A compilation of counter-sickular articles

Discussion in 'Religion & Culture' started by Nuvneet Kundu, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. Nuvneet Kundu

    Nuvneet Kundu Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 15, 2016
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    We often find the average right winger unable to coherently present his ideas when confronted by a sickular who is armed with Marxist literature which has undergone a conscious and comprehensive gestation of sophistry. In such a situation, right wing supporters, despite having a legitimate case are reduced to hurling abuses due to lack of an eloquent counter-narrative. This plays right into the hands of leftists who use it as an opportunity to brand all right wingers as angry unreasonable people. The need for a counter-narrative cannot be overstated. Here are a bunch of articles that have appeared on the open web that might help people polish their narrative. Please use this thread to create a repository of articles which you have come across anywhere on the web. (avoid using this thread for debate purposes).

    Reinventing Indian Secularism
    The old consensus on majority and minority communities no longer fits reality
    Should 21st century citizens of the world's largest democracy live in fear of committing the medieval crime of blasphemy? This is the question raised by the violent rampage earlier this month in West Bengal's Muslim-majority district of Malda, where an enraged mob ransacked a police station, torched two dozen vehicles, and burned shops and homes.

    The mob was protesting an obscure Hindu activist's allegedly derogatory comments about the Prophet Muhammad a month earlier in Uttar Pradesh. Though UP police quickly arrested the activist, Kamlesh Tiwari of the Hindu Mahasabha, this did not stop demonstrations from erupting across the country . At times numbering tens of thousands, protests have roiled, among other places, Rampur, Bhopal, Purnea and Bengaluru. Many protestors demanded the death penalty for Tiwari.

    Such bloodcurdling displays of piety belong in a theocracy , not in a pluralistic democracy . Their scale, spread and intensity ought to concern anyone who cares about Indian pluralism. So must the backgrounds engineers, software developers, corporate executives of many of those arrested recently for alleged links with Islamic State.

    Bluntly put, the Indian model of secularism is floundering. It needs to be replaced by an approach that relies less on the well-worn pieties of the past and more on the reality of the world we live in today. The answer does not lie with Hindu extremists, who cannot distinguish between ordinary and radicalised Muslims. It lies in an updated secularism based on individual rights and equality before the law.

    Traditional Indian secularism implicitly rests on three assumptions that may have made sense 60 years ago, but are hopelessly outdated today . First, that extremists from the Hindu majority pose a greater threat than those from the Muslim minority . Second, that Indian Muslims are always victims and never victimisers. Third, that only Muslims can legitimately champion legal, social and cultural reform within their community . In the 1950s, the heyday of the Nehruvi an project, each of these assumptions was easily defensible. At the time, only one in ten Indians was Muslim. The secular impulse to protect a small community in a defensive crouch after Partition appealed to the best instincts of a newly independent nation. In a rapidly modernising world, the bet that over time Muslims would discard obscurantist ideas such as blasphemy , and would themselves demand an end to practices such as polygamy and triple talaq divorce appeared reasonable.

    Today's reality is starkly different. According to the Pew Research Center, today about one in seven Indians is a Muslim.And though the vast majority of Indian Muslims are peaceful, the hoped for march towards secularisation replacing attitudes rooted in religion with those rooted in reason has stalled. Where once a uniform civil code for all Indians was delayed by the majority's forbearance, today it is blocked as much by the minority's intransigence.

    The consequences of both shifting demographics and patchy secularisation play out every day in public life. Often supposedly secular politics boils down to pandering to the most fundamentalist elements of Muslim society . Think of Mamata Banerjee's concerted bid to woo clerics in West Bengal, or Digvijaya's Singh's ugly insinuation that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh plotted the 2611terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

    Meanwhile, for the first time since Partition, an aggressive new breed of Muslimfirsters has risen to prominence. To differing degrees, Azam Khan in Uttar Pra desh, Badruddin Ajmal in Assam and Hyderabad's Owaisi brothers represent this trend. Both the panderers and the Muslimfirsters share a commitment to defending Muslim personal law and extending special rights for the community to new areas such as reservations in government jobs.

    At the same time, the international landscape has changed dramatically . In the 1950s, secularists dominated the Muslim world Sukarno in Indonesia, Shah Reza Pahlavi in Iran and Kemal Ataturk's heirs in Turkey . But over the past 40 years a fountain of Gulf petrodollars, tenacious religious movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Cold War American policy of pitting hardline Islam against communism, tipped the balance of ideological power towards Islamists, those striving to impose sharia law on both the state and society .

    Closer to home, Pakistan evolved in a way few would have predicted in the 1950s when a relatively Westernised elite held sway . The journalist Zahid Hussain estimates that the number of madrassas shot up from 137 in 1947 to more than 13,000 today . In the Pakistan army and its notorious spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence India faces a foe long committed to using jihadist terrorism to keep India off balance.

    What is to be done? For starters, India should replace the shaky pillars of the traditional secular consensus with something sturdier.

    First, this means accepting that all extremists not only the Hindu variety threaten pluralism. Second, it requires recognising the complexity of inter-religious conflict. Sometimes such as in the awful murder of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri Muslims are indeed victims. At other times, such as in Malda or the Srinagar valley , they are the victimisers. Third, Indian political and intellectual elites need to start treating the reform of ideas rooted in sharia such as a violent response to so-called blasphemy as a national concern, not just a narrowly Muslim concern.

    In the end, secularism makes India stronger. To save it, India needs an updated approach rooted not in sentimentalism but in reality.

    Sadanand Dhume : The writer is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Washington DC

  3. asingh10

    asingh10 Senior Member Senior Member

    Sep 17, 2015
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    The Mosaic distinction: Why the Abrahamic faiths remain outsiders to Indosphere

    By Jaideep A Prabhu
    (I would like to express my gratitude to Rangesh Shridhar for reading through the first draft of this essay and countless hours of debate, discussion, and hair-pulling!)
    One often hears Indian traditionalists arguing that not all religions are equal, and that the Sanskrit word ‘dharma’ does not translate as the English word ‘religion’. In essence, the Gandhian phrase, sarva dharma sama bhava, which is considered the root of Indian secularism (though it speaks more to pluralism, actually) does not apply to the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
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    Why are the latter two of these three religions - Judaism presents a complication that will be discussed later - considered "outsiders" to the subcontinent despite having existed in the subcontinent for over a thousand years? In India, what passes for debate and discussion on this issue in the public sphere has so far been high on politicisation and wanting in scholarship. In academia, however – ironically, even the Western variety that many Indian traditionalists like to ignorantly scoff at - there have been some articulate expositions of why the Abrahamic religions are fundamentally different from and unequal to the faith systems of the cultural Indosphere and elsewhere. The argument runs that the differences between the two groups are not simply about what to call the sine qua non (God) or even if it is indeed sine quibus non (many gods) but involve a radical difference in views on the political order as well.
    How Many Gods?
    Theo Sundermeier, professor of theology at Heidelberg University, makes an insightful distinction in his Was ist Religion? Religionswissenschaft im theologischen Kontext between primary and secondary religions. The former, Sundermeier explains, developed over hundreds, if not thousands, of years, usually within a single culture, society and language with which the religion is inextricably intertwined. These would include the Greek, Roman, and Egyptian religions as easily as Hinduism. The latter category of religions are those that originate from an act of revelation or foundation and are monotheistic, universal, and of the Book. Secondary religions denounce primary religions as paganism, a collection of superstitions, and idolatry. The three Abrahamic faiths fit this description well.
    This seemingly obvious categorisation holds an evolution of great import. From primary to secondary, religion changes from being a system that is irrevocably embedded in the institutional, linguistic, and cultural conditions of a society to become an autonomous system that can transcend political, ethnic, and other boundaries and transplant itself into any alien culture. As Jan Assmann, an Egyptologist at the University of Konstanz, describes in his Die Mosaische Unterscheidung: oder der Preis des Monotheismus, this change, which he calls the Mosaic distinction, is hardly about whether there is one god or there are many gods, but about truth and falsehood, knowledge and ignorance.
    Monotheistic faiths rest firmly on the distinction between their true god and the falseness of other gods; their truth does not stand in a complementary relationship to other truths but relegates any such claims to the realm of falsehood. They are exclusive, antagonistic, and explicitly codified and clearly communicated. As Assmann explains, the truth to be proclaimed comes complete with an enemy to be fought - only they know of "heretics and pagans, false doctrine, sects, superstition, idolatry, magic, ignorance, unbelief, heresy, and whatever other terms have been coined to designate what they denounce, persecute and proscribe as manifestations of untruth."
    Secondary religions do not evolve from primary religions - rather, the emergence of the former represents a revolution, a rupture with the past that uncompromisingly divides the world between "Jews and Gentiles, Christians and pagans, Christians and Jews, Muslims and infidels, true believers and heretics."
    Truth and Falsehood
    Such orthodoxy was unknown to the followers of primary religions and they found secondary religions intolerant. Indeed, this is an age-old argument that has been most vividly captured perhaps by David Hume in The Natural History of Religions. What is the root of such unyielding intolerance, or to put it in more sympathetic terms, conviction in their version of the truth? Assmann argues that the Mosaic distinction created an entirely new category of truth - faith - and draws an interesting parallel with a scientific development that Werner Jäger, a 20th century classicist at Harvard University, described as the Parmenidian distinction in Paideia: The Ideals of Greek Culture.
    Parmenides was a Greek philosopher who lived in the 6th century BCE and articulated something that is so taken for granted today in science that it would be difficult to imagine a world without such an obvious principle: Being is, and Notbeing is not; that which cannot not be, and that which is not, cannot be. Thus, knowledge is based on the distinction between true and false cognition and the irreconcilability between the two. In a sense, we can speak of scientific knowledge as intolerant too, as Hume did of monotheism.
    Before the Mosaic distinction, knowledge and faith were not separate concepts. Pagans knew their gods but did not believe in them for they were not objects of faith; like myths, they were unverifiable to science but not necessarily devoid of knowledge. Before the Mosaic distinction, there were four kinds of fundamental truths: experiential (water is wet), mathematical (two plus two is four), historical (the life of Mokshagundam Visveswaraya), and truths conducive to life (ethics). The Mosaic distinction cleaved faith from knowledge and installed the former as a fifth truth that claimed knowledge of the highest authority even if it could not be verified on scientific grounds.
    The psychological and social impact of this differentiation is most visible in how Greek or Hindu science never conflicted with its philosophy, myths, or religious practices - each operated in its own domain. In fact, there are several anecdotes of highly acclaimed Hindu scientists subscribing to superstitions - S Ramanujan's belief in astrology and CV Raman's concern about the ill-effects of a solar eclipse come most readily to mind. But the monotheistic preoccupation with untruth in conjunction with faith-as-truth caused much acrimony in Christendom and the Dar al-Islam.
    Alterity and Exclusion
    If the conflicts between primary and secondary religion had been merely about how many gods there were, the world might have been spared much strife. Hans Zirker, emeritus professor of theology at the University of Duisburg-Essen, sees monotheism also as a statement against being influenced by strife between divine powers, being divided permanently between a dualism of Good and Evil, or being trapped in the incessant wars of self-affirmation of pluralist people. This is the political dimension of monotheism. Eric Santner, professor of Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago, suggests that the universalism of monotheism is imposed upon all, thereby forcing them to acquiesce to the Mosaic distinction or to be regarded as failures.
    In The Psychotheology of Everyday Life, an obvious play on the title of Sigmund Freud's work on psychopathology, Santner makes a case for the stranger - pagan? - to be the Other not for his spatial exteriority but because of his internal alterity (otherness). Externalities could be tolerated or influenced but internal alterity was far more insidious as it challenged faith-as-truth.
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    What makes Judaism different from Christianity and Islam, Assmann argues, is that Jews posit this universalism to be implemented at a messianic end-time whereas Christianity and Islam see it as an event at the time of their foundation. Judaism is no less exclusive than its Abrahamic descendents but as a result of a future date of redemption, Jewish communities have excluded themselves from the social and cultural customs of local gentile populations. Self-isolation has no need to resort to violence or persecute those with differing beliefs; for the Jews, goyim (usually meaning non-Jewish peoples) were free to worship whomsoever they wished. As a result Jewish communities have existed in harmony amidst pagan societies or found themselves to be co-victims of their own monotheistic cousins, alongside pagans, in the lands which came to be dominated by secondary religion.
    In contrast, Christianity and Islam excluded the pagan rather than themselves. The Great Commission of Christianity and the Islamic obligation of da'wah not only excludes the pagan but directly puts them on a path of conflict. This intolerance stems from the absolute certitude that faith brings to Christianity and Islam. As Assmann points out, it makes no sense to talk of tolerance in pagan systems because there is no notion of incompatibility: one can tolerate something that is incompatible and irresolvable with one's own views but how does one tolerate something that is not so steadfastly oppositional?
    Among the practitioners of primary religions, there has always been a translatability of divinity - the cosmology of different communities was believed to be compatible with each other. In a practice that has been the norm since at least Sumerian times, pagan communities sealed contracts upon oaths to their gods. For example, if the Akkadians wanted to consecrate a treaty with the Egyptians, the former would swear by Utu and the latter by Ra, the solar deities of their respective civilisations. There was no question of the falsehood of the other's cosmology. The worship of each others' gods was not unknown either - the Egyptian goddess Isis had a popular cult in Rome and the Syrian Atargatis and Phrygian Cybele and followers all around the Mediterranean. Usually, these gods would travel to foreign lands with traders and with increasing commerce and familiarity, would be established in the local pantheon as well.
    In the Indian context, the spread of Vedic Hinduism in India occurred along similar lines. The philosophical precepts of the Vedic Hindus were laid over the beliefs of the local communities and their gods were integrated into the Vedic pantheon. Many temples in Indian and Sri Lankan villages are dedicated to gramadevata - village deity - the legends behind whom trace their lineage back to a Puranic deity.
    This is not to say that there were no conflicts among pagans - there were, and quite a few, but to go to war over theological differences was largely incomprehensible to them. In fact, conquerors often stole the idols of the vanquished to re-consecrate the deities back home with the dignity due to them. Hercules has thus been around the Mediterranean quite a few times in the wars of Phoenicia, Greece, Carthage and Rome. Religion, however, functioned as a medium of communication rather than as a criterion to exclude and eliminate. Varro, the Roman scholar who lived at the end of the 2nd century BCE, did not understand the need to distinguish between Jupiter and Yahweh as "the names are of no importance so long as the same thing is intended."
    The Mosaic distinction prevented this translatability, for Allah could never be Zeus nor Jesus be Apollo. This is another political ramification of monotheism.
    Dominus Unum
    The Mosaic distinction, if understood correctly, is, thus, a new political order rather than a cosmological order. The importance of this can be seen in that the primus inter pares status of the Abrahamic god and the prohibition of graven images is cemented in the first two of the 10 commandments in every version. According to Assmann, this implies that monotheism does not deny the existence of other gods but merely holds them to be false and their worship, therefore, is not meaningless but disloyalty. The former is a cognitive category, a matter of knowledge, while the latter is a political category. In essence, one could not serve two masters. Christians themselves felt the repercussions of this tenet during the Reformation in the Early Modern era when Catholics were viewed with suspicion by monarchs belonging to the breakaway sects.
    Historically, monotheistic faiths made outlandish accusations against pagan religions to keep their base radicalised while turning one community against another. The Book of the Wisdom of Solomon, for example, spoke of pagans sacrificing their children in sacrifices and secret ceremonies, living in communities defined by adultery, murder, theft, corruption, and all other manner of immoral behaviour. Idolatry, the faithful are told, is the beginning of spiritual fornication and the corruption of life. Thus, idolatrous religions are depicted as completely lacking in ethical orientation. Though this critique might be dated to a specific period of monotheistic radicalisation during the third century, it nonetheless lays claim to proper worship and ethical conduct. This dispute is not merely about the number of gods one worships but about the negation of all gods but one.
    Strictly speaking, most polytheistic faiths do not claim there to be many gods but that a singular divine presence animates itself in many ways. In that sense, the unity of divinity is not a monotheistic invention. However, the monotheistic spiritual binary is incapable of allowing for a primary god and several subordinate gods - it must insist on the exclusion of all gods but theirs.
    There was no such paranoia in the lands where primary religions flourished. Monarchs patronised all religions in their kingdom despite their personal beliefs. Admittedly, at times, some received greater favour than others but never was a faith and its adherents exiled or made into second class subjects. Such pluralism was evident even in recent times. In Nepal, during the monarchy, Hindu and Buddhist holy days were both observed despite the official status of the state as Hindu and an overwhelming portion of the population - about 85 percent - being Hindu. The closeness between the Hindu and Buddhist communities has historically been so great that it is difficult to demarcate the two in terms of social customs even today. During the famous Bunga Dyah Jatra festival in Laliptur, for example, the Hindu kings of Nepal participated during the climactic Bhoto Jatra phase during which they had to climb up the ceremonial chariot and display a sacred vest to the crowds.
    Disenchanting the World
    Another reason monotheism stands as the Other is that unlike polytheistic faiths, it disenchants the world. Pagan myths usually involved humans cavorting with the gods, in war as well as in love. This entanglement gives structure to the cosmos, describing its oppositional and synergetic forces in a manner that can be easily grasped by all. Furthermore, the gods bring order to society: with each trade, settlement, and resource associated with a patron deity, a network of duties and obligations is created. Each cult, so to speak, must be balanced with others in the greater community. As Assmann argues, this can even be extended to human destiny in that the stories of the gods give meaning to human relations as well. "By telling stories about the gods, myths bring order to human life."
    Polytheism is synonymous with cosmotheism, and the divine cannot be divorced from the world. It is this theology that monotheism attacks. The divine is liberated from its ties to the cosmos, society, and the people, and in its place is the relationship of the individual with a divinity that stands outside the world, time, and space. Monotheism changes not only the image of god but man's image of himself as well; instead of being in a seamless and symbiotic relationship with nature, he now stands alone and above it, to rule over it freely and independently, subservient only to a true god. To secondary religions, divinity is transcendent whereas for primary religions it is immanent. Through this distinction between transcendence and immanence, the mosaic distinction also achieves a distinction between man and the world.
    Ethics, the Law, and Justice
    The disruption from culture and history, the certitude of a new type of truth, the exclusive rejection of other gods, the falsehood and criminality of the Other, the demand of fealty, and the disenchantment of the world pave the way to one of monotheism's most important claims - that it is the religion of justice. Again, this is a political rather than theological claim. The key point of this claim is that ethics gained entry into religion precisely through biblical monotheism since the gods of Babylon, Assyria, or Rome had nothing to do with ethics in this sense.

    For the first time in history, justice, law, and freedom are declared to be the central themes of religion and the sole prerogative of god. Though technically true, this is a misleading statement. The monotheistic point of view is that since god is the true authority, only he can be the final arbiter of justice; the temporal laws of man are inferior to the divine. The story of the exodus from Egypt ties in well with ideas of liberation of the Jewish people from slavery. Furthermore, their escape, divinely sanctioned, also took the power to sit in judgment over them away from the pharaoh and invested it in god. The Shemot, or the Book of Exodus, is thus more concerned with political theology than with idolatry (the story of the golden calf). Thus, in monotheism, the political role of justice was given to religion. The authority of the king was superseded by that of the high clergy, god's representatives on earth, as papal power well into the Early Modern era demonstrated. This fusion of the political with the religious in secondary religions, but not primary belief systems, is exactly what makes secularism a requirement solely of the former in the modern era.
    In pagan religions, justice was of this world for even the gods were of this world. A Roman or an Egyptian who had been wronged could appeal to the local magistrate for justice for its own sake without reference to the gods. Indeed, in Hinduism, dharma is not only properly a function of kaala, desha, and paristhiti but the chaturanga purusharthas mention it along with artha and kama as one of the three goals of mortal life. The ultimate goal, moksha, is beyond short-term earthly consideration. As Hindi novelist Gurudutt explains in Dharma tatha samajwad and Dharma, sanskriti, aur rajya, the individual is free to interact with the divine in a manner of his choosing but wherever he must interact with another, their conduct must be guided by the precepts of dharma, artha, and kama. Ethics and the law were intrinsically this-worldy and had no business to be under divine purview. Thus, justice, or ethics at least, existed much before secondary religions came on the scene but were not truly a part of the religious system.
    In a world enchanted, this caused no philosophical problems. The famous story of Indra, the king of the Hindu pantheon, being cursed by Gautama Maharishi for seducing his wife, Ahalya, illustrates how virtue reigns even above the gods in Hinduism. Monotheism did not usher law, justice, or ethics into the world; these had long been in existence. Yet monotheism first made justice a matter of direct interest to god; before then, the world had not known a law-giving god. Any claim that law, morality, and justice are terrestrial and not celestial goods still arouses feelings of deep unease in theological circles; even today, the Church defends the dogma of the inseparable unity of monotheism and justice.
    * * * * *
    Behind the Mosaic distinction between true and false in religion, there ultimately stands the distinction between god and the world. This worldview is not only fundamentally alien to Hindus but it is also antithetical and inimical to their way of thinking. The emphasis of secondary religions on universalism and all its attendant political baggage keeps them at an arm's length from the pagan practices of the sub-continent. Were the rejection of Christianity and Islam by Indian traditionalists merely a matter of geography, it would be silly. Yet the grounds for suspicion and Otherness are two-fold - a predatory proselytism of exclusive monotheisms and the entire cosmology of secondary religions. Neither of these traits has mellowed over the 1,000-plus years secondary religions have been in India, and until they do, the two religions will remain outsiders to the Indosphere.

    aditya10r, sydsnyper, maomao and 2 others like this.
  4. asingh10

    asingh10 Senior Member Senior Member

    Sep 17, 2015
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  5. dhananjay1

    dhananjay1 Senior Member Senior Member

    Mar 10, 2013
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    This article in the firstpost is good enough but it's just scratching surface, there are far more deeper implications which I don't think it would be appropriate to discuss on an anonymous forum like this. The problem with Hindus and a lot of non-Hindus is they don't have any philosophical understanding. All they know is basic or advanced 'hard science' and it makes them think they know everything.
    OneGrimPilgrim and asingh10 like this.
  6. Nuvneet Kundu

    Nuvneet Kundu Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 15, 2016
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    If RSS is ISIS...

    You can phrase this question in many different ways. How liberal are India's liberals? How left are they? Or how liberal is India's left? Further on, is the liberal idea of India under an unprecedented threat? If so, how does India fight back?

    If it is the Nehruvian idea of Indian liberalism that we are worried about, the time to defend it ended many decades back.

    It should have been defended when his daughter signed a treaty with the Soviet Union as a junior strategic ally, threw anybody vaguely of the right out of the Congress in 1969 and nationalised anything within her sight, leading up to the Emergency that destroyed whatever remained of the original Nehruvian idea of India.

    It was in the two decades between 1969 and 1989 that we lost our non-alignment, whatever economic freedoms we still had in the mixed economy, endured the Emergency, saw rampant insurgencies, routine dismissal of elected state governments using Article 356, bans on books and movies, the Shah Bano judgement reversal, unlocking of Ayodhya, shilanyas (foundation stone laying of the Ram Temple), and the launch of an election campaign (Rajiv, 1989) from Ayodhya (Faizabad), with a promise to usher in Ram Rajya.

    These two decades were also marked by the absence of the liberal community from the pickets. The sacrifices in the campaign against the Emergency were made by JP's socialist followers, and forces of the non-secular right: Jan Sangh and affiliates, even Shiromani Akali Dal. The only film star to protest was Dev Anand.

    The short point is, India's liberal left was mostly complicit with the establishment during these two decades when the Nehruvian liberal idea of India was destroyed by his descendants. The durbar is a smug place to be in. Proximity to power enabled them to dominate campuses and curricula and squash any alternative points of view. A genuine, healthy and intelligent thought on the Indian right was never allowed to develop. The result now is the rise of a nutty Indian right, its ideas and prejudices sanctified by cow-worship and fuelled by gobar gas, its understanding of history determined by folklore and science to any "Vedic" fiction.

    All intolerance and illiberalism must be contested. But some of the shrillness in the ongoing protests is silly. Prof Irfan Habib seeing similarities between the RSS and the Islamic State is a good example. There is much that is wrong with the RSS thought and must be rejected. There is much else that must be debated. But it's lathis are not bazookas and to call it a Hindu ISIS is as abusive and intolerant as the Hindu right asking critics to go to Pakistan. It is also defeatist and insulting of democracy. If the RSS is our ISIS, how will you fight it? Will you call the Americans and French and Iranians to come and bomb Nagpur and Jhandewalan?

    This is an extreme, but by no means an isolated case of hypocrisy. Binayak Sen's case is another. He was prosecuted for sedition for helping armed Maoists. It became an instant liberal cause as the law of sedition was colonial and oppressive. Sen was built into a liberal hero while the prosecution in Chhattisgarh lost its way. Out on bail, he was even appointed on one of the Planning Commission committees. There was an arguable case against the outdated sedition law that the British used to put down freedom fighters. The very same sedition law has lately been employed in states as far apart as Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, against Patidar leader Hardik Patel and folk-singer Kovan to little protest by the same liberal leaders. If the principled issue on the Binayak Sen case was the use of a repressive, archaic law, it is equally wrong to use it against Patel, and Kovan now. The absence of protest suggests that the outrage in the Binayak Sen was not about liberty but ideology. He is an activist and sympathiser of the far left, and must be defended. Patel and Kovan aren't.

    Under the UPA, these activists enjoyed even greater power because the prime minister here did not control the government and power resided in 10 Janpath, whose durbaris they were happy to become. They opposed every reformist step the UPA took, from airport privatisation to increased FDI limits, WTO, patents, higher education reform, even Aadhar. They cheered all Sonia Gandhi/NAC populism, widening the chasm between the party and the government and playing havoc in that space. Many of the eminent people leading the current protests now belong in the same category. Let's mention just one, retired Navy Chief Admiral Ramdas. He is a wonderful human being and soldier. He joined every conceivable move to block or unsettle the UPA government, opposing infrastructure projects, even high-level appointments. Now he is protesting about loss of liberty. Such was the dislike for neo-liberal Manmohan Singh that our left intelligentsia made common cause with the extreme right to strangle his government. His years of 9 per cent growth were mocked with the taunt of "91 per cent destruction”. This was very much in keeping with the conduct of the political left, which made common cause with BJP, voting with it twice, on the nuclear deal and FDI in retail to try topple the UPA. Voters got so fed up, they chose a decisive government and dump the one that wasn't allowed to function.

    The Left intellectual domination of modern Indian thought, and its embrace by the Gandhi dynasty, resulted in lazy, static politics where the word "secular" became synonymous with Muslim: note, even in Bihar, the calls to Asaduddin Owaisi were to not divide the "secular vote”. This politics has now unravelled. A quarter century of reform has produced a new generation of post-ideological, entrepreneurial Indians who need new ideas and leaders to fire their imagination. If they have decided that that leader is Narendra Modi, and not Rahul Gandhi, you can't hold it against them. RSS-is-ISIS kind of rant will only amuse them.

    They are also done with povertarianism. Politically, the left is now a declining force pan-nationally, and so is caste-based empowerment, irrespective of who wins Bihar. If Nitish does win, it will be because he has designed a post-Mandal politics and Lalu has submitted to it. If he doesn't, it will be because he left it too late. The new generation voter is hyper-nationalistic but it isn't essentially illiberal. They will find the rants of Adityanath as laughable as Irfan Habib's. They will also find the BJP's polarising approach to vote-gathering unacceptable if it fails to deliver jobs and growth. But they won’t accept the old notion of hyphenated liberalism (left-liberal) just for the heck of it. This gives the Hindu right the upper hand. A new mainstream liberalism is needed to counter this, not Ideological rants or advice from Moody's.
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  7. Sakal Gharelu Ustad

    Sakal Gharelu Ustad Detests Jholawalas Moderator

    Apr 28, 2012
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    A picture says a thousand words. Before reading further, look at the picture above once again and guess what story does this picture want to tell you. This picture gives the best way to explain the difference in modus operandi of the right vs the left. And this modus operandi is so perfected that it is used from the west to the east with outright impunity.

    So lets take a deeper look at this picture. On the left, we have Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhusan, who were mercilessly beaten and thrown out of AAP by the new anarcho-fascist sensation in town i.e. Arvind Kejriwal. While on the right we have the two leaders from BJP, L.K. Advani and Narendra Modi, who shared bitterness before the last Lok Sabha elections, but still decided to embrace each other gracefully, with the younger Modi seen doing “Charan Sparsh”, a traditional Hindu ritual to seek blessings.

    Both the parties had an internal feud and were resolved in very different ways. The BJP leaders decided to stick with traditional symbolism of harmony and respect in their worldly conduct and although some below the belt punches were delivered, specially by Advani, who should have retired gracefully, but they were always restrained. On the other hand, Kejriwal came with all guns glazing and used brute force of bouncers and his party members to manhandle his two old colleagues and achieve what he could not amicably. One should underline the unrestrained conduct of Kejriwal, who achieved his objectives without paying any attention to potential future fallout in the form of his sullied political image usually associated with using brute force in politics. He came unscathed out of this political misadventure and solidified his image as the supremo of AAP as well as the tallest political leader in Delhi. Not so surprisingly, Kejriwal remained unapologetic during this whole episode and went on a break while letting his subordinates finish the political rivals, a key quality of any left demagogue.

    Looking at these two separate events one should ask the question- how did Kejriwal manage this coup d’etat without any repercussions while Modi had a difficult time in pulling off a natural inter-generational power transfer which was made to look like an act of fascism? Modi’s takeover of BJP was played over and over again in the media for more than a year, but Kejriwal’s impunity has completely disappeared from public scrutiny, although both Bhushan and Yadav were (are) darlings of MSM. It is easier to jump to the conclusion that MSM hates Modi and BJP and hence gives them only negative coverage. But if one looks around the world, most right wing leaders get negative media publicity- whether it is Bush in the US or Harper in Canada. So the story will remain incomplete without talking about how the left controls the current social narrative and the MSM wilfully acts as its extension in generating cultural memes.

    Modus operandi of the left

    1) The left is not a reactionary force but has a proactive plan of action. Since the left controls the cultural memes, it has enough foot-soldiers who build a new victimhood (left ideology thrives on it) story every minute. While the left keeps on generating new victimhood stories, the right usually has no choice but to engage in fire fighting mode and do some damage control. Sadly, the right is so busy in this damage control that it hardly ever gets to the root of the problem.

    To understand it better, let’s look at the fire fighting exercises that Modi govt. was forced to engage in, in the recent past. The intolerance debate started even before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when the top leftist academics came together and published open letters in the newspapers and exhorted the common citizens to vote against Modi because his election as PM of the country might lead to death of the Indian democracy. This was a well calculated game plan which unfortunately did not work in the 2014 elections but worked very well in the recent Bihar elections. The left raised the bogey of intolerance in the country and challenged credibility of Modi government on the issue of religious harmony. To generate enough momentum for this story, a large number of leftist intellectuals came forward and returned their National Awards as part of a well played out script in front of the nation.

    The Modi govt. is trying hard to push its reform agenda like Swachh Bharat and Smart Cities in a top down fashion. Sadly, it hardly gets the kind of traction in national discourse which is generated by the leftists operating in a decentralized environment. And it is not difficult to understand why this is the case. While victimhood narrative has a ready-made perfect template which makes it easy to rally a mob around it, it is difficult to generate similar interest for initiatives that require self-improvement and confidence. The only take away from all these incidents is that the left strikes first and the left strikes often. The self-generation capacity of leftist memes make it easier to mount decentralized attacks. This brings us to the second and more important point.

    2. The left is unabashed in use of brute force and strikes hard on its opponents. And this maxim applies both to its opponents as well as small deviants. What did Kejriwal do with his fellow leftist travellers? He used them and booted them out with iron fist once they had served their purpose. If he was so ruthless with the people who helped him establish AAP, one can easily imagine how he will deal with his real opponents. He banned BJP MLAs from the Delhi Assembly, while Modi has struggled to throw out the unruly Congress MPs from Lok Sabha.

    But the leftist goondaism goes much back and is a universal quality. The number of people killed in purges by Stalin and Mao, outshine the brutality of every other dictator who has walked in the 20th century.

    Even in India, other than Jihadis the only other potent national threat are Naxals, again inspired by the leftist ideology. The left ruled West Bengal for more than 35 years with brute force and West Bengal still tops the chart in number of political murders every year. The student organizations from left are not saints either and engage in open bullying and even resort to violence. Just look at the latest clips where left organized protests against the death of Rohit Vemula. Where violence is not possible, the left organizes itself as a mob and goes on soft rampage in the form of character assassination or social boycott. For eg. Trump has nothing to do with UK politics, but the left still went into action and pushed forward with a signature campaign to ban his entry. It is similar to signature campaign by Indian MPs, who wrote to US to ban Modi’s entry.


    But how does the left manage to voice concern and act as an arbiter in matters related to freedom of speech and tolerance, although it kills every meaningful opposition when in power? What allows left to maintain this holier than thou attitude? The answer lies in the power of left to generate victimhood narrative. If Naxals kill poor fellow tribals, they become disenchanted tribals whose land is usurped by the fascist state, while in case Muslims turn Jihadi, it is blamed on intolerance of Hindus or other local conditions but never the Muslims.

    The takeaway from this analysis is that the left is not shy in using violence if it helps to forward their agenda and use it in an unabashed fashion. This violence is then covered under the thick veneer of deniability by generating victimhood stories or other times by just lying low and not talking about it. The right on the other hand tries to win left’s approval when in power and never mounts a frontal assault, one can forget about any violence.

    The way forward

    The right needs to change the rules of the game if it wants to stay relevant in the future. This implies taking back the baton of cultural memes from the current generation of leftist intellectuals and instead enforce its own agenda with iron fist. The RSS can no longer take pride in being the grassroots organization and openly needs to support the right intellectuals who can change this narrative. An effective counter will need to attack the entire modus operandi of the left i.e. challenge the cultural agenda with intellectual output and use state power to crush the opponents if needed. If it shows weakness on any of these fronts, any advance made by the current Modi govt. will be washed away in less than a year, the way it happened after departure of Vajpayee’s government. The right also needs to get more proactive in its attacks against the current or future opponents. Some policy examples to illustrate this point:

    1. Putting the entire state machinery behind Subramaniam Swamy in the National Herald Case and take the case to its logical conclusion i.e. putting the Gandhis in jail. If needed come up with other cases against the whole family and erode their credibility. No half-hearted measures will help here as BJP realized in the previous Parliament sessions because Congress is the master of disruption. Use “Saam-daam-dand-bhed” to weaken the unity of 44 Congress MPs and dig up old dirt if needed to silence them so that they retract their support to the family.

    2. Kejriwal is a small fish in the left’s pond right now, but he is a master strategist and is backed by very powerful forces in the world. BJP committed the mistake once and let him win Delhi elections again. Any future leeway will only make him more powerful. BJP needs to launch a vicious agenda of eroding away his credibility. For eg- use the intellectuals on the right and publish an open letter to denounce everyday theatrics of Kejriwal. AAP launched a frontal attack on Jaitley after CBI raided against a serving IAS officer in the Delhi government. The deflection was perfect and the controversy against AAP appointed officer died down quickly while Jaitley is still embroiled in the intricacies. BJP needs to generate fresh controversies against AAP and use state power if needed to give it a quick death otherwise it will become a force in north India by next elections. Since, AAP is Kejriwal and Kejriwal is AAP, the attacks should be directed against him rather than just taking down his puny lieutenants.

    3. The violence unleashed by the left should be dealt in kind if needed while ensuring perfect deniability. Changing the names of “Bajrang Dal” and “Hindu Samhiti” to some other neutral names might be of some help here. The Congress lost the last elections but the brutality with which it handled Ramdev’s protest is a perfect example on how to deal with non-friendly actors using state power.

    4. Purging of leftist individuals from top institutes should be done without any hesitation. JNU being the single biggest factory for generating leftist folklore should be the first target and neutralized. The cases against Tejpal and other similar offenders should be concluded at a fast pace to send a clear message. Since Congress has given many more National Awards than Modi can give in five years, there is no way for Modi to curry the favours and win as much sympathy as Congress has generated by nurturing pet intellectuals. So, these awards should be abolished at once which will help in destroying the credibility of past winners. The choice of brand ambassadors for govt. schemes should be restricted to individuals, who had been sympathetic to the Hindu cause in the past. There is no benefit in showing generosity and trying to win over those who have opposing viewpoints. This should be extended to all activities of govt. ranging from appointing university Vice Chancellors to giving away financial contracts.

    5. The victimhood should be dealt with by generating counter victimhood. For eg. – the leftist agenda to use feminism to destroy Sabrimala traditions or use animal rights for enforcing Jallikattu ban, should be countered by generating counter narrative on how local communities or tribals are being targeted. Before the feminist storm troopers are unleashed on the Sabrimala premises, the right should get proactive and unleash its own protesters in front of Supreme Court and house of Chief Minister to build a strong case of hurt local sentiments against onslaught of western imperialism. Every attack on church should be drowned in the noise of a bigger attack on Hindu temples. The only way to counter victimhood is counter victimhood, as logic is inferior in front of raw passions of a mob.

    To summarize this discussion, one can say that left has perfected this game of using intellectual dishonesty to score brownie points while using its muscle whenever needed. They do not engage in winning over the right intellectuals but use them as useful idiots and crush them if needed by using state power. Although the right is a slow learner, the recent SM campaign that forced Snapdeal to oust Aamir Khan as its brand ambassador is a good example and should be replicated in other spheres to drive home the message. This is a high stakes game and unless the right ups its ante, they are bound to lose this game on all fronts. They will hardly get a chance to use the raw mob power of Bajrang Dal but will still be forced to walk around with the fascist tag without achieving any objectives.

  8. Nuvneet Kundu

    Nuvneet Kundu Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 15, 2016
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    The Myth Of Aryan Invasion Theory

    One of the main ideas used to interpret—and generally devalue—the ancient history of India is the theory of the Aryan invasion. According to this account, India was invaded and conquered by nomadic light-skinned Indo-European tribes from Central Asia around 1500-1000 BC, who overthrew an earlier and more advanced dark-skinned Dravidian civilization from which they took most of what later became Hindu culture. This so-called pre-Aryan civilization is said to be evidenced by the large urban ruins of what has been called the ‘Indus valley culture’ (as most of its initial sites were on the Indus river). The war between the powers of light and darkness, a prevalent idea in ancient Aryan Vedic scriptures, was thus interpreted to refer to this war between light and dark- skinned peoples. The Aryan invasion theory thus turned the ‘Vedas’, the original scriptures of ancient India and the Indo-Aryans, into little more than primitive poems of uncivilized plunderers.

    This idea – totally foreign to the history of India, whether north or south – has become almost an unquestioned truth in the interpretation of ancient history. Today, after nearly all the reasons for its supposed validity have been refuted, even major Western scholars are at last beginning to call it in question.

    In this article we will summarize the main points that have arisen. This is a complex subject that I have dealt with in depth in my book ‘Gods, Sages and Kings: Vedic Secrets of Ancient Civilization’, for those interested in further examination of the subject.

    The Indus valley culture was pronounced pre-Aryan for several reasons that were largely part of the cultural milieu of nineteenth century European thinking. As scholars following Max Muller had decided that the Aryans came into India around 1500 BC, since the Indus valley culture was earlier than this, they concluded that it had to be pre-Aryan. Yet the rationale behind the late date for the Vedic culture given by Muller was totally speculative. Max Muller, like many of the Christian scholars of his era, believed in Biblical chronology. This placed the beginning of the world at 4000 BC and the flood around 2500 BC. Assuming to those two dates, it became difficult to get the Aryans in India before 1500 BC.

    Muller therefore assumed that the five layers of the four ‘Vedas’ & ‘Upanishads’ were each composed in 200-year periods before the Buddha at 500 BC. However, there are more changes of language in Vedic Sanskrit itself than there are in classical Sanskrit since Panini, also regarded as a figure of around 500 BC, or a period of 2500 years. Hence it is clear that each of these periods could have existed for any number of centuries and that the 200-year figure is totally arbitrary and is likely too short a figure.

    It was assumed by these scholars – many of whom were also Christian missionaries unsympathetic to the ‘Vedas’ – that the Vedic culture was that of primitive nomads from Central Asia. Hence they could not have founded any urban culture like that of the Indus valley. The only basis for this was a rather questionable interpretation of the ‘Rig Veda’ that they made, ignoring the sophisticated nature of the culture presented within it.

    Meanwhile, it was also pointed out that in the middle of the second millennium BC, a number of Indo-European invasions apparently occured in the Middle East, wherein Indo-European peoples – the Hittites, Mittani and Kassites – conquered and ruled Mesopotamia for some centuries. An Aryan invasion of India would have been another version of this same movement of Indo-European peoples. On top of this, excavators of the Indus valley culture, like Wheeler, thought they found evidence of destruction of the culture by an outside invasion confirming this.

    The Vedic culture was thus said to be that of primitive nomads who came out of Central Asia with their horse-drawn chariots and iron weapons and overthrew the cities of the more advanced Indus valley culture, with their superior battle tactics. It was pointed out that no horses, chariots or iron was discovered in Indus valley sites.

    This was how the Aryan invasion theory formed and has remained since then. Though little has been discovered that confirms this theory, there has been much hesitancy to question it, much less to give it up.

    Further excavations discovered horses not only in Indus Valley sites but also in pre-Indus sites. The use of the horse has thus been proven for the whole range of ancient Indian history. Evidence of the wheel, and an Indus seal showing a spoked wheel as used in chariots, has also been found, suggesting the usage of chariots.

    Moreover, the whole idea of nomads with chariots has been challenged. Chariots are not the vehicles of nomads. Their usage occurred only in ancient urban cultures with much flat land, of which the river plain of north India was the most suitable. Chariots are totally unsuitable for crossing mountains and deserts, as the so-called Aryan invasion required.

    That the Vedic culture used iron – and must hence date later than the introduction of iron around 1500 BC – revolves around the meaning of the Vedic term ‘ayas’, interpreted as iron. ‘Ayas’ in other Indo–European languages like Latin or German usually means copper, bronze or ore generally, not specially iron. There is no reason to insist that in such earlier Vedic times, ‘ayas’ meant iron, particularly since other metals are not mentioned in the ‘Rig Veda’ (except gold that is much more commonly referred to than ayas). Moreover, the ‘Atharva Veda’ and ‘Yajur Veda’ speak of different colors of ‘ayas’(such as red and black), showing that it was a generic term. Hence it is clear that ‘ayas’ generally meant metal and not specifically iron.

    Moreover, the enemies of the Vedic people in the ‘Rig Veda’ also use ayas, even for making their cities, as do the Vedic people themselves. Hence there is nothing in Vedic literature to show that either the Vedic culture was an iron-based culture or that their enemies were not.

    The ‘Rig Veda’ describes its Gods as ‘destroyers of cities’. This was used also to regard the Vedic as a primitive non-urban culture that destroys cities and urban civilization. However, there are also many verses in the ‘Rig Veda’ that speak of the Aryans as having having cities of their own and being protected by cities up to a hundred in number. Aryan Gods like Indra, Agni, Saraswati and the Adityas are praised as being like a city. Many ancient kings, including those of Egypt and Mesopotamia, had titles like destroyer or conqueror of cities. This does not turn them into nomads. Destruction of cities also happens in modern wars; this does not make those who do this nomads. Hence the idea of Vedic culture as destroying but not building the cities is based upon ignoring what the Vedas actually say about their own cities.

    Further excavation revealed that the Indus Valley culture was not destroyed by outside invasion, but according to internal causes and, most likely, floods. Most recently a new set of cities has been found in India (like the Dwaraka and Bet Dwaraka sites by S.R. Rao and the National Institute of Oceanography in India), which are intermediate between those of the Indus culture and later ancient India as visited by the Greeks. This may eliminate the so-called ‘dark age’ following the presumed Aryan invasion, and shows a continuous urban occupation in India back to the beginning of the Indus culture.

    The interpretation of the religion of the Indus Valley culture -made incidentally by scholars such as Wheeler who were not religious scholars, much less students of Hinduism – was that its religion was different from the Vedic and more like the later Shaivite religion. However, further excavations – both in Indus Valley sites in Gujarat, like Lothal, and those in Rajasthan, like Kalibangan – show large numbers of fire altars like those used in the Vedic religion, along with bones of oxen, potsherds, shell jewellery and other items used in the rituals described in the ‘Vedic Brahmanas’. Hence the Indus Valley culture evidences many Vedic practices that cannot be merely coincidental. That some of its practices appeared non-Vedic to its excavators may also be attributed to their misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of Vedic and Hindu culture generally, wherein Vedism and Shaivism are the same basic tradition.

    We must remember that ruins do not necessarily have one interpretation. Nor does the ability to discover ruins necessarily give the ability to interpret them correctly.

    The Vedic people were thought to have been a fair-skinned race like the Europeans, owing to the Vedic idea of a war between light and darkness, and the Vedic people being presented as children of light or children of the sun. Yet this idea of a war between light and darkness exists in most ancient cultures, including the Persian and the Egyptian. Why don’t we interpret their scriptures as a war between light and dark-skinned people? It is purely a poetic metaphor, not a cultural statement. Moreover, no real traces of such a race are found in India.

    Anthropologists have observed that the present population of Gujarat is composed of more or less the same ethnic groups as are noticed at Lothal in 2000 BC. Similarly, the present population of the Punjab is said to be ethnically the same as the population of Harappa and Rupar 4000 years ago. Linguistically the present day population of Gujarat and Punjab belongs to the Indo-Aryan language-speaking group. The only inference that can be drawn from the anthropological and linguistic evidences adduced above is that the Harappan population in the Indus Valley and Gujarat in 2000 BC was composed of two or more groups, the more dominant among them having very close ethnic affinities with the present day Indo-Aryan-speaking population of India.

    In other words there is no racial evidence of any such Indo-Aryan invasion of India but only of a continuity of the same group of people who traditionally considered themselves to be Aryans.

    There are many points in fact that prove the Vedic nature of the Indus Valley culture. Further excavation has shown that the great majority of the sites of the Indus Valley culture were east, not west of Indus. In fact, the largest concentration of sites appears in an area of Punjab and Rajasthan near the dry banks of ancient Saraswati and Drishadvati rivers. The Vedic culture was said to have been founded by the sage Manu between the banks of Saraswati and Drishadvati rivers. The Saraswati is lauded as the main river (naditama) in the ‘Rig Veda’ & is the most frequently mentioned in the text. It is said to be a great flood and to be wide, even endless in size. Saraswati is said to be ‘pure in course from the mountains to the sea’. Hence the Vedic people were well acquainted with this river and regarded it as their immemorial homeland.

    The Saraswati, as modern land studies now reveal, was indeed one of the largest, if not the largest river in India. In early ancient and pre-historic times, it once drained the Sutlej, Yamuna and the Ganges, whose courses were much different than they are today. However, the Saraswati river went dry at the end of the Indus Valley culture and before the so-called Aryan invasion, or before 1500 BC. In fact this may have caused the ending of the Indus culture. How could the Vedic Aryans know of this river and establish their culture on its banks if it dried up before they arrived? Indeed the Saraswati as described in the ‘Rig Veda’ appears to more accurately show it as it was prior to the Indus Valley culture, as in the Indus era it was already in decline.

    Vedic and late Vedic texts also contain interesting astronomical lore. The Vedic calendar was based upon astronomical sightings of the equinoxes and solstices. Such texts as ‘Vedanga Jyotish’ speak of a time when the vernal equinox was in the middle of the Nakshtra Aslesha (or about 23 degrees 20 minutes Cancer). This gives a date of 1300 BC. The ‘Yajur Veda’ and ‘Atharva Veda’ speak of the vernal equinox in the Krittikas (Pleiades; early Taurus) and the summer solstice (ayana) in Magha (early Leo). This gives a date about 2400 BC. Yet earlier eras are mentioned but these two have numerous references to substantiate them. They prove that the Vedic culture existed at these periods and already had a sophisticated system of astronomy. Such references were merely ignored or pronounced unintelligible by Western scholars because they yielded too early a date for the ‘Vedas’ than what they presumed, not because such references did not exist.

    Vedic texts like ‘Shatapatha Brahmana’ and ‘Aitereya Brahmana’ that mention these astronomical references, list a group of 11 Vedic Kings, including a number of figures of the ‘Rig Veda’, said to have conquered the region of India from ‘sea to sea’. Lands of the Aryans are mentioned in them from Gandhara (Afghanistan) in the west to Videha (Nepal) in the east, and south to Vidarbha (Maharashtra). Hence the Vedic people were in these regions by the Krittika equinox or before 2400 BC. These passages were also ignored by Western scholars and it was said by them that the ‘Vedas’ had no evidence of large empires in India in Vedic times. Hence a pattern of ignoring literary evidence or misinterpreting them to suit the Aryan invasion idea became prevalent, even to the point of changing the meaning of Vedic words to suit this theory.

    According to this theory, the Vedic people were nomads in the Punjab, coming down from Central Asia. However, the ‘Rig Veda’ itself has nearly 100 references to ocean (samudra), as well as dozens of references to ships, and to rivers flowing in to the sea. Vedic ancestors like Manu, Turvasha, Yadu and Bhujyu are flood figures, saved from across the sea. The Vedic God of the sea, Varuna, is the father of many Vedic seers and seer families like Vasishta, Agastya and the Bhrigu seers. To preserve the Aryan invasion idea it was assumed that the Vedic (and later sanskrit) term for ocean, ‘samudra’, originally did not mean the ocean but any large body of water, especially the Indus river in Punjab. Here the clear meaning of a term in ‘Rig Veda’ and later times – verified by rivers like Saraswati mentioned by name as flowing into the sea – was altered to make the Aryan invasion theory fit. Yet if we look at the index to translation of the ‘Rig Veda’ by Griffith for example, who held to this idea that ‘samudra’ didn’t really mean the ocean, we find over 70 references to ocean or sea. If ‘samudra’ does not mean ocean, why was it translated as such? It is therefore without basis to locate Vedic kings in Central Asia far from any ocean or from the massive Saraswati river, which form the background of their land and the symbolism of their hymns.

    One of the latest archeological ideas is that the Vedic culture is evidenced by Painted Grey Ware pottery in north India, which appears to date around 1000 BC, and comes from the same region between the Ganges and Yamuna as later Vedic culture is related to. It is thought to be an inferior grade of pottery, and to be associated with the use of iron that the ‘Vedas’ are thought to mention. However it is associated with a pig and rice culture, not the cow and barley culture of the ‘Vedas’. Moreover it is now found to be an organic development of indigenous pottery, not an introduction of invaders.

    Painted Grey Ware culture represents an indigenous cultural development and does not reflect any cultural intrusion from the West i.e. an Indo-Aryan invasion. Therefore, there is no archeological evidence corroborating the fact of an Indo-Aryan invasion.

    In addition, the Aryans in the Middle East, most notably the Hittites, have now been found to have been in that region at least as early as 2200 BC, wherein they are already mentioned. Hence the idea of an Aryan invasion into the Middle East has been pushed back some centuries, though the evidence so far is that the people of the mountain regions of the Middle East were Indo-Europeans as far as recorded history can prove.

    The Aryan Kassites of the ancient Middle East worshipped Vedic Gods like Surya and the Maruts, as well as one named Himalaya. The Aryan Hittites and Mittani signed a treaty with the name of the Vedic Gods Indra, Mitra, Varuna and Nasatyas around 1400 BC. The Hittites have a treatise on chariot racing written in almost pure Sanskrit. The Indo – Europeans of the ancient Middle East thus spoke Indo-Aryan, not Indo-Iranian languages, and thereby show a Vedic culture in that region of the world as well.

    The Indus Valley culture had a form of writing, as evidenced by numerous seals found in the ruins. It was also assumed to be non-Vedic and probably Dravidian, though this was never proved. Now it has been shown that the majority of the late Indus signs are identical with those of later Hindu Brahmi, and that there is an organic development between the two scripts. Prevalent models now suggest an Indo-European base for that language.

    It was also assumed that the Indus Valley culture derived its civilization from the Middle East, probably Sumeria, as antecedents for it were not found in India. Recent French excavations at Mehrgarh have shown that all the antecedents of the Indus Valley culture can be found within the subcontinent, and going back before 6000 BC.

    In short, some Western scholars are beginning to reject the Aryan invasion or any outside origin for Hindu civilization.

    Current archeological data do not support the existence of an Indo- Aryan or European invasion into South Asia at any time in the pre- or protohistoric periods. Instead, it is possible to document archeologically a series of cultural changes reflecting indigenous cultural development from prehistoric to historic periods. The early Vedic literature describes not a human invasion into the area, but a fundamental restructuring of indigenous society. The Indo-Aryan invasion as an academic concept in 18th and 19th century Europe reflected the cultural milieu of the period. Linguistic data were used to validate the concept, that in turn was used to interpret archeological and anthropological data.

    In other words, Vedic literature was interpreted on the assumption that there was an Aryan invasion. Then archeological evidence was interpreted by the same assumption. And both interpretations were then used to justify each other. It is nothing but a tautology, an exercise in circular thinking that only proves that if assuming something is true, it is found to be true!

    Another modern Western scholar, Colin Renfrew, places the Indo- Europeans in Greece as early as 6000 BC. He also suggests such a possible early date for their entry into India.

    As far as I can see there is nothing in the Hymns of the ‘Rig Veda’ which demonstrates that the Vedic-speaking population was intrusive to the area: this comes rather from a historical assumption of the ‘coming of the Indo-Europeans’.

    When Wheeler speaks of ‘the Aryan invasion of the land of the 7 rivers, the Punjab’, he has no warranty at all, so far as I can see. If one checks the dozen references in the ‘Rig Veda’ to the 7 rivers, there is nothing in them that to me implies invasion: the land of the 7 rivers is the land of the ‘Rig Veda’, the scene of action. Nor is it implied that the inhabitants of the walled cities (including the Dasyus) were any more aboriginal than the Aryans themselves.

    Despite Wheeler’s comments, it is difficult to see what is particularly non-Aryan about the Indus Valley civilization. Hence Renfrew suggests that the Indus Valley civilization was in fact Indo-Aryan even prior to the Indus Valley era:

    This hypothesis that early Indo-European languages were spoken in North India with Pakistan and on the Iranian plateau at the 6th millennium BC, has the merit of harmonizing symmetrically with the theory for the origin of the Indo- European languages in Europe. It also emphasizes the continuity in the Indus Valley and adjacent areas, from the early neolithic through to the floruit of the Indus Valley civilization.

    This is not to say that such scholars appreciate or understand the ‘Vedas’ – their work leaves much to be desired in this respect – but that it is clear that the whole edifice built around the Aryan invasion is beginning to tumble on all sides. In addition, it does not mean that the ‘Rig Veda’ dates from the Indus Valley era. The Indus Valley culture resembles that of the ‘Yajur Veda’ and they reflect the pre-Indus period in India, when the Saraswati river was more prominent.

    The acceptance of such views would create a revolution in our view of history, as shattering as that in science caused by Einstein’s theory of relativity. It would make ancient India perhaps the oldest, largest and most central of ancient cultures. It would mean that the Vedic literary record – already the largest and oldest of the ancient world even at a 1500 BC date – would be the record of teachings some centuries or thousands of years before that. It would mean that the ‘Vedas’ are our most authentic record of the ancient world. It would also tend to validate the Vedic view that the Indo-Europeans and other Aryan peoples were migrants from India, not that the Indo-Aryans were invaders into India. Moreover, it would affirm the Hindu tradition that the Dravidians were early offshoots of the Vedic people through the seer Agastya, and not unaryan peoples.

    In closing, it is important to examine the social and political implications of the Aryan invasion idea:

    First, it served to divide India into a northern Aryan and southern Dravidian culture which were made hostile to each other. This kept the Hindus divided and is still a source of social tension.

    Second, it gave the British an excuse in their conquest of India. They could claim to be doing only what the Aryan ancestors of the Hindus had previously done millennia ago.

    Third, it served to make Vedic culture later than and possibly derived from Middle Eastern cultures. With the proximity and relationship of the latter with the Bible and Christianity, this kept the Hindu religion as a sidelight to the development of religion and civilization to the West.

    Fourth, it allowed the sciences of India to be given a Greek basis, as any Vedic basis was largely disqualified by the primitive nature of the Vedic culture.

    This discredited not only the ‘Vedas’ but the genealogies of the ‘Puranas’, and their long list of the kings before the Buddha or Krishna were left without any historical basis. The ‘Mahabharata’, instead of a civil war in which all the main kings of India participated as it is described, became a local skirmish among petty princes that was later exaggerated by poets. In short, it discredited most of the Hindu tradition and almost all its ancient literature. It turned its scriptures and sages into fantasies and exaggerations.

    This served a social, political and economical purpose of domination, proving the superiority of Western culture and religion. It made the Hindus feel that their culture was not the great thing that their sages and ancestors had said it was. It made Hindus feel ashamed of their culture – that its basis was neither historical nor scientific. It made them feel that the main line of civilization was developed first in the Middle East and then in Europe and that the culture of India was peripheral and secondary to the real development of world culture.

    Such a view is not good scholarship or archeology but merely cultural imperialism. The Western Vedic scholars did in the intellectual sphere what the British army did in the political realm – discredit, divide and conquer the Hindus.

    In short, the compelling reasons for the Aryan invasion theory were neither literary nor archeological but political and religious – that is to say, not scholarship but prejudice. Such prejudice may not have been intentional, but deep-seated political and religious views easily cloud and blur our thinking.

    It is unfortunate that this approach has not been questioned more, particularly by Hindus. Even though Indian Vedic scholars like Dayananda Saraswati, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Aurobindo rejected it, most Hindus today passively accept it. They allow Western, generally Christian, scholars to interpret their history for them, and quite naturally Hinduism is kept in a reduced role. Many Hindus still accept, read or even honor the translations of the ‘Vedas’ done by such Christian missionary scholars as Max Muller, Griffith, Monier- Williams and H. H. Wilson. Would modern Christians accept an interpretation of the Bible or Biblical history done by Hindus, aimed at converting them to Hinduism? Universities in India also use the Western history books and Western Vedic translations that propound such views that denigrate their own culture and country.

    The modern Western academic world is sensitive to critisms of cultural and social biases. For scholars to take a stand against this biased interpretation of the ‘Vedas’ would indeed cause a reexamination of many of these historical ideas that can not stand objective scrutiny. But if Hindu scholars are silent or passively accept the misinterpretation of their own culture, it will undoubtedly continue, but they will have no one to blame but themselves. It is not an issue to be taken lightly, because how a culture is defined historically creates the perspective from which it is viewed in the modern social and intellectual context. Tolerance is not in allowing a false view of one’s own culture and religion to be propagated without question. That is merely self-betrayal.

    Author : David Frawley

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  9. asingh10

    asingh10 Senior Member Senior Member

    Sep 17, 2015
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    When confronted with attacks on all fronts, social consolidation of identity-conscious Hindus becomes inevitable. Such a precedent is unwelcome for Indo-secularists, who, it seems, endeavour to thwart such consolidation. Further, they dismiss with ridicule any contention that Hindus are discriminated against. Such outright dismissal leads to further neglect and deprivation. Fabricated Indo-secular idioms of all sorts are bandied around to "placate" sentiments, but it is obvious to anyone with an iota of discernment that a good number of Indo-seculars are not conciliatory agents.

    Secularists, it seems, are not very vocal to voice their condemnation when the Hindu community becomes victim of aggression. They, however, are overtly concerned at any such possibility for others, even when there is no foreseeable danger. Thus, so to make sure that no social consolidation of identity-conscious Hindus ever takes place, they throw around appeals to higher morality while guilt-tripping Hindus at the same time by naming and perpetually shaming them (sometimes even falsely) for acts of even minor aggression. Thus, phrases such as "Hindu religion 'respects' all religions" are thrown around relentlessly. These phrases are helpful in decontructing Hindu identity. On the other hand, the non-Hindu identity is upheld and enhanced by constantly dealing with them as religious groups. They are referred to as Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Parisis, etc. Such parlance creates social differences.

    The Hindus by contrast are dealt with as a group only when they have to be named and shamed. Otherwise, they are spoken of in terms of caste groups, linguistic groups, gender groups, age groups etc.

    As Hindus have to "consider all religions as equal", their identity as a group is effectively nullified. Such appeals, it has to be observed, are never made to other religions. While any effort to minimise bloodshed is certainly commendable, it can easily be seen that minimising conflict has never been the intention of Indo-secularists. They enhance the conflict by falsely depicting "minorities" as perpetual victims of violence and bigotry at the hands of Hindus and completely overlooking acts of "minority aggression and fundamentalism".

    They enhance the conflict by inculcating into non-Hindus a feeling of victimhood and shielding their religion from reform by censorship and persecution of its critics. It is clear that deconstruction of Hindu identity is the sole purpose of these idioms. The immediate consequence is that "minorities" continue to enjoy social, economic and material benefits to the detriment of Hindus. The long-term consequence is deconstruction of Hindu identity to such a degree as not be able to put up any united front against oppression.

    Eventually, Hindus have interiorised much of maliciously fabricated secular parlance. This post intends to examine a "secular" phrase which is supposedly taken from Hindu literature

    एकं सद विप्रा बहुधा वदन्त्

    ekam sad viprā bahudhā vadanti

    A Rgvedic phrase, this is supposedly taken to mean that "all religions are same". A most common translation runs as "truth is one, wise call it by many names". Is it really so?

    This hymn comes from Rgveda samhita(1.164). The author of these series of hymns, according to anukramanis as well as by explicit appellation in the samhita itself, is Dirghatamas Aucathya.Dirghatamas was a philosopher (dirgha+tamas literally means "long night" as the philosopher contemplated into the skies) and this hymn was an enigmatic one.

    Of relevance to this discussion is another hymn by the same author in the same series of the same mandala.

    In Rgveda 1.150.2, he says,

    वयनिनस्य धनिनः परहोषे चिदररुषः | कदा चन परजिगतो अदेवयोः

    dhanina=wealthy person;adevayoh=godless;chidrarusha=lacking force;cana=not; kada+cana=never;prajigata=forthcoming;adevayoh=godless;prahosha=praises/oblation

    Scholarly translation (provided by Sanskrit linguist S W Jamison):

    (I go) away (from the protection) of the rich man who lacks force, who gives nothing even when oblations are made, who, not seeking the gods, is never forthcoming.

    The supposedly "secular" poet claims to walk away from a patron who does not properly conduct the Vedic ritual and does not seek Vedic gods. There is not even any trace of "all paths lead to same", "all religions are equal, “truth one many names" etc.

    It is thus clear that "secularism" is a back projection of modern ideas right into Bronze Age. The poem could only be understood when placed in its proper context.

    The hymn containing the phrase "ekam sad vipra bahuda vadanti" is dedicated by its Brahman poet Dirghatamas to Godsvishvedas (literally meaning "all vedic gods"). According to vedic sources (Aitreya Aranyaka 5.3.2; Samkhyayanaka Aranyaka 2.18 etc), the hymn was recited at Mahavrata ritual, which falls on summer solstice according to Kaustiki Brahmana (19.3). This "solar" background should be noted at the outset.

    The ekam (=one) of this verse is actually identified with sun in verse 6 of the same hymn. Just as in any typical Vedic hymn which identifies the ritual with formation of cosmos,Vedic gods are equated and said to be one, true to the spirit of a Vishvedevas hymn!

    A translation follows:

    इन्द्रं मित्रं वरुणमग्निमाहुरथो दिव्यः स सुपर्णो गरुत्मान | एकं सद विप्रा बहुधा वदन्त्यग्निं यमं मातरिश्वानमाहुः

    Word to word: Indram=Indra(Accusative); Mitram=Mitra(Accusative);Varunam=Varuna(Acc); Agnim=Agni(Acc); divyaḥ=Divine; sa=he; suparṇo=su+parna=well feathered; garutman=Garuda; Ekam=one; sat=truth; viprā=Brahmins; bahudhā=many; vadanti=they speak (plural third person). Yamam=Yama; Matarisvanam=Matarisvan.

    Translation: They speak of it as Indra, Mitra, Varuna, and Agni, as also the , well-feathered Garuda Though truth is One, Brahmins speak of it in many ways. They say it is Agni, Yama, and Mātariśvan.

    The verse emphasises the identity of 33 Vedic gods. It says the many gods the Brahmins speak of is one. Nowhere is any identification with "non-Hindu" gods. That "truth is one" is exclusive to Vedic gods is clear from another verse of Rigveda (7.21.5) which reads, "Let theShishnadevas not penetrate our truth". While Shishnadeva is translated as "phallus worshippers" (infact shishna=tail/penis) by most modern Sanskritists and Indologists, ancient Sanskrit grammarian and etymologist Yaksha translated the word as "unchaste people". Whatever the case, it seems that shishnadeva were religiously non-Vedic (gods?) and not party to "truth is one". Neither is there any "secularism" nor "all religions are same".

    In fact, the Rgveda speaks of "others" as thus:

    Around us is the Dasyu: riteless, void of thought, inhuman, keeping other rituals (Rgveda 10.22).

    Here, a Dasyu is described as "riteless" (akarmah) and "keeping other rituals"(anyavrata). He is also called inhuman (amanusha). Prominent Indologists (Elst 1999, parpola 1998) have identified Dasyus with proto-Iranians, Proto-zoroastrians and even proto-sakas. This identification lies on a fact that Dahae is a self-designation for North Iranian tribes of Central Asia even today. The classical Greeks have also located Dahae in central Asia. Elst speculates that these Dasysus were Zarathustra's followers. SW Jamison notes that in another verse of the aforementioned Dasyu hymn that the krpanas (=karapans), the vedic enemies of Zoroastrians, are mentioned favourably. Whatever the identity of Dasyus, it is clear that their religion and rituals differed (even if slightly) from Vedic Aryans. Yet, they were differentiated in very clear terms.

    It should thus be concluded that ideas such as "all religions same" cannot be derived from Rgveda.

    The said phrase "ekam sat..." happens to be one of the most popular idioms of modern Hinduism. Below, we compose a short account of its history.

    To be sure, the said phrase is not unique. There are some philosophical proto-monistic hymns in the Rgveda. Notable is Rgveda 8.58.2, which says, "One has manifested into the whole world" (eka va idam vi babhau sarvam). Sayana considers this verse to be an answer to Rgveda 10.88.18, which asks, "how many fires, how many suns, how many dawns, how many waters? (katyaghnayaḥ kati sūryāsaḥkatyuṣāsaḥ katyu svidāpaḥ). However, modern Indologists point out that such hymns appear only in late Mandalas (1 and 10). RV 8.58 is from Bashakala collection. This khila hymn is absent from Sakalya edition and is devoid of any entry in Anukramani.

    Yet, it is universally accepted that entire Rgveda in its current form is one of the oldest extant religious texts from Bronze Age. Prominent linguist and Sanskritist Michael Witzel (1989,2000) considers the entire Rgveda to be a "tape recording". To quote him: "even minor accents were preserved". Thus, these monistic verses could not have been much younger than the core, if at all. It could safely be presumed that nothing in the Rgveda dates to post second millennium BCE. The monistic philosophy is well expounded in Upanishads (notablyishopanishad).

    Here arises the obvious question: why did this verse gain such prominence when similar hymns could well be found in the Rgveda samhita?

    Aitreya Aranyaka (3.2.3) quotes another verse from the same hymn (1.64.39) which talks about divine speech (vac). While the ritual context is apparent (these hymns were recited at pravargya andmahavrata), there is no mention of "ekam sad". Yet, the monistic orientation of AA is clear from the verse 2.2.2 "the one is everything that is known and heard" (sarve veda, sarve ghosha).

    Ancient Sanskrit grammarian and etymologist Yaksha (c. 600 BCE) in his Nirukta attributes this verse to terrestrial Agni (Yaksha; swarup.122). Thus Yaksha continues to treat the verse in its ritual context. The great vedic commentator Sayana (c.1350 AD) followed yaksha's explanation.

    Post yaksha, the verse fell into oblivion. Why? To be sure, the Vedic religion fell into general decline. The reasons postulated are:

    1. The Vedic language became increasingly unintelligible.
    2. Consecration of Vedas as 'apaurusheya' (divine). Right from the early date it was collected and redacted, the Rgveda became very sacred. It was recited with utmost care in an oral manner and very faithfully transmitted. Barring a few exceptions (notably in Mundaka upanishad where nasadiya sukta was questioned), Nobody challenged its contents. Because they were kept out of purview of general debate, Vedic verses although recited and consecrated gradually went into decline.
    3. The general eclipse of Vedic Hinduism with the emergence of Puranic Hinduism.
    Yet, other Rgvedic verses which were recast into a puranic framework continued to be popular. Rgveda 3.62.10 came to be recast as "Gayatri mantra". Rgveda 2.23.1 was recast as "Ganapati mantra". Rgveda 7.59.12 was recast as "mrtyunjaya mantra". These hymns happen to be popular even today. The inescapable conclusion is that "ekam sad.." was not as prominent as it is today.

    Throughout the medieval period, there was not a single mention of this verse in the literature of Bhakti poets. Wherever the Bhakti poets concerned themselves with the veda, they claimed that "neti, neti" (literally meaning "not this, not this") was the essence of Veda. Actually, this is a post-vedic upanishadic phrase and fits well into the philosophy espoused therein. Many bhakti saints (cf. Nanak, kabir, Namadeva, Tukaram, Srimanta Shankaradeva et al.) already interiorised some Islamic ideals and inculcated monotheism and anti-idolatrous ideology into their nirguni bhakti. Yet, no one had mentioned this verse to back their ideological stand. Even Dayananda Sarasvati, who set out to establish "vedic monotheism", never mentioned this verse.

    The verse was brought back from oblivion in the book History of Sanskrit Language, thanks to Indologist Max Mueller. Ironically, Max Mueller was one of the earliest exponents of "Aryan invasion theory". (He is named and shamed by some Internet Hindus.) A staunch Lutheran, Mueller's ultimate intention was to Christianise Hindus. Mueller was quick to label Rgvedic belief as "henotheistic". These "monotheistic" verses were mentioned by other European historians with glee as it stretched their “monotheism" further back in time.

    Max Mueller.
    On Max Mueller, writes historian and bishop Edward William Cox (1875):

    "...for many striking illustrations, we must refer to Max Mueller's history of Sanskrit language. ...There is one verse which declares the existence of one divine being…. These verses cannot be later than ninth century before Christian era..."

    The Hindus quickly reclaimed the verse. Swami Vivekananda wrote:

    "The Being was perceived as one and the same. It was the perceives who makes the difference. Before the Mohammadean invasion, it was never known what religious persecution was. All that we owe to this one verse."

    [Source: The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda]

    Sri Aurobindo reiterated the idea and launched a scathing attack on "polytheists" and "Europeans":

    "Here Dayananda's view is quite clear, its foundation inexpugnable. The Vedic hymns are chanted to the one Deity under many names which are used and even designed to express his qualities and powers. The Vedic rishis ought surely to have known something about their own religion, more, let us hope than Roth or Max Muller and this is what they knew... We are aware how modern scholars twist away from the evidence. This hymn they say was a late production, this loftier idea which it expresses with so clear a force rose up somehow in the later Aryan mind or was borrowed by those ignorant fire-worshippers, sun-worshippers, sky-worshippers from their cultured and philosophic Dravidian enemies. But throughout the Veda we have confirmatory hymns and expressions: Agni or Indra or another is expressly hymned as one with all the other gods. Agni contains all other divine powers within himself, the Maruts are described as all the gods, one deity is addressed by the names of others as well as his own, or most commonly, he is given as Lord and King of the universe, attributes only appropriate to the Supreme Deity. Ah, But that cannot mean, ought not to mean, the worship of One; let us invent a new word, call it henotheism (coined by Max Muller) and suppose that the Rishis did not really believe Indra or Agni to be the Supreme Deity but treated any god or every god as such for the nonce, perhaps that he might feel the more flattered and lend a more gracious ear for so hyperbolic a compliment! "But why should not the foundation of Vedic thought be natural monotheism rather than this new-fangled monstrosity of henotheism?" Well, because primitive barbarians could not possibly have risen to such high conceptions and, if you allow them to have so risen, you imperil our (Western) theory of the evolutionary stage of the human development and you destroy our whole idea about the sense of the Vedic hymns and their place in the history of mankind... Immediately the whole character of the Veda is fixed in the sense Dayananda gave to it; the merely ritual, mythological, polytheistic interpretation of Sayana collapses, the merely meteorological and naturalistic European interpretation collapses. We have instead a real Scripture, one of the world's sacred books and the divine word of a lofty and noble religion."

    [Source: Aurobindo, World perspectives on Swami Dayananda Saraswati, page 146]

    A few remarks are in order. Here, Sri Aurobindo used the term "polytheist" in a derogatory manner. He also explicitly stated that monotheism was superior to "sun worship.. sky worship.. fire worship". He criticised the "ritualistic, mythological" interpretation of Sayana on equal footing with "naturalistic" European interpretation. Monotheism was, in his words, "high conception". Why?

    Sri Aurobindo.
    During this period, the Christians had indulged in a full invective against Hinduism. To be sure, anti-polytheist and anti-idolatrous ideologies of Islamic age ruled the roost prior to this period and many Hindus internalised these thoughts. Against this background emerged the Christian attacks on Hinduism as "polytheist" or "idolatrous". These invectives had been ingrained deeply into the psyche of the society by the popular nirguni bhakti poems. That "polytheism is a vice" was a ubiquitously accepted stand.

    Consider the below statement of Angarika Dharmapala (c.1900 AD), Srilankan Buddhist Theravada monk and a personal friend of Vivekananda:

    "Christianity and polytheism are responsible for the vulgar practices of killing animals, stealing, prostitution, licentiousness, lying and drunkenness."

    [Source: Dharmapala, History of Ancient Civilisations]

    The "polytheism" used in a very derogatory manner in this quote was actually a reference to Hinduism. If such was the parlance Buddhists used towards "polytheistic Hinduism", one could well imagine what invectives Christians would have hurled. Polytheism and idolatry were universally considered vices, and such attitude was deeply ingrained in the newly emerging native catholic schooled Indian scholars. This environment led to genesis of sects such as Arya Samaj and Brahmo Samaj. Swami Vivekanada and Aurobindo did not question the roots and history of monotheism, which they themselves partly interiorised. It must be remembered that they were not privy to vast scholarly literature and bloody history of monotheism which are available to us today. Thus, they had no intention to strike at the roots of monotheism. Instead, they busied themselves in an easier and more important task of rescuing Hinduism by disassociating it with idolatry and polytheism. In such a scenario, this verse "ekam sad", rediscovered by Christians who were keen to push their monotheism into antiquity and attack medieval Hinduism, came in very handy and was readily adopted by Hindus. It elucidated the "original" character of Hinduism as "noble monotheism". These Hindu reformists then argued that later Hinduism lapsed into polytheism and idolatry out of ignorance. The Arya Samajis also got into swift action and started using this phrase to back up their monotheistic ideology. They translated "ekam sat" as "one God", in accordance with their claims.

    Otherwise, it could well be argued that ritualism and polytheism is the essence of Rgveda. Rgveda 8.30 (said to be recited by Manu himself) says "not one of you is small. not one of you is feeble. All of you are verily great. Thus be you lauded, you thirty-three deities". The ritual context is apparent in verses, such as, "Adhvaryus, be ye ready with oblations.. Go to the reservoir, O ye Adhvaryus worship Apam Napat" (Rgveda 10.30). Infact, it is explicitly clear from the text that a large number of Rgvedic hymns were composed on the ritual ground.

    While the Hindu reformists continued to use this phrase to project Hinduism as a monotheistic religion, Indo-secularists came into action by attributing their version of "secularism" to it. This is especially true after independence as "monotheism" fell out of fashion and "secularism" became the new fad. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and DS Sharma used the phrase in support of Gandhi's sarva dharma sama bhava.

    "His idea of swaraj, is only an expression in political terms of the Hindu doctrine ekam sad vipra bahuda vadanti."

    [Source: Gandhi, edited by Sarvapalli Radhakrishan]

    The truth, however, is that Gandhi's "sarva dharma sama bhava" is a spurious phrase which is not found anywhere. It was coined by Gandhi himself to support his equally spurious concept of religious secularism. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan strived to fabricate a vedic background for Gandhi’s spurious claims, and had but to subvert the essence of "ekam sad".

    The phrase continues to be in use by staunch Congress politicians such as Mani Shankar Aiyar (Rajiv Gandhi’s India, 1998) and Shashi Tharoor.

    Recently, the phrase has acquired another meaning. On November 30, 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that his "idea of India" is "ekam sat vipra bahuda vadanti". It seems now that the verse also comes in handy for BJP secularists who are desperate to prove their secularism to Indo-secularists.

    In conclusion, it could be said that the usage of this verse provides great insights into the history of changing political and religious discourse in India. It has been subject to ritualist, monist, monotheist, Indo-secularist and "Hindutvo-secularist" interpretations according to the given day.

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  10. asingh10

    asingh10 Senior Member Senior Member

    Sep 17, 2015
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    Last article must read on how some of our 'greatest thinkers' had imbibed Abrahamic monotheistic thinking and how they were deeply uncomfortable with the polytheist and ritualistic heritage of the Dharma. Why do we blindly worship them and not turn our attention towards the real teachers of the Vedic tradition ? At any rate Shankara had a better understanding of Vedanta than Vivekananda ? Deifying comes easily to Hindus. Examine everything objectively without bringing in your base emotions . Quit being illiterate, lazy fanboys who want Dharma to be spoonfed to them via quick fix self help baba books.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  11. Indx TechStyle

    Indx TechStyle Perfaarmance Naarmal Veteran Member Senior Member

    Apr 29, 2015
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    21°N 78°E / 21°N 78°E
    Damn. :lol:
    Too much people are sick behind sickulars. :biggrin2:
    And more surprising thing is that my dear friend Nuvennet forgot to tag me.
    This is happening on the forum of a country who is actually known for it's secularism and liberalism.
    I guess this forum is has changed to a cultural one more than defence issues.
    By the way guys, carry on.
    I'm enjoying it. :grin:
    Busy on defence and space threads.
    Any sickular like me can tag me for help if someone of these guys troll him.
  12. asingh10

    asingh10 Senior Member Senior Member

    Sep 17, 2015
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    Another one on Vivekananada.
  13. A chauhan

    A chauhan "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च: l" Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2009
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    I don't want to derail the thread, but India is seriously known for Hinduism and its rich philosophical background which is absent in Abrahmic religions, Europe wants to take credit for Sanskrit and many things Hindus produced, do you want to say that India was unknown to the western world before 1947?
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  14. dhananjay1

    dhananjay1 Senior Member Senior Member

    Mar 10, 2013
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    As I mentioned before Vivekananda is subversive and not defensive for dharma. I don't really care whether Modi follows him or not, Someone who approves of the dead jew is not worth admiring.
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  15. asingh10

    asingh10 Senior Member Senior Member

    Sep 17, 2015
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    Bitter pill for many Indians. They cannot think beyond the men they idolize. These men acted defensively as a result of victory of British colonialists, created a false narrative of how Hinduism too was once "pristine" and devoid of evils like polytheism, idolatory and rituals (evil in Abrahamism btw) to please the masters in difficult times. They justified it by finding material suiting their interpretation in the malleable and fluid text of the upanishads and Vedas.

    Btw even Zakir Naik misleads many Hindus by using quotes (false/misinterpreted/out of context) from Upanishads and Vedas to prove how Hinduism was monotheistic (even though its monism in Upanishads which would be considered shirk in Islam), free from idolatory etc. So these "reformers" basically gave an opening to Abrahamist wolves. All because Hindus are lethargic, unable to think for themselves and don't bother reading their own texts. They need a book from Vivekananda or Osho that waters everything down, reconciles Hinduism with their monotheistic world view and to put their mind at rest.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
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  16. asingh10

    asingh10 Senior Member Senior Member

    Sep 17, 2015
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    No traditional Vedantin was anti-idol worship or ritualism - Madhava, Ramanuja, Shankara all praised it. Shankara's muth is still steeped heavily in ritualism.

    But who cares.

    Lets listen to Vivekananda, Osho, Gandhi and Sri Sri.
  17. Indx TechStyle

    Indx TechStyle Perfaarmance Naarmal Veteran Member Senior Member

    Apr 29, 2015
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    21°N 78°E / 21°N 78°E
    I know about that bro but the posters of this thread has something else to do. They have more hate for other communities than love for their own religion.
    Keep reading this thread. You'll know that. :D
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  18. Nuvneet Kundu

    Nuvneet Kundu Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 15, 2016
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    JNU, Afzal Guru and liberté: Freedom of speech is not an unfettered right

    I start this piece with an anecdote going back to 2008-2009. The UPA government was in power and I was working with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Driving through Delhi’s VVIP area, I noticed over a period of several months a strange development — small cars and jeeps sporting yellow number plates of taxis with black and white silhouettes of a personality who became a symbol of Punjab’s secessionist movement. An event that led to the assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi. In fact, he continues to be an inspiration for Khalistan supporters till date. Stickers of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the man who took on the Indian State from within Amritsar’s Golden Temple and who was eventually killed in Operation Bluestar in the summer of 1984, on glasses on cars zipping through the city.

    Surprised to see such brazen display of support for Bhindranwale, I mentioned it to a senior official in the security establishment. He looked surprised and said, “Some people have Bhagat Singh stickers for inspiration and others have Bhindranwale.” I questioned if a terrorist and a person who was taken on by the Indian Army for waging war against the State could be openly venerated. There was silence. I then asked what the police or security establishment would do if I were to drive around with a sticker of Osama bin Laden on my car. Now, he remarked, I will have to check that.

    Our conversation ended there and now, over six years have gone by. Since last year I have noticed that these stickers have now become more explicit. Full length stickers of Bhindranwale with a bhaala or spear in one hand are now pasted on glasses of taxis and people drive around with those, quite happily, with no policeman detaining them and or even investigating the provocation for such stickers to be flaunted.

    Some will argue that sporting such stickers is harmless. How does it matter if cabs sport such stickers? After all, the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression. And by that same argument, some would argue today argue that JNU’s students were doing no wrong if they organized a meeting to honour Afzal Guru who was accused of plotting an attack on the Parliament in 2001 and whose death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court of India. Similarly there's nothing wrong if the Press Club of India premises were used to hold another such meeting where reportedly anti-India slogans were raised, they would argue.

    Freedom of speech and expression are not unfettered rights. Every right has limitations. In the name of intellectual freedom people cannot be allowed to hold public meetings to honour men who worked against the State and its institutions. The Vice Chancellor of JNU was misled by organisers of this meeting where slogans were raised in memory of Guru and against the Indian State. And JNU is a Central University which is funded by the government and is not a private institution.

    Can an institution allow such an activity or meeting? While the debate has taken a typical BJP versus others tone here, in the UK similar debate is in progress about the role and responsibility of universities that could be seen as soft on terrorism. A controversial Counter-terrorism and Security Act 2015 has been viewed by some as violative of human rights as guaranteed by the European Human Rights Law and is likely to face legal challenges.

    Under the law, universities in the UK have been issued guidance which makes it incumbent on academics to check students spreading radical ideas, monitor them and to not provide a platform to radical speakers. Vice Chancellors have been asked to submit reports about preparedness to implement such guidelines and failure to follow guidelines would invite action.

    Currently a major debate is in progress across academic circles on and off UK campuses on whether these guidelines impinge on academic freedom. To address such concern revised guidelines were issued to Universities in September last year that would allow “radical” speakers space if at the same time there is a speaker present who counters such an argument there and then.

    In the case of JNU event there was no academic discussion that was underway. Instead it was a meeting where anti-India slogans were raised. Such a meeting to be organized on the campus of a government-funded university is certainly far from lawful. Anyone who believes such a meeting should have been allowed must be asked if public gatherings honouring LTTE’s Prabhakaran, India’s most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim or Hafiz Saeed of JeM fame should be given permission next.

    In the pre-9/11 days Britain proud of its democratic traditions allowed anyone and everyone to pitch tents in the UK and openly abuse and call for removal of governments abroad. Khalistan groups and LTTE were proudly hosted in London. Freedom of speech and expression were unfettered to such an extent that even radical Muslim clerics were allowed to hold sermons in UK mosques where they called for an overthrow of British governments.

    The events of 9/11 and attacks on London underground changed all that.

    The JNU Students Union president has been arrested on Friday on sedition charge and he has claimed innocence. He said, there were outsiders who came in and raised anti-India slogans. The cops must investigate the case and punish the guilty.

    But, a democratic right that needs to be cherished and protected must not be allowed to be misused in the name of freedom. There is a line that divides right to have academic debate and support to terrorism or the idea of terrorism, that should not be violated or allowed to be. If it is, then the law must come into play.

    A chauhan and asingh10 like this.
  19. Nuvneet Kundu

    Nuvneet Kundu Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 15, 2016
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    A faith hijacked

    WHEN Sheikh Abdul Aziz, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, issued a fatwa directing Muslims not to play chess as, according to him, the ancient board game was un-Islamic, a roar of laughter greeted this edict on social media.

    A similar reaction was seen when a Malaysian cleric decreed that yoga should not be practised by Muslims as it had Hindu origins. More recently, a so-called fatwa permitting Muslim men to eat their wives in extreme circumstances went viral on social media. Although the Saudi grand mufti denied having issued it, many may have believed it to be genuine as the same worthy had urged in 2012 that all churches in the Arabian peninsula be destroyed.

    But why look towards Saudi Arabia and Malaysia for such examples? Here in Pakistan some years ago, a cleric in Noshki, a small town in Balochistan, reportedly issued a fatwa to the effect that girls using mobile phones would have acid thrown in their faces. He cited ‘Islamic tradition’ to bar girls from receiving a formal education and was critical of women working in NGOs, urging them to go home and look after their husbands.

    In Afghanistan, the Taliban banned all forms of sports and entertainment. Women showing an inch of skin could be flogged, as they are in Saudi Arabia. And while the world is outraged at the routine beheading of prisoners by the militant Islamic State group, it chooses to avert its eyes from the same savage punishment regularly meted out to convicts in Saudi Arabia.

    And let’s not forget our own Council of Islamic Ideology’s preoccupation with the subjugation of women. Its misogynistic rulings on child marriage and divorce threaten to drag Pakistan back to the seventh century.

    I am citing these examples to highlight the priorities our clerics have set themselves. By refusing to focus on the real issues of the day, they are making themselves irrelevant. Most of the Muslim world is socially and economically backward, and its people suffer from poverty, poor health, illiteracy and a lack of employment opportunities. So one would have thought Muslim clerics would have major issues to concern themselves with other than keeping women at home.

    Instead of asserting the right of men to four wives, why aren’t our religious leaders putting pressure on governments to improve education and healthcare? Why don’t we see fatwas in support of the right of every child to food, shelter, healthcare and a decent education?

    And from where do they dredge up their edicts against chess, yoga, music and sports? Certainly, my reading of the Holy Book revealed no such bans. So why have they attempted to turn Islam into a mere checklist of do’s and don’ts? Why is it all about punishments and threats? Whatever happened to reflection and contemplation? Why is religion being turned into such a joyless experience? Above all, where’s the compassion?

    The Islam I see around me today is certainly not the one I grew up with. The Pakistan of my boyhood was a far more tolerant place than it is today. The reason for this regression lies, of course, in the harsh interpretation of the faith as practised in Saudi Arabia, and exported by the kingdom’s clerics with the royal family’s active support.

    The 9/11 attacks, the subsequent extremist violence that has convulsed the Middle East, and the terrorist atrocities carried out in the West as well as the Muslim world, have all produced a backlash. It has now become a default position for Muslims to say: ‘Islam is a religion of peace that has been hijacked by terrorists.’

    The reality is that the faith has been hijacked by the clergy: the words of many Muslim clerics provide ammunition to those who see violence in the faith’s DNA. The harsh, angry sermons at Friday prayers, the fulminations of clerics like Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid, and the weird fatwas issued by ill-qualified and uneducated religious leaders all feed into an increasingly negative narrative about Islam.

    When the Holy Book was revealed, it contained many progressive ideas regarding women’s rights and the redistribution of wealth. But instead of extending those principles, we have allowed them to stagnate, thanks to the monopoly a retrogressive clergy has acquired over the interpretation of the scriptures.

    One reason for this intellectual moribundity is the power earlier Muslim rulers exercised over the clergy: the latter provided legitimacy to dynasties in violation of Islamic principles. The same is true of the relationship between Saudi and Gulf clerics and the ruling royalty.

    In the colonial and post-colonial periods, the only original thinking was among opposition theologians and radicals who opposed the status quo. The clergy mostly support the ruling elites, but as soon as it sees its power slipping away, it turns on its masters.

    As long as we don’t separate religion from the affairs of the state, the confusion we see today will continue.

    [email protected]

    Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2016
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  20. Nuvneet Kundu

    Nuvneet Kundu Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 15, 2016
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    Building ABVP in JNU - The Long Struggle.

    It was in early eighties when a RSS Pracharak began to visit JNU campus on regular basis. He befriended a student who was quite influenced by the communist ideology. Dominance of communist ideology in JNU campus deservedly earned it the sobriquet – Kremlin on the bank of river Yamuna.

    The RSS Pracharak and his friend began to spend evenings discussing and defending their ideological beliefs. Those were the times when JNU used to be a place where presence of a RSS flag-bearer was equivalent to being a Jew in Nazi Germany. The RSS man continued his evening chats with his communist friend, a rare JNU student who didn't mix ideology and human relationship.

    One day the student invited the RSS pracharak for dinner in his hostel. To the shock of RSS man and his friend, everybody eating there chose to leave the table. This was a scene directly from a feudal village and totally unexpected in an University which is in the heart of India’s capital and claims to be socially progressive. The friend of RSS man was so disgusted with this hypocrisy that he took a vow to fight against the communists. He became one of the first vocal voices of ABVP in JNU.

    Many high profile RSS leaders started to visit the university and most of their meetings would be held in small 8X12 hostel rooms. ABVP created an alternative space. Very basic steps, like differentiating themselves from the ‘attire’ of JNU students, were attempted. Given that sporting a dirty Kurta, along with torn jeans and slippers, became the trademark of any JNU student, ABVP cadres ensured that they would always tuck their shirts, turn up in a sartorially pleasing manner, and would never smoke or drink in public.

    JNU had many students who yearned to celebrate national festivals but they hesitated as no organization was there to make the first move. Left wingers mourned India’s Independence Day as a black day. In spite of JNU having a huge Bengali population, Durga Puja celebration was treated as communal. Bengali students would go to Chitaranjan Park to celebrate the festival but they would wipe the tilak before entering the campus. ABVP ensured that all these festivals were celebrated. Durga Puja Samiti was formed which was in itself a very long battle as Puja started in a room at Periyar hostel. Now the times have changed as even AISA-SFI leaders can be seen taking prasad at Pooja Pandal where hundreds of students gather for evening aarti.

    As Parishad evolved in the campus, Left used same modus operandi, tried and tested in Bengal and Kerala, to suppress it. The techniques included political violence, social boycott, threats to ruin the career, public humiliation, character assassination, wrath of prejudiced professors and vicious rumor mongering about Parishad leaders mainly among girl students.

    Keeping this in mind, ABVP started to nurture many women student leaders, but it faced massive resistance from the leftist forces. They would do weird things like calling the parents of the girl student, putting peer pressure in the girl’s hostel and if she would not give up, every form of intimidation was used. All this was done to stop the growth of ABVP in the University campus

    After arrival of ABVP in the campus, the nationalist movement took proper shape and every communist act were spiritedly challenged.Leftist forces used to revel in inviting Kashmiri extremists, extending open support to Naxal armed struggle, opposing economic policies which would help India in long run, supporting Chinese government, and providing a platform for Pakistani elite to ridicule India. One such incident had happened when a Pakistani poet was bad mouthing about India and an Army personnel was present there. He opposed what he perceived to be a treacherous act and instead of letting him have his say, the Army man was badly beaten by the leftist goons.

    Parishad activists were often manhandled by communist thugs to demoralize them. Being weak in numbers, ABVP had to lick its wounds and remain silent. Best example of such communist thuggery can be seen in Kerala where ABVP leaders are killed without any fear of law. By mid-nineties, ABVP emerged stronger and cadre base grew. A big chunk of students from Sainik school tilaiya cleared JNU entrance exams. This is the time when ABVP could stop the violence of left groups by showing numerical strength and this is how ABVP activists stopped being apologetic about their ideology. Continuous intimidation by left wing started to get strong retaliation and left wing recognized hesitantly that ABVP was going to stay in the Campus.

    ABVP began to win few school level councilor seats and the tally kept growing. By early nineties, ABVP was already winning union seats except JNUSU president post. Piyush Mishra could not win the President seat only by two votes. Oriya community produced many Parishad leaders and Oriya students would vote across ideological lines for any Oriya candidate. Many students from Orissa were elected on different union posts on ABVP ticket. Bihar and UP students were strongly challenging Left by giving a huge cadre support to Parishad. RSS had already started to run two Shakhas in JNU campus and several students were participating in these Shakhas.
    Prominent RSS officials visited JNU every year on Guru Dakshina Karyakram and no event or activity, which provided platform to subversive elements, went unchallenged.

    SFI used to be strong with its Bengali support. AISF served as a lobby group for Muslim community in JNU campus. AISA espoused far left ideology as it was the student wing of CPI (ML). It gained popularity after its Leader Chandra Shekhar, was killed by RJD MP Syed Shahabuddin. AISA got a martyr in Chandu.

    There were few other student organizations like DSU and PSU which used to talk openly of armed struggle against Indian state. JNU has provided a veritable supply chain of Maoist and communist leaders. The most prominent JNU alumni include Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury and Baburam Bhattarai. Bhattarai was one of the top two maoist leaders who overthrew the nepalese Kingdom.

    As the ABVP got stronger, and left parties started to lose seats, they were forced to unite and coalitions were formed. SFI and AISF chose to contest together on seat sharing basis in 1996 when ABVP won 3 central panel seats for the first time and ABVP presidential candidate Pushkar Mishra lost by only four votes. in 2000, Sandeep Mahapatra won the JNUSU president seat on ABVP ticket. By this victory of one vote, the discourse of JNU changed forever. Campus, which used to debate on several interpretations of left ideology, was now divided into distinct ideological compartments – the left and the right.
    2002 was also a landmark year in JNU history as ABVP invited Shri Ashok Singhal of Vishwa Hindu Parishad for the Guru Dakshina Karyakram and more than 600 cadres participated in the event. Whole leftist student community joined together to protest his visit. ABVP had by now decisively forced the left to squeeze itself into a limited space.

    JNU has a history of not allowing Indian politicians in the campus. The list of such leaders is long. Indira Gandhi was not allowed to enter JNU campus, Lal Krishna Advani was stopped at JNU gate. But it has also tradition of inviting Naxal leaders in post dinner mess meetings. When Parishad began to protest the lectures of those, who are identified with subversive forces working against the unity of India, Left wing cried foul and the prime logic was ‘freedom of expression’. Arundhati Roy was shouted down when she told that Indian Army is army of rapists. The same left which had not allowed even Indira Gandhi who was PM of India, to use her freedom of expression was advocating for it. Such is the communist hypocrisy. AISA JNUSU president refused to give a bouquet to APJ Abdul Kalam when he visited JNU.

    ManMohan Singh, who is professor emeritus in JNU economics department, was shown black flag as he supposedly represented the state, against which these communists want to have an armed struggle. Left’s shocking hypocrisy was on display when Sitaram Yechury denied that Chinese students were brutally suppressed in Tiananmen Square and called it a capitalist propaganda. ABVP ensured that many top nationalist leaders including Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Govindacharya and others were invited to JNU for public talks and these programs always attracted huge gathering.

    SFI and AISF were already contesting together but due to dissension within ABVP in 2003, it stood divided. A rebel group announced the formation of a breakaway unit and ABVP State unit could not handle the situation well. Several reasons explained this divide. Sangathan Mantri, who was an appointee of RSS, was not as ideologically sound as the students of JNU. ABVP had most of its cadre base from foreign language school as they were young and energetic but most of the leaders came from history and International studies departments.

    JNU history department professors rule the roost in NCERT history books but few students were challenging these professors in their own bastion. ‘Yuva Itihaskar Manch’ was challenging left interpretation of Indian History regularly in History department seminars, debates and discussions. This group of ‘Yuva Itihaskar Manch’ needed to be dealt well. It could be used to nurture the talent which would have formed an intellectual nucleus of those seeking to correct the distorted history in future but higher authorities of ABVP Delhi state erred at this moment. A small group joined NSUI in frustration, ABVP performed badly in 2003 but consolation was that ABVP was still having a strong cadre base. Activists with no political ambition were humiliated due to the defeat in 2003 and they chose to fight back in 2004 elections.

    JNU has a very unique tradition of organizing Admission assistance camps. It is unique as assistance doesn't stop at admission process which is very hectic and includes a lot of running around several centers, JNU students accommodate the freshers in their small rooms till they don’t get their hostel rooms allotted. This helps the students as most of them are from economically weak background but at the same time, it helps the student organizations to impact the thinking of the new students and this is how new activists are cultivated.

    JNU campus is a cultural shock for many newcomers as they have never experienced an open environment where post dinner processions happen with full throated sloganeering, everyday debates are staged on world affairs over a cup of tea, beautifully handcrafted student union posters are used for electioneering, teachers ask their students to address them by names, presidential speeches and debates are conducted as part of election campaign, no concept of ragging exists and many theater groups are open for students to join them, Air conditioned libraries and classrooms, are seen by many students coming from village background for the first time. All these things induce a sense of grandeur in the mind of newcomers.

    ABVP actively worked for admission assistance and many new students participated in organisational activities. 2004 elections again proved that ABVP had a strong presence in JNU campus. There were incidents that were responsible for the upsurge as few weeks before the JNUSU elections, S.A.R Geelani was invited for an evening talk. He was accused in parliament attack case but acquitted on technical ground.He is still very actively involved in Kashmiri secessionist movement .

    ABVP decided to oppose the event and all other left parties including NSUI which is student wing of Congress, stood against ABVP again with the logic of ‘Freedom of expression’. We always see how the human rights is always valid for terrorists,dreaded criminals and anti-nationals but not for their victims. Young students in age group of 18-20 years literally chased away the car of Nandita Haskar. Geelani hid himself inside the car, which he later denied. Campus was once again sharply polarised into left vs right. Many newcomers, who were being indoctrinated by left, could not reconcile to such open invitation to Kashmiri separatist leaders and chose to be part of ABVP.

    2004 elections was also notable as it was for the first time a bus load of police personnel had to come inside the campus during elections. The whole issue started with a small incident when a senior ABVP leader, who is now working as a professor in Auckland University, raised the issue of voting hours being over and hence nobody should be allowed to enter the school building. Around twenty ABVP activists tried to block the gate. JNUSU election committee closed the gate and voting continued for those who were already inside the building.

    A strong rumour went out that Parishad activists were beating SFI leaders and a crowd of 200 SFI cadres and leaders came to School of language gate, broke it and entered with tube lights, chains and sticks in their hands to teach a lesson to Parishad. ABVP had few girls contesting for councillor posts and they had to be locked up in a classroom to protect from this violent attack. ABVP was outnumbered many parishad activists had to be hospitalised. This infuriated the ABVP base in JNU and later on,SFI leaders went into hiding for weeks fearing retaliation.

    ABVP won most of the councillor seats and one joint secretary seat. Parishad lost presidential seat but got more than double votes on each seat than the last year and could be defeated only by tactical voting of left wing. ABVP victory procession was much bigger than the SFI procession as nobody from SFI dared to turn up in public.

    ABVP activists wanted a Parishad JNU Unit president and team chosen by popular will of cadres but as the RSS tradition goes, the decision had to come from the above. The higher authorities failed again to read the minds of activists and ABVP got divided. 18 Persons who were at the root of the extraordinary performance of 2004 were suspended and another organization called JNU patriotic front was formed by them as these activists could not compromise with their ideology. This resulted in two organisations with similar nationalist ideology inside JNU. JPF proved to be a very strong cadre based organisation which was more aggressive due to its younger crowd. ABVP remained with senior Phd students but they could not shout louder, nor they could resist the communist gang without the raw energy of school of languages.

    2005 elections were fought by both ABVP and JPF separately. Relations between ABVP and JPF turned so bitter that when ABVP leaders, tried to protest against Brinda Karat for her remarks on Baba Ramdev to maintain the relevance of Parishad, they were chased away by SFI and few of them were beaten. No JPF cadre supported Parishad but on the same night, one JPF cadre was slapped by SFI cadres and JPF ensured that the SFI president was found that night and slapped by that JPF cadre – to give a message that manhandling of their cadre will be strongly retaliated.JNUSU Presidential candidate of SFI wrongly blamed a cadre of JPF of sexual harassment to avenge the retaliation. This tactics was often used by left to pin down ABVP supporters.

    The student who had completed his course was declared out of bounds of JNU campus and thus 6 JPF boys sat on indefinite hunger strike to revoke the order. The strike continued for 6 days. Their health was deteriorating. JNU administration negotiated with striking students and issue was resolved, but the concerned student was still out of bounds.

    JPF decided to avenge this false accusation and at the time of 2005 elections, many supporters of JPF voted for AISA presidential candidate Mona Das tactically so that SFI candidate could not win. SFI candidate Sona Mitra, who had used sexual harassment as a political tool, was defeated and lesson was taught to her and SFI. As it happens with organisations that have no organized system, JPF faded away.

    Lyngdoh commission forced JNU to introduce certain rules for JNUSU elections. Those rules like age limit were not suitable for JNU as most of the student leaders were Ph.D. scholars. This led to JNUSU elections being stopped for few years.This depoliticized JNU and most of the ABVP leaders passed out and new team could not be developed.

    SFI was divided as their central leadership supported UPA but Prasenjit Bose took position against it and as a result, he was suspended. His team formed another group which contested till this year and this is how AISA, which used to struggle, came back in reckoning and it is winning JNUSU elections continuously. Iftar Parties are organised in every hostel and every student is charged the extra mess bill but AISA opposes celebration of Janmashtami Pooja in hostel mess after dinner time! just because it would hurt ‘sentiments’. The combination of Bolshevik and Shariat can be seen in the double standards followed by these communists. The illegitimate child of this combo is the ideology which is followed by Likes of Javed Akhtar or Mani Shankar Aiyar

    NSUI is hardly relevant in the context of JNU. It has been unable to convince JNU students despite huge money power. One notable leader of NSUI who climbed the political ladder is Ashok Tanwar who came in good books of Amit Jogi when he was studying in JNU and now he is MP from Haryana and strong contender for Congress State president post. But NSUI could never gather more than 200-300 votes.

    The winning methodology of left parties has changed drastically as JNU has 3 departments (Arabic, Persian and Urdu). They attract students from Madarsa background only. This vote bank is used for tactical voting. Apart from voting tactically, these centers have failed completely in creating job options – many of the ex-students from these centres are running Dhaba, grocery stores, typing thesis of PhD students, and don't be surprised if some day some autowallah tells you that he was a JNU student as many Urdu Centre alumnus are forced to run auto-rickshaw in Delhi due to lack of job opportunities.

    Hindi Centre has been hijacked by communist professors like Manager Pandey, Namwar Singh and Purushottam Aggarwal. The stranglehold is such that they have completely suppressed the nationalist literature of poets like Ramdhari Singh Dinkar but these professors have been blamed several times of being casteist in their approach. JNU is witness to left hypocrisy where seminars on poverty are held and speakers talk about hunger after eating a mouth watering plate of Gajar Halwa. Left ideology has diluted and Durga Puja is celebrated with lot of joy which was a huge issue earlier.

    Murli Manohar Joshi, who was HRD Minister in NDA regime, started Centre for Sanskrit studies and this Centre was strongly opposed by all communist student groups and this step was projected as promotion of black magic and superstition. At the time of Deepawali, all hostels are decorated by students as tradition was started by ABVP activists. In past, Diwali night seemed like a mourning night with darkness all around. Students who wear clean clothes are not treated as outsiders any more. Language students earn money through freelancing and this has brought prosperity in campus, many new motorcycles are being bought and cars are not a big deal any more.

    The slogan that was used to convey the message to left that Parishad was not going to be intimidated anymore was ‘ haarenge to hurenge, Aur jeetenge to thurenge’ which loosely means that we will beat the communists in both cases either we lose or we gain.There are many more slogans which continue to attract students towards Parishad.

    Notable ABVP leaders from JNU are now working at several important positions.Nirmala Sitharaman is national spokesperson of BJP( not sure if she was active for ABVP though), Dr. Manish Kumar who is editor in Chauthi duniya, Ashok Sharma is professor in Auckland university Newzealand, Shiv Shakti Nath Bakshi is editor of Kamal Sandesh (BJP magazine), Swadesh Singh is National Vice president of BJYM, D.D Gautam is media in charge of BJP SC Morcha, Sunil Mohanty is pracharak of RSS in Arunachal Pradesh, Siddharth Rai is working as senior journalist in Mail today.

    Editor and sub-editor of RSS publication panchajanya are from JNU, many of JNU parishad team are working as professors in several renowned universities in India and abroad, many of them are journalists and well placed in several news organisations, Sandeep Mahapatra, the only ABVP JNUSU president till date, is working as supreme court lawyer and frequently joins debates on news channels, Pushkar Mishra worked as secretary to national president BJP and actively working in nationalist politics, Amitabh Thakur who was ABVP president in 1996 was in charge of election of 5 states in 2003, Jatin Mohanty is state secretary for Odisha BJP, Irfan khan is heading development projects for a notable NGO. Vidhan Pathak, Amit Singh, Vivekanand Upadhyay and many others are professors in universities around India. Dhananjay Singh is Assistant professor in JNU itself. Science schools which use to be passionate supporters of ABVP produce eminent scientists and researchers who are working around the world. Many ABVP supporters are working in Indian Administrative, police and foreign services. Many ABVP activists are successful in their career and supporting nationalist ideology at several platforms. Bangalore IT sector has a big community from JNU foreign language school which was the most active school for JNU ABVP. This list doesn't include every notable name but it gives an example as how ABVP presence in JNU is important and needs to be maintained as this university produces intellectuals which the Right wing needs badly and Leftist discourse must be challenged at the source of it.

    Note: It should be treated as a tale from eyes of an observer. Many stories could not be mentioned as it would require a book to do so.
  21. Nuvneet Kundu

    Nuvneet Kundu Senior Member Senior Member

    Jan 15, 2016
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    Arre bhaiyya humka maaf kar diyo bhai. I'm trying to make this thread as a compilation so trying to keep conversations to a minimum. Just like you are maintaining your thread on Paki musings. Humre dil ko thes na pahunchao bhaijaan. Is thread ko baksh do, I will tag you elsewhere to play secular-secular, not here. :)
    Indx TechStyle likes this.

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