Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2008 - The year India got divided again and trying to reunite after being shaken

Last night I was watching the above documentary from BBC, talking about one of the most memorable moment in the history of South-East Asia - The Partition of India. A move that then affected more than 10 million lives and now it’s still counting. And the only reason behind it was of course, Religion and politics attached to it.
After watching this video, I could not stop wondering for long, “what if both nations were not divided”?? We talk of growth stories of India in the last few years and its future prospect of being the next superpower of the world, but, what if we had our neighboring country along with us??
After spending hours I realized that, Religion has had always been used as a “Weapon of Mass Destruction” and if I were to summarize all the events of this year, religion played a major role, or rather a devastating role.

The year 2009 started on a very positive note with the sensex booming, most Indian companies performing well, our international ties getting strengthened, our sportsmen doing well and so on. But slowly things faded, we were almost at war with terrorists who went on a spree and created havoc in all parts of the country. And now before we could control them, we have few more issues to address – the anti north Indian drive launched by MNS, the attack on Churches in Karnataka, rape of a nun in Orissa, formation of Hindu terrorist group and then came the biggest blow – the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Let me not talk much about the terrorist attacks as it been talked and written about all over, including CnC, so my focus would be more on the other incidents.

This year had attacks on Churches and Christian community in some parts of the country, viz. Karnataka and Orissa. But then I read an article by Mr. Francois Gautier.
The article coming from a Catholic Indian seems really convincing and it explains to a certain extent why and how the so-called secular India is turning violent and more shockingly the Hindu community.

What made Hindus angry in Karnataka?

Well I am sure many of you would have come across forceful conversions being promoted by some of the Christian missionaries in India. Even I myself had a firsthand experience, exactly five years back when I was travelling by a bus from Trichy to Thanjavur. We were heading for general elections that time and I felt that NDA did well and would be re-elected, but a man tried to explain me why he wanted me not to go by the financial growth and vote for party which is secular and unbiased. And slowly as the discussion progressed the man started narrating his own story. How he was in trouble, not able to meet his medical expenses, before a Christian missionary lent a helping hand by funding his treatment and now he is a convert and is promoting other to follow his steps by talking about his own emotional example and the benefits he derived out of it.
From my friends from different parts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, I did hear about many more mass conversion campaigns and promotions, and I agree with the author on all figures he is quoting. Conversion campaigns were conducted even in places like Tirupati which is one of the most holy temples especially for South Indians.
But I never heard of the situation in North-East. Just now I googled it out and was shock to see some of the news items.
Assault on a Dalit couple for not converting to Christianity (Jalaun, UP, Oct 17 2007, Dainik Jagran)

Tripura tribal leader killed

Separatist group bans Hindu festivities

Hindu preacher killed by Tripura rebels

All this created a divide and brought in lot of disturbances between these two communities. No one was taking any action against such unlawful propagations, and it reached a level were none could act sensibly and come up with a non-violent and sensible solution.

For me, as much as terror attacks, it was shocking to see an Indian army personal being questioned for promoting communal violence. We have seen movies like Shaurya and even the blockbuster Main Hu Na where men in uniform were into malpractices based on personal grievances against a particular community but then I was always proud of our army personnel, who not only lay down their lives for the nation but also respect their enemies and treat them humanitarianly (independent of how they treat us). So I never expected as issues like Lt. Col. Prasad Porohit to come up. Sandhvi involved tried to justify her involvement by quoting the mishaps in her personal life, but then as far as I am aware, a Sandhvi one is supposed to leave all emotional ties and act in the best interest of righteousness. Now after the unfortunate demise of ATC Chief, Hemant Karkare I really wonder how the case would move forward and when it would reach the final verdict.

Now rather than talking about Terrorism and how the jihadi groups misinterpret religion and deceive people, I would rather like to talk about some moves made by Indian government to attack votes from the Muslim community in India.I remember that after Dewali I was coming back from Hyderabad and I note a building very brightly lit and well crowded, I wondered what it was and felt it must be some studio or building which is having an extended Dewali party, but then it turned out to be Hyderabad’s Haj House.
This year, we know how the airline industry is faring, but the Cabinet as usual has decided to increase the number of pilgrims availing the Haj subsidy and flying by the national carrier. For an airlines already reeling under Rs 2,000-crore loss and burdened with severe employee-related issues, a welfare measure like this puts undue duress on it.
Aircraft engaged in Haj duty have to first pick up pilgrims from the smaller towns which have been approved as part of the hub and spoke arrangement, and then after they drop the pilgrims to the final destination, they come back empty. Similarly, in order to pick up the pilgrims, the aircraft have to go to Jeddah empty, which results in an increase in expenditure. Any commercial airliner does not view huge aircraft flying empty favourably as it implies a loss in revenue.
The Cabinet kept the amount paid by the pilgrims for the round trip to Jeddah and Medina at Rs 12,000, as it has remained since 1994. In 1991, the amount paid by the pilgrims was Rs 10,000 as against Rs 14,056 per passenger paid to Air India by the government. This amount was then gradually raised to Rs 12,000 by 1994 against Rs 17,000 paid to the carrier. Last year, while 1,10,000 pilgrims availed the subsidy paying only Rs 12,000 each, the amount paid by the government to the carrier was Rs 47,454 per passenger. The total cost for Haj operations last year (for 1,10,000 pilgrims) was Rs 727 crore of which the subsidy requirement was Rs 595 crore. This year, in order for the pilgrimage of 1,23,211 pilgrims, the total cost estimated by the government is Rs 847 crore, of which the subsidy requirement will be approximately Rs 700 crore.
Now, even the learned Muslims are supporting the appeal scrap such funds, as Haj is a pilgrimage which one is supposed to complete under his/her own expenses and by not taking any financial help from others. Thus, providing subsidies and other moves taken by our politicians are just for vote banks and not for the best interest of the minority communities. For further reading go through :

‘Haj subsidy unIslamic, use that money on our education, health’

Then we had a heinous move by MNS under the leadership of Mr. Raj Thackeray, to kill the harmony in the commercial capital of India. Again to create a niche vote bank, problems due to immigration of North Indians into Maharashtra were blown out of proportions and created a sense of hatred among the Mumbaikars, who otherwise never associate themselves with their place of origin. Riots, strikes, murders, created tension all over and the politicians of all regions were also quick to react and fueled the case. But Mr. Thackeray who was proud to be arrested for this cause went underground ever since the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, when the entire nation came together to fight against two major problems in India – Terrorism and Politics.

The horrendous ghost of terrorism to a certain extent helped in keeping aside all minor issues misused by politicians for election campaigns. Now the citizens of India would no longer listen to all the fake propagandas of political parties ahead of coming elections. One incident has brought people on streets, openly raise voices and revolt against the politicians.
Till now Ego, Revenge, Power, and Money are driving most thoughts and all good qualities and morals were on a standby. But now on I believe people would maintain high awareness level and would act with maturity, analyze, understand and then decide whats right and whats wrong. Until couple of months back everyone wondered who the other person is??
If it’s Mumbai, whether you are a Maharashtrian or a “Bhaiyya” ??
In Orissa, whether you are a Hindu or a Christian ??
In Tamil Nadu, if you are Tamil or Hindi speaking ??
Now people have stopped giving a damn about these religious, linguistic or regional divides. The meanings of love, brotherhood, unity, patriotism will now have a big difference from what’s being practiced over the years.
Enough is enough.. it’s high time that we overcome this situation and move ahead to form a truly UNITED INDIA.


Prasoon Joshi said...

First, religion is for the welfare of people and not the other way around. I think this should justify your encounter wid the gentleman in the bus in Tamil Nadu who got converted. Politicizing religion and issues associated wid the faith of people has always been present in the world, from the prehistoric times religion has always been used to unite and to divide. Even people who do not want to believe in the presence of God try to form a community to create another 'section' of the society. The day an 'individual' starts to get recognized all worries would go away, but this is never gonna happen, even in the competitive environment of a corporate life the 'benefits' of 'team-building' are appreciated. The 'common man' is weak and he/she needs to form groups to get his/her due, and what better group than one which combines the faith of all the people!
A united india is a flashy phrase but so is a 'united world' but when our interests are diversified how can all of us unite in all aspects and areas? I don't want to sound like a pessimist but the matter of fact is that 'I want to kill the people behind 26/11 and other such terror attacks' and no one would want to be killed 'peacefully'.
The solution to this scenario lies in propagating a deeper understanding of 'human beings' among all people. Instead of military training, human phscycology should be a compulsory subject for all 'educated' people across the globe!

Mayank said...

very very good post.... i thnk the post agin high lights the main problem faced across the world... FUNDAMENTALISTS of any type are dangerous and destructive!!

Prasoon Joshi said...

I cant agree more with you Mayank (but the pessimistic 'me' is on a high today!). The problem is that the world needs fundamentalists as they are the people who often turn the world around. Most of the pioneers of the industry, politics, education, science have been fundamentalists and head strong people.

Harsha said...

Received a few reports that the link to "What made Hindus angry in Karnataka?" has been removed.. so here is the article:

By Fran├žois Gautier
06 Oct 2008 02:12:00 AM IST

What made Hindus angry in Karnataka ?

I WAS born in a Catholic family. My uncle was a priest, a wonderful man of warmth and compassion and I spent most my early years in Catholic boarding schools. When I was young I wanted to become a missionary and to ‘convert’ pagans in Asia. What I was taught by priests was that Hindus worship false gods and they needed to be brought back to the True Word by Jesus Christ.
Then of course, I came to India and discovered that actually Hindus, far from being the heathens, as had been portrayed in Europe, not only believed God’s diversity, the wonderful concept of avatar, but had given refuge to all persecuted minorities of the world, whether the Syrian Christians, the Parsis, the Jews (India is the only country in the world where Jews were not persecuted), the Armenians, or today the Tibetans.
I am also aghast at the one-sided coverage by the Indian media of the Christian- Hindu problem: blasts after blasts have killed hundreds of innocent Hindus in Varanasi, Delhi, Mumbai train blasts, Jaipur, etc. Yet, neither Manmohan Singh nor Sonia Gandhi have pronounced once the word ‘Islamic terrorism.’ But when furious Hindus, tired of being made fun of, of witnessing their brothers and sisters converted by financials traps, of seeing a 84-year-old swami and his Mataji brutally murdered, of reading blasphemy about their Gods, vent their anger against churches, many of them makeshifts, the Indian government goes after the soft target which the Hindus are. The same thing applies to the United States: they never warned Muslim organisations in India about the killing of Hindus, but when dollars are used to buy new converts and it angers the majority community of India,Washington has the arrogance to issue a warning, and Manmohan Singh does not have the pride to tell the US to mind its own business.
Neither the Indian press nor the western correspondents bothered to write about what made Hindus angry in Karnataka: Newlife, one important westernfunded missionary centre ( http://www.newlifevoice.org), began making conversions in and around Mangalore by accosting poor people in market areas, or in bus stands, befriending them and then taking them to churches to introduce them to the father.
Upon introduction they were paid Rs 2,500 per person and then taken to the Velankanni shrine, in Tamil Nadu, where they would get another Rs. 3,000.
When they finally converted to Christianity by changing the name, they got an incentive of Rs 10,000 onwards.
Newlife would then give them instructions to abandon wearing tilak on forehead, not to visit and offer prayers at the Hindu temples, replacing the photos and idols of Hindu gods and goddesses with a Cross, etc.
But what really angered local Hindus was when Newlife went one step further and published a book in Kannada — Satya Darshini — which was widely distributed by its missionaries. Here below is the translation of some of the most abusive passages: “Urvashi — the daughter of Lord Vishnu — is a prostitute.
Vashistha is the son of this prostitute.
He in turn married his own Mother. Such a degraded person is the Guru of the Hindu God Rama. (page 48).
When Krishna himself is wallowing in darkness of hell, how can he enlighten others? Since Krishna himself is a shady character, there is a need for us to liberate his misled followers (page 50). It was Brahma himself who kidnapped Sita.
“Since Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva were themselves victims of lust, it is a sin to consider them as Gods. (page 39).
When the Trinity of Hinduism (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) are consumed by lust and anger, how can they liberate others? The projection of them as Gods is nothing but a joke. (page 39). God, please liberate the sinful people of India who are worshipping False Gods. (Page 39).” When blasphemy and much worse is brought against the most sacred Hindu Gods, Hindus are supposed to take it meekly as sheep and let themselves be converted to a foreign religion! There are more than 4,000 foreign Christian missionaries involved in conversion activities across different states.
In Tripura, there were no Christians at the time of independence. There are 1,20,000 today, a 90 per cent increase since 1991. The figures are even more striking in Arunachal Pradesh, where there were only 1,710 Christians in 1961, but 1.2 million today, as well as 780 churches! In Andhra Pradesh, churches are coming up every day in far-flung villages and there was even an attempt to set up one near Tirupati.
Christians throughout the ages have strived on the concept of persecution and as a brought up Catholic, I remember feeling bad about all those martyred saints of Christianity. Christians in India like to say that they are only two per cent and can do no harm. But it is a sham: in the Tamil Nadu coastal belt from Chennai to Kanyakumari, there must be now 10 per cent Christians posttsunami and the same may be true in other parts of south India.
My heart goes out to Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa who took a courageous stand against unethical Christian conversions, but is now under pressure from the Centre.
The BJP, having learnt from bitter experience that the Congress has no qualm in invoking President’s rule under fallacious pretexts in states which are ruled by non-Congress governments is in a quandary: it must show some action against militant Hindu groups while remaining true to itself.
This is why Yeddyurappa took some action against Hindu groups while saying that his government will not tolerate forcible conversions and will take stringent action against missionaries involved in conversions.
And ultimately, the blame must fall on Hindus: they are 800 million in India, the overwhelming majority; they have the brains, they have the money and they have the power. But either their intellectual and political class sides with the minorities, out of fear, inferiority complex imbedded by the British or just sheer crass political opportunism, or the bigger mass is indifferent inert, selfish, un-civic conscious. Every Hindu is the inheritor of the only surviving spiritual knowledge which at the moment is under a concerted attack by Christian missionaries, Americanisation, Marxism and Islamic fundamentalism.

Harsha said...

Yes, evn i agree with ya..
"FUNDAMENTALISTS of any type are dangerous and destructive!!"

Dude! Being head strong and being a Fundamentalist are different. The so-called head strong and fundamentalist business leaders you talking about have been very dynamic in their approach n thr revolutionary strategies weren't baseless but calculated risk that they took considering all environmental factors arnd.. Or in layman's term the were ahead of time or over smart ;)