Last updateFri, 23 Jun 2017 9am

Ridiculing Hindu gods and deities is easier and safer

Ridiculing Hindu gods

The recent comments by Prashant Bhushan about Lord Krishna have enraged, I would say rightly, many devout Hindus. Surprisingly, when it comes to Lord Krishna, I saw that even those who often sit at the fence on such issues couldn’t hold themselves back and in their own reluctant ways, had a word or two to say against Bhushan.

In an effort to criticize the ongoing anti-eve-teasing drive in the Uttar Pradesh, Bhushan tweeted that “Romeo loved just one lady, while Krishna was a legendary Eve teaser. Would Adityanath have the guts to call his vigilantes Anti-Krishna?”

Forming anti-Romeo squads in the Uttar Pradesh was a pre-poll promise made to the electorate by the BJP. As our intelligentsia is used to most of the pre-poll promises being put in cold-storage after winning the elections simply because there was never any intention to carry them out in the first place (because they need to be recycled every five years), when Yogi Adityanath started fulfilling his promises within 50 hours of him being appointed as the CM, every secular-liberal and his or her dog got rattled and started ululating.

But that is a different issue. Here we are talking about why ridiculing Hindu gods and deities is much easier than ridiculing gods and prophets from other religions, say, Islam and Christianity (lots of fun is made of Jesus Christ in the Western media without incurring death threats, but in India the case is different).


Why Saba Naqvi is afraid of Mullahs on TV and why we must encourage that

Why Saba Naqvi is afraid

In a recent write-up on the current state of ‘secularism’ and minorities in India, Saba Naqvi warns about Mullahs on TV1, calling for a ban on them appearing on news channels in panel discussions. Her caution implies that the appearance of Mullahs on TV is a bad thing for minorities.

But, how? How does the appearance of a fundamentalist mullah, on TV harm the interests of minorities? In what way can a mullah on television be more dangerous than a mullah on the ground? After all, on a television debate, thousands of miles away from his perceived enemies, a religious fundamentalist can only fret and fume. On the ground, he can do much more. So, why be afraid of him appearing on TV?

If anything, such appearances only expose the medieval barbaric mentality of these religious fundamentalists and their ilk, making Muslims, especially Muslim women more aware of the dangers that they face from their own community. Having them on TV can actually educate the Muslim masses about the pitfalls of the fundamentalism of their religious ideology. Having them on TV can be the easiest way of exposing their fundamentalism, loosening their hold on their communities and strengthening the cause of the moderates.

And to prevent them from appearing on TV would prevent their exposure in front of the Muslims as well as other religious communities, and would help maintain their iron grip on the Muslim community. In short, mullahs on TV will help the liberal cause and banning them would help the cause of the fundamentalists.

Then, why is Saba Naqvi, who styles herself as a liberal journalist and claims to fight for the ‘development of the Muslim community’, is warning against mullahs appearing on TV? Whose side is she fighting for?


The Threat Against Hindu Temples and Vedic Culture in India

The Threat Against Hindu Temples

This article shows how the Indian government is purposely jeopardizing the future of Hindu temples.

With a little attention, anyone can see how Hindu institutions and Hinduism in India are unfairly targeted by a combination of vote bank politics and unscrupulous politicians and businessmen. Particularly alarming is the destruction of Hindu institutions and the illegal mass conversions by other religions.

Through the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Act (HRCE Act) of 1951, state governments have appointed managers to the boards of temples in the name of better administration, while mosques and churches are completely autonomous. This Act allowed the state governments and politicians to take over thousands of Hindu temples and maintain complete control over these temples and their property. Many abuses are committed by multiple state governments using the power accorded through this Act. Then they can sell the temple assets and properties and use the money in any way they choose. Often the temple and the devotees who patronize them do not see any of the money, nor does it come back to assist the Hindu community to which the temple belongs. Some of this money is that which is directly donated by the pilgrims and devotees who attend the temple, given for the temple upkeep, or for the priests and deities. However, some of the money is disbursed by the government for ulterior causes or to other non-profit organizations based on political connections. 

In Andhra Pradesh under the Chief Minister, tens of thousands of acres of temple lands are sold away leaving temples with little economic basis. This is done without the permission of the local Hindu community. The state government and the endowments department, whose duty is to safeguard the temple properties, have turned a blind eye to such encroachments or take overs of temple properties. The state government recently went to the extent of regularizing encroachments at nominal prices. These encroachments are often found to be closely associated to various political parties.


The Long History Of Racism Against Indians In America

The Long History Of Racism

“Every steamer from the orient brings a load of these highly undesirable people, most of whom are quite likely to become a public burden. They do not fit into the domestic or social economy of this country. As labourers they are inferior, and any severity of climate incapacitates them from work. “They are, in fact, the product of generations of lazy life under the tropics. We do not know how or why these people have been induced to come to California. We can understand that certain powerful influences which desire to introduce the cheapest kind of labour may have been brought to bear, but now that public attention has been directed to the influx by the Call, it may be hoped that some means may be found to stop it. The Hindus are not wanted in California. They are not wanted in any part of the United States. It is a cruel kindness to bring these unfortunate people to this country. They are wholly unfitted for the strenuous life of the temperate zone, and they are further handicapped by silly notions about caste and the special preparation of food in accord with caste rules. They are brought here to serve a selfish purpose, and they die off like flies in the cold season. We have more Asiatics now in this country than is desirable, and the Hindus are the least useful and the most inefficient of them. They are dirty and quarrelsome as well as worthless in the field of labour.” San Francisco Call, 1 February 1910. “Turn Back the Hindu Invasion”.

“Get out of my country” is what the white, Navy veteran Adam Purinton is alleged to have said before shooting and killing Indian Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounding Alok Madasani in Austin’s Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas, on the evening of February 22.

A Sikh victim of a shooting on Friday, March 3, was also told to “go back to your country”. In the past two weeks, four Indians have been shot at, two fatally, sending shock waves through the Indian American community. The 3.3 million Indian Americans have come to relish their reputation as a “model minority”. In 2014, the Smithsonian Museum feted the community through a special exhibit - “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation”, highlighting the breadth and diversity of accomplishments of Indian Americans.


Is India’s national anthem secular? – Koenraad Elst

Is Indias national anthem

India’s national anthem merely expresses love for the nation through all its variegated landscapes and experiences—plus a veneration for the divine Guru. – Dr Koenraad Elst

India’s anthem, written by Rabindranath Tagore, opens by addressing the Jana Gana Mana Adhinayak or “commander of the people’s minds”, the Bharata Bhagya Vidhata or “dispenser of India’s destiny”. Who is this?

Before focusing on the Indian anthem and wondering to whom it is directed, I want to remind my readers of some fairly well-known facts concerning the anthems of a few other countries, and the unexpected overlaps between them.  This will lay out a framework within which we can evaluate India’s anthem.

God Save the Queen

Indians will probably know, if only from historical movies about the colonial age, Britain’s anthem, the oldest anthem in the world. The writer is unknown, but the attribution to John Bull ca. 1618 is common. It is addressed to God, but otherwise, it is all about the monarch:

God save our gracious Queen [c.q. King], God save our noble Queen, God save the Queen. Lead her victorious, happy and glorious, ever to reign over us, God save the Queen.

As you will notice, the focus is not at all on the people but entirely upon the monarch, in whom the ideals of victory, prosperity and good governance are embodied. This is the traditional monarchical scheme: the ruler as the embodiment of the nation.


Sanatana-Dharma/Hinduism in a Nutshell

Sanatana Dharma Hinduism

Some people think that Hinduism or Vedic philosophy is difficult to understand, and, thus, hard to explain. But if you look at it succinctly, it is not very difficult at all. All you have to do is know what to say. So this little article presents the essential principles in a concise way that everyone can learn and repeat when necessary. Hinduism is also more correctly called by its Sanskrit name: Sanatana-Dharma. This, essentially, means to follow one’s eternal duty, which is to search for and understand our spiritual identity, and then to learn to live according to those eternal and spiritual characteristics, especially by one’s own spiritual realizations. This is also the purpose and mission of the Vedic philosophy and culture, and our ultimate duty in human life.

The Vedic philosophy, or that which is based on the ancient Vedas and its supporting literature of India, is to help humanity understand who we really are, and the purpose of life. It is like the manual you get when you buy an appliance and need to understand exactly how it works. The Vedic literature is there to help all of us.

The essence of it comes down to 10 basic principles. These are the ones most accepted by the majority of people who follow Sanatana-dharma, and are also referenced in the Vedic texts. Beyond these, there are various schools of thought, which have further developments in their own outlook and philosophy, such as the Shaivites, Vaishnavas, Shaktas, Brahmanandis, Tantrics, and so on. These we can discuss at another time or you can read more about them in my books for further information.


Jihadis Being Sheltered In Bengal, Says Intel Report; “Scare Mongering”, Says Mamata Govt

Jihadis Being Sheltered In Bengal

Why are the governments of Tripura and Bengal not taking issues of national security seriously?

front-page report in Tuesday's Kolkata edition of The Times Of India ought be be cause for deep alarm. The report said that there has been a three-fold increase in the number of terrorists belonging to the Harkat-ul Jihad al-(HuJI) and the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) entering Bengal, Assam and Tripura in 2016 as compared to 2015. The report, quoting central intelligence sources, said an estimated 2010 HuJI and JMB terrorists have infiltrated into these three states in just one year (2016).

The newspaper report also stated that the Union Home Ministry had written to the governments of the three states asking them to step up vigil along the international border and trace out the terrorists. The varying responses of the three states serve as an eye-opener and also provide the reason why such infiltration has occurred and why Islamic terrorists have found shelter in these states.

Top state officials in Bengal and Tripura, ruled respectively by the Trinamool Congress and CPI(M), dismissed the intelligence report and indicated that the MHA alert was nothing but scare-mongering. They also said that there was no need to launch any hunt against HuJI and JMB terrorists since none existed in the two states!

Assam, where a new BJP-led government is now in power, has taken the alert and advice with the required alacrity. Assam's Additional Director General of Police in charge of the state's Special Branch, Pallab Bhattacharya, admitted that there had been a spike in these terrorists entering Assam last year. The police officer said that 54 JMB terrorists have been arrested in Assam over the past few months.