HINDUTVA, SEX AND ADVENTURES 2

However angry I am at the accusation of having written Hindutva, Sex & Adventures, whereas I never hid under a pseudonym to say what I think, I cannot but feel that Mark Tully – or whoever has written this book – has raised some very pertinent issues. In fact I am aghast at most of these reviewers – all of them Hindu journalists – who bash the Hindutva part of it. Dilip Bobb, for instance, rubbished the book in a few words, without even taking care to debate the validity of the points which are raised. Is it because Hindutva is abhorrent to Mr Bobb’s Christian identity?
In fact, I even agree with some portions of the book. The description of the Indian journalist/heroin of the book below, for example, seems to me to apply to most of the Indian journalists of the feminine kind.
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… Andrew had heard about yoga before coming to India and felt no inclination towards it, as it was so different from his Anglican practice. But, as he would say later, you cannot live in India long, without taking some interest in yoga. There was a mammoth yoga conference in Rishikesh, where many yogis, gurus and teachers were to take part and Andrew decided to cover it, not only because it was there that the Beatles had gone to study yoga in Maharishi Yogi’s ashram, but also because it is a holy place for most Hindus….

… The next morning he went to the yoga conference where security was tight at as many famous saints were there, such as the shankaracharya of Kanchi, Ma Amrita Anandamai, B.K Iyengar, who more than anybody had helped to spread yoga in the West and swami Bhakta, an upcoming young guru, clean shaven, with flowing orange robes, who taught yoga and a revitalized form of pranayama and with whom Andrew had fixed an interview the next day.

Andrew, standing under an awning near the entrance, noticed her immediately. She was impatiently flashing a press card at one of the security guards and animatedly arguing with him. She was not only pretty, but her anger also exuded a kind of intensity that was appealing to him. He liked girls with personalities and had discovered, of late, that pretty girls are often shallow and self-conscious and that desire dies quickly when beauty is just an empty shell. She was wearing a white shirt and black pants, her black hair was tied behind her head, nothing flashy, but it suited well her personality. She must have felt the weight of his stare and she turned her head and their eyes briefly met. God, she also has pretty eyes, thought Andrew.

Andrew would not give up so easily, he followed her and as she was sitting down in the empty last but one row, he slipped into the chair next to her. She gave him a cool look, she had always been mistrustful of strangers:
-Thanks for having helped me, she nevertheless said and then turned her head away.
But he would not give-up
– Hi, my name is Andrew  Luyt and I am a British radio journalist, he said, extending his hand.
She hesitated and then shook it, noticing with a slight surprise that he kept it in his, longer than was decent to do.
– My name is Imla What are your doing here, she asked ?
–    I am learning all about yoga
–    – Oh, she answered, there is a lot of bull here. It’s all about marketing and brainwashing people.
Andrew was surprised: she looked so Indian, in spite of her western attire.
–    Well, he replied, I am an Anglican and some of my clergy think that yoga is very un-Christian, but how can you dislike something that was born in your country and that has taken the world by storm ? Every gymnastic discipline, every aerobic has some yogic ancestry !
But she was not convinced:
–    What we need in India now are good roads, honest politicians and lots of high tech, not godmen which are two dime a dozen in every nook of this country !
Andrew heard for the first time the word ‘godman’, used derogatively by the Indian media to call Hindu gurus and which he would encounter again and again. He asked:
– Then, why are you here ?
–     Oh, she replied, my newspaper has sent me to write a piece on Swami Bhakta for the Sunday magazine, because he is becoming very big in India, though I do not care much for him. But I have not even managed to catch his secretary so far.
Now I have her he thought:
– Well I have an appointment with him tomorrow morning. Would you like to join me ? I will give you a little bit of time at the end.
For the first time, she seemed interested in him:
– Yes, of course, she said, quick as only a journalist can be. Can you give me a few tips ?
– Sure, he smiled, if you let me buy you dinner at the pizzeria.

The pizzeria was then the only decent western restaurant in Rishikesh, run by a fat Italian, who talked a lot and baked fairly decent pizzas in his makeshift tandooori oven. She met him at seven o’clock. She had put on a salwar kameez and looked even more beautiful, slim, demure and pretty. They sat facing each other in the tiny restaurant overlooking the Ganges. She was distant and eyed him suspiciously, yet he could feel that she was curious about him.
He started asking her questions. She was born in Delhi but worked in Mumbai for the largest midday paper. Her father was an officer in the army, her mother a teacher and she was still living with them.
She was so Indian, yet in many ways, she was more westernized than him. She did not care about yoga and spirituality. Her political views were pretty straightforward:
–    I think the Congress represents the best chance for our country where there are so many minorities, so many religions and ethnicities, she said defiantly to Andrew (who then, could not agree more with her). Seeing Andrew silent, she continued:
–    You westerners have a romantic idea of India. But it’s all about half of our population not having access to proper sanitation, drinking water, or even one meal a day. This is why, Nehruvian socialism is also the right choice for us, as we need to uplift the destitute, the untouchables, which a brahmanic society has kept down for centuries.
But what astounded Andrew even more, was her culture. She had never read Kalidasa, whom Andrew had jus discovered in a bookshop in Khan market. His poetry, genius and sensuality shined even in the bad translation from the Sanskrit and Andrew intuitively felt that he was as good as Homer, as Shakespeare even. When he told her, she laughed :
–    Kalidasa, who ?
But she knew Tennyson’s poem ‘All things will die’, of which she recited the last stanza in a singsong voice, which sounded so out of place in this tiny restaurant serving Italian food in one of the holiest cities of India :
– And the blue wave beat the shore;
“For even and morn
Ye will never see
Thro’ eternity.
All things were born.
Ye will come never more,
For all things must die.”


He felt touched somehow: there was spirituality in this poetry, which was so close to his own atavism and culture.
She also knew the latest bestsellers in the US: Mario Puzzo, Ken Follett, Danielle Steele, Patricia Cornwell, John Grisham, Dick Francis, half of whom Andrew had never read.

– But what about you, she asked, you are a typical journalist, prying information and not giving away anything ?
He told her freely about himself, his being born in India, his difficult schooling, his radio days and coming back here, which felt like home, in spite of the wide difference in cultures. He told her about his first features and his recent trip to Kashmir. He planned to cover the entire subcontinent and was excited by it. Yes, she may be right about the Congress and Nehru, but he came from a journalist culture where one had to report everything to give the radio listener a chance to make his or her own opinion.

She asked him a few questions in Hindi, to which he answered pretty fluently with his British accent, having worked hard at his Hindi in Delhi. She looked at him with interest now. He was not that handsome, but he had a puppy dog air that sometimes endeared him to women. She also found that as he talked, she completely forgot his gruff face and got caught by the melodious power of his voice, which had a near sexual energy in it. He was a charmer too and knew how to weave stories about his encounters with funny maharajas or his solitary ride on the Dal lake, which enthralled her. At some point, however, she got a little bit aggressive :
–    Don’t think Kashmir is all about sentimental boat rides. We Hindus have a lot to answer there… We have exploited Kashmiris for centuries and the army today is killing innocent men in fake encounters and Indian soldiers regularly rape kashmiri women …
Andrew, who had always hated pushy female journalists, did not answer. He had noticed that in India the most aggressive journalists, those who were often the most bitingly nasty in their reporting, were women. Was it because they had to compete in a man’s world, he thought, or was it – as he had also found out through personal experience – because Indian women have a strong masculine streak in them ? India, he would say later, appears to be ruled by men. But if you look carefully in all marriages, from the CEO to the farmer, it is often the woman who takes all important decisions.

Suddenly he disliked her. He found her too precocious, too made-up in her conversation, too westernized for his own taste, and with so little roots in that Indian-ness which he was looking for all over India. He thought her ideas were clichéd and he resented her I-told-you-so answers to his questions. At some point he nearly asked for the bill to signify that the meeting was over. Then he looked at her again: she was so lovely. And he repeated it aloud, in the midst of a conversation that was going nowhere and as she was getting more and more remote and cold.
–    –  You are so beautiful…

Normally she would have either slapped the guy or just taken her bag and walked out. But it was so unexpected, it was said with such conviction and simplicity, that she did not know what to say. She always had a tart and ready-made reply for such frontal and indecent statements, but this time she was speechless. And when the compliment really started sinking in, she realized that it pleased her. It was not just a man trying to make her happy, it was something she had been yearning for so long: a recognition that not only she was beautiful, but also that beneath her beauty there was a stuff that was worth discovering – and no man had ever tried before to touch that inner stuff of her. It seemed to her for a moment that Andrew was referring to both her beauties: the known and the invisible

She hesitated for a second and then said, as spontaneously and effortlessly as Andrew had thrown his compliment:
–    – Thank you.
Let’s swim in the Ganges early tomorrow morning, he said, I have been told by a colleague that there is a small beach upstream, near the Laxman jhulla, where we can even sunbathe. After that we will go to interview swami Bhakta as it is on the same bank. Again she hesitated for a moment and then agreed. They parted in front of the restaurant with a formal handshake….

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30 responses to “HINDUTVA, SEX AND ADVENTURES 2

  1. Amazing story again. I suppose as most other agricultural products, the production of honey would depend largely on the locational conditions such as weather, land, and flowering plants. This might be a crucial issue for some developing regions in building the honey industrial clusters.

  2. Gautier, what are the historical origins of “Hindutva?” What is the best definition of the term?

  3. – I am learning all about yoga
    – – Oh, she answered, there is a lot of bull here. It’s all about marketing and brainwashing people.
    Andrew was surprised: she looked so Indian, in spite of her western attire.
    – Well, he replied, I am an Anglican and some of my clergy think that yoga is very un-Christian, but how can you dislike something that was born in your country and that has taken the world by storm ? Every gymnastic discipline, every aerobic has some yogic ancestry !
    But she was not convinced:
    – What we need in India now are good roads, honest politicians and lots of high tech, not godmen which are two dime a dozen in every nook of this country !
    Andrew heard for the first time the word ‘godman’, used derogatively by the Indian media to call Hindu gurus and which he would encounter again and again.

    So weird to hear this. Compare that to this, makes me wonder about such self-hatred and denigration:
    “The Global Impact of Yoga” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-strom/yoga-health—-the-global_b_528595.html

    There is a healthy middle ground.

  4. This was a religion which was widespread. In due course of time it has shrunk but it will once again expand (through spirituality and intellect of course).

    From: http://www.hindu.com/2000/10/11/stories/05111305.htm

    a few years ago a Russian orientalist by name Prof. Ribakov from Moscow went to Kanchi to have the darshan and receive the blessings of the late Kanchi Paramacharya. The Paramacharya asked the Russian professor: “Does not the northernmost part of Russia have more Sanskrit content in the language?” The professor was stunned. This scholar, who came to ask questions, shed tears of joy at the very sight of the Paramacharya and was dumbfounded at the depth of his scholarship. The Paramacharya further explained to the Russian that Russia was called `Rishi Varsha’ in ancient Indian geography, because it was the land where our Rishis like sage Yagnavalkya had their conference on the Vedas. This could further be corroborated by the fact that some women in the northernmost point of Russia have names like Lopamudrova, which is stunningly close to Lopamudra, wife of sage Agastya.

    It may be recalled that during the Sankalpa (a solemn vow to perform an observance) at the time of Pooja, we frequently use the term Jambu Dweepa. This term actually means the entire region covering Asia and Europe, as is evidenced from descriptions in Puranic geography. Even today I understand that in the USSR while writing the postal address, the name of the country is written first and then followed by such specifications as the city, town, area, street number, etc., in that sequence. This is an ancient Hindu tradition which we follow even today during our daily Sankalpa in Pujas

  5. Randomly came across this article – but what does it mean first right to resources?

    “New Delhi, December 9: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said plans for minorities, particularly Muslims, must have the ‘first claim’ on resources so that benefits of development reach them equitably.

    “We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably the fruits of development. These must have the first claim on resources,” he said in his address at the 52nd meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) in New Delhi.

    The Centre’s resources, he added, will be stretched with greater responsibility given to states in this regard.

    “The Centre has a myriad other responsibilities whose demands will have to be fitted within its overall resource availability,” he said.

    The Planning Commission will undertake a thorough review of ongoing programmes to eliminate those which have outlived their original rationale, Singh added.

    “But we cannot escape from the fact that the Centre’s resources will be stretched in the immediate future and an increasing share of the responsibility will have to be shouldered by the states,” he remarked.

    Singh also emphasised that special component plans for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes needed to be revitalised in the country.

    Last month, the Prime Minister favoured ‘fair share’ for minorities in government and private jobs as he spoke at the meeting of the National Commission for Minorities.” http://www.expressindia.com/news/fullstory.php?newsid=77972

    If it is what I think it means, I would say, government should work on making sure people are not discriminated against based on things that have nothing to do with with their skills, and people should have equal opportunity to learn, BUT government does not have the right to discriminate or create an environment of discrimination against people of any background.

    All citizens have EQUAL right to resources. When one group is given “first right” over others it is anti-equality and discriminatory to those government deems to have less rights to resources. It is an unjust government in the name of “secularism” that is only promoting religious and ethnic discrimination, which is anything but secularism.

    Citizens all have EQUAL rights, and ALL citizens should be protected from discrimination.

  6. From: http://www.hindu.com/2001/05/18/stories/13180903.htm

    Once a Soviet delegation visited him. Among them was an Indologist. the Paramacharya asked him in Russian: “Does not the northernmost of your country – it’s my guess – have more Sanskrit content in the language? In ancient Indian geography Russia is referred to as Rishi Varsha. Our rishis such as Yagnavalkya and several others used to hold their Vedic conferences here. Some Russian women, particularly those living in the extreme north, are named Lopamudrova after Lopamudra, the wife of our sage Agastya. The Jambudweepa mentioned in our sacred texts covers the entire Europe and Asia. ”
    The Russian scholar turning to his colleagues commented: “I’m not surprised that this Indian scholar saint is such a strong cultural force in his country.”

  7. From: http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume14/sss14-47.pdf

    The Wright Brothers are declared to be the pioneers, the very first to fly a heavier-than-air plane in the sky.

    Their powered flight took place on December 17, 1903.

    But a German had actually forestalled them by his flight on September 13, 1896.

    We must note that even earlier than this German, on August 14, 1895, an Indian belonging to Bombay, Shivaraam Baapuji Kadalekar, had succeeded in a similar feat.

    His name failed to draw public admiration and his feat was not acclaimed because of the envy, selfishness and the quarrelsome nature of our people.

  8. Students of World History all over the world in general and Indian children particularly are made to read wrong interpretations and false theories posted as facts regarding Vedic Civilisation (e.g. AIT)

    Hence, Francois Gautier, Stephen Knapp, David Frawley, Nicholas Kazanas and other like minded people should jointly start an organisation to study Vedic history.

  9. Gautier this is bit off the topic though related in terms of how journalists view Indians and Hindus, but I would like to know what your thoughts on an article like this would be. I find it strange that it mentions it was the British who designated these groups permanently as criminals yet it is at the same time viewed as a product of the caste system among Hindus. Even if the comments of the public totally think of this in terms of Hindu caste as if it was they and not the British who made them born criminals in law. What should be done is more education among people to see the wrong and not perpetuate what the British did. :

    If they were crooks, wouldn’t they be richer?
    http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15955530

    “INSIDE his hovel of branches and rags, a grizzled pauper called Badshah Kale keeps a precious object. It is a note, scrawled by a policeman and framed by Mr Kale, proclaiming that he “is not a thief”. For members of his Pardhi tribe, who are among some 60m Indians considered criminal by tradition, this is treasure.

    Squatting beside Mr Kale, on a turd-strewn wasteland outside Ashti, a village in India’s western state of Maharashtra, Pardhi men and women describe what it is like to be branded criminal at birth. A woman says her husband is hauled in every week or two by the police, against whom the Pardhis have ring-fenced their wretched colony with thorny branches. He has thrice been tried for robbery but was never convicted. Sporting a bright pink turban, another Pardhi says six of his seven sons have been imprisoned numerous times. All, predictably enough, claim to be law-abiding—though, giggling, Mr Kale’s wife admits to hawking copper trinkets as gold. “Even if we try to live like normal people,” she says, “the [Hindu] upper-castes will never accept us.”

    [My question is why single out Hindus? Do they find acceptance among upper class or middle class or upper lower class Christians, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists?]

    “This stigma goes back over a century. Mostly itinerant—some blue-eyed Pardhis look like they might come from the far north-west—India’s “criminal tribes” have always lived on society’s edge. Yet their plight was made worse by a series of 19th-century changes, including rapid deforestation, which stopped them from hunting, and the imposition of a tax on salt, which many had traded. ”

    [So it seems that living on the edge of society in the forests where they hunted and traded in salt did not make them crooks in the eyes of Indian and Hindu society. It was the deforestation and salt tax – but why was there deforestation, and who imposed the salt tax, the British in India it would seem.]

    “No doubt this drove many to crime—which encouraged India’s British rulers to a harsh conclusion. Imbued with a bureaucratic aversion to nomadism and a Victorian relish for the Hindu caste system, they adjudged many Indian tribesmen, Pardhis included, to be preordained crooks.”

    [How strange that even when it is clearly stated that it was the British who were against them and instead of helping clearly a population in need that once was able to sustain themselves but due to circumstances – like “Les Miserables” – drove them to some thievery, the article still manages to blame the “Hindu caste system” by way of writing that the British had a “relish” for it. It kind of removes responsibility from the British’s actions – like they were badly influenced by the Hindus. What does that even mean, “Victorian relish for the Hindu caste system”? They were gun-ho about it? Relish?]

    “According to an 1880 report of the Bombay Presidency, an area dominated by the modern states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, members of a Pardhi sub-tribe are “always ragged and dirty, walking with a sneaking gait”.”

    [Who wrote the report – all names are of India and you would not know from this that anyone other than an Indian wrote this, but was it an upper “caste” Hindu, or a British man working for the British Raj in India. Who was it written for? ]

    “To fix these vagabonds, the Raj introduced the 1871 Criminal Tribes Act, under which members of around 150 tribes were forced to register with the police, forbidden to move around freely and, in many cases, herded into barbed-wire camps. ”

    [The “Raj” did this. Again Indian terms – but I would assume that the “Raj” they were talking about was the British Raj. White washing the British out of the British Raj and their involvement in creating the permanent criminality of these Hindu groups.]

    “The law was scrapped soon after India won independence, and the criminal tribes were formally “de-notified” in 1952.”

    [So it seems when given the chance Hindus and Indians in general got rid of the British vile designation of these Hindu groups as born thieves. Yet here the agent of the action – Indians, Hindus and others is left out. Before it was the “Raj” that relished the Hindu caste system who criminalized these Hindus, but now “the law was scrapped” – a passive sentence structure]

    “Some have prospered: in Rajasthan, the Meenas dominate a preferential-treatment scheme to allocate government jobs to tribal people, which has let them become part of India’s elite civil services. Yet the fortunes of many de-notified tribes (DNTs) have scarcely improved….”

    [So the better situation for these groups came about because fellow Indians (Hindus and others) reversed the damage the British did to Hindus and encoded in law.]

    What can be fairly said is that there is more one can do to make sure all individuals are given an opportunity for a decent education, and to ensure all individuals are not discriminated against in jobs or elsewhere because of his background. Content of character thing.

    That is fair enough, but the article strikes me as blaming Hindus even when it was actually the British who did this wrong against Hindus. You get this impression even when you read the public’s comments on that article.

  10. “Indians considered criminal by tradition”

    One more point – it wasn’t really “tradition” but British in India who encoded in law that these Hindu groups are born criminals.

  11. “No doubt this drove many to crime—which encouraged India’s British rulers to a harsh conclusion. Imbued with a bureaucratic aversion to nomadism and a Victorian relish for the Hindu caste system, they adjudged many Indian tribesmen, Pardhis included, to be preordained crooks.”

    Seems a strange thing to say. The dislocated (~internal refugee) population “encouraged” the British rulers to a “harsh conclusion.” It seems in reality the Hindus were not at all trying to encourage the British to do anything least of all to criminalize them.

    A “harsh conclusion” More like an extremely out of proportion British colonial government response against a vulnerable Hindu population. Immoral, unjust, and cruel colonial government response.

    “Imbued with a bureaucratic aversion” What does that even really mean? Seems very sanitized – bureaucratic aversion. Banality of evil considering what happened next: “To fix these vagabonds, the [British rulers] introduced the 1871 Criminal Tribes Act, under which members of around 150 tribes [or should it be 150 Hindu castes since even though this was British action, the article makes it more or at least also the fault of the Hindu caste system] were forced to register with the police, forbidden to move around freely and, in many cases, herded into barbed-wire camps. ”
    Sounds like the British colonial rulers took internal refugees of Hindu castes who had few alternatives to thievery at least in the immediate future after losing their natural homes and being over taxed and no longer being able to be self sufficient, and made them under the law no less to be permanent criminals for that generation and all future generations, and on top of it put them in what seems to be concentration camps like the Japanese in America during WWII though probably not as nice.

    There is a lot that is white washed and left unsaid in the Econmist article.

  12. That article is now the most read article on the Economist according to their notice. The making of 150 Indian communities into “criminal tribes” was a product of British colonial policy not a product of the Hindu religion, but you wouldn’t get that. And the 200+ comments on that article don’t seem to get that either.

    Here I would say are better articles I found on the web: “Dishonored by History” http://www.hinduonnet.com/folio/fo0007/00070240.htm

    This Economist article is just what you have been talking about.

  13. An article less prejudiced against Hinduism would honestly try to find why were these essentially Hindu victims of British colonialism still treated as such post Independence? What did Indians internalize? What remained in the law and police structure that perpetuated the treatment? From this article there seems to show a little light on this:
    “Stigma of Criminality
    India’s Denotified and Nomadic Tribes”

    http://74.125.113.132/search?q=cache:6jaa5mo5_XIJ:www.ecoi.net/file_upload/bp176_HRF-101-Denotified_Tribes.doc+criminal+tribes&cd=48&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

  14. Not only Hindu communities were called Criminal Tribes by the British government in India. Anyone could be, and the legacy continues not only in India as mentioned in that article but also in Pakistan:

    Muslims and Crime
    Chapter on “Colonialism, Criminal Tribes, and Islamophobia”
    http://books.google.com/books?id=77hRrmfo65MC&pg=PA51&dq=Criminal+Tribes+Act&as_brr=0#v=onepage&q=Criminal%20Tribes%20Act&f=false

    So why would this article make this relic of British colonial cruel and unusual punishment, guilty until – wait no there was no way to be innocent – be the product of Hinduism? It did not take long to look things up on line and find out the truth. So such a sloppy journalist shouldn’t be writing for such a prestigious magazine. What is the agenda?

  15. Could it be the 19th century view still remains deeply embedded?

    “Imperial deceivers”
    Kevin Rushby on the myth of the oriental criminal and the origin of the word ‘thug’
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2003/jan/18/featuresreviews.guardianreview19

    “…Throughout the subsequent decade, tantalising reports of human sacrifice to the goddess Kali kept the public agog. Stories appeared in the Quarterly Review and Blackwood’s magazine (imperialism, George Orwell wrote in Burmese Days , was founded on “whisky, Blackwood’s and the Bonzo pictures”.); Indeed, so loud were the headlines that a small boy on a remote farm in Mississippi heard about the stranglers: he recalled them years later when writing about India under the pen name Mark Twain. Throughout the furore, Kali and her followers were held up as an example of all that was bad in India. Twain, with both hindsight and prescience, wondered if such sensational tales of evil could really be true.

    The evil oriental was not a new phenomenon in English literature: Marlowe had his wicked Jews and foreign potentates, Milton had his Satan as oriental tyrant, the “great sultan” whose “numberless bad angels” swarm like locusts. But during the 18th century, English interest in the Orient was focused not on India but on the harems of the Ottoman empire and Persia. The most influential popular volume was undoubtedly The Arabian Nights Entertainment, translated from the French in 1792. It confirmed the Orient as an erotic delight, a world stuffed with extremes of luxury, decadence, and poverty and one largely governed by capricious turns of fate. For readers – and authors – it was a world of escape, a world of endless opportunities and disguises. …”

  16. “…What exactly created this attitude is a good question and Dash probes, rather gently, into the milieu of British India. He points out the increasing cultural isolation within India of the British, the emerging fashion for denigrating all things Hindu and exaggerating its faults. I would have liked more on the intellectual, religious and political forces that had shaped the officers running this terrifyingly efficient man-hunt. After all, most had grown up in an England where habeas corpus was suspended, public meetings illegal and the faintest whiff of a secret brotherhood sufficient to arouse draconian reactions. Not only that but the home country was gripped by religious revivalism and bouts of millenarian fervour. The East India Company was forced, in 1814, to accept a bishop for India and lost its veto on missionaries.

    The lethal combination of authoritarian instincts, religious intolerance and fear gradually overcame the thug-hunters. Horrified by the exhumations of thug victims, they turned to their own God – and a vengeful, angry one he proved to be. “Mercy to such wretches would be the extreme of cruelty to mankind,” said Francis Curwen Smith, Sleeman’s immediate superior.

    Dash does allow a little external influence into the equation with the issue of opium. India had known of it for centuries, but it was the East India Company and British merchants who promoted and profited from running opium to China, then tea back to London. Inadvertently they also encouraged and sustained the thug gangs: growing the crops in central India entailed advancing large sums of money to landowners, money that was carried by treasure-bearers – ideal thug victims.

    This book ends with the disappearance of strangling from India’s roads. Yet the influence of thuggee and the campaign against it did not end. Sleeman’s idea of a race of people inherently disposed to murder – hereditary killers – would grow well in the soggy pseudo-science of social Darwinism in the 1860s and onwards, resulting in the Criminal Tribes Act (1871), a law that allowed the incarceration of entire groups of innocent people….”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2005/jun/11/featuresreviews.guardianreview3

  17. Gautier I hope you will in an article what does “Hindutva” mean, and what are its historical origins.

    Two contrasting articles:
    1.
    http://www.vedanet.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=48&Itemid=2

  18. How church destroyed Swami Nithyananda!

    By Rajiv Malhotra, March 17, 2010
    When the sex scandal of Swami Nithyananda suddenly erupted on March 2, 2010, I was already in Delhi as part of a group to go to Kumbh Mela. I was also finalizing my new book which deals specifically with Tamil Nadu religious politics, and in particular with the role of various nexuses based overseas. So I decided to jump into the eye of the storm of this scandal in order to investigate whether similar nexuses were at work in this case. Naturally, at one level I have seen this scandal through the framework of a civilization encounter in which Vedic culture is pitted against the Dravidian divisiveness that is being backed by Christian evangelism. At another level, I found that the sensationalized media reports were too one-sided, and none of them had a single statement to report from the swami himself. Furthermore, there was chaos and mismanagement of the crisis from Swami Nithyananda’s inner circle. In hindsight, things might have turned out differently had they managed more sensibly and faster – which I will elaborate later in this article. Given this, another interest of mine has been to extrapolate important lessons from this episode for other Hindu organizations, which I predict will face similar scandals as and when their weaknesses become understood by those opposed to them. This article highlights my findings at these multiple levels and issues.
    During this 2-week investigative period, I have been loyal to my pledge to give Swami Nithyananda’s organization the benefit of doubt and to report their side of the story. Besides wanting to balance out the one-sided media depictions, I wanted access to the ashram’s core group for my own research on the broader subject of civilization encounters. I respect the sensitivities of that organization consisting of many decent and dedicated devotees who have sacrificed a great deal and stand to lose a lot.
    But I have concluded that the situation is now beyond repair for Swami Nithyananda and that his continued involvement can only damage the broader interests of dharma as well as jeopardize the ashramites. Along with two other sympathizers who are not ashramites, I have personally recommended to Swami Nithyananda that the best course at this stage would be for him to resign completely from his organization. He should turn it over to a small team of senior Hindu mahatmas, so that the assets can be used in the best interests of dharma. Further, under the guidance of these mahatmas he must live a quiet life as a sadhu devoid of any institutional responsibilities. Because the head of any organization must accept responsibility that “the buck stops here,” only such a move can salvage the organization and the reputation of dharma at large. Over several years, this resignation would hopefully reduce the massive pressure that has built up against him personally, and enable him to live peacefully as a sadhu. It is up to him to accept or reject this advice. The basis for this conclusion becomes clearer once the reader has gone through the rest of this article.
    I want to begin by examining some principles about the relationships between siddhis (extraordinary yogic powers), morality, Tantra and sex. This will provide the framework in which to interpret what has happened. Then I will turn to my initial interest in pursuing the challenges facing Hinduism in south India from a variety of forces.
    Siddhis (Extraordinary Yogic Powers) and Morality
    A few days ago, I had the honor of having a two-hour private conversation with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at his ashram in Rishikesh. I introduced myself as an independent researcher who is writing a series of books on Indian civilization in the context of the global challenges and opportunities. One of my volumes will be specifically on the major global gurus since the 1960s – including Krishnamurti, Swami Muktananda, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Pabhupada, among others – as well as living global gurus such as Sri Sri himself. I have been investigating what happened to such gurus, in terms of the shifts in their Western followers over time, their scandals, their Indian followers and critics, and also how each guru negotiated his/her position sandwiched between Indian orthodoxy on one side and Western modernity on the other. The relevance of this in the context of Swami Nithyananda will become clear very soon.
    The first provocative question I asked Sri Sri concerned the nature of yogic powers: What is the relationship between siddhis and morality? If siddhis are a scientific phenomena dealing with powers that can be harnessed by all humans then one must bear in mind that science deals with truths that are morally neutral. If Einstein was declared to have lived an immoral life it would not invalidate his scientific theories. A person who designs aircrafts or any other complex technological systems may or may not be moral in order to be effective in his technical work. In other words, rtam (the patterns of the cosmos) which we discover and call science, functions independently of human morality. This is why a scientific principle can be used either morally or immorally, because it is independent of morality. There are moral persons who lack any siddhis or even ordinary scientific competence. Conversely, there are great siddhas (like Ravana) who lack morality. Sri Sri’s pranayama techniques would also produce results for an immoral person.
    Sri Sri seemed impressed by this question, and agreed with my overall position on the independence between siddhis and morality. But he pointed out that the moral dimension, while not determining the siddhis, was also important because it led to receiving the grace of the divine. I agree with him.
    So there are two separate phenomena involved: (i) spiritual technologies that are objective and that allow anyone to harness spiritual energies, and (ii) morality which is important in itself, not for attaining siddhis, but in order to have a positive relationship with the divine. Either one can be developed without the other; however, the dharma tradition encourages us to cultivate both. The reason that meditation systems prescribe things like vegetarian diet, ahimsa, etc. is because an inappropriate lifestyle interferes with the mental tranquility required to advance. This lifestyle change can be appreciated regardless of whether one believes in a personal God. This absence of a personal God is clear in Buddhist meditation. Different Hindu systems place different levels of emphasis upon a personal God for the yoga to function. This is why many secular and scientifically minded persons are also drawn towards meditation techniques. In other words, something cannot be a science if it depends upon morality, because science is objective and stands independent of morality.
    The relevance of this question is as follows: Many persons who have learned advanced meditation from Swami Nithyananda want to know if any moral breaches by him would invalidate the whole Hindu claim of achieving higher states of consciousness. When a far worse sex scandal against the legendry Swami Muktananda emerged in the 1990s, involving charges by a large number of his Western female disciples, the Western academy rashly condemned not only one man’s morality, but the whole legitimacy of the Indian tradition itself. In that series of debates (with Risa scholars like Sarah Caldwell, etc.), I took the same position then as I am taking now: that Muktananda’s capabilities in harnessing spiritual energies are separate and independent from whether or not he violated any code of morality.
    Patanjali warns against getting lured by siddhis which appear along the way when one practices advanced meditation persistently. One is not supposed to indulge in them. This warning is found in various Hindu systems that deal with the body as a vehicle for spiritual evolution, because these energies are very powerful and can get out of control. Another point that is worth noting is that the techniques taught by Swami Nithyananda are not his original ones; he has made it clear repeatedly that they are from the Shiva Sutras which have a long history in our civilization. I feel that he does have the siddhi of being able to transmit these techniques very effectively to others. For instance, I have never before in my life been able to sit still and alert in meditation for the whole night, but he had a few hundred persons in a large hall achieving this. The point here is similar to saying that the mathematics and golf I have learned from someone is not invalidated when the teacher is found to be immoral.
    Hence, the issue of his morality must be pursued separately and independently from whether his siddhis are genuine.
    Is Tantra a Part of Hinduism?
    The second question that I asked Sri Sri could not be completely dealt with in the time available for our meeting. I hope to pursue this some day with him and with various other acharyas for my own benefit. Its significance in the present scandal becomes clear soon. I asked whether the Shiva Sutras are valid, pointing out that among the 112 spiritual enlightenment techniques taught in them, about 6 deal with sexual contact between a male yogi and a female yogini. Kashmir Shaivism as well as the Tantra traditions have included exemplars that practiced these techniques. Recently, Osho tried to revive them and nowadays Deepak Chopra has brought some elements of these into his repertoire. Sunthar Vishvalingam, a US based scholar of Tantra and Kashmir Shaivism, is one of the voices who brings out the authenticity of these approaches in the tradition, despite the common rejections by society at large. The tradition considers itself not suitable for mainstream society and is meant only for a small subset of people.
    Many popular Hindu rituals and symbols have emerged out of the Tantra traditions – such as Shiva lingam, etc. The Tantra and Vedic traditions were not separate until recent times. The Vedic-Tantric integration is found in Adi Shankara all the way to Jiva Goswami (the great integrator of Vaishnavism who took Ramanuja’s ideas further), and even more recently in the life of Sri Ramakrishna. The Bihar School of Yoga has Tantra practitioners, but they do it privately and not publicly.
    I have an unpublished monograph that shows the history of this shift in Indian consciousness concerning Tantra. It was under British rule that certain Indian leaders (such as Ram Mohan Roy) started to condemn (as part of their “reform” of Hinduism) those aspects of Hinduism that bothered puritan Christian values. It must be noted that Christianity has had a very negative posture towards the human body starting with the Biblical episode of Origin Sin. This is why female priests (called “witches”) got demonized by the Church in its very official genocide of several million practitioners across Europe. This Church prosecution was called the Inquisition and was widespread for a few centuries. The use of shakti and anything concerning the body as a spiritual resource was considered not only immoral but also demonic, and was outlawed with draconian enforcement. The term “occult” was used to refer to a vast assortment of such practices and was heavily condemned by the Church as the work of the Devil.
    This mentality entered India under the British. The Criminal Tribes Act of India was passed by the British in the late 1800s. It listed several dozen tribes that practiced such “evil” techniques, and they were officially persecuted into extinction. A middle-class “whitened” Hinduism evolved as the mark of being “civilized” on British terms. We could be proud of our identity, now that it was “cleansed” of “primitive” practices of our ancestors.
    In this history of removing Tantra out of Hinduism, some people include Swami Vivekananda among those who undermined Tantra. I disagree with this charge. He was saying a separate set of things to his Western audiences than to Indians. In his Western lecture tours, he presented a Hinduism that Westerners could relate to and appreciate, but he did not ask Indians to shift their practice. It is unfortunate that after his death, the Ramakrishna Mission he started has diluted itself into a sort of pseudo-Christianity. Kali and other related Tantra deities, symbols and rituals that were dear to Ramakrishna himself, have become “hidden” for the “private” use by the monks, but are marginalized publicly and considered as an embarrassment. Their lead in this direction has spread across modern Hinduism to such an extent that Vedic Hinduism has become separated from Tantra, and Tantra is now widely condemned by many Hindu gurus. This is also a factor that worked against Swami Nithyananda’s reputation among orthodox Hindu leaders, for he uses Tantric techniques that arouse body energies, such as kundalini.
    My own feeling is that Tantra is making a big comeback. First there was Western popularity of distorted versions of Tantra; but this is now being followed by more clinical experimentation by psychologists and others. The whole issue of latent human energies and potentials (both positive and dangerous) is a hot topic of serious scientific investigation. Hindus should reclaim this aspect of their own tradition rather than waiting for U-Turned (appropriated) versions to get re-exported back to India, packaged as “Made in USA” spiritual science. This requires an attitude of experimentation under the appropriate controls to prevent abuses and quackery.
    I just returned from Kumbh Mela where I walked amidst several tens of thousands of naga sadhus who were completely naked. I did not consider them as either vulgar or primitive. The old guard of Hindu orthodoxy rejects Tantra at least in public, and yet lives in contradictions because they do respect the naga sadhus and also the various symbols and rituals that have their foundations in Tantra. The vacuum left by avoiding the subject of Tantra has created opportunities for the likes of Wendy Doniger to formulate distorted interpretations. I feel that Hindu spiritual practitioners as well as intellectuals must take control over Tantra as an intrinsic part of our tradition.
    Sex and Morality
    Against this backdrop, I will address the issue of Swami Nithyananda’s morality. Just to recap:
    My first point above has been that the morality issue about Swami Nithyananda does not impact the effectiveness of the meditation techniques he has taught very successfully. Their efficacy is best evaluated by the tens of thousands of practitioners for themselves.
    My second point was that there is nothing inherent about sex that is rejected by Hinduism across the board, although certain strains of Hinduism do reject sex seeing it as harmful to spirituality.
    Here it must be noted that brahmacharya (involving sexual abstinence) is just one of the spiritual paths of Hinduism. The first half of my recent stay in Haridwar was as a guest of the Gayatri Pariwar, one of the greatest and largest Hindu movements, that does not advocate being brahmacharya. Its founder, its present head and its members at large, are householders and not brahmacharyas. But for Swami Nithyananda to claim moral authenticity under this system, he would have to pronounce himself as a householder and not a sannyasin. He has never done that, so we must examine his morality by some other criteria.
    Another approach for him could have been to announce himself as an experimenter of Tantra for modern times, thereby making himself transparent of any such charges. This would place him in the same category as Osho. Many times in his public discourses and teachings, he has praised Osho as his greatest teacher and enlightened exemplar. He even said that many of his own teachings were derived from Osho. But he failed to publicly clarify whether he was practicing those techniques that involve sex. Privately, he explained to me in recent days that Shiva Sutras have two categories of techniques. Most of the sutras do not involve physical contact with another person and only use the four senses of sight, sound, taste and smell as pathways to spiritual experiences. Hence an individual practices these techniques entirely on his/her own. This path is what he has taught thus far to the public. The best pursuit of this path is as a brahamacharya according to him, and he has initiated many followers into it. But for a small number of persons, he feels that the 6 sutras involving sexual Tantra need to be tested and perfected for modern times, before they can be safely taught more widely. This he considers like any R & D done in a lab for developing a product.
    My sense is that he did practice Tantra with a very small number of persons, and I believe that he even entered into written legal contracts with them to make sure that both parties were clear about the arrangement. The reason for this “Non-Disclosure Agreement” was to make sure that someone who willingly approaches him for Tantra does not later accuse him of physical contact. On March 9 (about a week ago), I did a specific video interview with him dealing with this issue very specifically. But this video was blocked by his ashram leaders even though he personally felt that it was a good idea to show it. I gave up arguing in favor of showing it, because his ashram management took a firm stand against it. I still feel that this was a blunder they made. Swami Nithyananda is very forthright and clear in that interview – I felt that it was the best interview of all the ones I did with him, but it was never made public.
    I surmise that Rancitha, the Tamil actress in the scandalous videotape, was practicing Tantra with him. He taught her the self-control she had to achieve before any intimacy. I have tried to interview her in order to get her side of the story, but so far I have not succeeded in getting through to her. Based on third party reports from some persons who are in touch with her, and the media reports of her statements, her stance seems to be along the following lines: She took the sexual initiative with him on the occasion shown in the videotape, at a time when he was not fully alert. But this activity did not proceed to intercourse. It was terminated. She has also said that the videos being shown on TV are manipulated versions of what actually happened, because they exaggerate the situation. They do not show portions where he asked her to stop. Different clips from various videos seem to have been turned into a single video by editing. She has not filed any complaint against him. So in the worst case, this was consensual sex between adults, and that too backed by a formal written contract between the parties. Because she has refused to give any statement against Swami Nithyananda, she feels threatened by those who set her up and who did this sting. I hear that she has gone overseas to protect her safety from this mafia-like conspiracy. I have not been able to corroborate this thesis directly from her.
    My concern about his morality is, therefore, not based on sex between consenting adults. Rather, my moral issue is about the lack of transparency before the public. He could have openly said that he wants to select a few yoginis to experiment Tantra under mutual consent. At worst this would have upset many followers and pushed them away. In response to my concern over his lack of transparency, he could offer the argument that this was a private activity between adults who are under no obligation to disclose it to the public. After all, people do not go about broadcasting their sexual lives. So long as this was under mutual consent, he might say, it cannot be an offense. And if it was done under the Tantra portions of the Shiva Sutra, it was also an act within the Hindu tradition despite the controversy surrounding Tantra today.
    Having given this best case argument on his behalf, I must say that there could also be the alternative scenario, namely, that this was mere lust packaged as Tantric spirituality. David White, one of Wendy’s Children, has written extensively making the claim that all Tantra is “hard core porn” that gets wrapped up before the public in metaphysical mumbo-jumbo to appear to be legitimate spirituality, which he calls “soft porn” coating. White’s latest book takes this allegation to the extreme, and states that all major yogic exemplars in Indian history were basically not engaged in any kind of spirituality at all. Instead, he claims, they were developing personal power for the purpose of exploiting others. I am unqualified to comment on whether Swami Nithyananda’s case fits this notion of “soft porn,” or whether it was legitimate Tantra. Nor do I have adequate factual data of what happened to pass judgment either way.
    This concludes what I have to say about his morality issue as shown in the sex tapes.
    My Impressions of Swami Nithyananda Prior to this Scandal
    I was introduced to Swami Nithyananda a couple of years ago, by a prominent Hindu leader based in California. This man was so impressed by the young swami that he frequently called me to speak about him in glowing terms. I told him that I had a guru already, and that my present interest in interacting with gurus was mainly as a part of my research for my book on global gurus. He arranged a private meeting for me with Swami Nithyanana which I used mostly to explain the civilization threats facing Hinduism, citing numerous examples, and questioned him on his position in this regard. I found him to be very sharp, a great listener, and in agreement that we must engage social issues rather than pursuing the “world negating” or “escapist” paths that are typical of many gurus today.
    Later on, I attended a weekend course in USA where he taught the Patanjali Yoga Sutras. I have read several translations of this great classical work, but I had never before seen it taught experientially. Swami Nithyananda gave the attendees their own personal inner experience of every one of the eight limbs of Patanjali’s system, right up to and including samadhi. This was quite an achievement in two days.
    Overall, my interactions with him remained centered largely on the geopolitics of religions. I saw him as a prominent swami who was not running away from troubling issues, such as Christian conversions and the Dravidianization of Tamil identity. Given that I have been writing a book on this very issue in Tamil Nadu for three years (now in the editing stage), I was especially impressed by his experimental program of a Hindu temple on wheels traveling from village to village. In each village this mobile temple stops and offers chanting, a talk by one of the leaders, food, medicines, etc. So it combines religion with social service and thus competes directly against Christian evangelism. Rather than building a temple in every village and needing a purohit in each of the thousands of villages across Tamil Nadu, the strategy was to bring to each village this “temple on wheels.” What I discovered by my own independent fact finding was that wherever this temple on wheels went, the missionaries were upset because it blunted their conversion efforts.
    I attended his 21-day meditation program in December 2009. The various techniques in it are very deep and transformative. The best evaluation of this can be done by the hundreds of attendees, who were divided roughly equally between Indians and whites from North America.
    In several side conversations with him as well in the public forum, I pursued the point that I already have a guru since 1994, so I was not looking for a new guru. Since my guru had left the body a few years ago, I wanted to continue learning new techniques for my practice. I explained to him that I had previously learned and practiced meditation techniques from multiple sources for over 30 years, including: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Yogi Amrit Desai (who certified me as a teacher), Deepak Chopra, Vipasana, and more. Additionally, I had practiced numerous bhakti traditions, as well as formal Vedanta education from Swami Chinmayananda and Ramakrishna Mission. I went through a serious study of the writings by Sri Aurobindo, various Madhyamika Buddhist systems, Kashmir Shaivism, Ramana Maharshi, etc. So I was not seeking a new guru like most others who took his courses.
    I have to say that he never pressured me to adopt him as my new guru, and even said that one must remain loyal to one’s guru. To be classified as a devotee/disciple of his, there are two criteria, neither of which applies to me. First, there is an optional program one can sign up for, to do “paada puja” at the guru’s feet, in order to develop a special link with him. The second is that one can ask to be given an initiation with a new name, in which case his policy is that the person must legally change his/her name, and use this new name publicly. I did not do either of these steps. So my relationship is not as a devotee or disciple, but more arms-length.
    It was a two-way street. While he taught me meditation, I brought to him my scholarship on the geopolitical positioning of Hinduism which I feel the gurus know only superficially. They do not adequately know things like: Western philosophy, neither religious nor secular; or Western history; or Western institutions that have been set up explicitly to spread its civilization; or various global campaigns under way to invade Indian civilization through conversions, education, media, political policymaking and more.
    He requested that I should present him my findings on such matters so that he and his senior acharyas could learn. I told him that most gurus have little time to listen attentively to a layperson like me, because the gurus like to do all the talking. He replied that he would sit and listen to me seriously. I made it clear that I was disinterested in giving a short talk of a few minutes, because my findings required considerable time to be examined seriously. I told him that I would need two full days of undivided attention, so that I could present 300 Powerpoint slides.
    Swami Nithyananda sent me an invitation when I was in Delhi to visit his ashram and present my research. I was delighted to have such an important audience. I was very impressed by the fact that he sat through two long days of my talks, about 12 hours per day. He asked his 40 top acharyas and various thought leaders in his ashram to sit and listen to me for both the days. The interactions were intense, and I explained many points from my forthcoming books. I felt that he and I had a peer relationship, each side being an expert in his domain to teach the other. After my two days of talks were over, he asked me to help him incorporate my core ideas into his curriculum, so as to make sure that his teachings helped position the Vedic civilization properly.
    No other guru in the world has invested so much time with me to try and learn these global issues so deeply. (The only other prominent guru I know personally who understands these issues about the external challenges is Swami Dayananda Saraswati.) Most gurus tend to either be dismissive by resorting to spiritual loftiness, or imagine that they already know whatever there is worth knowing. Thus, my primary interest in Swami Nithyananda was as a vehicle to spread greater awareness of the kinds of issues that I was researching. (For instance, he bought a couple of hundred copies of the book, “Invading the Sacred” at the full price, and made it required reading for all his ashram residents.)
    I must balance this praise with criticism. In my 2-day talks, I had explicitly discussed that many gurus were falling prey to sex scandals, often with women planted as part of sting operations, or women in the inner circle who got too close and let things get out of control. Despite these warnings, it seems that nothing concrete was done to prevent or at least anticipate the crisis that was to follow.
    My Approach to this Investigation
    When the scandal broke out I was in Delhi. I called the Bangalore ashram management and found them confident but confused. Probably they felt that the matter would soon get forgotten if left alone. But exactly the opposite happened, as each day brought fresh allegations and sensational media coverage. After several days had passed I was invited to go to Bangalore to study the situation for myself. At that time I had no clue about his Tantra practice with any women. Whatever I knew was based on what his followers told me, because he was personally inaccessible for several days even after I reached Bangalore. I spent many hours daily with some of his ashram’s top team.
    What I wrote earlier in this article actually comes later in the chronology of my investigation. But I presented it up front because most readers are obsessed with getting my answer to only one single question: did he or did he not have sex? Nothing else seems to matter to them, whereas my investigation’s emphasis has been about issues broader and more consequential than any one man’s morality.
    Until I concluded my fact-finding 2-week period recently, I was unable to discuss the sexual acts shown in the videotapes. I had to respect the policies of his people as part of the trust being placed in me to gain access. They also needed legal clearance on what can and cannot be said by them. Their policy on the sex tapes was that Swami Nithyananda would directly explain his acts. The Tamil actress’ lawyer was also in contact with them and her sensitivities had to be respected. The sensitivities of the 140-strong ashramites had to be protected also. Given this set of circumstances facing me, I feel that it was unfair to demand that I should hound him with the one critical question. People have assumed that it was up to me to decide what would be within the scope of each interview. As I have mentioned earlier, even after certain interviews were recorded by me, the ashram leadership used its discretion not to air them.
    In response to my critics on how I conducted my interviews, I would also like to explain why I chose to focus on the criminal charges being made against Swami Nithyananda. Besides the sex-tape being off limits as mentioned in the foregoing paragraph, the criminal charges became my focus for two reasons. These charges could be ascertained with objectivity – such as asking for documents on the land ownership, the medical reports on the death of one meditation participant 2 years ago, and so forth. The evidence was more clear-cut than the evidence on what exactly happened in the videotapes between two persons none of whom were willing to talk with me about it. Secondly, the consequences of criminality would be far more severe than mere moral fallibility. While immoral conduct is a big concern for the devotees, it is not enough grounds by itself for the state to confiscate the entire property that runs into very large sums of money. Also, as a matter of principle, regardless of whether or not he is guilty of the morality charge, I felt opposed to spurious criminal charges being piled up by the irresponsible media just to create sensationalism.
    The Conspiracy against Swami Nithyananda
    Since I had arrived at the scene while writing my book on the conspiracy in Tamil Nadu religious politics, it was natural to start with that as my emphasis for the investigation. But in this short article I have decided to focus on the matters surrounding his conduct and his organization’s conduct, because these have assumed a more urgent nature. The details of the conspiracy belong in my book as corroborating evidence for my thesis there. The types of parties reported to be behind the conspiracy, both foreign and India based, were remarkably similar to the ones I have written about in the book. So for now I shall merely summarize some of the main points concerning this conspiracy.
    First one must understand why Swami Nithyananda became such a target. He was virtually unknown 7 years ago, but once he appeared in public his popularity catapulted at a dramatic rate. For example, last year, UTube wrote to him that he was the most watched of all Indian spiritual leaders on the Internet and proposed a closer collaboration for their viewers. This letter also stated that among all spiritual leaders worldwide (not just Indian) he was the second most popular one, the Vatican being first. His meditation programs have become very popular in USA and in certain Indian states. The main factors are that participants almost invariably report experiencing higher states of consciousness, and he has healed a large number of persons of a variety of diseases. His healing powers are what brought together his core inner group of devotees from around the world – doctors, businessmen, IT professionals, corporate executives. Many of them have explained their personal healings from terminal illnesses as the turning point in their lives. His meditation programs sometimes bring up to a few thousand attendees for periods ranging from a few days to several weeks.
    While the funds come mostly from upper strata participants in India and USA, a large portion of the expenses have been allocated to develop grass-roots social and spiritual programs focusing primarily in Tamil Nadu, his native state. This is where he is seen as a threat by Dravidian as well as Christian forces. For instance, in December 2009, about 600 villages across Tamil Nadu sent their local “Nithyananda leaders” for a celebration and planning session in his main ashram near Bangalore. I happened to be present for the event. These common folks, mostly from the lower strata of Tamil society, had walked 300 kilometers for this journey which they saw as a spiritual pilgrimage. The reason for the anger of Christian and Dravidian forces is that his activities have put a dampener to conversions in many districts, and several Christians have return to Hinduism by getting initiated formally into his organization. The swami himself has spoken against conversions, and has also stated that the Dravidian movement had made Tamil people unspiritual in their lives, and that this had caused social decay. His Tamil language publications and courses have become his most popular ones, far exceeding the numbers in English. Also he is a very big threat because he is not a Brahmin. Because he cannot be targeted using the classical attack on Brahmins, and because the masses in Tamil Nadu were rising to swell his ranks, the threat he posed to the existing political power structure had to be stopped one way or another.
    The attack against Swami Nithyananda has consisted of two prongs, image and legal. At first a highly sensational sexual charge was broadcast in order to devastate his credibility and create an atmosphere in which any and all kinds of outlandish allegations would be taken at face value. Once the media and popular sentiments had been turned against him, there was one amazing allegation after another in rapid sequence. It was clear that none of this was spontaneous but was being centrally orchestrated under a systematic plan.
    What became evident to me was that there was “cooperation” in informal and unofficial ways among the media, police and lower level judiciary. In fact, many third parties were aware of the attack in advance and had warned his people before it happened with specific details of the plan. For instance, one of his top devotees got a phone call from someone based in New York describing the media and police attack that was to come. His predictions turned out to be accurate but at that time the ashramites did not take the threat literally. He said that for the right sum of money he could be helpful in preventing such an attack. He claimed that the planning for this attack had started a year ago. He mentioned that a budget of Rs 200 crores was allocated by some overseas groups to demolish Hindu gurus especially in south India, and named two south Indian churches as the nodal agencies to coordinate this strategic plan. (I am presently pursuing these leads as part of my book investigation.)
    There was another concrete extortion effort about eleven or twelve days prior to the scandal breaking out. A lawyer contacted them and claimed that his client had compromising videos, and that the client was seeking money or else they would get released. The same intermediary later sent a letter containing a variety of unsubstantiated criminal allegations against Swami Nithyananda, and this letter’s distribution list included India’s Prime Minister, President, Sonya Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, various Chief Ministers and police heads, various national criminal investigation and security organizations. I have a copy of this letter, and it makes the Nithyananda organization seem like a terrorist outfit that needs to be attacked for the sake of public safety. This letter along with a DVD of the sex video was delivered to the Chief Minister of Karnataka state two hours before the videotape was first aired. Clearly, the attack was well planned and executed across many locations, and was persistently carried out over several days. This is not the work of some isolated individuals.
    There were warnings given to individuals in the ashram that their phones were being tapped and that they better leave to save their own lives, because something horrible was about to happen. One friendly man based in Pune who runs a magazine and is a devotee of Swami Nithyananda, told the ashram a week in advance of the attack that some such catastrophe would happen. He named his source as a man in Bangalore press club. Another publisher in Hyderabad who distributes Swami Nithyananda’s books in Telugu, called three times to warn that a graphic video would be released and gave a precise time for this to happen. It was also reported that an American devotee who had fallen out of the ashram was working in association with Jody Razdik who specializes in guru bashing at a prominent web site. He was being helped by an Indian based in San Diego, who was once very deeply involved inside the Nithyananda organization but had turned malicious. The only man who has openly come out as the main accuser was an ashramite who had a falling out when he got demoted due to his conduct. It was recently reported that he had a prior criminal record against him but nobody in the ashram had checked out his background before admitting him.
    There were constant threats received to harass the ashramites and scare them away, with claims that “narcotics will be planted to cause arrest warrants.” The actions by the police were being leaked to the media ahead of time and even to the opposing side, leading to numerous “tips” received by “friends” asking the ashram dwellers to run away before “the attack comes.”
    But even after a couple of weeks since the scandal has erupted, the lawyers for Swami Nithyananda’s ashram have failed to get copies of any concrete charges filed with the police, except a few trivial ones. Each time they approach for specific details they are told that there is no formal charge, except relatively minor ones. So the intimidation has been carried out mainly through media reports, without any legal due process starting where facts and arguments could get cross-examined. This lack of formal charges has enabled an atmosphere of intimidation using rumors and threats that cannot be pinned down officially.
    It is important to contrast this with the manner in which Indian media treats scandals facing Islamic or Christian groups. The numerous scandals occurring overseas often get blocked by Indian media entirely, or are given mild treatment with tremendous sensitivity, in order to be seen as “secular” and not “communal.” By contrast every kind of allegation against any Hindu group gets clubbed in one homogeneous category and treated as a social scourge equivalent to terror groups.
    The media’s hounding mentality and mafia tactics deserve to be condemned. In the Swami Nithyananda case, they have used carrots and sticks to lure and threaten, using whatever would get them more sensational footage. Several TV stations and journalists camped out in Haridwar and sent me emails requesting my help in arranging an interview. When I failed to deliver (because it was not up to me to deliver any such thing), some of them turned nasty against me. One TV woman promised the swami’s people “positive” coverage if she got an exclusive. But after the interview, she betrayed and turned it into more distortion and smut. This led Swami Nithyananda’s handlers to give interviews to more stations in order to counteract this distortion. But the more they said before TV cameras, the worse the scandal became. One station was blatant in its threat to the swami’s assistant: “If you don’t give us an interview right away, we will show you the power of the media to destroy you.” At one point a major TV station also wanted to drag in Ramakrishna Mission with similar allegations, but someone was able to stop that.
    Failures of Swami Nithyananda’s Organization
    Hindu tradition separates three kinds of varna (skills), each representing a form of social capital, and these three were never supposed to be concentrated in a single person, thereby preventing too much concentration of power. I use the terms Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya not as birth based “caste,” but as merit based social capital and areas of competence. The Brahmin job description focuses on spirituality and research; Kshatriya on governance, politics and leadership; and Vaishyas on commerce and financial capital. Swami Nithyananda had persons with Brahmin qualities performing duties that demand Kshatriya and Vaishnav skills. This was counterproductive. The ashram leaders were selected and trained for skills and roles that are very different than this situation demands. Too often their bhakti and spiritual practice substituted for professional competence in managing a rapidly growing global enterprise. The sole emphasis was placed on traditional Brahmin qualities, and none on what would be considered Kshatriya qualities.
    For example, there are a large number of white devotees who do have Kshatriyata – leadership expertise, courage and commitment. But even after this attack the ashram organization has blundered in its failure to leverage and deploy them. I met some of these Westerners at the Kumbh and found them remarkably willing to stand up for their guru, but nobody had bothered to organize them and take advantage of the fact that Swami Nithyananda has a global following. Instead of such initiatives to deal with the crisis, his organization was in utter chaos, reacting to each “hit” by the other side. Its leaders were running scared, driven by one rumor after another. Decisions were being made in desperation and panic. The group was cognitively disoriented and many of its members were psychologically breaking down.
    The organization was too much of a one-man show with the leaders operating like children dependent on the swami for every decision. The swami had become the iconic object of the ashram’s inner circle. Their proximity to him became their measure of personal power and identity. This is classical cult-like behavior that cannot survive the onslaughts that are inevitable nowadays. Such a concentration of varnas into one man not only makes an enterprise incompetent, but it also can also get into the leader’s head and make him power hungry. Especially when the guru has siddhis, this power can easily become co-opted by his ego into a dangerous mixture. The result is that he surrounds himself with psychopaths who tell him what he wants to hear, and this feedback loop of self glorification turns into group delusion.
    I noticed this in the form of the inner circle’s inability to make common sense judgments, and their misrepresenting the facts to their leader by giving him too much “good news.” The result was that the honest truth did not come out fast enough to allow pragmatic and realistic planning. I had a difficult time to get dependable information, and the stories kept changing not only over time but also between one person and another within the group. I could not tell if there was a cover up and if new lies were fabricated to cover prior lies. In such an atmosphere one cannot tell which individuals might have a separate stake and vested interest from the group. Lacking competent Kshatriyas, the swami had not anticipated that such a crisis was ever possible, despite the fact that outsiders (including myself in my 2-day talks at his ashram) had explained to them the threats facing every prominent Hindu mahatma today.
    While on the one hand I blame those in positions of responsibility at the ashram, ultimately Swami Nithyananda bears the responsibility as he selected them, defined their roles, evaluated their performance, motivated and supervised them very closely. In this regard, his spiritual capabilities had failed to evaluate those very close to him as well as the external reality. An enlightened master must do better than this, or else he must not try to control everything so personally.
    I acknowledge that being a global guru is very demanding today, given that one has to represent a very old tradition authentically and yet in a manner that appeals to modern people. This is why Hindu leaders need a crash course on matters that are well beyond the traditional education in their own sampradayas (lineages).
    Hindu Chaos
    Swami Nithyananda’s own support base in India has started to distance itself out of self preservation amidst all the rumors and slander. His closest supporters were not approached soon enough with his side of the story, and by the time they were approached the damage to his credibility was already irreversible. They did not want to risk being associated with a “fallen guru.” Many Hindu gurus have started to publicly lash out against the “fallen godman”; others became silent or neutral publicly, while offering private sympathy but refusing to stick their necks out.
    One factor is that the swami’s approach was too conservative for some and too liberal for others. It is too filled with deities, symbols and rituals of a very orthodox kind for the aesthetic taste of modern global gurus who propagate a whitened, Westernized “clean” Hinduism that is abstract and metaphysical but devoid of imagery associated with “primitive paganism.” At the other end of the spectrum are orthodox Hindu leaders who find his idea of youthful dancing, celebration, and liberal atmosphere to be not “real” Hinduism. A couple of shankaracharyas interviewed on NDTV lashed out against “false” gurus and claimed that only the shankaracharyas had the authority to certify who was qualified to be a guru. So Swami Nithyananda fits neither end of this spectrum.
    Many of the gurus I met have told me in confidence that they fear that similar attacks are coming to more Hindu gurus, but that there is no central Hindu mechanism to deal with these episodes along the lines of various church mechanisms that intervene when Christianity faces a scandal. I sent feelers to the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha as to whether it should offer to step in and take over the ashram and its related organizations, thereby bringing new management to clean up matters and bring stability to the enterprise. I was told that while this was a “good idea in principle,” it was not practical because HDAS is simply not set up to deal with this.
    The Way Forward
    My overriding concern throughout this investigation has been to find a way to do damage control in order to protect the broader interests of dharma. This requires a pragmatic approach. Given the state of affairs, it seems that the mess cannot be created without the swami leaving the movement and going into a strictly private life of meditation and self inquiry. I worry for the young ashramites who I feel are amazing individuals but in need of proper mentoring. They have a solid commitment to the cause and their personal spiritual paths, but they lack the sophistication and maturity to deal with what they face today.
    Swami Nithyananda should resign immediately and hand over all his organizations to senior spiritual masters, preferably Shaivites practicing the Shiva Sutras and related traditions. He told me in an interview hat I recorded on March 9th that he was willing to leave everything and become a wandering sadhu again. I wish that interview had been aired.
    The new spiritual leaders would give the ashram a new life and chance to revive itself. It could either remain a place for spiritual training or turn itself into a Hindu social service organization. Either way it would be a better outcome than the likely alternative of the government stepping in to take over the ashram and turn it over to administrators who are not positively disposed to Hindu spirituality – as has happened in numerous similar cases of government takeovers of Hindu temples and organizations despite claims of being “secular”.
    Besides giving up the organization, Swami Nithyananda should return to his personal sadhana under their guidance. Let them evaluate him and his organization, and issue their independent report to the public. Swami Nithyananda should fearlessly and humbly submit himself to their judgment of what happened and what the remedies ought to be.
    Hinduism has survived for many millennia and faced many kinds of crises, just like all the other major religions of the world. It has its own internal resources and mechanisms to deal with such situations. These need to be put to use and they need to become modernized. This is not the last such scandal Hindu groups are going to face in the near future.

  19. Gautier, here is a US Congressman who is aware of the ethnic cleansing of Hindus in South Asia

    ‘Hindus most discriminated in Pak, Bangladesh’
    http://news.rediff.com/report/2010/sep/15/hindus-most-discriminated-in-pak-bangladesh.htm

    “An American Congressman has slammed the alleged ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan and said that Hindus have been discriminated much more than any other ethnic group in these countries.

    Speaking at the Capitol Hill reception hosted by the Hindu American Foundation, California Republican Ed Royce said he had nothing but “feelings of humility and empathy for a people who have been subjected to — despite the tolerance of their own religion and despite the way in which Hindus have treated and accepted others — more discrimination than just about any other ethnic group.”

    The influential lawmaker, who was presented with HAF’s Friend of the Community Award for his campaign against discrimination and human rights violations of Hindus in Bangladesh, said that “as someone who has been to Bangladesh, Pakistan, to Central Asia, to South Asia and talked with many of the victims,” he deplored the kind of human rights abuse they had undergone in these countries.

    “There are two million Hindu Americans here in the United States, and many of them have shared their own stories with their neighbours and us in the United States,” he said, and noted, “So we have some inkling of what they went through.”

    Royce said one could just fathom the level of ethnic cleansing that had taken place in Pakistan when one considers “the fact that Pakistan was once 25 per cent Hindu.”

    “To think about the loss of life that has occurred and to think about the ethnic cleansing that still goes on,” he said was a tragedy of enormous proportions, and added, “To think about the use of intimidation against Hindu women used and still used in those societies where there is a small minority yet of Hindus in Pakistan.”

    Royce said the same kind of blatant human rights against Hindus were occurring in Bangladesh and Bhutan and spoke of his familiarity “of what the Bangladeshi Hindu population has been through.”

    “It cries out for the international community to step in,” he said. “I can share with you that I’ve made many trips to India [ Images ], but I’ve also in these trips gone to Bangladesh and Pakistan and raised these human rights issues with those governments because it is unacceptable — it’s absolutely unacceptable — the inhumane, intolerant way in which Hindus are treated when they are a minority in these countries in South Asia.”

    Royce lauded the HAF to “trying to galvanise here in the United States, not only the rights of Hindus here in the United States, but also equally importantly, the safety, the security of Hindus throughout South Asia in the face of the kind of intolerance that we see being advanced through Islamist extremism.”

    “And, my fervent hope is that we can learn from the lesson of what has befallen other victims and begin to take the action necessary to cut off the support for the Deobandi schools, for the madrassas, which are turning out the next generation of those who are going to teach hate.”

    Royce said it was also imperative that “we’ve all got to pressure the government of Pakistan to put an end to those textbooks which teach the concept that hatred should be visited upon the Hindu minority or spread the message that only one religion should be practiced in that country.”

    “And, it’s also my hope going forward that we can further our humanitarian efforts to assist those victims of the type of ethnic cleansing that is going on today,” he said.”

  20. Far left (not liberal) disregard for a democratic state and its laws:

    “Spurious protests over Binayak Sen
    December 28, 2010 5:17:43 AM
    Kanchan Gupta

    What is Section 124A?” Binayak Sen is reported to have asked the trial court judge after being held guilty of sedition and sentenced to life imprisonment last Friday. It is possible that Sen, accused and found guilty of helping Maoists in Chhattisgarh, was genuinely unaware of this particular section of the Indian Penal Code till the judge gave his verdict. A natural interpretation of this would be that he is at best guilty of violating the law of the land without realising that he was doing so. But ignorance of the law is not a tenable defence in the courts, or else there would have been no convictions as that would have become the standard plea: Those who violate the law rarely do so after a scrupulous reading of the statute books.

    A less charitable, and possibly unfair, explanation for Sen’s seemingly innocuous query to the judge — “What is Section 124A?” — is the contempt with which self-appointed civil liberties and human rights activists in this country hold the law of the land. Any law that seeks to impose the writ of the state and uphold the Constitution of the Republic of India, and hence, by definition, outlaws anarchy and subversion, apart from other crimes, is anathema to these champions of civil liberties and human rights as it militates against their libertarian agenda. “What law?” a civil rights activists mocked at me during a television debate on Sen’s conviction, “A law passed by Parliament of India? We refuse to accept its legitimacy.”

    Scornful repudiation of the authority of the state and the legitimacy of Parliament, in a sense, has become the leitmotif of the Left-liberal intelligentsia’s immoral defence of Maoists, terrorists and separatists: We do not accept the rule of law, hence neither we nor those whom we speak for can be accused of violating the law. Sophistry separates this from the crudity with which those waging war on the state articulate their purpose. For example, the Maoists are waging war on the state not to defend tribal rights but to supplant democracy with totalitarian rule; for them their defenders and facilitators in the media and among the intelligentsia are “useful idiots, but idiots nonetheless”.

    The Left-liberal intelligentsia’s profound hatred of authority and distaste for accountability acquires a certain edge when the courts rule against one of their own. So, we have anarchist-activist-propagandist Arundhati Roy denouncing Sen’s conviction by declaring “The crisis in Indian democracy does not get more dangerous than this” (what would she say if the courts were to hold her similarly guilty at a latter date in the sedition case filed against her for advocating Islamist separatism in Jammu & Kashmir?) while her soul mate Teesta Setalvad, who now stands accused of major perjury and serious fraud, has been prompt in alerting us that “we are dangerously close to surrendering our basic rights and freedoms”.

    The PUCL, of which Sen is vice-president, has predictably reacted to his conviction as “a black day for judiciary”. We also have Justice Rajinder Sachar, who draws pension from the taxpayer-funded public exchequer by virtue of having served as a judge upholding laws which he obviously believed were just and fair, denouncing the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act as “unacceptable” and “unconstitutional”, never mind that it was passed by Parliament.

    A fair assessment of the curious case of Binayak Sen would be incomplete without mentioning his admirable efforts to take healthcare to the poor, impoverished tribals of Chhattisgarh. Undoubtedly, Rupantar, set up by him and his wife Elina, has done remarkable work. Not many alumni of Christian Medical College in Vellore would give up lucrative careers at home and abroad to tend to the sick and the suffering in the interiors of Bastar. But somewhere along the line, the healer became an ideologue and a partisan in Chhattisgarh’s war against Maoists, choosing to align with Left extremism over apolitical humanism.

    His active association, if not collusion, with Maoists came to the notice of authorities in 2006-2007. Narayan Sanyal, a veteran of the Naxalite movement and an influential member of the CPI(Maoist) Politburo, on the run from the police, took shelter in Raipur in 2005 to evade arrest and direct the murderous insurgency from his hideout. Sanyal was arrested on April 7, 2006 and sent to Raipur Jail where Sen met him frequently. Admittedly, the meetings took place with prior permission from jail officials. Sen was a known face among jail authorities as he regularly visited undertrial prisoners, offering to help them in his capacity as PUCL vice-president and counselling them on custodial rights. It is only natural that he should have easily gained access to Sanyal without raising doubts.

    A sequence of events leading to the arrest, on May 6, 2007, and interrogation of a Kolkata-based Maoist activist, Piyush Guha, who was ferrying money for Sanyal and whose wife and brother-in-law are lodged in a West Bengal jail for their association with Left-wing extremists, revealed the nature of Sen’s role and the extent of his involvement. He was arrested by Chhattisgarh Police on May 14, 2007, on the charge of acting as courier for Sanyal, carrying messages and letters from him. Later, the arrest and interrogation of another Maoist, Bikash Bhattacharya, in Bihar provided the police with further clues and information about Sen’s involvement.

    Investigations also revealed that Sen had arranged for Sanyal’s rented accommodation, vouching for his ‘credentials’ to three landlords, and helped him open a bank account. A letter was found at his residence, said to have been written by a senior Maoist leader, thanking him for his services. Sen was charged under the IPC, the UAPA and the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act of 2005 that provides a legal framework for the State Government’s anti-Maoist operations. Along with Sanyal and Guha, he has been held guilty of the charges, barring that of waging war on the state, and given a life sentence, the maximum punishment for seditious activity.

    Instead of getting distracted by the raucous chant of activists and anarchists, we should remember three points. Sen was tried in an open court under laws that are equally applicable to all citizens of India; it was a fair trial, he had access to the best lawyers and at no stage was he starved of either legal advice or funds. This is in sharp contrast to the kangaroo courts where those who refuse to obey the Maoists’ diktat are summarily tried and executed. Those held ‘guilty’ by these ‘people’s courts’ are poor Adivasis and Dalits who are denied the right to appeal, a right Sen can exercise under the very laws which his supporters are now vociferously denouncing. If the higher judiciary finds the trial court has erred, Sen’s conviction will be set aside.

    Second, the argument that the arrest, trial and conviction of Sen will invite international criticism and incur the Government the wrath of the usual suspects — Noam Chomsky and 22 sundry Nobel laureates have already registered their protest — is specious. It’s a bogey meant to scare the state and prevent it from acting against law-breakers. Worse, implicit in this threat of retribution is the mistaken belief that some are more equal than others and hence above the law. Or that courts must make a distinction between those deemed to be ideologically ‘correct’ and those who are ideologically ‘incorrect’, the prerogative to decide the correctness or incorrectness being that of the Lib-left intelligentsia.

    Third, it’s a war being waged by the democratic Republic of India against those who want a totalitarian People’s Republic of Maoistan. In the first 10 months of this year alone Maoists have killed 577 civilians and 260 security forces personnel; they have lost 137 cadre in encounters. In this war, we can choose to be either with the state or the Maoists; there’s no halfway house because the future of our freedom, our liberty, our open society and our democracy is at stake. Binayak Sen exercised his choice.”

  21. Separate laws are discriminatory:

    “December 26, 2010
    No Comparison: Shariah and Jewish Religious Courts
    By Rabbi Aryeh Spero
    Many stealth jihadists pushing to have Shariah law instead of American civil law govern American Islamic communities are making the preposterous claim that Shariah Courts are similar to Jewish religious courts that observant Jews often use to adjudicate intra-community disputes. This is entirely inaccurate given that Shariah has as its goal the replacement of American law with Shariah, whereas Beit Din, Jewish religious court, limits its purview and has no intent or desire to flout American law.

    Over 1800 years ago, the Talmudic Rabbi Samuel set the tone of how Jews were to interact with the laws of Babylonia, which had become the primary residence of the Jewish People after its exile from Israel. His statement and decision has guided the Jewish community throughout their dwellings in new lands: “The law of the land is the law.” Rabbi Samuel understood, as did all subsequent rabbinic figures, that dwelling in a land and being a good citizen meant living by its laws and standards.

    Naturally, many aspects of Jewish religious life differed from that of the host culture, such as the requirement to eat kosher food, observe the Sabbath and abstain from bread on Passover, and Rabbi Samuel would have been the first to reject any attempt by the State to prohibit our core religious observances. In the spirit of Render unto Caesar that which is his and unto God that which is His, Rabbi Samuel demarcated between religious law and civil law. His intellectual honesty lay in not allowing the subterfuge of categorizing civil law as “religious” law, which would have effectively nullified the whole concept of “The law of the land is the law”.

    Rabbi Samuel certainly wished to preserve Jewish culture and ethnicity. Nonetheless,
    the Head of Babylon’s Jewish community imbibed a deep respect and loyalty to his new country and would not allow zealots and separatists to lurch into a mode of cultural supremacy by erecting autonomous communities within the nation, which is accomplished when the purview of religious law is inflated to include that which is essentially civil and criminal law, something to be decided by the general public.

    Eight hundred years later, as the center of Jewish life shifted westward to Europe, Rabbi Gershom of Germany expanded on the theme of “The Law of the land is the law.” He declared that because something is permitted in religious law does not mean a Jew should exercise that religious right if it is contrary to a fundamental standard and custom of the country where he now resides. So that even though the ancient Bible did not limit a man to one wife, henceforth Jewish men living in Europe could not marry as was done in biblical days, since European/Christian mores had rejected the simultaneous taking of multiple wives. Though polygamy was already centuries earlier culturally taboo among western Jews, Rabbi Gershom took the opportunity to prohibit it officially and legally to underscore the point that no particular ethnic community stands above and beyond deep-rooted national moral and ethical mores and standards.

    Contrast this philosophy with that of shariah compliance where, for example, in certain European countries Islamic clerics are asking that the State welfare system subsidize the multiple wives of a Pakistani-born Muslim, or that of New Jersey where a lower court judge agreed not to hold a man liable for raping his wife, “reasoning” that his culture permits a man to force himself on his wife even though she vehemently protests her subjugation. Or the case of an 18 year old Columbus, Ohio girl whose wish to convert to Christianity is causing a risk to her life from her parents who claim that shariah does not allow her to become Christian. Jewish law intrinsically deplores what shariah here espouses, and no Beit Din would kow-tow to such rejection of civilized American societal norms.

    The three cases mentioned above, some even criminal, stand foursquare against our American principle that women and children are not simply a man’s property. This isn’t simply a legalism but fundamental to our identity and to who we are as a people and nation. Having two sets of laws, one of which extends to Muslims the right to do that which is forbidden to all other Americans is a breach of the bedrock principle of Due Process, wherein our laws are applied equally to all, be it our rights or our prohibitions. Should we suddenly make one group of citizens more privileged than all others? That is not American, nor western. Equality under the law must transcend fashionable and often silly notions of multi-culturalism. Too much multi-culturalism leads to no culture at all, a society denuded of standards.

    It has always been understood here that no one can claim a religious exception to civil and criminal rules that govern all. Religious freedom does not mean freedom from living by the civilized laws that constitute us as a people. That is exactly what Rabbi Samuel had in mind 1800 years ago when warning against those who would abrogate their fealty to civil and criminal law by claiming a special dispensation under religious law.

    There are two areas where from time-to-time a Jew invites a Beit Din into his life. One is marriage and divorce. But here the Beit Din does not supersede routine civil law, rather it embellishes these events with certain required rituals, none of which offend deep-rooted social morality nor contradict existing civil law. After the divorced couple arranges their divorce settlement — finances, child custody questions etc. — the Beit Din’s scribe quilts on parchment a divorce document according to an ancient Hebrew text. Marriage is similarly preceded by written documents and blessings. These additions do not abrogate any civil laws, rather fall under the rubric of rituals that adorn and enrich each particular group within humanity.

    The second is the arbitration process where two Jewish litigants decide to forgo the expenses of lawyers and protracted civil court proceedings and opt to have the Beit Din arbitrate and decide their business or monetary conflict. Courts are often pleased by this choice since it relieves them of yet another case on their heavy dockets. But even here, the Beit Din cannot pull out of left field some wild form of insular reasoning whose logic could not stand up in secular court. Nor would it ever arbitrate on criminal matters.

    And herein lays an essential difference between those advocating shariah for Islamic communities as opposed to Beit Din in highly observant Jewish communities. Whereas, a Jew finds himself at a Beit Din once or twice in life, and for many never at all, shariah will dominate the individual within the community. He will live under shariah. Shariah is comprehensive, and coercive. It is the ultimate balkanization, wherein a mini nation lives within a broader nation. It is a seceding from the Union – yet with all the privileges of being in that union.

    For stealth jihadists, shariah is the most effective way to Islamize a country. Through its imposition, it telegraphs that a nation has no unique and binding set of laws, mores and standards. That’s why radical multiculturalists love it. It helps brings down America.

    Islamic shariah has a completely different aspiration than Jewish law. Jewish law has no world-wide ambitions. We don’t even seek converts. There’s one Jewish state, and a small one at that. Islam’s stated goal is to have the world live under shariah. It yearns for a world-wide caliphate, bringing all under Islam, individuals and nations.

    Shariah announces that Islam is above and beyond the law. It is above country. Once allowed and implemented in Islamic neighborhoods, it reaches beyond and extends to ever growing areas where its adherents migrate, so that neighborhoods once under American law now must forfeit their American way of life if they wish to do business or be shielded from harassment. Shariah does not believe in Live and let Live, which has been the sweet anthem that has guided America. It demands changes in our schools, work places, swimming pools, and every facet of public and commercial life.

    In England , for example, whole school districts now forbid pork in school cafeterias where Christian children still constitute the majority, and some districts won’t even teach the Holocaust because it “offends” anti-Semitic Muslims. Liberals call this sensitivity and accommodation. But it is capitulation; capitulation by emasculated multi-culturalists who feel that the only way to validate our western culture is by forfeiting it and submitting to those who wish to destroy it. Any ideology whose demands and stranglehold on civic and public life are so extensive and unyielding is theocratic in nature and thus incompatible with and dangerous to western life.

    At one time, North Africa was not Islamic. Neither was Turkey, southern Asia, Indonesia, Central Africa, Persia, nor most of Iraq and Lebanon; nor were vast lands west, east and north of India. Nor were the Balkans. They are now mostly Islamic. Some fell to the sword of Islam. Others decided to be “nice guys” and allow shariah law in their countries for those few who demanded it. Now, tens of millions of them and their children must live under shariah law. Their heritage is gone.” http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/12/no_comparison_shariah_and_jewi.html

  22. “one of the most painful aspects of Muslim demographic warfare is the open attempt by Muslims to grab non-Muslim girls to use them for their own demographic ambitions, meanwhile also inflicting a good dose of humiliation on the accursed kafirs. In Bangladesh and in Muslim-majority areas inside India, this often takes the form of simply kidnapping girls, or of threatening their families to marry them out to Muslims? In the open market-place of the West and of westernized circles in India, it takes the form of normal courtship”- Mr. Elst Still if these silly Hindu filmmakers think that they are actually building ‘secular bridges’ by giving Muslim man riding Hindu woman, (the Muslims, of course, won’t allow the reverse.) then they are in error. They fail to understand Islamic mindset. Even if you make all the Muslims in India superstars, in Pakistan this will not be accepted for as a sign of Hindu benevolence or even a gesture of genuine secularism but as an explicit evidence of Hindu inferiority and Islamic superiority! Such is their contempt for all things Hindu. And it does not stop there; Abu Salem (killed Gulshan Kumar, organized Bombay Bomb blasts on more than one occasions even opened gun-fire at the shooting of Hindu religious epic Mahabharta) has managed to get much for Islam. The popularity of “khan” series of Bollywood masala flicks has led to a deadly trait of more and more Hindu girls in western countries (mostly U.K.), misusing the freedom their religion gives them, finding it ‘cool’ and ‘okay’ to marry a Muslim. This is also helped by the cultural vacuum left by Hindu parents who are so secular that they feel ashamed to give their child any knowledge about the great heritage of Hinduism. Zakat (petro-dollars) come all the way from rich Islamic states in gulf to reward the Muslim boys who bring more and more girls to the fold of Islam. Some Muslim boys have even made this “campus-jehad” a full time occupation! And of course for such gullible Hindu girls life is one-way street, once she enters Islam (hoping the warm embrace of her future in-laws who should be grateful to her for leaving her very own parents and religion) she discovers there is nothing warm in the embrace of Islam she embraced as promised in the film that inspired her for this foolish emotional death-dive, but by then it is too late. She is done for. She will probably spend the rest of her cursed life cooking stinking halaal meat and giving birth to a new generation of suicide bombers.

  23. I am surprised the way some people have made a statement saying Christianity and islam have lead to a destabilized world. It is racist. I respect all religions and am a catholic. I agree we humans are not perfect. To generalize a group and spread hatred is racist. you can say some christians do this and that or some hindus do this and that. Do you know all christians? Do you know they are human beings like you? Well hinduism is a great religion and I respect you do not follow a religion cause it is old or new . It should speak to your spiritual self and you cannot hate.
    Christ speaks of love and compassion in his own words let you who is without sin through the first stone. It is not christians or muslims or hindus who are evil it is the human being who is. No religion asks to kill its how you interpret it. That said I do agree though I am not political Mr Francisis you are threading a political path based on money paid to you by RSS and VHP and other hindu orgs.
    BTW I voted for BJP when in India and love some of its leaders.if Mr Francisis could not be a good christian he may not be a good hindu as he sold his soul. I do agree no forced conversion should occur and some people who do it should stop. Let us not destroy churches that belong to inoncent christians cause we want revenge where is the compassion.what have they done to you Please read bible quran torah or gita of opposing faith before criticizing. Love each other my brothers I have cousins from inter religious marriage they are happy. You will now the truth whether Ram rahim or jesus lives only when you die there is no proof of god we all could be wrong.
    On that note spread love as christ and buddha did and compassion. Lets make a better world lets be rational and stop stereotyping why is belief so important in loving another human. I am sadened by people ( my fellow Indian bothers who do not understand hinduism and make such statements ) .
    Spirituality is not to master your mind only it is to make you a better person looking at fascist statements I have no doubt that people above making broad statements on hinduism and fascist ones would make horrible christians too. As the evil is in their soul filled with hatred and revenge and venom. In Gandhi’s words” If all christians followed the teachings of christ the whole world would be christian” I do not like all congress leaders but the BJP is political too its hindu wing the Shiv sena was attacking fellow north and south indians. That is how hate works. The truth is the RSS, VHP and wings are scared to lose vote bank of brain washed hindus.
    It wants diversion politics though some leaders are moderate. Fascism is fascism whether spread by hitler , al qaeda or VHP/RSS/Sangh parivar all for political again. If you are hindu stand up for whats right not cause it was said by hindu.
    Satya Meva Jayathe
    Jai Hind

  24. ml@hotmail.com

    Individual people are different. All religions should be up for discussion. No religion should be immune from discussion, and that helps create a better world. Religions are not a race. Ask for religion asking to kill, you do not know about jihad. Here is an Islamic imam explaining it in clear language:
    Raped and Ransacked in the Muslim World

    by Raymond Ibrahim
    May 31, 2011

    Plundering the possessions, lives, and dignity of Christians in the Islamic world: is this a random affair, a product of the West’s favorite offenders—poverty, ignorance, grievance—or is it systematic, complete with ideological backing?

    Consider the very latest from the Muslim world:
    Pakistan: Muslim landowners used tractors to plough over a Christian cemetery in order to seize the land illegally. A young Christian mother was raped by six men. “In both cases, police covered up for the culprits.”
    Iraq: A Christian youth was kidnapped and decapitated: his family could not pay the €70,000 ransom demanded by his abductors. “The murder was meant to intimidate Christians so that in the future they will more readily pay ransom demands.”
    Egypt: Christian girls continue to be abducted and forced into conversion or concubinage (which amount to the same thing) and “kept as virtual slaves.”
    None of this is surprising listening to popular Muslim preacher Abu Ishaq al-Huwaini:

    “If only we can conduct a jihadist invasion at least once a year or if possible twice or three times, then many people on earth would become Muslims. And if anyone prevents our dawa or stands in our way, then we must kill them or take as hostage and confiscate their wealth, women and children. Such battles will fill the pockets of the Mujahid who can return home with 3 or 4 slaves, 3 or 4 women and 3 or 4 children. This can be a profitable business if you multiply each head by 300 or 400 dirham. This can be like financial shelter whereby a jihadist, in time of financial need, can always sell one of these heads (meaning slavery) “[translated by Nonie Darwish; original Arabic recording here].

    Huwaini actually made these scandalous assertions some eighteen years ago. But because they were only recently exposed, he was invited to “clarify” his position on Hikma TV last week. Amazingly, though he began by saying his words were “taken out of context,” he nonetheless reasserted, in even more blunt language, that Islam justifies plundering, enslaving, and raping the infidel. (Al Youm 7 has the entire interview, excerpts of which I translate below.)

    According to Huwaini, after Muslims invade and conquer a non-Muslim nation—in the course of waging an offensive jihad—the properties and persons of those infidels who refuse to convert or pay jizya and live as subjugated dhimmis, are to be seized as ghanima or “spoils of war.”

    Huwaini cited the Koran as his authority—boasting that it has an entire chapter named “spoils”—and the sunna of Muhammad, specifically as recorded in the famous Sahih Muslim hadith wherein the prophet ordered the Muslim armies to offer non-Muslims three choices: conversion, subjugation, or death/enslavement.

    Huwaini said that infidel captives, the “spoils of war,” are to be distributed among the Muslim combatants (i.e., jihadists) and taken to “the slave market, where slave-girls and concubines are sold.” He referred to these latter by their dehumanizing name in the Koran, ma malakat aymanukum—”what your right hands possess”—in this context, sex-slaves: “You go to the market and buy her, and she becomes like your legal mate—though without a contract, a guardian, or any of that stuff—and this is agreed upon by the ulema.”

    “In other words,” Huwaini concluded, “when I want a sex-slave, I go to the market and pick whichever female I desire and buy her.”

    Lest Muslims begin attacking all and sundry, however, Huwaini was careful to stress that Islam forbids Muslims from plundering and enslaving nominal or even “heretical” Muslims, such as Shias. He used the Iran-Iraq war as an example, saying that a Sunni man is not permitted to enslave and abuse a Shia woman, “for she is still a Muslim and thus considered free.”

    Unfortunately Huwaini’s position is not “radical.” One is reminded of when Sheikh Gamal Qutb was asked on live TV if Islam permits men to rape their female captives. The one-time grand mufti of Islam’s most authoritative university, Al Azhar—the institution that once gave us the “adult breast-feeding” fatwa—refused to answer and, when pressed, became hostile and stormed off the set.

    Let us now return to the atrocities that opened this article and ask: In light of the above, is it any wonder that Christians under Islam are routinely raped and ransacked, even as the “humanitarian” West yawns?” http://www.raymondibrahim.com/9685/raped-and-ransacked-in-the-muslim-world

  25. Individual people are different. All religions should be up for discussion. No religion should be immune from discussion, and that helps create a better world. Religions are not a race. Ask for religion asking to kill, you do not know about jihad. Here is an Islamic imam explaining it in clear language:
    Raped and Ransacked in the Muslim World

    by Raymond Ibrahim
    May 31, 2011

    Plundering the possessions, lives, and dignity of Christians in the Islamic world: is this a random affair, a product of the West’s favorite offenders—poverty, ignorance, grievance—or is it systematic, complete with ideological backing?

    Consider the very latest from the Muslim world:
    Pakistan: Muslim landowners used tractors to plough over a Christian cemetery in order to seize the land illegally. A young Christian mother was raped by six men. “In both cases, police covered up for the culprits.”
    Iraq: A Christian youth was kidnapped and decapitated: his family could not pay the €70,000 ransom demanded by his abductors. “The murder was meant to intimidate Christians so that in the future they will more readily pay ransom demands.”
    Egypt: Christian girls continue to be abducted and forced into conversion or concubinage (which amount to the same thing) and “kept as virtual slaves.”
    None of this is surprising listening to popular Muslim preacher Abu Ishaq al-Huwaini:

    “If only we can conduct a jihadist invasion at least once a year or if possible twice or three times, then many people on earth would become Muslims. And if anyone prevents our dawa or stands in our way, then we must kill them or take as hostage and confiscate their wealth, women and children. Such battles will fill the pockets of the Mujahid who can return home with 3 or 4 slaves, 3 or 4 women and 3 or 4 children. This can be a profitable business if you multiply each head by 300 or 400 dirham. This can be like financial shelter whereby a jihadist, in time of financial need, can always sell one of these heads (meaning slavery) “[translated by Nonie Darwish; original Arabic recording here].

    Huwaini actually made these scandalous assertions some eighteen years ago. But because they were only recently exposed, he was invited to “clarify” his position on Hikma TV last week. Amazingly, though he began by saying his words were “taken out of context,” he nonetheless reasserted, in even more blunt language, that Islam justifies plundering, enslaving, and raping the infidel. (Al Youm 7 has the entire interview, excerpts of which I translate below.)

    According to Huwaini, after Muslims invade and conquer a non-Muslim nation—in the course of waging an offensive jihad—the properties and persons of those infidels who refuse to convert or pay jizya and live as subjugated dhimmis, are to be seized as ghanima or “spoils of war.”

    Huwaini cited the Koran as his authority—boasting that it has an entire chapter named “spoils”—and the sunna of Muhammad, specifically as recorded in the famous Sahih Muslim hadith wherein the prophet ordered the Muslim armies to offer non-Muslims three choices: conversion, subjugation, or death/enslavement.

    Huwaini said that infidel captives, the “spoils of war,” are to be distributed among the Muslim combatants (i.e., jihadists) and taken to “the slave market, where slave-girls and concubines are sold.” He referred to these latter by their dehumanizing name in the Koran, ma malakat aymanukum—”what your right hands possess”—in this context, sex-slaves: “You go to the market and buy her, and she becomes like your legal mate—though without a contract, a guardian, or any of that stuff—and this is agreed upon by the ulema.”

    “In other words,” Huwaini concluded, “when I want a sex-slave, I go to the market and pick whichever female I desire and buy her.”

    Lest Muslims begin attacking all and sundry, however, Huwaini was careful to stress that Islam forbids Muslims from plundering and enslaving nominal or even “heretical” Muslims, such as Shias. He used the Iran-Iraq war as an example, saying that a Sunni man is not permitted to enslave and abuse a Shia woman, “for she is still a Muslim and thus considered free.”

    Unfortunately Huwaini’s position is not “radical.” One is reminded of when Sheikh Gamal Qutb was asked on live TV if Islam permits men to rape their female captives. The one-time grand mufti of Islam’s most authoritative university, Al Azhar—the institution that once gave us the “adult breast-feeding” fatwa—refused to answer and, when pressed, became hostile and stormed off the set.

    Let us now return to the atrocities that opened this article and ask: In light of the above, is it any wonder that Christians under Islam are routinely raped and ransacked, even as the “humanitarian” West yawns?” http://www.raymondibrahim.com/9685/raped-and-ransacked-in-the-muslim-world

  26. Gautier please remove the above post with the email and this post too afterwards since it is the request. The computer automatically suggest added the @ ending to the name but the email is not correct.

  27. First of all I want to say great blog! I had a quick question in which
    I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing. I have had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out. I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Appreciate it!

  28. http://campsbayapartments.com/http/#4 stronger than xanax for anxiety – xanax drug effects

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