Tag Archives: History

Why the Muslim invasions of India ?

Nobody will ever be able to estimate the incredible damage done to Indian culture, civilisation, human population and environment, during the Muslim invasions which spanned nearly ten centuries. But it should be interesting to see why these invasions happened, for no civilisation, if its inner core is strong and dynamic, can be trampled upon so mercilessly, as the Arabs trampled India. What ever happened to that great Vedic culture, which gave birth to so many wonderful dynasties, which in turn devised illustrious democratic systems and whose Kshatriyas were supposed to protect the land of Bharat against barbarian invaders?

Since the beginning of Human History, all civilisations have gone through the same cycle: birth-rise-peak maturity-decline-death. And so many great civilisations are no more but in the memories of our text-books: Mesopotamia; Egypt; Rome; Great Africa; Greece…Yet, because of its extraordinary spirituality, because of the Dharma stored by its great Rishis, India always had the extra impetus to renew itself, to spring forward again, when it seemed she was on the brink of collapsing. It blossomed thus for at least five millenniums, more than any other civilisation before or ever after. Then India started faltering and Alexander was able to invade her sacred soil and later the Arabs raped her beloved land. Why?

Buddhists believe that each nation, like the human soul, packs karma in each of its lives or cycles. Good karma or Bad karma have one unique characteristics: they are like a tiny seed, bearing their fruits ages or cycles later, often giving the impression to the ignorant mind of total injustice done to innocent souls. Thus the individual who seems to suffer unfair circumstances in this life, may be paying for a bad karma done dozens of lives ago. In the same manner, a nation which appears to suffer inexplicable hardships: persecution, earthquakes, great natural catastrophes, dictatorships, may be amending for a karma accomplished centuries ago. The Tibetan people’s plight seems to be a good example of this phenomenon. Here is one of the most harmless, peaceful, adorable culture on earth, spiritualised on top of that, who suffered and is still suffering the worst ignominies at the hands of the Chinese communists, who have eradicated their culture, razed to the ground hundreds of ancient and marvellous temples, killed either directly or indirectly – concentration camps, torture, famine – more than one million of this adorable people! Why? WHY? The Dalai-Lama, himself, one of the last great spiritual figures of this era, admits that it was because of an ancient “black karma”, bad deeds. Was it feudalism? Was it not opening itself to the world for so long? Or misuse of Tantrism? Who knows and who can judge? But it’s a good bet to say that there is probably NO total injustice in this world. Everything springs from a mathematical, ultra-logical system, where one gets the exact reward one deserves, which bears NO moral connotation like in Christianity.

Thus for India, the Muslims invasions and later the European ones, must be the result of a bad karma. But the difference with Tibet, is that India’s soul is so strong, so old, so vibrant, that she has managed so far to survive the terrible Muslims onslaughts and later the more devious British soul-stifling occupation.
There seemed to be two reasons for the decline of Indian civilisation. The foremost is that in India, Spirit failed Matter. At some point, Her yogis started withdrawing more and more in their caves, Her gurus in their ashrams, Her sannyasins in their forests. Thus slowly, a great tamas overtook matter, an immense negligence towards the material, an intense inertia set in, which allowed for the gradual degradation of the physical, a slackening of the down to earth values, an indifference towards the worldly, which in turn permitted successive invasions, from Alexander to the Muslim and finally the European, the rape the land of the Vedas.

The second reason and the one which has been most commonly invoked, including by Muslim apologists -see beginning of this chapter – because is it so obvious, is the fossilisation of the caste system and the gradual take-over of India by an arrogant Brahmin and kshatriya society. What used to be a natural arrangement – a Kshatriya became a warrior to express heroic tendencies in him developed from countless births on earth- turned-out to be an inherited legacy, which was not merited by chivalrous deeds. A Brahmin who used to deserve his status by his scholarship and piety, and was twice-born in the spiritual sense, just inherited the charge from his father. And the shudras were relegated to a low status, doing the menial chores, when in their heyday, they fulfilled an indispensable role, which granted them recognition from the king himself. Thus Hindu religion lost its immense plasticity, which allowed her to constantly renew herself – and India became ripe for invasions.
And finally, Buddhism and its creed of non-violence, however beautiful and noble, opened India’s gates wide. Buddhists forgot the eternal principle of the Gita: « protecting one’s country from death, rape, mass slaughter, is « dharma »; and the violence you then perform is not only absolved, karma- free, but it also elevates you.
(To be continued)

Francois Gautier: Custodian of India’s Historical Heritage

Houston Web

HOUSTON: Eminent journalist and author Francois Gautier is passionate about India. His love affair with that country began in the ‘70s, when as a young student, he left his native France and meandered across Europe and arrived in India. So captivated was he by India’s arresting liveliness and the warmth and kindness of the people, that years later in the early ‘80s he returned to India and made it his home. During the last three decades, he has been a high-profile ambassador to India through the power of his pen.

“It is a wonderful privilege to be born Indian,” said Gautier to a multigenerational gathering at the Arya Samaj of Greater Houston on August 10. “I’m a westerner but I feel it is a privilege to live in India.”

The renowned writer is currently visiting several cities within the US to raise funds through his visionary foundation FACT – India for the creation of an Indian history museum in Pune, in the state of Maharashtra in India. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History, named for the Indian military leader Shivaji (1627 – 1680), will cost an estimated US$40 million. Gautier is eager to begin work as soon as he returns to India and is confident that this fundraising tour will bring in the much-needed initial $100, 000 to jumpstart the project. A wall within the museum will bear the names of donors supporting the museum project. The museum will be built on land donated by a private trust. Gautier believes that with the help of commissioned historians hired by the museum, visitors will be privy to accurate chronicles of India’s great history. For Gautier, the epiphany came upon him when he started research on a book he was writing. He found that history books carried outdated theories such as the Aryan invasion that have since found to be fictional.

Earlier in the day, he chatted informally with Indo American News sharing his thoughts and vision for the museum.

“India has been largely maligned by distorted information and misrepresentation. No records or schoolbooks have a correct account of the Hindu Kush genocide, where millions were slaughtered. Exactly how many were killed isn’t known but that was India’s holocaust. Yet everyone knows about the Jewish Holocaust,” said Gautier. “India’s history, falsely propagated by the British, Christian missionaries, and western media, has made me realize that we need to show Hindu civilization in its correct and true context. For the sake of our children and the generations to come, and the world!”

The first exhibit to be set up will honor the life and times of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. India’s rich cultural heritage will be portrayed through the Vedas. The museum will document and exhibit the various invasions from Alexander the Great to the Arabs, the Goa Inquisition, the ongoing massacre of thousands of Kashmiri Hindus by Muslim terrorists, the persecution of the Syrian Christians, Buddhism’s rise and decline, India past and current. Highlighted too, will be India’s glorious contribution of yoga and Ayurveda to the world community.

“The museum will be there for our children, for them to know that regardless of the fact that the British broke the backbone of our agricultural system and caused the deaths of millions of Indians from famine, and despite the Muslim onslaught, India prevailed and remains prosperous,” added Gautier, a practicing Hindu who was spiritually influenced by the writings of Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950). He has since joined forces with spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who supports him in his quest for the truth about India’s past. Gautier estimated that it would take several years till completion of the museum.

“I’m thinking about 10 to 15 years. Once people realize how important this project is, and how essential, the funds will pour in,” confided Gautier. Speaking softly in a lilting Indo-French accent, his messages however were undoubtedly strong as he condemned the slaughter and maniacal “ethnic cleansing” of Hindus in the Kashmir valley by the Muslims, an area Gautier covered as a political journalist from 1987 to the late ‘90s.

“There were over a million Hindus living peacefully in Kashmir. Today there are a mere hundreds. The Kashmiri Pandits moved me with their despair, but nobody else seemed to give a damn. Indian media abroad and in India were only covering the Muslim angle,” said Gautier.

Through FACT – India, an organization he founded in 2003 to draw attention to human rights abuses in South Asia, Gautier documented the genocide in Kashmir in a video called Terror Unleashed – An Exhibition on Kashmir, and presented it to the US Congress in the desperate hope that Washington would intervene and help resolve the issue.

“Several House Representatives saw it and lauded the video but nothing was really done about it,” said Gautier. “US presidents think that by pouring money into Pakistan, it will curb terrorism. That won’t work.”

Gautier said that the dissent among Hindu community leaders has led to disunity.

“If there’s fighting among ourselves, how do we present a united front to the world? After all this time that Indians have been in the US and enjoy great prosperity, they still do not have a voice that is heard. Yet other communities work together and in that unity, they find a voice. Indian organizations need to share a common agenda and work towards that.”

He confided that it is “tragic” that the children of Indian immigrants adopt the American way of life and are lost to India.

“They’re hostile to spirituality. And it’s mostly the fault of the parents who either don’t care, or don’t instill cultural pride in their children. Families are fragmented, values lost. Instead of pushing children to visit the temple, engage them in other spiritual activities like the classical arts and yoga. It will bring them closer to their cultural roots,” said Gautier. “It’s such a pity that India is so poor at sports, as that could have helped make them proud of India.”

At a private meeting with local youth at the Arya Samaj, Gautier urged young people to be proud of their cultural heritage. “It is a privilege and a responsibility to have Indian roots and there is no contradiction here – you hail from the lineage of the Vedas. People are moving forward and coming to Hinduism for spiritual answers,” said Gautier.

By Kalyani Giri, www.indoamerican-news.com

It is a special privilege to be born a Hindu: Francois Gautier

_Gauiteweb_912441932NEW YORK: Noted French journalist and writer Francois Gautier who has made India his home and propagation of Hinduism his cause and mission for over three decades, is currently traveling across the US to raise funds through his foundation, FACT – India, for the setting up of an Indian history museum in Pune, India.

Gautier, perhaps one of the very few Westerners to have unconditionally adopted a Hindu way of life, feels the widely prevalent distorted image of Indian history as propagated by the British, Christian missionaries, communists and the western world in general for over two centuries, has necessitated the museum to portray Hindu civilization in the right light.

In an interview with India Post during his visit to New York last week, Gautier spoke about his ambitious museum project, the many threats to Hinduism in today’s world and how Hindus can gain the respect of the world.

IP: Can you tell us about the Museum of Indian History?

Gautier: I have been donated some land in Pune by a private trust where I want to build the museum to be called the Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum of Indian History.

I see in India there are no museums of Indian history worth the name. So the idea is to start from the Vedas, go on to talk about the greatness of the whole of India and the entire drama of the invasions through history, the Hindu holocaust, and then portray India of today and tomorrow.

IP: What kind of funds do you need and how long will it take to complete the museum?

Gautier: It’s a huge project but definitely it will happen. It’s about $40m dollars, and I don’t know how long it will take — perhaps 10-20 years, because I don’t have the money right away. But I am ready to start, once I start, the donations will come and people will understand the importance of this museum.

IP: Why is it important to have such a museum?

Gautier: As a journalist and writer, when I started documenting for my book, I realized that most history books on India are based upon very old theories considered defunct or debatable such as the Aryan invasion theory, which evidence shows has never taken place.

Both British historians and later Nehruvian historians have toned down the considerable impact on Indian culture of the invasions starting from Alexander the Great to the Arabs, the Muslim invaders and the British — that entire part of the history has been swept under the carpet. And even later, the history of India’s Independence is very unfairly portrayed.

The need of the museum is very important so we can look at India’s history in a very scientific manner, which is what my organization FACT India is doing.

IP: Will the museum focus only on the Hindu history of India?

Gautier: The museum will also broach upon many of India’s dark periods in its history like the inquisition in Goa by the Portuguese, the Sufi persecution, the Ahmedi Muslim persecution in Bangladesh, how the Buddhist history was wiped out and how some of the early Syrian Christians of Kerala were persecuted. And of course the Hindu holocaust right from Hindu Kush (massacre of Hindus) to the current terrorist activities against them.

I want school children to come to the museum and learn of their own culture and be proud. Kids in Indian schools are learning about Shakespeare and Milton, not about their Hindu or Indian culture. In my country we are taught about great French people like our poets, social reformers, artists etc… so I grew up proud of my culture, but Indian kids do not grow up learning about or feeling proud of their culture.

IP: Do you see any kind of opposition to your project from either the government or any section of the Indian society?

Gautier: Of course there’s bound to be some opposition, you can’t make everybody happy. But one has to go by the truth. Whatever one’s limitations, if backed by truth, even if it is opposed, there will be some kind of direction and protection.

In fact, there are three reasons for setting up the museum in Pune: One– of course the land donated is in Pune; second– since I work in Pune, I found that people of Pune, irrespective of their political affiliations, are quite nationalistic in nature. I feel my museum will be more protected in Pune than anywhere else in India; thirdly– Pune is Shivaji’s birth place. There is no museum of Shivaji anywhere in Maharashtra though he is a true hero. So naming it after Shivaji will be a protection for this museum.

IP: Over the many years of your career, how successful have you been in changing western perceptions of Hinduism?

Gautier: It’s a very difficult task, because unfortunately the image of Hinduism is not that good. But, there is more ignorance than hostility. Westerners do not know that it is a monotheistic religion. Secondly, Hindus, especially Brahmins have been at the receiving end of many like the British, the missionaries, the Islamic invaders all of who created a very negative image of Hinduism — particularly the missionaries emphasized only the negative sides of Hinduism and amplified them a thousand times. Today we still find that even after 200 years, these negative images have survived even in the minds of Hindus in India.

Unfortunately it is a great handicap for journalists like me who like Hinduism and want to defend it. I can’t say I have been very successful, but at least now westerners are open to going to India and understanding Hindus.

There are so many good things to be said for Hinduism, but unfortunately there is no will among Hindus to try to explain to westerners. Hindus are just content to come to the West and melt into local cultures or at best keep their spirituality and religion to themselves.

IP: What do you think of the role of the Indian intellectual elite and media in projecting the image of Hindus?

Gautier: The British have left such a mark on the minds of much of Indian intelligentsia and elite, right from the erstwhile Maharajas who have copied the British way of life that it has left a deep impression on generations after that. Today Indians think that everything that comes from the West is good. It’s very stupid, because many things in the West have failed like family values etc.

This generation of Indian intelligentsia is aping Marxism so brilliantly, which is dead even in Russia, and is probably only left in Cuba, but I don’t see why Indians should copy Cuba (laughs).

Look at the Chinese, they are so proud of their culture; nobody dares to fiddle with them, even America will not dare to interfere with their affairs.

IP: Many Hindus fear the very survival of Hinduism in the face of Islamic fundamentalism. How real are their fears?

Gautier: The fear is very real. I see there are five or six enemies that may be covertly or overtly attacking Hinduism. In the past there was any one threat at a time like the Greek, British or Muslim invasions. But today, there are the threats of Muslim fundamentalism, Christian conversions, Marxist onslaught, Westernization and so on which are eroding the Indian culture all at the same time. However, there are many great gurus today like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and others who are repackaging the Hindu tenets like spirituality. pranayama, yoga, ayurveda etc for everyone’s easy consumption while not associating them with Hinduism. Though I do not agree with that, it’s an important movement today and helping to preserve that culture.

It’s true that Hinduism is under attack and it looks frightening at times. That’s why the museum is so important.

IP: Have you ever felt conflicted about the culture you were born into and the one you adopted?

Gautier: Personally I have never felt conflicted, but people of my country often do not understand why I defend the Hindus– that has been a bit of a problem. Though my country is sympathetic to India, when you touch the intellectual layer – people who are fed on the Nehruvian history and the downgrading of Hindu culture, I have come into conflict sometimes with these people. But for me living in India is a protection; people often appreciate the work I do. Some of my friends do not understand why I poke the dangerous Islamic fundamentalism by defending Hindus. I started speaking about it (Islamic fundamentalism) 20-25 years ago when it was not at all politically correct to speak about it. Even those friends who like me sometimes do not really understand me. I have faced a lot of hostility also.

IP: What can Hindus living in America do to preserve their culture?

Gautier: For Hindus living in the US, whether fist or second generation, it is important that they carry their Hinduness. It is a special privilege to be born a Hindu, because you inherit the knowledge which is very ancient and very practical. Also the many Hindu groups which are scattered should unite to become a lobby like the Jews. They should teach their children to be proud of being Hindu while being faithful to their Americanness. They should create a lobby in the US to be able to influence South Asia policy at the administration level and see that it does not cap India’s nuclear policy.

IP: Is there something that really frustrates you?

Gautier: Hindus don’t think big. Most Hindu movements in the US have mostly people without a vision, they don’t unite; it’s very frustrating. When I last visited the US in 2002, the Hindu community was more vibrant, today I find many of the Hindu leaders of that time burnt out or taken a back seat or gone back into mainstream life; that is saddening. If only Hindus knew their own power — there are one billion in the world — Islam is conscious of its might and its numbers; Christianity though on the decline, is conscious of its greatness in terms of technology and power. Hindus, who are not all that small in number, have to use more muscle. Meekness and submissiveness will not take them far, they have to show muscle power. That’s the way to get respect in the world.

By SRIREKHA  N. CHAKRAVARTY, India Post News Service

URL: http://www.indiapost.com/us-news/5138-special-privilege-born-Hindu-Francois-Gautier.html

Ramachandra Guha and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Ramachandra Guha represents the typical Indian intellectual: brilliant, totally westernized – and who looks down on anything Hindu – because he has inherited from the British colonization a gigantic inferiority complex about his own culture and spirituality. And like many of his brothers and sisters of India’s intelligentsia, he feels nowhere better than in the West. This can be gathered from his Oslo diary published in the Outlook magazine of 20th October, where he says, and I quote : “…After two weeks in Oslo, my hosts send me off to Svalbard, deep into the Arctic CircleI spend four enchanting days in and around the little town of Longybein, located at 78° N. I have the privilege of sampling the northernmost bar, the northernmost cafe, the northernmost supermarket, and the northernmost souvenir store in the world “… Then he adds – and this shows that this Macaulayan fixation is transmitted since many generations from father to children: “The person most envious of my trip is my daughter, who has read evocative descriptions of Svalbard in the novels of Philip Pullman”. Wow: I am a born Frenchman, brought up in some of the best European schools, I vaguely known of Philipp Pullman (do you?), but have never heard of that he wrote about the archipelago of Svalbard” (have you?). <!– @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –>

Once he has proved his credentials of a connoisseur of western literature and lover of western atmospheres, Guha, because he is in Norway, home of the Nobel Peace Prize, chooses to attack Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living movement, who has been the most nominated Indian in the last three years: “After my talk, a lady comes up and introduces herself as a doctor, and an advisor to the Peace Institute. The names I had mentioned were all very good, she said, but surely it was time that the peace prize went to an Indian? She mentions the name of a fellow townsman of mine (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar), a man who has grown long hair, given himself four fancy initials (HH/SS), and whose name is also that of a very great exponent of the sitar”. And of course, Guha tells her gleefully: “I suggested to the doctor that if not giving Gandhi the prize was a scandal, awarding it to my fellow townsman would be an even bigger scandal”. How typical of these Indian intellectuals, who are always spitting on their own culture, specially if it is Hindu-related.

Yet, there is no doubt that Guruji, as he is known to his followers, qualifies for the NPP – in fact he does tenfold time the work of a Mother Teresa or a R.K Pachauri: he not only performs charity work in many of India’s villages, he also promotes pesticide and fertilizer free farming, takes orphans from Kashmir or the North-East in his ashram, and his volunteers do relief work, both at the physical and psychological level, whether in Bihar during the floods, in Iraq or in the US during the recent cyclone. Sri Sri is also trying to revive single handed, the ancient Vedic tradition by training young priests in a Gurukkul which blends ancient knowledge, with modern thought, while promoting Ayurveda as the medicine of the 21st century. He is attempting as well to mediate in many conflicts, in Kashmir, Sri Lanka, or between the Christians and Hindus. And lastly he has revived and modernized the ancient science of pranayama.

Of course, Guha is an unabashed admirer of the Norwegian Peace Committee: “The Nobel Peace Prize is itself a splendid example of Norwegian internationalism, in keeping with the country’s ethos of generous aid to poorer countries, not to mention its efforts to resolve ethnic conflicts around the world”. But not everybody in Europe would agree with him : Norwegians have sometimes the reputation of being staunch, left-leaning Protestants, who often have a condescending view of Asia. Thus, when they award prizes, they are necessarily influenced by a Christian vision of the world and an idealistic left-leaning sympathy. For, as most Europeans, they have been brought-up in the belief that democracy and philosophy started with Greece and that a Humane civilization, began with Jesus Christ. And of course, they have a covert – or at best unconscious – suspicion, if not of India, at least of Hindus, who for them remain the heathen, the pagans which the missionaries of yesteryears, and unfortunately those of today too, have created in the minds of many westerners.

They can only agree with Mr Guha: how can they then, give their Peace Prize to a Hindu?

François Gautier

Reciprocity and Hindu anger

Source: Rediff.com

August 19, 2008
Once upon a time, there was a tiny village in South Arcot district in Tamil Nadu, called Kuilapalayam. Now Kuilapalayam is like hundreds of villages around Pondichery: it is peopled with Hindu Vanniars, poor, living off agriculture, usually a few meagre fields of cashew nuts. But then Kuilapalayam just happened to be in the midst of Auroville, the international township founded by the Mother of Pondichery based upon the ideals of the great yogi and revolutionary, Sri Aurobindo.

Thus Kuilapalayam prospered: Its inhabitants learned trades needed for the city: carpenters, masons, craftsmen, and some of its children attended Auroville’s schools and were educated along with Western kids and in time graduated and went into white collar jobs. From a few bicycles 40 years ago, Kuilapalayam today has motorcycles, tractors, cars, vans, cable television, cell phones, etc. The main road of Kuilapalayam, which used to be only shady huts, became lined with fancy shops which sold everything, from vegetables to handicrafts.

And then the unavoidable happened: A Kashmiri from Chennai heard about Auroville and the prosperity of Kuilapalayam and understanding that he could make a packet with so many Westerners passing though Auroville, he opened the usual shawls and carpets shop in the village. Now Kuilapalayam never counted a Muslim amongst its population in its 1,200 years of recorded history; but in true Hindu tradition, this one was welcomed and nobody raised any objection, although he was competition for some of the other shops.

Our Kashmiri Muslim, seeing his success, called his cousin in Kolkata, who came and opened another shop; and that one phoned his friend in Mumbai, who also landed up and opened a third shop. Still nobody found anything to say. Kashmiris are sociable fellows and they quickly made friends with Westerners, so business was booming, till they were seven or eight Kashmiri shops in Kuilapalayam. And again nobody complained, even when the fellows started doing their naamaz in the open. “Isn’t God everywhere and isn’t He Krishna, as well as Allah?” said one of the villagers.

Then Rathinam, one of the young boys of Kuilapalayam who had gone to study in Delhi [Images], told his parents when he came back, about the fact that not only were no outsiders allowed to buy land or start a shop in the valley of Kashmir, where the shopkeepers came from, but that 400,000 Hindus were chased out of the valley by terror. His parents started talking to their friends and there was the first hint of resentment against the newcomers.

Fifteen days later, the Amarnath row exploded. Rathinam’s father went to see a group of Kuilapalayam Kashmiris having tea and told them that Hindus never complained about the government giving billion of rupees in subsidies to Indian Muslims so that they can visit their most holy place, Mecca. But when Hindus, he continued, need shelters, toilets and basic facilities at a height of 15,000 feet to worship at Amarnath, one of the holiest places of Hinduism, why do you Kashmiri Muslims deny it to us?

The Kashmiris looked a bit uneasy, then replied that anyway the Amarnath ice lingam had been discovered by a Muslim shepherd and that Muslims had always welcomed their Hindu brothers to Armanath. But this did not convince the Kuilapalayam man who had heard from his son that many grenade attacks had happened over the years on the Amarnath pilgrims. And anger has started mounting in Kuilapalayam.

So, it is all a question of reciprocity. Most Hindus are peace-loving people. The average Hindu that you meet in a million Indian villages, such as Kuilapalayam, is easy-going and accepts you and your diversity, whether you are Christian, Muslim, Parsi or Jain, Arab, French or Chinese. He goes about his business and usually does not interfere in yours.

In fact, Hindus go even a little further, they hate trouble and go out of their way to avoid it. Have you noticed how every time there is a possibility of a strike or riot, Hindus stay home? Or how — forget about rioting — Hindus never speak up, complain or protest in a united manner? There is a UN Human Rights Conference on terrorism in New York coming up on September 9, and they have been desperately trying to get Hindu survivors of recent bomb blasts to testify; but no one is willing to come forward.

Despite that, everywhere in the world Hindus are hounded, humiliated, routed, be it in Fiji where an elected democratic government was twice deposed in an armed coup, or in Pakistan and Bangladesh where Muslims indulge in pogroms against Hindus every time they want to vent their anger against India (read Taslima Nasreen’s [Images] Lajja to know more).

In Assam, Tripura, or Nagaland, Hindus are being outnumbered by Bangladeshi illegal immigrants and terrorised by pro-Christian separatist groups while local governments often turn a blind eye.

Yet, in 3,500 years of known existence, Hindus have never invaded another country, never tried to impose their religion upon others through force or even conversion. No, rather it has been through peaceful invasions that Hinduism has stormed the world, whether in the East — witness Angkor Vat — or in the West today, where the by-products of Hinduism — yoga, meditation, Ayurveda, pranayama — have been adopted by millions.

Hindus also gave refuge to all the persecuted minorities of the world, from Parsis to the Jews (India is the only country in the world where Jews were not persecuted) to Armenians and Tibetans today. The first Christian community of the world, that of Syrian Christians, flourished in Kerala [Images], thanks to Hindus’ tolerance; Arab merchants were welcomed by Hindu rulers to do trade and live in India while practicing their religion, from very early times.

Thus Hindus, who accept everybody and welcome all religions, allow Indians from other parts to trade next to them, as it happened in Kuilapalayam, do not receive in return any gratitude and the same respect.

So, sometimes, enough is enough. At some point, after years or even centuries of submitting like sheep to slaughter, Hindus, the most peace-loving people in the world, those Mahatma Gandhi [Images] once gently called ‘cowards’, those who cringe in their houses at the least sign of a riot, erupt in fury, uncontrolled fury.

Instead of trying to pour water over the fire, instead of appealing for calm and communal harmony, political leaders, journalists as well as spiritual leaders would do well to look at the root cause of Hindu fury, and try to address their demands and frustrations.

India: A weakening civilisation

India: A weakening civilisation

July 28, 2008
Since time immemorial smaller nations without a strong soul, or which are on the decline, have copied — – and often blindly aped — the strong prevailing civilisations of that moment. In that manner, when Rome was at its peak satellite nations copied the Roman style of democracy, clothes, food, mannerisms… And so it was for Egypt, Greece, Mesopotamia when they dominated, or even for ancient India whose dances, temples, customs, martial arts, were replicated all the way to China on one side and down to Greece on the other (many Greek gods are derived from Hindu deities).One cannot call today’s India a declining civilisation, although it has suffered tremendously from invasions in the last 1,500 years. Indeed, India is one of the few civilisations today which has managed — albeit in a diluted manner — to retain intact much of her culture and spirituality from the Vedic ages. If you look at civilisations like Greece, Egypt or Italy [Images] (erstwhile Rome) today, not much has come down from their times of domination and greatness — whereas in India the knowledge of karma, of yoga, of the avatars and the hidden realities behind life are still there in teachers, gurus, ashrams, individuals, for us to learn from.

Why is it, then, that at the moment India seems to be paralysed into inaction in the face of an all-out war against Indian liberties and values by Islamic terrorists? Why is it that Indians are aping so much the Western type of democracy without caring to adapt it to the Indian psyche and conditions, that anybody can twist the system, cheat and win in the end? Why is it that it appears at this very moment that there never has been so much corruption, debasement and selfishness in Indian politics?

Why it that the Indian government appears hell-bent to impose upon the nation a nuclear deal, which will neutralise India’s weapons of nuclear deterrence in the face of China’s and Pakistan’s aggressive nuclear weaponisation and castrate India’s independence in foreign policy, as well as bring with it immense Westernisation, not to mention a strong influx of Christian missionaries? Why is it that sections of Indian journalism seem to have touched a new low just to get more ratings?

Look how the United Progressive Alliance won the vote of confidence in Parliament, with the connivance of the press and Indian politicians, and the ways and means which were used to secure that vote.

Special: How the trust vote was won

Look at the role of Speaker Somnath Chatterjee [Images]? Should he not have satisfied himself about the veracity of allegations of bribery before undertaking further proceedings in Parliament? If votes were procured in a brazen manner, affecting a crucial outcome for the nation, should he not have deferred the trust vote?

Posterity will also judge him on the history museum he built in Parliament annex at a cost of Rs 100 crore from the taxpayer’s money and which shows Indian history starting with Ashoka, continuing with Akbar, and more or less jumping to Subhas Chandra Bose and Nehru, without any mention of the great Hindu political and spiritual leaders from Kalidasa to Sri Aurobindo, from the great Sri Krishnadeva Raya, the last king of the last great Hindu empire of Vijayanagar, to Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a true nationalist. So much for the Communists’ view of Indian history.

Look at the silence of the business community on the ethics of what has just happened in the last two weeks. One can understand the silence of an Anil Ambani who stands to benefit from the Amar Singh-UPA entente. But what about others like Ratan Tata, the Jindals, Hindujas, Birlas, who may be swayed by the prospect of doing big business with the Americans, or by the possibility of the government going in for last-minute liberalisation after it got rid of the Communists’ hurdle?

Do any of these tycoons first think Indian and not of profit for themselves? Do they think for a minute of the price, or shall we say in a more Indian manner the karmic price that India, their country, will have to pay sooner or later for the manner in which the nuclear deal has been won and the low depths to which Indian politics and ethics have sunk to in the process?

Look at the inertia of the government and the press after the Bangalore blasts and then the horrible Ahmedabad blasts. Does the UPA think the common citizen of India is a nitwit and that he does not understand that on one hand, if the Government of India keeps pointing fingers at Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence, or at some Bangladesh outfit, it is to deflect the fact that most of the recent terror attacks have been perpetrated by Indian Muslims, with or without Pakistani or Bangladeshi (or Al Qaeda [Images]) help?

It is not only a matter of vote banks in times of coming elections, but also a fact that politicians in India want to keep a blindfold on their citizens and pretend that nothing is happening. Does not the government, on the other hand, understand that we have all become cynical to its usual conduct on these occasions when it: a. condemns ‘in the strongest terms’ this ‘barbarous act’; b. appeals for calm and ‘communal harmony’; c. gives a few lakhs each to the families of the deceased or injured, so that they shut up; and d. never catches the culprits and goes on as before till the next terrorist act.

But look at America, the most hated and targeted country in the world: it has not suffered a single terrorist attack since September 11, 2001. Which Indian politician will have the courage to call a spade a spade and tackle terrorism with courage and determination?

Is it not time that India reminds itself that it is still a great civilisation with a composite society that has always accepted diversity? That it has entered another period of Renaissance and that it needs to think Indian, to protect its borders, its women and children, to retain, in the true Spirit of the Bhagavad Gita, the will to fight, physically if necessary, for the preservation of dharma and knowledge?

Yes, India can borrow what is good from the West in terms of technological advancement and ecological conservation, but it should not discard all the great things that come down from ancient India and make this country so unique, so wonderful.
source: rediff

The Lessons of Agra

The Lessons of Agra

There are five lessons to be drawn from the Agra summit:

1. Keep the Press away. Sensitive summits, like those held at Camp David between the Israelis and Palestinians, are off bound to the Press, except for a few photo ops and restricted briefings by official spokesman. The hype from the Indian press and the television channels did quite a lot of damage to the summit.

How many times did we hear about Pervez Musharraf’s ‘body language’ and how many so-called ‘experts’ do you need to dissect whether he was smiling or not during his visit to the Taj Mahal? The Pakistanis, who are much better than Indians at public relations, used the Indian press to the hilt. Musharraf’s conference was broadcast live on PTV for the benefit of the Pakistani audience. In this way Musharraf increased his legitimacy in Pakistan, where he is not an elected leader.

surrendered the Haji Pir and Tithwa posts in exchange for a Pakistani pledge that it would never resort to arms against India; or at the Simla summit when Indira Gandhi gave away 93.000 Pakistani soldiers, an immense bargaining chip, and got nothing in return; or recently in Lahore, when Pakistan used Vajpayee’s benevolence to sneak soldiers into Kargil.

2. Prithviraj Chauhan is not dead. In 1191, Prithviraj spared Muhammad of Ghor’s life, in the hope that the invader would see the light. But when Ghor defeated Prithviraj, he made no such mistake and had him executed. Today, the story is not much different. India still shows goodwill and generosity towards Pakistan — and often gets stabbed in the back.

Whether in 1965 when Lal Bahadur Shastri

This time again, the Indian government, the media and the public gave the Pakistani president and his entourage a fantastic welcome. Nothing was too good for him, there was no trace of resentment, bitterness or animosity in the attitude of his hosts. His wife was treated like a queen and feted everywhere, Pakistani journalists were made to feel like brothers by their Indian counterparts and invited at every television show to air their views.

On top of that, the summit was held at Agra, a symbol of Mughal domination of Hindu India, with the Taj Mahal as a background. It may be the seventh marvel of the world, but it was built by a man of infinite cruelty not only towards Hindus, but even towards his own family. Shah Jahan had his brother Shahryar blinded, two of his sons executed and Prince Lodi cut into small pieces …

Pakistani journalists treated India as if they were on conquered territory, heckling external affairs ministry spokeswoman Nirupama Rao after her midnight briefing at the end of the summit on Monday. Musharraf betrayed India’s trust by springing a trap upon them at his press conference, something that must have been pre-planned. At the same time, maybe Prithviraj is dead after all. For the first time an Indian government stood firm and did not succumb to Pakistani blackmail, as Nehru, Shastri, and Indira Gandhi had done before. The Pakistanis had to go home empty handed.

3. Pakistanis should understand they are not the rulers any more. For more than 600 years, Muslim invaders ruled India at will and except for a Prithviraj or a Shivaji or a Guru Gobind Singh, Hindus took it lying down, retreating in the silence of their homes, or in some far-off Himalayan cave to keep their spirituality alive. It is because of that Hindu passivity that a handful of Muslims conquerors could hold such a vast nation at ransom for so long.

Today, whatever her problems, India is an emerging giant in Asia, with a respectable economic growth and 850 millions Hindus, who for the first time in their modern history are beginning to experience a tinge of nationalist pride.

Pakistan, on the other hand, is a tiny state, on the verge of bankruptcy, which lost the four wars (if one includes Kargil) it initiated against India. Islamabad is today threatening nuclear blackmail by saying, ‘If Kashmir is not solved (to their advantage, of course), we might fight a nuclear war against India.’ This is a terrible scenario which frightens us. But even if Pakistan manages to land one bomb on Delhi, it will be wiped out in the process. There will not be anything left worth the name, whereas, India because of its large size and manpower, will survive, as it survived for hundreds of years under Muslim rule.

When in 1399 Taimurlane killed 100,000 Hindus in one day, the psychological and physical impact it must have had on the families affected cannot be much worse than the impact of a single nuclear bomb. Finally, are Musharraf and the Pakistanis, who are hostile to India today, the descendants of Taimurlane or Aurangzeb or Ghor? Not at all. Most of them are the offspring of Hindus converted by force by Muslims; they are the ones who suffered the most at the hands of the soldiers of Allah. Why do they adopt a tone even more strident than the Mughals ?

4. Kashmir is the consequence, not the core issue. Pakistan wrecked this summit by insisting that Kashmir is the only issue. There are several flaws in this approach. Firstly, Kashmir, apart from being a symbol for Pakistan, does not have much value for them, apart from its tourist potential. True, Pakistan feels that in the logic of Partition, at least the Kashmir Valley should have come to it. They have a point, because having a Hindu maharaja did not necessarily mean the Valley should have come to India.

What neither Pakistan nor India realize is that Kashmir, like Ayodhya, Kargil, or the three Indo- Pak wars, is only the consequence of the madness of Partition, which was willed and forced upon the sub-continent by the British.

Remove Partition, and automatically all the problems will gradually get solved. The world is moving towards reunion. The two Germanys have reunited, so have the two Vietnams; tomorrow the two Koreas will do so, in spite of the intense hatred between them. Why not Pakistan and India, who share everything, except religion?

A Pakistani Punjabi does not look different from an Indian Punjabi; in Agra, one could not differentiate sometimes between a Pakistani journalist and an Indian one. India and Pakistan have got to start taking the first steps in that direction. Agra was such a small step; but first the two leaders have to start accepting this possibility in their own minds, before selling it to their people.

It is essential for peace in Asia and in the world, as Sri Aurobindo said 54 years ago: ‘The whole communal division into Hindu and Muslim seems to have hardened into the figure of a permanent political division of the country. It is to be hoped that the Nation will not accept the settled fact as forever settled. For if it lasts, India may be seriously weakened, even crippled; civil strife may remain always possible, possible even a new invasion and foreign conquest. The partition of the country must go…’

5. Finally, President Musharraf would be a good man to do business with. During his three days in India, he came across as an articulate person. He was at ease, warm sometimes, and in his own way must be a man of his word, a soldier’s word. His interaction with Indian journalists in Agra was masterly; he did not get flustered at the aggressive questions posed by some editors.

It would be History’s way of being ironic if a dictator and a man regarded by the Western press as the head of a ‘Hindu fundamentalist party’ made History by initiating the indispensable confederation of the two lost brothers of South Asia.