** Godhra:The True Story

GODHRA: THE TRUE STORY

Nicole Elfi,  jaia-bharati.org

 Godhra, a city of the Indian State of Gujarat, was the lead story in all Indian newspapers on February 27th-28th, 2002.

A shattering piece of news: 58 Hindu pilgrims had been burned alive in a train. “57 die in ghastly attack on train” ran the Times of India’s headline; 

“Mob targets Ramsevaks [Devotees of Rama] returning from Ayodhya”; “58 killed in attack on train with Karsevaks [volunteers]” (The Indian Express);

“1500-strong mob butcher 57 Ramsevaks on Sabarmati Express” (The Asian Age).

But the BBC’s announcement had a very different tone: “58 Hindu ‘extremists’ burned to death” …

or Agence France Press on March 2nd: “A train full of Hindu ‘extremists’ was burnt.”

     A deluge of anguished news followed about a Muslim genocide: Mass killings of Muslims in reprisal riots (NYT, March 5th),

The authorities … share the prejudices of the Hindu gangs who have been busy pulping their Muslim neighbours (The Observer, March 4th).

We were told that Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, intended to eradicate Muslims from the State — more than 9% of Gujarat’s population, in other words five million people.

We read that the police was conniving in the mass slaughter and did nothing to prevent it. Narendra Modi was compared to Hitler, or Nero. We shuddered reading the reports describing rapes and various horrors, supposedly inflicted on Muslims by Hindus.

     Today, six years later, with the noises and cries of the wounds having fallen silent, what emerges from those events? What are the facts?

     At 7:43 A.M. on February 27th, 2002, the Sabarmati Express rolled into the Godhra station, fortunately with a four-hour delay, in broad daylight. This train transported more than 2,000 people, mainly karsewaks on their way back to Ahmedabad after participating in the Poorna Ahuti Yagya at Ayodhya, a ritual at the traditional birthplace of Rama.

     As it pulled out of the station, the train was pelted with stones and bricks, and passengers from several bogeys were forced to bring down their windows to protect themselves.

Someone pulled the emergency chain: the train came to a halt about 100 metres away from the platform, surrounded by a large crowd of Muslims. The railway police managed to disperse the crowd, and the train resumed its journey.

     Within minutes, the emergency chain was simultaneously pulled again, from several coaches.

It halted at about 700 metres from the station. A crowd of over 1,000 surrounded the train, pelting it with bricks, stones, then burning missiles and acid bulbs, especially on the S-5, S-6 and S-7 coaches.

     The vacuum pipe between coaches S-6 and S-7 was cut, thereby preventing any further movement of the train. The doors were locked from outside. A fire started in coach S-7, which the passengers were able to extinguish. But the attack intensified and coach S-6 caught fire and minutes later, was in flames. Passengers who managed to get out of the burning compartment were attacked with sharp weapons, and stoned. They received serious injuries, some were killed. Others got out through the windows and took shelter below the coach.

     Fifty eight pilgrims were burned alive, including twenty-seven women and ten children. The whole attack lasted 20-25 minutes.[1]

     What transpired then, in the Indian press? Let’s imagine a coach of French pilgrims coming back from Lourdes, burned alive.

     Strangely, instead of clearly, straightforwardly condemning the act, the Indian English-language press tried to justify it: “Pilgrims provoked by chanting pro-Hindu slogans” (they were not slogans but bhajans, or devotional songs, ending with “Jai Sri Ram” (Victory to Sri Rama). “It’s because they were returning from Ayodhya, where they asked for the reconstruction of a temple at the traditional birth place of Rama; this offends the feelings of the Muslims.”

In sum, the victims, roasted alive, were guilty.

The Anger

     Numb with shock, the people of Gujarat did not react straightaway. They remained calm at first. Till that afternoon, when the charred bodies started arriving at their respective families — with no comforting voice sounded, either from the government, or from the media, no condemnation for this barbaric act, but an indifferent, deafening silence — then these people known for their non-violent nature and exceptional patience, burst into a frenzy.

     There was a revolt in the whole of Gujarat. For three days, tens of thousands of enraged Hindus set fire to Muslim shops, houses, vehicles: They came out from all sides, all parties, all classes, uncontrollable — one cannot control a revolution (except in China maybe).

The fatalities: 720 Muslims, 250 Hindus, according to official figures.

     We read all over about a genocide of Muslims. Do we remember a single report on the Hindus who heroically helped save Muslims in their neighbourhood? Was even one family of Hindu victims interviewed following the criminal burning of the Sabarmati Express?

One fourth of the dead in the ensuing riots were Hindus. How to classify those 250 victims? Who evoked the dead on the Hindu side? According to reports, Congress Party councillor Taufeeq Khan Pathan and his son Zulfi, notorious gangsters, were allegedly seen leading Muslim rioters.

Another such character, Congress member of the Godhra Nagarpalika [municipality], Haji Balal, was said to have had the fire-fighting vehicle sabotaged beforehand.[2]

Then, he stopped the vehicle on its way to the Godhra Station and did not allow it to proceed any further. A man stood in front of the vehicle, the mob started pelting stones, … The  headlights and the windowpanes of the vehicle got damaged … Fearing for his own and his crew’s life, the driver drove the vehicle through the mob, as it was not possible to move backwards. The mob gave in but 15-20 precious minutes had been lost.[3]

     Lost for a coach full of innocent people in flames. 
     
     Which newspaper article stated that the most violent events took place following provocations by leaders of this sort?
The Union Home Ministry’s Annual Report of 2002-03 stated that 40,000 Hindus were in riot relief camps. What made those 40,000 Hindus rush to relief camps? To seek protection from whom? Why was it necessary if they were the main aggressors?

     More than the barbaric event itself, it is the insensitivity of the Indian “elite” and of the media that infuriated the Gujaratis.

     Those accused of terrorism often receive political support, are benevolently portrayed by the media, and a host of “human rights” organisations are always on hand to fight for them. But those victims whose life is cut down for no reason, are they not “human” enough to get some rights too? The great majority of those who took to revolt in Gujarat were neither rich nor particularly intellectual — neither right nor left: they were middle- and lower-class Gujaratis, simple people, workers, also tribals. But some from the upper middle class, among them a lot of women, took part in the upheaval.

The media sources

     Apart from local journalists usually more objective in their reports, no English media reporter, thought it worthwhile to look deeper into the events at the Godhra railway station. Nobody came to question possible survivors of the tragedy. Is a coach of Hindu pilgrims even worth the trip? They had to wait for the “elite” to react; they had to receive directives from the politically correct, before taking their pens. Worse, they reported deliberate rumours and made up versions as actual news.

     We were told, for instance, that when some pilgrims got off the ill-fated coaches to have tea, some altercation took place between them, and a Muslim tea vendor: They argued with the old man on purpose, wrote some newspapers; they refused to pay for their tea (though Gujarati honesty is well known); they pulled his beard and beat him up … They kept shouting Mandir ka nirmaan karo, Babar ki aulad ko bahar karo (start building the temple and throw out the sons of Babar). Hearing the chaos, the tea vendor’s 16-year-old daughter came forward and tried to save her father from the karsevaks. She kept pleading and begging them to leave him alone. The karsevaks, according to this version, then seized the girl, took her inside their compartment and closed the door. The old man kept banging on the door and pleaded for his daughter. Then two stall vendors jumped into the last bogey, pulled the chain, and put the bogey on fire.

     But would they have been stupid enough to set fire to the coach where their colleague’s young daughter was being held? And why were 2,000 Muslims assembled there at 7 A.M. with jerry-cans of petrol bought the previous evening?

     Rajeev Srinivasan, an American journalist of Indian origin, was e-mailed this anonymous report a dozen times, supposedly written by Anil Soni, Press Trust of India reporter. He contacted Anil Soni to check on the veracity of this account. Soni answered:

Some enemy of mine has done this to make life difficult for me, do you understand, sir? I did not write this at all. I am a PTI correspondent. Yes, that is my phone number, but it is not my writing.

     Anil Soni apparently had heard about it from hundreds of people, and was upset to see a false report circulated in his name.

     Inquiries with the Railway Staff and passengers travelling in the Sabarmati Express showed that: no quarrel whatsoever took place on the platform between a tea vendor and pilgrims, and no girl was manhandled nor kidnapped.

     As the Nanavati Report established later, this fictitious report was in fact circulated by the Jamiat-Ulma-E-Hind, the very hand responsible for the carnage.[4] It nevertheless went around the world, exhibited as “the true story.” Aren’t we compelled to conclude that the assailants, in India, are those who dictate what’s “politically correct,” and instruct the media?

Arson and Canards

     On the afternoon of February 28th, Gujarati Hindus’ revolt broke out. A few journalists then booked their tickets for Gujarat.

As far as we can see, they had a framework in place: the outbreak would be dealt with independently of the Godhra carnage, as a different, unrelated subject; it was a planned violence perpetrated by “fundamentalist” Hindus against Gujarat’s Muslims, fully backed by the State of Gujarat. From this day on, the burning of coach S-6 was to be left behind, forgotten.

     On February 28th evening, Chief Minister Narendra Modi announced his decision to deploy the Army, and the next day, March 1st, by 11 A.M. the actual deployment of troops at sensitive points had begun. Violence abated in most major cities, after their arrival with orders to shoot on sight.

But security forces were largely outnumbered by the angry flood of people, spreading for the first time like rivers in spate, to rural areas and villages.

Apprehending the seriousness of the situation, Narendra Modi had made a request for security personnel from neighbouring States of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab. This request was turned down by each State. Why did no one report this fateful refusal?

     That same day (1st March), at the peak of the turmoil, the National Human Rights Commission faxed a notice to the Gujarat Government, calling for a report within three days on the measures being taken … to prevent any further escalation of the situation in the State of Gujarat which is resulting in continued violation of human rights of the people.[5] But it was silent on what had led to such a situation in the first place.

     One major event which received a great deal of attention from the media was the conflagration at the Gulbarg Society in Ahmedabad, home of a former Member of Parliament, Ehsan Jaffri. This man, rather refined and usually respected, did not feel threatened. But on February 28th morning, a crowd surrounded his house, in which a number of Muslims had taken refuge. Jaffri made a number of panic-stricken phone calls for help to authorities and to his colleagues, journalists and friends. The crowd was growing … (from 200 to 20,000, figures vary in the reports).

The Indian Express (March 1st, 2002), as well as police records, reported that “eventually, in panic, he fired at the 5,000-strong mob … 2 were killed and 13 injured … That incensed the mob …” which at 1:30 P.M. set the bungalow ablaze by exploding a gas cylinder. Final toll: 42 (March 11th edition).

     Human Rights Watch, an NGO based in New York, published a dossier (on April 30th, 2002) about the Gujarat events which caused a sensation and fed a large number of articles in the international press.

     In this report, Smita Narula had an unnamed witness at hand, to relate the attack on Jaffri’s house. First a 200 to 500-strong mob threw stones; refugees in the house (also 200-250 people — sic!) also threw stones in self-defence.Then the crowd set the place on fire at about 1:30 P.M. Our witness then jumped from the third floor where he was hiding — and from where he had been observing in minute detail all that was going on in the ground floor, even the theft of jewels (it would seem the floors between the third and the ground floor were transparent). At that point we jump into the sensational. Narula’s witness sees that four or five girls were raped, cut, and burned …; two married women were also raped and cut. Some on the hand, some on the neck …; Sixty-five to seventy people were killed. Those rapes and hackings are said to have started at 3:30 P.M. … when the house was already on fire. Was the mob waiting for everything to be reduced to cinders to commit its crimes?

     Among the most morbid canards, the novelist Arundhati Roy’s vitriolic article (Outlook magazine, May 6th, 2002). She describes the event which precedes Ehsan Jaffri’s death (extract):

… A mob surrounded the house of former Congress MP Iqbal Ehsan Jaffri. His phone calls to the Director-General of Police, the Police Commissioner, the Chief Secretary, the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) were ignored. The mobile police vans around his house did not intervene. The mob broke into the house. They stripped his daughters and burned them alive. Then they beheaded Ehsan Jaffri and dismembered him …

     Wait a minute. Jaffri was burned alive in the house, true — is it not awful enough? Along with some other 41 people. Not enough? But his daughters were neither “stripped” nor “burnt alive.”

T. A. Jafri, his son, in a front-page interview titled Nobody knew my father’s house was the target (Asian Age, May 2nd, Delhi ed.), felt obliged to rectify:

Among my brothers and sisters, I am the only one living in India. And I am the eldest in the family. My sister and brother live in the US. I am 40 years old and I have been born and brought up in Ahmedabad.

     There we are, reassured as regards Ehsan Jaffri’s children. He had only one daughter, who was living abroad. No one was raped in the course of this tragedy, and no evidence was given to the police to that effect.

     The Gujarat Government sued Outlook magazine. In its May 27th issue, Outlook published an apology to save its face. But in the course of its apology, the magazine’s editors quoted a “clarification” from Roy, who withdrew her lie by planting an even bigger one: the MP’s daughters “were not among the 10 women who were raped and killed in Chamanpura that day”!

From Smita Narula to Arundhati Roy, “four or five girls” had swollen to “ten women,” equally anonymous and elusive.

     Roy begins theatrically:

Last night a friend from Baroda called. Weeping. It took her fifteen minutes to tell me what the matter was. It wasn’t very complicated. Only that Sayeeda, a friend of hers, had been caught by a mob. Only that her stomach had been ripped open and stuffed with burning rags. Only that after she died, someone carved ‘OM’ on her forehead.

     Balbir Punj, Rajya Sabha MP and journalist, shocked by this despicable incident which allegedly occurred in Baroda, decided to investigate it. He got in touch with the Gujarat government.

The police investigations revealed that no such case, involving someone called Sayeeda, had been reported either in urban or rural Baroda. Subsequently, the police sought Roy’s help to identify the victim and seek access to witnesses who could lead them to those guilty of this crime. But the police got no cooperation. Instead, Roy, through her lawyer, replied that the police had no power to issue summons.[6]

     This redefines the term fiction writer.

     Another story about a pregnant Muslim woman whose stomach was allegedly ripped open, her foetus taken out” and both being burnt, horrified people all over the world. The first mention of it seems to be in a BBC report around March 6th, which, though uncorroborated, spread like wildfire, with fresh details (divergent and varied, but who cares?), so much so that you end up feeling there is no smoke without fire.

The rumour was never confirmed — which twisted tongue first whispered it?

     Press articles kept quoting one another, creating “dossiers” out of floating rumours. None of the authors even deigned to visit the scene of the alleged events; none except the official inquiry commissions, had the honesty to question fairly, in parallel, the involved Hindu families regarding the tragedy unfolding in the two Gujarati communities.

Onlookers get caught

     On March 1st, 2002, in a village on the outskirt of Vadodara (Baroda), the Best Bakery was set on fire: fourteen persons were burnt alive (nine Muslims and three Hindus).

This particular incident made much ink flow, since the prime witness, young Zaheera Habibullah Sheikh, aged 19, turned against the prosecution in favour of the accused in the trial court.

     Though Zaheera lost several family members in the tragedy, on May 17th, 2003, in the Vadodara High Court, she testified that the accused persons in the dock were innocent and had nothing to do with the arson. She, as well as the other witnesses, did not recognize their own alleged statements before the police.

Justice Mahida of the High Court observed that:
1) There has been an inexcusable delay in the First Information Report (FIR). The so-called FIR of Zahiribibi (Zaheera) was sent to the Magistrate after four to five days. So there is every reason to believe that factually this FIR was cropped up afterwards in the manner suitable to the police.
2) The arrested persons had nothing to do with the incident.

     We all knew these accused persons and because of them, our lives are saved, reported Lal Mohammed Shaikh, a witness before the court. … There were cordial relations between my family members, the persons residing in the compound of Best Bakery and all the accused persons before the court … The 65 persons who are saved in this incident are all before the Court and all these were saved by and due to the accused and their family members … These persons had called us, in darkness we silently came out of our house, and they saved our lives.

3) The police is trying to put as accused passers-by at the place of incident, innocent persons gathering there or persons residing in the neighbourhood (in confidence that the police wouldn’t do anything to them).
4) No legal or acceptable evidence at all is produced by the prosecution against the accused involving them in this incident. In this case, … it has come out during the trial … that false evidences were cropped up against the present accused to involve them in this case. The case … is not proved and hence the accused are acquitted [7].

     On June 27th, 2003, the twenty-one defendants were freed, and Zaheera Sheikh felt the court has given her all the justice she wanted.

In the interests of a community

     But all were not satisfied. A former Chief Justice of India, A.S. Anand, Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission decided that the Vadodara judgement was a miscarriage of justice and the twenty-one not-guilty people were actually guilty and therefore should be punished. Now this honourable person should have been aware that seated in Delhi at the helm of this human rights affair, he would have been the first target of a number of dubious NGOs with vested political interests. Strangely, Justice Anand did not even consider it important to send his own team of independent inquiry before questioning the judgment of another court of law.[8]

     Consequently, just after the fast-track court acquittals, three members of Zaheera’s community barged into her home” around midnight, and told her she would have to change her statement “in the interests of the community.

     This meant that Zaheera had to declare that she had lied to the court (which is a criminal offence [9]). Did she have a choice?

     Along with her mother and brother, she was taken to Mumbaiwithout their consent, and brought to Teesta Setalvad,[10] an activist of the much-vauntedhuman rights. The activist took them under her wing for several months, accommodated them in a rented apartment while providing assistance for a living. In the meantime she(Teesta) prepared affidavits (in English which Zaheera does not read) for the girl to sign before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in which she “confessed” to having lied to the Vadodara trial court, “trembling with fear and threatened” by BJP MLA Madhu Shrivastav (who had nothing to do with her area and whom she did not even know). And Zaheera now designated as guilty, the twenty-one people she had considered innocent. All media were ready with their cameras, mikes and pens to splash the news.

     The Gujarat High Court dismissed the appeal, rightly suspecting that the witness had been pressured to turn hostile, and upheld the acquittals.

     But the Supreme Court accepted the retraction and, as demanded by NHRC and Setalvad, ordered the retrial of the case outside Gujarat. The acquittal of the twenty-one people was quashed.

     In 2004, Zaheera “managed to flee” from her confinement by the activist, and in November, seized by remorse for having allowed innocent people to be accused, stated that whatever she had told the Supreme Court, was done under duress from Teesta Setalvad and her associate Rais Khan; and whatever she told the NHRC was a lie. “Ramzan is on and I want to state the truth,” she said. What I had said in Vadodara Court during the trial was my true statement. The judgement was correct and had given me all the justice I wanted. She sought police protection from Teesta Setalvad.[11]

     The Supreme Court judge called the girl flip-flop Zaheera, accepted a high-powered committee report which indicted Zaheera Sheikh as a self-condemned liar, and awarded the girl with a simple one-year imprisonment for contempt of court, as well as a fine of Rs. 50,000. Activist Teesta Setalvad was cleared.

     Now, who took the court for a ride? Especially in light of the new revelation that a host of Gujarat riot case victims were misled into signing affidavits giving false information, for which as many as ten of them had received 100,000 rupees from Teesta Setalvad NGO.[12]

     As it stands today, nine persons among the twenty-one passer-bys picked up, have been condemned to life imprisonment and are languishing in jail.

     In December 2004, a fatwa was issued against Zaheera by the Muslim Tayohar Committee, excommunicating her with the approval of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, “for having constantly lied.” In other words, for having stood by the twenty-one wrongly accused Hindus neighbours.

     Let us pursue our investigation.

Premeditated files

     Human Rights Watch Smita Narula’s report (April 30th, 2002) was titled “ ‘We have no order to save you — State participation and complicity in anti-Muslim violence. From US shores, its words were lapped up by the Indian elite and politicians:

What happened in Gujarat was not a spontaneous uprising, it was a carefully orchestrated attack against Muslims … planned in advance and organized with extensive participation of the police and state government officials.[13]

     But where are the facts to corroborate such an allegation, which of course was instantly peddled the world over? Can a “carefully orchestrated attack” happen overnight? And how can someone sitting in the U.S., gauge the “spontaneity” of such an outbreak?[14]

Authentic inquiry

     By contrast, a genuine, on-the-spot investigation was conducted under the aegis of the New Delhi-based Council for International Affairs and Human Rights.[15] Its findings were made public as early as April 26th, 2002, through a press conference held in Delhi. Running counter to the politically correct line of an orchestrated attack, they were largely ignored by the media.

     On March 3rd, 2002 the five-member fact-finding team under Justice Tewatia’s direction went to Godhra and spent six days visiting three affected areas in Ahmedabad and some of the relief camps. At all places, team members interacted with the two communities freely, without intervention of any officials. Five delegations from both communities presented their facts and views. The team then went to the Godhra railway station and interviewed officials, survivors and witnesses of the burning of the S-6 coach, as well as the fire brigade staff. They met the Godhra District Collector, along with other officials.

     On April 4th, the team was in Vadodara (Baroda) visiting five relief camps of both communities, and seven areas which were the scenes of violence in the preceding month, as well as a number of sensitive areas. To have exposure to the ground realities they visited some areas still under curfew and also met the Commissioner of Police and District Collector along with other officials. Thirteen delegations consisting of 121 citizens met the team and presented their testimonies; they included not only members of both communities, but ranged from the Association of Hoteliers to a group of Gujarati tribals (Vanavasis).

“Indisputable” facts

     Let us quote some findings of Justice Tewatia’s Inquiry Commission, which its report described as “indisputable”:

 The attack on Sabarmati Express on 27.02.02 was pre-planned and pre-meditated. It was the result of a criminal conspiracy hatched by a hostile foreign power with the help of local jehadis … carried out with the evil objective of pushing the country into a communal cauldron.

 The plan was to burn the entire train with more than two thousand passengers in the wee hours of February 27th, 2002.

 There were no quarrels or fights between the vendors and the Hindu pilgrims on the platform of Godhra Railway Station.

 Firebombs, acid bulbs and highly inflammable liquid(s) were used to set the coaches on fire that must have been stored [the day before] already for the purpose.

 The fire fighting system available in Godhra was weakened and its arrival at the place of incident wilfully delayed by the mob with the open participation of a Congress Councillor, Haji Balal.

 Fifty-eight passengers of coach S-6 were burnt to death by a Muslim mob and one of the conspirators was a Congress Councillor, Haji Balal.

 Someone used the public address system exhorting the mob “to kill kafirs and enemies of Bin Laden.”

     About the police:

 Police was on many occasions overwhelmed by the rioting mobs that were massive and carried more lethal weapons than the police did.

 [They] did not have the training and know-how to manage situations of communal strife witnessed in the state in recent weeks.

 In many places, … [they] made a commendable work in protecting life and property. Barring a few exceptions, it was not found to be communally motivated.

     Army deployment:

 Available information shows that the Army was requisitioned and deployed in time.

After Godhra

     The involvement of the tribal communities or Vanavasis, in the post-Godhra riots added a new dimension to the communal violence, as Justice Tewatia’s report reveals:

 In rural areas the Vanvasis attacked the Muslim moneylenders, shopkeepers and the forest contractors. They used their traditional bows and arrows as also their implements used to cut trees and grass while attacking Muslims. They moved in groups and used coded signals for communication. Apparently, the accumulated anger of years of exploitation … had become explosive.

     About the media:

 Gujarati language media was factual and objective. Yet its propensity to highlight the gory incidents in great detail heightened communal tension.

 English language newspapers … appeared to have assumed the role of crusaders against the State [Gujarat] Government from day one. It coloured the entire operation of news gathering, feature writing and editorials. They distorted and added fiction to prove their respective points of view. The code of ethics prescribed by the Press Council of India was violated … with impunity. It so enraged the citizens that several concerned citizens in the disturbed areas suggested that peace could return to the state only if some of the TV channels were closed for some weeks.[16]

 A few healing voices

     It would be unfair not to mention a few voices that rose from among the journalists themselves, against this enormity.

The most eloquent one was Vir Sanghvi’s, usually part of thesecular establishment, ever ready to portray Muslims as victims, Hindus as aggressors. Vir Sanghvi’s crisis of conscience suddenly gave him intellectual clarity. Some extracts from his articleOne-way ticket” in The Hindustan Times of Feb. 28th, 2002:

There is something profoundly worrying in the response of what might be called the secular establishment to the massacre in Godhra. …
There is no suggestion that the karsewaks started the violence … there has been no real provocation at all … And yet, the sub-text to all secular commentary is the same: the karsewaks had it coming to them.
Basically, they condemn the crime; but blame the victims …
Try and take the incident out of the secular construct that we, in India, have perfected and see how bizarre such an attitude sounds in other contexts. Did we say that New York had it coming when the Twin Towers were attacked last year? Then too, there was enormous resentment among fundamentalist Muslims about America’s policies, but we didn’t even consider whether this resentment was justified or not.
Instead we took the line that all sensible people must take: any massacre is bad and deserves to be condemned.
When Graham Staines and his children were burnt alive, did we say that Christian missionaries had made themselves unpopular by engaging in conversion and so, they had it coming? No, of course, we didn’t.
Why then are these poor karsewaks an exception? Why have we de-humanised them to the extent that we don’t even see the incident as the human tragedy that it undoubtedly was …
I know the arguments well because — like most journalists — I have used them myself. And I still argue that they are often valid and necessary.
But there comes a time when this kind of rigidly ‘secularist’ construct not only goes too far; it also becomes counter-productive.
When everybody can see that a trainload of Hindus was massacred by a Muslim mob, you gain nothing by blaming the murders on the VHP[17] or arguing that the dead men and women had it coming to them.
Not only does this insult the dead (What about the children? Did they also have it coming?), but it also insults the intelligence of the reader.
There is one question we need to ask ourselves: have we become such prisoners of our own rhetoric that even a horrific massacre becomes nothing more than occasion for Sangh Parivar-bashing?[18]

     S. Gurumurthy in The New Indian Express (March 2nd), Jaya Jaitley, in The Indian Express (March 7th), Rajeev Srinivasan in Rediff on Net (March 25th), Arvind Lavakare in Rediff on Net (April 23rd), T. Tomas in Business Standard (April 26th), François Gautier in The Pioneer (April 30th), M.V. Kamath in The Times of India (May 8th), Balbir Punj in Outlook (May 27th), each one expounded the absurdity of a situation where the majority of Indians — the Hindu community — are looked down upon as second class citizens.

A negligible lot taken for granted because it is harmless, non-aggressive, and unable to speak and act as one coherent, organized group.

A farcical interlude

     Two and a half years after the events, on Sept. 3rd, 2004, the cabinet of the Central Government (ruled by the UPA coalition[19]) approved the setting up of a committee constituted by the Railways Minister Lallu Prasad Yadav, and headed by Justice U. C. Banerjee, former judge of the Supreme Court, to probe the causes of the conflagration in the Sabarmati Express.

     The blaze is an accident, Justice Banerjee coolly concluded in January 2005. There was no possibility of inflammable liquid being used, said he, and the fire originated in the coach itself, without external input. The Cabinet ministers were fully satisfied.

     Now among the few survivors, Neelkanth Bhatia, was not one. He gathered enough strength to challenge the formation of this committee, and in October 2006, the Gujarat High Court quashed the conclusions of the Banerjee Committee. It declared its formation as a colourful exercise, illegal, unconstitutional, null and void, and its argument of accidental fire opposed to the prima facie accepted facts on record.

 Moreover, one high-level commission conducted by Justice Nanavati-Shah had been appointed by the Gujarat Government to probe the incident, two months earlier.

The Court also did not miss the point that the interim report was released just two days before the elections in Bihar — the State of the Railways minister, well-known for his political ambitions and notorious for his histrionics.

     Politicians know no common sense or shame. But what about the judiciary?

The Nanavati Report

     The first part of Justice Nanavati-Shah Inquiry Commission report was released in September 2008, after four years of thorough investigations.[20] It lifted the cloak of blame that had been wrapped around the Gujarati people all those years. It also cleared the most blackened Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi.

There is absolutely no evidence to show that either the Chief Minister and/or any other Minister(s) in his Council of Ministers or Police officers had played any role in the Godhra incident or that there was any lapse on their part in the matter of providing protection, relief and rehabilitation to the victims of communal riots or in the matter of not complying with the recommendations and directions given by National Human Rights Commission. There is no evidence regarding involvement of any definite religious or political organization in the conspiracy. Some individuals who had participated in the conspiracy appear to be involved in the heinous act of setting coach S/6 on fire.
The policemen who were assigned the duty of travelling in the Sabarmati Express train from Dahod to Ahmedabad had not done so and for this negligent act of theirs an inquiry was held by the Government and they have been dismissed from service.
On the basis of the facts and circumstances proved by the evidence the Commission comes to the conclusion that burning of coach S/6 was a pre-planned act. In other words there was a conspiracy to burn coach S/6 of the Sabarmati Express train coming from Ayodhya and to cause harm to the Karsevaks travelling in that coach. All the acts like procuring petrol, circulating false rumour, stopping the train and entering in coach S/6 were in pursuance of the object of the conspiracy. The conspiracy hatched by these persons further appears to be a part of a larger conspiracy to create terror and destabilise the Administration.[21]

     According to Justice Nanavati, Maulvi Hussain Umarji from Godhra was the brain behind the events. Two of the main accused, Salim Panwala et Farukh Bhana, are absconding, very likely having fled to Pakistan.

The report named a few others, with various degrees of involvement in the events, but they are unlikely to be troubled in view of their political connections.

Heartstrings for whom?

     It is easy to see why the Nanavati Report was frowned upon by Citizens for Justice and Peace, namely Activist Teesta Setalvad who asked the Supreme Court to restrain the Gujarat Government from acting upon, circulating and publishing this report.

Fortunately on October 13th, 2008, the highest court sharply turned down the petition, thus making the testimonies and inquiries available to all (the Nanavati Report is available on the Internet).

     However, under pressure from the UPA Government and pestered by the National Human Rights Commission and Citizens for Justice and Peace NGO, on October 21st, 2008, the Supreme Court directed that the Prevention of Terrorist Act (POTA) could not be used against the 134 accused in the Godhra train burning incident, whose trial was to be held under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

This amounted to accepting prima facie that the guilty were not terrorists: we are allowed to call them “militants,” “gunmen” — but not terrorists.

This ruling will have nationwide impact, as other State governments may have to drop charges under POTA against those accused of indulging in terrorist activities.

The recent terrorist attacks on Mumbai (on November 26th) demonstrate the danger of such a withdrawal.

Pattern for Harmony

     This appears to be a pattern: whenever Muslim riots or bomb attacks target Hindus, it is thought acceptable to accuse the victims, in order to avoid possible revolts.

Thus in 1993 in Mumbai, after eleven coordinated bomb blasts in Hindu majority areas, which killed 257 people and injured 713, the then Maharashtra Chief Minister Sharad Pawar quickly cooked up a twelfth explosionin a Muslim area!

 “I have deliberately misled people,” he explained later, to show that both communities had been affected.”[22] And to portray both communities’ potential to behave as “terrorists”! Truth and clarity of mind are the casualties.

     We remember the great art historian A.K. Coomaraswamy’s words in 1909:

It is unfortunate that libels upon nations and religions cannot be punished as can libels upon individuals.[23]

     Gujarat had greatly suffered throughout all those years. Through a devastating Bhuj region earthquake in January 2001, in which more than 20,000 people died; the pilgrims burned alive at Godhra in Feb. 2002 and just six months later another terrorist attack in the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar, where thirty-three peaceful worshippers were brutally gunned down (with seventy injured). Amidst those tragedies the people of Gujarat seemed to have no doubt whatsoever regarding the sincerity of their Chief Minister, whose administration happens to be among the least corrupt in the whole of India. State elections were held twice since those events: in December 2002 and December 2007. How is it that Narendra Modi won landslide victories on both occasions despite extremely hostile and sustained media campaigns, seeking to demonise him as a blood-thirsty ruler?

     Official India has chosen to forget a millennium of Islamic intolerance and brutality. Millions of butchered Indians have no right to be remembered, not even in history textbooks, where invaders are sometimes turned into heroes. Sadly, this ostrich-like attitude leaves the wounds open and condemns us to relive the past rather than heal it.  January 2009   nicole_elfi@yahoo.com

Also Read :

1)  Truth of Godhra @ https://indiaview.wordpress.com/2007/10/26/the-myth-and-truth-of-godhra/

2) Where’re Human Rights @ https://indiaview.wordpress.com/2007/08/10/wherere-human-rights-advocates/

Notes & references

[1] See Commission of Inquiry Report of Justice G.T. Nanavati & Justice Akshay H. Mehta (Justice Nanavati Report for short further below): p. 71-84: 97-125; p.86: 128; p.89-90: 130; p.170: 223; p.172: 226-27; p.174-175: 229; the integral text is available on the website of the Gujarat Government: http://home.gujarat.gov.in/homedepartment/downloads/godharaincident.pdf
See also Godhra the Missing Rage, by S.K. Modi (New Delhi: Ocean Books, 2004).

[2] One of the main vehicles was out of order, as its clutch-plates had been taken out a few days earlier. On their arrival on 27.02.02 in their office, firemen found that the other fire engine had been tampered with. (Justice Tewatia Report and Justice Nanavati Report: p.88-89: 131.)

[3] Ibid.

[4] Justice Nanavati Report, p.39-41: 50-52, p.48-49: 67-68.

[5] To which Gujarat Chief Secretary sent a request to grand further time of 15 days, as the State machinery is busy with the law & order situation, it would take some time to collect the information and compile the report. Indeed.

[6] See Balbir Punj in Outlook, May 27th and July 8th; also in The New Indian Express, March 8th, 2002.

[7] See Vadodara Sessions Court, Best Bakery Case, Justice H.U. Mahida’s Judgement, June 27th, 2003.

[8] Columnist Arvind Lavakare in Blindfolded in Best Bakery(9.9.2003), commented: … The Gujarat government quickly appointed three public pleaders for the purpose of suing [Justice Anand] for contempt of court; these pleaders, in turn, filed an application before the Vadodara judge asking him to move the state’s high court to punish the contemnor who, they said, had insulted the honour and dignity of the judge, besides undermining the entire judiciary. … But Justice Anand … went to the Supreme Court even before an appeal against the Vadodara verdict could be thought out by the Gujarat government. His NHRC petitioned the apex court to order a re-trial of the 21 ‘not guilty’ Best Bakery accused. And the re-trial demanded is one that should be out of Gujarat state!…Though article 20(2) of the Constitution of India prohibits trial for the same offence twice (M. N. Buch, The Indian Express, Mumbai, August 13th, 2003).

[9] Section 191 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, says, Whoever, being legally bound by an oath or by an express provision of law to state the truth or being bound by law to make a declaration upon any subject, makes any statement which is false, and which he either knows to or believes to be false or does not believe to be true, is said to give false evidence. Section 193 lays down that punishment for the offence of giving false evidence is imprisonment which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.

[10] Social activist and Secretary of the NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace, and co-editor of Communalism Combat, a CPI-CPI(M) affiliated magazine.

[11] Zaheera isn’t the only one to seek police protection from activist Teesta Setalvad. Rais Khan, who worked closely with her, now feels under threat and recently asked for it too.

[12] As it happens, a host of Gujarat riot case victims were misled into signing affidavits giving false information at the behest of Setalvad’s Citizens for Justice and Peace, which was instrumental in organising payment of Rs. 1 lakh each to ten witnesses in various post-Godhra riot. Among the recipients, four are Best Bakery case witnesses. A list of names were sent to the CPI(Marxist) relief fund, and demand drafts were handed out at a function in Ahmedabad on August 26th, 2007 by CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat, Teesta Setalvad and Rais Khan. Incidentally, those who were both victims and eyewitnesses received 100,000 rupees, some others 50,000 rupees, while the victims got a mere 5,000 rupees each. This has raised eyebrows over the selection of beneficiaries and the purpose of paying a disproportionately large sum to the eyewitnesses before the trial.See Navin Upadhyay, Daily Pioneer, Dec. 20th, 2008: www.dailypioneer.com/144856/Godhra-riot-witnesses-got-Rs-1-lakh-each.html

[13] South Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch and author of the report.

[14] This New York-based Human Rights Watch, still watches the Indian shores closely, as it appears, but not to protect innocent lives. On Dec. 3rd, 2008, just a week after the ghastly Nov. 26th terrorist attacks in Mumbai, HRW issued a statement to the Government of India, offering gratuitous advice on how to manage its affairs and demanding that investigators should respect the human rights of captured terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab (also called Butcher of Mumbai). A commentator in The Jerusalem Post pointed out,The HRW’s website lists 38 reports attacking counter-terrorism efforts around the globe but only three on the brutal impact of terrorism on civilians.See also Kanchan Gupta’s excellent article, Mumbai’s Butcher and human rights, in The Pioneer, Dec. 17th, 2008.
www.dailypioneer.com/144038/Mumbai’s-Butcher-and-human-rights.html

[15] Council for International Affairs and Human Rights (governing body for the term 2001-2003), New Delhi. Facts Speak for Themselves: Godhra and After, A Field Study by Justice D. S. Tewatia, Dr. J.C. Batra, Dr. Krishan Singh Arya, Shri Jawahar Lal Kaul, Prof. B. K. Kuthiala. Available online at www.geocities.com/hsitah9/facts_speak_for_themselves.htm .

[16] From Justice Tewatia Report.

[17] The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) is a pro-Hindu organization.

[18] The Sangh Parivar is a network of pro-Hindu organizations deriving from the Rashtriya Sevak Sangh (RSS).

[19] The UPA is a coalition of political parties, the main one being the Congress presided over by Sonia Gandhi; Manmohan Singh is the Prime Minister. As many as 10 Cabinet ministers (at the helm of India’s affairs till today …) as well as 93 Lok Sabha MPs face criminal charges ranging from rape, extortion and murder (Association of Democratic Reforms, New Delhi, in The New Indian Express, Dec. 6th, 2006).

[20] Among its specific tasks, the Nanavati Commission was required by the Government to consider: Role and conduct of the then Chief Minister and/or any other Minister(s) in his council of Ministers, Police Officers, other individuals and organizations in both the events referred to in clauses (a) and (b); (e) Role and conduct … (i) in dealing with any political or non-political organization which may be found to have been involved in any of the events referred to hereinabove; (ii) in the matter of providing protection, relief and rehabilitation to the victims of communal riots (iii) in the matter of recommendations and directions given by National Human Rights Commission from time to time. By that notification the Government also included within the scope of inquiry the incidents of violence that had taken place till 31-5-2002.

[21] Nanavati Commission Report, p.174-75: 229; p.175: 229; p.176: 230.

[22] New Indian Express, August 13th, 2006.

[23] Ananda K. Coomaraswamy in Essays in National Idealism, p.143 (Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1981).

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** Inculturation: Fooling Hindus

Inculturation: Fooling Hindus

Nithin Sridhar, ivarta

In early 1982, Father Joseph Parekatil of the Catholic Church of Parasahi, Madhya Pradesh, destroyed the sacred murthi of the Goddess Visweshwari Siddheswari enshrined on the nearby Nawain Tekdi hill and erected a small wooden cross. Later, the father erected a 31 – foot high concrete cross illegally on the hill on February 18th, 1983. Enraged villagers destroyed the cross a month later on March 17th.

On February 20th, 1985, with the intent once again of trying to gain possession of the hill, Father Parekatil put on the orange robes of a Hindu sannyasin, built a hut on the hill, sat on a tiger skin and began performing worship in the Hindu style. As a result, thousands of simple Hindus came to the hill on Fridays, unaware of the deception they were witnessing.

On May 18th, a complaint was registered, but to no avail. Again there was agitation in the area, and this time, on October 1st, 1985, the villagers tore down the priest”s hut and tossed away the remaining pieces of the concrete cross. Father Parekatil only gave up when he was arrested a week later for breaking the peace and released on bail with instructions to behave [1].

This tactics used by Father Parekatil of adopting Hindu symbols, to further his missioanry goal is called as “Inculturation” or “Indigenization”. Christianity has always been following a policy of “Inculturation.”

This means that it adopted Pagan elements in Christianized form in order to ease the transition from Paganism to Christianity. Pagan gods became Christian saints. Pagan Festivals became Christian festivals.In this process of inculturation, the Christian Church adapted old forms to its new message, but made sure that through the Pagan veneer the Christian doctrine was impressed upon the converts [2]. “Indigenization,” says Kaj Baago, “is evangelization. It is the planting of the gospel inside another culture, another philosophy, another religion [3]“. In Indian case, “Inculturation” or “Indigenization” means “the incorporation of Jesus in Indian spiritual tradition”.

Fr. Bede says “In India we need a Christian Vedanta and a Christian Yoga that is a system of theology which makes use not only of the terms and concepts but of the whole structure of thought of the Vedanta [4].”

Shantivanam Ashram on the banks of the sacred Cauvery River at a forested place near Trichy in South India appears Hindu. It has a Hindu shrine; saffron-robed “swami” seated cross – legged on a straw mat; devotees practising yogic meditations, even chanting Hindu scriptures. But these impressions gradually prove false. First, the eye detects that the courtyard shrine is for Saint Paul and that “puja” is actually, a daily Mass, complete with incense, arati lamps, flower offerings and prasadam. Finally, one meets the “swami”, learning he is Father Bede “Dayananda” Griffiths, a Christian “sannyasin”. This is a Christian ashram, one of more than 50 in India, which are variously described as “experiments in cross-cultural communication,” “contemplative hermitages that revolve around both Christian and Hindu ideals.

Fr. J. Monchanin [5], one of the founding members himself defines his mission in these terms: “I have come to India for no other purpose than to awaken in a few souls the desire (the passion) to raise up a Christian India. It will take centuries, sacrificed lives and we shall perhaps die before seeing any realizations. A Christian India, completely Indian and completely Christian will be something so wonderful the sacrifice of our lives is not too much to ask.” His words clearly show the motive behind these ashrams.

Lausanne Movement (for world evangelization) published a paper “Christian witness to Hindus [6]” (1980). In the report, under the title “Methodology Issues” lists some of the methods to be implemented to convert Hindus.

Some of them are-

(1) We should enunciate theology in Indian categories so that the Hindu can understand the gospel.

(2) We must develop a truly Christian world view consistent with the Indian context.

(3) While presenting the gospel, we must be aware of the fact that the Hindu understands the doctrine of God, man, sin, and salvation in a way entirely different from the biblical doctrine.

(4) Communicate the gospel through indigenous methods such as bhajans, drama, dialogue, discourse, Indian music, festival processions, etc.

Sita Ram Goel, in his book “Catholic Ashrams [7]“, lists 108 such Christian ashram in India, 4 in Nepal and 8 in Sri Lanka. His list includes Asha Niketan, Bangalore, Karnataka, Bethany Ashram (1938), Channapatna, Karnataka, Christa Sevakee Ashram (1950), Karkala, Karnataka, Christian Institute for the study of Religion and Society, Bangalore, Karnataka, Yesu Karuna Prarthanalaya, Kote, Mysore District, Karnataka. The present Catholic ashrams have inherited a history of intrigue and subterfuge.

Here is a description from the “Madhya Pradesh Report(1956) [8]“: “Robert De Nobili (A Catholic Jesuit priest) appeared in Madura in 1607 clad in the saffron robes of a Sadhu with sandal paste on his forehead and the sacred thread on his body. He gave out that he was a Brahmin from Rome. He showed documentary evidence to prove that he belonged to a clan that had migrated from ancient India. He declared that he was bringing a message which had been taught in India by Indian ascetics of yore and that he was only restoring to Hindus one of their lost sacred books, namely the 5th Veda, called Yeshurveda (Jesus Veda). It passed for a genuine work until the Protestant Missionaries exposed the fraud about the year 1840. This Brahmin Sannyasi of the “Roman Gotra”, Father De Nobili, worked for 40 years and died at the ripe age of 89 in 1656. It is said that he had converted about a lakh of persons but they all melted away after his death“.

This is the situation the Hindu finds himself in. Christian missionaries have adopted Hindu ways of life, Hindu religious symbols, architecture, worship forms and declared themselves as Swamis. A Catholic priest who calls himself “swami” instantly attains the status and authority of a holy man in Hindu society, which he can use to make converts.

By using Sanskrit terminology in his sermons he implies a close relationship of Hindu theology to Catholic theology, a relationship which does not really exist. Such missionaries speak authoritatively on Hindu scriptures and argue that their [Christian] teachings are consonant with everything Hindu, but add a finishing touch, “fullness” to the traditional faith.

Related stories:

Shalokas on Mount @ https://indiaview.wordpress.com/2008/05/04/slokas-on-the-mount/

What’s in Name? @ http://indiasecular.wordpress.com/2007/08/22/what-is-in-name/

What Made Hindus Angry http://worldmonitor.wordpress.com/2008/10/13/what-made-hindus-angry

http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/Inculturation-Fooling-Hindus-Christian-India-Goal/blog-194.htm 

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** Shlokas On The Mount

Slokas On The Mount

Outlook India Magazine

May 12, 2008

Om Namah Jesu could well reverberate inside hundreds of Catholic churches in India very soon, if the changing physical face of these places of worship is anything to go by.

The Vatican-blessed process of ‘inculturation’ being implemented by the 168 Catholic dioceses in India has already seen Jesus acquiring the form of a Hindu sage, St John the Baptist with a ‘kamandalu’, grottos in the shape of conch shells, and a church in Bangalore that can easily be mistaken for a temple. 

‘Inculturation’, broadly speaking, is the indigenisation of the Church through the process of assimilating local culture and symbols in construction, layout, interior design, furniture and religious fixtures like the tabernacles. 
So far, around 45 churches across the country have been wholly or partially ‘inculturated’—many have adopted Indian architectural forms and motifs, and quite a few have been refurbished and their interiors redesigned to include murals, panels, furniture et al that have been inspired
by Hindu religious symbols. The tabernacle at the recently inaugurated Our Lady of Mount Carmel church at Murugani near Dumka in Jharkhand, for example, has been rendered in the shape of a ‘kula’—used by local tribals and people in neighbouring states, including West Bengal, to thresh foodgrains, and regarded as an auspicious symbol.  
This process began gradually in the early 1990s, but gathered momentum about five years ago. “Initially, there was a lot of opposition to this from conservative elements in the Church. For them, any dilution of the European element in church construction, or in the murals depicting scenes from the Bible where all the people look European, or in statues or church articles, was totally unacceptable. That has slowly changed with the growing realisation that the Church has to incarnate the Gospel in the culture in which it is being preached,” a senior priest from the Archdiocese of Calcutta told Outlook on condition of anonymity. 
Explained Father Varghese Puthussery, the Jesuit Provincial of Dumka-Raiganj who inaugurated the Murugani church, “In many parts of Asia, especially in India, Christianity is inseparably linked with Western culture, which is looked upon as alien.  
Many committed Christians in India feel a split between their Indian cultural experience and the still-Western character of what they experience in the Church. Inculturation, thus, is the Church’s attempt to bridge that divide.” The Murugani church is an eloquent example of ‘inculturation’. “The structure is not typical; we’ve incorporated elements of Islamic architecture since many old buildings in this region have a strong Islamic influence. The tribal influence too is very strong in this church.
The pulpit is a replica of a ‘morai’ used by local Santhal tribals to store grains, the altar rests on a tribal drum, the fibreglass statue of Jesus at the sanctuary looks as if it is carved out of wood, since tribals worship wood-carved deities, and the stained glass windows depicting parables from the Bible have persons with a distinctly tribal look,” Subrata Ganguly, the man helping the Catholic Church implement the ‘inculturation’ process, told Outlook. 
Ganguly runs Church Art, a firm that designs new churches and renovates existing ones to give them a strong local flavour. “We have worked in all states of the country. In the case of new churches, we formalise a concept after intensive discussions with the local diocese and congregations, and then work with a local architect to give the concept a concrete shape on the drawing board. Next, we work with the contractor to ensure proper construction. 

 

After that, we start working on the interiors and various other objects like the pulpit, the altar, murals, windows and various other objects. With old or existing churches, too, we follow a similar routine. All the moveable ‘inculturated’ objects, including murals and statues, are made at my workshop in Calcutta and transported to the respective sites. Big objects like statues are transported in knocked-down form and then reassembled at the site,” says Ganguly. 

 

Remarkable specimens of the studio’s creations exist around the country. Like Jesus sitting cross-legged on a lotus (installed in a church in Hyderabad), or Jesus emerging after a purifying bath in the Ganges with temples on the riverbanks (in a mural in a Haridwar church), or rendered as a typical Bastar tribal priest surrounded by tribal women at a church at Bhopal. At a church at Jhansi, scenes from Christ’s life in a set of 40 paintings has human and animal characters that leap straight out of Amar Chitra Katha and Panchatantra comics. “We’ve installed similar panels in many churches and the feedback has been very good. We’re getting requests to make more such panels and murals, which show biblical characters in Indian forms, from various churches, seminaries and Catholic institutions all across the country,” says Ganguly. 

 

“There is greatness and divinity is every culture and the Church draws from that to make itself more acceptable to local congregations. This is more so with tribals and in tribal areas,” says Dumka’s Bishop Rev Julius Marandi. ‘Inculturation’, say Catholic priests, is an evolving process specially tailored to different local traditions. “The requirements for an inculturated church or seminary in Northeast India are very different from those at Ambapara in Rajasthan’s Udaipur, where the next ‘inculturated’ church is coming up,” explains Ganguly.  

 

“At a seminary near Shillong, for instance, Jesus is shown in a mural standing under a pine tree with people in Khasi and Garo headgear around him. At Ambapara, we’ll show Jesus as a Bhil tribal. We’ve studied and researched extensively on the Bhils; we always do this before every such project, to get an accurate idea of local customs, traditions and culture,” he adds. Already, typical Hindu rituals like ‘aarti’ are being performed inside churches. 

 

At a church in Nadia, the Good Shepherd looks like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the 15th century Vaishnavite saint of Bengal, his arms raised in a beatific trance. At this rate, can the cross taking the shape of a trishul be far behind? http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20080512&fname=Church+%28F%29&sid=1 

It is not totally baseless if Hindu leaders fear that ‘Indianisation of Christianity’  is meant to bring about ‘Christianisation of India’. Nitya Chaitanya Guru

What’s in a Name? @ http://indiasecular.wordpress.com/2007/08/22/what-is-in-name/

Interview of Evangelist @ http://indiasecular.wordpress.com/2007/10/07/interview-of-anevangelist/

Evangelism for Sikhs @ http://www.info-sikh.com/PageChris1.html

Tsunami Muslims Christianized @ http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2005-01/13/article05.shtml

Religious Harmony @ http://www.crusadewatch.org/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=928

Inculturation Danger @ . http://newstodaynet.com/col.php?section=20&catid=29

Contextualizing Gospel for Sikhs @ http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=26542

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** LTTE-Sonia link ?

An LTTE-Sonia family link?

S. Gurumurthy,Newindpress
April 29 2008
 
The LTTE suicide squad did plan and eliminate Rajiv Gandhi. But, why did the LTTE do it? Was there a larger conspiracy that extended beyond the LTTE as the strike force?
Was the LTTE the author of the crime or the mercenary for some one else or for some purpose that yielded some benefit to it? These questions persisted even after the actual assassins were brought to book.
The Narasimha Rao government appointed the Jain Commission to go into the conspiracy angle to the murder.In its interim report the commission did exceedingly good work to bring on record evidence about the political forces involved in promoting the LTTE in Tamil Nadu that made the crime possible.
Yet it made a mockery of its main work, the conspiracy angle. It floated dubious and wild theories, involving Mossad! CIA! Besides adding confusion, it ended up trivialising a very serious exercise. This also robbed the commission of its credibility.
As the commission’s final report proved a flop, the Vajpayee government appointed a Multi- Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) in 1998 to unearth the conspiracy angle.
But the person who first demanded, but, ultimately made, investigation into the conspiracy to murder Rajiv Gandhi irrelevant was none other than his widow Sonia Gandhi.
Her attitude to the investigation and suspected actors in the murder dramatically changed. Her conduct in 1997 when she was working to enter active politics was a stark contrast to her attitude after taking over the congress leadership on the Jain Commission issue.
In 1997, she demanded that the DMK which, the Jain commission had said, was part of the conspiracy, be sacked as a partner of the UF alliance and pulled down the government when the demand was not met. Her party insisted the entire facts about the conspiracy be investigated and revealed.
Addressing a meeting at Amethi, Sonia hinted that the DMK was a fan of the LTTE and charged that those who doubted the Jain commission report were diverting the attention from the investigation into the conspiracy to murder Rajiv and demanded that the probe be completed expeditiously (Indian Express 2.2.1998).
 
But, once she took over the party leadership, she not only ceased to evince any interest in pursuing the Rajiv Gandhi murder conspiracy, but also began allying with the alleged conspirators themselves.
The developments, put together, reveal a shocking picture.The year after taking over the Congress, Sonia Gandhi makes a secret move.
In the year 1999, she told then President Dr K R Narayanan privately that ‘neither she nor her son and daughter wanted any of the four convicts’ sentenced to death for Rajiv’s assassination ‘to be hanged’, and pleaded that no child should be orphaned by an act of the State.
Noted the Indian Express (Nov 20, 1999) that before her plea for mercy to the Rajiv killers the Congress party was the leading opponent of mercy to them. This silenced the party once and for all.
What transpired at her private meeting with the President was revealed not by Sonia, but by Mohini Giri (the former chairperson of the National Women’s Commission) and on that basis Nalini’s death sentence was commuted to life. (Frontline Nov 5-18, 2005).
Then, in February 2004, there were reports, editorially commented by the Island newspaper in Colombo on Feb 20, 2004, that Eduardo Faleiro, her emissary, had a secret meeting with the LTTE chief Prabhakaran at Killinochi. Island had also referred to reports that Sonia’s mother Ms Paula Maino had met Anton Balasingham, LTTE’s point man in London, in connection with the electoral alliance between the DMK and the Congress. While Eduardo Faleiro at least made a feeble attempt to deny the meeting, Paulo Maino would not even deny that.Third, the Paulo Maino meeting preceded, and the Faleiro meeting succeeded, the unbelievable U-turn of Sonia Gandhi to forge alliance with the DMK which was accused by her own party in 1997 of being part of the conspiracy to murder her husband. The DMK-Congress alliance seems to have been agreed upon sometime in December 2003. In January 2004, Sonia met the DMK chief and concretised the alliance.

The coming together of one of the alleged conspirators and the victim of the conspiracy made a mockery of any further investigation into Rajiv Gandhi murder.

For the last four years there is not a single word spoken by Sonia on pursuing the Rajiv Gandhi murderers and on unearthing the conspiracy or for the extradition of Prabhakaran or Pottu Amman.

This is despite the fact that, when, on April 10, 2002, Prabhakaran met the press at Killinochi, he did not even deny that LTTE was involved in Rajiv assassination.

Fourth, the LTTE too responded favourably to signals from Sonia that she was not against LTTE.

On January 27, 2006, Anton Balasingham, told an Indian TV news channel that the Rajiv killing was ‘monumental tragedy’ and asked the people of India to be ‘magnanimous to put the past behind’ and deal with the LTTE.

Fifth, Sonia did not object to the inclusion of the DMK woman MP in whose house Sivarasan the main killer of Rajiv Gandhi had stayed for which she was detained under the TADA, as a minister in the UPA government.

Sixth, the MDMA which was appointed by the NDA government after Sonia rejected the Action Taken Report on the Jain Commission, has virtually become defunct under the UPA regime.

Since 2004, she has not uttered a single word asking what the MDMA is doing.

And finally now in March 2008, Priyanka Vadra, Sonia’s daughter makes a secret visit to Vellore jail and meets the first accused in the murder of Rajiv, for over an hour.

Media reports say that they sat by each other’s side, cried and professed goodwill towards each other! No one knows what transpired between them. The meeting clearly illegal, looks almost a conspiracy, would have remained a secret had the media not exposed it.

Priyanka said that neither Sonia nor Rahul or Priyanka believe in hate or anger, and that the visit was her way of coming to terms with the Rajiv Gandhi murder.

Moral high ground seems to be a cover for undisclosed political strategies. But where was this high moral ground when Sonia angrily pulled down the UF government on the ground that DMK, a suspected co-conspirator with LTTE, was part of the alliance?

Is Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination a personal affair between the Sonia Gandhi family and the LTTE for the former to punish or pardon the latter?

LTTE has neither confessed nor regretted its action for the Gandhis to pardon. The LTTE is even today unrepenting.

The prosecution case is that the LTTE supremo decided to avenge Rajiv Gandhi for sending IPKF to Sri Lanka and betraying the LTTE. But that was no personal decision of Rajiv Gandhi. The assassination was an act against the state of India.

This is how it should be seen and pursued. Neither Sonia nor Priyanka nor the Congress has the right to pardon the criminals who have challenged the sovereignty of India.

QED: Sonia Gandhi family and the LTTE connection is mysterious. Is the maverick Dr Subramanian Swamy right after all in his theory that LTTE and the Maino family have had links before?  http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IEM20080428231348&Title=Main+Article&rLink=0  
RELATED STORIES:   

 

Do you know Sonia : Subramanian Swamy @ http://www.saveindi aforum.com/ dynamic/
Sonia Cong’s blitzkrieg evangelisation thru RBI: V. Sundaram @ http://www.newstodaynet.com/2007sud/may07/230507.htm  

She became loyal bit late: by Gurumurthy@ https://indiaview.wordpress.com/2007/06/14/she-became-loyal-to-india-a-trifle-late/

Demo-narchy of India @ https://indiaview.wordpress.com/2007/08/01/de%e2%80%99mo-narchy-of-democratic-india/

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** NEVER forget History

Rewriting Indian History
by Francois Gautier

Book Review: C.J.S. Walia

“From my perspecive as a secular humanist, and my own experience, I regard a typical liberal Indian Muslim to be as good a human being as any other Indian.” c.j.s. wallia

Rewriting Indian History is a provocative new book by the French writer Francois Gautier, who currently serves as the political correspondent in India for France’s top newspaper, Le Figaro, and for Switzerland’s leading daily, Le Nouveau Quotidien.

Having lived in India for 25 years has helped him “to see through the usual cliches and prejudices in India to which I subscribed for a long time, as most foreign (and sometimes, unfortunately, Indian) journalists, writers, and historians do.”

Rewriting Indian History,the author prefaces, “might well be called an antithesis” for it questions many of the assumptions in the “standard” treatises by Euro-centered colonialist historians and their imitations by Indian Marxist writers.

Gautier focuses mainly on the Muslim period of India’s history. “Let it be said right away: the massacres perpetrated by Muslims in India are unparalleled in history, bigger than the holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis; or the massacre of the Armenians by the Turks; more extensive even than the slaughter of the South American native populations by the invading Spanish and Portuguese.”

However, the British, in pursuing their policy of divide-and-rule, colluded “to whitewash” the atrocious record of the Muslims so that they could set up the Muslims as a strategic counterbalance to the Hindus.

During the freedom struggle, Gandhi and Nehru went around encrusting even thicker coats of whitewash so that they could pretend a facade of Hindu-Muslim unity against British colonial rule.

After independence, Marxist Indian writers, blinkered by their distorting ideology, repeated the big lie about the Muslim record.

Gautier cites two eminent historians who wrote free of any colonialist or ideological agendas, basing their accounts on documents by contemporary Muslim chroniclers themselves: Alain Danielou in Histoire de la Inde: “From the time Muslims started arriving, around 632 AD, the history of India becomes a long, monotonous series of murders, massacres, spoilations, destructions. It is, as usual, in the name of ‘a holy war’ of their faith, of their sole God, that the barbarians have destroyed civilisations, wiped out entire races.”

And the well-known American historian Will Durant in The Story of Civilization: “…the Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex order and freedom can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without and multiplying from within.”

(From my perspecive as a secular humanist, and my own experience, I regard a typical liberal Indian Muslim to be as good a human being as any other Indian.)

Gautier should have continued with the Will Durant quote: “The Hindus had allowed their strength to be wasted in internal division and war; they had adopted religions like Buddhism and Jainism, which unnerved them for the tasks of life; they had failed to organize their forces for the protection of their frontiers and their capitals, their wealth and their freedom, from the hordes of Scythians, Huns, Afghans and Turks hovering about India’s boundaries and waiting for national weakness to let them in. For four hundred years (600-1000 A.D.) India invited conquest; and at last it came.

This is the secret of the political history of modern India. Weakened by division, it succumbed to invaders; impoverished by invaders, it lost all power of resistance, and took refuge in supernatural consolations; it argued that both mastery and slavery were superficial delusions, and concluded that freedom of the body or the nation was hardly worth defending in so brief a life.

The bitter lesson that may be drawn from this tragedy is that eternal vigilance is the price of civilization. A nation must love peace, but keep its powder dry.”

About Gandhi’s whitewash of Muslims, Gautier observes: “Ultimately, it must be said that whatever his saintliness, his extreme and somehow rigid asceticism, Gandhi did enormous harm to India… The British must have rubbed their hands in glee: here was a man who was perfecting their policy of divide-and-rule, for ultimately no one contributed more to the partition of India, by his obsession to always give in to the Muslims; by his indulgence of Jinnah, going as far as proposing to make him the prime minister of India.”

Worse yet, Gandhi’s anointed disciple, Nehru, propagated false readings of Indian history in his books and speeches. Gautier quotes Nehru’s “amazing eulogy” of the tyrant Mahmud Ghazni, the destroyer of Mathura’s great Hindu temples, Gujarat’s Somnath, and numerous other Hindu and Buddhist temples.

When Nehru, the arrant appeaser of Muslims, became India’s first prime minister, he appointed a fundamentalist Muslim, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, as the first education minister.

Under Nehru’s pseudo-secular rule, “Hindu-bashing became a popular pastime.”

Moreover, Nehru “had a great sympathy for communism…. He encouraged Marxist think-tanks such as the Jawaharlal Nehru University [JNU] in New Delhi, which has bred a lot of ‘Hindu-hating scholars’ who are adept at negating Muslim atrocities and running to the ground the greatness of Hinduism and its institutions.”

These Marxist “historians,” well-ensconced at JNU, have long been masterminding the politically correct textbooks of India’s history used in Indian schools. No wonder, JNU is also known as “the Kremlin by the Jumna.”

For a long time, the Indian Marxists had been so brainwashed that whenever it rained in Moscow — the capital of their “only true fatherland”– they opened their umbrellas in Delhi.

To be sure, dissenting voices were raised against Gandhi’s whitewash of Muslims. Before the partition of India, Aurobindo Ghosh, the great Hindu poet-philosopher, posed the question about Islam: “You can live with a religion whose principle is toleration. But how is it possible to live with a religion whose principle is ‘I will not tolerate you’? How are you going to have unity with these people?… I am sorry they [Gandhi and Nehru] are making a fetish of Hindu-Muslim unity. It is no use ignoring facts; some day the Hindus will have to fight Muslims and they must prepare for it. Hindu-Muslim unity should not mean the subjection of Hindus. Each time the mildness of the Hindus has given way. The best solution would be to allow the Hindus to organise themselves and Hindu-Muslim unity will take care of itself, it will automatically solve the problem. …I see no reason why the greatness of India’s past or its spirituality should be thrown into the waste basket, in order to conciliate the Muslims who would not be conciliated by such policy.”

Another strong dissenter was Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Seeing through Nehru’s pseudo-secularism, Patel commented, “There’s only one nationalist Muslim in India: Jawarharlal Nehru.”

Gautier warns: “Even today, there is no doubt that Islam has never been fully able to give up its inner conviction that its own religion is the only true creed and that all others are kafirs, infidels. In India it was true 300 years ago, and it is still true today. Remember the cry of the militants in Kashmir to the Pandits: ‘convert to Islam or die!’ … The Hindu-Muslim question is just plainly a Muslim obsession, their hatred of the Hindu pagans, their contempt for this polytheist religion.

This obsession, this hate, is as old as the first invasion of India by the original Arabs in 650 AD. After independence, nothing has changed: the sword of Allah is still as much ready to strike the kafirs, the idolaters of many gods.”

The source of Muslim’s fanatical aggression, Gautier points out, is the Koran itself, from which he quotes: “Slay the infidels, wherever ye find them and prepare them for all kind of ambush”; and “Choose not thy friends among the infidels till they forsake their homes and the way of idolatory. If they return to paganism then take them whenever you find them and kill them.”

In the section on Ayodhya, Gautier says that demolishing the Babri Masjid has proved that Hindus too can fight.

He criticizes Nehruvian “secularism” as interpreted by the Congress party to mean “giving in to the Muslims’ demands, because its leaders never could really make out if the allegiance of Indian Muslims is first to India and then to Islam or vice-versa.”

For many of India’s Hindu journalists, this pseudo-secularism has meant “spitting on their own religion and brothers.” Curiously, Gautier does not mention Arun Shourie’s well-researched, lucidly articulated columns, which, in recent years, have laid bare the pretentions of Nehruvian pseudo-secularism.

From my own perspective as a secular humanist, I believe that any whitewashing of historical record is counterproductive. No matter how lofty the ideals of a current cause, any whitewash of history tempts the fates. To forget history will always be fateful; to forgive its horrendous facts can be redemptive. Forgive — but never forget — history.

A salient example of making sure that the horrors of history are not forgotten is the contemporary German state’s law prohibiting any World War II history that whitewashes the holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis on the Jews, Gypsies, and Poles.

The Jews rightly insist that the world must never forget what happened to them.

Where is the Hindu Holocaust Museum?

The historical record of the Muslim rule in India is soaked in blood — just take a look at the documents left by contemporary Muslim chroniclers.

Yet, as a secular humanist, I would like to make a distinction between an ideology and its adherents, especially those born into it. From my own experience, I regard a typical liberal Indian Muslim to be as good a human being as any other Indian.

In the opening chapter, Gautier briefly examines the “tainted glasses” which made Euro-centered historians expound gross “disinformations” about ancient India: the discredited Aryan invasion theory; the deliberate mistranslations of the Vedas; and the erroneous theory of the origin of the caste system.

Throughout the book, Gautier quotes Sri Aurobindo, and in the concluding chapter, “The Final Dream,” pays an inspired homage to the great visionary’s writings.

Like Konraad Elst’s Negationism in India: Concealing the Record of Islam, Francois Gautier’s Rewriting Indian History contributes to the growing literature of dissent against the “standard” textbooks of India’s history. http://www.indiastar.com/wallia10.htm

UPDATE :

1)Censoring History?? @ http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=238&page=28

2) Negationism in India: Concealing the Record of Islam @ http://koenraadelst.voiceofdharma.org/books/negaind/index.htm

3) “Genocide” of Hindus @ http://www.hinduholocaust.com/Articles/islamicgenocide.htm

4) “Chittor” by Ishtiaq Ahmad @ http://www.hinduholocaust.com/Articles/chittor.htm

6) Demons from Past @ http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_30-8-2004_pg3_4

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** MOTIVATION of Indologists

Early Indologists – a Study in Motivation

Svami B.V. Giri

The First Pioneers of Indology

indology indiaIt may be surprising to learn that the first pioneer in indology was the 12th Century Pope, Honorius IV. The Holy Father encouraged the learning of oriental languages in order to preach Christianity amongst the pagans.

Soon after this in 1312, the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican decided that-

“The Holy Church should have an abundant number of Catholics well versed in the languages, especially in those of the infidels, so as to be able to instruct them in the sacred doctrine.”

The result of this was the creation of the chairs of Hebrew, Arabic and Chaldean at the Universities of Bologna, Oxford, Paris and Salamanca. A century later in 1434, the General Council of Basel returned to this theme and decreed that –

“All Bishops must sometimes each year send men well-grounded in the divine word to those parts where Jews and other infidels live, to preach and explain the truth of the Catholic faith in such a way that the infidels who hear them may come to recognize their errors. Let them compel them to hear their preaching.” 1

Centuries later in 1870, during the First Vatican Council, Hinduism was condemned in the “five anathemas against pantheism” according to the Jesuit priest John Hardon in the Church-authorized book, The Catholic Catechism. However, interests in indology only took shape when the British came to India.

A Short History of the British in India
Whilst the 17th century marked the zenith of India’s mediaeval glory, the 18th century was a flagrant display of degradation, misery, and anarchy. The Moghul Empire was at its end, the nobility had become corrupt and oppressive, and intellectual curiosity had given way to superstitious beliefs. The country was in a state of military and political turmoil, and literature, art and culture could hardly flourish in such an atmosphere. Into this scenario came the European traders.

It was the Portuguese and the Dutch who were the first Europeans to arrive in India. When the French and the British came on the scene, all parties began vying for commercial power over India’s ports. Through financial aid from their governments, treaties with local rulers and huge armies of mercenaries, the foreign trading companies gradually became more powerful than the deteriorating Moghul empire.

The turning point came in 1757 when the British East India Company defeated an Indian army at the Battle of Plassey, and thus gained supremacy. Through treaties and annexation, the Company soon took full control of the subcontinent and ceded it to the British government.

At first, the British government remained cautious in forcing any religious change upon the Indians. This policy seemed to be practical in ruling several hundred million Indians without sparking off a rebellion.

Or as one tea-dealer Mr.Twinning put it -

“As long as we continue to govern India in the mild, tolerant spirit of Christianity, we may govern it with ease; but if ever the fatal day should arrive, when religious innovation shall set her foot in that country, indignation will spread from one end of the Hindustan to the other, and the arms of fifty millions of people will drive us from that portion of the globe, with as much ease as the sand of the desert is scattered by the wind”.

Another point of view in support of that policy was by Montgomery.

“Christianity had nothing to teach Hinduism, and no missionary ever made a really good Christian convert in India. He was more anxious to save the 30,000 of his country-men in India than to save the souls of all the Hindus by making them Christians at so dreadful a price”.

Thus, under the authority of Lord Cornwallis (1786-1805) a mood of laissez-faire dominated the British attitude towards the Indian and his religious practices. The Governor-general in 1793 had decreed to -

“…preserve the laws of the Shaster and the Koran, and to protect the natives of India in the free exercise of their religion.”

However, one year before this law was put into effect, the author Charles Grant wrote,

“The Company manifested a laudable zeal for extending, as far as its means went, the knowledge of the Gospel to the pagan tribes among whom its factories were placed.”

In 1808 he described the opening of Christian missionary schools and translations of the Bible into Indian languages as “principal efforts made under the patronage of the British government in India, to impart to the natives a knowledge of Christianity.”

Despite this, the British showed little interest in Vedic scriptures. Doubtless this was in part a reflection of the usual British attitude to India during most of the period of the Raj – that India was simply a profitable nuisance.

Back home in England the various political parties had different opinions in how India should be managed. The Conservatives, though they accepted that to overthrow Indian tradition would be a difficult task, were interested in improving the Indian way of life, but stressed extreme caution for fear of an uprising. The Liberal party felt the gradual necessity of introducing western standards and values into India. The Rationalists had a more radical approach. Their belief was that reason could abolish human ignorance, and since the West was the champion of reason, the East would profit by its association.

It would be accurate to say that to the 18th century Englishmen, religion meant Christianity. Of course, racism played its part also. This attitude of Europeans toward Indians was due to a sense of superiority – a cherished conviction that was shared by every Englishman in India, from the highest to the lowest.

Upon his arrival in 1810, the Governor-general Marquis of Hastings wrote:

“…the Hindoo appears a being merely limited to mere animal functions, and even in them indifferent…with no higher intellect than a dog…”

European Evangelism in India: William Carey

Christian evangelists were horrified that the Company could take the idolatry and improprieties of a pagan culture seriously. In their eyes, any kind of support or appreciation for the religion of the ‘pagans’ was tantamount to blasphemy.

In 1825 the British scholar John Bentley wrote of his conflict with the scientist John Playfair, who was an admirer of Indian culture -

‘By his [Playfair's] attempt to uphold the antiquity of Hindu books against absolute facts, he thereby supports all those horrid abuses and impositions found in them, under the pretended sanction of antiquity….Nay, his aim goes still deeper; for by the same means he endeavors to overturn the Mosaic account, and sap the very foundation of our religion: for if we are to believe in the antiquity of Hindu books, as he would wish us, then the Mosaic account is all a fable, or fiction.’ 2

Seeing India as an unlimited field for missionary activity, and insisting that it was part of a Christian government’s duty to promote this, Christian missionaries came to India without any government approval.

William Carey (1761-1834) was the pioneer of the modern missionary enterprise in India, and of western (missionary) scholarship in oriental studies. Carey was an English oriental scholar and the founder of the Baptist Missionary Society.

From 1801 onward, as Professor of Oriental Languages, he composed numerous philosophical works, consisting of ‘grammars and dictionaries in the Marathi, Sanskrit, Punjabi, Telugu, Bengali and Bhatanta dialects. From the Serampor press, there issued in his life time, over 200,000 Bibles and portions in nearly 40 different languages and dialects, Carey himself undertaking most of the literary work. 3

Carey and his colleagues experimented with what came to be known as Church Sanskrit. He wanted to train a group of ‘Christian Pandits’ who would probe “these mysterious sacred nothings” and expose them as worthless.

He was distressed that this “golden casket (of Sanskrit) exquisitely wrought” had remained “filled with nothing but pebbles and trash.” He was determined to fill it with “riches – beyond all price,” that is, the doctrine of Christianity. 4

In fact, Carey smuggled himself into India and caused so much trouble that the British government labeled him as a political danger. After confiscating a batch of Bengali pamphlets printed by Carey, the Governor-general Lord Minto described them as –

“Scurrilous invective…Without arguments of any kind, they were filled with hell fire and still hotter fire, denounced against a whole race of men merely for believing the religion they were taught by their fathers.”

Unfortunately Carey and other preachers of his ilk finally gained permission to continue their campaigns without government approval.

Other Preachers
Another preacher, William Archer, wrote in his book, India and the Future

“The plain truth concerning the mass of the [Indian] population — and the poorer classes alone — is that they are not civilized people.”

Reverend A.H. Bowman wrote that Hinduism was a –

“…great philosophy which lives on unchanged whilst other systems are dead, which as yet unsupplanted has its stronghold in Vedanta, the last and the most subtle and powerful foe of Christianity.”

In 1790, Dr.Claudius Bucchanan, a missionary attached to the East India Company, arrived in Bengal. Not long after his arrival, the good doctor stated-

“Neither truth, nor honesty, honor, gratitude, nor charity, is to be found in the breast of a Hindoo.”

Bucchanan traveled to Puri in Orissa and witnessed the annual Ratha-yatra (or as Bucchanan called it, ‘The horrors of Juggernaut’). His description of Jagannatha – ‘The Indian Moloch’, has been recorded by the historian George Gogerly as- “…a frightful visage painted black, with a distended mouth of bloody horror.” Perhaps, by seeing the face of Lord Jagannatha, the British hallucinated and saw a projection of their own international destiny of bloodshed and carnage.

In any case, from the time the British observed the ‘terrifying’ sight of the Lord on His gigantic chariot, the word ‘juggernaut’ entered the English language and became synonymous with any great force that crushes everything in its path.

Gogerly went on to write –

“The whole history of this famous god (Krsna) is one of lust, robbery, deceit and murder…the history of the whole hierarchy of Hindooism is one of shameful iniquity, too vile to be described.”

The prominent missionary, Alexander Duff (1806-1878) founded the Scottish Churches College, in Calcutta, which he envisioned as a “headquarters for a great campaign against Hinduism.” Duff sought to convert the Indians by enrolling them in English-run schools and colleges, and placed emphasis on learning Christianity through the English language.

Duff wrote -

While we rejoice that true literature and science are to be substituted in place of what is demonstrably false, we cannot but lament that no provision has been made for substituting the only true religion-Christianity – in place of the false religion which our literature and science will inevitably demolish… Of all the systems of false religion ever fabricated by the perverse ingenuity of fallen man, Hinduism is surely the most stupendous.”

Duff received remarkable success in his educational and missionary activities amongst the higher classes in Calcutta. The number of students in the mission schools was four times higher than that in government schools.

It is an axiomatic truth that the aim of missionaries like Duff was not so much education than conversion.

They were obliged to use the excuse of education in order to meet he needs of the converted population, and more importantly, to train up Indian assistants to help them in their proselytizing.

Duff remained unsatisfied with converting Indians belonging to low-castes and orphans – his chosen target was the higher castes, specifically the brahmanas, in order to accelerate the demise of Hinduism.

Many Englishmen patronized missionary schools such as Duffs. Charles Trevelyan, an officer with the East India Company asserted in a widely circulated tract-

” The multitudes who flock to our schools … cannot return under the dominion of the Brahmins. The spell has been forever broken. Hinduism is not a religion that will bear examination… It gives away at once before the light of European sciences.”

J.N. Farquhar, a Scottish clergyman, preached in India from 1891 to 1923, during which time he wrote a book called The Crown of Hinduism. In this work he says that although Hinduism may have some good points, ultimately true salvation can only be achieved through Christ, who is the ‘crown of Hinduism’.

Reverend William Ward, an English missionary, wrote a four-volume polemic in which he characterized the Hindu faith as “a fabric of superstition” concocted by Brahmins, and as “the most complete system of absolute oppression that perhaps ever existed”.

Richard Temple, a high officer, said in an 1883 speech to a London missionary society:

” India presents the greatest of all fields of missionary exertion… India is a country which of all others we are bound to enlighten with external truth…But what is most important to you friends of missions, is this – that there is a large population of aborigines, a people who are outside caste….If they are attached, as they rapidly may be, to Christianity, they will form a nucleus round which British power and influence may gather.”

He addressed a mission in New York in bolder terms:

“Thus India is like a mighty bastion which is being battered by heavy artillery. We have given blow after blow, and thud after thud, and the effect is not at first very remarkable; but at last with a crash the mighty structure will come toppling down, and it is our hope that someday the heathen religions of India will in like manner succumb.”

Indian religion was thus perceived by the British missionaries as an enemy waiting to be conquered by the army of Jesus.

It was a doctrine of Satan which provided Christianity with devils to exorcise and which, in their view, was “at best, work of human folly and at worst the outcome of a diabolic inspiration.” 5

In the word of Charles Grant (1746-1823), Chairman of the East India Company:

“We cannot avoid recognizing in the people of Hindustan a race of men lamentably degenerate and base…governed by malevolent and licentious passions…and sunk in misery by their vices.”

One Professor McKenzie, of Bombay found the ethics of India defective, illogical and anti-social, lacking any philosophical foundation, nullified by abhorrent ideas of asceticism and ritual and altogether inferior to the ‘higher spirituality’ of Europe. He devoted most of his book ‘Hindu Ethics‘ to upholding this thesis and came to the conclusion that Vedic philosophical ideas, ‘when logically applied leave no room for ethics’; and that they prevent the development of a strenuous moral life.’

All efforts were made by the missionaries to portray Hinduism as backwards, illogical, debauched and perverse. As one preacher exclaimed,

‘The curse of India is the Hindoo religion. More than two hundred million people believe a monkey mixture of mythology that is strangling the nation.’ ‘He who yearns for God in India soon loses his head as well as his heart.’

The missionaries opposed the government’s efforts to take a neutral stand towards Indian culture and worked with more zeal for the complete conversion of the natives. Thus India became an arena for religious adventure.

The First Scholars: Sir William Jones
Sir William Jones (1746-1794) was the first Britisher to learn Sanskrit and study the Vedas. He was educated at Oxford University and it was here that he studied law and also began his studies in oriental languages, of which he is said to have mastered sixteen.

After being appointed as judge of the Supreme Court, Jones went to Calcutta in 1783. He founded the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal and translated a number of Sanskrit texts into English. Jones was not prone to criticize other religions, especially the Vedic religion, which he respected and adored.

He wrote –

“I am in love with Gopia, charmed with Crishen (Krishna), an enthusiastic admirer of Raama and a devout adorer of Brihma (Brahma), Bishen (Vishnu), Mahisher (Maheshwara); not to mention that Judishteir, Arjen, Corno (Yudhishtira, Arjuna, Karna) and the other warriors of the M’hab’harat appear greater in my eyes than Agamemnon, Ajax and Achilles apperaed when I first read the Iliad” 6

However, Jones was a devout Christian and could not free himself of the restraints of Biblical chronology. His theories of dating Indian history, specifically Candragupta Maurya’s reign up to the invasions of India by Alexander were certainly dictated to him through religious bias.

He also described the Srimad Bhagavatam as “a motley story” and claimed that it had it’s roots in the Christian Gospels, which had been brought to India and, ‘repeated to the Hindus, who ingrafted them on the old fable of Ce’sava, (Kesava)’.

Of course, this theory has been debunked since records of Krsna worship predate Christ by centuries. (See Heliodorus Column)

In 1840 Jones was appointed Chief Justice in the British settlement of Fort William. Here, in 1846, he translated into English the famous play ‘Sakuntala’ by Kalidasa and ‘The Code of Manu’ in 1851, the year of his death. After him, his younger associate, Sir Henry Thomas Colebrooke, continued in his stead and wrote many articles on Hinduism.

The eminent British historian James Mill (father of the philosopher John Stuart Mill) who had published his voluminous History of British India in 1818 heavily criticized Jones.

Although Mill spoke no Indian languages, had never studied Sanskrit, and had never been to India, his damning indictment of Indian culture and religion had become a standard work for all Britishers who would serve in India. Mill vehemently believed that India had never had a glorious past and treated this as an historical fantasy.

To him, Indian religion meant, ‘The worship of the emblems of generative organs’ and ascribing to God, ‘…an immense train of obscene acts.’ Suffice to say that he disagreed violently with Jones for his ‘Hypothesis of a high state of civilization.’

Mill’s History of British India was greatly influenced by the famous French missionary Abbe Dubois’s book Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies. This work, which still enjoys a considerable amount of popularity to this day, contains one chapter on Hindu temples, wherein the Abbe writes:

“Hindu imagination is such that it cannot be excited except by what is monstrous and extravagant.”

H.H. Wilson
Horace Hayman Wilson (1786-1860) has been described as ‘the greatest Sanskrit scholar of his time’. He received his education in London and traveled to India in the East India Companies medical service. He became the secretary of the Asiatic Society of Bengal from 1811 to 1833 and published a Sanskrit to English dictionary. He became Boden professor of Sanskrit at Oxford in 1833 and the director of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1837.

He translated the Visnu Purana, Rg Veda and wrote books such as Lectures on the Religious and Philosophical Systems of the Hindus. He edited a number of translations of eastern texts and helped Mill compile his History of India, although later Wilson criticized Mill’s historiography, stating –

“Mill’s view of Hindu religion is full of very serious defects, arising from inveterate prejudices and imperfect knowledge. Every text, every circumstance, that makes against the Hindu character, is most assiduously cited, and everything in its favor as carefully kept out of sight, whilst a total neglect is displayed of the history of Hindu belief.”7

Wilson seemed somewhat of an enigma; on one hand he proposed that Britain should restrain herself from forcing Christianity upon the Indians and forcing them to reject their old traditions.

Yet in the same breath he exclaimed:

“From the survey which has been submitted to you, you will perceive that the practical religion of the Hindus is by no means a concentrated and compact system, but a heterogeneous compound made up of various and not infrequently incompatible ingredients, and that to a few ancient fragments it has made large and unauthorized additions, most of which are of an exceedingly mischievous and disgraceful nature. It is, however, of little avail yet to attempt to undeceive the multitude; their superstition is based upon ignorance, and until the foundation is taken away, the superstructure, however crazy and rotten, will hold together.”

Wilson’s view was that Christianity should replace the Vedic culture, and he believed that full knowledge of Indian traditions would help effect that conversion.

Aware that the Indians would be reluctant to give up their culture and religion, Wilson made the following remark:

“The whole tendency of brahminical education is to enforce dependence upon authority – in the first instance upon the guru, the next upon the books. A learned brahmana trusts solely to his learning; he never ventures upon independent thought; he appeals to memory; he quotes texts without measure and in unquestioning trust.

It will be difficult to persuade him that the Vedas are human and very ordinary writings, that the puranas are modern and unauthentic, or even that the tantras are not entitled to respect. As long as he opposes authority to reason, and stifles the workings of conviction by the dicta of a reputed sage, little impression can be made upon his understanding. Certain it is, therefore, that he will have recourse to his authorities, and it is therefore important to show that his authorities are worthless.”

Wilson felt hopeful that by inspired, diligent effort the “specious” system of Vedic thought would be “shown to be fallacious and false by the Ithuriel spear of Christian truth. He also was ready to award a prize of two hundred pounds “…for the best refutation of the Hindu religious system.”

Wilson also wrote a detailed method for exploiting the native Vedic psychology by use of a bogus guru-disciple relationship.

Recently Wilson has been accused of invalid scholarship. Natalie P.R. Sirkin has presented documented evidence, which shows that Wilson was a plagiarist. Most of his most important works were collected manuscripts of a deceased author that he published under his own names, as well as works done without research.

Thomas Babbington Macaulay
Thomas Babbington Macaulay (1800-59) is best known for introducing English education in India. Though not a missionary himself, he believed that Christianity held the key to the problem of curing India’s ignorance.

Although he confessed to have no knowledge of Sanskrit and Arabic, he did not hesitate to belittle the religious works of the East. In 1838 there was some debate on India’s Supreme Ruling Council, chaired by Lord Bentinck. 8

As to the value of teaching Sanskrit and India’s classical literatures, as well as regional languages, in schools to be established by the British for the education of the Indian people, A few members of the Council were mildly in favor of it, but the elegantly expressed, fully ethnocentric and Philistine view of Macaulay prevailed. In his Education Minute, Macaulay wrote that he couldn’t find one Orientalist.

“…who could deny that a single shelf of good European library is worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia…Are we to teach false history, false astronomy, false medicine because we find them in company with false religion? The intrinsic superiority of the Western literature is, indeed, fully admitted by those members of the Committee who support the Oriental plan of education…The superiority of the Europeans becomes absolutely immeasurable.”

He went on to make the outrageous assertion that –

“…all the historical information which has been collected from all the books written in the Sanscrit language is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgements used in preparatory schools in England.”

He then made the following creatively expressed, though uneducated assertion as his central statement of belief –

“The question now before us is simply whether, when it is in our power to teach the (English) language, we shall teach language in which…there are no books on any subject which deserve to be compared to our own…whether, when we can patronize sound philosophy and true history, we shall countenance at the public expense medical doctrines which would disgrace an English farrier, astronomy which would move laughter in girls at an English boarding school, history abounding in kings thirty feet high and reigns thirty-thousand years long, and geography made up of seas of treacle and rivers of butter… I would at once stop the printing of Arabic and Sanscrit books, I would abolish the Madrassa and the Sanscrit (sic) college at Calcutta.”

In a letter to his father in 1836, Macaulay exclaimed –

“…It is my belief that if our plans of education are followed up, there will not be a single idolator among the respectable classes in Bengal thirty years hence. And this will be effected without any efforts to proselytize, without the smallest interference with religious liberty, by natural operation of knowledge and reflection. I heartily rejoice in the project.”

In other words, Lord Macaulay believed that by knowledge and reflection, the Hindus would turn their backs upon the religion of their forefathers and take up Christianity.

In order to do this, he planned to use the strength of the educated Indians against them by using their scholarship to uproot their own traditions, or in his own words – ” Indian in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinion, in morals, in intellect.”

He firmly believed that, “No Hindu who has received an English education ever remains sincerely attached to his religion.”

To further this end Macaulay wanted a competent scholar who could interpret the Vedic scriptures in such a manner that the newly educated Indian youth would see how barbaric their native superstitions actually were. Macaulay finally found such a scholar in Fredrich Max Mueller.http://www.gosai.com/chaitanya/saranagati/html/vedic-age_fs.html

india indology continues with Part 2  — Max Mueller . . .

Plot to Denigrate India @ https://indiaview.wordpress.com/2007/07/29/dalit-twist-to-textbook-row/

Invading the Sacred @ http://worldmonitor.wordpress.com/2007/08/13/invading-the-sacred/

Interview of an Evangelist @ http://indiasecular.wordpress.com/2007/10/07/interview-of-anevangelist/

Offensive Conversion @ http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=219&page=7

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Filed under Conversion by Missionaries, Indologists, Vedic History

** TRUTH OF GODHRA

The myth and truth of Godhra       
By Arvind Lavakare

Since no ‘secularist’ or ‘liberal’ or ‘objective’ person ever challenged the above sets of figures, some questions arise: Who killed 200-odd Hindus so early in those riots? Was it the police or the Hindus themselves? And what made those 40,000 Hindus rush to relief camps? Was it fear of Hindu mob violence, rape, arson and murder?

Two recent ‘news briefs’ in print are critical evidence of a reality that’s been totally ignored by our ‘liberals’ who have, for four years running, gone on and on and on about the ‘genocide’ of Muslims in Gujarat after the sudden inferno in the S-6 compartment of Sabarmati Express had consumed 58 Hindus, including 26 women and 12 children, returning home after performing kar seva at Ayodhya.

In its edition of March 19, 2006, The Sunday Express carried the following report from Ahmedabad:

“Post-Godhra riot case: 7 get lifer
The city sessions court on Friday convicted seven people in a post-Godhra riot case and sentenced them to life term for the murder of 35-year-old Mukesh Panchal, a resident of Lambha. He was attacked by the accused and went missing on November 7, 2003 from Shah-e-Alam Darwaza. His mutilated body was found near Chandoka Lake on November 11. One of the seven accused—Javed Shaukat Ali—meanwhile managed to give the cops a slip and fled from the court.”

In its edition of Wednesday, March 29, 2006 The Indian Express carried the following report, also datelined Ahmedabad:

“Nine get jail in post-Godhra riot case
The city sessions court on Tuesday convicted nine accused in a post-Godhra riot case. Additional Sessions Judge Sonia Gokani sentenced Mushtaq alias Kanio Ahmed Sheikh to 10 years in jail for murder and attempt to murder. Eight others were sentenced to 18 months in prison for unlawful assembly, possessing weapons and rioting.”

Out of the five convictions so far in l’affaire Godhra, the above two rip the blindfold on Godhra that the country was subjected to since March 2002. Those two convictions conclusively prove that even as some Hindus in Vadodra, Ahmedabad and a few other parts of Gujarat were provoked into insane killing, arson and loot by the S-6 carnage, the Muslims in that state were hardly the cattle hiding from the slaughter house that they have been made out by the “secularists” in and outside our national English media. Do you, for instance, recall reading about the mutilation of Mukesh Panchal’s cadaver in any of the English print media? Did you hear a sound byte about it on our TV?

Yes, despite all the media and the consequent political, propaganda about the ‘genocide’ of Gujarat’s Muslims, the reality is that some of that community were also engaged in murder, rioting and unlawful assembly with arms in hand.

This trend was discernible to the objective person four years ago itself. Thus, in its issue of April 28, 2002, The Times of India reporter, Sanjay Pandey, told us that of the 726 people who had been killed by then in the post-Godhra riots, 168 were Hindus. In its issue of June 24, 2002, India Today carried an article saying that the official figure of all people killed in Gujarat in the three months following the S-6 massacre was 800, of which a quarter were Hindus. The Union Home Ministry’s Annual Report 2002-03 said that about a third of the total dead in the Godhra riots were Hindus. It also said that, at one stage, 40,000 Hindus were in riot relief camps.

Since no ‘secularist’ or ‘liberal’ or ‘objective’ person ever challenged the above sets of figures, some questions arise: Who killed 200-odd Hindus so early in those riots? Was it the police or the Hindus themselves? And what made those 40,000 Hindus rush to relief camps? Was it fear of Hindu mob violence, rape, arson and murder?

More proof of the blindfold on Godhra came in 2005, when the UPA coalition (comprising the ‘secular’ friends of Muslims) made a statement in Parliament that 254 Hindus and 790 Muslims were killed in those riots.

But our national media simply refused to remove the blindfold on Godhra. Hence it was that the elites of our society continued to rant about the Gujarat ‘pogrom of genocide’; some cussed Indians even conspired to deny a US visa to the Chief Minister of one of the country’s fastest developing states.

Aiding and abetting that conspiracy were reports from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International et al. The National Human Rights Commission joined in; written lies by the likes of Arundhati Roy and fake e-mails added fuel to the fire. All of them went to town about the Gujarat ‘genocide’ with blinkers on, a blindfold underneath. None wanted to touch upon the minority community’s role in that tragedy.

But the latest criminal conviction of 16 Muslims evokes the recall of the Justice Tewatia Report on the Godhra issue published on April 26, 2002 under the aegis of the Council For International Affairs And Human Rights, based in New Delhi.

It was a report based on a six-day field study of a team headed by Justice D.S. Tewatia, former Chief Justice, Calcutta High Court and Punjab and Haryana High Court. Its other members were Dr J.C. Batra, senior advocate, Supreme Court, Dr Krishan Singh, academician, Jawahar Lal Kaul, veteran journalist, and Prof. B. K. Kuthiala, Dean, Faculty of Media Studies, G.J. University, Hisar.

The five-man team visited three affected areas and relief camps in Ahmedabad, interacting freely with the public and members of both communities, and without government interference. In Godhra, five delegations from both communities and also of mixed composition presented their views and facts to the team. Similarly, free discussions with the public and affected communities were held in Vadodra at seven affected areas and five relief camps. It collected information from the staff at the Godhra Railway Station, district administration, including the Collector and Police Commissioner, passengers traveling in Sabarmati Express on 27.02.02 in S-6 compartment as well as in other compartments, staff of the Fire Brigade, Godhra, reports in 22 newspapers and nine magazines (local, regional and Delhi) and views on media coverage articulated by some 500 persons including intellectuals like lawyers, doctors and businessmen. The site where the train was initially stopped and stoned was also visited. A high point was that 13 delegations consisting of 121 citizens met Justice Tewatia’s team and presented their viewpoints and information. The delegations ranged from the Association of Hoteliers to a group of Vanvasis and affected Muslim as well as Hindu women.

Based on the considerable oral, audio and visual evidence obtained from the above interactions, the Justice Tewatia team’s conclusions most relevant to the blindfold on Godhra were as follows:

  1. Burning of 58 Hindu pilgrims on February 27, 2002 was an act carried out at the behest of then government of Pakistan which had planned to burn the entire Sabarmati Express carrying some 2000 passengers. The primary objective was to create Hindu-Muslim communal conflagration in India. The actual perpetrators were jehadi elements in the predominantly Muslim town of Godhra where

    1. a very high traffic of telephone calls was recorded between Godhra and Pakistan, especially Karachi, before the date of the carnage

    2. an abnormally large number of passports were issued,

    3. there was a large number of persons without ration cards

    4. a large number of unemployed Muslims had mobile phones,

    5. though there is no tradition of being a Muslim pilgrim center and the local Muslims are not affluent, three istema (religious gatherings) have been held and attended by large numbers of foreigners, and

    6. an Assistant Collector (a young Muslim from eastern UP) went on leave two days before the gory incident and did not return till the middle of March though the district of his posting was aflame with communal riots much earlier.

  2. The vacuum pipe between the Coaches No. S-6 and S-7 was cut thereby preventing any further movement of the train. Miscreants threw bricks and stones at the train as soon as it left Godhra railway station. The stoning intensified after it finally stopped about 700 metres from the station. The passengers of the train, particularly Coaches S-5, S-6 and S-7, were the main targets. Burning missiles and acid bulbs were thrown on and in the coaches. One such acid missile landed in Coach S-7 and a fire started which the passengers were able to extinguish. But the attack continued and more burning missiles were thrown into the Coach S-6.

  3. In an effort to control the subsequent riots, the Gujarat government

  4. Publicly announced its decision to employ the Army on the evening of the day riots began on February 28 (Within less than 24 hours at least one brigade of Indian Army had air-landed at Ahmedabad),

  5. Made preventive arrests of over 33,000 people,

  6. Fired over 12,000 rounds of bullets,

  7. Fired over 15,000 rounds of tear gas shells,

  8. The involvement of Vanvasis in the post-Godhra riots added a new dimension to the communal violence. In rural areas the Vanvasis attacked the Muslim moneylenders, shopkeepers and the forest contractors. They used their traditional bow and arrows as also their implements used to cut trees and grass while attacking Muslims. They moved in groups and used coded signals for communication. Apparently, the accumulated anger of years of exploitation by Muslim moneylenders (interest of 50 per cent per annum), shopkeepers and forest contractors had become explosive after moneylenders sexually exploited their womenfolk.

  9. The media selected, distorted and added fiction to prove their respective points of view. The code of ethics prescribed by the Press Council of India was violated by the media with impunity. It so enraged the citizens that several concerned citizens in the disturbed areas suggested that peace could return to the state only if some of the TV channels were closed for some weeks. Even the Vanvasis complained that the media had no time to hear their agony and was spreading canards against the Hindus. Newspapers published in English from Delhi invariably editorialised the news. Direct and indirect comments in the news writing were so telling that the personal likes and dislikes of the news reporters were too obvious to be missed. They appeared to have assumed the role of crusaders against the State Government from day one. It coloured the entire operation of newsgathering, feature writing and editorials.

Conclusions 1 to 4 above are indicators as to why our national media, ever afraid to criticise the Muslim and ever ready to indulge in BJP/Hindu bashing, bypassed the Justice Tewatia Report, despite its high credentials and the fact that it was publicly released at a press conference in New Delhi. After all, our ‘secular’ national media simply could not have tolerated giving even a line to report’s conclusion 5 above. Hence, they simply buried the whole report itself, put a blindfold on the country vision of it. After all, they had found their Hindu-bashing agenda in the post-Godhra riots and they were hell-bent in pushing it full steam, right up to the Supreme Court and beyond to the United Nations.

Will the criminal conviction of 16 by two separate sessions judges in Ahmedabad remove the blindfold on Godhra that the ‘monster media’ put on the people of this country?

(The writer can be contacted at 202, Dosti Erica, Antop Hill, Wadala (E), Mumbai 400 037.)  URL: http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=129&page=17

Ayodhya and After - by Koenraad Elst @ http://koenraadelst.voiceofdharma.org/books/ayodhya/ch1.htm

——————-More below ———————-

Gujarat has outgrown riot

 - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer

A decade ago, during President Clinton’s embarrassment over his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, the White House spin doctors excelled themselves. At a time when the world was eagerly awaiting the publication of the Starr inquiry report, the President’s image handlers put out the word that this was a hurdle he would find extremely hard to negotiate. Soon the beltway was agog with speculation of an extremely damaging report and Clinton’s imminent resignation.
 
The Starr report, when it was released, was certainly an indictment of Clinton’s waywardness. However, it was nowhere as damaging as the political grapevine anticipated. In the backdrop of soaring expectations, the Starr report came to be viewed as a virtual exoneration of the President and provided him a much-needed political respite. Clinton’s handlers successfully created a mismatch between promise and delivery and neutralised the potentially damaging effects of the Starr inquiry.
 
The editors of Tehelka certainly succeeded in creating a buzz over a sting operation they promised would be “the most important story of our time” — a claim that invoked visions of Bob Woodward emulating what the Google advertisement suggested the Indiana Jones’ of the world do: Retire. It was also known that the story would centre on Gujarat and the one man who has defied the stormtroopers of secular fundamentalism. With Assembly elections a few weeks away, Tehelka’s hype suggested that this was the end of the road for Narendra Modi.
 
There was never any ambiguity over the central aim of the sting: To secure the downfall of Modi. The covert filming of half-crazed killers and braggarts had one objective: To somehow implicate Modi. The reporter Ashis Khetan quite openly admits that he was initially despatched to Gujarat to do “a sting operation on Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s involvement in a spate of fake encounter killings.”When that pre-judged investigation failed, Tehelka fell back on the riots of 2002. It successfully exposed the warped minds of those who participated in the killings. However, there is no question that the sting was driven by the sole aim of securing the downfall of Modi by non-electoral means. Journalism was the means to a political objective.
 
Journalists are not historians; they live for the moment. The bloodshed that began with the jihadi arson in Godhra has been in the public domain for five years.The butchery at Naroda Patiya and the Gulbarga Housing Society in Ahmedabad has been dissected and some of the perpetrators identified and charged in the courts. Activists have made films on the 2002 riots and been showered with awards by a grateful Congress establishment.
Novels centred on the Gujarat riots have routinely filled the remaindered sections of warehouses and “academic” studies have argued that “Hindu militancy” poses a greater threat than Al Qaeda.
 
 
The only problem with this inspired activism was that it left Modi politically unscathed. In the five years since the riots, Modi has established a few things. First, he has conclusively demonstrated that he has the popular mandate. Second, that despite loony voices on both sides of the sectarian divide, he is not going to be bogged down by identity politics.There have been no riots in the past five years and hopefully this track record will persist. The thrust of his administration has been rapid economic growth, administrative efficiency and modernisation. In five years, Modi has not only aroused regional pride, he has made Gujarat the best governed State.
 
The riots — horrible as they were – are fast becoming history. The people of Gujarat, both Hindus and Muslims, have moved on. No one, and certainly not the Congress, wanted the forthcoming elections to be dominated by sectarian tensions. There are other pressing concerns. By resurrecting the riots, without at the same time being able to nail Modi personally, the sting has raised the communal temperature needlessly and fuelled minority victimhood.
 
This is not to suggest that Tehelka shouldn’t have exposed the monsters; it should just have avoided the desperate search for a high political dividend.
URL:
http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnist1.asp?main_variable=Columnist&file_name=SWAPAN171%2Etxt&writer=SWAPAN&validit=yes

Related Story: 

A Requiem for Godhra  @ http://voxindica.blogspot.com/

 

BOGUS MEDIA ON SALE    @ http://indowave.tripod.com/AntiHinduMedia.html

 

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Filed under Anti-Hindu/ Bias, Burning Issues, POLITICS