(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
I found myself blocked on twitter by Rajdeep Sardesai today.
My tweets to him have never been abusive; rarely personal even though there is good enough reason to be so since we shared the same newsroom in the Times of India in the 90s. But I understand that the “Freedom of Expression” is not a two-way street. Stupid, we aren’t meant to practice what we preach.
Still, I was obliged, conscience-wise, to peek into his tweets of the last four days. No, I wasn’t looking for his sermons on illegal Rohingyas. Or if he is disparaging about Bullet Train. Or if he is in the pack of the wolves dancing around the embers of Demonetization. Or if their creativity is still on its feet in stitching “Sangh Parivar” with the murder of Gauri Lankesh.
All the above issues are meant to convey their concern for India. How their heart beats for India’s proud history of welcoming refugees. How India’s economic slide kicks them in the guts. How their souls are scorched at the fanciful waste of Bullet Train. How they die a thousand deaths at the plight of “independent” journalists in today’s India.
Surely, such “conscience-keepers” of the nation would have shed a tear at the demise of Arjan Singh, Marshal of the Indian Air Force, in the Capital on Saturday. I wanted to check on Sardesai, if he has extricated himself from the morass of mud-slinging and spared a thought for the departed hero.
But I found myself blocked by Sardesai!!!
So I did the next best thing. I turned to Sagarika Ghose, his wife. Surely, the woman who has a new biography on Indira Gandhi to her name and thus, by inference, had time to research many wars of the 60s and 70s, would remember late Marshal Arjan Singh and his legendary deeds.
But there’s not a single tweet from Ms Ghose! (There of course is a retweet but that’s like registering a presence in a funeral). It’s so much like Congis–with whom her family has had a roaring stand–who rarely have had a great respect for our military heroes.
Remember the death of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw on June 27, 2008? The then present UPA dispensation in the Centre, were all missing from the funeral of India’s greatest military hero. Neither President Pratibha Patil, supreme commander of our armed forces nor Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; neither the then defence minister A.K. Antony nor the three Service chiefs attended Manekshaw’s funeral.
Manekshaw’s various run-ins with the Indira Gandhi could be the reason. I am not sure if Ms. Ghose has it mentioned in her book—those loyals who have read it must inform me. Or the book has the facts that the 1971 War hero’s status and dues were held up for decades. (It was only due to the initiative of former President APJ Kalam that a cheque of Rs 1.3 crores was sent to the late Marshal on his deathbed.)
Next I logged on to Sitaram Yechury’s twitter account. He is another one who can’t see his beloved India going to pieces under the Modi regime. It’s another matter that those who protect India’s sovereignty are not quite sure of his time for them. He too wasn’t present, by all accounts, at Field Marshal Manekshaw’s funeral.
Yechury too hasn’t offered any condolence on Marshal Arjan Singh. All he has done is to question Modi government for its indifference to death of India’s “most senior serving military officer.” Indifference? Is the whining Communist leader indeed talking about Marshal Arjan Singh? Isn’t he aware that Arjan’s son Arvind Singh is overwhelmed at the present government’s response to his father’s death?
I next turned to two other Congress Seniors: Digvijaya Singh and Manish Tewari. The two have been much in news for their colourful vocabulary in public lately. Abusive like the drunk thugs you often find on the streets; with little association to decorative representative offices such as ones of former Chief Minister and Union Minister. Digvijaya predictably had no time for Marshal Arjan Singh’s death (does India-Occupied-Kashmir ring a bell?) And Manish Tewari? No prizes for guessing this one too.
You would expect these people to use Marshal Arjan Singh’s death as an opportunity to present their credentials as well-wishers of Indian army, and by inference India. They have often held the grouse that their patriotism has been questioned by Hindutava agents; that they are shown as anti-Indian armed forces. But doesn’t their lack of respect for Indian soldiers and heroes only confirm the impression?
Maybe they thought that Marshal Arjan Singh’s death has come at a wrong time. Only when they were going hammer and tongs against the Modi government, the death of war hero has allowed Modi to showcase his sincerity and respect for India armed forces. Only, when they had Modi pinned to the wall—or so they thought.
What’s a career without credibility in public life? And what delusion, like a she-Hindi author who painted Modi-praisers as no better than asses in recent days? Better by asses than filth-loving pigs.
Oh yes, and if anyone could update me on Rajdeep Sardesai on Marshal Arjan Singh.
Amir Khusro is a legend for good reason. The Sufi giant of the 13th century had his Urs celebrated in Hazrat Nizamuddin dargah in Delhi on Saturday The Indian media hailed him as the champion of India’s unique “composite culture” which is under threat, in their vicious propaganda, by the BJP at the Centre.
Khusro deserves all the accolades for introducing “Urdu”, “qawaalis” the instruments of tabla and sitar and the musical genres of Khayal and Taraana in India. His ghazals, Masnavi (poems in Persians) and Rubai are landmarks. But don’t be a sucker to this “composite culture” nonsense.
Khusro was everything but the champion of “composite culture” over which Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru swooned in his Discovery of India. Nehru was just one in the long line of historians and academicians who created, swallowed and spread the bogus credentials of Khusro as a shining symbol of “composite culture.” We have all grown up reading in our school textbooks on Khusro and his “composite culture.” These “secularists” and their bastard child, Indian media, would invent new phrases but never criticize the Islamic intolerance as and when it occurred.
Dr. Rajendra Prasad, India’s first President, wrote: “The beginning of India’s composite culture could be traced to Amir Khusro’s efforts.”
Really? Do you see a neutrality in this mention by Khusro?
“Had not the law granted exemption from death by payment of poll-tax (jizia), the very name of Hind, root and branch, would have been extinguished.”
Do you see “composite culture” in Khusro’s below views on Hindu temples?
“There were many capitals of Devs where Satanism had prospered from the earliest times…but now with a sincere attempt the Emperor removed these symbols of infidelity.”
Khusro’s contempt for Hindu women below would never be mentioned in anything you read. Sample:
“The stone idols called Ling Mahadeo…on which women of the infidels (Hindus) rubbed their vaginas for (sexual) satisfaction…The Musalmans destroyed all the lingas..and the Deo Narain fell down.”
In Khusro’s view, Muslims were “master” and Hindu “slaves.” Sample:
“Turk is like a tiger and the Hindu a deer…Hindus exist for the sake of the Turks. Hindu happens to be a slave in all respects—it does not become one to scowl at a goat which is being reared for one’s meals.” (That’s why Mr. Saif Ali Khan, Hindus have taken an exception to you naming your son, Taimur, for his name is a symbol of Islamic atrocities against the original inhabitants of this land).
Do you see any sign of “composite culture” in these utterances of Khusro?
This is what perplexed famous historian R. C. Majumdar (who refused to write history as Indira Gandhi wanted at one time—By the way, does Sagarika Ghose mention this in her book on Indira?):
How come Khusro could never appreciate the architectural marvels of Hindus? Why his literary and artistic accomplishments contain no Hinu poetry, Puranic or Bhakti ideals, Upanishadic mysticism? Without such inclusion, could he be described as the rockstar of “composite culture”?
You might not have read of this all because there is an academic apartheid in India against those who go against the grain. Just make sure your children don’t fall to the nonsense by this devilish clique. These are inbreeding Huns in saddle, hell-bent on taking away your culture, pride, heritage–and in consequence your identity.
So we read this comic-tragic news the other day that Rahul Gandhi is reading Bhagwad Gita and Upanashids to counter Rashtriya Swayam Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in his political battle. (So, at least he has moved from the “RSS killed Gandhi” platform).
It’s comical for Bhagwad Gita and Upanishids are meant for self-advancement in the realm of spirituality. It’s not for debating points. It’s tragic because this bachelor wants to lead India’s destiny without the slightest idea of its heritage.
Rahul is free to follow the religion or philosophy of his liking. But it isn’t too smart for him to show his ignorance. It betrays how little initiation in country’s heritage he has had, both at his home or in the schools he went.
It’s an educated guess that Sonia Gandhi, and by inference her husband late Raajiv Gandhi, has had little appreciation of India’s sacred texts. Indira Gandhi probably carried the indifference of her father Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru who was scornful of India’s cultural traditions.
It’s fair to argue that a political leader shouldn’t align himself with any religion in a country of many faiths so as to appear unbiased. But Bhagwad Gita is about Dharma—and not religion. Dharma advocates the righteous way for an individual which the Western colonists cleverly implied it with religion. You were thus forced to be ambivalent about your own glorious past lest you appeared communal and non-secular.
This heinous ploy by the West did two things: One, it helped create a republic where in the name of “secularism” India was made to appear shameful if it owned up its magnificent past. Two, it helped to put one community against the other. A weak India is what the West has always wanted.
Rahul Gandhi displays a typically “colonized mind.” Swami Vivekananda mirrored such individuals of confused identity succinctly:
“The child is taken to school, and the first thing he learns is that his father is a fool, the second thing that his grandfather is a lunatic, the third thing that all his teachers are hypocrites, the fourth, that all the sacred books are lies! By the time he is sixteen, he is a mass of negation, lifeless and boneless.”
India suffered terribly at the hands of Muslims invaders and British colonizers. But there was a difference. Muslim rulers did coerce locals to take up Islam. However, they never tried to control Indians’ mind. British were more sinister. From the start, they set about systematically denigrating India’s past, its achievements, its’ scriptures and customs. They introduced the fake Aryan Invasion Theory. And courtesy the Macaulay Doctrine, they set about wiping out the land’s own heritage with its monstrous education policy. Today, before knowing anything about India, the children recite “Humpty-Dumpty” in front of doting parents. Higher education is no different. As celebrated Indologist Michel Danino writes :
“There is no mention of India’s seminal achievements: the decimal place-value system; that the so-called Gregory series, Pell’s equation or the fundamentals of combinatorics were anticipated by several centuries by Indian mathematicians of the Siddhantic period; or that Indian astronomers of the same era had developed powerful algorithms that enabled them to calculate planetary positions and the occurrences of eclipses with an excellent degree of precision.
“It is equally hard to accept that medical students should know nothing of Indian systems of medicine such as Aryuveda or Siddha, of proven efficacy for a wide range of disorders and even serious diseases.
“If the topic is psychology, the Western variety alone will be taken up, completely eclipsing the far deeper psychological system offered by yoga.
“Water harvesting is taught as if it were a new contribution from the West, even if it was widely practiced from Harappan times onward.
“One could go on (in the same manner) with metallurgy, chemistry, textiles, transport and a host of other technologies.”
It is no wonder that any attempt to revise school books is met with serious opposition today. Indian languages are called “vernacular” whose root meaning is `belonging to native slave.’
A few years ago, State education ministers would have nothing to do with the merest suggestion of Indian culture into the curriculum. As Ananda Coomaraswamy, who opposed the prevalent education system vehemently in the 20th century, wrote:
“It’s hard to realize how completely the continuity of Indian life has been severed. A single generation of English education suffices to break the threads of tradition and to create a nondescript and superficial being deprive of all roots—a sort of intellectual pariah who does not belong to the East or the West, the past or the future…of all Indian problems the educational is the most difficult and most tragic.”
So it has come to pass that Rahul Gandhi could nonchalantly betray his lack of connection with Indian roots and isn’t shamed for his ignorance. Those who could shame him—the intelligentsia, media, academics—won’t do because they are themselves a mirror image. He is studying Bhagwad Gita and Upanishad to fight a political battle!!! This is what you say, a Paradise Lost.
We all know Shaktimaan the horse. From March 14 to April 20 this year, between its unfortunate injury and death, it remained a front page news on our lily-pure newspapers. Such love for protection of animals doesn’t extend to illegal cow slaughters. Never ever a word. Instead, cow-protectors are seen as a plot of Hindutva’s agenda. That veneration for cows, without VHP, RSS or BJP prop, doesn’t exist.
Before I am dismissed as a Hindutva foot-soldier, an anti-Dalit, anti-Muslim, anti-beef Hindu fundamentalist, let’s look at Indian constitution’s position. After all, this is where all hysteria should end.
Prohibition of cow slaughter is a Directive Principle of State Policy in Article 48 of the Constitution. It says: “The state shall endeavour…in prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle.” On October 26, 2005, the Supreme Court of India upheld the constitutional validity of anti-cow slaughter laws. Only Kerala, West Bengal and India’s northeast don’t have any restrictions on cow slaughter.
Before you burn me at the stake on beef trade, remember most beef produced, consumed and exported is buffalo meat which is not considered sacred to a Hindu. Besides, most cow-slaughterhouses are illegal. It’s a rampant illegal practice where cows are shipped to restriction-free states. Wikipedia says: “In 2013 in Andhra Pradesh, there were 3,100 illegal and 6 licensed slaughterhouses in the state.”
Sure, in practice, States take uneven position on the matter. Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have the strictest laws against cow-slaughter. Assam and West Bengal permit slaughter of cows 10-14 years old. In many states though cow-slaughter is a non-bailable offence. The terms of imprisonment could extend from a mandatory 6 months to 5 years.
So get this straight. Cow slaughter makes you a criminal in most of India. And please spare me this Hindutva tag. For cow slaughter was opposed by notable Muslims from the Mughals’ times.
Muslims and cow-slaughter
Emperor Babar ruled in 1526 that killing of cows was forbidden. Akbar (1556-1605), Jahangir (1605-1627), Ahmed Shah (1748-1754) all had restricted bans on cow slaughter. Yes, Aurangzeb deviated but Bahadur Shah Zafar completely banned cow slaughter in 1857. The de facto sultan of Mysore, Hyder Ali (1762-1785), punished cow-slaughter offenders by cutting off their hands.
It’s a fallacy that cow-slaughter in India began with the arrival of Islam. Vedas describe many gods such as Indra and Agni having preference for cattle meat. Sure the various invasions of Islamic rulers around 1000 AD made it common. Along with sacrifices of goats and sheet, cows too became a sacrificial animal, particularly on the occasion of Bakri-Id.
As in most things, British rule in India was trouble. They were used to eating beef. Slaughterhouses sprang up all over India. In 1944, British placed restrictions on slaughter due to cattle shortage. After all, they were required for transport, cultivation and milk among other purposes. But it came too late in the day. A historical survey, between 1717-1977, reveal that out of 167 communal riots, 22 were directly attributed to cow slaughter.
Arya Samaj, which opposed many existing practices of Hinduism in the 19th century, including idol worship, polytheism, child marriage, widow celibacy, the caste system, accepted the cow worship. Dayananda Saraswathi in 1881 opposed cow-slaughter as an anti-Hindu act. In 1683, Sambhaji, the eldest son of Shivaji, is said to have executed a cow-slaughter offender.
Ranjit Singh (1801-1839), founder of the Sikh Empire, banned cow slaughter throughout his domains. Cow was as sacred to the Sikhs as to the Hindus. Cow slaughter was a capital offence and offenders were even executed.
Let’s look at the stands of our revered leaders during British Raj. Mahatama Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Madan Mohan Malviya, Dr. Rajendra Prasad all had vowed to ban cow-slaughter in case India got its “Swaraj.” Let’s listen to Gandhi’s words: “Not even to win Swaraj, will I renounce my principle of cow protection…I worship and I shall defend its worship against the whole world. The central fact of Hinduism is cow protection.”
In 1966, Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan wrote thus to the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi: “For myself, I cannot understand why, in a Hindu majority country like India…there cannot be a legal (cow slaughter) ban.”
Why Cows Matter
Animals have always been worshipped in India as deities. Elephant-god Ganesh, monkey-god Hanuman, Vishnu’s fish, tortoise and boar forms, their “vahanas” such as swan, bull, lion and tiger were all major deities. As well as snakes out of fear; and crows as the abode of the dead.
Cows are sacred to Hindus as a companion to Lord Krishna. Dairy products have always been essential in Hindu culture. Panchagayya, a mixture of five products of cow milk, curd, ghee, urine and dung, is consumed in Brahmanical rituals. Cows and bull—such as “Nandi”—have been the symbols of Dharma. Owning cattle was—and is—a status symbol in many parts of India. It’s dung is a source of fuel and fertilizer. Hence, its position as a maternal figure—“Gau Mata”– to a Hindu’s mind. Buddhism and Jainism both rooted for cow-protection.
It’s a delicious irony of history that Hindus and Muslims together revolted against the British East India Company in 1857 for being made to use gunpowder greased with cow and pig fat. As cow is sacred to Hindus, the consumption of swine is forbidden in Islam.
So recognize facts as they are. Sure punish where law is taken into hands. But for god’s sake, don’t think cow-protection is a political manipulation. It’s constitutionally guaranteed and you subvert it at your own peril.