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Friday, 27 March 2015


Face Book deleted my article "Are Hindus Cowards"; because of 'inappropriate content'! Do you think that is fair? the ISIS and Al Qaeda use freely Internet, Twitter and FB for their murderous purposes, but when you dare say that there is a problem with Islam, as I have personally witnessed a journalist, in Kashmir, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, you are censored. I am reposting the article below. You judge. FG


Someone wrote today in the face of the growing attacks on Mr Modi at the hands of the Christians, who are creating fake incidents and Mr Narendra Modi’s muted response, that “A dark fear is growing in our minds that we Hindus cannot rule. The art of ruling requires special upbringing, grooming and attitude besides guts and courage.

And this raises the question: are Hindus good people, but nevertheless cowards?

“Muslims are bullies and Hindus cowards”, the Mahatma Gandhi once said. He was right – at least about Hindus: there has been in the past 1400 years, since the first invasions started, very few Shivaji Maharaj’s and Rana Pratap’s to fight the bloody rule of the Moghuls, or hardly any Rani of Jhansi’s to stand against the humiliating colonial yoke of the British. If a nation’s soul is measured by the courage of its children, then India is definitely doomed: without the Sikhs, whose bravery is unparalleled in the more recent history of India, Hindus would have even lost additional land to the Muslim invaders and there would have been infinitely more massacres of Hindus by Muslims during the first weeks of Partition. Are Hindus more courageous since they have an independent nation (thanks - not to the non-violence of Gandhi – but to the true nationalists, such as Sri Aurobindo and Tilak, who prepared the ground for the Mahatma at the beginning of the century)? Not at all! Because of Nehru’s absurd and naïve “hindi-chini-bhai-bhai” policy, the Indian army was shamefully routed in 1962 by the Chinese, a humiliation which rankles even today. Beijing is still able to hoodwink Indian politicians, by pretending it has good intentions, through the interviews the Chinese leaders very generously give to the Hindu newspaper (which should rightly be called the “anti-Hindu”) and Frontline (“the mouthpiece in India for the Chinese communist party”), while quietly keeping on giving nuclear know-how to Pakistan, as well as the missiles to carry their atomic warheads to Indian cities, arm separatists groups in the north-east and continuing to claim Arunachal Pradesh or Sikkim. Everywhere in the world, Hindus are hounded, humiliated, routed, be it in Fiji where, an elected democratic government was deposed in an armed coup, or in Pakistan and Bangladesh, where Muslims indulge in pogroms against Hindus every time they want to vent their hunger against India (read Taslima Nasreen’s book “Lalja”). In Kashmir, the land of yogis, where Hindu sadhus and sages have meditated for 5000 years, Hindus have been chased out of their ancestral home by death, terror and intimidation: there were 25% of Hindus at the beginning of the century in the Kashmir valley… and hardly a handful today. 

And this is exactly what happened in Bombay, after the Ayodya mosque was brought down by Hindu militants : Muslims, angry of the “terrible” affront done to Islam, started pelting the police with stones and burning shops; but unfortunately for the Muslims, who have made of riots an art (please read the passages of the Koran which deal with riots as part of jihad), they found that for once, the Hindus under the leadership of the Shiv Sena, retaliated blow for blow – an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth – as the Israelis, who have been so long at the receiving end of Muslim bullying, say so well. It is not for us to condone violence: but how long can the Hindus be the butt of killings and persecution, be sacrificial lambs that meekly go to slaughter ? For in a way, Gandhi was right: Muslims are bullies, they have bullied India and they continue to bully Hindu India, as Pakistan demonstrates time and again by shelling in Kashmir, which make the US apply time and again pressure on India to ‘negotiate’ with Pakistan. Remember how Musharraf deceived New Delhi by receiving a well-meaning, but naïve Vajpayee at Lahore, while its soldiers were quietly invading the heights above Kargil.

The truth is that there are two standards in India: one for the Hindus; and one for the Muslims. Did the “fanatic” Hindus who brought down Ayodhya (and brought shame onto secular India, according to the Indian media) kill or even injure anyone in the process? No. But Muslims do not have such qualms. When Gandhi said they were bullies, he was being very nice or very polite. For forget about the millions of Hindus killed during the ten centuries of Muslim invasions, probably the worst Holocaust in world history; forget about the hundreds of thousands of Hindu temples razed to the ground, whose destruction - whatever our “secular” Hindus of today say - was carefully recorded by the Muslims themselves, because they were proud of it (see Aurangzeb’s own chronicles); forget about the millions of Hindus forcibly converted to Islam, and who sadly are now rallying under a banner, a language, a scripture which have nothing to do with their own ethos and culture. Yesterday and also today, when the Muslim world feels it has been slighted, in even a small measure by Hindus, these Infidels, who submitted meekly to Muslim rule for ten centuries, it retaliates a hundred fold – this is the only way one intimidates cowards. After Ayodhya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia (at least in a passive way by giving shelter for a while to Tiger Memon) with the help of Indian Muslims, planted bombs in the heart of Bombay and killed a thousand innocent human beings, most of them, once more, Hindus. Tomorrow, Pakistan might wage, with the blessing of the Muslim word, the ultimate jihad against India, which if necessary, will utilise the ultimate weapon, nuclear bombs. For has not the Koran said “'Choose not thy friends among the Infidels till they forsake their homes and the way of idolatry. If they return to paganism then take them whenever you find them and kill them” (Koran 98:51-9:5-4:89) ?

Unfortunately for India, the British, when they were here, had created an intellectual elite, to act as a go-between themselves and the “natives”, which today, thanks to the Nehruvian culture of successive Congress governments, looks at its own country, not by means of its own Indian eyes, but through a western prism, as fashioned by the white colonizers and the missionaries. These « Brown Shahibs », these true children of Macaulay, the « secular » politicians, the journalists, the top bureaucrats, in fact the whole westernised cream of India are very critical of anything Hindu. And what is even more paradoxical, is that 98% of them are Hindus ! It is they, who upon getting independence, have denied India its true identity and borrowed blindly from the British education system, without trying to adapt it to the unique Indian mentality and psychology; and it is they who are refusing to accept a change of India’s education system, which is totally western-oriented and is churning out machines, learning by heart boring statistics which are of little usefulness in life. And what India is getting from this education is a youth which apes the West : they go to Mac Donald’s, thrive on MTV culture, wear the latest Klein jeans and Lacoste T Shirts, and in general are useless, rich parasites, in a country which has so many talented youngsters who live in poverty. They will grow-up like millions of other western clones in the developing world, who wear a tie, read the New York Times and swear by liberalism and secularism to save their countries from doom. In time, they will reach elevated positions and write books and articles which make fun of their own country, ridicule the Narendra Modi’s of India and preside human-right committees, be “secular” high bureaucrats who take the wrong decisions and generally do tremendous harm to India, because it has been programmed in their genes to always run down their own country. It is said that a nation has to be proud of itself to move forward - and unless there is a big change in this intellectual elite, unless it is more conscious of its heritage and of India’s greatness, which has begun to happen in a small way, it is going to be very difficult for India to emerge as a real 21st century superpower. 

One would be tempted to say in conclusion : “Arise ô Hindus, stop being cowards, remember that a nation requires Kshatriyas, warriors, to defend Knowledge, to protect one’s women and children, to guard one’s borders from the Enemy”…. And do Indians need a Narendra Modi to remind them of that simple truth ? FRANCOIS GAUTIER (*) This is no to say that all Muslims are fanatics; on the contrary, many of India’s Muslims are extremely gentle and their sense of hospitality unsurpassed. The same thing can be said about Pakistan: Pakistani politicians, for instance, are much more accessible than in India and Pakistan has its own identity, which cannot be wished away. No, the problem is not with Muslims, whether they are Indians or Pakistanis, the problem is with Islam, which teaches Indian Muslims from an early age, to look beyond their national identity to a country - the Mecca, in Saudi Arabia - which is not their country, to read a Scripture which is not written in their own language, to espouse a way of thinking, which is inimical to their own roots and indigenous culture. Indian Muslims, have to think of themselves first as Muslims and secondly only as Muslims. Muslim soldiers fighting against Pakistan in Kargil, have shown the way.

Source: facebook

Subramanian Swamy Bold Repliys to Muslim Clerics' Six Questions

A delegation of Muslim clerics led by the Sunni Ulema Council's General Secretary had in February met RSS functionary Indresh and posed six questions to the Sangh including whether it has prepared a format to turn India into a Hindu 'rashtra'.

The Muslim delegation claimed that Indresh refused to answer their questions and instead said that a conference of Muslim organisations should be called where he would give the answers.

"Our first question was whether RSS considers India a Hindu country. The second one was whether RSS has prepared a format to turn India into a Hindu 'rashtra'. The third one was whether this Hindu 'rashtra' will be according to Hindu religious texts or RSS has chalked out a new philosophy," he said.

Salees said, "The fourth question was what they want on religious conversion. The fifth one was what type of 'rashtra prem' (patriotism) RSS wants from Muslims. The sixth one was how RSS views Islam," he said. He said that these were the six questions which Indreshji "failed" to answer.

"They (RSS) did not have any format. They are shouting about 'Hindu rashtra' only on the basis of propaganda," he alleged.

Salees feared that if Hindu Rashtra was built on Hindu texts, Dalits could once again not be allowed to enter temples.

"We asked whether a new philosophy has been chalked out by RSS. If a new philosophy has been chalked out that means Hindu religion is not religious culture. In that case, anyone can convert," he said.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy took it to twitter to answer these six questions and here is what he had to say:

Q1: Whether India is a Hindu Country? 

A: India is Hindustan that is a land of Hindus and those others who are of Hindu descent or ancestry.

Q2: Whether there is a format to make India into Hindu Rashtra. 

A2: No.We are bound by the Constitution with a Basic Structure unamendable. But the Directive Principle of the Constitution with other easily amendable Articles e.g., 370 de facto makes it a Hindutva Constitution.

Q3: Will this Constitution be according to Hindu religious texts. 

A3: No. It will be secular because India will be a Hindustan Republic.

Q4: What does Hindutva mean for religious conversion? 

A4:Under the Constitution conversion illegal if induced by bribe or force. If induced then de-conversion I.e., uninduced Gharwapsi is legal and Constitutional no matter how long ago conversion had taken place.

Q5:What is Hindu view of Islam? 

A5: Islam is an established religious theology. Hindus believe that God can be reached through Islam. But Hindus believe that the 800 years of Islamic violence against Hindus  and Hindu institutions have to be acknowledged and addressed. A step is to voluntarily agree to shift the offending masjids in Mathura, Ayodhya, and Varanasi to other acceptable suitable locations.

Q6: What kind of Rashtra prem do  Hindus want from Muslims? 

A6: Same as from Hindus & other Indians. Our public policies should be guided by national interests and not by sectional interests. Hindustani Muslims should accept nation's support for Israel just as Tamils should SL 

These are my personal views to be presented to VIrat Hindustan Sangam meeting for adoption in  in Mumbai on May 2&3

Friday, 20 March 2015


Intro: Without the Hindu grand narrative as the anchor and foundation, it is difficult to develop a viable narrative for India as a unified country.
Most major countries have a well-defined grand narrative that projects who they are as a collective identity. This is invariably a positive self-image based on carefully selected historical facts, mixed with exaggerations and even outright falsehoods. For examples, US students learn with great pride of their founding fathers – but Thomas Jefferson’s lifelong practice as a slave owner is not mentioned. Similar narratives of pride are the staple of education and media portrayals in France, Britain, China, Japan and Russia, to name a few. Besides modern countries, the Abrahamic religions each have their own clear-cut grand narratives, each premised on a singular historical event recorded in the corresponding holy book.

Such narratives serve an important function in establishing collective identities, the ideals worth aspiring, and a broad trajectory—both for interpreting the past and guiding the future. 

Unfortunately, I find Indians, especially Hindus, confused about this matter, often in denial about its significance, and even outright hostile to the very idea of having such a narrative. Many elites in Delhi have criticised my suggestion for narrative debates and discussions, calling such an activity divisive. They see India through the lens of fragments, with separate and conflicting narratives, and Hinduism as the scourge inflicting our society’s health and viability.

I have written extensively about the Hindu grand narrative as an open architecture. It is adaptive and fluid, accommodating to fresh ideas and new members. It is based on the discoveries made by rishis in their inner laboratories through adhyatma-vidya (inner sciences). The Hindu inner sciences are now at the cutting edge of research in neurosciences in the West, where the Hindu sources tend to be erased as part of the frenzy for appropriation. The fields of medicine, self-improvement and management are each benefiting in major ways from the goldmine of Hindu ideas. Sanskrit is a language of the future, not a museum relic from the past

Such a profound narrative is more like science (of the inner domain) than like a typical “religion” in the Abrahamic sense. It is free from aggressive mandates by an angry God demanding violence against non-believers. It is free from claims of exclusivity that have caused much of the world’s violence for several millennia. Rather, the open architecture is a network that hosts a multitude of smaller narratives introduced by diverse communities.

For instance, the notion of ishta-devata (“my deity”) is a powerful foundation that supports Hinduism’s broad spectrum of deities and paths in a harmonious manner. I can worship the ultimate reality through my ishta-devata, and I have no issue with someone else worshipping through their different choice of deity. However, such respect must be mutual: the other party must also respect people’s right to choose different deities and paths. This means that exclusivity claims of religions are to be rejected as dangerous devices that invariably bring tensions, and eventually turn violent. 

The open-architecture of Hinduism is an example of Hinduism’s unique and valuable contributions to the modern world. It is not only the fabric for India’s pluralism, but is also exportable as a model for harmonising various other world religions and ideologies. 

For instance, neither Christianity nor Islam has the internal resources to reconcile their theological conflicts with one another, without one side defeating the other. Only through an open architecture could they ever expect to achieve the much needed harmony between them. Of course, this would necessitate reinterpreting their holy books without dependence upon exclusivity claims or hostility towards infidels.

Another vital quality of Hinduism is its openness to critiques and change. New smritis are to be developed for each epoch, and old ones reinterpreted and adapted to different contexts. Unlike other major religions, Hinduism has never had a conflict with scientific discoveries. It has not fossilised into fixed dogmas of the kind that enslave the members of many other faiths. Hindus have been able to get out of dilemmas and predicaments by creatively applying their own internal resources. 

It is a common misunderstanding that Hinduism does not engage the external world in a positive way. It is alleged to be “world negating” and a form of escapism from the challenges facing society. Hence, the criticism goes, Hindus neglect their poor, sick and other suffering fellow humans, because they are only interested in pursuing an escape from empirical reality. Such interpretations are false. Prominent Hindus have always been deeply concerned about alleviating suffering, and have pursued the development of society in practical ways. That is why there was so much advancement in medicine, sophisticated architecture and civil engineering, as well as in social and political thought. Artha (material prosperity), kama (legitimate desires) and dharma (engagement at various levels) are all included as parts of Hinduism. Moksha is only of the legitimate pursuits. 

The name “Hindu” might be relatively modern, but the entity it represents is very ancient and has a long history of continuity. I am writing a book on how Hinduism has already impacted other major faiths profoundly, even though these appropriations tend to get disguised.

We need to introduce texts like Mahabharata, dharma-shastras, artha-shastras and raj dharma discourses into mainstream teaching and debates. Sadly, Hindu leaders have limited themselves too much in what they teach. Much of the vast repertoire of resource material is being neglected.
Without the Hindu grand narrative, it’s difficult to build a viable narrative for India as a unified country. There are many divisive narratives at work in the opposite direction. My book, Breaking India, explains the dangerous nexus between internal fragments and certain foreign entities, which are operating as centrifugal forces pulling India apart.

Meanwhile, the West, China and Islam each have their own powerful grand narratives that are competing for global market share. India is a prime target for each of these nexuses competing to export its own grand narrative worldwide. In fact, India is the largest soft target available to them for expansion. Because India lacks a sufficient consensus on what its grand narrative is, it is highly vulnerable to these forces. Though aspiring to be a global power, India has not invested in the development and public discourse of its core narratives. In fact, there is not enough appreciation among its elites on the importance of this issue. 

While China controls the discourse on its civilisation, India has largely abandoned the fields of India Studies and Hinduism Studies to outsiders. The British Orientalists dominated such research in the colonial era. Now it is American Orientalists who have taken over this role. Indian scholars have been bought off as junior partners in this enterprise, supplying their foreign sponsors with data that fits into American theories and agendas. The most prestigious journals and university degrees on Indian civilisation are located outside India, and are under the control of Westerners. The Indians involved tend to be appointed and supervised by Westerners. Many Indian universities take great pride in importing Western models into the humanities and social sciences. This is not a recipe for becoming a superpower, but a recipe for the mental re-colonisation of India. It will produce a nation of mental coolies looking to impress others as a way to feel legitimate.

Far too many Indian intellectuals are basically regurgitating and parroting Western thought which they have been trained to disseminate. Suffering from inferiority complexes, some Indians are uncomfortable articulating publicly what bothers them privately. Those who raise such issues and call for open debates typically get branded in Indian mainstream forums.

I see this as a crisis of Hindu leadership. Many of our leaders lack the intellectual sophistication that comes from purva-paksha (reversing the gaze) of the West, China and Islam, and from years of encounters. They thrive in cocoons with “like minded” people. They fail to get out of their comfort zones to get the required experience in the intellectual kurukshetra. As a result, there is shoddiness and lack of rigor in research on civilisations. Such leaders tend to be bombastic and dismissive of opponents, rather than studying them seriously. I find our youth searching for mentors and leaders, and becoming restless about the present state of affairs. Such youth are our hope, provided we can upgrade the caliber of our leaders.

The Hindu grand narrative must become a major topic for forums, such as conclaves, literary festivals and television discussions. It is a serious discipline and not a matter of chasing the latest sensational news item. It requires competent intellectuals and think tanks with a long-term commitment to pursue the issues professionally.

Rajiv Malhotra (The writer lives in Princeton, USA, and is an internationally acclaimed author. For more information you can visit

Source: organiser

A Christian responds to a Christian who felt “he was a stranger in his own country”

 / March 18, 2015 / Opinions
Mr Julio Ribeiro was one of my few role models whom I held in high esteem. To see him cry the way he did in his letter in the Indian express, was a rude shock and surprise to me. As I began reading the article I thought there must be something that hurt this man very deeply, and I wanted to know the details, but as I continued reading I found no serious merit in his remark that “As a Christian, suddenly I am a stranger in my own country”
In his letter he said:
“there are those of the predominant Hindu faith who still remember my small contribution to the welfare of the country of our birth. During a recent trip to Rajgurunagar in the Khed taluka of Pune district to visit schools that my NGO, The Bombay Mothers and Children Welfare Society, had adopted, I stopped at Lonavla for idli and tea. A group of middle-aged Maharashtrians sitting on the next table recognised me and stopped to greet and talk. A Brahmin couple returning from Kuwait (as I later learnt) also came up to inquire if I was who I was and then took a photograph with me”
I was astounded after reading this. On the one hand he claims the average Indian, be it from the majority community, respects and adores a Christian like him, yet his conclusion from the entire article is that “he is a stranger in his own country”!
Further Mr Ribeiro said:
“The Indian army was headed by a Christian general, the navy more than once, and same with the air force. The country’s defence forces have countless men and women in uniform who are Christians”
This would lead to only one conclusion:  in spite of being such a small minority we could reach the top posts in the Indian Armed Forces! This only shows that merit alone matters and not religion! And this can’t be seen anywhere in the world including our “role models” like US and UK ! And still we curse our mother land and its inclusiveness!
He also said:
“Today, in my 86th year, I feel threatened, not wanted, reduced to a stranger in my own country.  The same category of citizens who had put their trust in me to rescue them from a force they could not comprehend have now come out of the woodwork to condemn me for practising a religion that is different from theirs. I am not an Indian anymore, at least in the eyes of the proponents of the Hindu Rashtra”
I tried hard to find evidence in his own article in support of this remark and conclusion,  but to no avail. I am surprised! what is going on? How can a man of his calibre conclude things with out first hand experience? How can he place reliance on (paid) media reports, of so called attacks? The same media which has lost all their credibility (at least after Radia tapes).  And the super cop of yesteryears is fully dependent on such storys to make so serious comments and draw conclusions as he did in his article!
Mr Ribeiro also remarks:
“ But the outburst of Mohan Bhagwat against Mother Teresa, an acknowledged saint — acknowledged by all communities and peoples — has put me back on the hit list. Even more so because BJP leaders, like Meenakshi Lekhi, chose to justify their chief’s remarks.”
What was the outburst of Mohan Bhagwat?  I learnt that he said “Mother Theresa intended to convert and service was the face of it”. Is this an “outburst”?  Even if there is,  the way to counter it, is to issue a counter statement and close the matter, because in democracy where freedom of expression is a fundamental right, if one disagrees with any statement it should be countered by another statement. There is no scope for hue and cry as if the heaven has fallen unless one has a hidden agenda. So Bhagwat’s statement need not have received the kind of reaction that it received unless there was a hidden agenda to polarise people by playing victim. More over in a democracy no one is above criticism, whether mother Theresa or Mahatma Gandhi.
Next, my “hero” chooses to wilfully mix diverse issues:
“Ghar wapsi”, the declaration of Christmas as “Good Governance Day”, the attack on Christian churches and schools in Delhi, all added to a sense of siege that now afflicts these peaceful people
‘Ghar wapsi’ is related to religious conversion and needs to be debated separately at length. A B Vajpayee’s birthday is celebrated as Good Governance Day, if it falls on Christmas day blame the creator, blaming the government is unfair. The next issue mentioned is “attack on Christian schools and churches in Delhi” – I have a serious objection here, after all what exactly is “attack on Christians”? How do you define “attack”?  Any case of robbery or theft becomes attack on community? Or is it a deliberate attempt to defame my mother land before the world community?
He then laments:
“What should I do? What can I do to restore my confidence? I was born in this country. So were my ancestors, some 5,000 or more years ago. If my DNA is tested, it will not differ markedly from Bhagwat’s. It will certainly be the same as the country’s defence minister’s as our ancestors arrived in Goa with the sage Parshuram at the same time. Perhaps we share a common ancestor somewhere down the line. It is an accident of history that my forefathers converted and his did not. I do not and never shall know the circumstances that made it so”
This is an important observation, he admits the same DNA but stops short of analysing why he is a Christian today and cleverly calls it “an accident”, because going into depth will expose him. It is true that not only his and defence minster’s but even my ancestors are same, though I have born in a place 350 km to the South of Goa. Here it was incumbent upon him to check what exactly made his ancestors embrace Christianity? ( And my ancestors to flee Goa) Is it love of God /Jesus Christ or the force or torture from criminal saint Francis Xavier and his cruel gang? An IPS officer can’t be so ignorant about his own history unless he deliberately chooses to do so! He ought to know the History of Inquisition and its horrifying impact on Indian society.
Then why did Mr Ribeiro conclude such dreary views of my mother land called  Bharat? Obviously to understand this one has to understand the depth and impact “religious teachings” have on young minds during their childhood, that even after serving the full term of eminent service in Indian bureaucracy, this “fear” of Christians being “unsafe” in this country remains unchanged deep in a corner of the sub conscious mind! Which lead to remarks of the kind we saw!
It is not for the first time that I am confronting a senior learned man from my own community, whom the entire society held in high respect. I have seen IPS officers who served with integrity during service but after retirement show these leanings to victimhood of Christians. One retired joint commissioner of Delhi police having roots in Mangalore outraging on a English channel during 2008 church attack made news. A retired high court judge, with whom I had to differ on his findings on the infamous so called Mangalore church attacks of 2008, was also an eminent jurist and known for integrity honesty and impartial judgements, but after retirement when it comes to analysing “church attacks” the prejudice of the indoctrinated minds was clearly visible! So how poisonous could have been the teachings at young age which have this life time impact on the minds!
It is not today I am seeing such utterances for the first time but observing since 1977, the year Congress lost power at the centre for the first time! We the Christians were never bothered when the whole country was fighting emergency,  but felt ‘very unsafe’ the moment Congress was thrown out of power! And we took to streets protesting and spreading panic! And it continued whenever Congress lost at centre, in 1989-90 during V P Singh rule at centre and Mulayam singh (today’s secular champions) at UP we took to street protesting ‘rape’ of nuns in UP  and shouted slogans condemning V P Singh and Mulayam! And so on & so forth to this day!
– Robert Rosario , a social and political activist, Mangalore.
(The author had sent his letter to Indian Express, who had originally published Mr Ribeiro’s letter, but Indian Express refused to publish the response)
Source: opindia

Why the Western media will never like Narendra Modi

Politics |  6-minute read |   17-03-2015

American and European media are far too insular to give India more than cursory coverage, some of it of uneven quality.

Since the Narendra Modi government took office last May, Western media criticism of India has grown sharper. Prime Minister Modi was never a favourite of India's mainstream media either. He still isn't.

The relationship between Modi and the media has long been vitiated by old biases. Social media has enabled the prime minister to largely bypass the Indian and foreign media. This though has made the relationship with traditional media even more fraught. Journalists have large egos. Being ignored does not endear to them a prime minister seen as remote and aloof.

Foreign journalists meanwhile are puzzled. Most are middle-level careerists who head their newspapers' South Asian bureaus. An Indian posting is a stepping stone to a top editorial job back home or in a larger bureau in Europe, China or the United States.

For these mid-career journalists, India is a challenge. Most know they'll be transferred out of New Delhi in a few years even as they are finding their feet in the country. For example, Simon Denyer, the Washington Post's former New Delhi bureau chief with who I appeared in 2012 on a Times Now debate on the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's famed silences, was sent off to Beijing before he had a chance to do extended reportage out of India. Besides, as we agreed in that particular debate, foreign journalists cater to an audience that knows little about India and is easily swayed by undercooked foreign reportage.  

Should Indians though bother about how foreign media projects India? Not unduly. American and European media are far too insular to give India more than cursory coverage, some of it of uneven quality. However, when bias morphs into deception, it's time to set the record straight. Let's take specific examples.

In a recent story in Quartz (the Indian arm of a popular, edgy American website), the headline said breathlessly: "Indian millionaires are fleeing the country".

The article begins thus: "India's millionaires do not want to live in India. In the last ten years, some 27 per cent of India's 160,600 high net worth individuals (HNWIs) have left the country, according to a report by property consultant Knight Frank. A high net worth individual is a person having investable wealth of more than $1 million (Rs 6.28 crore).That's second only to China, where 76,200 HNWIs packed up and moved out between 2003 and 2013. India's 'wealthy migrants' tend to favour the UK, the US and Australia."
And then out comes the truth in the rest of the article: "India's wealthy are moving to other countries to make even more money. "HNWIs are not exactly leaving India, but these are the people who are leaving the country for employment opportunities. These days salary levels are pushing a lot of individuals in the HNWI bucket," Kartik Jhaveri, director of Transcend Consulting, a wealth management service, told Quartz. Much of this exodus, Jhaveri explained, is temporary, with investments (particularly in real estate) remaining parked in India as these millionaires head out for new jobs or business expansion."

Indian millionaires "fleeing" India? When the headline and the opening paragraphs misrepresent  so brazenly the main thrust of the article that follows, it's not just the sub-editor who should be fired. The responsibility travels all the way up to the top.

Turn now to The New York Times, older than Quartz and with gravitas bordering on the pretentious. In an error-speckled piece by its "editorial board" titled "Narendra Modi's Rise in India", the newspaper wrote: "Modi's economic record in Gujarat is not entirely admirable, either. Muslims in Gujarat, for instance, were much more likely to be poor than Muslims in India as a whole."

When the error was pointed out on social media and elsewhere (Muslims in Gujarat are actually among the least poor in India), the Times was forced to recant: "An earlier version of this editorial relied on a 2012 Indian government report on poverty rates, which included the rate for Muslims in Gujarat in 2009 and 2010. Newer data shows that poverty among that group has declined substantially in the last two years."

Factual errors can be put down to journalistic incompetence. But misstatements? Bias? Any newspaper that values its editorial integrity and professional reputation would not have published a piece overflowing with invective as The Economist did shortly after the prime minister's speech at Madison Square Garden in New York last September.

The piece, titled "I give you Narendra Modi", began with droll prose: 'YEAH, go that way,' yells a frazzled cop guarding a security cordon outside Penn Station. Which pain-in-the-ass sports star or musician is snarling traffic around Madison Square Garden, an arena normally graced by Wrestle Mania, the Knicks and the Rolling Stones? 
Actually, today's performer is a politician: Narendra Modi, India's prime minister."

The magazine was forced to issue this "apology" a few days later:
"Editor's note: The second sentence of this blog post was changed on September 29 to make clear that The Economist does not consider Mr Modi to be a 'pain in the ass'; that epithet is merely how we imagined an uninformed New Yorker might feel about someone who causes a traffic jam."

The Economist prides itself on its journalism. Neither its original piece nor its mocking apology justify that pride.

Francois Gautier, the French editor-in-chief of La Revue de I'Inde, puts all of this in historical perspective: "The British set upon establishing an intermediary race of Indians whom they could entrust with their work at middle-level echelons and who could one day be convenient instruments to rule by proxy, or semi-proxy. The tool to shape these British clones was education. In the words of Macaulay: 'We must at present do our best to form a class, who may be interpreters between us and the millions we govern; a class of persons, Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect.' The unfortunate element of course is that Western journalists now quote Indian intellectuals: 'See we are not saying anything, Indians themselves are saying it.'"
How should the Modi government respond to such bias? It shouldn't. The government must instead communicate its policies daily through a structured media briefing. Each key ministry must have a designated spokesperson (like the excellent Syed Akbaruddin of the ministry of external affairs) who briefs the media by rotation. The only thing worse than misinformation is no information.

Dissent is the soul of democracy. Openness, like sunlight, is a disinfectant. In the absence of a structured daily information protocol by the government, which accommodates both dissent and openness, genuine achievement risks being ignored while errors of judgment are magnified by Indian and foreign media who deeply resent that they no longer have access to the top.

Source: dailyo

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Myths about the Swami? Part 2 (Quotable Quotes)

Arun Shourie

This article is a sequel to the one on �Myths about the Swami� and was published in the Sunday (7-13 Feb., 1993).

The depths to which society had pushed sections of its own induced the latter to convert to Islam, for them the conversion was a liberation, and the people who even today do not see this are "lunatics", says Swami Vivekananda (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume III, page 294-5 and page 298. In all subsequent references to these books, the number of the volume is given first followed by the page number). That is one fact, which accounts for the conquests of Islam. There are others, says the Swami. For instance, there is the fact that the Hindu kings adhered to some self-imposed codes of war, while the invaders did not:
" The most curious thing was the code of war of those days; as soon as the battle for the day ceased and evening came, the opposing parties were good friends, even going to each other�s tents; however, when the morning came, again they proceeded to fight each other. That was the strange trait that the Hindus carried down to the time of the Mohammedan invasion. Then again, a man on horseback must not strike one on foot; must not poison the weapon; must not vanquish the enemy in any unequal fight, or by dishonesty; and must never take undue advantage of another and so on. If any deviated from these rules he would be covered with dishonour and shunned. The Kshatriyas were trained in that way. And when the foreign invasion came from Central Asia, the Hindus treated the invaders in the same way. They defeated them several times, and on as many occasions sent them back to their homes with presents etc. The code laid down was that they must not usurp anybody�s country; and when a man was beaten, he must be sent back to his country with due regard to his position. The Mohammedan conquerors treated the Hindu kings differently, and when they got them once, they destroyed them without remorse." (IV. 93-4)
The aim of the Bhakti movement was not just an ecumenical one of picking the best in all traditions. The aim, the Swami says, was to prevent wholesale conversion to Islam:
"The movements in northern India during the Mohammedan period are characterized by their uniform attempt to hold the masses back from joining the religion of the conquerors � which brought in its train social and spiritual equality for all... The friars of the orders founded by Ramananda, Kabir, Dadu, Chaitanya, or Nanak were all agreed in preaching the equality of man, however differing from each other in philosophy. Their energy was for the most part spent in checking the rapid conquest of Islam among the masses, and they had very little left to give birth to new thoughts and aspirations. Though evidently successful in their purpose of keeping the masses within the fold of the old religion, and tempering the fanaticism of the Mohammedans, they were more apologists, struggling to obtain permission to live." (VI. 165-6).
Nor is India the only country on which, on Swami Vivekananda�s reckoning, Islam brought down such consequences. The Turks were tolerant and humane, till Islam came, says the Swami for instance:
"In very ancient times, this Turkish race repeatedly conquered the Western provinces of India and founded extensive kingdoms. They were Buddhist, or would turn Buddhists after occupying Indian territory. In the ancient history of Kashmir there is mention of these famous Turkish Emperors, Hushka, Yushka and Kanishka. It was this Kanishka that founded the Northern School of Buddhism called the Mahayana. Long after, the majority of them took to Mohammedanism and completely devastated the chief Buddhistic seats of Central Asia such as Kandahar and Kabul. Before their conversion to Mohammedanism they used to imbibe the learning and culture of the countries they conquered, and by assimilating the culture of other countries would try to propagate civilisation. But ever since they became Mohammedans, they have only the instinct for war left in them; they have not got the least vestige of learning and culture. On the contrary, the countries that come under their sway gradually have their civilisation extinguished. In many places of modern Afghanistan and Kandahar etc. there yet exist wonderful Stupas, monasteries, temples and gigantic statues built by their Buddhistic ancestors. As a result of Turkish admixture and their conversion to Mohammedanism, those temples are almost in ruins, and the present Afghans and allied races have grown so uncivilised and illiterate that far from imitating those ancient works of architecture, they believe them to be the creation of supernatural spirits like the Jinn, etc. and are firmly convinced that such great undertakings are beyond the power of man to accomplish.
"The principal cause of the present degradation of Persia is that the royal line belongs to the powerful, uncivilized Turkish stock, whereas the subjects are the descendants of the highly-civilized ancient Persians, who were Aryans. In this way the Empire of Constantinople -- the last political arena of the Greeks and Romans, the descendants of civilized Aryans -- has been ruined under the blasting feet of powerful, barbarous Turkey. The Moghul Emperors of India were the only exceptions to this rule; perhaps that was due to an admixture of Hindu ideas and Hindu blood. In the chronicles of Rajput bards and minstrels, all the Mohammedan dynasties which conquered India are styled as Turks. This is a very correct appellation, for, of whatever races the conquering Mohammedan armies might be made up, the leadership was always vested in the Turks alone... What is called the Mohammedan invasion, conquest, or colonisation of India means only this that, under the leadership of Mohammedan Turks who were renegades from Buddhism, those sections of the Hindu race who continued in the faith of their ancestors were repeatedly conquered by the other section of that very race who also were renegades from Buddhism or the Vedic religion and served under the Turks, having been forcibly converted to Mohammedanism by their superior strength." (VII. 394-5).
Not quite the reading of history our communists and secularists would find quotable!
Indeed, while these personages would find Swami Vivekananda�s exhortations to tolerance and broad-mindedness and love appropriate and quotable, the words in which he urges these, the activities of Christian missionaries and Muslim conquerors he contrasts these with will make the passages highly unquotable. Here is a typical exhortation:
"Therefore the world is waiting for this grand idea of universal toleration. It will be a great acquisition to civilisation. Nay, no civilisation can long exist unless this idea enters into it. No civilisation can grow unless fanaticism, bloodshed and brutality stop. No civilisation can begin to lift up its head until we look charitably upon one another; and the first step towards that much-needed charity is to look charitably and kindly upon the religious conviction of others. Nay more, to understand that not only should we be charitable, but also positively helpful to each other, however different our religious ideas and convictions may be. And that is exactly what we do in India as I have just related to you. It is here in India that Hindus have built and are still building churches for Christians and mosques for Mohammedans. That is the thing to do. In spite of their hatred, in spite of their brutality, in spite of their cruelty, in spite of their tyranny, and in spite of the vile language they�re given to uttering, we will and must go on building churches for the Christians and mosques for the Mohammedans until we conquer through love, until we have demonstrated to the world that love alone is the fittest thing to survive and not hatred, that it is gentleness that has the strength to live on and to fructify, and not mere brutality and physical force." (III. 187-8).
On others as well.
Please do not get me wrong. Swami Vivekananda did not single Islam out for harsh words -- in fact he almost always talked of it in the past tense, as something that had faded away. He did not attribute our miserable condition to Muslim rule: that he attributed to our own divisions and sloth, as in the following:
"Remember the old English proverb, �Give every man his due�. Therefore, my friends, it is no use fighting among the castes. What good will it do? It will divide us all the more, weaken us all the more, and degrade us all the more. The days of exclusive claims are gone, gone are forever from the soil of India, and it is one of the great blessing of the British rule in India. Even to the Mohammedan rule we owe that great blessing, the destruction of exclusive privilege. That rule was, after all, not all bad; nothing is all bad; and nothing is all good. The Mohammedan conquest of India came as a salvation to the downtrodden, to the poor. That is why one-fifth of our people have become Mohammedans. It was not the sword that did it all. It would be the height of madness to think it was all the work of sword and fire. And one-fifth to one-half -- of our Madras people will become Christians if you do not take care. Was there ever a sillier thing before in the world than what I saw in Malabar country? The poor Pariah is not allowed to pass through the same street as the high-caste man, but if he changes his name to a hodge-podge English name, it is alright; or to a Mohammedan name, it is alright. What inference would you draw except that these Malabaris are all lunatics, their homes so many lunatic asylums, and that they are to be treated with derision by every race in India until they mend their manners and know better. Shame upon them that such wicked and diabolical customs are allowed; their own children are allowed to die of starvation, but as soon they take up some other religion they are well fed. There ought to be no more fight between the castes." (III. 194-5).
And it is this trough of wretchedness out of which he endeavoured to life us. But not only was the goal to which he sought to turn us the exact opposite of what the communists and secularists have peddled, his method was the exact opposite too. These worthies have kept themselves aloof from our culture; they have sought to heckle it down as outsiders looking down at something rotten in a pit. Contrast their denunciations with this way:
"Did India ever stand in want of reformers? Do you read the history of India? Who was Ramanuja? Who was Shankara? Who was Nanak? Who was Chaitanya? Who was Kabir? Who was Dadu? Who were all these great preachers, one following the other, and a galaxy of stars of the first magnitude? Did not Ramanuja feel for the lower classes? Did he not try all his life to admit even the Pariah to his community? Did he not try to admit even Mohammedans to his own fold? Did not Nanak confer with Hindus and Mohammedans, and try to bring about a new state of things? They all tried, and their work is still going on. The difference is this. They had not the fanfaronade of the reformers of today; they had no curses on their lips as modern reformers have; their lips pronounced only blessings. They never condemned. They said to the people that the race must always grow. They looked back and they said, � O Hindus, what you have done is good, but, my brothers, let us do better�. They did not say, �You have been wicked, now, let us be good�. They said, �You have been good, but let us now be better�. That makes a whole world of difference. We must grow according to our nature. Vain is it to attempt the lines of action that foreign societies have engrafted upon us; it is impossible. Glory unto God, that it is impossible, that we cannot be twisted and tortured into the shape of other nations." (III. 219).
His entire life was premised on one conviction: that India had a message of inestimable worth to give to the world. He had the confidence of course that the ways and message of India � and not the Church or the Prophet, nor of Marx or Lenin � would in the end prevail:
"All religions have struggled against one another for years. Those which were founded on a book, still stand. Why could not the Christians convert the Jews? Why could not they make the Persians Christians? Why cannot any impression be made upon China and Japan? Buddhism, the first missionary religion, numbers double the number of converts of any other religion, and they did not use the sword. The Mohammedans used the greatest violence. They number the least of the three great missionary religions. The Mohammedans have had their day. Every day you read of Christian nations acquiring land by bloodshed. What missionaries preach against this? Why should the most blood-thirsty nations exalt an alleged religion which is not the religion of Christ? The Jews and the Arabs were the fathers of Christianity, and how they have been persecuted by the Christians! The Christians have been weighed in the balance in India and have been found wanting. I do not mean to be unkind, but I want to show the Christians how they look in others� eyes. The missionaries who preach the burning pit are regarded wit horror. The Mohammedans rolled wave after wave over India waving the sword, and today where are they?" (VIII. 217-8).
He was in addition filled with a passion against the scorn and falsehood which was being heaped on India and its tradition by the very ones whose doctrine and slander our communists and secularists have internalised, and which they regurgitate. Will they quote the following in their pamphlets? Better still, will they spot how much of it applies to them?
"One thing I would tell you, and I do not mean any unkind criticism. You train and educate and clothe and pay men to do what? To come over to my country to curse and abuse all my forefathers, my religion and everything. They walk near a temple and say, �You idolaters, you will go to hell�. But they dare not do that to the Mohammedans of India; the sword would be out. But the Hindu is too mild; he smiles and passes on, and says, �Let the fools talk�. That is the attitude. And then you, who train men to abuse and criticise, if I touch you with the least bit of criticism, with the kindest of purpose, you shrink and cry, �Don�t touch us; we are Americans. We criticise all the people in the world, curse them and abuse them, say anything; but do not touch us; we are sensitive plants�. You may do whatever you please; but at the same time I am going to tell you that we are content to live as we are; and in one thing we are better off � we never teach our children to swallow such horrible stuff: �Where every prospect pleases and man alone is vile�. And whenever your ministers criticise us, let them remember this: if all India stands up and takes all the mud that is at the bottom of the Indian Ocean and throws it up against the Western countries, it will not be doing an infinitesimal part of that which you are doing to us. And what for? Did we ever send one missionary to convert anybody in the world? We say to you, �Welcome to your religion, but allow me to have mine. You call yours religion, but allow me to have mine�. "
"You call yours an aggressive religion. You are aggressive, but how many have you taken? Every sixth man in the world is a Chinese subject, a Buddhist; then there are Japan, Tibet, and Russia, and Siberia, and Burma, and Siam; and it may not be palatable, but this Christian morality, the Catholic Church, is all derived from them. Well, and how was this done? Without the shedding of one drop of blood! With all your brags and boastings, where has your Christianity succeeded without the sword? Show me one place in the whole world. One, I say, throughout the history of the Christian religion -- one; I do not want two. I know how your forefathers were converted. They had to be converted or killed; that was all. What can you do better than Mohammedanism, with all your bragging? �We are the only one!� And why? 'Because we can kill others.' The Arabs said that; they bragged. And where is the Arab now? He is the Bedouin. The Romans used to say that, and where are they now? Blessed are the peace-makers; they shall enjoy the earth. Such things tumble down; it is built upon sands; it cannot remain long." (I. 211-3).
Did they -- that is, the quoting communists -- not brag as much? Did they not proclaim that their victories too were forever? Were their victories based any the less on the sword and on falsehood? And where are they today?


In brief, lessons upon lessons for friends who suddenly find Swami Vivekananda so quotable:

Stray quotations cannot be set up to counter the entire life and work of such a man;
 As that life and work is the exact opposite of what you have been propagating, the more you lean on Vivekananda, the more he will recoil on you;

 Never forget what you have been saying about a man when you suddenly find him handy, others are not likely to have forgotten;

 And finally, never proclaim your intention to quote a man before you have read him!

Source: arunshourie

Myths about the Swami? Part 1

Arun Shourie

This is the first of a two part article by Sri Arun Shourie (former editor of the Indian Express, Magsaysay award winner and presently Minister for Disinvestment) published in the Sunday on 31st Jan 1993.

Of course, he said, Hindus who became Muslims must be taken back into the Hindu fold. Otherwise our numbers will keep dwindling -- we used to be around 600 million by the reckoning of Ferishta, the oldest Muslim historian, now we are just 200 million. "And then", he continued, "every man going out of the Hindu pale is not only a man less, but an enemy the more."

That is the new darling of the communists and secularists, Swami Vivekananda, answering questions put to him by the editor of Prabuddha Bharat. Not only what he goes on to say but the word he uses for the converts is bound to stick in the secularists� throat. "Again," says Swami Vivekananda continuing his reasons for accepting them back as Hindus, "the vast majority of Hindu perverts to Islam and Christianity are perverts by the sword, or the descendants of these. It would be obviously unfair to subject these to disabilities of any kind. As to the case of born aliens, did you say? Why, born aliens have been converted in the past by crowds, and the process is still going on..." (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume V, pages 233-4. In all subsequent references to these books, the number of the volume is given first followed by the page number.)

That is the trouble with rushing into the charge with a quotation or two, without immersing oneself in the thought and world view of the person. Not just the CPI and CPI(M), but a host of fellow-travellers, too, have suddenly alighted upon Swami Vivekananda as if he can be a handy instrument. They forget -- or at least would have us forget -- what they used to say about Ramakrishna and Vivekananda till the other day. If one were to just reproduce today what they used to allege about the relationship between the two, that would be enough to start a riot in Bengal. There are two other ways to weigh their sudden fondness for him.

The central premise of Swami Vivekananda�s entire life was that the essence of India lay in religion; that the religion of our people was the Hindu dharma; that this was not the just the lever by which India was to be reawakened, the truths the Hindu seers had uncovered were the goals to which that reawakened India had to be turned, and that these truths were that pearl of inestimable value which it was India�s mission to give to the world. Which red-blooded communist or secularist will own up to this credo? The other way to assess their quotation mongering is equally telling: before you launch on your hunt for serviceable quotation from the Swami, consider what he said on Islam. Considering that you suddenly find him to have been a man of such insight will you accept his views on that too?

The Swami on the Prophet

There is the embarrassment to start with that, unlike Jesus and the Gospels, the Swami never thought it worth his while to devote time to studying the Prophet�s life and teaching in any depth. When he recounts the life of the Prophet (see for instance, I. 481-3) it is in extremely simplistic terms: number of wives and all. His general view of the Prophet seems to be that the Prophet was an inspired but untrained yogi, and the Swami uses him as a warning. This is how he puts the matter in his treatise on Raja Yoga:
"The yogi says there is a great danger in stumbling upon this state. In a good many cases, there is the danger of the brain being deranged, and, as a rule, you will find that all those men, however great they were, who had stumbled upon this superconscious state without understanding it, groped in the dark, and generally had, along with their knowledge, some quaint superstition. They opened themselves to hallucinations. Mohammad claimed that the Angel Gabriel came to him in a cave one day and took him on the heavenly horse, Harak, and he visited the heavens. But with all that Mohammad spoke some wonderful truths. If you read the Koran, you find the most wonderful truths mixed with superstitions. How will you explain it? That man was inspired, no doubt, but that inspiration was, as it were, stumbled upon. He was not a trained yogi, and did not know the reason of what he was doing. Think of what the good Mohammad did to the world, and think of the great evil that has been done through his fanaticism! Think of the millions massacred through his teachings, mothers bereft of their children, children made orphans, whole countries destroyed, millions upon millions of people killed!... So we see this danger by studying the lives of great teachers like Mohammad and others. Yet we find, at the same time, that they were all inspired. Whenever a prophet got into the superconscious state by heightening his emotional nature, he brought away from it not only some truths, but some fanaticism also, some superstition which injured the world as much as the greatness of the teaching helped." (I. 184)
On The Book

The central claim of Islam, as of Christianity, is that it has been given The Book, that it alone has been given The Book, that therefore it alone possesses The Truth. That there was The Book- the Talmud, the Bible, the Koran- the Swami said had one effect; it helped the adherents to hold together. But apart from that the effect of The Book � whichever this happened to be � was baneful. Our communists will not find the Swami�s verdict palatable, not the least because the Swami�s words apply to them and the fetish they made of their Book just as sharply as to Islam etc.!

"One of the great advantages of a book," the Swami says, "is that it crystallises everything in tangible and convenient form, and is the handiest of all idols. Just put a book on an altar and everyone sees it; a good book, everyone reads. I am afraid I may be considered partial. But, in my opinion, books have produced more evil than good. They are accountable for many mischievous doctrines. Creeds all come from books, and books are alone responsible for the persecution and fanaticism in the world. Books in modern times are making liars everywhere. I am astonished at the number of liars abroad in every country." (IV. 44).

Moreover, the Jew, the Christian, the Muslim each has his own book. The Books are at variance. Each says his books alone are right. How is the contest to be settled? Surely it cannot be settled by using any of the Books themselves as the yardstick. It can only be settled by subjecting all of them to reason (I. 368, II. 335) -- the very procedure the faithful will not allow!

The Book itself is but a specific example: an instance of the claim to being the sole possessors of Truth. That is the central claim of every Semitic religion, of Islam most of all. Again I doubt if our communists will reproduce what he had to say about this claim, if for no other reason than because once again the words apply so very aptly to their own claim to being the sole possessors of The Revelation. Here it is:
"Therefore we at once see why there has been so much narrow-mindedness, the part always claiming to be the whole; the little, finite unit always laying claim to the infinite. Think of little sects, born within a few hundred years out of fallible human brains, making this arrogant claim of knowledge of the whole of God�s infinite truth! Think of the arrogance of it! If it shows anything, it is this, how vain human beings are. And it is no wonder that such claims have always failed, and, by the mercy of the Lord, are always destined to fail. In this line the Mohammedans were the best off; every step forward was made with the sword -- the Koran in the one hand and the sword in the other: �Take the Koran, or you must die; there is no alternative!� You know from history how phenomenal was their success; for six hundred years nothing could resist them, and then there came a time when they had to cry halt. So, will it be with other religions if they follow the same methods." (II. 369-70).
On Universal Brotherhood
The claim of Islam, as of every other Semitic religion right up to and including Marxism-Leninism, that it is the doctrine of Universal Brotherhood, the Swami punctures on this count: these religions talk of Universal Brotherhood even as they divide the world between believers and non-believers, not just consigning the latter to external damnation, but binding the believers to exterminate them altogether.

"The more selfish a man," says the Swami in words that the communists will certainly not quote, "the more immoral he is."

"And so also with the race. That race which is bound down to itself has been the most cruel and the most wicked in the whole world. There has not been a religion that has clung to this dualism more than that founded by the Prophet of Arabia, and there has not been a religion, which has shed so much blood and been so cruel to other men. In the Koran there is the doctrine that a man who does not believe these teachings should be killed; it is a mercy to kill him! And the surest way to get to heaven, where there are beautiful houris and all sorts of sense enjoyments, is by killing these unbelievers. Think of the bloodshed there has been in consequence of such beliefs!" (II. 352-2).

The consequence is inevitable. "Now", says the Swami, "we all shout like these drunken men, �Universal Brotherhood!� We are all equal, therefore let us make a sect.� As soon as you make a sect you protect against equality and equality is no more. Mohammedans talk of universal brotherhood, but what comes out of that in reality? Why, anybody who is not a Mohammedan will not be admitted into the brotherhood; he will more likely have his own throat cut. Christians talk of universal brotherhood; but anyone who is not a Christian must go to that place where he will be eternally barbecued." (II. 380).

On Iconoclasm

The scorn Islam has for idol worship and the enthusiasm it has for smashing idols and temples meets with more than scorn from the Swami. Pratika and Pratima have a deep meaning, the Swami explains again and again. They are aids to gathering our wayward minds, devices for imbuing ourselves with higher attributes -- over the ages the idols are endowed with these attributes through lore, and tradition, and association, and then by contemplating the idols and attributes we imbibe them. The iconoclasts don�t just miss the significance of the idol. They become idolators of the lowest kind themselves.

People -- Muslims no less than others- find it difficult to worship the Spirit as Spirit. They therefore revert to the same forms of worship one way or another. But not having been taught, and not having reflected on the true and higher significance of the idol or mental image, they get stuck at the lowest level, at worshipping the object "in itself but not as help to the vision" (Drishtisaukaryam) of God", so that it remains "at best only of the nature of ritualistic Karmas and cannot produce either Bhakti or Mukti." (See, for instance, III. 61, 362; VI. 59-60) Worship of saints, worship of their graves (all entirely forbidden by the Prophet) are examples that the Swami often gives of Islamic idolatry, as in the following typical passage:
"It is a curious phenomenon that there never was a religion started in this world with more antagonism... (to the worship of forms) than Mohammedanism... The Mohammedans can have neither painting nor sculpture, nor music... That would lead to formalism. The priest never faces his audience. If he did, they would make a distinction. This way there was none. And yet it was not two centuries after the Prophet�s death before saint worship (developed). Here is the toe of the saint! There is the skin of the saint! So it goes, Formal worship is one of the stages we have to pass through." (VI. 60)
In view of such reversions the Swami scoffs at the claims of Christians against pagans and of Muslims against idolators. He puts all of them at par, saying that they are all at the same preliminary stage all must pass through. Here is how he puts it:
"All over the world you will find images in some form or other. With some, it is in the form of a man, which is the best form... One sect thinks a certain form is the right sort of image, and another, thinks it is bad. The Christian thinks that when God came in the form of a dove it was alright, but if he comes in the form of a fish, as the Hindus say, it is very wrong and superstitious. The Jews think if an idol be made in the form of a chest with two angels sitting on it, and a book on it, it is all right, but if it is in the form of a man or a woman, it is awful. The Mohammedans think that when they pray, if they try to form a mental image of temple with the Caaba, the black stone in it, and turn towards the west, it is alright, but if you form the image in the shape of church it is idolatry. This is the defect of image worship, yet all these seem to be necessary stages." (IV. 44-5).
Central teaching and consequence

Islam is the religion of peace, we are told again and again. Sufis -- their thought, their music -- are presented to us as the hallmark of Islam. That is certainly not the reading of the one our communists and secularists suddenly find so quotable.

"Why religions should claim that they are not bound to abide by the standpoint of reason," Swami Vivekananda writes, "no one knows. If one does not take the standard of reason, there cannot be any true judgment, even in the case of religions. One religion may ordain something very hideous. For instance, the Mohammedan religion allows Mohammedans to kill all who are not of their religion. It is clearly stated in the Koran, �Kill the infidels if they do not become Mohammedans.� They must be put to fire and sword. Now if we tell a Mohammedan that this is wrong, he will naturally ask, "How do you know that? How do you know it is not good? My book says it is�. " (II. 335)

It is not only philosophic among them who have objected to this thrust of the teaching, the Swami says:
"The mother recognizes her child in any dress and knows him however disguised. Recognize all the great, spiritual men and women in every age and country, and see that they are not really at variance with one another. Wherever there has been actual religion -- this touch of the Divine, the soul coming in direct sense-contact with the Divine -- there has always been a broadening of the mind, which enables it to see the light everywhere. Now, some Mohammedans are the crudest in this respect, and the most sectarian. Their watchword is: �There is one God, and Mohammad is his Prophet.� Everything beyond that not only is bad, but must be destroyed forthwith: at a moment�s notice, every man or woman who does not exactly believe in that must be killed; everything that does not belong to this worship must be immediately broken; every book that teaches anything else must be burnt. From the Pacific to the Atlantic, for five hundred years blood ran all over the world. That is Mohammedanism! Nevertheless, among these Mohammedans, wherever there was a philosophic man, he was sure to protest against these cruelties. In that he showed the touch of the Divine and realized a fragment of the truth; he was not playing with his religion, he was talking, but spoke the truth direct like a man." (IV. 126).
Little seems to have come of the remonstrations of the philosophers however. For in Swami Vivekananda�s reading, the influence of Islam was determined by its central teaching -- to kill or be killed in the war to bring peace to the world.

The Hindu more than others, and the Hindu priests more than ordinary Hindus, Swami Vivekananda recounts, became the targets of slaughter:
"To the Mussulman, the Jews or the Christians are not objects of extreme detestation; they are, at the worst, men of little faith. But not so the Hindu. According to him, the Hindu is idolatrous, the hateful kafir; hence in this life he deserves to be butchered; and in the next, eternal hell is in store for him. The utmost the Mussulman kings could do as a favour to the priestly class -- the spiritual guides of these kafirs -- was to allow them somehow to pass their life silently and wait for the last moment. This was again, sometimes considered too much kindness! If the religious ardour of any king was a little more uncommon, there would immediately follow arrangements for a great yajna by way of kafir-slaughter." (IV. 446).
History accordingly turned gory with the coming of Islam to India, the Swami says:
"You know that the Hindu religion never persecutes. It is the land where all sects may live in peace and amity. The Mohammedans brought murder and slaughter in their train, but until their arrival, peace prevailed. Thus the Jains, who do not believe in a God and who regards such belief as a delusion, were tolerated, and still are there today. India sets the example of real strength that is meekness. Dash, pluck, fight, all these things are weakness." (V. 190).

Source: arunshourie