Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Ganesh Chaturthi : Rationale behind the Worship

Ganesh is part of spiritual activity connected with the human brain and forms an important component of the great ‘Spiritual Heritage of India’
Sudhir Bhargava
Every year when Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated and Hindus chant Ganpati Bappa Moriya with full reverence in Maharashtra and other parts of the country, controversy erupts and tensions get to be reported on social media and in press. Many among Hindus and other religions ask why an elephant faced God is worshipped terming such behaviour as irrational. Many remain unconvinced with explanations and logic that is provided. The fact is that concept of Ganesh is part of spiritual activity connected with the human brain and forms an important component of the great ‘Spiritual Heritage of India’.

It was Bhrigu Rishi who introduced the concept and recommended worshipping of elephant faced Ganesh in one of the oldest Upanishads of Vedic scriptures called the Tattriya Upanishad. Bhrigu Rishi was compatriot of Manu and both had given Manu Smriti some 10,000 years ago at the end of last ice age in the Vedic state of Brahmavarta. Bhrigu contributed to other scriptures, Samhitas and Rigveda etc. also. The concept of Ganesh still prevails and Lord Ganesh, the prime spiritual God among Hindus is worshipped in many parts of the world and throughout India in different forms.
Let us understand what Bhrigu Rishi meant by advising people to worship the elephant faced Ganesh? A gist of all Vedic scriptures reveals that Vedic Sanskriti revolves around Cosmic Energies and Human Brain. It always propagates to maintain a relation and contact between the two. It is also called a state of Yoga. These scriptures call upon people to continue to enhance the efficiency of brain and accord most respect to people who work on jobs ‘involving’ the brain.  Manu called those ‘Brahmins’ who were educated and performed jobs involving ‘Brahamn’ and asked for maximum respect to be given to them. This concept is not in Vedic Sanskriti alone; every modern society worldwide gives respect and rewards to those who are well educated and are in brain-oriented activities.

Keeping the importance of Brain, and for improving its overall efficiency, Bhrigu Rishi suggested concentrating, meditating and worshipping the elephant faced figure Ganesh, located at the ‘Base of Skull’ of every human as shown in the adjoining model of a ‘Shivalaya’. The base of the skull in our brain, that forms the ‘Elephant Face’ contains some of the most important components of the brain, that play a vital role in regulating the spiritual energies in a human. It analyses information coming to the brain and increases the overall efficiency of the brain. The ears of Elephant are represented by ‘Corpus Callosum’, the bundle of nerve tissues that connect the right and left hemispheres of the brain enabling communications between the two hemispheres, while the trunk is the ‘Medulla’, the neuronal mass that controls involuntary functions like breathing among others, Ek Dant of Elephant is represented by the ‘Pineal Gland’ and other component ‘Pituitary Gland’ are part of Elephant’s face. These four components of brain are all-important in the working of brain, and accordingly emerges the importance accorded to ‘Elephant Face’ in brain.

One survey reveals that every Hindu when asked to tell why Ganesha is Elephant faced knows about the story of Shiva-Parvati-Ganesha.  The story goes that once while Shiva was out of his abode, the Shivalaya, his wife Parvati asked her son Ganesh to watch at the gate of house and not allow anyone into the Shivalaya. Obedient Ganesh holds necessary powers to execute his mother’s command and in keeping with them indeed did not allow any body in. When his father ‘Shiva’ desired to enter his own house, Ganesh even stopped him using his powers. Shiva tried in vain and became desperate by Ganesh’s actions. Finally, Shiva had to kill and behead Ganesh to enter his own house. Later, on the insistence of Parvati, Shiva could put only a child elephant’s head on Ganesh’s body to bring him alive. Every Ganesh worshipper knows this story narrated in Puranas, though many do not believe it. The fact, however, remains that story narrates a ‘Spiritual Process’, that takes place in the human brain and brings out the following points:

1)    House of Shiva, or Shivalaya, the human skull, has the son ‘Elephant faced’ ‘Ganesh’ located at the entrance or the ‘gate of brain’. Neurologists term it as the ‘Base of Skull’.
2)    Ganesh has powers to stop any form of energy from entering the Shivalaya including Shiva himself.

Explaining the story in spiritual or neurological terms, all the informations coming to human brain in the form of energy from 5 different sources that is, seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and tasting (Five Indriyaans) have to pass through the Ganesh located at the entry of the brain or at ‘Base of Skull’. And secondly, a proper analysis of incoming information and sending the same to respective chambers in brain as per their grouping is also the function of Ganesh. Here if Ganesh is not in harmony and stable condition, it may not analyse the incoming information properly. It may err on what it hears, sees or feels. Also it could send the information, which it receives, to a wrong chamber in brain jeopardising the memory of the person who may lose the information all together and thereby confusing the mind further.

Also when an answer is sought from the brain by a human and information has to be picked up from various chambers, it is once again the role of Ganesh that comes to fore. It not only picks the relevant information from various groupings in the brain but also transmits it through speech or writes in a coordinated manner to make others understand the answer. This trait involves the intelligence and consciousness of any human and his Ganesh plays the entire role in the process.
Thus a peaceful, well composed and perfect in harmony Ganesh will improve the efficiency of the brain and help take ‘rational’ and right decisions. As against this a disturbed Ganesh may not enable taking of right decisions. It is in this format that Vedic seers and scriptures have called Ganesh as the prime God, the Karta or a doer, a God that can give us prosperity, happiness and solace by keeping it in well-composed form. It has its relevance and importance and its sciences should be understood for  better results.     

Sabhar from                            

Nationalism Vs Nepotism

“The Congress Party presented itself for propaganda purposes as the Gandhi Party but it completely neglected his teachings.”  – Jayaprakash Narayan as quoted by Louis Fischer (Mahatma Gandhi 100 Years, 1968, P 84)  

After the unprecedented drubbing in 2014 General Elections, Congress Party and especially the Gandhi scion who claims the leadership of the party only on the basis of birth, is completely in a confused state. The obvious and tested strategy is to create fear psychosis in certain groups through divisive politics. The corollary of this is to attack Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), instead of fighting for the political space on the basis of issues and programmes. It clearly shows the confused and bankrupt state of the grand old party of Bharat. Rahul Gandhi’s statement in the Bhiwandi rally and the series of U-turns and party’s dubious stand on key issues of national interest evidently depict this despicable state of affairs.

The video clippings of Bhiwandi rally are available where the Gandhi heir tried to vitiate the atmosphere by reiterating the lie on Gandhi’s assassination. It is quite possible that in the heat of electioneering he tried to play this card to save the losing battle. Once a common man from Mumbai filed a defamation case for maligning the nationalist organisation, Congress Party and the Prince tried to show a brave face. After realising the outcome of this legal battle, young Gandhi’s legal counsel tried to save the face by saying, “he never blamed RSS as an organisation”. The reality is he has been doing that right from the day he realised his political standing in front of Bharatiya voters. Whether Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination or Odisha temple entry or JNU row; he has been attacking RSS as an organisation as the last resort. This has been the history of Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Media and social media immediately gave it a colour of Rahul vs RSS. Court and commissions have already acquitted RSS in the Gandhi assassination case and this time also Court will take the necessary action. The real issue is whether politics of national interest based on issues, policies and programmes with collective decision making should determine the life of billion people or we want to sustain with the politics of division and nepotism by a select few.

The party which claims the legacy of Independence struggle was obviously expected to stand firm on the issue of nationalism and national interests. Unfortunately, as the party became bigger than nation, family more important than the party and individuals protecting that family interest turned out to be the most important players than everybody. In the process, Mahatma Gandhi and his legacy was appropriated. His assassination was also used to divide the society. Language, religion and caste, all became instruments to further the party and family interests. The philosophy of poverty was sold in the name of socialism to nurture corruption. Getting fade-up with this politics of nepotism and
corruption, common people showed Congress Party its place and elected the party with nationalist

Instead of learning from the defeat, if Rahul Gandhi continues to follow the path of self-destruction then Congress do not need anybody to defeat. This will be the most unfortunate part for Bhartiya body politic, as not Nehru-Gnadhi dynasty, but national level party in Opposition with nationalist outlook is the need of the hour. Unfortunately, Congress as a party is failing on this test in favour of nepotism. 

Sabhar from  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The IAS Dilemma: ‘To be or not to be’!
The IAS Dilemma: ‘To be or not to be’!
India is commemorating the silver jubilee of the Liberalisation-Privatisation-Globalisation (LPG) reforms that commenced in July of 1991. On this occasion the most telling comment comes from Deepak Nayyar, former Chief Economic Advisor and Delhi University Vice-chancellor: “At this juncture, 25 years later, it must be stressed that reforms are means, not ends. The essential objective is the well-being of our people. In this quest, markets and governments are complements, not substitutes. There are many things that only markets can and should do. However, there are some things that only governments can and must do. If governments perform these tasks badly, it is not possible to dispense with governments and replace them with markets. Governments must be made to perform better. Indeed, efficient markets need effective governments.” (The Hindu-25 July, 2006)
 These governments at central, state and district levels are run by civil servants mostly belonging to the IAS and not politicians, armed forces or Foreign Service mandarins. Therefore it is absurd for worthies like former Army Deputy Chief, Lt. Gen Satish Nambiar, a hired-hand for the Sri Lankan Army in its genocide of Tamils, to suggest that IAS is “one service which is dispensable. While the armed forces, Foreign Service and many others are absolutely necessary for nation-building, this (IAS) is one without which the country would certainly not come to a standstill.” Such naivety only reflects the level of ignorance of his ilk about India and its governance.
 Governments are not effective because the political system, upper echelons of armed forces and civil service are decaying fast. Writing with reference to IAS in the March 2011 issue of Gfiles I had raised a poser whether there is hope for the services to survive and had responded thus: “Yes, if civil servants revert back to the constitutional scheme of things from which they have drifted and reinvent themselves to become a fearless, independent, honest and efficient entity bound by an esprit de corps which is awfully absent now…” The message is clear and the choice was obvious-resurgence or swansong!
 Five years down the line with a new government in the saddle ‘committed’ to “minimum government, maximum governance” it appears to be swansong not resurgence. Because, despite cacophony of slogans and noises reforms have not touched civil services and basic governance. In the last two years or so only two things seem to have happened-the strange apparition of IAS probationers starting their field training from the top (Assistant Secretaries to Government of India at Delhi instead of Assistant Commissioner/Collector in a far-off district) and removing IAS Joint Secretaries from Central Government, replacing them with personnel from other services. As on date 30% of Joint Secretaries and equivalent officials in central government are from services outside IAS. Another disturbing information is that over 50 IAS Joint Secretaries have sought and obtained pre-mature repatriation to their respective state cadres and very few empanelled IAS officers are seeking deputation to the centre. Bleeding of this service has commenced.
 As if on cue there is an orchestrated move to ease-out the IAS from the central government and bring in ‘experts with domain knowledge’. In their support proponents of this move are quoting the observations of Chairman of the Seventh Pay Commission Justice AK Mathur and its Member Dr Rathin Roy: “senior management and administrative positions in government have evolved considerably and are growing more technical, requiring specific domain knowledge.”  The former is reported to have gone a step further and stated that the main cause of the resentment among the services is that over a period of time the IAS has arrogated itself to all power of governance.  Other services, such as the IPS are simply left out of many senior positions, including those that clearly fall within their domain expertise.
 Justice Mathur has a point, but the moot question is: post-LPG Reforms what is the needed ‘domain expertise’ for those who run the government? Is it that of efficient markets which at best serves the corporates and a small percentage of the population who have the money to spend?  Or is it basic and honest governance delivered through effective and just governments that could uplift the miserable millions. If it is the former the IAS is certainly dispensable. Not so, if it is the latter.
 And the question again is whether IAS is providing the basic governance as described above. That is where the rationale of the service established by the founding fathers of the Republic comes into play. When India became independent, Sardar Vallabhai Patel forcefully argued for retaining the administrative edifice fashioned by the British.He probably had in mind the prophetic words of India’s first Governor General CR Rajajagopalachari in 1922 when he was a freedom fighter: "Elections and corruption, injustice and the power and tyranny of wealth and inefficiency of administration will make hell of life as soon as freedom is given to us".
 In April1948 Sardar Patel wrote to Prime Minister Nehru advocating the formation of independent civil service in the functioning of which "political considerations, either in its recruitment or in its discipline and control, are reduced to the minimum, if not eliminated altogether." This was strongly opposed by the Chief Ministers of the states and many members of the Constituent Assembly. In his speech to this Assembly in October 1949, the Sardar said: "The Indian Union will go. You will not have a united India if you do not have a good All India Services which has independence to speak out its advice-if you do not adopt this course, then do not follow the present system, substitute something else."
 Sardar Patel had his way and IAS was established to "give a fair and just administration to the country and manage it on an even keel".  To ensure this and safeguard the civil servants from the vicissitudes of political convulsions", the service was covenanted in the constitution. The expectation was that the liberal educational background and sharp intellect of the IAS entrants, valuable grassroots experience they gain, their wide contacts with the public and political leadership right from the stage of their first posting, and their variegated exposure in different assignments will be a boon for people-centered policy making, conceiving and designing development cum welfare projects/programmes and their honest and expeditious implementation.
 Seven decades past, the rationale of the Founding Fathers in establishing the service stands severely eroded. Reasons are manifold: large annual intake touching nearly two hundred; wild age-relaxation; tech-education replacing liberal education; personality test losing primacy; vagaries of valuations of answer papers in different languages; sub-optimal calibre of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) members, affecting their evaluation skills; skullduggery in nominating state officers to the IAS; absence of critical exposure of probationers in the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA); lack of rigour in the training imparted to new appointees; abdication of leadership and enforcement of strict performance criteria by seniors; indifferent cadre management by Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) and the abysmal standards of education itself. There are quite a few who openly say that they have joined the IAS to make money by fair means or foul. The arrest of a freshly appointed IAS Sub Divisional Magistrate in Bihar for taking bribes to allow overloaded vehicles is a case in point.
India conscientiously adopted the permanent civil service system. But, over a period of time it has descended into a spoils system, imbibing the worst of both. In the event, despite constitutional protection, civil servants have abdicated their independence and political neutrality and have become willing pawns in the hands of ruling politicians. Many of them have compromised and some have become their joint-venture partners to enjoy prized postings while in service, grab coveted post-retirement sinecures, acquire properties and set-up benami outfits to run business and corner lucrative contracts. Serving corrupt carpetbaggers has become their mantra, let the aam aadmi be damned.
 Irony is that IAS is the product of the Founding Father’s ‘Idea of India’. The ‘political idea’ of democracy forms part of the ‘Objectives Resolution’ moved in the Constituent Assembly by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1948: “all power and authority of the Sovereign Independent India, its constituent parts and organs of government are derived from the people.” Structurally, India’s democracy was to rise storey by storey from the foundation, consisting of self-governing, self-sufficient, agro-industrial, urbo-rural local communities—gram sabha, panchayat samiti and zilla parishad—that would form the base of Vidhan Sabhas and the Lok Sabha. These politico-economic institutions will control and regulate the use of natural resources for the good of the community and the nation.
 Built on this foundation, the ‘economic idea’ of development envisages independent India as sui generis, a society unlike any other, in a class of its own that would not follow the western pattern of mega industrialisation, urbanisation and individuation. India’s would be agro-based people’s economy that would chart out a distinct course in economic growth, which would be need-based, human-scale and balanced while conserving nature and livelihoods. Such a ‘development’ process would be democratic and decentralised.
 It is from this ‘Idea of India’ that the governance framework for the nation emerged. IAS is the bulwark of this framework. Adhering to and advancing the ‘Idea of India’ therefore is the raison d'être of the IAS, covenanted in the Constitution, a rarity among nations. In this mission IAS has been increasingly failing and is now facing an existential crisis.  Removing it is not the option, but the service requires thorough reforming.
 The cry of the Nation today is for forward looking proactive governance that can pull the desolate Nation out of the rot of corruption and communalism that is ravaging its polity and destroying its edifice. For this the static and sterile IAS that is administering the country should transform itself into a vibrant, dynamic management cadre. The core principle of IAS reform therefore is to bring about this transformation so that the unimaginative, subservient and egocentric civil servant can become an imaginative, assertive and result oriented manager. To make this happen, IAS Reformers should become iconoclastic and demolish pet theories, myths and mindsets that are not in consonance with democratic governance and a modern proactive civil service.
 What can governments in India do to become more efficient and performance oriented? It must declare a human capital crisis that merits immediate action among legislators and executives alike. The crisis cannot be solved with the current inventory of government recruitment and training programmes, which were designed for an age bygone. For some years now through Voluntary Retirement Schemes Government has made it easy for the most talented employees to leave at a certain point in their careers, but has done virtually nothing to create entry points for mid-career candidates. If any, ‘inbreeding’ and inward looking mindset have taken a stronger grip over government functioning in recent years. This is one of the serious flaws of the Civil Service system in the country today.
 For reforming a system or institution you need catalysts with close synergy. Ordinarily, the triumvirate that has synergy with the IAS-UPSC that recruits, LBSNAA that trains and DoPT that appoints-should have been the choice. But they are unequal to the task of being iconoclasts and we need to look elsewhere, but not to the ivy-league foreign universities or aid agencies that have no knowledge of India’s roots and ethos.
 Who should take the lead? Obviously, the PMO that has coined the slogans-‘minimum government, maximum governance’ and ‘sab ke saath, sab ka vikas.’ Will it take the plunge or confine itself to mere tinkering as India’s elite civil service continues to decay and degenerate? The jury is out!  
sabhar from writer 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Religious Law versus Universal Ethics

Why Religions Willfully Commit Crimes in the Name of God: Religious Law versus Universal Ethics

Do All Religions Share Common Ethical Principles?

It has been argued that all the major religions of the world share a common sense of ethics. They all teach us not to kill, not to steal, not to lie, to treat others well, to help the poor, and various other virtues acceptable to any sensitive human being. Such rules of respectful behavior form universal ethical principles and are found in many secular law codes as well. Even atheist humanists will honor them.
However, monotheistic belief-based religions teach another set of laws and principles that are purely theological in nature and can override these humanistic ethical principles, at times justifying violence and oppression. Such “religious law” or what could also be called “theological morality” teaches that if you don’t accept our particular belief in God, God will punish you, and in God’s name we true believers have the right to convert, punish or harm you as well.
These biased religious codes tell their followers that they are religiously justified in violating the human rights of those who follow other beliefs; in fact, they will be honored by God for doing so. For the true believers, religious law abrogates all other laws and principles of acceptable behavior.

Not Accepting Religious Beliefs made into Unforgiveable Crimes

The problem is that several prominent sects of Islam and Christianity have not questioned their theological beliefs even when these promote deception, conflict and violence. Islamic law or Sharia stands above all human law codes as something Divine. Christian missionaries similarly feel justified to deceive or intimidate others into conversion as part of spreading the Word of God.
According to many sects of Christianity, a murderer who repents on his deathbed will go to Heaven, while a saintly person who is not a Christian will go to hell in spite of his or her exemplary life. In other words, God will forgive you of heinous crimes if you believe in him, but will not forgive you of the ultimate sin of disbelief, whatever else good you may do. This means that not following certain Church dogmas is equated with great evils – as if violations of theology were worse than crimes against humanity.
In Islam, criticizing Mohammed or the Koran is a crime that can be punishable by death, as stated in anti-apostasy and anti-blasphemy laws. It has been said in Islam that the worst Muslim, be he/she a criminal, is better than the best non-Muslim, be he/she a saint. In other words, belief in Islam outweighs being a good person. Such unethical laws are part of the Sharia law code followed in Islamic states today.
For fundamentalists in Christianity or Islam, theological morality outweighs any universal ethics. It makes deception, theft and killing in the Name of God into virtuous acts, however much destruction and sorrow caused along the way. History is replete with examples of Crusades and Jihads, with genocide, witch-burning, and wanton destruction of entire countries and cultures.

Islamic State, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan

The Islamic State today is a good example of a religious group that follows a cruel theological morality that violates all universal ethics, extending to public beheadings of non-believers. Such true believers feel justified in promoting a wave of terror against all who do not accept their particular view of Islam, which may include those who follow other types of Islamic teachings like the Shias.
Yet Saudi based Wahhabi Islam follows the same law codes as the Islamic State, which it teaches in numerous Madrasas throughout the world. As long as Saudi Arabia upholds these cruel religious laws, the rest of the Islamic world will likely continue to do the same, regardless of any covenants of human rights they may politically claim to endorse for the United Nations.
Pakistan is another prime Islamic State in which Islamic law is regularly invoked to justify brutality and to promote state support of terrorist Jihad, now threatening the entire world. Bharat has historically had the imposition of Islamic law that brought about a genocide of Hindus and massive destruction of Hindu temples during the long period of Islamic rule.

An End to Religious Law and Theological Morality

Though religions may appear to share certain universal ethics – it counts for little if they have overriding religious laws that consider it acceptable to harm non-believers. There can be no real interfaith dialogue until such dehumanizing religious laws and principles are totally rejected.
There can be no peace between religions until all theological morality is given up in favor of a universal ethics that does not depend upon any belief. It is wrong to kill, steal or deceive any human beings, not just believers. There is no exception for true believers that allows them to perform criminal acts as a form of religious virtue. That the other person is in your eyes a heathen, kafir or idolater is no excuse for their degradation.
Until such theological morality is rejected, and any religious law that promotes it, speaking of the unity or harmony of religions, and their promotion of love and human values, cannot be taken seriously. This extends to the Catholic Church, which while trying to bring an end to certain political conflicts in the world, continues to promote religious divisions and antagonisms as if it were the only true faith.
All religious leaders should sign a document of universal ethics rejecting any exceptions to it in the name of theology. No human being is condemned or damned, evil or wrong by belief alone. It is our thoughts and behavior that determines our nature and our karma regardless of the religion we may claim to follow. If our behavior is that of criminals, how can any religious law justify it?
If Islam is a religion of peace why does Islamic law promote and justify war, which may excuse terrorism? If Christianity is a religion of love, why does its God of love hatefully condemn the majority of humanity to eternal damnation? If a religion sanctions violating common courtesy and respect between people, how can it lead us to any higher truth or immortality?

Sabhar from HinduPost.

Friday, August 5, 2016

14 अगस्त यानी अखंड भारत संकल्प दिवस

14 अगस्त यानी अखंड भारत संकल्प दिवस

Akhand Bharat Sankalp

अखण्ड भारत महज सपना नहीं, श्रद्धा है, निष्ठा है. जिन आंखों ने भारत को भूमि से अधिक माता के रूप में देखा हो, जो स्वयं को इसका पुत्र मानता हो, जो प्रात: उठकर “समुद्रवसने देवी पर्वतस्तन मंडले, विष्णुपत्नि नमस्तुभ्यम् पादस्पर्शं क्षमस्वमे. “कहकर उसकी रज को माथे से लगाता हो, वन्देमातरम् जिनका राष्ट्रघोष और राष्ट्रगान हो, ऐसे असंख्य अंत:करण मातृभूमि के विभाजन की वेदना को कैसे भूल सकते हैं, अखण्ड भारत के संकल्प को कैसे त्याग सकते हैं? किन्तु लक्ष्य के शिखर पर पहुंचने के लिये यथार्थ की कंकरीली-पथरीली, कहीं कांटे तो कहीं दलदल, कहीं गहरी खाई तो कहीं रपटीली चढ़ाई से होकर गुजरना ही होगा.

15 अगस्त को हमें आजादी मिली और वर्षों की परतंत्रता की रात समाप्त हो गयी. किन्तु स्वातंत्र्य के आनंद के साथ-साथ मातृभूमि के विभाजन का गहरा घाव भी सहन करना पड़ा. 1947 का विभाजन पहला और अन्तिम विभाजन नहीं है. भारत की सीमाओं का संकुचन उसके काफी पहले शुरू हो चुका था. सातवीं से नवीं शताब्दी तक लगभग ढाई सौ साल तक अकेले संघर्ष करके हिन्दू अफगानिस्तान इस्लाम के पेट में समा गया. हिमालय की गोद में बसे नेपाल, भूटान आदि जनपद अपनी भौगोलिक स्थिति के कारण मुस्लिम विजय से बच गये. अपनी सांस्कृतिक अस्मिता की रक्षा के लिये उन्होंने राजनीतिक स्वतंत्रता का मार्ग अपनाया पर अब वह राजनीतिक स्वतंत्रता संस्कृति पर हावी हो गयी है. श्रीलंका पर पहले पुर्तगाल, फिर हॉलैंड और अन्त में अंग्रेजों ने राज्य किया और उसे भारत से पूरी तरह अलग कर दिया. किन्तु मुख्य प्रश्न तो भारत के सामने है. तेरह सौ वर्ष से भारत की धरती पर जो वैचारिक संघर्ष चल रहा था, उसी की परिणति 1947 के विभाजन में हुई. पाकिस्तानी टेलीविजन पर किसी ने ठीक ही कहा था कि जिस दिन आठवीं शताब्दी में पहले हिन्दू ने इस्लाम को कबूल किया, उसी दिन भारत विभाजन के बीज पड़ गये थे.

इसे तो स्वीकार करना ही होगा कि भारत का विभाजन हिन्दू-मुस्लिम आधार पर हुआ. पाकिस्तान ने अपने को इस्लामी देश घोषित किया. वहां से सभी हिन्दू-सिखों को बाहर खदेड़ दिया. अब वहां हिन्दू-सिख जनसंख्या लगभग शून्य है. भारतीय सेनाओं की सहायता से बंगलादेश स्वतंत्र राज्य बना. भारत के प्रति कृतज्ञतावश चार साल तक मुजीबुर्रहमान के जीवन काल में बंगलादेश ने स्वयं को पंथनिरपेक्ष राज्य कहा किन्तु एक दिन मुजीबुर्रहमान का कत्ल करके स्वयं को इस्लामी राज्य घोषित कर दिया. विभाजन के समय वहां रह गये हिन्दुओं की संख्या 34 प्रतिशत से घटकर अब 10 प्रतिशत से कम रह गई है और बंगलादेश भारत के विरुद्ध आतंकवादी गतिविधियों का मुख्य केन्द्र बन गया है. करोड़ों बंगलादेशी घुसपैठिये भारत की सुरक्षा के लिये भारी खतरा बन गये हैं.

विभाजन के पश्चात् खंडित भारत की अपनी स्थिति क्या है? ब्रिटिश संसदीय प्रणाली के अन्धानुकरण ने हिन्दू समाज को जाति, क्षेत्र और दल के आधार पर जड़मूल तक विभाजित कर दिया है. पूरा समाज भ्रष्टाचार की दलदल में आकंठ फंस गया है. हिन्दू समाज की बात करना साम्प्रदायिकता है और मुस्लिम कट्टरवाद व पृथकतावाद की हिमायत करना सेकुलरिज्म. अनेक छोटे-छोटे राजनीतिक दलों में बिखरा हिन्दू नेतृत्व सत्ता के कुछ टुकड़े पाने के लोभ में मुस्लिम वोटों को रिझाने में लगा है.

देश फिर से एक करने के लिये जिन कारणों से मनों में दरार पैदा होती है, उन कारणों को दूर करना आवश्यक है. यह आसान काम नहीं है. धार्मिक, राजनीतिक और अंतरराष्ट्रीय शक्तियां सभी बाधाओं के रूप में खड़ी हैं. लेकिन क्या मुसलमानों और हिन्दुओं में सांस्कृतिक एकता का कोई प्रवाह है? हिन्दुओं और मुसलमानों के पुरखे एक हैं, उनका वंश एक है. ये मुसलमान अरबी, तुर्की या इराकी नहीं हैं. हिन्दू एक जीवन-पद्धति है और इसे पूर्णत: त्यागना हिन्दू से मुसलमान बने आज के मुसलमानों के लिये भी संभव नहीं है.

सैन्य सामर्थ्य भारत के पास है. लेकिन क्या पाकिस्तान पर जीत से अखंड भारत बन सकता है? जब लोगों में मनोमिलन होता है, तभी राष्ट्र बनता है. अखंडता का मार्ग सांस्कृतिक है, न की सैन्य कार्रवाई या आक्रमण. देश का नेतृत्व करने वाले नेताओं के मन में इस संदर्भ में सुस्पष्ट धारणा आवश्यक है. भारत की अखंडता का आधार भूगोल से ज्यादा संस्कृति और इतिहास में है. खंडित भारत में एक सशक्त, एक्यबद्ध, तेजोमयी राष्ट्रजीवन खड़ा करके ही अखंड भारत के लक्ष्य की ओर बढ़ना संभव होगा.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Reply to Fanatics - In Santan Dharma Way

Hindus generally don’t criticise other religions in spite of the fact that Christianity and Islam not only criticise, but demean Hinduism badly. Zakir Naik is only one example. Do Hindus know what is preached in the innumerable churches and mosques across India? I know for sure that Hindu gods are called devils by Christian missionaries. Yet Hindus neither defend their gods nor challenge the Abrahamic dogmas in spite of having a solid philosophical basis for their beliefs, which is lacking in Christianity and Islam.

Some years ago, Zakir Naik had ridiculed Ganapati and thrown a challenge to prove that Ganapati is God. I assume he means by God the Supreme Being that Muslims call Allah.
Now what do we know about Allah?

Foremost, Allah is great and merciful, and the faithful as well as the unfaithful are loudly reminded of it five times a day. He also knows what all human beings are doing, but is separate from them. It is claimed that Allah has communicated his final words to Prophet Mohamed. Those words are in the Quran. Allah declared that Islam alone is true. So, all human beings must follow Islam because other paths are wrong. And they must hurry up, because every human being has only one life.
Those, who do not accept Islam during their lifetime, will be thrown into eternal hellfire where “boiling water will be poured over their heads that not only melts their skin but also the inner parts of their bellies…” (Q22.19-22)

Clearly, here is where Allah’s mercy ends. He does not brook any dissent. And the Azan, which started compassionately, ends with: “Oh Allah, guide us to the Right Way. The Way of those whom You have favoured, not of those who have earned Your wrath…” Al-Fatiha 1
This means, Allah is merciful only to his followers who are called Muslims and he is wrathful to those who are not Muslims.
Dr. Zakir Naik, I am confident that I got the concept of ‘God’ in Islam right because Christianity has a similar concept. And I dare to claim that it is not true. Can you prove (and this challenge goes also to Christian clerics) that Allah/ God is indeed so unfair and divisive? Can you prove there will be this huge cauldron of fire where billions of people will burn for ever after Judgment Day? Do these claims of “eternal hellfire for unbelievers” not rather have the purpose to keep the flock in check? To divide and rule?

There are about 2 billion Christians, who are told they have to remain Christians, otherwise they can’t go to heaven. And then there are about 2 billion Muslims who are told that they have to remain Muslims, otherwise they can’t go to paradise. Both religions had plenty of time to sort out which one is true, but they did not do it. Why? Because they cannot prove it. They can only make claims and counterclaims and fight among themselves, between Muslims and Christians and with heathens or infidels. They do this for the last 2000 years.

Under these circumstances, can anyone claim that Islam or Christianity is beneficial for humanity? Is it not time to have a thorough check of what REALLY is the truth?

In regard to the absolute Truth, Dr. Zakir Naik, your ancestors, the Indian Rishis, made valuable contributions and you can be proud of them. In ancient times, long, long before Christianity or Islam appeared on the scene, the Rishis had a very mature understanding of Brahman which would be ‘Truth’ or ‘Supreme Being’ or ‘God’ in English. Brahman is not personal, not a superhuman entity somewhere in heaven, not male or female, not jealous of other gods, not revengeful if ignored, but it is Sat-Chit-Ananda, the conscious, one essence in all names and forms – like the one ocean is the essence of all the waves.

The Rishis realised that this universe is a wrong perception of Brahman. They called it Maya, not really true, only apparently true.

For anything to qualify as absolute Truth, it has to be always – past, present and future – and it has to be self-evident.

The Rishis came to the conclusion that nothing fulfils these criteria except pure (= thought free) consciousness. This consciousness is here and now, always, everywhere. Yet we miss it because we focus only on things or thoughts, emotions, etc.  – like, when we focus a torchlight in a room only on the furniture and miss the empty space. Infinite space, which throbs with life and love is actually a good metaphor for Sat-Chit-Ananda – the highest truth that underlies names and forms (nama-rupa).
Science has meanwhile discovered the Sat-aspect of the truth. Oneness is there. To discover that this Oneness is also aware (Chit) and blissful (Ananda) scientists would need to turn to their own consciousness to research further instead of looking outside. Let us see whether the scientists will support also the claim of the Rishis that this whole manifestation is alive and full of bliss.
In one point, however, you are right, Dr. Zakir Naik: There is only one Truth, one God, which the wise call by different names. But the nature of it you got wrong. It does not send non-Muslims or non-Christians eternally into hellfire. The Supreme Being is indeed merciful and great.
But you wanted to know whether Ganapati is a deity.
May I explain a bit of your ancestors’ tradition which struck me as most profound when I came to know of it?

Sanatana Dharma is not only about intellectually knowing Sat-Chit-Ananda, but about realising it. Since Brahman is all pervading, it must be also in us (Ayam Atma Brahman). So we can tap and feel it. For this, however, we need to follow certain rules. We need to purify ourselves, lead a moral life, speak the truth, etc. To eat plenty of meat and have plenty of sex is not conducive for this purification. Yet one factor is very conducive: Bhakti – love for God.
Here Hindu Dharma brings in Ishwara.

The concept of Ishwara is close to the Abrahamic notion of a personal God but more benevolent. There is of course no eternal hell for unbelievers. Everyone gets chance after chance in life after life till he realises that he is not a separate wave, but one with the ocean.
Ishwara is God with attributes and has innumerable aspects, as this universe has innumerable aspects or human nature has innumerable aspects. These aspects are personified in different deities and the devotee can choose the one who is dearest to him. It helps to develop love for the invisible Truth – for example through Ganapati.

Those Devas are mistakenly much maligned by Christianity and Islam. They are not separate entities but kind of access points to the one Brahman, which is otherwise unimaginable. It is possible to feel familiar with them, to love them, to talk with them. And the scriptures leave no doubt that devas are ultimately Brahman.

And here, Dr. Naik, you may get an answer to your question whether Ganapati is ultimately the Supreme Being.

The Ganapati Atharvashirsa Upanishad, which is part of the Atharva Veda, states: “Tvameva kevalam karta si, tvameva kevalam dharta si, tvameva kevalam harta si.
Tvameva sarvam khalvidam brahmasi, tvam saksadatma si nityam.”
It means: You alone are the creator, you alone are the sustainer, you alone are the annihilator. All this is Brahman and you are that Brahman. You are indeed the Atman eternally.
This declaration, however, is not unique for Ganapati. It is said for other deities, too.
Yet the fact that this is written in a sacred text, is not proof enough. There are plenty of sacred texts in this world and if everything in them is blindly accepted as true, we end up with all kind of proclaimed truths which are not true. We need to verify what is declared as truth on the touchstone of reason, intuition and experience. If it contradicts all of these, it is not worth believing it and certainly not dying for it.

The proof that all deities are Brahman is because only Brahman really exists. Brahman is like the ocean. The waves are not separate from it. The name with which one worships the Divine, does not matter. What matters is how much devotion one feels. The greater the devotion, the more miracles can happen. Ganapati is loved by millions of Hindus worldwide. He is the door through which they try to access Sat-Chit-Ananda.

Sanatana Dharma is very ancient. And yet the Rishis had such deep insights, for example that the world is a wrong perception of what is really true, like seeing a snake at dusk when in fact there is only a rope. Westerners who ridiculed Hindus because they believe that the world is an illusion keep now quiet as science supports the Hindu view.

Meanwhile NASA scientists have detected the building blocks of DNA in meteorites. The Max Planck Institute in Germany published the first picture of the whole universe. It had an oval shape. Could it be possible that those who ridicule Hindus for worshipping a Shiva lingam might soon rethink their attitude, as well, lest they embarrass themselves?
Great men have come and gone in India’s ancient civilisation. Some have been made into gods. There is nothing wrong with it. The Divine is in all.

It should make you reflect, Dr. Naik that science keeps validating the insights of the Rishis, for example the mindboggling age of the universe, or the ultimate Oneness of all.

Attempts to vilify Indian tradition by you and others are successful because the British weaned Indians away from their tradition and most people know little about it. Yet if you are sincere, you will realise that the wisdom of your ancestors scores high over the worldview and the mind set of Abrahamic religions. The attitude of “We alone are right and you go to hell if you don’t accept our religion” is doing great harm to humanity. It may be helpful for world dominion, but do you want to live in a world where everyone has to wear a straight-jacket?

If I were you, Dr. Naik, I would be worried especially about one thing: what if you wake up after death and there is NO paradise waiting for you? What if all those Jihadis, who were inspired by you, cursed you after realising there was no paradise for them? What if you are taking birth again in another form and reap the fruits of your actions of this life where you consciously or unconsciously distorted the truth? Rebirth is not only mentioned in the Indian texts. There is also plenty of evidence for it – over 3000 cases are documented in the archive of Virginia University.

Dr. Naik, I don’t know how deeply you believe what you preach. I know from personal experience how effective brainwashing in childhood can be. But I also know that it is possible to get out of it, and it seems the older one is, the easier.

For me, it was a great relief to come out of the Christian religious straight jacket and I would encourage you to also genuinely enquire into the truth. Your concept of God is not Truth. You quote a book as support. Truth does not fit into a book. Truth is THAT WHAT TRULY IS.
Your ancestors, the Indian Rishis, spoke from experience, not from book knowledge

A letter from my ealder sister Ms. Maria Wirth

College Education: What Reservation Has Done to It

College education in India is plagued by myriad problems, of which, I believe, the biggest is reservation. Considering the absence of a discourse on eliminating the so-called ‘positive discrimination’ in mainstream avenues, I have taken it upon myself to discuss it here. For decades now, those resentful of it have only cribbed, while, at the cost of being pessimistic, I think it is rare-to-find anti-reservation champions, like Rajiv Ghoswami, who have laid down their lives for what is almost a lost cause.  But it would not be entirely fair to censure those who’ve mouthed complaints without precipitating a change to that effect, because when not unified they cannot achieve much. This idea can see the light of the day only and only if, inspired by the aforementioned cause, a group of like-minded voters manage to outnumber pro-reservation voters, and hold the powers at the Center and in the states ransom for nothing short of a promise to abolish reservation of all sorts in the education and employment sector. Yes, this sounds impossible to accomplish, yet, it is an important battle that every meritocratic person must ideally fight, irrespective of their castes. In the following paragraphs, I shall adumbrate the game plan of, and my rejoinders to, the narrative that supports this unfair practice.

It is alarming to see how so many so-called caste-annihilation champions, leftist-liberals, and intelligentsia of the country perceive social and economic hierarchy. Like a broken leg, if casteism has to be fixed, then responsible action must be taken. An injured foot needs medical attention, and not always crutches to reestablish its mobility, at least in cases that permit one to be optimistic about recovery, like ours. They’re at a loss to grasp that providing a flimsy compensation like reservation is not the solution to the problem of caste discrimination. They simply can’t come to terms with the idea that applying a cream to the knees will not fix a dislocated bone, i.e. they don’t understand that forcefully increasing representation will not lead to inclusion. They’ve clubbed ‘social’ with ‘economic’, to come up with the farce called ‘socio-economic’. Assuming that special treatment in educational institutions will translate into better employment opportunities and thus improved standards of living, which will in turn invert extant social equations, is their biggest fallacy. And they simply don’t understand that hurting your other leg just because one is disfigured is irrational, at best.

What is needed is procuring legal redresses in cases of caste discrimination and not making a clamor for unfair and unmeritorious representation in avenues with little scope to recompense. Yet, all that left-liberals, activists, etc. have done is to champion the promotion of unqualified professionals graduating from public academic institutions in various streams, and thus making them subjects of ridicule and scorn for their ill-deserved and unethical climb up the ladder of career. Why are we then surprised that certain talented General Category (GC) individuals hate their inefficient bosses, professors, classmates, and co-workers from non GC? It is not the caste per se, but the dearth of qualification and competency that is despised.

Let’s not even venture into the ambit of whether the Jats, Patels, or Marathas deserve social affirmative action of this sort, since such a discussion is of no consequence to the larger issue at hand. However, it is noteworthy that these were the communities that first fought against reservation, and when left with little hope of success, chose instead to become a part of the bandwagon. And the simmering discontent of these and more such communities, who will join the league may propel some social strife that will lead to the collapse of the entire social system. The 49.5% seats that accommodate the quota parivar in non-minority institutions will soon reach their points of saturation, leading to incessant in-fighting in the race to greater reservation for more egregious backwardness. But this, on the other hand, makes the materialization of our ‘United Anti-Reservation Front’, if you will, even more elusive, since more and more interest-groups that were formerly aligned with us, are now entering a foolhardy bargain.

Let us not forget the in-house quotas, which are an even bigger mess, wherein all unmotivated and incompetent candidates, among others, are allotted seats that they haven’t earned, simply by virtue of, either having warmed benches there during Junior College or, having paid huge sums to its partner institutions during high school. For example, when promoted from class 10 to 11, or from class 12 to the college, students, who have already been studying in the said school come in through quotas in which cut offs sink to, for example, 50%, while the poor GC candidate, who is an outsider has to struggle with matriculation even with a good 95%. Simply because one scored good marks in class 10, does it mean he can get away with not doing well in class 12? Does it imply he is still as meritorious, hardworking, and dedicated, as he was two years back? And if it does, why even make him write class 12 exams? Also, is being tested for compatibility to study class 11 syllabi tantamount to being tested to analyze texts as a College Freshman?

Next on the list are reservations for religious and linguistic minorities. Any non-Hindu trust can run a college, with the necessary conditions fulfilled, and can become a religious minority institution, if it likes. This applies to Jain, Parsi, Christian, and Muslim institutions funded by the government. In these schools, 50% seats are reserved for students of these religious communities, even though that culminates into blatant discrimination against Hindus, who, owing to their sheer size, contribute the biggest chunk of taxes to the national treasury, from which lakhs of Rupees are poured into the defrayment of these minority seats.

Let me use an example to draw home the point about linguistic minority reservation. Should you be a Gujarati living in Mumbai, you can benefit from the 50% seats reserved by Gujarati-minority institutions for Gujarati speakers in the state of Maharashtra. The same applies to Maharashtrians living in Gujarat. In a nation where the constitution confers upon every citizen the right to freedom of movement, why should these linguistic minorities not be asked to integrate with the majority, to live among those, whom they have consciously chosen? I would not entirely blame a begrudging Bengali, if he wished ill of a Marwadi, who has the same score as the former, and who goes to a reputed minority run government-aided college, while the Bengali-speaking native has to settle for a mediocre one in the heart of Kolkata. And then we wonder why achieving cohesion among different ethnic communities in the country is a daunting task!

The most ridiculous defense of this retrograde system that I have come across is that these institutions are run by minority members, so they can take a call on how the seat distribution must transpire. I intend herewith to remind these people that they reside not in a banana republic, but in the Republic of India, and that the government funds these minority institutions, not the Vatican or Saudi Arabia.
The management, army, extracurricular, and sports quotas have also long overstayed their welcome in government institutions, where the taxpayers’ money is involved. Is the ward to be held reprehensible and punished through non-preferential treatment, if his parents are not serving in the Indian army? Is a student at fault if he likes to play an instrument not listed in preferred extracurricular activities’ quotas? Or how one is to accept the bigotry at the heart of sports quotas, which favor athletic abilities, that are not correlated substantially with academic brilliance, and that do not serve as a standardized testing-parameter? How can one buy the logically vacuous argument that kinfolk of management officials have a more superior right than others to avail institutional offerings, while employees must actually be remunerated exclusively by salaries and bursaries? That said, the handicapped quota must continue because individuals who suffer some substantial physical impairment must be supported by such measures.

Let us remember that even diversity quotas in the IIMs, even though unsaid, are yet another joke on all those, who work hard and miss the cutoff by a mark, only so that some girl with a poor mathematical acumen can occupy that seat, and blabber ubiquitous facts in fancy English in her management classes, only to show off her social sciences or arts background. Why can IIMs not make their examinations more comprehensive instead of employing such ambiguous parameters during interview rounds, if they actually want to welcome an eclectic student pool? This is perhaps for them to answer.

The conventional solution offered in regard with caste-based reservations is that the creamy SC/ST layer be excluded from these provisions, just as the creamy OBC layer has been, and a ‘poor upper castes’ one be added to this exhaustive list. Simplifying this, it is proposed that economic status and not social conditions be made the yardstick to determine neediness. While the latter (reservation based on economic status) is a far better solution than the former, is the poor preparedness of quota beneficiaries to take on college curricula or real world challenges going to be compensated by reservation?

Let us consider the case of St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, a Christian Minority institution, where I have completed my college education, to answer this question. Xavier’s has 360 seats for Bachelors of Arts, a whopping 15% (54 seats) of which are earmarked for the Management quota. Of the rest, that is 306 seats, 50% (153 seats) are meant for Christians, both applying from other schools to St. Xavier’s Senior College (they get in through a Christian students’ merit list) and those who studied there in Junior College (All those who want to continue studying there are automatically admitted through the in-house quota). You can imagine getting 96% marks and yet being at the bottom of the Second General Category Merit List for ISC and CBSE Class 12 students, and ending up in tutorials with students, who have secured admission into Xavier’s with a 70% in Class 10 through the Christian quota, and who then got promoted from class 12 to Senior College with a 40% score in class 12, this time thanks to the In-house Christian quota. Need we be bemused, then, when affluent Indian students prefer mediocre Community Colleges in the US to top-notch institutions in India? Now, that’s not even all. Of the remaining seats (153 seats), another 49.5% (76 seats) are reserved for SC, ST, OBC, Sports, Military etc., which again include both outsiders and in-house entrants. By default, the remaining 77 seats are occupied by General Category students, but this number is not exclusive of in-house students. If my estimate is not wrong, not even 10% students of the 360 that commence undergraduate studies at St. Xavier’s, a college renowned for its Arts and other faculties, do so as General Category Outsiders (non-in-house).

Also, let’s not forget that professorial positions too are not left out of the purview of reservations. Imagine how much more productive, fair, just, and successful any college as a whole could’ve been, if only reservations were struck off the agenda? Even if a government-aided college wants to do away with the reservation, it cannot, because of the provisions of the State and Central governments, which provide the necessary finances to these public institutions. And mind you, it is in these public institutions that the majority of our graduates are produced, so aggregate student quality is definitely going to be impacted by these issues.

Besides, it is hardly pragmatic to believe that students who accrue these benefits actually end up well-to-do in their lives. Does it help these academically average students to be under constant pressure to match shoulders with elite performers of the class? The answer is a resounding no. Apart from denigrating the quality of classroom discussions and examinations’ difficulty levels, reservations put candidates on pedestals where they don’t belong, often making them victims of inferiority complexes and diffidence. Far from ameliorating their aptitudes, reservations make underperformers complacent, over-achievers content with what, they believe, they can achieve in the class-room, and professors recumbent, because considering the qualitatively eclectic nature of the class, they cannot raise difficulty levels beyond the stipulated level. Devoid of challenge, and bereft of motivation, the entire system is taken for granted by all actors involved, making it even easier to shift all culpability on the already antagonized ‘other party’. Additionally, companies that visit graduate and post-graduate institutions for campus placements will definitely look at report-cards and CVs, and pick the best of the lot, making the journey after graduation a remarkably bouncy one for those who have undeservedly had a smooth ride until then.

The solution to this atrocious menace lies not just in dispensing with reservation, but just as much in improving primary and secondary education, so that everyone is assured a level-playing field when at the college threshold. This must be supplemented by greater integration of private players into the system, standardization of syllabi across all college boards, and a revision in the fee-structure to ensure that the quality of public institutions matches that of private ones. I do not intend to suggest here that standardization should lead to rigidity, lack of innovation, and absence of subject choice in the system.  All I am proposing is that schools and colleges be made to establish relatively more comparable parameters of testing that can allow students to move from a state to another, without being bogged down by the discrepancies of the extant heterogeneity. This will erase all chances of discrimination against any candidate, and will trounce the inane camp fighting for domicile and sons-of-the-soil quotas.

While gradual accretion in the budget allocated to education is definitely required, perhaps the government must reconsider its approach towards subsidization. Using income-tax returns and Aadhar UIDs as proof, the government must bear the burden of educational expenditure both at school and college levels, only for those families that require such assistance. Besides, the amount contributed by the government towards the education of the child need not be uniform, and can vary as per need and ability determined by tax brackets. This will effectively put to rest many, if not all concerns surrounding fair access to education, and most certainly the qualm that the backward sections of society don’t have enough entry-points to empowerment avenues of the society.

Sabhar from