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2010-03-10 11:04:52 UTC
WRAPUP 2-Japan finmin wary of any formal policy accord with BOJ

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By Hideyuki Sano TOKYO,
March 10 (Reuters) -

Japanese Finance Minister Naoto Kan shot down the idea of a formal
policy pact with the Bank of
Japan as the government aims to strike a delicate balance
between pushing the central bank to ease policy further and
respecting its independence. The idea of a formal policy accord has
been floated in the
past by critics of the central bank who feel it could be doing
more to combat grinding deflation that has plagued the world's
second-largest economy for most of the past 15 years. But Kan, who has
also been calling on the BOJ to take
bolder action, said he saw no immediate need for such a pact,
echoing the view held by a majority of policy makers and
politicians wary of threatening the central bank's
independence. "I gather advocates of such a policy want an arrangement
where the government increases the deficits and the BOJ
cooperates by buying more government debt," said Izuru Kato,
chief economist at Totan Research. "They must be thinking central bank
independence allows the
BOJ to be too hesitant about buying government bonds and
therefore they should strip the BOJ of its independence," Kato
said. Kan steered clear of saying exactly what he wants the
central bank to do at its policy meeting next week, where
further easing is likely to be discussed. [ID:nTOE6230A7] BOJ board
member Miyako Suda, seen as hawkish on monetary
policy, said on Wednesday that the central bank will maintain a
very accommodative stance, but she added that the BOJ had
implemented an appropriate policy on prices. "Suda did not sound so
positive about taking more steps
blindly. It's not clear how strong the measures the BOJ takes
next week will be," said Naomi Hasegawa, senior strategist at
Mitsubishi UFJ Securities. With the government's room for further
fiscal stimulus
limited by a public debt that is already close to 200 percent
of GDP, the six-month old administration has put pressure on
the central bank to stem deflation. But the BOJ's options are limited
as long as the economic
outlook remains weak. Expectations of further price declines in future
persuade consumers and companies to delay spending and
investment even longer, adding more pressure on the economy.
Until demand picks up and more money flows into the system,
prices will struggle to recover. The BOJ has said prices will rise
eventually as the economy
mends. TOO MUCH INDEPENDENCE? Japan's central bank law guarantees the
BOJ independence in
its policy decisions, but it also requires the bank to
communicate with the government to ensure its policy is in line
with the government's economic policy. Few in the top circle of
Japanese policymakers see the need
for a change in those stipulations. "I am cautious about the framework
of an accord," Kan, also
deputy prime minister, told a parliamentary committee on
Wednesday in response to an opposition lawmaker's question. But some
politicians, mostly from the opposition, have said
the BOJ needs to be more accountable for its decisions, blaming
it for putting Japan in deflation for much of the past 15
years. The BOJ is likely to debate easing again at its March 16-17
board meeting, after introducing a new funding operation in
December amid a wave of government pressure as the yen climbed
versus the dollar. [ID:nTOE6230A7] "If they increase the cheap funding
operation to replace
the corporate support scheme that expires in March, that's
probably already priced in," said Hasegawa of Mitsubishi UFJ
Securities. The Bank of Japan's Suda dropped few hints, repeating the
BOJ's view that easy policy alone is no panacea for deflation.
"Although maintaining easy monetary policy is the top
priority, it is important for the Japanese economy to undergo
bold structural reform as much as it needs a recovery," she
said, referring to the need to fix Japan's pension system and
get public finances in order to reduce concerns about the
future. "If structural reform is delayed, it would undermine the
stimulative effect of monetary policy," she said. Japan's core
machinery orders fell slightly less than
expected in January from the previous month, data showed on
Wednesday, offering more evidence that capital expenditure will
keep growing slowly this year as manufacturers raise spending. Core
private-sector machinery orders, a highly volatile
series regarded as an indicator of capital spending, fell 3.7
percent in January, less than a median market forecast for a
4.1 percent decline, after a 20.1 percent jump in December.

[JPMORD=ECI] ECONJP But the data also showed non-manufacturers remain
wary on
capital spending, highlighting the weakness in domestic demand. Annual
wholesale price deflation eased to 1.5 percent in
February on a recent rise in commodity prices. But economists say
deflationary pressure is likely to
continue due to the big gap between supply and demand. Japan pulled
out of recession in April-June last year,
helped by a rebound in exports and industrial output as well as
a rise in consumption due to government subsidies. But
economists expect growth to slow early this year as the
government cuts public works and the impact of subsidies

(Additional reporting by Rie Ishiguro, Stanley White, Leika
Kihara and Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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March 10, 2010, 12:52 a.m.

WORLD FOREX: Euro Ticks Up Vs Yen On Japan Importer Buying
By Miho Nakauchi

TOKYO (MarketWatch) -- The euro ticked up against the yen in Asia
Wednesday, as Japanese importers buying the single currency on a
regular settlement day set the tone of the market amid a lack of other
trading cues.

But further gains are far from certain, dealers said, with the euro's
near-term direction resting on developments in the euro-zone's fiscal
problem and upcoming economic data.

As of 0450 GMT, the euro stood at Y122.44, slightly up from Y122.36 in
New York late Tuesday. Against the dollar, the unit traded at $1.3602
from $1.3601.

"Overall currency moves were very limited" with share markets almost
unchanged and a lack of major economic data, meaning that Japanese
importers' buying flows became more dominant and set the trend, said
Yuzo Sakai, a foreign-exchange manager at Tokyo Forex & Ueda Harlow.

Japanese importers tend to buy the currency on regular settlement
days, which fall on the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th and 25th of each month.

At 0450 GMT, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average index was down 0.08%.

Dealers said the European single currency could fall toward $1.3300
and Y119.00 over the next few weeks if any negative news emerges on
Europe's fiscal issues, adding to concerns over its economic outlook,
dealers said.

The focus is on European countries' huge levels of debt, said Hideaki
Inoue, a chief foreign-exchange manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and
Banking Corp. "Growing expectations for sovereign debt default could
prompt mid- and long-term players to sell" the euro, he said.

Although most players are bearish toward the euro, better-than-
expected economic data could help restore investor confidence,
possibly buoying the risk-sensitive euro toward $1.3700 and Y123.50,
some dealers said. Investors will monitor U.S. retail sales for
February and Reuters/University Of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey
for March, both due Friday, for any hints on the health of the global

Elsewhere, the dollar stood at Y90.00 as of 0450 GMT, almost unchanged
from its New York level of Y89.97 Tuesday. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index,
which tracks the greenback against a trade-weighted basket of
currencies, was at 80.576 from 80.580.

The U.S. unit may fall toward Y89.50 in coming weeks, traders said.
Japanese exporters may repatriate overseas assets as we move toward
Japan's fiscal year-end on Mar. 31, which could weigh on the U.S.
unit, dealers said.

1.China's trade surplus shrinks further in February

2.The rise and certain fall of the American Empire


March 10, 2010, 3:46 a.m. EST · Recommend · Post:

Dollar rises vs. euro as German trade data disappointView all
Currencies ›
By MarketWatch

TOKYO (MarketWatch) -- The dollar got a lift against the euro
Wednesday when trade data from Germany, a key euro-zone economy, came
in worse than expected.

News Hub: Economist Warns of More Volatility AheadAnirvan Banerji,
director of research at Economic Cycle Research, joins the News Hub to
discuss why he believes the U.S. economy will experience more frequent
recessions ahead.
Germany's exports increased by 0.2% and imports dropped by 1.4% in
January 2010 compared to the same month a year ago, the Federal
Statistical Office reported on Wednesday. Compared to December 2009,
exports fell by 6.3% in January and imports rose by 6.0%. Germany's
seasonally-adjusted foreign trade balance recorded a surplus of 8.7
billion euros in January, official data showed.

"This was the weakest reading since the March of 2009 when the global
economy was in the throes of its worst contraction in [the] post-war
period. The news was especially surprising given the decline in the
euro/U.S. dollar over the past several months," said Boris
Schlossberg, director of currency research at GFT.

He added that the trade balance data were "not helpful to the single
currency which has been battered by concerns over sovereign debt
problems of Greece, Portugal and Spain."

The euro slipped to $1.3551, from $1.3598 in late North American
trading Tuesday, and the British pound skidded to $1.4898, from

The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 80.67, +0.08,
+0.10%) , which measures the U.S. unit against a trade-weighted basket
of six major currencies, rose to 80.851, from 80.580 late Tuesday.

The greenback bought 89.96 yen, compared with 89.98 yen late Tuesday.

But the Australian dollar was up 0.1% against its U.S. counterpart, to
91.43 U.S. cents.

The Aussie "outperformed, with better than expected Chinese trade data
underpinning global recovery hopes in the region," said analysts at
Action Economics.

China's trade surplus narrowed further in February to $7.6 billion
from $14.2 billion in January. When compared with the same month last
year, both exports and imports grew at a higher-than-expected rate,
with the value of imports climbing 44.7%, reflecting growing domestic
consumption in mainland China. The value of outbound goods and
services surged 45.7% from February 2009 on a recovery in demand for
Chinese goods. Read more on China trade data.

On Tuesday, the U.S. dollar advanced versus the euro and British
pound, finding support amid ongoing worries about debt problems in the
euro zone after warnings of downgrades from Fitch Ratings and Moody's
Investors Service. See Tuesday's Currencies report.

More Currencies

March 9, 2010 Dollar up; rating agencies revive debt worries

March 8, 2010 Dollar turns up as U.S. stocks give up gains

March 5, 2010 Dollar falls vs. euro as Greece fears subside

March 4, 2010 Dollar up after U.S. data, Europe's rate news

March 3, 2010 Dollar falls vs. euro on Greece debt-cut move


Raymond Richman - Jesse Richman - Howard

Richmans' Trade and Taxes Blog

The Obama Administration's Agenda to Balance Trade
Raymond Richman, 3/9/2010

On March 1, 2010, Ambassador Ron Kirk, United States Trade
Representative, disclosed “The President's 2010 Trade Policy Agenda”,
a suicide pill for the U.S. economy. For three decades, every
administration had more or less the same agenda. Ignore the trade
deficits or just accept them as the inevitable result of competitive
forces, which they are not. If China, Japan, Germany, and others want
to exchange their valuable goods for our money, why should we
complain? We can print more. It is hard to believe that that was and
continues to be the attitude of the vast majority of economists.
They’ve been brain-washed into believing that market forces must
inevitably restore a balance of trade. We pointed out in our book,
Trading Away Our Future (Ideal Taxes Assn, Jan., 2008) that free trade
was not justified by economic theory, that China, like Japan before
it, was deliberately pursuing the mercantilist policy of promoting a
surplus of exports over imports by erecting all sorts of barriers to
imports while subsidizing exports, keeping its currency artificially
undervalued to make its imports expensive and its exports cheap, by
buying U.S. financial assets to keep U.S.interest rates low to
American consumers, to discourage savings and encourage consumption.
Not until recently did an eminent economist like Prof. Paul Krugman
condemn China’s mercantilist practices and suggest U.S. counteraction.
Until then, he believed no country would find it in its interest to
accumulate financial assets rather than goods.

The slow-acting suicide pill suddenly accelerated in the mid-1990s.
The result was the loss of millions of U.S. industrial jobs. How many?
To balance trade at the level of imports in 2008, we would have to
create eight million industrial jobs. The defenders of U.S. trade
policy point to our achievement of full employment in 2007, neglecting
to mention that the competition of factory workers who lost their well-
paying jobs lowered workers’ earnings of all workers. As a result,
wages have stagnated over the past three decades, fewer workers enjoy
middle class incomes, income distribution has worsened, and the U.S.
is on the verge of becoming a second-rate industrial power if it has
not already achieved that distinction. ...

In an incredible display of sycophancy, the document asserts that the
administration’s goal is “Making Trade Work for America’s Working
Families.” America’s Working Families? They have been the big losers
as a result of our tolerance of our huge chronic trade deficits. The
document asserts that “President Obama’s economic strategy halted the
slide into a deep economic crisis and laid the foundation for renewed
American prosperity that is more sustainable, fairer for more of our
citizens, and more competitive globally.” That remains to be seen.
Since the President took office, the unemployment rate, including
those who lost their factory jobs as a result of the trade deficits,
has continued to grow and grow.

The Trade Representative gives lip service to the lip-service of the
G-20 nations who pledged in 2009 to work toward balancing trade. It
displays the same Pollyanna-ish reliance on market forces. All we have
to do is increase our exports by $800 billion. His report states that
the U.S. has reacted to unfair trade practices by imposing
countervailing duties on countries committing infractions of trade
rules like dumping (Chinese tires) and even getting China to further
open its market to “American wind energy products.” Just the other
day, there were protests in the Congress against imported wind
turbines, which, to add injury to injury, are heavily subsidized by
the U.S. government. The President has set a goal “of doubling U.S.
exports in the next five years” to create 2 million jobs. He created a
new bureaucracy called the Export Promotion Cabinet which will fund
export promotion programs, tools for small- and medium-sized
businesses, reduction in barriers to trade, and open new markets. It
joins hundred of federal agencies designed to do-good but end up doing-

The report recites: “Effective trade policy helps increase exports
that yield well-paying jobs for Americans … studies show that firms
engaged in trade usually grow faster, hire more, and on average pay
better wages than those that do not. In recent years, exports of
manufactured goods have become an important source of employment,
supporting almost one in five of all manufacturing jobs.” No mention,
not a single mention of the jobs lost to imports, the amount of the
trade deficite, and the declining number of employees in industry,
month after month after month! There is this acknowledgment, “We have
to be frank in recognizing that some Americans lose jobs as markets
shift in response to trade.” So we have enacted a Trade Adjustment
Assistance Act to assist those who lose their jobs to adjust to their
new status. No new export jobs are created by the Act.

That is about all the response the loss of millions of American jobs
has occasioned. Nothing to balance trade except statements that we
need to be more competitive and the international community (the
G-20?) should increase their domestic consumption and imports as part
of a more balanced growth strategy! Don’t hold your breath.

It announces to the world that the United States is committed to the
multilateral trade rules of the WTO system, to trade liberalization
“through negotiation and a defense against protectionism”, the
strongest country in the world announcing that we will not take
unilateral action against the mercantilist practices of such “weak”
countries like China, Japan, Germany, and OPEC. They can continue
their practices, impose barriers to our exports, grant subsidies to
their exports until we petition the WTO for a remedy. The WTO rules
already authorize countries experiencing chronic trade deficits to
take unilateral action including the imposition of tariffs and other
barriers to imports. Why haven’t we done anything to protect our
industry and industrial workers from such destructive trade practices?
La-de-da, it would be so unbecoming a great nation. Our elitists want
to be loved by the world’s elite, who are by-and-large antii-American.

Attempting to counter the impression that it is doing nothing, the
report points to its action responding to “a harmful surge of Chinese
tire imports”, challenging restrictions on U.S. exports of
agricultural products, and filing suit over Chinese export quotas and
duties on raw materials needed by core U.S. industrial sectors from
steel and aluminum to chemicals. Good, those are useful actions but
the number of jobs created relative to the number of jobs lost to the
trade deficits is infinitesimal.

What the U.S. has been engaged in is talk, talk, talk. It needs to
concentrate on jobs, jobs, jobs. The government has engaged in
discussions, just talk, with China, India, Brazil, Russia. It
sponsored and entered into negotiations for a regional, Asia-Pacific
trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Agreement, with Australia, Brunei, Chile, NewZealand, Peru, Singapore,
and Vietnam. Not one industrial job has been created or ever will be.

Another initiative is the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
forum. The U.S. will host APEC in 2011. The report writes, “To this
end, we are coordinating with the 2010 host nation, Japan, on an
ambitious agenda that engages APEC’s broad membership on crucial trade
and investment topics for the region’s future. Initiatives in APEC are
a successfully demonstrated way of building a stronger and
constructive American role in the Asia-Pacific market.” Aside from
costing a lot of money and providing a free vacation to a lot of anti-
Americans, how many jobs producing goods for export will it create?
Not a single job.

The report recites that “Bilateral relationships are crucial. But as
we know, multi-faceted regional economic relationships are of major,
and even growing, importance for United States and for the world.”
Where is the evidence that it is important, let alone of increasing
importance, to the U.S. The administration is doing and plans to do a
lot of talking. In place of jobs, jobs, jobs, it is placing emphasis
on talk, talk, talk.


UPDATE 1-Japan finmin wary of policy accord with BOJ

TOKYO, March 10 (Reuters) - Japanese Finance Minister Naoto Kan said
he saw no immediate need to have a more formal policy pact with the
Bank of Japan as the government and the central bank already share a
common goal of beating deflation.

Kan, who took over at the Finance Ministry in January, has been
calling on the central bank to do more to end deflation, but has
steered clear of saying exactly what he wants the central bank to do.

Asked by an opposition lawmaker if he thought a formal agreement with
the central bank would help, Kan said: "It's questionable whether it's
good to have an explicit policy accord. The BOJ governor has already
said in public that the bank wants inflation from plus zero to plus 2
percent ...

"I am cautious about the framework of an accord," Kan, also deputy
prime minister, told a parliamentary committee.

With the government's room for further fiscal stimulus limited by a
public debt that is already close to 200 percent of GDP, the six-month
old administration has put pressure on the central bank to stem

Japan's central bank law guarantees the BOJ independence in its policy
decisions, but it also requires the bank to communicate with the
government to ensure its policy is in line with the government's
economic policy.

The central bank is likely to debate easing its ultra-loose monetary
policy again at its board meeting on March 16-17, after introducing a
new funding operation in December under a previous wave of government
pressure as the yen climbed versus the dollar. [ID:nTOE6230A7]

One member of the bank's policy board, Miyako Suda, said on Wednesday
that the central bank will maintain a very accommodative monetary
policy stance to help the country escape deflation.

"The BOJ intends to continue making its contribution to help the
Japanese economy escape deflation and return to a sustained growth
path with price stability," Suda said at a roundtable conference
hosted by the Economist Group.

But Suda also repeated the BOJ's view that easy policy alone will not
be a panacea for deflation.

"Although maintaining easy monetary policy is the top priority, it is
important for the Japanese economy to undergo bold structural reform
as much as it needs recovery... If structural reform is delayed, it
would undermine the stimulative effect of monetary policy," she said.

BOJ officials have said further monetary policy easing will have
little impact on boosting prices, with interest rates already near

Suda added that the BOJ had taken appropriate steps on monetary policy
and that she didn't think aiming for a high inflation rate would
resolve the shock of the financial crisis. (Reporting by Hideyuki
Sano, Stanley White and Rie Ishiguro; Editing by Hugh Lawson)


FOREX-Yen rises on Japan exporters; sterling falters

By Masayuki Kitano TOKYO, March 9 (Reuters) - The yen rose broadly on
Tuesday on
dollar and euro selling by Japanese exporters, while sterling
faltered on weak data and after Moody's said Britain faces a
dilemma over its support for the banking sector. The yen also climbed
with short-term traders taking cues from
a dip in Nikkei share average .N225 and U.S. stock index
futures SPc1, as demand for riskier assets ebbed. "Japanese exporters
are in the market and selling pretty
actively, including the euro against the yen," said Yuji
Matsuura, joint general manager at Aozora Bank's forex and
derivatives trading group. There could be more yen-buying by Japanese
exporters during
the week, and there might also be some flows in the last week of
March, just before they close their books at the end of Japan's
fiscal year, Matsuura said. Market players said, however, that gains
in the yen have been
limited by speculation that the Bank of Japan may take further
steps to ease monetary policy. The euro fell 0.4 percent to 122.59 yen
EURJPY=R, off a
two-week high of 123.90 yen struck on EBS on Monday. The euro also
dropped against the dollar, dipping 0.1 percent
to $1.3615 EUR= but was still well off last week's $1.3433, its
lowest in more than nine months. The euro struggled after Greek Prime
Minister George
Papandreou warned on Monday that if the Greek crisis worsened it
could lead to a new global financial meltdown. [ID:nLDE6271WD].
Sterling fell 0.3 percent to $1.5014 GBP=D4 and shed 0.7
percent to 135.08 yen GBPJPY=R. Data showing that British house prices
grew last month at
their slowest pace since August weighed on sterling.

[ID:nLAG006161] Another negative factor for sterling was a Moody's
Service report saying Britain faces a difficult balancing act in
deciding how and when to reduce support for the banking sector,
given growth in the UK's public debt burden. [ID:nLDE6271OB]

EYES ON BOJ MEETING The dollar fell 0.3 percent to 90.01 yen JPY=. The
greenback had rallied on the yen to a two-week high of
90.69 yen on EBS on Monday, after a better-than-expected U.S.
jobs report backed views that the U.S. Federal Reserve will lift
rates faster than the Bank of Japan. The report had also bolstered
demand for higher-yielding
currencies and riskier assets like stocks and commodities, on
improved economic prospects. The Australian dollar fell 0.3 percent
against the yen
AUDJPY=R and the New Zealand dollar shed 0.6 percent
NZDJPY=R. The dollar is likely to be supported at levels around 89.50
yen on speculation about more monetary easing steps from the BOJ,
possibly at its policy meeting next week, said a trader for a
Japanese trust bank. The BOJ meeting is in the spotlight after the
newspaper reported on Friday that the BOJ was examining easing
again and may decide on such a move when it meets on March 16-17.
Sources familiar with the matter said the BOJ is likely to
debate this month easing its ultra-loose monetary policy again.

[ID:nTOE6230A7] The most likely next step for the BOJ is to expand the
fund-supply operation it put in place in December, under which it
lends to banks at 0.1 percent, either by increasing the size from
10 trillion yen ($110.7 billion) or extending the duration of
loans from the current three months. Even if such steps are taken, the
market impact could be
limited given how low yen money market rates are already, said a
trader for a European bank. "Basically, the aim may be to achieve an
announcement effect
and the market has factored in a lot of that," the trader said,
adding that the dollar could fall against the yen if the BOJ
stands pat and unveils no new measures.

(Additional reporting by Anirban Nag in Sydney, Satomi Noguchi
and Kaori Kaneko in Tokyo; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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Analysis: Greece's crisis could presage America's
By TOM RAUM (AP) – 10 hours ago

WASHINGTON — Greece is a financial basket case, begging for
international help. Is America heading down that same road?

Many of the same risky financial practices that now imperil the Greeks
were at the center of the all-too-recent U.S. meltdown.

As with Greece, America's national debt has been growing by leaps and
bounds over the past decade, to the point where it threatens to swamp
overall economic output. And in the U.S., as in Greece, a large
portion of that debt is owed to foreign investors.

Not good, if these debt holders begin to wonder if they'll be paid
back. A foreign flight from U.S. Treasury securities could sow
financial chaos in the United States, as happened when many investors
lost faith in Greek bonds.

It's something that could affect all Americans. The U.S. has never
defaulted on a debt, and even the hint of such a possibility could
send interest rates soaring and choke off a fragile recovery.

How long can the United States remain the world's largest economy as
well as the world's largest debtor?

"Not indefinitely," suggests former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan
Greenspan. "History tells us that great powers when they've gotten
into very significant fiscal problems have ceased to be great powers."

After all, Spain dominated the 16th century world, France the 17th
century and Great Britain much of the 18th and 19th before the United
States rose to supremacy in the 20th century.

"Unless we do things dramatically different, including strengthening
our investments in research and education, the 21st century will
belong to China and India," suggests Norman Augustine, the former CEO
of Lockheed Martin who chaired a 2009 bipartisan commission studying
the nation's top challenges.

The Greek government has taken stiff austerity steps in an effort to
get a lifeline from the European Union, sparking strikes and violent

Some of the same risky strategies used by U.S. hedge funds and other
professional investors in a failed effort to profit from subprime
mortgages in this country — and which led to the 2008 financial near-
collapse — are now being employed by those betting that Greece will
default on its debt.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, who met with President Barack
Obama at the White House on Tuesday, is calling for "decisive and
collective action" here and in Europe to crack down on such rampant
speculation and unregulated bets. He is also seeking more favorable
European interest rates for loans.

Speaking outside the White House, Papandreou welcomed support from
Obama and some European leaders for such efforts and for the austerity
measures taken by his own government. He said it shows the "labor and
sacrifices are not wasted. Of course, our struggle is not ended, it

Many economists say it's a stretch to compare the U.S. economy, by far
the world's largest, to Greece and other distressed small economies of
southern Europe. They say many of Greece's problems are unique to that
nation and aggravated by a monetary system that rigidly binds 16
nations to the same currency, the euro.

But others argue it may only be a matter of time before the U.S. faces
a similar, and potentially graver, crisis.

"Someday it will happen if we don't get our act together on spending,
our debt under control and our economy to grow faster," said Allen
Sinai, chief global economist for New York-based Decision Economics
Inc., which provides financial advice to corporations and governments.

With signs pointing to a weaker recovery than after other post-World
War II recessions, U.S. consumer spending is likely to remain
unimpressive and the jobless rate high for some time. Sinai said that
suggests there won't be enough growth to push down federal deficits by
much. "It's a political keg of dynamite," he said.

Greece's national debt now equals more than 100 percent of its gross
domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity. U.S. debt
— now $12.5 trillion — is fast closing in on the same dubious

Nearly all of Greek's debt is held by foreign governments and
investors. In the United States, roughly half is owned by global
investors, with China holding the largest stake.

By contrast, Japan's debt is proportionately even bigger — about twice
its GDP — but the impact is cushioned by the fact that most is held by
Japanese households.

"The more open you are to the rest of the world, the more likely
you're going to have a problem if you start running large deficits and
large debt loads," said Mark Zandi, founder of Moody's Economy.com,
and a frequent adviser to lawmakers of both parties.

Zandi does not see any major fallout from the Greek fiscal crisis in
the United States for now, other than a possible temporary hit on
potential European export markets.

However, he said, "global investors at some point are going to start
demanding a higher interest rate. And that's our moment of truth. If
we don't address it by cutting spending and raising taxes, some
combination of the two, then we're going to have a problem."

Polls show growing public anger over deficits and government spending.
The issue is a potent one for the upcoming midterm elections, and a
particular liability for majority-party Democrats.

Calls have sounded from both sides of the political aisle for deficit
reduction. And Obama last month set up a bipartisan deficit commission
to find ways to get the country's budget deficit, now adding more than
$1 trillion a year to the national debt, under control.

But the panel is a weak substitute for what Obama really wanted — a
commission created by Congress that could force lawmakers to vote on
remedies to reduce the debt.

EDITOR'S NOTE _ Tom Raum covers economics and politics for The
Associated Press.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou walks away after talking to the
media in front of the West Wing of the White House in Washington,
Tuesday, March 9, 2010, following a meeting with President Barack
Obama. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


Fears of a Greek bank run
By Dody Tsiantar, contributorMarch 9, 2010: 3:33 PM ET

(Fortune) -- In the middle of the 2001 debt crisis, Argentines stormed
their nation's banks to get their money out. To stop the stampede, the
government imposed controls that allowed them to take out only $250 at
a time and limited withdrawals for overseas trips to $1,000.

Greece, in the middle of its own financial crisis, is teetering on the
brink of a default. Many of its wealthier citizens are also uneasy
about what lies ahead for their cash. According to estimates from
private bankers in Greece and Cyprus, as much as 10 billion euros have
left the country for Greek-owned bank subsidiaries in Switzerland and
Cyprus in the last couple of months.

Facebook Digg Twitter Buzz Up! Email Print Comment on this story

"Customers are coming...from Greece on a daily basis," says one
private banker who works for a Greek bank in Cyprus. "They fly here in
the morning, bring us a check and fly back to Athens in the

One banker in Athens reports that many of his clients have sent funds
out of the country in recent weeks, fearing that the government will
take a bigger bite of their money. "They're afraid they'll have to pay
tax on their cash," he says.

Countries in economic turmoil historically look for unpopular ways to
raise revenue, according to economists. So when things start to go
sour, "everyone becomes convinced that the stage is being set for
higher taxes," says former IMF economist Dev Kar, the lead economist
for Global Financial Integrity, an international policy research
center. "People with wealth then ship their money out, so government
does not come and get it when it all comes crashing down."

But growing concerns that Greece's financial crisis will spill over to
its banking system appear to be driving most of the outflow. The fear
isn't totally unfounded: Late last month, Fitch Ratings downgraded the
country's four major private-sector banks to two notches above junk
status on fears that demand for loans may plunge, denting their
potential profitability .

"I'm scared," says one 40-year-old Athenian woman, who's considering
taking her nest egg to Cyprus. "I want to take my money out of the
country before the banks run out of cash."

Not as bad as it seems

A run on the bank, a la Argentina, is not imminent, say banking and
government officials. They acknowledge that money is leaving the
country, but say that reports of massive capital outflows are "grossly

"There is a trickle, but nothing like a real flight that would put the
system under pressure," says Anthimos Thomopoulos, chief financial
officer of the National Bank of Greece, which holds a third of
Greece's 250 billion euro total deposit pool.

The situation isn't overly worrisome right now, bank and government
officials say, because most of the money has flowed to those Greek-
owned banks abroad and should, in theory, be easier to repatriate.
What's happening, says Nikolaos Karamouzis, deputy CEO of Eurobank
EFG, a private bank in Greece with 84 billion euro in assets, is "not
materially significant, despite the fact that there is widespread
concern among our clients."

Exactly how much cash has left the country since the crisis exploded
in mid-December is hard to determine, however. According to the most
recent quarterly statistics available, the national deposit pool at
the end of December dropped by less than a half a percent. But
analysts point out those numbers do not reflect the full impact of the
crisis, which picked up momentum in January and February after the
government announced its belt-tightening measures.

A pesos to drachmas comparison

Unlike Greece today, Argentina's government had an arsenal of
financial tools in 2001 to deal with its crisis. It devalued the peso
and imposed capital controls. But as a member of the European Union,
Greece does not have those options; it can't devalue, and because the
Union has rules that call for a free movement of capital within its
boundaries, it can't stop citizens or businesses from moving cash from
one partner country to another.

"The only way Greece could impose capital controls would be to leave
the EU," says Michael Melvin, head of currency and fixed income
research at global asset management firm BlackRock. "And there's close
to zero probability of that."

A return to the drachma isn't likely any time soon either, but Greek
citizens do have good reason to believe that taxes are going to go up.
The socialist government of Prime Minister George Papandreou has
already announced a slew of tax hikes, including increases in the
value-added tax, new excise taxes on luxury goods, such as yachts and
cars, and up to a 20% tax on cigarettes, alcohol and fuel.

0:00 /1:24Greece: Another crisis looms

In addition, a key tenet of the socialist government's plan is to go
after tax cheats aggressively -- economists figure that nearly 30% of
the country's gross domestic product goes unreported to authorities.
For decades, Greece's shadow economy has thrived because many Greeks
-- doctors, plumbers, electricians and lawyers among them -- conduct
business entirely in cash. Much of that money has ended up in bank
accounts in other countries, say economists -- and a lot of it is not
reflected in national statistics.

"The outflow of cash from Greece is not a new phenomenon. If you could
calculate the outflow of the last 50 years, you'd get an astronomical
figure," says University of Maryland economics professor Theodore
Kariotis. "Greeks are a very sneaky people."

The government's new rules intend to change that. Last week it
announced new measures to encourage those who have transferred money
out of Greece to bring it back within six months, no questions asked.
They'll be taxed 5% on the total, however. Another option offered:
declare the money, leave it in foreign accounts -- and be subject to
an 8% tax. After that, foreign governments will cooperate with Greek
tax authorities to pursue lawbreakers, says a source in the finance

Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou hopes the government's
new measures will produce results. "As the reform program unfolds, a
lot of this lost, or quasi-lost, liquidity will come back to the
system," he said in a mid-January interview. "It is an immediate
concern, of course, but it is reversible."

Maybe it is, but according to economists, money that leaves a country
rarely returns. "I'm not holding my breath," says Global Financial
Integrity's Kar. "Once [cash] leaves, it's hard to get it back."

The snag in Greece's salary solution

Is your country the next Greece?

Greeks try to remember how to cut back


Tax hikes may still fail to fix Athen's debts crisis
Wednesday March 10 2010

GREEK tax increases, which have sparked widespread protests, may fail
to generate as much additional revenue as the government in Athens
estimates, a draft EU report says.

While the €4.8bn of additional austerity measures enacted by the Greek
parliament last week "appear sufficient to safeguard the 2010
budgetary targets", risks remain that increases in value-added tax and
fuel taxes may generate less than is projected, the report says.

The Greek government plans to cut the deficit to 8.7pc of gross
domestic product (GDP) this year from 12.7pc in 2009. The draft report
will be discussed by EU finance ministers in Brussels next week.


An increase in the main VAT rate by 2pc from 19pc will bring in €1.3bn
in added revenue this year, while higher excise duties on petrol and
diesel are expected to generate €450m more, according to the finance
ministry in Athens.

But "the implications on tax revenue of a contraction in demand should
not be underestimated", according to the European Commission.

On VAT, it said "changes in the tax base -- in relation to the
contraction of internal demand -- and tax evasion may result to lower-
than-expected gains".

Greece's overall government debt "remains on a steep upward path",
according to the commission. Greek debt is projected to swell to 125pc
of GDP this year, the highest in the 27-nation EU, it forecasts.

EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said yesterday
that the latest measures put Greece on "the path of fiscal adjustment
for 2012" -- the deadline to meet the EU's 3pc deficit limit.

Irish Independent


S&P expert: Integrated eurozone fiscal policy key to sovereign debt

English.news.cn 2010-03-09 18:32:11

by Xinhua writer Wang Zongkai

BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Integrated fiscal policy was essential
for the euro zone to get out of the consequences of Greek sovereign
debt crisis, according to an expert from Standard and Poor's (S&P).

"The Greek debt crisis can be the strongest challenge that the euro
zone has faced in the past 11 years, and the key to solve the problem
is whether eurozone-16 can sacrifice some of their fiscal
sovereignty," said David Beers, managing director of S&P sovereign and
international public finance ratings group, on Monday.

On Dec. 8, 2009, Fitch Ratings downgraded its rating on Greece
sovereign credit from A- to BBB+, and revised its outlook to negative,
which signaled the commence of Greece sovereign credit crisis.

Moreover, other eurozone members, including Portugal, Ireland, Italy
and Spain, also reported deficit problem recently. In a context of
weak recovery in European economies, some analysts said that the Greek
debt crisis might contaminate the whole Europe.

However, Beers believes that the Greek debt crisis will not cause a
new round of global crisis.

On the one hand, other eurozone members welcomed Greece's 4.8-billion-
euro (6.53-billion-U.S. dollar) austerity package, which has shown the
Greek government's willingness to submit some fiscal sovereignty to
the union for underpinning euros, he said.

On the other hand, the creditworthiness of all eurozone sovereign
states was currently at least adequate to meet their financial
commitments, and S&P did not assume any sovereign state leaving the
euro zone in the medium term, Beers added.

So far, the Greek debt crisis had been contained within the euro zone.
Meanwhile, the Greek government had actively taken measures, while the
euro zone was considering institutional reform such as the
establishment of a European Monetary Fund, which will function like
the International Monetary Fund.

Regarding Britain's estimates of its deficit in 2010 fiscal year to
amount 1.78 trillion pounds (2.67 trillion dollars), nearly 13 percent
of its gross domestic product, Beers said Britain's current fiscal
policy is sustainable.

"If party in office changed, S&P would keep a close look at deficit-
cutting measures of the new administration," he added.

Meanwhile, the other two largest economies in the world are also
facing the deficit problem. U.S. federal deficit in 2009 had amounted
to 1.41 trillion dollars, almost 10 percent of the GDP while Japan's
outstanding public debt reached a record high of 817.5 trillion yen (9
trillion dollars), and 6.83 million yen (7,560 dollars) per capita.

Nevertheless, Beers was more optimistic on U.S. and Japan thanks to
more flexibility and time in dealing with debt problem given that the
dollar and the yen are the two strongest reserve currencies right now.

Beers estimated that it would take one or two years to solve the Greek
debt crisis.

People in Greece and other eurozone countries need to have confidence
while their governments need action.

Editor: Xiong Tong

Related News

• Greece prefers European solution: PM

• Protests against fiscal austerity measures in Greece

• Germany will not give Greece a cent: economy minister

• Greek families to lose one-month salary yearly due to tax rise

• Greek PM calls on world to restrict speculative trading


Chrysanthemum or Samurai?
Posted By Dan Twining Tuesday, March 9, 2010 - 12:20 PM

In a thoughtful essay in today's Financial Times, Gideon Rachman asks
whether Japan may now be tilting towards China after 60 years of
aligning itself with the United States. This question is interesting
on multiple dimensions -- including with regard to the future of U.S.
primacy in Asia, the impact of China's rise on its neighbors, the
nature of Japanese politics and identity, and our understanding of the
deep structure of international relations at a time of systemic power
shifts. Indeed, Japan is a critical case study for assessing how the
developed world will respond to the rise of dynamic new power centers
in Asia -- and what the implications will be for American leadership
in the international system.

The ascent of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) after nearly six
decades of unbroken rule by the conservative, U.S.-oriented Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) has convulsed not only Japanese politics but
also its foreign policy. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has mused
about constructing a pan-Asian fraternal community based on
"solidarity" -- not with Tokyo's closest alliance partner across the
Pacific but with its near neighbors, led by China. What should have
been little more than a tactical skirmish about the terms of the
realignment of U.S. forces in Okinawa has become, through
mismanagement on both sides, a strategic headache for both Washington
and the inexperienced government in Tokyo, raising unnecessary
tensions within the alliance. DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa, the power
behind the throne of the Hatoyama administration, recently led a
delegation of 143 parliamentarians and hundreds of businessmen to
Beijing, reviving in form if not substance the tributary delegations
from China's neighbors that, in pre-modern times, ritually visited the
Chinese court to acknowledge its suzerainty as Asia's "Middle

These and other moves, unthinkable during the Cold War heyday of the
U.S.-Japan alliance, suggest a striking shift in Japan's geopolitical
alignment as the Pacific century dawns. Despite the fact that Japan
was never part of "the Chinese world order" in traditional Asia, some
analysts believe a Japanese tilt toward a resurgent China would be in
keeping with the country's foreign policy traditions. As Gideon

Some western observers in Tokyo muse that perhaps Japan is once again
following its historic policy of adapting to shifts in global politics
by aligning itself with great powers. Before the first world war the
country had a special relationship with Britain. In the inter-war
period Japan allied itself with Germany. Since 1945, it has stuck
closely to America. Perhaps the ground is being prepared for a new
"special relationship" with China?

In this reading of Japanese history since the Meiji restoration, the
country has repeatedly aligned itself with the international system's
preeminent power -- Britain in the early 20th century, Nazi Germany
until 1945, and the United States since then. If Japan really is
edging away from the United States to align itself with China today,
that is a compelling indicator that the future belongs to Beijing, and
that America's best days as the world's indispensable nation are
behind it.

Yet this judgment is, if anything, premature -- and may simply be
wrong. Imperial Britain, Nazi Germany, and America during the Cold War
were actual or aspiring hegemons from outside Asia; Japan's alliance
with each of them cemented its own role as Asia's dominant power.
Japan was not aligning with each of these powers to bandwagon with
them, subordinating its power and interests to theirs. It allied with
these Western states to facilitate its own pursuit of national power
and leadership in Asia.

This is true even of Japan's Cold War alliance with the United States,
when post-war leaders in Tokyo pursued a conscious strategy of
developing Japan's economic and technological dynamism within the
cocoon of American military protection. In a systematic and self-
interested manner, these leaders took advantage of the security
umbrella provided by the United States to modernize Japan's economy
and build strength with an eye on a long-term objective of moving
beyond the constraints imposed by the U.S. alliance as Japan grew into
a leading economic and technological power. The DPJ's new independence
vis-à-vis Washington reflects this evolution, and the only surprise is
that more Japan hands in the West didn't see it coming.

Historically, Japan has shown a striking ability to rapidly transform
itself in response to international conditions, as seen in the Meiji
break from isolation, the rise to great power in the twentieth
century, the descent into militarism, and renewal as a dynamic trading
state. Only a few years ago, excellent books and articles with titles
like Japan Rising: The Resurgence of Japanese Power and Purpose,
Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia,
and "Japan is Back: Why Tokyo's New Assertiveness is Good for
Washington" framed the country as a resurgent Asian great power. Since
2001, successive Japanese prime ministers have articulated
unprecedented ambitions for Japanese grand strategy. These have
included casting Japan as the "thought leader of Asia," forging new
bilateral alliances with India and Australia, cooperating with these
and other democratic powers in an "Arc of Freedom and Prosperity,"
formalizing security cooperation with NATO, constructing a Pacific
community around an "inland sea" centered on Japan as the hub of the
international economic and political order, and building a new East
Asian community with Japan at its center. These developments reflect
the churning domestic debate in Japan about its future as a world
power and model for its region, trends catalyzed by China's explosive

Japan's strategic future remains uncertain in light of the country's
churning domestic politics and troubling economic and demographic
trends. Yet there is no question that military modernization in China
and North Korea has spurred a new Japanese search for security and
identity that has moved Tokyo decisively beyond the constraints that
structured its foreign policy for fifty years following defeat in the
Pacific war. The ascent of the DPJ, with its calls for a more equal
U.S.-Japan alliance and greater Japanese autonomy in security and
diplomacy, is another step forward in Japan's transformation into what
DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa famously called a "normal country." Enjoying a
normal relationship with China, as the DPJ intends to do, is part of
that process. But so will be a continuing partnership with the United

Jason Lee-Pool/Getty Images


JGB futures edge down from 2-mth high as Nikkei jumps
By Rika Otsuka

TOKYO, March 8 (Reuters) - Japanese government bond futures slipped
further on Monday from a two-month peak hit last week, as growing
optimism about a global economic recovery prompted investors to move
money to stocks from government debt.

The five-year/20-year JGB yield spread matched its highest since
November 1999 as prospects of further central bank easing pinned down
yields on midterm maturities, which are more sensitive to shifts in
monetary policy outlook.

U.S. monthly employment data showed late last week that the world's
biggest economy lost 36,000 jobs in February, less than the 50,000 job
cuts expected by economists. [ID:nN04252324]

But bond losses were limited as the JGB market received support from
speculation that the Bank of Japan would further ease its monetary
policy in the coming months to help Japan's economy move out of

"The rise in bond yields has been small as investors are willing to
pick up JGBs, with some speculating the BOJ could further relax its
policy at next week's board meeting," said Hidenori Suezawa, chief
strategist at Nikko Cordial Securities.

JGBs rose on Friday after the Nikkei newspaper said the central bank
will debate whether to ease monetary policy further by expanding the
fund-supply operation it introduced in December, under which it
extends loans to commercial banks at a policy rate of 0.1 percent.

"Demand is also strong as a large amount of government debt is
maturing this month," said Suezawa at Nikko Cordial Securities.

Analysts said some 10 trillion yen ($110.8 billion) of JGBs are being
redeemed in March. Government bonds with maturities of five years or
longer will mature in March, June, September and December.

Large amount of bonds maturing means that durations of popularly
followed bond indexes are usually extended to accommodate the
redemptions, generating demand for longer-dated paper from investors
following monthly changes to these indexes.

A 30-year JGB auction scheduled for Tuesday is expected to draw decent
demand as dealers will be looking to replenish their inventories, said
Makoto Noji, a senior market analyst at Mizuho Securities.

"Demand for superlong paper was unusually strong toward the end of
last month as investors bought to match bond indexes, depleting
dealers' inventories."

March 10-year JGB futures edged down 0.07 point to 140.12 2JGBv1,
slipping from 140.27, their highest since late December.

Outstanding loans held by Japanese banks fell 1.5 percent in February
from a year earlier, matching a decline in January that was the
biggest annual drop in four years, the BOJ said on Monday. [JPBNK=ECI]

The market showed a muted reaction to the data, although it somewhat
strengthened expectations that sluggish lending would prompt banks to
add more JGBs to their portfolios with the new financial year starting
on April 1.

The combination of sluggish lending and expectations towards further
BOJ easing has helped JGBs, especially the shorter-dated maturities,
which are supported by purchases from banks.

The five-year/20-year yield spread stood at 167 basis points on
Monday, matching its steepest in a decade, according to historical
data on Reuters EcoWin.

The five-year yield stood unchanged at 0.470 percent on Monday after
banks, the main players in the mid-term sector, aggressively bought
five-year notes late last week to push down the yield to a two-month
low of 0.460 percent JP5YTN=JBTC.

The benchmark 10-year yield inched up 1 basis point to 1.315 percent
JP10YTN=JBTC, staying near a two-month low of 1.290 percent first
reached in late February.

The 20-year yield was up 1.5 basis points at 2.140 percent
JP20YTN=JBTC and the 30-year yield edged up 0.5 basis point to 2.325
percent JP30YTN=JBTC.

Tokyo's Nikkei share average .N225 jumped 2.1 percent after the U.S.
jobs data, with exporters benefiting from a weaker yen. [.T] [FRX/]
($1=90.28 Yen)

(Additional reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Joseph



March 8, 2010, 1:03 a.m. EST · Recommend · Post:

WORLD FOREX: Dollar At 2-Week High Vs Yen On Asia Stock RisesStory
By Takashi Mochizuki

TOKYO (MarketWatch) -- The dollar rose to a two-week-high against the
yen Monday in Asia, as higher regional shares bolstered investors'
appetite for riskier, higher-yielding assets, and they dumped the safe-
haven Japanese unit for the U.S. currency.

The greenback rose as high as Y90.69, its highest since Feb. 23 as
Asian investors took cues from Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock
Average and China's Shanghai Composite Index.

As of 0450 GMT, the Nikkei was up 1.9% to 10,563.72 and the Shanghai
Composite was up 0.82% to 3,056.00.

Higher Asian share prices often push the yen lower, as Japanese
investors become more aggressive about investing in overseas assets
with higher yields.

The yen's decline, however, isn't likely to continue for long because
Japanese exporters still have a vigorous appetite for yen, analysts
said. Exporters need a hefty volume of yen ahead of the March 31
fiscal year-end when they close their books.

"We would caution against turning very bearish (about the yen) in the
short term," said Adarsh Sinha, a strategist at Barclays Capital.

There is also a risk that demand for yen will increase again if
upcoming U.S. economic data, such as Friday's retail sales, turn out
weaker than expected, analysts said.

"Markets need to wait for more data to assess the true trend of the
U.S. economy," said Tomoko Fujii, a strategist at Bank of America-
Merrill Lynch.

The U.S. government said Friday that non-farm payrolls decreased by
36,000 in February from the month before. This was much better than
the 75,000 decline economists had expected.

But Fujii said it was "premature to draw a conclusion" about the U.S.
economic outlook, as recent U.S. economic reports have contained some
negative surprises.

As of 0450 GMT, the dollar was at Y90.41 from Y90.33 Friday in New
York. The euro was at $1.3679 from $1.3620 and Y123.70 from Y123.04.

The euro may have entered a long-term upward trend, dealers said, on
the belief debt-laden Greece will be able to secure support from its
European partners.

"I'm now becoming certain that Greece won't fail. The clouds are
clearing for Greece's future," said Jun Kato, a senior dealer at
Shinkin Central Bank.

On Sunday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said a number of European
Union nations were preparing a support package for Greece. In Berlin,
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that E.U. members would
intervene to rescue Greece if its debt problems threaten to spiral out
of control.

The euro may rise above $1.38 in the days ahead if more positive news
for Greece comes out, OCBC Bank's currency research team said. The
currency last traded above $1.38 on Feb. 11.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a trade-
weighted basket of currencies, was at 80.168 from 80.451


...and I am Sid Harth

2010-03-10 14:29:26 UTC
Rasmussen: 57% think ObamaCare will damage economy
posted at 12:52 pm on March 9, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The White House promised a “hard pivot” to jobs and the economy almost
three months ago, attempting to put the ObamaCare debate on the back
burner after the holidays. They had belatedly discovered that the
electorate was much more concerned about the economic plunge than in
retooling a health-care system that works for most Americans now.
Instead of the hard pivot, Democrats have doubled down on ObamaCare —
and the latest Rasmussen survey shows that a strong majority believe
it to be the wrong direction on both issues:

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters say the health care reform plan
now working its way through Congress will hurt the U.S. economy.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 25%
think the plan will help the economy. But only seven percent (7%) say
it will have no impact. Twelve percent (12%) aren’t sure.

Two-out-of-three voters (66%) also believe the health care plan
proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats is likely to
increase the federal deficit. That’s up six points from late November
and comparable to findings just after the contentious August
congressional recess. Ten percent (10%) say the plan is more likely to
reduce the deficit and 14% say it will have no impact on the deficit.

Underlying this concern is a lack of trust in the government numbers.
Eighty-one percent (81%) believe it is at least somewhat likely that
the health care reform plan will cost more than official estimates.
That number includes 66% who say it is very likely that the official
projections understate the true cost of the plan.
Only a plurality of Democrats believe that the bill will help the
economy (43%), while 89% of Republicans and 61% of independents think
it will damage it.
Politically, the Democrats have the worst of all worlds. Not only do
they look out of touch for spending all of their efforts on a plan
that is deeply unpopular with voters, they now are seen as actively
damaging the economy. The deficit spending alone would be enough to
send voters heading for the exits, but the increased costs are even
worse. Seventy-eight percent of all respondents believe that middle-
class tax increases will come as a result of ObamaCare, with almost
two-thirds (65%) believing that to be “very likely.” Fifty-eight
percent of Democrats expect middle-class tax increases, which shows
how effective Obama has been in selling this plan.
What’s the biggest problem with ObamaCare? Majorities of all
political affiliations agree: the cost. Hardly anyone believes the
cost estimates. When asked whether the bill would exceed its cost
estimates, 93% of Republicans, 70% of Democrats, and 80% of
independents thought it at least somewhat likely — with 88% of
Republicans and 73% of independents calling it “very likely.” Only
20% of Democrats thought it unlikely. Again, this looks like a big
failure of the Obama administration’s efforts to sell the package as a
cost containment program.
Democrats now face the prospect of using arcane parliamentary tricks
to pass a bill that has minimal support, one that most voters believe
will damage the economy, cost more than advertised, and prompt
sweeping tax increases, all while ignoring the issues of a damaged
economy while attempting to make it worse. If they think that’s a
winning strategy for the midterms, they need new leadership — and
after the electoral disaster coming, they’ll probably be forced to get

BlowbackNote from Hot Air management: This section is for comments
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and lo, the Democrat party wandered aimlessly in the desert for 40
election years.

TN Mom on March 9, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Great pic!

mikeyboss on March 9, 2010 at 4:18 PM

From the rich being able to buy our representatives and lead our
culture by the nose, yes.

Dark-Star on March 9, 2010 at 4:00 PM
Boo hoo, the rich can do things that I can’t, therefore we have to
give govt control over everything so that the rich can be punished.

I’m still trying to figure out why you actually believe that everyone
who has more than you are is evil.

Is it because you are such a failure in life, that you can’t bear to
accept responsibility?

Lord knows, your given your demonstrated intellectual powers, it’s
hard to imagine you’ve ever been able to handle a job that doesn’t
involve the phrase “would you like fries with that”.

MarkTheGreat on March 9, 2010 at 4:25 PM

and lead our culture by the nose, yes.
Ohh, and people pay more attention to the rich than they do you. I bet
that stings.

MarkTheGreat on March 9, 2010 at 4:26 PM

They won’t get new leadership, because Pelosi will be the only one
left in the House after November.

joe_doufu on March 9, 2010 at 5:03 PM

If you believe the 57% figure, then you’ll love the fictitious 9%
This administration is so inaccurate they couldn’t hit the side of a
barn with a tennis racket.

Cybergeezer on March 9, 2010 at 5:23 PM

I’m waiting for Congress to offer shares of stock in the new Health
Care Industry they want to create.
Think China will buy any?

Cybergeezer on March 9, 2010 at 5:25 PM

This HealthScare legislation is another omnibus spending bill that
lets Congress spend like drunken sailors with unlimited credit cards.
Obama has already signed an omnibus spending bill last year, and he
can’t wait to sign another one.

Cybergeezer on March 9, 2010 at 5:30 PM

If we just get enough fed-up conservative-types to move to Costa Rica
we could remake that country into what the U.S. should be. The U.S. is
going to be a once-great nation in record time and I, for one, don’t
feel like being taxed to death as it goes through its all too rapid

Fatal on March 9, 2010 at 5:31 PM

Adding a new entitlement? revenue neutral? Look at the prescription
drug benefit enacted by President Bush. In less than 10 years the
unfunded liabilities of this new entitlement are nearly 19 trillion
(18.7 and climbing).

Look at the debt clock. Health care reform, yes. ObamaCare, NO.

Angry Dumbo on March 9, 2010 at 6:50 PM

Democrats now face the prospect of using arcane parliamentary tricks
to pass a bill that has minimal support, one that most voters believe
will damage the economy, cost more than advertised, and prompt
sweeping tax increases, all while ignoring the issues of a damaged
economy while attempting to make it worse. If they think that’s a
winning strategy for the midterms, they need new leadership — and
after the electoral disaster coming, they’ll probably be forced to get
This isn’t about winning in 2010.
It isn’t about the leadership.

This is about having the most left leaning leadership in Washington
since the early 30’s taking an opportunity to screw the country that
they thought they would never have!

We have a Marxist president who has already says he’d content with one
term if, BY HIS DEFINITION, he was a good president.

We have a Marxist wax statue House Speaker who comes from a district
where the majority probably feel Congress isn’t taking over enough of
the private sector on the way to their communist utopia.

We have an old, doesn’t-care-if-he’s-reelected Senate Leader who
thinks this is the culmination of his life’s work and that of his dead
friend Teddy!

These three jokers are betting that if they can get this passed,
rammed through, crammed down America’s throat, that in the future the
party can run on “Save Healthcare! Keep those filthy Republican hands
off of it!” “Oh, that evil Republican wants to repeal healthcare and
kill millions by taking away their coverage!”

Unfortunately, the chaos that’s going to ensue, sooner if they pass
healthcare, after we reach banana republic status in the next year,
could lead to numerous conclusions. It may be best if it leads to two
or more countries if this is the government we’re stuck with.

PastorJon on March 9, 2010 at 8:02 PM

Fifty-eight percent of Democrats expect middle-class tax increases,
which shows how effective Obama has been in selling this plan.
Whadda ya know! The Dems are as dumb as the Repubs.

Herb on March 9, 2010 at 8:36


NYC’s New Suicide Sculptures (metaphor for economic reality)

Posted by barrypopik (Profile)

Wednesday, March 10th at 5:24AM EST

No Comments
New York is full of brilliant ideas these days. Let’s look first at
the suicide sculpture metaphor, then the economic reality.

From Wednesday’s New York Times:

Statues Seem Ready to Leap, but Police Say They Won’t
Published: March 9, 2010
They stand about six feet tall and look like naked human beings. Over
the next few days, 27 of them will be scattered across rooftops and
ledges of buildings in Midtown Manhattan — including the Empire State
Building — as part of a public art exhibition.

About the same time that the first figure was placed atop a four-story
building at 25th Street and Fifth Avenue on Tuesday, the Police
Department issued a statement reassuring New Yorkers that the figures
are not despondent people on the verge of leaping to their deaths.

Police officials said they were trying to prevent an overwhelming
number of emergency calls from concerned pedestrians or office
workers. Nevertheless, they said that all emergency calls about a
potential suicide would be taken seriously — even those from places
where one of the figures is located.

“We are going to respond no matter what because there could be a
jumper at the spot,” said Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief

The figures, which are anatomically correct, are modeled after the
body of the artist Antony Gormley, who created the exhibition, which
is being presented by the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

Gormley did the same thing in London in 2007.

Is anyone surprised that lots of people would call 911? Does anyone
think that clogging the 911 line is a good idea? In a nanny state
government that forbids toy guns, why is this OK? How much did this
guy earn for this “art”?

Stupidity all around, but that’s not surprising for New York.

Moving on to suicidal economic news, the New York Times loves the
proposed soda tax:

Healthy Solution: Taxing Sodas
Published: March 8, 2010
Seldom does one idea help fix two important problems, but a proposal
to tax sugary soft drinks in New York State is just that sort of 2-
for-1 solution. The penny-per-ounce tax on sodas and other sweetened
drinks is a way to raise desperately needed money for the city and
state in a bad economy. It also could help lower obesity rates, which
have soared in recent years.

The Legislature in Albany should adopt this tax quickly.

Increasing New York taxes to support outrageously generous public
union pensions — bless your hearts, New York Times and Mayor

What is the other solution to New York’s fiscal crisis? Billions in
increased borrowing, of course:

Paterson’s No. 2 Sets Broad Plan on New York Fiscal Crisis
Published: March 9, 2010
ALBANY — New York could borrow billions of dollars to address its
urgent budget shortfall and a financial review board would be
established to impose new discipline on future spending under a five-
year financial rescue plan that Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch will present
Mr. Ravitch, who was asked by Gov. David A. Paterson to draw up the
blueprint, is seeking to curb the runaway spending that has helped
plunge New York into fiscal crisis. Despite the recession and talk of
fiscal austerity, state spending this year soared by 10 percent over
the previous year’s budget.

Keep on spending!

The state faces a $9 billion shortfall for the fiscal year that begins
April 1 and a $15 billion gap for the following year.

The plan, which requires legislative approval, seeks to address New
York’s immediate cash needs by permitting the state to sell bonds to
help cover operating expenses.

Keep on borrowing! Does anyone want to buy a bond from a bankrupt
state run by David Paterson?

If the Madison Square Park Conservancy wants to add some art, why not
ditch the suicide sculptures and have a replica of the Diana sculpture
that once graced Madison Square Garden? The Roman goddess Diana was an
emblem of chastity.

Suicide sculpture — an urban metaphor for these times? Why not move
them from Madison Square down to Wall Street?


Economists trim 2011 U.S. growth forecast
Posted 2010/03/10 at 12:40 am EST

WASHINGTON, Mar. 10, 2010 (Reuters) — U.S. economists raised their
forecast for economic growth in 2010 in March, the third straight
monthly rise, while trimming their growth forecast for 2011, according
to a survey released on Wednesday.

Economists surveyed earlier this month in the Blue Chip Economic
Indicators newsletter said the economy is expected to grow by 3.0
percent in 2011, which is 0.1 percentage point lower than estimates
made a month ago.

But economists raised their 2010 growth forecast for the third
consecutive month to 3.1 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from

Still, the economists predicted the recovery would be mild given the
depth of the recession.

The consensus also expects inventories to continue adding to GDP over
the next several quarters but see the size of those contributions
become increasingly smaller.

"By Q1 2011, the contribution to GDP from business inventories is
expected to become trivial," the survey said.

The panelists said they also expect "a slower and less powerful than
is typical improvement in labor market conditions that will cap gains
in disposable personal income and personal consumption expenditures."

The panelists expressed concern that severe winter weather crimped
economic activity in February and that upcoming monthly data on
production, retail sales, housing starts and home sales could fall
short of earlier consensus expectations.

However, they also pointed out any weather-induced softness should be
recovered in the March data.

(Reporting by Nancy Waitz, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Copyright Reuters 2008.


US Chamber of Commerce getting into the game.

I almost titled this "US Chamber of Commerce starts recognizing its
class interests," but that kind of language bugs people on the Right,
for some reason.
Posted by Moe Lane (Profile)

Tuesday, March 9th at 11:48AM EST


Say hello to the US Chamber of Commerce. Or don’t; they’re coming to
sit down at the table any which way.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is building a large-scale grass-roots
political operation that has begun to rival those of the major
political parties, funded by record-setting amounts of money raised
from corporations and wealthy individuals.


The new grass-roots program, the brainchild of chamber political
director Bill Miller, is concentrating on 22 states. Among them are
Colorado, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is
vulnerable; Arkansas, where Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln faces an
uphill reelection battle; and Ohio, where the chamber sees
opportunities in numerous House races and an open Senate seat.

The network, called Friends of the U.S. Chamber, has been used to
generate more than a million letters and e-mails to members of
Congress, 700,000 of them in opposition to the Democratic healthcare
plan. That is an increase from 40,000 congressional contacts generated
in 2008.

The article goes on to note that the CoC’s grassroots planning
recently got a big boost from the recent Citizens’ United case, as
well as that this organization is increasingly publicly acknowledging
that ‘pro-business growth’ means ‘pro-Republican.’ And why would that
be? Probably because of Democratic assaults like this one:

A Democratic aide says a new provision in the health care bill will
require businesses to count part-time workers when calculating
penalties for failing to provide coverage.

Via Hot Air, and that particular sudden addition to the health care
bill should have the same effect on small business growth as would,
say, a load of buckshot to the face. Remember, folks: the current
ruling party of this country is largely led by people who have never
worked for a living in their lives - and by God, does it show
sometimes! Keep this in mind when opening your checkbooks, because
the business community certainly plans to…

Moe Lane


*HOW* can they do this? How is it Constitutional?
yoyo Tuesday, March 9th at 12:16PM EST

Isn’t the Senate Bill ALREADY voted for? How can they insert an
amendment into a bill that is already passed?

Wouldnt the inclusion of this amendment (or any other) require that
the whole she-bang go back to the Senate for another up/down vote? Or
at the very least, allow the Senate to Amend this to Death - FINALLY?

Without coming back to the Senate, the Bill would be unconstitutional,

Just Checking. Dan, can you help me out here? Rule check, please!

Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum
‘If you seek peace, prepare for war!’

The ‘yoyo’ replaced my cigarettes January 22, 2006….


That's what "reconcilliation" is all about.
The_Gadfly Tuesday, March 9th at 12:25PM EST

See, this is a cost cutting measure. Without it, they won’t have
enough money to cover the bills, so the reconcilliation rules apply,
and they only need 51 votes for that.

No, I don’t really believe that either, but you can better a year’s
salary that’s how they’ll sell it. Assuming of course you can find
someone dumb enough to take the wager.

We’ve been called racists enough now that it shouldn’t bother us any

-AChance, http://www.redstate.com/moe_lane/2009/11/03/what-men-may-do-we-have-done/#comment-24463

If NY23 was a beat down for Conservatives, what do you call what
happened to Progressives in NJ and VA?

inspired by ColdWarrior,

"Cost Cutting?" Really? Smells of "Policy" to me.
yoyo Tuesday, March 9th at 12:33PM EST

But, I *do* have a head cold, so my sniffer may be broken.

OR, more likely, it just stinks.

I say they should start reconcilling the bill with the Constitution
and go forward from there.

But, I AM a little bit “old fashioned.” *Tradition and Patriotism* and
all that.

Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum
‘If you seek peace, prepare for war!’

Pukin’ Dogs - The Fighting 143
Sans Reproache

The ‘yoyo’ replaced my cigarettes January 22, 2006….


George Washington
hickorystick Tuesday, March 9th at 1:32PM EST

led the Rebellion, because England was infringing upon his interests.
George Washington wasn’t that political a guy. He did maintain his
‘interest’ very sharply. He was one of the wealthiest Colonials, and
he was constantly irritated with England imposing laws and
restrictions impinging on his ‘interest’. He chose his wife, Mary, not
for her looks, but because she had a lot of land. I get so frustrated
with politics because most of the time, especially media time, is
spent talking about nebulous things which we have no power or control
over. We would do well to frame every bill in terms of how it affects
‘interests’. You cannot walk into court and ask for something, unless
you can prove an ‘interest’ or ’standing’. We should do the same in
our political fights, sticking to our right to maintain property. That
is what we fought over in the revolution. Remember, we didn’t bother
to write a Constitution till some years after we had won the war. The
form of government that came most naturally after the victory, was a
Continental Congress. This form left most issues to the states, where
property could best be protected. If we want to effectively fight this
Redistibutor-in-Chief, We better start focusing on our own interest
and that of our states.

tdpwells Tuesday, March 9th at 3:09PM EST

So let’s see, that’s most employees at fast food restaurants, grocery
stores, convenience stores, corner pharmacy stores like CVS and
Walgreens, etc etc etc…

Unemployment ought to be at a healthy 30% by the time they’re done.

I do not believe that the power and duty of the General
Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual
suffering which is in no manner properly related to the
public service or benefit…to the end that the lesson should
be constantly enforced that though the people support the
Government, the Government should not support the people.
Grover Cleveland (16 February 1887)



Siegel Says U.S. Recovery Certain, Euro Region Faces Splinter
March 10, 2010, 5:39 AM EST
By Le-Min Lim

March 10 (Bloomberg) -- Jeremy Siegel, a finance professor at the
University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, says the worst is over
for the U.S. economy and the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates
by year’s end to cool growth.

Spending by companies on equipment and plants will outpace private
consumption as the main growth driver this year, he said in an
interview in Hong Kong. The jobless rate, at 9.7 percent last month,
will fall below 9 percent by the end of 2010, he said. That may force
the Fed to tighten policy and full-year economic growth may reach 4
percent, he said.

The Fed “will feel comfortable raising the rates as long as the
situation continues to improve, as I believe it will,” said Siegel, in
an interview in Hong Kong. Siegel, 64, is an adviser to U.S.-based
WisdomTree Investments Inc., which had $6.7 billion of assets under
management as of the end of last year.

The Fed and the Treasury are trying to withdraw the emergency measures
introduced during the financial crisis without triggering a relapse in
the economy. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said Feb. 24 the U.S. is in
a “nascent” recovery that still requires keeping interest rates near
zero “for an extended period” to spur demand once stimulus wanes.

In Europe, the European Central Bank will have little alternative
other than to keep interest rates low as euro region members such as
Greece struggle to convince investors they will cut soaring budget
deficits, he said. Its benchmark rate is currently at a record low of
1 percent.


The euro is making the exports of nations such as Spain and Greece so
uncompetitive that they may start talks as early as next year to leave
the 16-nation bloc, he said. That departure would be “painful and
difficult and drag down the region for a few years,” he said. One
weakness of the currency union is that it lacks a proper and orderly
exit strategy for members that can’t keep up, Siegel said.

“They should have signed prenups before they got married to the euro,”
said Siegel, referring to agreements that outline the terms of a

A U.S. recovery and uncertainty in the eurozone mean the dollar will
remain a “viable” asset, said Siegel.

Later this year, China may start a managed appreciation of the yuan,
Siegel said. China wants to revert to export-driven economic growth,
so is more likely to try a staggered revaluation than a major, one-
time adjustment, he said.

--Editors: Dirk Beveridge, John Fraher

To contact the reporter on this story: Le-Min Lim in Hong Kong at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at

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High Conviction: Short the Yen
by: Alexander Tepper March 10, 2010

Alexander Tepper is Chief Economist at TKNG Capital, a global macro
hedge fund based in New York. Previously, Mr. Tepper was a senior
economic policy aide to U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg. He also has
experience at Oliver, Wyman & Company advising Fortune 500 financial
institutions on risk management and as an investment banking Associate
at Credit Suisse. He has a masters degree in Economics from Oxford
University, and a BA in Physics from Princeton University.

We recently had the opportunity to ask Alexander about the single
highest conviction position he currently holds in his fund.

What is your highest conviction position in your fund right now - long
or short?

We are short Japanese yen against the US Dollar. We have implemented
the trade by selling out-of-the-money calls to buy out-of-the-money
puts and taking in premium.

Why did you use options to structure the trade?

Call options on the yen are significantly more expensive than put
options. This “skew,” as it’s known, exists because the Japanese
investment community tends to be short yen, making it susceptible to
sharp rises during bouts of risk aversion.

Investors hedge this exposure by buying out-of-the-money yen calls.
But given the sharp adjustment that has already occurred in the crisis
and a government whose proclivities are far from fiscally
conservative, we view the risks as less asymmetric than implied by the

Structuring this trade with options is akin to playing with dice
loaded in our favor.

Tell us a bit about Japan right now, and why you're short its

Japan has traditionally been an export-oriented economy, but that’s
going to change as the population continues to age and retire. These
older citizens, who have saved their whole lives and are no longer
producing anything, will be a natural source of demand, first for
domestic Japanese goods and then for imports. A shrinking labor force
will mean other nations will need to pick up the slack in production.
Already, the savings rate in Japan has fallen into the low single-
digits and it should fall further.

Japan is also in serious fiscal trouble. Its net debt is more than
100% of GDP, and gross debt is nearing 200% of GDP. The Japanese
government and central bank do not seem particularly concerned. It is
only Japan’s strong balance of payments position, and a willful
suspension of disbelief by the markets, that differentiates it from
countries like Greece. But those, too, should ebb over time.

So why will the yen fall?

First, as the Japanese retire, the supply shock to the economy will
result in continuing declines in competitiveness. The yen will need to
fall to restore balance.

Second, less income and more retirees will mean that Japan will need
to fund more of its government’s borrowing from abroad. Making this
attractive will mean a lower exchange rate, higher interest rate, or
(most likely) both.

Third, the government’s fiscal position is the worst in the developed
world. The scale of the adjustments that are necessary to stabilize
the budget deficit would be unprecedented in a large developed nation,
requiring deep cuts to pensions, double-digit tax increases, and
severe spending restraint elsewhere. If sovereign worries persist,
Japan and its currency are obvious targets for speculators.

Finally, we think consumers in the US and UK are undergoing a lasting
shift in psychology that will cause them to save a larger share of
their incomes going forward. Over the long-term, the savings rate
needs to average around 10% in order for Americans to secure a
reasonable retirement. When Americans save more, they buy less,
especially imports. This lack of demand for imports means a stronger
dollar against US trading partners like Japan.

All this is on the assumption that the global economy will limp along
for a while. But if instead we have a return to robust growth that
looks broadly like the pre-crisis economy, the yen should weaken
towards 2007 levels as markets become more and more comfortable with
risk and interest rates rise in the rest of the developed world.

There are a lot of ways to win with this trade.

What would you say the current broad sentiment is on the yen?

The market has tended to view the yen as part of the “risk-on/risk-
off” trade, where the yen rises with worries about the global economy.
Japan’s fiscal issues are well-known, but the market has generally not
priced them, with yields on 10-year Japanese bonds below 1.5%.
Japanese CDS spreads, however, have doubled since late summer.

More broadly, the markets have believed that correction of global
imbalances requires a weaker dollar to encourage Americans and Asians
to change their consumption behavior. We think the financial crisis
and experience of house price declines will be the driving force that
restrains Americans’ profligacy, while Asians will consume more. The
result will be a stronger dollar.

Does Japanese economic policy play a role in your position?

The Japanese government has made fairly clear that it does not intend
to tolerate a markedly stronger yen because it hurts their exporters.
It also seems neither inclined nor able to do anything about the
fiscal situation in the near future.

What catalysts do you see that could move the currency, and the trade
in your favor?

The eurozone’s sovereign risk worries will soon resolve themselves one
way or another. When they do, Japan could easily become a target.

As economic data continue to strengthen over the next few months, a
return to normalcy will mean a weaker yen.

We are also prepared for a more gradual adjustment as markets adopt
our demographic view.

What could go wrong with this trade?

In the near term, Japanese companies repatriating income around the
fiscal year-end in March could potentially lead to a rise in the
currency. A sharp rise in risk aversion could have a similar effect.
We have been careful to choose the strike prices on our options to
minimize the damage if such a spike does occur.

Beyond that, deflation in Japan means that in a perfect economic
world, the yen would appreciate over time. There is also the risk that
the pundits over the past several years prove right and we see
fundamental weakening of the dollar with respect to all Asian

Finally, if China were to revalue its currency, as many believe it
will, that could create space for the Japanese authorities also to
allow some appreciation. Again, however, we believe our options are
sufficiently out of the money to limit our downside in such a

Thanks, Alexander.

Disclosure: TKNG Capital is short the Yen against the Dollar.

If you are a fund manager and interested in doing an interview with us
on your highest conviction stock holding, please email Rebecca
About the author: Alexander Tepper Alexander Tepper is Chief
Economist at TKNG Capital, a global macro hedge fund based in New
York. Previously, Mr. Tepper was a senior economic policy aide to U.S.
Senator Frank Lautenberg. He also has experience at Oliver, Wyman &
Company advising Fortune 500 financial institutions on risk... More

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Shorting the Yen could be an interesting play. Already the Japanese
savings rate has crashed from its lofty position to under 4%, so the
Japanese government will not be able to count on domestic savings to
finance its debt indefinitely.
Mar 10 06:25 AM

John Thomas graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry with
honors and a minor in mathematics from the University of California at
Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.) in 1974. He moved to Tokyo, Japan where he was
employed by a medium-sized Japanese securities house. Thomas became
fluent in... More Company: The Mad Hedge Fund Trader bvgf I’m hearing
from my buddies in Japan that while things are already quite bad in
that enchanting country, they are about to get a whole lot worse, and
that it is time to start scaling into a major short in the yen.
Australia and China have already raised interest rates, to be followed
by the US, and eventually Europe. With its economy enfeebled, the
prospects of Japan raising rates substantially is close to nil,
meaning the yield spread between the yen and other currencies is about
to widen big time. That will generate hundreds of billions of dollars
worth of yen selling as hedge funds rush to pile on a giant carry
trade. Until now, the government has been able to finance ballooning
budget deficits caused by two lost decades, but those days are coming
to an end. Japan is quite literally running out of savers. The savings
rate has dropped from 20% during my time there, to a spendthrift 3%,
because real falling standards of living leave a lot less money for
the piggy bank. The national debt has rocketed to 190% of GDP, and
100% when you net out government agencies buying each other’s
securities. Japan has the world’s worst demographic outlook. Unfunded
pension liabilities are exploding. Other than once great cars and
video games, what does Japan really have to offer the world these
days, but a carry currency? Until now, the government has been able to
cover up these problems with tatami mats, because almost all of the
debt it issued has been sold to domestic institutions. Now that this
pool is drying up, there is nowhere else to go but foreign investors.
With Greece and the rest of the PIIGS at the forefront, and awareness
of sovereign risks heightening, this is going to be a much more
discerning lot to deal with. You could dip your toe in the water here
around ¥88.40. In a perfect world you could sell it as it double tops
at the 85 level. My initial downside target is ¥105, and after that
¥120. If you’re not set up to trade in the futures or the interbank
market like the big hedge funds, then take a look at the leveraged
short yen ETF, the (YCS). This is a home run if you can get in at the
right price.
Mar 10


Fresh Trade Winds?
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 02:19
0 Comments and 4 Reactions
Investor's Business Daily
Investor's Business Daily


Economy: U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk came out swinging
Wednesday, warning Congress that it’s time to pass free trade. Is
something happening here? Is the Obama administration finally getting
serious about jobs?

After a year of inaction, Kirk told Democrats in remarks to the Senate
Finance Committee that passage of free-trade pacts must be “a

Free trade “will stimulate export-driven growth and help the United
States meet the president’s goal to double U.S. exports in five
years,” he said, adding that 2 million jobs would be created.

That kind of talk from a leading Democrat directed at the
protectionists in his own party is a new — and welcome — development.

Over the last year, Obama administration officials have occasionally
talked up the benefits of free trade, but only with conservatives and
business groups, who already know about it.

Now some are spending political capital to push it.

Confronting a Congress that is holding up the creation of jobs doesn’t
come a moment too soon. U.S. joblessness stands at 9.7% and Europe is
grabbing U.S. markets abroad.

Congressional protectionists talk of free trade passage in terms of
years; their campaign financiers in Big Labor, such as the AFL-CIO,
say “never.”

Kirk rebuked that stance in his speech, telling labor it had a voice
but “not a veto” on trade and hinted that President Obama would put
the pacts through without them. He also gave labor leaders a deadline
to make demands on free-trade deals like the one with Colombia instead
of constantly moving the goal posts.

One shot.

It doesn’t come a moment too soon. Congress’ failure to enact the free-
trade pacts in front of them is costing the U.S. nearly 600,000 jobs,
according to a 2009 study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Contrary to
protectionist myth, free trade costs no net jobs in the U.S. economy
at all, as Fed chief Ben Bernanke noted in a 2007 speech citing years
of data. “Trade allows us to enjoy both a more productive economy and
higher living standards,” he said. Unemployment is killing the U.S.
economy and sinking the Obama presidency. Time is running out to open
markets that could help repair it. Just this week, Europe signed a
free-trade deal with Colombia and Peru and breezily announced it would
have a pact with fast-growing India ready by October.

U.S. international credibility right now is zero, given that
alreadynegotiated trade pacts with Colombia, Panama and South Korea
have languished in Congress for more than three years.

Who’d want to negotiate something new and have it put in congressional
limbo? That’s why the Obama administration’s proposed U.S. Trans-
Pacific Partnership to open new markets in Brunei, Australia, New
Zealand and Vietnam is going nowhere.

“This delay in implementing hurts U.S. credibility around the world —
not just economically, but geopolitically as well,” said Sen. Charles
Grassley, R-Iowa, at the Kirk hearing. Hello? Anyone out there? The
U.S. is losing ground in world markets and doing it at the cost of our
own citizens’ jobs. It’s exactly what U.S. labor unions such as the
Teamsters, United Steelworkers, United Autoworkers and various public
employee unions want.

And right now, like it or not, they rule Congress. It’s ironic,
because many lobbyists believe free trade can pass both congressional
Houses if the bills are put to a vote. Past presidents, including
Democrat Bill Clinton and Republican George W. Bush, knew that’s what
it took to get pacts through Congress. Both threw their all into
getting big treaties — like 1993’s North American Free Trade Agreement
and 2005’s Central American Free Trade Agreement — passed in Congress,
acts that took on people who would stop them to charge up the U.S.
economy. There’s still no sign of Obama out there working the Hill.
But Kirk’s statements, no doubt authorized by the president, may be
the beginning of a turnaround on trade.



A new finger on the pulse of economy

A new index co-developed by Ceridian uses diesel fuel sales to track
U.S. economic growth.

By NEAL ST. ANTHONY, Star Tribune
Last update: March 9, 2010 - 9:03 PM

Want to know which way the economy is headed? Find out how much diesel
fuel is being burned by the nation's over-the-road truckers.

That's the theory behind a new economic index developed by Bloomington-
based Ceridian Corp., a provider of electronic payments services, and
UCLA's Anderson School of Management.

Called the Pulse of Commerce Index, the survey, to be released
Wednesday, shows the U.S. economy was essentially flat over the first
two months of the year, with a snowbound February decline of 0.7
percent in output offsetting the modest January gain of 0.6 percent.

"February was disappointing, but the geographic pattern underlying the
index suggests this was due in large part to extreme snowfalls during
the month," said Edward Leamer, director of UCLA's Anderson Forecast
and chief economist for the Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index
(PCI). "We still need much stronger growth in the PCI to get Americans
back to work. To sustain at least a 4 percent GDP number for the first
quarter [on an annualized basis], the March PCI has to be ... over 1
percent growth. That number will be very important."

The new index is designed to get the jump on the Federal Reserve's
report on industrial production report for February, which comes out
next week.

The PCI uses real-time diesel fuel consumption data from over-the-road
truckers, which is tracked by Ceridian, a longtime payment services
provider to the trucking industry. The index is built by analyzing
Ceridian's electronic card payment data, which captures the location
and volume of diesel fuel being purchased. This provides a detailed
picture of the movement of products across the United States.

In an interview Tuesday, Leamer said that once the bad weather is
taken into account, February's numbers suggest that there is an
underlying power to industrial demand and he expects that a catch-up
surge in goods moved in March will indicate that the economy is
growing at about a 3 percent annualized rate during the first quarter.

"To be optimistic about jobs, we'll need at least that," Leamer said.
"In the fourth quarter, we had 5.9 percent growth, but 3.9 percent was
just inventory replacement. That leaves 2 percent. We need more than
that. And March will tell the quarter."

Leamer said the Ceridian diesel-consumption data, collected from about
7,000 service stations around the country, constitutes a
representative sample and provides a "real data, not surveys" about
the movement of goods, which is a manifestation of industrial
production and shipments.

The flow of commerce

"We're monitoring the flow of commerce at truck stops, and the
arteries for the commercial system are the interstate highways
carrying the products," he said. "It amplifies the swings in GDP and
also tells us early where the economy is going."

Industrial production only accounts for about one-third of the U.S.
economy. It is more volatile than the service sector, which fluctuates
less during economic cycles.

All economic eyes are on month-to-month changes in industrial output,
which is a guide to business spending, credit expansion and demand for
goods in the aftermath of the 2008-09 recession that has given way to
a fairly tepid economic recovery. Most labor economists believe that
the economy won't start adding jobs significantly unless industrial
output starts growing at a 3 to 5 percent annualized clip.

Back testing of the Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index indicates
that it is a reliable indicator of industrial output. For example, the
index rose in areas unaffected by February's snows, including 2.7
percent in the Upper Midwest and 2.1 percent in the Pacific region.

"Goods have to be transported for the economy to grow, so when
snowstorms bog down that flow, it is reflected in our index and in the
overall U.S. economy," said Craig Manson, senior vice president and
index analyst for Ceridian.

A new finger on the pulse of economy...
Wait! The economy has a pulse?

posted by DrZoidberg on Mar 9, 10 at 11:55 pm |


Posted: Wed, Mar 10 2010. 9:00 AM IST
International News

US, Europe eye free-trade pacts with rising Asia

The talks will follow the launch of negotiations on a free-trade
agreement between Singapore and the European Union, which is also keen
on expanding trade ties with Southeast Asia

Singapore: The United States, fearful of being sidelined as China and
other fast-growing Asian economies speed up their integration, is
banking on a new trade pact to shore up its Pacific influence.

Talks opening Monday in Melbourne will focus on a proposed Trans-
Pacific Partnership agreement linking the US market with Australia,
Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Officials hope the TPP will form the nucleus of a wider Asia-Pacific
trade zone that would eventually rope in China, Japan and South Korea
as well as key Southeast Asian nations.

The talks will follow the launch of negotiations on a free-trade
agreement between Singapore and the European Union, which is also keen
on expanding trade ties with Southeast Asia.

The United States and Europe have been shut out of a growing web of
Asia-centric trade pacts spurred by the region’s 1997 financial crisis
and by a lack of progress in the Doha round of global trade talks,
analysts said.

While the United States is “unquestionably” a Pacific power, it “lacks
a comprehensive Asia strategy”, said Ernest Bower, a Southeast Asia
expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in

“The lack of consistent US focus in the region has enabled the
ascendance of Chinese power,” Bower said, adding that it could slowly
undermine US business interests and eventually degrade US security

The new trade attention from the West comes as Asian countries lead
the rest of the world in recovering from the global economic downturn.

“That the US and the EU are knocking on Asia’s doors is a recognition
that the centre of economic power is shifting, or has shifted, to our
region,” an Asian diplomat closely involved in trade issues told AFP.

“They know very well that ignoring Asia will be at their own peril.
China is already a major trade partner for many Asian countries and is
leading efforts toward regional economic integration,” he said on
condition of anonymity.

Deputy US trade representative Demetrios Marantis warned that
Washington “faces the daunting prospect of getting locked out” by Asia-
specific trade pacts.

A study by the US-based Peterson Institute for International Economics
showed that discriminatory policies under an East Asia free trade zone
could cost the US economy at least 25 billion dollars of annual
exports and lead to the loss of “about 200,000 high-paying jobs”.

The United States has free-trade accords with Australia and Singapore
and has also negotiated a trade pact with South Korea, but this has
yet to be implemented due to fierce disputes over cars and beef.

China has been more aggressive in wooing regional partners.

An agreement between China and the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN) covering nearly two billion consumers went into effect
this year, creating the world’s biggest free-trade area in terms of

There are also efforts to form a larger, all-Asian free-trade zone
spanning China, Japan, South Korea and the 10 ASEAN states.

C. Fred Bergsten and Jeffrey Schott of the Peterson Institute hailed
Washington’s decision to join the trans-Pacific talks in Australia.

“Deepening US engagement with countries in the Asia-Pacific region is
crucial for the advancement of both US economic and foreign policy
interests,” Bergsten and Schott said in a recent paper.

“Within the next few years, it is likely that the East Asian countries
will deepen their economic ties and conclude both a regional trade
agreement and a monetary agreement,” the authors said.

Such a bloc would “draw a line” in the middle of the Pacific Ocean by
discriminating against US exporters and investors, and excluding the
United States from major regional economic and security forums, they

Marantis acknowledged that overcoming crisis-hit Americans’ opposition
to free-trade agreements is a key challenge.

Surveys suggest that only about one in 10 Americans think that trade
pacts create jobs, while more than half believe the accords lead to
job losses at home, he said.


...and I am Sid Harth

2010-03-11 13:34:11 UTC

...and I am Sid Harth
2010-03-14 13:07:32 UTC
Three high-yielding European stocks to buy
By Associate Editor David Stevenson
Mar 11, 2010

Head to the continent for better returns

With the pound falling so far, Britain is fast becoming poor value for
money, for its inhabitants at least.

If you live here, you're probably fed up with it. Overseas holidays
are more expensive. Imported goods are more costly. You're seeing
prices being pushed up both in the shops and at the petrol pump.

Even the people who should be cashing in, the exporters, aren't. The
UK's last trade figures were rubbish, as we note below.

So, everyone's a loser? No, not at all - you could gain from the
plunging pound. Not only would you protect your money – you can also
collect a decent income stream while you're doing it.

We spotlighted one way of doing this last week by investing in the US.
Here's another – this time in Europe...

The current outlook for sterling is grim

You won't need reminding that we're not too keen on our nation's
currency right now. We don't want to see the pound drop – we just
reckon that under current government policy (if that's the right word
for it), it will. For our spendthrift politicians it's just a case of
spend and overspend – then getting the Bank of England to print plenty
more money to fuel their habit.

The trouble is that the plunging pound doesn't seem to be doing anyone
in Britain much good. With a few notable exceptions, the country's
exporters – the ones who are meant to save us from perpetual
stagnation – aren't benefiting. Although their goods are now much
cheaper for global customers to buy, they're selling fewer of them.
January export goods volumes dropped by 8%. Excluding some data
distortions three years ago, that was the worst monthly drop since

Sterling fell yet further on this news. Even against the much-maligned
euro, it's now dropped below €1.10 to its lowest level since last
November. Maybe that's no great surprise.

The countries that have dragged the euro down, such as Ireland, Greece
and Portugal, are now starting to plug the holes in their public
finances. They may well fail to do so, but at least they're showing
the right attitude.

Not so in the UK. Electioneering and austerity don't go well together.
And the longer our government delays before cutting – or being forced
by the markets to slash – our budget deficit, the grimmer the outlook
gets for sterling.

In the meantime, the UK's bank base rate remains at just 0.5%. So
while the pound is falling, the interest rates paid on savings
accounts, which are broadly linked to the base rate, are still
desperately poor.

How to beat the falling pound

However, as long as you're content to take some risk with your capital
– and do understand that investing in the stock market is risky – then
you can beat both negligible interest rates and the falling pound.

That's because there are still some high-yielding shares around that
provide a decent income. Even better, there are four reasons why
buying such shares – in Europe – could, over time, make you good
capital profits as well.

First, if sterling falls further, you could make money on the currency
front as well as in the stock market. Although the reverse is clearly
true, too, so you need more reason to like these stocks than simply
because they trade in euros or another European currency.

Second, a healthy dividend yield means that a share price is low
compared with the level of its payouts to shareholders. That suggests
it's also good value relative to the underlying company's profits and
assets. And in the long run, you'll make more money buying cheap
shares than expensive ones.

Why UK property prices are going to fall 50%
When it will be time to get back in and buy up half price property

Third, and this is a very long-term view, increasing numbers of 'baby
boomers' – those born within 20 years of WWII – will be retiring over
the next two decades. This will mean steadily more investors looking
for better income returns than the bank is currently paying. In turn,
as they buy high-yielding shares, they'll push up prices.

Fourth, as the European equity strategy team at Morgan Stanley points
out, when stock markets are roaring ahead, they don't worry too much
about dividends. Traders are more excited in 'churning and burning' –
buying and then selling out fast for quick profits. But when those
markets become more 'range-bound', i.e. there's much less scope for
big share price rises overall, income becomes a much larger part of
investors' thinking.

Indeed – and this statistic is fascinating – since 1926, European
shares have risen in real, i.e. inflation-adjusted, terms by just 1.3%
a year. But add in dividends which are reinvested in more shares, and
the annual total real return jumps up to 5.6% over that same period.

Three top European stocks to buy now
So what are the top dividend paying stocks in Europe right now?

Well, if you've been reading Money Morning regularly over the last few
months, you'll have seen quite a few high-yield tips appearing. So
I'll stick to three of those we haven't yet mentioned.

Top of Morgan Stanley's list of stocks "with a high and secure
dividend yield" is Italian utility A2A (IM: A2A). It produces and
distributes electricity, sells gas and collects rubbish in the North
of Italy. It's on a p/e of 12 and prospective yield of 7.4%. If
there's a slight caveat for me, it's that the payout is only covered
1.1 times by earnings. But that's probably being picky, as the
company's cash flow is 2.5 times the dividend – so there's plenty of
cash coming in to cover it.

Dividend cover is certainly not an issue at Zurich Financial Services
(VX: ZURN), where the payment is almost twice covered. Yet Zurich is
on a forecast multiple for this year of just 8.6, with a prospective
6% yield. Meanwhile, across the border in Germany, energy supplier RWE
(GY: RWE) looks just as solid. A 2010 forecast p/e of 9.2, and a
prospective yield of 5.8%, mark this stock down as very good value.

We wouldn't advise putting all of your investment money into any one
currency, be it sterling, euros, dollars or yen. But at times like
these in particular, it's not a bad idea to be diversified. And more
to the point, these are solid stocks – so even if the currency moves
against you, you know the underlying asset remains solid. And look on
the bright side. If you buy shares like these, the next time you hear
about another slide in sterling, you'll know at least someone who's
managed to get on to a winner.

• If you're interested in high-yielding, blue-chip stocks, you should
take a look at Stephen Bland's Dividend Letter. Stephen aims to
produce a solid, steadily growing income by investing in large
companies – you can learn more about his strategy here .

Our recommended article for today

Three signals to watch for safer investing

When you've been investing for a while, you come to notice certain
signals that the stock market throws up, says Tom Bulford. Here, he
outlines three that should keep you one step ahead of the market's

Profit from Canada's cheap telcos
By David Stevenson, Mar 12, 2010

Profit from the global water shortage
By Tim Bennett, Mar 12, 2010

Share tip of the week: bargain medical giant
By Paul Hill, Mar 12, 2010

Gamble of the week: world leader in electronic security
Mar 12, 2010



1. Neil
(11 March 2010, 10:53AM)

Although these shares have a nice yeild attached the article doesn't
point out that you can lose some of this yield to foreign withholding
tax which seems to be a minefield to navigate! I'd appreciate this
topic being covered in a future moneyweek article.

2. Harish Karia
(11 March 2010, 05:14PM)

Every now & than you refer to stocks which are listed somewhere else,
BUT how do I buy them? and what about the tax implications?
I have all of my stocks & shares in self selct ISA, I am not sure if I
will be allowed to buy the recomanded stocks? I am with Alliance &
Trust Savings

3. Roger
(11 March 2010, 06:04PM)


The new tax rules on foreign dividends mean that you can claim at
least some UK tax relief on foreign withholding tax. You have to fill
out the foreign section of a UK self assessment return. I just let
taxcalc calculate it for me, and it isn't really a problem.

4. Jeff
(11 March 2010, 09:14PM)

TW Waterhouse offers low cost overseas dealing on a number of

Taxation of dividends does seem to be a complex issue with 20%
witholding taxes & hopeless guidance on how to enter this in tax
returns from the UK tax authorities.

5. Neil
(12 March 2010, 12:37PM)

Thanks Roger, however due to various salary sacrifice schemes I am not
required to complete a self assessement return, like the other posters
I find the rules utterly confusing, and I stick with the mantra of not
investing in something I don't understand (which is very unfortunate
as I would like to invest in single shares outside of the LSE).

6. Neil
(12 March 2010, 12:39PM)

I should add of course investing in US listed shares are easy as I
have completed a W8-BEN form and just renew this every 3 years. It's
the European shares that seem to present the most difficulty


MoneyWeek Roundup: How mad scientists will save the economy By
MoneyWeek Editor John Stepek Mar 13, 2010

This is where we highlight some of the best bits from our free emails,
newsletters, blog and MoneyWeek magazine that we've published in the
past week.

● The markets have had a good week this week. Greece is becoming a
distant memory, the Eurocrats are threatening to exterminate
speculators, and investors even took a surge in Chinese inflation in
their stride.

Sterling is still being battered of course. And as my colleague David
Stevenson pointed out this week, our ever-expanding trade deficit
shows it's still not doing us any good.

Despite the weak pound, "the country's exporters – the ones who are
meant to save us from perpetual stagnation – aren't benefiting.
Although their goods are now much cheaper for global customers to buy,
they're selling fewer of them. January export goods volumes dropped by
8%. Excluding some data distortions three years ago, that was the
worst monthly drop since 2002."

● That puts the whole debate about 'rebalancing' the British economy
into perspective. We've relied too much on financial services, and
unfortunately, we've thrown away what little money we had left on
bailing out the banks. The good news is, the world's more
entrepreneurial scientists aren't waiting for governments to get
behind them.

"Craig Venter said he was going to change medicine – everyone thought
he was a maniac," points out Dr Mike Tubbs in his Research Investments

"But seven years ago the former Vietnam veteran beat an army of
government scientists to the biggest medical advance in decades –
decoding the human genome.

"The state sponsored Human Genome Project had been busy sequencing the
three billion biochemical blocks in our DNA for years... and running
up a $3bn bill in the process.

"But Dr Venter beat them to it. And in an instant, a colossal new
medical sector came of age. By deconstructing the human body cell by
cell, scientists believe they will uncover the genetic roots of the
most complex diseases – from cancer to Alzheimer's.

"That heralds a new age of personalised medicine – allowing doctors to
gauge our risk for conditions such as cancer and diabetes and taking
pre-emptive action.

"And so today a vast industry has sprung up – using the techniques
developed by the likes of Craig Venter in a race to decode these
diseases and use this knowledge to find new treatments. The market for
personalised medicine will reach $42bn by 2015, according to

Mike's Research Investments newsletter is based around buying
companies that put serious investment into research and development in
areas like these. And he's not the only one who believes that
scientific developments provide a ripe hunting ground for investors.

● "Last month I met a man who has been in the business of making money
from science for the last 25 years. Phil Atkin has watched successive
governments downplay the efforts of his kind while applauding the
relentless rise of the financial sector," says Tom Bulford in his
Penny Sleuth free email.

"Finally we have woken up to the realisation that the latter does not
produce any real wealth at all. And this means Atkin's time may
finally have come – especially after a special announcement made last

Atkins heads up Scientific Digital Imaging (LSE: SDI). As with most
science companies, explaining what it does is complicated, so you can
read Tom's piece if you want to know the details. But basically it
makes various measurement and imaging devices for laboratories.

"SDI is certainly one to keep an eye on," says Tom. "Chairman Harry
Tee was the driving force behind Roxboro, which made plenty of money
for investors in the 1990s. He is also chairman of another fast
growing company, Dialight (DIA).

"Better than our politicians he understands what is required to build
a science-based business. This one is definitely on the Red Hot Penny
Shares radar screen."

● Last week's debate on ethical investing attracted quite a few
thoughtful responses. Most agreed with our view that we should be
presenting readers with money-making opportunities and leaving the
ethical decisions to them.

But I just had to share this reader's take on the ethics of investing
in tobacco firms… "Until a couple of years ago, I too avoided owning
any tobacco company shares, figuring that it would be unethical to
profit from a company that depends for its continued growth on getting
more people addicted to a substance known to directly cause several
serious health issues.

"However, I changed my mind when we returned from a family holiday in
France. Sitting at a table on the ferry (in an open area) two people
sat down at the same table with us and, without asking if it would be
ok and ignoring the fact that we had our young son sitting with us,
proceeded to light up and blow smoke around. The problem was that the
wind blew it straight to us on the other side of the table.

"This inconsiderate behaviour so incensed me that I vowed as soon as
we got home that I would buy some BAT shares, so that I felt I could
at least get my own back in some way by part funding my retirement
thanks to the behaviour of people that ignore all the warnings and
inflict their brand of poison on those around them as well.

"If you can't beat them, profit from them!"

● Riccardo Marzi, the ex-City trader behind the Events Trader
newsletter, knows how to draw a reader's attention. Here's the
headline from his latest issue: "How you could profit from a deadly
virus outbreak in Chile".

I winced as I thought of the complaints that would flood in. Then I
read the piece. The "deadly virus" in question is killing off salmon,
not people. Phew. Still, it's a pretty miserable experience for
Chile's salmon farmers. The country is the world's second-largest
producer of the fish. And with its annual production down about 70%
year-on-year, salmon prices are going up.

And you can guess what that means for the rest of the world's salmon
farmers. A profit bonanza. "Norway is the world's biggest exporter of
salmon. It will take at least 18 months for the Chilean salmon
industry to raise fish to maturity – if they manage to get the disease
under control. In that time Norwegian salmon groups will enjoy a major
boost to their earnings," says Riccardo.

● We're sceptical on China's growth 'miracle'. But that's no reason to
write off the whole of Asia. Cris Sholto Heaton, the man behind the
MoneyWeek Asia free email (if you don't already get it, I advise you
to sign up for it right now) is currently testing out a newsletter in
which he tips individual stocks. The second edition came out earlier
this week. If you'd like to be kept informed of when it goes live,
just give us your email here.

In Cris's latest piece, he looks at one vital piece of infrastructure
that many parts of Asia are entirely lacking right now, and will need
a lot of in the future. It's not roads, or sewage systems, or railways
- it's software. I'll let Cris explain.

"In the West, banks have used computers for processing data and
transactions since the sixties. But these were huge, complex and
costly systems dedicated to specific functions. Picture a huge humming
room of densely packed computers running a bank's data – the kind you
would see in Cold War movies. If you had two different systems
working on a similar task, they couldn't talk to each other and share

"But over that last decade or so, things have become much more
sophisticated. State-of-the-art banking systems are tightly
integrated, with all the key software running in the same framework
and sharing information. And as a result of this, they've become much
more powerful and useful.

"Computers no longer simply store data, but can monitor accounts for
fraud, improve risk management by credit-scoring potential borrowers,
and on top of that, they run schemes such as airmiles and loyalty
cards to gather information about customers and increase usage.

"Systems like this are standard in Europe and North America. But in
the emerging world, it's obviously much more variable. Some countries
and banks are pretty advanced. Others make what a British bank was
using twenty years ago seem sophisticated.

"So most emerging market banks are going to have to invest billions in
better IT over the next couple of decades. Not only do many have a
long way to go to bring their existing systems up to modern standards,
but they're also going to need to expand to cope with hundreds of
millions of new potential customers.

And this means that emerging markets should offer very good growth
prospects for the firms that develop and maintain these highly
specialised systems."

● Last week I wrote a piece about what people could learn from the
plight of the 'king and queen of buy-to-let'. Fergus and Judith Wilson
are two ex-maths teachers who built a portfolio of hundreds of houses
in Kent during the boom times. They ran into some difficulties in the
crunch, but when the Bank of England slashed interest rates, it had
the knock-on effect of cutting their costs.

The piece drew a lot of comment – as most of our property pieces do,
which is as strong an indicator as any that we're still in bubble
territory. But I also got an email from Fergus himself. He described
the piece as a "very fair article", so I gave him a call to get his
take on the market.

The way Fergus sees it, the real problem is with flats, rather than
the houses that he predominately lets out. "These blocks of flats in
northern cities have been a complete disaster. I have 30 flats which I
regret having. They've fallen in value, whereas the houses have seen a
reasonable increase in the last two years."

Now, on the one hand, I'd agree that the epicentre of the housing
market collapse was always going to be in the market for dodgy flats.
And with the bank rate as low as it is, at 0.5%, Fergus is in a sweet
spot – he reckons the typical £180,000 house, with a £140,000
mortgage, is costing him about £300 a month on the mortgage. If it's
let for £700 a month, with £100 going to the letting agent, then he
clears £300.

But with the market stagnant, it can't be easy to offload all those
properties to first-time buyers – they can't afford it. And what
happens if interest rates rise?

Fergus, who's nearly 62, reckons we'll be lucky to see a 2.5% bank
rate again in his lifetime. "The government won't be that stupid.
Every time rates go up, more people will become homeless."

I can't say I'm convinced. The Bank of England needs to take far more
into account when it sets the bank rate than just its impact on the
property market. The only way that interest rates can remain that low
for that long, is if Britain goes the way of Japan. And in Japan,
house prices are still 60% lower than they were at the start of the

I certainly don't wish the Wilsons any ill. But our chat just
confirmed in my mind that the current rebound is a temporary blip
before the market starts heading down again.

● And it's not just the property market that's set for harder times
ahead. Tim Price of PFP Wealth Management tells readers of The Price
Report to watch out. "Last week I was invited to present at the
Private Wealth Management Conference in Smithfield. There I listened
to a lot of people I've known and respected for most of my career. And
there were two very clear concerns coming through.

"First, how do I avoid getting burned by stocks again? After the
gyrations in the market over the last two years, there was a lot of
talk of not placing too much faith in equities – because it's
unwarranted. The question everyone wanted to ask was – how long could
this bear market in stocks go on for?

"The second real concern among private wealth managers is inflation.
I'm not the only one worried about governments printing their way out
of this crisis, as it turns out. If there is a dangerous bout of
inflation on the way, how do we protect our wealth?"

I'm running out of space to go into the details here, but suffice to
say, Tim reckons that there's another down-leg to come in the bear
market. As for inflation, he doesn't see it taking off just yet, but
there are some assets you should be holding for when it does. Find out
more about The Price Report here.

Related articles

Recovery hopes fade as trade gap widens
Mar 12, 2010

The crisis isn't over yet
By Merryn Somerset Webb, Mar 12, 2010

Money is pouring out of the UK - here's how to protect yourself
By David Stevenson, Mar 08, 2010

MoneyWeek Roundup: Profit from sterling's woes
By John Stepek, Mar 06, 2010

Useful links

• Tom Bulford's newsletter Red Hot Penny Shares

• Riccardo Marzi's newsletter Events Trader


• Tim Price's newsletter, The Price Report


• Dr Mike Tubbs' Research Investments newsletter - enquiries for this
exclusive service are by phone only, call 020 7633 3600


Related articles

Get a double-digit income on blue-chips
By Theo Casey, Mar 12, 2010

Don't dodge tax only to walk into losses
By Tim Bennett, Mar 05, 2010

How to spot bubbles before they blow
By Tim Bennett, Feb 26, 2010


The party's over for corporate bonds
By Tim Bennett, Feb 19, 2010



Asian economy

A slump in China is inevitable - here's how to protect yourself (12
March 10)

Australia's luck is running out (12 March 10)

Will China float its currency? (12 March 10)

European economy

Iceland votes 'no' on debt repayment (12 March 10)

Governments seek scapegoats for euro woes (12 March 10)

Spain: a 'real test case' for the euro (05 March 10)

Global economy

A slump in China is inevitable - here's how to protect yourself (12
March 10)

Will China float its currency? (12 March 10)

Australia's luck is running out (12 March 10)

Japanese economy

The story of Japan's 20-year slump (05 February 10)

Japan leads the way...through a minefield (28 January 10)

We've learnt all the wrong lessons from Japan (08 January 10)

UK economy

MoneyWeek Roundup: How mad scientists will save the economy (13 March

Recovery hopes fade as trade gap widens (12 March 10)

US economy

Interest rates are rising in the US (19 February 10)

Stocks will suffer as baby boomers grow old (19 February 10)

Can farming save Detroit? (12 February 10)


End of Keynesian Blood Sucking Parasitic Economic System
Economics / Economic Theory
Mar 13, 2010 - 06:04 AM

By: Gary_North

On March 11, I spoke at the annual Austrian Scholars Conference,
sponsored by the Ludwig von Mises Institute. It was gratifying to see
so many attendees that they could not fit into one room.

The Mises Institute is a high-tech outfit. They set up a video camera,
and the speech appeared on monitors in other rooms. It will also go on-
line within a few days. This will be free. Anyone in the world with
Web access can see it from now on. This is a great model for
communication and education.

My topic was "Keynes and His Influence." My goal is to recruit half a
dozen bright young scholars to begin a joint project in refuting
Keynes' General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936) line
by line. I have set up a department on my Website to this end.

I tried to make four main points in my speech.

1. Keynes' influence has been indirect (mediated).
2. His legacy will soon be uniquely vulnerable.
3. Only the Austrians called the 2008 recession.
4. It is time for a comprehensive refutation of Keynes


There is no question that John Maynard Keynes was the most influential
economist in the 20th century. Yet his influence has been different
from what economists and the intelligentsia have believed.

In a filmed interview of Keynes' main rival in 1935, but not in 1965,
F. A. Hayek, an Austrian School economist, made an important point.
Keynes was influential in 1946, the year of his death, but his
influence was not yet overwhelming. That came later. Hayek did not say
how much later. It came within five years. You can see the video here.

The key to Keynes' influence was the 1948 textbook written by Paul
Samuelson, Economics. It became the most widely assigned college
textbook in economics. It had no major competition for at least three
decades, and its competitors were also Keynesian in outlook.

Samuelson promoted Keynes' ideas, but he used a very different format.
He did not quote Keynes at length. He presented what has since been
called the neo-Keynesian synthesis. He applied Keynes' fundamental
principle of deficit spending in the Great Depression to the overall
economy in a post-depression world. He really did try to make general
the General Theory, which the book had not been.

The General Theory was highly specific. It was a program designed to
counteract falling spending and a falling money supply in an era in
which there was no government insurance for failed banks or their
depositors. It was a program to offset widespread hoarding of
currency. From the day that the FDIC was created in 1934, American
banks stopped failing, and the money supply started to rise. Keynes
wrote his book after this transition in the United States. The book
was a theoretical defense of policies that had already been adopted in
the United States and Western Europe, and which World War II would
escalate: deficit spending, mass inflation, and a vast expansion of
the government's share of the economy. This is not how the Keynesians
have told the story. It is how the story ought to be told. I am trying
to recruit economists and historians who will commit several years of
research to telling it.

Keynes' "General Theory" has long been an unread book that sits on the
shelves of economics graduate students and professors. No one actually
has read it except specialists in the history of economic thought. The
book is close to unreadable. Compared to his earlier books and essays,
it is uniquely unreadable. We do not see its formulas quoted as proof
of contemporary policies or recommended policies. The literature cited
in economists' footnotes is what we can legitimately call Keynesian,
but this literature is an extension of Keynes' work, not Keynes'
actual work.

Whether Keynes would approve of what is recommended in his name is
moot. Hayek spoke to Keynes a few weeks before he died. According to
Hayek, Keynes was not happy with developments being offered in his

Keynes had always been an opponent of inflation. His earlier works
repeatedly warned against the threat of inflation. Yet, by 1945,
inflation was a way of life in the West.

We should compare The General Theory to Charles Darwin's Origin of
Species. Darwinists rarely quote Darwin to support their latest
papers. They cite him as the originator of the idea of evolution
through natural selection. Attacks on Darwin's actual exposition are
shrugged off by his followers as irrelevant. We find an entire school
of Darwinists who preach an idea that is opposed to what Darwin
taught: the "punctuated evolutionism." Darwin believed in tiny changes
over long periods of time. They believe in huge changes in brief
periods of time. Still, they call themselves Darwinists. Why? Because
they believe in his Big Idea: purposeless, random causation prior to

The same is true of Keynes' General Theory. It was Keynes' primary
idea that dominates the thinking of economists: government budget
deficits as the means of overcoming economic slumps. As to simple
formulas and concepts in the book, modern economists rarely cite them
in professional journals. If one or more specifics of the book are
refuted, his supporters shrug it off. Keynes' influence relates to the
one big idea, just as Darwin's influence does.

The specifics in the book are forgotten today, such as his statement
that the government could plant bottles full of money, bury them, and
let workers dig them up for a living. He also said that building the
equivalent of Egypt's pyramids would help restore prosperity. He
really believed this. His disciples do not refer to these passages.
When pressured by critics, they dismiss them as merely rhetorical.
They were rhetorical, but not merely rhetorical.


Today, Keynesians insist that their man was right. They take credit
for the recovery since late 2009, such as it is. This assertion is
widely accepted. It is so widely accepted that Wikipedia has an
article on it: "Keynesian Resurgence."

Yet the reality is far different from the perception. Keynes' solution
in 1936 was a program of fiscal deficits, coupled with mild monetary
expansion in a time of monetary contraction. These government deficits
were supposed to stimulate consumer spending.

Yet the heart of the U.S. government's program in 2008 was not the
$787 billion spending program. Rather, it was the prior doubling of
the Federal Reserve's monetary base, the FED's face-value swaps of its
marketable Treasury debt for unmarketable toxic assets owned by the
biggest banks, the AIG bailout, and the subsequent $1.25 trillion
pumped into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, after their nationalization by
Henry Paulson in September 2008. None of this was Keynesian. All of it
was ad hoc monetary inflation and central bank subsidies to large

Keynes recommended government spending and employment by government.
He did not recommend central bank bailouts of large banks. He focused
on fiscal policy, not monetary policy.

The biggest banks were saved by these interventions. Small banks
continue to go under, Friday afternoon after Friday afternoon. The
banking industry as a whole has contracted its loans to commercial and
industrial firms. Banks have added over $1 trillion to their excess
reserves at the FED, thereby sterilizing money. This is anti-
Keynesian: a restriction of spending, meaning a reduction in aggregate
demand compared to what would otherwise have been the case.

Keynesianism as an idea has received a shot in the arm – mainly with
fiat money, not Federal deficits. Yes, the deficits have been
enormous, just not by comparison to central banks' money creation. The
deficits are unprecedented, all over the world. Yet the economic
recovery is universally criticized as weak.

If enormous deficits are not serving as stimuli for widespread
recovery, then what credit should Keynes get? Keynesians are saying
that government policies kept the world economy from collapse. But
this is not the same as saying that the policies have restored
prosperity. They haven't.

There have been some protests by economists. Several hundred academic
economists, mostly in obscure universities, publicly protested the
stimulus package.

But no group of economists, other than the Austrians, said in 2008
that the FED should do nothing, that Fannie and Freddie should be
allowed to go under, and that the stimulus bill should be voted down.
With only this exception, the entire academic community of economists
became cheerleaders for the FED's bailouts of 2008. They sold their
non-Keynesian birthrights for a mess of Federal Reserve pottage.

The silence of the profession in 2008 and after has boxed them in.
They are defenders of moral hazard, despite their timid warnings to
the contrary.

If one person has summarized the alternative economic scenarios facing
us, it is Merle Hazard. Merle is not his real name. He is a financial
planner in Nashville. He began performing on YouTube in 2009. He and
his partner, Bretton Wood, sang the question: "Will it be Zimbabwe or
Japan?" So far, it's Japan.

The governments of the West have made one thing inescapably clear.
They do not intend to enforce high bank capital ratios established by
the Bank for International Settlements. The European Union and the
European Central Bank have also made it clear that they will not
enforce EU rules on the deficit-to-GDP ratio. There is only one rule
today: "Tax and tax, spend and spend, inflate and inflate."

The looming bankruptcies of Western governments and Japan are now
becoming clearer to the literate public. Observers are becoming more
Austrian in their perception. Investors do not accept this scenario
emotionally, but the numbers are clear. There will have to be a
cutting back of Medicare, Social Security, and unemployment benefits,
either sooner or later.

It is also clear that unemployment will not be significantly reduced
by the present recovery. The Keynesian tools are not working. They
have not worked in Europe for a generation, where life on the dole is
permanent for 10% of the work force.

When the bust comes, the Keynesians will take the blame. They have
demanded credit for the recovery, and they have received it. They are
consuming public favor today. They will pay for it later.


The Austrian School's representatives predicted the recession. The
defining moment was Peter Schiff's debate with Art Laffer in 2006.
Schiff said a crash was coming. Laffer ridiculed him. Because of
YouTube, this story will not go away.

It never does any good to go to the losers and say, "I told you so."
It does a great deal of good to go to the general public, which is
always in search of leadership, and say, "We told them so." You don't
convert true believers and spokesmen very often, but you can undermine
their leadership.

The Austrian theory of the business cycle was the tool that enabled
Schiff and others, such as me, to predict in 2006 that a recession
would hit in 2007. It did – in December 2007. We told them so. This
establishes our credentials, but more to the point, it establishes
Ludwig von Mises' credentials. He thought that economic logic alone
was necessary to defend a position. But in political debate, having
the numbers demonstrate that you were right is also necessary.

When the USSR went bust economically in 1988, then lost the Afghan war
in 1989, and finally committed suicide in 1991, Marxism died. All the
footnotes in the Marxist books no longer mattered in academia. All the
post-1991 wailing by Marxists that the Soviet Union really had never
been truly Marxist has been ignored. Why? Because the Marxists took
credit for the USSR for 74 years. They praised the Soviet Union's
central planning. So, in 1991, they could not get off the sinking
Soviet ship in time to justify the Marxist system.

By 1991, China's economy was booming because of Deng's abandonment of
Marxist economics in 1978. That left only Albania, Cuba, and North
Korea. The Marxists had nowhere to turn to that offered evidence of
economic success. Overnight, they became a laughing stock on campus.

This will be the fate of Keynesians when the governments of the West
finally go bust or else abandon the deficits and the fiat money.

Who will still be standing to pick up the intellectual pieces? The
Chicago School economists did not predict 2008. They did not defiantly
protest the FED's bailouts of September and October. Neither did
public choice economists, rational expectations economists, or
behavioral economists. They all climbed aboard the Good Ship Keynes,
which was in fact the Good Ship Bernanke. The Austrians did not.

The Austrians, few in number, are the last men standing to challenge
the Keynesians. This is their great opportunity. They have waited a
long time.


As W. C. Fields said so long ago, "Never give a sucker an even break."
This also applies to bloodsuckers. The Keynesians are apologists for
the bloodsucking class: tax collectors, deficit-expanders, and
boondogglers of all shapes and sizes.

I have set up www.KeynesProject.com to help mobilize the guerrilla
troops in a comprehensive assault on Fort Keynes. This is a supplement
to the vast collection of free books and materials found on www.Mises.org,
especially the books in the Literature section of the home page.

There has to be a full-scale assault on the General Theory that shows
how it is illogical, line by line. This has been done sporadically in
the past, but not systematically. To oppose Keynes' overall system was
to commit academic suicide.

When the decks are cleared, then there must be a systematic critique
of the post-Keynes literature. But this is too large a job for a
handful of scholars. It will take at least a decade to produce the
basic critique of Keynes. My hope is that this project will be
complete in time for the crisis produced by today's policies.

To persuade the next generation of economists and talking heads that
Keynes was wrong, and therefore his apologists are wrong and have been
wrong, we need two things: (1) a body of material in all the media
that shows that The General Theory was a con job from day one; (2) an
economy universally suffering from the effects of the policies that
have been justified in the name of Keynes. Since we are going to get
the second, why not work on the first?


We have lived in the shadow of Keynes since 1936. That shadow has
darkened academia for over 70 years. Keynes justified what politicians
and salaried academic bureaucrats always wanted: more power for
politicians and tenured bureaucrats.

Keynes justified this system of parasitic bloodsucking. The bills are
now coming due. The voters are going to join a tax revolt against
these bills. They will seek justification. Austrian School economics
is best positioned today to offer that justification. To become even
better positioned, a younger generation of Austrian School economists
must publicly gut The General Theory.

Gary North [send him mail ] is the author of Mises on Money . Visit
http://www.garynorth.com . He is also the author of a free 20-volume
series, An Economic Commentary on the Bible .


© 2010 Copyright Gary North / LewRockwell.com - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general
information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice.
Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising
methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility
for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals
should consult with their personal financial advisors.

© 2005-2010 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a
FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication


Video: Hayek Explains Why He Did Not Challenge Keynes After 1935 -- A
Catastrophic Decision
Gary North

March 9, 2010

In this interview, Hayek recounts the events leading to The General
Theory. He spent a year going through Keynes' Treatise on Money.
Although he did not mention this, he published a critique on the
Economic Journal. Keynes replied in print. Then, just before the
second volume appeared, Keynes dismissed the debate. He told Hayek
that he no longer believed all that.

Hayek said he decided not to challenge The General Theory. The problem
was that he was widely regarded as Keynes' #1 opponent. When he
remained mute, he surrendered the field to Keynes.

Hayek also said that Keynes' theory did not receive universal acclaim
until after his death in 1946. This is no doubt true, but irrelevant.
The book persuaded a generation of young economists before the War
ended. Then Sanuelson's 1948 textbook conquered the academic
discipline in the name of Keynes.

For more information, come here:



Economics (Hardcover)
~ Paul Samuelson (Author), William Nordhaus (Author)


Customer Reviews

2 Reviews
5 star: (1)
4 star: (0)
3 star: (1)
2 star: (0)
1 star: (0)

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
One of the greatest books of its era. Very easy to understand and
study with. Great choice!!

Published 3 months ago by George and Marcus Retail Group

7 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
Extraordinary price????

How can this book possibly cost $169.90?? It's been in print for
decades and has sold well. My old college copy has a price of $7.95
stamped in it! What is going on???

Published 3 months ago by Little Teacher on the Prarie

4 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
EXCELLENT A++, November 30, 2009
By George and Marcus Retail Group (N. Florida, USA) -

One of the greatest books of its era. Very easy to understand and
study with. Great choice!!

7 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
Extraordinary price????, December 13, 2009
By Little Teacher on the Prarie (Iowa) -

How can this book possibly cost $169.90?? It's been in print for
decades and has sold well. My old college copy has a price of $7.95
stamped in it! What is going on???

Comments (3)


Initial post: Dec. 24, 2009 12:52 PM PST

E. P. O'shaughnessy says:
Free market forces, supply and demand perhaps? :)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan. 14, 2010 2:24 PM PST
Stevan Radanovic says:
More probably because it's 19th edition, from 2009. :)

Posted on Mar. 13, 2010 10:54 AM PST
From_Plano_TX says:
You are right. The price is scandalous. College students are being
robbed! The colleges should not permit this to go on.



Data Analysis and Decision Making with Microsoft Excel, Revised (with
CD-ROM and Decision Tools and Statistic Tools Suite) (Hardcover)
~ S. Christian Albright
S. Christian Albright (Author)

(Author), Wayne Winston (Author), Christopher Zappe (Author)


Customer Reviews
Data Analysis and Decision Making with Microsoft Excel, Revised (with
CD-ROM and Decision Tools and Statistic Tools Suite)

18 Reviews
5 star: (10)
4 star: (5)
3 star: (1)
2 star: (1)
1 star: (1)

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful:
Strong Software Addition:

This book was put together in the same 'spirit' as previous other
Winston books; good examples, well thought out attack approaches; as
well as a good summary of all the types of problems encountered in the
text! I have several other of Winston books, so I'm reasonably happy
with his work! I am growing a little frustrated with winston et al.
over the fact that they...
Read the full review ›
Published on August 20, 1999 by Kirk S. Johnson

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful:

Better Title: Intro to Statistics using Excel Add-ins
On the positive side, this book has many excellent case studies and
examples. It is well written and interesting. However, I was
disappointed, as I was expecting use of Excel to rigorously solve
decision making and data analysis problems. The focus of the book is
mostly traditional statistics solved using a group of commercial add-
ins for Excel. If this is what you want,...

Published on June 3, 2001 by ***@aol.com

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful:
Better Title: Intro to Statistics using Excel Add-ins, June 3, 2001
By ***@aol.com (Gainesveille, FL) -

This review is from: Data Analysis and Decision Making With Microsoft
Excel (Hardcover)

On the positive side, this book has many excellent case studies and
examples. It is well written and interesting. However, I was
disappointed, as I was expecting use of Excel to rigorously solve
decision making and data analysis problems. The focus of the book is
mostly traditional statistics solved using a group of commercial add-
ins for Excel. If this is what you want, then the book would get five
stars. However, for data analysis and decision making, I think a more
thorough treatment using Excel without relying so much on the add-ins
would have been appropriate.

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful:
Strong Software Addition:, August 20, 1999
By Kirk S. Johnson (Batavia, IL USA) -

This review is from: Data Analysis and Decision Making With Microsoft
Excel (Hardcover)

This book was put together in the same 'spirit' as previous other
Winston books; good examples, well thought out attack approaches; as
well as a good summary of all the types of problems encountered in the
text! I have several other of Winston books, so I'm reasonably happy
with his work! I am growing a little frustrated with winston et al.
over the fact that they offer no solutions or answers to the many
exercise problems contained throughout the text. I don't think Winston
realizes that professionals outside of the classroom are buying these
books and don't have the luxury of a professor sharing answers to the
problems. This is where I think he can improve. The software addition,
from palisades was an excellent addition to the text! I had already
owned many of the commercial versions but have found that the suite,
provided with the text, was just as robust as my retail versions.

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent MBA - level textbook and software., September 2, 1999
By Serguei Netessine (Wynnewood, PA United States) -

This review is from: Data Analysis and Decision Making With Microsoft
Excel (Hardcover)

Finally MBA probability/statistics course and MS Excel have been
unified in one textbook. The accompanying software is great,
especially Decision Tree (probably the only Excel-based software for
decision making). Students like business-oriented excersises in the
book. Highly recommended.

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
Very good book but software is a source of troubles, July 20, 1999
By A Customer

This review is from: Data Analysis and Decision Making With Microsoft
Excel (Hardcover)

The book itself is an exteremely good source of theory and problems.
However, accompanying software is a reason for many disappointments.
There are undocumented bugs and compatibility issues. Some supporting
material for the book is still not available and customer support
could have been better.

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful:
MS Office 2000 compatability problems!!, August 11, 2000
By Courtney Turner (Chicago, IL USA) -

This review is from: Data Analysis and Decision Making With Microsoft
Excel (Hardcover)

Just purchased the book as a tool for MBA classes. However, after
installing the accompanying CD ROM add-ons I had problems accessing MS
Office programs. A critical .DLL file was modified by the program
during my installation. I think the program was made to run with MS
Excel 97. Another suggestion for the author is to include an answers
CD ROM for the problems contained in the text so that students and
professionals can check their work.

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
Serious Excel 2000 Problem, April 11, 2001
By Jal Singh "junkmail_12345" (NYC) -

This review is from: Data Analysis and Decision Making With Microsoft
Excel (Hardcover)

The text book is great. I have many of Winston's other books and they
are all great. The Palisade stuff works just fine. However, the
StatPro Addin that accompanies this text does not work with MS Excel
2000. I contacted the IT guy that the authors directed me to--he was
stumped. He just gave up and suggested I return my book for a refund
because he could not figure out it out. Again, the book is great but
the StatPro Addin sucks!

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Great Buy, February 3, 2009
By Samantha J. Foster "Student4Life" (Cincinnati) -

I was required to buy this text for a class but it has actually been
very helpful. Some textbooks are diffucult to follow but this one has
great examples. If I don't understand something in class, I just have
to read over the chapter and it usually helps.

Amazon is THE place to buy, October 11, 2009
By Venkata V. Sagar Sambata (College Park, MD, USA) -

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I had an extremely positive experience with Amazon and would recommend
you buy from them even with your eyes closed.

Impossible to decipher, but useful computer tools, October 7,
By Robin Weber -

I have totally given up on doing reading assigned in this textbook.
It's dense, hard to understand, and takes more time than I have just
to understand a fraction of it. The only reason I'm giving 2 stars
instead of 1 is that the Excel add-on tools included on the CD with
the book are somewhat useful.

Missing Password and Key, September 20, 2009
By Tomaz V. Silva Neto "Thothmez" (CANADA) -

This review is from: Data Analysis and Decision Making With Microsoft
Excel (Hardcover)

I am a Reliability Engineer trying to learn more about Risk analysis.

The written part of the book seems fantastic, a lot of practical
examples that we can use in real world, sure we all know that excel is
limited and the use of Add-ins seems to be a very good way to manage

I bought a used copy of the book which came with 2 Cds but without the
password and key to install the DecisionTools.
Does anybody know who should I contact to get that information ? Any
help is very much appreciated...

to All.

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
No trouble with Excel, January 31, 2001
By steve_from_spokane (Everett, Wa United States) -

This review is from: Data Analysis and Decision Making With Microsoft
Excel (Hardcover)

I find the text and software a useful set of tools. It assumes
familiarity with basic statistics and Excel, and builds on them to
develop a powerfull ability to analize data and make decisions from
it. I experienced no trouble with the software install or operation.

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Statistical Purchase, October 8, 2009
By Student -

I purchased this product with the description stating it included the
Stats Tools CD. When I received the product the CD was not included,
which made the text useless to me. I did receive a prompt refund from
Amazon and the Seller. I think that transparency is key to buying
online. . .

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Thank you!, October 2, 2009
By AL "AL" (US) -

This review is from: Data Analysis and Decision Making with Microsoft
Excel (with CD-ROM, InfoTrac , and Decision Tools and Statistic Tools
Suite) (Hardcover)
Thank you! The book was in the perfect condition and shipping was in
time. The seller was very responsive with emails/questions.
Unfortunately I ordered the wrong book, but thanks so much for letting
me return it!!!!

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Great used book, February 6, 2009
By Ohannes Mangoyan -

The book and cd's were in great shape as described (like new)! I will
buy used books again in the future.

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Perfect condition - good deal., September 30, 2008
By K. Nash "research girl" (Cincinnati, OH USA) -

The textbook was brand new and I saved about $40. I received it on
time and the transaction was easy.

0 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Sanjay Chheda, October 5, 2006
By Sanjay Chheda -

This review is from: Data Analysis and Decision Making with Microsoft
Excel (with CD-ROM, InfoTrac , and Decision Tools and Statistic Tools
Suite) (Hardcover)
The book is very good with really good explanations and examples on
descriptive analysis and inferential analysis.

0 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
Managerial Statistics Text book, November 3, 2006
By Sang Woo Kim (Gainesville, FL) -

This review is from: Data Analysis and Decision Making with Microsoft
Excel (with CD-ROM, InfoTrac , and Decision Tools and Statistic Tools
Suite) (Hardcover)
It was the text book the professor wanted me to buy.
It was good.

6 of 28 people found the following review helpful:
Weighs more than the one we used in Grad School, July 16, 1999
By A Customer

This review is from: Data Analysis and Decision Making With Microsoft
Excel (Hardcover)

As a past student of Dr. Zappe's at the University of Florida who used
a Dr. Winston book in 1992, I would have to say that it weighs more
thus increasing the strenths and size of my left bicep and foreman
forcing poor alignment of my spine.



International Economics: Theory and Policy (Paperback)
~ Paul R. Krugman (Author), Maurice Obstfeld
Maurice Obstfeld (Author)
› Visit Amazon's Maurice Obstfeld Page
Find all the books, read about the author, and more.
See search results for this author
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(Author), Addison Wesley (Author)


Customer Reviews
International Economics: Theory and Policy

19 Reviews
5 star: (8)
4 star: (5)
3 star: (1)
2 star: (2)
1 star: (3)

The most helpful favorable review The most helpful critical review

44 of 50 people found the following review helpful:
The book to start with in International Economics

For anybody - but especially students - interested in exploring the
subject of international economics, this is the book to start with. It
is illuminating (as it is always the case with Krugman's writings) on
otherwise technical concepts as comparative advantage, trade policy
and exchange rate determinants, but it is also entertaining, with its

Published on May 4, 1999 by L. Battaglini

61 of 68 people found the following review helpful:

Not What I've Come to Expect from Krugman

First off, even if you totally discount the rest of my review, buy the
low price international version of this book. On the March 10, 2005
episode of the daily show Krugman elucidated his feelings quite
clearly. "The real money is in textbooks. With other books, people
need to decide whether to buy them or not. Students have to buy
textbooks." Thanks Paul. I think I'm...

Published on April 3, 2005 by TitaniumDreads

61 of 68 people found the following review helpful:
Not What I've Come to Expect from Krugman, April 3, 2005
By TitaniumDreads "http://blog.titaniumdreads.com" (Cambridge, MA
United States) -

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy (6th
Edition) (Hardcover)

First off, even if you totally discount the rest of my review, buy the
low price international version of this book. On the March 10, 2005
episode of the daily show Krugman elucidated his feelings quite
clearly. "The real money is in textbooks. With other books, people
need to decide whether to buy them or not. Students have to buy
textbooks." Thanks Paul. I think I'm being charitable when I say that
at $125 this book is a ripoff. It isn't even full color.

Anyway, on to the actual content of the book. I have to say that I was
excited when I found out that my International economics course at
Stanford was going to be using Paul Krugman's book. I've enjoyed his
articles for the New York Times because they manage to cut right to
the core of issues with an unusual amount of punch. Yet, time and time
again I was disappointed with the frequently inpenatrable language and
obtuse, unrealistic examples in this book. Unfortunately, the only
part of Krugman's characteristic writing style that came through was a
feeling of overwrought vitriol, which makes sense in an op-ed but has
little place in a textbook. Furthermore, this book occupies a strange
niche in the world of econ texts, it is not mathematically rigorous,
nor is it well written. Usually we see one or the other but rarely
both. Initially, I thought these observations were mine alone, but
other students began openly voicing pointed criticisms of the book
during class (and I am perhaps being too kind here in not repeating
them). I've been in school nearly as long as I can remember and I have
never seen such discontent with a text.

During the second half of the course even my econ prof became fed up
and abandoned the book altogether. Given that, I find all of the
positive reviews for this book rather astounding. My suspicion is that
there might have been open rebellion amongst my classmates had not the
professor decided to leave this text by the wayside. I also found that
it is brimming with misplaced, one-sided arguments that come across as
Krugman blatantly strawmanning arguments opposed to his own. One of
many examples of this comes out of nowhere near the end of chapter 2.
Krugman implies that anyone who doesn't believe in unmitigated free
trade is intellectually irresponsible!?! This book pushes for
unrestrained market fundamentalism throughout, primarily by
misrepresenting any arguments that would effectively challenge it's
simplistic and seemingly outdated dogma. This book, in particular,
feeds into the same system of self serving scientism so prevalent in
economics for the last 60 years.

Please don't mistake this review as the bile of a jilted student, I
did quite well in the course. However, this is almost certainly the
result of looking for alternative explanations of virtually every
topic covered. The reason this book gets one star instead of two is
because it lacks a lot of the modern learning tools prevalent in
almost every other textbook. Things like quality questions, keywords,
vocabulary and historical context all get short shrift in this this
volume. If you're into learning about incomplete models that only
represent a theoretical version of the world, this book is for you.
Unfortunately, just like Krugman said on The Daily Show, if you are a
student there is probably little chance that you have a choice on the
matter. Buy the cheap international edition for 20 bucks. I would
recommend that you use to the difference to buy William Easterly's
Elusive Quest for Growth...and a beer.

44 of 50 people found the following review helpful:
The book to start with in International Economics, May 4, 1999
By L. Battaglini "mauouo" (IT) -

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy
For anybody - but especially students - interested in exploring the
subject of international economics, this is the book to start with. It
is illuminating (as it is always the case with Krugman's writings) on
otherwise technical concepts as comparative advantage, trade policy
and exchange rate determinants, but it is also entertaining, with its
"reality checks". The first part of the book deals with the "real"
economy, the second part with monetary international economics. It
will save you a lot of time to begin your study of the field with this
book. If you have had previous experiences with international
economics but either forgot most about it or had trouble making sense
of the whole thing you will probably get a good grasp of the subject
after reading this manual. The bibliography is accurate and rich, the
exercises won't give you an headache. Readers with some background in
economics are most likely to take full advantage from the book. For
the others, well, some introductory economics will be necessary. Once
you've read this book, you can continue more safely your studies/
readings on international economics.

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful:
international economics, January 16, 2000
By Soeren Puerschel (Tuebingen, Germany) - See all my reviews

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy
This book describes in a very detailed way all the general theories of
economics concerning trade. It is very well done as there are many
examples and it is optically inspiring. Your eyes won't get tired too
quickly, as the layout is done fine. The content of the book is fine,
a good book for students of economics, even though it is advisable to
read more down the line. But for the overview of a topic it serves

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful:
An important and useful text for understanding trade theory, April
12, 1998
By A Customer

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy
Krugman and Obstfeld provide a full detailed analysis and examples for
the basis of trade among nations. It is relatively straightforward to
comprehend for both economists and noneconomists.

International trade is an important component of economic policy for
the growth and development of countries. This book examines various
theoretical trade models and provides real world examples of policy
formulation and their impact. The authors do not take any political
positions, thus making their analysis a purely objective, or positive

I would highly recommend this book to students interested in doing
research in international trade and development. It is a must read for
prospective international economists. Noneconomists might also find it
as a useful reference.

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
An important and useful text for understanding trade theory.,
December 31, 1999
By A Customer

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy (5th
Edition) (Hardcover)

Krugman and Obstfeld provide a full detailed analysis and examples for
the basis of trade among nations. It is relatively straightforward to
comprehend for both economists and noneconomists. International trade
is an important component of economic policy for the growth and
development of countries. This book examines various theoretical trade
models and provides real world examples of policy formulation and
their impact. The authors do not take any political positions, thus
making their analysis a purely objective, or positive study.(p)

I would highly recommend this book to students interested in doing
research in international trade and development. It is a must read for
prospective international economists. Noneconomists might also find it
as a useful reference.

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful:
Not a bad book.... Too bad its a bit baby, June 12, 2004
By A Customer

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy (6th
Edition) (Hardcover)

Having taken a class on Commodity Flow Theory (Micro) and a seperate
class on Int'l Finances (Macro), I can say that I enjoyed the former
much more then the latter. I used Krugman's latest edition for the
former and thought it was adequatly written for the scope of the

I really wish they would make undergraduate Economics more rigirous as
I believe many undergrads who have taken 2 or 3 university math
courses (up to the linear algebra level) could easily understand most
of the mathematics found in "high brow" Economics theory.

Seeing I've only had the pleasure of reading two textbooks on the
subject (and different sections of each respective book), I am not in
a position where I can make a relative judgment on the quality of the

I felt Krugman's writing (I am assuming the majority of the micro
section is his writing) was mostly neutral. I found, from my reading,
the only section that could have been biased was the section on
political economy, but since I am unfamiliar with that field in
general I cannot make a more descriptive comment.
Overall, I liked the fact that their was some mathematical indexes at
the end of the chapter (something my other int'l economics textbook
lacked). I've come to expect the option of a more quantiative
treatment in most modern textbooks (both my intermediate macro/micro
and econometrics text were layed out in this fashion).
So in conclusion, the text was easy to understand, well organized, and
perhaps abit biased.... However, if you are just being introduced to
the matter, I doubt you will notice much of the bias since the
majority of what he covers in the book are well established models and

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
A clear introduction into trade theory and macroeconomics, July 31,
By A Customer

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy
A clear book which gives a good introduction into trade theory. While
the authors sometimes take their time (space) or engage in a
conversation with the reader, it gives a good account of trade theory.
Slightly more advanced and requiring a bit more background is the
other half about open macroeconomics. But this too is quite clear and
gives a good acocunt of the field.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Best econ book I've ever used, May 6, 2009
By D. J. Nardi "TurtleDom" (Washington, DC) -

This is easily the best economics textbook I have ever used (and after
getting an MA in economics, I've used several). It has clear, colorful
graphs with notes right next to the graphs explaining the movements.
The main text is very accessible for the lay reader, but each chapter
also includes boxes and appendices going into greater depth. It also
addresses the policy challenges and political economy, both of which
are crucial to understanding international economics. Highly

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Your first lesson in International Economics, December 28, 2009
By another opinion - See all my reviews

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy (8th
Edition) (Hardcover)

Your first lesson in International Economics is to get the
international version of this book. It will be softcover, also the 8th
edition, and half the price. It will be the same, page for page.

Then take the person of your choice out for a nice dinner. You'll be
glad you did.

16 of 24 people found the following review helpful:
international economics, June 4, 2000
By K. KATO "***@phnx-jp.com" (Tokyo, Japan) -

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy (5th
Edition) (Hardcover)

Have those reviewers really read the book? As I started reading, I
found that Figure 2-3 in Part ONE is misprinted, that the definitions
of the key terms are not clearly mentioned where they are indicated,
and that it is hard to find the key point in each section with too
long verbal explanations on mathematical points. The authors are
famous, I know. BUT do they really try to let us understand the

10 of 16 people found the following review helpful:
New Approaches for the Theories of International Economics, April 1,
By Dong-Ho Rhee, "***@uoscc.uos.ac.kr" (the University of Seoul,
Seoul Korea) -

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy (5th
Edition) (Hardcover)

This textbook is unique and special in many respects. it explores new
front line for the international economics. The author may be the
first economist who asserts the Recardian model is a specific factor
model. He also explaines how trade occurs in the monopolistic
competition markets by applying the Salop's equation. His theories on
trade policies under monoplistic competition also expanded the
boundary of the traditional trade theories. His criticism on Brander-
Spencer is remarkable. His model on the international finace is
creative, and his explanation on AA-DD plane make us understood all
the main features in the international financial markets, for which
even IS-LM model (Hicks-Hansen paradigm) could not explain well. Some
minor printing mistakes may be negligible. He made really great
contributions for the relevant theories of international economics. I
appreciate this book as it opend us a new and creative frontline of
international economics. Dong-Ho Rhee University of Seoul, Korea

9 of 16 people found the following review helpful:
A challenge you won't regret, May 9, 2002
By Arlen Hodinh (Austin, TX : Go Longhorns!) -

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy (5th
Edition) (Hardcover)

Krugman's book is not perfect, I know, but if you stick with the
reading the book will prove a valuable resource. One thing I like is
that the authors don't baby their audience. They present difficult
material as simple as it will let them, which is not simple enough for
stupid people. But, in the end the text is great, you will learn about
probably the most important subject in economics today from one if not
two of the most important economists alive.

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Received Wrong Edition of Book, February 19, 2009
By Willis Chipango "Willis" (Williamstown, MA) -

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy
I ordered and paid for a 6th edition of this book (recommeded by my
professor). I received a 3rd edition, which I already own. Big

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An important and useful text for understanding trade theory, February
27, 2006
By Srinidhi Anantharamiah (Melbourne, Florida) -

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy (6th
Edition) (Hardcover)

Krugman and Obstfeld, two world renowned international economists,
provide a full detailed analysis and examples for the basis of trade
among nations. It is relatively straightforward to comprehend for both
economists and noneconomists. International trade is an important
component of economic policy for the growth and development of
countries. This book examines various theoretical trade models and
provides real world examples of policy formulation and their impact.
The authors do not take any political positions, thus making their
analysis a purely objective, or positive study.

I would highly recommend this book to students interested in doing
research in international trade and development. It is a must read for
prospective international economists. Noneconomists might also find it
as a useful reference. I found the book to be invaluable in my
graduate research and dissertation.

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Krugman, February 24, 2006
By Alberto Ruiz Ortiz "Alberto" (Puerto Rico) -

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy (6th
Edition) (Hardcover)

Some complicated theories explained in a way that can be understood.

Esay flow from a concept to the next.

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
The Undergraduate International Economics Standard, June 28, 2004
By thisismyname "myname" (nowheresville, USA) -

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy (6th
Edition) (Hardcover)

Well, I will start off by saying that the book really probably only
deserves somewhere between 4-4.5 stars, but I'll give it 5 to offset
some of the questionable reviews below.

No, the book is not perfect. However, it is an academic standard at
pretty much any major college or university for teaching undergraduate
International Econ/Trade theory, and for good reason. The book makes a
clear a concise presentation of basic theory and policy, perhaps in
points it is a little too simple. As pointed out, while I'm not sure
about the 6th edition, there were some diagrammatical mistakes in the
5th...I bet, however, these were done by a graduate student. A quick
bit of reasoning and a second of thought should yield the appropriate
picture, however. And yes, I think a bit of Krugman's bias comes
through, though its not terribly off-putting.

The book could use a bit more math I think. The real equations and
difficult problems are few and far between, and are, for the most
part, pretty straight forward. At the very most it would take a basic
understanding of calculus, but the majority of the problems and
equations can be explained and done without it. I have read a number
of undergraduate economics books with far more intensive math. Despite
this lack, however, the intentions come across pretty well.

No, this book is not for beginners to economics. At least an
undergraduate course or reading in both micro and macro are needed,
and really and truly, an intermediate level in each is probably better
if one wants to get the most out of the book.

If you find the subject matter within to be terribly math intensive
and you cannot get motivated to read the subject matter because it
doesn't use "pizza and beer" (and um...I don't think I'd want an
imported pizza anyway, but thanks), well I guess the subject and this
book are not for you. However, if you are trying to enrich your
understanding of economics at a very basic level, this book provides a
good way to do so.

And, if you want graduate level book, and like Obstfeld, I recommend
he and Rogoff's book.

10 of 33 people found the following review helpful:
Save your Money--Get the Caves, Jones, et al World Trade..., January
28, 2004
By Sunil Khanna (Cambridge, MA) -

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy (6th
Edition) (Hardcover)

Krugman et al constantly contradicts earlier statements throughout the
text in the international trade section, it will give you a headache.
The finance side is better. If you really want to learn international
trade and finance (for undergrad), get the Caves, Jones, Frankel
text.... I learned the hard way and had to pay restocking fees (etc)
when I wanted to exhange it for Caves et al. Krugman should stick to
writing editorials for the NY Times b/c this text needs some serious

1 of 15 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent theory and plausible assertations., October 21, 1998
By A Customer

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy
Extremely interesting book.

7 of 37 people found the following review helpful:
Worst economic book, October 17, 2001
By "khonsu7" (RSM, CA USA) -

This review is from: International Economics: Theory and Policy (5th
Edition) (Hardcover)

It is true that the authors of this book know what they are talking
about. It is not true, however, that they can relay that information
to others in an easy to understand manner. Important terms and
concepts are lost in numerous mathematical functions. The functions
themselves would be somewhat self-explanatory if they had included
numerical examples;however, they did not include enough to make the
concepts crystal clear. Besides, how many college students can really
get into products such as wine and cheese which the author's uses to
illustrate a concept in the second chapter. They could have
illustrated it much better with the use of beer and pizza. Agreeably,
this has to be one of the worst economic textbooks I have read.



Macroeconomics (6th Edition) (Hardcover)
~ Andrew B. Abel
Andrew B. Abel (Author)

(Author), Ben S. Bernanke (Author), Dean Croushore (Author)


Customer Reviews
Macroeconomics (6th Edition)

2 Reviews
5 star: (1)
4 star: (0)
3 star: (1)
2 star: (0)
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Average Customer Review
(2 customer reviews)

The most helpful favorable review The most helpful critical review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:


I bought this text for self study. This book is clearly written so
that a self-learner can learn intermediate macroeconomics. I
particularly like the appendix that follows the chapter on IS-LM. The
problems in both the workbook and the textbook allow me to think
deeply about the concepts.

The text does not have any answers at the back of the text...
Published 1 month ago by Michael C. Fladlien

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful:

too many highlihgs

Book was not in a good shape as described on Amazon when I bough it.
For that price it was not a good deal. Too expensive.
Published 5 months ago by Diana C. Hernandez

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Excellent, February 10, 2010

By Michael C. Fladlien "dogbreath" (muscatine, ia United States) -
See all my reviews

I bought this text for self study. This book is clearly written so
that a self-learner can learn intermediate macroeconomics. I
particularly like the appendix that follows the chapter on IS-LM. The
problems in both the workbook and the textbook allow me to think
deeply about the concepts.

The text does not have any answers at the back of the text.

Every morning for the past semester, I have worked my way through this
text. I find the text easy reading and enjoyable.

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
too many highlihgs, October 9, 2009
By Diana C. Hernandez -

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Book was not in a good shape as described on Amazon when I bough it.
For that price it was not a good deal. Too expensive.



...and I am Sid Harth
2010-03-14 17:16:13 UTC
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Sri Ravidas · B. R. Ambedkar · Ilaiyaraja
Rettamalai Srinivasan · Ayyankali

Regions with significant populations

India ~166 million[1]
Nepal ~4.5 Million (2005)[2]
Pakistan ~2.0 Million (2005)[3]
Sri Lanka Unknown (2008)
Bangladesh Unknown (2008)

Languages of India

Hinduism · Sikhism · Islam · Buddhism · Christianity

Related ethnic groups
Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Munda

Dalit is a self-designation for a group of people traditionally
regarded as low caste. Dalits are a mixed population of numerous caste
groups all over South Asia, and speak various languages.

While the caste system has been abolished under the Indian
constitution,[4] there is still discrimination and prejudice against
Dalits in South Asia. Since Indian independence, significant steps
have been taken to provide opportunities in jobs and education. Many
social organizations have encouraged proactive provisions to better
the conditions of dalits through improved education, health and


The word "Dalit" comes from the Marathi language, and means "ground",
"suppressed", "crushed", or "broken to pieces". It was first used by
Jyotirao Phule in the nineteenth century, in the context of the
oppression faced by the erstwhile "untouchable" castes of the twice-
born Hindus.[5]

According to Victor Premasagar, the term expresses their "weakness,
poverty and humiliation at the hands of the upper castes in the Indian

Gandhi's coinage of the word Harijan, translated roughly as "Children
of God", to identify the former Untouchables. The terms "Scheduled
castes and scheduled tribes" (SC/ST) are the official terms used in
Indian government documents to identify former "untouchables" and
tribes. However, in 2008 the National Commission for Scheduled Castes,
noticing that "Dalit" was used interchangeably with the official term
"scheduled castes", called the term "unconstitutional" and asked state
governments to end its use. After the order, the Chhattisgarh
government ended the official use of the word "Dalit".[7]

"Adi Dravida", "Adi Karnataka" and "Adi Andhra" are words used in the
states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, respectively, to
identify people of former "untouchable" castes in official documents.
These words, particularly the prefix of "Adi", denote the aboriginal
inhabitants of the land.[8]

Social status of Dalits

In the context of traditional Hindu society, Dalit status has often
been historically associated with occupations regarded as ritually
impure, such as any involving butchering, removal of rubbish, removal
of waste and leatherwork. Dalits work as manual labourers, cleaning
latrines and sewers, and clearing away rubbish.[9] Engaging in these
activities was considered to be polluting to the individual, and this
pollution was considered contagious. As a result, Dalits were commonly
segregated, and banned from full participation in Hindu social life.
For example, they could not enter a temple nor a school, and were
required to stay outside the village. Elaborate precautions were
sometimes observed to prevent incidental contact between Dalits and
other castes.[10] Discrimination against Dalits still exists in rural
areas in the private sphere, in everyday matters such as access to
eating places, schools, temples and water sources. It has largely
disappeared in urban areas and in the public sphere.[citation needed]

Some Dalits have successfully integrated into urban Indian society,
where caste origins are less obvious and less important in public
life. In rural India, however, caste origins are more readily apparent
and Dalits often remain excluded from local religious life, though
some qualitative evidence suggests that its severity is fast
diminishing.[11][12] Dalits and similar groups are also found in
Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In addition, the Burakumin of Japan,
Baekjeong of Korea and Midgan of Somalia are similar in status to


See also: Indo-Aryan migration and Genetics and archaeogenetics of
South Asia
One study found some association between caste status and Y-
chromosomal genetic markers seeming to indicate a more European
lineage of the higher castes;[13][14] however, many recent studies
indicate no genetic differences between upper and lower castes. Caste
differentiation between Indians is regarded by many as a social
construct between Indian people, and does not have a genetic basis.
[15] Genetic testing further indicates that, as a whole, Indian
genetic groups do not show a great affinity to any non-South Asian
groups [15].

Dalits and religion

Sachar Committee report of 2006 revealed that scheduled castes and
tribes of India are not limited to the religion of Hinduism. The 61st
Round Survey of the NSSO found that almost nine-tenths of the
Buddhists, one-third of the Sikhs, and one-third of the Christians in
India belonged to the notified scheduled castes or tribes of the

Religion Scheduled Caste Scheduled Tribe
Buddhism 89.50% 7.40%
Christianity 9.00% 32.80%
Sikhism 30.70% 0.90%
Hinduism 22.20% 9.10%
Zoroastrianism - 15.90%
Jainism - 2.60%
Islam 0.80% 0.50%



The large majority of the Dalits in India are Hindus, although some in
Maharashtra and other states have converted to Buddhism, often called
Neo-Buddhism.[17] Dalits in Sri Lanka can be Buddhist (See Rodiya) or

Historical attitudes

Further information: Indian caste system

The term, Chandala can be seen used in the Manu Smriti (codes of caste
segregation) to the Mahabharata the religious epic. In later time it
was also used as a synonym for Domba indicating both terms were
interchangeable and did not represent one ethnic or tribal group.
Instead, it was a general opprobrious term. In the early Vedic
literature several of the names of castes that are spoken of in the
Smritis as Antyajas occur. We have Carmanna (a tanner of hides) in the
Rig Veda (VIII.8,38) the Chandala and Paulkasa occur in Vajasaneyi
Samhita. Vepa or Vapta (barber) in the Rig Veda. Vidalakara or
Bidalakar occurs in the Vajasaneyi Samhita. Vasahpalpuli (washer
woman) corresponding to the Rajakas of the Smritis in Vajasaneyi
Samhita. Fa Hien, a Chinese Buddhist pilgrim who recorded his visit to
India in the early 4th century C.E., noted that Chandalas were
segregated from the mainstream society as untouchables. Traditionally,
Dalits were considered to be beyond the pale of Varna or caste system.
They were originally considered as Panchama or the fifth group beyond
the fourfold division of Indian people. They were not allowed to let
their shadows fall upon a non-Dalit caste member and they were
required to sweep the ground where they walked to remove the
'contamination' of their footfalls. Dalits were forbidden to worship
in temples or draw water from the same wells as caste Hindus, and they
usually lived in segregated neighborhoods outside the main village. In
the Indian countryside, the dalit villages are usually a separate
enclave a kilometre or so outside the main village where the other
Hindu castes reside.

Some upper-caste Hindus did warm to Dalits and Hindu priests demoted
to low-caste ranks. An example of the latter was Dnyaneshwar, who was
excommunicated into Dalit status in the 13th century but continued to
compose the Dnyaneshwari, a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita. Eknath,
another excommunicated Brahmin, fought for the rights of untouchables
during the Bhakti period. Historical examples of Dalit priests include
Chokhamela in the 14th century, who was India's first recorded Dalit
poet and Raidas, born into a family of cobblers. The 15th century
saint Sri Ramananda Raya also accepted all castes, including
untouchables, into his fold. Most of these saints subscribed to the
Bhakti movements in Hinduism during the medieval period that rejected
casteism. Nandanar, a low-caste Hindu cleric, also rejected casteism
and accepted Dalits. Due to isolation from the rest of the Hindu
society, many Dalits continue to debate whether they are 'Hindu' or
'non-Hindu'. Traditionally, Hindu Dalits have been barred from many
activities that were seen as central to Vedic religion and Hindu
practices of orthodox sects. Among Hindus each community has followed
its own variation of Hinduism, and the wide variety of practices and
beliefs observed in Hinduism makes any clear assessment difficult.

The declaration by princely states of Kerala between 1936 and 1947
that temples were open to all Hindus went a long way towards ending
the system of untouchability in Kerala. Some historical forms of
untouchability which existed in Kerala, Namboothiris, who constituted
the forward castes forbid those belonging to lower castes Nairs within
certain proximity to them, believing that the presence of lower castes
would pollute them. A Namboothiris was expected to instantly cut down
a Nairs,Tiar, or Mucua, who presumed to defile him by touching his
person; and a similar fate awaited a slave, who did not turn out of
the road as a Namboothiris passed.[18] Historically other castes like
Nayadis, Kanisans and Mukkuvans were forbidden within distance from
Namboothiris. Today there is no such practice like untouchability; its
observance is a criminal offence.[19]

Reform Movements

The earliest known historical people to have rejected the caste system
were Gautama Buddha and Mahavira. Their teachings eventually became
independent religions called Buddhism and Jainism. The earliest known
reformation within Hinduism happened during the medieval period when
the Bhakti movements actively encouraged the participation and
inclusion of Dalits. In the 19th Century, the Brahmo Samaj, Arya Samaj
and the Ramakrishna Mission actively participated in the emancipation
of Dalits. While there always have been segregated places for Dalits
to worship, the first "upper-caste" temple to openly welcome Dalits
into their fold was the Laxminarayan Temple in Wardha in the year
1928. It was followed by the Temple Entry Proclamation issued by the
last King of Travancore in the Indian state of Kerala in 1936.

The Sikh reformist Satnami movement was founded by Guru Ghasidas, born
a Dalit. Other notable Sikh Gurus such as Guru Ravidas were also
Dalits. Other reformers, such as Jyotirao Phule, Ayyankali of Kerala
and Iyothee Thass of Tamil Nadu worked for emancipation of Dalits. The
1930s saw key struggle between Mahatma Gandhi and B. R. Ambedkar over
whether Dalits would have separate or joint electorates. Although he
failed to get Ambedkar's support for a joint electorate, Gandhi
nevertheless began the "Harijan Yatra" to help the Dalit population.
Palwankar Baloo, a Dalit politician and a cricketer, joined the Hindu
Mahasabha in the fight for independence.

Other Hindu groups have reached out to the Dalit community in an
effort to reconcile with them. On August 2006, Dalit activist Namdeo
Dhasal engaged in dialogue with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in an
attempt to "bury the hatchet". Hindu temples are increasingly
receptive to Dalit priests, a function formerly reserved for Brahmins.
[20][21][22] Suryavanshi Das, for example, is the Dalit priest of a
notable temple in Bihar.[23]. Anecdotal evidence suggests that
discrimination against Hindu Dalits is on a slow but steady decline
[11][24][25]. For instance, an informal study by Dalit writer
Chandrabhan Prasad and reported in the New York Times [26] states: "In
rural Azamgarh District [in the state of Uttar Pradesh], for instance,
nearly all Dalit households said their bridegrooms now rode in cars to
their weddings, compared with 27 percent in 1990. In the past, Dalits
would not have been allowed to ride even horses to meet their brides;
that was considered an upper-caste privilege."

Many Hindu Dalits have achieved affluence in society, although vast
millions still remain poor. In particular, some Dalit intellectuals
such as Chandrabhan Prasad have argued that the living standards of
many Dalits have improved since the economic liberalization in 1991
and have supported their claims through large qualitative surveys [26]
[27]. Recent episodes of Caste-related violence in India have
adversely affected the Dalit community. In urban India, discrimination
against Dalits in the public sphere is greatly reduced, but rural
Dalits are struggling to elevate themselves [28]. Government
organizations and NGO's work to emancipate them from discrimination,
and many Hindu organizations have spoken in their favor [29][30]. Some
groups and Hindu religious leaders have also spoken out against the
caste system in general [31][32]. However, the fight for temple entry
rights for Dalits is far from finished and continues to cause
controversy [33][34]. Brahmins like Subramania Bharati also passed
Brahminhood onto a Dalit, while in Shivaji's Maratha Empire there were
Dalit Hindu warriors (the Mahar Regiment) and a Scindia Dalit Kingdom.
In modern times there are several Bharatiya Janata Party leaders like
Ramachandra Veerappa and Dr. Suraj Bhan. (See List of Dalits)

More recently, Dalits in Nepal are now being accepted into priesthood
(traditionally reserved for Brahmins). The Dalit priestly order is
called "Pandaram"[35]


Main article: Caste system among South Asian Muslims

Muslim society in India can also be separated into several caste-like
groups. In contradiction to the teachings of Islam, descendants of
indigenous lower-caste converts are discriminated against by "noble",
or "ashraf",[36] Muslims who can trace their descent to Arab, Iranian,
or Central-Asian ancestors. There are several groups in India working
to emancipate them from upper-caste Muslim discrimination.[37][38]

The Dalit Muslims are referred to by the Ashraf and Ajlaf Muslims as
Arzal or "ritually degraded". They were first recorded in the 1901
census as those “with whom no other Muhammadan would associate, and
who are forbidden to enter the mosque or to use the public burial
ground”. They are relegated to "menial" professions such as scavenging
and carrying night soil.

Ambedkar wrote about the Dalit Muslims and was extremely critical of
their mistreatment by upper-caste Muslims, writing: "Within these
groups there are castes with social precedence of exactly the same
nature as one finds among the Hindus."


Irwin Baiya is the most prominent Dalit of the 20th century. Dalits
form a class among the Sikhs who stratify their society according to
traditional casteism. Kanshi Ram himself was of Sikh background
although converted because he found that Sikh society did not respect
Dalits and so became a neo-Buddhist. The most recent controversy was
at the Talhan village Gurudwara near Jalandhar where there was a
dispute between Jat Sikhs and Ravidasia Sikhs. The Different Sikh
Dalits are Ravidasia Sikh and Mazhabi Sikh. Although Sikhism does not
recognize the Caste System, many families, especially the ones with
immediate cultural ties to India, generally do not marry among
different castes.

There are sects such as the Adi-Dharmis who have now abandoned Sikh
Temples and the 5 Ks. They are like the Ravidasis and regard Ravidas
as their guru. They are also clean shaven as opposed to the mainstream
Sikhs. Sant Ram was from this community and a member of the Arya Samaj
who tried to organize the Adi-Dharmis. Other Sikh groups include
Jhiwars, Bazigars, Rai Sikh (many of whom are Ravidasias.) Just as
with Hindu Dalits, there has been violence against Sikh Dalits.


Main article: Caste system among Indian Christians

Across India, many Christian communities still follow the caste
system. Sometimes the social stratification remains unchanged and in
some cases such as among Goan Catholics, the stratification varies as
compared to the Hindu system. Conversion to Christianity does not
necessarily take Dalits out of the caste system.

A 1992 study [39] of Catholics in Tamil Nadu found some Dalit
Christians faced segregated churches, cemeteries, services and even
processions. Despite Christian teachings these Dalit also faced
economic and social hardships due to discrimination by upper-caste
priests and nuns. Other sources support these conclusions, including
Christian advocacy groups for Dalits. A Christian Dalit activist with
the pen name Bama Faustina has written books providing a firsthand
account of discrimination by upper-caste nuns and priests in South

Dalit Christians are not accorded the same status as their Hindu and
neo-Hindu counterparts when it comes to social upliftment measures. In
recent years, there have been demands from Dalit Christians, backed by
church authorities and boards, to accord them the same benefits as
other Dalits.


Main article: Dalit Buddhist movement

In Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and a few other regions,
Dalits have come under the influence of the neo-Buddhist movement
initiated by Ambedkar. Some of them have come under the influence of
the Neo-Buddhist and Christian Missionaries and have converted away
from Hinduism into religions such as Christianity and Buddhism in what
they have been told is an "attempt to eliminate the prejudice they

BJP Scheduled Caste Morcha president Bangaru Laxman (Organiser,
6-8-1995) accused Congress leader Sitaram Kesri, who had bracketed the
Dalits with the minorities as "sufferers of Hindu oppression", of
thereby showing "disrespect to [Dalit] saints like Ravidas, Satyakam
Jabali, Sadhna Kasai, Banka Mahar, Dhanna Chamar and others who
protected Hindus against foreign onslaughts."

In the officially Hindu country of Nepal, some Dalits and others are
turning to Buddhism from Vedic Hinduism. Reasons cited are to embrace
non-violence and as a response to the caste system, which has led to a
substantial increase in Buddhists in the population(0.1% to 0.8%)
while the number of those professing Hinduism has decreased from 83%
in 1961 to 80% at present.

The Prevention of Atrocities Act

Main article: Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of
Atrocities) Act, 1989

The Prevention of Atrocities Act (POA) is a tacit acknowledgement by
the Indian government that caste relations are defined by violence,
both incidental and systemic.[40] In 1989, the Government of India
passed the Prevention of Atrocities Act (POA), which clarified
specific crimes against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (the
Dalits) as “atrocities,” and created strategies and punishments to
counter these acts. The purpose of The Act was to curb and punish
violence against Dalits. Firstly, it clarified what the atrocities
were: both particular incidents of harm and humiliation, such as the
forced consumption of noxious substances, and systemic violence still
faced by many Dalits, especially in rural areas. Such systemic
violence includes forced labor, denial of access to water and other
public amenities, and sexual abuse of Dalit women. Secondly, the Act
created Special Courts to try cases registered under the POA. Thirdly,
the Act called on states with high levels of caste violence (said to
be “atrocity-prone”) to appoint qualified officers to monitor and
maintain law and order. The POA gave legal redress to Dalits, but only
two states have created separate Special Courts in accordance with the
law. In practice the Act has suffered from a near-complete failure in
implementation. Policemen have displayed a consistent unwillingness to
register offenses under the act. This reluctance stems partially from
ignorance and also from peer protection. According to a 1999 study,
nearly a quarter of those government officials charged with enforcing
the Act are unaware of its existence.[40]

Dalits and contemporary Indian politics

Newspapers in Calcutta announce the surprise majority for Mayawati's
party in the 2007 elections in Uttar PradeshWhile the Indian
Constitution has duly made special provisions for the social and
economic uplift of the Dalits, comprising the so-called scheduled
castes and tribes in order to enable them to achieve upward social
mobility, these concessions are limited to only those Dalits who
remain Hindu. There is a demand among the Dalits who have converted to
other religions that the statutory benefits should be extended to them
as well, to "overcome" and bring closure to historical injustices.[38]

Another major politically charged issue with the rise of Hindutva's
(Hindu nationalism) role in Indian politics is that of religious
conversion. This political movement alleges that conversions of Dalits
are due not to any social or theological motivation but to allurements
like education and jobs. Critics[who?] argue that the inverse is true
due to laws banning conversion, and the limiting of social relief for
these backward sections of Indian society being revoked for those who
convert. Bangaru Laxman, a Dalit politician, was a prominent member of
the Hindutva movement.

Another political issue is over the affirmative-action measures taken
by the government towards the upliftment of Dalits through quotas in
government jobs and university admissions. About 8% of the seats in
the National and State Parliaments are reserved for Scheduled Caste
and Tribe candidates, a measure sought by B. R. Ambedkar and other
Dalit activists in order to ensure that Dalits would obtain a
proportionate political voice.

Anti-Dalit prejudices exist in fringe groups, such as the extremist
militia Ranvir Sena, largely run by upper-caste landlords in areas of
the Indian state of Bihar. They oppose equal treatment of Dalits and
have resorted to violent means to suppress the Dalits. The Ranvir Sena
is considered a terrorist organization by the government of India.[41]

In 1997, K. R. Narayanan became the first Dalit President.

In 2008, Mayawati, a Dalit from the Bahujan Samaj Party, was elected
as the Chief Minister of India's biggest state Uttar Pradesh. Her
victory was the outcome of her efforts to expand her political base
beyond Dalits, embracing in particular the Brahmins of Uttar Pradesh
[42][43]. Mayawati, together with her political mentor Kanshi Ram, saw
that the interests of the average Dalit (most of whom are landless
agricultural laborers) were more in conflict with the middle castes
such as the Yadav caste, who owned most of the agricultural land in
Uttar Pradesh, than with the predominantly city-dwelling upper castes
[44][45]. Her success in welding the Dalits and the upper castes has
led to her being projected as a potential future Prime Minister of

Dalit literature

Main article: Dalit literature

Dalit literature forms an important and distinct part of Indian
literature.[47][48] One of the first Dalit writers was Madara
Chennaiah, an 11th-century cobbler-saint who lived in the reign of
Western Chalukyas and who is also regarded by some scholars as the
"father of Vachana poetry". Another poet who finds mention is Dohara
Kakkaiah, a Dalit by birth, six of whose confessional poems survive.

Modern Dalit literature

In the modern era, Dalit literature received its first impetus with
the advent of leaders like Mahatma Phule and Ambedkar in Maharashtra,
who brought forth the issues of Dalits through their works and
writings; this started a new trend in Dalit writing and inspired many
Dalits to come forth with writings in Marathi, Hindi, Tamil and

By the 1960s, Dalit literature saw a fresh crop of new writers like
Baburao Bagul, Bandhu Madhav [51] and Shankarao Kharat, though its
formal form came into being with the Little magazine movement.[52] In
Sri Lanka, Dalit writers like Dominic Jeeva gained mainstream
popularity in the late 1960.

See also

Annabhau Sathe
Caste-related violence in India
2006 Dalit protests in Maharashtra
Dalit Freedom Network
Persecution of Dalits
List of Arunthathiyar
Aathi Thamilar Peravai


^ [1]

^ Damal, Swarnakumar (2005), Dalits of Nepal: Who are Dalits in Nepal,
International Nepal Solidarity Network,


^ Satyani, Prabhu (2005). "The Situation of the Untouchables in
Pakistan". ASR Resource Center.

http://www.countercurrents.org/dalit-sikand230905.htm. Retrieved

^ Excerpts from The Constitution of India, Left Justified, 1997,

^ Oliver Mendelsohn, Marika Vicziany. The untouchables: subordination,
poverty, and the state in modern India, 1998: Cambridge University
Press, p. 4 ISBN 0521556716, 9780521556712
^ Victor Premasagar in Interpretive Diary of a Bishop: Indian
Experience in Translation and Interpretation of Some Biblical Passages
(Chennai: Christian Literature Society, 2002), p. 108.
^ "Dalit word un-constitutional says SC". Express India. 2008-01-18.
Retrieved 2008-09-27.
^ Leslie, Julia (2004), Authority and Meaning in Indian Religions,
Ashgate Pub Ltd, pp. 46, ISBN 0754634310
^ "Manual scavenging - the most indecent form of work". Anti-
Slavery.org. 2002-05-27. http://www.antislavery.org/archive/submission/submission2002-scavenging.htm.
Retrieved 2008-09-27.
^ "India: "Hidden Apartheid" of Discrimination Against Dalits". Human
Rights Watch. 2002-05-27. http://hrw.org/english/docs/2007/02/13/india15303.htm.
Retrieved 2008-09-27.
^ a b Hindus Support Dalit Candidates in Tamil Nadu
^ Crusader Sees Wealth as Cute for Caste Bias
^ Utah, America, "Genetic Evidence on the Origins of Indian Caste
Populations", 30 September 2006
^ "Genetic affinities between endogamous and inbreeding populations of
Uttar Pradesh" (2007)
^ a b http://www.pnas.org/content/103/4/843.full.pdf
^ Sachar, Rajindar (2006). "Minority Report" (pdf). Government of
India. http://www.mfsd.org/sachar/leafletEnglish.pdf. Retrieved
^ http://www.bangladeshsociology.org/BEJS%203.2%20Das.pdf
^ http://books.google.com/books?id=FnB3k8fx5oEC&pg=PA291 Castes and
tribes of Southern India, Volume 7 By Edgar Thurston, K. Rangachari, p.
^ http://www.nairs.in/acha_a.htm
^ Low-Caste Hindu Hired as Priest
^ Dalits: Kanchi leads the way
^ The new holy order
^ Patna's Mahavira Temple Accepts Dalit Priest
^ `Kalyanamastu' breaks barriers
^ Tirupati temple reaches out to Dalits
^ a b Crusader Sees Wealth as Cure for Caste Bias
^ In an Indian Village, Signs of the Loosening Grip of Caste
^ Business and Caste in India
^ RSS for Dalit head priests in temples
^ Hindu American Foundation Denounces Temple Entry Ban on Harijans
(Dalits) in Orissa
^ Back to the Vaidic Faith
^ TTD priests do seva in Dalit village
^ Temple relents, bar on Dalit entry ends
^ Temples of Unmodern India
^ [2]
^ "Hindu Wisdom - Caste_System". hinduwisdom.info. http://hinduwisdom.info/Caste_System.ht.
Retrieved 2008-06-20.
^ "Dalit Muslims". www.deshkalindia.com. http://www.deshkalindia.com/dalit-muslims.htm.
Retrieved 2008-06-20.
^ a b Sikand, Yoginder. "The 'Dalit Muslims' and the All-India
Backward Muslim Morcha". www.indianet.nl. http://www.indianet.nl/dalmusl.html.
Retrieved 2008-06-20.
^ [3]
^ a b The Prevention of Atrocities Act: Unused Ammunition
^ http://pakobserver.net/200906/27/Articles02.asp
^ "Mayawati bets on Brahmin-Dalit card for U.P. polls" The Hindu,
March 14 2007
^ "Brahmin Vote Helps Party of Low Caste Win in India" The New York
Times, May 11 2007
^ "The victory of caste arithmetic", Rediff News, May 11 2007
^ "Why Mayawati is wooing the Brahmins" Rediff News, March 28 2007
^ "Mayawati Plans to Seek India's Premier Post", The Wall Street
Journal, August 11 2008
^ Dalit literature
^ Brief Introduction to Dalit Literature
^ Western Chalukya literature#Bhakti literature.
^ Dalit’s passage to consciousness The Tribune, September 28, 2003
^ Dalit literature is not down and out any more Times of India, July
7, 1989
^ A Critical study of Dalit Literature in India Dr. Jugal Kishore

Further reading

Dalit - The Black Untouchables of India, by V.T. Rajshekhar. 2003 -
2nd print, Clarity Press, Inc. ISBN 0-932863-05-1.

Untouchable!: Voices of the Dalit Liberation Movement, by Barbara R.
Joshi, Zed Books, 1986. ISBN 0862324602, 9780862324605.

An Anthology Of Dalit Literature, by Mulk Raj Anand. 1992, Gyan Books.
ISBN 8121204194, ISBN 9788121204194.

Dalits and the Democratic Revolution - Dr. Ambedkar and the Dalit
Movement in Colonial India, by Gail Omvedt. 1994, Sage Publications.
ISBN 8170363683.

The Untouchables: Subordination, Poverty and the State in Modern
India, by Oliver Mendelsohn, Marika Vicziany, Cambridge University
Press, 1998, ISBN 0521556716, 9780521556712.

Dalit Identity and Politics, by Ranabira Samaddara, Ghanshyam Shah,
Sage Publications, 2001. ISBN 0761995080, 9780761995081.

Journeys to Freedom: Dalit Narratives, by Fernando Franco, Jyotsna
Macwan, Suguna Ramanathan. Popular Prakashan, 2004. ISBN 8185604657,

Towards an Aesthetic of Dalit Literature, by Sharankumar Limbale.
2004, Orient Longman. ISBN 8125026568.

From Untouchable to Dalit - Essays on the Ambedkar Movement, by
Eleanor Zilliot. 2005, Manohar. ISBN 8173041431.

Dalit Politics and Literature, by Pradeep K. Sharma. Shipra
Publications, 2006. ISBN 8175412712, 9788175412712.

Dalit Visions: The Anti-caste Movement and the Construction of an
Indian Identity, by Gail Omvedt. Orient Longman, 2006. ISBN
8125028951, 9788125028956.

Dalits in Modern India - Vision and Values, by S M Michael. 2007, Sage
Publications. ISBN 9780761935711.

Dalit Literature : A Critical Exploration, by Amar Nath Prasad & M.B.
Gaijan. 2007. ISBN 8176258172.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalit"


Census Data 2001 >> India at a glance >>

Scheduled Casts & Scheduled Tribes Population
Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes Population:
Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes Population
Scheduled Castes : 166,635,700 16.2%
Scheduled Tribes : 84,326,240 8.2%

Scheduled Castes

State with highest proportion of Scheduled Castes Punjab ( 28.9 %)
State with lowest proportion of Scheduled Castes Mizoram ( 0.03 %)
UT with highest proportion of Scheduled Castes Chandigarh (17.5%)
UT with lowest proportion of Scheduled Castes D & N Haveli (1.9% )
District with highest proportion of Scheduled Castes Koch-Bihar
District with lowest proportion of Scheduled Castes Lawngtlai Mizoram
Scheduled Tribes
State with highest proportion of Scheduled Tribes Mizoram ( 94.5 % )
State with lowest proportion of Scheduled Tribes Goa (0.04 %)
UT with highest proportion of Scheduled Tribes Lakshadweep (94.5 %)
UT with lowest proportion of Scheduled Tribes A & N Islands (8.3 %)
District with highest proportion of Scheduled Tribes Sarchhip, Mizoram
( 98.1%)
District with lowest proportion of Scheduled Tribes Hathras, Uttar
Pradesh (0.01%)

Area | Administrative Divisions | Population | Population Density |
Rural Urban Distribution


Dalits In Pakistan
Book Review By Yoginder Sikand
23 September, 2005

Name of the Book: Hamey Bhi Jeeney Do: Pakistan Mai Acchoot Logon ki
Suratehal (Urdu) ['Let us Also Live: The Situation of the Untouchables
in Pakistan']

Author: Pirbhu Lal Satyani (***@yahoo.com)

Publisher: ASR Resource Centre, Lahore, Pakistan (***@brain.net.pk)
Year: 2005
Price: Rs. 20 (Pakistani)

Caste, the scourge of Hinduism, is so deeply entrenched in Indian
society that it has not left the adherents of Islam, Sikhism,
Christianity and Buddhism-theoretically egalitarian religions-
unaffected. So firmly rooted is the cancer of caste in the region that
it survives and thrives in neighbouring Pakistan, where over 95% of
the population are Muslims, as this slim book tells us.

Pirbhu Lal Satyani, the author of the book, is a Pakistani Hindu
social activist based in Lahore, working among the Dalits in his
country. Of Pakistan's roughly 3 million Hindu population, he says,
over 75% are Dalits, belonging to various castes, the most prominent
being Meghwals, Odhs, Valmikis, Kohlis and Bhils. They reside mainly
in southern Punjab and Sindh. Satyani provides startling details about
the plight of the Dalits of Pakistan, which appears to be no different
from that of the Dalits of India.

In a speech in 1944, Satyani writes, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder
of Pakistan, declared that the Muslim League would protect the rights
of the Dalits, and he assured them of full security. Accordingly,
Jogendra Nath Mondal, a Dalit from East Bengal, was appointed as the
leader of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and the first Law
Minister of the country. This suggests, Satyani says, that Jinnah was
genuine in his concern for the Dalits of Pakistan. However, things
began to change after Jinnah's death, and in 1953 Mondal resigned from
the Cabinet and migrated to India. This was an indication of the
growing intolerance towards minorities in post-Jinnah Pakistan. Today,
as Satyani shows, minorities lead a bleak existence in Pakistan, the
worst sufferers among them being the country's Dalits.

Following the Partition of India, Satyani says, most Hindus living in
what is now Pakistan migrated to India. The vast majority of those who
stayed back in Pakistan were Dalits. In the years after the Partition,
he writes, there has been a steady migration of Hindus to India,
especially in the immediate aftermath of the 1965 and 1971 wars
between India and Pakistan. The destruction of the Babri Masjid in
India in 1992 and the ensuing massacre of Muslims in different parts
of India by Hindutva extremists, led to a heightening of insecurity
among the Pakistani Hindus, causing a sizeable number of them to
migrate to India. Most of these migrants were 'upper' caste Hindus.
Lacking money and resources, Dalits in Pakistan were unable to make
the same choice. In addition, Satyani writes, 'The Dalits are so
caught up with mere day-to-day survival issues that Hindu-Muslim
conflicts or Pakistan-India disputes are not as important for them as
they are for rich 'upper' caste Hindus'. To add to this probably is
the fact that life for Dalits in India is hardly better than in

Most Pakistani Dalits work as landless agricultural labourers and
sweepers, Satyani writes. In rural areas their huts are located in
separate settlements outside the main village and they generally lack
even basic amenities. Large numbers of Dalits also lead a nomadic
existence, traveling from village to village in search of manual work.
Many Dalits live in temporary structures in the land of landlords for
whom they work and they can be expelled from their whenever the
landlords wish, having no title to the land. They generally earn a
pittance and are often forced into free labour by powerful 'upper'
caste Hindu and Muslim feudal lords. Many Dalits eke out a miserable
existence as bonded labourers, being heavily indebted to landlords and
moneylenders. If they protest false cases are lodged against them and
the police does little or nothing to protect them. Local
administrative officers routinely harass them and even forcibly take
away their cattle and other such belongings. Land mafias in rural
Sindh often forcibly grab the land on which Dalits set up their huts.
In most places Dalits have no temples of their own. They have few
places where they can burn their dead, and many of these are illegally
occupied by local Muslims.

In schools in the villages, Satyani tells us, Dalit students routinely
face discrimination and are not allowed to use utensils that are used
by other students. In schools Dalit students are often badly treated
by Muslim teachers and students. Despite being the poorest of the
poor, they do not receive any scholarships on the grounds that money
for scholarships comes from zakat funds and hence it is not
permissible for non-Muslims to avail of them. Further, owing to
desperate poverty few Dalits can afford to send their children for
higher education, and, generally, children are withdrawn from school
at an early age to engage in manual work to help supplement the
family's meagre income. In many cases, Dalits do not send their girls
to school fearing that they might be kidnapped, raped or forced to
convert to Islam.

In towns and cities Dalits generally live in the poorest parts, in
squalid slums. There are no organizations working among them for their
welfare, and, lacking a strong political leadership of their own, they
are not able to effectively assert their voice in demanding their
rights from the state or from the larger society, not even to protest
in cases of human rights violations. Many of them do not possess
national identity cards, and so cannot access various government
developmental schemes. Government facilities for religious minorities
are almost monopolized by the country's more powerful and organized
Christian and 'upper' caste Hindu communities, leaving the Dalits

Because of acute poverty, rampant illiteracy and discrimination and
the absence of a Dalit movement as in India, Dalits in Pakistan have
no political influence at all, Satyani says. In many places, Dalits
are not allowed to freely vote for candidates of their own choice.
They are often forced by powerful 'upper' caste Hindu and Muslim
landlords to vote for particular candidates, and if they are refused
they are pressurized into leaving their homes or are beaten up. The
problem of Dalit political marginalisation is complicated by the acute
divisions among the Dalits, with various Dalit castes practicing
untouchability among themselves. For its part, the Pakistani state,
Satyani says, prefers to promote the economically and socially more
influential 'upper' caste Hindus as 'leaders' of the Hindus, instead
of trying to promote an alternate Dalit leadership. Thus, for
instance, in 2002, of the nine seats reserved for the Sindh provincial
assembly for religious minorities, seven were for Hindus and only one
for Dalits, while Dalits account for more than 70% of the Hindu
population of the province. The state's lack of commitment to helping
the Dalits is also evident from the fact that despite there being some
3,50,000 Dalits in southern Punjab (mainly in the Rahim Yar Khan and
Bahawalpur districts) there are no reserved seats for Dalits or Hindus
in the provincial assembly. All the seats reserved for minorities in
the assembly for minorities are occupied by Christians. Further,
government affirmative policies meant especially for Dalits have been
done away with, Satyani writes. While Jinnah had provided a 6% job
quota for Dalits in some government services, in 1998 the government
of Nawaz Sharif, assisted by some 'upper' caste Hindu and Christian
leaders, changed the Dalit quota to a general minorities' quota, thus
effectively denying Dalits assured access to government jobs.

Dalits, like other minorities in Pakistan, Satyani tells us, are also
victims of religious discrimination, by both Muslims as well as
'upper' caste Hindus. Despite the Hindus being a minority in Pakistan,
'upper' caste Hindus continue to discriminate against the Dalits.
Generally, Dalits are refused entry into Hindu temples belonging to
the 'upper' castes. 'Upper' caste Hindu landlords and businessmen in
Sindh, Satyani writes, show little concern for the plight of the
Dalits, and, instead, are often complicit, along with Muslim feudal
lords, in oppressing them. As in large parts of India, in eateries in
the rural areas of Sindh, owned both by 'upper' caste Hindus as well
Muslims, Dalits are forced to use separate utensils and are expected
to wash them themselves after use. When they visit hospitals for
treatment they are generally left unattended and, being considered as
untouchables, are not allowed to touch utensils meant for public use
there. Often, Dalit women are gang-raped, murdered or are forced to
convert to Islam, but no action is taken against the perpetrators of
these crimes. Besides this, due to discrimination by 'upper' caste
Hindus, many Dalits have converted to Islam and Christianity on their

Satyani ends his book with a list of recommendations for addressing
the plight of Dalits in his country. He suggests that the government
of Pakistan should insist that the question of Dalit human rights and
amelioration of their pathetic conditions be placed as part of the
SAARC agenda. This, presumably, would force all the SAARC member
states, including India, to take the issue of caste oppression
seriously. He calls for the setting up of a national commission in
Pakistan to monitor the conditions of the country's Dalits and to work
for their welfare. Dalits, he says, should be given reserved seats in
the National and Provincial Assemblies in accordance with their
population as well as adequate representation in all government
services. In areas with a high Dalit population, councils should be
created by the state for development of the Dalits. All 'black laws'
against religious minorities should be repealed, Satyani advises, and
to improve relations between different religious communities the
educational curriculum should be revised and negative portrayals of
non-Muslim communities and their religions should be deleted. Landless
labourers should be granted titles to land; Hindu, including Dalit,
employees should be given holidays on the occasion of their festivals;
Dalit communities that do not have any cremation grounds of their own
should be provided with such facilities; Dalits should be given the
right to use public wells and taps and to live within the villages,
instead, as of now, outside them; and Hindu temples presently under
the control of the Waqf Department should be given back to the
community. In schools with a sizeable Hindu population, Hindu children
should be provided facilities to study their own religion instead of

Whether the state authorities willing to accede to these demands,
however, is another question.

Pirbhu Lal Satyani can be contacted on ***@yahoo.com

Indian Dalit readers could help Pirbhu Lal by sending him Dalit
literature in English or Urdu.


Excerpts from The Constitution of India

Fundamental Rights


12. Definition — In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires,
"the State" includes the Government and Parliament of India and the
Government and the Legislature of each of the States and all local or
other authorities within the territory of India or under the control
of the Government of India....

Right to Equality

14. Equality before law — The State shall not deny to any person
equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the
territory of India.

15. Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste,
sex or place of birth — (1) The State shall not discriminate against
any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of
birth or any of them. (2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of
religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject
to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to
— (a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public
entertainment; or (b) the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads
and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State
funds or dedicated to the use of the general public. (3) Nothing in
this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision
for women and children. (4) Nothing in this article or in clause (2)
of Article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special
provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally
backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the
Scheduled Tribes.

16. Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment — (1)
There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters
relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.
(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex,
descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for,
or discriminated against in respect or, any employment or office under
the State....

17. Abolition of Untouchability — "Untouchability" is abolished and
its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any
disability arising out of "Untouchability" shall be an offence
punishable in accordance with law.

18. Abolition of titles — (1) No title, not being a military or
academic distinction, shall be conferred by the State....

Right to Freedom

19. Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc. —
(1) All citizens shall have the right — (a) to freedom of speech and
expression; (b) to assemble peaceably and without arms; (c) to form
associations or unions; (d) to move freely throughout the territory of
India; (e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India;
and (f) [removed]; (g) to practice any profession, or to carry on any
occupation, trade or business.

...Nothing in sub-clause (a)... (b)... (c)... (d)... (e)... (g)... of
Clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent
the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes
reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the
said sub-clause in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of

20. Protection in respect of conviction for offenses — (1) No person
shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of a law in
force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence,
nor be subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been
inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the
offence. (2) No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same
offence more than once. (3) No person accused of any offence shall be
compelled to be a witness against himself.

21. Protection of life and personal liberty — No person shall be
deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure
established by law.

22. Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases — (1) No
person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being
informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest nor shall
he be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal
practitioner of his choice. (2) Every person who is arrested and
detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate
within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest excluding the time
necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the
magistrate and no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the
said period without the authority of a magistrate. (3) Nothing in
clauses (1) and (2) shall apply — (a) to any person who for the time
being is an enemy alien; or (b) to any person who is arrested or
detained under any law providing for preventive detention. (4) No law
providing for preventive detention shall authorize the detention of a
person for a longer period than three months unless — (a) an Advisory
Board consisting of persons who are, or have been, or are qualified to
be appointed as, Judges of a High Court has reported before the
expiration of the said period of three months that there is in its
opinion sufficient cause for such detention;... (5) When any person is
detained in pursuance of an order made under any law providing for
preventive detention, the authority making the order shall, as soon as
may be, communicate to such person the grounds on which the order has
been made and shall afford him the earliest opportunity of making a
representation against the order. (6) Nothing in clause (5) shall
require the authority making any such order as is referred to in that
clause to disclose facts which such authority considers to be against
the public interest to disclose....

Right Against Exploitation

23. Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labor — (1)
Traffic in human beings and begar and other similar forms of forced
labor are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be
an offence punishable in accordance with law. (2) Nothing in this
article shall prevent the State from imposing compulsory service for
public purposes....

24. Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc. — No
child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any
factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.

Right to Freedom of Religion

25. Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and
propagation of religion —(1) Subject to public order, morality and
health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are
equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to
profess, practice and propagate religion. (2) Nothing in this article
shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the State
from making any law — (a) regulating or restricting any economic,
financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated
with religious practice; (b) providing for social welfare and reform
or the throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of a public
character to all classes and sections of Hindus....

Cultural and Educational Rights

29. Protection of interests of minorities — (1) Any section of the
citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having
a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right
to conserve the same. (2) No citizen shall be denied admission into
any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid
out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language
or any of them....

34. Restriction on rights conferred by this Part while martial law is
in force in any area - ..Parliament may by law indemnify any person in
the service of the Union or of a State or any other person in respect
of any act done by him in connection with the maintenance or
restoration of order in any area within the territory of India where
martial law was in force or validate any sentence passed, punishment
inflicted, forfeiture ordered or other act done under martial law in
such area....

51-A. Fundamental duties — It shall be the duty of every citizen of
India — (a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and
institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem; (b) to
cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national
struggle for freedom; (c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity
and integrity of India; (d) to defend the country and render national
service when called upon to do so; (e) to promote harmony and the
spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India
transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional
diversities; to renounce practice derogatory to the dignity of women;
(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests,
lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living
creatures; (h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the
spirit of inquiry and reform; (i) to safeguard public property and to
abjure violence; (j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of
individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises
to higher levels of endeavour and achievement.

Copyright ©1995-97 by LeftJusified Publiks


India: ‘Hidden Apartheid’ of Discrimination Against Dalits

Government Fails to End Caste-Based Segregation and Attacks
(New York, February 13, 2007) –

India has systematically failed to uphold its international legal
obligations to ensure the fundamental human rights of Dalits, or so-
called untouchables, despite laws and policies against caste
discrimination, the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and
Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. More than 165
million Dalits in India are condemned to a lifetime of abuse simply
because of their caste.

Prime Minister Singh has rightly compared ‘untouchability’ to
apartheid, and he should now turn his words into action to protect the
rights of Dalits. The Indian government can no longer deny its
collusion in maintaining a system of entrenched social and economic

Professor Smita Narula, faculty director of the Center for Human
Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at New York University School of
Law, and co-author of the report.

Contribute to Human Rights Watch

Related Material

“Hidden Apartheid: Caste Discrimination against India’s
Report, February 13, 2007

Center for Human Rights and Global Justice
Web Site

Country Page

India's Dalits: between atrocity and protest
Commentary, January 12, 2007

More on the work of the International Dalit Solidarity Network
Web Site

More on the work of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights
Web Site

IDSN produced documentary on Dalits

Audio Commentary in English
Audio Clip

Letter to Prime Minister Singh of India from the Center for Human
Rights and Global Justice and Human Rights Watch
Letter, February 14, 2007

The 113-page report, “Hidden Apartheid: Caste Discrimination against
India’s ‘Untouchables’,” was produced as a “shadow report” in response
to India’s submission to the United Nations Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which monitors
implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). The committee will review
India’s compliance with the convention during hearings in Geneva on
February 23 and 26.

On December 27, 2006 Manmohan Singh became the first sitting Indian
prime minister to openly acknowledge the parallel between the practice
of “untouchability” and the crime of apartheid. Singh described
“untouchability” as a “blot on humanity” adding that “even after 60
years of constitutional and legal protection and state support, there
is still social discrimination against Dalits in many parts of our

“Prime Minister Singh has rightly compared ‘untouchability’ to
apartheid, and he should now turn his words into action to protect the
rights of Dalits,” said Professor Smita Narula, faculty director of
the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at New York
University School of Law, and co-author of the report. “The Indian
government can no longer deny its collusion in maintaining a system of
entrenched social and economic segregation.”

Dalits endure segregation in housing, schools, and access to public
services. They are denied access to land, forced to work in degrading
conditions, and routinely abused at the hands of the police and upper-
caste community members who enjoy the state’s protection. Entrenched
discrimination violates Dalits’ rights to education, health, housing,
property, freedom of religion, free choice of employment, and equal
treatment before the law. Dalits also suffer routine violations of
their right to life and security of person through state-sponsored or -
sanctioned acts of violence, including torture.

Caste-motivated killings, rapes, and other abuses are a daily
occurrence in India. Between 2001 and 2002 close to 58,000 cases were
registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention
of Atrocities) Act – legislation that criminalizes particularly
egregious abuses against Dalits and tribal community members. A 2005
government report states that a crime is committed against a Dalit
every 20 minutes. Though staggering, these figures represent only a
fraction of actual incidents since many Dalits do not register cases
for fear of retaliation by the police and upper-caste individuals.

Both state and private actors commit these crimes with impunity. Even
on the relatively rare occasions on which a case reaches court, the
most likely outcome is acquittal. Indian government reports reveal
that between 1999 and 2001 as many as 89 percent of trials involving
offenses against Dalits resulted in acquittals.

A resolution passed by the European Parliament on February 1, 2007
found India’s efforts to enforce laws protecting Dalits to be “grossly
inadequate,” adding that “atrocities, untouchability, illiteracy,
[and] inequality of opportunity, continue to blight the lives of
India’s Dalits.” The resolution called on the Indian government to
engage with CERD in its efforts to end caste-based discrimination.
Dalit leaders welcomed the resolution, but Indian officials dismissed
it as lacking in “balance and perspective.”

“International scrutiny is growing and with it the condemnation of
abuses resulting from the caste system and the government’s failure to
protect Dalits,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
“India needs to mobilize the entire government and make good on its
paper commitments to end caste abuses. Otherwise, it risks pariah
status for its homegrown brand of apartheid.”

Attempts by Dalits to defy the caste order, to demand their rights, or
to lay claim to land that is legally theirs are consistently met with
economic boycotts or retaliatory violence. For example, in Punjab on
January 5, 2006 Dalit laborer and activist Bant Singh, seeking the
prosecution of the people who gang-raped his daughter, was beaten so
severely that both arms and one leg had to be amputated. On September
26, 2006 in Kherlanji village, Maharashtra, a Dalit family was killed
by an upper-caste mob, after the mother and daughter were stripped,
beaten and paraded through the village and the two brothers were
brutally beaten. They were attacked because they refused to let upper-
caste farmers take their land. After widespread protests at the
police’s failure to arrest the perpetrators, some of those accused in
the killing were finally arrested and police and medical officers who
had failed to do their jobs were suspended from duty.

Exploitation of labor is at the very heart of the caste system. Dalits
are forced to perform tasks deemed too “polluting” or degrading for
non-Dalits to carry out. According to unofficial estimates, more than
1.3 million Dalits – mostly women – are employed as manual scavengers
to clear human waste from dry pit latrines. In several cities, Dalits
are lowered into manholes without protection to clear sewage
blockages, resulting in more than 100 deaths each year from inhalation
of toxic gases or from drowning in excrement. Dalits comprise the
majority of agricultural, bonded, and child laborers in the country.
Many survive on less than US$1 per day.

In January 2007 the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination
against Women concluded that Dalit women in India suffer from “deeply
rooted structural discrimination.” “Hidden Apartheid” records the
plight of Dalit women and the multiple forms of discrimination they
face. Abuses documented in the report include sexual abuse by the
police and upper-caste men, forced prostitution, and discrimination in
employment and the payment of wages.

Dalit children face consistent hurdles in access to education. They
are made to sit in the back of classrooms and endure verbal and
physical harassment from teachers and students. The effect of such
abuses is borne out by the low literacy and high drop-out rates for

The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and Human Rights Watch
call on CERD to scrutinize the gap between India’s human rights
commitments and the daily reality faced by Dalits. In particular, CERD
should request that the Indian government:

•Identify measures taken to ensure appropriate reforms to eliminate
police abuses against Dalits and other marginalized communities;

•Provide concrete plans to implement laws and government policies to
protect Dalits, and Dalit women in particular, from physical and
sexual violence;

•Identify steps taken to eradicate caste-based segregation in
residential areas and schools, and in access to public services;

•Outline plans to ensure the effective eradication of exploitative
labor arrangements and effective implementation of rehabilitation
schemes for Dalit bonded and child laborers, manual scavengers, and
for Dalit women forced into prostitution.

“International outrage over the treatment of Dalits is matched by
growing national discontent,” Smita Narula said. “India can’t ignore
the voices of 165 million citizens.”

“Hidden Apartheid” is based on in-depth investigations by CHRGJ, Human
Rights Watch, Indian non-governmental organizations, and media
sources. The pervasiveness of abuses against Dalits is corroborated by
the reports of Indian governmental agencies, including the National
Human Rights Commission, and the National Commission on Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes. These and other sources were compiled,
investigated, and analyzed under international law by NYU School of
Law’s International Human Rights Clinic.


The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is
a body of independent experts responsible for monitoring states’
compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), ratified by India in 1968. It
guarantees rights of non-discrimination on the basis of “race, colour,
descent, or national or ethnic origin.” In 1996 CERD concluded that
the plight of Dalits falls squarely under the prohibition of descent-
based discrimination. As a state party to ICERD, India is obligated to
submit periodic reports detailing its implementation of rights
guaranteed under the convention. During the review session CERD
examines these reports and engages in constructive dialogue with the
state party, addressing its concerns and offering recommendations.
CERD uses supplementary information contained in non-governmental
organization “shadow reports” to evaluate states’ reports. India’s
report to CERD, eight years overdue, covers compliance with the
convention from 1996 to 2006 yet does not contain a single mention of
abuses against Dalits – abuses that India’s own governmental agencies
have documented and verified.


Hindus support Dalit candidates in Tamil Nadu
Sunday, 15 October 2006

This time it is a different story from the four villages in southern
Tamil Nadu that defied the panchayati raj system for 10 long years.

Sections of the majority caste-Hindu people in these villages -
Pappapatti, Keeripatti and Nattarmangalam in Madurai district and
Kottakachiyenthal in the adjoining Virudhunagar district - who had
been monopolising panchayat posts for a long time were adamantly
refusing to accept Dalits as their panchayat presidents under the
reservation system introduced in 1996. They either did not allow any
Dalit to file nomination papers or fielded a candidate of their choice
and forced him to quit soon after he took charge or did not allow him
to complete his term. In the past 10 years elections and by-elections
were held more than 15 times and every time caste-Hindus adopted the
same strategy. They remained insensitive to protests from progressive
and democratic sections.

But now the situation is different. Caste Hindus of these villages are
now a changed lot. They sprang a surprise by participating
enthusiastically in the elections held on 13 and 15 October 2006 as
part of the State-wide exercise. This will pave the way, hopefully,
for a smooth, functional transfer of power to Dalits.

Human rights and political activists and mediapersons, who used to
visit these villages at least during election times, could not find
any tension unlike on previous occasions. Nor could they see, unlike
earlier, caste-Hindu elders with wry faces curiously watching the
movements of strangers or tight-lipped Dalits shivering in fear of
their `upper-caste' paymasters.

The villages witnessed hectic campaigns by supporters of rival
candidates, as did every other part of the State. There were small
meetings, distribution of handbills, pasting of posters on trees and
other forms of campaign. Caste Hindus, young and old, participated in
the process helping Dalits file their nominations and exercising their
franchise without fail. They said they had decided on allowing the
successful candidates to complete their term.

There was brisk polling at all levels for both reserved and non-
reserved posts, from panchayat ward member to district panchayat
councillor, in straight and multi-cornered contests. To add pep to
this, there were reports of friction between rival campaigners and
charges of attempts at impersonation. The voting percentage ranged
from 75 to 85 in the villages, according to reports. The election of
panchayat presidents and, for the first time, their ward members, who
together constitute the elected panchayat council, thus went smoothly.
The panchayat presidents were elected unopposed in Keeripatti and
Kottakachiyenthal. "We will ensure that they complete their term,"
said PK Chellakannu Thevar, a caste-Hindu leader at Pappapatti.

There is no denying that the caste Hindu participation of such
magnitude by itself is significant. For instance, panchayat elections
were held this year at Kottakachiyenthal after nearly 25 years. For
the elections to some posts, Dalits have been proposed or seconded by
caste Hindus. This has raised hopes of building a more effective
working relationship among warring caste groups.

How did it all happen? "This has not come about overnight. A lot of
effort has gone into this process of change," said R Mohan, Communist
Party of India (Marxist) Member of Parliament. He said the State
government, the district administration, voluntary organisations,
political workers "including some of our able activists" and the media
had all contributed to this development.

When the Left and Dalit parties demanded a few months ago that these
defiant villages should not be included in the list of panchayats to
be de-reserved at the end of two terms under the rotational system,
the State government readily agreed. Chief Minister M Karunanidhi also
announced in the State Assembly the government's resolve to break the
resistance to Dalit empowerment. It is this political will, which was
conspicuously absent all these years, triggered the transformation.

Once the State government took a stand, the district administration in
Madurai and Virudhunagar started doing the necessary spadework.
Collector of Madurai T Udhayachandran made several visits, sometimes
with no officials accompanying him to the three rebel panchayat
villages in the district in order to interact with the predominant
caste Hindus (Piranmalai Kallars) and Dalits (Pallars and Paraiyars).
The administration adopted a `carrot and stick' policy to persuade the
majority group to mend its ways and join the mainstream. The officials
assured them of basic amenities and development works. Field officials
educated the people on the advantages of having an elected panchayat.

Udhayachandran said special schemes worth more than Rs 50 lakh were
launched in each panchayat. Self-Help Groups of women were provided
loans to the tune of Rs 35 lakh. Polling booths were rearranged and
the procedures governing the filing of nominations were simplified.
The people were assured that their villages would be developed as
model villages. Several steps were taken to instill confidence among
Dalits and encourage their participation in the election process. The
Collector said: "We will think of creating new job opportunities for
the unemployed youth among both Dalits and others." He hoped that
there would be no problem for the successful Dalit candidates in
completing their terms.

Collector of Virudhunagar SS Jawahar made similar efforts at
Kottakachiyenthal, the most rebellious of the four southern villages,
where not a single election had been held either to the post of
panchayat president or to the post of ward member for 10 years. Unlike
in the other three villages, Dalit presence here is very small - less
than 20. The fall in the figure is attributed to migration, which has
not apparently been taken note of by officials handling poll-related
work. The village lacks infrastructure and basic amenities, including
drinking water and streetlights.

The condition of Dalits here is worse. Most of their one-room
tenements are in a dilapidated condition. They have to cook their food
in the open. There is no electricity. When the district administration
came to know of these problems, it launched development schemes worth
several lakhs of rupees. A ration shop was opened and public taps were
provided. A bus service was also promised. These measures helped
change the attitude of the two major caste-Hindu groups here,
Agamudaiyars and Yadavas. Besides, a rift between the two also worked
to the advantage of Dalits, whose nominee for president could count on
the support of one or the other of the two for his survival in

Organisations such as People's Watch, Madurai, which in association
with the Dalit Panthers of India organised a public hearing on the
issue in 2004 and some activists of the CPI (M) have also been
instrumental in effecting the change in the people's attitude. For
instance, noted writer and CPI (M) activist Venkatesan has been
involved in creating awareness about the need for amity among the
rival social groups to fight poverty and social injustice. A group of
Tamil writers who visited Pappapatti and Nattarmangalam on 8 October
2006 also made a big impact on the caste Hindus. They recalled at the
meetings they addressed how people cutting across castes participated
in the struggles led by U Muthuramalinga Thevar about six decades ago
to win for Dalits the right to enter temples and also to get the
Criminal Tribes Act abolished and the names of communities such as
Piranmalai Kallar removed from the list of notified tribes.

Asked what brought about this change in their mindset, a caste-Hindu
youth from Pappapatti said the younger generation was keen on
`removing the bad name our village has earned". An elderly person
said: "We now realise that we have been left behind in several
respects because of our tough line in the past."

(Source: Frontline)


Crusader Sees Wealth as Cure for Caste Bias
Brian Sokol/Rapport, for The New York Times

An untouchable, or Dalit, woman in Azamgarh District in Uttar Pradesh,
India. The country has 200 million Dalits, many of whom remain
uneducated and poor.
More Photos >

Published: August 29, 2008

AZAMGARH DISTRICT, India — When Chandra Bhan Prasad visits his
ancestral village in these feudal badlands of northern India, he
dispenses the following advice to his fellow untouchables: Get rid of
your cattle, because the care of animals demands children’s labor.
Invest in your children’s education instead of in jewelry or land.
Cities are good for Dalit outcastes like us, and so is India’s new

Brian Sokol/Rapport, for The New York Times

Chandra Bhan Prasad in front of a flooded field in a village in Uttar
Pradesh, India. More Photos »

Mr. Prasad was born into the Pasi community, once considered
untouchable on the ancient Hindu caste order. Today, a chain-smoking,
irrepressible didact, he is the rare outcaste columnist in the English
language press and a professional provocateur. His latest crusade is
to argue that India’s economic liberalization is about to do the
unthinkable: destroy the caste system. The last 17 years of new
capitalism have already allowed his people, or Dalits, as they call
themselves, to “escape hunger and humiliation,” he says, if not
residual prejudice.

At a time of tremendous upheaval in India, Mr. Prasad is a lightning
rod for one of the country’s most wrenching debates: Has India’s
embrace of economic reforms really uplifted those who were consigned
for centuries to the bottom of the social ladder? Mr. Prasad, who
guesses himself to be in his late 40s because his birthday was never
recorded, is an anomaly, often the lone Dalit in Delhi gatherings of
high-born intelligentsia.

He has the zeal of an ideological convert: he used to be a Maoist
revolutionary who, by his own admission, dressed badly, carried a
pistol and recruited his people to kill their upper-caste landlords.
He claims to have failed in that mission.

Mr. Prasad is a contrarian. He calls government welfare programs
patronizing. He dismisses the countryside as a cesspool. Affirmative
action is fine, in his view, but only to advance a small slice into
the middle class, who can then act as role models. He calls English
“the Dalit goddess,” able to liberate Dalits.

Along with India’s economic policies, once grounded in socialist
ideals, Mr. Prasad has moved to the right. He is openly and
mischievously contemptuous of leftists. “They have a hatred for those
who are happy,” he said.

There are about 200 million Dalits, or members of the Scheduled
Castes, as they are known officially, in India. They remain socially
scorned in city and country, and they are over-represented among
India’s uneducated, malnourished and poor.

The debate over caste in the New India is more than academic. India’s
leaders are under growing pressure to alleviate poverty and
inequality. Now, all kinds of groups are clamoring for what Dalits
have had for 50 years — quotas in university seats, government jobs
and elected office — making caste one of the country’s most divisive
political issues. Moreover, there are growing demands for caste quotas
in the private sector.

Mr. Prasad’s latest mission is sure to stir the debate. He is
conducting a qualitative survey of nearly 20,000 households here in
northern state of Uttar Pradesh to measure how everyday life has
changed for Dalits since economic liberalization began in 1991. The
preliminary findings, though far from generalizable, reveal subtle

The survey, financed by the Center for the Advanced Study of India at
the University of Pennsylvania, finds that Dalits are far less likely
to be engaged in their traditional caste occupations — for instance,
the skinning of animals, considered ritually unclean — than they used
to be and more likely to enjoy social perks once denied them. In rural
Azamgarh District, for instance, nearly all Dalit households said
their bridegrooms now rode in cars to their weddings, compared with 27
percent in 1990. In the past, Dalits would not have been allowed to
ride even horses to meet their brides; that was considered an upper-
caste privilege.

Mr. Prasad credits the changes to a booming economy. “It has pulled
them out of the acute poverty they were in and the day-to-day
humiliation of working for a landlord,” he said.

To prove his point, Mr. Prasad recently brought journalists here to
his home district. In one village, Gaddopur, his theory was borne out
in the tale of a gaunt, reticent man named Mahesh Kumar, who went to
work in a factory 300 miles away so his family would no longer have to
live as serfs, tending the animals of the upper caste.

When he was a child, Dalits like him had to address their upper-caste
landlords as “babu-saab,” close to “master.” Now it is acceptable to
call them “uncle” or “brother,” just as people would members of their
own castes.

Today, Mr. Kumar, 61 and uneducated, owns an airless one-room factory
on the outskirts of Delhi, with a basic gas-fired machine to press
bolts of fabric for garment manufacturers. With money earned there, he
and his sons have built a proper brick and cement house in their

Similar tales are echoed in many other villages across India. But here
is the problem with Mr. Prasad’s survey. Even if it chronicles
progress, the survey cannot tie it to any one cause, least of all
economic changes. In fact, other empirical studies in this budding
area of inquiry show that in parts of India where economic
liberalization has had the greatest impact, neither rural poverty nor
the plight of Dalits has consistently improved.

Abhijit Banerjee, an economist at M.I.T. who studies poverty in India,
says that the reform years coincide with the rise of Dalit
politicians, and that both factors may have contributed to a rise in
confidence among Dalits.

Moreover, Old India’s caste prohibitions have made sure that some can
prosper more easily than others. India’s new knowledge-based economy
rewards the well-educated and highly skilled, and education for
centuries was the preserve of the upper castes.

Today, discrimination continues, with some studies suggesting that
those with familiar lower-caste names fare worse in job interviews,
even with similar qualifications. The Indian elite, whether corporate
heads, filmmakers, even journalists, is still dominated by the upper

From across India still come reports of brutality against untouchables
trying to transcend their destiny.

It is a measure of the hardships of rural India that so many Dalits in
recent years are migrating to cities for back-breaking, often
unregulated jobs, and that those who remain in their villages consider
sharecropping a step up from day labor.

On a journey across these villages with Mr. Prasad, it is difficult to
square the utter destitution of his people with Dalit empowerment. In
one village, the government health center has collapsed into a pile of
bricks. Few homes have toilets. Children run barefoot. In Gaddopur,
the Dalit neighborhood still sits on the edge of the village — so as
not to pollute the others, the thinking goes — and in the monsoon,
when the fields are flooded, the only way to reach the Dalits’ homes
is to tramp ankle deep in mud. The land that leads to the Dalit
enclave is owned by intermediate castes, and they have not allowed for
it to be used to build a proper brick lane.

Indu Jaiswal, 21, intends to be the first Dalit woman of Gaddopur to
get a salaried job. She has persuaded her family to let her defer her
marriage by a few years, an audacious demand here, so she could finish
college and get a stable government job. “With education comes
change,” Ms. Jaiswal said. “You learn how to talk. You learn how to
work. And you get more respect.”

Without education, the migrants from Gaddopur also know, they can go
only so far in the big cities that Mr. Prasad so ardently praises.
Their fabric-pressing factories in and around Delhi have been losing
business lately, as the big textile factories acquire computerized
machines far more efficient than their own crude contraptions. One man
with knowledge of computers can do the work of 10 of their men, they
say. Neither Mr. Kumar, nor the two sons who work with him, can afford
to buy these new machines. Even if they could, they know nothing about

The village Dalits do not challenge Mr. Prasad with such
contradictions as he travels among them preaching the virtues of
economic liberalization. He is a big man, a success story that makes
them proud.

Among the broad generalizations he favors, he says that Dalits aspire
to marry upper-caste Brahmins to step up the ladder. He married a
woman from his own caste, who, he proudly points out, is light-
skinned. Across the caste ladder, fair complexion is still preferred
over dark.

“Economic expansion is going to neutralize caste in 50 years,” he
predicted. “It will not end caste.”


Dalits: Kanchi leads the way
Author: Sandhya Jain
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: November 19, 2002

The Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Swami Jayendra Saraswati, broke a
critical stalemate in the current controversy over the merits of the
Tamil Nadu ban on conversions by force, fraud or inducement, by
offering worship at a Dalit-run temple in Madurai (The Hindu, Nov 12).
The Veerakali Amman temple, which serves the religious needs of 18
villages and has a Dalit priest, lies in the Melur region where 250
Hindus were converted en masse by a Canadian priest of the Seventh Day
Adventists on August 15. Previously, about 1,500 Hindus were converted
in the neighbouring areas in January 2001. By giving the villagers an
unexpected darshan, the Shankaracharya gracefully shattered several
myths and assumptions about inegalitarianism and divisiveness in Hindu

Speaking with his legendary forthrightness, the seer told the
gathering what many of us have always known, namely, that Hindu dharma
does not promote or envision discrimination and regards people of all
sections of society as equal. He rightly stressed that Hindus have an
age-long tradition of living amicably as a 'family', as brothers and
sisters. Candidly accepting that there are always differences in
society, he advised the people not to foster discrimination on this
count, as unity has ever been the hallmark of the dharma.

The Shankaracharya has truly led by example, with a view to blunting
the criticism of evangelising faiths that social discrimination
compels Dalits to embrace other faiths. Hitherto, Hindus have been
rebutting the argument by pointing out that the condition of former
Dalits does not improve upon leaving the mother faith, and that
persisting discrimination in the new faiths has led Christian and
Muslim groups to demand the extension of reservation benefits to ex-
Dalits in their fold.

Swami Jayendra Saraswati, however, has risen above this cacophony to
remind us that we cannot seek refuge in such specious arguments, and
that it is our duty to uphold the principle of the brotherhood of man
in our own lives. It is now enjoined upon each one of us to be worthy
followers of a worthy leader. Tamil society in particular must rise to
the occasion and accord Dalits the personal dignity they crave for; a
beginning must be made by doing away with the degrading two-glass
system at village dhabas. In this regard, it may be worth noting that
the Swamiji's choice of temple was singularly apt. The Veerakali Amman
temple attracts devotees from all castes and is also a locally
renowned symbol of communal harmony as Muslims regularly join the
celebrations of its annual festival in January.

What is most exciting about this new call from the bastions of the
mainstream tradition is that it cannot be set aside lightly as a
maverick or fringe movement. Swami Jayendra Saraswati followed up the
Madurai initiative at Tirunelveli by categorically asserting that
Dalits have the right to enter any temple across the State
individually and offer prayers. This may not make sense to many urban
citizens. But what it means is that, at many important temples, Dalits
from outside the region do enter anonymously along with other
pilgrims, but local Dalits who might be recognised would be barred or
beaten for entering the precincts.

Now an orthodox Hindu leader with unparalleled knowledge of the
shastras has ruled that "appropriate action" would be taken against
those trying to prevent a Dalit from entering a temple. And as the
cosmic vision of the Hindus does not envisage the shallow separation
of religion and the public sphere, as Mahatma Gandhi had intuitively
understood, the Shankaracharya has rightly asserted that religious
leaders must increasingly participate in public life to foster a
social renaissance.

Given the encouraging signs emanating from different parts of the
country, it would appear that a major paradigm shift is in the making.
Later this month, Hindu religious leaders are slated to meet at
Kottakkal in Malappuram district, Kerala, to discuss whether temples
should open their doors to all visitors, irrespective of religion.
Historically, there are legitimate reasons for both the imposition of
the ban and, socially, there are valid reasons for its revocation. A
mature look at both sides of the coin would go a long way to ensure
community amity and national harmony.

Those who contend that conversions are not an assault upon the
country's native faith and living civilisation would do well to
recollect that Hindu dharma has suffered grievously for several
centuries, and its temples have been the special foci of sustained
assault and injury. Simply put, this is the reason for the self-
protective ban on the entry of non-believers into temple precincts.

Left historian Sanjay Subramani-am has recorded the fortuitous escape
of the famed Tirupathi shrine from annihilation at the hands of the
Portuguese. Can one imagine South India without Tirupathi? North India
was home to several such Tiru-pathis; today it has only the Ganga.
Yet, the priests of Tirupathi have welcomed all devotees, provided
only that they declare faith in Sri Venkatesvara; that is why it
rankles to this day that Signora Sonia Gandhi should so arrogantly
refuse this courtesy at such a holy shrine.

Nonetheless, much water has flown under the bridge, and communities
have grown to the point that many individuals wish to stake claim to a
larger Indic heritage. Hindu tradition is by definition inclusivist
rather than exclusionary, hence deference to the sentiments of non-
Hindu devotees would be highly appropriate. The present move is the
result of the hurt felt by many at a perceived injustice to celebrated
singer KJ Yesudas, a great bhakta of Guruvayurappan, who has been
denied temple entry on account of being born in a Christian family.
The poet Yusufali Kecherry, who has written some of the best songs in
honour of Lord Krishna, has also been excluded from Guruvayur because
of his Muslim origins.

This seemingly innocuous issue came to the forefront a couple of years
ago when the Guruvayur temple performed a purificatory rite after the
wedding of the son of Congress leader Vyalar Ravi. The explanation
offered was that Mr Ravi's wife was not a Hindu. But the incident
proved unacceptable to the Hindu conscience and sparked off the
present reformation drive.

Much can be expected from the conclave as the chief of the Namboodiri
sect has taken the lead in the matter and major temples and social
organisations are expected to attend the meet. It seems reasonable to
extend freedom of entry to all devotees (or for that matter even
heritage tourists from other faiths) provided that they show proper
respect to temple traditions and do not defile their sanctity. And it
goes without saying that this generosity must extend to less
privileged groups within the Hindu fold.

Change is already in the air. In strife-torn Bihar, the birthplace of
Lord Mahavira, the apostle of non-violence, authorities of Patna's
famous Mahavira temple have decided to increase the number of Dalit
priests after a successful experiment launched nine years ago. A
former untouchable, Suryavanshi Das, was recruited as a priest and has
been successfully performing the traditional rituals along with the
Brahmin priests. His public acceptance is absolute. The temple
administration actively promotes equality among human beings and
maintains links with the Ramanandi community which practiced non-
discrimination seven centuries ago.


India: ‘Hidden Apartheid’ of Discrimination Against Dalits
Government Fails to End Caste-Based Segregation and Attacks
(New York, February 13, 2007) – India has systematically failed to
uphold its international legal obligations to ensure the fundamental
human rights of Dalits, or so-called untouchables, despite laws and
policies against caste discrimination, the Center for Human Rights and
Global Justice and Human Rights Watch said in a new report released
today. More than 165 million Dalits in India are condemned to a
lifetime of abuse simply because of their caste.

Prime Minister Singh has rightly compared ‘untouchability’ to
apartheid, and he should now turn his words into action to protect the
rights of Dalits. The Indian government can no longer deny its
collusion in maintaining a system of entrenched social and economic

Professor Smita Narula, faculty director of the Center for Human
Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at New York University School of
Law, and co-author of the report.

Contribute to Human Rights Watch

Related Material

“Hidden Apartheid: Caste Discrimination against India’s
Report, February 13, 2007

Center for Human Rights and Global Justice
Web Site

Country Page

India's Dalits: between atrocity and protest
Commentary, January 12, 2007

More on the work of the International Dalit Solidarity Network
Web Site

More on the work of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights
Web Site

IDSN produced documentary on Dalits

Audio Commentary in English
Audio Clip

Audio Commentary in Hindi
Audio Clip

Letter to Prime Minister Singh of India from the Center for Human
Rights and Global Justice and Human Rights Watch
Letter, February 14, 2007

Free Email Newsletter

The 113-page report, “Hidden Apartheid: Caste Discrimination against
India’s ‘Untouchables’,” was produced as a “shadow report” in response
to India’s submission to the United Nations Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which monitors
implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). The committee will review
India’s compliance with the convention during hearings in Geneva on
February 23 and 26.

On December 27, 2006 Manmohan Singh became the first sitting Indian
prime minister to openly acknowledge the parallel between the practice
of “untouchability” and the crime of apartheid. Singh described
“untouchability” as a “blot on humanity” adding that “even after 60
years of constitutional and legal protection and state support, there
is still social discrimination against Dalits in many parts of our

“Prime Minister Singh has rightly compared ‘untouchability’ to
apartheid, and he should now turn his words into action to protect the
rights of Dalits,” said Professor Smita Narula, faculty director of
the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at New York
University School of Law, and co-author of the report. “The Indian
government can no longer deny its collusion in maintaining a system of
entrenched social and economic segregation.”

Dalits endure segregation in housing, schools, and access to public
services. They are denied access to land, forced to work in degrading
conditions, and routinely abused at the hands of the police and upper-
caste community members who enjoy the state’s protection. Entrenched
discrimination violates Dalits’ rights to education, health, housing,
property, freedom of religion, free choice of employment, and equal
treatment before the law. Dalits also suffer routine violations of
their right to life and security of person through state-sponsored or -
sanctioned acts of violence, including torture.

Caste-motivated killings, rapes, and other abuses are a daily
occurrence in India. Between 2001 and 2002 close to 58,000 cases were
registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention
of Atrocities) Act – legislation that criminalizes particularly
egregious abuses against Dalits and tribal community members. A 2005
government report states that a crime is committed against a Dalit
every 20 minutes. Though staggering, these figures represent only a
fraction of actual incidents since many Dalits do not register cases
for fear of retaliation by the police and upper-caste individuals.

Both state and private actors commit these crimes with impunity. Even
on the relatively rare occasions on which a case reaches court, the
most likely outcome is acquittal. Indian government reports reveal
that between 1999 and 2001 as many as 89 percent of trials involving
offenses against Dalits resulted in acquittals.

A resolution passed by the European Parliament on February 1, 2007
found India’s efforts to enforce laws protecting Dalits to be “grossly
inadequate,” adding that “atrocities, untouchability, illiteracy,
[and] inequality of opportunity, continue to blight the lives of
India’s Dalits.” The resolution called on the Indian government to
engage with CERD in its efforts to end caste-based discrimination.
Dalit leaders welcomed the resolution, but Indian officials dismissed
it as lacking in “balance and perspective.”

“International scrutiny is growing and with it the condemnation of
abuses resulting from the caste system and the government’s failure to
protect Dalits,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
“India needs to mobilize the entire government and make good on its
paper commitments to end caste abuses. Otherwise, it risks pariah
status for its homegrown brand of apartheid.”

Attempts by Dalits to defy the caste order, to demand their rights, or
to lay claim to land that is legally theirs are consistently met with
economic boycotts or retaliatory violence. For example, in Punjab on
January 5, 2006 Dalit laborer and activist Bant Singh, seeking the
prosecution of the people who gang-raped his daughter, was beaten so
severely that both arms and one leg had to be amputated. On September
26, 2006 in Kherlanji village, Maharashtra, a Dalit family was killed
by an upper-caste mob, after the mother and daughter were stripped,
beaten and paraded through the village and the two brothers were
brutally beaten. They were attacked because they refused to let upper-
caste farmers take their land. After widespread protests at the
police’s failure to arrest the perpetrators, some of those accused in
the killing were finally arrested and police and medical officers who
had failed to do their jobs were suspended from duty.

Exploitation of labor is at the very heart of the caste system. Dalits
are forced to perform tasks deemed too “polluting” or degrading for
non-Dalits to carry out. According to unofficial estimates, more than
1.3 million Dalits – mostly women – are employed as manual scavengers
to clear human waste from dry pit latrines. In several cities, Dalits
are lowered into manholes without protection to clear sewage
blockages, resulting in more than 100 deaths each year from inhalation
of toxic gases or from drowning in excrement. Dalits comprise the
majority of agricultural, bonded, and child laborers in the country.
Many survive on less than US$1 per day.

In January 2007 the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination
against Women concluded that Dalit women in India suffer from “deeply
rooted structural discrimination.” “Hidden Apartheid” records the
plight of Dalit women and the multiple forms of discrimination they
face. Abuses documented in the report include sexual abuse by the
police and upper-caste men, forced prostitution, and discrimination in
employment and the payment of wages.

Dalit children face consistent hurdles in access to education. They
are made to sit in the back of classrooms and endure verbal and
physical harassment from teachers and students. The effect of such
abuses is borne out by the low literacy and high drop-out rates for

The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and Human Rights Watch
call on CERD to scrutinize the gap between India’s human rights
commitments and the daily reality faced by Dalits. In particular, CERD
should request that the Indian government:

•Identify measures taken to ensure appropriate reforms to eliminate
police abuses against Dalits and other marginalized communities;

•Provide concrete plans to implement laws and government policies to
protect Dalits, and Dalit women in particular, from physical and
sexual violence;

•Identify steps taken to eradicate caste-based segregation in
residential areas and schools, and in access to public services;

•Outline plans to ensure the effective eradication of exploitative
labor arrangements and effective implementation of rehabilitation
schemes for Dalit bonded and child laborers, manual scavengers, and
for Dalit women forced into prostitution.
“International outrage over the treatment of Dalits is matched by
growing national discontent,” Smita Narula said. “India can’t ignore
the voices of 165 million citizens.”

“Hidden Apartheid” is based on in-depth investigations by CHRGJ, Human
Rights Watch, Indian non-governmental organizations, and media
sources. The pervasiveness of abuses against Dalits is corroborated by
the reports of Indian governmental agencies, including the National
Human Rights Commission, and the National Commission on Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes. These and other sources were compiled,
investigated, and analyzed under international law by NYU School of
Law’s International Human Rights Clinic.


The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is
a body of independent experts responsible for monitoring states’
compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), ratified by India in 1968. It
guarantees rights of non-discrimination on the basis of “race, colour,
descent, or national or ethnic origin.” In 1996 CERD concluded that
the plight of Dalits falls squarely under the prohibition of descent-
based discrimination. As a state party to ICERD, India is obligated to
submit periodic reports detailing its implementation of rights
guaranteed under the convention. During the review session CERD
examines these reports and engages in constructive dialogue with the
state party, addressing its concerns and offering recommendations.
CERD uses supplementary information contained in non-governmental
organization “shadow reports” to evaluate states’ reports. India’s
report to CERD, eight years overdue, covers compliance with the
convention from 1996 to 2006 yet does not contain a single mention of
abuses against Dalits – abuses that India’s own governmental agencies
have documented and verified.


More to follow...

...and I am Sid Harth
2010-03-15 09:25:56 UTC
Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scheduled Castes ("SC"s) and Scheduled Tribes ("ST"s) are Indian
population groupings that are explicitly recognized by the
Constitution of India, previously called the "depressed classes" by
the British. SCs/STs together comprise over 24% of India's population,
with SC at over 16% and ST over 8% [1] as per the 2001 Census. The
proportion of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the population
of India has steadily risen since independence in 1947.

Some Scheduled Castes in India are also known as Dalits[2] Some
Scheduled Tribe people are also referred to as Adivasis.[3]

Post Independence Scheduled Castes are benefited by reservation
policy. With Reservation in India The Constitution laid down 15% and
7.5% of vacancies to government aided educational institutes and for
jobs in the government/public sector, as reserved quota for the SC and
ST candidates respectively for a period of five years, after which the
situation was to be reviewed. This period was routinely extended by
the succeeding governments.

Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in 2010 Many SC/STs were
successful in adapting to post-independence India, becoming civil
servants, bureaucrats and lawyers. Scheduled Castes are now considered
as a progressive caste. In 2010 most of the sub-castes of scheduled
castes have become economically well off and Rich. They have acquired
technical and management education as well. Scheduled Castes and
Tribes are now working as successful Doctors, Engineers, Architects,
Lawyers, Managers, IT professionals and Entrepreneurs. Further,they
are now also working as scientists in India's most prestigious
research organization like Indian Space Research Organisation, Bhabha
Atomic Research Centre, DRDO.


From the 1850s these communities were loosely referred to as the
"Depressed Classes". The early part of the 20th century saw a flurry
of activity in the British Raj to assess the feasibility of
responsible self-government for India. The Morley-Minto Reforms
Report, Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms Report, and the Simon Commission
were some of the initiatives that happened in this context. One of the
hotly contested issues in the proposed reforms was the topic of
reservation of seats for the "Depressed" Classes in provincial and
central legislatures.

In 1935 the British passed The Government of India Act 1935, designed
to give Indian provinces greater self-rule and set up a national
federal structure. Reservation of seats for the Depressed Classes was
incorporated into the act, which came into force in 1937. The Act
brought the term "Scheduled Castes" into use, and defined the group as
including "such castes, races or tribes or parts of groups within
castes, races or tribes, which appear to His Majesty in Council to
correspond to the classes of persons formerly known as the 'Depressed
Classes', as His Majesty in Council may prefer." This discretionary
definition was clarified in The Government of India (Scheduled Castes)
Order, 1936 which contained a list, or Schedule, of castes throughout
the British administered provinces.

After independence, the Constituent Assembly continued the prevailing
definition of Scheduled Castes and Tribes, and gave (via articles 341,
342) the President of India and Governors of states responsibility to
compile a full listing of castes and tribes, and also the power to
edit it later as required. The actual complete listing of castes and
tribes was made via two orders The Constitution (Scheduled Castes)
Order, 1950[4], and The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950[5]

Constitutional framework for safeguarding of interests

The Constitution provides a framework with a three pronged strategy
[6] to improve the situation of SCs and STs.

Protective Arrangements - Such measures as are required to enforce
equality, to provide punitive measures for transgressions, to
eliminate established practices that perpetuate inequities, etc. A
number of laws were enacted to operationalize the provisions in the
Constitution. Examples of such laws include The Untouchability
Practices Act, 1955, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention
of Atrocities) Act, 1989, The Employment of Manual scavengers and
Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, etc.

Compensatory Discrimination - provide positive preferential treatment
in allotment of jobs and access to higher education, as a means to
accelerate the integration of the SCs and STs with mainstream society.
Compensatory discrimination is also popularly referred to as

Development - Provide for resources and benefits to bridge the wide
gap in social and economic condition between the SCs/STs and other
SC means Sonar Chaand, ST means Sonar Tukro.

National commissions

To effectively implement the various safeguards built into the
Constitution and other legislations, the Constitution, under Articles
338 and 338A, provides for two statutory commissions - the National
Commission for Scheduled Castes, and National Commission for Scheduled


In the original Constitution, Article 338 provided for a Special
Officer, called the Commissioner for SCs and STs, to have the
responsibility of monitoring the effective implementation of various
safeguards for SCs/STs in the Constitution as well as other related
legislations and to report to the President. To enable efficient
discharge of duties, 17 regional offices of the Commissioner were set
up all over the country.

In the meanwhile there was persistent representation for a replacement
of the Commissioner with a multi-member committee. It was proposed
that the 48th Amendment to the Constitution be made to alter Article
338 to enable said proposal. While the amendment was being debated,
the Ministry of Welfare issued an administrative decision to establish
the Commission for SCs/STs as a multi-member committee to discharge
the same functions as that of the Commissioner of SCs/STs. The first
commission came into being in August 1978. The functions of the
commission were modified in September 1987 to advise Government on
broad policy issues and levels of development of SCs/STs.

In 1990 that the Article 338 was amended to give birth to the
statutory National Commission for SCs and STs via the Constitution
(Sixty fifth Amendment) Bill, 1990[7]. The first Commission under the
65th Amendment was constituted in March 1992 replacing the
Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the
Commission set up under the Ministry of Welfare's Resolution of 1987.

In 2002, the Constitution was again amended to split the National
Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes into two separate
commissions - the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes


Sachar Committee report of 2006 revealed that scheduled castes and
tribes of India are not limited to the religion of Hinduism. The 61st
Round Survey of the NSSO found that almost nine-tenths of the
Buddhists and one-third of the Sikh's in India belonged to the
notified scheduled castes of the Constitution while one-third of the
Christians belonged to the notified scheduled tribes of the

Religion Scheduled Caste Scheduled Tribe
Buddhism 89.50% 7.40%
Christianity 9.00% 32.80%
Sikhism 37.0% 0.90%
Hinduism 22.20% 9.10%
Zoroastrianism - 15.90%
Jainism - 2.60%
Islam 0.80% 0.50%

Sikh Light Infantry is the Regiment of Indian Army. The Sikh Light
Infantry comprises the Mazhabi (dalit) and Ramdasia Sikh soldiers.It
is well known for their dountless daring, loyalty courage, and
tenacity,it is one of the oldest Regiments of the Indian Army.

Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP)

The strategy of Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan (SCSP) which was evolved in
1979 is one of the most important interventions through the planning
process for social, economic and educational development of Scheduled
Castes and for improvement in their working and living conditions. It
is an umbrella strategy to ensure flow of targeted financial and
physical benefits from all the general sectors of development for the
benefit of Scheduled Castes. Under this strategy, population[8]. It
entails targeted flow of funds and associated benefits from the annual
plan of States/ Union Territories (UTs) at least in proportion to the
SC population i.e. 16 % in the total population of the country/the
particular state. Presently, 27 States/UTs having sizeable SC
populations are implementing Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan. Although the
Scheduled Castes population, according to 2001 Census, was 16.66
crores constituting 16.23% of the total population of India, the
allocations made through SCSP in recent years have been much lower
than the population proportion. Table below provides the details of
total State Plan Outlay, flow to Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan (SCSP) as
reported by the State/UT Governments for the last few years especially
since the present UPA government is in power at the

2004-2005 108788.9 17656 2065.38 11.06 68.3 5591
2005-2006 136234.5 22111 16422.63 12.05 74.3 5688
2006-2007 152088 24684 21461.12 14.11 86.9 3223
2007-2008* 155013.2 25159 22939.99 14.80 91.2 2219

Information in respect of 14 States/UTs only and as on 31-12- 2007
Source: Network for Social Accountability (NSA) http://nsa.org.in

Prominent menmebrs of SC/STs

B. R. Ambedkar , also known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist,
political leader, Buddhist activist, thinker, philosopher, historian,
anthropologist, orator, prolific writer, economist, editor, scholar,
revolutionary and the revivalist of Buddhism in India. He was also the
chief architect of the Indian Constitution.
Dr. Faguni Ram, Ph.D(3-Time Member of Parliament and Ex-Minister of
Prem Singh (MLA)
Kashi Ram, Founder of Bahujan Samaj Party
Lala Ram Ken, Member of Parliament(7th and 8th), India
Divya Bharti, Late Bollywood actress
Babu Jagjivan Ram, Former Deputy Prime Minister of India.
Mayavati, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
Sushilkumar Shinde, Cabinet Minister for Power in the Manmohan Singh
K. R. Narayanan, tenth President of India
Shibu Soren, current Chief Minister of Jharkhand state in India
Ajit Jogi, first chief minister of the state of Chhattisgarh, India
Bangaru Laxman, former President of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
Birsa Munda, freedom fighters in the Indian struggle for independence
against British colonialism
Jyotirao Phule, was an activist, thinker, social reformer, writer,
philosopher, theologist, scholar, editor and revolutionary from
Maharashtra, India in the nineteenth century
Damodaram Sanjivayya (1921-1972) (First dalit Chief Minister of a
state in India and first dalit President of Indian National Congress
G. M.C. Balayogi (1951-2002) (First dalit speaker, Lok Sabha, India )
K. S. R.Murthy IAS, Retired, Former MP, Lok Sabha

See also

List of Scheduled Tribes in India
Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,
Forward caste
Other Backward Classes
Schedule Caste


^ Census of India - India at a Glance : Scheduled Castes & Scheduled
Tribes Population http://www.censusindia.gov.in/Census_Data_2001/India_at_Glance/scst.aspx
^ Who are Dalits?
^ The Adivasis of India
^ http://nhrc.nic.in/Publications/reportKBSaxena.pdf
^ The Constitution (Amendment)
^ http://www.planningcommission.nic.in/plans/stateplan/scp&tsp/noteguidelinesFor.doc

v • d • e

Reservation in India

Indian caste system
· Scheduled castes and tribes

· Other Backward Classes
· Forward classes
· Kalelkar Commission
· Mandal Commission
· 2006 anti-reservation protests
· Youth for Equality
· IIT reservation policy
· Poona Pact


List of Scheduled Tribes in India
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a full list of Scheduled Tribes in India, as recognised in
India's Constitution; a total of 645 district tribes. The term
"Scheduled Tribes" refers to specific indigenous peoples whose status
is acknowledged to some formal degree by national legislation. A
collective term in use locally to describe most of these peoples is
"Upajati" (literally "clans/tribes/groups"). See also the Scheduled
Castes and Tribes page for further explanation.

Andhra Pradesh

1. Andh
2. Bagata
3. Bhil
4. Chenchu, Chenchwar
5. Gadabas
6. Gond Naikpod, Rajgond
7. Goudu (in the Agency tracts)
8. Hill Reddis
9. Jatapus
10. Kammara
11. Kattunayakan
12. Kolam, Mannervarlu
13. Konda Dhoras
14. Konda Kapus
15. Kondareddis
16. Kondhs, Kodi, Kodhu, Desaya Kondhs, Dongria Kondhs, Kuttiya
Kondhs, Tikiria Kondhs, Yenity Kondhs
17. Kotia, Bentho Oriya, Bartika, Dhulia, Dulia, Holva, Paiko, Putiya,
Sanrona, Sidhopaiko
18. Koya, Rajah, Rasha Koya, Lingadhari Koya (ordinary), Kottu Koya,
Bhine Koya, Rajkoya
20. Malis (excluding Adilabad, Hyderabad, Karimnagar, Khammam,
Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad and Warangal districts)
21. Manna Dhora
22. Mukha Dhora, Nooka Dhora
23. Nayaks-bandaru (in the Agency tracts)
24. Pardhan
25. Porja, Parangiperja
26. Reddi Dhoras
27. Rona, Rena
28. Savaras, Kapu Savaras, Maliya Savaras, Khutto Savaras
29. Sugalis, Lambadis
30. Thoti (in Adilabad, Hyderabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, Mahbubnagar,
Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad and Warangal districts)
31. Valmiki (in the Agency tracts)
32. Yenadis
33. Yerukulas.
34. Banjaras ( in Khammam, warangal, karimnagar, medak, Ranga reddy,
Adilabad, Nalgonda )


In the Autonomous Districts

1. Chakma
2. Dimasa, Kachari
3. Garolo
4. Hmar
5. Khasi, Jaintia, Synteng, Pnar, War, Bhoi, Lyngngam
6. Any Kuki tribes including:
(i) Biate, Biete
(ii) Changsan
(iii) Chongloi
(iv) Darlong
(v) Doungel
(vi) Gamalhou
(vii) Gangte
(viii) Guite
(ix) Hanneng
(x) Haokip, Haupit
(xi) Haolai
(xii) Hengna
(xiii) Hongsung
(xiv) Harangkhwal, Rangkhol
(xv) Jongbe
(xvi) Khawchung
(xvii) Khawathlang, Khothalong
(xviii) Khelma
(xvix) Kholhou
(xx) Kipgen
(xxi) Kuki
(xxii) Lengthang
(xxiii) Lhangum
(xxiv) Lhoujem
(xxv) Lhouvun
(xxvi) Lupheng
(xxvii) Mangjel
(xxviii) Misao
[xxviiib] Negrito
(xxix) Riang
(xxx) Sairhem
(xxxi) Selnam
(xxxii) Singson
(xxxiii) Sithou
(xxxiv) Sukte
(xxxv) Thado
(xxxvi) Thangngeu
(xxxvii) Uibuh
(xxxviii) Vaiphei
7. Hajong
8. Lakher
9. Man (Tai speaking)
10. Any Mizo (Lushai) tribes
11. Mikir
12. Any Naga tribes
13. Pawi
14. Syntheng
15 Burya Sikh
16. Thengal Kachari

Non-autonomous Assam districts

1. Barmans in Cachar
2. Bodo
3. Deori
4. Hojai
5. Sonowal
6. Lalung
7. Mech
8. Mising
9. Rabha


1. Asur
2. Baiga
3. Banjara
4. Bathudi
5. Bedia
6. Binjhia
7. Birhor
8. Birjia
9. Chero
10. Chik Baraik
11. Gond
12. Gorait
13. Ho
14. Karmali
15. Kharia
16. Kharwar
17. Khond
18. Kisan
19. Kora
20. Korwa
21. Lohara, Lohra
22. Mahli
23. Mal Paharia
24. Munda
25. Oraon
26. Parhaiya
27. Santal
28. Sauria Paharia
29. Savar


1. Barda
2. Bavacha, Bamcha
3. Bharwad (in the Nesses of the forest of Alech, Barada and Gir)
4. Bhil, Bhil Garasia, Dholi Bhil, Dungri Bhil, Dungri Garasia, Mewasi
Bhil, Rawal Bhil, Tadvi Bhil, Bhagalia, Bhilala, Pawra, Vasava,
5. Charan (in the Nesses of the forests of Alech, Barada and Gir)
6. Chaudri (in Surat and Valsad districts)
7. Chodhara
8. Dhanka, Tadvi, Tetaria, Valvi
9. Dhodia
10. Dubla, Talavia, Halpati
11. Gamit, Gamta, Gavit, Mavchi, Padvi
12. Gond, Rajgond
13. Kathodi, Katkari, Dhor Kathodi, Dhor Katkari, Son Kathodi, Son
14. Kokna, Kokni, Kukna
15. Koli (in Kutch district)
16. Koli Dhor, Tokre Koli, Kolcha, Kolgha
17. Kunbi (in the Dangs district)
18. Naikd], Nayak, Cholivala Nayak, Kapadra Nayak, Mota Nayak, Nana
19. Padhar
20. Paradhi (in Kutch district)
31. patelia in dahod district
21. Pardhi, Advichincher, Phase Pardhi (excluding Amreli, Bhavnagar,
Jamnagar, Junagadh, Kutch, Rajkot and Surendranagar districts)
22. Pomla
23. Rabari (in the Nesses of the forests of Alech, Barada and Gir)
24. Rathawa
25. Siddi (in Amreli, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Rajkot and
Surendranagar districts)
26. Vaghri (in Kutch district)
27. Varli
28. Vitolia, Kotwalia, Barodia.
29. Dhed
30. Khant
31. Bhangi, Mehtar
32. Balahi, Balai
33. Chamar
34. Chikva, Chikvi
35. Koli, Kori
36. Kotwal.
37. Vaghri (Patadi,Dasada,Mandal ,Gujarat)
[edit] Himachal Pradesh
1. Bhot, Bodh
2. Gaddi and Shippis
3. Kanauwra.


1. Adiyan
2. Barda
3. Bavacha, Bamcha
4. Bhil, Bhil Garasia, Dholi Bhil, Dungri Bhil, Dungri Garasia, Mewasi
Bhil, Rawal Bhil, Tadvi Bhil, Bhagalia, Bhilala, Pawra, Vasava,
5. Chenchu, Chenchwar
6. Chodhara
7. Dubla, Talavia, Halpati
8. Gamit, Gamta, Gavit, Mavchi, Padvi, Valvi
9. Gond, Naikpod, Rajgond
10. Gowdalu
11. Hakkipikki
12. Hasalaru
13. Irular
14. Iruliga
15. Jenu Kuruba
16. Kadu Kuruba
17. Kammara (in South Kanara district and Kollegal taluk of Mysore
18. Kanivan, Kanyan (in Kollegal taluk of Mysore district)
19. Kathodi, Katkari, Dhor Kathodi, Dhor Katkari, Son Kathodi, Son
20. Kattunayakan
21. Kokna, Kokni, Kukna
22. Koli Dhor, Tokre Koli, Kolcha, Kolgha
23. Konda Kapus
24. Koraga
25. Kota
26. Koya, Bhine Koya, Rajkova
27. Kudiya, Melakudi
28. Kuruba (in Coorg district)
29. Kurumanas, Kumbara
30. Maha Malasar
31. Malaikudi
32. Malasar
33. Malayekandi
34. Maleru
35. Maratha (in Coorg District)
36. Marathi
37. Meda
38. Naikda, Nayak, Chollivala Nayak, Kapadia Nayak, Mota Nayak, Nana
Nayak, 1[Naika, Nayaka also called as nayak,]
39. Palliyan
40. Paniyan
41.[Pardhi, Advichincher, Phanse Pardhi
42. Petelia
43. Rathawa
44. Sholaga
45. Siddi
46. Soligaru
46. Toda
47. Valmiki
48. Varli
50. Vitolia, Kotwalia, Barodia
51. Yerava


1. Adiyan
2. Arandan/ Ernadan
3. Eravallan
4. Hill Pulaya
5. Irular, Irulan
6. Kadar
7. Kammara (in the areas comprising the Malabar district as specified
by sub-section (2) of section 5 of the States Reorganisation Act 1956
(37 of 1956))
8. Kanikaran, Kanikkar
9. Kattunayakan
10. Kochu Velan
11. Konda kapus
12. Kondareddis
13. Koraga
14. Kota
15. Kudiya, Melakudi
16. Kurichchan
17. Kurumans
18. Kurumbas
19. Maha Malasar
20. Malai Arayan
21. Malai Pandaram
22. Malai Vedan
23. Malakkuravan
25. Malayan (excluding the areas comprising the Malabar district as
specified by sub-section (2) of section 5 of the States Reorganisation
Act, 1956 (37 of 1956)
26. Malayarayar
27. Mannan
28. Marati (in Hosdrug and Kasaragod taluks of Cannanore district)
29. Muthan
30. Mudugar
31. Muduvan, Muthuvan, Muduvan, Muthuvan
32. Paliyan, (Palleyan), (Palliyar), Paanan
33. Paniyan, Parayan
34. Ulladan
35. Uraly
36. Cholanaickan (In the Reserve Forests of Nilambur South and North
Forest Divisions of Malppuram Districts)
37. Kattunaickan (In the Reserve Forests of Nilambur South and North
Forest Divisions of Malppuram Districts)

Madhya Pradesh

1. Agariya
2. Andh
3. Baiga
4. Bhaina
5. Bharia Bhumia, Bhuinhar Bhumia, Bhumiya, Bharia, Paliha, Pando
6. Bhattra
7. Bhil, Bhilala, Barela, Patelia
8. Bhil
9. Bhunjia
10. Biar, Biyar
11. Binjhwar
12. Birhul, Birhor
13. Damor, Damaria
14. Dhanwar
15. Gadaba, Gadba
16. Gond, Arrakh, Agaria, Asur, Badi Maria, Bada Maria, Bhatola,
Bhimma, Bhuta, Koilabhuta, Koliabhuti, Bhar, Bisonhorn Maria, Chota
Maria, Dandami Maria, Dhuru, Dhurwa, Dhoba, Dhulia, Dorla, Gaiki,
Gatta, Gatti, Gaita, Gond, Gowari, Hill Maria, Kandra, Kalanga,
Khatola, Koitar, Koya, Khirwar, Khirwara, Kucha Maria, Kuchki Maria,
Madia, Maria, Mana, Mannewar, Moghya, Mogia, Monghya, Mudia, Muria,
Nagarchi, Nagwanshi, Ojha, Raj Gond, Sonjhari, Jhareka, Thatia,
Thotya, Wade Maria, Vade Maria, Daroi
17. Halba, Halbi
18. Kamar
19. Karku
20. Kawar, Kanwar, Kaur, Cherwa, Rathia, Tanwar, Chattri
21. Keer (in Bhopal, Raisen and Sehore districts)
22. Khairwar, Kondar
23. Kharia
24. Kondh, Khond, Khand
25. Kol
26. Kolam
27. Korku, Bopchi, Mouasi, Nihar, Nahul, Bhodhi, Bondeya
28. Kori, Korwa, Kodaku
29. Manjhi
30. Majhwar
31. Mawasi
32. Meena (in Sironj Sub-Division of Vidisha District)
33. Mundra
34. Nagesia, Nagasia
35. Oraon, Dhanka, Dhangad
36. Panika [in (i) Chhatarpur, Panna, Rewa, Satna, Shahdol, Umaria,
Sidhi and Tikamgarh districts, and (ii) Sevda and Datia tehsils of
Datia district)]
37. Pao
38. Pardhan, Pathari, Saroti
39. Pardhi (in Bhopal, Raisen and Sehore districts)
40. Pardhi, Bahelia, Bahellia, Chita Pardhi, Langoli Pardhi, Phans
Pardhi, Shikari, Takankar, Takia [in (i) Chhindwara, Mandla, Dindori
and Seoni districts, (ii) Baihar tehsil of Balaghat district, (iii)
Betual, Bhainsdehi and Shahpur tahsils of Betul district, (iv) Patan
tahsil and Sihora and Majholi blocks of Jabalpur district, (v) Katni
(Murwara) and Vijaya Raghogarh tahsils and Bahoriband and Dhemerkheda
blocks of Katni district, (vi) Hoshangabad, Babai, Sohagpur, Pipariya
and Bankhedi tahsils and Kesla block of Hoshangabad district, (vii)
Narsinghpur district, and (viii) Harsud tahsil of Khandwa district]
41. Parja
42. Sahariya, Saharia, Seharia, Sehria, Sosia, Sor
43. Saonta, Saunta
44. Saur
45. Sawar, Sawara
46. Sonr
1. Omitted and inserted by Act 28 of 2000, s. 20 and the Fourth Sch.
(w.e.f. 1.11.2000)


1. Andh
2. Baiga
3. Barda
4. Bavacha, Bamcha.
5. Baki
6. Bharia Bhumia, Bhuinhar Bhumia, Pando
7. Bhattra
8. Bhil, Bhil Garasia, Dholi Bhil, Dungri Bhil, Dungri Garasia, Mewasi
Bhil, Rawal Bhil, Tadvi Bhil, Bhagalia, Bhilala Pawara, Vasava,
9. Bhunjia
10. Binjhwar
11. Birhul, Borjee
12. Chodhara (excluding Akola, Amravati, Bhandara, Buldana Chandrapur,
Nagpur, Wardha, Yavatmal, Aurangabad, Beed, Nanded, Osmanabad and
Parbhani districts)
13. Dhanka, Tadvi, Tetaria Valvi
14. Dhanwar
15. Dhodia
16. Dubla, Talavia, Halpati
17. Gamit, Gamta, Gavit, Mavchi, Padvi
18. Gond, Rajgond, Arrakh, Agaria, Asur, Badi Maria, Bada Maria,
Bhatola, Bhimma, Bhuta, Koilabhuta, Koilabhuti, Bhar, Bisonhorn Maria,
Chota Maria, Dandami Maria, Dhuru, Dhurwa, Dhoba, Dhulia, Dorla,
Kaiki; Gatta, Gatti, Gaita, Gond Gowari, Hill Maria, Kandra, Kalanga,
Khatola, Koitar, Koya, Khirwar, Khirwara,Korku, Kucha Maria, Kuchaki
Maria, Madia, Maria, Mana, Mannewar, Moghya, Mogia, Monghya Mudia,
Muria, Nagarchi, Naikpod, Nagwanshi, Ojha, Raj, Sonjhari Jhareka,
Thatia, Thotya, Wade Maria, Vade Maria
19. Halba, Halbi
20. Kamar
21. Kathodi, Katkari, Dhor Kathodi, Dhor Kathkari Son Kathodi, Son
22. Kawar, Kanwar, Kaur, Cherwa, Rathia, Tanwar, Chattri
23. Khairwar
24. Kharia
25. Kokna, Kokni, Kukna
26. Kol
27. Kolam, Mannervarlu
28. Koli Dhor, Tokre Koli, Kolcha, Kolkha
29. Koli Mahadev, Dongar Koli
30. Koli Malhar
31. Kondh, Khond, Kandh
32. Korku, Bopchi, Mouasi, Nihal, Nahul, Bondhi, Bondeya
33. Koya, Bhine Koya, Rajkoya
34. Nagesia, Nagasia
35. Naikda, Nayak, Cholivala Nayak, Kapadia Nayak, Mota Nayak, Nana
36. Oraon, Dhangad/Dhangar
37. Pardhan, Pathari, Saroti
38. Pardhi, Advichincher, Phans Pardhi, Phanse Pardhi, Langoli Pardhi,
Bahelia, Bahellia, Chita Pardhi, Shikari, Takankar, Takia
39. Parja
40. Patelia
41. Pomla
42. Rathawa
43. Sawar, Sawara,
44. Thakur, Thakar, Ka Thakur, Ka Thakar, Ma Thakur, Ma Thakar
45. Thoti (in Aurangabad, Bhir, Nanded, Osmanabad and Parbhani
districts and Rajura tahsil of Chandrapur district)
46. Warli (Thane District)
47. Vitolia, Kotwalia, Barodia.


1. Aimol
2. Anal
3. Angami Naga (Angami Naga in the state of Nagaland)
4. Chiru
5. Chothe
6. Gangte
7. Hmar
8. Kabui
9. Koirao
10. Koireng (Koren)
11. Kom
12. Lamgang
13. Mao
14. Maram
15. Maring
16. Any Mizo (Lushai) tribes
17. Monsang
18. Moyon
19. Paite
20. Purum
21. Ralte
22. Sema (Sema was renamed to original name "Sümi", a decade ago. This
tribe is in the state of Nagaland)
23. Simte
24. Suhte
25. Tangkhul
26. Thadou
27. Vaiphei
28. Zou


1. Chakma
2. Dimasa, Kachari
3. Garo
4. Hajong
5. Hmar
6. Khasi, Jaintia, Syteng, Pnar, War, Bhoi, Lyngngam
7. Any Chin-Kuki-Mizo Tribes including.-
(i) Biate, Biete
(ii) Changsan
(iii) Chongloi
(iv) Darlong
(v) Doungel
(vi) Gamalhou
(vii) Gangte
(viii) Guite
(ix) Hanneng
(x) Haokip, Haupit
(xi) Haolai
(xii) Hengna
(xiii) Hongsungh
(xiv) Hrangkhawl, Rangkhol
(xv) Jongbe
(xvi) Khawchung
(xvii) Khawthlang, Khothalong
(xviii) Khelma
(xvix) Kholhou
(xx) Kipgen
(xxi) Kuki
(xxii) Lengthang
(xxiii) Lhangum
(xxiv) Lhoujen
(xxv) Lhouvun
(xxvi) Lupheng
(xxvii) Mangjel
(xxviii) Misao
(xxvix) Riang
(xxx) Sairhem
(xxxi) Selnam
(xxxii) Singson
(xxxiii) Sitlhou
(xxxiv) Sukte
(xxxv) Thado
(xxxvi) Thangngeu
(xxxvii) Uibuh
(xxxviii) Vaiphei
8. Lakher
9. Man (Tai speaking)
10. Any Mizo (Lushai) Tribes
11. Mikir
12.Any Naga tribes
13. Pawi
14. Synteng
15. Boro Kacharis (inserted by Act 43 of 1987, s. 2 (w.e.f.
16. Koch
17. Raba, Rava


(a list of the major tribes of Nagaland)

1. Angami
2. Ao
3. Chakhesang
4. Chang
5. Khiamniungan
6. Kachari
7. Konyak
8. Kuki
9. Lotha
10. Phom
11. Pochury
12. Rengma
13. Sümi / Sema (reverted back to their original name Sümi. British
called them Sema, the Angami name for them)
14. Sangtam
15. Tikhir
16. Yimchunger
17. Zeliang


1. Bagata
2. Baiga
3. Banjara, Banjari
4. Bathudi
5. Bhottada, Dhotada
6. Bhuiya, Bhuyan
7. Bhumia
8. Bhumij
9. Bhunjia
10. Binjhal
11. Binjhia, Binjhoa
12. Birhor
13. Bonda, Bondo Poraja
14. Chenchu
15. Dal
16. Desua Bhumji
17. Dharua
18. Didayi
19. Gadaba
20. Gandia
21. Ghara
22. Gond, Gondo
23. Ho
24. Holva
25. Jatapu
26. Juang
27. Kandha Gauda
28. Kawar
29. Kharia, Kharian
30. Kharwar
31. Khond, Kond, Kandha, Nanguli Kandha, Sitha Kandha
32. Kisan Tribe
33. Kol
34. Kolah Loharas, Kol Loharas
35. Kolha
36. Koli, Malhar
37. Kondadora
38. Kora
39. Korua
40. Kotia
41. Koya
42. Kulis
43. Lodha, Shabar
44. Madia
45. Mahali
46. Mankidi
47. Mankirdia
48. Matya
49. Mirdha
50. Munda, Munda Lohara, Munda Mahalis
51. Omanatya
52. Oraon
53. Parenga
54. Paroja
55. Pentia
56. Rajuar
57. Santal
58. Saora, Savar, Saura, Sahara
59. Sounti
60. Tharua
61. Sahu


1. Bhil, Bheel, Garasia, Dholi Bhil, Dungri Bhil, Dungri
Garasia,Mewasi Bhil, Rawal Bhil, Tadvi Bhil, Bhagalia, Bhilala, Pawra,
Vasava, Vasave
2. Bhil Meena
3. Damor, Damaria
4. Dhanka Tadvi, Tetaria, Valvi
5. Garasia (excluding Rajput Garasia)
6. Kathodi, Katkari, Dhor Kathodi, Dhor Katkari, Son Kathodi, Son
Katkari, khatik
7. Kokna, Kokni, Kukna
8. Koli Dhor, Tokre koli, Kolcha, Kolgha
9. Meena
10. Naikda, Nayak, Cholivala Nayak, Kapadia Nayak, Mota Nayak, Nana
Nayak. (Nayak also called as nayaka)
11. Pateliya
12. Seharia, Sehria, Sahariya

Tamil Nadu

1. Adiyan
2. Aranadan
3. Eravallan
4. Irular
5. Kadar
6. Kammara (excluding Kanyakumari district and Shencottah taluk of
Tirunelveli district)
7. Kanikaran, Kanikkar (in Kanyakumari district and Shencottah taluk
of Tirunelveli district)
8. Kaniyan, Kanyan
9. Kattunayakan
10.Kochu Velan
11.Konda Kapus
14.Kota (excluding Kanyakumari district and Shencottah taluk of
Tirunelveli district)
15.Kudiya, Melakudi
17.Kurumbas (in the Nilgiris district)
19.Maha Malasar
20.Malai Arayan
21.Malai Pandaram
22.Malai Vedan
25. Malayali (in Dharmapuri, Pudukottai, Salem, Tiruchi districts and
North and South Arcot regions)
26. Malayekandi
27. Mannan
28. Mudugar, Muduvan
29. Muthuvan
30. Palleyan
31. Palliyan
32. Palliyar
33. Paniyan
34. Sholaga
35. Toda (excluding Kanyakumari district and Shencottah taluk of
Tirunelveli district)
36. Uraly
37.Adi Dravidar

West Bengal

1. Asur
2. Adhikari
3. Badia [disambiguation needed], Bediya
4. Bhumij
5. Bhutia, Sherpa, Toto, Dukpa, Kagatay, Tibetan, Yolmo
6. Birhor
7. Birjia
8. Chakma
9. Chero
10. Chik Baraik
11. Garo
12. Gond
13. Gorait
14. Hajang
15. Ho
16. Karmali
17. Kharwar
18. Khond
29. Kisan
20. Kora
21. Korwa
22. Lepcha
23. Lodha, Kheria, Kharia
24. Lohara, Lohra
25. Magh
26. Mahali
27. Mahli
28. Mal Pahariya
29. Mech
30. Mru
31. Munda
32. Nagesia
33. Oraon
34. Parhaiya
35. Rabha
36. Santal
37. Sauria Paharia
38. Savar
39. Tamang
40. Subba


Darlong [1]
Halam (Like, Hrangkhawl, Molsom, Bongcher, etc.)


(Inserted by Act 34 of 1986, s. 14 and Third Sch. (w.e.f. 20-2-1987).)

1. Lusai
2. Chakma
3. Dimasa (Kachari)
4. Garo
5. Hajong
6. Hmar
7. Khasi and Jaintia, (including Khasi, Synteng or Pnar, War, Bhoi or
8. Any Kuki tribes, including,--
(i) Baite or Biete
(ii) Changsan
(iii) Chongloi
(iv) Darlong
(v) Doungel
(vi) Gamalhou
(vii) Gangte
(viii) Guite
(ix) Hanneng
(x) Haokip or Haupit
(xi) Haolai
(xii) Hengna
(xiii) Hongsungh
(xiv) Hrangkhawl or Rangkhol
(xv) Jongbe
(xvi) Khawchung
(xvii) Khawathlang or Khothalong
(xviii) Khelma
(xix) Kholhou
(xx) Kipgen
(xxi) Kuki
(xxii) Lengthang
(xxiii) Lhangum
(xxiv) Lhoujem
(xxv) Lhouvun
(xxvi) Lupheng
(xxvii) Mangjel
(xxviii) Missao
(xxix) Riang
(xxx) Sairhem
(xxxi) Selnam
(xxxii) Singson
(xxxiii) Sitlhou
(xxxiv) Sukte
(xxxv) Thado
(xxxvi) Thangngeu
(xxxvii) Uibuh
(xxxviii) Vaiphei
9. Lakher or Mara (Lakher was changed to Mara in 1988)
10. Man (Tai-speaking)
11. Any Mizo (Lushai) tribes
12. Mikir
13. Any Naga tribes
14. Pawi

Arunachal Pradesh

All tribes in the State including:

1. Abor
2. Aka
3. Apatani
4. Dafla
5. Galong
6. Khampti
7. Khowa
8. Mishmi
9. Monpa
10. Tangsa
11. Sherdukpen
12. Singpho
13. Phake


1 Velip
2 Gawada
3 Kunbis
[edit] Chhattisgarh
Bharia Bhumia, Bhuinhar Bhumia, Bhumiya, Bharia, Paliha, Pando
Bhil, Bhilala, Barela, Patelia
Bhil Meena
Biar, Biyar
Birhul, Birhor
Damor, Damaria
Gadaba, Gadba
Gond, Arrakh, Agaria, Asur, Badi Maria, Bada Maria, Bhatola, Bhimma,
Bhuta, Koilabhuta, Kolibhuti, Bhar, Bisonhorn Maria, Chota Maria,
Dandami Maria, Dhuru, Dhurwa, Dhoba, Dhulia, Dorla, Gaiki, Gatta,
Gatti, Gaita, Gond, Gowari Hill Maria, Kandra, Kalanga, Khatola,
Koitar, Koya, Khirwar, Khirwara, Kucha Maria, Kuchaki Maria, Madia,
Maria, Mana,, Mannewar, Moghya, Mogia, Monghya, Mudia, Muria,
Nagarchi, Nagwanshi, Ojha, Raj Gond, Sonjhari, Jhareka, Thatia,
Thotya, Wade Maria, Vade Maria, Daroi.
Halba, Halbi
Kawar, Kanwar, Kaur, Cherwa, Rathia, Tanwar, Chattri
Khairwar, Kondar
Kondh, Khond, Kandh
Korku, Bopchi, Mouasi, Nihar, Nahul, Bondhi, Bondeya
Korwa, Kodaku
Nagesia, Nagasia
Oraon, Dhanka, Dhangad
Pardhan, Pathari, Saroti
Pardhi, Bahelia, Bahellia, Chita Pardhi, Langoli Pardhi, Phans Pardhi,
Shikari, Takankar, Takia [in (i) Bastar, Dantewara, Kanker, Raigarh,
Jashpurnagar, Surguja and Koria district, (ii) Katghora, Pali, Kartala
and Korba tahsils of Korba tahsils of Korba district, (iii) Bilaspur,
Pendra, Kota and Takhatpur tahsils of Bilaspur district, (iv) Durg,
Patan, Gunderdehi, Dhamdha, Balod, Gurur and Dondilohara tahsils of
Durg district, (v) Chowki, Manpur and Mohala Revenue Inspector Circles
of Rajnandgon district, (vi) Mahasamund, Saraipali and Basna tahsils
of Mahasamund district, (vii) Bindra-Navagarh, Rajim and Deobhog
tahsils of Raipur district, and (viii) Dhamtari, Kurud and Sihava
tahsils of Dhamtari district]
Sahariya, Saharia, Seharia, Sehria, Sosia, Sor
Saonta, Saunta
Sawar, Sawara


[edit] Jharkhand
Banjara (Kora)
Chick Baraik
Mal Pahariya
Sauria Paharia


Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act

Citation Official Act
Enacted by Parliament of India
Date enacted 11 September 1989


Prevention of the commission of offences of atrocities against the
members of the Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes

The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
was enacted by the Parliament of India, in order to prevent atrocities
against Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The purpose of the Act
was to help the social inclusion of Dalits into Indian society, but
the Act has failed to live up to its expectations.

Special Court

Special Court Justice Ramaswamy observed in the case of State of
Karnataka v. Ingale [1] that more than seventy-five percent of the
cases brought under the SC/ST Act end in acquittal at all levels. The
situation has not improved much since 1992 according to the figures
given by the 2002 Annual Report dealing with SC/ST Act (of the
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment)[2] Of the total cases
filed in 2002 only 21.72% were disposed of, and, of those, a mere
2.31% ended in conviction. The number of acquittals is 6 times more
than the number of convictions and more than 70 percent of the cases
are still pending.[3]

Speedy trial

The framers of the SC/ST Act kept this aspect (the increasing number
of cases pending in the judiciary) in mind and provided for the
setting up of a Special Court for speedy trial of offences committed
under this Act.[4][5]

Implementation of Law

They failed, however, to give any real powers to Special Courts for
the admission of complaints. This is evident from the provision
relating to setting up of Special Courts which gives a false
impression that a case of atrocity can be directly filed with the
Special Courts.[6] Various State Governments have notified the Special
Courts, in accordance with the provision of the Act, but these courts
cannot take cognizance of any complaint directly. The Supreme Court,
in the case of Gangula Ashok v. State of AP,[7] clarified that Special
Courts can take cognizance of an offence only when a case is committed
to it by a magistrate in accordance with provisions of Section 193 of
Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C). This means that a charge sheet
cannot be directly filed before a Special Court. When a Session Court
is constituted as a Special Court, it cannot take cognizance of an
offence without such a case being committed to it by magistrate unless
it is expressly provided so in the Act. Neither in the Cr.P.C. nor in
the SC/ST Act is there any provision which grants the power to Special
Court to take cognizance of the offences as an original jurisdiction
without the case being committed to it by a magistrate. Hence, it is
mandatory to go through the course established under the Cr.P.C.


Going through the normal judicial system is self degrading for any
dalit. This is because of the still existing biases of the court
judges. One example is the conduct of an Allahabad High Court judge
who had his chambers "purified" with water from the ‘ganga jal’
because a dalit judge had previously sat in that chamber before him.
[8] Another example is the case of State of Karnataka v. Ingale.[1]
The State of Karnataka had charged five individuals with violating the
SC/ST Act. At trial, four witnesses testified that the defendants had
threatened dalits with a gun in order to stop them from taking water
from a well. The defendants told the dalits that they had no right to
take water, because they were untouchables. The trial judge convicted
all of the defendants. On appeal, the Additional Sessions judge
confirmed the conviction of three defendants but acquitted two. On
further appeal to the High Court, the judge acquitted all the
defendants after rejecting the testimony of the four dalit witnesses.
The dalits finally got relief from the Supreme Court.


The legal regime is fraught with contradictions. While the legal text
is explicit in seeking remedies, the implementation of the text
appears to evade actual performance. Laws and legal processes are not
self executing; they depend on the administrative structure and the
judiciary with the anticipation that the social attitudes are driven
by notions of equity, social justice and fair play.[9] However, the
increasingly indifferent responses of those involved in the
implementation of laws protecting the weak, the oppressed and the
socially disadvantaged have persisted over the years and the system
has failed to provide for self-correction. What needs to be
appreciated is that victims of attrocites suffer not only bodily and
mental pain but also feelings of insecurity and socialavoidance which
is not present for the victims of other crimes. If the judge delegated
to protect them shows indifference, it further aggravates their
already vulnerable position.


Section 23 of the Prevention of Atrocities Act authorises the Central
Government to frame rules for carrying out the purpose of the Act. It
was the drawing power from this section that the Scheduled Castes and
the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules of 1995 were
framed. According to Rule 7(1)[10] investigation of an offence
committed under the SC/ST Act cannot be investigated by an officer not
below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP). Various High
Courts have vitiated the trail based on the above rule and have
improperly set aside the order of conviction.[11]

Rank of investigating officer

The Andhra Pradesh High Court, in D. Ramlinga Reddy v. State of AP,
[12] took the position that provisions of Rule 7 are mandatory and
held that investigation under the SC/St Act has to be carried out by
only an officer not below the rank of DSP. An investigation carried
out and charge sheet filed by an incompetent officer is more than
likely to be quashed. Similarly, the Madras High Court in M.
Kathiresam v. State of Tamil Nadu[13] held that investigation
conducted by an officer other than a DSP is improper and bad in law
and proceedings based on such an investigation are required to be
quashed. The Courts without taking into consideration the inadequacies
of the State, have been punishing SC/STs for the same. Shri Pravin
Rashtrapal, Member of Parliament rightly pointed out that ther are
insufficient officers at that level.[14] His statement is supported by
the Annul Report of 2005-2006 of Ministry of Home Affairs.[15] Of the
total posts sanctioned by the government under Indian Police Service
(IPS) more than 15 percent of the posts are vacant. This basically
means that there is one IPS officer for 77,000 SC/STs.


According to the preamble of the SC/ST Act, it is an Act to prevent
the commission of offences of atrocities against SC/STs, to provide
for Special Courts for the trial of such offences and for the relief
and rehabilitation of the victims of such offences. The Madhya Pradesh
High Court also had the same view and observed in the case of Dr. Ram
Krishna Balothia v. Union of India[16] that the entire scheme of the
SC/ST Act is to provide protection to the members of the scheduled
castes and scheduled tribes and to provide for Special Court and
speedy trial of the offences. The Act contains affirmative measures to
weed out the root cause of atrocities, which has denied SC/STs basic
civil rights. The Act has addressed the problem the regarding the
dispensation of justice, but what the failed to deal with is the
problem of ‘rehabilitation’. There is mention of rehabilitation under
Section 21(2)(iii), but there are no provision addressing the same. As
it has been stated earlier that victims of atrocities are on a
different level when compared to victims of other crimes, hence there
should be special provision for the same. According to the report
submitted by the National Commission for Review and Working of the
Constitution[17] victims of atrocities and their families should be
provided with full financial and any other support in order to make
them economically self-reliant without their having to seek wage
employment from their very oppressors or classes of oppressors. Also
it would be the duty of the State to immediately take over the
educational needs of the children of such victims and provide for the
cost of their food and maintenance. SC/STs constitute 68 percent of
the total rural population. According to the 1991 Agricultural census
a large number of SC/STs are marginal farmers compared to the other
sections of the society and because of this the number of cultivators
are going down. In other words the landlessness is increasing at a
faster rate among SC/STs. At the same time the number of SC/ST workers
as agricultural labourer is increasing at a faster rate when compared
to other sections of the society. This basically implies that after
losing their land holdings SC/ST cultivators are becoming agriculture
labourers. Loss of land, on the one hand, is caused by atrocities
making the more vulnerable. This in turn fuels and promotes
continuance of atrocities and untouchability. Marginalisation is one
of the worst forms of oppression. It expelles a whole category of
people from useful participation in the society and therefore
potentially subjected to material depravation and this could even lead
to extermination. Moreover, this leads to the state of powerlessness
which perhaps is best described negatively; the powerless lack
authority, status and a sense of self.[18] Moreover, every right has
three types of duties:

Duties to avoid deprivation.
Duties to protect from deprivation
Duties to aid the deprived.
Though the SC/ST Act does cover the first two duties but totally
ignores the third one; duty to aid the deprived. Hence, it is
necessary to make the SC/STs self dependent.


Under constitutional provisions, a caste or tribe is notified with
reference to a State or Union territory. Hence a person born in state/
UT gets certificate of SC/ST if his/her father belongs to specified
caste/tribe in that state as SC/ST. If he/she migrates to another
state, he/she lose status for affirmative actions, i.e. benefit of
admission in educational institutes, reservation in government
employment etc. But he/she does not lose protection as guaranteed by
constitution like PoA & other Acts in any other state. In brief once a
person is notified as SC/ST in any one state/UT, he gets protection
under SC ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 throughout the
country, irrespective that caste or tribe is notified in the state/UT
where offence is occurred.


The statement of object and reason of the SC/ST Act clearly reveals
that the Act, in its letter and spirit, desires that dalits lead a
dignified life. However, even after 16 years of its existence in the
statute book, it has not shown its desired effect. The majority of the
beneficiaries of this Act are unaware of the legitimate claims of
leading a dignified way of life or are unwilling to enforce it
intensively. Even the Police, prosecutors and judicial officers are
unaware of this Act as was pointed out by Calcutta High Court in the
case of M.C. Prasannan v. State of West Bengal.[19] What further
aggravates the problem is the misapplication of the Act by police as
well as by the courts which ultimately leads to acquittals.[20]

Rural atrocities which are not covered under this Act

Social and economic boycott and blackmail are widespread. In view of
the fact that the main perpetrators of the crime sometimes co-opt a
few SC/STs with them and take advantage of local differences among the
SC/STs and sometimes they promote and engineer crimes but get them
executed by some members of SC/STs, the Act should be suitably amended
to bring such crimes and atrocities within the purview of the
definition of atrocities under the Act.[17] Likewise, the Special
Courts established under Section 14 of the Act are required to follow
the committal procedure under Cr.P.C. Such an interpretation prevents
the speedy trail envisaged under the Act. Further the absence of the
adequate number of special courts has also resulted in slow disposal
of atrocity cases and a huge back log.

External links

Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,


^ a b (1992) 3 S.C.R. 284
^ Annual Report on The Scheduled Castes and The Scheduled Tribes
(Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 for the Year 2002, at p.12.
^ http://www.censusindia.gov.in 2001 Census
^ Upendra Baxi, “Crisis of Indian Legal System”, Amita Dhanda
(compiled by), “Law and Poverty Reading Material – B.A.B.L (Hons)”,
1st edition 2006, p.170.
^ Section 14.- For the purpose of providing for speedy trial, the
State Government shall, with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of
the High Court, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify for
each district a Court of Session to be a Special Court to try the
offences under this Act.
^ http://www.ncbc.nic.in National Commission for Scheduled Castes and
Scheduled Tribes- Fourth Report 1996-97 & 1997-98, Vol. I.
^ AIR 2000 SC 740
^ "Human Rights Watch, “Broken People: Caste Violence Against India's
Untouchables"". Hrw.org. http://www.hrw.org/reports/1999/india.
Retrieved 2008-12-29. http://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/1999/india/
^ K.I. Vibhute, “Right to Live with Human Dignity of Scheduled Castes
and Tribes: Legislative Spirit and Social Response – Some
Reflections”, 44 JILI (2002) 469 at 481.
^ 7(1).— An offence committed under the Act shall be investigated by a
police officer not below the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of
Police. The investigating officer shall be appointed by the State
Government /Director General of Police/Superintendent of Police after
taking into account his past experience, sense of ability and justice
to perceive the implications of the case and investigate it along with
right lines within the shortest possible time.
^ In 2002 the conviction rate was a mere 2 percent. Report by Ministry
of Social Justice and Empowerment
^ 1999 Cr LJ 2918
^ 1999 Cr LJ 3938
^ Lok Sabha Debates, see
^ Ministry of Home Affairs - Govt of India - India an Overview - India
- History[dead link]
^ AIR 1994 MP 143
^ a b 11
^ Iris Young, “Justice and Politics of Difference”. Amita Dhanda
(compiled by), “Law and Poverty Reading Material – IV Semester B.A.B.L
(Hons)”, 1st edition 2006, p.29
^ 1999 Cr LJ 998 (Cal)
^ Karansingh v. State of MP, 1992 Cr LJ 3054 (MP)



Forward caste
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Forward Caste (also known as Forward class/community, General class),
in India, denotes peoples, communities and castes from any religion
who do not currently qualify for a Government of India Reservation
benefits (that is, set quotas for political representation) for Other
Backward Classes, scheduled castes and tribes.[1][2][3] Since the list
presented by the commission for OBC, SC, ST is dynamic (classes and
communities can be added or removed) and will change from time to time
depending on Social, Educational and Economic factors, the Forward
Classes also are subject to change from time to time. The Government
of India does not publish a separate list of forward classes.[citation


Estimate the forward classes population as anywhere from 5-15%.[4][5]
However, they have not quoted sources for their estimations. National
sample survey estimates Forward Class population almost same as
Backward Classes at around 36%. Family health survey combined forward
classes population along with all communities of other religions. If
you exclude Backward classes of other religions, then it is around
38.6% which is more than Backward classes population. State wise
Forward Class Population can be found from the chart.

Population by State

Arunachal Pradesh - NA (6% Brahmin)[6]

Andhra Pradesh - 9.9% of the total population (3% Brahmin, 1.2% Raju,
3% Velama & 2.7% Komati).[7]

Intermediate castes: Reddy (6.8%), Kamma/Chowdary (4.6%) & Kapu (15.2%)

Assam - NA (4% Brahmin)[9]

Bihar - 13% (4.7% Brahmin, 4.2% Rajput, 2.9% Bhumihar & 1.2% Kayasth)

Chattisgarh - NA (2% Brahmin)[11]

Goa - NA (7% Brahmin)[12]

Gujarat - High Forward Castes: 13.1% (4.1% Brahmin, 4.9% Rajput, 3.0%
Vaishya & 1.1% Others); Middle Forwards: 12.3% (12.2% Patel / Kanbi &
0.1% Others); Lower Forwards: 24.2% (24.2% Gujarati Kshatriya)[13][14]

Haryana - 47% (6 to 8% Brahmin, 21% Jat, 9% Khatri / Sikh & remaining
mostly Vaishya)[15]

Himachal Pradesh - 56% (14 to 20% Brahmin, 28% Rajput & remaining
mostly Vaishya / Khatri).[16]

J & K - NA (11% Brahmin, remaining mostly Dogra Rajput)[17]

Jharkhand - 7% (3% Brahmin, remaining mostly Rajput / Bhumihar /
Kayasth / Bhadralok).[18] Baniya is OBC here.

Karnataka - 16% (3 to 5% Brahmin, 3% Maratha, 2% Bunt / Nair / Kodava
& remaining mostly Raju / Devadiga / Vaishya). Intermediate castes:
Lingayat (17%) [19]

Kerala - 26% of the total population (1.5% Brahmin, 14.5% Malayala
Kshatriya / Tuluva Kshatriya, 0.5% Ambalavasi, 9% Syrian Christians &
0.5% Others).[20]

Maharashtra - 40% (4% Brahmin, 29% Maratha & remaining mostly Prabhu /

Manipur - 43% (Brahmin / Kshatriya)
Madhya Pradesh - NA (5% Brahmin)[22]

Orissa - 47% (6 to 9% Brahmin, 35% Khandayat / Kshatriya & 5% Patnaik)
Punjab - NA (5% Brahmin)[24]

Rajastan - 46% (7 to 8% Brahmin, 8% Rajput, 8% Vaishya, 20% Jat & 2%
Sikkim - NA (7% Brahmin)[26]

Tamil Nadu - 12% (3% Brahmin & remaining mostly Vellalar).
Intermediate castes: Thevar (8%)[27]

Tripura - NA (3% Brahmin)[28]

Uttar Pradesh - 20% (9 to 10% Brahmin, 7.2% Thakur, 2% Vaishya, 1%
Kayasth). Intermediate castes: Jat (2.5%)[29]

Uttaranchal - 75% (20% Brahmin, remaining mostly Thakur)[30][31]

West Bengal - 35% (5% Brahmin, 8% Mahishya & remaining mostly
Kayasth / Thakur / Vaishya)[32]

Delhi - NA (12% Brahmin, 9% Khatri, 5% Jat & remaining mostly
Vaishya / Thakur)[33]

Economic and educational status

Based on NSS-99-00.Rural/Urban weightages based on 2001 census)

Based on NSS-99-00.Rural/Urban weightages based on 2001 census)The
Government of India does not collect community census data except for
SC/ST. Economic and educational level of various social groups are
gauged using large sample surveys. The National Sample Survey taken in
1999–2000 and the National Family Health Survey taken in 2005-2006 (or
perhaps an earlier round of the NFHS) estimated economic, educational,
and health indicators of various communities. These surveys were used
extensively in the report submitted by the oversight committee.[34]

Forward classes will have to compete only in the open category, as
they are considered socially, educationally, and economically
advanced. Currently the reservation proportion stands at 50% in
central-government educational institutions and central-government
jobs. However, in certain states such as Tamil Nadu, the reservation
percentage stands at around 69%.[35]

Economic status

The 1998–1999 National Sample Survey calculated the economic status of
forward communities separately for rural/urban areas in various income
brackets. It shows

Only 6.4% of forward classes in rural areas appear in upper income
bracket with per capita monthly income stands at above Rs 925 per

30% of rural population is made up of forward classes.

More than 65% of forward classes per capita income stands below Rs 525
per month.
For urban areas:

Only 5.6% of forward classes appear in the upper-income bracket with
per capita income at or above Rs. 1925 per month (around US $40).

More than 25% of forward classes per capita income stands below Rs.
500 per month (around $10)

Educational status

Based on NSS-99-00.Rural/Urban weightages based on 2001 census)
More than 30% of forward classes above 15 years of age are
Only 8% of forward classes are graduates.

Around 85% of forward classes above 15 years of age have done equal to
or below secondary Education (10 Years of Education)

Reservation for economically backward among forward classes

Currently forward classes are only allowed to compete for seats in the
unreserved category in educational institutions and central government
jobs, irrespective of their educational/economical status in the
society. However, a significant percentage of the Forward Class
population lives below the poverty line and more than 30% of the
members of this community are illiterate. To meet their aspirations,
demands have been raised for providing separate reservations for the
poor among Forward Class populations. Many political parties like
Congress, BJP, Samajwadi Party, LJP, Rastriya Janata Dal, Communist
Party of India(Marxist), Bahujan Samaj Party[36][37][38][39] have
supported proposals for providing separate reservation for the poor
among the forward classes. These parties account for over 400 of the
542 members in the current parliament, as well as holding power in
most states in the union.

Indian Government surveys have pointed out that Poverty is widespread
in all communities. Indian definition of poverty is living life with
less than 0.25 US$/Day(Approx). Whereas United nations definition of
Poverty is living life with less than $1/Day.[1]. More than 65% of
forward classes will be living below poverty line if UN poverty
definition is considered.[2]


1991: Congress government headed by Narasimha Rao introduced 10%
separate reservation for poor among forward classes.

1992: The Supreme Court has ruled in the Indra Sawhney case that
separate reservation for poor among forward classes as invalid.
Government has withdrawn separate reservation as per supreme court
judgement. (Many other verdicts given in same case has been overruled
by constitutional amendments like quota in promotions, exceeding 50%
reservations for Tamilnadu, judgement regarding creamy layer in the
same case was not implemented by Tamilnadu so far.)

2003: BJP government appointed a group of Ministers for suggesting
measures for implementation of separate reservation for poor among
forward classes. [4]
2004: Task force has been set up to work out modalities for providing
reservations to Poor among forward classes.No information available
regarding report submitted by this task force.[5]

2006: Present Congress Government appointed commission to study
separate reservation for economically backward classes.[6]

2006: Communist government in Kerala earmarked 12% seats in private
professional colleges for economically poor among forward classes.[7]

Many backward class leaders allege forward classes are over
represented in many spheres of life. State and central governments
have not released adequate data regarding representation of various
communities in their services and admissions to educational
institutions.Most of the Private companies in India does not collect
data regarding community of their employees. Very few reports are
available regarding representation of various communities in public–
private services and admissions in educational institutions.

In Tamil Nadu forward classes have secured around 1.9% of seats in
medical colleges in 2004 and 2.68 % seats in 2005 as against their
population percentage of 13%.See Also Caste-Based Reservations In
Tamil Nadu. This trend of poor representation has continued for the
last 10 years as claimed by lawyers in one of the Reservation cases.

Narendra committee report in Kerala has pointed out that forward
classes representation in public services and PSU units is around 36
to 38% which is more or less equal to their population.[9].

Karnataka Minister in state Assembly has announced that per capita
income of the Brahmins is lesser than all communities including
scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.[10]

Oversight committee in its final report has indicated that forward
classes are placed better than backward classes in some indicators and
comparable with backward classes in few indicators and backward
classes are superior in some parameters like health indicators in
states like Assam, Maharastra, Haryana, West Bengal, etc.[11]
National Survey 99-00 indicates that forward classes are better placed
than SC/ST in almost all parameters. However, in rural
unemployment,forward classes score worse than all other communities.

Recently released Provisional report of National Survey 04-05 states
that Buying capacity of Backward Classes in rural and urban areas are
comparable to forward classes. It also revises Backward classes figure
as 41%. It also states that Landownership of Backward classes are
comparable to Forward Classes. It reiterates its earlier finding (in
99-00 survey) that forward classes are poorly employed (more

Rural landholding pattern of various social groups calculated by
National Sample Survey 99-00 indicate that OBC and forward classes are
comparable in wealthiness.)
National surveys used rural landholding pattern to assess wealthiness
of various social groups. Its findings indicate that OBC and FC are
comparable and there is a very minor difference between them. There is
a big difference between OBC/FC and SC. Even Scheduled Tribes are
placed better than Scheduled Castes. Experts who analysed national
survey results point out that other backward classes are near average
in many parameters. Please refer chart.[13]

Shrinking educational opportunities

During April 2006, India’s Human Resource Minister announced that 27%
seats will be reserved exclusively for candidates from Other Backward
Classes in addition to existing 22.5 % reservation for Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes.[14] This announcement was done when
polling process was underway in Tamilnadu and Kerala (States with
highest backward class population in India).[15] Incidentally many
opinion polls at that time were predicting rout of ruling UDF alliance
in these states.[16](UDF alliance subsequently won in Tamilnadu but
lost in Kerala). Election commission reprimanded Human Resources
Ministry for making such announcement when election process was in

Sachar committee report indicated that Hindu OBC's enrollment in all
educational institutions is close to their populations in the 2004-5
national survey (page 93/425 of Sachar committee report). Union Human
Resources minister appointed panel to study about sachar committee
recommendations regarding Indian Muslims[3] but did not give his
opinion on this subject.

Impact of announcement on forward classes

After the implementation of OBC reservation, only 50% of seats are
available in open competition. All communities can compete in open
competition which means forward classes must secure between 72% and
78% of the 'open competition' seats in order to maintain their
representation in keeping with their estimated population of 36-39%,
whereas other communities will get major chunk of seats through
exclusive reservations. This has resulted in protests from Forward
Class community members and supporters from other communities under
the banner of Youth for Equality. They have pointed out following as
reasons for their protests.[18]

The Government has implemented reservations for the Scheduled castes
and Scheduled Tribes for the last 60 years, however the social and
economic situation of these groups has not shown much improvement.
This might be interpreted as an indication of the ineffectiveness of
reservation in higher educational institutions as a means of achieving
social equality.

Any difference between proportion of different communities in Higher
educational institutions is mainly because of difference in primary
school enrollment. (This fact was also confirmed in National sample
surveys and pointed out by Oversight committee in its final report).
Government should attack the cause instead of providing reservation at
higher education level Already 24% of college seats are with Other
backward classes. Providing another 27% seats will deprive chances of
forward classes.

Reservation on the basis of caste is cornered only by rich and
affluent. For example daughter of former President of India got
admission into Indian Foreign Services denying opportunity to another
poor person from her own community.

Certain Indian states has forward classes population of more than 50%
or close to 50%. In some of these states,no.of forward classes
admitted in educational institutions will be much less than their
population even if they secure 100% seats in open
competition.)Interestingly Government of India decided to introduce
27% reservations for other backward classes all over India. Many
states does not have even 27% of other backward class population as
per national sample surveys.(This includes major Indian states like
Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Punjab, West
Bengal).[19].Some Indian states like Assam, Goa, Haryana, Himachal
Pradesh, West Bengal has more than 50% forward classes population
[20]which means no. of seats secured by forward classes will not be
equal to their population proportion even if they secure 100% seats in
open competition in central government institutions of these states.
Central government, however, excluded 27% reservations to other
backward classes to the areas with high tribal populations.[21].


^ http://books.google.com/books?id=bgpEIb4tNjgC&pg=PA2004
^ http://books.google.com/books?id=vCQ24WjlwZwC&pg=PA155
^ http://books.google.com/books?id=sTS4OO9lcdgC&pg=PA102
^ The Hindu
^ 'What more do the upper castes want?'
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://www.odi.org.uk/resources/download/1998.pdf
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC

^ Reservations in Doubt: The Backlash Against Affirmative Action in
Gujarat, India by John R. Wood, Source: Pacific Affairs, Vol. 60, No.
3 (Autumn, 1987), pp. 408-430,

^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ 1968 Socio-Economic Survey, Govt. of Kerala
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/images/brahamins_table_20070604.jpg
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.india-seminar.com/2004/534/534%20sanjay%20kumar.htm
^ Tamil Nadu's quota stir an assertion of its 69 percent? (NEWS
^ ExspressIndia.com Link 01
^ ExpressIndia.com Link 02
^ The Hindu : National : Paswan for quota for economically backward
^ The Hindu : Cong. for 'quota' for poor among forward castes


...and I am Sid Harth
2010-03-15 14:27:02 UTC
Gadkari to announce new team on March 16
Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times
Delhi, March 15, 2010

First Published: 00:26 IST(15/3/2010)
Last Updated: 01:30 IST(15/3/2010)

A blend of new faces and old hands will make up BJP president Nitin
Gadkari’s new team that he will announce on March 16 to end the three-
month-long suspense in the party.

That day marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year.

Those tipped to become general secretaries include former Rajasthan CM
Vasundhara Raje, former Jharkhand CM Arjun Munda, spokesperson Ravi
Shankar Prasad, Orissa leader Dharmendra Pradhan, and Himachal Pradesh
minister J.P. Nadda.

While Ananth Kumar, Ram Lal Agarwal and Thwar Chand Gehlot will remain
general secretaries, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who was vice-president in
Rajnath Singh’s team, will be made general secretary, BJP sources
said. Navjot Singh Sidhu will also become a general secretary, while
Yashwant Sinha is expected to remain vice-president.

Among new secretaries, Gadkari is likely to induct Varun Gandhi.
Though Varun has sought a bigger profile, his mother Maneka is
persuading him to accept the role in view of the assembly polls in
Uttar Pradesh, the sources said.

Anurag Thakur, the young MP from Himachal Pradesh, will take over as
BJP yuva morcha chief, his predecessor Amit Thakker may be included in
Gadkari’s team as a secretary. Shahnawaz Hussain, who is heading the
BJP minority cell, may become a secretary. Among the women in the BJP
chief’s team, Smriti Irani and Saroj Pandey will be secretaries.

Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar is likely to be elevated as vice-
president as are former Uttarakhand chief minister B C Khanduri and
former Delhi BJP chief Harshvardhan.

In keeping with the party’s decision to provide 33 per cent
reservation to women in the organisation, Gadkari intends to have at
least 13 women officer bearers and at least 40 national executive


BJP names Rajay Sabha candidates from Punjab, Himachal
Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, March 15, 2010

First Published: 17:07 IST(15/3/2010)
Last Updated: 17:08 IST(15/3/2010)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to field Avinash Rai
Khanna in Punjab and Vimla Kashyap in Himachal Pradesh in the Rajya
Sabha elections.

In Punjab, three seats are expected to go to the ruling Akali Dal-BJP
combine and two to the Congress. In Himachal, the lone seat is
expected to go to the ruling BJP.

The decision was taken at the central election committee of the BJP
that met on Monday with president Nitin Gadkari in the chair.

The last date for filing nominations is March 16. Polling, if
necessary, will take place March 26.

The terms of Rajya Sabha members from Punjab -- Sports Minister M S
Gill, former minister Ashwani Kumar and D P Sabharwal (all Congress)
and V S Bajwa (Akali Dal) -- are ending April 9. The term of Akali Dal
member Naresh Gujral will end March 22.

In Himachal, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma's term ends April 3.


BJP sets up panel to probe Bareilly clashes
HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times
Lucknow, March 13, 2010

First Published: 21:49 IST(13/3/2010)
Last Updated: 01:23 IST(14/3/2010)

As Bareilly continued to remain on the boil for the 11th day on
Saturday, the BJP set up a three-member committee to inquire into the
communal violence.

The committee is headed by former Union minister Maneka Gandhi, an MP
from Aaonla that is adjacent to Bareilly. Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath
and Meerut MP Rajendra Agrawal are the other two members, a party
release said.

On Saturday, a mob set fire to shops and vehicles in Qutabkhana and
Subzi Mandi areas, while curfew continued in the five police areas of
Kila, Baradari, Premnagar, Subhash Nagar and Kotwali. Fearing that
violence might spread to other areas the district administration did
not relax the curfew.

The ADG (Law and Order), Brij Lal, said that in order to restore
communal harmony the district administration was holding meeting with
the citizens. “The people residing on the outskirts of the city were
also invited to the meeting. Adequate police force was deployed and
the situation was under control,” he said.

The district administration is being blamed for mismanagement. “It’s a
clear case of mishandling by the district administration,” a police
officer said. “Tension was limited to four police areas, later it

“On several occasions the decisions taken by the district
administration was by-passed and directives came from Lucknow that
curfew should be relaxed,” said a police officer posted in Bareilly.

The intelligence department, too, reportedly failed to alert the

The BJP is blaming the Mayawati government for the clashes. Trouble
began on March 2 during the Barawafat procession. A minor communal
clash led to curfew.

Maulana Tauquir Raza Khan, president of the Ittehad-e-Millat Council,
was arrested for his “rabble-rousing speech” that had led to communal
tension. He was released after some groups said Muslims would boycott
the BSP rally in Lucknow on March 15.


Gadkari support for Modi, state explores legal options
HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times
Ahmedabad/New Delhi, March 13, 2010

First Published: 01:31 IST(13/3/2010)
Last Updated: 01:33 IST(13/3/2010)

A day after the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigating Team
(SIT) probing the 2002 Gujarat riots summoned Chief Minister Narendra
Modi for questioning, the state said it was exploring legal options
before it.

“Whatever are the right legal options available we will explore them
and, accordingly, what is required to be done would be done,” Gujarat
government spokesperson Jay Narayan Vyas said, adding that the state
government and Modi would cooperate with “the process of law”.

The SIT, which has summoned Modi to appear before it on March 21, was
acting on a petition filed by the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan
Jafri, who was murdered during the riots by a mob in Ahmedabad’s
Gulbarg Society.

The state Congress on Friday questioned the conduct of the Nanavati
Commission, set up to probe the riots.

“People have lost faith in the commission, (which is) operating for
almost eight years,” Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia said. “Even the
officers appearing for questioning are tutored by their seniors as
what to answer the commission.”

The BJP has come out in support of Modi, with party chief Nitin
Gadkari saying the Gujarat BJP leader would make a good prime

“We will cooperate with the judiciary, but we will back Modi one
hundred per cent. The events (riots) were unfortunate, but the blame
cannot be focused on Modi,” Gadkari told Headlines Today. “The UPA
simply wants to shoot Modi politically by using the CBI.”

This is the first time Gadkari, who took over in December, has
endorsed Modi for the top slot.

“He (Modi) is a role model for development politics,” he added. “A
decision on the party’s prime ministerial candidate will be taken by
senior leaders and the parliamentary body, but Modi is fully competent
– he has the ability, capacity and potential to lead this country.”


Smita hails Sonia Gandhi for women’s quota bill, praises Raj
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 11, 2010

First Published: 01:23 IST(11/3/2010)
Last Updated: 01:24 IST(11/3/2010)

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s estranged daughter-in-law Smita on
Wednesday hailed Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi for getting the
women’s reservation bill passed in the Rajya Sabha.

“Mahatma Gandhi secured Independence for India. After so many years,
Sonia Gandhi has given freedom to the women masses of this country,"
she said at a press conference.

When asked about joining any political party, Smita — she is
reportedly keen to join the Congress — said she would join a party
that gives scope to her ambitions. “I can join any party,” she added.

Apart from Sonia Gandhi, Smita also praised Maharashtra Navnirman Sena
president Raj Thackeray, who is her brother-in-law, and Bharatiya
Janata Party leaders Nitin Gadkari and Sushma Swaraj.

“Like Balasaheb, Raj too has created his party out of nothing.
However, I don't approve his plank [against north Indians],”she said.

Dismissing Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray, as a leader who
is not on par with his father, she said: “There is a huge difference
between the leadership qualities of the two.”

Uddhav’s rise in the Sena had resulted in her downfall in the party’s
power circle.

On using the Thackeray surname though she is legally separated from
her husband and son of Sena chief, Jaideo, Smita said the Thackerays
gave her an identity and that’s why she would continue to use the


BJP looks to gain mileage from support
Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 07, 2010

First Published: 00:49 IST(7/3/2010)
Last Updated: 00:52 IST(7/3/2010)

The BJP will not let the Congress walk away with all credit if
Parliament passes the Women’s Reservation Bill.

A day after a whip to its MPs to back the bill, party leaders did not
mince words in saying that since the UPA coalition was in minority in
Rajya Sabha, the onus of getting it adopted was with the main

Party chief Nitin Gadkari called an emergency meeting of the core
group on Saturday to discuss the bill.

“The core group unanimously decided to ensure passage of Bill,” he

“The BJP is conscious of the fact that the UPA is in a minority in
Parliament. The BJP appeals to all parties to support this Bill. The
BJP has directed all its members to be present in Rajya Sabha and
ensure the passage of this Bill.”

Gadkari also made it clear that the role of the BJP in the passage of
the bill could not be underplayed.

“The BJP had first mooted the idea of this Bill in 1995 at its
national council meeting at Vadodara. The NDA had at first moved this
bill in Parliament. The BJP is the only political party that has
provided for one-third reservation in the party organisation for

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said the bill was a
dream of two senior leaders Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani.


BJP determined to get Women's Bill passed in Parliament
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, March 06, 2010

First Published: 15:50 IST(6/3/2010)
Last Updated: 15:53 IST(6/3/2010)

Asserting that it was determined to ensure passage of Women's
Reservation Bill in Parliament, BJP on Saturday sought to make
political capital on the issue by stating that since the UPA coalition
was in minority in Rajya Sabha, the onus of getting it adopted was
with the main opposition.

BJP President Nitin Gadkari today convened an emergency meeting of the
party Core Group to discuss Women's Reservation Bill, which is set to
be tabled in Rajya Sabha on March 8.

"The Core Group unanimously decided to ensure passage of the
Constitution Amendment providing for one-third reservation for women
in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies," Gadkari said in a statement.

BJP has already issued a three-line whip to its Rajya Sabha MPs to be
present and vote for the Bill in the Upper House on Monday.

"The BJP is determined to ensure the passage of this Bill. The Bill
shows national aspiration and society has been waiting for it for the
last 15 years," Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said.

He said since the government is in a minority in Rajya Sabha, BJP
understands that it would have to play an important role in getting
the Women's Reservation Bill passed there.


It’s all about respect
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D Raja
March 04, 2010
First Published: 23:28 IST(4/3/2010)
Last Updated: 23:30 IST(4/3/2010)


A comedy of errors is on display in both Congress and BJP camps. While
it was an abhorrent sight to see Congress leaders trying to play
messiah to India’s Dalits some months ago by merely eating in Dalit
households, we now have the BJP playing catch-up with party president
Nitin Gadkari ‘doing a Rahul Gandhi’ by having lunch in a Dalit home
last month.

But what is downright comic is the Congress’s knee-jerk reaction to
Gadkari’s gesture. Congress spokespersons claimed that their party has
facilitated the “elevation of Dalits to [the positions] of Chief
Justice of India and Lok Sabha Speaker”. This is the same Congress
that had silently watched the then President K R Narayanan getting
dragged into a media controversy on the issue of him supposedly
overstepping his constitutional role and seeking to impose a policy of
affirmative action on the judiciary.

The Congress also seems to have forgotten that it was the Telugu Desam
Party that ensured the elevation of a Dalit to the post of Speaker for
the first time in the choice of G M C Balayogi, that too in a BJP-led
NDA regime.

The Congress and the BJP are not only trying to hoodwink the Dalits,
but they are also fighting it out for the elusive Dalit votebank in
Uttar Pradesh. Gadkari stated last month that Dalit leader B.R.
Ambedkar was like American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Someone should tell Gadkari that by the time the struggles of King Jr
and others led to equal rights for African-Americans in 1964, it had
already been 14 years since Ambedkar had introduced civil rights in
the Constitution of India, having already achieved getting political
rights and the right to representation in political offices and
employment for Dalits as early as 1932. Next, Gadkari will say that
Mahatma Gandhi was like Martin Luther King Jr, rather than the other
way round. It is entirely a different issue that Indian and US
societies are alike in denying civil rights to their oppressed

The Congress is equally at fault for not criticising BJP leader Arun
Shourie for his book, Worshipping False Gods, in which the author
makes ridiculous attacks on the Dalit icon. One would go on to say
that the Congress has done nothing to further the ideals of Ambedkar
and has shown no interest in the upkeep of the Ambedkar Foundation
created by the National Front government during the leader’s centenary
celebrations. It was the NDA regime that bought the Ambedkar Memorial
on 26, Alipore Road in Delhi and also pushed the 81st, 82nd and 85th
amendments of the Constitution in favour of creating reservations for

It is time the Dalits call this Congress-BJP bluff. If the BJP and the
Congress indeed care for Dalits, both the national parties should
first ensure that the practice of manual scavenging is eliminated from
the states ruled by these parties in the next one year.

They should also ensure that these scavenging families never have to
fall back into this ignoble profession. They should also earmark a
part of the annual Budget under the Scheduled Castes sub-plan for
Dalits to make sure that enough is spent on the educational and
economic uplift of Dalit communities. This, especially at a time when
the budget of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has
decreased in the last Budget.

The first issue for any political party is to respect the rights of
Dalits. They should also respect the rights of Dalits to protest,
demand and claim remedies, safeguards and action from the government
that ameliorate their conditions quickly. Let’s first learn to respect
Dalits. Then maybe one day they will invite us home for lunch.

D. Raja is National Secretary, Communist Party of India and Rajya
Sabha member
The views expressed by the author are personal


Misra panel: BJP’s chance to win over OBCs?
Vikas Pathak, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 03, 2010

First Published: 01:31 IST(3/3/2010)
Last Updated: 01:33 IST(3/3/2010)

With a government-appointed panel calling for reservation for
minorities, the BJP senses an opportunity to find favour with the
Other Backward Classes (OBCs) among Hindus.

The Ranganath Misra Commission has recommended 15 per cent quota for
Muslims in education and employment.

In case the recommendation falls foul of law — the Supreme Court has
capped reservation at 50 per cent and the provision will push it way
beyond the ceiling — a minority sub-quota within the OBC bracket has
been suggested. It means that from within the 27 per cent quota for
the OBCs, 8.4 per cent will be for minorities.

While the Mandal Commission, set up with a mandate to identify
educationally and socially backward, said the OBCs constituted 52 per
cent of India’s population, the National Sample Survey Organisation
put the figure at 41 per cent.

Though the government has not set a timetable for adopting the
suggestions, the Misra report can lead to political realignments.

The Congress can gain Muslim support, particularly in Uttar Pradesh
and Bihar. The Muslim-Yadav alliance nurtured by Mulayam Singh Yadav
and Lalu Prasad in UP and Bihar, respectively, could be tested as the
two groups will be in fight for the same quota pie.

And this is where lies an opportunity for the BJP to attract OBCs to
its fold — in line with new chief Nitin Gadkari’s emphasis on widening
the party’s social base. Traditional base of the BJP is upper caste

“We’ll oppose any attempt to take away the rights of backward Hindus
and give them to minorities,” deputy leader of Opposition in the Lok
Sabha Gopinath Munde, an OBC leader, said.

The BJP’s rise to power in the 1990s was accompanied by substantial
non-Yadav OBC mobilisation in the Hindi belt, particularly in UP,
which has 80 Lok Sabha seats.

From 45 per cent in the 1996 Lok Sabha polls in the state, the BJP’s
non-Yadav OBC vote share fell to 28 per cent in the 2004 polls,
according to the Delhi-based Centre for the Study of Developing
Societies. Recently, most of its candidates for the 11 UP assembly by-
polls forfeited their security deposit.

OBC vote can be crucial to the party’s revival.


Personal ambitions ruining BJP: Gadkari
Shekhar Iyer
Indore, February 18, 2010

First Published: 00:57 IST(18/2/2010)
Last Updated: 01:22 IST(18/2/2010)

The crisis in the BJP was not because of small leaders but the “over
ambitious” senior leaders who were seeking more and more in terms of
posts and perks for themselves, said party president Nitin Gadkari on

Gadkari’s plain-speak came at a closed-door session on the opening day
of the three-day conclave of the party’s national executive near here.

BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad briefed reporters later.

“Our problems come not from small leaders but from the big ones, who
have got everything and yet are wanting more at any cost,” Gadkari was
quoted as having said.

Who did he mean? He didn’t name anyone.

“The party chief has only sought to present before the conclave the
weaknesses of the BJP that will have to go,” Prasad said, adding, “He
is asking everyone to think of the party.”

The closed-door session was attended by party seniors such as L.K.
Advani and Gadkari’s predecessor Rajnath Singh.

Advani endorsed Gadkari’s statement and said leaders’ egos was the
main problem.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley was also present.

Party sources said Gadkari could be referring to the leadership tussle
that followed defeat in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, with L.K. Advani
wanting to retire.

Gadkari listed “personal ambition” as the single most debilitating
ailment plaguing the BJP.

With the RSS fully behind him, a confident Gadkari bluntly told the
leaders instead of seeking to pull down others, they should raise
their own bar of performance for optimum result.

He criticised the tendency of leaders to rush to the media with their
issues when things did not go their way.

Gadkari’s remark was seen by other BJP leaders as intended to serve as
a warning.

At 52, Gadkari is the party’s youngest president. And was brought in
by the BJP’s mother organisation, the RSS, to effect a generational
change, and give the party a young and dynamic leadership.

Since taking over, he has largely kept his peace with the party

So far, at least.

The Wednesday speech is likely to go down in the party’s history as
the equivalent of Rajiv Gandhi’s radical promise to rid the Congress
of powerbrokers at his party’s centenary session in 1985.

Have a large heart, Gadkari pleaded with the seniors.

Chote dil se bade kaam nahi hota. (Small hearts and minds cannot
achieve big things.) Think of the country first, then the party and
yourself last, Gadkari said.

Acknowledging that distribution of ticket during the elections was a
sore issue, Gadkari said the ground rule should be that tickets must
be given only to those who were popular and could win.

“But, what we find is that everyone seemed to think of their future
only and not that of the party,” the party chief was quoted as having


BJP to support separate Vidarbha in Parliament: Gadkari-Munde

2010-03-14 22:10:00
Last Updated: 2010-03-15 07:45:44

Nagpur: BJP national president Nitin Gadkari and party Deputy Leader
in Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde on Sunday assured to support separate
Vidarbha issue in Parliament when ever the UPA government brings the
Telangana state bill.

"Now the time has come when BJP will not allow UPA to move bill for
creating Telangana alone but will ensure that UPA includes separate
Vidarbha also in the Parliament", Gadkari and Munde told a public
rally here at Yeshwant Stadium, citing their party's unconditional
support to Women's Reservation Bill brought by the Congress-led UPA
government early last week.

Uddhav: Won't allow Mumbai to be separated from Maharashtra

Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states Dr Raman Singh, Ramesh Pokhriyal,
and Deputy Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Raghuwar Das were prominent
who addressed the gathering.

BJP's young legislators Sudhir Mungattiwar (Ballarpur) and Davendra
Phadanvis (Nagpur-South-West) who took out "Yuwa Jagar" yatra, an
awareness campaign for youth from Shegaon (Buldana) and Chandrapur
respectively, on Sunday culminated their yatra into a public rally.

Munde, a former Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, in a clear
signal to the alliance partner Shiv Sena, said as to why there should
not be two states of Marathi speaking people.

Statehood call shuts down Maharashtra's Vidarbha region

"When there can be many Chief Ministers from Hindi speaking states,
there was nothing wrong when two Marathi speaking Chief Ministers
occupying offices," he said.


Uddhav: Won't allow Mumbai to be separated from Maharashtra

2010-02-06 23:00:00
Last Updated: 2010-02-07 00:15:45

Pune: Alleging the UPA government is conspiring to separate Mumbai
from Maharashtra, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray
tonight said his party would oppose such a move and continue to take
to the streets to fight and keep the state undivided.

"On the lines of a separate Vidarbha, Congress government at the
Centre is planning to carve out a separate Mumbai state aligning the
metropolis with neighbouring Thane and Raigad," he said here, adding
the Sena would fight tooth and nail against the design to weaken and
factionalise Maharashtra.

Thackeray calls Shah Rukh 'traitor', no apologies says actor

Thackeray who was speaking during his public interview by noted
compere Sudhir Gadgil at S P College ground here, said his party's
stand against creation of separate Vidarbha was firm and undiluted
despite the contrary view of its ally BJP on the issue.

Thackeray alleged that Congress-led UPA was planning to create a
separate Mumbai state as the region generated maximum tax collection.


Thackeray calls Shah Rukh 'traitor', no apologies says actor

2010-02-06 20:50:00
Last Updated: 2010-02-06 21:58:45

Mumbai: On a day when Bal Thackeray labelled him a "traitor", Shah
Rukh Khan on Saturday stuck to his comments on Pakistani players in
IPL saying there was nothing "anti- national" and ruled out meeting
the Shiv Sena supremo on his own to sort out the controversy.

"I have not said anything that is anti-national or anti-Indian. I
stand by what I said and I would like to say that may be the group has
misunderstood me. There is no other reason because I have not said
anything I should feel sorry about," Khan, who arrived here after a
whirlwind promotional tour of New York, London and Berlin, told

"I think what I said has been misconstrued. I am pro good relationship
with countries. I think we all are...," he said.

Asked if he would go to Thackeray's home 'Matoshree' to explain his
position, Khan said he had gone to the "senior" leader's residence
whenever he was called.

"I have been there so often. Yes, I would like to go and have drink
with him. But on this matter, I don't see...there is no reason for
going and asking...but if my stand needs to be explained to someone, I
have already done it. I don't think there is an issue on that front,"
Khan said.

In an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece, Thackeray wrote, "A Khan named
Shah Rukh tells us to love Pakistan but nobody feels suffocated due to
his treachery. Traitors, do whatever you want to do with the blessings
of Congress. Sena won't stop you..."

The actor, however, made it clear that he did not want to join issue
with Sena, describing Thackeray as an "elderly gentleman" whose
company he enjoyed.


'Bullying' not to be tolerated, says Maharashtra CM
2010-02-06 18:40:00
Last Updated: 2010-02-06 19:14:04

New Delhi: Maharashtra government on Saturday said it will ensure
security for screening of movies of actor Shah Rukh Khan, under Shiv
Sena threat for favouring inclusion of Pakistani cricketers in IPL,
and asserted that it will act against anyone trying to "bully"

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said violation of law and
order by anybody will be dealt with strictly.

"All movies, be it of Shah Rukh's or anybody else's, if it is approved
by Censor Board, it will run and the government will protect it,"
Chavan told reporters at the sidelines of the Chief Ministers'
conference on price rise here.

"Even I will go and watch those movies," he said.

"We will make sure that not only Shiv Sena, but any person or any
organisation trying to create disturbance is dealt with strictly as
per the law of the land," he said.

The Chief Minister was replying to a question related to controversy
surrounding the movie star who is under attack by Shiv Sena for his
remark on Pakistani cricketers.

The Sena has threatened not to allow the release of Khan's upcoming
film 'My Name is Khan' on February 12.

Against the backdrop of Rahul Gandhi's visit to Mumbai remaining free
of any untoward incident despite Sena's call to show him black flags,
he said, "I do not want to take credit. I am happy about one thing
that they (Sena) understood it.

"I have said that the state will function as per constitution. The
government will take action against anybody who tries to bully
someone," Chavan said.


Statehood call shuts down Maharashtra's Vidarbha region
2010-01-20 11:40:00
Last Updated: 2010-01-20 11:58:49

Nagpur: Long distance and local services were disrupted, state
transport buses stoned and most private and government offices closed
as the daylong shutdown for a separate state of Vidarbha, to be carved
out of Maharashtra, began Wednesday.

Maharashtra police deployed heavy security in Nagpur and other major
towns of the 11 districts where the shutdown called by 68 political
parties and groups - Vidarbha Nirman Sangram Samiti (VNSS) - evoked a
spontaneous and enthusiastic response, the organisers said.

'All schools, colleges, a majority of government offices and over a
lakh commercial and business establishments in entire Vidarbha have
taken part in the shutdown,' said Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS)
chief Kishor Tiwari.

The Vidarbha region comprises the districts of Nagpur, Chandrapur,
Gondiya, Bhandara, Gadchiroli, Wardha, Amravati, Yavatmal, Buldana,
Akola and Washim, with a total population of 30 million.

As part of the shutdown, the long distance Vidarbha Express was halted
briefly by the agitators, while attempts were made to stop other
trains entering from north, east and south India at various points,
railway officials said.

After suicides, shutdown hits life in Telangana

Huge traffic snarls were witnessed at the state's borders with
Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh as vehicular movement on the national
highways was stopped by pro-Vidarbha agitators.

Similarly, all traffic also came to a standstill on the state highways
and district roads in the entire region.

Nagpur city was deserted as all public and private vehicles remained
off the roads and commercial establishments downed shutters.

In Yavatmal, a group of 50 farm widows squatted outside the State Bank
of India office raising slogans for a separate state and for justice
to the farmers.

In several Yavatmal villages, rallies were taken out and local leaders
demanded a separate state of Vidarbha for the region's development.

People also enacted farmer suicides, consuming poison or immolating
them as crowds cheered and raised a chorus for a separate state.


r suicides, shutdown hits life in Telangana

2010-01-20 10:30:00
Last Updated: 2010-01-20 10:39:58

Hyderabad: Normal life in Hyderabad and nine other districts of the
Telangana region came to a halt as a 48-hour shutdown called by the
Joint Action Committee (JAC) of students began Wednesday to protest
the delay in the formation of a separate state out of Andhra Pradesh.
Since Monday, two students have killed themselves over the issue.

State-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) suspended its bus
services while shops, business establishments and educational
institutions remained closed.

All political parties have supported the shutdown. The JAC called for
a strike after two students, depressed over the delay in carving out a
separate Telangana state, committed suicide.

K. Venugopal Reddy, a final year student of MCA, set himself ablaze at
Osmania University here late Monday. Suvarnamma, a first year BSc
student in Mahabubnagar district, set herself ablaze late Tuesday.

Tension prevailed at Osmania University campus for the second
consecutive day as students continued their protest with the body of
Reddy. The JAC leaders, who sat in front of the Arts College building
with the body through Tuesday night, said they would not allow it to
be moved unless all MPs and state legislators from the region resign
in support of the Telangana statehood demand.

In an attempt to shift the body, police brought additional forces to
the campus on Wednesday morning.

The self-immolations triggered angry protests by students across
Telangana. The students' JAC called for a two-day shutdown Wednesday
and Thursday.

The politicians' JAC, which comprises all parties including the ruling
Congress, has supported the shutdown for Wednesday.

The JAC also announced that all elected representatives would submit
their resignations from Wednesday and those who have already done so
would press for their acceptance.

Five legislators of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and one of Praja
Rajyam Party (PRP) began a sit-in at the house of assembly speaker
Kirankumar Reddy on Tuesday night, urging him to immediately accept
their resignations. The speaker, however, sought two to three days to
take a decision.

With the legislators continuing their protest, the police took them
into custody. They were later released.

All 39 legislators of main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) have
also decided to press the speaker to accept their resignations.


Maneka Gandhi stopped from entering riot-hit Bareilly
2010-03-14 12:50:00

Noted animal-rights activist and Aonla MP Maneka Gandhi, who is
heading the three member panel appointed by the Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP) to monitor the situation in riot-hit Bareilly was on Sunday not
allowed to enter the city.

Sources said police personnel stopped Gandhi near Ghaziabad, while
enroute to Bareilly.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Nitin Gadkari had sent a three-
member team to riot-hit Bareilly to take note of the prevailing

Bareilly has been tense for several days following the release of a
cleric, who was arrested on charges of inciting clashes.

Mobs torched about 20 shops in the old Bareilly area on Saturday
though curfew was in force in most parts of the city affected by
communal violence. The authorities have rushed additional forces to
the city.

The Uttar Pradesh Government has ordered the closure of all
educational institutions there, and provided the police with a
helicopter to monitor trouble-hit areas. Uttar Pradesh Police had last
Monday (March 8) taken into its custody Maulana Khan, the leader of
Ittehad-e-Millat Conference. He was later released on Thursday (March
11) evening.

The right-wing Hindu outfit Bajrang Dal criticising his release soon
turned into action following which there was a violent backlash and
curfew was imposed in the areas of the city. (ANI)


Many new faces in Gadkari's new team; Anurag to be new BJYM Head

New Delhi, Mar 14: Many new faces will be find a place in BJP
President Nitin Gadkari's new team and the name of Himachal Pradesh
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal's son Anurag Thakur, an MP, has been
given the party's nod for the post of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha
Chief, party sources said today.

The decision to appoint Anurag to the post of BJYM is likely to raise
the hackles of those in the party who have been raising their voice
from time to time against dynasty politics, they added.

Rajnath Singh, during his tenure as BJP President, had appointed his
son Pankaj Singh as the Head of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJYM,
but had rolled back his decision, saying that would set a wrong
precedent in the party and would only encourage dynasty politics.

Party MP from Pilibhit Varun Gandhi along with BJYM Chief Amit Thakar
is likely to be given the post of secretary. It might also court
controversy in the party as Varun had been at the centre of a storm
due to his alleged hate speech in the run-up to the Lok Sabha
elections last year.

Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda, youth leader Dharmendra
Pradhan and former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje will be
made general secretaries in the new team of Mr Gadkari, which will be
announced on March 16 on the occasion of Hindu New Year Gudi Padwa,
almost three months after he took over the reins of the saffron party,
sources informed.

Party Spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad is being promoted to the post
of general secretary.

Ananth Kumar, Thawar Chand Gehlot, Ramlal have also been roped in the
new team of Mr Gadkari as general secretaries.

Yashwant Sinha, J P Nadda, Kalraj Mishra, Kiran Maheshwari, Saroj
Pandey, Karuna Shukla will also be there in the team.

Saroj Pandey is likely to be made Bharatiya Janata Mahila Morcha

The number of office-bearers and members of national executive has
also been increased, the sources added.



BJP secy blames Bapu for Partition
Vikas Pathak, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 15, 2010

First Published: 23:54 IST(15/2/2010)
Last Updated: 23:55 IST(15/2/2010)

The BJP hasn’t said the last word on Partition yet.

Months after Jaswant Singh blamed Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel
for the country’s division on the eve of Independence and invited
expulsion from the BJP for praising Pakistan founder MA Jinnah, party
leader Balbir Punj has pointed the finger at Mahatma Gandhi.

The BJP’s national secretary and Rajya Sabha member has blamed Gandhi
for the “original sin” that culminated in Partition.

“Gandhiji’s unstinted support for restoration of Khilafat in faraway
Turkey in 1920s ultimately led to the Partition…,” Punj writes an
article in a booklet, Vikalp (Alternative).

Khilafat movement (1919-24) was aimed at restoring the office of the
Caliph abolished by the British.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s “Muslim First” policy is in the same
tradition, he adds.

The booklet was released in the presence of BJP president Nitin
Gadkari and senior leader L.K. Advani on the February 11, the death
anniversary of Jan Sangh ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. Jan Sangh was
the predecessor of the BJP.

Indian nationalism was always Hindu, says Punj. It was from Gandhi’s
time that Hindus got demoted to the status of a mere community. Salwa
Judums and the recent Orissa outbursts against evangelism (read
Kandhamal riots) are truly nationalist in nature, says Punj.

“All this history writing is because the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak
Sangh) was conspicuously absent during the national movement,” said
Jyotirmaya Sharma of Hyderabad Central University, an expert on
Hindutva politics.

Punj’s argument underlines the inconsistency of the Sangh Parivar in
resolving Gandhi, who is alternately condemned and appropriated.

While the BJP claims to follow Gandhian ideas right from its inception
in 1980 — in the first session former prime minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee had invoked “Gandhian socialism” — glimpses of the pre-
Partition Hindutva critique of Gandhi as “pro-Muslim” does make its
way into the Parivar’s discourse now and then.


Bareilly yet to simmer down
Pioneer News Service | Lucknow

Curfew extended to more areas

With four more shops being gutted in curfew-bound areas of Bareilly
and resentment brewing among members of the majority community over
the release of riot accused Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan, the situation
in the strife-torn city remained tense on Saturday.

However, no further clashes were reported from anywhere since Friday
night. Earlier, on Friday evening, nearly 20 shops at a local
vegetable market were reduced to ashes, which the administration
claimed was due to a short-circuit and not orchestrated by any group
as was being alleged.

ADG (Crime, Law & order) Brij Lal claimed that the fire incidents were
due to short-circuits and claimed that if the situation remained
incident-free, the administration might relax curfew from Sunday.

As per reports, some shops in Subash Nagar area were reduced to ashes
and locals immediately alleged that it was the handiwork of a
particular community which indulged in wanton arson. However, ADG Brij
Lal and DM of Bareilly shot down the claim saying that it was due to a

The fire was doused by the fire-tenders soon after they learnt of the
incident on Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, a large section of a community took to the streets to
protest the manner in which riot accused Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan was
released by the police.

The agitators claimed that the administration succumbed under the
pressure of a Cabinet Minister and bailed out Tauqeer claiming that
there were no evidence against him and that his arrest was made on the
basis of an FIR.

Sources even claimed that former DM Asheesh Goel was shunted out
because he refused to give a clean chit to the riot accused cleric and
release him as he believed that the administration had sufficient
grounds for his arrest.

The Maulana’s release fuelled tension in Bareilly on Friday. Members
from the community took to the streets in protest and torched business
establishment, vehicles and engaged in heavy brick-batting which left
50 persons injured, including a dozen cops and the SP City.

Following the violence, eight senior officers were rushed to Bareilly
to defuse the situation and curfew was extended in Subash Nagar area,
beside reimposing dusk to dawn curfew in the four police circles
stations, where curfew was earlier relaxed.

Meanwhile, BJP president Nitin Gadkari has appointed a three-member
team of senior party leaders led by Maneka Gandhi to visit the riot-
hit Bareilly and submit a report on the events there. “We will be
leaving on Sunday for Bareilly and will be back by evening,” Maneka
told PTI in New Delhi. The team, consisting of Maneka, Gorakhpur MP
Yogi Adityanath and Meerut MP Rajendra Agarwal, is expected to submit
a report to the party president on the steps taken to control the
riots and the relief given to the affected people.


secular media
By vinay chandran on 3/14/2010 12:03:34 PM

when the majority community is attacked the socalled secular media
ignores it.
when it is the other way round they make a big fuss about it.

The Truth of Bareilly Riots
By Aditya on 3/14/2010 11:29:02 AM

It was a usual 12 wafaat procession going on for many years (mind it
Bareilly is great seat of Sunni Muslim school). The city has
unparalleled history of communal harmony and pluralistic life style.
No one among my parents and uncles remembers anything ever going wrong
between hindus and muslims for past as many decades as can possibly be
remembered by living generations. Then what went wrong???!!!
This procession was scheduled on the very day of Holi but in line with
the communal tolearance

Why Is this Incident Ignored by English News Channels
By Rajeev - UK on 3/14/2010 3:52:28 AM

Why are national english TV news channel not showing this news at all.
Its surprising that a leader who preached hate was released due to
pressure of roiters, this is India and Not SWAT valley. Where are the
secular leaders now why isnt that leader put behind the bars again.



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...and I am Sid Harth
Sid Harth
2010-03-15 19:33:49 UTC

This page deals with the Hindu varna. For other uses of this word and
similar words, see Brahmana, Brahman and Brahman (disambiguation).

A Brahmin (anglicised from the Sanskrit word IAST '; Devanagari ),
also known as Vipra, Dvija, Dvijottama (best of the Dvijas), (god on
Earth) is a member of a caste within Hindu society. Historically,
Hindu society consisted of four based on occupation and divine birth:
Brahmin (reciter of the Vedas as they came from the mouth of Brahma),
Kshatriya (protectors of Dharma, since they are the arms of Brahma),
Vaishya (mercantile and agricultural class, since they are from the
body of Brahma) and Shudra (artisan and labour class, since they are
from the feet of Brahma).

However, in addition to these four classes, there were many other
tribes mentioned in mythology such as Gandharvas, Yakshas, Kinnaras,
Kimpurushas, Rakshasas, Nagas, Suparnas, Vanaras, Vidyadharas,
Valikilyas, Pisachas, Devas, Vasus, Rudras, Maruts, Adityas, Asuras,
Danavas, Daityas, Kalakeyas, Mlechchas etc. Today, the Hindu society
in modern India is divided into four classes based on birth: Forward
Castes/communities (FCs), Backward Caste/communities (BCs), Scheduled
Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).

In the 1931 caste census taken by the Colonial British government,
Brahmins were 4.32% of the total population. Even in Uttar Pradesh,
where they are most numerous, the Brahmins constituted just 9% of the
total populace. In Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, they formed less
than 3% and 2% of the population respectively.

The Nirukta of sage Yaska says ' — A Brahmin is a person who knows
Brahman, the ultimate reality or God; hence Brahmin means, "knower of
God". However, the historical situation in Hindu society is that
Brahmins are the traditional priests and pundits (scholars). Today
however, many Brahmins are employed in secular occupations and their
religious traditions and culture are fast disappearing from their


The history of the Brahmin community in India begins with the Vedic
religion in ancient India. The Manu Smriti, an ancient Smriti, refers
to Aryavarta.The Vedas are the primary source of knowledge for all
brahmin practices. All the sampradayas of Brahmins take inspiration
from the Vedas. Traditionally, it is believed that Vedas are ' (not
written by either humans or God) and anādi (beginingless), but are
revealed truths of eternal validity. The Vedas are considered Åšruti
(that which is heard, signifying the oral tradition).

Due to the diversity in religious and cultural traditions and
practices, and the Vedic schools which they belong to, Brahmins are
further divided into various subcastes. During the sutra period,
roughly between 1000 BCE to 200 BCE, Brahmins became divided into
various Shakhas (branches), based on the adoption of different Vedas
and different rescension Vedas. Sects for different denominations of
the same branch of the Vedas were formed, under the leadership of
distinguished teachers among Brahmins. The teachings of these
distinguished rishis are called '. Every Veda has its own . The that
deal with social, moral and legal precepts are called Dharma Sutras,
whereas those that deal with ceremonials are called Shrauta Sutras and
domestic rituals are called Grhya Sutras. are generally written in
prose or in mixed prose and verse.

There are several Brahmin law givers such as Angirasa, Apasthambha,
Atri, Brihaspati, Boudhayana, Daksha, Gautam, Harita, Katyayana,
Likhita, Manu, Parasara, Samvarta, Shankha, Shatatapa, Ushanasa,
Vashishta, Vishnu, Vyasa, Yajnavalkya and Yama. These twenty-one
rishis were the propounders of Smritis. The oldest among these smritis
are Apastamba, Baudhayana, Gautama, and Vasishta Sutras.Manu Smriti on
learning of the Vedas

Nature of Brahmin

"Samodamastapah Saucham


Jnanam Vijnaanamaastikyam

Brahmakarma Swabhavajam!"

Control on emotions, Control on senses, Purity, Tolerance, Simplicity,
Concentration and belief in knowledge and science
Duties of Brahmin

The six duties of a Brahmin are given as per the Sloka

"Adhyaapanam Adhyayanam

Yajanam Yaajanam Tathaa

Daanam Pratigraham Chaiva


Teaching, learning, performing Yaaga, make performing Yaga, accept
Daana, and give Daana are the six duties of a Brahmin.

Adi Shankara (centre) is the Hindu philosopher whose tradition is
followed by Smarta Brahmins

Brahmins adhere to the principles of Hinduism, such as acceptance of
the Vedas with reverence, adherence to the position that the means or
ways to salvation and realization of the ultimate truth are diverse,
that God is one, but has innumerable names and forms to chant and
worship due to our varied perceptions, cultures and languages.
Brahmins believe in ' — Let the entire society be happy and prosperous
and ' — the whole world is one family. Some Brahmins practice
vegetarianism (Bengali Brahmins and Kashmiri Pandits are exceptions to
Daily routine

Hindu Brahmins hold practice of Dharma more important than beliefs.
This is a distinct feature of the Dharmic religions. The practices
include mainly Yajnas. The daily routineA day in the life of a Brahmin
includes performing Snana (bathing), Sandhyavandanam, Japa, Puja,
Aupasana and Agnihotra. The last two named Yajnas are performed in
only a few households today. Brahmacharis perform Agnikaryam instead
of Agnihotra or Aupasana. The other rituals followed include Amavasya
tarpanam and Shraddha.

See Also: Nitya karma and Kaamya karma


Brahmins also perform sixteen major Samskaras (rites) during the
course of their life-time.The Forty Samskaras In the pre-natal stage,
Garbhadharana (Conception), Pumsavana (Rite for consecrating a male
child in the womb) and Simantonnayana (Rite for parting the hair of a
pregnant woman) are performed. During childhood, Jatakarma (Birth
ceremony), Namakarana (Naming ceremony), Nishkarmana (First outing)
Annaprasana (First feeding solid food), Choodakarana (First tonsure)
and Karnavedha (Piercing of the ear lobes) are performed.During
education of the child, Vidhyarambha (Starting of education),
Upanayanam (Thread ceremony- Initiation), Vedarambha (Starting of the
study of the Vedas), Keshanta or Godana (First shaving of the beard)
and Samavartanam or Snaana (Ending of studentship) are performed.
Suring adulthood, Vivaha (Marriage) and Anthyesthi (Funeral rites) are
the main ceremonies.


The three sampradayas (traditions) of Brahmins, especially in South
India are the Smarta sampradaya, the Srivaishnava sampradaya and the
Maadhva sampradaya.
Status of Brahmins Today

Historically Brahmins have been not only ascetics, sages and priests
for millennia seeking welfare of the society, but also secular clerks,
merchants, agriculturists, artisans, etc. They were also very poor. In
the modern democratic India, the Brahmins are still not only poverty
stricken, but also shunted out of every opportunity,The status of
Brahmins in Andhra Pradesh

#Poor_Brahmins Brahmin Poverty] despite the fact that Prime Ministers
like Jawaharlal Nehru, Venkatanarasimharao Pamulaparti (P.V. Narasimha
Rao), and Atal Behari Vajpayee have been Brahmins. French journalist
Francois GautierFrancois
has written on the sad state of Brahmins in India today.Are Brahmins
the Dalits of today?

Contributions to modern India

Brahmins have contributed immensely to the making of modern Indiain
many fields like literature, science and technology, politics,
culture, scholarship, religion etc. In the Indian independence
movement, many Brahmins like Balgangadhar Tilak, Gopal Krishna
Gokhale, C. Rajagopalachari and others were at the forefront of the
struggle for freedom. After independence, Jawaharlal Nehru, a Brahmin
and an atheist, became the first Prime Minister of India. Later,
Brahmins like P.V. Narasimha Rao and Atal Behari Vajpayee became Prime
Ministers. even now after persecution of brahmans by politicians they
hold top posts in administration, academia ,business, army,
jouranalism etc. Infact it was those Brahmin leaders like
Rajagopalachari and Thilak who fought for the upliftment of the
socially backward dalits and their equality in the society.

See also:List of Brahmins


The anti-Brahmin sentiment was first kindled in India by the Dravidar
Kazhagam movement in Tamil Nadu. Caste & the Tamil Nation -Brahmins,
Non Brahmins & Dalits This was a reaction to the Brahmin hegemony in
the Civil services under the British government. In later years, this
movement caught on in many other parts of India even after




Brahmin castes in the Indian subcontinent are traditionally divided
into two regional groups: Pancha-Gauda Brahmins and Pancha-Dravida
Brahmins as per the shloka,

कर्णाटकाश्च तैलंगा द्रावà¤
¿à¤¡à¤¾ महाराष्ट्रकाः,गुर्जराà
¤¶à¥à¤šà¥‡à¤¤à¤¿ पञ्चैव द्राविडा विà
¤¨à¥à¤§à¥à¤¯à¤¦à¤•à¥à¤·à¤¿à¤£à¥‡ ¦¦
सारस्वताः कान्यकुब्जा गौà¤
¡à¤¾ उत्कलमैथिलाः,पन्चगौडा इà
¤¤à¤¿ ख्याता विन्ध्स्योत्तरवà

The classification first occurs in Rajatarangini of Kalhana.


See also

* Varnas
* Brahmanism
* Anti-Brahmanism
*Brahmin Contribution to Other Religions



*Definitions: A Sanskrit English Dictionary by Sir Monier Monier-
*Mayne's "Treatise on Hindu Law and Usage.
Hindu Castes and Sects Jogendranath Bhattacharya.
Andhra Viprula Gotramulu, Indla Perlu, Sakhalu by Emmesroy Sastri.
History and Culture of Andhra Pradesh Rao PR.
History of India Herman Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund.
Acharalu sastriyataNarayanareddi Patil.
Hindu Manners, Customs, and Ceremonies Abbe J. A. Dubois

External links

*List Of Andhra Brahmins And Surnames
*Brahmins of Andhra Pradesh
*Poverty Stricken Brahmins
*Source: Vepachedu Educational Foundation Inc.
*Brahmin Sages and Branches (Gotras and Subcastes)
* A Long List of Brahmin Castes and Sub-castes
* Brahmin Yahoo Groups

Related Articles

• International Religious Freedom Report 1999: India
• Who is a Hindu?
• Age of the Spiritual Superpower
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When will the Brahmin-Bania hegemony end?

The Brahmin and the Bania still control the economy, but now the
Shudra controls politics
Reply To All | Aakar Patel

On 9 April, the Supreme Court rejected a plea that the 2011 census be
caste-based. CII and Ficci oppose job reservations in the private
sector, but Manmohan Singh is keen. India’s population of Brahmins and
Banias and Jains all together is 6% or less.

Ruling axis: Jawaharlal Nehru, a Brahmin, became Prime Minister with
the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi, a Bania.

The Sensex comprises the 30 largest traded companies of India.

ACC is run by a Brahmin (Sumit Banerjee), Bhel is run by a Brahmin
(Ravi Kumar Krishna Swamy), Bharti Airtel is run by a Bania (Sunil
Mittal), Grasim and Hindalco are run by a Bania (Kumar Mangalam

HDFC is run by a Bania (Deepak Parekh), Hindustan Unilever is run by a
Brahmin (Nitin Paranjpe), ICICI Bank is headed by a Brahmin (K.V.
Kamath). Jaiprakash Associates is run by a Brahmin (Yogesh Gaur), L&T
is run by a Brahmin (A.M. Naik), NTPC is run by a Brahmin (R.S.
Sharma), ONGC is run by a Brahmin (also called R.S. Sharma). Reliance
group firms are run by Banias (Mukesh and Anil Ambani), State Bank of
India is run by a Brahmin (O.P. Bhatt), Sterlite Industries is run by
a Bania (Anil Agarwal), Sun Pharma is run by a Bania (Dilip Shanghvi)
and Tata Steel is run by a Brahmin (B. Muthuraman).

Punjab National Bank is run by a Brahmin (K.C. Chakrabarty), Bank of
Baroda is run by a Brahmin (M.D. Mallya) and Canara Bank is run by a
Bania (A.C. Mahajan).

Also Read Aakar Patel’s earlier columns

Of India’s software companies, Infosys is run by a Brahmin (Kris
Gopalakrishnan now and Narayana Murthy and Nandan Nilekani before
him). TCS is run by a Brahmin (Subramanian Ramadorai). Wipro is owned
by a Khoja (Azim Premji). Khojas are Shia of the Sevener sect,
converted from the Luhana trading community (same caste as L.K. Advani
and M.A. Jinnah).

India’s two largest airlines are Kingfisher, owned by a Brahmin (Vijay
Mallya) and Jet, owned by a Bania (Naresh Goyal).

Of India’s mobile phone firms, Reliance Communications (Ambani),
Airtel (Mittal), Vodafone Essar (Ruia), Idea (Birla), Spice (Modi) are
owned by Banias. BSNL is run by a Bania (Kuldeep Goyal) and Tata’s
TTML is run by a Brahmin (K.A. Chaukar).

Cricket in India is run by a Bania (Lalit Modi) and before him it was
run by another Bania (Jagmohan Dalmiya).


Posted: Tue, Apr 7 2009. 12:30 AM IST
Economy and Politics

Mixing Vedas and code in new-age India
After seven years of juggling Vedas and school, Satya, a Tamil
Brahmin, had to make the big decision: whether to follow his family
and make a career in Hindu priesthood--or to forge his own new path.
As an undergraduate engineering student now, he has only temporarily
kept the decision on hold
Samanth Subramanian

Chennai: If this were 1989, or indeed 1979 or even 1799, S.
Sathyanarayanan would probably not possess the full head of hair he
does today. Instead, he would have shaved the front half of his skull
and then swept his remaining hair back to resemble a bulging half-
moon, knotted loosely at the back—a distinctive do for a young Brahmin
who would have been preparing to follow his father, his uncles and his
cousins into a career of Hindu priesthood.

Photo: Sharp Image

But this is 2009, and Sathya, as he introduces himself, has a short
but regular haircut, grown out from a few months ago, when he passed
his final year’s exams in a pathshala—Vedic school—run by the Sri
Ahobila Muth, a Hindu religious institution.

“We had to have our hair pulled back when we sat for our exams. It was
the rule,” he says. Sathya’s new look, though, fits right in at the
Rajalakshmi Institute of Technology, where he has started an
engineering degree, becoming the first in his family to attend
college. Sathya turned 18 in July, just as he was completing seven
years of Vedic education that came with a punishing schedule.

“Our Veda classes started at 4.30am and went till 7am,” he says. “Then
we had regular school from 9am to 4pm. Then more Veda classes from 4pm
to 7pm, and then supervised independent study in school from 7pm to

Apart from two monthly holidays, on the days after amavasya (no-moon
nights) and pournami (Tamil for full-moon nights), this arduous
regimen ran for six days a week; on Sunday, Sathya was still required
to attend Veda classes for five hours in the morning and two in the

Also Read The boy who broke from tradition

“He’d never go anywhere but school, or maybe to the market to buy
vegetables” his mother Shanti remembers. “Every spare moment he could
get, he’d simply lie down and go to sleep.” Sathya saw his first movie
in a theatre when he was 16, and he got his first email address just
earlier this year. His only distraction, he admits, was the one
universally shared by Indian boyhood: Sunday evening games of cricket,
at a cramped ground near his house or in the narrow corridors of his
block of apartments.


Sathya is short and slight, and he has a thin moustache, worn almost
out of rebellious joy that he is now no longer bound by the rules of
the pathshala, where every student had to be clean-shaven every day.
His slow grin fights its way through a mouthful of braces that he
wears to correct a misaligned jaw. “Because of that, my speech used to
be slurred, and I’d be very reluctant to talk in school, even to my
teachers,” he says. He had to give up flute lessons after two years
because his gums would begin to bleed. But the braces are helping—
Sathya still mumbles, but it sounds less like a medical problem and
more like a typical case of teenage shyness. “I find myself talking a
lot more willingly in college now.”


Posted: Fri, Nov 16 2007. 4:42 AM IST

TN’s anti-Brahmin movement hits tradition, boosts real estate
Brahmins are finding ways to survive in changing times, while clinging
to old traditions
Priyanka P. Narain

Kannan’s house, which sits across the street from the ancient
Parthasarthy temple in the heart of Chennai, has not changed in 500
years: the palanquin his forefathers used now hangs on wooden beams
and he draws water from the same well as them. In his backyard, a
brown calf chews cud.

For centuries, Brahmin families such as Kannan’s have lived and worked
in the streets or villages around ancient temples. These four streets,
called the agraharam, created a subculture where Brahmin priests lived
a chaste life and performed traditional duties as priests and teachers
by running the temple and teaching the Vedas to students. They
essentially formed the ecosystem that ran the temples of south India.

Yet, against a backdrop of Tamil Nadu’s anti-Brahmin movement,
government policies outlawing the Brahmin-only colonies, skyrocketing
real estate prices and Brahmins’ declining social relevance, the
culture of the agraharam and people such as Kannan, who uses one name,
are becoming a rarity.

Earlier this year came another policy change—temple authorities will
now train their own priests, and priests no longer have to be
Brahmins, making older Brahmin priests all, but irrelevant.

With growing economic prosperity and migration, many of the streets
occupied by Brahmins in south Indian cities are finding it hard to
resist selling out.

Just memories? Interiors of Kannan’s 500-year-old house that sits
across the street from the Parthasarthy temple in Mylapore.

From Kannan’s house, it is easy to see the new white, pink and yellow
coloured buildings of residences, malls and coffee shops. Another
being constructed adjoins his backyard. He insists he will hang on—to
the past; to the identity.

“I would get about Rs3 crore for it (my house). But I will not sell. I
want my children and grandchildren to own it. Without this house, what
am I?” says Kannan, who has a postgraduate degree in economics.

Brahmins are finding ways to survive in changing times, while clinging
to old traditions.

Babu Das grew up helping his father run a canteen, or mess as it is
called in south India, inside his pink-coloured home at the
Kapaleeshwar temple agraharam in Chennai’s Mylapore area. The
Karpagambal Mess is famous for its authentic Tamil snacks, home-made
idlis and dosai served on banana-leaf plates while playing while
playing M.S. Subbalaxmi’s rendition of the Vishnu Sahasranama, the
thousand names of Vishnu.

Das inherited the canteen from his father, but does not know how old
the building is. “I love everything about this place. No one wants to
change anything about it. The people who come here to eat like it for
what it is. After all, money can buy you the latest trends, but will
it bring back this tradition?” he asks.


Posted: Fri, Feb 19 2010. 9:37 PM IST

The Thackerays’ primitive charisma

The Senas have nothing constructive to offer Marathis. So what’s their
appeal? The Mumbai Marathi, better at renaming things than building
something himself, is disinherited from his city, and the Thackerays
give him an illusory sense of powerReply to All | Aakar Patel

All these events blocked eventually come to pass anyway, because the
control is cosmetic, and it wilts when the state decides to apply rule
of law. But that moment of theatre—when the media exhibits anguish—
produces the spotlight that nourishes the Thackerays. This is the
pattern to Shiv Sena’s actions.

It might appear that these actions are irrational, but the Thackerays’
method is cold and reasoned to squeeze out advantage. Witness the
discipline of Raj. He works his strategy with great care. On national
television he speaks Marathi no matter what language he is questioned
in. The Marathi loves this because it reflects his defiance.

There is a second reason why the Thackerays are compelled to make a
nuisance of themselves every so often. Unlike other parties, Shiv Sena
has a physical presence in neighbourhoods. These offices, run by local
toughs, are self-funded, meaning that they approach businesses and
residents for “donations”. This activity can be smooth only so long as
Shiv Sena radiates menace. The party is not effective if it isn’t
feared, and the grass roots reminds the leadership of this.

The Marathi pattern of resentment we have observed is visible
elsewhere in time.

India’s nationalist debate a century ago was dominated by the
Marathis: Tilak, Gokhale, Agarkar and Ranade. All four were Chitpavan
Brahmins, whose members are fair-skinned and unique for their light
eyes (like cricketer Ajit Agarkar and model Aditi Govitrikar).

Going against the current noise about Marathi in schools, Chitpavans
actually demanded to be educated in English. By 1911—100 years ago—
Chitpavans were 63% literate and 19% literate in English. This gave
them the edge over other Indians.

All four were on the most influential body in western India of the
time, Poona Sarvajanik Sabha. But English education had not exorcized
the native instinct. There they unleashed their pettiness on each
other. Agarkar and Tilak fought over leadership. Tilak was forced out
in 1890 after quarrels over social status and money. Gokhale took his
place but was opposed by Tilak who said the job required 2 hours of
work daily and so it couldn’t be done by a college principal. Ranade
was attacked in Tilak’s newspapers and Gokhale quit in 1895 because he
couldn’t work with Tilak’s friends. A jealous Tilak sabotaged the
Congress session held in Pune the same year.

When the Gujaratis—Jinnah and Gandhi—entered Congress, they
immediately eclipsed the Marathis, because they had the trader’s
instinct towards compromise. The Marathi Brahmin’s energy was then
channelled into resentment, this time against Muslims.

RSS, founded in 1925, is actually a deeply Marathi organization.
Hindutva author Savarkar, RSS founder Hedgewar, the great Golwalkar,
his successor Deoras and current sarsanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat are all
Marathi Brahmins.

Marathi resentment cuts down its own heroes. The first was Shivaji.
Marathi Brahmins refused to crown him though he controlled dozens of
forts in the Konkan. This was because he was a peasant from the
cultivator caste and not a Kshatriya. He had to invent an ancestry,
perform penance and bring in a Brahmin from Kashi before he could
crown himself in 1674, with the title Chhatrapati, meaning leader of


What a blatant piece of crap!! And that too a center-spread in Mint!!
And what a branding! I have came across lies which stink of hatred
while reading this bullshit. Now I know that Tilak was a petty man,
was Brahmin, and is not much relevant. That Jinnah and Gandhi (who
calls Gokhle his Guru), were Gujaratis. Though, both owe a lot to
Maharashtra. I just want to ask this 'pseudo-expert' why Ambedkar was
borne in Maharashtra? Why Maharashtra had reformist stalwarts? Why,
when all other states (including GJ) in India were reeling under
Muslim rule, only Maharashtra created a king of people in Shivaji?
Shivsena-MNS are a different issue. Linking it to Marathis & Tilak-
Gokhle-Ranade-Agarkar & RSS, & painting all this as a Brahmin
conspiracy is disgusting. (And this fool thinks that there only 2 ends
to any economy - high and low. So one can run a company with a CEO and
a sweeper & both are non-Marathis in Mumbai as he claims.)



Reducing the poor to numbers
After 62 years of Independence, Dalit exploitation continues even if
the setting and players are different

With rising food insecurity, the proportion of the poor will
definitely soar (“Who count as India’s poor?” Mint, 2 October). The
same is true for those classified as vulnerable and stressed. It is
deplorable that our representatives fight like cats and dogs over
statistics and their reliability. This is nothing but a cheap attempt
to justify ratios and proportions established by surveys and censuses,
and by so-called think tanks who undertake the task of achieving
“comfortable numbers to play with”. This act of putting the cart
before the horse jeopardizes many lives while Nero enjoys his fiddle.
An attempt to place 50% of the population below the poverty line is
not only a welcome relief but pro-human and pro-life.

— Rohit Saroj

This letter refers to Mrinal Pande’s thought-provoking article “Caste
in a new mould ” (Mint, 9 October). After 62 years of Independence,
Dalit exploitation continues even if the setting and players are
different: refreshingly, not the usual whipping boys but the Brahmins.
If the Plan projects from the 1950s onwards have made people richer,
the ingenuity of the latter-day politicians in introducing an ever
expanding “OBC” (other backward class) list has given them a doubly
assured vote bank.

The article refers to the killing of 16 villagers in Bihar (Khagaria
district), originating in “land ownership and use”, an area in which
our post-Independence leaders enacted progressive statutes. For
example, Tamil Nadu (TN) is one of the early states which introduced
the salutary principle, “land to the tiller”. Several hundred Brahmin
mirasdars (landlords) had to part with the land to the actual tillers.
TN has not looked back since then, even if the Brahmin mirasdars had
to choose other livelihood options and even migrate. On the same
principle, Kurmis of Bihar cannot cite their holding 500 bighas in
Amausi if the Dalits were sharecroppers, managing and tilling the land
for generations. Bihar’s agricultural and revenue departments are
sufficiently endowed for ascertaining the factual situation and
deciding the issue. It is a grave mistake on their part to have let
the situation result in mass killings. Will the Dalits of Amausi ever
get the ownership of the land which they have been tilling for several

Pande has also touched on the role of education. The Brahmin
intellectual and statesman Rajaji, during his TN chief ministership,
introduced an educational system —earn while you learn —whereby all
would get primary and secondary education while learning their family
craftsmanship, which was vital for livelihood until their education
was completed. This would have avoided the worrying phenomenon of
increasing school dropouts, but he was unjustifiably branded as a
perpetrator of caste system. It is a little-known fact that long
afterwards, even in Britain, the New Labour intellectuals of Tony
Blair proposed a similar system for its citizens to enjoy the fruits
of the “knowledge economy”.

Until political powers stop viewing Dalit uplift as a vote bank issue—
or stop perpetrating the caste system by continuously expanding the
grouping called OBC—caste will not die nor will Dalits see progress.
The West is using the “human rights movement” to cash in on our
miseries, which we are trying to cure. This is one more area where the
government has failed in the international arena.

Sadly, this festering issue is witnessing a theatrical display.
Lately, Dalits and their neighbourhoods are being turned into tourist,
picnic or pilgrimage spots by politicians wanting to be noticed by
their leaders. It is an amusing spectacle to notice “mentions” that
they should not carry separate tiffin boxes but partake in the frugal
meals of the Dalits, and sleep on their humble charpoys. What an
innovative way to treat this festering sore.

— S. Subramanyan


Posted: Sun, Oct 11 2009. 9:51 PM IST

Caste in a new mould
The usual definition of caste oppression can no longer explain
emerging patterns of dominance
The Other Side | Mrinal Pande

In the first week of this month, 16 villagers were murdered in cold
blood by armed killers in Amausi village in Bihar. Of those murdered,
14 were Kurmis, the same caste as the chief minister of the state, two
were Koeries, also from the other backward classes (OBCs). Those who
understand the murky C of India know that the incident was not only
about settling some local scores. It was also sending an unambiguous
message to the Kurmis and other OBCs who have emerged as powerful
landlords in the state during the last few decades of OBC rule. The
locals insist that the killers were not Naxals as the police claimed,
but assassins hired by the newly empowered Dalit community of Mushars,
for settling old scores with Kurmi landlords. Whether the killers were
Naxals or hired assassins, two things are clear: One, usually a long-
standing land dispute lies at the heart of most violence in our
villages. And two, the usual definition of caste oppression can no
longer explain the emerging patterns of dominance and subjugation.

The genesis of the recent violence is said to lie in the report of a
recently appointed government commission on land reforms in Bihar. It
had suggested that the state government must protect the rights of the
landless sharecroppers, put a cap on land ceiling at 15 acres (for
both agricultural and non-agricultural land) and computerize all land
records. In Khagaria district, where the massacre took place, as
elsewhere in rural India, ultimately all fertile land is controlled by
the most powerful (read politically best connected) caste with the
landless Dalits as their sharecroppers. The Kurmis say they are the
titled owners of 500 bighas in Amausi, but Mushars quoting the report
say they have a bigger right to it since they have tilled it for
generations. This tension is what ignited the caste war.

When the issue of caste-based violation of human rights in India came
up at the 12th Human Rights Council in Geneva recently, it was
proposed that caste be put on a par with race. But in 2009, when we
talk about caste biases, we cannot overlook India’s actual electoral
politics. Here, being identified as a Dalit or backward leader offers
a distinct advantage and becomes the biggest guarantee of a
candidate’s electability. From Bihar to Tamil Nadu, they have voted
out upper caste groups regularly, but the unjust land ownership
patterns born of unfair state patronage extended by incumbent leaders
to their own community, persist. Expunging caste from school syllabi
has not helped either, and the learning system still remains unequal
and heavily biased in favour of the powerful and rich. This is because
of a confused and confusing language policy perpetuated by the new
rulers. They insist on government schools teaching the children
(mostly poor) in the regional languages, even though English is
undeniably the language of all power discourse and higher learning.
None of these leaders will educate their own children in the local
language, though.

Actually, the traditional characteristics and power of the Brahmins in
the traditional upper caste hierarchy (high learning, arrogance and
clever use of a certain elite language to build firewalls around
knowledge and information to keep it away from the commoners) are now
much more visible among India’s upper middle-class professionals,
whatever their caste. Whether backward, Dalit or forward, successful
children of the new dominant classes no longer acquire their basic
knowledge, skills and networking abilities in Brahminical Sanskrit,
but in English. Likewise, the power of the old-style, landowning
Thakur (Kshatriya), who killed a thousand tigers and routinely torched
Dalit huts, has been usurped by today’s political class, who ride lal
batti cars with similar disregard for laws, sirens blaring and black
cat commandos in tow. They hold power dialogues with neighbouring
warlords, make and break treaties—not the princes and nawabs who, if
they have not become penniless, have turned hoteliers and protectors
of wildlife. The traditional merchant class, thanks to family-based
businesses, may have retained some part of their old glory, but in the
global arena they are now heavily dependent on the neo-Brahmin: the
Indian Institute of Management-trained, multinationalized manager,
banker and expat consultant, who strides the global village and
carries vital knowledge in his laptop, as a Brahmin once carried in
his almanac.

All caste systems need a cleaning class. They are today the invisible
and unorganized freelancers. Moving from job to job, they help mop up
the night soil of the global village and provide the paymasters with
linguistic bridges into the vernacular heartland, where the markets
are also the votes.

Mrinal Pande likes to take readers behind the reported news in her
fortnightly column. She is a writer and freelance journalist in New
Delhi. Comment at ***@livemint.com


Posted: Fri, Jan 2 2009. 12:09 AM IST

Mayawati leads BSP’s ‘elephant’ to temple towns
A Rs250 crore package to revamp Mathura was announced in August; now
Rs800 crore has been allocated for Varanasi
K.P. Narayana Kumar

New Delhi: To win both the hearts and minds of voters across the
country as India gets ready for the national elections in April, Uttar
Pradesh chief minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati
is deliberately targeting an overhaul of urban infrastructure in
pilgrim towns, such as Varanasi and Mathura, which see a large influx
of Hindu pilgrims.

Poll sops? BSP leader Mayawati. Nand Kumar / PTI

After announcing a Rs250 crore package for Mathura in August, Mayawati
announced an Rs800 crore revamp plan for Varanasi last week.

“By announcing these, Mayawati is telling the people—especially the
non-Dalits—that they should not judge her or the BSP by their past (as
a party that catered mainly to those at the bottom of India’s caste
pyramid) and, instead, think of the future they are trying to create
by catering to wider sections,” says Dalit writer Chandra Bhan Prasad.

Both Mathura and Varanasi are already covered under the Jawaharlal
Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) a Rs50,000 crore
Centrally funded scheme that ties grants for urban renewal projects to
a set of mandatory reforms that municipalities have to enact to be
eligible to receive the grants.

As of 30 June, Varanasi had one water supply and one solid waste
management project worth a combined Rs159 crore granted under JNNURM,
while Mathura had one solid waste management project.

The urban infrastructure development package for Varanasi includes
drinking water, sewerage and solid waste disposal schemes, apart from
improving power supply to places of tourist interest, including the
ghats along the banks of the Ganga river.

The Mathura-specific projects that were announced earlier in August
included improvement in tourist facilities and new road projects.

In the 2007 assembly elections, of the total 12 seats in Mathura and
Varanasi districts, the BSP, which won four seats, was the only party
that gained seats compared with the previous elections in 2002, when
it had won just one seat.

The main opposition at the Centre, the Bharatiya Janata Party, lost
one and the Congress party, the Central ruling coalition leader,
managed to retain the lone seat it had won in Mathura in 2002.

A senior priest with the Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi said it was
quite likely that Mayawati would benefit if she were to carry out the
planned works.

“Caste politics has been played by all political parties, where
promises specific to interest groups are made before polls. So there
is nothing wrong in Mayawati announcing more development of temple
towns keeping the upcoming elections in mind. At the end of the day,
people want development. Let us see what Mayawati can do,” said this
religious leader who didn’t want to be identified.

Mayawati and senior BSP leader S.C. Mishra couldn’t be contacted
despite repeated attempts.

A study conducted by the New Delhi-based think tank Centre for the
Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) showed that the BSP had increased
its share of upper-caste votes in Uttar Pradesh from 23% in the 2002
assembly elections to 31% in 2007. The share of Brahmin votes for the
party increased from 6% in 2003 to 17% in 2007, after it handed out
tickets to Brahmins and other backward class (OBC) candidates.

“It is interesting to note that among Brahmins, 27% of poor Brahmins
voted for the BSP, while only 12% of the rich voted for it,” said
Pravin Rai, an analyst with CSDS.

Ajoy Bose, the author of Behenji, a biography of Mayawati, has noted
that of the 206 seats the BSP had won in 2007, 51 were held by


Posted: Sun, Sep 27 2009. 10:32 PM IST

Opportunity, challenges for Indian banks in UK
The Indian banks in United Kingdom are trying hard to reach out to the
Indian community at Southall, Wembley, Birmingham, Harrow, Slough,
Ilford and Leicester
Banker’s Trust | Tamal Bandyopadhyay

Thursday afternoon, I sneaked into the Camden Centre on Bidborough
Street at King’s Cross, before London’s oldest Durga Puja was formally
opened for worshippers. Ajay, a local doctor and accomplished Rabindra
Sangeet singer, was rehearsing for his evening programme while a few
others were putting up a Bank of Baroda banner on the dais where Ajay
and other artistes were to perform.

Indian banks’ overseas business model hasn’t changed— festivals and
community gatherings continue to be the most critical points of sale.
On Wednesday, S.R. Sharma, managing director of Punjab National Bank
(International) Ltd, or PNB International, the UK subsidiary of
India’s second largest public sector bank, headed to Norwood Park in
south London after office hours. He was invited by P.L. Suri, a
customer, to attend a satsang, a programme of devotional speeches and
songs. Sharma met Suri’s guru and many of his friends and is hopeful
of converting at least some of them into customers.

State Bank of India, or SBI, operating in London since 1921, has an
asset base of $7.3 billion (Rs35,040 crore); PNB International, just
two years old in the UK, has assets worth $625 million. There are
other Indian banks, too, in the UK such as Bank of India, Bank of
Baroda, Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank and a subsidiary of ICICI Bank
Ltd, which has the biggest UK balance sheet among all Indian lenders.

Based on 2001 statistics, UK’s ethnic minority population is about 4.6
million, close to 8% of the country’s total population. In 2001,
Indians accounted for 1.8% of the total population. Since then it has
gone up to about 2% and Indian bankers are chasing this chunk and no
one is willing to miss a single opportunity to reach out to the Indian
community at Southall, Wembley, Birmingham, Harrow, Slough, Ilford and
Leicester. Sharma recently convinced the UK chapter of the Bharatiya
Vidya Bhavan, a charitable public trust-run institution dedicated to
the promotion of education and culture, to distribute its newsletters
to 1,500 members across the UK in PNB International envelopes every
month. Last year, his bank sponsored a few awards at the annual
function of London’s Goud Saraswat Brahmin Sabha, an organization of
the Konkani-speaking Hindu Brahmin community.

Also Read Tamal Bandyopadhyay’s earlier columns

These marketing gimmicks are paying off. PNB International’s deposit
base has gone up from $103 million in December 2008 to about $280
million now and the number of accounts from 4,419 to 10,075. The
global meltdown has also helped. Up to £50,000 is covered by deposit
insurance and many consumers have now started keeping deposits in
various Indian banks, including SBI, for fear of losing their money in
case of a bank failure. According to Rajnish Kumar, regional head and
chief executive of SBI’s UK operations, the bank did not have too many
local customers until September last year, but in the past one year it
has got many, and now non-Indians account for about 10% of State
Bank’s UK customer base.

Indian banks are also developing new deposit products to attract
money. SBI, for instance, offers a step-up rate structure where a
depositor is paid 3.75% for one year money, but the rate progressively
goes up if the money is kept longer. For five years, it can fetch as
much as 5%. From customers’ point of view, the step-up structure is a
better option than a plain vanilla deposit scheme where one is hugely
penalized for withdrawing money ahead of maturity. But these products
can help only to a certain extent and Indian banks won’t be able to
mop up much unless they start offering other facilities such as debit

Unlike India, where such cards function on the chip and signature
principle, in the UK it’s the chip and PIN (personal identification
number) norm and consumers punch in the code after every transaction
and don’t sign a charge slip. The technology is quite expensive. SBI
is working on it while ICICI Bank, Bank of Baroda and PNB
International already have it. Each time a bank’s debit card holder
uses another bank’s ATM to withdraw money it needs to pay for such
transactions, but it also earns a commission when customers use the
card for shopping. The debit card offering has possibly helped PNB
International get the salary accounts of the Indian High Commission in
London, which had been banking with SBI and HSBC Holdings Plc. PNB
International now runs the salary accounts of about 125 high
commission employees, including Nalin Suri, the new high commissioner.

All Indian banks seem to be keen on collecting deposits, but when it
comes to giving loans, they continue to meticulously stay away from
retail Indian customers. The main reason behind the diffidence of
Indian banks is possibly the lack of a credit history for most of
their customers. There are a few agencies that sell credit history
data, but until a bank attains a critical mass in loan accounts, no
agency tracks the data of its customers. This means the customer of an
Indian bank can default on loan repayments and yet continue to get
credit from local banks as this information will not be known to

Banks in the UK aren’t required to keep money with the central bank or
buy government bonds. But things will change as the Financial Services
Authority, the banking supervisor, is planning to ask banks to invest
8-10% of their assets in government bonds. Since such bonds are low-
yielding, the new norm will hit Indian banks’ profitability. One way
of protecting their bottom line could be the creation of retail
assets. But this has to be done with caution as KYB (know your
business) is as important as KYC (know your customer) for banking in
the post-Lehman days.

Tamal Bandyopadhyay keeps a close eye on all things banking from his
perch as Mint’s deputy managing editor in Mumbai. Please email your
comments to ***@livemint.com


Posted: Fri, Feb 6 2009. 11:05 PM IST

Fringe takes centre stage
The importance of being Mahesh Elkunchwar and Satish Alekar in Marathi
theatre; the plays of poet, painter and doctor Gieve Patel

Marathi playwrights Mahesh Elkunchwar and Satish Alekar occupy the
same place as their better-known counterparts Vijay Tendulkar and
Girish Karnad in the theatre-active centres of India. Even the most
culture-specific of their plays have been performed in other
languages. Now, Oxford University Press has published the collected
plays of Elkunchwar and Alekar (in separate volumes), thus bringing
some of their most important plays out of their Indian context into a
wider domain.

Modern times: (clockwise from top left) Satish Alekar (Kumar Gokhale);
Mahesh Elkunchwar (Vivek Ranade); and a scene from Alekar’s play,
Atirekee.(Theatre Academy, Pune)

Elkunchwar’s Wada Chirebandi (Old Stone Mansion), which deals with the
crumbling values of a landowning Brahmin family of Vidarbha, has been
performed in Hindi, Bengali, Kannada and even Garhwali.

Alekar’s Mahanirvan (The Dread Departure), which takes an ironic look
at the funeral rites of Marathi Brahmins using the keertan (devotional
song) form of story-telling to underline its black humour, has been
staged in Rajasthani, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, Konkani, Tamil and
Kannada. Begum Barve, a tragi-comic look by Alekar at the glorious
tradition of sangeet natak (musical theatre) in Maharashtra, has been
brilliantly adapted in Hindi, using nautanki (traditional/folk
theatre) in place of sangeet natak, and in Gujarati, using the music
plays of Bhangwadi as a parallel.

Plays by both playwrights have been read and performed in American
universities as well.

Although both began writing around the same time, their first plays
were staged a few years apart. Elkunchwar’s early plays, published in
the prestigious literary magazine Satyakatha, attracted the attention
of Vijaya Mehta (née Jaywant). She directed four of them in quick
succession in the same year, 1970, for her theatre laboratory,
Rangayan. Alekar’s early plays were also published in Satyakatha, but
were not performed on the established “fringe” stage. Instead, they
became popular on the inter-collegiate drama competition circuit.

Contemporaries though they are, Elkunchwar and Alekar are driven by
widely different concerns. Elkunchwar’s preoccupations, to put it in a
nutshell, are about creativity, life, sterility and death. In his
early plays, his characters are manifestations of these ideas rather
than flesh and blood people. In his later plays, for instance Wada
Chirebandi, they are delicately delineated human beings of many

Whatever his theme or mode, Elkunchwar’s plays are marked by his
mastery over dramatic structure, each play having a well-defined
beginning, middle and end. His language, which began as an unstoppable
outpouring in his early plays, quietened down later to an economic,
rhythmic prose, full of eloquent silences.


Posted: Thu, Jul 23 2009. 9:54 PM IST

Rita and Mayawati stoop too low to conquer
This is a tragedy, while the Congress’ provocation is merely a form of
low farce, because Mayawati is a historical political figure, whereas
Rita Joshi is a political creature and Rahul Gandhi is a fifth-
generation dynast
High Windows | Mukul Kesavan

The recent contretemps between Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Mayawati has
been the most depressing sequence of events in post-general election
politics. The gratuitous ugliness of it ought to make the observer of
Indian politics despair.

Speechless: Rita Joshi visits her house soon after it was torched by
miscreants. AFP

Joshi’s part in this squalid quarrel isn’t surprising. The daughter of
the late chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, she
has had a political career of the sort that’s politely described as
chequered. She has been in and out of the Congress; she has fought for
elective office as an Independent, as a Samajwadi Party candidate and
as a Congresswoman. Apart from winning the mayoralty of Allahabad, she
has lost every other election that she has contested. But despite her
recent electoral defeat in Lucknow, her political career has been on
the upswing; she is the chief of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee
(UPCC) and given the Congress’ resurgence in UP during the last
general election, her star has been in the ascendant.

I was in Moradabad during Azharuddin’s election campaign when she
addressed the Congress faithful at a political rally held in the
grounds of the palace of a Muslim grandee. It was apparent from her
speech that she had cast herself, in a long and ignoble Congress
tradition, as a family loyalist. She urged the Congress workers
assembled there to make sure that they assembled in their thousands
for “Rahulji’s” scheduled stop in Moradabad. The turnout for Rahul
Gandhi’s constituency visit seemed rather more important to her than
the turnout in the general election.

I imagine that as a creature of 10 Janpath, Joshi was taking her cue
from Rahul Gandhi’s strategy to aggressively project the Congress’
presence in UP when she made her infamous remark about rape. Trying to
make the point that the UP government’s policy of giving financial
compensation to rape victims was inadequate and demeaning, she is
reported to have said: “Throw such money back at Mayawati and tell
her, ‘if you’re raped, I am ready to give you a crore’.”

It’s hard to believe that any responsible political figure, leave
alone a politician whose father was a UP Brahmin, could polemicize
against a Dalit woman chief minister in terms as crass and offensive
as these. It’s even harder to believe that the Congress party, whose
erstwhile dominance in that state was based upon an electoral
combination of Dalits, Muslims and Brahmins, would respond to Joshi’s
speech with a pro forma expression of regret and disapproval without
censuring or disciplining her. Sonia Gandhi was content to distance
herself from the form of words used by her apparatchik, while her son
was even more aggressive in his response, insisting that Joshi’s
choice of words was unfortunate but that her critique was valid.

Rahul Gandhi’s willingness to write off Dalits in general and Jatavs
in particular in UP by doing as little as possible to discipline
Joshi, is of a piece with the Congress’ cynical willingness to find
new electoral combinations in the Hindi heartland. So the UPCC chief’s
willingness to appeal to a casteist electorate’s worst instincts is
depressing, but unsurprising.

What’s rather more disheartening is the UP chief minister’s response
to Joshi’s provocation. She was charged under several non-bailable
sections of the law, including the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act,
1989, and remanded to judicial custody. Had Mayawati contented herself
with this, with demonstrating the awful retribution that Indian law
visits upon those who seek explicitly or by implication to humiliate
or intimidate Dalits, she would have made her point, consolidated her
reputation as a no-nonsense opponent of inflammatory rhetoric and
stood out as a defender of the downtrodden.

But she didn’t. Newspapers and news channels reported that Bahujan
Samaj Party (BSP) goons set fire to Joshi’s home in Lucknow and
ransacked it. A few days later the BSP member of Parliament allegedly
behind this act of arson was rewarded with the deputy chairmanship of
the Uttar Pradesh State Sugar Corporation. Instead of casting herself
as the guarantor of the public peace in UP, the chief minister seemed
to go out of her way to stand out as the embodiment of the lawlessness
and state impunity that has characterized UP politics in recent

This is a tragedy, while the Congress’ provocation is merely a form of
low farce, because Mayawati is a historical political figure, whereas
Rita Joshi is a political creature and Rahul Gandhi is a fifth-
generation dynast. Mayawati is the first Dalit chief minister of
India’s largest state and the first Dalit ever to be seen as a
credible candidate for the prime ministership of the republic. Instead
of fulfilling her historic potential, she has chosen to fritter it
away by allowing the media to assimilate her to the thuggish politics
of her home state.

It’s unfair to expect Mayawati to set higher standards than Mulayam
Singh Yadav or Amar Singh or Rita Joshi, but pioneering politicians
from plebeian backgrounds owe it to the people they represent to set
an example. Mayawati could have made an example of Joshi within the
law; by seeming to step outside it, she has sold herself short,
betrayed a political trust and given her enemies and the enemies of
the bahujan samaj that she claims to represent, a weapon. It’s unfair
to expect Mayawati to be India’s Obama, but not too much to ask,
surely, that she not turn herself into UP’s Ahmadinejad.

Mukul Kesavan, a professor of social history at Jamia Millia Islamia,
New Delhi, is the author of The Ugliness of the Indian Male and Other

Write to Mukul at ***@livemint.com


Posted: Thu, Oct 22 2009. 12:12 AM IST

Maoist documents point to erudite research
It is important to go beyond the government-engineered media movement
that has largely dismissed Maoists as being from the lunatic fringe
seeking to destroy the “Shining India” and “Imagining India”
narratives of the India dream
Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

A former director general of police of Chhattisgarh once commented as
to how well Maoist documents were prepared. “These appear to be
written by educated people—JNU types.”

He then looked sharply at me. “Are you from JNU?” he asked, referring
to Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, often painted as left-leaning.
I disabused him of the notion, but I agree entirely with his point:
Whatever the extreme politics and polemic, documents and statements by
Maoist rebels are erudite and clear. These are not ravings of
stereotypically wild-eyed, frothing intellectuals, but the thoughts of
deliberate, yet intensely angry ideologues who invite people to join
battle against the current nature and practice of Indian politics,
administration and law-keeping.

All that Kobad Ghandy, a recently arrested Maoist leader, repeatedly
muttered to television cameras as he was being led to a Delhi court by
police was: “Bhagat Singh zindabad”. Long Live Bhagat Singh. This
revolutionary occupies pride of place in official histories of India’s
freedom movement. His likenesses are evident in countless public
places across northern India; indeed, in India’s Parliament. Those who
battle Maoists know this well.

Also Read Sudeep Chakravarti’s earlier columns

It is important to go beyond the government-engineered media movement
that has largely dismissed Maoists as being from the lunatic fringe
seeking to destroy the “Shining India” and “Imagining India”
narratives of the India dream. This is part of government’s lateral
tactic in a battle—“psy-ops” or psychological operations—much like
what public relations professionals and warring corporate siblings

Alongside, the Union government is engaged in intense on-ground
security operations with a self-declared mandate to arrive at a
conclusion within the next three years.

But it knows what it is up against, the same as the incredulous former
police chief of Chhattisgarh. So too do his colleagues in Karnataka—a
marked state, as it were—know the facility with which Maoist rebels

As far back as 2002, the Maoists prepared a document titled Social
Conditions and Tactics—A report based on preliminary social
investigation conducted by survey teams during August-October 2001 in
the Perspective Area. The “perspective area” were Central Malnad,
including parts of Udupi district, and the adjacent districts of
Shimoga, Chikmaglur and Dakshina Kannada. It offers insight into the
planning and argumentative conviction that go into developing a
revolutionary base.

Malnad is the “ghat” region of Karnataka comprising 10 districts, from
Belgaum in the north-west to Chamarajnagar in the south. It includes
nearly half of Karnataka’s forest area, nearly all of its iron ore and
manganese riches, major concentrations of areca—betel nut—cardamom and
other spices, and coffee. It records a large tribal population and
caste prejudice. The Maoist survey recorded a fairly large percentage
of landless and poor farmers, and domination by the upper castes—
Brahmins and Vokkaligas, among others. The landless received daily
wages as much as 15% less than the norm. In places, the survey
recorded between 10% and 32% of land without title deeds and
consequent “encroachment” by wealthier peasantry and landlords.

The survey, which referred to particular villages only with designated
alphabets to maintain secrecy, recorded high interest rates on account
of private moneylenders, and high indebtedness. As many such
moneylenders were also landlords—comprising 4% of the population but
owning a quarter of all land—inability to repay led in numerous cases
to a member of the family, usually a youngster, being bonded as farm
or plantation labour.

The survey tracked the fall in prices for several categories of areca,
pepper, cardamom and coffee. Inevitably, daily wages dropped. This was
recorded as the overall impact of “semi-feudalism”, free-market
pricing, lowering of import restrictions, and in some cases—such as

In great detail, the survey noted which Brahmin landlord was “known to
break two whipping sticks on the backs of his tenants”; where a
landlord had links with Mumbai’s timber mafia; where “Jain landlords”
evicted tenants unable to pay rent; and which temples in the region
had links with powerful politicians and businessmen. There was also a
list of weapons in the surveyed villages.

The survey recommended that Maoist support must be developed in the
area by “strictly secret methods”. These should include secret front
organizations of women, “coolies” and Adivasis. Village-level clusters
of militias should in turn be guided by the local guerilla squad
assigned to that territory—one such squad would have under its care
800 sq. km and four squads would form an interlinked team to control
3,200 sq. km.

The plan is on the ground.

Sudeep Chakravarti writes on issues related to conflict in South Asia.
He is the author of Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country. He writes a
column alternate Thursdays on conflicts that directly affect business.

Respond to this column at ***@livemint.com


Posted: Wed, Feb 3 2010. 11:45 PM IST

Naxalism and angst of Jharkhand tribals
With pressure from major businesses to deliver on now-dusty
memorandums of understanding and from Maoists--as they reconnoiter new
areas and call in old debts--Jharkhand will witness more churn
Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

Jharkhand has for some time resembled a tragicomic circus.

This is where a former state health minister, Bhanu Pratap Shahi, told
media in early 2007 of a novel method of combating Maoist rebels—
interchangeably known as Naxalites. One vasectomy in a “Naxalite-
dominated” village would mean that many “potential comrades less”, the
minister offered, in a situation of “many mouths to feed and little
food to eat”.

A state chief minister, Madhu Koda, received an official certificate
from the Limca Book of Records, India’s version of the Guinness World
Records, for becoming the first independent legislator to gain that
position. He formed a government with four other legislators and the
support of the United Progressive Alliance.

Also Read Sudeep Chakravarti’s earlier columns

Koda is now history, accused of using his tenure to amass a fortune
along with some cronies and allies, mainly from concessions to

The newest chief minister, Shibu Soren, has this past fortnight
troubled hawks for suggesting negotiations with Maoist rebels in the
state. Leaks to media mentioned slowed police operations against
Maoists. Such moves would, according to conventional wisdom, permit
Maoists breathing room to regroup and gain ground. Failed peace talks
in Andhra Pradesh in 2004, and overtures in Orissa, are held up as
examples of what not to do.

Soren, too, carries baggage, marked as he is by scandals such as money-
for-votes during the premiership of P.V. Narasimha Rao; and the death
of a once-trusted lieutenant. But it is important to understand
Soren’s background with fellow travellers, as it were.

Jharkhand is blessed with iron ore, manganese, coal, limestone,
graphite, quartzite, asbestos, lead, zinc, copper, and some gold,
among others. It supplies to the region electricity from thermal and
hydroelectric plants. But there has always been a discrepancy between
generating wealth and its application.

The Jharkhand region received minimal development funds from undivided
Bihar based on a time-honoured presumption: tribals live there, and
they need little. Resettlement and rehabilitation issues were—and
continue to remain—poor on delivery.

The area’s displaced tribals were gradually organized by a tribal
rights and right-to-statehood organization, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha
(JMM), which also took on exploitation by a concert of contractors,
moneylenders and public servants. Bihar’s response was to send a large
team of armed police, which intimidated and arrested at will. To
protest, an estimated 3,000 tribals gathered in September 1980 in Gua,
a mining-belt town near Saranda forests to the state’s south, for a
public meeting.

There was an altercation with police. The police fired; the tribals
fought back with bows and arrows. Three tribals and four policemen
died; human rights activists place the number of tribal deaths at

Both groups took their wounded to Gua Mines Hospital, where the
tribals were made to deposit their bows and arrows before the hospital
took in their injured. Then the police opened fire on the now unarmed
tribals, killing several more.

The police, thereafter, went on a rampage in nearby villages, in much
the same way as some of their colleagues in Chhattisgarh: looting and
destroying homes; molesting and killing as much for revenge as
suspicion of collusion with rebels.

JMM leader Guruji—Soren—became a bulwark for key tribal leaders, who
led movements in Saranda to prevent the illegal felling of trees such
as sal and teak.

As resentment peaked through the 1980s and 1990s, leaders sought
allies with greater firepower: the Maoists—through the Maoist
Communist Centre (MCC), the key rebel entity in undivided Bihar. This
alliance of expediency has since matured.

Saranda is a Maoist area of operation and sanctuary. MCC has merged
into the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the presiding
conglomerate. Besides attacks against police and paramilitary, looting
weaponry and imposing levies on small to big businesses to fund the
rebellion, Maoists have also carried out spectacular strikes. For
instance, they shot dead member of Parliament and bête noire Sunil
Mahato and three others as they watched a football match at Baguria in
early 2007.

Leaders with deep roots, such as Soren, understand the dynamics of
tribal aspiration and angst. Soren can, on a good day, still hold the
power to bring disparate issues to the table for resolution of
conflict. But tribal leadership is otherwise compromised, adding to
the rot and ineptitude that have marked governance in Jharkhand since
it attained statehood in 2001.

Even funds meant for modernization of police forces are known to have
been appropriated to purchase sports utility vehicles for ministers.

With pressure from major businesses to deliver on now-dusty
memorandums of understanding and from Maoists—as they reconnoiter new
areas and call in old debts—Jharkhand will witness more churn.

Sudeep Chakravarti writes on issues related to conflict in South Asia.
He is the author of Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country. He writes a
column alternate Thursdays on conflicts that directly affect business.

Respond to this column at ***@livemint.com


: Wed, Nov 18 2009. 10:13 PM IST

Cos open to accusations of complicity with govt
If businesses find it difficult to comprehend morality, they could at
least work to understand liability
Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

The flap these past weeks about Tata Steel Ltd’s proposed 5.5 million
tonnes a year project in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh triggered
thoughts of a recent conference on human rights and business. I can’t
talk much about that meeting at Manesar, near Delhi, sponsored by a
relatively new London-based institute, as we were bound by the Chatham
House rule. But I can discuss my personal observations as they do not
vary in private or public; as well as broad parameters of discussion
without specifically naming participants.

There was a senior representative from Tata Sons Ltd at the conference
this past summer, as well as his corporate social responsibility (CSR)
colleagues from ArcelorMittal, JSW Steel Ltd, Royal Dutch Shell and
Lafarge SA. Except Shell, others are between them currently engaged in
either contentious or tricky projects in central, north or north-east
India. Alongside executives were arrayed human rights activists,
lawyers, tribal representatives, self-declared liberals from Delhi’s
seminar circuit, and corporate practitioners and consultants from
Europe and the Americas.

Also Read Earlier columns by Sudeep Chakravarti

The purpose was to take inputs about the Indian situation to evolve
corporate best practice guidelines across the world as to the
experience of relocation and rehabilitation—frequently the curse of
projects—and work in conflict areas. The meeting was well timed, too,
seeing several popular protests against large projects and special
economic zones; and the outright concern of locating projects in areas
of Maoist influence.

A broad thought came through, surprisingly, from several executives.
The bean counters and boardroom “suits” that operate in India don’t
care about the socio-economic impact at ground zero. The project
blueprint is absolute in terms of cost in time, finance, man-hours and
return on investment. As activists joined the discussion, it became
ever more evident that CSR ends up being a tool to buy out
“opposition” with money, a primary school or health centre, some tube
wells. Responsibility ends there. The governments of the states where
the projects are to be located—with their political leadership,
bureaucracy and police—become an extension of corporate will.

Such an approach led to Singur for Tata Motors Ltd; the relocation of
the project to Gujarat worked through similar, though non-violent,
channels as the government there had already pre-empted protest by
releasing vast stocks of pre-acquired land. Tata Steel’s loud
clarifications that it had been “allocated” land in Chhattisgarh; and
its denial that a public hearing on the project in mid-October was
attended by hand-picked villagers in a room heavily guarded by state
police and local toughs, suggests a worrying trend: this conglomerate
has learnt little from its recent collective experience.

In Chhattisgarh, it is likely to face protests that could easily
escalate to violence as the administration lends a hand to shoehorn
the project. There is little doubt too that Maoist-front organizations
and militias will leverage toeholds offered by such an approach, the
same as they have done to a project by Essar Steel in the state’s
Dantewada district.

What drives a corporation to pursue a project in a clear zone of
conflict? Why do businesses feel strengthened, even invulnerable, if
they are in direct or moral partnership with government? Why do
project planners ignore the fact that the principle of eminent domain,
which permits the government to expropriate land for public good, is
abused in spirit and execution? Why don’t consultants, whom
corporations pay millions of dollars to scope a project, clarify
political and security risks?

The fig leaf of government having appropriated land—and so, business
being absolved of all responsibility—is mandated by India’s mai-baap
culture, a benevolent dictatorship deeply prevalent in the
relationship between business and politics. While this proved to be
the bedrock of much of India’s economic growth, businesses will, in
today’s charged rights and legal environment, be open to accusations
of complicity with government. Globalized Indian businesses are
additionally vulnerable, under international laws, to legal action
even in other countries if accusations of negative complicity with
government are proven. Moreover, there would be a public relations

In plain words: it will be difficult to explain away aggressive
presence in a conflict zone where a project clearly stands to gain by
government forces killing off rebels. And it will be difficult to deny
moral responsibility for the death and displacement of innocents in
such a conflict. If businesses find it difficult to comprehend
morality, they could at least work to understand liability.

Sudeep Chakravarti writes on issues related to conflict in South Asia.
He is the author of Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country. He writes a
column alternate Thursdays on conflicts that directly affect business.

Respond to this column at ***@livemint.com


Posted: Wed, Sep 23 2009. 10:33 PM IST

Denying development is privileging violence
If the body count swings against the rebels and their support militia,
government will declare victoryRoot
Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

A major offensive against Maoist rebels by the CoBRA (Commando
Battalion for Resolute Action) paramilitary force is under way in the
forests and tribal homelands of southern Chhattisgarh.

Besides being the present-day heart, as it were, of the rebellion, it
is also a region where the government of Chhattisgarh has agreed in
principle to locate nearly $30 billion (Rs1.44 trillion) of investment
in minerals, metals, and electricity.

If the body count swings against the rebels and their support militia,
government will declare victory. If it goes against CoBRA, Maoists
will crow. TV crews will move in. People who track such phenomena—the
Maoist rebellion in India as well as prime ministerial pronouncements
as to its demerit—will receive calls for commentary on the who, what,
why and where of it all. It will be a circus, as always. And key
truths will, after a time, be reburied.

Maps detailing the current spread of Left-wing rebellion usually show
the overlap in forested areas, which provide rationale, recruits and
shelter. But the Maoist movement has long ago moved beyond the jungle.
Maps that detail other characteristics and topography are hence more

I’m fond of quoting at such times Omkar Goswami, who runs the New
Delhi-based CERG Advisory Pvt. Ltd. He was struck some years ago by
what current minister for environment Jairam Ramesh told him about an
“east of Kanpur characterization of India”.

Also Read Sudeep Chakravarti’s earlier columns

Ramesh’s point: the regions west of Kanpur, marked by the longitude
80.24 (east), were doing better, while those to the east of it were
“withering away”.

Goswami decided to check Ramesh’s hypothesis by collecting data on
India’s districts, development blocks and villages. His colleagues and
he pored over this data for two years, and alongside, used data from
the Census of India 2001 to map an India based on ownership of, or
access to, 11 assets and amenities: Whether the household had a bank
or post office account, a pucca house, electricity connection, owned a
TV set; owned a scooter or motorcycle; used cooking gas, had an
inhouse drinking water source or one within 500m; had a separate
kitchen area, a separate toilet, a separate and enclosed bathing
space, and a telephone.

CERG then took the results of these indicators of necessity and basic
aspiration, what it termed the Rural India District Score, and mapped
it. The districts were ranked in six grades, with accompanying
colours: Best (dark green), Good (light green), Better than Average
(very light green), Average (white), Worse than Average (orange) and
Very Poor (red).

Central India showed great patches of white and orange, and splashes
of red. Moving east into Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, eastern Andhra
Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal and most of north-eastern India,
it’s a sea of red and orange with peripheral white and 10 islands of
varying shades of green—one being Kolkata.

The white bank of “average” spreads south into peninsular India, with
some orange penetrations of “worse than average” in Karnataka and
Tamil Nadu.

The “east of Kanpur” districts are dropping off the development map,
Goswami concluded. “Getting the benefits of growth to these districts
is the greatest challenge of development and political economy.”

If political leaders and policymakers were to open similar statistical
tables of socio-economic growth and demographic spreads of the
marginalized and the dispossessed, and look at maps of attacks and
penetration by the disaffected in general and Maoists in particular,
they would see the current and future course of what they label
“menace” and “infestation”. They would see how they are privileging
violence, by denying development until violence forces the hand.

There are several studies that prove it. A particularly striking one
is by a senior police officer, Durga Madhab (John) Mitra, who
published a paper in 2007 called Understanding Indian Insurgencies:
Implications for Counter-insurgency operations in the Third World,
during a sabbatical at the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War

The Planning Commission received an excellent report last year from an
expert group it commissioned, comprising political economy, security,
and legal specialists, some of them former senior police and
intelligence officers.

Titled Development Challenges in Extremist Affected Areas, the
report’s frank expression pleasantly stunned even cynical human rights
activists long used to government’s blinkers.

Mitra received polite attention at the ministry of home affairs. The
Planning Commission report is filed away—as such things often are. I
hope to draw attention to key outlines and recommendation in these and
other documents in future columns.

Sudeep Chakravarti writes on issues related to conflict in South Asia.
He is the author of Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country. He writes a
column alternate Thursdays on conflicts that directly affect

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: Thu, Aug 27 2009. 1:02 AM IST

Andhra grapples with Maoists, new acronymsThe state already has at
hand several Union government-controlled paramilitaries, in their
acronyms CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force), IRB (India Reserve
Battalion), and the newly formed and giddily named CoBRA (Combat
Battalion for Resolute Action), aimed at Left-wing rebellionRoot Cause
| Sudeep Chakravarti

Beyond the urban bling of Hyderabad lies territory that is giving Y.S.
Rajasekhara Reddy headaches. At a New Delhi conference of chief
ministers to discuss internal security, convened by Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh in mid-August, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh
said he wanted three districts by the state’s border with Orissa to be
formally declared Maoist-affected.

Despite several years of anti-rebel operations—a mix of specially
trained forces, better weapons, infiltration, better equipped police
posts, utter disregard for human rights niceties, and rehabilitation
packages for Maoists—the fire burns.

While Maoists have retreated in the north, central and southern parts
of the state, the forested, hilly and coastal east tells a different
story. Reddy’s key concern is that several power, irrigation and
mining projects planned for the east would be in jeopardy. “Maoists
find such activities as ideal pastures,” he said.

Maoists do, as these activities typically involve displacement of
populations, and the imperfect exercises breed great resentment—rebel
tinder. Alongside, Maoists have taken common cause against Special
Economic Zones and the effects of globalization, not just in Andhra
Pradesh but across the country.

The rebels have bureaus in most states tasked with recruitment,
agitation and raising the level of cadre strength and “awareness”.
This is to seed rebellion in several ways, a prelude to “protracted
war” to gain political power.

This is a lateral expansion of thought and activity to keep up with
the times, as it were, extending the Maoists’ traditional turf of
fighting for agrarian, tribal and caste issues.

This is the continuation of a process from as far back as 2004, when a
definitive Maoist document, Urban Perspective: Our Work in Urban
Areas, recommended that “The centres of key industries should be given
importance as they have the potential of playing an important role in
the People’s War”—what Maoists call their armed movement.

In 2007, Muppala Laxman Rao, the chief of the Communist Party of India
(Maoist), stressed another thought from the document. “We have to
adopt diverse tactics for mobilizing the urban masses into the
revolution,” said Rao, better known by his nom de guerre Ganapathy,
“take up their political-economic-social-cultural issues …”

Reddy is described by Maoists, relatively gently, as “mercenary”. His
predecessor, N. Chandrababu Naidu of Telugu Desam Party, even five
years after losing the chief ministership, is mentioned in Maoist
journals as “the known and despicable American stooge”. This is in
great part for Naidu’s unabashed worship of Bill Gates, and PowerPoint
frenzy to tout “Cyberabad” at both local and global investment
seminars even as large swathes of the state lay in tatters; and
farmers killed themselves by the thousands, driven by debt and

Congress’ Reddy learnt from Naidu’s mistakes and opted for more
inclusive policies. Among other things, he launched the Indiramma
(Mother Indira) project with fanfare in early 2006. A double entendre
of pleasing masters and political economy—the acronym expands to
Integrated Novel Development in Rural Areas and Model Municipal Areas—
it sought to cover every village panchayat in three years and provide
what the state has not in decades. Primary education to all; health
facilities where there are none; clean water; pucca houses with
latrines; electricity connections to all households; roads; and so on.

The halting success of the project, in bits reborn as the Andhra
Pradesh Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, contributed to Reddy’s re-
election earlier this year. However, his recent remarks are revealing.

Andhra Pradesh has battled post-Naxalbari rebels for three decades. It
raised a now-hardened special force, the Greyhounds, to combat rebels.
But the stick-and-carrot policy of the state has proved patchy.

Policing and brutal suppression of Maoists has not effectively been
replaced in these areas by development works and delivery of dignity
to the poor and marginal. And so, these places continue to be deeply
vulnerable to Maoist activity. Reddy is understandably nervous about
developments in eastern Andhra Pradesh, both for their immediacy and
potential to reignite churn elsewhere.

To battle Maoists and other forces such as radical Islamism, Reddy at
the New Delhi conference said Andhra Pradesh has established a new
force: OCTOPUS. It stands for Organisation for Counter Terrorism and

The state already has at hand several Union government-controlled
paramilitaries, in their acronyms CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force),
IRB (India Reserve Battalion), and the newly formed and giddily named
CoBRA (Combat Battalion for Resolute Action), aimed at Left-wing

As Reddy must realize, acronyms with aggressive intent can only go
part of the way.

Sudeep Chakravarti writes on issues related to conflict in South Asia.
He is the author of Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country. He will
write a fortnightly column on conflicts that directly affect business.
Respond to this column at ***@livemint.com


Posted: Wed, Sep 9 2009. 10:39 PM IST

It is time lessons were learnt in West Bengal
The government of West Bengal has diligently courted grief
Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

All it takes to go from chutzpah to chaos is a blind corner. Few in
recent times would know this better than the policymakers of West
Bengal—and their enforcers.

The Singur episode with Tata Motors Ltd is now a modern classic of how
not to work with government intervention. Another contemporary classic
is from Nandigram, several hours’ drive south of Singur. Here the
state government and Indonesia’s Salim Group were prevented by public
protests in 2007 from going ahead with a massive special economic zone
(SEZ), a venture of New Kolkata International Development Pvt. Ltd (a
joint venture of Salim Group, Unitech Ltd and a company owned by a
Salim associate) and West Bengal Industrial Development Corp.

Both projects faced intense public agitation over the practice of some
bureaucrats, police, and leaders and cadre of the ruling Communist
Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, strong-arming farmers to part with
land—both cultivable and not—to the state, and for such acquisitions
to be passed on to proposed businesses.

Also Read Sudeep Chakravarti’s earlier columns

Earlier this week, West Bengal’s department of information technology
(IT) yanked a couple of project sites at Rajarhat on the outskirts of
Kolkata it had offered Infosys Technologies Ltd and Wipro Ltd. The
firms were expected to take up residence in a proposed IT park. A
scandal from the preceding fortnight, violence involving local land
sharks and political mafia that had helped purchase land for a resort
in the area—and were allegedly involved in procuring land for the IT
park—gave the government cold feet. “The government does not want to
be involved in any illegal activity,” a press release from the
department announced. “… (We) cannot proceed with the project.”

Infosys and Wipro should rest easy. Increasingly, businesses with
global footprint, ambition and stock listings that ride investment on
direct government intervention or inadvertent intervention in areas of
any conflict—a war, civil war, or violence rooted in corruption and
political mismanagement—could find themselves in court at home and

A slim document titled Red Flags: Liability Risks for Companies
Operating in High-risk Zones, published in 2008 by International Alert
(www.international-alert.org) and Fafo Institute (www.fafo.no) lists
several grounds for litigation, including some that are commonplace in
India. Under international law, expelling people from their
communities by “the threat or use of violence to force people out of
their communities can be a crime”, Red Flags maintains. “A company may
face liability if it has gained access to the site on which it
operates, where it builds infrastructure, or where it explores for
natural resources, through forced displacement.”

Other points of liability include “engaging abusive security
forces” (directly or through the proxy of state police or
paramilitary) to effect and perpetuate a project; and “allowing use of
company assets for abuses”, such as overlooking mistreatment of people
by security forces and providing company facilities for such activity
to take place.

The government of West Bengal has diligently courted grief. Since it
assumed power in 1977, the CPM, more than its coalition partners, has
skilfully built a ground-up network, a broederbond of cadre and
leaders that thrives on a mix of intimidation, corruption and
administration. They gradually came to control the politics, political
economy and business, and dealt harshly with the opposition. This
cracked spectacularly in Singur and Nandigram, where Maoist rebels and
the Trinamool Congress got the flak—or credit—for engineering foment
which should have been placed at the doorstep of the state’s Marxist
leadership and its system of patronage.

In the Lalgarh region, which I visited past June during the
confrontation between security forces and a team of tribals and Maoist
rebels, it was easy to track “anti-establishment” targets. Almost
without exception, the largest and best homes, and businesses and
farmland belonged to, or were controlled by, the local leadership of
the CPM. Rebels and aggrieved residents killed many, and chased away

JSW Steel Ltd is setting up a plant in neighbouring Salboni. Chief
minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee narrowly escaped an assassination
attempt by Maoists in November, when he was returning to Kolkata after
attending the foundation ceremony at the site of the plant. Two
ministers from New Delhi were with him.

There is nothing to indicate that this region has become less restive
after intervention by security forces, and businesses that choose to
work in this area do so at their own risk—all risk. Surely it is time
lessons were learnt in West Bengal and elsewhere in India.

Sudeep Chakravarti writes on issues related to conflict in South Asia.
He is the author of Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country. He writes a
fortnightly column on conflicts that directly affect business.

Respond to this column at ***@livemint.com


Posted: Wed, Jan 13 2010. 10:20 PM IST

Implosion in Nepal will subsume ‘red corridor’
Nepal had for long been at a dead-end politically and economically and
this in great part assist the Maoists in the country
Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

A precept of the Pashupati to Tirupati theory of sub-continental
Maoism was the seamless meshing of Nepal’s rebellion with that of
India’s. While there certainly were fraternal links—providing
sanctuary; attending key meetings; occasional training of cadre; and
such—Nepal’s war was its own.

With renewed militancy of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal
(Maoist), or UPCN (Maoist), which has brought government near to
standstill, and disrupted economic activity in this already
impoverished country, there is again speculation of Maoist meshing.
Those who indulge in it fail to acknowledge Nepal’s dynamics; and the
fact that developments in Nepal can have far-reaching implications for
India beyond the obvious laboratory lessons of Left wing extremism and
its immediate aftermath.

Nepal had for long been at a dead-end politically and economically,
which in great part assisted Maoists there to achieve their initial
goal in 12 years—from the first attack on a police camp in 1996 to
helping to overthrow a seedy monarchy and to run a democratically
elected government for several months, until May. As premier, the
sharply dressed Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who encourages the
nom de guerre of Prachanda (fierce) even led a business delegation to

Also Read Sudeep Chakravarti’s earlier columns

India’s Maoists are lower in the revolutionary arc, as it were. They
are the first to acknowledge that their task of national domination is
made difficult on account of India’s socio-economic growth, increasing
opportunities for that growth and expanding power of government, armed
forces and police.

The danger in Nepal today is one of socio-economic implosion as much
as its corollary: a resumption of hostilities between hardline
Maoists, and a coalition government undermined by charges of nepotism
and corruption. The government, controlled by moderate Marxists and
the Nepali Congress, is at loggerheads with Dahal’s party over several

Arguably the most contentious of these is the integration of Maoist
combatants—now located in seven major peace camps across Nepal—into
the mainstream. Proposals call for integrating them with former
enemies: Nepal army and police. The Maoists’ public spat with the then
army chief over this enabled in great part for Dahal’s former allies
in the constituent assembly, the Marxists, to pull the plug on his
government last year.

Among other things, subsequent turmoil has slowed progress towards
Nepal’s Holy Grail, the promulgation of a new constitution by this
May. The constitution is crucial for the process of peace and
reconciliation, further guarantee that decade-long hostilities, which
took an estimated 14,000 lives and ended in 2006, do not resume.

Maoists make no secret of an ambition to resume power—a legitimate
objective of a party. Dahal and his deputy, Baburam Bhattarai, have
told me, as they have several media persons, of their goal. Maoists
are clear that they will employ any approach short of outright war,
thus far, to achieve it. Dahal is fond of using the word bisfot, or

And though their supporters and critics alike are agreed that there
can be no lasting peace in Nepal without Maoist participation, the
Maoist cause has been diminished, for instance, by their employing the
often-thuggish Young Communist League (YCL). A growing paramilitary,
YCL is used to enforce trade unionism—most hospitality industry unions
in Kathmandu are Maoist-controlled—intimidate opponents, and provide
numbers at Maoist rallies.

To increase all-round pressure, Maoists are reaching out to groups
that shored up the rebellion—and voted for them in the 2008 elections.
UCPN (Maoist) declared its “fourth phase of struggle” last week. Mass
gatherings are to be held between 19 January and 24 January, addressed
by the crème of Maoist leadership in regions that represent ethnic
minorities such as Limbu, Kirant, Sherpa, Tharu, Bhote-Lama, and
Madhesi—long-disenfranchised people of Indian origin concentrated in
Nepal’s southern Terai belt—and caste minorities, which together make
up about 70% of Nepal’s population.

There is talk of autonomous regions based on this mix. Should it come
to pass, it would dilute the influence of the hill Bahun, or Brahmin,
community and upper caste Hindu leadership long-dominant in politics,
the bureaucracy and army.

The exercise for India and other countries will now be to gauge the
tipping point for robust democracy—or an irredeemable one. The latter
outcome will contribute to conditions of an implosion of Nepal. Large-
scale migration of destitute into India; a 1,700km-long unstable
border with worrying security implications; and weakened economic
interaction with Nepal—India accounts for 70% of its trade—will
subsume any concern of a Red Corridor.

Sudeep Chakravarti writes on issues related to conflict in South Asia.
He is the author of Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country. He writes a
column alternate Thursdays on conflicts that directly affect business.

Respond to this column at ***@livemint.com


Why I Am Not a Hindu
Ramendra Nath

Originally published by Bihar Rationalist Society (Bihar Buddhiwadi
Samaj) 1993.
Electronically reprinted with permission.

I have read and admired Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian.
On the other hand, I have also read and disagreed with M.K.Gandhi's
Why I Am a Hindu. My acquaintance with these writings has inspired me
to write this essay explaining why I am not a Hindu, though I was born
in a Hindu family.

The Meaning of "Hindu"

The word "Hindu" is a much-abused word in the sense that it has been
used to mean different things at different times. For example, some
people even now, at least some times, use the word "Hindu" as a
synonym for "Indian". In this sense of the term, I am certainly a
"Hindu" because I do not deny being an Indian. However, I do not think
that this a proper use of the term "Hindu". There are many Indians
such as Muslims, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians as well as
rationalists, humanists and atheists who do not call themselves
"Hindu" and also do not like to be described as such. It is certainly
not fair to convert them into Hinduism by giving an elastic definition
of the term "Hindu". Besides, it is also not advisable to use the word
"Hindu" in this sense from the point of view of clarity. The word
"Hindu" may have been used in the beginning as a synonym for
"Indian" [1], but, at present, the word is used for people with
certain definite religious beliefs. The word "Hindu" belongs to the
category of words like "Muslim", "Christian", "Buddhist" and "Jain"
and not to the category of words like "American", "British",
"Australian", "Chinese" or "Japanese". There are, in fact, many
Indians who are not Hindus, and on the other hand, there are many
Hindus who are not Indians , for example, those who are citizens of
Nepal, Sri Lanka and some other countries.

In the religious sense, the word, "Hindu" is often used broadly to
include Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs in addition to those who are
described as "Hindu" in this most restricted sense of the term, that
is, the adherents of Vedic or Brahmin religion. For example, the
expression "Hindu" is used in the Hindu law not only for those who are
Hindu by religion but also for persons who are Buddhists, Jains and
Sikhs by religion. This, again, is too broad a definition of "Hindu".
If we consistently use the word "Hindu" in this sense, we will have to
say that Japan is a Hindu country!

The above definition of "Hindu" is clearly inadequate from a
philosophical point of view. Buddhism and Jainism, for instance,
explicitly reject the doctrine of the infallibility of the Vedas and
the system of varna-vyavastha, which are fundamental to Hinduism, that
is, if the term "Hinduism" is used in its most restricted sense.
Therefore, clubbing together Buddhists and Jains or even Sikhs with
those who believe in the infallibility of the Vedas and subscribe to
the varna-vyavastha is nothing but an invitation to confusion.

Though I agree with Buddhism in its rejection of god, soul,
infallibility of the Vedas and the varna-vyavastha, still I am not a
Hindu even in this broad sense of the term "Hindu", because as a
rationalist and humanist I reject all religions including Buddhism,
Jainism and Sikhism. However, in this essay I am concerned with
explaining why I am not a Hindu in the most appropriate sense of the
term "Hindu", that is, the sense in which a person is a Hindu if his
religion is Hinduism in the restricted sense of the term " Hinduism".
In this restricted sense of "Hinduism", Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism
are excluded from its scope. I also maintain that this is, at present,
probably the most popular sense of the term, and every body should, in
the interest of clarity, confine its use, as far as possible, to this
sense only, at least in philosophical discourse.

Radhakrishnan, for example, has used the term "Hindu" and "Hinduism"
in this restricted sense when he says in his The Hindu View of Life
that, "The chief sacred scriptures of Hindus, the Vedas register the
intuitions of the perfected souls." [2] Or, when he says that
"Hinduism is the religion not only of the Vedas but of the Epics and
the Puranas." [3]

Basic Beliefs of Hinduism

Gandhi, too, has used the term "Hindu" in this restricted sense, when
writing in Young India in October, 1921, he says:

I call myself a sanatani Hindu, because,

I believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and all that goes
by the name of Hindu scriptures, and therefore in avatars and
I believe in the Varnashram dharma in a sense in my opinion strictly
Vedic, but not in its present popular and crude sense.

I believe in the protection of the cow in its much larger sense than
the popular.
I do not disbelieve in idol-worship. [4]

One may be tempted to ask, at this point, whether all the beliefs
listed by Gandhi are really fundamental to Hinduism. In my opinion,
(I) the belief in the authenticity of the Vedas and (II) the belief in
the varnashram dharma are more basic to Hinduism than the belief in
cow-protection and idol-worship. [5] Though it cannot be denied that,
in spite of attempts by reformers like Kabir, Rammohan Roy and
Dayanand Saraswati, idol-worship is still practiced widely by the
Hindu masses, and there is, at present, a taboo on eating beef among a
large number of Hindus. In any case, I am in a position to establish
the fact of my not being a Hindu by asserting the contradictory of
each of the above statements made by Gandhi:

In other words, I assert that I am not a Hindu, because,

I do not believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and all
that goes by the name of Hindu scriptures, and therefore in avatars
and rebirth.
I do not believe in the varnashram dharma or varna-vyavastha either in
the sense in which it is explained in Hindu dharma shastras like
Manusmriti or in the so-called Vedic sense.

I do not believe in the Hindu taboo of not eating beef.
I disbelieve in idol-worship.

However, while explaining why I am not a Hindu, I will concentrate
mainly on (I) the belief in the authenticity of the Vedas, and (II)
the varnashram dharma , which I consider more fundamental to Hinduism.
Besides, in the concluding section of the essay, I will briefly
discuss moksha, which is regarded as the highest end of life in
Hinduism, and some other Hindu doctrines like karmavada and

The infallibility of the Vedas
First of all, let me explain what do I mean by saying that "I do not
believe in the Vedas", and why I do not do so.

The schools of ancient Indian thought are generally classified by
orthodox Hindu thinkers into two broad categories, namely, orthodox
( astika) and heterodox ( nastika). The six main Hindu systems of
thought -- Mimamsa, Vedanta, Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya and Vaisheshika --
are regarded as orthodox ( astika), not because they believe in the
existence of god, but because they accept the authority of the Vedas.

Out of the six orthodox systems of Hindu thought, Nyaya system is
primarily concerned with the conditions of correct thinking and the
means of acquiring true knowledge. According to Nyaya system, there
are four distinct and separate sources of knowledge, namely, (i)
perception (ii) inference (iii) comparison, and (iv) testimony or

Shabda, which is defined in the Nyaya system as "valid verbal
testimony" is further classified into (i) the scriptural ( vaidika),
and (ii) the secular ( laukika). Vaidika or scriptural testimony is
believed to be the word of god, and therefore, it is regarded as
perfect and infallible .[7]

Mimamsa or Purva Mimamsa, another orthodox Hindu system is "the
outcome of the ritualistic side of the vedic culture". However, in its
attempt to justify the authority of the Vedas, Mimamsa elaborately
discusses different sources of valid knowledge. Naturally enough,
among the various "sources of valid knowledge", Mimamsa pays greatest
attention to testimony or authority, which, too, is regarded by it as
a valid source of knowledge. There are, according to Mimamsa, two
kinds of authority -- personal ( paurusheya) and impersonal
( apaurusheya). The authority of the Vedas is regarded by Mimamsa as
impersonal. [8]

As mentioned earlier, according to Nyaya, the authority of the Vedas
is derived from their being the words of god. But Mimamsa, which does
not believe in the existence of god, declares that the Vedas like the
world, are eternal. They are not the work of any person, human or
divine. The infallibility of the authority of the Vedas, according to
Mimamsa, rests on the "fact" that they are not vitiated by any defect
to which the work of imperfect persons is liable. [9]

Thus, orthodox Hindu schools like Nyaya and Mimamsa regard the
testimony of the Vedas as infallible, though they give different
reasons for doing so. Well-known orthodox Hindu theologians like
Shankar and Ramanuja believed in the authority of the Vedas.
Manusmriti, too, upholds the infallibility of the Vedas. As pointed
out by S.N.Dasgupta, "The validity and authority of the Vedas were
acknowledged by all Hindu writers and they had wordy battles over it
with the Buddhists who denied it." [10]

The point worth noting is that though popularly Hinduism is a theistic
religion, it is not essential to believe in the existence of god for
being an orthodox Hindu -- belief in the authority of the Vedas is
more important.

When I say, "I do not believe in the Vedas", what I mean is that I do
not regard the testimony of the Vedas as a valid source of knowledge.
In other words when I say, "I do not believe in the Vedas", I do not
mean that each and every proposition contained in the Vedas is false.
It is quite possible that one may find a few true statements in the
Vedas after great amount of patient research. But I assert that the
truth or the falsity of a proposition is logically independent of its
being contained or not contained in the Vedas. A proposition is true
if there is a correspondence between the belief expressed by it and
the facts. Otherwise, it is false. So, a proposition contained in the
Vedas might be true, that is, if there is a correspondence between the
belief expressed by it and the facts, but it is, I insist, not true
because it is contained in the Vedas. I categorically reject as
invalid every argument of the form: "The proposition P is contained in
the Vedas. Therefore, the proposition P is true".

Besides, I also assert that some propositions contained in the Vedas
are certainly false. For example, according to Purusha-Sukta of Rig
Veda , Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras originated
respectively from the mouth, hands, thighs and feet of the purusha or
the creator. I categorically reject this statement as false. I
maintain that varna-vyavastha is a man-made social institution and it
has nothing to do with the alleged creator of this world.

I also reject both the reasons put forward in support of the
infallibility of the Vedas. I neither regard them to be "the words of
god" nor I consider them to be eternal and impersonal. I believe that
Vedas were conceived, spoken and written by human beings. The question
of their being "words of god" simply does not arise, because there are
no good reasons for believing in the existence of god. The existence
of an omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent god is totally
inconsistent with the presence of suffering and evil in this world. It
is impossible for god to exist. [11]

Similarly, Vedas could not have come into existence before human
beings appeared on this earth, and before Sanskrit language came into
existence. And there are no good reasons for believing that Sanskrit
language came into existence even before human beings appeared on this

As far as Gandhi is concerned, though he liked to describe himself as
a sanatani Hindu, he was, in fact, not a completely orthodox Hindu.
For example, in the article quoted earlier in this essay Gandhi goes
on to add, "I do not believe in the exclusive divinity of the Vedas. I
believe the Bible, the Koran, and the Zend-Avesta to be as much
divinely inspired as the Vedas. My belief in the Hindu scriptures does
not require me to accept every word and every verse as divinely
inspired, I decline to be bound by any interpretation, however learned
in may be, if it is repugnant to reason or moral sense. "[12](emphasis

I seriously doubt that this position will be acceptable to an orthodox
Hindu. In fact, Gandhi's position comes very close to that of
rationalists and humanists when he says that "I decline to be bound by
any interpretation however learned it may be, if it is repugnant to
reason and moral sense". However, since he refused to say in so many
words that he did not believe in the authority of the Vedas, Gandhi
may be described, in my opinion, as a liberal Hindu with an eclectic
approach towards religion. On the other hand, my position is radically
different from that of Gandhi, because I do not consider either the
Vedas or the Bible, the Koran and Zend-Avesta or any other book to be
divinely inspired.


Before discussing varna-vyavastha or varnashram dharma, let me clarify
in the very beginning that I am not interested in giving my own
interpretation of what varna-vyavastha is or ought to be in its ideal
form. I am interested, firstly, in giving an objective exposition of
varna-vyavastha as contained in recognized Hindu scriptures like Vedas
and dharmashastras like Manusmriti; and secondly, in mentioning my
reasons for rejecting varna-vyavastha. In doing so I will concentrate
on the chaturvarnya (four-fold division of society) aspect of varna-

We have already noted that the first reference to varna (class based
on birth or caste) is to be found in the Purusha-Sukta of the Rig
Veda . The reference to the four ashrams or stages of life, namely,
Brahmcharya, Garhastya, Vanprashta and Sanyas is to be found in the
Upanishads. These are, in their turn, related to the four purusarthas
or ends of life, namely, dharma (duty), artha (wealth), kama
(satisfaction of sensual desires) and moksha (liberation). Out of
these, the Upanishads attach maximum value to sanyas ashram and moksha
purusartha, which is regarded as the highest end of life. [13]

The system of varnashram dharma is upheld by popular Hindu scriptures
like Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagvat-Gita. In Ramayana, for example,
Ram kills Shambuka simply because he was performing tapasya (ascetic
exercises) which he was not supposed to do as he was a Shudra by
birth. [14]

Similarly, in Mahabharata, Dronacharya refuses to teach archery to
Eklavya, because he was not a Kshatriya by birth. When Eklavya,
treating Drona as his notional guru, learns archery on his own, Drona
makes him cut his right thumb as gurudakshina (gift for the teacher)
so that he may not become a better archer than his favorite Kshatriya
student Arjuna!

The much-glorified Bhagvat-Gita, too, favors varna-vyavastha.[15] When
Arjuna refuses to fight, one of his main worries was that the war
would lead to the birth of varna-sankaras or offspring from
intermixing of different varnas and the consequent "downfall" of the
family. [16] On the other hand, Krishna tries to motivate Arjuna to
fight by saying that it was his varna-dharma (caste-duty) to do so
because he was a Kshatriya. In fact, Krishna goes to the extent of
claiming that the four varnas were created by him only. [17] Thus,
Arjuna's main problem was being born a Kshatriya. Had he been a
Brahmin or a Vaishya or a Shudra by birth, he would have been spared
the trouble of fighting a destructive war. Even the much-applauded
doctrine of niskama karma is nothing but an exhortation to faithfully
perform one's varnashram dharma in a disinterested manner. [18]

The celebrated orthodox Hindu theologian Shankar, too, was a supporter
of varna-vyavastha. According to him, Shudras are not entitled to
philosophical knowledge. [19] However, the most elaborate exposition
of varnashram dharma is to be found in Manusmriti, an important
dharmashastra of Hindus. Let us turn to it in order to have a close
look at the varna-vyavastha.

In the very first chapter of Manusmriti, it is clearly stated that
Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras were created by Brahma
(creator of this world) from his mouth, hands, thighs and feet
respectively. [20]

Manu claims that the same Brahma, who created this world, also created
Manusmriti and taught it to him. [21]

The duties of the different varnas are also mentioned in the
Manusmriti. The Brahmins were created for teaching, studying,
performing yajnas (ceremonial sacrifices), getting yajnas performed,
giving and accepting dan (gifts).[22] The Kshatriyas were created for
protecting the citizens, giving gifts, getting yajnas performed and
studying. [23] The Vaishyas were created for protecting animals,
giving gifts, getting yajnas performed, studying, trading, lending
money on interest and doing agricultural work. [24] The Shudras were
created by Brahma for serving Brahmins and the other two varnas
without being critical of them. [25]

It is interesting to note that studying, getting yajnas performed and
giving gifts or charity are common duties of Brahmins, Kshatriyas and
Vaishyas; whereas teaching, accepting gifts and performing yajnas are
reserved exclusively for Brahmins. The Shudras, of course, are denied
the rights to study, getting yajnas performed by Brahmins or even
giving gifts to them.

Manusmriti further states that having originated from the mouth of
Brahma, being elder and being the repository of the Vedas; Brahmins
are the masters of the entire universe. [26] Besides, Brahmins alone
act as a sort of post office for transmitting food to the gods and the
dead, that is to say, the gods and the dead eat food through the
mouths of Brahmins (apparently because they do not have mouths of
their own). Therefore, no one can be superior to Brahmins.[27] All
others are said to enjoy everything owing to the Brahmins' mercy.[28]
The Manusmriti clearly states that Brahmins alone are entitled to
teach this dharmashastra and none else. [29]

Manusmriti refers to the Vedas, which are to be regarded as the main
valid source of knowledge about dharma, as shruti and to
dharmashastras as smriti. No one is to argue critically about them
because religion has originated from them. [30] Any nastika (non-
believer) or critic of the Vedas, who "insults" them on the basis of
logic, is worthy of being socially boycotted by "noble" persons. [31]

In short, the main features of chaturvarnya as elaborated in the
Manusmriti are as follows:

1. Division of Hindu society into four varnas on the basis of birth.
Out of these only the first three, namely , Brahmins , Kshatriya and
Vaishya, who are collectively known as dwija (twice-born) are entitled
to upanayan and the study of the Vedas. Shudras as well as women of
dwija varnas are denied the right to study.

2. Assigning different duties and occupations for different varnas.
This is to be enforced strictly by the king. [32] According to
Manusmriti, if a person of lower caste adopts the occupation of a
higher caste, the king ought to deprive him of all his property and
expel him from his kingdom. [33]

3. Treating Brahmins as superior and other varnas, namely, Kshatriya,
Vaishya and Shudra as inferior to him in descending order with the
Shudra occupying the bottom of the hierarchy. A Brahmin is to be
treated as god and respected even if he is ignorant. Even a hundred-
year old Kshatriya is to treat a ten year old Brahmin as his father.
[34] Brahmin alone is entitled to teach. If a Shudra dares to give
moral lessons to a Brahmin, the king is to get him punished by pouring
hot oil in his ear and mouth. [35] Similarly, if a Shudra occupies the
same seat as a Brahmin, he is to be punished by branding his waist
(with hot rod) or getting his buttocks cut! [36]

4. Treating women as unequal. Women, that is, even women belonging to
Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya varna are not entitled to upanayan and
the study of the Vedas. For them, marriage is equivalent to upanayan
and service of their husbands is equivalent to the study of the Vedas
in the gurukul.[37] Even if the husband is morally degraded, engaged
in an affair with another woman and is devoid of knowledge and other
qualities, the wife must treat him like a god. [38] A widower is
allowed to remarry but a widow is not. [39] Besides, women are not
considered fit for being free and independent. They are to be
protected in their childhood by father, in youth by husband and in old
age by son. [40] They should never be allowed by their guardians to
act independently. [41] A woman must never do anything even inside her
home without the consent of her father, husband and son respectively.
[42] She must remain in control of her father in childhood, of husband
in youth and of son after the death of her husband. [43]

5. Treating different varnas as unequal for legal purposes. The Hindu
law as codified by Manu is based on the principle of inequality. The
punishment for a particular crime is not same for all varnas. In fact,
the punishment varies depending on the varna of the victim as well as
the varna of the person committing the crime. For the same crime, the
Brahmin is to be given a mild punishment, whereas the Shudra is to
given the harshest punishment of all. Similarly, if the victim of a
crime is a Shudra, the punishment is mild, and the punishment is harsh
in case the victim is a Brahmin. For example, if a Brahmin is awarded
death sentence, it is sufficient to shave his head, but Kshatriya,
Vaishya and Shudra are to actually die. [44] If a Kshatriya, a
Vaishya, or a Shudra repeatedly gives false evidence in the court, he
is to be punished and expelled from the kingdom, whereas the Brahmin
is not to be punished, he is to be only expelled. [45] If a person has
sexual intercourse with a consenting women of his own varna, he is not
to be punished. [46] But if a person of lower varna has sexual
intercourse with a woman of higher varna, with or without her consent,
he is to be killed. [47] If a Brahmin forces a dwija to work for him,
he is to be punished. [48] But if a Brahmin forces a Shudra to work
for him, whether by making or not making payments to him, he is not to
be punished, because Shudras have been created only for serving
Brahmins.[49] If a Brahmin abuses a Shudra, he is to be fined mildly,
[50] but if a Shudra abuses a Brahmin, he is to be killed. [51] On the
other hand, even if a Brahmin kills a Shudra, he is merely to perform
penance by killing a cat, frog, owl or crow, etc. [52] Thus a Shudra
is to be killed for abusing a Brahmin, whereas a Brahmin is to be let
off lightly even if he kills a Shudra. Such is the unequal justice of

In fact, this system of graded inequality seems to be the very essence
of the varna-vyavastha. Whether it is the choice of names, [53] or the
manner of greeting, [54] or the mode of entertaining guests, [55] or
the method of administering oath in the court, [56] or the process of
taking out the funeral procession, [57] at each and every step in
life, from birth to death, this system of graded inequality is to be
applied and observed. Manu does not even spare the rates of interest
on loan. For borrowing the same amount, Kshatriya has to pay more as
interest than Brahmin, Vaishya more than Kshatriya and the poor Shudra
has to pay the maximum amount as interest! [58]

6. Prohibiting inter-marriage between different varnas. According to
Manusmriti, a dwija ought to marry a woman of his own varna.[59] A
woman of the same varna is considered best for the first marriage.
However, a dwija may take a woman of inferior varna as his second wife
if he is overcome by sexual passion. [60] But Manu strongly
disapproves of Brahmins and Kshatriyas taking a Shudra woman even as
their second wife. They become Shudra if they do so. [61]

7. Supporting untouchability is also a part of the scheme of social
stratification outlined in the Manusmriti. Manu clearly mentions that
Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya, collectively known as dwija and the
Shudras are the four varnas. There is no fifth varna.[62] He explains
the origin of other castes by saying that they are varna-sankara
castes, that is to say, castes originating due to the intermixture of
different varnas, both in anuloma (upper varna male and lower varna
female) and pratiloma (lower varna male and upper varna female)
manner. [63] For example, Nishad caste is said to have originated from
anuloma relationship between Brahmin male and Shudra female,[64]
whereas C handala caste is said to be owing its origin to pratiloma
relationship between Shudra male and Brahmin female. [65]

Manu seems to be disapproving of pratiloma relationship more than the
anuloma, because he describes C handalas as the lowest of the low
castes. [66]

Let us see what Manusmriti, has to say about the C handala. The
Chandala, says Manusmriti, must not ever reside inside the village.
While doing their work, they must reside outside the village, at
cremation ground, on mountains or in groves. They are not entitled to
keep cows or horses, etc., as pet animals. They may keep dogs and
donkeys. They are to wear shrouds. They are to eat in broken utensils.
They are to use ornaments of iron, not of gold. They must keep moving
from one place to another, not residing at the same place for a long
duration. [67] They must not move around in villages and cities in
night hours. They may enter the villages and cities in daytime, with
king's permission, wearing special symbols (to enable identification),
and take away unclaimed dead bodies. [68]

Moreover, how is the "religious" person to deal with the Chandala? He
must not have any social intercourse (marriage, interdining, etc.)
with them. He must not talk to or even see them! [69] He may ask
servants (apparently Shudras) to give them food in broken utensils.

8. Granting divine and religious sanction to varna-vyavastha. Manu
gives divine and religious sanction to the varna-vyavastha by claiming
divine origin for the varnas as well as for the Manusmriti and
demanding unquestioning obedience of it.

So, that completes my exposition of the varna-vyavastha. I want to
emphasize in particular that my exposition does not contain any
exaggeration at all. The reader may check each and every statement by
comparing with the original Manusmriti in order to satisfy himself or
herself. I cannot help if the system is so unjust and so out of tune
with out existing values that even an objective exposition reads like
a severe condemnation. Nevertheless, I will now turn to my reasons for
rejecting varna-vyavastha: I reject varna-vyavastha because it is
irrational, unjust and undemocratic, being opposed to the democratic
and human values of liberty, equality and fraternity.

Criticism of varna-vyavastha

The varna-vyavastha is opposed to the value of liberty as it denies
the freedom to choose one's occupation and marriage partner to one and
all. Everyone must join the occupation of his varna and must marry
within his varna. Similarly, it denies the freedom to study to the
Shudras and woman in particular. Even the dwija must study the Vedas
before he studies anything else. Otherwise, he becomes a Shudra.[71]
(Incidentally, according to Manusmriti, there are several ways by
which a Brahmin or dwija may become a Shudra but there is no way by
which a Shudra may become a Brahmin. A Shudra must always remain a

What is worse, the Chandala is even denied the freedom to reside at a
place of his choice or to wear clothes and ornaments of his choice. He
is not even free to keep pet animals of his choice.

The conflict between varna-vyavastha and the value of equality is more
than obvious. As I mentioned earlier, the system of graded inequality
seems to be the very essence of varna-vyavastha. It denies equal
respect to all in society. It denies equality before law. It denies
equal access to marriage partners. It denies equal access to jobs. The
occupation of teachers and priests, for example, is reserved
exclusively for Brahmins. Finally, it also denies equal access to
education and knowledge.

A Brahmin, according to Manu, must not teach the Shudra and woman even
if he dies with his knowledge without imparting it to anybody. [73] On
the other hand, if anyone studies the Vedas on his own he or she will
go straight to hell. [74] In other words, cent percent reservations
for dwija males in the sphere of education.

The varna-vyavastha is most unfair to the Shudras and the
untouchables. They are denied respect, knowledge, power and wealth.
They are denied access to occupations considered respectable, just as
they are denied access to men and women of upper varnas for marriage.
The Shudras are virtually reduced to being slaves of the Brahmins in
particular and the dwijas in general, whereas the untouchables are
regarded as outcast -- beyond the pale of the society. The women are
generally treated as sexual objects and as unfit for being independent
and free.

As far as fraternity is considered, we must not expect it to exist in
a society, which is so unequal and unjust. A Shudra's waist is to be
branded or his buttocks are to be cut only because he occupies the
same seat as the Brahmin. The "religious" are not to talk or even look
at a Chandala. Inter-marriage is prohibited. Manu seems to be most
eager to prevent inter-mixing of the varnas. Thus, the Hindu social
order is based on the isolation and exclusiveness of the varnas.

The Manusmriti not only outlines a totally undemocratic and unjust
social system but also gives divine, religious sanction to this man-
made social institution of chaturvarnya. Some Hindus, including
apparently learned "thinkers" and writers, smugly wax eloquent about
Hinduism being the most tolerant and liberal religion of the world.

Is there any other religion, which sanctions slavery and
untouchability? Is there any other religion in which only persons born
in a particular caste ( Brahmin) are entitled to become priests?

Slavery is not peculiar to India or to Hinduism, but carrying it to
the extremes of untouchability, and granting it divine and religious
sanction is peculiar to Hinduism.

Similarly, some Hindus may be tolerant, just as some of them are
intolerant, but Hinduism or Hindu religion is not tolerant at all,
either socially or intellectually. Manusmriti, for example, clearly
says that anybody who argues critically and logically about
dharmashastras ought to be ostracized. [75] Non-believers, including
freethinkers, rationalists and Buddhists, are not to be entertained
respectfully as guests; though, mercifully, they may be given food.
[76] The families of non-believers are destroyed sooner than later
according to Manu. [77] A state with a large number of Shudras and
nastikas soon meets its destruction. [78] Manusmriti is full of
abusive epithets for freethinkers and non-believers. The unorthodox
( nastikas) are sometimes equated with the Shudras, sometimes with the
Chandalas, sometimes with thieves and sometimes with lunatics! [79]
Such is the generosity of Hindu dharma.

Apologies for varna-vyavastha

Let me now consider what the apologists of varna-vyavastha have to say
in its defense.

A standard defense of varna-vyavastha is to say that it is a system of
division of labor. It is easy to grant that division of labor is
essential for any complex society, but it is equally easy to see that
varna-vyavastha is not a system of division of labor based on aptitude
and capability. It is a system of division of labor based on birth .
Besides, it has other associated features such as feeling of
superiority and inferiority, inequality before law, denial of equal
access to knowledge and prohibition against inter-marriage.

What have these features to do with the division of labor?

Division of labor is found in all societies, but varna-vyavastha is
not. Thus, trying to justify varna-vyavastha as division of labor is a
futile exercise.

Another standard defense of the varna-vyavastha is to say that the
system was originally based on aptitude and capability. Whether it was
actually ever so is a subject for historical research. Most probably,
the racial theory of the origin of castes is true. However, even if we
grant for the sake of argument that the varna-vyavastha was originally
based on aptitude and capability, how does it help? We cannot say that
because the system was originally, some time in remote past, based on
aptitude and capability; therefore we ought to gladly suffer the
present system based on birth. It hardly makes any sense at all!

In any case, Manusmriti was most probably written between200 BC and
200 AD [80] and the system as outlined in it is totally based on
birth. Gautam Buddha, who lived in sixth century BC, challenged the
infallibility of the Vedas as well as the varna-vyavastha. There are
several passages in Tripitaka, mainly in Digha Nikaya and Majhima
Nikaya which are "directed against the claims of the Brahmans to be of
different origin from the rest of humanity, born from the mouth of
Brahma, having a hereditary prerogative to teach, guide and
spiritually govern the rest of the society." [81] In Majhima Nikaya
Buddha is quoted as refuting varna-vyavastha on several occasions.
According to Buddha, it is unreasonable to decide one's place and
functions in society on the basis of one's birth in a caste. Buddha is
also quoted as insisting that in the eyes of the law all persons ought
to be treated as equal, irrespective of the caste or varna in which he
or she is born. [82] Thus, it is obvious that even if the system of
varna-vyavastha ever existed in its ideal form -- which is doubtful --
it had already degenerated by the time of Buddha, that is, about 2500
years back.

The most blatant defense of varna-vyavastha, however, is to say that
human beings are born unequal, and, therefore, it is natural and
normal for children to join the occupation of their fathers.
Surprisingly and sadly, no less a person than Gandhi defended varna-
vyavastha in a similar manner.

To quote Gandhi: "I believe that every man is born in the world with
certain natural tendencies. Every person is born with certain definite
limitations which he cannot overcome. From a careful observation of
those limitations the law of varna was deduced. It establishes certain
spheres of action for certain people with certain tendencies. This
avoided all unworthy competition. Whilst recognizing limitations, the
law of varna admitted of no distinction of high and low; on the one
hand it guaranteed to each the fruits of his labors and on the other
it prevented him from pressing upon his neighbor. This great law has
been degraded and fallen into disrepute. But my conviction is that an
ideal social order will only be evolved when the implications of this
law are fully understood and given effect to". [83]

Again, "I regard Varnashrama as a healthy division of work based on
birth. The present ideas of caste are a perversion of the original.
There is no question with me of superiority or inferiority. It is
purely a question of duty. I have indeed stated that varna is based on
birth. But I have also said that it is possible for a shudra, for
instance, to become a vaishya. But in order to perform the duty of
vaishya he does not need the label of a vaishya. He who performs the
duty of a brahman will easily become one in the next
incarnation." [84]

So, varna-vyavastha, according to Gandhi, is a "healthy division of
work based on birth", which takes into account the "natural
tendencies" of human beings and avoids "unworthy competition."

This apparently plausible defense of varna-vyavastha is, in fact, most
unscientific. It is a well-known and scientifically verified fact that
acquired characteristics are not inherited biologically, only genetic
qualities are transmitted from one generation to another. For
instance, carpentry is an acquired characteristic; just as knowledge
of philosophy is an acquired quality. Neither a carpenter's son or
daughter is born with the knowledge of carpentry, nor is a
philosopher's daughter or son born with the knowledge of philosophy.
These are acquired characteristics and, therefore, they cannot be
inherited biologically. If sometimes, though not always, a carpenter's
son becomes a good carpenter or a philosopher's daughter acquires a
good knowledge of philosophy, without being formally initiated into
these disciplines, it is not because they are born with the required
knowledge, but only because of the favorable environment at home,
which enables them to acquire these characteristics. The result could
be different if their places were to be interchanged.

One may say that though the knowledge of carpentry of philosophy in
not inherited biologically, the mental qualities enabling one to
acquire the requisite knowledge is inherited. Some physical and mental
qualities are, no doubt, inherited but this does not mean that parents
and their children are always identical in physical or mental
qualities. It is a well known fact -- anybody can verify this by
careful observation -- that due to different permutations and
combinations of chromosomes and genes offspring of same parents are
not always identical to one another or to their parents. More often
than not, they are different. For instance, one son or daughter of
same parents may be tall and another short. The colors of skin, hair
and eyes may differ likewise. What is true of physical characteristics
is equally true of mental qualities. Thus, a child may or may not have
the mental characteristics, which his father has.

Therefore, it is totally unscientific to forcefully restrict children
to the occupations of their forefathers.

It is true that all human beings are not equal in the sense of being
identical in physical or mental qualities. But it does not follow from
this that they ought to be denied equal opportunity to join a vocation
of their choice or that they ought to be denied equality before law or
equal respect as human beings in the society.

As for "unworthy" competition, how do we know that the competition is
unworthy unless all are, to begin with, given equal opportunity? Take
the example of Gandhi himself. He was a bania by caste. Yet, in spite
of some serious aberrations such as supporting varna-vyavastha based
on birth and linking politics with religion, he performed fairly well
in the role of a national leader. It would have been a great loss for
the nation if in the name of avoiding "unworthy" competition in
politics, Gandhi would have been confined to running a grocery shop.
Similarly, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was born in an "untouchable" caste, but
he played an important role in the drafting of the democratic
constitution of independent India. He also taught in a college for
some time. To use the terminology of varna-vyavastha, he ably
performed the work of a Brahmin.

Is it possible to imagine how many Ambedkars we may have lost by now
owing to the restrictive varna-vyavastha?

As we have noted earlier, varna-vyavastha is a closed system of social
stratification without any scope for upward social mobility. To quote
M. Haralambos, author of a textbook on sociology, "A person belongs to
his parents jati and automatically follows the occupation of the jati
into which he was born. Thus no matter what the biologically based
aptitude and capacities of an untouchable, there is no way he can
become a Brahmin. Unless it is assumed that superior genes are
permanently located in the Brahmin caste, and there is no evidence
that this is the case, then there is probably no relationship between
genetically based and socially created inequality in traditional Hindu
society." [85]

Returning to Gandhi, though Gandhi was opposed to untouchability and
caste, he did not carry his opposition to its logical conclusion.
Inconsistently enough, he continued to support the varna-vyavastha
based on birth. At one stage, he even supported restrictions on
interdining and intermarriage. As he wrote in Young India in 1921,
"Hinduism does most emphatically discourage interdining and
intermarriage between divisions... It is no part of a Hindu's duty to
dine with his son. And by restricting his choice of bride to a
particular group, he exercises rare self-restraint. Prohibition
against intermarriages and interdining is essential for the rapid
evolution of the soul. "[86] (emphasis mine)

Later Gandhi moved away from these orthodox ideas, and started
supporting intercaste marriages. Finally in 1946, he refused to
solemnize any marriage at Sevagram Ashram unless one of the parties
was an untouchable. [87] May be he would also have given up varna-
vyavastha if he had lived longer. That, however, is in the realm of
imagination, the fact is that Gandhi supported varna-vyavastha. It is
worth noting that he invented his own conception of varna-vyavastha,
which, according to him, had nothing to do with the feeling of
superiority and inferiority or with prohibition against intermarriage.
We find here in Gandhi a quaint mixture of conservatism and

I would like to dispose of one last objection before concluding this
section. One may say that the Hindu law at present is quite different
from what Manu desired, and presently Hindus in general do not follow
Manu in totality. This is true. The Hindu law at present, for
instance, allows inter-caste marriage and prohibits bigamy and child
marriage. It permits divorce. It also allows widow remarriage and
grants equal rights to daughters in father's property. Nevertheless,
there seems to be a gap between the progressive Hindu law and the
conservative social practices of the Hindus. A majority of Hindu
marriages are still within the caste and very few Hindu women actually
claim or get a share in father's property.

The Indian constitution has rightly made special provisions, such as
reservations in services for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and
other socially and educationally backward classes, to enable them to
enter occupations and positions of power, which had been traditionally
denied to them. No doubt, some upper caste liberal Hindus, too,
support the policy of reservation. But, by and large, the Hindu upper
castes are far from fully reconciled to this progressive step as is
evident from violent and aggressive anti-reservation agitation
spearheaded by upper caste students from time to time. This kind of
reactionary agitation aimed at preserving the present dominance of
upper castes in education and the services enjoys considerable support
and sympathy in the upper caste dominated media as well as the

On the whole, the Hindu society is yet to fully exorcise the ghost of
Manu. Caste based on birth and untouchability still exist in the Hindu
society, in spite of the fact that untouchability has been abolished
by the Indian constitution. The distribution of education, power and
wealth continues to be uneven in the Hindu society, with the dwijas
being on the top and the Shudras and untouchables being at the bottom.
Teaching is no more an exclusive preserve of Brahmins, but the
occupation of Hindu priests is still fully reserved for Brahmins,
though this fact does not arouse the ire of our fervent anti-

Moksha, Karmavada and Avatarvada

Moksha is traditionally regarded as the highest end of life in Hindu
religion. The "endless cycle of birth and death" is considered a
bondage from which one must attain liberation, that is moksha or

This whole concept of bondage and liberation is based on the unproved
assumption of life after death, and the existence of soul ( atma)
which continues to exist apart from the body even after death. In the
famous words of Gita, the soul changes bodies just as human beings
change clothes. [88]

Now, there are no good reasons for believing in the existence of soul
or life after death or rebirth. These beliefs are not at all supported
by incontrovertible scientific evidence. According to S.N. Dasgupta,
"there has seldom been before or after Buddha any serious attempt to
prove or disprove the doctrine of rebirth. The attempts to prove the
doctrine of rebirth in the Hindu philosophical works such as Nyaya,
etc. are slight and inadequate." [89]

However, even before Buddha, Lokayat had disproved the existence of
soul, life after death, rebirth, heaven and hell on an empirical
basis, as these things are never perceived. [90]

Thus, in absence of any evidence to the contrary, it is reasonable to
believe that each one of us has got one and only one life . Once a
person is dead, he is dead for ever. Never to be reborn. Mind,
consciousness, memory and life cannot outlast the destruction of brain
and body. This is the harsh truth; howsoever we may dislike it.

The belief in soul seems to have originated from primitive animism.
[91] If this belief continues to persist, in spite of total lack of
evidence in its support, it is only because of human beings' inability
to come to terms with, or to squarely face, the reality of death. One
likes to believe that one's near and dear ones, who are dead and
finished forever, actually continue to live in some other imaginary
world, and that they will also be reborn one day. One draws comfort
from the thought that one will not die even after death, and continue
to live in some other form. It is paradoxical that, first, the fear of
death and love of life makes one readily accept the belief in the
immortality and rebirth of soul without adequate evidence, and, then,
getting rid of this alleged cycle of birth and death itself becomes
the topmost religious aim! [92]

The problem of getting "released" from the alleged cycle of birth and
death is a pseudo-problem (in the sense that one is trying to get rid
of something which simply does not exist) and moksha is an imaginary
ideal which has nothing to do with the reality. Instead of running
after the imaginary ideal of moksha, it is far better to concentrate
on improving and living well this one and only life, which we have.

Mimamsa, which is an orthodox Hindu school of thought, considers
attainment of heaven ( swarga), instead of moksha, as the highest end
of life. References to heaven and hell are also to be found in the
Manusmriti. The belief in heaven is fairly widespread at popular
level. However, the ideal of the attainment of heaven, too, is based
on unproved assumptions, like life after death and the existence of
heaven, and, therefore, it cannot be accepted.

Another related doctrine is the Hindu belief in karmavada or the so-
called law of karma. According to this doctrine, every human being
gets the fruits of his actions either in the present or in some future
life. Whatever a human being is in his present life is the result of
his own actions in the past life or lives.

This, again, is a totally unverified and unverifiable doctrine based
on the assumption of the "cycle of birth and death". It is only a
convenient tool for explaining away the perceived inequality in human
society. The idea of karma is found in Buddhism and Jainism as well.
However, these religions do not support varna-vyavastha. But in
Hinduism the doctrine of karma, along with the idea of god, has been
used for providing ideological support to the unjust varna-vyavastha
and for making it appear just and fair. In Hinduism the so-called law
of karma merely serves the purpose of legitimizing the unjust varna-
vyavastha by making the Shudras and the "untouchables" meekly accept
their degrading position as a "result of their own deeds" in imaginary
past lives, and by assuring them "better" birth in "next life" if they
faithfully perform their varna-dharma in their present lives. [93] In
this way, this doctrine prevents them from revolting against this man-
made undemocratic system, which has nothing to do with alleged past
and future lives.

Lastly, I come to the Hindu doctrine of avatarvada. According to this
doctrine, whenever religion is threatened in this world, god takes
birth as an avatar to put things back into order. Ram and Krishna, for
example, are popularly regarded as avatars by the Hindus.

Belief in avatarvada, too, is logically unjustifiable and merely makes
one run away from one's own responsibilities. Instead of making
efforts to improve their own condition, those who believe in
avatarvada keep waiting for an avatar to take birth. Since god does
not exist, there is no question of his being born on this earth as an
avatar. (Let me add here that I also do not believe in the truth of
statements like "Jesus is the son of god" or "Mohammed is the
messenger of god".)

Not only I do not regard Ram or Krishna (or anyone else) as an avatar
of god, I also do not regard them as ideal personalities. Ram, as
mentioned earlier, was on upholder, of the varna-vyavastha. His cruel
behavior with Sita, after fighting a destructive war with Ravana to
get her released, is too well known to need recapitulation. [94]

Krishna, on the other hand, is portrayed in the Mahabharata as the
teacher of Bhagvat Gita , a book which expounds untrue and harmful
doctrines like the belief in god and immortal soul, avatarvada,
karmavada, varnashram dharma and the doctrine of moksha.

In Mahabharata Krishna adopts and advocates adoption of unfair means
like lying and deception for achieving one's ends. Obviously, he did
not believe in the doctrine of purity of ends and means. There are
several flaws in the character of Krishna as portrayed in the
Mahabharata, Bhagvat and Harivamsa. These have been ably enumerated by
Dr. Ambedkar in his The Riddle of Ram and Krishna . I refer the
interested reader to this work for a fuller treatment of this subject.


To conclude, I categorically reject major Hindu religious beliefs
including the doctrine of the infallibility of the Vedas, varnashram
dharma , moksha, karmavada, and avatarvada. I am not an admirer of Ram
and Krishna, and I also do not believe in idol worship or the Hindu
taboo of not eating beef. I support logical and scientific thinking;
and a secular, rational morality based on human values of liberty,
equality and fraternity. Therefore, I am not a Hindu by conviction,
though I am a Hindu by birth.


[1] S. Radhakrishnan, The Hindu View of Life (Bombay: Blackie & Son
(India) Ltd., 1979), p. 12.

[2] Ibid., p. 14.

[3] Ibid., pp. 16-17.

[4] M.K.Gandhi, "Aspects of Hinduism" in Hindu Dharma (New Delhi:
Orient Paperbacks, 1978), p. 9.

[5] Ninian Smart, "Hinduism" in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (ed. in
chief, Paul Edwards) Vol. IV (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.
& The Free Press, 1972), p.1.

[6] S.N.Dasgupta , A History of Indian Philosophy , Vol. 1 (Delhi:
Motilal Banarsidass, 1975), pp. 67-68.

[7] Chatterjee and Datta, An Introduction to Indian Philosophy .

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] S.N.Dasgupta, Op. Cit., p. 394.

[11] I have discussed the question of the existence of god in my small
Hindi book Kya Ishwar Mar Chuka Hai? (Patna: Bihar Buddhiwadi Samaj,
1985, 1995). See, Is God Dead? (An introduction to Kya ishwar mar
chuka hai? ) [Patna: Buddhiwadi Foundation, 1998]

[12] M.K.Gandhi, "Aspects of Hinduism" in Hindu Dharma , pp. 9-10.

[13] A.L.B., "History of Hinduism" in The New Encyclopaedia
Britannica , Vol. 8 (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1981),
pp. 910-11.

[14] B.R. Ambedkar , Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches,
Vol. 4, Riddles in Hinduism (Bombay: Education Department, Government
of Maharashtra, 1987), p. 332.

[15] Y.Masih, The Hindu Religious Thought (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass,
1983), pp. 192-93.

[16] Bhagvad-Gita I: 40,41, 42,43.

[17] B.G. IV: 13.15.

[18] Y.Masih, Op.Cit., p.208, Also see, pp. 224-25.

[19] V.P.Verma, Modern Indian Political Thought (Agra: Lakshmi Narain
Agarwal, 1991), pp. 50-51.

[20] Manusmriti (MS) I: 31.

[21] MS I:58.

[22] MS I:88.

[23] MS I:89.

[24] MS I: 90.

[25] MS I: 91.

[26] MS I: 93, Also see, X: 3.

[27] MS I: 95.

[28] MS I: 101.

[29] MS I: 103.

[30] MS II: 10,13.

[31] MS II: 11.

[32] MS VIII: 410.

[33] MS X: 96. Also see, Kautilya, Arthshastra I: 3, Quoted by J.N.
Farquhar in An Outline of the Religious Literature of India ( Delhi:
Motilal Banarsidass, 1984), p. 44.

[34] MS II: 135.

[35] MS VIII: 272.

[36] MS VIII: 281.

[37] MS II: 67.

[38] MS V: 154.

[39] MS V: 168,157.

[40] MS IX: 3.

[41] MS IX: 2.

[42] MS V: 147.

[43] MS V: 148.

[44] MS VIII: 379.

[45] MS VIII: 123.

[46] MS VIII: 364.

[47] MS VIII: 366.

[48] MS VIII: 412.

[49] MS VIII: 413.

[50] MS VIII: 268.

[51] MS VIII: 267.

[52] MS XI: 131.

[53] MS II: 31,32.

[54] MS II: 127.

[55] MS III: 111,112.

[56] MS VIII: 88.

[57] MS V: 92.

[58] MS VIII: 142.

[59] MS III: 4.

[60] MS III: 12.

[61] MS III: 14,15,16,17,18,19.

[62] MS X: 4.

[63] MS X: 25.

[64] MS X: 8.

[65] MS X: 12.

[66] Ibid.

[67] MS X: 50,51,52.

[68] MS X: 54,55.

[69] MS X: 53.

[70] MS X: 54.

[71] MS II: 168.

[72] MS VIII: 414.

[73] MS II: 113; X: 1.

[74] MS II: 116.

[75] MS II: 11.

[76] MS IV: 30.

[77] MS III: 65.

[78] MS VIII: 22.

[79] MS III:150, 161; IX: 225. From a humanist point of view, there is
nothing wrong in being born as a Shudra or a Chandala, but in the
context of the Manusmriti, these are abusive epithets.

[80] Manusmriti (Varanasi: Chaukhambha Sanskrit Sansthan, 1982), pp.

[81]A.K.Warder, Indian Buddhism (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1980),p.

[82] Y.Masih, The Hindu Religious Thought, pp. 336-37.

[83] Nirmal Kumar Bose, Selections from Gandhi ( Ahmedabad: Navajivan
Publishing House, 1972), p. 265.

[84] Ibid., p. 263.

[85] M.Haralambos, Sociology Themes and Perspectives (Delhi: Oxford
University Press, 1980) pp. 27-28.

[86] N.K.Bose, Op.Cit., p. 266.

[87] Louis Fischer, Gandhi (New York: New American Library, 1954), pp.
111-12, Also see, N.K.Bose, Op.Cit., p. 267.

[88] B.G. II: 20-25.

[89] S.N. Dasgutpa, A History of Indian Philosophy , Vol. I, p. 87.

[90] Chatterjee and Datta. An Introduction to Indian Philosophy .

[91] See M.N.Roy, "The Transmigration of Soul" in India's Message
( Delhi: Ajanta Publications, 1982), pp. 4-6.

[92] Probably "the cycle of life and death" is considered "bondage"
because it will presumably lead to death again and again. So,
primarily the doctrine of liberation seems to be a reaction against

[93] "Those whose conduct has been pleasing will quickly attain a
pleasing birth, the birth of a Brahman or a Kshatriya, or a Vaisya;
but those whose conduct has been abominable, will quickly attain
abominable birth, the birth of a dog, or a hog, or an Outcaste."
Brihadaranyaka, quoted by J.N. Farquhar, An Outline of the Religious
Literature of India , p. 34, Also see, S.N.Dasgupta, Op. Cit., p.

[94] See, my "Why I do not want Ramrajya" in Why I am Not a Hindu &
Why I do not want Ramrajya (Patna: Bihar Rationalist Society, 1995).

[95] B.R. Ambedkar, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches ,
Vol. 4, Riddles in Hinduism.


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A Hindu Woman:
Answer to Why I Am Not a Hindu

Answer to Why I Am Not a Hindu
by A Hindu Woman

First, I wish to make clear that I have no quarrel with Mr. Ramendra
Nath for declaring that he is not a Hindu. He has listed four reasons
for declaring why he is not a Hindu:

"I do not believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and all
that goes by the name of Hindu scriptures, and therefore in avatars
and rebirth."
"I do not believe in the varnashram dharma or varna-vyavastha either
in the sense in which it is explained in Hindu dharma shastras like
Manusmriti or in the so-called Vedic sense."

"I do not believe in the Hindu taboo of not eating beef."
"I disbelieve in idol-worship."

As it happens, I am fully in agreement with the above statements. I do
not believe in the existence of any God or soul. Therefore the
question of scriptures as divine revelations, rebirth and avatars is
moot. I do not believe in the caste-system. I have eaten beef. Again,
since I do not believe in God the question of worshipping anything--
idols or otherwise--is moot. Nevertheless, I still call myself a
Hindu. However that is a completely separate matter.

Mr. Ramendra Nath has discussed in length why he rejects the Vedas as
infallible. Since I have no disagreement with him on these grounds, I
am skipping it.

He next attacks "varna-vyavastha or varnashram dharma." If it had been
a simple exposure of the evils of this system, again there would be no
problem. But what I essentially find troubling is that he does not
present a balanced appraisal. He rejects emphatically the story in the
Vedas that the Brahmins are created from God's mouth, the Kshatriyas
from his arms, Vaishyas from his thighs and Shudras from his feet--
plainly this story appeared later to account for a reality that was
already present. He dismisses evidence that originally it was nothing
more than a functional division which ultimately hardened into a rigid
system backed by the religious authority of the Brahmins and the
military might of Kshatriyas as something unimportant to the issue at
hand. After all, today the Hindu social system functions quite well in
the metropolises where the rules of purity and impurity regarding
caste are no longer important. Also when he discusses the evils from
which Hinduism has traditionally suffered, he ignores the good that is
in Hindu Dharma as well. In particular his criticisms against
Manusmriti or Manusamhita is one-sided. Above all he ignores the
entire picture to concentrate on certain negative aspects only. To put
it plainly, I think his account is biased.

Ramendra Nath charges that Ram kills Sambuka, a Shudra, because he was
performing tapasya or ascetic exercises which are the province of
Brahmins alone. Certainly the story is there. But what he does not
mention is that the story belongs to Uttarkanda (lit. "later
chapter"). Along with the story of Rama's adventure, every child is
also taught that this chapter was added much later and that Valmiki's
Ramayana ends with Rama's coronation. In Valmiki's Ramayana itself, we
have two very important stories: that of Guhak and Sabari. Guhak is a
Nishada king of Sringaverpur who is described as Rama's friend as dear
as life, with whom Rama stays while going to the forest
(Ayodhyakandya, chaps. 50-52). Shabari was a practitioner of
asceticism. Rama's first question on meeting her was, "Have you
conquered all that disrupts tapasya? Has your tapasya increased?";
from her hands Rama accepted food and her soul ascended to heaven
(Aranyakanda, 74). Nishadas are an 'uncivilized' forest-tribe who
include the Chandalas among them. Shabari is the feminine of shabar,
the hunter community. Manusmriti states that Nishadas are the
offspring of Brahmin male and Shudra female (an obvious afterthought)--
they are what we call today 'untouchable'. The shabars are designated
simply as 'mlechha,' completely outside Vedic/Hindu society, yet
Shabari performs perfect tapasya and goes to heaven blessed by the
avatar. The story has often been offered as proof that neither birth
nor gender is important in performing tapasya and going to heaven. The
apparent contradiction between Rama's behaviour towards them and
towards Sambuka need not puzzle anyone; the Sambuka story was clearly
added later to strengthen Brahmin hegemony. My question here is why
does Ramendra Nath ignore these points which are known to any ordinary
Hindu? The answer became clear when I looked at his citations. He was
simply quoting from another person's work rather than from the
Ramayana itself. Apparently he had not bothered to read the text he is

Next Ramendra Nath speaks of a certain episode in Mahabharata.
Certainly the story of Ekalavya is true. Because he was a Nishada,
Drona refused to teach him. The text explicitly states that being
nishada he was 'asprishya' (untouchable) and it is never allowable
that he should be put on a par with the general populace. Obviously
social stratification has taken place since Ramayana. When Ekalavya
learnt on his own, Drona made him cut off his finger. However,
Ramendra Nath places undue emphasis on the fact that Arjuna is his
Khastriya student. Drona asked for this terrible sacrifice because he
did not wish anyone to exceed his favourite Arjuna, who had promised
to give him whatever Drona desired materially. Caste here had nothing
to do with it.

More importantly, Ramendra Nath ignores those portions of this epic
which obviously belong to earlier stratas and which show a far more
humanitarian stance. The grandmother of both Kauravas and Pandavas (of
whom Arjuna is one) is only a fisherwoman. She had a liaison with a
Brahmin (which did not make the latter an outcaste) and gave birth to
an illegitimate son who became a sage himself and the writer of
Mahabharata. If she wants to marry into a respectable wealthy family,
to be a fisherwoman who ferries passengers on a boat and who has a
bastard child is definitely a handicap yet today even in developed
countries. Nevertheless, she marries a Kshatriya king, her sons become
kings and she is never reproached because of her sexual misconduct.
How could such miscegenation and its placid acceptance by the
population (which includes Brahmins) have been possible unless the
varnavyavastha in ancient times was very much a fluid system?

We also have the story of Dharmabyadh. A Brahmin had gained power to
work miracles by his penance and became arrogant because of this. When
a woman seems to ignore him, he becomes enraged. But the woman
demonstrates that merely by carrying out faithfully her duties as a
housewife she had gained even greater power; she tells him that only a
man who controls his sensual instincts, never hates another person,
thinks of all human beings as his own [kin], tells the truth always,
and never wanders towards unrighteousness--is acknowledged as a
Brahmin by the gods. He is then sent to a meat-seller known as
Dharmabyadh to learn what dharma is, as he is ignorant of it. The meat-
seller says, "I follow my ancestors' livelihood; I tend to the
elderly; I always speak the truth; I never show hatred for anyone; I
give to charity as far as I am capable; I never speak ill of anyone; I
eat the leavings of the gods, guests and servants [I eat after all
these have eaten]." It is these simple things that has elevated a meat-
seller above the powerful Brahmin (Vanaparva, 205-213).

Yuddhistira (the son of the God of Justice) is asked what is the cause
of being a Brahmin. He declares that neither birth nor learning makes
a Brahmin, that only proper conduct does. Even a Brahmin learned in
four Vedas cannot be considered as a Brahmin if his conduct is evil.
[However it must be noted that performing proper rituals is also
included in the passage as the mark of a Brahmin (Vanaparva, 312).] In
another place he is asked by a serpent who a true Brahmin is. He
answers, "The person in whom resides truth, charity, forgiveness,
courtesy, rejection of cruelty, austerity, is a Brahmin." The serpent
argues that the Vedas have given every varna their dharma or law.
"Therefore truth, charity, forgiveness, non-violence, rejection of
cruelty, and compassion based on Vedas is noticed even in Shudras. If
even in Shudras these symptoms of Brahamandharma appear, then Shudras
too can be Brahmins." Yuddhistira's answer is, "In many Shudras
symptoms of Brahmin appear, and among many of the twice-born, symptoms
of Shudras appear. Therefore it is not that to be born in a Shudra
family makes one a Shudra or that to be born in a Brahmin family makes
one a Brahmin. The persons in whom such behaviour [the qualities
mentioned above] ordained by Vedas appear are Brahmins and those in
whom they do not appear are Shudras" (Vanaparva, 180). From such
episodes it is obvious that the ideal was a high one and low castes
were honoured by society if they were virtuous. Critics would say that
the reality does not often match the ideal. True. But where is the
paradise on earth where there is no discrimination on the basis of
class, irrespective of the law? I do not see why varnavyastha should
be singled out with special virulence. It is simply that some
countries have made greater progress in doing away with systems like
feudalism (which was held to be reflection of cosmic hierarchy) and
slavery (backed by the story of Noah and his sons) while India is
starting to catch up.

Ramendra Nath argues that Gita too teaches every caste to do their
Dharma. Certainly if in these "enlightened" times a soldier like
Arjuna would refuse to fight on the battlefield when the war has
begun, the government would punish him and he would be called
"deserter" and "traitor." Again Shankar is pointed out as supporting
the caste-system. This is essentially true. But why does Mr. Ramendra
Nath slight the entire Bhakti and Tantric traditions in both North and
south India? Did not the practitioners of these traditions, many of
them Brahmins themselves, try to do away with caste? In such
movements, outcaste teachers and Brahmin students were common.

Next, Mr. Ramendra Nath--like many others--attacks Manusamhita. What
all these critics do is to imply that the entire book was written by
one man. Yet research has proved that many verses were added to the
main text throughout later ages and other verses left out or edited to
bring it in line with contemporary thought. (The interested reader can
look up the works of G. Buhler, P. V. Kane, and Max Muller.) The
result is that it is cris-crossed with contradictions.

Now let us take a close look at the book. Each of the verses he quotes
declaring the inferiority of Shudras and dominance of Brahmins, do
exist. Yet he also skips verses that directly contradict those verses.
"If a woman or lower (Shudra and younger) person performs goodly
ceremonies [holy or good works], then the Brahmachari must join them
with enthusiasm" (2:223). "The Shudra who devoid of jealousy engages
himself in honest work receives honour in this life and heaven in the
next" (10:128). (Of course another verse has been added immediately
after saying that Shudras cannot accumulate wealth because a rich
Shudra might despise Brahmins.) "A wife, jewels, knowledge, dharma
[religion/duty], rules of purity, good advice, vocational skills, can
be received by everyone from everyone else [irrespective of caste or
family]" (2:240). "A devout person can [I use 'can', but it is
actually in the imperative mood] accept even the best knowledge from
Shudras; accept ultimate truth from outcastes like chandalas; an
excellent wife even from low families" (2:238). Nothing can be more
amusing for a social historian than to see how Medhatithi, a Brahmin
commentator (c. A.D. 900) tries to explain away this verse. He argues
that "shubham [holy, best, pure] vidya [knowledge]" refers to logic,
magic formulas and singing and dancing. Similarly "param [ultimate,
best] dharma" is redefined as knowledge of local geography and
customs. Never mind that Mahabharata also defines--on the basis of
Manu--'param dharma' as knowledge of moksha/liberation which can be
acquired from anybody. Medhatiti's argument is that since low castes
are not eligible for religious knowledge they cannot teach anything.
Obviously the upper castes were anxiously trying to impose hegemony
over lower castes. Again, the verse stating that "he [the Brahmin] who
studies from a Shudra teacher or teaches a Shudra student" cannot
officiate in funeral ceremonies (3:156) offers evidence that Shudras
were teachers, a fact that the Brahmins wished to change. The rules
and later condemnations regarding marriages between castes offer proof
that for a long time it had not hardened.

Incidentally, may I ask how the terrible punishments inflicted on
Shudras can be reconciled with marriages between castes, both anuloma
and pratiloma, division of property among children born of such
'miscegenation,' rule that in distress a Brahmin might serve a Shudra
as a servant, or that a Brahmin householder must feed his Shudra
servants first, if he has any? There is a distinction between what
some men would like society to be and the social reality. For example,
Louis Dumont observed that power did not automatically reside in the
hands of any specific community. The caste that actually owned land in
a region enjoyed actual power; in many cases such power and property
lay in the hands of the Shudras. Though the Brahmins were the priests
they were actually dependant on the Shudras for their favour. Surely
Mr. Ramendra Nath knows that there are thousands of Brahmin families
whose only means of subsistence is being priests of low-caste

Like Mr. Ramendra Nath, I too cannot help it that an objective reading
exposes how the caste system degenerated. He accuses that
untouchability and allowing men of one caste to become priests alone
is peculiar to Hinduism. But apartheid was peculiar to the rational
democratic white Christian races, as was the Holocaust peculiar to the
industrialized Nazi Germany. In neither case had it been claimed that
these two factors represent the sole face of Western culture. So once
again, why is varna-vavyastha presented as proof that Hinduism is
intrinsically evil, instead of realizing that untouchability is simply
the result of human love of power and not integral to Hinduism itself?

Now we come to women. Yes, Manusamhita does have these verses that
paint women as evil and deny them any freedom. But again we see how
other verses, remnants of earlier times, paint a different picture.
There is a whole portion called naribandana (Praise of women) where it
is insisted (3:55-62) that only a house where women are respected and
made happy is favoured by the gods and that--where women are treated
badly--all worship and ceremonies are in vain. There are verses such
as, "Mother is a thousand times holier [can also be read as worthy of
obedience] than the father" (2:145). "It is better that a daughter
should live at home till death rather than be given to an unworthy
husband; After menstruation, a girl should wait for three years and
then choose her own husband; If a girl at proper time should select a
husband herself, then she is not to be blamed" (9:89-91). "Any
relative [including a husband] who uses stridhan [lit. property of
woman which is both liquid cash and land, here a wife's], vehicles and
animals given for the wife to ride or a wife's clothes [and ornaments]
for himself, is a sinner who falls [into hell]" (3:52). I can give
other verses as examples.

Again Mr. Ramendra Nath charges that a widow cannot marry. Nothing
arouses my ire more than this statement. An illiterate villager might
be forgiven for believing this since this is the reality in many
places, but an educated Hindu would know better. These verses, of a
later origin, hold out inducements to widows not to remarry--such a
course would hardly have been necessary if widows never remarried.
"The woman who abandoned by her husband or left a widow marries of her
free will another man, is punurbhu and the son of such a union is
called pounorbhava"; "If a wife who is still a virgin, or a wife who
has left her husband to consort with another man returns to her
husband's home, then [another] ceremony of marriage can take
place" (9:195-196). Insistence in numerous verses that a Brahmin who
is a second husband or son of a woman's second marriage should not be
allowed to perform religious ceremonies merely prove that remarriages
were frequent. "While the mother is alive, if there is a dispute
between the son of the [first] husband and between a pournorbhava or a
golok (bastard born after the husband's death) regarding property,
then each son will receive the property that belongs to his biological
father" (9:191). "If the husband goes to foreign lands for holy
purposes, the wife will wait for 8 years; if he goes to study or earn
fame she will wait for 6 years; if he goes for pleasure then she will
wait for three years--after that she will marry again [alternative
explanation, she will go away somewhere else to support herself" (9:
76). Moreover the commentator Madhavacharya declares, "Manu has
ordained, if the husband is missing, dead, has become an ascetic,
impotent, or outcast, then the second marriage of woman is lawful
according to the shastras." Again this verse is present in
Naradasmriti, which is stated to be a collection of more important
verses of Manu. Not so surprisingly, this verse cannot be found in the
relatively modern edition of Manu we have today. Ramendra Nath is
strangely ignorant of history of his own country if he does not know
that Vidyasagar persuaded the British authorities to pass the widow-
remarriage bill by proving that it is enjoined in the shastras.

Mr. Ramendra Nath also gets excited while heaping scorn on the notion
that Hinduism is tolerant. Perhaps it has escaped his attention that
Hinduism is considered not tolerant socially as such, but from the
religious point of view. It is a religion that does not declare that
it has the sole monopoly on truth nor does it try to impose its gods
on other cultures by force. That is what is defined as religious
tolerance. Manusamhita certainly has many harsh things to say about
nastikas, but they are limited to denunciations. What did Hindus, Mr.
Ramendra Nath, actually do to disbelievers in this physical life?
Usually nothing. Buddha lived and preached peacefully. So did
Mahavira. The worst that some of them suffered was ostracism. But as
Ramendra Nath himself acknowledges (4:30), though rationalists and
freethinkers are not to be treated respectfully, they can be given
food, according to Manusamhita. For some reason Mr. Ramendra Nath
seems to think that a devout believer in God and afterlife should
welcome a disbeliever worshipfully (arcchana) as proof of his humane
attitude, yet in the same breath he denies that there is any human
value attached to the injunction that even hellbound disbeliveers are
to be fed. Considering the way Semitic religions have dealt with
unbelievers and apostates in the past (and do so even today), indeed
"such is the generosity of Hindu dharma."

Above all I find Mr. Ramendra Nath's focus on Manusamhita puzzling.
The British in an attempt to codify law focused exclusively on
Manusamhita. But why should an educated Hindu do so? There are
nineteen other dharmashastras all held to be of equal importance. He
ignores Arthashastra, the secular manual for Hindu kingdoms. He
ignores that every region had its own particular laws and every
community in it had its own set of customs which even the king was
forbidden to override. He ignores that often in villages--even today--
the shastras are only a hallowed name; if they routinely consult any
texts, those are the Ramayana and Mahabharata and often the two epics
are retold differently to suit that particular region. Unlike the
Bible, there is no text that forms the basis of Hindu law. The simple
result is that society varied from place to place and age to age. Yes,
class-system based on birth is wrong. Yes, the ugly face of caste is
encountered daily in many places in India. But the picture he presents
is one of absolute stratification, with the cruel Brahmins trampling
down the helpless Shudras for thousands of years. This picture is very
biased. In the first place, the Brahmins are not like the clergy of
church; only a certain percentage actually enjoys real power and
wealth. Secondly, from reading Mr. Ramendra Nath's article, no one
would have any idea of the low-caste royal dynasties like Mundas,
Chandellas, Nandas, Gurjjaras, Senas, the rule of the Lingyat
community, the rise of the Alvars, or the elevation of Reddies and
Jats to the warrior caste. Shivaji was a Shudra landowner who dreamt
of creating a Hindu empire (with all that it implies to him) and
brought the Mughal empire to its knees; he kept Brahmin ministers. A
1345 inscription of Reddi kings read, "With death of Ksathriyas [by
the Muslims], duty of defending cows and Brahmins fell to Shudras." It
was the Shudras who drove away the Muslim invaders and reestablished
Brahmanical educational institutes. If the Shudras, treated as Mr.
Ramendra Nath assumes followers of Manu treated them, say and do this
after gaining power (and when the Brahmins were at their nadir), then
obviously the Brahmins are a superior race who deserve to rule over a
spineless inferior caste.

Just as Mr. Ramendra Nath concentrates on Manusamhita alone among the
dharmashastras, so too he concentrates on Gandhi alone. Apparently
Gandhi is to be taken as the representative of Hindu society at large.
Gandhi had supported varnashrama. But Gandhi had also said, (The
Collected Work of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. LXII, p. 121).

"I believe in varnashrama of the Vedas, which in my opinion is based
on absolute equality of status notwithstanding passages to the
contrary in the smritis and elsewhere."

"Every word of the printed works passing muster as `Shastras' is not,
in my opinion, a revelation."

"The interpretation of accepted texts has undergone evolution and is
capable of indefinite evolution, even as the human intellect and heart
"Nothing in the shastras which is manifestly contrary to universal
truths and morals can stand."

"Nothing in the shastras which is capable of being reasoned can stand
if it is in conflict with reason."

Again, Vivekananda the monk came from a conservative family of the
nineteenth century and fiercely advocated doing away with
untouchability. He even declared that doing social service is more
important than worshipping God, because the former is true worship.
Rabindranath Tagore's family was orthodox and he himself was very
devout; yet he declared that though the caste-system has become
integral to Hindu society it must be done away with. There were as
many Hindus who attacked the caste-system as those who tried to defend
it. Similarly, the Shankaracharya of Puri recently declared that women
have no right to learn Sanskrit or read Vedas. The head priest at
Jagganath temple, on the other hand, has started training women
priests--yet both are pious Hindus. Why then is there the assumption
that all believing Hindus are retrograde?

Mr. Ramendra Nath grieves that the upper castes are not reconciled to
losing their power. That generalization is too sweeping. Some are not,
but the present generation has grown up accepting it. There is still
resistance, but is there any reason to think that the situation will
not improve? Even in England, full-fledged democracy did not spring up
miraculously with Magna Carta. The very fact he is able to write an
article such as this and post it on the Internet is proof that Hindu
society has undergone a sea-change. Again in speaking of agitations
against reservation policy for untouchables, he does not give the full
picture. Major factors in that agitation had been economics and
competence. Many untouchables have become rich by means of affirmative
policies and government aid. There is a substantial body of
untouchables and lowcastes who have now become middle-class and many
who have become legislators. However, they insist on their children
enjoying the same advantages they had enjoyed. But if they have become
rich, is it not unfair for their children to take advantage of the
policies meant for their poorer brethren? Again, why in reverse
discrimination shall the desperately poor of other castes be deprived
of government help and seats in educational institutions while those
who have become rich demand more advantages and money? This has led to
the extremely ridiculous situation of uppercaste people changing their
surnames by deed-poll and bribing officials to declare them
untouchables. More, those who have made it to the top now hog every
post and then lobby to pass laws for their own advantage so that the
benefits no longer trickle down to those who really need them.
Recently, members of the Dalit educated community themselves said that
the reservation policy is not working; a political party based on
backward votes immediately expelled those members who had dared to
utter such heresy. That is why those who agitated against widening of
the affirmative net were students--it is their future that is being
jeopardized in the name of social justice. The people of India wish
for a fairer affirmative policy--one that is based on poverty; the
poor alone should get preferential treatment.

About moksha, karma and avatarvada I have nothing to say on rational
grounds. However once again, it appears that the two Hindu epics need
defending on moral grounds. Rama is an avatar, but nowhere it is said
that all his behaviour is perfect. In particular, Mr. Ramendra Nath
singles out his notorious treatment of Sita--he makes her undergo
ordeal by fire to prove her purity. But what also needs recapitulating
is how the 'higher authorities,' so to speak, react to this. The soul
of Dasaratha, father of Rama, descends from heaven and begs Sita, "Do
not be angry; forgive my son for having abandoned you" (Yuddhyakandya,
120). More importantly Brahma appears and gives a long speech. The
gist of it is that since Rama is lord of all, why is he ignoring this
terrible event? He is God, so why he is meting out injustice to Sita?
(Yuddhykandya, 118). Rama's answer is that he knows himself only to be
a man, not a god. Since the Creator himself declares Rama's deed is a
sin, I do not see why the ordinary Hindu would face a moral dilemma
here and go on insisting Rama did no wrong. The case is the same with
Krishna. Many explanations have been given for his behaviour, but all
of them have one thing in common--it is acknowledged that he did wrong
and human beings must not follow his ways. Most telling is the
evidence of Mahabharata itself. After the war is over, Gandhari--the
only perfectly virtuous human--curses Krishna for the evils he had
committed; as her relatives and friends had been destroyed
[deceitfully by Krishna's advice], so too Krishna's family would be
destroyed and he himself will die a horrible death (Striparva, 25).
The curse comes true. Dharma or moral law of the universe would not
allow it to be otherwise. In other words God incarnate is accountable
to man--even an avatar must be punished.

Mr. Ramendra Nath also simply omits all positive aspects of Hinduism.
He makes no mention of the philosophies, logic systems, mathematical
contributions, music, temples, poetry, teachers and reformers, or the
heroes and heroines in myth and history. He simply makes no attempt to
explain the Hindu world-view or dharma (in the secular sense). Nor
does he give a full picture of Hindu history. Anyone reading his
article would get the impression that no decent man can call himself a
Hindu. (On the other hand I too can quote only favourable verses and
examples and give the impression that Hinduism is flawless.)

If Mr. Ramendra Nath had rejected Hinduism on rational grounds, then
this answer need not have been written. If he had balanced the good,
the bad and the ugly and then declared, "You have been judged and
found wanting", again this present article would not have a leg to
stand on. Let me repeat, it is the one-sided picture of Hindu culture
that I protest.

It is only right that a culture's worst excesses be condemned, but it
is only equitable that its highest ideals and what it has achieved
also be considered. By writing in such a superficial manner, he denies
a Hindu any pride in his heritage. Mr. Ramendra Nath would not allow
anyone to admire Rama as a human being, nor Yuddhisthira or Gandhari;
enjoy the philosophy and symbolism; be proud of either high caste or
low caste leaders and teachers, or of reformers who came from Hindu
society itself--or even how Buddhism, Jainism, Zorastrianism and
Judaism have been protected by the Hindu community. Above all, he
makes it seem as if reform and Hinduism are inherently incompatible.
Gandhi said, "My belief in the Hindu scriptures does not require me to
accept every word and every verse as divinely inspired .... I decline
to be bound by any interpretation, however learned it may be, if it is
repugnant to reason or moral sense" (The Collected Work of Mahatma
Gandhi, The Publication Division, Government of India, Vol. XXI, p.
246). Yet Gandhi was only following Hindu law. Every shastra and epic
states that no age is identical to other ages, therefore the law of
every age must be different. Dharma changes from age to age depending
on circumstances. It is this that has allowed Hinduism to withstand
ravages or war and time, constantly remoulding itself to survive.


...and I am Sid Harth
2010-03-16 06:14:05 UTC
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Ganesha Demolition – Symbolic Act of Hatred

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Combating Defamation of Religion
By Vinod Kumar, on 27-03-2009 12:12

Published in : Vinod Kumar, Column - Vinod Kumar

On November 24, 2008 - By a vote of 85 to 50, with 42 abstaining, the
UN General Assembly, Geneva adopted a draft resolutionm [ref -
] calling on all countries to alter their legal and constitutional
systems to prevent "defamation of religions," asserting that "Islam is
frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and
terrorism." Among other things, the resolution "urges states to take
actions to prohibit the dissemination ... of racist and xenophobic
ideas" and material that would incite to religious hatred. It also
urges states to adopt laws that would protect against hatred and
discrimination stemming from religious defamation.

The resolution puts Islam and some of the more controversial practices
associated with it beyond censure. The OIC (The Organization of
Islamic Conference) says that Muslims in Western countries have,
especially since 9/11, faced stereotyping, hostility, discriminatory
treatment and the denigration of “the most sacred symbols of Islam.”
The organization cites cases like newspaper cartoons caricaturing
Mohammed, and a Dutch lawmaker’s documentary released earlier this
year, linking the Koran to terrorism.

India, as one of the countries to abstain, said the text addressed the
problem insufficiently from a narrow perspective because it focused on
one religion. Western countries specially the US and France "This is
just the latest shot in an intensifying campaign of UN resolutions
that dangerously seek to import Islamic anti-blasphemy prohibitions
into the discourse of international human rights law," said Hillel
Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, an independent human rights
monitoring group in Geneva. The resolution puts the human rights and
freedom of speech and expression movement that has been the foundation
of progress in the West and thus the world back by several centuries.
It is evident that the resolution was supported or opposed on
emotional and political grounds.

Even if one was to go with the resolution, it fails to address a very
fundamental issue it wants to resolve. What is to be done if a
religion itself defames or insults other religion(s)? What if a
religion itself disseminates “xenophobic ideas” and contains “material
that would incite religious hatred.” while deploring hate speech,
felt strongly that people should be free to express their opinions in
challenging any ideology of hate. Human rights are indivisible and the
right to freedom of expression was at the essence of the right to
thought, conscience and belief.

The resolution is shortsighted and Islam centric and does nothing to
combat defamation of religions per se. Not only it takes human
civilization backwards, it will come to haunt the countries that
supported it. For a healthy and progressive society, all ideologies
should be open for open and constructive discussion.


Jinnah and Two Nation Theory
By Vinod Kumar, on 05-09-2009 23:30

Jaswant Singh by his book, Jinnah - India, Partition, Independence has
become kind of a folk hero in Pakistan and a darling of the
secularattii in India. No doubt, with this book, he has secured his
financial future, if he needed one, as one report from Pakistan says
‘they will be ordering the book by the millions.'

One of the main thrusts of his book is that Jinnah was not the "demon"
he is made out to be in India and that he was a secular Indian
nationalist and did not really want Pakistan. The demand for Pakistan
was just a strategy to seek more concessions and safeguards for the
Muslims in united India. Partition could have been avoided had Nehru
and Patel agreed for a federal decentralized India instead of a
centralized one. He casts Nehru and Patel as the villains for
conceding partition.

Whether partition was a good thing or bad and should one be demonized
or idolized for it depends on what side you are. Let us also for the
moment forget about Jinnah's secular and Indian nationalist
credentials as these are hardly his legacies. Jinnah's legacy is the
State of Pakistan. In this article let us focus on what caused
partition? Who was the real author of Two Nation theory - Hindus and
Muslims are two separate nations.

After his return from England, Jinnah worked ceaselessly and zealously
for the creation of Pakistan. An accomplished lawyer that he was, he
eloquently and very convincingly spelled out why was partition
necessary in his famous Presidential address to Muslim League
Convention at Lahore in March 1940 and in many other speeches,
interviews and writings. He said there never was any common ground
between the Muslims and the Hindus or desire on the part of Muslims to
live as equal with Hindus whom they had ruled for centuries. Hinduism
and Islam are two different and distinct social orders. It is only a
dream that the two can ever evolve a common nationality. "The hero of
one is the foe of the other. There is nothing that binds them
together." Enumerating all the differences between the two, he went on
to say that "to yoke two such nations under a single State must lead
to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be
so built up for the government of such a state." (India's Partition -
Process, Strategy and Mobilization, edited By Mushirul Hasan, Delhi,
1998, pp.56)

Jinnah stressed there was never one India and Hindus and Muslims had
never lived as one unit. History is testimony that last twelve hundred
years have failed to achieve unity and during the ages "India was
always divided into Hindu India and Muslim India. ... The present
artificial unity of India dates back only to British conquest and is
maintained by the British bayonet" -- he went on to say.

Last update : 05-09-2009 15:53


Prof. Vijay Prashad and Hindu Holocaust Museum
By Vinod Kumar, on 26-09-2009 23:30

Prof. Vijay Prashad in his article Hindu Holocaust (News India Times,
Sept. 25, 2009) about Francois Gautier's fund raiser on August 16,
2009 in New Jersey for a Hindu Holocaust Museum in Pune, India has
made many assertions and statements which have no evidence in
contemporary or even subsequent recorded history. To keep the response
reasonable length let me address a few of the issues covered by him
and let the readers make their own judgment.

Prof. Vijay Prashad in his article Hindu holocaust (News India Times,
Sept. 25, 2009) about Francois Gautier's fund raiser on August 16,
2009 in New Jersey for a Hindu Holocaust Museum in Pune, India has
made many assertions and statements which have no evidence in
contemporary or even subsequent recorded history. To keep the response
reasonable length let me address a few of the issues covered by him
and let the readers make their own judgement.

Prof. Prashad wrote, and I quote the entire paragraph:

"Between Hindus and Muslims there has not been an endless rivalry for
social power. When Islam enters the subcontinent, it does not come in
the saddlebags of the Ghaznis or the Ghouris, but amongst the rumble
of goods brought by traders. Early conversions are not by the sword
but by the merchants . There was killing, but that was as much for
reasons of warfare and plunder as for reasons of God and tradition. An
interested reader might want to look at the distinguished historian
Romila Thapar's superb book "Somnatha: The Many Voices of a
History" (Penguin, 2005). There, Professor Thapar shows us that Mahmud
Ghazni's destruction of the Shiva temple in 1026 was driven not so
much by a fanatical religious belief but because his father,
Subuktigin, needed money to sustain his faltering kingdom in Central
Asia. Now it is certainly true, as historian Mohammed Habib put it,
that there was "wanton destruction of temples that followed in the
wake of the Ghaznavid army."

Actually this paragraph covers the gist of his arguments.

Let us discuss these one by one.

•1. No social rivalry between Hindus and Muslims:

To the contrary there never was any equivalence between the two ever
after the Muslims started invading India. In all Muslim chronicles,
almost without exception, Hindus are referred to as infidels - a
derogatory term in Islam.

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, a very prominent Muslim leader in the nineteenth
century asked Muslims to support British Raj as opposed to free India
where, by default, Hindus being majority would have an upper hand.
For Muslim scholars for Muslims to live under the Hindus was

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (the originator of two nation theory) had said in
1888, as quoted by Sir Penderel Moon on page 11 of his tome, 'Divide
and Quit'. India, he said, is a country"inhabited by two different
nations" and there would necessarily be a struggle for power between
them, if the English were to leave India. "Is it possible, he had
asked, "that under these circumstances two nations - the Mohammedan
and Hindu - could sit on the same throne and remain equal in power?
Most certainly not. It is necessary that one of them should conquer
the other and thrust it down. To hope that both could remain equal is
to desire the impossible and the inconceivable."

On the issue of Hindu Muslim relations, no body could have put it
better than what Jinnah articulated in his famous Presidential address
to Muslim League conference in Lahore in 1940.

He said there never was any common ground between the Muslims and the
Hindus or desire on the part of Muslims to live as equal with Hindus
whom they had ruled for centuries. Hinduism and Islam are two
different and distinct social orders. It is only a dream that the two
can ever evolve a common nationality. "The hero of one is the foe of
the other. There is nothing that binds them together." Enumerating all
the differences between the two, he went on to say that "to yoke two
such nations under a single State must lead to growing discontent and
final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the
government of such a state." (India's Partition - Process, Strategy
and Mobilization, edited By Mushirul Hasan, Delhi, 1998, pp.56)

Jinnah stressed there was never one India and Hindus and Muslims had
never lived as one unit. History is testimony that last twelve hundred
years have failed to achieve unity and during the ages "India was
always divided into Hindu India and Muslim India. ... The present
artificial unity of India dates back only to British conquest and is
maintained by the British bayonet" -- he went on to say. (ibid. pp.

Even Alberuni, thousand years ago, when there was not much Muslim
presence in India, could see there was no common ground between Hindus
and Muslims. He starts his book by discussing the differences between
the Hindus and the Muslims. He enumerates these differences at length
throughout the book. Warning his readers he wrote "the readers must
bear in mind that the Hindus entirely differ from us in every
respect...... The barriers which separate Muslims and Hindus rest on
different causes." ((Sachau EC, Alebruni's India, New Delhi, 1993, pp.
17 - 26)

Dr. Ambedkar in his books and frequent writings had alluded to
Muslim's macabre hostility against Hindus. He highlighted the fact
that the word 'but' used by Muslims to refer to any idol was a corrupt
form of "Budh" because there were hundreds of statues of Buddha in
Afghanistan and across the Middle East which were the first target of
iconoclast of Islam. That explains the use of the term 'but-shikan' by
Ghazanavi, Ghauri and other invaders. The destruction and pillage of
the famous Buddhist Seminary and University of Nalanda is another
example of the grossness of the wanton damage caused by Muslim

Ethnic cleansing of Hindus by Muslims has continued even in recent
history, both in Pakistan and Bangladesh - even in Kashmir. In that
sense there has been a renewal of Hindu Holocaust. In Pakistan the
Hindu /Sikh population has plummeted from 23% in 1947 to less than 2%
today. In Bangladesh, it has dwindled from 35% to 8% during the same
period. During the same period Muslims have multiplied fast in India.
And the shame of Hindus having been ethnically cleansed from Kashmir
Valley, an important part of our bogus secular state, still torments
Hindu hearts!.

In fact, throughout history Islam has always used 'gross savagery' and
open recourse to terrorism as force multipliers e.g. building towers
of the heads of hapless Hindus beheaded by Muslim invaders of which
accounts are there in history books written by Muslim chroniclers.
(Baburnama, Delhi, 1998, pp. 573, 576 - to cite one example) And the
use of terror and savagery continues with renewed vigor even today.
The most morbid example of savagery in recent times was the beheading
by Ilyas Kashmiri (a commander of Pak-sponsored terror group) of an
injured Indian army officer (after capturing him on February 26,
2000). Ilyas Kashmiri went back to Pakistan with the head of the
hapless Indian army officer and presented it to top officers of Pak
army. Gen. Musharraf had given a cash reward of Rs. 1 lakh. Pictures
of Ilyas Kashmiri holding the head of the Indian officer were
published in Pakistani newspapers. Maulana Zahoor Ahmed Alvi of Jamia
Muhammadia, Islamabad, even issued a fatwa supporting slitting the
throats of Indian army officers in a similar manner [Source: News
item, 'Musharraf rewarded militant who killed Indian', (Indian Express
New Delhi, September 21, 2009, page 4).

Can Prof. Vijay Prashad deny these irrefutable facts?

•2. Islam came with Muslim traders:

Yes, in India there were traders from Arabia long before Islam was
born. These traders by virtue of their being Arabs, became Muslims
when Arabia became Islamic in the seventh century. Thus, one can say
Islam came to India with the traders. Yes, during the trading period,
there was no animosity against the Muslims or Islam. When did this
animosity begin? It was discussed by Alberuni a thousand years ago in
his famous ‘Indica' which we shall cover later. Not that there was any
resistance against but there were no conversions to Islam among the
general population to speak of. Initially Arabs, and later on Muslim,
traders married local women. Even Arab records show that India (read
Hindu) kings gave Muslims land to build their mosques and preach their
new religion. However, it might be mentioned that there is no evidence
of reciprocity of giving lands to Hindus or other religions in Arabia
after the birth of Islam. To the contrary, Prophet Muhammad's one of
the last three wishes/instructions to Muslims was to "expel all pagans
from the Arabian Peninsula." (Sahih Bukhari, New Delhi, vol. 4, p.
260, Chapter H 393)

What caused the animosity between Hindus and Muslims?

In the very first chapter of his book, Indica, Alberuni discusses the
differences between Hindus and Muslims, as written above. Alberuni
observes some of the reasons of Hindus' repugnance of Muslims are
complete banishment of Buddhists from countries, from Khurasan,
Persis, Irak, Mosul and Syria, first by Zoroastrians and then by
Islam. And then Muhammad ibn Kasim entered India proper, conquered the
cities of Bahmanwa and Multan and went as far as Kannauj - "all these
events planted a deeply rooted hatred in their hearts." (Sachau EC,
Alebruni's India, New Delhi, 1993, pp. 20-21)

Then he talks of Mahmud Ghaznavi: Sabuktagin weakened the borders of
India and afterwards his son Mahmud marched into India during a period
of thirty years and more. Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of
India and performed those wonderful exploits (emphasis mine), by which
the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions, and
like a tale of old in the mouth of the people." Alberuni says "their
scattered remains cherish, of course, the most inveterate aversion
towards all Muslims." (ibid, pp. 22)

These are not even the tips of the proverbial iceberg, to understand
what was done to Hindu by Muslim invaders and then rulers. One has to
read the entire history recorded by the Muslim invaders and rulers and
other Muslim chroniclers to understand its full impact. After each
invasion, the survivors were offered conversion to Islam or death and
many converted. If circumstances allowed, many converted back to their
original faith. All through Muslim rule starting from bin Kasim, with
a few exceptions, Jiziya was imposed on non-Muslim subjects the burden
of which fell the heaviest on the poor. This, at times, led to mass
conversions of the entire castes. Islam might have come with the
traders but it did not result in any conversions to Islam. It were the
invasions and subsequent Muslim rule which did.

Politically motivated opinions that have no basis in recorded history
or wishful thinking that reflect how the things should have been, in
their flight of fancy imagination, is not history. It is, at best,
sheer fiction. Sadly, Prof. Vijay Prashad's characterization of Hindu
Muslim relations fall in this category. History is what actually
happened; fiction has no place in it.

•3. Reasons for temple demolition:

Prof. Prashad quotes Professor Thapar showing us that Mahmud Ghazni's
destruction of the Shiva temple in 1026 was driven not so much by a
fanatical religious belief but because his father, Subuktigin, needed
money to sustain his faltering kingdom in Central Asia.

It is unimaginable that Sabuktagin would have a kingdom in Central
Asia in 1926 after he died at Toormooz on his way to Ghizny from Balkh
in Shaban AH 387 (August AD 997).

In history of Islam Mahmud enjoys a very high position. He was given
the titles of Ameen-ul-Millat, defender of the faith and Yameen-ud-
Daulat, the right hand of the state by the Caliph of Baghdad - the
titles which had so far not been bestowed on any prince far or near,
notwithstanding their intense desire to receive such an honor. (Tarikh
Yamini, The History of India as Told by its own historians, Vol. 2,
New Delhi, 1996, pp. 24)

The plunders of Mahmud are legendary. When he displayed his loot from
India, he was declared "the richest monarch ever in history".

It is often said he was interested only in plunder and he was not much
of a religious person. Neither his record nor his Muslim chroniclers
agree with this characterization. From all contemporary records the
only inference one can draw is that he was a zealot Muslim and is so
regarded by Muslim scholars. As accepted even by Prof. Thapar and
quoted by Prof. Prashad that he plundered Somnath temple - but
actually the plunder and destruction of Somnath temple was of
relatively small scale in relation to other temples and places he
plundered and destroyed.

The case in point is the temple at Mathura. Mahmud was enchanted by
the grandeur of this temple. Utbi, secretary of Mahmud, in his Tarikh
Yamini described it as:

"The Sultan next directed his attacks against the sacred city of
Mathura. The city was surrounded by a massive stone wall, in which
were two lofty gates opening on to the river. There were magnificent
temples all over the city and the largest of them all stood in the
center of it. The Sultan was very much struck by its grandeur. In his
estimate it cost not less than 100,000,000 red dinars, and even the
most skillful of masons must have taken 200 years to complete it.
Among the large number of idols in the temples, five were made of pure
gold, the eyes of one of them were laid with two rubies worth 100,000
dinars, and another had a sapphire of a very heavy weight. All these
five idols yielded gold weighing 98,300 mishkals. The idols made of
silver numbered 200....... He seized all the gold and silver idols
and ordered his soldiers to burn all the temples to the ground. The
idols in them were deliberately broken into pieces. The city was
pillaged for 20 days, and a large number of buildings were reduced to
ashes." (Tarikh Yamini, The History of India as Told by its own
historians, vol 2, New Delhi, 1996, pp. 44)

Mahmud Ghaznavi invaded India at least sixteen times and each time he
left a trail of tears, human suffering and devastation. The tale of
his invasions as recorded by his secretary Utbi is blood curdling.
This is how Utbi describes one scene and this is not, by any means,
an isolated example:

"Many infidels were consequently slain or taken prisoner in this
sudden attack, and the Muslamans paid no regard to the booty till they
had satiated themselves with the slaughter of the infidels and
worshippers of sun and fire. The friends of God searched the bodies of
the slain for three whole days, in order to obtain booty." (ibid. pp.
49) The search for booty was secondary to killing.

Another place Utbi writes: "The blood of the infidels flowed so
copiously, that the stream was discoloured, notwithstanding its
purity, and people were unable to drink it." (ibid. pp. 40)

I can understand Mahmud's penchant for wealth. Many people have
insatiable thirst for wealth. Prof. Prashad might ask himself what
would drive a man to reduce to ashes such a marvelous structure and
break the idols to pieces if he was only interested in wealth? And
killing on such a large scale and so brutally?

Mahmud not only plundered and destroyed the Somnath temple, he ordered
the upper part of the idol to be broken and the remainder to be
transported to his residence, Ghazni, with all its trappings of gold,
jewels, and embroidered garments. Part of it has been thrown into the
hippodrome of the town, together with the Chakrasvamin, an idol of
bronze, that had been brought from Thanesar. Another part of the idol
from Somnath lies before the door of the mosque of Ghaznin, on which
people rub their feet to clean them from dirt and wet." (Sachau EC,
Alebruni's India, New Delhi, 1993, part II, pp. 103)

One would ask Prof. Thapar if the purpose of Mahmud's plunder of
Somnath was "driven not so much by a fanatical religious belief but
because his father, Subuktigin, needed money to sustain his faltering
kingdom in Central Asia" why would he spend it in transporting broken
pieces all the way from Somnath to Ghazni?

Prof. Prashad quotes Prof. Habib who admits that there was "wanton
destruction of temples that followed in the wake of the Ghaznavid
army." I am not surprised by it. Muslims historians are more open and
honest about the Muslim rule in India and its depredations than their
Hindu compatriots - the very Hindus who were at the receiving end for
centuries. I wonder if Stockholm syndrome has anything to do with it!
Coming back to our subject, temple destruction did not end with Mahmud
- it was just the beginning. These continued all the way till
Aurangzeb - the last great Mughal emperor. We will not go into those
details in this article.

Even today, the demolition of Bamiyan Buddha statues is a stark
reminder of what drove Muslim invaders of India to demolish Hindu
temples? There was no wealth hidden in Bamiyan Buddhas that the world
knows of.

In this so far we have covered only a very small part of Prof.
Prashad's article and not even scratched the surface of what Hindus
had gone through Islamic rule. Will Durant has called the Muslim
conquest of India the bloodiest story in history. The extent of
destruction of Hindu temples and massacres is beyond all human
imagination and a museum to their memory would be a just reminder to
all humanity of what might happen if one is not prepared to learn the
lessons from the past.

In the beginning of the article, Prof. Prashad wrote: "They claim that
over the past thousand years, millions of Hindus were killed, with the
intention to wipe Hindus off the map." Actually this is a very mild
statement and does not even come close to state the facts. According
to some estimates Hindus killed by Muslims over the centuries is about
80 million and the number of temples demolished into tens of
thousands. Timur Lang's massacre of 100,000 helpless Hindu prisoners
in one day by hands has no parallel in world history. (Malfuzat-e-
Timuri, History of India as told by its own historians, vol. III,
Delhi, 1996, pp. 436)

•4. Hindu Holocaust Museum:

Prof. Prashad also wrote: "The idea of the Hindu Holocaust casts the
Hindu as history's victim, who should now become history's aggressor
to avenge the past." It is evident that Prof. Prashad is drawing his
own conclusions without any evidence or basis. Making a museum to
portray the atrocities suffered by the Hindus in the past does not
imply they want to become "history's aggressors to avenge the past."
Jews have built Jewish Holocaust museums, are they avenging the past?
There are Black history museums all over the US. This does not mean
that these are meant to enslave the Whites "to avenge the past". A
museum is to remind the future generations of what happened - to
reflect the good and the bad; the pride and the shame. All countries
have museums. Actually it would have been only fair that such an idea
had come from the Muslims to show their disapproval of what their
ancestors had done to humanity for the sake of Islam. But that did not
happen and is not likely to happen either. If not the Muslims, then
this idea of Hindu Holocaust Museum should have come from liberal
progressive elite of independent India.

It is not surprising that Francois Gautier who is leading the movement
for a Hindu Holocaust museum is a Frenchman. He is the living legacy
of French progressive liberalism that waged the struggle against
religious fanaticism in the eighteenth century. Instead of making
light of Gautier's work, the liberal progressive elite worldwide
should join forces with him in exposing the depredations caused by
religious fanatics in India. Let India be the starting point and then
continue work elsewhere.

Prof. Prashad would do a great service if instead of spending his
valuable time and energy in criticizing Francois Gautier, he was
investigating what drove some people, in today's day and age, to
demolish two thousand years old Bamiyan Buddhas - a work of art and
human endeavor.

A sad reminder that the days of demolition of infidel idols are not
over yet.

Copyright: Vinod Kumar

September 25, 2009


Sri Sri and Jihad

The Times of India recently conducted a discussion between Islamic
scholar and peace activist Maulana Wahiduddin Khan and Hindu spiritual
leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on the issue of Jihad in the Quran and
Bhagvadgita. The discussion was moderated by Narayani Ganesh, a well
known Columnist.


Right at the beginning Maulana Wahiduddin started with "Let's discuss
the misunderstanding of the term jihad. Jihad is an Arabic word that
has neither a mysterious meaning nor relation to any sacred duty.
Jihad is a simple word; it means to struggle, to strive. Jihad is to
achieve a positive goal in life through peaceful means."

"The Prophet of Islam has said: "Do jihad against your own desires."
That is, doing jihad against yourself. So jihad means to control your
desires. Jihad is to discipline your own behaviour. The Qur'an says:
"Do jihad with the help of the Qur'an" (25:52). The Qur'an is a book
of ideology; it is not a weapon. So doing jihad with the help of the
Qur'an means to try to achieve one's goals through an ideological
struggle." He continued.

Before we accept the Mualana's definition of jihad let us look at the
subject of jihad from the basic scriptures of Islam and what other
Islamic scholars and commentators have said on the subject in some
details. One or two sentences here and there do not do justice to this
important topic.

Jihad has been going on in the world ever since Islam was born in the
seventh century but its latest manifestation has been, among other
places, most notably in Palestine, Chechnya, and Kashmir. Even, in
February 1998, when World Islamic Front issued a fatwa and a call for
Jihad to "every Muslim who believes in Allah and wishes to be
rewarded to comply with Allah's order to kill the Americans and
plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it", it did not
arouse much interest in the general public. It took direct assault on
9/11 on the fundamental symbols of what America stands for that it
created some curiosity. Today, Jihad is, no doubt, one of the most
discussed terms in the world.

What is Jihad? What drives a man to commit such horrendous acts
against humanity? What motivates Islamic terrorists? Why do they
operate under the name of Jihad?

Dr. Eyad Sarraj, a Palestinian psychiatrist answers (Newsweek, April
8, 2002)

"This is the influence of the Koran, the most potent and powerful book
for the past 14 centuries. God promised Muslims who sacrificed for
Islam that they would not die. They will live on in paradise. Muslims
hold to the promise literally."

How valid is this assertion?

What is Jihad?

View of traditionalists:

Dictionary of Islam defines jihad as "a religious war with those who
are unbelievers in the mission of Muhammad. It is an incumbent
religious duty, established in the Quran and in the Traditions as a
divine institution, enjoined specially for the purpose advancing Islam
and repelling evils from Muslims."[i]

In an introductory note to an article "Jihad in the Qur'an and
Sunnah" by Sheikh Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid, ex-Chief Justice
of Saudi Arabia and of the Sacred Mosque of Mecca, Abdul Malik
Mujahid, General Manager of Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, Saudi Arabia on the
website (www.islamworld.net) writes:

"Jihad is regarded as the best thing, one can offer voluntarily. It
is superior to non‑obligatory prayers, fasting, Zakat, Umra and Hajj
as mentioned in the Qur'an and the Ahadith of the Prophet(pbuh). The
benefits of Jihad are of great extent and large in scope, while its
effects are far-reaching and wide-spreading as regards Islam and the

Sheikh Abdullah, ex-Chief Justice of Saudi Arabia defines Jihad as:

"Praise be to Allah swt Who has ordained Al-Jihad (the holy fighting
in Allah's Cause):

1. With the heart (intentions or feelings),

2. With the hand (weapons, etc.),

3. With the tongue (speeches, etc., in the Cause of Allah)

Allah has rewarded the one who performs it with lofty dwellings in the
Gardens (of Paradise)." [ii]

Other contrary Views

Many non-Muslim modernists, as Maulana Wahiduddin also said in this
discussion, in the West deny that it has anything to do with

Many academic Muslims also dissociate Jihad with "Holy War". "In its
primary sense it is an inner thing, within self, to rid it from
debased actions or inclinations, and exercise constancy and
perseverance in achieving a higher moral standard" - they claim.
"Jihad is not a declaration of war against other religions and
certainly not against Christians and Jews as some media and political
circles want it to be perceived. Islam does not fight other religions"
- they emphasize.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based group,
asserts that jihad "does not mean 'holy war.'" Instead, jihad is "a
central and broad Islamic concept that includes the struggle to
improve the quality of life in society, struggle in the battlefield
for self-defense . . . or fighting against tyranny or oppression."
CAIR even denies that Islam includes any concept of a "holy war."

Many other who go under the banner of modernists hold similar views on
the nature of jihad.

How is one to conclude what Jihad really means in Islam?

Ironclad definition of anything to do with Islam and its practical
manifestations can only be derived from what the basic scriptures of
Islam have to say on any particular issue.

What are the basic scriptures of Islam and why are they so important?

The single most basic scripture of Islam is indeed the Qur'an. The
next after the Qur'an are the traditions - the Sunnah -- of the
Prophet -- also known as Ahadith. The Qur'an is compilation of the
Revelations from Allah to Prophet Muhammad and the Sunnah is what
Prophet Muhammad did or said. Of the traditions, the ones compiled by
Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim are the most authentic.

Authenticity of Imam Bukhari's work can be judged from the fact that
he is reported to have collected over 300,000 Hadiths -- traditions of
the Prophet -- but "chose only approximately 7275 of which there is
no doubt about their authenticity." [iii] Each Hadith comes with its
line of transmission that leads directly to Prophet Muhammad or his

Why are the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet so important to
Muslims? Instead of giving my personal opinion let me say what Rafiq
Zakaria, an eminent Islamic scholar and also known as modernist
progressive secular Muslim has to say on this.

"To Muslims, the Quran is the creation of god. However, it is equally
important to remember that there could have been no Quran without
Muhammad. He is not only its transmitter but also the embodiment of
its teachings... Muhammad and the Quran are inextricably
intertwined." [iv]

"The Quran is, therefore, regarded by Muslims as immutable and
unchangeable, not metaphorically but literally. This is a matter of
faith for them, and reason can never deflect them from it." [v]
(Italics mine) He went on to say.

After enumerating the five pillars of Islam, he echos the sentiments
expressed above in another book and goes on to observe "it (the Quran)
contains guidelines a Muslim must follow." [vi]

Maulana Mawdudi, a great Islamic scholar and thinker expresses similar
views. Islam stands for complete faith in the prophet's teachings. It
stands for complete obedience to the system of life shown to us by the
prophet and any who ignores the medium of the prophet and claims to
follow God directly is not a Muslim. [vii]

Maulana Wahiduddin has also expressed similar opinions.

Human reason or direct approach to God without the medium of the
prophet makes one sinner, if not apostate from Islam. No freedom of
slightest deviation is allowed. One has to follow the teachings of the
Quran and of the Prophet.

If we want to understand why the Muslims carry out jihad, we have to
understand what the Quran and the Sunnah have to say on this topic.
The opinions of Islamic scholars and other commentators are not valid
if they are not in conformity with the above.

What do the Quran and the Sunnah have to say on the subject of Jihad?

There is no chapter devoted exclusively to the subject of jihad in the
Quran. The Ayats pertaining to jihad are spread throughout the Quran.
If one were to sort them out and present them in a concise manner, one
would, in all likelihood, be accused of quoting them out of context.
But in each of the authentic Hadis - the Sunnah of the prophet --
there is a section dealing with the practice of jihad. So let us turn
our attention to the Sunnah. On close scrutiny of the Sunnah as
compiled in Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, apart from the
traditions of the prophet, frequent reference is made to the Quran. So
what is recorded in these two books is both, the Sunnah of the Prophet
as well as the revelations from God. Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim have
facilitated our work in informing us, in a concise form, what the
concept of jihad in Islam is?

Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan of Islamic University, Medina Al- Munawwara,
Saudi Arabia, the translator of Sahih Al-Bukhari, in the glossary of
Arabic words translates Jihad as "Holy fighting in the cause of Allah
or any other kind of effort to make Allah's word (Islam) superior
which is regarded as one of the principles of Islam." [viii]

Jihad defined:

Let us first try to find out what is Jihad? We don't have to too far.

The section on Jihad starts with invocation to Allah and Chapter I
opens quoting verses 9:111-112 of the Quran:


Allah has purchased of the believers

Their lives and their properties;

For theirs (in return)

Is Paradise. They fight in His cause, so they

Kill (others) and are killed

It is a promise in truth which is binding on Him."[ix]

Allah has made a binding promise with His believers to kill in His
cause and if they are killed they will get Paradise in return.

And again it repeats in chapter 2 "the best among the people is that
believer who strives his utmost in Allah's cause with both his life
and property and goes on to quote verses 61:10,11,12 . It says "it
(fighting in Allah's cause) is a bargain that will save you from a
grievous punishment..... He will forgive you, your sins and admit you
into Gardens beneath which rivers flow, and to beautiful Mansions in
gardens of Eternity." And calls it "The supreme achievement." [x]

Indeed the promise of Gardens with Rivers and Mansions must have
sounded very alluring in the harsh desert climate of Arabia.
Evidently, it does even today.

The superiority of Jihad:

"A single endeavor (of fighting) in Allah's Cause in the forenoon is
better than the world and whatever is in it." Says Hadis 50 in chapter
5. [xi]

And "a place as small as a bow in Paradise is better than all that on
which the sun rises and sets (i.e. all the world)." And continues,
repeating, "A single endeavour in Allah's Cause is better than all
that on which the sun rises and sets." [xii]

The superiority of martyrdom is so great that "nobody would wish to
come back even if he were given the whole world and whatever in it,
except the martyr who, on seeing the superiority of martyrdom, would
like to come back to the world and get killed again (in Allah's
cause.)" [xiii]

And what is there in Paradise? Houris. "And if a houri from paradise
appeared to the people of the earth, she would fill the space between
Heaven and the Earth with light and pleasant scent and her head cover
is better than the world and whatever is in it." [xiv] Who would not
like to die to be in company of such houris?

Obligations of a Believer to Jihad

What are the obligations of a Muslim of a general call to arms and
what sort of Jihad and intentions are compulsory? Most people don't
like to fight and Muslims are no exception to it. But what are they to
do when Allah says:

"March forth, whether you are light (young, healthy and wealthy) or
heavy (ill, old and poor)

And strive with your wealth and your lives

In the way of Allah; that is better for you

If you but knew. Had it been a near gain (booty in front of them)

And an easy journey they would have followed you,

But the distance (Tabuk expedition) was long for them and they would
Swear by Allah (saying)

"If we only could, we would have surely have come out with you."

Allah reprimands:

"They destroy their own souls, and Allah knows

That they are liars." (9:41-42) [xv]

Allah continues His reprimand:

"O you who believe! What is the matter with you that when you are
asked to march forth in the Way of Allah, (i.e. Jihad), you cling
heavily to the earth? Are you pleased with the life of this world
rather than the hereafter? .... (the verse). If you march not forth,
He will punish you with a painful torment and will replace you by
another people and you cannot harm Him at all, and Allah is Able to do
all things." (9:38-39) [xvi]

Is Jihad obligatory:

This is best explained by Sheikh Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid:

"So at first "the fighting" was forbidden, then it was permitted and
after that it was made obligatory- ( 1 ) against them who start "the
fighting" against you (Muslims)... (2) and against all those who
worship others along with Allah... as mentioned in SurahAI‑BaqaraSl
(II), Al‑lmran (III) and Baraat (IX)... and other Suras (Chapters of
the Qur'an).

Allah made "the fighting' (Jihad) obligatory for the Muslims and gave
importance to the subject‑matter of Jihad in all the Suras (Chapters
of the Qur'an) which were revealed (at Medina) as in Allah's

March forth whether you are light (being healthy, young and wealthy)
or heavy (being ill, old and poor), strive hard with your wealth and
your lives in the Cause of Allah. This is better for you if you but
knew. (V.9:41). [xvii]

Rewards of Jihad:

Where would one killed in Jihad go? The Muslim killed in Jihad would
go to Paradise and "their's (i.e. those of the Pagan's) will go to
Hell Fire. [xviii]

What are the special benefits of fighting in Allah's cause?

Whoever believes in Allah and His Messenger and lives the life of a
good Muslim will rightfully go to Paradise, no matter if he fights in
Allah's cause or not. But there is a special place for those who do.
Paradise has hundred grades which Allah has reserved for Mujahidin.
The distance between each grade is like the distance between the
Heaven and the Earth. [xix]

And what will those who fight in Allah's cause get in Paradise?

Bat Ye'Or well known writer on Islam notes "the ideology of jihad was
formulated by Muslim jurists and scholars, including such luminaries
as Averroes and Ibn Khaldun, from the 8th century onward. For example,
Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406) stated, "..the holy war is a religious duty,
because of the universality of the Muslim mission and the obligation
to convert everyone to Islam either by persuasion or by force...".

Modernists views refuted:

As noted above, Council of American Islamic Relations asserts that
Jihad is "struggle in the battlefield for self-defense . . . or
fighting against tyranny or oppression" But Sahih Muslim, one of two
most authentic traditions does not agree with it.

Self defense or oppression has nothing to do with the concept of
Jihad. It quotes Prophet Muhammad saying:

"I have been commanded to fight against people, till they testify to
the fact that there is no god but Allah, and believe in me (that) I am
the messenger (from the Lord) and in all that I have brought. And when
they do it, their blood and riches are guaranteed protection on my
behalf except where it is justified by law, and their affairs rest
with Allah."[xx]

Quoting Koran (9:39) "If you march not forth, I will punish you with a
painful torment and will replace you by another people and you cannot
harm Me at all, and Allah is able to do all things.", Sheikh Abdullah
bin Muhammad bin Hamid of Sacred Mosque of Mecca (Saudi Arabia) writes
"Allah disapproved of those who abandoned Jihad (i.e. they did not go
for Jihad) and attributed to them hypocrisy and disease in their
hearts, and threatened (all) those who remain behind from Jihad and
sit at home with horrible punishment. He (Allah) accused them with the
most ugly descriptions, rebuked them for their cowardice and spoke
against them (about their weakness and their remaining behind).[xxi]

Had Jihad been just "striving" and "an inner thing, within self, to
rid it from debased actions or inclinations" where was the need to
"march forth"? Why would Allah accuse those who did not "march forth"
of "cowardice", and "hypocrisy and disease in their hearts"?

To scholars of Islam the message of the Koran and Ahadith is clear.

It is true that not every Muslim is engaged in Jihad. It is true not
only today; it was true during the time of Prophet Muhammad also.
Those who did not were called hypocrites and their fidelity to Islam
was in question.

It is evident from the above that Maulana Wahiduddin's contention that
Jihad has "no relation to any sacred duty" and "it means to struggle,
to strive. Jihad is to achieve a positive goal in life through
peaceful means" have no foundation in Islamic scriptures.

And if Jihad, indeed, is "mental struggle against passion or internal
struggle" - it would be welcome, I am sure, by all non-Muslims. What
a non-Muslim is primarily interested in is Jihad that affects his (non-
Muslim's) survival. However, there is no evidence in the core
scriptures of Islam that Jihad is an internal struggle within the

In support of his contention, the Maulana quoted verse 25:52 saying:
"The Quran says: ‘Do jihad with the help of the Quran'. As is the
common theme of the Quran ‘to fight with the unbelievers', the verse
quoted by the Maulana does not disappoint. It also says: "So do not
follow the unbelievers, and strive against them a mighty striving with
it." ‘It' might mean the Quran - the word Jihad does not occur in any
of the three translations I checked but by defining jihad as peaceful
struggle the Maulana has completely fooled a general unbeliever into
believing that the Quran asks his followers to fight peacefully.

In the whole discussion Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the moderator, both
cut a sorry figure. The Maulana took them for an easy ride and neither
challenged the Maulana and presented the true meaning of jihad. It is
evident that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has absolutely no knowledge of Islam
or even of its basics

The whole exercise of equating the Gita and the Quran is disingenuous.
The Gita and the Hinduism at large have no concept of jihad in the
Quranic sense. The Kurukshetra war is not about jihad but about
injustice which as the Maulana says does not exist in Islam - (In
Islam, there is no war against injustice). In Islam, whatever Allah
decrees is justice when it says: "God gives abundantly to whom He will
and sparingly to whom it pleases." (13:26) In the Gita the basic
theme is fight for righteousness - not for any god or religion or an
individual while to the contrary the basic theme in the Quran is to
fight for Allah against those who deny His Revelations.

In Kurukshatra war Sri Krishna did not exhort Arjuna to fight because
Sri Krishna wanted it or for a God - or for even Arjuna's sake but for
the justice. Against the injustice that had been done to the
Pandavas. This step was taken after all other means to bring justice
have been explored and exhausted.

Yes, like any other religious ideology, Islam also would like to
improve the life of its followers, in its own way but that is nowhere
called what is known as Jihad.

i Warraq, ibn. Why I am not a Muslim. New York, 1995, pp.12

ii Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 1, pp. xxiv

iii Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 1, pp.xvii

iv Zakaria, Rafiq, Muhammad and the Quran, Penguin Books, New York,
1991, pp. 3

v Zakaria, Rafiq, Muhammad and the Quran, Penguin Books, New York,
1991, pp. 4

vi Zakaria, Rafiq, The Struggle within Islam, Penguin Books, New
York, 1988, pp. 304

vii Mawdudi, Abul A'la, Towards understanding Islam, Islamic Circle
of North America, Montreal, 1986, pp. 61 (First published in Urdu in
India in 1932)

viii Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 1, pp. lxxiv

ix Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol.4, pp. 34

x Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 36-37

xi Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 41

xii Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp 41

xiii Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 42

xiv Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 42

xv Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 58-59

xvi Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 59

xvii Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 1, pp. xxvi

xviii Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 55

xix Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 40

xx Sahih Muslim, Translated by Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, New Delhi, 1994,
vol. 1, pp.17

xxi Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp.xxx-xxxi

© Copyright

[i] Warraq, ibn. Why I am not a Muslim. New York, 1995, pp.12

[ii] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 1, pp. xxiv

[iii] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 1, pp.xvii

[iv] Zakaria, Rafiq, Muhammad and the Quran, Penguin Books, New York,
1991, pp. 3

[v] Zakaria, Rafiq, Muhammad and the Quran, Penguin Books, New York,
1991, pp. 4

[vi] Zakaria, Rafiq, The Struggle within Islam, Penguin Books, New
York, 1988, pp. 304

[vii] Mawdudi, Abul A'la, Towards understanding Islam, Islamic Circle
of North America, Montreal, 1986, pp. 61 (First published in Urdu in
India in 1932)

[viii] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 1, pp. lxxiv

[ix] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol.4, pp. 34

[x] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 36-37

[xi] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 41

[xii] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp 41

[xiii] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 42

[xiv] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 42

[xv] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 58-59

[xvi] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 59

[xvii] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 1, pp. xxvi

[xviii] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan,
New Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 55

[xix] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 40

[xx] Sahih Muslim, Translated by Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, New Delhi,
1994, vol. 1, pp.17

[xxi] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp.xxx-xxxi


How Javed Anand’s Ancestors Became Muslims
By Vinod Kumar, on 08-11-2009 12:56

Berating Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh, its Chief Mohan Bhagwat and then
Hinduism, Javed Anand in RSS, Here I Come (Asian Age, Oct 14, 2009)
"Even otherwise, I have no difficulty in accepting the obvious---my
Hindu past---for I doubt if my forefathers were Sikhs , Jains or
Buddhists. The former are easily discounted for they arrived too late
on the scene. Jains? No way , they are not interested in Mughlai
cousin . As far Buddhists, I am unable to see what possible incentive
there was for them to abandon their faith."

"But converting from Hinduism is conceivable . I have been told since
childhood that we are Saddiquis. That's big if you are talking
hierachy ---being part of the extended parivar of none else than the
closest companion of Prophet Mohammed and the first Caliph of Islam
Abu Bakr. But this Arabisation drive Bhagwat Ji I suspect is quite
like Sansakritisation ---in search of respectability, status and
imagination at work. It's quite likely that my forefathers were Hindus
and "untouchable".

"Imagine Islam's appeal to one who is constantly told he is too
"impure" to be allowed entry inside a temple . Imagine the doors of a
mosque being flung open to him with invite--- Come, stand shoulder-to-
shoulder with the rest of us. No hierarchy here, no caste, no race,
"Sab ka Malik ek" . Who says you are too impure to enter a holy space
or hold a holy text ? Here's the Quran . Its your as much as anyone
else's Touch it, hold it, read it, kiss it, store it in your heart and

Last update : 08-11-2009 13:06

RSS and Mohan Bhagwat are just the props. Javed Anand's real target is

"Imagine , Bhagwatji, does this not sound like celestial music to the
outcast such as my forefathers quite possibly were." Mr. Javed Anand
went on to write.

But evidently this did not sound like ‘celestial music to the
"outcast" brothers of the ancestors of Javed Anand otherwise after
fourteen hundred years of Islam's presence in India, with roughly half
of it as its rulers, and all the lollipops thrown at them with
accompanying privileges of belonging to the community of the rulers,
the problem of "outcasts" in Hinduism would not have existed. The fact
is that despite the open arms of Islam as Javed Anand claims, the
"outcasts" of Hinduism did not opt for Islam. Even in Pakistan where
even today every non-Muslim is treated as second class citizen and the
"outcast" Hindus even worse, the minuscule minority community of
"outcast" Hindus have not been attracted by this "celestial" music of
Islam. There are other reasons why the speculative "outcast" ancestors
of Javed Anand became Muslims.

Let us briefly review what might have been the reasons of Javed
Anand's ancestors conversion to Islam - "outcasts" or not.

•1. Early history:

Islam came to India with the Arab traders when Arabia was converted to
Islam. The new converts to Islam - who have been coming to India as
Arabs since long before Islam was born - were free to practice their
new religion. They were given land grants to build their mosques and
freedom to preach and convert from the local population while the
Prophet of Islam had wished to expel all pagans from the Arabian
peninsula. (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 4) There is no evidence that the
"celestial music" of Islam attracted many, if any, converts from the
"outcasts" of Hindu society even though there was no restrictions upon
their leaving the Hindu fold. Even in Arabia the conversion was not
all that an easy matter. Biographies of Prophet Muhammad and the
Koranic verses are a testimony to it. Those who did not convert were
given the status of dhimmies and a special tax named jiziya was
levied upon them. Islam's appeal in Arabia even after conversion must
not have been all that great so that the Prophet of Islam made leaving
Islam a crime punishable with death. Wonder why would anyone ever want
to leave the "celestial" music of Islam?

•2. Medieval History:

2a. Muslim Invaders: Every Muslim invader starting with bin Kasim who
came to India demolished and plundered Hindu temples. Killed all the
males and enslaved women and children - at times carried them off by
the hundreds of thousands to Arabia and Central Asian countries to be
sold off as slaves. At one point, there were so many Hindu slaves in
Ghazni that it looked like an Indian city. Men of honor in India were
working as domestic help in Afghanistan and beyond. Lakhs perished in
what is now - for good reason - called Hindukush. Those who converted
to Islam were spared. Desire to live as decent human being is a common
human weakness - no wonder many converted to Islam just to survive -
not necessarily the "outcasts" of Hindu society; most of them were the
elite of the Hindu society. When the invaders went back, those who
converted reverted back to the practice of Hinduism. But repeated
invasions and even harder treatment meted out to those who
reconverted, they found it expedient to remain Muslims in name even
though for long times they continued their infidel Hindu ways. Some
still do even after centuries of conversion. Thus it was found
necessary to start Tabligh movement to rid the practice of "evil"
infidel ways among the converted Muslims. This has been a continued
and still prevalent practice among the converted and the Tabligh
jamaat still has a Herculean task on its shoulders.

2b. Muslim Sultans: Muslim Sultans made the life of infidel Hindus
unbearable. According to sharia, jiziya and disproportionately heavy
taxes were imposed on the infidels. Sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji demanded
from learned men of Islam rules and regulations, so that the Hindu
should be ground down, and property and possessions, which are the
cause of disaffection and rebellion, should not remain in his house.
Qazi Mughisud-din of Bayana whom Ala-ud-din consulted as to the
legality of his measures towards Hindus, wholeheartedly justified Ala-
ud-din's rigorous policy and "pointed out that Islamic law sanctioned
sterner principle, so much so that, ‘if the revenue collector spits
into a Hindu's mouth, the Hindu must open his mouth to receive it
without hesitation." Ala-ud-din was gratified to learn that his
treatment of the Hindus was in full accordance with Islamic law and
assured the Qazi that he had given orders that the Hindu will not be
allowed to possess more than what is required for a bare
subsistence." (The History and Culture of the Indian People, vol. 6,
Bombay, 1990, pp. 24-25)

Could it be that the ancestors of Javed Anand - not necessarily the
"outcast" of Hindu society -- converted to Islam under these

2c. Akbar: Hindus got a little respite under relatively enlightened
policies of the third Mughal Emperor Akbar. He abolished the much
hated jiziya tax and treated non-Muslims in a more tolerant manner. He
let the Hindu princesses whom he married and were married to his sons
practice Hindu rituals in his palace contrary to usual practice of
converting them to Islam. He invited different religions for open
debate. This was not much liked by the orthodox Ulema and they accused
Akbar of apostasy of which there is no evidence. Akbar at best died an
eclectic. His death was celebrated by the orthodox ulema.

2d. Aurangzeb: Whatever goodwill was created by Akbar was soon undone
by his successors. Aurangzeb was the most orthodox of the Mughal
emperors. He has been called a ‘living pir' and is reported to have
memorized the entire Koran. His zealotry for Islam went beyond all
bounds of a sovereign. In the twelfth year of Emperor's reign' the
Vishwanath temple at Benaras, which seems to have been rebuilt, and
Keshav Rai temple at Mathura were demolished. Aurangzeb revived the
policy of demolishing temples in the wake of military campaigns which
had been followed by Delhi Sultans and occasionally by Shahjahan. In
pursuance of this policy hundreds of temples across India from Kuch
Bihar to Deccan were ruthlessly destroyed. Firman was issued that no
new temples should be built. Temples which were built in the past ten /
twelve years were classified in this category and while old temples
were spared but repairs to them were banned. Conversion to Islam was
officially promoted. The Emperor presided over the ceremony of
conversion as often as he could - these conversions were not from the
"outcasts" of Hindu society but from the zamindars, and influential
Rajputs and Jats who converted to gain favor with the ruling monarch.
(Shah Wali-Allah and his Times, SAA Rizvi, Australia, 1980, pp. 90)

S A A Rizvi observes:

"Gradually, criminals and corrupt and dishonest revenue officials
began to expiate their crimes by embracing Islam. (pp. 90)"

In 1679 officials were issued orders to realize the jiziya from non-
Muslims. The jiziya was so designed that its impact was the heaviest
on the poorest section of Hindu society who were subsequently deprived
of almost entire income from their property. This was all part of
deliberate policy to force the poorer section of Hindus to embrace
Islam. (ibid pp. 92)

Quoting Mirat-I Ahmadi Rizvi writes that the entire attention of the
Aurangzeb was directed towards strengthening the ‘manifest faith' and
to mold all affairs of the state - financial and political - according
to the sharia. In 1665, customs duty on the goods of Muslims was
levied at two and half percent and of Hindus at five percent. In 1667,
the duty on Muslims goods was totally forbidden. He issued a decree
that all posts of head clerk and above be filled with Muslims. (ibid
pp. 88)

2e. Shah Wali-Allah:

A contemporary of Abdul Wahhab of Saudi Arabia, Shah Wali-Allah's
(1703 - 1762) influence on Muslim thought in India cannot be

Muslim historian I H Qureshi, (had been member of the Indian as well
as Pakistan Historical Records Commission, of the Council of the
Indian and Pakistan Institutes of International Affairs, of the
executive committees of the Indian History Conference and Pakistan
historical Society). wrote:

"Shah Wali-ullah was a man of encyclopedic learning. He was not one of
those scholars who keep different branches of knowledge in different
chambers of their mind.....The world has not produced many scholars
like him....During his lifetime his greatness was recognized by his
contemporaries and his claim to that he was MUJADDID - renewer of the
Faith -- of his century was not challenged by any one." (Ulema in
Politics -- I H Qureshi, Delhi, 1985, pp 126)

Shah Wali-Ullah is regarded as one of the greatest Muslim thinkers of
all times. This is just to emphasize what position Shah Wali-Ullah
holds in Islam and what his views about Hindus and proselytization

"They (Imams) should preach that other religions were worthless since
their founders were not perfect, and their practice was opposed to
divine law, interpolations having made them unbelievable......" (Shah
Wali-Allah and His Times, SAA Rizvi, Australia, 1980, pp. 286)

"Another means of ensuring conversions was to prevent other religious
communities from worshipping their own gods. Moreover, unfavorable
discriminating laws should be imposed on non-Muslims in matters of
rules of retaliation, compensation for manslaughter and marriage, and
in political matters." (ibid pp. 286)

To streamline the Mughal administration, he wrote to Emperor Ahmad
Shah: " Strict orders should be issued in all Islamic towns forbidding
religious ceremonies publicly practiced by the infidels."(ibid pp.

Most of Muslim rulers in fact did exactly the same, and many Muslim
countries do it even today. Saudi Arabia is the prime example. In
Saudi Arabia practice of any religion other than Islam is illegal. It
is reminiscent of the laws decreed by many Muslims rulers of India.
Aurangzeb, as stated above, had issued orders to ban public practice
of Hindu religion, construction of new temples and repair of old

"However, the proselytization programme of Shah Wali-Allah only
included the leaders of the Hindu community. The low class of the
infidels, according to him, were to be left alone to work in the
fields and for paying jizya. They, like beasts of burden and
agricultural livestock, were to be kept in abject misery and
despair."(ibid, pp. 286)

And the same people want us to believe Muslims have no caste
distinction. Even when Hindus were converted to Islam Hindus of higher
caste got relatively better treatment than the Hindus of the lower
castes. But still local converted Hindus were never treated as equal
to foreign Muslims. All Muslim administrations were full of first
generation Muslims from all over the Muslim world or their descendants
-- not of local converted Muslims.

2 f. Conversion from Buddhists:

"As far Buddhists, I am unable to see what possible incentive there
was for them to abandon their faith." Javed Anand wrote. Javed is
right, Buddhists had no incentive to convert to Islam and for that
matter neither did the Hindus or the Jains or the Zoroastrians.

Khurasan, Persis, Irak, Mosul, and the country up to the border of
Syria was Buddhistic. First Zoroastrians banished them from these
countries and pushed them to east of Balkh. Then came Islam and all
remnants of Buddhism were wiped off from Afghanistan and Central Asia.
(Alberuni's India, Delhi, 1993, pp. 21) Buddhist center at Nalanda was
wrecked by the marauders of Bakhtiyar Khilji about 1200 CE beyond
recovery, thus ending a continuous tradition of refuge and meeting-
place for ascetics which went back to the centuries before the Buddha.
(Indigenous Indians, Elst, Delhi, 1993, pp. 424) If anything was left,
the lofty statues of Buddha, carved on a mountain side were taken care
of the proud students of Islam - Taliban - in 2001.

True, Buddhists had no incentive to convert but Buddhism was destroyed
root and branch in Muslim territory but not in Hindu territory.
(Indigenous Indians, Elst, Delhi, 1993, pp. 424)

•3. Modern Times:

3a. Twentieth Century: In modern times, in the last century also there
were many conversions to Islam. The ones in Malabar, Noakhali, the
Punjab in 1947 stand out. All this is rather recent history and
details are easily available. All these conversions in the last
century were the result of matter of survival for the converted
whether it was Malabar or Noakhali or the killing grounds of Punjab in
the aftermath of the partition. The "outcasts" of the Hindu society
didn't exactly run to the mosques to hear its "celestial" music. On
the other hand let us see what the most outstanding leader of the
"outcasts" did?

3b. "Outcasts of Hindu society": There is no more prominent "outcast"
of Hindu society than Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar. He is in all likelihood
the greatest intellectual of all times among the "outcast" - a term
Javed Anand likes to use. Dr. Ambedkar had carried out thorough
research of the genesis of Hindu caste system and Hindu scriptures,
Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. He renounced Hinduism but neither
did the "celestial music" of Islam nor its open doors lure him into
the lap of Islam. He spurned all offers to convert to Islam and
Christianity and opted for Buddhism. Why?

"Nothing is infallible. Nothing is binding forever. Everything is
subject to inquiry and examination.": Ambedkar wrote. (Dr. Ambedkar,
Writings as and Speeches, vol. 3, Govt. of Maharashtra, 1987 , pp 442,
quoted in Indigenous Indians, Koenraad Elst, New Delhi,1993, pp. 390)
This is quite in contrast to Islamic belief where "the Koran is the
word of God, immutable and unalterable; it contains guidelines which a
Muslim must follow." It is beyond any question or doubt. It must be
accepted as the Final Truth - the Last Word of Allah.

Not only Ambedkar did not convert to Islam he was opposed to Scheduled
castes converting to Islam. After Partition the scheduled caste
politician J N Mandal was given a seat in the Pakistani cabinet as a
showpiece to lure the Scheduled castes to convert to Islam. J N Mandal
accepted this against the advice of Ambedkar. It was a great
disappointment for Mandal and soon after he resigned.


Ambedkar complained that Pakistan was not allowing the Scheduled
castes to emigrate to India and was forcibly converting them to Islam.
In order to increase the Muslim population, in Hyderabad also they
were being forcibly converted. He asked them not to put their faith
in Muslims or the Muslim League just because they do not like the
Hindus. It would be fatal for them to do so. He would see that all
those who were forcibly converted would be taken back into the fold,
he said. Whatever the oppression and tyranny the Hindus practised in
them, it should not warp their vision and swerve them from their
duty." (Indigenous Indians, Koenraad Elst, New Delhi, 1993, pp.

•4. Conclusion

There are many faults in Hinduism. At least Hindus are aware of them
and they are working at it. But as seen above, any of the fault lines
has nothing to do with their conversion to Islam. Moreover, Hinduism
is not stuck in a fixed time frame. What was true of Hinduism
yesterday no longer holds true today and Hinduism of tomorrow will be
altogether a different entity. Whatever, Mr. Javed Anand might say or
think casteism is not the soul of Hinduism.

However, there is no historical evidence whatsoever to suggest that
the "outcasts" - a term Javed Anand likes to use - were so charmed by
the "celestial" music of Islam that they jumped into its arms as the
doors of mosques were flung open. Again, only six decades ago, Hindus
suffered untold misery of life and property but came to India. They
could have converted to Islam and stayed in the only land they had
ever known in history.

If it was the "evil" caste system of Hindus that "lured" them to the
"celestial" music of Islam, what made the Zoroastrians, Egyptians, the
Anatolians, the Kurds, the Buddhists, the Afghans, the Pagans of
Arabia - to convert to Islam? There runs a common thread.

Hinduism is open - there are no bars for people who want to leave it.
To the contrary Islam has to keep its door closed so that people don't
run out of it and thus made apostasy from Islam a crime punishable
with death.

Last, but not the least, Javed Anand, ruling out Jains as his
ancestors, wrote "Jains? No way , they are not interested in Mughlai
cousin." Javed thinks whoever converted to Islam was for a big
gourmet Mughlai dinner. What a sick sense of humor if he thinks it is
humorous. How I wish the Muslims had restricted their conversion
frenzy only to those who were interested in Mughlai feast.


On Hindu Cowardice and Muslim Bravery
By Vinod Kumar, on 10-01-2010 07:32

There is common perception that Hindus are cowards and Muslims are
brave. Even Mahatma Gandhi went on to write: "Hindu is a coward and a
Muslim a bully by nature."

This perception mostly results from the fact that a small number of
Muslims were able to defeat the Hindus and rule over them for

If one were to analyze the underlying causes that led to the defeat of
the Hindus, there is no evidence to suggest that the Hindu is coward
-- Hindus just have different ideology -- a different set of
priorities and ideas about nature of things.

Hindu defeats were more intellectual and cultural. Muslims brought a
new ideology and a new kind of warfare to India -- one that at first
the Hindus did not understand. And today when they fully understand
it, they are not willing to adopt it.

The Hindu mind regarding "religious" warfare was first expressed by
none else than Alberuni, a scholar in Greek, Farsi and Arabic and an
astronomer in his own right, who came to India with Mahmud Ghaznavi,
stayed in India, learnt Sanskrit, read extensively all Hindu
literature, wrote 20 books including translations on India. In his
still available book Indica, he went on to observe:

"On the whole, there is very little disputing about theological
topics among themselves; at the utmost they fight with words, but they
will never stake their soul or body or their property on religious

Hindus believed in open discussion of theological topics but did not
kill each other for their opinions and they could not understand why
would one kill others for differing on matter of theology or imposing
their own ideas on others.

Almost thousand years later, talking of the betrayal of king Dahir of
Debal, V S Naipaul went on to explain the Hindus' reaction to Muslim
invasions in the following words:

"It is the first of the betrayals that will assist the Arab conquest.
But they are not betrayals, really. They are no more than the actions
of people who understand only that power is power, and believe they
are changing rulers; they cannot conceive that a new way is about to

Last update : 10-01-2010 07:34

Hindu kings, before Islam, fought incessantly but it made no
difference to general public -- they were not asked to change their
religion, their women were not raped, their temples and cities were
not plundered and desecrated. The war did not touch their personal
lives. All they got was another king.

A new way did dawn upon India after the conquest of Muhammad bin Kasim
but the cultural moorings of Hindu were so strong that they refused to
learn the new ways of Islam. That would have meant giving up Hinduism.
While civilizations of Arabia, Egypt, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Iran and
others crumbled before the Islamic onslaught, Hindus withstood it for
centuries. Had the Hindus been cowards, India today would have been a
purely Islamic state. They refused to be annihilated and were not
desirous of annihilating even the aggressor. Religious warfare, as
Alberuni observed, has no place in their ideology.

It is not Hindus lack of understanding of these new ways even after
almost 1300 years and even when Hindus were massacred in Pakistan,
they failed to retaliate in India. Even today after all the massacres
of Hindus in Kashmir, the Hindus don't want to fight in the name of
religion. Secularism in India is not an empty slogan or mere cosmetic
-- it is the very basis of Hindu beliefs and that is why a common
Hindu is still ashamed of Babri masjid demolition while a Muslim -- of
Hindu ancestry -- has no qualms or shame of the destruction of tens of
thousands of Hindu temples by Muslim invaders. The difference in
behavior is nothing but the ideology that one follows -- both have the
same genetic pool in their blood stream.

It is not without reason that despite what has been visited upon the
Hindus by the Muslims, Hindu India is still a secular country while
there is not a single Muslim country that subscribes to the ideal of
secularism. M J Akbar in his book The Siege within India admits that
India is secular because it is a Hindu majority country.

As far as Hindu bravery is concerned -- it is well documented in the
annals of Muslim victors themselves -- I need not go into details of
that. It is the Hindu psyche that refuses to act contrary to their
long held beliefs that killing in the name of religion is not the
right thing to do.

The success of the Muslim invaders came not from their being a martial
or superior race or being physically stronger -- it were the same
Arabs who had not done any "brave" acts other than trading in entire
history before Islam -- it was only after they took on the ideology of
Islam that preached them to be cruel to all infidels and spread the
"TRUE FAITH" that they went on the rampage. The Buddhist Afghans had
lived with their Buddhist/Hindu neighbors for a millennium -- it was
only after they adopted the creed of Islam that they went on the
rampage on those very people with whom they shared history and

A study of the lives and teachings of Muhammad and Buddha, Mahavir and
even Gandhi today will explain why the Muslims and the Hindus behave
the way they do. Physically and genetically an Indian/Pakistani Muslim
is no different from his Hindu compatriot -- it is the ideology that
one follows that makes the difference. It is the ideology that makes
them act so differently from each other.

The Vedic "Ekam satya, viprah bahuda vadanti" -- there is one truth
but people call it by different names -- is deeply engraved on and
continues to control the Hindu mind and actions while the Koranic
injunctions "Islam is the only true faith" and "Those who do not
believe in Our revelations shall be inheritors of Hell" continue to
guide the minds and lives of Muslims.


India As Alberuni Saw It
By Vinod Kumar, on 17-01-2010 04:19

Abu Rihan Muhammad bin Ahmad, Alberuni as his compatriots called him
was born about A.D. 973, in the territory of modern Khiva, then called
Khwarizm. He came to as Ghazni as a prisoner of war1. He was an
astronomer, geometrician, historian and logician. He was so studious,
his earliest biographer tells us "he never had a pen out of his hand,
nor his eye ever off a book, and his thoughts were ever directed to
his studies, with the exception of two days in the year". He was
beyond comparison, superior to every man of his time in the art of
composition, in scholarlike accomplishments, and in the knowledge of
geometry and philosophy, and above all he had "most rigid regard for
truth."2 He accompanied Mahmud of Ghazni to India and stayed there for
many years, chiefly, in all probability in the Punjab, studied the
Sanskrit language and translated into it some works from the Arabic,
and translated from it two treatises into Arabic3. Sachau, translator
of Alberuni's Indica believes Alberuni "composed about twenty books on
India4, both translations and original compositions, and a number of
tales and legends, mostly derived from the ancient lore of Eran and
India." He was indeed a prolific writer and his works are stated to
have exceeded a camel-load.5

Let me also make another observation about Alberuni. He regards Hindus
as excellent philosophers and he felt strong inclination towards Hindu
philosophy but still he was a Muslim and at times does not fail to
point out the superiority of Islam over Brahmanic India. He attacks
Arabs but not Islam6. He wrote for those Muslims who "want to converse
with the Hindus, and to discuss with them the questions of religion,
science, or literature, on the very basis of their own civilization."7
While discussing astronomical calculations regarding the order of the
planets, their distances and sizes, he reminds the reader the purpose
of his book once again --- to discuss subjects "which either are
noteworthy for their strangeness, or which are unknown among our own
people (the Muslims) and our (the Muslim) countries."8

Having given a brief introduction, let us now see what Alberuni had to
say about India, the land, its people, its religion, its philosophy,
its sciences, and its literature.

•1. Hindu Muslim Differences:

Alberuni starts Indica by observing "the Hindus entirely differ from
us in every respect"9. First and foremost difference is the language.
Sanskrit is a language of enormous range, both in words and in
inflections. They call one and the same thing by various names and
unless one knows the context in which the word is spoken. Some of the
sounds of consonants are neither identical nor resemble with the
Arabic and Persian. And the Hindus write their scientific books in
metrics so that they can be committed to memory and thus prevented
from corruption. This metrical form of literary composition makes the
study of Sanskrit particularly difficult.10

Not only the language, the Hindus totally differ from us (Muslims) in
religion, as "we believe in nothing in which they believe" and vice
versa. He goes on to observe that on theological topics "at the utmost
they fight with words, but they will never stake their soul or body or
their property on religious controversy."11 Instead, he noted, all
their fanaticism is directed against foreigners whom they call
mlecchas i.e. impure and forbid any connection with them12. The Hindus
have concepts of pollution and never desire that once thing is
polluted, it should be purified and thus recovered. They are not
allowed receive anybody who does not belong to them, even if he wished
to be inclined to their religion13, he went on to write.

He wrote the customs and manners the Hindus differ so completely from
the Muslims that "they frighten their children with us, our dress and
our ways and customs" and decree us as "devil's breed". They regard
"everything we do as opposite of all that is good and proper".14 Some
of the reasons of Hindus' repugnance of Muslims are complete
banishment of Buddhists from countries from Khurasan, Persis, Irak,
Mosul and Syria, first by the Zoroastrians and then by Islam. And then
Muhammad ibn Elkasim entered India proper, conquered the cities of
Bahmanwa and Mulsthan and went as far as Kanauj -- "all these events
planted a deeply rooted hatred in their hearts."15

And then Sabuktagin choosing the holy war as his calling, called
himself a Ghazi, built those roads on Indian frontier which his son
Sultan Yamin-uddaula Mahmud, during a period of thirty years, used to
utterly ruin "the prosperity of the country, and performed those
wonderful exploits, by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust
scattered in all directions, and like a tale of old in the mouth of
the people." He goes on to say "their scattered remains cherish, of
course, the most inveterate aversion towards all Muslims."16

Alberuni does not talk much about Mahmud whom he calls "the lion of
the world, the wonder of his time" when he remembers him for
"breaking the strongest pillar of religion", 17 and his raids into
India, except a few times. Once about his ruining the prosperity of
the country as quoted above and second when he writes of his
demolition of the idol, in the year A.H. 416, at Somnath much revered
by the Hindus. The upper part of the idol was demolished and the lower
part transported to his residence in Ghazni with all its trappings.
One part of it, along with the bronze idol of Chakraswamin from
Thanesar, was thrown into the hippodrome and another part before the
door of the mosque of Ghazni, on which people rub their feet to clean
them from dirt and wet. 18

•2. On Hindus customs:

He found Hindus to be very proud of their country, their kings, their
religion, their sciences to the extent that he thought them to be
"haughty, foolishly vain, self-conceited and stolid."19

Many customs of the Hindus, he observed, differ from Muslims' "to such
a degree as to appear to us simply monstrous." Hindu customs, not
only, not resemble to Muslim customs but are the very reverse; and if
ever a custom of theirs resembles one of the Muslims, it has certainly
the opposite meaning. He goes on to say that it seems as if "they
(Hindus) had intentionally changed into the opposite".20

What are these customs of the Hindus that he observed that he thought
were the opposite of theirs?

"The Hindus eat singly, one by one, on a tablecloth of dung. They do
not make use of the remainder of a meal, and the plates from which
they have eaten are thrown away if they are earthen."

"They drink wine before having eaten anything, then they take their
meal. They drink the stall of cows but they do not eat their meat."

"In all consultations and emergencies they take advice of the women."

"They do not seek permission to enter a house, but when they leave it
they ask permission to do so."

"In their meetings they sit cross-legged."

"They magnify the nouns of their language by giving them the feminine
gender, as the Arabs magnify them by diminutive form."

"They consider the crepitus ventris as a good omen, sneezing as a bad

"They write the title of the book at the end of it, not at the

Last update : 17-01-2010 04:26

•3. Hindu Arithmetic:

On Hindu arithmetic Alberuni observed the Hindus do not use the
letters of their alphabet for numerical notation, as Muslims use the
Arabic letters in the order of the Hebrew alphabet. The use of Arabic
letters for numerals must not have been in wide use when Alberuni
wrote c.1030 CE, for these have been communicated to the Arabs in the
eighth and ninth centuries as he goes on to accept that "the numeral
signs which we use have been derived from the finest forms of Hindu
signs." Having observed the names of the orders of the numbers in
various languages he had come in contact with, Alberuni found that no
nation goes beyond the thousand including the Arabs. Those who beyond
the thousand in their numeral system are the Hindus who extend the
names of the orders of numbers until the 18th order.22

Pulisa has adpoted the relation between the circumference and
diameter of a circle to be 3 177/1250 which comes out to 3.1416.23

•4. Astronomy and sciences:

While ancient puranic traditions about the earth and heavens and their
creation still existed, but these were in direct opposition to the
scientific truths known to Indian astronomers.

While it is not possible to mention all the theories and concepts
prevalent at the time, let it suffice to say what some of the ideas
of Hindu astronomers that Alberuni found interesting were. Quoting
Brahamgupta, Alberuni wrote:

"Several circumstances, however, compel us to attribute globular shape
to both the earth and the heaven, viz. the fact that the stars rise
and set in different places at different times, so that, e.g. a man in
Yamakoti observes one identical start rising above the western
horizon, whilst a man in Rum at the same time observes it rising above
the eastern horizon. Another argument to the same effect is this, that
a man on Meru observes one identical star above the horizon in the
zenith of Lanka, the country of demons, whilst a man in Lanka at the
same time observes it above his head. Besides all astronomical
observations are not correct unless we assume the globular shape of
heaven and earth. Therefore we must declare that heaven is a globe,
and the observation of these characteristics of the world would not be
correct unless in reality it were a globe. Now it is evident that all
other theories about the world are futile." 24

Quoting Varahmira, he further continues:

"Mountains, seas, rivers, trees, cities, men, and angels, all are
around the globe of the earth. And if Yamakoti and Rum are opposite to
each other, one could not say that the one is low in relation to the
other, since low does not exist.... Every one speaks of himself, 'I am
above and the others are below,' whilst all of them are around the
globe like the blossoms springing on the branches of a Kadamba-tree.
They encircle it on all the sides, but each individual blossom has the
same position as the other, neither one hanging downward nor then
other standing upright." He emphasized: "For the earth attracts that
which is upon her, for it is the below towards all directions, and
heaven is the above towards all directions."

There was no consensus about the resting or movement of the earth.
Aryabahata thought that the earth is moving and the heaven resting.
Many astronomers contested this saying were it so, stones and trees
would fall from earth. But Brahamgupta did not agree with them saying
that that would not happen apparently because he thought all heavy
things are attracted towards the center of the earth.26

The above gives some idea as to the nature of discussion in astronomy
at that time but Sachau observes these ideas had not changes much
since the eighth century when the knowledge of Hindu sciences were
communicated to the Arabs.

On the topic of ocean tides, Alberuni wrote that the educated Hindus
determine the daily phases of the tides by the rising and setting of
the moon, the monthly phases by the increase and waning of the moon;
but the physical cause of the both phenomenon is not understood by

The Hindus have cultivated numerous branches of science and have
boundless literature, which with his knowledge, he could comprehend.
He wished he could have translated Panchtantra which in Arabia was
known as the not book of Kalila and Dimna.28

•5. Hindu Laws:

Hindu laws, Alberuni observed are derived from their rishis, the
pillars of their religion and not from the prophets i.e. Narayana..
"Narayana only comes into this world in the form of human figure to
set the world right when things have gone wrong. Hindus can easily
abrogate their laws for they believe such changes are necessitated by
the change of nature of man. Many things which are now forbidden were
allowed before". 29

•6. On pilgrimage and sacred places:

Pilgrimages, Alberuni noted, are not obligatory for the Hindus, but
"facultative and meritorious". Most of the venerated places are
located in the cold regions round mount Meru.30

About the construction of Holy ponds, let me quote his own words:

"In every place to which some particular holiness is ascribed, the
Hindus construct ponds intended for the ablutions. In this they have
attained to a very degree of art, so that our people (the Muslims),
when they see them, wonder at them, and are unable to describe them,
much less to construct anything like them. They build them of great
stones of enormous bulk, joined to each other by sharp and strong
cramp-irons, in the form of steps (or terraces) like so many ledges;
and these terraces run all around the pond, reaching to a height of
more than a man's stature. On the surface of the stones between two
terraces they construct staircases rising like pinnacles. Thus the
first step or terraces are like roads 9leading up and down). If ever
so many people descend to the pond whilst others ascend, they do not
meet each other, and the road is never blocked, because there are so
many terraces, and the ascending person can always turn aside to
another terrace than on which the descending people go. By this
arrangement all troublesome thronging is avoided."31

May be what he had in mind was Chand Baori well near Jaipur built in
9th century..


•7. Hindu caste system:

No discussion of India would be complete without observation on the
contemporary caste system and rightly so Alberuni does miss it. He
describes the traditional division of Hindu society along the four
Varnas and the Antyaja -- who are not reckoned in any caste; but makes
no mention of any oppression of low caste by the upper castes. Much,
however the four castes differ from each other, they live together in
the same towns and villages, mixed together in the same houses and
lodgings. The Antyajas are divided into eight classes -- formed into
guilds -- according to their professions who freely intermarry with
each other except with the fuller, shoemaker and the weaver. They live
near the villages and towns of the four castes but outside of them.32

On the eating customs of the four castes, he observed that when eating
together, they form a group of their own caste, one group not
comprising a member of another caste. Each person must have his own
food for himself and it is not allowed to eat the remains of the meal.
They don't share food from the same plate as that which remains in the
plate becomes after the first eater has taken part, the remains of the

Alberuni wrote extensively on India and on many aspects. It is
impossible to cover every topic in a rather small article but I have
tried to give some of the points which would look strange or were not
known to the Muslims.

1 Sachau E C, Alberuni's India, Low Price Publications, New Delhi,
1993, pp. viii
2 Elliot and Dowson, The History of India as told by its own
historians, Low Price Publications, New Delhi, 1996, vol. II, pp. 2
3 ibid., pp. 5
4 Sachau, pp. xxvii

5 Elliot and Dowson, vol. II, pp. 3
6 Sachau, pp.185,
7 Sachau, pp. xvii, xix, xxiii
8 Sachau, pp. ii - 80
9 Sachau, pp. 17
10 Sachau, pp.18-19
11Sachau, pp. 19
12 Sachau, pp. 19
13 Sachau, pp. 20
14 Sachau, pp. 20
15 Sachau, pp. 21
16 Sachau, pp. 22
17 Sachau, pp. ii - 2
18 Sachau, pp. ii - 103
19 Sacahu, pp. 22
20 Sachau, pp. 179
21 Sachau, pp. 180-2
22 Sachau, pp. 174
23 Sachau, pp. 169
24 Sachau, pp. 268
25 Sacahu, pp. 272
26 Sachau, pp. 276-7
27 Sachau, pp ii-105
28 Sachau, pp. 159
29 Sacahu, pp. 106 - 7
30 Sachau, pp. ii - 142
31 Sacahu, pp. ii144 - 5
32 Sachau. Pp. 101
33 Sachau, pp. 102


From The Pages of History
By Vinod Kumar, on 31-01-2010 11:06

Earth's Rotation, Globular Shape and Gravity

When we talk of the earth going around the sun as it has always done,
its globular shape, the different seasons, different lengths of day
and night, mind goes back to Galileo and Copernicus, scared to death,
holding the truth back lest the fury of the church falls upon them for
letting the world know the reality of nature. When one thinks of
gravity one thinks of Newton sitting under an apple tree watching an
apple fall to the ground and Newton proclaiming "Lo! there is

If I were to say Hindu philosophers talked and wrote about gravity and
the globular shape of the earth centuries before Newton and Galileo
and Copernicus, and quoted Hindu sources, I would not only be
dismissed as a "fanatical Hindu communalist" by our 'all-knowing-
secular intellectuals' but also incur their wrath. And who wants

In order to state the truth and make it acceptable to our 'all-knowing-
secular intellectuals' let me seek the help of a Muslim scholar from
Central Asia. Who around 1030 AD wrote a very comprehensive book
"Indica" about India -- its literature, its philosophy, its religion,
its culture, its languages, its history, its geography, its customs,
its sciences including astronomy. I am talking about Abu-Raihan
Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Alberuni -- a scholar and a devout genuine Muslim
by all standards.

Before I go into what Alberuni wrote let us take some time to find out
more about this man -- Alberuni.

In the words of Edward Sachau -- translator of Alebruni's 'Indica':

"Mahmud marched into the country, not without some fighting,
established there one of his generals as provincial governor, and soon
returned to Ghazna with much booty and a great part of Khiva troops,
together with the princes of the deposed family of Mamun and the
leading men of the country as prisoners of war or as hostages. Among
the last was Abu-Raihan Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Alberuni. This happened in
the spring and summer of AD 1017."

"When he (Alberuni) was brought to Ghazna as a hostage, he enjoyed the
reputation of a great 'munajjim' i.e. "astrologer - astronomer". By
the time he wrote 'Indica' thirteen years later after his involuntary
immigration to Afghanistan, he was a master of astrology, both
according to the Greek and the Hindu systems.

"Alberuni felt a strong inclination towards Indian philosophy. He
seems to have thought that the philosophers both in ancient India and
Greece, held in reality the very same ideas, the same as seem to have
been his own i.e. of pure monotheism. He seems to have to have reveled
in the pure theories of Bhagavad-Gita. ... There can scarcely be any
doubt that the Muslims of later times would have found fault with him
for going to such length in his interest for these heathenish
doctrines" observes Sachau, but "still he was Muslim, whether Sunni or
Shia cannot be gathered from Indica. He sometimes takes an occasion
for pointing out to the reader the superiority of Islam over
Brahamanical India... He dares not attack Islam but attacks the

What was the object of his writing 'Indica'?

"The object which the author had in view and never for a moment lost
sight of, was to afford the necessary information and training to any
one (in Islam) who wants to converse with the Hindus, and to discuss
with them questions of religion, science, or literature, on the very
basis of their own civilization."

Alberuni came to India with Mahmud and stayed there. He learnt
Sanskrit and Hindu literature and sciences and indeed wrote a very
comprehensive book about India of those days. As a Muslim he praises
the 'wonderful exploits of Mahmud saying: "Mahmud utterly ruined the
prosperity of the country, and performed those wonderful exploits, by
which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all
directions" but as a scholar he laments "this is the reason, too, why
Hindu sciences have retired far away from those parts of the country
conquered by us, and have fled to places which our hand cannot yet
reach, to Kashmir, Benares, and other places."

It seems from above that his study was done in area which was under
Mahmud's control, most likely western Punjab. But still what he writes
is very illuminating. Let us now see what wrote about our subject:
astronomy in India and gravity and the solar system.

Quoting from Brahamgupta's Brahamsidhanta, Alberuni wrote:

"Several circumstances, however, compel us to attribute globular shape
to both the earth and the heaven, viz. the fact that the stars rise
and set in different places at different times, so that, e.g. a man in
Yamakoti observes one identical start rising above the western
horizon, whilst a man in Rum at the same time observes it rising above
the eastern horizon. Another argument to the same effect is this, that
a man on Meru observes one identical star above the horizon in the
zenith of Lanka, the country of demons, whilst a man in Lanka at the
same time observes it above his head. Besides all astronomical
observations are not correct unless we assume the globular shape of
heaven and earth. Therefore we must declare that heaven is a globe,
and the observation of these characteristics of the world would not be
correct unless in reality it were a globe. Now it is evident that all
other theories about the world are futile."

Last update : 31-01-2010 11:12

Earlier philosophers like Aryabhata, Vasishtha and Lata had also come
to the same conclusion and Alberuni goes on to quote Varahmira: "all
things which are perceived by the senses, are witness in favor of the
globular shape of the earth, and refute the possibility of its having
any other shape."

On the subject of the rotation of the earth Alberuni writes:

"As regards the resting of the earth, one of the elementary problems
of astronomy, which offers many and great difficulties, this, too, is
a dogma with the Hindu astronomers. Brahamgupta says in the
Brahamsiddhanta: 'some people maintain that the first motion (from
east to west) does not lie in the meridian, but belongs to the earth.
But Varahmira refutes them by saying: If that were the case, a bird
would not return to its nest as soon as it had flown away from it
towards the west.' And, in fact it is precisely as Varahmira says."
Alberuni agrees with Varahmira that earth does not rotate.

Alberuni goes on to quote Brahamgupta:

"The followers of Aryabhata maintain that the earth is moving and the
heaven resting. People have tried to refute them by saying that, if
such were the case, stones would and trees would fall from the earth.
Brahamgupta does not agree with them, and says that that would not
necessarily follow from their theory, apparently because he thought
that all heavy things are attracted towards the center of the earth.
He says: 'On the contrary, if that were the case, the earth would not
vie in keeping an even and uniform pace with the minutes of heaven,
the pranas of the times."

Alberuni does not agree with Brahamgupta and is unable to understand
the rotation of the earth and goes on to write:

"Supposing this to be true, and that the earth makes a complete
rotation eastward in so many breaths as heaven does according to his
(Brahamgupta's) view, we cannot see what should prevent the earth from
keeping an even and uniform pace with heaaven

Stubbornly he refuses to accept the theory of the rotation of the
earth and goes on to say:

"Besides, the rotation of the earth in no way impair the value of
astronomy, as all appearances of an astronomic character can quite as
well be explained according to this theory as to the other. There are,
however, other reasons which make it impossible."

Alberuni says he also has written a book on this subject in which ' we
have surpassed our predecessors' but does not tell what his theories

On the question of gravity and other issues like top and bottom, high
and low, Alberuni quotes Brahamgupta and says:

"Scholars have declared that the globe of the earth is in the midst of
heaven, and that Mount Meru, the home of Devas, as well as Vadavamukha
below, is the home of their opponents; the Daitya and Dhanava belong
to it. But his below is according to them is only a relative one.
Disregarding this, we say that the earth on all its sides is the same;
all people on earth stand upright, and all heavy things fall down to
the earth by a law of nature, for it is the nature of the earth to
attract and to keep things, as it is the nature of water to flow, that
of fire to burn, and that of wind to set in motion... The earth is the
only low thing, and seeds always return to it, in whatever direction
you may throw them away, and never rise upwards from the earth."

Varahmira explains it further:

"Mountains, seas, rivers, trees, cities, men, and angels, all are
around the globe of the earth. And if Yamakoti and Rum are opposite to
each other, one could not say that the one is low in relation to the
other, since low does not exist.... Every one speaks of himself, 'I am
above and the others are below,' whilst all of them are around the
globe like the blossoms springing on the branches of a Kadamba-tree.
They encircle it on all the sides, but each individual blossom has the
same position as the other, neither one hanging downward nor then
other standing upright." He emphasized: "For the earth attracts that
which is upon her, for it is the below towards all directions, and
heaven is the above towards all directions."

Now these were the thoughts of Hindu philosophers as recorded by
Alberuni in the early part of the eleventh century and these had not
changed for centuries. Alberuni quotes heavily from Brahamgupta whose
Brahamsiddhanta was composed in AD 628. But it was Aryabhata, born in
AD 476, the first to hold that the earth was a sphere and rotated on
its axis and that the eclipses were not the work of Rahu but caused by
the shadow of the earth falling on the moon. His Aryabhatiya was
composed in AD 499.

It is clear from above that it was over a millennium before Galileo,
Copernicus and Newton that the Hindu philosophers had formulated the
theories about the globular shape and rotation of the earth and


My Name is Khan
By Vinod Kumar, on 15-03-2010 03:52

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's pronouncement not to let Shah Rukh
Khan's starrer My Name Is Khan be screened in Mumbai created much
sensation around the world and publicity for the film -- the publicity
that it could not have bought at any cost. Actually, Bal Thackeray's
action had nothing to do with the film itself - it was all about Shah
Rukh's saying that Pakistan is "great neighbor" whatever Shah Rukh's
definiotn of a "great neighbor" is. But anyway, film's name My Name is
Khan and its oft publicized credo "My name is Khan and I am not a
terrorist" in itself is quite provocative.

The film though made in India is set in the USA and deals in the
aftermath of September 11, 2001 attacks on the twin towers and the
pentagon. What was the purpose of making the film and declaring
basically that even though I am a Muslim but I am not terrorist? As
soon as the attacks happened American administration went out of its
way to insist and make a point that Islam has nothing to do with the
acts of terrorism and Muslims are patriotic citizens of the country.
So what was the point to go and tell the President of the United
States seven years after the act even though I am a Muslim, I am not a
terrorist - the President has been telling the world that from day
one. He need not be told what he has been proclaiming from day one.
If anyone that needed to be told the massage were the perpetrators of
the crime who carried out the act in the name of Islam.

Now then what was the film all about?

It seems the sole purpose the film was made was a propaganda for
Islam. But anything that is carried too far loses its appeal and that
is exactly what the film succeeded in achieving. Every film, every
story has to have some exaggeration to make a point - that is normal.
But when carried to beyond imagination and all limits, it turns
people off. The film may find appreciative audience in the Muslim
Middleast and other Islamic countries - and blind admirers of Shah
Rukh which are aplenty -- but it will turn off a neutral person. It
is difficult to imagine how Shah Rukh would have handled the character
of an autistic person had Dustin Hoffman not done the role in The Rain
Man - if the face of Shah Rukh is covered one would not know whether
it is him or Dustin. The story is weak.

Shah Rukh by doing the role has done a big disfavor to his image of
being a representative of the secular film industry of India. He is
now just an Islamic propagandist.



Don't Block the 'Internet Hindus'
By Kanchan Gupta, on 15-03-2010 04:38

Hindus who are proud to assert their identity and fly the Tricolour
high have now found a new platform to have their say, the way they
want it, without fear of being shouted down. Tired of being derided by
pseudo-secularists in media who see nothing wrong with Muslim
communalism and Christian fundamentalism but are swift to pounce upon
Hindus for being ‘intolerant', their cultural ethos crudely denigrated
by the Left-liberal intelligentsia as antediluvian, Hindus have begun
to harness technology to strike back with deadly effect.

They are bright, they are well-educated, they are not burdened with
regional and caste biases, they are amazingly well-informed on
national issues and world affairs, they are rooted in Indian culture,
and they are politically alert. They hate being told they are wrong
when they know they are right. They have a mind of their own and
refuse to be led like sheep. Not surprisingly, they hold the Congress,
the Left and regional parties in contempt, as they do journalists who
cravenly ingratiate themselves with the establishment. For them, India
matters - and matters more than anything else. Meet the ‘Internet

In recent days there has been a spate of articles disparaging the
‘Internet Hindus', variously describing them as "loonies", "fanatics",
"irrational", "Hindu Taliban" and, by an enraged news channel anchor,
"gutter snipes". Much of the criticism has come from left-of-centre
journalists who believe they have unfettered monopoly over media as
their inalienable birth right. Exalted members of Delhi's
commentariat, who are indistinguishable from the city's la-di-dah
socialites, tend to turn up their noses every time they hear the
phrase ‘Internet Hindus' as they would at the suggestion of travelling
by public transport. Others are given to contemptuously brushing aside
‘Internet Hindus' as being irrelevant and describing their views as
inconsequential. All this and more has neither dampened the spirit of
‘Internet Hindus' nor blunted their assertive attitude.

Here are some statistics, culled from an ongoing online survey, which
would help create a generic profile of ‘Internet Hindus'. The survey
is open to all Hindus who use the Internet; the response has been
overwhelming. Of those who have responded, 88.9 per cent have
identified themselves as ‘Internet Hindus', indicating they attach no
shame to the term though their critics would want them to feel
ashamed. Of the respondents, four per cent are aged 20 years and
below; 55 per cent are aged 30 and below; 31 per cent are 40 and
below; and, only 10 per cent are aged above 40. In brief, 90 per cent
of them are young Indians.

The educational profile of the respondents is awesome: 43 per cent are
graduates (most of them from top-notch engineering, science and
medical colleges); 46 per cent are post-graduates (a large number of
them have MBA degrees from the best B-schools); and, 11 per cent have
PhDs. It is understandable that none of them is unemployed. Those
without jobs are still studying (17.3 per cent) and can be found in
labs and classrooms of the best universities here and abroad. Of the
82.7 per cent who are employed, 3.1 per cent earn up to Rs 2 lakh a
year; 18.4 per cent earn up to Rs 6 lakh a year; 34.7 per cent earn up
to Rs 12 lakh a year; and, 26.5 per cent earn more than Rs 24 lakh a
year. Nearly 60 per cent of them frequently travel abroad on work and
holiday. Some 11 per cent have travelled abroad at least once.

Contrary to the impression that is being sought to be created by their
critics, ‘Internet Hindus' are open to ideas, believe in a plural, law-
abiding society and swear by the Constitution. They are often appalled
by the shenanigans of our politicians, including those of the BJP, and
are ruthless in decrying politics of identity and cynical vote-bank
policies. They have no gender prejudices and most of them think
banning FTV is downright silly in this day and age. The ‘Internet
Hindus' will not countenance denigration of their faith or biased
media coverage of events, but 91.9 per cent of them respect and accept
other religions. Asked if India is meant only for Hindus, an
overwhelming majority of them, responding to the survey, said, ‘Hell,

So why do they infuriate pseudo-secularists in media and make Delhi's
commentariat see red? There are three possible explanations. First,
the Net is beyond the control of those who control newspapers and news
channels. While the print and audiovisual media have for long excluded
contrarian opinion and denied space to those who disagree with absurd
notions of ‘secularism' or question the quality of reportage, the Net
has provided space to the ‘other' voice. Real time blog posts now
record the ‘other side' of the day's story ("The Prince was shouted
down in Bihar, not feted by students!"), Twitter affords instant micro-
blogging even as prime time news is being telecast ("That's not true.
I live in Bareilly. This is not how the riots began!"), and YouTube
allows unedited amateur videos of events (the Meraj riots, the
Islamist violence in Kashmir Valley) to be uploaded, giving the lie to
edited and doctored versions shown by news channels.

Second, unlike carefully selected ‘Letters to the Editor' in
newspapers and ‘Feedback' posted on news channel websites, the
reactions of ‘Internet Hindus', often savage and unflattering, cannot
be thrown into the dustbin or deleted with a click of the mouse.
English language media journalists, long used to fawning praise from
readers and viewers, are horrified that someone can actually call them
‘dumb' in public space and there's nothing they can do about it.
Third, the established elite, most of them middle-aged, are beginning
to feel threatened. Here's a new breed of Indians who have used merit
and not ‘connections' to make a mark in professional excellence, young
men and women who are educated and articulate, and are willing to
challenge conventional wisdom as preached by media ‘stars' who have
rarely, if ever, been questioned. The elite who dominate newspapers
and news channels are seen by ‘Internet Hindus' as part of India's
past, not future. As one ‘Internet Hindu' writes in his blog, "A large
number of ex-elite can't stomach fact that children of bankruptcy are
better travelled, better read and dominate the Internet!" Harsh, but

We can describe the ‘Internet Hindus' as the "lunatic fringe", but
that won't change the fact that their tribe is growing by the day.
Soon, those on the fringe will move to the centre and their critics
will find themselves precariously perched on the fringe. The Right is
gaining ground as is the access and reach of the Net; newspapers and
news channels, the Left's last refuge, no longer command absolute
control over information flow. It would be unwise to ‘block' the voice
of ‘Internet Hindus', as then their clamour to be heard will further
increase and there is nothing we can do to silence them. The times
they are a-changin'.

Courtesy: http://www.dailypioneer.com/241956/Don't-block-the-‘Internet-Hindus'.html


Editorial: The Guilty Men of Our Democracy
By The Editorial Team, on 15-03-2010 03:46

Gujarat and Anti-Sikh Riots

The law of the land should prevail. The highest and the mightiest
should respect the word and spirit of law. Otherwise the very
existence of democracy in the country would be threatened. It would be
a law of the jungle.

Yet, equally important is that the provisions of the Constitution that
provide for equality before law for however high or law, an individual
may be, irrespective of caste, creed and sex. But it is here that our
democracy is deficient.

The SIT constituted by the Supreme Court to investigate some cases of
Gujarat riots has summoned Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
The law should take its own course. Shri Modi is expected to extend
full cooperation and respect the law of the land.

But what raises eyebrows and pains the observers is the duplicity and
double standards being practiced by the judiciary, the media, the
intelligentsia and the so-called tribe of liberals and secularists.
The Gujarat riots and the 1984 anti-Sikhs riots have many similarities
and, in a sense, the latter riots were more heinous and cruel in the
sense that these were directed only against Sikhs and only in the
States ruled by the Congress. Shri Modi never justified the riots but
the then Congress President and Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi did,
saying on record having stated that "when a big tree falls, the earth
below is sure to shake". Yet, Shri Gandhi has been spared for the anti-
Sikh riots the epithets that are used for Shri Narinder Modi for
Gujarat riots.

More people died in anti-Sikh riots than in Gujarat riots. Delhi then,
and even now, for law and order is directly under the administrative
control. It is here that more than 3300 Sikhs died. The total number
of Sikhs having been butchered in different parts of the country is
more than 4000 while it is about 2500 in Gujarat which includes Hindus
too. For full three days, as per reports of successive Commissions of
Inquiry, the anti-Sikh rioters ruled Delhi and no FIRs were
registered. No military was summoned to quell the riots. The police
remained a silent spectator. Yet, the Congress which ruled at the
Centre and the States continued to remain the holy icon of piety,
secularism and rule of law. Even after 25 years the anti-Sikh riots
sufferers continue to suffer the agony of their loss with little hope
for justice.

Surprisingly, even the courts were not that condescending for Sikh
suffers as these have been for Gujarat riot victims. No Special
Investigating Teams were constituted by the courts which also did no
monitoring of the progress of investigations. Another stark reality is
that while Modi regime registered cases against rioters, prosecuted
them and many have been taken to their logical conclusions with many
convictions, the same is not true of anti-Sikh riots. Many MLAs, ex-
MLAs and other prominent workers of the ruling party in Gujarat are in
jails facing trial. The same cannot be said about anti-Sikh riots.

The human rights organizations which beat their chests for Gujarat
riot victims are, unfortunately and shamelessly, heartless for anti-
Sikh riot victims. They seem to have turned deaf, dumb and blind to
the realities of anti-Sikh riots.

The present Congress-led UPA government, too, for understandable
political reasons, has treated the Gujarat riot victims and anti-Sikh
riots differently. It has been more kind to the former than the

Why is that the whole system - whether the executive, the judiciary,
the media, intelligentsia and human rights organizations - are
treating the same ugly incidents differently? They are doing a great
disservice to the present system of government and the institutions of
the Constitution. Nobody can be more guilty or more innocent and
deserving more punishment than the other in the same circumstances in
this country.

Let it be a warning to all who matter. By their words and actions and
by indulging in discrimination and favourtism against one section or
the other, they are only venturing to defeat the very purpose and
spirit of democracy. It is they who will tomorrow be counted the
guilty men of our democracy.


Sita as an Empowered Indian Woman
Book- Review

The other day Rahul Mahajan got married on a reality TV show. His
marriage was of course for real, and one wishes him well in life. Some
one remarked that the show was a tribute to the new Indian woman who
had taken the unconventional path to choosing a life partner. He said
that it was the coming of age of the Indian Woman.

As I watched the final scenes of the show, I was reminded of a comment
a young woman had made some months ago in connection with the
Ramayana. "I do not wish to be a Sita -- meek and submissive. I am the
new Indian woman!"

Three 'new Indian women' stood decked in bridal finery, fluttering
nervously and waiting to be chosen in the final episode. The 'new
Indian women' felt nothing wrong in being commoditised and rejected in
front of a live audience of lakhs across the country. As for the
mythological Sita to whom our young friend had disparagingly referred,
remember that she had chosen her groom on her terms. If this is not
women empowerment, what is!

The following review done by me of a book on Sita adds to what I have

In Search of Sita: Revisiting Mythology
Edited by Malashri Lal & Namita Gokhale
Yatra Books/Penguin Books
Rs 399/-

Perhaps the most enigmatic of all Indian mythological figures is Sita.
She has been in the country's subconsciousness for centuries largely
as the ideal Indian Woman. There has been a tendency by modern
commentators and feminists to run her down for being ‘passive' and
‘submissive' and failing to claim her rights at various stages of her
life, even when she was publicly humiliated for no fault of hers. That
being the case, it would come as no surprise if the ‘modern Indian
woman' is less than enthusiastic in holding her as her ‘hero.'

Given this context, one must welcome with open arms the excellent
collection of essays on Sita edited by Malashri Lal and Namita Gokhale
that seeks to firmly establish her image as a strong-willed woman who
charted her own course in a largely male-dominated society. The irony
is that she had to go through a series of trials and tribulations as a
result of machination by two women, Kaikeyi and Manthara. In Search of
Sita: Revisiting Mythology is a marvellous book that not only has
commentaries written by well-known authors but also contains various
versions of the epic Ramayan, depicting Sita's role. The anthology
also provides a range of "creative interpretations" of the ‘dutiful
and meek' wife of Rama.

What makes the book even more special is the ideological space it
provides to writers with different bends of mind. So, if there is
Meghnad Desai and Indira Goswami, there is also Tarun Vijay and Karen
Gabriel - the latter weaving for the reader an interesting Sita-
Draupadi syntax in a gender context.

It should be clear to the reader, if he or she were under some
illusion, that the character of Sita in the epic was never meant to be
submissive in the face of injustice - to her personally and to the
female gender. One must realise that she could not have become the
icon she is by being a frail figure, forever manipulated and bent by a
patriarchal system. And, as events were to prove, her devotion to her
husband and willingness to be his partner through thick and thin could
not be interpreted as a sign of subordination. Let us look at some of
the instances where her dominance is undisputed.

At her father's home before marriage, Sita would routinely lift
Shiva's bow with her left hand while mopping the floor. It is the same
heavy bow that several strong princes failed to move even an inch from
the ground at her svayamvara. Only Ram succeeded and married her.
Thus, Sita actually set the ground rule for choosing her groom. Is
this a sign of a weak woman?

When Rama was exiled for 14 years, Sita insisted on accompanying him.
Her husband told her categorically that she should not do so as the
exile order was only for him, but she overruled him in the presence of
a number of people. Does this indicate her ‘meekness'?

Abducted by Ravana and surrounded by adversaries, she successfully
fobbed off his advances and threats made directly and through others.
The Lankan king failed to persuade her despite using all means at his
disposal. Does this not show her determination and resolve in the face
of a grim situation?

Banished from the kingdom by Ram, a then pregnant Sita later brought
up her two children as a single mother, imbibing in them the qualities
of valour and fair play. And when they in their boyhood captured her
brother-in-law Laxman, she rushed to get him released, keeping aside
her grief at having been wronged by his family. Surely, this is a sign
of a strong and very mature woman.

Finally, it was her decision to leave the world as a rebuttal to a
demand to prove she had not been ‘defiled' while away from the
kingdom. Given her wrath over the humiliation and determination, it is
unlikely that Rama would have been able to persuade her to change her
mind even if he had tried. In the end, Sita set and lived by her own
terms. It is not easy to find a better example of determined

In Search of Sita is, thus, in many ways a tribute to an ancient icon
by modern India.


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Thackeray says no concern for women's welfare in Bill

Mumbai, Mar 15 (PTI) Days after supporting the Women's Reservation
Bill in the Rajya Sabha, the Shiv Sena now says the legislation is a
ploy to garner women's votes and does not have welfare of women at

"The bill has nothing to do with women's welfare. It is a ploy to get
women's votes," Sena chief Bal Thackeray said in a statement.

The 83-year-old leader's statement was circulated here as part of his
traditional message to supporters on the occasion of 'Gudhi Padwa'

"Injustice against women continues. They are suffering due to rising
prices. Is it going to end because of the Bill," he asked.

"Sena has given a clarion call that along with the bill, women should
also get protection. But that is left aside and political colours are
being given," he said.


MNS in film cash dock

Mumbai, March 15: Mumbai police have arrested 11 Maharashtra Navnirman
Sena activists after film producer Ritesh Sidhwani complained that
they had tried to extort Rs 25 lakh from his film crew.

The producer’s complaint came a month after Shah Rukh Khan refused to
apologise to Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray whose party tried to
stall the release of My Name is Khan.

Sidhwani, the producer of Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya, Luck by Chance and
Karthik Calling Karthik, and his film unit told Bandra police that the
11 MNS activists came to the set of the film Crooked at Mehboob Studio
on Sunday afternoon and demanded to know why foreign artistes were
being employed in the film and not local talent. Deputy commissioner
K.M. Prasanna said the film unit explained to them that the “foreign
artistes were required as the sequence recreated Istanbul, Turkey”.
But the activists would not budge.

Prasanna said the MNS workers then allegedly demanded Rs 25 lakh for
not using local artistes.

Ameya Khopkar, the MNS film wing chief denied the allegation of
extortion. “A blatantly false complaint of extortion has been filed
against our boys…. Our people had gone to the set after learning that
the film was using 136 foreign nationals from Afghanistan, Iran and
Russia though they did not possess valid work permits,” he said.

The arrests happened after Sidhwani approached Mukesh Bhatt, the vice-
president of the film producers’ association, and he called up
Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan.


BJP-Left House unity rolls on

New Delhi, March 15: The nuclear liability bill today gave the Left
and the BJP another chance to display their vaunted “unity”, kicked
off by the price rise and helped on by the women’s reservation bill.

The two main Opposition groups, which together outnumbered the
depleted Treasury benches in the Lok Sabha today, had braced
themselves to block the bill’s introduction.

Each had opposed the nuclear deal with the US, and the BJP had the
added motive of partially answering its in-house sceptics who felt it
had “put itself out” to bail the government out over the women’s bill.

Estranged UPA allies Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad too joined
forces with the BJP-Left today.

A deflated government, realising what it was up against, deferred the
bill’s introduction. Denied the opportunity for a showdown, the
Opposition still flaunted the new-found unity between the strangest of

“The unity is actually a direct outcome of the nuclear deal that was
opposed by the BJP and the Left. The Samajwadi began by opposing it
but later changed its stand,” said CPM general secretary Prakash
Karat. He said the Left would appeal to all MPs on Tuesday to not
support it.

The poor attendance on the Treasury benches looked out of sync with
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s exertions since yesterday to try and
bring the Opposition around on the nuclear bill.

On Sunday, Singh had phoned Sushma Swaraj, leader of the Lok Sabha
Opposition, and Sitaram Yechury, the CPM’s leader in the Rajya Sabha,
to urge them to reconsider their resistance.

Recounting the conversation, Sushma told journalists: “I said we
cannot support. He said we will have problems with other countries to
which I replied, ‘But we have problems within our own country’. The PM
asked if he should ask the national security adviser to speak to me. I
said there is no point because the NSA already spoke to Arun Jaitley
(leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha) a month ago. But our
stand remained unchanged. I was polite but firm.”

Sushma then got in touch with the CPM and CPI floor leaders, and
Yashwant Sinha was told to speak to Mulayam and Lalu Prasad to firm up
the Opposition strategy.

Last week, Mulayam and Lalu Prasad had slammed the Left and the BJP
for being “in cahoots with the Congress” over the women’s bill. Today,
by participating in the Opposition unity, they gave the government a
foretaste of the problems it might now face in Parliament.

Government sources admitted that the stand-off was a “grim reminder”
of how precariously the ruling alliance was placed in the Lower House
minus the Yadavs.

“The only short-run tactic we can follow is to avoid business that
requires voting,” a minister said. The long-term strategy, he said,
was to scout for parties that could be counted on in a crisis “even if
this entails backroom deals”.


Maya Brahmin aide missing

Lucknow, March 15: Mayavati today tried to reclaim her Dalit agenda on
the Bahujan Samaj Party’s 25th anniversary by clipping the wings of
Satish Chandra Mishra, the party’s “Brahmin face” whose clout had
dismayed many of her Dalit supporters.

Mishra, architect of the Brahmin-Dalit axis that lifted Mayavati to
power in the 2007 UP polls, has been taken off the BSP’s Brahmin
Bhaichara (Brotherhood) Committee and appointed chairman of the party
legal cell.

The chief minister herself made the announcement at the party’s mega
rally here to celebrate its silver jubilee. “There is no strict
boundary of work but Mishra’s priority would henceforth be legal
work,” she said.

More eloquent than her 95-minute speech was the unusual absence of
Mishra from the dais. The lawyer who had been Mayavati’s shadow for
the past half a decade stood among party workers far from the dais,
from where Mayavati reaffirmed her commitment to the Dalit cause.

“I don’t believe the party’s core agenda is being diluted. I vow not
to ever allow the Dalit movement to weaken or the head of a Dalit to
bow in shame,” she said.

Party sources said Mayavati had been jittery over accusations that her
party, born as a movement for social transformation, had become “an
opportunistic political party” interested only in capturing power.

On the face of it, Mishra’s new post may appear logical since Mayavati
is grappling with at least half-a-dozen cases against her party and
government. But Mishra had already been supervising the cases while
discharging his other duties.

Many Dalit leaders had looked on nervously as Mishra was included in
the state cabinet in 2007 and later sent to the Rajya Sabha, all the
while retaining his status as party No. 2. But a rift appeared between
him and Mayavati after the Brahmin vote deserted her in the 2009 Lok
Sabha polls.

Mayavati had mooted banishing Mishra to the legal cell at a party
meeting in July 2009, but backed off in the face of Brahmin murmurs.
Today, she made it official.


Monday, March 15, 2010
Seedhi Baat / Aajtak, March 14, 2010

'Bal Thackeray is a big leader'

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's estranged daughter-in-law Smita
Thackeray says politics and family are two separate things.
Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

Posted by Prabhu Chawla at 7:35 PM






Monday, March 15, 2010
Rajdeep Sardesai's letter to Uddhav Thackeray

Rajdeep Sardesai,a well known journalist,sent a letter to Uddhav
Thackeray,heir of the Shiv Sena, on the whole "Marathi manoos" issue.

Wiki : Rajdeep Sardesai
Wiki : Uddhav Thackeray

It makes for a very interesting read,seeing the reaction of a renowned
member of the Press addressing a political leader with much force.

Dear Udhavjee,

At the very outset, my compliments for the manner in which you've
literally 'stolen' the headlines from your cousin Raj in the last
fortnight. After the Assembly election defeat last October, there were
many who had written you off as a weak, namby-pamby politician, who
would be better off doing photography. But now, it seems that the
'fire' which burns inside Bal Thackeray is alive in the son too. After
years of struggling to establish yourself, you have finally discovered
the mantra for success as a Shiv Sena leader: find an 'enemy',
threaten and intimidate them, commit the odd violent act, and,
eureka!, you are anointed the true heir to the original 'T' company

Your cousin has chosen to bash faceless taxi drivers and students from
North India, soft targets who are totally unprotected. You've been
much braver. You've actually chosen to target national icons: Sachin
Tendulkar, Mukesh Ambani, Shah Rukh Khan, powerful figures who most
Indians venerate. Shah Rukh is no surprise since the Sena has always
been uncomfortable with the Indian Muslim identity. Forty years ago,
your father had questioned Dilip Kumar's patriotism for accepting an
award from the Pakistani government. You've called Shah Rukh a traitor
for wishing to choose Pakistani cricketers in the IPL. That your
father invited Javed Miandad, the former Pakistani captain and a close
relation of Dawood Ibrahim, to your house is a matter of record that
we shall not go into today.

I am a little surprised that you chose to question Ambani and
Tendulkar though. The Sena has always enjoyed an excellent
relationship with corporate India. Why then criticise India's biggest
businessman for suggesting that Mumbai belongs to all? After all, no
one can deny that Mumbai's entrepreneurial energy has been driven by
communities from across India. The diatribe against Sachin is even
more strange. He is, alongwith Lata Mangeshkar, Maharashtra's most
admired and recognised face. Surely, you will agree that Sachin
symbolizes Maharashtrian pride in a manner that renaming shops and
streets in Marathi never can.

Of course, in-between some of your local thugs also attacked the IBN
Lokmat office. I must confess that initially the attack did leave me
outraged. Why would a political outfit that claims to protect
Maharashtrian culture attack a leading Marathi news channel? But on
reflection I realized that we hadn't been singled out: over the last
four decades, the Shiv Sena has targeted some of Maharashtra's finest
literary figures and journalistic institutions. That you continue to
live in a colony of artists while attacking artistic freedom remains
one of the many tragic ironies in the evolution of the Sena.

Just before the Assembly elections, you had told me in an interview
that you were determined to shake off the Shiv Sena's legacy of
violence. You spoke of the need for welfarist politics, of how you
were saddened that rural Maharashtra was being left behind. I was
impressed by the farmer rallies you had organized, by the fact that
you had documented farmer suicides in the state. I thought that Uddhav
Thackeray was serious about effecting a change in Maharashtra's
political landscape.

I was obviously mistaken. Farmer suicides still continue, the after-
effects of drought are still being faced in several districts, but the
focus is now squarely on finding high profile hate figures. You claim
to have a vision for Mumbai. Yet, on the day the Sena-controlled
city's municipal corporation's annual budget revealed an alarming
financial crisis, your party mouthpiece,Saamna, was running banner
headlines seeking an apology from Shah Rukh Khan. You asked your Shiv
Sainiks to agitate against Rahul Gandhi's visit to Mumbai, but why
have you not asked them to wage a war against the water cuts that have
made life so difficult for millions in the city?

At one level, I can understand the reasons for your frustration. The
Congress-NCP government in the state has been thoroughly incompetent:
the last decade has seen Maharashtra decline on most social and
economic parameters. Yet, the Shiv Sena has been unable to capture
power in the state. Your war with cousin Raj has proved to be self-
destructive. The Assembly election results showed that a united Sena
may have offered a real challenge to the ruling alliance. In fact, the
Sena and the MNS together garnered around 43 per cent of the popular
vote in Mumbai-Thane, almost seven per cent more than what was
obtained by the Congress-NCP combine. Yet, because your vote was
split, you won just nine of the 60 seats in the region, a result which
proved decisive in the overall state tally.

Your defeat seems to have convinced you that the only way forward is
to outdo your cousin in parochial politics. It's a strategy which has
undoubtedly made you a headline-grabber once again. Unfortunately,
television rating points don't get you votes or goodwill. There is
space in Maharashtra's politics for a regional force, but it needs to
be based on a constructive, inclusive identity.

Tragically, the Shiv Sena has never offered a serious social or
economic agenda for the future. Setting up the odd wada pav stall in
Mumbai is hardly a recipe for addressing the job crisis . Why hasn't
the Sena, for example, started training projects to make Maharashtrian
youth face upto the challenges of a competitive job market? Why
doesn't the Sena give regional culture a boost by supporting Marathi
theatre, literature or cinema? The wonderful Marathi film,
"Harishchandrachee Factory", nominated for the Oscars, has been co-
produced by Ronnie Screwvala, a Parsi, who like millions of other
'outsiders' has made Mumbai his home. Maybe, I ask for too much.
Tigers, used to bullying others for years, will never change their

Post-script: Your charming son, Aditya, who is studying English
Literature in St Xaviers College, had sent me a collection of his
poems. I was most impressed with his writing skills. Let's hope the
next generation of the T company will finally realize that there is
more to life than rabble-rousing!

Jai Hind, Jai Maharashtra!

Posted by Malvika at 12:13 PM


Mumbai made into dharamshala: Bal Thackeray

Mumbai, Mar 6 : Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray said Mumbai has been
made into a 'dharamshala' (free inn), thereby thrashing Maharashtra
Governor K Sankaranarayanan for saying 'anybody can live in Mumbai'.

"Saying that migrants will continue to come to Mumbai is akin to
betrayal of Maharashtra," Thackeray said in an editorial in party
mouthpiece Saamna on Saturday.

"Had Sankaranarayanan been the Governor of Karnataka, would he have
dared to say let hordes of migrants come to Bangalore?" the Sena chief

"The governors who live in the sprawling Raj Bhutan by the Arabian Sea
are nothing but Congress pensioners. Raj Bhutan has lost touch with
people's sentiments, that's why you say such things."

Balasaheb further recommended permit system to stop 'migrant influx'
in Mumbai.

"Mumbai has been made into a dharamshala. The only way to stop the
influx of migrants is to start a permit system to impose curbs on
those coming here," Thackeray said.

On Friday, Sankaranarayanan had said: "Anybody can live in Mumbai.
Only Mumbai can compete with itself. The rich, middle class and the
poor co-exist here."



le photo of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray at his residence in
Mumbai. PTI Photo Photograph (1)
Bal Thackeray targets Maha Guv over 'Mumbai for all' remark

Mumbai, Mar 6 (PTI) After batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar and
industrialist Mukesh Ambani, Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan
is the latest to face the Shiv Sena ire for saying that Mumbai belongs
to all.

"Saying that migrants will continue to come to Mumbai is akin to
betrayal of Maharashtra," Sena chief Bal Thackeray said in an
editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana' here today.

The Governor had said yesterday that "anybody can live in Mumbai. Only
Mumbai can compete with itself. The rich, middle class and the poor co-
exist here".

In an informal interaction with media persons, his first since taking
over the gubernatorial post, he said though civic and infrastructure
facilities needed to be upgraded in the megapolis, migration from
other parts of the country cannot be curbed.


...and I am Sid Harth
2010-03-16 13:57:37 UTC
Modi not fit to be CM, forget about PM, says Digvijay

Satna (MP), Mar 15 (PTI) Criticising BJP national president Nitin
Gadkari's statement that Narendra Modi has qualities to become the
prime minister, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh has said Modi is
neither fit for chief minister, nor suitable for prime minister's

"Modi is not fit to be a chief minister, forget about being suitable
for prime minister's post," Singh said.

"BJP has always been making many tall claims and even their claim of
Modi being prime ministerial material will be exposed," he told
reporters here yesterday.

Ever since BJP had come to power in Madhya Pradesh, attacks on
minorities in the state have been on the rise, the Congress General
Secretary said.

The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister said after inquiring into the
attacks on Christians by BJP leaders, he will file a complaint on it
with the National Minority Commission.


File photo of BJP President Nitin Gadkari addressing a press
conference in Jammu. PTI Photo Photograph (1)

BJP President Nitin Gadkari constitutes his team

New Delhi, Mar 16 (PTI) Three months after he took over reigns of the
party, BJP President Nitin Gadkari today brought in a mix of youth,
experience and women in his team of office bearers inducting
heavyweights like Vasundhara Raje and Ravishankar Prasad and
hardliners like Varun Gandhi and Vinay Katiyar.

Gadkari, who was considered as an RSS choice when he replaced Rajnath
Singh, has also given positions to some leaders said to be close to
the sangh parivar founthead.

Among them are Bhagat Singh Koshiyari (Vice President), Murlidhar Rao
(Secretary) and Tarun Vijay, who was Editor of RSS mouthpiece
"Organiser", as spokesperson.

Prominent Muslim face and three-time MP Shahnawaz Hussain, who was
widely tipped to become a General Secretary, has been appointed as
Spokesperson while Najma Heptullah has been retained as Vice


Maha issues Ordinance to enhance jail term for terrorists

Nagpur, Mar 16 (PTI) The State Government has promulgated an Ordinance
to enhance the prison term of terrorists, Maharashtra Home Minister R
R Patil said today.

The State Government has proposed 20, 40 and 60 years of jail-term for
terrorists involved in terror activities and since it is an
administrative requirement, the government has come out with an
Ordinance, Patil told reporters here.

In an informal chat, he said the Ordinance was issued yesterday. The
maximum imprisonment is 14 years in any kind of crime and the accused
person comes out of jail after availing the benefits due to good
conduct and parole.

Technically speaking, the convict is out after serving prison for
11-12 years. The State government was of the opinion that these
terrorists should not be let free or released early after committing
crime against state.


Kandhamal says no to Togadia visit

Bhubaneswar, Mar 16 (PTI) Authorities in Kandhamal district, which has
been violence-free for about a year, today decided not to allow VHP
leader Pravin Togadia to visit it.

"We will not allow VHP leader Pravin Togadia to visit Kandhamal as the
administration does not want to take any risk though things are in
good shape," District Magistrate-cum-Collector Krishna Kumar told PTI
over phone.

"The situation is absolutely normal in the district now," he said.

The state unit of VHP had earlier informed the Home department
regarding Togadia's proposed three-day visit to Orissa.

Togadia is scheduled to begin his visit to the state on March 18 and
visit Kandhamal the next day and spend the night at Phulbani, the
district headquarters of Kandhamal, VHP state secretary Gouri Prasad
Rath said.


Christ picture: absconding publisher's bail rejected

Shillong, Mar 16 (PTI) The Gauhati High Court has rejected the bail
plea of a Delhi-based publisher charged with printing a blasphemous
image of Christ in a book meant for junior students.

"The state police challenged the bail order (of the publisher of
Skyline Publication, Indra Mohan Jha) leading to its quashing by the
Gauhati High Court yesterday," DSP Vivek Syiem said.

The absconding publisher was granted interim bail by the Shillong
bench of the high court on March five.

The police had registered a case against the publisher under Section
295 (A) of the IPC for hurting the sentiments of people by publishing
the image of Christ holding a can of beer and a cigarette.

Syiem said in case Jha did not surrender, the police would have to
communicate with other states to trace him.

Over 120 books, carrying the picture, have been seized by police from
a convent school and a distributor.


Raje says she will perform new role with dedication

Jaipur, Mar 16 (PTI) Newly-appointed BJP General Secretary Vasundhara
Raje today said she is a committed party worker and will fulfil the
new responsibility with utmost dedication.

"I am disciplined soldier of the party and have always peformed the
task assigned to me by the party sincerely and honestly.

"I will fulfil the new responsibility assigned to me by the party with
dedication," Raje said in a statement here.

Three months after he took over reins of the party, BJP President
Nitin Gadkari today appointed Raje as one of party's General

Raje, a former Rajasthan Chief Minister, was unseated as Leader of the
Opposition in the state after the party's Lok Sabha debacle.


March 21, 2010
Rebirth of BJP: Focus on Change

"A man is not finished when he is defeated, he is defeated when he
quits. Much the same can be said of a party. It is not finished when
it is defeated; it is defeated when it stops to think.
-Nitin Gadkari
By MV Kamath

The BJP, right now, has one advantage: The UPA government is on its
last legs. It is bereft of new ideas. The high cost of living is
spreading disaffection among the people who are becoming increasingly
disillusioned with the government. This is the time to think big and
hit hard and the BJP seems to have found the right man to fulfil that
envious task. As Gadkari himself said: The country comes first, the
party second and the individual last. Now he has only to prove it
beyond any shadow of doubt. IF the media’s reportage of the
proceedings of the meeting of the BJP to anoint Nitin Gadkari as its
new - and youngest - president has any meaning, it is this: The
Congress had better beware. A sea-change has come over the party which
is as stunning as it was unexpected. It is evident in Gadkari’s hour-
long presidential address and in the entire environment in which the
meeting took place that Gadkari has opened the door to an entire new
world. It is a brave new world which should capture the imagination of
the young and the uninitiated. Here is a man brimming with ideas, has
the courage to break away from tradition in dress and deportment which
should endear him to aam adami. For a president to wear a bush shirt
and trousers, to shun feet touching, even if it is a mark of respect
towards elders, is a break-away from the past that may sound a little
offensive to traditionalists but is an indication that Gadkari is
looking ahead to the future with daring.

Understandably his speech- maiden-had to deal with party affairs, but
indicated a conciliatory approach as when he appealed to the Muslims
to be gracious enough to let a temple to Ram, built on the disputed
structure site. The request sounded genuine. It was anything but
provocative, and hopefully will be received with becoming attention.
The time has come for Hindu-Muslim reconciliation and Gadkari’s appeal
makes a lot of sense. In the next few weeks Gadkari has to think out-

Four issues call for deep thought: How to raise agricultural
production and keep the peasant from migrating to urban centers; how
to provide jobs for the GenNext; how to reduce corruption which has
become endemic and how to work out a plan to benefit the tribals. And
above all, how to go beyond Hindutva to a way of life that is nation-
embracing and appealing to all people of whatever caste, creed,
religion or community. Gadkari it seems evident, is breaking away from
the old moorings, which is just as well. One appreciates the guts the
RSS has shown in naming Gadkari as its presidential choice. Here is a
man who can relate to the young. Fancy his breaking into singing from
the presidential platform! The sheer novelty of the man’s thinking
takes one’s breath away. This is not being critical of the old
culture. But all things must change. As Tennyson beautifully put it:
"The old order changeth, yielding place to new and God fulfils himself
in many ways, lest one good custom should corrupt the world."

With the kind of approach Gadkari has shown, he is capable of adapting
to a new and changing world. He should be able to touch the hearts of
people of all age groups, especially that group which will come of age
when the next general elections take place. Giving advice to a party
these days is an hazardous exercise, as Pramod Mahajan, were he alive,
would have readily agreed. Shining India as a slogan did not sell. Not
that there were no geniuses in the BJP to give advice to LK Advani;
fullest advantage was taken of talent and technology, as one can be
sure, Sudhindra Kulkarni will testify. The best of minds surely had
made their contributions but something had gone wrong. The BJP ‘lost’
the last general elections. But there is no reason for the BJP to be
defeatist. It is in power in nine states, it has, as Gadkari
meaningfully pointed out, over 1,000 MLAs and a little less then 200
MPs. One must build on that strength. To succeed, BJP must work as a
united party and not as a divided house as it has been for some months
now. Personal egos have done considerable damage to the party. Gadkari
has forewarned that this must change. Gadkari is not, as some
theorists have made out, walking in Rahul Gandhi’s footsteps. He has
cut out a path all on his own. The broad road-map he has unveiled
suggests that he has learnt from the events of the immediate past.
Names count, but only upto a point.

Winston Churchill, who had led his country so successfully during the
Second World War was unceremoniously side-lined in the elections that
followed victory. Labour came to power. Margaret Thatcher years later
came on the scene and re-made Britain. And that was the right thing to
do. In India, one after another of ideas once considered sacrosanct
had to be given the go-by, like Jawaharlal Nehru’s concept of a
socialistic pattern of society, non-alignment, garibi hatao that
Indira Gandhi wanted to capitalise on, nationalisation of industries,
etc. have all bit the dust. The BJP now has only to break new ground
if it wants to make headway. The buzz words in Gadkari’s inaugural
address were antyodaya (welfare of the poorest), samajik samarasta
(social equality) and vikas (development). Very evocative words but
the highest importance should be on "development" in very field,
whether agriculture, industry, enterprise, education and most
especially job-creation.

Let us face it: The young are least interested in ideologies; what
they are looking for are well-paid jobs and the party must see how
best this can be accomplished. In his addres Gadkari said that "a man
is not finished when he is defeated, he is defeated when he quits.
Much the same can be said of a party. It is not finished when it is
defeated; it is defeated when it stops to think."

Gadkari would do well to send a team of experts to China to find out
how our troublesome neighbour has excelled in so many fields,
especially in the field of agriculture where its production per acre
is several times higher than that of India. China, to be sure, is not
an ideal society; it is run by a heartless dictatorship that cares a
tuppence for Human Rights. But there surely are areas of
administration from which India can learn a lot.

The point is that the BJP must break away from its past and project
itself as a forward-looking party which means business, especially in
regard to antyodaya. Village self-sufficiency is a Gandhian concept to
which some fresh thought needs to be given. The stress should be on
productivity, marketing and sales, inter-connection of villages with
roads to promote peasant mobility, and spread of technical expertise.
The BJP, right now, has one advantage: The UPA government is on its
last legs. It is bereft of new ideas. The high cost of living is
spreading disaffection among the people who are becoming increasingly
disillusioned with the government. This is the time to think big and
hit hard and the BJP seems to have found the right man to fulfil that
envious task. As Gadkari himself said: The country comes first, the
party second and the individual last. Now he has only to prove it
beyond any shadow of doubt.


March 21, 2010
Varsha Pratipada Special, 2010
It is free fall
The buck does not stop
By R Balashankar

FROM India shinning to India suffering is the most colourful
description of Manmohan Singh’s regime heard on the floor of
Parliament during the budget session. The insensitivity of the UPA to
people’s agony and its arrogance of power have crossed all limits.

India is a nation with a great sense of justice. In its history there
is no dearth of instances where the rulers set higher standards for
themselves than for the commoner. They willingly courted heavier
punishment for their omissions and commissions unlike those of today
who suggest people not to take sweets if sugar price has gone high.
Compassion and empathy were the two qualities Indian scriptures
expected in the rulers. So we have the instances of Shibi, Dasharata,
Harischandra, Yudhishtira, Sri Ram, Dathechi and the list can go on
and on. The sense of justice and fair play was the touchstone for a
successful reign. Chakravarti Shibi set one of the most touching
examples in this regard.

Once, the legend has it, the Emperor was relaxing on the terrace of
the palace when a wounded pigeon fell on his lap and asked for
protection from an eagle that was chasing it for prey. Shibi offered
the bird safety but the eagle won’t leave its prey. The eagle demanded
the Emperor to be fair and release its prey, as it was within its
dharma in hunting for food and the Emperor had no right to interfere.
The Emperor on his part argued that it was his duty to give asylum to
the bird as it was seeking his protection for life. The eagle reminded
the Emperor his other duty not to deprive another creature of its
livelihood and redeem that dharma. The incident is both interesting
and instructive, for it was not the might of the Emperor but his sense
of justice that the eagle was putting to test. The Emperor stood high
and passed the test. And he presented a great example in self-
sacrifice to set the lesson for generations to come. He asked the
eagle what price he would have to pay so that the life of the pigeon
was saved. The eagle demanded the flesh of the king in equal weight to
that of the pigeon he wanted to be saved. Shibi passed the test and
proved to the world, the ruler is respected or loved not for his
arbitrariness but for his compassion and conciliation. Modern-day
rulers will laugh at this legend. But one cannot overlook the

Social tragedies have become passé in India today, and the rulers-
people in power and position-go about as if there is no value for a
commoner’s life. India perhaps is the only country in the world where
human life is treated so cheap. The UP Chief Minister made it a matter
of prestige in her stand-off with the centre not to pay compensation
to the 65 victims of a tragedy in Pratapgarh. Many such situations go
unreported. The highlight however is the apathy of the establishment-
be it godmen, civic authorities, corporate tycoons or the elected
governments-for the value of life of an ordinary Indian, especially

Children who go to play do not return home because they get drowned by
stagnant water in pits dug by the Delhi Jal Board authority. Men and
women who go for early morning walk are discovered bleeding and dead
on the roadside because the civic bodies have dug up the pavement and
left it in a state of veritable hell for months, if not years.

Imagine the humongous tragedy of the people who assembled at the
ashram of Kripalu Maharaj in Kundu, Pratapgarh, for collecting a
utensil, a piece of sweet and Rs 20-the total value of which would not
exceed Rs 50. This is the level of poverty in the country whose
economic growth under globalisation is a matter of mere GDP and
statistics. Human beings have become numbers. Sixty-five people dead,
families devastated, children orphaned and mothers deprived of their
children. Even in the impoverished Sudan such incidents don’t happen
at this frequency. For, only a few years ago, over a 100 women died in
Uttar Pradesh capital in the stampede. They had come to receive free
saris being distributed by a politician. And we can safely bet that
nobody would be held responsible and punished for the loss of precious
human lives just as it happened in the sari tragedy or the temple
stampedes that keep repeating all over the country quite frequently.

Rural unemployment is so high that at every recruitment venue for army
and police personnel, the rush of job seekers leads to lathicharge,
firing, stampede and death.

Routinely, stampede occurs in places of worship. These are all
incidents in which people authorised to make arrangements, are to be
held culpable for the crime. One is not talking of the road accidents
and terror attacks. That statistics is now becoming listless.

One teenager was killed in Srinagar, allegedly unprovoked, by a BSF
constable. The police records, according to reports, said the boy was
a criminal. That official was however hounded by the state, his own
seniors and with discernible glee the newspapers reported that he has
been suspended. Only the jawans and security forces have no human
rights. They are treated as cannon fodder in their combat with
terrorists, Maoists and North-east outlaws. We take the loss of a
security personnel’s life so lightly, so routinely as if the state has
become morose. Is justice the privilege of only the terrorists and
their cohorts? A few weeks ago, terrorists and their supporters in J&K
disguised as lawyers fabricated a case of rape and murder of two
women. They created a huge ruckus. The media and the politicians there
held the state and defence forces to ransom. In the end it was proved
that the women were not raped, and they had committed suicide. Have
these lawyers been punished?

Even smaller nations like Philippines and Bangladesh have a better
track record of dispensing justice. The Marcos and Ershads got
punished there for their greed and crimes. In modern India, not one
politician has ever been punished. Nobody knows where the buck stops.
We don’t even know who should own up responsibility for the kind of
tragedies that have been discussed. There was a time, an air accident
or a train collision used to result in the resignation of the minister
in charge. Now the accidents have become commonplace and there is no

So where does that leave the ordinary Indian? Those who have been
elected by them are not speaking up for them. The creation of an
informed public opinion, non-political social action for justice seems
the only way out. Varsha Pratipada marks a new cycle, an occasion that
prompts us to pause, think and move on. It is for each of us to do our
bit to make our society more sensitive, more assertive and restore the
value of each and every life sharing this planet.


February 21, 2010
Divisive politics get a deadly blow

Seven-member AP High Court bench strikes down Muslim quota as
unconstitutional, based on dubious data, and potentially encouraging
By R Mallikarjunarao

In the year 2004 Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy, provided reservations to
Muslims in education and public employment to the extent of five per
cent. A five-judge bench said that this is illegal. After this the
farce of inquiry by Commission for Backwards Classes was enacted and
reservation was given to Muslims and Act was promulgated in 2005.
Another five-judge bench declared this 2005 Act is illegal.
Thereafter, the YS government issued another Act in 2007. A seven-
judge bench on February 8 declared this action illegal.

THE mask has been ripped apart by a seven-judge bench of the High
Court of Andhra Pradesh. The real face of slogan "reservation for
Muslims" was exposed. While dealing with the constitutional validity
of AP Reservation in favour of Socially Educationally Backward Classes
of Muslims Act, 2007, a seven-judge bench of the AP High Court
declared: "This 2007 Act is religion specific and potentially
encourages religious conversions and is thus unsustainable." This is
the third time the Congress government of AP has faced adverse
judgment on the issue of providing reservations to Muslims.

In the year 2004 Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy provided reservations to
Muslims in education and public employment to the extent of five per
cent. A five-judge bench said that this is illegal. After this the
farce of inquiry by Commission for Backwards Classes was enacted and
reservation was given to Muslims and Act was promulgated in 2005.
Another five-judge bench declared this 2005 Act is illegal.
Thereafter, the YS government issued another Act in 2007. A seven-
judge bench on February 8 declared this action illegal.

The bench comprised of Chief Justice Anil Ramesh Dave Justice T Meena
Kumari, Justice B Prakasha Rao, Justice DSR Varma, Justice A Gopala
Reddy, Justice V Eswariah and Justice Goda Raghuram. The 137-page
judgment was given by the Chief Justice AR Dave on behalf of himself,
Justice A Gopala Reddy, Justice V Eswariah and Justice Goda Raghuram.
They declared the AP Reservation in favour of Socially Educationally
Backward Classes of Muslims Act, 2007 unsustainable. Justice T Meena
Kumari gave a separate judgment running into 77 pages allowing the
writ petitions but gave a different reasoning. Justice B Prakasha Rao
said that the seven-judge bench was to answer the reference regarding
the method to be adopted. He differed with the findings of the five
judges and did not set aside the state action. Justice DSR Varma
declared that he is differing with Chief Justice and Justice T Mena
Kumari and said that he will give his reasons later.

It may be recalled that the government issued Ordinance 5 of 2007
providing 4 per cent reservations to several selected groups of
Muslims in the fields of education and public employment. This was
preceded by inquiry by AP Commission for Backwards Classes. The
government had appointed Krishnan, a retired civil servant, the
advisor who submitted a report, which was sent to the BC Commission.
This Ordinance was challenged by Shravanti and several other students.
Some persons claimed that this will hurt the backward classes and
filed public interest petitions. During the course of hearing the AP
Legislative Assembly passed the bill and Act 26 of 2007 came into
force. Petitions were amended to bring this act under challenge.

The majority judgment pronounced by the Chief Justice said that the
action of the state government is solely based upon the report,
findings and recommendations of the commission and the procedural
error committed by the commission is fatal to its report and its
consequent recommendations. The court said that it is deplorable that
the commission was not even aware of total population of persons
belonging to groups of Muslims who have been selected to be put into E
category among the BC groups. The sample survey was found faulty and
the quick survey in the name and style of fast track method was termed
as "hit and run method". This was declared neither legal nor
sustainable. The sampling was "opportunity sampling and non-
probability sampling". The court said that the BC Commission failed to
formulate criteria for identifying the BC among the Muslims but simply
conducted a household survey in places close to its hand. It was
declared that the commission did not conduct survey objectively to
justify its recommendations.

Justice T Meena Kumari in a separate judgment dealt at length with the
report of commission and effect of its copying the report of Krishnan.
She said: "The report of the commission should be held to be
mechanical, perfunctory in nature and without application of mind as
the commission followed the report of PS Krishnan in verbatim."
Justice Meena Kumari said that the report of the commission is not
based on real facts, data mechanical perfunctory in nature and without
application of mind as the commission followed the report of PS
Krishna in verbatim’. Justice MeenaKumari said that the report of the
commission is not based upon real facts, data or analysis and is
without any proper survey. She reminded that the commission limited
its survey to six districts only for three days leaving the other
parts of the state. With the report of the commission found as
insufficient lacking any objectivity the Act 26 of 2007 which is based
upon the report was declared to be invalid and unconstitutional.

The UPA government was planning to provide for reservations to Muslims
based on the Ranganath Commission report. The seven judges of the AP
High Court have hampered this conspiracy.

‘‘The fast track approach adopted by the commission was nothing but a
non-scientific method,’’ Justice Dave said. It was neither ‘‘legal nor
sustainable’’, he declared. The action of the panel was also
criticised for its reliance on recommendations made by PS Krishnan.
The appointment of Krishnan is "protanto invalid", the bench said and
faulted the panel for relying on his findings.

Echoing the majority view in a separate judgment, Justice Meena Kumari
said the investigation by the panel was not based on real facts, data
or analysis and was without proper survey.

Justice Prakash Rao aired the minority view holding that the bench was
not called upon to adjudicate the list but was only required to answer
a legal reference. He said that the government had some data before it
on which it acted and thus could not be faulted. Justice DSR Varma
said he did not agree with the majority view and would give his
reasons shortly. The Advocate General sought suspension of the order
which was rejected by the bench.

The Andhra government has long struggled to provide quotas for
Muslims, who were first given reservation in July 2004, a month after
YS Rajasekhara Reddy came to power.

The bench further described findings of the AP Backward Classes
Commission - on which the quota law had been based - as
"unscientific". Within hours of the verdict, Chief Minister K Rosaiah
said his government would move to the Supreme Court and vowed to
restore the AP Reservation in favour of Socially and Educationally
Backward Classes of Muslims Act, 2007.

In a 5-2 majority ruling, the court found that the commission neither
evolved any criteria nor published these before inviting objections.
It had merely stated it had followed the two criteria evolved by the
Mandal Commission for identification of Socially Economic Backward
Classes (SEBCs) among non-Hindu community.

Chief Justice Dave, speaking for himself and Justices A Gopala Reddy,
V Eswaraiah and G Raghuram, faulted the enactment and said it was
religion-specific and potentially encouraged conversions and was thus

The bench found fault with the commission for its excessive reliance
on data collated by the Anthropological Survey of India. That data,
the court ruled, was meant for determining the profile of the Indian
population and not for deciding on affirmative action for Muslims.


February 21, 2010
Muslim Job Reservations Plan A Marxist Election Gimmick
By Ranjit Roy

The interesting highlights of the Marxist Chief Minister’s
announcement on Muslim job reservations are: The OBC reservation list
in West Bengal currently includes both Hindus and Muslims. Muslims are
now to be put under a separate list called Backward Muslim Community.
The new inclusion will take OBC reservations in West Bengal from 7 per
cent to 17 per cent.

KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s
announcement in Kolkata on February 8 that Muslim OBCs in the state
would now get 10 per cent job quota as recommended by the Ranganath
Misra Commission is, no doubt, an election gimmick to fool Muslim
voters. This is evident from the fact that the Chief Minister
announced his government’s policy decision on job reservations within
minutes of the Left Front partners’ meeting ended at the CPM
headquarters at Alimuddin Street in central Kolkata. It is a clear
attempt to win back the support of Muslims before the Congress decides
its stand on the controversial Ranganath Misra report placed before
the UPA government. With a dwindling Muslim support base to the Left
that led to serious election reverses in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the
CPM and its Chief Minister could not afford to wait for the Centre’s
decision. There are elections to 86 civic bodies slated for this year
before the final electoral battle for 294 Assembly seats in the state
early next year.

The interesting highlights of the Marxist Chief Minister’s
announcement on Muslim job reservations are: The OBC reservation list
in West Bengal currently includes both Hindus and Muslims. Muslims are
now to be put under a separate list called Backward Muslim Community.
The new inclusion will take OBC reservations in West Bengal from 7 per
cent to 17 per cent. Moreover, there is a paradox in Chief Minister’s
claim that the proposed reservation is not on the basis of religion
but on the basis of poor economic conditions. At the same time he has
announced that Muslim youths under the OBC category can apply for job
quota if their family income is below Rs 37,500 per month. Is it not a
contradictory statement of Marxist Bhattacharjee that a Muslim family
earning Rs 37,500 per month, not annually, is economically weak and
needs job reservation? Yes, even if one takes present economic
conditions of people in India irrespective of their religions and
faiths, it cannot be said that earning of Rs 37,500 per month is a
small amount and needed government protection. No doubt, job
reservation was announced by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee with an eye on
Muslim vote bank.

Dr Pravin Togadia, VHP secretary general, has rightly said that
Andhra’s 4 per cent quota and West Bengal giving 10 per cent
reservations to Muslims are not isolated incidents. They are well
connected and are a part of a larger conspiracy against Hindus. This
criminal conspiracy of looting Hindus is being hatched to please
Muslim vote bank. At this moment, 78 per cent Hindu youths in India
are unemployed. At least 79 per cent Hindu farmers have lost their
land and crop. Yet, instead of helping them, Congress and Marxist
governments are showering favours on Muslims. There is no denying the
fact that such job reservations only encourage conversions to Islam.

In fact, while turning down a similar move by Andhra Chief Minister, K
Rosaiah, a seven-judge bench of the state high court observed that the
government’s offer of 4 per cent reservations to Muslims is
"unscientific, religion specific and potentially encourage
conversions". This is not the first time that Andhra government tried
to provide education and job reservations to please Muslims in the
state. The late Chief Minister, YS Rajasekhara, had offered 5 per cent
reservations to Muslims in July 2004. But Andhra high court had struck
down the move at the time.

Taking a cue from Andhra high court’s ruling, Buddhadeb
Bhattacharjee’s decision will be challenged in Kolkata high court by a
group of nationalist lawyers. The state BJP president, Rahul Sinha,
has announced that the party supporters will stage state-wide
agitations against the proposed reservations for Muslims from February
13 onwards. Sinha told newsmen in Kolkata that the party’s national
president, Nitin Gadkari will be visiting West Bengal during the first
week of March to spearhead the agitation. Strangely, within 24 hours
of the Chief Minister’s announcement, the state food and supplies
department has selected 63 Muslim candidates out of a total 317 (17.5
per cent) for government jobs.


February 21, 2010
Thinking Aloud
India is too big for the Marxists!

Jyoti Basu knew his politics, but not his economics. He made sure of
his vote bank through his million-acre land distribution programme but
when the programme came to a halt, he had nothing else in hand. He
believed that the programme would put so much cash into the hands of
farmers that it would spawn an industrialisation drive and create huge
employment. Nothing of the sort happened.

COMRADE Jyoti Basu, who passed away at the ripe old age of 95 years
last month, would be wondering what he has done to receive such
adulation from foreign newspapers, who never took his communism
seriously, and did not take kindly to him while he was alive. They are
calling him charming and elegant, as if they were referring to a
Hollywood model, not a rough-and-tumble politician from Kolkata. For a
man who was, or seemed to be, a virulent Marxist all his working life,
this would have been the biggest shock of his colourful life.

I have a feeling that the foreign newspapers know something we don’t.
It is possible that they never took his communism seriously, and it is
quite on the cards that they believed he was not really a communist.
Basu’s grasp of Marxism-Leninism was shaky, to say the least. In fact,
he never spoke in those terms. He was also not much of a national
leader, and rarely moved out of Kolkata, except to attend politburo
meetings. He almost never addressed meetings of workers, or any
meetings, in big towns and cities like Mumbai or Delhi which have more
workers than Kolkata. And he avoided making statements on things that
didn’t concern him, like, for instance, the fall of the Berlin Wall on
which the whole world went ga-ga, or the collapse of the Soviet Union
that followed, which was close to his heart, but on which he made no
comment either.

Basu was very much a home-bred politician, which is surprising,
considering he had spent four years in London and once confessed that
he was still a Londoner at heart. Jyoti Basu, a Londoner? The mind
boggles. Religiously, he visited London every summer and spent a
holiday there, but never, as far as his friends can recall, in Kashmir
or Darjeeling. It was said that he had a house there, and maybe even a
hotel, which was being run by his businessman son. I once saw him
having fish and chips in Camden Town, near Hampstead, but he did not
say hello. He was in a nice dark suit, a little tight for him, but
maybe he had purchased it in late ’thirties when he had spent years in
London. It was quite a sight.

There are, it is said, two types of communists: Those who smile, and
those who don’t. It is a minor difference, but one that tells us a
great deal about them. I have always believed that a communist who
smiles is far more dangerous than one who doesn’t, like an unsmiling
cat waiting for its next mouse. It was said that Jyoti Basu never
smiled-it was his trademark. It was true enough. He did not smile even
when he became Chief Minister in 1977, after a long career in the
streets of Kolkata. He did not smile even in 1996 when there was talk
that he would become the next prime minister.

I met him twice, once when he was a trade union leader, and another
time when he had become Chief Minister of his state. Both times, he
kept a stiff upper lip, never showing a single tooth, as children do
when facing the dentist.

I first met him when he was president of the trade union in my
company, or rather the company I worked for in Kolkata about fifty
years ago. Most of the talking at the meeting was being done by
company trade union bosses but Basu had come in case they needed help.
Basu hardly said a word throughout the meeting, and when it was over,
he left, also without saying a word.

The second time I saw him was in 1977 when he had become Chief
Minister. He must have been past sixty then, but he did not look a day
older than forty. We first met in his office which was being
renovated. After saying a few words, he took us into a small back
office, which he used for resting at lunch time. There was a small
bed, a couple of chairs and a small table on which was a tumbler of
water and a glass-just one glass.

Basu sat on the bed, and offered us the chairs. He spoke mostly in
monosyllables. Was he pleased that he had become Chief Minister? No
comment, just a shrug of the shoulders. What would he do now? We shall
see. There is so much poverty in West Bengal and industry is fleeing.
How do you propose tackling the situation? I am thinking about it. And
so on. Either he didn’t want to tell us anything, or he really had not
made up his mind. It was a wasted meeting.

Jyoti Basu knew his politics, but not his economics. He made sure of
his vote bank through his million-acre land distribution programme but
when the programme came to a halt, he had nothing else in hand. He
believed that the programme would put so much cash into the hands of
farmers that it would spawn an industrialisation drive and create huge
employment. Nothing of the sort happened. Money is not the only thing
you need for industry and business. You need businessmen behind money.
Basu & Co had frightened off businessmen by spewing poison against
them for years, and the Tatas and the Birlas and the Goenkas had fled
the state. Now that the communists were in charge, they refused to
come back.

It is not clear whether Basu knew all this, but, in the process, he
reduced the one-time leading industrial state in India to economic
backwater. Jyoti Basu will go down in history as the great destroyer
of Bengal, for the farmers who now own the land refuse to sell it to
businessmen, even to Tatas, who were forced to take their Nano
elsewhere, after spending crores on it.

Why are foreigners so pleased with Basu then showering him with
superlatives, now that he is no more? My hunch is that they are happy
that Jyoti Basu has damaged West Bengal beyond redemption, for the
state is where the British occupation of India began and also where
British business entrenched itself. The communists, led by Basu & Co,
were responsible for throwing out the businessmen and now the state
stands denuded of all industry and business. And the man who did it?
Their own Jyoti Basu, a man who studied in London, ate dinners in
Lincoln’s inn, as do all would-be barristers, and then came home and
finished his state. What more can the British ask for?

It is not the fault of Jyotibabu alone. The communists in Soviet Union
did the same and destroyed the country. Communists know their politics
backwards, but not their economics, though their guru, the great Marx,
makes great play with economic theories, and his great tome, Das
Kapital is essentially an economic treatise. But economics is
ultimately about people, for economic activity consists of buying and
selling, which involves buyers and sellers. But communists have never
understood people and have always taken them for granted. If people
become difficult, just go out and eliminate them, which is what Stalin
and Mao did. But Basu & Co could not do that in India. India is too
big for Marxists, for while Marx was born yesterday, India was born
five thousand years ago, and can have Marxists for breakfast.


February 21, 2010
98th Hindu Maha Sammelan, Cherukolpuzha
Ranganath report anti-national-O Rajagopal
By S Chandrasekhar

SABARIMALA Ayyappa temple is on the banks of Pampa river. As the
season subsides, it is time for another massive gathering of Hindus,
at another bank of Pampa river, for the past 98 years. An estimated
five lakh Hindus from the Christian dominated belt of Kottayam, Idukki
and Pathanamthitta attended the Hindu Maha Sammelan at Ayroor-
Cherukolpuzha, that held for a week.

Started in 1913 by Swami Neelakanda Theertha Padhar, a disciple of
Vidyadhiraja Chattambi Swamiji, it has been going on un-intereptedly.
It was started to foster unity among the Hindus, check conversion and
educate Hindus about their religion, culture and traditions. It was
also a counter to the Maramom Convention of Christians going on for
103 years.

This year the Sammelan was inaugurated by H.H. Jagadguru Sri
Sivarathri Desikendra Swamiji of Suttur Mutt, Mysore on February. The
Swamiji is running lot of Hindu activities in Karnataka and is also
running 300 educational institutions including medical/ engineering
colleges. Around 7000 poor children are being educated by the Swamiji
in all institutions with free boarding and lodging.

Delivering his speech, the Swami said, Hinduism is in crisis for 1000
years due to Islamic and Christian invasions. "This is surviving due
to the wealth of puranas, upanishads, vedas and saints who appear
periodically whenever dharma is in danger. Great warriors like
Shivaji, Rana Pratap, Krishnadeva Ray have also protected Hindutva.
Just like our concept of Vasudhaiba Kutumbakam, Sanatana Dharma has no
religious and geographical borders. Its aim is total material well-
being and spiritual uplift of human race. Our worship of cow, nature,
trees, water sources have great relevance in the global warming
context". Swamiji concluded his speech by offering flowers at the feet
of Vidyadhiraja Swami and Sree Narayana Guru for preventing mass
exodus to Christianity and Islam. Had it not been for these saints,
Kerala would have been 100 per cent devoid of Hindus.

Shri O. Rajagopal, former Union Minister said that the ‘Temple Entry
Proclamation’ of 1936 was a land mark in the history of Kerala.

"The Vaikom Satyagraha, for movement of low caste Hindus, around
Vaikom Shiva temple was inspired by sages, saints and social reformers
like Sree Narayana Guru, Vidyadhiraja Swami, Vaikunta Swami, Ayyapu
Swami and NSS founder Mannath Padmanabhan. The satyagraha and march to
Travancore King’s palace at Thiruvananthapuram was a bond of Hindu
unity without bloodshed and caste hatred. Even brahmins like
Krishnaswamy Iyer and Congress leader Kamaraj joined the march.
Vivekananda called Kerala a ‘Mad House’ due to acute casteism
practised here. But very shortly Gandhi called Kerala’s visit a
Pilgrimage. This change was due to the Hindu unity efforts".

"In 1888, Sree Narayana Guru’s Pratishta of Siva in Aruvipuram led to
a chain of temple constructions and checked flow to Christianity and
Islam. Now Sadguru Mata Amritanandamayi has constructed twenty
‘Bhramasthan’ temples, where all gods are present. Out of the 49 world
civilisation only one is living and that is Sanatana Dharma".

Concluding his speech Shri Rajagopal called for dumping of the
Ranganath Mishra Commission Report. "The SC/ST all over India are in
great anger. By this report, the benefits enjoyed by them will have to
be shared with Christian and Muslim converts. He said it is not a
problem of SC/STs alone. The entire Hindu society has to protest
against this. This is an insult to Gandhiji who called them

MLAs K.C. Rajagopal of CPM and Sivadasan Nair of Congress offered
felicitations. Former Travancore Devaswom Board President Upendranath
Kurup who is the moving force behind this sammelan, welcomed the
massive gathering.

Religions discources, cultural programmes, speeches by Hindu leaders,
Gita parayans, worship etc. form the highlight of the Sammelan which
will conclude on 14 February.


February 21, 2010
International seminar
ATM-like receipts in EVMs

NEW DELHI: Raising doubts over whether the electronic voting machines
are tamper-proof, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, on
February 6, 2010 mooted a new idea saying the Election Commission
should modify the EVMs so that one gets a receipt after casting the
vote as in the case of an ATM.

"That the EVMs are tamper-proof is a false claim. However, the
machines can be modified on the lines of ATM wherein we will get a
receipt after casting the vote which can be put into a sealed box," he
told reporters here.

This will make the electoral process more transparent and the receipts
can be referred to in case of any discrepancy, Swamy said.

He said an international conference of experts will be organised in
Chennai to "show that the machines are not tamper-proof".

The conference will be held on February 13 and will be attended by 35
experts from India, Germany, Netherlands and USA, he said.

Raising doubts over the accuracy of the EVMs, Swamy said that never
ever in a booth the total number of vote counts can be zero.

Swamy has also filed a PIL in the Delhi High Court on the use of EVMs
in Indian elections which is scheduled for hearing on February 17.



February 21, 2010
Every third Indian is living below the poverty line

People living in the states of Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh were
found to be among the poorest

THE report by economist Suresh Tendulkar used money spent by a person
on specific household goods and services to define the poor.

People living in the states of Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh were
found to be among the poorest, the report said.

It also found that the number of poor in cities had decreased, while
those in villages had gone up.

The report has moved from the traditional method of enumerating the
number of people living in poverty by measuring their calorie intake
to one based on their spending on essential goods and services.

Based on the new method, it found 37.2 per cent of Indian people
living below the poverty line.

The report found that over 40 per cent of rural people survive on a
per capita expenditure of 447 rupees ($9.6) every month, spending on
bare essentials like food, fuel, clothing and footwear.

Correspondents say that for all of India’s impressive economic
progress, the number of Indians living in extreme poverty is not
declining fast enough.

Unless India commits itself to greater social spending and
intervention, it will be difficult to reduce poverty, correspondents

(BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go)


February 21, 2010
Karmayogi touches the heart of youth at World Book Fair Suruchi
Sahitya stall makes an impact

Karmayogi, the documentary prepared by Shri Nitish Bhardwarj on the
life of second RSS Sarsanghachalak Shri Guruji attracted a large
number of youth visiting the 19th World Book Fair in New Delhi from
January 30 the February 7. The Suruchi Prakashan had made elaborate
arrangements for display of the documentary and other literature based
on the life of Shri Guruji at its stall in the Book Fair. According to
Shri Gautam Sapara, manager of Suruchi Prakashan, the documentary
attracted a large number of visitors to the stall and they were seen
eagerly trying to know the life of Shri Guruji and the historical
events of that period. Formed in 1970 and engaged in publishing good
quality books the Suruchi Prakashan participated in the World Book
Fair for the fifth time and this time it had hired double of the space
it used to hire in previous fairs. It sold more than 3000 books at the
Fair. RSS Sahsarkaryavah Shri Suresh Soni, Akhil Bharatiya Prachar
Pramukh Dr Manmohan Vaidya and many other noted authors and
dignitaries visited the stall. "More than 5000 visitors visited the
stall and gathered information about the books published by Suruchi
Prakashan. Encouraged with this year’s response we have decided to
make elaborate arrangements for the next Book Fair to be organised in
2012," he said.



February 28, 2010
Legal hurdles on Muslim quota
By Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay

KOLKATA: The State government is set to face a legal hurdle in
implementing its decision for reservation of 10 per cent of government
jobs for Muslim OBCs with the BJP saying it would move the court
against the government’s decision.

"The Andhra Pradesh High Court has showed us the way and we are going
to challenge the State government’s decision in the Calcutta High
Court. What the State government has done is unconstitutional as you
cannot provide reservation on the basis of religion," said the BJP
president Rahul Sinha over the phone from Delhi. He said he would take
up the matter with party president Nitin Gadkari and the State unit
will observe a protest day on the issue.

The Congress government in Andhra Pradesh enacted a law on June 23,
2007 providing for 4 per cent reservation in education and government
jobs to 15 backward communities among the Muslims. After a lot of
legal wrangles, the High Court today declared the Act null and void.

The West Bengal government itself became skeptical whether its
decision on reservation for Muslims could be implemented. "The Andhra
High Court’s order will have to be kept in mind. We will have to be
ready for everything because somebody can go to court," said Abdus
Sattar, Minister of State for Minorities.(Courtesy: NaidnI Express)


July 10, 2005
AP reservations for Muslims
Let?s learn from history
By S.R. Ramanujan

Certainly no nation should live in its history because no nation can
afford to be stagnant. An important trait of nature is ?change? and a
nation has to keep pace with changing times. This does not mean that a
nation should forget history. On the contrary it has to learn from
history. Otherwise, its future history will be full of chaos and
confusion. When the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajasekhara
Reddy announces that his government would consider providing political
reservations for Muslims, either he doesn?t understand history or
doesn?t care to learn from history or is least concerned about the
undesirable consequences of such a decision.

The AP government?s decision to extend 5 per cent reservation for
Muslims in education and jobs is having a spiraling effect. The
Nationalist Congress Party general secretary Akhtar Rizvi wants a
similar facility to be given to the Muslims in Maharashtra. A Muslim
group in Bihar is demanding 20 per cent reservations in educational
institutions and government jobs along the lines of AP government
decision. Another Muslim organization wants Article 341 to be amended
to include dalit Muslims in the SC category. The Hyderabad MP and
their apparent of Sultan Salahuddin Owaissi, Asaduddin Owaissi wants
the 5 per cent reservation to be extended to the entire country,
because he perhaps looks at it from a national perspective being a
Member of the Lok Sabha. Not to be left out, Brahmana Seva Sangha
Samakya (never heard of this outfit till now) demands that the
government should extend to Brahmins also a similar reservation in
education, employment and political posts on par with Muslims.

We don?t need a BC Commission, appointed by the AP government, to tell
us that there are a good number of educationally and economically
backward Muslims in the country or in the state. It is a reality and
none should crib about affirmative action. But quota is not the answer
for social and historical reasons. Had a survey been done at the
national level on the geographical location of such backward Muslims,
we would have got certain facts that have been swept under the carpet
so far by vested interests in the community. The backwardness is
mostly prevalent among those regions that were under Muslim rulers
prior to the integration of princely states, whether it is Bhopal, Old
Delhi, Ahmedabad or Hyderabad. Take the case of Telengana districts
including Hyderabad old city under the Nizam rule and compare it with
the rest of the State. Even today Muslims in the old city of Hyderabad
are reluctant to learn Telugu. How can they compete for a job in the
rest of the State? Muslim leaders cornered all the benefits guaranteed
under the Constitution in terms of minority educational institutions.
Instead of using those institutions for eradicating the educational
backwardness of Muslims, they started selling the seats for non-Muslim
candidates and thus pushing the deserving Muslims further into
educational backwardness. Either they went to Madarasas or drifted
without even elementary education. That is the reason you find average
Muslim literacy at 17.7 per cent while the state average is 44 per
cent. The literates among Muslim women are just 4 per cent. These are
the figures now being quoted to establish educational backwardness of

AP government?s decision to extend 5 per cent reservation for Muslims
in education and jobs is having a spiraling effect. The Nationalist
Congress Party general secretary Akhtar Rizvi wants a similar facility
to be given to the Muslims in Maharashtra.

The moot question is how will the 5 per cent quote help in improving
the literacy level among Muslim women from 4 per cent to atleast 40
per cent. We need a multi-pronged approach to uplift the Muslim masses
in terms of education which will automatically lead to economic
prosperity. First, they must be weaned away from the communal clutches
of their leadership. Second, the government must do its best to create
awareness among the backward Muslims about the importance of
education. Third, encourage institutions floated by Muslims who have
no political interests. Fourth, ensure that no non-Muslims are
admitted into such institutions for a price. 5 per cent quota will
only help Muslim political leaders to flaunt it before their followers
and the ruling party to garner their votes. This is the short term

The long term effect is going to be catastrophic. Leave alone the
demand for similar quota from other states. What is going to cause a
body blow to the nation is the demand for political reservations. Now
that Muslims have been brought under ?E? category of backward classes,
so goes the demand, they should also be considered for reserved seats
in the local body elections to be held shortly in the state. It is in
this context, chief minister Dr Reddy told a delegation of Muslim
women that political quota for Muslims was under consideration of the
government. To predict what would be the consequences of such a
decision, one has to go back to history.

Thanks to L.K. Advani, people have started dusting the history books
from the shelves for a fresh look at pre-Independence history.
Whatever the interpretations of Gandhiji?s support to the Khilafat
movement and Jinnah?s opposition to it, whatever the reasons for the
rejection of Nehru?s Constitution and agreement on the Lucknow Pact,
one thing is clear which cannot be disputed by any historian. That is,
the provision for separate electorates and reservation for Muslims
sowed the seed for Partition of the country.

Even today Muslims in the old city of Hyderabad are reluctant to learn
Telugu. How can they compete for a job in the rest of the State?
Muslim leaders cornered all the benefits guaranteed under the
Constitution in terms of minority educational institutions.

What is the genesis for such political exclusivism? It was in 1906 a
35-member delegation of Muslims met in Simla to demand proportionate
representation for Muslims. Though this demand was not immediately
conceded, it acted as a catalyst for separate electorate for Muslims.
Jinnah supported the movement for separate electorate and the Congress
too accepted it in the Lucknow Pact. And the rest is history. Sri
Aurobindo commented on this development thus: ?What has created the
Hindu-Muslim split was not Swadeshi, but the acceptance of the
communal principle by the Congress. The recognition of that communal
principle at Lucknow made them permanently a separate political entity
in India which ought never to have happened?.

What Dr Rajasekara Reddy is trying to do now is to further consolidate
this division and to create more tension between castes and
communities leading to disastrous consequences to the unity and
integrity of the nation. It is disastrous for a nation if it fails to
learn from its history.


January 21, 2008
UPA has reduced Hindu youth to second class status in India
By O.P. Gupta, IFS (retd)

Minorities are first class citizens for the Congress Party, SCs are
the second class and the OBCs are the third class citizens. As per
Mandal Commission the OBCs are 54 per cent of population so on pro-
rata basis welfare schemes for OBCs should have been allocated Rs
25,200 crore.

The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) report of March 30,
2007 shows that unemployment rate among Muslims and Hindus of both
sexes in urban areas differs by just about 0.5 per cent, and, that 755
Muslims per 1000 were in self-employed category against only 427
Hindus per 1000 in 2004-05. This sample survey shatters the myth being
created by Congress and Communist parties that far more Muslims are
unemployed than the Hindus.

In Karnataka, literacy rate for Muslims as per Sachar Committee
(Table, page 287) is 70.1 per cent, Hindus (65.6 per cent). In Kerala,
Muslim literacy rate is 89.4 per cent, Hindus (90.2 per cent). Still
the Congress manifesto of 2004 declared all Muslims as educationally
backwards in Kerala and Karnataka to reserve jobs for Muslims with a
view to implement its core agenda of reducing job opportunity of Hindu
youngsters, hook or by crook.

The National Commission for Linguistic and Religious Minorities headed
by Justice Ranganath Misra in May 2007 has recommended sub-quota of
8.4 per cent for minorities within 27 per cent OBC quota, and,
reservation to Dalit minorities by including such converts under
Scheduled Caste category within the 15 per cent SC quota. It said that
in the 27 per cent OBC quota, an 8.4 per cent sub-quota could be
earmarked for the minorities with an internal break-up of six per cent
for Muslims and 2.4 per cent for other minorities. If dalit Muslims
and dalit Christians are clubbed into the 15 per cent quota they will
squeeze out SC Hindus as Christians and Muslims enjoy better literacy
than SC Hindus. Misra has been a Congress Member of Rajya Sabha.

So the grand agenda of the Congress Party, communist parties and
socialist parties to reduce percentage of Hindus below 85 per cent in
all government and public sector jobs, in educational institutions,
that too with notes and votes of Hindu voters has taken shape.

In minority run institutions a Hindu student with higher percentage of
marks may not get admission. SC and ST Hindu students are denied their
constitutional reservation quotas in minority institutions. Is it not
second class treatment to Hindu students?

For 2007-08 the UPA govt has introduced 20,000 special scholarships
for minority students for technical/professional courses. For minority
students studying in top 50 institutions [like IIMs, IITs etc], full
course fee is reimbursable. For those studying in other institutions
course fee up to Rs 20,000 per annum is reimbursable. Hostellers will
get maintenance allowance of Rs 1000 per month.

I served as Indian Ambassador over the last thirteen years when I saw ?
burning? urge among Hindu settlers to be treated with respect and on
equal footings with locals in matters of religion, education,
employment, economic matters and application of local laws. After a
gap of thirteen years, I returned to India in January 2007 and was
amazed to see just the reverse trend among Hindus living in India,
rather than demanding equality in all spheres even educated Hindus are
pushing their own kith and kins into second and third class status
vis-?-vis minority candidates by supporting such political parties
which openly declare that they will give first preference to minority
candidates over Hindus in matters of admissions into colleges,
employment in government and public sector, departmental promotions,
disbursement of bank loans etc.

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, a Sikh politician while addressing
the National Development Council on Dec 9, 2006 publicly instructed
the civil servants, ?We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure
that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to
share equitably in the fruits of development. They must have the first
claim on resources?.

No wonder, budgetary allocation for welfare schemes for minorities in
the XIth Five Year Plan [2007-12] has been hiked to Rs 7,000 crore;
annual allocation to the Ministry of Minority Affairs has been suo
motu raised by the Planning Commission to Rs 1,400 crore from Rs 500
crore though this Ministry had sought annual allocation of Rs 1,100

The Ministry of Social Justice had sought Rs 16,100 crore for welfare
of SCs and OBCs, out of which Rs 11,185 crore was earmarked for SCs
and Rs 2,250 crore for OBCs. But reflecting the step motherly
treatment of Hindus by the Congress party, the Planning Commission
reduced allocation for their welfare schemes by Rs 3,000 with the
result budgetary allocation for welfare of SCs stands reduced to Rs
9,097 crore and for OBCs stands reduced to a peanut amount of Rs 1,588
crore. This is the price which SC and OBC Hindus had to pay for voting
the UPA parties.

Above datas show that minorities are first class citizens for the
Congress party, SCs are the second class and the OBCs are the third
class citizens. As per Mandal Commission the OBCs are 54 per cent of
population so on pro-rata basis welfare schemes for OBCs should have
been allocated Rs 25,200 crore.

It is painful to see how the class of ?secular, progressive and
liberal? Hindu politicians right from the days of the 1916 Congress-
Muslim League Lucknow Pact till date in form of the Sachar Committee
Report, Rangnath Misra Commission, the New 15-Point Programme of Prime
Minister, 15 per cent Plan Allocation to Minorities etc has been
systematically concocting false and fabricated justifications to
reduce, bit by bit, the educational, employment and economic (E3)
opportunities of all Hindu boys and girls, including SC, ST and
leftist Hindu boys and girls, pushing them to second and third class
status vis-?-vis minority boys and girls.

The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) report of March 30,
2007 shows that unemployment rate among Muslims and Hindus of both
sexes in urban areas differs by just about 0.5 per cent, and, that 755
Muslims per 1000 were in self-employed category against only 427
Hindus per 1000 in 2004-05. This sample survey shatters the myth being
created by Congress and Communist parties that far more Muslims are
unemployed than the Hindus.

It may come as another rude shock to those Hindu intellectuals who
have made it their business to plead concessions after concessions for
Muslims on pretext of Muslim educational backwardness that as per
Census Report of 2001 Muslim males have higher literacy rate than
Hindu males in eleven states (Andhra Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar,
Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra,
Orissa, Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu).

In thirteen states, Muslim women enjoy higher literacy rate than Hindu
women [Andhra Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar, Chhattisgarh, Daman & Diu,
Dadra & nagarhaveli, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh,
Maharashtra, Orissa, Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu, Statements 8a and 8b,
Census Report 2001].

The Sachar Committee [page 53] also admits that in ten states literacy
rate among Muslims are higher than even that of the upper caste Hindus
and also higher than SC/ST Hindus.

In Karnataka, literacy rate for Muslims as per Sachar Committee (Table
at page 287) is 70.1 per cent, Hindus (65.6 per cent) and SC/ST (51.5
per cent). In Kerala, Muslim literacy rate is 89.4 per cent, Hindus
(90.2 per cent) and SC/ST (80.8 per cent). Still the Congress
manifesto of 2004 declared all Muslims as educationally backwards in
Kerala and Karnataka to reserve jobs for Muslims with a view to
implement its core agenda of reducing job opportunity of Hindu
youngsters, by hook or by crook.

Not to be left behind in reducing percentage of Hindus in government
services, Karunanidhi flying in the face of facts is also harping on
educational backwardness of Muslims in Tamil Nadu.

The Sachar Committee (Table at page 287) reports that literacy rate of
Muslims in Andhra Pradesh is 68 per cent followed by Hindus (59.4 per
cent) and SC/ST (48.9) but Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy (a
Christian) reserved five per cent seats for Muslims in educational
institutions and in government jobs on false plea of educational
backwardness of Muslims in Andhra Pradesh just to cheat Hindu youth of
their seats in colleges and their jobs in government. Those Hindus in
Andhra Pradesh who blindly voted to the Congress party in 2004 must be
feeling cheated.

According to the 2001 Census of India (Report on Religion Data)
Christian community enjoys higher literacy rate than Hindus; all India
literacy rate for Christian community was 84.4 per cent compared to
76.2 per cent of Hindus.

Right from 1954 the Congress party Prime Ministers at the Centre have
been issuing instructions to all Central Ministries as well as to all
State Governments to give special considerations to recruitment of
religious minority candidates in public services with implied hint to
reduce percentage of Hindus in public services. In 1983, Prime
Minister Indira Gandhi vide her 15-Point Programme for Minorities
became the first Prime Minister to have issued instructions to include
minority members in all the Selection Boards and departmental
promotion committees. The circular to induct religious minority
members in Selection Boards was again issued by the Rajiv Gandhi
Government and the Vishwanath Prasad Singh Government The Manmohan
Singh Government reiterated it in January 2007 with added condition of
making quarterly reports on progress of minority candidates actually
recruited and or promoted. After all the ?communally appointed
members? of the Selection Boards will have to show some result of
their being added to Boards and, thus, the intake of minority
candidates will go up and percentage of Hindu?s intake, whether
leftist or rightist, whether forward or backward, whether upper caste
or scheduled caste Hindus will automatically come down. This is
happening when overall unemployment situation is worsening in India
day by day.

The National Commission for Linguistic and Religious Minorities headed
by Justice Ranganath Misra in May 2007 has recommended sub-quota of
8.4 per cent for minorities within 27 per cent OBC quota, and,
reservation to Dalit minorities by including such converts under
Scheduled Caste category within the 15 per cent SC quota. It said that
in the 27 per cent OBC quota, an 8.4 per cent sub-quota could be
earmarked for the minorities with an internal break-up of 6 per cent
for Muslims and 2.4 per cent for other minorities. If dalit Muslims
and dalit Christians are clubbed into the 15 per cent quota they will
squeeze out SC Hindus as Christians and Muslims enjoy better literacy
than SC Hindus. Misra has been a Congress Member of Rajya Sabha.

The basic premise of this Commission report is to ensure 15 per cent
representation?proportionate to the minority population?to the
minorities in Government jobs and educational institutions. ?The break-
up within the recommended 15 per cent earmarked seats in institutions
shall be 10 per cent for Muslims and the remaining five per cent for
the other minorities, however, if the Muslims cannot avail 10 per cent
quota, the rest should go to the non-Muslim minorities and in no case
shall any seat within the recommended 15 per cent go to the majority
community?, the Misra report said.

So the grand secular agenda of the Congress party, the Communist
parties and various socialist parties is to reduce percentage of
Hindus below 85 per cent in all public services and in all educational
institutions. Those Hindus who oppose this grand agenda are dubbed as
communal Hindus. As we know at present Hindus constitute more than 95
per cent of all public services. So all those Hindus who have school
going children and grand children must wake up to protect interests of
their wards.

No wonder, inaugurating the National Conference of State Minority
Commissions on November 2, 2006, Dr Manmohan Singh, PM said: ?It is
essential that communal peace and harmony should be maintained and the
minorities get a fair share in Central and State Governments jobs?.
According to press reports of November 26, 2006 the National
Commission for Minorities (NCM) asked the Union Home Ministry to
ensure a fair representation of religious minorities in the police and
paramilitary forces.

Suppose there are 10,000 vacancies to be filled up. So, seats reserved
for SC Hindus as per existing formula will be 1500, for ST Hindus 750
and for OBCs 2700. Now if 15 per cent jobs are reserved for minorities
as per recommendation of Justice Misra, general category seats for
which a Hindu can compete will come down to 8,500. So number of seats
for SC Hindus will get reduced to 1275, for ST Hindus will get reduced
to 637 and to OBCs 2295. If Misra?s recommendation of 8.4 per cent sub-
quota within quota is also accepted only 1591 seats will be left for
OBC Hindus. More meritorious minority candidates will naturally spill
over into general category seats.

So the grand agenda of the Congress party, communist parties and
socialist parties to reduce percentage of Hindus below 85 per cent in
all government and public sector jobs, in educational institutions,
that too with notes and votes of Hindu voters has taken shape.

Pseudo-secular Hindu politicians have passed such laws which enable a
minority student to get cheaper educational loans at three per cent
interest per annum from the National Minority Development & Finance
Corporation, whereas a Hindu student gets student loan at 12.5 per
cent to 14 per cent interest per annum from commercial banks. Minority
students are required to repay educational loans in five years after
completion of his course but in case of Hindu students repayment
starts one year after completion of course or six months after
obtaining employment whichever is earlier. One may see details at

A minority businessman gets margin money loans from NMDFC at five per
cent per annum but a Hindu gets commercial loan at 14 per cent to 18
per cent per annum from commercial banks. A Hindu student and a Hindu
businessman gets bank loans at much higher rates of interest and on
harsher terms whether he is a member of the Students Federation or
that of the NSUI or the ABVP.

On March 13, 2007 Finance Minister Chidambaram told the Rajya Sabha
that of the total priority sector lending, loans to minorities had
increased by 33 per cent to Rs 45,490 crore on March 31, 2006 as
against Rs 34,654 crore when the UPA Government took office in May
2004. The Finance Minister said that during the financial year 2005-06
credit to religious minorities was 8.18 per cent of the total priority
sector lending. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has committed to raise
credit to minorities to 15 per cent of the total priority sector
lending. In its Charter for Advancement of Muslim Community the CPI(M)
has also called to reserve 15 per cent of priority credits for
minorities. So, Hindu businessmen will increase their own difficulties
in getting bank loans by financing the elections of Congress Party and
UPA parties.

In minority run institutions a Hindu student with higher percentage of
marks may not get admission. SC and ST Hindu students are denied their
constitutional reservation quotas in minority institutions. Is it not
second class treatment to Hindu students?

A Delhi based Hindu student with better marks may not get admission in
any professional college in Delhi but a Delhi based Muslim student
with less marks is likely to get admission in professional courses in
Delhi such as in the Jamia Hamdard University in Delhi as this
University has reserved 50 per cent seats for Muslims claiming to be a
minority institution under Art 30(1) of the Constitution of India. Is
it not second class treatment of meritorious Hindu boys and girls?
Hindu candidates with better CV are denied appointments in minority

Attempts are being made to declare the Jamia Millia University and the
Aligarh Muslim University as ?minority institutions? so that 50 per
cent seats in these Central Universities can be officially reserved
for Muslim students, and, thus, reduce Hindu students as second class
citizens at two more campuses.

For 2007-08, the UPA government has introduced 20,000 special
scholarships for minority students for technical/professional courses.
For minority students studying in top 50 institutions [like IIMs, IITs
etc], full course fee is reimbursable. For those studying in other
institutions course fee up to Rs 20,000 per annum is reimbursable.
Hostellers will get maintenance allowance of Rs 1000 per month. [] In
addition minority candidates appearing for competitive examinations of
civil services etc will be paid for attending coaching classes of
their choice. No such facility is available to Hindu students because
their parents vote for Congress party or socialist parties. []

Congress and Communist parties have, thus, imposed such a legal system
where a Muslim candidate or a Christian candidate has all the legal
rights to compete on equal footings with a Hindu candidate for
employment, but there are thousands and thousands of posts paid from
government funds for which Hindus just cannot apply, such as, posts of
Chairman of the National Minority Commission and Provincial Minority
Commissions, the posts of the Principal and Vice Principal of St.
Stephan?s College, Delhi University, heads of minority institutions

Under section 3 of the National Minority Commission Act, a Hindu can
not be its Chairman and at least five of its seven members including
Chairman shall have to be from amongst the minority communities.
Section 4 of the National Commission for Minority Educational
Institutions Act 2004 stipulates that only persons from minority
communities shall be eligible to be appointed as Chairman and members
of this Commission. Chairman and members draw salary and perks of a
Secretary to the Govt of India and a Hindu, howsoever, secular and
progressive stands debarred from holding these posts. Both Acts were
moved by the Congress party. So a person shall be denied appointments
to these posts under the State simply because he is a Hindu. Hindu
parliamentarians have thus downgraded their own younger generations by
enacting such anti-Hindu laws.

Minority Commissions have been set up to ensure that minorities are
not discriminated but there is no Commission to ensure that Hindus are
not victimized in India by minorities.

Such ill-treatments a Hindu voter has invited for himself and for his
children by giving his vote to the pseudo-secular parties or by
abstaining from voting. Every Hindu vote given to any pseudo-secular
party is going to be used to humiliate Hindu youth. A faithful and
firm handling of this inequality imposed by pseudo secular parties
upon Hindu youth will change the politics of India.

(The writer retired in the rank of Secretary to the Government of
India in the Indian Foreign Service (1971 batch). He served as
Ambassador to Finland, Estonia, Jamaica, Tunisia, Tanzania, Dominican
Republic etc., and Consul General, Dubai (UAE) and Birmingham (UK).)


February 24, 2008
Now A Christian Subsidy!

If there was a national award for inventing appeasement populism, the
first claimant for that would have been the Andhra Pradesh Chief
Minister Rajasekhara Reddy. The man who kick started the UPA Muslim
quota business in his state as the first act of his government in May
2004, has now offered to subsidise travel by Christians to their Holy
Land, meaning Israel-Palestine along the lines of the Haj subsidy for

The move is totally unconstitutional and the inspiration is blatantly
communal with a political agenda. Rajasekhara Reddy is a Christian,
like his party chief, though the community is not very numerous in his
state. In states where the Christians are in substantial number they
enjoy many privileges which are denied to the Hindus. Like the
reservation in jobs and education in Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the
pronouncedly Christian character of some of the North East states
where the state assembly sessions begin with Bible prayers. Nobody has
objected to them, but the Christian community is not known to go on
pilgrimages to foreign lands the way Muslims do. There has been no
demand of this sort from any quarter in the community. As such
Christians are educationally and economically well off.

Most church denominations have taken up a rigorous Indianisation plank
and have largely succeeded in this effort. This attempt at
secularisation is being sought to be torpedoed by certan over zealous
evangelical elements. Rajasekhara Reddy?s effort seems to encourage
such elements.

In the last four years there were many reports of aggressive
proselytising mission in the state. This had created tension in some
areas especially in Tirupati-Tirumalai, where after a series of
protests from Hindu groups the government had to issue a notification
prohibiting non-Hindus violating the sanctity of the Holy Hills.
Another controversy in the state is about the state government
systematically siphoning off thousands of crores from the temple
offerings for other irreligious activities. Yet another case is
pending in the High Court on the state government?s attempt to sell
away thousands of acres of temple property to make revenue for the

A state government with such questionable reputation has now mooted
the idea of Christian subsidy with some obvious ulterior intention.
Perhaps this might ignite a new wave of demands and protests and
grievance concoction. As such Christians, unlike the Muslims are a
contented community. They have no dearth of foreign funding. For
ecclesiastical training and studies Christians go to Vatican, and for
this they spent their own money. That is no pilgrimage. Jerusalem,
another holy place for Christians is a virtual war zone and
Christianity has no tradition of pilgrimage to Holy Land. In India
there are many places holy for them. It is not clear if Reddy has a
plan to subsidise such domestic pilgrimages also.

In any case, the Constitution does not allow discrimination in the
name of religion, caste and region. Every act of the UPA in these
matters has been fundamentally wrong. The Haj subsidy, which is
increasing every year, has now reached over Rs 4,000 crore annually.
This is over and above the spending on welfare and facilitation
arrangements by the states and the centre. It is high time the UPA put
an end to such cynical acts of perdition for temporary political


February 24, 2008

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
He took meditation to the West

On behalf of the Hindu American community of USA, Vishwa Hindu
Parishad, America, has extended its deepest condolences to the large ?
family of devotees? of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and described his death
as a great loss to the human race. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a spiritual
leader, who introduced the West to ?Transcendental Meditation?, had
passed away on February 5 at Vlodrop, a southern Dutch village at the
age of 91.

?Maharishi?s work is complete,? his Movement said in a statement. ?He
has done what he set out to do in 1957 - to lay the foundation for a
peaceful world, now Maharishi is being welcomed with open arms into
heaven.? Earlier, on January 11, the Maharishi had announced that his
public work had finished and that he would use his remaining time to
complete a long-running series of published commentaries on the

Maharishi was also famous as the guru to the Beatles, the Indian
spiritualist Deepak Chopra, and several other high-profile people.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is believed to have been born on January 12,
1917. He was born Mahesh Prasad Varma in Central India, the third of
four children. After graduating with a degree in physics at Allahabad
University in 1942, he left for the foothills of the Himalayas to
begin a 13-year spiritual apprenticeship with his guru Swami
Brahmanand Saraswati. When his mentor passed away in the early 1950s,
the Maharishi dedicated his life to spreading the teachings of his
guru. He started teaching meditation techniques around the world in
1959, starting in the United States.

The Maharishi originated the Transcendental Meditation (TM, a
trademark,) movement in 1957 and brought it to the United States in
1959. He set out on his international mission to achieve this vision
in 1959, beginning in Los Angeles, where he established his movement
with an initial following of 25 devotees. From this small beginning
the Maharishi over his lifetime developed a global organisation with
nearly 1,000 TM centres, property assets valued in 1998 at $3.5
billion and an estimated four million disciples. Maharishi?s TM
centres expanded all over the world to England, France, Russia,
Germany, South America, USA, etc. They were all held happily together
by a single and everlasting thread, i.e. meditation.

TM consists of closing one?s eyes twice a day for 20 minutes while
silently repeating a mantra to gain deep relaxation, eliminate stress,
promote good health and attain clear thinking and inner fulfillment.
Over the years since TM became popular, many scientists have found
physical and mental benefits from mediation in general and
transcendental meditation in particular, especially in reducing stress-
related ailments. Since the technique?s inception in 1955, it has been
used to train more than 40,000 teachers, taught more than 5 million
people, opened thousands of teaching centres and founded hundreds of
schools, colleges and universities.

This organisation helps a person find a way for the answers that every
person has been looking for since the beginning of the human
civilisation?who am I, where I came from, where am I going, and so on.
Maharshi lectured on the positive effects of meditation on body, mind
and intellect. He gave a new face to Vedic literature. Maharishi
explained the scientific nature of Vedic literature and demonstrated
how through that science one could live a peaceful life, reach one?s
highest potential and follow the path of self-fulfillment.

He was the only spiritual leader who held people together from all
religions of the world under one banner: Transcendental Meditation. In
the United States, his organisation is based in Fairfield, Iowa, where
it operates a university, the Maharishi University of Management
(MUM). In 2001, disciples of the movement incorporated their own town,
Maharishi Vedic City, a few miles north of Fairfield.


February 24, 2008
UPA inducements for conversion
By Dr. Indulata Das

The communities designated as minorities, which include Muslims,
Christians, Sikhs, Budhists and Parsis (Zorastrains) account for 18.4
per cent of the India?s population according to 2001 Census. Among
them, Muslims constitute the largest group with 13.4 per cent of our
population followed by Christians 2.3 per cent. The percentage of
Muslim population in 1951 was less than 10 per cent and that of
Christian about 2 per cent. As analysed by various experts including
Justice Sachar, the high growth of Muslim population is contributable
to higher female fertility. Unchecked infiltration from the
neighbouring country, i.e. Bangladesh, has also enhanced the Muslim
population growth substantially, which according to a view articulated
by Justice Sachar in his report does not matter. The growth of
Christian population, however, is mainly due to conversion among
weaker sections of the society, particularly in SC/ST-dominated
regions. The methods employed for conversion include allurement,
deception and threats.

The policy pronouncements and programmes of the UPA-government seem to
have far reaching consequences in disturbing our social equilibrium.
In the name of development intervention to help the minority
communities, the new schemes that have been introduced actually amount
to division of our society. It is unthinkable to visualise inclusive
growth through policies and schemes that are divisive and segregative.
It will be pertinent to mention here some important features of newly
introduced schemes and ramifications of their implementation.

The merit-cum-means scholarship provides that a student of minority
community within annual family income of up to Rs. 2.50 lakh will
receive course fee of

Rs. 20,000 and scholarship of Rs. 10,000 per annum as hosteller and
Rs. 5000 per annum as day scholar. Although educational status of SCs,
STs and some of the OBCs in the country is worse than that of
minorities, the central government has not considered it necessary to
introduce a similar scheme for them. The scheme looks like a
government-funded inducement for conversion.

In addition to merit-cum-means scholarship, the central government has
started another scheme to provide post-matric scholarship to students
of minority communities. Accordingly, a student having annual family
income of up to Rs. 2,00,000, is eligible for post-matric scholarship
which includes course and maintenance allowances. It is to be noted
here that the family income ceiling for SC and ST students to be
eligible for post-matric scholarship is Rs. 1,00,000 and for OBCs Rs.
45,000. The income certificates for SC, ST and OBC students have to be
issued by the designated revenue officers as per the prescribed norms.
No such conditions exist for minority students. A self certification
to be filed on a non-judicial stamp paper regarding annual family
income of up to Rs. 2,00,000 for post-matric scholarship and Rs. 2.50
lakh for merit-cum-means scholarship is all that is needed. The
discrimination is evident.

The scheme of pre-matric scholarship approved by the central
government for students of minority communities provides for cost
sharing of the scholarship in between the centre and the state at
75:25 ratio. The central government does not consider introducing a
similar scheme for SCs and STs knowing it well that their educational
and economic status is worse than that of minorities.

The Prime Minister?s 15 Point Programme provides for ear-marking of 15
per cent budgetary allocations under priority sector programmes for
minorities. There are no additional allocations from the central
government for this purpose. It is to be remembered that majority of
SC and ST population is below the government-defined poverty line.
This is why 50 per cent to 60 per cent targets under most of the
priority sector schemes are required to be achieved by assisting SC
and ST families according to the relevant guidelines. Setting apart 15
per cent of schematic grants without any additional allocation under
the Prime Minister?s 15 Point Programme means diversion of benefits
meant for the poor SCs and STs to that extent. For example, under
Indira Awas Yojana, 60 per cent houses have to be given to the SC and
ST families as per the prescribed guidelines. Under the Prime Minister?
s 15 Point Programme, 15 per cent houses will have to be given to the
families of minority communities which account for about 4.5 per cent
of Orissa?s population. The fact remains that about 40 per cent of the
Muslim population lives in the urban areas where Indira Awas Yojna
cannot be implemented and STs do not change their social status.

In brief, the differential and more favourable scholarship norms for
minority students from primary to professional courses, and the
earmarking of 15 per cent plan resources under the 15 point programme
are not only divisive and segregative measures, they can also be
viewed as the central government sponsored incentives to promote
religious conversion. The society should judge whether inclusive
growth and social assimilation can be achieved through the
segregative, divisive and discriminatory communal budgeting. Whether
the parties in power actually mean development of minorities or want
to misuse them as ?vote banks? perpetually. There is no country or
society where inclusive growth and social integration have been
achieved through divisive policies and programmes.

(The writer can be contacted at Qtr. No. 5R 9, Forest Park, Unit-1,
Bhubaneswar, Orissa, 751009, ***@yahoo.co.in)


January31, 2010
A Report As A Charter of Divisiveness
By Kidar Nath Sahani

Of interest will be to know that even the then British Government
refused to include the Muslims and the Christians in the list of
Scheduled Castes when it prepared such a list in 1936.

Notably, the Commission has suggested an alternative route for
reservation to minorities if there is "insurmountable difficulty" in
implementing the recommendation for 15 per cent reservation. In this
regard it is said since minorities constitute 8.4 per cent of the
total OBC population according to the Mandal Commission Report, so in
the 27 per cent OBC quota, an 8.4 per cent sub quota should be
earmarked for minorities. (As per Commission’s suggestions, the
internal break-up should be 6 per cent for the Muslims, commensurate
with their 73 per cent share in the total minority population at the
national level and 2.4 per cent for other minorities.) This is a clear
effort to dilute the existing quota of the OBCs.

Unfortunately, during the last over sixty years politicians of various
shades with their politics of vote-bank and appeasement, have done
havoc to this spirit of ‘one and united nation’. Various Commissions
and Committees like the Mandal Commission, Sachar Committee and now
the Ranganath Misra Commission were formed to serve this end.

On the eve of the Sashtipurti, i.e. 60 years of the Republic, the
Congress is trying to do what its own leaders, the founding fathers of
the Republic refused to do, i.e., to divide the nation in the name of
religion by conceding religion based reservation. In the Constituent
Assembly, similar demands were firmly turned down by the luminaries
like Dr BR Ambedkar, Sardar Patel, Pt Nehru and C Rajagopalachari. But
the present government led by Congress wants to negate it all by
succumbing to pressures of vote-bank politics. It is trying to promote
such divisiveness through the back door.

The Constituent Assembly in its long debates aimed at making India one
united nation devoid of all such anomalies that had crept up in the
society in the past, and made it weak, divided and vulnerable. The
issue of giving representation to different groups like scheduled
castes and scheduled tribes, minorities-religious or linguistic, was
discussed at length. Going through the debates, one finds that to a
vast majority of members, including Baba Sahib Ambedkar, the very idea
of giving representation to various groups was not acceptable. Even Dr
Ambedkar did not want in the case of reservation for the SC and ST to
last for 10 years after Independence. This was the focus of the
debates and the spirit of the ‘Constitution’.

Unfortunately, during the last over sixty years politicians of various
shades with their politics of vote-bank and appeasement, have done
havoc to this spirit of ‘one and united nation’. Various Commissions
and Committees like the Mandal Commission, Sachar Committee and now
the Ranganath Misra Commission were formed to serve this end.

The Indian Constitution provides ample guarantees and opportunities to
all sections of society, irrespective of their religion, belief or
caste, for their healthy growth and progress. Yet, for political
interests such commissions and committees were constituted. The
reports they presented speak volumes.

The report of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic
Minorities-better known as Ranganath Misra Commission, was tabled in
both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha at the fag-end of the winter
session of the Parliament, apparently in an attempt to avoid debates
and discussions. It was actually submitted to the Prime Minister over
two years ago, on May 21, 2007. For reasons best known to itself, the
government kept the report in cold storage for so long, though it was
almost immediately leaked in the media and was widely circulated.

The Commission was constituted on March 21, 2005. Formed in the
aftermath of controversies created by the Sachar Committee
recommendations, it was given the task to suggest criteria for
identification of socially and economically backward sections among
religious and linguistic minorities and to recommend measures for
their welfare.

The four-member Commission included Chairman Justice Ranganath Misra
who headed it along with three members-Tahir Mahmood, the late Anil
Wilson(Principal, St Stephens College), Mohinder Singh and Member
Secretary Asha Das.

The report makes three main suggestions:

I. Article 16(4), which is the constitutional basis for providing job
quotas to OBCs, should be the basis for providing reservation benefits
to minority groups who are socially and economically backward.

II. At least 15 per cent of seats in all non-minority educational
institutions should be earmarked for the minorities with 10 per cent
for the Muslims (commensurate with their 73 per cent share in the
total minority population at the national level) and 5 per cent for
other minorities.

The Commission also recommended 15 per cent share for the minorities
in all the government schemes like NREGA, Prime Minister’s Rozgar
Yojna, Grameen Rozgar Yojna, etc. Besides, it seeks the same 15 per
cent quota for minorities in government jobs, Central and State
services in all cadres and grades with a break-up of 10 per cent for
the Muslims and 5 per cent for others. (The report also calls for a
sub-quota in OBC quota clearly marked out for those minority
communities which come under the broad head of OBCs).

III. The Commission has asked for the de-linking of Scheduled Caste
status from religion and to make the SC net fully religion-neutral,
like that of Scheduled Tribes. Calling the caste system ‘all-
pervading’, the Commission says the Constitution while describing and
defining SCs and STs did not perceive a dimension of religion in it.

Of interest will be to know that even the then British Government
refused to include the Muslims and the Christians in the list of
Scheduled Castes when it prepared such a list in 1936.

More notably, arguing that religious freedom is a Fundamental Right,
the Commission has recommended continuation of SC reservation benefits
to those Dalits who convert to other religions by choice.

Apart from the above main recommendations, there are a plethora of
other recommendations focussing primarily on the Muslim community.
These are:

* Select institutions in the country like the Aligarh Muslim
University and the Jamia Millia Islamia should be legally given a
special responsibility to promote education at all levels to Muslim
students by taking all possible steps for this purpose.

* In the funds to be distributed by the Maulana Azad Educational
Foundation a suitable portion should be earmarked for the Muslims
proportionate to their share in the total minority population. Out of
this portion funds should be provided not only to the existing Muslim
institutions but also for setting-up new institutions from nursery to
the highest level and for technical and vocational education anywhere
in India but especially in the Muslim-concentration areas.

* Anganwaris, Navoday Vidyalayas and other similar institutions should
be opened under their respective schemes especially in each of the
Muslim concentration areas and Muslim families be given suitable
incentives to send their children to such institutions.

* Citing that the largest minority of the country, the Muslims, have a
scant or weak presence in the agrarian sector the Commission
recommended that special schemes should be formulated for the
promotion and development of agriculture, agronomy and agricultural
trade among them.

With regard to linguistic minorities, the only significant
recommendation is that the Commission wants the three language formula
to be implemented everywhere in the country making it compulsory for
authorities to include in it the mother tongue of every child.

Significantly, the above recommendations have not been unanimous.
Member Secretary of the Commission Asha Das has given a note of
dissent on the Commission’s recommendation for conferment of SC status
on Dalit converts to Christianity and Islam saying there was "no
justification" for it. She also appended a note of dissent saying she
did not agree with the recommendation of treating Christian/Muslim
Dalits at par with Hindu/Sikh/Buddhist Dalits.

Notably, the Commission has suggested an alternative route for
reservation to minorities if there is "insurmountable difficulty" in
implementing the recommendation for 15 per cent reservation. In this
regard it is said since minorities constitute 8.4 per cent of the
total OBC population according to the Mandal Commission Report, so in
the 27 per cent OBC quota, an 8.4 per cent sub-quota should be
earmarked for minorities. (As per Commission’s suggestions, the
internal break-up should be six per cent for the Muslims, commensurate
with their 73 per cent share in the total minority population at the
national level and 2.4 per cent for other minorities.)

This is a clear effort to dilute the existing quota of the OBCs.

In all, the report submitted by the Ranganath Misra Commission is a
charter of divisiveness and vote-bank politics. No wonder, it has got
flak from all sides. VHP has already threatened a nationwide agitation
if the government makes any move to implement the report. It has
termed the report as "Anti-constitutional anti-national and anti-

The report has also been condemned for being against the spirit of the
founding fathers of the Indian Constitution. It is alleged that if
implemented, it would particularly be damaging to the interest of the
vulnerable sections of Hindu society.

"Implementation of such a report is set to encourage religious
conversions, particularly among the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled
Tribes and other backward classes to take advantage of this
development," says Dr Pravin Togadia of VHP.

He further adds, "The present government is trying to undo the
conscious decision of the Constituent Assembly not to provide for
religion-based reservation." He also said that the implementation of
the report will mean death for the Hindu SCs, STs and OBCs and their

It is strange that no word has been spoken against it by the people
who call themselves secular and pro-poor. Even the parties that thrive
on OBC politics are keeping silent. Only, some lone voices like that
of Buta Singh, the chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled
Castes, has made public his differences over giving reservation to
minorities from the SC quota.

On the contrary, all the quota-supporting entities such as the Left
parties, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and a section of the
Congress are putting pressure on the Centre to implement the report,
yet, the government sources acknowledge that implementing the
Ranganath Misra Commission report could be the toughest task ahead for
this government. As this involves the most crucial aspect of quotas,
which is the reservation under religious lines.

The only vocal support to the report has come from a number of Muslim
and Christian groups, and quite naturally so.

Secretary of the Indian Catholic Bishops Commission for dalit and
tribal groups, Father Cosmon Arokiaraj has welcomed the report and has
asked the government to pass the Bill without delay. Another Bishop,
Father Anthoniraj Thumma, head of an ecumenical forum in the State of
Andhra Pradesh, said that the government move would provide dalit
Christians constitutional protection. He added that in addition to
quotas in government jobs and seats in educational institutions, the
new move would also give dalit groups (converted) a right to contest
elections for seats reserved for such category.

It will now be interesting to see the ATR by the government on these
recommendations. As in the ATR, the government will have to make
public its ideas on how the reservation for the Muslims and the
Christians would be implemented.

The supporters for implementing it say that any move to provide
reservation to religious minorities is unlikely to be opposed by those
in the general category as reservation of seats for Dalit Christians
and Muslims within the existing quota for Dalits will not affect

But that does not negate the fact that the Ranganath Misra report on
quotas for minorities is aimed at harvesting votes rather than
resolving the problem of backwardness of the minorities. It wrongly
invokes the "full sanction of the Article 16(4) of the Constitution"
for a 15 per cent reservation in government jobs for Muslims,
Christians and other minorities on the assumption that all minorities
must necessarily be backward.

What is being insidiously resurrected under the rubric of ‘under
representation’ is actually ‘communal representation’. Such emphasis
on inadequacy of representation on the assumption of backwardness will
encourage communally inspired demands for all.

Our founding fathers of the Constitution knew the dangers of such an
approach. That is why such communal approaches were specifically
excluded from the Constitution.

Lastly, it is not clear whether this new quota will be an OBC quota or
SC or ST quota. Or whether minority quotas will be written into these
quotas or added to them? If added, the overall quotas will become 64
per cent. And since quota over 50 per cent is not possible as per the
Constitution, the only option left would be to assimilate it in the
existing quota which, most certainly, would cause heartburn to the
OBCs, SCs and STs who will have their quota reduced from 50 per cent
to 35 per cent.

(The writer is former Governor of Sikkim and Goa.)


January 21, 2008
UPA's rank communalism
Quota politics threatens to fragment India
By Sunita Vakil

The Congress has always aimed at erecting barriers between the
different communities rather than trying to break them down. Indeed,
the brand of secularism flaunted by the party is very much flawed. By
separating Muslim issues from the rest of the populace, it is only
treading the familiar ground of identity politics, that forms the core
of its survival.

Congress-led UPA government?s gusto of going overboard to woo Muslims
by allocating 15 per cent of funds during the 11th plan period
exclusively for minorities is indicative of its communal mindset that
is hellbent upon dividing India along religious lines.

The UPA government?s congenital tendency to succumb before the
minority separatism may run the risk of undoing the national
integration. It does not need an awful lot of imagination to surmise
that its coddling of India?s largest minority is in pursuit of its
vote bank politics. This is of a piece with the party?s absurd and
perverse practice of embarking on a path of dividing the country along
communal lines for acquiring power.

Notwithstanding its abstract homilies on secularism, the Congress has
always aimed at erecting barriers between the different communities
rather than trying to break them down. Indeed, the brand of secularism
flaunted by the party is very much flawed. By separating Muslim issues
from the rest of the populace, it is only treading the familiar ground
of identity politics, that forms the core of its survival.

The single-minded Congress focus on Muslim votes that makes it to
pursue a partisan course is giving airs to the speculation that the
ruling party cares only for minority concerns in the garb of
secularism. The UPA?s penchant for politics of appeasement is
increasingly becoming a hallmark of its governance. By injecting the
communal virus in almost all spheres of our national concern, the
ruling regime seems eager to create a separate electorate and
categorise society along religious identities. Resorting to blatant
appeasement the Congress is only giving succour to divisive forces
besides antagonising the numerically dominant community. It has
redefined secularism with its full-time attention on minority votes.
Moreover, the Congress leaders in their abhorrent zeal to placate
minorities seem to have forgotten that all Indians, irrespective of
their caste, creed or religions, have an equal stake in the national
well being. Of course, this is not to suggest that under class of
Muslims is to be kept out of the ambit of development. But it is
important for a vibrant democracy that every single person,
irrespective of religions has equal claim on the national resources.
Remaining stuck in the quagmire of communal quotas will only further
divide the nation.

In the past too, the Congress-led UPA government had meted out special
treatment to Muslims as a matter of state policy. Muslims have indeed
been perceived as potential vote banks right from the rule of Indira
Gandhi in whose regime Haj subsidies were announced. It is noteworthy
that no other religious community in India has been favoured with such
a sop. It was also her singular love for Muslim empowerment that made
her install Muslim chief ministers like Abdul Gafoor in Bihar, A.R.
Antulay in Maharashtra, Maimoona Taimur in Assam and Barkatullah in
Rajasthan continuing with this policy of crass minorityism, Rajiv
Gandhi overturned the Supreme Court judgement on the issue of
maintenance to Muslims divorcee Shah Bano. Later, shedding all
pretences of secularism the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh opened a
pandora?s box by playing directly to the gallery of Muslim voters with
his emphasis on minority development, particularly the Muslims in his
address to the National Development Council in December 2006. The
party has had the gumption to aggressively woo Muslims right from the
time it came to power in 2004. Its wholehearted exertions towards
reserving jobs and educational quotas for Muslims, attempts of
dividing army on communal lines, communalising banking and financial
institutions, protecting illegal Bangladeshi migrants, including a
Muslim League MP in the Union Council of Ministers, exonerating the
perpetrators of Godhra carnage are only some of the shameful acts
indulged in by the Congress-led UPA government which project it as
crude and outright communal. Even the former President Shri A.P.J.
Abdul Kalam has criticised the government-sponsored subsidies by
saying that ?dependency syndrome has stunted performance and
diminished transparency?.

It is quite ironical that when Congress and its pseudo-secularist
allies talk of ?Muslims First? policy, it is flaunted as social
justice and secularism. But when the BJP espouses the cause of a Ram
temple at Ayodhya, it is labelled as a divisive and communal outfit.
On the flip side, the UPA government doubts the authenticity of Ram
Sethu casting aspersions on the existence of Lord Ram. But on the
other side many of its leaders can be seen queuing up at Ram lila
performances for photo ops.

The UPA obsession with Muslim appeasement again came to the fore with
its undue focus on divisive issues like communal budgeting and plan
allocation. In pursuance of its wanton policy, the government has
shown undue haste in assuring grants to madrasas promoting Urdu and
reservation in various ministries. During the rule of UPA, Haj subsidy
has grown 200 times. It seems that the government has got itself so
much involved in the politics of appeasement, even to the exclusion of
other social, political and constitutional responsibilities.

Earlier, it was the British who planned a communal divide to meet
their political objectives. Now, history is repeating itself with the
Congress-led UPA taking help of the same divide-and-rule policy in
furthering of its goal.

Now, under the UPA dispensation, where secularism is synonymous with
Hindu bashing, the propagandists of the ruling regime give impetus to
separatism. There is an unconstitutional and unethical bias when it
comes to the rights of the majority community. In fact, it has been
since the time of Mughals a millennium ago that Hindus have been
discriminated against. It seems the time has come for a rehash of the
period when Hindus were treated badly. Their temples were looted as
well as zajia was levied upon them. This regime is also not so much
different from the earlier one. For instance, temple donations are
siphoned for the upkeep of Muslim religions places. Hard-earned money
of tax-payers is being squandered at the altar of Congress?s obnoxious
vote bank politics.

(The writer is senior editor with Kashur Gazette, Delhi.)


January 21, 2008

A separate growth
Aiding communalism with Plan Fund
By R. Balashankar

This Organiser Special on Republic Day is dedicated to national

The idea is to fight communalism. The UPA Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh has communalised the polity with his cynical Muslim first plank.
He introduced an obnoxious 15-point programme for Muslims and reserved
15 per cent of the 11th Plan Fund for minorities along with religion-
specific banking, budgeting and education.

In the following pages our expert analysts will show how the UPA plan
divides and discriminates the people of this country and how the
initiatives the ruling conglomerate has undertaken are akin to the 14-
point demands of the pre-1947 Muslim League. We want to forewarn the
nation through this exercise how in the guise of secularism the
national government has become a tool in the hands of destructive and
divisive elements and how it has acquired an unprecedented anti-Hindu
agenda. Secularism, to begin with, was a positive, almost indulgent
rhetoric under Jawaharlal Nehru; understandable in the aftermath of
Partition for which the League and its supporters in India were
responsible. Under Indira Gandhi it became vote bank politics. Rajiv
Gandhi and his successors made it appeasement. Under the UPA,
secularism is interpreted as brazenly anti-Hindu to the extent of
denigrating Hindu ideals becoming state policy.

In one of the most significant books written on minority problem in
India, Indian Muslims: Where Have They Gone Wrong?, Dr. Rafiq Zakaria
says, ?The British got, naturally, worried and they did whatever they
could to disrupt that (Hindu-Muslim) unity. They engineered riots,
they played politics by giving separate electorate to the Muslims,
they devised various methods both political and social?to keep the two
communities apart. They dangled grants and concessions alternately to
both the religious groups. Ultimately they saw to it that the country
was divided, through the distrust that they had so assiduously built
up between the two over the decades. To perpetuate their rule, they
followed the Roman policy of ?Divide and Rule?. But as Maulana
Mohammad Ali rightly put it: ?We divided and they ruled.? The blame
rests as much on our joint leadership as on the British; however in
the last stage it was Jinnah?s obduracy which struck the final blow to
our unity.? The UPA under Sonia Gandhi is playing the role of the
British, to divide and rule.

The historic parallels are strikingly similiar and ominous. Take this
instance, ?Before he opted for Pakistan, Muslim League leader
(Shaheed) Suhrawardy had decided to stay in India and lead the Bengal
Muslims in India. His letter to (Chaudhary) Khaliquzzaman on September
10, 1947, was eloquent and made interesting reading. He was faced with
the dilemma that unless Muslims derived their strength on account of
group solidarity they would not be respected by the Hindus. At the
same time solidarity and strength would raise suspicion about their
bona fides. Hence he suggested formation of strong Muslim pockets
dotted all over the country. His other alternative that both India and
Pakistan should strive to destroy the complex of superiority of their
majority populations and they should accept their minorities as their
own was a cry in the wilderness so far as Pakistan was concerned.?
(Islam: In India?s Transition to Modernity by M.A. Karandikar, Page

Manmohan Singh seems to have entirely adopted Suhrawardy?s advice in
the last four years as Prime Minister.

The central government has identified 90 districts in the country as
minority concentrated for special development plans. An intriguing
aspect of this idea is that known Muslim-majority districts say in UP,
Assam, West Bengal, J&K or Kerala are not included in the select 90
list. It is said that altogether the Congress is thus focusing on
nearly 250 Lok Sabha constituencies for doling out excessive
privileges and central funds so as to develop them as captive pocket
boroughs. This may or may not work but the damage to the national
fabric is intrinsic.

In a similar instance, the centre has a plan to make minority students
reap benefits of dual scholarships which is not normally allowed in
the case of non-Muslim students. According to a plan announced by the
UPA in December 2007 Muslim students can avail scholarships
simultaneously from the Ministry of Minority Affairs and the Ministry
of Social Justice and Empowerment. This is under a 15-point programme
of the Prime Minister meant only for Muslims.

The Minority Affairs Ministry will distribute Rs 100 crore annually
for scholarships for Muslim students. This will run parallel to the
initiatives of other ministries targeted for the Muslims under the PM?
s new programme. The result is, the same set of people getting
pampered through numerous sources. A report said that 3,200 students
will get this benefit in the current academic year. The UPA followed
it up with reservations in educational institutions and recruitment.
It made an unsuccessful attempt to divide the Indian Army on communal
lines. All this is supposedly to empower the Muslims.

The UPA asked the banks and other financial institutions to have
special provisions for interest-free loans for Muslims along with a
package for 15 lakh special scholarships for Muslim students. The
Prime Minister has announced another programme to offer free coaching
for Muslim students preparing for the competitive examinations, for
which parents cough up lakhs. In the centrally funded Aligarh and
Jamia Milia Universities almost the entire seats and jobs are reserved
for this community.

Through a Constitution amendment, the UPA reserved majority seats in
all the non-aided educational institutions for the minority
communities setting them free from giving reservation quota for the
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. But this benefit is not
available to Hindu-run self-financing institutions. This is a blatant
discrimination that will make these institutions financially unviable
and covertly promote religious conversions.

Under the UPA, Muslims need not follow any rule that is compulsory for
other citizens. They need not sing Saraswati Vandana or Vande Mataram
though there is nothing religious about it. There is no need to salute
the national flag or sing the national anthem. They need not register
marriages. In the event of terror attacks?nearly 6,000 people have
been killed in the last four years?there will be no combing operations
in Muslim localities. Not a single terror attack has been solved
during this period.

And now comes the permanent scourge in the form of communal budgeting
and plan allocation. All these are over and above the existing schemes
in the Departments of Social Welfare, Education etc. for promotion of
madrasas, Urdu, and reservation in various ministries for removing
backwardness. The UPA has also created a separate ministry for
minorities, now presided over by A.R. Antulay, a crude practitioner of
minority politics. During the four-year UPA rule, the Haj subsidy has
grown 200 times! The Muslims? ?right first to the national resources?,
as Manmohan Singh coined his absurdly ruinous idea, has become the
only existential agenda of this government. Should the majority Hindus
take this nonsense in stoic silence? Should not we get up and stop
this outrage on national security? This is worse than the regenerate
Wahabism introduced by Mahathir in Malaysia.

Manmohan Singh has no use for the more enlightened views of Jawaharlal
Nehru, who as India?s first Prime Minister laid the foundations of
Indian planning.

Calling planning the first attempt in India to integrate agriculture,
industrial, social, economic and other aspects of the country into a ?
single framework of thinking? in his speech on first draft five-year
plan, Nehru said, ?It has made people think of this country as whole.
I think it is most essential that India, which is united politically
and in many other ways, should, to the same extent, be united mentally
and emotionally also. We often go off at a tangent on grounds of
provincialism, communalism, religion or caste. We have no emotional
awareness of the unity of the country. Planning will help us in having
an emotional awareness of our problems as a whole. It will help us to
see the isolated problems in villages or districts or even provinces
in their larger context. Therefore, the mere act of planning, the mere
act of having approached the question of progress in this way and of
producing a report of this type is something on which we might, I
think, congratulate ourselves.?

Again, in a speech Laying the Foundations (Broadcast from the Delhi
Station of All India Radio, December 31, 1952), Nehru after a visit to
Kanyakumari said, ?From that southern tip of India, I pictured this
great country spread out before me right up to the Himalayas in the
north and thought of her long and chequered story. Ours is a wonderful
inheritance but how shall we keep it? How shall we serve the country
which has given us so much and make her great and strong?...?

?We look at our own country and find both good and ill, powerful
forces at work to build her and also forces, which would disrupt and
disintegrate her. We cannot do much to affect the destiny of this
world as a whole but surely we can make a brave attempt to mould the
destiny of our 360 (then) million people... In India, the first
essential is the maintenance of the unity of the country, not merely a
political unity but a unity of the mind and the heart, which precludes
the narrow urges that make for disunity and which breaks down the
barriers raised in the name of religion or those between State and
State or, for that matter, any other barrier. We must aim at a
classless society,? Nehru said. He added, ?Of course, you must plan
for everybody. No planning which is not for all is good enough. You
must always have that view before you and you must prepare the
foundations for the next step towards the final goal. And so, you
ultimately start a process which grows by itself.? Economic Democracy
(Speech in Parliament, New Delhi, December 15, 1952, Jawaharlal Nehru?
s Speeches: 1949-1953, published by The Publications Division,
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India)

I have quoted Nehru on Planning, only to underline how flawed Manmohan
Singh?s approach is.

There is an interesting survey taken up by the Left leaning socio-
scientific NGO Shastra Sahitya Parishad. Kerala: How it lives, How it
thinks, released in December 2006. According to the survey, it is not
minority Muslims or Christians but Hindus comprising 54.47 per cent of
Kerala?s 3.2 crore population who are at the economic downslide. The
survey, by the Marxist NGO, says Hindus in the state form the major
chunk of the state?s poor with over 39 lakh living below poverty line.
Condition of Hindus is worse than that of Christians and Muslims in
employment, land holding and income. And the survey says the condition
of so-called forward castes is more pathetic than that of the backward
caste Hindus.

In March 2007, the CPM released a Charter of Demands for the
Advancement of Muslim Community. A dangerous document reminiscent of
the Muslim League demands under Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Apart from
focusing on a communal quota for Dalit Muslims?a term that violates
the basic tenet of Islam, which professes equality of all members of
the faith?the charter demands introducing a sub-plan only for Muslims
for allocating separate development funds on communal lines. The party
was not satisfied with the 2007-08 budget allocation of Rs. 500 crore
for Muslim welfare. The wholesale adoption of the Sachar report by the
CPM appears ridiculous considering the abysmal record of the party in
Kerala and West Bengal in the social uplift of the Muslim community,
as underlined in the report. But the CPM?s Muslim courtship in Kerala
is so brazen that it has left the Muslim League way behind in communal
appeal. The Muslim League is being asked to prove its pro-Muslim
character by more zealous outfits ensconced under the CPM perch.

Encouraged by the indulgence of the UPA, Muslim outfits organised a
procession in the capital in March 2007 demanding state-wise quotas in
proportion to their population. Almost all the known Muslim
organisations came on one platform to seek full implementation of
religion-based reservation in jobs, education and growth fund
allocation all over the country. The UPA and the Sachar report have
clearly uncorked the jinn of pre-Partition communal virus.

The UPA has cynically injected a vicious brand of communalism in the
Indian polity with the hope that en bloc Muslim votes will permanently
become its captive preserve. The insincerity and dishonesty of this
Muslim appeasement is underlined by the poor record of its
implementation. On ameliorating the genuine grievances of the Muslims
both the Congress and the Communist-ruled states project a dubious
record. Similar is the sub-text written by more virulent votaries of
vote bank politics like Mulayam Singh and Lalu Prasad Yadav.

On the report of the Sachar Committee, the Prime Minister is again
working on reservations based on religion. This is ultra vires and
goes against every tenet of the Constitution. The Constitution does
not allow this kind of discrimination on caste or religious lines. A
constitutionally formed government is duty bound to treat everybody
equal on legal and policy issues.

Even by Congress standards Manmohan Singh?s prime ministership has
touched a new low. Earlier our prime ministers used to exhort the
countrymen to rise above caste, region and religion and be Indians
first and everything else afterwards. Here is a Prime Minister who
works overtime to violate the letter and spirit of the Constitution to
divide and discriminate the countrymen on communal lines. And he, like
his party, by no means appears contrite over such dangerous
perversion. His government is aggressively working towards a
polarisation of votes by pursuing a policy of minorityism, encouraging
social tension and disquiet. Had the Congress been really sincere
about uplifting the minorities or ameliorating their lot, it would not
have resorted to such tactless exhibitionism and poisonous promotion
of reactionary ideas.

On the Republic Day, 58 years after India became a secular democratic
republic, we are inquiring as to how will this politics of appeasement
affect national unity? Will it create contrived and bogus grievances
deepening divisions in the society or will it strengthen our sense of
oneness and belonging? The politics of appeasement started by the
Congress under Mahatma Gandhi in the early 1920s, resulted in the
country?s vivisection. The tragic history is not forgotten. The wounds
of Partition have not yet fully healed. But the UPA has embarked on a
course that mocks at those who talk about national integration. They
are not taking a calculated risk. The UPA is schemingly provoking a
divide through dubious machinations.

The Planning Commission reports say that at least 26 per cent of India?

population is living below poverty line. If emancipation of this
deprived segment is the priority why talk only of 13 per cent Muslims,
all of whom in any case are not below poverty line? As such, learned
maulanas of Muslim Personal Law Board have decreed that Muslims cannot
take to banking or insurance, polio drops or yoga classes, as these
militate against their religious dogmas.

The Sachar Committee claims that only three per cent of Muslim
children go to madrasas. The evolutionary volume was an attempt to
tell social scientists that the ?Missing Muslim? in jobs was not the
result of madrasa education. Sachar was trying to emphasise on a
chimera of conspiracy against Muslims for their backwardness. At
another place the report stated that the condition of Muslims is worse
than that of Dalits.

The notorious record of the UPA government is that it sees citizens as
communal compartments. By introducing the Sachar Committee and
Ranganath Mishra Commission to devise communal quota, by soft-pedaling
on terrorist outfits, indulging the Maoists by politicising internal
security and Islamising the foreign policy the UPA has created a
cantankerous mess of governance. Even its much-hyped Indo-US nuke deal
is in doldrums. The UPA gives the impression that it is working on an
agenda for national disintegration.

A valuable input in the debate came from Bibek Debroy, a well-known
economist. In his column in The Indian Express (June 12, 2007), Debroy
made an interesting observation. He said, ?A 21st century government
should recognise deprivation as an individual issue and defuse
collective tension based on caste or religion. Wherever there is an
attempt to segregate, mainstreaming never occurs and deprivation
becomes permanent. Contrast economic development in special category
Articles 370 and 371 states with Goa? Caste and religion are
attributes that should remain in the private domain, irrelevant for
public policy purposes. What should be relevant for policy is
deprivation based on class. Government permitting that is precisely
what should have happened?But governments won?t permit and will
intervene to encourage this collective caste-cum-religious identity. ?
It is a mindset that the UPA government has encouraged across the

The National Sample Survey undertook a study and concluded in June
last year that jobless rate among Hindus and Muslims is almost equal.
The Survey said that the Worker Population Ratio (WPR) for the male in
the age group of 15 and above in the educational level in urban India
among the Hindus and Muslims was equal at 71 per cent followed by
Christians at 64 per cent. Outside the education parameter in urban
India, the Survey says, the worker population ratio among the Hindu
male was barely three per cent higher than that for the Muslims at 56
per cent. This was 51 per cent for Christians. This data was released
by the NSSO under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme
Implementation for the year 2004-05. And this has exposed the bluff
that far more Muslims were unemployed than the Hindus. If this Survey
is any guide then it should be considered a big setback for the
advocates of more religion-based reservations as part of the so-called
affirmative action. The Survey said that the unemployment rate in
urban areas for both the Hindus and the Muslims was the same at four
per cent. This Survey revealed that both in urban and rural areas
there was only a negligible difference in the literacy rate of the two
communities. This revelation explodes the basis of the UPA-sponsored
vote bank quota politics and brings us back to what we said in the
beginning that deprivation has nothing to do with caste or religion in
the present milieu of globalisation, growth and urbanisation. The
allegations of rising income and wealth disparities between different
castes or religious groups?except for Scheduled Tribes who live in
concentrated blocks?has not been proved by any rational survey. But
who cares for facts, since politics in India is all about myth

The UPA has done nothing to encourage national integration. Its
actions are so communally charged that it has refused to give
protection to Taslima Nasreen, even after she deleted all the
objectionable passages from her book, only to please the perverted
fanatics in her community. This might be the first instance in Indian
history that the country has turned its back on an asylum-seeker, who
was hounded out of her country, who was forced by her own hosts in
West Bengal to vacate her second home and has no other place to go.
But the UPA protects and felicitates M.F. Husain about whose
despicable, blasphemous cartoons Hindus have serious objection.

It seems there is no bottom to the depth to which the UPA can sink in
furthering its goal. It has communalised budgeting; it has
communalised banking and financial institutions; it tried even to
communalise the armed forces. It has vitiated the academia spreading
the venom of casteism and communalism and now it is out to destroy the
country by identifying districts as Muslim majority and pampering them
to promote communal segregation. It is bent on dividing the police
force as Hindu, Muslim and Christian, and nobody knows what else
remains to be fragmented on communal lines. Some more aggressively
lunatic in its ranks have even suggested to introduce a communal quota
in the judiciary as well and appoint judges after fixing their
religion tag. Is there any guarantee that people who get their
position only on their religious identity will behave impartially in
their execution of duty? And what will happen to the faith of the
citizens in the system and its commitment to delivering justice? What
will happen to this country once the people lose all hope of fair play
and fair deal under these votaries of fake secularism?

What is the BPL criterion? Those who earn above Rs 12 per day. But
what about the lucky above BPL people? According to the report of
National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS),
394.9 million workers, i.e. 80 per cent of India?s working population,
are in the unorganised sector and 80 per cent of them are among those
who live on less than Rs 20 a day. These are real poor and vulnerable,
the report says. We quote this statistics to show that poverty has
nothing to do with religion. And that politics should be about
marrying policies with the people.

A conservative estimate, supported by all empirical data, gives us a
statistics of almost 30 to 35 per cent of India?s population living in
subhuman conditions. This is not a comforting thought in the 61st year
of Independence. And to know that our political class has only
archaic, time warped ideas for giving opportunity to the less
privileged is a sad commentary.

The UPA as part of its poll-oriented thinking has constituted an equal
rights panel to ensure Muslim representation level. How myopic can the
ruling class get! In a country with over 35 per cent poor to have an
equal rights panel only for the 15 per cent minorities! Does the
government have no responsibility to the rest of the population?

If there is any poor, deprived in the country, it is the Hindu. His
land was taken away, his homes and temples were looted for centuries,
he was made to pay jazia, an oppression tax of slavery, for almost 800
years, for that long the Muslims and for another 150 years Christians
ruled this country. How can the ruling class till 1947, become
deprived needing special affirmative action? It is only the Hindu who
has some claim to a special treatment. And Pakistan was created, after
the bloodiest-ever holocaust in history, to pamper the Muslims. Every
corner of the country where Hindu is in minority is in the grip of
insurgency and terrorism. A convincing Hindu majority is the only
guarantee for the territorial integrity of this country. And by
artificially identifying 90 Muslim-majority districts is Manmohan
Singh trying to lay the foundation for another partition?

The Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has the gumption to claim that
this will not divide the society. It is not entirely surprising, only
God knows what more disastrous plans he has in mind to divide the
society further, that he thinks all that he has done so far is not

There is no economic or literacy backwardness that is exclusive to one
community. Yes, social and religious attitudes can ghettoize a
community. For that the state cannot do much.


January31, 2010
From Sachar to Ranganath Misra
A period of minority assertion, Hindu subjugation
By Dr JK Bajaj

"The High Level Committee on Social, Economic and Educational Status
of Muslim Community in India" set up in 2005 under the chairmanship of
Justice Rajinder Sachar by the Prime Minister, commonly known as the
Sachar Committee, was perhaps the most high powered of such bodies. It
made a comprehensive survey of the status of Muslims in almost all
fields of Indian economy, polity and society.

The six years of UPA rule have been a period of minority assertion.
During this period, the Government of India has assiduously sought to
promote the idea that Christian and Muslim minorities have special
rights and claims on Indian polity, which this government is committed
to honour. The Prime Minister of India himself has gone on record to
state that the minorities have the first right on the resources of
this country, and there have been statements from high governmental
and political authorities expressing the same intent.

These statements of intentions have been backed by institutional and
budgetary actions in favour of the minorities. A separate Ministry of
Minority Affairs has been created to specifically concern itself with
the rights and privileges of the minorities. And, a number of
commissions and committees have been set up to report on the condition
of minorities, and to suggest constitutional, legal, administrative
and fiscal arrangements to give effect to their special privileges and

"The High Level Committee on Social, Economic and Educational Status
of Muslim Community in India" set up in 2005 under the chairmanship of
Justice Rajinder Sachar by the Prime Minister, commonly known as the
Sachar Committee, was perhaps the most high powered of such bodies. It
made a comprehensive survey of the status of Muslims in almost all
fields of Indian economy, polity and society. The data collected by
the Committee did not show the Muslims to be particularly badly off in
any field. On the other hand, the data indicated a resurgent Muslim
community that was growing fast not only in numbers, but also in its
educational, economic and social status. The Committee, in any case,
went on to give wide-ranging recommendations for institutional and
economic arrangements to be made in favour of the Muslim community.
The Committee, in particular, recommended special treatment for
Muslims in all government schemes. It even recommended special
consideration for Muslims in the matter of disbursement of bank

Even before the Committee gave its report, the government had launched
a "New 15-Point Programme for the Welfare of the Minorities"; this was
a comprehensive programme for providing special privileges and rights
to the minorities in various walks of Indian polity and economy, for
creating and strengthening special institutional structures and
providing budgetary support for this purpose. The recommendations of
the Sachar Committee were then used for further empowering these
institutional structures and launching new programmes and initiatives
in favour of the minorities in general, and the Muslim minority in

The Sachar Committee, however, stopped short of recommending
reservations for Muslims in government jobs or in educational
institutions. The Report of the National Commission for Religious and
Linguistic Minorities, which has been recently released, has now
addressed that lacuna. This commission was set up in the Ministry of
Minority Affairs as early as October 2004 under the Chairmanship of
Justice Ranganath Misra. Dr. Tahir Mahmood, Dr. Anil Wilson and Dr.
Mohinder Singh were the other three Members. The Commission submitted
its report in May 2007, but it was made public only during the last
session of the Parliament.

In its report, the Commission has ventured where Justice Sachar had
hesitated to step. It has recommended an across the board 15 per cent
reservation for minorities in all government jobs and educational
institutions. Within this minority quota, the Commission has fixed a
sub-quota of 10 per cent for the Muslims and the remaining 5 per cent
for other minorities. In an extraordinary recommendation, the
Commission has specified that in case the quota for Muslims cannot be
filled for lack of appropriate candidates, it shall be offered to
candidates from other minorities, "but in no case shall any seat
within the recommended 15 per cent shall go the majority community".
The Commission has further clarified that this 15 per cent quota shall
be in addition to what the minority candidates secure on their own
merit in open competition.

The recommendations, if implemented, shall ensure that minorities have
a presence of more than 15 per cent in all walks of Indian public
life. According to the Commission’s own assessment, the educational
and economic status of all minorities excepting the Muslims is
considerably better than the majority. They are therefore likely to
get a substantial share in government jobs and educational
institutions on their own merit, as they do even now. The total share
of minority communities shall therefore turn out to be considerably
more than 15 per cent. From the way the recommendations are
formulated, the intention of the Commission seems to be to ensure that
the religious minorities as a whole have a larger say and share than
their numbers alone would allow.

The tone and tenor of the reports of both the Sachar Committee and the
Misra Commission are not merely to provide special privileges and
rights to the minorities, but also to disprivilege the majority. Both
reports revel in casting unfounded aspersions and making snide remarks
against the majority community. Sachar Committee, in fact, suggests
that it does not really matter whether Muslims or some other community
come to form the majority in India. Misra Commission wants to now
ensure that until the minorities do not become the majority, they
should enjoy a major share in the polity.

Incidentally, the proposal of 15 percent reservation in favour of
religious minorities seems odd in the context of the arguments that
the Ranganath Misra Commission has developed throughout the report.
The thrust of their argument is that reservations on the basis of
religious or caste identity are not justifiable. India should instead
have family-based reservations, and the families qualifying for such
reservations should be identified on the basis of thorough detailed
surveys based on well defined economic and educational criteria.
However, while formulating its recommendations, the Commission
suddenly terms this as the ultimate goal, and meanwhile recommends the
15 per cent reservation for religious minorities. This makes the
recommendations almost sound like a command performance.

The Commission has made another recommendation which, if accepted, has
the potential of drastically changing the religious complexion of
India. Giving its recommendations on an additional reference made by
the government, the Commission has recommended that the Presidential
Order of 1950, which excludes Muslims and Christians from the category
of Scheduled Castes, should be amended to de-link the Scheduled Caste
status from religion. The argument in this case is that the
Constitution "prohibits any discrimination on the ground of religion".
It is strange that a high judicial person can make one set of
recommendations on the basis of religion, and almost the next
paragraph invoke the principle on non-discrimination on the basis of

The effect of these contradictory recommendations is that those of the
Scheduled Caste persons who choose to convert to a minority religion
shall now be doubly privileged, first as members of minority religions
for which the Commission has recommended 15 per cent quota, and then
as members of the scheduled castes, for whom special constitutional
protection and quotas are available. An immediate consequence of the
acceptance of this recommendation would probably be to allow the so-
called crypto-Christians to formally declare themselves as Christians
and thus raise the proportion of Christians from the present 2.5 to
perhaps around 6.5 per cent.

Fortunately, the Member-Secretary of the Commission, Mrs. Asha Das,
has not consented to this particular recommendation and has appended a
dissenting note. The note, among other things, insists that there is a
difference between religions of Indian origin, and religions like
Islam and Christianity that have originated outside. And, therefore,
the privileges offered to Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist Scheduled
Caste persons cannot be extended to Muslims and Christians. It must be
seen as an unintended benefit of Ranganath Misra Commission Report
that the question of religions of Indian and non-Indian origin has
been now mentioned in an official document. It is also fortunate that
the National Commission on Scheduled Castes, headed by Buta Singh,
formally opposed the recommendation of the Ranganath Misra Commission
to allow members of the Christian and Muslim communities to claim
scheduled caste status.

It seems these detailed reports of various commissions and committees
do bring into the open some important facets of the situation of
minorities. The enormous data collected by the Sachar committee
brought into focus the great strides the Muslim community has made in
terms of sheer numbers, and in terms of educational and economic
attainments during the last two or three decades. Before the Sachar
Committee Report how many of us knew that female literacy amongst
Muslims is higher than Hindus in more than half of the Indian states?
And, that the Muslims are also economically much better of than Hindus
in those states. Ranganath Misra Commission Report has brought into
the open the question of difference between religions of Indian and
non-Indian origin. The report has underlined the fact that even high
government authorities cannot agree on this issue. Let us carry
forward the debates opened up by Justices Sachar and Misra.

(The writer is director, Centre for Policy Studies and can be
contacted at ***@gmail.com)


January 21, 2008
Manmohan obsessed with insidious identity politics
By Sandhya Jain

Muslim political assertion will impact upon all political parties
prone to relying upon the community for a consolidated vote share. The
CPM is already feeling the heat on this score in West Bengal;
observers say events in Nandigram contained an unstated component of
Muslim assertion for power within the hitherto bhadralok-dominated
party. In this connection, it may be pertinent to recall that
following Partition, the Muslim community voted en masse for the
Congress Party.

Fortunately, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes nipped one
UPA mischief in the bud by refusing to endorse the May 15, 2007
recommendations of the National Commission for Religious and
Linguistic Minorities that Scheduled Caste status be extended to ?
Dalit Christians? and ?Dalit Muslims?. NCSC chairman Buta Singh
resisted the move by Justice Ranganath Mishra to amend the
Constitution (SCs) Order, 1950, which restricted SC status to groups
among Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists.

The proposal by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA)
government to allocate 15 per cent funds of development and welfare
schemes exclusively for minorities has triggered nationwide
resentment. In the interests of its own political survival, the
Congress Party would do well to rethink its tendency to nurture
communal vote banks as these are beginning to face the law of
diminishing returns.

Most politicians have short memories. Hence it will be in order to
briefly recall the 2004 Assembly election in Assam, where a new Muslim
political party, the Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF), startled
the nation with its performance. Muslims comprise 30 per cent of Assam?
s 26 million population and play a decisive role in nearly 40
constituencies that have hitherto been traditionally won by Congress.

Floated by wealthy businessman Badruddin Ajmal, AUDF contested on a
platform of safeguarding Muslim interests ?without closing the doors
to other communities?. It had an electoral understanding with the
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and gave tickets to Hindus. It
contested 66 of the 126 Assembly seats and won an impressive 10?a
greater achievement than the four seats that heralded the arrival of
the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh in the early 1980s.

The Assam election is worth recalling because though Congress managed
to form the government, Muslim religious leaders campaigning for AUDF
revealed it was the first step in a long-term vision of establishing a
pan-India Muslim political party. One has only to recall that the last
Muslim pan-India formation was the Muslim League to envisage the
possible consequences for the Republic. The comparison with the BSP is
also apt, because like Ms. Mayawati, Muslim parties will also eat into
the Congress vote share and further fragment the polity.

In fact, Muslim political assertion will impact upon all political
parties prone to relying upon the community for a consolidated vote
share. The CPM is already feeling the heat on this score in West
Bengal; observers say events in Nandigram contained an unstated
component of Muslim assertion for power within the hitherto bhadralok-
dominated party. In this connection, it may be pertinent to recall
that following Partition, the Muslim community voted en masse for the
Congress party. After consolidating their separate identity, they
united against the Congress in 1967 and brought the CPM to power.
Nandigram is the beginning of the challenge to CPM hegemony in West
Bengal. As the Hindu community looks for a new saviour, the BJP would
do well do rebuild an independent identity in the State, and not latch
on to the tails of the highly unreliable Mamata Banerjee.

Muslim leaders, both religious and political, are canny enough to
recognise that the Muslim community will remain educationally and
socially backward so long as it persists with the traditional system
of education in the madrasa. It is true that this does not necessarily
translate into economic backwardness, because Muslims largely hail
from artisan and other professional groups that manage to make a
comfortable living without formal education, as is true of similar
Hindu caste groups. But it cannot be denied that this education tends
to reinforce separateness and over-emphasise their religious

The UPA has erred grievously in creating a separate Ministry for
Minority Affairs. Since as many as 28 per cent of Indians live below
the poverty line, there was no legitimate basis for Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh to state that Muslims have the first claim on
resources, and to follow this up with the Eleventh Plan draft document
setting aside 15 per cent of all developmental and welfare funds for
minorities. It may be added that as in the debate over creamy layer in
caste quotas, so also, the minority quota will not differentiate
between needy and rich Muslims, and may thus end up cornered by
families with political clout or physical muscle. This is already
happening as banks have received instructions to grant loans first to
Muslim applicants; banks will naturally ensure that the recipient of
loans have some financial standing as that the loans can be repaid.

Hindus as a community will have to pay the price of this mindless
pandering to the Muslim community. Sadly, among political parties,
only the BJP has dared oppose these moves, with president Rajnath
Singh warning that this will intensify communal competitiveness and
strife. There is a legitimate fear that the UPA?s special 15-point
programme for minorities in the Eleventh Plan draft paper may trigger
competitive communal demands for budgetary allocations in all states.
It can also lead to caste-based demands for resource allocation, thus
destroying the traditional holistic approach to national development.

The BJP states roundly opposed ?communal budgeting? at the National
Development Council meeting in December 2007. Fearing social strife,
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi suggested that funds for various
schemes and programmes be allocated solely on the basis of socio-
economic criteria and execution entrusted to the States. Madhya
Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Chhattisgarh Chief
Minister Dr Raman Singh insisted that rather than caste or religion,
economic criteria alone determine allocation of funds for welfare
schemes. As economic deprivation is a quantifiable and objective
criteria, not prone to political manipulation, it would be worthwhile
if political parties could sit across the table and opt for economic
criteria over caste and community wherever there is a legitimate case
for special reservations or allocations.

Fortunately, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes nipped one
UPA mischief in the bud by refusing to endorse the May 15, 2007
recommendations of the National Commission for Religious and
Linguistic Minorities that Scheduled Caste status be extended to ?
Dalit Christians? and ?Dalit Muslims?. NCSC chairman Buta Singh
resisted the move by Justice Ranganath Mishra to amend the
Constitution (SCs) Order, 1950, which restricted SC status to groups
among Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists.

Shri Buta Singh candidly asserted that the basic parameter for
recognition as Scheduled Caste was ?untouchability?, which does not
exist in the theology of Christianity and Islam. Thus, the UPA will
not be able to poach upon the constitutional benefits for Hindu SCs
and extend them to Christian and Muslim converts. It is well known
that the recent violence in Kandhamal, Orissa, was caused by a
perverse attempt by converted groups to grab Scheduled Tribe quotas by
forcing the administration to give them ST certificates to which they
are not legally entitled.

(The writer is a senior journalist and can be contacted at


March 25, 2007
A chargesheet
Hindus betraying Hindus

By O.P. Gupta, I.F.S. (retd.)

It is painful to see how a class of ?secular, progressive and liberal?
Hindu politicians right from the days of the 1916 Congress-Muslim
League Lucknow Pact till date in the form of the Sachar Committee
report has been systematically collaborating with Muslim and other
minority politicians in concocting justifications to reduce, bit by
bit, the educational, employment and economic (E3) opportunities for
Hindu boys and girls, including leftist Hindu boys and girls.

Religious minority institutions have been empowered by none other than
our ?secular? Hindu politicians to treat Hindu applicants as second-
class citizens of India at the mercy, whims and fancies of ?minority
managements? even where these institutions receive under Article 30(2)
state grants out of taxes largely collected from we Hindus.

As the political parties in their manifestos openly declare that they
will give special considerations to Muslims and Christians, they
cannot be accused of betraying Hindu youth. Those Hindu parents who
give their votes blindly to such political parties are the real ones
who by casting their votes to such parties accept in principle that
minority students be given special preference over their own children
and, thus, unknowingly, end up betraying their own children,
grandchildren and the Hindu youth.

It is painful to see how Hindu parents are being media managed to harm
and hurt educational, employment, economic and business opportunities
of their own children and grandchildren by giving their notes and
votes to such political parties which shout from their political
rooftops that they will give special preferences to Muslims and
Christians over Hindus.

Since the employment situation is worsening day by day, it is
important that those Hindu parents who have college going children or
grand children, and, those Hindu youth who will soon be entering into
employment market seriously look for and identify those Hindu
politicians who are bent upon to reduce their E3 space.

In January 2007, the Department of Personnel and Training, Government
of India, sent a note to all ?heads of departments, public sector
banks and financial institutions, quasi-government organisa-tions,
autonomous bodies and all appointing authorities,? asking them to ?
scrupulously observe? guidelines to make selection panels more
representative. All selection panels recruiting ten or more vacancies
must have one member belonging to a minority community.

What is more important, the departments have been instructed to submit
half-yearly and annual reports, beginning March 2007, detailing number
of vacancies at all levels?Groups A, B, C and D?and the number of
minorities hired. Dr Manmohan Singh is the Minister for DOPT. This
circular instructs to give special considerations to minorities in all
appointments, so danger bell is ringing loud and clear for all Hindu
job-seekers whether they are leftists or rightists that despite their
better profiles percentage of Hindu intake will be reduced adversely
affecting them all.

A one man Commission headed by Justice Ranganath Mishra was silently
set up by the UPA government which is looking at status of non- Muslim
minorities, and, is mandated to recommend ways of helping them get
better representation in government services. Its report is due by
March 31, 2007. So this Commission is also looking at ways and means
to further reduce percentage of Hindus in public services, bank loans

Suppose there are 10,000 vacancies, seats reserved for SC Hindus would
be 1500, for ST Hindus 750 and for OBC 2700. Not many Hindus know that
about 70 per cent of Muslims are already covered under the Mandal
Commission formula and are enjoying benefits under the 27 per cent

In Andhra Pradesh, the Congress government led by Shri Y.S. Rajsekhar
Reddy reserved five per cent of seats in government colleges and in
government jobs for Muslims. It means that only 9500 seats would be
available to all categories of Hindus and other minorities having
reserved 500 seats exclusively for Muslims. So, the number of seats
available for SC Hindus will get reduced to 1425 from 1500, the number
of seats for ST Hindus will get reduced to 712 from 750, and, the
number of seats reserved for OBC will get reduced to 2565 from 2700.
Number of general category seats in which caste Hindus fall will also
shrink from 5000 to 4500. So giving special preferences to minorities
over Hindu candidates, which is the core policy of Congress Party,
equally hurts educational and employment opportunities of all groups
of Hindus, whether SC Hindus, or ST Hindus, or OBC Hindus, or caste
Hindus, or leftist Hindus. It is mere arithmatic. If more than 500
Muslims got more marks than the last Hindu candidate, then Muslim
candidates will spill over into general category 9500 seats.
Incidentally in Andhra Pradesh Muslims enjoy higher literacy rate than

In February 2007, Chief Minister of West Bengal issued instructions
that ?at least 10 per cent of the appointees should be from the
minority community.? By courtesy of Leftist Hindu voters, the
percentage of Hindus? job intake is set to fall in West Bengal.

Shri Arif Mohammad Khan, a former Union Minister in the Rajiv Gandhi
government, has pointed out that 10 Muslim communities are already
part of the Scheduled Tribes and another 83 Muslim communities are
included in the OBC list. ?Together,? he maintains, ?they constitute
more than 70 per cent of total Muslim population leaving out only the
Muslim creamy layer.? Similarly, a good chunk of Christians are
already included in the Scheduled Tribe and the OBC category.

In Bihar, the OBC quota has been divided by ?secular? Hindu
politicians into backward and most backward to help put nine Muslim
groups in the first category and 27 Muslim groups in the second

In Kerala and Karnataka, the Hindu politicians of Congress Party and
the Communist parties have declared the entire Muslim community
backward just to reduce the percentage of Hindus in colleges and in
government jobs.

In Tamil Nadu, 95 per cent of Muslims are included into backward
formula though Muslims have higher literacy rate in Kerala, Karnataka
and Tamil Nadu than Hindus.

Dr Manmohan Singh is a Rajya Sabha Member from Assam and no wonder
there is already five per cent reservation for Muslims in the
recruitment for the Assam Police, adversely affecting employment
opportunities for SCs, STs, OBCs and all other Hindus as shown above.

It is painful to see how a class of ?secular, progressive and liberal?
Hindu politicians right from the days of the 1916 Congress-Muslim
League Lucknow Pact till date in the form of the Sachar Committee
report has been systematically collaborating with Muslim and other
minority politicians in concocting justifications to reduce, bit by
bit, the educational, employment and economic (E3) opportunities for
Hindu boys and girls, including leftist Hindu boys and girls, pushing
them to second and third-class status vis-?-vis minority boys and
girls. It is a sad story of Hindus betraying Hindus.

This is symptomatic of the slave mentality, which is defined as a
tendency to harm, hurt and humiliate members of one?s own community so
as to appease ?others? at the cost of one?s own community. This habit
is also known as gulamiat pasand (GP) or Genetically Acquired Slave
Syndrome (GASS). These terms more accurately describe this class of
Hindus. Raja Jaichand, Mirza Raja Man Singh of Akbar time, Raja
Jaswant Singh of Aurangzeb time etc. were also Hindus but were GP type
carrying GASS virus. In rural areas they are called ?Jaichandi

We Hindus are told day in and day out that India is a ?secular? state
where religion should be a private matter and every citizen is equal
before law. But in practice our secular Hindu parliamentarians and
legislators have been passing such laws where the State asks for the
religion of an individual and then discriminate against we Hindus. In
this game of secularism, Hindu youth turn out to be the worst victims
of GP Hindu politicians.

The Article 14 of the Constitution reads: ?The State shall not deny to
any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws
within the territories of India.? The Article 15(1) reads: ?The State
shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of
religion, race, caste, sex, and place of birth or any of them.? The
Article 29(2) reads: ?No citizen shall be denied admission into any
educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid out
of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language or
any of them.? The Article 30(1) reads: ?All minorities, whether based
on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and
administer educational institutions of their choice.? Article 30(2)
reads, ?The State shall not, in granting aid to educational
institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the
ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on
religion or language.?

One may see that the pith and substance of the Article 30 is very much
there in the 14 Points of Jinnah because 28 out of 31 Muslim members
of the Indian Constituent Assembly which drafted the Indian
Constitution were elected on tickets of the Muslim League of Jinnah.
This fact is generally suppressed by ?secular? Hindu historians.

But on calculated mis-representations and soft-peddling by Attorney
Generals appointed by Congress governments, the Supreme Court of India
has ruled that equal treatment guarantee of Articles 14 and 29(2) was
not available to Hindu boys and girls in minority-run institutions,
and; that religious minority educational institutions under Article
30(1) can reserve up to 50 per cent of seats for co-religionist
candidates with the result Hindu students including comrades with
better marks do not get admissions in such institutions but minority
students with lower marks easily get admissions within their reserved
50 per cent quota.

Religious minority institutions have been, thus, empowered by none
other than our ?secular? Hindu politicians to treat Hindu applicants
as second-class citizens of India at the mercy, whims and fancies of ?
minority managements? even where these institutions receive under
Article 30(2) state grants out of taxes largely collected from we
Hindus. In the minority institutions, the SC Hindus and ST Hindus are
denied benefits of their constitutional reservations of 15 per cent
and 7.5 per cent under Article 15. And, for this misfortune of Hindu
boys and girls those Hindu voters are responsible who being unaware of
harm they inflict upon their own children cast their votes in favour
of ?secular? parties or don?t go to cast their votes at all.

Hindu politicians have passed such laws that enable a minority student
to get cheaper educational loans at three per cent interest per annum
from the National Minority Development & Finance Corporation. A
minority businessman can get margin money loan for business at five
per cent interest from NMDFC. Minority students are required to repay
educational loans in five years after completion of his course but a
Hindu student has to repay education loan after one year of completion
of his course. One may see details at (www.nmdfc.org ). A Hindu
student or a Hindu businessman gets bank loans at much higher rates of
interest and harsher terms whether he is a member of the Students
Federation or that of the NSUI or the ABVP etc. This ill-treatment a
Hindu voter has invited for himself and his children by giving his
vote to the so-called secular parties or by abstaining from voting.

Congress and other ?secular? Hindu politicians have invented such a
legal system where a Muslim candidate or a Christian candidate has all
the legal rights to compete on equal footings with a Hindu candidate
for employment, but there are thousands and thousands of posts paid
from government funds for which Hindus cannot even apply, such as the
post of the Principal and Vice Principal of St. Stephen?s College,
Delhi. GP Hindus have set up the National Minority Commission with
nominal Hindu presence to ensure that minorities are not discriminated
but there is no Commission to ensure that Hindus are not victimised by

The National Minority Commission does not reflect the religious
demographic reality of India so it does not enjoy the confidence of
Hindus in general. Either more than three-fourth members of the
Minority Commission and other commissions should be Hindus in
proportion to their population or these should be abolished being
unrepresentative and undemocratic.

Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, his Sachar Committee and many
liberal Hindus make a lot of fuss that Muslims are under- represented
in civil services and in higher education. According to the Sachar
Committee [page 64], only four per cent of the total Muslim population
in India within age group 20 years and above are graduates. At page
65, the Sachar Committee reports that in case of Muslims (age 20 and
above) the number of graduates was under four million i.e. only 1.6
per cent of Muslims are graduates if their population as per Imam
Bukhari is taken to be 250 million or 2.6 per cent of Muslims are
graduates if their population is taken to be 150 million. Since only
educated persons can aspire for public jobs, it is natural that
percentage of Muslims in government jobs should not be more than 2.6
per cent. Muslim percentage in government service is already more than
this percentage by relentless efforts of Congress party to reduce the
Hindu percentage.

Sachar Committee reports that while 26 per cent of those above 17
years age and above complete matriculation, this percentage is only 17
per cent for Muslims. So the recommendation is to open more schools
and colleges in Muslim areas. The Sachar Committee does not tell that
bulk of Muslims who drop out from schools seek gainful employment and
start earning more at younger age than what they will earn even after
graduating. The Census Report 2001 [Statement 10] lets the cat out of
bag when it reports that in the category of household industries (HHI)
workers, Muslims representation was 8.1 per cent which is double the
national average of 4.2 per cent. This index is only 3.2 per cent for
Hindus. In the category of ?other workers? Christians enjoyed 52.8 per
cent representation, followed by Muslims (49.1 per cent) and Hindus
only (35.5 per cent). Thus, higher percentage of Christians and
Muslims are in jobs than Hindu percentage and still Hindu politicians
of ?secular? parties are working hard to reduce E3 space for Hindu
students that too with the help of the votes of Hindu parents.

In a significant development, after the tabling of the Sachar report,
Muslim MPs, cutting across party lines, handed over a wish-list of
sorts to Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh: IITs and
IIMs exclusively for Muslims, 5,000 schools, two lakh scholarships and
more campuses of the Aligarh Muslim University across the country. A
senior HRD official, present at the meeting, said, ?The MPs said since
IITs and IIMs have less than two per cent of Muslim students, the HRD
Ministry should create IITs and IIMs exclusively for Muslim children.?
Urdu schools, they also demanded, should be given adequate
infrastructure support. ?Minority-run societies and NGOs, if they wish
to open schools, should be given CBSE affiliation without any delay,?
an MP demanded. The Muslim MPs said that these suggestions should get
reflected in this year?s budget as well as the Eleventh Plan.

It is painful to see how Hindu parents are being media managed to harm
and hurt educational, employment, economic and business opportunities
of their own children and grandchildren by giving their notes and
votes to such political parties which shout from their political
rooftops that they will give special preferences to Muslims and
Christians over Hindu youth in matters of education, training
facilities, government jobs, jobs under police and paramilitary
forces, employment in banks and other public sector undertakings and
bank loans, educational loans, etc.

As the political parties in their manifestos openly declare that they
will give special considerations to Muslims and Christians, they
cannot be accused of betraying Hindu youth. Those Hindu parents who
give their votes blindly to such political parties are the real ones
who by casting their votes to such parties accept in principle that
minority students be given special preference over their own children
and, thus, unknowingly, end up betraying their own children,
grandchildren and the Hindu youth. I suggest rather than giving their
votes to their ?caste candidate,? Hindu parents should start casting
their votes in favour of welfare of their own children and
grandchildren as Muslim and Christian voters do.

The following data show that the Hindu politicians of the Congress
Party have history, habit and precedent of giving second-class
treatment to Hindus. Giving second-class treatment to Hindus still
continues to be the hidden agenda and core policy of the Congress
Party. The more the Hindus give their notes, votes and support to the
Congress Party, the more emboldened this Party becomes to treat them
and their sons and daughters as the second class.

Let us look at some manifestos of the Congress Party which has been
consistently promising that if elected it will give preferential
treatment to minorities over Hindus.

The 1996 Manifesto of Congress Party states: ?(i) The Congress regards
the 15-point programme for the welfare of the minorities as a charter
of duties. (ii) It has established the National Minority Finance and
Development Corporation?to support projects that promote the well-
being of minorities?with a capital of Rs 500 crore. (iii) A Rapid
Action Force comprising young men from different communities has been
set up. (It is understood that percentage of Hindus in this Force
under instructions of the Congress Governments is much below their
traditional 95 per cent) (iv)The Minorities Commission has been given
statutory status?.

Congress Manifesto of 1998: ?(i) Indira Gandhi?s 15-point programme
for minorities continues to be our blueprint. Each and every element
of this programme will be implemented with renewed vigour. (ii) The
Congress will create a new ministry for minorities to ensure better
coordination and integration. (iii) A high-powered commission will be
set up to examine and give recommendations on how the representation
of minorities in public services could be enhanced in a meaningful
manner. (iv) The Congress will amend the Constitution to establish a
Commission for Minority Educational Institutions and provide direct
affiliation for minority professional institutions to central

Congress Manifesto 1999: ?(i) to ensure the reinvigoration of Indira
Gandhi?s historic 15-point programme and the monitoring mechanism
devised by Rajiv Gandhi. (ii) Measures will be taken to increase the
representation of minorities in all public, police and para-military
services both in the central and in state governments. (iii)The
Constitution will be amended to establish a Commission for Minority
Educational Institutions and to provide direct affiliation for
minority professional institutions to central universities (iv)The
National Minorities Development Corporation and the State Minorities
Development Corporations will be made direct-lending institutions?.

Congress Manifesto 2004: ?(i) The Congress believe in affirmative
action for all religious and linguistic minorities. The Congress is
committed to adopting this policy for socially and educationally
backward sections among Muslims and other religious minorities on a
national scale. (ii)The Congress commits itself to amend the
Constitution to establish a Commission for Minority Educational
Institutions that will provide direct affiliation for minority
professional institutions to central universities?.

Hindu readers may note that the 2004 Manifesto boldly stated: ?The
Congress has provided reservations for Muslims in Kerala and Karnataka
in government employment and education on the grounds that they are a
socially and educationally backward class?. But the Census report of
2001, as we have seen above, states that in Kerala and in Karnataka
literacy rate of Muslims was higher than that of Hindus. Even the
discredited Sachar Committee admits it. So it is dishonesty to call
Muslims educationally backward in Kerala and Karnataka states but
Congress and communist Hindu politicians are not ashamed to use false
data just to reduce percentage of Hindus in educational institutions
and in government jobs. Hindu voters of Kerala and Karnataka should
take note of this fraud being played on careers of their children with
help of their votes.

The Congress party and its UPA allies claim that they are the genuine
well wishers of the SC Hindus. Is it true? Christians are demanding
that their ?dalits? should be included in the 15 per cent reservation
quota available to SC Hindus. Muslims are also demanding that ?dalit
Muslims? be included in the same 15 per cent quota. No one knows
precise definition of ?dalit Christian? and ?dalit Muslims?. Since
Christians enjoy much better educational facilities as well as
literacy rate than Hindu SCs, it is natural that Christians will grab
a larger chunk of services within the 15 per cent quota further
worsening the employment opportunities of Hindu SC boys and girls.
Even Sachar Committee admits that Muslims also enjoy better literacy
rate of 59.1 per cent compared to 52.2 per cent for SC & ST Hindus.

Congress party and allies of UPA are supporting the demand to place ?
dalit Christians? and ?dalit Muslims? under the SC category. Shri
Abdul Rahman Antulay, Union Minister for Minority Affairs publicly
stated in November 2006 that it was time to include dalit Muslims and
dalit Christians in SC/ST Reservations.

Close on the heels of Prime Minister Sardar Manmohan Singh?s ?Muslim
first? remarks made at the National Development Council meeting, a
High Level Committee of the Human Resource Development Ministry led by
Shri M.A.A. Fatmi, Minister of State, has made a case for review of
the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 so as to include
Muslims and Christians in the SC category (Indian Express, February
19, 2007).

A NGO has already moved to the Supreme Court to include dalit
Christians into the SC definition by amending the 1950 order, and; no
wonder the Manmohan Singh-led Government may manage to lose this case
by not presenting the case of Hindu SCs properly. So the danger bell
for SC Hindu students is already ringing. The point is whether they
and their parents are aware about it.

In its 2004 manifesto, the CPI(M) promised to extend reservation
facility to ?dalit Christians? by including them in the 15 per cent
quota. The 1998 Joint-manifesto of all Left parties also promised to
include ?dalit Christians? into the SC reservations of 15 per cent

BSP leader late Kanshi Ram was reported to have assured support of his
party to include ?dalit Christians? in the Presidential Order of

DMK leader K. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister Tamil Nadu, also supports
inclusion of ?dalit Christians? into the SC category.

In September 2004, Ram Vilas Paswan, president of Lok Janshakti Party
had promised to grant Scheduled Caste status to socially and
economically backward Muslims. In December 2006, he supported a sub-
quota for Muslims within the 27 per cent OBC quota who are already
covered under the Mandal OBC formula while supporting demand to
include ?dalit Christians? and ?dalit Muslims? under the 15 per cent
quota. Shri V.P. Singh also supports a sub-quota for Muslims within
the 27 per cent OBC space.

On December 5, 2006 the Samajawadi Party led by Shri Mulayam Singh,
the Congress party and their other allies in UP passed a resolution in
the UP State Assembly demanding reservations for ?dalit? Christians
and ?dalit? Muslims within 15 per cent quota which will harm the
employment opportunities of SC and ST Hindus as Christians and Muslims
both enjoy higher literacy rate over SC and ST Hindus.

So those SC and ST Hindus who do not want to harm and hurt career
prospects of their children should never cast their votes in favour of
any of these secular parties. SC and ST Hindu job seekers and students
must explain difficulties which await them if their parents did not
exercise their votes with due caution or abstained from voting.

No parent knowingly wants to hurt career of his children so it is duty
of Hindu students studying in colleges and universities to brief their
parents the misfortune which will visit them if they voted to any
party which wants to include Christians and Muslims in the 15 per cent
quota. A parent is so busy in earning livelihood that he does not get
time to read the manifesto and thus understand dirty tricks of GP
Hindu politicians being played against Hindu Youth.

Since the employment situation is worsening day by day, it is
important that those Hindu parents who have college going children or
grand children, and, those Hindu youth who will soon be entering into
employment market seriously look for and identify those Hindu
politicians who are bent upon to reduce their E3 space.

The problem of unemployment continues to worsen day by day and in this
environment Congress and other secular parties are hell bent through
the Sachar Committee to reduce employment space available to Hindu
youth. The National Sample Survey Organisation?s latest report of
January 2007 shows that unemployment is much higher among youth (15-29
years age) as compared to overall population, and, that unemployment
is rising.

The unemployment rate in Delhi has gone up from 3.2 per cent in
1999-2000 to 5.3 per cent in 2004-05 and in Kolkata from 7 per cent to
8.1 per cent. (Indian Express February 16, 2007)

At the end of December 2005 about 393 lakh job seekers were waiting
for jobs on the live registers of 947 employment exchanges across the
country against which only 1.73 lakh got jobs in 2005. About 50 to 55
lakh new persons register every year with the employment exchanges
looking for jobs.

Over 52 lakh graduates and post-graduates were waiting for jobs in
December 2005 in all the employment exchanges.

According to the Sept 2006 National Sample Survey report, 58 per cent
of Indians were without jobs in 2004-05 and the unemployment rate was
higher among educated ones than among less educated ones. In rural
areas, 56 per cent of people were unemployed and in urban areas 63 per
cent were unemployed. According to a study by the Hewitt Associates,
by 2020, India will have the largest number of educated but unemployed
youth in the world.

M.V. Rajasekharan, Minister of State told the Lok Sabha (August 23,
2006) that annual growth rate of employment creation during the
1983-99 was 2.7 per cent which slowed to 1.07 per cent during
1994-2000. Shri Suresh Pachaury, Minister of State informed the
Parliament (August 23, 2006) that there was no proposal to remove ban
on creation of new posts in the government sector.

Mulayam Singh Yadav, Chief Minister of UP has been claiming that he
has fulfilled his promise to the Muslim community to raise percentage
of Muslims in the UP Police to 15 per cent.Traditionally percentage of
Hindus in the UP Police had been above 95 per cent. So the credit for
reducing job opportunities of Hindu youth in the UP Police should go
to those Hindu parents who vote for Mulayam Singh. It is a tragic case
of Hindu parents voting for someone who is determined to reduce
employment space of their own children.

In December 2006 press reported that Raghubansh Prasad Singh?s
Ministry of Rural Development, for the first time in the history of
Independent India, set aside Rs 1,000 crore for religious minorities
for the three schemes (i) Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY)
(ii) Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) and(iii) Sampoorna Grameen Rojgar Yojana
(SGRY). Till now such physical and financial allocations were made
only for SCs and STs. Thus, under these three schemes, funds are
available to Hindus including those Hindus who had voted for Shri
Raghubansh Prasad Singh in the 2004 election and has been reduced by
Rs1000 crore by this Hindu politician. It is another tragic case of a
Hindu politician betraying his own Hindu voters.

Even the discredited Sachar Committee Report admits (page 53) that the
SCs and STs are still the least literate group both in urban and rural
India but Manmohan Singh thunders that ?Muslims? shall be have the ?
first? claim over national resources. We must stand up and tell this
minority politician who never won confidence of any Lok Sabha
constituency that if any group which has legitimate first claim over
national resources it is the group of farmers and SC & ST Hindus. For
the anti-Hindu policies of Manmohan Singh-led UPA government, the
price was paid by Captain Amrinder Singh specially in the urban areas
of Punjab in recently held assembly elections.

The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) data shows that level
of acute poverty is equally high among all communities including
Hindus also. As much as 84 per cent Hindus in the below poverty line
(BPL) category in rural areas live in conditions dubbed as ?below
double poverty line?. But showing its anti-Hindu bias, the Congress is
diverting huge funds only to address the poor among Muslims. Why it is
not simultaneously addressing the poverty of Hindus too?

(To be continued)

[Shri O.P. Gupta recently retired in the rank of Secretary to the
Government of India in the Indian Foreign Service (1971 batch). He has
served as Ambassador to Finland, Estonia, Jamaica, Tunisia, Tanzania,
etc., and Consul General, Dubai and Birmingham (UK).]


...and I am Sid Harth
Sid Harth
2010-03-16 20:22:04 UTC
Indian religions
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For religious demographics of the Republic of India, see Religion in

A Statue of Shiva.

A Statue of the Buddha.

A Statue of Jain deity Bahubali.
Indian religions are the related religious traditions that originated
in the Indian subcontinent,[1]

namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, inclusive of their
sub-schools and various related traditions. They form a subgroup of
the larger classes of "Eastern religions" and also Indo-European
religions . Indian religions have similarities in core beliefs, modes
of worship, and associated practices, mainly due to their common
history of origin and mutual influence.

The documented history of Indian religions begins with historical
Vedic religion, the religious practices of the early Indo-Aryans,
which were collected and later redacted into the Samhitas, four
canonical collections of hymns or mantras composed in archaic
Sanskrit. These texts are the central shruti (revealed) texts of
Hinduism. The period of the composition, redaction and commentary of
these texts is known as the Vedic period, which lasted from roughly
1500 to 500 BCE.

The late Vedic period (9th to 6th centuries BCE) marks the beginning
of the Upanisadic or Vedantic period.[2][3] This period heralded the
beginning of much of what became classical Hinduism, with the
composition of the Upanishads, later the Sanskrit epics, still later
followed by the Puranas.

Jainism and Buddhism arose from the sramana culture. Buddhism was
historically founded by Siddhartha Gautama, a Kshatriya prince-turned-
ascetic, and was spread beyond India through missionaries. It later
experienced a decline in India, but survived in Nepal and Sri Lanka,
and remains more widespread in Southeast and East Asia. Jainism was
established by a lineage of 24 enlightened beings culminating with
Parsva (9th century BCE) and Mahavira (6th century BCE).[4]

Certain scholarship holds that the practices, emblems and architecture
now commonly associated with the Hindu pantheon and Jainism may go
back as far as Late Harappan times to the period 2000-1500 BCE.[5][6]

Hinduism is divided into numerous denominations, primarily Shaivism,
Shaktism, Vaishnavism, Smarta and much smaller groups like the
conservative Shrauta. Hindu reform movements such as Ayyavazhi are
more recent. About 90% of Hindus reside in the Republic of India,
accounting for 83% of its population.[7]

Sikhism was founded in the 15th century on the teachings of Guru Nanak
and the nine successive Sikh Gurus in Northern India[8]. The vast
majority of its adherents originate in the Punjab region.

Common traits


Sometimes summarised as "Dharmic" religions or dharmic traditions,
(though the 'subtler' meaning of Dharma or dhamma differs per
religion); Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism share certain key
concepts, which are interpreted differently by different groups and

Common traits can also be observed in both the ritual and the literary
sphere. For example, the head-anointing ritual of abhiseka is of
importance in three of these distinct traditions, excluding Sikhism.
Other noteworthy rituals are the cremation of the dead, the wearing of
vermilion on the head by married women, and various marital rituals.
In literature, many classical narratives and purana have Hindu,
Buddhist or Jain versions.[12]

All four traditions have notions of karma, dharma, samsara, moksha and
various forms of Yoga. Of course, these terms may be perceived
differently by different religions. For instance, for a Hindu, dharma
is his duty. For a Jain, dharma is righteousness, his conduct. For a
Buddhist, dharma is usually taken to be the Buddha's teachings.
Similarly, for a Hindu, yoga is the cessation of all thoughts/
activities of the mind.[13]

For Jains, Yoga is sum total all physical, verbal and mental

Rama is a heroic figure in all of these religions. In Hinduism he is
the God-incarnate in the form of a princely king; in Buddhism, he is a
Bodhisattva-incarnate; in Jainism, he is the perfect human being.
Among the Buddhist Ramayanas are: Vessantarajataka,[14]

Reamker, Ramakien, Phra Lak Phra Lam, Hikayat Seri Rama etc. There
also exists the Khamti Ramayana among the Khamti tribe of Asom wherein
Rama is an avatar of a Bodhisattva who incarnates to punish the demon
king Ravana (B.Datta 1993). The Tai Ramayana is another book retelling
the divine story in Asom.


"Priest King" of Indus Valley CivilizationEvidence attesting to
prehistoric religion in the Indian subcontinent derives from scattered
Mesolithic rock paintings such as at Bhimbetka, depicting dances and
rituals. Neolithic agriculturalists inhabiting the Indus River Valley
buried their dead in a manner suggestive of spiritual practices that
incorporated notions of an afterlife and belief in magic.[15]

Other South Asian Stone Age sites, such as the Bhimbetka rock shelters
in central Madhya Pradesh and the Kupgal petroglyphs of eastern
Karnataka, contain rock art portraying religious rites and evidence of
possible ritualised music.[16]

The Harappan people of the Indus Valley Civilization, which lasted
from 3300–1300 BCE (mature period, 2600-1900 BCE) and was centered
around the Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra river valleys, may have worshiped
an important mother goddess symbolising fertility,[17]

a concept that has recently been challenged.[18] Excavations of Indus
Valley Civilization sites show small tablets with animals and altars,
indicating rituals associated with animal sacrifice.

Vedic tradition

Vedic period

Main article: Historical Vedic religion

See also: History of Hinduism

See also: Vedas, Upanishads, and Brahmanas

The Vedic Period is most significant for the composition of the four
Vedas, Brahmanas and the older Upanishads (both presented as
discussions on the rituals, mantras and concepts found in the four
Vedas), which today are some of the most important canonical texts of
Hinduism, and are the codification of much of what developed into the
core beliefs of Hinduism.

The Vedas reflect the liturgy and ritual of Late Bronze Age to Early
Iron Age Indo-Aryan speaking peoples in India. Religious practices
were dominated by the Vedic priesthood administering domestic rituals/
rites and solemn sacrifices. The Brahmanas, Aranyakas and some of the
older Upanishads (such as BAU, ChU, JUB) are also placed in this
period. Many elements of Vedic religion reach back to early Bronze Age
Proto-Indo-Iranian times. The Vedic period is held to have ended
around 500 BCE.

Akshardham the largest Hindu temple in the world.Specific rituals and
sacrifices of the Vedic religion include:

The Soma cult described in the Rigveda, descended from a common Indo-
Iranian practice.

Fire rituals, also a common Indo-Iranian practice (See

The Agnihotra or oblation to Agni.

The Agnistoma or Soma sacrifice (including animal sacrifice) .

The Agnicayana, the sophisticated ritual of piling the Uttara fire

The Darsapaurnamasa, the fortnightly New and Full Moon sacrifice

The Caturmasya or seasonal sacrifices (every four months)

a large number of sacrifices for special wishes (Kāmyeṣṭi)

The Ashvamedha or horse sacrifice.

The Purushamedha, or sacrifice of a man, imitating that of the cosmic
Purusha and Ashvamedha

The rites referred to in the Atharvaveda are concerned with medicine
and healing practices, as well as some charms and sorcery (white and
black magic).

The domestic (grihya) rituals deal with the rites of passage from
conception to death and beyond.


Main article: Vedanta

Hindu Swastika

The period of Vedanta (Sanskrit : end of Vedas), typically thought to
have begun around 600 BCE, marked the end of the evolution of the main
Vedic texts; it also accompanied the transformation of the semi-
nomadic nature of the Indo-Aryan tribes to agriculture-based polities,
as they increasingly formed permanent settlements in the Indo-Gangetic
plain and other parts of Northern India. This period was foreshadowed
by the Brahmanas that interpreted the four canonical Vedas in various
fashions, which finally led to the Upanishads. While the ritualistic
status of the four Vedas remained undiminished, the early Upanishads
mainly relate to spiritual insights. At this time, the concepts of
reincarnation, samsara, karma, and moksha began to be accepted in
ancient India outside the sphere of the priestly establishment i.e.
the Brahmana class. Some scholars think that these new concepts
developed by aborigines outside the caste system,[19] others detect
Sramana or even Ksatriya influence. These concepts were eventually
accepted by Brahmin orthodoxy, and were to form much of the core
philosophies of the later epics and Hinduism, as well as, against a
different philosophical and religious background, in Buddhism and

Astika and Nastika categorization

Main articles: Āstika and nāstika, Hindu philosophy, and Buddhism and

See also: Adi Shankara and Charvaka

Astika and nastika are sometimes used to categorise Indian religions.
Those religions that believe that God is the central actor in this
world are termed as astika. Those religions that do not believe that
God is the prime mover and actor are classified as nastika religions.
From this point of view the Vedic religion (and Hinduism) is an astika
religion, whereas Buddhism and Jainism are nastika religions.

Another definition of the terms astika and nastika, followed by Adi
Shankara, classifies religions and persons as astika and nastika
according to whether they accept the authority of the main Hindu
texts, the Vedas, as supreme revealed scriptures, or not. By this
definition, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Purva Mimamsa and
Vedanta are classified as astika schools, while Charvaka is classified
as a nastika school. By this definition, both Buddhism and Jainism are
classified as nastika religions since they do not accept the authority
of the Vedas.

Shramana tradition

Main article: Shramana

See also: Gautama Buddha and Mahavira

A statue of Gautama Buddha.

A statue of Mahavira.Vedic Brahmanism of Iron Age India co-existed and
closely interacted with the parallel non-Vedic shramana traditions.[20]

These were not direct outgrowths of Vedism, but separate movements
that influenced it and were influenced by it.[24]

The shramanas were wandering ascetics. Buddhism and Jainism are a
continuation of the Shramana tradition, and the early Upanishadic
movement was influenced by it.[25][26][27][28][29][30]

The 24th Jain Tirthankar, Mahavira (599–527 BCE), stressed five vows,
including ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-
stealing) and aparigraha (non-attachment).

The historical Gautama Buddha, who was a Buddha, was born into the
Shakya clan of Angirasa and Gautama Rishi lineage,[31]

just before the kingdom of Magadha (which lasted from 546–324 BCE)
rose to power. His family was native to Kapilavastu and Lumbini, in
what is now southern Nepal.

The Ajivikas and Samkhyas, both of which did not survive, also
belonged to the sramana tradition.

Rise and spread of Jainism and Buddhism

Main articles: Pre-sectarian Buddhism, Indian Buddhism, Silk Road
transmission of Buddhism, and Jain community

See also: History of Buddhism and History of Jainism

Further information: Mauryan period and Gupta period

Buddhist Mahabodhi Temple

Both Jainism and Buddhism spread throughout India during the period of
the Magadha empire. Scholars Jeffrey Brodd and Gregory Sobolewski
write that "Jainism shares many of the basic doctrines of Hinduism and
Buddhism."[32] and scholar James Bird writes, "But when primitive
Buddhism originated from Hindu schools of philosophy, it differed as
widely from that of later times, as did the Brahmanism of the Vedas
from that of the Puranas and Tantras."[33]

Palitana Jain TemplesBuddhism in India spread during the reign of
Asoka the Great of the Mauryan Empire, who patronised Buddhist
teachings and unified the Indian subcontinent in the 3rd century BCE.
He sent missionaries abroad, allowing Buddhism to spread across Asia.
[34] Jainism began its golden period during the reign of Emperor
Kharavela of Kalinga in the 2nd century BCE.

Both Jainism and Indian Buddhism started declining following the rise
of Puranic Hinduism during the Gupta dynasty. Buddhism continued to
have a significant presence in some regions of India until the 12th
century. Jainism continues to be an influential religion in Gujarat,
Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Period after 200 BCE

Main articles: decline of Buddhism in India, Hindu philosophy, and
Pala Empire
Further information: Puranas

After 200 CE several schools of thought were formally codified in
Indian philosophy, including Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Purva-
Mimamsa and Vedanta.[35]

Hinduism, otherwise a highly polytheistic, pantheistic or monotheistic
religion, also tolerated atheistic schools. The thoroughly
materialistic and anti-religious philosophical Cārvāka school that
originated around the 6th century BCE is the most explicitly atheistic
school of Indian philosophy. Cārvāka is classified as a nastika
("heterodox") system; it is not included among the six schools of
Hinduism generally regarded as orthodox. It is noteworthy as evidence
of a materialistic movement within Hinduism.[36]

Our understanding of Cārvāka philosophy is fragmentary, based largely
on criticism of the ideas by other schools, and it is no longer a
living tradition.[37]

Other Indian philosophies generally regarded as atheistic include
Classical Samkhya and Purva Mimamsa.

Between 400 CE and 1000 CE Hinduism expanded as the decline of
Buddhism in India continued.[38] Buddhism subsequently became
effectively extinct in India but survived in Nepal and Sri Lanka.

There were several Buddhistic kings who worshiped Vishnu, such as the
Gupta, Pala, Malla, Somavanshi, and Sattvahana.[39]

Buddhism survived followed by Hindus. National Geographic[40]

edition reads, "The flow between faiths was such that for hundreds of
years, almost all Buddhist temples, including the ones at Ajanta, were
built under the rule and patronage of Hindu kings."

Post-Vedic development of Hinduism

Main article: History of Hinduism

A Statue of Lord Vishnu.The end of the Vedantic period around the 2nd
century AD spawned a number of branches that furthered Vedantic
philosophy, and which ended up being seminaries in their own right.
The output generated by these specialized tributaries was
automatically considered a part of the Hindu or even Indian
philosophy. Prominent amongst these developers were Yoga, Dvaita,
Advaita and the medieval Bhakti movement. The modern day popular
movements were the ones founded by Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo,
Raja Ram Mohan Roy among others.

In the latter Vedantic period, several texts were also composed as
summaries/attachments to the Upanishads. These texts collectively
called as Puranas allowed for a divine and mythical interpretation of
the world, not unlike the ancient Hellenic or Roman religions. Legends
and epics with a multitude of gods and goddesses with human-like
characteristics were composed. Two of Hinduism's most revered epics,
the Mahabharata and Ramayana were compositions of this period.
Devotion to particular deities was reflected from the composition of
texts composed to their worship. For example the Ganapati Purana was
written for devotion to Ganapati (or Ganesh). Popular deities of this
era were Shiva, Vishnu, Durga, Surya, Skanda, and Ganesh (including
the forms/incarnations of these deities.)

Bhakti Movement

Guru Ravidas - a figure from the Bhakti EraThe Bhakti Movement began
with the emphasis on the worship of God, regardless of one's status -
whether priestly or laypeople, men or women, higher social status or
lower social status.

The movements were mainly centered around the forms of Vishnu (Rama
and Krishna) and Shiva. There were however popular devotees of this
era of Durga.


The most well-known devotees are the Alwars from southern India. The
most popular Vaishnava teacher of the south was Ramanuja, while of the
north it was Ramananda.

Several important icons were women. For example, within the
Mahanubhava sect, the women outnumbered the men[41],

and administration was many times composed mainly of women.[42]

Mirabai is the most popular female saint in India.

Sri Vallabha Acharya (1479–1531) is a very important figure from this
era. He founded the Shuddha Advaita (Pure Non-dualism) school of
Vedanta thought.


The most well-known devotees are the Nayanars from southern India. The
most popular Shaiva teacher of the south was Basava, while of the
north it was Gorakhnath.

Female saints include figures like Akkamadevi, Lalleshvari and Molla.

Recent groups

The largest religious gathering ever held on Earth, the 2001 Maha
Kumbh Mela held in Prayag attracted around 70 million Hindus from
around the world.Main articles: Religion in India, Hindu reform
movements, Hindutva, and Communalism (South Asia)
The modern era has given rise to dozens of Hindu saints with
international influence. For example, Brahma Baba established the
Brahma Kumaris, one of the largest new Hindu religious movements
teaches the discipline of Raja Yoga to millions. Representing
traditional Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Prabhupada founded the Hare Krishna
movement, also international with many followers. In late 18th century
India, Swaminarayan founded the Swaminarayan Sampraday. Anandamurti,
founder of the Ananda Marga, has influenced many worldwide. Through
all these new Hindu denominations traveling international, many Hindu
practices such as yoga, meditation, mantra, divination, vegetarianism
have become absorbed by new coverts and others influenced.


Harmandir Sahib or The Golden Temple of the Sikhs.Main article:

See also: History of Sikhism, Sikhism and Jainism, Sikhism and
Hinduism, and Sikhism in India

Sikhism originated in fifteenth century Northern India with the
teachings of Nanak and nine successive gurus. The principal belief in
Sikhism is faith in Vāhigurū— represented by the sacred symbol of ēk
ōaṅkār [meaning one god]. Sikhism's traditions and teachings are
distinctly associated with the history, society and culture of the
Punjab. Adherents of Sikhism are known as Sikhs (students or
disciples) and number over 23 million across the world.

Although it began as a relatively neutral faith system that proposed
to include the best practices of Hinduism and Islam, over time its
Gurus led followers in various rebellions and battles against the
Islamic Mughal rulers of the time, most notably against Aurangzeb.

Status in the Republic of India

Main article: Religion in India

See also: Legal Status of Jainism as a Distinct Religion

In a judicial reminder, the Indian Supreme Court observed Sikhism and
Jainism to be sub-sects or special faiths within the larger Hindu fold,

and that Jainism is a denomination within the Hindu fold.[44]

Although the government of British India counted Jains in India as a
major religious community right from the first Census conducted in
1873, after independence in 1947 Sikhs and Jains were not treated as
national minorities.[45]

In 2005 the Supreme Court of India declined to issue a writ of
Mandamus granting Jains the