2019 – Crystal-Gazing: Opinion of the Electorate – भविष्य की झांकी: मतदाताओं की राय

CRYSTAL-GAZING:   Opinion of the Electorate just before the 2019 General Elections

[Because I don’t want to choose between the ‘devil’ and the ‘deep-sea’ and I quiver being left with NO CHOICES for the next government]

  • Were there any real differences between the UPA and the NDA governments?
  • One governed through mean self interest; the other governed by reckless adventurism
  • One was oblivious to the future and destroyed the present; the other was correcting the present but destroyed the future
  • One lived off the charisma of a dynasty; the other thrived on charisma of one man
  • One rewarded loyalty to the dynasty; the other rewarded loyalty to the man
  • One had muted its Prime Minister; the other had muted most of its Ministers
  • One had smart ministers of corrupt intents; the other had stupid ministers of confused intents
  • One had divided the country on religion and tried to appease the minority; the other further divided the religious majority on caste and tried to appease the so called lower castes
  • … … … … … … … … …


CRYSTAL-GAZING:   Opinion of the Electorate just after the 2019 General Elections

  • One was done in by its allies; the other was done in by its ‘Bhasmasurs’ and ‘Shakunis’
  • End of the Story
  • ॐ शान्ति: शान्ति: शान्ति:॥


Hindi version follows:

हिन्दी संस्करण आगे है:


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भविष्य की झांकी: मतदाताओं की राय – 2019 के आम चुनावों से तुरंत पहले

[क्योंकि मैं अंधे-गहरे ‘खाई’ और ‘कुएं’ के बीच चयन नहीं करना चाहता हूं और मुझे लगता है कि अगली सरकार चुनने में मेरे पास और कोई विकल्प नहीं होगा]

क्या यूपीए और एनडीए सरकारों के बीच कोई वास्तविक अंतर था?

  • पहले ने नीच स्वहित के माध्यम से शासन किया; दूसरे ने उतावले दुस्साहस के माध्यम से
  • पहले ने भविष्य की परवाह नही की और वर्तमान को नष्ट कर दिया; दूसरे ने वर्तमान को सही करने के फेर में भविष्य को ही नष्ट कर दिया
  • पहला वंशवाद के करिश्मे से चला; दूसरा सिर्फ एक आदमी के करिश्मे से
  • पहले ने वंश के लिए वफादारी को पुरस्कृत किया; दूसरे ने सिर्फ एक आदमी के लिए वफादारी को पुरस्कृत किया
  • पहले ने अपने प्रधान मंत्री को मूक कर रखा था; दूसरे ने अपने अधिकांश मंत्रियों को मूक कर रखा था
  • पहले के पास भ्रष्ट लक्ष्यों से लैस चतुर मंत्री थे; दूसरे के पास व्याकुल इरादों के जाहिल मंत्री थे
  • पहले ने देश को धर्म पर विभाजित कर धार्मिक अल्पसंख्यक को प्रसन्न करने की कोशिश की थी; दूसरे ने धार्मिक बहुसंख्यक को जाति पर विभाजित कर पिछड़ी जाति को खुश करने की कोशिश की थी
  • … … … … … … … …


भविष्य की झांकी: मतदाताओं की राय – 2019 के आम चुनावों के तुरंत बाद

  • पहले को उसके अपने अवसरवादी सहयोगी ले डूबे थे, दूसरा स्वयं के वरदान प्राप्तिकर्ता “भस्मासुरो” द्वारा खाक कर दिया गया था।
  • इति।

ॐ शान्ति: शान्ति: शान्ति:॥


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Gender Discrimination against Men– It’s Coming

Yale University and the University of Southern California are under investigation by the Department of Education for programmes and scholarships for women. An organization to get more women on the golf course—long a bastion of male power and a frequent locale for business deals—was sold and shut down after settling with a plaintiff for holding women-only events. The head of Chic CEO, an organization that hosted online resources for women starting their own businesses, downsized her company after settling a lawsuit alleging the group excluded men from networking events. And The Wing, an exclusive all-women co-working and social space, is under investigation by the New York City Commission on Human Rights for gender discrimination.

The most recent women’s empowerment organization to go public about getting hit with a gender-discrimination lawsuit is Ladies Get Paid a for-profit organization that holds networking events and classes on negotiating salaries and raises, managing money, and building confidence. After two men were denied entry to two women-only Ladies Get Paid events in August and September 2017 in San Diego and Los Angeles, respectively, they filed two lawsuits alleging discrimination.

Had Ladies Get Paid gone to court and lost, the group would’ve had to pay all associated legal fees. That bill could have run into the six figures—which likely would have sunk an organization with just two full-time employees. Ladies Get Paid has crowd-sourced the money to defray legal costs associated with the settlement, and they’ve raised over $100,000 from nearly 2,000 individual donors.

There is a strong distinction between businesses running gender-specific promotions as a way to drum up business (like a ladies’ night drink special in some Pubs in Gurgaon) and the women-focused business, networking, and empowerment events and programs, where there is a legitimate policy, rather than commercial, interest in excluding men.

The law doesn’t prohibit businesses from “drawing distinctions” among different people—as long as those distinctions are “reasonable” rather than arbitrary.

Women activists have called these men as bullies. In the future, feminist organizers targeted by men or men’s rights organizations will band together before settling. If future groups choose to fight back, there’s reason to believe they’ll find plenty of support, financial and otherwise. Such efforts would likely widen, rather than decrease, gender inequality.

[Based on: When Men Sue Women’s Empowerment Orgs for Gender Discrimination; By Rebecca Gale, July 03; https://slate.com/ Picture courtesy: Slate. Images by Ingram Publishing]



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Prime Time TV in India

With more than 400 of the 900 or so TV channels being News and Current Affairs, prime-time entertainment on television in India is provided by the News channels and not the entertainment channels. The format for prime-time programming for a 60-minute slot is uniform (indicating commoditization) across all these channels and comprises of less than 5 minutes of News (mostly obtained from syndication agencies) and 40-50 minutes of “high pitched, abusing and slugging matches between the political adversaries and the balance for commercial breaks depending on the fancy of the illiterate media-planners.

The party-spokespersons of the NDA and the UPA appearing on such TV debates each evening are more similar than they might like to think. All of them exploit grievances, distort the truth, and undermine the values that hold India together; and they don’t hesitate to learn lessons from each other. Few of them can become the real show-stealers and then expect to be rewarded with Ministerial berths in the future Governments.

These debates have a brash and burly moderator, who rather than ensuring decorum, sanity or civility keeps fanning the profanity for maintaining the tempo of the show. Some of these moderators look forward to receiving the ‘Padma Awards’ over time. These shows lack substantive-content, depend on TRPs driven by sensationalism of the trivia and consequently lack audience engagement. These shows also fail to attract female audience. They are crass-entertainment with zilch day-after-recall.


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Supine Press, Burly Politics

Lets me begin with a disclaimer – It is extremely essential to separate the doctrine of INC from the followers and members of INC, otherwise, this post may be mistaken for BJP propaganda. The separation is necessary before one can analyse it openly and objectively. The analysis is important else it does more damage with brainwashed people going on rampage. The INC as a political party has been taken up from amongst so many mainly because, it has been the party in Government for most period of the Sovereign Democratic Republic of India. It is equally essential to state unequivocally and unconditionally that I am apolitical Indian nationalist who hates consumption of my fellow citizens as cannon-fodder in the bloody battle for one-upmanship in Indian politics.

The core binding glue of the INC establishment ever since Independence (and not prior to independence) has been ‘loyalty to the dynasty.’ History is replete with instances when any challenge to the dynasty from within the party has resulted in annihilation of the challengers. It is unbelievable to see the ‘educated and the intelligent’ within the INC to be completely and mindlessly subservient to the ‘illiterate and the stupid’ heirs of the dynasty in complete disregard to their inner-voice and national interest. They can pilot an impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India for not being democratic but they cannot impeach their dynastic leadership. It is equally unfathomable how the party which has ruled the largest democracy in the world in the past, and also wishes to rule it in the future does not uphold any democratic principles inside its own home. Its dynastic leadership has not let the party conduct any internal elections since 1972.

The avalanche of propaganda and “fake news”, which the dynasty is unleashing upon the Indian masses through the screen of UPA/INC, is not only indicative of an astonishing contempt for established democratic principles and the freedom of expression and information. It also reveals how truly terrified the dynasty has gone after falling from power, and just how far they will go in compromising democratic principles in order to be able to return to power at all costs. The dynasty and the political establishment of INC which considers itself as the political elite cannot come to terms with their failure in clinging to power. They are going overboard in using the slippery slope of “disinformation” and “polarisation” of people on lines of religion and caste, to cover up their long and established history of failures and hypocrisy and concurrently fuelling of dissent and resistance against the government.

The most influential journalists and media persons have been the beneficiaries of the illegitimate largesse including government accommodation, foreign jaunts, funds, priority in access to public property including public information and even the “Padma” awards bestowed upon them by the UPA/INC governments at the behest of the dynasty. These journalists are good human beings and have not forgotten the “good” done to them by the dynasty/INC. In keeping with their being beholden to their benefactors, they are willing to ‘stand for’ and ‘stand by’ their benefactors in bad times which have fallen upon them. INC leaders are getting these “loyal (bought out)” journalists to do their bidding by invoking their loyalty. The unholy alliance of INC and media giants to fuel the criticism of policies of the Indian government and to push under the carpet, all the skeletons of the misrule and abuse of power by the UPA/INC governments which continue to tumble out of cupboards every other day, is simply a “return on investment.”

The national media in India is geographically centred in Delhi. An episodic investigation into the backgrounds of some of the leading journalists of present day threw up some very interesting information. Most of them have been activists during their days in college, most of them were at different colleges of Delhi University or JNU or Jamia and most of them were affiliated to or even active members of either the All India Students Federation (related to Communist Party of India) or National Students Union of India (related to Indian National Congress). Very few of them were with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (related to Bhartiya Janata Party). Student wings, though not normally considered as factions of a political party, are usually intended as student focused extensions of party policy and ideology. Interestingly, those who were not active in the student wings of these parties were otherwise active through their youth wings or women wings. Their leanings are obviously towards the left and more than their leaning towards the Congress or the Communist ideologies, they have been indoctrinated to be anti the Sangh idealogy.

With the media assuming the role of a commentator rather than a reporter, the biases of the media moguls against the rightist ideologies are only getting more vitriolic and caustic with each passing day. The media has been successful in throwing the challenge of “award-waapasi” “intolerance” “Ghar-waapasi” “azaadi” “beef” “surya-namaskar” “Vande mataram” and similar other buzz at the ruling party.

Media, considered as a pillar of democracy has not much to its credit in the post-independence era. But for a handful, the fragility of the spine of Indian media was exposed by the INC rule of Emergency in 1975. It is unfortunate for the country and for the profession of journalism that a few journalists are busy paying dividends out of their capital, in advance, in the expectation of NDA/BJP bestowing similar largesse on them now or soon and/or the INC providing replenishment to them in the future, in lieu of their current loss of capital.

The misfortune however does not end here. It rather begins from here. Given that the BJP was voted to power for whatever agenda that the voters perceived it to have been standing for, and news (truth or untruth) which shows its failure, troubles the voters. The educated and the moderate amongst the voters either exercise the discretion of separating the fake from the truth or sulk by saying “politicians are all similar” or even accepting their mistake in having voted for BJP. The trouble is with the ignorant and the belligerent supporters. It is these who are actually the slaves of their abysmal ignorance and indulge in all kinds of misadventures fuelled by their belligerent arrogance of being in power and the belief that their power is now perpetual.

When ignorance and bigotry is allied with power, it becomes a dangerous force. When a sense of having been looted hurts the self-esteem, even the mightiest British regime can be brought down to their knees. INC also has its own share of ignorant and the belligerent supporters. Unfortunately, the supporters of INC are not interested in understanding. They are ignorantly convinced that they only need to believe that only one family which rules their party has the right to rule their country. They also don’t let go any opportunity of a misadventure just to refresh their memory of having been in power and the idea of salvaging the lost pride which they believe BJP has unfairly looted from them.

The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret in tyranny is in keeping them ignorant. It is in this arena that both the Leaders of the BJP and the INC are equal tyrants. So what do they want, one might ask? My fellow citizens, they want you and they want me! They want to own you and me! They think they already do. They do not. But if you believe they do and you accept their conventions and their twisted philosophies, well that’s good enough for them. Leaders of the BJP and the INC are equally complicit.



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Through social media, I am getting an opportunity to understand new liberalism from some old friends.

They want me to be secular on their terms, so put my religion and Gods in the pit. They want me to accept the open market system but simultaneously support the political game of reservation in the name of social justice. They want me to consider regulation and globalization as toxic and to refrain from becoming a “bhakt“, though it is quite alright if I am corrupt. Their leaders from nobility are equal to gods, and the Gods commit no wrong ever. They want me to accept their most revered “gods” as my Gods.

I think the definition of liberalism is that neither should a rule be set for others nor should they be otherwise pressured to follow any specific-rule. If I define rules for you, if I define good conduct and acceptable behaviour, then I am not a liberal.

Maybe my friends are more virtuous, more righteous than me, and even more sacred, but if they were to decide how I think and behave, for sure, they are not liberals.

I may please be forgiven for such naive understanding.



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Weird Ways of Indian Secularism

No secular nation can segregate and discriminate its people based on their religion. Indian Constitution does not define the word Minority, but under Article 30, it has provided fundamental rights to religious minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice and right to equality of such institutions in the matter of receiving aid from the State.

The National Commission for Minorities Act 1992 defines “minority” as a notified community. Through a notification of 22 October 1993, government notified Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Sikhs, and Parsis (Jains were added later on) as “Minority Communities.” Of the six, 3 are Indic-religions while other 3 are from foreign lands. The most interesting ‘act of commission’ by the government was in notifying “Minority Communities” in place of communities which are “Minority” thereby very surreptitiously creating a ‘legal basis’ for religious affirmation and appeasement in a secular country. Followers of every other religion other than Hindu religion have been granted a legal status of a religious minority.

Caste and class are inherited. Is religion inherited? Can a citizen change ones inheritance? Can one convert from one religion to other? Then why would one not convert from one caste/class to other?

Can one become an atheist? Would it be possible to add Atheists to the list of already notified minority communities? Should some of us who are Hindus but not from any SC/ST/OBC attempt to become atheists to partake the joys of support provided by the Ministry of Minority Affairs?

Would the respected leaders and the intelligentsia, or any other Bharateeya be so kind to guide and advise?



Caste System– An Indian Rather Than a Hindu Phenomenon

The caste system is beyond Hindu society and it exists in all religions in India.

The Muslims who came to the subcontinent during the 12th century were already divided into social classes such as priests, nobles and others. Further, a racial segregation demarcated the local Muslim converts from those of foreign origin. The foreigners claimed a superior status as they were associated with the conquerors, and categorized themselves as Ashraf (“noble”). Over time, the Indian Muslim society also split on the basis of the existing Hindu caste system. As per Ghaus Mohiuddin Ansari, a scholar of urban anthropologist of international acclaim, there are following broad categories of Muslim social divisions in India [See Ghaus Ansari (1960) “Muslim Caste in Uttar Pradesh: A Study of Culture Contact”]:


upper-class Muslims who claim foreign-origin descent from Afghans, Arabs, Persians, Turks etc. E.g. Mughal, Pathan, Sayyid, Sheikh


who converted to Islam to escape India’s caste system Converts from upper caste Hindus, E.g. Muslim Rajputs;


Converts from other “clean” castes, E.g. Darzi, Dhobi, Dhuniya, Gaddi, Faqir, Hajjam (Nai), Julaha, Kabaria, Kumhar, Kunjra, Mirasi, Manihar, Teli


Converts from untouchable castes, lowest caste of Hindus, E.g. Bhangi

Indian law does not provide benefits for “Untouchable Christians”, however Christians have been agitating for the same rights given to Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh Scheduled castes. Justice KG Balakrishnan a former Chief Justice of India had asked: “Could the Christians admit that they practise caste system and that Dalits (among them) face social discrimination requiring reservation to uplift their cause? This is not all that easy. The caste system among Indian Christians often reflects stratification by sect, location, and the castes of their predecessors. [Encyclopaedia Britannica]

There are separate seats, separate communion cups, burial grounds, and churches for members of the lower castes [Webster, John. 1994, The Christian Dalits: A History] especially in the Latin Catholic Church. Catholic churches in India are largely controlled by upper caste priests and nuns. Presently in India, more than 70 per cent of Latin Catholics are Dalits, but the higher caste Catholics (30% by estimates) control 90 per cent of the Catholic churches administrative jobs. As per http://www.dalitchristians.com, out of the 156 catholic bishops, only six are from lower castes.

Does America have a caste system? Surely, at least while camping!

Read-on: https://www.noted.co.nz/life/travel/discovering-the-caste-system-in-american-camping/


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Social Justice

There is absolutely no reason to believe that if every class at the Institutions of Higher Education contained fifty percent Hindu students from the erstwhile disadvantaged sections of the society — who are admitted with little reference to other qualifications — the institutions’ standards and reputation would automatically improve. Similarly, there is absolutely no reason to believe that if every public and professional service in the country contained fifty percent public servants and professionals from the erstwhile disadvantaged sections of the society — who are taken on board without any reference to their calibre and capabilities — the standards of public and professional service would automatically improve.

Hindus should not, qua Hindus, ask for special privileges and concessions in educational institutions and job opportunities. I say so because I strongly believe that such demands will not solve the problems faced by the weaker elements among the Hindus, i.e. those who do not now possess essential educational, financial, and social resources. Experience tells us that “concessions” mostly benefit those who already are in better circumstances. We should also bear in mind that any institution readily giving “concessions” soon begins to decline in status and standards.

If the so called advantaged sections of the Hindu society were guilty of not letting the disadvantaged sections progress in the past, the disadvantaged sections cannot take away the opportunities from the so called advantaged sections in future through a constitutional arrangement. This is like making the future generations pay for the crimes of the previous by denying them their future. Such a system of social justice cannot reduce but only increase the social divide.

Bringing up the educational, financial, and social resources of the disadvantaged is both a national and a social imperative. But bringing them up by keeping the advantaged down is possibly not the right approach. Nor would it solve the economic problems faced by the disadvantaged Hindus. Blindly granting privileges to all the disadvantaged would only cast a shadow over the achievements of the worthier and more talented among them.

The ‘socially disadvantaged’ class should not be converted to a ‘constitutionally advantaged’ class in a way which creates a new class of ‘socially-advantaged-constitutionally disadvantaged.’


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Freedom of Media is Not Liberty to Bitch

Use of embedded TV reporters and Camera-crew by CNN in the coverage of 1990-91 Gulf war changed the consumption of TV content for all times to come. Bringing real war and often live war to people’s drawing rooms numbed the audience reactions to horrors of war, blurred the lines which would be differentiating reality and fiction, news and entertainment, reporting and commenting, observation and opinion, and even between war and peace. The change was nearly global limited only by the limits of TV penetration.

The visual feeds of broad daylight attack on New York twin-towers in September 2001 and on gunmen attack on Indian Parliament of December 2001 affected the Indian audience and Indian Public in similar ways.  Reporting of Gujarat riots in 2002 was a true mixing of reporting and commenting and the audience could no longer separate facts on the ground from the opinions of the reporters and editors. News was no longer news. Emotions, rationale, opinions, perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, prejudices, creative camera work, glib scripting, all blended up with selective facts were doled out to the audience as a heady mixture. Working on the strength of “seeing is believing” TV media became the propaganda maker and advocate of a “right” opinion for the audience.

3-days of round the clock live telecast by multiple cameras and from multiple locations and on multiple news channels of Mumbai attacks of November 2008 brought to the fore some very bizarre characteristics of the Indian people. Public outburst can be fuelled by the voyeuristic politico-journalism and video melodrama bordering between News and entertainment, something which started with the reporting of the Gulf war, was a new lesson which was going to be used soon by the likes of Anna and Ramdev.

The Baba Ramdev hunger strike against corruption and black money event of June 2011 and the Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement in August 2011 was as much a TV driven event if not less as it was driven by the faith of citizens in the principle behind the agitations.

Notwithstanding the heinous and macabre gravity of the Nirbhaya Rape Incident in December 2012, the resulting surge in the public outburst was unprecedented. While the incident triggered an outburst of welled up emotions and frustrations against failing governance of the day, the decibel levels of public voice were kept amplified by the relentless reporting and commenting by TV channels. TV News channels had by then mastered the craft of using social media and armchair activists as force multipliers by trending new ‘hash tags’ and setting up new slugging matches and orchestrated discussions on their broadcasts every day.

While no single rape is condonable or passable, India has one of the lowest per-capita incidence of rapes in the world (lower than Canada, France, Germany and the UK) and one of the highest conviction rates for a rape-case in the world (better than the likes of Sweden, France and the UK). With over 90 percent of the rapes in India being perpetrated by such accused who are known and familiar to the victim, rapes are more of a social issue than a policing issue. Factually therefore, while India like any other country also has rapes as a crime, a woman is quite unlikely to get raped in India by an unknown aggressor as compared to most other countries in the world.

The selective and differential weight allocated to the recent heinous rape incidents of Kathua, Unnao and Ghaziabad by the TV media and the resulting differences in people’s outburst is the evidence how TV succeeds in shaping and mobilising people’s opinion and action. They are directing the public discourse around the Code of Hammurabi (Babylonian code of law of ancient Mesopotamia, dated back to about 1754 BC) “Eye for an Eye and a tooth for a tooth” in the name of justice for the victim but no-one is traversing the tougher path of taking the crime by its horns and simultaneously being fair to the accused. As they say, “power corrupts” the reporters and editors of TV news channels have gone overboard either in ignorance or have been pursuing some covert agenda of harming the nation by painting India as the ‘rape country’ and the ‘women-unfriendly country’ of the world.

There is nothing like “Freedom” in some absolute sense. Absolute freedom may mean a social order with no order. Freedom is always contextual and signifies the sense of “Free From.” Freedom therefore usually connotes “free from” the persecution of the government or that the government does not have the liberty to persecute or restrict the rights. Freedom differs from liberty as control differs from discipline.

Press is free to report what it chooses to; but it does not have the liberty to indulge in false reporting, partisan reporting, coloured reporting or unsubstantiated reporting. Freedom of Press or freedom of speech is not a licence to malign the nation or to propagate any anti-national tirade. The content and tone of communication needs to pass the filter of our conscience which in many cases has been dimmed already to such an extent due to the constant bombardment of fake news, disinformation and the general public discourse that we hardly hear our conscience any longer and have forgotten how to listen. Rogue reporting in the name of freedom overwhelms the listeners and takes away their freedom of carrying free opinion.

India is not a perfect country – no country is – and no country is above criticism when that criticism is just and based on fact. The United States is not perfect and is the subject of daily criticism, especially from within. The UK and Europe are not perfect either. All of that is normal if we bear in mind that democracies are, by their very nature, subject to changes and shifts. Freedom of thought and freedom of speech is a central value in all genuine democracies, and that is being dangerously eroded in the India but by irresponsible conduct of the press and media.

Running a 24-hour News Channel is a very expensive proposition. Gathering on site information is difficult and needs large investments in setting up news gathering machinery. It is for this reason that most countries have only 2-3 news channels. India is an exception with over 400 news and current affairs channels out of a total of nearly 900 TV channels approved by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. Reruns of programs and analysis or opinion programming are played throughout the day, with the exception of some news obtained from free syndicated sources. Surely, they depend on other sources of programming content and revenue streams then just the news business.

Unfortunately for Indian democracy, media is turning out to be a propaganda machine of suspicious and coloured motives rather than a pillar of strength. Serving the National interest through placing the right media weight and remaining objective without succumbing to pressures and prejudices is a price that Media should willingly pay for its Freedom.


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Bharat, which is India and Hindustan

Since Islamic terror or Muslim terror has been so much in news, the term ‘Saffron Terror’ was coined by some so-called secular people and brought into political and media discussions to bring in an “equal-equal” balancing act to emphasise their own secular credentials.

In 1966, Chief Justice of India, PB Gajendragadkar, writing on behalf of a five-member Constitution Bench, had observed, “We find it difficult, if not impossible, to define Hindu religion or even adequately describe it.” Continuing in the same vein, 10 years later in 1976, the Supreme Court, disposing of another case, noted, “It is a matter of common knowledge that Hinduism embraces within itself so many diverse forms of beliefs, faiths, practices and worships that it is difficult to define the term ‘Hindu’ with precision.”

Does this mean that no Hindu can be a terrorist? No. But given the nature of Hinduism, to brainwash and programme large numbers of its adherents to attack others will not be easy. As Justice Gajendragadkar had observed in his judgment, “Unlike other religions in the world, the Hindu religion does not claim any one prophet, it does not worship any one god, it does not subscribe to any one dogma, it does not believe in any one philosophic concept, it does not follow any one set of religious rites or performances, in fact, it does not appear to satisfy the narrow traditional features of any religion or creed.” Yet, when it comes to branding Hindus as “terrorists”, everyone seems instantly to know and agree upon who a Hindu is. The branding, it would seem, is more important than any evidence to support it.

Of course, there are criminals, rapists, murderers and much worse people who happen to be from practicing Hindu family or just have a Hindu name.  But ‘Hindutva terror’ or ‘Hindu terror’ is mostly meaningless as hardly any Hindu would go out and commit terrorism for the glory of the  ‘Bhagavad Gita’ or for attaining heaven,  or chant a ‘Vedic Mantra’ before blowing up a group of people. Hindu criminals surely exist, but ‘Hindu terror’ is mostly imaginary.

The word “Hindu” does not exist in any of the four “Vedas,” the fountainhead of the so called “Hinduism.” The reference to the land mass of so called “Hindus” which was also referred to as “Hindustan” on some later date, is to be found in Hymn 24 of the 8th Mandala of the Rig Veda.

(Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation)

य रक्षादंहसो मुचद यो वार्यात सप्त सिन्धुषु | वधर्दासस्य तुविन्र्म्ण नीनमः ||

ya ṛkṣādaṃhaso mucad yo vāryāt sapta sindhuṣu | vadhardāsasya tuvinṛmṇa nīnamaḥ ||

Who will set free from ruinous woe, or Arya on the Seven Streams: O valiant Hero, bend the Dasa’s weapon down.

Mandala 8 is a prayer to God Indra and in this hymn the prayer invokes God Indra to protect the Aryas and the land of the Sapta-Sindhu (meaning 7-rivers) by blunting the weapons of fate. Sapta-Sindhu was referred to as Hapta-Hindu by Persians. The people of this region and their culture, the Sapta-Saindhavas were referred to as hapta-Haindavas by Persians. The term is found in ‘Avesta’ of Zoroastrians. “Hindu” is thus a geo-demographic descriptor for the people from the Sapta-Sindhu region without religious connotation. The language of these people was ‘Sanskrit’ and the script was ‘Devnagari.’ The language and the script also do not have any religious connotations.

The ‘dharma’ (poorly translated as religion) of these people was Sanātana dharma (Devanagari: सनातन धर्म meaning “eternal dharma” or “eternal order”). The root of the word dharma comes from ‘dhri’ in Sanskrit, which means to uphold or maintain. The Sanskrit says ‘dharayati iti dharmaha’ which translates as dharma is that which upholds. However, not only what is supported is ‘dharma,’ but that which does the supporting is also ‘dharma.’ So ‘dharma’ is the means as well as the goal. When the word ‘Sanatana’ is added to ‘dharma’ it expands the meaning and purpose. ‘Sanatana’ means eternal. So Sanatana-dharma can mean the ancient path that has existed from time immemorial. It is the eternal path which has been given to humanity and comes from beyond the material dimension. Thus, Sanatana-dharma is the inter-dimensional path of progress for all living beings.

With the passage of time and the onslaught of invasions from the Persia, the expression in Persian, ‘Hindu’ got currency.  Their religion – Sanātana dharma became “Hinduism” – an alien and a restrictive and also a limited expression.  Europeans were happy to follow and propagate this expression “Hinduism” unfortunately and ignorantly treating it as a synonym, which has resulted in an interesting ambiguity – is it Bharat or Hindustan or India,  what is the proper name, isn’t name a proper noun and are proper nouns to be translated?

Obviously, the word ‘Hindutva’ comes from the words Hindu and Hindustan (Bhaarat and not just the land of the Hinduism).  It is “Bharatiyataa” or Indian-ness or Indian-ism, the social and cultural ethos and the way of life of citizens of Bhaarat or India. It is the essence of India. Hindutva, to serve as a word, must appeal to the geographic source of India’s cohesion. This word is understood as Americans understand the word “India,” without religious connotation. But what of the Hindu derivation of the word “Hindutva” Well it goes back to the word Sindhu meaning a citizen of Hindustan. Thus it has no more religious connotation than the word “Hindi.”

Many of my Hindus friends seem wary to be associated with Hindutva, in spite of the fact that Hindutva simply means Hindu-ness or being Hindu. They tend to accept the view which mainstream media has peddled for long – ‘Hindutva’ is intolerant and stands for the ‘communal’ agenda of a political party that wants to force uniform Hinduism on this vast country which is fully against the true Hindu ethos. Several of my friends with Hindu names keep ridiculing Hinduism without knowing anything about it. They have not even read the Bhagavad-Gita.

Some other friends claim that Hinduism is the most immoral of all religions and responsible for the ills India is facing. They refer to caste system and ‘ManuSmriti’ as proof. ‘ManuSmriti’ has become the favourite pasture for scavengers keen on bashing Hinduism and Vedas. This becomes among the most potent tools for promoting conversion away from Hinduism. And interestingly most of these Manu bashers perhaps never ever gave ‘ManuSmriti’ a serious reading! Let us examine the truth behind just one such unfortunate tendency in modern society, which is to project Manu as ‘anti-woman’. In fact, Manu holds women in high esteem. One may refer to Verse 3.56,

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and contextual English translation (the verse is from the chapter titled “Duties of the Householder”) –

यत्र नार्यस्तु पूज्यन्ते रमन्ते तत्र देवताः। यत्रैतास्तु न पूज्यन्ते सर्वास्तत्राफलाः क्रियाः ॥ ५६ ॥

yatra nāryastu pūjyante ramante tatra devatāḥ | yatraitāstu na pūjyante sarvāstatrāphalāḥ kriyāḥ || 56 ||

Where women are honoured, there the gods rejoice; where, on the other hand, they are not honoured, there all rites are fruitless.—(56).

The statement “Na stree svaatantryam arhati” from verse 3 in Chapter IX is often provided as an example for Manu’s anti-woman stance. It is important to refer to this complete verse here – Verse 9.3,

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and contextual English translation (the verse is from the chapter titled “Duties of the Husband and Wife”) –

पिता रक्षति कौमारे भर्ता रक्षति यौवने । रक्षन्ति स्थविरे पुत्रा न स्त्री स्वातन्त्र्यमर्हति ॥ ३ ॥  

pitā rakṣati kaumāre bhartā rakṣati yauvane | rakṣanti sthavire putrā na strī svātantryamarhati ॥ 3 ॥

The father looks after her during virginity, the husband looks after her in youth, the sons look after her in old age; the woman should never be depending on one’s own self for sustenance.—(3)

In Manu’s perception, a woman is, by her very nature, so divine and unique that she should never be left to fend for herself. It is the duty of society to protect and take good care of her — by her father during childhood, husband in her youth, and son in her old age. Interpretations stemming from inadequate or improper understanding of the original Sanskrit text often lead to distortions and generate hard feelings in a cosmopolitan society like ours. Unfortunately the Sanskrit verse is wrongly translated as if woman does not deserve independence. If Manu had intended such a meaning, there would never be verses like 9.31 – Child belongs to mother, 9.33 – Woman is akin to the soil of the mother earth, 9.88 – man will marry his daughter to a bridegroom who is of exceptionally distinguished appearance, and her equal, 9.118 – sons inherit the father’s property as equal shares but each son needs to give away a quarter of his share to his sister; and so on.

The caste system as propounded by the ‘ManuSmriti’ is the least understood and the most abused. Let us refer to Verse 10.4,

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and contextual English translation –

ब्राह्मणः क्षत्रियो वैश्यस्त्रयो वर्णा द्विजातयः। चतुर्थ एकजातिस्तु शूद्रो नास्ति तु पञ्चमः ॥ ४ ॥

brāhmaṇaḥ kṣatriyo vaiśyastrayo varṇā dvijātayaḥ| chaturtha ekajātistu śūdro nāsti tu pañcamaḥ ॥ 4 ॥

The Brāhmaṇa, the Kṣatriya and the Vaiśya are the three twice-born castes; the fourth is the one caste, Śūdra; there is no fifth.—(4).

Everyone is casteless by birth. They need to be born again – to become a Brāhmaṇa, or a Kṣatriya or a Vaiśya by choosing to be so no later than the age of 8 years, 11 years and 12 years respectively. Not choosing to be born again by the stated age would by default assign them to be Śūdra. (One can also begin with the position and argue that everyone is Śūdra by birth). The second birth is marked by taking a vow to be so at an event referred to as the ‘Yajñopavītam’ and ‘Upnayana’ (start of formal education) ‘Samskar.’ It is mandated for each of the three – twice-born to read and study the Vedas but the right to teach and interpret the Vedas would remain with the Brāhmaṇa. Those who do not make a choice through the ‘Upnayana’ are not deprived of making such a choice any time later. However, the entry to the professional caste of a Brāhmaṇa, or a Kṣatriya or a Vaiśya is not allowed. ‘Upnayana’ is not restricted by gender or by ancestry. It is a choice. There is a clear recognition of differences in individual calibre and capabilities, and the  ‘ManuSmriti’ is only making it mandatory to exercise the choice to be a Brāhmaṇa, or a Kṣatriya or a Vaiśya by a particular age and then devote the balance of time for preparation for the profession. Nowhere does it prevent Śūdra from reading and studying the Vedas. In present day systems, Judiciary alone can interpret the Constitution and the law, and entry into different public services require prior commitment and have an age limit hurdle. Clearly ‘ManuSmriti’ was a much advanced system of social order and not a tool for social discrimination. Quite possibly, like most constitutional provisions and laws, this was also abused by the unscrupulous.

Dominant majority has a vested interest in remaining ignorant of the real ‘ManuSmriti’ because they wish to remain oblivious to their complicity in ongoing social injustice in the name of ‘ManuSmriti.’ They resist every chance of becoming knowledgeable about what they do not know and continue to live blissfully in a fool’s paradise of believing that they know. Denial of complicity through culpable ignorance and becoming an apologist is a great escape from getting morally implicated in any crime.

Some of my childhood friends indict me for ‘standing up’ for Hindu Dharma as belonging to the ‘Hindutva brigade’ that is shunned by their sense of political correctness. They obviously don’t doubt that their own perception and views about ‘Hindutva brigade’ and also their perception of my allegiance to the ‘brigade’ to be incorrect. My secular friends can’t really be blamed for their faulty understanding. They were taught that Hinduism is just another religion. Children usually don’t doubt what they learn. They are becoming Hindu apologists- apologist for radical Hindutva- and presenting themselves as a ‘moderate’ Hindu. I urge my friends to pay attention to Voltaire, who rightly said, “Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Hindu Dharma was never based on unreasonable dogmas and did not need blasphemy laws to keep its followers in check. It is helpful to society as it imparts wisdom and gives guidelines for an ideal life. It does not strait-jacket people into an unbelievable belief system. It allows freedom of thought and many parallel streams with different ways to connect and co-exist harmoniously. The Supreme Court ruling of 1995 declares, “… Hindutva is indicative more of the way of life of the Indian people. … Considering Hindutva as hostile, inimical, or intolerant of other faiths, or as communal proceeds from an improper appreciation of its true meaning. …” Hindu nationalism, whether dubbed as Hindutva or political Hinduism, should neither lose sight of nor tamper too much with this aspect of our way of life. Hindus must see through various conspiracies to divide and discredit them, including the largely false and fabricated narrative called “Hindu terror”. British colonial authorities, by introducing religious and caste tags in their 1871 Census unleashed a monster which we have not yet learned to tame.

The so-called secularists fight for the rights of religious minorities. India has already seen one partition on religious lines. There is no point in escalating the confusion by asking what was partitioned, Bharat or Hindustan or India, and what were the parts which emerged after the partition – Bharat or Hindustan or India and Pakistan? How can educated Indians be blind to the danger and risk having in future more partitions on the basis of religion, including the risk of more terrible bloodshed? Strangely, the minority religions are not accused of being divisive and communal, but Hinduism is. True secularism will neither favour minorities nor distort the traditions of the majority to demonise the latter. Hindus must see through such ploys while resisting the urge to go to the other extreme in becoming anti-Muslim, anti-Christian, or against any other tradition. To be pro-dharma is more important than to be anti-anything or anybody.

My stand is neither communal nor dangerous for India. Hindu Dharma is indeed not only inclusive, but also most beneficial for the individual and for society and yes, politicians, too, need to base their lives on Hindu Dharma if they want to be efficient in serving the society. I am not advocating any change in their faith in any –ism of their choice.  In recent weeks some staunch ‘secular’ Indian politicians declared themselves suddenly as Hindus. Maybe they pave the way for others to follow.

In the national flag of India the top band is of Saffron colour, indicating the strength and courage of the country. The white middle band indicates peace and truth with Dharma Chakra. The last band is green in colour shows the fertility, growth and auspiciousness of the land.  Saffron is a colour most associated with ‘Sanaatan’ or Hindu Dharma. The colour Green has a number of traditional associations in Islam.

Being Hindu means to know and value the profound insights of the ‘Rishis’ and to follow their recommendations in one’s life. Being Hindu also means having the welfare of all at heart, including animals and plants. Being Hindu means following one’s conscience and using one’s intelligence well. Fanaticism hurts Hindus as much as it does others. Being Hindu means being wise – not deluded or gullible or foolish.

I think it was Voltaire who said, “God gave me intelligence. I think HE wants me to use it…


Om (also written as Aum) is an ancient mantra and mystical sound of Hindu origin (India and Nepal), which is considered sacred in religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. Hindus believe that all the divine and other creation form of consciousness originated from the vibration manifesting as sound “OM”. In Vedas and other Hindu scriptures, AUM is the ‘Sound of the Sun’ and the ‘Sound of Light’.


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