Pseudo-Secularism

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.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Conversions threaten a way of life

by Francois Gautier
December 30, 2005

Francois Gautier writes to Dr John Dayal, member, National Integration Council, in response to the letter he wrote Prime Minister Manmohan Singh:

Dear John Dayal,

I am a Westerner and a born Christian. I was mainly brought up in Catholic schools, my uncle Father Guy Gautier a gem of a man, was the parish head of the beautiful Saint Jean de Montmartre church in Paris. My father Jacques Gautier, a famous artist in France, and a truly good person if there ever was one, was a fervent Catholic all his life, went to church nearly every day and lived by his Christian values.

There are certain concepts in Christianity I am proud of: Charity for others, the equality of social systems in many Western countries, Christ's message of love and compassion.

Yet, when I read your letter to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, apropos the inaugural meeting of the National Integration Council, I was a little uneasy.

First, you seem to assume that you are speaking for the entire Christian community in India. But I know many Christians in this country, and they never voice the grievances you so loudly proclaim. In fact, I have found that most Christians in India are not only happy to live in this country of traditional tolerance, but that they are also different from many Christians in the world: More multicultural and ecumenist in spirit, maybe.

Then, you speak of the marginalised Dalits. I agree that there are still unforgivable atrocities committed against Dalits, although very often they are done by backward castes themselves. I remember during the tsunami in Pondichery, how the Vanniars, an OBC caste, stopped the Dalits from a coastal hamlet from crossing the Vanniars' part of the village to bury their dead, as the Dalits' cremation ground had been submerged.

At the same time, my 30 years in India have taught me that nowhere in the world has there been so much effort to rectify a wrong -- from 1947 onwards. This resulted in a Dalit, the late K R Narayanan, born in a poor village of Kerala, to be elected President of India, one of the highest posts in this nation.

Has a black man ever been President of the United States?

Reservations for Dalits have made it possible for them to access education and jobs regardless of their merits -- and this is a unique feature of India today.

You continue by saying that 'the agenda draftsmen of papers for NIC seem to believe that forcible and fraudulent conversions (to Christianity) are the main cause of civil unrest in tribal and other rural areas'. And you retort that 'this is a malicious myth propagated by obscurantist and fundamentalist -- and often violent -- political groups'. Meaning Hindu groups, of course.

I have to disagree with you on two points.

One, I have seen with my own eyes how conversions in India are not only highly unethical -- that is, using unethical means of conversion -- but also that they threaten a whole way of life, erasing centuries of tradition, customs, wisdom, teaching people to despise their own religion and look Westwards to a culture which is alien to them, with disastrous results.

Look at what happened to countries like Hawaii, or to the extraordinary Aztec culture in South America, after Portuguese and Spanish missionaries took over.

Look how the biggest drug problems in India are found in the Northeast, or how Third World countries which have been totally Christianised have lost all moorings and bearing and are drifting away without nationalism and self-pride.

Second, I think people like you show very little gratitude to that Hindu ethos which has seeped into Indian Christian consciousness. It is because of that Hindu ethos, which accepts that god may manifest himself at different times in different names, that Christians were welcomed in India in the first century. Indeed, the Syrian Christians of Kerala constituted the first Christian community in the world.

It is because of this inbred tolerance in Hinduism that Christianity and many other persecuted minorities in the world flourished and practiced their religion in peace in India throughout the centuries.

But how do Christians thank the Hindus? When the Jesuits arrived in India with Vasco de Gama, they committed terrible persecutions, particularly in Goa, crucifying Brahmins, marrying local girls forcibly to Portuguese soldiers, razing temples to build churches and splitting the Kerala Christian community in two.

And today, people like you continue ranting against Hindus and promoting unethical conversions, using the massive power of the dollars donated by ignorant Westerners, who do not know that their money is used to lure innocent tribals and Dalits, who still possess that all encompassing acceptance of all gods, towards another religion.

Furthermore, you use false statistics, saying for instance that nuns have been raped. You no doubt allude to the Jhabua rape case, when courts have shown that these nuns were not raped by Hindus, but by Christian tribals.

I know, I went there and interviewed these innocent souls.

And who has been hijacking of the educational system in India? Not the Hindus, as you accuse, but the Christians, who control much of the higher education in India and by subtle and not so subtle means, poison the minds of the students, teaching them to look down on their own culture and look up to whatever is Western -- even if it has already failed in the West.

In how many schools and hospitals in India today, the Bible is read at the beginning of each day, each session? Would you approve of the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible of 850 million Hindus being read in Christian schools in the West to Christian students and nurses?

Finally, when you say: 'God bless you, you Government, and God bless India', which god are you talking about? Is it Jesus Christ? But the message of Christ was one of love, of respecting others' cultures and creed -- not of utilising unethical means for converting people.

It is false to say that Jesus is the only 'true' god. As Hindus rightly believe, the Divine has manifested himself throughout the ages under different names and identities, whether it is Christ, Buddha, Krishna or Mohammad.

Let this be the motto of the National Integration Council of India.

All terrorist attacks are against Hinduism: Dr Swamy

12/30/2005 2:41:20 AM HK Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Janata Party president Dr Subramanian Swamy has termed Wednesday's Lashkar-e-Tayyeba attack on the prestigious Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore, which claimed the life of ace scientist Dr MC Puri, an attack against Hinduism. "Terrorism in India cannot be fought unless three things are understood by the people. The terrorist violence is primarily against the Hindus whether in Bangalore or Agartala and hence planned as a part of the conspiracy of Pakistan’s ISI to weaken the Hindu foundation of India," Dr Swamy said in a statement released to the press on Thursday. The former Union Minister for Law and Company Affairs pointed out that the Hindus were under siege in India.

Dr Swamy said the Congreess and Sonia Gandhi have lost the moral rights to rule the country in the background of the continued terrorist attacks all over India. "Elsewhere in the country such as Andhra, Kashmir, North East, the Congress Governments have been negotiating with terrorists even while they have continued the killing spree. Moreover, the Congress Party has lost all moral authority to speak against terrorism after Sonia Gandhi, the Party President and widow of LTTE - assassinated Rajiv Gandhi, negotiated an electoral alliance with those political parties in Tamil Nadu who are stooges of the LTTE. Today pre-LTTE persons are Union Ministers in the UPA Government," said Dr Swamy.

He also said that the murderous attack in the campus of the hallowed Indian Institute of Science was a symptom of the failed and soft policies towards terrorism of the Congress Party. Dr Swamy blasted the Congress for capitulating before terrorists for long. "When bandit Veerappan kidnapped cine actor Raj Kumar, the Congress Government according to a Director General of Police of the state (who upon retiring wrote a book) paid Rs. 20 crores as ransom and released from prison 15 confirmed criminals of the Veerappan gang to appease the bandit," Dr Swamy said.

Dr Swamy, an economist of international repute wanted the union government to legislate a national anti-terrorist policy to fight the various terrorist groups from Kashmir to Kanyakumari which were working in a co-ordinated manner. "No piecemeal policies will be able to tackle this menace. The government should search, seek and destroy terrorists in their sanctuaries wherever they are: whether in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or elsewhere," said Dr Swamy.

The Janata Party president also pointed out that it was the appeasement policies in Rubbaiya kidnapping (1989), and Bangladesh infiltration matters that has emboldened the terrorists to strike at will. Dr Swamy's statement concludes with a clarion call to topple the UPA Government. "Terrorism cannot be combated in India unless the UPA Government is toppled. This Government is part of the problem and not of the solution," said Dr Swamy.

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Christian Harvard professor launches anti-Hindu Crusade

By Dr. Srinivasan Kalyanaraman
india-forum.com

Quiz # 1:
“Hindus in the USA are lost or abandoned people!”

“NRI stands for Non-Returning Indians!”

“Indians in the USA do not invest in the higher education of their children!”
Who in the USA do you think would have made derogatory statements to this effect?

A. A Ku Klux Klansman

B. A Bible thumping fundamentalist from Alabama

C. A Xenophobe who is paranoid about immigrants settling in the USA

D. A Harvard Sanskrit professor

Correct answer: D.

I am sure none of you scored right on this. So, read on and get informed.

Harvard professor disparages Hindus

Recently, in a Communist-leaning political list better known for its uncritical beliefs in myths like Aryan Invasion and its negation of historical facts, Harvard professor Michael Witzel made some startling claims about Hindu immigrants to the USA. One of his acolytes invented the acronym HINA for Hindus in North America. Witzel disingenuously and infamously transliterated it as “hiina” and translated it as “lost” or “abandoned.” This Sanskrit word has many other derogatory meanings such as “inferior,” “insecure,” “lowly” and “defective.”

It caught my attention that Witzel had described Hindus using the very same phrase – “lost people” – which a rabid Christian fundamentalist and anti-Semite had used to describe the Jews a few years ago.

Rev. Bailey Smith, then-president of the Southern Baptists, had infamously declared:

“God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew” and added, “without Jesus Christ, they [the Jews] are lost.”[1]
One does not know whether, or to what extant, Witzel shares Smith’s fanatical and bigoted beliefs. But Witzel was instrumental in urging activism against the Hindu initiative, as a result of which his cosignatory urged a Hindu-bashing Christian fundamentalist to mobilize a show of strength against the Hindus of California, as we will see later. Witzel also makes fun of the Hindu custom of cremating their dead:
“[Hindus immigrants to the USA] have begun ---as an old, very conservative US Brahmin friend pointed out to me already in 1994—building crematoria as well.”[2]
Witzel also makes fun of Hindu Gods, rituals and second generation American Hindus:
“Second generation [Hindu] people just understand [Hinduism] as "boaring rituals" (puja, etc.), temple visits and Indian (mythological) comic books ... All such items add to the heady brew that we have seen emerging here...”[3]
Considering that our Harvard professor has specifically enclosed the words "boaring rituals" within quotes, one cannot but assume that it was intended to make fun of the Hindu God Vishnu, who incarnated as a boar.

Background

Some of the proposed textbooks for grade six of the State of California portrayed Hinduism in the most derogatory manner. A textbook described Goddess Kali as “bloodthirsty” and, while talking about the Ramayana and Lord Hanuman, asked the students to look around and see if there was a monkey in the classroom. Another textbook claimed that Hinduism taught that women were inferior. Yet another textbook repeated the long discredited racist theory, which contrasted the supposedly tall, blond and blue-eyed invading Aryans with the supposedly curly-haired, snub-nosed native Dravidians.

Naturally, Hindus in California were offended by this offensive treatment of their religion and culture. So, they worked with the State Board of Education, understood the procedures and submitted a list of proposed changes with due explanation. Perhaps, Max Muller, the 19th century German racist and Christian fundamentalist, who had stated very clearly that Hindus as a race are inferior to the Whites but superior to the Blacks,[4] would not have countenanced such audacious gestures from erstwhile colonial slaves seeking parity with other religionists according to rules. A section of Eurocentric academics that faithfully propagate Muller’s racist theory and chronology of Indian history too did not tolerate such a gesture from the Hindus.

‘Rev.’ Witzel launches anti-Hindu Crusade

Witzel and some of his cosignatories admitted that they knew nothing about the nature of the changes proposed. But, in the same breath, they concluded that this is an unacceptable Hindutva initiative, which must be opposed tooth and nail. On Sunday, November 06, 2005 9:46 AM Steve Farmer [a cosignatory and originator of Witzel et al's protest petition] wrote:
"There is little time to research and respond to exactly what is happening in California, since we only learned about organized Hindutva challenges to California history textbooks yesterday. ... The final School Board meeting on this will apparently occur in Sacramento (the state capital) in three days. Even given the short time, a collective response of some nature by internationally known S. Asianists is certainly in order. At a minimum, the Board should be made aware in some way of the religious and political nature of the attacks, be provided with a quick overview of similar attacks on textbooks in S. Asia in the last decade, and be given notice of the opposition of the vast majority of S. Asian researchers to such changes. Given the short time frame, the response may have to be largely symbolic, but a letter endorsed by a dozen or more internationally known S. Asianists from every continent might still have some effect."[5]
Witzel, on behalf of another 46 signatories, petitioned the State Board of Education [SBE] against the proposed changes [the nature of which he and his cosignatories were unaware]. He launched an ad hominem and slanderous attack on the Hindus who had proposed the changes.

The petition, like Lallu Prasad’s election campaign, provided a “balanced” mix of ignorance, slander and comic relief. Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, whose parents were Christian missionaries in Asia, was one of the signatories on the petition. He is also the author of the proposed textbook from the Oxford University Press. California Hindus had reviewed the OUP textbook and suggested changes in a meeting with OUP officials. The OUP officials informed in writing that Kenoyer agreed with the suggestions. Should one then suspect the inclusion of Kenoyer’s name in the petition or was Kenoyer filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in tongues [The New Testament, Acts 19:6]?

Sometime back, in a review of Edwin Bryant’s 2001 book, The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture – the Indo-Aryan Migration Debate, Witzel wrote:
“[Bryant’s book is] A balanced description and evaluation of the two century old debate dealing with the origins of the Indo-Aryan speaking peoples of South Asia. [Bryant] presents both sides of the issue, that is the traditional western, linguistic and philological consensus of immigration from Central Asia, and the more recent Indian position that denies any immigration and that asserts an indigenous South Asian origin.”
Now, the same Witzel calls it Hindu Nationalistic propaganda when California Hindus say the same! Perhaps, he is filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues!

The SBE of California capitulates

In 1850 CE, when the Harvard Medical School admitted three black men and a white woman, racists protested against the move. The school capitulated.[6] Just like those racists offered no substantive arguments for throwing out the blacks and the woman, this time too, the infamous petitioners offered no substantive reason for campaigning against the changes suggested by Hindus. Still, the SBE capitulated. One wonders if the SBE wanted to emulate the Harvard of 1850 CE.

The SBE went a step further. It appointed two of the signatories – Michael Witzel and Stanley Wolpert - and James Heitzman, who protested at the venue repeating Witzel’s ad hominem attack to review the suggested changes. Is not appointing a petitioner to review suggested changes tantamount to conflict of interest?

On the other hand, the SBE is not known to have acted on a letter signed by over 30 distinguished experts that included world’s foremost archeologists who have been working on the IVC and its script for decades. These signatories cited many references showing why Aryan Invasion is merely an unsubstantiated myth.

The above said letter was sent on November 21, 2005. The SBE, for reasons unknown, did not accord it the same respect it accorded Witzel’s defamatory petition.

Crusaders form an axis of protestors

Witzel made it clear that he was a political activist. On November 26, 2005 17:26, he wrote his fellow petitioners:

“There will be a meeting with California Dept. of Education [...] Please note that on Dec. 1/2 a higher body than last time, the Curriculum Commission, is scheduled to take up this issue in the morning on December 2 (note all times are tentative—if they move through the agenda faster than expected, things will happen earlier).

This is not a public hearing. But all that means is that there is no official published time for the public to speak before the commissioners take action. Nonetheless, each meeting has a time for "public comment" and people will be allowed to come up and speak. (Thus, we have to be present).

If they follow the order of the published agenda, public comment comes after the actual vote. They will only hear Tom Adam's (CA Dept. of Education) report on the earlier (Hindutva-inspired) and our (Wolpert, Heitzman, Witzel) findings.

But if they see the huge Hindutva crowd expected and decide to let them speak first, it is possible votes will be swayed back the other way simply because no political person likes to say no, in public, to an unhappy minority group seeking redress of grievances.

It also appears that in the afternoon of December 1, the day before the vote, the History-Social Science subcommittee will hear reports about recent events in the adoption of the text books. This should not involve any discussion of the "Hindu" issue. But the Hindu groups might show up for that discussion too. Public comment is allowed and it will give them a chance to speak to some of the commissioners before the vote the next day.

SO PLEASE TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION: Alert your friends in California to attend!”[7]

How appropriate is it for a reviewer on contract with the SBE who is expected to be neutral, to indulge in political activism, falsely label California Hindus as of a political persuasion and seek unethical mobilization of support? How appropriate is it for the SBE to hire such politicized academics to review school textbooks?

In any case, Lars Martin Fosse, a cosignatory on the petition and a collaborator of Witzel, wrote John Dayal and Amarjit Singh, citing Witzel’s letter:
“It would probably be an advantage if Dalits were present and could demonstrate that the Hindutvavadins do not speak for all Indians. I have been reluctant to announce this on the Dalit lists because we don't know if they are infiltrated, we therefore turn to you for advice and help. Is there a way to (discretely) mobilize Dalits in California and elsewhere in this matter? Could you get some support from Afro-American organizations here? We don't want to create the impression that only a few outsiders are against the Hindutva version of history.”[8]
Please note that Fosse uses the word “WE,” clearly indicating that he is writing on behalf of a group while seeking mobilization of protestors. The only group one could think of in this situation is the list of cosignatories on the petition whom Witzel had addressed in his email. So, who are these people - John Dayal and Amarjit Singh - whom Fosse writes? P.N. Benjamin, a distinguished Christian scholar and the coordinator of Bangalore Initiative for Religious Dialogue [BIRD], says of John Dayal:
“[John Dayal] opens his mouth and wields his pen only to spew venom on the Hindu community.”[9]

Benjamin then goes on to expose the kind of lies that the likes of Dayal perpetrate when they invent stories of Hindu rape of Christian nuns and propagate those abroad with the sole intent of discrediting the Hindus. John Dayal is also infamous for ardently supporting Benny Hinn, who defrauds the poorest illiterates in the Third World by promising them “miracle healing.”[10]

According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal [SATP], Amarjit Singh is closely associated with the banned terror organization International Sikh Youth Federation [ISYF].[11] Many countries such as the USA[12] and the UK[13] have designated ISYF as a terrorist organization. Singh also heads the Khalistan Affairs Centre [KAC]. I am not implying that KAC is connected with Khalistani terrorism as I have no means to judge that but it is a well-known fact that Khalistani terrorists have massacred 21,000 innocent civilian Hindus and Sikhs, and have committed untold crimes such as rape of countless Sikh women.[14] A US State department notification states:
“Sikh terrorism is sponsored by expatriate and Indian Sikh groups who want to carve out an independent Sikh state called Khalistan (Land of the Pure) from Indian territory.”[15]
Khalistani terrorists were also tried for the bombing of the Air India civilian aircraft “Kanishka” in 1985, killing hundreds of innocent passengers.[16] Amarjit Singh is an advocate of Khalistan ideology.

There is no indication that Witzel or any other signatory on the petition condemned Fosse [himself a signatory] for unethically mobilizing political support and that too, by instigating highly controversial persons. It is beyond my comprehension how an academic could join hands with a rabid Christian fundamentalist and a proponent of the lethal Khalistan ideology. What kind of academics would sign the petition but remain silent and not condemn unethically seeking support from such controversial individuals?

Quiz # 2:
“The miraculously undecayed body of Saint Francis Xavier is still on public view in a glass coffin at the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa.”
Who in the USA do you think would have made a statement to this effect?

A. A pre-school child visiting Goa for the first time

B. A Bible thumping Catholic Christian fundamentalist

C. A Creation scientist

D. A U C Davis history professor

Correct answer: D.

I am sure you got this too wrong. So, read on and get informed.

An SBE appointed reviewer advertises Christian miracles

James Heitzman, professor of history at U C Davis, is one of the three reviewers appointed by the SBE. It does not seem as if he accepts that mummified bodies do not decay.[17] He is wonderstruck that it is a miracle that the mummified body of the infamous St. Francis Xavier, who sought the terrible Inquisition of Goa,[18] which persecuted Hindus, Indian Orthodox Christians, Jews and Muslims in the most vicious manner, should be preserved for five centuries. Someone needs to direct our distinguished professor to any museum of natural history, where Egyptian mummies are preserved. Of course, one cannot guarantee that Heitzman will return scientifically informed. He may see the hand of miracle in their preservation too!

It seems as if Heitzman strongly believes that history should be supplanted with false propaganda if it suits the proselytizing efforts of the Christian Church. He writes:
“Christianity, represented by almost all denominations, traces its history in India back to the time of the apostles and counted 19.6 million members in India in 1991.”[19]
Numerous scholars have refuted this dangerous fiction, which falsely painted the Brahmin ethnic minority as Thomas-killers, and resulted in their demonization and persecution, just as the false myth of the Jews as Jesus-killers resulted in their historic persecution. The Vatican itself has declared that this is an unverified claim. Numerous distinguished academics such as E.J. Rapson, Sylvain Levi, K.S. Latourette, Fr. H.Heras etc, to name a few, have refuted that St. Thomas ever came to India.[20] It seems as if Heitzman prefers dangerous Christian fiction to facts.

Heitzman believes in revelations

Heitzman unquestioningly accepts revelations. He writes:
“Muhammad received visions in which the Archangel Gabriel revealed the word of God to him. After 620 he publicly preached the message of these visions, stressing the oneness of God (Allah), denouncing the polytheism of his fellow Arabs, and calling for moral uplift of the population.”[21]
Since Heitzman is mesmerized by revelations, he is unimpressed by the inquiries into the truth, a common feature of Hindu philosophy, which he dismisses as speculations. He writes:
“Some of the later hymns of the Rig Veda contain speculations that form the basis for much of Indian religious and philosophical thought.”[22]
Heitzman, while discussing Hindu festivals, calls Hindus cross-dressers:
“Major Hindu events include Ramanavami, the birthday of Ram in the month of Chaitra (March-April), and Holi, celebrated at the end of the month of Phalguna (February-March), when people engage in cross-dressing, play tricks on each other, and squirt colored water or powder on each other.”[23]
How can the SBE nominate an academic, who believes in miracles and fits history to suit Christian propaganda, to review contents relating to Hinduism in school textbooks, especially when he is also a signatory on Witzel’s petition? Does the SBE agree with Heitzman’s uncharitable remarks on Hinduism and Hindus?

Quiz # 3:
“The most important invasion in all of India’s history, since the Aryans brought with their Caucasian genes [is Aryan invasion].”
Who in the USA do you think would have made a statement to this effect?

A. A Ku Klux Klansman

B. A eugenics advocate

C. A White Supremacist

D. A U C Los Angeles history professor

Correct answer: D.

I am sure you got this too wrong, unless you have by now learnt that only Western historians can make such statements. Anyway, read on.

Wolpert celebrates the Caucasian gene

While discussing Aryan invasion theory [AIT], Stanley Wolpert, a UCLA historian writes:
“This was the most important invasion in all of India’s history, since the Aryans brought with their Caucasian genes a new language – Sanskrit – and a new pantheon of gods…”[24]


It seems that to our UCLA professor the importance of an invasion depends on whether it involved the inflow of Caucasian genes! Hey, what is next? The most important invasion in all of Americas’ history is the 16th century invasion of Europeans because it brought in Caucasian genes?

Thank god, African Americans, who do not possess Caucasian genes, did not invade Americas!

I could not but think of the 18th century racist Benjamin Rush’s writings on “Lovely White” skin contrasted with the Black skin as I read Wolpert wax eloquent on the importance of coming in of the Caucasian genes. Benjamin Rush, a medical doctor, attributed Black skin to leprosy and advocated “curing” African-Americans by bleeding and purging.[25]

Not to be outdone by Heitzman, Wolpert also repeats the dangerous Christian propaganda of the imagined visit of St. Thomas to India. He writes:
“A small but influential group of Syrian Christians in Kerala persist in claiming that their sect was founded by St. Thomas, who may have sailed to Malabar in the first century and who was supposedly martyred at Mylapore, a suburb of modern Madras, in A.D. 68. The tiny Jewish community of Cochin also claims to have been founded in the first century, but no clear historical evidence of such early Jewish settlement in Malabar has as yet been discovered.”[26]
The reference of Mylapore is to the mythical killing of St. Thomas by a peaceful and scholarly ethnic minority of Tamil Brahmins. A rational person might be at a loss to understand how St. Thomas, who did not even visit India, could have been killed there. But, Wolpert has no compunctions in repeating this perniciously false propaganda, which, since the Portuguese colonial period, has resulted in the most terrible persecution of Brahmins. Is anything acceptable if it helps demonize Hindus and help perpetuate Christianity?

Why is the SBE nominating such a biased academic, who is also a signatory on Witzel’s petition, to review contents relating to Hinduism?

Conclusion

1. I have shown that the SBE capitulated to political pressure by nominating a trio of academics who have indulged in the most despicable form of political activism, disparaged Hinduism or collaborated with controversial elements.

2. The SBE did not accord any respect to the scholars who supported the Hindu initiative by presenting solid references.

3. One of these academics has also expressed his admiration for Christian miracles, while another has propagated falsified [over 80 years ago!] Christian propaganda.

4. Is it not a clear violation of guidelines, and law, to subject Hinduism and Hindus to such treatment? Does the SBE want Hindu children of California to be indoctrinated in false propaganda?

5. It is heartening to note that the Commission constituted by the SBE dismissed virtually all demands made by this trio – Witzel, Wolpert and Heitzman – with the contempt they deserved. According to a report of December 4, 2005 by the HPI, Heitzman unsuccessfully pleaded to replace Aryan Invasion Theory [AIT] with Aryan Migration Theory [AMT]. But Commissioner Metzenberg, a biologist, objected on scientific grounds. He said:
"I've read the DNA research and there was no Aryan migration. I believe the hard evidence of DNA more than I believe historians."
It was finally agreed to say, "Some historians believe in the theory of an Aryan migration."

This shows how false theories motivated by racist politics never stand scientific scrutiny. Of course, there is no justification even in retaining AMT, which is merely a belief, and not supported by facts. Hindus must meet the SBE to ensure that theories which are not scientifically substantiated be removed altogether.

6. Heitzman, apparently frustrated that his advocacies failed the test of scientific evidence, said to the Commission:
“I advise you to err on the side of conservatism and be very careful about adopting any of these changes.”

Commissioner Metzenberg replied pointedly:
“On the contrary, to err on the side of conservatism, we should use the Hindu suggestions. After all, it's their religion.”

7. Metzenberg also felt a comment by Witzel's panel on one edit was "insensitive." The edit was to fix the incorrect statement that the Ramayana was written later than the Mahabharata. Witzel's group wrote condescendingly:
"Who in Sixth Grade cares which epic was 'written' first?"
Metzenberg observed that “it obviously matters to Hindus."
8. Hindus must also make it very clear to the SBE that no academic that is known to be inimical to Hinduism or known to have distorted facts to fit pet beliefs be not allowed to have any say in the process of reviewing and amending textbooks. As such, the trio of reviewers was admitted into the process without justification. I have presented solid evidence that they indulged in political activism contrary to the spirit of their contract with the SBE. Hindus must demand that the SBE should terminate their contract right away.

9. Hindus must demand that the SBE does not entertain any of the signatories of Witzel’s petition in the textbook review and adoption process as I have already demonstrated that they are biased and politically motivated.

10. Witzel has ridiculed the most sacred of the Hindu mantras or sacred chants. He writes:
“Many short mantras (the later biija mantras) like oM have humble origins the Veda. Him (hiM) is used in the Veda to call your goat .. and your wife.”[27]
Steve Farmer’s [who initiated the petition] and also signed on Witzel’s petition declared, in pathetic attempt at humor, that he would try this mantra on his girlfriend.[28] Hindus must demand that academics with a history of disparaging Hinduism cannot influence what goes into textbooks meant for children.

11. Finally, only academics and experts on religion with a non-controversial record should be nominated to influence the process of textbook adoption. Academics that are accused of having used unethical means of scholarship should not be used for this purpose.

Prof. B.B. Lal, the world’s foremost archeologist and expert on Indus Valley Civilization, in his most recent publication, The Homeland of the Aryans – Evidence of Rigvedic Flora and Fauna & Archaeology, pp. 85-89 (New Delhi, 2005) writes that Dr. Witzel unethically and willfully assigned two opposite meanings to two occurrences of the same Sanskrit word to artificially make the verse support Aryan migration into India, whereas the verse actually makes it very clear that Aryans migrated in two branches, one to the West and another to the East, from northwestern India.

It was a very sad day for Sanskrit scholarship in general, and Harvard in particular when one of its academics was accused of and disgraced for willfully and unethically mistranslating a verse. When the error was pointed to him in the past, Witzel conveniently blamed it on the editor of the relevant publication concerned, despite the fact that the same mistranslation has been printed by him in many other publications of his.

12. Even in the petition he sent the SBE, Witzel claims that one of the signatories, S. Palaniappan as: "S. Palaniappan, PhD, Indology, Texas." It must be pointed out that Palaniappan, who works for the Minute Maid Company in Texas, is not an Indologist by any stretch of that word. Certainly, he is not a Ph.D. in Indology as Witzel misleads in his petition. Palaniappan received his doctorate in engineering. Should one then infer that Palaniappan is a ‘made in a minute’ instant Indologist? Did Witzel use Heitzman’s miracle to transform engineer Palaniappan into an Indologist?

Dr. Srinivasan Kalyanaraman, a former Sr. Exec. of Asian Development Bank, is a Hindu. His two grandchildren, US citizens, study in US schools. His email id is: kalyan97@gmail.com

[1] http://www.religioustolerance.org/jud_chrr.htm

[2] Vide message number 2300 at Yahoo groups Indo-Eurasian_research

[3] In the above message

[4] Muller, M.: History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, page 294. Also see, a paper presented by Arvind Kumar at the SBE hearing: http://jitnasa.india-forum.com/Docs/ProAryanInvasionTheoryargumentspresentedbyaWitzelsupporter.htm

[5] Vide message number 2225 Yahoo groups Indo-Eurasian_research

[6] Takaki, R.T.: Iron Cages – Race and Culture in 19th Century America, p. 137

[7] This email was posted vide message number 8893 at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Bahujan/message/8893

[8] Cited from the abovementioned email

[9] Benjamin, P.N.: When Intolerance Begets Loss Of Reason. Available at http://www.hvk.org/articles/0905/43.html

[10] http://www.rickross.com/reference/hinn/hinn32.html

[11] http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/kpsgill/security/04Feb21Pio.htm

[12] http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/1999report/appb.html and http://japan.usembassy.gov/e/p/tp-20040430-33.html

[13] http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/security/terrorism-and-the-law/terrorism-act/proscribed-groups?version=1

[14] Bruce Hoffman "Holy Terror": The Implications Of Terrorism Motivated By A Religious Imperative RAND Paper P-7834, 1993 http://www.nwcitizen.com/publicgood/reports/holywar3.htm#endn39 cf. Komerath, N: http://www.geocities.com/charcha_2000/essays/Lashkar-e-Pinocchio.html#_ednref6

[15] http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/1999report/appb.html

[16] http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/punjab/backgrounder/Kanishka.htm

[17] Heitzman, J. and Worden, R.L.: A Country Study: India, Chapter 3 – Religious Life by James Heitzman (section: Other Minority Religions – Christianity), Library of Congress Call Number DS407. cf. a paper presented by Arvind Kumar at the SBE hearing: http://jitnasa.india-forum.com/Docs/ProAryanInvasionTheoryargumentspresentedbyaWitzelsupporter.htm.

[18] Priolkar, A.K.: The Terrible Tribunal for the East – The Goa Inquisition. In a letter dated May 16, 2005, St. Xavier writing D. Joao III, king of Portugal, demanded Inquisition against the Jews and Muslims of Goa. Even though the wise king turned down the demand, ultimately, due to intense pressure from the Catholic Church, the most terrible Inquisition would be unleashed, first on the Jews of India, then the Muslims and finally, in a most oppressive manner, on the Hindus.

[19] Heitzman, J. and Worden, R.L.: A Country Study: India, Chapter 3 – Religious Life, Library of Congress Call Number DS407 .I4465 1996, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/intoc.html cf. a paper presented by Arvind Kumar at the SBE hearing: http://jitnasa.india-forum.com/Docs/ProAryanInvasionTheoryargumentspresentedbyaWitzelsupporter.htm

[20] For an excellent discussion, see Sharan, I.: The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple, p. 73

[21] Heitzman, J. and Worden, R.L.: A Country Study: India, Chapter 3 – Religious Life by James Heitzman (section: Islam – Origins and Tenets), Library of Congress Call Number DS407 .I4465 1996, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/intoc.html cf. a paper presented by Arvind Kumar at the SBE hearing: http://jitnasa.india-forum.com/Docs/ProAryanInvasionTheoryargumentspresentedbyaWitzelsupporter.htm

[22] Heitzman, J. and Worden, R.L.: A Country Study: India, Chapter 3 – Religious Life by James Heitzman (section: The Roots of Indian Religion – The Vedas and Polytheism), Library of Congress Call Number DS407 .I4465 1996, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/intoc.html cf. a paper presented by Arvind Kumar at the SBE hearing: http://jitnasa.india-forum.com/Docs/ProAryanInvasionTheoryargumentspresentedbyaWitzelsupporter.htm

[23] Heitzman, J. and Worden, R.L.: A Country Study: India, Chapter 3 – Religious Life by James Heitzman (section: The Ceremonies of Hinduism – Public Worship – Festivals), Library of Congress Call Number DS407 .I4465 1996, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/intoc.html cf. a paper presented by Arvind Kumar at the SBE hearing: http://jitnasa.india-forum.com/Docs/ProAryanInvasionTheoryargumentspresentedbyaWitzelsupporter.htm

[24] Wolpert, S.: A New History of India, Fifth Edition, page 27 cf. a paper presented by Arvind Kumar at the SBE hearing: http://jitnasa.india-forum.com/Docs/ProAryanInvasionTheoryargumentspresentedbyaWitzelsupporter.htm

[25] Takaki, R.T.: Iron Cages – Race and Culture in 19th Century America, pp. 28-32

[26] Wolpert, S.: A New History of India, Fifth Edition, page 84.

[27] Vide message number 2133 at Yahoo groups Indo-Eurasian_research

[28] Vide message number 2164 at Yahoo groups Indo-Eurasian_research

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Racism, Neo-Colonialism, and Pseudo-Intellectualism of America’s Hindu-Bashing Lobby

Hindu Human Rights UK
hinduhumanrights.org

In response to protests this year from several faith based groups, the California Board of Education agreed to withdraw materials considered to be giving a distorted view of Christian and Jewish ideas. But Hindus, as is usual in these cases, were given short thrift.” In this article we examine some of the background to the Hindu objections to how their history and culture are taught in the USA and the rest of the world and will focus on some of the special interest groups campaigning for the status-quo.

Most racist and colonialist viewpoints of non-European cultures and history are now regarded as outdated. They are recognised as not giving an objective view consistent with responsible academic study, but merely the vehicle by which one was able to peddle the prejudices by what we can now see was a less enlightened age. On the positive side humanity can be said to have learnt from its mistakes – a century ago what would now be recognised as prejudiced and a prescriptive view of non-European and non-Western cultures nevertheless did lay the foundations of modern academia. Indeed it was those very tools which were later utilised to eradicate the respectability of scientific racism and denigration of ancient customs and beliefs, merely to satisfy a preconceived point of view. This was most evidently seen in the USA, a paradoxical country in many respects. While laying the foundations of what we now understand as democracy, a normative principle to which all civilised nations are said to aspire, the continuation of slavery for many years led to an unhealthy dose of extreme ethnic prejudice. Modern racism, as well as democracy, can also be said to be an American product, or in another rather better way, according to one caption describing a photographic exhibition of African-American victims of murderous lynching in the Deep South, “Racism is as American as apple pie”. Nevertheless if at one time American intellectual life was dominated in the early Twentieth Century by thinkers such as Madison Grant, Lothropp Stoddard and Ernest Sevier-Cox, whose racism was paraded as rational and scientific, it was also neutralised by the work of someone who is regarded as the founding father of anthropology, Dr. Franz Boas. Although Boas may yet again have had some facts not entirely correct, something more evident with his disciples Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict, by the time Mississippi senator Theodore Bilbo warned white America in 1946 to deport all blacks to Africa in order to save the white race of America’s founding fathers, such ideas, while permissible, were increasingly less respectable and harder to justify.

Bilbo had penned “Take Your Choice: Separation or Mongrelisation” to ask white America to push for expulsion of all African-Americans to Liberia in order to stop America’s downfall by the mixing of the races. He claimed that Rome, Greece, Carthage and Egypt had befallen the same fate when the “white master race” in those ancient civilisations had mixed with the Negroid inhabitants and slaves. Interestingly he said the same thing about India, and was following in the footsteps blazed by the scientific racist writers such as Madison Grant. According to this gang, Hindu civilisation fell because the white master race of Aryan invaders, mixed their blood with the subjugated dark-skinned population, despite the rigorous attempts to outlaw miscegenation by means of the caste system. Now this was nothing unique as the whole idea of the Aryan Invasion myth had been manufactured by German Indologist Max Muller to satisfy his British imperialist sponsors during the nineteenth century. But unlike the scientific racists, Muller retracted his ideas and clarified that his references were to language groups, and not race. Nevertheless, in an age when Europe was becoming the world master, and the indigenous peoples of Australia, the Americas and southern Africa were being displaced, vanquished or exterminated by settlers of European origin, the idea that the same thing had been done in the distant past by the white master race fell on fertile ground, and were regarded as undisputable fact. Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” was therefore not anything unique in this respect, and only its practical application as witnessed by the horrors of National Socialism culminating in the Holocaust eventually led to a full rethink of where such uncontrolled mental gymnastics could lead to.

Unfortunately old prejudices die hard. In 1999, America’s most notorious National Socialist, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke published the updated version of a “Mein Kampf” more suited to the racist mentality of a new century. This book was called “My Awakening”. Duke’s thrust in the work is a polite and sugar coated academic version of an idea which he told an audience in 1976: “The problems of this country [USA] can be summed up in two words: Jews and niggers.” While the beginning of the book deals with how all people of African descent are genetically inferior than other races, and more prone to extremely high levels of violent crime and sexual promiscuity which are supposedly responsible for ruining white societies around the world, the second part of the book actually shows Duke trying to make common cause with hardcore ethnic nationalists from the black community. His reasoning as that they must face their common enemy in the form of Jewish supremacism, a sarcastic term in deference to the white supremacist terminology often associated with the former Klan leader. Nicely sandwiched in the middle of all this, in Chapter 29 to be exact, is David Duke’s commentary on how India became racially degenerate through the ethnic mixing of superior white Aryans with the indigenous darkies of India. When we at Hindu Human Rights came to know of this, we contacted Duke to see if he could explain himself and his use of this fraudulent pseudo academic myth. However, ironically enough it turned out he was in prison for fraud at the time and was not willing to talk openly for fear of his true identity becoming known in the midst of a riot by Mexican inmates. In any case, a refutation of Duke’s racist theories on India is something that has not even been taken up by normally anti-racist writers. Why is this? Could it be that Duke’s racism is actually respectable if it happens to victimise Hindus? What respectable academic, in this day and age, could possibly share these noxious and racist ideas? Well as it happens, quite a few actually.

After the attack on Pearl harbour in 1941 and the entry of America into the Second World War on the side of the Allies, the entire ethnic Japanese population of the country was imprisoned and suspected as a potential fifth column of the Axis. However, no such fate befell the even larger numbers of Americans who were of Italian or German descent. Indeed as shown by the example of Eisenhower, having a Teutonic name would not necessarily even hamper a career at the very apex of the Allied military machine. Moving to the year 2005 it would seem that California, a state now led by a man who not only speaks English tinged by his native German but whose father served in the Waffen SS, has found a new community to treat on an unequal level. In response to protests this year from several faith based groups, the California Board of Education agreed to withdraw materials considered to be giving a distorted view of Christian and Jewish ideas. But Hindus, as is usual in these cases, were given short thrift. Not only that but an unhealthy array of anti-Hindu extremists has built up to warn of the danger posed by so-called “Hindutva” supporters and the “Saffronisation” of Indology – reminding us of parallel verbiage used to indoctrinate fear about the so-called Zionist lobby and Mossad. Instead of sinister yarmulke clad figures examining the globe in a menacing manner to make logistical plans for their nefarious designs, we now have the myth of some amorphous saffron mass doing exactly the same thing with Indological studies. Although it has not gone as far as the myth generated in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, at least not yet, the seeds have been planted that respectable academia should keep its distance from these weeds in the garden. The demolition of the racist Aryan invasion myth is seen as the most dangerous example of “saffronising” Indology and related subjects. So who are these people who inject anti-Hindu venom into mainstream academia?

Judging by their sympathy of the Aryan Invasion Myth, one could safely assume they were closely associated with the likes of Duke, the Ku Klux Klan and other white-supremacist neo-Nazi militias. But this would be where one would initially at least be mistaken. In fact they often parade themselves as anti-racists and social liberals. On the surface they may seem at polar opposites but on issues such as Hindus, they are united with Duke and the Klan, although they put across their ideas more convincingly. Prominent among the anti-Hindu group is Michael Witzel, an American professor of Sanskrit at Harvard University, who has the support of a number of academicians including Indian historians Romila Thapar, D.N.Jha and Shereen Ratnagar. In the light of what has just been written it is very interesting finding Thapar in this as she built her career in India based upon her unshakable belief in scientific Marxism, as opposed to a backward, obscurantist and ultimately socially evil Hinduism. Then, in the well worn path of pseudo-academics who constantly berate the West for its capitalism and exploitation, she went to take up a plum well-paid position in that great counter-revolutionary, reactionary, capitalist whore of Babylon, the United States of America itself.

From his ivory tower, Witzel surveys the scene of Hindu protestors just as Mahmud Ghazni did before he attacked and desecrated Somnath. He can brush them off just as Hitler and Stalin did to the Poles in 1939:

“The proposed revisions are not of a scholarly but of a religious-political nature, and are primarily promoted by Hindutva supporters and non-specialist academics writing about issues far outside their area of expertise,"

Well if the demands are of a political nature then what of his own sidekick Romila Thapar? By trying to impose a Marxist-Leninist social model on Indian history is she not more guilty of this, especially since the reality of the proletarian paradise came crashing down in Eastern Europe in 1989, and in the former Soviet Union in 1991? The humanities in India have long been dominated by pseudo-academics with Stalinist sympathies who have about as much objectivity towards Hindu culture as Comrade Joe had in dealing with the Ukrainian kulaks. Thapar is herself a product of this environment, one of the most damaging legacies of what can accurately be termed as Nehruvian National Socialism which was and continues to be responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Hindus and Hinduism across the Indian-subcontinent.

The California Board of Education should objectively look at all the facts. Why are Jewish, Christian and Islamic perspectives on their own respective cultures taken as legitimate, while Hindus are denied equal treatment in this? Why are Witzel and his Klan allowed to mock and denigrate Hindus in a manner which if applied to any other community, culture or belief system would be denounced as bigoted, prejudiced and racist? In fact why is the Witzel SS Legion going unchallenged when it supports a racist idea, namely the Aryan Invasion Theory, yet ironically slams anyone opposing it or bringing evidence to the contrary as some sort of Hindu fascist. Judging by the similarity Witzel has in this sphere with David Duke, perhaps the fascist is within the self and not in some imaginary external entity. When we examine how Hindu Dharma is taught, and how Hindus are portrayed in American academia, it seems as if Dr. Boas had not even existed. The ideas of Madison Grant, Lothrop Stoddard, Ernest Sevier-Cox, and Theodore Bilbo lie triumphant. However it is not David Duke championing these ideas within academia, although he is trying very hard to. It is supposedly respectable scholars such as Witzel and Thapar. In “My Awakening” Duke praises Bilbo for his ideas. In changing the substance but not the title, perhaps Americans had indeed take their choice. Will it be to look at other cultures objectively and make their intellectuals act with some responsibility towards their fellow human beings? Or will it be to allow Witzel, Thapar, and the rest of the same Klan to be the window for which the ideas of Duke can actually gain greater mainstream acceptance, as they have done with the continued respectability of the mythical Aryan Invasion in the highest echelons of American academia? Will America live up to ties democratic ideals, or will Hindu-bashing become as American as lynching once was, and as apple pie continues to be?

While it commendable that many Hindus and Hindu groups are taking up this issue in California and elsewhere, we remind all concerned individuals, organisations and academics that this incident is just the tip of the iceberg. Pseudo-academics who continue to peddle and romanticise the residues of Nazi fantasies and wet-dreams of a super-human Aryan Master Race need to be exposed wherever they lurk.

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Worst effects of pseudo-secularism: The Hindus losing identity

12/31/2005 10:09:28 PM Mahadev


The Hindus believe that all religions are the same. This indoctrination by the various Hindu religious leaders is based on the philosophy that God (Brahman) is in all living creatures though different religions follow different paths to attain salvation.

Having accepted this philosophy, the broad-minded Hindus, who are tolerant to everything, do celebrate Christmas like the followers of Christianity in Kerala. They do it even knowing very well the fact that the narrow-minded religions do not respect or accept Hinduism or the Advaita philosophy of the Hindus.

The enthusiasm of the Hindus to celebrate Christmas is increasing year after year. Most of the Hindu homes are illuminated with colorful lights and stars. Christmas Carol groups visit these homes to sing carol songs proclaiming the birth of Jesus Christ. Young Hindu boys in the age group of 12-15 years are also drawn into the carol groups organized by local clubs etc, probably with the covert support of the local churches. The ultimate objective must be to make a psychological impact on the Hindus, especially the children who, as they grow will develop a slant and emotional attachment towards Christianity. In fact, some of the Hindus say that they do it to please the children who insist on having the stars and illuminations at home. But, in that process they are losing their identity and becoming crypto-Christians.

Hinduism is so generous that its followers do not hate other religions or oppose their festivals, But, that does not mean that they should celebrate it. In fact, during Christmas season falls the Pancha Ganapathi Festival about which the Hindus by and large are ignorant. They could celebrate this festival during the Christmas season by illuminating the house with lights and other Hindu symbols instead of the stars. The small kids would be satisfied by it. Besides, to avoid the carol songs they could organise Ganapathi pooja, bhajans, accompanied by distribution of sweets to the kids. Thus, the children would remain happy and without being influenced by the alien religion.

But, unfortunately the Hindus are not ready to take it as they say it is celebrated all over the world. Unlike in India, it is not celebrated in the Islamic world comprising of around 60 nations under the Organisation of Islamic Countries. They might call it the narrow-mindedness of the Muslims. But, at the same time these Hindus do not realize and bother to understand that Christians, because of their monotheistic religion, do not celebrate either the Hindu festivals or those of the Muslims.

Ironically, the mindset of the Hindus is such that they do not even participate in the Janmashtami celebrations organized by the Balagokulam, an organization of Hindu children. The reason for their absence is that it is
organized by the Hindu organization which, they consider untouchable as it is an organ of the RSS that advocates patriotism and nationalism.

Among these Hindus the Church is successfully projecting the Christ and the followers of Christianity are the saviors of the poor and they are for peace and the uplift of downtrodden. They spread the message among these people that Jesus has sacrificed his life for the sinners, with an emotional touch to win over these pseudo secular Hindus.

To support these doctrines they project their contributions to the field of education, health, orphanages and the divine/meditation centres etc. The publicity machinery of the Churches is well organized with wide network and is rich enough to take their messages to the people anywhere and everywhere; not only in the state but all over the country. Whereas, the Hindu organizations silently do much more such humanitarian activities, but without any publicity and as a result it remains unknown to even the Hindus. Therefore, the image of the RSS these Hindus carry is the one drawn by the pseudo-secular political parties and the minorities.

On the contrary, they treat Christianity as pro-poor and liberal. With the result, they do not react and remain reticent even when the soil from beneath their feet is being removed. In fact, they are being exploited by the Church in the state in every spheres of life. Be it in grabbing land property, education, industry, or agriculture.

An analysis of Christmas and New Year celebrations in India would reveal that it is only among those people who had English education in missionary schools in the country who are more pro-Christian or crypto-Christians. Most of the Indian politicians with the exception of those in the BJP are either pro-Christians or crypto Christians.

How far they have been influenced by the church is evident from the statement made by the Indian Human Resources Development Minister, Mr Arjun Singh in Sep 2005. He was quoted by the Press Trust of India (PTI) as saying “I joined a convent school in Allahabad in 1937 in which we attended church, but were also taught Ramayana, Holy Gita and Holy Quran”. Thus, even during the British Raj the education system had a “balanced outlook towards society”. Therefore, according to Mr Singh “some educated fools” were responsible for most of the present troubles in the country. But, Mr Arjun Singh does not realize that without converting him to Christianity his education in the convent had made him to speak for them.

That is why, Mr T B Macaulay, the architect of British Indian Education system had said “every young Brahmin ... who learn geography in our colleges learns to smile at the Hindu mythology..... the grammar and spelling book suffice to destroy the Hindu religion”. Meanwhile, Charles Trevelyan another senior official of the colonial government said “a generation is growing up which repudiates idols. A young Hindu who had received a liberal English education, was forced by his family to attend the shrine of Kali, upon which he took off his cap to “Madam Kali”, and made her a low bow, and hoped her ladyship was well”.

Most of the Indian politicians except those in the BJP might belong to that generation whom Trevelyan and Macaulay had referred. Even Trevelyan had assured Lord Bentinck that “English education shall sound the death knell of the idolatrous religions not only in India, but of all Asia. According to him “Hinduism is not a religion which will bear examination”.

The bane of India, therefore, is that after Independence the rule of the country fell into the hands of those iconoclasts and anti-Hindus who had received British education and devout followers of Western materialism. For them “it would be wrong to refer to the coming of the British to India as a Christian invasion, or to call the British period in India a Christian period”. Thus, they became the facilitators of proselytism by large number of foreign and indigenous Christian missionaries, despite the fact that Gandhiji was against it.

Most of the English educated Hindus in India who look to the West for everything, maintain a feeling that the non-Christians in the Christian dominated countries enjoy the kind of freedom the minorities in India have. In all the countries having majority Christian population, though they look more liberal and secular, the Church wields its influence over the government and administration. Similar is the case with Islamic countries. A survey in the United States found that in 2004, 72 per cent Americans believed that a US president should have strong religious beliefs while only 24 per cent were against this view.

Given this scenario the Hindus need to transcend their rhetoric that all the religions are not the same as Dr Frank Morales, founder of American Institute of Yoga says. “Sanatana Dharma, authentic Hinduism, is a religion that is just as unique, valuable and integral a religion as any other major religion on earth, with its own beliefs, traditions, advanced system of ethics, meaningful rituals, philosophy and theology. The religious tradition of Hinduism is solely responsible for the revelation of such concepts and practices as yoga, Ayurveda, Vastu, Jyothisha, Yajna, Puja, Tantra, Vedanta, Karma etc. these and countless other Vedic-inspired elements of Hinduism belong to Hinduism and to Hinduism alone. They are also Hinduism's divine gift to a suffering world.

Dr Frank also successfully argues that all the religions are not the same as a section of the Hindus believe. “Since (a) no other religions know the truth that all religions are th same and since (b) only Hinduism knows the truth that all religions are the same, only Hinduism knows the truth of all religions. Thus, only Hinduism knows the truth of all religions. Therefore, Hinduism is both distinct and superior to all religions”.

The Hindus following the pseudo-secularism of the Congress, communist and other parties in India in general and Kerala in particular need to study their rich culture, traditions and above all their religion which has been accepted by scholars around the world as the superior unlike they have been taught by the British colonial masters.

Dr David Frawley, A Vedic Scholar, in his famous book “Hinduism: The Eternal Tradition (Sanatana Dharma), writes “In fact, of the religions that exist in the world today, Hinduism is perhaps the most likely to become the religion of the future. The reason for this is not that Hindus have the most money or the most missionaries,or are the most strongly motivated to take over the world. The reason is that Hinduism, as a conscious formulation of the universal tradition, has the breadth to encompass, integrate and transcend all existent religions. It has a wideness of cosmic vision which can not only embrace but extend the field of modern science into spiritual domains”.

The Great Voltaire foresaw this and said “I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganges, astronomy, astrology, metempsychosis etc.”, while according to William Macintosh ”All history points to India as the mother of science and art”. For the century German Scholar, Dohm, the “Hindus to be gentlest of people”.

Unfortunately, for most of the pseudo-secular Hindus who have been intellectually enslaved by the colonialists and their legacy, these truths still remain unknown. Hence, they take pride in their colonial heritage and speak for them and celebrate Christmas and their New Year.

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Thursday, December 29, 2005

UK to take up Russian Hindu cause

Nabanita Sircar
London, December 29, 2005

The campaign against the alleged harassment of Hindus in Russia by the Orthodox Church and the Mayor of Moscow is getting more intense in Britain.

Ashok Kumar, MP is launching the "Defend Russian Hindus Campaign" at the House of Commons in January.

There was umbrage here when it was learnt that Archbishop Nikon wrote a letter to the Mayor of Moscow urging him not to allow the construction of a Hindu temple in Moscow because according to him, Lord Krishna who is worshipped by the Hindu community was an "evil demon".

"Such untenable words in an age where interfaith harmony is the need of the day are nothing but an attempt to malign and persecute a faith community that teaches respect and freedom for every other faith community, " commented Ramesh Kallidai, Secretary General Hindu Forum of Britain, an umbrella organisation of most community groups in Britain.

The Defend Russian Hindus Campaign, launched by the Hindu Forum of Britain, Hindu Council UK, National Council of Hindu Temples UK, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Vishwa Hindu Parishad UK, Hindu Council of Australia, Hindu American Foundation and many other worldwide Hindu organisations, aims to build awareness about the alleged persecution and discrimination against Russian Hindus by a corpus of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Mayor of Moscow, despite support from the Central Government.

There are over 100,000 Hindus in Russia. In Moscow alone, there are 5,000 Hindus of Indian origin and over 10,000 Hindus of Russian origin.

Two years ago the Mayor of Russia asked Hindus to vacate their temple in exchange for a piece of land on which they could build a bigger temple. After land was allocated to the Hindu temple, the original temple was demolished. The Russian Orthodox Church orchestrated mass protests against the allocation of land and started a misinformation campaign against Hindus in the media.

On October 30, 2005, after bowing down to pressure from the Orthodox Church, the Mayor of Moscow cancelled the land order and took away the piece of land given for the construction of the Hindu temple. Now, the 15,000 Hindus in Moscow have no place to worship. The consecrated Deities of Radha and Krishna will have no home, say the Hindu leaders.

Kallidai said around the time of India Prime Minister's state visit to Moscow to meet Russian President Putin, Archbishop Nikon, a leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, called the Hindu God, Lord Krishna an "evil demon, the personified power of hell opposing God", and "a livid lascivious youth".

A wake-up call for Hindus the worldover

V SUNDARAM

When Russia was in the iron grip of communism behind an iron curtain, KGB started its massive persecution campaigns against the first followers of ISKCON in the late 1970s.

For their belief, around hundred of the first Russian ISKCON devotees were thrown into prisons, labour camps and psychiatric hospitals. They underwent tremendous sufferings and torture, but kept their strong, unflinching faith in Lord Krishna and His words in Bhagavad Gita. One of them, Sarkis Ohanjanyan was only 21 when he was put in prison. His only 'guilt' was that he believed in God, chanted the Hare Krishna Mahamantra and refused to eat meat. One-and-a-half years later, he died in the winter of 1986 in a labour camp on account of malnutrition and tuberculosis.

Thanks to the vision and statesmanship of Gorbachov, the Russia of Lenin and Stalin & Co was consigned to the dustbin of history.

The beginning of the 1990s saw the birth of a new Russia. The Moscow government gave the ISKCON devotees a ruined building unsuitable for inhabitation and commercial usage on rent in Moscow. In a short time, labouring with love for Lord Krishna, devotees turned that building into the first Hindu temple in Russia. Shortly thereafter, without assigning reasons, the Moscow government took the building back and destroyed it. Again many followers of Hinduism in Russia were deprived of a place of worship. Hundreds of churches, cathedrals, mosques, synagogues are there, but not a single temple in that city of 10 million people. After many years of struggle and sacrifice by the devotees of Lord Krishna, the Mayor of Moscow on 21 January 2004 came forward and signed the order to give the land for the construction of a new ISKCON temple in a very prominent location in Moscow.

St Bartholomew's Day Massacre in France on August 24, 1572.


Unfortunately, in true Russian style marked by ferocious abrasiveness, on 7 October 2005, the Mayor of Moscow Yuriy Luzhkov suddenly cancelled the land order. This knee-jerk reaction of the Mayor of Moscow was in quick response to a request in writing from the Archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Church.

In a recent letter to the Mayor of Moscow, the Archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Church has described Lord Krishna as 'an evil demon, the personified power of hell opposing God, and a livid lascivious youth'. The Archbishop has further requested the Mayor to ban the construction of the proposed Krishna temple in Moscow saying it would otherwise become 'an idolatrous disgrace erected for the glory of wicked and malicious 'God' Krishna.' He has concluded: 'Construction of the temple (a satanic obscenity destined to be built right in the heart of the Orthodox Christian country of Russia) to Krishna offends our religious feelings and insults the thousand-year-old religious culture of Russia where the overwhelming majority of people, Christians and Muslims including, consider Krishna an evil demon, the personified power of hell opposing God.

'What the Archbishop is ranting against cannot be viewed as a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. It is clear for all of us to see that he wants Russia and the whole world to go back to the days of the infamous St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre in France on 24 August, 1572 - a day on which one of the most horrifying holocausts in history took place. We have to substitute ISKCON in Russia today to the Protestants in France in 1572 and the Archbishop of Russian Orthodox Church today to the Roman Catholic Pope in the Rome of 1572.

India has thousands of churches and mosques. Can there not be even a single temple in Russia? Why is the Russian Orthodox Christian Society so hateful towards Indian culture? Religious intolerance in Russia is shocking and persecution of Hindus continues even in the 21st century. Shame on 'secular' Indian government wedded to the 'secularly sacred' (non-saffron!!) cause of upholding humane(!) Islam and compassionate(!) Christianity at the cost of obdurate Hinduism ! What a national disgrace that it should have ignored the persecution of Hindus in Moscow, Russia. For the UPA government, Hindus, though a religious majority are only a 'political minority'. By a process of perverted pseudo-secular logic for the Congress party Muslims and Christians, though a religious minority, are an overriding 'political majority'.

My civilized reaction (notwithstanding my status as an unknown heathen!!) to the Archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Church would be as follows:

Thomas Jefferson (by no means an unknown heathen like myself), one of the founding fathers of the American Republic wrote:

'Your own reason is the only oracle given to you by Heaven, and you are answerable, not for the rightness, but the uprightness of the decision. I forgot to observe, when speaking of the New Testament, that you should read all the histories of Christ (including) those which a Council of Ecclesiastics have decided for us, to be pseudo-evangelists.' 'Because those pseudo-evangelists pretended to inspiration, as much as the others, you are to judge their pretensions by your own reason, and not by the reason of those Ecclesiastics'.

Thomas Jefferson had ignorant, pompous, small-minded, self-styled and arrogant clerics like the Russian Archbishop in view when he penned the above lines on behalf of all mankind.

'We must get rid of that Christ, we must get rid of that Christ!' So spoke one of the wisest, one of the most loveable of men, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Thomas Carlyle said, 'If I had my way, the world would hear a pretty stern command 'Exit Christ'.

Since Emerson and Carlyle spoke, a revolution has taken place in the thoughts of men. The more enlightened of them, are now rid of Christ. From their minds he has made his exit. In this context, the words of professor Goldwin Smith become relevant: 'The mighty and supreme Jesus, who was to transfigure all humanity by his divine wit and grace, this Jesus has flown'.

The supernatural Christ of the New Testament, the God of orthodox Christianity is dead. But priest craft lives and conjures up the ghost of this dead God to frighten and enslave the masses of mankind. The name of Christ has caused more persecutions, wars and miseries than any other name has caused. The darkest wrongs are still inspired by it.

Trying to figure out who Jesus really was is like trying to figure out what a thousand-piece puzzle looks like with only a handful of pieces to work with. One of the first scholars to attempt this impossible feat was German theologian Hermann Samuel Reimarus who lived during the 18th century. His searching led him to conclude that Jesus was a Jewish revolutionary whose failed attempt to overthrow the Roman government led to his execution instead. After his crucifixion, Reimarus suggested Jesus' followers manufactured the gospels to promote their own agendas.

Strauss, in his Life of Jesus Critically Examined (1835), which is one of the masterpieces of Free thought Literature, endeavoured to prove that Jesus Christ was a historical myth. This work was written for the scholar and not for the general reader. Strauss, incidentally, was fired from his university position for his opinions and was hounded by conservative theologians until his death in 1875.

Earnest Renan's Life of Jesus was written in Palestine. In its abridged form, it had an immense circulation in the whole of Europe in the latter half of the 19th century. Earnest Renan, like Martin Luther in Germany in the 16th century, exposed the frauds and evils perpetrated in the churches invoking the name of Jesus Christ for the exclusive privilege and material advancement of crafty and wicked priest craft.

No one can dispute the fact that in the name of Jesus Christ and Christianity more human beings have been murdered, tortured, maimed, denigrated, discriminated against, humiliated, hated and scorned than for any other reason in the totality of the history of mankind.

To quote the appropriate words of John E. Rosenburg: 'The noblest types of manhood like Bruno, Spinoza, Thomas Paine and Ingersoll have been slandered, anathematised and slain by Christians, while the Gods, the heroes, the patriarchs, the prophets and the priests of the Bible have been presented as the highest models of moral excellence'. These Bible heroes have only practised dissimulation and hallowed falsehood.
Who was Christ? He was called 'The Divine Teacher'. Yes. But the great English poet Shelly thought otherwise:

He led the crowd, he taught them justice, truth and peace,

In semblance; but he lit within their souls

The quenchless flames of zeal, and blessed the sword

He brought on earth to satiate with the blood

Of truth and freedom his malignant soul.
I don't have to agree with Shelly. I am quoting him only to let the Archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Church know that Shelly was no heathen or worshipper of Lord Krishna. At any rate the ISKCON movement did not exist in his time!

(The writer is a retired IAS officer)
e-mail the writer at
vsundaram@newstodaynet.com

Yes, "secular" US seems kinder to Hindus than "secular" India

Thursday December 29 2005 10:25 IST

S Gurumurthy

The headlines of this short story, factually told, run like this. "Hindus worship "statues", not "deities"." "Hindu God cannot have capital "G" and have to be content with the ordinary letter "g" as, unlike the Gods in Abrahamic faiths, there is no one God for Hindus". "Who in sixth standard cares whether Ramayana was written before or after the Mahabharata".

This scandalous depiction of Hindus, their faith and history is not the tirade of evangelicals luring Hindus to their faith. But, this is how some US scholars who supported the demeaning descriptions of Hindus and India in textbooks proposed by the California Department of Education (CDE) defended their contents when Hindus protested and sought corrections. Since the US scholars were not Hindus, their defence of the books lacked credibility. To fill the credibility gap, Indian seculars stepped in, led by Romila Thapar; they jointly petitioned the CDE that the Hindu protest against the textbooks was actually the protest of the "Hindutva forces". Hence, the corrections suggested by them should be disregarded.

The issue is whether what Hindus say is true or not. Does the truth lose its value because Hindus bring it out" Fortunately the CDE, after giving some anxious moments to Hindus, dismissed the seculars" petition and accepted the corrections that Hindus had sought, almost entirely. Now, some further detail.

The controversy was about the proposed textbooks on India and Hinduism for 6th standard school children. After the book publishers had submitted preliminary editions of the books, according to procedure the CDE called for comments and corrections from those concerned. The Hindu community in California, after months of work, submitted some 170 corrections - ""edits"" as the CDE would call them - for improving eight of the 10 textbooks. This is where the secular megaphones stepped in to exert to perpetuate the demeaning references to Hindus in the textbooks.

Dr Michael Witzel, a Harvard University professor who is undeniably anti-Hindu and thus an icon of Indian seculars, charged that the Hindu community"s corrections were motivated by "Hindutva forces". He warned the CDE that it "would lead without fail to an international educational scandal" if accepted. Romila Thapars of secular India joined as co-petitioners of Witzel, making it a kind of "confession" on behalf of Hindus. This forced the CDE to appoint a last minute "Content Review Panel" which comprised three scholars including Witzel himself. The panel rejected 58 of the Hindu edits.

But the Californian Curriculum Commission decided to accept all the corrections of the Hindus adding a rider that the Witzel panel"s 58 rejections be reviewed one by one. In the commission an evangelist member supported Witzel, but two others abstained on grounds of lack of expertise.

While discussing the Witzel objections, the Curriculum Commissioner took the position that the Hindus should be able to recognise their religion when they read the textbooks. On the much insisted and the equally contested Aryan invasion issue, a compromise was suggested that instead of the word "invasion" the word "migration" could be substituted as there was no evidence of violent invasion. But the commissioner said that hard evidence from DNA research, which is more reliable than the study of historians, proved there was no "migration" also. Finally, the commission agreed to allow this much to be said, namely, "that some historians believe there was an Aryan invasion".

The commission accepted that the Hindus worship "deities", the equivalent of "murti" in Sanskrit, not "statues" and also allowed the use capital "G" for the Hindu God saying that the same Hindu God has several forms. It agreed that the Hindus go to temples to "worship". It said that when the epic Ramayana was written is obviously important to the Hindus and so, that the writing of Ramayana pre-dated Mahabharata needs to be stated in the text books.

Yes, the Hindus got almost all that they wanted. But was it a favour done by the CDE to Hindus" No. The CDE merely applied the rules it had made for evaluating textbooks of different religious or national groups. This is what the CDE rules mandate: the evaluation is to enable all students to "become aware and accept religious diversity", while remaining "secure" in their own "religious belief".

To achieve this "the diversity of religious beliefs held" in US and elsewhere should be depicted "without displaying bias toward or prejudice against any of those beliefs". No religious belief or practice "may be held to ridicule"; no religious group be "portrayed as inferior". "Beliefs or practices" should "not be presented" "to encourage or discourage disbelief", nor indoctrinate. The rules are common for all, the majority Protestants and the Rest, the minorities.

While CDE commission has concluded that there is no evidence of Aryan invasion, it is still ridiculed as a "saffron" view to deny Aryan invasion here in India. In secular India, the views of scholars who are known as secular, not the facts, are decisive. That is why Aryan invasion is still the official view of history despite total absence of any evidence whatsoever. The secular US has thus overruled the anti-Hindu views of secular Indians. Paradoxically, the "secular" US seems kinder to Hindus than "secular" India.

Author"s Email: comment@gurumurthy.net

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'I am not for rewriting Hinduism'

December 29, 2005

Suhag A Shukla, legal counsel for the Hindu American Foundation that is said to represent nearly two million Hindu Americans, has been instrumental in helping the Vedic Foundation and the Hindu Education Foundation, the two main Hindu groups responsible for effecting revisions relating to Indian history and culture in California school textbooks approved by the state's Curriculum Development Commission.

Although the changes approved are yet to receive final approval by the State Education Board, some believe Shukla, a second generation Indian American, contributed to the quick approval by the Commission thanks to her strongly worded legal notice to the Board.

Shukla, however, credits the changes to the two Foundations, saying she and the HAF worked only in the background.

"I must say these two and many other groups worked very hard for this and we were just another cog in the wheel that made it turn," she told rediff India Abroad Senior Editor Suman Guha Mozumder.

What prompted you or the Hindu groups like the Vedic Foundation to ask for the changes in the textbooks?

Let me clarify the Hindu American Foundation did not ask for changes. HAF had been working behind the scenes with the Vedic Foundation in terms of introducing them and putting them in touch with various academics who are experts in Hinduism or Indian history.

What prompted us to take interest in it is that the state of Hinduism as has been portrayed in public school textbooks is outdated and derogatory and misleading.

There is no expanding on the philosophy of the Hindus, their positive attributes. The textbooks bring topics that are not brought in when it comes to other religions.

How satisfied are you today given the fact that the edits suggested by Hindu groups have been mostly accepted?

I do not think that the battle is over. The Curriculum Development Commission did vote on reverting back to the changes originally approved by the ad hoc committee. But this will still be submitted to the California School Board of Education.

So, that way we are happy because we felt at the Hindu American Foundation that it was really a conflict of interest for the Curriculum Commission to turn around and hire people like Professor (Michael) Witzel who objected to the changes and as such it was not providing a fair forum for the Hindus.

We are happy that they reverted back to the original changes approved by the ad hoc committee that had Dr Shiva Vajpayee as the content review panel expert. At least they provided the same process to the Hindus as they did to Jewish groups or Muslim groups.

What would you like to be included about Indian history and Hinduism in the textbooks for children?

At least, the description of Hinduism that reflects the practice of Hinduism should be expounded upon. Also, treating Hinduism at par with Christianity and other traditions in terms of what words are used (is required).

When they talk about Jesus or give instances from the Bible, they put on them on paper as historical fact, but when it comes to stories of Rama or Krishna, it is always a myth.

Also, something as simple as capital 'G' as opposed to lower case 'g' while spelling Hindu Gods is missing.

I am certainly not for rewriting Hinduism.

There are many social evils that have occurred throughout history but I think it is important to put those social evils in the right context. After all, every religion has something positive and negative.

Do you think the changes/edits sought by the Hindu groups and effected are reflective of the opinions of all Hindus?

I think at a base level most Hindus would agree with the changes.

Just to give an example, one of the books said Hindus believe that anytime the Ramayana is read Hanuman is present. 'Look around, do you see any monkeys?' Statements like this are clearly derogatory and sarcastic and not respectful of an age-old tradition.

So, definitely the way Hinduism is portrayed, most Hindus -- if not all -- would find them offensive.

Three issues seem to be contentious in the textbooks -- the Aryan invasion, position and rights of women vis a vis men and the caste structure. Some academics feel the Hindu groups' position on these issues are actually propaganda, attempts to rewrite history and are removed from fact. Any comment?

I think that is absolutely wrong because the latest DNA evidence in terms of human migration has shown that the human race began in Africa and worked its way upwards. So how do historians then allege it happened in the opposite way?

I think I will fall back on DNA for this rather than historians' words.

Also, there have been new archaeological findings in the Indus Valley that have shown dates that are even older than the Aryan invasion theory.

There is no evidence of any invasion or any war. Honestly, the people who have held onto the Aryan invasion theory, probably based their entire careers on that particular theory and have expounded that through their research, they have a vested interest in not seeing it disappear.

I do not think that history can remain static specially in the light of scientific evidence.

What about women's rights? Critics fault the Hindu groups for inserting corrections such as 'men had different duties as well as rights than women' to replace 'men had many more rights than women'?

In terms of men and women, I think, first of all, if you look at Christianity or Judaism or Islam, nowhere in the textbooks is there any discussion on women's rights. Then, to pull it in for Hinduism is a different treatment of Hinduism.

Secondly, it is out of context. The change suggested was that men had different duties or dharma as well as rights than women.

Many women were among the sages to whom the Vedas were revealed.

If you look at the existing statement, children are going to walk away with the idea that women were somehow second class citizens (in Hinduism). Looking at their domestic role in an inferior way is very much a facet of Western feminism and is not part of Eastern thought.

So to impose that judgement from the beginning without giving any explanation as to how the rights were inferior is not fair.

If the books say women had less rights because they could not work outside the household, these are all modern ideas.

If you compare Vedic women from the Vedic age and Jewish women from that age they probably all had a domestic role. But we do not find statements in Judaism saying that women had less rights than men.

In fact in Hinduism you had sages like Gargi and Maitreyi who took part in philosophical discussions.

If you are not denying that women had been subjugated to men in India then why...

I am not denying that caste discrimination occurred, I am not denying that women had been subjugated but I will have to say strongly that women were subjugated throughout the world irrespective of religious traditions and culture.

On caste, the section in the textbooks says Hinduism is all about the caste system. Yes, the caste system occurred, but whether discrimination has been legislated through the scriptures is questionable and inaccurate.

It is a social evil that occurred and I do not think we as a society or community can deny it just as the US cannot deny that slavery occurred and racial discrimination still occurs. But to just focus on that devoid of any theology or philosophy is an injustice to Hinduism.

Critics of the position taken by you seem to believe that this is actually an attempt by Hindu nationalist organisations in the US to impose their hidden agenda onto textbooks. Someone said history may not be palatable at all times but one has to live with it rather than trying to change it. Any comment?

I would have to disagree. The whole basis on which Professor Witzel and his colleagues were able to enter this dialogue, was to basically to fling mud.

There are several other groups who are trying to get changes made. I think to accuse groups like the Vedic Foundation which primarily has Hindus of non Indian descent and are completely removed from an Indian identity is out of context.

Hindus are just beginning to join the civic process in the US. I think schools are well aware that you cannot have people in ivory towers writing textbooks without having some inputs from the community which is being written about.

It is easy to fling mud to deflect attention from what is really being put into the book.

If Professor Wiztzel's group is flinging mud, what could be its motivation?

I do not know. There are so many political Hindu-phobic forces. If you look at high academia and look at the way Hinduism has been portrayed by many, they had a free rein for so many years. They were able to define Hinduism for Hindus. I think they have apprehensions now to allow Hindus to define Hinduism.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The 104th Constitution Amendment Bill is dangerous

December 27, 2005

by Subhash Kak

The supposedly liberal values that are the driving force behind politics in India -- especially of the United Progressive Alliance government -- are shrinking the public space for autonomy and free association.

The road to hell and to serfdom is paved with good intentions and great slogans. The 104th Constitution Amendment Bill, passed almost unanimously, ostensibly to help the underprivileged, will end up effectively bringing under the control of the government bureaucracy a major portion of the private education sector.

Rather than open more schools and increase the investment in education, the government wants to micromanage private schools.

Educational institutions, whether they receive aid from the government or not, so long as they are supposedly run by those who belong to the 'majority,' will have to set aside half of the seats for people from certain communities.

Watching over their shoulders will be the Big Brother, and one presumes if the ethnic background of students does not satisfy the bureaucrats, the schools would be shut down!

This is an assault on the principles of private initiative and voluntary association. The government is insisting that association even in the privacy of one's own property is disallowed unless this association includes members of certain groups.

This Amendment also contravenes one of the founding principles of any democracy, that all citizens be treated on the same basis. It creates two classes of citizens: minority and non-minority. The right of voluntary association is maintained for the minority, and denied to the non-minority.

The famous poem by Martin Niemller (1892-1984) about accumulation of State power by the targeting of specific groups one at a time captures the slippery slope of the law very well:

First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me.


Amendment 104 should be seen as further march of a polity that has nationalized temples, taking away the right of free religious expression. It requires legislators to vote as the leader commands, under pain of expulsion if they refuse.

The liberals and leftists in the Indian polity, who have pushed this constitutional amendment, are in the mold of the 19th century liberals like John Stuart Mill, who spoke of tolerance and the rule of law, but were ardent supporters of European colonization. Mill believed that India like other 'barbarous' nations had 'not got beyond the period during which it is likely to be to their benefit that they should be conquered and held in subjection by foreigners.'

The liberals' embrace of universal human liberty contained a Eurocentric and potentially racist view of what society should be like, and communism was born out of this impulse. It is a strange irony that the only ones holding on to this Eurocentric program are the Indian Marxists and liberals.

There is no space for libertarians in Indian polity: no one speaks for the rights to privacy and voluntary association. But guarantee of such privacy is essential in the development of a knowledge society that is to be internationally competitive. Both the Left and the Right have used euphemisms such as 'social control' to increase the power of the State.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Indian political system seems to be becoming more and more like the mansabdar system of the Mughals. Then the emperor granted revenue rights to a mansabdar in exchange for promises of soldiers in war-time. Now the leader grants tickets and money to run for political office in exchange for unconditional support later. The mansab was both revocable and non-hereditary exactly like the parliament seat now.

This is the only explanation why there was no real opposition to the passage of the Amendment in both the Lok and Rajya Sabhas, why no one brought up Constitutional questions related to individual freedom and privacy.

If there is a law that needs to be resisted, it is this one.

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Hindu View on California History Social Science Adoption

TO: Ruth Green, President
California State Board of Education
Fax: (916) 319-0175
E-mail: RParker@cde.ca.gov
Thomas Adams, Director
Fax: (916) 319-0172

November 27, 2005

RE: Hindu View on California History Social Science Adoption

Dear President Green, Director Adams and Board Members:

Hinduism Today, which is the world’s foremost Hindu publication, has followed the textbook issue for many years. In 1991, in an article dealing with the California books, I wrote, “Aside from one of the six California textbooks, Hinduism does not get very good treatment. It is presented as an outdated, caste-ridden, priest-dominated 3,000-year accretion of beliefs and customs.

There is little mention of Hinduism’s sophisticate theological systems, exquisite devotional practices or high-powered techniques of yoga to reach the spiritual heights. Christianity is given far more space and its tenets presented in a more appealing manner than any other religion. In addition there remains the powerful undercurrents of ethnocentric thinking, that somehow American and European history is more important than other history.” You will note the similarity between that 14-year-old evaluation and what you are hearing in 2005.

As you can see from the letter from Prof. Michael Witzel of Harvard University, there is a vast disconnect between ordinary Hindus concerned with what children in California are taught about Hinduism and the non-Hindu scholars who study our religion and Indian history. Of the some four dozen scholars who co-signed his letter, just eight have Indian names, and an unknown number of those eight are practicing Hindus. This letter highlights the problem Hindus have faced for the last two hundred years: the scholastic community which studies our religion is almost entirely non-Hindu, and often hostile to Hinduism.

We believe in the review of the Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Islamic sections of these books you are largely, if not entirely, hearing from scholars who are of the faith, and not secular outsiders.

Fortunately, you have Dr. Shiva Bajpai, who is well known to us, as a consultant. You may be interested to know that in the original e-mail sent to Dr. Witzel bringing the California text issue to his attention, Dr. Bajpai was referred to as “very religious.” It was not meant as a compliment, but is an indication of hos-tility toward Hindu religion. We understand the Board is going to bring in another consultant on the Hindu issues. We specifically recommend that this person be a practicing Hindu, and not an outsider to our faith. This will give Hinduism representational parity with the other religions.

The California Framework

The texts under evaluation, of course, reflect the California Framework for World History and Geography: Ancient Civilizations, and that Framework has problematic aspects. There are some very questionable lines of advice, such as “Buddhism, a great civilizing force...” Well, that’s like saying the Protestant reformation was a great civilizing force for Europe, something Protestants would agree with and Catholics wouldn’t. The major lapse, however, is that for Judaism, the theological aspects are detailed: Old Testament, stories of creation, Noah, Psalms, Proverbs, etc., and for Christianity, stories from the New Testament so “the students will learn about those teachings of Jesus that advocate compassion, justice and love for others.” For Hinduism, there is only one text mentioned, the Bhagavad Gita, with no mentioned of the Vedas and Upanishads which are the highest scriptural authority for the religion. These great works— which most certainly also advocate compassion, justice and love for others—remain unknown to the students.

The Framework allows for inclusion of our scriptures, for it states right in the chapter introduction to include “the literature produced by their finest poets, narrators and writers.” Later in the content standards, 6.5, “Sanskrit literature” is mentioned, but again, nothing specific. Since it is not spelled out, the textbook writers make no effort to include our primary scriptures and hence broader theology. The result is the students learn Christian, Jewish and, to some extent, Buddhist theology and little of Hindu theology. A better focus on our revealed scriptures will ameliorate this shortcoming.

The Aryan Invasion

Then there is the one aspect of Indian history that has gotten a lot of attention in this textbook process: the Aryan Invasion. In most respects, the textbooks and even the Framework are out of date. In the recent book, The Indo-Aryan Controversy, edited by Edwin Bryant and Lauie Patton, Dr. Witzel himself in his chapter refers to, “The old-nineteenth-century idea of a massive invasion of outsiders... Presently we do not know how large this particular influx of ... outsiders was. It can have been relatively small...” Likely none of the scholars who signed Dr. Witzel’s letter hold that there was a violent conquest of Indus Valley by Aryan warriors, yet this concept still shows up in the text books. Dr. Witzel is very much involved in the Aryan Invasion issue. What he argues, with considerable expertise and largely on linguistic evidence, is that speakers of an Indo-European language entered India sometime around 1500 bce, and these people were the authors of the Vedas. By some means, their Indo-European language displaced whatever language was spoken in Indus Valley. This influx of a language is quite a different phenomenon from an actual conquest.

However, even this revised theory has problems. Dr. Witzel explains one problem himself in the same book—“The obvious continuity of local cultures in South Asia, as prominently seen in archeology, is another matter.” He then states that a clear-cut “Aryan” archeological site “has not yet been discovered.” In other words, despite the compelling linguistic evidence, there is no physical proof of an influx of outsiders with the culture described in the Rig Veda.

The second problem with the invasion scenario is genetic. In 2003 in the American Journal of Human Genetics, a professional publication, 18 geneticists led by Dr. Toomas Kivisld of the Estonian Biocenter, reported their research on the genetics of India. They specifically investigated whether there was evidence of gene flow from central Asia into India. Their conclusion: “The Indian tribal and caste populations ... have received limited gene flow from external regions since the Holocene (8,000 years before the present to 1.2 million years before the present). In other words, they found no genetic evidence of an invasion 3,500 years ago.

In a lecture in 1999, “The Aryan Question Revisted,” Romila Thapar, whom Dr. Witzel refers to as “India’s most famous historian,” concluded, “The Aryan question is a very complex question, and I hope you are all absolutely staggered by the complexity and reeling under all the complexities that I have pointed out to you. So please, do not take one version as ‘the’ version.”

So why does this Aryan Invasion scenario matter to Hindus? Does it matter to Jews that the Exodus really happen? Does it matter to Christians that Jesus really lived? It does matter, obviously, and one book was rejected by the Board, we understand, for the reason that a historian was cited as questioning whether the Exodus ever happened. The Jews objected to doubting a central event in their history, one that is important to their theology. Hindus already have two histories of India, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, which traditionally are dated back thousands of years. If an Aryan Invasion occurred, or even if Sanskrit came from outside India, then these two histories have to be relegated entirely to myth. We are not suggesting these traditional histories supplant sound scientific study, but it is useful to understand how most ordinary Hindus in India look at our history. We do not want our traditional history to be dismissed as myth at the recommendation of Dr. Witzel and his supporting group of scholars. If that is to happen, then the same group can be polled for their opinion on the Exodus and the historicity of Jesus. I think you will find they also hold both to be myths. If a representative of the group attends one of your meetings, you should ask these quesions.

Our Plea and Recommendations

Finally, we object to the tone of Dr. Witzel’s letter, that categorizes anyone who objects to these texts as a “danger to religious freedom.” Yes, in India, there are political issues over India history, but we can assure you that the most non-political Hindu parent in this country is shocked by the presentation of Hinduism in these books. The children themselves are shocked. Edwin Bryant warns of such a tone, “I have expressed concern at what I have termed a type of Indological McCarthyism creeping into areas of Western, as well as certain Indian, academic circles, whereby anyone reconsidering the status quo of Indo-Aryan origins is instantly and a priori dubbed a nationalist, communal or even worse, a Nazi.”

We realize the Board is only able to make relatively small changes to texts which in some cases need complete overhaul. We also realize that at this time you are not reconsidering the Framework, which is where real improvements could be made. We don’t expect you to adjudicate a scholastic disagreement involving the leading scholars of the world. At the same time, we do request that our faith be treated fairly, with the same respect and comprehensiveness of other faiths. And to the extent this can be done with small changes recommended by the Hindu representatives, please, let it be done.
Yours in peace.

Hinduism Today

Sannyasin Arumugaswami
Managing Editor

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