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


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.

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?

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).

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.

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.


Majumdar said...

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


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.

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.”

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.

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.

Riaz Haq said...

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


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.

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".

Riaz Haq said...

Opposition demands sacking of #Modi minister who insinuates #Muslims, #Christians of #India are "bastards"

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...

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".

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."

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.

Riaz Haq said...

With beef bans, #India moves to protect sacred cows #beefban #Modi #BJP #Hindu 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 …

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...

#India, #Pakistan and #Bangladesh will reunite to form 'Akhand Bharat': #BJP Gen Sec Ram Madhav …

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 …

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 …
"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).

Unknown 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

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’? … 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 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

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...

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

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...

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

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 … 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

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

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...

International publishers forced to re-write approach in India

Copyright infringement and mercurial regulation prove hurdles to lucrative market

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".

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...

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

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...

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.

Riaz Haq said...

#Islamophobia, #casteism characterize #Hindu comics Amar Chitra Katha. #BJP #Modi #Hinduism

since its debut in 1967, ACK has also helped supply impressionable generations of middle-class children a vision of “immortal” Indian identity wedded to prejudiced norms. ACK’s writing and illustrative team (led by Pai as the primary “storyteller”) constructed a legendary past for India by tying masculinity, Hinduism, fair skin, and high caste to authority, excellence, and virtue. On top of that, his comics often erased non-Hindu subjects from India’s historic and religious fabric. Consequently, ACK reinforced many of the most problematic tenets of Hindu nationalism—tenets that partially drive the platform of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, currently under fire domestically and internationally for policies and rhetoric targeting religious minorities and lower castes.

Yet millions of children—myself included—revered “Uncle Pai” for creating a popular avenue to an Indian heritage, however limited. Like many other Indian diaspora kids, my mother brought her own collection when she immigrated to the United States as a 9-year-old in 1973. My family had built a library of some 90 issues by the time I began to read them, tattered from decades of swapping between cousins. When I was a boy growing up in upstate New York, my parents had no Indian friends or nearby relatives. We only spoke in English and ate burritos more often than dal bhat.

The heroes of ACK became my superheroes long before I discovered Spider-Man or the Flash. They also became my first window into a culture I barely knew. I didn’t care that the protagonists I was reading about were drawn with white skin. I was unaware of the broader, ongoing effort by Hindu nationalists to define a doctrine devaluing lower castes, women, tribal populations, and religious minorities. I didn’t understand how ideals of obedience to authority—something the comics taught—can feed systemic inequality. I was just reading about heroes who made me feel stronger than I was, and who would teach me, I believed, how to be Indian.

* * *

ACK defines Indian identity via stories—which naturally appealed to a bookish child like me who constantly escaped into the worlds of Philip Pullman, Garth Nix, and C.S. Lewis. Most histories in the comics feature virtuous Hindus who fight against evil rulers, an encroaching Muslim horde, or arrogant British imperialists. The religious stories are drawn from (usually Hindu) epics, sacred texts, and folktales, and they frequently weave the same gods and heroes among minor vignettes and massive story arcs. Though many ACK issues could stand alone, roughly 30 pages at a time the series constructed a limited and tonally consistent India sanitized through a distinctively Hindu lens.

While many scholars reject the notion of a single Hindu doctrine, they have some opponents. In 2008, Hindu nationalist students at Delhi University protested the inclusion of A.K. Ramanujan’s landmark essay “Three Hundred Ramayanas” in the history syllabus. The protestors alleged that it demeaned Hinduism to imply nonclassical versions of the epic were equally legitimate. Under a renewed wave of dissent in 2011, the university dropped the essay from the syllabus.

Riaz Haq said...

US Asia Study India Pakistan Summer 1999 (Indian-Americans Ashley Tellis and Rajan Menon along with RAND Corp contributed to it)

Page 77 Pakistan Near Collapse, India broad progress,

Page 78 India-Pakistan War 2012

Page 83 Anarchy in Pakistan, Pakistan accedes incrementally to India, Emergence of Indian Confederation as Regional Hegemon

2015-18 Afghanistan Disintegrates, India

Page 85 Pakistan Disappears, South Asian Superstate (Akhand Bharat) Emerges, India-Iran Axis Emerges With Gulf Orientation

In his self-propelled enthusiasm, Durrani even proposes a confederation between the two countries – a fanciful prospect that Dulat is even reluctant to admire. I found interesting similarities between Durrani’s vision of Akhand Bharat and a US-funded official study about the future of South Asia. The study, Asia 2025, conducted by the US Undersecretary of Defence (Policy) in 1999, envisaged India taking over Pakistan after the US neutralizes Pakistani nuclear weapons to avoid a nuclear war following deadly ‘terrorist incursion’ from Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) into the Indian side of the territory. As Pakistan loses control of the situation, it fails to respond to the Indian calls to reign in the militants, and as a result, India moves into AJK. According to the study, India also launches an unsuccessful conventional strike on Pakistani nuclear arsenal, prompting Pakistan to launch nuclear strikes against Indian forces along their common border. The US threatens China to keep away from the theatre of war and attacks and destroys the remainder of the Pakistani nuclear forces leading to total anarchy. In the American imagination, Pakistan disappears by 2020, and the Indian confederation emerges as a regional super state. In the meantime, Afghanistan is also dismembered and annexed by the neighbour states – Iran, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – per their ethnic proximity. In the end, India and Iran emerge as great powers and become allies of the US willing “to participate in combined peace operations with the US” and also as a countervailing force against China.

Riaz Haq said...

#Modi's Global Danger: "Akhand Bharat" is #Nazi #Germany's "Lebensraum" of The 21st Century. #Hindutva #India #BJP #Hitler via @eurasia_future

The fact of the matter is that not every post-colonial leader harbours blood-soaked expansionist ambitions against neighbouring post-colonial states – but Modi does. Not every post-colonial leader rules on the basis of promulgating sectarian hatred against minorities – but Modi does. Furthermore, whilst empires like that of Britain sought to divide and rule for the purposes of securing material gain, Modi’s BJP is governed by a principle which seeks something far beyond divide and rule. The end-goal of the Hindutva philosophy to which Modi subscribes is not to divide and rule but to divide and eliminate. In this sense, Hindutva + political power is far more dangerous than was a British Empire whose violence was motivated by avarice, rather than conducted as an end in itself.

Long before the Lahore Resolution of 1940 and prior to Choudhary Rahmat Ali’s Pakistan Declaration, the political so-called philosophy of Hindutva was born. Hindutva’s founding father Vinayak Damodar Savarkar is a man whose shrines Narendra Modi has visited many times. Savarkar was also a man who argued for the use of rape against Muslims and other minorities as a “legitimate” political tool. But while many throughout the world are familiar with those who committed atrocities on behalf of the British Empire, including in instances such as the Amritsar Massacre, few are aware that the Hindutva call for the British to de-colonise India was not a righteous one, but instead was a call to replace British rule with something far worse.

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and his Hindutva brethren wanted Britain to leave so that the multicultural land that Britain ruled with an increasingly iron fist, could be transformed into a land where Hindu supremacy would be enshrined into the law of a modern state. As such, Savarkar opposed both the Quit India movement and later the partition of India. He did so however, not because he believed in a genuine multicultural democracy but because he believed in the opposite. The Hindutva political programme advocates for Hindu supremacist rule over not just the borders of modern India, but over the modern territory of Pakistan, Bangladesh and according to many Hindutva agitators, also Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, parts of Myanmar, and parts of China. This envisaged Hindutva empire known as Akhand Bharat, continues to be the default position of the Hindutva extremists of the RSS para-military group and its political wing, BJP.

Crucially, far from seeking to live harmoniously in a super-state, Savarkar and his comrades sought to subjugate and moreover eliminate non-Hindus based on the theory that Muslims and other minority religious groups represent an alien force living on supposedly pure Hindu lands. To bolster his fake view of history, Savarkar openly praised the fascist policies of Adolf Hitler who sought to cleanse Europe of supposed alien elements. He likewise praised Zionist leaders who believed were carrying out a unique duty to “reclaim” Palestine from “invaders”.

samir sardana said...

Dubious "Origins" of Bharat

Is the Hindoo Land,which is "named as Bharat", so named ,after "Bharat the son of Dushyant "and the "son of a harlot" ? Who knows ? Let us Cogitate ! "Sum Fallor Est "- For Augustine,the Manichean,from Tagaste. dindooohindoo

As per Dushyant, the father of Bharat - "Bharat's mother (Shakuntala) was a Harlot" , his "grandmother (Menaka) was a harlot" and his "Nana (Vishwamitra) was a pimp".(This is in the vedas and the Puranas)

Bharat's Mother was "abandoned at birth" (just like Sita), by "both her parents"and Bharat the Limpet, was "abandoned by his father" for the 1st 15 years, of his life (This is in the vedas and the Puranas)

Bharat,son of Dushyant,had "a peculiar problem" - he had "3 wives and nine sons" - and "none of the nine", looked like him ! Mamma Mia ! So they were all killed ! "El Classico Limpdickio" !

So what did Bharat the Limpet do ? He "adopted" a "Limpet", called "Bharadwaj" ! Who was this clown ?

One Day, Mr.Brahaspati, "copulated with the pregnant wife" (named as Mamta) of his limpet brother.

It is said that , the boy in the womb said - "dont copulate with Mommy Mamta" - but Mr.Brhaspati ,"did not give a cahoot".

The son ,so born, was "discarded at birth" and adopted by Mr. Bharat

What is the problem with Hindooism ?

Riaz Haq said...

#Hindutva attempt to enslave #India under #Hindu elite castes by @Swamy39 via #Sanskrit language. Myth being sold that Sanskrit was the language of #India and #Muslim invaders wiped it out. Fact: Sanskrit forbidden for common #Hindus. They spoke Prakrit.

The attempt to enslave India under Hindu elite castes continues. This time it is by shoving Sanskrit down the throats of upcoming generations so that those who know “most” about it (read priests) will once more be the final word on knowledge.

The myth being sold is that Sanskrit was the language of India and Muslim invaders wiped it out. I suppose the RSS has never heard of Sant Dnyaneshwar who wrote the Dnyaneshwari so that people could have access to the knowledge of the Bhagwad Gita in THEIR LANGUAGE which was Prakrit. Sanskrit was FORBIDDEN to them.

This is before the Muslim invasions, incidentally.

Sanskrit has been the barrier that firewalled the unwashed masses from power and knowledge recorded in it by the simple virtue of being forbidden to the masses. Its exclusiveness became its limitation.

Today there is hardly anyone other than priests who bothers with Sanskrit and the language continues to be the language of rituals conducted for the masses by the brahmans.

Now, as language is accessible to all, and the priests are left hoarding a coma while both power and knowledge proliferate in languages accessible to more people, the priests see this mythical Hindu Rashtra as an opportunity to reestablish the eroding supremacy. When the language they hoarded is no longer useful to the masses and on the verge of extinction, they impose it on the masses as their true language. Dnyaneshwar is laughing in his samadhi here.

First the upper classes used Sanskrit to hoard power, now use to regain power. Indian history is peppered with the persecution of great people for touching that holy cow Sanskrit without the “gate pass” of the Brahmin caste. When Brahmins held power, Sanskrit was hoarded and denied to the masses. The Brahmins teaching Sanskrit in the Pune Hindu college threatened to resign rather than teach Sanskrit to non-Brahmins. Now that Sanskrit is left hollow and of little practical use, its utility must be revived if the Brahmin is to be restored to supremacy. Those forbidden to use it will now be the slave labour engaged to revive it. Far from refusing it to non-Brahmins, it will now be repackaged as the true heritage of those it was denied to.

In my view, imposing an alien language on the people is a sign of colonization. Sanskrit is no longer forbidden to non-Brahmins. However, it also is no longer of interest to enough people for the removal of the ban to mean anything. Without popular adoption, Sanskrit will remain the language of mumbo jumbo rituals and the Brahmins who claim the knowledge of it will be left with a white elephant. So now the supremacists want to impose Sanskrit to restore wealth to their intellectual hoard, while people are led to believe that secrets of modern knowledge are hidden in the vedas. The masses that the language of snobs suppressed by denying Sanskrit will be the slave labour to restore it to its supremacist glory. Free! Free! Free!

The RSS are trying to invade India with a cold war on the majority of Indians who were never native adopters of Sanskrit. Nor were their ancestors. A history is being invented so that a country may be appropriated by citing it.

Riaz Haq said...

Indian culture and civilization have been enriched by Muslims. The biggest draw of tourists to India is the Taj Mahal built by a Muslim king. The Red Fort where Modi stands every year to deliver Independence Day speech was built by Muslims. Indian musical instruments like sitar and tabla were developed by Muslims. Choli and lehenga worn by Indian women were brought to India by Muslims. Biryani, samosa and nan came to India with Muslims. Indian language has been enriched by Arabic and Farsi words added by Muslims. Even the words Hindi and Hindu are of Arabic/Persian origin.

Now Hindutva rulers are trying to erase Muslim history in India. They can not succeed.

Muslims have given the world algebra, calculus, scientific method, physics, astronomy, medicine, philosophy, social sciences and a whole lot more.

Watch Prof Roy Casagranda explain it in detail in the following video:

Riaz Haq said...

Scientists in India protest move to drop Darwinian evolution from textbooks

Decision marks troubling rejection of science, critics say

Scientists in India are protesting a decision to remove discussion of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution from textbooks used by millions of students in ninth and 10th grades. More than 4000 researchers and others have so far signed an open letter asking officials to restore the material.

The removal makes “a travesty of the notion of a well-rounded secondary education,” says evolutionary biologist Amitabh Joshi of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research. Other researchers fear it signals a growing embrace of pseudoscience by Indian officials.

The Breakthrough Science Society, a nonprofit group, launched the open letter on 20 April after learning that the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), an autonomous government organization that sets curricula and publishes textbooks for India’s 256 million primary and secondary students, had made the move as part of a “content rationalization” process. NCERT first removed discussion of Darwinian evolution from the textbooks at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to streamline online classes, the society says. (Last year, NCERT issued a document that said it wanted to avoid content that was “irrelevant” in the “present context.”)

NCERT officials declined to answer questions about the decision to make the removal permanent. They referred ScienceInsider to India’s Ministry of Education, which had not provided comment as this story went to press.

“The country’s scientific community is seriously dismayed to see that the theory of biological evolution … has been dropped,” the Breakthrough Science Society said in a statement. “Students will remain seriously handicapped in their thought processes if deprived of exposure to this fundamental discovery of science.”

One major concern, Joshi says, is that most Indian students will get no exposure to the concept of evolution if it is dropped from the ninth and 10th grade curriculum, because they do not go on to study biology in later grades. “Evolution is perhaps the most important part of biology that all educated citizens should be aware of,” Joshi says. “It speaks directly to who we are, as humans, and our position within the living world.”

Riaz Haq said...

A new #Modi government-approved #Indian schoolbook no longer says why Nathuram #Godse killed #Gandhi and omits references to #Hindu hard-liners affiliated with #RSS who opposed his vision of religious pluralism. #Islamophobia #Hindutva #BJP via @WSJ

NEW DELHI—For years, government-prescribed high-school textbooks in India included a few telling details about Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin: The man worked for an extremist Hindu newspaper and had denounced Gandhi, the iconic freedom fighter, as “an appeaser of Muslims.”

A revised version of the Class 12 history book, whose printed copies became available this year, no longer says that. It identifies Nathuram Godse as Gandhi’s killer, but provides no information about him or his motive. Also deleted are broader references to Hindu hard-liners who opposed Gandhi’s vision of religious pluralism for newly independent India 75 years ago.

The edits are among recent changes under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to what students learn about their country’s past. Members of his political party—which is linked to a decades-old movement to shape India into a Hindu-dominant nation—have long criticized school curriculum as unbalanced and biased against Hindus.

It does little, they say, to instill pride in young Indians, and particularly the country’s Hindu majority, in their history and heritage.

Underlying their grievances is a broader ideological debate. Modi supporters accuse the left-leaning, liberal forces that shaped India after independence in 1947 of representing Westernized values and of pandering to Muslims, India’s largest minority. To them, Modi’s rise symbolizes Hindu revival.

Critics accuse Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party of promoting a divisive Hindu nationalist ideology that threatens India’s secular foundations.

The changes to textbooks “go against the idea that education should encourage an open mind and a liberal outlook,” said Krishna Kumar, an academic under whose leadership they were originally written. The books, he said, have been “mutilated so crudely.”

Modi’s supporters say revisions were long overdue. Teaching of India’s precolonial history overemphasized Islamic empires established on its territory and sidelined Hindu kingdoms, they say. Too much importance was given, they say, to the Mughal dynasty, a vastly wealthy empire during the 16th and 17th centuries whose Muslim rulers built the Taj Mahal and left a lasting cultural imprint on the region’s architecture, food and literature.

Hindu nationalists see the Mughal era as a period of temple destruction, religious conversion and the subjugation of Hindu customs.

A chapter on Mughal courts is gone from the Class 12 history book, though another on agrarian life during the empire remains. A two-page table on the battlefield triumphs of Mughal emperors, from Akbar to Aurangzeb, has been removed from a Class 7 book. A chapter on the 13th century Muslim conquest of northern India has also been pruned.

In a public letter, more than 250 historians and academics criticized the move.

“The selective deletion in this round of textbook revision reflects the sway of divisive politics,” they said. Indian history cannot be seen as consisting of Hindu and Muslim periods, they said, adding: “These categories are uncritically imposed on what has historically been a very diverse social fabric.”

The changes were made by the National Council of Educational Research and Training, an autonomous body whose members are mostly appointed by the government. It said it rationalized textbooks to help students catch up after the Covid-19 pandemic and to make space for critical thinking.

The books are used by schools aligned with the central government’s education board and some state-level boards.

College freshman Shivam Kumar, a Modi supporter, welcomes the changes.

Riaz Haq said...

NCERT textbooks: Why some Indian scholars are disowning books they wrote

Among dropped topics are paragraphs on attempts by extreme Hindu nationalists to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi and chapters on federalism and diversity.

The NCERT has also dropped content related to the 2002 Gujarat riots; removed a chapter on Mughal rulers in India; and moved portions on the periodic table and theory of evolution in science books to higher grades, sparking criticism.

The council had said earlier that the changes, which were first announced last year as part of a syllabus "rationalisation" exercise, wouldn't affect knowledge but instead reduce the load on children after the Covid-19 pandemic.

But now some academics who were part of committees that helped design and develop the older textbooks say they don't want to be associated with the new curriculum.

On 8 June, political scientists Suhas Palshikar and Yogendra Yadav - who were advisers for political science books originally published in 2006 for classes 9 to 12 - wrote to NCERT, asking it to remove their names from the print and digital editions of the books.

The academics said they objected to the "innumerable and irrational cuts and large deletions" as they failed to see "any pedagogic rationale" behind the changes.

The NCERT issued a statement saying such a request "was out of question" because it holds the copyright of all the material it publishes. When contacted, NCERT director DS Saklani referred the BBC to the statement on its website.

The deadlock intensified last week when more than 30 academics also wrote to NCERT asking for their names to be withdrawn from the Textbook Development Committees (TDC) listed in the books. The scholars argued that possessing copyright did not entitle the NCERT to make changes to texts they wrote.

But NCERT said that the TDC's role was "limited to advising how to design and develop the textbooks or contributing to the development of their contents and not beyond this".

It also clarified that the rationalised content is applicable only for the current academic year and that a new set of textbooks will soon be developed based on fresh guidelines that adhere to the new National Education Policy.

The argument has pitted academics against each other. Critics argue that textbooks should serve as a source of introspection and accuse the NCERT of erasing portions that are not palatable to the governing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. "The decision of "rationalisation" shows either that the NCERT does not value its autonomy or its leadership does not understand its place in a democracy," Peter Ronald DeSouza, who asked for his name to be withdrawn, wrote last week.

But the NCERT has also received support. Last week, 73 academics issued a statement arguing that school textbooks were in sore need of an update.

"[The critics'] demand is that students continue to study from 17-year-old textbooks rather than updated textbooks. In their quest to further their political agenda, they are ready to endanger the future of crores [tens of millions] of children across the country," they said.

Supporters include the head of India's prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the chief of the country's university watchdog, the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Riaz Haq said...

Over 50% of #India's children can not read by age 10. Can India educate its vast workforce? #Education for most Indians is still at best unskilled. #Unemployed youngsters risk bringing India’s #economic development to a premature stop. #Modi #BJP

As the rich world and China grow older, India’s huge youth bulge—some 500m of its people are under 20—should be an additional propellant. Yet as we report, although India’s brainy elite hoovers up qualifications, education for most Indians is still a bustUnskilled, jobless youngsters risk bringing India’s economic development to a premature stop.

India has made some strides in improving the provision of services to poor people. Government digital schemes have simplified access to banking and the distribution of welfare payments. Regarding education, there has been a splurge on infrastructure. A decade ago only a third of government schools had handwashing facilities and only about half had electricity; now around 90% have both. Since 2014 India has opened nearly 400 universities. Enrolment in higher education has risen by a fifth.

Yet improving school buildings and expanding places only gets you so far. India is still doing a terrible job of making sure that the youngsters who throng its classrooms pick up essential skills. Before the pandemic less than half of India’s ten-year-olds could read a simple story, even though most of them had spent years sitting obediently behind school desks (the share in America was 96%). School closures that lasted more than two years have since made this worse.

There are lots of explanations. Jam-packed curriculums afford too little time for basic lessons in maths and literacy. Children who fail to grasp these never learn much else. Teachers are poorly trained and badly supervised: one big survey of rural schools found a quarter of staff were absent. Officials sometimes hand teachers unrelated duties, from administering elections to policing social-distancing rules during the pandemic.

Such problems have led many families to send their children to private schools instead. These educate about 50% of all India’s children. They are impressively frugal, but do not often produce better results. Recently, there have been hopes that the country’s technology industry might revolutionise education. Yet relying on it alone is risky. In recent weeks India’s biggest ed-tech firm, Byju’s, which says it educates over 150m people worldwide and was once worth $22bn, has seen its valuation slashed because of financial troubles.

All this makes fixing government schools even more urgent. India should spend more on education. Last year the outlays were just 2.9% of gdp, low by international standards. But it also needs to reform how the system works by taking inspiration from models elsewhere in developing Asia.

As we report, in international tests pupils in Vietnam have been trouncing youngsters from much richer countries for a decade. Vietnam’s children spend less time in lessons than Indian ones, even when you count homework and other cramming. They also put up with larger classes. The difference is that Vietnam’s teachers are better prepared, more experienced and more likely to be held accountable if their pupils flunk.

With the right leadership, India could follow. It should start by collecting better information about how much pupils are actually learning. That would require politicians to stop disputing data that do not show their policies in a good light. And the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party should also stop trying to strip textbooks of ideas such as evolution, or of history that irks Hindu nativists. That is a poisonous distraction from the real problems. India is busy constructing roads, tech campuses, airports and factories. It needs to build up its human capital, too.

Riaz Haq said...

Speaking at an event, (Bollywood Actor) Kajol said, “…Chnage especially in a country like India is slow. It’s very very slow because for one we are steeped in our tradition, steeped in our thought process and, of course, it has to be with tradition. You have political leaders who do not have educational system background. I’m sorry I’m going to go out and say that.”

She added, “We are being ruled by leaders, so many of them, who do not have that viewpoint which I think education gives you.”

Kajol’s comments evoked angry reactions from BJP supporters who felt that the popular actor was taking a potshot at Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose educational qualification has been a matter of intense scrutiny for many years. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had recently accused him of being ‘uneducated’ while others raised questions on his alleged fake degree.

Modi and his administration have refused all attempts to make his degree public fearing that this could expose the Indian PM’s educational qualification.

BJP supporters launched brutal attack on Kajol for her comments. Many accused her being influenced by the thought process of Muslim actors particularly Shah Rukh Khan. The pair of Shah Rukh and Kajol ruled the box office in the late 90s and 2020s.

Facing backlash from BJP supporters, Kajol issued a clarification stating that she wasn’t pointing at anyone in particular. She wrote, “I was merely making a point about education and its importance. My intention was not to demean any political leaders, we have some great leaders who are guiding the country on the right path.”

Kajol, meanwhile, has found plenty of support from netizens, who wondered why her comments had irked only Modi supporters even though the actor did not name anyone.

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi wrote, “So Kajol says we are governed by leaders who are uneducated and have no vision. Nobody outraging since its her opinion not necessarily a fact and also has named nobody but all Bhakts are outraged. Please don’t Yale your Entire Political Science knowledge.”

Comedian Kunal Kamra tweeted, “Everyone is pointing out that Actress Kajol hasn’t finished her education & I believe that’s the only reason that she feels an educated leadership can help our country.”