Posts Tagged 'india'

Bunker Roy: Learning from a barefoot movement

Bunker Roy: Learning from a barefoot movement

Love jihad – real or a myth?

Love jihad – real or a myth? A detailed study by an NGO. Good work. Read at your leisure.
http://samvada.org/wp-content/Voice-for-Justice-Book.pdf

Why My Father Hated India

Why My Father Hated India

Aatish Taseer, the son of an assassinated Pakistani leader, explains the history and hysteria behind a deadly relationship

Ten days before he was assassinated in January, my father, Salman Taseer, sent out a tweet about an Indian rocket that had come down over the Bay of Bengal: “Why does India make fools of themselves messing in space technology? Stick 2 bollywood my advice.”
My father was the governor of Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province, and his tweet, with its taunt at India’s misfortune, would have delighted his many thousands of followers. It fed straight into Pakistan’s unhealthy obsession with India, the country from which it was carved in 1947.
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Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Mohandas Gandhi visits Muslim refugees in New Delhi as they prepare to depart to Pakistan on Sept. 22, 1947.

Though my father’s attitude went down well in Pakistan, it had caused considerable tension between us. I am half-Indian, raised in Delhi by my Indian mother: India is a country that I consider my own. When my father was killed by one of his own bodyguards for defending a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, we had not spoken for three years.
To understand the Pakistani obsession with India, to get a sense of its special edge—its hysteria—it is necessary to understand the rejection of India, its culture and past, that lies at the heart of the idea of Pakistan. This is not merely an academic question. Pakistan’s animus toward India is the cause of both its unwillingness to fight Islamic extremism and its active complicity in undermining the aims of its ostensible ally, the United States.
The idea of Pakistan was first seriously formulated by neither a cleric nor a politician but by a poet. In 1930, Muhammad Iqbal, addressing the All-India Muslim league, made the case for a state in which India’s Muslims would realize their “political and ethical essence.” Though he was always vague about what the new state would be, he was quite clear about what it would not be: the old pluralistic society of India, with its composite culture.

Every day at sunset, Indian and Pakistani guards on the Wagah border face off in a militaristic flag-lowering exercise called the Beating Retreat Ceremony. WSJ’s Tom Wright reports on India’s effort to tone down the bizarre display.
Iqbal’s vision took concrete shape in August 1947. Despite the partition of British India, it had seemed at first that there would be no transfer of populations. But violence erupted, and it quickly became clear that in the new homeland for India’s Muslims, there would be no place for its non-Muslim communities. Pakistan and India came into being at the cost of a million lives and the largest migration in history.
This shared experience of carnage and loss is the foundation of the modern relationship between the two countries. In human terms, it meant that each of my parents, my father in Pakistan and my mother in India, grew up around symmetrically violent stories of uprooting and homelessness.
But in Pakistan, the partition had another, deeper meaning. It raised big questions, in cultural and civilizational terms, about what its separation from India would mean.
In the absence of a true national identity, Pakistan defined itself by its opposition to India. It turned its back on all that had been common between Muslims and non-Muslims in the era before partition. Everything came under suspicion, from dress to customs to festivals, marriage rituals and literature. The new country set itself the task of erasing its association with the subcontinent, an association that many came to view as a contamination.
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Rex USA
Salman Taseer, governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, in May 2009. He was assassinated in January 2011.

Had this assertion of national identity meant the casting out of something alien or foreign in favor of an organic or homegrown identity, it might have had an empowering effect. What made it self-wounding, even nihilistic, was that Pakistan, by asserting a new Arabized Islamic identity, rejected its own local and regional culture. In trying to turn its back on its shared past with India, Pakistan turned its back on itself.
But there was one problem: India was just across the border, and it was still its composite, pluralistic self, a place where nearly as many Muslims lived as in Pakistan. It was a daily reminder of the past that Pakistan had tried to erase.
Pakistan’s existential confusion made itself apparent in the political turmoil of the decades after partition. The state failed to perform a single legal transfer of power; coups were commonplace. And yet, in 1980, my father would still have felt that the partition had not been a mistake, for one critical reason: India, for all its democracy and pluralism, was an economic disaster.
Pakistan had better roads, better cars; Pakistani businesses were thriving; its citizens could take foreign currency abroad. Compared with starving, socialist India, they were on much surer ground. So what if India had democracy? It had brought nothing but drought and famine.
But in the early 1990s, a reversal began to occur in the fortunes of the two countries. The advantage that Pakistan had seemed to enjoy in the years after independence evaporated, as it became clear that the quest to rid itself of its Indian identity had come at a price: the emergence of a new and dangerous brand of Islam.
As India rose, thanks to economic liberalization, Pakistan withered. The country that had begun as a poet’s utopia was reduced to ruin and insolvency.
The primary agent of this decline has been the Pakistani army. The beneficiary of vast amounts of American assistance and money—$11 billion since 9/11—the military has diverted a significant amount of these resources to arming itself against India. In Afghanistan, it has sought neither security nor stability but rather a backyard, which—once the Americans leave—might provide Pakistan with “strategic depth” against India.
In order to realize these objectives, the Pakistani army has led the U.S. in a dance, in which it had to be seen to be fighting the war on terror, but never so much as to actually win it, for its extension meant the continuing flow of American money. All this time the army kept alive a double game, in which some terror was fought and some—such as Laskhar-e-Tayyba’s 2008 attack on Mumbai—actively supported.
The army’s duplicity was exposed decisively this May, with the killing of Osama bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad. It was only the last and most incriminating charge against an institution whose activities over the years have included the creation of the Taliban, the financing of international terrorism and the running of a lucrative trade in nuclear secrets.
This army, whose might has always been justified by the imaginary threat from India, has been more harmful to Pakistan than to anybody else. It has consumed annually a quarter of the country’s wealth, undermined one civilian government after another and enriched itself through a range of economic interests, from bakeries and shopping malls to huge property holdings.
The reversal in the fortunes of the two countries—India’s sudden prosperity and cultural power, seen next to the calamity of Muhammad Iqbal’s unrealized utopia—is what explains the bitterness of my father’s tweet just days before he died. It captures the rage of being forced to reject a culture of which you feel effortlessly a part—a culture that Pakistanis, via Bollywood, experience daily in their homes.
This rage is what makes it impossible to reduce Pakistan’s obsession with India to matters of security or a land dispute in Kashmir. It can heal only when the wounds of 1947 are healed. And it should provoke no triumphalism in India, for behind the bluster and the bravado, there is arid pain and sadness.
—Mr. Taseer is the author of “Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey Through Islamic Lands.”

Beheaded jawans cremated in a hurry

http://www.dailypioneer.com/359064/Beheaded-jawans-cremated-in-a-hurry.html

Beheaded jawans cremated in a hurry
August 07, 2011 1:22:34 AM

Srinagar/Dehradun/ Haldwani

Reporters: Khursheed Wani/Sunil Kumar/ Rajendra Markuna

Militants didn’t mutilate, says Army; doesn’t let families see bodies

Two badly mutilated bodies of soldiers have raised passion in the rank and file of the Army against heavily-armed infiltrators who have increased frequency of attempts to sneak into the Kashmir valley to perpetuate acts of violence.

The Army says that the bodies were mutilated in a fierce gunfight in Farkian Gali sector of Kupwara on July 30. But some reports claim that the infiltrators caught hold of the soldiers of the Kumaon Regiment, beheaded them and took away their heads as war trophies before badly mutilating the bodies. The infiltrator group hasn’t been identified so far, sources maintained.

The family members of Hawaldar Jaipal Singh Adhikari and Lance Naik Devender Singh, whose headless bodies were sent to their native places, were not allowed to see the mutilated bodies.

Though Jaipal Singh Adhikari’s family members were inconsolable when his completely wrapped body was brought here by the Army, none knew that there was more to the version handed out to them — that Adhikari was killed in a grenade blast.

With the information of militants having beheaded two Army jawans in Kupwara region, where Adhikari was posted, trickling in, questions are being asked if Adhikari was one of them. Thirty six-year-old Adhikari was a native of Asgola village, Dwarahat in Almora. He joined the Army in 1994. Jaipal’s family including his wife Beena and two children had recently shifted to Himmatpur, Talla, Haldwani. He was about to join his family in August.

Pushpesh Tripathi, MLA from Dwarahat, who was present during the cremation, told The Pioneer that the ‘body’ which was brought in the casket did not even have limbs.

“Army authorities told the martyr’s father about the unfortunate death and took his permission for token cremation, which was done with full State honours,” said Tripathi.

The defence spokesman claimed that four infiltrators were also shot down while they tried to escape into Pakistan, their bodies were spotted on the other side of LoC but they could not be retrieved by the Army.

“The entire group of infiltrators has been pushed back and their bid foiled,” the spokesman claimed. However, sources said the infiltrators had enough time to catch hold of the soldiers and mutilate their bodies.

Defence spokesman Lt Col Jagmohan Singh Brar conceded that the bodies were badly mutilated but denied the claim that they were beheaded and heads taken away as war trophies by the militants.

“There was a fierce gun-battle at the LoC in which two soldiers died on the spot while another critically injured soldier, who was evacuated to 92 Base Hospital, succumbed later,” he said. “When a soldier receives a full burst of fire from an automatic weapon, everyone knows what happens to the body,” he said, explaining the gory state of the bodies.

Brar said that the frequency of infiltration bids had increased during past two weeks as infiltrators were making efforts to enter the Valley before the onset of winter season. Defence sources said July and August are the choicest months for infiltrators to redouble their efforts to infiltrate as the mountain passes have least or zero accumulation of snow.

Army says that it is fully geared up to face the challenge of infiltration. Earlier this week, Army Chief Gen VK Singh along-with Northern Commander Lt Gen Parnaik and Chinar Corps Commander Lt Gen Syed Atta Hasnain visited forward posts to check preparedness to block the ingress of heavily-armed militants.

Sources said the Army has launched a massive combing operation along the Line of Control in the twin border districts of Kupwara and Baramulla following reports of fresh infiltration bids by militants in smaller groups. Sources said around 50 infiltrators sneaked in during past two weeks and the Army is trying to engage and eliminate them in areas closer to the LoC.

The latest two infiltration bids were made on August 5 but the Army foiled them at the cost of death of a jawan in Kupwara. During the two weeks, amid enhanced frequency of infiltration attempts, four infiltrators and five soldiers including a junior officer were killed.

Relatives and other locals joined the Adhikari family in mourning the death of the Uttarakhand native as did military personnel, representatives from the local administrative and social activists.

Bruised martyrdom

Some reports claim that infiltrators caught hold of two soldiers of the Kumaon Regiment, beheaded them and took away their heads as war trophies before badly mutilating the bodies.

Army says the bodies were mutilated in a fierce gunfight in Farkian Gali sector of Kupwara on July 30.

Defence spokesman claims that four infiltrators were also shot down while they tried to escape into Pakistan; their bodies were spotted on the other side of the LoC but they could not be retrieved by the Army.

Dwarahat MLA Pushpesh Tripathi, who was present during the cremation, told The Pioneer that the ‘body’ which was brought in the casket did not even have limbs.

why future belongs to india

Why the future belongs to India
By
Sri : Gurcharan das
(http://gurcharandas.blogspot.com/2009/05/why-future-belongs-to-india.html)

In preparing for a much publicised debate in London on the motion ‘The future belongs to India, not China’, I was reminded of a conversation with my mother. She had asked, what is the difference between China growing at a rate of 10% and India at 8%? I replied that the difference was, indeed, very significant. If we were to grow at 10% we could save twenty years. This is almost a generation. We could lift a whole generation into the middle class twenty years sooner. She thought for a while and then said gently, ‘we have waited 3000 years for this moment. Why don’t we wait another twenty and do it the Indian way?’

She had understood that the cost of democracy is the price the poor pay in the delay of their entry into the middle class. She did not elaborate the ‘Indian way’ but it must include taking a holiday on half a dozen New Years Days! It is easy to get mesmerized by China’s amazing progress and feel frustrated by India’s chaotic democracy, but I think she had expressed the sentiments of most Indians who will not trade off democracy for two per cent higher growth.
In referring to the ‘Indian way’, my mother meant that a nation must be true to itself. Democracy comes easily to us because India has historically ‘accumulated’ its diverse groups who retain their distinctiveness while identifying themselves as Indian. China has ‘assimilated’ its people into a common, homogeneous Confucian society. China is a melting pot in which differences disappear while India is a salad bowl in which the constituents retain their identity. Hence, China has always been governed by a hierarchical, centralized state-a tradition that has carried into the present era of reform communism. China resembles a business corporation today. Each mayor and party secretary has objectives relating to investment, output and growth, which are aligned to national goals. Those who exceed their goals rise quickly. The main problem in running a country as a business is that many people get left out.

India, on the other hand, can only manage itself by accommodating vocal and varied interest groups in its salad bowl. This leads to a million negotiations daily and we call this system ‘democracy’. It slows us down–we take five years to build a highway versus one in China. Those who are disgruntled go to court. But our politicians are forced to worry about abuses of human rights, whereas my search on Google on ‘human rights abuses in China’ yielded 47.8 million entries in 13 seconds! Democracies have a safety valve-it allows the disgruntled to let off steam before slowly co-opting them.

Both India and China have accepted the capitalist road to prosperity. But capitalism is more comfortable in a democracy, which fosters entrepreneurs naturally. A state enterprise can never be as innovative or nimble and this is why the Chinese envy some of our private companies. Democracy respects property rights. As both nations urbanize, peasants in India are able to sell or borrow against their land, but the Chinese peasants are at the mercy of local party bosses. Because India has the rule of law, entrepreneurs can enforce contracts. If someone takes away your property in China, you have no recourse. Hence, it is the party bosses who are accumulating wealth in China. The rule of law slows us down but it also protects us (and our environment, as the NGOs have discovered).

We take freedom for granted in India but it was not always so. When General Reginald Dyer opened fire in 1919 in Jallianwala Bagh killing 379 people, Indians realised they could only have dignity when they were free from British rule. The massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989, where 300 students were killed, was China’s Jallianwala Bagh. China today may have become richer than India but the poorest Chinese yearns for the same freedom.

Because the Indian state is inefficient, millions of entrepreneurs have stepped into the vacuum. When government schools fail, people start private schools in the slums, and the result is millions of ‘slumdog millionaires’. You cannot do this in China. Our free society forces us to solve our own problems, making us self-reliant. Hence, the Indian way is likely to be more enduring because the people have scripted India’s success while China’s state has crafted its success. This worries China’s leaders who ask, if India can become the world’s second fastest economy despite the state, what will happen when the Indian state begins to perform? India’s path may be slower but it is surer, and the Indian way of life is also more likely to survive. This is why when I am reborn I would prefer it to be in India.

—-The writer is speaking in a debate in London on 12 May 2009 in support of the motion ‘ The future belongs to India, not China’—–

Liberal Fascists – Ram Madhav

http://samvada.org/2011/news/liberal-fascists-an-article-by-ram-madhav/
This is an old technique of our pseudo-intellectuals. Attack and abuse.. but never engage in a debate or discussion over the issues raised or the arguments made.
Sesham Kopena Poorayet…. goes an old adage. What remains when you run out of arguments is anger and abuse.
What Dr. Subramanian Swamy had written in an article titled “How to wipe out Islamic terror in India” are his views. One may or may not agree with his views. The article was found fit for publication by the editor of a prestigious Mumbai-based English daily.
Ideally our intellectuals should have responded by countering Dr. Swamy’s arguments and opinions. Instead what we hear are endless invectives. I am not giving any opinion on the content of the article here. But how can I or anybody else deny Dr. Swamy his right to articulate his views?
In fact the political mission of many Islamists is under scrutiny all over the world. Tons of literature can be found in US and Europe over political Islam. In the most liberal parts of the world issues relating to Islam and its political ambitions are debated freely and opinions freely expressed. But in our country it is a complete taboo.
I am not surprised about the reactions from politicians like Digvijay Singh. In fact we can ignore them. For, they are just merchants of votes, rather unscrupulous. They don’t read books that they go to release. We don’t need to imagine that they had read Dr. Swamy’s piece before condemning him. They are knowledge-proof and information-proof. All that they know is to cynically exploit every opportunity for their narrow vote-bank politics. In fact they must be cribbing and wallowing that ‘Osamaji’ had not telephoned to them before getting killed so that they could have declared a grand nexus between the CIA and the RSS in eliminating ‘Osamaji’ – ‘part of a global anti-Muslim conspiracy’. Ignore them.
But what about our intellectual brigade that lungs out choicest sobriquets at Dr. Swamy for daring to write that article? What about our Minority Commission which is ‘seriously considering’ taking legal action against him?

Don’t forget these were the very same people who vigorously defended using their full vocal might M.F. Hussain when he painted Durga Mata, Sita Mata and Bharat Mata in the nude and obscene. That was described as ‘artistic freedom’. And these were the ones who were defending seditious bellows of Arundhati Roy and Jeelani etc. That was freedom of expression. Why then can Dr. Swamy not enjoy that freedom?
But that is how our pseudo intellectuals operate. They did it before too, several times, with several others. When Syed Shahabuddin was attacking Js. Krishna Aiyer on Shahbano judgment or when he was haranguing against Salman Rushdie – remember, without even reading the book Satanic Verses – these intellectuals were not seen anywhere to stop him. They were mute spectators to the fundamentalist Muslims’ targeting of Taslima Nasreen and their hurling of choicest invectives at her. Even to this day she runs from pillar to post every six months to ensure that the Indian Government doesn’t throw her out under the pressure of the fundamentalist groups.

In all these cases the refrain of these pseudo intellectuals is that the sentiments and sensitivities of the Muslims must be kept in mind. Let me recall that when Ayatollah Khomeini declared fatwa of death against Rushdie the great American Democrat and former President Jimmy Carter didn’t ask for the Ayatollah or the Muslims to show greater sensitivity to the right to freedom of expression of other people. Instead he only called for greater Western sensitivity to Muslim feelings. So did Margaret Thatcher of the UK.
Our pseudo intellectuals don’t bother when a Derek van Gogh is murdered or a Geert Wilders is made to make umpteen number of rounds of the courts or a Scandinavian magazine office becomes a target of repeated attacks for an ordinary cartoon depicting the Prophet or an Ayan Hirsi Ali is hounded out of Netherlands. Their freedom of expression doesn’t count. They pounce on Dr. Swamy in the similar manner for using a platform to express his views. He must be thrown out of Harvard; he must be prosecuted.
Now are they not the real Fascists – the Liberal Fascists?

Are they just ‘useful idiots’? – S Gurumurthy

Are they just ‘useful idiots’?

S Gurumurthy

21 Jul 2011

http://expressbuzz.com/biography/Are-they-just-%E2%80%98useful-idiots%E2%80%99/296511.html

See this list of seculars and liberals. Justice Rajinder Sachar, author of the famous Sachar Committee Report on the state of Indian Muslims; Dileep Padgaonkar, one of the three interlocutors on J&K appointed by the central government; Harish Khare, the media adviser to the prime minister; Rita Manchanda, the India/Pakistan Local Partner for Women Waging Peace; Ved Bhasin, editor, Kashmir Times; Harinder Baweja, editor (investigations), Headlines Today; Gautam Navlakha and Kamal Chenoy, human rights activists, and; Praful Bidwai, well-known columnist. This is the illustrative list of popular Indian liberals who exert powerful influence over the Indian discourse — be it on Kashmir or secularism or on corruption or communalism or on Narendra Modi or Sonia Gandhi.

But this is not the list of probables for the Padma awards. This is the list of those who have been the guests of Ghulam Nabi Fai, who was arrested three days back by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US for acting as the front man of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). The Washington Times (July 19, 2011) reported that Fai “was arrested Tuesday by FBI agents in a suspected influence-peddling scheme to funnel millions of dollars from the Pakistani government, including its military intelligence service, to US elected officials to help drive India out of the disputed Kashmir territory in South Asia”. Fai was arrested in US not for working to drive India out of Kashmir — as it is not an offence under the US law — but for the offence of funnelling ISI money to buy influence over US officials for Pakistan. Under the Indian law, the case against the Indian liberals in Fai’s list may well be one of sedition if they had known who Fai was, or if they had not, they could be well just his “useful idiots” as a former editor, R Jaganathan, wrote in his brilliant column in firstpost.com. But are they just useful idiots or more?

The 45-page affidavit by the FBI in the case has charged Fai with “conspiring to act as an agent of a foreign principal”. Media reports that the FBI swears in its affidavit that Fai, who floated the Kashmir American Council (KAC), was a front man for Pakistani interests in US in the garb of Kashmiri’s. The reports say that Fai “took dictation from his masters” in Pakistan. The media cites the FBI affidavit to say that Fai received at least $4 million — at some $500,000 to $700,000 every year — to manipulate the Kashmir debate in favour of Pakistan. And this is important. This is where the Indian liberals listed at the opening are party to advancing the designs of Fai. They had been attending the conclaves and meets organised by Fai, at the instance of ISI, to oust India from Kashmir.

The FBI seems to have worked meticulously to link Fai to his masters in Pakistan. It appears to have got the details of some 4,000 e-mail and telephone exchanges with his handlers in Pakistan. An accomplice of Fai seems to have confessed — as a confidential witness for FBI — that Fai was a henchman of ISI. According to the confidential witness, cited by the media, the ISI “created the KAC to propagandise on behalf of the government of Pakistan”. Fai could play this role unsuspectingly because he was originally from India, being born in Kashmir, with a master’s degree from Aligarh Muslim University. After becoming an ISI agent, according to reports, he began to do what Pakistan and ISI directed him to do, namely hold conferences and seminars funded by ISI for which he was sourcing the propaganda material of the ISI. According to the report, the confidential witness seems to have confessed that, “of the statements Fai makes, 80 per cent are provided by the ISI for Fai to repeat and disseminate verbatim. The other 20 per cent of the KAC’s messaging consists of Fai’s own ideas, which have been pre-approved by the ISI”. So Fai is a hundred per cent ISI mouthpiece.

Our liberals figuring in the list participated as important speakers from India in the conventions and seminars organised by Fai, now charged by FBI as an ISI agent. According to reports, Fai, assisted in his objectives by our liberals, was so effective in hurting India’s interests, that, to counter him, the Indian government specially had to appoint Wajahat Habibullah, a Kashmir cadre IAS officer who retired last year, as minister, community affairs, in its embassy in Washington. Imagine. On the one hand, the present media adviser to the prime minister and one of the three present interlocutors of the government on J&K had worked to hurt India’s interests in the way the ISI was conspiring to do, by participating in the seminars organised by Fai and funded by ISI to “drive out India from Kashmir”; and on the other, the government of India was forced to send out an IAS officer from Kashmir cadre to contain that damage. The result is that those who, through Fai, were part of the ISI design, are now part of the UPA government.

But could Fai with his mission to push Pakistan/ISI agenda “to drive India out of Kashmir” include in his efforts such important opinion-makers of India, unless he knew that their views would advance his master’s interests? Why would Fai not call an Arun Shourie? A Cho Ramaswamy? An M J Akbar? An Arnab Goswami? It is self-evident. Their views would stall, not support, the ISI. Undoubtedly, Fai knew that the views on J&K publicly held by our liberals in Fai’s guest list would further the cause of the separatists. Now, is it easy to dismiss that they were just “useful idiots”?

PS: Two of these liberals are still in high positions — one is an interlocutor on J&K appointed by the Centre and the other is the media adviser to the PM. Mr Prime Minister, this is evidence coming, not from our police, but from the FBI in the US, the country you love most! Are you listening?

The writer is a well-known commentator on political and economic issues.

E-mail: comment@gurumurthy.net

Men of straw

Men of straw
Tarun Vijay
22 March 2011,

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/indus-calling/entry/targeting-hindus

Face it squarely. All should have welcomed handing over the cases related to any
kind of terror to NIA. Who cares? Anyone belonging to any colour, if found
violating the Constitution should be brought to book. The best statement on it
came from RSS stalwart and an icon of serving the destitute and the
disadvantaged, Bhayyaji Joshi, who assured all help to the government to have
such cases investigated. But the state power had some other ideas.

Was the real intention of a government that lies to the nation on WikiLeaks
cables and survives, as Arun Jaitley put it aptly, on a political sin, honest?

This government facilitates traitors as simply as that. And punishes patriots in
the hope that it would get some Muslim votes.

Look how a secessionist Geelani is facilitated in Delhi, given a platform to
demand India’s second partition and then allowed to stay on at the expense of
Indians to participate in Pakistan Day, at the house of Pakistan’s high
commissioner in Delhi.

Afzal’s hanging is delayed deliberately to ensure Muslim votes. WikiLeaks
cables, sent to Washington by American diplomats, corroborate what every sane
Indian believes.

So is the case of handing over cases involving one set of people. The government
of Lilliputians wants to prove something that must fetch it some Muslim votes.

They never tried to send the cases of ULFA, or NSCN, or Geelani-Arundhati Roy,
or stone pelters of the valley who attacked the security personnel, to NIA.
Never pursued the wealth looters who stashed their black money in Swiss banks.

That would have not fetched them what they wanted.

They treated Gujarat as an enemy country, mocked at its investment claims, as if
money poring into Gujarat was meant for Pakistan. And now MP is on their list of
assaults for obvious reasons.

One of their leaders shows a chestful of currency notes to a foreign diplomat.
Nothing happens and the Prime Minister of the nation tries to obfuscate the
issue.

Even Berlusconi appears more honest than our ruling elite.

A news story emanating from Srinagar, sent by a national news agency, said that
there is an “allegation” that a Hindu temple has been ransacked and taken over
by a mafia and a Hindu organization has demanded a CBI probe into that. Oh, too
obliged that someone thought that this is news worth any notice. A brief
mention, no name of the organization that demanded a probe, no name of the place
where the temple was “allegedly” desecrated and no name of the leader of the
Hindus who took up the cause, braving bullets.

Replace the term “Hindu temple” with the name of any other faith’s place of
worship and see the difference.

It pays to be a non-Hindu in this Hindu-majority nation.

Who is responsible for this sorry state of affairs where taking up a Hindu cause
needs enveloping it in a secular parlance?

Where even the supposedly Hindu nationalists are shy of saying the word “Hindu”
and a government, administration and the media empires led by those who still
wear a Hindu name, feel hesitant to come out in support of justice and fair
play, lest they should be “misunderstood” as being communal?

In a situation when temples are desecrated without creating a whimper in the
capital and the Prime Minister gleefully hands over small apartments to Hindu
refugees in their own independent country without saying a single word of
assurance that they would someday go back home and a political opposition,
barring a few exceptions keeps mum on the main player of all sinful activities
that is tearing apart the society and its core, thanks should be given to a
Assange and a Leftist editor, to keep the salt of democracy intact. In such
times choosing to publish the cables means braving grave risk to his media
empire when most of the brave hearts in media have turned “durbaris”.

Frankly, it may not be the case that the state power has chosen Hindus as its
target –every patriot, every honest pursuer of policy and programmes feels let
down today. A great nation that boasted of being the knowledge hub of the
universe has become a billboard of the most corrupt land, while China has
surpassed even the US in manufacturing.

We are nowhere near its economic prowess and military might. From shielding the
corrupt and lying to Parliament, all such charges which were unimaginable till
recently are flying on the face of our Prime Minister.

The aura is gone and men of straw seem to be holding a fort of sand.

This situation demands self-introspection by the Hindu leaders too. They have
turned into mere observers and protesters. The UPA began its journey with the
removal of the Savarkar plaque from Port Blair memorial and continued with
assaults of the bridge that Rama built, keeping eyes wide shut on Kashmiri
Hindus while pursuing a brazenly discriminatory appeasement policy for
non-Hindus. If Hindus find themselves at such a receiving end, the blame must be
borne by the leaders who claim they are Hindus. The entire babalog fraternity,
and the so-called sirens, they are very rich and influential individually but a
great failure collectively. They enjoy a power-packed list of devotees.
Performing miracles. Running huge chains of colleges and “gau shalas”.

Just ask them what was the last issue they won for the Hindus? Driven by
jealousies, hatred for each other, a killing spirit that survives on “unchecked”
eavesdropping, and an uncanny intolerance of the intellectual inputs , the
Hindus seem to be failing the Hindu cause once again, post-Ayodhya movement.

They chose not to answer the inconvenient issues of caste-based discriminations,
keeping a silence on incidences like Mirchpur. They never addressed the issue
why in India none of the so-called mainstream newspapers has been able to have a
single scheduled caste editor or why no scheduled caste leadership is finding
its way up the ladder in administration, industry and in any policy-framing
group, in spite of being in a majority within the Hindu population of the
country? Ironically except the RSS, none is besieged of the issue.

There are Hindus in the Congress and the DMK and the SP, the BSP too. Where is
the concern for any Hindu cause among them?

When an MLA from Pakistan fled to India to protect his religious freedom, who
spoke for him? Who supports the issue of taking on the main player of all that’s
wrong in politics today? Why the eerie silence? The nation will, one day discuss
the most horrendous case of backstabbing in our political life. Targeting Hindus
is like targeting the last bastion of liberty and plurality. And it’s not being
done by Arabs or Turks, but by India-born Hindus.

The temples and the gods are the same who were there when Karachi, Rawalpindi
and Kabul were deserted. The men who had to flee those places leaving behind
their gods unattended find their partners in today’s leadership that goes on
sermonising on religious channels every morning. Just bubbles.

The same way, our honorable Prime Minister has failed the nation like a failed
father. He has missed the bus of courage and forgotten that individuals are
smaller than national interest and that history is necessarily very ruthless.

New methods of incentivising proselytization

New methods of incentivising proselytization
Posted: 28 Mar 2011 11:37 PM PDT
Tweet

Cash prize for Hindus to throw photos of Hindu Gods. Extra money for wearing cross lockets
By R Guru Prasad

IT is said that marketing is an art of making people ‘buy’ without knowing ‘why’ and Christian missionaries are proving it right. Christian missionaries have adopted the latest marketing strategy to hood wink the gullible, poor, uneducated Hindus in Bangalore by offering cash prize for those who dump the photos of Hindu gods and replace with photos of Jesus in their houses. This is not enough. A bonus cash prize will be offered to those Hindus who wears cross symbol secretly! These are the samples revealed in the recent case study conducted by Dr M Chidanandamurthy, noted thinker, Philosopher, researcher, columnist and a social activist from Bangalore.

Dr M Chidanandamurthy unmasked the new avatar of Christian missionaries in his new findings and shared a few points with the media on March 19, 2011 and requested the Hindu youths to protest against an uncivilised way of converting Hindus by allurement of cash prizes. Murthy has exposed immoral acts of Christian missionaries, conversion agents, pro-Christian lobby and evangelists working overtime in Bangalore on a conversion spree. Murthy, however, not specified the exact amount of money given as a cash prize for those who throw Hindu gods and wear Christian symbol. Murthy mentioned that he came to know about this cunning act from his friend Ramachandra Upadhya who lives at Wilson Garden, Bangalore. Both Murthy and Upadhya went to Manjunathanagar locality near Marathhalli, 3-km away from Bangalore HAL old airport on March 15, 2011 and witnessed a shock of their life.

According to Murthy, conversion agents identify Hindu families who are financially weak and promise to provide them with cash prizes for displaying ‘some’ photos. After capitalising on their weakness, evangelists carry a sweet box and an attractive framed photo of Jesus and go to homes belonging to lower strata of the society along with a local conversion agent. By offering money on the spot, agents manage to include Jesus photo in the middle of Hindu gods. After few weeks the round two operation starts by releasing another installment money and influencing them to place the photo of Jesus on the top most lane above Hindu gods in a more visible manner. Again after few weeks, the conversion agents lands there with huge money and convince them to discard photos of Hindu gods and goddesses. Fearing to throw photos and idols of Hindu gods into dustbin, poor gullible Hindus place them in the premises of Vasuki Subramanya Temple, which is situated on the national Highway.

Conversion agents offering huge sums of money and manage to get photos, idols, stickers, symbols of Hindu gods removed from the Hindu homes is just the beginning for yet another round of cheating. They give additional money for embracing Christianity and displaying Christian symbols in their house. “It is a bargain and if converted Christian willing to wear a cross around his neck, will be entitled to claim a bonus which will be happily given to him by agents and will also earn incentive from foreign funds used by Christian Missionaries” Murthy explained in his letter. He has charged the conversion agents with ‘agenda to misuse the situation’. According to him agents play a major role during ill-health of Hindus and offer a free prayer meeting to get rid of diseases only to get them converted to Christianity with a bogus healing power of Jesus.

Murthy has given his address, contact number and the telephone number of his friend Upadhya and requested general public to inform them about illegal conversions anywhere in Karnataka to take appropriate action against the immoral acts. Ramachandra Upadhya is available on his mobile number: 09902400072 and Murthy can be contacted at 1013 B, 4th Cross, 11th Main, Hampinagara, Bangalore – 560040. Landline 080-23300687. To prevent further attack on the Hindu society he urged the Karnataka Government to legislate Anti-conversion law with immediate effect.

Courtsey : Organiser

Vedanta and yoga perfect match for certain American values

Vedanta and yoga perfect match for certain American values

By Mayank Chhaya, Special to Hi India
December 24, 2010

http://groups.google.com/group/soc.culture.indian/browse_thread/thread/20c99799aae46f04/54f3552eed86bde1?lnk=raot
There has always been a pervasive but undocumented feeling that Indian philosophy, as manifest in Vedanta on the intellectual plain and yoga on the physical plain, has very significantly influenced the West in general and America in particular. That feeling now finds a meticulously constructed scholastic endorsement in the form of an important new book.
Author Philip Goldberg’s ‘American Veda-From Emerson to the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West’
(Harmony Books, 398 pages, $26) offers a comprehensive account of the inroads made by Indian philosophy since the early 19th century. In an
interview with Hi India Goldberg dwells on how and why Indian philosophy has had such a profound impact in the West.
Hi India: To what do you attribute the fact that Indian philosophy has had as deep an impact on the West as your book so carefully establishes?
Philip Goldberg: The combination of Vedanta and Yoga was a perfect match for certain American values: freedom of choice and religion,
individuality, scientific rationality, and pragmatism. They appealed especially to well-educated Americans who were discontent with ordinary religion and unsatisfied by secularism, giving them a way to be authentically spiritual without compromising their sense of reason, their consciences or their personal inclinations.
HI: Is it as much a tribute to the openness of the West as it is to the appeal of Indian philosophy?
PG: Yes, indeed. I think the great teachers who came here from India were very much aware of that, and they adapted the teachings accordingly.
HI: Do you think the mainstreaming of Indian philosophy, as manifest in the widespread practice of yoga, has to do a great deal with the
fact that a lot of it comes across as secular and even agnostic?
PG: Yes, I think the remarkable growth of the “spiritual but not religious” cohort of Americans would have been unthinkable without access to the practices derived from Hinduism and Buddhism. In addition, the philosophy was presented so rationally that its premises could be regarded as hypotheses, and the practices were so uniform and so widely applicable that they lent themselves to scientific experimentation.
HI: Is there a sense among Americans drawn to Indian philosophy that it is dogma free and therefore non-threatening?
PG: Yes, and premises that might be taken as dogma were usually presented by teachers as ideas to be verified by one’s own experience, not as take-it-or-leave-it or believe-it-or-else doctrine.
HI: The Bhagvad Gita, for instance, is essentially a distilled, unemotional, remarkably modern code of conduct that is shorn of any denominational doctrines. Do you think that helps the cause of Indian philosophy?
PG: You bet. And not just a code of conduct, but also a manual for self-realization. People of all faiths and no faith have cherished it for that reason.
HI: Does the fact that Hinduism is not institutionalized, codified, congregational or instructional help in its spread?
PG: Certainly that’s true of the Hindu-based teachings that caught on with Americans, which were not even called Hinduism as such. The fact
that Hinduism, even in India, is decentralized, diverse, non- institutional, etc., made it convincing that anyone can adopt the teachings without converting to a foreign religion.
HI: One detects two distinct trends in your book in support of your primary contention about how Indian spirituality changed the West. One trend is at the operational level where words such as mantra, guru, karma and pundits have so seamlessly become part of the mainstream lexicon. The other trend is much deeper in terms of internalizing the core values of Indian philosophy. Do you think people in America are conscious of this?
PG: Some are conscious of it, and therefore grateful to the Indian legacy. Others are not: it’s seeped into the American consciousness in subtle but profound ways.
HI: You speak about Americans accepting everything, from falafel to philosophy, depending on the circumstances. What do you think made
the circumstances right for them to accept some of the core philosophical concepts from India?
PG: The rise of secularism, the success of science and especially the widespread alienation from both materialistic values and mainstream
religion, which was not providing reliable methods of personal transformation and transcendence.
HI: When you talk of “Vedization of America”, do you mean that it has been a conscious development? Could it, for instance, also not have
been a consequence of secularization/pluralization that the rise of agnostic information technologies?
PG: If you mean, could the trends I describe be attributed to the growth of pluralism and other social forces, independent of the Indian influence, it is very hard to say. Certainly, the combination of factors made for a perfect storm. I tend to think that the experiential practices of meditation and yoga, and the intellectual framework of Vedanta, accelerated, deepened and broadened what might have been an inevitable but morphous evolution.
HI: In your long experience studying this subject, are people surprised when you point out the widespread influence of Indian philosophy? What are their typical reactions?
PG: The most common response I’ve had is similar to my own once I dug into my formal research for the book: “I knew Indian spiritual teachings had influenced America, but I didn’t realize it was quite that widespread or that profound.” They’re surprised by the subtlety of it, and by the non-obvious streams and tributaries through which the teachings spread.
HI: Do you apprehend any organized backlash or, at the very least, pushback against once it is popularly recognized that Indian philosophy is more deeply entrenched here than they have understood?
PG: Not a big one, but some of it is inevitable. There has always been a backlash from both mainstream religion – conservative Christians in particular – and the anti-religious left. Vivekananda faced up to it in 1893, and all the important gurus were confronted by it. Right now, there’s an anti-yoga campaign by some Christian preachers. I’d be very pleased if my book becomes a lightning rod for such a controversy. Bring ’em on!
HI: How do you look at trends such as people saying that yoga is a Hindu tool and ought to be countered with a Christian yoga?
PG: That’s a more complicated issue than is often realized. The question, “Is yoga a form of Hinduism” depends entirely on how one defines both yoga and Hinduism. That there are people teaching Christian Yoga and Jewish Yoga strikes me as a backhanded compliment to one of the great glories of the Vedic tradition: it’s universality and adaptability. That having been said, the idea that yoga is “a Hindu tool,” i.e., a form of stealth conversion, strikes me as a projection by Christians of their own messianic drive to convert the “heathen.” That conversion is not in the Hindu repertoire – and that the gurus and swamis and yoga masters are content to have their students become better Christians – is hard for many to comprehend.
HI: Do you think that it is the intellectual underpinnings of Vedanta or the mind/body wellness aspects of yoga which have made people more
comfortable accepting them?
PG: It’s been the combination of the two, and it’s hard to separate them. Certainly, in recent years, the popularity of yoga as a wellness system has been dominant, but that has also exposed millions of people to at least the basic premises of Vedanta.
HI: Do you think that it is the intellectual underpinnings of Vedanta or the mind/body wellness aspects of yoga which have made people more
comfortable accepting them?
PG: It’s been the combination of the two, and it’s hard to separate them. Certainly, in recent years, the popularity of yoga as a wellness system has been dominant, but that has also exposed millions of people to at least the basic premises of Vedanta.
(Mayank Chhaya is a US-based writer and commentator. He can be contacted at m@mayankchhaya.net)

Hey, what’s happening to India?

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/indus-calling/entry/hey-what-s-happening-to-india
Hey, what’s happening to India?
TARUN VIJAY artcle: Nov 24-2010
“Oh God. So now what? What should I tell them? Tell me what should I tell them?”
Ran the line in the Open magazine exposing the wheeling-dealing between the corporate world and the most pious secular sirens of the noble industry — the fourth estate.
What after this?
Nothing. The media empire, the grand old houses of money and power protect each other. They have the platform to reach millions, but not a single one has tried to discuss it threadbare with the same savage ferocity they show in ripping apart their ideological opponents after having tasted a good French wine in a vineyard. They often use papers and channels for their political vendettas and abuse every other person they dislike without showing any civility. Then their outfits shut their doors for the other voices. No, the censorship is not by the state. It’s by the media houses. They invite guests to their shows and use them to have their own “super Oprah” image projected at the cost of the other voices and other viewpoints. Look what they have done, which made Washington Post write this: “India’s fiercely competitive and hungry free press has become the rising nation’s watchdog, unearthing a long list of banking scandals, real-estate scams and most recently, extensive government corruption during the international Commonwealth Games. But in recent days, Indian journalists have been accused of wrongdoing, including having inappropriate conversations with a corporate lobbyist and acting more like power brokers in recordings released as part of an investigation into an audacious multibillion swindle — considered the biggest scandal to hit the new India.”
India is going through moral turmoil. The man who helped go scot-free India’s first Supreme Court judge slated to be impeached for corruption was rewarded to become minister for human resources directing the education system. The man who would supervise all corruption cases for ensuring punishment for the guilty is the one who himself is facing charges and when the Supreme court asked the reason for this, the attorney general had the cheek to rebuff the lords of justice in these words: “If impeccable integrity becomes an eligibility criterion, then all judicial and constitutional appointments will be open to question.”
That’s what is happening to the land of all virtues and 9% growth rate. The nation which boasts of a great functional democracy, looks dwarfed before countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh. With a quivered lip and a smile that can’t be hidden, they can say, oh my God, this is you? Your journalists, your ministers and your judges … phew!!
The fear of “revenge killings” is so deep that the politicians, otherwise so vocal in demanding a probe into many other scandals, are keeping their mouths shut, least a bruised journalist take on them at “an appropriate time”.
Just see the grandeur of our scandals:
• Rs 1.71 lakh crore in 2G spectrum scam.
• A high court judge is charged with serious graft in West Bengal.
• Two most vocal sirens of “all that’s good for secularism and vocal missionaries of anti-Hindutva brigade” are caught on tape discussing, perhaps, “spiritual aspects of politics and the ashram-life plans” of Rajaji and Radiaji, who might be a Bhakti movement poetess. Who knows, after a few weeks, these channels will prove that too.
• The Commonwealth loot is estimated to be anything between Rs 60,000 crore and Rs 80,000 crore.
• The Adarsh housing scam crossed all limits by insulting the memories of our Kargil martyrs.
• Karnataka is scandalized, more because of the moneybag politics. But that too, doesn’t add to the glory of any of us.
We have an official voice of law and justice and all that is attached to it. He is called attorney general of India. He is respectfully known as a protégé or confidant of the ruling empire —naturally Soniaji and Manmohanji. If he was not so, he won’t have acquired the position that he is holding today. His words of wisdom to the Supreme Court have lowered India in everybody’s eyes.
As columnist Vrinda Gopinath said: “Let’s not hoodwink ourselves to believe that this morally pornographic journalism is objective, fair and exact. All of it stinks, in varying degrees of severity and phoniness.”
This is an India where every single party, with the exception of the BJP and the communists, is virtually a family fiefdom. They are known by the names of their “masters”, and not with their ideological distinctness.
An India where the assaulters abusing Mother India and the honour of soldiers remain untouched and unpunished but a comment on the head of a political party, much discarded and disowned, results in arson and stoning.
An India where the forced exile of half a million Indians remains a non-issue but millions of foreign infiltrators are helped to get registered as voters for the political convenience of a vote bank.
An India whose citizens, politicians and industrialists and administrators, stash a whopping Rs 70 lakh crore rupees in Swiss banks and the government, in spite of an assurance by the Swiss government, feels reluctant to ratify a treaty signed with the Swiss which would enable us to get the list of black-money stashers and maybe get the money back.
A nation where the terrorists facing charges of killing innocent patriotic Indians are offered lucrative comforts of money and jobs if they simply say “I surrender”, thus humiliating and insulting the families of the martyred soldiers and citizens who often get less than what the killers of their sons and daughters would get.
A nation where looters become members of the ruling class and whistleblowers turn to be schemers asking the corporate agent “Tell me what should I tell them?”
Let the people tell these “elite” that they would be assigned to the dustbin.

Hindu Group Stirs a Debate Over Yoga’s Soul

November 27, 2010
Hindu Group Stirs a Debate Over Yoga’s Soul
By PAUL VITELLO
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/nyregion/28yoga.html?_r=2&sq=yoga&st=cse&scp=2&pagewanted=print

Yoga is practiced by about 15 million people in the United States, for reasons almost as numerous — from the physical benefits mapped in brain scans to the less tangible rewards that New Age journals call spiritual centering. Religion, for the most part, has nothing to do with it.

But a group of Indian-Americans has ignited a surprisingly fierce debate in the gentle world of yoga by mounting a campaign to acquaint Westerners with the faith that it says underlies every single yoga style followed in gyms, ashrams and spas: Hinduism.

The campaign, labeled “Take Back Yoga,” does not ask yoga devotees to become Hindu, or instructors to teach more about Hinduism. The small but increasingly influential group behind it, the Hindu American Foundation, suggests only that people become more aware of yoga’s debt to the faith’s ancient traditions.

That suggestion, modest though it may seem, has drawn a flurry of strong reactions from figures far apart on the religious spectrum. Dr. Deepak Chopra, the New Age writer, has dismissed the campaign as a jumble of faulty history and Hindu nationalism. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has said he agrees that yoga is Hindu — and cited that as evidence that the practice imperiled the souls of Christians who engage in it.

The question at the core of the debate — who owns yoga? — has become an enduring topic of chatter in yoga Web forums, Hindu American newspapers and journals catering to the many consumers of what is now a multibillion-dollar yoga industry.

In June, it even prompted the Indian government to begin making digital copies of ancient drawings showing the provenance of more than 4,000 yoga poses, to discourage further claims by entrepreneurs like Bikram Choudhury, an Indian-born yoga instructor to the stars who is based in Los Angeles. Mr. Choudhury nettled Indian officials in 2007 when he copyrighted his personal style of 26 yoga poses as “Bikram Yoga.”

Organizers of the Take Back Yoga effort point out that the philosophy of yoga was first described in Hinduism’s seminal texts and remains at the core of Hindu teaching. Yet, because the religion has been stereotyped in the West as a polytheistic faith of “castes, cows and curry,” they say, most Americans prefer to see yoga as the legacy of a more timeless, spiritual “Indian wisdom.”

“In a way,” said Dr. Aseem Shukla, the foundation’s co-founder, “our issue is that yoga has thrived, but Hinduism has lost control of the brand.”

For many practitioners, including Debbie Desmond, 27, a yoga instructor in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the talk of branding and ownership is bewildering.

“Nobody owns yoga,” she said, sitting cross-legged in her studio, Namaste Yoga, and tilting her head as if the notion sketched an impossible yoga position she had never seen. “Yoga is not a religion. It is a way of life, a method of becoming. We were taught that the roots of yoga go back further than Hinduism itself.”

Like Dr. Chopra and some religious historians, Ms. Desmond believes that yoga originated in the Vedic culture of Indo-Europeans who settled in India in the third millennium B.C., long before the tradition now called Hinduism emerged. Other historians trace the first written description of yoga to the Bhagavad Gita, the sacred Hindu scripture believed to have been written between the fifth and second centuries B.C.

The effort to “take back” yoga began quietly enough, with a scholarly essay posted in January on the Web site of the Hindu American Foundation, a Minneapolis-based group that promotes human rights for Hindu minorities worldwide. The essay lamented a perceived snub in modern yoga culture, saying that yoga magazines and studios had assiduously decoupled the practice “from the Hinduism that gave forth this immense contribution to humanity.”

Dr. Shukla put a sharper point on his case a few months later in a column on the On Faith blog of The Washington Post. Hinduism, he wrote, had become a victim of “overt intellectual property theft,” made possible by generations of Hindu yoga teachers who had “offered up a religion’s spiritual wealth at the altar of crass commercialism.”

That drew the attention of Dr. Chopra, an Indian-American who has done much to popularize Indian traditions like alternative medicine and yoga. He posted a reply saying that Hinduism was too “tribal” and “self-enclosed” to claim ownership of yoga.

The fight went viral — or as viral as things can get in a narrow Web corridor frequented by yoga enthusiasts, Hindu Americans and religion scholars.

Loriliai Biernacki, a professor of Indian religions at the University of Colorado, said the debate had raised important issues about a spectrum of Hindu concepts permeating American culture, including meditation, belief in karma and reincarnation, and even cremation.

“All these ideas are Hindu in origin, and they are spreading,” she said. “But they are doing it in a way that leaves behind the proper name, the box that classifies them as ‘Hinduism.’ ”

The debate has also secured the standing of the Hindu American Foundation as the pre-eminent voice for the country’s two million Hindus, said Diana L. Eck, a professor of comparative religion and Indian studies at Harvard. Other groups represent Indian-Americans’ interests in business and politics, but the foundation has emerged as “the first major national advocacy group looking at Hindu identity,” she said.

Dr. Shukla said reaction to the yoga campaign had far exceeded his expectations.

“We started this, really, for our kids,” said Dr. Shukla, a urologist and a second-generation Indian-American. “When our kids go to school and say they are Hindu, nobody says, ‘Oh, yeah, Hindus gave the world yoga.’ They say, ‘What caste are you?’ Or ‘Do you pray to a monkey god?’ Because that’s all Americans know about Hinduism.”

With its tiny budget, the foundation has pressed its campaign largely by generating buzz through letters and Web postings to academic journals and yoga magazines. The September issue of Yoga Journal, which has the largest circulation in the field, alluded to the campaign, if fleetingly, in an article calling yoga’s “true history a mystery.”

The effort has been received most favorably by Indian-American community leaders like Dr. Uma V. Mysorekar, the president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, in Flushing, Queens, which helps groups across the country build temples.

A naturalized immigrant, she said Take Back Yoga represented a coming-of-age for Indians in the United States. “My generation was too busy establishing itself in business and the professions,” she said. “Now, the second and third generation is looking around and finding its voice, saying, ‘Our civilization has made contributions to the world, and these should be acknowledged.’ ”

In the basement of the society’s Ganesha Temple, an hourlong yoga class ended one recent Sunday morning with a long exhalation of the sacred syllable “om.” Via the lung power of 60 students, it sounded as deeply as a blast from the organ at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

After the session, which began and concluded with Hindu prayers, many students said they were practicing Hindus and in complete sympathy with the yoga campaign.

Not all were, though. Shweta Parmar, 35, a community organizer and project director for a health and meditation group, said she had grown up in a Hindu household. “Yoga is part of the tradition I come from,” she said.

But is yoga specifically Hindu? She paused to ponder. “My parents are Hindu,” she said. But in matters of yoga, “I don’t use that term.”

An empress of India in new clothes

An empress of India in new clothes
http://expressbuzz.com/opinion/op-ed/an-empress-of-india-in-new-clothes/222331.html
John MacLithon

Like Sonia Gandhi, I am a Westerner and a brought-up Christian. Like Sonia Gandhi, I have lived in India many years and I have adopted this country as my own.

But the comparison ends there. I did land in India with a certain amount of prejudices, clichés and false ideas, and I did think in the enthusiasm of my youth to become a missionary to bring back Indian ‘pagans’ to the ‘true god’. But the moment I stepped in India I felt that there was nothing much that I could give to India, rather it was India which was bestowing me. In fact in all my years here India has given me so much — professionally, spiritually, sentimentally. Most Westerners, who come here, still think they are here to ‘give’ something to a country, which, unconsciously of course, they think is lesser than theirs. It was true of the British, it was true of Mother Teresa, it is true of Sonia Gandhi.

t is a fact that Sonia brought discipline, order and cohesion into the Indian National Congress. But the amount of power that she, a person of foreign origin, an elected MP like hundreds of others, possesses should frighten her. All the television channels report without a blink that Maharashtra CM rushes to Delhi to meet Sonia Gandhi to plead for his life. But should not Chavan have gone to the prime minister first?
The CBI blatantly and shamelessly quashed all injunctions against Ottavio Quattrocchi and even allowed him to get away with billions of rupees which he had stolen from India. Yet, without batting an eyelid, and with the Indian media turning a blind eye, it goes ruthlessly after the chief minister of the most efficiently run state, the most corruption free. Today the Congress, with Sonia’s overt or silent consent, pays crores of rupees to buy MPs to topple non-Congress governments. Her governors shamelessly hijack democracy by twisting the law

Are Indians aware that their country has entered a state of semi-autocracy where every important decision comes from a single individual residing in her fortress of 10 Janpath surrounded by dozens of security men, an empress of India? Do they know that the huge amounts of the scams, whether the 2G, the CWG, or the Adarsh housing society scam, do not go into politicians’ pockets (only a fraction), but to the coffers of the Congress for the next general elections, and more than anything to please Sonia Gandhi? Nobody seems to notice what is happening under the reign of Sonia Gandhi.
That an Arundhati Roy is allowed to preach secession in India, whereas on the other hand the Congress government has been going after the army, the last body in India to uphold the time-honoured values of the Kshatriyas — courage, honour, devotion to the Motherland. They alone today practise true secularism, never differentiating between a Muslim or Hindu soldier and who for a pittance daily give their lives to their country. First it was the attempt of a caste census, a divide-and-rule ploy if there is one; then there are the first signs that the government is thinking about thinning down the presence of the Indian army in the Kashmir valley, which will suit Pakistan perfectly. And now there is the Adarsh housing society scam in which the army officers, at the worst, were innocently dragged into it. We know now that it was the politicians of the Congress who benefited the most out of it.
It would be impossible in France, for example, to have a non-Christian tell a Hindu (who is a non-elected president or PM) to be the absolute ruler of the country behind the scenes, superseding even the PM. There are many capable people in the Congress. Why can’t a billion Indians find one of their own, who will understand the complexity and subtlety of India, to govern themselves? Not only that, but her very presence at the top has unleashed forces, visible and invisible that are detrimental to the country. There is nothing wrong in espousing the best of the values of the West — democracy, technological perfection, higher standards of living — but many of the institutions are crumbling in the West: two out of three marriages end in divorce, kids shoot each other, parents are not cared for in their old age, depression is rampant and Westerners are actually looking for answers elsewhere, in India notably.
One does not understand this craze to Westernise India at all costs, while discarding its ancient values. Sonia Gandhi should do well to remember that there still are 850 million Hindus in India, a billion worldwide and that whatever good inputs were brought by different invasions, it is the ancient values of spirituality behind Hinduism which have made India so special and which gives it today unique qualities making an Indian Christian different from an American Christian, or an Indian Muslim different from a Saudi Muslim. It is an insult to these tolerant Hindus to show United States President Barack Obama as his first input of the Indian capital the tomb of Humayun, a man who slaughtered Hindus in thousands, taking Hindu women and children as captives. He even subjected his elder brother Kamran to brutal torture, gauging his eyes out and pouring lemon into them.
The tragedy of India is that it was colonised for too long. And unlike China, it always looks to the West for a solution to its problems. Sonia Gandhi, whatever her qualities, is just an incarnation of that hangover, an empress of India in new clothes.
(The writer is the author of Hindutva, sex & adventures)
E-mail: john.maclithon@gmail.com

West ignored India’s warnings on terrorism: Blair

http://www.indianweekender.co.nz/Pages/ArticleDetails/10/1643/India/West-ignored-Indias-warnings-on-terrorism-Blair

London: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that the West has always ignored India’s warnings on terrorism.

“Despite India’s warnings on terrorism, it took 9/11 for us to wake up,” Blair said in an interview to NDTV news channel aired on Monday.

“I used to say towards the end of prime ministership that we should have listened to India more…we should have watched what’s happening there and taken more account of it.

“It’s for our arrogance, something West is known for, that we didn’t quite understand it and ignored India’s warnings on terrorism,” Blair said.

“Now I realize that it is a global war (against terrorism) and it threatens all.”

Asked if terrorism is rooted in Pakistan, Blair said there is strain of extremism in Islam itself.

“I have many Pakistani friends and I have realized that they (Pakistan) too wants to defeat terrorism,” said Blair.

He further said: “I think it has more to do with the fact that this trend of extremism within Islam. What I learnt from the Indian experience is, you can’t hide away from the fact that this (extremism) is an element within Islam.…it doesn’t express itself as an accepted terrorism but as a narrative of extremism about society, about relations between countries and people of different places.”

“I think fundamental has to be confronted. That fundamental, I am afraid, is present as a strain in the Pakistani society,” said Blair.

Mr Obama, do you have real business to talk with us?

Mr Obama, do you have real business to talk with us?

http://www.dnaindia.com/opinion/comment_mr-obama-do-you-have-real-business-to-talk-with-us_1457914

DNA / R Vaidyanathan / Tuesday, October 26, 2010 3:10 IST

The next two weeks will be full of atmospherics and inanities linked to the visit of US president Barack Obama. Indians are known to derive satisfaction from symbolism rather than substance. When Diwali was supposedly celebrated by George Bush’s White House — a celebration in which the US president did not participate — we went into raptures. When Rajan Zed of Nevada was called to chant Vedic hymns at a Congressional opening, we were ecstatic. Similarly, when Obama visits India next month, we will drool over Michelle buying Kanjeevaram sarees or Obama savouring a paratha at a Delhi dhaba — or some such meaningless events. There is a move to take Michelle to the Red Light areas of Mumbai to get a feel of “inclusive” growth. Imagine Gursharan Kaur being paraded in Soho in London as part of her itinerary. Sikhs are pleading with Obama to visit the Golden Temple, even if he merely wears a baseball cap to cover his head.

(Comment: Remember our PM requesting Obama’s autograph?)

This is how we barter away our self-respect, even as our civil aviation minister Praful Patel is charged a hefty free (£480) for using the lounge at Heathrow airport. Our high commissioner in London had to hurriedly pay for it. In India, even head clerks and deputy assistant undersecretaries of the Anglo-Saxon establishments command red carpet treatment and free VVIP lounges at airports. When Obama arrives, he is going to come as a wounded tiger from a declining empire. His party of change would, by then, have lost its last dime in the Congressional elections to be held on November 2. He could well end up as a one-term president. When American presidents are hurt at home, they try to show off abroad. Nixon made his China trip when his fortunes were going downhill back home. Clinton did mischief in J&K and Bush in Iraq.

Democratic presidents come across as more sanctimonious humbugs and self-righteous compared to Republicans. The latter just bother about business; the former want to be seen as backing causes like human rights — as long as it is done abroad. What should our agenda be with Obama? First, we should ask him to remove every Indian entity which is on the banned export list of the US. Second, if he even mentions Kashmir, we should request him to carry on to Indonesia — his next stop. We should recognise Bangladesh as the successor country to a united Pakistan because of its size and the number of members in it had in parliament before the break-up. If at all anyone has a say in Kashmir, Bangladesh as the successor entity has a more legitimate case, Obama should be told.

Third, we should insist on the need to split Pakistan into many more countries in the interests of world peace. Pakistan’s army is the world’s terror central and a constant threat to world peace. The David Headley saga reveals that US intelligence and enforcement agencies such as the FBI, CIA and DEA have been infiltrated and compromised by the Pakistani ISI and its creations like the LeT. The billions given to appease Pakistan will not help world peace and it will only increase global terror. Hillary Clinton says her heart is in Pakistan and one wishes her a hale and healthy heart. We should remember that her husband, through Robin Raphael, was instrumental in creating the Hurriyat in the Kashmir Valley.

The fourth point is that India should not bother with the talk-shop called the UN Security Council. It has lost its purpose and role. It helps some Indian government bureaucrats to have untaxed pensions. The only important member is China and we can deal with it directly. Becoming a permanent member of the UNSC is not exactly a big payoff for us. Many UN agencies are a joke. What is one to make of the fact that Saudi Arabia and Libya are on the human rights panels, and Pakistan is heading the International Atomic Energy Agency (no doubt, by rotation), after proliferating nuclear weapons and sponsoring terror.

The fifth point we need to tell Obama is that India will not look at China through the US’s lenses. We will deal with China on our terms. We have no need to play sidekick to the US when it deals with China. A British political leader during World War II is reported to have said that Britain would fight the Germans to the last Indian. We do not want to be in the same situation with regard to US-China conflicts. The sixth point is that any enlarged scope for US companies to do business in India should be linked to India getting unrestricted access to the US markets for onshore and offshore software services, including visas for our professionals. Every additional Coke bottle consumed in India or insurance policy sold should be dependent on how the US puts Pakistan on leash. We need to unashamedly and unequivocally link commerce with US pressure on Pakistan on terrorism.

Declining empires do listen to rising powers if they want market access. We need to ask Obama to address our real concerns instead of getting carried away with all the soft praise he may shower on us. We have to grow up.