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“vigorously pro Hindu and anti Muslim”

16 December 2010 3,222 views 138 Comments

I stumbled on this comment by Bhagwad Jal Park on his blog yesterday morning (pl see his comment dt Oct 16, 2010 at 5:56am; emphasis added):

Satyameva Jayate..comments are more decent, though I find the topics are vigorously pro Hindu and anti Muslim.

Here we go again

Now, this is neither the first time – nor will it be the last (a recent instance at comment #114 here) – that I have been called anti-Muslim, Hindu fanatic, Hindu fascist, Muslim-hater, right-wing fascist etc etc….and I understand that there is a nuance here between me being “anti-something” vs. the topics being “anti-something”. That said, I did not expect such a seemingly flippant observation from Bhagwad. I’m therefore more than curious to hear why he made that assertion…

In the spirit of an open discussion – and in keeping with the highest traditions of Hinduism – and of course, the title of this blog, “Satyameva Jayate”, I would like to invite Bhagwad Jal Park to substantiate his allegation here – on this post, in public.

I am currently travelling and then on vacation so there may be some delay in my response and in responding to/moderating the comments. Your comments, thoughts are welcome as always.  In the context of the statement, I believe Bhagwad would find this post by Atanu thought-provoking, “The Distinction between People and Ideologies” – Excerpts

Somewhat related: The beginning…. Pl. also read: Why I am a proud nationalist?

138 Comments »

  • 1. Kishan said:

    I would say “if being reasonable and keeping India’s best interest close to one’s heart as opposed to being politically correct is perceived by some as being vigorously pro-Hindu and anti-Muslim, then so be it, no need to take notice”.
    I am sometimes amazed at the brain-washing of Indians done by Nehruvian socialism and perverted secularism practised by the present ruling party.Even most of the media-persons are frightened to deviate ever so slightly from political correctness.

  • 2. Indian said:

    I too will say same as above- Then so be it!

    Young mind (kind of Bagwad Jal Park) will evolve with time and personal experiences. You envy many for your courage and determination.

    Take care!

  • 3. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    Thanks for the invite Shantanu, and I’ll do my best to present my opinion here. I’d like to start however, by saying that I do not view this as a “challenge”. I’d like to discuss ideas without getting personal – something I would appreciate from other commenters here. For example, the very first two comments are personal and derogatory – not something to be encouraged when we’re having a discussion without animosity – though I’m almost 30 years now, and accusations of being “too young” are perhaps a bit overblown :)

    In my comment on topics being pro-hindu and anti-muslim, I was referring more to the comments rather than the articles themselves. I’ve always appreciated your moderation of overly abusive comments since I had a bad experience on commenting on one of sandeepweb’s posts where this is no such vetting.

    Nevertheless, I can’t help but notice certain recurring themes. For example, I keep stumbling across references to how Islamic invaders looted India in the past. I assume that these statements are not made out of an academic interest in history, but in order to make them somehow relevant to the current state of affairs. Correct me if I’m making a false assumption here.

    IMHO any reference to a past hundreds of years ago is irrelevant to both Hindus and Muslims in the present. Suppose I was born a Hindu and someone accused my ancestors of doing terrible things, what am I to say? It has no relevance to me at all.

    Second, I can’t help but feel that you view Islam/Muslims as a threat. This post of yours for example on the Ground Zero mosque isn’t related to India on the face of it. I assume therefore (perhaps incorrectly – let me know) that you feel that this attitude of Muslims is relevant to India since your blog is India focussed and everything you write has a bearing on our own country in one way or another.

    So to start off with, there are two things. First, bringing up the history of Muslims and how they looted/destroyed temples etc. is “anti Muslim” because beyond an academic interest in history, it serves no logical purpose. Second, viewing Muslims as a threat to India is also anti Muslim in my eyes.

  • 4. Kartik said:

    Heh. The comrade dude labels you because your blog has become popular. :)

    Why do you think commie catholics are gallantly jumping to the defence of Indian media? Because the media is becoming unpopular. :) That means it is not going to be that easy keeping up this pretense, for example, that Teesta Setalvad is really a rights crusader because she appears on NDTV. :)

    The best way to measure the influence of a blog is to check if comrade(s) with various pseudonyms are railing against it or not.

  • 5. Malavika said:

    BJP,

    You are back to your obfuscation tricks again. Presenting facts is not considered ‘anti-this or anti-that’ non sense. Since you consider that inconvenient facts should be censored, you are a dye in the wool ideologue masquerading as a liberal.

    “First, bringing up the history of Muslims and how they looted/destroyed temples etc. is “anti Muslim” because beyond an academic interest in history, it serves no logical purpose. Second, viewing Muslims as a threat to India is also anti Muslim in my eyes.”

    So, according to you one should whitewash genocidal crimes against Hindus because ‘you feel it is anti Muslim’. That would make you a rabid Hinduphobe because you are willing to tolerate cruelty and violence against Hindus to protect tender feelings of ‘some one’.

    What happened to Hindu community in PAk just 60 years ago and happening again in Bangladesh and Kashmir is cruel and inhuman. The fact that you ignore such inhumanity against Hindus makes it clear your non existent concern for Hindu community.

  • 6. Indian said:

    @Bhagwad

    What your say pro hindu and anti muslims- derogatory? abusive? Not! you said what you thought and they are your views!

    If everything is personal and derogatory than there is no room for honest opinion and discussion!Keep some room for critics!

    Young by mind and age is too different things! because my kids too have not reached the high school yet!

    Its experiences that makes views different sometime! Don’t ask the threat from Pakistan to one of those who have been victimized at very young age in attack same as Taj Hotel! He/she may not agree with you! and say threat still exist! Don’t laugh at them!

  • 7. Kartik said:

    Comrade Jal Park’s labored attempt at an “explanation” set me off thinking. The guy levels the wild allegation that to point to the historical record of Islamic intolerance and leftwing attempts to whitewash the said record is “anti-Muslim”. This is pure, mint-condition leftwing. You can see nutjobs like Arundhati Roy peeking out of every word of Jal Park.

    The Holocaust happened only 70 years ago. Yet there already are many Holocaust deniers. Governments in the middle east officially propagate the line that the Holocaust is the propaganda of Zionists. Leftwingers tacitly ally with Islamists in demonizing Jews and projecting Palestinian terrorists as victims. If this is the situation today, barely 70 years after Auschwitz, it is quite likely that a couple more hundred years later, the ranks of Holocaust deniers would swell even more, thereby compelling the Jews to affirm history that much more. What do you think the leftwingers would then be accusing them of? That to point to that historical record of Nazi atrocities is anti-Socialist (because Hitler was a socialist) and anti-Catholic (again because Hitler was one). “What is the point of raking up history?”, the commies would demand feigning indignation.

    Seems unlikely? Think again. Closer home, the Godhra train burning happened less than ten years ago. But Setalvad and her band of anti-Hindu bigots have already made it legitimate to claim that the incident was an accident (“spontaneous combustion”), not an Islamist attack on innocent Hindus. Like, you know, this mother holding the baby in her arms was burned to ashes in that very position because the train bogey decided all of a sudden to, whoosh, ignite itself.

    Comrade Jal Park, like my erstwhile friends Comrade Sudhakar Nair and Comrade Jahnavi, lives in a world of leftwing extremes, where intolerance is tolerance and hatred is love.

    And where is Comrade Alpana just when you need her?

  • 8. Kaffir said:

    Shantanu,

    In my humble opinion, it is not possible to reconcile the views expressed by the likes of BJP with your views. It all stems from one’s identity, and it is quite clear that BJP’s identity is quite different, which makes for different and incompatible world-views. Just as a Marxist and a Capitalist wouldn’t agree on most aspects of the world, no matter how much they debate those aspects.

    For example, BJP explicitly mentions that he thinks slight offences by the “majority” are much more serious than serious offences by the “minority” – and by minority, he means Muslims, and not Parsis. He has mentioned that he didn’t feel threatened by the hand-chopping incident in Kerala, but bombastic claims by the likes of Muthalik scare him. So, he takes words seriously but ignores actions, when basic common sense dictates that it should be the other way around. I’m sure that BJP also thinks of himself as a staunch secularist and a true liberal (in the American sense of the word), while holding such a view regarding majority/minority.

    With such a world-view, of course he will view your posts as “anti-Muslim” and “pro-Hindu.” I think it is best to ignore such people, because there is no possibility of reconciliation, and the best one can do is say “let’s agree to disagree.” I hope that with time and as he continues to evolve his thinking, BJP will realize what the truth is and won’t be afraid to speak it.

    BJP also seems to be stuck on that one discussion on sandeep’s blog and never fails to mention it; and while he thinks he is objective and fair, and cries foul that others label him, he himself doesn’t shy away from labeling others.

  • 9. Kaffir said:

    BJP wrote:
    “For example, I keep stumbling across references to how Islamic invaders looted India in the past. I assume that these statements are not made out of an academic interest in history, but in order to make them somehow relevant to the current state of affairs. Correct me if I’m making a false assumption here.”
    ___

    Shantanu too can answer your query, but here’s my response.

    You’ll have to read the book “Eminent Historians” by Arun Shourie to understand the context of why people mention Islamic invasion. One reason is that there has been much whitewash of such events by Marxist historians in India, which needs to be corrected.

    Just as an example, much is made of Akbar and his greatness, and how he started a new religion; but it is not mentioned that he was a gazi who killed many kaffirs during his earlier reign. Now, as a historian, one should only have fealty to the truth, but that’s missing from most of the accounts listed by our historians. So, one has to question – why this whitewashing? Is there a similar whitewashing when one talks of the caste system or the historical ills of Hinduism? What’s also left unsaid is that most Muslims do not think highly of Akbar and instead, think that Aurangzeb was a wonderful emperor. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out why such thinking exists.

    Also, as a friendly warning – if you haven’t already, please don’t visit the museum at the Golden Temple in Amritsar – it will blow your mind away and you’ll start thinking that along with the “majority,” one another “minority” is also very anti-Muslim.

    BJP wrote:
    “IMHO any reference to a past hundreds of years ago is irrelevant to both Hindus and Muslims in the present. Suppose I was born a Hindu and someone accused my ancestors of doing terrible things, what am I to say? It has no relevance to me at all.
    ___

    Since you are fond of making comparisons to the US, would you say the same thing regarding blacks and native-Americans and what happened to them historically? That we shouldn’t discuss the historical ills done to them? Should we also get rid of all Holocaust memorials since it was in the past, and history doesn’t matter?

  • 10. Sid said:

    @Shantanu,
    I did not expect such a seemingly flippant observation from Bhagwad.
    Gita says that expectation is at the core of human suffering. Why did you expect from him? I would not do that because of following:
    First time I have seen Bhagwad’ posting was Sandeep B’s “Rediscovery Of India” blog. Then following his link I visited his blog. I found that he has termed Sandeep and the commenter who posted there regularly as “far right wing”. That is, his conclusion is derived even before his interaction in the blog began.
    Then few days back, I noticed him venting in twitter that some people in Sandeep’s blog (apparently “far right wing”) called him “commie” when he claimed he was not. He should consider that “far right wing” too has a right to reach conclusion before interacting with him. But then that is an expectation and I know better to expect anything from a liberal.
    @BJP,
    I have a question for you here:
    http://satyameva-jayate.org/2010/12/13/rape-laws/
    And this supposed “Hindu fanatic” “far right wing” expects an answer.

  • 11. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    It’s obvious from most of the replies to my comment that people are unable to separate ideas from the person who is talking about them. There are too many references to me personally rather than discussing the ideas themselves.

    I come here in good faith and I’m able to make my points without insulting or labeling anyone. I except the same courtesy from those who take the trouble to reply to me.

    But in case some here are unable to follow this basic principle of civilized dialog, I will not be replying to them. I hope you understand.

    Just to clarify one thing I said. I’m not recommending that we gloss over history and become a denier (someone above compared me to a holocaust denier for example). I’m suggesting that we don’t apply the past hundreds of years ago to the present.

    Just like we no longer curse Germans for what their ancestors did. If a certain crime has either victims or perpetrators still alive, then we must not forget it. But when both the actual victims and the actual perpetrators are dead, let’s not pretend that those acts have any relevance in today’s world. No one is responsible for their ancestor’s deeds.

  • 12. Kaffir said:

    Shantanu, in my opinion, “vigorously pro-Hindu” is a great compliment!! I’m so glad that you’ve so much vigor, instead of the lethargic “chalta hai” attitude of many (self-loathing) Hindus. :D

  • 13. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    @Sid, I already gave my opinions on rape laws.

    I made five points in that article. Instead of merely disagreeing, it would help if you addressed each of the five points one by one in the comments section – something no one has been able to do till now.

    Unlike a lot of people, I never meant the words “right wing” to be an insult. It’s just an easy way to refer to people who hold more or less the same views as those on the wikipedia article.

    No one in the US for example, feels that “right wing” is an insult. Politicians openly call themselves right wing. But I understand if it’s felt to be insulting here.

    In which case, you can provide me another word to describe people who hold a certain world view which you find unoffensive. To find out which world view I’m talking about, refer to the wikipedia article.

  • 14. Kaffir said:

    BJP wrote:
    “It’s obvious from most of the replies to my comment that people are unable to separate ideas from the person who is talking about them. “

    And do you accord the same respect to others, instead of throwing around labels?

  • 15. Kaffir said:

    BJP wrote:
    “Unlike a lot of people, I never meant the words “right wing” to be an insult. It’s just an easy way to refer to people who hold more or less the same views as those on the wikipedia article.

    No one in the US for example, feels that “right wing” is an insult. Politicians openly call themselves right wing. But I understand if it’s felt to be insulting here.”
    ___

    It’s not a question of “insulting” – it’s just not correct. Just like you don’t like the label “commie” used for you, because (I’m assuming) it doesn’t fit you. Or, maybe, you do find it insulting.

  • 16. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    @Kaffir,

    In the current discussion, can you please show me even one instance of how I’ve labelled, insulted or gotten personal with anyone?

  • 17. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    @Kaffir,

    The whole “right wing” argument requires another discussion entirely. Perhaps we can talk about it someday – I plan to write a post on it some time.

    Till then, let’s not hijack this thread.

  • 18. Kartik said:

    Comrade Park feigns the mien of a mugger who complains bitterly to the cops that his victim fought back and beat him up!

    Honesty is the most important to precondition to any meaningful exchange of ideas. Park demands courtesy, but he does not realize that courtesy is not commanded if honesty is lacking. After labeling Shantanu as anti-Muslim, he denies that he labeled!

    Now contrast that with Shantanu’s dignified response. He did not complain. He invited Comrade Park for a debate. Park stated his case. I saw that his case was very commie like, thinly laced with anti-Hindu prejudice, and so made that point. Park begins to complain, because he wants to dish it, but can’t take it!

    Are all people entitled to expect courtesy despite their own misdeeds? Perhaps they are. But I reiterate that honesty is extremely important.

    To label someone as “anti-Muslim” because they point to the history of Islamic iconoclasm is to betray anti-Hindu sentiment. Just as it is anti-semitism to hate the Jews who refuse to forget Holocaust. After all, Hindus and their faith were the victims so they *will* remember that part of history, especially if it is being denied. So what is actually worthy of attention is not the stand of Hindus but of leftwing “academics” who like Holocaust deniers, want to deny Islamic massacres.

  • 19. Kaffir said:

    BJP wrote:
    “In the current discussion, can you please show me even one instance of how I’ve labelled, insulted or gotten personal with anyone?”

    1. I didn’t think that any of the comments here – on this post – can be characterized as – in your words – “obvious from most of the replies to my comment that people are unable to separate ideas from the person who is talking about them.”

    2. You have used the label of “right wing” before and numerous times, even if Sandeep or any of the people commenting on Sandeep’s blog didn’t claim that they were “right wing.” It seems to me that you are unable to separate ideas from person and use labels – so you are guilty of the same that you accuse others of.

  • 20. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    @Kartik,

    Are you able to respond to my comment without using the words “you”, “your”, my name, or anything related to me personally?

    I’d appreciate it if you could forget about who is making the comment and instead focus on what is being said. Talking about the person making the comment is called an “ad hominem” argument and is poor logic.

    If you can show me where I have done the same to anyone else in this comment thread (as you seem to imply), I would be grateful.

    When you say “Hindus” will remember, who is being referred to? How is a Hindu born in today’s world concerned with what happened to a bunch of strangers hundreds of years ago? How is a Hindu today connected to a Hindu 500 years ago? Just because they call themselves Hindu? Is that the only connection?

    You can refer to history for academic purposes. But in my opinion, to bring up history in an argument and somehow feel hurt about something that never happened to you personally is a flawed form of logic.

    There’s no point in feeling too proud about being born into something. Birth is an accident. I could have been born Australian and I would be proud of Australia. So while I love being an Indian and am indeed proud of being in this remarkable country today, I always remember that there’s nothing special about my pride since I would feel the same way about any country I live in.

    I also feel no connection to my ancestors whatsoever. I didn’t choose them, and if my grandfather was murdered by someone, there’s no reason for me to feel angry towards that someone’s grandson.

  • 21. Kartik said:

    While on the subject, note that some people go on ritual breast-beating every 6th December. Again, there is no surprise that these people happen to be mostly commies and also the ones who accuse Hindus of being “anti-Muslim” if the latter should talk about temple destructions (including recent Kashmiri temple destructions). Not unsurprisingly, they also advise Kashmiri pundits to “move on”. Tell the truth to these people that they are Hindu-haters, and watch furious denials come forth thick and fast.

    The point of raking up 1992 events is to deliberately nurture a sense of Muslim victimhood. The unerlying motivation for it, of course, is an irrational fear and hatred of Hindus.

  • 22. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    @Kaffir,

    In the current thread can you show me where I have labelled or insulted anyone? Even in any previous conversation, can you show me a snippet of how I have ever abused someone personally?

    When I started off, I had no idea that people objected to being called “right wing.” Since then, I have stopped using that phrase. And when I have used it, I’ve clearly mentioned the attributes that it implies.

    As far as this thread goes, here are examples of people unable to separate the person from the ideas:

    1. Whenever anyone uses my name except in the initial address.
    2. Any label used – search for the word ‘comrade’ in this thread itself
    3. In your own comments, you have used the word BJP

    Need I go on? Any reference to me, my name, my character, using the words “you”, “your” etc. demonstrates an inability to separate the person from the ideas. I still have hope that this thread will turn into a respectable conversation without ad hominem arguments.

  • 23. Kaffir said:

    “Just like we no longer curse Germans for what their ancestors did. If a certain crime has either victims or perpetrators still alive, then we must not forget it. But when both the actual victims and the actual perpetrators are dead, let’s not pretend that those acts have any relevance in today’s world. No one is responsible for their ancestor’s deeds.”
    __

    You are correct to some extent that no one today is responsible for the deeds of the past done by their ancestors. But where you err is in ignoring the ideology, the thinking, the reasons that led to such deeds in the past, and whether that same ideology or thinking is still alive today.

    For example, is there a root cause and a link between Aurangzeb’s misdeeds against Hindus and Sikhs hundreds of years ago, and this today? Or what’s happening in Kashmir? BTW, have you written a post expressing your views on the atrocities done in Kashmir and the fate of Hindu refugees? Or would writing such a post make you a “right winger”? This is not something that happened hundreds of years ago.

  • 24. Kaffir said:

    BJP wrote:
    “3. In your own comments, you have used the word BJP.”
    ___

    Um, those are the initials of your name and I don’t think I have used the initials of your name inappropriately when referring to you or your views. Seems to me that you are now projecting yourself as a victim.

  • 25. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    @Kaffir,

    No one follows their religion 100%. In fact, taken in its entirety Christianity is more violent than Islam!

    More than religion, politics and economics are much better indicators of people’s actions. Everyone takes their religion with a pinch of salt. Strictly speaking, Christians are forbidden to eat pork, and yet they do so in large numbers. Why? Because very few people really pay attention to their religion. Most just keep doing what their parents did.

    In any case, historic times itself were different. Nowadays people generally have much more respect for life than they did in the past. Few people for example think of Julius Caesar as a monster who indulged in genocide, but it’s true nonetheless. We don’t judge people in the past by today’s standards in any part of the world.

    In many ways, this modern age is the best in the history of humanity in almost every possible way.

    Kashmir is a whole different ballgame with religion playing only one part in a big drama of politics, geography and economics. Pakistan, China, India, religion, wars, and god knows what else. I think it would be very simplistic to extrapolate what happens in Kashmir to any other situation.

    Incidentally, I still don’t understand why some Kashmiris want “Azadi”, but that is a different discussion altogether.

  • 26. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    @Kaffir,

    Your statement: “I’m sure that BJP also thinks of himself as a staunch… ”

    That is what I call an inappropriate reference because it makes no difference to the discussion how I think of myself.

    Instead of focusing on what I say, you’re focusing on me. And that is neither logical, nor appropriate.

  • 27. Kartik said:

    Comrade Park asks a question which he should have attempted to answer himself by asking other questions, such as: why is that the atrocities perpetrated by the British or some other invaders are not as vehemently remembered?

    The answer is simple. If no one is denying a fact there is no reason for anyone else to affirm it! If some bad guy murdered my grandfather and that guy’s grandson insists — with “academic” assistance from a commie nut to boot — that his grandfather was not a bad guy, I see no reason for being friendly to that grandson.

    There are two fanatical dogmas raging in the world today. One is that of leftwingers. They insist on retrofitting history into a model advocated by Prophets Marx, Engels, Lenin, Chomsky etc. This leads them to deny the past atrocities of Islamists as well as the current existence (and resurgence) of the same ideology that perpetrated those atrocities.

    The second dogma is the dogma of Islamic fundamentalism. The same theological impulses that destroyed temples centuries ago and butchered non-Muslims in the million are still at work today. Bamiyan Buddhas were destroyed in a country where Buddhists no longer exist! Note that, like I said above, leftwingers deny this very real Islamic threat, while at the same time hyping up an alleged “Hindu threat” — again betraying their irrational fear and hate of Hindus.

    To sum up: why does the mention of Islamic invasions of the past inconvenience the leftwingers so? Precisely because they don’t want to acknowledge that brutality and more importantly they don’t want to acknowledge the fact that the continued existence of that ideology makes the reoccurrence of that brutality a real possibility again.

  • 28. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    @Kartik,

    Please remain within the bounds of civility. Unless you have good reason to use the word “Comrade” while addressing me, I would advise you not to.

    You can regain some respect by apologizing to me in your next comment.

    Nonetheless, I’ll attempt to gloss over the rudeness in the interests of discussing the issue.

    Wikipedia has a nice page on the Muslim conquest of this region. Of course, there are many sections in it which don’t cite the proper sources and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it’s important to have good sources. If you have the correct data, you’re more than welcome to make the corrections as so many others have done.

    The discussion pages on Wikipedia are always very interesting and people with a good knowledge of the subject and good references are in demand. In this day, there’s no question of “denying” the truth. The Internet has changed all that. It doesn’t matter who tries to skew the debate. Facts supported by good citations are beyond an agenda.

    But it’s an academic question only. Let the historians sort it out. What I don’t understand is why one feels bad over what happened to some strangers hundreds of years ago. I don’t get the emotional value this subject has. Which is why I called it “anti Muslim” because the past is past and it says nothing about today.

  • 29. Kaffir said:

    BJP wrote:
    “Just like we no longer curse Germans for what their ancestors did. “
    ___

    True, but we also don’t deny or whitewash the facts that it were the Germans under Hitler and the Nazi party who committed those atrocities, or that the ideology used was Fascism/Nazism.

    BJP wrote:
    ” Your statement: “I’m sure that BJP also thinks of himself as a staunch… ” “
    ___

    That comment was addressed to Shantanu, and not to you, so using the initials of your name was quite appropriate IMO. Of course, you are entitled to your own opinion.

  • 30. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    @Kaffir,

    I don’t understand this whole “whitewashing” business. This isn’t the 18th century where you can push facts under the carpet. This is the age of the Internet. You can put up your own website with your version of facts and no one will stop you.

    If your work is good and well researched, you can publish your results in academic journals. Who is stopping you from doing all this?

    Whether you addressed your statement to me or to Shantanu doesn’t matter because you’re still discussing me instead of what I say. Your comment wasn’t a private email to him.

    Discussing the person instead of the what they say is inappropriate in any situation and is defined as an ad hominem argument.

    I was invited to post my opinions here and I accepted in good faith. I expect anyone responding to observe the rules of proper debate.

  • 31. Kaffir said:

    BJP wrote:
    “I don’t understand this whole “whitewashing” business. This isn’t the 18th century where you can push facts under the carpet. This is the age of the Internet. You can put up your own website with your version of facts and no one will stop you.”
    ___

    If you cannot even make the distinction between an average Joe writing a blog, and historians with power and influence whitewashing certain aspects, then it is no surprise that you don’t understand something which is so obvious.

    BJP wrote:
    “Discussing the person instead of the what they say is inappropriate in any situation and is defined as an ad hominem argument.”
    ___

    So, if I write that BJP’s (your) views are wonderful and he is a wonderful person, that would be inappropriate and defined as an ad hominem argument? Somehow I have the feeling that if in my comment to Shantanu, I’d written the exact opposite about you, you wouldn’t be crying about ad hominem and portraying yourself as a victim.

    But, I’ll let Shantanu carry out the discussion with you and respond to your comments.

  • 32. Kaffir said:

    BJP,
    And as I mentioned before, you are entitled to your opinion about how I used your name, but I don’t have to agree with it. That’s my final comment on it.

  • 33. Rationalist said:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preamble_to_the_Constitution_of_India

    As originally enacted the preamble described the state as a “”sovereign democratic republic”. In 1976 the Forty-second Amendment changed this to read “sovereign socialist secular democratic republic”.

    My main question is how did Indians live with each other before this word was inserted into the preamble of constitution.

  • 34. Kaffir said:

    BJP wrote:
    “This isn’t the 18th century where you can push facts under the carpet. This is the age of the Internet. You can put up your own website with your version of facts and no one will stop you.”
    ___

    Um, as far as I know, facts are facts, and don’t have versions.

  • 35. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    @Kaffir

    If the whole affair with Wikileaks and Radia has proved anything, it’s that not even the most powerful people can now stop the truth from getting out and the world from knowing about it. The Internet has changed everything and old rules no longer apply. The power is back with the Individual.

    There’s no excuse anymore. No one can blame “those at the top” for putting people down. That’s the power of the free Internet where even a new website gets the same attention from Google as a big one if the content is good.

    So, if I write that BJP’s (your) views are wonderful and he is a wonderful person, that would be inappropriate and defined as an ad hominem argument?

    Of course. It’s a nice thing to say, but useless for the purposes of discussion. And honestly, there’s no way you could ever know that I’m a wonderful person just like you could never know if I’m a bad person just by reading stuff I write. And that is why ad hominem arguments are in very poor taste.

  • 36. Sanjeev Sabhlok said:

    Dear Friends

    This is a very subtle matter. I don’t read all of Shantanu’s blog posts (simply no time) but it is true that I now know of at least three people who have formed a perception about Shantanu that he is overly supportive of Hindus to the detriment of Muslims.

    This is a fact. When, on a previous occasion, I asked a person to show why he thought so, I was provided a number of comments, including the following:

    “What do readers think?… Can “Hindutva” become the core of an “Indian identity”?
    and
    Hindu state can�be the ultimate secular state since respect (not just tolerance or indifference) for all beliefs and religions will be enshrined as part of the constitution – officially*.”

    The reality is very subtle, from what I gather, and that is why Shantanu is an esteemed member of the Freedom Team.

    So let me provide my interpretation of Shatnanu’s views.

    Note that his arguments start thus: He believes that Hinduism is a NOT JUST tolerant, but an ACTIVELY RESPECTFUL religion. That is why he published this blog post recently: http://satyameva-jayate.org/2010/12/11/tolerance-mutual-respect/ where he supported the idea that people must RESPECT others’ religions, not just tolerate them.

    On that premise, Shantanu RESPECTS Islam (although he has a clear demarcation against Islamists) AND Christianity, among others. This quite an exceptional view. That is FAR BEYOND what many people (including at least some commentators on this blog) have.

    So if Shantanu’s premise is right, what he is saying is that a Hindu nation would be necessarily RESPECTFUL of other religions, not just tolerant. This is radically different perspective to what Golwalkar stood for.

    Now, this debate boils down to one’s understanding of the fundamental character of India. Does it exist? I think it does. Is it self-evident in the actions of the MOST Indians (of all religions)? I think it is.

    But what has happened is that there are a small number of fanatics among all religions who have hijacked the debate and claim to ‘represent’ their religions. These people show only an INTOLERANT side of their religion.

    In my view, Shantanu stands on the opposite extreme: He vigorously fights these fanatics (of all sides) and shows them the true character of Indian tolerance (and even respect).

    Now, in doing so, in order to claim back a tolerant vision of India, he does attack all forms of religious extremism, and unfortunately much of that has been “Islamist” (although not all, by any means!). I agree with Shantanu to that extent but also argue that RSS leaders like Golwalkar have poisoned things very significantly as well. That he sometimes needs to look more objectively at such matters is perhaps desirable, in other words he needs to know that Golwalkar had entirely opposite views to his.

    But overall, Shantanu is FIRMLY COMMITTED TO FTI’s religious freedom policy (http://freedomteam.in/blog/content/religious-freedom-and-tolerance) which if you read it carefully is the strongest and clearest statement demanding that the state get out of the business of religion.

    I therefore wouldn’t agree with Bhagwad on this, but I do agree that perceptions do exist.

    However, many people have formed negative perceptions about me, as well, based on a very sketchy and poor understanding of what I stand for. That is not unsurprising. Those who venture to put out their views in the public domain must be prepared to be misunderstood.

    If I were Shantanu, I’d not concern myself too much about anyone’s views but keep doing what I think is the right thing for the welfare of India as a whole.

    Shantanu RESPECTS all religions. That is a standard well above the minimum that is required in the theory of classical liberalism.

    Indeed, Bhagwad would do well to appreciate the subtle underlying trends in Shantanu’s thought.

    Btw, many comments against Bhagwad on this blog have been unwarranted! He is by no means a communist! I have come across Bhagwad’s blog only recently and read his work sporadically, but I don’t think he is a leftist.

    Let’s work towards the same goal: of a free and tolerant India where everyone can live in peace and flourish.

    The truth ultimately wins, but can take time.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

  • 37. Dirt Digger said:

    Bhagwad,
    After reading your post, I agree with your contention that your statement of pro Hindu applied to the people on this forum. (Every forum has its tilt of opinions of readers, nothing wrong with that)
    I was interested in your statement,
    “But when both the actual victims and the actual perpetrators are dead, let’s not pretend that those acts have any relevance in today’s world. No one is responsible for their ancestor’s deeds.”
    I agree that no one is responsible for their ancestor’s acts. But you are dead wrong when you say that those acts have no relevance.
    Afghanistan for example was a largely Hindu,Buddhist society which was forcibly converted to Islamic rule. Look at the state of the Nation today. Your holistic generalization is disproved by the simple thing called causality. There is significant evidence throughout history that nations with strong radical Islamic presence minorities and women have suffered. By denying that you are denying obvious facts. Of course one wishes moderate Muslims take over Saudi Arabia and other countries and transform them into flourishing peaceful democracies. But that’s as likely as Canada winning next years Cricket World Cup.

  • 38. Ashish Deodhar said:

    Sanjeev

    That Shantanu holds the Hindu religion in high esteem is sufficiently clear. That he holds other religions, especially Islam and Christianity, is not!

    But that’s irrelevant. I am sure a religious Muslim would hold Islam in high esteem and a religious Christian would hold Christianity in high esteem more than any other religion. But would you accept that Muslim or Christian blatantly promoting a Muslim or a Christian Indian state? Would that person still be “committed” to the policy of religious freedom? And if Shantanu is so “committed” to FTI’s policy of religious freedom, why is he going about adamantly promoting the “Hindu nation” ideology? Do you not see any contradiction in that? (and btw, I too attack fanatics of all religious denominations but no one has ever called me a Hindu fanatic or a muslim-hater! There can’t be smoke without fire, don’t you think?)

    Shantanu’s adherence to the ideology of a “Hindu nation” becomes a matter of serious concern especially given his political ambitions and considerable following. But let’s assume for a moment that he is a genuinely secular person (which I highly doubt), do you really believe, Sanjeev, that his followers are?

    A far-fetched example may be, but consider the case of Jinnah. He was a secular person and wanted to create a non-partisan state of Pakistan out of genuinely felt (but not necessarily well-grounded) concern for Muslims of India. Where did Pakistan end up today? It’s almost become a theocracy as it was destined to be from the moment of its formation. Jinnah perhaps wasn’t wrong in asking for a separate state; but he was mistaken in asking for a state for Muslims!

    I don’t see how a “state for Muslims” could be secular and similarly, I don’t see how a “Hindu nation” could be non-partisan!

    There’s nothing wrong in Shantanu professing his faith. There’s nothing wrong in him glorifying Hinduism but I have a serious objection to his insistence on Hindu India and I don’t agree that it is borne out of secular beliefs!

  • 39. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    @Dirt Digger

    Thanks for chipping in with your analysis of Afghanistan. But the same accusation can be leveled at Christianity which ended up taking over all of Europe and replaced all the native “pagan” religions!

    You’re right about Afghanistan, but I feel the time period wasn’t taken into consideration. The “Islamification” of Afghanistan was way back in the 7th century and took place because of conquest which was the norm in those days. Wikipedia has some info about religion in Afghanistan.

    We can’t judge what people did hundreds (or a thousand in this case) of years ago by today’s standards.

    Does anyone really feel that India is going to be invaded by Muslim aggressors in today’s world who will forcibly convert everyone? I doubt if even the most paranoid person thinks this.

    It’s incorrect to just extrapolate ancient history into today’s world verbatim. There are lessons to be learnt for sure, but those lessons are hidden and not so plain that we can just assume it will repeat itself. Which is why history should be for the textbooks and not used in argument until sufficient conditions are replicated – which is not the case here.

  • 40. cricfan said:

    @ Mr. Park: your ideas and opinions are at serious risk becoming irrelevant. why? because it’s apparent for a while that your direct comments and rebuttals on blogs like this or sandeepweb say something, but your own opinions elsewhere appear quite different in tone and substance. One can agree to disagree with a consistent critic, but what can i agree or disagree with if your ideas and comments are all over the place at different times and places ???

    Not that this blog needs any defense, but in my personal opinion, I have *always* found this blog to be amazingly progressive as well as patriotic, and refreshingly optimistic. The quest for facts, science, data, and knowledge has always been evident. One of many examples of this would be the fantastic post on Abdul Hamid. But for this blog, not many (self included) would have even learnt about this great Indian.

  • 41. Sid said:

    Moderator,
    Would you mind taking my comment off the queue?

  • 42. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    @cricfan

    Not that it really affects the legitimacy of anything I’ve said till now on this thread, but could you perhaps give me just one example of how what I say elsewhere is substantially different in “tone and substance?”

    Without that, I can’t really take an allegation like that seriously. I mean what response did you realistically expect me to make?

  • 43. SudhaV said:

    My own view, which may not be mainstream is that history is important and relevant far beyond the academic. I, as a somewhat lapsed Hindu,cannot deny my ancestory and the history that is linked to it. How can one totally deny that there is no link?Someone very wise said “If today is like yesterday then tomorrow will be like today” ie we can behave in entrenched ways without adapting and responding to new situations.
    Some of the battles of ‘ religious ideology’ are also battles of power and economics. Religion is just another divider. If the ruler, who is rich and powerful has a certain religion, his ‘followers’ are likely to adopt his religion voluntarily or forcibly- simple logic and seen regularily.It saves time and effort to be homogenous in thinking in order to come to agreements and carry out actions.
    It is also quite difficult to separate the ideology from the person. The ideology is alive and nutured for a slong as the person is alive. Hitler and his team died and the ideology died fairly quickly too.The repressed other view quickly reappeared, but may not have, if Hitler and his team had survived and won the war. It may be humane to separate the man from his ideology sometimes.

  • 44. kk said:

    Ashish, what is ‘Ideology of a “Hindu nation”?’. Thanks.

  • 45. kk said:

    Sanjeev,

    Now, in doing so, in order to claim back a tolerant vision of India, he does attack all forms of religious extremism, and unfortunately much of that has been “Islamist” (although not all, by any means!).

    What if a person holds an opinion that: while all types of religious extremism is bad, Islamic extremism is more harmful than other religious extremism?

    What’s your opinion Shantanu?

    Interesting example: Pat Condell http://www.patcondell.net/page9/page9.html

  • 46. VoP said:

    BJPark, If you forget history you are condemned to repeat it. Thus is the case with majority of Indians including you. Read http://www.haindavakeralam.com/ everyday and then you will see whatever happened 100, 1000 years ago is happening to India or not. Also check out http://indianrealist.wordpress.com/

  • 47. cricfan said:

    41. @Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    Sigh. Mr. Park, this very post is entirely devoted to this very question !! what you said outside this blog and your “debate” inside it are two entirely different things. So i absolutely agree with your concluding remarks to my comment – that it’s pretty irrelevant what you remark or dont remark here :-) adios.

  • 48. Neil said:

    @Bhagwad
    “You’re right about Afghanistan, but I feel the time period wasn’t taken into consideration.”
    - The question is : have the Islamic principles that were the driving force behind such large scale hate-based annihilation of entire people, changed now? Have the Quran and hadiths been edited and the plethora of “hatred towards others” erased from these scriptures? The problem is that a true follower of the Islamic scriptures and ideology will behave the same way as those of 7th century. Unless you are a ‘whitewasher’, you know this fact. Describing historical facts, in no way means that all followers of Islam are it’s true followers. Many of my Muslim friends just don’t take the inherent violence and hatred towards non-believers enshrined in Islam, and the many illogical commandments of the Quran and hadiths seriously. I don’t understand why are you so upset about the fact that followers of islamic religion have brought havoc to the lives of innocent humankind, time and again ? Reading such history at least, informs us the perils of following such a hatred-centric religion blindly.

    “We can’t judge what people did hundreds (or a thousand in this case) of years ago by today’s standards.”
    - Why not? I think some obvious parameters of judging people based on their actions don’t change. We are still humans and they too were humans. We must know what did by following dangerous preachings of Islam, as Islam is still being practiced in this planet, and it still continues to make life hell for a lot of humanity.

    I think people should learn to accept facts as they are, and not care if mentioning the facts will make somebody angry or upset.

  • 49. Rationalist said:

    @BJP
    Try to figure this out. China has taken over Tibet forcibly. But Dalai Lama will find it very difficult to “re-interpret” the Buddhist scriptures so that he can brainwash Buddhists to turn themselves into “Human bombs”. Why are some religions more susceptible to such brain washing
    I am ready to accord any human the same respect. But if someone wears a mantle of religion and then demands the same respect for both the mantle (i.e religion) and the human inside, I won’t readily give it. I would like to question that religion and fathom the various beliefs which it embodies. Have you done something similar with respect to Islam or Christianity?

    Secularism tells us that all religions are equal. But are they really equal? It is like saying “Is Eiffel Tower equal to Pyramids?”. No, they aren’t. They form different verticals, unique in their own way. Say, tomorrow lot of Scientologists come to India and start preaching their religion to everyone. Wouldn’t you be wary. Wouldn’t you question the proposed belief system.
    Another thing to note: one should not get lost in the various “isms”. Figure out why this particular “ism” was invented so to say.

    Please don’t provide arguments here. Please make a deep study of the different religions which are out there. What they preach? Why they preach those specific things? What is the world view being projected by such religions?

  • 50. Kartik said:

    Distressed to know that I am coming across as “rude” to Comrade Park. I just tend to be myself, value honesty a lot, and therefore the amount of respect I show to people tends automatically to be proportional to the honesty and the decency I see from them. Comrade started by claiming that he was’t labeling anyone. This after labeling Shantanu as anti-Muslim because — hold your breath — he referred to history that the comrade claims he does not dispute! That makes it even more mindboggling.

    So, the charge against Shantanu is not that he is falsifying history. And comrade cannot quote a single sentence where the blogger uses that *true* history to justify anything against today’s Muslims. So how did Comrade leap to the conclusion that Shantanu is “anti-Muslim”? Surely, stating truth does not make anyone anti-anything?

    Simple explanation: Comrade allowed his own latent anti-Hindu prejudices to persuade him that Shantanu is anti-Muslim. The problem is not with Shantanu quoting history, but with Comrade’s eagerness to read something into that quoting.

    This troubles me. People prone to scream their lungs off “anti-Muslim!” at every turn think it is acceptable to be anti-Hindu!

    Pause and think for a minute. A person of Jewish origin runs a blog where often he keeps mentioning the Holocaust. He says nowhere that present day socialists or Catholics or Germans or Arabs are responsible for the atrocities. What kind of guy would still accuse him of being anti-Socialist, anti-Catholic, anti-German, anti-Muslim, and anti-whatever?

    Most people pick up their values as children. If it is ok in your home to be bigoted against a set of people, you grow up being prejudiced against them — without ever realizing that you’re prejudiced.

  • 51. Sid said:

    @BJP (#13),
    I will quote Kaffir directly. It is not a matter of “insult”, it is simply incorrect. I do not care who does what in US. I am an Indian and I always make my comments with respect to India.
    The traditional western labels like liberal or conservative (or left/right) are simply inaccurate in India because, face it, there is no liberal or conservative in India. There is a clueless commie-socialist group who, after fall of USSR, success of liberalization of Indian economy and China’s about turn from Maoist policies, need to find a label that is not a laughing stock. In desperation, some rode the high wave of social justice. Others took up “liberal” term. That is why, every one starting from Pankaj Misra to Mira Nanda to Arundhati Roy is a liberal today. However, the change of label did not result in any change in their thinking. If you worry about being called a “commie”, then re-think about associating yourself with the very group that has brought so much damage to modern India.
    What are your choices if you do not want to call yourself liberal but you do not want to be seen as a pro-Hindu? There is a new group out there who call themselves “center of right”. They spotted the deep trouble with these neo-liberals and preferred to stay away from them. However, they have internalized the value system that is distributed by these commies for years and thus the commie propaganda against Hindutva created a fear psychosis in the mind of these people. You can take this label if you can not live without one and being called “commie” is too much for you.
    If you are not a declared atheist, then you follow your own religion and you will stand up for the right of your coreligionist. What is so wrong for a Hindu to be a pro-Hindu then? Being a pro-Hindu has nothing to do with being anti-Muslim.
    Just to clarify, I am aggressively pro-Hindu, not anti-Muslim although I view Islam to be an imperialistic ideology.
    I will still expect the answer to my question on “rape laws” thread.

  • 52. seadog4227 said:

    Sir,
    Why bother with a pipsqueak?
    In this age, what is correct and good will be asked to defend itself repeatedly, whereas the remaining crowd is “secular”.
    Yesterday “Fr” “Jegath Gasper” (for God’s sake!)called most journalists including “Cho” “right wing”
    Today, Rahul Gandhi, who “took lessons on hinduism from Dr. Karan Singh”, says that there is greater danger from the “hindu right wing” than islamic terrorists.
    The jobless crook, Digvijay Singh, claims to have rung up Hemant Karkare just before 26/11 and heard Karkare complain about “Hindu terror threats”; the Maharashtra govt., however, has no such call records.

    I rest my case.

  • 53. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    @Neil

    Christianity hasn’t changed in 2000 years and yet horrors like the Spanish inquisition are no more. Religion is a very poor indicator of behavior. Christianity is a more violent religion than Islam.

    @Rationalist

    I’m an atheist and dislike all religions equally including Islam, Christianity etc. I’ve criticized all of them at great length in my blog.

    @Kartik

    I’m going to ignore you from now.

    @Sid

    I feel you’re overthinking things. The definition of liberalism is not country specific.

    Please at least take the trouble to read my article on rape and the death sentence. I’m not going to type it out all over again for you. And if you look closely, I already commented on the article you linked to a few days back. Please don’t request me to repeat things I’ve already done without taking efforts to address my initial work.

  • 54. Kartik said:

    Comrade Park wants to ignore me. Hurts me bad. Hurts me bad because he let me down. I offered him the choice to cop out, and the choice to respond to argument. He promptly chose to cop out. I can see why:

    His charge against Shantanu is not that the latter is falsifying history. Not that Shantanu is using that *true* history to justify anything against today’s Muslims — Comrade has not produced a single piece of evidence to level that charge. So how did he leap to the conclusion that Shantanu is “anti-Muslim”?

    I make the point that leftwingers are conditioned to believe that anybody who refers to instances of victimhood at the hands of Islamic fundamentalism are automatically “anti-Muslim”. Park exhibits the effects of this conditioning.

    Leftwingers are also conditioned to believe that to do the opposite, ie, to play up instances of alleged Muslim victimhood, is to be “liberal” , not anti-Hindu as it would be if you applied symmetry.

    In other words, double standards and duplicity become such an integral part of their worldview that they are barely aware of it.

    Comrade allowed his own latent anti-Hindu prejudices to persuade him that Shantanu is anti-Muslim. The problem is not with Shantanu quoting history, but with Comrade’s eagerness to read something into that quoting.

    That is the sad irony of this label-pasting game. People blinded by their own prejudice born out of dogma accusing others of being anti-whatever.

  • 55. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    @Kartik

    Still ignoring you as I wait for your apology to me which never came.

  • 56. kk said:

    Karthik,

    Can you define ‘leftwinger’? thanks!

  • 57. Gopi said:

    Mr Jal Park,
    History is relevant because that tells you about the ideology behind loot, temple destruction, rape, slavery, mass slaughters, etc. Why? Pl see the speeches made by senior leaders of Muslim League in 1946 and notice the historical people / events they referred to:

    One sample of many speeches made at Convention of Muslim Legislators held in Delhi in April 1946:

    Sir Feroze Khan Noon: (I) tell you this much that if we find that we have to fight Great Britain for placing us under one Central Hindu Raj, then the havoc, which Muslims will play will put to shame what Changhez Khan and Halaku did.

    Some other samples of what Senior Muslim Leaders have said:

    Maulana Azad: “A country like India, which has once been under Mohammedan rule, must never be given up, and it was incumbent on them to strive to regain their lost contol.” And, “Against the non-Muslim Government, Islam prescribes only sword, protracted battle and the cutting of throats.”

    Liaqat Ali Khan: The Muslim is a born fighter. He may hesitate to cast a vote for Pakistan, but he would not hesitate to shed his blood.”

    Ghaznafar Ali Khan (Health minister in Viceroy’s Interim Government, headed by Pandit Nehru) spoke at Lahore: “If Mohammed-Bin-Kasim and Mahmood Ghaznavi could invade India with armies composed of a few thousands, and yet were able to overpower lakhs of Hindus, God willing a few lakhs of Muslims will yet overwhelm crores of Hindus.” He openly advised Hindus to embrace Islam to save themselves from the holocaust.

    F.K. Khan Durrani (In the preface to his book, The Meaning of Pakistan): “There is not an inch of the soil of India which our forefathers did not once purchase with their blood. We cannot be false to the blood of our fathers. India, the whole of it, is therefore our heritage, and it must be re-conquered for Islam…. Our ultimate ideal should be the unification of India, spiritually as well as politically under the banner of Islam. The final political salvation of India is not otherwise possible.”

    Now, these are senior people, not some ordinary rabble-rousers like we come across, say, in web blogs! That is why it is still relevant to look at ideology that drove those actions and their impact on current affairs. Example of events in Kashmir will suffice: leaders of a supposedly Kashmiriyat Azadi movement now openly talks about the establishment of Nizam-e-Mustafa. The demands of Millat Council in England to have a separate Shariyat Law and Islamic Parliament is another example. The destruction on Budha statues by Taliban recently is third example why it will be folly to forget both the history and ideology that drove those actions! Of course, today’s Muslims are not responsible for those actions but they partly will invite the charge if they or their leadership still insist on holding all that loot and revere those destructions and slaughters!

    Finally, German examples. Nazi Germany was decisively defeated and totally de-fanged by Alllied Powers and made to pay (eg, money West Germany gave to issues related Jewish causes) and change the outlook that assisted such barbarity – sort of detoxification to make Germany and Germans a normal people. And yet, as recently released documents show, despite of all that progress and reform, Mrs Thatcher was not that happy about prospects of German unification (as were many other leading lights in Europe), BECAUSE of their historical experience in 20th Century! Has Islamism (not Islam or Muslim) similarly defeated and de-fanged just in our neighborhood? I do not believe so.

    I was born / raised in Chittor Fort; we grew up seeing that vandalism and destruction daily. We read stories of forefathers wearing Kesaria to fight until they all fell and entire women-folk taking to Jauhar and saw those places daily. Now, this may not be relevant and make no difference to a Gyani but will ordinary people.

    None of the above is to defend bigotry of twits who think anti-muslim equals pro-hindu or who advocate revenge against, or extinction of Muslims, throwing them out, etc. They only damage their won cause.

    There was another comment above about Hindu Nation and secularism. A Hindu nation truly based on concepts of Dharma and Respect for any and every way to truth will per se be a secular nation, as confirmed shown by the conduct of most of Hindu rulers over centuries.

  • 58. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Dear All: Thanks for joining in this “vigorous” debate!
    I am floored by the number of responses…this is clearly a hot issue. As some of you know, I am currently travelling + working on an important project with a deadline and committed to two talks at Pune and Bengaluru on 18th and 21st…So I am squeezed for time…and may not be able to respond to all the comments fully…I am reading all the comments though. Below is my response to Bhagwad @ #3:

    Thanks for the invite Shantanu, and I’ll do my best to present my opinion here.

    You are welcome.

    I’d like to start however, by saying that I do not view this as a “challenge”. I’d like to discuss ideas without getting personal.

    Sure. I assumed that your assertion was personal. If it was not, I am sorry for my presumption.

    In my comment on topics being pro-hindu and anti-muslim, I was referring more to the comments rather than the articles themselves

    So I take it that you don’t consider me – or the topics – “vigorously pro-Hindu and anti-Muslim”?

    Nevertheless, I can’t help but notice certain recurring themes

    Do you mean recurring themese in my articles or the comments? If you are referring to my articles, can you cite specific examples please – and which one of the last dozen-odd posts on the blog dealt with this “recurrring theme”?

    IMHO any reference to a past hundreds of years ago is irrelevant to both Hindus and Muslims in the present.

    I do not agree with you. Pl read this short extract from Irfan Husain’s, “Demons from the past”

    Second, I can’t help but feel that you view Islam/Muslims as a threat.

    Islam/Muslim is a dangerous juxtaposition…I would expect more nuance from you if you are serious about debating this aspect. This post may be more appropriate for a general discussion of Islam, Hindutva etc. Also I would request you to read Atanu Dey’s article (if you have not already) that explores these nuances.

    First, bringing up the history of Muslims and how they looted/destroyed temples etc. is “anti Muslim” because beyond an academic interest in history, it serves no logical purpose.

    Pl read Irfan Husain’s article cited above.

    Second, viewing Muslims as a threat to India is also anti Muslim in my eyes

    Where have I said that Muslims are a threat to India? What makes you feel that I “view” them as a threat to India?

    Just to put the record straight: I dont see Muslims as a threat to India – or to any other country. The real threat comes from Islamism – the ideology of radical Islam, not Muslims.

    let’s not pretend that those acts have any relevance in today’s world.
    Oh but they do! When the imagery and the tales are used very deliberately – as in the emails from our friends from the Indian Mujahideen or in the nomenclature of weapons and missiles developed by our friends from across the border…and if they don’t have any relevance, why do we still have an Aurangzeb Road in Delhi?

    More to come, hopefully soon.

  • 59. Rationalist said:

    @BJP
    I like the way you sort out differences with Kartik. You have made me nostalgic. I used to do such stuffs when I was 10. :P

    “Katti. I won’t talk to you”.

    Moreover you can add these following statements to create more pressure on Kartik.
    1] “Hey Kartik, say sorry to me otherwise I will tell your name to my Mom” Or
    2] “Don’t mess with me Kartik otherwise I will tell everybody the secret that you ate from seadog4227 lunchbox the other day”

    This also reminds me of “spring cuckoo” remark by Mamata Banerjee on Rahul Gandhi. The immediate response by Rahul to Press was “Do I look like a bird”. Poor fellow. He couldn’t even understand the subtle guesture dropped by Mamataji that she thought “Rahul is an opportunist.

    @Shantanu : You are not required to engage in debate with such people. In fact, they look dignified when you do that. There will always be few nutjobs. Hence, the greatest boon of Democracy is that you don’t have to convince everyone of your world view. You can form a Government even if you succeed in convincing say >30% of rationally thinking humans. Not all voters exercise their voting rights. Also, many voters choose to go with the flow. i.e. their votes depends on who is destined to be the winner. Because they want to build good connections. This is also the main reason why I am worried about Religion based census. It will clearly demarcate those regions of the country where a particular voting block is strong. In such regions, support from a voting block could be used by a political party to force other voters to fall in line.
    BJP, I think you might be aware of how Congressional districts in USA are divided into Red/Blue majority regions. I am talking about that same effect here.

  • 60. ahmad said:

    @Shantanu
    As a muslim I feel Bhagwad is right . Your choice of topics does show your slant.
    Perhaps it is time for shantanu to write a detailed post to explain his position on Islam . What all he hates about Islam and anything he likes about Islam.

  • 61. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @ahmad: Thank you for joining the debate…I have not see you here before, so welcome!

    This is a hurried response…

    Your choice of topics does show your slant.
    Can you be a bit more specific please?

    Perhaps it is time for shantanu to write a detailed post to explain his position on Islam . What all he hates about Islam and anything he likes about Islam.

    I will give this a serious thought. Thank you for the suggestion.

  • 62. Manas said:

    The intransigence and insidious agendas of the self-proclaimed left-liberal-secular brigade are well epitomized by one Joanie de Rijke, a left-leaning Dutch journalist who went to Afghanistan to conduct a sympathetic interview with the Taliban. Unfortunately but not surprisingly she was abducted and serially raped by those medieval minded bigots for six days. Yet blinded by her ideological moorings she said that she would put their “heinous crime” (Thats my expression. Joanie said “this”) in perspective and that they showed her respect. So Shantanu, it is for the most part futile to try and engage in any sort of meaningful dialogue with the likes of Joanie de Rijke who blinded by their perfidious ideological predilections will bury their heads in the sand, conveniently turn a blind eye to the truth and keep hallucinating in their idealistic utopia.

  • 63. JC Moola said:

    This one got me in after some time… People like Bhagwad Jal Park, Deodhar are best ignored. There is a similar streak between Parks, Deodhars and Barka Dutts, Vir Sanghvis who are now found embroiled in corruption and scams. A way to gain cheap fame is bashing majority, joining in efforts in bleeding them, like Singhvis, Dutts, leaders of LeT, SIMI, JeM etc

    This forum is about Bharat. The history of Bharat is सनातन धर्म. While guys like Parks love to call themselves as Indians, they forget where their roots were and where they are now and why.

    People like Deodhars are very similar to Digvijays, Rahuls, who have zero gravity and speak the same language as of Jinnahs or Gilanis, the past and present separatists.

    हम भारतीय हैं तथा हमें भारतवर्श की संस्कृति जो श्री राम चंद्र जी, राजा भोज, जैसे युग पुरुशों तथा श्रीमदवालमिकीरामायण, महाभारत जैसे श्रेष्ठ ग्रन्थों से जानी जाती है पर गर्व है। यदि हमरी सन्स्कृति के वर्णन से आप जैसों को मानसिक कष्ट होता है तो पश्चात्य संसकृति का आश्रय लीजिये तथा पाश्चात्य में रमिये। ज़िन्ना की तरह थाल में छेद करने से दूर रहें।

    और फिर आप पार्क तो अम्रीका में बसें हैं। ग्राऊन्ड ज़ीरो मस्ज़िद में योगदान कीजिए तथा अफ़घानिस्तान से क्रिश्चन सेना हटाने में योगदान करें या ऐसा करने में डर लगता है।

  • 64. Kartik said:

    Is there an Aurangzeb Road in Delhi!? I am surprised to know! I hope this naming was done centuries ago and remains only as a historical relic! I’d certainly be shocked if this name was given in recent history because going by the Park logic (which I sort of agree with) I don’t think anybody, least of all Muslims, find Aurangzeb relevant to modern day.

    Commies renamed Calcutta as Kolkata, the “dravida” parties renamed Madras as Chennai, Bombay became Mumbai and Bangalore became Bengaluru. Agreed that there is an aspect of silliness to this renaming business. Personally, I prefer to use the old names. I never speak of Bombay as “Mumbai”, for example. So the question is not if renaming Aurangzeb Road is a priority; question is if there is any objection to such renaming on religious or identity grounds?

    Comrade Park claims that there is no denial of history. If so, there must be agreement across the board of Aurangzeb’s ugly record of religious persecution. If such an agreement — stemming from a non-denial of history — exists, would there be any problem in renaming the road to, say, Zaffar Hussain Marg or MC Chagla Road? I expect Comrade Park to emphatically say that there would be no objection from Muslims, lefties, Congies and of course the rightwing.

    But alas,Jal Park refuses to talk to me. :(

  • 65. Kartik said:

    –> to, say, Zaffar Hussain Marg or MC Chagla Road?

    Read as: Zakir Hussain

  • 66. Kishan said:

    Was there anything personal about Park in my comment?
    It consists of only two/three sentences, I have reread it many times but could not find anything personal. Only about some ideology.
    Well there are all kinds of comments on the net. One need not take notice of all because it is foolish and waste of time to do so.But if Park wants to do that, it is his choice.

  • 67. संदीप नारायण शेळके said:

    Shantanuji, this has to be ignored in larger perspective.

    Some people want to impose their world of view on others, let them we can not fight everyone as there are many such anti-natives elements with westernised goggles.

    Jai Bharat!

  • 68. Rationalist said:

    @BJP
    Have a look at this video of Sam Harris and his book “The Moral Landscape”. In the 3rd part of a 5 part video series, Sam Harris is explaining the challenges posed by extremist Islam.

  • 69. Smith JM said:

    During WWII , the Roman Catholic church was silent, when the Jews were doomed to a holocaust. Some padres came out to help , but the number was too miniscule to make an impact. If the entire RC had come out against the mayhem , history would have been differnt. Here is book reference.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=fEhtoDa-aPEC&lpg=PP1&dq=david%20kertzer&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false.

    My earlier visit to India , I found a good amount of native Indians reacting to native fundamentalism. The number is quite big and the press and media also write against this, which is quite reaaonable.

    This is absent in Islam. The moderates are like the few padres of WWII , miniscule in number. Hope they swell in ranks or if they remain silent like Roman catholic church , we will have serious problems.

  • 70. Indian said:

    No wonder people like– ahmad —take a side of Bhagwad. He is here debating the topic because he only heard the name Islam!

  • 71. Indian said:

    @ahmad

    Pakistan engulfed in attacks even mosque is not spared. What your say?

  • 72. Bhagwad Jal Park said:

    @Shantanu

    Though I’d like to discuss this further (perhaps on twitter?), I can no longer do so here. I came here in a friendly spirit as anyone can see from comments, but I haven’t been met with in a similar spirit.

    I understand you’re not responsible for the comments of your readers, but you do have moderation powers and I was expecting you to warn those who used insults, pejorative language, and personal arguments. Such comments degrade the quality of discussion and don’t create a conducive atmosphere for intellectual discussion.

    As of now, the atmosphere is neither friendly, nor respectful. I have tried to be both in all my comments in this thread in the hope that readers would reciprocate, but no luck so far. So I’m doing the only thing I can and removing myself from this debate.

    So this is my last comment on this post and discussion until I can be sure that it will not get personal and if it does, then the moderator will either block or warn those users who do.

    Incidentally, many of those I discuss such issues with feel that “Right Wing” isn’t an appropriate term to describe those who hold a certain set of views. If this is true, then let us know which term you would find appropriate in the interests of having better discussions where both sides are comfortable in an atmosphere of respect.

  • 73. KP Road said:

    Wow! Wonderful discussion and I have to compliment Shantanu for initiating this discussion. I have been reading this web page (blog?) for a while and thought that I would respond.

    I have a lot of sympathy for Mr. Park. I guess that I should be careful and not mention his name and merely stick to the points that he has made.

    I have very little trouble in blaming the current generation of Muslims for the sins of their forefathers WHEN they think/say – India was a Muslim country at some point in time and should remain that way. That is wrong and Muslims need to move on. Let us face it, India is a Hindu dominant country and the basic ETHOS of the country comes from its Hindi heritage. Why is this so difficult to accept?

    KP

  • 74. Sid said:

    @BJP (#53),
    I feel you’re overthinking things. The definition of liberalism is not country specific.
    I am afraid it is not the definition that we are debating. It is who takes the liberalism as a label. I will give you a scenario.
    When someone wants to see my house, it would not be appropriate for me to show him the meaning of house in the oxford dictionary. Neither I can show him the blueprint of the house and claim that it is my house.
    When talking about liberalism, handing me the definition of liberalism or Mill’s classical view of liberalism is similar to handing me the dictionary or the blueprint of the house. To understand what liberalism is in a Indian context you have to see who liberals are in India and hear their opinion.
    Did you not argue against some people that they can not separate people from ideology? I already did and you failed to accept it. It shows a lot about you.
    I really do not care the article you wrote about rape laws, I am sure it’s quality is not any better than the usual article you serve to your loyal readers.
    I questioned you that if death sentences are to be reserved for “rare” crimes then why rape of a man by a gay rapist would not be considered for death sentence. It is rare, is it not?

  • 75. Indian said:

    @Rationalist

    good watch- video link of Sam Harris!

  • 76. Kartik said:

    Visiting this blog after a long time, I was browsing some of the posts and an interesting point struck me:

    Guess which thread in recent times has not attracted the attention of catholic-commie trolls? The Varanasi thread:

    http://satyameva-jayate.org/2010/12/07/attack-varanasi/

    How come the usual suspect(s) have nothing to contribute to that thread? Could it because the terrorists said what needs to be said and so all that’s remaining to be expressed is a silence of smug satisfaction?

    Their presence was however not lacking in other politically-oriented threads: the Rahul Gandhi thread, Rajiv Malhotra thread, and the Aseem Shukla thread etc., and along predictable lines too. What gives?

    A Hindu-baiter commie blogger was indignant that people “taunt” him after terrorist attacks with questions such as why he did not comment on the killings. What kind of questions make people react with intolerance? My hunch: those that reveal an ugly, uncomfortable truth.

  • 77. Indian said:

    @Kartik

    True! and soon they want to forget Mumbai Taj attack, Chabbad attack, and Mumbai train attacks where innocents have struggled for their life but couldn’t make it. It still brings tears in my eyes and there are insensitive people who says there is no threat and forget the past! I will never give ears to those who says forget history, and there is no threat. They had a support of Indian muslims in such attacks.

    They just want to make wrong things right here by branding people anti or pro. They may get away by writing 2 or 3 lines but can make it through the heart of those who have lost their loved ones!

  • 78. Kaffir said:

    “If the whole affair with Wikileaks and Radia has proved anything, it’s that not even the most powerful people can now stop the truth from getting out and the world from knowing about it. The Internet has changed everything and old rules no longer apply. The power is back with the Individual.”
    ___

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry – your comment comes across as incredibly naive, lacks any critical analysis and seems to conflate a few factors, viz. ‘leak of tapes and info (Radia, Wikileaks)’ with ‘greater accountability+transparency’, or with ‘greater power in the hands of an individual to hold the state actors accountable’, or with ‘some improvement in ethics among the state actors and “journalists” as a result of leaks.’

    Furthermore, your comment was a total non sequitur.
    ___

    I could also point out many inconsistencies in your comments on this post related to history and Islam (you seem to keep changing your stance – a case of moving the goalposts), and non sequiturs (like the above) that you come up with when your stance is challenged, but I feel that it will be a waste of my time, because you haven’t shown any signs that you are actually open to listening to a point-of-view that is different from yours. It is best to ignore your comments from now on.

  • 79. Indian said:

    please read as Can’t make it in above last line!

  • 80. Prakash said:

    Hi Shantanu,
    I understand your anguish at being labelled as ProHindu and anti-muslim. At the same time, I appreciate Bhagwad Jal Park’s (BJP’s) view too. There are good reasons why people/blogs/media/movements/parties get tagged with such unpleasant words. I will try to capture them below.
    As a blog-owner, you are (or should be) in control of many things. Three of them are – Choice of Topics, Choice of Material in each topic, and moderation of comments. In this post, I will write only about the third aspect.
    If one were to just consider the comments this is what one would see. People are labelled as Comrades and Gandhidases both for no apparent reason. You don’t seem to have reigned in commenters like Sid who is writing tons of sentences on each topic and labelling everyone who has a different point of view with choicest adjectives. Since you have not chosen to moderate or delete such adjectives, a casual reader is free to draw the conclusion that you are, in some sense, in agreement with those and many of the comments, indeed, are anti-muslim.
    If you wish to have people of different points of view expressing themselves with freedom, you will have to do something about those who hunt down dissenters with venomous comments. If you don’t, BJP and others will take the freedom to label you wherever they have the freedom to do so. It is up to you to maintain a decent commenting environment and promote vigorous discussion instead of encouraging name-calling. I will write about the other two issues I mentioned above only if the environment is conducive. I will certainly not join the debate if I see childish smart-aleck rejoinders.

  • 81. Rationalist said:

    @Indian
    Sam Harris has a very sharp brain. Please do read his book “The Moral Landscape”. That guy has amazing clarity of thoughts and superb understanding.

    Also you will find the following two debates thought-provoking and enriching :

    1] Intelligence Squared Debate on the topic “Is Islam Religion of Peace?” – link
    2] The Great Debate Panel on whether Moral values can be derived from Science – link

  • 82. Sid said:

    @Kartik,
    Good find. My best guess is that they will wait till the memory of the blast fade in the public memory and then would try to make it as something that does not matter and part of a history that is insignificant. One year later, someone will come and claim that the unfortunate child’s death does not matter because
    we should not bother with anything that is less than six months old (a “liberal” logic).
    Or Hindus deserved to die because there was casteism in Hinduism (an original Gandhian logic).
    Or while some indigenous minorities may be involved with the blast (and they can not be accused because they are minority) Hindus celebrating their festival in front of a river is a serious threat to India’s national security (another Gandhian logic although the originator was not same).
    You see, terrorists have no religion and act as per their grievances as long as they are not Hindu. When some Hindus are accused of terrorism, it is necessary to highlight their religion and telepathy, not proof, is required to understand they are a threat to the national security.
    Keep it up commie-liberals, we are loving it.

  • 83. Sid said:

    @Prakash,
    People are labelled as Comrades and Gandhidases both for no apparent reason. You don’t seem to have reigned in commenters like Sid who is writing tons of sentences on each topic and labelling everyone who has a different point of view with choicest adjectives.
    I do not belong to Shantanu’s group and it is unlikely that I consult him before writing anything. Comrade is not an insult by any dictionary and it depends on interpretation of the reader.
    Similar arguments exist for “gandhi-das”. There are people who worship Srikrishna and take names like Krishnadas. There was sant Ramdas. Those who worship Kali does not mind being called Kalidas or Shyamadas. So, those who worship Gandhis should not mind the word Gandhidas. Or at least that is my view when I write them. How you would choose to interpret it is your view.

    You call yourself independent, common readers in this forum know whom or what you tried to defend repeatedly. They reach their decision by reading your defenses of Corruption, Indira Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Just like you have the right to interpret a word like Gandhi-das they too have the complete right to interpret your defenses. Over the internet, I have seen many such “independents” and I know what those independence means.

  • 84. Kaffir said:

    “I will certainly not join the debate if I see childish smart-aleck rejoinders.”
    ___

    Prakash, this is an excellent opportunity for you to put the principles of non-violence and non-cooperation into action. I’d suggest a fast-until-death till the people commenting here take a public vow that they will stop using childish smart-aleck rejoinders and entreat you to join the debate. After all, we have a much vaunted tradition of indulging in emotional blackmail, used effectively by the father of our nation. What the father did, the children should certainly emulate.

  • 85. Kaffir said:

    Ashish Deodhar,

    This comment is for you related to your earlier comment. Let’s leave aside the concept of “Hindu Rashtra” for a moment and focus on “secularism” – which, correct me if I’m wrong, you seem to place on a pedestal.

    Now, my question is this: What do you think of the secularism that has been practiced in India since it was forcibly inserted into the Constitution, without any debate, during the Emergency? From what I can gather, secularism is just a fancy word, a label placed above criticism and taken for granted as the end-all and be-all, for

    a. unequivocal anti-Hindu thinking and anti-Hindu actions in India,
    b. double-standards, and
    c. a smokescreen to appease “minorities” (read Muslims).

    1. In no other secular democracy would a platform to implement UCC be branded as “communal” with “secular” parties strongly against it.

    2. In the name of secularism, we’ve had Congress Party (under Rajiv Gandhi) circumvent and bypass the Supreme Court’s decision regarding Shah Bano case – and we all know why – to appease Muslims.

    3. Under secularism, 1984 riots are not talked about (it is enough that MM Singh has apologized, justice is done, let’s move on, it’s in the past and past doesn’t matter), whereas Godhra was a pogrom and Narendra Modi is guilty without evidence, even if it has been found that “activists” manufactured evidence.

    4. Secularism means ignoring the role of Congress Party members in fomenting Hindu-Muslim riots in Gujarat and UP over the decades, whereas BJP is branded as evil for dividing the community along communal lines.

    5. Secularism means our intellectuals don’t speak up when the government bans ‘Satanic Verses’ or when MF Husain quietly withdraws his film ‘Meenaxi’ under pressure from Muslim clerics, but turn up the volume when MF Husain is persecuted for his paintings. Though, inexplicably, they are again missing in action when Taslima Nasreen is physically assaulted for writing a book.

    This is just a small sample, and I could mention numerous such examples, which, when juxtaposed, give a clear picture of the true nature of secularism in India, as opposed to the dogma mouthed by the secularism bhakts.

    And the saddest part is that the irony of calling others “communal” when they point out such clear double-standards and flaws of secularism, is clearly lost on the intellectuals and champions of secularism.

    So, what kind of secularism are you in favor of implementing in Indian society? And why do you place secularism so highly when its implementation in India by the secular party has been despicably corrupt at best, with no signs of any change for the better?

  • 86. Amit said:

    Hello Bhagwad Jal Park,

    1. Some of your comments on this post seem to gloss over the whitewashing of Indian history, and seem to imply that such whitewashing is of no consequence, since in today’s age, everyone has access to a blog, and can publish one’s work. I thought you might be interested in reading this blog post, which explains in a lucid and coherent manner, why such whitewashing has serious consequences which are ignored at one’s peril:

    http://ashwathtree.blogspot.com/2009/09/zaraza-marxists-indian-edition.html

    Especially these excerpts:

    [..] At the academic level, many Indian Marxists have managed to portray themselves to the international academic and journalism communities as privileged commentators on Hindu communalism. It is ironic and deeply disturbing, not to mention the questions it raises about Western academia, that a movement which still swears by Lenin and Stalin (the Maoists chose to abandon Parliamentary procedure and take to the jungles as Naxal rebels) is hailed in Western universities as a guardian of civil polity against the encroaching barbarism of Hindu revivalism. However, the unreserved admiration of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao is not noteworthy.

    The postmodern form of Marxism, quite popular in academia, denies the very notion of objective knowledge. It assumes that knowledge is conditioned by one’s social belonging, insisting that all research in the social sciences has a political agenda. Implied is that once one has identified a scholar as a representative of the wrong interest group, his/her arguments are ipso facto wrong. This feeble pseudo-intellectual trick has worked with the Indian Right because, unfortunately, the idea of a Right-wing intellectual is a bit of a misnomer in India. Marxists have occupied and held the public sphere without challenge for at least the past 35 years and it is near impossible to assail them today. Marxist control of the English news media in India and key instituitons such as the Indian Council of Historical Research and the National Council of Educational Research Training have given them a disproprtionate voice and influence on Indian self-perception and image in the world. Interestingly, a standard Soviet work, A History of India, by K. Antonova, G. Bongard-Levin, G. Kotovsky (Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1979) has been far more sympathetic to the Indian perspective than homegrown Marxists. In the words of a wise Roman,

    A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.

    2. Additionally, your views seem to come across as conflicting and inconsistent when you:
    - tacitly acknowledge that Indian historians have whitewashed Islamic history,
    - say that anyone with a blog can write the truth and correct such errors,
    - then go on to mention that such historical affairs are best left to academics

    Cheers!

  • 87. Sid said:

    @Kaffir,
    Those arguments are put forward a thousand times and a thousand times eloquence of silence is offered as a response. Wait for the instances of mutual respect from the secular liberals.

  • 88. Kaffir said:

    @Sid, let’s wait and see if Ashish, or any other person who thinks secularism in India is great, responds.

    Though, in a way, I am thankful to such seculars, liberals, et al, (not referring to anyone here specifically) for if it wasn’t for their inconsistent moral outrage while simultaneously championing liberal values like free speech, equality, secularism etc., I probably wouldn’t have started my journey of discovery and digging deep.

    ___

    @Ashish, to add to my previous comment, it shouldn’t be seen as a defense of BJP, and neither should my comment be seen as trying to prove the superiority of one political party over another – I’m merely questioning the yardstick used to measure secularism, and its rubber-like flexibility, which results in the perversion of only one party labeled as “communal” – irrespective of the facts.

    It’s really a stretch to call India a secular country when we don’t even have a UCC. I would be hard-pressed to find another western democracy that doesn’t have a UCC, or implements secularism the way India does, and still calls itself secular. If we have to copy a concept from the west, at a minimum, we should get it correct and implement it properly, don’t you think?

  • 89. Sanjeev Sabhlok said:

    Dear Friends

    Here’s something that might throw more light on the issue:
    http://sabhlokcity.com/2010/12/classical-liberal-conservative-right-wing-what-do-these-things-mean/

    Quick one, re: UCC (since this is the thing I’ve just noticed above – sorry unable to read further at this time). The classical liberal view on this would be that EVERYONE needs to have EXACTLY the SAME freedoms. That means the same minimum standards about what is permissible and what is not.

    India has SEPARATE laws for Hindus and separate ones for Muslims. That is wrong. What is needed is a standard criminal law that makes certain things a criminal offence. After that people can choose to do whatever they believe is consistent with their religious or other beliefs.

    We can’t have the principle underpinning UCC in India with so many special categories of citizens: Hindus (of two types, depending on caste), and Muslims. First step is to abolish the Hindu and Muslim laws. See details in BFN (http://sabhlokcity.com/).

    And all interference in temples and such religious bodies and organisations by the state must be stopped forthright. And the state must prohibit the inflow of foreign religious funds. These are a bare minimum requirement for a free state.

    Finally the idea of “secularism” (a French notion based on atheism) is nonsensical, and not a classical liberal idea. It is a non-denominational state that we want, an umpire which permits all religious expression so long as no one is harmed.

    Regards

    Sanjeev

  • 90. Ravindranath said:

    Hi,

    the below pasted is a mail, that I sent to my friends 2 months ago. I believe it captures the essence of an average patriotic hindu, who owes his/her allegiance to bharat’s cultural heritage and has his/her roots firmly established in the mother tradition of Bharat.

    [quote]
    For the purpose of convenience, I brand all non-bjp parties as “secular” parties, by defining the word “secularism” as follows…
    “Secularism”
    – contempt for anything that is hindu [or has hindu in it]
    – appeasement of all that non-hindu, be it christian or moslem
    – application of human rights is only for non-hindus, since hindus are not eligible to be called as humans (they are sub-humans)

    1. I am very much fearful that if a ‘deganga’ kind of riot happens, my community would be wiped out, and then my “secular” govt., would then give a secular message (like MamataDi, by posing in
    a namaaz), while I cry for my lost ones. Since Chatrapathi Shivaji is a saffron terrorist, his boardings will be removed.

    2. My “secular” government has been funding for the luxury of Haj pilgrimage, for facilitating a community (that is the single largest terrorist manufacturer) to enjoy at the expense of tax payers’
    money.
    Now another “secular” govt in Andhrapradesh, provides similar subsidy for another community to visit bethleham. My “secular” govt loots money from TTD (collected from Hindu devotees for
    the welfare of temples) and spends on these activities. the more it does these kind of acts, the more “secular” it becomes.

    3. My “secular” government says that “terrorism has no color”, if the terroristic acts are performed by non-hindus. But it becomes “saffron color terrorism”, even if it just suspects some hindus in an
    violence.

    4. My “secular” govt thinks [, says [and encourages], it is OK, to destroy kaffir temples, but no single mosque/church should be touched. Because it is secular to destroy temples, but
    communal to retaliate.

    5. My secular govt is repulsive to my ancestral heritage and faith. It destroys my culture whenever it finds a chance (as in Ramasethu). It invents new paradigms saying that “Rama didn’t
    exist”. It dares not question, whether jesus exists. Not does it question the sanity of the propagator of desert cult. So, I am fearful, my culture would be wiped out in about 50 years
    completely.

    6. My secular govt, always likes non-hindu communities only. For it, any hindu is a third-class citizen. It dares not hang the convicted anti-national criminals like Afzal Guru, and feeds them
    with Chicken Biryani and other stuff. But if it finds a chance of proving a hindu terrorist, it will work 24X7 to ensure that the person is victimized and tortured. It looses sleep, one non-hindu is
    interrogated in an outside country, but (SOUND) sleeps if many hindus are killed. I am fearful, eventually my community will be victimized to become extinct.

    7. My secular govt wants to destroy me and my ancient faith, so encourages conversions. I suspect it is because it is headed by an alien white lady with an invisible “hand”. What an
    appropriate election symbol for my secular govt !!! The Vatican pope comes and says, he has conquered America, Africa with his cult. He now wants to conquer Asia. My secular govt.,
    claps in applaud and welcomes him. I am fearful, my community will be slowly but surely converted and made extinct.

    8. My secular govt feels very happy if my community leader (Lakshmananda Saraswathi) is killed by christian and maoist mafia thugs. But when my community retaliates, it makes a big bad
    news about me using NDTV brand secular journalism, to show to the entire world how barbaric I am. Another secular state govt, breaks ties with a political party that supports my cause and
    asks for investigation into christian and maoist thugs’ cruelties. I am fearful, at this rate my community keeps getting killed regularly in a brutal manner, and no justice would come to me.

    9. To my secular govt, the lives of 59 karsevaks, do not matter. What is important is the life of a holy terrorist. My secular govt would goto any extent to get the hindu criminals punished. I am
    fearful, I cannot even retaliate, if my community men are brutally burnt.

    10. My secular govt., invites missionaries from foreign countries to inspect the supposedly dirty gutters of Orissa, Bengal and Gujarat, in order to show the damage done by saffron terrorism. My
    secular govt does not question, or send inspection committees to other countries (Australia, Pakistan, or Bangladesh), when hindu sub-human creatures are destroyed en-masse. I am
    fearful, I have no place to hide in my own country!

    11. To my secular govt, it does not matter, if hindu kaffirs are killed and driven away from Kashmir. But it will send negotiating and pacifying groups if non-hindu anti-national community
    sentiments are hurt. I am fearful, I won’t even have dignity to live in this country, which I dearly call as my own.

    12. My secular government sheds tears, for a pornographic painter (who paints my community gods/goddes in nude and sexual acts) hides in a foreign country. It cries that this is a national
    shame. But it will persecute my community who utter a single word (leave alone vulgarly painting) someone/something belonging to its darling communities. My secular media channel
    “NDTV” decides that this beautiful painter, who so beautifully insulted the hindus, must be given a “Bharat Ratna”! I am fearful, finally I will be left shameless “nanga” and I will be ridiculed for
    praying to my communities gods/goddesses.

    13. My very same secular govt., drives away a helpless writer (Tasleema Nasreen) out of the country, since she is displeasing its darling community. It looks the other way, if a few MIM
    barbarians rush with lethal swords, to kill her in front of the public eye. So, as per the secular standards, she is communal, while pornographic painter is truly secular. I am fearful, there is
    nothing I can do to match the secular standards of my govt, except supporting its darling communities and hating my own community.

    14. My secular govt is uneasy with the fact that its darling community has an barbaric and invading past. So, it alters the history by concocting new glorifying stories of its darling community, by
    creating non-existent virtues of the mughal rulers. My secular govt knows very well, that if a lie is repeated over 2 generations, then it becomes truth. So with the help of remaining secular
    parties, especially the commies (the communist thug historians like Ramachandra Guha, Romila Thapar, Brinda Karat brand), it manufactures new stories and creates history texts for my
    country men to read and assimilate. If my community’s alert members catch this game, and try to resist it, they are branded as ‘saffronising the history”. I am fearful, in another 50 years, I
    will forget all my ancestors’ glorious past and will only know their failures.

    15. My beloved secular commies say “religion is a opium of masses”. But for them it means Hindu religion only. They often always tie with anti-national and minority religious parties (such as
    PFI) to loot my country. For my secular govt, this is a perfect secular alliance and is therefore acceptable.

    16.For my secular govt, it is a great sin, If I ask my countrymen to sing Vandemataram (in praise of my mother land). However if its darling community tears down my country flag and support
    and praise my country’s bitter enemy, it is very correct. I am fearful, even patriotism is a great sin, if it offends my govt’s darling community.

    17. My secular govt says that the persons whom I believe to be national heroes (Rana Pratap, Shivaji, Prithviraj, Bhagat Singh, Veer Savarkar, and so many…) are irrelevant. It brands a few them
    under terrorists category. What a shame!!! I am fearful and confused who my national heroes are. According to secular standards, should it be Aurangzeb, Kasab and Afzal Guru and the
    likes…?

    So, when I vote, I do so for a so-called communal party, for the hope that:
    1. At least there is some governance (though corrupt), that cares and speaks for me and my community, when my species is endangered.
    2. It at least implements some policies (like cow-slaughter banning), which I hold as dear to my heart.
    3. It does become “secular” sometimes, but in general it might attempt to uphold that which is of dharmic nature belonging to my community. And more importantly it doesn’t try to ridicule / eradicate / destroy all my ancestors’ culture.

    Tailpiece:

    In case,if you (the reader of this mail) are like me, a troubled Hindu, perplexed by our secular govt’s secular standards, and feel threatened about your identity and can perceive the foul play of secular parties, news media and assorted secular entities… then, please think twice [or many times] before you vote. Of course, your vote counts, if it is not tampered by Italian mafia bosses.

    In case you find this mail as abusive, or hurting your emotions / sentiments and your belief system, just ignore and move on. But if you are concerned, and feel that you can pass on the same, kindly do so. Save your country from secularism. This country is not only meant to feed minority parasites, but first it belongs to the majority.

    Yours truly…
    Ravindranath Mopparthy
    [/quote]

  • 91. Sid said:

    @Kaffir,
    Although I do not believe that secularism (that “pure” variety) would yield the same outcome in any non-Christian society as it did in protestant-Christian-dominated nations, I will avoid discussing this question in the faint hope that liberals will try to answer your questions. It is your questions that I am trying to get answered for last six-seven years.
    Let us see if folks who think the world owes them something because they are liberal-secular would show the generosity or not.

    @Sanjeev,
    That is some heavy artillery. Whether I agree to your political views or not, I have to appreciate the courage.

  • 92. Kaffir said:

    @Sid, I, too, am confused as to how and why secularism is relevant in the Indian context, given Indian history, religion and culture. Maybe someone will answer my query and shed some light on the matter.

  • 93. B Shantanu (author) said:

    @Bhagwad (#72): Thank you for responding. That said, I am somewhat surprised that you have decided to leave this discussion.

    I generally find it hard to understand people who leave debates & discussions half-way (or even at the beginning) because of lack of comment moderation (according to their own standards) and/or comments by others.
    The only fair expectation with regards comments/language/”respect” etc on open blogs such as these must be from the the author – in this case, me and no one else. It would be nice if people can learn to be a little less sensitive or prickly (and don’t think I have not got my fair share of abuse).

    There is a very simple way to deal with comments you do not like – Simply ignore them. As you may know, I do not hold anyone accountable for *not* responding to comments.

    I don’t think my specific comment addressed to you @ #58 is either derogatory or insulting. It asked a few straight questions to which you could have responded – ignoring everything else.
    That option is still open to you; you can also email me your response(s) at jaidharma AT gmail.com

    P.S. And just in case you are curious, I have removed a few fairly derogatory comments on this thread that crossed the line I have set for myself.

    ***
    @Ahmad: I hope you respond to my comment @ #61.

    ***
    Thanks all for a spirited debate. I am watching this with great interest. More, hopefully soon.

  • 94. GyanP said:

    If someone’s, in this case BJPs’, arguments are solely on the basis of questioning the validity of remembering the History, then he is best ignored. When premises are wrong, sound conclusions cannot follow.

    Irfan’s post in Facebook is The Answer, and succinctly states the crux of the matter in a few words.

    Shantanu, I find your blog to be vehemently pro-India, and that’s it! Congratulations, keep up the good work!

  • 95. Prakash said:

    Epithets such as ProHindu or anti-muslim similar to those such as Gandhidas and Comrade. You seem to be sensitive about the former. Some others are sensitive about later. You did not heed to complaints when later were used in comments, still, you seem to be protesting that the former are not fair. Remove the later, I say, or take steps to discourage their use and then complain about the former.

    Also, dozens of comments on this post are out of context. Do you really expect BJP or anyone to go through all those?

    As I wrote earlier, I see the comment environment as part of your responsiblity. Do you agree?

  • 96. Ashish Deodhar said:

    Kaffir

    I would like to respond to your comment #55, assuming that you are genuinely interested in knowing my position on secularism.

    Secularism has unfortunately been misunderstood, often deliberately, in our country. You are right that none of our political parties are secular and never intend to be.

    Secularism doesn’t mean minority-appeasement as most of the left-wing parties seem to believe. Secularism doesn’t mean majority-bashing as most of the right-wing parties seem to believe. And secularism certainly doesn’t equate with, or is based on, atheism as Mr. Sabhlok seems to believe! (in fact, that’s the most outrageous definition of all!)

    Secularism also isn’t the same as ‘sarva dharma samabhav’ as most of the Indian population seems to believe.

    In its origins, secularism is simply a separation of church and state i.e. religion should not interfere with affairs of the state. But of course, that concept has evolved over the years – in scope, not in spirit.

    The British National Secular Society offers a very succinct definition of contemporary understanding of secularism. It goes thus – “Secularism, like democracy, involves treating people as individuals, not as members of a group.”

    So not only does it mean separation between religion and state, it also means no special treatment, favourable or otherwise, of religiously identifiable groups.

    Don’t discard it as a “western” concept with no relevance to India. If anything, it has more relevance to such a diverse country as India than to any other country – where we have numerous identifiable groups, not only on religious lines but also on caste, linguistic, and cultural lines.

    So of course, it means insistence on UCC but I go even further than that – no government concessions to religious institutions, no subsidies for pilgrimages, and no reservations for religiously identifiable groups.

    Having said that, the critics of the pseudo-secular parties in India are just as communal. They too have their vote banks and their interest too lies in power. Besides this communal politics hasn’t done anything positive to our country over all these years. That should give us a lot to think.

  • 97. Ashish Deodhar said:

    By the way, I have taken your suggestion to forget about Hindu rashtra. I am sure Shantanu and Mr. Sabhlok have conveniently done that too! No amount of questions and follow-ups could get them to discuss that with me. That’s a shame indeed!

  • 98. ahmad said:

    This is a hurried response…

    * The ‘experts’ you generally quote who according to you know understand Islam.

    Would you (as a Hindu)recommend to me (as a muslim) that if I need to
    learn and understand about hinduism (or sanata dharma as you prefer) that I read it from known critics e.g christian missionary sites

    * Constantly Highlighting ‘danger’ from Islam or muslims

    * Even a minor news item like resturants serving Halal meat is dressed up as something sinister.

    I would prefer to contact over email so that I wont be swarmed over by your commenters.

  • 99. ashwani said:

    ad,

    the forgetting of the basic concept of hindu rashtra in running the affairs of state leads to what is the current state of our rashtra.

    the basic concept of hindu rashtra is SATYAMEV JAYATE.this is present in national emblem but absent from practice.

    so hindu rashtra is SATYAMEV JAYATE.forget it and suffer.

  • 100. Kartik said:

    Intrigued by Comrade Ahmad’s claim:

    “Even a minor news item like resturants serving Halal meat is dressed up as something sinister.”

    I looked around for this “minor news item dressed up as sinister” blog post, and found this:

    http://satyameva-jayate.org/2010/09/21/halal-foods-islamization/

    Central to the above article is a news item that says that restaurants are serving halal meat without disclosing that fact to customers. (Thanks for this item, Shantanu. I regret having eaten at Kati Zone several times; they are not going to get my patronage any more).

    The crucial point to note here is that when customers walk into a restaurant in Bangalore or London, they do not expect to be served halal meat. Of course if you knowingly walk into an establishment run and owned by Muslims you should expect to receive halal, much the same way you’d expect kosher in a deli. But not otherwise.

    I definitely do not want to eat halal meat. Much the same way that Muslims do not eat non-halal food for religious reasons, I refuse to eat halal food for ethical reasons.

    But look at Ahmad’s reasoning. He would definitely not think it “anti-Hindu” for Muslims to refuse to eat where non-halal meat is served, but for non-Muslims to refuse to eat halal food is ……. ANTI-MUSLIM!!!

    Why does this happen? Ahmad thinks it is ok to accuse Hindus of being “anti-Muslim” if they do not accord Islamic customs, rules and taboos the same importance that Muslims give them. But since no corresponding obligation exists for Muslims, to not apply a similar rule to non-Muslim concerns doesn’t make them, say, anti-Hindu! Would Ahmad encourage that Muslims pay deference to non-Muslims’ right to expect non-halal meat, and therefore, at a minimum, join ranks with them to demand that restaurants must disclose what kind of meant they are serving? He wouldn’t, as evidenced by his hollering “anti-Muslim!” at Shantanu’s post.

    What we are seeing here is the same old Comrade Jal Park syndrome: because you look at Hindus with a jaundiced eye, everything they do appears to be “anti-Muslim” to you.

    Deep down, the problem boils down to what you were taught as a child.

  • 101. Prakash said:

    Ashwani, Kartik. Did you notice that Ahmad wrote his second comment only because Shantanu requested him to do so. What purpose will your comments serve? Will they encourage further discussion or will they hamper it?

  • 102. ashwani said:

    prakash,

    my comment is in response to ashish#97.

  • 103. Prakash said:

    ahwani 102. urright. sorry.

  • 104. Kaffir said:

    Ashish,

    Thanks for responding. Of course I’m interested in your views – that’s why I specifically addressed my comment to you. OK – so can I assume that you and I agree that
    a. parties like Congress, CPI, CPI(M), others are at least equally, if not more, communal as BJP is, and
    b. that secularism as practiced in India has been anti-Hindu?

    And this is something which is obvious to a casual observer – one doesn’t need to have a PhD or be an expert. Why do you think the mainstream media don’t catch on to this, and instead, keep flying the flag of secularism when they talk or write about Congress and left parties, instead of calling them communal, as they are?

    Yes, secularism as defined in the west is separation between the church and the state – which was an outcome of the situation in Europe, where the church was interfering in the affairs of the state. What’s the similarity with India and Indian history? As far as I know, there were no churches in India in the 1500s which were interfering in the affairs of the state. When the Brits came, they also didn’t bring any churches with them which started interfering in the affairs of the state. And AFAIK, there wasn’t a parallel situation in India where mandirs or matths were interfering in the affairs of the state. So, how is the concept of secularism relevant to India? I mean, Jews have been given shelter here and have been free to practice their religion. Parsis too. Sikhism as a religion was born here and Sikhs are free to practice their religion. So, historically, I don’t really see a situation in India where there was a need to separate religion from the state.

    BTW, I didn’t say or imply that secularism should be discarded because it is a western (no quotes) concept. I’m just trying to understand how is it relevant in the Indian context, given Indian history, and to what extent.

    Additionally, I didn’t say anything about “forget about Hindu rashtra” – I merely said let’s leave it aside for now from our discussions. And Sanjeev and Shantanu can respond to your queries – I can’t really speak for them.

    One last question. If you agree that secularism as practiced in India by the Congress Party has been communal and anti-Hindu, and that this kind of attitude had no justification, don’t you think that the rise of a party like BJP would be a natural outcome?

    Thanks.

  • 105. Kartik said:

    I’m encouraging Comrade Ahmed to peel off his layer of anti-Hindu prejudice and look at Hindus the same way he would at his fellow Muslims. All have the same rights: to eat only halal food, not to eat halal food, to do whatever. It is not entirely his fault that he harbors a feeling of entitlement — our flawed secularism and loony leftwing ‘liberalism’ are partly to blame. However, it is his fault if he refuses to see the light even when I am shining it upon him. Comrade Park’s attempts to paint Ahmad and himself (but I’m repeating myself) as victims is, to put it mildly, a bit funny.

  • 106. Ashish Deodhar said:

    Kaffir

    Not only Congress, CPI and CPM but ALL parties have been communal. I don’t see how Indian Union Muslim League or All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Musleeman or Bahujan Samaj Party could ever not be called non-communal! Communalism is in their very names.

    I can’t bat for the media since I don’t have a very high opinion of them myself. I rely on them if I need any Bollywood gossip (which is very rare) and Cricket scores.

    I wouldn’t be so sure as you about religions not influencing politics in ancient India. I don’t know about all the kingdoms but I certainly know that saint Ramdas had a huge influence on Shivaji and Shivaji took regular advice from him in matters of governance. Gandhi’s politics was heavily influenced by his religious beliefs.

    But as I said, the concept of secularism has evolved over time from mere separation between religion and state to treating people as individuals instead of members of groups.

    Yet, even if you go with the separation of religion and state definition, it is extremely relevant to India. Take for instance the government’s control over temples for instance. Or government subsidy to Haj pilgrimage. Or state concessions to missionary schools… there are plenty of such examples if you try to find them.

    But the contemporary definition is even more relevant to India. Indian politics brackets people under several groups – dalits, hindus, muslims, marathis, dravidians and so on. These divisions do very little to unite the country and make our politics messy. Try to think of one political party in India that doesn’t try to “represent” one or the other such groups. The highly incompetent people such as Mayawati and Lalu Yadav and Mulayam Yadav are the gifts of this vote bank politics, which is a direct consequence of communalism. Mayawati is redundant if there are no dalits. Mulayam is inconsequential if there are no Muslims and so on. (dalits and muslims in the political sense that is!)

    So the best answer to all these communal political parties is not another addition of communal party but a genuinely secular party. BJP has basically played the same game with the same rules and has been ineffective as a result. We need a game changer – a party that rises above this communal politics and looks at India as the only constituency, irrespective of the constituents’ religion, race, caste, sexual orientation and rest of the laundry list.

  • 107. Rajiv Chandran said:

    Ashish

    Please correct me if I am wrong. You concede that secularism was born out of the European worldviews and its unique historical experience. Your point is that secularism places individual over social groups in matters of state policy.
    In general you would agree – that most Indians as well as most people all over the world consider themselves part of various overlapping socio-cultural identities.
    The very act of secularization (as per your definition) would deny them the use of their own socio-cultural memes (their unique worldviews and historical experience) in defining the nature of the political state, and therefore the future trajectory of their culture and civilization.

    This when there is no adequate basis for this act of arbitrary superimposition. The example of Shivaji and Gandhi is simply dichotomous to the original historical contexts of the development of secularism (divine rights accorded to monarchs, papal authority and rule etc). One could question if the religious-political views of Gandhi or Shivaji led to the curbing of personal independence or individual rights as happened under the papal Europe or caliphate middle east.

    Arguably as with many other things Indian – there was historically never a contradiction between the religious and the secular in India. This too is an imported cultural meme which seeks to redefine both religion as well as what is secular. Secularism – an originally European conceit was instrumental in purging the state of doctrinaire Christianity and breaking the control of the church in affairs of states of various nation states of Europe. Except Islamic rule in India – there is simply no analogous history in India. Thus importing this concept entails importing the historical worldviews, assumptions and implicit imitation of the European experience. It implies negating one’s own history of managing inter-communal relations and adopting make-believe assumptions of what various social communities are and how they encourage or impede the functioning of society and state.

    In your reply I see something bordering on contempt for the various social categories (I would be happy to stand corrected on this). Social groups exist due to people who adopt those groups and experience these as a part of their daily function, experience and expression. At the very least de-legitimizing these groups, or denying them a role in politics, or denigrating them – counts as a denial of fundamental rights. So secularism (as per your definition) would seem to conflict with fundamental rights. Furthermore a nation is also an arbitrary social category – how long before secularism begins negating that as well. My larger point is that secularism (as explained here) is an intrusive construct with an exclusive worldview – thereby setting up its followers as a distinct community with a social understanding that is often at conflict with various communities it is trying to secularize.

    In my view India’s historical experience offers us a means of harmonizing communities and peoples – without resorting to secularism. Indian worldviews do not offer dichotomies of secular and religious – and its attendant divisive potential. It is important for matters of cultural and intellectual autonomy, and maintaining uniqueness of our historical trajectory and preservation of socio-civilizational paradigm – that we try to rediscover how the purported objectives of secularism can be established using themes born of the indic civilizational experience.

    In my view your argument for universalizing secularism is inadequate and based on faulty assumptions both about the conceptual categories of secular and religious, but also by a negation of socio-cultural groups as valid constituents of identity and state formation.

  • 108. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Gentle request to all: I think we have got somewhat side-tracked from the main point of this post…

    Pl continue the discussion on “Secularism” here: Hinduism as a secular concept.

    Pl continue the discussion on “Islam, Hindutva” etc here.

    Thanks All…still travelling so may be delayed in responding and/or moderating comments…

    If you feel particularly aggrieved by any specific comment(s), please email me at jaidharma AT gmail.com

    ***
    @Ahmad (#98): I am looking forward to your email. Thanks.

  • 109. Kaffir said:

    “I wouldn’t be so sure as you about religions not influencing politics in ancient India. I don’t know about all the kingdoms but I certainly know that saint Ramdas had a huge influence on Shivaji and Shivaji took regular advice from him in matters of governance. Gandhi’s politics was heavily influenced by his religious beliefs.”

    Ashish,

    You seem to change some of my words, thus changing their meaning. You did that with my earlier comment too, and I had to correct that. I’d specifically used the word “interfering” when referring to the dynamics in Europe, and the word carries a negative connotation – hence, the need for secularism in Europe to counter that interference and its negative effects. Interfering is not the same as influencing.

    I’m not convinced that the two examples (Gandhi, Sant Ramdas) you gave are examples of “religion influencing politics,” (more like “religion influencing an individual”) and neither am I convinced that these two examples resulted in something deleterious for the Indian society. If anything, as I’d mentioned in my previous comment, the role of Hindu religion in India had been positive when it comes to people from different religions peacefully co-existing and practicing their faiths. The influence of Swami Dayanand Saraswati on the independence movement cannot be overstated.

  • 110. Gopi said:

    Kartik,
    Aurangzeb Road was not a historic relic but named in New Delhi by Govt led by our super secu-liber CONg Party.
    Delhi already has ZH Marg thouhgh not sure if there is MC Chagla Marg in Delhi (or anyhwere else) – shame on you, BJP Party for forgetting that great man. Just listening to his speech at BJP’s first conv in Mumbai will bring tears to any eyes. Ungrateful BJP.

  • 111. Gopi said:

    AD (#106)
    Rajaji’s Swatantar Party was not communal by your yard stick but got no where after some success in 1967 n disappeared in 1974.

  • 112. Sid said:

    Those claiming Sant Ramdas’s influence on Shivaji need to explain how many times Shivaji took the decisions in the matter of statecraft (for example, if he has attacked anyone or forgave a criminal based on their religious belief) after listening to his Guru. Being inspired by someone’s teaching is not same as being influenced by someone.
    About Gandhi, how much inspired he was by Hinduism is very doubtful. His ideals of non-violence, passive resistance and resistance to contraceptives has more similarities with teachings propagated by southern baptist church than Hindu scriptures. But even then, I would like secular to show how and when Gandhi took political decisions based on some Hindu teaching.

  • 113. Ashish Deodhar said:

    Rajiv

    Please correct me if I am wrong but you seem to suggest that people are naturally part of some or the other social group and denying them their political destiny as part of the social group is infringing on some of their fundamental rights.

    If that’s what you are trying to suggest, then yes, I advocate infringing those fundamental rights – if the fundamental right of a Bramhin is to deny his dalit neighbour water from the same well. If a Muslim considers it his/her fundamental right to government subsidy for his/her Haj pilgrimage. If a Hindu considers it his fundamental right to deny his muslim co-citizen a choice to live in his housing society. If a Marathi considers it his fundamental right to deny Biharis from performing their religious festivals in Mumbai…

    If we agree with your argument that people should be allowed to use their socio-cultural memes to define the nature of their political state, a country like India would remain in a perpetual state of conflict given the many socio-cultural memes in our society. Who should dictate what political state India should have? Why is a Christian wrong in asking for a Christian India? Why is a Muslim wrong in asking for a Muslim India? Why is a Marathi wrong in asking for a Maharashtra for Marathis? Why are the Kashmiris wrong in asking for a separate Kashmiri state?

    And it’s not that it’s not happening. The RSS wants a Hindu state. The MNS want Maharashtra for Marathis. The Kashmiris are asking for a separate homeland. We all know the Dravidian slant in the south. In this light, letting socio-cultural groups define the political state is simply impractical and potentially extremely dangerous.

    Does it mean that secularism negates socio-cultural groups? Definitely not. We are social animals and we WILL be part of some or the other social groups. I am a Marathi and I will remain so. In a secular nation, I will simply not get a special treatment (positive or otherwise) based on my Marathi identity.

    I have no doubt that you genuinely believe that the Indian civilisation or Hinduism (whatever you prefer to call it!) is inherently secular. Interestingly, the right-wing American Christians think the same thing about Christianity. And I don’t blame such a view of one’s own religion or culture. Such biases about what one holds dear are natural to creep in. Should we let these biases run our politics? I definitely don’t think so!

  • 114. Rajiv Chandran said:

    Ashish

    I see my response has touched off a raw nerve. But let me try answering you without responding in kind.

    The present constitution of India recognizes six inalienable fundamental rights to it’s citizens. Rights to
    equality, freedom ,freedom from exploitation ,freedom of religion ,Cultural and educational rights ,constitutional remedies

    Seems that the above rights sufficiently address all the hypothetical scenarios you raised. The right to freedom from exploitation, the right to constitutional remedies between themselves ensure that mechanisms exist to prevent, deter or remedy, any misuse of rights themselves in their own infringement.

    That said these rights are more or less complete and consistent within themselves- I do not see how secularism adds any value above and beyond these fundamental rights – except as mechanism to curb these rights. The purported negation of group identity that you ascribe to secularism is covered by the right to equality (before law).

    The point has been made about multiple memes being in conflict is redundant. It is an active and ongoing process which does not require mediation of the secular.Differing cultural memes (not necessarily conflicting ones) have existed in India mostly in harmony, many a times in conflict. The conflict itself (as with all social categories) is a part of discourse. The process of negotiating a pan-Indian identity is fraught – but by no means impossible. It is a process of negotiation between the memes, perhaps Indian secularism as a distinct meme has a role here. However to state that secularism alone can provide a remedy – is like saying that Jesus is the only savior or only Mohammad is Allah’s messenger. This is a doctrinaire assumption and there is an element of blackmail in this. This is similar to the British plea that only imperial rule keeps India’s various communities from killing each other. This is what comes out of a belief that various Indian communities (Hindus, Muslims, Christians and all others ) alike have no indigenous agency. The implicit assumption here is that the various Indians communities are barbarous and bloodthirsty only waiting for the restraints (of secularism) to be taken off before they hurl themselves at each others throats. With such sentiments don’t be surprised that secularism is treated with such contempt.

    Mention is made of the various regional and regional-religious conflicts that plague our nation and then there is a prompt dismissal of “Indian civilization or Hinduism or whatever you (I) call it”. Has one paused to investigate how such identity conflicts came into being ? At least almost all major issues mentioned here (Dravidianism, Kashmir’s Islamic insurgency, linguistic regionalism) are results of either colonial politics or of eurocentric categories and adoption their Indian adherents blindly following them. This should ideally offer followers of secularism reason to pause an think – but no such thing seems forthcoming. Without elaborating these further- let me ask a question why weren’t these conflicts there earlier ? And why so many of these have appeared only in secular India ? Preempting the answer that “we need to be more secular” I would say that it sounds suspiciously like the Islamists of Pakistan for whom all problems can ultimately be ascribed to that country being “insufficiently Islamic”. In short doctrinaire conclusions neither borne out by reality or evidence in history.

    Regarding peoples biases running politics – the statement seams to be like all biases are okay except one’s own. Can anyone sincerely vouch that there is no bias in the secular? Seculars love to play the proverbial monkey between two sparring cats – standing judgment while on the sly stealing the treat.

    When I speak of Indic civilizational experience I amp leading for understanding indegenously developed ideas and methods of inter communal coexistence – that developed over long years through our own historical experience. If I am skeptical about secularism it is precisely because it is an imposed or recently inherited external idea (much like dravidianism, linguistic regionalism and islamism). What Idea is better in particular contexts and cultural geographies cannot be judged by superimposing them on the social and civilizational fabric. These have to compete and find their place in the marketplace of ideas. The word secular was slipped into our constitution by a power mad despot – it still remains there unexamined and virtually placed on a pedestal. It has been placed beyond question and universally imposed as if it were an overarching construct. Other ideas never had a chance to test thier relevance and applicability. Other ideas are not allowed to be developed or adopted. The response here is one typical of forcible imposition of secularism (recourse to imaginary fears, building canards and demolishing strawmen) – the “my way or the highway” approach. If we concede that secularism is just another idea we will recognize that the plea for empowering and universalizing secularism here is reminiscent of the argument that “dictatorship is bad so long as the dictator isn’t me”.

    PS : Shantanu – I agree this post has digressed from the original objective but posting it on the alternate post will rob it of its original context. Please do as you feel necessary with it.

  • 115. Ashish Deodhar said:

    Rajiv

    You said: “Seems that the above rights sufficiently address all the hypothetical scenarios you raised. The right to freedom from exploitation, the right to constitutional remedies between themselves ensure that mechanisms exist to prevent, deter or remedy, any misuse of rights themselves in their own infringement.”

    Only they don’t. Let me give you an example. I had unfortunately happened to book a train to Mumbai once. When I realised upon boarding the train that my reserved seat was taken and is not being given to me, I complained to the TC. Much to my surprise, I was told that the group that has occupied my, and other reserved seats, was a group of dalits en route to Mumbai for the Ambedkar jayanti and that they could not only take whichever seat they want but also travel for free on that day! I don’t know whether this is provided for in the constitution but my “right to freedom from exploitation” wasn’t upheld. If I can’t ascribe this violation to caste-based group identity, I don’t know what I can ascribe it to.

    I know at least one example of a work colleague who was refused rental property in my apartment simply because he was Muslim. So these are not “hypothetical” scenarios and if you haven’t been discriminated against in India because you identify with some or the other group, I must say that you are damn lucky!

    Yet, I would agree with you that in a perfect India, the administration would definitely protect my right to travel on a reserved seat and my colleague’s right to seek tenancy in a housing society of his choice. Just that the politics of India won’t let that happen.

    You said: “The point has been made about multiple memes being in conflict is redundant. It is an active and ongoing process which does not require mediation of the secular.”

    I think you misunderstand secularism as some sort of mediator. It’s actually exactly the opposite. You are right that different cultures and religions will always be in an ideological conflict and secularism takes a non-partisan approach in such a conflict. Take the Ayodhya issue for example. It is a conflict between two independent parties and secular politics should have no role to play in it. In stark contrast, Indian politics is deeply involved in such issues and hence is divisive. So no, secularism is not dictatorial, compulsory, doctrinaire and what not. And there’s definitely no underlying assumption that communities sans secularism are bloodthirsty or barbarous. If anything, secularism is a hands-off approach and assigns greater responsibility to the communities to resolve their issues within themselves.

    You said: “At least almost all major issues mentioned here (Dravidianism, Kashmir’s Islamic insurgency, linguistic regionalism) are results of either colonial politics or of eurocentric categories and adoption their Indian adherents blindly following them.”

    This is something that I find rather amusing. It’s easy to fix responsibility for all of India’s ills on the British or the Muslim rulers and all the good things on vedic civilisation. Given your commendable debating skills (from whatever I can gather from this little debate), I would expect a lot better from you. I am sure Raj Thackrey and Karunanidhi won’t agree with your conclusions.

    You said: “Can anyone sincerely vouch that there is no bias in the secular? Seculars love to play the proverbial monkey between two sparring cats – standing judgment while on the sly stealing the treat.”

    That certainly is the case with the pseudo-secular politics in India. However, I think we could agree that they don’t represent the true secular position. At least when I defend secularism, I don’t intend to steal any treats. Yes I have a bias in promoting secularism. That bias is in favour of an individual and against communism. I don’t see why that’s wrong!

    You said: “When I speak of Indic civilizational experience I amp leading for understanding indegenously developed ideas and methods of inter communal coexistence”

    I don’t disagree with you. By all means, we must strive to find inter-communal coexistence. So if Indic civilisation offers the best solution for inter-communal harmony, we should definitely seek that solution. But that’s not what secularism is about. Secularism is about treating individuals on their individual merits, not on group-based identities.

    When I speak of secularism, I speak it only in the political sphere. And I don’t think seeking inter-communal harmony is a government’s business. My argument is that we should leave that to the religions and communities. Let the governments look after its constituents as one group – Indians. If we can’t agree on that, let’s agree to disagree.

  • 116. Ravindranath said:

    Interesting discussion between Rajeev and Ashish. Few points here…

    @Ashish,
    [quote]
    I had unfortunately happened to book a train to Mumbai once. When I realised upon boarding the train that my reserved seat was taken and is not being given to me, I complained to the TC. Much to my surprise, I was told that the group that has occupied my, and other reserved seats, was a group of dalits en route to Mumbai for the Ambedkar jayanti and that they could not only take whichever seat they want but also travel for free on that day! I don’t know whether this is provided for in the constitution but my “right to freedom from exploitation” wasn’t upheld. If I can’t ascribe this violation to caste-based group identity, I don’t know what I can ascribe it to.
    [/quote]

    This appears to be a foot-in-the-mouth quoting. This situation you experienced above is the result of your darling secularism and certainly NOT in-spite of. Had “secularism” been what you [and I also think it should be] think like upholding equality of every individual without bias, we would not be discussing this issue like this these days. This incident that you quoted is trivial compared to what my friends and relatives face throughout their life.

    - My brother-in-law, a brahmin doesn’t get his due promotion inspite of putting hardwork and number of years. Instead, a junior to him gets speedily promoted. Why? becoz that other person is a dalit.

    The point I wish to make here is, this word secularism is rotten and stinking. It is hijacked and r**ped by a section of politicians to mean an appeasement to no end for a) appeasing of muslims by congiis, mulayams and laaloos; b) appeasing of christians by congii psychopaths like YSR of Andhra; c) appeasing of dalits by mayawatis.

    So it is better that this dirty word is dissolved and fresh lease of life begin without it. Dharma (righteousness) is what is needed, which is amply provided for in the vedic way of life. If you feel so scared of hindu rashtra, let us call it Dharma Rashtra, based on sanatana dharma. I don’t think that the way of life preached and followed by several exalted and noble beings like Shriram, ShriKrishna, Shankara, Kabir, Nanak can ever be bad. So, what is the problem if we return back to sanatana dharma?

    it is an act of phobia that of loosing the vote banks of these 3 sections (christians, muslims and Dalits) that make the present politicians wary of hindu (dharma) rashtra.

    You can also see my 17 points (comment#90) on why secularism is bad to this country in its current shape.
    regards,
    RV

  • 117. Ravindranath said:

    @Ashish,
    another point worth adding here…

    secularism makes sense only when all religions are having similar dharmic values as their guiding principles. As for instance, Hinduism (sanatana dharma, if one is afraid of the word Hindu) , buddhism, jainism, sikhism, and various other small Indic sub-sects are more or less founded upon dharmic principles. Such religions can coexist. if all religions were similar like the ones quoted above, secularism would have definitely been fulfilled, without an explicit secularist creed coming into existence.

    Talking about abrahamic religions, they do not fall under co-traveling religions on the dharmic path.

    Jesus showed and taught compassion, but this was hijacked and misused by next generation romans (ironically the ones who crucified him!!!) to create a conversion factory.

    As for Islam, little said the better. I just point to this site for interested readers:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Calcutta_Quran_Petition
    http://voi.org/books/tcqp/

    Suffice to say, it represents an emperor without clothes. If one were to tell the heroic deeds of this cult ideology to an innocent 6 year child, then that child would say will be the truth about this emperor.

    regards
    RV

  • 118. Kartik said:

    I’m in favor of Secularism.

    They say motherhood and apple pie are good. Since Secularism is in the same league, I’m in favor of Secularism.

    But I am intrigued by Comrade Deodhar’s verbose and meandering expositions of Secularism. He only seems to have gotten started on explaining what the stuff is all about (and what it isn’t) and looks like he can go on like this for at least another year laboring on Secularism’s finer detail. Secularism is this, Secularism is that and therefore blah blah but Secularism is NOT this and Secularism is NOT that and therefore blah blah etc.

    Why does this happen? I thought Secularism is a simple thing. Secularism is there in Constitution too. The good book. Since it is in the Good Book, why don’t we just take it for granted, close the debate, and move on? Motherhood and apple pie — do we debate them endlessly? Good stuff is evidently good stuff. We just don’t go on hollering our lungs off about how good it is. Take Gulab Jamoon. It is good. We just _know_ that it is good, period. Anyways, some dumbass didn’t sneak Secularism into the Constitution in the middle of the night without any discussion, ok? The Constitution was debated threadbare. Everybody understands what it says when it says “Secularism”. Not like in Alice in Wonderland:

    BEGIN SECULARISM IN WONDERLAND

    `But “Secualarism” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument”,’ Alice objected.

    `When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    `The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    `The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master — that’s all.’

    END SECULARISM IN WONDERLAND

    Therefore, my request to all participants in the Great Indian Secularism Debate is: let’s move on. The most important thing is: what kind of world do we envisage? How do we get there? Can we get there as long as a good number of people continue to believe in the Book’s exhortation to slay the idolaters wherever ye find them? Or in the Great Commission to covert the heathen to the only true faith?

  • 119. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Agree with Kartik: let’s move on..

  • 120. Sid said:

    @Ravindranath,
    When I see phrases like “Had “secularism” been what you [and I also think it should be] think like upholding equality of every individual without bias” I think we have not put adequate thinking on secularism.
    Secularism, the “pure” variety, raises some important questions and leaves them unanswered. Consider the sermons that everyone has right to practice their religion and sermon of religion/state separation. This begs a question: what is the definition of this religion as per secularism? Are we required to call all belief systems as religions? If that is so, then what happens to religion/state separation if a belief system has strict guidelines (Catholicism/Islam) on how to run a state. If all belief systems are not to be considered as religion in secular perspective, then what is the guideline to determine a religion as per secular ideology?
    Secularism succeeded in a region that have been totally dominated by a belief system that had no role in statecraft (protestants/anglicans in western Europe and North America). When it comes to the belief systems which are aggressive about statecraft, secularism finds very few takers. Example: catholic Poland in eastern Europe and Islamic countries in mid-east.

    The western European countries which remained secular over last few centuries now find themselves being challenged by an aggressive immigrant minority who subscribe to a belief system that is aggressive about statecraft. Faced with the inconsistency that secularism offers, politicians take the easy route out: appeasement. India’s case is not any different. Therefore, I conclude that appeasement/pseudo-secularism is latent in the half-baked ideas of secularism, appeasing politicians are merely symptoms of the system.
    If you do not agree, show me a secular democratic country that has more than 5% Islamic population and did not institute any appeasement.

    Shantanu,
    Considering that Mr.me-myself-and-my-liberalism has long quit the discussion, it would not be unfair to continue the discussion here.

  • 121. Indian said:

    @Rationalists at #81

    Debate, Islam is religion of peace was again a good watch. Thanks for the links. In the end Zeba Khan wanted to divert the discussion by presenting Islam Vs. West. I want to tell her that 100 of years ago they could not convince Hindus of India, now they are struggling to convince this to the west in recent time. The same is being discussed now,recognizing and doubting the same facts. And Muslims are still juggling to present their religion as peaceful before to India and now to the West!

  • 122. Smith JM said:

    115 Post and others

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secularism
    The word secularism was introduced by George H in 1851.

    Then in 1858 , the Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara a Jewish boy, in Italy and the series of incidents which followed to make Italy secular must be read by all. Please go thru this. This has relevance to all countries.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgardo_Mortara

    Then there is the book on this true incident. In the references section of the above web site, a brief summary has been given of the book.

    With all this in 1858 and the introduction of secularism , there was this WWII.

    So one has to be on guard about the meaning of secularism. It keeps on changing.

  • 123. Morris said:

    Secularism as presently defined and practiced in the west and even in India has no chance of remaining vialble in long run with the influx of Islamic theology. Islam is not compatible with democracy let alone secularism. Final chapter has not been written on one successful democracy, that is Turkey among muslim countries. Its claim of being secular has no meaning when almost 99% of its population is muslim.
    Muslims believe in secularim so long as they are a minority within a defined geographical area. If they can claim a majority within such a defined area secularism is out and a struggle for establishing a Islamic republic begins. Just look around the world. That is what is happening all over the world. That is why we have 55 + or – Islamic republics in the world. How many Xian republics there are? I do not know.

    So is it any wonder that Kashmir is striving for freedom? It will ultimately become another Islamic republic. And sooner India realize this lesser the pain for all concerned. The best India could do is to secur some parts for the minorities. Otherwise their fate will be the same as those of hindu pundits.

  • 124. B Shantanu (author) said:

    Dear All: As I had requested earlier, pl continue the discussion on “Secularism” here: Hinduism as a secular concept.

    Pl continue the discussion on “Islam, Hindutva” etc here.

    Alternatively, please use the “Search” boxes at top right and/or at the bottom of the page to find the appropriate post(s). The two boxes use different search engines so results may be different.

    You could copy-and-paste extracts from earlier comments on the above-mentioned posts to provide context
    . Thank you for your cooperation…still travelling so may be delayed in responding and/or moderating comments…

  • 125. Ravindranath said:

    @Sid,

    Your point well taken. In my mention about secularism, I have only taken a very very hypothetical scenario, namely of secularism providing what one wished for. As you see, in the later part of my post, I was demolishing that myth, by suggesting that even if we hypothetically assume everyone and every creed is given equal rights, they would still be incompatible to live harmoniously.

    Thanks for noting…
    cheers!

  • 126. Rationalist said:

    @Indian
    Warning: The following material is very extreme going by the normal standards present here but nonetheless can’t be ignored. Reader’s discretion is advised.
    Religion of Peace

  • 127. Indian said:

    Sorry Shantanu, I will post comment on the topic other than the secular topic on the link you provided.

  • 128. tmvish said:

    Shantanu,

    The answer for this is simple. We have to understand one simple fact… the so called Islamic golden age is the dark age of the Hindus (when invasion of Hindu land and massive destruction of Hindu temples took place) and the so called the golden age of the Hindus are labeled as the dark age from the Islamic view (as the period before Islam is labeled as such). Thus anything that favors or of Hindu interest is automatically sounds anti-Islam and unfavorable to Islamic interest.

    It is that simple because if we observe carefully, the so called Islamic interests are at the expense of Hindu interest. Thus anyone who attempts to fulfill or accommodate the Muslim interests will find themselves working against the Hindu interests. Thus today we find the so called “secular Hindus” have turned to be a Self-Hating Hindus without their knowledge.

    It is like if Mr. A believes in destroying me and if I were to fulfill the interest of Mr. A, i will end up destroying myself. ANd if I were to oppose that, i will sound anti-Mr. A or like hating Mr. A.

  • 129. VoP said:

    When I read this, I know what my choice, once again.

    What happens when a Muslim woman dates a non-Muslim guy
    http://indianrealist.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/3422/

  • 131. Proud Indian said:

    On his Blog, this is what Mr. Park has said in response to a comment to one of his posts –

    In reality, terror attacks kill just a handful of people. The recent hoopla over the Varanasi blasts which killed just one person is an example!

    In his latest post he says – “Islamic Terrorism in India is a Complete Myth”!

  • 132. JC Moola said:

    Park comes out as Muslim, especially, hard core sympathizer, far ahead of Mulayam and company! Though he claims to be atheist, he has deep interest in propositions in line with Islam! He is closely matched by Ashish Deodhar!

  • 133. Indian said:

    I read that on Parks’s blog and the reason I commented- don’t laugh at those who have lost their loved ones.

    I want to know from the Bhagwad Jal Park-How many numbers he would like to see as victims and can make him sad?. It seems he is O.K with barbaric culture. No sensitive human can write this kind of lines. So what victim is one or two, this kind of terror must be dealt with heavy words and there cannot be any kind of excuses to justify the terrorists and terror by the numbers of people die. I want to know, if Varanasi has only one victim what he has to say about Taj Attack, Mymbai train blast and many more combined? On a link provided by Rationalists, Park can find the numbers of attack carried out in past 2 months all over the world. Is it myth or hoopla? Let us know?

    Off topic but flaws of comment prompts me to put comment here.

  • 134. Sid said:

    @Indian,
    I want to know from the Bhagwad Jal Park-How many numbers he would like to see as victims and can make him sad?. It seems he is O.K with barbaric culture. No sensitive human can write this kind of lines.

    You have to remember that guy is a lefty-liberal. This type will sacrifice the lives of millions in the alter of their holy ideals of liberal-secularism. For them, humanism is only a tool to gain sympathy for their cause. That is why every time they loose an argument about terrorism the sympathy for victims of Gujrat riot takes center stage, every time secularism is dished a discussion of caste system takes place. Template is obvious. When you find discussion uncomfortable, derail the discussion. That is also the reason Swastika Sharma would die a million times at the alter of liberals like Park, Deodhar and a thousand such secular liberals in mainstream media.

    I remember the day after Godhra train burning took place. The next day, in Bengali daily, I read an opinion space on how Godhra train burning could be a RSS conspiracy in the line of “Reichstag Fire”. The writer was one of those then-upstart art film directors who are famous for making award-winning taxpayer-funded movies that nobody would see. Till then I was a nonchalant somewhat liberal-leaning apolitical person. The insensitivity and inhumanity displayed by the article made me angry and for the first time I began to pay attention to the Hindu nationalism that these liberal secular community hate so much. I probably have not got much sympathy for BJP/RSS but it is this disgust for liberals that inspire me to speak against them. Every time these people make those comments, I realize that it is their Karma that would one day return them their award.

  • 135. Malavika said:

    133. Indian said:

    “I read that on Parks’s blog and the reason I commented- don’t laugh at those who have lost their loved ones.”

    Your outrage at the antics of BJP and his ilk …. is justified.
    But, don’t post on his website and increase its web traffic. You can post it here with a link and an excerpt. If these hateful blogs dehumanizing Hindus are completely ignored by netizens they die a natural death.

  • 136. Malavika said:

    @ sid

    “That is also the reason Swastika Sharma would die a million times at the alter of liberals like Park, Deodhar and a thousand such secular liberals in mainstream media.”

    You should not call these people ‘secular liberals’. They are paid mercenaries. The dynasty has been in power for a long time and the durbaris are well entrenched thanks to the gravy train of the Dynasty. No wonder they lash out so eagerly at any perceived slight to the Dynasty line .

  • 137. Raj said:

    Titles of three posts on BJP’s blog-

    “Exposing Right Wing extremism in India”

    “Islamic Terrorism in India is complete Myth”

    “Terrorism is Over Hyped – Creating Mass Hysteria”

    I call it the height of intellectual dishonesty.

  • 138. Beeraj said:

    *** COMMENT COMBINED ***

    I consider many people consider boot licking to be a mode of life. Hindus must never tolerate anything such and must live with pride without bothering about what others say. By the way, Hindus live on the soil of their ancestors, they never went elsewhere to convert people and must not give any damn to intolerants who come to India and want their faith to be respected in India while in their own homeland there is zero tolerance of other faiths. Much harm has been done to our forefathers and we must set justice in some ways. The link here can give an idea
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Hindus
    http://www.hindunet.org/hindu_history/modern/moghal_atro.html

    http://www.hindunet.org/hindu_history/modern/moghal_atro.html

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