July 2010


Wah! Selective Secularism, at its best. This would likely be more and more of the way of life to expect in West Bengal over the coming years, till it reaches the pre-partition days of Suhrawardi Khan. The approximately 25% vote-bank of the minorities is hard to ignore. So it is not expected that there will be any protest by any politician or political party, be it of the ruling CPIM Dada or the aspiring Trinomool Didi . 

The great ‘selectively liberal’ Indian media and the ‘selectively humanitarian’ rights activists, who could go on relentlessly against ‘Ram Sena’ or ‘Bajrang Dal’ are nowhere to be found to report against Islamic ‘diktat’.  

There are many such incidences happening frequently which the Media prefers to overlook. 

 

A teacher says no to burqa in a West Bengal Muslim university, isn’t allowed to teach

 

For the past three months, 24-year-old Sirin Middya has not been able to hold her classes at West Bengal’s first Muslim university. While the guidelines at Aliah University in Kolkata don’t stipulate the same, the students’ union has demanded that Middya can teach but only in burqa.

Middya was appointed a guest lecturer at the university in March this year and got the union “diktat” in the second week of April. “I was told that I would not be allowed to attend college if I did not agree to come in a burqa. The University Grants Commission does not prescribe any such dress code and even the university does not have a dress code. But the most unfortunate part is that students are forcing us to wear burqa,” Middya told The Indian Express.

According to her, she has no issues with wearing a burqa — but if she dons one, it would be of her own free will.

Siamat Ali, secretary of West Bengal Madrasah Students’ Union, says he doesn’t understand Middya’s problem.

“There are eight women teachers at the university. It was decided through consulation that the women will observe purdah, and most teachers agreed. Only this lady has a problem,” Ali said, adding that they were ready to welcome Middya back as long as she adhered to the “decent” dress code.

The university has chosen to play safe, putting the issue on the backburner and hoping it dies down.

“This is a stray incident… we tried to nip the problem in the bud. There is no dress code in our university. Since there was a problem, we asked the teacher to report to the Salt Lake campus,” said Vice-Chancellor Syed Shamshul Alam.

The university was set up in 2008 by upgrading the famous Calcutta Madrasah which was started in 1781 by Warren Hastings, Governor General of Bengal. One of the oldest centres of higher learning and culture in the country, the institution has had many eminent scholars in its ranks. Aliah University was expected to harmonise tradition and modernity, and while its Islamic cources are run in the Calcutta Madrasah building, the other academic activities are conducted on different campuses at Salt Lake.

Middya joined Aliah University after an M.A. in Bengali from Jadavpur University. Having refused to kow-tow to the union, she has been unable to go to Aliah’s Calcutta Madrasah campus, and reports to the university’s library at Salt Lake. “Without taking any classes, I am given the full prescribed salary by the university,” said Middya.

“Most of the teachers do not like the diktat of the students to wear burqa. But they have no option but to accept it. This is Talibanisation of educational premises and there is no one to our rescue,” she said.

On June 4, nearly two months after she was virtually barred from the campus, Middya wrote to West Bengal’s Minister for Minority Development Abdus Sattar. She said she was yet to get a response.

Prior to this episode, Aliah University had faced another row when the students’ union held protests demanding that the word “madrasah” be added to its name.

With the university itself silent on the Middya issue, other teachers’ unions such as the All Bengal University Teachers Association (ABUTA) have decided to launch a movement.

“The university and the government should have protected this teacher and other teachers so that their fundamental rights were not infringed upon. Whereas in other parts of the world, even in Muslim countries, wearing a burqa is not mandatory, here the Left Front government has failed to protect the rights of the teacher,” said Tarun Naskar, general secretary of ABUTA.

 

Also read:

Hindus in West Bengal – majority without a say

 

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Some day this man will likely be re-evaluated ……  fanatic or nationalist? … assasination or supreme sacrifice? ……..

The three judge bench, which was hearing his speech, was silent after Godse finished reading. Justice Khosla, one of the three judges hearing the appeal, wrote after his retirement: “There was a deep silence when he ceased speaking. Many women were in tears and men coughing and searching for their handkerchiefs… I have no doubt that had the audience of the day been constituted into a jury and entrusted with the task of deciding Godse’s appeal, they would have brought in a verdict of ’not guilty’ by an overwhelming majority.”   (http://www.merinews.com/article/nathuram-godse-a-fanatic-or-nationalist/15708896.shtml)

 

Nathuram Godse’s speech in court.

 

 This is Nathuram Godse’s speech in court.

Nathuram Godse was arrested moments after shooting Gandhi, and was taken to the nearby Tughlaq Road police station. A reporter who managed to see him briefly in a cell at the police station asked him whether he had anything to say. ‘For the present I only want to say that I am not at all sorry for what I have done’, he replied. ‘The rest I will explain in court. ‘Preliminary investigations revealed that he was the editor of a Marathi newspaper – Hindu Rashtra and a well-known member of the HIndu Mahasabha. Clean-cut, sober, intelligent, the thirty-seven-year-old bachelor hardly seemed a candidate for the role of assassin. From time to time he had written scathing editorials denouncing Gandhi and the Congress party, though acquaintances could not recall an occassion when he had spoken bitterly against the Mahatma. He had no personal hatred of Gandhi. Godse even stated in his trial, ‘Before I fired the shots I actually wished him well and bowed to him in reverence’.

On 8 November 1948, he was allowed his day in the sun when he rose to make his statement. Reading quietly from a typed manuscript, he sought to explain why he had killed Gandhi. His thesis covered ninety-pages, and he was on his feet for five hours. Godse’s statement should be quoted extensively, for it provides an insight into his personality.

“Born in a devotional Brahmin family, I instinctively came to revere Hindu religion, Hindu history and Hindu culture. I had, therefore, been intensely proud of Hinduism as a whole. As I grew up I developed a tendency to free thinking unfettered by any superstitious allegiance to any isms, political or religious. That is why I worked actively for the eradication of untouchability and the caste system based on birth alone. I openly joined anti-caste movements and maintained that all Hindus are of equal status as to rights, social and religious, and should be considered high or low on merit alone and not through the accident of birth in a particular caste or profession. I used publicly to take part in organized anti-caste dinners which thousands of Hindus, Brahmins, Vaishyas, Kshatriyas, Chamars and Bhangis participated. We broke the caste rules and dined in the company of each other. I have read the speeches and writings of Dadabhai Naoroji, Vivekanand, Gokhale, Tilak, along with the books of ancient and modern history of India amd some prominent countries like England, France, America and Russia. Moreover I studied the tenets of socialism and Marxism. But above all I studied very closely what Veer (brave) Savarkar and Gandhiji had written and spoken, as to my mind these two ideologies have contributed more to the moulding of the thought and action of the Indian people during the last thirty years or so, than any other factor has done

All this thinking and reading led me to believe that it was my first duty to serve Hindudom and Hindus both as a patriot and as a world citizen. To secure the freedom and to safeguard the just interests of some thirty crores (three hundred million) of Hindus would automatically constitute the freedom and well-being of all India, one fifth of the human race. This conviction led me naturally to devote myself to the Hindu Sanghatanist ideology and programme, which alone, I came to believe, could win and preserve the National Independence of Hindustan, my Motherland, and enable her to render true service to humanity as well. Since the year 1920, that is, after the demise of Lokmanya Tilak, Gandhi’s influence in the Congress first increased and then became supreme. His activities for public awakening were phenomenal in their intensity and were reinforced by the slogan of truth and non-violence which he paraded ostentatiously before the country. No sensible or enlightened person could object to these slogans. In fact there is nothing new or original in them. They are implicit in every constitutional public movement. But it is nothing but a dream if you imagine the bulk of mankind is, or can ever become, capable of scruplous adherence to these lofty principles in its normal life from day to day. In fact, honour, duty and love of one’s own kith and kin and country might often compel us to disregard non-violence and to use force. I could never conceive that an armed resistance to an aggressionis unjust. I would consider it a religious and moral duty to resist and if possible, to overpower such an enemy by use of force. (In the Ramayana) Rama killed Ravana in a tumultuous fight and relieved Sita. (In the Mahabharata) Krishna killed Kansa to end his wickedness; and Arjuna had to fight and slay quite a number of his friends and relations including the revered Bhishma because the latter was on the side of the aggressor. It is my firm belief that in dubbing Rama, Krishna and Arjuna as guilty of violence, the Mahatma betrayed the a total ignorance of the springs of human action. In more recent history, it was the heroic fight put up by Chhatrapati Shivaji that first checked and eventually destroyed the Muslim tyranny in India. It was absolutely essential for Shivaji to overpower and kill an aggressive Afzal Khan, failing which he would have lost his own life. In condemning history’s towering warriors like Shivaji, Rana Pratap and Guru Govind Singh as misguided patriots, Gandhi has merely exposed as self-conceit. He was, paradoxical as it may appear, a violent pacifist who brought untold calamities on the country in the name of truth and non-violence, while Rana Pratap, Shivaji and the Guru will remain enshrined in the hearts of their countrymen forever for the freedom they brought to them. The accumulating provocation of thirty-two years, culminating in his last pro-Muslim fast, at last goaded me to the conclusion that the existence of Gandhi should be brought to an end immediately. Gandhi had done very good work in South Africa to uphold the rights and well-being of the Indian community there. But when he finally returned to India, he developed a subjective mentality under which he alone was to be the final judge of what was right or wrong. If the country wanted his leadership, it had to accept his infallibility; if it did not, he would stand aloof from the Congress and carry on in his own way. Against such an attitude there can be no halfway house. Either Congress had to surrender its will to his and had to be content with playing second fiddle to all his eccentricity, whimsicality, metaphysics and primitive vision, or it had to carry on without him. He alone was the judge of everyone and everything; he was the master brain guiding the Civil Disobedience movement; no other could know the technique of that movement. He alone knew when to begin it and when to withdraw it. The movement might succeed or fail, but that could make no difference to the Mahatma’s infallibility. ‘A Satyagrahi can never fail’ was his formula for his own infallibility and nobody except himself knew what a Satyagrahi is.

Thus the Mahatma became the judge and the jury in his own case. These childish insanities and obstinacies, coupled with a most severe austerity of life, ceaseless work and lofty character made Gandhi formidable and irresistible. Many poeple thought that his policies were irrational but they had either to withdraw from the Congress or place their intelligence at his feet to do with as he liked. In a position of such absolute irresponsibility, Gandhi was guilty of blunder after blunder, failure after failure, disaster after disaster. Gandhi’s pro-Muslim policy is blatantly illustrated in his perverse attitude on the question of the national language of India. It is quite obvious that Hindi has the most prior claim to be accepted as the premier language. In the beginning of his career in India, Gandhi gave a great impetus to Hindi but as he found that the Muslims did not like it, he became a champion of what is called Hindustani. Everybody in India knows that there is no language in India called Hindustani; it has no grammar; it has no vocabulary. It is a mere dialect, It is spoken, not written. It is a tongue and a cross-breed between Hindi and Urdu, and not even the Mahatma’s sophistry could make it popular. But in his desire to please the Muslims he insisted that Hindustani alone should be the national language of India. His blind followers, of course, supported him and the so-called hybrid language began to be used. The charm and the purity of the Hindi language was to be prostituted to please the Muslims. All his experiments were at the expense of the Hindus. From August 1946 onwards the private armies of the Muslim League began a massacre of Hindus. The then Viceroy, Lord Wavell, though distressed at what was happening, would not use his powers under the Government of India Act of 1935 to prevent the rape, murder and arson. The Hindu blood began to flow from Bengal to Karachi with little retalliation by the Hindus. The Interim Government formed in September was sabotaged by its Muslim League members right from its inception, but the more they became disloyal and treasonable to the government of which they were a part, the greater was Gandhi’s infatuation for them. Lord Wavell had to resign as he could not bring about a settlement and was succeeded by Lord Mountbatten. King Log was followed by King Stork. The Congress which had boasted of its nationalism and secularism secretly accepted Pakistan literally at the point of the bayonnet and abjectly surrendered to Jinnah. India was vivisected and one-third of the Indian territory became foreign land to us from 15 August 1947. Lord Mountbatten came to be described in the Congress circles as the greatest Viceroy and Governor-General this country ever had. The official date for the handing over of power was fixed for June 30, 1948, but Mountbatten with his ruthless surgery gave us a gift of vivisected India ten months in advance. This is what Gandhi had achieved after thirty years of undisputed dictatorship and this is what the Congress party calls ‘freedom’ and ‘peaceful transfer of power’. The Hindu-Muslim unity bubble was finally burst and a theocratic state was established with the consent of Nehru and his crowd and they have called it ‘freedom won by them with sacrifice’ – whose sacrifice ? When top leaders of Congress, with the consent of Gandhi, divided and tore the country – which we considered a diety of worship – my mind was filled with direful anger.

One of the conditions imposed by Gandhi for his breaking of the fast unto related to the mosques in Delhi occupied by the Hindu refugees. But when Hindus in Pakistan were subjected to violent attacks he did not so much as utter a single word to protest and censure the Pakistan Government or the Muslims concerned. Gandhi was shrewd enough to know that while undertaking a fast unto death, had he imposed some conditions on the Muslims in Pakistan, there would have been found hardly any Muslims who could have shown some grief if the fast had ended in his death. It was for this reason that he purposely avoided imposing any conditions on the Muslims. He was fully aware from past experience that Jinnah was not at all perturbed or influenced by his fast and the Muslim League hardly attached any value to the inner voice of Gandhi. Gandhi is being referred to as the Father of the Nation. But if that is so, he has failed in his paternal duty inasmuch he has acted very treacherously to the nation by his consenting to the partitioning of it. I stoutly maintain that Gandhi has failed in his duty. He has proved to be the Father of Pakistan. His inner-voice, his spiritual power, his doctrine of non-violence of which so much is made of, all crumbled against Jinnah’s iron will and proved to be powerless. Briefly speaking, I thought to myself and foresaw that I shall be totally ruined, and the only thing I could expect from the people would be nothing but hatred and that I shall have lost all my honour, even more valuable than my life, if I were to kill Gandhiji. But at the same time I thought I that the Indian politics in the absence of Gandhiji would surely be practical, able to retaliate and would be powerful with the armed forces. No doubt, my own future would be totally ruined, but the nation would be saved from the inroads of Pakistan. People may even call me or dub me as devoid of any sense or foolish, but the nation would be free to follow the course founded on the reason which I consider necessary for sound nation-building. After having fully considered the question, I took the final decision in the matter, but I did not speak about it to anyone whatsoever. I took courage on both my hands and I did fire the shots at Gandhiji on 30th January 1948, on the prayer-grounds in Birla House. I do say that my shots were fired at the person whose policy and action had brought rack and ruin and destruction to millions of Hindus. There was no legal machinery by which such an offender could be brought to book and for this reason I fired those fatal shots. I bear no ill-will towards anyone individually but I do say that I had no respect for the present government owing to their policy which was unfairly favourable towards the Muslims. But at the same time I could clearly see that the policy was entirely due to the presence of Gandhi. I have to say with great regret that Prime Minister Nehru quite forgets that his preachings and deeds are at times at variance with each other when he talks about India as a secular state in season and out of season, because it is significant to note that Nehru has played a leading role in the theocratic state of Pakistan, and his job was made easier by Gandhi’s persistent policy of appeasement towards the Muslims. I now stand before the court to accept the full share of my responsibility for what I have done and the judge would, of course, pass against me such orders of sentence as may be considered proper. But I would like to add that I do not desire any mercy to be shown to me, nor do I wish that anyone should beg for mercy on my behalf. My confidence about the moral side of my action has not been shaken even by the criticism levelled against it on all sides. I have no doubt that honest writers of history will weigh my act and find the true value thereof someday in future.”

– Nathuram Godse

Albert Einstein (1879-1955), Physicist, Nobel Laureate:  When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.

W. Heisenberg (1901-1976), German Physicist and Nobel Laureate: After the conversations about Indian philosophy, some of the ideas of Quantum Physics that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense.

Dick Teresi, American author of ‘Lost Discoveries’: ….Some one thousand years before Aristotle, the Vedic Aryans asserted that the earth was round and circled the sun….Two thousand years before Pythagoras, philosophers in northern India had understood that gravitation held the solar system together, and that therefore the sun, the most massive object, had to be at its center….Twenty-four centuries before Isaac Newton, the Hindu Rig-Veda asserted that gravitation held the universe together….. The Sanskrit speaking Aryans subscribed to the idea of a spherical earth in an era when the Greeks believed in a flat one…..The Indians of the fifth century A.D. calculated the age of the earth as 4.3 billion years; scientists in 19th century England were convinced it was 100 million years…

 

Are Eastern Religions More Science-Friendly?

 

Philip Goldberg

Interfaith minister; author of the forthcoming book ‘American Veda’

 

Religion comes into conflict with science when it is defined by unprovable claims that can be dismissed as superstitions, and when it treats as historical facts stories that read like legends and myths to non-believers. Other aspects of religion — what I would consider the deeper and more significant elements — are not only compatible with science but enrich its findings. The best evidence of this is science’s response to the religions of the East over the course of the last 200 years. As the French Nobel laureate Romain Rolland said early in the 20th century, “Religious faith in the case of the Hindus has never been allowed to run counter to scientific laws.” The same can be said for Buddhism, which derives from the same Vedic roots.

Most of the Hindu gurus, Yoga masters, Buddhist monks and other Asian teachers who came to the West framed their traditions in a science-friendly way. Emphasizing the experiential dimension of spirituality, with its demonstrable influence on individual lives, they presented their teachings as a science of consciousness with a theoretical component and a set of practical applications for applying and testing those theories. Most of the teachers were educated in both their own traditions and the Western canon; they respected science, had actively studied it, and dialogued with Western scientists, many of whom were inspired to study Eastern concepts for both personal and professional reasons.

As early as the 1890s, Swami Vivekananda spent time with scientific luminaries such as Lord Kelvin, Hermann von Helmholtz, and Nikola Tesla. “Mr. Tesla thinks he can demonstrate mathematically that force and matter are reducible to potential energy,” the swami wrote in a letter to a friend. “I am working a good deal now upon the cosmology and eschatology of Vedanta. I clearly see their perfect unison with modern science.” Had Vivekananda lived three years longer, he would have rejoiced in Einstein’s discovery of E = mc2, which united matter and energy forever.

In the early decades of the 20th century, the great sage and Indian independence leader Sri Aurobindo, who had studied in England, blended East and West by extending Darwinian concepts to the evolution of consciousness and the cosmos. In 1920, Paramahansa Yogananda set a precedent by calling his first lecture in the West “The Science of Religion.” He befriended a number of scientists, growing so close to the great botanist Luther Burbank that he dedicated his Autobiography of a Yogi to him. Later, Swami Satchidananda, whose own teacher, Swami Sivananda, had been a successful physician before becoming a monk, encouraged the scientific study of Yoga; one of his early students was Dr. Dean Ornish, whose groundbreaking research sprang directly from Satchidananda’s teachings. And Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, even before he became famous as the Beatles’ guru, prodded scientists into studying the physiology of meditation, setting in motion an enterprise that has now produced over a thousand studies.

The interaction of Eastern spirituality and Western science has expanded methods of stress reduction, treatment of chronic disease, psychotherapy and other areas. But that is only part of the story. Hindu and Buddhist descriptions of higher stages of consciousness have expanded psychology’s understanding of human development and inspired the formation of provocative new theories of consciousness itself. Their ancient philosophies have also influenced physicists, among them Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg and J. Robert Oppenheimer, who read from the Bhagavad Gita at a memorial service for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In his landmark TV series Cosmos, Carl Sagan called Hinduism the only religion whose time-scale for the universe matches the billions of years documented by modern science. Sagan filmed that segment in a Hindu temple featuring a statue of the god Shiva as the cosmic dancer, an image that now stands in the plaza of the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva.

The relationship between science and Eastern spiritual traditions — which many prefer to think of as psychologies — is still in its infancy. In recent years, the Dalai Lama has carried the ball forward, hosting conferences and encouraging research. Western religions would do well to emulate this history. Their historical and faith-based claims conflict with empirical science and probably always will; but to the extent that their practices directly impact human life, they can be treated as testable hypotheses.