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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

PFI claims it is 'peaceful, democratic' :PFI REJOINDER AND OUR REPLY

Sir, This letter is in response to the defamatory news published against Popular Front of India in page no. 7 of Organiser Weekly dated  March 18, 2012 titled as ‘PFI/NDF prime suspects in Delhi blast’. We strongly condemn the allegations levelled against  the Popular Front.
Your allegation as “The Popular Front of India (PFI), National Development Front (NDF), jehadi gang-up, which is behind several terrorist blasts in India and which is plotting riot on Kerala by butchering pregnant cow and placing buffalo head on temple lamps is the prime suspect of NIA, IB and RAW in the blast at Delhi targetting the Israel, Defence Attache’s wife Tal Yehoshua” are completely false and baseless. It is nothing but to terrorise and to mislead the readers.

$img_titleWe strongly condemn your allegation as charging us as “The NIA-IA-Raw feel that in three years, PFI/NDF had established Pan-India network with various jehadi groups, like SIMI” is clearly shows that your are cooking up such false stories, without mentioning the name of the officials. The question here arises is that how much credible is the information provided by some officer whose name itself could not be published in the news.

Since your slanderous news report has tarnished the image and reputation of our organisation, we request you to publish the full text of this rejoinder in next immediate issue of your weekly. We also bring to your notice that, unless our version is published with an apology, we will be compelled to initiate legal proceedings against  you and the newspaper.

KM Shareef,
General Secretary,
Popular Front of India
Our correspendent replies
With reference to my article on  March 18, 2012,  regarding NDF/PFI, I clarify as under:

a) My reference to NDF/PFI role in Delhi blast involving Israeli Attache’s wife was based on media reports originating at that time. The New Indian Express had at that time carried a report, ‘Delhi Car Blast: Clues Point to PFI’. Also in Sunday Express Magazine dated  March 4, 2012, it has been reported that PFI is the suspect of NIA/IB.
Police officials, politicians, etc. have also given their views on the PFI/NDF role in various extremist activities in this two page story.
Right from the nineties earlier Madhani, and after his arrest, NDF and other jehadi groups have been in the scanner of police, intelligence central agencies for various terrorist acts like Marad massacre, Beypore boat blast, Vagamon training before several blasts throughout India, export of terror to Kashmir where five Keralites were shot dead by Indian Army, love jehad, hand cutting of Professor, etc. Even in the Kasargod riots, army uniform march, etc. NDF/PFI is the prime suspect of police as per media reports. Earlier jehadi groups were under scanner of intelligence and defence agencies for training in estates, isolated islands in Kochi and attempt to blast INS VIRAAT, when it was anchored there.
b) Targetting of trains have been going on for quite some time. Brake pipes of trains were cut in Nilambur. Trains are regularly targetted in Kasargod district. It is by God’s grace and sheer luck that major mishaps have not taken place, despite stones, iron rods, etc. being placed on tracks.
c)When the going went tough ISS changed to PDP and ex-ISS men to NDF to PFI to SDPI. There are media/police reports that they are also linked to banned SIMI.
Anyway the report was based on media reports on current events, appearing at that time and not a creation of Organiser.
Scanned copies of newspaper cutting (some) are sent for your reference.

Honorable Secretary of State, Ms. Clinton: Our Life is a living Hell...

About Petition
Almost three-quarters of women from Pakistan's Hindu communities have faced sexual harassment while nearly half, complained of religious discrimination at workplaces, educational institutions and neighbourhoods. A report, prepared by the National Commission for Justice and Peace (Pakistan), states that about 74 per cent of the Hindu women faced sexual harassment.
Pakistan was created as an Islamic nation in 1947, and religious minorities are treated as second class citizens under the country’s Islamic laws. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of Hindus have been converted to Islam, and many more have been forced to flee the country. In 1971 alone, the Pakistani Army was blamed for the genocide of over one million of Hindus in erstwhile East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh).
Pakistan Hindu Post requests YOUR support in urging Pakistan, to urgently act to prevent further discrimination and victimization of the Hindu community, especially Hindu women. The slow and steady dissolution of the Hindu minority has to stop.

This petition is addressed to Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, US Department of State.
CC-ed to:
Ambassador Sherry Rehman, Embassy of Pakistan, Washington D.C
Judith E. Golub, Director of Government Relations, USCIRF
Ambassador Suzan D Johnson-Cook, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State; Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
## click on the second tab above, to read the entire petition letter ##

Prevent coerced conversion of Hindus in Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Honorable Secretary of State, Ms. Clinton,

Hindus in Pakistan have been subjected to rampant human rights abuses and severe restrictions on their religious freedom since the creation of the Islamic State of Pakistan in 1947. Systematic legal and institutional discrimination, kidnappings, physical attacks and intimidation, rapes, forced conversions to Islam, and forced marriages of Hindu girls to Muslim men have vastly diminished the Hindu population from approximately 25% to 2% in the past 65 years. The recent rise in Islamic fundamentalism throughout Pakistan and the government's inability and/or unwillingness to protect Hindus has created an atmosphere of fear and insecurity, depriving Hindus of their basic right to live in the land of their forefathers.

A quintessential example is the case of Rinkel Kumari, a 17-year old Hindu girl from the town of Mirpur Mathelo who was kidnapped on February 24, 2012. Notably, the man behind Rinkel’s abduction – Mian Abdul Haq – is a Member of the National Assembly from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Her abduction by a member of the ruling PPP demonstrates the government's complicity in such kidnappings.

Furthermore, the judicial system has failed to provide justice to Rinkel or her family, and the Supreme Court has delayed a decision in her case until April 18. She has been ordered to stay in a women's shelter until then, despite her pleas to return to her parents.

The same week Rinkel was kidnapped three other Hindu girls were kidnapped, forcibly converted, and married to Muslim men, including a physician who worked at a well-known hospital in Karachi. The female physician, Dr. Lata, was forcibly married to a Muslim man who previously kidnapped and converted 4 Hindu wives. Since Rinkel was kidnapped just over a month ago dozens of other Hindu girls in Pakistan have been either kidnapped or are reported missing.

According to the Pakistan Hindu Council, a social organization in Pakistan, and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, at least 25 Hindu girls are reported kidnapped and forcible converted to Islam each month in Pakistan. However, when considering the number of cases that go unreported, the actual number of Hindu girls kidnapped every month is significantly higher. This recent increase in brutality toward the Hindu community has caused thousands of Hindus to emigrate from their native land of Pakistan and flee to neighboring India in the last year alone.

Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, recently wrote directly to Pakistan’s President, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, demanding justice for Rinkel Kumari. It is imperative that other U.S. Congressmen and the State Department join Congressman Sherman in exerting pressure on the Pakistani government to provide justice not only to Rinkel, but also to the other young Hindu girls who are routinely kidnapped, subjected to violent torture and intimidation, and forcefully converted to Islam. The religious liberty of these young girls and their families must be protected and their legal rights upheld by the court system without interference from Islamic fundamentalists and gangs threatening them with violence and death.

The U.S. provides billions of dollars in military and economic assistance to Pakistan every year, and must demand that the Pakistani government provide basic fundamental human rights and equal protection under the law to all their citizens.

The statistic from the last paragraph is from this site:

This petition is also CC-ed to :

Ambassador Sherry Rehman, Embassy of Pakistan, Washington D.C

Judith E. Golub, Director of Government Relations, USCIRF

Ambassador Suzan D Johnson-Cook, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State; Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

[Your name]

Assam MLA Rumi Nath leaves husband, converts to Islam to marry Facebook friend

Assam MLA Rumi Nath leaves husband, converts to Islam to marry Facebook friend

Vikas Sharma [ Updated 28 May 2012, 09:09:16 ]
Assam MLA Rumi Nath leaves husband, converts to Islam to marry Facebook friend

Guwahati, May 28: A serious controversy has begun in Assam Congress politics after the MLA from Borkhola Dr Rumi Nath suddenly left her husband and two-year-old daughter  and eloped with her Facebook friend Jackie Zakir to convert to Islam before marrying him.
CRPF troops have been deployed in and around Silchar to thwart any attempt at communal violence because of this conversion.

Rumi’s first husband Rakesh Kumar Singh lodged an FIR  with police alleging that Rumi was kidnapped from Silchar Medical College and Hospital where she had gone for a medical check-up. 

The 32-year old MLA had disappeared on May 13 from the hospital and resurfaced after a few hours, claiming that she had converted to Islam in order to marry Zakir, a low-grade employee of the Social Welfare department.

Rumi Nath said her new name after conversion was Rabeya Sultana.

Rakesh however claimed that Rumi had not married Zakir and that she was forced to make such comments before the media.

Meanwhile, Zakir's father Faizur Rahman, a former police officer, made it clear that his family would never accept Rumi as their daughter-in-law.

Rahman has also lodged an FIR in Badarpur Police Station about his son’s disappearance.

Rumi has a two-year old daughter, Ritambhara, from her  marriage with Rakesh Singh.

Rumi’s reported marriage with Zakir has cause widespread outrage  among the Hindu community in Silchar.

Gairik Bharat, a saffron outfit, burnt her the effigy to protest the conversion. Other Hindu organizations  are also planning protests over this iner-community marriage It has been alleged that an Assam minister Siddique Ahmad was instrumental in the 'nikah' (marriage) of Rumi Nath. He provided two qazis to conduct the Islamic wedding.

In a statement, Dr Rumi Nath said: "I want to clarify that I was not under any compulsion to convert to Islam and marry my friend Zakir.

I am staying willingly with my husband Zakir. Our minister Siddique saheb arranged the two qazis, Qazi Usman Ali and Qazi Nazrul Islam for the marriage. I want to thank him for his help. I have not married under any compulsion."

Rumi met Jackie Zakir on the Facebook last month and they became friends. The two then decided to marry. 

Sonia's Christian only politics damaging Congress

It seems the UPA government is determined that any institutions it touches, it will besmirch the image and bring down its prestige by a few notches. The chief reason for this is the choice of persons it makes for heading the institutions. The latest is the controversy regarding an extended term for Leela Samson as Director, Kalakshetra. She has been heading it since 2005.
Since then she has a go at least two other major government appointments – Chairman of Sangeet Natak Academy and the Chairman Central Board for Film Certification, popularly known as Censor Board. Other than these, she is a full time artist, performs and teaches Bharatnatyam and runs a school of dance. In fact, following her appointment to the SNA, while she was Director Kalakshetra, the vice chairman, renowned theatre personality resigned protesting the violation of the one-man one-post rule espoused by the Centre. There is no dearth of artists in this country to appoint to these institutions, whether it is SNA or Kalakshetra.
What is most disturbing is the reason why persons are being chosen by the UPA government. It searches for people with non-Hindu credentials. Leela Samson has the added qualification in her CV. She taught Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Bharatnatyam!
And what does Leela Samson do when she takes over Kalakshetra? She sets about meticulously erasing all Hindu symbols and rituals from the campus, from the certificates, invitations and all possible other expressions. The tone and tenor of teaching changes. Emphasis shifts from the core strength of Kalakshetra – classical dance and music – to a bit of theatre, films, book launches and entertainment events. The accompanying two images show the change. This is what they are doing with all cultural institutions De-Hinduise. The image of Lord Ganesha has been replaced with a more ‘secular’ image. To begin with, Kalakshetra was not a Hindu set up, given Rukminidevi Arundale’s Theosophical leanings. But she was definitely not non-Hindu or anti-Hindu in her approach. She accepted and respected the rituals and practices in the larger matrix of Hindu culture. But Leela Samson, who never tires of boasting about learning from Rukminidevi, goes about demolishing all that.
Leela Samson is only one in the long list of hand-picked minority appointments the UPA government has been making under the combine of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi. Let us do a head-count. The Prime Minister of India, the Vice President of India, the Chief Election Commissioner of India, the Chairman Planning Commission, the incoming Army Chief, the incumbent Navy Chief, the foreign secretary, NHRC Chairman, the Attorney General of India, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister are all minorities. It is not possible that these were mere coincidences and not deliberate. So many crypto-Christians, like late Rajasekhara Reddy, Jagan Reddy, Ambika Soni, we cannot identify at first glance and the list is endless. Most of these people named have been nominated by a single source, sometime, in preference to other equally, if not more, qualified persons. Even in the case of Hindus appointed, there is Christian connection in their personal relations like Anand Sharma, Satish Sharma, Navin Chawla, Manmohan Singh, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Prithviraj Chavan, Amrinder Singh etc. This aspect seems to have been all important qualification. So much so that now it has become public talk. 
Under Sonia’s Congress, in the past seven years three committees were appointed to study and find remedy for Uttar Pradesh. And all of them were headed by AK Antony, a man who is not fluent in any tongue other than his native Malayalam. That is the level of trust quotient Sonia places on her co-religionists.
Sam Pitroda is in as many crucial committees as one can imagine. Ahmed Patel is Sonia's political adviser. Sonia's core team consists of AK Antony, Oscar Fernandes, V George, Salman Khurshid, Margret Alva, KV Thomas, Vyalar Ravi, Tom Vadakkan and PJ Kurian.
The entire debate on the names for the next President of India is revolving around the ‘right’ to have a minority as President. The political parties have made it some kind of unwritten code that one Hindu (even if only in name) President should be followed by a minority. Given the population proportion, the turn of one minority president would come only after four majority Presidents. Political parties of all hues are frantically searching only among minority names. The credential, the credibility, dignity and capability of the head of the state of over a billion people are all issues secondary to the religion of the nominee. What a travesty! And the media that sings paeans and panders to the ‘secular’ tune played by the politicians has not kicked up a serious debate on the issue.
Minority pandering and pleasing has become such a political compulsion that Baba Ramdev is talking about religion-based reservation to Muslims! That is a rather mean stab coming from a person who was hitherto seen as a nationalist Indian. 

Swamy condemns move of govt to challenge HC order on minority quotas

New Delhi: Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy on Monday condemned the government’s decision to challenge the Andhra Pradesh High Court order quashing the proposed 4.5 per cent reservation to minorities within the OBC quota. “I condemn the decision of the Union government to file a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court against the order of the AP High Court quashing quotas for minorities proposed by government,” Swamy said in a statement. Swamy said quotas for backward classes are only for those who were never ruling classes in India whereas under the government’s proposal they are being extended to classes which have no socially imposed disabilities.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Our farmers are dying, to hell with the World Cup

I would be the first person to scream, celebrate and feel proud of any of India’s achievements but, only if all fellow countrymen, farmers, villagers also stand with me and cheer; only if they do not take their own lives ruthlessly, only if there is no difference between interest rates for a Mercedes and a tractor, yells Narendra Shekhawat

Yes, you read it right; to hell with the World Cup; to hell with the celebrations; to hell with all the free land and money being showered by different governments on the players. How can I jump, scream, have gallons of beer and cheer for the nation when a few kilometres away the farmers and feeders of my country are taking their own lives in hordes?

Do you know that, on average, 47 farmers have been committing suicide every single day in the past 16 years in our shining India – the next economic power, progressive with nine per cent growth?

Last month, on March 5, Friday evening, when Bangalore’s watering holes were getting filled up, when all the DJs were blaring out deafening music, when we were busy discussing India’s chances at the World Cup, sitting in CCDs and Baristas — just 100 km away from Bangalore, Swamy Gowda and Vasanthamma, a young farmer couple, hanged themselves, leaving their three very young children to fend for themselves or, most likely, die of malnutrition.

Why did they do it? Were they fighting? No. Were they drunkards? No. Did they have incurable diseases? No! Then WHY? Because they were unable to repay a loan of Rs 80,000 (a working IT couple’s one month salary? 2-3 months EMI?) for years, which had gradually increased to Rs. 1.2 lakh. Because they knew that now they would never be able to pay it back.Because they were hurt. Hurt by our government which announced a huge reduction in import duty for silk in this year’s budget (from 30 per cent to 5 per cent).They were struggling silk farmers and instead of help from the government, they get this! Decrease in import duty means the markets will now be flooded with cheap Chinese silk (as everything else!) and our own farmers will be left in the lurch.

On average, 17,000 farmers have been committing suicide every year, for the past 15 years on the trot. Can you believe it? Most of us wouldn’t know this fact. Why? Because, our great Indian media, the world’s biggest media, are not interested in reporting this! Why? Because they are more interested in covering fashion week extravaganzas. They are more interested in ‘why team India was not practising when Pakistanis were sweating it out in stadium on the eve of the match?’ They are more interested in Poonam Pandey.

The media are supposed to be the third eye of democracy and also called the fourth estate, but now they have become real estate. Pure business So any attention from the media is out of the question. Who is left then? The government? But we all know how it works. The other day, I was passing by Vidhan Soudha in Bangalore and happened to read the slogan written at the entrance, “Government work is god’s work”. Now I know why our government has left all its work to god!

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa announced plots for all the players. But land? In Bangalore? You must be kidding, Mr. C.M.. So he retracts & now wants to give money. But where will it come from? Taxes, yours and mine. Don’t the poor farmers need the land or money more than those players who are already earning in crores?

A government-owned bank will give you loan at six per cent interest rate if you are buying a Mercedes but if a poor farmer wants to buy a tractor, do you know how much it is charging him? Fifteen per cent! Look at the depths of inequality. Water is Rs. 15 a litre and a SIM card is for free! For how long can we bite the hand that is feeding us? The recent onion price fiasco was just a trailer. Picture abhi baaki hai doston!

In 2008, Lakme India fashion show venue was in a Mumbai five-star hotel and was covered by 500 journalists and the theme was ‘Cotton’. A few hours drive from there, cotton farmers were committing suicide, 4 or 5, everyday! How many TV journalists covered this? Zero!

Sixty-seventy per cent of India’s population is living on less than Rs. 20 a day. A bottle of Diet coke for us? The electricity used in a day-night match could help a farmer irrigate his fields for more than a few weeks! Do you know that loadshedding is also class dependent  Two hours in metros, 4 in towns and 8 in villages. Now, who needs electricity more? A farmer to look after his crop day and night, irrigate, pump water and use machines or a few bored, young professionals with disposable incomes, to log on to Facebook and watch IPL?

How can we splurge thousands on our birthday parties and zoom past in our AC vehicles and sit in cushy chairs in our AC offices and plan a weekend trip to Coorg when on the way, in those small villages, just a few minutes’ walk from the roads, someone might be consuming pesticide or hanging himself from a tree for just Rs.10, 000? How can we?

There was much panic when there was swine flu. Every single death in the country was reported second by second, minute by minute. Why? Because it directly affected our salaried, ambitious, techsavvy, middle-class. So there were masks, special relief centres, enquiry centres set up by government to please this section. On the other hand, 47 people are dying, every single day for the past 15 years. Anybody cared to do anything?

It has been observed that within months of a farmer taking his life, his wife follows, either by poisoning the kids first or leaving them on their own. In Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, a distressed woman farmer went to the government seed shop, bought a bottle of pesticide, on credit, went home and drank it. She was under debt for most of her life and now — even her death was on credit!

Centuries ago, there was a Roman emperor, called Nero. He was a strong ruler and also very fond of parties, art, poetry, drinking and a life full of pleasures. Once he decided to organise a grand party and invited all poets, writers, dancers, painters, artists, intellectuals and thinkers of society. Everybody was having a great time eating, drinking, laughing, and socialising. The party was at its peak when it started getting dark. Nero wanted the party to go on. So he ordered and got all the arrested criminals, who were in his jails, around the garden and put them on fire! Burnt them alive, so that there was enough light for the guests to keep on enjoying! The guests had a gala time though they knew the cost of their enjoyment. Now, what kind of conscience those guests had?

Nero’s guests What is happening in our country is not different from Nero’s party. We, the middle-classyoung- well-earning-mall-hopping- IPL-watching and celebrating junta are Nero’s guests enjoying at the cost of our farmers. Every budget favours the already rich. More exemptions are being given to them at the cost of grabbing the land of our farmers in the name of SEZs, decrease in import duties in the name of neo-liberal policies, increase in the loan interest rates if the product is not worth lakhs and crores. Yes, that’s what we are, Nero’s guests!

I’m not against celebrations. I’m not against cricket. I’m not against World Cup. I would be the first person to scream, celebrate and feel proud of any of India’s achievements but, only if all fellow countrymen, farmers, villagers also stand with me and cheer; only if they do not take their own lives ruthlessly, only if there is no difference between interest rates for a Mercedes and a tractor. That would be the day I also zoom past on a bike, post-Indian win, with an Indian Flag in hand and screaming Bharat Mata Ki Jai. But no, not today. Not at the cost of my feeders. Until then, this is what I say. To hell with your malls. To hell with your IPL. To hell with your World Cup. And to hell with your celebrations.

Land Jihad: The new threat in Kerala when Hindus sliding to a Minority

by VSK-Karnataka
Of  late, Kerala has been suffering from a new syndrome, the Land Jihad! Known as ‘Gods own Country’, Kerala s always been a victim of cultural and religious invasions.  The state which is already suffering from forcible conversions, love jihad, violence, increased teenage crimes, murders, communal violence, corruption,  is a shelter and training center for terror activities well. LAND JIHAD is the latest addition to the long and seemingly endless list.
Land for Sale in Kerala
Land Jihad is a kind of systematic attempt by Muslim Land Mafia, to own a land at any price through a purely legal procedure. The land meant for sale will be purchased by Muslim land owners at the market price or a price even higher than that. As a result across Kerala, in the last 10 years, a large portion of lands now has Muslim ownership. Nobody can go to court as nothing is illegal and nothing is hidden.
“This phenomenon was expected as Muslims in Kerala want to widen their base when the Hindu population is declining to a minority,” say intellectuals.
Kerala’s principal religions are Hinduism (56.2%), Islam (24.7%), and Christianity (19.0%). In comparison with the rest of India, Kerala experiences relatively little sectarianism.
The phenomenon of Land Jihad began from Muslim dominant Malappuram district. It has then progressively migrated across Kerala. Kasaragod is the most affected part where largest agricultural lands of areca palms, rice paddy were long ago sold to Muslims by Hindus, with Muslim land dealers offering a huge price than the market value. They purchase land in terms of acres paying crores. “To purchase such fertile land a huge amount of money is flown from Gulf countries,” according to experts.
Residential land for sale in Kerala
Kerala’s Religious Population Source : Census India 2001
ReligionPopulation%Population below 6 yrs of age%Dist. with highest PopulationDist. with lowest PopulationPopulation growth since 1991Children born per women(TFR)

The state has an area of 38,863 km2 (15,005 sq mi) and is bordered by Karnataka to the north and northeast, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Arabian Sea on the west. Thiruvananthapuram is the state capital. Kochi and Kozhikode are other major cities. According to a survey by The Economic Times, five out of ten best cities to live in India are located in Kerala.  Kerala is a popular destination for itsbackwaters, beaches, Ayurvedic tourism and tropical greenery

Is the so-called Liberal Left Really Liberal and really Left? - The Secularism Conundrum

I recently watched a video clip of a ‘We The People’ episode that dealt with Muslim identity. Participants included Shahrukh Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Kabir Khan, Karan Johar, and Zakir Naik and another Imam, along with others. After one of Shahrukh’s comments about Muslim identity, Barkha Dutt had quipped, ‘But is it really so simple?’ Perhaps if religion and governance were really and truly separated and if there were equal laws and policies for Indians across religions it could all have been simple.

The Indian Constitution intended that all Indian citizens be treated equally in all walks of life. The Constitution’s Directive Principles for State policy spoke about a uniform civil code to be instituted shortly. Not only was this directive principle ignored, but somewhere along the way, Haj subsidies for Muslim pilgrimages crept in but none for Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jewish, and Jain pilgrimages. Likewise, Muslim religious education institutions-Madarsahs became heavily subsidized by the government. At one stage, George Orwell’s famous quote ‘All are equal but some are more equal’ was considered an outlandish joke that could never touch a vibrant democracy like India. Later it began to be applied to corrupt politicians who broke laws but slipped away using the heavily flawed judicial system in the country. Today, the statement ‘All are equal but some are more equal’ undoubtedly additionally describes the status of Muslims in India, who are privileged citizens in a country that, sadly, was created for Hindus.

The media anchor who posed the above question on simplicity appears to have a rather simplistic definition of secularism, as have her fellow journalists belonging to the mainstream media. Implicit in their reporting is the implied definition of secular–Standing for Muslim demands (no matter how unfair and unjustified the demands are) is being secular. Speaking out against discriminatory policies that benefit Muslims at the cost of other communities, on the other hand is non-secular or communal.

However, even when the implied meaning is evident from the tone of their political commentary, the proponents of this kind of secularism do not provide an honest definition of this kind of secularism, for, in doing so, they would have to admit that it is discriminatory, unfair, and unjust. If they were to provide an honest definition, such ‘secularism’ could be defined simply as Muslim appeasement. Knowing that under Imamdirectives, a large number of Muslims tend to vote en masse; secularism as it is defined today in India can be defined as Muslim appeasement to harvest Muslim vote banks. Muslim vote banks tip the balance due to their en masse voting (block votes). Opportunistic political parties vying for block votes eagerly jumped on the bandwagon of this brand of so-called secularism. What, however, is not easy to either understand or digest is the role of mainstream media to a) NOT question the innate unfairness of this brand of secularism, and, b) to in fact propagate this kind of secularism.

India is a country characterized by corruption, chaos, and confusion. One more characteristic of the country is how terms like ‘secularism,’ ‘left liberal,’ ‘right,’ and ‘minorities’ have been loosely bandied about without a thought to what they really shouldmean.  As a result, in India, they have taken on meanings that are rather different from what they were originally created to describe. This sullies the discourse on fair legislation, equality of citizens across religions, a need for uniform laws, etc.

Defining Secularism and Minorities: Given the uniqueness of the Hindu non-evangelical ethos, vis-à-vis Christian democracies, the terms and labels ‘secularism’, ‘left liberal’, and ‘right’ cannot be directly lifted/borrowed from the west to imply the same politico-social dynamics in India as they would, there.

In fact, even for western democracies, the term secular is used to describe a government that treats all its citizens equally and fairly, for it indicates a separation of state and religion. Additionally, in the west, the term secular applies predominantly to collective entities such as the state or government and may also describe policies or governance but is rarely if at all used in the context of individuals. In India, however, the term ‘secular’ is additionally used to describe individuals (politicians, celebrities, etc.,) who tend to be ‘minority’ friendly. Then again, in the Indian context, the term minority or minorities has come to mean the Muslim community. Hence, a secular individual is one that is friendly to the cause of Muslims. (Ideally, the term minority should define a host of communities including Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, Jews, and others, but that is not the case.)

If the term secular were used in its correct and original spirit, it would describe qualities such as ‘all encompassing,’ ‘inclusive,’ or ‘pluralistic,’ but in India it has come to connote rather the opposite by implying Muslim friendly. In fact, when the term secular is used to define ‘all encompassing,’  a Hindu individual becomes more of a Hindu when s/he is secular (inclusive), but a Muslim individual will no longer remain a true Muslim when s/he is secular (pluralistic/inclusive). By the Muslims’ holy book, being inclusive and being a Muslim is a contradiction in terms. How can a true Muslim  look at individuals of other faiths as symbols of universal humanity—for, as per their holy book, all individuals of other faiths are non-believers or ‘kafirs’ who need to be discriminated against, intimidated, eliminated, or converted to the ‘one true faith’ that is Islam. The secular conundrum arises from the difference in the way the two faiths look at genuine inclusiveness or secularism.

There is then the concept of free speech that is an implicit component of a modern democracy. However, Islam and free speech are not compatible. Amongst many European leaders who have become vocal opponents of multi-culturalism in Europe, Geert Wilders is one, and his argument about how Islam and democracy are not compatible can be seen here.

Defining Left Liberal Intellectuals:

Are They Liberals?

This in turn brings us to individuals from the mainstream media who have christened themselves as the ‘Liberal Left’ or even as ‘Left Liberal Intellectuals’. Any intellectual would see the inherent contradiction between secularism and Islam at both the macro and the individual levels, and both in terms of tolerance and free speech. An intellectual would also clearly also see that Hinduism provides an innately secular ethos, but apparently the breed of ‘‘Left Liberal Intellectuals’ in India do not, and if they do, they would rather not discuss it.

Even without consulting a dictionary, one can fathom that the term liberal means generous. Liberals are supposed to be generous in thought. What is supposed to differentiate Liberals from others is their generosity in accepting different beliefs.

Multiple questions arise from the notion or principle of acceptance of diverse beliefs and faiths. When a Liberal tolerates other beliefs, would s/he tolerate intolerance? Would they tolerate the implicit intolerance of Islam? Any individual true to their principles would see the inherent contradiction of tolerating intolerance, but apparently our mainstream media notables do not. Perhaps it would help if they at least cared to debate or discuss the issue but there is an ominous silence from these intellectuals.

Then again, it appears that these self-christened Liberals have restricted the principle of acceptance to religious beliefs. A self-christened Left Liberal is therefore accepting of all beliefs however bigoted they may be and therefore includes Islam/Muslims in this acceptance. Why then, do they not extend this courtesy to beliefs other than those of the religious kind? Why not be equally accepting of ideologies divergent from their own?

When it comes to practicing acceptance of views and ideologies that are not religious per se, self-christened Left Liberals portray a streak of intolerance. Thus, they are quick to dismiss the right-wing ideology on the basis of its alleged intolerance. So, a) the intolerance of Islam is acceptable to them but not the alleged intolerance of right-wing ideologies. b) Their own intolerance when it comes to right-wing ideology contradicts the definition of a Liberal as an individual that respects all points of view and beliefs. If intolerance of any kind is so despicable to this breed, it is surprising that they engage in radical intolerant behavior when it comes to right-wing groups. Similarly, if intolerance of any kind is so despicable to them, how can they willingly embrace and espouse the Muslim cause that is founded on an inherent intolerance?

Consistency of principles requires that they would reject the intolerance of Islam as well as the intolerance that stems from radical right-wing ideologies or embrace and accept both as part of a multi-faith multi-ideology society. Also true Liberals would choose to co-exist with divergent ideologies in a multi-faith multi-ideology society and not themselves engage in intolerant behavior that includes belittling, labeling, name calling, stigmatizing, or refusing to engage in discussion with right-wing ideologues. A large group among the right-wing are merely questioning of the inherent intolerance of Islam.

Based on the above, the title Liberal to describe these political commentators and media personalities is fallacious. These are radicals that choose to blindly and eagerly support Islam’s intolerance, while engaging in a studied hate campaign against those that question Islam’s compatibility with democracy, using labeling, stigmatization, ranting as mechanism.

Do they represent the interests of the disenfranchised?

The Left is by definition expected to represent the interests of the disenfranchised or the poor. However, our mainstream media are notoriously pro-Congress-establishment. The Left is supposed to be pro-poor and pro-people but coverage during the Anna Hazare anti-corruption movement amply showed how mainstream media went overboard to discredit the movement through discrediting its members, alleging ulterior motives, and being overly concerned about what they called the ‘subversion of democratic institutions’. A real ‘Left’ media would have encouraged and supported a people’s movement where people’s pressure groups get to influence policy and pressurize an errant government to bring a stringent anti-corruption legislation in the face of numerous scams of humongous proportions.

If there is any doubt that mainstream media are mere minions of the Congress establishment, you can check thisthisthis, and this. There is a reason why mainstream media are no longer trusted and social media are increasingly taking over the dissemination of information as noted here and here.

If there are any doubts about mainstream media being elitist, perhaps this story would be very telling.

Clearly, the self-imposed title of ‘Left’ is also a misnomer when it comes to our media notables.

Can the notable from media be called ‘intellectual’?

Stories abound about the rotten state of the media. Check this one out. For another story on shoddy journalism, check this out. Perhaps, intellectual is not quite the word either.

Author: Silver1000 | Follow the writer on
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Disclaimer: The author is a commentator on issues of national interest. These are her personal views and do not necessarily reflect IBTL's opinion.
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Monday, 28 May 2012

Dr Manmohan Singh, the cunning sleepwalker

A Surya Prakash | Monday, May 28, 2012
Citizens reeling under massive inflation are spilling onto the streets in protest, corruption has reached new heights, the economy is no longer robust, trade deficit is alarming, the rupee is tumbling down, there is mounting friction between the Centre and the states, and the United Progressive Alliance is no longer cohesive.
In short, the country is heading towards a major political and economic crisis, but the prime minister and his coalition are living in a world of their own, assuming that the mandate will willy-nilly last till May 2014.
Notwithstanding the loss of dozens of lives in a rail accident that morning, the UPA tried to rig up a party of sorts on May 22 to ‘celebrate’ its third anniversary. However, given the coalition’s abysmal performance since 2009, the only promise it has lived up to is to produce an annual report card to tom-tom its ‘achievements.’ No wonder, a Congressman who is disgusted with the aimlessness that distinguishes UPA-II described it as a government headed by a somnambulist! The prime minister, he said, is sleepwalking through his second term and neither the Congress nor its allies are in any mood to shake him out of his stupor or to effect change.
While it is certainly true that the government has done some good work here and there, there is no gainsaying the fact that it has completely lost the perception battle. For example, the report card quotes the prime minister as saying that there can be rapid progress ‘only if we curb corruption in public life.’ He loftily declares: ‘I believe this is the right time to move decisively in this direction.’ Please remember that this is the same prime minister who asked British authorities to defreeze the bank account of Ottavio Quattrocchi, the Italian businessman and friend of the Nehru-Gandhis, so that the latter could clean out $7.3 million that he received from Bofors. Thereafter, the CBI was asked to withdraw the case against him. This is also the same prime minister who dragged his feet over prosecuting A Raja and a host of others in the 2G and several other scams. Given this report card, can there be anything more silly than his claim that this is the time ‘to move decisively’ against corruption? Is this the Manmohan Singh we knew in 1991-92?
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi is equally brazen. The report card quotes her as saying: ‘We will take the issue of corruption head on and demonstrate, through actions, and not words, that we mean what we say.’
Similar dishonesty is apparent with regard to the government’s commitment to fight terrorism. The prime minister says: ‘No civilised society can tolerate or endorse loss of innocent lives in the pursuit of any ideology.’ If this be so, why is the government dragging its feet on executing the death sentence awarded by courts to terrorists who attacked Mumbai and Parliament? Ajmal Kasab, the only 26/11 terrorist to be caught alive, is still fed and clothed at public cost in a high-security prison. Similarly, the government persists with its kid gloves treatment vis-a-vis the man who conspired to launch a terrorist attack on Parliament.
Finally, the government carries on a dialogue with Pakistan, as if nothing has happened. Given these facts, Singh’s assertion sounds puerile and vacuous. Only the most devious can manufacture such meaningless prose that is wholly unrelated to their conduct in office.
Yet another issue is Centre-State relations, which home minister P Chidambaram has damaged to the point that it is almost beyond repair. His arrogant stance has provoked several states into challenging the Centre’s proposal for a National Counter Terrorism Centre, which is so critical to internal security.
But, our prime minister is unmoved. The report card talks of several social welfare measures, but we need to remind ourselves that some of the most novel schemes like the Mid-Day Meals Scheme for school children, the Janani Suraksha Yojana for expectant mothers and the health insurance scheme for the poor, was thought of by states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh decades ago. The UPA government has appropriated these schemes, without due acknowledgement to those who introduced it first, in a bid to show itself to be concerned about the plight of the poor and also innovative.
Given these facts, would it be wrong if we were to conclude that there is a touch of cunning to the actions of the somnambulist during his waking hours?
The writer is a senior fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation

Veer Savrakar - The Eternal Hero

Veer Savarkar occupies a unique place in the history of Indian freedom struggle. His name evokes controversy. While some consider him as one of the greatest revolutionaries in the Indian freedom struggle, others consider him a communalist and Machiavellian manipulator. Vir Savarkar was also a great orator, prolific writer, historian, poet, philosopher and social worker. He was an extraordinary Hindu scholar. He coined Indian words for telephone, photography, the parliament, among others.

Veer Savarkar’s original name was Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. He was born on May 28, 1883 in the village of Bhagur near Nasik. He was one among four children born to Damodarpant Savarkar and Radhabai. Veer Savarkar had his initial education at the Shivaji School, Nasik. He lost his mother when he was only nine. Savarkar was a born rebel. He organized a gang of kids ,Vanarsena when he was just eleven.

During his high school days, Veer Savarkar used to organize Shivaji Utsav and Ganesh Utsav, started by Bal Gangadhar Tilak (whom Savarkar considered as his Guru) and used these occasions to put up plays on nationalistic themes. Savarkar lost his father during the plague of 1899. In March 1901, he married Yamunabai. Post marriage, in 1902, Veer Savarkar joined Fergusson College in Pune.

In Pune, Savarkar founded the “Abhinav Bharat Society”. He was also involved in the Swadeshi movement and later joined Tilak’s Swaraj Party. His instigating patriotic speeches and activities incensed the British Government. As a result the British Government withdrew his B.A. degree.

In June 1906, Veer Savarkar, left for London to become Barrister. However, once in London, he united and inflamed the Indian students in England against British rule in India. He founded the Free India Society. The Society celebrated important dates on the Indian calendar including festivals, freedom movement landmarks, and was dedicated to furthering discussion about Indian freedom. He believed and advocated the use of arms to free India from the British and created a network of Indians in England, equipped with weapons.

In 1908, brought out an authentic informative researched work on The Great Indian Revolt, which the British termed as "Sepoy Mutiny" of 1857. The book was called "The Indian War of Independence 1857". The British government immediately enforced a ban on the publication in both Britain and India. Later, it was published by Madame Bhikaiji Cama in Holland, and was smuggled into India to reach revolutionaries working across the country against British rule.

In 1909, Madanlal Dhingra, a keen follower of Savarkar shot Sir Wyllie after a failed assassination attempt on the then Viceroy, Lord Curzon. Savarkar conspicuously did not condemn the act. When the then British Collector of Nasik, A.M.T. Jackson was shot by a youth, Veer Savarkar finally fell under the net of the British authorities. He was implicated in the murder citing his connections with India House. Savarkar was arrested in London on March 13, 1910 and sent to India.

After a formal trial, Savarkar was charged with serious offences of illegal transportation of weapons, provocative speeches and sedition and was sentenced to 50 years' of jail and deported to the Kalapani (Blackwaters) at Andaman cellular jail.

In 1920, many prominent freedom fighters including Vithalbhai Patel, Mahatma Gandhi and Bal Gangadhar Tilak demanded the release of Savarkar. On May 2, 1921, Savarkar was moved to Ratnagiri jail, and from there to the Yeravada jail. In Ratnagiri jail Savarkar wrote the book 'Hindutva'. On January 6, 1924 he was h freed under the condition that he would not leave Ratnagiri district and abstain from political activity for the next five years. On his release, Veer Savarkar founded the Ratnagiri Hindu Sabha on January 23, 1924 that aimed to preserve India's ancient culture and work for social welfare.

Later Savarkar joined Tilak's Swaraj Party and founded the Hindu Mahasabha as a separate political party. He was elected President of the Mahasabha and toiled for building Hindu Nationalism and later joined the Quit India movement.

The Hindu Mahasabha opposed creation of Pakistan, and took exception to Gandhi's continued Muslim appeasement stances. Nathuram Godse, a volunteer of the Hindu Mahasabha, assassinated Gandhi in 1948 and upheld his actions till his hanging. Veer Savarkar was arrested and indicted by the Government of India in the Mahatma Gandhi assassination case. But he was acquitted by the Supreme Court of India, for reasons of lack of evidence.

Veer Savarkar died on February 26, 1966 at the age of 83.