Friday, July 25, 2014

BJP Makes "Akhand Bharat" Part of Indian School Textbooks

“Students, how would you go about drawing a map of India? Do you know that countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma are part of undivided India? These countries are part of Akhand Bharat.” Tejomay Bharat (Shining India)  by Dinanath Batra
Tejomay India (Shining India) is just one of six of Batra's books made "must read" by education ministry for students at all of 42,000 primary and secondary schools in the State of Gujarat, the home of India's Hindu Nationalist prime minister Mr. Narendra Modi.

Hindu Nationalists' "Akhand Bharat" includes Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma
Batra, the man who oversaw revisions in Indian history textbooks for the country's National Council of Education, Research and Training (NCERT), recently forced Penguin India to recall and destroy all copies of "The Hindus: An Alternative History"  by University of Chicago scholar Wendy Doniger published by Penguin Books about 5 years ago. Explaining his opposition to Doniger's book, Batra told Time magazine: "The entire book is objectionable, but yes, that is one of our main objections. She is insulting our gods and goddesses and religious leaders and texts and even our freedom fighters. I don’t have any objection to sex and neither does our religion, as long as it’s within the parameters of religion."



Batra shares something in common with Nigeria's Boko Haram for his vehement opposition to western education. He calls western-educated Indians “children of Marx and Macaulay” who are “defaming Hinduism”, according to India's First Post. He also feels that there is no need for English language education and instead advocates the teaching of Sanskrit to students along with a an emphasis on the mother tongue ("with 20 percent for Sanskrit") with Hindi as a second language.
India Arms Build-Up in Pursuit of "Akhand Bharat"? Data Source: SIPRI 

Hindu nationalists have been battling scholars over history for decades. They tried to do in California what their Indian counterparts have already done in India. They attempted to change California history textbooks in 2006, when they argued unsuccessfully to include their claims like the indigenous origins of Aryans and tried to deny the terrible impact on hundreds of millions of Indians of the caste system and misogyny prevalent in Hindu texts and Aryan culture. Hundreds of history scholars from US and South Asia helped defeat this attempt by Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and its allies in the United States.


































India's textbooks suffer from many problems ranging from deliberate distortions to outright incompetence. The errors range from misspelling "Suez" Canal as "Sewage" Canal and referring to Africans as N---ers" to false stories of India's Muslim rulers' atrocities on Hindus.

With regard to anti-Muslim propaganda in Indian textbooks, Dr. D.N. Pande, author of "History in the Service of Imperialism", summarized his conclusions in a lecture to members of the Rajya Sabha in 1977 when he said: “Thus under a definite policy the Indian history textbooks were so falsified and distorted as to give an impression that the medieval period of Indian history was full of atrocities committed by Muslim rulers on their Hindu subjects and the Hindus had to suffer terrible indignities under Islamic rule.”

Retired Justice Katju of the Indian Supreme Court has said that Dr. Pande came upon the truth about Tipu Sultan in 1928 while verifying a contention — made in a history textbook authored by Dr. Har Prashad Shastri, the then head of the Sanskrit Department in Calcutta University — that during Tipu's rule 3,000 Brahmins had committed suicide to escape conversion to Islam. The only authentication Dr. Shastri could provide was that the reference was contained in the Mysore Gazetteer. But the Gazetteer contained no such reference, according to a report in The Hindu newspaper.

Further research by Dr. Pande showed not only that Tipu paid annual grants to 156 temples, but that he enjoyed cordial relations with the Shankaracharya of Sringeri Math to whom he had addressed at least 30 letters. Dr. Shastri's book, which was in use at the time in high schools across India, was later de-prescribed. But the unsubstantiated allegation continued to masquerade as a fact in history books written later.

The Hindutva project to rewrite South Asian history appears to be gaining new momentum with the rise of Narendra Modi. If allowed to proceed unchecked, this revisionism could prove to be very destabilizing and dangerous for India, Pakistan and the entire region.


Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Rise of Narendra Modi

Hindu Academic Forces Destruction of Scholarly Book on Hinduism 

Hindutva Whitewash of History

Pro-Modi Candidate in Silicon Valley Congressional Race

Sonal Shah in the White House

Gujarat Muslims Ignored By Indian Politicians

Indian-American Lobby Emulates AIPAC

Pakistani-American Demographics

Minorities are Majority in Silicon Valley

Indian Kids Rank Bottom on PISA, TIMSS

55 comments:

CanadianBoy said...

I say let them put this theory of akhand bharat in the books, because you know what will happen right? Some of the brighter students will ask "but if these areas belong to akhand bharat why didn't the hindus of half-eaten bharat take them back,didn't you tell us hindus are the most smartest people in a the world that created everything under the sun?
But I am giving too much credit to Indian students,most of them will be cognitively stunted due to chronic malnutrition so such questions will be quiet rare.

Anonymous said...

Akhand bharat is not in indian favor because Muslims would become majority in akhand bharat aur shamut a jani ha hindus k

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Akhand bharat is not in indian favor because Muslims would become majority in akhand bharat aur shamut a jani ha hindus k"

Hindu Nationalists claim Tibet in addition to all of Pakistan. Can they really take on Pakistan and China, both nuclear powers, in pursuit of their dream? I doubt it. I think Hindu Nationalists' ambitions may cause some regional instability but "Akhand Bharat" will always remain a distant dream.

HashK said...

India is a biggest show off on earth. Fakeness and bigheadedness is part of daily life in India.

Indians point their fingers at Pakistan's fundamentalism while they ignore their own at the same time.

Here is some observation about India and Indian's.

---A proud democracy with track record of unhindered rule since independence. (Though freedom of expression based on truth is missing as are human rights).

---Proud Indian diaspora in UK claims more than 50% of their population is in high level managerial jobs. (Among 80% of that 50% are actually managing 10m x 10m grocery shops and pound line like stores).

---Apart from London's west end clubs they also try hard in British museum's Indian section to attract fair skin with their poor opening lines.

---Indian's are not progressing through some deep rooted knowledge or inventions, but they are actually operating on some assumptions like "FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT" and "IF YOU CANT BEAT THEM JOIN THEM". This simply is not enough if India wants to be a superpower under its own flag.

Syed said...

M A Jinnah had read the tea leaves long before the BJP and their ilk started to raise their heads. The need for Pakistan was considered a necessity by Quaid e Azam and it still remains so.

Anonymous said...

Could you please provide proof?.

Firstly let me give you a brief context to help readers. There are many different syllabus available in India for school going children and a very few opt CBSE. State Board, Matriculation and ICSE are some of the other syllabus. So your idea of all over india children being treated with a dose of hatered against pakistan is wrong.

At the least i can tell you that parents and teachers in India want children to study maths and science well. even the 10th and 12ths std public exam are more about doing well in maths and science. Very few are interested in subjects like history.

Far a fact i can say that i studied from the CBSE system and my daughter studies CBSE now, and there had never been any lesson professing hate against pakistan as an enemy state or islam being a enemy religion. That understanding is what we pick up from media inputs and listening to people who write hate notes. It is not fair to accuse without proof.

Riaz Haq said...

# Don’t blow out candles on your birthday. It’s “western culture” and needs to be shunned. Instead, wear “swadeshi clothes” this day, do a havan, pray to the ishtadev, feed cows.
# Drawing a map of India? Make sure you include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. These are part of undivided India or “Akhand Bharat”.
# Include August 14, Pakistan’s Independence Day, in the list of national holidays. This day should be celebrated as “Akhand Bharat Smriti Divas”.
These are moral prescriptions from books authored by Dina Nath Batra, convenor of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, that have now become compulsory reading in government schools in Gujarat. On June 30, the state government issued a circular directing more than 42,000 primary and secondary government schools across the state to make a set of nine books by Batra, translated from Hindi to Gujarati, part of the curriculum’s “supplementary literature”.
Batra’s civil suit earlier this year had led to the pulping of American scholar Wendy Doniger’s book on Hinduism. He had also sent a legal notice to another publisher about a book on modern Indian history which led the publisher to begin a review of some of its books, including one on
sexual violence during riots in Ahmedabad.
The circular issued by the Gujarat State School Textbook Board (GSSTB) read, “These books on supplementary literature are aimed at imparting quality education. They will be provided free of cost to all government primary and secondary schools, public libraries and will be also available at GSSTB, Gandhinagar, for individuals interested in these books. These are to be incorporated from this academic session.”
On March 4, Gujarat Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama released the set of nine books — Shikhan nu Bhartiyakaran, Tejomay Bharat, Prernadeep I, II, III and IV, Vidyalaya: Pravitiyon nu Ghar, Shikhsan ma Triveni and Vedic Ganit.

http://www.firstpost.com/living/dinananth-batra-to-saffronise-guj-syllabus-birthday-cakes-are-bad-burma-is-india-1633781.html

Hopewins said...

^^RH quotes someone: "...I don’t have any objection to sex and neither does our religion, as long as it’s within the parameters of religion...."
---------

Actually, this is the essense of Islamic Law (Shariah).

Islam has no problem---unlike Christianity-- with sex, but only as long as it is within
the hudood (parameters/limits) of Islam (i.e. lawful/halal and unlawful/haram).


Riaz Haq said...

Saffronisation of Education

It is not a mere coincidence that the historical revision of school textbooks by infusing them with a Hindu nationalist agenda has taken place during the two tenures of BJP govts: the Janata interregnum and the Vajpayee era. The BJP has made no secret of its ‘saffronisation’ agenda. Murli Manohar Joshi, the NDA HRD Minister, was responsible for making “the content of education in the primary, secondary and higher stages Indianised, nationalised and spiritualised.” Although NCERT books have reverted to original texts following NDA I’s demise, a similar agenda is visible in BJP ruled states even today.

For example, textbooks in Karnataka (where the BJP was in power till 2013) portray maps of India which depict only Hindu temples and shrines and refer to Muslim rulers such as Hyder Ali as ‘Shatru’ (enemy). Other examples include texts that refer to Christians and Muslims as ‘The World Outside’ while chapters on ‘Unity and Diversity’ refer only to Vedic traditions and disregard all other religions. Sufism is presented as a purely Hindu tradition, the Indus Valley civilisation is the ‘Sindhu-Saraswati’ civilisation, Mughal history occupy all of six pages and tigers refuse to eat cow meat because it is immoral. Christianity and Islam are vilified for their ‘immoral practices’ with barely a passing mention of the evils of the Hindu caste system, the mistreatment of Dalits and subaltern groups or untouchability. It isn’t just history books. Science textbooks in Class 9 proclaim Dronacharya to be ancient India’s first test tube baby: “One day Baradwaja went to the Ganges for a bath and saw a beautiful apsara named Ghritachi. He was overcome with desire, causing him to ejaculate. Baradawaja captured the fluid in an earthen pot [drone], from which Drona was born and took his name.” In math, the concept of zero is a ‘jewel of the Hindu mind’ and the achievements of ‘Hindu’ scientists are illustrated at the cost of contributions from Arabic or European scholars. Similarly, chapters on Biology end with Sanskrit quotes from saints and priests.

Incidentally, Narendra Modi’s life story is suggested reading at primary and secondary level schools in Gujarat. Class 7 textbooks in Gujarat introduce the Mughal rule with references to their ‘gaudy clothes’ and indulgence of ‘sensuous pleasures’ in the first line. The Solanki and Vaghela dynasties get 5 pages of space while the copious details of 400 years of Mughal and Sultanate rule occupy one paragraph. There are many other examples.

There is little doubt that a Modi-led BJP is likely to make another attempt at this falsification of school textbooks. As voters, you have a choice to make: Is this the communal bias which we wish to infuse the young and impressionable minds of children with?

http://aconspiracyofsilence.wordpress.com/tag/hindutva/

Siraj N. said...

Distorting history is nothing new. We have done well in Pakistan to distort our history and ideology in 60 years. Jinnah never created an religiously ideological state. He created a secular state where Muslims could exercise their political and human rights which probably could not enjoyed under a government dominated by Hindu majority. Muslims, by larger, are more safe in today's India than in today's Pakistan because of the mess we have made of Jinnah's and Iqbal's vision. By and Large, Muslims typically are more safe and "free" in non-Muslim countries than in the so called Islamic countries.

Riaz Haq said...

Siraj: "Distorting history is nothing new. We have done well in Pakistan to distort our history and ideology in 60 years...."

Distortion of history has happened in Pakistan too. But Jinnah has been proved right by events since 1947:

1. Muslims, the New Untouchables in India:

While India maintains its facade of religious tolerance, democracy and secularism through a few high-profile Muslim tokens among its high officials and celebrities, the ground reality for the vast majority of ordinary Muslims is much harsher.

An Indian government commission headed by former Indian Chief Justice Rajendar Sachar confirms that Muslims are the new untouchables in caste-ridden and communal India. Indian Muslims suffer heavy discrimination in almost every field from education and housing to jobs. Their incarceration rates are also much higher than their Hindu counterparts.

According to Sachar Commission report, Muslims are now worse off than the Dalit caste, or those called untouchables. Some 52% of Muslim men are unemployed, compared with 47% of Dalit men. Among Muslim women, 91% are unemployed, compared with 77% of Dalit women. Almost half of Muslims over the age of 46 ca not read or write. While making up 11% of the population, Muslims account for 40% of India’s prison population. Meanwhile, they hold less than 5% of government jobs.

2. Upward Economic Mobility in Pakistan:

In spite of all of its problems, Pakistan has continued to offer higher upward economicand social mobility to its citizens over the last two decades than India. Since 1990, Pakistan's middle class had expanded by 36.5% and India's by only 12.8%, according to an ADB report titled "Asia's Emerging Middle Class: Past, Present And Future".

Miles Corak of University of Ottawa calculates that the intergenerational earnings elasticity in Pakistan is 0.46, the same as in Switzerland. It means that a difference of 100% between the incomes of a rich father and a poor father is reduced to 46% difference between their sons' incomes. Among the 22 countries studied, Peru, China and Brazil have the lowest economic mobility with inter-generational elasticity of 0.67, 0.60 and 0.58 respectively. The highest economic mobility is offered by Denmark (0.15), Norway (0.17) and Finland (0.18).


http://www.riazhaq.com/2012/12/are-muslims-worse-off-in-jinnahs.html

Riaz Haq said...

43.5% of Indians, the highest percentage in the world, say they do not want to have a neighbor of a different race, according to a Washington Post report based on World's Values Survey.

About Pakistan, the report says that "although the country has a number of factors that coincide with racial intolerance – sectarian violence, its location in the least-tolerant region of the world, low economic and human development indices – only 6.5 percent of Pakistanis objected to a neighbor of a different race. This would appear to suggest Pakistanis are more racially tolerant than even the Germans or the Dutch".

Housing Discrimination:

It appears that there is a small but militant minority in Pakistan that is highly intolerant, but the vast majority of people are tolerant. My own experience as a former Karachi-ite is that there is little or no race or religion based housing segregation, the kind that is rampant in India where Muslims are not welcome in most Hindu-dominated neighborhoods. There have been many reports of top Muslim Bollywood stars having difficulty finding housing in Mumbai's upscale neighborhoods. A common excuse used to exclude them is the ostensible requirement to be vegetarian to live there.

Hate Against Indian Muslims:

The idea of racial purity is central to Hindu nationalists in India who have a long history of admiration for Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader, including his "Final Solution".

In his book "We" (1939), Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the leader of the Hindu Nationalist RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) wrote, "To keep up the purity of the Race and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of the Semitic races -- the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindusthan to learn and profit by."

Caste-based Apartheid:

While Golwalar's principal target in the above paragraph were Indian Muslims, the treatment of lower caste Hindus in India also falls in the category of racism. The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) now includes discrimination based on caste. Dating back to 1969, the ICERD convention has been ratified by 173 countries, including India. Despite this, and despite the United Nations Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights reiterating that discrimination based on work and descent is a form of racial discrimination, the Indian government's stand on this issue has remained the same: caste is not race.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2013/05/world-values-survey-finds-indians-most.html

Majumdar said...

Prof Riaz ul Haq sb,

India has finished 135 on HDI index ahead of Pakiland's 146.

India has got 22 medals in CWG till date against 1 for Pakiland, per capita 3 times.

Regards

Majumdar said...

Eid Mubarak to Prof Riaz ul Haq sb and every reader here and their families.

Regards

CanadianBoy said...

Majumdar: wait? are you saying that SUPERPOWER 3rd largest economy India and FAILED STATE Pakiland has only 11 place difference on HDI index? And you thought that was something to brag about?!?!

And tell me how many Olympics medals did Super Power 3rd largest economy India has won since 1947, i want to know because it should be come 3rd compared to the 1st and 2nd largest economies.

Riaz Haq said...

Leading Indian historians on Monday slammed former school teacher and activist Dina Nath Batra's books which have been recommended as secondary reading in Gujarat schools, saying they were nothing but works of “fantasy”.

Academics say the 85-year-old Batra's books seeking to Indianise education are often factually incorrect. According to media reports, the books contain several moral and political prescriptions such as a proposal to redraw the map of India in line with the right-wing idea of an Akhand Bharat.

They also suggest that birthdays should not be celebrated by blowing candles on the grounds that it is Western culture. Instead, they should be marked by wearing swadeshi clothes, having havans, reciting mantras such as the Gayatri mantra and feeding cows.

Batra uses stories of saints and demons to interpret history and includes historically inaccurate, and sometimes politically incorrect, anecdotes such as a story about a royal couple being blessed with children only after devoted cow-worship.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/7/29-07-pg9a.jpg

Romila Thapar, one of the leading scholars of ancient Indian history, told HT this is “not history, but fantasy”.

“This is absurd. If education is about training children how to think, this approach will not work," she said, adding that it was important to equip students with skills to ask critical questions instead of telling them all was well in ancient India.

Irfan Habib, another leading historian and Professor Emeritus at Aligarh Muslim University, was also scathing in his criticism.

“The contents are so absurd that any reaction would seem superfluous … I don't know what they will teach students when they have turned geography into fantasy,” he said over the phone from Aligarh, adding that it was an insult to the people of Gujarat that their children were being exposed to this “nonsense”.

A Delhi-based historian of science and modern political history, S Irfan Habib, described Batra's books as “hilarious but scary” on Twitter.

He told HT the core problem was that textbooks were being introduced in Gujarat without any vetting process but as a part of a political programme. “Young minds are being exposed to misinterpretations of the past and even the present.”

Habib said the issue should not be reduced to a debate of left versus right. “The point here is whether the person has any semblance of scholarship, any track record.”

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/historians-slam-dina-nath-batra-books-call-them-fantasy/article1-1245617.aspx

Anonymous said...

Batra is right about Doninger as her representation of Hinduism is not correct. However his other ideas are outdated and will lose currency soon even if recommended for reading in Gujarat text books. There will always be people with very conversative ideas but it doesn't mean the majority subscribe to it. Students today are more concerned about excelling in science subjects rather than in knowing excessive history.

However Sanskrit is a great language and HIndus can only practice Hinduism in its true form only in India (where else).

Riaz Haq said...

The newly elected Indian government of the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has become more confident about showing sympathy for Israel, bringing to the surface a relationship that has been growing for more than two decades. Pakistan refuses to recognize the Jewish state and its outrage over Palestinian deaths in Gaza is colored by its identity as a country bristling to defend the rights of Muslims around the world, from Palestine to Kashmir. These different worldviews could ultimately exacerbate the historical animosity between the two countries, and pit the pro-Israel Hindu right in India against the hawkish pro-military establishment in Pakistan.

http://warontherocks.com/2014/07/india-pakistan-through-the-israel-palestine-mirror/

Riaz Haq said...

From Israel's Haaretz:

On September 1, the anniversary of the day that the war of racism, World War II, broke out, Israeli children began their school year. Tens of thousands of excited and curious children started first grade. And how was the excitement of this “least of the flock” greeted in the classroom? It is better not to know.

About half the first-graders defined as Jews were sent to religious and ultra-Orthodox classes, in most of which the teachers drill into them such Talmudic ideas as, “You are called human, but the nations of the world are not called human.”

What about the other half? What did the children in the nonreligious state schools encounter, besides classrooms whose crowding is unparalleled in the West?

The other half does not learn evolution, the theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, philosophy, ethics or scientific theorems. They do not learn the ideas of Spinoza, Kant, Plato, Freud, Marx, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Einstein, Chuang Tzu or Rousseau. Most won’t even learn many of their names.

In that sense, the state-religious and Haredi schools are in better shape. The students on the Ponevezh or Mercaz Harav yeshiva track are introduced from the start to the material taught in the youth and adult yeshivas — age-appropriate, of course, but the names and the language are the same.

For all the efforts to instill “Holocaust awareness,” this does not extend to the Jewish culture that preceded it. The culture that won the hearts of the majority of Jews before the Holocaust — the very culture whose overwhelming accomplishments Nazi racism rose up against — was a culture of passion for knowledge. It was an open, revolutionary, humanist culture. It was a culture that admired the world of Einstein, Freud, Zweig, Marx, Kafka, Schoenberg, Berg and many more. And that is precisely what has been tossed out of the schools.

True, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Jewish state is not identical to the Islamic State (formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), but there is a connection between them, and it has concrete effects. It may be possible to form a regional alliance against messianic racism, but an Israel that moves away from Einstein, metaphorically and in practice, and imprisons itself in a racist educational ghetto sacrifices not only its children’s souls but also the ability to be an influential player in the region. A player that, were it not for its enslavement to racism and the occupation, could have been a partner to the creation of new regional borders, playing a stabilizing role against the extremists.

Anyone looking at the ruins of consciousness brought on by the dizzying spiral of recent weeks should be worried not only by the rightward shift but also by its roots. When the Kahanist organization Lehava succeeded in pushing its agenda, it was above all due to the roots. Jews and non-Jews cannot marry in Israel — yes, like in that state we study so much. It’s the price of trampling humanist science education in Israel.

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.613791

Riaz Haq said...

Read about your Internet Hindus of ‪#‎India‬ with sole purpose to attack, slander ‪#‎Islam‬ ‪#‎Pakistan

‬ http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/social-media-internet-cyber-hindu-twitter-narendra-modi/1/321267.html

Riaz Haq said...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised India’s youth a bright future. As he is well aware, realizing that promise will depend on dramatically increasing educational quality and opportunity for the 600 million Indians under age 25, many of whom lack basic reading and math skills. In its 2014 Election Manifesto, Mr. Modi’s party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, called education “the most powerful tool for the advancement of the nation and the most potent weapon to fight poverty.” The question now is whether educational reform will be used not just to create an educated citizenry and trained work force but also to promote a particular ideology.

While campaigning ahead of the May election, Mr. Modi, then the chief minister of the state of Gujarat, promised to bring the “Gujarat model” to national governance. Many voters understood this to mean a commitment to a more dynamic economy. But the Gujarat model has a less attractive side to it: a requirement that the state’s curriculum include several textbooks written by Dinanath Batra, a scholar dedicated to recasting India’s history through the prism of the Hindu right wing.

In February, Mr. Batra led a successful effort to pressure Penguin India to withdraw copies of a book by Wendy Doniger, a religion professor at the University of Chicago, which he felt insulted Hinduism. Then, in June, the Gujarat government directed that several of Mr. Batra’s own books be added to the state’s curriculum. Mr. Batra’s teachings range from the trivial to assertions that simply cannot be taken seriously. His books advise students not to celebrate birthdays with cakes and candles, a practice Mr. Batra considers non-Indian. More troublingly, they instruct students to draw maps of “Akhand Bharat,” a greater India, presumably restored to its rightful boundaries, that include Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mr. Batra also believes that aircraft, automobiles and nuclear weapons existed in ancient India, and he wants children to learn these so-called facts.

In 1999, the national government, then led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, put Mr. Batra in charge of rewriting history textbooks to reflect these and other views of the Hindu right. Now it appears that the party intends to pick up where it left off when it was voted out of power in 2004. Mr. Batra says Smriti Zubin Irani, the minister of human resource development, has assured him his books will soon be a part of the national curriculum. The education of youth is too important to the country’s future to allow it to be hijacked by ideology that trumps historical facts, arbitrarily decides which cultural practices are Indian, and creates dangerous notions of India’s place alongside its neighbors.


http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/10/09/opinion/false-teachings-for-indias-students.html

Riaz Haq said...

As the new Hindu Nationalist government under Narendra Modi begins its anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan campaigns so soon after inauguration, an Indian journalist Pankaj Mishra reminds Indians in a recent New York Times Op Ed that that "India’s reputation as a “golden bird” flourished during the long centuries when it was allegedly enslaved by Muslims. A range of esteemed scholars — from Sheldon Pollock to Jonardon Ganeri — have demonstrated beyond doubt that this period before British rule witnessed some of the greatest achievements in Indian philosophy, literature, music, painting and architecture".

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/25/opinion/pankaj-mishra-nirandra-modis-idea-of-india.html?_r=0

Riaz Haq said...

Opposition demands sacking of #Modi minister who insinuates #Muslims, #Christians of #India are "bastards" http://www.dawn.com/news/1148524


NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under growing pressure to sack a minister over a tirade she made against religious minorities, as his outraged opponents disrupted parliament for a second day on Wednesday.

Niranjan Jyoti, the junior minister for food processing industries, asked whether the country should be governed by “the children of Ram (a Hindu god) or the children of bastards” at an election rally.

The comment was widely believed to have been an attack on the legitimacy of the country's Muslim and Christian minorities.

Rival parties defeated by Modi's Hindu nationalists six months ago in a general election have staged two days of parliamentary protests to demand Jyoti's removal. Amid unruly scenes, the speaker of the upper house adjourned proceedings for the rest of the day.

“The constitution has been violated; India's laws have been violated,” Anand Sharma, a senior leader of the opposition Congress party said. “We want the prime minister to come to the house and tell us he has asked the minister to go.”

The protests risk disrupting a session of parliament where the government wants to build consensus to pass laws lifting the caps on foreign investment in India's insurance sector and amend a bill making it easier for companies to buy land.

Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has been accused of exploiting religious divisions in the run up to elections, a tactic that opponents say helped the party win the largest election victory in three decades in May.

Parliamentary affairs minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said the minister has apologised and the house should now focus on legislative business.

Riaz Haq said...

India conducted a nuclear test centuries ago; cow urine can cure diabetes and ancient India was adept at genetics and plastic surgery. These and more such incredible achievements datelined ancient India have come from votaries of Hindu culture.

If people with scientific temper are reaching boiling point, in the absence of technology to go back in time to ancient India for verification trips, little noise is being heard from their quarters.

Here is a sample of what is being claimed as 'Indian science'.

Nuking reason
The world acknowledges India has conducted two sets nuclear tests: in 1974 and 1998. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, BJP MP from Haridwar and former Uttarakhand chief minister, disagrees. "Today we are talking about nuclear tests. Lakhs of years ago, Sage Kanad had conducted a nuclear test. Our knowledge and science do not lack anything," Nishank told Parliament. Nishank also batted for astrology, saying it is the topmost science in the world. He said our ancient astrologers dwarfed all other sciences.

Cow urine therapy

Promoting cow urine is a priority for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), seen as the BJP's spiritual and ideological guide. It was reported in May that Madhya Pradesh-based promoters of medicines produced using cow urine or 'gau-mutra' hope that a BJP government at the Centre will help their business.

The RSS is keen on promoting a soft drink made from cow's urine, mixed with products such as aloe vera and gooseberry to fight diseases. "Cow urine offers a cure for around 70 to 80 incurable diseases like diabetes. All are curable by cow urine," said Om Prakash, head of the RSS's cow protection department, in 2009.

Faith in astrology
Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani will one day be the country's president: that prediction came from the BJP politician's astrologer in Bhilwara, Rajasthan. "She will become president... in five years," the astrologer told reporters last month after Irani's visit. Irani was asked about her faith in astrology when she is in charge of education. "What I am doing in my personal life is not the responsibility of media to report until and unless it affects my duties," she replied.

Karna a product of genetic engineering

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking at the inauguration of a hospital in Mumbai in October, equated birth of Mahabharata's Karna to genetic engineering. He said, "We can feel proud of what our country achieved in medical science at one point of time. We all read about Karna in Mahabharata. If we think a little more, we realise that Mahabharata says Karna was not born from his mother's womb. This means that genetic science was present at that time. That is why Karna could be born outside his mother's womb."

Ganesha plastic surgery

At the same event, Modi also said, "We worship Lord Ganesha. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant's head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery."

Dinanath Batra claims stem cell research invented by an Indian

In his book Tejomay Bharat, Dinanath Batra, convenor of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, claimed stem cell research was invented by an Indian, Dr Ganpat Matapurkar, who was inspired by the Mahabharata.

Sanal Edamaruku, president of Indian Rationalist Association, said people need to differentiate between "myth and reality. "Myths are there in all parts of the world and in all cultures; if we can't differentiate myth and reality, something is seriously wrong," said Edamaruku in an e-mail from Helsinki.

Article 51A of the Constitution says Indian citizens have the duty to 'develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform'. It's an article that our elected representatives must remember--they are sworn to uphold the Constitution.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/myths-made-reality-bizarre-claims-made-for-ancient-india-s-achievements/article1-1293274.aspx

Riaz Haq said...

In the words of Modi's minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, the choice for the Indian voters is whether they want the government to be run by "Ramzadon" or "Haramzadon". http://vimeo.com/113776696

Riaz Haq said...

Haryana to introduce Gita in schools

CHANDIGARH: The Gita would be taught in Haryana schools from the next academic session from class V to XII.

Education minister Ram Bilas Sharma made the announcement on Monday while terming the Gita "supreme source of culture and human values in society''.

Sharma said the scripture is not only about dialogues between Arjuna and Krishna but is accepted worldwide as a supreme source of knowledge.

"A committee of educationists would decide on the inclusion of specific shlokas of the Gita in various standards. We are working on it to ensure that it is included from the next academic session," Sharma said.

Panjab University sociologist Manjeet Singh said the move was against the constitutional spirit.

Devotees selling the Bhagavad Gita book during Bhagwan Jaganath Rath Yatra in Chandigarh.
"Our society has survived under adverse conditions, especially after Independence, due to its patience and capacity to absolve issue of various class and communities. If the majority would start taking such decisions, it would amount to fascism."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Haryana-to-introduce-Gita-in-schools/articleshow/45696677.cms

Riaz Haq said...

Hindu Nationalist Science under Modi


MUMBAI: Indians had mastered aviation thousands of years before the Wright brothers, claimed a controversial paper presented at the 102nd Indian Science Congress here on Sunday.

Ancient aviation, as described by Maharshi Bharadwaja, was more advanced than modern day technology, said the paper presented by Captain Anand Bodas and Ameya Jadhav. "The knowledge of aeronautics is described in Sanskrit in 100 sections, eight chapters, 500 principles and 3,000 verses. In the modern day, only 100 principles are available," stated the paper.

Bodas said Maharishi Bharadwaj spoke 7,000 years ago of "aeroplanes which travel from one country to another, one continent to another and one planet to another. He mentioned 97 reference books for aviation."

'Sanskrit had a huge science repository'

"Indians had developed 20 types of sharp instruments and 101 blunt ones for surgeries, which largely resemble the modern surgical instruments. Vaikrutaapaham, retaining the original colour and texture of the skin after a surgery, is one of the seven post-operative treatment steps for abscess. The process is not so common in the modern surgical practices," said a paper presented at the 102nd Indian Science Congress in Mumbai on Sunday.

READ ALSO: Pythagoras's theorem actually an Indian discovery, Vardhan says
Ancient Indian engineers had adequate knowledge of Indian botany and they effectively used it in their constructions, said professor of civil engineering from Nagpur, AS Nene, in his paper.

Most of the scholars who presented their papers on Sunday appealed to young Indian scientists and researchers to look at ancient Sanskrit literature and derive advanced methodologies from them.

Rajan Welukar, Mumbai University's vice-chancellor, said that "one should at least look at the Vedas, but need not accept it". Vijay Bhatkar, acclaimed Indian scientist, mentioned that "Indians are so used to the slave mentality that we will only need a foreign nation to acknowledge the vast source of information. Once they do it, we will follow".

Union minister Prakash Javadekar, the chief guest at the event, claimed that he usually starts his day by watching the news in Sanskrit. He said those interested in pursuing knowledge don't see what the source is, or how old it is. He said everything that is old may not be gold, but all that is old is also not a waste.


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Heard-at-science-meet-Ancient-Indian-planes-flew-to-planets/articleshow/45754349.cms

Riaz Haq said...

With beef bans, #India moves to protect sacred cows #beefban #Modi #BJP #Hindu http://on.wsj.com/1M6WUCO via @WSJ

Across India, the status of the cow—an animal deeply revered in Hinduism—is emerging as a divisive issue. Conservatives emboldened by the rise of Mr. Modi’s BJP, which has Hindu nationalist roots, are seeking stricter limits on beef eating.

The western state of Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital of Mumbai, this year expanded its ban on cow slaughtering to add bulls and bullocks to the list. The BJP-governed state of Haryana recently imposed stricter punishments to protect the cow.

In March, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh called for a nationwide prohibition on beef, saying: “How can we accept that cows should be slaughtered in this country? We will do our best to put a ban on this, and we will do whatever it takes to build consensus.”

Mr. Modi won broad electoral support with an inclusive message of economic revival in a nation of myriad religions, languages and cultural traditions. But the government has also worked to promote yoga, a practice with roots in Hinduism, as well as Sanskrit, an ancient tongue that is used as Hinduism’s liturgical language.

Some Muslims contend the beef bans and other steps are aimed at them. “The BJP is trying to make Muslims feel like they’re not Indians,” says Siddiqullah Chaudhary of Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind, a national Muslim-rights organization.

It isn’t just Muslims who object. “These religious things are spreading everywhere,” says Anubhav Chakraborty, who is Hindu yet opposes banning beef on the principle that it erodes India’s secular tradition. Earlier this year, Mr. Chakraborty planned a beef-eating event in the West Bengal capital of Kolkata—dubbed the “yummy protest” in local media—to challenge the bans.

He had to cancel at the last minute in a dispute with his venue, but he says he’ll try again. Similar beef-eating protests have been staged elsewhere. His mother and co-organizer, Ramala Chakraborty, argues that India is too poor not to do something useful with cows that are no longer giving milk or doing productive work. “We will have an empire of cows,” she says.

---------

Penalties for slaughtering cows vary in states where it is illegal. Gujarat, for instance, sets a maximum seven-year jail term and 50,000-rupee ($780) fine, whereas in the capital city, Delhi, it’s a maximum five years’ jail and 10,000 rupees.

Cattle smuggling is common across India’s border into Bangladesh, and members of Mr. Gupta’s Cow Development Cell, which has set up “rapid-action groups” to stop cattle trucks despite having no legal authority, say they suspect the animals they liberated were headed there.

The BJP’s Mr. Kohli says the party doesn’t support behaving in a “vigilante manner.”

An hour’s drive south of Kolkata in the village of Champahati, Mr. Gupta met recently with a rapid-action group that a few months earlier had blocked the road, stopping trucks and freeing 92 head of cattle. “Members of our group surrounded the area,” says group member Anant Mondal.

A senior local police official said he was unaware of the incident.

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - #India opposes #Nepal's new constitution http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-34313280 …

Nepal's adoption of a new federal constitution has led to a souring of ties with its giant neighbour India.
The document defines the majority Hindu nation as a secular republic divided into seven federal provinces.
Although Delhi was one of the major backers of the process over the past decade, it believes the new constitution is not broad-based and is concerned that it could spur violence which could spill over into its own territory.
India's reaction in the past few days to events in Nepal has been quite remarkable.
On Friday, just a couple of days before the constitution was formally adopted (but after it had been passed by the Constituent Assembly) India's top diplomat was sent to Kathmandu at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar held discussions with Nepal's president and prime minister and leaders of all the major political parties including those who had opposed the constitution in its current form.
He is believed to have pressed the Nepalese government to delay the adoption of the constitution and hold discussions with political groups opposed to it.
Reports in the Indian media say that India's ambassador in Kathmandu spoke to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala hours before Sunday's constitution ceremony to express Delhi's disappointment at the process going through.

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - Five bizarre 'lessons' in #Indian textbooks. "Meat eaters cheat" #India #Modi http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-34336826 …

A national textbook for 11-year-old students created uproar in 2012 when it was discovered that it said that people who eat meat "easily cheat, tell lies, forget promises, are dishonest and tell bad words, steal, fight and turn to violence and commit sex crimes".
Later, the director of the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) told the NDTV news channel that school books used across the country are not monitored for content.

n 2006, it was discovered that a textbook for 14-year-olds in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan compared housewives to donkeys.
"A donkey is like a housewife. It has to toil all day and, like her, may even have to give up food and water. In fact, the donkey is a shade better, for while the housewife may sometimes complain and walk off to her parents' home, you'll never catch the donkey being disloyal to his master," the Times of India quoted the Hindi language textbook as saying.
An official told the newspaper that the comparison had been made in "good humour".

In what can only be described as a complete distortion of history, a social science textbook believed to have been taught to 50,000 students in the western Indian state of Gujarat declared that Japan had launched a nuclear attack on the US during World War Two.
Officials said the textbooks, which also got the date of Mahatma Gandhi's assassination wrong, would be corrected. However, officials had also said that the textbooks currently in circulation would not be recalled.

Don't be too shocked if you find students from the west Indian state of Maharashtra telling you that the "Sewage Canal" is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world. That is how the Suez Canal has been spelled in an English language textbook in the state.
The book, meant for 15-year-olds also spelled "Gandhi" as "Gandi", and got a number of important Indian historical dates completely wrong. The NDTV website which reported the errors said that it had not been able to contact the officials responsible for the textbooks.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Modi claims ancient #Hindus did plastic surgery, found stem cells, built TV, nukes, missiles,airplanes,cars http://on.ft.com/1AxgDrG

Narendra Modi, Indian prime minister, has relaunched his country’s controversial claims to some of the world’s greatest scientific achievements with his suggestion that ancient India was adept at genetics and plastic surgery, including the grafting of the elephant’s head onto the god Ganesh.

His remarks – ironically made at the opening of a high-tech hospital in Mumbai – have revived a political debate about the growing influence of the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (the Organisation of National Volunteers) over the governing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party.

Hindu fundamentalists are delighted by Mr Modi’s words, left-wingers are appalled or mocking and many foreigners are simply bemused that India’s real cultural, scientific and medical achievements are being overshadowed by simplistic references to the mythological past.

“For the intelligentsia and the educated people it’s so preposterous and absurd I think they don’t want to comment on it,” says political commentator Vinod Mehta. He argues that Mr Modi is currying favour with the Hindu right to secure their support. “Periodically you will hear him say these kinds of thing. I don’t think there’s a 1 per cent chance that the prime minister believes it.”

Here are five types of achievements claimed for ancient India:

• Stem cell research and other medical advances such as plastic surgery: Mr Modi mentioned the miraculous birth of the warrior king Karna in the Mahabharata, the Hindu epic, outside his mother’s womb as evidence that “genetic science was present at that time”. As for Ganesh, he said there must have been a surgeon who grafted the elephant head onto a human body “and began the practice of plastic surgery”.



• Cars and aircraft: Indian legends refer to horseless chariots and to aeroplane-like vehicles called vimanas. In the Mahabharata, the hero Arjuna, for example, sees “an incredible ship of the sky” which lands softly on the ground. “Wonderful lights flashed on the vimana’s smooth body. As Arjuna rose and approached the craft, a door opened at its side and a flight of steps flowed out from it.”



• Nuclear weapons and high-speed missiles: Arjuna’s arrows are often likened to missiles, sometimes with deadly payloads. At one point he shoots “a silver shaft charged with that final weapon” at his enemies. “It is an adamantine thunderbolt… Like a small sun, it erupts among the Trigarta legions and nine of every ten men Susharma brought to war are pillars of ash.”



•Televsion: A controversial book by retired schoolteacher Dinanath Batra, distributed in schools in Mr Modi’s home state of Gujarat, lays claim not only to motorcars and stem cell research but also to television in ancient India. Indian sages, it says, use their yogic powers to attain visions, and one royal adviser receives a live telecast of the battle of Mahabharata. “There is no doubt that the invention of television goes back to this.”



• Mathematics: Like the claim to longstanding medical knowledge, this is based on real achievements in ancient times, even if many recent advances have been made beyond India’s frontiers. In particular India is credited with the system that became known as the “Arabic” numerals 0-9. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying: “We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.”

Riaz Haq said...

Working to saffronize education in entire #India: #RSS ideologue Dina Nath Batra #Modi #BJP http://toi.in/0bg3AZ via @timesofindia

RSS ideologue and Haryana government's school and higher education consultant Dina Nath Batra says he not only wants to 'saffronize' education in the state but in the entire country. He was in Chandigarh on Friday to co-chair the first state-level consultative meeting on the new education policy for Haryana.

Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar chaired the meeting which was attended by a range of people, from vice-chancellors of universities to teachers. Founder of the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti also indicated that the Bhagwad Gita would be introduced as a moral education subject in schools from class VI to XII from next session. He also clarified that the existing school teachers will teach the Hindu scripture.

"The students will be taught a compilation of two shlokas from every chapter of the Bhagwat Gita,'' he said. The government had announced in December 2014, that it planned to introduce the Gita in schools with many accusing it of trying to saffronize school education in the state. Since then, however, the subject had been in cold storage.

Speaking to TOI later, he said that his own definition of saffornization was not related to any community or religion, but to a set of ideas which give an independent identity to a person. "Saffron is made of a mixture of red and yellow," he said. "Red is symbolic of bravery while yellow symbolizes patience and prosperity. Hence, we need this kind of education."

Batra insisted that he was not working just in Haryana. "I am working for saffronization of education in the whole country, and I want to complete it at the earliest," he said, adding, "let us teach the world about contribution of our experts and expertise towards the global growth." Batra, however, dismissed the allegation that his strategy was part of a larger agenda of the Sangh.

Batra also gave some insight into his vision of education in Haryana. Terming the running of colleges offering Bachelor of Education (BEd) courses as a wasteful exercise, he advocated for an integrated university for training of teachers and certifying the colleges.

"When teachers don't even go to school, how can you expect students to go to the classroom," He asked. "I know many such people are there who have got BEd degrees while sitting at home. Such a system has to be done away with. Education of a teacher needs to be as rigorous as that of a student. We don't favour any dedicated stream. Let the child be groomed in all the streams of arts, medical, non-medical and commerce and core education standards be maintained,'' he said.

Batra had sparked off a major controversy in when he had filed case against Amrican scholar Wendy Doniger's book 'The Hindus: An Alternative History'. The publisher, Penguin India, had decided to destroy all copies of the book.

Riaz Haq said...

#India, #Pakistan and #Bangladesh will reunite to form 'Akhand Bharat': #BJP Gen Sec Ram Madhav http://m.ibnlive.com/news/politics/india-pakistan-and-bangladesh-will-reunite-to-form-akhand-bharat-bjps-ram-madhav-1181205.html …


India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will reunite to form Akhand Bharat, or "undivided India", said General Secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Ram Madhav in an interview to Al Jazeera.
Referring to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Madhav said, "The RSS still believes that one day these parts, which have for historical reasons separated only 60 years ago, will again, through popular goodwill, come together and Akhand Bharat will be created. As an RSS member I also hold onto that view." However, he added that it "does not mean we wage war on any country, [or that] we annex any country. Without war, through popular consent, it can happen."

Recently, the BJP has been facing the ire over allgetions of rising number of cases of intolerance in the country. Several artists and writers have returned their awards protesting over the same.
Commenting on the allegations of rising intolerance in the country, Madhav termed it as a ploy "to defame the government and in turn to defame the image of India."

Riaz Haq said...

"#India, #Pakistan And #Bangladesh Can Become A 'Federation'": #Indian #BJP #Modi Minister Ram Vilas Paswan http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/india-pakistan-and-bangladesh-can-become-a-federation-ram-vilas-paswan-1259485 …

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan today favoured India, Pakistan and Bangladesh becoming a "Mahasanghatan" (federation) with a common currency and open trade, a move, he claimed would put an end to terrorism to a large extent.

"We cannot say if they can reunite or not; if they (the three countries) reunite, it's very good thing. At least if they don't become one nation (again), it can become a federation ('Mahasanghatan' as he put it)," Mr Paswan told PTI in an interview in Hyderabad.

"Bharat, Pakistan and Bangladesh were all in one nation (earlier)," the LJP chief said when asked for his views on BJP general secretary Ram Madhav's recent statement that RSS believes that the three nations would one day reunite again not by war but through "popular goodwill".

"These three nations can become a 'federation'", Mr Paswan said, mooting the idea of common currency, open trade and lifting of restrictions on movement of people.

"This will put an end to terrorism to a large extent," he added.

His comments have come after BJP's general secretary Ram Madhav said that India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will reunite one day to create "Akhand Bharat" or an 'Undivided India'.

Mr Madhav had told Doha-based Al Jazeera: "The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) still believes that one day these parts, which have for historical reasons separated only 60 years ago, will again, through popular goodwill, come together and 'Akhand Bharat' will be created."

Mr Paswan also described Prime Minister Narendra Modi's last week's surprise visit to Lahore as a "masterstroke" and said it is an attempt to link the hearts of the people of the two countries.

"People on both the sides of the border want 'permanent friendship' between the two countries. Only terrorists oppose good bilateral relations between New Delhi and Islamabad," he said.

The Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said the LJP is fighting for reservation of SCs and STs in private sector.

"Not that you give reservation in all posts... where there is available -- Class-III and Class-IV posts, you can give (reservation)".

Mr Paswan rejected suggestions from opposition parties that 'Ache Din' is yet to come for 'aam aadmi' even after one-and-half year tenure of the Modi Government, as he listed various initiatives of the Centre, including Jan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bhima Yojana and Mudra Bank.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's #Hindu sage conducted #nuke test ages ago: #BJP MP via @htTweets http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/indian-sage-conducted-nuke-test-ages-ago-bjp-mp/story-ohO3cP8vuzn8uVjep7gEBL.html …
"Today we are talking about nuclear tests. Lakhs of years ago, Sage Kanad had conducted a nuclear test. Our knowledge and science do not lack anything," the Indian Express quoted him as saying in Parliament on Wednesday.
Sage Kanad is believed to have lived around the 2nd century BC.
Nishank, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Haridwar, also seconded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's citing of plastic surgery and genetic science with reference to Lord Ganesha getting an elephant trunk and birth of Karna.
"People are raising questions on Modiji's comments on Ganesha's surgery. It was actually a surgery. The science available to us is not available elsewhere in the world… science or knowledge to transplant a severed head existed only in India."
Nishank also batted for astrology, saying it is the topmost science in the world. He said our ancient astrologers dwarfed all other sciences.
The Haridwar MP's comments triggered a protest from Left members even as he said there should be a "proper discussion on it and it should get the respect it deserves".
Nishank's comments are in line with a series of assertions doing the rounds of late; the most notable being from retired school headmaster Dinanath Batra who got American academic Wendy Doniger's book on Hinduism pulped on the grounds that it insulted Hindus.
Batra has written books as well. Earlier this year, the Gujarat government mandated some of them as supplementary reading for its primary and secondary students.
From preaching about ancient India's gurukul style of learning, redrawing the Indian map to include other countries to interpreting history through stories about rishi-munis (sages and seers), dev-daanav (deities and demons) and "heroes" of pre-Independence India, these books try to conform to "Bharatiya sanskriti" (Indian culture).

ABHISHEK BHARDWAJ said...

Akhand bharat is the modernised name of ancient Bharat ie jumboodweep comparing todays 13 nations which was divided furthur into 5 sub States. Jumboodweep was part of Aaryavart whose actual map is still unknown but clues from sanaatan dharma granths indicates it's expansions till today's Germany. Regarding Hindus, if you think that people where Hindus lived were said to be bharats part then you are wrong. There is no word like Hindu in any granths across the globe. It was given by foreigners on account of sindhu river heard wrongly by them as Hindu. There were no religions during integrated prospered Aaryavart empire. Only Aaryans and dravids existed. Later on as societies emerged leaders from different regions of Aaryavart considered their territories as separate nation and developed their own culture and way of worship to create theirs unique identity in Aaryavart which Islamist and Christians started calling as religion. Thus religions, cultures, languages and borders were born. This is what we sanaatis want back, vasudev kutumbakam, the world is my family, we want this Aaryavart back not in name religion but in name of unity and humanity as our holy culture.

Riaz Haq said...

Nobody wants to erase #India from textbooks. Yet another #California textbook controversy by #Hindutuva groups http://fw.to/gEgxj8O

Is India being "erased" from California's history books? No, it's not.

But some 22,000 people have signed a petition to prevent the state from changing "India" to "South Asia" in its social studies curricula. A group of academics from schools including the University of San Francisco and Columbia University, and Hindu groups like the Hindu American Foundation, have signed on.

The State Board of Education is currently updating California's history and social science curriculum, and the petition is reacting to submissions in the public comment process that would replace some instances of "India" with "South Asia" and address Hinduism differently.

That request spurred a backlash from Hindu academics, leading to the petition that reads: "School students in California will be forced to learn that there was never an 'India' unless you act!"

This is not what is happening. The group that originally suggested the changes calls itself the South Asia Faculty Textbook Committee and includes South Asian scholars from Stanford, UC Berkeley, San Francisco State University and UCLA, among others.

They do suggest that in some places "India" be replaced with "South Asia" because some of the area discussed currently belongs to Pakistan.

April 2, 8:52 a.m.: An earlier version of this article indicated the letter was also a response to the petition. It was not; the petition began after the letter was written.

------------

"We wish to clarify that while 'Ancient India' is the accepted usage among Indologists, in other fields, pre-modern South Asia is the common term of reference. Since there is no standardized usage across fields, it is difficult for us to recommend a single standard term for use in the curriculum framework. After careful review, we have settled on a context dependent approach for the use of the terms, 'Ancient India,’ ‘India,’ ‘Indian subcontinent’ and ‘South Asia,’ as we explain in the edits. The use of terms like 'Ancient India' and 'India' in the current version of the draft framework, particularly for grades 6 and 7 is at times misleading. Although 'Ancient India' is common in the source material, when discussing the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC), we believe it will cause less confusion to students to refer to the “Early Civilization of South Asia or “Ancient South Asia” because much of the Indus Valley is now in modern Pakistan. Conflating “Ancient India” with the modern nation-state of India deprives students from learning about the shared civilizational heritage of India and Pakistan."

The California History-Social Science Project takes public comment into account as it amends the framework and presents it to the state Board of Education. The group did adopt many of the faculty textbook committee's recommendations, and the Board of Education is scheduled to review the changes in May.

Riaz Haq said...

If incorrect depictions of #India’s borders are a crime, will #RSS be prosecuted for ‘Akhand Bharat’? http://scroll.in/article/807700/if-incorrect-depictions-of-indias-borders-are-a-crime-will-rss-be-prosecuted-for-akhand-bharat … via @scroll_in

Comically muscular jingoism has been the one of things the Bharatiya Janata Party has delivered on strongly. Since it came to power, the party has targetted students from Hyderabad and Delhi, suggested that citizenship should be made contingent on sloganeering abilities and misinterpreted the history of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. Friday morning bought the latest installment of the saga: a proposed law to punish incorrect depictions of India’s borders on a map with seven years in jail and a fine that must be equal to the annual income of a small Indian city: Rs 100 crore.

The nub of the issue is that the government of India claims a lot more land than it actually holds. The Jammu and Kashmir that you see on India maps is a fine thing ­– but it doesn’t really exist on the ground. Pakistan controls large parts of the western half of Jammu and Kashmir and China, the Aksai Chin region in the north-east. If you actually show this ground situation on a map, though, you can be prosecuted by the government under a 1961 act that now carries a jail term of six months. If Narendra Modi has his way, that will become seven years.

What about Akhand Bharat?

The interesting thing here is that there is one rather powerful group for which incorrectly depicting India’s borders is almost at article of faith. The Sangh Parivar believes in what is know as Akhand Bharat or undivided India. At its smallest, Akhand Bharat includes present-day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh: basically, the dominions of the British Raj. Other versions also have Afghanistan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and sometimes even Tibet sidling into the map.

Riaz Haq said...

#Nepal cancels President visit as #India-#Nepal ties sour. #Nepal recalls its Ambassador in #Delhi https://shar.es/1eKnY2 via @sharethis


In a move without parallel, the Nepal government had cancelled the trip of President Bidhya Devi Bhandari to India barely 72 hours before her departure for Delhi, without giving any reason. This was coupled by another act of vengeance, the recall of its ambassador, Deep Kumar Upadhyay in Delhi.
Both these acts came barely 24 hours after Prime Minister K P Oli defeated a move to unseat him from the post, under an initiative taken by the main opposition party, the Nepali Congress. The move was to have seen Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists and the second largest constituent in the cabinet, lead the new government.

The move collapsed at the last minute after Dahal entered into a fresh deal extracting promises from Oli that he will withdraw all politically motivated cases pending against Maoist leaders and cadres during the decade-long insurgency dating back to 1996.
Oli reportedly believes that India was behind the move to topple him. The decision to scrap president’s visit to Delhi, along with the recall of Ambassador Upadhyay, clearly indicate that Oli is upset with India.
A seasoned Nepali diplomat, someone not enamoured of India and its role in Nepal, went to the extent of calling it an ‘unfriendly act’. Bhandari who became President a week after Oli, Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), took over as the prime minister in October, belonged to the same faction of party, and apparently do not differ much in her views on India.
Bhandari’s proposed visit was being viewed as a move to explore traditional cordiality in bilateral relations that suffered a series of setbacks especially after India supported the Madhesi groups anti-constitution protests and the subsequent blockade for months beginning in September, csusing Nepal an acute shortage of essential goods and fuel.

Riaz Haq said...

Cartographers beware: #India warns of $15 million fine for maps it doesn't like. #Kashmir #Pakistan #China #Modi

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/05/06/cartographers-beware-india-warns-of-15-million-fine-for-maps-it-doesnt-like/

Let's start with a basic fact: India claims much more land than it controls.

Thus, any map of India and its neighbors makes an inherently political statement based on how it depicts their borders. The issue is particularly thorny because the border disputes are with India's great rivals: Pakistan and China.

On Thursday, a draft law reflecting India's sensitivity over maps was uploaded by the government online before being swiftly removed for reasons unknown. The draft law would define how India's international borders are drawn once and for all, and punish offenders with up to seven years in jail or fines ranging from $150,000 to $15 million. It would also require all individuals and companies producing maps in India, and all Indian citizens doing so globally, to procure a license from the government.

Pakistan and India both claim jurisdiction over the entirety of Jammu and Kashmir, an area that spans fertile plains, lush foothills, towering Himalayan mountains and the alpine barrens of the Tibetan Plateau. It is also the theater of India and Pakistan's defining conflict, which has led to three wars and once brought the subcontinent surprisingly close to the verge of mutual nuclear annihilation. Both nations occupy parts of Kashmir and station hundreds of thousands of troops there, mostly along the incredibly tense Line of Control (LoC) that serves as the de facto border.

China also claims — and controls — a sizable chunk of (what was once) Kashmir known as Aksai Chin, which it subsumed after handily defeating India in a 1962 war. The border there is slightly more definitive, which is reflected in the name India uses for it: the Line of Actual Control (LAC). China also claims almost all of another Indian state called Arunachal Pradesh, which stretches between Bhutan and Myanmar. China refers to it as "South Tibet." India administers the state, and Chinese incursions are very rare.


The map that India wants the world to see, of course, bestows it all these disputed regions. If it actually becomes law, it would certainly complicate the operations of technology companies that rely on maps, such as Google and Uber. Already, Google shows different borders to users in different countries. From the United States, India's disputed borders are shown on the website as dotted lines.

Riaz Haq said...

Changing of Map of #India : A year by year map history of #India from the 4th century BC to date https://youtu.be/QN41DJLQmPk via @YouTube

Bottom Line: What we call India today was never one united country before the British Raj. The closest it came to it briefly was under Chandragupta Maurya and then Mughals.

Riaz Haq said...

#Burma faces ethnic violence. Has Aung San Suu Kyi ignored the plight of her people? #Rohingya #Myanmar #Muslims

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/burmas-aung-san-suu-kyi-insists-she-needs-time-to-deal-with-worsening-ethnic-violence/2016/10/19/980f9210-956a-11e6-9cae-2a3574e296a6_story.html?postshare=6981477185433407&tid=ss_fb


More than 120,000 are still living in fetid camps in Rakhine state after violent clashes with their Buddhist neighbors in 2012. They have little access to health care and 30,000 of their children do not have proper schools, according to a U.N. report in June.

The report cited a “pattern of gross human rights violations” against the Rohingya, acts that it said could rise to the level of “crimes against humanity” in a court of law.

The government restarted a process of citizenship verification for the Rohingya in June, but many of the Rohingya refused to participate, Suu Kyi said. Human rights activists say they were suspicious that some kind of new card would mean a further erosion of their rights.

“Things take time,” she said. “The situation in the Rakhine is a legacy of many, many decades of problems. It is not something that happened overnight. We’re not going to be able to resolve it overnight. It goes back even to the last century.”

Suu Kyi told the U.N. investigator that the government would avoid using the term “Rohingya,” which many Burmese consider incendiary. Many Burmese call the Rohingya “Bengali,” a reference to the fact that some migrated from Bangladesh years earlier.

“This is inflammatory,” Suu Kyi said. “We simply say Muslims of ­Rakhine state. Because this is just a factual description which nobody should object to. But of course, everybody objects because they want their old emotive terms to be used.”

Suu Kyi brushed aside the frequent criticism that, as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, she has not done enough to speak out about the Rohingyas’ plight. She did not go near the camps on a campaign swing through the state last fall and spoke of the conflict only in the vaguest terms.

“Well, I have spoken about it, but people don’t like the way I talk about it because I don’t take sides,” she said. “Nobody takes any account of that because that is not what they want to hear. They want me to make, you know, incendiary remarks, which I am not going to do. I’ve made it very clear that our work is not to condemn but to achieve reconciliation.”

Richard Horsey, a longtime Burma analyst and adviser to the International Crisis Group, said that Suu Kyi had made strides in addressing the issue after her government took over, including the appointment of Annan. But the spate of violence may change that, he said.

“These recent attacks have completely changed the landscape here and what’s possible to do right now,” Horsey said. “It has a huge potential to make the situation much, much worse and much harder to fix.”

Suu Kyi, whose official title is state counselor, spoke at Burma’s embassy while on a trip to India this week. The country is familiar terrain for her, as she spent part of her high school and college years living in New Delhi while her mother was ambassador here.

Suu Kyi, now 71, spent decades campaigning against the military dictatorship in her country, including a total of more than 15 years under house arrest. For her efforts, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

She was freed in 2010 shortly before the military generals began economic reforms that were supported by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration.

Despite the resounding victory of her National League for Democracy in last November’s elections, Burma’s generals retain a tight grip on power, reserving 25 percent of the seats in the country’s parliament, which gives them veto power over any constitutional amendment. The military also appoints the key ministers in home affairs, border affairs and defense.

Riaz Haq said...

The hysteria over Bollywood’s baby Taimur shows that critics just don’t understand India’s medieval history by Shoaib Daniyal

http://qz.com/870136/the-hysteria-over-bollywoods-baby-taimur-shows-that-critics-just-dont-understand-indias-medieval-history/

Historical narratives are tricky things to construct, especially when people want to superimpose moral lessons on them. Who is a hero and who isn’t is extremely subjective and even more so when one goes as far back in time as the 14th century. The past truly is a different country and to make it fit modern standards of morality a fair bit of invention needs to be indulged in.

Let’s take a force that is near-universally seen as the good guys in popular Indian history: the Marathas. The Marathas were successful towards the end of the Mughal period, building up a confederation over large parts of the subcontinent. Of course, this was done through war and conquest, and in the chaos of the Mughal twilight, contemporary accounts of the Marathas are often rather negative, cutting across what we would today see as “Hindu” and “Muslim” sources.
In the 18th century, the Marathas invaded Bengal, killing, by one account, four lakh Bengalis. Repeated raids and conquests of Gujarat were also, as almost everything in medieval India, a rather violent affair. In another case, Maratha armies raided a thousand-year old Hindu temple to teach Mysore sultan Tipu Sultan–who was its patron–a lesson. The Brahmin Peshwa rulers of the Maratha state enforced untouchability so brutally that BR Ambedkar actually saw their defeat at the hands of the British to be a blessing.
Contemporary accounts of the Marathas in Bengal are obviously far from flattering. Similarly, as late as 1895, there were strong objections in Gujarat to the plans of Bal Gangadhar Tilak to institute a Shivaji festival across India, with the Deshi Mitra newspaper of Surat disparaging it as a “flare up of local [Marathi] patriotism”.
India’s medieval period did not have the sort of nationalisms and community mobilisation that modern India would see under the Raj. As newspapers and technology knit the people of India together, a Hindu consciousness would revise the image of the Marathas as “Hindu.” Calcutta city’s intelligentsia at the time, in fact, celebrated a Shivaji festival and the city still has statues of Shivaji. Gujarat, where Hindutva has been a powerful political force for decades now, has adopted Shivaji with even more gusto, building statues in cities like Surat, which, ironically, were sacked by the Maratha chief early on in his career. This confusion is nothing new. Today, Punjabi Muslims in Pakistan see themselves as inheritors of the Mughals but in 1857 signed up enthusiastically for the East India Company’s armies to defeat the Mughal-led revolt against the Raj.
That which we call a rose

Naturally, then, the name Shivaji or Bhaskar–a Bhaskar Pandit led the Maratha raids on Bengal–are hardly taboo in modern India, given this modern narrative of the Marathas.

Riaz Haq said...

S Khilnani Book: #India was "fragmented into kingdoms, savaged by #caste divisions, mired in poverty" http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/india-in-pieces … via @newyorker

Last year, a professor at the Indian Science Congress, in Mumbai, claimed that India possessed airplanes seven thousand years ago. He isn’t alone in such beliefs. When a certain swathe of India’s population considers the country’s ancient past, it doesn’t see a country fragmented into kingdoms, savaged by caste divisions, and mired in poverty; rather, what’s envisioned is a vast, unified Hindu empire stretching from Kashmir to the Indian tip at Kanyakumari. This imagined entity brims with characters from Indian epics and spits out grand inventions that would put scientists in the twenty-first century to shame—not only airplanes but cars, plastic surgery, and stem-cell research. What these Indians see, in other words, is an India that was once greater than any other nation on earth, and which has since fallen into a cruddy, postcolonial despair. Muslim and British invaders, they insist, have sapped the subcontinent’s energies over the past millennium.

This is a major strand of the nativist philosophy espoused by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the flotilla of parties and social organizations that escorted him to power, in 2014. It is, in the rippling and echoing way of world events, in step with archaic right-wing movements everywhere—Make India Great Again would be a suitable slogan—and it is untroubled by facts. In the past year, right-wing mobs have lynched and beaten Muslims and Dalits (the former untouchables, who have often refused to be co-opted by upper-class-dominated Hindu nationalism) in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Jharkhand for allegedly eating beef, a crime that these nationalists cannot condone after a millennium of their religion’s supposed persecution. (Hinduism has always been the majority religion on the subcontinent.) Dormant laws in Indian states banning cow-slaughter and beef consumption are now being enforced. In January, a Dalit Ph.D. student at Hyderabad University hanged himself from the ceiling fan in his room after right-wing groups bore down on him for his activism. Elsewhere, emboldened nationalist groups have intimidated fiction writers, scholars, and publishers into silence for wounding religious sentiments. Student protests are branded “anti-national” and slapped with sedition charges.

In India, right now, the past is violently alive, and it is being bandied about like a blunt instrument, striking down those who try to speak sense to the present or who try to point out that this past is itself a fiction.

One of the intellectuals involved in calling the right’s bluff is the Indian scholar Sunil Khilnani, who has just published an incisive work of popular history, “Incarnations: India in Fifty Lives.” Where the opposition is clamorous, the book is calm; where the opposition flexes its Vedic muscles, the book is undercutting, irreverent, and impish. It attempts to show, through prodigious but lightly worn scholarship, how complex and heterodox the Indian past was, and how it has been, and continues to be, constructed.

Khilnani begins with the Buddha, who lived around 500 B.C.E., and is thus, Khilnani writes, the “first individual personality we can recognize in the subcontinent’s history,” as well as an apostle of neutrality and nonviolence. The Buddha’s religion has receded in India, except as a balm to the Dalits, who escaped into it, and as a self-help tool for a sliver of the upper classes, who have embraced it the way that some people in the West do. Buddha prefigures many of the themes in the book. A sheltered man, he is moved by his first encounter with suffering, and leaves behind his wealthy family to wander India in the thrall of slowly budding new ideas. He is serene and centered amid violence. He is open-minded and against sects in a Brahmin-dominated society. He calls for a total reinvention of Hinduism—one that becomes its own religion.....

Riaz Haq said...

Aurangzeb as never seen or believed!
Title: Shahenshah- The Life of Aurangzeb
♦ Author: N.S. Inamdar/Vikrant Pande (translator)

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/books/features/aurangzeb-as-never-seen-or-believed/articleshow/52952504.cms


He tells us his interest in Aurangzeb arose when, while touring Maharashtra, he "wondered how the Mughal Emperor could spend twenty-five years of his life in tents, camps and and living a life of hardship along with thousands of soldiers.... it triggered in me a sense of curiousity to explore the subject further".
And then Inamdar came across a prominent temple whose priest told him that it had come down in his family that not only had Aurangzeb left it intact, but also sanctioned an annual donation for its upkeep. Further diminishing the idea of a puritanical figure, he found old manuscripts with love sonnets penned by the emperor.
Consequently, his account presents Aurangzeb in all his colours - some never seen or even believed possible. While it begins with him as a prince smarting over snubs by his father, family and court, and worse by secretly traitorous aides (and patiently biding his time), it also shows him so besotted by a concubine that he exercises his imperial prerogative to get her for himself and neglects his work, wives and even prayers in her company.
There is, as mentioned, the doting husband and father but stern and principled ruler, a man of strict faith but canny and pragmatic statesman and effective diplomat, who had no qualms in ordering executions of 'heretics' like Sarmad and 'rebels' like Guru Tegh Bahadur but also capable of gauging the real intentions of his own religious hardliners.
Though a considerable part is devoted to Aurangzeb's own eventful family life, the account gives due emphasis to relations with the Rajputs and the Marathas - the ceaseless pursuit of Shivaji but then an indication of arriving at some modus vivendi, the torture and killing of Sambhaji after some initial patronage, but also careful and considerate guardianship of his widow and son Shahu.

Detractors say he overthrew his father Shah Jahan and imprisoned him till death. But, leaving alone his father and grandfather who unsuccessfully attempted the same, so did Ajatashatru of Magadh. He killed his brothers in his path to the throne - so did Ashoka. He destroyed other religions' places of worship - so did the Chalukyas, and the Gaud and the Sena dynasties in Bengal.
What Inamdar's work shows us that we cannot - must not - assess historical figures by norms of our own times, and selective approaches. Aurangzeb was the product of his time and its circumstances and should be viewed in this perspective.

Riaz Haq said...

#American Scholar Debunks Myth of #India’s Medieval #Muslim 'Villains' like Aurangzeb. #BJP #Modi https://thewire.in/18919/high-time-discarded-pernicious-myth-indias-medieval-muslim-villains/ … via @thewire_in


by Audrey Truschke

Going back more than a millennium earlier, Hindu rulers were the first to come up with the idea of sacking one another’s temples, before Muslims even entered the Indian subcontinent. But one hears little about these “historical wrongs”


Whatever happened in the past, religious-based violence is real in modern India, and Muslims are frequent targets. It is thus disingenuous to single out Indian Muslim rulers for condemnation without owning up to the modern valences of that focus.


The idea that medieval Muslim rulers wreaked havoc on Indian culture and society – deliberately and due to religious bigotry – is a ubiquitous notion in 21st century India. Few people seem to realise that the historical basis for such claims is shaky to non-existent. Fewer openly recognise the threat that such a misreading of the past poses for modern India.

Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal Emperor (r. 1658-1707), is perhaps the most despised of India’s medieval Muslim rulers. People cite various alleged “facts” about Aurangzeb’s reign to support their contemporary condemnation, few of which are true. For instance, contrary to widespread belief, Aurangzeb did not destroy thousands of Hindu temples. He did not perpetrate anything approximating a genocide of Hindus. He did not instigate a large-scale conversion program that offered millions of Hindu the choice of Islam or the sword.

In short, Aurangzeb was not the Hindu-hating, Islamist tyrant that many today imagine him to have been. And yet the myth of malevolent Aurangzeb is seemingly irresistible and has captured politicians, everyday people, and even scholars in its net. The damage that this idea has done is significant. It is time to break this mythologized caricature of the past wide open and lay bare the modern biases, politics, and interests that have fuelled such a misguided interpretation of India’s Islamic history.

Aurangzeb, for instance, acted in ways that are rarely adequately explained by religious bigotry. For example, he ordered the destruction of select Hindu temples (perhaps a few dozen, at most, over his 49-year reign) but not because he despised Hindus. Rather, Aurangzeb generally ordered temples demolished in the aftermath of political rebellions or to forestall future uprisings. Highlighting this causality does not serve to vindicate Aurangzeb or justify his actions but rather to explain why he targeted select temples while leaving most untouched. Moreover, Aurangzeb also issued numerous orders protecting Hindu temples and communities from harassment, and he incorporated more Hindus into his imperial administration than any Mughal ruler before him by a fair margin. These actions collectively make sense if we understand Aurangzeb’s actions within the context of state interests, rather than by ascribing suspiciously modern-sounding religious biases to him.

Riaz Haq said...

Analysis: #India, #Pakistan in race to destroy young minds with false #history #textbooks
http://www.dawn.com/news/1313938/analysis-india-pakistan-in-race-to-destroy-young-minds

Consider the latest attempt at subversion from India. According to reports on Thursday, ministers in the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled (BJP) Rajasthan state have proposed that the outcome should be rewritten in the mediaeval battle of Haldighati that was fought between the forces of Mughal emperor Akbar and Rajput chieftain Rana Pratap.

It ended in a stalemate with the latter retreating deeper into Mewar, but Hindutva historians are determined to show him as the clear victor.

It is less widely admitted that his Rajput General Mansingh led Akbar’s 1576 campaign.

If Hindutva historians have their way they would project even Alexander of Macedonia as an anti-India Muslim marauder.

Cinematic versions of Alexander’s war with King Porus have already attempted this in a way, showing the foreigner speaking in Urdu, implying a Muslim language, while the vanquished Indian ruler spoke chaste Hindi, erroneously projected as a Hindu language.

It would be equally embarrassing for Hindutva historians to admit that Maratha king Shivaji communicated with his arch-foe Emperor Aurangzeb in Persian while conducting his Maratha empire’s administration in Modhi, a less discussed precursor of Marathi.

It is routine among Hindutva historians to claim mediaeval monuments as Hindu structures grabbed by Muslims. According to P.N. Oak, an early myth-maker in this genre, Taj Mahal was a Hindu palace as was the Asafi Imambarha of Lucknow.

According to Oak, Christianity is Chrisn-nity, an ascription to Lord Krishna. “Christianity is in fact a popular variation of the Hindu, Sanscrit [sic] term Chrisn-neety, i.e. the way of life preached, advocated or exemplified by the Hindu incarnation Lord Chrisn, spelled variously as Crsn, Krsn, Krishn, Chrisn, Crisna or Krisna also,” Mr Oak wrote.

To keep the spirit from flagging, even Wagner’s theory of continental drift was harnessed to claim that light-skinned Indians originally came from the border of Bihar and Orissa.

Later, the border drifted away to form the North Pole, thus implying that Caucasian and Central Asian genes travelled from India to their current abode, not the other way round.

As in India, rigging the chronology of history has been honed into a craft in Pakistan too, and it is difficult to say who between the two is better in conjuring myths that exhort young minds to violence.

A recent study in Pakistan found that the country’s public school textbooks negatively portrayed religious minorities, including Hindus, Christians and Ahmadis, as “untrustworthy, religiously inferior, and ideologically scheming”.

The report, “Teaching Intolerance in Pakistan: Religious Bias in Public School Textbooks”, analysed 78 textbooks from all four provinces covering grades five through 10.

Riaz Haq said...

This #Indian #textbook taught children how to suffocate kittens. #India #BJP #Modi

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2017/02/10/this-indian-textbook-taught-children-how-to-suffocate-kittens/?utm_term=.11f49ed6dd3e

The experiment that was described in the Indian textbook was apparently supposed to help schoolchildren learn that living, breathing things need air.

“No living thing can live without air for more than a few minutes,” it reads, according to a photo of the page, which was posted to Twitter and published by news outlets in India. “You can do an experiment. Take two wooden boxes. Make holes on the lid of one box. Put a small kitten in each box. Close the boxes. After some time open the boxes. What do you see? The kitten inside the box without the holes has died.”

Distribution of the environmental science book, titled “Our Green World,” has stopped, according to Indian Express.

“A parent had called us a couple of months ago and asked us to remove the text from the book because it was harmful for children,” Parvesh Gupta of PP Publications, the publisher, told the news outlet. “We recalled books from our distribution channel and will come out with a revised book next year.”

Arpan Sharma, director of the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations, a collective of animal rights groups in India, said in a statement provided to The Washington Post that the group was “shocked” when it learned of the matter and “swiftly” took it up with the publisher.

“We reached out to them and asked them to remove the illegal (and unethical) content advocating the cruel experiment on kittens, along with a few other points,” Sharma said in the statement. “The publisher has responded back, committing to withdrawal of the book from all the distributors and refraining for selling the existing stock.”

The publisher also told the organization that it wouldn’t reprint the content in any of their books and would “be mindful of things being published about animals,” the statement said.

“The issue is not only that the book advocated a cruel act, it is also to underline that animals are not ‘things’ for us to use,” the statement noted. “Instead, they are thinking, feeling individuals just like you and me and the children reading the textbook.”

The text was being used for fourth grade.

In its report on the controversial description of the experiment, the Associated Press provided a little background on how textbooks are approved in India, writing:

Although India’s education ministry has advisory panels and institutes that approve of middle and high school textbooks, elementary schools can choose and prescribe their own textbooks.

FIAPO spokesperson Vidhi Malla told The Post in an email that it is hard to locate the schools that might be using the book, but said the organization did know that about 1,100 copies of it had been sold since April 2016. The issue, Malla noted, isn’t whether the experiment was actually carried out.

“We are concerned that the message this sends out is very negative — that it is okay for animals to be treated as objects, including for them to be killed for testing a theory etc.,” Malla said in an email. “As the voice of the animal rights movement in India, it is our duty to ensure that animals are viewed as sentient individuals and not as things.”

PP Publications did not immediately respond to an email from The Post, but FIAPO did provide a copy of a letter from the company, which laid out some of its assurances in the wake of the experiment.

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - #India investigates 'sexist' #textbook describing female body: 36"-24"-36" best shape. #education

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-39598679#

The Indian minister in charge of education has ordered an investigation into a textbook that described the "best" female figure as 36"-24"-36".
Prakash Javadekar told reporters he strongly condemned the "sexist" book and had asked for "appropriate action".
Snapshots of the offending text were widely circulated on social media.
The book, printed by a private publisher, was taught in some schools which follow India's Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) syllabus.
In addition to listing the ideal body proportions of a woman, the book went on to say that "the bones of hips of females are wider and their knees are slightly apart. Due to this shape, females are not able to run properly".
CBSE officials say they are unable to monitor privately published textbooks.
The board recommends only textbooks published by India's National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and said it was up to schools to exercise caution when choosing privately published textbooks to teach.
Textbook says 'ugliness' causes dowry
Five bizarre 'lessons' in Indian textbooks
Mr Javadekar said that schools had been asked to stop teaching the book with immediate effect. The Delhi-based publisher also said in a statement that it had "stopped the printing, selling and distribution of the revised book with immediate effect".
Controversies over Indian textbooks are not uncommon.
In February an animal rights row had erupted over a textbook which told children how to suffocate kittens.
A book in the western state of Gujarat made headlines in 2014 for claiming that Japan had dropped nuclear bombs on the US during the Second World War.
A row erupted in Maharashtra state over a textbook that said "ugly" and "handicapped" brides had led to a rise in dowries being claimed by groom's family.
Carnivores have also been a target for bile.
In 2012, a national text for 11-year-old students was discovered that said people who ate meat, "easily cheat, tell lies, forget promises, are dishonest and tell bad words, steal, fight and turn to violence and commit sex crimes".

Riaz Haq said...

International publishers forced to re-write approach in India

Copyright infringement and mercurial regulation prove hurdles to lucrative market

https://www.ft.com/content/005a968c-4207-11e7-9d56-25f963e998b2


Dharam Pal Singh Bisht stoops to pick up a fresh stack of hot paper from the out tray of his photocopy machine and hands it to a student, who gives him Rs50 — less than $1 — for 100 pages of material.

With this transaction and hundreds like it every day, Mr Bisht has single-handedly defeated three international publishers, slashed costs for students at Delhi University, and threatened an entire industry.

Mr Bisht runs Delhi University’s photocopy shop, a crowded room crammed with photocopiers and computers where students queue to get their entire course material copied for a fraction of what it would cost to buy the books.

Following the decision in March of three international publishing companies — Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor & Francis — to drop their legal case against Mr Bisht, his business is functioning with impunity.

The trio claimed his photocopying business undermined their intellectual property, but the Delhi high court ruled that it was not in students’ interests to shut him down. The companies appealed but later dropped the case, citing “longer-term interests”. Executives say they had given up hope of winning, but believed they could still make money in the country long term.



India is potentially very lucrative for English-language academic publishers. These include privately owned companies such as McGraw Hill Education of the US and Macmillan Education, which is owned by the German company Springer Nature, as well as publicly listed ones such as Informa — through its Taylor & Francis division — and Pearson.

The country is the sixth-biggest publishing market in the world, and the second-largest English-language market behind the US.

India has 25m students in 3m schools and, as of 2012-13, 700 universities and 35,000 affiliated colleges. That market is growing quickly, with the population increasing at 1.2 per cent per year and economic output by about 7 per cent annually.



Though the companies do not declare how much they make in India, figures from Nielsen, the research group show, that overall revenues in the academic publishing sector have rocketed.

In 2013-14, about $2.9bn worth of academic books for schoolchildren were sold in India, and $860m worth of higher education books. By 2015-16, these figures had risen to $4.1bn and $1.2bn, respectively.

“Every publisher wants to come to India; there is a huge opportunity here,” says Vikrant Mathur, director at Nielsen.

But while the opportunities are significant, so are the hurdles — none more so than the perception of weak intellectual property protection.

----
“Access to knowledge will be reduced if this ceases to happen, which we believe is detrimental to the interests of India’s knowledge economy.”

Suprahmanian Seshadri, managing partner at the publishing consultancy Overleaf and a former executive at Oxford University Press, says: “For the publishers, this is already a low-margin market, and it is going to become increasingly difficult for them to make money.”


According to Mr Seshadri, international publishers can expect to make 45 to 50 per cent gross profit margins in India, which translates into 10 per cent earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. That compares with gross margins of 65 to 75 per cent and ebitda of 15 to 20 per cent in more developed markets such as the UK.

Copyright infringement is not the only hurdle in India. Academic publishers saw their market abruptly shrink by about 18,000 schools in February when the government decided all schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education should use only state-published textbooks.

Meanwhile, ministers have also decided to impose a 12 per cent tax on paper as part of the new national goods and services tax due to come into force on July 1.

Riaz Haq said...

#Muslim #Mosque Shown As Noise Pollutant In #India's Class 6 Textbook. Class 9 Textbook Refers to Jesus as "Demon".

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/mosque-in-class-6-textbook-shown-as-noise-pollutant-sparks-controversy-1719533?site=full

A science textbook prescribed for Class 6 in certain schools under ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) board has identified a "mosque" as a source of noise pollution, sparking a row.

An illustration on the chapter on pollution shows a train, car, plane and a mosque with symbols depicting loud sound. A man in the foreground is seen grimacing and covering his ears.

The ICSE says the board did not publish or prescribe these textbooks, and it is up to the schools to deal with the issue. "If any book with objectionable content is being taught at certain schools, it is for schools and publisher to ensure such a thing does not happen," news agency Press Trust of India quoted Gerry Arathoon, chief executive and secretary of the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations, as saying.

After social media users launched an online petition, demanding the book be withdrawn, the publisher acknowledged the mistake and apologised. He has also assured that the illustration will be removed in subsequent editions.


Over the last few months, content considered objectionable made its way to several textbooks, raising concerns about what students are being exposed to. Last month, controversy started after a Class 9 Hindi textbook was found to refer to Jesus Christ as a demon.

In April, a Class 12 textbook on physical education suggested feminine proportions of 36-24-36 as being ideal. A Class 4 Environmental Studies textbook, while educating students on the importance of breathing, gave a practical example that shows how children can suffocate a cat to death. Another book said meat-eaters cheat, lie and commit sex crimes.

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpts of Audrey Truschke's Aurangzeb


https://books.google.com/books?id=oUUkDwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=aurangzeb+by+audrey+truschke&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwibz_Hvn4XVAhUS32MKHdNlAKIQ6AEIJDAA#v=onepage&q=British&f=false


Across the border in Pakistan, too, many endorse the vision of an evil Aurangzeb. As Shahid Nadeem, a Pakistani playwright, recently put it: " Seeds of partition were sown when Aurangzeb triumphed over [his brother] Dara Shikoh". Such far-fetched suggestions would be farcical, if so many did not endorse them.


British colonial thinkers had long impugned thew Mughals on a range of charges, including that they were effeminate, oppressive, and Muslims. As early as 1772, Alexander Dow remarked in a discussion of Mughal governance that "the faith of Mahommed is peculiarly calculated for despotism; and it is one of the greatest causes which must fix for ever the duration of that species of government in the East". For the British the solution to such an entrenched problem was clear: British rule over India. While the Indian independence leaders rejected this final step of the colonial logic, many swallowed the earlier parts wholesale. Such ideas filtered to society at large via textbooks and mass media, and several generations have continued to eat up and regurgitate the colonial take that Aurangzeb was a tyrant driven by religious fanaticism.

Over the centuries, many commentators have spread the myth of of the bigoted, evil Aurangzeb on the basis of shockingly thin evidence. Many false ideas still mar popular memory of Aurangzeb , including that he massacred millions of Hindus and destroyed thousands of temples. Neither of these commonly believed "facts" is supported by historical evidence although some scholars have attempted, usually in bad faith, to provide an alleged basis for such tales.

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Such views have roots in colonial-era scholarship, where positing timeless Hindu-Muslim animosity embodied the British strategy of divide and conquer. Today, multiple websites claim to list Aurangzeb's "atrocities" against Hindus (typically playing fast and loose with the facts) and fuel communal fires. There are numerous gaping holes in the proposition that Aurangzeb razed temples because he hated Hindus, however. Most glaringly, Aurangzeb counted thousands of Hindu temples within his domain and yet destroyed, at most, few dozen.....A historically legitimate view of Aurangzeb must explain why he protected Hindu temples more often than he demolished them.

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The bulk of Mughal histories are written in Persian, the official administrative language of the Mughal empire but a foreign tongue in India today. Out of necessity and ease, many historians disregard the original Persian text and rely instead on English translations. This approach narrows the the library of materials drastically, and many translations of the Mughal texts are of questionable quality, brimming with mistranslations and abridgments. Some of these changes conveniently served the agendas of the translators, especially colonial-era translations that tend to show Indo--Muslim kings at their worst so that the British would seem virtuous by comparison (foremost here is Elliot and Dowson's History of India as Told by Its Own Historians). Such materials are great for learning about British colonialism, but they present an inaccurate picture of Mughal India.

Riaz Haq said...

In the version of history found in #India's new textbooks, #China lost 1962 and #Gandhi wasn't murdered. #BJP Quartz

https://qz.com/1054692/in-the-version-of-history-found-in-indias-new-textbooks-china-lost-1962-and-gandhi-wasnt-murdered/

Long before the terms post-truth and alt-facts gained currency in the west, Indians were getting mass mails and text messages that often mixed myth with half-truths to glorify their past. It could be something as simple and patently false as the United Nations declaring India’s national anthem as the world’s best. Or bizarre achievements of ancient Indians.
Over the past few years, such trickery gained political legitimacy as senior leaders indulged in it using photoshopped images and administrative claims.
Now, with the full blessings of the powers that be, the phenomenon is seeping into Indian school textbooks, especially those used to teach history. For long a hotly-contested field among ideological rivals of the left, right, and centre of Indian politics, these textbooks have begun to peddle outright lies.
It may be still a trickle, but here is a glimpse of the false history that millions of Indian school students will be learning now on.
The 1962 war

In the second half of 1962, a brief war with China along the Himalayas left India with a bloody nose. Despite individual acts of valour, India lost 4,000 soldiers. Though the country amply regained its military standing in subsequent standoffs with China, 1962 left a deep scar on the national psyche—a scar it has tried to efface ever since.
A section of Indians may have finally found a solution: Just lie.
A Sanskrit-language textbook meant for Class 8 students in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh (MP) now says India won the war. “What famously came to be known as Sino-India war of 1962 was won by India against China,” The Times of India newspaper quoted the book, Sukritika, volume-3, on Aug. 10.
Published by the Lucknow-based Kriti Prakashan, the textbook is being used in several MP schools affiliated to the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) of the government of India. The state itself is ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to which Indian prime minister Narendra Modi belongs.
Defeating the great Mughals

The Mughals have always been a thorn in the side of India’s Hindu extremists. The dynasty, which ruled a major part of India between 1526 and 1857, is viewed as the symbol of “Hindu slavery” and Islamic overlordship. This despite the fact that most of these monarchs were motivated by temporal interests rather than religious ones.
So anything or anyone that stands up to Mughal power naturally becomes a figurehead for Hindutva, or Hindu nationalists. This includes Maratha king Shivaji Bhonsle, better known as Chhatrapati Shivaji, and Lachit Borphukan, a commander of the Assam kings of India’s northeast. The multi-religious nature of their warring armies is but a footnote almost always.
One of the most famous symbols of such resistance was Pratap Singh, a Rajput chieftain from the desert region of India’s west. Popularly referred to as Maharana Pratap, this king was a contemporary of the greatest of Mughal emperors, Akbar. The two were at loggerheads as the Pratap refused to become Akbar’s vassal even as other Rajput princes did.
Following eight failed diplomatic missions, their two forces met in 1576 at the battle of Haldighati in present day Rajasthan. The superior Mughal military roundly defeated the Rajput forces but the legends of Maharana Pratap and the Haldighati battle lived on.
Now for the twist: The Rajasthan government wants us to believe it was Maharana Pratap who won that battle.

Riaz Haq said...

Dangerous liaison: #Bhutan people drift away from #India, toward #China as #Dolklam continues. #IndiaChinaStandoff

http://www.theweek.in/theweek/cover/dangerous-liaison.html#

As the Doklam crisis continues to linger, Bhutan seems to be drifting away from India. In the capital, THE WEEK finds young Bhutanese openly proclaiming their love for China. Even monks and senior officials are not immune to China’s charm

Outside the arrival gate at the Paro airport, the only international airport in Bhutan, I was greeted by a gush of wind on August 11. It was, however, not too cold, and thick clouds were kissing the surrounding hilltops. As the taxi reached the outskirts of Thimphu, the capital city 48km away, it started raining heavily. And the lush green hills glittered like a string of pearls.

Bhutan has been witnessing a glittering transition over the past decade. Once a conservative monarchy, it made a smooth switch to democracy in 2008. Three years ago, the country witnessed a dramatic break from the past as the young king, Jigmey Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk, publicly kissed his wife, Jetsun Pema—twice on her cheeks and once on the lips. The king’s public display of affection hinted at a big change in the Himalayan kingdom.

Some of the changes are quite visible. I was under the impression that smoking was banned in Bhutan, and that there were no pubs or discotheques. But the taxi driver, Karma Dorjee, said there was no such ban. “This king is great. He has given us the freedom of choice,” said Karma. In Thimphu, I saw several pubs and discotheques. “Young girls dance here for money. These dance bars are only for adults,” Karma said. Although smoking is banned, tourists and others were puffing away in public. And, public displays of affection are no longer taboo.

What seems forbidden is any discussion of the Doklam standoff in the trijunction of India, Bhutan and China. “Two big nations are fighting and we are caught in the crossfire. We don’t know where will we go if war breaks out,” said tour operator Sonaem Dorji.

So, no open support for India. Is support for China growing?

Sonaem said some Bhutanese supported China out of fear. “They will finish us if we get closer to them. China is a nasty country and we don’t want it to be here in any form. India controls Bhutan, but it will never invade us,” he said. As I spent more time in Bhutan, I realised that people like Sonaem could be in the minority.

For an official reaction to the Doklam crisis, I rang up the prime minister’s office and requested an appointment. Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay replied through his personal secretary: “For the next two months, I am totally occupied. I have a series of meetings and foreign trips.” The secretary directed me to the ministry of foreign affairs, with a word of caution. “If you raise the Doklam issue, you will not get any response. It is a calculated decision, which has come from the top. No one would speak a word,” he said.

Foreign Minister Lynopo Damcho Dorji’s secretary told me over the phone that the minister was in Nepal for a conference of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation). “Neither the minister nor the officials would make any further comment on the Doklam standoff,” he said.

Located in northwest Bhutan, Doklam is an inaccessible piece of strategic real estate. The crisis erupted after China started building a paved road, which can carry vehicles up to 40 tonnes, in the region. It would have linked Bhutan with Tibet and threatened the vulnerable Siliguri corridor.

Strategic experts in Bhutan say that, to resolve the crisis, India should respect the Anglo-Chinese treaty (1890), which has been accepted by successive Indian governments since independence. “And that clearly says India would have access to Nathu La while China could access Doklam,” said political commentator and blogger Wangcha Sangey.

Riaz Haq said...

Geopolitically, the (Nepal) elections also reveal to what extent China will emerge as a viable alternative to India in Nepal's foreign policy. Nepal, sandwiched as it is between the nuclear rivals, is the quintessential buffer state. Although India has long been the dominant actor in Nepalese foreign policy, the country faced a tipping point during the 2015 blockade at the India-Nepal border. The nearly five-month ordeal exposed Nepal's almost singular economic dependence on trade routes crossing through India and gave the government an incentive to diversify its relations through closer ties with China. In addition, the blockade caused many of the ruling elite in Kathmandu to cast a suspicious eye toward India, believing that the government in New Delhi tacitly supported the blockade.
Although none of the parties explicitly aligned themselves with India or China during the campaign, clear preferences along party lines emerged in rhetoric and in the minds of voters. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's ruling Nepali Congress party is generally seen to be pro-India, while the recently stitched-together Left Alliance between the country's two main communist parties is seen as pro-China. Left Alliance leader and former Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli also suggested he would renegotiate treaties with India and try to forge closer ties with China if elected. Going forward, the election winner will be able to draw the country closer to India or China through development deals. For example, Dueba's administration recently revoked a contract for a hydroelectricity project held by a Chinese firm, with rumors suggesting it will be awarded to an Indian firm.

The elections mark a critical phase in Nepal's transition to democracy, though the country has a long way to go as it embarks on the arduous task of administering a new political system. One thing, however, is certain: The rivalry between India and China for influence in Nepal will only ramp up.

https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/nepal-new-elections-mark-new-direction