Rama Rama

287 Comments

At last ! Good sense has dawned upon the UPA government and they have, like they do every time, bent themselves to what Lalloo calls the “weel of the peepul” by expunging the blasphemous assertion, made by those vapid Godless “reverse grave-diggers” (or as they fancifully call themselves archaeologists), at the Archaeological Survey of India that Lord Rama is not a historical character simply because they didn’t find a fossil of a monkey tail or the remnants of Ravana’s flying chariot buried 50 feet in the earth.


When I heard the news of the ASI’s submission to the court I was like “Dude…what are those people trying to say ! By stating that “no historically valid proof of Rama’s existence exists” they surely are not implying that the entire Ramayana is a figment of our collective imagination and that Rama is simply a mythical icon that represents the best of humanity—are they?” What next? Are they going to tell us that monkeys who wore clothes and fought with weapons and constructed bridges across seas never existed?Or that Ravana really didn’t have ten heads? Or that Sita was not really swallowed up by the earth? And most importantly there never was a talking bear named Jambavana?

Are these ASI people even suggesting that my grandma lied cause I recall her telling me that “Once upon a time in Ayodhya there was a..” and not “People imagined that once upon a time in Ayodhya there was…”

No matter how disgusted I am at the ASI, I am however mightily pleased at how our national parties, more specifically the BJP and the other saffronites, have once again shown us that on the issues that really matter to the country [namely whether certain formations of rock on the sea floor were made by an army of dhoti-clad monkeys or not] they are right on the money and keeping an eye out for us. They may not care for our energy security or for our strategic foreign alliances but they sure are prompt in protecting “shovel nails” Surpanakha‘s place in history.

No one however has expressed the opposition to the ASI’s perverted view of truth (“no historical proof” implies “does not exist”) as eloquently and logically as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Thursday criticised the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for its judicial affidavit that said there was no historical evidence to prove the existence of Lord Ram.

In a statement issued from Germany, Sri Sri said: “Ramayana and Mahabharata are called “Itihasas” (histories). Itihas means it happened. That Sri Ram did exist is recorded in the epic Ramayana.

Brilliant ! Since they are called “itihas” they must be historical. Like that movie “Itihas” starring Ajay Devgun, Twinkle Khanna and Raj Babbar.

Well all is well that ends well and with Sonia mam rapping the knuckles of the Rama-doubters, the word “mythology” has once again become synonymous with “history” and an awe-inspiring monument may have been saved, albeit as some people would say, for the wrong reason.

Which isn’t, in the final analysis, a bad thing at all.

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287 thoughts on “Rama Rama

  1. Absolutely correct GB, I fully agree and endorse your views. The ‘reverse grave diggers’ or reverse chandals as you put it may be pardoned because, if not for the blasphemous Roman Catholic charioteer of the UPA and her non-Hindu poodle, they wouldn’t have been this ‘reverse chandal‘ nomenclature of the ASI in this blog.

    And, I can understand the anger inside you for I know that your biggest God is Prabhuji Mithun and as the reverse cross is the sign of the anti-Christ, reverse chandal (imagine ‘Chandal’ Prabhuji Mithun hung upside down) is the sign of anti-God here.

    Behead the blasphemers for they deserve no mercy.

    Jai Shri Ram!

  2. looks like my grandmom lied to me too! wondering what she was thinking.

    now will the Centre say in the supreme court that ramayana did happen and suspend the project? i worry that all the money spend on the Sethusamudram Project might go waste.

  3. Hmmm…ASI has a point. I am sure about that. I am also sure that this Adam’s Bridge has no historical value so I guess it’s ok to destroy bits of it. wah wah taliyan! BTW this the same ASI, which lets temples mosques and historical monuments rot, and iamges, desecrated, broken, vandalized and stolen. They have never really taken a bottom line or responsibility for any “Historical” monument of India. Why this urgency all of a sudden? Well it’s for commerce dduh! It’s all about making more money. Don’t get me wrong we all need money and I really don’t give a damn whether the “vanarsena” had built the bridge or not. But it is a natural bridge that will be destroyed for the purpose of commerce and no doubt we will lose a precious eco-system there. That’s what makes me mad. And I cannot help but wonder had this research been conducted during the BJP government would they have proved that Rama was a Historical character? who knows! The whole issue stinks of political agenda. ughhhhhhhhhh

  4. Already 100s of crores of rupees has been spent in the attempt to dredge the site for the Sethusamudram project. It is actually a major scam. There is no dredging going on as the normal dredger struck hard rock under the sea and got damaged. There is just a dysfunctional office now at the site. The Sethusamudram Corp. Ltd. and the project itself has become a white elephant.

    Experts are now saying that (successful) dredging is not possible as no matter how much silt or sedimentation is cleared from the site, the shallow seabed deposits would again form making the hard work and the resources spent go waste.

    Also, during the temporary clearance of the shallow seabed, around 85 small Lankan islands would disappear. The environmental costs we would have to pay would be monumental.

    So, whether for the Lord Rama or for the environment or for saving our exchequer of ‘drowning’ our money because of a government’s fanciful and impulsive whims, it is in the best interests of both India and Sri Lanka to shut down this project now itself.

    The project should be seen in the light of a big embarrassment for us.

  5. Thank God ASI is not in Jerusalem. Or Christians would have to prove with documents and/or medical bills of “Virgin” Mary’s birth of the Christ.

    As long as they are messing around with fossil and proofs and stuff with Hindus things should be smooth, i guess.

  6. Kaunteya:

    If you argue, you may actually prove that virginity is a state of mind and nothing to do with the rapture/presence of the maidenhood. You can argue that a 4-yr old rape victim is still a virgin. On the mental side of the issue, I would like to point out that in urban areas it is seen that the girls’ puberty age is getting lesser and lesser. This has been attributed to perpetual exposure to things/content sexual. In rural areas this has not changed much.

    In the biblical times, a young village lass who just reached puberty might not be fully aware of what getting lucky is all about. So mentally, she might not have known that she got laid by the carpenters act upon her, and remained a theoretical virgin.

    So, the Bible being a philosophical book by nature on many accounts, I have no qualms in accepting that Mary was indeed a ‘non-technical’ virgin. Hence, no disputes from my side at least on that issue.

  7. The word is maidenhead and not maidenhood as I typed it in my last comment. Readers might not believe it, but I was actually listening to the Bryan Adam number ‘Everything I do’ from the movie Robin Hood, the Prince of Thieves. So the ‘head’ got covered by the ‘hood’.

  8. ASI don’t get it, do they? I mean, an army made of apes and bears, led by two Gods made the bridge, and they are going to break it up because it is not man-made?

    What next? Everest is also not man-made if I know my history…

  9. Was waiting for something like this from you. Great article. Loved it. Laughed after a long time. Once again the Indian politicians have proved that they are utilizing their precious time wisely by dealing with issues of great national interest.

  10. On a different note I must add that I am thankful to ASI for proving it to the taxpayers of India that they actually exsist and are engaged in “scientific investigation”. Taxpayers money is being well spent no doubt. I had seriously begun to doubt their existence after my last visit to Rewa, MP and Unakoti,Tripura. Finally I’ll be able to sleep peacefully, no doubt so would millions of Indians who were skeptical like me.

  11. Just read The telegraph. The congress government after a long day of pondering has decided that Ram was indeed a historical figure and not a mythological entity. However as long as this lasts, it will bring some respite to the prime minister from 123.

  12. Hi Arnab,

    This is my first time writing in here , though must admit that I have been taking immense pleasure reading your articles but never leaving any compliments as you thoroughly deserve. Though this time around I have’nt got anything specific to say, the only frustration is when is our system or rather say politicians are going to get their priorities right?

    Cheers
    Srikanth

  13. Heyy GB… how about a Ramaland on the similar lines of Disney land ??? floating bridges, talking monkeys, people going thru fire, flying chariots… these wud rock!

  14. Hmm..Seems like a diversion tactic of the UPA to deflect attention from the Left’s stuntbaazi in the name of opposing the N-deal. I can imagine Madam’s boys sitting in a room and saying to themselves, “What issue is so emotive that it will make people come on the street, shout slogans and basically trump the Left in terms of media attention but also so trivial that it will not cause any major damage?” What else but the existance of Lord Ram, they must have replied to themselves.

  15. Posting again…

    @ GB

    You should read the Rediff comments section on this issue. Hilarious as usual

    @ Beau Peep

    Well… As it turns out -Virgin birth’ or Immaculate Conception arises out of a mistranslation. Young woman or maiden in Hebrew was translated as virgin in Greek and the rest, as they say, is history.

  16. Seriously all this makes we wonder is India secular or is the meaning of secular as I understand wrong. I thought secular meant no religious things coming into picture. But sadly India is becoming multi communal society.

  17. @Ravi Ivaturi:
    “Well… As it turns out -Virgin birth’ or Immaculate Conception arises out of a mistranslation. Young woman or maiden in Hebrew was translated as virgin in Greek and the rest, as they say, is history.”

    That’s interesting! Do you have a reference to that I could check for greater details? Thanks!

  18. Pingback: The Acorn » Regarding Sethusamudram

  19. @ Sayon

    I was trying to avoid posting links that are not entirely relevant to the main discussion 🙂

    I first read about it in ‘God Delusion’ & ‘Selfish Gene’ (By Richard Dawkins). But you can look it up on Wiki under Virgin birth (ref-Greek translation). You can also google with key words ‘virgin birth’, ‘Dawkins’, ‘translation’ etc.

  20. Itihasa-s (literally, “thus verily happened”) are not exactly understood as history as the Puranas are, it could be approximated as chronology. Puranas (historical accounts) could be termed as history since myth (a cognate of ‘mithya’) has always adulterated factual accuracy through socio-political mechanisms (China is presently trying to obliterate the “existence” of Mao and the bruises of the brutal Revolution: soon Mao, like Rama, will be the stuff of myth). Jesus, unlike Rama, has shown an uncanny ability to endure in spite of raising the dead and walking on H20. The Sauds are purposely demolishing all structures connected to Mohammad to prevent iconism, but at least no historian would dare to challenge the prophet’s existence (his existence cannot be decoupled from that of angel Gabriel/Allah – they both exist or non-exist together). No Western historian worth his name would dare to not allude to the Bible or the epics as historical resources: often expensive mega-projects to unearth Atlantis or Troy are are documented on tv.

  21. @ virgin debate:

    this is a concept stolen from indian mythology (reverse anu malik syndrome) ala kunti and co. all mythologies are replete with blushing virgins who the Gods in their immense wisdom artificially inseminate.

    @ravi ivaturi:

    we all know richard dawking had sex with Mr. Garrison and then Cartman had to save the world from the beavers so that he could play the Wii.

    if anyone is interesting in the present debate and its connection with the disney film little mermaid, they can read my all important blog entry at:

    http://weirdsidewalk.blogspot.com/2007/09/supreme-court-of-india-will-settle.html

    please excuse for shameless self-publicity O greatbong

  22. Here s something i would like to add about “politicians getting their priorities wrong” etc. Whether you and i like it or not, we have to live with the fact that there are a lot of peopl who genuinely care about such things.

    And then there are people who ll do anything to milk these issues, which makes the number of people who “care” about it, larger.

  23. You make your point quite hilariously. Although I couldn’t make out why you said, ‘awe-inspiring monument may have been saved, albeit as some people would say, for the wrong reason.’. Saving that monument for the sake of Ramayan, isn’t a wrong reason in my opinion.

  24. The big question is this. During those months when the dhoti clad monkeys were constructing the bridge, where would they have peed? Naturally in the sea. Is the sea salty because so many of them peed in it at the same time?

  25. Regardless of whether Ram’s existence is ‘mithya’ or ‘itihasa’, I wish the ASI should have stuck to the facts clearly known – that those are natural rock formations and left it at that.
    There was no need to extrapolate it to say the whole of the epic is imagination. Since in this country we have hardly kept any written records, it is hard to prove if any of it was true, but does not ipso facto disprove it either. A prince named Ram might well have existed with and the implausible events could esily have been added as time passed to change the story to its present form. I think GB, Sri Sri meant something like this.

  26. Wow. There are so many aspects to this that I am wondering where to start.

    1. The religion angle:

    As an agnostic, I was rather gratified that the ASI actually took a scientific stance and said that there was no historical basis to prove the existence of Rama. At the same time I knew that this could not last, and that politically this was the equivalent of going to Harlem and loudly proclaiming that statistically, most criminals are Black (i.e. true but un-PC).

    And I was right. The BJP/RSS/VHP got an issue and went all apeshit over this and the government could backtrack fast enough. Now that they have backtracked really really fast and comprehensively, what’s the wingnuts to do to keep the momentum alive? Of course, ask the PM for an apology! And so it goes on…

    Much has been made of NASA Images of the Adam’s Bridge, but no one bothers to report that NASA has not ever mentioned that the bridge was man made – in fact it says otherwise. Anyway, logic has no place in a religious argument.

    2. The ecological angle

    This one tends to get lost in the melee. I don’t know much about the composition per se, but if it is indeed composed of coral reefs, then ecologically I am dead against its destruction. But is it really a coral reef? Or just rock formations? Did it really help in mitigating the effect of the Tsunami on India, as some reports claim? Or is that a crock? I don’t know. Maybe we need a more rational discourse backed by facts rather than conjecture.

    But even if one of the two ecological reasons if true (corals or Tsunami dampner), I oppose the destruction of the Adam’s bridge.

    But I am afraid we will never get to the point where there is a rational discussion. Religion will stop all further discussion on this. Period. Science will not even get a dekko at the subject.

    But practically (mind you – practically only – theoretically I couldn’t care less), when I think about it, the will of the people really cannot be ignored completely. I am not going to approve of demolishing, say, the Amarnath cave to build an observatory even if that gives us a great scientific advantage. I see no reason why that does not apply to the Sethusamudram project.

  27. Arnab,

    The vanaras were not (dhoti clad) monkeys. They were very similar to the human beings of the day, just a little different. Some of them – the primates – had a prehensile tail (like the Hanuman/Sugriva/Angada clan) while others like Jambavan were ursine. And there was exogamy between the humans and the vanaras. Sugriva’s and later Vali’s wife Tara was ‘human’, while in the Dvapara Yuga, Krishna was wed to Jambavan’s granddaughter. And of course whether ‘monkey’ or bear or creatures of the sky (Jatayu, Sampati) they all lived, ate, faught, and died together.

    The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are not simply epic stories, they are lived out everyday. In Eastern India, especially Mithila, and so Gaud or Dwarbanga, or VangaDeha, Rama has never been forgiven for humiliating the daughter of the land – Maithili aka Sita. So when a Bengali bristles at the mention of Rama, it is not a “secular” response or any such thing, it is simply the entire VangaDesha participating in the living epic. And how many of us know that Siddhartha Gautama is a descendant of Rama being in the line of Ikshavaku. In Indonesia (it simply means Hindudweepa) the Ramayana and Mahabharata are a part of the national idiom.

  28. Good post Arnab

    But do not discard the history angle. Schliemann proved that Trojan War indeed took place.

    By modern times both the war and the city were widely believed to be non-historical. In 1870, however, the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann excavated a site in this area which he believed was Troy; this identification is now almost universally accepted.[Link]

    I do not like Ram at all. His killing of Shambuka and Bali was dastardly.

  29. I can’t imagine who is sillier, the UPA for getting into this messy religious tangle or the BJP for making a huge hue and cry about it and disrupting public life. While it is perfectly ok to criticise religion publicly, I don’t see any sane govt of any country today (except for the middle east royal families and their islam-is-the-only-truth stance) making a statement questioning long standing beliefs of any religion.

    Freedom of speech and expression in our country has always been skewed against Hinduism. While I am proud to belong to a tolerant (aka non-fatwa-ed) religion, I wonder if the UPA would make any statement questioning the immaculate conception of Mary (where wud they find scientific evidence??) or whether Jesus could really cure lepers or if he was actually ressurected from the dead.

    There is nothing wrong with constructing the bridge per se and I feel it should be done regardless of the existence of Ram. It is however worth considering if any mosque is ever demolished because it has come up on illegal land or inthe middle of a road.

  30. Colleague of mine says

    Present day Sri Lanka is not Lanka of Ravana, as Ramayan is thousands of years old, continents /landmasses move on the ocean water.

    Himalayas of India are not Ramayana Himalayas, infact Himlaaya were at north pole, Rishimunnis used to pilgrim to north pole, Russia was originally Rishiyana …place of Rishis….

  31. The issue is whether there is consistent treatment of all religions.

    I do not believe in the highly fanciful embellishments of the Ramayana. At the same time I do not believe that Muhammed took a sky-trip on the back of a half ass, half woman creature from Jerusalem, to “negotiate” stuff with god like any good sales rep. Or that the kaa’bah is a magical flying stone used by Abraham in his construction firm. Or even blaming immoral indiscretions on the poor Holy Spirit.

    Yet India spend thousands of hours thinking of ever new ways in which to divert even more love, funds, resources and freebies on Haj pilgrimages.

    Heaven forbid Congress hinting at the destruction of the Mathura mosque, a symbol of the massacre of thousands of Hindu women & children with the argument “the stuff in the Muslim Koran is …. as valid as the Hanuman-bridge in the Hindu Ramayana).

    This consistent step-motherly treatment meted to Hindus is the issue. And this is dangerous, as every year, they are taking more and more liberties.

    Further, human sentiments are valid, even if not justifiable by cold logic. Why doe we offer flowers to the departed on their annivesaries?

    Will the Congress now ban the offering of wine & wafers in Church on the pretext that the former encourages drunkenness and promiscuity?

  32. @ Shan

    “I was rather gratified that the ASI actually took a scientific stance and said that there was no historical basis to prove the existence of Rama.”
    My thoughts were exactly on the same lines, though my gratification was short-lived. I think, the fundamental issue here, is the aura of reverential untouchability we create around our religious beliefs. I was reading some of the comments in the Rediff section- most of them were hilarious as you would expect, but there were a few that had fanatical undertones. Some of them were calling for a religious war, quoting Gita. Their argument- it’s ok to kill even your brothers if it’s to protect Dharma. Of course one could question how representative these data points are, but the truth is there are a lot of us who are jealously protective about our religious beliefs and expect an automatic respect even from Science.

  33. @ Sam

    you wrote, “Russia was originally Rishiyana …place of Rishis….

    Rishi’s response,
    Wow, I am actually from Russia..hehehe…Maria Sherapova..here I come.

    Even though it is now well known (through artifacts unearthed from excavations) that many early settlements in Russia, were followers of what is today known as Hinduism, I am not sure if I can actually place the Himalayas at the North Pole.

    Also, while it is proven beyond doubt, that water level increase in the last 10,000 years has led to many coastal areas, mentioned in Hindu Puranas, getting submerged (Dwaraka being one of them), I am not sure if we can claim that the natural bridge betwen the Lankan landmass and the Indian peninsula was a human construct.

    At the most, there could be human intervention in trying to connect the, then much more continuous set of islands and shallow formations. But there has to be verifiable proof of it.

    As for Sri Rama, this is what a friend sent me.

    “Valmiki has recorded in Bal Kaand Sarga 19 and shloka 8 and 9 (1/19/8,9) that Shri Ram was born on the ninth tithi of Chaitra month when the position of different planets vis-a-vis zodiac constellations and nakshatras (visible stars) was as under :- 1 Sun in Aries ii) Saturn in Libra iii) Jupiter in Cancer iv) Venus in Pisces v) Mars in Capricorn vi) Lunar month of Chaitra vii) Ninth day after no moon viii) Lagna as Cancer (Cancer was rising in the east) ix) Moon on the Punarvasu (Gemini constellation & Pollux star) x) Day time (around noon)

    This data was fed into the Planetarium software. The results indicated that this was exactly the location of planets/stars vis-a-vis zodiac constellations on January 10, noon time in the year 5114 BC. As per the Indian calendar, it was the ninth day of Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month and the time was around 12 to 1 noontime. This is exactly the time and date when Ram Navmi is celebrated all over India till date.”

    Historical authenticity…no way to confirm.

  34. @ Ravi Itaturi quoting Shan

    “I was rather gratified that the ASI actually took a scientific stance and said that there was no historical basis to prove the existence of Rama.”

    I am gratified as well. I will be even more gratified if they also confirm long held suspicions “there was no historical basis to prove the existence of God as Allah”. Then we can reclaim all the extensive grounds of mosques, Idgahs, cemeteries, prayer grounds et all, and build social housing projects. After all, India suffers from a massive shortage of buildable living space.

    This is far more important than shortening trips by luxury cruises by a few hours in the Straits.

    We can keep the Taj. For aesthetics alone.

    The rest is fair game.

    Any takers? Obviously not.

  35. @ Hara Hara Bom Bom

    “Then we can reclaim all the extensive grounds of mosques, Idgahs, cemeteries, prayer grounds et all, and build social housing projects. After all, India suffers from a massive shortage of buildable living space.”

    Except for the fact that these structures were man-made & they belong to the respective communities. It’s a bit silly to be held hostage to a collective belief about a natural formation.

  36. @ Ravi Ivaturi

    Yes, they were man made, but what are they celebrating, endorsing and propagating? There is a high correlation between the number of mosques today & low I.Q. levels.

    So what is the less dangerous? A neutral natural structure that is being passed off as an icon? Or man made structures that have caused immense misery past and present, and are palpably acting as a barrier to human evolution?

  37. “There is a high correlation between the number of mosques today & low I.Q. levels”,

    PS: Before any comments on this, I’ll clarify.

    I am not saying mosques are ‘dumb’. In the middle ages, mosques and monasteries were wonderful vehicles for conveying knowledge. Like most things, they became victims of their own success, closing their minds and ranks to newer discoveries and thus ossify knowledge.

    One mosque in a locality is an object of prayer. Fine, no objection, I’ll go and join prayers with the devout. 10 mosques in the locality are superfluous, and not intended as houses of worship. They have an ulterior motive, either as visible symbols used to browbeat and intimidate others, or to act as congregattion sites to cause mischief.

    See the more prosperous areas of Islam. Fewer mosques, true mosques. See the struggling area of the Islamic world .. Afghanistan, Pakistan, India … mass starvation, mass pverty, mass ignorance.

    Thus my comment.

    Phew. Glad I clarified that one before crucufixion !!!

  38. Sam wrote, “Himalayas of India are not Ramayana Himalayas, infact Himlaaya were at north pole, Rishimunnis used to pilgrim to north pole, Russia was originally Rishiyana …place of Rishis….

    Rishi’s response.
    I always knew that. My Mo-jo increases when I go to Canada.
    Russia was the place of Rishis…woww
    Maria Sherapova ..here I come

    But there is no denying that earliest settlements in Western Russia used to follow Vedic Hinduism (given the recent spate of Hindu iconography being unearthed regularly).

  39. As for Sri Rama and Rama Setu,

    A friend sent this, and I am in no way qualified to verify it

    “Valmiki records the birth of Rama as Chaitra Shuddha Navami (9th), on Punarvasu Nakshatra and five plants were exalted then; Sun in Mesha upto 10 deg., Mars in Capricorn at 28 deg., Jupiter in Cancer at 5 deg., Venus in Pisces at 27 deg. and Saturn in Libra at 20 deg. (Bala Kanda.18/Shloka 8,9).

    Ayodhya 4/18 states that Sun, Mars and Rahu were at Dasharatha’s nakshatra. It was the month of Chaitra, so the Sun was in Revati, Ashwini or Bharani. Naturally, either Rahu and Ketu was in any one of these nakshatra (Rahu and Ketu are diagonally opposite).

    The planetary positions on 16th October 5561 B.C., the date of commencement of the Mahabharat War, have been calculated and known [Dating of the Mahabharat, by Dr. P.V. Vartak]. Therefore, calculating further backwards for the astral combination noted above, the date concludes to be 4th December 7323 B.C. On this date, Saturn was at 205 deg., Jupiter at 94 deg., Mars between 283 and 298 deg., Rahu at 179 deg. and Sun at 2 degrees. 4th Dec. 7323 therefore is the date of birth of Rama, when the aforementioned 4 planets exalted. Venus is always within 47 degrees from the Sun, and might be in Pisces in an exalted state. Thus Rama’s date is confirmed”.

    Many Pauranic places like Dwarika, hitherto considered mythical, have been found to exist. There is no doubt that water levels have risen dramatically in the past 10,000 years. The string of formations connecting Sri Lanka with the Indian Peninsula was more continuous and the water level in the submerged parts much shallower.

    Was there an effort to do a bridge-hopping?…only qualified scientists can answer. But Vishnu Purana’s detailed description of that region certainly demands attention.

  40. Mythology – retelling of myths. SOOO….Ramayana is a myth?? Whatever…I still believe the “secular” and the “non-secular” parties should shut their traps and let us believe what we want to and not shove stuff down our throats after thinking of them from there asses!!

  41. Rishi,

    You lecherous casanova !!

    Maria Sharapova’s father anticipated your evil intentions and relocated his daughter to sunny Florida a decade ago.

    So, when you go to frigid Russia and find an old babushka waiting for you there, don’t forget keep your hands in your pants to keep your stuff warm … or you may get frostbitten (you know where).

    Hujur

  42. Itihasa I think means ‘So it happened’, now without getting into whether Rama was there or Ravana had ten heads there is something most people seemed to have forgotten about the epic.
    Epics, many scholars hold are documentations of change. Through stories they preserve important points of transition. For example in the Rig Veda and later Vedas also Sita is the goddess of agriculture, she is linked to fertile soil and in the Ramayana she goes back to the earth. Her connection to land is clear. One of the most popular explanation of Rama Ravana clash is the clash between foresters and settlers to bring in agriculture.
    Incidentally, many places claim Rama and sita had spent time there, so either one can laugh and say well ignorant rustics or see it as a cultural identity of a town.

    Don’t get me wrong here I am not saying yes all of it is true but the problem is we are so completely polarized. Either you are the fool who believes that Rama was there or you are the erudite scholar who dismisses any validity of a myth.

  43. I realized that my grandmom lied to me when I read the unabriged versions of both the epics. Many facts were hidden conviniently. IT has all the contents for a typical bollywood movie.

  44. @ Greatbong admirer “IT (Ramayana) has all the contents for a typical bollywood movie”.

    Absolutely.

    Illicit birth. Hoodwinked husband. Gifts illegally smuggled in from foreign collaborrators.

    Totally mysterious disappearance for 20 years.

    Sudden reappearance. Liaison with a lady of the night (possibly marrying her). Violence inside holy precincts.

    Gathers cult following. Claims of divine origin. Claims of seeing monsters. Anorexia.

    Feats of magic. Claims of ghosts behind illnesses and casting them into poor hogs.

    Sedition. Insulting holy people.

    Undermining patriots fighting against injustics by exhorting people to side with the foreign oppressors.

    Infuriating the common folk. Being found guilty of treason. People preferring a murderor to be set free rather than him.

    Executing. The end. No? The sotry telling continues. Claims by cult members of mysterious reappearance.

    And the rest is blood-thirsty history.

    Oh sorry. That’s not the Ramayana at all. It’s not even mythology! It’s gospel (sic) truth !!

    Even so, stuff for a few good movies and sequels. No?

  45. The ASI petition is not objectionable from a secular point of view, just as claiming that many religious beliefs are physically impossible – e.g. for a person to be medically virgin, and yet give birth or a person coming back to life after being dead for 40 (?) days, or a person riding a horse into the sky – is not objectionable.

    Whats objectionable is that Hindus alone are the community required to ‘prove’ that their faith is amenable to scientific proof, when trying to defend features belonging to their faith, be they man made artifacts or natural features.

    This is not the first time this has happened either, similar arguments like the one proffered by ASI were de-rigueur during the Ram Janmbhoomi liberation struggle.

    Yet, one does not see these secular challenges to faith being put forward by the Govt. of India, when the belief systems of others faiths clash with secular endeavors such as dams/roads etc. Some social commentators are steadfast in their opposition to all the ‘physically impossible’ articles of different religious faiths, and one must understand that its not these people with whom the argument is. Their intellectual positions are merely incidental to this controversy.

    Judging Govt of Indias actions and pronouncements from this perspective, one can indeed come to the conclusion that the Hindu faith in India is treated as a second class belief system by the powers that be.

    Ofcourse, BJP being a political party will cast this issue into something that appeals to the common person on the streets and claiming that they are obscurantist is simply being elitist and displaying a fundamental lack of understanding politics.

  46. Pingback: On Adams Bridge (Ram Setu) Controversy | DesiPundit

  47. Pingback: On Adams Bridge (Ram Setu) Controversy | DesiPundit

  48. GB… By the way that Ma Kaali alias Sushmita Sen’s blood dripping photo on your website is really scaring away my husband from an otherwise computer hogging competition between us. THANK YOU.

  49. Go try this.
    Go to vatican and say there is no definite record of jesus christ being born or better still, try doing the same with mohammed and see what happens. If jesus can walk on water, turn water into wine and resurrect after death, monkeys can build a bridge

  50. It is interesting to read K.P.S. Gill’s perspective on the Ram Sethu:

    Source: http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnist1.asp?main_variable=Columnist&file_name=kpsgill/kpsgill35.txt&writer=kpsgill

    Perversity as secularism

    K.P.S. Gill

    It is, indeed, amazing how polarising the political discourse has become in this country, and how entirely unnecessary and extraneous controversies are being generated by an intellectually bankrupt national leadership. It is incomprehensible how such perverse nonsense relating to the controversy on Ram Setu could have entered a supposedly secular Government’s representation before the Supreme Court of India.

    The Government has, of course, recanted and has sought to distance itself from the contents of the affidavit, but this is far from enough. Someone must have drafted this document; someone would have approved and signed it. This is not something that can simply be pinned on to some minion in the Archaeological Survey of India. The Ram Setu issue has been a prominent political and public controversy for several months now, and it is impossible that a critical affidavit in this regard would not have the explicit assent of the political executive at the highest level; and, in the remote possibility that this is actually the case, the dereliction at senior levels of Government is unforgivable.

    The individuals concerned at every level of the drafting and approval of this pernicious affidavit need to be clearly and publicly identified and penalised for causing unnecessary offence to Hindus – the majority community in this country, and one that is evidently not regarded as a vote-bank by the so-called ‘secular’ parties – and, indeed, to many non-Hindus who share in the vibrant collective and cultural consciousness of India’s variegated civilisation.

    There is a new and escalating insensitivity in Indian secular thought, which not only insistently neglects the sensibilities of the majority community, but, worse, appears eager to cause injury to such sentiments. India’s opportunistic political secularists – as distinct from those who are, in fact and practice, actually wedded to the secular ideology – feel that they cannot sufficiently proclaim their secularism without displaying at least a measure of contempt for Hindu beliefs and practices.

    By contrast, the most extraordinary sensitivity – often transgressing not only the limits of good sense, but even considerations of national interest – is prominently displayed towards the Muslim minority vote-bank (though other minorities – with their smaller shares in electoral contests – are ironically treated with the same contempt that is directed against the majority community). These tendencies appear to be getting worse with the passage of time, and a precipitous decline in the quality of political debate and intelligence is manifest.

    These tendencies are, nevertheless, deep rooted in Indian – and particularly Congress – politics, and the tallest of our leaders have not escaped susceptibility to this perversity of perspective. When the Khilafat movement collapsed in 1924, the Moplah rebellion, in which Muslim mobs inflicted untold savagery and rapine on Hindus, broke out in Kerala.

    Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Mahatma, who wore his Hindu identity very much on his sleeve, first denied these atrocities. As evidence of Muslim excesses mounted, he described the Moplahs as “god-fearing” people who were “fighting for what they consider as religion, and in a manner they consider as religious”. Even during the Khilafat movement, Gandhi chose to ally with the infamous Ali brothers, silently sharing a platform with them, and refusing to criticise or comment when they declared: “If the Afghans invaded India to wage holy war, the Indian Muhammadans are not only bound to join them but also to fight the Hindus if they refuse to cooperate with them.”

    The problem with the current controversy goes beyond this, to the way in which we view science itself. The Archaeological Survey of India, in its affidavit to the Supreme Court, has asserted that there “was no historical and scientific evidence to establish the existence of Lord Ram or the other characters in Ramayan”. But to conclude from this lack of evidence that Lord Ram did not exist, and that the whole of Ramayan is no more than a religious myth, exceeds the scope of the evidence (or lack thereof).

    The inability to prove, on scientific criteria, the existence of a particular individual or entity does not amount to a proof of the non-existence of such an individual or entity. Falsification has entirely different criteria – and the dearth of archaeological and historical evidence is not sufficient basis for such falsification. Regrettably, many have jumped into this controversy with sweeping assertions regarding the existence or otherwise of Lord Ram and of Ram Setu, reflecting the poorest possible understanding of scientific methodology or of evidence.

    Unfortunately, science, with rare exception, is taught in India much like religion: As an authoritarian, faith-based system, to be internalised by rote on the mandate of a teacher whose assertions are to be accepted without question; and, not as the tentative, continuously expanding enterprise of discovery rooted in human freedom and imagination.

    The Ram Setu issue, moreover, goes beyond science, to the very heart of faith and of the collective consciousness of a nation – and these considerations cannot be irrelevant to a legal determination of the issue. If, indeed, they were to be treated as extraneous and immaterial, then there could be no objection to razing every religious structure in the country to the ground, on considerations, purely, of expediency. The greatest caution must be exercised when intervening in these issues, and the clumsiness, the political chicanery and the opportunism – across party lines – that characterised the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue should be avoided at all costs.

    The legend of Ram and Ramayan – archaeological evidence or no archaeological evidence – has primal resonances in the civilisation, culture and multiple identities, not only of India and among Hindus, but among the people of the entire South and South-East Asian region, and occasionally well beyond. I recall watching films and theatrical performances – Ram Lilas – based on Ramayan from earliest childhood, and one of the most exciting scenes was the vaanar sena building the bridge to Lanka with rocks inscribed with the name of their Lord. These are images embedded in the consciousness of millions across India and beyond, and to trivialise this is to misunderstand the very nature of governance.

    There is an increasing fraud and dishonesty at the core of the Indian secular establishment. Secularism means, at once, a distancing of the institutions of governance from communal influence, but also sensitivity towards all religious communities and faiths – not just a particular minority vote-bank. The current, contentious and prejudiced orientation of so-called ‘secular’ forces in national politics reflects a complete collapse of political intellect.

  51. @ Hujur
    Cool stuff by KPS Gill.

    While attending a Shakha at Keshav Bhavan in North Kolkata just 2 days back, I asked a swayamsevak about this topic, and interestingly, his thoughts on the ecological angle of this issue, were similar to those mentioned by Shan before.

    A thorough investigation of this from a scientific angle is needed to unmask the Angad-worthiness of project.

    I feel that more time and effort needs to be put on studying the historicity of many Pauranic literature, before they, in their entirity are dismissed as figments of human imagination.

    If mere mites like Noah’s Arch and Dead sea scrolls got their share of research, why not the Puranas, and Upavedas.

  52. So GB, BJP is making RamSetu an issue because of their misplaced priorities. And Congress has got a long list of priorities ahead of them such as quota by caste, quota by religion, implementing Sachar quota, allocate funds for madrasas and Haj, destroying AIIMS/IIMs/IITs, making MMSingh to sleep, reading out of a general text after each bomb-blast and denigrating Hinduism whenever possible. Advani demanding apology is “politics of Hindutva” and Sonia dividing India on all possible lines is for “social cause”.

    Cat scratches because its evil, dog bites because the poor fellow got sharp claws.

  53. @ Aswathama
    Friend…. its a democracy…nothing wrong with what the Congress/Left/Sundries are doing…
    Nothing wrong with what BJP is doing either.

    If the Congress/Left/sundries can divide Hindus on all possible lines and corner their share of critical votes, while keeping Muslim and Christian votes intact, by pandering to their selfish interests, SO BE IT.

    Its the Hindus problem that they are willing to be divided. They reap what they sow.

    As for the BJP, its their problem that they havnt been able to unite their share of the votes to get a ruling majority.

  54. lol.. who said “vaanaraH” is monkey ? basic samskritam vaa naraH .. “is it a man” … so essentially a creature which will makes some one doubt if its a man or not…

    and yes “itihaasa” in sanskrit means “this is how it happened” … everyone including GB is being brainwashed by the english education to call it “mythology”…

    why does one always have to find parallels from western religions ?

  55. lol.. who said “vaanaraH” is monkey ? basic samskritam vaa naraH .. “is it a man” … so essentially a creature which will makes some one doubt if its a man or not…

    and yes “itihaasa” in sanskrit means “this is how it happened” … everyone including GB is being brainwashed by the english education to call it “mythology”…

    why does one always have to find parallels from western religions ?

    fellas.. learn some sanskrit…

  56. Here is a general reply to the comments here.

    Many of you in your comments have echoed the sentiments expressed by Quicksilver in these lines:

    Go to vatican and say there is no definite record of jesus christ being born or better still, try doing the same with mohammed and see what happens. If jesus can walk on water, turn water into wine and resurrect after death, monkeys can build a bridge

    Now my response to this is the ASI is not passing judgment on whether Lord Rama existed simply as an expression of their “secular” thinking. If indeed that was according to what is generally considered as valid historic evidence”.

    Now if say someone wanted to construct a desalination plant on the Sea of Galilee and the Vatican said no no you cannot—Jesus walked on that water…then certainly the concerned government can and should go to the Vatican and say that there is no historic evidence of that and so one cannot stall development based on mere “belief”.

    I have in the past many times talked about minority appeasement and the different standards that each community is held upto and how some people can almost always get their way by pretending to be permanently aggrieved. However this is not an instance of that bias. Mind you, I am not saying the ASI is a neutral unbiased organization or that if this had been an issue involving a minority religious figure their wording would have been as unambiguous. But as for now, I do not see anything “wrong” in what they have said, nor do I see a Romila Thaparian historic agenda of Hindu self-flagellation here.

    What is undeniable however in all this is that the Adam’s bridge is a marvelous wonder of nature and to destroy such a natural monument for the sake of a project which as Beau peep has pointed out is a boondoggle and of doubtful utility would have been a tragedy of epic proportions.

    And Turttle, he is also known as Jambavan. Please do check the wikipedia entry
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jambavantha)

    @Vinay: Yes I understand. Since “itihaas” means this is how it happened, it must be true. I must learn some of your Sanskrit to be able to get this “Since I say it is so, it is so” kind of argument. Of course I may forget some of rational reasoning and a lot of common sense in the process but I am sure it will be worth it.

  57. Hi,

    Just discovered your site, some great posts!
    On this one, the merits or demerits of the ASI position notwithstanding, I was pretty shocked that the UPA government associated with this stand at all. In Indiam there are far better ways to ustify the making of a canal, than to go ahead with an attitude of ‘shove your beliefs, you idiots” towards the majority community.

    I have a very simple question here. If the bridge in question had been part of christian mythology or woese, Islamic, would this have happened?Unfortunately, we all know the answer. Even the BJP in power, wouldn’t have dared.

    A well communicated, reasoned argiment would have worked wonders, as it always has, when it comes to the hindu community. Coming up with the denial theme was a dumb idea, and inviting trouble. I think the other religions have some equally , if not more fantastic myths, starting with a certain virgin birth:)

  58. @ rishi

    “its a democracy…nothing wrong with what the Congress/Left/Sundries are doing…”

    if doing all those things i mentioned earlier are not wrong, then i don’t know what is wrong. in a democracy you can’t just do anything to consolidate your votebase. in that case the country becomes the biggest looser. the government and congress did a wrong thing and rightfully BJP protested because somebody had to protest on behalf of millions of hindus.

    hinduism survived 5000 years because there was no democracy, no votebank and no skewed sceularism for votes. but today it needs vhp/rss/bjp to absorb the shocks its getting on daily basis. with the continuous ridiculing and denigrating of the ancient Indian history and hinduism by ‘secular’ media, the day won’t be far when your child will be ashamed to disclose himself or herself as hindu in school/college or they’ll convert to other “enlightened” religions to free themselves from this “mythical” religion.

  59. GB… you conveniently diverted it

    I did not question the logic.. I was refering to the casual use of words “mythology” and “monkey” …. of course for the “great” bong nothing shud be questioned or his ego be untouched , right ? and his al-blog the final word

  60. So then GB, applying the same logic, aren’t all of Christianity and Islam the same circular logic ?

    eg: What is the proof of God ? Because Quran says so .. Who wrote Quran ? God, through angel Gabriel made Mohammed the pophet write it…

    (Lesson, some where on ur al-blog , please announce that you are God.. after many many years… the proof of existence of GB-the-God will be the al-blog )

    —————————————————————————–
    And by the way Hinduism does not work this way.. Each of the different systems of philosophies Nyaya, Vaisheshika, etc etc.. has its own well defined method of knowledge.. not circular logic ….

  61. Facts of history cannot be altered
    Author: Prof. B. B. Lal
    Publication: The Hindu
    Date: July 1, 1998

    Prof. B. B. Lal, Director General (Retd.), Archaeological Survey
    of India writes:

    Under the caption ‘Tampering with history’, the Editor of The
    Hindu, (dated June 12, 1998) dealt with the reconstitution of the
    Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR). Since I happen to
    be one of the 18 persons nominated by the Government on the
    Council, the editor took the opportunity to have a dig at me. He
    made three distinct allegations. To quote: (i) his (i.e. my)
    initial conclusion was that there was no evidence to suggest the
    ‘historicity’ of the Ramayana; (ii) even now he refuses to hand
    over his field diaries to ASI and throw these open to fellow
    archaeologists; and (iii) professor Lal began echoing the Sangh
    Parivar and even claimed to possess ‘clinching’ evidence
    suggesting-the Babri Masjid stood on the ruins of a Hindu
    Temple.

    In regard to the first allegation, let me make it absolutely
    clear that at no point of time did I ever say that there was no
    evidence about the historicity of the Ramayana story. My first
    paper on the subject appeared in 1981 in Antiquity, a renowned
    research journal published from Cambridge, England. In 1988 the
    ICHR organised an international seminar in New Delhi at which I
    presented a 60-page paper entitled “Historicity of the
    Mahabharata and the Ramayana: What has archaeology to say in the
    matter?” Finding in it something that went counter to their
    views, the then authorities of the ICHR withheld the publication
    of the paper. Thereafter, when another journal published it,
    there was a great hue and cry, as if the heavens had fallen.
    Anyway, in 1993 came out my first volume under the project
    ‘Archaeology of the Ramayana sites’. In it I categorically
    restated he combined evidence from all five sites excavated
    under the project shows that there did exist a historical basis
    for the Ramayana. I do not know why the editor has chosen to
    misrepresent my viewpoint and give an altogether opposite
    impression to the reader.

    The allegation that I am withholding the documents from the
    Archaeological Survey of India is again outrageously baseless.
    The Survey is the custodian of all the documents, including field
    diaries, plans, sections, photo negatives, and the entire excavated
    material; and, as my information goes, the Babri Masjid
    historians did see the same a few years ago. Why all this fuss
    now?

    Finally, to the evidence suggesting that the Babri Masjid stood
    on the ruins of a Hindu temple. Since it is an issue about
    which the entire country would like to know the facts, I am
    presenting the same in some detail.

    The excavations at Ayodhya were part of a much larger project
    called ‘Archaeology of the Ramayana Sites’. The primary objective
    was to ascertain the antiquity of this site and compare the same
    with that of the other sites associated with the Ramayana story.
    Thus, it was decided to excavate at Ayodhya as many spots as
    possible to ensure that the lowest levels were not missed.
    Fourteen different areas were chosen for the operations, such as
    Hanuman Garhi, Kaushilya Ghat, Sugriva Tila, etc.; and the
    Janmabhumi area was just one of them.

    In the Janmabhumi area, where there existed the Mandir-Masjid
    complex, a trench was laid out of the southern side of the
    complex, at a distance of hardly four metres from the boundary
    wall. In this trench, just below the surface, parallel rows of
    pillar-foundations, made of bricks and stones, were met with.
    While some of these fell well within the excavated trench, a few
    lay underneath its edge towards the boundary wall of the Mandir-
    Masjid complex. Since affixed to the piers of the Masjid there
    were many pillar-shafts carved with Hindu gods and goddesses, it
    was but natural to enquire if the pillar-foundations encountered
    in the trench had anything to do with the pillars incorporated in
    the mosque, which evidently originally belonged to a temple.
    An overenthusiastic Babri Masjid archaeologist, in his effort to
    deny the entire pillar evidence, published a propaganda booklet
    in which he stated that these were not pillar foundations but
    walls. The most amusing part, however, was that he just drew some
    white lines interconnecting the pillar bases on the photographs
    concerned and thereby wanted us to believe that these were walls.
    What a mockery of archaeology! Another Babri Masjid
    archaeologist, while conceding that these were pillar bases all
    right, suggested that the structure concerned was no more than a
    mere cowshed. No doubt for a person coming from a rural
    background the cowshed idea was a very exciting one, but he
    conveniently overlooked the fact that this structural complex had
    as many as four successive floors made of lime – something
    unheard of in the case of cowsheds.

    On February 10, 1991, while delivering a lecture at Vijayawada on
    the “Ramayana: An archaeological appraisal” to the distinguished
    scholars assembled for the Annual Conference of the Museums
    Association of India, I was asked about the inter-relationship
    between the pillar foundations encountered in the trench
    excavated by me and the stone pillars incorporated in the Babri
    Masjid and further whether there was any temple underneath the
    Masjid. I replied, as any archaeologist would have: if you do
    want to know the reality, the only way is to dig underneath the
    mosque. When this view was published in The Hindustan Times, New
    Delhi, on February 12, 1991, a horde of Babri Masjid historians
    pounced on me accusing that I made this suggestion under the
    impetus of the current Hindutva campaign, and added that Mr.
    Lal by arguing fresh excavations at the site of the Babri Masjid
    in Ayodhya would be fulfilling the demand of those who wanted the
    Babri Masjid to be demolished to construct the temple at that
    site. (The Hindustan Times, February 13, 1991.)

    To the foregoing I issued a rejoinder (The Statesman), February
    18, 1991. Further excavation within the floor area of the Babri
    Masjid without in any way harming the structure is necessary to
    know what actually preceded the mosque at Ayodhya. Why should the
    contending parties shy away from further excavation, unless they
    are afraid of facing the truth? Unfortunately, the foregoing
    suggestion fell on deaf cars and tension between the two parties
    continued to develop.

    Curiously, events take their own course. On December 6, 1992, the
    Babri Masjid was demolished by Kar Sevaks who had assembled in
    thousands at the site. A regrettable event in itself, the
    demolition incidentally brought to light a great deal of
    archaeological material from within the thick walls of the Babri
    structure. It included, besides sculptured panels and images,
    architectural components such as amalaka, sikharas, doorjambs,
    etc., three inscriptions on stone.

    Of the above-mentioned three inscriptions, the largest one,
    inscribed on a 1.10x.56 metre slab and consisting of 20 engraved
    lines, has been published by Professor Ajaya Mitra Shastri of
    Nagpur University in the Puratattva (a reputed scholarly journal
    of the Indian Archaeological Society). No. 23 (1992-93), pp. 35
    ff. (Professor Shastri is a distinguished historian and a
    specialist in epigraphy and numismatics.) The relevant part of
    his paper reads as follows:

    The inscription is composed in high-flown Sanskrit verse, except
    for a small portion in prose, and is engraved in the chaste and
    classical Nagari script of the eleventh-twelfth century AD. It
    was evidently put up on the wall of the temple, the construction
    of which is recorded in the text inscribed on it. Line 15 of
    this, inscription. for example, clearly tells us that a beautiful
    temple of Vishnu-Hari, built with heaps of stone (sila-sam hati-
    grahais) and beautified with a golden spire (hiranya-kalasa-
    srisundaram) unparalleled by any other temple built by earlier
    kings (purvvuirapyakritam kritam nripatibhir) was constructed.
    This wonderful temple (aty-adhutam) was built in the temple-city
    (vibudh- alayni) of Ayodhya situated in the Saketamandala
    (district, line 17) showing that Ayodhya and Saketa were closely
    connected. Saketa being the district of which Ayodhya was a part.
    Line 19 describes god Vishnu as destroying king Bali (apparently
    in the Vamana manifestation) and the ten-headed personage
    (Dasanana i.e. Ravana).

    The inscription speaks for itself and no further comments are
    necessary.

    It has been contended by the Babri Masjid Historians that these
    images, architectural parts and the inscribed slabs had been
    brought by the Kar Sevaks from elsewhere and surreptitiously
    placed there. This contention, however, does not hold good, since
    there are photographs to contradict this stand: for example, the
    two photographs published by India Today on p. 33 of its issue
    dated December 31, 1992. Here, the Kar Sevaks are seen carrying a
    huge stone-slab bearing a very long sculpted frieze, after having
    picked it tip from the debris. The above-mentioned historians
    also allege that the inscription has been forged. This is
    behaving like the Village School Master of Oliver Goldsmith, who,
    hough vanquished would argue still. So many eminent
    epigraphists of the country have examined the inscribed slab and
    not one of them has even remotely thought that the inscription is
    forged.

    In this context, it may not be out of place to mention that
    hundreds of examples are available ofthe destruction of temples
    and incorporation of their material in the mosques. Right in
    Delhi there is the example of the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque (near
    the Qutb Minar) which incorporated parts of a large number of
    temples that had been destroyed. Or at Ajmer, there is the well-
    known Arhai-dinka-jhonpra, presenting a similar picture. From the
    foregoing it is abundantly clear there did exist a twelfth-
    century temple at the site, which was destroyed and some of its
    parts incorporated within the body of the Babri Masjid. Some
    other parts, like the stone-pillars, were placed alongside the
    piers of the Masjid, to show them off. Some other pieces, not
    used in either of the foregoing matter, were thrown away in a
    nearby depression, like the ones recovered by the Public Works
    Department of the Uttar Pradesh Government in June 1992 in the
    course of the leveling of the adjacent area.

    Had my suggestion to carry out trial excavation underneath the
    floor of the mosque without; in any way damaging the structure
    itself been implemented. it would naive averted the disaster. But
    who cares for sane advice? Anyway, let it be remembered that by
    blindfolding yourself you cannot alter facts of history!

  62. No Vinay. The circular logic is inherent in “it is history because it says so” which is how you explained “itihaas” as if somehow that makes the Ramayanas factual.

    And kindly do not see your religion through the prisms of others—-the “myths” of Hinduism (the fantastic flights of fancy) do not become factual just because there are myths in other religions (noone has said that Gabriel is historical) also.

    As to conveniently diverting the logic…yeah right….

    And as to comments about my ego dear sir, even retorting to that feeds the troll in you.

  63. @ Vinay
    “and his al-blog the final word”

    Doesn’t the very fact that your comment was allowed to appear tell you anything? Just because your argument was caught on the wrong foot, you accuse the blog-owner of being unilateral? Not a very mature thing to do!

  64. Pingback: On the Expected Effects of Imbibing the Scientific and the Political Spirit in India « Proses Anonymitus

  65. @hujur:

    i enjoyed that k.p.s gill’s article but i have a major problem with this statement:

    “Secularism means, at once, a distancing of the institutions of governance from communal influence, but also sensitivity towards all religious communities and faiths – not just a particular minority vote-bank.”

    this statement captures the classic confusion of indian secularism.

    the problem with India is that is it hyper-sensitive to muslim sentiments (maybe the influence of the Mahatma on our national pysche) as mr. gill points out.

    but the solution, for crying out loud, is not to be more sensitive to all religions. it is to be less sensitive to muslims and have the others fall in line.

    because at the end of the day, religious sensitivity is faith driven. it does not need to be rational. it may not seem so looking at our politicians but in public discourse we need more logic and less blind faith.

    the quality of indian freedom of expression is very poor as one is constantly reminded to be ‘sensitive’ to religious feelings. an indian can never write or paint as freely as a Western artist. for godssake, jesus is practically a cartoon in western media and a free-for-all for whoever wants to take a pot shot at him.

    when we talk about development and being on par with the West we should think about that too..

  66. @ W.T.F

    Headline from CNN-IBN

    “Ram Setu affidavit: Top ASI officials made Scapegoats”

    Forget freedom of expression, one cannot even do one’s job without hurting somebody’s religious sentiments.

  67. After seeing your responses to comments, I realized I had not got your point yesterday. You seem to have no problem whatsoever with “Ram does not exist’ statement. This is as elitist as one can get.

    You seem to suggest that believing in Lord Ram is a blind belief. The story of Lord Ram has been told, retold, enacted, re-enacted many times over across generations. It has inspired the lives of many. It forms one of the strong pillars of this Indian nation. Ramayan espouses some of the values our culture has traditionally believed in. A story of such significance cannot be a mere figment of imagination. It has to be based on something real. Even if you think otherwise, there is no need to hurt the sentiments of the majority of believers. Yes, we believers are irrational, if that gladdens the hearts of you liberals.

    Also, just because, ASI has no evidence, it can never mean Ram did not exist. This attitude of ASI is suggestive of pure arrogance. The ASI have themselves admitted they have not done any exhaustive research/exploration in this regard.Lack of evidence for Ram’s existence, cannot mean he didn’t exist. Only when you find strong, reasonable evidence to prove that a certain event had not happened, only then you can claim that it did not happen.

    Also, this is a question of faith. Our secularism is religion neutral, not religion agnostic. So the Government CANNOT hurt the faiths and beliefs of any religion.

    With regard to Ram Setu, it bears a strong correlation to what’s mentioned in the Ramayana. With the importance Ramayana has on the lives of Indians (and to an extent non-Indians), Ram Setu is something that has to be preserved. Whether it is natural or man made is immaterial. This is an important monument(or structure) of this nation. Will you tomorrow agree to the demolition of Taj Mahal if Geological Society of India or some other ‘secular scientific’ agency proclaims that there is a huge reserve of Gold beneath it? Think over.

  68. Wow ! Having read all of the above in one sitting, I’m rendered speechless (nearly).
    Clearly somebody did the unthinkable and mentioned the unmentionable (in an affiddavit no less) and now we have the usual political circus with ‘hurt sentiments’.
    I’m with GB on this – the Setu should be saved, it’s wondrous and inspires awe (please see the satellite photos), regardless of whether it was built by monkeys 1.7 million years ago. To all those Ram fans – please note there a millions in the country who think he was a jerk, not least because of what happened to Sita, and that he is not a sympathetic figure at all. A bit of a scoundrel, actually.

    When Harish writes “Ramayan espouses some of the values our culture has traditionally believed in” then I begin to wonder how many people have actually read it (and I don’t mean the Amar Chitra Katha version), as a lot of the values are complete rubbish from a simple humanitarian POV.

    Most people commenting here are educated and probably have a love-hate relationship with religion ie can’t live with it, can’t live you get my drift.
    This is a highly emotive issue, but surely everyone here would agree that Hindusim is dharma and not just itihasa or mithiya…

  69. Hmm. Interesting Topic. But I would not call it sensational. The response of the BJP is knee jerk and expected just as the response of the Left regarding the nuclear deal. It is important that we discern a stance from a personal belief. All political parties worldwide take stances like that for political motives. This controversy say is no different from say an intelligent design controversy in the West. Some people will continue to believe it, some will be skeptical while some will become converts. It does not matter. Sometimes, politicians who preach abstinence are often the ones caught in prostitution/child molestation acts.

    Wheather Ram existed or not is an extremely futile exercise to investigate. In the absence of concrete evidence and also that of a strong negation, it is inevitable that people will slot themselves in various shades of belief- ranging from atheism to firm belief. The atheist of course could not care any less. It could be that Ram and Jesus and Alla were as great as their followers proclaim. But the respective fairy tales do by no means render any proof regarding GOD. So weather a particular fairy tale/claptrap loses its value or becomes redundant or gains credence is of extremely low importance to the atheist.

    The believer of course can come back and say that many people in the modern world believe in many things tangible and intangible which could be something from some cartoon character to some other esoteric feeling. So in this case, he has a right to continue to believe what his original belief was. He may choose to use the same light which was used to cast aspersion on his belief to cast question mark shadows on other belief systems. KPS Gill’s point is therefore a valid one. If something is so entwined within the psyche of a nation, its best left untouched. The findings of the ASI are well conjectures. I dont know why a staunch follower would take them so seriously.

    Too much meddling with the issue may seem to suggest that we are specifically targeting one particular religious community and making every effort to deconstruct their beliefs. In the context of India, could such an examination have been carried out regarding other belief systems without appearing communal or attracting international opprobrium? Well don’t even entertain that thought! You will be attacked from self flagellating liberal writers and bloggers and politicians of left and center who are willing to defame anything Hindu, but always willing to pay a strange sort of silent respect for other religions. The kind of people who take offense to what a SC judge said about the Gita (even though such utterings about God by the other countries presidents don’t perturb them); but shout out “Alla megh de pani de” while fornicating their their wives, just loud enough for their neighbors to hear. Now its all mockery and jest and ridicule; then it will become a shock and religious mind control and propaganda. But again, their responses would be predictable too. In a strange way, it would then cast aspersion on their secular nature as it does to that of a famous person who said:

    “If the Afghans invaded India to wage holy war, the Indian Muhammadans are not only bound to join them but also to fight the Hindus if they refuse to cooperate with them.”

    Pathetic. Self esteem has never reached such a trough. Or maybe thats exactly what being ‘secular’ means. The dictionaries worldwide need an immediate updation.

  70. GB: The circular logic is inherent in “it is history because it says so” which is how you explained “itihaas” as if somehow that makes the Ramayanas factual.

    ————
    GB dear… read my post carefully. I did not ever say “it is history because the word itihaas means so and so”. you are putting those words to me … prove me otherwise.. quote me.. instead, all I posted was don’t call it mythology (until proven that it is in its entirety a myth)… the same thing that u are telling me – don’t view Hindu terms through the prism of western terminology

    And you never properly answered my question of whether or not Christianity and Islam completely falls into the circular logic .. scared that a fatwa will be issued on you ? or a US state department report saying al-blog does not allow religious freedom ?

    And the “myths in Hinduism” ( the closest equivalent I can think of is “Puranas” ) – dear dear… Hinduism does not depend only on these “myths”. In fact even scriptures including the Vedas only form, a small part in the bigger scheme of things. The philosophical side is so strong, and all the legends and puranas are more for the emotional side or the bhakti side…

    The whole basis of Islam will be shaken if “what is believed as history” is proved wrong.. same with Christianity … but with Hinduism, it is different.. the highest truth presented in such works as Upanishads and so on does not depend on the historicity of anyone ..

  71. http://rajivmalhotra.sulekha.com/blog/post/2003/03/problematizing-god-s-interventions-in-history.htm

    Itihas ¹ History

    Itihas is not literal history in the Western sense. Itihas is a view of the past that is continually updated, based on the present context. As Shrinivas Tilak explains, [52]

    “Hindus see the arrival of Sri Rama as a Grand Narrative (Ramayana) that is made up of symbols woven into dramatized ritual and narrative. But itihas (which traditionally comprises of Ramayana and Mahabharata) is not a question of either myth or history for it includes both. History is a linear mode of experience, relating primarily to the left-brain literal knowledge. Myth, on the other hand, is a creative and aesthetic mode of experience that derives from the right-brain, reflecting a holistic mode of consciousness. Just as the left and the right sides of the brain are bridged to act as one, so in itihas, both myth and history are subsumed.”

    Hence, there are many Ramayanas across India, Thailand, Indonesia, and other places, and these have changed several times. Even in Thailand, there are towns named Ayodhya, because the villagers have constructed their itihas to believe that Lord Rama lived in their midst. Bali has a monkey forest, whose monkeys are believed to be descendents of Hanuman’s army. Local inhabitants who are unable to travel to the Ganga treat the Godavri and Narmada rivers as their Ganga for many rituals. Many Hindus in UK treat the river Thames as their local Ganga, without any sense of transgression.

    Not being handcuffed to literalist history, itihas is pliable, fluid, and allows many versions, with no compulsion to find “one true canon.” Therefore, Western projects to write “critical editions” of Indian itihas are inherently flawed. Madeleine Biardeau cogently argued this for the Mahâbhârata (against V. Sukthankar)[53]. By a forced mapping onto Western notions of history, such projects would alter Indic traditions, in the same manner as many 19th century colonial interventions re-engineered Indian society, narratives and identities. This is cultural imperialism.

    Itihas is more about identity and continuity with one’s ancestors. Itihas is not seen as a necessary condition for spiritual truth-claims, because there have always been many mainstream Indian spiritual movements with no reliance upon itihas. Vaishnavism, as one of many ways of being a Hindu, comes closest to having a Grand Narrative of God’s interventions in human history, i.e. via the avatars of Vishnu. But even Vaishnavism accepts multiple avatars, and the puranas are able to adapt to include Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed as avatars — because of the pliable nature of itihas. itihas is like an ecosystem of narratives, in which new peoples may incorporate their own narratives in a mutually respectful manner.

    Finally, Shiva’s dance is completely ahistorical. It is the universe. There is no question of a specific time or place where a “unique” intervention by Shiva occurred, because Shiva’s Shakti is engaged with us at all times and in all places, and is immanent in, and as the universe.

    Having said all this, itihas can also include literal historiography in the Western sense, especially in mundane human events[54].

  72. It’s a well thought out ‘political back-tracking’. Votes on religious planks come first, leave alone the 30 % fuel savings on every trip from India’s east coast to west coast. With the possibility of polls looming large even Madam couldn’t help but retreat.

  73. @ Ravi

    I wasn’t caught on any wrong foot… the al-blogger is attributing wrong statements to me and deviating away from the topic … a typical al-tactic ….

  74. @ Ravi Ivaturi:

    it’s sad that a scientist has to pay the political price for what is an academically correct opinion.

    but given the fact that people in india are encouraged to be hyper-sensitive someone in the ASI or their supervising Culture/Law Minstry should have understood what the implications of such a blatantly insensitive comment would be.

    Yes.. Lord Ram not existing proves that he couldnt have built the bridge.. but come on.. you expect the Parivar to take that lying down?

    @ harish:

    is your faith so weak that the Supreme Court or the ASI can decide for you whether Ram exists? do you need scientific proof for the existence of Ram?

    and pray [pun intended] what is the difference between “religion neutral, not religion agnostic”? do you not see the mess that ‘respect all religions’ has led india into?

    Let’s just stick the facts here. Lord Ram’s real existence is irrelevant. That fact remains there is a formation which people believe has religious significance.

    it is a political question about whether such sensitivities should be indulged by the State and what the larger consequences of tolerating religious sensitivities when it comes to development..

    I would like to suggest that one can take the side of development without being called names.

    @ yourfan2:

    like a lot of people you’re confusing two issues..

    quoting the condemnation of a SC judge (though he was a HC judge of the Allahabad High Court who earlier held that muslims are not a minority in UP) you again want to tell us that there are double standards when it comes to hindus and muslims.

    we are more than aware of that. does this mean that no one can comment on the appropriateness of religious sensitivity of hindus? even those people who condemn the muslims and christains when they are upto their antics?

    the me-too kind of competitive intolerance that this country is sliding into is worrying. from reservation to state patronage of religion, i hope you understand that.

    sensitive people are easier to manipulate politically. think about that.

  75. Pingback: Rama Setu: bombing Ramayana and asking for s’aranaagati « Hinducivilization

  76. @sator or whatever

    Ram is “A bit of a scoundrel, actually”. wah!!!
    you commented like that because “This is a highly emotive issue”. brilliant!!!
    i guess you also fall in that category of “militant atheism = marxism = progressiveness” bong culture. wake up dude. see what has happened to ur bongland because of ur and ur master’s militant atheism. its 3nd poorest state in india.

  77. Title: ‘Facts of history cannot be altered’
    Author: Prof. B. B. Lal
    Publication: The Hindu
    Date: July 1, 1998

    Prof. B. B. Lal, Director General (Retd.),
    Archaeological Survey of India writes:

    …………………………………..

    In regard to the first allegation, let me make it
    absolutely clear that at no point of time did I every
    say that there was no evidence about the
    “historicity” of the Ramayana story. My first paper
    on the subject appeared in 1981 in Antiquity, a
    renowned research journal published from
    Cambridge, England. In 1988 the ICHR organised
    an international seminar in New Delhi at which I
    presented a 60-page paper entitled ‘Historicity of
    the Mahabharata and the Ramayana: What has
    archaeology to say in the matter?’ Finding in it
    something that went counter to their views, the
    then authorities of the ICHR withheld the
    publication of the paper. Thereafter. when another
    journal published it, there was a great hue and cry,
    as if the heavens had fallen.

    Anyway, in 1993 came
    out my first volume under the project
    ‘Archaeology of the Ramayana sites’. In it I
    categorically restated “The combined evidence
    from all five sites excavated under the project
    shows that there did exist a historical basis for the
    Ramayana.”………

  78. If the ASI has balls ask them to publish a finding that Jesus & Prophet Mo did not exist as there is no historical evidence that Jesus was conceived without 2 people having SEX or of Prophet Mo flying to heaven in a 7 winged horse or some shit like that.

  79. By the grace of Vishnu, the more they deny Rama his existence the more he becomes a true inkaar-nate in the non-believer’s mind! “Mara Mara” turns into “Rama Rama”…

    Verifying aquisition of “knowledge of existence” of a past person is never easy — here are Hussain’s “ex nihilo” epistemic idom in art — what if these images are the only ones of Mother Teresa (also known for a few miracles) that survive in future?

    http://art.indiatimes.com/art/showbigpic.jsp?pid=art1025
    http://www.indianartcollectors.com/view-details.php?arid=2150

    Can we have a popular perception (like the caring mother, the purushottama king) without a historical person at its core? Or, as in Rama’s case, have a huge amount of subcontinental (and beyond) literature that is also quite uniquely in a travelogue format charting (like the Bible) several physical features in India that exist by those names till this day (Sarayu river, Dandaka forest, tribal zones, etc.)? Indeed the persistence of these names can be attributed to their very connection to Ramayana. Ram setu apart, it is willful (or Arjunsinghesque) to undermine the historical value (if not merit) of such a pan-Indic survey of ancient India.

  80. @wtf
    My belief need not be certified by ASI or Supreme Court. But then a statement like ‘Ram does not exist’ from the Government has to be opposed as it was opposed. Faith is not something that can be verified by archaeologists. Faith forms the basis of religions. And having faith in God has not hurt national development at any time. So if you don’t believe in God don’t hurt other’s beliefs. As simple as that. Constitution guarantees us freedom of religion and in turn the freedom to have our beliefs. If that faith is hurt intentionally, as was the case with the Government’s statement, there will be a reaction. And as is very evident from this case, that reaction can always be avoided. By hurting faith, the Government has not achieved any purpose. You have to be a believer to understand this.
    My dear, ‘liberal-intellectual’, there is a marked difference between what I call religion-neutral and religion-agnostic. While the former respects all religions equally, the latter does not allow any religion to be practiced.
    And I still don’t understand what’s development? Tomorrow, if a ‘scientific survey’ finds that there is a huge reserve of Gold under Taj Mahal that can eliminate poverty in Uttar Pradesh, will you advocate it’s demolition? Please think and thinking is something you bleeding-heart-liberals claim exclusive possession.

  81. @ harish:

    “Faith is not something that can be verified by archaeologists.”

    Agreed completely. So how can you expect archaeologists to say Lord Ram exists? It’s like objecting to a deaf person not being able to appreciate a sitar maestro.

    “And having faith in God has not hurt national development at any time.”

    it’s a beautiful thing to say but.. really? does religious self-determination mean anything to you? [hint: basis for the formation of Pakistan]. do i really need to say more?

    “If that faith is hurt intentionally, as was the case with the Government’s statement, there will be a reaction.”

    reaction is fine. if you are offended please speak out and protest. but i hope you’re not justifying violence and destruction of public property as a legitimate response to provocation in a democracy. Like Rajiv Gandhi did during the anti-sikh riots.

    Nobody is saying that India should be ban religion. Rather the question is.. how far should religious sensitivity be tolerated with regard to legal/public rights?

    in india.. artistic freedom bends to religious sensitivity. people burst crackers and blare namaaz near hospitals. kirtans go on till late at night keeping people awake.

    i just think its wrong for people to assume that any goes in the name of religion. that religious sensitivity is be all and end all and more important that peoples lives and livelihoods. at the same time, if you want to believe it please do. but in your own time and space.

    p.s. taj is not a religious monument. its just built by a muslim. let’s say the gold was under the jama masjid. first of all i’d convert to islam because if after oil, Allah is showering gold on muslims they must be onto something. but seriously..

    if india was secular we’d move the jama masjid, nationalize the gold (cause if it’s not very deep it probably belongs to the wakf) despite the cries of bloody murder. if like large hearted people like you and Gandhi , we respect religious sensitivity to the point where it hurts us – we stay poor.

  82. big h
    Sep 15th, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    @sator or whatever

    Ram is “A bit of a scoundrel, actually”. wah!!!
    you commented like that because “This is a highly emotive issue”. brilliant!!!
    i guess you also fall in that category of “militant atheism = marxism = progressiveness” bong culture. wake up dude. see what has happened to ur bongland because of ur and ur master’s militant atheism. its 3nd poorest state in india.

    @big h

    The highly emotive issue is religion, and Ram is not all religion. Your guess is wrong, and the formula is meaningless, dude. You sound confused.

  83. @Vinay
    I mirror your views. (also on the fact that GB is side-stepping the issues you raise, attributing phrases to you..blah blah ).
    You know what, GB is a good writer, writes a lot of funny as well as serious stuff, but hates to be contradicted. Accept it 🙂 The mistake we commonly do is that we tend to like his writings so much that we end up taking his documents as an official document forgetting the fact that its just his blog and he has the right to write whatever he likes to write.
    Nevertheless GB, good that you started this discussion, but we all see where the discussion is leading to (rediff strikes a bell?)

  84. @Mrinal and Vinay:

    I have expressed my views on my own webspace—-now if you do not want to be contradicted or read POVs that do not agree with yours , the choice is simple and self-evident. Dont come here. I find it funny when people like you say “I stick to my views”—I dont see you and Vinay kneeling over and changing. So why do you expect me to? It seems that, rather than me, it’s you who hate to be contradicted and have your beliefs (about Rama’s historic existence) “questioned” which explains the rather stringent tone of your comments—–as Ravi pointed out the mere fact that your comments see the light of day (unlike some other blogs where you, like everyone else, would have to pass through a moderation queue) is proof that I do not mind opposing views.

    “and yes “itihaasa” in sanskrit means “this is how it happened” … everyone including GB is being brainwashed by the english education to call it “mythology”

    FYI This above is what Vinay said here https://greatbong.net/2007/09/13/rama-rama/#comment-333200

    I found that rather circular—-mythology labeling itself as history and people citing that self-defining assertion as some sort of “proof” of the myth’s authenticity.

    As to the question asked by Vinay “And you never properly answered my question of whether or not Christianity and Islam completely falls into the circular logic .. scared that a fatwa will be issued on you ? or a US state department report saying al-blog does not allow religious freedom ?”

    I think I answered it….stop defining yourself on the basis of the irrationalities of the others. If someone had tried to claim that Jesus walked on water as historic fact or that Mohammed was visited by angels as undisputed “historic” truth then yes I would find it as ridiculous. And yes if the Pope declares that the Bible means in Latin that “this is history” [I know it does not] which is why it automatically becomes history, then yes I would call that circular reasoning also.

  85. Under normal circumstances, only the philosophers (mainly the epistemology guys) and the physicists (mainly the statistical guys) care to bother a lot about reality — and they may agree most often on its phenomenological nature, i.e., as but a function of human consciousness.

    Therefore the function not just evolves (with time), but is also hard to pin down (i.e. specify among various “probabilities”) — being an independent yet conscious observer — even at a particular time-point — much less over a time-frame. Hence “factual accuracy” — poor man’s ‘reality’ — is left to such soft sciences as sociology and history — they keep playing their journalistic “whoodunit-iiigotit” games. Often the latter guys are much better off flatly reporting their “facts”, which makes them quite good (but very dull) at their jobs.

    The only logically acceptable way of proving identity of an object — as distinct from the rest — is by using self-reference: I can — with the dint of my own existence — prove (recursively upward) that of my choddo purush et al. I call it the “tarpan” trick — it started with Cantor’s Set Theory and, as you know, is indeed a common trick in mathematical logic. Everything else — including personal photographs — is logically circumstantial and circumspect.

    Nobody else, therefore, in the right mind should bother more about historical accuracy than the government-paid historians/judges/clerics — let’s pity the ‘kerani’-s of truth. After all, in this world the intelligent are chock-full of doubt and the Arjunsinghs are ever cock-sure.

  86. @S.Pyne: Wouldn’t DNA evidence obviate the need for self-referential proof of ancestorhood? [Forgive me if the question does not make sense—this is based on my rather vague understanding of what you are trying to say.]

  87. @ S Pyne

    “Therefore the function not just evolves (with time), but is also hard to pin down (i.e. specify among various “probabilities”) — being an independent yet conscious observer — even at a particular time-point — much less over a time-frame.”

    Did you just bring quantum physics into the discussion- (wave) function that follows a probability distribution, independent observers…? That’s a new dimension you have added that had been hitherto missed by everyone else. May be the Adam’s bridge was indeed built by Lord Rama in a parallel universe 🙂

  88. As an aside, a friend was telling me about his visit to Dhanushkodi, and he said that you can see Lanka from there, and it didn’t seem impossible that people could have built a bridge across!

    More importantly, I was in a bit of doubt yesterday – to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi or not – Supreme Court still hasn’t told me if God exists!

  89. @ S. Pyne:

    Yes but if one looks at if from another paradigm then the inherent didactic process becomes quite evident. furthermore, if the angle of the hypotenuse is calculated via integration and not differentiation along with doing sirsh ashan regularly at 4:45 am then reality will become evident.

  90. There is a bengali book called “Ramayan e Debshibir” which has a very scientific attitude to look at Ramayana. I do not remember the author’s name but if anyone finds that can go through. Apart from the overtly danikennian nature of the writing I found it quite interesting.

  91. sounds odd…. :-$

    “People imagined that once upon a time there lived a crow and a jackal…”
    “People imagined that once upon a time lord krishna…”
    “People imagined that once upon a time there lived a rabbit and a tortoise…”

  92. What I learned in the past hour I spent on reading the discussions above:

    1. The bridge should not be distroyed as it was made by Lord Rama with his monkey(?) army.

    2. The bridge should not be distroyed because of its (uncertain/certain) ecological significance.

    3. The bridge should be distroyed because ASI says Ram’s existence is questionable historically.

    4. The bridge should be distroyed because it would lead to untold riches for the region.

    5. The bridge should be destroyed because devout hindus = ultra nationalists destroying the nation, and there is no place for such stuff and who cares of what they think as most of them don’t know proper history.

    6. The bridge should not be destroyed as it hurts the sentiments of devout hindus and they have the right to feel and say anything they want and the rest of the populace don’t know proper itihaas.

    7. People should know the difference between history and itihaas in the Indian context.

    8. People should know that history and itihaas mean the same in any context.

    9. Learn Sanskrit guys.

    10. GB’s blog is not a blog…..its an al-blog.

    11. WB is the third poorest state in the country and going to the dogs because of its intellectuals.

    12. Itihaas is a fluid while history is solid.

    13. Existence can only be proved using self referential recursive functions with a heavy dose of probability theory in a parallel universe.

    ….India is an amazing country with an amazing variety and depth of opinions.

    I love my India!!!!

  93. I’m not into Art of living nor a religious fanatic, so its a little funny that i, till the point of reading Shri Shri Ravi Shankars reply was about to say the same thing. Ramayana is classified as an Itehasa, like the Mahabharata, which means it is not fiction but a record of history.
    Some people believe what they read in newspapers. Some people believe what they read in scriptures. After two years of active journalism, i must say i feel more inclined to trust the latter than the former.

  94. What are the chances of ASI and the Govt. of India researching whether the Quran was really revealed to Muhammad by the “Angel” Gabriel or if Hesus really came back from Hades, and while at it, will they take a look at that “virgin birth” assertion made by Hesus Mama…?

  95. Just from an economic point of view, that Canal is supposed to aid maritime traffic betn the West & East Coast of India; so lets say from Mumbai to Calcutta; Has the Govt done any economic surveys to compare costs of transportation over land as compared to via the sea route.

    Also there is no major international port bar Vizag on the East coast of India at all. Even now major Containers and tankers have to dock in Colombo (Deep enough to allow large vessels ) and offload to smaller vessels which sail to East Indian ports.

    maybe they should get this infrastructure in place before going on making these moronic statements.

  96. Today’s HINDU reported this (http://www.hindu.com/2007/09/17/stories/2007091760000400.htm)

    Ramayana is not a myth: S.R. Rao

    His excavations near Dwaraka found parts of the town where Lord Krishna lived .
    ‘Discovery of the submerged Kusasthali Dwaraka is a historical truth’

    ‘Tradition depicts Hampi in Karnataka as Kishkindha, a place visited by Rama’
    ——————————————————————————–
    Bangalore: President of the Society for Marine Archaeology in India S.R. Rao said that Ramayana cannot be dismissed as a myth, just as it was done earlier in the case of Mahabharata.

    In a press release, the former scientist emeritus said that the discovery of the submerged Kusasthali Dwaraka is a historical truth now and the experts had dubbed Mahabharata as a myth.

    Neolithic culture
    In the case of Ramayana, he said strong tradition depicts Hampi in Karnataka as Kishkindha, which was visited by Rama. The culture of Kishkindha at that time was of Neolithic levels, it said.
    Prof. Rao, who undertook deep-sea excavations near Dwaraka, discovered the submerged parts of the town where Krishna lived when he was director of National Institute of Oceanography.
    He said that the culture (seen in Kishkindha) has several Neolithic sites spread over Patapadu and Pusalpadu in Bellary district. Another important site is Bandi Pushala Chenu in Bellary-Kurnool area where excavations of the Harappan steatite wheel-like beads are found.
    These beads occur in all Harappan sites as early as 3000 BC.

    Weapons
    Bithur near Kanpur, a traditional Ramayana site, had yielded weapons of the culture, archeologically designated as ochre-coloured pottery, ranging from 1500 to 2000 BC or even 3000 BC near Ghaneswar in Rajasthan.
    Excavations at the Neolithic culture site at Mahagara in the Belan valley of Uttar Pradesh yielded rice dated around 4000 BC.
    Further north-west in Pakistan, the cotton growing Neolithic culture is 7,000 years old (5000 BC). When Rama came to Kishkindha, the Vanaras were the same Neolithic people, whose help he took, said Prof. Rao.
    The archaeological dating of Neolotihic culture ranged from 4000 BC in Uttar Pradesh to 7600 BC in pre-Harappan sites of Pakistan. On this basis, Ramayana should be dated at least to 3000 BC, if not earlier.

    Core of truth
    The Mahabharata, he said, mentioned Ramayana, while the Ramayana did not mention Mahabharata. There is no negative evidence to say that Ramayana was a myth.
    Ramayana is built on a core of truth depicting the life of a particular people and period, Prof. Rao added.

  97. GB, a good technical point. Yes sir, DNA can help me to get to my ancestors, but again by using self-reference, i.e. by matching with my own DNA, and by the argument of mathematical induction applied to genome conservation. (Indeed, quite a serendipity here that you asked, my upper floor colleague Aviv Regev (who’s brilliant) and I (who’s not) have for some time been trying (independently) to re-trace the history of evolution in different species, and she has made a wonderful breakthrough last week — http://www.broad.mit.edu/cgi-bin/news/display_news.cgi?id=3781)

    My point, a bit obscure, wasn’t meant to be so; provided that the reality is thoroughly “understood” as a product of human consciousness (which also conjures up the notion of ‘time’ to allow historical referencing), it makes little common sense to accept the historical reality of the event ‘Gotama became the Buddha in 528 BCE’ merely due to the precise quantification ‘in 528 BCE’ and not due to the imprecise qualification ‘became the Buddha.’ As a consequence of the reality in this sentence, it would be an utter waste of time to dissect the “truth” of ‘in 528 BCE’ for anybody other than a History-PhD student. As UPA volte face shows us, and as a good lesson for us at that, this is all shallow politicking, hardly an opportunity for nation-wide scientific/historical/philosophical inquiry anyway.

  98. I had thought that I would not comment again, but the sheer wtf-ness of some of the comments force me to…

    @Kaangeya:

    “The vanaras were not (dhoti clad) monkeys. They were very similar to the human beings of the day, just a little different. Some of them – the primates – had a prehensile tail (like the Hanuman/Sugriva/Angada clan) while others like Jambavan were ursine.”

    Very similar to humans? But different? Same species? If different, can we assume that all children born were impotent? So many questions whirl through mind at your awesome comment… 🙂

    @Chatterji and many others…

    “I wonder if the UPA would make any statement questioning the immaculate conception of Mary…”

    That is not the point. If the ASI officials are true to their profession, then indeed they would question everything that is archaeologically unproven regardless of religion. Why do we assume that the ASI would question only Hindu beliefs? How many ASI officials do we know? In fact as far as I remember some officials from the same ASI actually said that the Babri Masjid was indeed built on a temple.

    That’s archeology. Now whether that temple was Ram’s birthplace is a different issue.

    @ Hara hara bom bom

    “The issue is whether there is consistent treatment of all religions.”

    No it isn’t. That’s YOUR issue. The real issue is whether Adam’s Bridge is a) man made, and if yes, b) has it an historical connection with Ram.

    Everything else is your coloring of the situation. The rest of your comment is the usual crap.

    @ Ravi Ivaturi

    “I think, the fundamental issue here, is the aura of reverential untouchability we create around our religious beliefs.”

    I could not agree more! Sometimes I wonder what happened to the scientific temper we were all taught to develop when we were growing up. Where is the questioning attitude? Most of the so-called educated people commenting on this blog, many more qualified, older than me, seem to have lost themselves in the miasma of dogma rather than rationality. It saddens and anguishes me.

    @ Hara hara bom bom

    “There is a high correlation between the number of mosques today & low I.Q. levels”

    Really?

    Yeah, I know you said you “clarified” but actually you clarified nothing. All you did was draw some sort of a tenuous causal relationship between the number of mosques and poverty. But with IQ? None.

    Of course that was intended. And expected from you.

    There are others on this forum, (like Rishi Khujur and Hujur) who I consistently disagree with in discussions about religion. But I respect their erudition and their ability to debate. But you and your pure vitriolic hate mongering is undeserving of any respect. You are basically a thug – a Pravin Togadia / Vinay Katiyar type. You will feel proud of those tags, I am sure. Personally there is no greater insult I can give another person.

    Of course the fact that your comment had nothing to do with the topic is a given. After all you are the guy who saw global anti-Hindu conspiracies in a funny movie review!

  99. @Rishi Khujur (and several others…)

    “If the Congress/Left/sundries can divide Hindus on all possible lines and corner their share of critical votes, while keeping Muslim and Christian votes intact, by pandering to their selfish interests, SO BE IT.”

    There is no doubt that minority appeasement is a real problem in the country. However, that should not cause us to get into “if they are appeased, so should we be” self-defeating mode. If we are against appeasement, then we have to take a principled stand against ALL appeasement. Period. Otherwise it’s like saying – “I am against reservations, unless I also gain from it.”

    @Vinay:

    “and yes “itihaasa” in sanskrit means “this is how it happened” … everyone including GB is being brainwashed by the english education to call it “mythology”…”

    As far as my knowledge goes, “itihaas” means “history”. No one calls History, Mythology, and definitely not Greatbong. The Ramayana may partly be historical, but sure even you would agree that many of the fanciful and supernatural elements are mythological in nature?

    What do you call the Ramayana? History? And how do you prove that? By faith? Sorry, that won’t do. You have to do better than that.

    “Not being handcuffed to literalist history, itihas is pliable, fluid, and allows many versions, with no compulsion to find “one true canon.”

    Very convenient. Itihaas is pliable, fluid, and allows many versions. I would add, ergo it is NOT History. And therefore, mythology.

    And another thing: I find it fascinating that you are calling this one an “al-blog”. Speaks volumes about your intolerance when you give such an appellation to one of the most inclusive blogs in the blogosphere. Even a cursory reading of the comments section gives away the sheer stupidity of your comment. If this were the al-blog, your illogical rant wouldn’t be published.

    @Mrinal Mukherjee:

    “I mirror your views. (also on the fact that GB is side-stepping the issues you raise, attributing phrases to you..blah blah ).”

    You only mirror his stupidity. And the total lack of understanding of rationality. GB has answered all his points and more cogently then he (or you) can obviously comprehend.

    @Harish:

    “My belief need not be certified by ASI or Supreme Court. But then a statement like ‘Ram does not exist’ from the Government has to be opposed as it was opposed. Faith is not something that can be verified by archaeologists.”

    Another example of an illogic that stands in for logic – “has to be opposed as it was opposed.” Pray why does it have to be opposed? And if archaeologists cannot verify faith why do you expect them to? See the problem in tour expectations?

    I suspect what you really want to say is – “No one can question my God. Period.” Right? Sounds very Talibanistic to me.

    ___________________________

    Finally, I am appalled at some of the vitriol being spewed in the comment board here, and ones directed against Arnab. Even people who have traditionally been happy purveyors of Arnab’s immense writing talent, seem to have turned against him because he commented on a matter of “faith”. I have myself clashed with him a number of times on religion and other issues, but no where have I seen the kind of tripe put down here, by so called educated people, under a veneer of faux-intellectuality.

    So many people seem to be driven by faith rather than reason that I find myself in a despairing minority. So how is this “faith” a unifying or positive force? All it seems to lead to is negativity, virulence and vitriol! (This is an al-blog?!? What the f***!!! That has to be the most unintentionally funny and mendacious comment of all time here. Take a bow Vinay, you moron.)

    The original point, of whether people have the right to question faith seems to have been lost in a whirlwind of political accusations and anti-Muslim/Christian hatred.

    The discussion keeps coming to the area of minority appeasement instead of the right of scientists / archaeologists / anyone to questions matters of faith. There is a whole discussion to have had on that area, I agree. Appeasement is a growing problem, I agree. But does the ASI still have a right to say that there is no historical basis for the existence of Ram? Yes, I think they do. As do you and I and everyone else on this message board.

    The simple point is this:

    Do we agree with the freedom of expression and belief? Or do we subjugate those to an intangible called “faith”? If we decide that faith is too important, too fragile, too precious, too sacred, too holy to question, how do we then differentiate ourselves from often-decried-always-exampled violently right wing tendencies and religions censorship of other religions?

    We become the evil we all oppose.

  100. @Shan
    “But then a statement like ‘Ram does not exist’ from the Government has to be opposed as it was opposed.” – This is not illogical. What I meant was, if you intentionally hurt people’s faith, you will have to face the reaction it will generate too. Faith is something personal too. So you have be careful to people’s sensitivities when dealing with faith.
    Yes faith cannot be certified by ASI. And I do not expect them to certify too. But the sort of statements they have made is willful hurting of people’s faith. This is something they could have avoided. They achieved nothing by their insensitivity. Insensitivity naturally angers those hurt by it. Most people in this country are religious and matters of faith are very sensitive to them.
    If you find this utterly logical conclusion Talibanistic, I cannot say anything. I do not condescend to such cheap name-calling or labeling of others opinions. But what I find distressing is people like you brand someone as Talibanistic whenever he/she supports a Hindu cause.

  101. Shan wrote, “There is no doubt that minority appeasement is a real problem in the country. However, that should not cause us to get into “if they are appeased, so should we be” self-defeating mode. If we are against appeasement, then we have to take a principled stand against ALL appeasement. Period.”.

    Rishi’s response
    Thanks for that….finally.
    Hope, next time we have a debate again, you will support application of Uniform Civil Code for all citizens of India.

  102. @ Harish
    “But then a statement like ‘Ram does not exist’ from the Government has to be opposed as it was opposed.” – This is not illogical. What I meant was, if you intentionally hurt people’s faith, you will have to face the reaction it will generate too. Faith is something personal too. So you have to be careful to people’s sensitivities when dealing with faith.”
    You may be reacting a little emotionally there… Look, ASI had a job to do; on the face of it, they needed to take an unambiguous position about Adam’s bridge. If they’d merely said the bridge was not man-made, possibly a few devout (with some help from VHP/RSS) would have jumped up and said, “Ya, we know that, the bridge was a miracle and divinely engineered”. So, you see, they had to take a position about the historical authenticity (or the lack of) of Ramayana and its alleged connection to Adam’s bridge, probably in order to pre-empt any creative & imaginary objections. Hurting people’s faith is only a collateral damage and not willful as you seem to suggest.

  103. @Ravi
    Please read my previous comments for answering you.
    Also, I have spoken about my views on Ram Setu on my blog too. It will be too repetitive to say the same things over here again.

  104. @ Harish
    “Please read my previous comments for answering you.”

    I have & that’s why I am posting a response to your views. My simple point is this- Your contention of willful hurting by ASI is an unwarranted assumption on your part and possibly an emotional reaction. Wearing kid gloves may not be functionally feasible all the time.

  105. @Rishi Khujur:

    Why are you surprised? This only proves you have read me wrong all this time, blinded as you have been with your own biases. I have always been in favor of an Uniform Civil Code. I will support any party that dares to implement it (not that any one will, not in India). Just because I refuse to brand Muslims as terrorists or anti-Indian en masse, or call Islam names, doesn’t mean I am in favor of appeasement.

    This is a common problem with you right wingers. When anyone takes the middle ground or tries to take a moderate position vis-a-vis Muslims and Hindus, you are quick to brand them as Marxist / pseudo secularists / bleeding heart liberals etc. As if this is a binary situation without any possible grey areas.

    I have nothing in common with the dratted communists who support appeasement of the “unfortunate minorities” over progress and common sense. I am ashamed for India given the way they scuttled the Nuclear deal. I have admittedly even less in common with the virulent strain of nationalism that says – “India is for the Hindus”. I am also ashamed for India given the way they opposed the Nuclear deal. So there.

    What I am, is completely against any special accommodation made in the name of religion or caste.

    I refuse to brand a religion as “bloodthirsty” and another as “tolerant”. If that makes me a liberal, well then so be it. I am proud to be one. “Liberal” is not a dirty word. It never will be. “Fundamentalist”, on the other hand, will always be one.

  106. Contrary to what severel people fear, the ASI’s statement did not lower my opinion of Ram or his existence- if that is what most people fear! For me he has been a role model since the time we were kids. I am not a hindu, and let me tell those who dont already know, the very existence of Christ is denied by Judaism. It has been so since the time Christianity came into being, it is still the case till now. That doesnt mean both religions cannot coexist! The reason why life coexists is because many a Christian doesnt treat christ like his “jagir” much like Krishna will be to you as you want him to be- he will be a friend/lover/guide/master/enemy just as you see him. As someone rightly pointed out, in the west anybody can take his pot at Jesus- but he will be what he has alwys been in the heart that holds him! and so will any such spiritual being that one revers. This is the beauty of spiritualty.

    The report never mattered to me whether Ram existed or not, for me he was just there. But reading some of the views published here has left me stunned! So much hatred! and that too from people who supposedly are followers of the same Ram who was known for his patience, kindness, the first man who broke the rules of untouchability, a man of humility, obedience, marital fidelity. I am shocked at how these same people can mock religous concepts of the resurrection, transfiguration or the Miraj in the same breadth as they condemn the ASI for not being sensitive enough. I am sure if it were the case of any other religion too, the ASI will not back down from offering its report. On one hand I am glad we have entities like the ASI, science researches and even the Supreme Court that independently take stances because that goes to show we are not a sham democracy! while on the other hand i feel like Im increasingly a part of the minority that actually supports these entities.

  107. @ shan:

    while you have hurt my sensitivity by using the term ‘wtf-ness’ as a synonym for obtuseness..

    “Just because I refuse to brand Muslims as terrorists or anti-Indian en masse, or call Islam names, doesn’t mean I am in favor of appeasement.”

    agree with your whole comment…

    thunderous applause!

  108. @ anna:

    you are not in the minority.

    because we have huge numbers of all types of people in India we also have a lot of people who believe that religion is more important than rule of law. even people who believe than violence and abuse are justified in order to defend their faith.

    even though there area large numbers of these people and they cut across all religions- they are the minority.

    India is a liberal democracy because the vast majority of people want it that way. and because of that it is going to stay that way. no amount of trishul waving or fatwa issuing is going to change that.

  109. @Rishi:

    “Hope, next time we have a debate again, you will support application of Uniform Civil Code for all citizens of India.”

    Yes. That’s one of the bugbears to all secular people. I do wish that the government had the gumption to really be the secular government it claims to be. Instead we get a token-minority-appeasment-cum-close-your-eyes-and-hope-the-anti-minority-riot-didn’t-happen type of secularism.

    But how does it really fit into this discussion? Isn’t this just diverting the topic away from Shan’s rather impressive critique of the viewpoint that faith justifies going against scientific evidence? Where is your rational counter-argument to that?

    To everyone who believes that faith is more important than scientifically proven fact

    If faith was more important than scientific facts, we would still believe in a flat world (which 99.99% of people believed at the time of Columbus), or that the Earth was at the centre of the Universe. I seem to recall that the Church tried it’s very best one to suppress the work of scientists who tried to present evidence to the contrary.

    And we are making exactly the same mistake – letting faith over-ride the evidence that the ‘bridge’ is natural and that it’s existance has got nothing to do with the possibly historical existance of a king called Rama.

    Put it in this way, if my faith makes me believe that every one of you should be killed for not believing in my faith, your women should be raped, and the few we deign to spare be forcibly converted, then you’d call me a fanatic Hindu/ Muslim/ Christian/ Jew/ Communist – chose whatever you wish. If my faith makes me believe that the world was created by a cosmic dance of the Anopheles mosquito, and hence it is heresy to kill mosquitos, and divinely ordained that all humans should get malaria, then you’d call me a loony.

    Essentially, my dear friend, faith is OK, as long as it matches our own. Anything else is heresy/ stupidity/ criminal.

    Instead, scientific rationality means examining the evidence impartially and drawing conclusions based on logic. Science demands that no view be held dogmatically and even the most ‘accepted’ opinion be changed in view of evidence to the contrary.

    If the Sethusamudran project is opposed (as some have done) on scientific/economic grounds – like the potential ecological damage, or the possibility that re-deposit of sand will quickly block the channel once again, or the economic benefit of the lesser travel time is less than the cost of the project, then this could be debated and the pros and cons rationally evaluated before coming to a decision.

    Instead – we have people who have serious problem with comprehending a metaphor in a myth (which may have a kernel of historic fact hidden among the hyperbole) and history. I find the Ramayana and Mahabharata greater works of literature than the Illiad or the Oddessey, but I’ll be damned if I believe in monkeys dressed in dhotis any more than I believe in Zeus, Athena and Poseidon.

    Ancient writers had great imagination. They could see the sand-banks of Adam’s bridge and imagine that it could have been created by Rama’s army of monkeys. The imagination is to be revered. The belief that a work of imagination is history is something different. God help us if we confuse one with the other!

  110. @ Shan
    This is a reflection on your reply to Rishi Khujur. Apologies for interjection, but some relevant points hopefully :

    ” … This is a common problem with you right wingers. When anyone takes the middle ground .. you ..brand them as Marxist / pseudo secularists / bleeding heart liberals etc. As if this is a binary situation ..”.

    This is a retort that any ‘right-winger’ can make as well. Whenever someone tries to lull Indians out of a false sense of complacency, even providing irrefutable facts & logic, missiles start flying all over the place, and they are branded ‘murderous, fascists & fanatics”.

    “I have admittedly even less in common with .. nationalism that says – “India is for the Hindus”.

    Please inform me which ‘nationalists’ subscribe to this? What nationalists do is point out the obvious, that :
    – Islam as a faith beieves in the inferiority of Hinduism

    – Islam as a faith believes it is it’s duty to wipe out
    (or if you want a more ‘liberal’ term, replace) Hinduism.

    – Muslims have maintained from time 0 that it isn’t possible for them to co-exist with Hindus for long. They’ve actively practised this as well, as far as circumstances have permitted. From 732 AD right down to 1971.

    – As such, though ‘nationalists’ may want to live in harmony, they beleive it is not possible to do so, as Muslims themselves claim (overtly or covertly) that they hate Hindus & Hinduism.

    – Nationalists do not even mention Buddhists, Parsees, Jews & Sikhs in their list of grievances. It was the ‘liberal’ Congress that massacred Sikhs. So where does the quesiton of ‘India for Hindus alone’ come in to it?

    Please inform me if any of my facts above are wrong, and which nationalists believe in an India exclusively for Indians.

    “I refuse to brand a religion as “bloodthirsty” and another as “tolerant”.

    Its not what you & I claim to incorporate in our vocabulary. It what the actions state. Even more; actions deviating from religious instructions are deviations, & rectifiable. But the core religious tenets are not. So it what the religious instructions expressly require.
    – Hinduism says Vasudaive kutumbakam (world my family)
    – Islam says La Illaha illilaha fo, Muhammed Rasoollolah, and calls upon its followers to dominate people of other faiths.

    Am I right or wrong?

    “If that makes me a liberal, well then so be it. I am proud to be one. “Liberal” is not a dirty word. It never will be. “

    Yes, I accept you are a true liberal, and a very decent person However, many self-styled liberals are not. They are ‘fanatic Hindu-haters & India-haters (like Mao-worshipping Commies)’ masquerading as liberals to cheat people.

    That sort of liberal is lower than dirty.

  111. @ Shan, Ravi Ivaturi and WTF

    Thanks for the unified response. Was expecting it.

    Shan wrote “This is a common problem with you right wingers. When anyone takes the middle ground or tries to take a moderate position vis-a-vis Muslims and Hindus, you are quick to brand them as Marxist / pseudo secularists / bleeding heart liberals etc.”

    Rishi’s response:
    So YOU and YOUR ilk has been branding me a “right winger” all these months….and YOU are the decider of the “middle path”.

    Interesting.

    Ivaturi, Shan, WTF.
    I dont call Muslims terrorists. Just because it makes it easier on your rehashable logic, you guys keep coming back with a ready made response to that issue.

    The past 6 months of my comments in this forum has clearly defined ISLAM as the belief system that preaches the Hate leading to terrorism to a large extent. Not only that I actively work to negate that.

    More than enough has been said to prove that point.

  112. @ W.T.F
    Quoting from your comments to Anna. Hope you don’t mind.

    “India is a liberal democracy because the vast majority of people want it that way.”

    TRUE. I want this too. However, it is because this liberal status quo is being rapidly eroded by a certian faith, not just in India, but all over the world, that I am concerned.

    “and because of that it is going to stay that way.”

    FALSE. It hasn’t been from 732 AD right down to today. There have been periods of lull. Hindus have interpreted this as a final ushering in of peace. Our protagonists have used this to rest, regroup and organise the next assault.

    “no amount of trishul waving or fatwa issuing is going to change that.”

    No, but demographic swamping (obscenely skewed birth rate), mass immigration, relentless terrorism, atavistic hatred, and mass exploitation of the goodness and naivete of Indians, all under the aegis of religion, is changing that.

    Or can you not detect that cities around the world are in a state of siege even as we speak? Following is a ‘must’ read :
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/08/31/nbrum131.xml

    Good luck to your ‘liberalism’. It is noble and commendable. But it is like living in a fairy-tale. Brutal reality is lying patiently in wait.

  113. Hi Shan,

    I’m excerpting from your reply to Rishi Khujur. Hope you don’t mind.

    “This is a common problem with right wingers. When anyone takes the middle ground, you brand them as Marxist / pseudo secularists / bleeding heart liberals etc.

    Actually, this is a retort that ‘nationalists’ can make against ‘liberals’. Whenever nationalists try to lull people out of a false sense of complacency, supported by solid facts and logic, missiles start flying, and they are immediately condemned as fanatics and fascists.

    “I have less in common with the nationalism that says – “India is for the Hindus”.

    Please inform me which nationalists say this?. Basically, nationalists outline the obvious. Below follows not my ‘interpretations’, but strict and overt edicts:

    – Islam considers Hinduism and Hindus as inferior. FACT
    – Islam enjoins its followers to wipe out (or if you prefer a liberal term, replace) Hinduism. FACT

    – Muslims themselves have stated, from 732 AD to 1947 AD, that it is impossible for them to co-exist with Hindus. FACT

    – This they have amply demonstrated with actions, for 1,300 years, as far as circumstances would permit. FACT

    Thus , is Hindus themselves want to live in peace with everyone else, the core belief of Islam clearly states that such peaceful co-existence is impossible. So how can you say it will be?

    Further, ‘nationalists’ do not even mention Buddhists, Jains, Parsees and Jews in their list of grievances. It was the ‘liberal’ Congress that massacred Sikhs. So where does the ‘India for Hindus only’ come in to it.

    Are any of my facts wrong?

    “I refuse to brand a religion as “bloodthirsty” and another as “tolerant”.

    Its not our preferred vocabulary that is important. It is what the faiths clearly believe in and tell their followers to achieve. Based on this religious enjoinments, can you call Hinduism ‘bloodthirsty’, or Islam ‘tolerant’?

    “If that makes me a liberal, well then so be it. I am proud to be one. “Liberal” is not a dirty word.”

    I believe you are a true liberal, and a noble person. However, many self-styled liberals in India are actually Hindu-haters & India-haters (like the Commies) masquerading as liberals to cheat Indians for their subversive activities. Such a liberal is worse than ‘dirty’.

  114. Ahhhh

    Arnabda. Kee hocche bhai? Punorbar post deletion? Shotyo byateet mithya to boli ni?

    Thik acche. Rajnaitik shathikata (political correctness) mene cholte habe dekchi.

    Baap re. Ekhankar liberal’ra dekchi moulobadider theke shanghateek 🙂

  115. Hara Hara Bom Bom,

    I do not “remove” posts (I presume you meant comments) without stating why I have removed them. Your comment was caught by Aksimet and marked as spam—why I do not know. It has been restored. If you subsequently feel a comment of yours did not go up, do write to me.

  116. ivaturi wrote:
    Islam has approximately 1.5 billion followers. What do you think is the percentage to which your ‘Four facts’ apply? Just take a guess!

    Rishi’s response:
    Since you ask for a guess, I would say close to 95% the 4 facts mentioned by HHBB apply.

    The remaining 5% dont believe in the Quran and if allowed to live, will quit Islam.

  117. Arnabda,
    Many thanks.

    Ravi Ivaturi,
    “What do you think is the percentage to which your ‘Four facts’ apply”?

    My take on percentages :

    “Islam considers Hinduism and Hindus as inferior”
    100%. The Koran clearly states this. So any believing Muslim adherers to this.

    “Islam enjoins its followers to wipe out (or if you prefer a liberal term, replace) Hinduism.”
    100%. The fanatic Muslims prefer to wipe out Hinduism. The liberal Muslims prefer Hinduism to slowly die out through other means (slow demographic death, coercion of a gentler nature than fanatics)

    “Muslims themselves have stated, from 732 AD to 1947 AD, that it is impossible for them to co-exist with Hindus.”

    100% of the “Muslims that matter”. During parition, mellower Muslim voices were drowned in the shrill rhetoric of Jinnah and his murderous mobs.

    “This they have amply demonstrated with actions, for 1,300 years, as far as circumstances would permit.”
    100% of “Muslims that matter”. Pick any century, & you will see its pages dripping with the blood of Hindus. For e.g Dara Shukoh was good. But he did not “matter”. Thus he was sidelined by Aurangzeb who did “matter”. The good of Dara could not prevent the 100 times larger evil of Aurangzeb.

    Thus, when the crunch will come, good Muslims (who are appreciably large) will be at best ineffectual, and worse apathetic. The problem with the hordes of fanatic mobs remains.

    What are your take on the percentages, Mr Mahalnobis?

    “Islam has approximately 1.5 billion follower”s.

    A few years ago it was 1.2 billion. That is the issue!!
    [Deep, deep sigh]

  118. @Ravi Ivaturi : “So 100% it is”

    Well, 100% of the Muslims “that matter”. Wish it weren’t so. Sadly it is.

    “No further debate possible!”
    No need to debate (shrug). I’m just interested in knowing what percentage “you” think it is.

  119. @ Hara Hara Bom Bom

    In case, you didn’t notice- my question was a leading one…to see whether you would consider any of the ‘facts’ you have stated as sweeping generalizations. Clearly, you don’t!

    BTW, my estimate would be in basis points, too negligible to crucify (generalize) about 1/4 of humanity.

  120. @ Ravi Ivaturi
    Yes Ravi, I had noticed. Hence my tongue-in-cheek interest in your quantification.

    So basically you are saying less than 1% (even assuming 100 basis points) of the “1/4th” of humanity has been responsible for the untold misery heaped on us in the last 1,300 years?

    Less than 1% of them supported partition, & thus they got it over Hindu & Sikh blood. Less of 1% of them believed in temple destruction, and thus most Hindu temples lie in ruins while Nalanda smoulders.

    Less than 1% of them supported subjugating Hindus, thus the mass & multiple genocides by Ghazni, Ghor, Aibak, Balban, Aluddin Khilji, Malik Kafur Muhammad Tughluq, Firuz Tughluq, Timurlane, etc etc etc.

    You are welcome to “your estimates” (sic). You are not welcome to “your history”.

  121. Hara hara bom bom on Sep 17th, 2007 at 3:15 pm writes :

    “Islam considers Hinduism and Hindus as inferior”
    100%. The Koran clearly states this. So any believing Muslim adherers to this.

    I don’t mean to be rude or agressive, but I’m genuinely curious as to where in the Koran it says this or anything about India. Given what there is to be known about
    Muhammed and his context, I always thought his concerns didn’t stretch so far from Medina etc

  122. @ Sator
    Do u understand the meaning of the word “Kafir”?
    Please refer to the discussions under the “banana republic” post by GB.
    I have written in length about that before.
    Tarzan, a fellow blogger, who happens to be a follower of Islam has aslo given his thoughts on that.

    If you have any more questions, do ask.

  123. @ Sayon and Shan

    Me asking Shan’s opinion on Uniform Civil Code was noa overstepping on my part.
    Apologize for that.

    Shan, Ivaturi, WTF, Sayon,
    Very rarely if atall I get into the Communist, BJP, Congress namecalling. As I have mentioned many times before, I work across political platforms.

    Just recently, I visited rural Bengal and saw how entire villages of Hindus (most of whom are hardcore CPM cadres) are being threatened with fatwas to quit their land by local Mohammedans. On the ground there are quite blur and words like rightie, leftie, pinko, liberal rarely apply.

  124. @ hara hara bom bom:

    “Thus, when the crunch will come, good Muslims (who are appreciably large) will be at best ineffectual, and worse apathetic. ”

    beg to differ. there can’t be any debate.. i guess we’ll see in time.

    there are liberals who hate india or hindus. but they are a minority. take a look around you. we are the adjust madi people. the biggest liberals in the world.

    we have made any sort of reform impossible within muslim society. for example, if owaisi is let out on bail fifteen minutes after he is arrested for trying to kill taslima nasreen do you expect moderate muslims to criticize practices within their own community? shah bano is overturned.. there is no UCC..

    who is going to support moderate islam?

    not you. you think they’re still plotting the end of hindus at the back of their minds.

    not the police or the state.. they’re more interested in votes. otherwise, why on earth does anyone listen to the bunch of crackpots, the AIMPLB?

    before being so quick to condemn islam and muslims, try and look at the kind of environment they have to live in and the pressures they have to live with.. within and from outside including how the United States have set up their terror machinery. and

    ask yourself, are you making it easier or harder for the moderate muslim?

    and the kind of sweeping generalizations made about them, especially on this page, would only further their suspicion that they are unwanted in their own land playing to the advantage of fundamentalists.

    you strengthen the hands of fundamentalists and then say they are 100% of who matter.

    muslims are an integral part of india. at the same time, nothing, not valentine’s day, not spaghetti straps, can destroy the strength of hindu culture.

    muslims cannot be eridacated. they are part and parcel of India and we HAVE to live with them.

    just the way hindus are going to reject those who say that we cant live with muslims, muslims have to be strengthened to reject those who say that muslims cant live with hindus.

    if i’m living in a liberal fairytale,

    “Our protagonists have used this to rest, regroup and organise the next assault.”

    you are living in some kafka nightmare.

    p.s. independence was not a ‘hindu’ victory.

  125. @ rishi khujur:

    sorry if calling you a right winger offends you. i dont recall doing it but either ways, the classification your political views is hardly germane to their correctness any more than
    calling me Marxist / pseudo secularist / bleeding heart liberal rebuts my views.

    any offense is regrettable.

    “ISLAM as the belief system that preaches the Hate leading to terrorism to a large extent”

    now while this obviously means that there’s nothing wrong with muslims i really believe that this is a simplistic view.

    if you ignore how the united states has funded, trained and sold weapons to Pakistan, the Taliban, Osama, Saddam Hussain, the Iranians and basically set up this global terror network then i think you are holding only one piece of the puzzle.

    or was the Khalistan movement, the LTTE, the basque seperatists, the IRA because of Islam as well?

    Islam has problems when it comes to coping with modernity especially when it comes to women’s rights [though will the worst male female sex ratio in the world Indians cant complain] and freedom of expression.

    whatever the answer to that is condemning the whole religion is not the answer.

    best of luck in your noble pursuits.

  126. WTF wrote:
    who is going to support moderate islam?

    Rishi’s response:
    What do you define as “moderate” Islam? Actually this question is for all those who are sincerely trying to find the “middle path”.

    Where exactly comes the tipping point when Islam changes from being “moderate” to what i call, the oxymoronic “radical” version?

  127. @ rishi khujur:

    moderate islam is one where a person picks and chooses what part of islam to follow according to his own whims and fancies.

    moderate islam is where the word of an imam is not law. it is obligatory and voluntary to follow. where the spirit of islam is given more credence that following tenets to the core.

    i’m sure you’ll say that is not islam or against the very spirit of islam. osama and company say the same thing too.

    or do you think that there is no difference between the iman of the jama masjid and shah rukh khan?

  128. and the tipping point will be achieved once pakistan shuts its radical madrassas, the arabs accept isreal and palestine is created, the americans get out of iraq and the gulf in general and al qaida is defeated.

    in india.. muslim developlment must be a priority.. muslims must reject the Muslim Brotherhood and AIMPLB in favour of more moderate people and the hindu’s must reject the dogma of the Sangh Parivar.

    then we’ll begin to get somewhere..

  129. @ WTF:
    show me one follower of Islam (Shah rukh or otherwise) who DOESNT consider the Quran as the absolute truth in its entirity?

    Just because a believer of Quran is not issuing fatwas for the re-conquest of Red Fort from the pulpit of a mosque, doesnt make him/her a “moderate”.

    What exactly is the “spirit of Islam” that talk about?

    I would urge you to read the book “Why I am not a Muslim” by Ibn Warraq.

  130. wtf wrote:
    and the tipping point will be achieved once pakistan shuts its radical madrassas, the arabs accept isreal and palestine is created, the americans get out of iraq and the gulf in general and al qaida is defeated.

    Rishi’s response
    Do u think these conditions existed when the Mooplah riots happened..
    When direct action day was called…
    When Shah Jalal “spread Sufi love” in Bengal over the dead body of thousands.
    When Bakhtiar Khilji “visited” Nalanda…and gave the death blow to Indian Buddhism
    When Bulbul Shah “preached” Sufism in Kashmir by drowning thousands of Hindus in the Dal lake.
    When Akbar raised a mountain of skull in Chittor.
    When Malik Kafur ravaged Deccan
    When Mahmud Ghaznavi…well we all know that well.
    When Mohammad bin Qasim…entered Sindh
    When Yazdegard was begging Hindu India (Sindh) and Afghanistan(Shahi dynasty) to save Persia from Islam.

    When the Kafirs of Mecca were begging Mohammad to spare their lives.

    Tipping point eh…WTF.

  131. @ rishi khujur:

    and i would urge you to read ‘why i am not a hindu’ by kancha illiah… and read tipping point by malcolm gladwell while youre at it. wont prove crap in the present debate.

    i misunderstood your question. reading your comments ive actually started confusing islam and terrorism.

    there is no required tipping point for moderate islam. the vast majority of muslims are moderate. otherwise we’d be living in a permanent riot zone.

    there needs to be an end to islamic terrorism. but nobody not even osama bin laden follows the koran to its last word. its not possible. its a self-contradictory document to start with.

    yes. there are questions about their leadership but you’ve got to understand.. how much does sonia gandhi represent indians or george bush represent americans or hitler represented germans.

    i love the fact that you accuse muslims of perpetuating violence based on antiquated values while thinking nothing of quoting examples from baba adam’s time. after we’d fixed the muslims.. should we go to mongolia to avenge the mongol hordes next? or should we fix the british first?

    dude.. live today. and if you’re so worried about the spread of islam in west bengal you might pause to consider why it’s so easy for them. why illegal immigrants have ration cards and …wait for it.. voter id cards..

    and oh.. the left is in power.. and whose the primary vote bank for the left.. and why are the muslims the most backward in this state…getting somewhere?

  132. WTF wrote:
    there is no required tipping point for moderate islam. the vast majority of muslims are moderate. otherwise we’d be living in a permanent riot zone.

    Rishi’s response
    Show me ONE place in the world with nearly equal number of followers of Islam co-existing with Kafirs and Dhimmis.

    Heard of “Beirut Effect”?

    WTF wrote:
    yes. there are questions about their leadership but you’ve got to understand.. how much does sonia gandhi represent indians or george bush represent americans or hitler represented germans.

    Rishi’s response:
    This is where you go wrong my friend.
    Usman or Usama are not the leaders, nor were Salah-dins or Suhrawardys.

    The leader is always the Quran…that is the inspiration (hence the non-temporal nature of the malady).

    WTF wrote
    love the fact that you accuse muslims of perpetuating violence based on antiquated values while thinking nothing of quoting examples from baba adam’s time. after we’d fixed the muslims.. should we go to mongolia to avenge the mongol hordes next? or should we fix the british first?

    Rishi’s response:

    You gave me geopolitical examples from the late 20th century as reasons for Islamic ire.
    So I took you back all the way to 664 CE (East of Mecca) to convey the point that the “Cause-Effect” you are referring to doesnt apply .

    I can give you a bigger list from this century itself.

    As to the second part of your question.

    If the British or the Mongols consider us as heathens and thugs and embark on the same path that their ancestors rode down, then certainly there needs to be a fix.

    WTF wrote: dude.. live today. and if you’re so worried about the spread of islam in west bengal you might pause to consider why it’s so easy for them. why illegal immigrants have ration cards and …wait for it.. voter id cards..

    Rishi’s response:
    Dude… I live today and think about tomorrow.
    I am worried about the spread of Islam in Bengal and I do my best to counter it within my means and capabilities. Just because opportunist political parties in their selfish, delusional ways are supporting a hydra headed monster, it doesnt absolve the hydra headed monster of its culpability.

  133. Dear Sayon:
    Just read your response.

    As mentioned before I apologise for bringing Uniform Civil Code in Shan’s discussion on Ram Setu, even though we were in agreement for the most part. By inserting the topic, I did the same thing that I often castigate Shan and Ivaturi of doing, before in this forum.

    I dont know if you read my response on Sept 14, 11:29 Pm before writing yours, but I am also for a scientific and rational analysis of possibilities.

    So the second part of your response to me, asserting the primacy of rationalism over faith was not needed.

    But still its well taken.

  134. Dear Hara Hara Bom Bom,

    First of all, let me say that your comments have a unique and undeniable perspective, which have left some inane Dhimmis with no choice but to throw pejorative barbs at you.

    It’s funny how some self-styled “liberals” seem to have no choice but to resort to the predictable name-calling routine against you and Rishi when they run out of logical ripostes.

    I did also sense some Machiavellian “Divide and Conquer” formula from Shan when he frivolously taunted you as a “thug” in the same paragraph he threw Rishi and me a bait – in the form of an unsolicited compliment. I’m supposed to somehow fall for this ruse, eh? When you can’t beat ‘em, just try and divide ‘em?

    No, thank you Shan….Adulation falls off some people like water off a lotus leaf. We don’t need your bouquets. Keep your brickbats coming!

    – Hujur

  135. Dear all,

    With reference to Shan’s unimaginative name-calling of calling Rishi a “right winger”, I would emphatically state that Rishi completely fits the bill of an left winger in the western sense.

    Here’s an interesting chapter (Part II.10) from Vamadeva Shastri’s (Dr. David Frawley’s) online book “Hinduism and the Clash of Civilizations”

    THE MYTH OF THE HINDU RIGHT
    ——————————————————

    by Dr. David Frawley

    In media accounts today, any group that identifies itself as Hindu or tries to promote any Hindu cause is immediately and uncritically defined as “right-winged”. In the leftist accounts that commonly come from the Indian press, Hindu organizations are also routinely called militants and fascists. However, if we look at their actual views, Hindu groups have a very different ideology and practices than the political right in other countries. In fact many Hindu causes are more at home in the left in the West than in the right.

    The whole idea of the “Hindu right” is a ploy to discredit the Hindu movement as backward and prevent people from really examining it. The truth is that the Hindu movement is a revival of a native spiritual tradition that has nothing to do with the political right-wing of any western country. Its ideas are spiritually evolutionary, not politically regressive, though such revivals do have a few extremists. Let us examine the different aspects of the Hindu movement and where they would fall in the political spectrum of left and right as usually defined in the West.

    Hinduism and Native Traditions
    —————————————————–

    The Hindu cause is similar to the causes of native and tribal peoples all over the world, like Native American and African groups. Even Hindu concerns about cultural encroachment by western religious and commercial interests mirrors those of other traditional peoples who want to preserve their cultures. Yet while the left has taken up the concerns of native peoples worldwide, the same concerns of Hindus are styled right-wing or communal, particularly in India!

    When Native Americans ask for a return of their sacred sites, the left in America supports them. When Hindus ask for a similar return of their sacred sites, the left in India opposes them and brands them as intolerant for their actions! When native peoples in America or Africa protest against the missionaries for interfering with their culture, the left supports them. Yet when Hindus express the same sentiments, the left attacks them. Even the Hindu demand for rewriting the history of India to better express the value of their indigenous traditions is the same as what native Africans and Americans are asking for. Yet the left opposes this Hindu effort, while supporting African and American efforts of a similar nature.

    In countries like America, native traditions are minorities and thereby afforded a special sympathy. Leftists in general tend to support minority causes and often lump together black African and Native American causes as examples of the damage caused by racism and colonialism. In India, a native tradition has survived the colonial period but as the tradition of the majority of the people. Unfortunately, the intellectual elite of India, though following largely a leftist orientation, has no sympathy for the country’s own native tradition. They identify it as right-wing in order to express their hostility towards it. They try to portray it as a majority oppression of minorities, when it is the movement of a suppressed majority to regain its dignity.

    Not surprisingly, the same leftists in India, who have long been allied to communist China, similarly style the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan cause as right-wing and regressive, though the Dalai Lama is honored by the American left. This should tell the reader about the meaning of right and left as political terms in India. When one looks at the Hindu movement as the assertion of a native tradition with a profound spiritual heritage, the whole perspective on it changes.

    Hindu Economics
    ——————————

    The Hindu movement in India in its most typical form follows a Swadeshi (own-country) movement like the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch. It emphasizes protecting the villages and local economies, building economic independence and self-reliance for the country. It resists corporate interference and challenges multinational interests, whether the bringing of fast food chains to India, western pharmaceuticals or terminator seeds.

    Such an economic policy was supported by Mahatma Gandhi with his emphasis on the villages, reflected in his characteristic usage of the spinning wheel. Its counterparts in the West are the groups that protest the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, these protest groups are generally classified as “left-wing” by the international press.

    The international press considers the economic right-wing to be the powers of the multinational corporations, particularly, the oil industry, which certainly are not the allies of Hindu economics. Clearly Hindu economics is more connected with the New Left in the West and has little in common with the right. The Republican right in America, with its corporate interests, would hardly take up the cause of Hindu economics either.

    Meanwhile the BJP, the so-called Hindu nationalist party in India, has been responsible for much the economic liberalization if the country, sometimes even to the dismay of some votaries of Hindu economics. It has been the main opponent of the socialist policies of the previous Congress and left governments that had communist leanings. While such a movement is to the right in the political spectrum, the policies of the BJP are a movement towards western capitalism from the left, they are not a movement from it to the right. At most they emulate a more open capitalist society as in the West but one that retains a Dharmic background.

    Hindu Ecology and Nature Concerns
    —————————————————————

    Hindu groups are well known for promoting vegetarianism and animal rights, particularly the protection of cows. The Hindu religion as a whole honors the Divine in animals and recognizes that animals have a soul and will eventually achieve liberation. Hindu groups have tried to keep fast food franchises, which emphasize meat consumption, out of India. Such a movement would be part of consumer advocacy movements that are generally leftist or liberal causes in the West. Again it is hardly an agenda of the right-wing in America, which has a special connection to the beef industry; or to the right-wing worldwide, which has no real concern for animal rights and is certainly not interesting in spreading vegetarianism.

    Hindus look upon nature as sacred, honoring the rivers and mountains as homes of deities. They stress the protection of Mother Earth, which they worship in the form of the cow. They have a natural affinity with the western ecology movement and efforts to protect animals, forests and wilderness areas. This is also hardly a right-wing agenda.

    Hindu Religious Pluralism
    ———————————————

    The Hindu religion is a pluralistic tradition that accepts many paths, teachers, scriptures and teachings. One cannot be a Christian without accepting Christ or a Buddhist without accepting Buddha, but one can be a Hindu without accepting any single figure. In fact there are Hindus who may not follow Krishna, Rama, Shiva, Vishnu or other Hindu sages or deities and still count as Hindu.

    Hindus have been at the forefront in arguing for the cause of religious diversity and the acceptance of pluralism in religion, rejecting the idea that any single religion alone can be true. This Hindu idea of religion which is also subscribed to by so-called right wing Hindu groups like RSS is obviously not part of the agenda of the religious right in the West. The American Christian right is still sending missionaries to the entire world in order to convert all people to Christianity, the only true religion. It is firmly fixed on one savior, one scripture and a rather literal interpretation of these. Yet when Hindus ask the pope to make a statement that truth can be found outside of any particular church or religion they are called right-wing and backwards, while the pope, who refuses to acknowledge the validity of Hindu, Buddhist or other Indic traditions, is regarded as liberal! Such pluralism in religious views is hardly a cause for any right-wing movement in the world, but is also considered progressive, liberal, if not leftist (except in India).

    Hinduism and Science
    —————————————

    Unlike the religious right in the West, the Hindu movement is not against science or opposed to teaching evolution in the schools. Hinduism does promote occult and spiritual subjects like astrology, Ayurvedic medicine, Yoga or Vedanta, but these are the same basic teachings found in the New Age in the West, generally regarded as a liberal or leftist movement, not those of the religious right in the West. Many leaders of the Hindu movement are in fact scientists. For example, RSS leaders like former chief Rajinder Singh, or BJP leaders like Murli Manohar Joshi have also been professors of modern physics.

    In fact we could compare Hinduism as a whole with the case of Ayurveda. Ayurveda as a form of mind-body medicine emphasizing the role of consciousness in health and disease is part of the alternative medicine movement in the West and considered to be progressive, while the medical establishment that emphasizes allopathy is regarded as conservative, if not right-wing. However, in India it is Ayurveda, because it is a tradition of the country, which is regarded as backwards, while modern medicine is regarded as progressive.

    The Hindu Movement and Caste
    ——————————————————–

    The Hindu right is often defined in the media in terms of caste, as favoring the upper castes over the lower castes. This is another distortion that is often intentional. Modern Hindu teachers have been at the forefront of removing caste. This includes great figures like Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and Aurobindo. It includes major Hindu movements like the Arya Samaj, the largest Vedic movement in modern India, and the Swadhyaya movement.

    The RSS, the largest so-called Hindu right wing group, rejects caste and works to remove it from Hindu society, giving prominence to leaders from lower classes and working to open the Hindu priesthood to members of all castes. While caste continues to be a problem in certain segments of Hindu society, it is generally not because of these current Hindu social, religious and political movements, but because their reform efforts are resisted.

    The Hindu Movement and Women’s Rights
    ————————————————————————

    Generally, the right wing in the West is defined as opposed to women’s rights. However, there are many women’s groups and active women leaders in the Hindu movement and in the Hindu religion. Being a woman is no bar for being a political or religious leader in India as it often is in the West. Hinduism has the worlds’ largest and oldest tradition of the worship of the Divine as Mother, including as India itself. Great female Hindu gurus like Ammachi (Mata Amritanandamayi) travel and teach all over the world. The Hindu movement worships India on a spiritual level as a manifestation of the Divine Mother (Shakti).

    Hindus were very protective of their women during the period foreign and kept them sequestered, which was often for their own safety. Unfortunately, this trend has continued among some Hindus in the modern world when it is no longer necessary. So while there is poor treatment of women in some parts of Hindu society, this has not been by modern Hindu teachers or movements that have tried to raise the status of women as Shakti.

    The Hindu Bomb
    —————————–

    Perhaps the main thing in recent years used to define Hindus in India as right-winged is India’s testing of the nuclear bomb in 1998. Yet India’s concern for its military welfare and need for a nuclear deterrent is certainly no more than what the Democratic Party in the United States has asked for. The Indian government has at the same time argued for complete nuclear disarmament, which it would be happy to comply with. Note that the Dalai Lama supported India’s nuclear testing. He can hardly be regarded as a right-wing leader (except by the Chinese communists and their Indian counterparts).

    The Indian Left: The Old Left
    —————————————————

    In India, the political terminology of right and left is defined by Marxists, who like to call anyone that opposes them right-wing or fascists, which they used to do even with socialists. In their view anything traditionally Hindu would have to be right-wing on principle, just as their views are always deemed progressive, even if supporting Stalinist tactics. This means that in India such subjects as Yoga, natural healing, vegetarianism and animal rights are all automatically right-wing because they are causes of the Hindu mind, with antecedents in ancient Indian culture. Great Hindu yogis and sages from Shankaracharya to Sri Aurobindo are classified by modern Marxists as right-wing, if not fascist.[1]

    However, the Indian left is mainly the Old Left, emphasizing a failed communist ideology and state economic planning such as dominated Eastern Europe in the decades following World War II and took it nowhere. It wreaked the same havoc with the economy and educational systems of India and kept the country backward. Indian communists are among the few in the world that still proudly honor Stalin and Mao (while warning of the danger of Hindu fundamentalism) ! Communist ruled Bengal still teaches the glory of the Russian revolution for all humanity, though Russia gave up communism ten years ago! The Old Left was itself intolerant, oppressive and dictatorial, sponsoring state terrorism and genocide wherever it came to power. Indian leftists have never rejected these policies and look back with nostalgia on the Soviet Union!

    Therefore, we must remember that the leftist criticism of Hinduism coming from the Indian left is that of the Old Left. This old left in India does not take up many of the causes of the new left like ecology or native rights. It even sides with the policies of the political right-wing in western cultures upholding the rights of missionaries to convert native peoples and continuing colonial accounts of Indic civilization.

    The communist inspired left in India has tried to demonize the Hindu movement as a right-wing phenomenon in order to discredit its spiritual orientation. The aim of the Indian left is to keep the Hindu movement isolated from any potential allies. After all, no one likes fascists, which is a good term of denigration that evokes negative emotions for both communists and capitalists.

    Hinduism and the Left
    —————————————–

    The causes taken up by the Hindu movement are more at home in the New Left than in right wing parties of the West. Some of these resemble the concerns of the Green Party. The Hindu movement offers a long-standing tradition of environmental protection, economic simplicity, and protection of religious and cultural diversity. There is little in the so-called Hindu right that is shared by the religious or political right-wing in western countries, which reflect military, corporate and missionary concerns. The Hindu movement has much in common with the New Age movement in the West and its seeking of occult and spiritual knowledge, not with the right wing in the West, which rejects these things. Clearly, the western right would never embrace the Hindu movement as its ally. Right-winged labels have been cast on the Hindu movement in an uncritical way. Usually it has been little more than a casting of labels or stereotypes.

    To counter this distortion, some Hindus are now arguing for a new Hindu Left to better express the concerns of Hindu Dharma in modern terms. They would see the New Left as more in harmony with Hindu concerns and a possible ally. Hindu thought has always been progressive and evolutionary, seeking to aid in the unfoldment of consciousness in humanity and not resting content with material or political gains as sufficient. Hindu Dharma should be reexamined by the New Left and the distortions of by the Old Left discarded. The New Left will find much in Hindu Dharma that is relevant to its concerns.

    The Hindu movement can be a great ally to many social movements throughout the world. It has a base of nearly a billion people and the world’s largest non-biblical religious tradition, with a long tradition of spiritual thought and practice. The Hindu movement can be an ally for any native causes, environmental concerns, women’s spiritual issues and movements toward economic simplicity and global responsibility, to mention but a few.

    Groups espousing such causes may have looked upon Hinduism as an enemy, being taken in by leftist propaganda. They must question these distortions of the Old Left. They should look to the Hindu view for insight, even if they may not agree with it on all points. They should not trust the anti-Hindu stereotypes of the Old Left, any more than they trust the views of the now defunct Soviet Union.

    Towards a Non-Political Social Order
    —————————————————————–

    However, the entire right-left division reflects the conditions of western politics and is inaccurate in the Indian context. We must give up such concepts in examining Indic civilization, which in its core is spiritually based, not politically driven. It reflects older and deeper concerns that precede and transcend the West’s outer vision. As long as we define ourselves through politics our social order will contain conflict and confusion. Democracy may be the more benign face of a political order, but it still hides the lack of any true spiritual order. We must employ the vision of dharma and subordinate politics to it, which should be a form of Karma Yoga.

    The New Left also contains various distortions from a Hindu perspective. True liberalism requires a responsibility to the entire universe, not just an assertion of individual human rights, which can be to the detriment of larger social groups or to the natural environment. It looks to the spiritual human being, our immortal consciousness, and not to the bodily-based ego as the real human being. It helps preserve organic social orders and avoids interference with natural cultural development.

    We cannot look to politics to change the world, but to spirituality to change politics. Hindus should not try to remake Hinduism according to current images of political correctness, but should connect the world to a greater idea of humanity than political concerns. These follow the vision of the great yogis and sages who have stood outside of western political concerns and viewpoints.

    What is said to be “politically correct” is often “spiritually incorrect”. It consists of simplistic outer solutions that do not go to the root of the human problem, which is one of consciousness, not only social or material equality. We must look back to an organic and spiritual order to society that cannot be defined by either the left or the right of western politics, and which will hopefully set both aside. This is what Hindu Dharma can offer.

    —————————————————————————————————–
    [1] For example, in the United States where I live, I have supported ecology, animal rights and the cause of pluralism in religion, which the right wing here opposes. But in the Indian context I am labeled right wing or even fascist for raising the same issues.

    Source: http://bharatvani.org/books/civilization/partII10.htm

  136. @WTF:

    “we are more than aware of that. does this mean that no one can comment on the appropriateness of religious sensitivity of hindus? even those people who condemn the muslims and christains when they are upto their antics?
    the me-too kind of competitive intolerance that this country is sliding into is worrying. from reservation to state patronage of religion, i hope you understand that.
    sensitive people are easier to manipulate politically. think about that.”
    ——–

    Let me give you some background info here for building up my argument. Im not confusing anything and I can safely vouch for the fact that I was not under any kind of dichotomous confusion that you accuse me of. I have to give you some instances from my childhood when I was growing up and how it actually made me be cynical about religion in genera to illustrate my point.

    I read in Sherlock Holmes (The Sign of Four) at a very young age a certain line like “Lying hindoos”. Anybody who has read “A passage to India” would recall how the Hindu religion was denigrated and Hindus put down. I grew up in Calcutta where Mother Teresa was a goddess figure and when once one Swami dared to question her motives, he was attacked mercilessly. After all the Christian faith is pure. And Mother Teresa was a saint. You cannot question motives of saints. Christian saints that is. I grew up in Calcutta where many many Hindu boys were made to recite “O father, Jesus et etc” in schools. They did so with sooo much veneration. Subliminal messages have the best impact on young minds. Isnt there a saying like “Catch em young”? No newspaper articles came out questioning this. Then there was of course Ayodhya. The stance taken by that party called the Congress always puzzled me as did many things about Gandhiji. Many a time some editorial would shout “Hey teacher, leave the kids alone. No bande Mataram. Weeeee are secular.” I began to think that there was something wrong about the Hindu religion itself. After all, in those days, there was not too much mention in media about anti christian or anti muslim things. When you heard a BBC radio commentator talking about Hindu customs, we appeared so unsophisticated and gauche. After all, its not exactly a glamorous religion. Yet I found it amazing that it didnt prescribe the either-or thing like many Abrahamic religions. One god. One conduit. Rest is false. No form etc etc etc. Once I went to a church on that occasion and I really felt divine. The light thru the red blue glass seemed so psychadelic. The cake was so sweet. And, ahem call me a dirty person, but the shaved legs of some of the gals there were soooooooo appealing. I felt like bending down and having a peek. Yes! Can you imagine. I am destined for eternal damnation. Compared to this , to my immature mind, the relatively austere Hindu festivals seemed mundane barring of course the grandiose Durga Puja.

    Slowly it dawned upon me that maybe the religions by themselves are not so pious and holy. Or maybe as preachers of Abrahamic religions would say, some are more holier than others. I cannot tell you just how much I like 2 books by the great George Orwell- ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984’. They literally changed my thought process. Heres an excerpt from Animal Farm which really set me thinking:

    “”… Moses, who was Mr. Jones’s special pet, was a spy and a tale-bearer, but he was also a clever talker. He claimed to know of the existence of a mysterious country called Sugarcandy Mountain, to which all animals went when they died. It was situated somewhere up in the sky, a little distance beyond the clouds, Moses said. In Sugarcandy Mountain it was Sunday seven days a week, clover was in season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges. The animals hated Moses because he told tales and did no work, but some of them believed in Sugarcandy Mountain, and the pigs had to argue very hard to persuade them that there was no such place.”

    Um hmm hmm. It was about Grade 10 that I became a hardcore athiest. Religion as a I understood it was all about mind control and business. Yes churches and mosques are business institutions too. Is Tirupati one too? Of course yes. But whats the difference? Some religions coerce and play subtle manipulation games to make people convert. “Spread the word”. Actually it is like “Spread the business.” Some religions try to procure and chart out a path of action for followers to save themselves. Just like discount brokerage and financial advisory firms like Charles Schwab and Merrill Lynch do to their clients. You mean religion = a type of investment banking?” Yes! Are you willing to pay the price?

    The real funny thing is that when Mother teresa was accused of converting kids to christianity, everyone said that the hindu swami was a vile guy. I couldnt help but chuckle when I read a few days ago that she sometimes had doubts herself about ‘faith’. Bravo! And she is not alone. Ask Scorcese, Fellini. You will see ample moments of guilt confession in their movies. So then is the high horse from which Abrahamic religions preach not so high? And is there something in Hindusim which maybe plain but not exactly glamorous but very rich in philosophy? Something which does not shove things down your throat or proselityze? See I am a very open minded person. I can read the Bible say like i read Camus or Satre or Reede or Hesse. But mind you, I wont give that xtra veneration or respect for Jeeesuus when I hold that book in my hand. But I cant continue much after reading stuff like “Surrender yourself to Christ. he dies to save us from our sins.” I just wont accept mind control. But you can read the Upanishad without such’being shoved down the throat’ feeling as its more open ended. Regarding Islam, I guess the controversial things have been eluciadted by Rishi Khajur in his brilliant dissertation in the comments section of a previous post. Go there and read that if you havent. So now that every religion has been exposed, I will not blame and bash Hindus. Everyone is culpable. Everyone has weaknesses. So no. I cannot live in glass houses an throw stones at others. I can do so if I am not in any of the glass houses. But I am not doing that. I respect anybody and whatever they want to do,……..,but BUT BUT till the point when they try to convince me of their fairy tale and keep coming back like an irritating fly again and again with indefatigable zeal. And you know as well as I do as to what religions have a incorrigible trait like that in them. Its like recidivism.

    The best way to counter this zeal is to appear repulsive. Tolerate upto a point. But not even an inch beyond that. There was this guy during my undergrad days. A preacher. Nice guy . He talk about churches and god. I listen. I dont argue. I couldnt care any more or less. I dont absorb. Generally his discussions revolved around the issue of faith etc to students. But sometimes he tries to impose his views. He sees the book, “The silence of the lambs” in my desk and says, “You should not read books like that.” Ok. Got it. So I should be reading the Bible. The other friends of mind were tounge tied, probably beacuse of the childhood imbibed veneration coupled with the xtraaaaaa respect thing. I decided that I should probably teach that guy a lesson so that he doesnt act like a moral guardian again. Next time I show him Burroughs’ ‘Naked Lunch’ and gave him explicit deatils about the book contents. He didnt talk to me after that. I was so glad. Similarly the present generation hindus are also fighting back. You will call them poor apu and cow piss drinkers and they will pay you back in the same coin.
    http://www.politicalaffairs.net/article/articleview/4810/1/239/

    Plus lets face it. With economic prosperity, when the poor apus are smoking costly cigarettes, reaping the winds of liberalization with fine scotch and throwing folded dollar bills on a strippers cunt, the playing field is leveled. Rishi Khajur is a globalised swawamsevak. He likes taking ski vacations in Canada and adores A1 steak sauce. And then the element of veneration crumbles. And noone feels superior and noone feels inferior. And then people think twice before making fun of others.

    Its all about power and mind control. Its because India was a colony that Forester wrote such half truths about Hindus and Indians in his book. I got the answer from Satyajit Ray’s autobiography. Quoting Robinson:

    “Ray’s failure to film A Passage to India was one of the saddest lost
    opportunities in cinema. The novel’s setting, and its qualities of intimacy,
    atmosphere and psychological refinement, including stretches of
    outstanding dialogue, would have been a marvellous match for Ray’s
    talents[..]

    Ray’s Passage, had it happened, would surely have given Dr Aziz some
    of the dignity and polish of the two nawabs in The Chess Players, without
    losing his immaturity, as well as filling out some of the Hindu characters.
    ‘I think I could improve the book by doing away with its Muslim bias,’
    Ray told an interviewer in 1967. ‘I would also make the Muslim characters
    speak Urdu among themselves – in the book they speak “Indian English”;
    it falsifies the tone.’ In his view, too, Forster overdid the mysteriousness of
    India – Ray found the incident in the Marabar Caves somehow spurious
    (and Forster himself seems to have had second thoughts about it). ‘This is
    because India’s seen from the English point of view. For instance, there’s a
    Bengali couple who promise to send their carriage for the two ladies but
    then the carriage never comes. It’s supposed to be very strange . . . The
    incident has the kind of plausibility that suggests Forster himself may have
    had the same experience and felt just as nonplussed as Mrs Moore and
    Miss Quested. And yet for an Indian there is no mystery here’, Ray pointed
    out. The Bengali couple suddenly panicked at the thought of having to
    converse in their fractured English. They had agreed to Mrs Moore’s idea
    of visiting them, simply to avoid seeming discourteous and having to
    fumble for explanations. This, at bottom, was the chief limitation of
    Forster’s novel, according to Ray; Forster spoke no Indian language and
    thus had no ‘access to large areas of the Indian mind’. ”

    Do you see a message here? Mythological monkeys are sometimes funny and loathsome while mythological angels are more likely to be ohh and ahhed.

    So WTF, to answer your question “we are more than aware of that. does this mean that no one can comment on the appropriateness of religious sensitivity of hindus?”, the answer simply is that people sitting inside glass houses should not be throwing stones at other glass houses. Remember, there used to exist a militant form of atheism too in say USSR. But that was for a reason. When you wanna propagate your views, you stand a better chance by eleminating other schools of thought. I am not talking about that. It is not secret to you which religions actively encourage mind control. its a war out there. And in a war, you have to show some agrro to hold on to your assets. Otherwise the shrewd investment banker will weave his M&A skills. You get the point. So its not that Hindus have become extra sensitive. They are not feeling inferior any more. There is a gradual rise in self esteem. As an athiest, do I support this stance by the Hindus? Absolutely. If they can ask you you are false. There cannot be so many gods, your response will be to erode their self esteem. How? By pitching Evangelical against Catholic, Shia against Sunni and jewish vs the Anti semitic. Optimism says that some day an equilibrium will be achieved. And then hopefully sanity will prevail.

    ———
    @harish- If you bring out the wheat from the chaff, you will see that GB is not denigrating any religion at the expense of others. Probably you are new to this blog and havent read too many of his earlier posts. When he says that the ASI is right in giving an opinion, hes flawless. But the govt surely was insensitive. But then Congress party is historically a hindu flagellating party. It is willing to hurt any religion barring 1. They also structured their argument wrongly.”ASI said no Ram. So no Ram. So we can do some construction work.” But would the UPA govt have taken the same step to find out say as to how many mosques illegally on state property; and if necessary bulldoze them to create new hospitals etc.? “There is no Alla”. You know how the reactions would have been if they said like that? Your guess is as good as mine. Actually Hindus are a soft target. Also Harish, i liked your comment :

    “If you find this utterly logical conclusion Talibanistic, I cannot say anything. I do not condescend to such cheap name-calling or labeling of others opinions. But what I find distressing is people like you brand someone as Talibanistic whenever he/she supports a Hindu cause.”

  137. @ Rishi & Hujur

    Why don’t you guys collaborate and write a book with the title, say, ‘ Islam for Dummies’? It would help some of us come up the learning curve and engage in a meaningful dialogue with you. Ah, yes- it should contain a ‘fact-filled, forceful & furious’ foreword by Hara Hara Bom Bom. At the very least, after (if) your book is published, the number of soliloquies could come down 🙂

  138. @Rishi
    “show me one follower of Islam (Shah rukh or otherwise) who DOESNT consider the Quran as the absolute truth in its entirity?”

    Dear Rishi,

    I know a muslim who doesnt consider the Koran to be the absolute truth in its entirity. That man is my husband. And so was his late father and so is his grandfather who is the ex chief justice of Assam and the chairman of the National Commission for Minorities. These are people who, just like most hindus or christians or followers of other religions know and accept that scriptures were written by human beings and not by God himself, and most aspects of it were meant for that particular period- very similar to what Manu wrote in the Manusmriti. These people and many like them are just like you and me, beleive me they are more worried about their career, what colleges to send their kids to and whats cooking for dinner than worry about what the local mulla is telling them. And contrary to what some might assume, they are not apathetic. Just because they dont go screaming to the town square to compete with the morons who do so to force their views down other people’s throats, doesnt mean that they are ineffective. These are people who dont pull stunts to get attentions but in their quiet way go about their business. They organise charity events and volunteering activities for orphans and old people’s homes and do many such thankless jobs. Dont worry, they are not worried sick as to how to get rid of Hindus or anybody else for the matter. And these are just people who I am so close to. I wonder how many more people like them there are all around us. Just because we dont know someone like them, which could also be because we have so closed our minds to the very existence of such people, doesnt mean that they are not there. When I read such comments that are so blatently blinded by such hatred and intolerance, I sometimes wonder if it all is really worth it.

  139. Dear Yourfan2,

    Contary to what you or some other people might assume, the Vatican does recognise and honour the existence of other religions. I have been taught so since I was a little girl and still hear it in the church sermons. The 2nd Vatican counsel put an end to the ongoing debate and once for all said “you are not guaranteed salvation just because you are a christian- it is the purity of your heart and soul that guarantees it.” I have been part of the volunteering service including medical service for leper colonies during the time I was in UP- and i may add that no goverment agency even bothered about them. I was still in my teens then, and I can remember how there was an uproar from a lawyer who had written an article in the local newspaper saying that the church was sending people there to convert them! We sent a reply saying- we will stop the treatment provided you give us in writing that the work will be taken over by some other agency. We never got a reply. This is just one example. Im sure there might be others. If you went to church and ate cake- though Im not sure which church distributes cake during Mass- and were in awe of the pretty girls and their legs, then Im afraid you havent come across many christians as your image is very stereotyped. My mother has never worn a skirt since she entered her teens, worn a sari all her adult life and never smoked a cigaretter, so I guess she wouldnt be a “typical” christian woman to you. Since you say you are equally defiant of all religions, Im not sure if you have heard of the Vishwanath temple in Benaras. Through the years 1995,96,97, every October the performing arts troupe i was a part of got throught the semi finals to go to the finals of the competition held by the All-India Catholic Association of Performing Arts in Benaras. All those three years, we went to the temple, and sang bhajans for 2 hours from 3pm-5pm- we were invited and allowed to do so by the temple priest himself. We were btw led by a Catholic priest. So it really saddens me that your whole life you have met only unfavourable charecters of all religions that have added so much cynicism to your view of things in general.

  140. @Hujur:

    Ah, I am shattered that you saw through my pseudo-secularist devious ploy to divide the fundie troika!!! Oh, the shame the shame… 🙂

    Well maybe I was mistaken in lumping Khujur and you together, I admit, but I assert that Hara hara bom bom is in a different category altogether. If you want to identify with him, that’s up to you.

    @Khujur:

    The main point still remains whether the ASI had the right to doubt the historical authenticity of the sethu as a man ‘ God made structure. Everything else is fine as a religious argument but irrelevant to this issue.

    Taking the easy way out by saying – “would they have case doubts on Allah” is a evasive tactic. The merits or demerits of Islam is even less of an issue here.

  141. @Rishi: Please read carefully – the second part was not aimed at you. By now you must be surely aware that even when we disagree on many things, I have never accused you of being irrational. Right wing, yes (I’m not sure that that’s an insult in my lexicon). Irrational – no.

    My tirade was aimed at “To everyone who believes that faith is more important than scientifically proven fact”. Like many commentators on this thread.

  142. My apologies to arnab for pulling this thread away from where it must actually focus – “whether ASI had the right to doubt the historical authenticity of the sethu as a man/God made structure or question anything related to religion”.. though i must say it was unintentional.

    TracerBullet- Im not sure which direction you are trying to veer the discussion with that question- but if it is to get into a debate on relgious dogmas, then I refuse to be drawn into it. However if it was truly meant to be a sincere query, i will tell you that the phrase is a symbolic reference to one of the hundreds of dogmas of Xian theology. It was first used by the apostle Peter, the first sheperd of the Church. Throughout however there have been many references to the statement, but the most i like is by Stephen Kirst who concentrated on the unsual aspects of the kingship in the Agony of the King. Incidently, the church also celebrates the feast of “Christ the King” or Corpus Cristi”- but dont worry like Herod did. Herod had all the male children masacred cause he was scared that the “king” was born and was a threat to him- little did he know that the “king” came to conquer hearts not kingdoms.

    you might be interested in the following artcle http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6200539.stm

    Im so sorry Arnab, I think Ive really started feeding trolls.

  143. What will it take for u pseudo-seculars to stop defending this murderous invasive cult that has tried its very best to annihilate us aka Hindus completely for so many centuries.

    Recommended reading for pseudos, a book by Tathagata Roy – My People uprooted now known its new avatar as

    A hidden history – Exodus of hindus from bangladesh/east pak

    if after reading this book u are still a pseudo then i have nothing to say. A completely factual account of history as is NOT taught in our institutions

  144. @ Shourideb Bhattacharyya:

    in your free time when you are not reading such amazing erudite books try and think about whether there is difference between bangladesh/pakistan on one hand and india on the other.

    we’ve chosen modernity over religion unlike those countries and ‘history’ will judge us better for it. we already have sixty years of democracy and three war victories to show against them. we are by far the superior country.

    so they’ve conducted genocide and ethnic cleansing against hindus. do you know how heavy that weighs on the conscience of a country? you think the common kashmiri is proud that the pandits have left? are we ever going to forgive ourselves for what we did to the sikhs?

    are you proud that mobs burnt the kar sevaks in the train?

    of course not. they’re muslims. they’re not part of us. they’re aliens.. from jupiter!

    @ yourfan2:

    im not an atheist. i think that hinduism is superior to other religions but that is my private opinion. it is not open for argument or ramming down other people’s throats.

    you are right. there is a war between religions. and mankind has evolved the liberal secular state as the best response to limit the casualties of this war. and religion threatens this social formation all the time. if people dont speak up for liberalism we will find ourselves living in some dystopic state run by swamis, maulanas or the pope.

    liberalism is not weakness or stupidity. it is completely based on self-interest and what is best for the development of humanity. it is as much a counter to radical religion as radical religions are to each other.

    ive written about mother teresa’s crisis of faith here:

    @ those insulted by being called right-wing:

    then stop adding adjectives to those who oppose you like ‘psuedo’, ‘bleeding heart’ etc.

    @ hujur:

    you want us to take david frawley seriously? im going to cite an article written by kader khan or shakti kapoor next.

    and btw.. the bjp and the republicans stand for the same thing.. religious conservatism lies towards the right of the political spectrum and like shan has repeated a hundred times IT IS NOT AN INSULT.

    @ rishi khujur:

    the spanish wiped out all the indigenous religions in south america. what does that prove about the modern catholic?

    look.. i dont agree with the history you cite and i am not under an obligation to do so. even professional historians fight over these things so you cannot use interpretation of history as conclusive proof as the malevolence of muslims/islamic culture.

    example, pakistan believed in the martial superiority of muslims (looking at history) over ‘hindu’ india starting two wars. result – butt fuck.

    if apply a marxist approach.. it is a fight for resources rather than religious identity. if i use a feminist approach.. then wars are just a form of expression of masculine insecurity.

    im going to stick my neck out and say this. you cite what is known in academic circles as saffron history and it enjoys very little credibility. not unlike mr. david frawley.

    but feel free to believe in it. i dont. so i guess that leaves us at a stalemate.

  145. err. i believe that its a mythology… thats the word i heard from Hindus themselves while growing up in India.. down thes ages they have added so many gods and goddesses to the already humongous ranks that i wonder why one God isnt enough for them!!!!!??

  146. Anna,
    Fears allayed. India will not ask Rama to be the accepted god-king of India. He would face a lot of competition from Krishna 🙂

    I think Jan Sobieski did far more for Poland than Christ.

    WTF,
    Didn’t understand your Kafka analogy. Surely Kafka talks about an individual being ground down by an oppressive, merciless, monolithic state? He thus represents Austria at the turn of the century, and his work typifies Communist oppression (oh the Trial was so much more spot on the 1984).

    What is happening in the present religio-historical arena is a war that has already started. The time for pacifism, even of Kafkan pessimism has long passed. Kafka was the interlude.

    – Sudetenland has been invaded (Bosnia, Kossovo, Albania).
    – Kritallnacht has taken place (massacre of Christians in Indonesia & Sudan, straggling Hindu remnants in Pak, Bangla & Kashmir),
    – Anti-Semitic discriminatory laws are being passed even as we speak (enforecement of reservation for Muslims),
    – pogroms have taken place (name an Indian state & decade, & I’ll give you a riot started by Muslims …. Darfur),
    – the Bunds are already in training (Madrassas all over the world)
    – The concentration camps have already been constructed (Afghanistan, Pakistan),
    – And the Wannsee solution has long been endorsed (ethnic cleansing).

    What will it take to convince you that Alice has to wake up from Wonderland?

    Your thoughts are noble and intentions commendable. The problem is, we Hindus are :-
    (a) running out of time
    (b) running out of space
    (c) running out of people.

    The clock is ticking … but very few have heard.

  147. @ hara hara bom bom:

    wow! impressive monograph on kafka.

    but i meant it in the sense that in the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, Hobbes remarks that people need good night smooches so they don’t get Kafka dreams.

    hindus may be running out of time, space and people but i would blame our political leaders who encourage islamic fundamentalists for holding onto power in the short term.

    and the only real scientific method of population control other than Sanjay Gandhi methods or Chinese methods is development. all parts of india where literacy, child survival and development are growing, like tamil nadu, the population is falling. this includes muslims. other places like UP and Bihar the population is booming. like the ghettos of europe. go figure.

    islamic fundamentalism is a global problem but abusing, demonzing or teaching muslims a lesson is not the solution to the problem. it only makes a bad situation worse.

    this is my last word to you on this topic.

  148. Grafxgurl : i wonder why one God isnt enough for them!!!!!??

    Your ignorance is amazing. Hindus have one God (Bromho). The other divine beings are devas (divine ones). All Hindus believe this, so they believe in One God. Hinduism gives them the democratic freedom to worship God through devas if they so wish.

    Sometimes followers of Shiva or Vishnu identify their deva as Bromho. They stil believe in one God.

    The fact that Western and Islamic historians and translators twist devas as ‘gods’ to denigrate Hinduis. is a reflection of their stupidity and nastiness, not of any Hindu shortcoming.

    Besides, better to worship many gods, than worship one Devil, hain na?
    😉

  149. @ W.T.F:

    “people need good night smooches so they don’t get Kafka dreams”

    My dreams are fine. It’s when I wake up and witness the growing menace of reality that I turn cold. Besides, I get enough g’night smooches … not from a rag tiger either 😉

    “hindus may be running out of time, space and people but i would blame our political leaders who encourage islamic fundamentalists”.

    Your blame permutation game does not solve the problem. Besides, the politicans are the derivative evil; the prime problem is Islamic fundamentalism. Both the open “terrorsit” version, and subversive “liberal” version. The latter is worse, as it is disarming.

    “and the only real scientific method of population control is development .. Bihar the population is booming. like the ghettos of europe. go figure”

    When the “ghetto populations” arrived in Europe, they were no different than the Indian population. The latter turned their council-apartments in to detached boulevard homes. The former, surprise, surprise, converted them to ghettos. The ghetto effect is the inevitable outcome, not the initial cause.

    Besides, swathes of foreign born terrorists swarming to terrorist camps in Pakistan are usually University graduates. They are not ‘un’ or ‘under’developed. Further, the dirt-poor oppressed Hindu under-developed in Orrissa doesn’t wear a calligraphed towel around his head & jump in to a pack of kids wearing a garland of grenades.

    It is the distorted teaching, irrespective of the level of GDP.

    “islamic fundamentalism is a global problem but abusing, demonzing or teaching muslims a lesson is not the solution to the problem. it only makes a bad situation worse”.

    All we are doing is speaking the truth. Perhaps not always in a sugar-coated politically correct manner (ok, the man who calls a spade “a spade” is only good enough to use one), but the truth nevertheless.

    What would you have us do? Supporting liberal Islam sounds good, but in practical terms, what does this ‘mean’? Can you give me a few ground-level measures to employ to “support liberal Islam”? Apart from keeping silent in the face of terrorist outrages in fear of hurting ‘liberal Muslims’ ?

    “this is my last word to you on this topic.”
    (shrug) That’s a shame. I enjoyed your comments.

  150. @ Har Har Bom Bom:
    From your responses (one of which was in Bengali), I assume that you understand Bengali. I work with many social workers in rural Bengal, working on issues relevent to the above discussion. As you might have guessed, its a difficult work.

    It would would be great if we could share ideas and more.
    Please write to me at rishi_khujur@rediffmail.com

  151. so after scores of scores of comments i can come to a conclusion that –

    ravi ivaturi, shan and wtf are not atheists but liberal hindus (in a true sense) who think vhp/rss are more or equally dangerous than islamic terrorism in india.

    rishi khujur, hujur and hhbb are also not atheists but not-so-liberal hindus who think islam/koran itself is root cause of islamic terrorism and “moderate muslim” is just an oxymoron

    but both the groups are secular (in a true sense).

    since you know each other’s perspective why to fight over on each blog and wasting time? lets do something what you believe.

  152. People debate because
    (a) they want to know & assess opposite views &
    (b) they want to convince the other party of the truth (before it’s too late).

    It’s already too late !!

  153. @Har Har Bom Bom
    Its never too late.
    To paraphrase JFK, It takes only one to make a difference, but we all should try.

    As I said before, somehow, every generation throws up its share of “difference makers”.

    hope to hear from u.

  154. @ Shourideb

    Since you mentioned Prof. Tathagata Roy’s book in your comment, its a very well researched piece of work.
    During the week of Sept. 4, he took me for lunch at The Calcutta Club where he introduced me to some “Calcutta intellectuals”. I was apalled to see their level of ignorance. Yet they move around with a air of smugness and talk of geopolitics, that can be rivalled only by think-tanks in Washington DC.

    We have to long way to go to raise the “threat perception” beyond the threshold point and mainstream media is not helping.

  155. ANNA:

    “Contary to what you or some other people might assume, the Vatican does recognise and honour the existence of other religions. I have been taught so since I was a little girl and still hear it in the church sermons. The 2nd Vatican counsel put an end to the ongoing debate and once for all said “you are not guaranteed salvation just because you are a christian- it is the purity of your heart and soul that guarantees it.”

    I just couldn’t care any less as to what the Vatican said. You make that statement from the assumption as if people of other religions/ atheists were waiting with bated breath to hear such a thing to validate themselves. I have lost all respect for that institution after the child molestation controversy. They say such unscientific things about birth control. Also they don’t recognize the right of a woman to have an abortion. And by the way, I have read in reports that the current pope actually harbors extremely conservative views about other religions. You see businesses are always willing to buckle down when there is a regulatory body supervising. No company would voluntarily implement the Sarbanes Oxley act or Basel 2. So whatever your church is doing is actually a correction for centuries of wrong doing. And it is doing so because it is under pressure to do so. Sometimes correction is a way of evolution. Remember Galileo? So the Vatican church or its followers should probably not advice others about matters of science.
    The reality however is that Christian brain washing is active and DOES happen. Can you deny it?

    “I have been part of the volunteering service including medical service for leper colonies during the time I was in UP- and i may add that no government agency even bothered about them. I was still in my teens then, and I can remember how there was an uproar from a lawyer who had written an article in the local newspaper saying that the church was sending people there to convert them! We sent a reply saying- we will stop the treatment provided you give us in writing that the work will be taken over by some other agency. We never got a reply. This is just one example. Im sure there might be others.”

    Well hats off for your altruism. And I hope you did your work without any strings attached- ie. trying to convert people – ie. spreading your business. I have no problem against business marketing- except for the fact that without fair disclosures- often the customer is cheated. And the victims in this case cannot go to any court. If in India, it was possible for the government to have taken care of every suffering group of people, we would have become Sweeden. Im not saying that the government is efficient though. Neither am I trying to put down your efforts. But you as if I was trying to target you specifically or what you did. Even though you say that your benevolence was without motives (although in this case I only have your word for it), and that the lawyer was a paranoid Hindu, there are plenty of cases worldwide where proselytizing is the motive for help. You party is certainly are not the only ones who indulge in benevolence. There are plenty of religious humanitarian institutes like Rama Krishna Mission which do a great job. And I am sure that they are others too.

    “If you went to church and ate cake- though Im not sure which church distributes cake during Mass- and were in awe of the pretty girls and their legs, then Im afraid you havent come across many christians as your image is very stereotyped. My mother has never worn a skirt since she entered her teens, worn a sari all her adult life and never smoked a cigaretter, so I guess she wouldnt be a “typical” christian woman to you.”

    How many types of churches have you gone to? I have even had breakfast in Evangelical churches on Sundays. Have you ever gone to Utah? To any Mormon church? Now you will say that they don’t represent true Christian faith. The funny thing is that they say the same thing too. And your interpretation of my skirt reference is clearly an inability to read between the lines or an adroit manipulation of logic to suit your needs. I meant that I was so foolish that my juvenile mind thought that there may be some truth to all that claptrap. In hindsight, I understand that it was the very things I saw and heard that affected me psychologically and attracted me. That is again natural. A naive person is more likely to judge a company by its office facade than by looking at accounting statements. And then the skeletons come tumbling out.

    “So it really saddens me that your whole life you have met only unfavourable charecters of all religions that have added so much cynicism to your view of things in general.”

    I am actually grateful that I am stable enough to judge things in general without have to refer a book to determine if my actions are right and wrong. I am capable of happiness and contentment without having to fall back on delusions or fairy tales. Man is mortal. I would rather spend the rest of my life learning more about practical and intriguing things rather than plunging into a sea of delusions. And your comment to Rishi, “I am shocked at how these same people can mock religious concepts of the resurrection, transfiguration or the Miraj in the same breadth as they condemn the ASI for not being sensitive enough” exposes you. Maybe you are very confused. You say that some fairy tales are touchable by science, while some are not. People who get offended when their fairy tale has been challenged have no right to be offended as they have the temerity to question other fairy tales. Pure hypocrisy.

  156. @Anayamar- “Some people believe what they read in newspapers. Some people believe what they read in scriptures. After two years of active journalism, i must say i feel more inclined to trust the latter than the former.”

    That was a really witty statement. 🙂

    @Ravi Iavtauri- Thanks. You are intelligent, erudite and make cogent arguments. Anyone would enjoy debating/discussing with you. But I think you would agree that different points of view are what makes this blog special. Its therefore sad when people accuse Arnab of censorship /propaganda on this blog.

    @Grafxgurl- “err. i believe that its a mythology… thats the word i heard from Hindus themselves while growing up in India.. down thes ages they have added so many gods and goddesses to the already humongous ranks that i wonder why one God isnt enough for them!!!!!??”

    Dont be foolish. You should realize that if Hinduism was an aggressive monotheistic religion, it would have adversely affected the mind share/ mindcontrol business of your religion. @others- Look at the tone of that comment. It takes the presence of their one God as a given truth and then proceeds to deconstruct other religions. Classic example of inability to disrespect anyone who doesn’t believe their own fairy tale. Textbook. Textbook!

    @WTF- You are absolutely entitled to your opinion about Hinduism. From an emancipation and neutrality point of view, I also admire Hinduism over other ‘binding’ religions. Quoting from the Hujur’s comment:
    “The Hindu religion is a pluralistic tradition that accepts many paths, teachers, scriptures and teachings. One cannot be a Christian without accepting Christ or a Buddhist without accepting Buddha, but one can be a Hindu without accepting any single figure. In fact there are Hindus who may not follow Krishna, Rama, Shiva, Vishnu or other Hindu sages or deities and still count as Hindu.”

    So if someone holds a gun on my head and asks me to convert for life, I would choose Hinduism for that very reason. Ironically, if a scenario ever happened, then going by the current trends in the world, it would be done by someone who would not give that option to me.

  157. Err.. correction in my above comment. My response to Grafxgurl should have been:
    Classic example of inability to respect anyone who doesn’t believe their own fairy tale. Textbook. Textbook!

    Although, even double negatives could not have portrayed what Grafxgurl said in a ve light. 🙂

  158. @ Grafxgurl

    Disclaimer- totally irrelevant to the post 🙂

    Dawkins at his devastating best; should put to rest the illusion of monotheism in Christianity

    “But it is especially the Roman Catholic branch of Christianity that pushes its recurrent flirtation with polytheism towards runaway inflation. The Trinity is (are?) joined by Mary, ‘Queen of Heaven’, a goddess in all but name, who surely runs God himself a close second as a target of prayers. The pantheon is further swollen by an army of saints, whose intercessory power makes them, if not demigods, well worth approaching on their own specialist subjects. The Catholic Community Forum helpfully lists 5,120 saints,18 together with their areas of expertise, which include abdominal pains, abuse victims, anorexia, arms dealers, blacksmiths, broken bones, bomb technicians and bowel disorders, to venture no further than the Bs. And we mustn’t forget the four Choirs of Angelic Hosts, arrayed in nine orders: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels (heads of all hosts), and just plain old Angels, including our closest friends, the ever-watchful Guardian Angels. What impresses me about Catholic mythology is partly its tasteless kitsch but mostly the airy nonchalance with which these people make up the details as they go along. It is just shamelessly invented.

    Pope John Paul II created more saints than all his predecessors of the past several centuries put together, and he had a special affinity with the Virgin Mary. His polytheistic hankerings were dramatically demonstrated in 1981 when he suffered an assassination attempt in Rome, and attributed his survival to intervention. by Our Lady of Fatima: ‘A maternal hand guided the bullet.’ One cannot help wondering why she didn’t guide it to miss him altogether. Others might think the team of surgeons who operated on him for six hours deserved at least a share of the credit; but perhaps their hands, too, were maternally guided. The relevant point is that it wasn’t just Our Lady who, in the Pope’s opinion, guided the bullet, but specifically Our Lady of Fatima. Presumably Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Medjugorje, Our Lady of Akita, Our Lady of Zeitoun, Our Lady of Garabandal and Our Lady of Knock were busy on other errands at the time.

  159. WTF wrote: im going to stick my neck out and say this. you cite what is known in academic circles as saffron history and it enjoys very little credibility.

    Rishi’s response:
    Stick your neck out…you did 🙂
    I DO NOT what u call “saffron history” as my sources… if you choose to put it that way.

    I prefer to use translations from original scribes, travelogues, and treatises.
    The historical examples of Islamic horror I gave, are very clearly mentioned in original works like Riyaz-al-Salatin, Zakhirat-ul-Maluk, Chaach-nama, Tahfatus-Sighr, Wastul-Hayak, Tizuk-i Timur….etc etc
    And dont forget the Qur’an and the Hadees.

    Why use second hand material when there is enough to hear from the horses mouth. Believe me, I once made Romila Thapar eat humble pie in a public forum on this issue…..boy that was satisfying 🙂

  160. Dear Yourfan2,

    “How many types of churches have you gone to? I have even had breakfast in Evangelical churches on Sundays. Have you ever gone to Utah? To any Mormon church? Now you will say that they don’t represent true Christian faith.”

    Why would you assume that I would say the above churches dont represent true Christian faith? Anyone and everyone who follows the teachings of Christ is a Christian- irrelevent to the fact that he or she is baptised or not. Well if you had to take into account the technical differences, then I guess it will be impossible to live in this world!

    “And your interpretation of my skirt reference is clearly an inability to read between the lines or an adroit manipulation of logic to suit your needs. I meant that I was so foolish that my juvenile mind thought that there may be some truth to all that claptrap. In hindsight, I understand that it was the very things I saw and heard that affected me psychologically and attracted me. That is again natural. A naive person is more likely to judge a company by its office facade than by looking at accounting statements. And then the skeletons come tumbling out.”

    Believe me Yourfan2, there are more people who come to church out of mere curiosity to know about the religion or to attend christmas service than to check out the gals and guys…though I am sure it very well happens in mandirs too- so i dont know what you are pointing at. Its as if it were meaning that the church knowingly distributes breakfast and lunches and asks the gals to come skimpily dressed so as to lure naive, innocent people.

    “And your comment to Rishi, “I am shocked at how these same people can mock religious concepts of the resurrection, transfiguration or the Miraj in the same breadth as they condemn the ASI for not being sensitive enough” exposes you. Maybe you are very confused. You say that some fairy tales are touchable by science, while some are not. People who get offended when their fairy tale has been challenged have no right to be offended as they have the temerity to question other fairy tales. Pure hypocrisy.

    Yourfan2, this is exactly what I also meant- People who get offended when their fairy tale has been challenged have no right to be offended as they have the temerity to question other fairy tales. And again, why would you assume that Im saying that some fairy tales are touchable by science, while some are not? I guess you got so worked up you didnt even see the full comment. Do you think you or others who have posted like comments here are the first people to question the virgin birth, the miraj, the ressurenction or heck even the sexual orientation of Jesus? Its been going on since donkey’s ages. But does that change my view of him or of the church in general or that the people are ready to take on a 3rd world war? Does that make me a heretic? It doesnt. Similarly, a piece of paper does not affect the fact whether Ram exists or not.

    And no, when I meant that the Vatican recognises all relgions, I did not assume that people of other religions are waiting with abated breath to hear it- I just wanted to do away with the commonly expressed impression in this comment section that people had that the church holds all other religions false.

    Yourfan2, I am a very logical practical person, which is why I am willing to believe that there are certain things beyond the reach of human understanding. I dont even want to get into that aspect of the debate. And if you think that the church is doing something to correct centuries of wrong, then so be it. God always waits for the one sheep that goes astray even though he has the other 99 with him. So I guess its a good thing 🙂

    @Ravi Ituri,

    Dear Ravi, I have no authority to speak on behalf of anybody, even the church. But you’ve put Dawkins’ thoery forward in such a way as if it was something to be put under the rugs by the catholic church. Im sure even Dawkins thought the same. But its not. The church is proud it. Saints are people you look up to, and more importantly these are ordinary human beings who through sometimes small and sometimes great deeds showed us that you dont need to be a 100% perfect to be a saint in the eyes of God. Moreoever, I think that the beauty of John Paul 2nd’s assasination attempt is not that he survived, but that he chose to forgive the man, meeting him in the prison, embrasing him, calling him brother and keeping in touch with him during his term in prison. Ofcourse some people would again question his motive, but then thats why we are free people who have the right to question everything under the sky.

  161. When this whole controversy began, I thought it all to be terribly hilarious. But as it often turns out, the most hilarious end up being the most horrifying. Some mobsters, protesting Karunanidhi’s comments on Rama, burnt down a luxury inter-state bus in the outskirts of Bangalore yesterday. So wild was the frenzy, they didn’t even realize that there were two people sound asleep in the bus. These two poor souls were charred to death in their sleep.
    In another incident, a few other equally enraged elements attacked Karunanidhi’s daughter’s empty home in Bangalore, and managed to break glass and burn the doormat. Hah, doormat!
    Bloody justice!

  162. @Anna

    I merely intended to correct a long-standing notion- the monotheistic pretensions of the Church. Also you might want to differentiate between ‘being saintly’ and ‘being a saint’. Being a saint means answering prayers, saving the faithful and doing a lot of supernatural stuff as enunciated by the Church. ‘Being saintly’ is a welcome thing and needs no further explanation. Therefore I have no problem in accepting that the Pope acted in a saintly manner- but please stop there- don’t make him or anybody else gods/saints.

  163. Dear Ravi,

    Not all saints did miracles or high and mighty supernatural deeds whether when they were alive or when they died. My favourite saint is St.Teresa the Little Flower- she was a simple girl who never held any position of authority, no one even acknowledged her presence for she did no miracles in her life. She died young, and only after her death years later did people who had come in contact with her evetually speak about how she in her simple ways, kind words and empathy was a beacon of light where everywhere people were more bothered as to how to get the limelight. The church would years later canonise her. Not every siant has to be a Joan of Arc. There are hundreds of saints in other religions as well why only christianity. A sufi saint once said, “if i bow my head and belive in a stone, I am sure God will reside in it”. If I begin looking into the technicalities and stands of each religion, then I guess no religion will be worth following because inevitably one will find something that is not suitable in the current scenario.

    I speak only for myself- for all I know there might be many who might say that Im not a true Catholic or a Christian after all! It doesnt irk me. Its just that becoming too emotional on these issues can sometimes lead to a lot of strife- and that can be really bad- things that can be avoided like the kind of damage to property done due to Karunanidhi’s comments. But then again- in India I guess we have a mob mentality irrespective of what the instigating factor maybe.

  164. We cannot write off Rama’s existence just because we don’t have any physical evidence. A mere myth cannot survive for so long. And the same goes for Jesus and Allah. The problem is, over time, various authors added several absurd stories to Ramayana and other books to create a Godly status for them. And more over, ASI filing that affidavit is really hilarious because they just simply watch while many historical monuments either get demoilished by builders or become dilapidated due to negligence. If the same thing goes on with ASI, after some time it will file an affidavit saying that Red Fort never existed.

  165. Shubha, as always it’s innocent bystanders who pay the price, especially in modern India. The thugs know they can’t really go after MK himself, so in all their bravery they burn down buses and people. Why do we bother with all this intellectual masturbation?

  166. W.T.F., I hope you have read Christopher Hitchens and Aroup Chatterjee’s critques on ‘Mother’ Teresa, they are absolutely eye opening. Whatever she was or was not, she was a pathological liar – not just about her personal belief, which we now have reason to doubt – who perhaps could have remained a real missionary if not for Malcolm Muggeridge. It is instructive that Muggeridge himself was a complete bigot and a fanatic (I felt terrible when I learnt how he treated Amrita Sher Gill, bloody creep). MT is a ‘media saint’.

    So-called devout people need to use their ‘god given’ brains to think before they find the divine in mortals.

  167. Dear Nanda Kishore, maybe instead of finding fault with each and everything on this planet, if most of us tried to find an iota of goodness in other people, this place would be a better place to live in, dont you think.

    On another note, speaking ill of a dead person is not only mean but also uncouth. Not that Im a very great fan of MT, but I would definetely refrain from name-calling a dead person be that person of any religion, caste or race.

  168. @ Kishor

    Welcome back!

    “A mere myth cannot survive for so long. And the same goes for Jesus and Allah. “
    You are guilty of harboring, what we call in Finance, ‘survivorship bias’. You clearly don’t know how many myths have existed since inception, or technically speaking, you haven’t taken into account the total population of myths. So out of hundreds of thousands of possible myths, it’s a given that a few myths will survive and rest will die a natural/forced death. So the survival of Ramayana, – which could be explained possibly by pure chance- doesn’t mean it’s true.

  169. Anna
    You took me out of context. What I was referring was a comment by the current pope in which he does acknowledge all religions but in the end says “jesus is king”.
    I quoted this to point it out to you about some contradictions regarding about what you said of the Vatican. Nothing more Nothing less.

  170. @ nanda kishore:

    im not comfortable with MT’s ‘greatness’ either but there’s no denying she’s touched the lives of a lot of people in a positive way. perhaps she deserves to be venerated for that. and all forms of masturbation are fun 🙂

    @ kishor:

    “The problem is, over time, various authors added several absurd stories to Ramayana and other books to create a Godly status for them.”

    i agree completely. but all the same we cant ask the ASI to manufacture proof if they dont have it.

    @ anna:

    i think ravi was responding to a comment about how hindus have so many gods (coming from a western sense of superiority in believing in a monotheistic religion) rather than passing judgments on Christianity.

    @ yourfan 2:

    just the way you have an enlightened and independent respect for hinduism, one would hope that you would respect the choice of another enlightened and independent person to appreciate the metaphor of Christ [without necessarily believing in resurrection or virgin birth] and choose Christianity or the spirit of Islam without believing which i may add brings spiritual peace to a lot of people. (suprise suprise Khujur and co!)

    brainwashing happens in each and every religion. that’s one of the biggest problems with the world today.

    @ rishi khujur:

    wow dude.. lunching at calcutta club and destroying romila thapar in a public forum. fantastic!

    but i would again repeat my warning of using only a historical approach to interpret people today. like religion, there is more to people than history.

    @ moderate islam:

    if living in india you dont know what a moderate muslim is then no one call tell you what a moderate muslim is.

    walk down the road. you will know.

  171. @Kishore: Welcome back! Haven’t heard from you in a long time, buddy!

    The ASI did not say that Ram did not exist. They said that there is no proof of Ram’s existance. Ram may have existed, but probably a minor tribal chieftain in neolithic India, not a god as he has slowly evolved into becoming. The tale of the Ramayana probably has a kernel of truth – though most of the story is likely imaginative additions by the bards who passed on the tale through the centuries.

    So it is just as likely that Adams Bridge has actually got nothing to do with our neolithic hero.

  172. @ Rishi

    “Since you ask for a guess, I would say close to 95% the 4 facts mentioned by HHBB apply. The remaining 5% don’t believe in the Quran and if allowed to live, will quit Islam.”
    Sorry I missed this comment earlier (& you ignored my ‘serious’ request for a book:)

    I am curious to know how you arrived at these percentages. So, in effect, you are actually saying that ‘The Book’ CAN, not just influence, but actually control more than 1.4 billion minds- just as Professor Charles Xavier (the world’s most powerful telepath in X-men) could, for the benefit of humanity of course!

    Extra-ordinary claims need extra-ordinary evidence

  173. Dear Sayon, there is no ‘e’ in my name. I would be the only one not using ‘e’ in the spelling of my name and so I fall into minority category. And your use of ‘e’ in my name violates my personal integrity and I am going to sue you for using that ‘e’.

  174. TracerBullet,

    Im sorry I genuinely couldnt make out the leanings of your comment/question. I know that Pope Benedict has a penchant for having his foot in his mouth- but Im willing to let it go simply because over time I’ve started feeling empathy for him for he shall always be overshadowed by his predecessor. For me what matters is what the theology actually stands for.

    And WTF thanks for reminding me what Ravi was trying to say in the first place. Its partly my fault cause i intended to reply to Grafxgurl’s truly ignorant statement first. I believe that when people are not fully aware of certain things, they inevitably make sweeping statements, generalisations and assumptions.

    On a lighter note, we used to listen to so many funny jokes about all our Gods as children. Do you know of the 3 guys who were trying to cross the river in their respective boats. All of them see a hole in each of their boats and are afraid of drowning. So one guy urgently prays to Krisha and Krishna promptly saves him, the 2nd guy prays to Vaishno Devi and she prompty saves him, then the third guy cant decide which god to pray to, so he decides on Ganesh. He prays to Ganesh, Ganesh appears but he starts dancing with full josh. The poor guy is scared of his wits and says,”err, arnt you supposed to save me?” Ganesh looks at him and replies,” Acchha! Main doobta hoon to tum log nachte gaatey ho, aur tum doobtey ho to main tumhe bachaun????” 🙂

    Why do we begin mudslinging and passing judgements as we grow older. Sigh 😦

  175. @ kishor:

    “Dear Sayon, I am not going to take back. Can anyboyd give me the e-mail id of minorities commision chairman ?”

    yes its.. kishore@gmail.com.

    hope you get a fair hearing.

    @ Ravi Ivatur’s response to Rishi

    “ The remaining 5% don’t believe in the Quran and if allowed to live, will quit Islam.”

    IF ALLOWED TO LIVE??????????

    then people say that they’re not right wing.

  176. WTF wrote:
    @ Ravi Ivatur’s response to Rishi

    “ The remaining 5% don’t believe in the Quran and if allowed to live, will quit Islam.”

    IF ALLOWED TO LIVE??????????

    then people say that they’re not right wing.

    Rishi’s response:
    Well friend, how does the Islamic injunction of death to apostates make me a “right winger”.

    There are numerous Muslim in India and all over the world who would quit Islam in a jiffy if they were given enough protection.

    In India itself, there are thousands of Muslims (especially women) who want to LEAVE islam. But death threat and social isolation come in the way. And we Hindus cant protect ourselves, forget about protecting ex-Muslims.

    I am just holding the mirror. That doesnt earn me any wings.

  177. @ Shan,

    Just went through your 17th Sep comment. True gem. 🙂 Do sorry I’d missed it before, & apologies for late answer.

    “The issue is whether there is consistent treatment of all religions.” “”No it isn’t. That’s YOUR issue. The real issue is whether Adam’s Bridge .. has it an historical connection with Ram. Everything else is your coloring of the situation.””

    You’d be right if Indian governments had not consistently adopted anti-Hindu measures, while strengthening the hand of anti-Hindu faiths. This is not an isolated incident, a bigger picture is evident (Sabarimalai, control of temples, reservation with anti-Hindu bias).

    Is this wrong or right? (sotto : Adam’s Bridge my foot).

    “”The rest of your comment is the usual crap””

    You’ll have to do better than that. You’re referring to my post of 14th Sep. Highlight, from that post alone :

    (a) Which comments are crap? A blanket retort like “all” or “most” is copping out. Specify.

    (b) Why is it crap? Is it incorrect, contradictory or false? If so, how? If it is true but not politically corrrect, then it is not crap. Specify tangibly, not emotively.

    © For someone with a liberal lean towards for toilet language, you should not assume a contrived sensitivity when (you perceive) others employing it.

    “There is a high correlation between the number of mosques today & low I.Q. levels” “”Really? Yeah, I know you said you “clarified” but actually you clarified nothing. All you did was draw some sort of a tenuous causal relationship between the number of mosques and poverty. But with IQ? None.””

    Well, the point here is that smart nations soon emerge out of a poverty trap and rise to the top. Less cranially gifted nations gravitate downwards. There are exceptions, like Middle East oil prosperity, but the overall conclusion is clear : Intelligence = Prosperity.

    Let us take India, Pak & Bangladesh. Which one is slowly but surely realising it’s inherent potential, in spite of centuries of deprivation? Which ones are plunging abysmally, in spite of being propped up by billions in largesse and stolen wealth? Which one is contributing to world prosperity, and which ones are sucking in world resources which proferring global misery as return?

    Per capita, which ones have more mosques & madrassas?

    Now, take three Muslim nations, Turkey, Indonesia and Lebanon. The same resounding conclusion.

    The BBC is reporting on how madrassas are mushrooming in Pakistan where traditional schooling is being rejected. There is also clear proof that madrassas do not equip students to deal with the modern world; many of them fuel terrorism, so they are regressive.

    Are my facts wrong or right?

    “” You are basically a thug – a Pravin Togadia / Vinay Katiyar type. You will feel proud of those tags, I am sure. Personally there is no greater insult I can give another person””

    Hmmm. Name calling is colourful, but not effective. I could retort by saying “Your posts are dead boring and you are basically dumb – a Britney Spears, Anne Nicole Smith and Dan Quayle type. You will feel proud of these ‘dumb and boring’ tags, I am sure. Personally there is no greater insult I can give another person”.

    However, I won’t stoop to that. 🙂

    “”Of course the fact that your comment had nothing to do with the topic is a given. After all you are the guy who saw global anti-Hindu conspiracies in a funny movie review!””

    Hmmm. Once you have a bit more experience, you’ll see that popular blog comments swerve out of their original constricts in to other bylanes (thus the discussions on Mother Teresa above).

    ALSO, YOUR COMMENT IS FALSE. 😦 What I had said was :
    (1) there ‘is’ an international conspiracy against Hindus (proof is Tehelka) in many circles
    (2) there is unbridled contempt in many media circles, who splash negatives of India alone.
    (3) Many mediocre people in India wishing to gain crumbs from the global recognition table by showing their country in a disgusting light.
    (4) There are many honest & responsible media members as well.

    I’d raised this “in the context” of the movie. This is not the same as “seeing global anti-Hindu conspiracies in a funny movie review”. Do you see why I call your comments FALSE?

    Looking forward to your reply. You are welcome to throw another hissy fit & spew expletives (it’s hilarious) :-), but it would be refreshing to see your tirade followed by some rational, sensible answers rather than the the usual flight under a mantle of pejoratives and unwarranted self-righteousness.

  178. @ rishi khujur:

    Point 1:

    islam saying ‘death to kafirs’ doesnt put you on the right wing. its puts islam on the right wing.

    you put yourself on the right wing with your own views on islam’s threats. comprende?

    you must understand something. right wing hindus, christains and muslims all the say the same thing all the end of the day. the same thing sushma swaraj says in india, pat buchanan says in the united states. and its funny because righ wingers in india justify burning christain missionaries in their sleep.

    ok..my mistake.

    the manner of making the point that muslims are unhappy being muslims .. by using the hypothetical consequences of genocide of muslims doesnt make you right wing.. it makes you neo-nazi.

    do you understand the horrific undertone of your statement? if allowed to live? *shake head with disgust*

    no muslim needs your permission to live and will ever need it.

  179. @ rishi khujur:

    i completely misunderstood your statement. my unqualified apologies.

    those muslims who want to kill those who want to leave their religion are the neo-nazis.

    but you see.. legally in india.. they have a legal right to convert and the state should protect them. i agree with you that muslim leaders will not allow conversions and the state will not protect such people.

    however this is a failure of the indian state and must be rectified.

    by the same toke, those women who think that they have more freedom in islam than hinduism should also be allowed to convert or marry muslim men without local gundas landing up at their house after investigations at the local marriage office.

  180. @GB…nearly 70 comments, and no reply from you? to quote Ghalib…” badalkar faqeeron ka hum bhes ‘Ghalib’, tamasha-e-ehl-e-karam dekhte hain” ???:)

  181. @ tracer bullet:

    dont fool yourself into believing that hindu society is justiciable to women. burkha or burkha (dutt) notwithstanding, there are aspects where islamic society is better for women.

    for starters the woman is paid consideration for marriage and there is no untouchablility practiced against menstruating women. also, the consent of the woman is an essential part of the nikah (though its another matter whether it’s socially given any importance).

    yes, unilateral divorce by sms, legally acceptable polygamy and no maintenance upon divorce are problems. but that is more because of indulgence of the league of extra-ordinary gentlemen – the AIMPLB.

    remember, there is no religious prohibition on hindu’s taking multiple wives. it was banned by legislation in 1952. bigamous hindu marriages before that are legal (best example, Ram Jethmalani). it’s sheer hypocrisy that a similar law has not been passed for muslims.

    in my opinion it’s better to be married to a enlightened muslim man than an orthodox hindu. but i think its like choosing between hell and high water.

    and maybe i’m opening a pandora’s box with this new thread. sorry arnab da.

  182. To Anna:

    You seem to be an intellectually challenged individual. Have you actually bothered to read anything about Mother Teresa or Malcolm Muggeridge? Empty platitudes don’t help anyone. And what is all that nonsense about not speaking ill of the dead etc? When you have someone elevated to the status of a saint based on dubious grounds, why is it not pertinent to ask questions?

    I have a suggestion for you – just close your eyes and ears and think of all the beauty and good in the world, it’s sure to make you feel warm and fuzzy. You may need to remain in this state, however, for otherwise you might just end up looking at a tiny bit of reality.

    Interesting that you make all the right noises and then call people who did not engage you in debate mean and uncouth. Not very christian, is it?

  183. I am putting my money on comments crossing the 500 mark, unless greatbong comes up with another post.

    500, 500, 500.

    510 Anyone?

  184. @Rishi Khujur, all your analysis in dating the events in ramayana and mahabharata maybe correct. But have you thought of the possibility that the people during that time were just writing a contemporary piece of fiction? It might have been written during the period you mention, but it might still be a work of fiction. And they used known geographical features like the “ram sethu” to add to their story. If this is true, then surely Ram is just a fictitious character. This seems more than plausible.

  185. @ WTF and Anonymouse

    Treatment of women in Islam.
    Hmmm….a new can of worms….and that too a rotten one….might need another 200 comments to get to the bottom of this.

    Will be talking about that someday soon. For now, will leave a few pearls of wisdom from the Hadiths…. the ones that I have handy. I have to read the Quran again to collect the useful quotes.

    Remember, the Hadiths are the second most important documents in Islam, based on the life of Mohammad himself (peace be upon him)

    Majority of women are in hell…( Shahih Bukhari 1.6.301)

    Women, slaves and camels are same; must seek Allah’s refuge from all these…(Sunaan Abu Dawud 11.2155)

    A woman is like a rib—that is why she has the crookedness…(Shahih Bukhari 7.62.113)

    If you marry a pregnant woman, then her vagina is lawful if you pay the dowry, after she gives birth, flog her; the child becomes your slave…( Sunaan Abu Dawud 11.2126)

  186. @ Ajay
    Very plausable. The possiblities of are many.
    As Sayon mentioned, the possibility of a Ram being a charismatic ruling head with immense popularity amonst his subject, later elevated to the position of a Preserver incarnate(Vishnu), cannot be ruled out either.

    The verifiable example of later Kshatriya Prince (Siddhartha, Gautama ‘Buddha’), as the Preserver incarnate (Vishnu) is a meaningful pointer to that direction.

    PS. Gautama is not considered by many Vaishnava subgroups.

  187. @ Everyone

    As a continuation to my response to Ajay….
    From what I understand, Ram as the Preserver incarnate (Vishnu) was much more popular during pre-Islamic days. In fact most of the historical artifacts recovered from the Ayodhya birthplace temple site (later replaced with a – now demolished, mosque by Babur) were in reference to Vishnu the Preserver.

    What Babur had actually destroyed was not a Ram temple per se- but nearly 1200 years of continuous and chronological temple building dedicated to Vishnu incarnates, commemorating the birth place of Lord Ram (as mentioned in literature of that period)

    It was only during under Islamic slavery that Maryada Purushottam Ram, as deity became prominent, primarily due to ascendence the grassroots Bhakti movement in Northern and Central India.

  188. continued from previous comment…

    During this Bhakti period (under Islamic slavery), several attempts were made in Ayodhya to re-establish Maryada Purushottam Ram’s legacy and small temples dedicated to Ram came up all around Ayodhya and so did Akharas dedicated to Sri Hanuman.

    Interestingly, the valiant Sikh Guru Gobind Singh-ji spent more time attempting to demolish Babur’s structure at Ayodhya, than the VHP.

  189. Dear Nanda Kishore, I didnot call YOU “mean and uncouth” I said “speaking ill of a dead person is mean and uncouth”. I have differentiated between the deed and the doer (in case you hadnt noticed). You on the other hand have indeed said to me “You seem to be an intellectually challenged individual”…but thats ok- its obvious to me that this conversation will not go anywhere.

    Plus, MT is declared a saint by the Church for Christians- you are in no obligation to consider her one- so why lose all this energy over someone/something who/that doesnt even concern you? And yes, I have not only read about MT but also been a volunteer myself at an MC home, as well as have books and essays by Christopher Hitchens (including his highly “enlightening” interview called “Mother Teresa’s Crimes Against Humanity”. So what? Maybe your suggestion was right, maybe I will close my eyes to all the evil in people and see only the goodness and keep doing my bit- maybe that way I have better chances of being a better person. At least thats better than being a pretentious pseudo intellectual. And no, in case you get it wrong this time too, that last sentence was not aimed at you 🙂

    This thread has really become too long- not used to seeing such huge comment sections here.

    Kaunteya- you got it. 501 from me 🙂

  190. If interested, self-reference and reality —
    http://www.ece.lsu.edu/kak/RReality.pdf

    Btw, GB, I personally do not believe that Ram Setu is a man-made bridge – Rama or no Rama – it’s just an interesting natural wonder. However I would certainly speculate in favour of an awe-inspiring personality of his times in the form of Rama, even if his feats may have been mythologized over the course of time. Could the setu have been used as a bridge by humans in the past? Quite possible (much like the prehistoric migration over the Bering bridge – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bering_Land_Bridge).

  191. @Rishi Khujur:

    Can’t believe I’m getting lured into this argument, but anyway:
    citing phrases arbitrarily from the Hadees as you did above without context is a classic example of sheer misrepresentation of information. For example, I can say that The Gita says “You must kill your brothers” without completing the sentence or citing the context and then we would be on a level playing field, wouldn’t we? Talk sense dude. Blind hatred will only make you sound more illogical even if you ever had valid points.

  192. w.t.f. :

    “Untouchability against menstruating women” . You have a misconception about this. This is not a custom specific to Hinduism but a social custom which has been inherited. Consent of women – do you think this not required in Hinduism. Widow remarriage -this too. For that matter polyandry. I merely wish to point out these have nothing to do with Hinduism..These have a part of evolving social mores whaich ahve been accepted and dicarded.

    Much as I do not wish to sound a feminist (:-)) trampling of women’s rights seems to be an integral part of evry religion. The HInduism you see (orthodoxy) is dying. It may take several years but it will eventually be replaced by a milder form which is kind to everyone. But is the same happening in Islam.? I dont think so. How favourable a society do you think men in power armed with their (distorted) intrepretations of Islam have created and will create for women( and for non muslims as well now that we are here?)?

    I have a question. A personal one. Are you a muslim? The reason I am asking is if you are and if you still feel women are being treated better in Islam then it is news to me.(no sarcasm intended- absolutely). If not from my limited knowledge about the muslims I have seen, what I can conclude is If you are born in a woman well educated family evrything is fine. If you are born a woman in an uneducated one well god save you. Exactly how man women do you think fall into the first category?

  193. Anna, so talking about anyone who is dead in less than glowing terms is ‘mean and uncouth’? Is that because any criticism of MT bothers you? In any case, if that’s your opinion, you could have said so in a civilised manner. I agree my comments were caustic but they were in response to your moral posturing. There was a time when I was in awe of the lady and thought she really was a ‘saintly’ person. May be she really was. Hitchens is not stupid, MT spent a lot of her time, especially post-1979, going around the world and trying to impose catholic beliefs wherever she had access to policy makers. The AIDS-contraception issue is an obvious example. May be you don’t find it wrong because of your beliefs, but it is indeed puzzling how she advocated pretty strong (and irrational) measures when she had doubts about her own faith (of course, she wouldn’t be the first or last religious person to do that).

    Why lose sleep over the beatification? Because she has not just been elevated to sainthood by the church, but in fact the whole world believes rather extraordinary things about her. At the very least, that status must stand up to scrutiny, even when the scrutiny comes from mere mortals.

  194. Dear Nanda Kishore, I meant exactly as it sounded- according to me speaking ill of ANYONE who is dead is uncalled for- Im not talking of PolPot or Hitler here for Godsakes! And contratry to your assumption, I am in no awe of MT and Im least bothered whether she is beatified or canonised. My simple logic is that if I dont find anything good to say about somebody, its better I not speak about them at all- whether its MT, Diana, Saddam Hussein or anyone whom I must have known personally. But then thats again just my point of view, and I totally respect anyone who holds the opposite. I agree people in a public spectrum always tend to face fierce scrutiny whether they are dead or alive.

  195. @ nanda kishore:

    one can like MT without scorn being heaped on them. Like Anna said (despite all her mad social engineering) she’s not hitler or pol pot.

    @ tracer bullet:

    the point i was trying to make was that irrespective of being hindu or muslim, god save you if you are woman born in a backward family. so if you find a great guy and he’s muslim, make a run for it cause the husband your family chooses is going to be an asshole.

    as regarding your point about my misunderstanding, menstruating women are not allowed to take part in religious ceremonies or women of menstruating age are not allowed to enter many temples. this is given sanction by priests. that is untouchability entrenched with religious sanction. untouchability is practised against women in hinduism but is not highlighted like untouchability against the lowest castes.

    this is different, say, from the belief that a menstruating woman will turn pickle bad by touching it. that’s social.

    anyways in hinduism there is hardly a line between social and religious practices

    but i agree. all major religions especially islam, hinduism and roman catholicism are majorly misogynistic. especially amongst hardliners.

    @ rishi khujur:

    you’re citing the hadiths?

    come on. i expected better from you. why use a secondary source when you can use the Koran. how about the parts in the Koran where the Prophet justifies the beating of wives in order to control misbehavior?

    And while your rifling through your books, do try not to ignore the parts which highlight the liberalism of the Prophet towards women.

    @ rishi khujur’s comment on Lord Ram’s evolution (and finally a relevant comment):

    im really curious about your views about an important angle in the present controversy regarding the rejection of Lord Ram by the Dravidian movement (as reflected by Karunaninidhi’s most uncouth comments).

  196. WTF wrote: rishi khujur’s comment on Lord Ram’s evolution (and finally a relevant comment):

    im really curious about your views about an important angle in the present controversy regarding the rejection of Lord Ram by the Dravidian movement (as reflected by Karunaninidhi’s most uncouth comments).

    Rishi’s response: Kettle calling the pot….:)
    Karunanidhi has the right to his comments…just as Lal Kishen Advani to his response.

    Lalbadshah:
    As a Muslim, I guess you already are aware of the context…but I could be wrong.
    Let me give the context of the Hadiths I quoted.

    Sahih-al Bukhari
    http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/

    Sunan Abu Dawood
    http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/abudawud/

  197. Everybody is entitled to their opinion so no point in trying to shout over the top ..

    If you think Ramayana was a brilliant piece of imagination – a work of fiction that implores you to believe it is true – fair enough thats your opinion .

    I think its wrong to say that the ASI’s report is the final word on it . If the best archaeological team were to try and dig up proof of any of the hotly debated biblical episodes , its very likely they would came up with a similar report which says there is no historical – verifiable – tangible proof of those events . Would the rest of the world be prepared to subscribe to that view ?

    This is not a matter that can be decided by courts and committees or scientific teams of the ASI etc . The more important question here is , how can MK go scott free for making such alarmingly haughty remarks . Ours is a country which preaches tolerance but people in power sprouting such words are at the limit of transgressing their liberties …. it might come back to haunt them for a long time .

  198. GB, I always believed that the absurdity quotient (AQ) of an epic – unless the absurdity has been consciously included for entertainment value – may actually speak volumes about its age: (1) the amount of myth-building atop the original version is directly proportional to the amount of time the latter has been around (indeed myth is considerably less in the more recent Mahabharata, albeit the filtering of the apocryphal parts of the narrative posed several decades worth of work for the “Critical” Pune Edition published by the Bhandarkar Institute). (2) The mumbojumbo is also indicative either of ancient practices that are extinct today or of the incapacity of the primitive people to explain different patterns and phenomena of the time (of course this is true at *any* point of time: until a few years ago, all peptic ulcers were thought to be caused by stress, now most are attributed to bacterial infection — thus hardcore medicine texts of yesteryears now contain a myth!). Hence the Ramayana’s AQ – I’d argue – could actually be made to work in favour of itself.

  199. Dear Anna,

    You made two interesting points which I reproduce below:

    – “Contary to what you or some other people might assume, the Vatican does recognise and honour the existence of other religions.”
    – “I know that Pope Benedict has a penchant for having his foot in his mouth- but Im willing to let it go simply because over time I’ve started feeling empathy for him for he shall always be overshadowed by his predecessor.”

    Hujur’s take on your points:

    Let’s dissect your mendacious comments about the Vatican and Pope Benedict’s predecessor (Karol Wojtyla a.k.a. Pope John Paul II).

    Lets see what the John Paul declared from the pulpit in New Delhi a few years, perhaps in a fitting response to his lavish, red-carpet welcome by the allegedly Hindu-fundoo Indian government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee…

    In “Ecclesia on Asia” released in New Delhi, on the eve of Diwali, in November 1999, Pope John Paul declared:

    “Just as in the first millennium, the Cross was planted on the soil of Europe, and in the second on that of the Americas and Africa, we can pray that in the third Christian millennium a great harvest of faith will be reaped in this vast and vital continent.” He fervently endorsed the call of his Bishops [that] “the heart of the Church in Asia will be restless until the whole of Asia finds its rest in the peace of Christ, the Risen Lord”.

    ( Source: http://www.christianaggression.org/item_display.php?type=ARTICLES&id=1112737774 )

    And mind you, this Papal declaration was made openly in broad-daylight on Indian soil, when Hindu-majority India had graciously given John Paul an invitation after his entry was promptly refused by China, Vietnam and even Sri Lanka because they knew his real agenda – which was to deliver the post-Synodal exhortation (that the Church would plant the cross in Asia and harvest the souls of the non-Christian peoples of Asia) in Asian countries where the majority of the population is non-Christian

    I am interested to see if you have any other apologist explanations trying to cover up the Catholic Church’s noble designs on India.

  200. There is a new debate about Rama, the hero of Ramayana, an epic written by Valmiki. With the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) submitting an affidavit that “There was no historical or scientific evidence to establish the existence of Lord Rama and also that he constructed the Ram Sethu”, the BJP has made it an issue to say that how can the central government deny the existence of Lord Rama who is being seen as god himself?

    Karunanidhi, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, also took the same stand that ASI took. The G andhian nationalist campaign for its own legitimacy projected Rama as god. The BJP has been using that divine image of Rama as a source of political mobilisation. In the interest of the nation this question needs to be settled.

    When the Supreme Court asked from an Archeological organisation naturally it has to look for scientific and historical evidence. When it came to a conclusion that there was no evidence that a historical person called Rama ever existed, how can that affidavit be forced to be withdrawn?

    Does the BJP and its allied organisations claim that Rama was not a historical person but god? The discourse around the notion of god indicates that god has no particular place of birth and he does not build just one Sethu here or another there but every place is seen as his place and every construction is seen as his construction. If the name Rama is like the name of Yahova or Messiah or Allah or God, neither Yahova nor Messiah nor Allah is said to be born at a particular place nor such a god is said to have built this or that structure.

    All places are said to be his birth places and all constructions are said to be his constructions. Thus, no place or construction could become a social or governmental dispute. God cannot be drawn into such controversies of places and constructions. In religious terms such an attempt is seen as blasphemous.

    All the claims of the Hindutva forces about Rama point to a direction that he was a king and he lived at a particular period of time. He was said to have been born at a particular place, Ayodhya. He was said to have conducted wars against what they consider unjust people like Tataka, Bali, Ravana and Shambhuka and he built certain cities, bridges on rivers and seas and so on. If that is so then his period of existence, his contribution to constructions needs archeological, historical and scientific evidence.

    Whether the ASI’s affidavit is withdrawn or it stands as evidence before the court, the affidavit has raised a fundamental point about Rama around whom so much politicking is taking place. Was he god or was he one of the kings who ruled at a particular point of time? Or was he a prophetic religious builder like Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed? For both kings and prophets historical evidence is an essential condition. Even the Archeological institutions of the world must make a survey of such historical personnel and evidence must be produced when disputes emerge around their actions.

    If Rama was like Buddha or Jesus or Mohammed he should have historical evidence of his birth, growth and activities. Why should not Rama be put to such a scrutiny? Not many court litigations have come around the life and activities of Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed. But Rama’s life is coming up before the modern judiciary and research institutions time and again. If such litigations arise about the life of Buddha or Jesus or Mohammed it is not difficult to establish their time frame and evidences of their activities. Why are the Hindutva forces against such evidence centred discourses even in the case of Rama? Why do they keep on saying that Rama’s birth, living and his actions are faith based issues and neither courts nor research institutions should investigate into such evidences? If a Buddhist, or a Christian or a Muslim talks about the prophetic builders of their religions in that language those very prophets suffer major historical setbacks in terms of their existential credibility itself.

    If Rama is a king like many other kings building temples in his name is a blasphemous act in itself. Since such temples have come up in the course of history the modern state should respect them and leave it at that. No political party should be allowed to create problems for the nation around those temples.

    Even the issue of the so called Rama Sethu is similar to that of Ayodhya. If so far the Indian State has not declared that structure as a historical monument and when a national useful project is under construction in that area what is wrong if that structure is dismantled. No modern judiciary can keep on wasting its time around such disputes. Some of these things are neither provable nor disprovable.

    The best course before the judiciary is to leave such matters to the national executive and civil societal debates. The Indian Supreme Court in this case should have dismissed it as unresolvable in the court of law. Quite interestingly the Supreme Court has not only admitted this case, but asked for an affidavit from the State. Whose assistance should the State take in such a matter? Naturally that of ASI. What methodology should ASI adopt to state its position? Naturally it has to come to a conclusion based on archeological and scientific basis. The onus now lies on the BJP and its allied organisations to prove what Rama was existent.

  201. makes good reading but probably is overcritical of the ASI.(myself not related to it!!!)
    when u r given the task of an investigation that has from the outset a foregone conclusion(…may be not!!!in the minds of some) then u do present ur labored conclusion in an articulate and definitive manner—even if that entails banal restatement of common sense.common sense if I may remind u being the set of prejudices u acquire by age 18 and for some people till the time they die.
    what was the recourse for the ASI for such a question as was posed to them?
    shrug their shoulders and say “Dude…are u kiddin me?don’t u know it’s a folklore?!!”
    Now that would have been really unacceptable and material for a better GB blog.
    my two cents.

  202. umm so this means that santa clause exists as does saint valentine an the tooth fairy and the easter bunny.OMG Godzilla and King Kong exist too..DAMN

  203. Srinivasan, I believe, makes a good case here — may be slightly prematurely, but given the history of mega-engineering projects, many sterling succcess-stories notwithstanding, it’s always worth being wary (especially factoring in hubris greed in an imperfect democracy) about long-term consequences on the local ecology & geology —
    http://ia.rediff.com/news/2007/sep/17rajeev.htm

  204. @ readers

    B B Lal, Padma Bhushan, Director General, ASI (retd) and former President of The World Archaeological Congress, will soon write a NEW article on the ‘historicity’ of Ram. Dont know if any mainstream media will publish it. If not, I will try to post it here (with GB’s approval).

    Meantime, here is a quote previous article from him, in the context of the Ram Janmabhoomi issue, quoted below:

    “…..Anyway, in 1993 came out my first volume under the project ‘Archaeology of the Ramayana sites’. In it I categorically restated “The combined evidence from all five sites excavated under the project shows that there did exist a historical basis for the Ramayana.” I do not know why the editor has chosen to misrepresent my viewpoint and give an altogether opposite impression to the reader”.

    The complete article is available at
    http://www DOT hvk DOT org/specialarts/ichr/articles/0006 DOT html

  205. IMHO Itihasa, including Ramayana, should be viewed from the angle of “magic realism”. This is an otherwise realistic scenario, interlaced with surrealism / mythology.

    This would be the same as, say Kafka’s works, or Michael Ondaatje’s the English Patient. For the latter, there was an actual Count Laszlo Almasy acting as a double agent for the allies. His life is the stuff legends are made of … he discovered the Magyarabs, a group of Hungarians who came to Egypt with their Turkish overlords in the 17th century, then got lost and fully assimilated in to Bedouin society, with only faint recollections of a 400 year old European past.

    However, Ondaatje’s Almasy (& Minghlela’s Ralph Fiennes as Almasy the English Patient) is quite different from what we’ve cobbled together of the original character. This does not nullify Almasy’s existence though.

    Similarly, there may have been a great king of Aryavarta, who pursued his kidnapped wife all over India. The ‘monkey’ & ‘bear’ army may have been a neolithic tribe, perhaps fighting under monkey & bear totems.

    Hanuman may have been a spy who sailed to Sri Lanka to gather information on the kidnapped Sita, and when caught, set fire to the city to escape in the confusion.

    The bridge to Lanka may have been skilful navigation through the Palk Straits of a large army.

    The kernel of truth would have existed many ages prior to Valmiki. He used his genius to make an already popular tale in to a world classic.

    After all, what is ‘history’? How accurate is it? Schoolchildren are still taught that a courageous Clive defeated a combined French-Indian force far superior to his at Plassey. What is conveniently omitted is the thick sauce of sleaze, he ‘seduced’ the enemy forces with bribes. If the enemy is weak enough to fall for venal charms, Clive is as culpable as them as the solicitor of such vice. The drugs dealer is condemned more that the victim junkies.

    In UK schools, wars in which Great Britain lost (2nd Anglo-Dutch war, War of Austrian succession, early battles of the 7 years war) are not even mentioned.

    Also, it is true that works by Thucydides and Xenophon, as far back as the 5th century BCE, are a very fresh innovation on the phantasmogoria of Heorodotus. But as late as the 1st century AD, Suetonius was talking about magical birds in his history of the Caesars. And this is not even taking in to account the vile lies spread by the Roman Diodorus on the Carthaginians burning alive their children.

    The Ramayana, which by traditional Hindu dating is a lot older, can be forgiven for containing elements of fantasy in a historical narrative.

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  207. Dear Rishi,

    In my previous post (dated Sep 18th, 2007 at 4:05 am) in the same thread, I pointed out the “Myth of the Hindu Right” as underlined in this article:

    http://bharatvani.org/books/civilization/partII10.htm

    Intellectual-activists like you belong to the “New Left” and have much more in common with Leftists in the West than some would admit to.

    All I got in response to the article was not an intelligent point-by-point rebuttal of the various points (that were listed in the article – Economics, Ecology, Native Traditions), but rather a whimpering, predictable diatribe about the author.

    Rishi, tell me how you feel about this, will you?

    Hujur

  208. Hujur:
    I dont think it matters if our ‘Hindu revivalist’ work ends up being called the actual ‘leftist’ work as long as we are effective.

    What really matters is the work. Here are a set of things that we need to work on.

    1. Begin to use the electronic media (mainsteam or otherwise) to create awareness and raise the ‘threat perception’ amongst the ‘educated masses’. I am sure, the lively discussions at Arnab’s blog, with its massive readership, has helped us a lot in this direction.

    2. At the end of the day, work has to actually be done on the ground.
    Point (1) is useless if we cannot increase the participation from the ‘keyboard Ninja’ level to the level of some degree of ‘Tana (body), Mana (mind), Dhana (Money)’.

    In Bengal, we are desparetely in need of all three, and the middle class Bengali Bhadrolok needs to step up to the plate (once again) , to provide the three.

    We have the organisation, motivation and dedication. We need money and participation. Hujur…get ur Bengali friends in touch with me.

  209. @ hujur:

    the article you have cited first goes to classify the hindu movement on the left side and then finally concludes in glowing terms about hindu culture being above politics of right and left.

    wonderful. if you want to be on prakash karat and gurudas dasgupta’s side on the political spectrum. be my guest. i cannot think of a greater insult to anyone.

    let me point humour your craving for a point by point rebuttal by saying at least this:

    1. the author seems to be completely oblivious to the fact that there is no universal understanding of left or right wing. it is determined by local politics. so the american understanding of right wing politics has no place for understanding indian politics.

    2. his exotic romanticism of hinduism compels him to goes to compare hindus in india to native americans. do you not see how stupid that is?

    3. understand something… populism, conservatism, a demand for an expanded role for religion in the public sphere are all features of right wing politics.

    4. the author seems to think that an endorsement by the Dalai Lama is a free pass to legitimacy. He justifies classifying a nuclear test on the left wing because the Dalai Lama agrees with it. Retard.

    5. i loved that part about cow worship being out of ecological considerations. that was sweet.

    6. i know you like you hear nice things about hindus from white people but please understand that people like this reduce our culture to an international joke that the ‘hare-krishnas’ are.

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  211. @ rishi khujur, hhbb, khujur:

    read this interview by salman rushdie. if this doesnt convince you that muslims as a monolithic concept are a myth, nothing will.

    focus on the part called ‘dirty jokes behind the lie’ and the fact that the most pornographic jokes about the prophet are made in iran behind closed doors.

    http://www.davidcronenberg.de/cr_rushd.htm

  212. wtf:
    the part that you missed is that Rushdie has a death sentence on him and stayed underground in complete protection of the ‘West’ for a decade. If that doesnt convince you …….

  213. @ wtf
    Also, Rushdie is not a Muslim, but a confirmed ex-Muslim (apostate).
    He does not speak as a Muslim, but as a humanist, as a non-Muslim.

    See interview with Rushdie:

    http://www.reason*DOT*com/news/show/33120*DOT*html

    Two excerpts:

    Although [Rushdie] grew up in a Muslim household, he rejected his faith at a young age and still remains a resolute unbeliever.
    ……
    For years the fatwa forced Rushdie into hiding in London. It cost him his marriage and isolated him from his young son. The book was banned in India and he was barred from his homeland. Desperate to resume normal life, Rushdie apologized to Muslims and even formally converted to Islam, A MOVE HE LATER REPUDIATED .

    Dear WTF:
    Please try to understand…we are not argueing just for sake of argument.

  214. WTF,

    You have really depressed me. On the one hand, we have clear, limpid and irrefutable evidence of a growing menace that is destroying all in its crushing wake. And as a counter-argument to this evident horror, you are providing stray quotes from a frightfully monotonous interview of a dreadful man !!

    Your 2 arguments to assuage any pain arising from the massacres in Darfur, Kashmir, Armenia, Indonesia, India, USA and India, are :

    (a) Rushdie is grateful that his mother has not had her skull crashed in yet, and

    (b) In Iran they like a bit of good old ribald bawdiness with their hookah after a hard day’s slog of honor-killing !!

    Rushdie wishes to draw a sharp distinction between Islamism & Islam. He calls the former a ‘right-wing political movement’. This seems to suggest that it is a recent ‘political’ development, and thus not a structural social problem. However, the inspiration, tactics, motivation, resources, even modus operandi of this ‘political’ movement is no different, not by an iota, of the social and military spread of Islam over 1,500 years.

    In ‘Wonderland’, it would be nice to believe the two are different. In brutal reality, the proximity is far more uncomfortable.

    Even accepting the two are mutually exclusive (which they are not), the force ‘that matters’ is the Islamist force, not the ‘Islamic’ one. It is the former that have for millenia, and still relentlessly are, driving out poor non-Muslims from their ancestral lands by force or violence. They are the ones engaging in demographic warfare on such a mass scale that frightened people in Western states are fleeing en masse to countries with a (marginally) better demographic mix (UK to Canada).

    The goody-two-shoes of the ‘Islamic’ movement stand by, at worse in silent support, at best in impotent and personal rejection, of the injustice.

    Please show me one, just one example, in the last 50 years, where on a collective basis, the Islamic movement has intervened to protect non-Muslims from an ‘Islamist’ genocide. Stray cases, individual cases etc do not count. A collective case, at state or national level, will have to be cited.

    While on the other hand, even nominally Islamic countries are surging headlong to their inevitable Islamist form. Look at the way Bangladesh is becoming a nightmare for Hindus. There has been a metamorphosis in Indoensia over the last 10 years. Malaysia is following suit.

    I shudder to even trespass in to Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

    My dear friend, history proves that good Muslims can and do ultimately turn bad, but never the other way.

    PS : That was 13 pages of a terrible interview I had to go through. It reduced me to tears 😦

    I have officially crossed you off my Durga Puja invitation list 🙂

  215. @ rishi khujur:

    aaah.. but he’s apostate with a fatwa on his head..even now post his knighthood there are calls to kill him.. yet he says that he recieves support from muslims around the world and many have appreciated and enjoyed reading the ‘the satanic verses’…

    the point i am making is that the concept of monolithic islam.. an assumption that forms the basis of many of your arguments is false.

    now im sure you know more islamic fundamentalism than salman rushdie so sorry for arguing for the sake of arguing.

    hope you are recieving plenty of donations for your just causes.

  216. @ rishi khujur:

    i obviously quoted rushdie’s view on the idea of a monolothic islam because i have no idea of his background.

    thank you for enlightening me and understanding what i was trying to say. i bow to your comprehesion skills. you wont find me debating with you anymore!

  217. Arnabda,

    One of my comments yesterday did not get posted. Is it stuck in the filter (as happened last time)? If so, please release it.

    If not, and you have consciously blocked it, please inform me, & I shall send in a diluted version of it.

  218. @ ARNABDA : A heavily ‘watered down’ version of my previous post. Hopefully passes all GB checkpoints?

    @ WTF,
    Islam is certainly not a monolithic concept. All Muslims are definitely not a set of ‘mindless orks’ hell-bent on obliterating kaffirs and dhimmis. They range from the noble to the profane, their actions span the sublime to the stolid. However, at the same time, it cannot ‘but’ be acknowledged that :

    (a) All Muslims, even the most liberal ones, believe in the superiority and ultimate destiny of Islam. Good Muslims want this achieved by peaceful persuasion and slow demographic shifts, the more impatient ones by immediate violence. So either way, non-Muslim cultures will inexorably be replaced.

    (b) A dangerously large % of Muslims subscribe heart and soul to the fanatic concept. This % is growing alarmingly, across all countries, continents, age-groups and social strata. It is criminal naiivete to assume this amounts to a “few basis” points.

    (c) It is the extremist Islamic section that wields power. Even if they are as low as 10% (which they are not), with the lack of any possibility of serious opposition or attempts to reform, they will ultimately shape Islam as we know it & its interface with other faiths. As such, the world will witness a bloodier version of Islam gain increasing prominence and spread terror.

    This is not a radical hypothesis; 1,400 years of history ‘unfailingly’ prove this. And current world events are unfolding this only too starkly.

    And as a counter-argument to this ‘world’s greatest tragedy’, you are providing stray quotes from a very monotonous interview of a mediocre man !! The two ‘proofs’ Rushdie provides to refute the unspeakable horrors of Darfur, Kashmir, Armenia, Bosnia, Indonesia, India, USA and India (& that’s in the last decade & half alone) are :

    (a) His mother has not had her skull crashed in yet, and

    (b) In Iran they like a good bawdy joke with their hookah after a hard day of battling Sunnis (what to do? there are no kaffirs left) !!

    Rushdie wishes to draw a sharp distinction between Islamism & Islam. He calls the former a ‘right-wing political movement’. This seems to suggest that it is a recent ‘political’ development, and thus not a structural social problem. However, the inspiration, tactics, motivation, resources, even modus operandi of this ‘political’ movement is no different, not by an iota, of the social and military spread of Islam over 1,500 years. In ‘Wonderland’, it would be nice to believe the two are different. In reality, the proximity is far more uncomfortable.

    Even accepting the two are mutually exclusive (which they are not), as the Islamists attack, the pacifists in the ‘Islamic’ movement stand by, at worse in silent support, at best in impotent personal rejection of the injustice. So either way we are doomed. This is akin to saying “since only 10% of Germans suport the Nazis, we have nothing to fear from the Einsatzgruppen”. Wrong.

    Please show me one, just one example, in the last 50 years, where on a collective basis, the Islamic movement has intervened to protect non-Muslims from an Islamic genocide. Stray & individual cases etc do not count. A collective case, at state or national level, will have to be cited.

    While on the other hand, once peaceful Islamic countries are plunging in to extremism. Bangladesh is becoming a nightmare for Hindus. There has been a metamorphosis in Indoensia over the last 10 years. Malaysia is following suit. I shudder to even think of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East. Even that arch beacon of secularism, Turkey, is sliding.

    History proves that good Muslims can turn bad, but I am still scanning pages to see examples of the opposite. Can you help me?

    PS WTF : You made me go through 13 pages of a terrible interview which reduced me to tears. 😦 I will not forgive you for that, & have officially crossed you off my Durga Puja invitation list 🙂

  219. Hara Hara Bom Bom:

    ARNABDA : A heavily ‘watered down’ version of my previous post. Hopefully passes all GB checkpoints?

    Please do not interpret WordPress flagging your message as spam and sending it to the span queue (along with a 1000 genuine spam comments daily) as an implementation of “my checkpoint”. I have edited your comment a few times before when I felt they crossed a line and I have explicitly said so. Please do not take your comments going into moderation as a sign of me exercising censorship: when everyone here can say what they like (more or less) why would you think I would treat you different?

  220. ARNABDA : why would you think I would treat you different?

    You haven’t. In fact, I am impressed at the level of freedom in your blog. In the very rare cases where you have edited my comment, you were absolutely right, I had crossed the mark, and inexcusably so.

    I was just wondering if I had crossed the mark again, but it seems like I was ok this time.

    I must be maturing !! 🙂

  221. @ greatbong:

    our friend hhbb has a tendency to see conspiracy theories everywhere. please do not mind him feeling victimized unfairly.

    @ hhbb:

    i am shattered that you will not invite me for durga puja. well..life goes on i suppose..

    your arguments against islam/muslims can be logically arranged as follows:

    1. all muslims, even liberal ones, believe in the superiority of Islam and its destiny.

    the moment you say ‘all muslims’ you have lost the logic of the argument. see the fallacies of ‘distribution/composition’. you sense this, that is why you raise your subsequent points.

    1.a. ‘good’ muslims wage demographic warfare instead of terrorism.

    ‘cum hoc ergo propter hoc’.

    i’d say its lack of healthcare, education and economic opportunities. the sachar committee report says that muslims are the most backward in communist states. draw your own conclusions.

    economic analysis tends to suggest the human development is the best antidote to population growth. we’ve discussed this earlier. i dont think there’s anything to add to that.

    2. even if some muslims may be considered human beings, the powerful amongst them are fundamentalists.

    as k.p.s gill said, it was the people of Punjab that defeated terrorism. not the police.

    ‘… with the lack of any possibility of serious opposition or attempts to reform, they will ultimately shape Islam as we know it & its interface with other faiths….

    rajiv gandhi overturned shah bano. owaisi walks the road free after beating up taslima nasreen. the AIMPLB is considered the mouth piece of the muslims instead of being banned. a up minister announces crores of rupees for the heads of the danish cartoonists…

    where is reform going to take place? if it cant in india.. its not going to in pakistan or saudi arabia. when you blame islamic mentality for a lack of reform movement.. think about it…

    do you think hindus accepted Raja Ram Mohans views with open arms? do you think christains happily allowed higher reasoning in reading the bible?

    the issue of islamic fundamentalism is complex. by just treating muslims as sub-human i accuse you of being dangerously reductionist.

    in such a situation you can choose three options:

    1. as you have made it apply clear on many occasions. muslims have won already. so there’s no point. the future of liberalism and democracy is over.

    2. humanity will defeat fundamentalism in the end. i believe this.

    3. wipe islam out. one way or the other.. tempting. just in case that happens, democracy and liberalism has lost anyway.

    how do you defeat your enemies without becoming one of them.. those worried about Hindus being wiped out should think about that.

  222. 1. wtf wrote “@ greatbong: our friend hhbb has a tendency to see conspiracy theories everywhere. please do not mind him feeling victimized unfairly.”

    Again you’re clutching at imaginary straws. I hadn’t suggested I was being victimized. I was asking if
    (a) my comment had overstepped the mark for the blogsite, (b) if it had, I would submit a lighter version.

    Which portion did you not understand? And my ‘conspiracy’ ‘theories’, like the sordid Tehelka episode or BBC being heavily influenced by the Islamist lobby, are facts supported by solid proof.

    “i am shattered that you will not invite me for durga puja
    I’m not shattered at that 🙂

    ” ‘apropos all muslims, even liberal ones, believe in the superiority of Islam and its destiny’. the moment you say ‘all muslims’ you have lost the logic of the argument. see the fallacies of ‘distribution/composition’.”

    So this is what Islamistphiles are reduced to; taking the resort of tenuous semantics to deny obvious truths? This is like saying ‘all’ Einsatzgruppen members weren’t bad, because one of them gave chewing gum to a Kapo child. The overall truth holds watertight, all Muslims do believe in the superiority of Islam. One Anwar Sheikh does not reverse the equation.

    “1.a. ‘good’ muslims wage demographic warfare instead of terrorism.”

    Incorrect. I said ‘good’ muslims believe in demographic shifts. I also clearly said ‘they (bad Muslims) are the one engaging in demographic warfare on such a mass scale …”. You are twisting statements to suit your tenuous hypotheses.

    “i’d say its lack of healthcare, education and economic opportunities. the sachar committee report says that muslims are the most backward in communist states. draw your own conclusions.”

    Yes, Sachar. That is precisely why the conditions of Indians in the UK tends to consistently outdo peer groups, while the plight of Pakistanis & Bangladeshis in UK wallow at the bottom.

    More than 50% of Bangladeshi families survive on handouts from the government. They get free healthcare & education, and are exposed to the same economic opportunity/challenge matrix as their Indian counterparts.

    Why is the disparity so stark? Such are (sic) the sad truths.

    “2. even if some muslims may be considered human beings, the powerful amongst them are fundamentalists”.

    WTF, ‘considered human beings’? :-0 … Really, you are going in to a freefall spree of twisting words.

    “as k.p.s gill said, it was the people of Punjab that defeated terrorism. not the police”.

    Yes, that is the point. The Sikhs subscribe to a humanistic and inclusive faith that believes in co-existence. Terrorism is not their nature. It was an aberration practiced by a handful, & ably supported by your nice Muslim & British & US ‘friends’ (… oh, that’s a conspiracy theory surely.. )

    Is this the case with Islam? Not according to the Koran, surely?

    “rajiv gandhi overturned shah bano. owaisi walks the road free … AIMPLB is considered the mouth piece of the muslims … a up minister announces crores of rupees for the heads … where is reform going to take place?

    🙂 Thanks for agreeing with me. It will never take place. India will not go down as the ‘laboratory’ which finally pacified Islam. It will be remembered as the final ‘dar-ul-harb’, whose ancestors fought ferociously for 1,200 years, but whose undeserving pacifistic 20th century descendants collapsed under sickening Gandhian cowardice cloaked as pacifism.

    “if it cant in india.. its not going to in pakistan or saudi arabia.”
    Sadhu, sadhu.

    “do you think hindus accepted Raja Ram Mohans views with open arms”?
    Raja Ram Mohan was opposed by primarily Radhakanto Deb Bahadur’s camp. At the same time, the top 300 Hindu families of Kolkata signed a petition fully supporting Rammohan. And it was debate & belief in law, typical Hindu tools, which decided the issue in the end. Not the bloodbath of a jehad.

    Are you thinking of visiting Osama and having a debate with him?

    “the issue of islamic fundamentalism is complex. by just treating muslims as sub-human i accuse you of being dangerously reductionist.”
    Hmmm. I don’t treat muslims as sub-human. That is your colourful branding language to demonize someone who does not subsribe to your logic, and backs it up with evidence.

    My best friend is a Pakistani Muslim. My wife’s best freind is A Pakistni Muslim as well. You are welcome to dismiss that as false platitudes under the refuge of internet anonymity. That is your prerogative; I don’t care.

    “1. as you have made it apply clear on many occasions. muslims have won already. so there’s no point. the future of liberalism and democracy is over”.

    Ditto, baby. You got it in the end. Unless some watershed miracle like Stalingrad occurs, or unequivocal proof is unearthed that Kaabah was a Shiva temple & the stone was a linga.

    “how do you defeat your enemies without becoming one of them.. those worried about Hindus being wiped out should think about that”.

    Step one is acknowledging that the problem exists. Hindus have been in denial for the last 70 years while the barbarians (sic) are not only at the gates, they have taken half the citadel.

    Check this out. I am 28, with one daughter. My grandchildren & yours will grow up in a world where either everyone is wearing a skullcap and living in an Afghanistan like scenario.

    Or Islam will have been beaten so soundly on all economic, intellectual, military and demographic fronts, that it has become a pale caricature of its present fanatic self.

    So there are 2 options, not 3. And only one seems likely.

    Sigh.

  223. @ Har Har Bom Bom

    Your previous comment was really well put.

    Anwar Sheikh (whom u mention as being a ardent critic of Islam), returned back to Hinduism (the faith of his forefathers) and was known as Aniruddha Gyan Shikha until the day he died.

    He was a one man army in exposing the reality of the Quran.

  224. An American, Brit, German, Chinaman, Indian, Bangladeshi & Pakistani walk in to a bar and order drinks. The place is abuzz with files, and a fly falls in to each drink.

    The Brit throws his drink away in disgust.
    The American chucks the fly out and gulps the drink.
    The German gulps it all down, fly and all.

    The Chinaman chucks the drink out and eats the fly.

    The Indian separates the fly from the drink, and sells his drink to the Brit, and his fly to the Chinaman.

    The Bangladeshi laps up the discarded drink & flies.

    The Pakistani gul … BOOOOOOM !!!

  225. @ hara hara bom bom:

    all my arguments seem like clutching at imaginary straws or tenous semantics to you. so i see no point in substantaiting or refuting your arguments further.

    this is best demonstrated when you chose to take offense at my ‘labels’ rather than refuting the allegation that your arguments about islam are dangerously reductionist.

    i do concede that indians do better than pakistanis and bangladeshis in britain and nothing but religion seperates the two. you raise a good point and something i will think about.

    “Or Islam will have been beaten so soundly on all economic, intellectual, military and demographic fronts, that it has become a pale caricature of its present fanatic self.”

    if your arguments are to be believed then surely this will not be enough to prevent our children from living in an afghanistan like world. islam will have to be eradicated.

    but that would also mean the end of secularism and liberalism.

    i believe that at its core your arguments reduce the humanity of a muslim. that is why i can never agree with you.

  226. @ w.t.f : “all my arguments seem like clutching at imaginary straws .. so i see no point in .. refuting your arguments further”.

    Well it sometimes comes across that you misrepresent my words to mirror what you believe I should be saying as a non-secularist. I request you to carefully consider what people are truly saying before a premature assessment.

    “this is best demonstrated when you chose to take offense at my ‘labels’ rather than refuting the allegation that your arguments about islam are dangerously reductionist”.

    Relax, I do not take offence at your ‘labels’, I am rather amused by them. 🙂 You should not be dispensing them so freely, nevertheless.

    I have answered your ‘reductionist’ points. The problem is a social one, & we should be careful not to weigh every argumentative discourse by the scale of strict bivalence, as we would in mathematical logic. Otherwise we run the risk of bizarre conclusions like “if there is one good Nazi, then Nazism cannot be ‘all bad’“. For social issues, an approach of para-consistency needs to be adopted.

    Further, I have answered your question, citing :

    – Irrespective of the % ‘good Muslims’ represent (it could be 99% by your logic, 40% per mine), it is the ‘bad Muslims’ who have maneuvered themselves to a position of power (as always), and thus represent the Islamic interface. They are the ones who will ‘engage’ (attack) us. The righteousness of the ‘goods’ are academic.

    – It is evident that good Muslims are turning bad, but not vice versa.

    As proof I have cited Bangladesh, Indonesia, even Malaysia (and not just fundamentalist Kedah & Ipoh; Xtian & Hindus in cosmopolitan Negeri Sammelan are expressing serious discomfiture). Even Turkey the secular is reverting to its natural course.

    So good countries are becoming bad. And ‘bad’ countries like Pakistan & Sudan are turning worse !!

    I had asked you to show me one example of a bad country turning good, or even of an Islamic intervention to prevent a genocide by Islamists. As expected, it will be very difficult to answer this one.

    “i do concede that indians do better than pakistanis and bangladeshis in britain and nothing but religion seperates the two. you raise a good point and something i will think about.”

    Thank you. And not just in GB. Same in the US, Canada, rest of Europe. I was in Italy, & they express clear admiration for Indians in Italy, but open disgust at the Bangladeshis in Pakistanis there. Same in Paris. Same in Greece (places in Athens like Omoniya are slowly resembling Karachi slums).

    Same in Sweden & Norway. Same in the land of Oz. And this is not hearsay, this is from ‘personal’ experience in all these countries (except Sweden).

    “if your arguments are to be believed then surely (nothing) will be enough to prevent our children from living in an afghanistan like world”

    Well we can try. Stranger things have happened … Nazism was defeated, the Huns were defeated, the Mongols were obliterated.

    The Hun defeat was unbelievable. Within just 4 years of crushing Rome, they were first pulverized by the Hindu Guptas (Kumargupta / Skandagupta) in the East, and subsequently by the Gepid / Ostrogoth alliance in the West (battle of Nadoa, 454 AD).

    “(hhbb suggests) islam will have to be eradicated.”

    Not necessarily. It has to be metaphorically ‘de-fanged’ (or if you think this term reeks of de-humanization, ‘emasculated’ …. perhaps literally too 🙂 ).

    The solution is certainly not silently witnessing their international Anschlus in the secret hope that ‘humanity will prevail’. Humanity made the same mistake with Hitler. He was overcome in the end, but after spilling the blood of 30 million people. This could have been prevented. Perhaps the ‘secularists’ then thwarted sincere attempts to contain Hitler, just as they are doing now.

    And I don’t believe in throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Islam has positive points as well. In another comment I had said “Hinduism needs Islam as much as Islam needs Hinduism”.

    The problem here is that the baby has grown small, the bath-water has become gargantuam. 😦

    “but that would also mean the end of secularism and liberalism”

    No it wouldn’t. Fanatics cannot be countered by secularism and liberalism, in fact, they are nourished and sustained by it.

    Park your liberalism for a while until the problem is solved. Then re-inject it in to society. Western democracies who eradicated Nazism did not become brutalizing monsters in the process, even after the shameful (as we now know) false propaganda against Germany.

    The Gita has clear instructions on how good people should behave when confronted with evil. ‘Secularism’ and ‘liberalism’ certainly do not feature in that.

    “i believe that at its core your arguments reduce the humanity of a muslim. that is why i can never agree with you.”

    My core arguments are clear, irrefutable, unequivocal observations of 1,500 years of Muslim history in action. If the synopsis is a shocking and de-humanizing spectacle, you need to thank the originators of such brutal actions, the participants in that bloodthirsty historical play.

    I am just the scribe, I cannot take the debit for it. 🙂

  227. ASI was after all correct..!!There is no proof for the existence of Rama as there is for Jesus!Remember,the very date you write is based on the birth of Jesus Christ!!

  228. @Dominic : ASI was after all correct..!!There is no proof for the existence of Rama as there is for Jesus!Remember,the very date you write is based on the birth of Jesus Christ!!

    Actually, no, the date is 4 years out. 🙂

    It will be difficult to get as strong historical proof for Rama as :

    – New cults like Xtianity & Islam are so recent, that they fall within historical development. Hinduism is the oldest faith in the world, going back at least 6,000 years. You are comparing apples and pears; or to use a Bengali proverb “Chaande ar baandore”. No kudos for gauging which one is which 🙂

    – Archaeological evidence is scant, as most Hindu monuments have crumbled under 1,000 years of oblieteration from the terror of one of the cults cited above.

    As such, we are left with oral history & tradition, something the fanatics could not exterminate as readily as bricks and mortar.

    You are welcome to review my comment on Sep 24th, 11:16 above. It will give you a different perspective on how to review the history of ancient traditions (magic realism).

    Further, you will notice that the precedents of Xtianity are shrouded as much mystery as the Ramayana, even though it is far a later movement. Can you prove there was a historical Moses or Abraham? Or even a David?

    Even Jesus is a disputed character. St Paul’s exuberant and passionate exhortations are not necessarily hisotorically acceptable evidence. Can you show me what Jesus looked like? There are innumerable busts of contemporary Augustus & Tiberuis, yet the representations of Jesus occur 600 years after his death.

    Why is there no mention of Jesus in Roman records? If Xtianity was a force to reckon with in the Roman empire, why were they completely silent on the origins of this faith? You would expect Titus to have mentioned them in passing in his dispatches when he obliterated Jerusalem during the reign of Vespasian. Especially since Xtianity featured so prominently in Nero’s reign only a few years earlier.

    Jesus is not as strong a historical character as people think.

  229. Given that myth is built organically out of our perception of reality, often I am amazed to observe how silently yet incessantly both construction and de-construction of myths keep happening in our daily lives based on personal as well as collective states of our knowledge. (For instance, a daily diet of Anandabazar will crush the myth that police – at least in WB – is a protector of human life and law – beyond redemption.)

    I like to teach astronomy (and sky-gazing) at a local evening/community college. Last week I was describing how ‘Life on Mars’ was considered to be a scientifically observed truth for several decades, including scientific publications in astronomy journals and even from top scientists like Tesla. Only when we came to learn better that we started recognizing the myth (similarly today’s truth might again be reversed some day by newer evidence).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_on_mars

    On the other hand, things which are but stuff of myth today might very well become reality in future – such as space colonies – or shall, I say, “habitation bases”…
    http://space.newscientist.com/article/mg19626245.200-could-space-colonies-be-political-utopia.html

    Hence it is all very likely to find myth being continuously made and un-made by weaving in and out of what we otherwise confidently claim and cling to as hardcore reality.

  230. Hi S Pyne –
    I think issue isnot questioning right of myths to exist in society, but finding if solid history can be found in myth

    Can u prove dat Ramayana = hist? Any part of it? Can u show any shred of hist. in Ramayana? if not, then it was pure myth & nothing else, n cant be allowed to halt economic progress.

    Agree that same principle shud hold for Muslim & Christian.

  231. Very interesting article and comments. I applaud Arnab for segueing to this “controversial” topic, from the otherwise delectable fare on cricket, movies and humourous anecdotes.

    I hail from Ramanathapuram district, where the temple-town of Rameshwaram is located, and this debate is of particular interest to me.

    “Vanara” means “human-like” in Sanskrit (‘Vaa Nara’ literally translates to “Is it a human?”). Sure…monkeys, apes and other primates are “human-like”. Then, how about considering these possiblities as well:

    1) Could the Vaanaras have been a vibrant group of Neanderthals – a hominid species that co-existed with the Homo Sapiens (human beings) during a bygone era (now called the Ramayana)?

    Modern-day anthropologists have been discovering skeletal remains of Neanderthals (“Cave Men”) and Homosapiens in the same sites dating back to the same time period – which gives the anthropologists some strong reasons to believe that these two species co-existed during some period of time.

    Could the Ramayana have been the last recorded human testimony of a synergistic interaction between Human Beings (led by Sri Rama) and Neanderthals (led by Sugreeva, Hanuman and others)?

    Do The descriptions of the Vaanaras in the Valmiki Ramayanam anyway match the modern-day anthropological descriptions of Neanderthals – protuding jawbones/mouths, sloping foreheads, hairy bodies…. the use of crude weapons like wooden clubs, tree branches and stones as weapons in warfare (as opposed to homo sapiens who were more sophisticated and used wheel-driven chariots, steel swords, bows, arrows, javelins etc) ?

    Is it possible that Neanderthals could have had boneless, prehensile tails that do decompose after death and do not leave behind any “smoking gun” fossil remains?

    Doesn’t Valmiki’s description of the Vaanara kingdom (Kishkindha) resemble that of a subterranean network of natural, undeground caves…. that are natural places of dwelling for “cave men” (Neanderthals).

    2) Alternately, is it also possible that the Vaanaras were a cave-dwelling tribe of humans that used a human-like symbol (totem pole), either “monkey” or another primate, during warfare…. and hence were refered to figuratively as such by Valmiki who was a poet-biographer ?

    3) Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to leave you with something that is not surprising news to residents of Rameshwaram (or those pilgrims who have visited the Rameshwaram temple)…. the possibility that a bridge could have been built with “floating rocks”.

    The news-story of the floating rocks (from Rameshwaram’s coastline) with a photograph can be seen at:

    http://timesnow.tv/NewsDtls.aspx?NewsID=3176

    While the video of such a floating rock can be seen at:

    http://video.newkerala.com/Current-Affairs-Videos/287.html

  232. Yahooo,

    Good points, but some are not on mark.

    As religious sensibilities are involved here, we cannot use a pure commercial matrix to determine the issue. People’s faith is important.

    Also, you will never find solid history in myth. That is why it is myth. But you cannot dismiss it as complete hogwash either … it has to be viewed through a lens of magic realism.

    Even Schliemann’s excavations do not prove Helen of Troy’s existance. In fact, subsequent German excavations have found evidence of a far earlier civilisation at the site.

    If the commercial requirement is compelling enough, then a site can be sacrificed. My gripe is the Congress seems to be hell bent on harming Hinduism alone (remember the fiasco about Shankaracharya). There is an established pattern of abuse emerging here.

    As I mentioned above, clearing the extensive Idgah maidans and bulldozing vast mosque complexes (most of them built over destroyed Hindu/Buddhist remains) will clear a huge space to build social housing. Why doesn’t the government even dare to contemplate that?

    I liked your observation on lateral thinking in another comment. Are you keen on Edward de Bono’s works (he coined the phrase ‘lateral thinking’)? I greatly admire him; he is to the management of 1990s and onwards what Drucker was to 1950-1990.

  233. Interesting article from Dr Gautam Sen, who was “lecturer in world politics” at London School of Economics and Political Science, as well as a member of the Indo-British Roundtable.

    The relevance for this comment thread is that like me, this renowned expert too is saying that the dots are not desultory. They can be joined up. And they are, what emerges is a grim picture.

    http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=206&page=35

    Hindus missing the wood for the trees
    By Dr Gautam Sen

    An ideologically intransigent and demographically expansionist Islam may terrorise Hindus into complete submission at an opportune moment. Women of the defeated fancied by the conquerors will be consigned to their notorious harems and a surge in religious conversion will occur in the name of the religion of peace and tolerance.

    Hindus are apparently failing to grasp that these persistent attacks constitute a prelude to the kill of a grievously injured prey. Disputing the veracity of the unremitting libel and abuse against them, as if it was all an unfortunate misunderstanding that could be dispelled by reason and logic, merely confirms that Hindus, like the doomed Bourbons of France, have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing.

    The other wood Hindus cannot seem to fathom amid the trees is the diabolical role the British played in their history. After inflicting on them famines and mass death in the 1760s, resulting in seven million dead (quarter of Bengal’s population) because of rapacious looting immediately after Plassey, they caused the deaths of untold millions in the same Bengal on the eve of their departure almost exactly 180 years later.

    Hindu understanding of the world they inhabit and their associated political activity sadly give the impression of missing the wood for the trees. Running around like headless chickens disconsolate Hindus protest a myriad of slights, insults and assaults. But they are failing to grasp the alarming interconnectedness of outwardly disparate events and how profoundly consequential they are for the destiny of Hindus.

    For more than a thousand years luck (being relatively numerous at a time when the physical reach of predators was limited) and fierce intermittent resistance combined to prolong fragile Hindu survival. In the contemporary world, there is an intensification of the on going war against Hindus whether by the jehadi pornographer Husain trashing the most sacred Hindu objects of veneration, abetted by their own obscene elites, or the brazen denunciation of their ancient epic, the Ramayana by some ASI low-life.

    Hindus are apparently failing to grasp that these persistent attacks constitute a prelude to the kill of a grievously injured prey. Disputing the veracity of the unremitting libel and abuse against them, as if it was all an unfortunate misunderstanding that could be dispelled by reason and logic, merely confirms that Hindus, like the doomed Bourbons of France, have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing. The Mahatma has indeed reached out from his samadhi to ensure that an instinct of ‘collective suicide’, as he constantly enjoined, remains the default setting in the Hindu psyche. That the Mahatma is the guiding light of Hindus rather than a Shivaji, Vivekananda or Aurobindo is a final testament to their degradation and impending demise.

    The world is going to be apportioned between Christians and Muslims, with China the outlier entering the fray in competition with them at some future date. However, Islamo-Christian conflict has constituted the unfolding history of the world for the past 1500 years, with the religion of love coming into deadly conflict with the religion of peace after 571 AD. Christian imperialism advanced with spectacular brutality after Emperor Constantine turned it into the political ideology of the Roman State and the Islamic reprise that earlier swept all in its path ended at the gates of Vienna in 1683. Hindus have simply remained the last frontier until the counterparts of the Red Indians are finally erased and the domination of the white Christians or the execrable bearded clergy becomes unassailable.

    Of course, an ideologically intransigent and demographically expansionist Islam may terrorise Hindus into complete submission at an opportune moment. Women of the defeated fancied by the conquerors will be consigned to their notorious harems and a surge in religious conversion will occur in the name of the religion of peace and tolerance. They will then resume their world-historical struggle against white Christian societies of European origin. But it is the Christians, who are militarily pre-eminent at present and they have also cornered the current market in intellectual thought, ideas and moral purpose. They will duplicitously eulogise and lament the passing of the creative Hindus, having wreaked havoc on them in the first place themselves. To destroy and then ceremoniously shed tears as you do so dramatically signifies a civilisation’s complete political dominion. It is achieved by taking control of legitimate intellectual discourse, the associated custodianship of interpreting human experience and the transmission of ideas, so that even the victims upon whom destruction is being inflicted lose their capacity to know their own fate. White Christians have achieved this remarkably blessed status by truly making their own industries that fabricate human knowledge and the world’s media that disseminates it.

    This is why the insistence of various so-called Hindutva surrogates abroad on engaging in interfaith dialogue is baffling in the extreme. Of course the era of Bania primacy could provide a mundane explanation since Hindu activists of all stripes have succumbed to the values of low commerce. The lure of money seems to breed stupidity and instil self-righteous confidence; attributes instantly observable in the political activists concerned despite feigned phoney self-deprecation. Since interfaith dialogue ought to imply mutual respect evangelical activity is in blatant and hypocritical contravention of its basic purport. Christians simultaneously engage in interfaith dialogue and evangelical activity to lull potential victims into a false sense of security and misguided notions of self-worth. Such a devious stratagem only highlights utter contempt and disrespect for Hindus with whom they engage in the charade of interfaith dialogue. Petting a goat before its slaughter is a well-known routine before the kill. But Hindus aim to please and the unspoken question that seems forever poised on their lips is how low they need to bow when self-abasement is required of them.

    The other wood Hindus cannot seem to fathom amid the trees is the diabolical role the British played in their history. After inflicting on them famines and mass death in the 1760s, resulting in seven million dead (quarter of Bengal’s population) because of rapacious looting immediately after Plassey, they caused the deaths of untold millions in the same Bengal on the eve of their departure almost exactly 180 years later. During the interim colonial history countless manmade famines are recorded and the post-1857 holocaust of mass murder is only being uncovered now. This is the period in which the British went on exultant killing sprees to avenge the alleged rape of their women during the first war of Independence itself. Needless to say that there was enthusiastic domestic British support for the mass murder, with the writer Charles Dickens himself declaring his fervent approval.

    In more recent times, the British political establishment, having first assiduously promoted Indian’s partition in 1947, cynically sought India’s further disintegration by inciting the notorious Khalistani assassin Jagjit Singh Chauhan to declare independence from British soil on the very day Dhaka fell to the Indian army. And it was a British High Commissioner who invented the figure of 2000 killed in post-Godhra Gujarat that has become the stick to beat Hindus with for all time to come. Avarice and racial hatred were always the dominant themes of the British interaction with India.

    Yet many Indians exhibit an embarrassing infatuation for all things British. India’s allegedly Rightist journalists swear by inferred British values, which only ever apply to the white British of course. Indeed the most ‘celebrated’ among them once notoriously dubbed Britain’s Queen India’s monarch too! The Left playing havoc with India’s future imbibed their half-baked, bankrupt ideas and political whims from British universities in which intelligence agents routinely masquerade as Leftist radicals. Today, the majority of British Leftists have discovered in Hinduism the greatest threat posed to human civilisation since the Nazis. Most of them attribute Islamic terrorism partly to Hindu oppression and quietly applaud the punishment being meted out to Hindus in various Indian cities by Islamic terrorists.

    Yet Indians cannot avoid being seduced by the machinations of the British State and its minions, not least some intelligence agents, who have made India their home, disguised as writers. One of the most sickening spectacles is the way all and sundry lionises them in India, so irresistible are charms of proximity to a bona fide white presence. It was therefore unsurprising to learn that a British academic, involved with British intelligence, was able to place an Indian Leftist in a major university post in Delhi, so compelling is the value placed on white intercession. But to witness the Prime Minister of India standing next to him at an inauguration ceremony in Delhi recently was startling nevertheless.

    Hindus need to understand that Islamo-Christianity is essentially hostile to their survival as an autonomous culture and political society. Their imperialistic impulses are a grave danger to Hindus because the porosity of the modern world has made their society vulnerable to inimical influences in familiar and novel ways. The eventual outcome for Hindus will have nothing to do with whether are good or bad people, talented or not, etc. It will have everything to do with the fact that politics abhors a power vacuum and politically divided Hindus without a government prepared to defend them and their interests, which has been their dismal fate for hundreds of years, at least since the great visionary soldier Shivaji, cannot survive. All the bad things constantly happening to them, from California and Bangladesh to everywhere in India, which is probably the most dangerous place in the world for Hindus, is part of a relentless pattern.

    It is this political pattern that Hindus need to recognise and comprehend. And its evolution highlights starkly for anyone willing to see that appeals to justice and fairness are totally misplaced. What is taking place is a war of extermination, which is simultaneously social, political and biological, and Hindus are its victims. They will be converted, subjugated or destroyed as the two Semitic religions have unfailingly done to all rivals or any group that happens to differ from them. Christians and Muslims will eventually engage in even deadlier conflict with each other than they are already, but they will destroy the weak Hindus first because it is too tempting an opportunity to disdain.

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  236. Nobody has contested the arrogance of Greatbong here.The ASI had no business to contest the historicity of Sri Ram.There are millions who revere Sri Rama as God.But pseudointellectuals like Great Bong are so intoxicated by their pretensions,that they cannot see why the Hindus are protesting?

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  239. I am trying to establish if the Hindi Deity is Raam or Rama, the book Ramayan or Ramayana, Bharath or Bharatha etc. what does the original text say. Is it OK to call India “Bharatha”

  240. Rama or Raam?
    Ramayana or Ramayan?

    The Samskrit pronunciation will probably be closer to the -a at the end. Ramayan-a or Ram-a

    But the pronunciation may change with every language and in Hindu or Urdu it would be closer to Raam.

    Am no linguist, but just my 2 dinaars.

  241. @ Jay
    And by the way, Rama is a Hindu (which is the world’s third largest religion) deity, not a Hindi (which is a language spoken in Northern India) deity

  242. Thanks for the response and correction.
    much appreciated. I am not hindi literate so I only read the transliterations, but can you confirm if the pronunciation of the Hindi text in Tulsidas’ Ramcharitramanas is with or without the “a”
    Jay

  243. @ Jay
    I could be wrong (and others please correct me if I am) as I havnt read the Hindi Ramcharitramanas by Tulsidas, but my guess would be, that the pronunciation would be Raam (without the -a)

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  246. As I had mentioned before, this book sheds more light on the historicity. Read it for a rational look at facts and fiction.

    Rama: His Historicity, Mandir & Setu
    Author: BB Lal
    Publisher: Aryan Books
    Price: Rs 190
    Archaeology, long given the step-sisterly treatment by Marxist historians, now finds itself at the high table of history, as it alone can deliver a credible verdict on whether the Ram Setu shows evidence of human intervention in the hoary past. The Supreme Court’s direction to the Union Government in this regard is welcome to the extent that the UPA is made to depute only reputed archaeologists for this task, and not the type of academics accredited to the Babri Masjid Action Committee.
    The Archaeological Survey of India has been without a proper head since the retirement of late MC Joshi over a decade ago. Reports delivered under the headship of an IAS officer will not have credibility; nor will a committee that does not include the iconic Prof BB Lal and Mr KN Dikshit, who was closely associated with the excavations of the Ramayan sites. Prof Lal’s timely book addresses hard facts relating to Ram as a historical figure, the Janmabhoomi temple and the Ram Setu. The production values are high, and Prof Lal generously waived his royalty to bring the work within the reach of the people.
    Lal began exploring western Uttar Pradesh as Superintending Archaeologist, Excavations, ASI, and found the distinctive Painted Grey Ware pottery at the lowest levels, far below material known to belong to the sixth and fifth century BCE. As many sites were associated with the Mahabharat, he excavated Hastinapur, Meerut district, and found that a sizeable portion of the PGW settlement was washed away by a heavy flood. This exactly matched the Mahabharat: “After the washing away of the site of Hastinapur by the Ganga, Nichaksu (the then ruler) will abandon it and move to Kausambi.” Sure enough, the lowest levels at Kausambi begin with the same kind of material culture found at Hastinapur at the time of the flood.
    Lal conceived the idea of the ‘Archaeology of the Ramayan Sites,’ but could actually take it up only after voluntary retirement from ASI in 1972, focussing on five major sites. At Ayodhya, human settlement began with a phase associated with the distinctive Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW) pottery. The findings included iron and copper tools that could be used for domestic chores, agriculture, even warfare. Gradually, weights of fine-grained stones appeared, along with coinage.
    The NBPW-period weights were cylindrical, those in Harappa cubical. The coins were earliest in the country, silver or copper, with punch marks and no inscriptions. The structures were mud or mud bricks; and, later kiln-fired bricks. Writing began in the NBPW period, and settlements continued uninterrupted through the Sunga, Kushan and Gupta periods.
    In the suburb Ranopali, a stone inscription datable first century BCE mentions the construction of a ketana (shrine?) by Dhanadeva, king of Kosala, sixth from Pushyamitra, who killed the last Mauryan king, Brihadratha, and seized the throne; thus, Ayodhya was the capital of the Kosala kingdom even in the early CE. Though deserted after the Gupta period, Hanumangarhi and Janmabhoomi were reoccupied in the 11th and 12th centuries. In the uppermost levels of a trench just south of the Babri Masjid, a series of brick-cum-stone bases were discovered, over which there evidently once stood stone pillars. Affixed to the piers of the Masjid were stone pillars bearing Hindu motifs and sculptures. (In 2002-03, under apex court mandated digging of the Babri area, the existence of a Hindu temple below the structure was vindicated).
    Sringaverapura is a massive mound on left bank of Ganga in Allahabad district, heavily eroded by the river, but still offering remains of occupational strata. It is earlier than Ayodhya with Ochre Colour Ware (OCP) pottery in the lowest levels; also, found were harpoons, antennae swords and anthropomorphic figures, known collectively as ‘Copper Hoards’. This cultural complex is datable circa 2000 BCE to mid-2000 BCE. But OCP-occupation was short-lived, and after a break in occupation, black-slipped and black-and-red wares were followed by NBPW. This period yields the same material culture as corresponding strata at Ayodhya, and was succeeded by Sunga, Kushan and Gupta periods. After a break, the site was reoccupied in the 12th century CE, as indicated by numerous coins of the illustrious Gahadavala ruler, Govinda Chandra.
    The flat land associated in public memory with Bharadvaj Ashram revealed kiln-fired bricks, pottery, terracotta figurines and inscribed seals of Gupta era. There were no structures or regular occupational floors below, but lumps of clay with reed impressions, showing sporadic occupation with wattle-and-daub huts, consistent with an ashram. NBPW was found at Chitrakuta and Nandigram.
    It is significant that Bharadwaj ashram did not exist when Valmiki composed the epic, between third century BCE and third century CE, though other sites associated with the Ramayan were occupied at that time. Valmiki’s inclusion of the ashram at the site popularly associated with it suggests it did exist, and was probably recorded in a pre-existing ballad which formed the kernel of his narrative. There is evidence that Ganga flowed past the ashram, but the river has since been diverted by a bund.
    Carbon-14 dating of the NBPW strata from Ayodhya’s upper levels gave a date-range from sixth to third centuries BCE. But after excavations of the lower levels in Janmabhoomi area in 2002-03, the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow, gave a date-range of 970-810 BCE to 1980-1320 BCE. These excavations were a fallout of the December 6, 1992 demolition, which revealed much archaeological material from the walls of the masjid, including three inscriptions. The largest, in chaste Nagari script of the 11th and 12th century, clearly states that a beautiful temple of Vishnu-Hari was constructed in the city of Ayodhya, Saketamandala, by Meghasuta, vassal of Govinda Chandra. Lal dismisses the allegation that the slab was brought from elsewhere and sneaked into the masjid at the time of demolition as ferrying so much material to Ayodhya would require many trucks, and would have been detected by the print and electronic media and security personnel present in hordes there.
    The book is such a mine of information that it is impossible to do it justice in a brief review. Lal concludes with a scientific examination of the landmass from Dhanushkodi on the Tamil Nadu shore to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka, noting the literary and other references to the Setu. He concludes that after the end of the last Glacial Period 10,000 years ago, the sea levels rose worldwide by a conservative estimate of two metres per 1,000 years. Thus, around 1000 BCE the sea level was possibly six metres below current levels, which matches the period ascribable to Ram. This means the land-mass from Dhanushkodi to Talaimannar would be exposed sandbanks, whose gaps could be filled with shoals and evened to facilitate the march of an army. It does not require an engineering degree at all.

  247. You really make it seem so easy along with your presentation however I to find this matter to be really something which I believe I would by no means understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me. I am taking a look forward for your next put up, I’ll try to get the cling of it!

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