** Western Interventions

Western Interventions in Dravidian & Dalit Faultlines

http://www.breakingindia.com/six-provocations/

Rajiv Malhotra & Aravindan Neelakandan

1. DRAVIDIAN IDENTITY CONSTRUCTED, EXPLOITED & POLITICIZED:

The fabrication of South Indian history is being carried out on an immense scale with the explicit goal of constructing a Dravidian identity that is distinct from that of the rest of India. From the 1830s onwards, this endeavor’s key milestones have claimed that south India: is linguistically separate from the rest of India; has an un-Indian culture, aesthetics and literature; has a history disconnected from India’s; is racially distinct; is religiously distinct; and, consequently, is a separate nation. Tamil classical literature that predates the 19th century reveals no such identity conflicts especially with “alien” peoples of the north, nor does it reveal any sense of victimhood or any view of Westerners or Christians as “liberators.” This identity engineering was begun by British colonial and missionary scholars, picked up by politically ambitious south Indians with British backing, and subsequently assumed a life of its own. Even then it was largely a secular movement for political power (albeit with a substratum of racist rhetoric). In recent decades, however, a vast network of groups based in the West has co-opted this movement and is attempting to transform Tamil identity into the Dravidian Christianity movement premised on a fabricated racial-religious history. This rewriting of history has necessitated a range of archeological falsities and even epigraphic hoaxes, blatantly contradicting scientific evidence. Similar interventions by some of the same global forces have resulted in genocides and civil wars in Sri Lanka, Rwanda and other places. If unchallenged these movements could produce horrific outcomes in South India.

2. LINKING OF DRAVIDIAN & DALIT IDENTITIES:

India has its own share of social injustices that need to be continually addressed and resolved. Caste identities have been used to discriminate against others, but these identities were not always crystallized and ossified as they are today, nor were they against a specific religion per se. Caste identity faultlines became invigorated and politicized through the British Censuses of India, and later intensified in independent India by vote bank politics. A dangerous anti-national grand narrative emerged based on claims of a racial Dalit identity and victimhood. But Dalit communities are not monolithic and have diverse local histories and social dynamics. There are several inconsistencies and errors in these caste classifications: not all Dalit communities are equivalent socially and economically, nor are they static or always subordinate to others. While Dravidian and Dalit identities were constructed separately, there is a strategy at work to link them in order to denigrate and demonize Indian classical traditions (including spiritual texts and the identities based on these) as a common enemy. This in turn, has been mapped on to an Afro-Dalit narrative which claims that Dalits are racially related to Africans and all other Indians are “whites.” Thus, Indian civilization itself is demonized as anti-humanistic and oppressive. This has become the playground of major foreign players, both from the evangelical right and from the academic left. It has opened huge career opportunities for an assortment of middlemen including NGOs, intellectuals and “champions of the oppressed.” While the need for relief and structural change is immense, the shortsighted selfish politics is often empowering the movements’ leaders more than the people in whose name the power is being accumulated. The “solutions” could exacerbate the problems.

3. FOREIGN NEXUS EXPLOITS INDIA’S FAULTLINES:

An entity remains intact as long as the centripetal forces (those bringing its parts together) are stronger than its centrifugal forces (those pulling it apart). This study of a variety of organizations in USA and Europe demonstrates certain dangerous initiatives that could contribute to the breaking up of Indian civilization’s cohesiveness and unity using various pretexts and programs. The institutions involved include certain Western government agencies, churches, think tanks, academics, and private foundations across the political spectrum. Even the fierce fight between Christians and Leftists within the West, and the clash between Islam and Christianity in various places, have been set aside in order to attack India’s unity. Numerous intellectual paradigms, such as postmodernist critiques of “nation,” originating from the West’s own cultural and historical experiences are universalized, imported and superimposed onto India. These ill-fitting paradigms take center stage in Indian intellectual circles and many guilt-ridden Indian elites have joined this enterprise, seeing it as “progressive” and a respectable path for career opportunities. The book does not predict the outcomes but simply shows that such trends are accelerating and do take considerable national resources to counteract. If ignored, these identity divisions can evolve into violent secessionism.

4. RELIGION’s ROLE IN THE COMPETITION FOR SOFT POWER:

Global competition among collective identities is intensifying, even as the “flat world” of meritocracy seems to enhance individual mobility based on personal competence. But the opportunities and clout of individuals in a global world relies enormously on the cultural capital and standing of the groups from which they emerge and are anchored to. As goes India and Indian culture (of which Hinduism is a major component), so will go the fate of Indians everywhere. Hence, the role of soft power becomes even more important than ever before. Religions and cultures are a key component of such soft power. Christian and Islamic civilizations are investing heavily in boosting their respective soft power, for both internal cohesiveness and external influence. Moreover, undermining the soft power of rivals is clearly seen as a strategic weapon in the modern kurukshetra.

5. INTERROGATING THE TERM “MINORITY”:

The book raises the question: Who is a “minority” in the present global context? A community may be numerically small relative to the local population, but globally it may in fact be part of the majority that is powerful, assertive and well-funded. Given that India is experiencing a growing influx of global funding, political lobbying, legal action and flow of ideologies, what criteria should we use to classify a group as a “minority”? Should certain groups, now counted as minorities, be reclassified given their enormous worldwide clout, power and resources? If the “minority” concerned has actually merged into an extra-territorial power through ideology (like Maoists) or theology (like many churches and madrassas), through infrastructure investment (like buying large amounts of land, buildings, setting up training centers, etc.), through digital integration and internal governance, then do they not become a powerful tool of intervention representing a larger global force rather than being simply a “minority” in India. Certainly, one would not consider a local franchise of McDonalds in India to be a minor enterprise just because it may employ only a handful of employees with modest revenues locally. It is its global size, presence and clout that are counted and that determine the rules, restrictions and disclosure requirements to which it must adhere. Similarly, nation-states’ presence in the form of consulates is also regulated. But why are foreign religious MNCs exempted from similar requirements of transparency and supervision? (For example: Bishops are appointed by the Vatican, funded by it, and given management doctrine to implement by the Vatican, and yet are not regulated on par with diplomats in consulates representing foreign sovereign states.) Indian security agencies do monitor Chinese influences and interventions into Buddhist monasteries in the northern mountain belt, because such interventions can compromise Indian sovereignty and soft power while boosting China’s clout. Should the same supervision also apply to Christian groups operating under the direction and control of their western headquarters and Islamic organizations funded and/or ideologically influenced by their respective foreign headquarters? Ultimately, the book raises the most pertinent challenge: What should India do to improve and deliver social justice in order to secure its minorities and wean them away from global nexuses that are often anti-Indian?

6. CONTROLLING THE DISCOURSE ON INDIA:

The book shows how the discourse on India at various levels is being increasingly controlled by the institutions in the West which in turn serve its geo-political ambitions. So, why has India failed to create its own institutions that are the equivalent of the Ford Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, etc.? Why are there no Indian university based International Relations programs with deep-rooted links to the External Affairs Ministry, RAW, and various cultural, historical and ideological think tanks? Why are the most prestigious journals, university degrees and conferences on India Studies, in sharp contrast to the way China Studies worldwide is under the control of Chinese dominated discourse, based in the West and mostly under the control of western institutions?

Related Articles:

Recent Situation

Pakistan wants US Intervention

India Rebuffs US Intervention

** Equality vs. Appeasement

Secularism degrades from equal treatment to appeasement

S. Gurumurthy – Organiser

WHILE people whose religions differed from that of the mainstream society were mostly eliminated in other civilisations, the record of ancient and medieval Hindu India was the other way round. It welcomed and protected the racially different Jews, Parsis and early Muslims, who came here as refugees fleeing from violent faiths [1].

Take the case of Jews who were butchered all over Christendom [2] and in Islamic nations [3]. In a book titled Indian Jews in Israel brought out by the Consulate of Israel in India in late 1960s, the Editor of the book says that on the formation of Israel, “while most of the others came to Israel driven by persecution, discrimination, murder and other attempts at total genocide, the Jews of India came because of their desire to participate in the building of the Third Jewish Commonwealth…….. Throughout their long sojourn in India, nowhere at no time were they subjected to intolerance, discrimination or persecution”.[4] This could happen in Hindu India only because, in the Hindu world view, all religions enjoyed nearly absolute freedom so considerable as to find no parallels in the West before recent times, according to Western scholars themselves. [5]

The change for the worse – exclusive Muslim politics and nationalists’ failure. But, in the early part of the 20th century, the situation in India changed dramatically. It ceased to be an issue of Hindu philosophical or social treatment of the ‘minority’ Muslim community. There was no change in the Hindu world view about Muslims or Islam. But with the rise in Islamic population and the Partition of Bengal, the Muslim psyche changed and the community turned combative and challenged the Hindus. This aggressive psyche transformed into Muslim political action unmatched by political response from Hindus as Hindus. This mismatch not only led to the Partition of India, but divided the Partitioned India also on communal lines. Here is that instructive story.

The Muslim League led by MA Jinnah was clear that it was a Muslim outfit and had no pretensions about what it wanted. It wanted a Muslim nation-state despite the fact that after Partition Jinnah spoke of secular Pakistan. The League’s campaign was for a theocratic Pakistan which it eventually became. All talk that Jinnah wanted a secular Pakistan is founded on Jinnah’s post-Partition bogus drama. “Had Jinnah campaigned for a liberal, secular Pakistan – and that too in competition with the secular Indian National Congress under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru – he would have certainly lost the leadership of the Pakistan Movement.” [6] This truthful testimony is from Muslim side. While the goal of the Muslim political action was clear and self-evident, the political response of the Congress failed to emphasise the common cultural ancestry that included Muslims. Instead it emphasised the need for Hindu-Muslim unity without countering the League’s ideology that Hindus and Muslims belonged to different cultures. While the League owned the exclusive invaders’ culture and rejected the inclusive and common ancestral culture, the Congress too owned the invaders in a bid to appease the Muslims. In the bargain Congress lost the nationalist ideology and yet could not get Muslims following. The ill-advised strategy of the Khilafat movement against the British by the Congress enabled the League to emphasise on the invaders’ identity as Muslim identity and destroy the sense of common culural ancestry.

Muslim [minority] appeasement – continuation of the pre-Partition psyche
The messy Hindu-Muslim unity discourse as a substitute for the ancestral cultural commonalty put the Congress, repeatedly accused by the League as a Hindu Party, continually on the defensive. It got obsessed with only how to undermine its Hindu character to demonstrate its trans-Hindu character. In the competition with the League to wean away and win the Muslim mind, the Congress ideology implicitly became the mirror reflection of the League’s itself, namely that the Hindus and Muslims were two distinct peoples and cultures, with its only addition of Hindu-Muslim unity. The Congress thus sacrificed the ideology inclusive nationalism and implicitly accepted the League exclusivism. So, repeatedly giving in to the political demands of the Muslim leadership became its only way of convincing the Muslims that the Congress was more interested in Muslims than the Muslim League itself. So it began, and once it began, it had to keep on, appeasing the Muslims ideologically just to demonstrate it was not Hindu in character. The idea was to secure their support to prevent the Partition of India, which, of course, it was destined to fail to and did. Had the Congress not sacrificed the nationalist plank to co-opt the Muslims in pre-Partition time, in the post Partition India at least, it would have instituted nationalist politics. But, the single point agenda of the Congress before freedom being to prove to the Muslims that it stood for Muslims, habit of conceding to the demands of Muslims show that the Congress stand for Muslim interest became integral part of the secular political culture and discourse of all parties even after the Partition. In the process, the historic fact that the Muslims and Hindus belong to common ancestry and culture was lost in the national discourse and even after Partition, the pre-Partition psyche began dominating national politics as secularism.

Pre-Partition psyche constitutionalised as post Partition minority rights
The continuation of pre-Partition mindset eventually got constitutionalised in shaping the exclusive minority rights as integral to secularism and became institutionalised as secular politics in free India. The Supreme Court of India itself admitted this fact in its famous judgement on minority rights in St Xavier’s case. The Supreme Court [ through Justice H.R. Khanna] traced the conceptual origin of the minority rights under Article 30 in the Constitution thus:
“75. Before we deal with the contentions advanced before us and the scope and ambit of Article 30 of the Constitution, it may be pertinent to refer to the historical background. ……… The closing years of British rule were marked by communal riots and dissensions. There was also a feeling of distrust and the demand was made by a section of the Muslims for separate homeland. This ultimately resulted in the Partition of the country. Those who led the fight for Independence of India always laid great stress on communal amity and accord. They wanted the establishment of a secular State wherein people belonging to different religions should have a feeling of equality and non-discrimination. Demand had also been made by a section of people belonging to various minority groups for reservation of seats and separate electorates. In order to bring about integration and fusion among different sections of population, the framers of the Constitution did away with separate electorates and introduced the system of joint electorates, so that every candidate in an election should have to look for the support of all sections of the citizens. Special safeguards were guaranteed for minorities and were made part of the Fundamental Rights with a view to instil a sense of confidence and security in the minorities. Those provisions were a kind of a Charter of rights for the minorities so that none might have the feeling that any section of the population consisted of first class citizens and others of second class citizens. The result was that the minorities gave up their claims for reservation of seats. Sardar Patel, who was the Chairman of the Advisory Committee dealing with the question of minorities, said in the course of his speech delivered on February 27, 1947:
“This Committee forms one of the most vital parts of the Constituent Assembly and one of the most difficult tasks that has to be done by it is the work of this Committee. Often you must have heard in various debates in British Parliament that have been held on this question recently and before when it has been claimed on behalf of the British Government that they have a special responsibility – a special obligation – for protection of the minorities. They claim to have more special interest than we have. It is for us to prove that it is a bogus claim, and that nobody can be more interested than us in India in the protection of our minorities. Our mission is to satisfy every interest and safeguard the interests of all minorities to their satisfaction” (The Framing of the India’s Constitution, B. Shiva Rao, Select Documents, Vol II p.66). It is in this context of that background that we should view the provisions of the Constitution contained in Articles 25 to 30. The object of Articles 25 to 30 was to preserve the rights or religious and linguistic minorities, to place them on a secure pedestal, and withdraw from the vicissitudes of political controversy. ……” [7]

The Supreme Court exposition has made it explicit that the Indian Constitution-making process was under the continued impact of pre-Partition psyche to provide special dispensation for minorities. Sardar Patel’s admission of psychological pressure for grant of special rights in the Constitution is a clear pointer. Result, the Constitution of India itself divided the people of India as majority – read Hindus with ordinary rights, and minorities – read Muslims with special rights which expanded to granting financial largesse also later. This distorted the meaning of secularism from equal and fair treatment to special treatment and appeasement of minorities – read Muslims. This was what Guruji had warned and fought against as we will see in the next part.

References:
[1] Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs: http://www.jcpa.org/cjc/cjc-katz-f05.htm and The Parsis of India: Preservation of identity in Bombay city by Jesse S. Palsetia; Publisher: BRILL [2001]. ISBN:9004121145, 9789004121140 [pages 1-34 introduction]
[2] A calander of Jewish Persecution http://www.hearnow.org/caljp.html
[3] http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/Jews_in_Arab_lands_%28gen%29.html
[4] Indian Jews in Israel, edited and published by Reuven Dafai, Consul, on behalf of the Consulate of Israel, 50 Pedder Road, Cumballa Hill, Bombay.
[5] Article by Mehdi Hasan in New Statesman. http://www.newstatesman.com/international-politics/2010/07/india-secularism-state, quoting Max Weber
[6] Jinnah and Secular Pakistan: Setting the Records Straight. By Perves Hoodbhoy. Economic and Political Weekly 11 Aug 2007 p3301 http://www.scribd.com/Jinnah-and-Pakistan-as-an-Islamic-State-by-Pervez-Hoodbhoy/d/7065207
[7] AIR 1974 SC 1389 at 1413
[8] Religious Demography Centre for Policy Studies. Summary available athttp://www.esamskriti.com/essay-chapters/Religious-Demography-of-India-2.aspx

** Sonia’s $12b gift to Europe

Sonia’s $12b gift to Europe 

M. D. Nalapat

July 13, 2012

“This columnist is still a UNESCO Peace Chair. However, his views on the way in which certain countries in Europe have been seeking to return to the 19th century have apparently been noted in Paris, so it is very likely that this appellation may not be available for much longer. As with the broader UN bureaucracy, UNESCO too is heavily influenced by West Europe and its allies across the Atlantic Ocean, who regard as anti-democratic any opinion that does not fully conform to their own.”– Prof. M. D. Nalapat

Blood is thicker than water, so it is not surprising that Sonia Gandhi’s heart is firmly anchored in Europe, the continent of her birth. Almost every month, there are house guests from Europe in 10 Janpath, the stately mansion that has been set aside by successive governments in India to provide the widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi a home. Now that Sonia’s two children are well into adulthood, the Manmohan Singh government has allocated two other bungalows for them, for daughter Priyanka and son Rahul to use as and when they deem it necessary.

Whenever the Congress Party has been in power, it has shown its gratitude to the Nehru family in myriad ways. This columnist recently left Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and while in Mumbai, crossed the Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link into the city, returning from Mumbai to the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad. Although the media in India has been prompt in looking askance at the many statues of Dalit icon Kanshi Ram and his protege Mayawati that have been erected in Uttar Pradesh while Mayawati was the state’s Chief Minister, thus far they do not appear to have noticed the many tens of thousands of statues of Motilal Nehru, his son Jawaharlal, grand-daughter Indira and great-grandson Rajiv that adorn multiple locations in the country now once again under the control of the Nehru family.

However, relatives from the Kashmiri Brahmin side of the family (ie the actual Nehrus) seldom get invited to 10 Janpath, and hardly ever enjoy the exalted status of house guests. That privilege is almost exclusively reserved for relatives from Europe, especially Italy, the country of Sonia’s birth. Almost every month, either she or her children go to Europe, to luxuriate in the simple comforts of home after having escaped the stifling luxuries that their VVIP status automatically gives them in India, such as huge mansions, state-provided staff, convoys of automobiles, chartered Sonia Gandhi & Ottavio Quattrocchiflights and so much else that a grateful nation bestows on the mother, son and daughter who collectively constitute the Congress High Command.

Naturally, the language used while talking to each other is Italian, and naturally, while travelling in the Mother Continent of Europe, the family sheds the unfamiliar dress that is the uniform of politicians in India to slip into European garb, or very often American, such as denims and sports shirts. A respectful media, both national and international, do not even attempt to intrude into such private space. Sonia is lucky, in that the tribal instincts of reporters from the “civilized world” ensure that they almost always give her and her immediate family favourable treatment, while blacking out entirely the extended family, and its economic and commercial parameters. In India of course, the Income-tax department, the Enforcement Directorate, the Intelligence Bureau and the Central Bureau of Investigation collectively ensure that their beloved Madam is not disturbed by negative reporting. Of what use is state power, unless it can be deployed in this quiet way, in order to protect the family that has given its name to almost every major government scheme in India?

UNESCOThis columnist is still, at the time of writing, a UNESCO Peace Chair. However, his views on the way in which certain countries in Europe have been seeking to return to the 19th century have apparently been noted in Paris, so it is very likely that this appellation may not be available for much longer. As with the broader UN bureaucracy, UNESCOtoo is heavily influenced by West Europe and its allies across the Atlantic Ocean, who regard as anti-democratic any opinion that does not fully conform to their own. However, despite the obvious risks of such a course, it would be impossible for the conscience of this columnist to permit the expression of views in the diluted form that would ensure an absence of hostility within influential quarters in the civilized world. If this means that the UNESCO Peace Chair tag be removed from his name, so be it.

Since their assumption of office in 2004, there has been a systematic effort by the Sonia-led ruling coalition to ensure that policies get followed which severely degrade the ability of India to compete against European commercial entities in the global market. Interest rates have been raised to levels that can only be described as criminal, having gone well beyond the level of classification as insane.

PM Manmohan SinghThe latest gift to Europe is a cash transfer of $10 billion, evidently on top of the $2 billion already committed to theInternational Monetary Fund. That the euro is in a terminal state is obvious. There is no way that Italy and even France can escape monetary and economic disaster, it is just a matter of time. As for Greece and Spain, they are in a terminal state. Rather than throw money away by giving funds to an IMF controlled by Christine Lagarde for the sole purpose of getting the rest of the world to hand over their surpluses to the profligate in Europe, it would have been better to invest in gold or in assets, including assets abroad. Instead, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who knows the mind of his political boss well and has therefore been able to continue in office without interruption, has handed over a further $10 billion to the IMF. This at a time when the fiscal deficit of his recklessly extravagant government is reaching crisis levels. The Indian economy cannot afford to gift – for that is what any loan to certain European countries is – even $10 million. The economy is just two to three years away from bankruptcy. The decision of the Sonia-led ruling coalition to throw taxpayer money away is in line with other policies that favour Europe at the expense of India.

Beggar womanOf course, for the same reason why the media in India is quiet, so are the so-called “Opposition” parties, none of whom have protested with any vigour at this destructive decision. According to senior officials within the government, the $12 billion handed over to certain European states via the IMF will soon be joined by a further tranche of $10 billion, discussions for which are going on. If it were not that the human consequences of such decisions on hundreds of millions of semi-starved people are so tragic, it could be termed the Theatre of the Absurd. A country with 300 million at starvation level throwing away huge dollops of cash at countries where the population enjoys an infinitely better life. Those that have will get mire, while those that are poor will find themselves even worse off. This seems to be the logic of present-day geopolitics. – Pakistan Observer, Islamabad, 1 July 2012

Spirit of Nero pushing the nation into a black hole @  http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/spirit-of-nero-pushing-the-nation-into-a-black-hole-n-s-rajaram/

** What India Needs:Rediff

Why India needs a leader like Narendra Modi

Shashi Shekhar

Rediff

‘Let us start the debate in 2012 in favour of a directly elected executive with a civil society-based Electoral College as a check for a directly elected strong leader in the mould of a Narendra Modi which serves the national interest far more than an indirectly selected, weak but acceptable prime minister,’ argues Shashi Shekhar.

It may be odd to draft an ‘apolitical agenda’ for politics in 2012, but the manner in which politics conducted itself during 2011 gives us good reason to do so. During 2011 there was more agenda setting outside the government and political parties than from the inside.

The nebulous entity called ‘civil society’ asserted itself in a manner never seen before to break new ground in what has come to be described as the ‘pre-legislative’ consultation process.

If the UPA stood guilty of the original crime of having institutionalised this process through the ‘National Advisory Council’, the BJP and the rest of the Opposition stand guilty of having hopped on the ‘civil society’ bandwagon on the Lokpal issue.

‘Civil society’ activism is viewed by many as a potent vehicle for mobilising and polarising public opinion on policy debates that have in the past bypassed much of popular consciousness.

In reality, however, civil society is a micro-minority with a loud megaphone. Its nuisance value has assumed a proportion where it can no longer be ignored by government and political opposition alike. Its limitations are such that its agenda cannot really get ahead of the political realities of the day as has been evident from the Lokpal debate.

As we enter 2012 we are faced with a curious choice between a shallow political culture where political parties barely invest in enlightened policy making or citizen engagement and a disconnected civil society that barely understands how to navigate around political realities.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi made a very perceptive observation in his New Year blog post on the governance deficit and policy paralysis during 2011. Reflecting the same concern some on the other side of the political divide like former minister and the Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor [ Images ] made a forceful argument calling for a directly elected executive.

On the political margins of this debate you have civil society activist Arvind Kejriwal calling for direct elections of a different kind where referenda on specific issues set the legislative agenda between the five year election cycle.

Between the fears over a strong and directly elected executive and the chaos and anarchy of direct democracy a common ground must be found that helps us overcome the governance deficit and the policy paralysis to help further an agenda for what Narendra Modi describes as the economic opportunity created by the crisis over Western capitalism.

Hence this ‘apolitical agenda’ for politics in 2012 hoping that debate begins in the earnest on remaking our democracy where navigating political realities no longer becomes an excuse for not delivering on governance or for persisting with paralysis on key reforms.

A Constitutional remaking of the executive to be elected directly with new Constitutional space for ‘civil society’ through an electoral college could be key elements of such an agenda.

There are many formulations already in the public domain for how the executive may be directly elected. Shashi Tharoor in his essay in Tehelka showed a preference for the French model over the American model. This columnist in another proposal has called for adding a single non-voting seat to every legislature with the entire state or country being the constituency that this non-voting seat represents.

No matter which method is employed towards getting us a directly elected prime minister or President as the case may be, it must take us in a direction away from fragmented legislatures and minority parties determining the government’s fate.

Fears over a directly elected executive are largely overblown. More than fearing a directly elected strong prime minister or President who may be recalled we must fear a weak prime minister who is susceptible to influence and control by proxy.

It is not just a weak Manmohan Singh [ Images ] vulnerable to proxy influence from 10 Janpath we must fear. In fact we must fear anyone deemed ‘acceptable’ for such acceptability comes with a price tag of vulnerability to blackmail by regional parties or remote control.

Only two BJP leaders in office have a track record of standing up to Nagpur — one from Delhi [ Images ], the other from Gandhinagar and L K Advani [ Images ] is neither of them.

Greater federalism could be one way to counter balance the fears of over a strong, central executive. However an effective check against excessive concentration of executive power in the states and the Centre could be an Electoral College where civil society finds transparent representation and a Constitutional role with accountability.

The Electoral College can be the vehicle by which the directly elected executive may be recalled should it transgress Constitutional boundaries mid-term. The Electoral College can also be the vehicle by which legislation of public interest can be introduced as an ordinance pending legislative approval.

The composition of the Electoral College and the mechanism by which its civil society members are selected or elected can be a matter of debate. Rather than have an unaccountable NAC or a maximalist Team Anna exercise disproportionate influence in an opaque, raucous manner it may be in our own enlightened self interest to harness civil society energy as a force of good through the Electoral College.

There is a real danger we may lose another decade to hung Parliaments, figurehead prime ministers and emotional blackmail by fasts unto death.

Let us start the debate in 2012 in favour of a directly elected executive with a civil society-based Electoral College as a check for a directly elected strong leader in the mould of a Narendra Modi with civil society as a check which serves the national interest far more than an indirectly selected, weak but acceptable prime minister vulnerable to pressure from regional parties and outside groups that may have propped him or her up.

Related Posts:  

1) Truth about Rahul Gandhi      

2)  Do you Know Sonia? 

3) India Under Influence

** Azab desh ki ghazab kahani

Azab desh ki ghazab kahani

Kanchan Gupta

Pioneer

A  decade after 9/11 when Governments around the world are reassessing the heightened threat posed by radical Islamists and their jihad brigades to their national security, Mr Manmohan Singh, who notionally heads the morally decrepit and functionally paralysed Government of this wondrous land of ours, would rather, ostrich-like, bury his head in the gravel that paves the path to the Prime Minister’s Office in South Block and pretend, as Law Minister Salman Khurshid is fond of saying, all is well. It’s not difficult to spot the three idiots of the Congress regime which goes by the moniker of United Progressive Alliance. Others may have a different opinion of him, but I have always held that Salman Khurshid has a wry sense of humour.

Hence, it comes as no surprise that Mr Singh, while addressing the 66th session of the UN General Assembly on September 24, should have made a bland, meaningless, one-sentence reference to terrorism at paragraph 11 of his rambling, 50-paragraph-long speech whose text would reassure those who grew up in the 1960s on a steady diet of ‘internationalism’ that the lamp of their cause still flickers in some hearts and restore faith among chronic insomniacs that it is possible to have a good night’s sleep. “Terrorism continues to rear its ugly head and take a grievous toll of innocent lives,” Mr Singh droned from the dais, making it sound as no more than a customary mention, as is done by billion-dollar charlatans who gather at Davos every summer to hunger in Africa. At paragraph 36, Mr Singh added three more sentences on terrorism: “The fight against terrorism must be unrelenting. There cannot be selective approaches in dealing with terrorist groups or the infrastructure of terrorism. Terrorism has to be fought across all fronts.” He could well have been referring to the breakout of a strange disease in Timbucktoo.

And while Mr Singh held forth on the “need to address the issue of the deficit in global governance” (yawn), blithely glossing over the huge and ever-increasing deficit in India’s governance ever since he found himself being pole-vaulted into the PMO in the summer of 2004, the Prime Minister of Israel, the only democracy between India and the Maghreb, took it upon himself to say it as it is, bluntly telling the world that the real danger to our present and future emanates from radical Islamism. “A malignancy is now growing between East and West that threatens the peace of all. It seeks not to liberate, but to enslave, not to build, but to destroy. That malignancy is militant Islam… (applause)… Since 9/11, militant Islamists have slaughtered countless innocents — in London and Madrid, in Baghdad and Mumbai, in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, in every part of Israel. I believe that the greatest danger facing our world is that this fanaticism will arm itself with nuclear weapons. And this is precisely what Iran is trying to do.” Mr Benjamin Netanyahu is not known for being politically correct. But he knows that we live in a politically incorrect world.

A measure of just how politically incorrect is our world was provided by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Islamist President, Mr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose bilious rant at the General Assembly led to a walkout by all delegates barring those representing the Organisation of Islamic Conference. Further confirmation of the strange times we live in was provided by Mr Singh in his speech which marked a formal departure from India’s long-standing position on Palestine whose formulation was in keeping with the UN Security Council’s Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967, which was adopted following the Six-Day War in which David beat Goliath to pulp. The operative portion of Resolution 242 calls for the “Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”

Extrapolating from Resolution 242, India’s position on the demand for Palestinian statehood was restricted to reiterating support for a two-state solution based on the “sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Israel and Palestine and their right to live side by side in peace within secure and recognised boundaries”. On occasion, there were minor deviations (especially when politicians spoke extempore without a prepared text) but broadly the thrust would remain the same. Mr Singh has now introduced, in his standard and sly manner, a new element to India’s position on a crucial issue without bothering about the need for public deliberation or parliamentary debate. In his address to the General Assembly he went out of the way to raise a contentious issue in whose resolution India has no perceivable role and which really is of no concern to us: “The Palestinian question still remains unresolved and a source of great instability and violence. India is steadfast in its support for the Palestinian people’s struggle for a sovereign, independent, viable and unitedstate of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognisable borders side by side and at peace with Israel.”

That’s a bizarre proposition, not the least because reiterating support for East Jerusalem as the capital of a ‘united’ state of Palestine amounts to endorsing the belligerence of those who wish to see Israel “wiped off the map of the world”. A ‘united’ Palestine, as in a state with a single territorial identity, is a geographical and political impossibility; Palestine, as and when it gains statehood, will be no different from Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s “moth-eaten Pakistan” and in due course will collapse into two entities. That apart, Mr Singh calling for the inclusion of ‘East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine’ from no less a platform than the UN General Assembly may serve to excite the imagination of wannabe Islamists who dwell in sequestered mohallahs in Azamgarh and similar places across India and aspire to join the ranks of God’s Army, but it is not going to bring about any change on the ground.

The Green Line belongs to the past, as does the Ottoman Empire’s occupation of the House of David. Mr Singh is expected to be aware of basic historical facts, including the UN’s 1947 resolution declaring Jerusalem a “corpus separatum” which was accepted by Jews on the premise that Arabs, too, would accept it. But that resolution was rejected by the Palestinians and Arabs do not even concede the legitimacy of Israel.

There’s a postscript to the Prime Minister’s uncalled for ministration of a demand that is untenable and flies in the face of what he himself says, and ironically so, at one point in his speech: “Actions taken under the authority of the United Nations must respect the unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of individual states.” That postscript is about Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s visit to New York, coinciding with that of Mr Singh. The Mirwaiz was at the UN to attend the OIC’s Kashmir Contact Group meeting where the demand for Kashmir’s ‘azadi’ was reiterated. The meeting was attended, among others, by Palestinians who unhesitatingly recorded their support for the OIC’s resolve to see Kashmir separated from India. Which only proves how inconsequential is Mr Singh’s gratuitous offer of ‘steadfast’ support for ‘united Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital’. But then, national interest was never a priority for our Prime Minister. Nor does the nation seem to care how its interest is being compromised, again and again, by him.          http://kanchangupta.blogspot.com

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3)  Sonia’s Links

** Rotten State of India’s Media

The Rotten State of India’s Media

India Realtime

- Ajit Mohan

Early in November, before more interesting controversies distracted them, Indian journalists were up in arms over a statement by the chairman of the Press Council of India, Justice Markandey Katju. The PCI chairman had the audacity to articulate his perspective on the state of India’s news media, holding that he had a “poor opinion” of it and expressing his assessment that “a majority of the media people are of very poor intellectual level,” with no “idea of economic theory or political science, philosophy or literature.” The Indian press, he argued, “was not working for the interest of the people.”

The outrage that followed was largely limited to the journalistic community. For most consumers of news in India, in print or on television, and for dispassionate observers, Mr. Katju’s assessment was an articulation of the most obvious reality. In fact, the PCI chairman did not need to set the bar as high as an evolved intellect and an acute understanding of economics, sciences and liberal arts for India’s news journalism to fail to clear the hurdle. Most newspapers and television channels struggle to meet the very rudimentary requirement of reporting news with the analytical depth that a subject deserves, without bias or deliberate distortions.

What is broken about the news media in India is self-evident on the front pages of the dailies in the mornings and on the nightly news on television in the evenings.

Fragments of news, a significant portion lazily strung together from press agency clippings, are what a careful newspaper reader can sift out between a series of full-page advertisements peddling products, and images of women (usually of non-Indian origin) in different states of undress (in their defense, savvy editors must be acutely aware now that many of their readers prefer to get their titillation from their English-language newspapers than from other sources.) If there is any original reporting at all, it is always a bit unclear if a government agency or a private company has sponsored the report, or whether it is just another unpaid favor that has been granted by the editor.

Frighteningly, the situation is even worse on television channels. Most news channels just do not do reporting anymore. What counts for reporting is usually a small snippet of a roving ‘journalist’ talking to a few randomly chosen individuals on the streets of Delhi and Mumbai for their take on the big controversy of the day. This then segues to what has become the preferred format of all channels: a panel of six to eight ‘experts’, usually spokesmen of major political parties mixed with out-of-work politicians, newspaper and magazine editors, and the day’s representation from the roving celebrity class of lobbyist-PR agent-commentators (whose reason to be on the panel is never quite clear), ranting at each other while struggling to have their screeching voices heard above the incessant screaming of the anchor. All this while the viewer struggles to keep up with the multiple, disjointed layers of scrolling headlines perennially sliding on the screen below the screamers.

So, it is broken in some very obvious ways. That news has become entertainment is part of the story. In itself, this need not be a crime. If journalists report and package news in a compelling manner that grabs an audience’s attention, that is no bad thing. That the news coverage from mainstream media is obsessively focused on just politics, Bollywood and cricket is also only part of the problem. To the extent that this is a genuine reflection of the audience’s preferences, there is a case to be made for the focus on these three areas. But it is harder to defend the plethora of stories that have blatant errors and distortions, sometimes even on the main features and headlines of the day.

News in India is also broken in ways that are not immediately apparent. For a start, there is just not enough investment made to explore a story fully. Very rarely do you see newspapers and television channels bring reporting and analytical depth to a story, unraveling the many plausible layers behind what is well-known and well documented. The fascinating story of a country with the diversity of India, which is seeing important transitions across its political, economic and social fronts, should be an exciting canvas to paint stories of multiple hues and colors. And yet, more often than not, the point of the news seems to be to reduce this extraordinary diversity to the most banal, or to a contest between extremes that can only be resolved through a shouting match on live television.

Equally troubling is the consistent presence of a single, dominant narrative in the mainstream media on almost any issue of importance. This is especially true on any subject that can be even remotely categorized under the broad umbrella of national security. From militancy in Kashmir to the Naxal insurgency in central and eastern India, from relations with Pakistan to the troubled Northeast, there is rarely a dissenting narrative to be found. Almost all the daily reporting tacitly accepts the government’s perspective. There is never any real effort to discover whether there are competing truths, whether there are stories that will cause Indians to examine these subjects with less certainty than what their government has been telling them to believe.

The dominance of a single narrative extends to other issues too. Anna Hazare is either leading a national revolution at one moment or leading a bunch of crooks the next. Tata Motors is building a revolutionary cheap car for the masses that should make every citizen proud, or Singur is a fight for the future of economic reforms. (A well researched Purdue University analysis showed how over a period of 18 months, the media accepted and amplified a narrative of the Tata Nano’s launch that was remarkably in sync with the company’s own communication.) The list goes on.

Above all, though, the objectivity of the Indian news media is now in question. The audio recordings of PR agent Niira Radia revealed last year showed a cozy relationship between the journalists and the subjects they are supposed to cover objectively. A television anchor was heard playing the role of an intermediary in negotiations between the UPA allies during the formation of the central government in 2009. Newspaper columnists were taking advice from PR agents on what to write in their columns. What the tapes revealed was a press that was fiercely independent on the surface, but looked like it really wanted to be influenced by the highest bidder. And, therefore, for every story that is covered, there always seems to be five other stories that are deliberately ignored.

In many ways, the crisis of the media in India reflects the broader crisis and angst that the news media is going through around the world, especially in the West. But the drivers could not be more different. The turbulence in the West is driven by a dramatically shrinking readership amongst newspapers and magazines. Mainstream news organizations in the West are threatened too by a new breed of media outlets that is ideologically extreme and filters every domestic and global event using the narrow lens of the fight between the left and the right.

Remarkably, neither is an issue in India. Almost alone in the world, India’s print, magazine and television news businesses are growing rapidly, in circulation as well as in advertising revenues, often in double digits. Between 2003 and 2009, as print circulation declined in most major countries, India added more than 25 million new readers. Advertising and circulation together is expected to grow at more than 10% annually for the next few years. Neither is ideological radicalization an issue in the Indian press. In fact, reflecting the rest of the polity, the domestic news media rarely possesses even a clear philosophy on economic development, politics or international relations.

Of course, none of this should take credit away from the journalists and reporters in India who still continue to do the old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting, toiling to get the facts and the stories right. And, in the midst of all the gloom, the magazine sector has seen much innovation as well as the occasional willingness to counter the mainstream narrative and to invest in digging out the real stories behind the screaming headlines. But more often than not, their work highlights what is starkly missing in newspapers and television channels (and unfortunately, their circulation dwarfs the readership and viewership of these newspapers and channels).

So, how did we get here? For a start, the crisis in Indian media does lend credence to the emerging wisdom around the world that objective and independent journalism can only thrive in a non-profit environment, perhaps with the benevolent support of wealthy trusts and individuals. Most major newspapers and television channels in the country are owned by for-profit corporations that understandably have an emphasis on the bottom-line. These organizations invariably have other business interests and relationships that may make objective journalism within their newspapers and channels difficult and inconvenient. Many media outlets are disproportionately reliant on their advertisers – a recent analyst report estimated that nearly 75% of print revenue in India comes from advertising – thus, the temptation always exists to pander to them, especially when these advertisers are the subjects of the reporting. The temptation must also exist to punish those advertisers who choose competing outlets.

This drift towards seeking easy ways to pander to audiences and advertisers is exacerbated by the culture of incestuous self-serving relationships. Enthralled by the prospect of not being subject anymore to the long speeches of the Information and Broadcasting ministers masquerading as news on Doordarshan, we made celebrities out of the new television anchors on private channels before they had even become genuine reporters. Many of these celebrities became a coveted part of the incestuous social circles of Delhi and Mumbai that brought the decision makers of the polity together, much before they had learned how to draw the lines adequately between their personal lives and their professional responsibilities. Many editors have overt and covert relationships with political parties and business leaders. These relationships, and the outcomes that they reveal on newspapers and magazines and television channels, highlight why outstanding journalists around the world have always believed in keeping a safe distance from the polity; in knowing when the party stops, and when the honest work begins.

Underlining the troubled situation is the absence of any kind of meaningful regulation. When the PCI chairman raised the issue of bringing electronic media under the Press Council as well, and giving “more teeth” to the council to call out errant behavior, in a way, for example, that the Bar Council currently does for lawyers, he was met with vicious opposition from editors who cited the need for absolute press freedom to play their special role as the society’s watchdog.

So, is there a path to renewal for journalism in India? Absolutely, and the answer partly lies in the staunch defense the editors made for the freedoms they have become used to. They are right that regulation is a slippery slope. While the temptation to regulate is high, the role of the press is a unique one in democracies and the freedom of the press – even a flawed news media – is absolutely essential to making sure that it stands a chance of playing the role of the custodian that it was always meant to.

One of the best chances for renewal lies not in limiting the freedom of the press but in expanding it, and particularly in rolling back the limits that are currently put on it through the structure of the anti-defamation laws in the country. There is no doubt that the threat of a libel suit — whether from a politician or a business leader — carries much weight in the coverage choices made by journalists and editors. India also hasn’t seen the proliferation of online sites like in the West that scrutinize the coverage of mainstream media and hold journalists accountable for their reporting.

The other response to the proliferation of mediocre journalism has to be more competition. Competition to the entrenched, for-profit, domestic media should come from two sources: foreign news organizations and a new non-profit public broadcaster.

Foreign news organizations have been locked out of the domestic news market. Limits exist on foreign ownership in local television channels, while foreign print organizations cannot tailor editions for a local audience. No rational argument exists any more for these controls. In a resurgent India where domestic firms have fiercely competed with foreign companies in markets at home and abroad, the only reason for these controls now is the protection of domestic media firms. And, it is time to break the status quo on this. There is no guarantee that foreign news organizations will practice a more elevated form of journalism (the outrageous behavior of the tabloids in the U.K. is still recentmemory.) But there is at least a chance that a fresh infusion of talent and methods from established news organizations, facing shrinking revenues in their own domestic markets, will shake up India’s cozy, incestuous media circle.

Perhaps these imports could also teach some of our celebrity anchors and editors the rudimentary lessons in reporting and objective journalism that they seem to have skipped on their way to stardom.

The game changer, though, would be the establishment of a new, non-profit public broadcaster with the mandate to pursue serious journalism without the distraction of an agenda set by advertisers and business partners. While the restructured Prasar Bharti could well have evolved to play that role, there is no evidence that it is sufficiently independent from the government’s influence to get there. Around the world, public broadcasting has always been a bulwark against the race to the bottom in journalistic standards. Whether the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the National Public Radio (NPR) in the United States, or the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in the United Kingdom, these public broadcasters have played a valuable role in pursuing stories with an objectivity and integrity that sometimes have eluded the more mainstream news organizations. PBS, in fact, was explicitly created in 1970 to counter what was then seen as the dominance of three network television corporations in controlling news and entertainment in the U.S. All three organizations have done a stellar job of grooming reporters who have gone on to play leadership roles in private news corporations.

While their revenue models differ, a substantial portion of their financing comes from public donations, grants and contributions from local affiliates (in the case of PBS and NPR), and a national television license fee in the case of BBC. In other words, they are free to pursue independent journalism measured against standards set by independent leaders, none of who are reliant on advertisers or the government for their careers.

No pillar is more important in a democracy than the fourth estate. And no institution is weaker in India presently than its news media. There is a path to renewal, and it is one that involves more competition and more freedom of expression.

** Is Hinduism Casteist?

http://www.ariseindiaforum.org/varnashram.php?type=36

Is Hinduism Casteist?

Sw. AbhayaNanda

The Vedic society is often criticized by the modern intelligentsia for its apparently discriminating stand against a certain section of the society. The detractors claim that the Vedas directly support racist and feudal dominance by brandishing a certain group of people as ‘shudras’, or low born. India has witnessed social upheavals on this issue, and today caste system has become a sensitive subject with serious ramifications on the national political scene.

However the Vedas present a view contrary to the modern zealots’ interpretation, and is actually egalitarian in outlook, a point totally ignored by the critics.

Birth v/s qualification

Lord Krishna states in the Bhagavad Gita, the most authorized book for the Hindus, that a person’s position in the society is based on his qualifications and work, and not on birth (BG 4.13). Thus a person, although born in an apparently higher caste, has to qualify himself.

Similarly if a person born into a ‘lower’ caste displays qualities of a person of the ‘higher’ order, he shouldn’t be discouraged. We cannot assume that a child of doctor parents automatically qualifies himself/herself to be a doctor on the basis of birth in one such family. Similarly no one can claim to be a brahmana without qualifying himself by the necessary training.

The Chandogya Upanishad illustrates this point with the story of Satyakama, a young boy who approached a spiritual master for enlightenment. The guru enquired about his father and the boy said he was unaware of his father’s identity. He was then told to go and ask his mother. He soon returned and candidly confessed that his mother had known many men, and is herself unsure about his father’s identity. The spiritual master, being pleased with this honesty, declared to the boy, “You are a real brahmana“.

Need for social divisions

However a question arises on the need to have such a system in the first place, because this categorization threatens to alienate certain groups from the mainstream. Moreover a classless society assures freedom from these artificial barriers, and promises equal opportunity to all.

The Vedas declare that this kind of division exists in the society naturally. A balanced and healthy body has the brain, arms, belly and legs working in good condition. Similarly the symptom of a healthy social body is the peaceful coexistence of teachers and intelligentsia, the administrators, the business class and the laborers. The brahmanas in Vedic society refers to the ‘brain’ of society, i.e. they provide the intellectual capital and spiritual and moral direction. The Kshatriyas, or the administrators are compared to the arms and they have a crucial role to protect the citizens. The Vaishyas, or business class are compared to the belly, and the worker class or shudras are the legs which support the other three orders.

This division is natural in any society as different people adopt different occupations based on interest and inclinations.

To say the arms are needed but the legs are unimportant for the body is foolish. Likewise to condemn a certain occupational class within the same society is disastrous. Needless to say all the orders have to work with dignity of labor, mutual respect and in harmony with each other.

Cause of modern problems

The problems in the Vedic society arose primarily due to getting these basics wrong and rampant exploitation taking place on the basis of one’s birth in a particular caste.

In a human body, although all parts are important, the brain is undoubtedly most vital. Without the brain’s working, a physically perfect body is considered unproductive. Similarly for the society to run smoothly, the brahmana class has to be of impeccable character and integrity. With the corruption of this class, influenced by false pride and arrogance, the social order became chaotic.

Sadly today in India there are many smarta- brahmanas, or caste-conscious brahmanas who insist that one cannot be elevated to brahminical status unless he is born in a brahmana family. This brahmana by-birth conception is non-Vedic, and has justifiably agitated the other sections. Little surprise then, that the politicization of this issue and the resultant violence is eroding the social fabric.

The solution- Rising ‘above’ the caste system

Lord Krishna reveals in the Bhagavad Gita, the identity of each person as distinctly different from the body (BG 2.13). Presently the ‘soul’ or the real ‘I’ is covered by this body and identifying with this perishable body, we claim to belong to a particular caste, nationality, race etc.

Although this occupational division helps one to progress gradually by encouraging us to dovetail our propensities, Krishna extols the intelligent to transcend these temporary designations. He declares the highest religion is to render loving devotional service to God, and when we engage in our activities with a desire to serve and please Him, we immediately go beyond these petty classifications. When the society is trained to be God conscious, each member then performs his/her duty in a purified consciousness and considers himself as a servant of all others in the society.

Thus the Srimad Bhagavatam declares:

“O best among the twice-born, it is therefore concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve by discharging the duties prescribed for one’s own occupation according to caste divisions and orders of life is to please the Personality of Godhead.” (SB -1.2.13)

The Vedas thus declare that the perfection of this institutional framework is to cooperate jointly for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON writes, “This system exists not for artificial domination of one division over another. When the aim of life, i.e., realization of the Absolute Truth, is missed by too much attachment for sense gratification, this institution is utilized by selfish men to pose an artificial predominance over the weaker section. In the Kali-yuga, or the age of quarrel, this artificial predominance is already current, but the saner section of the people knows it well that the divisions of castes and orders of life are meant for smooth social intercourse and high-thinking self-realization and not for any other purpose.”

A Global revolution since mid 15th century

Five hundred years ago Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who appeared in Navadwip, West Bengal (1486-1534), preached the dharma of Kali-yuga, namely chanting of the holy names of God. Widely distributing this message, he induced all to take shelter of God, irrespective of caste and religious barriers. Some of his closest associates were not even Hindus, yet by their unflinching faith in chanting the Holy Names of God, they proved to be more glorious than the ritualistic priests and brahmanas.

One of Lord Chaitanya’s closest associate was Haridas Thakur who had taken birth in a Muslim family and was a reject according to the conventional Hindu caste system. However Lord Chaitanya recognized him as the greatest devotee of Lord Krishna of that time (16th century).

Following this tradition, Srila Prabhupada also preached this message of Krishna consciousness in the Western countries. Starting from New York in 1966, he created a revolution by initiating Americans, Europeans and Africans as Vaishnava brahmanas and sannyasis. For all the criticism by the orthodox Hindus, it is these apparently ‘low born’ who have contributed to spreading the Vedic culture all over the world. Ironically the narrow minded champions of Hindu dharma on the other hand have done little to glorify the supreme Lord and His Holy Names.

Of course Srila Prabhupada clarified that this awarding of brahmana and sannyasa to individuals should not be done indiscriminately but rather by careful examination and training in highest standards of purity and God centered principles. Today many other ‘Hindu’ societies like Art of Living, Chinmaya mission, besides many others are demonstrating this principle through their world wide preaching of the real Vedic/Indian spirituality.

Also Read : INVADING  THE  SACRED

http://worldmonitor.wordpress.com/2007/08/13/invading-the-sacred/