October 29, 2009
Russia may be a former communist country, but this proves that there is no Pseudosecular – Communist – Islamic nexus, at least not as strong enough as in USA. Modi is perfectly aware that he has to establish his international connections by himself. He neither has the national government to back him up nor the family name to project him. Only a few journalist will risk their careers to accompany him to highlight his efforts, unlike the propaganda team that goes with Rahul Baba to every Dalit House that he visits. The ‘aam aadmi’ will seldom hear about his achievements through the Indian media. His own party is in tatters, leaderless, speechless and aimless.
It is not without merit that, after Anil Ambani and Sunil Bharti Mittal, it was the turn of another industry bigwig, BK Birla to recently describe Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as prime ministerial material.
The question that remains unanswered is when will Modi feel it appropriate to step into the national field. If he claims to be nationalistic he would hardly do any justice by restricting himself to Gujarat for any longer than what is necessary. He does not seem to be a personality who can be cowered by the kind of accusations and abuses that his detractors and haters love to throw at him, neither can he anticipate that they will suddenly turn around, by some miracle. On the other hand, Modi must be well aware that a large part of the country is waiting for him, if one has to believe the short lasting tempo that was created before the last Lok Shabha election, which he himself had to finally dissipate.
To some, who wish to see a Gujarat in every state of India, he is the only hope.
October 30th, 2009
Gandhinagar, Oct 29 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi during his four-day visit to Russia held talks with the top brass of 60 Russian companies as well as representatives of other international companies, an official said Thursday. “We have identified areas for partnership and worked out a road map for the future,” he added.
D. Rajagopalan, chief secretary, Gujarat government, exuded confidence that the visit of the chief minister would result in tangible benefit to the state in terms of the number of joint operations in the oil and gas sector.
“The executive chairman of Gazprom, Alexander Medvedev, was among those who called on the Gujarat chief minister and evinced interest for joint development of oil and gas fields in India and also for partnering with the state public sector undertaking, Gujarat State petroleum Corporation (GSPC), for similar effort in oil and gas fields in Russia,” he said.
According to Rajgopalan, among the projects identified were an alliance for EPC contracts, supply of LNG and expanding capability of GSWAN. “We expect delegations from key companies like Gazprom, Sistema and Itera as a follow up of the visit and to carry it forward,” he added.
The state chief secretary said as a result of the visit, several Russian companies involved in telecommunication, oil and gas and other sectors are to send technical delegations to work out plans for joint operations in oil and gas exploration and setting up units to manufacture telecommunication and other appliances.
“By the next Vibrant Gujarat summit in January 2011, we expect a number of Memoranda of Understandings (MOUs) for joint operations with their companies,” he added.
The Gujarat delegation was in Russia to participate in the fourth International Energy Week and ninth Russian Oil and Gas Week Conference in which Chief Minister Modi was invited to deliver the keynote address.
Narendra Modi as next Prime Minister: BJP
CM number one, three years in a row
If only the rest of India was as pragmatic as the Gujaratis.
October 27, 2009
In a recent news “196 Indian languages endangered, experts to mull revival” , according to the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s languages in Danger, 2009′, India has around 196 endangered languages, among the highest in the world,……..an international seminar on endangered languages in India will be organised at the India International Centre…..Scholars like Kapila Vatsyayan as well as linguists and educators will all discuss issues threatening these languages, a large chunk of which are regional and tribal languages ignored by the growing English and Hindi speaking masses.……most languages which are endangered are out of the loop of the education system……… the government lacked the will to tackle the problem which could lead to loss of culture and heritage associated with the language. ……‘The 2002 census enlists India as having just 122 languages. Whereas in 1962 there were over 1,600 languages as per the survey. …………………….
Here is one other reason why Indian languages are threatened.
(By the way this was published by IBNLive – must be true)
Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh government on Tuesday ordered a probe into an English medium missionary school for allegedly punishing two students for speaking in their mother tongue Telugu.
The two Class 3 students were allegedly made to go around in the school with slates hanging from their necks declaring “I’ll never speak Telugu”. Parents and groups working for the promotion of Telugu allege the St Joseph’s English Medium School in Mydukur town of Kadapa district humiliated the students on Monday.
School Education Minister D Manikya Varaprasad on Tuesday told reporters that he had ordered a probe into the incident. “If the management is found guilty, we will derecognise the school and if a teacher or principal is responsible, we will advise the management to sack him/her,” he said.
The two children’s mothers, who carried lunch for them, said they saw the children going around the school premises with the slates hanging around their necks. The two told their mothers that their teacher was angry at them for not following her order to speak only in English during the class.
Mandal (block) education officer Sukhavanam and other local officials rushed to the school and admonished the school authorities.
Meanwhile, the management of the school has tendered an apology to the parents of the two students. It also promised to take necessary action to prevent such incidents in future.
Telugu Bhasha Parirakshana Samithi, a group working for the protection and promotion of Telugu language, petitioned the State Human Rights Commission to intervene and take stern action against the school authorities.
Telugu is the official language of Andhra Pradesh, which has a population of about 80 million.
October 20, 2009
Nothing excites the Indian Media more than “Hindu terrorism or extremism”. Even a mere possibility or an illusion is enough to make them erect and upright. Even a glimpse or suggestion of an opportunity to denounce Hindus makes tham hallucinate about ‘right wing’, ‘activists’ , ‘extremist’ or ‘terrorist’ of the Hindu, Hindutva or Saffron varity. News, interviews, debates, talk shows, reality shows follows to hype up the imaginary dangers that Hindus pose to the present and future of the country.
Here are some of the samples that came out in the last few days.
IBNLive: Hindu extremist group blamed for Goa blast
The Times of India: Sanatan Saunstha responsible for Goa blast, says minister
The Times of India: Goa blast: Intel probe confirms role of right-wing Hindu group
The Times of India: Goa blast heat on Hindu outfit
The Deccan Herald: Goa blast: Police probe foreign links of Sanatan Sanstha
Indian Express: Goa police probing foreign links of right-wing outfit
Hindustan Times: Goa blast: Hindu group member held
Deccan Chronicle: Was Margao blast Goa’s brush with Hindutva terrorism?
IBNLive: Goa considers ban on right-wing Hindu group
NDTV: Saffron terror: Myth or reality
Even before the forensic exam is done or the investigation is started, the media goes into convulsive fits to compete with each other for ‘breaking news’, manufacturing the means, method, motive, and manpower behind, followed soon by their chosen verdicts, only falling short of the actual execution.
Meanwhile the Superintendant of Police admits that they have never blamed any organisation for the incident……” Nowhere have we said that Sanatan Sanstha is involved “…….
The Goa police on Wednesday did an about turn on its claim that Sanatan Sanstha was involved in Margao blasts, saying they have not named any organisation.
“We have not named any organisation as yet,” superintendent of police Atmaram Deshpande, who is the official PRO for Goa Police, said at a press conference. According to Deshpande, police have only maintained that Malgonda Patil and Yogesh Naik, who are suspected to be involved in the crime, had links with Sanatan.
“Nowhere have we said that Sanatan Sanstha is involved in the blasts. We have only said that the persons whom Goa Police suspects of carrying out the blasts had links with the organisation,” Deshpande said.
When reminded about state home minister Ravi Naik’s statement that Sanatan is responsible for the attack, the SP said, “I have no knowledge of that and cannot comment on his (minister’s) statement.”
Naik said that the police are investigating the role of Jyoti Dhavalkar, the wife of transport minister Sudin Dhavalikar, in the organisation.
On whether the police had sent any recommendation for banning Sanatan, he said, “We have not asked for ban on Sanatan as of now, and will not do so until investigations are over. The police will send the report to the government which will take the call.” Despande also said that accused Yogesh Naik died on Tuesday morning.
Arvind Pansare, an official of Sanatan Sanstha, denied that Naik was involved in the organisation. “Yogesh Naik supplied milk to the ashram. This is his only connection with us,” he said.
October 19, 2009
Pope Benedict XVI has recently recalled the dangers faced by the Catholic missionaries around the world, while giving “a strong call to strive to bring the testimony of the Gospel to all, in particular to those who are not yet acquainted with it”.
A few days earlier, a group of Hindus and Jews were shocked by one of the Pope’s numerous message in which he encouraged his followers to “make disciples of all peoples” and “to lead all people to Christ, the salvation of the world” – calls that remind one the history of the Crusades.
The Pope may believe in “the goal of the Church’s mission is to illumine all peoples with the light of the Gospel” and may have “a longing and a passion to illumine all peoples with the light of Christ” but there are others who will continue to reject these limited options for their spiritual upliftment and rather opt for different sources of enlightenment that are far more tolerant, receptive, inclusive and time tested.
His almost political desire “that all nations may become the People of God” masqueraded as a message that “Christ calls, justifies, sanctifies and sends his disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God” has lead to misery of mankind for centuries in the past and is still continuing, as the article below depicts.
Associated Press Writer
EKET, Nigeria (AP) — The nine-year-old boy lay on a bloodstained hospital sheet crawling with ants, staring blindly at the wall. His family pastor had accused him of being a witch, and his father then tried to force acid down his throat as an exorcism. It spilled as he struggled, burning away his face and eyes. The emaciated boy barely had strength left to whisper the name of the church that had denounced him — Mount Zion Lighthouse.
A month later, he died.
Nwanaokwo Edet was one of an increasing number of children in Africa accused of witchcraft by pastors and then tortured or killed, often by family members. Pastors were involved in half of 200 cases of “witch children” reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files.
Some of the churches involved are renegade local branches of international franchises. Their parishioners take literally the Biblical exhortation, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”
“It is an outrage what they are allowing to take place in the name of Christianity,” said Gary Foxcroft, head of nonprofit Stepping Stones Nigeria.
For their part, the families are often extremely poor, and sometimes even relieved to have one less mouth to feed. Poverty, conflict and poor education lay the foundation for accusations, which are then triggered by the death of a relative, the loss of a job or the denunciation of a pastor on the make, said Martin Dawes, a spokesman for the United Nations Children’s Fund.
“When communities come under pressure, they look for scapegoats,” he said. “It plays into traditional beliefs that someone is responsible for a negative change … and children are defenseless.”
The idea of witchcraft is hardly new, but it has taken on new life recently partly because of a rapid growth in evangelical Christianity. Campaigners against the practice say around 15,000 children have been accused in two of Nigeria’s 36 states over the past decade and around 1,000 have been murdered. In the past month alone, three Nigerian children accused of witchcraft were killed and another three were set on fire. Nigeria is one of the heartlands of abuse, but hardly the only one: the United Nations Children’s Fund says tens of thousands of children have been targeted throughout Africa.
Church signs sprout around every twist of the road snaking through the jungle between Uyo, the capital of the southern Akwa Ibom state where Nwanaokwo lay, and Eket, home to many more rejected “witch children.” Churches outnumber schools, clinics and banks put together. Many promise to solve parishioner’s material worries as well as spiritual ones — eight out of ten Nigerians struggle by on less than $2 a day.
“Poverty must catch fire,” insists the Born 2 Rule Crusade on one of Uyo’s main streets.
“Where little shots become big shots in a short time,” promises the Winner’s Chapel down the road.
“Pray your way to riches,” advises Embassy of Christ a few blocks away.
It’s hard for churches to carve out a congregation with so much competition. So some pastors establish their credentials by accusing children of witchcraft.
Nwanaokwo said he knew the pastor who accused him only as Pastor King. Mount Zion Lighthouse in Nigeria at first confirmed that a Pastor King worked for them, then denied that they knew any such person.
Bishop A.D. Ayakndue, the head of the church in Nigeria, said pastors were encouraged to pray about witchcraft, but not to abuse children. “We pray over that problem (of witchcraft) very powerfully,” he said. “But we can never hurt a child.”
The Nigerian church is a branch of a Californian church by the same name. But the California church says it lost touch with its Nigerian offshoots several years ago. “I had no idea,” said church elder Carrie King by phone from Tracy, Calif. “I knew people believed in witchcraft over there but we believe in the power of prayer, not physically harming people.”
The Mount Zion Lighthouse — also named by three other families as the accuser of their children — is part of the powerful Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria. The Fellowship’s president, Ayo Oritsejafor, said the Fellowship was the fastest-growing religious group in Nigeria, with more than 30 million members. “We have grown so much in the past few years we cannot keep an eye on everybody,” he explained.
But Foxcroft, the head of Stepping Stones, said if the organization was able to collect membership fees, it could also police its members better. He had already written to the organization twice to alert it to the abuse, he said. He suggested the fellowship ask members to sign forms denouncing abuse or hold meetings to educate pastors about the new child rights law in the state of Akwa Ibom, which makes it illegal to denounce children as witches. Similar laws and education were needed in other states, he said.
Sam Itauma of the Children’s Rights and Rehabilitation Network said it is the most vulnerable children — the orphaned, sick, disabled or poor — who are most often denounced. In Nwanaokwo’s case, his poor father and dead mother made him an easy target.
“Even churches who didn’t use to ‘find’ child witches are being forced into it by the competition,” said Itauma. “They are seen as spiritually powerful because they can detect witchcraft and the parents may even pay them money for an exorcism.”
That’s what Margaret Eyekang did when her 8-year-old daughter Abigail was accused by a “prophet” from the Apostolic Church, because the girl liked to sleep outside on hot nights — interpreted as meaning she might be flying off to join a coven. A series of exorcisms cost Eyekang eight months’ wages, or US$270. The payments bankrupted her. Neighbors also attacked her daughter. “They beat her with sticks and asked me why I was bringing them a witch child,” she said. A relative offered Eyekang floor space but Abigail was not welcome and had to sleep in the streets.
Members of two other families said pastors from the Apostolic Church had accused their children of witchcraft, but asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.
The Nigeria Apostolic Church refused repeated requests made by phone, e-mail and in person for comment.
At first glance, there’s nothing unusual about the laughing, grubby kids playing hopscotch or reading from a tattered Dick and Jane book by the graffiti-scrawled cinderblock house. But this is where children like Abigail end up after being labeled witches by churches and abandoned or tortured by their families.
There’s a scar above Jane’s shy smile: her mother tried to saw off the top of her skull after a pastor denounced her and repeated exorcisms costing a total of $60 didn’t cure her of witchcraft. Mary, 15, is just beginning to think about boys and how they will look at the scar tissue on her face caused when her mother doused her in caustic soda. Twelve-year-old Rachel dreamed of being a banker but instead was chained up by her pastor, starved and beaten with sticks repeatedly; her uncle paid him $60 for the exorcism. Israel’s cousin tried to bury him alive, Nwaekwa’s father drove a nail through her head, and sweet-tempered Jerry — all knees, elbows and toothy grin — was beaten by his pastor, starved, made to eat cement and then set on fire by his father as his pastor’s wife cheered it on.
The children at the home run by Itauma’s organization have been mutilated as casually as the praying mantises they play with. Home officials asked for the children’s last names not to be used to protect them from retaliation. The home was founded in 2003 with seven children; it now has 120 to 200 at any given time as children are reconciled with their families and new victims arrive.
Helen Ukpabio is one of the few evangelists publicly linked to the denunciation of child witches. She heads the enormous Liberty Gospel church in Calabar, where Nwanaokwo used to live. Ukpabio makes and distributes popular books and DVDs on witchcraft; in one film, a group of child witches pull out a man’s eyeballs. In another book, she advises that 60 percent of the inability to bear children is caused by witchcraft.
In an interview with the AP, Ukpabio is accompanied by her lawyer, church officials and personal film crew. “Witchcraft is real,” Ukpabio insisted, before denouncing the physical abuse of children. Ukpabio says she performs non-abusive exorcisms for free and was not aware of or responsible for any misinterpretation of her materials. “I don’t know about that,” she declared.
However, she then acknowledged that she had seen a pastor from the Apostolic Church break a girl’s jaw during an exorcism. Ukpabio said she prayed over her that night and cast out the demon. She did not respond to questions on whether she took the girl to hospital or complained about the injury to church authorities.
After activists publicly identified Liberty Gospel as denouncing “child witches,” armed police arrived at Itauma’s home accompanied by a church lawyer. Three children were injured in the fracas. Itauma asked that other churches identified by children not be named to protect their victims. “We cannot afford to make enemies of all the churches around here,” he said. “But we know the vast majority of them are involved in the abuse even if their headquarters aren’t aware.”
Just mentioning the name of a church is enough to frighten a group of bubbly children at the home. “Please stop the pastors who hurt us,” said Jerry quietly, touching the scars on his face. “I believe in God and God knows I am not a witch.”
(Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.)
October 14, 2009
What Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo and B R Ambedkar thought about the Aryan Invasion Theory
By Devan Nair
(Devan Nair, former President of Singapore, has sent the following message to be posted to the ECIT egroup. As an intellectual, a follower of Sri Aurobindo, and student of the recent re-evaluation of the Aryan-Invasion Theory, his message is very interesting to ponder.)
The age of colonialism may be over, but not that of neo-colonial Captive minds in India as elsewhere in the former colonial territories. Nations struggled for and won political liberation from imperialist thralldom. But their tertiary institutions of higher learning hardly ever (with rare indigenous exceptions) displayed any compelling urge to free themselves from the restrictive, eurocentric disciplinary paradigms inherited from western universities, or to delve into their own unique native spiritual, cultural and intellectual resources that, even if not altogether annulled, were rendered more or less otiose. And it was precisely from the corridors of domestic academia that the dangerous and divisive infection of captive minds spreads to all fields of the public life of a once subject nation.
India is a prime example of a once great civilization with an Incredibly rich spiritual, literary, artistic, cultural and intellectual heritage, not to speak of production, manufacturing and medical expertise; a heritage that Indian academic and political leaders honor more in the breach than in the observance. Nationalist rhetoric and ritual genuflection, with an eye on the voting predilections of a volatile electorate, are the best the politicians seem capable of. Most worrisome of all is that the infection has affected the perceptions and self-appraisal of large sections of the Indian national collectivity itself, despite the intuitive pronouncements of great spiritual leaders of the Indian renaissance like Dayananda Saraswati, Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo.
In the highly praiseworthy cause of countering and arresting Trends inimical to India’s right development as a member of a global Community of nations, I am confident that your work is of crucial importance, not only for Indian and international practitioners of Indian insights (as in Auroville), but also for the Indian social/political/national collectivity itself. I am sure you will agree that our aim should be, not to denounce everything western, as there is much of great value in western achievements, particularly in the vital fields of modern science and technology, which are today inseparably part and parcel of the global heritage of mankind. On the contrary, your goal is to counter the threat to genuine globalization posed by the tendency in certain western academic quarters to denigrate eastern traditions, and to shamelessly appropriate, using different terminology and without due acknowledgement, the work of Indian pioneers in the important field, for instance, of the psychology of consciousness, and to present such clearly dishonest efforts as original western discoveries. That is intellectually dishonest, which deserves to be exposed and dissolved in the blinding glare of broad daylight. A genuinely global community of nations can and should only proceed on the basis of honest scholarship. Unmasking self-serving dishonesty in some areas of western or eastern scholarship is a service towards expediting the irreversible evolutionary process towards a genuinely united humanity.
To give just one illuminating illustration, we might mention the Nearly universal and quite uncritical acceptance by both Indian politicians and the generality of national and international academics, of the 19th Century myth of the “Aryan invasion of Dravidian India” and of the arbitrary classification of the population into Aryan and Dravidian ethnic types. The damage inflicted on the political perceptions of the population poses a threat to the very integrity of India as a unique political and cultural entity. Witness the two most dominant political parties of Tamil Nadu, the DMK and the ANNA DMK (the ‘D’ standing for ‘Dravida’). They swallowed hook, line and sinker the shallow, ill-researched “findings” of 19th Century European Indologists. Even India’s present national anthem perpetuates the Aryan/Dravidian divide by referring to ‘Dravida’. It was a wrong-headed decision to discard the original national anthem “Vande Mataram” (‘Salutation to the Mother’ Ð for the land of Bharatmata was originally conceived, not as a merely secular/geographical abstraction, but as Mother India Herself). It was the mantric potency of “Vande Mataram” that ignited the fiery beginnings (1905-1910) of the Indian aspiration for complete independence from British rule after Lord Curzon’s partition of Bengal. And the man who picked it out from Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s classic Bengali novel ‘Anandamath’ was no less a leader than Sri Aurobindo himself. To the surprise and consternation of the British Viceroy and his officials, thousand-throated cries of “Vande Mataram” rent the skies of India during the inspiring beginnings in those dramatic years of the national independence struggle.
And what of the real intentions of these 19th Century western Gentlemen still so greatly revered by several leading Indian academics? In a marvelous book “THE INVASION THAT NEVER WAS” by Michael Danino/Sujata Nahar, published by THE MOTHER’S INSTITUTE OF RESEARCH in Delhi (1996), the best known icon of 19th Century Indology Max Muller was effectively demolished in his own words; hoisted on his own petard, as it were. I quote directly from Michael Danino: “Even the celebrated Max Muller (whose research work, interestingly, was commissioned and generously paid for by the East India Company after he had been engaged by Macaulay), wrote to his wife ((ref. Friedrich Max Muller, Life and Letters, Vol.1; London: Longmans, 1902, p328): ‘This edition of mine and the translation of the Veda, will hereafter tell to a great extent on the fate of India and on the growth of millions of souls in that country. It is the root of their religion and to show them what The root is, I feel sure, is the only way of uprooting all that has Sprung from it during the last three thousand years.” So? The seemingly “impartial” scholar was in truth a Macaulayite tool for the accomplishment of grandiose imperial aims.
This plan misfired largely due to the great Indian savants (not academics, mind you!). The first to dispute the Aryan myth was Dayananda Saraswati. He rejected out of hand the whole 19th Century European view of the Veda. Here Michael Danino quotes Sri Aurobindo: “Dayananda seized justly on the Veda as India’s Rock of Ages. In the matter of Vedic interpretation I am convinced that whatever may be the final complete interpretation, Dayananda will be honored as the first discoverer of the right clues.” (ref: Sri Aurobindo, Centenary Edition 1972, Vol. 17, p. 334). Danino continues: “By the same token, Dayananda forcefully opposed the Christian missionaries’ vilification of India’s ancient culture, and engaged in public debates with some of them (with maulanas too), especially in Punjab where a wave of conversions had taken place.”
Danino proceeds to quote: “Dayananda’s performance in public debates not only stopped further conversions, but also gave birth to a new movement, ‘shuddhi’ (purification) of those who had been enticed away from Hindu society …… It sent a wave of consternation through the missionary circles and restored Hindu confidence. In days to come, the missionaries became more and more reluctant to meet Dayananda in open forums.”
Writes Danino: “With Vivekananda’s deep knowledge not only of Hindu scriptures but of Western history and religions, he was quick to see the gaps in the Aryan edifice.” In a lecture in USA, Vivekananda remarked scornfully: “And what your European Pandits say about the Aryans swooping down from some foreign land snatching away the land of aborigines and settling in India by exterminating them is all pure nonsense, foolish talk. Strange that our Indian scholars too say ‘Amen’ to them…. And all these monstrous lies are being taught to our boys.” (Vivekananda Complete Works, Calcutta: Advaita Ashram, 1963; Vol. V, p. 534-535).
Danino goes on to write that in another lecture, this time in India, Vivekananda was in a more humorous mood, but mercilessly to the point: “Our [European] archaeologist dreams of India being full of dark-eyed aborigines, and the bright Aryans came from, the Lord knows where. According to some, they came from Central Tibet, others will have it that they came from Central Asia. There are patriotic Englishmen who think that the Aryans were all red-haired ……. If the writer happens to be a black-haired man, the Aryans were all black-haired. Of late, there was an attempt to prove that the Aryans lived on the Swiss lakes…. Some say now that they lived at the North Pole. Lord bless the Aryans and their habitations! As for the truth of these theories, there is not one word in our scriptures, not one, to prove that the Aryan came from anywhere outside India, and in ancient India was included Afghanistan. There it ends. And the theory that the Shudra caste were all non-Aryans ….. is equally illogical and equally irrational….. The whole of India is Aryan, nothing else…… And the more you go on fighting and quarrelling about all trivialities such as ‘Dravidian’ and ‘Aryan,’ and the question of Brahmins and non-Brahmins and all that, the further you are from that accumulation of energy and power which is going to make the future India.” (Vivekananda Lectures from Colombo to Almora; Calcutta: Advaita Ashram, 1992; p. 222, 230).
Coming to Sri Aurobindo’s immense contribution, Danino writes: “A systematic refutation of the Aryan invasion theory had to wait until Sri Aurobindo. In 1910, after he had worked for a decade to awaken the spirit of independence in India, and spent a year in prison, he learned that the British had finally decided to deport him under new draconian laws (they regarded him as ‘the most dangerous man we have to deal with at present”); leaving Bengal he sought refuge in Pondicherry, then a French possession. There, soon afterwards, he took up his study of the Veda….While reading the Sanskrit text, he also came to question the European scholars’ view of the Veda which, ‘like the majority of educated Indians,’ he had so far ‘passively accepted without examination.‘ (ref. Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda, Centenary Edition, vol. 10, p. 33-34). He soon realized that ‘If the modern interpretation stands, the Vedas are no doubt of high interest to the philologist, the anthropologist and the historian; but poetically and spiritually they are null and worthless. Its reputation for spiritual knowledge and deep religious wealth is the most imposing and baseless hoax that has ever been worked upon the imagination of a whole people throughout many millenniums. Is this, then, the last word about the Veda? Or is it not rather the culmination of a long increasing and ever progressing error?'” (Sri Aurobindo Archives and Research, Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, April 1985, p 27).
Danino: “With his usual keenness of vision, Sri Aurobindo wrote: ‘In India we have fallen during the last few centuries into a fixed habit of unquestioning deference to authority……. We are ready to accept all European theories, the theory of an ‘Aryan’ colonization of a Dravidian India, the theory of Nature-worship and henotheism of the Vedic Rishis…… as if these hazardous speculations were on a par in authority and certainty with the law of gravitation and the theory of evolution.’ (ref: Ibid., p 41). ‘So great is the force of attractive generalizations and widely popularized errors that all the world goes on perpetuating the blunder talking of the Indo-Aryan races, claiming or disclaiming Aryan kinship and building on that basis of falsehood the most far-reaching political, social or pseudo-scientific conclusions.'” (Sri Aurobindo, the Origins of Aryan Speech, in The Secret of the Veda, op.cit., p. 193).
“How prophetic’, writes Danino, “if we consider that this was written some twenty year before the growth of Nazism with its claims to ‘Aryan kinship’! In his Secret of the Veda, which started appearing from 1914, Sri Aurobindo called on his fellow countrymen not to be ‘haunted by the unfortunate misconstruction of the Veda which European scholarship has imposed on the modern mind.'” (The Secret of the Veda, op. cit., p 193).
Danino continues: “Taking a straight look at the original text, with no preconception, no a priori theory, Sri Aurobindo observed, ‘it did not take long to see that the Vedic indications of a racial division between Aryans and Dasyus and the identification of the latter with the indigenous Indians were of a far flimsier character than I had supposed.'” (ref: Ibid., p 36). ‘This division was “a conjecture supported only by other conjectures …… a myth of the philologists”. (ref: Ibid., p 40). “Sri Aurobindo added. ‘The indications in the Veda on which this theory of a recent Aryan invasion is built, are very scanty in quantity and uncertain in their significance. There is no actual mention of such an invasion'” (ref: Ibid., p. 24). “Above all, he wanted the Indians to develop their own independent judgment: ‘A time must come when the Indian mind will shake off the darkness that has fallen upon it, cease to think or hold opinions at second and third rank and reassert its right to judge and enquire in a perfect freedom into the meaning of its own Scriptures. When that day comes, we shall ….. question many established philological myths; the legend, for instance, of an Aryan invasion of India from the north, the artificial and inimical distinction of Aryan and Dravidian which an erroneous philology has driven like a wedge into the unity of the homogeneous Indo-Afghan race ….(India’s Rebirth, Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives, 1993 , p 91-92) ‘”.
Continues Danino: “Some eighty years later, we know that the ‘wedge’, driven now not only by scholars but also by politicians, has only gone absurdly deeper. Yet Sri Aurobindo’s study of Tamil, which he did with the help of Subramania Bharati (the national poet of Tamil Nadu), led him to discover that the ‘original connection between the Sanskrit and Tamil tongues’ was ‘far closer and more extensive than is usually supposed’ and that they were ‘two divergent families derived from one lost primitive tongue'”. (Sri Aurobindo, The Secret of the Veda, op. cit., p 36). “The division between Indo-European and Dravidian languages had collapsed: ‘My first study of Tamil words had brought me to what seemed a clue to the very origins and structure of the ancient Sanskrit tongue.'” (ref: Ibid., p 46).
“Sri Aurobindo’s study, however, led him to far more momentous results, for he recovered the long lost symbolism of the Veda, and brought to light the Rishis’ extraordinary experience.” These results, however, are of far greater value to living practitioners of Indian Yoga, than to academics, and recourse must be had to the major portion of Sri Aurobindo’s “Secret of the Veda” for that purpose.
I make no apologies for continuing with quotes from Danina, for The good reason that they cannot be improved upon. He next writes: “The Question we should now ask is: Are our latter day historians, who still swear by Marx or Max Muller, or both, and often have a poor knowledge of Sanskrit and India’s traditions, better equipped than a Swami Vivekananda or a Sri Aurobindo, with their depth of understanding and erudition, to tell us what the meaning of the Veda is and the conclusions we are to draw from it?…Yet it is not as if there were no scholars in India to agree with these great seers. We will cite here only two of these striking examples of genuine but ignored Indian scholarship.
“Some ten years after the serialization of the Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Secret of the Veda’, R. Swaminatha Aiyar, a Tamil administrator, linguist and mathematician, carried out extensive research on the so-called Dravidian languages, but not ‘without previously disposing of a large number of misconceptions and untenable theories about Dravidian languages and Dravidian culture, which have come into existence since the publication of Bishop Caldwell’s ‘Dravidian Grammar’. (Ref: R. Swaminatha Aiyar, Dravidian Theories (New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, 1987). “After a thorough scrutiny of the grammar and roots of these languages, his conclusions confirmed Sri Aurobindo’s own findings on the deep connection between Tamil and Sanskrit. Swaminatha Aiyar found most Dravidian verb forms of ‘Indo-Aryan origin,’ and that ‘the basic portion of Dravidian vocabularies consists of words of Indo-Aryan origin though ….. these words have been greatly corrupted and are very difficult of recognition.’ As N.S. Rajaram, also a mathematician and linguist from South India, remarks in a recent study, ‘Dravidian languages are strongly inflected like Sanskrit, and cases and declensions are also quite similar…. In some ways these so-called Dravidian languages have preserved ancient forms and usages from Sanskrit better than North Indian languages like Hindi.'” (N.S. Rajaram, The Politics of History, op. cit., p 175).
To continue with Danino. “B.R. Ambedkar is our second example. Known in India chiefly for his campaign in support of the lower castes (he himself was a Harijan) and his work on the Indian Constitution, it is often overlooked that in order to find out the truth of the European Theories about Aryans and non-Aryans, high and low caste, he did precisely what Sri Aurobindo exhorted Indians to do: he went to the source, and studied the Veda for himself, with an open mind. His conclusions are unequivocal, though regrettably they are largely ignored by those who profess to follow his lead and who more often than not make a strident use of the very theories he sought to demolish: ‘The theory of invasion is an invention. This invention is necessary because of a gratuitous assumption that the Indo-Germanic people are the purest of the modern representatives of the original Aryan race. The theory is based on nothing but pleasing assumptions, and inferences based on such assumptions. The theory is a perversion of scientific investigation. It is not allowed to evolve out of facts. On the contrary, the theory is preconceived and facts are selected to prove it. It falls to the ground at every point.’ (ref: B. R. Ambedkar, quoted by D.B. Thengadi in The Perspective [Sahitya Sindhu Prakashan]).
My conclusions are:
1. The Vedas do not know any such race as the Aryan race.
2. There is no evidence in the Vedas of any invasion of India by the Aryan race and it having conquered the Dasas and Dasyus supposed to be the natives of India.
3. There is no evidence to show that the distinction between Aryans, Dasas and Dasyus was a racial distinction.
4. The Vedas do not support the contention that the Aryans were different in colour from the Dasas and Dasyus…..If anthropometry is a science which can be depended upon to determine the race of a people….. (then its) measurements establish that the Brahmins and the Untouchables belong to the same race. From this it follows that if the Brahmins are Aryans the Untouchables are also Aryans. If the Brahmins are Dravidians, the Untouchables are also Dravidians…..’
(B. R. Ambedkar, ‘Writings and Speeches’ [Bombay: Education Department, Government of Maharashtra, 1986-1990], Vol. 7, p. 85 and 302-303, quoted in Koenraad Elst’s Indigneous Indians, Agastya to Ambedkar, op. cit., p.410-411).
Danino completes this particular chapter of his book, thus: “Despite these remarkable protests, none listened; we Indians have long had the inexplicable habit of accepting change only if comes to us from the West. Yet in recent years, some voices have begun to be heard, both in the West and in India, asserting that the time has come to chuck out this worm-eaten theory once and for all. The cumulative evidence from all scientific branches of knowledge, especially archaeology, has become simply too overwhelming to be ignored, except for historians with dubious motives.”
Voila! as the French would say. I have done my bit of ‘nishkama karma’ (desireless action) for your more than worthwhile cause in respect of at least the demolition of the fictitious Aryan/Dravidian divide Indian politicians and a good number of India’s leading academics continue to subscribe to. There is no such thing as an “immortal bubble”. This bubble too will one day burst for good and be seen no more.
You have other challenges to meet head on, by way of dissemination Of your objectives to opinion in India itself, but also among the Indian diaspora in the West, particularly in the USA. In the psychological field, as in the study of yet another speculative discipline like Indology, Ken Wilber and his undoubted intellect may be safely left to the attention of formidable Indian and non-Indian practitioners of Indian spiritual practices (these, incidentally, are not speculative, but experiential disciplines in which seekers consciously ascend and descend what Sri Aurobindo called the “ladder of consciousness”). Don Salmon, for instance, is himself a master in the same field as Wilber. But he also possesses an additional SOMETHING ELSE of one who devotedly treads the path of the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo. Be assured that Mr. Wilber will by no means arrive at the stature of an Avatar. No barefaced plagiarist of ideas and conceptions ever did.
Warm regards and best wishes,
C. V. Devan Nair
October 12, 2009
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Good to hear the acknowledgement. Even as a simple gesture it is far more welcome than shaking hands; at least it will reduce the incidence of human diseases that are spread by hand contacts.
October 12, 2009
Another predictable outcome of ‘all religions are the same’ theory, another “objective reporting” by pseudosecular media, another suspected brutality of secular policing happening in the so-called land of secular India – the land of the selectively silent media, the selectively mumb human right activists, selectively blind leaders and opportunist politicians and off course the gullible, ignorant Hindus.
Secularism ki jai ho!!
The objective report:
Protests raged in Jammu city on Friday over the custodial death of a local youth in Srinagar. A senior police officer was thrashed by the mob. The protestors surrounded a police bus in which around 40 jail inmates were being taken to court. Among those roughed up was an assistant commissioner of police.
What triggered the protests was the death of Rajneesh Sharma, a Jammu youth, in Srinagar. Rajneesh had married Amina Yusuf, a Kashmiri girl. She embraced Hinduism and changed her name to Aanchal Sharma.
This triggered protests in the Kashmir Valley and the police picked up Rajneesh for questioning. He died in custody. While the police claimed that Rajneesh committed suicide in prison, his family members alleged he was beaten to death for daring to marry a Kashmiri Muslim girl.
The real story:
Sat, Oct 10, 2009
RAJNEESH SHARMA of Jammu and Ameena of Srinagar fell in love in the paradise on earth. They did not realise that the heaven would turn into hell for them if they stood firm in their resolve to wed.
Their love affair and courtship lasted for more than five years and the families of both the boy and the girl knew what was in the offing. So far so good. Both the man and the woman were adults and in the eye of law were competent to make a decision on a subject that affected their lives. They chose to get married.
One may wonder how they met and how did the love last for almost half a decade in the not so friendly environment of the Kashmir valley. Well, Rajneesh used to go to the Kashmir valley year after year on the holy pilgrimage to the cave of Lord Amarnath. That is where he met Ameena and they fell in love.
When the 25 year old, educated Ameena disclosed her desire to convert to the Hindu Dharma and marry her beau, hell broke loose in the Muslim society and opposition to the wedding became an Islamic issue. The girl eloped to Jammu.
Rajneesh and Ameena went to the Arya Samaj, Jammu and declared their intention to tie the knot. On conversion to the Vedic Dharma, Ameena became Aanchal and along with Rajneesh performed the havan, walked seven steps together in Saptpadi and took the vow to be together in life and death as husband and wife. Rajneesh’s father and the entire Sharma family along with friends, relatives and neighbourhood celebrated the Vedic wedding with feast, fun and frolic that it merited.
Back in Srinagar, Ameena’s father lodged an FIR with the Kashmir police that his minor daughter had been kidnapped by Rajneesh and forced to marry him. The complaint was against facts of the case. However, the communal overtones swayed the course of action and the Srinagar police went to Jammu and arrested Rajneesh.
They brought him to Srinagar, tortured him endlessly for days and beat him black and blue for no fault of his. The bride, Ameena, in Jammu supported her husband through thick and thin but it did not cut ice with the pre-conceived notions of authorities in Srinagar. Ameena’s brother turned out to be the villain of the piece, till Rajneesh died of wounds inflicted on him. Here was a case of custodial death.
When Rajneesh’s dead body was brought to Jammu, the news of his torture and custodial death spread like wild fire. Jammu city was on fire. The anger of the people burst out and the crowd thrashed senior administrative and police officers for the out and out partisan attitude of the administration. Now the people’s demand is: Order a CBI enquiry into the circumstances leading to the custodial death. The Jammu and Kashmir government has ordered a magisterial probe but, everyone considers it an eyewash.
Surprisingly, the government leaders have not yet faced the people with a word of solace to comfort the grieving family. Neither the chief minister, leaders of opposition and others in the Kashmir valley have stepped forward. The story is different in Jammu, where the issue may assume political overtones. The communal divide is complete and secularism has been shredded by leaders, who profess it in public, but not in private.
The need of the hour is to take an impartial course of action and allow a central agency to investigate so that the guilty are brought to book. The law of the land should be allowed to take its own course.
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