April 2009


Continued from Part 1

Part 2

 

Part 3

Not to long ago our PM Manmohan Singh had praised the British colonial rule for ‘good governance’.

This is part one of a three part presentation of opinions, facts and quotes on the British legacy, to show that our Oxford educated PM may not be entirely correct in his assumptions and opinions.

For CBI, Quattrocchi is no longer most wanted

PTI | April 28, 2009 | 11:50 IST

After figuring in category of people wanted by Interpol for 12 years, the CBI has asked the international agency to take off Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, an accused in the multi-crore Bofors payoff scam, from the Red Corner notice list in which he had been put at India’s behest.

The decision was taken after getting the legal opinion from Attorney General Milon Banerjee.

The case has been under trial in the courts since 1999. The CBI has taken action on the basis of legal advice of the highest order. We will inform the competent court on the next date of hearing (April 30, 2009),” CBI spokesman Harsh Bahal said on Tuesday.

The Attorney General cited the inability of the CBI to seek Quattrocchi’s extradition on two occasions –first in Malaysia in 2003 and then in Argentina in 2007–and opined that the judgments in both the cases indicated that there were no good grounds for extradition.

“….The warrant cannot remain in force forever. Therefore, the warrant of February 1997 would lose its validity, particularly in view of the successive failed attempts of the CBI to get the accused extradited from Malaysia and recently from Argentina,” Banerjee, the country’s top law officer, said.

The decision on the issue was taken by the Government on the basis of the opinion and the CBI informed the Interpol that the CBI case–RC.1(A)/90-ACU.IV/SIG (Bofors case)—and subject of Interpol Red Corner Notice–A-44/2/1997—against Quattrocchi should be cancelled.

The case was registered against him as the agency had alleged that he had received a part of kickbacks in the Bofors gun deal.

The Italian businessman, in his mid-60s, was named by the CBI in 1999 as a proclaimed offender and on the basis of a 1997 non-bailable warrant, the agency had sought a Red Corner notice against him.

Quattrocchi was last arrested on February 6, 2007 in Argentina on an Interpol warrant. The CBI came under attack for putting up a half-hearted effort towards his extradition and India lost the case in an Argentinian court in June 2007.

The judge there had remarked that “India did not even present proper legal documents” and New Delhi was asked to pay Quattrocchi’s legal expenses.

On October 22, 1999, when the BJP-led NDA government was in power, the CBI filed a chargesheet against Quattrocchi, naming AE Services as a front company run by him and his wife Maria.

Based on 500 documents released by Swiss banks after protracted legal procedures, the CBI framed charges against Quattrocchi and his wife.

Attempts to extradite Quattrocchi from Malaysia in 2003 failed owing to lack of “compelling” evidence and in the same year he had returned to Italy from that country.

Extradition request or serving the Interpol warrant on the Italian businessman were turned down by Italy, which had wanted to see the evidence and prosecute Quattrocchi in an Italian court.

 

‘CBI has proof of Quattrocchi getting $7.32 mn’

PTI | New Delhi

There are documents with the CBI showing that Quattrocchi received $7.32 million. The documents have been given by the Swiss authorities themselves,” the former CBI Director, who brought the documents from Switzerland, told PTI here.

He claimed that the documents were with the Government and the CBI and also part of records in Delhi High Court.

Singh, who had gone to Switzerland in 1997 and brought nearly 500 pages of documents released by Swiss banks, said, “when I took over, I found that the the CBI had a room full of documents relating to Bofors case but no one had touched them.”

Singh said after bringing back the documents he had sent a report to the Government in three months.

Asked why the Government did not do anything, he said, “It is up to the Government to accept it or not. I don’t regret because I did my job.”

Asked if the decision of dropping the name of Quattrocchi from the Interpol’s Red Corner notice was wrong, he said “the Government has all the rights…The CBI is not an independent agency. It has to carry out whatever the Government says. You may not agree with it but there is option than to carry out whatever they say.”

We are not talking about Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia ……

 We are not talking of Kashmir …..

We are not talking  about the times of Ghazni or Aurangzeb or even Jinnah – we are talking about 2009 …

We are talking about West Bengal, the leftover after the partition of Bengal, where several districts have over 30% Muslims, where Muslims have a decisive say in 53 of the 290+ odd assembly, where Bangladeshi infiltrators are in millions, where political parties (CPM, Congress, Trinomool) compete with each other to get their favor in votes ….

It is not isolated – in last one year it happened  in Howrah, Gangasagar, Asansol, Midnapore, Rampurhat and Belgachia ….

It is a pattern – it happened to a monk of Ramkrishna Mission, it happened with Taslima Nasreen, it happened with the editors of  The Statesman …..

It is not reported in main newspapers……..it is left for bloggers to let the world know

Beware Bengalees ….. Your only consolation is that you are not alone…..it happens in other states of India too

Another partition may be on its way …..

  

Hindu Temple Attacked by Islamic Mob in Rampurhat 

Friday, April 17, 2009

http://hindusamhati.blogspot.com/2009/04/hindu-temple-attacked-by-islamic-mob-in.html

On the evening of February 24th, the day after the Hindu festival ShivaRatri, there was a cultural program in the residential temple of Shyamal Das of Kamarpatti. At that time, 6-7 Muslim youths started sexually harassing young Hindu girls attending the function.

The festival committee youths attempted to stop the harassment of the minor girls, and the Muslims left the location. In just 30 minutes, 40-50 Muslims from a nearby locality appeared on the scene. The festival organiers sensing an attack quickly locled the temple gates. The attackers broke all the Hindu murthis/icons outside and destroyed the Hindu worship altar. They could not break the icons in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, due to the heavy doors.

The victimized Hindu devotees became upset and started protesting. The Hindus from the neigboring areas rushed in to….At that time, the police reached the location, and announced via loudspeaker that Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code had been enacted from that very moment. Ironically, The Hindus were roughened up and removed from the spot.

The next day, the local Hindus took out a rally under the leadership of Subhashish Chowdhury, protesting that the local Congress party leader, syed Shiraz, aka Jimmi is facilitating the Islamist elements.

Posted by Hindu Samhati’s International Communications Team.

Posted by Hindu Samhati at 9:32 AM

 

One has to give credit to the tenacity of Indian English news media. It is hard to say which is stronger- their subservience to the Gandhi family and Congress or their hatred for the Gujarat CM and the BJP.

Over the years, the Media has hurled every imaginable accusation to the Gujarat CM but are frustrated and miffed by his nonchalant attitude. It is interesting to note that they are now alarmed by his popularity and are racing to interview him.

Despite years of false accusations and half truths to denounce him, they have realized that Modi has become the darling of the Indian population, who abhor the decades of vote bank and divisive politics, pseudo-secularism, minority appeasement, corruption and nepotism and want India to be developed, free of poverty, illiteracy and terrorism.

The media’s obsession with efforts to tarnish Modi or BJP knows no bound. They are ever alert to project fractions within BJP, highlight fights between BJP, RSS and VHP as parties as well as amongst their leaders. Their latest effort is to pit Modi against Advani, despite the former’s repeated assertion that he still wants to work for Gujarat, that he acknowledges Advani as his guru and he is not interested in the PM race? An earlier attempt had failed since both Advani and Modi have very high opinion about each other.

 And this time also it is a pleasure to see that Modi has turned the table on the media, saying that Advaniji will be our prime ministerial candidate even in 2014 elections .

  

Pracharak to PM?

26 Apr 2009, 0434 hrs IST, Bharat Desai & Harit Mehta, TNN

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Pracharak-to-PM/articleshow/4450022.cms

AHMEDABAD: Till a few weeks back, most admirers of Narendra Modi in Gujarat believed that it will be only in 2014 that Missile Modi will hit New Delhi. The general feeling was Modi is happy being the CM of Gujarat, a state which will be celebrating its Golden Jubilee in 2010, and watch from the sidelines the coalition circus which unfolds shortly. But there is a change in thinking in Gujarat, as well as within the BJP, on the timing of the move. It has to be earlier, feel those admirers of Modi, who are anxious that he takes centre-stage as soon as possible. “Five years is too long a time in politics, I think he (Modi) is in a hurry to come to Delhi,” a senior bureaucrat who has worked closely with Modi told TOI.

The possibilities are immense and even BJP allies are feeling that Modi’s next big push towards the national capital is imminent. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar was recently quoted as saying that he would not like to share an election platform with Modi. On reading the reports, he immediately called up LK Advani and clarified that he did not mean this and, if need be, he would also speak to Modi. Advani communicated this to Modi and got back to Nitish saying there were no misunderstandings from Modi’s side. The media has also anticipated the trajectory of his flight. A journalist in New Delhi said almost everyone wants to know when Missile Modi will strike Delhi. Almost everybody in the media also wants to interview Modi. Sources in the chief minister’s office (CMO) say there are 40-plus requests pending for interviews and following his campaign trail, which is entirely aerial.

But most important are the signals coming straight from the Sangh Parivar. Within months of calling Modi Mahmud of Ghazni, for demolishing over 200 illegal temples in Gandhinagar, VHP chief Ashok Singhal was forced to come to Ahmedabad on Friday and clarify that his comment was meant to be a joke. While that may sound funny, it is clear that Modi has the blessings of new RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. Modi cemented his 35-year-old ties with Bhagwats by identifying his father and one of the pillars of RSS, late Madhukar Rao Bhagwat, as one of the luminaries who influenced him in his early life as a pracharak. Bhagwat Jr. came to Ahmedabad to release Modi’s book ‘Jyotipunj’ in 2007. On the same day a tamed Singhal was praising Modi, Arun Shourie was also in Ahmedabad declaring that Modi was a future PM, qualifying the comment by adding that this was his “personal feeling”. One couldn’t expect him to say in public this was the ‘Parivaar feeling” as well.

  

BJP call for Narendra Modi as PM grows louder

26 Apr 2009, 0420 hrs IST, TNN

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/BJP-call-for-Narendra-Modi-as-PM-grows-louder/rssarticleshow/4450013.cms

NEW DELHI/AHMEDABAD: First it was Arun Shourie, now it’s Arun Jaitley — both of them want Narendra Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate after L K Advani. Coming bang in the middle of an election in which Advani is the BJP’s candidate for the top job, the search for Advani’s successor has set tongues wagging—has the BJP, or a section of the party, already thrown in the towel and is it looking ahead?

Like Shourie, Jaitley made it plain that there is no shift from Advani’s projection as the prime ministerial candidate for 2009, but his support for Modi in Vadodara is bound to fuel a debate and controversy, inviting caustic inquiries from the Congress about whether the BJP was hunting for an insurance policy.

Asked about his views on Shourie’s comments, Jaitley said, “I, along with other BJP workers, will be very happy if Shourie’s wishes would come true.” However, he took care to add that “at present, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate is Advani”. He would be happy, he said, if Modi became the PM after Advani.

(deleted..) 

Reclaiming India, India’s History and Heritage 

Subroto Gangopadhyay

http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/Reclaiming-India-Indian-History-Heritage/blog-249.htm

The attacks on Mumbai are reminiscent of the first Arab incursions, by sea between 634 and 637 AD through Thana, Broach and Debal. These were repulsed and led to incursions through land routes in the Northwest between 650-711 AD. Muhammad Bin Qasim finally succeeded in occupying parts of Sindh in 712 AD. In contrast to the 70 years it took to occupy Sindh in face of Hindu resistance, the Islamic armies had conquered Persia, Syria, Egypt within eight years of the Prophet”s death. North Africa was taken between 640 AD and 709 AD with Spain falling in 711 AD. Thus the entry of Islam into Hindu India which now has broken into a Muslim Pakistan, a Muslim Bangladesh and a Muslim Afghanistan faced more resistance than its triumphant march elsewhere. When Christian Europe finally won against Islam, they did not leave growing colonies within, to repopulate and create new Islamic nations. Arabs, no longer need attack India. The Muslim descendents of the Hindus, at least in Pakistan and Bangladesh, having severed themselves from their roots and heritage, find greater commonality with Arabic language, customs and religion. The idea of root, state, civilization or cultural heritage are super ceded by the common ground of Islam.

Islam, does not recognize the idea of sovereignty of state or the concept of individual free will guiding individual choice -whether towards lifestyle or to one”s spiritual path. All Semitic faiths speak of a single God, but clearly not the same one, as each claims an exclusive covenant and an exclusive revelation through an exclusive prophet and salvation through the individual agency representing the religion. Thus if all were true then there must be three equal Gods or if only one were true then there is one true God and two other false Gods with two false creeds and two false institutions. If all were false, the idea of God must be difficult to sustain for the majority of the world and these religions must find a separate mission than offer salvation -invited or uninvited. Of the three great faiths one must admit that the modern Jewish faith does not directly negate others and does not indulge in the task of conversions overtly and covertly and therefore intrinsically seeks no conflict -only the right of self existence. The Hindus seek peaceful self existence but differ from all, in laying no claim to a unique covenant or a unique relationship with their own particular God. They further believe in self inquiry, the right to- differ, question, criticize, adopt or reject any particular aspect or tenet of spiritual life. Faith is welcome but not necessary and lack of faith or criticism does not call for execution. No conversions are needed as spiritual life does not mandate membership in an exclusive creed. State has no spiritual responsibility. The spiritual path at the beginning calls for personal purity and righteousness, with non violence and harmlessness to all- and evolves finally towards individual spiritual inquiry leading to enlightenment or realization -of the nature of God. Venerable Prophets are many, within and outside India, who can be guides but are not necessarily needed. Being reflections of the Divine through the human form they are exalted beings but may have human limitations or imperfection at times. There is no Hindu Umma, Dar al Hind and Dar al Harb and there are no Momins and Kafirs. No Ghazis are required to wield swords to decapitate heads of Kafirs to reap rewards in an indulgent Zannat to please the one God. For Hindus- property, life and women of Non Hindus, are not subject to enjoyment, destruction, enslavement and confiscation as per scriptural guidelines. Places of worship where others worship are not special targets of wrathful destruction. Hindus have largely chosen to accept, ignore, negate and justify their suffering, believing that tolerance and patience would certainly be rewarded in the long run by dawning of reason among those who have brutalized India for about ten centuries. Large scale negation has been supplemented by outright falsification of the scale of atrocities on part of Islamic invaders. Indians have also submitted to more subtle but equally pernicious civilizational and spiritual subversion along with economic destruction by the Christian West. Purposeful erosion of the Hindu culture (Kul-achar) and ethos, was ensured, post Independence by the Congress-Communist nexus, under the cloak of secularism. This destruction continues unabated today. Political empowerment of minorities is yet to occur in Europe and North America while in Islamic countries systematic cleansing has reduced minorities to near extinction almost everywhere. Indian congress, communists, secularists and Human right activists have not bothered themselves with the Hindu victims of Islam or Christianity. They have built their credibility among foreigners and anti- Hindu faiths by sabotaging the ideal of India’s Nationhood based on Sanatan Dharma.

The idea of a tolerant Islamic State (for Non Muslims) is a contradiction in terms. For Christianity, state and religion, have historically been symbiotic entities -one thriving on the expansion of the other, each empowering the other. State was certainly the vehicle for Christianity”s spread and eventual conquest of Europe rendering extinct all indigenous forms of spirituality and culture, from Greece to Lithuania beginning from Italy. For Islam, conquest of Arabia wiped out millennia of pre-Islamic Arabic history and culture. Persia and Egypt did not fare better. State as an entity, is subservient to Islam and is merely its tool for expansion. In Western Europe and more prominently in America, while the pursuit of an individual religion is not interfered with but political empowerment of minority faiths other than Judaism is not even entertained as an idea in political or social discourse. The idea of Hindutva, Hindu fundamentalism are not merely illogical concepts but are carefully crafted themes to empower the exclusivist faiths who battle today for the soul and soil of India. There is no state other than India, that has seen political empowerment of minority faiths to an extent that persecution of majority is no longer looked upon with surprise. The ethnic cleansing of 400,000 Kashmiri Hindus in Hindu majority India is ignored, while communal riots in response the burning of Hindu pilgrims in Godhra is termed pogrom with international condemnation, humiliation, and enquiry commissions whose findings contradict the charge of genocide due to state complicity or permissiveness. This of course cannot satiate the Indian media’s Hindu bloodlust. India’ English media, human rights activists, television and its ruling Cabal reflect a coalition of Christians, Communists, Moslems, Western educated McCaulayites and foreign agents who live on the crumbs from middle east or the West. The zenith of one’s recognition in politics, academia, art, media, or intellectual circles is related to the degree of virulence one is able to muster against the Hindu and the culture of his forefathers. Regrettably, the defense of majority Hindus in their own land is at the hands of parties like BJP, whose apologetic conviction of their own heritage offers little hope. Their need for eulogies from the nation’s enemies is only matched by their gutlessness, lack of vision for their nation, colossal lack of cohesive planning and the spinelessness of political opportunism.

How about the spiritual foundation? the very reason why the Hindu has not given up his identity through millennia of occupation. India”s conquest to a large extent was due to loss of Dharma. Dharma as it relates to individual action guides the individual towards his larger sphere of responsibility towards family, community, nation, environment, and world at large. It is not merely individual salvation that religion should contract to, but it must exhort the individual to righteous and courageous action to uphold eternal values enjoined in Sanatan Dharma. Hindu spiritual leaders have miserably failed to exhort Hindus to the highest ideals of civic or community life and have forgotten the entire notion of Rashtra Dharma. Creating competing cults and creeds for self promotion, ritualistic worship or individual salvation without fulfilling all aspects of one’s Dharma is the foundational deficit that is once again propelling India into subjugation by Asuric forces. India’s multitude of temple goers and professional priests can no longer understand the ethos that had decreed motherland to be more exalted than the heavens. Therefore, the ritualistic, cult based, habit reinforced and temple oriented Hindu today is oblivious of the environment he lives in. The insularity of ritualistic behavior has degraded a deep worship tradition to “customary practice” severing philosophic continuity with our children – while outsiders have hardly been subtle in their contempt. For almost a thousand years jeering Islamic armies destroyed temples telling the Hindus that their Gods were mere idols who could not protect themselves, while the Hindu kept rebuilding his temples. The mosque built by the genocidal Babur was no mosque but merely a usurped temple that the weak Hindu finally used his bare hands to bring down -but to what dramatic disbelief, condemnation and outrage -that a servile Hindu could do this! None bothered that a place of worship was named after a genocidal monarch – for it is but natural for Islam to honor its Ghazis. To protect Babur’s monument (though no Islamic scholar claimed it to be a true mosque) seemed to be a national obsession for the liberal Indian, for it to be brought down a national shame? Can such a country survive its citizenry? Is there a Church in Poland named after Hitler (a faithful) or for that matter, one in Rome after Constantine or Theodosius?

Finally one must come to the intellectual elite of India. The intellectual leaders of India are no longer creative, natural thinkers in indigenous languages but are brilliant products and protagonists of Western Education. One would be hard put to find an Indian thought leader today who reads or writes in a language other than English. The Chinese, Japanese, Russians, Greeks, Germans, Spaniards, Mexicans or Egyptians do not have “English” intellectual Elite. These countries do no obsess themselves with intellectuals adorned with Booker prizes or Oscars for denigrating their countries. Their leading newspapers, media, or academic institutions do not have to use English to be well regarded. It is perfectly cute to have the Chinese Premier shake his head at the US President and exchange pleasantries through an interpreter while it is not for the Indian savage to do the same. Indian parents regard education in English and higher studies in the English speaking West to be the highest form of academic achievement. It is a natural consequence to imbibe the English based knowledge systems and discard the vast indigenous intellectual wealth, available in Sanskrit and other indigenous literature. Thus the first rung of our civilization -the intellectual Indian has been simply de-indigenized. Validated by economic success and access to leadership positions this Indian intellectual leadership is Indian only in appearance -in character it represents colonial continuity. It is virulently anti -Hindu and seeks not to be identified with Hindutva. Why else is “Hindu Tattva” or the essence of being a Hindu a dirty word while “being a good Christian” – a claim to value. Is it not the Hindu seer who gave the world Numbers and Counting, Astronomy, Music, Grammar, Yoga and Ayurveda besides Philosophy and the first glimpse of God? What knowledge streams did the Prophets from the Monotheistic faiths bequeath to the world? India’s English media and its English Children have turned the Hindu into a despicable, backward and intolerable heathen, who is now violent as well. To unleash violence outside one’s borders on alien lands is natural as long as the perpetrators are Christians or Moslems but to defend oneself and one’s faith within one’s own borders is fundamentalism in case of the Hindu. When the Christians or Moslems disallow proselytization or conversion it is the natural inclination to preserve one’s identity but for the Hindu to take such a view would be unacceptable bigotry. Barring exceptions, India’s intellectual elite today is India’s most pernicious enemy – an elite reared on the subsidized state sponsored education funded by the toiling Hindu. 

One must end with a discussion on solutions. As a first measure the Hindu majority of India must find its voice and aspiration reflected in the media. It must not support an anti India media through viewership, audience, subscription or advertisement revenue in any form. India must demand a media free of foreign ownership or revenue based influence. Indians must control their media. Equally important for Indians is to elect a leadership that to start with is not anti-India. Needless to say, any leadership that is anti- Hindu is anti-majority and by definition, anti-India. They cannot be at the helm of the country. Therefore, the UPA, its adherents and its supporting parties must be defeated and discarded into political oblivion. Marxism is welcome as part of academic discourse but its anti-national and anti-majority views do not permit it to be a legitimate political body. Marxist organizations and political parties need to be outlawed. The nexus of criminals and politicians has to be broken by a strengthened judiciary and ruthless imposition of law. A criminalized democracy manipulated by feudal families, foreigners, anti India and anti Hindu agencies is worse than an undemocratic, but ethical administration. India of the past has done far better under Vikramaditya or Chandragupta. The academic institutions of India starting from at its schools need to be entirely revamped. Study of its indigenous languages, knowledge streams, and its classical history from indigenous sources must be mandatory for all, but most of all for its political leadership and administration, as a prerequisite for electoral contest or administration. Anti India academicians cannot have any public funding sources towards salary, research and publications and media presentations offending Hindu sentiments should not be tolerated. India’s 1.2 billion people and 1 billion Hindus must be what they want to be, not what others manipulate them to be -in this respect they must learn from China. Minorityism in the form of appeasement, selective economic aid, reservation, media propagation and political empowerment for votes, must be eliminated without any compunction –Hindu’s who have chosen to adopt foreign religions have no basis for special consideration, though they remain free to practice their faith in private. Political action or activism that promotes sedition or violence must be met with violence and eliminated ruthlessly. Hindus should not be supportive of any Hindu religious institution, cult, temple or spiritual leaders who remain disconnected from the concept of a nationalism based on Sanatan Dharma .There cannot be any spiritual path divorced from Dharma in its broadest sense .To support such self serving Hindu institutions and spiritual leaders is a folly as well. The intellectual leadership of India must be reconstructed and realigned to be steeped in its historical traditions that have always reflected a combination of value systems – a search for discriminatory wisdom, simple living, cultivation of Dharma combined with a sense of honor and valor. Meekness, avoidance of responsibility, search for self gratification and success should not be lauded but are worthy of rejection and derision. India cannot honor those who dishonor it. Leaders in politics, academia, media, corporate world, arts, sciences or spiritual domain must not be honored anymore for being Anti-Hindu. If Tasleema Nasreen cannot be given asylum in India for offending sensibilities of Muslims, on what grounds does one have to tolerate the likes of Arundhati Roy, M F Hussain, Jayalalitha , Brinda Karat, Karan Thapar, Shabana Azmi, Agnivesh or AR Antulay?

Hindu majority India managed to lose power and suffer enslavement, decapitation, conversion, jiziya, dhimmitude, and famines apart from annihilation of its identity for over a thousand years. Its current course shows no memory of this experience. All Hindus must act now, through forging a common Hindu identity and must express this identity through a Hindu vote for a Hindu India – a Muslim India or a Christian India cannot be a pluralistic tolerant India. Let Islam and Christianity demonstrate this first in the lands they control. Let the US elect a non Christian Governor or President and let Indonesia or Pakistan have a Hindu President first. Let rest of the world demonstrate its equality to the Hindu .The Hindu must protect himself first, to deliver humanity. While India as a nation state should stand for equality for all its citizens and proclaim all life to be sacred as decreed by Sanatan Dharma – it must let its external enemies know, that the future theatres of war would be on their soil and the rites of war would be one that they inflict on others. 

The iron pillar that won’t rust

 Sunday Tribune, April 19, 2009 

  http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090419/spectrum/main3.htm  

 T. Simharajan on this hand-forged block of iron from India’s past that continues to remain rust-free even 16 centuries after its making

For the last 1600 years, the rustless wonder called the Iron Pillar of India, near the Qutub Minar at Mehrauli in Delhi, continues to baffle contemporary scientists, who cannot determine the method of manufacture, which prevented the iron from rusting for these last 16 centuries. 

The pillar, made up of nearly seven tones of 98 per cent wrought iron of pure quality, is 7.21m (23 feet 8 inches) high, with 93 cm buried below the present floor level, and has a diameter of 41cm (16 inches). The pillar has been brought here evidently from somewhere, else, as no other relics of the fourth century are found at the site. There is a strong local tradition that it was brought here by Anangpal, the Tomar king who is credited with the founding of Delhi in 1020 A.D.

According to the inscription on it, the pillar was erected at its original venue by Chandragupta II Vikramaditya (375–414 C.E.) and according to archaeologists, originally the column with a l of Chakra (discus of God Vishnu) at the top, was originally located at a place called Vishnupadagiri (meaning “hill with footprint of Lord Vishnu”). This location has been identified as modern Udayagiri, a town located about 50 km east of Bhopal, in central India. Vishnupadagiri is located on the Tropic of Cancer and, therefore, was a centre of astronomical studies during the Gupta period. The Iron Pillar served as a sundial, when it was originally at Vishnupadagiri. The early morning shadow of the Iron Pillar fell in the direction of the foot of the God Vishnu in one of the panels at Udayagiri only around the summer solstice on June 21. This pillar was plundered by Islamic hordes from a Vishnu or Jain temple nearby and added as a trophy in the Quwwat al-Islam mosque which was built in 1193 A.D at Delhi by Qutubuddin Aibek the founder of the Slave Dynasty at Delhi.

It did not attract the attention of scientists, till the second quarter of the 19th century. The first reports of the pillar were by British soldiers, and one of them Captain Archer talked about an inscription of unknown antiquity on the pillar, which nobody could read. Later, James Prinsep, a British archaeologist deciphered the inscription in 1838 and translated it into English in the journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. The inscription referred to a ruler named Chandra, who had conquered the Vangas and Vahlikas, and the breeze of whose valour still perfumed the southern ocean. Historians opine that the king who answers the description is none but Samudragupta, the real founder of the Gupta Empire in (375–414 AD).

The existence of this pillar, so ancient without any trace of rust, excited curiosity of the scientific world and many attempts have been made to find out its composition. In 1961, the pillar was dug out for chemical treatment and preservation and reinstalled by embedding the underground part in a masonry pedestal. Chemical analyses, then, indicated that the pillar was astonishingly pure or low in carbon compared with modern commercial iron.

In 1963, M. K. Ghosh of the National Metallurgical Laboratory concluded that the pillar had been very effectively forge-welded. B. B. Lal, chief chemist at the Archaeological Survey of India, also came to the conclusion that the pillar was not cast, but fabricated by forging and hammer-welding lumps of hot pasty iron, weighing 20 to 30 kg, in a step-by-step process. The surface of the pillar retains marks of hammer bows. It is assumed that 120 labourers took a fortnight to complete this daunting task.

In 2002, metallurgists at Kanpur, IIT, headed by Dr. R. Balasubramaniam, have come to the conclusion that a thin layer of “misawite”, a compound of iron, oxygen and hydrogen, has protected the cast iron pillar from rust. According to them, the protective film took form within three years after erection of the pillar and has been growing ever so slowly since then. After 1,600 years, the film has grown just one-twentieth of a millimetre thick.

A fence was erected around the pillar in 1997, because visitors were damaging the treasure. There is a popular tradition, that it was considered good luck, if you could stand with your back to the pillar and make your hands meet behind it.

Mystery or not, the Delhi Iron Pillar serves as a guidepost for metallurgists in the 21st century. It is a classical example of massive production of high-class iron and is the biggest hand-forged block of iron from our antiquity. It is a demonstration of the high degree of accomplishment in the art of steel making by ancient Indian steel makers. It has been claimed that the Indians were the only non-European people who manufactured heavy forged pieces of steel and the pieces were of the size that the European smiths did not learn to make more than 1000 years later. Even with today’s scientific advances, in the 21st century only four foundries in the world could make such a large pillar and none would be able to keep it rust-free.

MF

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