ ರಾತ್ರಿ ಸುದ್ದಿ ಬಿತ್ತರವಾಗಿದೆ.
ಆದರೆ ಗುರುವಾರ ರಾತ್ರಿ ಕಂಕನಾಡಿ ಚರ್ಚ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಜವಾಗಿ ನಡೆದುದಾದರೂ ಏನು? ದಾಂಧಲೆ ನಡೆಸುವ ಉದ್ದೇಶವನ್ನು ಚರ್ಚ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಸಿಕ್ಕಿಬಿದ್ದ ಜಲ್ಲಿಗುಡ್ಡೆಯ ನಿವಾಸಿ ಶಿಬು ಹೊಂದಿದ್ದರೆ ಅಷ್ಟು ಬೇಗನೆ ಅಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಬರುತಿದ್ದನೇ? ರಾತ್ರಿ 8.30 -8.45ಮಧ್ಯೆ ಘಟನೆ ಸಂಭವಿಸಿದೆ. ಪೊಲೀಸರಿಗೆ ಮಾಹಿತಿ ನೀಡಿದ್ದು 9.30ರ ಸುಮಾರಿಗೆ. ಯಾರು, ಯಾಕೆ ವಿಳಂಬ ನೀತಿಯನ್ನು ಅನುಸರಿಸಿದರು? ಚರ್ಚ್ನ ಧರ್ಮಗುರುಗಳು ಊರಲ್ಲಿರಲಿಲ್ಲವೆಂದಾದ ಮೇಲೆ ಅವರ ಕೋಣೆಯ ಬೀಗದ ಕೀ ಶಿಬುವಿಗೆ ದೊರೆತುದಾದರೂ ಹೇಗೆ?
ದಾಳಿಗೆಂದು ಬಂದ ದುಷ್ಕರ್ಮಿ ತನ್ನ ಬಟ್ಟೆ ಬರೆಗಳನ್ನು ಹ್ಯಾಂಗರ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ತೂಗು ಹಾಕಿರಲು ಕಾರಣವೇನು?
ಒಳ ಉಡುಪು ಕಳಚಿಡುವುದಕ್ಕೂ ದಾಳಿಗೂ ಏನಾದರೂ ಸಂಬಂಧವಿದೆಯೇ ಎಂಬ ಅಂಶ ಪ್ರಮುಖವಾಗಿ ಕಂಡುಬಂದಿದ್ದು ಪೊಲೀಸರ ದೃಷ್ಟಿಯೂ ಇದರತ್ತಲೇ ನೆಟ್ಟಿದೆ. ತನಿಖೆಯೂ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿದೆ.
ಧರ್ಮಗುರುಗಳ ಕೊಠಡಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಮಹಿಳೆಯರು ಬಳಸುವ ಛತ್ರಿಯೊಂದು ಪತ್ತೆಯಾಗಿರುವುದು ಗೊತ್ತಾಗಿದೆ. ಅದು ಯಾರಿಗೆ ಸೇರಿದ್ದು? ಆ ಛತ್ರಿ ಅಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಹೇಗೆ ಬಂತು ಎಂಬ ಕುರಿತು ಚರ್ಚೆಯಾಗುತ್ತಿದೆ. ಹಾಸಿಗೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ‘ವೀ….’ ಬಿದ್ದಿರುವ ವದಂತಿಯೂ ಹಬ್ಬಿದ್ದು ಇದೊಂದು ‘ರಾತ್ರಿಯಾಟ’ ಎಂಬುದನ್ನು ಜನರೇ ಮಾತಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಕೊಣೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ದೊರೆತ ಒಳಉಡುಪು, ಕೂದಲನ್ನು ಸದ್ಯ ಪ್ರಯೋಗಾಲಯಕ್ಕೆ ಕೊಂಡೊಯ್ಯಲಾಗಿದೆ.
‘ಆರೋಪಿ ಕ್ಯಾಂಡಲ್ ಸ್ಟ್ಯಾಂಡಿನಿಂದ ಹೊಡೆದು ಯೇಸು ಕ್ರಿಸ್ತರ ಮೂರ್ತಿಯ ಪಾದಕ್ಕೆ ಹಾನಿಗೊಳಿಸಿದ್ದಾನೆ. ಮೇರಿ ಮಾತೆಯ ಮೂರ್ತಿಯ ಕಿರೀಟವನ್ನು ಕೆಳಕ್ಕೆ ಎಸೆದಿದ್ದಾನೆ ’ ಎಂದು ಧರ್ಮ ಗುರುಗಳು ಪೋಲೀಸರಿಗೆ ನೀಡಿದ ಹೇಳಿಕೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ತಿಳಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಹಾಗಾದರೆ ಚರ್ಚ್ನೊಳಗೆ ಕಲ್ಲುಗಳು ಎಲ್ಲಿಂದ ಬಂದವು? ದಾಂಧಲೆಗೆಂದು ಬಂದವನು ಜನರನ್ನು ಕಂಡಾಗ ತಪ್ಪಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಪ್ರಯತ್ನಿಸುತ್ತಾನೆ. ಬದಲಾಗಿ ಇನ್ನಷ್ಟು ಆವಾಂತರ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿಸಿ ಸಿಕ್ಕಿ ಬೀಳಲು ಇಷ್ಟ ಪಡುವುದಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂಬುದು ಬಹಳ ಮುಖ್ಯ.
ಚರ್ಚ್ನೊಳಗೆ ನಡೆದ ‘ಅಪವಿತ್ರ’ ಕೆಲಸವನ್ನು ಮರೆಮಾಚಲು ಮೂರ್ತಿ ಭಗ್ನವನ್ನು ಅಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಸಂಬಂಧ ಪಟ್ಟವರೇ ಯಾಕೆ ಮಾಡಿರಬಾರದು? ಈ ಸಿದ್ಧತೆಗಳನ್ನು ಪೂರೈಸಿದ ಬಳಿಕವೇ ಚರ್ಚ್ ಮಂದಿ ಪೊಲೀಸರಿಗೆ ದೂರು ತಲುಪಿಸಿರುವ ಸಾಧ್ಯತೆಗಳಿಲ್ಲವೇ?
ಚರ್ಚ್ನ ನನ್ನೊಂದಿಗೆ ಸಂಬಂಧ?
ಚರ್ಚ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಸಿಕ್ಕಿ ಬಿದ್ದಿರುವ ಶಿಬು ನಾಲ್ಕು ದಿನಗಳ ಪೊಲೀಸ್ ಕಸ್ಟಡಿಯ ಬಳಿಕ ನ.22ರವರೆಗೆ ನ್ಯಾಯಾಂಗ ಬಂಧನದಲ್ಲಿದ್ದಾನೆ. ನಗರದ ಸಿಟಿ ಬಸ್ ಒಂದರಲ್ಲಿ ನಿರ್ವಾಹಕನಾಗಿದ್ದ ಶಿಬು ಚರ್ಚ್ನ ನನ್ (ಕ್ರೈಸ್ತ ಸನ್ಯಾಸಿನಿ) ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಸಂಬಂಧ ಹೊಂದಿದ್ದ ಎನ್ನಲಾಗಿದೆ.
ನಿತ್ಯ ಅದೇ ಬಸ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಯಾಣಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ನನ್ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಆತನ ಸ್ನೇಹ ಗಾಢವಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಇದೇ ಕಾರಣದಿಂದ ಚರ್ಚ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಯಾರೂ ಇಲ್ಲದ ವೇಳೆ ಆತ ನನ್ರನ್ನು ಭೇಟಿ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದ. ನ.೩ರಂದು ಕೂಡ ಅದೇರೀತಿ ತೆರಳಿದ್ದಾನೆ. ಆತನ ದುರಾದೃಷ್ಟಕ್ಕೆ ಚರ್ಚ್ನ ಕೆಲವು ಮಂದಿ ಕಂಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಆದರೆ ಪ್ರಾರ್ಥನೆ ಸಲ್ಲಿಸಲು ಬಂದಿಬೇಕೆಂದು ಅವರಂದುಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದರು. ಆದರೆ ಆತ ವಾಪಾಸು ಬರುವ ಸುಳಿವು ಇಲ್ಲವಾದಾಗ ಹುಡುಕುವ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನ ಸಾಗಿದೆ.
ಚರ್ಚ್ನ ಫಾದರ್ ಇಲ್ಲದ ಸಂದರ್ಭವೇ ಶಿಬು ಬರುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ಅನ್ನೋದು ಮತ್ತೊಂದು ವಿಶೇಷ. ಅಂತೆಯೇ ಚರ್ಚ್ನವರು ಹುಡುಕಾಟ ಆರಂಭಿಸಿದಾಗ ಫಾದರ್ ಅವರ ಕೊಠಡಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ನನ್ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಶಿಬು ಬೆತ್ತಲೆಯಾಗಿ ಸಿಕ್ಕಿಬಿದ್ದಿದ್ದಾನೆ. ಆತ ಕಳಚಿಟ್ಟ ಒಳ ಉಡುಪು ಸ್ಥಳದಲ್ಲೇ ಪತ್ತೆಯಾಗಿದೆ. ಚರ್ಚ್ನ ಮಂದಿಯನ್ನು ಕಂಡಾತ ತಪ್ಪಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಭರದಲ್ಲಿ ಬೆತ್ತಲಾಗಿಯೇ ಓಟಕ್ಕಿತ್ತಿದ್ದಾನೆ. ಆ ಸಂದರ್ಭ ಟೇಬಲ್ ಮೇಲಿದ್ದ ಟೇಬಲ್ ಕ್ಲಾತ್ನ್ನು ಸೆಳೆದು ಸೊಂಟಕ್ಕೆ ಸುತ್ತಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಪ್ರಯತ್ನ್ನಿಸಿದ್ದು ಆ ಸಂದರ್ಭ ಆತನ ಕೈ ಏಸುವಿನ ಶಿಲುಬೆಗೆ ತಾಗಿ ಹಾನಿಯಾಗಿರಬೇಕು. ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಪವಿತ್ರ ವಸ್ತುಗಳುನ್ನು ಇಟ್ಟಿದ್ದ ಟೇಬಲ್ ಮೇಲಿದ್ದ ವಸ್ತುಗಳು ಕೆಳಗೆ ಬಿದ್ದು ಚೆಲ್ಲಾಪಿಲ್ಲಿಯಾಗಿವೆ ಎಂಬುದು ಕಣ್ಣೆದುರಿರುವ ಸತ್ಯ ಎಂದು ಜನರೇ ಆಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾರೆ.

ಗುಪ್ತಸಭೆ, ಆರೋಪಿ ಮಾನಸಿಕ ಅಸ್ವಸ್ಥನೆಂದು ಬಿಂಬಿಸುವ ಯತ್ನ
ಸತ್ಯ ವಿಷಯ ಬಹಿರಂಗಗೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದಂತೆ ನೈಜ ಪ್ರಕರಣಕ್ಕೆ ತೇಪೆ ಹಚ್ಚಿ ಮುಗಿಸುವ ಯತ್ನ ನಡೆದಿದೆ.
ಶಿಬುನನ್ನು ಮಾನಸಿಕ ಅಸ್ವಸ್ಥ ಎಂದು ಬಿಂಬಿಸಿ ಪ್ರಕರಣವನ್ನು ತಿಳಿಗೊಳಿಸುವ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನ ಸಾಗಿದ್ದು ನ.೭ರಂದು ಚರ್ಚ್ಗೆ ಸಂಬಂಧಿಸಿದ ಪ್ರಮುಖರೊಬ್ಬರು ಶಿಬುನ ತಂದೆಯನ್ನು ಮಾತುಕತೆ ನಡೆಸಲೆಂದು ಕಂಕನಾಡಿಯ ಕಚೇರಿಯೊಂದಕ್ಕೆ ಕರೆಸಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ.
ಗುಪ್ತ ಆಹ್ವಾನದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಶಿಬುನ ಸ್ನೇಹಿತ ಹಿಂದೂ ಸಂಘಟನೆಯೊಂದಕ್ಕೆ ಸುದ್ದಿ ಮುಟ್ಟಿಸಿದ್ದರು. ಸೋಮವಾರ ಮಾತುಕತೆ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದಂತೆ ಸಂಘಟನೆಯ ಕೆಲವರು ಆ ಸ್ಥಳಕ್ಕೆ ಭೇಟಿ ನೀಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಇದನ್ನು ಕಂಡು ದಂಗಾದ ಚರ್ಚ್ ಪ್ರಮುಖರು ವಿಷಯಾಂತರಕ್ಕೆ ಯತ್ನಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಅಲ್ಲದೆ ಬಂದವರ ಮೇಲೆಯೇ ರೇಗಾಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ.
ಆದಾಗ್ಯೂ ಚರ್ಚ್ನ ನನ್ ಮತ್ತು ಶಿಬು ನಡುವಿನ ಗಾಢ ಸ್ನೇಹದಿಂದಲೇ ಆತ ಗುರುವಾರ ರಾತ್ರಿ ಚರ್ಚ್ಗೆ ಬಂದಿದ್ದ ಎಂಬ ಸತ್ಯ ಒಪ್ಪಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಅವರು ಸಿದ್ಧರಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಚರ್ಚ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಆಕಸ್ಮಿಕವಾಗಿ ಈ ಘಟನೆ ನಡೆದಿದೆ ಎಂದು ಪತ್ರಿಕಾ ಹೇಳಿಕೆ ನೀಡುವಂತೆ ಸಂಘಟನೆಯವರು ತಿಳಿಸಿದಾಗ, ಇದನ್ನು ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಪ್ರಮುಖರು ಚರ್ಚಿಸಿ ತೀರ್ಮಾನಿಸುತ್ತಾರೆ ಎಂದು ನುಣುಚಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಯತ್ನ ನಡೆಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ.
ಆಡಳಿತ ಮಂಡಳಿ ತೀರ್ಮಾನಿಸುವುದಾದರೆ ಗೌಪ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಶಿಬುನ ತಂದೆಯನ್ನು ಮಾತುಕತೆಗೆ ಕರೆಯುವ ಔಚಿತ್ಯವೇನಿತ್ತು? ಎಂಬ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗೆ ಅವರಲ್ಲಿ ಉತ್ತರವಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ.
ಆಮಿಷ ಒಡ್ಡಿ ಪ್ರಕರಣ ತಿರುಚಲು ಯತ್ನ?
ಆಮಿಷ ಒಡ್ಡಿ , ಶಿಬುನನ್ನು ಕುಡುಕ, ಮಾನಸಿಕ ಅಸ್ವಸ್ಥ ಎಂದು ಆತನ ತಂದೆಯ ಮೂಲಕವೇ ಬಹಿರಂಗಪಡಿಸಲು ಅವರನ್ನು ಮಾತುಕತೆಗೆ ಕರೆಸಲಾಗಿತ್ತೆನ್ನಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ಶಾಂತಿ-ಸಾಮರಸ್ಯದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ನೈಜ ಕಾಳಜಿ ಇರುವುದೇ ಆದರೆ ಚರ್ಚ್ ಸತ್ಯವಿಚಾರವನ್ನು ಬಹಿರಂಗಪಡಿಸಬೇಕು. ಪೊಲೀಸರು ಶೀಘ್ರ ತನಿಖೆ ನಡೆಸಿ ಸತ್ಯಾಂಶವನ್ನು ಸಮಾಜದ ಮುಂದಿಡಬೇಕು. ಜನರಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಗೊಂದಲವನ್ನು ನಿವಾರಿಸಬೇಕು. ಚರ್ಚ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಜವಾಗಿಯೂ ನಡೆದಿದ್ದೇನು? ಎಂಬುದು ಪೊಲೀಸರು ಅಥವಾ ಚರ್ಚ್ನವರ ಮೂಲಕ ಶೀಘ್ರ ಬಹಿರಂಗಗೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕು ಎಂದು ವಿವಿಧ ಸಂಘಟನೆಗಳು, ನಾಗರಿಕರು ಒತ್ತಾಯಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಇದಕ್ಕೂ ಮುನ್ನ ಚರ್ಚ್ ಮೇಲೆ ಮತ್ತೆ ದಾಳಿ ಎಂದು ಭಾರೀ ಗುಲ್ಲೆಬ್ಬಿಸುವ ಯತ್ನ ನಡೆದಿದ್ದನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಸ್ಮರಿಸಬಹುದು.
ಪ್ರಕರಣ ತಿರುವು ಪಡೆಯುತ್ತಿದ್ದಂತೆ ಪತ್ರಿಕಾಗೋಷ್ಠಿ ಕರೆದು ತಮ್ಮ ಬೇಳೆ ಬೇಯಿಸಿ ಉರಿವ ಬೆಂಕಿಗೆ ತುಪ್ಪ ಸುರಿಯುವ ಕೆಲಸ ಮಾಡುವ ಮಂದಿ, ಈಗ ತುಟಿಪಿಟಿಕ್ಕೆನ್ನುತ್ತಿಲ್ಲ. ಚರ್ಚ್ ದಾಳಿ ಎಂದು ಬಿಂಬಿತವಾದಾಗ ಎಲ್ಲಿಲ್ಲದ ಮುತುವರ್ಜಿಯಿಂದ ಇದು ಹಿಂದೂ ಸಂಘಟನೆಗಳದ್ದೇ ಕೆಲಸ ಎಂಬ ರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ವಿಷಯ ಬಿತ್ತರವಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಹೇಳಿಕೆಗಳೂ ಅದೇ ರೀತಿ ಇದ್ದವು. ಒಂದು ವೇಳೆ ಕೋರ್ಟ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಶಿಬು ನನ್ನೊಂದಿಗಿನ ಸಂಬಂಧದ ಹಿನ್ನೆಲೆಯಲ್ಲೇ ತಾನು ಚರ್ಚ್ಗೆ ಬರುತ್ತಿದ್ದೆ ಎಂಬ ಹೇಳಿಕೆ ನೀಡಿದರೆ ಚರ್ಚ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿರುವ ವಿಷಯಗಳತ್ತ ಜನ ಪ್ರಶ್ನಾರ್ಥಕವಾಗಿ ನೋಡುವುದಂತೂ ಸತ್ಯ.

Ram Madhav writes- ‘REANGS – VICTIMS OF RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN MIZORAM’

Ram Madhav writes- ‘REANGS – VICTIMS OF RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN MIZORAM’

They are popularly known in the North East as Reangs. They are the non-Christian tribe, whose original name is Bru. They inhabited the southern parts of the Christian dominated state of Mizoram. Being non-Christian in a Christian state had its price.
Repeatedly subjected to persecution at the hands of the Mizo population as well as the political dispensation the Reangs – or the Bru people – were finally hounded out of the state during prolonged communal strife in 1997. It is 14 years since they had become refugees in their own land. Escaping from the marauders thousands of Reangs – men, women and children – fled into the neighbouring state of Tripura. For the last 14 years they have been living there in 7 different relief camps.

A total population of nearly 35,000 these Reang refugees today lead a pathetic life. Internally Displaced Persons – IDPs – are supposed to be the responsibility of the Union Government. However the Government at the Center is too busy placating the gun-weilding terror groups in the North East and it has no time for these hapless Reang refugees. The Tripura State Government tries to do its little but that is grossly insufficient for the thousands of Reangs. They live in most inhospitable mountainous region in the North Tripura distrct along the Mizoram border. There is no water or electricity facility. Thousands of thatched huts dot hill after the hill in the region. Obviously there are no schools or hospitals.

For living they depend mostly on the forests in the region. Able men and women venture into the forests and fetch firewood or teak and sell it in the nearby town to make some earning. But that too is not possible during mansoon months and in any case very few among the refugees can endure such physical labour under such had conditions. The ration that they get is shockingly low – Rs. 5 per day and 450 gms of rice per day for elders and half of it for the children. How on earth can anyone survive with Rs. 5 a day? A total of around 35,000 people survive on that meagre ration in these inhospitable jungles today. There are seven camps in total. Details of the refugee population in the camps are as follows: Camp Families Persons 1. Nayasinha Pada 3052 17668 2. Asha Pada 982 5000 3. Hazachera 770 3000 4. Kaisaka Pada 599 3800 5. Khakchang Pada 208 1300 6. Hansa Pada 312 1925 7. Naisau Pada 231 1500 The travails of these Reangs began the day they demanded a separate Autonomous District Council for them in Mizoram. Sometime in the middle of 1997 organisations like the Young Bru Association (YBA) and Bru Social Cultural Organisation (BSCO) started talking about this Council. No sooner had this demand reached Mizo organisations the retaliation began. Groups like Young Mizo Association (YMA) and Mizo Zyalai Powl (MZP), a local Christian Mizo group, started threatening the Bru people to withdraw the demand for autonomous council. Thereafter began the assault on the hapless minority Reangs. Their houses were attacked and ransacked, burnt down, looted, cattle were killed, elders were harassed, women folk abused and all this happened in front of the Government which chose to turn a blind eye. It is a known fact that several such autonomous councils exist in the states of the North East for various tribes. In that sense there was nothing unconstitutional about the demand of the Reangs. In fact there was a reason behind Reangs making this demand.
For a long time they had been facing acute hardships at the hands of the majority Mizos in the areas where they traditionally lived. This discrimination reached its crescendo when the lists containing the names of the Bru people as voters had been mysteriously burnt down in a fire accident. In the subsequent re-enumeration names of hundreds of Bru people were deliberately omitted. This forced the Bru leaders to go in for the demand of autonomous council in order to protect and preserve their identity. Yet they had to face the brunt of the Mizo people and run away into the neighbouring state of Tripura seeking refuge. For the last 14 years they have been living in the jungles of the Kanchanpur sub-division of Tripura North district. Tripura Government under Sri Manik Sarkar does extend a lot of support to these refugees. In June this year a devastating fire had destroyed the thatched huts of these refugees in the densely populated Nayasinh Pada refugee camp. 24 Reangs lost their lives while thousands became home and hearthless. The Tripura State Government immediately arranged for relief and rehabilitation.

District Collecter Ms. Soumya Gupta camped in the forest for ten full days to ensure that the refugees are properly rehabilitated. When I visited the camp in August this years the refugees were full of gratitude for the Government and especially the District Collecter. What struck me the most was that in the meagre rations that they receive the Reangs have saved enough money collectively to build two temple – one for Bhagwan Shiva and the other for Bhagwan Ram. They were building those temples through their own contributions and voluntary labour. The District Administration is arranging for schools, water, rough roads etc. However the central issue of their repatriation remains unanswered. The Central Government shows least interest in the plight of these refugees. Various international agencies too visit them from time to time but do little. For example representatives of the European Union visited the camps after the fire disaster. Many promises ensued. But nothing ever reached them. Their leaders understand that they shouldn’t expect anything from these international bodies as they are non-Christians and their tormentors are Mizos.

Whatever help they get is from the Tripura State administration and organisations like the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram only. Even after the recent fire accident also the Kalyan Ashram has arranged for substantial relief material to help the victims. Apathy of the Central Government and reticence of the Mizoram Government make solution to the problem of the Reangs difficult. Last year the Mizoram Government succeeded in dividing the Reang leadership and buy over a section of the leaders. It came up with a oral repatriation plan according to which the people who return to Mizoram would be provided Rs. 80,000. Representatives of the Central Government force the refugees to accept the offer and return to Mizoram. However the Reang leadership is genuinely concerned about this offer. Firstly it is just an oral offer. Secondly except the meagre sum of Rs. 80,000 the Mizoram Government is not giving any other assurance to these people. For example they want to go back to the constituencies and districts where they can create enough numerical strength to ensure their own safety. But the Government refuses to allow them to change their native district or constituency. The Reangs know nothing exists in their native villages for them. They had to flee those villages precisely because they lacked any support. Now they are being forced to go back to the same places. The Government is not even assuring return of their old property. That means they have to go back and work as labour in the very fields which perhaps they owned some 20 years ago. The Reang leaders want a proper repartiation and resettlement plan. It should be properly written and documented.

Talks for drafting this plan should be held in a free and fair manner. So far the tripartite talks between the Mizoram Government, Central Government and the Reang leaders used to take place in Aizwal only. In an intimidating atmosphere in Aizwal the Reangs fear that they can’t get justice. The talks should take place in Agartala or Guwahati so that there can be free and frank discussion. The political rights of the Reangs need to be safeguarded in any such agreement failing which the entire community would loose its identity. Failure of the governments for years in finding a solution to their pathetic plight led to some Bru youngsters turning to the gun. They had a brush with terrorism through Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) which made matters worse. While those who opted for the gun had been won over by the Mizoram Government through various offers and an MoU, those who wanted a peaceful and democratic settlement faced the brunt of it by way of sidelining of the real problem that the refugees face. Reangs are another case of religious persecution after the Kashmiri Pandits. Both have been persecuted for being a religious minority in their respective states. But there is a major difference.

The world knows about the plight of the Pandits. They have some rights in their state in which the majority of them live. Although refugees for almost same period the Reangs have not been successful in selling their story to the outside world. Hence they suffer…. mostly silently in a remote corner of our country.

http://samvada.org/2011/news/ram-madhav-writes-reangs-victims-of-religious-persecution-in-mizoram/

REANGS – VICTIMS OF RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN MIZORAM

Ram Madhav writes- ‘REANGS – VICTIMS OF RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN MIZORAM’

They are popularly known in the North East as Reangs. They are the non-Christian tribe, whose original name is Bru. They inhabited the southern parts of the Christian dominated state of Mizoram. Being non-Christian in a Christian state had its price.
Repeatedly subjected to persecution at the hands of the Mizo population as well as the political dispensation the Reangs – or the Bru people – were finally hounded out of the state during prolonged communal strife in 1997. It is 14 years since they had become refugees in their own land. Escaping from the marauders thousands of Reangs – men, women and children – fled into the neighbouring state of Tripura. For the last 14 years they have been living there in 7 different relief camps.
A total population of nearly 35,000 these Reang refugees today lead a pathetic life. Internally Displaced Persons – IDPs – are supposed to be the responsibility of the Union Government. However the Government at the Center is too busy placating the gun-weilding terror groups in the North East and it has no time for these hapless Reang refugees. The Tripura State Government tries to do its little but that is grossly insufficient for the thousands of Reangs. They live in most inhospitable mountainous region in the North Tripura distrct along the Mizoram border. There is no water or electricity facility. Thousands of thatched huts dot hill after the hill in the region. Obviously there are no schools or hospitals.
For living they depend mostly on the forests in the region. Able men and women venture into the forests and fetch firewood or teak and sell it in the nearby town to make some earning. But that too is not possible during mansoon months and in any case very few among the refugees can endure such physical labour under such had conditions. The ration that they get is shockingly low – Rs. 5 per day and 450 gms of rice per day for elders and half of it for the children. How on earth can anyone survive with Rs. 5 a day? A total of around 35,000 people survive on that meagre ration in these inhospitable jungles today. There are seven camps in total. Details of the refugee population in the camps are as follows: Camp Families Persons 1. Nayasinha Pada 3052 17668 2. Asha Pada 982 5000 3. Hazachera 770 3000 4. Kaisaka Pada 599 3800 5. Khakchang Pada 208 1300 6. Hansa Pada 312 1925 7. Naisau Pada 231 1500 The travails of these Reangs began the day they demanded a separate Autonomous District Council for them in Mizoram. Sometime in the middle of 1997 organisations like the Young Bru Association (YBA) and Bru Social Cultural Organisation (BSCO) started talking about this Council. No sooner had this demand reached Mizo organisations the retaliation began. Groups like Young Mizo Association (YMA) and Mizo Zyalai Powl (MZP), a local Christian Mizo group, started threatening the Bru people to withdraw the demand for autonomous council. Thereafter began the assault on the hapless minority Reangs. Their houses were attacked and ransacked, burnt down, looted, cattle were killed, elders were harassed, women folk abused and all this happened in front of the Government which chose to turn a blind eye. It is a known fact that several such autonomous councils exist in the states of the North East for various tribes. In that sense there was nothing unconstitutional about the demand of the Reangs. In fact there was a reason behind Reangs making this demand.
For a long time they had been facing acute hardships at the hands of the majority Mizos in the areas where they traditionally lived. This discrimination reached its crescendo when the lists containing the names of the Bru people as voters had been mysteriously burnt down in a fire accident. In the subsequent re-enumeration names of hundreds of Bru people were deliberately omitted. This forced the Bru leaders to go in for the demand of autonomous council in order to protect and preserve their identity. Yet they had to face the brunt of the Mizo people and run away into the neighbouring state of Tripura seeking refuge. For the last 14 years they have been living in the jungles of the Kanchanpur sub-division of Tripura North district. Tripura Government under Sri Manik Sarkar does extend a lot of support to these refugees. In June this year a devastating fire had destroyed the thatched huts of these refugees in the densely populated Nayasinh Pada refugee camp. 24 Reangs lost their lives while thousands became home and hearthless. The Tripura State Government immediately arranged for relief and rehabilitation.
District Collecter Ms. Soumya Gupta camped in the forest for ten full days to ensure that the refugees are properly rehabilitated. When I visited the camp in August this years the refugees were full of gratitude for the Government and especially the District Collecter. What struck me the most was that in the meagre rations that they receive the Reangs have saved enough money collectively to build two temple – one for Bhagwan Shiva and the other for Bhagwan Ram. They were building those temples through their own contributions and voluntary labour. The District Administration is arranging for schools, water, rough roads etc. However the central issue of their repatriation remains unanswered. The Central Government shows least interest in the plight of these refugees. Various international agencies too visit them from time to time but do little. For example representatives of the European Union visited the camps after the fire disaster. Many promises ensued. But nothing ever reached them. Their leaders understand that they shouldn’t expect anything from these international bodies as they are non-Christians and their tormentors are Mizos.
Whatever help they get is from the Tripura State administration and organisations like the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram only. Even after the recent fire accident also the Kalyan Ashram has arranged for substantial relief material to help the victims. Apathy of the Central Government and reticence of the Mizoram Government make solution to the problem of the Reangs difficult. Last year the Mizoram Government succeeded in dividing the Reang leadership and buy over a section of the leaders. It came up with a oral repatriation plan according to which the people who return to Mizoram would be provided Rs. 80,000. Representatives of the Central Government force the refugees to accept the offer and return to Mizoram. However the Reang leadership is genuinely concerned about this offer. Firstly it is just an oral offer. Secondly except the meagre sum of Rs. 80,000 the Mizoram Government is not giving any other assurance to these people. For example they want to go back to the constituencies and districts where they can create enough numerical strength to ensure their own safety. But the Government refuses to allow them to change their native district or constituency. The Reangs know nothing exists in their native villages for them. They had to flee those villages precisely because they lacked any support. Now they are being forced to go back to the same places. The Government is not even assuring return of their old property. That means they have to go back and work as labour in the very fields which perhaps they owned some 20 years ago. The Reang leaders want a proper repartiation and resettlement plan. It should be properly written and documented.
Talks for drafting this plan should be held in a free and fair manner. So far the tripartite talks between the Mizoram Government, Central Government and the Reang leaders used to take place in Aizwal only. In an intimidating atmosphere in Aizwal the Reangs fear that they can’t get justice. The talks should take place in Agartala or Guwahati so that there can be free and frank discussion. The political rights of the Reangs need to be safeguarded in any such agreement failing which the entire community would loose its identity. Failure of the governments for years in finding a solution to their pathetic plight led to some Bru youngsters turning to the gun. They had a brush with terrorism through Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) which made matters worse. While those who opted for the gun had been won over by the Mizoram Government through various offers and an MoU, those who wanted a peaceful and democratic settlement faced the brunt of it by way of sidelining of the real problem that the refugees face. Reangs are another case of religious persecution after the Kashmiri Pandits. Both have been persecuted for being a religious minority in their respective states. But there is a major difference.
The world knows about the plight of the Pandits. They have some rights in their state in which the majority of them live. Although refugees for almost same period the Reangs have not been successful in selling their story to the outside world. Hence they suffer…. mostly silently in a remote corner of our country.
http://samvada.org/2011/news/ram-madhav-writes-reangs-victims-of-religious-persecution-in-mizoram/

Why the decline of the West is best for us – and them

Source: The Economist & McKinsey

Why the decline of the West is best for us – and them

By R Vaidyanathan

R Vaidyanathan is professor of finance, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and can be contacted at vaidya@iimb.ernet.in. The views are personal and do not reflect that of his organisation.

Ten years ago, America had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash. Now it has no Jobs, no Hope and no Cash. Or so the joke goes.
Only, it’s no joke. The line is pretty close to reality in the US. The less said about Europe the better.Both the US and Europe are in decline. I was asked by a business channel in 2008 about recovery in the US. I mentioned 40 quarters and after that I was never invited for another discussion.
Recently, another media person asked me the same question and I answered 80 quarters. He was shocked since he was told some “sprouts” of recovery had been seen in the American economy.
It is important to recognise that the dominance of the West has been there only for last 200-and-odd years. According to Angus Maddison’s pioneering OECD study, India and China had nearly 50 percent of global GDP as late as the 1820s. Hence India and China are not emerging or rising powers. They are retrieving their original position.

The dollar is having a rollercoaster ride at present. Reuters
In 1990, the share of the G-7 in world GDP (on a purchasing power parity basis) was 51 percent and that of emerging markets 36 percent. But in 2011, it is the reverse. So the dominant west is a myth.
Similarly, the crisis. It is a US-Europe crisis and not a global one. The two wars – which were essentially European wars – were made out to be world wars with one English leader commenting that ‘we will fight the Germans to the last Indian’.
In this economic scenario, countries like India are made to feel as if they are in a crisis. Since the West says there’s a crisis, we swallow it hook, line and sinker.
But it isn’t so. At no point of time in the last 20 years has foreign investment – direct and portfolio – exceeded 10 percent of our domestic investment. Our growth is due to our domestic savings which is again predominately household savings. Our housewives require awards for our growth not any western fund manager.
The crisis faced by the West is primarily because it has forgotten a six-letter word called ‘saving’ which, again, is the result of forgetting another six letter word called “family”. The West has nationalised families over the last 60 years. Old age, ill health, single motherhood – everything is the responsibility of the state.
When family is a “burden” and children an “encumbrance,” society goes for a toss. Household savings have been negative in the US for long. The total debt to GDP ratio is as high as 400 percent in many countries, including UK. Not only that, the West is facing a severe demographic crisis. The population of Europe during the First World War was nearly 25 percent and today it is around 11 percent and expected to become 3 percent in another 20 years. Europe will disappear from the world map unless migrants from Africa and Asia take it over.
The demographic crisis impacts the West in other ways. Social security goes for a toss since people are living longer and not many from below contribute to their pensions through taxes. So the nationalisation of families becomes a burden on the state.
European work culture has become worse with even our own Tata complaining about the work ethic of British managers. In France and Italy, the weekend starts on Friday morning itself. The population has become lazy and state-dependent.
In the UK, the situation is worse with drunkenness becoming a common problem. Parents do not have control over children and the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation in London said: “There are all signs of arteriosclerosis of a culture and a civilisation grown old. Me has taken precedence over We and pleasure today over viability tomorrow.” (The Times:8 September ).
Married couples make up less than half (45 percent) of all households in the US, say recent data from the Census Bureau. Also there is a huge growth in unmarried couples and single parent families (mostly poor, black women). Society has become dysfunctional or disorganised in the West. The government is trying to be organised.
In India, society is organised and government disorganised. Because of disorganised society in the West the state has to take care of families. The market crash is essentially due to the adoption of a model where there is consumption with borrowings and no savings. How long will Asian savings be able to sustain the western spending binge?
According to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal (10 October 2011), nearly half of US households receive government benefits like food stamps, subsidised housing, cash welfare or Medicare or Medicaid (the federal-state health care programmes for the poor) or social security.
The US is also a stock market economy where half the households are investors and they have been hit hard by bank and corporate failures. Even now less than 5 percent of our household financial savings goes to the stock market. Same in China and Japan.
Declining empires are dangerous. They will try to peddle their failed models to us and we will swallow it since colonial genes are very much present here. You will find more Indians heading global corporations since India is a very large market and one way to capture it is to make Indian sepoys work for it.
A declining West is best for the rest and also for the West, which needs to rethink its failed models and rework its priorities. For the rest—like us—the fact that the West has failed will be accepted by us only after some western scholars tell us the same. Till then we will try to imitate them and create more dysfunctional families.
We need to recognise that Big Government and Big Business are twin dangers for average citizens. India faces both and they are two asuras we need to guard against. The Leftists in the National Advisory Council want all families to be nationalised and governed by a Big State and reform marketers of the CII variety want Big Business to flourish under crony capitalism. Beware of the twin evils since both look upon India as a charity house or as a market and not as an ancient civilisation.

How to become a Hindu

Becoming a Hindu or Devotee is Easy

By Stephen Knapp

Since Sanatana-dharma is a universal process and applicable to everyone, then naturally anyone can practice its principles. Anyone can and should be accepted to participate in the process. Furthermore, anyone who is looking for the ultimate spiritual Truth is already one who is following the path of Sanatana-dharma. So you could say that anyone who is sincerely looking for such Truth with an open mind is already on the spiritual path, at least on some level, and is thus also a Dharmist, a follower of Sanatana-dharma.

The point is that there is one and only one God and one Absolute Truth. The very first of the Vedic books named the Rig-Veda proclaims, Ekam Sat, Viprah Bahudha Vadanti (There is only one truth, only men describe it in different ways). So a Jew or a Christian or a Muslim who is in search of the Absolute Truth is automatically on the path of Sanatana-dharma. However, if they get stuck with accepting nothing more than their own local traditions, this may hamper their growth in understanding a broader range of the many aspects of the Supreme that are described in other scriptures, such as those of the Vedic literature. So a person’s progress depends on how far he or she really wants to go in this lifetime, and how they approach various levels of knowledge to understand the Absolute Truth.

So those who may be accepted as followers of the Vedic tradition generally accept the following: A) The Vedic literature presents knowledge of the Absolute Truth and are the authority on the Vedic tradition; B) There are various ways to realize different aspects of this spiritual Truth; C) God can appear in different forms; D) We are given more than one life on this road of Self-realization; and E) That ultimately we are responsible for accepting the path we take and the progress we make.

To clarify this last statement, even if you accept the path of Christianity and believe that Jesus will save you, Jesus also said that faith alone is not enough. You must show your faith by your works, and your works will show the true state of your desires and consciousness. Otherwise, if by faith alone you go to heaven yet remain full of material or mundane desires for earthly things, do you think Jesus would force you to stay in heaven? No, he would let you go back to earth, to where you heart is, to try and satisfy all those desires because that is your true state of consciousness. So your spiritual advancement is up to you and is revealed by your own level of consciousness, which will take you to the stage of existence in which you are meant to be.

SHARING THE DHARMA

Since we are all eternal spirit souls, part of the Supreme Truth, we are always a part of Sanatana-dharma, or the eternal path to finding the ultimate spiritual Truth. We may call ourselves by whatever religious affiliation we like, but in essence we have a spiritual identity, which the path of Sanatana-dharma assists us in finding.

This spiritual identity is the essence of everyone, making us all similar in our spiritual quality and nature. Your soul is the same as the soul of everyone else. This is our similarity which we all share with every being. Therefore, sincere Hindus will share their philosophy and tradition to provide that assistance and goodwill to others who search for Truth and their higher Selves. It is a way of sharing peace and recognizing that we are all a part of a universal family. For within these bodies of ours exist our real and eternal identity, which is the same within everyone. So everyone can participate and share in the path of Sanatana-dharma.

Sanatana-dharma contains a wealth of spiritual philosophies and practices by which one can enter and experience one’s own level of spiritual perception and Self-realization. Some of these may at first seem unusual to a beginner only because other religions do not always teach these systems. They are left out. But the Dharmic path includes many traditions that other religions have forgotten. So these can be helpful for anyone of any religious background. Generally, we find that those who understand the spiritual knowledge of the Vedic system begin to have a deeper understanding of the teachings of other religions as well. This is another aspect of the universality of the spiritual wisdom in the Vedic teachings. Thus, everyone should know this information that is provided within the Vedic path. The point is that the Vedic system provides knowledge for people at whatever level of understanding in which they may be situated.

In this way, the Vedic teachings include spiritual knowledge for the needs of people at all levels. Hinduism does not seek superiority over other religions, but only provides whatever level of knowledge people need. With its library of Vedic literature, it is thus one of the most comprehensive spiritual paths in the world. It only seeks and delivers the highest Truths known to man, and the methods by which a person can realize them for him or herself. Thus, the Vedic path encourages everyone to reawaken their connection with God and realization of the Absolute Truth for themselves, and not necessarily through an institution or organization. The highest Truth is for everyone. Anyone can understand the Vedic path with a little investigation.

However, there have been times when I have heard of individuals or even groups of people, after spending much time in research and discussion, who have decided to become Hindus or devotees. Thereafter, they have come to a Hindu temple and asked to be accepted into the Hindu fold. Then the priest, depending on what kind of temple it is, might say something like one does not need to become a Hindu, but simply go on as you are and become perfect in that way, whether it may be Christian, Muslim, or something else. Thus, the people are turned away with little else to do but continue on a path that they may find to be no longer suitable for them, or that does not fulfill their inner spiritual longings or quest for deeper spiritual knowledge and realizations. If a person finds that they are ready to move forward to a deeper spiritual path, then to deny them that right is not proper, especially by one who may be considered to be a Hindu priest. He should allow them full facility to scan the depths of Vedic spiritual knowledge and to participate to the fullest that they may want in order to increase their devotion and connection with God through this means of expression. So, this confusion must be rectified.

In fact, to consider foreigners to be outside the Vedic purview by virtue of their origin or upbringing is inaccurate and against basic Vedic Shastra. As is stated in our Hari‑bhakti‑vilaasa 10.91, “na me ‘bhaktash chaturvedee mad‑bhaktah shvapachah priyah, tasmai deyam tato graahyam sa cha pujyo yathaa hyaham”, which means “A brahmin who is expert in the study of all four Vedas is not dear to Me (Bhagavan), but My devotee, even if he comes from a family of outcastes, is dear to Me. Whatever he touches becomes pure. That devotee, although born in a family of outcastes, is as worshipable as I am.”

Therefore, the goal of the Vedic system is to provide the means that anyone can use to raise their consciousness and know God. This point has been advocated by such prominent teachers as Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada, Swami Vivekananda, Ramana Maharshi, and many others. In this way, for many years the Vedic path has been assimilating those who are willing to adopt the basic principles of Sanatana-dharma, even if they are foreigners. The Vedic temples and the Hindu community must open their doors to those who are seekers of higher Truths, which are abundantly found in Sanatana-dharma. The doors cannot be kept closed for such people who may be looking for the benefits of such spiritual knowledge. Thus, sharing Vedic Dharma with all others who are interested for their benefit has been encouraged by spiritual authorities and should be considered a Dharmic principle.

BECOMING A DHARMIST OR DEVOTEE IS EASY

Does one have to convert to be a Hindu, or undergo a change of names or outward identity? No. If one likes the Vedic philosophy, then one can easily adopt any portion that they find helpful for them. However, if one prefers to use the Vedic culture as a strong basis of one’s life and feels devotion toward the path, then there is also nothing wrong with undergoing the formality of a Shuddhi or purification ritual to formally become a Hindu or Sanatana-Dharmist. However, once we adopt the Vedic tradition, this does not mean that we lose our freedom or whatever other roots we had, nor do we need to disrespect whatever other religious tradition we had previously followed. It does not work like that, but this is up to one’s own preference. In this way, Sanatana-dharma is inclusive. It allows anyone to find and follow Truth wherever one finds it. Thus, one needs to merely live in a Dharmic lifestyle as outlined by the Vedic principles, which is meant to accelerate one’s spiritual advancement and purity in consciousness.

I have often heard that there is a little confusion about what a person should do when they decide to partake of the Hindu religion or become a devotee. This is especially the case if one is a westerner or born as a non-Hindu. Even when the priests at Hindu temples are approached by someone who wants to become a Hindu who is not Indian born, they often do not know what to do. Sometimes it is thought that one must first undergo some kind of formality to make their dedication to their new spiritual path official, like partaking in a ritual or name change or something. A person can do that if one wishes but to merely accept the Vedic path does not require that. To be a Hindu does not require any formality. All it takes is to understand and begin following the Vedic principles to the degree to which one can do so. Of course, one may take initiation from a spiritual master later on, which then may require a formal ritual, depending on the decisions of the guru in this regard. But that is usually a later development.

Sometimes people say that to be a Hindu one has to be born a Hindu. But this is completely wrong. Nowhere in the Vedic shastra does it say such a thing. Also, merely being born in a Hindu family does not mean that such a person will have a natural proclivity toward spiritual truth. They may or may not be interested, depending on their level of awareness. Plus, a person may be born in a Hindu family and convert to some other religion. Besides, if Sanatana-Dharma is based on Universal Truth, and what is universal includes everyone, then how can anyone not be included within Sanatana-Dharma if they choose to do so? Thus, the only requirement for being a part of the Vedic path is to accept the basic principles and codes of conduct of Vedic Dharma, as has been outlined in this book. It does not depend on the circumstances of one’s birth, such as family, ethnic group, cultural heritage or geographical location. Birth is not more important than one’s conduct and character.

The point is that if we are all spirit souls, then the bodily consideration plays no part in the importance to regain the understanding and realization of our spiritual identity. In fact, the more spiritual we become, we find that the less emphasis there will be on the body. Thus, everyone should find and participate in that path which allows one to best rise above bodily identifications. Thus, it does not take a special ceremony or conversion rite to allow anyone to become a participant of the Vedic path. We are all spiritual beings. The human body is merely a machine and covering of the soul. That is the essence of the Vedic teachings. So how does the machine determine which spiritual path we can or cannot take? And as spiritual beings, we have a right and obligation to reach the highest spiritual knowledge and attain the clearest spiritual realizations that we can. If we find that the Vedic teachings can do this and assist us in living the path that allows us to enter such a lofty understanding, then it does not take any special ritual for us to begin the path. All we need to do is to start.

In this way, Sanatana-dharma, which essentially means the eternal nature of the spiritual being or soul, is the path for us to attain that realization of our true spiritual identity and the means to awaken to our real spiritual nature. As spiritual beings, everyone has the right to engage in that process. All one needs to do is add the various Vedic principles to one’s life.

Therefore, it should be clear that as we are all spiritual beings in a material body, what difference does the body make in allowing one to participate in the Vedic spiritual process? Anyone can become a member of the Vedic community, and if one temple does not recognize him or her due to their own limited conceptions of who can be a Hindu, then there are other temples wherein a person can be welcomed and participate to a fuller extent. So any interested person should find those temples. Otherwise, all that is required for one to be a Hindu or devotee is faith and practice. And as one progresses, he or she may take up particular forms of yoga, adopt a vegetarian diet, learn to chant certain uplifting prayers or mantras at home, and rise early to do meditation or worship. One may also make an altar at home so that his or her dwelling becomes a temple or has a shrine room. And, of course, one is always encouraged to read the various spiritual texts at home to increase his or her own understanding and awareness, and to focus one’s consciousness on the higher purpose of life.

If one wants to make a significant event in which one marks his or her new dedication to the Vedic path, there are different ways in which to do that. There are simple ways, and those that are more formal. For example, a person may simply go to the temple and stand in front of the deity and say, “My dear Lord, from this day on I am Yours. Now kindly accept and guide me.” One may even do that in front of a photo or picture of the deity. Then one’s progress or entrance into the Vedic process is between you and God, which is the real case anyway. The Vedic texts say that once you surrender yourself to the Lord in this way, you now become His ward. He will give you protection and guidance to the degree to which you depend on Him and wish to serve Him and rekindle your relationship.

If, however, a person wants to increase his or her participation and join an ashrama, then of course there may be particular rules or regulations that one must follow, or adopt certain forms of dress to enhance one’s spiritual consciousness, depending on the spiritual discipline involved. But this is not the case if one simply wants to live at home, practice the Vedic principles and be part of the temple congregation. At home, especially if one has a job or career, or a family, a person may accept those practices that best fit into one’s life. But then as you progress, you can adjust your life accordingly to make it increasingly spiritual and to accommodate more of the practices that are suggested for your advancement.

There are, however, certain ceremonies one may undergo as a formality, such as the Shuddhi purification rite or the namakarana samskara in which one gets a Vedic name, or the initiation by a guru into a particular sampradaya or lineage in spiritual practice. Yet, merely adopting the Vedic customs is enough to be considered a follower of the Vedic Dharma. It is the heartfelt faith that is the most important, which is purely an individual prerogative. If someone chooses to be a follower of Vedic Dharma and acknowledges the basic tenets of the Hindu faith, then he is one. He or she does not need to first undergo the formalities to receive the higher spiritual insights in the Vedic practices, such as yoga, meditation, or the study of the Vedic teachings.

In any case, whether living at home or in a temple ashrama, if a person does later find that they would like to continue one’s involvement in the Vedic path or join a particular sampradaya, or are attracted to take initiation from a particular spiritual master or guru, then they may undergo the initiatory process. Then, depending on the standards of the guru, there may be an initiation ceremony. This is often when a person will get a spiritual name to indicate their new life or spiritual beginning. If one lives in an ashrama at the time, such an initiation ceremony may or may not include that one shave his head, or adopt a certain standard of clothes, and begin chanting a certain mantra in accordance with the process of that level of initiation.

In fact, in taking to the Vedic spiritual life, finding a proper teacher is one of the few injunctions that are presented in the Vedic texts, such as the Bhagavad-gita. Therein it relates that in order to make further progress on the path of spiritual realization, one should take instruction from a proper spiritual master. Lord Krishna says: “Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.” (Bg.4.34)

You will notice that the verse does not say that the guru should only accept a person from a certain nationality, religion or culture. The person needs only to be sincere and respectful. The disciple also needs to make sure the guru is genuine and able to deliver the spiritual message of the Lord properly. Thus, it is a reciprocal relationship between the guru and the disciple. But anyone can approach a master for understanding the higher spiritual truths. Once the relationship between the guru and disciple is firmly established, then the guru may then give the initiation ceremony to the disciple for continued spiritual progress.

THE BASICS OF A DAILY ROUTINE

It is accepted that an ideal routine to practice while on the Vedic path is to rise early before sunrise. At that time one may first offer obeisances to your favorite deity. Then take a daily bath or shower and engage in personal worship and prayers to the deity of your choice. Perform meditation, prayers, recitation of sacred texts, sing devotional songs, and engage in japa, the chanting of the holy names of God in the form of mantra meditation. This is where a family shrine or temple room becomes most beneficial, unless of course one lives near a temple that can easily be visited at this time. One may also offer food as breakfast to the household deity and then take that food as your prasada breakfast, honoring or eating what had been offered to your deity as the remnants of the Lord. Then after one has performed their morning sadhana (spiritual practice) one may then engage in the normal activities of one’s profession, such as go off to one’s career or occupation. For a housewife or mother, she may spend her day engaged in household activities and the care of the children. A career should also be of the type wherein one does not act contrary to the principles of Dharma. Of course, if one is living in an ashrama or temple, then going off to work is generally not a consideration, but one stays in continued spiritual service within the environment of the ashrama or temple.

In the evening, after returning from one’s job, it is also beneficial to spend some time in reading sacred books, offering some prayers of appreciation to the deity, or doing some additional meditation to recover from the day’s activities and put them behind you, and to again focus on the spiritual goals of life.

Additionally, one should go to the local Vedic or Hindu temple on a regular basis, like once a week or more. It is also a nice idea to engage in service at the temple or to assist in its programs. At least one should also observe the important holidays and Dharmic festivals with reverence and faith at a nearby temple. Going on pilgrimage when it is possible to some of the holy places in India is also a plus for one’s spiritual development.

THE FUTURE

As a result of this increasing search for Truth, humanity is increasingly approaching and exploring the older traditions again to view the deeper levels of spiritual understanding that they contain. As people of the world gain interest in the mystical, the spiritual, yogic and deeper sides of all religions, the movements that recognize these various teachings will grow. This is already happening with the new interest in such topics as yoga, Eastern philosophy, Buddhism, Native American traditions, Pagan practices, and other indigenous cultures. The Sanskrit jargon such as yoga, karma, mantras, chakras, and gurus are now commonplace and are utilized as the basis of new insights. This is a sign that the universality that is inherent in the Vedic traditions are especially becoming more apparent, as its name, Sanatana-dharma, the eternal tradition of Truth, makes so clear.

Sanatana-dharma remains the oldest and most dynamic of all the world’s religions and living indigenous cultures. It also remains in the forefront of those paths that emphasize experiential spirituality and shows great freedom in its approach to personal spiritual life. Thus, Vedic culture is experiencing a revival and displays a growing influence all over the world. This is only one of the reasons why it has survived for many thousands of years, in spite of the pressure it and its followers have undergone in the attempt to end its existence by those religions that are more dogmatic and belief oriented.

The more people understand the openness of Sanatana-dharma, the more likely there could be an end to religious war and misunderstandings. In fact, the more likely religion as we know it will give way for the real and personal search for God and Truth, which are principles encapsulated by the Vedic tradition. Religion must be founded on eternal Truth and not merely on humanity’s ever-changing opinion and conventions. Otherwise, it is not wholesome or progressive but is artificial and dictatorial and will lead to more religious conflicts in the battle over who is right and who is wrong, and the ways to eliminate all who believe differently than the dominating system. This does little but to preserve the chaos that we see so much of in society today. And the cure from this is what Sanatana-dharma can provide if we investigate it seriously.

[This article is available at: http://www.stephen-knapp.com]