Saturday, March 20, 2010

A possible deconvolution for the convoluted logic of RSS: What Mohan Bhagwat could have said ....

In a recent blog entry the chief of RSS, Mr. Mohan Bhagwat (MB) was criticised for saying: He who is an Indian is a Hindu and he who is not a Hindu is not an Indian.

A long and winding debate ensued. It was desirable to retain the informal notions related to the words Hindu and Indian, and yet certain specificity was needed for precision, unambiguousness and substantiveness.

Mr. Thammayya, in one of his comments, had asked: Hey, I have another suggestion. What do you think, MB should have told? Interesting to know this.

I have recently outlined an abstract version of Hindu-WOL (Hindu Way of Life), terming it, for various reasons, Sanatana Dharma. In light of this article, here is my take on what MB could have said:


One of the essential underpinnings of an open and free mind regarding religious truths is: There can be points of view regarding the Truth and the ways of attaining the Truth which are seemingly quite different from the ones I uphold but are equally valid.

Hindus pursue and practice such openness and freedom.

A belief in exclusive monopoly regarding religious truths and/or insistence on one's concrete details regarding the same, is inconsistent with this notion of freedom.

India, in our view, is a home-nation for Hindus. Those who are not Hindus are not legitimately Indian.



0. The term Hindu is not defined comprehensively here. And yet, whatever is essential for the political debate is captured in terms of the concepts of openness and freedom.

For example:
a. The term Hindu is free from geographical, racial, linguistic, regional connotations and overtones.

b. So there can be Hindus residing as citizens of other nations.

1. Similarly, India, although not defined comprehensively, is hinted in the last sentence, to be the current geopolitical entity, whose citizens we are. This suffices for the political debate.

For example:

a. The term India is free from racial, linguistic, and regional connotations and overtones.

b. Those, who are currently residing in India as citizens but do not honor this openness and freedom are termed illegitimate citizens.

This allows us to use the terms "Hindu" and "India" with specificity necessary for the relevant aspects of political debate, while retaining the same informal notions regarding these words, which most of us may entertain.

Nonetheless, this is still a tentative version, and is open to be improved upon. Readers' suggestions are welcome.

Interestingly, a Dutch Politician, Geert Wilders has said many things which RSS could have, and should have articulated long long ago. Some of these are, I have provided links obtained from the same wikipedia page: "not tolerate the intolerant", "Ban Koran like Mein Kampf", and "There might be moderate muslims, but there is no moderate Islam".

However, as I have repeatedly alleged, owing to intellectual lethargy among those who are supposed to provide India with political leadership, these things have not happened here in India.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hinduism, Sanatana Dharma, ... Truth Based Civilization.

This entry is still under preparation, however, readers are encouraged to participate in its preparation. Please write short, specific, and precise comments. It will make discussion more useful and convenient. If you have lots of things to say then please state them in different comments after breaking them into smaller parts. Thank You.

Please give your feed-back if this has been useful to you and your friends.


In a recent blog entry there has been a debate on what Hinduism is. In another entry the author KMS has proposed his answers to the question :"Who is a Hindu?"

Here we propose what we believe to be a very general and yet specific definition of Hinduism. We will also point out, that often various confusions arise out of inappropriate mix of concepts. And therefore we will make a case for our preferred term for the subject matter of the present description.

To begin with, we call this perspective a belief-system or world-view.


Belief-System, World-view:

0. Truth, whatever that may be, is amenable to being investigated using one or many from a myriad of tools, for example, reason, experience, perception, emotion, etc.; and Truth can stand any inquiry.

1. In the past, various investigations have been conducted into Truth, and many of the findings have been recorded or handed down through generations.

2. One is free to investigate ab initio, and one is also free to investigate, starting from some or all of previous findings and continuing them further. Also one is free to make use of previous findings if and when these are available.

It is evident that there are two broad methodologies:

2.a One begins with a willingness to try out some of the previous findings (This is called the Faith aspect), and attempts to verify them to gain conviction for oneself (This is the Confidence aspect).

2.b One sets out with a clean slate and attempts to discover things for oneself (This is the inquiry aspect).

3. Properly conducted investigations -- whether by an individual or in a collaborative way, whether conducted in the past, present or future, independent of the tools used for investigation -- lead to fundamentally and essentially identical results and eventually final understanding; albeit the expressions of the understanding may vary and differ depending upon time, location, language, context, understanding capacity of the listener and also the speaker.

4. Science too is a part of the outcome of such an investigation. Usually science focuses on demonstrable (Personal, Objective) truths, whereas the larger truth encompasses the verifiable (Impersonal, Subjective) truths as well.

5. The underlying principles, that provide sustenance to a Civilization based on such an understanding of Truth, are called Sanatana Dharma.


We can now propose that those who accept, even if tentatively, such a broad understanding of Sanatana Dharma, and live by it, can be stated to be leading a Hindu-Way-of-Life.


0. Sanatana Dharma
is not confined to geo-political India and so on. It may be practiced anywhere and by any people, speaking whatsoever language.

1. The validity or applicability of this Sanatana Dharma is universal and does not depend upon whether someone knows it or not. It was pointed out that some scholar once remarked that everyone was subject to the Eternal Law and it was not a matter of choice!

2. The discoverers of these truths have been called seers, sages or Rishis. Those who pondered over the discoveries were called Munis and so on.

3. There are no fixed text-books for Sanatana Dharma. However, there are many usable text-books. Some of them are even considered canonical.

4. Incidentally, Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudha Vadanti, एकं सत विप्राः बहुधा वदन्ति। does not mean that "All religions contain the same Truth". Sat is technically synonymous with immutable, and the purport of this dictum is to state that This unique immutable can be referred to by many different names.

5. As we tend to agree that even if human civilization forgot all of science and began from scratch, they will rediscover largely the same science again; similarly Sanatana Dharma will also be rediscovered.

6. The word Hindu, historically was used for a geographical region, and the word India came from Hind(u), hence there usually is a confusion between the ancient Way-of-life and current geographical situation.

7. On a more technical footing, the word Dharma is an equally usable term, however since it can be confused with Dhamma of the Buddhists, we prefer the term Sanatana Dharma. However, we are open to new suggestions.

8. It can be conjectured that if there ever has to be a Universal framework for various belief-systems, Sanatana Dharma would be a logical and legitimate choice.

9. Like there are occasional frauds in Science, there can be frauds in religious life as well.

Socio-Cultural and Political Consequences:

0. There may be a way seemingly different from what a person oneself might prefer, which would lead to an understanding of the same Truth, is inherent in Sanatana Dharma. Certain observable aspects like variety, and tolerance, are eminent and exemplary outcomes of this inherent quality.

1. Sanatana Dharma thrived without the need for the notion of a Single-Nation-State to be felt. We welcome more and more peoples and nations to adopt Sanatana Dharma and they have no need to become a part of India! This is again is the same as the fact that India (or any other nation-state) does not become a colony of Europe or USA merely by adopting Science and Technology for its development.

2. Similarly language too was never a barrier. Various kingdoms could exists, and even fight wars without in any way destroying this underlying unity. This is like the axis-countries fighting against the allied-forces during Worl War II, both having the same world-view regarding Science.

3. This does not mean that we encourage fissiparous or secessionist tendencies of the likes of Maoists. We surely disagree with those who claim that Hinduism is the cause of such separatist movements. If at all, the intellectual ideologies behind these movements are the real cause for such political strife. And nothing else, other than, a perspective emerging out of Sanatana Dharma can salvage India from such a turmoil.

Certain Inconvenient Facts:

0. In view of the first point in the previous section, it is a simple corollary that Islamic claims regarding some person being the final messenger are all inconsistent with Sanatana Dharma.

Therefore a muslim, inasmuch as he/she is a follower of Islam, can not be a leading a Hindu-WOL. Period.

1. Similarly a christian, inasmuch as he/she believes his holy-book, the Bible, to be the only and exclusive source of Truth, can not be leading a Hindu-WOL. Period.

2. Even some of those who claim to be Hindus, like the followers of ISCKON, inasmuch as they insist, that their point of view is the only correct view, are not leading a Hindu-WOL.

3. Merely stating that they accept all as True, does not make one a Hindu-WOL. Accepting all as true is like a scientist who accepts all superstitions as true.

4. It is important to be broadminded with regards to Truth, but it is also important to reject the False.

5. Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs largely honor a similar understanding, however they CLAIM to begin with the recorded discoveries of only their preferred masters, viz., The Buddha, The Teerthankaras, and The Gurus.

We emphasize the word Claim, because the doctrines of Karma, and rebirth which had already been there with the ancient "Hindus" for long period, were co-opted by all these three; and yet each of these insist that they are all Original and New, and pretend as if they began from Scratch!

Therefore, often the followers of Sanatana Dharma consider these to be co-travellers, but these groups in their own view consider themselves to be different, for various reasons including Philosophical reasons, and not excluding social, political, financial reasons.

still in progress ...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Who is a Hindu?

To answer this question, first we need to characterize Hinduism. Here is a tentative list.

1. Varnashrama - Caste, marriage, family, Sanyasa.
2. Vedic gods - in various forms as idols, female, animals and plants.
3. Rituals - Samskar, shradda and special occasions like Grahana, melas (Kumbh)
4. Philosophy - Vedas, Upanishads, Ayurveda, Yoga, Gita, Ramayana
5. Hindu values - stable families, harmonious living, etc
6. Associated with India.

One who has some characteristic of Hinduism could be called as a Hindu.
1. Those who are followers of Varnashrama Dharma
2. Those who worship idols, gods and goddesses - of Vedas, animals and plants.
3. Those who perform shradda, rituals during Grahana
4. Those who understand Vedic philosophy - rebirth and karma, benefit from Ayurveda and Yoga.
5. Those who have an inbuilt sense of tolerance, harmonious approach towards diversity.
6. Those who reside in (citizens of) India.


Those who are aligned with Varna Dharma, even partially, are readily identified as Hindus. Caste identities and associated life style features determine could be used to identify a Hindu. Such a person may not be aware of Vedic philosophy or other important aspects of Hinduism. But he/she cannot be excluded from being termed as Hindu.

A Hindu worships Gods of Vedas and Puranas - as an idol, in the form of female form, as an animal or as a plant, many of them simultaneously. Performer of rituals related to Shradda, Grahana, Melas, variants of them – is a Hindu.

Those who are not aligned with rituals may still be influenced by Upanishads and other parts of Vedas. Those who believe in rebirth and causal Karma cannot be termed anything other than Hindu. Slightly extending, those who are benefiting from yoga, Ayurveda could also be considered as Hindus.

All of them, have an inbuilt sense of tolerance towards those who follow different rituals, lifestyle and thought process. They have a predisposition towards a harmonious living.

A nation is defined on a common history, culture and people. Historically, India was a land of Hindus. Today, majority of the people are Hindus and cultural elements of the nation are dominantly Hindu. Hindu culture and Hindu as religion is naturally the main stream culture and religion of the modern India. The harmonious living of various diverse groups including Muslims and Christians is possible only if some of the tolerant ways of Hindus are adopted as a public policy. When these statements are inverted, Hindus could be generally defined as those who are in India.

In current times, there are two trends in defining Hindu/Hinduism. One is to include all aspects of the Hinduism which are good (or beneficial to the society) into the definition and exclude all the other aspects which are difficult to understand and explain. Second one is to include all aspects which are attracting criticism into the definition and to separate attractive and demonstrably useful characteristics from Hinduism.

A – Exclude Varna & rituals - Include Upanishads & Yoga
Some people try to restrict Hinduism to a subset of noble aspects of Upanishads and exclude ritualistic and Varna and caste characterization from Hinduism. These people argue that rituals and noble thoughts of Vedas, Darshanas are separable. Varnashrama, for them, is time and space dependent. For the present, Varna is obsolete or irrelevant. They may be proud or possessive about Yoga or Ayurveda. Some of them define Hinduism as the set of all concepts which are demonstrably beneficial.

B – Include Varna & rituals – Exclude Upanishads & Yoga
On the other hand, there are some who are keener to restrict Hindu definition to ritualistic aspects. They accept Varnashrama as an integral part of Hinduism. Untouchability, for them, is an unavoidable consequence of Varna vyavastha. Some of them don’t accept that rituals are inseparable from the noble Upanishad philosophy, Yoga or any such topic. They would prefer to use them in isolation and independently. Some of them would like to delink them from Hinduism.
Interestingly, both camps A and B agree that rituals and the philosophy are separable. It is instructive to identify the groups in each of the camp.

Group A – Who exclude rituals and include Yoga

1. Those who are not following rituals
2. Those who are finding it difficult to follow rituals
3. Who are not able to explain rituals or who have not understood them or both
4. Those who are unable to explain or understand Varnashrama system.

Typically, Educated Hindus (precisely stating, those who have imbibed western values), those who have accepted the criticism against rituals and Varna vyavastha are in this category. Restricting the definition of Hindu is an attempt to avoid problems.

Group B – Who exclude Yoga and include rituals

1. Those who are trying to undermine Hindus (Hinduism)
2. Those who are detached from Hinduism
3. Those who are trying to hijack Yoga and Upanishads away from Hinduism
4. Those who lack understanding or unable to get into the details.

Mostly non Hindus - mainly proselytizing Christians, Jihadi Muslims and other intolerants are in this category. Hindus who have detached themselves with wrong notions also fall under this category. People who lack understanding of fairness and justice and misinterpret Varna are included in this category.
With the above considerations, it is fair to define a Hindu in the following way

One who is guided by Sanatana Dharma in all aspects of life
Who see divinity in many forms, human, plants and animals – as an idol
Who adopts Dharmic lifestyle based on Varnashrama, rituals, samskaras, shradda etc
Who adopts values and outlook determined by Vedas, Upanishads, Smrithis, Puranas
Who receives guidance through guru, inspiration from India.
Sanatana Dharma being the sustaining principle of the manifestation.

The real question is how much you are Hindu? Not whether you are a Hindu?

[Contributed by VS and SH]

Friday, March 12, 2010

Gujarat Riots: Zakia's charges and investigations into Modi's actions

Modi may or may not have had his role in the riots, but some of the important charges against him are source of great entertainment. According to the allegation "Modi along with other ministers in his government, conspired to 'allow the massacre of Muslims'" and "that the chief minister and his colleagues instructed policemen and bureaucrats not to respond to pleas for help from Muslims being attacked during the riots."

In our country, do you have to ever instruct policemen and bureaucrats not to respond? If Mr. Modi spends his time in ensuring things that happen automatically, viz., "policemen and bureaucrats do not respond to pleas of anyone", then that is a sheer waste of tax payer's money on Modi's salary. And for this, Mr. Modi can at best be charged with wasting tax-payer's money, nothing more!

I have picked the details from the news given in MSN. On the last page in the news, the following charges are mentioned:

1. Why were bodies of Godhra train victims paraded on the streets of Ahmedabad?

2. Why was the bandh called by the Sangh Parivar on Feb 27, 2002, not stopped?

3. Why are there no records of the meetings held by Modi Feb 27, 2002, onwards?

4. Why were no minutes of the meetings held by the chief minister and other senior officers for review of the situation from feb 27, 2002, onwards prepared and circulated to the concerned officials?

5. Why were bodies of the Godhra train fire victims paraded through the streets of Ahmedabad city and that too when over 50 percent of the dead belonged to places outside Ahmedabad city and a few bodies were not even identified at that juncture?

Now 1 and 5 say pretty much the same thing, except that 5 informs us that over 50 percent of the dead belonged to places outside Ahmedabad.

I provide some tentative answers to these charges. I am sure the lawyers would do a much more professional job of this.

1. Godhra carnage was a savage act wherein a coach, containing human beings including women and children, was set on fire. If burning helpless humans is not an act of terror then one wonders what an act of terror is. I am sure that a very large number of people, all law-abiding peace-loving citizens, wanted to pay their homage to the innocent victims of this act of brutal savagery. It would be foolish to imagine that the peoples of India who are sensitive enough to pay homage to even a tyrannical DF like Mr. Jyotirmoy Basu, would be heartlessly cruel and not want to pay homage to martyr victims of terrorism. If this paying of homage was facilitated, then the facilitator must be felicitated and not charged with conspiracy.

Those who allege that this was intentionally done, by Mr. Modi, to drive up passions, are, in my opinion, ascribing too much intelligence to our dim-witted friend, I mean Mr. Modi.

2. In a democratic country like India, bandhs are called almost everyday, often for no reasons at all. After a dilapidated structure at Ayodhya fell on December 6, 2002, the number of bandhs called by various democratic groups and secular organizations far exceeded 1000. It might be surmised that Ms. Teesta Setalvad and Ms Zakia too must have joined some of those peaceful bandhs. There is no reason why another organization, viz., the RSS should be forbidden from calling a bandh as a mark of respect to helpless victims of savagery by terrorists.

The short answer is that groups are free to call for bandhs. Unless you want India to become like China where students were massacred by the government troops for merely gathering peacefully at Tiananmen Square in Peking.

3. Firstly, I am not sure if emergency meetings are required to be recorded. It seems highly unlikely. Unless we are cursed with a Home Minister like Mr. Shivraj Patil who was telecasting his meetings live for the benefit of the most afflicted, viz., the terrorists from Pakistan.

Even if they are supposed to be recorded, there are hundreds of ways in which the records quickly become untraceable in India. I wonder if Ms Teesta Setalvad and Ms Zakia can trace their land records in the registrar's office. No points for guessing what the duo would want to be done in case they can not trace the records.

4. This gets me. If no minutes were prepared and circulated, then I fail to understand, how exactly was our dear chief minister allegedly conspiring?

Looks like someone was calling over phones to people and inciting them? But my dear folks, don't you know that one could mimic another person's voice? If you have not heard of Mr. Nagarwala, it would be quite informative to read about his case. A person, allegedly Mr. Nagarwala, allegedly mimicked the voice of Mrs. Indira Gandhi, and withdrew Rs. 60 lac in cash!

5. In light of the facts mentioned in point 1, it is purely human to expect that those who wanted to pay their homage to victims were not as parochial as our large-hearted accusers want them to be. Who would expect that law-abiding, peace-loving citizens of this country would want to deprive homily to someone merely because the deceased person happened to be from another city?

To see a conspiracy where none exists can be termed simple-mindedness. But not to see a conspiracy, when there indeed is one, is criminal-mindedness. It is worthwhile to recall that after the long-awaited though sudden demise of Mrs. Indira Gandhi in 1984, when the goons of the Secular Peace-loving Mohandasian-Jawaharian Congress Party, allegedly killed in cold blood, thousands of helpless Sikhs, including women and children, one of our ex-Prime ministers, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, beloved of our current super-prime-minister Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, made a historical remark. And his remark was, "But, when a mighty tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it does shake a little."

It will be much more humane on part of Ms Teesta Setalwad and Ms Zakia to investigate the conspiracy of 1984, than to conspire against a dim-witted politician.

If the anti-Hindu Brigade consists of people of the ilk of Ms. Setalvad and Ms. Zakia, then I still have some hope for the intellectually dead folks on the Hindu Brigade.

My heart feels sorry for Ms. Zakia who lost her husband, and her son who lost his father. I think, they must firmly resolve to fight against the evil designs of Jihadis.

On another level, I also understand the difficulties faced by the Jihadis. They are torn between their religious obligation to kill infidels, no holds barred, women and children not spared; and the law, which forbids them from killing.

Now it is P Chidambaram who is Deceiving Indian Public using Convoluted Logic.

I was happy to read a headline on that our home minister Mr. P Chidambaram has said that "India will act decisively if another attack happens". But as ill luck would have it, my joy was only short-lived.

The detailed news item reports, Mr. PC as saying "If we are able to establish with a reasonable degree of certainty that another attack on India emanated from Pakistani soil, we will respond swiftly and decisively. Now the key part of the sentence is If we are able to establish.

So how does our PC go about establishing it? Further down the article PC provides the answer. PC said,
"Investigations around the world are carried out in a certain way. If Pakistan does not know how to interrogate Saeed, then they should allow my agents to go in there and do the job. I am willing to get this done." Do you observe the they should allow?

And then PC goes on to tell us that, as usual, Pakistan does not allow. PC continued: "
The voice samples can be tested in India or in a neutral country - maybe in Quantico, USA - and that would go a certain distance in helping establish what we believe - that state actors are indeed involved, but Pakistan refuses to provide us with these samples".

So what does PC propose if they do not allow? PC answers: "The two nations are nuclear powers, and war is not an option, so we must talk" - the home minister said. PC continues: "At other times, we must remain vigilant."

So what is the summary? PC begins by saying
India will act decisively if another attack happens, but adds a rider If we are able to establish. Now if we want to establish we need that they should allow. But the fact is that Pakistan does not allow. And so in such a case we will not be able to establish.

And now comes the icing on the cake. What do we do if Pakistan does not allow? PC answers:
we must talk and we must remain vigilant.

Have you ever heard a more entertaining joke than this? A home-minister, in charge of the safety of more than one billion people, says that if another attack happens his decisive action will be to talk and to remain vigilant.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Women's reservation bill, another DF-ery

Yesterday, March 8, 2010, on the international woman's day, Women's Reservation Bill was introduced in the parliament. Today, March 9, 2010, Rajya Sabha passed the bill.

What can a bunch of idiots, who have been educated in the Jawaharian Education System, propose as solution, other than a degenerated form of Affirmative Action.

B. R. Ambedkar had proposed the reservation for the SC/ST for 10 years, starting in the year 1947/1950. When did it end? Oh, will it ever end? Has it made the status of SC/STs in India much better? The answer is essentially in the negative.

Now a lot of my readers are outraged when I use the phrase DF (Dumb Fuck) liberally and frequently. But I am facing a very difficult situation myself. Indian political system keeps throwing up so many people who deserve the phrase that I would be accused of partisanship if I denied this title to some while showering it on the rest.

Going by the effect that reservation for SC/ST has had for their group, can we say that reservation as a policy has worked? In my opinion, reservation has worked only in a few cases like travel booking. On social front it has not only not worked, it has failed miserably.

Now, if something does not help as a solution, what should one do? Should one use one's creative energies in trying to identify different solution techniques, or should one try more of the same thing? And what if more of the same thing does not work? Should one try even more of the same thing?

Our political elite, across party lines, form groups who advocate more, even more, and so on, of the same thing, when it is abundantly clear, that the thing does not work. That is why I call them DFs.

So, I oppose this Women's Reservation Bill. Then do I stand beside the Lalus, and Mulayams? No. Lalus are Mulayams are opposed to the bill in the present form, otherwise they are forever in support of Reservation Bills. That is why, they are bigger DFs.

If reservation does not worked for other groups, and it is common experience that it has not worked; then it will not work for any new group, even if it be that of women.

But it is the quality of DFs, to try more rather even more and more of the same thing, though the thing does not work. We need to put a stop to this DFery.

Oppose the Women's Reservation Bill.

Friday, March 5, 2010

At the very least, Muslims need to be educated by Mr. Anees Jillani

Mr. Anees Jillani, a regular contributor to Indian Express has recently written an article.

Let Shahmira Oad’s body rest in peace:

The universe has existed for more than four billion years, and it may last several more billion years. And maybe even for infinity. The scale is beyond our comprehension, and the least we all can realise is the fact that all religions are recent occurrences when placed on this mammoth time scale of four billion years.

Discrimination on the basis of religion thus makes no sense, but it seems that some who have appropriated the role of mediators between ourselves and a higher truth are determined to prove that some people, on the basis of their religious affiliation, are more equal than others, even to the point of not allowing the dead to rest in peace.

Sheeraz Qureshi, a maulvi claiming to hold a master’s degree in Physics, is leading a crusade in a village in Sindh, in Pakistan, to remove the body of a Hindu girl from a Muslim graveyard. Seventeen-year old Shahmira Oad, the daughter of Bachayo Oad, a resident of Hala, died on April 28, 2009, and was buried at the Khudabad graveyard, three kilometres southwest of New Hala town.

Shahmira Oad’s relatives buried her there only after receiving permission from the locals, including the caretaker of the graveyard. But Sheeraz Qureshi and other religious elements are quoting fatwas pronounced by some traditional religious leaders that only Muslims are allowed to bury their loved ones in Muslim graveyards.

All religions are supposed to be in conformity with the basic human values. It is doubtful if any religion calls for exhuming the body of a poor 17-year-old Hindu girl from a Muslim graveyard because her body is ‘defiling’ the graveyard. If anything, the removal of the body is likely to desecrate it and such an act would defile everybody buried there.

Shahmira’s family and the Hindu community in the area, which is not surprisingly poor, has been getting threats about her body. The local notables, instead of telling off the cleric not to rake up such a mindless issue, are pressuring the poor family to remove the body.

Shahmira’s grave is not even located anywhere close to the other graves in the graveyard, not that it would have made any difference. It is about five metres away from other graves. Despite this, in order to save her body from defilement and avoid a clash in the community, her family has expressed willingness to build a boundary wall around her grave.

The issue is fast threatening to turn into communal imbroglio and a suit has been filed in the court of a civil judge for removal of the grave. The judge is under immense local pressure. The opponents are saying that they “will not keep silent until the bones of the strange girl are thrown out of the graveyard”.

There are some sane voices in the community opposing the exhumation of the body on the grounds that several graveyards in the Sindh province are common burial grounds for both Hindus and Muslims. For instance, the graveyards alongside the famous shrines of great Sufi saints, like Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Sachchal Sarmast, Sufi Shah Inayat Shaheed, and other spiritual leaders, are open for burial regardless of religion.

It is said that Islam is the most tolerant religion. But if this is how we behave then what would distinguish us from the upper caste Hindus in Indian villages who refuse to permit people of lower castes to use the same well to draw water? Ganga is a holy river for all the Hindus; should the Hindus then forbid persons belonging to all other denominations from using its water?

We all feel the pinch when something happens to a Muslim and an Islamic symbol, like the mosque but we have no qualms about the religious feelings of others. Almost every Muslim in the world was saddened by the destruction of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992. But we don’t even think for a second about the conversion of innumerable Hindu and Sikh temples in the whole of Pakistan to schools, police stations, offices and sometimes even for keeping cattle. We cannot imagine such a thing happening to a mosque but have no objection to treating the religious places of others with utter contempt.

We all resent the recent ban on minarets in Switzerland; many of the Swiss and Europeans themselves are saddened by this development. But have we ever thought about the complete ban on construction of churches and temples in the whole of Saudi Arabia and in most of the Gulf countries? Non-Muslims are not even permitted to enter the cities of Mecca and Medina and we consider it our human right to even get elected to the parliaments of the so-called Christian countries, and acquire as much property as we can.

When will we in Pakistan learn to remember the basic truth that whatever we give to others, good or bad, it comes back, many times? Shouldn’t then we give more and more of what we want for ourselves to others so that the same will come back to us in greater quantities? We need to overcome our historical inability to follow the ethic of reciprocity, and to understand that it applies to all humans, and not merely to Muslims. Only when this is accomplished will religiously-related oppression, and mass murder cease. We all can make a beginning in this respect by letting Shahmira Oad rest in peace at her last resting place forever with Muslims as her neighbours.

(The author is a prominent Pakistan Supreme Court lawyer. E-mail:

A relatively decent piece of writing, given that it is coming from some muslim author in Pakistan. He has brought out certain very disturbing facts to the fore and he must be commended for the same. Some of these important facts about Pakistan, Islam and Muslims have been laid bare:


Disdain for non-Islamic religions:

1. But we don’t even think for a second about the conversion of innumerable Hindu and Sikh temples in the whole of Pakistan to schools, police stations, offices and sometimes even for keeping cattle. We cannot imagine such a thing happening to a mosque but have no objection to treating the religious places of others with utter contempt.

Further disdain for non-Muslims:

2. But have we ever thought about the complete ban on construction of churches and temples in the whole of Saudi Arabia and in most of the Gulf countries? Non-Muslims are not even permitted to enter the cities of Mecca and Medina and we consider it our human right to even get elected to the parliaments of the so-called Christian countries, and acquire as much property as we can.

The game so far of Pakistan:

3. When will we in Pakistan learn to remember the basic truth that whatever we give to others, good or bad, it comes back, many times?

Historical inabilities of Islam and Muslims:

4. We need to overcome our historical inability to follow the ethic of reciprocity, and to understand that it applies to all humans, and not merely to Muslims.


Of course there are certain truths which have been indicated obliquely, here we state them forthrightly.

Mr Jillani wrote:

1. All religions are supposed to be in conformity with the basic human values.

Yes, all or most religions, except Islam, which is erroneously thought of as a religion. Towards a non-muslim or an apostate, Islam is in conformity with the utmost inhuman values.

2. It is said that Islam is the most tolerant religion.

It is erroneously said so. It is the most intolerant of all ideologies.

3. But if this is how we behave then what would distinguish us from the upper caste Hindus in Indian villages who refuse to permit people of lower castes to use the same well to draw water?

Upper caste Hindus refused only during some period. It is to be remembered that the lower caste people, even then, had their own wells. This is unlike Islam and Muslims, where non-Muslims can not have their shrines.


It is important for those who are saner amongst the muslims to realize many of the facts which have been pointed out here.

However, more importantly, we, as non-muslims, should not be lulled in to benign optimism or complacence. We must always remember that Islam can not be reformed.

Once those who are sane amongst the muslims, see these two facts in conjunction, that Islam is evil, and that Islam can not be reformed, they will realize that the only course left for the saner amongst muslims is to leave Islam.

Bhyrappa echoes Mrs. Raja's thoughts in his comments on Hussein Episode

Noted Kannada writer Mr. SL Bhyrappa has said that:

A section of the media had been commenting that the “banishment” of the renowned artist M.F. Husain was a “national shame”. But how many of Mr. Husain's paintings had reflected his views on the religion he belonged to had remained to be clarified, he said.

Now this man is talking sense. Please recall that Mrs. Hilda Raja expressed similar emotions when she wrote:

Nobody would have protested against the sexual perversion and his orientatation to sexual signs and symbols. But would he dare to caption it as ‘Fatima enjoying in Jannat with animals’?


Now that he is in a country that gives him complete freedom let him go ahead and paint Fatima copulating with a lion or any other animal of his choice. And then turn around and prove to India-the Freedom of expression he enjoys in Qatar.

Now here is man who has echoed what a lady has said with due rational consideration. Of course both of them arrived at their conclusions independently.

Let us wish there are more and more of them saying more and more of the same and sane things.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The question of who an artist is .. revisited

Before her retirement from Stella Maris College, Dr.Hilda Raja used to write columns regularly in The Hindu. It is conjectured that even after retirement, she used to write once in a while. Though she has sent the following letter to Ram in personal capacity, she sent copies to some of her friends.

For those who may not know, Mr. N Ram is the chief editor of the famous news paper The Hindu.

The following is the text of her letter.

Dear Ram,

I have taken time to write this to you Ram-for the simple reason that we have known you for so many years- you and The Hindu bring back happy memories Please take what I am putting down as those that come from an agonized soul. You know that I do not mince words and what I have to say I will-I call a spade a spade-now it is too late for me to learn the tricks of being called a ‘secularist’ if that means a bias for, one, and a bias against, another.

Hussain is now a citizen of Qatar-this has generated enough of heat and less of light. Qatar you know better than me is not a country which respects democracy or freedom of expression. Hussain says he has complete freedom-I challenge him to paint a picture of Mohammed fully clad.

There is no second opinion that artists have the Right of Freedom of expression. Is such a right restricted only to Hussain? Will that right not flow to Dan Brown-why was his film-Da Vinci Code not screened? Why was Satanic Verses banned-does Salman Rushdie not have that freedom of expression? Similarly why is Taslima hunted and hounded and why fatwas have been issued on both these writers? Why has Qatar not offered citizenship to Taslima? In the present rioting in Shimoga in Karnataka against the article Taslima wrote against the tradition of burqua which appeared in the Out Look in Jan 2007. No body protested then either in Delhi or in any other part of the country; now when it reappears in a Karnataka paper there is rioting. Is there a political agenda to create a problem in Karnataka by the intolerant goons? Why has the media not condemned this insensitivity and intolerance of the Muslims against Taslima’s views? When it comes to the Sangh Parivar it is quick to call them goons and intolerant etc. Now who are the goons and where is this tolerance and sensitivity?

Regarding Hussain’s artistic freedom it seems to run unfettered in an expression of sexual perversion only when he envisages the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. There is no quarrel had he painted a nude woman sitting on the tail of a monkey. The point is he captioned it as Sita. Nobody would have protested against the sexual perversion and his orientatation to sexual signs and symbols. But would he dare to caption it as ‘Fatima enjoying in Jannat with animals’?

Next example-is the painting of Saraswati copulating with a lion. Here again his perversion is evident and so is his intent. Even that lets concede cannot be faulted-each one’s sexual orientation is each one’s business I suppose. But he captioned it as Saraswati. This is the problem. It is Hussain’s business to enjoy in painting his sexual perversion. But why use Saraswati and Sita for his perverted expressions? Use Fatima and watch the consequence. Let the media people come to his rescue then. Now that he is in a country that gives him complete freedom let him go ahead and paint Fatima copulating with a lion or any other animal of his choice. And then turn around and prove to India-the Freedom of expression he enjoys in Qatar.

Talking about Freedom of Expression-this is the Hussain who supported Emergency-painted Indira Gandhi as Durga slaying Jayaprakas Narayan. He supported the jailing of artists and writers. Where did this Freedom of Expression go? And you call him secularist? Would you support the jailing of artists and writers Ram –would you support the abeyance of the Constitution and all that we held sacred in democracy and the excessiveness of Indira Gandhi to gag the media- writers- political opponents? Tell me honesty why does Hussain expect this Freedom when he himself did not support others with the same freedom he wants? And the media has rushed to his rescue. Had it been a Ram who painted such obnoxious, .degrading painting-the reactions of the media and the elite ‘secularists’ would have been different; because there is a different perception/and index of secularism when it comes to Ram-and a different perception/and index of secularism when it comes to Rahim/Hussain.

It brings back to my mind an episode that happened to The Hindu some years ago.[1991]. You had a separate weekly page for children with cartoons, quizzes, and with poems and articles of school children. In one such weekly page The Hindu printed a venerable bearded man-fully robed with head dress, mouthing some passages of the Koran-trying to teach children .It was done not only in good faith but as a part of inculcating values to children from the Koran. All hell broke loose. Your office witnessed goons who rushed in-demanded an apology-held out threats. In Ambur,Vaniambadi and Vellore the papers stands were burned-the copies of The Hindu were consigned to the fire. A threat to raise the issue in Parliament through a Private Members Bill was held out-Hectic activities went on-I am not sure of the nature and the machinations behind the scene. But The Hindu next day brought out a public apology in its front page. Where were you Ram? How secular and tolerant were the Muslims?

Well this is of the past-today it is worse because the communal temperature in this country is at a all high-even a small friction can ignite and demolition the country’s peace and harmony. It is against this background that one should view Hussain who is bent on abusing and insulting the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Respect for religious sentiments, need to maintain peace and harmony should also be part of the agenda of an artist-if he is great. If it is absent then he cannot say that he respects India and express his longing for India.

Let’s face it-he is a fugitive of law. Age and religion are immaterial. What does the media want-that he be absolved by the courts? Even for that he has to appear in the courts-he cannot run away-After all this is the country where he lived and gave expression to his pervert sadist, erotic artistic mind under Freedom of Expression. I simply cannot jump into the bandwagon of the elite ‘secularist’ and uphold what he had done. With his brush he had committed jihad-bloodletting.

The issue is just not nudity-Yes the temples-the frescos in Konarak and Kajhuraho have nude figures-But does it say that they are Sita, Sarswati or any goddesses? We have the Yoni and the Phallus as sacred signs of Life-of Siva and Shakthi-take these icons to the streets, paint them -give it a caption it become vulgar. Times have changed. Even granted that our ancients sculptured and painted naked forms and figures, with a pervert mind to demean religion is no license to repeat that in today’s changed political and social scenario and is not a sign of secularism and tolerance. I repeat there is no quarrel with nudity-painters have time and again found in it the perfection of God’s hand craft.

Let me wish Hussain peace in Qatar-the totalitarian regime with zero tolerance May be he will convince the regime there to permit freedom of expression in word, writing and painting. For this he could start experimenting painting forms and figure of Mohamed the Prophet-and his family And may I fervently wish that the media-especially The Hindu does not discriminate goons-let it not substitute tolerance for intolerance when it comes to Rahim and Antony and another index for Ram.

I hope you will read this in the same spirit that I have written. All the best to you Ram.

Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,


Let us congratulate Mrs. Raja for making a point so well. It is a lady once again who has to come to the fore. It was Ms. Shobha De who had exhibited great courage (I guess Ms. Simi Grewal too), though both of them later chickened out, as they were being hounded out. It is a pity that there was no man who supported them.

Coming back to this letter, it reads nice. However, being a very cultured and a sensitive lady, Mrs. Raja has still minced words. She has, in a very friendly note, merely pleaded with Mr. Ram to exhibit reasonable fairness.

In my opinion, Mr. N. Ram, the chief editor of The Hindu is not just a DF, he is a coward, national-cultural suicide inciting DF. Hypocrisy is his art.

I also disagree with Mrs. Raja on her recommended constraint of artistic freedom. I would rather request to articulate a principled stand on the freedom of expression, which does not thwart truth. Having been a contributor to the MSM (Main Stream Media), she must surely be capable to doing this.

I also do not wish Hussain any peace in Qatar. May he be cut to pieces! May not even these pieces not rest in peace!!

The convoluted logic of RSS exposed once again ....

In a recent press gathering, the chief of RSS, Mr. Mohan Bhagwat has said:

1. “He who is an Indian is a Hindu and he who is not a Hindu is not an Indian.”

2. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Sunday said that those who were Indians were Hindus and if one was not a Hindu he could not be an Indian.

3. "For us the word Hindu did not mean any religion but a way of life,"

We need to look at it a little closely to find out what MB must have meant by this. Some of my friends tell me that this has always been the stance of the RSS.

There are some very interesting consequences arising out of this. Firstly, since MB(RSS) has not defined what a Hindu is, and what an Indian is, this statement is like "Something that we do not know" is same as "Something that we do not know". Fair enough. MB and RSS have enough space for maneuver.

Therefore we have some interesting questions for the RSS. What is the way of life that is called by the name Hinduism? And who is an Indian? Let us try and analyze what these terms can not mean.

Let us call the present geopolitical entity India as India-GP. Similarly let us call the so called geographical Akhand-Bharat of the RSS India-AB. The passport holders of India-GP as Indian(s)-GP. Let us call those who live south-east of the Hindukush valley and in the peninsular region as Hindu-GP. If we add the Tibetan region to this Hindu-GP, we term it as Hindu-AB. Let us call the yet to be defined "way of life" WOL, and those who are Hindus by this way of life Hindu-WOL.

There are two interesting observations to be made here. India-GP, India-AB, Hindu-GP, Hindu-AB are geographic regions. Hindu-WOL is not a geographic definition.

MB's statement consists of two parts besides mentioning that by the term Hindu, MB meant Hindu-WOL.

a. Every Indian is a Hindu,


b. A person who is not a Hindu can not be an Indian.

We have following questions:

0. How do we determine who is a Hindu-WOL?

1. Are there Hindu-WOL residing outside India-GP? If yes, then in what sense does MB mean that they are Indians? Does RSS advocate issuing Indian-GP passport to them?

2. Are there people who are not Hindu-WOL within India-GP? If yes, what does RSS recommend towards non-Hindu-WOL living in India-GP? For example, are they to be thrown out of the India-GP?

3. What is the attitude of the RSS towards the government representing the India-GP state?

There is one easy path that RSS can take. They can define that a Hindu-WOL respects all religions. This leads to a funny situation that a Hindu-WOL need not respect Hinduism-WOL, and yet can be a Hindu-WOL . The compulsion to respect Hinduism-WOL is absent because Hinduism-WOL is not a religion!

Another question is: Does a Hindu-WOL have to respect those religions who are bloodthirsty against them, for example those who have vowed to destroy Hindu-WOL?

Mr. MB, now the time is here to stand up and be counted. Your convoluted language will not work. The least you can do to allay these misgivings is to make your notions of Hindu and Indian very very clear, preferably giving examples. Hiding behind the veil of secrecy and ambiguity will be counterproductive.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Who among these two are artists? MF Hussein or Tasleema Nasreen, or both?

Ms. Taslima Nasreen is known to be an ardent critic of certain practices in Islam. A Kannada translation of her article has sparked violence leaving two persons dead and many injured. The news is here.

Now the question is, if MFH can paint whatever he wants to paint, why can't Taslima write whatever she wants to write? And where is the Main Stream Media, Ms. Sharmila Pataudi, The Artists of India, The Government of India? Why aren't they expressing outrage and anger? All of these are conspicuously absent, though their silence is eloquent. Of course it was only yesterday that this happened. But I bet that the whole of this bunch will remain silent.

I am anxiously waiting for the reaction of the BJP, and the RSS on this. I surmise that the BJP and the RSS will advocate restraint in artistic freedom lest it should hurt the sentiments of any section of society. The MSM, The Government, The artists will term the publisher of the translation and the translator as mischief monger and antisocial elements. However, before they have opined, we can still give them a small benefit of the doubt against all odds. However, don't be disappointed if you are disappointed!

But don't forget to ask the question: Who among these two are artists? MF Hussein or Tasleema Nasreen, or both?