Buddhists

Bangladesh as second base of Jihad on subcontinent

Posted on July 3, 2016. Filed under: Arab, Bangladesh, Bengal, Buddhists, Christians, Hindu, History, India, Islam, Islamic propaganda, Jihad, Kashmir, Muslims, Pakistan, rape, religion, Saudi, Shahbag, slavery, Sunni, Taleban, terrorism, Wahabi |

Over the years, on this blog I have written several posts on Bangladesh and its role in Jihad on the subcontinent. On 1st July, jihadis confirming their Islamic credentials by shouting the customary laudatory exclamation by Muslims about their god, attacked the Holy Artesan Cafe near the posh Diplomatic Quarters of Dhaka, took hostages and stabbed/hacked to death most if not all of the 20 dead found later by the security forces. bbcnews

Abinta Kabir, Faraaz Hussein, and Tarushi Jain – three girls and all vacationing in Dhaka after their first year at US universities, were among those killed. While Abinta and Faraaz were Bangladeshi Muslims, Tarushi appears to be of Indian Hindu origins. Foreigners were separated from Bangladeshis and taken to an upper floor apparently for a Quran recitation test and torture. telegraph As per DailyStar Tarushi’s Indian origins is confirmed by the Indian Foreign ministers statements to the effect. The same site also states that Tarushi was a resident of Bangladesh but an Indian citizen, and her family had close personal friends among Dhaka’s Muslims such as her father Ziam Sanjeev’s friend Rashid Hassan Khan who has been quoted by The Daily Star. Daily Star also reports in greater details on the Quran test, (DailyStar)

“They (gunmen) did not behave rough with the Bangladesh nationals,” Reazul said quoting his victim son Hasnat. “Rather they provided night meals for all Bangladeshis.”“The gunmen were doing a background check on religion by asking everyone to recite from the Quran. Those who could recite a verse or two were spared. The others were tortured.” 

The unexplained issue here is then how come the two Bangladeshi Muslim girls were also killed along with Tarushi? Did they fail the Quran test too, or they were executed for being male-guardian unaccompanied women in public? Or they were found out to have been in USA as students or no-longer Bangladeshi nationals? Given jihadi’s obsession with rape and sexual torture of captive women, were these women spared from rape before being tortured to death?

Over the recent years, AQIS, or Al Queda in Indian Subcontinent claimed the following as targeted victims of their jihad in Bangladesh: (Source: SiteIntel )

  1. 15/01/2013 Asif Mohiuddin, wounded, at Uttara, Dhaka
  2. 15/02/2013 Ahmed Rajiv Haidar, killed, Mirpur, Dhaka
  3. 24/06/2014 Rakib Mamun, wounded, Muhammadpur, Dhaka
  4. 30/09/2014 Ashraful Alam, killed, Savar, Dhaka
  5. 16/11/2014 Shafiul Lilon, killed, Binodpur, Rajashahi
  6. 26/02/2015 Avijit Roy, killed, Dhaka Uni area, Dhaka
  7. 30/03/2015 Washiqur Rahman, killed, Tejgaon, Dhaka
  8. 12/05/2015 Ananta Bijoy Das, killed, Sylhet city
  9. 07/08/2015 Niladri Chattopadhyay, killed, Goran, Dhaka
  10. 31/10/2015 Faisal Arifin Dipon, killed, Jagriti prakashani, Sahbag, Dhaka
  11. 31/10/2015 Ahmedur Rashid Tutul, wounded, Suddhaswar Prakashani, Lalmatia Dhaka
  12. 31/10/2015 Ranadip Basu, wounded, Suddhaswar Prakashani, Lalmatia Dhaka
  13. 31/10/2015 Tareque Rahim, wounded, Suddhaswar Prakashani, Lalmatia Dhaka
  14. 08/04/2016 Nazimuddin Samad, killed, Dhaka
  15. 26/08/2016 Xulhaz Mannan, killed, Dhaka
  16. 26/08/2016 Samir Mahbub Tanay, killed, Dhaka

IS or Islamic state (of Iraq and Syria) claimed the following as victims of their targeted jihad: (Source: SiteIntel )

  1. 28/09/2015 Tavella Cesare, killed, silenced weapons, Dhaka
  2. 03/10/2015 Kunio Hoshi, killed, firearms, Rangpur
  3. 24/10/2015 One killed, 80 wounded, Shiite site, explosive device, Husseini Dalan, Dhaka
  4. 04/11/2015 One killed, one wounded, Stabbing, Ashulia, Dhaka
  5. 19/11/2015 Piero Parolari, wounded, Silenced Pistol, Dinajpur
  6. 19/11/2015 Ruhul Amin, wounded, Silenced weapon, Dhaka
  7. 19/11/2015 Rahmat Ali, killed, Unspecified mode, Kawnia Rangpur
  8. 26/11/2015 One killed, 3 wounded, Machine gun, Bogra
  9. 26/12/2015 One killed, at least 3 wounded, suicide bomber, 1 attacker, Ahmedia mosque, Rajshahi
  10. 07/01/2016 Samir Al-Din, killed, stabbing, Jhinaidah
  11. 08/02/2016 Tarun Dutta, killed, unspecified mode, Gaibandha
  12. 21/02/2016 Jogeshwar Roy, killed, sharp weapons, Panchagarh
  13. 14/03/2016 Hdifh Abdul Razzaq, killed, stabbing, Jhinaidah
  14. 22/03/2016 Hussein Ali Sarkar, killed, unspecified mode, Kurigram
  15. 23/04/2016 Rezaul Karim Siddique, killed, machete, Rajshahi.

The reactions to the attack have been predictable.

Begum Khaleda Zia, the leader of the opposition BNP,  while “gravely” condemning the incident, she apparently declared it to be “an outcome of the government’s undemocratic mentality that has been turned into an autocratic rule”. She held the  government responsible for such an attack, and blamed the emergence of militancy and such “bloodstained incident” as “the outcome of the prevailing oppressive rule of the government”.  (DailyStar) Thus Khaleda carefully avoided finding the root problem in the Islamic foundations of the nation and its society and its continuously maintained pace of Islamisation through riots, forced conversions, enforced exiles, rape and abduction of women, and alienation from land and turned it all into a blame game on her political rivals.

Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister, on the other hand thought that it was a “vested quarter [which] wanted to establish Bangladesh [as] a dysfunctional state keeping hostage innocent people. “They’ve taken a path of terrorism after having failed to win the hearts of people through the democratic process”. She blamed this same alleged “quarter” as  “pushing the soft-hearted youths and children to the path of destruction confusing them in the name of religion”. It can be inferred that here she is referring to her rivals in national politics of which BNP is the most dominant electorally and the now somewhat disgraced (from trial and execution of their 1971 time war-crimes accused leaders) Jamaat-e-Islami.

Hasina further states “The peace-loving people of Bangladesh won’t allow the perpetuators to materialise their strategy. We‘ll resist their conspiracy at any cost taking the people of the country with us…We’re committed to protecting at any cost the sovereignty of Bangladesh that was earned at the cost of martyrdom of 30 lakh and sacrifice of two lakh mothers and sisters.”

However, the society of Bangladesh is part of the same society that stood behind Muslim League in the lead up to Partition riots and Noakhali genocide, and the general ethnic cleansing of Hindus by forced exile, land-grab, rape, abduction of women. Its the same society that split into two rival contestants for power during the lead up to independence in 1971, with a large contingent of locals helping and participating in the rapine of the Pakistani army. (See my earlier post on this  https://dikgaj.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/sayedees-jamaat-e-islami-shows-how-islam-actually-spread-in-india-or-for-that-matter-in-arabia-too/).

Post independence, one half of Bangladesh polity – which by its length of occupation of state power, appears to be the more dominant faction, that represented by the BNP, rehabilitated the jihadis of 1971. The atrocities on Hindus and even Buddhists continued post-independence and the trend only has been more spectacularly splashed in the media recently due to the militant groups own propaganda and greater reach of the internet. (See another earlier post of mine on this: dikgaj on Bangladesh : counterstrategy). Hasina’s raising the issue of “sovereignty” is peculiar as its typically raised by Bangladeshis as a dark hint of alleged Indian eye on its territory and sovereignty. Possibly this was a diversionary tactic to prevent Indian reaction at popular level against the increasingly high profile targeting of Hindus in Bangladesh.

Hasina apparently addressed those “who are misguiding youths and children and patronising this” by claiming “Islam is the religion of peace. Stop killing people in the name of Islam; don’t blemish it with such incidents.” She also urged guardians to give proper education to their children and keep watch on them so that they cannot get derailed. Interestingly she does not explain why Islam is so susceptible to derailment.

Another group of so-called security “expertise” is trying to say that the violence was due to the competition between IS and AQS for base, recruits, and resources. In a sense they support my contention in my blogpost (dikgaj on ’71 blunder )

Indira Gandhi scored a tactical brilliance in 1971, but a strategic blunder when she helped an independent Bangladesh to form. This independent nation immediately showed its fangs of islamism, has continued to expel Hindus, abduct rape and enslave Hindu women, and welcomed all possible transnational anti-India and anti-Hindu forces. As and when Pakistan falls, this nation will provide an alternative base for jihadis to restart their movement.

What is the ground reality of Bangladeshi Islam that will increasingly jihadise the country on top of its latent Islamism and its foundations in jihad against Hindus and Buddhists?

Bangladesh hosts a number of transnational Islamic networks, and the second largest gathering of Islamic world takes place under a Tablighi Jamaat inspired and maintained so-called “world Istema”. Both Awami League and BNP led successive governments, seem to have warmly welcomed the Tablighi gathering with enthusiastic state involvement in its arrangements. Maulana Mohammad Ilyas  established Tablighi Jamaat  in 1926 to spread Deobandi Islam as a missionary line to reconvert the Muslims, who according to Tablighi notions ‘have gone astray’. The movement was in fact from the beginning considered as an extension of Deobandi movement’s preaching and proselytizing arm. ( Fred Burton and Scott Stewart, “Tablighi Jamaat: An Indirect Line to Terrorism”, Stratfor Global Intelligence, January 23, 2008, Burton and Stewart ).

Tablighi Jamaat is now a global network and as Furnish elaborates (Furnish)

it does promulgate a literalist reading of the Qur’an and strict emulation of Islam’s founder, Muhammad–both of which are problematic. Not only are the “sword,” or jihad, verses of the Qur’an numerous–numbering some 164 by one count[26]–but under the doctrine of naskh, “abrogation,” they supersede all of the Qur’an’s apparently peaceful verses. In addition, TJ members are taught to emulate Islam’s prophet unswervingly. Thus, when some learn about Muhammad leading armies in battle or ordering the execution of theological and political opponents, they may decide that the jihadist groups are more faithful followers of their prophet than TJ itself–and so make the transition. Thus, the key issue is not whether TJ is actively inculcating jihadist thought, per se. What is more important, and disquieting, is that the organization is instilling Qur’anic literalism and Muhammadan emulation, both of which are also staples of violent jihadist groups.

And there’s no arguing with TJ’s success. The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist organizations may castigate the organization for its disengagement from politics and for its lack of popular welfare and education programs, but one could argue that Tabligh is better than its detractors at keeping its eye on the real prize: renewing piety among Muslims and indoctrinating them with a strong sense of Islamic community that is global in scope.

Tablighi Jamaat is singularly silent on Islamic terror incidents and is never known to have publicly condemned such jihadi acts. However its literal and orthodox insistence appears to be preparing a wide swathe of Muslim populations in countries it is allowed to operate towards first and acceptance of the historical claims of core texts of Islam, through its Quran and ahadith, and through this, secondly an acceptance of the violent, genocidal jihad waged by founders of Islam as proudly recorded or claimed in ahadith and Sira, or biographies of the founder of Islam.

Shoe bomber Richard Reid for attempted transatlantic airline bombing (2001), Jose Padilla for attempted dirty bomb manufacturing (2002) (Jane Perlez, “Pakistani Group, Suspected by West Jihadist Ties, Holds Conclave Despite Ban”, The New York Times, November 19, 2007,) in New York City, Barcelona terror plot (2008) (Kathryn Haahr, “Spanish Police Arrest Jamaat al-Tabligh Members in Bomb Threat”, Terrorism Focus Volume: 5 Issue: 6, February 13, 2000) and arrest of American Taliban John Walker Lindh in Afghanistan (2001) (Susan Sach, “A Muslim Missionary Group Draws New Scrutiny in US”, The New York Times, July 14, 2003), western Muslims involved in planning of terrorist attacks in the US, such as Portland Seven (2002), and Lackawanna Six (2002) all had one way or other been linked to Tablighi Jamaat and its proselytization.

French authorities have repeatedly blamed Tablighi Jamaat for promoting extremism as they found  Tablighi involvement in more than 80 percent of cases. (Burton and Stewart) Pakistan is considered the primary base of Tablighis because of possible access and recruitment among upper echelons of Pakistani civil and military power structures.  Several high ranking politicians like  Pakistani president Rafiq Tarrar, during Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff’s second term (1996-99), was active Tablighis. According to Riaz ul Hassan, former PM Nawaz Sharif during his second tenure (1996-99) visited Tablighi congregation at Raiwand, Lahore and had requested Tablighi Jamaat’s leader Omar Palanpuri, an Indian, to convince Sipah-e-Sahaba and its splinter group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) to end their violent anti-Shia terror campaign. The Tablighi leader replied, “there should always be a hot wire along with a cold one to light up the bulb’. (Riaz ul Hassan, “An insider’s account”, View Point Online, Hassan)

Former Pakistani intelligence chief (DG-ISI) Lt General Javed Nasir was an active Tablighi during his tenure (1995-97) and supported jihadis in Bosnia and Kashmir.(Khaled Ahmed, What did Husain Haqqani write?”, The Express Tribune, June 2, 2012, Khaled Ahmed ) Several members of 1995 attempted military coup in Pakistan against Benazir Bhutto were Tablighis. (Saba Imtiaz, “Tabligi cleric’s political meetings raise eyebrows”, The Express Tribune, August 22, 2011)  During Benazir Bhutto’s second term (1993-96), a group of jihadi officers collaborated with HuJI to try and overthrow her in 1995. Investigations found the Islamist officers were influenced by Jihad bi-al Saif (Jihad by Sword) an offshoot of Tablighi Jamaat.( Burton and Stewart )

Tablighi Jamaat’s missionaries who were then actively recruiting volunteers to fight the anti-Soviet jihad, were invited allegedly to Pakistan Military Academy during 1980s, to indoctrinate and convert the officers to Deobandi Islam (Shuja Nawaz, Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army and the Wars Within, Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2008). But the official pretension of recruitment only for a defensive pseudo-nationalist cause, is falsified by HuJI being founded by among others, Tablighi Jamaat members Qari Saifullah Akhter and Fazal ur Rehman Khalil. It was from the platform of HuJI that other jihadist organizations such as HuM, JeM and SSP/LJ came into being (Alex Alexiev, “Tablighi Jamaat: Jihad’s Stealthy Legions”, The Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2005, pp.3-11). Thus the pseudo-nationalist pretension of Pakistani mobilisation was in reality a cover for wider transnational jihad not aimed only at Afghanistan, and the ideological grounding by Tablighi Jamaat appears to sharpen rather than lessen the urge for jihad among Muslims.

Jamaat Islami and JUI factions also have close interaction with Tablighi Jamaat with many having dual membership, and Tablighi Jamaat’s annual congregations are regularly attended by these parties’ leaders. Tablighi Jamaat’s claimed apolitical non-violent character is perhaps merely a part of Islamic core tradition of  tactical hiding of militant agenda when revelation may jeopardise long term goals. But Islam’s core as politics and state power could not stay hidden forever, and during 2002 general elections Tablighi Jamaat announced its support for Muthaida Majlis-e-Amal, the alliance of Islamist parties which formed provincial government in KPK province and implemented its Islamist agenda, and is seen as promoting resurgence of Afghan Taliban and formation of Tehrik Taliban (TTP).

Tablighi Jamaat has been linked to  ‘American Taliban’ John Walker Lindh, Jose Omer Padila, David Hook ‘the Australian Taliban’, and Richard Reid ‘the Shoe Bomber’. (Muhammad Amir Rana, “Tablighi Jamaat: Discourse and Challenges”, Conflict and Peace Studies, April-June 2009, Volume 2, Number 2, Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, p. 79.)

Thus the more intense proselytisation by Tablighi Jamaat type of transnational Islamic orthodoxification movements, allowed and even protected or sponsored actively by all ends of the Bangladeshi political spectrum, and even its state infrastructure, the possible jihadi penetration of the state coercive forces (BDR uprising), indicates both that Bangladeshi Muslim society in itself had the characteristics that welcomed radicalisation and in turn made it attractive for first “purification” and literalism based on the texts and claimed narratives of  jihad campaigns and tactical or strategic practices of conflict of the founder of Islam – by organisations like Tablighis.

Bangladesh will turn increasingly jihadi. All its “secular” portions, minority numerically anyway, will either be killed or forced to flee. Its weaker Hindu, Buddhist, Christian minorities either converted or exiled – possibly mostly the men, while the women will be kept behind by jihadi Bangladeshis as sex-slaves, as they did during the Noakhali genocide.

Bangladesh, Pakistan, and even parts of Nepal, Myanmar are being activated in a systematic and long term manner by subcontinental components of transnational jihad, whose ideological leadership or the necessary theological framework to carry out practical implementation of jihad, appears to be coming from the entire subcontinent including those ulama in India connected to not only the Deobandi spectrum but also Barelvis.

Only Indian Hindus have the only remaining chance to fight this back and in fact reverse the process into a cleansing of Islam and Islamic jihadi infrastructure from the entire subcontinent. For various reasons the current Indian state is a confused state ob the question of Islam (which is a different discussion). The Indian army has been extended from the Raj imperial framework of excess “secularism” which was a cover to keep the army alienated from the native majority and thus make it easier to keep the people subjugated to the regime. Such an army will be incapable of dealing with the psychologically sophisticated jihadi armies of the current era. Hindus should learn to organise themselves for defence militarily in all the ways necessary to tackle forces built along ISIS(IL), AQ lines without relying too much on existing state armies and defences.

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CounterThoughts – 4: Bharatya nationhood and Yogendra Yadav’s neo-Stracheyism

Posted on March 3, 2015. Filed under: Buddhists, Hindu, Historians with political agenda, History, India, Indian National Congress, Islam, Islamic propaganda, Israel, Left, neoimperialism, Pakistan, religion, Russia, terrorism, UK, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

John Strachey, the iconic colonial administrator and so-called liberal theoretician posed the question “What is India? What does the name India really signify?” and answered it as

“The answer that I have sometimes given sounds paradoxical, but it is true. There is no such country, and this is the first and most essential fact about India that can be learned….India is a name which we give to a great region…there is not, and never was an India, or even a country of India, possessing, according to European ideas, any sort of unity, physical, political, social, or religious; no Indian nation, no “people of India,” of which we hear so much” [John Strachey, India: Its Administration and Progress, 4th ed. London, 1911, 1-5.]

Yogendra Yadav, http://ibnlive.in.com/news/india-is-a-statenation-not-a-nationstate-yogendra-yadav/417588-55.html uses Strachey in a dangerous game of justifying the centrifugal forces generated by persistent imperialist religions and ideologies which have remained foreign to Bharat by their own declared identification with politic-military-cultural centres of power and transnational intrigue situated outside the subcontinent’s geography.

Yadav’s article itself is a textbook illustration as to how Indian anti-Hindu humanities academics spin their fantastic narratives of Bharat’s past and even history of whatever period of whatever part of the world they cite to support their hidden political agenda. But refuting and showing up the fallacies, misrepresentations and gross suppression of historical realities in Yadav’s article will itself need another blog post. So here I will concentrate on giving the positive counter-arguments rather than the negative ones to simply refute him. During the course of these arguments one should be able to see the hilarious contradictions of Yadav’s pompous statements about India’s past, and even his lack of knowledge of the supposed “diversity-worshiper Congress leadership of the freedom movement”.

Briefly, Yadav’s tactics lies in mischievous and rather academically dubious silence on why the Brit Isles, or Spain, or Italy remained unified while Yugoslavia, USSR splintered, even though sociologically all had comparable “deep” identity diversities. Yadava’s mischief also lies in completely avoiding the role of religion behind state and unity and inter-religious rivalry in the disintegrations he blames the idea of nation-states on. However lets leave Yadav behind for a moment and look into the issues involved.

For John Seeley “the fundamental fact then is that India had no jealousy of the foreigner because India had no sense whatever of national unity, because there was no India and therefore, properly speaking, no foreigner” [John Seeley, The Expansion of England, London, 1882, 161.]

The same Seeley however saw in Brahmanism the seed of Indian nationalism ” After this victory [over Buddhism] Brahmanism had to resist the assault of another powerful aggressive religion, before which Zoroastrianism had already fallen and even Christianity… had to retreat some steps, Mohammedanism. Here again it held its own…Now religion seems to me to be the strongest and most important of all the elements which  go to constitute nationality, and this element exists in India” [Expansion of England, 1882, p.15].

However, the viewpoint of the new nationalist thinking in India was radically different with an insight either not available or unpalatable for the imperialist and racist European mind.

Gandhiji, then still in South Africa in 1909, wrote in “Hind Swaraj”: “The English have taught us that we were not a nation before and it will require centuries before we became one nation. This is without foundation. We were one nation before they came to India. One thought inspired us. Our mode of life was the same. It was because we were one nation that they were able to establish one kingdom.” [M. K. Gandhi-Hindu Dharma, Ahmedabad, 1950, p. 56].

The same year, Bengali historian Radha Kumud Mukerji read a paper before the Dawn Society, Calcutta, presenting his “scientific” findings on the “Fundamental Unity of India”. An expanded form of this essay was published from London in 1913. Bipin Chandra Pal wrote on his own interpretation of “nationalism” in 1912, in his monthly journal, ‘The Hindu Review’ under the title ‘Hindu Nationalism: What It Stands For’ followed by another article ‘Nationalism and Politics’ in May 1913.  His thesis was that European nationalism, being isolationist and materialist in nature was anti-humanity, while the Indian nationalism represented a higher stage of group consciousness and was a positive step towards human brotherhood and spirituality. In his own words, Hindu nationalism stood for – “God, Humanity and the Motherland” [B.C. Pal, Nationality and Empire, Calcutta, 1916.  22-48, 73-112].

For Sukumar Dutt “A mind free from western conception of nationality is absolutely necessary to comprehend the problems of Indian Nationality” (p.18) because “it is difficult for a western mind to grasp the order of the ideas, unknown in European history, which has evolved this unique conception of the spiritual unity of India.” [Sukumar Dutt, Problems of Indian Nationality, Calcutta, 1926, p.17]

For those who do not believe in the existence of any “nation” of Indians in the past and  throw all these into the “garbage heap” as “Hindu fundamentalists” living in their “dream world”, there are people who cannot fit the bill of “Hindu revivalism” by any stretch of imagination, holding similar views on nationalism.

However, already in the backdrop of experiences of WWI, in the 1920’s the three theoreticians, Ramsay Muir, G.P. Gooch, and MacDougall rejected the old definition based on five unities. MacDougall defined it as a ‘group consciousness’ [The Group Mind, London, 1920, p.100]. G.P Gooch [Nationalism, London 1920] was explicit, “The core of nationalism is group consciousness[….]. neither the occupation of a well defined area, nor community of race, language, religion, government or economic interests are indispensable to national self-consciousness” (p. 5-6). Ramsay Muir wrote “Nationality, then, is an elusive idea, difficult to define[….] Its essence is a sentiment”. [Nationalism and Internationalism, London, 1919].

In “Nationalism: A religion” [C.J.H Hayes, New York, 1960], Carlton Hayes concludes  “In simplest terms nationalism may be defined as a fusion of patriotism with a consciousness of nationality” (p. 2) and that “A nationality receives its impress, its character, its individuality from cultural and historical forces (p. 3)….historical tradition means an accumulation of remembered or imagined experiences of the past” (p. 4). Hayes defines patriotism “as a peoples’ territorial past, its ancestral soil, involving a popular, sentimental regard for a homeland where one’s forefathers lived and are buried or cremated” (p. 4).

Rejecting the nineteenth Century belief that nationalism was a political phenomenon and the existence of State was a prerequisite in nation-formation, Hayes writes, “If we are to grasp what a nationality is, we must avoid confusing it with state or nation” (p. 6). Accepting the idea of cultural nationalism, Hayes writes, “Cultural nationalism may exist with or without political nationalism. For, nationalities can do and exist for fairly long periods without political unity and independence.”

Hans Kohn, [The Idea of Nationalism, 1944] concludes that the nature of the processes of nation formation in Europe and Asia was not the same. In Europe ‘state’ was mainly instrumental in nation formation, while in Asia nationalism had cultural origins. Even political unity of Germany and Italy was preceded by vigorous intellectual and cultural movements led by Herder, Goethe and Kant, and Mazzini. Regarding patriotism, Hayes writes, “Loyalty to familiar places is relatively natural, but it requires artificial effort-purposeful conscious education and training to render men loyal to the sum total of places unfamiliar as well as familiar in an entire country inhabited by his nationality” (p. 9). That means that the spirit of patriotism and national consciousness does not permeate all sections of the population in the same degree at a given point of time. To quote Hayes again, “only through an intensive and extensive educational process will a local group of people become thoroughly aware of their entire nationality and supremely loyal to it” (p. 10).

Every Purana text contains a section called Bhuvan Kosh, in which the boundaries of the land called Bharatavarsha are clearly defined and its progeny is given a common name Bharati. A list of all the Janapadas scattered all over the country is given along with the lists of rivers and mountains. A smaller list of seven holy rivers, mountains and cities symbolizing the unity of the land are given there. These slokas were meant for daily recital. List of “punyasthan” or tirthas are explicitly given in the Puranas as well as Mahabharata. These pilgrim centers cover the whole land.

This devotion to the land is not confined to its physical or material aspect only. Vishnu Purana states that the gods in heaven also feel envious of those who are born in the land of Bharatavarsha because the gods after the expiry of their merits will have to take rebirth on the earth while those born in Bharata will be able to transcend the cycle of rebirth. Chapter 9 of the Bhishmaparva in Mahabharata describes Bharatavarsha. While describing the greatness of Bharatavarsha the narrator gives a long list of ancient kings who loved this land – combining the very modern elements of “patriotism, love of the land”.

Thus, we find that all the ingredients of the group consciousness called nationalism are present here. This consciousness of the geographical unity exists in the Samkalpa mantra meant to be part of daily prayers and was recited at the beginning of every sacred act or ritual. Dr. Radha Kumud Mookerji goes to the extent “India was preaching the gospel of nationalism when Europe was passing through what has been aptly called the Dark Age of her history, and was labouring under the travails of a new birth”. [Nationalism in Hindu Culture, London 1921, 2nd Edition 1957, p. 47]

Asokan inscriptions use a common dialect and script with minor regional variations addressed to the subjects. They use the term Jambudvipa. The Samkalpa mantra treats Bharat Khande or Varsh as a part of Jambudvipa. Kautilya’s Arthashastra, usually thought to be composed in the 4th Century B.C., in defining the territory to be conquered by a Chakravarti King defines it as the land between the Himalayas and the ocean from north to south and equivalent in span of eight thousand miles from east to west. [Book 9, Chapter 1, Prakarana 135-136 -R.D.Shyamasastry]. Mukherji was of the opinion that the conception of a single power dominating the whole country had not originated with Chandragupta Maurya or Kautilya but must have preexisted. Aitreya Brahmana (VIII 15) repeats the dictum that there should be only one ruler of this Prithvi up to the ocean.

In both the above references the word Prithvi has been used as the name of the country. In Mahagovindsutta of Diggha Nikaya (currently held to be the oldest portion of Buddhist Tripitakakas) “Maha Prithvi” name has been given to the land whose shape has been compared with that of a bullock cart which happens to be rectangular in the north and conical in the south. (Rahul Sankrityayana identifies this with Bharat). Therefore the word Prithvi could not have been used for the whole earth beyond Bharatavarsha.

The Prithvi Sukta of Atharva Veda (XII.I) uses the common word Bhumi for land, but uses Prithvi for that particular territory which was later called Jambudivpa or Bharatavarsha. Here, Prithvi is clearly identified with the Vedic history and culture. This Sukta states that this is the land where our ancestors displayed their valour, where gods defeated the Asuras; where our gods Ashwinis, Vishnu and Indra, the husband of Sachi performed their divine feats; it is the land where sacrifices are performed, for them altars are established, where our sacrificial posts stand erect where five classes of men (four varnas and fifth the Nishad) live; this land which is sustained by Dharma where we are protected by god Indra himself; where we offer ghee to the Agni, who acts as our messenger to the gods. It is the land where men offer their oblations to the gods in sacrifices and relish the remains of the sacrificial offerings. Here Indra destroys the enemies of gods, the Asuras and the demon Vrtra. This is the land where pillars (Yupas) are erected for the Sacrifices and where the Rishis chant the mantras of Rigveda Samaveda and Yajurveda, where Indra is offered Somarasa. The land, where ancient Rishis sang divine songs, where they performed seven sattras with Yajnas and Tapas. This is the land where men move in their chariots and bullock carts on the roads where Sabhas and Samitis function in the villages.

Although the Prithvi Sukta does not give exact boundaries of the land, but its citing Himalayas, Sindhu, the six seasons, the flora and fauna, agriculture and crafts all point to a geographical  entity identified as “Bharatavarsha”. Prithvi Sukta uses the word “bhumi” to denote ‘land’ while the word Prithvi denotes its name and expresses a deep sense of affiliation and identification with all the living and non-living attributes of this “land”. It repeatedly reminds us that this “motherland” sustains, feeds and gives refuge even after death. Therefore, this land is our mother and “we are her sons” (12th stanza), because it feeds us just like a “mother” (10-th stanza). Prithvi Sukta acknowledges different dialects and different norms of behaviour according to their own regions, but this motherland just like a “cow”, “feeds them all with her milk without any distinction” (45-th stanza).

The opening verse of the Prithvi Sukta mentions those values and ideals which sustain this land called Prithvi : Truth, Cosmic Law, Initiation, Penance, Veda and Sacrifice. The name Prithvi, itself could have originated from king Prithu (supposed to have started agriculture on the land) indicating a conscious connection of civilization and culture.

Was there a concept of early geographical core? Manu Smriti gives four increasing spheres of influence. As the core, Manu Smriti (II. 18-19) states that the land between the divine rivers Saraswati and Drishadvati was created by the gods themselves and was known by the name Brahmavarta. In this land the code of conduct transmitted by the tradition in regular succession from generation to generation was seen as the noble code of conduct for all varnas”.

As the next circle of expansion, Manusmriti mentions (II. 20-21) the name of Brahmarshi Desh which included the Janapadas of Matsya, Kurukshetra, Panchala and Shurasena. Manusmriti declares that the people born in this land were the torch bearers in the realm of human conduct and therefore all the inhabitants of Prithvi should learn the lessons in character and conduct from them (Manu II. 20-21).

The next expansion circle is named Madhyadesa in Manusmriti (II. 22), covering the land between Himalaya and Vindhya mountains from north to south and to the west of Prayag in the east and to the east of Vinsana in the west, (the place where river Saraswati is believed to have disappeared).

The fourth and the last expansion circle mentioned by Manu Smriti was called Aryavarta, i.e. the land of the Aryas. It was spread from eastern sea to the western sea and from Himalaya Mountain in the north upto river Narmada in the south. This pure land is worthy of performing sacrifices (yajna) and the black antelope, the symbol of sacrifice, could roam there freely. The lands beyond Aryavarta are impure, i.e. not yet part of the cultural stream. (Manu II. 22-23).

The etymology of the word Arya also includes the meaning ‘agriculture’ as well as its use as a qualitative meaning “noble, respectable, higher” in classical Sanskrit and Praakrit texts. Rigvedic “Aryanise the whole world”, could there have meant a civilizational process leading to the spread of an advanced culture and this is also reflected in the early Buddhist and Jain texts. The story of Mathav Videgh following the march of Sacrificial fire from the bank of the river Saraswati to the banks of the river Sadanira (Satapath Brahman) also indicates that it was a cultural process and not a racial one.

Gandhiji wrote in Hind Swaraj (1909). “Our leading men traveled throughout India either on foot or in bullock-carts………. what do you think could have been the intention of those farseeing ancestors of ours who established Setuabandh  in the south, Jagannath in the East and Hardwar in the North as places of pilgrimage? You will admit they were no fools. They knew that worship of God could have been performed just as well at home. They taught us that those whose hearts were aglow with righteousness had the Ganga in their own homes….But they saw that India was one undivided land so made by nature. They, therefore, argued that it must be one nation. Arguing thus, they established holy places in various parts of India, and fired the people with idea of nationality in a manner unknown in other parts of the world”. (M.K. Gandhi. Hind Swaraj, Chap. 9, Hindu Dharma, Ahmedabad 1950, p. 56).

If we are looking for “historical awareness of the need to defend borders as sign of awareness of nationhood” we are looking for something that will be hard to find not only in India but even across the world.

Start with UK. Apparently one tribal king invited the Romans in, and even left his inheritance to them, while his queen led other tribes against the Romans. Lots of English Breton tribal chiefs joined in with the Romans, and “aristocracy’s” habits were “Romanized”. But then, Hadrian built a wall cutting off Scots and Picts. When Saxons came in, they had been invited in as mercenaries by English kings who had risen up after the departure of the Romans. When they took land for themselves and tried to expand, the Welsh – predominantly perhaps Romano-Breton tried to fight them at their border – which was where Wales ended. And the distinction of Welsh, Scottish and Irish identities continued with bloody fanfare well into the early modern. So parts of UK were not conscious of their modern “borders” well into the early modern. But do we find strands of commonality – yes, starting from Bede’s narrative – monks and Christianity crossed “borders”, and were accepted as part of a “national” awareness distinguishing the “islanders” from that of the mainland or from the “Irish”.

Think of the Germans. At least six different tribes are mentioned by Tacitus, and we know mostly of their early history from their “enemies”. We have explicit references to sections of German tribes collaborating with the Romans against other German tribes, and not always defending their modern “borders”. Until modern German unification, the constituents of “German nation” existed in “elusive” mistiness of literature, myth and legends.

All through Europe, even in the Russia under the Golden Horde and then under the early Tsars, we do not always see a consciousness of “borders to be defended” in the modern sense. Whole groups, fought to defend themselves and survive, or migrated en-masse to preserve themselves. What was more important was survival of their “way of life”, their culture, and their “civilization” – whatever that “civilization” could be.

We dont even see that “defending the border” as part of “national/civilizational” awareness even in the Islamic regimes of Arabia, Iraq and Iran.

What is today our official “border” need not be our border in the future. If in the past that “border” had shrunk inwards, in the future it can expand. The crucial point was preservation of the core in times of adversity and expansion in favourable times – or when situation could be made “favourable”.

When hard-pressed in the north, it became a choice of “fight/flight”, and at some point they had to decide painfully what took priority – pride and annihilation, or “slinking away” to preserve your texts and the best continuing mechanism of “culture” – living, practicing humans. No wonder, so many of the Sanskrit texts were recovered from the “South”.

Borders should be taken as temporary compromises in space-time, to keep identities in equilibrium. When needed “borders” should be changed, even expanded – not “identities”.

 

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Studying Priyamvada Gopal : how to promote imperialism under an anti-fascist mask.

Posted on April 21, 2014. Filed under: Antisemitism, Arab, Buddhists, Christians, Communist, diaspora, Gaza, Hindu, Historians with political agenda, History, India, Indian National Congress, Islam, Islamic propaganda, Israel, Jew, Jihad, Kashmir, Kashmiri Pundit, Left, Macaulay, Marxism, Muslims, neoimperialism, Pakistan, Palestine, Politics, rape, religion, Salafi, Saudi, slavery, Sunni, Syria, Taleban, terrorism, UK, Uncategorized, USA, Wahabi |

 

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/14/narendra-modi-extremism-india

Priymavada Gopal’s opening piece in Guardian runs as follows:

Imagine this. A pogrom takes place in a foreign country targeting a minority group, say Christians, with hundreds brutally killed by rampaging mobs, many mutilated and raped, and foetuses removed from pregnant women. Thousands flee destroyed homes. The provincial leader on whose watch these events take place is a politician with open links to extremist Islamist organisations. Three holidaying British citizens are among the massacred. Allegations emerge that this politician’s language helped foment the massacres. With one of his cabinet jailed for her role in the pogroms he becomes the frontrunner to lead this increasingly powerful country. Would you worry?

Yes, is the likely answer, and so you should. In reality, the country is India, the extremists are Hindus, the 2002 Gujarat pogroms targeted Muslims, and the leader in question is Narendra Modi.

It is highly revealing to see how Gopal’s use of English carefully transforms, transmutes and transfers guilt and horror from a widely obvious violent religious movement to another with which she would otherwise have failed to establish any comparative basis. The violent scenario becomes her equation between two religious communities by which she can serve her dual purpose of reducing Jihadi guilt and responsibility on one hand, and raise the other community to the same violent status. “Removing foetuses” is an allegation that is typically dismissed by Indian “Thaparite” historians when they appear historically, as being carried out by Islamist mobs – as in the Moplah rebellion of the 1920’s or thr Partition riots.

In her hypothetical Islamic scenario, she does not equate “muslim” with “extremist”. In her follow on comment she makes that jump, subtly, and glibly – casually bracketing “Hindu” with “extremist”. But the most insidious and devious part of her argument lies in noting that she paints the “victim” in her scenario – as “Christian minority”. She did not say just any minority – for example Buddhist minorities, Sikh minorities and Hindu minorities are – and continue to be targets of Islamist attacks. But Gopal must only mention “Christian minorities”. She knows she is actually appealing to the Christian majoritarian audience of UK, trying to tickle their own underlying religiosity and religious anger and transfer it against the “Hindu”.

“As the candidate of the far-right Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in current elections he does not dispute his or its links to the extremist Hindu network known as the Sangh Parivar.”

It is interesting to note the casual application of adjectives, which do not need to be, and are never qualified. Gopal thinks that extremist is such a well-defined term, that mere slapping it on anyone from such a high and undisputed authority as herself – is enough. Extremist in one school, one religion, one nation – become moderates, average, centrist in another school, religion, nation. Again Gopal is very careful in disjuncting “Muslim” from “extremist” – she reserves such joining to Muslim only by adding an “ist”, creating the linguistic illusion of the two being separate. No such kindnesses for the “Hindu” though. In the eyes of enemies of the Hindu, any assertiveness or protest or attempt at defining itself independently of self-appointed experts form outside – who however carry their own hidden religious agenda by criticizing religions/cultures selectively – is a criminal offense.

“Modi was a leading activist for its secretive and militaristic arm, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – whose founder expressed admiration for Hitler, ideologies of racial purity and the virtues of fascism. It is an organisation that, on a good day, looks like the British National party but can operate more like Nazi militias. Known for an authoritarian leadership style, Modi’s only expression of regret for the pogroms compared them to a car running over a puppy, while he labelled Muslim relief camps “baby-making factories”.”

Interestingly, the roots of the current Palestinian movement against Israel, and Jews – has its roots in a certain Grand Mufti of Palestine, who became a close associate, admirer of Hitler, and collaborator of the Nazis. This Grand Mufti had however been helped to get selected to his post by the dubious role of the then British administrator of Palestine. Does this make the British, Christians, current Palestinian movements, any better than the RSS? The Palestinian groups still express admiration for Hitler, for example  http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=655

“Hitler awaited me. I said, ‘You’re the one who killed the Jews?’
He [Hitler] said: ‘Yes. I killed them so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world. And what I ask of you is to be resilient and patient, concerning the suffering that Palestine is experiencing at their hands.’
I said [to Hitler]: ‘Thanks for the advice.’ “ http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=655&doc_id=6029

“Had Hitler won, Nazism would be an honor that people would be competing to belong to, and not a disgrace punishable by law. Churchill and Roosevelt were alcoholics, and in their youth were questioned more than once about brawls they started in bars, while Hitler hated alcohol and was not addicted to it. He used to go to sleep early and wake up early, and was very organized. These facts have been turned upside down as well, and Satan has been dressed with angels’ wings…”

“Palestinians whose first name is “Hitler”: Hitler Salah [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 28, 2005], Hitler Abu-Alrab [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 27, 2005], Hitler Mahmud Abu-Libda [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec.18, 2000.] Articles reflecting admiration for Hitler have appeared in both Fatah and Hamas newspapers.”

Millions go as aid and funds diverted for Palestinian movements from UK. Does Gopal lambast them similarly? no. Why not? Because doing so would not be in the interests of the core of the British establishment thinking– which still has its pro-Sunni, Wahabi, anti-Semitic bent of the early 20th century.

“Hindu extremism is rooted in a macho 20th-century response to British colonialism which mocked Hindu “effeminacy”. It is rarely scrutinised in the west, partly because Hinduism is stereotyped as gentle and non-violent in the image of Gandhi – who, ironically, was assassinated by an RSS activist – and benefits from the disproportionate attention given to Islamist violence, which enables other pernicious extremisms to slip under the radar.”

Gopal obviosuly covers up her glee at supposed “hindu effiminacy” just as newly enslaved woman in Islamic hands were often reported to be over-zealous to show her devotion to new masters by sharing in the mocking or humiliation of her own kin. Actually, Gopal’s shoddy scholarship and very poor or rather dishonest understanding of colonial history shows in her lack of reference to studies of militancy within the Hindu long before the British arrived, as in Warrior Ascetics and Indian Empires By William R. Pinch published from within the very Cambridge that Gopal struts about.

“For all its anti-British rhetoric, Hindu nationalism played no significant role in either the freedom struggle or in creating the secular constitution of independent India. But over recent decades, the notion of Hindutva (Hindu-ness) has grown in force along with the unfettered capitalism it espouses: it is responsible for vicious attacks on Christians, murdering missionaries and calling for Muslims to choose between Pakistan and the graveyard. And any victory for a proponent of a nuclearised Hindu India where homosexuality remains criminalised will have consequences that will be felt well beyond the subcontinent, not least in multicultural Britain.”

As for pontificating on who played no significant role in freedom struggle : Gopal follows the cue of Congress favoured so-called professional historians who see political agenda in everyone else other than themselves. The latter served the dual purpose of reassuring the British that the threat of militancy or militancy itself among the Hindu having any role in the removal of the Brits – because the Brits have always been mortally scared of appearing to have been militarily or violently thrashed. It fed into their ancient paranoia of appearing weak before continental brothers. The other purpose was legitimizing the dynastic continuity of British Raj through the Nehruvian one, by projecting Nehru and Gandhi as the sole harbingers of Indian freedom – erasing and denigrating all other threads of Indian freedom struggle and its success. Such an agitprop and construction of the colonial-anti-colonial story served the purposes of all three players in that game – British imperialism, the north-Indian mullah-Hindu-elite collaborator class developing within the Sultanate-Mughal spectrum represented by Motilal and Jawaharlal, and the mercantile fledgling capitalists of India. Making Gandhi the sole victor, then was strategy of redefining the Hindu as passively accepting of all that is thrown against, tolerant of everything and everyone so that the extreme exclusivism, culture erasure memes of Christianity and Islam could continue unhindered even after their British patrons were gone from direct power. Gopal simply parrots the line.

Interestingly, and expectedly, Gopal shows her lack of integrity by not mentioning that the anti-homosexual laws were actually British laws imposed on Hindus – in deference to Islamic and Christian demands when the laws were being formalized for the Raj, and that the current strongest opposition against decriminalizing homosexuality comes from Muslim leadership in India. It is Hindus who have some traditional space for the third “gender”, not Muslims – some of whose voice have already promised alternatives under Islamic law for India. Gopal slyly makes an Islamic and Christian problem into a Hindu one, and then pitched it on her chosen target. When mentioning “vicious attacks” on Christian missionaries, she quietly avoids the role and effect of such missionaries on simple believing communities, the fraud and financial promises used to manipulate and win converts, and the attacks on and exclusion of Hindus by missionaries. When Hindu “missionaries” go for similar work – they are murdered too, and their activity is touted by the likes of Gopal as disruptive and therefore their murder somehow legitimate. Gopal has absorbed British ruling classes’ traditional duplicity rather well.

“The Gujarat pogroms took place after an unexplained fire on a train, which killed Hindu activists and was swiftly attributed by Modi to Islamic forces and Pakistan. Allegations remain that he deliberately prevented authorities from intervening. Contrary to claims, India’s supreme court has not issued him a “clean chit” but criticised him as a “modern-day Nero”.”

For Gopal – the “fire” is “unexplained”, not even unfortunate – or no commiseration expressed for those burned. Notwithstanding that the commission reports did not declare the fire “unexplained”, but rather suspicious. However, the suspicious reports were generated to make it appear that the burned passengers set fire to themselves – so that arson was so strongly suspected and secretly acknowledged by the anti-Hindu forces in the country and abroad – that they swung into action to pitch the blame on the “hindu” themselves. Gopal mentions allegations in a neat weave to create the impression that they were somehow not mere allegations but truths.

“Modi’s moral culpability was recognised by both Britain and the US in denying him a travel visa for several years. Britain has also been attempting, without success, to get justice for the three Britons – Saeed and Sakil Dawood, and Mohammed Aswat – who were chased, cornered and brutally killed, their bodies burned beyond recognition. Now, disgracefully, trumped by British corporate interests in India, many owned by British Indians, governmental links with Modi have been re-established. This rehabilitation is the result of hard lobbying by some Hindutva-friendly politicians and the many front organisations that operate in Britain. We are urged to focus on corporate-friendly Modi, the pogroms being a little mishap to be shrugged off.”

Gopal is at her ridiculous shamelessness best : the US/UK’s rejection of Modi somehow reinforces the guilt of Modi. Is she prepared to do the same for US/UK’s virtual rejection of Palestinian demands and accept that it proves Palestinian guilt? Or UK’s virtual clean chit to allow South American genocide criminals to move freely in UK shows their lack of guilt? Gopal claims to have been at the forefront of fighting fascism – but fails to recognize the reach, spread and power of fascism in the form of Islamism. She want to equate Islamism with Hindu reassertion – and this is where she reveals her secret agenda.

“We should note with concern that some charitable funds raised in Britain, including for the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, went to charities run by Hindu extremists who systematically foment hate. So too must we care about the “saffron pound” sent by long-distance Hindu “patriots” to fund extremism. But investigating Britain’s Hindu zealots doesn’t have the same political currency as pronouncements about getting “tough” on Islamic extremism.

A Modi victory will strengthen the arm of chauvinist forces in Britain, which have already had successes such as shutting down exhibitions, quashing caste discrimination laws, and withdrawing Royal Mail stamps. Under Modi there will be no progress on Kashmir, which will also have far-reaching violent consequences. In the face of a global resurgence of the right we must be alert to all its extremist forms. Britons committed to anti-fascism must not allow their country to abdicate morality.”

The weakest part of Gopals’ argument is however her failure to establish any strong connection between a Modi victory and negative consequences for UK home territories. Shutting down of exhibitions and withdrawal of stamps is far behind the political exigencies by which the London series bombings are related to the global fascist Islamist agenda. Hindu India has little to gain out of blackmailing a puny world player like the UK whose only influence can be exercised through its big-brother the USA. Islamists on the other hand have a lot depending on the UK and vice versa. Her most concrete argument is that of Modi will stall progress on “Kashmir”. Interestingly again, Gopal shows her real affiliations and commitments by dropping the word Jammu – and making one cause with the Islamist agenda of erasing the reality of Hindu and Buddhist Jammu and Ladakh. Since she thinks “Hindu” is against “Kashmir” she is already subscribed to the idea of an Islamist Kashmir – the dream of islamists, many of whom find a niche in her very UK – and against whom she has nothing to say. Not to speak of no Guardian article from her pen about the fascism unleashed by the valley Muslims on Hindu “Kashmiris”.

Gopals’ anti-fascism is very very selective – it only finds it in Hindu reassertion, not in Islamics, or christians, or in the actions of states in the west and its Islamist allies like the Saudis, around the globe and sometimes on their own home territories – which have amounted to and continue to be so – as fascist. So at the end of the day, her shrill cry of sky-is-falling and frantic appeal to the UK to intervene in Indian politics reveals her real motivations – serve the cause of imperialism under cover of anti-fascism – the same face used in Europe and the world since the end of WWII.

 

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Indians ashamed to be Indians over the rape : confusing Indian identity with foreign misogyny

Posted on January 6, 2013. Filed under: Arab, Buddhists, Delhi, Hindu, Historians with political agenda, History, India, Islam, Islamic propaganda, Jihad, Pakistan, rape, religion, terrorism |

Prequel : from a friend’s note saw that the UK Daily Mirror http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/india-gang-rape-victims-father-1521289 claims the name of the target of the gangrape to be Jyothi Singh Pandey. The first name means “light/illumination/brightness”. The middle name is a common patronymic/family/clan name of Northern India, meaning “Lion”, and the last name derives from Hindu “Pundit”, almost surely assigned only to “Brahmin” lineages. In India, we can now hear the bandying of “rape of Dalit girls” as a special issue – as if in Indian identity politics, even “rape” can be classified based on politically correct positive discrimination lines. Somehow, it appears that by the frequent throwing of a special phrase of “Dalit rape”, the rape of a Dalit girl is of a different order compared to the rape of a “Brahmin” girl. If according to tweeter allegations, the alleged minor who is alleged to have inserted the u-bar and ripped intestines by hand through the vagina, turns out to be a Muslim – then this rape flies against all the propaganda dished out by regime influence over Indian media – that it is only “repressive” “upper caste” Hindus who repress and rape minorities and “Dalits”. But again India is a strange society nowadays where people feel ashamed to be Indians over a rape, unlike most other countries whose leadership only make profound promises to “correct the situation”, but who never apologize or feel ashamed.

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan and Tech Wizard Narayana Murthy – two iconic Indians of modernity, from two opposite ends of public entertainment and economic value creation, have been reported on Indian media as supposedly having felt “ashamed to be an Indian” over the issue of the Delhi gang rape.

Women activists on TV chat shows and discussion rounds have directly or indirectly blamed “Indian traditional attitudes” for the mistreatment of Indian women. The list of complaints is long : patriarchy, religious orthodoxy, fundamentalism. The overall impression in going through the media representations is however – a definite sense of discomfort in blaming “religion” for it. The reasons are obvious, because both Islam and Christianity in India have shown their orthodox, and religiously motivated, attitudes towards the female body and the female role in society so often and so intensively – that the main target of so-called secular politics, that is “Hindutva”, cannot be singled out, and the prime favourites of secularists will also get tarred and feathered.

The real reasons as to why Indians are in a spot is because they have been forced by regime dependent and encouraged professional historiography to cover up the reality of Indian cultural development, being forced to swallow fanciful reconstructions of Indian past where foreign imperialist ideologies like Islam and colonial period European Christianity had to be shown as having immensely positively shaped and “reformed” a supposedly “backward, primitive, pagan, Brahminical, repressive” Indian society.

The brevity of this post forces me to touch upon some of the myths of Indian history – especially where it concerns women, but very briefly.

Vedic and Puranic literature show ample examples of women choosing their own husbands, having the right to approach and be “satisfied” by a man they took fancy to,  to go out on dates with other men even while having fixed longer term partners and children [the very institution of Vedic marriage rites as a contract of mutual loyalty by the sage Swetaketu – son of Uddalaka – because he did not like his own mother going out with a strange man when he was a child and his father explained that women were free to “roam” and were not be held as private property]. If a woman chose to have a child outside of marriage, she and her child were both acceptable – for example, a founder of a Brahmin lineage, Bharadwaja, was a son of his mother Mamata by her brother-in-law Brihaspati (brother of her husband), and delivered twins she carried at the same time – one from her husband, and the other from the brother-in-law. Puranic literature shows many cases of women proposing to men they fell in love with, or have clandestine marriages [the story of Shakuntala], and being recognized as founders of prestigious lineages. Brahma’s unmarried daughter Saraswati declares that she would like to go and “live” with the Gandharvas because they know how to “please” women and she is not prevented from doing so.

The two famous epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata are much lambasted by western and Indian scholars as epitomizing patriarchal attitudes and repression. The central story of Ramayana revolves around the destruction of a whole city and a king because he abducted the wife of another. But the same story also told how an “adultress” could still “come back to life” and be taken back into society (Ahalya), and how it was okay for a wife to sit through the murder of her husband to marry the brother of her husband, whom she loved and served loyally (Tara). A key feature of the Mahabharata is however that a woman could practice polyandry – with the lead characters of the five-brothers sharing one significant wife. What is not mentioned is that Mahabharata shows the prevalence of swayamvara – the open and public choice of husbands by eligible girls, and of warrior women who go and fight alongside their husbands or even without husbands.  At least two women, Satyabhama, the wife of Krishna, and Chitrangada, the wife of Arjuna – are described as having actually taken to the battlefield – with their partners/lovers/husbands.

A primary cause of the core story of the Mahabhrata war is given to be the molestation of the wife of the five-brothers in public space. Thus molestation of women was seen to be worthy of terrible retribution. In fact in a little highlighted passage, Krishna explains the reason as to why the brothers who were reluctant to shed the blood of their kin, should actually take up arms – because if their elite-status wife could be so molested, what about the protection of women in general society? They should fight the war to re-establish “dharma” which among many other things, was also supposed to ensure freedom and dignity for women. With one exception, all abduction of women, in Mahabharata is punished – one way or the other – even in a society that recognized certain types of “abduction” if ended with “honourable” marriages. Bhisma, abducts Kasi princesses to give in marriage to his nephews (by the custom of his times he had a right to be angry because his nephews had not been invited to the sayambhara of the girls), but is punished for not marrying them – even if he  did not rape or molest them – by having to die at the hands of a transgender enemy. The Kurus are destroyed horribly because their leader molested a wife.

Interestingly, women were abadhya/aghnaya – or could not be killed, even in war-situations. A commander of one side, Bhisma, drops his weapons when faced with a transgender  opponent- whom he considers a woman, and allows himself to be fatally wounded to maintain this principle of conduct of war.

Sounds oh so Brahminical and patriarchal and repressive towards women, sexuality and the female body?

Indian regimes and historians often portray the advent of Buddhism as a “liberating” and “reforming” movement that “cleansed” Indian post-Vedic society from the “evils of Brahminism”, and try to shift all blame to the Vedic as being repressive towards “caste” and “women”. I have great respects for the Buddhists, but I am intrigued by very curious features of early and later Buddhism, that go against the propaganda.

First, early Buddhist literature show two things not shared in general by the Vedic – the gradation of human work as “uttama” (good/higher) and “adhama”(evil/lower) based, presumably on whether the work involved violence or not, and the emphasis given in Buddhism to the connection between “uttama/adhama” karma to reincarnation in a better future life or lesser punishment in such future existence. This would give an early pointer as to how  and why categories of work connected to animal husbandry or butchery, or tanning would become later “untouchable”. Buddha and his disciples seem to be over-aware of “superiority” of caste. If one tries to read up the extant early Buddhist literature, one can see “Brahmana” and “Sramana”(the term reserved for Buddhist aspirants and initiates) used equivalently. Moreover the Buddha is reluctant to be born in any other caste that “Kshatryia”or “Brahmin” in his next incarnation as Maitreya – because those are the “empowered” categories of society. So even the early Buddhists did not think their movement would abolish castes and hierarchies.

The more important feature relevant for our current discussion is the attitude towards women, women’s bodies and their dress and public behaviour. Many Vinayas and early texts portray women who freely move around in public in a disparaging tone, hinting at “low moral character”. Significantly the Buddha is claimed to have been reluctant in the early days to allow women to become members of his cloister or become nuns. After a lot of appeal from the women, he is supposed to have allowed them to join on condition that they follow certain restrictions on conduct in addition to those applicable for monks. Most interestingly these conditions pay a great deal of attention as to how the female body of the nun is to be “covered up” and require the nuns to be always under the authority of a male monk.

Bhikṣunīvibhaṅga, says that a bhikṣunī “should not show her nakedness when bathing. She is advised to either bathe in a screened-off area or to wear a bathing cloth”. Also another must-wear is kaṇṭhapraticchādana, “a robe that covers the rounding (of the breasts)”.  All the Vinaya texts devote a lot of space to discussing the exact forms of coverage of different parts of the nun’s body – all adding at least two more items of covering-dress over and above the three reserved for monks.

The important thing to note here is that the nuns are segregated cloistered members of the movement, and their covering up in public is insisted upon as “setting an example” to “society” on exemplary “moral conduct”. This in turn implies that their covering up was not needed within a segregated cloister, and the  general public was less concerned about covering up – so much so that the nuns had to be sent out to set an example.

But let us see what the non-Buddhists – before the advent of the Buddhists, were doing about women. Vandhul Malla, and his wife, a couple of martial arts experts and warriors, trained Visakha, the daughter of prosperous merchants, in warfare, chariot driving, weapons and “wrestling”. This daughter of merchants, married another merchant, set up her own household away from the extended family of her husbands, and ran her own business over and above that of her husband’s. This was the lady who was very much in public life, and with many other similar independent, business or otherwise productively engaged women – who were instrumental in promoting the early Buddhist “church”. They were not Buddhists, or the society that produced them were not Buddhists.

Chinese pilgrims visiting India from the middle of the 4th to the 8th century, similarly speak of the general freedom of movement of women, and the general law-abiding nature of citizens, with not much mention of crimes against women. This is the period when Buddhism was supposed to be in retreat, under huge repression from revivalist “Brahminism”.

Many of the women activists on Indian TV have referred to how “suttee” was stamped out by colonial regimes, as a model of how to deal with “patriarchal repressive traditions”. Interestingly, even as late as the first successful Muslim raid on Sindh portion of India in 712, as per the version of Islamic chroniclers whose claims on Indian society are claimed by professional historians to be “accurate” if they show non-Muslim society in any negative light (but “exaggeration” and “boasting”  or “fanciful” if it shows Islam in negative light) – the mother of the reigning king, wife of Chach, had actually helped in the assassination of the previous king and her previous husband – because she had fallen in love with a visiting handsome young Brahmin to her husband’s court – Chach.

Note that a wife could remove her husband from power, marry her lover, without facing social hue and cry and opposition, and without being forced to commit “suttee”. She was a “Rajput” to boot too.

But with the advent of Muslims, Indian society goes quickly downhill. Rape, abduction, public humiliation and sale of captive women become the norm. Girls and women are no longer safe in the public domain, and educational or professional space is closed off for women. The extremely misogynist, and sexually commodifying memes in Islam and Sharia take over the definition of Indian womanhood. The incidence of jauhar or “suttee”, self-immolation by widows on the funeral pyre of their husbands or on separate pyres, begin to be frequently mentioned only from the advent of Islamic armies. The label of “suttee” and widow-burning however stuck to the Hindu forever.

In my “how Islam came to India” series, I have shown how Qasim’s successful raid (three previous ones had failed) had as one of its primary objectives (apart from making good the war chest) the capture and enslavement of Indian women. Thousands of Sindhi women were captured, inspected in the public like cattle, enslaved and given as rewards to jihadis or reserved for the Baghdad markets and for the private pleasure of the pious leaders of Islam around their Gulf dens. The Islamic attitude that entered India at this stage can be estimated from the Islamist side story that – Qasim was executed with typical Islamic barbarity (by being stitched within raw animal hide, and then nails driven into the bundle – the rawhide would dry up and strangulate him also at the same time). His crime : the two Sindhi princesses he had sent for the pious head of Islam – the Caliph’s personal pleasures – were found no longer to be “virgins” in the bed by the pious Caliph. Whether the girls themselves tore their hymen and accused Qasim of “rape” – as told in some versions of the story, or their hymen tore because of some other causes – the fact comes out that these enslaved girls were vulnerable to rape during transport and sale.

All those crying hoarse about “Indian” traditions, should take note of the explanatory note given as the speech by the princesses – to the effect that they warn the Caliph about not “trusting mere women” on accusations of “rape”, and that the Caliph should not have taken their word for it. This single story gives out the entire mindset of Islam that imposed itself on India.  A girl crying rape was not to be believed easily against a man’s claim of innocence. Women are manipulative and they cry rape by tearing their own hymen. The status of a woman is that of “merely a woman/slave” and hence her words did not matter. And most significantly, where the “virginity” of the woman did not matter to the repressive culture “brahmin” Chach who married a widow and happily produced children with her – in the same period – the supreme leader of Islam has his goats shaken by discovering that his captive and enslaved bed-fellow was not a “virgin”.

How did women began to become a “problem” for Hindu households? In my post on “peaceful Sufis”, I have given the details on how the famous Sufi founder of Ajmer Sahrif obtained his wife. He “dreamed” that his prophet visited him and chastised him for not “keeping sunna” (not having a wife) and promptly the local Islamic commander arranged for a regional chief’s daughter to be captured and given to him that very “night”. The Sylheti “mouthpiece of peace” from Yemen, Shah Jalal – took up swords against the local non-Muslim ruler, whose daughter Anandi “promptly fell in love with this paragon of peace with a sword in hand on the battle field itself” (what was the girl doing there?), and was “immediately” “converted” and was married on the “battlefield”.

Shams Siraj Afif (fourteenth century) write “Firoz Shah was born in the year 709 H. (1309 C.E.). His father was named Sipahsalar Rajjab, who was a brother of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq Ghazi. The three brothers, Tughlaq, Rajjab, and Abu Bakr, came from Khurasan to Delhi in the reign of Alauddin (Khalji), and that monarch took all the three in the service of the Court. The Sultan conferred upon Tughlaq the country of Dipalpur. Tughlaq was desirous that his brother Sipahsalar Rajjab should obtain in marriage the daughter of one of the Rais of Dipalpur. He was informed that the daughters of Ranamall Bhatti were very beautiful and accomplished. Tughlaq sent to Ranamall a proposal of marriage. Ranamall refused. Upon this Tughlaq proceeded to the villages (talwandi) belonging to Ranamall and demanded payment of the whole year’s revenue in a lump sum. The Muqaddams and Chaudharis were subjected to coercion. Ranamall’s people were helpless and could do nothing, for those were the days of Alauddin, and no one dared to make an outcry. One damsel was brought to Dipalpur. Before her marriage she was called Bibi Naila. On entering the house of Sipahsalar Rajjab she was styled Sultan Bibi Kadbanu. After the lapse of a few years she gave birth to Firoz shah“. If this could be accomplished by force by a regional officer, there was nothing to stop the king. In the seventeenth century, Jahangir writes in his Memoirs that after the third year of his accession, “I demanded in marriage the daughter of Jagat Singh, eldest son of Raja Man Singh (of Amer). Raja Ram Chandra Bundela was defeated, imprisoned, and subsequently released by Jahangir. Later on, says Jahangir, “I took the daughter of Ram Chandra Bandilah into my service (i.e. married her)”.

Ibn Battuta who visited India during Muhammad bin Tughlaq’s reign and stayed at the Court for a long time writes:  “At (one) time there arrived in Delhi some female infidel captives, ten of whom the Vazir sent to me. I gave one of them to the man who had brought them to me. My companion took three girls, and – I do not know what happened to the rest.” On the large scale distribution of girl slaves on the occasion of Muslim festivals like Id, he writes: “First of all, daughters of Kafir (Hindu) Rajas captured during the course of the year, come and sing and dance. Thereafter they are bestowed upon Amirs and important foreigners. After this daughters of other Kafirs dance and sing. The Sultan gives them to his brothers, relatives, sons of Maliks etc. On the second day the durbar is held in a similar fashion after Asr. Female singers are brought out. the Sultan distributes them among the Mameluke Amirs”. Thousands of non-Muslim women were distributed in the above manner in later years.

The few incidents I quoted above, are just a few among thousands of such narratives – described with pride and glee by Islamic chroniclers.  Wherever Muslims arrive for the first time in India, their chronicles show extreme surprise at the openness of Indian/Hindu womens’ public presence, their lack of “proper covering” (proper in the Islamic head-to-toe sense), and their relative freedom in society. The father of the doyen of Indian secularism – Hyder Ali, father of Tipu – is described in Nishan-i-Hyduri to have enslaved Coorgi women when he attacked Coorg – for their heinous crime of walking about bare-breasted or short dresses.

Thus it became a norm for Indian society – to be anxious and unhappy at the birth of the girl child, because the girl child brought rape, raid, and destruction of families, livelihoods, and entire communities. The girl child had to be married off early, hidden from the eager glances of every local muslim who felt it was his divine right to appropriate the beautiful of the kaffir for rape or other pleasures , and therefore not to be educated, not to be given skills to run businesses or professions, and closeted out of sunlight. Hidden away from the public place – so that even her existence did not come under the notice of Islamic hunters for female flesh.

Society takes a long time to come out of what had become a rationalization of impotence – especially if it had to be tolerated for more than a thousand years.

Indian culture is not about the violently misogynist memes of the Middle East, and Indians should not feel ashamed of their true culture – which was far different from the Islamic hybrid it is now pushed as for. It is a case of mistaken identities.

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Why is Christianity preparing the ground for Jihadi takeover

Posted on May 3, 2010. Filed under: Buddhists, Christians, Hindu, India, Iran, Islam, Islamic propaganda, Muslims, religion, terrorism, UK, USA |

Significantly unnoticed events have taken place over the last last few months :  at MIT a conference was organized by one Omar Khalidi, a staff member of MIT, who advocates separate laws for Muslims such as polygamy etc, different constituencies for Muslims to elect Muslim lawmakers, apparently has issues with Christian nature of USA and is known even by Muslim scholars as someone who selects his data to paint a picture that suits Islamic agenda. Some people are of opinion he is what one can call ‘soft’ jihadi.

The speaker list is a who’s who of  academics known for their soft corner towards Islamism. The keynote speaker is Paul Brass.  He has written several books on Hinduism whihc has been accepted as standard texts on Hinduism by many western universities. A close collaborator and fellow-traveller of the Thaparite school of Indian history (whose main thrust is to deny atrocity on non-Muslims by Muslim regimes and states in India )- is one of the leading academic activists to paint comparative pictures of Hindus vs Muslims antagonism and is supposed to be an authority on Hindu-Muslim violence. His books show an uncanny association of the word “Hindu/Hinduism” automatically with “right wing/extremists/nationalists” in close proximity or as qualifying adjectives. Read them and you will be inspired!

Read up on the other speakers and contributors mentioned and their sometimes not so much aired political positions and leanings : Angana Chatterji, Meenakshi Ganguly, Parvis Ghassem-Fachandi, Chinnaiah Jangam, Ratna Kapur, Omar Khalidi, Shafeeq R. Mahajir, Manoj Mitta, R.K. Raghavan, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Haimanti Roy, Srirupa Roy, Bish Sanyal, Ornit Shani, Mukul Sinha, Nirjhari Sinha, Arvind Verma.

They serve ironically as great catalysts for “Hindu consolidation” and acceleration towards “right”.  Moorthy Muthuswamy has studied Khalidi for his apparent influence on political parties within India with an obvious agenda of creating a separate state for Muslims within India. This fits in with perhaps a perception among a section of Jihadis and their backers that  for the next stage of Islamist expansion, resources needed can be gleaned from non-Muslims in India since the Pakistan experiment has failed to provide the resources on its own.

Now why this consistent pattern of western support for elements that bring on Islamic Jihad on non-Muslim civilizations? Maybe the key lies in a fundamental weakness of Christianity towards Islam -specifically to the Arabic Sunni sect of Islam. The problem in fact can be traced back to this weakness after we eliminate all other potential reasons.

It appears that both Islam and Christianity had been in competition over the Judaic legacy and therefore each in its own way saw Judaism proper or the community of Jews as an obstacle to this ideological supremacy.  However, ideologically they cannot go too far away from each other in the fundamentals because of this root foundation in Judaism.  The conflicts bewteen Christendom and Islam in the historical period basically starts over this claim of sole legacy and takes the form of imperialist conflict – because, both the proselytizing versions of Judaism emerged out of a practical imeprialist need for expansion.

The conflict therefore took the form of war for territory and control of productive economies and trade routes of others. To maintain the drive for this imperialist expansion, each side needed to identify the other side as “alien” and the “devil”. The peculiarity of common origins and memes however forced them to find racial divide as an identifier of alien-ness and  the enemy.

To date there has been no solid, logical refutation of Islam by Christianity except the claim that Islamics do not recognize Jesus as the sole way to salvation. Even this is problematic because Islam places Jesus as one of the principal prophets and reserves a special role for Jesus in the “end-times”.   So the Christian-Islam conflict has taken the loose and weaker basis of “race” rather than any concrete and profound difference in ideology.

It is this theoretical confusion that is clearly indicated in the responses that Christian dominated west gives to Islamic moves. Contrary to the propaganda that west’s reaction to Islamism is purely determined by economic motives, it is actually Christianity’s secret attraction for what it perhasp considers the “purity” of the Sunni Arabic extension of Judaism. For example the West has studiously cultivated the Arabs since using them  as tools against the competitors of the British  – the Ottomans.  But there would be no reason to continue preferring them over and above the Iranians long after Ottomans have been finished, and both Arabia and Iran sit over oil wealth.  Not that the west does not dip to deal with Iran when needed – as in the Contra-hostage deal.

Where does this put Christianity and Islam in the eyes of other non-revealed-tradition cultures?

In UK, judicial and executive systems enforce the law  strictly when it comes to the case of say liquidation of the “holy cow” of a Hindu temple becuase, reasonably – the cow was diseased. However the same country and system finds desecration of its prized memorial by a Muslim as not being driven by religious hatred and has allowed a symbolic violent form of expression of hatred in Islam – the throwing of the shoe (typically symbolically used against the devil), as a legitimate form of public expression.

In the USA, the California text book controversy showed that the administration and system would be reluctant to withdraw protection to  attempts to represent the non-Muslim past of India in a way that suits the Islamic agenda aginst Hindus. The same system finds a Chief Minister of an Indian state known for his strong Hindu affiliations persona non grata even though he has not yet been convicted on the charges of complicity in Hindu-Muslim violence – the main excuse given to refuse him visas. However the same administration has no problem with Omar Kahlidi’s claims which as Muthuswamy points out are based on dubious scholarship. So the “Hindu” fall foul of freedom of expression but Islamist views do not.

In India, the Christian proselytizers are not known to target the Indain Muslim communities for conversion, but Hindus. Indian Christians are also not seen as active protesters against Jihadi activities or statements by various sections of Islamists.

Alll this shows up as a secret attraction and weakness towards the Sunni-Wahabi form of Islam within Christianity of the west to the Hindus, among whom the mistrust of Christian missionaries and their motives have been increasing. Moreover the gradually increasing intervention of western states in favour of protecting the primary propaganda mechanisms of Islamists, and prevention of movements or expressions of ideological criticisms of Islam, is bound to alarm Hindus or Buddhists across South Asia.

If  Christianity cannot resolve this fundamental dilemma, it will not be too distant a day, when the Azaan will be heard from Westminster Abbey, the British Monarch may well come out of his Zenana Harem to attend Friday Prayers where the Khutba will be read extolling a new Caliph in the middle East, and the USA rechristens itself the United American Emirates.

Yes, absurd perhaps – but just imagine it for a moment and decide!

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