Monday, December 31, 2007

Benazir II

I want to address some of the objections raised in my previous article, Benazir Bhutto, Victim of Home Grown Terror!

One commenter writes:

You seem to have a custom-made lens on your eyes. Anything happens anywhere in the universe you do not forget to see a lesson for "hindus" through your lens. One makkhi kills some macchhar and you would not forget to mention a lesson for how hindus could learn from the incident.

Yes, I would like to see if we can learn from those incidents because they are very relevant to our future. For far too long, we have stopped learning from examples already set in history. Our myopia never allowed us to think far into future to know how our actions would affect us. And we have not read our histories to learn from them but only to pass the next exam. We chose to ignore episodes from our contemporary history that sound distasteful to us (1984 riots, Kashmir struggle, IPKF involvement, etc). We have created an image for ourselves that we are so superior that all our actions, including those which are seeped in hatred, will entail the best results.

These commenters love it when I criticize Pakistan and their policies, because they see it as criticism of ‘Islamic’ nation, which according to them rightly deserves criticism. However, they disagree with my final paragraph where I talk about ‘Lessons for India’. They detest such lessons for them because they don’t like to be equated with ‘Islamic terrorism and extremism’.

So, to rubbish my ‘Lessons’, they propose the following:

There is nothing called Hindu terrorism.

Just like Modi, who keeps repeating that there is no such a thing called Hindu terrorists, this guy wants to rule out the possibility of Hindu terrorism FOREVER. Most Hindus have started to develop a theory that Hinduism, by its innate nature, does not create terrorists. Even if Hindus do get involved in such ‘terror’ activities, it’s only a ‘natural reaction’ to fight ‘Islamic terrorism’ engulfing them. [Or they do not brandish their religion while killing people (ex. LTTE).]

It’s very easy to argue that every act of terrorism on this planet is a ‘natural reaction’ to an action that preceded it, and thus going back all the way, we can only blame Adam and Eve for all terrorist activities. This way the present generations can shirk all accountability

All terrorism (Hindu, Muslim, Casteists / Reservationists or Blog insinuationists) in all its forms should be condemned EQUALLY.

This guy wants me to concede that people who support reservations in India are also terrorists. And those who write blogs, the way I do, are also terrorists. They want me to equate myself with Islamic and Hindu terrorism that is engulfing India now.

And to sound just and fair, they throw in the word – ‘EQUALLY’. So, if you put 20 Hindu arsonists in jail for certain action, you should also put 20 Muslims, 20 reservations supporters, and 20 bloggers in jail to ensure ‘EQUALITY’.

The basis for a lot of your articles here is hatred (or your so called "concern") for hindus and right-wing (whatever that is).

If educated Indians are good at something, I began to believe, it is sophistry. Playing with words! In another discussion, one author argues that fighting ‘hatred’ is morally equivalent to ‘hatred’ itself and therefore should be equally repudiated since fighting ‘hatred’ involves ‘hating hatred’.

Say, an observer in USA writes: ‘If George Bush invades Iraq, tens of thousands of innocents will die’. Is that statement a ‘threat’ or a ‘word of caution’? The commenters here take my ‘words of caution’ for ‘words of threat’ and then come to a conclusion that it will lead to ‘terrorism’.

I get to hear such convoluted logic all the time. Here, the commenter equates my ‘concern’ with ‘hatred’ and then equates ‘hatred’ to ‘terrorism’ to get the final result- this blog will eventually lead to ‘terrorism’. What gets missed in the whole scheme is that the very basis of this blog is fight terrorism and all forms of violence by using dialog, discussion, and bold actions, instead of resorting to propping up one terrorist organization to fight another.

The core idea of these commenters is to obfuscate, confuse, use specious logic to dismiss my arguments. Lessons will never get learned that way.

Related Posts: Benazir Bhutto, Victim of Home Grown Terror!, Lessons from Pakistan


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Narendra Modi and Adolf Hitler III

This is a note to Gujaratis who got upset and offended by my article, Narendra Modi and Adolf Hitler I.

Comparing Modi with Hitler does NOT automatically discredit or disgrace Gujaratis as many commenters have assumed. It does not automatically make them Nazis. That is a far-fetched extrapolation and I do not suggest this anywhere. I give three reasons.

One - I said the present day India (not Gujarat alone) is similar to Europe of late 1800s and early 1900s. And I would like to indicate that this period also included a much larger period before the advent of Hitler. So, according to me, we are making our nation ripe for advent of a Hitler-like leader. He may be Modi, or may not be. This does not mean that I find Gujaratis alone responsible for choosing or electing such a leader. Gujarat could be the prime example for things to follow in this country. Gujarat could be the setting precedents that we may see in the rest of the nation.

Two - The readers have to understand that it was not just Nazis who voted Hitler into power. It was not Nazis alone who handed over power to Hitler. Many non-Nazis underestimated his single-focus on solving the Jewish Problem. They were quite happy with the other results that he promised to produce- a strong nation, a strong sense of nationhood, pride in nationhood, and the concept of nation-above-all. And many Germans, even those who did not share Nazi mindset have supported and accepted Hitler as their leader.

Alas, he came with a baggage, and that baggage that seemed to satisfy some fascists, which promised to ‘teach a lesson’ to these ‘traitors and back-stabbers’, turned the world into a nightmare. Even those Germans who detested what Hitler did became embroiled in that nightmare- even the nice Germans, even the women and kids, and even those who were not Nazis, they were all hijacked by the Nazi Germans and Hitler.

Many Gujaratis voted for Modi for ‘other reasons’ and not just for the cause of Hindutva alone. I do NOT believe that ALL Gujaratis, even those who voted for Modi, agree with Modi’s actions that followed Godhra incident. They are only ready to ignore these actions, the way most Indians wanted to ignore what happened in New Delhi in 1984 after Indira Gandhi’s assassination. They are ready to turn a blind eye to this particular problem and instead concentrate on many other great things Modi has been able to provide for people of Gujaratis.

Three - I do not assume that all Gujaratis voted for Modi. A good percentage of Gujaratis voted for the opposition, as is the case in any democracy.

Question to Gujaratis

If you are a Gujarati and if you got offended by my comparison, please ask yourself one question- Do you think what Modi did was right, when he stood by and gave free hand to the Hindu fanatics who wanted to seek revenge, by ensuring that the state administration and the apparatus abetted, aided and sometimes participated in the targeted killings of Gujarati people based on their identity?

If you think he was right, then yes, I do believe that you share some ideologies that coincide with fascists (that still does not qualify you as a Nazi). May be, its time you do some introspection, take some history lessons and try to reason what could go wrong in case your vote is hijacked by someone who has this capacity to push this sentiment too far.

If you think he was wrong, then please do spare me, I do not think you are part of this discussion.

Related Posts: Narendra Modi and Adolf Hitler II, When majority is not right, First they came for…, Narendra Modi and Adolf Hitler, Sad day for India, We are going to pay the price, Significance of Tehelka, Hindu Fascism, We are going to pay the price

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Benazir Bhutto, Victim of Home Grown Terror!


Yesterday, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in the city of Rawalpindi in Pakistan. It is very sad news. Very sad and very unfortunate! Pakistan is seeing the effects of fomenting and fostering terror against its neighbors. It has come back to hit them in their own belly.

Pakistan is good example of what goes wrong when a nation identifies itself on the theme of ‘hatred’.

From the beginning, Pakistan has identified itself on ‘anti-India’ stand which incorporates ‘anti’ as its core element. For many years, this element of ‘anti-India’ was handled at the state level, involving the secret services, the army and the administration. It had not involved the general population. But after 1971, when Pakistan lost the war decisively against India, and after Pokhran of 1974, Pakistan had to drop its carefully manufactured illusion that it could take on India in a conventional war. Using a previous half-successful experiment of 1965, the new warfare for future was designed to use incursion tactics (which resulted in Kargil, once again a failure). Meanwhile, another experiment was underway. USA had used Pakistan as a platform to fund mujahideen to kick out Soviet Union. That also led to Pakistan creating an apparatus of Islamization in the background to have an influence in Afghanistan even after the Soviets left. That led to Taliban in power.

This experiment of using religious fervor and extremism, which again had some precedents in the past, was also fueled to use against India. Religious extremists were fawned upon as heroes who would win back Kashmir from India. Many experiments were created to ‘bleed India’. Pakistan saw an opportunity to do a ‘Bangladesh’ against India when Indian Punjab flared up. That experiment failed too. Then came another opportunity in Kashmir when Indian government messed up its long standing equation of keeping peace in the valley. That unconventional war of attrition and bleeding worked well. For a long time, it looked like it was succeeding. The dual advantage was clear- Islamic radicals can torment and control both Afghanistan issue and Indian issue.

This led to a massive operationalization of madrasas which will create these radical elements. These are the soldiers who would be created on one theme only – hatred. Their hatred will be so much that they will not stop till they kill or die. Their hatred was focused on achieving two goals- the control in Afghanistan, and getting back Kashmir from India.

For a while, it looked like their strategy worked. There was an all round celebration; and congratulations were abound. India was bleeding and the situation in Kashmir was getting ‘internationalized’. Afghanistan was duly ‘under control’ through a puppet regime.

Post 9/11, USA toppled Taliban in Afghanistan and roped in Pakistan as a friend and mate to check the problem of ‘terror’. Now, Pakistan couldn’t do what it was doing anymore in Afghanistan with heavy US presence there. On the Indian side too, it was not working out anymore. Massive Indian Army in the valley kept a check on the infiltration. Also, after Kargil debacle, Pakistan could not think of another covert war with India. It had to ensure the trickling of infiltrators was kept to a minimum.

What do you do with all the pent up hatred?

It imploded.

Pakistan is now reeling itself under consequences of their failed experiments. There are thousands of religious extremists who are trained to kill or die. And they will do that no matter what, if not against India or in Afghanistan, then in Pakistan. Benazir seems to one of the victims.

Lessons for India:

The glee and the celebration amongst Indian Hindus that its Hindutva forces are winning is momentary. It’s ephemeral. Soon, the same guns will be targeted back at us, all of us, including the very Hindus who are celebrating now, and soon these pent up forces, built on hatred, will seek an outlet. That usually involves killing and dying. Unfortunately!

Related Posts: Benazir II, Lessons from Pakistan

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Narendra Modi and Adolf Hitler II

My previous article, Narendra Modi and Adolf Hitler, raised many objections from commenters (at another site where I publish my articles) who did not believe Modi and Hitler were similar. They asked me many questions. Here, I answer some of them.

[But the kind of the debate that ensued actually worried me more. Most of these debates confirm my belief that we are in deeper shit than what I would like to tell myself.]

Is Modi really the next Hitler? Do you really believe it?

Modi may not be Hitler and may be he is far from it. May be, India is not ripe yet for bringing such a leader onto the stage. May be, what he did in 2002 is a one-off incident which he won’t repeat again. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that we are creating the very similar situation that Europe went through during late 1800s and early 1900s. WW-II was the point of culmination of that situation. The exit point for fueling such hatred for another identities and instilling such superiority complex of oneself is a blood bath. The more the pent up sentiments and prolonged the indoctrination the bigger the blood bath.

Many nations who have experienced this gruesome war have gone back to check such sentiments from growing within and have put in place many harsh boundaries, some even sound ridiculous – like the law which prohibits people from denying Holocaust.

India, on the other hand, continues to harbor similar sentiments, not really knowing where it is taking us. India continues to play innocent when small flash points occur, thinking it is all OK. According to me, Indians are myopic, which is clearly seen in all their policies- either it is road building, or nation building. They are being myopic in this context too.

Nearly 93% Indians believe that “our culture is superior to others”, topping the list in a survey conducted in various nations [available at pewglobal.com]. Also, we are very insecure about our greatness. 92% of Indians think that “our way of life needs to be protected against foreign influences.”

In addition to this superiority complex and xenophobia, which we share with pre-WWII Nazi Germany, we also have a pent up hatred for minority religions in India. I wish there was a poll conducted to check the hatred for other religions within the country, and I believe we will top the list in that survey too.

I see a trend which does not bode well for India. In spite of all the prosperity, we are plunging our nation into darkness. It is like entering a long and deep tunnel. We will not know till we reach it. And I believe we are racing towards that tunnel.

Do you think we can avert the calamity that you predict?

Absolutely! There is no reason we need to follow the same pattern as pre-WWII Europe. I wish and hope that we don't follow the same pattern. I believe that we can avert such calamities by setting right examples at every step. For that we need to teach our people the outcomes of our actions.

We had 1984 riots where Sikhs for butchered and massacred. We should have raised our voices and asked for justice. We did not raise our voices. We did not protest. As a majority, we just shrugged it off. We thought it was one of those 'natural reactions'. Sikhs in India lost faith in Indian Union. It fueled and exacerbated Khalistan Movement and thousands were killed.

Now, we have another of those incidents. A government, the state and its apparatus colluded with killers in targeting people of one identity. And yet, we do not raise our voice. We do not protest. Instead, we hail such people as heroes and vote them back to power. Wrong examples!

Such wrong examples lead to wrong results. We will see more Muslims disillusioned and disenchanted. That will lead to more displeasing actions and we continue to go down that spiral path and the only exit is a blood bath. I don't want that to happen in India.

Teaching ourselves history and consequences of our inaction is very important. For that one has to know what could happen when we go on setting wrong examples. We need to teach in our history books what happened after Indira Gandhi's assassination. We need to teach how our leaders who were in power came onto streets to encourage and support the killers that targeted people of one identity. We need to teach how those events spiraled into a big terrorist movement in this land where thousands of young people died.

We need to teach how fascism grew in pre-WWII Europe. How innocuous it seemed to wave one's national flag and salute it brimming with pride. How harmless it sounded to create new theories that proposed how superior the people of that land were. How reasonable it sounded to target one community for all the ills of the society. Yet, all those simple actions were hijacked by certain people who used it to create greatest tragedy of human history.

What will save India?

What will save India is its diversity. While Hindutva forces continue to unify all Hindus under one banner, regional and other distinct groups will continue to prop their own factions. That alone will save India. I encourage and promote such local identities.

I don't see a necessity for unifying Indians under one banner called Hinduism, or one color of nationalism as defined by the highest flag bearers. We want our local identities, our religious identities, our languages. We don't want to trade them for another.

Why did you choose Hitler for comparison? Why not a Mao, Stalin or Osama?

My attempt was not to insult Modi by comparing him with Hitler. The reason why I chose Hitler and not Mao or Stalin is for obvious reasons. The present Hindutva movement sounds closer to the rise of Nazis than the rise of Communists. I have no love for Stalin, Mao or Osama.

The common themes between the present Hindutva movement and the erstwhile rise of Nazis are the following:

1. Establishing superiority of oneself over others - culturally, intellectually, and historically [which is main theme of Nazism, pronounced in pre-WWII Germany and to certain extent in Japan and Italy, but is not the main theme in Communism. The main theme of Communism is the rise of worker class to topple the privileged, but then to go on and establish another privileged class - which is another story.]

2. Creating an enemy based on identity - religious or racial or national [which is again one of the main features of Nazism, but is not the main theme in Communism. The enemies of Communism are within, mostly the rulers or the privileged class, or the intellectuals. They are not necessarily targeting people of one identity. Stalin killed all kinds of people independent of their identity- his own people, his political opponents, critics, Cossacks, Muslims dissidents, and what not.]

3. Following one person who is idolized above the party or its ideology [Hitler above Nazi Party or Germany itself. Communism usually tries to promote the whole party and not necessarily one idol. Even if there is one idol who dominates for a while, it corrects itself to go back to promoting the party.]

The similarities that I cited between Modi and Hitler is not with a motive or an agenda- it's only to put across an observation. Readers are free to introduce a "politically motivated" element to it and dismiss it.

Related Posts: Narendra Modi and Adolf Hitler III, When majority is not right, First they came for…, Narendra Modi and Adolf Hitler, Sad day for India, We are going to pay the price, Hindu Fascism, Significance of Tehelka, We are going to pay the price

Monday, December 24, 2007

When majority is not right

Many Indian Hindus hail the victory of Narendra Modi for putting together a Hindu brigade to fight the evil Muslims who are terrorizing this country.

5.5 Crore Gujaratis cannot be wrong. - writes one commenter.

The fact that Gujarat has voted Modi back to power with overwhelming majority is a clear sign that he cannot be wrong. If so many people voted him back, naturally he is not wrong, isn’t it? If he is wrong, why would people vote him back?  Many Indians do not understand democracy. They think an electoral vote will decide everything. If a majority in a nation votes to put the minority to death, is that right?  

Take Rwanda, for example, Hutus (the majority) felt it was OK to kill Tutsi (the minority) and that ended up in genocide where nearly million people died within 100 days. Can we say, ‘few millions of Hutus cannot be wrong?’  Take Serbia, for example, if majority Serbians felt it was OK to kill minority Kosovans, does that make it right?

If Hindus of India vote as a majority for exterminating Muslims of India does that make it right? Is majority right in these cases? How do we deal with it when certain majority wants to discriminate, prosecute, traumatize, terrorize, marginalize, kill, or exterminate a certain minority?  That’s why we have constitution and judicial system to safe guard rights of humans even when they are marginalized, even when they are a minority, even when they are pushed to a corner. We need to take legal recourse no matter how emotional or sentimental an issue is. And that’s NOT what happened in Gujarat.

What is wrong about Gujarat?

What’s gone wrong in Gujarat is very simple. (I am not sure why many Indian Hindus are not able to see this.)  A state or an individual in an official capacity cannot abet, support or participate in targeted killings of certain people based on their identity, no matter what. Such actions cannot be condoned, tolerated or excused, no matter what.  When an Islamic militant blows up a train, he is considered a criminal. When is caught, he is put in jail. He is not allowed to walk scot-free. He is not hailed as a hero and voted to power. So, when a Hindu political leader does something illegal, he should be arrested, prosecuted and put in jail. He should not be allowed to walk scot-free, and definitely he should not be allowed to hold power.

India going fascist

Educated and elite Indian Hindus have started to engage in a rationalization exercise to excuse Modi’s actions saying that what he did was indeed right, as clearly seen by his electoral wins.
Democracy does not mean majority prevails all the time. It means it prevails as long as you stick to legal methods as provisioned by Indian Constitution and legal code. When you subvert them, even your electoral wins have to be trashed to uphold the law of the land.  Indian Hindus have gone blind in their hatred for Muslims. So much so that, they are not only ready to excuse Modi of his culpability, they are ready to hail him as their leader.  And that’s when I start fearing the trends and ask myself- How long before we become completely fascist?

Rejection of Rationality V: Vegetarianism

[This is the fifth part in a series. The first four are at Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV.]

The minor trace of vegetarianism embraced by few people of the West is celebrated by Hindus as vindication of their longstanding habit of vegetarianism. Indian Hindus quickly quip, “We have always been vegetarian for a long time now, and you have come around in full circle to embrace it!”

Though this rejection of meat-eating may show certain similarity between the behaviors of the West and the Indian Hindus, there are two big differences. One, this phenomenon is a fringe movement in the West, where only certain people of yuppie crowd have renounced mean to embrace vegetarianism it as a fashion or a lifestyle, while in India there are millions who have never tasted meat in their entire life. There is no other country on the planet where there is such huge population of complete vegetarians. Most of the world is invariably meat eaters. Two, the underlying reasons for practicing vegetarianism are completely different. I will be discussing the second difference here.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

First they came for…

First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left
to speak up for me.

[Time magazine on August 28, 1989]

The Indian version of the story is:

First they came for the Sikhs, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Sikh.
Then they came for the Muslims, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Muslim.
Then they came for the Christians, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Christian.
Then they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Liberal Hindus, and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a conservative Hindu.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left
to speak up for me.

Here’s what one of the perpetrators of Gujarat killings has to say.[Bhatt] [emphasis mine]


… pick up AK-56s because if you have to develop Hinduism, it is clear who the enemies are… There are two who are against Hinduism… Muslims, who are open… but the Christians… they are like a bacterial virus … and there’s a third, the Communists, who are developing now… red waale… If you have to fight them, you need power and that power will not come from the lathi… only the bullet will do… we go to RSS shakhas … pick up the lathi and use it… All that is fine but now they should be replaced with AKs and a Hindu brigade should be formed…

Narendra Modi and Adolf Hitler

Narendra Modi and the rise of his party have many similarities with Adolf Hitler and rise of Nazis in Germany. Modi’s victory bodes ill for this nation.

In a state where Mahatma Gandhi was born, we have a leader now who confesses his targeting of Muslims, and yet, people vote him back into power. Hitler used to openly confess his contempt for Jews and yet people backed him. Modi is a bachelor, like Hitler. He is (supposedly) not corrupt (like Hitler). He is vegetarian (like Hitler) and has contempt for meat-eaters. He goes after his agenda which he makes it clear right in the beginning (like Hitler) and it involves targeting certain sections blaming them for all ills of the society. The economic prosperity in the land is high (like under Hitler), and his goons are ready to target and kill one community (like under Hitler) with protection from the state apparatus. Like Hitler, Modi practices and spends lot of time on mastering his oratory. Like Hitler, he creates an image and persona that is much more than the party and the ideology.

Modi is in-your-face candid about his wrongdoings (like Hitler) which people see as a sign of honesty in comparison to other weak and corrupt leaders who push the same agenda but are not honest about it. Congress and Left have no better track record when it comes to protecting the interests of minority religions in this country. Their record is same or even worse compared to that of Mr. Narendra Modi. The difference is that Narendra Modi just accepts what he does. A known, strong and honest criminal is better than a hypocrite, weak and dishonest criminal – that seems to be the attitude of Indian people.

It’s unfortunate that we have come to this. It’s unfortunate that our leaders could not set right examples. The examples of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Ambedkar, Shastri, Patel, Radhakrishnan, etc, are long gone. We are bereft of good examples. When everyone is a criminal, an honest and strong one is most preferred. Hence, Narendra Modi!

Adolf Hitler came to power riding similar sympathies. When accused of bringing a government down, he honestly said, yes, and was even convicted. He did not lie. He did not falter (like what Modi did to Sohrabuddin). That brought him more public support. When Hitler spoke he did not hide his contempt for Jews, and neither did he hide his agenda on how he is going to take care of Jewish Problem. Still, the people of Germany who were surrounded by weak-hearted and corrupt leaders who would collude and make marriages of convenience just to be in power, voted this man to power because they thought he would at least tell them what he does and what he intends to do, honestly.

While some observers of the early twentieth century spelt doom on the rise of Nazis in Germany, many other politicians (in Germany and outside), weak at heart, diffident, and completely involved in their petty politics underestimated the rise of Hitler (read, Congress and the Left). They thought he was a tiny figure who will be swept away very soon. That never happened. They kept giving into his demands. He fed on that support and mass hysteria and became a megalomaniac who plunged the whole world into its greatest war which ended up killing more than 50 million people in less than ten years.

Modi is on the rise in India. It is not a good sign. It bolsters and gives support to other elements that harbor similar thoughts in India. Hindutva forces already talk about emulating and replicating Gujarat in other states of India. People explain his win as a mandate of people. That’s a sorry state of affairs. What if a majority of Indians vote to kill all the minorities in one stroke, will we accept that mandate? Is law of the land and our constitution subservient to people’s mandate? We have a skewed and distorted view of what it means to be a democracy.

Indians have not learned to draw the line between what is acceptable and what is not. Here, in Gujarat, we have blurred those lines. We have legitimized crime that targets certain people based on their identity. The future is bleak. All this economic prosperity is not going to save us. Instead, this prosperity will only fuel such hatred to take it to the next level, where state participates in marginalizing, demonizing and then targeting of certain identities.

Sad day for India

Today, Narendra Modi and his BJP party have won the elections in Gujarat, once again. Evidently, I am sad. It is not a good sign for India. This election has only confirmed some of my worst beliefs, that India is reeling itself towards creating a fascist society.

Why did Modi win?

In a nation which only puts up dishonest and corrupt leaders who are blatantly hypocrite, a murderer and a criminal who is honest comes out as a winner.

Congress or Left of India holds no moral authority over BJP. Their accusations sound hollow bereft of honesty. These parties don’t know what it takes to set an example to gain a moral high ground. Indian people clearly see through their charade of taking a high moral ground without having done anything in that direction. When these parties accuse Narendra Modi or his goons as ‘merchants of death’, they do not back it up with evidences nor do they follow it up with action. India has missed the opportunity to use one of the best revealing stories in Indian journalism.  History will not condone us for this.

The opposition lacks moral authority

Yes, Modi allowed the carnage that followed Godhra train incident where Muslims were selectively chosen, rounded up an killed, while the administration and its machinery, stood by, abetted and participated in that carnage.

What did Congress do after Indira Gandhi’s assassination? Its leaders went to the street in New Delhi, rounded up Sikhs and burnt them alive, where thousands lost their life, just because they belonged to an identity. And Rajiv Gandhi purportedly reacted, rather coldly, “When a mighty tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it does shake a little...”

After those killings, a commission and its report which looked into those calculated-and-methodical killings was rubbished and completely ignored by the Congress. A book that detailed those riots was banned forever.  Even recently Congress has not acted on Sri Krishna Commission Report which looked into riots that followed Babri Masjid episode where thousands of Muslims were killed.  Indian Left has no stance of its own on such issues, and when it gets a chance to make a stand, it does a Nandigram, riddled with hypocrisies only an Indian politician can conjure up. 

When the nation cannot bring honest leaders to the front, the criminals, thieves and goons who confess their crimes openly in front of millions are lauded and hailed as strong and honest over the weak and corrupt leaders who are blatantly dishonest.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Homicide in Louisiana

Lot of tragedies keep happening on a daily basis- People get shot, people get killed in an accident, many bad things happen to good people. We keep hearing news of such bad things happening to ‘other’ people. They always happen to ‘other’ people. It doesn’t happen to us.

What happens when it happens to one of us?

Yesterday, a very close friend of my family, Chandrasekhar Reddy Komma, was shot and killed in Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge (USA). He went for a quick visit to his friend Kiran Kumar Allam. During that time, it looks like few guys entered the apartment of Kiran Kumar Allam. Exact details are not known but looks like there was some struggle. Chandrasekhar was found shot dead with one bullet in his head (along with Kiran). Chandrasekhar was strangled with computer cable before he was shot.

Chandrasekhar, known to us as Bujji, is a very close and dear friend of my brother. They studied together at LSU in Baton Rouge and they visit each other’s families on a regular basis. Bujji is a good friend to all of us including my parents. Bujji’s sense of comedy is unique and he can split you in laughter with his most amazing banter. I came back from my recent visit to Louisiana where we spent good time with Bujji to tell my wife that he has one of the most wonderful ‘sense of humor’ – he keeps cracking you up all the time.

He was on the verge of finishing up his PhD and was looking forward to many new things. He got married recently. And just few days ago, he bought a new car so that he can go around with his new wife. My brother was looking forward to their more visits .

Gun Culture in USA

Of late, we have been hearing many shooting incidents from US. The main reason, though some people do not admit it, is the easy access to firearms.

The USA qualifies as one of the weirdest countries on the planet when it comes to their second amendment of their constitution. This has been the most controversial amendment in their constitution and most retrograde. No other country in the developed world has similar attitude or laws towards owning and operating firearms.

So many killings have happened, so many shootings, snipers using their weapons to shoot innocent people from far away, students killing their mates in their schools and so many other crimes, and yet US continues to keep this controversial amendment going on because of a very strong and rich gun lobby.

Today, we are all sad, deep in grief. My brother and my family are not able to reconcile to this news – we have so many memories with Bujji. And yet, I write here on this blog. I am outraged, at how much this country is ready to endure, how many more people it is ready to sacrifice before they mature up, and stop their gun culture.

Links: [1], [2], [3], [4]

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Great Indian Culture

Indians are the greatest. Indian culture is the greatest. While our ancestors were writing Vedas, flying planes, creating atomic theories that can build nuclear weapons, and using monkey armies to build bridges, the Westerners were dwelling in caves, hunting and scavenging.

Indians are not only the greatest. We are superior too. Our race is superior. We descended from Aryans, a perfect and pure race, where people are fair (and white).

We are the best in everything. Our Vedas are incomparable. There is no text written which can equal Vedas, our Ramayana or Mahabharatha. Our science is advanced, more advanced than the Western Science (also called Modern Science). In fact, our science is holistic. It takes into account the harmonies between the man and the nature, looking at them as one single wave, connected; a disturbance here will cause a ripple there. Hence, a benign planet hovering silently across the space is not just idle, it is disturbing the cosmic patterns affecting individuals, selectively choosing them by the time they were born and the place they were born. Each of those planet remembers where each human is born and when he is born and then accordingly does complex mathematical calculations to come up with various scenarios to affect his life. It decides his destiny, as to when he will get married, how many kids he will have, what kind of love life he will have, whether he will be bold or meek, good or bad, on whether he will have lots of money or not. It also decides what kind of marks he will get in an exam. It may even decide that you will fail the exam. But of course, if your chant a shlok to Goddess Saraswati, that planet will change those destinies and give your better results. Ah, those wily planets!

So, how great are we?

[I will be quoting from Meera Nanda’s article “India in the world: how we see ourselves. All quotations are from her article]

The Pew poll asked people in 47 countries if they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “our people are not perfect, but our culture is superior to others.”

Indians topped the list, with a whopping 93 per cent agreeing that our culture was superior to others, with 64 per cent agreeing completely, without any reservations.

And what is this Great Indian Culture?

For some it is spirituality, for some it is our morals, for some it is great Indian family values, for some it is our religion. For some it is our traditions, rituals and customs (called Sampradaya). All in all it is called Bharat Sanskruti (Great Indian Culture).

So, let us look at our Great Indian Culture a little closely.

Indians are spiritual. It only means they are less materialistic (unlike those in the West). Hence, they go to spiritual gurus and donate money so that they can wash off their sins to go back to making more money. These spiritual gurus travel in swanky cars, own private planes, and wear really thick gold chains, and preach spirituality.

Indians are highly moral. Morality in India is everything to do with sex. Morality has nothing to do corruption, cheating, bribes, or dowries. Sex is bad. Hand-holding is bad. Discussing sex is bad. Kissing is bad. Indian families look down upon sex (though they happen to make so many babies). But then they sit as a whole family in front of a TV to watch soft porn on a daily basis. Body gyrations, pelvic thrusts, and other sexual innuendos are all lapped up. Newspapers like TOI bombard them with nude women on a daily basis. But sex is bad. And Indians are highly moral.

Indian morality also includes non-alcoholism and vegetarianism. Drinking alcohol is bad, in all forms and shapes. Those who do not drink alcohol look down upon those who drink with utmost contempt. Vegetarians look down upon non-vegetarians as killers and murders of poor animals. Of all the animals on the planet, cow is the greatest. We are like cows, bovine, peaceful, lazy, walking around on the roads, idling away our time.

Indians have great customs and traditions. They include widow burning, untouchability, dowry deaths. They will go to any extent to defend their customs. They also come up with many rituals and practices that result in ill-treatment of lower castes, women, and people of other religions. They take pride in celebration of the womanhood. They have goddesses unlike some Abrahamic religions whose gods are all men. But again, they don’t like it when they get a girl child, they would like to abort it.

Indian customs also include doing everything the way stars and planets tell them. Complex Vaastu Shastra tells you that if your plot is in the shape of a turtle then you are going do die. Therefore, one takes pains never to carve a plot in the shape of a turtle. Also, there is an obsession with a direction. Some directions are good for you and some are bad (And nobody dares to ask why, but would spend millions to correct it).

India has great family values. It means the kids will listen to the parents all through their lives without protest. Even if it means the son has to burn his wife. When he burns her up, he fulfills the grand old Indian tradition of always following the orders of one’s parents. Great Indian family means suppression of individual creativity and freedom forever.

And we are proud of this culture.

Usually people would assume that a culture so vibrant and superior will easily be taken up by others (who are currently practicing inferior culture). One would assume that it would very easy to sell this culture to others (since it is so superior in every respect). One would assume that this culture will be secure and fearless (because it is so superior in every respect).

However –

The strange thing is that for a people who think so highly of our own culture, we are terribly insecure. A startling 92 per cent of Indians — almost exactly the same proportion who think we are the best — think that “our way of life needs to be protected against foreign influences.”

One starts wondering, if our culture is so great, does it need that much protection from foreign influences. What do they fear here? Who do they fear here? Do they think the young Indian lot and the uneducated lot cannot value this great Indian culture and hence will easily get tempted by other influences?

If it is indeed so great, why the insecurity?

That’s when you have to wake up and realize that it is nothing to with our strength. Our perceived greatness is actually our weakness. We have an unnecessary and completely unrealistic grand opinion of ourselves – a sense of greatness which is completely hollow – an artificial construct so delicate it will burst like a bubble created from soap water, a castle made of pack of cards which will crumble with a small gust of wind.

Our greatness is translation of our innate inferiority. We have a hunch that we are inferior. And this is a major cover up to hide that inferiority.

Xenophobic and racist Indians

I wish this survey (cited by Meera Nanda) had done some studies on racist attitudes, because I am quite sure we would top that list too. I am quite sure that we will turn out to be the most bigoted and racist people on the planet. We are already the most discriminatory people on the planet, capable of discriminating people based on color of the skin, caste of a person, religion, ethnicity, language, gender, which high school you went, which kindergarten you attended, what accent you speak, etc.

We also happen to be highly xenophobic. Does that come as a surprise?

Indeed, we feel so embattled that 84 per cent of us want to restrict entry of people into the country.

We don’t want Bangladeshis. We don’t want Black people (they face outrageously blatant discrimination, starting from airport to all walks of life and our record of treatment of Black people in Africa is notorious). We don’t want ‘Chinese-looking’ people (Mizos and Manipuris, though Indian, face constant discrimination and ridicule in a city like Bangalore). We don’t want Pakistanis (they are found only in Indian jails).

Our racist attitudes take the form of our caste hierarchy. We see ourselves superior to the neighboring Muslim nations, all Black people, all Mongoloid races, but somehow see ourselves lower than all White people.

The only reason why Sonia Gandhi is the most powerful person in India is because Rajiv Gandhi married a White Italian woman. If he had married a Vietnamese or a Black woman, we would have booted her out of the politics the minute Rajiv got killed.

Related Posts: Vedas and Science, Astrology Vs Science I, Pseudo-science: Vaastu Shastra, Indian Media and Adult Content