Monday, October 31, 2022

Why I Prefer Musk Over Dorsey

Dorsey Holding the Placard 

“Smash Brahmanical Patriarchy”

One reason I am cheering Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter is that in 2018 I developed an intense dislike for the company’s previous CEO Jack Dorsey when I saw a picture of him attired in a fashion that is typical of America’s billionaire-bohemian-communists who control the global digital industry and standing in the company of some rabid anti-Hindu leftists with a placard in his hands that read “Smash Brahmanical Patriarchy.” 

A number of questions popped into my mind when I saw Dorsey with that sign, which I found stupid and racist: What does this guy know about Brahmanism? What does he know about India’s culture, history, and politics? What does he mean by the word “smash”—is he advocating violence against the Brahmins? Is he trying to foment a civil war? How did he get the idea that Brahmanism, which represents the intellectual and theological side of Hinduism, is patriarchal? 

Dorsey would not have dared to hold an anti-Muslim or an anti-Chinese placard. He would not have dared to hold a placard that highlighted the communist atrocities. But he could insult the Brahmins (Hindus) by flaunting the “Smash Brahmanical Patriarchy” placard, because he knew that the Hindus were peaceful people who would not do anything to punish him. Dorsey is a coward who goes after targets that are unlikely to retaliate.

The Brahmins have helped preserve India’s heritage under hellish circumstances. During the Middle Ages, when India was being ravaged by invasions of Islamic warlords, who plundered thousands of temples and converted them to mosques, destroyed many major universities, and tried to make Islam the dominant religion of the land, the Brahmins waged a long, traumatic, and mostly peaceful struggle to preserve Hindu culture. 

The knowledge of Hinduism would have vanished in the Middle Ages if the Brahmins had not preserved the wording of ancient manuscripts through their oral tradition. The Brahmins have made a critical contribution in keeping the tradition of Hindu rituals and festivals alive. It is because of the role that the Brahmins have played in the preservation of Hinduism that they are hated by the Islamists and the Western Evangelicals. 

In the ancient traditions of Hinduism there is no patriarchy. Patriarchy is a Semitic and European ideology—it arrived in India during the Middle Ages, through Islamic and Christian influences. The Western Evangelicals and the Middle Eastern Islamists want to blame the Hindus for the problems created by the ideology of their own religions. That is why they have created a worldwide propaganda claiming that Brahmanism is patriarchal and it needs to be smashed. 

By using his celebrity status to tar the Brahmins with false Evangelical and Islamist propaganda, Dorsey proved to the world that he is a clueless and supercilious twit. He has made billions but he has failed to develop the sensibility to respect other cultures. I am glad that he is no longer Twitter’s chief twit (tyrant)—that status now belongs to Elon Musk.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Naipaul: On the Tragedy of Pakistan’s Mohajirs

The Urdu word “mohajir” means Muslim immigrant and it is generally used to describe the Muslims of various ethnicities, originally from different parts of India, who moved into Pakistan after this nation came into being in 1947. Many of these mohajirs settled in the region of Sindh. The mohajirs had moved to Pakistan because they believed that Muslims could feel at home only in an Islamic state but they were not treated as equals by Pakistan’s original natives. They faced discrimination, prosecution, and brutal violence. 

Thousands of mohajirs have been killed in Pakistan in targeted killings and riots. The most infamous massacres of the Mohajirs include the Qasba Aligarh massacre; the Hyderabad, Sindh massacre; the Pucca Qila Massacre; and the Operation Clean-up. In his book, Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions among the Converted Peoples, V. S. Naipaul has reflected on the tragedy of the mohajirs who came to Pakistan hoping to find an Islamic paradise but they and their descendants got trapped in a fundamentalist and racist hell. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 6, “Loss”:

“For most of the Muslims of the subcontinent the partition of 1947 had been like a great victory, ‘like God’, as a man had said to me in Lahore in 1979. Now every day in the newspapers there were stories of the killings in the great port city of Karachi. That was where many of the Muslim migrants from India, townspeople, middle class or lower middle class, had gone after partition. Nearly half a century later the descendants of these people, feeling themselves strangers still, unrepresented, cheated, without power, had taken up arms against the state, in a merciless guerrilla war. 

“In Iqbal’s [the poet Mohammad Iqbal] convert’s scheme Islam should have been identify enough for everybody. But the people of Sindh (the province where Karachi was) didn’t like seeing their land, half empty and half desert though it was, overrun by better-educated and more ambitious strangers. The land of Sindh was ancient, and always slightly apart. The people had their own history and language and feudal reverences. They had set up political barriers, some overt, some hidden, against the strangers from India, the mohajirs. And in Pakistan the mohajirs had nowhere else to go. 

“Partition, once a cause for joy, had become like a wound for some of these mohajirs. For some the memories of those days still lived.”

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Why I am Cheerleading Musk’s Purchase of Twitter

I am not a fan of Elon Musk. He is not a businessman. He is a clinically delusional oligarch. He is as clinically delusional as the other oligarchs of America: The leaders of Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and several other multinational corporations. These oligarchs are the ungainly spawn of capitalism which is a myth invented by Western imperialists and leftists who want to dominate the world. 

Capitalism does not create free markets; it does not create genuine democracy—it leads to the rise of clinically delusional oligarchs who are in bed with the central banks, the political establishment, and the academic and media institutions. 

But I have been cheerleading Musk’s purchase of Twitter. This is because I expect him to be the meteor that will smash into the earth and wipe out capitalism, and free the world from the crooked banking, intellectual, and political establishments which are being financed by the economic activities of the clinically delusional oligarchs. I am certain that Twitter in Musk’s hands will prove to be a spectacularly destructive meteor. 

Musk’s flagship company Tesla is already facing severe financial problems; in a couple of years, it is likely to go bankrupt. He is a man of action—when his financial problems aggravate, he will not sit idle. He will want to do something and then he will make some really crazy decisions. Instead of solving his financial problems, his crazy decisions will create chaos in the digital and banking multinationals. 

Digital companies will go bankrupt; banks and insurance companies will fall like dominos; universities and media companies will be captured by revolutionaries; there will be revolutions and several governments will be overthrown.

I expect capitalism (which as I said earlier is a creation of Western imperialists and leftists) to be wiped out in the next 5 to 10 years. With the end of capitalism, communism and socialism will become irrelevant, and the Western tyranny will finally come to an end. After Western power is gone, some genuinely free market economies might emerge in some parts of the world.

Friday, October 28, 2022

K. M. Munish’s Book on the Somanatha Temple

Somanatha Temple

Kanhaiyalal Maneklal Munshi played a central role in the Somanatha Temple’s reconstruction. In his 1951 book, Somanatha: The Shrine Eternal, he has described the history of the Somanatha Temple from the prehistoric times (he posits that the Somanatha was an eternal shrine of Lord Shiva) to the present. 

Munshi saw Mahmud of Ghazni’s desecration and plunder of the Somanatha Temple in the eleventh century as a great national disaster for Hindus. In his book’s Chapter 21, “Somanatha—The Shrine Eternal,” he writes: "For a thousand years Mahmud's destruction of the shrine has been burnt into the collective subconscious of the (Hindu) race as an unforgettable national disaster." Here’s a line from the book’s appendix:  “The sack of the Somanatha by Mahmud Ghazni had left a deep wound in the nation’s soul and it hung like a stalactite in the cave of Indian memory.” 

In Chapter 5, “Shiva and His Worship,” Munshi talks about Shiva’s critical role in shaping the natural environment and the culture of the Indian subcontinent: 

“Shiva is inseparable from Ganga which, flowing from His matted locks, represents purity and gives India its belt of plenty and high intellectual aspirations; from His consort Uma, the benign Mother; from His son Kartikeya, the God of War, worshipped by the Gupta emperors, and worshipped today in the south as Subrahmanya; from the highly lovable Ganapati, the elephant-headed god of auspiciousness, intellect, wealth and valor, today the presiding deity of every home where purity and happiness reign; from Nandi, the beloved father of the bovine race, which, from time immemorial, is linked with Indians in every aspect of life and unites them in sympathy with the animal world and secures them economic stability.”

“The conception of Shiva and Parvati in Indian culture is inspiring. The noblest conception of the spiritual unity of man and wife, ever-loving and eternal, achieved by a joint sublimation of the sex instinct is immortalized in Parvati-Parameshvara, to quote Kalidasa, as ‘indissoluble as word and sense’ or the Ardhanerishvura of the Shaivite literature.”

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Thought for Chitragupta Puja

On the occasion of Chitragupta Puja: “Let noble thoughts come to us from every side.” ~ Rigveda (1-89-i)

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Tilak’s Dedication in Shrimad Bhagvadgita Rahasya

Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Bal Gangadhar Tilak begins his book Shrimad Bhagvadgita Rahasya (first published in Marathi in 1915; the English translation published in 1935) with the following Dedication: 

“How very profound is the importance of the Glta, which was expounded in ancient times by wise men, and which was further explained in various ways by Acarayas, and how limited is the scope of my intelligence? Still, I am impelled by my rashness to explain the same once more, keeping before my eyes the old Sastras as well as notable modern ideas; and honorable people desiring to understand what is doable and what not-doable, deserve to hear this (new) explanation. Having made this request to revered persons in the sweet, words of Kalidasa, I, a Brahmin, (by name) Bala, the son of Gangadhara, born in the family of Tilaka, belonging to the clan {gotra) of the Rsi Sandilya, and a resident of the town of Poona, situate in the Maharastra, following the path of the Good, and with the words of Hari  in my mind, do dedicate this work to the Lord of Laksml, the Soul of the World, in the Salivahana Saka 1837. May the Blessed Lord, the Highest Purusa, be pleased by this dedication.” 

The “words of Hari” that Tilak has mentioned in his Dedication is a shloka from the Gita: Krishna (Hari) says to Arjuna, "Whatever you do, or eat, or offer by way of sacrifice, or give, or perform by way of austerity, dedicate all that to Me, O, son of Kunti." (Gita 9, 27)

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

On Tilak’s Shrimad Bhagvad Gita Rahasya

Bal Gangadhar Tilak wrote his book Shrimad Bhagvad Gita Rahasya between 1908 to 1914, when he was imprisoned at the Mandalay jail. He wrote in Marathi. The English translation of his book (by Bhalchandra Sitaram Sukthankar) was published in two volumes in 1935—the combined length of the two volumes is around 1400 pages. I purchased the two volumes ten years ago, in 2012.

Monday, October 24, 2022

The Ramayana: The Values of a Righteous Leader

In the fourth book of the Ramayana, Kishkindha Kanda, Bhagwan Hanuman contemplates the values of a righteous world leader—these values include eight kinds of intelligence, four kinds of forces, and fourteen qualities.

The eight kinds of intelligence are: attentiveness, capacity to listen, capacity to grasp, capacity to remember, ability to discriminate, ability to ascertain the truth, deep understanding, and the wisdom to distinguish between good action and bad action. The four kinds of forces are: sama (the ability to develop conciliation and alliances), dana (compassion, altruism, and the habit of giving gifts and grants to the needy and the deserving), behda (logic and strategy), and danda (force and argument; the ability to deploy the four weapons of war—infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariots—to punish the evil entities). The fourteen qualities are: knowledge of the place and time, courage, endurance, capacity to think of all the consequences, skill, self-defense, the ability to keep one’s counsel secret, avoidance of pointless debates, ruthlessness, the wisdom to detect the strengths and weaknesses, faith, the ability to shelter those who seek refuge, the ability to display anger in the right way and at the right time, and the resolve to pursue the just course of action.

The political and moral thinking of the Hindu Puranas (Itihasa), the Dharmasastras, even the Buddhist and Jain texts, and Sanskrit kavya have been influenced by Hanuman's approach to the values that the righteous world leaders should possess. Happy Deepavali.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Naipaul on Islamic Fundamentalism and Imperialism

Drawing of Naipaul

“The cruelty of Islamic fundamentalism is that it allows only to one people—the Arabs, the original people of the Prophet—a past, and sacred places, pilgrimages and earth reverences. These sacred Arab places have to be the sacred places of all the converted peoples. Converted peoples have to strip themselves of their past; of converted peoples nothing is restored but the purest faith (if such a thing can be arrived at), Islam, submission. It is the most uncompromising kind of imperialism.” ~ V. S. Naipaul in his book Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions among the Converted Peoples

In another passage, in the same book, Naipaul sees Islam as an imperialism more disruptive than the Roman Empire and the British raj: “There probably has been no imperialism like that of Islam and the Arabs. The Gauls, after 500 years of Roman rule, could recover their old gods and reverences; those beliefs hadn't died; they lay just below the Roman surface. But Islam seeks as an article of the faith to erase the past; the believers in the end honor Arabia alone; they have nothing to return to.” He holds that the greatest war that the Islamic fundamentalists are fighting is not with the capitalist West but with their own pre-Islamic past, “with everything that linked them to their own earth.”

In yesterday’s article, "Naipaul on Pakistan and Conversion to Islam,” I referred to two other passages from Beyond Belief in which Naipaul is criticizing Islam for making imperial demands on new converts and describing Pakistan as a criminal enterprise. 

Stories and arguments are aplenty in Beyond Belief, and in his earlier book Among the Believers, but his overall thesis on Islam is incomplete and unconvincing. He warns his readers that the true believers of Islam could set the world to “boil” but he fails to explain why Islam is the world’s most popular religion—this religion has close to 2 billion adherents. There are several reports which suggest that Islam has already overtaken Christianity and is now the world’s largest religion. Pakistan has been on the boil since 1947, when the country came into being, but this has not weakened the hold of Islam on the nation’s politics and culture—in fact, the hold of Islam on Pakistani Muslims is much stronger today than it was in 1947.

If Islam is imperialistic, if it coerces the new converts to discard their ancestral culture and Arabize themselves, then why do people continue to convert? Why do most new converts to Islam become radicalized? In his two books on Islam, Naipaul does not offer an explanation for Islam’s success as a world religion. He does not offer a conclusion, a unique solution to the problem of Islamic fundamentalism and imperialism. He is too uneasy with Islam to be an objective chronicler—is this because of his Hindu Brahmanical background? He was a Westernized intellectual but he never lost his empathy for Hinduism. It seems that he has examined the Islamic countries with the eyes of a Westernized Brahmin.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Naipaul on Pakistan and Conversion to Islam

In his 1998 book, Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions among the Converted Peoples, V. S. Naipaul describes his 1995 journey through four Islamic countries—Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan and Malaysia—and examines the issue of conversion to Islam. What does conversion to Islam entail? According to Naipaul, conversion to islam entails total Arabization—the convert must discard his ancestral culture and struggle to develop an Arabic character. Here’s an excerpt from an early passage in the book’s Prologue: 

“Islam is in its origins an Arab religion. Everyone not an Arab who is a Muslim is a convert. Islam is not simply a matter of conscience or private belief. It makes imperial demands. A convert's worldview alters. His holy places are in Arab lands; his sacred language is Arabic. His idea of history alters. He rejects his own; he becomes, whether he likes it or not, a part of the Arab story. The convert has to turn away from everything that is his. The disturbance for societies is immense, and even after a thousand years can remain unresolved; the turning away has to be done again and again. People develop fantasies about who and what they are; and in the Islam of converted countries there is an element of neurosis and nihilism. These countries can be easily set on the boil.”

In the book’s Part III, which is on Pakistan, Naipaul opines that during the period of British rule, the Hindus were able to regenerate their culture while the Muslims degenerated: 

“The Hindus, especially in Bengal, welcomed the New Learning of Europe and the institutions the British brought. The Muslims, wounded by their loss of power, and out of old religious scruples, stood aside. It was the beginning of the intellectual distance between the two communities. This distance has grown with independence; and it is this—more even than religion now — that at the end of the twentieth century has made India and Pakistan quite distinct countries. India, with an intelligentsia that grows by leaps and bounds, expands in all directions. Pakistan, proclaiming only the faith and then proclaiming the faith again, ever shrinks.”

He believes that Pakistan was a criminal enterprise conceived by Muslims who were plagued with insecurity. “It was Muslim insecurity that led to the call for the creation of Pakistan. It went at the same time with an idea of old glory, of the invaders sweeping down from the northwest and looting the temples of Hindustan and imposing the faith on the infidel. The fantasy still lives; and for the Muslim converts of the subcontinent it is the start of their neurosis, because in this fantasy the convert forgets who or what he is and becomes the violator.”

Published in 1998, Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions among the Converted Peoples, is a sequel to Naipaul’s 1979 book, Among the Believers.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Meenakshi Jain’s Book Rama & Ayodhya

Left academics and journalists have been trying to propagate the idea that Lord Rama became a deity for the Hindus in the sixteenth century, after Goswami Tulsidas composed his Ramcharitmanas. They assert that Rama’s divinity was never recognized by the Buddhists and the Jains. Meenakshi Jain has refuted their assertions in her book, Rama & Ayodhya

Three lengthy chapters in her book are devoted to proving that since ancient times the tradition of worshiping Rama was an important characteristic of the culture of the Indian subcontinent. She has cited from not just ancient Hindu texts but also Buddhist texts, including Dashratha Kathanam, which has been dated to the first century CE, and early Jain literature to establish that Rama was a deity for all Indians since ancient times. 

She covers the importance of Ayodhya as a sacred place for Hindus in ten chapters, citing from Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain texts, and from Islamic chroniclers, and European administrators and travelers. Her analysis of the evidence unearthed by the Archeological Survey Of India (ASI) makes it absolutely clear that a Rama temple existed at the disputed site since ancient times. 

The British era land revenue records and reports that she has cited in her book reveal that the British administrators recognized that Ayodhya was a Hindu holy place and that the Babri Masjid was built on the orders of the Mughal Sultan after pulling down a Rama temple, which marked the exact spot where Rama was born. 

She examines the legal issues, including the pronouncements of the Allahabad High Court, to establish that no Waqf land has ever been associated with the disputed site because the land grant had been made by the British government, a non-Islamic entity. 

Jain writes, “The belligerence of Left academics was at odds with their inability to validate and authenticate their assertions in court.” Irfan Habib and Romila Thapar are among the left academics whose views Jain has examined and countered. The book contains interesting pictures of excavated areas in Ayodhya, ancient coins, idols, stone pillars, seals, and maps. I have found Jain’s book very informative, scholarly, and well-argued.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

On Reading Rajiv Malhotra’s Books

Rajiv Malhotra

A few years ago, I saw Rajiv Malhotra’s interview which I didn’t find particularly interesting, and I developed the impression that he was not a profound thinker. So I started avoiding his interviews and books. Last month, I decided to give his book Breaking India a try—to my surprise, I found it brilliant. Once I started reading Breaking India, I could not put it down till I finished it. 

After that I have read two more of his books: Indra’s Net and The Battle for Sanskrit. Now I can say that he is one of the best thinkers of Hinduism and Indian culture today. (Aravindan Neelakandan is the coauthor of Breaking India.)

Sheldon Pollock is a very influential Sanskrit scholar—he is close to powerful politicians and industrialists in India and America. Since the 1990s, India’s leftist media has been hyping Pollock as the world’s best Sanskrit scholar. I became acquainted with his work about 15 years ago, at that time I had not heard of Malhotra. I used to feel annoyed by Pollock’s leftist and blatantly Hindu-phobic analysis of ancient Sanskrit texts and India’s political issues.   

After reading Malhotra’s brilliant book, The Battle for Sanskrit, I feel satisfied by the way he has out-argued and exposed Pollock. I would recommend Malhotra’s books to those who are genuinely interested in Hinduism and India’s history and politics.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Nataraja: Siva as the Divine Dancer of the Cosmos

10th century Chola Statue

of Nataraja

“Amongst the greatest of the names of Siva is Nataraja, Lord of Dancers, or King of Actors. The cosmos is His theatre, there are many different steps in His repertory, He Himself is actor and audience… How many various dances of Siva are known to His worshippers I cannot say. No doubt the root idea behind all of these dances is more or less one and the same, the manifestation of primal rhythmic energy.” ~ Ananda Coomaraswamy in his 1918 essay, “The Dance of Siva.” 

The divine dances of Lord Siva are infinite and eternal—we know of a very small number of his dances. In his essay, Coomaraswamy talks about three of the most well known Siva dances: the Siva Pradosha Stotra, the Tandava, and the Nadanta.  He offers verses from several ancient texts which dwell upon Siva’s attribute of sustaining and regulating the cosmos through the divine energy that gets generated from his music and dances. Here’s his translation of a verse from Chidambara Mummani Kovai

“O my Lord, Thy hand holding the sacred drum has made and ordered the heavens and earth and other worlds and innumerable souls. Thy lifted hand protects both the conscious and unconscious order of thy creation. All these worlds are transformed by Thy hand bearing fire. Thy sacred foot, planted on the ground, gives an abode to the tired soul struggling in the toils of causality. It is Thy lifted foot that grants eternal bliss to those that approach Thee. These Five-Actions are indeed Thy Handiwork.”

Coomaraswamy summarizes his discussion of Siva’s dances with these words: “The Essential Significance of Siva's Dance is threefold: First, it is the image of his Rhythmic Play as the Source of all Movement within the Cosmos, which is Represented by the Arch: Secondly, the Purpose of his Dance is to Release the Countless souls of men from the Snare of Illusion: Thirdly the Place of the Dance, Chidambaram, the Centre of the Universe, is within the Heart.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Coomaraswamy: On The Conformity Between Hinduism & Buddhism

Seated Buddha 

(2nd century CE)

The idea that Buddha was against the Vedic order and Brahmanism is a myth created by modern scholars. In his 1943 book Hinduism and Buddhism, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy argues that Buddha’s original teachings do not contain any idea which might be viewed as a denunciation of the Brahmins. Here’s an excerpt from Coomaraswamy’s book (page 45): 

“The more superficially one studies Buddhism, the more it seems to differ from the Brahmanism in which it originated; the more profound our study, the more difficult it becomes to distinguish Buddhism from Brahmanism, or to say in what respects, if any. Buddhism is really unorthodox. The outstanding distinction lies in the fact that Buddhist doctrine is propounded by an apparently historical founder, understood to have lived and taught in the sixth century B.C. Beyond this there are only broad distinctions of emphasis. It is taken almost for granted that one must have abandoned the world if the Way is to be followed and the doctrine understood. The teaching is addressed either to Brahmans who are forthwith converted, or to the congregation of monastic Wanderers… but nothing that can be described as a "social reform" or as a protest against the caste system. The repeated distinction of the “true Brahman" from the mere Brahman by birth is one that had already been drawn again and again in the Brahmanical books.”

It is commonly assumed that Buddhism was a revolt against the Vedic order and Brahmanism. Coomaraswamy rejects this idea as a myth created by scholars who “do not know their Vedas.” In his book, he argues that Buddha had arrived to strengthen the existing order, not to reform or overthrow it. Buddha did not aim to create a new order; his goal was to strengthen the Vedic and Brahmanical orders.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Taleb: On Academic Libertarians

“I cannot for the life of me understand why today's libertarians do not go after tenured faculty (except perhaps because many libertarians are academics).” ~ Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book The Black Swan: The Impact Of The Highly Improbable (page 183)

Taleb makes this point during his analysis of Hayek’s Academic Libertarianism. His point is pertinent. The libertarians claim that they stand for minimum government. Some extremist libertarians claim that they stand for stateless society (whatever that means). 

The truth is that libertarianism is an academic cult. Most libertarians are tenured professors; they are bureaucrats who draw their salary and pensions from the public.

Sheldon Pollock’s Misinterpretation of the Ramayana

Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana in Exile

“What possible relationships, if any, can be posited between the reemergence of Rama—the Rama of L. K. Advani of the BJP—and an earlier political semiotics of Rama—the Rama, say, of Prthviraja III?” ~ Sheldon Pollock poses this question in his controversial essay, “Ramayana and Political Imagination in India.” The essay features the cover image of India Today (15 May, 1991 issue), which depicts  L. K. Advani with bow and arrow—in his caption below the image, Pollock suggests that Advani was posing like Rama.

By using some common banalities from Marx, Sartre, and other leftists, Pollock makes the case that from the twelfth century onwards, when the Indian subcontinent was being ravaged by Islamic invaders, the Ramayana ceased to be a mythological text. It became the language of “mythopolitics,” and was deployed as an anti-Islam doctrine. Pollock’s essay was published in May 1993, when the Ram Janmabhoomi movement spearheaded by the BJP and the VHP had mobilized the Hindu masses, resulting in a radical transformation of the country’s politics.

Pollack argues that the Ramayana must be interpreted as a doctrine for “othering” the outsiders who were depicted as demonic. He notes that the text creates a dialectical contrast between Rama, the chief of the virtuous, and Ravana, the chief of the demonic. He writes: “I believe the text offers unique imaginative instruments—in fact, two linked instruments—whereby, on the one hand, a divine political order can be conceptualized, narrated, and historically grounded, and, on the other, a fully demonized Other can be categorized, counterposed and condemned.” 

He draws an unbelievable connection between the religious imaginary of the Ramayana and the political imaginary of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. He denies thousands of years of history and tradition to make the case that there was nothing religious or historical in the choice of Ayodhya as Rama’s birthplace, and that the BJP and the VHP selected Ayodhya as the site of struggle for tactical and political reasons.

If Pollack had written this kind of biased and atheistic interpretation of any Islamic holy text, he would be ostracized by the academic community for being “Islamophobic.” But the academics are not accusing him of being “Hindu-phobic.” His interpretation of the Ramayana as a doctrine of communal politics has been embraced by the leftist academics and journalists. His scholarly work is being funded by major business houses. The Congress government conferred him with the President’s Certificate of Honour for Sanskrit in 2008, and the Padma Shri in 2010.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

The Contest Between Dharma and Artha

Ganesha writing the Mahabharata

upon Vyasa's dictation

"Man is slave to artha (power and wealth), but artha is slave to no man.” ~ in the Mahabharata, Bhisma and Drona said this to Yudhishthira moments before the Kurukshetra War began. 

Both Bhisma and Drona acknowledged that dharma was on the side of the Pandava brothers, but they were bound to fight on the Kaurava side because they were enslaved by artha. Yuyutsu was the only son of the Kaurava emperor Dhritarashtra who did not succumb to the power of artha. Keen to stand on the side of dharma, he discarded his Kaurava brothers and fought with Pandavas. Of Dhritarashtra’s 101 warrior sons, Yuyutsu was the only one who survived the war.

The Kurukshetra War led to ghastly carnage—millions died; great dynasties were wiped out. Eight warriors survived on the Pandava side: Krishna, the five Pandava brothers, Satyaki, and Yuyutsu. On the Kaurava side, three warriors survived: Kripacharya, Kritavarma, and Ashwatthama. But the Kurukshetra War was justified because it resulted in the establishment of the reign of dharma on earth.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Sri Aurobindo: On Hindu Religion

“That which we call the Hindu religion is really the eternal religion, because it is the universal religion which embraces all others. If a religion is not universal, it cannot be eternal. A narrow religion, a sectarian religion, an exclusive religion can live only for a limited time and a limited purpose. This is the one religion that can triumph over materialism by including and anticipating the discoveries of science and the speculations of philosophy. It is the one religion which impresses on mankind the closeness of God to us and embraces in its compass all the possible means by which man can approach God. It is the one religion which insists every moment on the truth which all religions acknowledge that He is in all men and all things and that in Him we move and have our being. It is the one religion which enables us not only to understand and believe this truth but to realize it with every part of our being. It is the one religion which shows the world what the world is, that it is the Lila of Vasudeva. It is the one religion which shows us how we can best play our part in that Lila, its subtlest laws and its noblest rules. It is the one religion which does not separate life in any smallest detail from religion, which knows what immortality is and has utterly removed from us the reality of death.” ~ Sri Aurobindo in The Uttarpara Address (1909)

To Sir Aurobindo’s words, I will add that Hinduism is like the sixth sense; the Hindus can’t make judicious use of their other five senses unless they have a mature, historical, and objective view of their religion.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Religion & Independence

If a nation values anything more than its original religion, then it will lose its independence. It will be conquered by another nation which values its religion above everything else. The irony of it is that if it is democracy, technology, and prosperity that the nation values, it will lose these too once it is conquered by another nation which is obsessively focused on religion. Religious nations become world conquerors; the secular nations decline and fall.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Toynbee: Hinduism and Aurangzeb’s Politics

The Planned Structure 

of the Ram Temple

In his book One World and India (Azad Memorial Lectures), historian Sir Arnold Toynbee notes that Aurangzeb’s purpose in building the three mosques—Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura—was political, not religious. He says that by building these mosques, Aurangzeb was trying to proclaim to the world that Islam was “reigning supreme.” 

Toynbee compares Aurangzeb’s act of building the three mosques with the Russian act of building an Orthodox Church in the center of Warsaw when they occupied Poland in 1914-15. As soon as the Russian army withdrew and Poland became independent, the Poles pulled down the Russian Church. 

Here’s an excerpt from Toynbee’s book: 

“Some vivid visual memories have been flashing up in the mind’s eye. One of these is the picture of the principal square in the Polish city of Warsaw sometime in the late nineteen twenties. In the course of the first Russian occupation of Warsaw (1914-1915), the Russians had built an Eastern Orthodox Christian cathedral on this central spot in the city that had been the capital of the once independent Roman Catholic Christian country Poland. The Russians had done this to give the Poles a continuous ocular demonstration that the Russians were their masters. After re-establishment of Poland’s independence in 1918, the Poles pulled this cathedral down. The demolition had been completed just before the date of my visit. I do not greatly blame the Polish government for having pulled down that Russian church. The purpose for which the Russians had built it had been not religious but political, and the purpose had also been intentionally offensive…”

“Aurangzeb’s purpose in building those three mosques (Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura) was the same intentionally offensive political purpose that moved the Russians to build their Orthodox cathedral in the city centre at Warsaw. Those mosques were intended to signify that an Islamic government was reigning supreme, even over Hinduism’s holiest of holy places. I must say that Aurangzeb had a veritable genius for picking out provocative sites. Aurangzeb and Philip II of Spain are a pair. They are incarnations of the gloomily fanatical vein in the Christian-Muslim-Jewish family of religions. Aurangzeb – poor wretched misguided bad man – spent a lifetime of hard labour in raising massive monuments to his own discredit. Perhaps the Poles were really kinder in destroying the Russians’  self-discrediting monument in Warsaw than you have been in sparing Aurangzeb’s mosques.”

Toynbee died in 1975. He had a good knowledge of India’s history and ancient culture. He believed that the moral and spiritual values of Hinduism were the finest. Had he been living today, then, like V. S. Naipaul, he would have cheered the building of the Ram Temple, at Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya, as a sign of Hinduism finally asserting itself in the land where this religion was founded more than 4000 years ago.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

The Long-Term Machiavellian Policy

NATO military convoy in Eastern Europe

The long-term policy of the Machiavellians of the American Empire is to create a new map of the non-Western world that is like the Middle Ages—they want to break all large non-Western countries into small entities which will keep warring with each other on religious, ethnic, and economic grounds. They think that they will be able to play the small warring entities against each other and extract economic and geopolitical advantages from them. 

In the 1990s, the Americans dismembered Yugoslavia because they believed that this country was too big and too nationalistic to be controlled from Washington. For the same reason, they are now taking covert and overt measures to dismember Russia. If they succeed in dismembering Russia, they will turn their attention to some other large country. They believe that once all the large countries like Russia, China, India, and Brazil have been broken in small bits and parts, there will be no further challenge to Western hegemony. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, some American policy makers claimed that India could be the next target.

This is a dangerous long-term policy that the Americans are following, and in the near future, they and their European allies will pay a heavy price. The dismembering of Yugoslavia did not create peace—it created a white Muslim nation (Bosnia) in the heart of Europe. In the ongoing Ukraine war, if Russia is weakened, then the Islamic rebels in Chechnya will be emboldened to try to create an Islamic state. Russians have alleged in the past that there was a covert alliance between the Bosnian mujahideen and Chechen rebels. Instead of protecting Western hegemony, the Americans are facilitating the surrender of large parts of Europe to white Islamic supremacists.

Monday, October 10, 2022

A View of the Fall of Yugoslavia

NATO bombing of Kosovo (Novi Sad)

In 1999

Yugoslavia was culturally and economically the most advanced country in the communist sphere at the time of the Soviet Union. Among the Yugoslavs, the Serbians were the ones who possessed a sense of their nation’s unique history and culture. 

In 1987, Slobodan Milošević came to power in Yugoslavia on wave of the high support that he received from the Serbians, who wanted to suppress Islamic insurgency (spearheaded by the Bosnian mujahideen groups), control the communist movements, and ensure that Yugoslavia remained united. 

The Americans don’t like nationalist movements, especially if such movements erupt outside North America and Western Europe. They went after Milošević, branded him as a mass murderer, and destroyed the back of Serbian nationalism by imposing sanctions and conducting bombing raids. 

Germany played a role in the dismemberment of Yugoslavia—in December 1991, Germany became the first Western nation to recognize Croatia, which is home to a large German population that had sided with the Nazis during the Second World War. 

In 1999, NATO conducted bombing raids on Kosovo causing massive casualties among the Serbian population. In the same year, Milošević suffered the ignominy of being the first sitting head of the state to be charged with war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal. He died in mysterious circumstances in 2006. 

The Machiavellians in America and Western Europe want to do to Russia what they did to Yugoslavia, and they want to do to the Russian President Putin what they did to Milošević. If Russia loses the Ukraine war, then there is no doubt that America and Western Europe will chop Russia into pieces and feast on the carcass of this nation.

Daniélou: On Nehru’s Anglicized Thinking

Mountbatten, Nehru, and Edwina

In his book Histoire de l’Inde (A Brief History of India), Alain Daniélou notes that Jawaharlal Nehru had little knowledge of the traditions and history of Hinduism; his thinking was thoroughly anglicized; his mind was filled with romantic notions of fabian socialism which he had picked up from British intellectuals and leftist activists. On page 349 of his book, Daniélou writes: 

“Nehru was the perfect replica of a certain type of Englishman. He often used the expression 'continental people', with an amused and sarcastic manner, to designate French or Italians. He despised non-anglicized Indians and had a very superficial and partial knowledge of India. His ideal was the romantic socialism of 19th century Britain. But this type of socialism was totally unfit to India, where there was no class struggle and where the conditions were totally different from 19th century Europe.” 

Daniélou points out that in India, “socialism was devoid of meaning,” because this country did not have a history of class struggle, and the social conditions here were vastly different from that in Europe. The imposition of Nehruvian socialism, which was essentially British Fabian socialism, ensured India’s political and economic backwardness. On page 348, Daniélou reflects on Nehru’s failure, after India's independence, to reform the British colonial laws and institutions to make them compatible with India’s Hindu culture:

"The Hindus who had mostly supported the Congress in its fight for independence, had thought that the modernist ideology of an Anglo- Saxon inspiration of its leaders was only a political weapon destined to justify independence in the eyes of Westerners. They thought that once independence was acquired, the Congress would revise its policies and would re-establish proper respect towards Sanskrit culture, Hindu religious and social institutions, which form the basis of Indian civilization. But nothing doing, the minority formed by the Congress leaders was too anglicized, to reconsider the value of what they had learnt. Few things changed in Indian administration, only the color of the skin of the new rulers, who were most of the time lower ranks officials of the old regime.” 

The promotion of socialist (communist) and Islamic values, at the cost of Hindu interests, was the dominant feature of the secular and socialist system that Nehru imposed on India. During his rule, Hindu-bashing became a popular pastime for India’s powerful politicians and intellectuals.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Francois Gautier: On Hinduism, Islam, and Indian Secularism

Francois Gautier believes that Islam cannot be integrated in India because Islam is antithetical to the naturalistic, polytheistic, spiritual, peaceful, subtle, and many-sided culture that Hinduism represents. He says that Indian secularism is dangerous and foolish because it exhorts the Hindus to defend a foreign religion (Islam) whose practitioners invaded their country, killed millions of Hindus, and tried to wrest the Indian Subcontinent from them.

Here’s an excerpt from Gautier’s book A New History of India (Page 73): 

“But ultimately, it is a miracle that Hinduism survived the onslaught of Muslim savagery; it shows how deep was her faith, how profound her karma, how deeply ingrained her soul in the hearts of her faithfuls. We do not want to point a finger at Muslim atrocities, yet they should not be denied and their mistakes should not be repeated today. But the real question is: Can Islam ever accept Hinduism? We shall turn towards the Sage, the yogi, who fought for India's independence, accepting the Gita's message of karma of violence when necessary, yet had a broad vision that softened his words: "You can live with a religion whose principle is toleration. But how is it possible to live peacefully with a religion whose principle is ‘I will not tolerate you?’ How are you going to have unity with these people?… The Hindu is ready to tolerate; he is open to new ideas and his culture and has got a wonderful capacity for assimilation, but always provided India's central truth is recognised…” (Sri Aurobindo India's Rebirth; 161,173)

“Or behold this, written in September 1909: "Every action for instance which may be objectionable to a number of Mahomedans, is now liable to be forbidden because it is likely to lead to a breach of peace. And one is dimly beginning to wonder whether worship in Hindu temples may be forbidden on that valid ground.” (India's Rebirth; p. 55). How prophetic! Sri Aurobindo could not have foreseen that so many Muslim countries would ban Rushdie's book and that Hindu processions would often be forbidden in cities, for fear of offending the Muslims. Sri Aurobindo felt that sooner or later Hindus would have to assert again the greatness of Hinduism.”

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Saif All Khan and Leela Samson

Saif Ali Khan in Adipurush

“Now I want to work in a film based on the Mahabharata, if someone makes it in the Lord of the Rings-style.” ~ Saif All Khan 

Saif Ali Khan’s lust for making a Lord of the Rings-style film on the Mahabharata makes me remember the absurd statements that Leela Samson, the controversial director of Kalakshetra, made about the characters in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. She compared the characters in these ancient holy texts with the cartoonish characters in Walt Disney films, Batman, and “the strange characters in Star Wars.” 

The two bigoted artists, Saif Ali Khan and Leela Samson, have no respect for the religious sensibilities of Hindus. They would love to see the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and other ancient Hindu texts being pulled down to the level of cartoonish films.

Friday, October 7, 2022

On Kamal Haasan’s View of the Chola Empire and Hinduism

Chola Temple in 


When Kamal Haasan said that the Chola Emperors (who were South India's most avid temple builders during the Middle Ages) were not Hindus, and that Hinduism did not exist in the Middle Ages, he was probably regurgitating the false propaganda of Catholic ideologues like Robert de Nobili, M. Deivanayagam, and Kamil Zvelebil. 

In his book, India in Third Millennium, Deivanayagam has attempted to prove that Hinduism is an offshoot of Christianity. He credits the British colonialists for the development of the modern form of Hinduism. In his book, he wrote: “Aryan Brahmins and Britishers, both of whom are foreigners, joined together and conspired against the Indian people. They jointly created and started spreading a concept that the English word ‘Hinduism’ (which originally meant Hindu law) also can mean ‘Hindu religion’…” Similar anti-Hinduism views can be found in the writings of Kamil Zvelebil.

Deivanayagam and Zvelebil hold that the Vedas were written after Jesus, and that Shaivism and Vaishnavism were inspired by Thomistic Christianity. They assert that Brahmanism, Sanskrit, and Vedanta were corrupting influences and must be eradicated. 

Robert de Nobili was the infamous Jesuit missionary who came to India in 1605. He gained knowledge of Sanskrit and pretended to be a Brahmin, picking up the nickname “White Brahmin.” Eventually he became obsessed with finding evidence to establish that the Vedas were inspired by the teachings of Jesus Christ. He collaborated with some French Jesuits in forging a document called the Fifth Veda (Ezourvedam). The Jesuits claimed that the Ezourvedam was an ancient document, which contained proof of Vedic Hinduism being a corrupted form of Christianity.

Voltaire was enthusiastic about the Ezourvedam. He had the text copied and promoted it among the European intellectuals of his time. In the 19th century, it was proved that the Ezourvedam was an elaborate hoax created by French and Italian Jesuits. However, this text continues to be popular among the Catholic ideologues and political activists in India. They use this text to indoctrinate their flock with the notion that the Vedas were a corrupted form of Christ’s teachings.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

The Myth of Apostle St. Thomas

Entrance to 

Nilakkal Sree Mahadeva Temple

There is no evidence to support the claim that Apostle St. Thomas preached in India. The historicity of St. Thomas is as doubtful as the historicity of other Biblical characters, including Jesus Christ. Missionaries and anti-Hinduism activists were responsible for popularizing the crackpot theory that, in 53 CE, St. Thomas reached India, where he baptized some natives, helped them in developing Christianized literature, and was eventually killed by a jealous Brahmin.

Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan have devoted several pages in their 2011 book, Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines, to unmasking the myth of St. Thomas. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 8, “Digesting Hinduism into ‘Dravidian’ Christianity”:

“The story that places the Apostle St Thomas in India in 53 CE is a lingering medieval myth. It implicitly includes colonial and racial narratives; for instance, that the peaceful apostle ministered to the dark-skinned Indians, who turned on him and killed him. This myth, however, has no historical basis at all. Nevertheless, it has been shaped by various Christian churches into a powerful tool for the appropriation of Hindu culture in Tamil Nadu, by giving credit to ‘Thomas Christianity’ for everything positive in south Indian culture, while blaming Hinduism for whatever is to be denigrated. It further serves as a tool to carve out Tamils from the common body of Indian culture and spirituality.”

According to the two authors, in the first half of the twentieth century, the myth of St. Thomas arriving in India was rejected by most Christian scholars, including the famous Jesuit Indologist Father Henry Heras. Heras rejected the theory that the grave of St. Thomas had been found in Madras. The early missionary scholars like G U Pope tried to prove that ancient Tamil literature was influenced by Christian ideas but they could not come up with evidence to back their claims. In the 1970s, some missionaries, zealots like M. Deivanayagam, adopted a new strategy—they aligned with the leaders of the Dravidian movement. With the support of the Dravidian movement, the myth of St. Thomas was transformed into a political weapon. 

Malhotra and Neelakandan cite from reports which show that the missionaries have made large payments for fabricating the evidence that St. Thomas was in India in 53 CE: “Some enterprising churchmen went on to fabricate archeological evidence with heavy financial support from the Vatican. Suddenly, startling 'discoveries' were announced of St Thomas crosses being found near famous Hindu pilgrim centers. Naturally, this provocation created social tension, which provided fodder for international Christian propaganda claiming that the Hindus were attacking Christianity. One such hoax concerning the St Thomas myth involved the archbishop of the Madras diocese, and this was publicly exposed in the Madras High court in 1975.”

A Catholic priest claimed that he had found St. Thomas’s cross in Kerala, close to the site where the Nilakkal Sree Mahadeva Temple is located. It was clear from the beginning the cross was a hoax; it was not from 53 CE. But the Catholic establishment built a temporary church at the site. The five foot cross was consecrated at this church. Malhotra and Neelakandan note that the “Hindus saw this as an invasion of one of their most popular pilgrimage sites. Hindu temples throughout Kerala hosted black flags and priests wore black pendants in protest.” The cross mysteriously disappeared when there was a call for having it scientifically examined.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

The Clash of Visions: Sri Aurobindo and Mahatma Gandhi

Sri Aurobindo saw India as a Vishwa Guru; he exhorted his Hindu followers to fulfill their destiny as the spiritual guide of humanity at large. Mahatma Gandhi saw India as a rural, secular, anti-science, industrially backward, peacenik, and poor country. 

Sri Aurobindo thought that Islamic rule and Pax Britannica had led to the emasculation of Hindu consciousness and retributive violence was necessary to reinvigorate Hindu culture. Mahatma Gandhi was convinced that Islamic rule and Pax Britannica had created a new India and that Hindus must always strive to be meek, unambitious, and non violent.

Sri Aurobindo began his political career as a firebrand revolutionary and at a later stage he became a theologian. Mahatma Gandhi began his political career as a lawyer and a fabian activist and at a later stage he became an advocate of passive acceptance of one’s fate.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Jeffrey Sachs: On the Blowing up of Nord Stream

Methane Leak from 

Nord Stream Explosion

"The destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline, which I would bet is a U.S.-Poland action [because] first of all, there is direct radar evidence that U.S. military helicopters that are normally based in Gdansk were circling over the area …" ~ Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University economist

Sachs is a lefty, but in this case he is right: I am convinced that American intelligence operatives have orchestrated the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline. Poland could be involved too. There is nothing that America won’t do to maintain its global hegemony. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Americans funded Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan to destroy the Soviet Union, and in the 2020s, they are funding the oligarchs of Ukraine to destroy Russia. 

Most of the world is convinced that the blowing up of Nord Stream was an American operation. Joe Biden and several senior functionaries in his administration have been threatening to blow up the Nord Stream pipeline since February this year—they have finally done it. When Sachs was asked to provide evidence for his claim, he said:

“We also had the threats from the US, earlier in this year, that ‘one way or the other, we are going to end Nord Stream.’ We also have the remarkable statement by Secretary Blinken last Friday in a press conference; he says ‘this is also a tremendous opportunity.’ Sorry, it’s a strange way to talk if you’re worried about piracy on international infrastructure of vital significance.”

Darwin: On Extermination and Eugenics

Darwin in 1879

“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.” ~ Charles Darwin in his 1871 book The Descent of Man 

By civilized races, Darwin meant people of his own race: the European caucasians. He believed that the so-called savage races would be exterminated not just by genocide, orchestrated by the so-called civilized races, but also by eugenics. He has not used the term “eugenics” in his book—but he has suggested that by selective breeding the civilized races could find a way of increasing their number and pushing the savage races into decline and extinction. 

The term “eugenics” was invented in 1883, by the British social Darwinist Francis Galton, who was Darwin’s half-cousin. 

In the twenty-first century, it has become clear that Darwin was relying on inaccurate data and faulty assumptions when he proposed that civilized races will exterminate and replace the savage races. He overestimated the strength of civilization. The opposite of his theory is true—it is the savage races which are breeding at a high rate and are replacing the civilized races. The demographic transformation is being driven by birth rate, not extermination and eugenics.  

In the last 70 years, there has been a decline in the birth rate of European caucasians. The European caucasians have lost their "will to breed”—Darwin never foresaw this—their birth rate cannot keep pace with their normal death rate, with the result that there is a steady decline in their population. The population of most other races is rising.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Hinduism and Indra’s Net

Indra riding his elephant Airavata

"In the Mahabharata, the ceremony for the oath of a new king includes the admonition: ‘Be like a garland-maker, O king, and not like a charcoal burner.’ The garland symbolizes social coherence; it is a metaphor for dharmic diversity in which flowers of many colors and forms are strung harmoniously for the most pleasing effect. In contrast, the charcoal burner is a metaphor for the brute-force reduction of diversity into homogeneity, where diverse living substances are transformed into uniformly lifeless ashes.

“In taking this oath, the king is promising to support a coherent diversity in which a profoundly variegated culture may thrive as a unity (garland) of distinct elements (flowers). This schema avoids the two extremes that would prove deleterious to a society: incoherence, comparable to a chaotic scattering of flowers, and the reductionist, homogenous lifelessness of charcoal. The king’s oath, then, is essentially a pledge to respect the spirit of Indra’s Net. 

“Hinduism devotes much thought to exploring the relationships between the jewels of Indra’s Net, and how they are manifestations and reflections of each other. Hindu thought is distinct from Abrahamic religions, which are premised on the existence of one separate God, one absolute event in history, and one inviolable set of injunctions. Hindus, for better or for worse, tend to be natural de-centralists. This is why it is hard to understand Hinduism, and difficult to organize and mobilize Hindus under an overarching corporate institution. It is also why Hinduism has proved, thus far, difficult to destroy.” 

~ from Rajiv Malhotra’s 2014 book Indra’s Net

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Semitic Religions: The First Commercial Multinationals

“The Roman Catholic Church was the world’s first major corporate multinational… It developed the first commercial multinationals, such as the Knights Templar. The East India Company borrowed the structures for systematic control and order from these Christian sources, and modern historians of corporations regard that company as the template for modern multinational governance.” ~ Rajiv Malhotra in his book Indra’s Net 

What Rajiv Malhotra has said about the Roman Catholic Church is also applicable to Islam, which emerged from the deserts of Arabia in the seventh century and in three hundred years founded a multinational empire. In the twenty-first century, the global commercial power of the Roman Catholic Church is driven by American technology and American paper money (the dollar), while the global commercial power of the Islamic empires is driven by Middle Eastern petroleum.

Gandhi, Aurobindo, and the Congress

Devi Kalratri

Mahatma Gandhi was responsible for building the Congress into a mass movement and a powerful national party. Jawaharlal Nehru could not have created a party like the Congress but he came to dominate it. He and his descendants have dominated the country’s politics after independence because they had total control over the Congress which Gandhiji had created. 

Today is Gandhiji’s birthday, so I am posting an excerpt from Sri Aurobindo’s essay in which he has criticized the Congress.  Sri Aurobindo wrote:

“I say, of the Congress, then, this — that its aims are mistaken, that the spirit in which it proceeds towards their accomplishment is not a spirit of sincerity and whole-heartedness, and that the methods it has chosen are not the right methods, and the leaders in whom it trusts, not the right sort of men to be leaders; — in brief, that we are at present the blind led, if not by the blind, at any rate by the one-eyed.”

Sri Aurobindo was a great philosopher, revolutionary, and spiritual leader. His critique of the Congress is perfect. In the final days of his life Gandhiji too realized that Congress was being led by “blind and one-eyed” leaders who were incapable of observing the Indian realities and could not be trusted to provide good governance to the country. 

In a note dated January 27, 1948, three days before his assassination, Gandhiji wrote that the Indian National Congress "has outlived its use" and advised that "the existing Congress organization should be dissolved and replaced by a Lok Sevak Sangh, a people’s service organization.” This note was published in Harijan, on February 2, 1948, under the title “His Last Will and Testament.”  

(Today is the seventh day of Navratri festival—this day is dedicated to Devi Kalratri. So I am using with this article a picture of Devi Kalratri’s statue from Kalighat, Kolkata.)

Saturday, October 1, 2022

The Troubled Legacy of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

Suhrawardy and Sheikh Mujib in 1949

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is eulogized as the freedom fighter who led the successful campaign for Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan and, in 1971, became the country’s first prime minister. But he had a murky background. He honed his political skills in one of the most turbulent and violent periods in Bengal’s history. 

Sheikh Mujib's political career took off in 1938, when he came in contact with Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy. Suhrawardy asked Sheikh Mujib to organize Bengal’s Muslim youth into a political body. The All India Muslim Students Federation was created in 1940 and, with Suhrawardy’s support, Sheikh Mujib became its leader. In 1943, Sheikh Mujib joined the Bengal Muslim League and began to work for achieving the League’s agenda of creating a separate homeland for Muslims. In the 1946 Calcutta massacre, in which thousands of Hindus were killed, Sheikh Mujib’s student federation played a pivotal role. 

Suhrawardy is the infamous "Butcher of Bengal” for Indians. He is blamed for being the mastermind behind the 1946 Calcutta massacre. But in Bangladesh, he is revered as Sheikh Mujib's mentor. Since Sheikh Mujib was operating as Suhrawardy’s chief lieutenant in Bengal, he was equally responsible for the communal violence that engulfed Bengal in this period. Like Suhrawardy, he too deserves the label of “Butcher of Bengal.” 

Sheikh Mujib was good at leading guerrilla armies and unleashing violence, but he didn’t have the skill to provide good governance to a nation. Within months of his taking over as Bangladesh’s prime minister, it was apparent that he was bereft of administrative skills. His government became bogged down in corruption scandals and petty power struggles erupted between his close associates. In 1974, Bangladesh was struck by a famine, regarded as the worst in the twentieth century—close to 1.5 million people, several times more than the number killed in the 1971 war of liberation, starved to death. Sheikh Mujib’s government tried to whitewash this catastrophe by claiming that only 27,000 had perished. 

Neamat Imam has written a brilliant novel called The Black Coat on Sheikh Mujib’s troubled political legacy. The novel does not go into the role that Sheikh Mujib played in fomenting communal violence in Bengal during the 1930s and the 1940s—its focus is on his role as the prime minister of Bangladesh in the 1970s. Imam presents a dystopian view of Bangladesh under Sheikh Mujib. The novel’s title comes from the black coat that Sheikh Mujib and his followers used to wear. This black coat (also known as the Mujib coat), Imam notes, became, in the eyes of the Bangladeshis, the symbol of tyranny and corruption. 

Reflecting on the loot that happened during Sheikh Mujib’s reign, Imam writes: “though the thugs came with different names, with different levels of power, they all came wearing the Mujib coat, and raising the Joy Bangla slogan. They all introduced themselves as his [Sheikh Mujib’s] relatives, his dear friends, his dedicated supporters, who professed to sacrifice their lives for him. Then they looted. They attended his public speeches, worshipped him as the founder of their nation, and looted. They hung his picture in their offices, sitting rooms, bedrooms, waiting rooms, and looted as much as they wanted.” 

The novel is narrated by the protagonist, Khaleque Biswas, a wartime reporter who lost his job because he was intent on telling the truth to his readers—journalists who told the truth were not appreciated by the political elites in Sheikh Mujib’s Bangladesh. One day an illiterate man called Nur Hussain turned up at Biswas’s door. In a bizarre attempt to make money for his survival, Biswas trained Hussain to deliver Sheikh Mujib’s classic 1971 liberation speech. Then he dressed him in a black coat and took him to deliver the speech at street corners. Many people were impressed by Hussain’s ability to mimic Sheikh Mujib and they threw a few coins at his feet.

Imam gives a dark account of the catastrophic 1974 famine. Refugees from the countryside kept pouring into Dhaka. But Dhaka was itself starving; the city had no food, no shelter to offer to the refugees. People dying of starvation in the streets became a common sight. It was impossible for Biswas and Hussain to evade the truth that instead of bringing freedom and prosperity, Sheikh Mujib had brought tyranny, starvation, and misery. In 1975, Sheikh Mujib was assassinated. His death did not herald the end of tyranny; it led to new power struggles and nightmares for the masses.