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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Exploring Religious Conflicts? RAND as New Religious Media (NRM)

By: Dr S Kalyanaraman
August 23, 2005

Gregory F. Treverton[1], Heather S. Gregg, Daniel Gibran, Charles W. Yost have authored a RAND Corporation report titled “Exploring Religious Conflict”. The “new” finding of this report, is an acronym “NRM” denoting “New Religious Movement”, which, according to the authors, threaten to develop like tumors into violent organizations (think “Al Qaida”), threatening the USA and the rest of the world. Apparently this was the product of a 3-day Worskhop of ‘intelligence analysts and religious experts’ on religious conflict, hosted by RAND corporation (estimated cost to the US taxpayer: $100,000). This report is interesting primarily because it either plumbs depths of incompetence hitherto unreached by the American “Strategic Affairs” community, or caters to a strange combination of Marxist Communist and extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalist propaganda. It appears that RAND has “found” religion and joined another “NRM”: New Religious Media

What is cited as the intellectual foundation of the report is (University of California leftist academic ) Mark Juergensmeyer’s concept of “Cosmic War”. Is this just an attempt to go one better on Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations”? Hard to tell, but the reader is welcome to try:

“This concept refers to the metaphysical battle between the forces of Good and Evil that enlivens the religious imagination and compels violent action. Cosmic war has roots in the theology of most religions. In the three monotheistic religions, it is the Day of Judgment, the cosmic battle between Good and Evil, and the realization of God’s ultimate purpose for His creation. In Hinduism and Buddhism, it is the perennial struggle to exit the Wheel of Existences with its continuous cycle of rebirths in order to return to Brahman or achieve Nirvana. Cosmic war ensues when this inner conflict between Good and Evil becomes manifest – physical, not metaphysical.”

If that doesn’t give pause to the reader who thought RAND was a professional organization, the methodology, data, analysis and conclusions of the RAND report certainly will. According to Treverton et al,

"NRMs (New Religious Movements) can be found in Hinduism – the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS, Israel (Gush Emunim), Christianity (the US-based Identity Movement) and Islam, including Al-Qaeda, a global network with a transcendant vision that draws support in the defence of Islam." And added, “…Al-Qaeda cannot be defeated by force, but only by reaching out to its roots in religion and promoting convergence of Christianity and Islam.”

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had a succinct term: “weasel words” to describe the contortions of left-wing “analysts” and Saudi-owned American politicians to argue for appeasement of terrorism. For those who might depend on RAND for information, let us point out that Al Qaeda is considered to be a 1992 or 1996 invention. The timing coincided with the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, when the Pakistani ISI, funded by the unwitting American taxpayer through the largesse of “experts” like RAND’s, helped to turn weapons, training and the surviving hordes of Islamic extremists brainwashed in the madarssas of Pakistan, against the Infidels of the West – viz, America. Now let us examine RAND’s list of “New Religious Movements” that Treverton et al try to club with Al Qaeda – both for what it includes, and what it omits.

The report’s contribution is a false generalization on metaphysical, co(s)mic war, flippant comparisons unrelated to cultural or civilizational contexts. There is little evidence of analytical rigor and virtually no empirical basis. Lacking original thought or evidence, the report trivializes the threat of terror with the arbitrary choice of 'New Religious Movements' (NRMs) cited as examples of a new innovative category.

The report appears to whitewash Al Qaeda, with its proclaimed mission of jihad against the world, by clubbing it with a mishmash of socio-political entities and obscure movements. For instance, “Gush Emunim” is an organization of Israeli Settlers in the Middle East, with no evidence of any axe to grind against anyone except those who try to oust them from their homes. The “Christian Identity Movement” is a superset of weekend warriors in America who don camouflage and prance around the pine forests of Alabama or Idaho, imagining a world of “Aryan Domination”. And with these is RAND’s amazing classification of the Indian “RSS” (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh”) as a “NEW” Religious Movement! The RSS, just to give Treverton and his gang of Einsteins a hint, was formed in 1925. That, per the calendar normally followed even in California, was 80 years ago. It predates RAND and Treverton by a long way. It may even predate the American entities such as the Neo Conservative Movement, the Moral Majority, and the Jubilee Mission Baptist Church. The RSS is the world’s largest volunteer organization, with over 12 million volunteers. How RAND came to the conclusion that the RSS is “new” and poses a threat to the rest of the world, is a question that the US taxpayers who funded this “Workshop” and “Report” may well ask.

Is RAND trying to deflect the focus of American lawmakers from the focus on war on terror? It was not too long ago that RAND’s Parachini noted:

"Given the thousands of Jihadists trained in Afghanistan, the struggle with al Qaeda is liable to last for a decade or more."

The principal author of the present RAND report, Treverton, seemed to have different ideas:

"Al Qaeda may eventually be contained, but new threats are likely to emerge. So the task is to contain terrorism; it cannot be rooted out. That task sometimes requires military instruments, as in Afghanistan, but most of the time it is a matter of patient, multilateral police and intelligence work."

Both quotes from a symposium held in 2003 by RAND jointly with Frontpage Magazine.

Garbage in, garbage out is the adage of the information age. Treverton clarifies what he meant in the above quote, with his new statement in the present report. Here is an example of terse observations and profound policy recommendations in the present report:

"…Al-Qaeda cannot be defeated by force, but only by reaching out to its roots in religion and promoting convergence of Christianity and Islam."

Such a policy prescription of Christian-Islam religious convergence has, unfortunately, NOT been backed up by evidence and critical analysis of the underlying causes and patterns of Islamist terror. After all, almost all major terror events, recorded so far, have emanated only from Taliban (that is, madarasa students) or traceable only to terrorists trained in or with links to non-democratic, Islamist countries of Pakistan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. What does ‘convergence of Christianity and Islam’ mean? Should Christianity adopt Islamist jihad as a central doctrine?

When they take a break from hallucinating on ‘cosmic wars’, RAND thinkers might consider introspecting on the Hindu response to jihad in India for nearly 8 centuries. They may find it useful to refer to Andrew Bostom, 2005, 'The Legacy of Jihad - Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-muslims,' Prometheus Books. Al Qaeda is not another NRM, it provides the justification for all the terror activities the world has witnessed so far, be it in New York, Thailand, London or Ayodhya. See also Andrew Bostom's 'Legacy of Jihad in India', July 2005 in the American Thinker.

"Rarely understood, let alone acknowledged, however, is the history of brutal jihad conquest, Muslim colonization, and the imposition of dhimmitude shared by the Jews of historical Palestine, and the Hindus of the Indian subcontinent. Moreover, both peoples and nations also have in common, a subsequent, albeit much briefer British colonial legacy, which despite its own abuses, abrogated the system of dhimmitude (permanently for Israel and India, if not, sadly, for their contemporary Muslim neighboring states), and created the nascent institutions upon which thriving democratic societies have been constructed."

Dhimmitude: the Islamic system of governing populations conquered by jihad wars, encompassing all of the demographic, ethnic, and religious aspects of the political system. The word "dhimmitude" as a historical concept, was coined by Bat Ye'or in 1983 to describe the legal and social conditions of Jews and Christians subjected to Islamic rule. The word "dhimmitude" comes from dhimmi, an Arabic word meaning "protected". Dhimmi was the name applied by the Arab-Muslim conquerors to indigenous non-Muslim populations who surrendered by a treaty (dhimma) to Muslim domination.

We note that the project was funded by the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence – the same people who did not see any threat in Mohammed Atta and Co. as they watched them enter the US and “learn to fly” in 2001. One wonders why the CIA Directorate of Intelligence would fund a public-release report, especially with such a contortion of logic. Is this to impress the taxpayer with the forward-looking attitude at the top levels of the new US Intelligence Administration? Does the new CIA operate through public conferences and reports to do its intelligence-gathering? Perhaps the more relevant link to this report is from the creation in January 2001 of a White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

Religious Motivation of RAND’s Expertise

Many, including the present author, believed RAND to be a secular, objective think-tank. We were clearly mistaken. The experts who participated in the workshop that led to Treverton’s Report have very clear ideas on how Christianity should spread over the globe. Some quotes from their works may be apposite. RAND should clearly be considered to be a New Religious Medium of modern-day crusaders, producing a denominational newsletter. The Jubliee Mission Baptist Church would be proud. Let us look at some of the Workshop participants.

Philip Jenkins, who claims to provide an alternative analytical framework opposing Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations, notes:

Moreover, conversions will swell the Christian share of world population. Meanwhile, historically low birthrates in the traditionally Christian states of Europe mean that their populations are declining or stagnant…Christianity should enjoy a worldwide boom in the new century, but the vast majority of believers will be neither white nor European, nor Euro-American…But far from Islam being the world's largest religion by 2020 or so, as Huntington suggests, Christianity will still have a massive lead, and will maintain its position into the foreseeable future. By 2050, there should still be about three Christians for every two Muslims worldwide…I dispute Huntington's assertion that "Christianity spreads primarily by conversion, Islam by conversion and reproduction…No less than Christians, Muslims will be transformed by the epochal demographic events of the coming decades, the shift of gravity of population to the Two-Thirds World. Muslim and Christian nations will expand adjacent to each other, and, often, Muslim and Christian communities will both grow within the same country."

Jack Miles is best known for his Website: Author of: God: A biography, Christ: A crisis in the Life of God. He is the author of: 'Ringing the firebell for freedom of religion - keynote address: 'March of theocrats' Rally and Teach-in' (LA, June 2005). Quote:

"We are not alone, friends, but many who are our natural allies are asleep, and it falls to us to awaken them."

Ian Lustick’s views are recorded at this website . Guru that he is, Lustick comes up with some novel little ideas about big world problems, like:

"I supported the war [in Afghanistan] but I warned that we needed a Goldilocks outcome and we didn't get it."

"I think about terrorism in terms of popcorn. You can't tell which kernels are popcorn and which are not, but you assume you'll always have some kernels that are going to pop."

According to a book review by Joshua Sinai, Ph.D., which appears on

"Lustick dismisses the concept of terrorism as a valid conceptual term. Instead, he embraces what he terms an 'extensive', as opposed to an 'intensive', definition of terrorism that is not bound by any limiting 'conditions'. This, he claims, enables one to classify activities as 'terrorist' if they encompass any violent 'actions and threats' by governmental militaries and even 'tax collectors', as well as insurgents."

(source: (1) URL1, URL3

Thus RAND’s new authorities on terrorism appear to such theologians or Jesuit seminarians with their fire-and-brimstone orations of bigotry. RAND is therefore appropriately branded as an extension of a seminary and an entity not unlike the Seventh Day Adventists or Jubilee Mission. A New Religious Medium.

A splendid exception is Juan Cole who wrote his piece 'Can ethnic cleansing bring back Jesus?' on May 20, 2004. Juan cites Rick Perlstein's piece in the Village Voice with admiration.

"The gem in the article is the account of how Iran-Contra criminal mastermind and current National Security Adviser Elliot Abrams tried to reassure the Christian Zionists that an Israeli "withdrawal" from Gaza will not interfere with Jesus coming back because it wasn't part of ancient Israel. Actually, this is right. Gaza was in Philistia, not Judah, which was to its east. But for that matter, when the kingdoms split, the West Bank wasn't in "Israel" either, it was in Judah... It has for some time been obvious to me that the Bush foreign policy in the Middle East is driven by irrational and often puzzling considerations. But I hadn't stopped to consider, until Perlstein's excellent piece, that the White House is trying to bring about an apocalypse that would hasten Christ's return. And a damn fine job they're doing of it, if that's what they are up to. Why, the place is more apocalyptic every day." (Source: Anti war website)

The RAND report said: "NRMs (New Religious Movements) can be found in Hinduism - the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS, Israel (Gush Emunim), Christianity (the US-based Identity Movement) and Islam, including Al-Qaeda, a global network with a transcendant vision that draws support in the defence of Islam." And added, "…Al-Qaeda cannot be defeated by force, but only by reaching out to its roots in religion and promoting convergence of Christianity and Islam."

Convergence of Christianity and Islam? A breath-taking prognosis, indeed. RAND should consider a larger workshop on this issue in the context of jihad as anti-terror. Sure, dancing with the devil is an option when all other options are not on the table. Seriously, does RAND endorse this recommendation to counter jihad?

This innovation of a new definition for a 'New Religious Movement' which identifies RSS, Gush Emunim, Identity Movement and Al-Qaeda is, to put it mildly, ridiculous, reducing the cosmic war of Mark to a comic war.

The US taxpayer might have saved a lot of money by getting Treverton instead to read to the CIA the report long-since published by Indian tank ORF (Observer Research Foundation. They might have learned more about the true nature of Al Qaeda and a vivid scan of religious conflicts. Indeed, any academic worth his/her salt would have known the conclusion:

"Al Qaeda is a revanchist organisation, which holds the West in general and the US in particular responsible for all the evils afflicting the Islamic world and for the decline of the political power of Islam since the end of the Ottoman Empire. It wants to avenge the wrongs allegedly committed against the Muslims since the end of the Ottoman Empire, re-write history and restore an Islamic Caliphate from which Western influence would be totally excluded. It is comparable to the Nazis of Germany in its revanchist ideas and actions. The Nazis blamed the rest of the Western world for the decline of Germany since the First World War and for all the evils afflicting Germany. They wanted to restore the pre-eminent position of Germany in the world. If the world leaders of that time had said "Let us address the root causes of Nazism first, before we fight the Nazis and Adolf Hitler", where would the world be today?

The call to address the root causes of the Al Qaeda today is as short-sighted as a call to first address the root causes of Nazism would have been in the early 1940s… The conventional wisdom relating to terrorism attributes the rise of terrorism to political, economic and social factors such as perceptions of social injustice, violations of human rights, suppression of the democratic rights of the people, lack of economic development resulting in poverty and unemployment etc. It, therefore, holds that if these so-called root causes are addressed, terrorism will wither away. Does this theory apply to the Al Qaeda? No, it does not. If this theory is correct, there should be no activities of the Jemaah Islamiya (JI) in Malaysia and Singapore, the two most prosperous and progressive states of South-East Asia. There should be no Al Qaeda activities in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Turkey where there is greater prosperity than in many other countries of Asia and Africa. There should be no Al Qaeda activities in West Europe where there is economic prosperity, greater social justice and better observance of human rights than in many countries of Asia and Africa. There should have been less terrorism in Pakistan because of its impressive economic growth since 9/11, but its economic gains have had no impact on its jihadi terrorists. The Al Qaeda is not fighting for democratic rights for the Muslims. On the contrary, it is fighting against the principles of liberal democracy on the ground that they are anti-Islam…The world has much to learn from India. How to continue to keep India such an oasis? That is one of the questions we have to address, while drawing lessons for the future. We cannot afford to be complacent that India does not provide a fertile soil for the Al Qaeda. The Al Qaeda may not be active in India, but many of the Pakistani members of the International Islamic Front are. They could turn out to be the Trojan Horse of the Al Qaeda. The success of the Indian example is due to the success of its democracy, its non-military approach to counter-terrorism, the role of the leaders of different communities in countering tendencies towards religious or ideological extremism and the cultural unity in the midst of religious and linguistic diversity in India."

Source: see link See also: Symposium of RAND and Frontpage: Diagnosing Al Qaeda "Given the thousands of Jihadists trained in Afghanistan, the struggle with al Qaeda is liable to last for a decade or more." (John Parachini)

Naming the US-based Identity Movement in this category is also amusing and seems to be only for effect, just to show that the RAND report is unbiased and dares to include a christist movement also in the New Religious Movement category. A fair appraisal of christist activities through various denominations in various parts of the globe as baptizing missions, proselytizers, evangelists would clearly have demonstrated the core causes of religious conflicts created by such activities. That such large numbers of christist organizations are left out is indeed strange considering that the inspiration is drawn from the concept of 'cosmic wars' between 'good and evil'. If christism is not a battle between Good and Evil, what other religious movement, with the exception of Islamism, is? This mysterious, unidentified 'Identity Movement' has been left undefined in the RAND report, leaving it to the readers, congressmen, and policy makers to draw their own conclusions.

We would agree with Nicole Nichols: make the outlaws accountable and would add: don't give them a cosmic wacko status. Source: See link: link Has RAND noted the involvement of a Pakistani Hamas leader in the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma city?

The absurdity of Juergensmeyer's analysis would have been apparent to any student of theology, but since Mark wears at least three hats, of sociology, of global conflict and of religious studies, his work presents the potential for becoming the basis for any drastic conclusions and plans of action by the intelligence community. His postulation should have naturally led to the identification of Dalai Lama's Tibetan Lama groups as a 'New Religious Movement' entering into physical conflicts. That the report does not categorize these groups is indeed surprising. It is also surprising that Mark does not even refer to sanatana dharma or dhammo sanantano in the context of 'Brahman or Nirvana.' as 'exits'. We will not digress by exposing the ridiculous nature of analysis by Mark referring to 'exits'. Unfortunately, Mark has not provided any evidence for this 'exit' postulation.

The logical application of Juergensmeyer's profound analysis of cosmic wars and exits should have led to the identification of all the adherents of Bauddha (aka Buddhism) and Dharma (Sanatana dharma or Hindu dharma or dhammo sanantano) as prone to violence, manifesting evil in physical terms, dramatically descending (by some unknown processes) from the metaphysical levels.

Such a framework should have normally led to the identification of the entire spectrum of those seeking return to 'Brahman or achieve Nirvana' as a cult. Unfortunately, this would be absurd because the 'cults' cannot be declared as 'new' since both groups pre-date the arrival of Christ and certainly Mohammed.

Why Does RAND Squirm When Exposed?

When the principal author, Greg Treverton was asked for clarifications, he waffled with statements such as:

“The press story is basically accurate, but its headline is not. The headline implies we somehow link RSS and Al Qaeda. In fact, what we say, and the story has accurately, is that many religious traditions have spawned "new" religious movements, and we cite RSS as an example from Hinduism, along with AlQaeda as one from Islam, along with Jewish and Christian examples. We also say, and the story quotes, that almost all of these new movements are non-violent. There is nothing to imply any connection at all between RSS and Al Qaeda. Do have a look at the study.”

Apparently it had still not occurred to this uber-genius that the RSS was created before he was born. When asked for detailed information on the workshop and papers if any, presented, the response of Greg Treverton was equally elusive:

"Thank you for your note. You have the report, which has all the details about the workshops."

Unfortunately, the Report authored by Treveton DOES NOT provide the details, and he certainly implied that the RSS was not only new, but was likely to become a threat to US security (what the taxpayer paid RAND to explore). So much for the way RAND deals with comments provided in response to the Report, even though the Report proclaims: "Comments are welcome." So much for transparency in dealing with issues dealt with in Terrorism and Homeland Security Research Area. See:

We agree with Greg Treverton who said in another context:

"In a world in which everyone is dependent on information processors,(the CIA) should think of themselves as the shapers and verifiers of all that information," says Treverton, now an analyst at Rand Corp. See: link

It is therefore not surprising that the RAND has little information, logic or evidence of intelligent information processing. The intent appears to be that the RAND name and the CIA sponsorship label are enough to propagate the authors’ personal religious agendas.

So DID RAND “Explore Religious Conflicts”?

We would have expected RAND to address the most serious issue of Religious Conflicts with a careful evaluation of facts and figures. We find neither facts nor figures in the Report. Here are samples of statements made and opinions expressed, sans evidence:

"Are there potential NRMs, even violent ones, apart from those spawned by Islamic radicalism? The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in India, an ultra-Hindu nationalist movement, is one such organization."

"…the movement was banned for a few years by the Indian government because of its acts of violence and terrorism and its exhortation to followers to resort to terrorist methods in the promulgation of its religious ideas."

"…the RSS continued to gain momentum and was engaged in violence, particularly against what it viewed to be threats against the Hindu state, namely Muslims and Christians. Their religious view, with its cosmic dimension, remains a threat to the idea of India as a secular state."

"The RSS is largely middle class, as is the BJP."

That RSS has nothing to do with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and that it was a movement born during the fight for independence of India from the British colonial regime, has been recognized by courts of law in India ; to cite Wikipedia, which is apparently beyond the means of RAND to have looked up:

"In 1925, Dr. Balasaheb Hedgewar, a Nagpur doctor formed the Rashtriya Swayemsevak Sangh. The word "Rashtriya" means "National," and the word "Sangh" means "Union". The word "Swayemsevak" may be translated to mean a self-reliant servant of the people and country, a volunteer in spirit and patriot in action…The RSS fought alongside the Congress for national independence…the RSS opposed the partition of the country, and is widely associated with anti-Muslim riots and the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, it had in fact performed important work by serving the millions of Hindu and Sikh refugees coming out of Pakistan, escaping bloody violence and leaving behind ancestral homes in terror. Although there was no link whatsoever between the RSS and Gandhi's assassins…" Source: Wikipedia

See what Jack Miles, an expert who participated in the workshop had to say in another context:

"'Thus, in India, those who want to respond to Islamist terrorism originating in Pakistan by reasserting the secularity of the Indian state have steadily been losing power to Hindu religious nationalists of India's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 'Muslims are cancer to this country', BJP leader Bal Thackeray said in a speech quoted in a recent issue of The New Yorker; 'Cancer is an incurable disease. Its only cure is operation. O Hindus, take weapons in your hands and remove this cancer from the roots'. ' (Larissa MacFarq1uhar, "Letter from India. The Strongman", The New Yorker, 26 May 2003, pp. 50-57)."

Jack Miles of course did not check, or did not honestly cite, the facts; Bal Thackeray is not a leader of the BJP. Nor is he associated with RSS.

Has Jack Miles checked out the figures of fatalities of terror attacks in the Northeast and in Jammu and Kashmir, caused principally by christist and Islamist terrorists?

If RSS, an independence movement is categorized as a 'New Religious Movement', shouldn’t the almost-as new George Washington and his band who desired to create 'One nation under God' also get categorized as 'New Religious Movement' under the Mark Jurgensmeyer's mythical theme of metaphysical transforming into physical? What about the Daughters of the American Revolution? By Mark Jurgensmeyer's definition, shouldn’t Protestant movement also get categorized as a 'New Religious Movement'?

RAND appears to be incapable of distinguishing between the Al Qaeda, out to create a global Caliphate of one religion, from Israeli movements created in self-defence against terrorists who would not hesitate to kill even innocent children.

In the face of sustained terror attacks by intolerant Islamists governed by only hatred as their credo, two democracies, Israel and India have repulsed the terror attacks despite repeated casualties suffered by them. Israeli movements to defend their land and the Indian attempts to counter the terror attacks have been remarkably restrained, facts which should also have been noted by the RAND 'intelligence analysts and religious experts'.

RAND should ask the 'intelligence analysts and religious experts' to substantiate these bland statements by evidence.

Some questions which need to be asked and answered by these analysts and experts are:

-- Were these experts named the only participants in the 'day-long workshops'? What are the days when the workshops were conducted?
-- Were there any other participants?
-- Does the report represent the consensus conclusions and recommendations of the workshop?
-- Were there any dissenting opinions?
-- Did the participants submit any written papers? (We have read through the report again and have noted the bibliographical references to books and monographs of earlier years appended to the report after end notes). Were any other evidences and databases used for the serious conclusions drawn in the report? It is important that all the papers be made available so that the evidence used to reach the conclusions of the report can be evaluated. Hopefully, CIA which has funded the RAND project will seek answers to these questions.

Does RAND Allow Data to Affect It’s Conclusions?

In the face of terror emanating from Pakistan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it is indeed surprising that RAND tries to invent phantoms of 'New Religious Movements' based on a wacko thesis of 'cosmic wars' and exits to Brahman and Nirvana. There is no iota of evidence produced by Greg Treverton's reporting of conversations, to show that the proponents of Brahman and Nirvana have contributed to the acts of terror.

Have the fatalities of terror caused by religious conflicts in all parts of the globe, been taken into account, for example, in just one country:

1994-2005: Jammu and Kashmir (Islamist violence): 31782 Northeast (christist violence): 13933 Naxal violence: 5041 Punjab: 175 Others: 6 Total: 50937

Note: Are Naxals (Communist gangs) considered a cult or an NRM? RAND should answer this question.

US policy makers should take a fresh look at the problem in the context of the "objective compilation from reports by credible human rights groups of the genocide, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, and Islamist laws that Hindus have faced in parts of South Asia where they are minorities." Source: HAF "The human rights violations that are occurring against Hindus must no longer be ignored without reprobation," said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen after reviewing the HAF report. "Hindus have a history of being peaceful, pluralistic and understanding of other faiths and peoples, yet minority Hindus have endured decades of pain and suffering without the attention of the world." See HAF Release. RAND experts should review and evaluate the 190 attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh from January 1, 2004 to November 30, 2004 detailed in the Appendix of the Hindu Human Rights report 2004: (page 38). RAND experts should also explain the cosmic war category which will explain these atrocities in Bangladesh against a minority community called the Hindu in that state.

Are the experts of the workshop conducted by RAND aware that there are a billion people in India? And, have they computed the numbers of fatalities caused by 'religious conflicts' worldwide and seen the fatalities of 50,937 in the last 11 years in India? Have the group studied the Terrorism Whitepaper brought out by Govt. of India in 2002? Or, reviewed the conflicts detailed in South Asia Terrorism Portal?

In Buddha nirvana country, Thailand,

"a current wave of jihadi terrorist violence in the three Muslim majority southern provinces, which started in January last year, has already cost over 800 lives of Government servants, innocent civilians and suspected Muslim militants. This is directly linked with the presence of nearly a thousand Pattanis (that is, muslims of Thailand so called in Pakistan and Bangladesh) in Pakistan madarasas.” Source: (15 August 2005).

There is no evidence in the Report on the conflicts resulting from 'conversion' activities by Christian groups. 'Conversions' categorized as 'propagation of the Gospel', 'baptizing all nations', 'proselytization', 'evangelisation' followed by threat of 'condemnation' of those who do not so spread the Gospel or the salvific nature of Jesus. Such an exclusion of a whole range of conflicts which resulted in the phenomenon of East Timor, certainly draws critical questions on objectivity of the RAND report.

Without an analysis of the impact of 'religious conflicts', the RAND report reads like a kindergarten account. Some remedial steps are called for by naming the culprit experts and releasing their 'papers' presented at the workshop and subjecting those 'papers' to critical, peer reviews. After all, we are dealing with a serious issue of homeland security and there can be no compromise with half-baked, opinionated reports based on absurd, unfalsifiable, ridiculous cosmic fantasies.


RAND should seriously review the 'scholarly' or 'expert' nature of the Report in question and examine if it is consistent with RAND’s vision, aspirations, and advertised credentials and standards.

It is, indeed, shocking that RAND has recommend appeasement of the Islamist terrorists.

This report clearly shows RAND to be peddling a narrow, bigoted religious agenda. That this is purported to be a preview of United States Government policy in the future is indeed scary for those who believe in the Constitution of the United States.

The ludicrous nature of the report poses serious questions about RAND’s quality controls, especially since the principal author is cited as being a “Professor” at RAND’s “university”.

So it is, RAND has become the New Religious Media.

Labels: , , , ,

VHP Demands White Paper on Grants to Missionaries

DD news
New Delhi, Aug 27 2005

Vishwa Hindu Parishad has demanded a white paper on grants to the Christian missionaries saying that a thorough inquiry was needed into the manner it was being spent.

The Parishad will organize Dharma Sansad at six places including Puri in Cuttack to highlight these issues, Central VHP Secretary Mohan Joshi told reporters that a major portion of cores of rupees received by the missionaries from the govt and from abroad was being used for religious conversion and creating disharmony.

Joshi demanded a comprehensive law to ban religious conversions in the country saying that the law already in force in some states, including Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh, needed to be made more stringent.

The law should have provision to penalise foreign nationals and organisations engaged in conversion by a fine of Rs ten lakh and ten years imprisonment to effectively check conversion, he opined.

Joshi alleged that the proselytising programme gathered momentum after the UPA government came to power and the number of Christian priests had increased from 2500 last year to 4000 now.

Joshi said the constitution should be amended to abolish the special rights conferred on Muslims and Christians and demanded an end to the policy of appeasing the minorities claiming that more disharmony and social unrest was caused by such measures.

No special privilege should be extended to either the Christians or Muslims and all people of the country should be treated equally, he said.

The VHP leader also opposed the diversion of tax money collected from Hindu shrines to churches and mosques and demanded the deportation of Bangladeshi infiltrators.

THERE is no place for terrorism in a civilised world

The way of the beast
By M.S.N. Menon

THERE is no place for terrorism in a civilised world. It is the way of the beast. Remember, the world had to destroy Hitler. He believed in terror.

The world has changed since then. We are less gullible to ideologies and promises. The age of innocence is over.

Today a new scourge is out and about—Islamic terror. What is Islam’s grievance against the world? That Muslims were not allowed to rule over the world for ever.

What did Islam achieve in the world in those long years? Very little. In fact, the world was devastated by violence. For seven centuries, Islam held sway in India. With what result? Nehru laments that the Muslim rulers did not set up even a good college! But they destroyed the two great Buddhist universities of Taxila and Nalanda!

On Muslim rule in India, this is what Nehru writes: “The people of Central Asia who invaded India were fierce and merciless. Having conquered a new country, they knew only one way of keeping it under control—the way of terror.” Terror has become a habit.

In contrast, in two centuries of their rule, the British discovered our past for us, restored our self-confidence, preserved our great heritage (the Muslims tried to destroy our past), gave us an educational system, a postal system, rails and roads, a judicial system and, above all, a democratic system of government. True, they exploited and ruined our economy. But no Hindu can fail to see the contrast between these two phases of his country’s tragic history.

The Islamists see the West as their inveterate enemy. Yes, the West destroyed the Caliphate. But it also liberated the Muslims from the tyranny of the sultans. What is more, it raised them to affluence from their nomadic existence. It was the West which brought the oil out of the belly of the earth. The Muslims could not have done that.

But the Islamists ascribe all the ills of the Islamic world to the ‘evil ways’ of the West. Even its best aspects—modernity, democracy and pluralism. They reject all the three.

The West, i.e. the Christian world—has its grievances against Islam. It began with the conquest of Christian holy places by Muslims. And, then, Islam threatened the religious and political freedom of European nations. The Europeans have not been able to live down their anger.

For fourteen centuries, the Muslims tried to convert the world into Islam, but failed. Why? Because it has no answers that other religions cannot provide.

All these explain the Western animus to the Islamic world. Like that of communism, Islam’s role in the world was to disrupt the normal growth of human societies. Hence the new prognosis of the clash of civilisations.

The attack on New York (9/11) was the first shot of the undeclared war of Islam against the West. The present attack on London (7/7) showed that the war is relentless. The conflict of civilisations has become real.

But, with all the advantages they possess, the terrorists have no future. They cannot take on the world if it gets organised. And it is getting organised. And there will be punishment as in Nuremberg.

Today, there are about 50,000 trained killers in the world. Musharraf, the Pakistan President, can no more control them. Nor can America. America is not ready to sacrifice its men. We are thus coming to realise that the war against the terrorists is a war of all. It has to be fought by all. If the war has not yielded any results so far, it is because it is led by America. America has too many interests to take care of. Pakistan is harbouring not only bin Laden but also most of the terrorists, including the Taliban. Musharraf cannot close the training camps. And America will not do anything to disband the infrastructure of terrorism because it is protected by the Pakistan army and the ISI.

The jehadis are desperate as is evident from their attack on London, a city which had allowed terrorism to make it its capital. The terrorists now use human bombs for maximum effect. Militant Islam is thus reaching its last phase of total violence. But, as they say, the gods make men mad before they destroy them. The Islamists have gone mad. It is time for Muslims to give up their fallen brothers.

India is only half sovereign

Prafull Goradia

The US declaration of Independence in 1776 was the first document to enunciate sovereignty as an essential element of the new state. French Constitution of 1791 stated: "Sovereignty is one, indivisible, unalienable and imprescriptible; it belongs to the nation; no group can attribute sovereignty to itself nor can an individual arrogate it to himself." The concept was first thought of by Jean Bodin of the 16th century France to signal the progress from feudalism to nationalism.

The incident of two Naga groups - ANSAM and NSF - blockading Manipur by choking NH-39 and NH-53 in the State is reminiscent of a siege undertaken in war. Instead of calling in the Army to disperse the involved groups and restoring the normal passages to and fro Manipur, the Government airlifted supplies. Home Secretary VK Duggal is reported (The Statesman, August 18) to have said in Manipur on August 17 that it was the State's internal matter. This was rather like the US Air Force reaching West Berlin in 1961 when the Soviet Union had blockaded the city. In this incident, three independent countries were involved - Federal Republic of Germany, the US and the USSR. In the Naga-Manipur episode only one country - and therefore a domestic problem - was concerned.

On Independence Day, the Naxalites killed persons including an Andhra Pradesh MLA C Narsi Reddy. Andhra Pradesh is not the only State infested with extremists. In the last week of July, seven people were killed in Bastar, Chhattisgarh, by the Maoists. The insurgency has been rising steadily over the last decade and, by now, some 200 districts of the country are affected. In a number of them, even the police has no easy entry to the subdivisional towns. Yet, the Central Government panel appointed to review cases booked under POTA has accused the Andhra Pradesh police of misusing the law.

Recently, Ms Mamata Banerjee had occasion to throw a sheaf of papers at the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha. The reason was her protest at the way delimitation of constituencies was taking place in West Bengal. In a number of constituencies, she had discovered Bangladeshi nationals listed in Indian rolls. It was amazing that foreigners were being enabled to vote in our elections.

What is happening in West Bengal is not accidental as it has been the policy of the Congress and the Left Front to encourage infiltration, and thus expand their vote-bank. Had it not been so, how would the ruling party explain its sponsorship of the IMDT Act in Assam and being unhappy at its having been struck down as ultra vires by the Supreme Court now?

When in April, Maulana Asad Madani pleaded for more privileges for Muslims, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had pointed out at the Congress's support for the IMDT Act. Assam was the only State where this law was in force. It was also unique in the world because nowhere did the law place the onus of proving that a suspected infiltrator is really so on the complainant. The alleged person has no responsibility to prove his bona fide. Earlier, the Left Front had said that it was a desirable law and should also be introduced in West Bengal.

The inconsistency in Jammu & Kashmir is equally amazing. Years ago, Parliament had resolved that the whole of Jammu & Kashmir is an integral and unalienable part of India. This included POK. Yet Article 370 of the Constitution continues undeleted. The State has a separate Constitution. A Kashmiri can freely buy property in any part of the country, but non-Kashmiri Indians cannot acquire any such thing in Jammu & Kashmir. Yet the Government expects people to believe that we are a sovereign state.

Meanwhile, the Government experiences no embarrassment in negotiating autonomy in Jammu & Kashmir with all and sundry, including the various factions of the Hurriyat who are separatists. The Government does not mind the Hurriyat leaders from hobnobbing with Pakistani diplomats or with visiting dignitaries from Islamabad. Equally incorrigible is the Government holding talks at home as well as overseas with Naga separatists like Mr T Muivah. A sovereign state would charge every separatist with treason, try him and hang him if proved guilty.

The Congress has always been pro-Muslim. This is clear from the fact that wakfs and Muslim personal law still remain untouched. Collectively, the wakf properties represent the biggest urban landlords in India. The demand for Taj Mahal by the UP Sunni Wakf Board and that for Bibi ka Maqbara at Aurangabad by the Maharashtra Wakf Board is on the ground that these contain qabrs. A sovereign state should nationalise all their properties as they are deemed to belong to Allah who is supreme and much above any country.

Similarly, Muslim personal laws still continue to be sacred and above the purview of the Constitution. Contrary to the Supreme Court's view, the Muslim community now appears to have set up Sharia courts known as Darul Qaza in a number of States to adjudicate on matters concerning marriage, divorce, etc. There are, therefore, two systems of law and justice functioning in the country - one Muslim and the other Indian. In the event there is a conflict between the two, the Muslim version prevails.

The evident conclusion would be that India is a half sovereign state. This concept was innovated by the German jurist on international law, JJ Moser, who lived in the 18th century. India has some attributes of sovereignty like its belonging to the nation and not to any individual; it being also imprescriptible. But between the Sharia and wakf, sovereignty is shared and not absolute. Negotiations with Kashmiri and Naga separatists indicate that it is neither indivisible nor inalienable.

UN must define terrorism

By Sandhya Jain

With Islamic fundamentalists determinedly leaving their signature tune upon hitherto unvisited world capitals, and religio-ethnic violence taking a grim upturn in Jammu & Kashmir with the recent beheading of a woman and slitting of throats of five men, India needs to take a pro-active interest in getting the United Nations General Assembly to define “terrorism” at its forthcoming annual meeting in September.

As of now, there are indications that UN officials are keen to take up the issue of defining terrorism. As a nation that has been consistently targetted by terrorism for several decades, and particularly after Western nations refused to name India as a victim-country in the wake of the London blasts, India must ensure that the September summit yields an international consensus on the definition of terrorism and terrorists. This must be followed up by a comprehensive treaty against terrorism.

The time has never been more opportune. The growing nervousness in Western capitals over the planting of Al Qaeda or like-minded terrorist ‘sleeper’ cells in their respective societies; even worse, the possibility that home-grown ideologically motivated West-hating potential suicide bombers may be ticking away silently, has effectively neutralised the specious plea that one nation’s terrorists are another country’s freedom fighters. Hence, this is the time to press for international recognition that targeting and killing civilians cannot be justified or legitimised in any circumstances.

New Delhi must also firmly reiterate India’s position on Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, and Western capitals that support General Musharraf’s stand that the murderers of innocents in the Valley are ‘freedom fighters’ may be informed that India can retaliate by supporting claims for division of territory by their respective Islamic citizens. This threat already looms over several European nations, and is hence a rather potent weapon.

Far from using the London blasts to corner the Blair Government and canvass minority votes for his party for future elections, Mr. Major spoke up uncompromisingly against the politics of terror. Even more impressively, he dared defend the tragic shooting by the London police, which resulted in the death of an innocent Brazilian national, saying: “I rather prefer the expression shoot-to-protect rather than shoot-to-kill. I think that is a more accurate description of what happened.”

New Delhi should also avail of the opportunity to highlight the ethnic cleansing of Bangladeshi Hindus by fundamentalist elements in the present regime in Dhaka, and to demand that those responsible for this continuing outrage be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The international body must be urged to stop these atrocities forthwith, failing which India would be within her rights to take appropriate measures to protect these unfortunate victims.

In this context, it is worth noting that in the wake of the London blasts, Conservative leader and former Prime Minister John Major committed his party to unwavering support for strong governmental measures against those who live in the country and yet “spit hate” against the Anglo-Saxon way of life. Sir John was forthright enough to state that freedom of speech could not be used as a cover to incite people to violence and that the protection of the public was the first duty of the Government.

Calling for deportation of all terrorists, Sir John told the BBC Radio 4 that from the time he demitted office in 1997, he was aware of an increasing number of Islamist terror groups in the country and hence it would be wrong to say the Iraq war was responsible for the new wave of Islamist attacks. In fact, he said, terrorism had been growing for the past 30 years and did not threaten only the West.

This is strong stuff. It is also a lesson to all political parties in India about how mature and responsible leaders conduct themselves in the face of terrorist attacks upon their nations and peoples. Far from using the London blasts to corner the Blair Government and canvass minority votes for his party for future elections, Mr. Major spoke up uncompromisingly against the politics of terror. Even more impressively, he dared defend the tragic shooting by the London police, which resulted in the death of an innocent Brazilian national, saying: “I rather prefer the ex-pression shoot-to-protect rather than shoot-to-kill. I think that is a more accurate description of what happened.”

Sir John’s remark about the local roots of an internationally connected terrorism effectively sums up the nature of the threat facing the world. While it is true that key terrorists in the London blasts had a Pakistani connection, the fact of the matter is also that there has been a home-grown radicalism of Britain’s Islamic community, especially after the 2001 Twin Towers tragedy. This is a reality the hitherto indulgent Blair Government will have to admit, a fact Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was quick to point out.

So while it is true that the London bombers visited Pakistan prior to the attacks, it is unlikely that they went there for ideological training. As Pakistani scholar Ahmad Rashid recently told Spiegel Online, it is far more likely that they came to make contacts with militant groups and for training. This is likely because several Pakistani madrasas have been taken over by terrorist groups which are using them as recruiting platforms. And the reason why General. Musharraf cannot genuinely shut them down is because they are run by groups whose support he needs for some aspects of his foreign policy, most notably regarding Jammu & Kashmir and Afghanistan.

It is therefore unlikely that Pakistan, which is emerging as the global fulcrum of international Islamic terrorism, would be able to close down the military training camps conducted by terrorist-run madrasas or the ISI. Hence the world is likely to witness more and more instances of terrorism with the ISI connection. India constitutes the hinterland of ISI-Islamic terrorism, but now the latter has extended its footprint into the front garden of Western nations. There has never been a better moment for an organised campaign to combat terrorism.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

BJP flays Centre for NE infiltration

DH News Service Agartala:

The BJP on Monday criticised the Congress-led UPA government for its failure to check illegal migrants and fundamentalist forces in the Northeastern region.

Addressing the media, BJP Northeastern Regional Secretary V Satish welcomed Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gagoi’s statement over the issue and said Mr Gagoi has finally understood the problem of growing Islamic fundamentalism in the region.

Mr Satish expressed concern over influx of migrants from Bangladesh and alleged that Islamic fundamentalists in the region were trying to turn it into an Islamic country. “The issue is sensitive as it involves minority sentiment and the religious angle,” he said.

Lambasting the UPA government, Mr Satish said both the Left and the Congress were going slow on the infiltration issue with an eye on vote bank. Referring to Tripura, he said the Left front has already enrolled the names of a few thousand Bangladeshis on the voters’ list.

Mr Gagoi had written to the prime minister voicing his concern over the activities of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Jehadi Al-Islam and a couple of other lesser-known jihadi outfits in his state.

Sharing Mr Gagoi’s view, Mr Satish demanded a uniform law to contain illegal migration in the Northeast. He also threatened to launch a movement against this.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

NCERT has hurt Hindu sentiments: VHP

Press Trust of India
Lucknow, August 26, 2005

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Friday claimed that NCERT had hurt the sentiments of 90 crore Hindus in the country by depicting Lord Ram and Lord Krishna as imaginary in its text books.

"It is a grave insult to the faith and belief of Hindus and appears to be an international conspiracy to undermine the Indian culture, VHP media incharge Sharad Sharma said in a statement.

"While all other countries concentrated first on protecting their indigenous culture after attaining independence from foreign rule, Congress which has ruled the country for most of our independent years, has always tried to damage the Indian culture," he claimed.

The so-called NCERT experts, motivated by Christian missionaries, were distorting facts in the text books, in order to attain international honours and money, he said.

The NCERT should issue an apology immediately and the Government should ban the text books containing the distorted descriptions.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Who needs secularism?

by Ramananda Sengupta
August 26, 2005

Show me a 'secular' person, and I'll show you a liar.

Because no human being on this planet, no matter how erudite, educated and enlightened he or she or it may be, is truly and absolutely secular.

For starters, the word means different things to different people.

A deeply religious person can think him/herself to be secular because he/she accepts that there are other religions than his own, and is willing to live with that.

An atheist/agnostic believes s/he is secular because s/he does not grudge or deny religious people their beliefs.

A radical revisionist might merit the moniker because s/he hates all religions, equally.

All of them would be wrong.

For being secular is not about acceptance, or tolerance, or even resignation.

Like perfection, it is something to be strived for, but never achieved.

I have no issues with Hinduism. But I cannot accept that Brahmins are a superior race. Or that Sati is a good thing.

I have no issues with Islam. But I do have issues with the burkha, which I believe promotes a patriarchal system at the cost of women's rights.

So when push comes to shove, will I merit the secular tag?

Having said that, I would like to argue that while individuals cannot be secular, the state must be.

That age old maxim about separation of the Church and the State is still valid. In fact, it's something worth fighting for.

Individuals have the right to religion. Governments do not.

As an Indian, I have often wondered what our leaders had in mind when they 'solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic.'

Sovereign I can understand. Also Socialist and Democratic. But what precisely did they mean by secular, which was added by then prime minister Indira Gandhi's government?

Were they saying the new-born government would never interfere in matters religious?

Or was it just a knee jerk reaction to the horrors of Partition along religious lines, without much thought being given to the implications of the word?

The word secular has been much maligned and misused in our country. At the moment, it is sadly identified with 'minority appeasement.'

That is because the politicians -- Rajiv Gandhi's capitulation in the Shah Bano case is just one example -- have gone out of their way to ensure a certain strident section of Indian citizenry gets away with ridiculous demands. Or at least, that is the impression gaining ground.

In fact, I have a problem with the word 'minority,' because it perpetuates the Us and Them syndrome. We are all Indians. Whether we practice atheism, monotheism or pantheism is nobody else's business but our own.

I am all for religious freedom, but I sure don't want the government to run or subsidise my places of worship. The only rider: anyone promoting hatred and terror should be dealt with very very severely. And any place of worship being used for such purposes should be shut down summarily.

In an article in Foreign Affairs titled 'Europe's Angry Muslims,' Robert S Leiken, director of the immigration and national security program at the Nixon Center, notes that 'Today, no place of worship is off limits to the police in Secular France. Hate speech is rewarded with a visit from the police, blacklisting and the prospect of deportation. These practices are consistent with the strict Gallic assimilationist model that bars religion from the public sphere (hence the headscarf dispute).'

We in India should be collectively proud of the immense diversity that permeates our great land. I would be prouder still if we could all say that we will never seek favors from the government on account of our religious faith, or caste, or creed.

I will never forgive V P Singh. That man should have been jailed for dividing our country by formalising the caste system, something the government officially wants to abolish.

Reservations? Sure.

But only for education, and only for people who need it. Never because you happen to belong to some caste or religion. Because this will only breed further resentment.

Coming back to secularism, we must ensure that citizens of our country are all treated equally under the law, regardless of their faith. We must ensure that no-one can cite religious norms to promote practices which violate basic human values and dignity.

Then, and only then, can we call ourselves a secular nation.

Labels: ,

The politics of forced reservations

Friday, August 26, 2005
Caste based reservations usually become the primary instrument of interference

As someone who despises political correctness, let me begin by spitting out in unambiguous terms that I believe it is time for reservations for scheduled castes, tribes and other backward castes to go. Affirmative action of this kind may have had meaning in the early years of Independence and even then only in the case of Dalits, who in our viciously unequal social structure suffered the worst form of apartheid (untouchability) for centuries.They were denied the right to education and for this reason alone needed help to be able to compete equally. Sixty years on it should be clear to anyone that reserved seats in educational institutions and in government jobs have created a Dalit elite and political class but done little to change the vicious discrimination Dalits continue to face in villages. Find me a single village in India where the Dalit quarter is not separate to that of the upper castes and I will withdraw what I have said.

Rural education
If there has been change in our towns and cities it is due to modernity, making it almost impossible to continue the evil practice of untouchability. I know upper caste homes in our towns and cities where domestic staff try to pursue segregation against lower caste staff in matters of eating and drinking, but on buses, trains and other public services discrimination against Dalits has died its own death. Urbanization has made more difference than affirmative action. If government departments and state-owned schools and colleges want to continue reserving seats for Dalit children, they have every right but the Supreme Court is correct in saying that this practice cannot be enforced in privately run institutions of learning. Human Resource Development Minister, Arjun Singh, and our elected representatives are wrong in their attempt to overrule the Supreme Court by getting Parliament to pass a new law. It is hard not to agree with Chief Justice, R.C. Lahotia, when he says,

"If this is the attitude of the government to go after a judgement without understanding it, then wind up the courts and do whatever you want." There is already so much political interference in private schools and colleges that people think a hundred times before entering the field of education. This is unfortunate because we need hundreds of thousands more private schools and colleges to compensate for the abysmal standards that prevail in those run by the state. Keep in mind that more than 50 per cent of India's population is below the age of 25. If these young people are educated well and can compete with young people from other countries, then India's future as an economic superpower is certain. If they end up merely literate - which is usually all children from our state schools achieve - then India will remain a country with enormous unresolved problems well into the middle of this century.If our politicians spent time travelling in rural India instead of merely wafting through in cavalcades of air-conditioned cars, they would notice that rural government schools are so bad that even the poorest parents try to send their children to private schools. The same is true of higher education, because even semi-literate parents understand these days that the best thing they can give their children is a good education which these days, sadly, includes fluent English because of its status as the lingua franca of the world.

Buying patronage
Private schools and colleges must be encouraged to proliferate and they will Not, as long as politicians and officials have the right to interfere constantly in their functioning. Caste based reservations usually become the primary instrument of interference. I have a friend who set up a fine management college in Haryana a few years ago, with affiliations to universities abroad and courses that matched the best but instead of thanks from the Haryana government, he got harassment. He refused to reserve seats for reasons of caste and found himself dragged to court. Interestingly, the main reason for this was not that the government had the interests of Dalit students at heart but because he refused to pay the bribes that officials demanded for overlooking the absence of reserved seats.In the name of Dalit welfare, our politicians use reserved seats in private schools and colleges as a form of patronage and a lever whereby they get access to institutions that would otherwise not need to give them the time of day. Sadly, the media, for reasons of political correctness, rarely pays as much attention to this issue as it deserves just as it ignores the absurdity of reservations being extended to OBCs or other backward castes, who these days are often the most powerful castes in our rural hierarchy. The position that Brahmins and Kshatriyas once had has been usurped in most villages by the so-called backward castes but thanks to V.P. Singh and his Mandal Commission, they are now beneficiaries of affirmative action.

When are we going to realize that reservations have not only not worked but have become an instrument of bullying in the hands of our political class? We should be grateful to the Supreme Court for intervening, but instead we are seeing the political class close ranks - across party lines - in a confrontational mood.In the end, the issue is about the need for high quality private schools and colleges that India needs desperately. They will not be built if the state continues to use reservations as an instrument of control and interference. That is all that affirmative action has become.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Why it is cool to hate India

By- Arindam Banerji

Saturday morning, last week was a bad one for me – the first thing I read, was an article from Dilip D'Souza. He pontificated,

"Then what do we say about those who might plot against the obscenity that blights their land, as Stauffenberg did, who fight to free India of it? Are they patriots? If so, what if they welcomed a force from abroad that toppled this hypothetical regime, as many Iraqis did? Are they still patriots?" (

I was stunned. D'Souza a recognized and very visible journalist, was insinuating and subtly recommending a foreign invasion of India to get rid of the current government; pretty much like the US did in Iraq. Let's be sure of one thing- I will die defending D'Souza's right to criticize, fight legally against, decry or vote out of office the current Indian government – but, calling for foreign invasion?? Now, that's beyond hate.

All this, when I was just beginning to get over the fact that after the Indo-Pakistani thaw had been announced, Praful Bidwai gleefully announced that India "must give up its inalienable right to Kashmir". No word on strategic goals for India, nothing about not rewarding terrorism. When did this happen? Leading journalists, openly publishing anti-India, hate-India propaganda in Indian dailies, and not a word is said – not a single editorial, no public criticism, nothing? When did it become so cool to hate India? Before we sink into the rhetoric of calling me a scoundrel for bringing up the patriotism issue, let us look at what's really happening.

Blame India first

Immediately, after the Nadimarg massacre of 24 Indians, including women and children, Farzana Versey wrote a scathing article, criticizing the Kashmiri Pandits, blaming them for leaving the valley – essentially the they-asked-for-it point-of-view. Times of India editorials and Kuldeep Nayar came out and blamed the Government of India. Mind you, not a word – not one word, criticizing either the Pakistani generals or the LeT. Akhila Raman blamed India directly and of course, a columnist in Greater Kashmir blamed the Pandits for it all. All these people, subtly yet completely undermined the case the GOI was trying to build in international media on the persistent and genocidal nature of Pakistani terrorism. In essence, these Indians equated the victims with the perpetrators, and made the case on behalf of Pakistan. After all, nobody in international media would cast any doubt on "Indian" writers, when they place the blame on GOI and the Pandits for such a heinous massacre.

The jury had declared their verdict – the ever-so erudite Hafeez Sayeed who postulated "Killing Hindus is the way to move forward" came out looking lily-white, while 4-year old Suraj, who died in his mother's arms was found guilty – he was an Indian, you see. Remember, the Chattisinghpora incident where 35 Sikhs were killed – some Indian journalists even those writing in international publications, declared that the GOI was to blame. It took an American, Barry Bearak of NYTimes to chase the whole thing down and visit the home of one of the perpetrators in Pakistan. No matter what happens and how it happens, it is India that is at fault, Indians are responsible. Journalists tell me that they must remain balanced. That word again?

The whole balance thing – never allow any good news on India.

This balance thing, happens not just about the Hindu-Muslim issue or India-Pakistan issues. Let me give you another example from a different area - Mr. Vishal Thapar's article on the LCA/Tejas in the Hindustan Times. As you may have heard about the LCA was renamed to Tejas, yesterday. Here is how it was projected in one of the most widely distributed national newspapers in India: "For those ecstatic at the projection of the Tejas' , this all means that the 'Made in India' tag as a symbol of indigenous capability, a sobering thought. Its engine is American, its avionics a combination of French, Israeli and Swedish components, and its carbon composite wings Italian. Given that the three basic components of an aircraft are the engine, airframe and avionics, 'swadeshi' pride gets a dose of reality."

In spite, of the fact, that a simple internet search, would have given Mr. Thapar access to all possible details on LCA – he either chose not to do so or prefers to remain balanced. So, let us take each of his facts one by one. What he did not tell you was the GE engine is a test engine, to be replaced soon by an India's Kaveri. Another fact, the most advanced fourth generation fighter called Grippen, also uses the same GE engine, but nobody calls the Swedish Grippen non-indigenous. It also turns out that the new fifth generation aircraft from the US (F/A22) uses Israeli avionics. Truth is, that apart from a few measly displays, almost everything else in the LCA's avionics- Mission Computers, Radar, Display Processors, Avionics LRU's, databus associated control equipment -is Indian [Nitin, BRF]. The composite wing technology was co-developed with the Italians – in fact, some of the associated software was sold by INDIA to Airbus. No mention of the most-advanced Fly-by-Wire technology in a fourth-generation aircraft, no mention of the sale to Airbus – simply the balanced approach to hide India's accomplishments. Remember, the Americans cherish their flights to the moon, in spite of the fact, that many of the leading scientists were Nazi Germany's rocket scientists. They cherish their jet aircraft which was helped tremendously by Nazi German designs of jet aircraft.

So, why was it so important for us to sound balanced – was it important enough to hide the facts and true achievements? Note - not a single clarification issued by the Hindustan Times either. It is fair to point out however, that the Hindu carried a much more positive article on LCA on the next day. Of course, not to be left behind the ever so-prolific India hater, Praful Bidwai writes "India . . . ranked 54th of 55 countries in an IT survey by International Data Corp. Its score is 871, compared with China's 915, or the US's 5041. (The highest is Sweden's 5062, the lowest Pakistan's 719.) The penetration of Indian households by PCs is under one-fifth the world average. Today, it stands at three machines per 1000 people."

Probably true – but, no mention of the fact that the Indians are designing some of the most advanced routers in the world, they are at the fore-front of telematics technology and developed the first products on web services, which has now become a $50B technology. So, why the lack of balance on this issue? Would not serve our purpose to make India look good, would it, now.

Protest and you get called Names

Everybody has heard about the Bangladeshi infiltration into India. Most people do not know that large parts of the border areas are now run, owned and practically ruled by Bangladeshis. I have nothing against Bangladeshis – but, when they come to my country, ethnically cleanse Indians out of large areas, happily help the ISI and demand sovereignty for areas that they are squatting on, I have a problem. However, the fact that I have said the above, labels me a Hindu Fascist and supremacist. Never mind, that in the last 17 years in the US, I've never visited a temple – never, mind that I've probably spent more time in a catholic church in my life-time than a Hindu temple – I'm still a fascist.

The recommendations from the Farooquis, Pamelas and Bidwais is very clear – let the flow of Bangladeshis continue. Imply they, that there is nothing wrong in the steady Arabization of most of the border areas and even secession is fine – whatever happens, we must not listen to the fascists. I'm sorry this is not OK with me – I'm concerned about the great Indian culture – the one that includes Syrian Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Muslims, as much as it does Hindus. Unfortunately, we become fascists for trying to stem the tide of Bangladeshi Taliban from entering our country, the same people who for long had an "enemy property act", essentially treating minorities as enemies.

Not only, will many news dailies prevent the publication of anything that is strongly pro-India or happens to protest anti-India activities; but, the name calling against the pro-India crowd definitely gets published. All of you must have heard about the slanderous IDRF campaign, but how many of you got to read the excellent de-bunking done by the Friends of India – very, very few. This seems to happen more and more frequently these days –
  • protest against subsuming India within groups and academic departments that call themselves South Asian (not Indian) – you're a fanatic
  • protest against Romila Thapar's writings – you're a Hindu supremacist
  • protest against stopping charity to innocent Indian kids through false and unproven allegations – you're RSS, VHP or worse

Openly anti-India activities

Kamal Mitra Chenoy, a professor from JNU, actually testified before the USCIRF on Gujarat, with the sole purpose of having sanctions declared on India. While, what happened in Gujarat was vile and reprehensible, how does it make sense to help other countries declare sanctions on India? Who does it hurt most? As a Friend of India member wrote, "In other words, here was an Indian zealously participating in a charade meant to impose hardship on his own country, collaborating with a wing of a government that his own comrades are given to routinely denouncing as "imperialist" and hegemonist." Canvassing for anti-India acts are the norm now. The Indian Muslim Council, in the US, very rightfully concerned about what happened in Gujarat, is openly courting and canvassing congressmen and congressional staffers on "Hindu fanaticism". Very thoughtful, but how do we expect the US Congressmen to help? Take action against India!!

Mind you - I'm happy to join their protests in front of the Indian embassy, if they spend an equal amount of time, protesting the killing of twice as many Indians (as killed in Gujarat) every year by Islamic terrorists. Or, will they please tell their US legislators, that India actually has minorities, but minorities have for the most part vanished in the rest of South Asia (Bangladesh has gone from 33% to 7%). Will they please tell, the Americans that from negligible numbers, Andamans now have 60% Christians? Why not present the whole picture – who does it help not to do so? Everyday in the Bay area, Indian speakers are feted by large crowds of Indians and Pakistanis, for claiming how bad India is? How the Hindus are killing all the Muslims? Association of words like genocide, fascist and fundamentalist with India are common. Not a word on the Islamic terrorism that kills thousands every year, not a word on state support for it, not a word on the complete ethnic cleansing that has happened in the rest of South Asia (3% minorities in Pakistan, down from 20%) – no, that would offend our Pakistani friends.

Our own, Arundhati Roy, who feels compelled to go all over the world and announce that "India is an artificial state", recently along with some other anti-India stalwarts attended a meeting to remember Marxist-Leninist separatist Naxals. Mind you, these are the same Naxals who recommend partitioning the country and happily extort and kill innocent Indian citizens. The Bidwais, Pandeys and Roys had to honor them, but, would they ever visit the families of soldiers who died at Kargill? Nope, and nobody called them on it – no protests, no editorial scolding. Our politicians outdo all this. While Congress and the left encourage anti-India elements to settle in India, the right has proposed sundry localized sun-of-the-soil theories. All this just to win a few votes. Who does this hurt? You, me and India. I'm not suggesting that all Indian politicians become honest – that would be a stupid expectation. But, where is our press? Where are the national scolds, which are handed out so readily when we dare to kill a terrorist or two, without reading them their rights? Never surprises me that, more people jumped up to help the professor who facilitated the Parliament attack; than ever did to help the Sikh widows of the 1984 riots.

National Lack of Confidence

I'm keenly aware of the impact of history on national psyche and attitudes – let's face it, at least in the recent centuries, we Indians have been raped, massacred and indoctrinated with gay abandon. But, history in itself is not an acceptable excuse – where are our leaders? Leadership means breaking the mold – not just our politicians, but our managing editors and our news outlet owners – they just standby, they don't feel the need to direct their ire. I have come to believe that our educational institutions have a role here. Passing through the IITs, nobody ingrained in me or my friends, the arrogance to believe that we could do intellectual work better than the best in the world. Result – we all end up believing, like Mr. Vishal Thapar above, that Indians cannot do the kinds of things that the Anglo-Saxons can – how could they? Other educational institutions are worse – try holding a pro-India, anti-Pakistan program in JNU – chances are you'll get beaten up. Writes Vrin Parker, an American who has spent time in India,

"After having been forced to learn a lot misinformation about India in American schools I became fed up … I began my own research and soon discovered that it was the Indians themselves … who are at the root of all the nonsense taught about Hindus in the West."

Acceptance as Normal

It isn't what D'Souza said that has surprised me – it is that this has become accepted behavior in India. Nobody protests, when Arundhati makes up stories that make the Gujarat incidents much worse than they actually were (and they were bad enough), nobody blinks when Bidwais of the world spew their anti-India venom day in and day out, nobody cries foul when anti-India groups are feted by prominent/respected Indians within India and nobody editorializes when Indians go around canvassing foreign governments to take actions against India and Indians. When did this happen? When did it become so acceptable to hate-India openly? Please do not get me wrong – we Indians have our faults. Our caste-system, our riots, corruption, fundamentalism, most of our politicians, extreme poverty and our apathy to all this. Protest against all this, change it, elect someone else, expose it, and write about it – that's all patriotic. But asking for foreign invasion, supporting secessionists, canvassing for US sanctions, inviting arabized Bangladeshis into India, absolving Pakistani terrorism or minimizing Hindu deaths is NOT – it's anti-India.

Remember, that there is a lot of good – ask the Tibetians who have taken refuge in India, ask the Chakma Buddhists, ask the Bangladeshi Hindus, ask the Pakistani Hindus, ask the Afghans who're being treated and taught by Indians, ask the CEOs of the top five technology corporations in the world and ask the Bangladeshis who remember. Let's not hide all this or minimize it, but let's not be satisfied with it, either.


Supreme Court slammed the Centre

Wind up courts and do what you want: SC

Press Trust of India
Posted online: Tuesday, August 23, 2005

New Delhi, August 23: The Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed the Centre for being extremely critical of the recent seven-judge bench judgement declaring that there should be no reservation or state quota in private unaided professional colleges.

"Why are we told time and again by the government that it is not taking a confrontationist attitude. Who is taking a confrontationist attitude," a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti asked Attorney General Milan Banerjee during a hearing of a petition seeking Schedule Caste status for Dalit Christians.

The court said what the seven-judge bench ruled was a reiteration of the eleven-judge bench judgement and the five-judge bench judgement thereafter.

"If this is the attitude of the government to go after a judgement without understanding it, then wind up the courts and do whatever you want," the Chief Justice said.

When the Attorney General and Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam said that they respect the courts, the bench said, "should you not tell your clients to give the respect the court's deserve."

The bench said if this is the attitude of the government towards the court then, "we will go on doing our duty and let them do theirs."

The court said both the eleven-judge and five-judge bench judgements followed by the seven-judge bench judgement told the government to come out with a legislation. "You are talking about confrontation," the bench asked, indicating the government had failed to understand the seven-judge bench judgement.

The court, taking exception to the tenor of the statements emerging out of the government on the seven-judge bench judgement, said, "you must advise the government to exercise self-restraint".

Get out of Australia, 'radical' Muslims told

By Lawrence Bartlett in Sydney
Wednesday, 24 August , 2005, 13:11

Muslims who want to live under the Islamic Sharia law were told Wednesday to get out of Australia as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.

A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown.

Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state and its laws were made by parliament.

"If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you," he said on national television.

"I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia, one the Australian law and another the Islamic law, that that is false."

"If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts,democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country which practises it, perhaps, then, that's a better option," Costello said.

Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he said those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked move to the other country.

Education Minister Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who did not want to accept local values should "clear off".

"Basically, people who don't want to be Australians, and they don't want to live by Australian values and understand them, well then they can basically clear off," he said.

Muslim schools will have to denounce terrorism as part of an effort to stamp out home-grown extremism under measures announced after Howard's meeting with 14 Islamic leaders Tuesday.

The prime minister called the meeting in the wake of last month's London bombings by British-born Muslims, amid fears that Australia could be the target of a similar attack by disaffected members of its small Muslim community.

"The purpose of the meeting was to identify ways of preventing the emergence of any terrorist behaviour in this country," Howard told commercial radio Wednesday.

"You won't change the minds of people who are hardened fanatics and hardened extremists. You have to identify them and take measures to ensure that they don't become a problem."

Asked if he was prepared to "get inside" mosques and schools to ensure there was no support for terrorism, Howard said: "Yes, to the extent necessary".

Britain, shaken by the rail and bus bombings which killed 56 people, is debating new powers which could include closing mosques where clerics are suspected of supporting extremists and deporting those who glorify suicide bombers.

Australia, which like Britain has troops in Iraq, is also contemplating tougher anti-terror legislation. which will be debated next month at a meeting between Howard and leaders of state governments.

Meanwhile, an Islamic youth organisation that was not invited to Howard's Tuesday meeting said it would call an alternative conference -- on September 11 -- for what it says is the 80 percent of Muslims who were not represented.

The Affinity Intercultural Foundation (AIF) told national radio it wants to try to change the date's association with Islamic violence, and to highlight how mainstream Muslims have become victims of prejudice and bias.

AIF director Mehmet Saral said Muslims were feeling more victimised than at any other time in their history of living in Australia. Some 300,000 Muslims make up just 1.5 percent of Australia's population of 20 million.

UK's new extremist deportation laws

Controversial imams
(Filed: 20/07/2005)

The Government is looking at introducing new anti-terror measures that would ban radical Islamics whose sermons could incite racial hatred.

Four of the names frequently mentioned as being anti-Western are Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi; Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed; Mohammed al-Massari and Abu Qatada.

Below are brief outlines of who they are and what they say;

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Qatar-based imam linked to the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, condemned both the July 7 London terror attacks and the September 11 attacks, but defends suicide bombers in Israel.

Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, was put under pressure to refuse him entry after the London attacks. This followed Tony Blair's call for a clampdown on extremist preachers.

The 79-year-old Egyptian is considered one of the most influential men in modern Sunni Islam.

Through his weekly Sunday night spot on al-Jazeera, the Arabic satellite channel, as well as through his prolific use of the internet, his religious pronouncements touch the lives of tens of millions of Muslims every day.

The sheikh belongs to a school of Islamic thinkers called the New Islamists, who emerged in the 19th and 20th centuries. Faced with the awesome achievements of the industrialised West, the New Islamists tried to find different ways to interpret the Koran to encourage liberal democracy.

As a student in his native Egypt in the 1940s he studied under Hassan el-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, who established the intellectual basis for violent anti-Western Sunni Muslim groups, including al-Qa'eda.

In the early 1950s he volunteered to fight the British occupation of the Suez Canal and in 1954 his connection to the brotherhood led to the first of several arrests by Egyptian authorities.

In 1962, Qaradawi moved to Qatar to be the director of a religious institute.

He has made passionate endorsements of Palestinian suicide bombers and in 2003 he issued a fatwa endorsing resistance in Iraq. By regional standards he is a moderate, but the sheikh's reputation in the West was ruined and he had his American visa annulled.

Qaradawi has written at least 50 books attempting to reconcile Islam with democracy and human rights and he is one of the most important proponents of women's rights in contemporary Islam.

He has consistently said that Muslims need to think for themselves, which means they need be free of government control. This is not a message that goes down well with Arab governments.

He holds a multiple entry visa to the UK.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi on:

Child bombers in Israel

"The Israelis might have nuclear bombs but we have the children bomb and there human bombs must continue until liberation."

Killing Israeli civilians

"We must all realise that the Israeli society is a military society - men and women, We cannot describe the society as civilian … they are not civilians or innocent."

Suicide bombing in Israel

"It is not suicide; it is martyrdom in the name of God. I consider this type of martyrdom operation as an indication of the justice of Allah almighty. Allah is just. Through his infinite wisdom, he has given the weak what the strong do not posses and that is the ability to turn their bodies into bombs as Palestinians do."


"We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America!"


"It has been determined be Islamic law that the blood and property of people of Dar Al-Harb (non-Muslims) is not protected, because they fight against and are hostile towards the Muslims, they annulled the protection of his blood and his property."

Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed

Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, the so-called Tottenham Ayatollah, is the spiritual leader of Islamic fundamentalist group al-Muhajiroun, which he founded in Saudi Arabia in 1983.

He is originally from Syria, but moved to north London in 1986 after being expelled from Saudi Arabia.

He has approved the American embassy bombings in Africa and, in 1990, was interviewed by Special Branch after allegedly calling for the assassination of John Major, the then Tory Prime Minister. He denied this and was never charged.

He has been particularly outspoken about suicide bombers in Israel, and praised British would-be suicide bomber Omar Khan Sharif, who drowned in Tel Aviv after failing to blow himself up.

After the July 7 terror attacks in London in which 56 people died, Bakri Mohammed blamed the Government and British voters.

He has been accused of supporting Osama bin Laden, and helping recruit suicide bombers and fighters for Israel, Kashmir, Afghanistan, and Chechnya.

It is considered unlikely that Bakri Mohammed will be deported to his native country, as the British Government has no arrangement with Syria guaranteeing the safety of any deportees.

He could be stripped of his leave to stay in Britain and could face prosecution under proposed new laws targeting those who incite, glorify or condone terrorist acts.

Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed on:

Deportation of radical preachers

"I don't believe that deportation will solve the problem and can be in any way a cure for what happened. I believe that my presence and the presence of many radical Muslims, as you like to call us, we are part of the solution and not part of the problem."

Osama bin Laden

"Why I condemn Osama bin Laden for? I condemn Tony Blair. I condemn George Bush. I would never condemn Osama bin Laden or any Muslims."

July 7 bomb attacks

"I blame the British Government, the British public and the Muslim community in the UK because they failed to make the extra effort to put an end to the cycle of bloodshed which started before 9/11 and on July 7 was devastating for everybody."

September 11

"I believe September 11 was a direct response to the evil American policy in the Muslim world. We do not want another event like this in the West. If there is an attack by the British Government against Muslims abroad, then Muslims abroad have the right to retaliate and defend themselves ... We are giving sincere advice to the British Government and the British public so they understand the consequences of playing with fire."

Suicide bombers in Israel

"I knew [would-be bomber] Sharif very well and he used to attend regularly at my sessions. He was my brother and I am very proud of him and any Muslim who will do the same as he did."

Mohammed al-Massari

Mohammed al-Massari, a prominent Saudi Arabian academic and dissident, has lived in Britain since 1994 as a political refugee.

He is another emigre who may face scrutiny following the Home Secretary's announcement that those who glorify terrorism could be deported.

This will not be the first time Massari, 55, has faced expulsion. The Home Office twice tried to deport him in 1996, first to Yemen and then to the Caribbean island of Dominica.

But immigration appeal tribunals blocked both attempts, saying that Massari's life could be placed in danger.

The dissident fled Saudi Arabia in 1994 after he and other members of a pro-democracy group were arrested and tortured.

In 1996 he helped Khalid al-Fawwaz, another Saudi dissident, set up an office in London. Fawwaz was establishing Osama bin Laden's press office.

Bin Laden is said to have telephoned Massari to thank him for helping Fawwaz.

He has also been linked to a website that raises funds and enlists volunteers for al-Qa'eda.

In an interview for a recent BBC programme, The New Al-Qa'eda, he defended posting on his Tajdeed website videos of beheadings and suicide bombings together with an online terror training manual.

Massari now lives in north London as a political refugee.

September 11

"When a regime is helping somebody like Israel attack you and if someone attacks you it is war … If a Muslim decides he can do something about that and take retaliatory action, then why not? An eye for an eye as an old book said.

Osama bin Laden

"He's a fighter and fighting according to his beliefs … Anyone who fights according to his beliefs is a hero."

Al-Qa’eda fundraising

"Those who put up the website don't care about those who try and ban them. Those who believe that Muslims should support Jihad and raise funds for it will continue … The other side will try and close down the accounts and the sites. The fight will continue."

Abu Qatada

London-based cleric Abu Qatada has been described as "Bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe", an inspiration for terrorists, and "a truly dangerous individual".

He was also described by the Home Office as the most significant Islamic fundamentalist in Britain and an "inspiration for terrorists both here and abroad...often providing the religious 'legitimacy' for the atrocities that are planned or committed".

was jailed in 2001 under powers contained in the Anti-Terrorism Act, but released in January 2005 after law lords ruled that his detention was unlawful.

He could now face deportation to Jordan after the British Government reached agreement with Aman to allow deportation of its nationals without fear of them being mistreated.

Palestinian-born but spending most his life in Jordan, Qatada travelled to Afghanistan to help the mujihadeen against the Soviet invasion in the 1980s.

The cleric is thought to have met Osama bin Laden in 1989 while working as a teacher in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, close to the Afghan border.

Qatada arrived in Britain on a forged passport in 1993, accompanied by his wife and children, and claimed asylum.

He has been convicted in absentia in Jordan and sentenced to life imprisonment for his involvement in terrorist attacks there in 1998 and for a Millennium bomb plot.

Britain wanted to expel him after the September 11 attacks but human rights laws meant that he could not be sent back to a country where he might be ill-treated.

Instead Qatada was held in Belmarsh jail, south-east London, for more than three years until the House of Lords said that he and a dozen other suspected foreign terrorists were being detained unlawfully.

He was released and is currently subject to a control order at an undisclosed address. His bail conditions prevented him from preaching at mosques.

Abu Qatada on:

Suicide attacks

"The time of victory is near. All over the world, Muslims are sacrificing more and contributing more to the struggle. May Allah accept us all to be slaughtered."

Osama bin Laden

"If he spent only a few minutes in my house I would be arrested. I have not met him, but it would not be a crime to do so. I would be honoured, as a Muslim, if I did meet him."


"Palestine was my homeland. When it was lost nothing else mattered. That is enough for me, I cannot really have much sympathy for anyone else. I do not want your help or your sympathy. But don't ask me to be on your side."


Hinduism, Hindu organizations and people calling them a ‘terrorist’ & communal

By- R. Reddy

Hinduism with its 5000 years old roots in Bharat (India) is one the oldest civilizations existing in the world. This civilization once was spread across all over Indian sub-continent till Gandhar in west, which is now known as Afghanistan to Indonesia and Cambodia in east. Hinduism is a religion, which is constantly evolving. Vedas were one of the earliest works or scriptures which formed the base of Hinduism, but Hinduism did not just stay with Vedas, it moved on with time and became one of the most tolerant religion.

Turning back into history shows that the victory in the battle over Rajputs by Mohammad Ghazni about 1000 A.D., marked the beginning of Muslim invasions into the Indian subcontinent and continued until the next 700 years. The last notable invasion of the Muslims from outside was the invasion of Nadir Shah in 1739, during which he unleashed a great horror on the native Hindu population. During these 700 years of Invasion every Muslim ruler raised towers of Hindu skulls with huge massacres and many others were forcibly converted into Islam. Still many Hindus either faced the death or preferred to be a Hindu and lived in poverty. Some recent studies suggest at least 100 million Hindus were massacred from the period 1000 AD and 1525 AD alone. In 17th century the British East India Company entered into India on the pretext of trade and slowly from then on the British rule started for the next 200 years. During these two hundred years many missionaries were invited to India and millions of the tribal Hindus were forced to convert into Christianity by force or money.

While the rest of the world was undergoing a tremendous religious transformation during this period, the Hindus in India were able to stand against that storm, and during a thousand years of rule Muslims and Christians were able to make only a small dent in fortress of Hinduism. The early revival of Hinduism in first half of this millennium was to a great extent brought about by people like Adi Shankaracharya and Ramanuja. Renaissance period for Hinduism coincided with the Muslim and British rule. While warriors like Sivaji, Rana Pratap and Guru Gobind Singh Fought against Muslim rulers other great people like Mera Bai, Sant Tuka Ram, Chaitanya Maha Prabhu, Ramakrishna Paramhans, Guru Nanak, Swami Vivekananda to name a few, brought about Hinduism renaissance during the Muslim and British Rule.

With this brief background of Indian history and Hinduism let us see what some so-called leaders in modern India say about those people who espouse the cause of Hinduism and India. The Congress Chief Minister of Kerala A.K. Antony on July 14th 2002 in a statement branded R.S.S (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) as a terrorist organization. While another Congress Chief Minister Digvijay Singh of Madhya Pradesh said on 7th September 2003 that RSS incites violence and communal feelings. What makes these people call RSS a terrorist and communal organization?

What is RSS and what are its Origins?

Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar (1889-1940) founded the ‘Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’ (RSS) on 27th September 1925. It rebounds to the foresight of Dr. Hedgewar that he anticipated the need for strengthening the foundations of the Hindu society and for preparing it for challenges on social, economic, cultural, religious, philosophical and political planes. The thought of selfless people who will volunteer on their own to serve the country, which can never be achieved being a part of political party has led to the foundation of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). Dr. Hedgewar has studied medicine in Calcutta; the land of patriotic and revolutionaries came back to Nagpur in 1916. Dr. Hedgewar himself is a patriot himself from childhood, when he refused to eat the sweets distributed marking the golden jubilee of Queen of England's coronation and when he got banned from school for echoing and re-echoing Vande Mataram. Hedgewar even refused to marry and kept his family poverty aside and worked for the cause of the countries freedom until his death in 1940.

Many young and old came forward to be part of this organization for various years and today RSS has over more than 25,000 centers allover India. RSS worked to its strength and did some dedicated works. If one has to look internally the aim of RSS, it is to bring the dharma concept and spirituality into the society and work for the well being of the nation.

The quality of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh comes to fore during times of natural or man-made disasters. When there were earth quakes in Assam, Gujarat, Latur, Uttarakshi, or in Surat, when the Costal Andhra, Bihar, Bengal or Orissa hit with cyclone, or when there is famine in Karnataka, Orissa, Bihar, Gujarat or Rajasthan, it is common to hear from various sources that the Swayamsevaks will be there at every national calamity providing services and relief for the victims. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that after the disastrous cyclone of December 1977 in Andhra pradesh, the Swayamsevaks took care of rehabilitation of the whole Avanigadda village and the then Survodaya leader of Andhra said "The name R.S.S stand for Ready for Selfless Service without discrimination.

In 1965, during the war with Pakistan or during Bangladesh Liberation war, in 1971, or the latest Kargil war, media was full of reports of the role played by Swayamsevaks by providing moral support and relief in the post war period by providing blood donations and establishing nursing camps at war sights for the treatment of wounded soldiers. During the partition of the country in 1947, when several millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims were stranded in Western Pakistan, Swayemsevaks of the same RSS sacrificed their lives to bring back those hapless people into a safe place, by showing limitless valor, sacrifice and martyrdom. Does these qualities make it a terrorist and communal organization?

What makes one or an organization terrorist?

American Heritage Dictionary: The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

Does the Rhastriya Swayamsevak Sangh have any of these qualities in its work to make it a terrorist organization? R.S.S works against the perverted beliefs in the name of religion such as untouchability and casteism. Sri Balasaheb Deoras declared "If untouchability is not wrong, there cannot be anything wrong in this world." R.S.S never showed any discrimination in its works and also conducted several programs to eradicate such practices. Thousands of Swayamsevaks invite people from the slums to their houses to participate in the pujas during the festivals and go to their slums and share the fun and happiness of the festivals. R.S.S also established schools at the village level for the purpose of education of below poverty people and hospitals in rural areas, where the governments failed to provide the least medical facilities.

Does these types of works make R.S.S a terrorist organization?

It is really pity and sad to see and hear that the so-called secular forces term such type of organizations as terrorist organizations. These days the communists and the so-called secular fronts made it a habit to call every Hindu organization as a terrorist organization.

These secular and communist forces have forgotten that when the Machu reservoir embankments breached, thousands of people became homeless and most of them were Muslims in it. The Swayamsevaks took care to organize food and relief to the victims and not to forget this calamity happened during Ramadan and Swayamsevaks took every care in the food keeping in mind the Roza norms and made every effort to provide prayer facilities for the victims and not to forget the Gujarat earthquake where several Muslims and Hindus became homeless. R.S.S again worked for relief without any discrimination. Does this quality of Rashtriya Swayamsevaks make it a communal organization?

Can these psuedo secular forces and the communists name any other organization, which works solely for the purpose of nation outside their religion? Has these communists and secular forces did anything for the nation?

Is this terrorism and communalism? I would rather follow such a ‘terrorist’ organization rather than those good for nothing politicians who spread the venom of casteism and religious division.

If trying to make India a progressive and educated country is terrorism then these politicians should quickly seek a psychiatric help. These people lack the credentials to be a critic of an organization as great as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Christian missionaries continue to convert many poor Hindus by promising to give them money in Kerala and several evidences were found to prove it, but A.K. Antony never responded to that and he didn't even have a second thoughts before calling Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh a terrorist organization. A.K. Antony and Digvijay Singh proved that they are one of the thousands of dim wit politician who speak without knowing a fact.

PS: Let me clarify something before these Pseudo-Secular and Communists brand me a R.S.S member, I never got involved with R.S.S in all my life nor I am a member of it anytime, but if I ever get a chance to work with them, I would never hesitate to do that. I came to these conclusions and wrote this article after researching myself. If they call me just another fanatic Hindu, I am proud to be a Hindu and Indian and I always cherish myself to be born in that great civilization.


Home | Syndicate this site (XML) | Guestbook | Blogger
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors.
Everything else © 2005 Pseudo-Secularism