Friday, April 29, 2016

A Small Must Read Book List

Generally I avoid recommending books to read, for being a bibliophile I believe it is very cruel to add on to the mental burden of other voracious readers. However, I had tweeted a short list a while back. This list in my opinion is a must read for all those Indians who have lost out on their identity thanks in much to the deep influence of western liberal thought, leading to the marginalization of original Indic thoughts. These writings are across various times, but are real, original contributions to a truly Indic thought, and if  we really need to prepare intellectually for future battles, we should be familiar with what we are going to fight. The order does not rank the books in any way; it is just a function of my ability to recall names.

 So here is the list. I will not explain the reasons for exploring them; I leave it to the discernment of readers to judge by themselves the merit of the list.

  1. Gora by Rabindranath Tagore
  2. Ghare Baire by Rabindranath Tagore
  3. Parva by S L Bhyrappa
  4. Aavarana by S L Bhyrappa
  5. Chitralekha bh Bhagvaticharan Verma
  6. Vaishali ki Nagarvadhu by Acarya Caturasena
  7. Tamas by Bhisham Sahni
  8. Aarogyaniketan by Tarashankar Bandhopadhyay
  9. Saraswatichandra by Govardhanram Tripathi
  10. Anandamath by Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay
  11. Durgesh Nandini by Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay
  12. Prithviraj Raso by Cand Bardai

These are what I can remember off the top of my head. Hopefully you will enjoy reading and analyzing them just as much.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Hey Judges - Leave Our Temples Alone!

Lord Ayappan Swamy's Temple in Sabarimala (Courtesy - Sabarimala Temple)

With the ongoing brouhaha over the entry of women into lord Ayappan Swamy's temple in Sabarimala, Kerala, one can only see how the Supreme Court of India has repeatedly reinforced what can only be called an apartheid regime concerning the Hindu majority of India. Temple control has been a very touchy topic for many Hindus, and state administrations have usurped control of most temples across India, and the traditions involved with the traditions are being trampled upon with little consideration repeatedly by governments pretending to be secular or by hordes of deracinated judicial officers who have zero understanding of tradition and of the concept of sacred, since the Commonwealth civil law that is applicable in our country is deeply rooted in Judeo-Christian traditions, and wrongly perceives the relation of the temple and the state to be same as the Church and the state.
Such is the deracination that the Supreme Court has also ruled that temples are akin to revenue generating industrial units, and maintenance of the deity of the temple and its premises is akin to maintaining machinery; hence the activity has been deemed taxable! This is a Judeo-Christian reading into how the temple functions, for in actuality the deity has been housed in the temple, and the actual comparison is to that of a human being living in a house as a child, taken care of by its parents on entrusted guardians as per the Dharmic tradition. There is no infant Jesus or a baby Allah being maintained in any institution unlike a Bal Gopala or a Rama Lalla as evidenced in the Dharmic tradition. What accentuates the problem worse is the absolute lack of understanding of the so called restrictions on entry. The restriction is a mark of respect for the traits of the residing deity. There are temples in India that do not have women entering inside the sanctum, and there are those where men have no role to play as well. To say misogyny exists is thus laughable, for by the same logic there is also discrimination against men. In the specific case of Sabarimala, the background story of the deity is the reason why women do not enter the garbha griha or sanctum of the temple; Ayappan Swamy being a celibate and having not been born of a womb made him take such a vow. However, women are allowed inside the temple premises. This is of course not true for temples of Ayappan across the country but is the specific case of the Sabarimala temple; however it is being portrayed and viewed by judges as evidence of 'large scale misogny prevalent in Hinduism', when their own view does not stand up to the scrutiny of logic. To date there are only three cases where the Supreme Court gave a reprieve to Hindus - the Hindutva judgment of Justice J S Verma, the Sanskrit judgment by Justice Kuldeep Singh, and the Chidambaram judgment by Justices Iyer and Sheppard. The irony is that these judgments are completely disregarded by the other Supreme Court judges when it comes to pontificating about temple control. However, when it comes to protecting the Hindu identity in Jammu and Kashmir, the judges adopt an ostrich like pose. A bill to legally identify the temples and give them protection has been languishing for at least two decades. The bill is necessary for it will help protect temples across Jammu and the Kashmir valley, which has seen temples being encroached upon and demolished to make way for shops and houses. Many of these temples are centuries old, and in the case of the Valley, the last remaining markers of the presence of Hindus in the Valley. If the judges like to take so much of suo moto cognizances, why are the judges wilfully ignorant of this matter?
So deep is the apartheid regime that when it comes to several issues of the other majorities of India, we have not had a single PIL or suo moto cognizance taken up by the court. Circumcision and female genital mutilation are perhaps the most violent sexual crime that can be inflicted on children; however all that can be witnessed from the Supreme Court and other judges is absolute silence. Churches are the largest owners of non-agricultural land in India - why are they not paying taxes like temples? Wakf property similarly are tax exempt; however we see no one bothering about them in the hallowed corridors of justice. By the logic being thrown about the temples and women, the Catholic Church needs to have women parishioners and there should be women leading namaz in mosques. Entry of women in the Haji Ali Dargah is seen by the Supreme Court as a matter that the 'community should itself decide'. But Hindus do not have the right to decide these matters. The only reason why the judges are shy of adjudicating and continuing the banana republicanism of its rulings is that it is scared when it comes to the other majorities of India. It is scared of the number of people who will protest and threaten them, and are afraid of the damage to their reputation at the various international judicial summits that they jaunt during their excessively long holiday stints and post retirement. Had a few gutless Hindus also protested in front of the houses of these judges, they would not have bothered, since personal reputation and strength by numbers are all that matters it seems.
It is time that the Hindus start a mass movement to take back the temples from the clutches of the state, and do some plain talking to the Supreme Court judges. It is time that the judges are told to leave our temples alone, and end the discrimination against the Hindu majority of the country. A country that severely hampers a huge chunk of its own population can only be seen as an apartheid state, and it is time to end it. It has to start with telling the judges to stay away from interfering with temple tradition by telling them to leave our temples alone.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The NIT-Sringar Incident Is Too Important to be Ignored

In March of 2014, an incident had taken place in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, that had made a huge splash across newspapers. A bunch of Kashmiri Muslim students were 'suspended' and 'charged for sedition' because they deliberately cheered Pakistan's victory. They raised pro-Pakistan slogans and had deliberately provoked other students into a brawl. Much sympathy was splashed across the media by our eminent journalists on how students need to be counseled and such harsh measures were unnecessary.

Cut to 2016, and we are witnessing a case beyond proportions. Only the scales have tilted. A bunch of Kashmiri students in Srinagar deliberately provoked non-Kashmiri students after a cricket match that India lost. The offended students decided to take a peaceful march out in response carrying the Indian tricolor. What has happened since is a matter of utmost concern. Kanhaiyya Kumar dominating headlines for the utter garbage that he keeps speaking, and the conspiracy of silence adopted by the eminent journalists in writing paeans or even giving basic coverage to the incident is nothing less than condemnable. Even the local Srinagar papers have been horribly biased in their coverage, as has always been the case. Keep in mind that there are 200 Kashmiri Muslim students, mostly Kashmiri Muslim faculty and a Kashmiri Muslim dominated J&K police deployment involved in the case. Without any provocation, students have been repeatedly lathicharged. And yet, lies are being peddled that there was stone pelting (an activity undertaken every Friday ironically at the Jama Masjid in Srinagar). In contrast, we have 1800 non-Kashmiri students who have since mentioned how the faculty and administration is playing truant and trying to break the students into submission or find ways to get them out of the institute at any cost (prime example being orders to evacuate the hostel).

All efforts to downplay what is happening right now is a dangerous game being played with fire. In the seventies and eighties, a deliberate atmosphere was created for the Kashmiri Pandits and non-Kashmiri residents of several generations - Dogras, Paharis and Punjabis in particular - wherein the Srinagar administration discriminated using the official machinery. Even more disconcerting is the number of instances listed by Jagmohan in his book My Frozen Turbulence in Kashmir, by Rahul Pandita in Our Moon Has Blood Clots or even the Siddharth Gigoo-Varad Sharma edited anthology A Long Dream of Home. The subversion of the administration by elements sympathetic to an Islamist cause, and we see many similarities in the horror stories that the NIT Srinagar students are now sharing via social media. The taunting, the deliberate provocation and the absolute disregard for non-Muslims in the Valley is a cycle all too familiar for the Pandits. At the peak of militancy, the manner in which Sarvanand Koul Premi, Justice Neelkanth Ganjoo or even Lassa Koul among others were slaughtered for just trying to assert administrative authority is nothing less than bone-chilling. Elements of the police coopted with the militants just so to ensure that they could escape captivity, case in point being the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences as listed by Jagmohan. The fact that Yasin Malik still remains unpunished for killing Indian Air Force officers is a chilling reminder of the absolute breakdown in machinery and governance, when people like Farooq Abdullah meekly surrendered to the cause in order to win a few votes. It finds great parallels in the way Mehbooba Mufti kept avoiding formation of government; thankfully the governor still did not let go of the administrative reign. The Pandits recall how they were taunted, beaten in public or even assaulted during repeated riots across the Valley. In one case after the 1987 Anantnag riots in fact, it is said that a Pandit had slapped Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, then a Congress leader, only to be reminded who the majority is by Mufti himself. The state had even then just meekly watched; what happened since is a shameful chapter that refuses to come to a close.

Just as back then, the media today refuses to talk about what is going on in Srinagar. Tweets by eminent journalists would make you believe that we live in a different country altogether. A universe where these incidents don't matter - that is also what happened during the mass exodus and genocide of Kashmiri Pandits. In a truly leftists paradigm, the liberati of this country continues to define it from the prism of a bourgeois - proletariat paradigm, trying to conceal the real problem. The silence of the media back then proved to be the final nail in the coffin of the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits from their own home. The non-Kashmiris had it much worse - Sanjay Suri and Vidhu Vinod Chopra have stated in interviews the circumstances under which their families too had to flee Kashmir. Between the months of January and June of 1990, many non-Kashmiris were systematically targeted and exterminated by the terrorists, and the police did nothing. The silence of the media, or its reliance on official versions are laughable, considering the way they hounded the Delhi Police to find ways to exonerate Kanhaiyya Kumar and his ilk of Sharia Bolsheviks, who seem to have lost voice over the current crisis. Another class of tourists - the Rahu Gandhis and Arvind Kejriwals - have clearly to realize that Kashmir is not a foreign country, and could have chosen to visit it - but no, as these students are not a vote bank to target. Just like the Kashmiri Pandits, they number too few to pander to.

We need to raise our voices and shout ourselves hoarse and raise mayhem over what the students are facing. The NIT-Sringar incident is too important to be ignored. The wheel of time has come a full circle after three decades - it is time we do not let a repeat of lapses happen all over again. A lapse again, and posterity shall never forgive us. Kanhaiyya Kumar will not save the nation; our collective conscience will. Please, do not ignore this incident or brush it off as inconsequent.

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