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Monday, September 26, 2022

On Navratri: Durga Stotra

Rama and Narada praying to Durga 

(Kolkata Durgotsava)

Best wishes for a joyous Navratri. May Goddess Durga illuminate your life with blessings of happiness. Here’s the English translation of Durga Stotra (Hymn to Durga) written by Sri Aurobindo in Bengali in 1909: 

Durga Stotra

Mother Durga! Rider on the lion, giver of all strength, Mother, beloved of Shiva! We, born from thy parts of Power, we the youth of India, are seated here in thy temple. Listen, O Mother, descend upon earth, make thyself manifest in this land of India.

Mother Durga! From age to age, in life after life, we come down into the human body, do thy work and return to the Home of Delight. Now too we are born, dedicated to thy work. Listen, O Mother, descend upon earth, come to our help.

Mother Durga! Rider on the lion, trident in hand, thy body of beauty armour-clad, Mother, giver of victory. India awaits thee, eager to see the gracious form of thine. Listen, O Mother, descend upon earth, make thyself manifest in this land of India.

Mother Durga! Giver of force and love and knowledge, terrible art thou in thy own self of might, Mother beautiful and fierce. In the battle of life, in India's battle, we are warriors commissioned by thee; Mother, give to our heart and mind a titan's strength, a titan's energy, to our soul and intelligence a god's character and knowledge.

Mother Durga! India, world's noblest race, lay whelmed in darkness. Mother, thou risest on the eastern horizon, the dawn comes with the glow of thy divine limbs scattering the darkness. Spread thy light, Mother, destroy the darkness.

Mother Durga! We are thy children, through thy grace, by thy influence may we become fit for the great work, for the great Ideal. Mother, destroy our smallness, our selfishness, our fear.

Mother Durga! Thou art Kali, naked, garlanded with human heads, sword in hand, thou slayest the Asura. Goddess, do thou slay with thy pitiless cry the enemies who dwell within us, may none remain alive there, not one. May we become pure and spotless, this is our prayer. O Mother, make thyself manifest.

Mother Durga! India lies now in selfishness and fearfulness and littleness. Make us great, make our efforts great, our hearts vast, make us true to our resolve. May we no longer desire the small, void of energy, given to laziness, stricken with fear.

Mother Durga! Extend wide the power of Yoga. We are thy Aryan children, develop in us again the lost teaching, character, strength of intelligence, faith and devotion, force of austerity, power of chastity and true knowledge, bestow all that upon the world. To help mankind, appear, O Mother of the world, dispel all ills.

Mother Durga! Slay the enemy within, then root out all obstacles outside. May the noble heroic mighty Indian race, supreme in love and unity, truth and strength, arts and letters, force and knowledge ever dwell in its holy woodlands, its fertile fields under its sky-scraping hills, along the banks of its pure-streaming rivers. This is our prayer at the feet of the Mother. Make thyself manifest.

Mother Durga! Enter our bodies in thy Yogic strength. We shall become thy instruments, thy sword slaying all evil, thy lamp dispelling all ignorance. Fulfil this yearning of thy young children, O Mother. Be the master and drive the instrument, wield thy sword and slay the evil, hold up the lamp and spread the light of knowledge. Make thyself manifest.

Mother Durga! When we possess thee, we shall no longer cast thee away; we shall bind thee to us with the tie of love and devotion. Come, Mother, manifest in our mind and life and body.

Come, Revealer of the hero-path. We shall no longer cast thee away. May our entire life become a ceaseless worship of the Mother, all our acts a continuous service to the Mother, full of love, full of energy. This is our prayer, O Mother, descend upon earth, make thyself manifest in this land of India.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

The Real Story of Titu Mir

Sunset at River Hooghly, Kolkata 

In Mahasweta Devi’s novel Titu Mir, the eponymous protagonist is glorified as the charismatic freedom fighter who, in the 1830s, led the revolt against the British in Bengal. Utpal Dutt has directed a play which glorifies Titu Mir as a freedom fighter. But what is the real story of Titu Mir? 

Born in 1782, Titu Mir began his life as a small farmer with a tendency for violence. He became involved in criminal activities and was forced off the land by the locals. He drifted to Calcutta, where he became a professional wrestler. Eventually he was hired by a landlord to work as a lathait (big stick enforcer). He was arrested by the police on the charge of being involved in a fight and sent to jail. After his release from jail, he found work as the bodyguard of a minor member of Delhi's Mughal royal family. In 1821, Titu Mir accompanied his employer to Hajj. 

While he was in Arabia, Titu Mir met a fellow Indian who had a large following among Muslims in North India: the fundamentalist Wahhabi preacher Syed Ahmad Barelvi. Barelvi preached intolerance toward those who would not adopt the Wahhabi principles, including other Muslims, and he wanted to transform the Indian subcontinent into a Wahhabi empire. Titu Mir became a convert to Wahhabism. When he returned to India he began organizing the Muslim peasants in Bengal to wage war on disbelievers and propagate Wahhabism to the Bengalis. 

Titu Mir’s militia caused little damage to the British; the biggest victims of his militia were the Bengali Hindus. He unleashed a reign of terror to evict the Hindu zamindars (landlords) and peasants who refused to convert to Wahhabi Islam and join his militia. He managed to gain control over a number of districts in the Bengal presidency, and declared himself as the badshah (king) of Bengal. He nominated a man called Muizz ad-Din as his wazir (minister of high rank) and his nephew Ghulam Masum Khan as his senapati (general). 

To save themselves from Titu Mir’s rampage, some zamindars cooperated with the British. In 1831, Titu Mir’s militia was defeated and he was killed. 

Despite his defeat and death in the battle, Titu Mir had a deep impact on Bengal’s culture. Wahhabism took root in Bengal and large-scale conversions to Islam started happening. Intellectuals like Mahasweta Devi and Utpal Dutt have given an incorrect portrayal of Titu Mir in their works. He was not a freedom fighter—he was a Wahhabi fundamentalist and a dangerous warlord who committed terrible atrocities on Bengali Hindus.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

The Conversion of Indonesia

A painting of the Padri-Adat Wars

It is claimed that Indonesia’s conversion to Islam was peaceful. This claim is pure fantasy, as a reading of this region’s history in the nineteenth century will demonstrate. The residents of the Indonesian islands were originally Hindus (primarily of the Shaivism tradition) and Buddhists—most of them resisted conversion till the end of the eighteenth century. 

In early nineteenth century a group of Indonesian Muslim clerics went to Arabia to perform Hajj. At the time of the Wahhabi raids in 1802 and 1803, they were in Arabia, and they became inspired by Wahhabi doctrine and political methods. When they returned to Indonesia, they formed the Padri movement which aimed to implement Islamic law after eradicating polytheism, and cultural distortions like gambling and consumption of liquor and tobacco. 

According to one Muslim scholar of that period, “They looted and robbed the wealth of the people and insulted the orang kaya (important people). They killed the ulama and the orang yang credik (Brahmin priests). They captured married women, wedded them to their men, and made their women captives concubines. Still they called their actions ‘actions made to perfect religion.’” (God’s Terrorists, by Charles Allen; Chapter 3: “The False Dawn of the Imam Mahdi”)

Led by the Minangkabau royal family and the traditional chiefs, Hindu and Buddhist communities (the Adat), tried to defend their culture from the Padris. The two sides fought for almost two decades but neither side was capable of winning a decisive victory. In 1821, the Minangkabau royal family asked the Dutch for their help in overcoming the Padris. The Dutch were trying to cement their own power but they agreed to fight alongside the Adat. 

The war between the two sides went on till 1837, when the Padris were defeated, and their leader Tuanku Imam Bonjol (also known as Muhammad Syahab, who is now Indonesia’s national hero) was forced to go exile. 

The Adat had won the military victory but they still lost the religious and cultural contest. By teaming up with the Dutch, the Adat had made a mistake—they lost support in the country because the masses blamed them for the corruption and plunder of the Dutch. The Padris continued to operate at the social level and they continued to use coercive tactics to get the Hindus and Buddhists to give up their own religion and accept Islam.

By the end of the nineteenth century, most islands of Indonesia were overwhelmingly Islamic. There is a lot that the Hindus of India can learn from Indonesia’s history.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Ali Dashti’s Book: 23 Years

In 1975, Ali Dashti, the Iranian rationalist philosopher, gave the manuscript of his book Bist O Seh Sal (23 Years) to F. R. C. Bagley, professor of Persian and Arabic at Durham University and McGill University. He requested Bagley to translate his book and gave clear instructions that the book should not be published before his death. Bagley kept his promise. He translated Dashti’s book and published it in 1985, three years after Dashti’s death. 

Dashti’s book is an analysis of the history of the first twenty-three years of Islam, from 610 (the year when the Prophet received the first revelation) to 632 (the year of the Prophet’s death). 

Dashti had a distaste for scholars who take a faith-based approach to explain the events in early Islamic history. In his book, he discards the myths and relies on reason and logic to examine the sociological and psychological factors that led to the birth of Islamic ideas. In the book’s final chapters, he reflects on the political and theological controversies which caused deep divisions in Islamic society, immediately after the Prophet’s death. 

According to Dashti, warring factions emerged in early Islam because “ambition for the leadership replaced zeal for the religion as the pivotal move.” The focus of the early leaders of Islam turned towards political power and making new conquests to expand the Islamic empire. These leaders used religion as an “instrument for seizure of the leadership and the rulership.”  

Dashti writes: “there was unanimous agreement that Islam, having been the cause of the new state's rise, was necessary for its survival or, in simpler language, that the religion which had made the leadership possible must be resolutely maintained.” 

There was rise of competing visions of Islam, and multiple Islamic kingdoms came into being. The theological and political disputes within Islam became intractable and the Islamic kingdoms were often at war with one another. “Study of the history of Islam shows it to be a sequence of struggles for power in which the contestants treated the religion as a means, not as an end.” 

After the 1979 Iranian revolution, Dashti was arrested and tortured. It is not clear how he died—due to torture in prison or some other reason. The date of his death is unknown—he is thought to have died between 22 December 1981 and 20 January 1982.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Ghar Wapsi of Monotheists

One day the monotheists (the Semitic religions) will surely return to polytheism (religions like Hinduism) as one returns to one's mistress after a quarrel.

Never Disbelieve the Fundamentalists

“Hitler has made it very clear that he will annihilate all the Jews before the clock strikes twelve, before they can hear the last stroke… I have more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He alone has kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people.” ~  words of a Jewish character trapped in a Nazi concentration camp (from Elie Wiesel’s novel, Night

Videos from Leicester and Birmingham of young masked Islamic fundamentalists, who are proclaiming that they will attack Hindus, Jews, and Christians, are trending in the social media. Some British journalists and politicians are saying that these youngsters are harmless, that they are simply venting their anger and frustration, and that they do not mean whatever they are saying. Along with their global empire, the British have also lost their political instincts and their sense of history. They have forgotten how Hitler kept his promises to the Jews in the 1930s and 1940s; they have forgotten how the orchestrators of 9/11 (who too were quite Westernized) kept their promises to the Americans. 

I am like the character in Elie Wiesel’s novel quoted in the top of this article. I believe every word that the Islamic fundamentalists in India, Britain, and elsewhere say. If they are not controlled, the day will come when they will keep their promises, all their promises, of committing massacres. The lesson of history is: never disbelieve the fundamentalists.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Ahmad Shah Abdali’s Invasion of India

The Maratha Empire 

at its peak in 1760

Pakistan has named one of its SRBM-class missiles Abdali-I, after the eighteenth century Afghan warlord Ahmad Shah Abdali (also known as Ahmad Shah Durrani). Do the politicians of this country realize that Abdali was responsible for destroying the Islamic regimes of Lahore, Kashmir, and Delhi, and that he was responsible for killing tens of thousands of Muslims? Do they realize that the final blow to the Mughal Empire, which is venerated by the Pakistanis, was dealt by Abdali? 

The Islamic theologian Shah Waliullah Dehlawi had a role to play in motivating Abdali to invade India. In 1730, Waliullah had gone to Arabia to perform Hajj. In the two years that he spent there, he was introduced to the philosophy of the controversial Hanbali theologian Ibn Taymiyyah. Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, who would later become the founder of the Hanbali reform movement called Wahhabism, was studying Taymiyyah’s philosophy in Medina over the same period. It is not known if Waliullah and Wahhab directly interacted with each other but during their time in Medina both developed a similar hardline view of Islam. 

When Waliullah came back to Delhi, he was convinced that he was ordained by Allah to guide the Muslims and restore Islamic supremacy in India. In one of his dreams narrated in Fuyooz-ul Haramain, he expressed his desire to annihilate the Marathas, who were then seen as the archenemies of the Islamic regimes in India. 

In the early 1750s, Waliullah wrote a letter to Abdali inviting him to invade India and free this country from the Marathas. Waliullah must have thought that Abdali would destroy the Marathas and create a Wahhabi regime in India. But Abdali’s invasions had the opposite effect—he caused more damage to the Islamic regimes than to the Marathas. He sacked and burned Lahore, invaded and plundered Kashmir, and destroyed the Islamic empire (the Mughal Empire) of Delhi. The Islamic regimes of North India never recovered from Abdali’s barbaric invasion.

He defeated the Marathas in the 1761 Battle of Panipat, but his victory came at a terrible cost. A significant part of his army was destroyed in the fierce fighting. What made things worse from Waliullah’s point of view, the Marathas quickly recovered from the defeat and continued to control Central India. The Sikhs and the British were able to take advantage of the power vacuum created in North India, due to Abdali’s wars, massacres, and plunder, to cement their own power.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The Civilizational Conflicts of the Twenty-first Century

Karl Marx

The history of humanity is not just the history of class struggle, as Karl Marx has posited. It is also the history of conflicts, competition, and struggle between races, tribes, religions, nationalities, and civilizations. 

Individuals unite to form tribes; the tribes unite under the banner of religions to form nationalities; the nationalities unite to form civilizations. While the history of humanity can be moved by any number of causes, including the Marxist class struggles, the ultimate mover of history is the conflict between civilizations. 

In the Indian subcontinent, the civilizational conflict between polytheism (Hinduism) and monotheism (Islam) has been raging for more than 1300 years. Though the two religions seem to coexist peacefully (for much of the time), there has never been a time when conflict, competition, and struggle have not been simmering beneath the surface between them. 

A reading of history of Islam from its founding in the seventh century till today shows that Islam does not bring conflicts, competition, and struggle to an end. Instead of uniting people, it provides additional motivation to compete, struggle, and wage war. Some of the most destructive wars that Muslims have fought were not against non-Muslims but against other Muslims. 

In the middle of the nineteenth century, there was a rise of Hindu nationalism in the Indian subcontinent. These Hindu nationalists could have taken advantage of the divisions within Islam to win the civilizational conflict. But the leftists joined hands with Islam to form a formidable coalition which outfoxed and stymied the Hindu nationalists. 

The coalition between the leftists (the sons of Marxism) and the Islamic movements was not restricted to the Indian subcontinent. It was a global phenomenon. Islam and leftism completed each other—to their common political movement, the leftists brought intellectualism and political activism, and the Islamics brought their medieval spiritualism and fundamentalism.

The union between the left and Islam, developed in the twentieth century, continues to be a formidable political force in the twenty-first century—this political force is capable of capturing the superpower states of Western Europe and North America.  Once they control the superpower states, it would be relatively easier for them to conquer other democracies—so they think. 

In the twentieth century, the leftists could not capture the world; in the twenty-first century, with the help of Islam, the leftists think that they could. But there are too many contradictions in this unholy coalition between atheists and fundamentalists and it is likely that they will fail to achieve their political objective.

Monday, September 19, 2022

The Problem of No-Go Zones

Why is it that the areas in which muslims become the largest community turn into no-go zones for other communities? This is the condition not just in South Asian countries but also in Western Europe—which is seventy-six percent Christian and is regarded as a bastion of secular democracy. There are muslim majority neighborhoods in cities and towns of Western Europe which, according to media reports, have become no-go-zones for Christians, Hindus, and Jews. In Leicester, Hindus have come under attack because a few of them passed through a muslim majority area. In a secular democracy, why should an area be identified as “muslim majority”?

Sunday, September 18, 2022

A Note on Balochistan's History

Hawan at Shri Hinglaj Mata

Balochistan accounts for nearly half of Pakistan’s land mass and it is rich in natural resources. Most Indians, and even Pakistanis, would not know that Balochistan became independent four days before Pakistan: on 11 August 1947. After declaring independence, the leader of Balochistan, Mir Ahmed Yar Khan, the last Khan of Kalat, tried to make a favorable impression on the British government by nominating Douglas Fell, a British, as his foreign minister. 

Balochistan and Pakistan existed side-by-side as two independent nations till March 1948, when the Pakistani military invaded Baluch territory. The badly trained Baluchi irregulars were easily defeated by the Pakistani military which took control of the political institutions, and forced Mir Ahmed Yar Khan to sign a treaty of accession, submitting to the federal government. But the Khan’s younger brother, Prince Agha Abdul Karim Baloch, refused to accept the Pakistani takeover of his country. He fled to Afghanistan to wage a lonely struggle against Pakistan. He surrendered to the Pakistani military in 1950. 

Since 1948, this region has been under continuous military occupation. The Baluch insurgents refuse to submit to Pakistani rule. They have made several attempts to free their homeland. In the late 1950s, the Baluch insurgents were being led by Sheroo Marri, also known as General Shroff. In the 1970s, they were being led by leftist politicians and revolutionaries. In 2006, the Baluch separatist leader Akbar Bugti was killed by Pakistani military in an encounter. His death sparked massive protests which continue till this day.

Till the ninth century, Balochistan was being ruled by the Brahmin dynasties of Sind. Hinduism was the dominant religion. Now only 0.4% of the population is Hindu. One of Hinduism’s holiest shrines, the Hinglaj Mata Temple, also known as the Hingula Devi, is located in Hinglaj, a town in Balochistan’s Lasbela district. This temple is one of 51 Shakti Peethas in the Shaktism denomination of Hinduism. There are two other Shakti Peethas in Pakistan: Shivaharkaray (near Karachi) and Sharada Peeth (in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir).

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Devgn’s Thank God is Ungodly

Ajay Devgn in Thank God

Ajay Devgn is forever cursed to waste his life in movies with feeble plots and toxic premises. The trailer of his new movie Thank God is a horrible experience that goes on for three minutes—and makes it crystal that the full movie will be dumb, boring, and hard-to-watch. What makes this movie the absolute nadir of Bollywood is that it is sacrilegious. 

A man dies and goes to the other world where he finds himself confronted by an authority figure. Who is this authority figure? There is no mystery. There is no twist. There is no conflict. There is no character development. God is right there—he is the authority figure. Without further ado, the authority figure introduces himself as Lord Chitragupta, the God who keeps the record of the deeds of human beings and is the companion of Yama, the God of death. 

The problem is that Lord Chitragupta, played by Devgn, does not look like a Hindu God. He looks like a caricature from Cloud Cuckoo Land. He is clad in an Armani suit, he has the hair style of Al Pacino, the beard style of a Pakistani mullah, and the flashy rings, googles, and boots of a hiphop dancer. He has the pompous mannerisms of the KBC host Amitabh Bachchan and he presides over a hall of judgement that looks like the venue for a subpar Oscar Awards ceremony. 

The setup is unfunny and pathetic. The distortion of religion is toxic. The brazenness of the makers of Thank God is obvious from the fact that they are releasing their sacrilegious movie on October 25, a date which coincides with Diwali, one of Hinduism’s holiest festivals. On the holiest of days, they are releasing the unholiest movie. This movie is filled with atheistic propaganda—Marx’s slogan against Hindus is there, see if you can point it out in the movie.  

If you commit the grave sin of watching this movie, you will be hauled up in the divine court of the real Lord Chitragupta who will give you an exemplary punishment: banishment to the netherworld for eternity. Be wary of this movie.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Four America-backed Military Dictatorships in 75-Years

Reagan with General Zia (1982)

Since its bloody birth seventy-five years ago, Pakistan has been under four military dictatorships: 1958 – 1969, under General Ayub Khan; 1969 – 1971, under General Yahya Khan; 1977 – 1988, under General Zia-ul-Haq; 1999 – 2008, under General Pervez Musharraf. The unique feature of these four dictatorships was that they were backed by America. The Machiavellians of Washington were the real mastermind behind the coups which brought these dictatorships to power.

In the 1950s, Pakistan joined the anti-communist alliances CENTO (which placed Iran, Turkey, and Pakistan under American command) and SEATO (which had America, Britain, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Thailand as members). CENTO and SEATO were modeled after the European anti-communist alliance, NATO. These two alliances turned Pakistan into America’s client state. In the 1980s, America used General Zia’s regime to create Islamic militancy in Afghanistan to defeat the Soviet Union. Two decades later, they used General Musharraf’s regime to subdue the Afghan militants. During the process of creating and subduing the Afghan militancy tens of thousands of people died in South Asia. Though India had nothing to do with the geopolitical game that the Americans were playing in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a lot of death and destruction happened in this country (especially in the region of Kashmir).

If you believe that America is pro-democracy and free markets, then you are a fool lost in the mythical world of Arabian nights. America’s only priority is to maintain Western supremacy in the world. If the Americans realize that the only way they can maintain Western supremacy is by getting in bed with Satan (military dictators and fundamentalist mullahs in countries like Pakistan), they will jump into bed without a second thought.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

A Note on Venkat Dhulipala’s Creating a New Medina

Can Pakistan be a modern nation-state? The answer, according to historian Venkat Dhulipala, is no. In his book Creating a New Medina, he posits that in the 1930s and 1940s, Pakistan was conceived as Islam’s “New Medina,” not as a modern secular nation. 

The Ottoman caliphate had been abolished in 1924, on the initiative of Turkey’s leader Mustafa Kemal Pasha, and the Islamic theocrats and politicians in the Indian subcontinent were energized by the ambition of making Pakistan the new Islamic caliphate (the New Medina). The Muslim League, the Deobandi ulama, the intellectuals and students of the Aligarh Muslim University, the founding members of the Jamia Millia Islamia University, and other Islamic groups became enthusiastic participants in the project for creating a “New Medina.”

Dhulipala challenges the contention that the ulema did not want partition. He cites the writings and speeches of the ulema, who were spearheading the movement for carving out a separate homeland for muslims, to prove that they viewed Pakistan as “the first Islamic state in history that would attempt to reconstruct the Islamic utopia created by the Prophet in Medina.” (page 5) The ulema used Pakistan and Medina interchangeably in their writings and speeches to solidify the connection in the muslim mind. 

In his speech at an ulema conference in Lahore, on 25-27 January 1946, Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, the founder of the Jamia Millia Islamia University, declared: “just as Medina had provided a base for the eventual victory of Islam in Arabia, Pakistan would pave the way for the triumphal return of Islam as the ruling power over the entire subcontinent. The whole of Hindustan would thus be turned into Pakistan just as the Prophet himself had turned all of Arabia into Pakistan.” (page 361) 

Usmani invoked Koranic verses to make a case for Pakistan. He thundered that those who wanted the momin (believers) to live with the kafirs (infidels) were anti-Islam. He insisted that the Indian muslims constituted a separate nation, that the two nation theory was in accord with Islamic traditions, and that the creation of Pakistan was an end as well as a means to a far greater end, namely the Islamization of all of South Asia and the world. 

Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi, leader of the Deobandi ulema, was happy to see that the muslims were “getting organized in Allah’s name and not in the name of nationalism (watan parasti). He hoped that the Muslim League would eventually become Allah’s lashkar (army).” (page 103) Another Deobandi ulema Maulana Muhammad Manzoor Numani, proclaimed that he saw in a dream Jinnah being treated with love and kindness by Islam’s founder. 

Jinnah tried his best to project himself as a secular leader but he could not hide the fact that he was being supported by the ulema who fantasized about creating a New Medina, from where Islam would rise to dominate the world. Without the intellectual and religious backing of the ulema, Jinnah’s movement would have crashed.  

Dhulipala takes a look at the role played by the communists in Pakistan’s creation. The communists were enthusiastic supporters of the Muslim League—the interests of the atheist Marxists and Islamic theocrats were closely aligned. But Dhulipala’s thrust in his book is on defining the geopolitical and theocratic ambitions which led the ulema to conceive Pakistan as the New Medina. After reading the historical evidence (speeches, writings, and incidents) that he has compiled, it is hard to disagree with the conclusion that he offers in the book’s final lines: 

“the origins of the ‘ideological’ state in Pakistan lie not just in its post-independent insecurities, but at the very core of its nationalist ideology that developed in the run up to 1947. Studies of Pakistan that emphasize its ‘insufficient imagination’ therefore overstate the case. Pakistan was not insufficiently imagined, but plentifully and with ambition. It is this fact, coupled with the failures (and successes) of the state in fulfilling the expectation of a new Medina, which accounts for the crises that confront Pakistan today.” (page 501)

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The Divine Syamantaka and the Journey of the Kohinoor

Replica of Kohinoor in Mumbai

Britain legally holds the Kohinoor. But four other countries claim ownership of the diamond. 

India claims ownership because the diamond originated on Indian soil—it is believed that the diamond was discovered in India five thousand years ago. Iran claims ownership because, in 1739, the diamond was taken to Iran by the Persian warlord Nadir Shah. Afghanistan claims ownership because, in 1751, the Afghan warlord Ahmad Shah Durrani wrenched the diamond from Shah Rukh (Nadir Shah’s grandson) and brought it to Kabul. Pakistan claims ownership because the Pakistanis view their country as the true inheritor of the legacy of the Timurid (Mughal) empire, which had possession of the diamond from 1526 to 1739. 

It is not clear how the diamond got the name Kohinoor. This name is of course Persian and it means “mountain of light”—sources attribute this name to Babur in the sixteenth century and to Nadir Shah in the eighteenth century. In 1813, the diamond returned to India—it was taken from Shuja Shah Durrani (one of Ahmad’s grandsons) by Ranjit Singh who kept it in his Gobindgarh Fort in Amritsar. In the late 1840s, Lord Dalhousie extorted the diamond from Dalip Singh (Ranjit Singh’s youngest son) and presented it to Queen Victoria. 

Some Hindu writers have tried to associate the Kohinoor with the lost ancient jewel Syamantaka, which is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana and Vishnu Purana. This idea originated in the time of Ranjit Singh. 

When the diamond came into the hands of Ranjit Singh, the priests in the Jagannath temple announced that it was the lost Syamantaka. According to Hindu theology, the Syamantaka was endowed with divine power—it would protect its owner if he was virtuous, but if he was evil, it would ensure his downfall. This jewel originally belonged to the Sun God, Surya. It came to earth when Satrajita, a Yadava nobleman, received it as a gift from Surya. Satrajita gave the jewel to his brother Prasena. But a lion killed Prasena and took off with the jewel. After a fierce fight, Jambavan, the king of bears and Lord Rama’s devotee, killed the lion and grabbed the jewel. 

To recover the jewel, Lord Krishna smashed into Jambavan’s cave. They fought for 28 days. Finally, Jambavan realized that Krishna was Rama’s incarnation. He fell at Krishna’s feet, begged forgiveness for failing to recognize him, and gave him the jewel. He also gave his daughter Jambavati in marriage to Krishna. After returning to Dwarka, Krishna returned the jewel to Satrajita. But Satrajita offered the jewel to Krishna along with his daughter Satyabhama. Krishna accepted Satyabhama as his consort but he asked Satrajita to be the guardian of the jewel.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Bollywood’s Infatuation With 786

Amitabh Bachchan in Deewaar

Amitabh Bachchan’s biggest contribution to Indian culture is his promotion of the number 786 as a symbol of divine power. Before he became a popular actor, 786 was not being mythologized and idealized in Bollywood movies as a talisman, which offers round the clock protection from all kinds of dangers and enables people to overcome tough circumstances. 

In his 786th tweet (he is obsessed with numbers and keeps a count of his tweets), posted on July 27, 2012, Amitabh recalled the power of 786: “T 786 - #T786 Bismillah ir Rahman nir Rahim...In the Name of Allah the Most Merciful the Most Kind... the significance of the number.” 

Amitabh is a flat earther—anyone who believes that a number has divine power would have no problem in believing that earth is flat. He claims that he survived the accident in 1983, during the shooting of the film Coolie, because he was wearing this number. This is his propaganda; super-in-your-face. He is probably as weird in real life as the characters that he plays in his movies. 

With the success of Amitabh’s movies like Deewaar and Coolie (remember his 'Billa No.786’), which propagate the idea that 786 is endued with divine powers, this number became a filmy infatuation. In the footsteps of Amitabh several other Bollywood actors jumped into the 786 bandwagon. 

Shah Rukh Khan is ‘Qaidi No.786’ in the film Veer-Zaara. Akshay Kumar has 786 etched in the destiny line of his palm in the film Khiladi 786. Chiranjeevi is the prisoner number 786 in the film Khaidi No.786. Jackie Shroff wears a pacemaker with 786 written on it in the film Allah Rakha. Ajay Devgn drives a car whose number is MRH 786 in the film Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai. 

Such is Bollywood’s fascination for 786 that there are a number of films in which this number is depicted randomly—in road signs, vehicle numbers, milestones—without any effort being made to connect it to the film’s story.  

Due to the promotion of 786 in Bollywood films, many Hindus have been brainwashed into believing that this number can enable them to overcome their personal problems. Collecting currency notes with 786 in their serial number has become a national pastime. Some folks will pay twice the value for a note with 786. A mobile number with 786 is considered lucky. Some believe that a vehicle with 786 in the number plate is less likely to have an accident. 

The number 786 has nothing to do with Hinduism; Its divine power is an Islamic concept. A numerology equation in Arabic literature converts the words Besm Allah AlRahman AlRahim (In the Name of Allah the Compassionate the Merciful) into the number 786. Thanks to Bollywood’s propaganda, an Islamic number has become a Hindu obsession.

Monday, September 12, 2022

The Meaning of India’s Independence

“India in the late twentieth century still seems so much itself, so rooted in its own civilization, it takes time to understand that its independence has meant more than the going away of the British; that the India to which Independence came was a land of far older defeat.” ~ V. S. Naipaul in his 1976 book, India: A Wounded Civilization

Naipaul has made a good point. We, the people of India, celebrate 15 August 1947 as the day when our country became independent of the British. But before the British, the traditional seat of power in India, Delhi, was in control of a succession of Islamic imperialist regimes: the Mamluk dynasty (1206–1290), the Khalji dynasty (1290–1320), the Tughlaq dynasty (1320–1414), the Sayyid dynasty (1414–1451), the Lodi dynasty (1451–1526), and the Timurid dynasty (1526–1707). These Islamic regimes were much more deadly, decadent, and destructive than the British.

15 August 1947 is the day when a significant part of the Indian subcontinent became liberated from not only the British imperialists but also the Islamic imperialists. The people of this country should start acknowledging the fact that national independence means freedom from all kinds of imperialism, including Islamic imperialism.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Thoughts on 9/11

The Collapse of the

WTC Towers

February 15, 1989: The day when the last Soviet soldier left Afghanistan. The CIA had poured billions in arming and training the Afghan mujahideen who slaughtered about 28,000 Soviet soldiers and forced the Soviet Union to withdraw from the country. On this day, the CIA station in Islamabad sent a cable to Washington which had two words: “We won.” 

Pakistan’s dictator General Zia Ul-Haq credited the CIA for the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. But most Islamic theocrats in South Asia and the Middle East, and the Afghan mujahideen, armed and trained in urban warfare by the CIA, did not see America as an ally. For them, Allah was the only ally; they insisted that they had won because of Allah’s mercy. 

In retrospect, it is clear that the American political establishment, led by President Ronald Reagan, was clueless about the global ambitions of the Islamic groups that they were training and arming in South Asia. In the early 1980s, they could not have known that their policy of using Pakistan as a base for fomenting mujahideen-led anti-Soviet insurgency in Afghanistan would have an unintended consequence: worldwide Islamic terrorism.

If the Soviet Union had been allowed to rule Afghanistan, the communists might have succeeded in secularizing both Afghanistan and Pakistan. By ensuring the defeat of the Soviet Union, the Americans created political space for Islamic fundamentalism to grow and become a world power.

After 9/11, the Western media started covering Muslims as the perpetrators of terrorism. But for ten years, the CIA was in bed with the Afghan mujahideen—their unholy coupling led to the birth of the dangerous child called Al-Qaeda. 9/11 and other terror events, including those in Kashmir, were the unintended consequence of American policy in South Asia and the Middle East.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Indian Journalism and Indian Movies

“Indian journalism developed no reporting tradition; it often reported on India as on a foreign country.” ~ V. S. Naipaul, in his 1976 book, India: A Wounded Civilization 

Naipaul’s criticism of Indian journalism applies to Bollywood as well. Bollywood never developed an Indian tradition of film making. Most Bollywood film makers view Hinduism, which is India’s oldest religious and intellectual tradition, as a foreign doctrine. They view the Hindu festivals and rituals as pagan anachronisms which should be quickly forgotten or abolished. They prefer to study India through Islamic and Marxist eyes. 

In most Bollywood movies every single bad guy or clownish guy is someone who wears the symbols of Hindu religion. It seems that Bollywood’s idea of India is of a country which is Islamic and Marxist, and where Hindus are politically and culturally marginalized.

Friday, September 9, 2022

The Dragon and the Brahmāstra

Ranbir Kapoor is terrible by the standards of the Kapoor clan. Alia Bhatt is terrible even by the despicably low standards of the dysfunctional Bhatt clan. Amitabh Bachchan’s monologues are so murky as to make you wonder how long it will take for him to shut up. I am talking about the performance of these stars in the junk called Brahmāstra.

Brahmāstra is not directed by someone who knows something about directing movies or about the ancient Hindu tradition of the Brahmastra. It is a movie made by someone who is a terrible ninja—an overinflated, undertalented director called Ayan Mukerji whose sole qualification is that he has watched too many of Hollywood’s subpar science fiction movies. 

The worst thing about Brahmāstra is that this is a movie made with bad intentions. Ayan confessed in his 2019 Instagram post that the original name of this movie was Dragon and that it was based on the thirteenth-century Sufi preacher Rumi (Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī). What he didn’t reveal in his post was that Rumi has talked very derogatorily about India’s Hindus. 

Brahmāstra’s makers realized that a movie on Rumi might not enthuse Indian viewers, so they made desperate attempts to Indianize the story. Ranbir’s name in the film was originally Rumi—it was changed to Shiva. Alia, who plays Shiva’s love interest, becomes Isha. Instead of being a Sufi mystic, Amitabh was given the role of the leader of a nutty cult called Brahmānsh.  

It is impossible to turn a lowly Dragon into Brahmāstra; Rumi will never come close to Shiva. Ayan’s project to transform Dragon into Brahmāstra has been a miserable failure—his Brahmāstra is a clumsy, twisted mishmash. It is nihilistic phantasmagoria. To sit through this mess, you will need to take a good shower. Do not show this movie your money; show them your boycott. 

(PS: The attached picture is a drawing based on a scene from the Mahabharata: Narada and Vyasa come to stop the Brahmastra weapons unleashed by Aswatthama and Arjuna.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Publicity Stunt at Ujjain for Promoting Brahmāstra

Shree Mahakaleshwar

This Tuesday’s temple visit by Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhat was a shrewd publicity stunt. Neither of them are religious. They have no love for Hinduism—both are famous (or infamous) for making derogatory statements about Hindu traditions. They arrived at the Ujjain’s Shree Mahakaleshwar Temple for one reason: to generate publicity for their movie Brahmāstra. Their publicity stunt was successful. 

The protestors (reportedly belonging to Bajrang Dal), who tried to stop them from entering the temple, inadvertently played into the hands of Ranbir and Alia. The fracas outside the temple was extensively covered in the mainstream media. The TV news shows were full of dumb reporting on the protests that Ranbir and Alia encountered during their temple visit. The two film stars got what they wanted: Publicity for their movie Brahmāstra.

The Creepy Mahesh Bhatt

Mahesh & Pooja Bhatt

I realized that Mahesh Bhatt was a creep, lowlife, and imbecile of the worst kind when I saw on the cover of a magazine the picture of him kissing his daughter Pooja Bhatt. It was not an affectionate or fatherly peck on the cheek or forehead. It was a lurid, sexualized, mouth-to-mouth kiss. The Bollywood elites are often described in the media as “the beautiful people,” but this father-daughter duo fall in the category of the horrible people. A picture of them kissing is exactly what you need to lose faith in the future of mankind. 

The kissing photograph was pathetic. It was ghoulish. Try to imagine an open-mouthed, tongue-twister kiss between a gorilla and a donkey, both pigmy-sized, both having emblazoned on their faces the expression of pea-brained, sloppy druggies. As if the ghoulish mouth-to-mouth kiss was not enough to permanently tarnish their reputation, Mahesh gave even more reason for people to be contemptuous of him by smugly articulating his perverse desire for his daughter. He said: “If Pooja wasn’t my daughter, I’d have loved to marry her.” This guy is a total nut. 

Did he expect to become popular by confessing that he lusted to marry his daughter? Perhaps his agenda was to normalize incest. Perhaps he wants to bring society down to the debauched level of the dysfunctional Bhatt family of which he is the patriarch. Nothing good has come out of his four decades long film career. He is the worst film director in Bollywood. His movies are garbage. A few of his films have done well, making him a lot of money, but that’s because the standards of the moviegoers are abysmally low—they often flock to the theaters to watch garbage. 

Mahesh Bhatt is a brahmin name. By his movies, interviews, and antics like kissing his daughter, he has earned the reputation of being an atheist and nihilist. But the truth is that he is not a Brahmin or an atheist. He is a Muslim—his Islamic name is Aslam. In the last ten days, an old video of Mahesh addressing a large gathering of Muslims has gone viral on Twitter. He is ranting like a fundamentalist rabble-rouser in this video. He accuses George Bush and Narendra Modi of all kinds of wrongful acts and he tries to defend the perpetrators of 9/11. 

In the video, he says: “What I have understood by reading Islam is that a scared man (dara hua aadmi) cannot be a Muslim. Wherever there is fear, there is no Islam. And where there is Islam, there is no fear. Wherever there is darkness, there is no light. And where there is light, there is no darkness.” Since he is devoted to Islam, why does he refrain from using the name Aslam? He despises Hinduism, but he continues to use a Brahmin name. Does he realize what his fate would be in any Islamic country? The sharia prescribes draconian punishments for incest.

Mahesh is close to the controversial preacher Zakir Naik who has fled from India, is wanted by the Indian law enforcement agencies, and is on the watchlist of several major countries, including Russia, America, and Britain. Mahesh’s son Rahul Bhatt was a close friend of the terrorist David Headley, the mastermind behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 175 people lost their life and 300 were injured. Currently, Headley is in an American prison. 

Alia Bhatt, Mahesh’s daughter, is married to Ranbir Kapoor who has proclaimed in an interview that beef was his favorite food. He said: “I am a big beef guy.” Why does a film star need to talk about his food habits? I believe that Ranbir talked about his taste for beef because he wanted to show his contempt for the Hindu tradition which reveres the cow. Brahmāstra, the movie starring Alia and Ranbir, is releasing on 9th September. This movie is not about the real Brahmastra, the traditional weapon of Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism). It is anti-Hindu garbage and it stinks.

Any film connected with Mahesh Bhatt and his dysfunctional family will always be garbage. The makers of Brahmāstra must be tarred, feathered, and drummed out of Bollywood.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Rajpath Becomes Kartavya Path

A View of Kartavya Path

Kingsway was the name that the British gave to the pivotal road in Delhi that runs from Rashtrapati Bhavan through India Gate to the National Stadium. 

After independence, Jawaharlal Nehru’s government translated the word “Kingsway” into Hindi and so the road became Rajpath. But the word “Rajpath” sounded as imperialist and monarchical as Kingsway. In a democracy, it is the elected representatives who rule, not any monarch. The name “Rajpath” was an anachronism in democratic India. It is a good thing that the government has finally changed the name of this road to Kartavya Path. 

The word “Kartavya” means moral duty. It creates the impression of a Karma Yogi of the tradition of the Bhagavad Gita. In the battlefield of the Mahabharata, Krishna counsels Arjuna to fulfill his moral duty to uphold the Dharma through Karma. The new name Kartavya Path symbolizes the idea that it is the moral duty of the politicians in power to uphold Dharma through Karma.

Monday, September 5, 2022

The Conception of India as a Titaness

18th-century painting of Durga

slaying demon Mahishasura

In 1918, Sri Aurobindo published his four part essay, “The Renaissance in India.” In this essay he examines the possibility of a Hindu renaissance happening in India. Here’s an excerpt from part one of his essay: 

“On the whole what we see is a giant Shakti who awakening into a new world, a new and alien environment, finds herself shackled in all her limbs by a multitude of gross or minute bonds, bonds self-woven by her past, bonds recently imposed from outside, and is struggling to be free from them, to arise and proclaim herself, to cast abroad her spirit and set her seal on the world. We hear on every side a sound of the slow fraying of bonds, here and there a sharp tearing and snapping; but freedom of movement has not yet been attained. The eyes are not yet clear, the bud of the soul has only partly opened. The Titaness has not yet arisen.”

It is noteworthy that Aurobindo has used the word “Titaness,” not “Titan,” for India. Like most Bengali nationalist thinkers of his time, he conceived India as a motherland. The notion that Hindu India was a matrbhumi (motherland), not pitrbhumi (fatherland), was first popularized by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in his 1882 book Anandamath, which depicts the Indian landmass as an entity inseparable from Goddess Kali and Goddess Durga.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

The Gurkani or the Timurid Dynasty

Timur’s sack of Delhi

(Painting dated 1595–1600)

The title “Mughal Dynasty” was popularized in the twentieth century by Islamist and leftist historians who wanted India’s Hindu population to believe that the Mughals were natives of the Indian subcontinent. Babur and his descendants did not call themselves Mughals. In their texts, the title by which they have referred to their own dynasty is Gurkani (also spelled Gūrkāniyān). 

Gurkani is the Persian form of the Mongol word "Kuragan" which means sons-in-law. Babur was the descendent of the Turkish warlord Timur or Timurlane, who had married Saray Mulk Khanum, a direct descendant of Genghis Khan. It is estimated that Timur’s wars caused the slaughter of more than 17 million people, about 5 percent of the world’s population in his time. Since Timur was Genghis Khan’s son-in-law, those of his descendants who used Persian language called themselves Gurkani. 

Timur was the great-great-great-grandfather of Babur. Timurids and Gurkani are the correct names for the so-called Mughals, who were invaders and imperialistic rulers in India. Their rule of about 180 years (between the sixteenth and early eighteenth centuries) left North India so divided and economically and militarily shattered that in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the British could capture much of North India without encountering any significant opposition.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

The Masks of Religion and Ideology

In the Middle Ages and the early Modern Age, the semitic non-pagan religions operated as the spiritual mask for warlike communities to grab land, slaves, and natural resources from other communities. The same is true for ideologies like socialism, fascism, communism, Maoism, fabianism, and neoliberalism. Despite their pretense of being secular and scientific, these ideologies have inspired their followers with fervor, faith, and fundamentalism akin to religious movements. In the last 120 years, these ideologies have served as the philosophical mask for one set of communities to grab power and resources from other communities.

Friday, September 2, 2022

The Religions of the Monsoon & the Desert

The Descent of Ganga

Raja Ravi Varma

Hinduism is a naturalistic religion founded in the land of the monsoon. Islam is a theocratic religion founded in the Arabian desert. 

The teachings, moral values, and the political methods of the two religions vary widely because the monsoon will always be an antithesis of the desert. Where the monsoon goes, the desert cannot exist; where the desert exists, the monsoon won’t go. The cow belongs to the land of the monsoon; to the desert, belongs the camel. The ancient Hindus were settlers (tribes of agriculturalists and herdsmen); the early followers of Islam were nomads and warriors. 

(The attached picture is Raja Ravi Varma’s 1890 painting, “The Descent of Ganga.”) 

The story of the descent of River Ganga from heaven to earth, through the prayers of Sage Bhagiratha who was aided by Lord Shiva, plays a critical role in Hinduism. This story symbolizes the fact that Hinduism is a religion rooted in a fertile and green environment that is richly endowed with water resources: monsoon, rivers, streams, lakes, and waterfalls. The earliest mention of Ganga is in the Rig Veda; Vedic Hinduism began in the Indian subcontinent when the River Ganga began to flow on earth.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

An Early Review of Brahmāstra

Is Brahmāstra supposed to be based on mythology? Because I saw the movie’s two-minute trailer, which does not seem mythological at all. It is a demented science fiction movie which makes less sense than the mountain-sized gorilla mating with Naomi Watts in the movie King Kong. 

Ranbir Kapoor, who likes to brag about being a “big beef guy” in TV interviews, is the one who gets to wield the Brahmāstra. Beef and Brahmāstra—in the convoluted world of Bollywood, there is no contradiction between the two. Ranbir can fill his belly with big beef and then wield the Brahmāstra. The problem is that he has the personality of a mousy teenybopper; he is not convincing at all as the carrier of the mighty Brahmāstra. He is paired with Alia Bhatt, who looks more masculine than him. But it is hard to tell from Alia’s performance if she is a real woman or an animation. The evergreen cactus of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan, is playing the role of a cult leader. He speaks in a droning and soporific voice that will put a whole colony of lizards to sleep. Will Amitabh ever retire? This is the uppermost question in my mind. 

Whoever directed this movie should be fired from Bollywood. He must never be allowed to direct a movie again. #Brahmāstra

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

On Ganesha Vinayaka Chaturthi

Best wishes on Ganesha Vinayaka Chaturthi. Lord Ganesha has played a vital role in the writing of the Mahabharata.

Since Veda Vyasa was intimately acquainted with the characters of the Mahabharata, he was asked by Lord Brahma to write the story of their deeds. Vyasa said that the story was long and complex, and he would require the assistance of a scribe. Lord Brahma then suggested the name of Lord Ganesha who was known for his writing skill. Lord Ganesha said that he would accept the task on one condition: Vyasa would have to dictate without any break.

To ensure that his composition of the verses would match the speed of Lord Ganesha’s swift writing, Vyasa made a counter-condition—that Lord Ganesha would write only after he had grasped the meaning of the verses. After a few verses, Vyasa would throw in a difficult verse. In the time that it took Lord Ganesha to grasp the meaning of the difficult verse, Vyasa would compose several new verses in his mind. This explains why the Mahabharata consists of a mix of easy and difficult verses.

Bollywood Delenda Est

Shah Rukh Khan

Will Shah Rukh, the Bollywood star, condemn the heinous crime of Shahrukh, the psychopath of Jharkhand? #Shahrukh has been trending on Twitter for several days. This Twitter trend is not a propaganda; this is about a real crime. A teenaged girl belonging to a poor and powerless family, living in one of the poorest states, has been burned to death by the psychopath called Shahrukh because she refused his advances. It must be galling for Shah Rukh that a person of his religion, who bears his name, has committed this heinous crime. 

In the media Shah Rukh is eulogized as the “Baadshah of Bollywood,” "King of Bollywood" and "King Khan.” Now the Baadshah or King ought to defend the dignity of his first name. He should condemn the Shahrukh who has committed the crime. Shah Rukh and most other Bollywood stars seem too cocksure when they are criticizing the traditions of Hinduism—but they never utter a word against criminals like Shahrukh. Getting Shah Rukh to condemn Shahrukh would be a “mission impossible”: he won’t do it. The so-called Baadshah will keep mum. 

I refuse to believe that the top players in Bollywood (the Bollywoodians) have any intelligence. They are still making the same kind of demented, unpleasant, contrived, artificial, and cloying movies that they used to make in the 1980s, when India was a closed leftist society, an appendage of the erstwhile Soviet Union. Since then India has evolved by leaps, but the Bollywoodians are unevolveable fossils. 

Since the Bollywoodians despise India’s mainstream Hindu culture, they never bother to examine society closely—they are clueless about the transformations that have taken place in the last 40 years. Their ignorance leads them to believe that they can manipulate society—to a predominantly Hindu audience, they want to propagate Islamist and leftist values. Stars like Shah Rukh see themselves as social crusaders, not merely actors. The scope of their crusading is limited to the Hindu traditions; they never condemn the crimes of the likes of Shahrukh.

Shah Rukh’s movie Pathaan will be released in January 2023. My prediction: Pathaan will be a super-duper flop. I can’t imagine that there are too many people in this country who would want to waste two or three precious hours of their life on watching Shah Rukh’s demented movie. His film career is finished. The age of Bollywood cinema is finished. Bollywood delenda est—this is my version of Cato the Censor’s famous slogan.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

The Lucifer Principle

If you want to know what causes barbaric nomads to unite under the banner of a new religion founded in the desert wasteland of Arabia and smash into the civilized world, carving out a vast global empire and converting hundreds of millions of people to their desert religion, you should read Howard Bloom’s 1995 book, The Lucifer Principle. Here’s an excerpt from the book’s Chapter 1, “Who is Lucifer?”: 

“Nature does not abhor evil; she embraces it. She uses it to build. With it she moves the human world to greater heights of organization, intricacy, and power.
 
“Death, destruction, and fury do not disturb the mother of our world; they are merely parts of her plan. Only we are outraged by the Lucifer Principle's consequences. And we have every right to be. For we are casualties of Nature's callous indifference to life, pawns who suffer and die to live out her schemes. 

"One result: from our best qualities come our worst. From our urge to pull together comes our tendency to tear each other apart. From our devotion to a higher good comes our propensity to the foulest atrocities. From our commitment to ideals come our excuses to hate. Since the beginning of history, we have been blinded by evil's ability to don a selfless disguise. We have failed to see that our finest qualities are often the generators of the actions we most abhor--murder, torture, genocide and war. 

“For millennia men and women have looked at the ruins of their lost homes, at the people precious to them whom they will never see alive again, and they have asked that spears be turned to pruning hooks and that mankind be granted the gift of peace; but prayers are not enough. To dismantle the curse that mother nature has built into us we need a new way of looking at man, a new way of reshaping our destiny.”

Bloom shows in his book that when a large group of people become united under a single religion or ideology, they transform into a brutal super-organism, which will devour everything that stands in its path and create a new order. As the group grows, its tactics become more and more brutal.

Monday, August 29, 2022

The Terrorists Eat Their Own

Stallone with Afghan mujahideen

In Rambo III

In the last three decades, three-fifths of the high-casualty terrorist attacks have been orchestrated by Muslim groups—ironically, Muslims were the biggest victims of terrorism in this period. 

The United States government organization, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), has declared in its 2012 report that, in the first decade of the twenty-first century, the jihadists have killed more Muslims than non-Muslims. The report notes: “In cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined, Muslims suffered between 82 and 97 percent of terrorism-related fatalities” between 2007 and 2011. 

According to this report, the top five countries which suffered the greatest number of fatalities in 2011 were: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Nigeria. In their quest for power, the terrorist groups have been eating their own.

PS: The attached picture is of Sylvester Stallone with Afghan mujahideen in the movie Rambo III. Made in 1988, with the blessing of the American government, this movie depicts the Afghan mujahideen as the good guys who fight for freedom and are pro-West.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Petroleum: The Devil’s Excrement

First oil well in Saudi Arabia

struck in March 1938

“It is the devil’s excrement. We are drowning in the devil’s excrement. Ten years from now, twenty years from now, you will see, oil will bring us ruin.” ~ Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo, Venezuela's oil minister in the early 1960s, made this lamentation in 1975.

The oil exporting states of the Middle East, Arica, South America, and Asia are plagued by tyranny, corruption, economic woes, and an unending cycle of lawlessness and political instability. Iraq, Iran, Syria, Algeria, Nigeria, Sudan, Columbia, Venezuela, Libya, Angola, and Yemen have been devastated by tyranny and decades of civil war. 

The connection between oil and tyranny, and oil and violence is obvious. But the connection between oil and religion (Islam) is also obvious. 

Many of the oil exporting nations are Islamic—the Middle East holds more than half of the world's proven oil reserves. Some observers have posited that Islamic traditions, not oil, could be the real cause of the authoritarianism, gender inequality, lack of economic reforms, religious fundamentalism, and violence in the Middle Eastern nations.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Reagan’s Misadventure in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Reagan with Afghan Mujahideen

in the Oval Office (1983)

From the 1920s to the 1980s, jihad was a noble mission for the American government. The Americans did not equate jihad with terrorism; they thought that they could use the jihadists to destroy communism and Westernize the world. They associated the problem of terrorism with communism, not with Islam. After the Ottoman Empire’s dissolution in 1922, America’s greatest enemies were the communists states, while most of the Islamic states were close allies. 

President Ronald Reagan was so enthusiastic about supporting the Afghan mujahideen, who had jihadist ties, that in 1982 he dedicated the launch of Space Shuttle Columbia to “the people of Afghanistan.” In 1983, the leaders of the Afghan mujahideen groups were invited to the White House where they met Reagan in the Oval Office. Reagan’s administration funded the mujahideen groups, armed them with cutting edge weapons, glorified them as freedom fighters in government reports, and trained them in the art of insurgency, sabotage, and terrorism.   

Till the early 1970s, the Pakistani government used to claim that their country was secular. The Islamization of Pakistan happened during the reign of General Zia-ul-Haq, who came to power in 1977, through a military coup. When Reagan became the president in 1981, he declared that Zia’s regime was America’s "front line" ally against the Soviet Union. With America’s full support, Zia promoted the mujahideen groups in Afghanistan and groups like the Jamaat-i-Islami in Pakistan. He changed Pakistan’s laws to Islamize bureaucracy, education, economy, and media. 

Since the Afghan mujahideen were waging a war on the Soviet Union, they were the good guys for the Americans. The Reagan administration poured weapons worth billions into Pakistan and Afghanistan to strengthen the jihadist groups. This American policy had terrible consequences for India. After the jihadists had driven the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan, they turned their attention to India. In the late 1980s, terrorist violence escalated in Kashmir and other parts of India. Thousands died, and the Kashmiri Pandits were forced to flee from the Kashmir valley. 

There was transformation in American view of jihad after 9/11. When America itself was attacked on 9/11, the American government suddenly woke up to the fact that the jihadists were not the good guys or the allies of the West. The word “jihad” acquired a pejorative meaning in America and Western Europe. Islamism replaced communism as the ideology of anti-Western groups, and the American media started depicting the jihadists groups as the perpetrators of terrorism.