Babri Masjid Redux (just say no)

….Ram Pal who raises pigs, said, “We celebrated Holi and Diwali along with Christimas…..people were asking….If you’re a
Christian, how can you be a Dalit?
…..danger
is that the re-converts will seize the church and put up a temple…..“We will not let another church come
up….there is no Christian left,” said Rajeshwar Singh….

….


Just say NO to any C21 sequel of Babri the horror movie. The powers that be are of the opinion that beating up on minorities will help win elections. This is from the Gujarat playbook but the success there was more out of a sense of Gujarati asmita than Hindu pride. Already there is evidence (recent by-polls in Uttarkhand, Bihar, and Karnataka) that a backlash is taking shape. Finally, people who live by the sword must be prepared to die by the sword as well…a number of ruling party leaders/workers in UP have been murdered in the past few weeks.

As far as the Valmikis (Dalits) are concerned, the important question is how they survive in difficult conditions not their status as Hindus or Christians or Muslims. Religious status is not helpful for improving social status….otherwise there would be no need for separate Dalit Christian burial grounds and Dalit Muslim Mosques.

Religious conversion is a dangerous game and we are ambivalent about the ways to deal with this “problem.” A
true liberal will be for the freedom to convert (and
re-convert). Also if we were truly disadvantaged we would be happy to take money
from all of them buggers and adopt a new religion every week (that will
teach them).

As an aside, we would love to hear Prof. Kancha I-laiah defending pork eating as a millenium old Dalit tradition and his plans to support the cause of the pig-farmers – the Valmiki community – by launching a national pork festival (just like the beef
festivals he supports with so much enthusiasm).
…………
Another contentious issue is foreign money. We do not like Hindu NRIs or Christian Evangelicals or Wahabi Saudis to fund extremists in India and contribute to social disharmony. Religion is one of the most moneyed businesses in India, if people really want to fight conversion battles they can/should fight with local money.

Finally while we are not enamored of constructing yet one more temple or mosque or church, is it OK to insist that these folks first pay up for a 1000 toilets? And while they will be responsible for maintaining the place of worship, they should also take care of maintenance of the toilets. Call it the Temple-Mosque-Church-Toilet scheme (Yojana).
…………..

For 10 years, 29-year-old Ram Pal was a practising Christian, but
three days ago he converted and become a Hindu. The change in faith,
however, has not tangibly altered his life as the struggle to make ends
meet and the worry about the future of his children continue unabated.


….
Despite converting to Christianity in 2001, seven Valmiki families in
Asroi village were not accorded minority status. Instead, the village
register – maintained by the district administration – continued to
identify them as Scheduled Caste. This continued for over a decade, but
Ram Pal said that over the past few years, this ambiguous identity of
being neither a Christian nor a Dalit was becoming increasingly
difficult.


….
Ram Pal, who like others in his community raises pigs, said, “We
still used our SC identity to get our children admission in schools and
avail to various government schemes. We celebrated Holi and Diwali along
with Christimas. But people were asking questions. If you’re a
Christian, how can you be a Dalit?”



Another such Dalit, 44-year-old Ram Chandra, said, “Our children go
to school, on the basis of their SC certificates. But most drop out in
their teens and look for work in Hathras and Aligarh. Now that we’re
Hindu, at least no can doubt that we’re Dalits.”


….
On Wednesday, a church belonging to the 7th Day Adventists that
functioned from a small room in the village was “converted” into a
temple through a “shuddhikaran” (purification) ceremony that saw the
“ghar wapsi” (reconversion) of 72 Dalit Valmikis in the seven families
by various Hindu groups, including the RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal and Arya
Samaj, said villagers.


….
Ram Pal said that the Dalit community did not want the puja to take
place within the church. “But, they said it was the only way for us to
become Hindus again,” he said.



Meanwhile, Khem Chandra, the Sangh pracharak and pramukh of Dharam
Jagaran Vivad in Aligarh asserted that the conversion was a “conscious
choice made by the Dalit Valimiki community”. However, the news of the
appropriation of the church spread tension in the area.


….
Fearing an outbreak of violence, the district administration locked
the room on Thursday. The Shiva poster, which was put up in the place
where a framed-photograph of Jesus Christ used to hang, has been taken
off  “and kept in a safe place.”
The belongings of the church – a cupboard, Christmas-lights and a single copy of the Bible – has also been kept in a locker.

….
The Christian community has alleged that such conversions were a part
of an RSS conspiracy, aimed at reaping electoral benefit. Seeking
immediate action against the perpetrators, civil rights activist John
Dayal said, “It is the right of an individual to convert to any religion
of his choice. But such mass conversions imply political, social and
physical coercion and the threat of violence.  I condemn the coercion
and conspiracy of the Sangh Parivar which is using it to polarise the
religious environment in the state with an eye on the elections.”


….
Father  Dominic Emmanuel, community leader and the editor of a
Christian magazine in Delhi said, “With the BJP in power, these groups
have become aggressive.”
The village pradhan also pointed out that the BJP, for the first
time, had received an overwhelming majority of the votes in the village.
“Usually, the votes go for RLD. This time the elections was about
Hindus and Muslims and every one voted for Modi. That has been reflected
here,” said Vikas Choudhury, pradhan of Asroi.


….
But, while the RSS and the VHP have been making in-roads into the
village by working with the Dalit-Christian community, villagers said
that it was not simply a matter of faith, but also economics.
 

“Over the years, the activities of the Church here have receded. We
were promised schools, health care and better lives, but nothing came of
it. We haven’t been accorded minority status and soon, we feared, our
Dalit status would also be taken away from us,” said 54-year-old Guji
Lal, who added that Hindu groups in the past months had been
increasingly active in the village, convincing people to ‘reconvert’ to
Hinduism.


…….

When the
demolition of the Babri Masjid was threatened in 1991, Parliament en acted a
law prohibiting the conversion of any place of worship of one religion into
that of another, the only exception being the Babri Masjid itself. Back then,
the Vishwa Hindu Parishad sought to demolish 3,000 mosques, claiming these were
once temples.


This threatened 3,000 more clashes of the Babri Masjid variety,
stoking communal carnage and destroying Indian secularism. The Masjid was
ultimately demolished, but the new law helped prevent the disease spreading to
other places of worship.

The
problem has returned in unexpected fashion in Aligarh. It must be tackled
before it can grow.

In
Aligarh, several dalits were once converted to Christianity by the Seventh Day
Adventists. That organization then built a church for its new converts.
However, 72 of these dalit Christians have been re-converted to Hinduism by the
Dharam Jagran Vibhag (DJV), an RSS branch aiming to stop conversions of Hindus
to other religions, and attempt re-conversion.

The DJV
organized a “shuddhikaran” (cleansing ceremony) to wash away the Christian
“taint” in Aligarh. A Shiv poster was put up in the church, but later removed.
The alarmed Seventh Day Adventists locked up the church.

The danger
is that the DJV and re-converts will seize the church and put up a temple
there. “We have found a place near the chabootra (verandah). That is where we
will set up the temple. I don’t have anything to say for the church. We have
done the shuddhikaran in the building, whether they want to uproot the church
or raze it to the ground is their headache. We will not let another church come
up because there is no Christian left,” said DJV pramukh Rajeshwar Singh, who
came from Uttarakhand for the re-conversion.

Khem
Chandra, a local member of the DJV, added, “We will think about the church
building. It belongs to the missionaries, but the ground on which it stands
belongs to Hindustan. We will not compromise on our dharti (earth). We will
meet the villagers and decide about the temple (coming up).”

Now, our
Constitution and laws clearly permit the conversion and re-conversion of
individuals from and to any religion. The use of financial and other
inducements for conversion is illegal, but voluntary conversion is permitted
freely. The Seventh Day Adventists and the DJV both have a right to convert
people to their respective faiths. 


The RSS claims that foreign Christian money
is being used to “buy” converts to Christianity. This has certainly happened in
some countries, leading to the derisive term “rice Christians”. But the
Christians point out that overseas Hindus pour enormous sums into Indian
religious organizations. Besides, Indian temples and organizations have
humungous wealth. If indeed faith can be bought, Hindu organizations have a
distinct financial advantage in India, and can easily outbid Christian ones.

But this
is just a distraction. Financial inducements for conversions are illegal. Only
voluntary conversions are legal.

What is
clearly illegal, however, is the destruction of a place of worship, or its
conversion into a place of worship for another sect or religion. The 72 dalits
in Aligarh can follow any religion they want, but cannot claim ownership of the
church, which belongs to the Seventh Day Adventists.


The mere fact that the 72
dalits worshipped in that church does not make it their personal property, to
be disposed of as they like. They can build a temple on any other land, close
or far from the church. But they cannot claim, as DJV leader Khem Chandra has
done, that the church building may belong to the Christians, but the ground
underneath belongs to Hindustan.

Hindustan
does not mean the exclusive land of religious Hindus. Historically, Hindustan
simply meant the land of the people of the Indus valley. The Constitution is
very clear that India is a land of multiple religions where persons of all
faiths are equal, and none can be discriminated against.

……

Link (1): stop-new-babri-movement-against-churches

Link (2): indianexpress.com/didnt-get-minority-status-so-embraced-hinduism

…..

regards

The doctor has no heart

….the Indian-American physician….describes how the medical profession has become pitiless, mercenary…..money ripping vocation where doctors treat patients as revenue
generators….keep patients in hospital longer than
necessary….order needless tests….helping predatory pharmaceutical companies sell dangerous
drugs……doctors are
suffering from a “collective malaise” of discontent, insecurity, and
immoderation….. 

….

 …
No no no no, we did not say that….we still hero-worship doctors..for us it is the ultimate noble profession.

But then according to Dr Sandeep Jauhar,  things are very wrong with the medical community in the USA. He speaks as a person from within the belly of the beast, and he claims to speak on behalf of the many outstanding doctors from the Indian American community (and the medical profession as a whole). Who knows if there is any substance in his (devastating) allegations…common people will tend to think that no smoke can result without fire.
…….

The growing discontent has serious
consequences for patients. One is a looming shortage of doctors,
especially in primary care, which has the lowest reimbursement of all
the medical specialties and probably has the most dissatisfied
practitioners. 
Try getting a timely appointment with your family doctor;
in some parts of the country, it is next to impossible. Aging baby
boomers are starting to require more care just as aging baby boomer
physicians are getting ready to retire. The country is going to need new
doctors, especially geriatricians and other primary care physicians, to
care for these patients. But interest in primary care is at an all-time
low.

Perhaps the most serious downside,
however, is that unhappy doctors make for unhappy patients. Patients
today are increasingly disenchanted with a medical system that is often
indifferent to their needs. 

People used to talk about “my doctor.” Now,
in a given year, Medicare patients see on average two different primary
care physicians and five specialists working in four separate practices.
For many of us, it is rare to find a primary physician who can remember
us from visit to visit, let alone come to know us in depth or with any
meaning or relevancy.

Insensitivity in
patient-doctor interactions has become almost normal. I once took care
of a patient who developed kidney failure after receiving contrast dye
for a CT scan. On rounds, he recalled for me a conversation he’d had
with his nephrologist about whether his kidney function was going to get
better. “The doctor said, ‘What do you mean?’ ” my patient told me. “I
said, ‘Are my kidneys going to come back?’ He said, ‘How long have you
been on dialysis?’ I said, ‘A few days.’ And then he thought for a
moment and said, ‘Nah, I don’t think they’re going to come back.’ ”

My patient broke into sobs. ” ‘Nah, I don’t think they’re going to come back.’ That’s what he said to me. Just like that.”

It
is the Holy Grail for almost every Indian parent: that their son and or
daughter go to medical college, become doctors, and embark on a thriving career
that brings laurels – and sure, some lolly. 
…It’s no different with NRIPIO
parents, in the US, UK, or elsewhere, which is why the nearly 100,000 Indian
American physicians in the US includes some 20,000 who are either born or have
grown up in America and graduated from US medical schools. 
Dr Sandeep Jauhar
has been there, done that – and not liked it one bit. And he’s blown the
whistle on his profession – or ripped it apart with a scalpel. Medicine, as
practiced in the United States, is sick – very, very, sick.

In a devastating – and immensely self critical – book that is making waves in
the US, the Indian-American physician, with specialization in cardiology,
describes how the medical profession has become a pitiless, mercenary medical
profession, money ripping vocation where doctors treat patients as revenue
generators rather than human beings, keep patients in hospital longer than
necessary to bill them more, order needless tests to generate profits, and cozy
up with drug reps helping predatory pharmaceutical companies sell dangerous
drugs. American doctors – and that includes Indian-Americans like himself -are
suffering from a “collective malaise” of discontent, insecurity, and
immoderation.

None of this is a great secret; discerning patients, activists, and even many
physicians themselves have recognized this for a long time in the US. But its
Dr Jauhar’s astonishing candor in `Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American
Physician’ that has shocked the medical fraternity and layman alike, shattering
the image of the doctor as a do-gooder -and for Indians, that of the NRI
physician as the epitome of nobility. 

No one comes out looking good in this
tortured, self-lacerating book: not Jauhar himself, nor his brother (also a
cardiologist), nor physician friends and mentors, and not the American system.
This is the Ferguson moment in medicine – ugly but true.

Asked in an interview
on Thursday if he intended to stay on in the medical profession at all, given
the shock and horror his book is creating (the NYT reviewer said this is the
first book that’s prompted her to write “Yuck!” in the margin), Dr
Jauhar said he owed it to his readers to give them the unvarnished, unfiltered
truth, without being irresponsible. 
“Probably the person who comes in most
for criticism is myself. When you are willing to be self-critical, people will
appreciate it,” he told me gravely, after initial jokes about his taking
potshots at his own family, including his father, subsided. “I am
disillusioned with how medicine is practiced in this country but not
disillusioned with being a physician. “
….
Jauhar’s sulfurous chronicle of the
medical profession in the US begins almost as soon after he graduates from
fellowship and takes a salaried job at a hospital (after 19 years of college
education, including a PhD in physics). 
The hours are brutal, the money is
meager, and before long he becomes part of the venal system, treading dodgy
ethical terrain to keep his body, soul, and family together. He moonlights on
other jobs and shills for pharma companies as he observes compromises,
cronyism, and corruption flow like crud through the system. Doctors, hospital
administrators, the health insurance sector, and pharma industry collude and
conspire in sundry ways to rip-off patients – some who want to live forever
despite being at their careless best.

The dysfunction is not entirely due to doctors. Jauhar describes how external
sources – the government, the insurance industry, and pharma companies – have
all played a role. Doctors, particularly primary care physicians and
internists, who previously spent 20-30 minutes with each patient, now hurry out
after 10 minutes because they now have to see twice the number of patients to
generate the same revenue. 

….
As a result, patients do not get the attention they
deserve and are not diagnosed properly. Meanwhile, some specialist doctors get
to bilk the system (which is why everyone wants to specialize and there are
fewer primary care doctors in the US), prescribing a multitude of tests and
treatment -some to cover for malpractice liability, others to generate more
revenue. Patients who came in complaining of even routine breathlessness are
hustled into taking nuclear stress tests and bumped into cardiac procedures.
That’s because insurance companies don’t pay doctors to spend time with
patients trying to understand their problem. But they pay for CT scans and
stress tests whether they’re needed or not.

Elsewhere, hospital administrators are also constantly putting pressure on
doctors to keep occupancy rates high enough to generate profits (somewhat like
hotels). Jauhar cites the economist Julian Le Grand’s idea of humans as
knights, knaves, or pawns, to describe how the American system promotes knavery
over knighthood. 


But most of all, once you read this tormented, self-lacerating book, it’s hard
to see a doctor with the same respect. Doctors know it too. In a survey cited
by Jauhar, 30 to 40% of US physicians today say they will not choose the same
profession if they had a choice; and even more would not encourage their
children to. The medical profession, it appears, is terminally ill, in the
United States at least.

…..

Link (1): wsj.com/usa-ailing-medical-system-a-doctors-perspective

Link (2): A-heartless-profession

…..

regards

The United Colors of India

…..I am a Hindu, but that is an absurd thing to say….there is
nothing like a Hindu…..I am a Brahmin….that doesn’t describe me either…..I am a Hindu in a broad way….Ganga is sacred, Ramayana and the Mahabharata, Upanishads
have deep spiritual insights….All this I believe…..I believe what my
ancestors believed, that is, there is not one God…. Hinduism is also
difficult because it is based on hierarchies…..

….
We are largely in agreement with UR Ananthamurthy – hero of the left-liberals and a (Brahmin) disciple of (Shudra Socialist) Ram Manohar Lohia – that India should find a common path forward based on harmonizing Gandhian and Ambedkarite principles. Except that the true devil is in the details…Gandhi disliked Western societal mores…Ambedkar was passionate about the American way.

We would like to expand the pantheon by borrowing a liberal lion from the West, such as John Stuart Mill or Thomas Paine. If there is a demand for a C20 inspirational figure then we propose Vaclav Havel…because of his life experiences under a non-liberal regime. Next, a humanist/atheist like Richard Dawkins (or Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens,…) because we would like India (and Indians) to move away from religion and towards humanism.  

Finally as one of the great Indians (re: Ramchandra Guha, see details below) and as a woman, we would recommend Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay (or Sarojini Naidu), the freedom fighter and social reformer.
………………….
Earlier this year, Udipi Rajago­pa­la­charya Ananthamurthy
(URA), the Jnanpith award-winning Kannada novelist, educationist and
public intellectual, had declared that he would not live in an India run
by Narendra Modi. This had provoked lacerating responses from
right-wing Hindutva supporters. URA breathed his last on August 22,
2014, before the Modi government completed 100 days in office. ….

Chandan Gowda
of the Azim Premji University had interviewed the litterateur for an
eight-part Doordarshan series, telecast in June and July. It is possibly
URA’s last major interview. Excerpts:


….
What parts of the Gandhian legacy are important for you?

His suspicion of the modern world system is one. The modern world
system will destroy the earth, will destroy the sky, will destroy the
balance bet­ween nature and man because it is very greedy. Gandhi’s
rejection was sometimes extreme. But extremes can open the gate of
heaven, that’s what they have said. 


So Gandhi exaggerated at times, but
in the main you know that. He used trains all the time. But he said we
could live without trains. He rightly feared centralisation. Gandhi was
also friendly towards nature. There are many valuable Gandhian ideas.
The whole idea that small is beautiful comes from Gandhi. So he wanted
such ideas to govern the whole country. He didn’t like big buildings.


….
How do you view Nehru’s legacy?

I can still say primary education should  be nationalised and that
the healthcare system should also be nationalised. Where do I get these
ideas from? I get them from Nehru and, later, Indira Gandhi. We get
something very wholesome from the Nehruvian tradition.


….
What has Ambedkar meant for India’s politics in the 20th century?

I think nobody can help the Dalits reg­ain their self-respect as much
as Ambedkar can. Gandhi makes them regain their self-respect, but when
they regain it, you know, they will be softer than what they are. But
with Ambedkar, they can be themselves and still get self-respect. 

..
Ambedkar was a socialist and had a legal mind. His becoming a Buddhist
is very important for me. It’s not merely a political act. It’s a deep
act of self-purification. So Gandhi and Ambedkar began with two
different directions but they meet at one point, wanting spiritually
enhanced visions.


….
Lohia has meant a lot for you as a writer and thinker. How do you evaluate Lohia’s criticism of tradition?
I learnt a great deal from Lohia—to become what I have always called a
critical insider. Lohia was a very great critical insider. He absorbed a
lot from India’s spiritual traditions. He has written a great book, Interval During Politics, which has essays on Valmiki, on Vyasa, on Rama, Krishna, Shiva. They are great. 


Another great essay called Lessons in Yoga
shows he was deeply rooted in tradition. He knew his Shankaracharya
too. But he was very critical of the Brahminical element, which becomes
more and more important as Indian civilisation evolves. He was also
critical of the Shudras behaving in Brahmin ways. His opposition to
English as a language of knowledge was important to me.


….
Lohia was able to produce more pol­itical leaders than Nehru did.
Nehru inherited his friends from his party, but Lohia created a new
leadership. You find it in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Mulayam Singh Yadav
and Laloo Prasad Yadav, for example, are products of Lohia’s movement.
And Karnataka too has seen many fine socialist leaders. Unfortunately,
the socialist leadership became populist in some places. Lohia himself
was critical of these trends. He wanted some anarchy so that India kept
thinking of alternatives.


…..
How have you understood your relation with the Hindu dharma?

I am a Hindu, but that is an absurd thing to say. I mean, there is
nothing like a Hindu. I should say I am a Brahmin, to be very exact. But
that doesn’t describe me either, because I have given up the
ritualistic part of the Brahmin religion. 


I am a Hindu in a broad way,
in the sense that all of us believe that the Ganga is sacred, that the
Ramayana and the Mahabharata, our two great epics, and the Upanishads
have deep spiritual insights. All this I believe. I believe what my
ancestors believed, that is, there is not one God but we can imagine
several gods and describe them in different ways…. Hinduism is also
difficult because it is based on hierarchies.


….
Has anything about Indian politics struck you as mysterious?

The fact that if you are an ascetic and if you have given up
everything, you can go beyond language, religion, caste, and appeal to
the whole country. You know when Gandhi emerged, it was a mysterious
thing, because he was neither a Bengali nor a Maharashtrian. All great
leaders until then had come from eit­her Bengal or Maharashtra.


….
How do you understand the need for swaraj in thought in India today?

I an not too passionately involved in what they call the desi,
because you will not find the pure desi when you search for it. It is
based on Sanskrit; it is mixed with Persian; it’s linked with different
rulers at different times.  There is nothing pure even in our folklore.
Therefore, I am more a follo­wer of Pampa (the 10th century Kan­­­nada
Jain poet), who wanted to combine the desi with the marga.


All my writing is a combination of the desi and the marga. I have
perhaps more marga in me than desi. But there is something like swaraj
in ideas. I have a feeling that we have become second-rate imitators of
the West. There was absolutely no original thought in India, except for
Gandhi, over the last two centuries. He was the only original thinker
and he had the courage to imag­ine a world without railways, without
technology, without whatever Britain brought to India. He could conceive
of a world without these and hence some kind of swadeshi chintana was
possible for him, that we can survive without the aid of the West. That
we can be intellectual without depending heavily on western thinkers.


….
What are the challenges facing someone who chooses to write about India in English?

Anyone who writes in English should be deeply knowledgeable about at
least one Indian language. I say this for all journalists too. You
cannot be an English journalist in Karnataka unless you know Kannada.
Similarly, for anthropological, sociological and other kinds of
writing.  I think it is very necessary to know how people think, how
people feel. You should be able to grasp that. And an ins­tinctive grasp
becomes possible if you know the language of the people.


….
Does it matter very much to you that people like you?

I enjoy being liked. Though I am ill, I forget I am ill because of
the affection and warmth I get from people who read me, who remember
what I write, who write me letters. I like it very much.


….
Could you tell us how you would like to be rem­embered?

As a Kannada writer. For having made a contribution to Kannada
through my works…that there are many younger writers who will get
something from me, because I have brought whatever I could from my own
past, from my Brahminical past, from the European world, from my various
experiences, and from my probing of my own self into the Kannada
language. It might be a threatened language in the modern world, but I
have worked against the threat and that is an achievement. I would like
to be remembered as a teacher, as a writer.

…………..

Consider, in this regard, the current invisibility from
the national discourse of Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya. Married to a man
chosen by her family, she was widowed early, and then married a
left-wing actor from another part of India. She joined the freedom
movement, persuading Gandhi to allow women to court arrest during the
Salt March and after.

After coming out of jail,
Kamaladevi became active in trade union work, and travelled to the
United States, where she explained the relevance of civil disobedience
to black activists (her turn in the South is compellingly described in
Nico Slate’s recent book Colored Cosmopolitanism). 

After
Independence and Partition, Kamaladevi supervised the resettlement of
refugees; still later, she set up an all-India network of artisanal
cooperatives, and established a national crafts museum as well as a
national academy for music and dance. 

Tragically, because her work
cannot be seen through an exclusively political lens, and because her
versatility cannot be captured by a sect or special interest, Kamaladevi
is a forgotten figure today. Yet, from this historian’s point of view,
she has strong claims to being regarded as the greatest Indian woman of
modern times.

……

Link(1): http://www.outlookindia.com/printarticle.aspx?291808

Link (2): hindu.com/indians-great-greater-greatest

……

regards

Love Jihad: problem resolved

recent case of Tara
Shadeo…deceived by Ranjit Kumar Kohli
into marriage….real name Raqibul Hasan
Khan….
.suggestion for the Muslim community….advocate a court marriage
in the case of mixed couples….if a girl from another community is to enter a Muslim
home….genuine effort to have a more enlightened
approach….

….

…….
We are in complete agreement with Saba Naqvi Bhaumik (a Shia Muslim married to a Bengali Hindu) that civil marriages will go a long way to help resolve the love-jihad problem….but why not suggest civil marriage for every one? Especially as she (correctly) notes that personal marriage laws “diminish women.”

………..

……..
As SNB explains there are enough morons (to borrow the language of Ram Gopal Varma) like Raqibul Hasan Khan to bring to life (and keep alive) the “love jehad” theory. Fact remains that Muslim boys/girls will be falling in love with Hindu girls/boys. We imagine that the social barriers today are a bit more tightly drawn around muslim girls, hence the Muslim boy-Hindu girl match is more likely…hence all the poisonous confusion.
…………..
This is how a muslim women rights body views the problem with the personal law as applied to marriages:
….
Among other things, the draft law contemplates a complete ban on
the oral, unilateral and triple divorce (talaq)
and seeks, instead, use
of ‘talaak-e-ahsan’ method where at least four attempts at
reconciliation are made before the divorce is granted. 

….
The draft law stipulates that a Muslim marriage should be solemnised
only when the bride is at least 18 years old and the groom 21.
Further,
there should be “an unambiguous consent” by both, and neither of them
should have a living spouse. Polygamous marriage should be strictly prohibited and marriages
should be compulsorily registered, payment of maintenance to the wife
and children must be made mandatory
during the marriage, or in the event
of separation and divorce, it says. 

A minimum ‘mehr’ should be paid to the bride before the marriage
and the amount should not be less than the groom’s annual income, the
draft law says.
The BMMA will launch a nation-wide campaign for creating
awareness about the need to codify the Muslim Personal Law and make the
government act towards it, Soman said. 

………. 


The way we see it is the conversion “problem” is essentially an issue of purity. For example in a Brahmin household, a Muslim daughter-in-law may not be permitted to participate in puja ceremonies. Likewise a Hindu daughter-in-law will create a problem for Muslim households. However that is essentially a problem for the pandits and the maulavis to resolve. Simply issue fatwas that all temples (mosques) is open to people of all faiths, creeds and castes.

As we march to the future we have the following three choices: (1) we harmonize in a manner that is considered to be fair by all communities, or (2) we fight and break up (partition) or (3) we fight and the minority groups get assimilated (by the majority). Option II was the easiest one and we have seen two partitions over six decades (both disasters at an epic level). 

Option III is an even more ugly one (and right now we have something like that taking shape in Pakistan where Hindu girls are abducted in plain view) and the Sangh Parivar will be very happy to work towards this goal. Here we should also mention that the separate but equal approach favored by the left-liberals and secularists did not work in the USA and will not work in India. It is also a repulsive notion. 

That leaves us with only Option I as the reasonable way forward.

As we imagine, conservative muslims dislike civil registration of marriage because it is not the way of the Sharia and more importantly, this is a backdoor way to assimilation (with Hindus). The actuality will be that inter-faith couples will further the cause of communal harmony. We are a great believer in inter-caste marriages as well and for the same reasons. The idea of India is an important one to support (and to strengthen) and we cannot let the extremists win. 

…….
If there is a historical profile to be used, it would be upper-caste
men and/or Muslims who controlled lands and would just pick up and
devour women from the lower castes or social strata. It is very likely
that following some cross-rel­igious marriages, the woman is pressurised
to convert. 

The recent case in Ranchi of national-level shooter Tara
Shadeo, who has alleged that she was deceived by one Ranjit Kumar Kohli
into marriage, only to discover that his real name was Raqibul Hasan
Khan, is a sad individual tale with its own particular details. No
responsible organisation in multi-religious India would see it as
conclusive evidence of a trend involving over 144 million Indians.



….
More than an insult to men from a particular denomination, the notion
of love jehad is at its core an insult to all women, who are seen as
nothing more than chattel, led astray sometimes by wicked men with
impure thoughts.
But they can apparently be made to see the righteous
path with the help of the VHP/RSS that has launched a “brotherhood”
campaign in western UP where Hindu girls will tie rakhis on Muslim men.
In the land of khap panchayats, brother and sister will presumably live
in innocent harmony till the families decide it is time for wedlock and
child-rearing to keep the caste and community lineage going.



….
Empirical socio-economic data should be collected from areas where
love jehad is supposed to have happened and where it has now allegedly
spread to. That would be Kerala, the Mangalore coast of Karnataka and
now western UP.
One can hazard an intelligent guess that in all these
regions the Muslim community would be large in numbers, of which there
would be a prosperous strata. They would have come up economically and
it is also very likely that the more visible signs of this prosperity
would be an increase in the numbers of minarets of madrassas and
mosques.



….
Still, people do live in the same towns and the chemistry of love and
attraction cannot be circumscribed. Girls of one religion will continue
to fall in love with boys from another and vice versa. 

But because the
situation in UP is poised so delicately and the potential for trouble so
great, here’s a suggestion for the Muslim community: clerics, prominent
citizens and elders of the community should advocate a court marriage
in the case of mixed couples. As it is, Muslim personal laws diminish
women’s rights. If a girl from another community is to enter a Muslim
home, a genuine effort should be made to have a more enlightened
approach. 

In the small towns of UP, the community should organise,
reflect and come up with a rational strategy. Clerics too must show that
they can speak for something beyond defending regressive personal laws
and feeding off the fears of a community.

…….

The husband of national champion shooter Tara Shahdeo was arrested in
a joint operation by Jharkhand and Delhi Police on Tuesday night,
sources said. Ranjeet Singh Kohli alias Rakibul Hassan Khan, 30, was arrested from a place near the Delhi-Ghaziabad border.

Last
week, national rifle shooting gold medallist, Tara Sahdeo, had alleged
that she was tortured to change her religion to Islam by a Muslim man
who claimed he was a Hindu and married her. In her police
complaint, Sahdeo claimed she got married in June this year to a person
named Ranjit Kohli. She said the marriage was solemnised as per Hindu
rituals.

However, during the Islamic
holy month of Ramadan, when people invited her husband for Iftar, she
came to know that her husband’s name was Rakibul Hassan. She allegedly
found the name on the invitation cards to the Iftar.

She also alleged that Hassan and 20 other people forced her to change her religion. When she refused, she was allegedly beaten up. Sahdeo
also alleged that she was threatened with dire consequences if she told
anyone about the conversion. She alleges that she was kept under close
vigil but when Hassan went to New Delhi on  August 19, she sent a
message to her family members and was rescued.

…..

Link (1): http://www.outlookindia.com/printarticle.aspx?291813

Link (2): muslim-womens-organisation-seeks-changes-in-personal-law

Link (3): love-jihad-tara-shahdeo-rakibul-hasan-khan-ranjeet-singh-kohli

“Its a jungle out there”

…..“You can’t see anything here at D-Chowk. The tear-gas is
overwhelming……I have my shirt tied around my face, as do most of the
other people who are still here…..This is madness, it’s a jungle out
here”…..a Dawn reporter on Constitution Avenue described the melee that took place on Saturday night…..

….
Its actually a war out there. People are drowning in tear gas, women are fainting. The Prime Minister has abandoned his palace (residence). Every one is issuing threats, deadlines and what not.

So this is what happens when the civilians try to go up against the khakis – their nose gets really really rubbed into the ground. Lost of pawns (people) get shoved around. The polio vaccination drive in Sindh comes to a full stop. The economy goes into a tailspin. The rupee tumbles against the dollar. The international agencies and the diaspora (and even the neighbors) pray that ultimately there will be stability.


The army will stop the tear gas, the drownings, the killings. Nawaz Sharif will fly out to Saudi Arabia. Zardari will go to prison. The army will chase out the darkness and bring the sunshine back to Pakistan. Long live the Army.
…………

“You can’t see anything here at D-Chowk. The tear-gas is
overwhelming. I have my shirt tied around my face, as do most of the
other people who are still here. This is madness, it’s a jungle out
here.”

This was how a Dawn reporter on Constitution Avenue described the melee that took place on Saturday night.

The
capital city’s high security area, the Red Zone, resembled a
battlefield as marchers from the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and the
Pakistan Awami Tehreek, en route to their new destination – the Prime
Minister’s House – clashed with security personnel.

Just after
10pm, when both Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan gave their supporters their
marching orders, advancing demonstrators heading towards The
Presidency, Cabinet Division and Pakistan Secretariat were met with
rubber bullets and tear-gas from the heavy police contingents deployed
in the area.

Protesters, mostly men, armed with sticks advanced
onward towards the PM’s House, which is located behind the Presidency
and the Secretariat. Initially, police and security personnel deployed
on Constitution Avenue moved back and allowed them through. However,
when charged activists tried to storm official buildings, they were met
with force.

According to DawnNews, at least one person was killed
– a woman from the PAT camp – and well over a 150 people injured. Then,
just before midnight, the protesters began to push back and hit out at
the law enforcement personnel with anything they could lay their hands
on – batons, sticks and stones, marbles and slingshots.

To counter
the debilitating effect of tear gas, several piles of trash were set
alight by the protesters. Others had salt and wet towels handy, to keep
from succumbing to the crippling gas.

On the streets of the
capital, there was an eerie calm. Many chose to remain indoors for fear
of getting caught up in the clashes. Ambulance sirens could be heard
wailing throughout the night as the injured were ferried from the melee
to Polyclinic, Pims and other hospitals across the city.

After
a whole day of anticipation, just after 9:30pm, both Tahirul Qadri and
Imran Khan gave their supporters orders to march towards PM’s House.
Both were clear that their followers should remain peaceful and were at
pains to stress that women and children should stay behind.

Imran
Khan promised marchers that he would lead them from the front. But as
the procession began to move, his container got left behind.

Military
and rangers deployed inside the perimeter of the Cabinet Block and
parliament building looked on as cranes lifted containers blocking the
path towards PM’s House.

Both sides were raising slogans
proclaiming unity between the marching parties. Some charged individuals
ran towards the Presidency. That is when police began firing tear gas
and rubber bullets, stopping most people in their tracks.

Dense
clouds of tear gas forced many-a PTI supporter to abandon D-Chowk and
their attempt to march towards PM House. At midnight, the area which had
hitherto been occupied by demonstrators from PAT and PTI looked more
like the rubble of a warzone. Many women were reported to have fainted,
and over 80 people were rushed to Polyclinic, which reported around
midnight that it was full to capacity. At the time of going to print,
Pims reported at least 50 injured were being treated there.

…….

Link: islamabad-protests-all-hell-breaks-loose

….

regards

Mission 5000

Everything in life needs a mission (and a vision) statement, even a humble blog like BP.

When the old brownpundits “crashed and burned” we were very sad that such a wonderful meeting place of ideas is lost forever. We must thank the proprietors for bringing BP back into our lives.

At that time the thought occurred that something must be done – an initial spark – that leads to a solid foundation from which further progress (incremental) is possible.

This is how Mission 1000 came into being. The question was: can we ramp up fast enough, can we put up stuff which is interesting to a broad spectrum of readers? The focus would (naturally) be on browns and their (global) affairs.

So here we are, 200+ days young, 1000 posts on the score-board and 200,000+ page views. Mission 1000 is well done (if we say so ourselves).


However things can always be improved and that will depend on the bloggers that will (hopefully) take BP forward (perhaps in new directions). We need more readers who are open-minded and who have some time to spare to come forward and contribute. We cant speak for the bosses but they have been at least very kind to us and allowed us to have our say. That is greatly appreciated.

Many of our readers have come forward with helpful suggestions (which will be taken up as much as possible) and more are welcome. We would like to get to 5000 posts and 1,000,000 page views in 3-5 years. It will take some effort and a lot of sacrifice, but we think this is a fair target to dream about. And at some point all you can do is to dream sweet dreams.

warm regards

Saving the Incompetent Sharif Brothers and this Rapacious Unfair System

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We know from history that the skill, wisdom and effort (and oodles of luck) needed to build and sustain a working democratic system (whatever you may think of the pros and cons of such a system is a separate and interesting discussion) in one of the ex-colonial countries is orders of magnitude greater than the skill needed to just run a functional government for a few years. Saddam, Gaddafi, Ayub Khan, they all ran functional regimes and even made their Universities conduct their examinations on time. But none had a system with adequate checks and balances or the mechanism to transfer power smoothly from one elite clique to another without having to shoot the other clique first.
It may be possible to repair the effects of poor governance by this or that democratic regime in a few years, but if the system as a whole is undermined and devalued, then it may never get working again, or may take decades to repair. Political authority (like money) is a shared (useful) illusion. Puncture the illusion and what is left is naked force (or, if enough of asabiya exists, a monarchy; whether called a monarchy or under some other name).

Given our history, it is a significant achievement that all parties participated in a reasonably (by our standards) fair election under reasonably (by our standards) neutral caretaker administrations and an actual transfer of power took place peacefully. All that progress can be (and is) being undermined by this sustained campaign against democracy and civilian politics (with TUQ playing a conscious and Imran Khan a characteristically semi-conscious role in the undermining). That the Sharifs are not the best rulers is hardly debatable, but that the system should be wound up on that account is a disastrous step beyond the punishment of the Sharifs for any specific crime or misdemeanor. They must be removed from within the system or else they must be tolerated for their term. There is no third choice.
We know very well from our history that the next step in the paknationalist (aka PMA) framework is a “technocratic government of all talents” and we also know that in short order that will prove worse than the poor Sharifs and will lack even the rickety checks and balances that limit the damage done by the Sharifs or any other democratically elected crook. Beyond that, we also know that the institutional biases of the Pakistani army in particular are utterly opposed to the rights of smaller nationalities and are determined to pursue suicidal and extremely disruptive policies with respect to relations with our neighbors and with the wider world. The Sharif brothers dalliances with ASWJ notwithstanding, it is the army that is most responsible for creating and sustaining various sectarian and islamofascist tendencies in the body politic. For all these (and other) reasons, this latest farcical soft coup is very bad news.
Finally, it is good to keep in mind that it is not all fun and games…there really IS a bottom. One fine day the whole shithouse could go up in flames (as East Pakistan did in 1971); and what follows could then cause significant discomfort even to those whose low opinion of the Sharifs or of bourgeois politics or of the current politicians, makes them look kindly upon any disruption to the system…
I would add that I have come around to agreeing with those who think that NONE of the major VISIBLE players really had a detailed plan or a script that has been faithfully followed during this farce. But that does not mean that there is no one with a coherent agenda. There are people with coherent agendas and they make hay while the sun shines on Imran Khan’s empty chairs. Just as the ASWJ terrorists are pursuing their agenda, the “Paknationalists” in the intelligence agencies are pursuing theirs. Sharifs (including Raheel Shareef) may have no plan and may be blundering in the dark, but some people have plans and most of them are dangerous…

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Old age homes (not just for politicians)

….Dwivedi’s statement
reflected that Congress wants to follow BJP…creating “old age
home” for senior leaders…..a taunt directed at the ruling party by Congress when it dropped Advani, Joshi and Vajpayee
from parliamentary board…..

….. 
When the revolution comes it can take off in so many uncertain ways.

We did not quite imagine that a Hindutva flavored govt that is in love with the concept of a 5000 year old civilization and making policy based on (age-old) scriptures would launch a movement (admittedly for self-serving reasons) for pushing youngsters to power (well OK 50+ aged youngsters, but then we are talking about India).
……………….

….
Continuing on this theme, we should not be limit the action to politicians only. Scientists, entertainers, technocrats,… all those who continue to feather their nests and do not let young talent come forward should be asked to retire post 70. One outstanding example that comes to mind: long after her nightingale as a girl days were behind her, Bollywood would stick stubbornly with Lata Mangeshkar (we mention this with all humility and as an ardent admirer).
………..
Now the cremation fires have touched the Congress as well and it will spread beyond it for sure. As we see it, the party who can best capture the imagination of the youth will win the next elections. 

The only issue with an iron-clad Stop at 70 rule is that the Leader is 63 years young (Madam is 67). Are people not too concerned that they are making a nice rod for their own backs? We will believe the good news when we see the proof in action.
…………..
Congress today distanced itself from party leader Janardan Dwivedi’s
remarks that people in politics should not continue in active posts
beyond 70 years of age even as another party leader Digvijaya Singh
backed him.

 ……

“Let me make it clear. This is his view and he is certainly entitled to
it…. This is not the party view. This is not the party stand. This is
his personal opinion,” party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told
reporters in reply to a volley of questions on the issue.

His refrain was the same when asked whether Dwivedi’s statement
reflected that Congress wants to follow BJP’s model of creating “old age
home” for senior leaders, a taunt directed at the ruling party by
Congress when it dropped LK Advani, MM Joshi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee
from parliamentary board.

A senior party leader speaking on condition of anonymity said that the
sentiment expressed by Dwivedi were not improper but it is not feasible
to have any specific cut offs in a large party like Congress.

Party general secretary Digvijaya Singh, speaking separately, backed Dwivedi saying that “change is the law of nature”. Singh, who has generally been at odds with Dwivedi, recalled that in the
Burari AICC sesssion 2010, he had pitched for a generational change in
the party under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.

“I had said the same thing in Burari session. Congress party always
gives opportunity to the youth. Change is the law of the nature. In the
modern management lexicon, it is called succession management. “It should happen at every level from top to bottom. I am in favour it.
It is high time for major changes in the organisational structure,”
Singh said.

The conflicting views in Congress have been aired at a time when there
is a likelihood of a generational shift in the party to take on a
resurgent BJP.

Singh said, “We will do whatever we are asked to do. Antony Committee
has given its report and the restructure should happen accordingly.”

Citing examples of various other fields where elders handover the
responsibility to a young team, Dwivedi had said “similarly generational
change is also necessary in politics. “After certain age, people should not live on active posts in a political organisation.”

Dwivedi has at the same time said that he did not mean to say that
people above 65 or 70 should retire from politics and that they can take
other responsibilities that do not require hectic activities.

To a question on whether he wants his 65 or 70 formulae also to be
applicable to 67-year-old Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Dwivedi said
that the post of Congress president and some others could be exceptions
to it.

The remarks of Dwivedi, who is the general secretary in charge of the
Organisation, had come yesterday a few days after BJP dropped veterans
Vajpayee, Advani and from the parliamentary board and named them in
Margdarshak Mandal, mentor’s group.

They also came at a time when there is intense speculation about
imminent changes in the AICC setup with the younger generation likely to
call the shots and leaders of Dwivedi’s generation may be replaced.

Dwivedi’s remarks were being seen as indication of things to come.

“The writing on the wall is clear. After such a debacle, a party can
come back only after fighting on the street for which youngsters are
needed. It is the young, who have to fight the electoral battle,”
another senior party functionary said on the condition of anonymity.

The average age of AICC secretaries appointed by Rahul Gandhi last year
was 40 to 45 years. Besides a number of PCC chiefs like Ashok Tanwar in
Haryana and Sachin Pilot in Rajasthan, who were appointed in last one
year are among the youth brigade.

………

Link: www.firstpost.com

…….

regards

The “Disney” God and Blasphemy

….“The guy who couldn’t save his own head from being cut, how
he will save others heads is my question?….Happy Ganpathi day to morons!”….
“Can someone tell me if
today is the day Ganesha was originally born or is it the day his dad cut his
head off?”
…..“love to know from devotees a list of what obstacles he removed” ……”All tweets I put on Ganesha….unintended to hurt anyone’s sentiments…but if they did I sincerely apologize”….



….

….
Best wishes on Ganesha Chaturthi to all believers and fans. We have to admit, we do think of Ganesha as a cutie pie. Also he is mama’s golden boy and you know that no one crosses his mom and lives to tell about it (ask the demon Mahisha-Asura).
……

…..
Incidentally this reminds us of the Tamizh commandment: kakaikku than konju pon konju….literally my crow is a golden crow.…figuratively, the love a mother feels for her child who is not blessed with the best of appearances…
…….


BTW if you are curious to know how left-liberals think about Ganesha just follow Ram Gopal Varma on Twitter. RGV is originally from Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh and he is a super-hit director in both the Hindi and Telugu film world. His top movie is Satya (we also rate Rangeela), which Danny Boyle has claimed as an inspiration for Slumdog Millionaire (that must be a first…a western director…for real or for show….claims to being inspired by Bollywood).

In an ideal world, we would be most happy if the liberals established a hegemony in which we could crack jokes (even mean jokes) about religion and the religious…all of them. The sheer number of ridiculous religious leaders in India (and in the wider world) presents endless opportunities for (black) comedy. But we would propose to do it in a fair-minded and even-handed manner, or we are in danger of looking ridiculous ourselves. RGV we are sure, thinks twice about breaching some boundaries than others. Why is that?

Now, we should be clear that RGV is entitled to his views and opinions, but we fail to see what good comes out of this tamasha. From a political standpoint he is acting like a recruiting agent for the BJP.

Poking the crocodile is a lot of fun…sure, but then why crawl back with the apologies? Be a big boy and dish it out and be prepared to accept the consequences…in the extreme case be prepared to go to jail and start a new life-edition as a free speech martyr (we fully support him in that battle).

RGV considers himself as a man on a mission…to remove the cobwebs of superstition from the minds of deluded people. This is a fine and honest goal. Thomas Jefferson was also a man on a mission and he said that the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. RGV should have boldly stood up for (all) free speech and the free-flowing blood would have helped the tiny sapling to grow into a massive banyan tree.

We did like some of the non-inflamed responses, especially the one by “Subodh” who made a sporting attempt to respond to Shri RGV (questions marked below in bold and in red).
…………

It is painful to see that those who take pride in Hindu religion
couldn’t answer any of his questions and instead childishly chided him
for insulting Hindu gods. If you can’t answer legitimate questions about
the gods that you worship, you should stop being so religious.

His
questions were hardly that difficult to answer..With a little bit of
wit and wisdom, anyone could have answered them, but sadly the IQ levels
of ‘bhakts’ and also their knowledge about their religion is very low.

Here’s how you need to respond to silly questions..

Q-
What did Ganesha do that his brother Kumara dint do so that only
Ganesha became god? Is it becos Kumara dint get head cut off like
Ganesha?

A – He was cuter, wiser, wittier and hence gathered more
followers. Like in movie industry where more the fans you have, the
bigger screen god you become, in heavens too children of gods who gather
more followers become bigger gods.

Q – Can someone tell me if today is the day Ganesha was originally born or is it the day his dad cut his head off?
A
– Today’s the day we don’t ask silly questions about gods we worship
and use our brains to understand the symbolism behind mythological tales
of gods.

Q – Does Lord Ganesha eat with his hands or his trunk?
A – He eats with his mouth

Q – I have an innocent question…can someone please tell me how a Lord who couldn’t save his own head will save others heads?
A
– A local wrestler might not be able to win against a national or
Olympic level wrestler but he can save you from a local goon. Same way,
Ganesha couldn’t save his head from a more powerful god – his father,
but is capable of saving heads of mere mortals.

Q – Does Lord Ganesha eat much more than other Gods? My doubt is becos all the other Gods are either trim or muscular
A
– Not really. Buddha is trim when he is meditating, but when he starts
laughing and becomes ‘Laughing Buddha’ he develops a big paunch

Q – Did Lord Ganesha have a paunch in his childhood too or did it develop in the recovery time of the elephant head operation?
A – His mother, Parvati, sculpted him..and since all moms like cute and cuddly children, she sculpted him with a paunch

Q – Can someone explain how someone can cut off a child’s head who was just trying to protect his mother’s modesty?
A
– Can you explain how you can eat meat of chicken, goats, pigs and
other innocent animals knowing that the poor creatures are just trying
to enjoy life with their family

…..
No religion has a god as child-friendly as Lord Ganesha. Animal heads on
divine beings is not quite unknown in other religions. The Egyptians
had several but let’s face it when it comes to terms of endearment,
jackals and falcons just cannot compare to an elephant.

It was a particular elephant’s bad luck but Hinduism’s good fortune,
that when Lord Shiva went looking for a head to replace the human one he
had lopped off, he came across an elephant, some say Indra’s mount
Airavata and not an annoying crow or a fearsome tiger. That would have
given our Ganesha a very different temperament.

But with his elephant head, Ganesha becomes the most genial of all gods
especially for a young child. The broken tusk makes him vulnerable. The
plump belly makes him comforting. He is virtuous as gods are supposed to
be but exudes a more approachable friendliness. 

….
Though Hindu children
routinely and religiously pray to Saraswati for a little help during
examinations, no one would make a children’s film called My Friend
Saraswati. But it makes perfect sense for a lonely boy neglected by his
parents to find a buddy and fairy godfather rolled into one in the
elephant-headed god in My Friend Ganesha.

Ganesha isn’t just friendly. He also has a certain kind of smart that a kid can instantly relate to.

….

Take that story of Ganesha and Kartikeya and their great race to
circumnavigate the world. While Kartikeya huffed and puffed and set off
at great speed to go around the world, Ganesha just sat his parents down
and went around them. It was so incredible to read it on the colorful
pages of Amar Chitra Katha and know that the handsome, super-athletic
school jock didn’t always have to win the race.


….

Without being in the least bit preachy, it also told us not to
underestimate the kid who looked a little odd, the class misfit, the one
the other children might laugh at. We could instantly relate to it
because it was a story about sibling rivalry but one that thankfully did
not end in the bloody trauma of Cain and Abel. But most reassuringly,
it reiterated splendidly what as children we intuitively grasped – our
parents are the centre of our worlds. (Of course perhaps that’s also why
parents never tire of telling that story to their children.)


….

As a child there were things that mystified me about Ganesh. How did
someone of his girth ride a mouse? Why did an elephant’s head make the
rest of him so roly-poly? In the Bengali iconography during Durga Puja
he came with a kola-bou, a banana tree draped in a white sari with a red
border. Though scholars have argued whether the kola-bou was his bride
or a representation of the Mother Goddess herself, as a child I was
always worried the elephant-headed god might snack on his banana-plant
bride in an incautious moment.


…..

Amar Chitra Katha had no answers to these conundrums and Devdutt
Pattanaik had not yet written his 99 Thoughts on Ganesha. The story of
his creation itself, I discovered later, had been sanitized and
tempered. 

….
Parvati creates Ganesha as her little gatekeeper out of the
rubbings of turmeric paste she has anointed herself with. He is
Vinayaka, the son born without the help of a husband.
When Shiva lops
his head off for the effrontery of denying him entrance, Parvati is
inconsolable. Firstpost’s
Lakshmi Chaudhry recalled her daughter coming back from school and
telling her a more “family-friendly” version of that story.
 

“Parvati felt so sad when Shiva killed her little boy, she
started crying,” she said, explaining how Shiva replaced his head to
soothe his distraught wife. This was definitely not my grandmother’s
Ganesha story. 

….
My daughter’s very progressive pre-school had sanitised
the myth to fit the portrait of a happy modern nuclear family. Don’t
worry, good daddies comfort sad mommies, and make it all okay.
“No,
baby, Parvati was so angry that she vowed to destroy the entire
universe,” I corrected her,
“The gods were so terrified that they ran to
Shiva and begged him to bring the boy back to life.” The Parvati I grew
up with was not a heart-broken waif, but powerful and feared goddess
whose wrath had to be appeased in order to save all creation.

………
That says more about our discomfort with powerful females than anything
about Ganesha. But the sweetness of the teary Parvati also makes it a
better bedtime story and gives Ganesha an extra dose of cuddliness.
Ironically the very qualities that have made him both beloved and
lovable have also been his greatest handicap.

In Hinduism he might be the Remover of Obstacles but outside the faith
he has become more cute and less god. In a world of animated films where
animals routinely talk in human voices, Ganesha, to much of the world,
belongs to a different pantheon – more Disney than God. 

…..
But unlike a
Disney character he is in the public domain – free to be emblazoned on
t-shirts, keychains, lunchboxes. And unfortunately he also ends up on
things he should never be. American Eagle put him on slippers. Sittin’
Pretty put him on toilet seats. Café Press put Ganesha and other gods on
thongs and $79 yoga mats.

….
Bollywood-themed parties in the West put up
statues of Ganesha and Buddha for that exotic touch while belly-dancers
gyrate and the bartender mixes cocktails. A party organizer in San
Francisco once said she would try and educate her clients about the
significance of religious symbols and put up signage explaining them but
she was not sure that anyone cared after the “third shot of tequila”.

Were the companies intending to disrespect Hinduism? Probably not.
Ganesh to them was just a cool iconic image. But the danger of cool is
then even a God becomes a commodity to be bought and sold. The god who
removes obstacles seems helpless when the juggernaut of popular culture
turns him into a potbellied party prop.

Pattanaik says
reassuringly that though he’s been turned into celluloid cartoons and
plastic China-made dashboard displays, “Ganesha does not mind, so long
as we appreciate the realm of his mother, and aspire for the realm of
his father.” Perhaps that’s true. But still one should think long and
hard before annoying any god especially one with the memory of an
elephant.

……

Link (1): ram-gopal-varma-trolls-lord-ganesha

Link (2): the-challenges-of-being-ganesha
…..

regards

India is a “sinful country”

…..families came forward after the cops approached them with the information provided by
Arif’s father…..his idea of Islam
and how the religion should be followed…..admonish
those who listen to music and watch television…..frowns upon
women who don’t wear a veil and work with men……

…..
Not just Arif Fayaaz Majeed who is reportedly killed in action in Mosul, but as many as 19 youths from Mumbra and Bhiwandi have joined the army of the Caliphate. Mumbra and Bhiwandi are satellite townships north-east of Mumbai, and are noted for being hot-beds for Islamists.

Thus it is likely that many more families will be devastated as more and more boys become cannon fodder. It is hard to judge them harshly….after all they are barely adults…and they have been brainwashed by people whom they trusted implicitly (the culprit must be given exemplary punishment, see below). 

But stepping away from the human tragedies for the moment, this question seems to be of great interest and significance: why is India sinful?

Now we can think of several legitimate answers to that and they may even have a specific resonance with Indian muslims…mostly pertaining to human rights of young muslim males and the entire civilian population of Kashmir (valley).

But please note why Majeed (supposedly) considers his country to be a sinful place: The
note does admonish those who listen to music and watch television. He
also frowns upon women who don’t wear a veil and work with men.


GUYS LISTEN UP:  WOMEN WILL NOT BE DENIED THEIR RIGHTS because of strictures from scriptures composed by men and enforced by men (all of them).

If the men decide to fight for a pure state BECAUSE they dislike the fact that women are gaining freedom..well all we can say in response is goodbye (we still wish you well). Also we hope that you are not coming back (but your mother still cries for you and would love to have you back).

……
An Indian engineering student who suddenly left for Iraq with three
friends this spring, and who was believed to have joined the Islamic
State in Iraq and Syria, has been reported dead, a man whose nephew was
part of the group said Thursday.

The
student, Arif Majeed, 22, left his home in Kalyan, outside Mumbai, in
May, telling his family he was going to study, and next contacted them
from Iraq, where he and his friends slipped away from a religious tour
group and traveled to Mosul, a city now dominated by Sunni militants.
The case has drawn the attention
of the authorities because it is one of the first documented instances
of young Indians being recruited online by an international jihadist
group.


Iftekhar
Khan, whose nephew Fahad Tanvir Sheikh was one of the three men who
left with Mr. Majeed, said the news of Mr. Majeed’s death was conveyed
in a phone call by another of the group who made the journey to Iraq,
Shaheen Farooqui Tanki. “Arif’s father requested Shaheen’s family to ask
about their son Arif. A few days later, Shaheen called again and said
Arif had died. He didn’t know how but he was crying,” Mr. Khan said.
Several
Indian newspapers reported that Mr. Majeed had been killed in an
explosion, possibly as a result of an airstrike. Mr. Tanki’s family gave
Mr. Majeed’s father the news after evening prayers on Tuesday. “Imagine
the state of a father who does not even get to see his son’s body,” Mr.
Khan said.
In
a letter left behind for his family, Mr. Majeed, who was Muslim, asked
for forgiveness and said that he would next see them in heaven. He said
he was glad to leave India, which he described as “a sinful country.”
An announcement, in Urdu, Arabic, English and Hindi, on a website often used by ISIS,
said Mr. Majeed, shown holding a weapon, had been martyred in Iraq. It
said that Mr. Majeed, who went by the name Abu Ali Al Hindi, had
participated in the fight for the Mosul Dam and married a Palestinian
woman from Gaza. The information could not be independently confirmed.

“This website is false. Anyone can make a website and send a wrong message,” Mr. Khan said. “Our boys were peaceful.”
…..

The Mumbai police have zeroed in on a small-time
businessman suspected to be the brain behind the radicalization of the four
Mumbai men who are believed to have joined jihad in Iraq and Syria.

Adil Dolare, 35, who works with the Islamic Guidance Centre in Kalyan and had
organized the tour to Baghdad from where the four never returned, used to meet
them every evening at Kalyan’s Don Chowk.

The investigators, meanwhile, have expanded their probe and identified 15 more
men from Mumbra and Bhiwandi who may have joined the four from Kalyan in
Baghdad and enlisted with the Sunni insurgent group Islamic State of Iraq and
Syria (ISIS).

Dorale and the four reported missing from Kalyan — Arif Fayyaz Majeed, Fahad
Tanvir Sheikh, Aman Naim Tandel and Saheen Farooqi Tanki — are all residents of
Bazar Peth and spent considerable time together.

Dolare, who also runs a business in Navi Mumbai, often delivered talks on Islam
in religious institutions.

Islamic Guidance Centre through Rahat Tours and Travels had booked Arif, Fahad,
Aman and Shaheen with 37 others on a seven-day tour of Baghdad. The group’s air
tickets were bought by Akbar Tours and Travels.

….
The group left Mumbai on May 25 and returned on June
1. Arif, Fahad, Aman, and Saheen, however, stayed back. On May 26, Arif’s
father filed a missing complaint with the Kalyan police and produced a note
written by his son expressing his desire to join jihad. Arif’s father was
followed by the families of Fahad, Aman and Saheen, who filed their complaints
on May 29 and 30.

Investigators have so far not come across any links between Dorale and the 15
men from Mumbra and Bhiwandi, who too, just like the four from Kalyan, left
Mumbai on a pilgrimage to Baghdad on May 25, but did not return.

Cops now know that around 250 people left for Baghdad on May 25 from Mumbai and
19 of them did not return. They all flew from Mumbai to Dubai and then to
Istanbul and Iraq.

…..

Link (1): nytimes.com/indian-muslim-said-to-have-joined-isis-is-reported-dead.html

Link (2):  Thane-businessman-radicalized-Kalyan-youth-who-joined-ISIS-funded-their-Iraq-trip
……

regards