Monday, February 28, 2005

Rediff.com: Anti-incumbency strikes, yet again

February 28th

this is my take on what happened in these assembly by-elections.

the good news is that laloo is less in command, and this election has shown the inherent contradictions in the UPA; the bad news is that he may yet land on his feet, and that in any case, another bunch coming in isn't going to work miracles, although they may be less offensive than the feudal yadav.

in a way, this might show the increasing maturity of the indian electorate: if people actually believe they have a choice and the right to assert this choice, that is the beginning of a more active re-public, rule of the people.

not that this actually means anything in real life. look at kerala: the electorate is quite aware, but they have not been able to figure out how to avoid the scylla-charybdis of congress-marxists. they have not had the wits to at least terrorize both these parties by voting en masse against them.

ps. i have decided to post more original content here, but i will continue to post interesting bits of news i come across and also things i publish at, say, rediff. my original content, unless it is already copyrighted by, say, rediff, is under a creative commons license.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Independent (UK): white christian civilizing mission in the congo

February 23rd

more on european 'civilization'.


Belgium confronts its heart of darkness
King Leopold was hailed as a hero for 'civilising' the Congo. Now a remarkable exhibition in Brussels tells the forgotten history of a brutal exploitation that killed millions and shamed a nation
By Michela Wrong

23 February 2005

In the sprawling palace of Tervuren, in a leafy suburb of Brussels, Leopold, King of the Belgians has finally been dethroned. A daunting statue of the hook-nosed monarch has been heaved from centre stage in the royal museum that was his brainchild and built with the proceeds of his African adventure.

The avatar of the former national hero now skulks in a distant corner; in his place are a series of antique black and white photographs of mutilated bodies in turn-of-the-previous-century Congo. One of the stark and disturbing images shows a father from the Nsala tribe contemplating the chopped-off hand and foot of his daughter in front of him. The sepia-tinted horror show is part of "Memory of Congo, The Colonial Era" a remarkable exhibition that has set off a critical re-examination of Belgium's grisly record in its only colonial possession.

more....

pakistani doctor is another pius kamau

February 23rd

anyone remember pius kamau, the racist/relgious bigot african doctor who blasted hindus/indian doctors in the denver post? it turned out that he had been disbarred from practising in (if i remember right) new york state -- in effect a plea bargain that allowed him to avoid jail if he agreed not to kill people in new york state.

here's a lovely pakistani doctor doing the same thing.

plus, he's a minister of health in a pakistani province!

god help those poor blighters to whom this fellow is ministering!

harvard president summers in deep doo-doo

February 23

the Stanford-of-the-East-Coast is in a spot of trouble. good.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Frontpagemag.com: Islam's other victim: India

February 22nd

thanks to sulekha.

this story of negationism has been told by others, eg. koenraad elst.

the marxist 'eminent historians' have keenly upheld the white-guy tradition of sweeping all these atrocities under the carpet. this is a crime against humanity: the forcible extinction of truth.

no wonder hindus suffer from a collective stockholm syndrome. hindus have been forced into amnesia by the nehruvian stalinist establishment. if anybody tries to bring these facts out, they are immediately labeled 'divisive, communalist, fundamentalists'. which is rather bizarre, considering the facts are endorsed emphatically by court historians during the muslim period.

during the christian period, the white guys used this as indirect proof of the aryan invasion theory: that is, it is india's fate to be oppressed by invaders from the west. first, 'aryans', then greeks, then muslims, and finally christians. quite a nice pattern, isn't it?

Yale Global: tsunami and evangelisation

February 22nd

even the very 'secular' outlook finds it hard to stomach the 'secular' activities of the evangelists. i suspect this is because they tried these 'secular' techniques on the muslims of aceh. in that case, these techniques of forced conversion immediately become 'non-secular'. but if used against hindus, they are 'super-secular'.

Hindu American Foundation: Intro to Hinduism

February 22nd

the HAF is doing great work. i recommend it highly and hope readers will support it with both cash and voluntary labor.

Cathars of the Languedoc, or the Albigensian heresy

February 22nd

thanks to a chance note by a reader.

how the 'religion of love' persecuted its own. do a google search on the Cathars of the Languedoc: this is how one christian sect was hounded to extinction, with crusades fought against them by the catholic church.

i think it is also known as the Albigensian heresy. raja rao speaks about this at length in his masterpiece 'the serpent and the rope'.

the funny thing is that the Cathars had relatively progressive ideas, and seemed to have been pretty decent people. but this never mattered to the church, which was only interested in its own prosperity and greed.

the analogies between the Cathars and the Tibetan Buddhists; and between the Cathars and Hindus are pretty strong. in both cases, there is a warlike church (the church of marx in the case of the tibetans and the might of western christianity, especially american evangelicals, in the case of hindus) intent on destroying them.

Monday, February 21, 2005

bbc: beware, ye bloggers!

February 21st

thanks to sulekha news.

this is what is going on in iran now.

this is the shape of things to come in india in the near future. this is the logical next step from a) the muzzling of dissenting journalists like gurumurthy, b) the rich dividends being reaped by shekhar gupta, n ram and similar boot-lickers of the congress and marxists. simply extrapolate: the 'government' media will be lionized, and the opposition will be tortured.

indian bloggers beware. those in the us are probably safe so long as they are not too critical of homeland security.

furthermore, i predict another emergency will be imposed in india by june 1. and this time, there will be no election as in 1977. the emergency will be there for good, and over the course of time, kashmir, the northeast etc. will be given away to various interested parties. i was appalled to see a normally sensible columnist in the business standard say the following -- doesn't this amount to sedition?

r jagannathan, rjagann@business-standard.com, says:

"Most foreign experts believe that India�with its caste, ethnic, and religious faultlines�is too diverse a nation to stay in one piece over the long term. Our history tends to support this view.
From ancient to medieval India, this country has had interludes of unifying central rule, followed by bouts of regional rule. We have also had a mixture of the two, where the centre is the nominal power and regional powers function largely independently while paying formal obeisance to the centre."

jagannathan does not recognize that these 'foreign experts' are usually in the pay of their foreign policy establishments, which are generally hostile to india as a competitor. for instance, the US and UK foreign offices have a pathological hatred of india, for historical and competitive reasons. so why on earth would their words carry any weight?

just to put this in context, i am a 'foreign expert' who thinks china will fall apart soon. do you think the chinese establishment pays any attention to me? (no, i am not employed by india's foreign office, by the way, i just tell it like i see it.)

i think jagannathan needs to hear some dissenting opinions.

here is the full article:

http://www.sulekha.com/news/nhc.aspx?cid=416026

"Sins": bbc weighs in

February 21st

with the usual BBC disclaimer: "christians are 2% of india's population". they should also add, "christians control about 50% of india's real estate through generous british donations during colonial times, and concerted land-grab afterwards".

where are the proponents of 'freedom of speech'? where is shabana azmi, who made such a fuss about 'fire' and how its pornography needed to be released because it was 'freedom of expression'? how about all the editorial-writers in the english media who thundered about it?

we know, of course, that in the end, 'sins' will be banned, just as 'lajja' was banned, and 'satanic verses' was banned, and the film 'lenin' was banned.

only non-hindu sentiments need be protected. christians, muslims and marxists have very sensitive sentiments that need to be protected at all costs.

Kanchan Gupta: Goodbye, Kashmir

February 21st

once again, caving into pakistani pressure. why on earth is it so important to the ghazal-spewing politicians to agree to every pakistani demand? why not say, "forget the bus"? what difference does the darn bus make to the continuing terrorism in kashmir?

Goodbye, Kashmir!

Kanchan Gupta | February 21, 2005 | 11:22 IST

Bend a little. Make some concessions. Do a compromise
deal. Don't be stuck up on sovereignty. Stop repeating
that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.
Or else.

All this, and more, has been the recurring theme of
unequivocal, blunt messages flashed by pushy US State
Department officials in Washington and their smirking
lackey in khaki in Islamabad to spineless wonders who
occupy South Block in New Delhi and have a fetish for
'thinking out of the box.'

Of course, the Government of India, run from a
bungalow located at 10 Janpath in Lutyen's Delhi, has
refused to bend, make concessions or strike a
compromise deal.

Instead, the Government of India has chosen to crawl.
On February 16, in the guise of promoting
people-to-people contacts across the Line of Control
that separates Jammu and Kashmir from
Pakistan-occupied Kashmir by starting a
Srinagar-Muzzafarabad bus service on Pakistan's terms,
the Government of India has virtually abdicated
India's sovereignty and sovereign rights.

The so-called 'most significant confidence-building
measure' between India and Pakistan is a deal that is
heavily loaded against India's national interests. It
is a sellout in which the Congress-led UPA government
is a complicit partner.

National Conference president Omar Abdullah, in many
ways more cunning than other Kashmiri politicians, has
made the most apt comment that sums up what India has
lost on account of Pakistan's steadfast obstinacy and
American arm-twisting.

'This step has really reinforced the fact that Jammu
and Kashmir has a special status in this country,'
says Omar Abdullah, 'I see a big change in the foreign
policy of India, which hitherto was based on
"Kashmir-is-an-integral-part-of-India" rhetoric. There
has been a climb-down.'

...more

Columnist Gurumurthy faces persecution, but the media keeps mum

February 21st

why is the entire indian media keeping quiet about this assault on a fellow-journalist's freedom of speech? he alleges that he is being intimidated, and surely this is a signal to others to toe the line?

we know the answer, of course. gurumurthy is a hindu, therefore a second class citizen. now imagine if his name were not 'gurumurthy' but 'abdul mustafa' or 'john thomas'. the entire media would have been falling over itself to condemn the "scurillous attacks on a fine upstanding member of the fourth estate".

can we say apartheid, boys and girls?

------

Chennaionline, Feb. 21, 2005

Columnist Gurumurthy moves HC

Chennai, Feb 21: Columnist S Gurumurthy today moved the Madras High
Court to quash the criminal complaint filed against him by the Special
Investigation Team, probing cases against the Kanchi Mutt and its
Seers, for allegedly giving false evidence and refusing to answer
questions put to him in connection with his columns in newspapers.

Admitting the petition, Justice K P Sivasubramanian issued notice to
the Tamil Nadu government and SIT and posted the petition for hearing
on February 25.

Earlier, Gurumurthy's counsel, senior advocate T R Rajagopalan, sought
to extract an assurance from the state Public Prosecutor K Doraisamy
that his client would not be arrested till February 28, which was not
conceded.

Gurumurthy also sought a court direction, restraining the SIT from
proceeding with the 'malafide and motivated' complaint till disposal
of his petition.

The columnist alleged that during interrogation in December last, the
SIT Chief and its investigation officer had threatened him with
prosecution for interferring in the investigation into cases against
Seers of the Kanchi Mutt by writing critically and questioning the
methods of police investigations.

Referring to the charge of providing false information, he asked
whether Article 21 of the constitution would permit and authorise the
police to prosecute and arrest a person on the basis of statements,
purportedly recorded by the police from him, not shown to him and not
signed by him.

Stating that after a complete study of material available in the
Sankararaman murder case, he had written a series of articles in an
english daily between November 22 and December three last, Gurumurthy
contended that after analysing the material, he had concluded that the
prosecution case mainly rested on circumstantial evidence.

He alleged that the very tenor of the allegation made it evident that
it was only 'a malicious and malafide device' to wreck vengeance on
him and hamper him from carrying on his public duty as a columnist,
which he had been doing for the last two decades.

The columnist contended that the complaint did not state what
information was within his knowledge, which he did not furnish to the
SIT.

He said the government and SIT should have averred the information
they had sought and which was withheld.

Claiming that the complaint against him was an 'oblique threat'
against the fourth estate, he said he apprehended that the SIT would
vigorously pursue the complaint and also add further allegations as an
afterthought to threaten him. (Our Correspondent)

china's soft power: a chilling thought

February 21st

china is extending its bear hug across east asia, while back at the ranch, india's 'best and brightest' worry about cricket with pakistan, passports in buses to pakistan, the rights of separatist geelani.

talk of missing the forest for the trees!

typical of those who have no pride in themselves. this can once again be laid at nehru's door: he destroyed the study of sanskrit in india and thus prevented us from understanding our own texts without (erroneous and ill-motivated) english translations. if we had declared sanskrit the national language of india and aggressively pushed it, we would have been so much better off! people would have been thronging to india, like in the days of nalanda, to learn the old sanskrit texts.

the nehru legacy is truly india's sorrow.

"Sins": priest bonks nun in car

February 21st

thanks to reader jk.

"Sins": new movie based on real life incident of catholic priest having sex with nun

incidentally, the link for the priest bonking the nun in a parked car:

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_1039108.html

the SABHA 4M Report: JNU, AID, ASHA, and the other usual suspects

February 21st

the south asian bleeding hearts association reports are most incisive!

so is AID still supporting DYFI? is Sandeep Pandey still supporting Naxalites?

enquiring minds want to know.

i used to give money to ASHA and AID at one time; little did i realize what i was funding

and there is one guy who is proudly identified as "IIT Prof" in all these AID materials: is this then 'proof' that IIT Madras endorses or supports AID? nobody else has any affiliation mentioned except for this fellow. why? i guess a couple of queries to prof ananth, IIT Madras director, may be in order -- why is this employee of his acting in a political capacity?

KG Acharya: letter to editor re. geelani

February 21st

kg acharya, the letter writer, makes a bunch of good points. a known associate of terrorists is treated with kid gloves, and in his case the police are painted as villains because he is a muslim (let's face facts, that's the only reason everyone is crying for him).

but in the kanchi acharya's case, the ELM loves everything the police does (why, of course, the acharya, being a hindu, is presumed guilty unless he proves otherwise.)

----------------


Susmit Bose’s statement ( ToI – Feb18, 2005) to the
effect that Geelani is attacked because of his fault
that he is a Muslim and Kashmiri is false and
mischievous.
There are many Kashmiri Muslims quite safe in the
country.

The ToI has glorified A. S.R. Geelani by giving
publicity to this and one more similar latter while
suppressing many letters of opposite view.

Geelani was tried for sedition, and crime against the
state etc. and tried and was sentenced to death by the
Sessions Court for his involvement in the attack on
the
Parliament. Though there was the proof that Geelani
had guided the terrorists, through his mobile phone,
the Delhi High Court acquitted him on the grounds that
there was no corroborative evidence other than this.
The defense was that Geelani only knew the terrorists
and that he had talked to them to test his mobile.

It must be emphasised that attack on the Parliament
was at the behest of Pakistan, engaged in a proxy war
with India, and therefore to have links with Pakistani
agents amounts to treason. As a result, acquittal on
technical grounds is hazardous.

Therefore the appeal by the Delhi police to the
Supreme Court is most welcome by all patriotic forces.

The statements of Geelani after his release from
detention suggest that he is a terrorist or a hardcore
supporter of
terrorists. He had said: I consider the whole of
Kashmir a disputed territory. Despite the magnanimity
shown by the Delhi High Court, Geelani had remarked
that the judicial system had become a tool in the
hands of fascists to further their agenda.

The concerned Court should have taken "suo-moto"
contempt of court action against Geelani to uphold the
dignity of the judiciary.

It is most unfortunate that a strong Pakistan lobby,
which includes many high ups in our society and also
in a section of the anti-India media, is active in
India to safeguard the interests of Geelani. This
lobby never persuaded Pakistan to close its training
camps of terrorists indulging in anti-India
activities. The section in the media is calling him a
human rights activist, though he has never condemned
the terrorist activities in Kashmir.
Yours faithfully,
K.G.Acharya

syrian bishop says mostly sensible things

February 21st

this syrian christian bishop is saying lots of reasonable things.

but yet, he too cannot get away from the mythology of 'thomas the apostle' coming to india. this bit is a hoax, a fabrication, that has become a truth by repeated assertion. thomas the apostle never came to india, period!



INTERVIEW (DECCAN HERALD, SUNDAY Feb. 20, 2005)

‘Human right is the most important thing’

GEEVARUGHESE MAR OSTHATHIOS

Geevarughese Mar Osthathios, senior bishop of the Indian Orthodox Church which has a membership of over two million, was in Bangalore recently. He is a scholar par excellence, and has written several books. ‘The theology of a classless society’ and ‘One religion of love’ are two of them. The Bishop says he is “a Hindu by culture, Christian by faith, Indian by citizenship and ecumenical by choice”. To him, “Hinduism is the most tolerant religion. While we dig deep, there is a quest for spirituality of love underneath all religions. We must examine the various scriptures with an open mind.” Excerpts of an interview.


On Religious conversion

Christianity preaches only one God for all people. This God is Advaitha, Compassionate Allah, Triune God and Sachidananda. He is the father of all people, therefore, humanity is one family. Christ brought in the theology of love and so if you are converted to love, which is infinite, our enemies and friends alike, that is Christianity. My theology is that humanity at large is one family. I have the freedom to choose any religion or no religion. Human right is the most important thing. I can get converted if I want to. But, you have no right to force it on me. Conversion by force or coercion has been objected even by Christ himself. No true Christian will force anybody to convert to Christianity.


On evangelists and foreign faith healers

To be very frank, I am against fundamentalism. All fundamental preachers are on the side of the Devil. No preacher is supposed to condemn another religion. A Christian evangelist who comes to convert one to Christianity, by force or allurements, is wrong. They are like the Muslim fundamentalists and Hindu fundamentalists. RSS is fundamentalist. Hinduism is not fundamentalism. Hinduism is Sanadhana. Any fundamentalist will say that you are wrong and I am right. But, that is not right. Sanadhana is Christianity and there is no place for fundamentalism in true Christianity.

Benny Hinn and his claims to heal

Most of these speakers are evil and selfish people. They are after money. We must not allow them to come to India. Benny Hinn claims to have a large following. This is only a temporary and emotional phenomenon. They go to him because of ads which are a brain-washing business. It is evil. Miracle-based Christianity is a cheating business. Christ never sold any miracle to convert anybody. I don’t judge him (Benny Hinn) as a person, I judge his approach. It is evil.


Dalit Christians’ demand for reservation


Economically speaking, the Dalits have a right to demand for reservation. But in the name of religion, to ask for reservation is not right. Reservation must be on the basis of economic need. The minority must have certain privileges. So, minorities have the right to ask for party reservations but only on economic basis.


A Hindu by culture, Christian by faith, ecumenical by choice and an Indian by citizenship?

I will agree with all those evaluations about myself. I am an Indian by birth. I am a Hindu, a Christian and a Muslim together. Because, I am a humanist and a theologian. God is love- that is my theology. I am a Christian and also an Indian, I am a philosopher. Therefore I don’t isolate myself from India, I am part and parcel of India. My church is an Indian Church. My church is founded by St Thomas, the Apostle. He had no foreign aid and no foreign missionary.


Position of women in the Indian Orthodox Church:

Our Church’s constitution says that voting rights are reserved only for men. That must be changed, I agree. Dignity of man and woman is equal so are two leaves or two men. Biologically men and women aren’t equal. Theologically they are equal but not biologically. Two people are not equal. But any discrimination against women is wrong.

Is the Indian Church a role model for other religionists?

It is for others to say if we are role models. It is not for us to claim that we are role models. Let’s leave it to the society to say if we are role models or not.

NINA BENJAMIN


in Bangalore

Sunday, February 20, 2005

NYtimes.com: more pedophilia cases against catholic church

February 20th

...
Roman Catholic bishops reported on Friday that they had received 1,092 new accusations of sexual abuse by priests as they released the second annual survey of the church's procedures for handling and preventing such abuse by clergy and employees....

Roots of yoga: educating christensen

February 20th

so it's official now: yoga is not hindu. so then why are the christians and muslims complaining that yoga is a hindu practice?

this is just preparatory to claiming that christians invented yoga, along with everything else.

time for a few protest letters!

-------

Responses to American Yoga Assoc. spreading misinformation about Yoga
and Hinduism

There are three letters written to American Yoga Assoc. which are
reproduced below.

Dhiru Shah

INDIA AWARENESS FOUNDATION
4500 NORTHSIDE DR., ATLANTA, GA 30327
TEL: 770-664-8779 FAX: 770-664-8780

February 17, 2005
FAX : 2 Pages

Ms. Alice Christensen, Executive Director
American Yoga Association

Dear Ms. Christensen,

We are shocked and appalled to read your website which makes several
untruthful and mischievous statements like "The common belief that
Yoga derives from Hinduism is a misconception. Yoga actually predates
Hinduism by many centuries"' or "There is a common misconception that
yoga is rooted in Hinduism; on the contrary, Hinduism's religious
structures evolved much later and incorporated some of the practices
of Yoga.(Other religions throughout the world have also incorporated
practices and ideas related to yoga)." We strongly protest such gross
distortion of the history and origin of Yoga and Hinduism. There seems
to be a deliberate attempt on the part of your organization to
misinform and mislead the American people.

The following points will clearly establish that Yoga was developed by
the Hindu saints and sages thousands of years ago and that it is an
integral part of Hinduism.

1. The oldest scripture of Hinduism, Rigveda has its origin in the
'Sindhu-Sarasvati civilization or Harappa/Mohan-jo-Daro civilization
(your website calls it Indus Valley) dating back to more than 6,500
BCE. Sarasvati is the greatest river of the Rigvedic hymns. Since it
dried up around 1900 BCE as per geologists, the Rigveda was composed
prior to 1900 BCE. Several archaeological discoveries in the Indian
sub-continent
during the last 50 years supported by science, astronomy, and literary
analysis have clearly established that the Sarasvati region (Indus
valley) was the heartland of the Vedic texts. This means that Hinduism
(also known as Sanatan-(eternal) Dharma as well as Vedic Dharma) is
much older than 6,500 BCE and not what is implied in your website.

2. Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages of the world and most of
Hinduism scriptures like Vedas, Upanishads, and Bhagvad Gita are
written in Sanskrit. None of the Semitic religious scriptures are to
be found in Sanskrit. The names of Yoga mentioned in your website like
'Jnana Yoga', 'Bhakti Yoga' and 'Karma Yoga' are all derived from
Sanskrit which is
the language of the Hinduism scriptures.

3. The word Yoga comes from Sanskrit word 'yuj' means to yoke,
harness, union, unite. The philosophy of Yoga is the yoking of
individual consciousness with transcendent or divine consciousness.
The Yoga system is traditionally among the six systems (sad darshans)
of ancient Hindu philosophy. Yoga was codified by Patanjli in his Yoga
Sutra (ca 200 BCE) as the eight limbs (ashtanga) of Raja Yoga.
Patanjli was a Saivite, a
branch of Hinduism.

4. Originally, Yoga was developed in the Hindu system of spiritual
practice to enable man to realize the unity of individual soul
(Jivatman) with the supreme self or supreme reality (Parmatman). In
one of the most revered scriptures of Hinduism, Bhagavad Gita (3000
BCE) Lord Krishna explains the philosophy of Yoga. Though your website
has used the above three types of Yoga, it does not give credit to
Lord Krishna and Hinduism for expounding them in Bhagavad Gita.

5. Finally, among many names given to Lord Krishna, one of them is
'Yogeshwar' which means Lord of Yoga.

We hope that the above brief information will help you to understand
that (a) Hinduism is much older than 3,000 B.C.E; (b) Yoga was
developed by Hindu saints and sages over thousands of years ago and it
is an integral part of Hinduism; and (c) it was in the Indus Valley
(Sarasvati) civilization the great scriptures of Hinduism, Vedas
originated.

One of the main requirements of learning true Yoga is practicing truth
all times. Unfortunately, by spreading misinformation and untruth
about Yoga and Hinduism your organization has sacrificed the basic
pillar of
the great Yogic system developed by Hindu saints and sages. We demand
that you withdraw the untruthful and misleading statements as
mentioned above from your website.

We are willing to provide you more information on the subject as well
as authoritative references in order that your website gives the
truthful and creditable information about Yoga and Hinduism.

Your positive early response will be appreciated.

Sincerely,

Dhiru Shah
President- India Awareness Foundation

==============================
==============================================

HICAD - Promoting Diversity, Pluralism and Tolerance

Date: February 10, 2005

To: Alice Christensen, Executive Director,
American Yoga Association

VIA Fax (941) 921-9844

Dear Ms. Christensen,

I am writing to protest the deliberate misinformation your
organizations website is spreading by distorting the history and
origins of Yoga and its relationship to Hinduism. According to well
established facts, Yoga was originated in India by Hindu sages and
saints many thousands of years ago and it has always been an integral
part of Hindu traditions.

During 1960s Maharshi Mahesh Yogi established the scientific veracity
of the positive effects of yoga and transcendental meditation (TM) on
human metabolic characteristics such as heart rate, blood pressure,
oxygen consumption, etc. The testing performed at Harvard Medical
School proved
that yoga & TM can produce significant beneficial effects on the human
body. When Beatles followed Maharshi Yogi to India to learn yoga & TM,
wide spread interest in yoga, TM, and Hindu thought was accepted by
many college students as well as intellectuals and the open minded
people in USA. Swami Rama of the Himalayan Institute and other Hindu
yogis and swamis from India further spread this growing interest in
yoga and TM.

Although Buddhism accepted yoga and TM along with many traditions of
Hinduism, none of the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism and
Islam) even knew about yoga and TM before Maharshi Yogi and Swami Rama
and other Hindu swamis made it popular in the west in the nineteen
sixties. As a matter of fact, initially, Christian establishment in
USA
rejected yoga and TM as anti-Christian. The Christian orthodoxy
postulated that meditation is an attempt to empty ones mind while
Christian theology professed that an empty mind is devils workshop.
Therefore meditation is anti-Christian. Only during the last decade,
when Christian establishment realized that yoga & TM were becoming
popular in spite of their efforts to stop it, some Christian groups
have started to divorce yoga and TM from its roots in Hinduism in
order to make it acceptable to devout Christians. They are striving to
spread the misinformation that yoga and TM have been part of all
religious traditions, while as a matter of fact, many Christian
ministers in Europe and Muslim clerics all over the world are
vociferously stating even today that yoga and TM are against
Christianity and Islam (see attachment A).

Your website section on What is Yoga? starts with the following
sentences: The classical techniques of Yoga date back more than 5,000
years. In ancient times, the desire for greater personal freedom,
health and long life, and heightened self-understanding gave birth to
this system of physical and mental exercise which has since spread
throughout the world.

A careful reader will discern that while you mentioned that it has
spread throughout the world, you never mentioned where it originated?
Why are you so shy of admitting that it originated in India by Hindu
saints and sages?

The section on "History of Yoga" in your website states: "There is a
common misconception that Yoga is rooted in Hinduism; on the contrary,
Hinduisms religious structures evolved much later and incorporated
some of the practices of Yoga. (Other religions throughout the world
have also incorporated practices and ideas related to Yoga.)

Again, the well established fact is that Yoga has been an integral
part of Hinduism. And your organization is deliberately trying to
distort the facts and plant a misconception that it is not.

The sections on "Yoga and Religion" in your website states: The common
belief that Yoga derives from Hinduism is a misconception. Yoga
actually predates Hinduism by many centuries. Ancient seals unearthed
in the Indus Valley provide clear evidence of widespread Yoga practice
earlier than 3,000 B.C.E. The techniques of Yoga have been adopted by
Hinduism
as well as by other world religions.

It is intellectually dishonest to try to take away credit from the
Hindu tradition that nurtured Yoga over many thousands of years. Let
me quote from two well respected Hindu religious texts to demonstrate
strong links between Yoga and Hinduism:

1. Your website mentions Patanjalis Yoga Sutras. Let me quote a few
sutras to inform you that Patanjali was a Hindu saint who believed in
Yoga as the union of soul with God.

Patanjalis Yoga Sutra 1.23 in original Sanskrit text: Ishwara
pranidhanad va. Sutra 1-24: Klesha-karma vipakashayair aparamrishtah
purush vishesh Ishwarah.

Translation: Victory over mind can be gained through complete
surrender to Ishwara (Hindu name for God). The unique being that rests
in the body and yet is never touched by afflictions, actions, the
results of actions, and the repository of the subtle impressions of
actions and
their fruits, is called Ishwara (God).

Note: Ishwara, as defined in Yoga Sutra 1.24 is the concept of the
Supreme Lord in Hinduism. No other religion refers to the Almighty as
Ishwara. God, Yahweh, Allah (or even Buddha) is not mentioned in Yoga
sutras or other Yoga treatise. So your website is spreading
misinformation by stating that Yoga tradition is not derived from
Hinduism.

Patanjalis Yoga Sutra 1.26 in original Sanskrit text: Sa esha
purvesham api guruh kalen an-vacchedat. Sutra 1.27: Tasya Vachakah
Pranav.

Translation: Unlimited by time, God is the teacher of all previous
teachers. The sound Om

(God in the form of sound) denotes that God. Note: The sound of Om is
integral to the Yoga practice. And Om is the Hindu religious sound
syllable that is symbolic of Ishwara.

2. Bhagvad Gita is one of the most sacred scriptures of Hindus (akin
to Bible). Let me quote a few verses about the concept of Yoga spoken
by Lord Krishna and documented in Gita:

Chapter 3, verse 3 in original Sanskrit text: Lokesmin dvividha
nishtha pura prokta maya nagha, jnana yogena samkhyanam karma yogena
yoginam. Translation (by Eknath Easwaran): At the beginning of time, I
declared two paths for the pure of heart: Jnana Yoga, the
contemplative path of spiritual wisdom, and Karma Yoga, the active
path of selfless service.

Chapter 7, verse 1: mayyasakta manah partham yogam yunjan madasrayah,
asamsayam samagram mam yatha jnasyasi tac chrnu. Translation (by
Eknath Easwaran): With your mind intent on me, Arjuna, discipline
yourself with the practice of Yoga. Depend on me completely. Listen,
and I will dispel all your doubts; you will come to know me fully and
be united with me.

Your website also mentions Jnana Yoga: The path of wisdom; considered
the most difficult path; Bhakti Yoga: The practice of extreme devotion
in one-pointed concentration upon ones concept of God; and Karma Yoga:
All movement, all work of any kind is done with the mind centered on a
personal concept of God. Then how can you deny that Yoga is an
integral part of Hindu tradition dating back to thousands of years?

Your website also mentions Tantra yoga and Kashmir Saivism, but
without mentioning that they too are integral to Hinduism. Saivism is
the sect of Hindus who worship Siva, a Hindu name and form of God.
Both Siva and Krishna are known as great Yogis. So how can you
blatantly spread the misinformation that Yoga is not rooted in
Hinduism?

HICAD is committed to discouraging the spread of bias and
misinformation about Indic traditions. We demand that your
organization stop spreading misinformation about yoga and Hinduism by
dropping erroneous statements cited above from your website and
providing accurate information from
Patanjalis yoga sutras and Bhagvad Gita, as explained above.

But ofcourse, any one can practice yoga and TM even if they did not
practice or believe in all aspects of Hindu traditions.

I look forward to a positive response at your earliest convenience. If
you need more information regarding yoga or Hinduism, I would be happy
to provide you with authentic and authoritative references on the
subject.

Yours sincerely,

Ved P. Chaudhary, Ph.D.
President - HICAD

Appendix A:
Egyptian Cleric Says Yoga is Against Islamic Law
http://www.deccan.com/World/WorldNews.asp?#Yoga's%against%Islamic%law:%Egypt%mufti

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL, September 20, 2004:

The growing enthusiasm for yoga in Egypt has received a setback with a
mufti reportedly issuing an edict declaring it un-Islamic. The edict
signed by mufti Ali Gomoa, considered the highest theological
authority, says that "yoga is an ascetic Hindu practice that is
forbidden for use in any manner -- neither for exercise or for
worship," local media
reported quoting an Al-Hayat report (a Saudi-owned, London-based
newspaper). "It is an aberration," whose practice in any form is
"forbidden under Islamic law," the edict says. Yoga centres are said
to have sprung up at all the tourist resorts in Egypt and are said to
be very popular among Western tourists.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: "c. alex alexander"
To: patricia.rockwood@a...
Subject: YOUR MISINFORMARTION CAMPAIGN ABOUT YOGA AND HINDUISM
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005 09:22:55 -0500

I am not a Hindu, but an orthodox syrian christian of Indian origin. I
am appalled to hear about your organization's campaign to deny
Hinduism and Indian traditions, their contributions to the origins and
evolution of yoga and its practices. Even in our orthodox christian
faith, we do accept the fact that the Christian hesychasts (monks)
borrowed much from the ancient Hindu and Buddhist traditions in their
practice of mystic christianity. The Essenes were profoundly
influenced by the Indic traditions. Christian scholars of the historic
Jesus have (see the writings of Marcus Borg, Pagels and others) seen
the uncanny resemblances of the traditions of the Essenes and those of
the Indic (Hindu and Budhist) traditions.

In my view, it is a cheap attempt on the part of your organization not
to have the intellectual honesty to accord dure credit to Hinduism for
its original contribution to the development of yogic practices. I
hope that you will have the decency to correct your misinformation
campaign now inscribed on your pages. Thanks.

C. Alex Alexander, M.D.
email:calexo@h...

Technology sector wakes up a little

February 20th

i wrote this (unpublished article) in december. but google did survive the release of a lot of shares in mid february, and it stock continues to trade in the 190's after a boost following very good results in the most recent quarter.

is google -- the company everyone loves to watch -- heading for a fall? what do you guys think?

--------

New excitement in the technology sector

Rajeev Srinivasan

Things are beginning to look up a little in the Silicon Valley, after a couple of hard years following the dot.com bust. There is new energy, and a lot of it has to do with novel challenges to Microsoft. On the one hand, search has taken on new dimensions, and on the other, a new browser is finally challenging Internet Explore. In addition, Google as a company is attracting a lot of attention.

For most consumers, search has become the holy grail of the web, the killer application, to the extent that ‘google’ has become a verb like ‘xerox’. You google for that article you remember seeing somewhere. You google to use the web as a virtual encyclopedia. It has now become an article of faith that Google’s search engine can produce more relevant results than the slew of other search companies also in the business.

The exciting new development has been the extension of this technology to the desktop. Google Desktop Search was introduced in October, and it is a boon to all of us who know there is a file or an email on a particular topic somewhere on our chaotic desktops, but we don’t remember exactly where we put it.

As an early user of this technology, I am sold on it: an index on your system enables lighting-fast searches in text, spreadsheet and presentation documents, email, and chat transcripts. Furthermore, it can also check cached web pages that you have browsed. This last is perhaps a little worrisome for the paranoid, for it could create an audit trail, as well as potentially expose sensitive data from say, financial applications. Fortunately, this feature can be turned off.

On the other hand, for the average user, the familiar Google web interface is now available for searching your desktop as well. You can search both web and desktop together if you so desire, or you can search just your own computer. Google swears that none of what the program finds on your system is transmitted to them, and I suppose we trust Google enough to believe them.

The challenge in search has energized the competition. Microsoft Desktop Search has been announced, based on technology from new acquisition Lookout Software, and it will provide links to the popular Encarta as well as location-based content. Smaller firms such as Blinkx and Copernic also offer desktop search products.

Yahoo has just bought Stata Labs, which has a search engine and email; most of Stata Labs’ engineers are in Chennai, India. Yahoo intends to use this technology to compete with Google Desktop Search and Google Mail. Google Mail also turned the free web-mail market on its head, as Google offered an incredible 1 Gigabyte of storage, plus its trademark search to organize mail. Others have been forced to also offer more free storage: no email vendor is going to make money by charging for storage.

Going back to desktop search, both Microsoft and Apple have announced that they will enhance their operating systems to maintain more detailed data about files, allowing them to offer high-value desktop searching. Customers will benefit; Microsoft Windows and the Apple OS will both be better products as a result.

Another new development is the arrival of Firefox in the browser market. This is a full-featured web browser from the nonprofit Mozilla organization, and it is based on open source products. In a single month, over 8 million copies have been downloaded, and it is posing a real threat to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, for the first time since Netscape was bested in the browser wars a few years ago. Microsoft still holds an overwhelming market share, but Firefox is attracting quite a fan following.

Firefox has a number of attractive features such as better security, tabbed browsing (you can view multiple sites in different tabs or panes in a single browser instance), active bookmarks (better support for syndicated content), pop-up blocking, more search engines built in, and so on. No doubt Microsoft will come back fighting, and once again this is good for the customer plagued by problems with viruses, spyware, and the like.

I have been using both Firefox and their new mail client Thunderbird, and I am quite happy with them; just as I am with Gmail and Google Desktop Search.

The Mozilla products indicate once again that the open-source movement is here to stay; for instance Sun Microsystems just put its crown jewels, the Solaris operating system, into open source. Part of the impetus is the fact that governments, especially in places like India and China, are actively supporting open-source products, fearing lock-in into Microsoft’s proprietary products. The continued advance of Linux, despite FUD created by SCO’s lawsuits, is propelled by the same trend.

So there is certainly a buzz in the Valley about new products and new opportunities. This time, the venture capitalists are also holding back a little, not funding dubious new startups with the vigor they showed in the roaring late 90’s. VC funding has gone down sharply according to the San Jose Mercury News’s Money Tree. This is a good trend, so that there isn’t too much money chasing marginal ideas.

Among newly public companies, Google stands out again as an investment possibility. It has tried to reduce the power of investment bankers by offering stock directly to the public. Its stock has been on a wild ride since the IPO at $85 a few months ago; it crossed $200 after the announcement of the desktop search product. In a couple of months, the founders, as well as CEO Eric Schmidt, will bring a large number of shares to market, and there will probably be a correction then.

All in all, there might well be the beginnings of a new tech boom, which is to be expected as the Silicon Valley reinvents itself.

See also:
http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2004/novdec/features/google.html for a story on Stanford spin-offs including Yahoo and Google.

1000 words, December 5, 2004

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Gurumurthy: Secularism -- a tool of dividing politics

February 19th

thanks to reader seshadri

as readers may know, gurumurthy is being hounded by the tamil nadu police for having written columns against the kanchi atrocities. so much for the 'freedom of the press'! where is n ram, who famously whined about 'freedom of the press' when jayalalitha launched an attack on him?

as in other instances, commonplace words and terms have strange meanings in india. 'freedom of the press' means 'freedom of the marxist media to advocate treason and to libel hindus', just as 'secularism' means 'the oppression of hindus and the advancement of christian, muslim, marxist interests'.

'Indian state is anti-Hindu'

February 19th

from the blog swamijyoti

'Abnornally high growth of Christians in NE': Natl Comm on Minorities

February 19th

thanks to reader Nish

Manufacturing news

February 19th

thanks to reader JK. how it is easy to fabricate 'news' especially when there are eager buyers for the same, generally funded by the same people who fabricated it in the first place.

http://www.varnam.org/blog/archives/2005/02/manufacturing_n.html

http://www.thegreatseparation.com/newsfront/2005/02/militant_hindus.html

Guardian (UK): How Einstein's plea re Israel was rejected by Nehru

February 19th

yet another feather in nehru's cap: another instance of putting his personal prejudices ahead of india's national interests.

thanks to sulekha news

Einstein's other theory

In 1947 Zionist leaders asked Albert Einstein to work a miracle and persuade a sceptical India to support the birth of a Jewish state. His fascinating correspondence with Jawaharlal Nehru has recently surfaced in Israeli archives. Benny Morris analyses their exchange

Wednesday February 16, 2005
The Guardian


Albert Einstein was a somewhat reluctant Zionist. To be sure, he often referred to himself as a proud Jewish nationalist, and declared that though the Zionist enterprise was threatened by "fanatical Arab outlaws" (as he phrased it in 1938) the country would become "a centre of culture for all Jews, a refuge for the most grievously oppressed, a field of action for the best among us, a unifying ideal, and a means of attaining inward health for the Jews of the whole world". In a letter to the Manchester Guardian in 1929, he lauded the "young pioneers, men and women of magnificent intellectual and moral calibre, breaking stones and building roads under the blazing rays of the Palestinian sun" and "the flourishing agricultural settlements shooting up from the long-deserted soil... the development of water power... [and] industry... and, above all, the growth of an educational system ... What observer... can fail to be seized by the magic of such amazing achievement and of such almost superhuman devotion?"

But his praise of Zionism was peppered with unease. Traumatised by central European anti-semitism, Einstein was keenly aware of the potential for excess embedded in nationalist ideologies and movements. From early on, he found much to admire in the liberal vision, propagated by some Palestinian Jewish intellectuals, of a binational Arab-Jewish state. Speaking in New York City in 1938, he declared: "I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state... My awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power... I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain."

Indeed, in 1952 he turned down an appeal by Israel's founding prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, that he become the state's second president, following the death of Chaim Weizmann. Einstein argued that he wasn't suited for the job but also that he feared that as president he would "have... to assume moral responsibility for the decisions of others", decisions that might conflict with his conscience.

But it was to Einstein that Zionist leaders turned in the summer of 1947 in the hope that he might work a miracle and persuade India to support the establishment of a Jewish state. A miracle was needed because the all-powerful prime minister-designate of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, traditionally opposed Jewish statehood. Not that he was unaware of the Jews' history or needs: "It is one of the wonders of history how the Jews, without a home or a refuge, harassed and persecuted beyond measure, and often done to death, have preserved their identity and held together for over 2000 years," he wrote in the 1930s, even before the Holocaust. "Everywhere they went they were treated as unwelcome and undesirable strangers . . . Humiliated, reviled, tortured, and massacred; the very word 'Jew' became a word of abuse."

Nehru was also deeply cognisant - unlike most Arab critics of Zionism - of the Jews' roots in Palestine, "a holy land for the Jews... and, to some extent, even [for] the Muslims". But "there was one little drawback", one "not unimportant fact" that had been "overlooked" in Britain's Balfour Declaration of 1917, which supported the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine: The country was not "empty [and] uninhabited... It was already somebody else's home." And the local Arabs "were afraid that the Jews would take the bread out of their mouths and the land from the peasantry". It was, of course, Nehru conceded, "a tragedy that two oppressed peoples... should come into conflict with each other. Every one must have sympathy for the Jews in the terrible trials they are passing through in Europe... [and] one can understand them being attracted to Palestine." But "we must remember that Palestine is essentially an Arab country, and must remain so".

Einstein's four-page letter of June 13 1947 to Nehru focused on moral and historical arguments. He opened with praise for India's constituent assembly, which had just abolished untouchability. "The attention of the world was [now] fixed on the problem of another group of human beings who, like the untouchables, have been the victims of persecution and discrimination for centuries" - the Jews. He appealed to Nehru as a "consistent champion of the forces of political and economic enlightenment" to rule in favour of "the rights of an ancient people whose roots are in the East". He pleaded for "justice and equity". "Long before the emergence of Hitler I made the cause of Zionism mine because through it I saw a means of correcting a flagrant wrong."

Not that Einstein liked nation states but the world is divided into nation states, and "the Jewish people alone has for centuries been in the anomalous position of being victimised and hounded as a people, though bereft of all the rights and protections which even the smallest people normally has... Zionism offered the means of ending this discrimination. Through the return to the land to which they were bound by close historic ties... Jews sought to abolish their pariah status among peoples."

Einstein then played his trump card: "The advent of Hitler underscored with a savage logic all the disastrous implications contained in the abnormal situation in which Jews found themselves. Millions of Jews perished... because there was no spot on the globe where they could find sanctuary... The Jewish survivors demand the right to dwell amid brothers, on the ancient soil of their fathers."

He seemed to disingenuously finesse the core dilemma raised by the Zionist enterprise: "Can Jewish need, no matter how acute, be met without the infringement of the vital rights of others? My answer is in the affirmative. One of the most extraordinary features of the Jewish rebuilding of Palestine is that the influx of Jewish pioneers has resulted not in the displacement and impoverishment of the local Arab population, but in its phenomenal increase and greater prosperity."

But then Einstein took the bull by the horns, "the nature of [the] Arab opposition. Though the Arab of Palestine has benefited... economically, he wants exclusive national sovereignty, such as is enjoyed by the Arabs of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria [sic]. It is a legitimate and natural desire, and justice would seem to call for its satisfaction." But at the end of the first world war, the Allies gave the Arabs 99% of the "vast, underpopulated territories" liberated from the Turks to satisfy their national aspirations and five independent Arab states were established. One per cent was reserved for the Jews "in the land of their origin". "In the august scale of justice, which weighs need against need, there is no doubt as to whose is more heavy." What the Jews were allotted in the Balfour Declaration "redresses the balance" of justice and history. He concluded by appealing to Nehru to brush aside "the rivalries of power politics and the egotism of petty nationalist appetites" and to support "the glorious renascence which has begun in Palestine".

Nehru answered on July 11. Curiously, he began his three-page letter with an implicit apology - couched in terms of the inescapability of pursuing a line dictated by realpolitik, however camouflaged by tributes to morality: National leaders, "unfortunately", had to pursue "policies... [that were] essentially selfish policies. Each country thinks of its own interest first... If it so happens that some international policy fits in with the national policy of the country, then that nation uses brave language about international betterment. But as soon as that international policy seems to run counter to national interests or selfishness, then a host of reasons are found not to follow that international policy."

The implication was that Indian national interests or "selfishness" required a vote against partition and Jewish statehood; though unmentioned in the background was Hindu India's ongoing struggle with its large and powerful Muslim minority, which uniformly opposed Zionism, and the coming battle against Pakistan, in which India would need as much international support as it could muster, including from Arab and Muslim states.

Nehru then went over to the moral offensive: "I confess that while I have a very great deal of sympathy for the Jews I feel sympathy for the Arabs also... I know that the Jews have done a wonderful piece of work in Palestine and have raised the standards of the people there, but one question troubles me. After all these remarkable achievements, why have they failed to gain the goodwill of the Arabs? Why do they want to compel the Arabs to submit against their will to certain demands [ie, partition and Jewish statehood]?" Einstein had failed to convince him.

.... more

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

New Scientist: India on threshold of knowledge powerdom

February 16th

more from New Scientist, courtesy of sulekha.com

New Scientist: Indian biotech pioneer vaccine success story

February 16th

from a special issue of New Scientist

WHEN Krishna Ella went to venture capitalists in 1995 he was laughed out of their offices. A molecular biologist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, he was proposing to make hepatitis B vaccine in India, his native land, for a mere dollar a shot. At the time UK drug firm SmithKline Beecham was selling the product in the west for 20 times that amount. "People thought: there's no way this guy can produce this vaccine at a dollar," Ella recalls....

Bangladesh Hindu girl's lament: Who will marry me?

February 16th

one of the forgotten victims of the world -- the hindu bangladeshi. i have heard the theory that the marxists of west bengal do not grieve for the hindus of bangladesh because the latter are low-caste; west bengal's marxists being high-caste have no time to cry for the low-caste hindus.

from mayerdak.com and hrcbm.org

Who Will Marry Me?
Lorcan Otway
© 2003 Lorcan Otway

I'm a Bangladeshi Hindu girl, I cannot say my name
I cannot show my face to you, I'm forced to flee in shame
I cannot find the words to tell, what they did to me
When the gangs came to my village and robbed my dignity

I cannot speak the words, my fear, and horror to relate
When the women of my village became the target of your hate
With nothing but my tattered clothes, I have been forced to flee
For after my public shame, who would ever marry me

In the decade before I was born, my land was wracked with pain
Democracy and Freedom, religious rights to gain
All the people of our land, shared the terror of that night
to cast off religious hatred and, emerge into the ligh

I can't understand why the world, allows hate to divide my land
Is our pain so foreign to your world, that you can't understand
The tears of my nation, a waterwheel could turn
Can they not touch your heart enough, our history to learn

How my story ends I cannot say, what's ahead I cannot see
Fundamentalism's fertile fields, are starved lands of poverty
But in the ruins of my land and life, I can only cry in vain
why must I bear the shame alone, who would ever share my pain?

One question more I'll ask of you, before I flee my land
One question more I'll put to you, I'm too young to understand
One question more I must demand, before I turn to go,
for the answer to this question, no young girl may ever know

My sister's bodies have become, the targets of your war
And our mother's and our grandmothers, for countless years before
How can it be our dishonor, why is it our disgrace?
Why is it not the rapist, who is forced to hide his face?

WWW.MAYERDAK.COM

WWW.HRCBM.ORG

Five Tibetan Monks Jailed in Western China

February 16th

thanks to Friends of Tibet

Five Tibetan Monks Jailed in Western China
(RFA | February 13, 2005)

Authorities in the western Chinese province of Qinghai have jailed five Tibetan
monks for two to three years each, apparently for publishing politically
sensitive poems, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports. All five were arrested around
Jan. 16 and sentenced 20 days later, sources told RFA.s Tibetan service on
condition of anonymity. They are now serving their sentences near Xiling in
Qinghai Province, several sources said.

The monks were identified as the monastery.s lead abbot, Gen (teacher) Tashi
Gyaltsen, Tsultrim Phelgyal, Tsesum Samten, Jhamphel Gyatso, and Lobsang
Thargyal. All had been living at the Dakar Treldzong monastery in the Tsolho
area of Qinghai, the sources said.

In 1995, the monastery began publishing a newsletter, of which Tashi Gyaltsen
was chief editor. Chinese authorities alleged that some poems in the newsletter
carried tacit political messages, the sources said. The newsletter.s lead
editors -- Tashi Gyaltsen, Tsultrim Phelgyal, and Jhamphel Gyatso -- received
three-year sentences, while Tsesum Samten and Lobsang Thargyal were handed
two-year jail terms, the sources said.

The government argued that the newsletter contained poems and articles in
praise of three other monks from the same monastery who are now completing
their own jail terms. Tashi Gyaltsen "studied at the Tashi Khel monastery for
many years and came back... and started teaching," one source said, adding, "He
is highly respected in the monastery."

Chinese authorities familiar with the case couldn't immediately be reached for
comment, and the identity of the sentencing body was unclear. In its 2005
report on human rights around the world, Human Rights Watch said "the Chinese
leadership continues to limit Tibetan religious and cultural expression and
seeks to curtail the Dalai Lama's political and religious influence in all
Tibetan areas."

"Severely repressive measures limit any display of support for an independent
Tibet," Human Rights Watch said.

...............
Friends of Tibet (INDIA)
PO Box 16674, Bombay 400050
Email: support@friendsoftibet.org
...............
Friends of Tibet (India) is a support group formed on March 9, 1999 to
spread awareness about the issue of Tibet among the people of India.
We support the Tibetan struggle for independence.
To know more, visit: www.friendsoftibet.org

the jewish mafia in action? or just rothstein acting on his crushes?

February 16th

i was entertained by edward rothstein (nytimes) and his last broadside, (see link), a spirited defense of wendy doniger, which principally gave one the feeling that rothstein had lusted after wendy about 50 years ago (and apparently still carries a torch for her). that essay had a rather dreamy picture of doniger from 50 years back. the essay itself was rather, pardon me, putrid.

now here is rothstein's next opus, which is even more entertaining: where rothstein praises goldstein and compares her in passing to einstein; is it coincidence that all these steins and doniger are jewish? i dont know about kurt goedel, maybe he was jewish, too.

this essay carries a glamorous picture of goldstein. does rothstein have a crush on her too?

"Truth, Incompleteness and the Goedelian Way, by Edward Rothstein. Rebecca Goldstein pionts out in her elegant new book, that, like Albert Einstein, the mathematician Kurt Goedel was a Platonist".

the essay itself is mediocre, but if you insist on reading it, here is the url: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/14/arts/14conn.html?pagewanted=all

the question is, is this the famed jewish literary mafia in action, promoting its own? or is it just that rothstein um... likes, jewish women, how shall i put it, of a certain age?

more on AID -- narayanan komerath: of winners, wave rats and whinos

February 16th

i found narayanan komerath's comments on AID in the time of the tsunami quite illuminating. not to mention the high-overhead SINGH foundation and other somewhat dubious 'charities'. i get the feeling that the SINGH foundation, Sabrang, Communalism Combat, SAHMAT, Awaaz, and all these other virtuous entities are very coy about publishing their financial statements. has anybody seen these?

for that matter, and this is not a rhetorical question, i really do not know the answer, does anybody have the detailed financial statements of AID and ASHA? what are their overhead ratios? there is a charity watchdog that rates various so-called charities in the US based on their effectiveness, ie. amounts delivered to end users/amounts raised. does anybody know how AID and ASHA fare in this?

nytimes.com: pedophile priest sentenced to 12 to 15 years

February 16th

this is the kind of news you would never see in any indian newspaper. if you read indian newspapers alone, you'd never know that there is a worldwide scandal afflicting churches, and that thousands of priests have been accused and many convicted of pedophilia -- one of the most morally reprehensible crimes. the church is accused of coverups in these cases too.

other news about the church that no indian newspaper would ever carry: the fact that rwandan catholic nuns and a bishop were convicted of crimes against humanity during the genocide there for aiding and abetting massacres.

but indian papers are all too willing to carry wild speculations about 'peaceful' evangelists being attacked by 'fanatic' hindus. nobody asks what the 'peaceful' evangelists were doing in the first place: it's usually indulging in hate speech against hindus. which of course hindus are supposed to turn the other cheek to. there are supposed to be laws against hate speech!

see the following:

m teresa's people in fracas

uk christians admit they indulge in hate speech

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Intl Herald Tribune: Chinese century? not so fast

February 15th

Refreshing to see somebody standing up and saying the Emperor's New Clothes are a little ragged. China continues to excel at propaganda; and because they are racists who have always despised whites, whites are in awe of them! Talk of psychological warfare! China has been talked up as flavor of the month before, but not much came of it then.

There is, fundamentally, a good historical reason why China will eventually become economically powerful: that is history. China was once a great economic power. But then so was India. Up until white imperialism began to make inroads, China accounted for 33% of the world's manufactured goods, and India for 25%. The four greatest centers of industry in the world were the Kaveri and Brahmaputra river deltas in India, and the Pearl and Yangtze river deltas in China.

In a steady state, India and China will regain their economic clout.

The major flies in the ointment are economic structure for China and political structure for India. A poor banking system (which has 60% unrecoverable loans) will weigh China down. A poor political system -- a facade of democracy overlain on a dynastic, feudal polity -- which is also a predatory state will keep India down.


Commentary: Welcome to the Chinese century? Not so fast
By William Pesek Jr. Bloomberg News

Everyone has an opinion on who will lead Asia in the years ahead, including the Group of 7 industrial nations. This month, the group clearly seemed to be putting its money on China.
.
The wealthiest industrialized nations have not exactly said that India will play second fiddle to China, having invited both nations to attend their Feb. 4 meeting.

India shows 'cojones' re. "South Asia"

February 15th

i have a hard time believing this show of (excuse the spanish) is for real.

for, on the very same day, natwar singh has caved into pak demands that no passports need be shown on the proposed PoK-Srinagar bus. and what does that mean other than open season for pak terrorists to flood into india?

Independent: Confessions of a yoga lout

February 15th

this is rather funny. quite frankly some of these procedures sound quite scary.

... excerpt

There's only one thing worse than watching a bunch of desperate Z-list celebrities on television performing weird Indian internal cleansing exercises, and that's being one of them. Tonight, on Channel 4, I will appear in a programme called Extreme Celebrity Detox, for which I spent 10 days in the Himalayas doing an intense course of ashtanga yoga and a combination of brutal cleansing and purification rituals. The course was described to me by the producers of the programme as being "extreme yoga". I've since renamed it combat yoga.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

nytimes.com: saffron ribbon billowing gift to city

February 12th

how could they put up the hated hindoo [sic] color in new york? where is
romila thapar? where is vijay prashad? where's biju mathew? quick, AID
and ASHA and the indian muslim council-usa need to all demand that
instead of hindoo saffron the fabric should be proper muslim green.

how on earth could new york city be so, so,... 'unsecular'? i am
shocked, shocked!


In a Saffron Ribbon, a Billowy Gift to the City
By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN

Published: February 13, 2005

It is a long, billowy saffron ribbon meandering through Central Park
-- not a neat bow, but something that's very much a gift package to
New York City. "The Gates," by Christo and his wife, Jeanne-Claude,
was officially unveiled yesterday.

Thousands of swaths of pleated nylon were unfurled to bob and billow
in the breeze. In the winter light, the bright fabric seemed to warm
the fields, flickering like a flame against the barren trees. Even at
first blush, it was clear that "The Gates" is a work of pure joy, a
vast populist spectacle of good will and simple eloquence, the first
great public art event of the 21st century. It remains on view for
just 16 days. Consider yourself forewarned. Time is fleeting....

nytimes.com: the great indian rope trick as hoax

February 12th

a succinct explanation of the benny hinn syndrome: mass hysteria and hoax.

also, see the parallels with the 'jhabua nun rape' and 'churches bombed' and 'ishrat jahan the innocent muslim girl kidnapped by terrorists' hysterias? the initial report was trumpeted sky-high, but the later retractions were very low key. clearly the indian english media has learnt the art of sensationalist hoax-creation very well.

personally, i dont know whether the rope trick was ever performed as advertised. i am willing to be convinced either way given sufficient evidence.

on the other hand, let us remember that white people are highly prone to mass hysteria: think of the piltdown man hoax. or just look at all those preachers running around on american TV.

Organizer: A semitic faith condemned to idolatry?

February 12th

the christian use of the cross is clearly idolatrous. actually, much more insidious is the idol-worship of the bible as sacrosanct, literal truth.

what is 'idolatry'? it is blind and excessive devotion to something, in particular something that is not god. literalists are guilty of idolatrous behavior towards the bible.

A Semitic faith condemned to idolatry

February 8, 2005, 11:16 pm

By M.S.N. Menon
Organiser
February 13, 2005

It is the case of the Christian missionaries (of Benny Hinn, for example) that Hindus worship idols. They do. But they are free to go beyond idol worship to meditation (with eyes closed, dhyana)—from the worship of a personal God (monotheism) to meditation over a God without form or attributes (monism). This is Advaita.

But there is no way a Christian can bypass Jesus Christ and seek a formless God. (The very thought is blasphemous to Christians.) He is thus condemned to remain, with his idols and symbols, a monotheist. He is condemned to worship, to remain apart from God.

If you ask me which path I prefer, I say without hesitation: The Hindu path, for my goal is to be as perfect as God. Transform and transcend—this is the essence of the Hindu faith. Both are not open to Semitic faiths....

Keralaonline.com: Evangelists threaten ordinary churches

Fellowship congregations ease out traditional Kerala churches
Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 12, 2005

Kerala's traditional churches can't be blamed for thinking the world is coming to an end.

Hundreds of independent fellowship churches (IFC) - and their number is rapidly growing - have resulted in dwindling flocks at traditional churches.

One of the fastest growing IFCs is the Kottayam-based Heavenly Feast, which has 10,000 members and now plans to spread its wings to other districts.

Not surprisingly, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is concerned.

"We are trying our best to control these so-called evangelical superstars because we strongly believe that religion is what one does with one's solitariness. These so-called churches are divorced from reality," its spokesman, Father Paul Thelakkat, told IANS.

One reason why there has been an increase in IFCs is their style of worship - they give more emphasis to the Bible than the rituals of traditional churches - and the manner in which they spread the word through local TV channels.

They also promote faith healing and promise miracles. Then, high wattage instruments belting out the latest music accompanies worship in the new churches.

Gheevarghese Mar Theodosius, a senior bishop of the Mar Thoma Church, admitted that services at the new churches could be more emotionally satisfying - but wondered whether this served any purpose.

"Isn't this a withdrawal from reality and running away from problems? Only when there is sickness you would know about health. When the mind is weak, people tend to move out seeking instant relief from these churches," he contended.

According to him, the IFCs might have been increasing of late but a reverse flow is visible as well.

"There have been cases where people who have left our churches a decade back for the IFCs have returned. One negative point of these churches is that in the modern world, even Christianity has become a market product", said the bishop.

Heavenly Feast's Thomas Abraham agreed that some IFCs had split due to differences of opinion between the top leaders in interpreting the scripture and in some cases due to the quest for more power.

"Haven't traditional churches too split? This is not something bad for people like us," Abraham contended.

Thelakkat said the Syro-Malabar Church had initiated steps to prevent its flock from being weaned away.

"We are driving home the message that a mature religious personality is one who is not enamoured by wonders and one who is calm, deep rooted and committed," Thelkat pointed out.

As for faith healing, "it is possible for us to get healed through our own prayers," Thelakkat maintained.

There are pluses and minuses for both traditional churches and IFCs - and with society getting more and more materialistic, the tussle between the two streams could well leave the faithful in a trance.

[IANS]

Kanchan Gupta: Why only Ahmedabad? Let's ban Kolkata too

February 12th

i would go one step further and say, ban cricket altogether and india would be much better off.

but kanchan gupta does have a valid point regardless of your opinions about cricket. why is gujarat considered the one and only violation of human rights in india ever? kashmir is a far bigger crime. and he does enumerate many others, in particular the massacre of sikhs in 1984.

kanchan forgets the moplah rebellion in kerala in 1921. and its small scale rerun, maraad 2003.

note that pioneer pages disappear after a day. this must be one of the most bizarre decisions taken by any newspaper on the web: to remove its valuable content after a day. why, are they running out of storage or something? disk space is incredibly cheap these days, guys! keep your content online forever!

--------

The Pioneer / 12.02.05/ Oped page

Why only Ahmedabad? Let’s ban Kolkata too!

By Kanchan Gupta

There is something perverse about the manner in which
attention continues to be focussed on the 2002 riots
in Gujarat, as if never before had communal violence
taken a terrible toll of human life and property in
India. If the rioting that followed the burning of
Hindus by Muslim mobs at Godhra deserves unequivocal
condemnation, do does the despicable manner in which
that violence continues to be used for achieving
political ends.

First, the Congress and the Left used the riots for
pillorying Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Then the
jholawalla brigade led by Teesta Setalvad made it into
a judicial carnival (it now transpires that claimed
affidavits from riot victims submitted in court were
no more than printed pamphlets, but that is another
story). During last year’s general election, graphic
visuals of the riots were used for mobilising Muslim
votes; a cynical abuse of victims’ misery that is
being repeated in Bihar by Lalu Prasad Yadav.

We are now told that a member of Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh’s Council of Ministers has taken the
liberty of discouraging the Pakistan Cricket Board
from including Ahmedabad in the itinerary of the
Pakistani team’s forthcoming tour because playing in
riot-tainted Gujarat is just not cricket. The
Pakistanis, of course, have been more than happy to
oblige the UPA worthy.

If communal violence must permanently tar a State’s
reputation and condemn it to living in ignominy
forever, then no State in our Union would come out
clean. If we were to accept the logic of Pakistanis
skipping Ahmedabad, then we should also insist that
Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Guwahati should never ever
host a sporting event.

The terrible blood-letting in Kolkata on August 16,
1946, the Muslim League’s “Direct Action Day”, should
strike this city and West Bengal off the list of
cricketing venues. The series of communal riots in
Mumbai (the violence of 1993 pales into insignificance
compared to riots in the 1970s and 1980s) should lead
to the blacklisting of India’s financial capital.

The Nellie massacre of 1983, when the Congress was in
power in both New Delhi and Guwahati, in which 3,300
Muslim men, women and children, many of them suckling
infants, were killed, should have a similar impact.
And Delhi should not host any international event
because of the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984 when Congress
hoodlums went around slaughtering more than 4,000
Sikhs to lessen their grief over Mrs Indira Gandhi’s
assassination...

Friday, February 11, 2005

Subhash Kak: Hinduism and the contest of religions

February 11th

Subhash Kak is someone I admire for his wisdom and his grace. His gently-stated yet mind-blowing insights are a treat to read. For instance, his work on the astronomical codes embedded in the RgVeda, or the analysis of the astronomy of fire-altars, or the mathematics behind the theory of temple construction. As an example of the last, if I remember right, the length:width ratio of the layout of the Angkor Wat temple is the ratio of the longest:shortest diameter of the elliptical orbit of the Earth around the Sun.

Excerpts:

Hinduism and the Contest of Religions
Subhash Kak

Published on Friday, February 11, 2005

These are extraordinary times, given how technology is transforming
the world and the unprecedented migration of people. Different
cultural and religious groups have come in close contact physically,
some for the first time; and television has brought to the home new
images and possibilities. One would have hoped that people would
simply accept cultural and religious diversity; instead, it has become
a great opportunity for the proselytizing religions to gain adherents.
This is happening in the background of the destructive gale of
modernity, whose fury is pointed at all religious traditions.

The efforts of the missionaries have been enormously successful in
many Buddhist countries such as South Korea, where it is estimated
that half the population has embraced Christianity. Missionary efforts
are also strong in other countries of Asia and in Africa. On the other
hand, many intellectuals in the West are adopting Buddhism. Islam is
also gaining converts. It is expected that with the falling fertility
rates of its women and increasing immigration, Europe will be slowly
assimilated into Islam.

India has become a big battleground for harvesting of souls. For some
evangelical groups conversion of India to Christianity is essential
before Christ returns to earth. The religious clash in India is
playing out most strongly in the tribal areas and amongst the poor.
Hindus are reacting by calling for a ban on money-induced conversions
and trotting out their Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi, both of whom
spoke strongly against changing religion....

BBC: Tsunami exposes previously hidden structures (temple?) in mahabalipuram

February 11

many so-called myths and legends in india have actual historical roots. for instance, there are many claims of buried structures off mahabalipuram, poompuhar and kanyakumari. these, if investigated, are likely to show that previous floods/tsunamis did engulf old cities.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4257181.stm
----------

The deadly tsunami could have uncovered the remains of an ancient port city off the coast in southern India.

Archaeologists say they have discovered some stone remains from the coast close to India's famous beachfront Mahabalipuram temple in Tamil Nadu state following the 26 December tsunami.

They believe that the "structures" could be the remains of an ancient and once-flourishing port city in the area housing the famous 1200-year-old rock-hewn temple.

Three pieces of remains, which include a granite lion, were found buried in the sand after the coastline receded in the area after the tsunami struck.

Undersea remains

"They could be part of the small seaport city which existed here before water engulfed them. They could be part of a temple or a building. We are investigating," says T Sathiamoorthy of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

Archaeologists say that the stone remains date back to 7th Century AD and are nearly 6ft tall.

They have elaborate engravings of the kind that are found in the Mahabalipuram temple.

The temple, which is a World Heritage site, represents some of the earliest-known examples of Dravidian architecture dating back to 7th Century AD.

The monument also has gigantic open air reliefs hewn out from granite.

Buddha sculpture found in Mahabalipuram
The bronze Buddha which floated up the coast at Kalapakkam

The tsunami waves have also helped the archaeologists in desilting one such relief which had been covered with sand for ages.

A half-completed rock relief of an elephant got "naturally desilted" by the ferocious waves and is now drawing large crowds at this popular tourist destination.

For the past three years, archaeologists working with divers from India and England have found the remnants of the ancient port.

Archaeologists say they had done underwater surveys 1 km into the sea from the temple and found some undersea remains.

Legend

The myths of Mahabalipuram were first set down in writing by British traveller J Goldingham, who visited the South Indian coastal town in 1798, at which time it was known to sailors as the Seven Pagodas.

The myths speak of six temples submerged beneath the waves with the seventh temple still standing on the seashore.

The myths also state that a large city which once stood on the site was so beautiful the gods became jealous and sent a flood that swallowed it up entirely in a single day.

The tsunami has also washed up a 9 inch-tall bronze Buddha on the coast off Kalapakkam in the state.

"It was lying with some other objects. It must have been carried out to the sea from Burma or Thailand," says T Sathiamoorthy.

The Buddha has been handed over to the local authorities, and may sound find a place in an Indian museum.

"We will protect it if nobody claims it," says Mr Sathiamoorthy.

Query on Kerala's Hindus' unity moves

February 11th

thanks to reader rajesh.

i am not sure i have well-thought-through answers to these. what do you guys reading this blog think?

======

How do you see Vellappalli's United Hindu front? Could you write what
you think about Nadeshan's proposal?
Many things to ponder over here:
1) Karunakaran's comment that these guys cannot do what Pattom and
Shankar couldnt do. Do you think that the scene is different today in
Kerala?
2) Do you think that'll benefit the umpteen number of groups among Hindus?
3) Would that make a difference for Hindus?
4) Which community would call shots in the front? Will that be
sustainable if say Ezhava decides?
5) Or can they go on a roubd robin way of sharing the power?
6) Will that reduce the dominance of, say, IUML and Kerala Cong, esp Mani?
7) Or do you think it is better for them to stay as a separate group
getting their share?
8) If that is the case, would they support Cong to get power?
Assumption, they cant join left.
9) Will the shamless Cong come back to rule ditching IUML and
embracing Hindu munnani?
10) What will be the left's strategy as they are the most affected?

India Currents: The mathematical marvel that was India

February 11th

interesting article about india's unknown prowess in mathematics. a year ago, i met a great scholar and manuscriptologist, dr. k v sharma, in his adyar, chennai, home. he has personally translated hundreds of sanskrit manuscripts into english, including the definitive critical edition of the 'aryabhatiya'.

the quality and quantity of ancient indian mathematics is simply mind-blowing.

Independent (UK): Welcome to Hindu modern

February 11th

remarkable, a story about hindus that is not a sneer! absolutely amazing.

every hindu school can be pretty much like this, because of the inherent reverence for knowledge, the willingness to question authority, and the lack of dogma in the hindu mind; or should i say the indic mind.

it is common knowledge that the us's schools have become too lax and undemanding; japan's schools do not engender creativity (presumably the same with chinese schools). india should be building upon its tradition of educational schooling that made it a powerhouse in education: including the great buddhist universities such as nalanda, takshasila, vikramasila and odantapuri.

of course, in india, the current constitution makes it very difficult for hindus to set up schools. that is reserved for 'minorities', so that (all) children can grow up brainwashed with christian mythology and dogma, for instance, or muslim jihadi ideas and intolerance.

for instance, the ramakrishna mission had to go to the supreme court and get itself declared a 'non-hindu' entity so that they could get the west bengal govt to keep its paws off the mission's schools. as a 'non-hindu' entity they are allowed to run schools!

this is the theater of the absurd, surely.

excerpt from the article:

Welcome to Hindu modern
When a failing London comprehensive was closed down, the local Hindu community took it over and transformed it into a thriving school
By Hilary Wilce

10 February 2005

The Swaminarayan School, the only Hindu school in the Independent Schools Council, has blended the unchanging values of an ancient faith with the relentless demands of modern education, to create a warm and happy school - with exam results to die for....

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Journalism: Power without responsibility

February 10th

an informed critique of what passes for 'journalism' today. the indian english language media are especially guilty of the harlot syndrome the author refers to below. people like NDTV, the indian express and the hindu are especially guilty of this.

let me pre-empt any possible lumping of yours truly in this harlotry by pointing out that a) i dont have much power, b) i am pretty responsible -- my critics contend that i am responsible for all sorts of things :-)

thanks to dr. kalyan

The New Criterion, Feb. 2005

Journalism: Power without responsibility

by Kenneth Minogue

Stanley Baldwin's bitter jibe that journalists enjoy "the privilege of
the harlot down the ages—power without responsibility"—still
resonates. One reason is certainly because we recognize that—alas!—we
cannot live without journalism. We might sometimes imagine that it is
merely the stuff we read in the newspapers every day, but actually
journalism is a mode in which we think. It indelibly marks our first
response to everything. It dominates television and surrounds us in
the vast publishing industry of popularization. The scholar and the
professional may escape it as they specialize, but the moment they
step outside what they really know about, they enter the flow of
popularized understanding like the rest of us.

....

Ram Narayanan: the US, India and China

February 10th

ram narayanan is an indefatigible proponent of US-India friendship.

i would like to believe what he says, but i think things are a lot bleaker for india.

there are only two paradigms that the us sees for india:

a. a competitor, which is not good, therefore keep it down by hook or by crook including containment, terrorism, and even the future (iraq-style and soon to be iran-style) military action against a 'rogue nuclear state'. stay posted for india to enter the 'rogue nation' list now that iraq is out and there is a vacancy. of course, the real rogue nations, china, pakistan and saudi arabia, will never be identified as such
b. a slave, which can be best be accomplised via large-scale conversion and brainwashing. there will also be plenty of good consumers for us corporations to dump unwanted goods on

to take point b further, the us has done a lot of stuff in afghanistan and central asia with an eye to one thing: to DENY the region's oil to china. this is almost as important to the us as it is to get hold of said oil.

similarly, the neocons are very keen to increase the numbers of christians, in particular to DENY converts to muslims. india is one of the best places to do the conversion, and the fact that those converts might be potential muslim converts is even more reason to focus on india as a 'numerical-target' country.

anyway, here's what ram narayanan said in the washington times.

THE WASHINGTON TIMES, FEBRUARY 9, 2005

Outside View: The U.S., India and China
By Ram NarayananOutside View Commentator

Buffalo, NY, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- The National Intelligence Council (NIC),
the think-tank of the Director of Central Intelligence, recently came
out with a study titled "Mapping the Global Future." Among other
things, the report forecasts the rise of India and China as potential
global powers by the year 2020. Of the two countries, only China,
whose GDP is predicted in the NIC document to overtake America's by
the year 2042, is clearly the aggressive competitor of the United
States...

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Ramesh Rao: The World of Myth

February 9th

why are the myths about jesus and company not labelled myths?

'our myths are "scripture"; their myths are 'tales'" is the western/christian view, with no basis in anything more than the famous all-conquering logical paradigms, "truth by repeated assertion" and "it must be true because it says so in our book".

the following link, for the skeptics' annotated bible, would be a good start to ponder whether these stories are 'myths' or 'scripture'

The World of Myth

Ramesh N. Rao

The 'clash of civilizations' is mostly about the adumbration of religious ideas and the practice of religion. This clash is acted out by Muslim fundamentalists who cut the throats of hapless journalists, engineers, and other Christians, born-again or not, lost in the alleys of Karachi or Karbala or Kirkuk. Fellow Christian religionists then drop 3,000-pound bombs from 30,000 feet up in retaliation. Meanwhile both seek to poke the eyes of Hindus, who demand from the two some promise of a 'Sarva dharma samabhava' (All religions are equal) which by all accounts is a concept dead on arrival at the Vatican or in Mecca. Roman, Greek, Mesopotamian and other pagan cultures are 'dead and buried', and the tribal cultures and religions of Africa, Australia, and South America have been decimated. What is left for the predatory religions are one another and the pesky Hindus who keep pushing wrongly, I believe, the idea of 'Sarva dharma samabhava'.


In a recent conference that I attended, one of the speakers told the Hindu-American audience that if they are confronted with the question – 'So, what is your Bible?' – to tell the questioner that Hindus don't have a single book but a library. This 'sound bite' made us all happy but we were still left with the queasy feeling that the reality on the ground was much harsher and more invidious.

One way it is invidious can be discerned from how 'religions', 'myths' and 'philosophies' are taught in American schools and colleges. I am told that only two American universities offer a Ph.D. in Indian philosophy. It seems as if the learned scholars of Indic and Hindu traditions in the West have taken to heart the assertion by the maverick Nirad Chaudhuri. In his bombastic, know-it-all style, the diminutive Bengali with a Napoleon complex proclaimed that, “There is no such thing as thinking properly so called among the Hindus, for it is a faculty of the mind developed only in Greece, and exercised only by the heirs of the Greeks.” (The Continent of Circe: An Essay on the Peoples of India, paperback, p. 163). Chaudhuri also mimicked the Christian missionaries and the Muslim fundamentalists when he compared the books of the Semitic religions with the Vedas: “Their (Vedas) prestige is not accounted for either by their contents or by the use that has been made of them. The Jud
aic, Christian, and Islamic books are revealed scriptures of the type made familiar by these historic religions, but the Vedas are, if I might extend the word used for the religion of the Hindus for their basic texts as well, 'natural' scriptures. They are not the word of any God or gods, but mostly words addressed to gods.”

Because the Hindus are marked as neither having a religion nor expounding any philosophy, then much of what is contained in their scriptures is proclaimed 'myth'. Mythologies can be interesting, profound, symbolic, and entertaining. I don't have any problems with mythologies. However, when a distinction is made between mythology and religion, and mythology and philosophy, then we see the continuation of the divide between peoples of the 'book', and peoples 'without books' as well as those who have too many books.

The problem struck home when I discovered that a 'world mythology' course taught in our university to bright 13-15 year olds in a 'summer academy' included 'Greek, Roman, Hindu, Chinese, Buddhist, and Native American mythology' but not any Semitic mythology. The course instructors were my good friends and colleagues, who seemed to have bought into the distinction without a protest. They taught the Ramayana and the Mahabharata as mythology in the course and deleted Christian, Muslim, and Jewish stories. The World Mythology textbooks they used included the Ramayana as myth but did not include any stories from the Bible or Koran. Separate translations of the Mahabharata were prescribed to the teenagers as part of the readings for the class. I protested. The Mahabharata was removed as a separate text, but the confusion continued about what is myth and what is religion. What I have noted is the extreme reluctance to include specific and explicit mention of Christianity in the cour
se.

One can very easily speculate the reasons why the administrators of the program advised instructors what not to include, but it is distressing to see how easily teachers are seduced to teach such intellectually dishonest courses. Whatever the reasons for their decisions, such practices go on to perpetuate the false divide between Semitic/ monotheistic religions and the 'other' world religions. Unfortunately, we know that throughout the world the two aggressive monotheistic religions are considered 'great religions', while other religions/ religious traditions are relegated to 'myth' and 'false religions' status. To perpetuate that 'myth', whether benignly or otherwise, in a university or school setting, is extremely dangerous.

Many of the 'World Mythology' textbooks do not include Muslim and Christian stories. Reviewers on the Amazon web site, for example, include comments like these: 'The title is something of a misnomer. This is a fine collection of ancient myths found throughout world history. However, it is intellectually dishonest because the author fails to recognize some of the most powerful myths in human history -- namely those found in the Bible and Koran'. You will not find the names of Adam and Eve, or Jesus or Mary, or Mohammed or Allah in these textbooks, whereas Rama, Krishna, Indra, Buddha all make multiple appearances, including pictures of Benares!

I told my colleagues that the Mahabharata is considered by many as the 'Fifth Veda', not just because it includes the Bhagavad Gita but because Vyasa himself is considered an incarnation of the Gods and Ganesha is his amanuensis. The Ramayana of course is a story about Rama and Sita, and all over India they are worshipped as Gods and not merely as 'folk heroes' (as Indian Marxists claim), I reminded them.

I also pointed out that there is a group of scholars, led by S. N. Balagangadhara of the University of Ghent, who have been arguing that 'religion' in the Western sense is scientifically false, and that Hinduism is not a religion in the Western/ Semitic sense. Balagangadhara's study of the encounter between the early Christians and the Roman pagans and between the modern Europeans and the Indian pagans, leads him to formulate the following problem: (a) Christianity recognizes itself as a religion; (b) The terms under which Christianity recognizes itself as a religion are also the terms under which Islam and Judaism recognize themselves as religion; (c) Christianity singled out both the Roman and the Indian traditions as rival religions; (d) Judaism and Islam also singled out these same traditions as their religious rivals; (e) Both the Roman and the Indian traditions did not recognize themselves in the descriptions Christianity, Islam, and Judaism gave of them: they did not c
onceive of themselves as rivals to these three.

Without accepting the fact that their religions are 'scientifically false', some Western teachers of 'myth', however, continue to make the distinction between religion and myth, privileging the former over the latter. A little more nuanced in their understanding of world cultures and other religions, some teachers argue that when teaching about myth to young students one has to be careful about their sensitive nature. Thus, Christian mythology is not included for it might distress students to find out that what they believe is 'true' includes 'stories/ fiction'. These teachers define mythology as 'a set of stories, beliefs, and traditions of a people, accrued over time'. 'We don't evaluate them as good or bad stories', they proclaim.

But these practices raise some questions in the American context:

1. Are students in these classes only Christian?
2. Are they all of such strong faith and belief that including stories from Christian mythology will shock and discomfort them?
3. Are there Muslim and Hindu students in the classes?
4. Why are Muslim and Jewish mythologies not taught as part of the course if the concern is only about Christian students? Is it because of the fear what the Jewish-American League or the Council on American-Islamic Relations will do if they find out?
5. Is sensitivity to students' concern more important than academic honesty and academic integrity?
6. If students are sensitive about such matters, would instructors then go the extent of not teaching Darwinism and scientific cosmology to Christian students?
7. If there is a Hindu student in class, how are the instructors going to explain why his/ her religion can be taught as mythology and not his/ her classmates' religion?
8. Hinduism is not 'dead' like Roman and Greek and Pagan 'religions'. There are one billion Hindus in the world, and they have survived despite the best efforts of proselytizers and marauders to convert them or to erase their religious/ spiritual/ cultural identities. The Mahabharata and the Ramayana are part of the daily spiritual life of Hindus all over the world.
9. Most importantly, will the deliberate decision to exclude Christian, Muslim, and Jewish mythologies make these teachers willing collaborators in a belief system that categorizes religions as 'true' and 'false'? India is still a battleground and a marketplace for buying and trading souls, as most of the rest of the world is. How will the deliberate exclusion of Semitic faiths from World Mythology courses affect students who then may continue to believe that indeed there is merit to the unverifiable claims of aggressive monotheistic traditions?
Bringing such academic concerns to the fore is tricky. One always has to take into consideration matters of 'academic freedom', and what rights teachers have in bringing in different kinds of material to the classroom, and who has what kinds of rights in critically evaluating such practices. I was one among a group of eight Indian-American representatives that met with Emory University officials this past February regarding the idiosyncratic interpretation of Ganesha by Emory University professor Paul Courtright in his book, 'Ganesha – Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings'. I have also written about University of Chicago professor Wendy Doniger who was quoted in The Philadelphia Inquirer calling the Bhagavad Gita 'a dishonest book' that 'justifies war.' Thus, when I found out what was happening in my own school, I had to raise the matter with the administrators of the summer program, and the teachers who taught the course.

Some Indian-Americans don\'t see much merit in complaining about these matters or correcting what is egregiously wrong in American school textbooks or classroom practices. For them, Hinduism is a \'mish mash\' of cultural practices accrued over millennia. Most of these beliefs and practices is plain obscurantist nonsense, they proclaim. By conflating the obscurantist aspects of Hinduism with the world of Hindu knowledge and culture, they ignore the explicit practice of religious supremacy and academic discrimination in their own neighborhood. By labeling these concerns as merely that of the \'Hindu Right\' or of the \'RSS\' Indian-American activists and academics are collaborating in the decimation of local culture and religious practices in India.

Some Indian-Americans don't see much merit in complaining about these matters or correcting what is egregiously wrong in American school textbooks or classroom practices. For them, Hinduism is a 'mish mash' of cultural practices accrued over millennia. Most of these beliefs and practices is plain obscurantist nonsense, they proclaim. By conflating the obscurantist aspects of Hinduism with the world of Hindu knowledge and culture, they ignore the explicit practice of religious supremacy and academic discrimination in their own neighborhood. By labeling these concerns as merely that of the 'Hindu Right' or of the 'RSS' Indian-American activists and academics are collaborating in the decimation of local culture and religious practices in India.