Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A section of media playing double standard, alleges Puri Seer

A section of media playing double standard, alleges Puri Seer
By Golakha Chandra Das

Bhubaneswar (Visakeo)- Sankaracharya of Puri Gobardan Pitha, Jagadaguru Swami Nischalanand Saraswati has alleged that a section of media, particularly the electronic media is playing double standards on various sensitive issues.

While addressing the media here on June 15, the Puri Seer argued that the whole electronic media kept their concentration on nun rape case in Kandhamal but not a single TV channel showed the brutal muder of Hindu seer Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and the side effects of conversion.

It is vinash and not vikas that is taking place, he observed, while talking to reporters here and said that India has turned directionless. He went on to refer to the Ram Setu controversy and the conversions that are taking place.

“Why is it that conversion is deemed not a problem in our neighborhood, be it due to the influence of Pakistan or China?” he questioned, before announcing that the politics of the ‘vote bank’ is squarely responsible for allowing large scale conversions to take place.

The seer went on to express concern over the onslaught on the Hindu religion and culture as well as the attacks on religious leaders.

Responding to questions on the recent murder of a head of one of the ashrams in Puri, he said it was “a matter of concern” that the State government is unable to protect sadhus.

“A couple of years ago, I used to take pride in telling people across the country about the safety of Puri. I used to say that even at 2.00 a.m. one could walk around Puri without any fear. But I can’t say the same thing now.”

Answering questions on the suspected links between Maoists and a religious group, the Puri seer said it was for the Chief Minister to spell this out. “Ask the CM, why are you asking me?” demanded the seer, before adding that he was not bothered about threat letters being sent to him.

“The CM should say who killed Laxmanananda Saraswati and who was behind the murder. Laxmanananda was attacked on nine previous occasions and he had escaped, but the tenth attack was committed by trained and armed people. This indicates that somebody had conspired and engaged trained people to eliminate Laxmanananda,” he said.

Oppose the visit of United States, Commission for International Religious Freedom to India - Ashok Singhal

Oppose the visit of United States Commission for International Religious Freedom to India - Ashok Singhal
Press statement issued by Shri Ashok Singhal, International President, Vishwa Hindu Parishad

United States Commission for International Religious Freedom is a self-appointed committee as an expression of the big brother attitude of USA to enquire into the status of religious freedom in other countries. It was set up in 1998.

US has no moral right to set up such a commission poking its nose into the internal affairs of other nations and this commission has no legal sanction from UNO.

This commission is concerned only about the Christians in other countries whenever there is a hue and cry by the Church that the Christians are persecuted in such countries. They never bother about the status of religious and racial discriminations meted out to other religionists in the western countries including the US.

This commission has prepared a list of 13 countries wherein they feel the Christian missionaries have not been allowed to freely proselytise the local non-Christians disrupting the social fabric in those countries.

This list does not include any country wherein atrocities are perpetrated on the Hindus or the Buddhists like Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Afghanistan, etc.

If anyone glances over the pages of the constitutions of the western countries, he will be able to realise that there are many restrictions on the religious freedom of the non-Christians in those countries.

But this so-called Commission for International Religious Freedom would not bother about the religious freedom of non-Christians in those countries. Is there absolute religious freedom for the non-Christians in US?

US is not secular as it proclaims to be. Various court decisions say so. Their laws and institutions are necessarily based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of Mankind.

The operation of judicial system in US is directed by the tenets of Christianity. At least half of the ten commandments are on the statute books in one form or another.

There is a tendency to regard Hindu-based religious movements such as ISKCON, Transcendental Meditation groups, Rajnish groups etc, as cults.

Under the guise of being a cult, a religious organisation can be sued for millions of dollars if even one disgruntled or disappointed former disciple is found who feels he was taken advantage of.

Many Hindu-based and yoga movements in US and other western countries have been sued as cults.

The criticism against cults is that they are outside the cultural religious norms, that they are intolerant of majority religions, that they divide the families and turn individuals against their upbringing.

Precisely this is what the Christian missionaries are doing in India, nay the whole of non-Christian world.

People may believe that in America, all religions are treated equally. But this is not the fact of life.

For example, it is still very difficult for Hindus to build temples in the United States, particularly in areas in which fundamentalist Christians are strong.

To put it in perspective, one would say that it is over ten times harder in America to build a temple where Hindus live in large numbers than it is to build a church.

But in India churches crop up anywhere and everywhere even if there is not even a single Christian living in that area.

There are several restrictions in building temples in US. Temples must not outwardly look like a temple, but should look like a school or Church or the local government would not approve of it.

While there are a few Hindu-style temples in America, these are exceptional and special efforts to be allowed.

The textbooks in the western schools and the western media routinely portray Hinduism as cults, idolatry or even as eroticism.

Booklets and pamphlets denigrating Hindu religion and distorting the Hindu religious literature and epics are frequently distributed hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus in many parts of our country.

To quote Swami Vivekananda in this regard
“...every Christian child is taught to call the Hindus ‘vile’ and ‘wretches’ and the most horrible devils on earth.

“Part of the Sunday school education for children in USA consists of teaching them to hate everybody who is not a Christian and the Hindus especially, so that from their very childhood, they may subscribe their pennies to the Christian missions abroad.

“...Look again at the books published in Madras against the Hindu religion. If a Hindu writes one such line against the Christian religion, the missionaries will cry fire and vengeance.” (Complete Works 1990, Vol. IV; p. 345)

So this commission has never done anything about the prevailing religious freedom in the West with several restrictions.

China has never allowed this commission to visit its country.

This commission has not visited Kashmir, the northeastern provinces and other such areas where the Hindus are a minority and are subjected to atrocities by the non-Hindu majority of those provinces. But it will express its concern over the minor attacks on Christians in Orissa, Gujarat and Karnataka.

We cannot grant any monopoly for the Americans to poke their nose into the internal matters of our country and a government with self-respect should not allow this commission to visit India.

If the government allows this commission to visit India, it would be opposed tooth and nail by Hindus all over the country.

India is a country which gave asylum to the Christians who were persecuted in Syria in Antioch and Damascus even in the 4th century. They have been living here peacefully till this date.

India gave asylum to the Persians when they had to flee Persia fearing forcible conversions by the Arabian invaders. These Zoroastrians who took asylum in Gujarat are all leading prosperous and fearless lives till this date.

When the Jews sought asylum in India after being driven out of their land, they have been taken care of by us. But this was not the case with the countries in the West where the Jews were persecuted.

We don’t need any certificate form the so-called commission about the religions freedom enormously enjoyed by Christians and Muslims in this land. Let US look at its back before poking its nose into our internal affairs.

This US Commission for International Religious Freedom was not allowed to visit India from 1998 to 2008.

But all of a sudden just before the recent elections the Government of India lifted the ban on the visit of this commission probably at the instance of Sonia Gandhi.

One more thing that has to be brought before the world is this—that the C¬¬church is misusing the freedom of religion guaranteed in our Constitution and is indulging in anti-national activities.

The Church has floated several outfits in the name of serving the oppressed and depressed classes in India and fighting for their rights.

In the north-eastern parts of our country alone 18 such outfits are functioning. Several such outfits are operating in the South also. These outfits instigate one community against another resulting in communal clashes.

When a large number of persons of both the clashing communities get displaced from their homes and villages these outfits in the name of setting-up relief camps for them, convert the people. This has been going on systematically for the past sixty years since Independence.

Several Church outfits have been indulging in anti-national activities in the north-eastern areas and tribal areas in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and Orissa promoting hatred among different communities and disrupting the social fabric.

This was exposed by the Niyogi Commission appointed by the then Congress government in Madhya Pradesh in the fifties.

As recommended by the Niyogi Commission, the Freedom ¬¬¬ of Religion Act was enacted in Madhya Pradesh to be followed by the Congress-ruled Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh and later on in Himachal Pradesh Tamil Nadu and Gujarat by the then ruling parties.

The Church has been protesting against these legislations which restrict only the fraudulent and forcible conversions.

Last year Swami Laxmanananda, who was rendering a yeoman’s service for the uplift of the tribals at Kandhamal District in Orissa was murdered by the Christian miscreants fearing that these service activities of Swamiji would block the road for free conversions among the tribals by the Church.

Similarly, Swami Shanti Kali Maharaj, a Hindu saint, was killed in Tripura for the same reason, a few years back.

In the light of the above facts we demand the setting-up of a commission by Government of India at the national level to probe into the nefarious activities carried on by the outfits backed by the Church in several parts of our country. The commission should also inquire into the flow of foreign funds to such organisations and how the funds are misused for conversions and promoting communal hatred among the different Hindu communities.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

BJP lost because of hostile media

BJP lost because of hostile media
By Subhash Bisaria

It was the media that did the BJP more harm with its focused, negative, venomous and malicious onslaughts than anyone else.

How many public meetings did Rahul Gandhi attend—100, 150 or 200? Even if we take 5000 as audience listening to him (of whom many would be party workers) how many people did he reach? Just 10 lakh out of 110 crore. A pittance! But media reached him to all. Contrast this with Shri Advani, Shri Narendra Modi and Shri Rajnath Singh’s much more qualitative and substantive public meetings, how many people did it reach? Media, out of necessity, showed a few glimpses of those portions specially that were unimportant or controversial or quoted out of context. Harm done? Double. Plus it did not fail to hold group discussions, or sought opinion from so-called experts thus establishing the bias deep down in the psyche of the people.

I remember one Jan Jagran Abhiyan held at Balrampur Gardens in Lucknow for which people deliberated, held meetings and month-long preparations were done. The yatra conducted state tour and was received into the city from Hardoi. About ten thousand people attended it, but it was hardly reported by the media though they were all there.

What I mean to say is that nationalist forces fail to get themselves across to people. Similarly, BJP has many issues before it, but it can’t build up the pressure in the absence of media. Neither Shri Modi nor Shri Varun Gandhi are responsible for the debacle of the BJP. In fact, Shri Modi tried to rejuvenate the masses (but his Hindutva was often deflected or communalised by the media) of the Congress and media propelled notions of secularism. Hindus today need mass awakening, awareness and revival and for that a vibrant, honest and fearless media is required. Attitude of 110 crore Indians can’t be changed overnight but it can be done.

What can the BJP’s media do?
  • Awaken 50 per cent non-voting class
  • Mitigate the adverse publicity made by the secular media that maligns the Hindu image
  • Restore the confidence and self esteem of the Hindus through short serials, documentaries etc on our great leaders like Shivaji, Rana Pratap, Vir Savarkar etc
  • Counter the propaganda against the saints, RSS, VHP or other Hindu bodies. Show the other side of the coin too on issues pending before the nation. For example, Kashmir problem, show the plight of the Pundits in camps repeatedly, how their properties are being seized by the local jehadis in Kashmir. Infiltration by the Bangladeshis and plight of the local Assamese and Bengalis.
  • Not to report the random cases of terrorism or conversions but to complete the jigsaw picture of converting India into the pockets of Islamic and Christian states and to seize power from the Hindus.
  • Issues of distortions in the text books
  • Convince how only swadeshi or India-centric policies can ensure food and employment to all
  • Pick every opportunity, festivals etc, for talking and discussing the Hindu customs, traditions and scientific values attached to it and removing the doubts created by the opposition and many more.
  • Teach Sanskrit and scriptures through TV
  • Importance of cow
  • Bring awareness to love-jehad where Hindu girls are purposely trapped by the paid Romeos then converted and married.
The nationalist forces have all been painted in black by the media and the secular jamat. The challenge before the new channels would be highly challenging. As the secular brigade and the vested interests from the India and abroad would like to isolate and choke it to death as they do fervently to BJP, VHP or RSS.

Even backward looking and averse to technology, Muslims have launched a channel deceptively called Peace Channel.

India has 5 crore cable network connections and DTH and if there are five members in a family the cable has a direct access to 25 crore people especially in the urban sector and incidently it was in the urban sector where the BJP lost more than in rural or Vanvasi areas.

Media made the poor victims as the perpetrators of crime in the following and created a false public opinion abroad
  • Violence in Kandhamal
  • Killing of Swami Laxmanananda
  • Godhara retaliation

  • Party workers should be respected and listened to
  • No compromise on Hindu-centric ideology
  • Media savvy
  • Launch of at least two national magazines one in Hindi, the other in English and two TV news channels effectively managed and controlled.

Media has become partner of ruling party

Nothing is more distressing than to hear that corruption has entered the field of journalism. In pre-Independence days, journalism was a mission; now it has become business. And it is becoming increasingly difficult to take some of the more important newspapers as the last word in truth. Writing in the Free Press Journal (April 27) Sushma Ramachandran (described as an economic and corporate analyst) blasted business journalism in no uncertain terms. Here are some of her findings, which are extremely disturbing:
  • “Many financial dailies publish news items that are blatantly one-sided…
  • “There should be worries over the fact that puff pieces on the corporate sector seems to have become the order of the day. One leading mainstream English newspaper had a business editor for about a year who specialised in long articles praising one big business house after another.
  • “There is a view within the media community that despite the huge salaries now being paid to business journalists in the print and electronic media, the incidence of corruption remains the same as when scribes were paid a pittance.”
According to Sushma Ramachandran, as far as the public issues are concerned there has been a pernicious practice of handing out envelopes filled with cash or cash vouchers to reporters at the press conference, so that they could buy “a small gift” for themselves. Some multinationals went to the extent of organising foreign junkets for obliging journalists. According to Sushma, “Rare are the cases where journalists can go on a trip without a clearance from their bosses.”

The Indian Express (May 23) carried a report on the same subject, the occasion being an address delivered by the chairman of the Press Council of India, Justice GN Ray, at a seminar organised by the Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication. Justice Ray in his speech expressed serious concern over “the paid-news syndrome” in the media describing it as the worst form of misinformation or even disinformation. The chairman said that presently journalists are “working on package”, that “editors are being marginalised” and that they themselves have allowed “devaluation of the dignity” of their high and respected office. Or take what Sevanti Ninan writes about journalists in The Hindu (May 24). Asks Ninan: “Should you believe everything you read about a candidate in a newspaper” and she answers her own question by saying: “Not after these elections.” In Madhya Pradesh and in Andhra Pradesh, money was charged for press coverage of candidates which according to Ninan gave “a whole new dimension to the business of media impacting elections”. It would seem that in Andhra Pradesh, especially, every Telugu newspaper and some of the Telugu news channels charged for positive coverage “at the same column centimetre rate as they do for advertisements”.

Apart from misleading the voters, that helped candidates circumvent the limits on election spending. Or take the issue of exit polls. The Hitavada (May 14) provided a list of eleven TV channels that broadcast exit polls and not one of them came anywhere near the truth and they included Headlines Today, Times Now, India TV, Star News, CNN-IBN, Aaj Tak and NDTV. How can so many of them, all run by professionals, go wrong? One can understand a couple of them slipping, but all eleven of them? Many of the so-called professionals went wrong also in 2004. Obviously, an explanation is called for.

One learns that the media earns from an election more so than in a year of no-electioneering. According to a report, one broker offered an independent candidate three weeks of coverage in four newspapers for a sum of Rs 10 lakh. Learning that a certain newspaper was running a bad report on a candidate, the latter is supposed to have paid Rs 4 lakh to stop it. What can we call it: black mail? For many candidates, money apparently is of no great consideration. If Deccan Herald (April 30) is to be believed—and why shouldn’t we?—some 223 millionaires and 258 with criminal record were in the election fray. To such, what is a sum of just four lakh rupees?

In the last Parliament, there were apparently 128 people with a dubious past of whom 55 were allegedly involved in serious crimes. In the new Parliament just elected, according to The Indian Express ( May 25), there has been a 19.15 per cent increase in their numbers with the election of 74 MPs who are accused of grave crimes. Voters may have rejected communism, but they have obviously not been able to differentiate between an honest man and a criminal. Or have the voters also been sufficiently bribed for their tacit support? Who knows? But, after all is said and done, the one painful question remains to be answered: How come all exit polls failed? They were apparently carried out by “professionals” who knew their job. But from what they prophesied, they were anything but professional. Anyone who knows something about exit polls knows what “sampling” means.

Writing in The Hindu (May 24) Sevanti Ninan asks a sensible question: “If reporters talk to candidates more than voters, how can they get their predictions right?” But then there is another question of even greater relevance. Think of the CNN-IBN showing times without number the scene of Varun Gandhi making those remarks that put him in jail. What lay behind this show? Was it necessary to repeat Varun Gandhi’s performance to the point when one felt like throwing up? Then there was that interview that Barkha Dutt had with Priyanka looking all so coy and saying how much she admired both her mother and brother. While Narendra Modi was sounding harsh most of the time, Priyanka was sounding so nice and gentle. Was all that part of a well-organised public relations job? One suspects that the Congress had appointed a better public relations firm than the BJP. But all this is hindsight. One will never know why the voter behaved the way he did though several answers are available and all of them sound very credible. All that we do know is that the voter had foxed the professional twice. That raises an important question: Do our professionals understand the Indian mind? Was the voter interested only in continuity of a government and not so much in who ran it? And in stability of a government and not so much in its ideology? Only time can tell.

NCERT denigrates Hindu Dharma

NCERT denigrates Hindu Dharma
By Himanshu Shekhar Jha

There is absolutely no doubt that the NCF (National Curriculum Framework) 2005 was designed not to serve the cause of national education for building up the moral character of school-going children and developing their knowledge and skill, but with the sole and sordid motive of dismantling the foundation of India’s culture on which stands the superstructure of her outstandingly excellent educational ideals. This is evident inter alia, from the highly flawed syllabi framed by the NCERT for schools.

Apart from gross grammatical mistakes, the textbooks published by the NCERT contain several statements which are factually wrong and misleading. Let us take, for example, a textbook in history for Class-VI captioned Our Pasts-I.

The said textbook which opens with the chapter entitled What, Where, How and When carries the photograph of a Muslim girl (page-1) which has no connection to a book of history. The last chapter superscribed Buildings, Paintings And Books gives a summary description about Lord Ram and Sita without their pictures which a book of history for children is expected to carry for various reasons. Lord Ram and Sita were not ordinary mortals, but great historical personages whom millions of Hindus and others worship even today as incarnations of God. The NCERT writers have introduced them to our children merely as a prince and his wife respectively (page 129).

A book of history is not only a record of arid facts but comprises anecdotes which enable readers and others to draw invaluable lessons from them. Children can learn a great deal from books like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, but the NCERT has made no effort in this direction. The said textbook has been stuffed with materials which have no bearing on our past erroneously spelt as “pasts” by the NCERT writers.

Instead of telling schoolchildren why Lord Ram and Sita are greatly loved by countless people all over the world even after the lapse of lakhs of years, the NCERT’s so-called historians tell them that “Rama” (Mark the mistake in the name) was “a Prince of Kosala, who was sent into exile.” (page 129). It will be readily noticed that the usual lexical meaning of the word “exile” is enforced absence from one’s country for a long time as a punishment. Thus construed the meaning of the clause “Ram, a Prince of Kosala….. was sent into exile” would be that Ram, the Prince of Kosala, had been banished from his country as an award of punishment for a crime. Can there be anything historically more incorrect and mischievous than this? It is a universally known fact that Lord Ram had gone to the forest for fourteen years on his own accord to enable his father King Dasaratha to carry out a solemn and binding promise he had made to one of his wives named Kaikeyi at a critical moment. Any historian who writes about Lord Ram and his banishment must state the whole truth with utmost honesty expected from the writer of a book of history which has not been done by the writers of the NCERT textbook.

The textbook in question also contains incorrect and misleading statements about Hindu scriptures. It has been written “Like the Mahabharata, this (the Ramayana) was an old story that was now written down”. (page 129)

Firstly, neither the Mahabharata nor the Ramayana is a “story”. Both the voluminous books are authentic historical accounts related to two distinct periods in human history. It is a historically settled fact that the battle of the Mahabharata took place 5,000 years ago and the epic ‘The Mahabharata’ related thereto was composed by a great sage Sri Krishna Dwaipayana Vyas about the same time. The NCERT’s alleged historians have, however, fixed the date of the writing of the Mahabharata as 1500 years before the common Christian era which is palpably false and misleading. It is equally wrong and mischievous to say that “Like the Mahabharata, this (the Ramayana) was now written down (page 129). The word “now” which occurs in the book mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs is extremely vague and does not make out any sense. If explained with a frame of reference to the time of the composition of the Mahabharata it was written about the same time i.e. 1500 years ago. Thus according to the NCERT writers both the Mahabharata and the Ramayana were written during the same period only 1500 years ago.

The images of the famous Ram Sethu, taken by the NASA, on authentic American space agency reveal that it is a man-made bridge and had been built up 17,500,00 years ago. Coincidently that is the time when the Treta Yuga during which Lord Ram was born, existed. Since Valmiki popularly known as Adi Kavi, i.e. the first poet of the world, was Lord Ram’s contemporary and had written the historic epic ‘the Ramayana’ it is a brazen lie to say that “it was now” i.e. 1500 years before written down.”

It is also important to note that while writing about Islam which is in no way related to India’s past, the NCERT writers have expressed the view that it “laid stress on the equality and unity of all before Allah” (page 120)—a statement to which the events of the world history till date do'not testify. The NCERT writers did not forget to use the words “the sacred book of Islam” for the Kur’an (page 120) which is not free from objectionable verses, but they avoided to use the same expression i.e. “the sacred books of Hinduism” before “the Ramayana” and the Mahabharata”.

The National Curriculum Framework 2005 is a flawed instrument and there is an imperative need to alter it for serving the cause of education in the best possible way.

(The writer who is an Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and can be contacted at:A-207, Kalyani Apartments Sector-06, Vasundhara, Ghaziabad(U.P.))

Widespread complaints of EVM tampering in Orissa

Widespread complaints of EVM tampering in Orissa
Parties unite in condemning BJD manipulation
By Deepak Kumar Rath

The massive mandate in favour of BJD in Orissa has surprised the people of the state, who have raised their eyebrows at the election outcome and are questioning whether it is the people’s mandate or that of the electronic voting machines (EVMs). All predictions and surveys have proved to be wrong including that of the special branch of the government.

The election in Orissa was conducted in two phases—on April 16 and 23. In the first phase, EVM tampering was allegedly done in some selected pockets of Ganjam district. In the second phase, it was reported to have been done on a massive scale. As a result of this, the BJD with its partners was able to capture 64 assembly seats out of 77 seats and seven parliamentary seats out of 11 seats in that phase alone. After the counting was over, it was found that the candidates, who were sure to lose even according to their own estimation, won the election by an unbelievable margin of 30 thousand to 50 thousand votes.

It is learnt from the reliable sources that some BJD MLAs, who had never dreamt of winning the election, are attributing their win to the blessings of the BJD chief and his loyal official machinery, which allegedly helped in tampering the EVMs. Some of the BJD MLAs before the counting of the votes were told by some of the collectors that they would definitely win the election by some definite margin, which was confirmed after the counting.

Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Shri JB Patnaik alleged that the BJD had won the election by distributing huge amount of black money and tampering with EVMs. He demands an inquiry into the matter so that all the misdeeds of BJD could be exposed. At a press conference, the Congress leaders like Shri Sivananda Ray, state vice president, Shri Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mahapatra, state working president, and Shri Ramakrishna Patnaik also made allegations of tampering with EVMs.

The BJP legislative party leader Shri KV Singhdeo, while talking to Organiser, said: “The issue of EVM tampering cannot be ruled out. This needs to be inquired into by a non-government international agency, involved in software development and electronic. An all-party panel should be formed, which would monitor the inquiry so that the issue could be put to rest for all time to come.” He pointed out that after the polling was over, the EVMs stored in the strong rooms, were not sealed up to 36 to 48 hours under the pretext of segregating and bifurcating votes cast to MPs and MLAs into one envelope. No political party was allowed entry within 100 metres of the strong rooms. What actually happened during that period is anybody’s guess, Shri Singhdeo added.

The BJP state core committee presided by BJP state president Shri Suresh Pujari and attended by Shri BB Harichandan, Shri Jual Oram, Shri Dilip Roy, Shri Bijoy Mahapatra, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and others made the similar allegations of blatant tampering with EVMs. Orissa state president of Samajwadi Party Shri Kailash Mishra and the Samrudha Orissa state president Shri Jyotish Mahanty also made accusations of tampering with EVMs citing various instances. For instance, take the case of Bhubaneswar, which this correspondent I very closely observed when he toured all over the state to observe the election there. Shri BB Harichandan, who was not only the leader of the BJP legislative party but as a minister had handled many portfolios since 1977 very effectively. In the assembly elections of 2000 and 2004, he won from the same Bhubaneswar constituency by massive margins of 96,000 and 86,000 votes respectively against his nearest rivals. Those were the highest margins in the state in both the elections. In the 2009 election, his rival the BJD candidate who appeared unworthy in the estimation of the people, won from this constituency. This was not the scenario in Bhubaneswar alone, on all the 77 assembly seats and 11 Lok Sabha seats in the second phase of election, all the popular leaders of the opposition, i.e. BJP and Congress, have been defeated, which the people are not prepared to believe.

Tampering with EVMs was allegedly detected at many places in the state. At the Nima Sahi booth in Cuttack it was detected that all votes are recorded on the BJD symbol, though different buttons were pressed by the voters. After this issue was brought to light by the BJP candidate Shri Samir Day, there was public pressure and re-polling was conducted at this booth. Although there were similar complaints from Bhubaneswar and different parts of the state, they were not entertained.

Another surprising factor is that the original Bhubaneswar assembly constituency has now been divided into three constituencies. In all the three constituencies, the BJP candidates including Shri Harichandan got about 11 thousand votes each—in Bhubaneswar (Central) 11,400, Bhubaneswar (Northern) 11,300 and Ekamra, (Bhubaneswar) 11,070. Not only that, in the three adjoining constituencies of Bhubaneswar, the BJP candidates got about 11 thousand votes, i.e. in Delang and Pipili 11,170 votes each and Jayadev 10,800. Is it a mere coincidence or a fishy political propaganda that all BJP candidates in those constituencies could get about votes to a definite figure, i.e., 11,000 votes? Thus, it confirms the belief that EVMs have been very meticulously programmed and tampered with.

There is another astonishing aspect in this election that all the wellknown and reputed leaders of the opposition both BJP and Congress, who were sure to win in the public estimation, have been defeated. BJP leaders like Shri Bijay Mahapatra, Shri Brijkishore Tripathy, Shri Jual Oram, Shri Kharvel Swain and Shri Dhamendra Pradhan, and Congress leaders like Shri Nalinikant Mohanty, Shri Ramakrishna Patnaik, Shri Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mahapatra, Shri Chandrasekhar Sahu, Shri Niranjan Patnaik, Shri Jayadev Jena, and Shri Soumyaranjan Patnaik have been defeated. It appears as if a list of such leaders was prepared and then they have been butchered in a planned manner with the help of EVMs. Therefore, in Orissa the election outcome is now called yantradesh, not janadesh, i.e. it is not the mandate of the people but of the EVMs.

Sudarshanji questions EVMs’ credibility
By Golak Chandra Das

Cuttack (Visakeo): The former RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri KS Sudarshan has questioned the credibility of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) that are being used during polls instead of ballot papers.

“The general elections have become a contempt of democracy as machines playing greater role than the voters,” Shri Sudarshan said while addressing the concluding ceremony of Sangh Shiksha Varga held at OMP Ground here. The Pratham Verga had kicked off on May 15 and concluded on June 4. A total of 219 youth participated in the Varga at Keonjhar and Bhawanipatana.

Second year camp started on May 15 and concluded on June 5. A total of 86 swayamsevaks participated in the second year Varga at Cuttack.

Various political parties have successfully tampered EVMs to keep power, which was witnessed in West Bengal in way back in 2004, he added.

“It was a shock for the democracy,” he said adding that the EVMs are not being used in developed countries like Germany and the USA.

The party with more than 50 per cent of the whole population opposing, is ruling now, Shri Sudarshan said indirectly referring to Congress.

Cuttack Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee secretary Gurudeb Singh, DD Patnaik, HJS national coordinator Harihar Nanda, Sah Kshetra Pracharak, Ajit Prasad Mohapatra, Kshetra Sharirik Pramukha, Ghanshyam Mohapatra, former Sanghachalak Bhupen Basu, Sah-Prant Sanghachalak Hemant Dhir, BMS national organising secretary KC Mishra, senior Pracharak Rangaraje, Sah-Prant Karyavah Durga P Sahoo and Anil Mishra, Prant Pracharak Jagadish P Khadanga, Sah-Prant Pracharak BB Nanda and Prant Sharirik Pramukh Sudarshan Das were also present on the occasion.

The only prescription for all the ills confronting the nation today lies in the philosophy of Hindutva

Third-Year Sangh Shiksha Varga concludes
It's the popular will, not politics that makes history - Mohan Bhagwat
By Virag Pachpore

The RSS has been promoting this Hindutva to take the nation to the highest pinnacle of glory without deviating from the culture and heritage of this country.” - Mohan Bhagwat

“When the Constitution was made, there were all-round attempts to make India a secular republic. In fact, some provisions of the Constitution were specially formulated for achieving that end.” - Justice (Retd.) KT Thomas

"The only prescription for all the ills confronting the nation today lies in the philosophy of Hindutva. It is the bedrock of our national and social life. It connotes the way of life and encompasses all the faiths and languages in India”, asserted Shri Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsanghachalak of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Speaking at the concluding function of the third-year Sangh Shiksha Varga (RSS training camp) at the sprawling Reshimbag grounds in Nagpur, Shri Bhagwat made a passionate appeal to all the people to join RSS in order to know and understand the organisation. “Our doors are open for all”, he said. “The RSS has been promoting this Hindutva to take the nation to the highest pinnacle of glory without deviating from the culture and heritage of this country”, Shri Bhagwat said and appealed to all to contribute in this task by joining the RSS.

Shri Bhagwat said that leaders, policies, administration and slogans cannot make the future of any country. It is the popular will that writes the destiny the way they want. Hence, awakening the popular will with full faith in our traditions and cultural ethos and injecting the spirit of selfless dedication to motherland will alone take our nation to the position of the world leader (vishwa guru). This might appear to be the longest way, but this is the only way and hence shortest too, Shri Bhagwat said and added that since last 85 years the RSS has been doing exactly the same.

Explaining that the word Hindu represents our national identity, Shri Bhagwat said that it is wrong to describe Hindu as a religion. “Hindu and Hindutva represent the cultural heritage of every Indian irrespective of his way of worship, religious faith and language. Hindutva encompasses Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs in India because it is the national identity of all of us,” she stated.

Taking a dig at those who prefer ‘Bharatiya’ to ‘Hindu’, the RSS Sarsanghachalak said that ‘Hindu’ does not connote the mere geographical boundaries of India while Bharatiya has a mere geographical connotation and cannot define the cultural dimensions associated with the word ‘Hindu’.

Giving historical proofs Shri Bhagwat said that those regions where the Hindu population was reduced to minority or converted to other faiths, got separated from India in the recent past. Loss of Hindutva is the main reason behind the recent problems of internal security, regionalism, separatism, etc, being faced by the country, he said.

Unity in diversity is our peculiarity. And this is our true identity also. Hindutva welcomes all good things and thoughts from all the directions and honour all faiths and views. There is no place for conversion. All other countries except India do not believe in this principle of unity in diversity. The concepts of conversion and imperialism often arise from bigotry and hatred of other religions and faiths, which has no place in Hindu culture, tradition and ethos, Shri Bhagwat pointed out.

Quoting Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and Dr Verghese Kurien, the Sarsanghachalak said that all great thinkers have said time and again that common people will have to be motivated to achieve the progress, prosperity and peace and to make India a world leader. Owing to the continuous neglect of harnessing the immense capabilities of the common man, the nation has failed to achieve this potential in various walks of life.

India has made progress after Independence but social problems like poverty, unemployment, internal security, terrorism, etc, are also increasing. To overcome these problems the only solution is to sacrifice all our qualities at the altar of our motherland, Shri Bhagwat said and added that the Sangh has been doing precisely this in a silent manner, and urged all to come close to RSS, participate in this task of national reconstruction and become a part of this great movement.

Former Supreme Court judge Justice KT Thomas, who could not make it to the concluding function due to personal problem, strongly advocated the need for bringing uniform civil code. He lamented that even after six decades of Independence no concrete steps were taken by the successive governments in this regard.

In his written speech, which was read out by camp Bouddhik Pramukh Shri Suresh, Justice (Retd.) Thomas said that when the Constitution was made, there were all-round attempts to make India a secular republic. In fact, some provisions of the Constitution were specially formulated for achieving that end. One such provision is Article 44. But the irony today is that anyone who pleads for enforcement of the directive principle enshrined in Article 44 is dubbed a communalist and those who oppose are hailed as secularists, Justice (Retd.) Thomas said in a sarcastic comment on secularism professed in present India.

He was all praise for the wonderful work the RSS is doing. “I have more admiration for the activities of RSS than criticism, unlike some other members of the minority communities who entertain prejudices towards this organisation”, he said adding that he “keeps an open mind in seeing the functions of RSS and hence have no prejudice against it”. He disclosed that he developed this admiration for RSS from the days of Emergency when the RSS suffered a lot for restoration of constitutional democracy in India.

“I have been watching the performance of this organisation and hearing the utterances of its leaders. I often feel that I have larger areas of agreement with this organisation than disagreement”, Justice (Retd.) Thomas stated.

The apex court's former judge credited Sardar Patel with integrating India immediately after Independence and passing of the Constitution. He, however, lamented that the picturisation of Indian nation by Pt Nehru as “unity in diversity” has remained a dream even after 60 years of Independence. Justice (Retd.) Thomas wondered as to how many Indians could proudly proclaim that he is Indian first. He criticised the media for not playing its due role in achieving uniform civil code. There can be no valid argument against bringing the whole nation under a uniform code of laws subject to provincial variations, he said.

Narrating his experience at a seminar on minority rights in one of the universities in Kerala, Justice (Retd.) Thomas said that one of the legal professionals belonging to minority community said that he has a feeling of insecurity with his religious identity. Justice (Retd.) Thomas told the gathering that despite being a member of a still smaller minority community he feels no such insecurity. He advised the member to shun his identity as a member of that religious faith and earn his identity as an Indian citizen and then he would have no reason to entertain this apprehension. Religious faith must be kept as an extremely personal matter and should not be allowed to intertwine with the citizenship identity.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Awaiting changes to a syllabus of hate in Pakistan

by Nirupama Subramanian
All the focus is on madrasa reforms but Pakistan’s schools are also seen as encouraging extremism, while the government has shown little urgency about implementing a revised curriculum.
On a recent weekday afternoon, a small group of youngsters gathered at a meeting hall in Islamabad to discuss how to combat extremism, militancy and terrorism in Pakistan. Listed were top-notch speakers, including two members of Parliament and the well-known physicist, Pervez Hoodbhoy.

Dr. Hoodbhoy, who teaches at the Quaid-e-Azam University in the Pakistan capital, spoke passionately and at length, on a theme that he has worked to highlight for years: the education imparted to Pakistani children is flawed and encourages extremism, intolerance and ignorance. He showed the group, mostly undergraduate students, slides from an illustrated primer for the Urdu alphabet he picked from a shop in Rawalpindi: alif for Allah; bay for bandook (gun); tay for takrao (collision, shown by a plane crashing into the Twin Towers); jeem for jihad; kay for khanjar (dagger); and hay for hijab.

This was not a prescribed textbook, but another set of slides he showed had excerpts from a 1995 government-approved curriculum for Social Studies, which stated that at the end of Class V, the child should be able to acknowledge and identify forces that may be working against Pakistan; demonstrate by actions a belief in the fear of Allah; make speeches on jehad and shahadat (martyrdom); understand Hindu-Muslim differences and the resultant need for Pakistan; India’s evil designs against Pakistan; be safe from rumour-mongers who spread false news; visit police stations; collect pictures of policemen, soldiers, and National Guards; and demonstrate respect for the leaders of Pakistan.

“Instead of teaching our children about the nice things in this world like the colours of flowers, about the wonders of the universe, we are teaching them to hate,” he said. The school curriculum was one reason, he said, why Pakistanis were in denial that the militants and extremists now terrorising the entire country were home-grown products, and why many tended to externalise the problem with conspiracy theories about an “external” hand.

At the end of the discussion, which included a question-and-answer session, the group was asked how many thought Pakistan’s present problems were the consequence of an “Indian hand.” A quarter of the group put up its hands. Next, the students were asked how many thought the problems were the result of an American conspiracy to destabilise Pakistan and deprive it of its nuclear weapons: more than three-fourths of the group sent their hands up without a moment’s hesitation.

The irony was that this was the “youth group” of a non-governmental organisation, the Liberal Forum of Pakistan. The students had reserved their maximum applause for a speaker who projected the widespread line that Pakistan’s problems began only after 2001, and are the fallout of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

“Was there a single incident of terrorism before that? A single suicide bombing? No.” he said. The speaker was an official of the Ministry of Youth Affairs.

In the search for solutions to the crisis sweeping Pakistan and threatening to tear it apart, the international community has tended to focus on madrasas as “terrorist factories.” But for Dr. Hoodbhoy and others who have been fighting a long battle for urgent changes in Pakistan’s national school curriculum and the prescribed school textbooks, children getting a government-approved education in the public school system are at equal risk.

“Madrasas are not the only institutions breeding hate, intolerance, a distorted world view. The educational material in government-run schools do much more than madrasas. The textbooks tell lies, create hatred, inculcate militancy…” This was the damning conclusion of a landmark research project by the Islamabad-based Sustainable Development Policy Institute.

For three years, 30 scholars commissioned by SDPI pored over textbooks in four subjects taught for Classes 1 to 12: Social Studies/Pakistan Studies, Urdu, English and Civics. The startling findings of their labour came out in a 2004 publication, “The Subtle Subversion: The State of Curricula and Textbooks in Pakistan.”

The much-written about research unleashed a huge debate on what was being taught in Pakistan’s schools, and became the basis for a major revision of the national curriculum undertaken by the Musharraf regime in 2006. The new curriculum has made several big changes. There is a conscious move to teach tolerance and respect for diversity, and the open vilification of India is absent. It also does not insist on imposing Islamic religious teaching on non-Muslim students. Religion is to be taught in focussed courses, rather than being infused in Social Studies, Civics, Urdu and English.

Unfortunately, so far, no move has been made to introduce new textbooks that reflect the changes.

“The revised curriculum is a huge departure from the earlier one. But whether the changes it prescribes will be implemented at all is not clear to us. The more it is delayed, the less and less we are sure it is going to come,” said A.H. Nayyar, research fellow at SDPI and one of the initiators of the project.

The changes in the curriculum are up on the Internet site of the Ministry of Education. For Grades 4 and 5 Social Studies, the curriculum has dropped the learning outcomes prescribed by the 1995 and 2002 curricula, focussing instead on providing an “unbiased” education that aims to build informed citizens equipped with analytical skills and “values such as equality, social justice, fairness, diversity, and respect for self and diverse opinions of others.”

The SDPI recommendation that history be taught as a separate subject instead of being lumped into Pakistan Studies was accepted by the framers of the revised curriculum. So, for the first time, a curriculum has been framed for history as a separate subject from Grades 6 to 8.

In contrast to the earlier approach in the Pakistan Studies curriculum, in which the history of Pakistan begins with the day the first Muslim set foot in India, the revised curriculum includes a study of the Indus valley civilisation, of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, and of the ancient Maurya and Gupta dynasties.

The curriculum appears keen to emphasise a composite South Asian history from which Pakistan took birth including the “joint Hindu-Muslim” efforts in the struggle for independence. The Pakistan Studies curriculum for Grades 9 and 10 wants children to learn about the multicultural heritage of Pakistan and “get used to the idea of unity in diversity,” a big no-no earlier.

The revised curriculum also has a component on “peace studies” and conflict resolution.

One reason new textbooks based on the revised curriculum have not come out yet, Dr. Nayyar speculated, may be that the 1998 national educational policy introduced by the shortlived Nawaz Sharif government, remains in force till 2010. The Pakistan People’s Party-led government could be waiting to introduce its own education policy, and usher in the changes to the curriculum and the textbooks along with this, he said.

Even the draft new education policy is ready, based on a two-year-old White Paper. It too reflects a major shift from the 1998 policy, which laid down that education should enable the citizens to lead their lives as true practising Muslims according to the teachings of Islam as prescribed in the Quran and Sunnah. It also made the teaching of Nazra Quran a compulsory subject from Grades 1 to 8, and the learning of selected verses from the Quran thereafter, in clear violation of the Constitution that Islam will not be imposed on non-Muslims.

By contrast, the draft new policy makes it clear that only Muslim children will be provided instruction in Islamiyat, while minorities will be provided an education in their own religion. The new policy will provide the framework for the implementing the new curriculum and introducing new textbooks.

The bad news is that in April, the federal Cabinet put off approving the draft indefinitely. Only after the Cabinet approves the policy can it be placed before Parliament. A report in Dawn newspaper said the Cabinet wanted the Education Ministry to make the policy “more comprehensive, covering every aspect of education sector which needs improvement along with an implementable work plan.” But no urgency is visible in the Ministry to get cracking on this task. Another concern is that the Education Minister is not known for his progressive views, especially on gender issues.

“My fear,” said Dr. Nayyar, a soft-spoken physicist who retired from teaching at the Quaid-e-Azam University some years ago, “is that the government may not have the political strength to bring in a progressive education policy. They may succumb to pressures of various kinds and end up bringing in a hopelessly muddled policy.”

Yet the need for reforms in education has never been as urgent and necessary as now. As Dr. Hoodbhoy has pointed out in several recent articles, while a physical takeover of Pakistan by the Taliban may be a far cry, extremist ideology has taken root in young minds across the country, thanks to a flawed education system.

Compared to the 1.5 million who study in madrasas, an estimated 20 million children are enrolled in government schools. Dr. Nayyar laments that in the five years since the publication of the SDPI report, children who were 11 years old at the time have completed their matriculation. They read the old textbooks, and learnt a way of thinking about themselves and the world that will prove hard to change.

“Another generation has been lost because the process has taken too long,” he said. And until the new textbooks are introduced, millions of children will continue to learn in their Urdu lessons in schools about the differences between Hindus and Muslims in a hatred-generating way, about “India’s evil designs against Pakistan” in their Social Studies, and that Bangladesh was a result of a conspiracy by India with assistance from “Hindus living in East Pakistan.”

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sena: why this “fond treatment” to Kasab?

Sena: why this “fond treatment” to Kasab?

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena on Saturday made a renewed call for hanging the Mumbai gunman, Mohammed Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab’.

While crores were spent on the 26/11 trial, the recently released report absolving the police force of any blame and the media’s obsession with Ajmal were making a mockery of the sacrifice of the martyrs and the plight of the victims of the terror attacks, Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray said in a statement here.

The former Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who resigned in the aftermath of the attacks, was rewarded with a berth in the Union Cabinet. This was like rubbing salt into the wounds of the bereaved people, the statement said.

“Why is Kasab being treated so fondly? By giving him defence, the government is mocking at the victims and the martyrs of the attacks. Lakhs of rupees are being spent on Kasab.”

It was the citizens who had to bear the cost of the Rs. 2-crore tunnel connecting his Arthur Road jail cell and the special court, a Rs. 6-crore van and the fees for his lawyer. But there were bureaucratic delays in providing high-end weapons to the police, whose officers were dying in naxal attacks, the statement said.

A Sena delegation would soon meet President Pratibha Patil with the demand for hanging of Ajmal and Afzal Guru, who was convicted in the Parliament attack case, Mr. Thackeray said.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Victimizing Varun – A case of ‘Secularist’ Vendetta

Victimizing Varun – A case of ‘Secularist’ Vendetta
By The Editorial Team, on 09-05-2009 23:40
Published in : Editorial, Editorial,

An advisory board of the Allahabad High Court has recommended revocation of the order to book Varun Gandhi under NSA. The advisory court's recommendation is binding on the state government which in effect has now revoked the order. With this the Supreme Court's observation that invoking NSA on Varun was too drastic a step now becomes true. Ironically, the secularist camp which pleaded for justice and justified NSA maintains a studied silence finding it very difficult to swallow the outcome. When NSA was unexpectedly invoked it was not surprising to note the ‘secularist' cam indulging itself in euphorically endorsing this authoritarian step evading any uncomfortable query as communal. Political parties too having displayed their obsession with "competitive secularism" endorsed the move understanding the implicit implications for their highly held vote bank.

Any neutral observer would not have given a second thought in realising the underlying political motives in invoking NSA, a law which is invoked in rarest of the rare case. Common people could have hardly appreciated such a move when many hardened criminals are roaming free and seeking tickets to contest elections. While these hardcore criminals even with proven links with terror network and mafia dons are rewarded by their political masters, a person like Varun Gandhi having not a single case against him was booked under NSA. Had the same kind of ‘speed' displayed by these ‘secularist' political parties India could have been freed from menace of terrorism and criminalization of society and politics - and the money stashed in Swiss Banks would have been recovered and Quattorcchi could have been cooling his heels in Tihar jail. It is an irony that in India law-breakers, terrorists and criminals are shamelessly sought to be defended by persons holding high offices. While the Jamia Vice Chancellor Mushirul Hassan declared legal aid to the SIMI activists arrested from the scene of Batla House encounter, the leaders of BSP, SP and Congress went along with Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid to express solidarity with the arrested SIMI activist Abu Bashir in relation to Ahmedabad blasts.

The ‘secularists' having failed in their bid to rationalize the terrorist attacks especially from jihadi groups through their half baked theories ranging from economic deprivation, lack of education, regional imbalances to attacks on the minorities have been in search of a new rationale. While SIMI was banned and its new avatara Indian Mujahideen went on bombing the Indian cities with serial blasts inflicting heavy casualities, attempts were made to find its Hindu equivalent in Bajrang Dal, Col. Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur. On failing to collect clinching evidence and material proofs against them, the ‘secularist camp' was desperately looking for an escape route. It seems that Varun Gandhi was their new scape goat. While it is considered ‘secular' to hobnob with Madani and Muslim League in India, one refusing to toe this sacrosanct ‘secular' agenda is dealt with vengeance.

Sonia Congress Brand Secularism!

from hilda raja
date Wed, May 13, 2009 at 4:36 PM
subject Congress secularism

The most bandied word in India by the politicians is SECULARISM. Before one even dissects this word one should shed the biases and prejudices one has. It seems almost impossible to release secularism from its present hijackers and objectively dissect it. Two important prerequisites for this objectivity are:

1) secularism is not the monopoly of any one political party.
2) secularism is not anti-hindutva.

It is ridiculous to note that the Congress party thinks that secularism is its monopoly. It has gone still further in giving itself the power to transform all those who ally with it the tag of secularism.

Any party/person who stands with the Congress is baptized as ‘secular’—and any party/person who stands with the BJP is communal. If the NDA (U) allies with the Congress than it is secular. If it allies with the BJP it becomes communal.

Narayana Rana was communal-but the moment he joined the Congress he became secular. It looks as though secularism is something which only the Congress has and only those who ally with it can be secular.

Against this it becomes extremely an onerous task to even define secularism. But can be understood if we analyze whether the Congress is secular.

Secularism is without bias and prejudice for or against a community, creed and caste. Secularism is objective, scientific in approach and above all stands impartial.

Secularism is not something which a person/party carries as a badge but is revealed only in the works and actions of that person/party. So a political party cannot become secular simply by thumping its own chest and proclaiming that it is secular. It needs to be proved.

As Mr Manmohan Singh said of his governance ‘the test of the pudding is the eating of it’. The test that the Congress is secular must be seen in its secular governance. In its various programs and its openness to all people irrespective of caste creed and region. Parties/persons who are secular will have no vested interest in governance.

If one has to review the performance of the Congress from this angle its mask of secularism will be torn apart and its can be perceived as the most communal party in a parliamentary democracy–be it in the Centre and the States. It is evident that the Congress was far from secular—Its whole approach was based on an appeasement policy labeled as ‘inclusive’ development with the sole objective of garnering the Muslim votes.

So it was sheer vested interest and greed for power that was the guiding and deciding factor in its whole governance. The Congress’ perception was thus jaundiced. It was visually handicapped in its outlook of India. Could not view the people of this country as citizens—as Indians but saw them as Muslims, Christians, and Hindus/north/south. To make it an variable to easily quantify— majority and minority—was inserted and this became the guiding index in its approach.

The basic premise for secularism thus evaporated from the Congress Party when its whole approach to governance is communal—based on religion. No matter its shrill trumpeting that it is the secular party and all those who stand with it are secular. The extension of secularism into politics thus became all pervasive—in spite of the media also tagging it as secular forces the reality picture thus became a ‘maya’.

There can be apologists who feel that the yardstick of Minority is valid because it denotes weakness—less clout, constantly under the threat from the majority etc and hence calls for special protection, and concessions. In the Indian reality this perception is valid as far as the Scheduled castes are concerned. But even that has slowly undergone a change. The Scheduled caste leaders keep the Scheduled castes in oppression and in poverty because they are the barters for their own power. It is in their powerlessness of the large section of the Scheduled caste people that that the SC leaders gain power. And it is in the pauperization of the larger section SCs that the SC leaders gain wealth. This is not a political statement but stating a fact that is very much in evidence. Take for example Mayawati—a simple distribution of all the money she has accrued and the huge amounts she is spending on massive structures with domes and stupas for Kanshi Ram, Ambedkar and herself will just wipe out the poverty of the Schedule caste in UP.

This kind of aggrandizement is not only sheer arrogance but also a negation of the rights of the scheduled castes by their own leaders. So who is sinning against them today—but their own leaders? True they were oppressed and denied equal rights but if under the leaders like Mayawati and Paswan the same situation continues then there is something basically wrong not only in the past but in the present. It seems that these leaders want to keep the Scheduled castes perpetually a downtrodden people.

Yet ours is the only Constitution in the world which has put in black and white our sins of omission and commission against the Scheduled Castes and has urged all the governments to change this situation. But after 59 years we still stand on the same plane and fault the nation as having deprived the Scheduled castes of their rightful share.

One area of empowerment was the Reservation policy—both in education and in employment. This has been hijacked by the creamy layer. The benefit of this policy does not percolate down. Another reason is among the different sub sects of the SCs—the Pallars are mostly landed and educated—while the Pariyars (scavengers) and the Arunthatiyars (cobblers) continue in the same misery and poverty. It is not that the SC leaders are unaware of it but they are least bothered to see that the Reservation policy benefits reach all. The whole process can be superimposed on the Most Backward and Backward castes.

It is communal politics that have kept the country’s population growing in its backwardness. The well of have siphoned all the benefits. Even Mr P Chidambaram in a TV channel accepted that he had benefited from the Reservation policy! Most of the IAS officers have used to benefit their own families.

It is thus a case in study when the same is extended towards the religious minorities and make them a show case for ‘inclusive’ development. Minority concept is not only a numerical concept but it denotes powerlessness, economic, political and social. The size of the community connotes a disadvantaged position against the majority it reveals a helplessness to compete, to face the constant threat from the majority. In certain countries this is true especially in our neighborhood countries. But in India it is not so. Minority is strength. Except for the numerical size the minority concept does not have the other concomitants.

It is interesting to note that a minority group can hold a majority group to ransom. It depends on the empowerment of the people than the numerical head count of the people. For example a single gun touting man can hold to ransom a whole group of people and instill fear in them. Numerical strength is no longer valid.

The power of bargaining—the leverage the minority holds and also the ability to activate global concerns and lobbies counts and we can safely determined that the Muslims and the Christians in India are more powerful in this respect— and do not suffer from any of the disadvantages that impinges on a minority people. Vastness and large numbers in today’s world is no longer a sign of power. At the press of a button the whole globe can be destroyed. Who controls that button –in that single individual all power is concentrated.

Except for the Arts 29 to 30 which granted the Religious Minorities rights to manage and administer their own education institutions the question of reservation on par with the SCs was never mooted by the Founding Fathers. But now Congress has brought in this divisive factor in other areas of employment, and other programs.

It has been a thoroughly communal outlook and communalization of governance that the Congress has been pursuing for the past five years. But had succeeded in projecting itself as the secular party thanks to the support of the electronic and print media.

Starting more Islamic institutions, funding the madrasas, increasing the subsidy of the Haj, setting up of a separate ministry with a separate budget all are not only communal in its inception but in the very process has communalized every aspect of the polity.

Now the line is demarcated in the political scenario. One side stands the Congress and the other side the BJP. All those who line up with the Congress become secular and all those who line up with the BJP become communal. The dance of democracy is over and the finale is being rehearsed. If the BJP is fishing for some catch, the Congress is poaching. That makes no difference for the conversion to secularism and to communalism becomes immediate.

Even a handshake makes a thoroughly secular person as Nitesh communal! But if he joins the Congress who is desperately wooing him he becomes secular. Remember the DMK one whose very political basis was on separatism was with the NDA when Murasoli Maran died and the allurements offered was not enough to appease the DMK it joined the Congress—and was converted as a secular party.

First the branding of Modi as communal and a murderer is a bit stale and will boomerang. If the Gujarat riots has made him communal then the 1984 Sikh genocide has made the Congress doubly communal and a fascist party. But that has to be buried states our Manmohan Singh who is in a permanent state of muddle.

You touch Modi you become communal that’s the litmus test. The big fight gives us insights into this comedy of errors. The bugle has been sounded by the secular captain ‘all those who want a secular government come and stand by me’ (where is Manmohan Singh—a caricature of his is also held aloft behind Mrs Sonia Gandhi).

Of course with the bugle call the allurements will be distributed in the dressing room. Those who are non communal will stand alongside with the ‘secular’ Congress. And one needs to quickly put on the communal spectacles to watch Lalu, Paswan, Mayavati, Karunanidhini, Karat et al as secular.

And there stands the captain of the BJP-LK Advani on the other side—he cannot thumb his chest because already the communal tags have been affixed on him and the whole array of NDA allies. But there is time for ‘conversion’ and it is so easy-step across the line and you become secular. This is the concept of secularism and communalism in India today.

Why dissect further and go to the root of the meaning of secularism. The Congress has a special vocabulary encyclopedia—one should get it and decode. Renunciation, secularism, communalism divine right, and India’s triumvirate (Nehru. Indira and Rajiv) monopoly—all these concepts/words and more one should learn and digest to become relevant to secular INDIA and the dance of democracy.

Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mr. Secular Indian teaches secularism to his Gullible disciples who are pursuing a political career as a secular politician.

Elections are continuing till May 13 in several parts of the country...

from Gaurang G. Vaishnav
date Sun, May 10, 2009 at 10:26 AM
subject Election 2009:Secularism Course 101

Secularism Course 101:
by Dr. Jagdish Tummala

As I sit in my home watching all the drama that is unfolding in the General Elections of 2009, I wonder how far the truth can be stretched. I am quite disillusioned by the definition of secularism being proscribed and prescribed to the Indian public. I was wondering what a lesson in secularism would be like if there was one; so, I thought of this fantasy classroom where secularism is being taught by a Mr. Secular Indian to his Gullible disciples who are pursuing a political career as a secular politician . Now tighten your seat belts and start thinking. Think what your definition of secularism is?

Mr. Secular Indian: I welcome you disciples to your first day in class. I know you people are obsessed with the idea of secularism, but I will help you build on this idea today which will benefit you tremendously in your political careers; so, let us start by taking some questions.

A Gullible disciple: I am confused about the idea of secularism. I feel I am a secular person, but when I see some of our English channels and listen to our politicians, I feel I am not - How do I get over this dilemma?

Mr. Secular Indian: What makes you feel as though you are not secular?

A Gullible disciple: I find myself agreeing to some of the views of BJP, especially on terror, international policies and common civil code etc. But the very next moment, when the panelists on these shows call it a farce and communal, I feel I am communal too.

Mr. Secular Indian: First things first. You cannot be called secular, If you agree with the BJP. You have to be a staunch opponent of BJP policies irrespective of whether you feel they are right or wrong. Be careful, you will be tagged as a communal instantaneously if you agree with them. It would not matter what you think about the upliftment of minorities.

A gullible disciple: Some politicians are even called communal if they go to a temple or wear saffron clothes, what do you think of that?

Mr. secular Indian: Well, you cannot wear any identity that could relate you to a majority community. You can go to the temple every now and then but make sure nobody is watching you. This might come to haunt you later in your political career. At the same time make sure you make frequent visits to churches and mosques and also meet some religious leaders, but this time makes sure you do it in front of the full glare of the media.

Meanwhile a Muslim gullible disciple jumps in and asks:

A gullible Muslim disciple: I go to mosques every Friday. Would I have to be careful too ? Also would I have to meet some swami jis in front of the media?

Mr. secular Indian: No, this does not apply to you as you belong to a minority community. In fact, if someone questions you about any aspect of your faith, just call for protection of your rights and your secular friends will take care of the rest. Talking about you meeting swamis, this could severely dent your chances of being a secular politician and your credentials might get questioned, even if you have to do that, do it behind the cameras.

A gullible Muslim disciple: I find myself agreeing with the BJP sometimes, especially about the introduction of a common civil code. I feel a different civil code for the Muslims is only alienating them and I do not agree with some of it’s clauses. How do I express this view?

Mr. Secular Indian: Again, the golden rule is, you cannot agree with the BJP at any cost. Even if the BJP is trying to do some good for the minorities, you will need to portray the evil in it. These are the times when your secular credentials will be tested. Remember, you being a Muslim and finding any of BJP’s comment acceptable, can spell doom to your political career. Common civil code might be necessary for the upliftment of the Muslims, but it is not acceptable to the Muslim masses. You can only take popular decisions in politics irrespective of the consequences.

A gullible disciple: I believe we would need to work hard for the upliftment of the minority masses to be called a secular.

Mr. secular Indian: Not necessarily, as long as you are anti-BJP and are making speeches condemning Hindutva, you need not do anything, just tell the minorities that you will protect them from the Hindutva forces and hope they might vote for you. At the same time, it can be dangerous if you try to bring a lot of development in the minority dominated areas as this would mean land occupations for roads, building, and schools instead of madrasas etc.. It might be popular among few, but the masses would not like it. Always stay away from such controversies in the minority dominated areas. Moreover, educating them might harm you in the long run, as you might not be able to use them as vote banks.

A gullible disciple: What are the advantages of being a secular politician?

Mr. secular Indian: Numerous! Firstly, it negates several ills. You can be a gangster, a rapist or a murderer and you can still be called a good politician with an honest ideology if you are secular. You will be acceptable to all the secular parties and will never be treated as an untouchable in politics. Moreover, if you have any criminal cases or CBI cases pending against you, just lend support to a secular party at the centre and be rest assured that all the CBI cases against you will be withdrawn. Another advantage is you can win elections without doing any public service. Look at all the states which are dominated by these secular parties. They do not have to do any public work or develop anything. These states continue to lag behind in all human development indices. They know that as long as they are secular, their chances of remaining in power are high.

A gullible disciple: How do I tackle riots which are so rampant in our society?

Mr. secular Indian: Wait until the riots have subsided, you need not mobilise any forces to tackle these riots. But make sure you put the entire blame on the hindutva forces for the riots. Also portray the BJP as an accomplice and be very vocal about it in the media. This will exonerate you from being complacent during the riots. Look at the Mumbai riots and Babri demolition for example. A secular government was at the centre on both these occasions. They even agreed to these events tacitly, if not directly involved and let nature take its own course. But they make sure even to this day that they blame the BJP for anything and everything that happened. I am sure they could have done something about it, but they opted not to. Instead, they used it to their advantage and portrayed the BJP as the only evil. This is a great example of how you can maintain your secular credentials by just blaming the BJP, even though you were involved yourself.

A gullible disciple: Can you tackle Jihadi terrorism and maintain your secular credentials?
Mr. secular Indian: You have to be very careful when talking about tackling Jihadi terrorism. This is a condition you should be able to mend to your advantage. You should oppose every law that asks for a strong action against Jihadis. This will win you a lot of secular votes. In fact, if anybody tries to condemn Jihadis, reply to them by talking about Hindutva terrorism and always portray Hindutva terrorism to be a greater threat than the Jihadis. Also, try to magnify every violent incident associated with the Hindutva forces and make them look bigger and more threatening than the Jihadis. You will be surprised to know how many hearts you will win.

A gullible disciple: Muslims are equally affected by Jihadi terrorism. What if they do not agree to our idea of being soft on terror?

Mr. secular Indian: You have to create a fear psychosis among the Muslims and tell them that the fight against Jihadis is actually a fight against Islam. Tell them all the stories about how young Muslims are being tortured in the name of this fight against the Jihadis and that this fight would only create more terrorists.

A gullible disciple: What if the majority community gets angry with us for being soft on terrorism?

Mr. secular Indian: You have to make sure that the majority community is not majority anymore by dividing them into multiple factions in the name of caste or regions or languages and so on. Then select some large but disenchanted groups among them and promise them greater opportunity in every field. Now you will be left with a select few smaller groups which will question you. This is where you have to work like a salesman and try to sell your idea of secularism. If they still question you, threaten them with thoughts that they might be tagged communal if they support the same ideas as those being supported by the BJP. This works wonderfully and helps people soften their stance on terrorism.

A gullible disciple: How can we deal with the symbols of worship and religion and still be secular?

Mr secular Indian: You do not have to worry about the symbols of a majority religion like Ram Sethu etc., but make sure you divide the majority community so much that they start believing that the artificial lines created by you are more important than their religious identity. If they still persist on retaining their identity, then tell them that they could be identified with the communal forces. This helps even hardliners change their stance. Then you can even talk about destroying those symbols to appease the secular forces. At the same time make sure you never do anything to dilute the sentiments of a minority community. Remember, this sentiment is your bread and butter. Your entire survival depends on the minorities retaining their religious identity.

A gullible disciple: How can we tackle the media?

Mr. secular Indian: The media will give you a red carpet welcome. Remember, Indian media is the mouth piece of secular forces. They have been either created by the secular forces or been made to buy our idea of secularism. They cannot exist in this country if they differ from our viewpoint. The fear psychosis we have created helps us to make the media dance to our tunes. When in any TV debates, you can score a lot of points by making anti BJP rhetoric’s. If you find yourself in any trouble, just raise the issue of Gujarat riots and portray Narendra Modi as a devil. You are sure to come out of any troubled situation.

A gullible disciple: If you are tagged as a communal, is there anything we can do to get back to the secular brigade?

Mr. secular Indian: This is very simple. It is like conversion from one religion to the other. The easier we make it, the more it boosts our strength. Even if you are in the communal alliance for sometime for your own political advantage, you can dump these communal forces whenever you feel they are redundant and join the secular brigade. Remember Naveen Patnaik. He was tagged communal and his party was called a principal architect of the Kandhmal violence by the Indian media and the secular forces alike. Though as soon as he dumped the BJP on the question of ‘winnability’, he became the poster boy for secularism and everything that happened in Kandhmal was portrayed as a BJP conspiracy. We made everyone believe that Naveen Patnaik was just having a difficult time dealing with them. Also remember Kalyan Singh, the principle architect of Babri demolition is now trying to jump into the secular bandwagon and the secular forces are trying every bit to find him a place in their bandwagon. You can perpetrate the most heinous communal crime, but you can be secular any time you renegade the BJP. Remember, BJP hatred is the core quality required to become secular and other factors do not matter as much.

I will stop here and hope all of you had a very good understanding of secularism. Now work hard on these principles and you will climb to great heights in your political career. We will discuss some other issues in the next class.

Throw Congress out Lock, Stock & Barrel

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Pak 'sharia' chief wants Islamic law for entire world

Author: ANI
Date: February 19, 2009

After inking a deal with the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) government for implementation of Islamic law in the Swat Valley, the Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM) chief Sufi Muhammad, has expressed his desire of implementation of a similar law over the whole world.

Expressing his hatred for people's rule, Muhammad said Islam does not have any mention of democracy or elections.

"From the very beginning, I have viewed democracy as a system imposed on us by the infidels. Islam does not allow democracy or elections," 'The Daily Times' quoted Muhammad, as saying.

He said that the continuous bloodbath in the region was due to the hesitant approach of different regimes in the country to accept the superiority of the Islamic law.

"Had the government accepted our demands in 1994, we would have not seen the violence we are seeing today," he said.

Muhammad said the authorities should have held dialogues with the Taliban before initiating military action against them, as it would have resulted in less violent activities.

He hoped that the new accord signed with the government would help the Taliban in establishing a complete Islamic state.

"I believe the Taliban government formed a complete Islamic state, which was an ideal example for other Muslim countries. Had this government remained intact, it could have led to the establishment of similar Islamic governments in many other countries," Muhammad said.


The inking of the so called 'peace deal' between the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) government and Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) would see several of the captured Talibani operatives walk free due to a 'give and take' policy being the cornerstone of the whole deal.

Talking to reporters here, NWFP Law Minister Arshad Abdullah said 'general amnesty' would be offered to the insurgents during the talks between Fazlullah led Taliban and Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) chief Sufi Mohammad.

"Amnesty to the Swat Taliban will be part of the peace talks between Sufi Mohammad and Fazlullah. Without amnesty Taliban would never agree for disarming in the region," 'The Daily Times' quoted Abdullah, as saying.

Stressing on the immediate need of restoring peace in the troubled Swat Valley, Abdullah said the prime objective of the government was to ensure return of routine life in the region, and disarmament of the militants.

Replying to a question, he said that the NWFP government had first taken the army and Pakistan's top spy agency while signing 'sharia' agreement with TNSM for implementation of peace in Malakand division.

Saudi School Textbooks Incite to Hatred and Violence

Author: Dr. Sami Alrabaa
Publication: Family Security Matters
Date: January 23, 2009

Ahmed Al-Sarraf cited in Al-Qabas (June 2, 2007) some passages from a Kuwaiti school textbook taught at the first secondary grade. Here is an English translation of passages from the book, "Jurisprudence", page 38:

Who is, or who is not, punished in a Muslim society:
  • A Muslim who kills an apostate or someone who commits adultery against an infidel is not punished.
  • If a Muslim kills an infidel or a slave, he is not punished.
  • If a Muslim man, father, or grandfather kills someone from his offspring, he is not punished.

I went through school textbooks taught in Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. Here is an English translation of some passages from these books.

A fourth grade textbook on Monotheism and Religion instructs students:

"Any other religion other than Islam is invalid (false)." (P. 29 )

"Hate (yakrah) the polytheists and the infidels" as a requirement of "true faith." (P. 86)

5th Grade. Book: Monotheism and Religion:

*"Every religion other than Islam is invalid." (P. 33)

*"It is not permitted to be a loyal to non-Muslims, and to those who oppose God and His Prophet." (P. 14)

*"Whoever obeys the Prophet and accepts the oneness of God cannot be loyal to those who oppose God and His Prophet, even if they are his closest relatives." (P. 71)

*"A Muslim, even if he lives far away, is your brother in religion. Someone who opposes God, even if he is your brother by family tie, is your enemy in religion." (P. 73)

*"Just as Muslims were successful in the past when they came together in a sincere endeavor to evict the Christian crusaders from Palestine, so will the Arabs and Muslims emerge victorious, God willing, against the Jews and their allies if they stand together and fight a true jihad for God, for this is within God's power." (P. 75)

*"Jews are the people of the Sabbath, whose young people God turned into apes, and whose old people God turned into swine to punish them." "As cited in Ibn Abbas: The apes are Jews, the keepers of the Sabbath; while the swine are the Christian infidels of the communion of Jesus." (P. 83)

*"The clash between our [Muslim] community (umma) and the Jews and Christians has endured, and it will continue as long as God wills. In this hadith, Muhammad gives us an example of the battle between the Muslims and the Jews." (P. 113)

*"Narrated by Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet said, the hour [of judgment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. [It will not come] until the Jew hides behind rocks and trees. [It will not come] until the rocks or the trees say, 'O Muslim! O servant of God! There is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him.'." (P. 114)

*"Muslims will triumph because they are right. He who is right is always victorious, even if most people are against him." (P. 117)

"A woman who shows in public any part of her body except that of her eyes will be punished by hellfire by almighty Allah." (P. 194)

"The infidels have established Christian hospitals and clinics and send medics all over the world. As one of the Christianizers said, 'Where you find people, you find pain. And where there's pain, there's a need for a doctor. And where there's a need for a doctor, there's an appropriate opportunity for missionary activity [Christianization].'" (P. 163)

"The infidels have founded many schools and universities in the Muslim world at various educational levels. These include: the American Universities of Beirut and Cairo, the Jesuit University, Robert College in Istanbul, Gordon [Memorial] College in Khartoum, and others too numerous to mention. (P. 186)

Teacher's Manual:

Grade 5:
Teach that after their death, non-Muslims will be sent to hell. (P. 30)

Quiz: Is it permissible to love the Jews and Christians? Of course no. Explain why. (P. 15)

Grade 8:
*Command Muslims to "hate" Christians, Jews, polytheists and other "unbelievers," including non-devout Muslims." (P. 14)

*Teach that the Crusades never ended, and identify the American Universities in Beirut and in Cairo, other Western and Christian social service providers, media outlets, centers for academic studies of Orientalism, and campaigns for women's rights as part of the modern phase of the Crusades. (P. 15)

*Teach that "the Jews and the Christians are enemies of the [Muslim] believers" (P. 16) and that "the clash between the two realms "continues until the Day of Resurrection." (P. 18)

*Instruct students not to "greet," "befriend," "imitate," "show loyalty to," "be courteous to", or "respect" non-believers. (P. 24)

Grade 9:
*Define jihad to include "wrestling with the infidels by calling them to the faith and battling against them," (P. 25) and assert that the spread of Islam through jihad is a "religious obligation." (P. 26) [the word qital, translated here as "battle," is derived from the verb qatala, "to kill," and is virtually never used metaphorically.]

*Instruct that "the struggle between Muslims and Jews" will continue "until the hour [of judgment]" and that "Muslims will triumph because they are right" and "he who is right is always victorious." (P. 27)

Grade 10:
*Cite a selective teaching of violence against Jews, while in the same lesson, ignoring the passages of the Quran and hadeeths [narratives of the life of the Prophet, Peace be upon Him, that counsel tolerance. (P. 28)

*Teach the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as historical fact and relate modern events to it. (P. 29)

*Discuss Jews in violent terms, blaming them for virtually all the "subversion" and wars of the modern world. (P. 30)

*"Give examples of false religions, like Judaism, Christianity, paganism, etc." (P. 66)

*"Explain that when someone dies outside of Islam, hellfire is his fate." (P. 67)

By the way, over 20 Saudi schools, each chaired by the local ambassador from Saudi Arabia, are located throughout the world, in Bonn, Berlin, Washington, Algiers, Ankara, Beijing, Djibouti, Islamabad, Istanbul, Jakarta, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, London, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Rabat, Rome, and Tunis.

In fact, you can find some of the above stuff in many school textbooks in all the Arab Gulf countries, Egypt, Kuwait, The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Jordan. Fourteen-year-old boys' and girls' brains are stuffed with intolerance, animosity towards other religions and their followers.

Al Sarraf wonders, what is the point in devoting $150 million of Kuwaiti money to spend on disseminating tolerance and moderation in society when the foundation of society, the youth, are taught religious fanaticism and religio-centricism? Islam is a tolerant and moderate religion, but some zealous Muslims have hijacked it and are determined to interpret it their own way.

I disagree with Al Sarraf over the last point. Islam is partially tolerant and moderate. When you check out the Koran and Hadeeth (the prophet Muhammad's comments), you find out that Islam is also a violent faith. It preaches hatred and violence against non-Muslims and discriminates against women. (Check out "Is Islam a Violent Faith?").

What does all that imply in terms of the war on terror?

The war on Islamic terror will remain futile unless the free world forces Saudi Arabia and the other Arab oil countries on the Persian Gulf to remove hatred and violence from their school textbooks. The root causes of Islamic terror must be rooted out. This is not an internal issue and has nothing to do with freedom of speech. It impacts all of us and the world peace at large. The West must use all its leverage vis-à-vis these states to achieve this goal if it truly wants to gain the war on terror.

I'm also pretty sure that the more and more Muslims around the world who read the Koran thoroughly, many more of them would turn their back to Islam. According to a recent survey by Berlin University, 13% of male Muslims have read the Koran and among women it is only 7%.

Many Muslims around the globe, in particular non-Arabs, do not understand the Koran which is written in an old archaic Arabic. They learn about Islam from what their fanatic imams preach.

- Contributing Editor Dr. Sami Alrabaa, an ex-Muslim, is a professor of Sociology and an Arab-Muslim culture specialist. Before moving to Germany he taught at Kuwait University, King Saud University, and Michigan State University.

Middle East Mired in a Culture of Hatred

Author: Dr. Sami Alrabaa
Publication: Islam Watch
Date: February 25, 2009

A Palestinian presenter at Hamas's Al-Aqsa Television asks a little girl on a program for kids, "What do you want to become when you grow up?
The girl replies, "I want to become a mujahida [fighter]. I want to liberate Palestine. I want to throw all the Jews out of beloved Palestine. But before I die and join the Palestinian martyrs in paradise, I want to kill as many Israelis as possible like Reem Riyashi."
This is the kind of culture Hamas TV is spreading around amongst young Palestinians and other Arabs in the region. Hamas has its own satellite TV channel, radio station and newspapers and has used them to garner political support during its power struggle with Fatah.

Back in 2007, Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV aired a weekly show featuring a Mickey Mouse look-alike who urged children to support armed resistance against Israel. The character was beaten to death in the show's final episode by a character portraying an Israeli. The Hamas media effort is bankrolled by its leader in exile, Khaled Mashaal, who sends suitcases of cash, filled with money from Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Syria, which are smuggled into Gaza through tunnels from Egypt.

Secular and moderate Palestinians are appalled by the extremist propaganda of Hamas TV. Iyad Barghouthi, the director of the Ramallah Human Rights Center, says Al-Aqsa TV is a disturbing milestone in the rise of Islamist forces. Hamas's practices are reminiscent of those of the Taliban, he said. Barghouthi told Der Spiegel on-line, "Al-Aqsa TV is not only encouraging violence, it is also spreading fanatic Islamism and racism."

Hamas defied widespread criticism among Palestinians for using a young mother as a suicide bomber and even published photographs of her and her two small children, posing with weapons. Reem Riyashi, 22, blew herself up in 2004 and killed four Israelis at a Gaza border crossing after faking a disability to bypass a security check.

The anti-Israel media landscape throughout the Arab world is no better. In particular, the Syrian, the Saudi, and the Egyptian media are hawkish and propagandistic. Fair and objective analysis and information are non-existent.

The Syrian Minister of Tourism, Saadalla Agha al-Qalaa, told the newspaper Tishreen: "The Zionists are spreading bad propaganda about Syria to prevent tourists from visiting our country." That is apparently the main reason why few tourists, especially Westerners, come to Syria to spend their holidays, rather than the bad services which the country offers tourists. When I was in Damascus in 2006, I watched how tourists had to wait at least an hour before their passports were processed at the airport police control. There are only two categories of hotels: either first class or no class at all.

The Ba'ath regime is not interested in tourism. Tourists could infect the local population with ideas about democracy and human rights. Tourists would also tell the Syrians another story about the "decadent" and "unfair" West.

When I visited the southwestern border of Syria with Israel several years ago, I told my companion, a member of the Ba'ath party, "Look how green the Israeli side of the Golan Heights is." He interrupted, "It is all propaganda. With the help of the Americans, the Israelis have made it green, just to show off." I countered, "Why don't you allow the locals who were displaced during the 1973 war to return to their homes and make this part of Syria also green?" He responded, "It's dangerous. The Israelis could attack us any time."

Not just the media blame Israel for all the problems the Arab world has. School text books in all Arab countries depict an aggressive image of Israel. The gist of this image goes like this: Israel is an alien limb in the heart of the Arab nation. Palestine must be liberated from the Zionists as Saladin liberated Jerusalem from the Crusaders.

The culture of hatred must stop. Western governments must pressure Arab countries to introduce genuine freedom of speech, i.e., free media. Arab journalists and writers who deliver balanced articles on the Arab-Israeli conflict are banned from publishing. Arab regimes are suspicious of these people and, more often than not, they are arbitrarily put behind bars and accused of spying for the arch enemy, Israel.

I am one of those who have tried to publish articles in the Arab press about the Arab-Israeli conflict telling readers that the image of Israel as presented in the belligerent Arab discourse is distorted and fabricated. I have also stressed that if the Arab countries were as democratic as Israel, the conflict would disappear, and Israelis and Arabs would live in peace, side by side. If Arabs were objectively informed, they would choose to coexist with their Israeli neighbors. Ethnic and religious minorities are integrated in Israeli society and enjoy the same political rights as Jews. Muslim and Christian Arabs, for example, sit in the Knesset and say whatever they want and a Muslim Arab is a cabinet minister.

My articles have never been published. Arabs are not allowed to know the truth.

Western governments have to re-educate, at least, their Arab allies, as the Allies did with the Germans after World War II. The war on terror does not make any sense unless the root causes of extremism are uprooted in the media and in the schools.

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