Mental shift

Manage your mind and you can manage your life

Who’s the real Hindu?

Posted by jytmkh on September 4, 2008

Karan Thapar , Hindustan Times

Does the VHP have the right to speak for you or I? Do they reflect our views? Do we endorse their behaviour? They call themselves the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, but who says they represent all of us? This Sunday morning, I want to draw a clear line of distinction between them and everyone else. My hunch is many of you will agree.

Let me start with the question of conversion — an issue that greatly exercises the VHP. I imagine there are hundreds of millions of Hindus who are peaceful, tolerant, devoted to their faith, but above all, happy to live alongside Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Jews. If any one of us were to change our faith how does it affect the next man or woman? And even if that happens with inducements, it can only prove that the forsaken faith had a tenuous and shallow hold. So why do the VHP and its unruly storm troopers, the Bajrang Dal, froth at the mouth if you, I or our neighbours convert? What is it to do with them?

Let me put it bluntly, even crudely. If I want to sell my soul — and trade in my present gods for a new lot — why shouldn’t I? Even if the act diminishes me in your eyes, it’s my right to do so. So if thousands or even millions of Dalits, who have been despised and ostracised for generations, choose to become Christian, Buddhist or Muslim, either to escape the discrimination of their Hindu faith or because some other has lured them with food and cash, it’s their right.

Arguably you may believe you should ask them to reconsider, although I would call that interference, but you certainly have no duty or right to stop them. In fact, I doubt if you are morally correct in even seeking to place obstacles in their way. The so-called Freedom of Religion Acts, which aim to do just that, are, in fact, tantamount to obstruction of conversion laws and therefore, at the very least, questionable.

However, what’s even worse is how the VHP responds to this matter. Periodically they resort to violence including outright murder. What happened to Graham Staines in Orissa was not unique. Last week it happened again. Apart from the utter and contemptible criminality of such behaviour, is this how we Hindus wish to behave? Is this how we want our faith defended? Is this how we want to be seen? I have no doubt the answer is no. An unequivocal, unchanging and ever-lasting NO!

The only problem is it can’t be heard. And it needs to be. I therefore believe the time has come for the silent majority of Hindus — both those who ardently practice their faith as well as those who were born into it but may not be overtly religious or devout — to speak out. We cannot accept the desecration of churches, the burning to death of innocent caretakers of orphanages, the storming of Christian and Muslim hamlets even if these acts are allegedly done in defence of our faith. Indeed, they do not defend but shame Hinduism. That’s my central point.

I’m sorry but when I read that the VHP has ransacked and killed I’m not just embarrassed, I feel ashamed. Never of being hindu but of what some Hindus do in our shared faith’s name.

This is why its incumbent on Naveen Patnaik, Orissa’s Chief Minister, to take tough, unremitting action against the VHP and its junior wing, the Bajrang Dal. This is a test not just of his governance, but of his character. And I know and accept this could affect his political survival. But when it’s a struggle between your commitment to your principles and your political convenience is there room for choice? For ordinary politicians, possibly, but for the Naveen I know, very definitely not.

 So let me end by saying: I’m waiting, Naveen. In fact, I want to say I’m not alone. There are hundreds of millions of Hindus, like you and me, waiting silently — but increasingly impatiently. Please act for all of us.

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43 Responses to “Who’s the real Hindu?”

  1. Ragini said

    Karan Thapar, I wish if every body in this country start thinking the way you thought there would be only harmony in the country. To convert and get converted is the choice of the person. VHP, Bajrangdal rise up. Allow us freedom to accept our choices.

  2. pairamblr said

    Ragini is correct when she(?) says that to get converted is the choice of the person. But selling, buying because of inducements – if right, then what is corruption means?
    You teach people the theology – the one to which one is born, and the one to which one is to convert. Then let it be established that the one to which one converts is better than the one to which one was born. That is a conscious decision an no one will stand against such a situation. But intelligent Karan Thapar is totally wrong when he says what is wrong in being bought over.

    Remove all laws against corruption. Remove all laws against any type of inducements – commission
    ( we need not bother about lokayukta and such so many commissions – neither about bangaru lakshmans, nor bofors nor the kargil aluminium boxes for the dead soldiers.

    Every one has a freedom to choose, and kindly tell us also why you opted for that freedom so that may be we too will get educated and choose that freedom.
    Is that not an intelligent way of doing things?

    Or just because you can get billions of dollars, you can buy out the whole of India?

    enjoy

  3. pairamblr said

    Let me tell you that I am not VHP supporter, but I am an Indian, a free Indian, unlike
    Mr Karan Thapar.

    Karan Thapar asks a few questions.

    1. If he wants to sell his soul, why should some one else objects to that.
    2.Even if it diminishes in your eyes, he has his right!
    3. So even if million Dalits who have been despised and ostracised for generations
    choose to become christians or muslims etc…..it is their right.
    4.What happened to Graham steins is not unique, last week it happened again.
    5.Is this how Hindus wish to behave?
    6.time has come to speak out…we cannot allow desecretion of churches..

    Now, I had great regds for Karan Thapar once up on a time, but like most of others in
    media, he too has now become one who would not dare to ask questions that will warrant serious replies – except to people like Jaitley – and then when Jaitely gives data for his position , Karan has adaucity to say that facts are only interpretations not facts!!.
    I was indeed shocked to listen to such words from some one who I thought is eminent, but then you cannot blame Karan for my misunderstanding him. After all, I am responsible for thinking great about him.

    Now coming to his questions,

    1. Karan is free to sell his soul – for that matter let any one sell the soul – no problem at all, but along with that, let them honestly announce that they have sold their soul. The problem is with “faith” not selling. It does not take the government to bring out a legislation in favour of marketing, selling, introducing a VAT etc in such transaction. If that is the law, will or can any one object to that?

    2. Karan says :Even if it diminshes in your eyes, he has a right.
    Yes, he has a right and I doubt if any one objects to his right. I do not think any one is
    bothered about diminishing values in some one’s sight. But the point, here, is not “he”,
    it is group of people. Pity that a learned man like Karan has no time to even read the realities in that area. I think, only in last year Oct or nov somewhat similar situation had developed there, where in that 80+ year old poor Sw Lakshmananda was attacked by christians.. There were so many reports about the economic disparity caused by the
    christian conversion. Did Karan spend any time trying to find out the reality of the situation? What did the central govt do to help the poor people who are left poorer by the economic disparity and politics? What did any political party do to help?

    Is this bringing the people together? or is it dividing the people? Can Karan think why all these talk about bringing people to main stream by providing quota, subsidy and so many schemes are there?

    3. Millions of Dalits for generations ….
    Well, we cannot say anything about generations, but in the last few generations, we have been seeing tremendous changes taking place in many areas of the country. Why even after 60 years of Independence, this discrimination continues in some areas? What has been the govt doing? Has Karan got the courage to question politicians? Yes, he will ask BJP that atleast during the 5 years they ruled, they could have * eliminated * poverty.
    What congress could not do in 45 years, Karan expects BJP to do in 5 years.
    And that too with the type of Indian politics where every one is not an India, but every one is either a congress man or bjp man or communist or …etc and every one is an enemy of the other !!! Mera Bharat Mahan !!! Atleast this is not what Indira Gandhi had visualized about India.

    4.Karan says what happened to Graham was not unique.
    So true. what happened to Graham was not unique and the same happened to poor
    80+ year old Sw Lakshmananada. But then Karan did not have time to read or write one word about that. Oh, then Sw Lakshmananda was fighting for uppercast – was he not?
    Do you think “ignorance ” has any limit?

    5. Is this the way Hindus wish to behave?

    I am sure “No”. That is why in India still we do not have a full majority Hindu Govt till now.

    But then we need to look back a little bit. When Punjab refused to provide water to Haryana, what did the centre do? Is this the way Indians should behave? ( dont ask me who is Indian here – Punjab’s Amerinder or Haryana’s Choutala ).

    When the Godhra fire incident took place, just look back the TV channel that telecast the report for full day, giving maximum publicity to the fire and thus inciting ( really this channel was the one who incited the public – by continuously showing and reporting that incident!!! and then poor modi got all the brunt thanks to our media )

    When Tamil Nadu decided to Block all the trains to Kerala to force centre to acceed to their demand of having ” Selam” railway division – was this the way we Indians expected to behave?

    When Gujjar to force their demans blocked the highway, railway etc, was not politicians trying to fish? was this the way we Indians supposed to behave?

    And last but not the least, on Amarnath, even Karan’s interview of Jaitely – how pathetic was it – was there for any one to see !!! Was it not Karan and the like who encourage the separatists by creating a fear amongst the others ? Is this the way Indians supposed to behave?

    I think one was shocked to see the Times Now telecasts on this too!. One feels that Times Now – in order to steal the initiative from others was trying to show the separatists interviews – to the extent – I think they were telecasting one Muslim in kashmir telling that Amar nath land could be given only over their dead bodies !!! They will not allow such a thing to happen. I do not know if this will happen or not, but for sure, it was not in the interest of “developing unity, bringing people together” making One India – to report again and again such telecasts.

    So, my dear Karan, kindly come down to earth. Kindly note the position of how a majority is a minority in their own country!!

    cheers

  4. pairamblr said

    Hello,

    I am just pasting here a part of a mail I came across in a discussion forum of Hindu Voice in UK.

    I only wish that when you use your freedom to convert, do use it with * knowledge*. After that one is free to do whatever one would like to do – simply because it is a conscious decision.

    The objection is only in converting helplessness of poor people as opportunity to “enslave”.

    Kindly do read a little about the area where there was violence. The people who are violent in that areas do not belong to any upper cast. They are all poor SCs. But one section of the SCs became very powerful because of the inflow of Dollar and the other became more helpless since the one who has the support of dollar can get anything from every where – including government – while
    the other section had to continue to suffer and along with their daily suffering they also have to face the harassment from people who were just like them a few years back. This is the problem. Not VHP or any one else.

    If any one including Christianity wants to help, let them help the poor.

    But did Karan Thapar read Pope telling his sheep that – charity is fine, but make sure that end of the day, charity should add to the number and increase the population of sheep.

    Do you subscribe to this thinking? This type of creation of huge disparity?

    ——————————-

    navin Says:

    August 26th, 2008 at 3:07 pm
    Dharmista,

    Can you believe someone pays for your sins? Is that not unjust?
    Can you believe that someone who is the prince of peace is the source of war for the last 2000 years?
    Did you know that the bible was written by King Constatine 300 ce? That he collected a bunch of priests and synthesized it, that anyone who disagreed with his version was killed off and their “gospel” burned.
    Did you know that the Torah was written about 90 ce? Do you believe a prophecy is something written after the fact?
    Do you know that the moral justification for the annhilation of the native americans, the destruction of the Roman, Greek, Venetian, Nordic, Celtic, mayan, Hopi, Inca, Zulu… cultures was at the hands of those who believed in the supernatural power of jesus?
    Did you know that the justification of the holocaust was based on jesus’ teachings?

  5. Binoy A. Mathew said

    This is very clear, if the Christians were to forcefully convert, there would be no non-Christians in India -for your knowledge Christianity has been in India for 2,000 years (brought by the Apostle of Christ Himself, St. Thomas) and India had been ruled by the British for quite some time. If forced conversions were on the minds of these people, there would not be any non-Christians left in India. Hence all of this is a lie, if at all there were conversions (especially in the Catholic Church), it is only willingly done, afterall for someone who would see the acts of the Christians like that of Mother Teresa, one might see that there is something in here, that is missing elsewhere.

    The real reason for this violence against Christians is one reason only, to uphold and maintain the caste system. Because as per this caste system, one person cannot view another of a different caste as equal. Thus any attempt to promote equality of rights and dignity is met with violence. Christians promoting education and healthcare are at the forefront of bringing dignity to each person (something unheard of in ancient India or even pre-British India) and making them aware of their rights. This cannot be denied by any person (whether Hindu or not), and neither can anyone deny the way that the caste system is structured.

    Let me categorically state, without the caste system, the Hindu society will collapse. Thus all endeavours to bring equality in society will be met with VHP/ Bajrang Dal/ BJP with axes, swords, fire, iron rods, etc. Let us wait and see how things unfold in Orissa.

    Remember GOD (in whom I believe) is not dead. When humans don’t raise their voice against such atrocities (as the world is practically turning a blind eye), nature will take the cue and unfold something that the state of Orissa has never seen and never will want to see.

  6. pairamblr said

    Dear Binoy,

    You are free to have your “belief” in God or any thing that you wish to.

    You can “categorically” state what ever you “believe”.

    A little education will help you to know things better.

    Sadly – the one who got killed that Swami – 80+year old person and the the ashram he has been running – all of them were having people who are supposed to be the SCs. So if you wish to sell this, you can very well do that to the “believers”.

    Re cast system, if you wish to educate yourself, spare a few minutes to go to web search and then you will learn a lot more about cast system all over the world and how it was almost insignificant.

    But then you cannot sell your product unless you try all this technique. What you wish is not bring God to people, but to increase the number of harvested souls.

    I would suggest you to go to the web site ” Atheism vs Christianity” which will provide you a lot more info.

    enjoy
    cheeers

  7. pairamblr said

    Also one more question if I may ask

    ” you say God is not dead “..

    any idea what or who is God?

    Do you think you will be able to explain your perception of God?

    enjoy
    cheers

  8. pairamblr said

    I came across this and may be you would love reading this from gaining some more knowledge.
    cheers

    http://timesofindia .indiatimes. com/India/ The_business_ of_faith/ articleshow/ 3453877.cms

  9. pairamblr said

    May be Karan Thapar need to read the following and express his views
    —————————– ————————

    Chandan Mitra writes on Pioneer

    .Sunday, September 07, 2008 Updated: 03:53 am .

    For Christ’s sake

    I am writing this from Orissa which, quite uncharacteristically, dominated national news space during the last week of August for altogether wrong reasons. Bhubaneswar, the State’s neatly planned post-Independence Capital, is tranquil enough but interior districts are still simmering from the fallout of the heinous assassination of the venerated monk Swami Laxmanananda, 80-year-old messiah of the poor and downtrodden in one of Orissa’s remotest and least developed districts — Kandhmal.

    To my surprise, I found passions running high even in the Capital particularly over what people allege is the biased and undeservingly negative publicity the State received in the aftermath of the murder and the violence that predictably followed. It is a trying time for the State’s usually unflappable Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who appears set to be elected for a third straight term in office when Assembly polls happen next year. The fallout has also been a test for his coalition partner BJP, whose Hindu constituency is outraged by the killing of the Swami.

    Fortunately, the BJD-BJP alliance is holding firm despite hotheads periodically seeking to stir up trouble. The violence, which ominously affected villages rather than cities — unlike the pattern of other communal disturbances — is also simmering down. But the questions it has raised dramatically all over again need to be addressed if recurrence is to be contained in the future.

    What has agitated average middle class people in Orissa is the manner in which a one-sided perspective is being peddled as fact in the national media, to the courts and even among school children. There is consternation over the one-day strike called by Christian organisations that shut down many schools and colleges across the country. “The Courts are quick to denounce strikes and bandhs everywhere. Political parties are even fined for calling a bandh. Why hasn’t anybody condemned the enforced strike in Christian educational institutions?” asked an angry teacher.

    Apparently, some school authorities even distributed a circular among students explaining why the bandh had been called. The letter complained in a high-pitched tone about the attacks on churches, priests, orphanages and ordinary Christian villagers by rampaging mobs. The circular, admittedly also regretted the murder of the octogenarian Swami, but only in a proforma fashion. The purpose of the explanatory letter was not really to explain but to condition young, impressionable minds into a particular line of thinking.

    A parent told me about the following exchange with his school-going daughter: “Why is your school closed tomorrow?” he had asked. Pat came the reply, “Because Hindus are killing innocent Christians in Orissa.” When he persisted and queried why Hindus are supposedly doing that, his daughter looked nonplussed and confessed she had no idea, but after some thought added, “They did that to Muslims in Gujarat also, No?” The brainwashing of children, especially in urban India, has acquired a new dimension.

    Sometimes I get the feeling that a diabolical section of proselytising missionaries are determined to milk the post-Laxmananand violence to the hilt to further their cause. Significantly, as even diehard secular TV channels have revealed, the violence in Orissa, unlike post-Godhra Gujarat, was hardly one-sided. Christian-dominated villages persecuted Hindus as much as vice versa and, in any case the disturbances were confined to just two districts. And, by the way, no nun was burnt to death; it was a Hindu woman who was unfortunately trapped in a hut set on fire by vandals. No wonder large numbers of Hindus, especially women, converged on a relief camp for Christians in Tiklabari in Kandhmal last Wednesday, demanding that either everybody get official relief or the Christians-only camp be shut. They told visiting politicians and the media that they too had suffered in the violence. Besides, the police was strictly enforcing curfew preventing them from going to work to earn a livelihood. “Why are Christians getting all the attention while we are starving?” the charged crowds demanded to know. I am referring to this incident only to underline that the issue is not as simple as the counsel for Christian organisations made it out in the Supreme Court last Thursday.

    It is a measure of the efficacy of the Christian network that within hours of the disturbances happening, the Pope issued a strong denunciation of the “persecution” of Christians in India. Worse, the Italian Foreign Office had the temerity to summon India’s Ambassador in Rome to admonish him and demand an immediate end to the harassment of Christians in this country. Incidentally, both these actions have contributed to the anger of people in Orissa.

    I was repeatedly asked why New Delhi had not issued a strong statement telling Rome and the Holy Seer that Orissa is India’s internal affair and they should keep their mouths firmly shut. “Each time there are some problems between Hindus and Muslims, Pakistan too makes gratuitous noises about Muslims in India. But Delhi tells them to stay away from our internal matters. Why does the Government lack the guts to do the same with Italy?” asked an irate journalist, hinting that the reason for being deferential towards Italians, resident or non-resident, would not be very far to seek.

    In fairness, though, the venerable Pope, as spiritual head of the Roman Catholic world, has a right to express concern if his co-religionists face insecurity in any part of the world. But the pontiff would have done well to appreciate the gravity of the situation and also recognised the root cause of the friction. There would be no trouble between Hindus and Christians, who are mostly a peaceful community living in harmony with Hindus for centuries, but for the aggressive campaign to “harvest souls”, meaning, convert poor Hindus. It is the influx of massive funds, mainly from Europe, to further a renewed evangelical offensive in India that is the cause of mounting tensions between Hindus and Christians in many parts of India.

    An Orissa legislator (not BJP) narrated some instances of glitzy audio-visual campaigns by Christian missionaries in the State’s interiors. Although the State Government was forced to ban the entry of foreign evangelists following protests some years ago, there’s no stopping the funds. Promises of good education, jobs and even careers abroad are freely made, tempting many impoverished villagers.

    Dispensing with the usual paraphernalia of baptism, some priests apparently preside over mass conversions whereby those willing to change their religion need only to take a dip in the village pond to expiate their past sins. As many independent sociologists have pointed out, new converts in villages become particularly aggressive towards their erstwhile community and the resulting social cleavage eventually spills over into violence. This is probably the strongest argument for enacting watertight anti-conversion legislation.

    The Government is required to preserve and promote social harmony, rebuffing the Church’s ambition to “harvest souls”. In the final analysis, however, Hindu society too is to blame for the steady expansion of Christian missionary activity. Why are their so few Swami Laxmananands among us? Why don’t Hindu organisations work more effectively in backward and tribal-dominated areas? That is the only way to deny non-Indic religions a foothold in sensitive parts of the country and thereby preserving social harmony.

    © CMYK Multimedia Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.
    To access reprinting rights please contact Pioneer Syndication Services at info@dailypioneer.com.
    For comments and feedback, please mail us at feedback@dailypioneer.com

  10. katya said

    A yawn article
    space filler
    good for public speeches

  11. pairamblr said

    How can a “yawn” article be good for public speeches?

    very revealing !!

    there is no disease worse than poverty
    there is no poverty worse than IGNORANCE

    enjoy
    cheers

  12. shibu said

    I think, katya is very true, this article can be used for public reading , where your speech capacity may get improved.

  13. pairamblr said

    Shibu,

    I am no politician or anything like that.

    I am a simple Indian, may be like you.

    But I enjoy reading max information and that information is used to logically / rationally analyze
    the information available to build the knowledge that I gain.

    I do not depend on others support for my thinking, but I do use any and every info that I can get
    to educate myself.

    Learn to think to grow to Maturity.

    Discuss issues logically / rationally with any info you have to support your position.
    May be that will educate others like me too.

    that is the difference between “belief” system and ” cognition”

    enjoy
    cheers

  14. pairamblr said

    I do not know who this gentleman is. But to help us learn more, to help us think, to help us see reason, rationality, etc, I felt i should copy this article here…for you to read.

    One need not agree with everything one write, but reading help mind think, question etc which
    like they say HELP US LEARN TO THINK TO GROW TO MATURITY.

    —————————————————————–

    Response to Hindustan Times Article “Whos the real Hindu?”

    By: Bandyopadhyay Arindam
    9/9/2008 11:06:50 AM
    Author’s Home Page
    Views expressed here are author”s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer is at the bottom.

    ——————————————————————————–

    (This is a response by Dr. Arindam Bandyopadhyay to the article by By Mr. Karan Thapar, “Who”s the real Hindu?” Hindustan Times, August 30, 2008)

    Dear Mr. Thapar,
    I am responding to your recent article “Who”s the real Hindu?” Hindustan Times. Hope you will have the opportunity to see it – Dr. Arindam Bandyopadhyay.

    ——————————————————————————–

    “Does the VHP have the right to speak for you or I?”

    (Definitely not for you, even if I am to assume that you are a Hindu, may be accidentally by birth, as was claimed by our first Prime Minister.)
    ———————————————————–
    “Do they reflect our views? Do we endorse their behaviour? They call themselves the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, but who says they represent all of us?”

    (I agree. They definitely do not represent people like you and your journalist – intellectual crowd like Vir Sanhgvi, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose and Barkha Dutt, nor the activists of the kind of Teesta Setalvaad, or the politicians like the Lalus and the Mulayams.)
    ——————————————————————–
    “This Sunday morning, I want to draw a clear line of distinction between them and everyone else. My hunch is many of you will agree.”

    (Now where did you get the right for doing that? Did we give you the right? How did you imagine that even if we do not agree with VHP, we will agree with you?)
    —————————————————————-
    “Let me start with the question of conversion – an issue that greatly exercises the VHP”

    (and, for your information, a certain Mr. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi who said “proselytizing under the cloak of humanitarian work is unhealthy, to say the least” and “If I had the power and could legislate, I should stop all proselytising…. it is the deadliest poison that ever sapped the fountain of truth.”)
    ———————————————————————–
    “I imagine there are hundreds of millions of Hindus who are peaceful, tolerant, devoted to their faith, but above all, happy to live alongside Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Jews.”

    (Smart move – lump all the non-Hindu religions together. Please leave the Sikh, Buddhist, Jains and Jews alone – they do not belong to the faiths you seem to represent- the “peaceful, tolerant, devoted to their faith” Muslims and Christians.
    ———————————————————————–
    Karan: And “happy to live alongside”?

    BA:Yes, we did live happily alongside for the 700 years of Muslim rule. Only we lost maybe just a 100 million Hindus and had to accept, Jizya tax and put up to few atrocities such as having our daughters and sisters raped, our temples vandalized and razed and our properties taken away, but mostly we were happy to live like a second or third class citizen – we sure lived alongside.

    Are you also representing the Hindus of Pakistan and Bangladesh, in your hundreds of millions? May be they don”t count since they are not Indians. Should I, say, include Hindus of Jammu and Kashmir or do Hindu minorities matter like their Islamic and Christian brethren?

    And what about the 200 years of British rule, which Will Durant described as the most sordid and criminal exploitation of one nation by another in all recorded history.

    Let me remind you what Lord Curzon, the late Viceroy of India, had said about India, “Powerful Empires existed and flourished here while Englishmen were still wandering painted in the woods, and while the British Colonies were a wilderness and a jungle. India has left a deeper mark upon the history, the philosophy, and the religion of mankind, than any other terrestrial unit in the universe.”

    And when the British left after a successful “loot” of over a trillion dollar (in today”s value) that funded the British Industrial revolution, India was transformed from a producer of about 25 percent of world GDP in 1750, to only 2 percent in 1900. Those 200 years of “benevolent” Christian British rule, left India with 20 million famine-related deaths, a literacy rate of 11% (1947) and a life expectancy of 25yrs (1921).

    Sure some people did happily live alongside at that time and some still do praise the Christian British for “civilizing” us.

    How about Goa under Inquisition from the Portuguese Church- requested by the venerated St. Francis Xavier himself, an unmatched saga of mayhem for over two centuries that outlasted even the inquisition in Europe and left less than 20,000 adherents to the their Pre-Christian faith from an original 250,000.)
    ——————————————————————
    “If any one of us were to change our faith how does it affect the next man or woman? ”

    (Now let”s start to look at some opinions of a few famous people about Christianity and Conversions.

    Let me start with Swami Vivekananda. I hope he passes your scrutiny as an original Hindu of a Non- VHP kind. He was sent to represent Hindu Dharma to Chicago over a century ago – thankfully he had no secular media to face. And these are his words, “They come to my country and abuse my forefathers, my religion, and everything; they walk near a temple and say “you idolaters, you will go to hell” … “If all India stands up, and takes all the mud that is at the bottom of the Indian Ocean and throws it up against the Western countries, it will not be doing an infinitesimal part of that which you are doing to us.”

    How about some westerner”s comment? Thomas Jefferson, the former US President, had mentioned, “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity. …were the Pope, or his allies, to send in mission to us some thousands of Jesuit priests to convert us to their orthodoxy, I suspect that we should deem and treat it as a national aggression on our peace and faith.”

    This is what Pitrim Sorokin, a Harvard sociologist had said, “During the past few centuries the most belligerent, the most aggressive, the most rapacious, the most power-drunk section of humanity has been precisely, the Christian Western world..During these centuries western Christendom had invaded all other continents; its armies followed by priests and merchants have subjugated, robbed or pillaged most of the non-Christians. Native Americans, African, Australian, Asiatic populations have been subjugated to this peculiar brand of Christian “love” which has generally manifested itself in pitiless destruction, enslavement, coercion, destruction of the cultural values, institutions, the way of life of the victims and the spread of alcoholism, venereal disease, commercial cynicism and the like.”

    And this is what thy holy Pope John Paul II, in 1999, on his visit to India said, “Just as in the first millennium, the Cross was planted on the soil of Europe, and in the second on that of the Americas and Africa, we can pray that in the third Christian millennium a great harvest of faith will be reaped in this vast and vital continent (of Asia).”

    I could expand or should l trust your journalistic curiosity to do some search yourself?

    In case you still do not get the message – it is about preservation of dharma, of righteousness, of choosing between good and evil, of standing against atrocities, of pride and self-esteem, of patriotism and liberty.)
    —————————————————————-
    “And even if that happens with inducements, it can only prove that the forsaken faith” Do you mean “Hinduism? Did your mask slip for a moment? “had a tenuous and shallow hold.” (on people of your stripe). “So why do the VHP and its unruly storm troopers, the Bajrang Dal, froth at the mouth if you, I or our neighbours convert? What is it to do with them? Let me put it bluntly, even crudely. If I want to sell my soul – and trade in my present gods for a new lot – why shouldn”t I? ”

    (Sure you can sell your soul and you proved it well. But let me reinforce the basics, never taught or learnt by you.

    The reason is the concept of Bhartvarsha, the land later named as India, and her over 8000 yrs old Civilization, called the Indus – Saraswati Civilization. It is the purity of Bharat”s religion and culture and the tradition of her indigenous people who later came to be labeled as “Hindus” by foreigners. People of different faiths, languages and customs, lived and survived in this civilization. Jews and Parsis got their shelter after been persecuted everywhere. Tribes and sects lived happily in remote places without fear of their identity being trampled. And that was all because the “forsaken faith” of Hinduism did not preach proselytizing.

    India is not a Muslim or Christian country even after 900 years of invasion, torture and annihilation because of the Hindus. You may not agree but there are many who do agree with what Annie Besant had to say, “After a study of some forty years and more of the great religions of the world, I find none so perfect, none so scientific, none so philosophical and none so spiritual than the great religion known by the name of Hinduism. Make no mistake, without Hinduism, India has no future…And if Hindus do not maintain Hinduism who shall save it? If India”s own children do not cling to her faith, who shall guard it? India alone can save India and India and Hinduism are one.

    So if by this time you do not understand, Mr. Thapar, let me tell you once more clearly that the true Hindus, who have not sold their souls and who do not trade their gods, feel that the existence of Bharatvarsha and her Spiritual soul is threatened.

    It is the only country in the world where the majority of the population are actually fighting for their right to live peacefully without being terrorized, to safeguard their culture and tradition, to prevent their history from being wiped out, to save their temples from being taken over, to defend their faiths in their religious deities and icons, to save their saints from being humiliated and murdered, to preserve their heritage from being destroyed, to pray to their own God of faith and to visit their own pilgrim sites, in their own country and with their own money.

    Their unity is deliberately being divided. Their elected government and politicians are deaf to their needs. Taxes paid by them are openly and specifically allocated for the prosperity and development of their adversaries. Their newspaper and television media, by and large, ridicule them and identify with foreign faiths with foreign masters. Atrocities committed on them are not even reportable or “narrated objectively” whereas a mere allegation against them is good for headline news and warrants unqualified condemnation, without investigation or verification.

    There is no body that they can trust. They have no spokesmen, no Government to ensure their welfare, no media to express their anguish, no academic to pen their chronicle.

    They have their backs to the wall.

    Their country has already been broken down to pieces – they cannot allow any further fragmentation.

    They have realized that they have to fight back.

    And that is what has started to happen – if you can put your ears to the ground – be it in Orissa or Jammu, you can hear the reverberations.)
    —————————————————————–
    “Even if the act diminishes me in your eyes, it”s my right to do so. So if thousands or even millions of Dalits, who have been despised and ostracized for generations, choose to become Christian, Buddhist or Muslim, either to escape the discrimination of their Hindu faith or because some other has lured them with food and cash, it”s their right. ”

    (I was sure waiting for this topic to surface.

    Have you ever heard of Dalit Christian Mr. Thapar? A little enquiry on your part will tell you that the Dalit Christians, who account for over 70% of the 25 million Christians in India, have been largely converted by exploitation, coercion and the false hopes of egalitarian status but still suffer from the segregation, oppression and discrimination, only now at the hands of their fellow Christians of the upper castes. Conversion into the new faith has not redeemed them from the stigma of “untouchablity”. A Dalit Christian has minimal say in the leadership and control, has minimal access to education (despite a wide network of Christian missionary schools and colleges), job opportunities and entrepreneurship development. Even in the local church communities, controlled by Christians of the “upper castes”, Dalit Christians often have separate entries, separate place to sit, separate cups at the Eucharistic celebration, separate communion rails, and even separate cemeteries. Thus ends the Christian promise of equality, human dignity and egalitarian status through conversion

    Have you ever criticized the Christian organizations for their Dalits and why they are “ostracized”?

    You are fully aware that caste discrimination is a degenerated, socio-political evil manifestation of an ancient vocational order according to mental inclinations and unrelated to birth right. You also know this has been declared illegal in modern India. India had a President, a deputy Prime Minister, a Chief Justice, and currently has the Chief Minister of its largest state belonging to the lower caste. India is also the only country that has had religious minorities as its head of state not once but repeatedly, after its modern birth. But give me an honest answer. Who do you think perpetuates this social evil any more than our politicians and our media? So why is it that this ill politics of contemporary Indian society, of its lawlessness, exploitations and dominations, conveniently blamed primarily on Hindu religion?

    Have you ever demonized the “faith of Christianity” for its Crusades, Inquisitions, anti Semitisms, witch burnings, black slaveries and the destructions of Mayans, Incas and Australian aboriginal civilizations, the African and Asian Colonization, besides the two world wars.

    As a leading media personality, what have you or your clan done to eradicate this system, other than parroting the same politicians and laying the blame on Hindu Dharma that ensured a just state for thousands of years, with no caste problem, until the British landed on its soil?

    And how does that justify Christian proselytizing and domination over the lower castes and tribes of the Indian populace?

    At least bring a modicum of integrity to your profession, Mr. Thapar. Can you, for once, clear the web of lies, half-truths and disinformation that clouds your thoughts and write a “truthful” article on any of the topics like Joshua project, the 10/40 window, the Project Thessalonica, the Maranatha Volunteers, etc.)
    ——————————————————————-

    “Arguably you may believe you should ask them to reconsider, although I would call that interference”( so conversion, by hook or by crook is okay but asking to reconsider is “interference”,) “but you certainly have no duty or right to stop them. In fact, I doubt if you are morally correct in even seeking to place obstacles in their way. The so-called Freedom of Religion Acts, which aim to do just that, are, in fact, tantamount to obstruction of conversion laws and therefore, at the very least, questionable.”

    (So, the law of the nation is now incompatible with your Christian sympathy. How patriotic? Can you tell me why the church leaders including the holy one at Vatican, while saying that they do not indulge in forced conversions, are so worked up and demand the revocation of the law?)
    ————————————————————————
    “However, what”s even worse is how the VHP responds to this matter. Periodically they resort to violence including outright murder”

    (So when an octogenarian VHP leader and his associates are killed brutally by mercenaries, it is not really violence or murder. It was the evangelist way of giving the message of their only God to a “heathen” idolator. It is okay to do so because they are subhuman Hindus of the VHP kind.)
    ——————————————————————-
    “What happened to Graham Staines in Orissa was not unique”

    (I am sure you know very well that it had nothing to do with VHP or Bajrang Dal, but you had to make your “anti VHP case”. If you honestly do not know, I request that you consider an alternative profession.

    Keeping in mind your selective amnesia and incompetence, I seriously doubt whether you remember the unique, sister Abhaya “suicide” case, who was “blessed” by the father in the Kottayam convent. It is been reported that a former Congress Prime Minister had tried hushing up the case and that the High court, had reprimanded the CBI for tampering with some relevant CDs. The case remains undecided for 16yrs.

    Funny, no body called this a failure of the “Hindu” judicial system.)
    ———————————————————————
    “Last week it happened again. Apart from the utter and contemptible criminality of such behavior, is this how we Hindus wish to behave? Is this how we want our faith defended? Is this how we want to be seen? I have no doubt the answer is no. An unequivocal, unchanging and ever-lasting NO!”

    (Depends on what kind of Hindu you represent.

    In case you do not know, protest and violence is a natural instinct of all life forms, especially to defend the integrity of their being. Surely, you cannot be dreaming of depriving Hindus of their right to self defense. Though the world likes to believe and promote the “Gandhi” image of Hindus, there are other icons of Hindus – starting from the “mythological” Ram and Krishna to the Shivaji and Rana Pratap and the Subhas Bose and Bhagat Singh.)
    ———————————————————————-
    “The only problem is it can”t be heard. And it needs to be. I therefore believe the time has come for the silent majority of Hindus – both those who ardently practice their faith as well as those who were born into it but may not be overtly religious or devout – to speak out.” (They are speaking out – listen to the people of Jammu ,Orissa and Gujarat). We cannot accept the desecration of churches, the burning to death of innocent caretakers of orphanages, the storming of Christian and Muslim hamlets even if these acts are allegedly done in defense of our faith.”

    (But we should gladly accept the desecration of our temples, the Christian – Marxist mercenaries killing our Hindu monks and the Islamic terrorist bombing our hospitals.

    We should accept the diversion of temple funds for churches and mosques, and the subsidy from the Hindu majority”s money to visit pilgrimages to Mecca and Jerusalem.

    We should also accept the largest state subsidy to those secessionists of Kashmir, who howl anti-India slogans and hoist Pakistani flag, and yet successfully clamor to disallow the temporary use of a mere 40 hectares of land for the Hindus, on way to a pilgrimage in their own country.

    We need to assure them that Hindus will take it lying down.

    Why don”t you show us the way, Mr. Thapar?

    Why don”t you announce Mr. Thapar, that the next time a Christian or Muslim wants to kill some Hindu that you choose to be the sacrificial cow; if they want to rape somebody they can pick her up from your family; and if they want to practice the art of “suicide bombing” they can go to your office address?)
    ——————————————————————–
    “Indeed, they do not defend but shame Hinduism. That”s my central point.
    I”m sorry but when I read that the VHP has ransacked and killed I”m not just embarrassed, I feel ashamed. Never of being hindu but of what some Hindus do in our shared faith”s name.”

    (You already expressed a solution – sell your soul and trade your god. Have you considered the possibility that the majority of one billion Hindus may be embarrassed by people like you or actually consider the VHP inadequate to meet the challenge of defending India”s honor.)
    ———————————————————————–
    “This is why it”s incumbent on Naveen Patnaik, Orissa”s Chief Minister, to take tough, unremitting action against the VHP and its junior wing, the Bajrang Dal.”

    (What kind of action Mr. Thapar? The one you prescribed for Mr. Modi, some time ago after the foolish, rabid Hindu fanatic Gujaratis elected him again as their Chief Minister? Do you remember writing, “Only the sudden removal of Narendra Modi can stop this…”
    How many Modis are you willing to stop? How do you propose to derail the progressive Gujrati in his march towards his freedom – economic and spiritual? Did you not hear the five crore voices speaking through the ballot in Gujrat or the voices in Himachal and Karnataka?)
    ———————————————————————–
    “This is a test not just of his governance, but of his character. And I know and accept this could affect his political survival. But when it”s a struggle between your commitment to your principles and your political convenience is there room for choice? For ordinary politicians, possibly, but for the Naveen I know, very definitely not.
    So let me end by saying: I”m waiting, Naveen. In fact, I want to say I”m not alone. There are hundreds of millions of Hindus, like you and me, waiting silently – but increasingly impatiently. Please act for all of us.”

    (It is said that during the British rule there was never more than 20-30 thousand British national in India at any one particular time. The British managed to rule for 190 years with the help of the “brown sahibs” who, as Thomas Macaulay defined, are a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern, a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, words and intellect.

    Today how much we wish that the British had taken their pet brown sahibs along with them.

    Max Muller, more than a century ago, while translating the Vedas, had wished that his translation “will tell to a great extent… the fate of India, and on the growth of millions of souls in that country. It is the root of their religion, and to show them what the root is, I feel sure, the only way of uprooting all that has sprung from it during the last 3000 years.”

    If he was alive today, Mr. Muller could have been a very happy man to know you Mr. Thapar.

    May Jesus and Allah together bless you, since you have chosen to forsake, the shallow faith of your forefathers.

    We pray that may each member of the billion strong community, that you have chosen to misrepresent and misguide, find you and your ilk, worthy of pardon.

    May India once again rise to forgive her own treacherous brood?)

    Bandyopadhyay Arindam

  15. Tariq said

    Hi,
    I didnt read the whole writings of Pairambir, but read the article by Mr Thapar in Hindustan times. I am an indian muslim and really appreciate and in favor of what Mr Thapar writes. I dont want to go in argument of ‘selling soul’ which seems to be hot in this thread of this article. But I really believe that what VHP is doing by ‘representing’ Hindus should not be tolerated as majority of Hindus do not share VHP’s views.
    Cheers
    Syed

  16. pairamblr said

    Hello Tariq,

    It would have been nice if you had read others views as well since forming an opinion need to be based on collection – which is reading a lot and then on the basis of that information a logical – rational view is formed.

    I am not a VHP and I do not think many would subscribe to VHP thinking. If that were the case then India should have been ruled by VHP, but the whole world including you and Karan knows that there are largest number of Hindus in ruling parties and opposition parties other than VHP.

    What we are talking is about Karan Thapar’s views on the basis of IGNORANCE, one sided info.

    He as *supposed to be leading “advocate” of Devil * should have put in a little more effort
    to understand the problem before venturing into writing something only to earn a few more Rupees.

    Karan should have put in a little more effort to find out why violence is there in one pocket and that too again and again? And no upper cast people are involved in that ?

    there is no disease worse than poverty
    there is no poverty worse than ignorance.

    just to add one more point: Did you listen / watch his TV Show – war of words?
    Did you see he calling RamJeth Malani – an independent lawyer? Making him judge in discussion
    between congress / communist /bjp?

    and did you notice his trying to interrupt when Raja – particularly Raja – without permitting him to answer?

    Did you also notice that the Karan Thapar we saw there was positively a bit dull and bit down person – not the usual one? I bet he has realized his folly!!!

    enjoy
    cheers

  17. Manoj Cherian said

    I surely support the views expressed by Karan Thapar.
    Infact it is a surprise that a prominent individual has chosen to express his views so strongly.
    We need to encourage such freedom of thought and speech in our country.
    Each of us has the freedom to choose. When we are children, very often this choice is made for us by our parents. But later we can choose to differ without cutting of our family ties.

    So let not any political party or a religious group decide where lies our freedom to choose.
    As long as force is not used to induce any conversion, let each man decide for himself/herself.

    After serving in the Indian Army for 20 years, I only know that I am an Indian, nothing else matters.

  18. pairamblr said

    Hello mr Manoj Cheriyan,

    I have greatest regds for any one who has been serving the Indian Army as that institution has stood
    outside the arena of Indian politics.

    I also have greatest regds for human beings who are *educated* – not merely litereate – who has the understanding of what a human being is.

    Just to let you know, one of the many whom me and my family respect is a nun, who has been a professor of physics and at the age of past 70, she is still serving people in Australia.

    Just for your info, when one person asked me about my life, I told him that some of the people who helped me to come up in my life were Muslims, from Pakistan and India and they know what sort of a person I am. Religion has not come in our way of life.

    Then that is the difference between being educated and literate.

    Freedom is for use, not abuse. You educate a person, help him learn, think and then leave him to CONSCIOUSLY TAKE WHATEVER he would like to decide. There will be no problem from any one.
    Read all our history. people as individuals have converted and there was no violence on that score.

    But kindly also note, FREEDOM is not for ABUSE. And that is what is happening now.

    Go thru the flow of money that is coming from abroad and see where it is used?
    See where the money that poor hindus put into the temple hundi is used.
    See where the land belonging to the hindus temples is being used.

    If you understand this and if you logically, rationally explain how an why this is right, then that could be a discussion – either for me to learn the correctness from you or for you to see why I feel that is not correct.

    Just because Karan Thapar has TV to help him does not make him one bit either intelligent or meaningful or rational or man of logic. And in all these exchanges in here, no one has ventured to explain point by point the objection, rationality of their stand etc.

    If you use a simple logic, as far as the place in Orisa is concerned, you can see that – this particular area has been having the problem for quite some time. If it were a Christianity vs VHP, why it was limited only to a pocket? And all thru, it was local tribals who were involved in that, no togadias etc involved.

    Kindly open your eyes, see what is happening.

    If only the real Christians in that areas had taken trouble to TALK – discuss – the issues with the people who have the complaint, I think, this problem could have been changed. But then that will not help orgnisations to exist including so many so called NATIONAL INTEGRATION COUNCIL MEMEBERS.

    Do you know, when I asked John Dayal who was or is a NIC memeber, as to what action his council has taken to bring in integration in the last 4 or 5 years, there was no reply and he keeps a vsnl mail id which will only bounce the mails because of full quota – as he uses this mail only to send mails and not to receive mails!!!

    Yes, we need to be Indians first and last.

    let every one answer that.

    enjoy
    cheeers

  19. Ingrid Albuquerque said

    Dear Karan,
    Your views on what is currently a volatile subject are mature and balanced. They have gone a long way in soothing anguished hearts. You have God-inspired capabilities and skills, and my prayer is that He will continue to provide you with divine insights amid the chaos and confusion in the environment. Above all that you will always have the courage to speak The Truth as He will enable you to see it.

  20. Murali said

    Hats off to Karan thapar…even though i dont like the way he conducts “The Devil’s Advocate”, i full endorse his views here.
    At the same time i would also like to comment on what pairamblr wrote here….
    Mr. Pairamblr, you are calling upon everyone to open their eyes…you are saying that karan’s views are based upon “Ignorance”…i wonder how rational your answers to karan’s questions really are…

    to karan’s question “Does the VHP have the right to speak for you or I?”.
    You replied…
    “Definitely not for you, even if I am to assume that you are a Hindu, may be accidentally by birth, as was claimed by our first Prime Minister.”
    —————————————————–
    Now, what sort of reply is this? A rational reply?
    Can anyone be born Hindu accidently and if our first prime minister claims so, are you saying its right or wrong….what is the point you are making here?

    You said “I agree. They definitely do not represent people like you and your journalist – intellectual crowd like Vir Sanhgvi, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose and Barkha Dutt, nor the activists of the kind of Teesta Setalvaad, or the politicians like the Lalus and the Mulayams.”
    ————————————————————
    So, what do they represent? Whom do they represent?
    I just want to know…people like you?

    You said “Now where did you get the right for doing that? Did we give you the right? How did you imagine that even if we do not agree with VHP, we will agree with you?)”
    ————————————————————
    Who is “We” here….Indians altogether? Where do you expect karan to get “rights”. Where did YOU get the right to use the word “We” then?

    You have talked about the ills committed by the followers of Christians over centuries…so what is the point now?

    I have read your text completely…but got amused by some of your observations.

    India is not a Muslim or Christian Country…is it a Hindu Country then? What’s your take on the BJP’s goal of creating a “Hindu” rashtra?.

    You said….
    “It is the purity of Bharat”s religion and culture and the tradition of her indigenous people who later came to be labeled as “Hindus” by foreigners. People of different faiths, languages and customs, lived and survived in this civilization”.

    Fair enough…so you mean anyone who participated in this civilisation are Hindus, right? Not necessarily the religion?

    Muslims rulers came to India and looted its wealth and did all the damage they can…
    What about the damage caused by the Aryan Invaders, who came to India much before the Mughals?
    Do you believe in aryan migration anyway?

    When I condemn the attack on Christians by some Hindu thugs, should i invariably condemn
    Crusades, Inquisitions, anti Semitisms, witch burnings, black slaveries and the destructions of Mayans, Incas and Australian aboriginal civilizations, the African and Asian Colonization, …By doing so, am i trying to equate the acts of these thugs to those crimes committed long time before?

    You said “Protest and violence is a natural instinct of all life forms, especially to defend the integrity of their being”. Does everyone of us have this instinct? I wonder why dalits were not able to protest and use violence against the Upper castes? Violence aside, do they have the privilege to even “Protest”?
    Or is it that Protest and Violence are controlled by those at the Upper echelons of soceity.? The upper castes again.
    OK, let me ask you one direct question…What would have happened if Dalits use the VHP style of violence against the upper caste for discriminating them. Would you again say that “Protest and violence is a natural instinct of all life forms, especially to defend the integrity of their being”.

    You say that even after conversion, dalits are being discriminated by christians (So u finally agree that they are discriminated against?). But why does it bother you?
    What did you do when dalits are discriminated by the upper caste Hindus…did you revolt at this time?
    If not, why are you bothered when they are discriminated after Conversion?
    Is it that, you will do nothing to stop discrimination, at the same time you dont want them to convert?

    Dont you think that the Christians missionaries are just exploiting the situation?
    So, where does the problem lies? In Hinduism or Christianity?

    Murali

  21. pairamblr said

    Dear Murali,

    I am afraid you have not read my post.

    Kindly spare a little time to see if you are replying to my post?

    cheers
    enjoy

  22. purav said

    I would like to chime in on the topic here even though AMC has nothing to with VHP or Karan Thapar. I am just presenting another point of view.
    Karan thapar is talking about religious freedom and he or anyone should be able to cross the line and move into another dimention of religion which frankly i would love to however he forgets to mention one main issues. Issue here is forced conversion which BJP and VHP are against. When i say forced it means by alluring to Financial benefits or social benefits. What is certain institutions are asking people to be of a certain faith to avail advantages which they provide. People will be forced to undergo conversion and this is where BJP draws the line(i think! and it should)

  23. Murali said

    Dear pairamblr,
    yes, i was replying to your post dated September 14, 2008 at 10:01 am. You shall respond.

    I wonder how something done by “allurements” be called “Forced”.
    Is Hindu religion so weak and hollow, that it’s people decide to convert just by getting attracted to “allurements”?.

    Murali.

  24. kurian said

    i just find there is so much HATE and ANGER in all the replies.
    The funnies part of this exchange is CHANDAN MITRA’S reply…
    he seems to have visited ORISSA and it seems his PRESENCE is supposed
    to lend LEGITIMACY…. isnt that right !
    there are so many inconsistencies…. i would love to point it out
    para by para… logically …
    i will be travelling soon….
    I JUST have 2 questions —
    how many of you are practising HINDUS PLEASE..
    practise yoga.. look into your minds ???
    I was never raised a CHRISTIAN … and am a BUDDHIST NOW…
    will my vieWS scandalize you ???
    I will be very logical ……
    i need your permission because then we can set the GROUND RULES…
    we cannot carry so much ANGER AND HATE …
    i wish everybody could see GODS ARMY .. BY Christian Amanpour
    now hindus’ included seem to be waging the GODS BATTLE …
    why are our GODS soo POWERLESS… christian, muslim, hindus
    and every other religion included ???
    i think we can proceed if we decided on “not generating anger”

    btw- i believe in GOD just not the creator GOD !

    cheers

  25. kurian said

    a beautiful poem

    how many will listen to this poem
    not just read
    NO LOGIC required here..
    or fancy , flowery language

    Please Call Me by My True Names

    I have a poem for you. This poem is about three of us.
    The first is a twelve-year-old girl, one of the boat
    people crossing the Gulf of Siam. She was raped by a
    sea pirate, and after that she threw herself into the
    sea. The second person is the sea pirate, who was born
    in a remote village in Thailand. And the third person
    is me. I was very angry, of course. But I could not take
    sides against the sea pirate. If I could have, it would
    have been easier, but I couldn’t. I realized that if I
    had been born in his village and had lived a similar life
    – economic, educational, and so on – it is likely that I
    would now be that sea pirate. So it is not easy to take
    sides. Out of suffering, I wrote this poem. It is called
    “Please Call Me by My True Names,” because I have many names,
    and when you call me by any of them, I have to say, “Yes.”

    Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow —
    even today I am still arriving.

    Look deeply: every second I am arriving
    to be a bud on a Spring branch,
    to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
    learning to sing in my new nest,
    to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
    to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

    I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
    to fear and to hope.

    The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
    of all that is alive.

    I am the mayfly metamorphosing
    on the surface of the river.
    And I am the bird
    that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

    I am the frog swimming happily
    in the clear water of a pond.
    And I am the grass-snake
    that silently feeds itself on the frog.

    I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
    my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
    And I am the arms merchant,
    selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

    I am the twelve-year-old girl,
    refugee on a small boat,
    who throws herself into the ocean
    after being raped by a sea pirate.
    And I am the pirate,
    my heart not yet capable
    of seeing and loving.

    I am a member of the politburo,
    with plenty of power in my hands.
    And I am the man who has to pay
    his “debt of blood” to my people
    dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.

    My joy is like Spring, so warm
    it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
    My pain is like a river of tears,
    so vast it fills the four oceans.

    Please call me by my true names,
    so I can hear all my cries and my laughter at once,
    so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

    Please call me by my true names,
    so I can wake up,
    and so the door of my heart
    can be left open,
    the door of compassion.

    ~Thich Nhat Hanh

  26. pairamblr said

    Dear Shri Kurian,

    1. You find so much of “hate and anger” in all the replies.

    You have all the freedom to make your thinking known. However, it is important for us to also
    keep in our mind that as much as this ‘ I ‘ , every one of us is a human being and that include
    Karan Thapar, you, and every one else, who write, read, form an opinion or does not bother about it.

    And being human beings, there is every possibility that we could be making mistakes in our perceptions, which is based on some knowledge, some experience, some hearsay, some assumptions etc.

    But more often we all “believe” that this ‘ I ‘ is honest, very cognitive, etc and this I can sit on judgement.

    Kindly take your own views – well, I am not trying to show you down, but taking you a world of thinking – a world of questioning – from a world of “believing”.

    You say you are a Buddhist and so probably, you can set the ground rules. You see lot of inconsistencies in Chandan Mitra ( may be you are right, may be you are not right ).

    Now, I have no idea what is Buddhism – except that it is one more theology – like Hinduism or Christianity or Islam or any other theology.

    For me it does not make any different whatever you are, even if you are an atheist. ( by the way, many atheists claim that Buddhism is one where Buddha does not subscribe to the God belief. May be you know better.

    Well, what I express is my objections to views which I do not find rational, logical, etc and
    which infact try to create a great divide in *humanity*. This theology is drugging people to forget
    that they are human beings – from birth to death – and any other view or action is only one role play for the moment.

    Start looking at this and then start expressing your objections.

    You are free to believe in anything, as long as you confine your belief to yourself. But the moment your belief overlaps the others beliefs, then the space that was there is lost.

    However, if instead of belief, you try to understand, make the other person see reason and thus help him understand, then the space is not lost, and there is less chance of divide.

    Do you get what is being expressed?

    would love to hear.

    enjoy
    cheers

    always willing to correct
    if explained rationally, logically.

  27. Indian said

    I TOTALLY agree with Pairamblr. Every word. and believe me, i’m not alone. Decades of pandering to minority politics are beginning to show. The Hindus are waking up….You cant do this to us….right here in our own country. People are speaking up in the only way that politicians will understand. They’ve spoken in Gujarat, Himachal, Karnataka. And they’ll speak at the Centre….in another 8 months. The more the Christian clergy in collusion with opportunistic politicians indulge in painting a negative picture of Hindus….the more the majority Hindu perception of being treated unfairly, grows…it is going to work like an instant glue to bind the divided majority community together. As people, Hindus have never felt a need to ‘vote’ as a block….or have never been allowed to. But that’s changing very fast. even ordinary Hindus are waking up to the unfairness of it all. That in their own country, they’re being treated like a minority.

    Voice of the so-called silent majority is growing to be a roar. Hinduism is a way of life. and the only religion which doesnt have a program for conversion. Indians are a tolerant community and have peacefully co-existed with other faiths. we’ve never believed that ‘souls’ are like crop…to be ‘harvested’. This culture of tolerance has been abused by unscrupulous elements to try and change the demographics of our nation.

    Wherever people meet, whether in colleges, offices, restaurants we are increasingly sensing a growing irritation at this vote bank politics. Shameless politicians are using fear as a tool to bind the minority voters. “Bind the minority and divide the majority into little blocks”. That seems to be the winning formula of today’s unscrupulous politicians.
    Fortunately, people are beginning to see through such devious means and are giving a resounding ‘slap’ on their faces.

    Why should the murder of Swamy Lakshmananda be swept under the carpet. The only reason it is not being given a communal colour (of the crusades variety) is because the missionaries are able to deploy huge funds to buy great PR.

    But I see a groundswell of public opinion against pseudo secularism, thats going to put an end to this pandering. For decades things have been allowed to smoulder but now the tolerance of the ‘aam aadmi’ has reached the breaking point. Politicians and media men would take the common indian for granted at their own peril.

    Cheers

  28. kurian said

    dear ram
    is it okay if i say i like the fact that you are
    willing to question ?
    but this right to question brings with it great
    responsibility ?
    and also one has to question ones OWN questions !

    are you willig to do this mate ???

    i dont have to be a buddhist / christian / dalit / colored / or anything to
    see the incosistencies ??? esp. in mitra’s report

    for ex.in the article above mitra says ”
    Besides, the police was strictly enforcing curfew preventing them from going to work to earn a livelihood. “Why are Christians getting all the attention while we are starving?” the charged crowds demanded to know.

    was the police enforcing curfew to prevent only HINDU women from work” possible but highly unlikely , right !

    i dont need to be EDUCATED / or LITERATE or INDIAN to see this…

    its funny and makes me SMILE …

    i will write back on the reporting of newspapers/tv everyone , as you point out it is
    their PERCEPTIONS..
    but its not a THEM vs US … THEM vs ME ……

    its to do with the MIND my friend.

    i want to set the ground rules not because i am buddhist which gives me
    exlusive rights but BECAUSE
    as you rightly point out —

    we are humans — the anger / pain you feel is no different from other human
    beings …

    i want to set the ground rules because as a PRACTISING BUDDHIST
    i believe i have FREE WILLL …. no external force/ GOD has any control
    over the way I decide to feel , i am creating my own CAUSES/ CONDITIONS…
    buddhism is neither atheist or theistic, it is beyond all these perceptions…

    i would recommend for you to read THE GOD DELUSION , i havent but it comes highly
    recommended…..

    in my experience — the realized hindu masters agree on this – i can quote and give
    references if you want —
    it DOES NOT matter if i am hindu/ indian but if i have HATE in my heart and anger
    and am suffering , there is NO WAY OUT …
    my whole practise is to find this space to see things in PERSPECTIVE..

    i know you have been my mother atleast 2 times in my previous lifetime … so i love
    you irrespective..
    i could give rational / valid arguments but my intention is not to prove a point but to
    just LISTEN …..
    it seems you are a sensitive person and you are affected by what is going on around you ,
    the same i also feel…..
    i have been a practising HINDU , so when you point out this I , which is rational and
    honest and so REAL … i ask you POINT IT OUT … where is it … does it remain the same
    day after day , does it mate ???
    this is a different point though , but very important…..

    coming back to the article by thapar —
    what he is saying is “there is no way to peace, peace is the way”
    if RUMI, the sufi saint could say i guess in 16th century persia ,
    if RELIGION divides the heart then abandon it — it speaks of
    his experience …. this is what thapar is conveying … let us
    strive for peace ….

    if the christians are harvesting SOULS / then HINDUS to me seem to be
    adding chemicals to it but still harvesting SOULS …..
    i want to keep it ORGANIC :)))
    where is this soul my friend ???

    indian in the above article seems to be saying

    Why should the murder of Swamy Lakshmananda be swept under the carpet

    mitra is saying

    Sometimes I get the feeling that a diabolical section of proselytising missionaries are determined to milk the post-Laxmananand violence to the hilt to further their cause. Significantly, as even diehard secular TV channels have revealed, the violence in Orissa, unlike post-Godhra Gujarat, was hardly one-sided. Christian-dominated villages persecuted Hindus as much as vice versa and, in any case the disturbances were confined to just two districts

    do u smell something here !!!
    anyways i have sinusitis — is it HINDU/ CHRISTIAN OR MAYBE BUDDHIST
    :)))

    you chose not to respond to
    MURALIS post
    why ???
    i love him too

    cheers

  29. pairamblr said

    Dear Shri Kurian,

    1. My post ends with a statement that I am willing to correct if explained rationally, logically the error I make. I think that answers your first question ” are you ready? ( to question own questions) “.
    So kindly do explain so I can learn something that I did not understand.

    2. I understood from your post that you claim to be a Buddhist – and all that I stated is exactly what you say…it is not you being a Christian or Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist that is important..but a human being knowledgeable to question – see inconsistencies and put that in front of others.
    It does not matter who writes what, what matters is the content and what we discuss is the contents.

    3. To the extent I understand the situation in Orissa, the problem is between two tribes, both backward, one of the tribes is benefited by its getting a lot of money and help from the Church while the other is struggling to survive.

    In the last over 60 years of independence, has the law helped come up the back ward people to come up in life? Instead, more and more sections have been demanding to be listed into OBCs / SCs/STs etc.

    3. I am not interested in defending any one , but like you I too read and look at the rationality of the views expressed. That is all.

    4. What I understand is that Sw Lakshmananada was as old as 80+ and was involved in educating the tribals there. What I have read is that he is not an upper cast Hindu and I did not come across any news item even in the TV channels reports that outsiders were there to promote violence .

    5. I am afraid neither you nor Murali read my post nor commented my post.
    Probably, mr Murali read the first line and saw pairamblr and then decided that it is my post. That is why I requested to pl read the post once again. Pl see who has written the points that Mr Murali has raised.

    Again, pl do correct me if I am wrong, and that will be a learning experience for me.

    enjoy
    cheers

  30. pairamblr said

    Dear Shri Murali,

    On 23rd sept you again write that you were discussing my post of sept 14th.

    I requested you earlier also that you need to kindly go thru the post that you ref to.

    Kindly read at least first few paras and see if this is my post?

    —————————————————

    If you have read my first post and have comments, criticisms etc, I welcome that so that I can see where and how I err or at least how others perceive my views.

    enjoy
    cheers

  31. kurian said

    dear

    let us put this statement of yours to test

    It does not matter who writes what, what matters is the content and what we discuss is the contents. fair enough !

    I think, only in last year Oct or nov somewhat similar situation had developed there, where in that 80+ year old poor Sw Lakshmananda was attacked by christians.. There were so many reports about the economic disparity caused by the
    christian conversion. Did Karan spend any time trying to find out the reality of the situation?

    #1. Grahan stained was murdered not in the last year.

    #2. unless you are the person involved in the swami’s killings how can you be sure
    it was the christians??? Especially when the Maoists have claimed the killing ? Till the
    investigation is completed how can this be a RATIONAL / REASONABLE response. Besides you seem
    to be CONVINCED that if there is an appropriate TRIGGER it is okay to KILL … if the poor old
    swami was killed , there were more UNNECESSARY killings that followed…. you seem to be RATIONALISING that 2 wrongs make A RIGHT … i think you are WRONG .. hatred is not a natural instinct , one should have absolute unconditional LOVE …. you seem to have conveniently forgotten that THERE WERE OTHER DEATHS that followed .. why ??? human beings were KILLED just like the swami ! not even a fleeting mention of this from you , right !

    #3.you say’
    one of the tribes is benefited by its getting a lot of money and help from the Church while the other is struggling to survive.

    is this RATIONAL — you seem to be holding this against the church for helping poor old tribals. if you have lived in india/ bangalore , there are different classes of people, there are slums/high rise aprtmnts in the same neighbourhood, if i continue the same logic then the
    people who are well off (being paid off by MNC’S) should feel GUILTY ! where is the logic in this ???

    #4 you say’
    I did not come across any news item even in the TV channels reports that outsiders were there to promote violence .

    —- i have come across news reports of outsiders being involved.read THE WEEK report on the violence and you will see how the same strategies were replicated in JAMMU/ORISSA/MANGALORE ..
    by the same set of OUTSIDERS… ignorance is not BLISS especially when people get KILLED !
    I believe the Buddha when he says, its a percious human rebirth – to be killed or to kill is absolutely pointless…you see the tribals are SIMPLE people, to kill another person is IMPOSSIBLE without generating ANGER within YOU — WITHOUT the outsiders support to INCITE violence this would have been impossible

    I am glad you are reading , i would suggest read from DIFFERENT sources , sometimes the newspapers have their own agenda and their own editorial policies … I am surprised everybody
    has overlooked the fact that the MAOISTS have claimed responsibility for the KILLING ! The purpose of the US forces to invade IRAQ was for WMD’s ….

    In bangalore, till last week, the chief minister/home minister were convinced that the BAJRANG DAL was not responsible INSPITE of this guy claiming he DID IT ! how rational is this , where is the LOGIC.. do you understand???

    I am quoting from one of your earlier POST’S –sept4

    # you say
    nd then poor modi got all the brunt thanks to our media )

    —please question this BELIEF — that modi had no ROLE TO PLAY !

    # you say
    What congress could not do in 45 years, Karan expects BJP to do in 5 years

    — i am not commfortable with politics , nobody expects the BJP to do anything
    in any number of years .. but atleast if you cannot HELP you should not CREATE
    PROBLEMS.. in karnataka and esp.in bangalore there are MORE important things to
    take caree of and for this govt. to incite this for political gains is SAD ……
    but then this is SAMSARA !

    and please read ‘ GOD DELUSION ….

    cheers

  32. kurian said

    besides i am comfortable with the poor dalits/tribals getting access to all the
    foreign funding they can have it they can have better access to education/health..
    even if they turn christians … i am in peace if this is SO … at the end of the day
    they are HUMAN BEINGS !

    you should interact / meet / listen to the backward classes and understand how real the
    discrimination is …… esp. of the dalit women … if you read of the experiences of the
    widows of farmers whove commited suicide in the VIDHARBA region of maharashtra — you will
    understand …. there are enough POOR / TRIBALS / BACKWARD in our nation to take care off !
    no two religions need to compete / if they are then to me its simply political ….

    cheers

  33. pairamblr said

    Hello Mr Kurian,

    very nice.

    you are in peace with *if this is So… at the end of the day they are Human Beings ”

    Indeed, they are human beings and do you thinktheir neighbors who belong to some other tribes
    are not human beings?

    Does that mean that you are in peace – not because a human being is helped, but a christian is helped?

    And your words about Dalit women etc I would not dispute at all. Yes, my question to every Indian including me is that why on earth we force the Govt to act up on?
    Look back – 60 years of independence.

    Why even today, Govt is not doing anything *seriously* to empower them. I am given to understand that Tamil Nadu Govt is providing some money or giving rice at Re 2 or Re 1 per kg
    and give up to 25 kg. And these poor people use part of the money to buy rice and balance money
    to wards alcohol. Their children continue to either work in farms and even what they get goes towards drinks and smoking.

    Kindly look at the word ” Empowerment”? Think of that. And may be you can express your views
    on empowerment.

    ———————————-

    By the way, you claim to be a practising Buddhist.
    you “believe” that you have a free will. Is it only a belief or you know that you have a freewill?

    But I could not understand your words that Buddhism is neither atheist nor theist.
    Mind explaining a bit as to what is your perception of atheism and how it is different from theism and then how Buddhism is different from these two? I think it will be some more learning for me.

    —————————————————————

    I also could not understand what exactly you try to express when you write
    ” there are enough poor / tribals / backward in our nation to take care off ! ”

    enjoy
    cheers

  34. pairamblr said

    Dear Shri Kurian,

    I am delighted to see that you are now taking the trouble to analyze my views and question them.
    This indeed is very nice.

    And let us view together your post written at 1.23am on 24-09-08.

    1. you write Graham Stein was murdered * not last year *.

    Can you kindly tell me where in have I said so pl?
    —————————————————–
    #2. You write a few lines – and then you say ” I think you are wrong”.
    I could not see what statement of mine made you think – first to state what you write.

    I do not see where I justify two negatives make it right nor justify killing.
    I would like to know if you can kindly re-state those lines for me to check again.
    ———————————————————-
    #3 . Kindly see what you have stated.
    you write that people who are well off (because they are paid off well as they work for MNC) should feel guilty.

    Is the disparity created among tribes because one tribe is paid for the work they do?

    —————– and by the way, if 3 children are there when you walk and you wish to give them something and you have only one sweet with you,
    a) will you give that to one of the child? – (one item could be given to only one )
    b) will you give it to one of them and tell them to share it?
    c) will give to one of them and think that you have given it and there ends the matter and even if they quarrel or fight between them, that is not your problem?
    —————————————————————————

    re the other points you have raised including reading a lot more-
    yes reading helps and so also discussions.

    Like for eg: now that you say report on ‘week’ – etc. more such ref come out in discussions
    and one who is interested in learning will use that info too.

    Any amount of reading, discussion with analyzes etc useful, not only from the point of view of gaining some more info which could be processed to further knowledge,
    this very attitude helps one to use same method in deciding actions that one need to take in day to day life, which becomes an education.

    that is why they say

    there is no disease worse than poverty
    there is no poverty worse than IGNORANCE.

    enjoy
    cheers

  35. kurian said

    dear.

    i said i am happy if tribals(who are human beings) have access to education/health/ food ….
    and if they decide to convert , i am also at peace with this !

    you have understood this AS —-

    you said in your reply–

    “Indeed, they are human beings and do you think their neighbors who belong to some other tribes
    are not human beings?

    Does that mean that you are in peace – not because a human being is helped, but a christian is helped?”

    ———————————————————————————————-

    why mate? are you fake ? how can you twist this SO much ?

    where is the logic here? just claiming to be logical means nothing.. do you have a axe to
    grind ? you seem like a smart person who is open to debate/ wants to question ..
    but when i read your replies you seem to have SELECTIVE AMNESIA >>>>>

    still no trace of the MAOISTS claim to have killed the swami

    why???? why cant we be objective ..
    why in gods name cant we be INDIANS atleast …..

    karan thapar said the right thing.. the way i grew up , i did not nit-pick into thinking
    whether my neighbour ws of what religion/ my parents didnt tell me to look at women any
    different than human being ….. all my friends not only agree but are disgusted with this
    open display of MINDLESS terrorizing …….

    still no trace of atleast acknoledging that MAYBE the MAOISTS had a hand in the swami
    killing ?? why ——–

    you can claim to be rational/logical but unless you prove it through
    your words, it just remains that , words ???

    In bangalore , the chief minister and the police chief are very logical/
    rational … the chief minister is CERTAIN/ absolutely certain it is not
    the BAJRANG DAL ….
    and the IPS chief is certain that the church attack was burglary…….

    how can we step back and look at our own HYPOCRISY ???

    it is all in the MIND …….
    i hope i have not offended you in anyway by the way I feel about the present BJP chief ministers views .. i think it is important to express ones
    view no matter how unpalatable it is …. and let everyone else judge ….
    my only wish is people could realize that everyone wants happiness and wants
    to avoid suffering …..
    THE greatest tragedy is — the timing of all this —-
    orissa is one of the poorest states in india/ the nearby state of BIHAR
    is flooded and NOBODY SEEMS TO CARE..
    your analogy of sweets is illogical—
    i give the sweet to the first person child i meet
    and buy more sweets to give it to all ….

    you are a smart woman dear / but try and be objective
    let us all be HUMANS first

    and not get into these childish
    MINDGAMES of sweets !

  36. pairamblr said

    Hello Shri Kurian,

    You have to pardon me if I was not able to communicate at your level.

    You wonder if I am fake? Now can I blame you for such a thinking?

    In a class of say 30 children, a teacher explains a topic for 15 minutes and then decide to test
    their comprehension.

    Kindly tell me will all the children get same marks when teacher checks their answers?
    If not why?

    I gave you a simple example in psychology ( about the sweets and children ). If you understand that, you are free to use your *free will * to reply that question, the way you see that.

    But making some odd statements – sarcastic or ironical or whatever it is ..I cannot make out that –
    and then not expressing your thoughts in a way the other person can understand is not discussion, not communication, as I feel ( may be I am wrong here too! )

    So, express yourself clearly. It does not matter what it is.

    By the way, no one can verbally hurt me – until I allow others to hurt me. And I do not give others that right. So pl do not worry at all – you will not be able to hurt me .

    I hope you will express yourself with clarity that may be a fake person like me understand.

    enjoy
    cheers

  37. pairamblr said

    More reading for people who are interested to read, think, analyze etc to help them better their understanding INCLUDING KARAN THAPAR

    enjoy
    cheers
    —————————
    It’s time for the ‘silent majority’ to speak up

    http://ultracurrent s.blogspot. com/
    TVR Shinoy, Rediff. com

    Whatever happened to the ‘silent majority’ in India?
    Is it not time for all of them to speak up?

    Let me begin with the Muslims. Today when you hear about a terrorist attack in some city the knee-jerk reaction is to blame it on a Muslim fundamentalist group. The secondary reaction, a corrosive by-product of the first, is to dub all Muslims as ‘supporters of terrorism’.

    That is just insane! The vast majority of Muslims are neither terrorists nor supporters of terrorism. I would go so far as to say the average Indian Muslims despises those buffoons who dream of recreating the India of Aurangzeb.

    So why does the ‘sane’ majority persist in remaining the ‘silent’ majority? From time to time the occasional Muslim cleric issues a denunciation of terrorism. But such rare chirping is simply not good enough any longer, Muslim terrorists must be flayed from every pulpit across India when the Friday sermon is delivered. And this must be done not once or twice but for years on end.

    Consider the alternative if the Muslim majority does not actively distinguish itself from the smaller tribe of Muslim terrorists. Other Indians shall then believe that the absence of condemnation means automatic support.

    The anger among non-Muslims was so strong that one could almost reach out and touch it in the aftermath of the recent Delhi [Images] blasts. It is not often that you see senior politicians — from the Union home minister to the Leader of the Opposition, from the lieutenant governor of Delhi to its chief minister — attending the funeral of a humble police inspector. But public bitterness was so great they felt compelled to salute Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma.

    How many of the leaders of the Muslim community did you see laying a wreath at Inspector Sharma’s feet? How many of them were heard praising a brave man who had died fighting for India?

    What I did hear were reports of ‘tension’ in Jamia Nagar, the Muslim-dominated colony in Delhi where Inspector Sharma died fighting terrorists. To a non-Muslim ear it sounded querulous, completely out of proportion to everything that had happened. Which sounds worse, to be under suspicion (as they claim to be) or to be under a shroud (as Mohan Chand Sharma was)? I am sorry if that sounds crude but that really is the long and the short of it.

    I will accept for argument’s sake that Muslims acutely resent their lack of representation in government agencies, corporate entities, and so forth. (Although it might help if more Muslim children actively pursued, say, English and geometry rather than Urdu and calligraphy) . I may even swallow that this sense of alienation is shared by the sane Muslim majority and the far smaller number of Muslim terrorists.

    But it is frankly ludicrous to say that unemployment excuses terrorism! Once — just once! — I would like to hear the Muslim leadership condemn violence against Hindus without qualifying their statements with mealy-mouthed ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ and ‘you must understands’ .

    In the light of recent events, I must also criticise the howling minority that has hijacked the cause of the silent Hindu majority. (Some of you will undoubtedly complain that I am doing just what I condemned above, qualifying my statement about Muslim terrorists by seeking to equate it with Hindu agitators. Save your breath, I am not saying that what happened in Mangalore is remotely equivalent to planting bombs in Delhi!)

    Swami Vivekananda was a better Hindu than any of those idiots who went around trying to burn chapels. True Hindus, he said, did not just ‘tolerate’ the faiths of others, they actually ‘respected’ them. (While the Swami may have used the word ‘toleration’ in his famous address to the Parliament of Religions, he appears to have actively disliked it in later years because it smacks of condescension, rather like an adult ‘tolerating’ bad behaviour in a child.) I have a fair idea of what Swami Vivekananda might have said about attacks on churches — and it wouldn’t have been pretty.

    The current leaders of Hinduism have been less than forthcoming. Hinduism does not have an exact equivalent of the Muslim ulema, but would it have hurt senior acharyas to condemn the attacks on Christians? Not because it is illegal but specifically because such attacks disrespect the philosophical foundations of Hinduism?

    I cannot leave the Christians out of this, can I? If Hindus are required to respect other religions then it must be a two-way street. And, frankly, there is nothing so utterly disrespectful as proselytisation.

    One can understand — and respect — conversion. If an individual chooses to change his faith after struggling with his convictions, so be it. But going around asking others to convert, with none-too-subtle overtones of ‘My God is better than your god!’ is not respect but hostility. And that, let us be honest, is the tone adopted by some Christian missionaries in India.

    Once again, I believe that this is not true of most Indian Christians. This country has had a long history of Christians — Catholic, Protestant, Mar Thoma Syrian Christians — living perfectly amicably without feeling any need to convert their Hindu neighbours. (Although it must be noted that one major exception was during Portuguese rule when the Catholics made converts at the point of the sword).

    There was a major change more recently, one that became clear when Pope John Paul II unveiled the document ‘Ecclesia in Asia’ when he came here in 1999. The Holy Father said on that occasion, ‘The peoples of Asia need Jesus Christ and his gospel. Asia is thirsting for the living water that Jesus alone can give.’ Can you blame Hindus for worrying after that?

    Oddly, at the same time the Vatican was fuming about ‘sheep stealing’ in Latin America. That was because Catholics were turning to some Protestant sects like the Evangelicals and the Pentecostals. (By the way, Republican vice-presidentiial nominee Sarah Palin [Images] was born a Catholic, but now attends an independent congregation) . Is it surprising that Hindus share similar worries?

    Nobody wants to admit it, but there is now some sort of a competition to convert Hindus between some Christian sects. I am glad that the Catholics of Kerala [Images] have publicly proclaimed their dislike of such tactics, but it would be better yet if the Christians of India as a whole proclaimed their disdain for conversions through allurement.

    Most Hindus, most Muslims, and most Christians in India are essentially peaceable folks who would rub along perfectly well with each other given half a chance. But will they get that option if the headlines are hijacked by extremists with their own agenda? It is time for the silent majority of each faith to speak up — and reclaim their religions.

    Related stories:

    1) Rev. Francis/D’Souza on Riots @ http://ultracurrent s.blogspot. com/2008/ 09/conversions- of-dalits- rlfrancis. html

    2) Conversions/ Murder of Swami @ http://www.blogs. ivarta.com/ india-usa- blog-column58. htm

    3) Enemies within Borders @ http://indiasecular .wordpress. com/2008/ 09/20/enemies- within-borders/

    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

    __._,_.___

  38. pairamblr said

    For more reading:

    http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/sep/26guest.htm

    wanted a balanced approach
    by
    Raghavan

    26th Sept 2008
    is a hallowed principle of jurisprudence that justice should be even-handed, and both sides to a dispute must be given a full hearing before conclusions are drawn. The media coverage of the disturbances in both Orissa and Karnataka and the action taken by the Centre are so one-sided as to make any fair-minded person feel extremely worried.
    I am not a practising Hindu, perform no rituals or ceremonies and have no religious hangups. Further, having worked directly under Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi [Images] for nine years (1961-9) as the secretary of the National Integration Council from its very inception (besides my other duties in the political division of the Union home ministry), I have savoured from close quarters the spirit that animated the heroes of pre-Independence era. Hence, in sharing my uneasiness with readers, I have tried my best to rise above any prejudices or preconceptions, and appraise events on the touchstone of fair-play and freedom from bias.
    To anyone for whom the print and electronic media were the only sources of information, it would seem that the Hindu fanatics, behaving like dreaded terrorists, had been making killing fields of both Orissa and Karnataka, by indulging in murderous attacks on Christian minorities, and the destruction of sacred religious places.
    The emerging picture of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal — all subsumed under the pejorative rubric Sangh Parivar or the Saffron Brigade (why not, by the same token, call the Congress the Quattrochi Brigade or the Left the Hammer-and-Sickle Brigade?) — is that, encouraged from behind the scenes by the communal monster, the Bharatiya Janata Party, they are ruthlessly going on a violent spree, just to vent their hatred of minorities. In short, the impression given is that swarms of totally insane thugs are on a rampage without any provocation whatsoever, holding both states to ransom, and the state governments, in open sympathy with them, have done little to prevent their excesses.
    Not the best way
    God knows there have been condemnable incidents making innocent Christians fear for their lives. There can be no wishing away of the despicable and wilful desecration and destruction of places of worship in Khandamal in Orissa and in some places, including Bengaluru [Images], in Karnataka. Certainly, any wanton resort to violence should be put down with an iron hand and peace and harmony among all sections of the people restored at all costs.
    Only a dispassionate and disinterested inquiry can credibly establish whether in the particular cases of attacks on churches, the respective state governments acted with due sense of urgency and concern for the well-being of the affected communities. Sending on a hurried visit some functionaries from the home ministry toeing the official line, unfamiliar with local conditions and listening to only the slanted version, is not the best way of getting at the truth.
    Also, it must be remembered that it is, and will always be, a matter of judgement whether more or less could or should have been done by the state or central authorities to enforce the law, round up the ruffians and quell the disturbances in any particular set of circumstances. Such cases cannot be weighed on a fine scale. I say this having dealt with a number of instances of violent outbreaks and insurgency during my nine years in the home ministry and two years as chief secretary of a north-eastern state. Journalists and columnists, enjoying the good fortune of never having to manage crisis situations, should, therefore, think many times before showering their verdicts on the happenings, and especially guard against saying or writing anything approaching character assassination.
    If ideal benchmarks of adequacy and promptness of action were to be applied, no central or state government will shape up. The notorious indifference and connivance exhibited by the government of the day in 1984, when more than 4000 innocent Sikh men, women and children were hounded from place to place and burnt alive and butchered in cold blood, and the palpable failure to visit the perpetrators with condign punishment, will continue to haunt the memory of all right-thinking persons.
    Original sin
    Even today, the popular perception is that terrorism is getting its impetus from the hamstringing of the police and security agencies by the ruling coalition at the Centre which wants to nurture its Muslim vote banks and that it handles the Tamil Nadu government with kid gloves when it deliberately sets about outraging the sentiments of the Hindus. Hence, in a sense, every government in India, both at the Centre and the states, is living in a glass house and is hardly in a position to throw stones at others.
    All the reports and commentaries that I have seen on the disturbances in Orissa and Karnataka, neatly sidestep the original sin and the consequential long-simmering discontent among the Hindus. They make it look as if the attackers, who were readily assumed to be members of the ‘Saffron Brigade’, were madly running amok without any justification. Reams have been written and billions of sound bytes have gone on air describing in lurid detail all that has happened to the churches and the Christian community, with no equal space given for the real cause of all the trouble.
    Swami Lakshmananda was a revered figure in Orissa who was engaged in service to the weaker and vulnerable sections of the population. Allegedly, the local Christian votaries of conversion saw him as a thorn in their flesh. Whatever that be, the fact was that some time ago, he was the victim of attack by a gang bent on doing away with him. Luckily, he escaped at that time, but his enemies had their way the second time.
    The Centre could have set all speculation at rest if, with all the mighty and extensive intelligence and investigative machinery at its disposal, it had ascertained the truth behind the murders of the Swami and his associates and unhesitatingly named the desperadoes. Its own inability, or unwillingness, to expose the forces that were behind the killing should be taken to have contributed to the flare-up that followed in Khandamal.
    Extreme provocation
    Similarly, as regards Mangalore and Bengaluru, those who are quick to castigate the state government gloss over the extreme provocation contained in an obnoxious pamphlet, Satya [Images] Darshini, in Kannada language, circulated in the name of an outfit called the New Life Church, scathingly scandalising Hindu gods and goddesses in the foulest of language.
    I want to ask of the holier-than- thou commentators to place their hand on their hearts and tell me whether similar scurrilous observations about what is regarded as holy and sacred would be tolerated by any community anywhere in the world. Suppose someone were to write and distribute similar things about other gods and their messengers, will not the whole of India be convulsed by the mother of conflagrations? Will not the intellectuals and professed secularists then be trumpeting only the atrocious nature of the provocation, without saying a word on the massacring of innocents in every city at the hands of hooligans?
    One need not even go as far as gods and goddesses: Suppose one’s wife or parents are the targets of such scatological stuff distributed far and wide? Would one smile it away? Or, suppose one exhibits in a public forum paintings of particular individuals and their kith and kin in the nude, will those individuals celebrate it as an expression of artistic freedom? Why then show this perverse support to sacrilege perpetrated against Hinduism alone and work overtime lambasting the spontaneous reaction of largely simple and pious people who are sustained in their quotidian hardships by their faith in their gods and goddesses?
    To me, somehow, it does not stand to reason or common sense.
    There is yet another aspect of this perversity. It gives a handle to foreign governments and busybodies to bad mouth India as a den of fanatical Hindus who love nothing better than being at the throats of persons of other faiths. A country which rained death and destruction on Iraq by flaunting a tissue of lies, indulged in unspeakable atrocities in Abu Ghraib and for the last eight years, is keeping Muslim detenus in Guantanamo Bay without trial and treating them as worse than vermin, denies visa to Narendra Modi [Images] to the resounding applause of self-styled secularists who do not realise the egregious nature of the insult to the entire nation.
    In sum, the secularism as practised in the country is letting it down, besides polarising the population. It is time a body of persons reputed for their objectivity and erudition went into the meaning and implications of secularism and communalism. Nehru set up a Committee in 1961 for this purpose under the chairmanship of Asoka Mehta of which Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Prof Mujeeb were among the members. Unfortunately, its labours were interrupted by the Chinese invasion of 1962, and it was wound up. Getting going from where it left off is eminently worthwhile.
    B S Raghavan is a retired IAS officer who was a member of the Joint Intelligence Committee, Director of Political and Security Policy Planning in the home ministry, and chief secretary of a state

  39. Murali said

    Why do Indian Muslims lag behind?
    By Soutik Biswas

    Muslims make up India’s largest religious minority

    As historians tell it, during India’s first election in 1952, Jawaharlal Nehru was already worrying about the feeble representation of Muslims in the country’s positions of authority.

    Many more Muslims had stayed back in India than the millions who migrated to newly-born Pakistan after the partition just five years before.

    India’s first prime minister’s concerns about the country’s second largest religious group and the largest religious minority were eminently justified.

    “There were hardly any Muslims left in the defence service, and not many in the secretariat,” says historian Ramachandra Guha.

    Little change

    Next year, in 1953, a group of intellectuals met to discuss forming a political party for the Muslims and spoke about the low representation of Muslims in political positions and bureaucracy.

    More than half century later, on India’s 60th anniversary of independence, very little has changed.

    (Indian Muslims) carry a double burden of being labelled as ‘anti-national’ and as being ‘appeased’ at the same time

    Staying behind in India

    Today, at over 138 million, Muslims constitute over 13% of India ‘s billion-strong population, and in sheer numbers are exceeded only by Indonesia’s and Pakistan’s Muslim community.

    The country has had three Muslim presidents – a largely ceremonial role. Bollywood and cricket, two secular pan-Indian obsessions, continue to have their fair share of Muslim stars – the ruling heroes in Mumbai films are Shah Rukh, Aamir and Salman Khan, and the star of India’s current English cricket tour is pace bowler Zaheer Khan. Not long ago, the national team was led by the stylish Mohammed Azharuddin.

    That’s where the good news essentially ends.

    Muslims are a ‘vulnerable’ community
    Muslims comprise only 5% of employees in India’s big government, a recent study found. The figure for Indian Railways, the country’s biggest employer, is only 4.5%.

    The community continues to have a paltry representation in the bureaucracy and police – 3% in the powerful Indian Civil Service, 1.8% in foreign service and only 4% in the Indian Police Service. And Muslims account for only 7.8% of the people working in the judiciary.

    Indian Muslims are also largely illiterate and poor.

    At just under 60%, the community’s literacy rate is lower than the national average of 65%. Only half of Muslim women can read and write. As many as a quarter of Muslim children in the age-group 6-14 have either never attended school or dropped out.

    They are also poor – 31% of Muslims are below the country’s poverty line, just a notch above the lowest castes and tribes who remain the poorest of the poor.

    Identity card

    To add to the community’s woes are myriad problems relating to, as one expert says, “identity, security and equity”.

    “They carry a double burden of being labelled as ‘anti-national’ and as being ‘appeased’ at the same time,” says a recent report on the state of Indian Muslims.

    Historians say it is ironic that many Indians bought the Hindu nationalist bogey of ‘Muslim appeasement’ when it had not translated into any major socio-economic gain for the community.

    So why has the lot of Indian Muslims remained miserable after six decades of independence?

    Half of Muslim women in India cannot read or write
    For one, it is the sheer apathy and ineptitude of the Indian state which has failed to provide equality of opportunity in health, education and employment.

    This has hurt the poor – including the Muslim poor who comprise the majority of the community – most.

    There is also the relatively recent trend of political bias against the community when Hindu nationalist governments have ruled in Delhi and the states.

    Also, the lack of credible middle class leadership among the Muslims has hobbled the community’s vision and progress.

    Consequently, rabble rousers claiming to represent the community have thrust themselves to the fore.

    To be true, mass migration during partition robbed the community of potential leaders – most Muslim civil servants, teachers, doctors and professionals crossed over.

    But the failure to throw up credible leaders has meant low community participation in the political processes and government – of the 543 MPs in India’s lower house of parliament, only 36 are Muslims.

    Also, as Ramachandra Guha says, the “vicissitudes of India-Pakistan relations and Pakistan’s treatment of its minorities” ensured that Muslims remained a “vulnerable” community.

    Regional disparities

    The plight of Indian Muslims also has a lot to do with the appalling quality of governance, unequal social order and lack of equality of opportunity in northern India where most of the community lives.

    Populous Uttar Pradesh is home to nearly a fifth of Muslims (31 million) living in India, while Bihar has more than 10 million community members.

    Shah Rukh Khan is the biggest Bollywood star
    “Southern India is a different picture. Larger cultural and social movements have made education more accessible and self employment more lucrative benefiting a large number of Muslims,” says historian Mahesh Rangarajan.

    In Andhra Pradesh state, for example, 68% of Muslims are literate, higher than the state and national average. School enrolment rates for Muslim children are above 90% in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

    Mahesh Rangarajan says poverty and “absence of ameliorative policies” has hurt India’s Muslims most.

    If India was to be “a secular, stable and strong state,” Nehru once said, “then our first consideration must be to give absolute fair play to our minority”.

  40. Murali said

    India’s model democracy
    By Mukul Kesavan

    India is a unique democracy

    Considering that when India set out to be democratic, successful democracies tended to be white, rich, Christian and with a single dominant language, its success over 60 years is significant in two ways.

    First, it demonstrated beyond argument that poverty, massive illiteracy and diversity on a sub-continental scale were not arguments against democracy, they were arguments for it.

    Second, India’s Republican democracy is premised on a national myth of pluralism, not the standard nationalist invocation of a shared history, a single language and an assimilationist culture.

    Important lesson

    If we confine ourselves to South Asia, the most striking difference between India and the other countries in the region is that Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka are countries formally owned by their dominant religious communities.

    Thus, Nepal is a “Hindu” kingdom, Pakistan and Bangladesh are “Islamic” republics and Sri Lanka’s constitution gives Buddhism and Sinhala, the religion and language of the majority of Sri Lankans, the “foremost” place in the life of that country.

    An important democratic lesson from the recent history of South Asia is that a democracy that creates two different kinds of citizen rapidly evolves into something else.

    India didn’t go down this road for reasons of history.

    India may be poor but it has remained a democracy
    Pluralist nationalism in the 19th century was invented as an answer to the specific challenges of contemporary colonialism. It was founded on the claim that the anti-colonial Indian National Congress could speak for the nation-in-the-making because its membership included representatives of all of India’s human species.

    The challenge of representing India to a hostile colonial state and then the trauma of Partition committed the republican state to pluralist democracy.

    Pluralism, a stratagem born of weakness (the early nationalist elite had no other way of demonstrating that they represented anyone but themselves), became the cornerstone of Indian political practice, because it legitimised the compromises essential for keeping hundreds of jostling identities aboard the good ship India.

    This was the ultimate political goal: to keep the diversity of a subcontinent afloat in a democratic ark. Everything else was negotiable.

    Balancing of interests

    The political culture of the republic consisted of the balancing of special interests, procrastination, equivocation, pandering, tokenism and selective affirmative action: in a word, democratic politics.

    Gender, language, religious identity, class and caste were all pressed into India’s political mill, but no single identity or principle was used consistently enough to satisfy its champions.

    It is a political culture that worked, approximately but demonstrably.

    Not only did it work, it allowed Indians a worldview born out of their own political experience.

    The reason India is so important to the history and practice of democracy is its success in making a system of representative government work in a bewilderingly diverse country

    For example, when a “people” elsewhere asks for self-determination (the Kurds, the Eelam Tamils, the Basques) an Indian should ask, what for?

    If the point of self-determination is to allow a “People” to become a hegemonic majority in its own right, an Indian is entitled to say that whatever its rhetorical power, self-determination does not seem like an emancipatory or interesting or original political idea.

    If a state with a majority of Kurds or Tamils is to be premised on Kurdishness or Tamilness, better that it not exist at all because Indians know from their own history that pluralist democracies can be worked despite terrible violence and they also know where ethnic nationalisms lead.

    The reason India is so important to the history and practice of democracy is its success in making a system of representative government work in a bewilderingly diverse country.

    This achievement liberates the idea of democracy from specific cultural contexts and subverts a certain sort of political argument.

    For example, to excuse the failed occupation of Iraq, some western opinion-formers cite the presence of three distinct communities, Shias, Sunnis and Kurds. A country odd enough to be home to such a variety of peoples is, in their minds, an artificial state with arbitrary boundaries, doomed to disintegrate.

    Under this argument, Iraq cannot make it as a democracy or even a nation because it is too poor or too fractious or too diverse.

    If India didn’t exist, no-one would have the imagination to invent it.

    Possible threat

    In the absence of India, the prejudices about the non-West that Western policy makers and pundits peddle for a living, would pass for wisdom.

    The only foreseeable threat to India’s democratic future is the possibility that a political party like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) might ride a wave of majoritarian sentiment to become the default party of government.

    Hindu nationalists pose a danger to India’s plurality
    This would threaten India’s carefully built pluralist democracy because the BJP, despite its nativist rhetoric, ironically favours a European nationalist idiom, where the nation is home to a majority people.

    In India’s case, this would be the Hindus. If the BJP and its ideological preferences become entrenched in the Indian state, the ethnic violence that has torn Sri Lanka apart could be replicated on a sub-continental scale.

    That is unlikely to happen.

    A BJP-led coalition governed India for an entire parliamentary term and failed to make the demographic majority of Hindus a political reality. The republic’s statutes and the rulings of their authorised interpreter, the Supreme Court, make it nearly impossible for political parties to fundamentally alter the basic structure of the constitution.

    Besides, the diversity of the electorate forces India’s ruling coalitions into such complex electoral arithmetic that the pluralism so crucial to the Republic’s well-being is safe for the foreseeable future.

    Mukul Kesavan is a historian and writer.

  41. K. KOSHY said

    Dear Mr.Thapar,
    I very much appreciate your personality and the courage you have shown to express yourself through the article “Who’s the real Hindu?” You are one among the very rarest persons available in India. The culture we allow to take shape today in respect to others will ofcourse be going to dominate us tomorrow. One can not say a ‘Yes’in respect of others and a ‘No’ when it comes against him. I think the saying of Jesus is very apt here, ” And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. … Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Gospel of Luke 6:31, 28). Paul also writes, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap (Epistle to Galatians, 6:7). No one patriotic to our land should remain passive or silent today to what is going on in Orissa and other states these days.

  42. At Cheruti said

    Tariq wrote:

    >I didnt read the whole writings of Pairambir

    Can’t say you can be blamed. It is impossible to read the demented rantings of a person who wants to “educate” everyone by shouting down at them.

  43. At Cheruti said

    Pairamblr Said:

    “Yes, we did live happily alongside for the 700 years of Muslim rule. Only we lost maybe just a 100 million Hindus and had to accept, Jizya tax and put up to few atrocities such as having our daughters and sisters raped, our temples vandalized and razed and our properties taken away, but mostly we were happy to live like a second or third class citizen – we sure lived alongside.”

    You have been continually treating all the people who have been responding to you as well as readers such as myself as idiots by continually insinuating that we are not thinking. And now, I think there are a few things you should think about as well.

    Who made *you* pay jaziya? Who mistreated *your* daughters or sisters? Who vandalized *your* temples? Do *you* even own a temple? Who took *your* property away? Have *you* really been living alongside Muslims for 700 years?

    Speak for *yourself*. If *you* yourself have suffered any of these things then you have a cause for complaint and so you should. The full force of the law of the land should be brought to bear so that you can get the justice that *you* deserve.

    If *you* have not suffered these things – stop hiding behind a collectivized Hindu identity.

    All these things that you speak of happened hundreds of years ago. No person from that time is alive today – neither the Muslims, nor the Hindus.

    So why do you behave like an seven hundred year old anachronism out of a past that is over?

    And no, I really don’t want to know your answers. You’re really not as clever as you think. Just take what’s been written here and think about it and maybe educate yourself on individualism which is the foundation of the modern world.

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