Rss

  • stumble
  • youtube
  • linkedin

Archives for : Hinduism

Open letter to Justice Katju – Happy New Year and Get Well Soon !

1st Jan’ 2015

Dear Justice  Makrand Katju

Greetings !!

Your recent post on Gay and Lesbian Relationships (LGBT) ,    created a lot of ruckus,    as you tweeted , sadly ,               you were called a homophobic also, and then your CLARIFICATION further aggravated the ire. I am writing to you, as to why it happened . Why were you labeled homophobe, Sexist and   misogynist

According to you, homosexuality is a  ‘unnatural ‘and “modern” phenomenon and must be ‘cured’ to give way to reproductive heterosexuality.In your opinion, at the heart of heterosexual bonding, companionship, love, lies procreative sex and the desire to keep the human race going. Therefore, you question , “Will a gay relationship or marriage serve nature’s requirement of continuing the species?”

So what is ‘natural’. It will mean, not only humans but all species who exists on planet earth . And we have seen that homosexuality is found in mammals, birds and even insects. Also  I hate to break your conviction that homosexuality  is “unnatural” and “not a disease”, the American Psychiatric Association in 1973 and the World Health Organization in

1992 did accept homosexuality as a ”normal” variant of human sexuality. That apart, if one reads the history of sexual practices across the world, one realises that same-sex sexual practices have been  there since times  immemorial and that sexual identity-based categories are only an early 20th century invention of American-European psychologists and sexologists.

 

Now before, you jump one me saying s AHA, dont give me western evidence on homsoexuality as , According to you, homosexuality is a “modern” phenomenon and must be ‘cured’ to give way to reproductive heterosexuality.

But hold on Sir, Unlike most civilizations of its time, the Indian society during the Vedic age and even before had an open mind-set on matters of homosexuality and “queer” issues. The statues  of different temples justify the presence and acceptance of homosexuality in ancient India. Khajuraho temple in Madhya Pradesh, the Shiva temple in Bagali, Karnataka, the Rajarani temple in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha are a testimony to this fact

 

on the southern wall, shows a woman facing the viewer, standing on her head, engaged in intercourse, although her partner is facing away from the viewer and their gender cannot be determined. She is held by two female attendants on either side and reaches out to touch one of them in her pubic area.

on the southern wall, shows a woman facing the viewer, standing on her head, engaged in intercourse, although her partner is facing away from the viewer and their gender cannot be determined. She is held by two female attendants on either side and reaches out to touch one of them in her pubic area.

 

Men havings ex in Khajuraho, 13th CE

Men havings ex in Khajuraho, 13th CE

At the Lakshmana temple in Khajuraho (954 CE), a man receives fellatio from a seated male as part of an orgiastic scene.

At the Lakshmana temple in Khajuraho (954 CE), a man receives fellatio from a seated male as part of an orgiastic scene.

I would like to add that Hinduism and homosexuality are not strange bedfellows. Hindu texts have not shied away from addressing homosexuality The Hindu mythology has many incidents showcasing fluidity of sex, where same-sex interactions have often served a sacred purpose. And sometimes, the gods themselves have been part of these transformations and unions.Add to this, a portion of the Kama Sutra is dedicated to the fulfillment of sexual desires and encompasses the full range of human sexuality.

 

 

Homosexuality has never been considered a crime in Hindu culture. In fact, Lord Ayyappa was born of Hari-Hara (Vishnu and Shiva).Homosexuality, not a crime in any Smriti. Everyone has male and female elements. According to their dominance, tendencies show up and may change.

 

The androgynous form of Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati better known as “Ardhanarishwar” is worshipped in full galore Ardhanarishwara means ‘The Lord who is half a woman, and half man’.

In the Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu takes the form of Mohini, a beautiful enchantress, in order to trick the demons into giving up Amrita after the manthan. But Lord Shiva falls for Mohini, and they have a relationsip, with Shiva being fully aware of the real identity of Mohini. The result of this union was a son (Lord Ayyappa).

Shikhandi, in Mahabharata, was born a girl, Shikhandini, to Drupada, the king of Panchala. She was the reincarnation of Amba, who was rendered unmarriageable by Bhishma. She was granted her wish to be the cause of Bhishma’s death, and was reborn Shikhandini. But since a divine voice told Drupada to raise Shikhandini as a son, she was taught warfare. On the wedding night, Shikhandini’s wife discovered that her “husband” was female, and insulted her. Shikhandini fled, but met a yaksha who exchanged his sex with her. She then became a man, Shikhandi, whom during the Kurukshetra war, Bhishma recognised as Amba reborn and refused to fight ‘a woman’. After his death, Shikhandi’s masculinity was transferred back to the yaksha.

When Arjuna spurned the amorous advances of a nymph, Urvashi, she cursed him to become a ‘kliba’, or a ‘hijra’, a member of the third gender. Lord Krishna then tells Arjuna that this curse would be the perfect disguise for Arjuna during his last year of exile. Arjuna takes on the name Brihannala and dresses in women’s clothes for a year.

You also believ that the role of the woman in a heterosexual union is that of being a mother-homekeeper and the role of the man is that of the protector-giver.

 

With such a patriarchal statement, I wonder what are you trying to say . We all know Violations of women’s sexual and reproductive health rights are often deeply engrained in societal values pertaining to women’s sexuality.

Patriarchal concepts of women’s roles within the family mean that women are often valued based on their ability to reproduce.

Early marriage and pregnancy, or repeated pregnancies spaced too closely together, often as the result of efforts to produce male offspring because of the preference for sons, has a devastating impact on women’s health with sometimes fatal consequences. Women are also often blamed for infertility, suffering ostracism and being subjected various human rights violations as a result.

Patriarchy also controls women‟s reproductive power. In a  patriarchal society women don‟t have control of reproduction, or to use contraception, terminate  pregnancy and prefer to girl child

Further patriarchy not only forces women to be mothers of sons, it also determines the condition of their motherhood. This ideology of motherhood is considered one of the bases of women‟s oppression because it  creates and strengthens the  divide between  private and public, it restricts  women‟s mobility and growth   and it reproduces male  domination.

You further add in your Facebook post that “it is not men who pursue women, but women who pursue men. It is the Life Force which drives women to pursue and catch a mate, who will then look after her while she is performing nature’s serious and vital function of continuing the species”.

Also, procreation is just one reason why humans have sex. The other reasons are many like the pleasure of emotional, physical intimacy. Similar to the fact that food is not eaten just for survival but also because it gives pleasure. If procreation was the only reason then people would stop having sex after having progeny .

The icing on the cake is fact when you say  you are not in favour of criminalising homosexuality but its not natural ?

 

The  AHA moment, where i ask you-

Is it natural to be normal?

If yes, why would we need laws to maintain something natural?

In other words, if heterosexuality was normal, why would we need Section 377 to curtail same-sex intimacy

And them comes your gem —

Women who remain single are prone to have psychological problems.

Seriously, did you know that single women are not dependent on any man to provide for them .  Infant many single women are providing  for men . Should those men be shot because they decided to live off the woman and hence go against the nature? Also did you  know that single is not necessarily divorcee or widow ,there are , particularly those who are single by choice. There is no dearth oft such women as they are now occupying jobs that were traditionally considered male domains or unfit for females. You rarely saw a woman waitressing a decade ago for instance; as this occupation was considered socially “inappropriate” for an Indian girl (airhostesses were regarded as glorified waitresses).As the job market has exploded, more women have become economically independent and are enjoying the freedom of living on their own terms. They don’t need to succumb to the social pressure to marry and live up to traditional expectations that disregard their individuality.

So, Justice Katju, Please WAKE- UP from your sexist slumber , and see the reality of woman empowerment.

 I sincerely hope you find a psychologist soon, because now you are now definitely ,  prone  to   developing psychological  problems.

Happy New Year and Get well soon

 

Feminist and Human rights activist

 

Kamayani Bali- Mahabal

 

PS-  not so exhaustive  list of temples  you must visit for evidence collection

  • Also at Khajuraho, – At the Lakshmana temple in Khajuraho (954 CE), a man receives fellatio from a seated male as part of an orgiastic scene.
  • At the Shiva temple at Ambernath, constructed in 1060 CE, a badly weathered relief suggests an erotic interest between two women.
  • At the Rhajarani Temple in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, dating from the 10th or 11th century, a sculpture depicts two women engaged in oral sex.

A 12th century Shiva temple in Bagali, Karnataka depicts a scene of apparent oral sex between two males on a sculpture below the sikhara.

  • At Padhavli near Gwalior, a ruined temple from the 10th century shows a man within an orgiastic group receiving fellatio from another male.
  • An 11th century lifesize sandstone sculpture from Orissa, now in the Seattle Art Museum, shows Kama, god of love, shooting an arrow at two women who are embracing one another.
  • ( Friends do add on the travel itinerary, as there are many more , in comments section 🙂

Related posts

The Brains Behind Modi Sarkar

How did a little-known think-tank end up supplying so many bureaucrats to the NDA government? Brijesh Singh reports
slide

Illu

What do Ajit Doval, Nripendra Misra and PK Misra have in common? Of course, they are top bureaucrats whom Narendra Modi handpicked to run his team. There is another common factor. They all hail from New Delhi-based think-tank Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF).

FormerIB director Ajit Doval was steering the ship at VIF as founder-director before he was appointed as Modi’s National Security Adviser. He was advising Modi even before the government was formed. In fact, it was Doval who came up with the idea of inviting South Asian leaders to Modi’s oath-taking ceremony.

After his stint as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) chairman was over, Nripendra Misra became a member of the VIF’s executive council. Now, he is Modi’s principal secretary. There was a legal hitch in his appointment as TRAI law bars former chairmen from holding government positions. But Modi wanted him so bad that he tabled an ordinance to amend the law.

Former Union agriculture secretary PK Misra was associated with the VIF as a Senior Fellow. Now, he is the additional principal secretary to the prime minister.

Other VIF members whom the Modi regime has tapped for inputs include former RAW chief CD Sahay, former urban development secretary Anil Baijal, former ambassador to Russia Prabhat Shukla, former IAF chief SG Inamdar and former BSF chief Prakash Singh.

Former army chief Gen (retd) NC Vij has replaced Doval as VIF director. Sources claim that many other VIF members are likely to be enrolled in the government at significant posts soon. There are reports that former DRDO director general VK Saraswat, who is currently the dean of the Centre for Scientific and Technological Studies at VIF, might replace Chief Scientific Adviser R Chidambaram.

Interestingly, the first book that Modi released after assuming office was Getting India Back on Track. Its editor is none other than Bibek Debroy, who is the dean of VIF’s Centre for Economic Studies.

So, what is the VIF? Who are the people associated with it? When and how did the think-tank become a breeding ground of candidates to fill Modi’s bureaucracy?

VIF is Doval’s brainchild. After his retirement from the IB in 2005, he focussed his energies in creating the think-tank. On 10 December 2009, Mata Amritanandamayi and Justice MN Venkatachaliah inaugurated the foundation.

The VIF is affiliated to the Kanyakumari- based Vivekananda Kendra, which was established by RSS organiser Eknath Ranade in 1970. In 1993, the Narasimha Rao government allotted land to the Vivekanada Kendra in Chanakyapuri. And VIF was founded at the same spot.

The think-tank’s website introduces the organisation in the following words, “The VIF is a New Delhi-based think-tank set up with the collaborative efforts of India’s leading security experts, diplomats, industrialists and philanthropists under the aegis of the Vivekananda Kendra. The VIF’s objective is to become a centre of excellence to kick-start innovative ideas and thoughts that can lead to a stronger, secure and prosperous India playing its destined role in global affairs.”

About its vision and mission, the website adds, “The VIF is an independent, non-partisan institution that promotes quality research and in-depth studies and is a platform for dialogue and conflict resolution. It strives to bring together the best minds in India to ideate on key national and international issues; promote initiatives that further the cause of peace and global harmony; monitor social, economic and political trends that have a bearing on India’s unity and integrity.”

The VIF has many scholars as members of its advisory and executive councils, besides former army chiefs, former ambassadors, foreign secretaries, retired RAW and IB officials, bureaucrats as well as other key officials who have held top posts at the Centre (see box).

The VIF chiefly works in eight different areas: national security and strategic studies, international relations and diplomacy, neighbourhood studies, governance and political studies, economic studies, historical and civilisational studies, technological and scientific studies, and media studies.

The VIF invites scholars and experts from all over the world for conferences and lectures. It presents India’s outlook before the New Delhi-based diplomatic community and takes their inputs to further the country’s political, strategic, economic and cultural interests. It also holds dialogues with policymakers on current affairs. It gives policy advice to government representatives, MPs, members of the judiciary and civil society. It also carries out exchange of ideas with academic institutes and research centres.

“The foundation has done commendable work in the past 5-6 years,” says former RAW chief Anand Verma, who is now a member of the VIF advisory board. “Top-level research has been conducted in various fields. Numerous seminars of national and international significance have been organised. It has held dialogues with various global think-tanks. Senior officials, including government and nongovernmental ones, from all over the world are invited for interactions. Since the think-tank has its own rules, many of its discussions are not made public.”

Modi has had a long association with the VIF. Sources reveal that he constantly took counsel from this institute regarding economic and security issues when he was the Gujarat chief minister. In fact, the VIF core team helped Modi draft the blueprint of his election campaign.

“We were confident that Modi would be elected as prime minister,” says a VIF member. “That’s why we had been working on developing foreign, security and economic policies, etc. During the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, he was provided all the necessary inputs on various issues by the VIF. In fact, the major intellectual inputs for his political campaign in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu was organised by the foundation.”

Sources in the foundation confirm Modi’s affinity towards VIF, which prominent BJP and Sangh Parivar leaders approach for inputs on governance issues.

The links between Modi and the VIF became apparent last year. When Congress leaders attacked Modi in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, Doval jumped to his defence. The then VIF director argued that Ishrat was a member of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Congress-led UPA government was politicising the whole matter.

In the run-up to the General Election, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal alleged that under Modi’s watch, industrialists made huge profits in Gujarat, while no actual development had taken place in the state.

Following the accusation, a group named Concerned Citizens sprang to life and came out with a statement that AAP was making unsubstantiated allegations in a bid to help the Congress in the General Election. The members included Doval, author MV Kamath, journalist MJ Akbar, former Jammu & Kashmir governor SK Sinha, former bureaucrat MN Buch and economist Bibek Debroy. It was clearly part of the foundation’s strategy.

The VIF’s major achievement has been the building up of an anti-UPA (read anti- Congress) atmosphere in the past few years. Sources close to the foundation claim that VIF members played a significant role in mobilising the anti-corruption movement across the country in 2011.

“In April 2011, the decision to create an anti-corruption forum under Baba Ramdev was taken here,” reveals a VIF member on the condition of anonymity. “It had been planned for almost a year.In collaboration with KN Govindacharya’s Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan, the foundation organised a two-day seminar on black money and corruption on 1 April 2011. Baba Ramdev, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi attended the programme. At the end of the seminar, an anti-corruption front was formed with Baba Ramdev as patron and Govindacharya as organiser. The members included Ajit Doval, Bhishm Agnihotri (ambassador-at-large to the US when the NDA was in power), Prof R Vaidyanathan from IIM Bangalore, Ved Pratap Vaidik, journalist and Baba Ramdev’s close aide, and (author and financial expert) S Gurumurthy.”

imgMeanwhile, Govindacharya organised a meeting between Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev. VIF members devised a strategy that both of them will push the anti-corruption movement forward. Three days after the seminar, Hazare began a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar. By the end of April, Ramdev had also announced an anti-UPA protest on 4 June at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi.

Rumour has it that the plan to corner the Congress was allegedly drafted by VIF at the behest of the BJP and the RSS. On one hand, Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev were raking up the corruption issue and protesting against the government. On the other hand, the BJP was adding fuel to fire. This is why senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh kept referring to the anti-corruption movement as an RSS conspiracy. But as the movement reached its peak and the UPA government came up with absurd steps to tackle the situation, nobody paid him any heed.

The VIF’s alleged links with the RSS has come in handy for Modi’s critics. Sangh leaders regularly visit the VIF, while RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and BJP leader LK Advani actively engage with it. Recently, Bhagwat was at the VIF to release former diplomat OP Gupta’s book Defining Hindutva. Since the VIF emerged out of the Vivekananda Kendra, critics believe it would be a mistake to consider the VIF separate from the RSS.

“VIF is an RSS project,” says a critic. “The first thing you notice when you enter the building is a photograph of Eknath Ranade. VIF is filled with right-wing officials. As they were marginalised intellectually, they created their own think-tank. It is a desperate attempt to get acknowledged in the intellectual world. If it is not so, then why does the RSS chief keep visiting the VIF?”

The critic provides some examples of the VIF’s alleged right-wing bias. “When the controversy over Wendy Doniger’s book The Hindus: An Alternative History erupted, Senior Fellow Makkhan Lal wrote that the incident has provided pseudo-secularists and anti-Hindus an opportunity to play their old trick where, in the name of freedom of speech, they bitterly criticise the Hindus,” he says. “While analysing the Lok Sabha election mandate, joint-director Prabhat Shukla wrote that the results were the outcome of the exploitation of Hindus, which has been going on for decades. Another fellow, Anirban Ganguly, wrote in his research paper titled Man and Environment in India: Past Traditions and Present Challenges about how Hinduism is intrinsically aware of the natural surroundings and that the tradition finds mention in the Vedas andArthashastra. If it is not right-wing ideology, then what is?”

However, KG Suresh, editor of the foundation’s magazine Patrika, rubbishes such allegations. “I don’t understand why there is so much negative reporting,” he says. “A picture is being projected as if everyone in the foundation is roaming around in khakis. It is wrong to link the foundation with the RSS. We are totally apolitical. Neither the BJP nor the RSS is funding us.

“We are neither pro-BJP nor anti- Congress. When the UPA was in power, we backed the government on the Devyani Khobragade issue. Similarly, we supported the UPA in the land swap deal with Bangladesh, while the Opposition raised a furore. Hence, it is wrong to call us anti- Congress. It is true that the top leadership of the BJP and the RSS take inputs from us on various issues, but even Congress leaders participate in our seminars.”

Verma is also at pains to emphasise that the VIF has no political leanings. “The think-tank is absolutely non-political and secular,” he says. “It has nothing to do with the RSS. The sole objective of the foundation is to find solutions to the various challenges before the country.

“I don’t look at the RSS the same way as the Congress does. What wrong is the RSS doing? It is only trying to restore the esteem of the Hindu community. Those who don’t understand it, abuse the Sangh. It is establishing the ancient sanskritik principles. It’s doing good work.

“When Swami Vivekananda delivered his speech in Chicago in 1893, it caught the world’s attention. But he was criticised for giving rise to a new Hinduism. If even Vivekananda is not considered secular, then who can be considered so?”

Agrees Maroof Raza, a consultant and strategic affairs expert with Times Now, who regularly participates in various programmes organised by the foundation. “Although there are rumours about VIF’s association with the RSS, no right-wing bias has come to light,” he says. “In fact, the foundation is doing excellent work.”

To buttress his point, Verma adds, “Recently, we organised a conference on the Kashmir issue and members from the PDP, Congress and National Conference took part in the discussion. (Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind chief ) Maulana Mahmood Madani also visited the foundation recently. So has the head of Pakistan’s Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Maulana Fazlur Rehman. Even the Dalai Lama has attended several programmes here.”

Adds another VIF member, “When the UPA was in power, many PMO officials attended our seminars. In fact, minister Kumari Selja came here to release a book.”

Shedding light on the VIF’s objectives, Verma says, “Among significant issues taken up by the foundation, one is to present the correct cultural, traditional and spiritual aspects of India. We have studied from books that offered a distorted version of our history. Today, we learn history from books prepared by the British and (Thomas) Macaulay. Their objective was to make us feel inferior and destroy our fundamental Indian values. We need to know our actual history and the foundation is working towards it. The history of India is being rewritten in 10-11 volumes, of which half are ready.

“It was necessary to establish VIF. The situation was such that whenever someone talked about Indian culture, Leftist intellectuals would dismiss him or her. They felt he or she was preaching Hinduism. The Leftist historians see RSS conspiracy in anything that involves culture.”

Adds Suresh, “Indian history must be nationalised. The Left has already been marginalised politically. Now, it will be marginalised intellectually. We had been on the margins so far, now it is their turn.”

Another VIF member echoes the sentiment. “Most of the think-tanks are governed by Leftists,” he says. “Ours is a platform for non-Leftists and nationalists who were considered untouchables in the intellectual world.”

On the subject of funding, Verma says, “This institute is funded by people from all over the world. It is not funded by any government organisation. People like you and me fund it.” In 2013, VIF reportedly received donations worth 1.5 crore.

Verma rubbishes allegations that the Sangh Parivar played a part in the appointment of Doval and Misra, saying that their elevation was made purely on merit. “I know the bureaucracy inside out,” says Verma. “I can declare with conviction that they have no match in the entire civil services. Just as they say about Modi, there is nobody like Doval.”

But are they not close to the Sangh Parivar? “Doval is a completely apolitical person,” he replies. “Yes, personally he may have cultural preferences, but in public life, he is very professional.”

As VIF basks in the newfound limelight, foreign dignitaries are making a beeline to the think-tank. Just days after Doval’s elevation, two Chinese delegations came calling. The same day, a 17-member British team, including Royal College of Defence Studies commandant David Bill, visited the place. Later, a delegation from the US Army War College held discussions with VIF’s security experts on nuclear weapons. Experts from the French Atomic Energy Agency and diplomats also paid a visit to discuss various matters, including security issues.

As more and more VIF members join the Narendra Modi sarkar, it is a no-brainer that the think-tank will play a key role in formulating the country’s foreign, economic and security policies.

Translated from Tehelka Hindi by Naushin Rehman

[email protected]

Related posts

Narendra Modi and the mystery of the Hindu Left

There is still a huge political vacuum – a need gap, in free market terms – for the Hindu Left
A file photo of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Photo: Mint<br /><br />
A file photo of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Photo: Mint
We have the Christian Right and the Christian Left, the Muslim Right and the Muslim Left. But in the case of Hinduism, we only ever speak of the Hindu Right, never a Hindu Left. How come? Indian academic Ruth Vanita posed the same question in an essay in Seminar magazine (2002), titled Whatever happened to the Hindu Left?
Vanita’s answer can be summarized as follows: In the 19th century, the Hindu religion, under attack from the British rulers and their missionaries, responded with what Ashis Nandy has called a process of Christianization. This meant, among other things, a turn to monotheism, and a single text. Reformist Hindu organizations such as the Arya Samaj and Ramakrishna Mission, which were left of centre in their social agendas and fought for causes such as women’s education and against untouchability, “felt compelled to also renounce polytheism and idol-worship” because they were regarded by their colonial rulers as primitive and backward.
So the modern Hindu Left intellectual would not want to be seen embracing or endorsing such “backward” Hindu practices as idol worship even though, notes Vanita, they could be seen migrating “en masse to Durga Puja celebrations”. Once the Hindu religion as such came to be associated with regressive practices, public ownership of it became an embarrassment – a marker of pre-modern irrationality. As a consequence, all criticism of Hinduism from a standpoint of critical modernity began to shift to the discursive space of secularism, and became conflated with criticism of religion as such. The one big exception to this rule was Mahatma Gandhi.
It was Gandhi’s left-wing Hinduism, characterized by his crusade against untouchability and political stand in favour of equal rights for minorities that pitted him against the right-wing Hinduism of the Hindu Mahasabha. One might say that, with his assassination by the Hindu Right, the Hindu Left more or less disappeared from the national scene. But actually, things are a little more complicated than that.
By 1937, 10 years before the Partition, the Congress had essentially become a Hindu party – 97% of its members were Hindu. Indeed, had it been a truly secular party, there would have been no need for Partition. After independence, the Congress, thanks primarily to Jawaharlal Nehru, felt compelled to don two left-of-centre masks — the mask of secularism in the political domain, and the mask of socialism in the economic domain.
But obviously, notwithstanding its secular phenotype, the Congress, in its genotype, was a party of Hindus, which was why the Hindu Right had to wait for four decades to gain electoral traction. Plus it was also a party of the trading castes and the landed aristocracy.
Once the lower castes began to make their presence felt in the political arena, the Hindu upper castes needed a political formation that would represent their interests and keep the former in check. This is where the Bharatiya Janata Party stepped in. But this also meant that the Congress had to make a choice: should it remain tied to its masks, or throw them off and shine in its true colours?
For all practical purposes, the political position represented by an “unmasked Congress” has been usurped by the BJP, which is not averse, as pointed out by Vanita, to dislocating the caste tensions within Hinduism onto other religious minorities. But what is significant is that even a self-proclaimed right-wing Hindu party like the BJP feels compelled to wear a Leftist mask when it comes to the economic agenda: the party will not dare to speak to its voters with the same tongue as it does with its upper caste, business class backers. Two examples from the BJP’s 2009 manifesto will suffice (its 2014 manifesto is not yet ready).
Here is something for all those who had a field day bashing the UPA for passing the food security bill: “The BJP believes people have the right to food. To ensure food security for all and eliminate hunger, we will: 1. Provide 35 kg of rice or wheat every month to BPL families at Rs2 per kg…; 2. Allocate more funds for expanding, universalizing and improving the functioning of the Public Distribution System.”
And this is the BJP’s official line on FDI in retail: “The BJP understands the critical importance of retail trade in the context of employment and services provided by them (sic), and thus favours a dominant role for the unincorporated sector in retail trade. Towards this end, it will not (italics mine) allow foreign investment in the retail sector.”
As for the Congress, though it is nominally left of centre on the economic agenda, its substantive policies – a seeming sop like the watered down food security bill notwithstanding – are right of centre, as its legacy of economic reforms attest. But there has never been – and never will be — a democratic mandate for the right-wing economic agenda in India, which is why the UPA has had to resort to “reforms by stealth” . So no matter how rightwing you are in your political agenda, on the economic front, you have to be seen to be on the left unless you want to commit electoral hara-kiri. The Congress knows this, which is why it pushed through the food security bill.
What all this means is that there is still a huge political vacuum – a need gap, in free market terms – for the Hindu Left. A political formation that combines a genuinely Hindu religiosity – marked by pluralism and a respect for minorities – with an economic agenda oriented towards employment-generation rather than creating “an ideal investment climate”, is bound to resonate with an electorate tired of having to choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee at the national level.
But unfortunately, the secular Left has been fanatical in branding any political configuration with a Hindu touch as “communalist”. Even Hindu intellectuals who are vociferous critics of Hindutva politics are careful to launch their attacks from a platform of secular liberalism. They rarely, if ever, criticize Hindutva from a space within Hinduism even though they might be practicing Hindus. This cedes the entire political and social space of Hinduism – from the extreme left to the extreme right – to the Hindutva brigade, which is happy to claim it all as its own.
So, we are in a curious situation today where, even as the secular Left is still bogged down by its differences with Gandhi, the Hindu Right has become brazen enough to claim Gandhi as its spokesperson . Ramachandra Guha has spoken about how “the Left and the liberals have allowed the Hindu Right to hijack patriotism” . But what dyed-in-the-wool liberals and upper caste Hindu intellectuals do not talk about is how the Left and the liberals have allowed the Hindu Right to hijack the Hindu Left.
And the Hindu Left has a long and worthy tradition – going back to the Bhakti movement, with a continuous lineage all the way from the Nayanmars and Alwars to Kabir, Meera Bai, Surdas, Tulsidas, Namdev, Tukaram, Tyagaraja, and many others right till the arrival of Ramakrishna Paramahansa in the 19th century. All of them preached the equivalence of all faiths and were critics of the caste system, untouchability, and brahminical rituals. Hindu reformist movements like the Arya Samaj drew inspiration from this tradition. And in the 20th century, the Hindu Left found its most potent visionary in Mahatma Gandhi, who left his mark as a social reformer, as a politician, and as a sant.
A decade has passed since the publication of Vanita’s essay. India finds itself at the crossroads in terms of its political future. There is a concerted effort on the part of the Hindu Right in alliance with the secular Right to hard sell a mutilated, diseased version of the idea of India, whose most remarkable feature is a seamless integration of Hindu supremacy and corporate supremacy. And Narendra Modi is the emblem of this vision of India. That is why any attack on Modi is intolerable for his backers – for it is also an attack on the idea of India propagated by the socio-political alliance of the Hindu Indian Right and the Secular Indian Right.
Interestingly, some rightwing commentators have branded Modi as “the anti-Nehru”. From a Hindu Left standpoint, Modi is actually the anti-Hindu. But the fact that this perspective on Modi is rarely to be heard underlines how completely the Hindu Left has withdrawn from public discourse.
In this context, it is significant that Vanita concludes her essay by calling upon liberal and leftist Hindus to “acknowledge their Hindu identity and speak in defense of Hindu heritage”, which belongs not only to all Hindus, but to all Indians, and to the world as a whole. She writes, “…liberal and leftist Hindus have an equal right and perhaps an obligation now to claim that heritage before it gets further eroded and destroyed by its self-styled champions.”
Indeed, India’s Hindus as well as its multitudinous minorities are still waiting for a credible Hindu Left formation that will not only reclaim Hinduism from its self-styled champions, but also reclaim secularism from its cynical flag-bearers. But for that to happen, the secular Left must distinguish the Hindu Left from the Hindu Right, and while continuing to oppose to the latter, ally itself with the former.
More Topics: 
Also Read
Narendra Modi represents the comprehensive philosophical counter to the Nehruvian consensus<br /><br />
Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts

Open letter to Chief Justice Bombay High Court on Fraud Nirmal Baba

Nirmal Baba

( PIC COURTSEY- desicomments.com )

To

The Hon’ble Chief Justice, Mohit S Shah

Subject- An Appeal under Art 51 A of the Indian Constitution

I write to you as a Citizen Of India under my fundamental duty ,  mentioned in  Article 51-A of the  Indian constitution  for  developing the scientific temper, and voicing against superstition, and blind beliefs .

Below is come excerpts of the Delhi High court judgment by Honble  Justice  Kailash Gambhir in  NIRMALJIT SINGH NARULA vs SH. YASHWANT SINGH & ORS  (I.A. No.10017/ 2012 in CS(OS) 1518/2012)

 

“Our country was perceived as the land of the sadhus and saints since time immemorial…Though we have come a long way…the mystical sadhus and the god-men have not left the picture, the difference may be that some of the sadhus travel by a private jet and have a turnover worth [tens of millions.]”

‘The question is, whether such spiritual babas in their lectures or discourses can suggest solutions which are absurd, irrational, illogical, unfathomable and unacceptable. advising his disciples in the Samagams and through media, millions of people watching television to open black purses at the time of showering of his blessings then the same will result in inflow of money to them and likewise to tell people to eat Rabri, Masala Dosa or Paani Poori to overcome their miseries, are the kind of solutions which are highly irrational, weird and unacceptable to commonsensical notions, bound to result in backlash by the media and other such agencies. ( Para 27 of the Judgment)

 The videos of Nirma Babas Samagam  also depict the various cures and remedies propagated by him. It would be pertinent here to quote at least one of them:

“Baba: puri chhole khaye kabhi?

Bakht: ji baba ji khaye hain

Baba: Aisa karo puri chhole baba ko yad kar do char garibo

ko khila do, prabhu ki zyada kripaa ayegi.” (para 28 )

 

The above instance is only one odd out of the basket and any prudent person with average intelligence would be in rapt disbelief if such a remedy would get him rid of the difficulties he is facing in his life. Primafacie, these do not appear as logical to a rational mind but the whole edifice of this God market and its nuances is based on the belief system of people. This court cannot help but sound a word of caution that this sudden resurgence of the babas who claims to have mystical powers and give all kind of illogical solutions to overcome the miseries of people has amplified and glorified superstition and has turned the clock back of development in our country. ( Para 29 )

Who is Nirmal Baba

Nirmal Baba, former name Nirmaljit Singh Nirula, was born in 1952 in Samana, India, near Patiala Punjab, to a Namdhari Sikh family and is the youngest of two brothers and three sisters. He grew up in Palamau, Jharkhand after his parents shifted there in the Fifties. He is married to Sushma Narula and has a daughter and a son. Nirmaljit Singh began his brick kiln business in 1981. However, he suffered losses and following this, he started a cloth shop but again failed in his venture. He was then involved in mining of Kyanite from Jyoti Hill, Jharkhand in 1998–1999.He claims to have attained nirvana in a Jharkhand jungle in the 1980s. He then cut his Sikh hair, shaved off his beard and adopted the name Nirmal Baba.[1]

 

Nirmal Darbar  is the name of the paid televised show corresponding to each public meeting of Baba. This show was broadcast by approximately 40 different channels including AXNTV AsiaStar NewsSAB TV and more.[2] During these Darbars, he makes public appearances and converses with aggrieved devotees who usually narrated their personal, social or financial worries to him. He asks questions to diagnose what has stopped “kirpa” (God’s kindness) from flowing in the devotees’ lives. He then, advises them on those issues publicly and suggested “solutions” to make “kirpa” (God’s kindness) flow in the devotees’ lives again thereby solving their problems. Nirmal Baba also claims to save his devotees from negative effects of black magic and evil spirits. All the Samagam meetings havetickets for  Rs 2,000.[3] The tagline of the show is “Yantra chale na tantra mantra, na rahe dukhon ka ghera. Bhagya uday ho jayega jab ho, Nirmal Baba aashirwad tera.” meaning “Even when objects representing aspects of divine and mystical hymns and sounds having special meanings fail, good luck can be awakened in a person’s life by blessings of Nirmal Baba . He  also asks his followers to deposit a part of income to someone which may give a sort of guarantee for continuing KRIPA. That part of income which has been offered is called Daswand.

Complaints and Cases against Nirmal Baba

In April 2012 various news papers published news about Nirmal Baba’s bank accounts. He advertised on 35 channels. On every congregation (darbar) around 5,000 are believed to be present. Each person has to pay Rs 2,000 to be a part of it. This amounts to a staggering figure of around Rs 1 crore from every darbar he organizes. It is believed that around 7 such darbars are conducted every month which takes the stats to Rs 84 crores per year. This not the end to it.He also gives group appointments, conducts pujas, takes donations etc. Every devotee of his, who is healed of his problems, has to pay 1/10th of his earnings. Plus thousands shell out a lot from their kitty to free themselves from the problems which Baba claims to solve.
A Hindi daily, Prabhat Khabar, exposed the  details of two of these accounts. As per the newspaper, Rs 109 crore have been deposited in these two accounts this year (until first week of April 2012). Roughly, everyday Rs 1.11 crores are deposited into these accounts. Although a large part of the deposit comes from Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand, but transactions take place from all over the country. Prabhat Khabar states that Rs 16 crore were deposited into Nirmal Baba’s account on April 12, 2012.

Nirmal Baba told to media that he has  been paying my income tax regularly. His  annual turnover is Rupees 235 Crore. Nirmal Baba bought hotel worth Rs 30 crore in Delhi’s Greater Kailash Area using the money donated to him by his devotees, according to a Jharkhand daily.[4]

In an another controversy two youngsters, Tanaya Thakur and Aritya Thakur, filed a report against self-proclaimed godman Nirmal Baba at a police station on  April 11, 2012 . They wanted  the Baba  be punished for allegedly cheating ordinary people through his “impractical” solutions. The written report said Nirmal Baba cheats common people by claiming godly powers. The report said his activities fuel superstitious thoughts and are a “hindrance to modernistic thoughts”.[5]

Also, Nidhi, a junior-artist who has worked in many TV serials, claimed that Nirmal Baba shot many of his programmes in Film City, Noida, UP and surprisingly the people who asked questions were not the ‘genuine’ ones but ‘fake’ people hired by Nirmal Baba. According to Nidhi, she got Rs 10,000 from Nirmal Baba for asking questions. [6]

First FIR was registered against godman Nirmal Baba in Bihar, on April 22, 2012. The FIR was filed at a police station in Bihar’s Araria district, and accused Nirmal Baba of fraud and cheating. [7] The court of Araria Chief Judicial Magistrate Satyendra Razak then issued a warrant of arrest on the basis of an FIR filed  by complainant who alleged that the Baba forced him to pay Rs. 1,000 in three installments between January and March 2011 on promise of fame and fortune. In his complaint, Singh also sent by courier counterfoils of the deposits of Rs 300 twice and Rs 400 in the Baba’s account at the Punjab and National Bank to his Delhi address as sought .According to Araria Superintendent of Police Shivdeep Lande, the accusation was found prima facie true following which he directed the investigating officer to move the court and seek a warrant of arrest.[8]

In Uttar Pradesh , three cases have been filed against controversial  Godman, Nirmaljeet Singh for alleged fraud and cheating.A case was filed against Baba and his wife in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate in Meerut for alleged fraud. The complainant, Harish Veer Singh, claimed that on Baba’s advice he ate ‘kheer’, which led to a health problem. In another police case filed at Indira Puram here, one Jai Ram Singh alleged that Nirmal Baba cheated him of Rs 31,000 by promising cure to his ailment, but he found no relief. In third case, One Jitender Singh filed a police complaint against Baba for allegedly cheating him of Rs 11,000 for curing his health problem . He claimed that he developed regular pain in his body after he ate ‘Pani-Poori’ for months following Baba’s advice. He alleged he had deposited Rs 11,000 in Baba’s bank account, but when he demanded more money, he decided to lodge complaint against the controversial Godman.[9]

In Madhya Pradesh , on a  complaint filed by Bina resident Surendra Vishwakarma,  local court issued a non-bailable arrest warrant, and directed police to produce him on June 25., 2012 . However, the police could not find the controversial Godman on his Delhi address. The  Madhya Pradesh High Court granted him an anticipatory bail. Justice G S Solanki of High Court asked him to execute a personal bond of Rs 50,000. A magistrate’s court at Bina had rejected Baba’s application seeking exemption from personal appearance .Vishwakarma has accused Baba of “cheating and hurting personal sentiments”. As per the complaint, Vishwakarma kept Rs 2,000 in a black purse so that his finances may improve, on Baba’s instructions. However, he lost the purse with the money, he alleged.[10]

Please do see the news report, where the above complainants talk about their complaints

Here is  another  Aaj Tak  interview of  Nirmal Baba

In  June 2012, Following a strong stand taken by Indian Broadcasting Federation asking its member channels to stop telecast of Nirmal Baba’s show Nirmal Darbar, the number of TV channels showing the show  dwindled from 36 to 19. A court in Madhya Pradesh  also issued an order asking stay on telecast of Nirmal Darbar. All the Nirmal Darbar programmes are paid shows on the channels, which runs into crores of rupees.[11]

 

The  self proclaimed , fraud God man is exploiting people who are in search of easy solutions to their agonies be it relating to health, poverty, unemployment, disharmony in the family etc . Nirmal Baba  is  s preading blind faith in the society, with his preachings under title of  ‘Third Eye of Nirmal Baba’ in his samagams , where he asks people to follow his preachings and guidelines to become rich and get rid of all problems in life, while his only motive is to make money.  He has no degree in religious teachings, and spreads fear among people by claiming that he has supernatural powers and asking them “to deposit ten per cent of their income in his bank account to receive his blessings.

I am a votary of  Freedom of Expression and  Speech and  am not asking for any curtailment of speech, but  I  amd asking for an intervention from  the Honble  High Court, that a  caution  be displayed , at all his ‘ samagams’, and public meetings, darbars  venues ,  so that people know what they are listening to — in the nature of a  Statutory Warning.

His next  Samagam in Mumbai as per his website is on April 8, 9 and  2013[12].

Please consider this as a petition against fraud and blind belief.

Sincerely

Kamayani Bali Mahabal

Feminist and Human Rights Activist

Mumbai

Dated- March 16, 2013


[1] www.nirmalbaba.com

[2] http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/NAT-TOP-plotting-nirmal-babas-rise-on-the-web-3108745.html?HF-2=

[3] www.nirmalbaba.com

[4] http://m.oneindia.in/news/2012/04/16/nirmal-baba-donations-buy-rs-1-8-cr-flat-30cr-hotel.html

[5] http://www.newsbullet.in/india/34-more/28574-star-news-exclusive-hard-facts-about-nirmal-baba

[6] http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/NAT-TOP-ask-fake-question-and-get-rs-10000-from-nirmal-baba-3102181.html

[7] http://zeenews.india.com/news/bihar/first-fir-registered-against-nirmal-baba_771060.html

[8] http://www.siasat.com/english/news/hc-stays-nirmal-baba%E2%80%99s-arrestnext-hearing-june-18

[9] http://www.indianexpress.com/news/cheating-fraud-cases-against-nirmal-baba-in-up/938268

[10] http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-06-26/indore/32424181_1_personal-bond-godman-arrest-warrant

[11] http://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/nirmal-baba-show-discontinued-16432.html

[12] http://nirmalbaba.com/

Related posts

Children of god ?- Kuldip Nayar

Kuldip Nayar

Kuldip Nayar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

in Dailystar
When an Australian editor posed a question to the Indian press on why it never had a dalit, the untouchable, at a top position in journalism, I felt embarrassed. I considered it an omission which should have been rectified long ago and felt confident that it would happen before long.

But after noticing that no attention was paid a few days ago to the 121st anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a Gandhi for the dalits, I have come to believe that the discrimination against the dalits is a prejudice which would take many decades to wear off. They are at the lowest rung of the Hindu society which develops a bias against them at an early age and has no shame in perpetuating it.

The only thing to remind Dr. Ambedkar was a full-page advertisement sponsored by the central government in leading newspapers. There was also a small function around his portrait in the central hall of parliament which is out of bounds for an ordinary citizen. I did not see television channels showing any programme on Dr. Ambedkar, nor did I find any edit or article in any newspaper to recall his services.

Dr. Ambedkar is the framer of India‘s constitution and we owe the parliamentary system to him. This is enshrined in the constitution. I recall how boldly he stood in parliament to have a provision against untouchability, the bane of Hindu society, and how he expressed hope that the prejudice would disappear. Yet the upper caste has proved him wrong.

Reservations given to the Scheduled Castes, namely the dalits, are laid down in the constitution. But this was despite his opposition. He was against reservations which he compared with crutches by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and other Congress leaders prevailed upon him to accept the provision for 10 years.

Little did Dr. Ambedkar realise at that time that political parties on the one hand and the vested interests among dalits, particularly the creamy layer, on the other would go on prolonging reservations for electoral advantage. So demanding is this consideration that reservations are given extensions decade after decade without a debate in parliament.

The Hindu society should be grateful to Dr. Ambedkar that he and his followers embraced Buddhism. He had threatened to convert to Islam along with his dalit followers to escape discrimination. Mahatma Gandhi beseeched him and even threatened to go on fast unto death. Dr. Ambedkar bowed before the wishes of Gandhi but refused to return to the fold of Hinduism.

Even conversion has not helped the dalits. They are more or less treated in Islam, Christianity or Sikhism in the same way as in the Hindus society. The dalits carry the tag of discrimination and helplessness wherever they go, although the three religions claim equality for the followers. Therefore, the dalits have not escaped the rigours of caste system even outside Hinduism. The Sachar committee has pointed out the inhuman treatment meted out to them even when they have embraced Islam.

Gandhiji christened the dalit as Harijan, Son of god. But it reflected a patronizing attitude which the dailit scornfully rejected. Why the dalits, who constitute some 17% of India’s population, have continued to stay in the Hindu society despite all the insults heaped on them is beyond me. They have never revolted nor have they taken any step to harm the Hindu society which still does not give them even a modicum of individuality.

A few years ago some dalits, led by Kanshi Ram, constituted a political party of their own, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). It has won them political recognition but not social status. Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, despite corruption and her authoritarian trait, has given dalits the feeling that they can go to the police station and register complaints. They are offered even chairs as is the case with members of other communities. Home Minister P. Chidambaram‘s advice to dalits to join major parties to enjoy power does not mean much. They followed the Congress faithfully for 45 years. but their lot has remained the same as it was.

Even now the dalits carry night soil on their head. The government proposes to prohibit the practice which was contemplated 50 years ago. The home ministry issued instructions even at that time. Apparently, very little has happened since because the government is enacting a law to stop the practice. The dalits would do well if they were to refuse to carry night soil on their head. Yet they are economically so poor that they cannot afford to risk the livelihood.

At the same time, crimes against the dalits have not lessened. There is a proposal to give arms to them in what are called “atrocity prone areas.” Obviously, the government has failed to protect the dalits and their property. Unfortunately, the police force is also on the side of the landlords and other vested interests who treat the dalits as their subject like the maharaja used to do.

Official figures reveal that there is a huge backlog of cases relating to the atrocities committed against the dalits. Had the centre been serious about preventing atrocities against them it would have taken measures like special courts, fast track prosecution and steps to dispose of cases quickly. Strangely, the Patna High Court has acquitted all the 23 persons accused of perpetrating the massacre of 21 dalits at Bathani Tola in Bhojpur.

It should have been clear by now that no law or no government action can do away with the evil of untouchability. You cannot succeed if the mindset does not change. What the children have grown up with in the name of tradition or religion is prejudiced and cannot be effaced until the society is forced to give up bias which has got entrenched.

The country needs a social revolution. Alas, I do not find any meaningful movement to bring it about. Take, for example, the belief that girls are a burden. How many of them are killed either in womb or after birth is not possible to count. That it happens mostly in north India, particularly Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and UP is no solace.

A sustained effort to change the mindset and remove the clogs of superstition can make a dent into this widely prevailing evil. But no political party is interested in doing so. Nor are the activists because they are aiming at economic changes. Social problems are begging for attention.

The writer is an eminent Indian Journalist.

Related posts