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.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Village priests' demands ignored: VHP

Friday March 31, 01:13 AM

By ChennaiOnline News Service


Chennai, March 30: The VHP's Tamil Nadu unit today alleged that both the AIADMK and the DMK had ignored the demands of the over six lakh village priests in the state.

The village priests are demanding a separate welfare board, among other things.

In a statement, VHP state vice-president S Vedantam said on March 18 a 'Hindu Protection' conference was held in Erode where resolutions were adopted on demands of the Hindus, including that of the village priests.

The resolutions were sent to political parties for their consideration, but neither the AIADMK nor the DMK had included these demands in their respective manifestos, he said.

The previous DMK government had decided to set up a separate welfare board for village priests, but before the decision was implemented, it was voted out of power. The AIADMK, which came to power in 2001, "due to its political opposition to the DMK" did not set up the board, he charged.

Hindus feel vulnerable in areas where they're few in no: RSS


The tilt in demography based on religion has made Hindus vulnerable to the extent that they no longer feel free to celebrate their religious festivals or perform rituals in areas where they are few in number, RSS Sarkaryavah, Mohan Bhagwat, said.

"There are many places in the country where Hindus, because they are few in number, cannot celebrate their festivals or do puja," Bhagwat said at a public function organised by the RSS to mark `Gudi Padwa' (Maharashtrian New Year) and also release a 12 volume of work in Marathi of Guru Golwalkar, the second Sarsanghchalak.

"During my visit to Bihar, I observed that in many places in the state like Kishanganj, Hindus cannot celebrate their festivals and do puja," he said, adding, this was because of demographic imbalance which was very evident in the recent census.

"The religion driven imbalance is far more serious issue than we can imagine. The situation what we see is not the real picture, it is far more serious than that, what with some or the other terrorist group working to divide the country right from the northern to southern tip of the country," the RSS Sarkaryavah observed.

"It is time for people to take a pledge to dedicate ourselves to a cause, to take a pledge and tackle the situation," Bhagwat said.

"World over, because of imbalance among different religious groups, there is a problem. Therefore, it is the call of destiny that we take a pledge to change the situation," the RSS leader said.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Minorityism dividing the nation

By Pramod Kumar

Minorityism is nothing but vote-bank politics and it will not benefit the minorities at all, rather it will further deteriorate their condition. It was the unanimous outcome of a day-long seminar on Minorities and Minority Rights. The seminar was organised by India First Foundation in association with the Chetanya Kasyap Foundation in New Delhi on March 19. Noted jurist Shri L.M. Singhvi, former Lok Sabha general secretary Shri Subhash C. Kashyap and Shri Arif Mohammad Khan were among the prominent speakers at the seminar.

Initiating the discussion on “Minorities and Minority Rights: The Supreme Court and the State”, noted columnist Shri S. Gurumurthy called for an extensive and intensive debate on the interest of minorities and the concept of secularism in India. He described the majority and minority phenomenon as “the fight between those who believe that god is one and those who believe that there is only one god.” He cited the recent resolution by Kerala Assembly seeking release of Madani, who has been charged with killing more than 59 innocent people and also plotting for murderous attack on former Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition, Shri L.K. Advani, as the extreme height of minority appeasement.

He said theoretically, secularism has nothing to do with the majority-minority issue and also with the special minority rights devised under the Constitution. “Secularism defines the character of the state as a religion-neutral institution. But, unfortunately, in the Indian debate on secularism, the issue of minority rights has been constitutionally confused with and politically linked to the secular character of the Indian state,” he said and added that a secular democratic state knows only one identity for its people that is all citizens with equal rights. Quoting the Encyclopaedia and the Supreme Court judgment, he further said there could be no comparison between Hinduism and any other religious faiths. There is no organised or evangelical Hinduism, consequently, there is nothing in Hinduism that makes it conflict with any other faith.

Shri Gurumurthy said the distorted relations between the majority and the minority in India call for an extensive debate on the issue. He stated that constitutionally provided special rights to the minorities had evolved out of the complex of pre-Partition history of intrigues and manipulations of the Muslim leadership and the British against the Congress movement, which was identical with the Hindus. “Politically, the special rights given to minorities and also the various bounties provided to them are justified on the touchstone of secularism, which according to the Supreme Court judgment seem to be unrelated to each other. This has actually turned the concept of secularism into a matter of minority appeasement in politics,” he said.

Shri L.M. Singhvi described Mahabharat as the greatest constitutional granth of Indian civilisation. Quoting Bhisma, he said no religion is superior to humanity. He described secularism in India as the earliest form of Indian traditions. He said the word dharma symbolised duty and not any religion. Negating the belief of some faiths that claim that only those who profess their way of worship will get salvation, he said, Indian ethics ensure salvation for everyone, and “India” must remain first for every Indian.

Shri Subhash C. Kashyap said the supreme power in a democracy lies with the public and not with the government. “But unfortunately people today do not want to exercise their power and continue to beg as they used to do during the British period,” he said. Coming down heavily on the political parties, he said their one-point agenda is to grab power by hook or by crook.

Lashing out at the media and a section of the society, Shri Arif Mohammad Khan said first they provide undue patronage to fundamentalists and then complain that it adversely affect the Ganga-Jamuni culture of the country. Quoting Quran and the Prophet he said separatism has no place in Islam and the Prophet had himself directed Muslims to be faithful to the country in which they live. He said the resolution seeking the release of Madani by Kerala Assembly has not been passed on the demand of common Muslim. He also termed the phenomenon of taking benefit of reservation based on religion as anti-Quran. He also said the decision of Gandhiji to support the Khilafat movement was wrong.

Speaking on the birth of minority rights in India, Shri K.N. Bhat, senior advocate of Supreme Court and a leading expert on the Constitution and constitutional laws, said the real concern of the Constituent Assembly was to avoid discrimination against minorities and not conferring any special rights on them.

Citing Article 25 of the Constitution, Dr Jitendra Bajaj, noted scholar, said the Sub-Clause (b) of the Clause 2 of this article takes away from the majority the freedom provided by Clause 1 to all. He said the clause allows unlimited interference by the State in the religious affairs of the majority in the name of social welfare and reform. Referring to the misuse of the Clause by several governments he cited the poor state of affairs in several Hindu temples that have been taken over by the government in different parts of the country. He said Hindus could not even perform proper pooja in those temples and money offered to the deities in those temples was being misused.

Shri T.H. Choudhary, who has been in forefront of exposing the ‘pseudo-secularism and the ‘communal’ face of their practitioners, said one-third of India has been lost; Hindus are expelled and ethnically cleansed from that lost land and in the remaining parts of the country they are under siege. Shri J.S. Rajput, former chairman of NCERT, said India is today in the grip of a group of people who wants to pollute the education. Well-known columnist, commentator and former MP, Shri Balbir K. Punj conducted the proceedings of the first session. Shri Dina Nath Mishra, founder president of India First Foundation and former MP, said the preparations for the seminar had been going on for the last three months. About 200 distinguished personalities of Delhi were present on the occasion.

The Sangh welcomes any campaign for national unity

Statement of RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri K.S. Sudarshan issued from Nagpur on March 13

The baseless speculations by a few newspapers involving my name regarding the visit of Shri Lal Krishna Advani to Nagpur on March 10-11, have deeply pained me. The Ahmedabad-based correspondent Ajya Umat, whose report was carried by The DNA of Mumbai and later it was taken up by the Dainik Bhaskar of Delhi and a few other newspapers, without contacting me, Shri Mohanji Bhagwat or Shri Advaniji and sitting in Ahmedabad released a fabricated report about this meeting in Nagpur. Refuting the whole news report I say that the conclusions mentioned in that report are totally untrue.

During his visit to Nagpur, Shri Advani came to Sangh Karyalaya, had meal with me and later had a discussion with Shri Mohanji for about 45 minutes. The second day he attended the Amrit Mahotsava ceremony of an old and dedicated worker Shri Diwakar Dhakras of Nagpur as chief guest, where I was also present as an audience. At the press conference held in the evening when he was asked as to what he discussed with Sarsanghachalak, he said, “I normally go to the Sangh Karyalaya every time I visit Nagpur. This time also I went there on March 10, had meal with Sudarshanji and had discussion as usual. Three days back also when he came to Delhi I had a discussion with him at my residence.” When asked whether it means that the relations with the Sangh have improved, he said, “I never had any strained relations with the Sangh.”

After this reality, if somebody drives any fabricated conclusion out of it, it only means that there are some vested interests behind releasing such news.

As far as the rath yatras by Shri Rajnath Singh and Shri Advaniji are concerned, they are with the objective of cautioning the countrymen about the dangers of Muslim appeasement to the unity and integrity of the country, and there is no question of Sangh opposing it. The Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha of the Sangh has also adopted a resolution expressing concern over this danger. The Sangh always supports any activity aimed at making the society aware of the dangers to the unity and integrity of the country.

Yatras not against minorities
-L.K. Advani

“We are not campaigning against minorities. This should be understood by all. Today, I feel a campaign against minorityism is necessary to caution the government that the vote-bank politics is not only dangerous for the country but also not in the interest of minorities itself,” said Shri L.K. Advani, Leader of Opposition while speaking at the seminar. Terming the minority appeasement as petty vote-bank politics, he said the appointment of Sachar Committee purportedly to count the number of Muslims in armed forces provocated him to take such a step in this regard. He said even Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was opposed to reservation for minorities after independence saying that it would lead to isolation. Shri Advani cited religious reservation for Muslims in AMU and Andhra Pradesh, amendment in Foreign Act to provide patronage to Bangladeshi infiltrators, appointment of Sachar Committee, resolution in Kerala assembly seeking release of Madani and the recent Banerjee Committee’s report as the strong incidents during the last two years of UPA rule that purely indicated the minority appeasement. “All these incidents prove how low-level politics can be resorted to appease minorities. This is not going to benefit the minorities at all,” he added. He said during the NDA government they took four steps against terrorism, which include mobilisation of world opinion against terrorism, pressing Pakistan to deny use of their soil for terrorists, busting the modules of ISI in the country and formulation of POTA.


Seminar on secular politics in India

Fight casteism, return to Vedant-Vasant Sathe
By Pramod Kumar

All our senior saints and great personalities like Swami Vivekananda and Savarkar repeatedly emphasised on removing caste system from the society. But it still exists deeply and has ruined the entire system of our society. There is no mention of caste system in the Vedas. Savarkar launched the biggest movement of his life against the caste system. If we do not remove it today, no power will be able to stop the further degradation of Hindu society,” said veteran Congress leader Shri Vasant Sathe. He was speaking at a seminar organised by Sanskritik Gaurav Sansthan in New Delhi on March 11, 2006.

He said all the ways of worship in India should be Indianised to save secularism in the country. He said the right meaning of the word secularism is sarvadharmasamabhav. He advised for deeper study of Islam, which does not recognise non-Muslims as equal. He said the Muslims of India are secular only till there is no tampering with their personal laws and the moment it comes to Islam they are always ready for jehad. Shri Sathe said the root cause of Islamic terrorism in the world lies in the education imparted to them in madrasas, which emphasises that if they indulge in jehad for Islam, they would have their place reserved in the jannat. Citing a research study conducted by a Chennai-based NGO, he said the population of Muslims in Indian subcontinent will be more than Hindus after 50 years and then the Muslims will themselves demand a confederation of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and also rule according to the Shariat. And finally, the dream for Akhand Bharat by Hindus will never be realised, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Ashok Singhal, VHP president, suggested the cremation of all Islamic terrorists who indulge in jehad due to the allurement of getting jannat, instead of burying them and owing to the misconception of getting jannat with all assured facilities there if they die for Islam, the terrorists indulge in jehad. Holding Islam responsible for creating untouchability in India, he said those who did not accept Islam were punished to do the untouchable works. He also called for a research on smritis, which according to him were created during the Buddhist period in the name of Manu and Yagyavalakya. These smritis do not have any mention in the Mahabharat. Today there are about 300 smritis and the rules mentioned in them have today become irreverent. He said due to the efforts of saints and Vishwa Hindu Parishad lakhs of people who had converted to Islam or Christianity have come back to their original roots.

Shri Subramanian Swamy said India is secular till Hindu population is above 80 per cent here. If the Hindu population declines, secularism would not survive here at all. He explained that every Muslim and Christian living in India must recognise that his/her ancestors were Hindus and they did not come from outside. Until there is no unity among all Hindus of the country, the talk of secularism is meaningless. Talking about the recent cartoon controversy, he said Hindus also condemned the publication of the cartoons. But when the Buddhist idols were demolished in Afghanistan and Krishna temple was demolished in Russia, no Muslim thought it fit to speak any word against it.

Earlier initiating the discussion, Dr Surendra Jain said secularism has ruined and corrupted the social system of the country. The word is itself a foreign element. He said it was coined in Europe to finish the authority of Pope. Shri Suryakant Bali, noted journalist and Shri B.P. Singhal also spoke on the occasion.


Strategies to defeat terrorists

By Moorthy Muthuswamy

By now the goal of radical Islam has become clear, especially to those who have bothered to study and understand it. In an October 6, 2005 speech to National Endowment for Demo-cracy American President Bush talks about the goal of radical Islam: “(establishing) a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia”. Implications for India are clear: it is a nation that must be destroyed and recaptured permanently for Islam to complete this vision.

If this is the vision of radical Islam, where is the evidence? Indeed, every Muslim majority of South Asia - including, Pakistan and Bangladesh, have seen massive drop in non-Muslim percentages with most driven away to India. But most Muslims were allowed to stay in India. This pattern of Islamic conquest has now extended into a region within India, namely Kashmir valley. This shows dominance of radical Islam in Muslim majority regions and proves the intent of radical Islam-to strategically capture portions of India exclusively for Islam and marginalise non-Muslims.

From “Where Indian Muslims have gone wrong” by Aakar Patel, Mid-day, September 5, 2004: “A recent poll revealed that just under 90 per cent of Mumbai’s Muslims, presumably the most progressive in the country, rejected a secular civil code preferring instead Shariah law, favoring polygamy, triple talaq and Islam’s unequal inheritance laws which allow women half as much property as they allow men. The views of most younger and educated Muslims and of women were also the same, in almost the same proportion.” Association with shariah and secular uniform code should reflect extremism and moderate outlook respectively. This poll, taken together with other information-including extremists invariably representing Muslims-show beyond any doubt that most Indian Muslims identify with radical Islam-and are not moderates at all.

How can radical Islam succeed in its vision of destroying a Hindu majority India? This is through various forms of long-term multi-front jehad. The core Islamist strategy lie in characterising Hindus as “oppressors” of Indian Muslims through virulent and falsified clerical sermons, and create a sense of “grievance” and hatred of Hindus - to set the stage for increased confrontation, separation and eventually, dissolution of India with a fast growing Muslim population.

Islamists see increased Muslim reservation in jobs and education as part of an integral strategy of waging jehad. Reasons: unfair reservations for Muslims take wealth and opportunities away from deserving majority and put them into undeserving hands of Muslims - resulting in a destabilised India with an increasingly poor and illiterate majority and a wealthier and well-placed radical Muslims. Such an India is primed for destruction.

Islamic partitioning of 1947 has made Hindus and other non-Muslims disadvantaged communities vis-à-vis Muslims. Hence, Indian Muslims, however backward, under no circumstances, deserve reservations, having a permanent - 25 per cent reservation - in the form of Pakistan and Bangladesh! Since Muslim backwardness is deliberately created by clerics - to wage a jehad by using them as foot-soldiers, the real solution lies in liberating Indian Muslims from radical clerics to their indigenous ancestral religions. Unfortunately, government and media lack support of weakly institutionalised, disunited and ill-informed majority to take on well-funded and community-supported Islamists.

Grievances are a proven basis of mobilising communities to fight an enemy. Even Srilankan Hindus were mobilised successfully on this basis against Singhalese, who had discriminated against them in jobs, land and educational opportunities. Crores of Hindus have remained impoverished due to jehad and various Muslim subsidises. Jobs and educational opportunities taken away unfairly through Muslim reservations, land and wealth taken away by Muslims, insecurity, expensive insurgencies and instabilities created by radical Islam, high Muslim population growth in a crowded India form core grievance and directly relate to day-to-day existence of all Indians. Once momentum is built on this basis, critical issues such as Article 370, Muslim infiltration from Bangladesh or Muslim conquest of Hindu holy sites can be publicised to canvas even more support and mandate.

While this propaganda of majority grievance against radical Islam will likely increase tensions in the short-term, it should mobilise majority and create dissension in Muslim ranks in the long-run. This approach has the best chance of breaking Muslim vote-bank, and discredits Islamists who falsely claim Hindu “oppression” of Muslims. Nationalist organisations and citizens should launch a long-term grievance-based campaign against radical Islam, instead of making meaningless protests at every instance of privileges extracted through Muslim intimidation.

Only a ground-swell of majority support and dissension among Muslim masses can set the stage for defeating jehad imposed on India. The nature of jehad, involving Muslim civilians as foot soldiers - requires new ways responding to radicals.

(The writer is an US-based nuclear physicist with over thirty published papers on radical Islam during the past seven years. He can be contacted at


How many Muslims do you have?


If the condemnation of the cartoon is good but the call for the cartoonist´s head is bad, what about M.F. Husain´s libidinous lampooning of Hindu deities?

The twists and turns Indian secularism is taking these days are beyond the communal comprehension of Satiricus. Take, for instance, this question of questions the government asked our armed forces: How many Muslims do you have? When the papers reported this in banner headlines Satiricus was overjoyed. For he considered it the culmination of Congressecularism.

Once we start counting Muslim heads among our soldiers (in order to have more and more Muslim heads to count upon), the logic of the situation could lead the army of secular India finding itself under the command of an Islamic terrorist one fine day. The day that happens, India that is damnable Dar-ul-Harab would become India that is delightful Dar-ul-Islam. Alas, that was not to be. For the Defence Minister backed out, declaring that the army would remain apolitical, secular force, untouched by such a head count. This is an unseemly let-down. For was not the Sachar Committee, which asked this question, set up by the Prime Minister´s Office specifically for Muslim welfare? Then is not the welfare of the Muslims (-and to hell with the Hindus!) synonymous with the essence of Indian secularism? Of course opposition politicians (being communal by definition) declared it a dangerous move, and the service chiefs said it would send a wrong signal. But that was to be expected, no? For the path of true secularism, like that of true love, does not run smoothly. So Satiricus sees this as a sorry setback for the secular powers that be.

Then there is the Danish dilemma. Satiricus says this is the second serious setback to our sacred secularism. Initially, when a Muslim Minister of the biggest state of secular India announced a cash reward of Rs 51 crore for anyone who beheads the Danish cartoonist who caricatured Prophet Mohammed, Satiricus had patriotically thought to himself-Lo and behold! Here at last we have an admirable Indian edition of Khomeini. If Khomeini in Iran could ask for the head of a Satanic Muslim Britisher, why can´t this home-grown Khomeini of secular India ask for the head of a Christian Dane?

This minister meticulously organised a spontaneous outrage of five lakh Muslims to prove that Muslim India (a la Shahabuddin) was with him in this demand. Even official India backed him, the State Government defending the Minister´s remark as the “Voice of someone whose religious sentiments have been hurt” and the Central Government duly joining the chorus of condemnation.

On the other hand, can any Indian Muslim (or Muslim in India) be more Muslim than a Maulana member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board? Satiricus thinks not. And yet a Maulana on this board has condemned the minister´s statement as “anti-Shariat, anti-Islam and anti-humanity”. This has caused confusion worse confounded in Satiricus´s befuddled brain. For if the condemnation of the cartoon is good but the call for the cartoonist´s head is bad, what about M.F. Husain´s libidinous lampooning of Hindu deities?

In this respect the Central Government of Secular India tried to save the situation by not uttering a word of condemnation of Husain, let alone announcing a reward for his beard. But here again there are Muslims in India that are clearly not as secular as the secular powers that be would want them to be. For both the Muslim League as a party and the Shahi Imam of Delhi´s Jama Masjid have said that the Padmashri-Padma Bhushan-Padma Vibhushan pornographer has hurt Hindu sentiments with his blasphemous pictures of Hindu deities and Bharat Mata.

To cap all this, some VHP leader has declared that anyone killing Husain would be considered an honoured son of Bharat Mata. Oh my secular God! Would that not mean killing the very picture of Indian secularism? Surely secularism khatre mein hai, and as the defender of the faith the Prime Minister must act.-And here Satiricus does not mean “half a PM” but the full and final PM. (S)He must condemn the VHP, commend Hindu-hating Husain, and reward him with a special award-an Anti-India Ratna. The secular powers that be must also take serious note of the fell fact that big and small Hindu organisations all over secular India are taking Husain to court over his paintings. This reprehensible revival of anti-secularism must be sternly dealt with.

Unfortunately this is easier said than done. For although it is easy to deal with Hindus at home, dealing with Hindu men abroad is apparently not that easy. Take, for instance, the recent advertisements of an American brand of whiskey called ‘Southern Comfort’ in Greece, showing Goddess Durga holding bottles of the whiskey in her hands. They were in the form of two-dimensional displays of the goddess in a disco bar in Athens. Believe it or not, Hindus abroad raised such an abominably anti-secular furore over the ads that the owners of the brand withdrew the display. As if this was not bad enough, it is now followed by something worse. For after successfully standing up to the Americans, these pernicious people are now standing up to the French.

According to reports from London, Hindu leaders in Britain and across the world are now condemning the portrayal of Lord Shiva in a French film. This film shows the main characters smearing, laughing and tearing up pictures of Lord Shiva. The secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain has roundly condemned this demonstration of “extreme intolerance”. What does all this show?

Satiricus must say it shows extreme intolerance of the holy tenets of Indian secularism on the part of these Indian communalists abroad. They must be brought to their secular senses. They must be taught a lesson-in secularism.


A ´foreigner´ cannot be Prime Minister

(This article by Justice (Retd) Rajinder Sachar is extracted from the book Sonia ´The Unknown´ published (in 1999) by India First Foundation compiled and edited by Dina Nath Mishra. It makes an interesting reading as Justice Sachar is in news as head of the controversial Sachar Committee on Minorities.)

Sonia Gandhi must be regretting having allowed herself to be persuaded to join politics at the instance of small-time political operators who had no bases of their own but wanted to use their perceived proximity to her for self-aggrandisement.

The expulsion of Sharad Pawar, P.A.Sangma and Tariq Anwar was inevitable, considering the culture of sycophancy in the Congress which holds that any dissidence against a member of the ‘dynasty’ (even if indirectly by marriage) is a treasonable act. It is intellectually dishonest to label this issue as an outcome of communalism or xenophobia. Surely, a combination of Pawar, a Hindu, a Christian and Tariq Anwar, a Muslim, who were only a month back praised as top secularists and the first two recognised even by their opponents as of Prime Ministerial mettle cannot suddenly have become communal, unless of course the premise is that anyone who does not accept the undisputed leadership of Sonia Gandhi and the Congress party’s junior partners, the Communists, is automatically to be branded as communal. It is also wrong as some well meaning academics seem to suggest that the question of foreign origin is an attack on our multi-religious society.

In the United States, Article 11(4) of the Constitution provides that “no person except a natural born citizen...shall be eligible for the office of President.” Thus Henry Kissinger US citizen and erstwhile Secretary of State, whose brilliance and statecraft are beyond doubt is ineligible to stand for President. Similarly Khorana, Nobel laureate, who I take it is now a citizen of the US and is settled there for decades is ineligible, having been born in India. Madeleine Albright, US citizen and the present Secretary of State whose ferocious loyalty to the US is shown by her hawkish stance in Kosovo has to remain content and accept that she can never become President of the US, having been born in Czechoslovakia. In the United Kingdom, the law provides that “no person born out of the Kingdoms of England, Scotland or Ireland or the dominions thereof...shall be capable to be of Privy Council or a Member of either House of Parliament”. Would the apologists of Sonia Gandhi call these legislations racial or communal?

I believe there is a good reason for restricting the highest offices to natural-born citizens. A person who has spent a good part of her life in the country of its birth acquires a culture, memories and loyalties which subconsciously continue to have a permanent influence on him or her. Thus even if he or she adopts the citizenship of another country, the subconscious link with the country of birth remains powerful. A recent news item of young Indians and Pakistanis born in England and whose families have acquired British citizenship years ago, still cheering Indian and Pakistani cricket teams against the English team of their co-citizens much to the annoyance of Englishmen is of relevance in this context.

Some apologists of Sonia give the example of Annie Besant who became Congress president, even though no born in India. Nothing can be a more unfair to the memory of that great leader. Annie Besant, who had already made a name for herself in British political life before she came to India, spent a lifetime here to fight against British imperialism.

Annie Besant’s instance is of those souls who were willing to don the mantle of sacrifice, deprivation and imprisonment who did not join a race for the coveted plums of the highest executive office. Incidentally it may be emphasised that there was no separate Indian citizenship prior to 1947. Both Jawaharlal Nehru and Annie Besant had the same citizenship, namely, British.

Sonia Gandhi must be regretting having allowed herself to be persuaded to join politics at the instance of small-time political operators who had no bases of their own but wanted to use their perceived proximity to her for self-aggrandisement. She was enjoying the privileges of a Queen Mother, but the moment she decided to become a reigning queen, such like situation was bound to arise.

Politics is a cruel game. One feels distressed that many well-meaning persons, though rightly against the Sangh parivar’s communalism and obscurantism, are yet ignoring the equal danger of dynastic feudal zamindari politics being revived by the Congress party. The Communist wooing of Sonia seems inexplicable unless one recollects what de Tocqueville said, “In politics shared hatreds are almost always the basis of friendship”.

But that is not how the evil of communalism can be fought; only a people-oriented programme to expose the hollowness of both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party would be effective. One would have thought that the action of Sharad Pawar and others would stir the Congressmen to free themselves from the shackles of dynastic leadership. But the rot has gone too deep.

India:New age responsibilities

By M.V.Kamath

India does not need certificates of character from former imperialist and barbarian nations. The world should remember that this is the land of Ashoka who sent peace missions across the world and not armed forces to establish so-called democracy in Iraq. India believes in peace and does not send jehadis to countries for gaining ascendance.

Winston Spencer Churchill, war-time Prime Minister of Britain and Rudyard Kipling must be turning in their graves. Churchill hated and despised India and had the audacity to call Mahatma Gandhi a “half-naked fakir”. Kipling, a racist, dismissed India as a “White Man’s Burden”. It was some burden considering that Britain looted India for full one hundred years before being shown the door.

Now, an American President, George Bush, comes to India, begins an address to a distinguished invited Indian audience with a namaste, says he is “dazzled” by India’s ancient culture, describes India as “ a vibrant democracy” and avers that “the world now requires India’s leadership for its freedom’s cause”.

To sum it all, Bush visits Gandhiji’s samadhi to pay his respects and tells for all to hear that he has come to India “as a friend”. All that he needs to do the next time he visits India is to go to Tirupati and received prasad from Balaji’s temple. The circle would be complete. If one remembers that in the fifties India was going begging for food and financial assistance only to be told by a West German Chancellor that “money does not grow on trees”, one can gauge the distance India has travelled on its journey into the future in the last half a century.

In his address from Purana Qilla, President Bush described the United States and India as “brothers in the cause of human liberty”. It is a far cry from the days when a former US Secretary General, John Foster Dulles summoned the then Indian Ambassador to Washington, Vijayalakshmi Pandit to give India a dressing down for adopting non-alignment as its basic foreign policy.

Much water, as the saying goes, has flown down the bridge, especially in the last two decades with India showing what it is capable of. The United States tried every trick to keep India down, with the willing support and often encouragement of the United Kingdom. Pakistan was pampered and placated to an unbelievable extent. Nuclear technology was denied and when China liberally helped Pakistan with the same, in a clear example of helping nuclear proliferation, the United States looked the other way. But India survived. First, it brought about the Green Revolution with no help from our White friends. Then it initiated a second and even more sustaining Information Technology revolution, when the United States declined to provide India with a super computer, Indian scientists built one superior to anything that the United States had in its possession. When the world denied India access to a cryogenic engine, it built one with its own available talent.

In other words, India has come of age and has shown to the world that when pushed to the wall, it can stand on its own legs. Ergo, it is now gaining the world’s respect. What is more, as a former US Ambassador to India, Richard Celeste pointedly stated, “India does not need US help to become a major world power”. India can attain that status on its own, thank you. After being treated haughtily and aloofly for a good part of half a century, India is now being accepted as a “natural ally” by the United States, how nice! There is a moral here.

A nation does not get respect and attention by being servile to any power, as does our pathetic neighbour. India does not need certificates of character from former imperialist and barbarian nations. The world should remember that this is the land of Ashoka who sent peace missions across the world and not armed forces to establish so-called democracy in Iraq. India believes in peace and does not send jehadis to countries for gaining ascendance.

As matters stand it should not take more than a couple of decades for India to become a power to reckon with. And that imposes on it great responsibilities, towards its own people as towards fellow Asians who have for long been targets of western exploitation. The West, let no one duck the fact, has much to give, whether it is the United States, Britain, France or rest of the European Union. That does not mean that they are in any way intellectually superior to Asians who have now to gain their self-respect. The most admirable thing that Indian nuclear scientists did was to stand up to American pressures to get all Indian nuclear plants under international safeguards. All power to them. And hats off to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh for telling Americans where they got off. Some things needed to be said and the Prime Minister said them. Praise be.

But now comes the next question: How should India disport itself in the coming years? In the first place it should not go round begging again-this time for getting Permanent Membership of UN Security Council. It would be lowering our dignity. It is only when we treat Britain and France with utter disdain that we will command respect. We still seem to be suffering from a colonial hangover. We should tell the Great Powers and also the currently only Super Power, the United States, that we couldn’t care less whether they vote for our Security Council Permanent Membership or not. And we should take the lead in helping restore peace in Iraq and persuading the Americans to get out.

The Iraqi people surely can take care of themselves. We should talk to the Iranians as friends and refuse to accept the US assessment of Iranian intentions. And we should seek to convince that India is Pakistan’s best friend and neither China nor the United States. All this does not mean that we have to spurn America’s hand of friendship but India should not allow itself to be a tool to further America’s interests. India should have distinct philosophy of its own, that is humanistic and people-oriented, and respectful of other cultures.

In other words, India should be India. It should take the lead in establishing Asian solidarity to a point when even Turkey will stop seeking membership of the European Union and turn to Asia where it truly belongs. The twentieth century was primarily a Euro-American century. The twenty first century should revert to Asia and it is to that end India must strive. It is an exciting prospect and it must be pursued with unrelenting devotion.

Gorge Bush may have had other things in mind when he proclaimed that Indo-US ties have now become closer than ever. But that only becomes meaningful when the United States looks to India for moral leadership. In matters of bringing peace to a troubled world it is India, in the end, that must be seen to show the way. In this department India is a natural leader as it has been in the past and can be trusted to be in the future.

Disband Congress: It has outlived its role!

By Rajinder Puri

The current crisis over the Ordinance controversy impels one to recall events. On May 16, 1999 The Statesman carried a report which said that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had attempted to set up a joint training programme between Indian and Italian intelligence agencies.

The original proposal came from the Italians. Mrs Sonia Gandhi's Italian brother-in-law had links with Italian intelligence. He put up the proposal. RAW officials shot down the idea. They pointed out that Italy was a conduit for nuclear technology to Pakistan.

Therefore the proposed venture contained security risks. The information in the newspaper report came from B. Raman who had served in the cabinet secretariat as a senior official. Today Mr Raman is recognized as a distinguished authority on security affairs.

When the present UPA government assumed office media outlets trumpeted that Sonia Gandhi had declined the post of Prime Minister. She was compared to Mahatma Gandhi, the Buddha and Mother Teresa. Outlook weekly described her as Saint Sonia. In that same weekly I questioned the fact that she had declined the post. I suggested that she received no offer. I quoted the B Raman report in The Statesman.

According to sources the President on the basis of intelligence reports sought assurance that no security risks would be involved if she became Prime Minister. He wanted some clarifications from Mrs Gandhi.

According to some media reports at that time some sections in the armed forces enquired whether as PM she could access information about the nation's nuclear programme. Mrs Gandhi decided not to become PM. She echoed Mahatma Gandhi to say that she had heeded her inner voice".

In Outlook weekly, dated June 7, 2004, I wrote: Why should the President have held back? Is it because she could have been a security risk? And hence she could not be given access to India's nuclear secrets making her thereby untenable as PM? Will Rashtrapati Bhawan tell us?" Rashtrapati Bhawan said nothing. It did tell off others who had raised questions about Mrs Gandhi being debarred because of her foreign origins.

However, even if too much is not read in Rashtrapati Bhawan's silence, there is the question of Mrs Gandhi's subsequent conduct. Apparently her inner voice remained silent after that first one message.

As Congress President she amended the party constitution, created an extra-constitutional post of Chairperson in a newly created National Advisory Council to oversee the government's work, and remained Chairperson of the UPA alliance. She got cabinet rank.

At first Congress leaders claimed she would have access to all government files. Legal impediments prevented that. In short, through these measures and the supine acquiescence of her senior colleagues Mrs Gandhi concentrated all powers in her own hands. She became the Prime Minister's remote control. Mahatma Gandhi, it might be recalled, never accepted any post in party or government. Very soon the UPA government ran into trouble.

First, there was the unconstitutional dissolution of the Bihar Assembly. The cabinet took a panic decision and promulgated an ordinance to pre-empt Mr Nitish Kumar from forming a government. In a wholly inadequate Supreme Court judgment the Bihar Governor was castigated. The judgment failed to elaborate on its observation that the cabinet had acted with undue haste.

In fact both the PM and the President were as much responsible as the Governor. The Court failed to state this in clear terms. I wrote then suggesting that both the President and the PM should resign. Then came release of the Volcker Report.

The Oil-For-Food scam erupted in which was involved the Congress party's name, and therefore the Congress President's culpability. Mrs Gandhi's close confidant, former Foreign Minister Natwar Singh, had to resign. Soon the government's decision to unfreeze the frozen London bank accounts of Mrs Gandhi's close family friend, Mr Ottavio Quattrochi, became public.

The Volcker affair and Mr Quattrochi's case are still under scrutiny. Before they could be disposed of the Scorpene submarine scandal erupted. In that deal once again a family friend of Mrs Gandhi has allegedly received illegal commission on behalf of the Congress Party. The Defence Minister's denial in Parliament of any wrongdoing by government in this deal notwithstanding, this affair is likely to escalate.

By any standard this is a formidable record for less than two years of power. And now the system has been clobbered by the government's decision to suddenly adjourn Parliament in mid-session to allow an Ordinance intended to protect Sonia Gandhi and other luminaries from disqualification as MPs.

This was done to avoid the fate that befell Mrs Jaya Bachchan who was disqualified as MP because she occupied an office of profit. The contrast between the glee of Congress leaders over Mrs Bachchan's disqualification and their panic over application of the same law to themselves was nothing short of contemptible.

At the moment of writing Mrs Jaya Bachchan's plea before the Supreme Court to clearly define an office of profit awaits consideration. The Constitution has not defined it. Article 102(1) (a) of the Constitution which debars MPs from holding an office of profit states that an office of profit need not bestow pecuniary advantage. It is sufficient if it bestows administrative and executive powers.

In the absence of further clarification in the Constitution it is Supreme Court rulings on the subject that determine what constitutes an office of profit. Successive SC rulings have created an exacting definition. All perks are considered equivalent to remuneration. Apart from executive or judicial powers even influence and patronage accruing to a government appointment renders it an office of profit.

Mrs Sonia Gandhi's resignation from Parliament to pre-empt disqualification was meaningless. It was similar to her rejection of the PM's post. Mrs Gandhi's attempt to seize the high moral ground by making virtue out of necessity became transparent from the sequence of events. She stayed put while Parliament was adjourned and the Ordinance was being planned. Then the President forwarded all petitions against MPs to the Election Commission.

The CEC said the law was equal for all. Mrs Gandhi knew the game was up. She played the script of renunciation she had learnt earlier. After she resigned the Congress denied it had planned the Ordinance. This lie was transparent. If no Ordinance was intended why was Parliament's recess converted to an adjournment?

The Congress had egg all over its face. Mrs Gandhi challenged the opposition and announced she would seek re-election from Rae Bareilly. Will she contest a by-election or a midterm poll? Time will tell.

Meanwhile all Indians should reflect. How much longer can they tolerate the present political culture? It has polluted all parties. But the Congress is its fountainhead. India's economic and diplomatic breakthroughs have been jeopardized by misgovernance and destruction of democracy. Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh alone are not responsible.

A century of Congress culture brought this about. The seeds of the decadent and dynastic Congress culture were planted a century ago. From Allen Octavian Hume to Sonia Gandhi, spanning icons like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, it has been a history of decline and abject subservience to foreigners. The Congress degenerated from a movement to a party, from a party to a dynasty.

Today India stands on the threshold of a new multipolar world. To play its rightful role it will have to undo the spirit of the Partition. Can the Congress, the very instrument of imperialist Britain to partition the subcontinent, summon the mindset to undo its own work? It has outlived its role.

It must be consigned to the dustbin of history. India needs a new party, a new political culture and a new freedom struggle.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

POLITICS OF DALITISM: creating Dalits among Dalits

by R.Upadhyay
Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The attempt of some of activists of Dalit movement in India to internationalise the issue in World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) concluded in the first week of September and follow up actions have created an impression that there is something basically wrong in the ideological orientation of the movement. The word Dalit was coined in post-colonial India by the disciples of Ambedkar. They did not accept the word Harijan (Men of God) used by Gandhi for the untouchables in Hindu social order because of their aversion against him. The word Dalit therefore, became the vernacular terminology for the oppressed classes, with a wider connotation for electoral sociology in the democratic polity of the country.

Mahatma Gandhi & Dr. Ambedkar: If we look to the history of Dalit movement, it is as old as the birth of the concept of untouchability, which was the darkest spot in Hindu social structure. Though, Hindu reformists tried their best to fight against this social evil right from the days untouchability was born, the real concern over it came to surface during the freedom struggle, when Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. B.R.Ambedkar fought against it in their own way. While Gandhi wanted complete eradication of untouchability for emotional integration of Hindu society, Ambedkar was for abolition of Varnashram structure of the Hindu social order.

The conceptual difference between the two messiahs of untouchables continues to affect the Dalit movement even after their death. While the disciples rejected Mahatma Gandhi for the sake of power and fulfillment of their personal ambitions, Ambedkar became a symbol of Dalit movement. A clue to understanding Ambedkar lies in his hatred of Gandhi. The activists of Dalit movement adopted the same philosophy against the upper castes and are still found boiling in the anger generated by their messiah Ambedkar. Taking advantage of the violent landscape, which started emerging since the closing decades of twentieth century, the followers of Ambedkar adopted the sole agenda to create social disorder and capture power. In both the situations, the process of social transformation in Hindu society, which took off in positive direction just after independence got disturbed.

To understand the multi dimensional direction of the Dalit movement, we may briefly look into the difference between Gandhi and Ambedkar on this issue. During the first Round Table Conference, when Ambedkar favoured the move of the British Government to provide separate electorate for the oppressed classes, Gandhi strongly opposed it on the plea that the move would disintegrate the Hindu society. He went for an indefinite hunger strike from September 20, 1932 against the decision of the then British Prime Minister J.Ramsay MacDonald granting communal award to the depressed classes in the constitution for governance of British India.

In view of the mass upsurge generated in the country to save the life of Gandhi, Ambedkar was compelled to soften his stand. A compromise between the leaders of caste Hindu and the depressed classes was reached on September 24,1932, popularly known as Poona Pact. The resolution announced in a public meeting on September 25 in Bombay confirmed -" henceforth, amongst Hindus no one shall be regarded as an untouchable by reason of his birth and they will have the same rights in all the social institutions as the other Hindus have". This landmark resolution in the history of the Dalit movement in India subsequently formed the basis for giving due share to Dalits in the political empowerment of Indian people in a democratic Indian polity.

Even though Ambedkar was a party to Poona Pact, he was never reconciled to it. His contempt against Gandhi, which continued even after his assassination on January 30,1948. On the death of Gandhi he expressed, "My real enemy has gone, thank goodness the eclipse is over". He equated the assassination of Gandhi with that of Caesar and the remark of Cicero to the messenger - "Tell the Romans, your hour of liberty has come". He further remarked, "While one regrets the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, one cannot help finding in his heart the echo of the sentiments expressed by Cicero on the assassination of Caesar". Considering Gandhi as a "positive danger to this country", he quoted from Bible that "sometime good cometh out of evil, so also I think good will come out of the death of Mr. Gandhi" ( Gandhi and Ambedkar - Saviours of Untouchables by Sheshrao Chavan. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan publication 2001, page 263-64).

The reaction of Ambedkar over the death of Gandhi may be viewed as a politics of negation for vengeance against the caste Hindus and also for political power for Dalits. He felt, "the problem of depressed classes will never be solved unless they get political power in their own hand" (Thus spoke Ambedkar by Bhagwan Das). He however, did not clarify as to how in a democratic polity of pluralistic society, Dalits would be the sole custodians of power.

Post Ambedkar Dalit Movement: The post-Gandhian and post-Ambedkar Dalit activists re-invented the direction of their movement, which was by and large focussed towards developing the negative ideas in a dark room. They are yet to take the next step to focus their negatives in light for positive prints. In the absence of a scientific endeavour their movement lags in its march towards social reform, as it has more or less become a platform for the political empowerment of some individuals for their personal ambitions and vested interests. This is not only against the concept of equalitarian Hindu sociology of Vedic India but also against the concept of democracy.

The present clash for Dalit leadership has confirmed the theory of C.Rajagopalachari that many Dalit leaders are interested for continuance of the undesirable status of Dalits for the fulfillment of their personal ambitions. Disagreeing with Ambedkar on Dalits issue he said, "…This is material explanation for the violent dislike of Gandhiji exhibited by Dr. Ambedkar, who looks upon this great and inspired reformer as the enemy of the untouchables, meaning thereby of the educated and ambitious among them who find that the depressed status furnishes short cut to position".( "Ambedkar Refuted"page 33, Hind Kitab Publishers: Bombay 1946)

It may be partially true that political empowerment is key to social and economic empowerment as suggested by Ambedkar but this cannot be the sole criteria for the social equality of Dalits. The representatives (122 -76 SC and 46 ST in parliament against its strength of 543 and 1085 -556 SC and 529 ST in state assemblies against their strength of 4370) of Dalits in parliament and state assemblies in sizeable strength have been sharing political power for last fifty years. But if they have failed to bring a desired social change and economic upliftment of Dalits, there is something wrong in the movement, which is yet to be identified. The students of the constituting history have therefore, a right to know from Dalit activists the reason behind the failure of their representatives sharing political power.

One may be amused to understand that how only160 Dalit delegates under the umbrella of National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights in WCAR would have fought for the cause of Dalits in India if the representatives of Dalits sharing political power could not assert and agitate for the cause of their community? An objective analysis of the prevailing social condition and sentiments in India may corroborate the theory of C.Rajagopalachari that Dalit movement has become a vehicle to promote the personal interest of some individuals or groups.

The Dalits despite empowerment are not a political force – why?: In the absence of an All India mind with a cohesive and unified perspective, Dalit movement has also failed to emerge as a strong political force. Dalits are divided into hundreds of castes and sub-castes. About 56 percent of Dalit population belong to about 20 dominant castes among them. These dominant castes are presently grabbing all the privileges provided to the Dalits constitutionally. Even Dr.Ambedkar failed to give an intellectual explanation to unify them together, as a result, his political influence during his life time also remained confined to only Mahar caste of his community in the Maharashtra region.

Dalit activists, due to lack of actual ideological direction are not clear whether they are interested to ensure the material prosperity of Dalits or equal status in Hindu social order. Untouchability has almost disappeared, as touch of Dalit is no more considered to have any polluting affect on caste Hindus. However, so long the Dalits enjoy the benefits of reservation in Government jobs and admission in academic institutions, they may have to bear the stigma of being considered unequal in merit to the caste Hindus. The objective of Dalit movements should be therefore, to erase such stigma, which is possible only if Dalits get a chance for their proper education befitting to the standard required for competitions.

Vested interests in Command: Contrary to the objective of the movement discussed above, the managers of Dalit movement due to their vested interest do not want their people to be cleansed from the stigma of reservation and the agony of their past humiliation of being treated as untouchables. In stead of fighting for transformation of the Hindu social order, they are found more interested to promote themselves as Esperanto of United Nations politics. With weapon of hate, they are neither able to fight against the social inequality and injustice effectively nor in a position to contribute any significant social change.

In stead of looking on the growing consciousness among the educated caste Hindus against the social evil of caste discrimination against Dalits and appreciating this positive change, the Dalit activists ignore and understate the development. Their sole aim is now pointed towards personal ambitions at the cost of their community. This has created a new class of Brahmins among the Dalits, who are now exploiting the actual Dalits by grabbing the benefits meant for the latter. This may look like a paradox, but it is the hard reality.

The on going Dalit movement is gradually losing its track. Its multi-dimensional character based on the philosophy of love and hate is unfortunately turned into political theocracy, which is contrary to the basic concept of the total transformation of Hindu social order. Inciting the Dalits against the caste Hindus for historical agony without any honest effort for their emotional integration with rest of the Hindu social order is neither in the interest of this disadvantaged section of population nor in the interest of the nation.

The shrinking influence of the so called Brahminsm in electoral politics, social transformation, spiritual movement, or even other public affairs are enough indications of gradual changes in Hindu sociology. Dalit movements with a view to create social disorder by promoting caste hatred against the upper castes of ancient Varnashram system will simply halt the process of the on going social transformation. With their political empowerment by occupying the post of President, Union Cabinet ministers, Chief ministers, and bureaucrats, Dalits are gradually getting more opportunities for achieving social empowerment under democratic process. By gaining more confidence, Dalits are now found to be quite assertive of their rights. This however, does not mean that they have been acceptable in community dining or inter-caste marriage, which is not even prevalent within the various Dalit castes.

The objective of any social reform movement is to ensure a peaceful, decent and dignified life for every body without any social confrontation. But, unfortunately the Dalit activists are so obsessed and possessive in their approach towards the historical agony of their community that they have made the latter as prisoners of Dalitism, which hardly has any constructive plan for creation of a just social order. Their slogan for abolition of Varnashram (professional units) system and total abolition of caste is an utopian concept, which will never take root in the diverse and pluralistic Indian society.

Casteism is the bane of Indian society but the Indian people accept caste as a hard reality. Even the Christians and Muslims boast themselves of their upper caste heritage. In South India even Christians are maintaining visible distance from the Dalit Chritians as the latter continue to have separate church, separate burial ground and even separate places for social interactions. Similarly, even Muslims in India and Pakistan there is no inter- caste marriage among the Sheiks, Syed, Paithan and others because of their upper caste heritage before conversion.

The three Dalits groups and their separate agenda: As far as the present Dalit movement is concerned, it is in the hands of three vested interest groups of Dalit politicians, Dalt writers and Chrisian missionaries. Dalit political leaders like Kansi Ram and Ms Mayawati of Bahujan Samaj Party and Ram Vilas Paswan of Lok Jana Shakti are having their influence exclusively among the members of their own community. They can never come to power on their own due to their limited influence among the voters. For coming to power they are compelled to join some other parties dominated by caste Hindus. They are therefore, hardly in a position to bring any social change.

The second group, which claims to be the champion for the cause of Dalits is of Dalit writers. Their personal ambition and ego have kept them away from the common Dalits, who are illiterate and poor. They are more interested in their self-promotion than serving the cause of their community. Their possessiveness is often mistaken as love for Dalits. Since they do not get enough space in media to spit venom against the caste Hindus and are hardly in a position to play an effective role in electoral politics, they are always in search of the forces through which they could get national and international recognition. They have therefore, joined hand with forces (third group) determined to disintegrate the Hindu society.

The interest of the third group in Dalit movement is to de-Hinduise the Dalits and promote their proselytisational endeavour. The argument of this group that Christian society does not have any caste discrimination is not based on ground reality. The Dalit Christians are facing the problem of caste discrimination even in Christian society. Such discrimination is prevalent in Kerala even after the death of Dalit Christians, whose corpses do not find any place in the cemetery meant for upper caste convert Christians. T.V.Rajshekhar, a Dalit writer, while speaking in a seminar (Church and Dalit) organised by Christian leaders in Madras on June 14, 1986 said that Dalit Christians form about 80 percent Christian population in India but contrary to what Jesus Christ preached, the Dalit Christians are also the victim of caste discrimination as they have separate burial ground, separate churches and separate dwelling places.

Ever since the promulgation of presidential order No 19 of 1950 debarring the Dalits of non-Hindu and non-Sikh community to be included in the list of Scheduled castes, the Christian missionaries have been facing difficulty in alluring the Hindu Dalits for their conversion. For this they have already launched a movement for constitutional privileges for Dalit Christians. If they succeed in alienating the Dalits from Hindu social order, the entire Dalit community will get the benefit of constitutional provisions and it will help them in their mission for proselytisation.

Indian Social Institute(ISI), a Roman Catholic Mission outfit organised a meeting on "Durban and Dalit Discourse: Post Durban Scenario" on September 20. The meeting was organised with a view to forming a "broad alliance of disadvantaged section of society to battle the status quo that would prefer to keep them on the periphery of the country's social structure" (Hindu dated September 24). The move of the institute is to internationalise the issue. Had it not been so, it should first cleanse the Christian society in Kerala. In fact the Christian missionaries are also facing a dilemma of the isolation of Dalits from the affluent sections of the community. Dr. Prakash Luis, Executive Director of ISI said, "There is a sense of vertical divide within the community between the socially mobile 'Brahmanical Dalits' and the real Dalits among Dalits".

Conclusion: In the backdrop of the dialectics of Dalit movements, it appears that the Dalits have now become the victims of the politics of Dalitism being played by various groups. Instead of fighting the evils of caste discrimination in Hindu society, the Dalit movement has given birth to neo Dalitism, which hardly has any difference with the polluted Brahmanism.

The movement, which does not have the ingredients to bring about reconciliation among conflicting social groups and fails to accelerate the process of social harmony and human dignity, is bound to lose real direction. Dalits should therefore be very careful about the politics of Dalitism being played by vested interests not only at the cost of the disadvantaged community but also at the cost of social harmony, which is more dangerous for the nation.

(The analysis in the paper is based on the personal perception of the writer. E-mail:

Editor Vigilonline adds:

8. ‘Dalits’, Bleeding heart evangelical Christians, and White Christian States – shameless double standards Christian missionaries, brown and white, stage-managed the Indian performance in Durban 2001 when they got Martin Macwan to equate caste with racism. Caste derives from Latin ‘casta’ which means race or breed. 16th century Portuguese traders first used the word ‘casta’ to denote Jaati, varna and kula – all of which Hindu concepts have specific meanings and purpose; and none of these Hindu social ordering/organizing principles mention an ‘untouchable’ sect. But this historical truth is of no consequence to this anti-Hindu coterie which has made repeat-the-lie-until-it-seems-true, the leitmotif of all their activism. Equating the practice of untouchability, a later-day evil and ossified social practice with caste or with ‘jaati, kula and varna’ was a deliberate and calculated White/colonial/Christian ploy to defame, tarnish and eventually fragment traditional Hindu social structures.

Without going into details of how enlightened Hindus have dealt with the unconscionable practice of untouchability, let us audit the record of the Church in India with regard to the dalits.

The dalits or ‘harijans’ as Gandhiji called them, constitute 15% of the total Indian population and 20% of the Hindu population. As per the 2001 census, there are 24.20 million Christians in India out of which the Christians of South India constitute 12.5 million, more than half the total Christian population of India, and those of the North-east, 5.4 million. The total population of Tamil Nadu Christians is 3.8 million, Karnataka one million, Kerala 6 million, Andhra Pradesh 1.2 million and Goa 0.4 million. Dalits constitute 65% of the total South Indian Christian population. Some Christian groups even claim that dalits constitute 70% of the Christians of Tamil Nadu. But the secular intellectuals of this country and the US State Department, who screech that religious freedom includes the right of Christian missionaries to convert Hindus, have not cared to answer the pertinent question, “what is the attitude of the Church and its Hierarchy to social empowerment of dalit Christians within the community given the high percentage of the dalits and tribals in the total Christian population and the power-sharing equation in the Christian hierarchy between the priests belonging to the upper castes and the dalits?”

As per the data currently available on the Catholic Bishops Conference of India website,

The CBCI has over 200 members-bishops from the Latin, Syro-Malabar and the Syro-Malankara ecclesial traditions in the country among whom are 155 heads of the dioceses, of whom there are 3 cardinals, 29 Archbishops and 123 bishops. There are 2 co-adjutor bishops (one of whom is a co-adjutor Archbishop), 12 auxiliary bishops and 36 retired bishops.

A squeamish media and dishonest activists taking up the cause of dalits in Durban, in the US State Department and in the European Parliament have never summoned the courage to ask the Catholic Church to make public the number of dalit and tribal Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals in their fold. Except for Goa and Kerala, in the rest of India, dalits and tribals constitute the major percentage of Christians and yet the Christians who claim that the dalits are voluntarily converting to the Christian faith to end discrimination and to empower themselves, have not told us how many dalits and tribals have been elevated to the highest positions of Bishops, Vicars-general, priests, Directors, Professors in seminaries, and surgeons and Heads of Departments in their hospitals and medical colleges. The Christian community has not told us if their premier educational institutions reserve 30% of their seats for dalit Christian students, if at least 30% reservation is maintained in the recruitment of dalit teachers and professors in St.Stephens, in New Delhi, in Loyola College in Chennai and in Christian Medical College, Vellore. What is the power-sharing equation of the positions held by upper-caste and dalit Christians in the schools, colleges and hospitals run by the Christian missionaries in this country? How many dalit or tribal Christians have risen to the highest positions in these Christian social, educational and religious organizations? Unasked and unanswered questions, these. Anti-Hindu activists working for the ‘dalit cause’ have not dared to address themselves to this question.

Let us see what one of the highest-ranking members of the Vatican Hierarchy has to say in this regard.

Archbishop George Zus, apostolic pro-nuncio to India addressed the Catholic Bishops’ Council in December 1991, in Pune. In his inaugural address to the catholic Bishops, he stated, “The dalit Christians make 65% of the ten million Christians in the South, but less than 4% of the parishes are entrusted to dalit priests. There are no dalits among the 13 Catholic Bishops’ Council of Tamil Nadu or among he Vicars-general and the Rectors of seminaries and Directors of social assistance centres”. (Dalits in India by John Massey, Manohar Publications, New-Delhi, 1995, page 82.) John Massey is a Punjabi dalit Christian. The secular intellectual establishment and the Christian community it seems is ignorant about this simmering discontent among the dalits who converted to the Christian faith hoping to be empowered. And yet, the dalits still within the Hindu fold have risen to the highest positions in all walks of life including to the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Sadly, little has changed in 2006 for the dalits within the Christian fold.

Much noise is also made about the despicable practice of untouchability which is placed at the door of Hindu dharma even though there is no religious sanction for it in the religious content of our traditions. Be that as it may but untouchability is not the only form of discrimination faced by the dalits. There are other forms of discrimination too and as shown above, these concern their positions in the Christian institutions and also their marriage practices.

What is the percentage of inter-caste marriages among the Christians belonging to the upper-castes and how many of the upper-caste converts to Christianity have married into families of the dalit Christians? How many upper-caste Christians will accept the holy water from a dalit Christian priest, if any, and in how many churches and cemeteries have walls been erected to separate the upper-caste laity from the dalits, in life as in death? If dalits are indeed converting to Christianity, not because of force, allurement or coercion, but voluntarily to empower themselves, to end discrimination and to improve the quality of their lives, then it is relevant to ask our editorialists and human rights activists, how many have indeed been so ‘empowered’ in Christian institutions and organizations and if social discrimination of the dalits within Christianity has indeed ended.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Yet another partition?

Rai Singh

Going down memory lane, I recall Muslim League youth in Lahore shouting their heads off with the slogan, "Lad ke liya Pakistan, hans ke lenge Hindustan" (We fought for Pakistan, but India we will conquer with a smile). This slogan was popular during 1946-48 not only in Lahore but in various cities and towns of India as well.

The Muslim Leaque was the political organisation behind the mobilisation and Mohammad Ali Jinnah was its leader. Of course, Chaudhary Rehmat Ali was the Cambridge scholar who coined the word 'Pakistan', but it was Jinnah who gave it a tangible shape. No doubt the contributions made by Sir Sikander Hayat Khan, Shaukat Hayat Khan, Sadullah and Suhrawardy and many other Muslims cannot be denied either in the building of Pakistan. This was what the Muslims of India had then contributed, but at present it is the non-Muslims - especially the Hindus and Sikhs - who are contributing towards yet another partition of India, although the Minister for Minority Affairs is none other than the old Congressman Abdul Rehman Antulay.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has begun the process by appointing Justice Rajinder Sachar as the head of the Committee on the Social, Economic and Educational status of Muslims of India. One presumes, Mr Singh is equally aware of the deplorable conditions of other communitites too, but I cannot understand why he, or at whose instance he has earmarked the Muslim community alone for special consideration. On the face of it, this is an obvious communal approach that is against all canons of fair play and justice. What is the motive behind it? The obvious conclusion is that India is being prepared for another partition, much worse than the one in 1947.

The committee, headed by retired Justice Sachar, is in the eye of a raging storm over its attempt to gather information about the number and ranks of Muslims in the defence forces by writing directly to the service chiefs.

As Mr Kanchan Gupta's article, "Muslim quota 'a must' in all jobs, schools (February 26) shows Muslims have also petitioned the Sachar Committee to recommend that "affirmative action should be taken for binding the representation of Muslims in the police force at par with their population in every State". In other words, they have demanded proportionate representation in the police through the quota route.

The committee has also listed the demand that "there should be minority cells in the UPSC, AICT, CBSE, IITs, etc". Elsewhere, it says, "Reservation (for Muslims) in jobs and educational institutions is a must... Clear instruction should be given by the Governments to the Public Service Commissions and all others. Rules of Procedure should not preempt the policy of reservation given to Muslims."

The note lists several demands for proportionate representation of Muslims in politics through either reservation or nominations: "Muslims should be nominated, like Anglo-Indians, to Parliament, Assemblies and municipal bodies, wherever their representation falls short of their population percentage. Autonomous councils should have Muslim nominees."

The demand for proportionate representation reminds one of the pre-Partition claim put forward by Agha Khan and Jinnah. It also reminds the great danger to the polity of India inherent in the new plan for another Partition of the country. Should India continue to suffer one tragedy after another even after conceding to the formation of Pakistan?

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Cong plays minority game in Assam

Sunday , March 19, 2006 at 10:22

New Delhi: It's the fear of losing the Muslim vote bank, but the Congress calls it a commitment to secularism. The party has alloted almost 40 per cent of the seats to Muslim candidates in the upcoming elections in Assam.

A worried Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi spoke to Sonia Gandhi last week. He fears that Congress' traditional votebank, the Muslims, may not vote for his party and he may not be able to retain his seat in the upcoming Assembly Polls.

This had led the Congress to give more tickets to Muslims than it has done in any other state outside of Jammu and Kashmir.

Of the Congress list of 120 names, as many as 31 are Muslims, which is a 38 per cent of the total seats. Last time, in 2001, the party gave 30 per cent of seats to Muslims.

While the Congress terms it as a development, but it is obviously minority vote bank politics what they are looking at.

Earlier, the Union Cabinet, had approved the Foreign Amendment Act, wherein the onus of proving the nationality of immigrants, largely Bangladeshis lies on the complainant.

This again is seen as an attempt to win the Muslim vote. The party, however, claims that it's not religion, but "winnability" of candidates which is the factor they are looking at.

Union Tourism and Culture Minister and Congress General Secretary, Ambika Soni, says, "We have to take everyone along but the party is commiitted to secular polity."

But the Assam list could be a pointer to the future. Minority Affairs Minister AR Antulay indicates that the party is keen to show the minorities that it wants them to be part of the power cake.

This is one reason why even in Kerala and West Bengal, the Congress could field more Muslims that in previous elections.

But will it help? For example, in Uttar Pradesh, a Muslim Pradesh Congress Commitee Chief has not necessarily brought the Muslims back to the Congress fold.

So, is the Congress offering the minority mere assurances or real development opportunities? For now, all it can see is the ballot.

(Pallavi Ghosh and Deborshi Chaki)


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Madani and India's secularists

The Pioneer

At around 10 in the night of September 8, 2005, an act of comic terrorism took place in Ernakulam, Kerala. A Tamil Nadu State Corporation bus running on inter-State route was boarded by five men armed with handguns and knives. They were raising slogans for the release of a dreaded terrorist from Kerala lodged in a jail in Tamil Nadu. Panic-stricken passengers were forced out before the hijackers doused the vehicle with petrol and set it aflame. But even this surreal night could not have prepare us for the ultimate surprise that came on March 15 last.

The Kerala Assembly, meeting at a special session on Holi, passed a unanimous resolution calling for setting free the same Islamist extremist on parole. We are speaking about Abdul Nasser Madani, the alleged mastermind of serial blasts in Coimbatore on February 14, 1998, in which 58 people lost their lives.

In recent past, we have seen how anti-Mohammad cartoons or anti-Bush rallies by Muslims degenerated into anti-Hindu assaults. More shocking was how the special session of Kerala Assembly convened to discuss Kerala's dispute with Tamil Nadu over Mullaperriyar dam degenerated into an appeal for freeing Madani on parole.

The resolution moved by Water Resources Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan urged the Union Government to "intervene on humanitarian grounds in case of Madani, languishing under trial in Coimbatore Central Jail for last seven years".

In Kerala Assembly, where the BJP's has no presence, it found unanimous support from all 'secularists' - the Congress and the Left. The members of 'most-secularly named party', the Indian Union Muslim League, part of ruling dispensation at Centre and State, were not to be missed either.

In this pre-election season 'secularists' are prepared to evoke the name of Osama bin Laden if it translates into few more Muslim votes. Remember how Mr Ram Vilas Paswan campaigned with an Osama bin-Laden look-alike during the Bihar election, and who was later hired by Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav?

This is not the first instance when Madani's release has been demanded on "humanitarian grounds". It might be shocking to learn that all major political parties, barring the BJP, had asked for the release of Madani in past. Accroding to another report, when President Abdul Kalam visited Kerala last year more than 100 out of 142 Kerala MLAs signed a joint petition to that effect.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had taken up the issue with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. Persistent demands came from minority (read Muslims) rights group, and "human rights" groups who had asked for Madani's release. Such "secular" demands are the privilege of the likes of Madani and SAR Geelani, not Manjit Singh (as Sarabjit Singh is known as in Pakistan caught in a case of mistaken identity) who has been awarded the death sentence by a Pakistan High Court. It seems Madani is an illustrious son of Kerala! Let us see his credentials.

Abdul Madani, who hails from Kollam district, formed the radical outfit Islamic Sewak Sangh (ISS) in 1990 to capitalise upon Muslim opposition to Ram Janmabhoomi movement. He delivered many communally impassioned speeches, which also landed him in a soup. He disbanded ISS a day before several Hindu and Muslim outfits were banned, by the PV Narasimha Rao Government after the demolition.

But soon he floated the PDP before losing his one leg in a bomb blast. The Coimbatore blasts were attributed to Al Ummah, Muslim fundamentalist organisation that has its base in Kottaimedu, a predominantly Muslim area in Coimbatore. Then the investigations of Tamil Nadu's special investigation team revealed the alleged role of Madani.

The police suspected that during the 1990s, Madani aided by Pakistan's ISI, built a network of Islamic militants in south India. The intelligence agencies claim that they have conclusive proof that Madani arranged training of several Al Ummah operatives in Pakistan.

The prime target of the deadly blasts in Coimbatore was actually Mr LK Advani. Mr Advani's tight schedule delayed his arrival in Coimbatore, which led to his providential escape. Some bomb devices, like the one abandoned car laden with 70-kg of explosives, at East Lokmanya Street near RS Puram, where his rally was schedule, failed to explode.

The Dark memories of the Coimbatore serial blasts, Islam's Valentine Day gift, was revived in public memory after Islam's Diwali and Holi gifts as serial blasts in Delhi and Varanasi respectively. But the Kerala Assembly has surpassed even Islamists with its "election season appeasement gift" to Muslims by calling for the release of Madani, Kerala's Taimur Lang.

The demand for Madani's release, unfortunately reported by a narrow section of the media, has already become a 'secular' embarrassment. A highly popular 'secular' national daily pointed out in its editorial that Madani's reputation as an extremist preceded Coimbatore case, and he has been known for inflammatory speeches and communal statements.

The editorial further observed, "Had the Assembly claimed that Madani was innocent and wrongly incarcerated, it would have been understandable. But calling for the parole of a person charged with terrorism is nothing but crass opportunism and amounts to - however leery we may be about the term - minority appeasement."

It was in the same vein that Andhra Pradesh Assembly, where Congress has a sweeping majority, passed a resolution condemning Jyllands-Posten cartoons on Prophet Mohammad. But for a BJP suggestion that MF Husain's vulgar portrayal of Bharat Mata be also condemned, was turned down. The UPA Government had also bypassed Bharat Mata issue in Parliament, but for dogged resistance of BJP members, while condemning the cartoons.

The UPA Government and its allies displayed utter insensitivity to Mother India. Now, within a month, it has gone to the extent of espousing the cause of a terrorist who stained her apparel with blood. To cope up with this errant brand of secularism, the UPA Government might one day well impose Sharia'h! Indeed, this appears to be the logical conclusion of events that secularism can precipitate but can't control.

Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, trounced in the Bihar election, had promised a Muslim Chief Minister although he had no suitable candidate for the post in his party. Now the CPI(M) in Kerala is projecting a Muslim face for Chief Minister, Mr Paloli Mohammed Kutty, the even when his well-wishers do not credit him with such a profile. If anything is providing a check to it, it is the fear of alienating the numerically strong Ezhava community.

Yet such false bravado of secularists will, nonetheless, still fail to impress the Muslims. No wonder Syed Ahmed Bukhari has called upon Muslims from all political parties to come under one umbrella in order to consolidate their voting power so that they can have greater bargaining power. According to Bukhari, it is malicious to link Muslims with the Varanasi bomb blasts, and Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav is a liar when he says that the person gunned down in Lucknow was a terrorist. He gives no credit to Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav for providing general security of life and property to Muslims in Bihar, as it is the duty of any government.

As to looting of Hindu shops in Hyderabad and Lucknow by Muslim mobs, Mr Yadav is purposefully silent. He does not lash out at Muslims for violence in Lucknow and Hyderabad, but he compliments Hindus for maintaining calm in Varanasi. This proves, although not for the first time, that although secularism might have a weakness for Islam, the reverse is not true.

The Islamist consolidation will become an albatross, round the neck of Indian secularists. At that time it will have no option other than to fall back on the Hindu majority, whose pluralistic ethos has guaranteed that India remains a pluralist democracy.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Appeasement policy would lead to disintegration of nation: Rajnath Singh

3/22/2006 12:31:37 AM Mahadev

The minority appeasement policy of the Congress-led government at the Centre and the state would only lead to the disintegration of the country, the BJP National President, Mr Rajnath Singh.

Addressing a BJP public meeting in Palakkad, he said that the party was committed to fight this appeasement. The Central government has been playing the communal game even in the defence forces by resorting to headcount on the basis of religion.

In fact, secularism is not appeasement of any religion as practised by the Congress and Left parties but it is treating all religions alike, he said.

Citing the recent blasts in Kozhikode and Varanasi, the BJP leader said that the Muslim appeasement policy had led to a spurt in terrorist activities in the country.

He charged that the UPA government in New Delhi had failed to act in the case of Maniappan, a soldier of the BRO who was killed in Afghanistan by militants, but acted swiftly and effectively in the case of release of Naushad from Saudi Arabia.

Fearing loss of Muslim votes both the LDF and UDF did not come forward for any tie-up with BJP in the Palakkad Municipal Council, he said adding “time is ripe and conditions favourable for the BJP to make it to the State Assembly”.

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A stealth dilution of democracy in India

Sudhir Chadda
Mar. 22, 2006

It is stealth move. A very shrewd move by those who know their term in power is coming to an end. Indian democracy as we know is in jeopardy. What all Indians are proud about is again in jeopardy in the hands of Congress party of India. The democracy and freedom of speech is slowly but certainly being taken away.

The agitated Opposition members also demanded the removal of Election Commissioner Navin Chawla citing Shah Commission's findings and alleging he was "unfit" to hold any public office on account of "misuse of power" during Emergency.

The Opposition members waved copies of a newspaper report which said the Government had finalised a draft Ordinance to amend the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959.

The Act provided for exemption of a fresh batch of offices including that of the National Advisory Council Chairman, a post being held by Sonia Gandhi, from the purview of the office of profit.

One third of French say they are racist

Wednesday, 22 March , 2006, 20:21

Paris: One third of French people say they are racist, a French human rights watchdog said on Tuesday, after a survey that showed an increase from last year in the number of people who acknowledged being racist.

Some 33 percent of 1,011 people surveyed face-to-face by pollsters CSA said they were "somewhat" or "a little" racist, up 8 percentage points from last year, according to an annual report by the National Consultative Commission for Human Rights.

The poll asked the question "When it comes to you personally, would you say you are ..." followed by a list of options: somewhat racist, a bit racist, not racist, not very racist, not racist at all and don't want to say.

The poll revealed deep economic and social anxiety, Joel Thoraval, the commission's president, said in a statement released to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

"Despite the efforts deployed to fight racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia there is still a long way to go," he said.

The report, presented to Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, was conducted from November 17-22, 2005, immediately after several weeks of rioting in poor suburbs around the country.

Thousands of cars were torched by youths who said they faced discrimination, police harassment and lack of access to jobs. Youth unemployment rises to 50 percent in some poor urban areas.


France does not keep official statistics on the number of people belonging to ethnic groups, arguing that to do so would undermine social cohesion and go against its republican ideals.

France has Europe's largest Jewish and Muslim minorities with about 600,000 Jews and 5 million Muslims, mainly of north African origin.

Asked about their main fears for French society 27 percent listed unemployment. Insecurity and poverty were cited by 16 and 11 percent respectively as their primary concern.

Right-wing politician Jean-Marie Le Pen stunned France when he came second in the first round of presidential elections in 2002 against President Jacques Chirac, espousing policies that included a tough line on foreigners.

The French League of Human Rights said in a press release that politicians trivialised racism and associated petty crime, economic crisis and housing shortages with an excessive number of foreigners.

The number of violent racist or xenophobic acts reported to the authorities fell to 88 in 2005 from 169 in 2004, partly because of a sharp drop in Corsica, which accounted for almost half of all such acts in 2004, the commission's report said.

But the number of threats reported fell at a slower rate, to 382 in 2005 from 461 in 2004, the commission said.

Separately, Europe's top human rights body, the Council of Europe, issued a region-wide call for vigilance against the spread of discrimination, hate speech and stereotyping across different forms of media.


Acquire land for Guruvayur Temple: High court

3/22/2006 12:29:49 AM Mahadev

The Kerala High Court has declined to review its direction to the state government to acquire land around the Guruvayur temple within 25 metres from the outer wall of the temple for its safety and future development.

Dismissing the review petition filed by the government, the Division Bench consisting of Justice S Sankarasubban and Justice K K Dinesan, held that there was no sufficient cause to condone the delay of 643 days in filing it.

Over a decade ago, a division bench on a public interest writ petition filed by one Mr C K Rajan directed the devaswom to acquire the land within 100 metres from the outer wall of the temple for its safety and future development. A committee constituted by the state government in this connection in Feb 1997 recommended acquisition of land within 25 metres for the immediate development of the temple.

Later, the government came out ordering that land within 10 metres of the temple wall alone should be acquired and this was challenged by the Guruvayur Devaswom Employees Association. The Court quashed the government order and directed it to complete acquisition within 25 metres within a period of two months, which was also upheld by the Supreme Court.

Thai man killed for destroying Brahma statue

2006-03-22 Published by Hinduism Today Gathered by Hindu Press International

BANGKOK, THAILAND, March 21, 2006: A mentally-ill Muslim smashed a landmark Hindu statue in central Bangkok which was worshipped by people of many religions and was then beaten to death, police said on Tuesday. Thanakorn Pakdeepol broke into the shrine housing the four-faced Deity statue of Brahma, venerated by Hindus as the creator and to whom people prayed for anything from a child to winning the lottery, in the early hours of the morning, they said. He then used a hammer to smash the statue, which has drawn tourists from around Asia to the shrine beside the five star Erawan hotel, where U.S. President George W. Bush stayed during a state visit in 2003. "After a scream from a street vendor shouting our father was destroyed, I saw three or four men arresting that man and beating him up," taxi driver Somyos Srikamsuk told Channel 3 television. "He was unconscious, but still alive when police got there." Two cleaners of the shrine were arrested and charged with murder, Police Colonel Supisan Pakdeenarunart told the television station. Thanakorn, 27, had been in and out of mental hospitals over the past 10 years, said his father, Sayan.

People who believed the statue had granted their wishes offer gifts, with carved wooden elephants the most popular, and pay for Thai classical dances, making the shrine a lively spot. (Click here for Hinduism Today's report on Thailand which includes a description of this shrine.) A sign at the shrine says it was built 50 years ago to protect the Erawan hotel because the foundation stone was laid on an inauspicious day. Police cordoned off the shrine compound with yellow tape and the statue itself was draped in white sheets. Offerings of yellow garlands and lotus flowers lay nearby. Dozens of people gathered on the pavement, clasping their hands in silent prayer and lighting incense sticks and candles. "This is so sad. It cannot be good luck," said tourist San Trinh, a 50-year-old Cambodian living in California. He visited the shrine a few years ago after his sister had been denied permission twice to visit the United States. But after he made offerings at the shrine, she was granted a visa. "Many people really believe in this place," he told Reuters.


UPA an appeasement platform

2006-03-21 Published by The Hindu Gathered by Special Correspondent

Tuesday, Mar 21, 2006

CHENNAI: The Bharatiya Janata Party's "yatra" programme was to create greater public awareness on "minority appeasement" of the United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre and the "upward trend" of activities of terrorists, the party president Rajnath Singh said on Monday.

To a query on whether the programme was to revive the image of the party, the party president told the media that it was not so. "We had organised such yatras earlier. We have a good image."

Asked why two separate "yatras" were being taken out instead of one as in the past, Mr. Singh replied that given the size of the country, it was not possible for one leader to cover the length and breadth of the nation. Besides, as the programme is to be carried out during summer, it was decided that the two leaders should tour the country.

Describing the UPA as the "United Platform of Appeasement," Mr. Singh referred to the Centre's proposal to include in the Foreigners' Act the provisions of the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983, which had been scrapped by the Supreme Court. "It has once again been proved that in its pursuit of vote-bank politics, the Congress has no hesitation to bring even national security under threat," he said.

Referring to the Kerala Assembly's resolution urging the Union Government to intervene on "humanitarian grounds" in the case of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader Abdul Nasir Maudany, the BJP leader assailed the Congress and the Left for joining hands in this regard. "People of this country are shocked and agitated over this issue as it is nothing but perversion in the name of secularism," he said.

Asked about the party's poll strategy in Tamil Nadu, the BJP president reiterated the party's position of going it alone. The party was not exploring any alliance.


Uma’s new party will have “Hindutva” ideology

By Pankaj Yadav, New Delhi:

Uma Bharti, the expelled BJP leader, today said that the ideology of her new political party would focus on the “true Hindutva”, wherein nothing would be compromised if it came to national interests.

Citing reasons for throwing a gauntlet at the BJP leadership, she said that the party never entertained the real mass leaders and allowed “political managers” to occupy front seats. One by one, leaders having grass roots image were “sidelined ” in the BJP, she added.

Calling for the introduction of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), and the construction of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya, she said that these issues had remained on the BJP agenda since 1980, but the party didn’t have the courage to fulfil the promises made before the public. “Perhaps, I will be able to fulfil these promises,” she added.

“When the Kanchi Shankaracharya Sri Jayendra Saraswathi can be jailed in Tamil Nadu as per the law of the land, so can the Imam of Jama Masjid, Ahmed Bukhari when he called for his arrest after tearing the Indian Constitution into pieces,” said Bharti.

Calling leaders of the former NDA Government “cowards” for not initiating action against the Imam, she said - “This is not the way the country can be ruled. I want no nonsense from the people belonging to the Muslims, Christian or other communities. They have to respect the sanctity of the Hindus because this is a Hindu rashtra.”

Uma also sang the “secular” tune. “In our country there are leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad Yadav, who have such big hearts that they talk of accommodating the minority communities in the country, only because they believe in real Hinduism,” she said while speaking at an impressive public rally held at the historic Ram Lila Grounds.

Joining Uma at the rally were some “secular” leaders from Uttar Pradesh like Swarni Singh of the Rashtriya Apna Dal and Indian National Lok Dal’s (INLD) Chautala brothers – Ajay and Abhay. Claiming their “full support” for her new venture, she said: “I have spoken to all these leaders and they have imposed full faith in my endeavour.”

She said as Atal Bihari Vajpayee had formed the BJP in 1980 out of the Jan Sangh, similarly she would be forming a new party (which she is yet to christen) “because the true leader of the masses were facing suffocated in the BJP”.

She said that the name of her party would be announced on April 30 in Chitrakoot, Varanasi. “I am seeking legal opinion about the symbol and the name of my party. On April 30 it would be placed before you wrapped in saffron,” she said.

She asked former Delhi Chief Minister Madan Lal Khurana, who has been suspended from the party, and Sanghpriya Gautam, who is still in BJP, to convey to Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani that she had parted from them. Both Khurana and Gautam were present on the dais when this statement was made.

Comparing herself with “Yog Maya” the eighth daughter of Deviki whom Kansa couldn’t eliminate, she said that the BJP leadership tried to clip her wings too, but she revolted and this led to her expulsion.

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