Monthly Archives: May 2007

** Evangelisation thru RBI

Sonia Cong’s blitzkrieg evangelisation thru RBI

- V SUNDARAM

President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), by no means a communal and saffronised barbarian like myself, wrote in the 18th century: ‘The Christian God is cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust.’ If I can suitably adapt those beautiful words to the Indian context today, the Christian Symbols politically promoted by the UPA government through its ‘guided missile’ coinage programme, are viewed as no less cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust by more than one billion Hindus (800 millions in majority in India) in the world today. As an illiterate (With no Cambridge University qualification to boot and duly sanctified by the Supreme Court of India), ‘superstitious’, ‘communal’, ‘non-secular’, ‘half-savage’, ‘uncivilised’, ‘pagan’ and ‘heathen’ Hindu, I had in these columns written an article on 21 March, 2007 under the title ‘AN ASSAULT ON THE SOUL OF THE NATION’ completely exposing the nefarious and dubious designs of the Catholic-Sonia directed soulless surrogate UPA government of India to Evangelize India in a brazen, brash and brutal manner by inscribing a Christian Cross on 2 Rupee Coins minted in 2005-2006. To recall my own words from that article: ‘.. When, I got a new 2 Rupee Coin minted in 2006 as loose change towards the balance that was payable to me, I was shell-shocked to clearly see on one side of the coin the inscription of a Christian Cross which had replaced the map of India. I asked myself a highly communal question: Are we living in a Catholic country like Italy or Spain or Portugal where Roman Catholicism is the religion of the State and the people?’        Ever since the UPA government under the dynastic stranglehold of Sonia Gandhi came to power in New Delhi in May 2004, it has been following a calculated and damnable policy of debasement of peace-loving Hindus which I have often described times without number as ‘Christianity-coveting, Islam-embracing and Hindu-hating’ in stance, posture, ideology, philosophy, programme and action.

        After enacting the lurid Christian drama of deliberately inscribing a Christian Cross on 2 Rupee Coins, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has now widely circulated new 1 Rupee Coins minted in 2005 which leaves no one in any doubt about the organised Grand Evangelization of India Programme of the UPA government of India. Any one can see that on one side of this new 1 Rupee coin, the symbol of Christian Cross has been clearly inscribed. I am presenting below the two sides of the 1 Rupee Coin minted in 2005.

        I am convinced that Hinduism and Hindus are under siege today – they are besieged by the organised Christianity-Caressing, Islam-Embracing and Hindu-Hating might of the UPA government. The UPA government is out to belittle them, to insult them, to degrade them, to marginalise them and finally to decimate and destroy them. More than one billion Hindus in India and rest of the world are getting to understand that the surrogate UPA government of India under an impotent, inefficient, inelegant and inept Prime Minister is functioning as the authorised representative of the Pope in Rome, under the over all Generalissimo of a De Jure Roman Catholic Prime Minister from Italy, to convert the whole of India into a Roman Catholic country. The Reserve Bank of India is functioning as one of the lethal instruments of this culturally poisonous process of Evangelization of India.

        I have gathered authentic information to the effect that under specific anti-Hindu directions from the UPA government in New Delhi, many officers in the Department of Currency Management in the RBI have been working as effective instruments for advancing the cause of Evangelization of India planned and plotted by Sonia of Sonia Congress Party. One of my friends who retired as an officer at a high level from the Department of Currency Management in the RBI has told me that the Monetary Museum set up by the RBI in Bombay has taken special care to run down Hindu heritage and tradition. Here are the startling facts about this Monetary Museum furnished to me by that officer:

        A. The museum has more coins issued by Muslim invaders after 1000 AD than those issued by native Hindu rulers in different parts of India from the dawn of Indian history.

        B. The descriptive texts for most of the numismatic items are based upon the anti-Hindu text book of Romilla Thapar – a Congress Party-sponsored Leftist historian from Jawaharlal Nehru University. She does not know a word of Sanskrit and yet she chooses to comment on the Vedas and the ancient Hindu Literature of India based upon the translations and interpretations of British and European scholars in the 19th century who were only paid agents of British Imperialism. Max Mueller (1823-1900) was one of those agents. Romilla Thapar is his spiritual heir today, acting as the spokesman for the anti-Hindu political agenda of the Congress Party!

        C. Many of the RBI Officers in the Department of Currency Management seem to be in filial love with Mohammad Ali Jinnah (1876-1948) who created Pakistan. In the RBI Monetary Museum the Partition of India is shown with two walls, with the name of two nations, with Pakistan being shown on a higher wall and India on a lower wall. I view it as an organised act of national disrespect. Perhaps the Islam-embracing UPA government wanted it that way. No other logical explanation is possible.

        D. The Monetary Museum does not make any reference to the coinage of Vedic India i.e. Nishka.

        E. The detailed process of making the Punch Marked Coins as recorded by Chanakya in his Arthashastra has been deliberately blacked out in the Monetary Museum.

        F. Generally coins issued by the invaders of India have been displayed as shining artifacts of our great heritage and not those issued by the native Hindu rulers from all parts of India.

        G. The Monetary Museum does not start with the evolution of Indian Coinage but with ‘What is Money?’, as if this is a sterile and dismal economic matter and not one relating to our glorious cultural heritage.

        My friend and editor of BHARATIYA PRAGNA from Hyderabad, Dr T Hanuman Chowdary had sought a clarification from the RBI in regard to the Christian Cross on 2 Rupee Coins which I had highlighted in these columns on 21 March, 2007. I am reproducing below the reply given to Dr Chowdary by U S Paliwal, Chief General Manager on 18 April 2007: ‘Please refer to your e-mail letter dated 6 April, 2007 forwarding a copy of the article written by Shri.V.Sundaram regarding the design of the new 2 Rupee Coin. In this connection, we reproduce below extracts of the Government of India Gazette Notification dated 23 June, 2005 explaining the design of Rupees 2 Coins. ‘The reverse of the coin contains the visuals showing stylized representation of ‘Unity in diversity’ a defining characteristic of our country. The symbol shall be seen as four heads sharing a common body. It shall be thought of as people from all parts of the country coming together under one banner and identifying with one nation. The visual code helps the user connect with an individual denomination, which makes the process of identification quicker.’

        In my view the clarification issued by the RBI smacks of anti-Hindu Pseudo-Secularism and political Scoundralism at its most bestial level for which the anti-national Private Limited Company called the Congress Party has been made world famous by Sonia Gandhi today.

        The UPA government under the stranglehold of anti-Hindu Sonia Gandhi is showing a contemptuous disregard for time-honoured Hindu human freedom, Hindu dignity and Hindu spiritual and political self-determination. Through vicious pseudo-secular ploys, plots, programmes and policies it is working round the clock to control, contain and confine government directed spirituality to Islamic and Christian grooves, indirectly forcing all the Hindus of India into impotent grovellers in their own native home land.

        Carefully weighing the political machinations and maneuveres of Sonia Gandhi to use the fleeting might of the UPA government for imposing the overriding process of enforced Evangelization of India, I cannot help saying that she derives her inspiration from Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus (280-337 AD). He is commonly known as Constantine I, (among Roman Catholics) and Constantine the Great, or Saint Constantine (among Eastern Orthodox Christians). Constantine is best known for being the first Christian Roman Emperor. Constantine is also remembered for convoking the Council of Nicaea in 325, which has been hailed as one of the most important landmark events in the development of the Christian religion. In 324, Constantine announced his decision to transform Byzantium into Nova Roma and on 11 May, 330, he officially proclaimed the city as the new capital of the Roman Empire. The city was renamed Constantinople, The City of Constantine, after Constantine’s death in 337. Constantinople was the first Christian city in the world, as no pagan temples or sites were permitted to exist or remain in that city. It remained the capital of the Byzantine Empire for over a thousand years, until Ottoman Turks captured the city in 1453 and eventually renamed it Istanbul.

        More than 800 millions of Hindus in majority would like to declare to the UPA government today: ‘Pray do not play with us; pray do not trifle with us; pray do not toy with us; pray do not belittle us with pseudo-secular impunity; pray remember that our time-honoured self respect is made of such hard stuff that it can stand your continued onslaught on us and would never get diminished by your contempt or hatred or indifference. We shall not weaken or tire. We shall not flag or fail. Neither the sudden attacks of our enemies nor the long drawn out exertions of vigilance will wear us down. Unflinching, unswerving, indomitable, inflexible and irrepressible we shall remain, now and for ever and ever!’ URL: http://www.newstodaynet.com/2007sud/may07/230507.htm

E-mail the writer at : vsundaram@newstodaynet.com       More below:

—————————————————————-http://www.newstodaynet.com/2007sud/may07/210507.htm 

Cavalier dethronement of the rule of law

** Design behind conversion?

 http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=184&page=5

Is there imperial design behind conversion overdrive?
By Sandhya Jain

There is empirical evidence that the evangelical movement operates through multinational corporations (MNCs). A special section has been devoted to the Seventh Day Adventist church (to which Andhra Chief Minister Samuel Rajshekhar Reddy is affiliated), which targets Dalits for conversion. It is closely associated with Maranatha Volunteers International, engaged in church planting.A journalist researching how permissions were obtained for such a vast numbers of churches found that a rough estimate at $ 5,000/church x 1,000 churches gave a turnover of $5million. One churches in 1,000 days, and $5m turnover! There is no land cost because most churches are built illegally on Poromboke or Mandir lands.

In recent weeks, allegations of assault by Christian evangelists in BJP-ruled states have once again turned the spotlight on conversions. Now, meticulous research by Ms. Anuja Prashar, director, Transnational Identity Investments (TII), documents the political, economic and secular backing by Western-Christian governments for this imperialist project and its special focus upon India.

Ms. Prashar’s report, titled “Conversion and Anti-Conversion in India Today,” owes its genesis to British MPs Andy Reed and Gary Streeter protesting to India’s Deputy High Commissioner in London that certain laws in the country restricted religious freedom. They presented a letter signed by a cross-party group of 16 MPs; Reed is a member of the board of Christian Solidarity Worldwide. This exposes the hollowness of the secular principles of the British Government, as evangelical paradigms are so openly supported across political parties.

This agitated Hindus organisations in Britain and America, and independent academics, social analysts, and observers joined hands to prepare a report which convincingly establishes that Western Christian charity and faith organisations have a clear agenda to convert the socially disadvantaged, and a global imperialistic mission. There is empirical evidence that the evangelical movement operates through multinational corporations (MNCs). A special section has been devoted to the Seventh Day Adventist church (to which Andhra Chief Minister Samuel Rajshekhar Reddy is affiliated), which targets Dalits for conversion. It is closely associated with Maranatha Volunteers International, engaged in church planting and 25-villages and 50-villages conversion programmes.

Dr Vijay Chauthaiwale of Gujarat studied some multinational Christian organisations, such as the Evangelical Church of India which belongs to OMS International. Its motto is the imperialistic slogan “Reaching Nations for Christ.” The website openly proclaims the targets as Latin America, Europe and Euro-Asia, Africa and Asia , where the organisation is actively involved in training and preparing native evangelicals, and church planting. In 2005 alone is succeeded in getting 103,464 people make a decision for Christ and 10,592 undergo lay leadership training. The donor nations include the United States (HQ), Australia , Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

The Evangelical Church of India (ECI), established in 1954, targets the slums, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, in cities and villages. “We must go to where the fish are found …where the fish bite the bait on the hook,” it boasts inelegantly. Its logo depicts a cross struck deep in a lotus, seat of Hindu divinity. Dr. Chauthaiwale also studied the US-based Mission of Joy (MOJ), whose mission is “to bring the gospel to a million unreached believers and provide temporary and permanent assistance to orphans.” MOJ has three orphanages in Tenail, Nasaraopet and Vijiwada.

But the most organised movement is the US-based AD 2000 and Beyond Movement and its ‘Joshua Project 2000’ which lists 216 people groups throughout the world as Priority-I. These include nine Indian tribes (Bhilala, Binjhwari, Chero, Kawar/Kamari, Lhoba, Majhwar, Panika, Shin or Sina, and Sikkimese Bhotia). The Joshua Project has identified the North India Hindi belt as “the core of the core of the core” because of its population density (40% of the Indian population); its political importance; its is very deprived (the “Bimaru” states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh lie in this region); it is the religious hub of India; and it has the smallest Christian presence in India. Detailed plans have been drawn up to target India’s 75,000 Pin Codes.

An umbrella called North India Harvest Network (NIHN) has been organised on the principles of “Plug, Prem and be NICE” to avoid duplication of effort. Plug stands for People in every Language in every Urban centre in every Geographic division. Prem means Prayer, Research, Equipping & training and Mobilisation. NiCE involves Networking, Initiative, Catalyst and Encouraging the missionaries. Virtually a war strategy.

Britain ’s South Asian Development Partnership (SADP), led by Mr. Ram Gidoomal, a Sikh convert to Christianity, is supposed to “facilitate and catalyze entrepreneurial initiatives in the UK and South Asia .” Its website explains how the principle of NICE can be applied to SADP working. If there is a link between SADP and Indian evangelical movements, how do these programmes fit into the developmental programmes of Asian and UK professionals? Ms. Prashar further points out that Mr. Gidoomal has co-authored a book with Robin Thompson, an Evangelical Minister with South Asian Concern (SAC), a Selsdon Baptist Church keen to convert South Asia.

The Seventh Day Adventists owes its Indian success to Canadian evangelist Ron Watts, President for the South Asian Division, who entered India on a Business Visa. He operated out of Hosur. When Watts arrived in 1997, the Adventist Church had 2.25 lakh members after 103 years of operations. In five years, to took it to 7 lakhs. Dorothy Watts’ recorded their methodology, namely, the 25-Village and the 10-Village Program.

This involved five sets of laymen, going two by two, under guidance from a regular pastor, and exploring the villages in a district, to identify 25 villages in close proximity, with people of the same family groups and castes, so they could continue to have social relations and marriage alliances after conversion! Once the villages were selected, the teams would approach the leaders of each village and invite them to send two leaders to a 10-day seminar at a nearby resort, at the organisation’s expense. They were then brainwashed in the idea of better living, which was offered to their villages, along with the tenets of Christianity. Then they were denied baptism till they convinced the village to convert.

In 1998, there were 17 Ten Village Programmes and 9,337 were baptized. In 1999, forty programs were held and nearly 40,000 people baptized. The 25-village plan made proselytization a flourishing business, which got a further boost with the arrival of the Maranatha Volunteers International. Under Andhra Chief Minister Samuel Reddy, the Adventists shifted to a 50-village plan. They began baptizing at the rate of 10,000 persons per month.

The US-based Maranatha Volunteers International focused on providing buildings for the Seventh-day Adventist Church . The Fjarli family, who own a construction company, Southern Oregon Builders, went on their first Maranatha project in 2001. They raised funds to build 1000 churches at a rate of 1 per day. A journalist researching how permissions were obtained for such a vast numbers of churches found that a rough estimate at $ 5,000/church x 1,000 churches gave a turnover of $5million. One churches in 1,000 days, and $5m turnover! There is no land cost because most churches are built illegally on Poromboke or Mandir lands.

When deportation proceedings were launched against Ron Watts, Dr. K.J. Moses testified that Watts had committed fraud, spending Rs. 1.30 crores as bribes to stay in India . Advocate V.S. Raju said Watts was in the business of conversion to Christianity, offering petty cash concessions and allurements of employment to educated persons in Christian schools and hospitals; sending youth for education to the Spicer Memorial College, Pune, and arranging marriages between young men and women belonging to SDA. Watts, however, remained in India after a much-publicised meeting with Ms. Sonia Gandhi!

Besides America , the European Union is funding a seven year Sustainable Tribal Empowerment Project (STEP), targeting 200,000 tribal households in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Vishakhapatanam and East Godavari.

http://home.comcast.net/~hanuma/present.pdf

** Sachar’s BLUFF

Muslims spend more than Hindu peers

Economic Times News

NEW DELHI: Forget all half-baked opinions you may have heard on the economic state of religious communities in India. Truth be told, at the national level, Hindus and Muslims are closer than you thought as far as average household income, expenditure, savings and even ownership of select consumer goods go. In fact, in rural India, the gap between the two communities’ narrows appreciably and even reverses in some cases in favour of Muslims. Not surprisingly, the Sikhs are the most prosperous lot in India, with highest household income, expenditure and ownership of cars, two-wheelers, TV sets and refrigerators. Christians and other smaller communities don’t lag too far behind either.

Hindu        61,423 
Muslim     58,420 
Christian  70,644 
Sikh            91,153 
Others       101,105
  

Average annual household income (Rs At 2004-05 prices)

In the first ever exercise mapping the economic contours of different religious communities in India, ET presents an exclusive peek into the National Council of Applied Economic Research’s (NCAER) data analysis from its National Survey of Household Income and Expenditure (2004-05), which was led by senior fellow Rajesh Shukla.

           Hindu  Muslim  Christian  Sikh  Others 
Car      5.1      4.3          10.9         17.3     13.1  
2 Wlr  35.3    31.3        41.7          54.7    57.0 
TVs    62.8    54.0        77.6          86.6    85.2 
Radio  49.5   51.3         56.0         36.3     47.2 
Fridge 17.9   15.9         28.0         45.7     37.0 

Ownership of selected consumer goods (% of households owning)

The survey collected primary data from a sample of approximately 63,000 households out of preliminary listed sample of 4,40,000 households spread over 1,976 villages (250 districts) and 2,255 urban wards (342 towns) covering 64 National Sample Survey (NSS) regions in 24 states/UTs.

If you thought Muslims alone were steeped in poverty, read on. Hindus and Muslims, at a national level, run neck-and-neck on average annual household income (AHI) of Rs 61, 423 and Rs 58,420, respectively.

Or, to put it differently, an average Hindu household has an income of Rs 168 per day, while an average Muslim household earns Rs 160 a day. In rural India, an average Hindu AHI is Rs 49,077 with Muslim close behind with AHI of Rs 47,805. On income parameters, at least, Hindus and Muslims are, indeed, bhai-bhai.

Marketers planning an ethnographic pitch to grab mindshare or policy makers preparing ground for affirmative action may do good to remember that an average Muslim household, at the national level, spends more than a Hindu one, with annual household routine expenditure (AHRE) at Rs 40,327 compared to Rs 40,009 for the latter.

Sikh household AHRE is highest at Rs 60,475 with Christians at Rs 45,291. In rural India, Muslim AHRE (Rs 33,711) is higher than Hindu (Rs 32,555) and compares well with Christian (Rs 38,068).

Interestingly, Muslims who are the bottom as far as income is concerned—top the list when AHRE is measured as a percentage of AHI. They spend over 69% of their income on routine household expenditure followed by Sikhs (66%) and Hindus (64%).

While the average national AHI for all religious groups at 2004-05 prices, stood at Rs 62,066, the patterns across specific groups reflect stark differential. The smaller religious communities (excluding Christians and Sikhs) taken as the whole are an affluent lot with AHI of over Rs 1 lakh. Sikhs and Christians leave larger communities way behind with AHI of Rs 91,153 and Rs 70,644 respectively.

And this has a clear impact on their expenditure and ownership patterns for a select consumer goods. Ownership patterns may tell their own story if the industry chooses to dig further. Penetration of cars is highest among Sikhs (17.3% households), followed by Christians (10.95%).

At the national level, Hindu and Muslim households virtually mirror each other on ownership of a host of products—cars (5.1% and 4.3%), two-wheeler (35.3% and 31.3%), refrigerator (17.9% and 15.9%) and radio (49.5% and 51.3%). Turn to rural India and Muslim households have an edge on not just AHRE, but even car ownership (2.6% versus 2.4% of Hindu households).

The only oddity in ownership between Hindus and Muslims is on television, with national penetration at 62.8 % and 54%, respectively. Even rural Muslim household lag here with penetration of just 39.1% compared to 52% for the majority community. Source:  http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/Economy/Indicators/Muslims_spend_more_than_Hindu_peers/articleshow/msid-1858719,curpg-1.cms

Read below:   Sachar report defies logic

Sachar report defies logic, Muslims are better off

There is the unique case of the Hindus of India’s Kashmir: about 10 per cent of the population in 1947, they have been reduced to a tiny number (5,000). The rest numbering about 4,00,000 have been compelled to abandon their home and hearth and made refugees in their own land.While Hindu population is falling steadily, the Muslim population is increasing. This is too well known.

The series of reports on the under-representation of the Muslims in services etc (obviously being presented as a monolithic community) and their over-representation in the jails and more such disclosures through the Sachar Committee’s report, are meant to portray the overall image of a deprived community while implying that the Hindus in post-Partition India have an over-representation in services and other arenas, which is neither warranted by history nor by their number.

But first, the very methodology of producing this genre of statistics and its derivatives, which leave out the context and other parameters.

In this arithmetic, it is imperative to calculate what the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians have lost for ever in what are now Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Their losses were entirely appropriated by the Muslims. This never happened in India. The relative position of religious communities in India can never be seen in isolation: that would make sense only when the overall scenario—the political status, economic condition as well as the security concerns of both Hindus and Muslims in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and also in India’s Kashmir—is taken into account.

While Pakistan and Bangladesh have carried out a religious and ethnic cleansing of its minorities, the Muslim population in India continues to rise at a rate higher than that of the Hindus.

Since the Muslim community looks at itself as a part of the fraternity of the believers world-wide, they are generally concerned at the fate of the Muslims outside India. This prompted Gandhiji to take up the Khilafat issue.

That justifies rallies against Bush when he visits India but red carpet for Musharraf.

Hence GoI espouses the Palestinian cause while smothering the horrible plight of the Hindus, Buddhists and Christians in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Softness towards the latter are explained because of the exigencies of the vote-bank politics and the role of petro-dollar.

It is because of this umbilical chord that Pakistan keeps harping on the (so-called) “plight” of the Muslims in India.

The projection of the Muslims as the only losing community is unconvincing if the totality of the picture is not smothered. Historic problems can’t be viewed from arbitrarily selected starting points.

Additionally, there is the unique case of the Hindus of India’s Jammu and Kashmir: about 10 per cent of the population in 1947, they have been reduced to a tiny number (5000). The rest numbering about 4,00,000 have been compelled to abandon their home and hearth and made refugees in their own land.

Now eking out a miserable living in the refugee camps of Jammu and elsewhere for more than 16 years, they have been resorting to distress sell-off of their ancestral properties to the Muslims of the Kashmir Valley for a pittance.

While the Jews can return to Germany now and re-establish their synagogues and claim their property back, and the Asians of Uganda can return, that option is firmly closed to the Kashmiri Hindu refugees.

Even after this, a central minister from Kashmir wants a reservation for Muslims!

Muslims of India on the whole are better off, more secure than the Hindus of Kashmir Valley. The point is some minorities are different from other minorities and some majorities are different from other majorities.

A look at this chart would further clarify this enigma of the “persecuted” minorities and “pampered” majorities.

The top three positions in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh:

President, Prime Minister and Army Chief

India: Muslim, Sikh, Sikh

Pakistan: Muslim, Muslim, Muslim

Bangladesh: Muslim, Muslim, Muslim

In India’s case, it needs to be noted that Sonia (nee Maino) Gandhi, an Italian-born is the Chairperson of the ruling UPA. That is, she is the de facto head of the government. Her most trusted political advisor is Ahmad Patel

So the share of Hindus (%) in what is called the Indian sub-continent for the top jobs is nil.

Additionally the Deputy Chief of the armed forces in India happens to be a Muslim and how about the comparable figures in Pakistan and Bangladesh? As for some other prestigious positions:

Chairman of the Central Public Service Commission, which recruits the elite civil services:

India: Muslim

Pakistan: Muslim

Bangladesh: Muslim

Chief of the National Planning Commission:

India: Sikh

Pakistan: Muslim

Bangladesh: Muslim

Chief of the Election Commission:

India: Muslim

Pakistan: Muslim

Bangladesh: Muslim

Here also the Hindu share (%) is nil.

Last but not the least, the cricket teams in this part of South Asia:

India: Out of 16 players currently playing there are five Muslims.

Pakistan: So far only two Hindus have played for Pakistan (in 59 years).

Bangladesh: Only two Hindus have played so far but now they are out of the team.

I am leaving out the “heroes” from the filmdom and the advertisement world in India which are conspicuously getting bereft of Hindus.

If that does not mean much, as some would say, why not name the number of non-Muslims recognised in those fields in Pakistan and Bangladesh?

Population figures: While Hindu population is falling steadily, the Muslim population is increasing. This is too well known.

In all, it may be said, very definitively that Hindus as a community are losing political power and clout very rapidly in a “shrinking and shrunken India”, and would lose whatever is still left in their hands. Having been victors all along, the Muslims can’t claim to be helpless victims now.

Those who tend to compare the plight of the Blacks in the USA with the Muslims in India are oblivious of history and logic. The Blacks were imported by the Whites as slaves unlike the Muslims who came as invaders and converted the local people.

The Black minority has neither ruled the USA nor has it partitioned its country.

Our market-savvy pundits would say that despite the steady political/demographic decline of the Hindus, some of them are very resourceful and so there is nothing to worry. History provides many examples when money-power without the backing of politico-military support just withered away. Moreover, the number of prosperous Muslims is quite substantial.

It would be quite revealing to see the percentage of the Hindus in the ever-growing list of the farmers committing suicides in Vidarbha, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and even in the communist-ruled West Bengal

Their socio-economic under-development is explained by social, psychological, political, historical and demographic factors. They also suffers because of their obsessions and misplaced priorities.

The Muslim under-representation is also explained by their larger families and fascination for the madrasa.

Poverty of the people (Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, neo-Buddhists, etc) is caused by the phoney policies for the underprivileged, like the “socialistic” policies enforced by the “secular” dispensations without creating jobs.

Number game can help in making identity in politics, as it did before partition, but can never become the criterion for any unfair communal entitlements now.

It may be recalled that the Jews with 0.21 per cent of the world population have got 22 per cent of all Nobel Prizes.

So, how about a campaign against this “anomaly” first?

(The writer teaches history at Hansraj College, University of Delhi and is a former Member of ICSSR, a former Post Doc Research Scholar, University of London, and Visiting Fellow, Dept of Politics, University of Hull.)

Related stories below:

Gigantic Political Fraud @ http://www.newstodaynet.com/2007sud/apr07/030407.htm

Economic Inequalities @ http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=184&page=29

Merit  vs. Quota @ http://ia.rediff.com/money/2006/apr/12ram.htm

Secularism & Terrorism @ http://indiaview.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/secularism-encouraging-terrorism/

 

** INVADING the SACRED

http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20070629&fname=aditibannerjee&sid=1

Invading The Sacred

- Aditi Banerjee

The story of why I became involved with co-editing a book that analyzes the representation of Hinduism in American academia and the ensuing and ongoing politics when such representations are challenged both by the Indian diaspora as well as by academicians .

Aditi Banerjee received a B.A. in International Relations, magna cum laude, from Tufts University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. She is a practicing attorney in New York.

 As I write this, I am surrounded by bookshelves full of English translations of the Puranas and the Dharma Shastras. In my puja room are texts of stotras and pujas that I am eager to learn but have not yet touched. A few blocks away, at the local Hindu Center, a Bhagavat Katha is taking place. Similarly, for the past several months, as I became involved in co-editing the book, Invading the Sacred: An Analysis of Hinduism Studies in America, papers I had planned to write–on Hindu models of feminism and narratives of my recent pilgrimages in India–went unwritten.

In an ideal world, I would have preferred any of those activities to this type of writing; but if I had to do it all over again, I would still have chosen to work on Invading the Sacred. The simple reason is that I believe now, as I did then, that not just as a Hindu, but as one who is committed to the objectives of true pluralism and multiculturalism, a deeper understanding of the issues raised by this book is critical to achieving those goals.

This essay is the story of why I became involved with co-editing Invading the Sacred, a book that analyzes the representation of Hinduism in American academia and the ensuing and ongoing politics when such representations are challenged both by the Indian diaspora as well as by academicians, and what this book means to me.

Three Vignettes–Personal Experiences of Hinduphobia

When I was in high school, my American History teacher, for no discernible reason, read to the class a newspaper clipping about an airplane that had accidentally landed in a remote Indian coastal village. The article described how the villagers rushed to garland the plane and pilot. The students (and my teacher) uproariously laughed at the apparent ignorance of these villagers who mistook an ordinary airplane and pilot for gods.

At that age, I did not have the words or the wherewithal to explain to them that Hindus honor anything and anyone that enters their home for the first time.

It is customary for Hindus to garland honoured guests, for example, or to place a dot of vermilion powder on new purchases. This does not mean we regard these objects or persons necessarily as God; rather, such gestures express our gratitude and respect for them as well as for the Divine who has brought them to us.

In college, I was exposed to Jeffrey Kripal’s “theory” of Sri Ramakrishna as a homosexual who had homoerotic feelings about (and possibly abused) Swami Vivekananda. It was presented to me not as speculation but as an academically established and authoritative truth.

All my life, I had looked upon Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda as holy saints who had revived Hinduism during colonial rule in India. I had a picture of Sri Ramakrishna and Sarada Devi to which I daily offered aarti, and I eagerly read Swami Vivekananda’s complete works–one of the few compilations on Hinduism widely available in English that is written from a Hindu perspective. They had been my portal to Hinduism, but I felt shaken by these academic allegations.

Instinctively, I knew such claims were baseless, and yet, these claims were made and vouched for by bona fide professors with Ivy League credentials, so they could not be completely wrong. Could they?

Shortly before I began practicing law, my guru advised me to begin wearing a bindi every day–not the stick-on kind but actual kumkum mixed with water. I was pleased to adopt this practice, as the bindi is a mark of auspiciousness and acts as a protective shield for the spiritual center of the body, the third eye (ajna chakra).

While some family members and friends warned me that others, especially my colleagues, may frown upon wearing such a mark, I had experienced and believed in the open-minded acceptance of my American peers.

However, I then came across Prof. David Gordon White’s book, Kiss of the Yogini: Tantric Sex in its South Asian Context, in which he remarks that the bindi a Hindu woman wears represents a drop of menstrual blood.

I grew apprehensive about wearing the bindi to work–would others mistakenly see it as some primitive, (literally) bloodthirsty rite? Still, I have followed my guru’s instruction and wear the bindi every day, and I have never regretted it. I do wonder sometimes, though, when catching the surreptitious curious stares of others, what exactly they think when they see the red oval between my eyebrows, and whether that perception has been shaped by the speculation of ‘renowned’ scholars such as White.

Because I have faced this Hinduphobia, which often shows itself in the subtlest of ways, because I have seen my friends and peers suffer from similar experiences, and because we have never had the voice or the ammunition with which to fire back–with which to say that this is wrong, not because it is offensive or politically incorrect, but because it is baseless and untruthful–because of all this, I could not say ‘no’ when the opportunity arose to become involved with this book.

For, what starts in American universities does not remain there–it spreads globally, percolates through to mainstream culture, to primary and secondary schools, and to the way ordinary citizens interact with and react to each other.

This Hinduphobia acts as a poison; with its spread, it is no longer possible to undertake the projects I really wanted to pursue, those listed at the beginning of this essay. When Hinduism has been projected to represent only the grotesque and sexualised in academia, no serious study of our Dharma Shastras within the academic system is easy; when our modern acharyas and gurus are demonised, an entire generation of budding scholars is too embarrassed to independently engage with their works; and when our most cherished deities and practices are exoticised or sensationalised, we are tempted to abandon those traditions and forms of worship that make us Hindu.

‘Sham’ Scholarship

The scholarship at issue here is a pattern of Freudian psychoanalyses that sensationalise, eroticise, exoticise and distort the meanings of sacred Hindu figures, deities, and traditions. Invading the Sacred analyses several case studies of such Freudian interpretations.

Here are some illustrative examples: Prof. Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Professor of History and Religion, University of Chicago; Past President of American Academy of Religion and Association for Asian Studies; award-winning author of numerous books on Hinduism:

  • “Holi, the spring carnival, when members of all castes mingle and let down their hair, sprinkling one another with cascades of red powder and liquid, symbolic of the blood that was probably used in past centuries.” [1]
  • “The Bhagavad Gita is not as nice a book as some Americans think … Throughout the Mahabharata … Krishna goads human beings into all sorts of murderous and self-destructive behaviors such as war … The Gita is a dishonest book; it justifies war.” [2]
  • Jeffrey Kripal, J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Religious Studies and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University. [From Kali's Child, which won the Best Book Award from the American Academy of Religion and was listed by Encyclopedia Britannica as its top choice for learning about Sri Ramakrishna:]
    • Claims that the mystical experiences of saints like Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda were the result of sexual abuse and sexual confusion;
    • “These homoerotic energies, in other words, not only shaped the symbolism of Ramakrishna’s mysticism; they were his mysticism. Let me be very clear: without the conflicted energies of the saint’s homosexual desires, there would have been no Kali’s sword, no unconscious Handmaid, no conflict between the Mother and the Lover, no Child, no Radha, no living lingam, no naked Paramahamsa boys, no Jesus state, no lovebody, no ecstatically extended feet, no closing and opening doors, no symbolic visions, no bhava, and no samadhi. In effect there would have been no ‘Ramakrishna.’”

Prof. Paul Courtright, Professor of Religion and Asian Studies and Former Chair of the Department of Religion and of Asian Studies at Emory University. [From Ganesa: Lord of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings, which won the History of Religions award from the American Academy of Religion:]

  •  
    • “Its (Ganesa’s) trunk is the displaced phallus, a caricature of Siva’s linga. It poses no threat because it is too large, flaccid, and in the wrong place to be useful for sexual purposes.” [3]
    • “He [Ganesa] remains celibate so as not to compete erotically with his father, a notorious womaniser, either incestuously for his mother or for any other woman for that matter.” [4]
    • “Both in his behavior and iconographic form Ganesa resembles in some aspects, the figure of the eunuch… Ganesha is like a eunuch guarding the women of the harem.” [5]
    • Courtright’s work was the source for an official museum write-up about a large 11th century Ganesha carving in the Walters Art Gallery, a Baltimore museum visited by many schoolchildren: “Ganesa, is a son of the great god Siva, and many of his abilities are comic or absurd extensions of the lofty dichotomies of his father … Ganesa’s potbelly and his childlike love for sweets mock Siva’s practice of austerities, and his limp trunk will forever be a poor match for Siva’s erect phallus.”

These works are objectionable not because they are offensive per se, but because they are based on flimsy, unsubstantiated, and often non-existent evidence. Such failings have been pointed out by fellow academics (many of whom have no association with Hinduism or India), but their challenges have gone unanswered.  

  • Doniger never responded to Michael Witzel’s critique of her Sanskrit translations that are described in the book. (Witzel, one of the leading Sanskrit scholars in the U.S., has stated that Doniger’s translations are so riddled with mistakes that they are unreliable and that she would have been better off adding her Freudian gloss to older translations.) Courtright has refused to debate with or even address those who have compiled overwhelming textual evidence to rebut his claims. Neither they nor Prof. Kripal have addressed critiques by several prominent professors from the field of psychology and psychoanalysis that their works are based on discredited methodologies. These detailed scholarly critiques, among others, have been reprinted and/or summarised in our book.Doniger et al. do not defend themselves by defending their theses–that would be too embarrassing. Instead, as we also show in our book, they simply decry their critics as being fundamentalist or childishly emotional, and they hide behind the fig leaf of ‘academic freedom.’Competing Narratives
  • The first question  that most people ask after reading substantive critiques of such ’scholarship’ presented in our book is, “Why?” Why does this coterie of scholars produce work that is academically suspect by their own standards, that insists on sexualising and sensationalising the sacred, and that is so at odds with what Hindus know to be true about their own traditions?
  • The second question  usually is, “Why is there such a discrepancy between the American academic treatment of Hinduism and that of other religions?” (A more detailed study of this issue can be found in the book, where we reprint an article by Sankrant Sanu on the discriminatory treatment doled out to Hinduism vis-à-vis other religions in the previous edition of the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia.). We note that even when criticisms are leveled at other religions, they are overwhelmingly balanced out by more positive depictions by emic (internal to the tradition) practitioners of those faiths.
  • The ratio of emic (insider) to etic (outsider) scholars in the academic study of religions in American universities today is much higher in virtually all other religions than in Hinduism. More importantly, some scholars appear to feel entitled to take a certain political and intellectual license with respect to Hinduism that they would not take with respect to other religions. For example, White’s book on Tantra, Kiss of the Yogini: Tantric Sex in its South Asian Context, only deconstructs Hindu Tantra but does not address the Vamachara Tantra of Buddhism, which is arguably more prominent today than Hindu Tantra. Proving the politicisation of such scholarship, our book notes that in her review of White’s book, Doniger raises serious criticisms of the lack of evidence behind White’s thesis but then goes on to say that Kiss of the Yogini “has a political importance that eclipses reservations of this kind … In arguing for the sexual meaning of the texts, White is flying in the face of the revisionist Hindu hermeneutic tradition that began in the eleventh century, was favored by Hindus educated in the British tradition from the nineteenth century onwards, and prevails in India today.” [7].
  •  In other words, according to Doniger, whether or not White’s claims are accurate, his political ends justify his questionable academic means. In order to understand what drives such scholarship, we need to view this phenomenon, which we call academic Hinduphobia, not as isolated incidents of excess and error but as part of a larger trend that has spanned many decades and many disciplines. As we show in our book, not much has changed in this field of scholarship from Berkeley-Hill’s 1921 essay, The Anal-Erotic Factor in the Religion, Philosophy and Character of the Hindus, positing that Hindu reverence for Agni, Indra and Surya evidenced a fascination for passing gas, as these deities are associated with passing enormous amounts of wind, that Vedic chants emulated the act of passing gas, and that ‘Atman’ was really a pseudo-metaphysical façade for the Hindu “flatus complex.” Today, such a reading is echoed by David Gordon White’s reduction of Tantra to an upper-caste “intellectual whitewash” of lower-caste sexual practices wherein sacred Hindu mantras are nothing more than “nonsense syllables” from the “inarticulate moans” made during sexual intercourse. This scholarship is not the product of a few idle (and perhaps disturbed) minds but rather a narrative driven by deeply embedded historical and institutional paradigms.

An analogy can be drawn to what in American tax law is called a ’sham’ transaction.

This refers to transactions by businesses that may technically meet all of the provisions of the tax law–e.g., if a corporation is required to be a resident of a particular country, the corporation will set up a proper mailbox there–but that have no substantive ‘business purpose.’ In other words, such a transaction is a fraudulent scheme, driven by tax avoidance rather than economic substance, dressed up to look like a legitimate business transaction. Such ’sham’ transactions are outlawed as being fraudulent.

Similarly, we see in the scholarly works investigated in this book a pattern of speculative claims that are dressed up to look like bona fide scholarship but that have no academic substance. As ’sham’ transactions are driven forth by fraudulent motives of tax avoidance, we query whether this ’sham’ scholarship is driven forth by ulterior political motivations.

Scholarship should be driven by genuine truth-seeking and not by politically-motivated speculation.

The standards of objectivity and professional “best practices” of research guidelines, procedures and methodologies should be implemented, independently monitored, and be inclusive of all parties with a stake in the intellectual, philosophical, and cultural capital of their traditions.

Just as we have external watchdogs for the medical profession, for the media, and for the government, surely, it is not unprecedented for independent observers to act as watchdogs for the academic humanities profession. It has become obvious that peer-review is inadequate in certain circumstances, just as the self-policing of the legal, medical, and business professions has been found lacking in areas and has been supplemented by external monitoring.

In order to understand the agendas driving forth this ’sham’ scholarship, we have to understand how such scholarship is deployed. It is being used not to criticise some fringe elements of Hindu thought or practice but rather to undermine Hinduism itself.   

For example, Vijay Prashad, Professor and Director of International Studies at Trinity College, in “Letter to a Young American Hindu,” seeks to convince young American Hindus that the Bhagavad Gita was inspired by Buddhism and the Buddhist (i.e, non- Hindu) concept of karma, that bhakti is little more than a rebellious movement against oppressive Brahmanas and Kshatriyas, and that the Bhagavad Gita should be read not as an exposition of timeless principles and values but rather as an “experiment in truth”.[8]

Prashad essentially makes the following claims: (1) Karma is not a Hindu concept but one imported from Buddhism; (2) the Bhagavad Gita, arguably the most famous, widely-read and beloved scripture of the Hindus, was essentially Buddhist and not Hindu; (3) the Bhagavad Gita is not a religious scripture but an “exploration” of truth that is thus non-divine in origin; and (4) bhakti, one of the most popular margas of Hinduism, should be interpreted as a political rather than a spiritual movement.  

  • One wonders whether Prashad would dare to call the Koran or the Bible “experiments in truth” that were inspired by other religions, particularly in “letters” personally addressed to their “young” adherents. 
  • This assault upon the very foundations of Hinduism is also reflected in Doniger’s insinuation (in her now rejected Microsoft Encarta entry on Hinduism) that the system of yoga was appropriated by Vedic society from the indigenous (read, non-Hindu) inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent.

This claim is echoed by the American Yoga Association: “There is a common misconception that Yoga is rooted in Hinduism; on the contrary, Hinduism’s religious structures evolved much later and incorporated some of the practices of Yoga. (Other religions throughout the world have also incorporated practices and ideas related to Yoga.)” [9]

Essentially, a coterie of scholars is targeting that which is most sacred and renowned in Hinduism–the Bhagavad Gita, bhakti, yoga, deities such as Sri Ganesha, Shiva, and Devi, spiritual leaders like Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda–and deconstructing them either as being pathological or as not really being Hindu at all.   

  • THIS is the INVASION OF SACRED–the looting of a living religion, an entire spiritual and cultural tradition, by denigration and appropriation.
  • As we explain in our book, this invasion of the Hindu sacred is driven by a complex set of factors, one of which is the playing out of the Frontier Myth, a doctrine deeply rooted in American mythology and history that drives how the American academic establishment and mainstream media interact with and react to minority cultures. 
  • The Myth holds that America’s mission, entrusted by Providence, is to constantly expand Eden or Civilization (the secular equivalent of Eden) by conquering and colonising the wild Frontier, which has been inhabited at different times by various minority cultures, such as Native Americans, blacks, Mexicans, and now Asian Indians.  

In the intellectual space, the Hindu frontier is one of the last frontiers that the Western mind is keen to penetrate in its cultural and intellectual imperialist quest.

Hinduism has become a targeted frontier because of its unique status. It is the last of the truly indigenous religions, one that has sprung forth from the land and not been supplanted by alien faiths

(Most of the other indigenous religions of the world have either been decimated or driven to the brink of extinction by colonising forces.)

Among the major world religions, Hinduism is perhaps the most incompatible with Western religious frameworks.

By far the oldest living religion in the world, Hinduism has been the source of the Dharmic traditions, as Judaism has been the source of the Abrahamic religions; however, it has developed along a tract distinct from that of the Semitic faiths. The core concepts of Sanatana Dharma do not translate into Abrahamic terms–dharma, karma, moksha, and yoga have no English equivalents.

Yet, it continues to flourish with almost a billion adherents; it has not abandoned its rich pantheon of an infinite variety of forms and manifestations of Ishwara; from time immemorial, it has worshipped and revered Shakti, the female divine; it has not yielded to Islamic conquest or Christian conversion; and it has not obligingly morphed itself to adapt to Western paradigms.

Thus, Hinduism stands apart, and in this light, may pose the most serious challenge to Western intellectual and philosophical hegemony today.

It is in the face of such a threat that this brand of scholarship seeks to either denigrate or appropriate from Hinduism its crown jewels of sacred philosophy, icons and practices. This school of academicians has constructed a narrative–one, as documented in this book, deployed to affect government policy and mainstream media representations of Hinduism–that tells a compelling story to the public and to those in power.

This tactic has been used many times over in American, and more generally Western, history to demonise minority cultures in order to justify their destruction.

The story they have cleverly created about Hinduism goes something like this: Hindus were too occupied with earthy pleasures and pursuits to develop an authentic spiritual and philosophical tradition of their own; therefore, whatever Hindus find valuable in modern day Hinduism has either been imported from elsewhere or conceals something pathological that can only be exposed through Freudian psychoanalysis.

Thus, for example, it was the obsession with lower-caste sexual rites that led to the development of Tantra; it was the castration anxiety of men that evolved into worship of Devi, ‘the mother with a penis;’ [10] it was homoerotic fantasies that led to the mystical experiences of Sri Ramakrishna; it was the emasculation complex, again, of Hindu men that led to Hindu renaissance movements led by, for example, Swami Vivekananda, and so forth.

Thus, the story goes, it is quite unsurprising that Hindus were never able to formulate high philosophy or a consistent framework of values–such religious and cultural necessities had to be borrowed from other religions (i.e., karma and the values of the Bhagavad Gita from Buddhism) or from those whom the Hindus marginalised (i.e., yoga from the ‘indigenous’ Indus civilization; Tantra from oppressed lower castes).

The unsaid but underlying premise is that Hindus never had the wherewithal or interest to develop a metaphysics or philosophy of their own. But, of course; they were too busy passing gas and chanting about it to do anything else.

That is the story this cartel of scholars persists in telling, and it is a clever one, one that conveniently reduces Hinduism to an elitist doctrine interested only in the exploitation of others and various anal-penile-erotic fetishes.   

Here is our own story: We, too, believe that Sanatana Dharma is unique.

It is the source from which arose the great traditions of Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism.

It is the “oldest major world religion” based on realisation, not revelation. Hinduism evolved from the collective experiences of its mystics, its yogis, its lovers of God. Originating from experience, from realisation, and not revealed dogma, Hinduism developed as a grassroots movement that swelled upwards and was never externally organised, because it never required an institutional framework to give it shape or consistent meaning.

It is the only major extant religious tradition in which the feminine divine, Shakti, is revered and worshipped; in which the sublimation of the physical through the practices of Tantra holds equal footing as a mode of sadhana (spiritual practice) with the ascetism of yoga; in which the sweet outpouring of passionate love in bhakti is tempered by the most clinical, subtle and intricate of monistic philosophies (Advaita Vedanta).

As such, Hinduism is a unique religion and, given the history of similar native religious traditions, one that is under severe attack. Through the invasions of its sacred, both in the physical realm through the historical colonisation of India and in the intellectual and cultural realms through ongoing Eurocentric scholarship, its philosophical, cultural and spiritual capital has been and continues to be plundered and appropriated.

Therefore, we believe that scholarship regarding Hinduism deserves special scrutiny and sensitivity.

Our critics falsely claim that we are engaged in academic censorship. In fact, we do not seek to silence the voices of those we critique–we only ask that other voices be added to their ongoing discourse about Hinduism. We believe that outsider perspectives do offer value in understanding any religion, including Hinduism, but that emic or insider perspectives are just as vital and valuable.

 With respect to, for example, Sri Ganesha, it is only logical to conclude that the insights of one who has lived with and loved Sri Ganesha, one who has worshipped Him, who through invocations of and meditation upon Him, has experienced Him as only a devotee can, would contribute to genuine understanding and knowledge of Him. If such voices are not respected by the academy, then the American academic establishment is adopting the elitist Brahmanism it claims to despise. It is silencing the underrepresented voices of those whom the academic establishment has consistently denigrated and misrepresented.

 We are often told to relinquish this battle, told that the academy is of little significance, that this is a battle that is not worth fighting. Yet, if we take a moment to see the history of how we ended up here, we see that the British destroyed our traditional educational systems like the gurukula system, the traditional way in which knowledge about Hinduism has been transmitted for thousands of years.  

  • Because the infrastructure for producing our own home team of Hindu scholars has been destroyed, we are at a serious disadvantage in producing indigenous Hindu scholarship independent of the Western academic system. Any current initiatives to promote traditional Hindu forms of education are immediately derailed as being fundamentalist  Hindutva. And when budding Hindu scholars do try to enter academia, the process is so politicised, that they either have to buy into existing academic dogma or else face a doomed academic career. In the process, entire generations of potential scholars of Hinduism have been lost, and the subsequent loss of a true diversity of perspectives is a loss we all suffer. 

In such a climate, the onus is therefore on the academic establishment to promote emic Hindu perspectives and scholarship to balance out the one-dimensional representations dominating Hinduism Studies today.

It is not that we eschew honest critiques and evaluations of Hinduism. We just believe that our tradition is rich enough to be engaged on its own terms.

We believe that we would have richer scholarship if academics engaged with the actual words and experiences of Sri Ramakrishna, or the actual texts and philosophies of Tantra, or the actual Puranic accounts of Sri Ganesha, Devi and Shiva, rather than subjecting them to psychoanalysis by so-called scholars of Hinduism who have neither a sound knowledge of Sanskrit nor qualifications in (Freudian or other) psychology accepted by its respected authorities. This is true of psychoanalyst scholars, such as Doniger, Kripal and Courtright, who have no training or background in psychoanalysis.

We promote debate and dissension but ask that it be an honest and fair debate. In our purva-paksha system, the leaders of different religious traditions study each other’s traditions in depth and then debate each other–they would speak, in the terminology of Prof. Arvind Sharma in his Preface to Invading the Sacred, as insider to insider and not as outsider to outsider. That is, they do not keep out the ‘other’ and study and debate him amongst themselves, but instead engage with the ‘other’ in debate. This leads to more authentic and constructive scholarship.

We also happen to believe that the study of Hinduism deserves to be more than just titillating fodder for psychoanalysis. Enlightenment thought did not begin a few hundred years ago in the narrow Western sliver of the world. Instead, the advent of rationality and scientific thought can be traced back several thousands of years ago to the very dawn of Hindu civilization, which gifted the world with the concept of ‘zero,’ the ‘Arabic’ numeral system, the decimal system, algebra and trigonometry, and astonishingly advanced knowledge of astronomy, etc. Hinduism never faced the schism between science and faith that has plagued the Western world, because new knowledge was always welcomed with an open mind. New knowledge was never perceived as a threat, because in the Hindu framework, wisdom was never limited to the revelations of one prophet or one canon but rather was always solidly based on insights of all who had reached certain stages of enlightenment. Hindu thought would thus be of immeasurable value as an approach to the reconciliation of science and faith, one of the most important challenges facing the modern world.

Our critics often accuse us of being chauvinistic, of being apologists seeking to glorify some long lost Vedic age that either never existed or can never again be revived. To the contrary, we believe that the genuine study of Hinduism is exceptionally relevant to the modern world, and that traditional Hindu approaches must be included in any toolbox of cultural solutions addressing the human rights, environmental, conflict resolution and gender discrimination challenges faced by global society today.

The concept of ahimsa central to Hinduism encompasses nonviolence towards all living beings. The realisation that human beings must live in harmony with the natural environment in order to foster a sustainable and healthy society helped formulate a Hindu model of environmentalism, in tune with modern scientific concepts, thousands of years ago.  

           Vandana Shiva and others transmitted this model to the West, and it has mushroomed into the global environmental movement.We live in a world where a woman’s self-esteem too often depends on how she is perceived by others, either at home or in the workplace.  

The understanding that every female is inherently a form of Devi and that it is only ignorance of her own true power and nature holding her back can thus be tremendously emancipating and uplifting. With mental health problems on the rise worldwide, Hindu psychology based on concepts such as the gunas, chakras and koshas, and practices of pranayama and yoga have much to offer to the treatment of psychological disorders. The list goes on.These solutions are not perfect and deserve scrutiny and challenge.

However, if we are serious about promoting multiculturalism and pluralism, if we are sincere about tackling the serious challenges we face as a society by using the most effective solutions, then such approaches deserve a fair hearing and must at least be investigated and explored.

This is not a radical idea: scholars have been studying positive Islamic and Christian approaches to feminism and human rights. In order for such scholarship to be initiated with respect to Hindu approaches, the road ahead must be cleared of the discredited Freudian blockages.

This will lead to serious scholarship on Hinduism and its vast potential as a storehouse of wisdom, insight and methods of physical, psychological and spiritual growth of value both to individuals and to society at large.It is my hope that a few years from now, a young woman will sit at her desk, surrounded by shelves full of the Dharma Shastras, of classical Hindu texts on yoga and the various darshanas of Hindu philosophy, and of Puranas describing our deities and ancient lore in their full glory, and that she will engage with, question, and interpret these texts with fresh eyes.

It is my hope that her voice will resound within the walls of the Ivory Tower alongside other voices; that her perspective will help shape how others view one of the world’s greatest religions; that her insights will contribute to the fount of creativity and compassion from which we leave behind a world more peaceful, prosperous and healthy than the one into which we were born.

It is my hope that this book, Invading the SACRED, will help open up the space and resources for that young woman to explore how the oldest forms of Hindu philosophy can pave new ways of thinking; to enable her to engage with other traditions and cultures not through intellectual ‘invasions’ but through constructive purva-paksha. That is the underlying mission of this book, and that is my personal hope, both for that young woman and for us all.

Aditi Banerjee received a B.A. in International Relations, magna cum laude, from Tufts University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. She is a practicing attorney in New York.  

 1)  The British ‘caste system’ 

 2)  MOTIVATION of Indologists

3) Protect Religions @ http://protectreligions.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=27&Itemid=42

4) In God they Trust @ http://www.telegraphindia.com/1080508/jsp/opinion/story_9238299.jsp