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2010-03-10 10:50:43 UTC
WRAPUP 2-Japan finmin wary of any formal policy accord with BOJ

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By Hideyuki Sano TOKYO,
March 10 (Reuters) -

Japanese Finance Minister Naoto Kan shot down the idea of a formal
policy pact with the Bank of
Japan as the government aims to strike a delicate balance
between pushing the central bank to ease policy further and
respecting its independence. The idea of a formal policy accord has
been floated in the
past by critics of the central bank who feel it could be doing
more to combat grinding deflation that has plagued the world's
second-largest economy for most of the past 15 years. But Kan, who has
also been calling on the BOJ to take
bolder action, said he saw no immediate need for such a pact,
echoing the view held by a majority of policy makers and
politicians wary of threatening the central bank's
independence. "I gather advocates of such a policy want an arrangement
where the government increases the deficits and the BOJ
cooperates by buying more government debt," said Izuru Kato,
chief economist at Totan Research. "They must be thinking central bank
independence allows the
BOJ to be too hesitant about buying government bonds and
therefore they should strip the BOJ of its independence," Kato
said. Kan steered clear of saying exactly what he wants the
central bank to do at its policy meeting next week, where
further easing is likely to be discussed. [ID:nTOE6230A7] BOJ board
member Miyako Suda, seen as hawkish on monetary
policy, said on Wednesday that the central bank will maintain a
very accommodative stance, but she added that the BOJ had
implemented an appropriate policy on prices. "Suda did not sound so
positive about taking more steps
blindly. It's not clear how strong the measures the BOJ takes
next week will be," said Naomi Hasegawa, senior strategist at
Mitsubishi UFJ Securities. With the government's room for further
fiscal stimulus
limited by a public debt that is already close to 200 percent
of GDP, the six-month old administration has put pressure on
the central bank to stem deflation. But the BOJ's options are limited
as long as the economic
outlook remains weak. Expectations of further price declines in future
persuade consumers and companies to delay spending and
investment even longer, adding more pressure on the economy.
Until demand picks up and more money flows into the system,
prices will struggle to recover. The BOJ has said prices will rise
eventually as the economy
mends. TOO MUCH INDEPENDENCE? Japan's central bank law guarantees the
BOJ independence in
its policy decisions, but it also requires the bank to
communicate with the government to ensure its policy is in line
with the government's economic policy. Few in the top circle of
Japanese policymakers see the need
for a change in those stipulations. "I am cautious about the framework
of an accord," Kan, also
deputy prime minister, told a parliamentary committee on
Wednesday in response to an opposition lawmaker's question. But some
politicians, mostly from the opposition, have said
the BOJ needs to be more accountable for its decisions, blaming
it for putting Japan in deflation for much of the past 15
years. The BOJ is likely to debate easing again at its March 16-17
board meeting, after introducing a new funding operation in
December amid a wave of government pressure as the yen climbed
versus the dollar. [ID:nTOE6230A7] "If they increase the cheap funding
operation to replace
the corporate support scheme that expires in March, that's
probably already priced in," said Hasegawa of Mitsubishi UFJ
Securities. The Bank of Japan's Suda dropped few hints, repeating the
BOJ's view that easy policy alone is no panacea for deflation.
"Although maintaining easy monetary policy is the top
priority, it is important for the Japanese economy to undergo
bold structural reform as much as it needs a recovery," she
said, referring to the need to fix Japan's pension system and
get public finances in order to reduce concerns about the
future. "If structural reform is delayed, it would undermine the
stimulative effect of monetary policy," she said. Japan's core
machinery orders fell slightly less than
expected in January from the previous month, data showed on
Wednesday, offering more evidence that capital expenditure will
keep growing slowly this year as manufacturers raise spending. Core
private-sector machinery orders, a highly volatile
series regarded as an indicator of capital spending, fell 3.7
percent in January, less than a median market forecast for a
4.1 percent decline, after a 20.1 percent jump in December.

[JPMORD=ECI] ECONJP But the data also showed non-manufacturers remain
wary on
capital spending, highlighting the weakness in domestic demand. Annual
wholesale price deflation eased to 1.5 percent in
February on a recent rise in commodity prices. But economists say
deflationary pressure is likely to
continue due to the big gap between supply and demand. Japan pulled
out of recession in April-June last year,
helped by a rebound in exports and industrial output as well as
a rise in consumption due to government subsidies. But
economists expect growth to slow early this year as the
government cuts public works and the impact of subsidies

(Additional reporting by Rie Ishiguro, Stanley White, Leika
Kihara and Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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March 10, 2010, 12:52 a.m.

WORLD FOREX: Euro Ticks Up Vs Yen On Japan Importer Buying
By Miho Nakauchi

TOKYO (MarketWatch) -- The euro ticked up against the yen in Asia
Wednesday, as Japanese importers buying the single currency on a
regular settlement day set the tone of the market amid a lack of other
trading cues.

But further gains are far from certain, dealers said, with the euro's
near-term direction resting on developments in the euro-zone's fiscal
problem and upcoming economic data.

As of 0450 GMT, the euro stood at Y122.44, slightly up from Y122.36 in
New York late Tuesday. Against the dollar, the unit traded at $1.3602
from $1.3601.

"Overall currency moves were very limited" with share markets almost
unchanged and a lack of major economic data, meaning that Japanese
importers' buying flows became more dominant and set the trend, said
Yuzo Sakai, a foreign-exchange manager at Tokyo Forex & Ueda Harlow.

Japanese importers tend to buy the currency on regular settlement
days, which fall on the 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th and 25th of each month.

At 0450 GMT, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average index was down 0.08%.

Dealers said the European single currency could fall toward $1.3300
and Y119.00 over the next few weeks if any negative news emerges on
Europe's fiscal issues, adding to concerns over its economic outlook,
dealers said.

The focus is on European countries' huge levels of debt, said Hideaki
Inoue, a chief foreign-exchange manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and
Banking Corp. "Growing expectations for sovereign debt default could
prompt mid- and long-term players to sell" the euro, he said.

Although most players are bearish toward the euro, better-than-
expected economic data could help restore investor confidence,
possibly buoying the risk-sensitive euro toward $1.3700 and Y123.50,
some dealers said. Investors will monitor U.S. retail sales for
February and Reuters/University Of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey
for March, both due Friday, for any hints on the health of the global

Elsewhere, the dollar stood at Y90.00 as of 0450 GMT, almost unchanged
from its New York level of Y89.97 Tuesday. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index,
which tracks the greenback against a trade-weighted basket of
currencies, was at 80.576 from 80.580.

The U.S. unit may fall toward Y89.50 in coming weeks, traders said.
Japanese exporters may repatriate overseas assets as we move toward
Japan's fiscal year-end on Mar. 31, which could weigh on the U.S.
unit, dealers said.

1.China's trade surplus shrinks further in February

2.The rise and certain fall of the American Empire


March 10, 2010, 3:46 a.m. EST · Recommend · Post:

Dollar rises vs. euro as German trade data disappointView all
Currencies ›
By MarketWatch

TOKYO (MarketWatch) -- The dollar got a lift against the euro
Wednesday when trade data from Germany, a key euro-zone economy, came
in worse than expected.

News Hub: Economist Warns of More Volatility AheadAnirvan Banerji,
director of research at Economic Cycle Research, joins the News Hub to
discuss why he believes the U.S. economy will experience more frequent
recessions ahead.
Germany's exports increased by 0.2% and imports dropped by 1.4% in
January 2010 compared to the same month a year ago, the Federal
Statistical Office reported on Wednesday. Compared to December 2009,
exports fell by 6.3% in January and imports rose by 6.0%. Germany's
seasonally-adjusted foreign trade balance recorded a surplus of 8.7
billion euros in January, official data showed.

"This was the weakest reading since the March of 2009 when the global
economy was in the throes of its worst contraction in [the] post-war
period. The news was especially surprising given the decline in the
euro/U.S. dollar over the past several months," said Boris
Schlossberg, director of currency research at GFT.

He added that the trade balance data were "not helpful to the single
currency which has been battered by concerns over sovereign debt
problems of Greece, Portugal and Spain."

The euro slipped to $1.3551, from $1.3598 in late North American
trading Tuesday, and the British pound skidded to $1.4898, from

The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 80.67, +0.08,
+0.10%) , which measures the U.S. unit against a trade-weighted basket
of six major currencies, rose to 80.851, from 80.580 late Tuesday.

The greenback bought 89.96 yen, compared with 89.98 yen late Tuesday.

But the Australian dollar was up 0.1% against its U.S. counterpart, to
91.43 U.S. cents.

The Aussie "outperformed, with better than expected Chinese trade data
underpinning global recovery hopes in the region," said analysts at
Action Economics.

China's trade surplus narrowed further in February to $7.6 billion
from $14.2 billion in January. When compared with the same month last
year, both exports and imports grew at a higher-than-expected rate,
with the value of imports climbing 44.7%, reflecting growing domestic
consumption in mainland China. The value of outbound goods and
services surged 45.7% from February 2009 on a recovery in demand for
Chinese goods. Read more on China trade data.

On Tuesday, the U.S. dollar advanced versus the euro and British
pound, finding support amid ongoing worries about debt problems in the
euro zone after warnings of downgrades from Fitch Ratings and Moody's
Investors Service. See Tuesday's Currencies report.

More Currencies

March 9, 2010 Dollar up; rating agencies revive debt worries

March 8, 2010 Dollar turns up as U.S. stocks give up gains

March 5, 2010 Dollar falls vs. euro as Greece fears subside

March 4, 2010 Dollar up after U.S. data, Europe's rate news

March 3, 2010 Dollar falls vs. euro on Greece debt-cut move


Raymond Richman - Jesse Richman - Howard

Richmans' Trade and Taxes Blog

The Obama Administration's Agenda to Balance Trade
Raymond Richman, 3/9/2010

On March 1, 2010, Ambassador Ron Kirk, United States Trade
Representative, disclosed “The President's 2010 Trade Policy Agenda”,
a suicide pill for the U.S. economy. For three decades, every
administration had more or less the same agenda. Ignore the trade
deficits or just accept them as the inevitable result of competitive
forces, which they are not. If China, Japan, Germany, and others want
to exchange their valuable goods for our money, why should we
complain? We can print more. It is hard to believe that that was and
continues to be the attitude of the vast majority of economists.
They’ve been brain-washed into believing that market forces must
inevitably restore a balance of trade. We pointed out in our book,
Trading Away Our Future (Ideal Taxes Assn, Jan., 2008) that free trade
was not justified by economic theory, that China, like Japan before
it, was deliberately pursuing the mercantilist policy of promoting a
surplus of exports over imports by erecting all sorts of barriers to
imports while subsidizing exports, keeping its currency artificially
undervalued to make its imports expensive and its exports cheap, by
buying U.S. financial assets to keep U.S.interest rates low to
American consumers, to discourage savings and encourage consumption.
Not until recently did an eminent economist like Prof. Paul Krugman
condemn China’s mercantilist practices and suggest U.S. counteraction.
Until then, he believed no country would find it in its interest to
accumulate financial assets rather than goods.

The slow-acting suicide pill suddenly accelerated in the mid-1990s.
The result was the loss of millions of U.S. industrial jobs. How many?
To balance trade at the level of imports in 2008, we would have to
create eight million industrial jobs. The defenders of U.S. trade
policy point to our achievement of full employment in 2007, neglecting
to mention that the competition of factory workers who lost their well-
paying jobs lowered workers’ earnings of all workers. As a result,
wages have stagnated over the past three decades, fewer workers enjoy
middle class incomes, income distribution has worsened, and the U.S.
is on the verge of becoming a second-rate industrial power if it has
not already achieved that distinction. ...

In an incredible display of sycophancy, the document asserts that the
administration’s goal is “Making Trade Work for America’s Working
Families.” America’s Working Families? They have been the big losers
as a result of our tolerance of our huge chronic trade deficits. The
document asserts that “President Obama’s economic strategy halted the
slide into a deep economic crisis and laid the foundation for renewed
American prosperity that is more sustainable, fairer for more of our
citizens, and more competitive globally.” That remains to be seen.
Since the President took office, the unemployment rate, including
those who lost their factory jobs as a result of the trade deficits,
has continued to grow and grow.

The Trade Representative gives lip service to the lip-service of the
G-20 nations who pledged in 2009 to work toward balancing trade. It
displays the same Pollyanna-ish reliance on market forces. All we have
to do is increase our exports by $800 billion. His report states that
the U.S. has reacted to unfair trade practices by imposing
countervailing duties on countries committing infractions of trade
rules like dumping (Chinese tires) and even getting China to further
open its market to “American wind energy products.” Just the other
day, there were protests in the Congress against imported wind
turbines, which, to add injury to injury, are heavily subsidized by
the U.S. government. The President has set a goal “of doubling U.S.
exports in the next five years” to create 2 million jobs. He created a
new bureaucracy called the Export Promotion Cabinet which will fund
export promotion programs, tools for small- and medium-sized
businesses, reduction in barriers to trade, and open new markets. It
joins hundred of federal agencies designed to do-good but end up doing-

The report recites: “Effective trade policy helps increase exports
that yield well-paying jobs for Americans … studies show that firms
engaged in trade usually grow faster, hire more, and on average pay
better wages than those that do not. In recent years, exports of
manufactured goods have become an important source of employment,
supporting almost one in five of all manufacturing jobs.” No mention,
not a single mention of the jobs lost to imports, the amount of the
trade deficite, and the declining number of employees in industry,
month after month after month! There is this acknowledgment, “We have
to be frank in recognizing that some Americans lose jobs as markets
shift in response to trade.” So we have enacted a Trade Adjustment
Assistance Act to assist those who lose their jobs to adjust to their
new status. No new export jobs are created by the Act.

That is about all the response the loss of millions of American jobs
has occasioned. Nothing to balance trade except statements that we
need to be more competitive and the international community (the
G-20?) should increase their domestic consumption and imports as part
of a more balanced growth strategy! Don’t hold your breath.

It announces to the world that the United States is committed to the
multilateral trade rules of the WTO system, to trade liberalization
“through negotiation and a defense against protectionism”, the
strongest country in the world announcing that we will not take
unilateral action against the mercantilist practices of such “weak”
countries like China, Japan, Germany, and OPEC. They can continue
their practices, impose barriers to our exports, grant subsidies to
their exports until we petition the WTO for a remedy. The WTO rules
already authorize countries experiencing chronic trade deficits to
take unilateral action including the imposition of tariffs and other
barriers to imports. Why haven’t we done anything to protect our
industry and industrial workers from such destructive trade practices?
La-de-da, it would be so unbecoming a great nation. Our elitists want
to be loved by the world’s elite, who are by-and-large antii-American.

Attempting to counter the impression that it is doing nothing, the
report points to its action responding to “a harmful surge of Chinese
tire imports”, challenging restrictions on U.S. exports of
agricultural products, and filing suit over Chinese export quotas and
duties on raw materials needed by core U.S. industrial sectors from
steel and aluminum to chemicals. Good, those are useful actions but
the number of jobs created relative to the number of jobs lost to the
trade deficits is infinitesimal.

What the U.S. has been engaged in is talk, talk, talk. It needs to
concentrate on jobs, jobs, jobs. The government has engaged in
discussions, just talk, with China, India, Brazil, Russia. It
sponsored and entered into negotiations for a regional, Asia-Pacific
trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Agreement, with Australia, Brunei, Chile, NewZealand, Peru, Singapore,
and Vietnam. Not one industrial job has been created or ever will be.

Another initiative is the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
forum. The U.S. will host APEC in 2011. The report writes, “To this
end, we are coordinating with the 2010 host nation, Japan, on an
ambitious agenda that engages APEC’s broad membership on crucial trade
and investment topics for the region’s future. Initiatives in APEC are
a successfully demonstrated way of building a stronger and
constructive American role in the Asia-Pacific market.” Aside from
costing a lot of money and providing a free vacation to a lot of anti-
Americans, how many jobs producing goods for export will it create?
Not a single job.

The report recites that “Bilateral relationships are crucial. But as
we know, multi-faceted regional economic relationships are of major,
and even growing, importance for United States and for the world.”
Where is the evidence that it is important, let alone of increasing
importance, to the U.S. The administration is doing and plans to do a
lot of talking. In place of jobs, jobs, jobs, it is placing emphasis
on talk, talk, talk.


UPDATE 1-Japan finmin wary of policy accord with BOJ

TOKYO, March 10 (Reuters) - Japanese Finance Minister Naoto Kan said
he saw no immediate need to have a more formal policy pact with the
Bank of Japan as the government and the central bank already share a
common goal of beating deflation.

Kan, who took over at the Finance Ministry in January, has been
calling on the central bank to do more to end deflation, but has
steered clear of saying exactly what he wants the central bank to do.

Asked by an opposition lawmaker if he thought a formal agreement with
the central bank would help, Kan said: "It's questionable whether it's
good to have an explicit policy accord. The BOJ governor has already
said in public that the bank wants inflation from plus zero to plus 2
percent ...

"I am cautious about the framework of an accord," Kan, also deputy
prime minister, told a parliamentary committee.

With the government's room for further fiscal stimulus limited by a
public debt that is already close to 200 percent of GDP, the six-month
old administration has put pressure on the central bank to stem

Japan's central bank law guarantees the BOJ independence in its policy
decisions, but it also requires the bank to communicate with the
government to ensure its policy is in line with the government's
economic policy.

The central bank is likely to debate easing its ultra-loose monetary
policy again at its board meeting on March 16-17, after introducing a
new funding operation in December under a previous wave of government
pressure as the yen climbed versus the dollar. [ID:nTOE6230A7]

One member of the bank's policy board, Miyako Suda, said on Wednesday
that the central bank will maintain a very accommodative monetary
policy stance to help the country escape deflation.

"The BOJ intends to continue making its contribution to help the
Japanese economy escape deflation and return to a sustained growth
path with price stability," Suda said at a roundtable conference
hosted by the Economist Group.

But Suda also repeated the BOJ's view that easy policy alone will not
be a panacea for deflation.

"Although maintaining easy monetary policy is the top priority, it is
important for the Japanese economy to undergo bold structural reform
as much as it needs recovery... If structural reform is delayed, it
would undermine the stimulative effect of monetary policy," she said.

BOJ officials have said further monetary policy easing will have
little impact on boosting prices, with interest rates already near

Suda added that the BOJ had taken appropriate steps on monetary policy
and that she didn't think aiming for a high inflation rate would
resolve the shock of the financial crisis. (Reporting by Hideyuki
Sano, Stanley White and Rie Ishiguro; Editing by Hugh Lawson)


FOREX-Yen rises on Japan exporters; sterling falters

By Masayuki Kitano TOKYO, March 9 (Reuters) - The yen rose broadly on
Tuesday on
dollar and euro selling by Japanese exporters, while sterling
faltered on weak data and after Moody's said Britain faces a
dilemma over its support for the banking sector. The yen also climbed
with short-term traders taking cues from
a dip in Nikkei share average .N225 and U.S. stock index
futures SPc1, as demand for riskier assets ebbed. "Japanese exporters
are in the market and selling pretty
actively, including the euro against the yen," said Yuji
Matsuura, joint general manager at Aozora Bank's forex and
derivatives trading group. There could be more yen-buying by Japanese
exporters during
the week, and there might also be some flows in the last week of
March, just before they close their books at the end of Japan's
fiscal year, Matsuura said. Market players said, however, that gains
in the yen have been
limited by speculation that the Bank of Japan may take further
steps to ease monetary policy. The euro fell 0.4 percent to 122.59 yen
EURJPY=R, off a
two-week high of 123.90 yen struck on EBS on Monday. The euro also
dropped against the dollar, dipping 0.1 percent
to $1.3615 EUR= but was still well off last week's $1.3433, its
lowest in more than nine months. The euro struggled after Greek Prime
Minister George
Papandreou warned on Monday that if the Greek crisis worsened it
could lead to a new global financial meltdown. [ID:nLDE6271WD].
Sterling fell 0.3 percent to $1.5014 GBP=D4 and shed 0.7
percent to 135.08 yen GBPJPY=R. Data showing that British house prices
grew last month at
their slowest pace since August weighed on sterling.

[ID:nLAG006161] Another negative factor for sterling was a Moody's
Service report saying Britain faces a difficult balancing act in
deciding how and when to reduce support for the banking sector,
given growth in the UK's public debt burden. [ID:nLDE6271OB]

EYES ON BOJ MEETING The dollar fell 0.3 percent to 90.01 yen JPY=. The
greenback had rallied on the yen to a two-week high of
90.69 yen on EBS on Monday, after a better-than-expected U.S.
jobs report backed views that the U.S. Federal Reserve will lift
rates faster than the Bank of Japan. The report had also bolstered
demand for higher-yielding
currencies and riskier assets like stocks and commodities, on
improved economic prospects. The Australian dollar fell 0.3 percent
against the yen
AUDJPY=R and the New Zealand dollar shed 0.6 percent
NZDJPY=R. The dollar is likely to be supported at levels around 89.50
yen on speculation about more monetary easing steps from the BOJ,
possibly at its policy meeting next week, said a trader for a
Japanese trust bank. The BOJ meeting is in the spotlight after the
newspaper reported on Friday that the BOJ was examining easing
again and may decide on such a move when it meets on March 16-17.
Sources familiar with the matter said the BOJ is likely to
debate this month easing its ultra-loose monetary policy again.

[ID:nTOE6230A7] The most likely next step for the BOJ is to expand the
fund-supply operation it put in place in December, under which it
lends to banks at 0.1 percent, either by increasing the size from
10 trillion yen ($110.7 billion) or extending the duration of
loans from the current three months. Even if such steps are taken, the
market impact could be
limited given how low yen money market rates are already, said a
trader for a European bank. "Basically, the aim may be to achieve an
announcement effect
and the market has factored in a lot of that," the trader said,
adding that the dollar could fall against the yen if the BOJ
stands pat and unveils no new measures.

(Additional reporting by Anirban Nag in Sydney, Satomi Noguchi
and Kaori Kaneko in Tokyo; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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Analysis: Greece's crisis could presage America's
By TOM RAUM (AP) – 10 hours ago

WASHINGTON — Greece is a financial basket case, begging for
international help. Is America heading down that same road?

Many of the same risky financial practices that now imperil the Greeks
were at the center of the all-too-recent U.S. meltdown.

As with Greece, America's national debt has been growing by leaps and
bounds over the past decade, to the point where it threatens to swamp
overall economic output. And in the U.S., as in Greece, a large
portion of that debt is owed to foreign investors.

Not good, if these debt holders begin to wonder if they'll be paid
back. A foreign flight from U.S. Treasury securities could sow
financial chaos in the United States, as happened when many investors
lost faith in Greek bonds.

It's something that could affect all Americans. The U.S. has never
defaulted on a debt, and even the hint of such a possibility could
send interest rates soaring and choke off a fragile recovery.

How long can the United States remain the world's largest economy as
well as the world's largest debtor?

"Not indefinitely," suggests former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan
Greenspan. "History tells us that great powers when they've gotten
into very significant fiscal problems have ceased to be great powers."

After all, Spain dominated the 16th century world, France the 17th
century and Great Britain much of the 18th and 19th before the United
States rose to supremacy in the 20th century.

"Unless we do things dramatically different, including strengthening
our investments in research and education, the 21st century will
belong to China and India," suggests Norman Augustine, the former CEO
of Lockheed Martin who chaired a 2009 bipartisan commission studying
the nation's top challenges.

The Greek government has taken stiff austerity steps in an effort to
get a lifeline from the European Union, sparking strikes and violent

Some of the same risky strategies used by U.S. hedge funds and other
professional investors in a failed effort to profit from subprime
mortgages in this country — and which led to the 2008 financial near-
collapse — are now being employed by those betting that Greece will
default on its debt.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, who met with President Barack
Obama at the White House on Tuesday, is calling for "decisive and
collective action" here and in Europe to crack down on such rampant
speculation and unregulated bets. He is also seeking more favorable
European interest rates for loans.

Speaking outside the White House, Papandreou welcomed support from
Obama and some European leaders for such efforts and for the austerity
measures taken by his own government. He said it shows the "labor and
sacrifices are not wasted. Of course, our struggle is not ended, it

Many economists say it's a stretch to compare the U.S. economy, by far
the world's largest, to Greece and other distressed small economies of
southern Europe. They say many of Greece's problems are unique to that
nation and aggravated by a monetary system that rigidly binds 16
nations to the same currency, the euro.

But others argue it may only be a matter of time before the U.S. faces
a similar, and potentially graver, crisis.

"Someday it will happen if we don't get our act together on spending,
our debt under control and our economy to grow faster," said Allen
Sinai, chief global economist for New York-based Decision Economics
Inc., which provides financial advice to corporations and governments.

With signs pointing to a weaker recovery than after other post-World
War II recessions, U.S. consumer spending is likely to remain
unimpressive and the jobless rate high for some time. Sinai said that
suggests there won't be enough growth to push down federal deficits by
much. "It's a political keg of dynamite," he said.

Greece's national debt now equals more than 100 percent of its gross
domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity. U.S. debt
— now $12.5 trillion — is fast closing in on the same dubious

Nearly all of Greek's debt is held by foreign governments and
investors. In the United States, roughly half is owned by global
investors, with China holding the largest stake.

By contrast, Japan's debt is proportionately even bigger — about twice
its GDP — but the impact is cushioned by the fact that most is held by
Japanese households.

"The more open you are to the rest of the world, the more likely
you're going to have a problem if you start running large deficits and
large debt loads," said Mark Zandi, founder of Moody's Economy.com,
and a frequent adviser to lawmakers of both parties.

Zandi does not see any major fallout from the Greek fiscal crisis in
the United States for now, other than a possible temporary hit on
potential European export markets.

However, he said, "global investors at some point are going to start
demanding a higher interest rate. And that's our moment of truth. If
we don't address it by cutting spending and raising taxes, some
combination of the two, then we're going to have a problem."

Polls show growing public anger over deficits and government spending.
The issue is a potent one for the upcoming midterm elections, and a
particular liability for majority-party Democrats.

Calls have sounded from both sides of the political aisle for deficit
reduction. And Obama last month set up a bipartisan deficit commission
to find ways to get the country's budget deficit, now adding more than
$1 trillion a year to the national debt, under control.

But the panel is a weak substitute for what Obama really wanted — a
commission created by Congress that could force lawmakers to vote on
remedies to reduce the debt.

EDITOR'S NOTE _ Tom Raum covers economics and politics for The
Associated Press.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou walks away after talking to the
media in front of the West Wing of the White House in Washington,
Tuesday, March 9, 2010, following a meeting with President Barack
Obama. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


Fears of a Greek bank run
By Dody Tsiantar, contributorMarch 9, 2010: 3:33 PM ET

(Fortune) -- In the middle of the 2001 debt crisis, Argentines stormed
their nation's banks to get their money out. To stop the stampede, the
government imposed controls that allowed them to take out only $250 at
a time and limited withdrawals for overseas trips to $1,000.

Greece, in the middle of its own financial crisis, is teetering on the
brink of a default. Many of its wealthier citizens are also uneasy
about what lies ahead for their cash. According to estimates from
private bankers in Greece and Cyprus, as much as 10 billion euros have
left the country for Greek-owned bank subsidiaries in Switzerland and
Cyprus in the last couple of months.

Facebook Digg Twitter Buzz Up! Email Print Comment on this story

"Customers are coming...from Greece on a daily basis," says one
private banker who works for a Greek bank in Cyprus. "They fly here in
the morning, bring us a check and fly back to Athens in the

One banker in Athens reports that many of his clients have sent funds
out of the country in recent weeks, fearing that the government will
take a bigger bite of their money. "They're afraid they'll have to pay
tax on their cash," he says.

Countries in economic turmoil historically look for unpopular ways to
raise revenue, according to economists. So when things start to go
sour, "everyone becomes convinced that the stage is being set for
higher taxes," says former IMF economist Dev Kar, the lead economist
for Global Financial Integrity, an international policy research
center. "People with wealth then ship their money out, so government
does not come and get it when it all comes crashing down."

But growing concerns that Greece's financial crisis will spill over to
its banking system appear to be driving most of the outflow. The fear
isn't totally unfounded: Late last month, Fitch Ratings downgraded the
country's four major private-sector banks to two notches above junk
status on fears that demand for loans may plunge, denting their
potential profitability .

"I'm scared," says one 40-year-old Athenian woman, who's considering
taking her nest egg to Cyprus. "I want to take my money out of the
country before the banks run out of cash."

Not as bad as it seems

A run on the bank, a la Argentina, is not imminent, say banking and
government officials. They acknowledge that money is leaving the
country, but say that reports of massive capital outflows are "grossly

"There is a trickle, but nothing like a real flight that would put the
system under pressure," says Anthimos Thomopoulos, chief financial
officer of the National Bank of Greece, which holds a third of
Greece's 250 billion euro total deposit pool.

The situation isn't overly worrisome right now, bank and government
officials say, because most of the money has flowed to those Greek-
owned banks abroad and should, in theory, be easier to repatriate.
What's happening, says Nikolaos Karamouzis, deputy CEO of Eurobank
EFG, a private bank in Greece with 84 billion euro in assets, is "not
materially significant, despite the fact that there is widespread
concern among our clients."

Exactly how much cash has left the country since the crisis exploded
in mid-December is hard to determine, however. According to the most
recent quarterly statistics available, the national deposit pool at
the end of December dropped by less than a half a percent. But
analysts point out those numbers do not reflect the full impact of the
crisis, which picked up momentum in January and February after the
government announced its belt-tightening measures.

A pesos to drachmas comparison

Unlike Greece today, Argentina's government had an arsenal of
financial tools in 2001 to deal with its crisis. It devalued the peso
and imposed capital controls. But as a member of the European Union,
Greece does not have those options; it can't devalue, and because the
Union has rules that call for a free movement of capital within its
boundaries, it can't stop citizens or businesses from moving cash from
one partner country to another.

"The only way Greece could impose capital controls would be to leave
the EU," says Michael Melvin, head of currency and fixed income
research at global asset management firm BlackRock. "And there's close
to zero probability of that."

A return to the drachma isn't likely any time soon either, but Greek
citizens do have good reason to believe that taxes are going to go up.
The socialist government of Prime Minister George Papandreou has
already announced a slew of tax hikes, including increases in the
value-added tax, new excise taxes on luxury goods, such as yachts and
cars, and up to a 20% tax on cigarettes, alcohol and fuel.

0:00 /1:24Greece: Another crisis looms

In addition, a key tenet of the socialist government's plan is to go
after tax cheats aggressively -- economists figure that nearly 30% of
the country's gross domestic product goes unreported to authorities.
For decades, Greece's shadow economy has thrived because many Greeks
-- doctors, plumbers, electricians and lawyers among them -- conduct
business entirely in cash. Much of that money has ended up in bank
accounts in other countries, say economists -- and a lot of it is not
reflected in national statistics.

"The outflow of cash from Greece is not a new phenomenon. If you could
calculate the outflow of the last 50 years, you'd get an astronomical
figure," says University of Maryland economics professor Theodore
Kariotis. "Greeks are a very sneaky people."

The government's new rules intend to change that. Last week it
announced new measures to encourage those who have transferred money
out of Greece to bring it back within six months, no questions asked.
They'll be taxed 5% on the total, however. Another option offered:
declare the money, leave it in foreign accounts -- and be subject to
an 8% tax. After that, foreign governments will cooperate with Greek
tax authorities to pursue lawbreakers, says a source in the finance

Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou hopes the government's
new measures will produce results. "As the reform program unfolds, a
lot of this lost, or quasi-lost, liquidity will come back to the
system," he said in a mid-January interview. "It is an immediate
concern, of course, but it is reversible."

Maybe it is, but according to economists, money that leaves a country
rarely returns. "I'm not holding my breath," says Global Financial
Integrity's Kar. "Once [cash] leaves, it's hard to get it back."

The snag in Greece's salary solution

Is your country the next Greece?

Greeks try to remember how to cut back


Tax hikes may still fail to fix Athen's debts crisis
Wednesday March 10 2010

GREEK tax increases, which have sparked widespread protests, may fail
to generate as much additional revenue as the government in Athens
estimates, a draft EU report says.

While the €4.8bn of additional austerity measures enacted by the Greek
parliament last week "appear sufficient to safeguard the 2010
budgetary targets", risks remain that increases in value-added tax and
fuel taxes may generate less than is projected, the report says.

The Greek government plans to cut the deficit to 8.7pc of gross
domestic product (GDP) this year from 12.7pc in 2009. The draft report
will be discussed by EU finance ministers in Brussels next week.


An increase in the main VAT rate by 2pc from 19pc will bring in €1.3bn
in added revenue this year, while higher excise duties on petrol and
diesel are expected to generate €450m more, according to the finance
ministry in Athens.

But "the implications on tax revenue of a contraction in demand should
not be underestimated", according to the European Commission.

On VAT, it said "changes in the tax base -- in relation to the
contraction of internal demand -- and tax evasion may result to lower-
than-expected gains".

Greece's overall government debt "remains on a steep upward path",
according to the commission. Greek debt is projected to swell to 125pc
of GDP this year, the highest in the 27-nation EU, it forecasts.

EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said yesterday
that the latest measures put Greece on "the path of fiscal adjustment
for 2012" -- the deadline to meet the EU's 3pc deficit limit.

Irish Independent


S&P expert: Integrated eurozone fiscal policy key to sovereign debt

English.news.cn 2010-03-09 18:32:11

by Xinhua writer Wang Zongkai

BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Integrated fiscal policy was essential
for the euro zone to get out of the consequences of Greek sovereign
debt crisis, according to an expert from Standard and Poor's (S&P).

"The Greek debt crisis can be the strongest challenge that the euro
zone has faced in the past 11 years, and the key to solve the problem
is whether eurozone-16 can sacrifice some of their fiscal
sovereignty," said David Beers, managing director of S&P sovereign and
international public finance ratings group, on Monday.

On Dec. 8, 2009, Fitch Ratings downgraded its rating on Greece
sovereign credit from A- to BBB+, and revised its outlook to negative,
which signaled the commence of Greece sovereign credit crisis.

Moreover, other eurozone members, including Portugal, Ireland, Italy
and Spain, also reported deficit problem recently. In a context of
weak recovery in European economies, some analysts said that the Greek
debt crisis might contaminate the whole Europe.

However, Beers believes that the Greek debt crisis will not cause a
new round of global crisis.

On the one hand, other eurozone members welcomed Greece's 4.8-billion-
euro (6.53-billion-U.S. dollar) austerity package, which has shown the
Greek government's willingness to submit some fiscal sovereignty to
the union for underpinning euros, he said.

On the other hand, the creditworthiness of all eurozone sovereign
states was currently at least adequate to meet their financial
commitments, and S&P did not assume any sovereign state leaving the
euro zone in the medium term, Beers added.

So far, the Greek debt crisis had been contained within the euro zone.
Meanwhile, the Greek government had actively taken measures, while the
euro zone was considering institutional reform such as the
establishment of a European Monetary Fund, which will function like
the International Monetary Fund.

Regarding Britain's estimates of its deficit in 2010 fiscal year to
amount 1.78 trillion pounds (2.67 trillion dollars), nearly 13 percent
of its gross domestic product, Beers said Britain's current fiscal
policy is sustainable.

"If party in office changed, S&P would keep a close look at deficit-
cutting measures of the new administration," he added.

Meanwhile, the other two largest economies in the world are also
facing the deficit problem. U.S. federal deficit in 2009 had amounted
to 1.41 trillion dollars, almost 10 percent of the GDP while Japan's
outstanding public debt reached a record high of 817.5 trillion yen (9
trillion dollars), and 6.83 million yen (7,560 dollars) per capita.

Nevertheless, Beers was more optimistic on U.S. and Japan thanks to
more flexibility and time in dealing with debt problem given that the
dollar and the yen are the two strongest reserve currencies right now.

Beers estimated that it would take one or two years to solve the Greek
debt crisis.

People in Greece and other eurozone countries need to have confidence
while their governments need action.

Editor: Xiong Tong

Related News

• Greece prefers European solution: PM

• Protests against fiscal austerity measures in Greece

• Germany will not give Greece a cent: economy minister

• Greek families to lose one-month salary yearly due to tax rise

• Greek PM calls on world to restrict speculative trading


Chrysanthemum or Samurai?
Posted By Dan Twining Tuesday, March 9, 2010 - 12:20 PM

In a thoughtful essay in today's Financial Times, Gideon Rachman asks
whether Japan may now be tilting towards China after 60 years of
aligning itself with the United States. This question is interesting
on multiple dimensions -- including with regard to the future of U.S.
primacy in Asia, the impact of China's rise on its neighbors, the
nature of Japanese politics and identity, and our understanding of the
deep structure of international relations at a time of systemic power
shifts. Indeed, Japan is a critical case study for assessing how the
developed world will respond to the rise of dynamic new power centers
in Asia -- and what the implications will be for American leadership
in the international system.

The ascent of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) after nearly six
decades of unbroken rule by the conservative, U.S.-oriented Liberal
Democratic Party (LDP) has convulsed not only Japanese politics but
also its foreign policy. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has mused
about constructing a pan-Asian fraternal community based on
"solidarity" -- not with Tokyo's closest alliance partner across the
Pacific but with its near neighbors, led by China. What should have
been little more than a tactical skirmish about the terms of the
realignment of U.S. forces in Okinawa has become, through
mismanagement on both sides, a strategic headache for both Washington
and the inexperienced government in Tokyo, raising unnecessary
tensions within the alliance. DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa, the power
behind the throne of the Hatoyama administration, recently led a
delegation of 143 parliamentarians and hundreds of businessmen to
Beijing, reviving in form if not substance the tributary delegations
from China's neighbors that, in pre-modern times, ritually visited the
Chinese court to acknowledge its suzerainty as Asia's "Middle

These and other moves, unthinkable during the Cold War heyday of the
U.S.-Japan alliance, suggest a striking shift in Japan's geopolitical
alignment as the Pacific century dawns. Despite the fact that Japan
was never part of "the Chinese world order" in traditional Asia, some
analysts believe a Japanese tilt toward a resurgent China would be in
keeping with the country's foreign policy traditions. As Gideon

Some western observers in Tokyo muse that perhaps Japan is once again
following its historic policy of adapting to shifts in global politics
by aligning itself with great powers. Before the first world war the
country had a special relationship with Britain. In the inter-war
period Japan allied itself with Germany. Since 1945, it has stuck
closely to America. Perhaps the ground is being prepared for a new
"special relationship" with China?

In this reading of Japanese history since the Meiji restoration, the
country has repeatedly aligned itself with the international system's
preeminent power -- Britain in the early 20th century, Nazi Germany
until 1945, and the United States since then. If Japan really is
edging away from the United States to align itself with China today,
that is a compelling indicator that the future belongs to Beijing, and
that America's best days as the world's indispensable nation are
behind it.

Yet this judgment is, if anything, premature -- and may simply be
wrong. Imperial Britain, Nazi Germany, and America during the Cold War
were actual or aspiring hegemons from outside Asia; Japan's alliance
with each of them cemented its own role as Asia's dominant power.
Japan was not aligning with each of these powers to bandwagon with
them, subordinating its power and interests to theirs. It allied with
these Western states to facilitate its own pursuit of national power
and leadership in Asia.

This is true even of Japan's Cold War alliance with the United States,
when post-war leaders in Tokyo pursued a conscious strategy of
developing Japan's economic and technological dynamism within the
cocoon of American military protection. In a systematic and self-
interested manner, these leaders took advantage of the security
umbrella provided by the United States to modernize Japan's economy
and build strength with an eye on a long-term objective of moving
beyond the constraints imposed by the U.S. alliance as Japan grew into
a leading economic and technological power. The DPJ's new independence
vis-à-vis Washington reflects this evolution, and the only surprise is
that more Japan hands in the West didn't see it coming.

Historically, Japan has shown a striking ability to rapidly transform
itself in response to international conditions, as seen in the Meiji
break from isolation, the rise to great power in the twentieth
century, the descent into militarism, and renewal as a dynamic trading
state. Only a few years ago, excellent books and articles with titles
like Japan Rising: The Resurgence of Japanese Power and Purpose,
Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia,
and "Japan is Back: Why Tokyo's New Assertiveness is Good for
Washington" framed the country as a resurgent Asian great power. Since
2001, successive Japanese prime ministers have articulated
unprecedented ambitions for Japanese grand strategy. These have
included casting Japan as the "thought leader of Asia," forging new
bilateral alliances with India and Australia, cooperating with these
and other democratic powers in an "Arc of Freedom and Prosperity,"
formalizing security cooperation with NATO, constructing a Pacific
community around an "inland sea" centered on Japan as the hub of the
international economic and political order, and building a new East
Asian community with Japan at its center. These developments reflect
the churning domestic debate in Japan about its future as a world
power and model for its region, trends catalyzed by China's explosive

Japan's strategic future remains uncertain in light of the country's
churning domestic politics and troubling economic and demographic
trends. Yet there is no question that military modernization in China
and North Korea has spurred a new Japanese search for security and
identity that has moved Tokyo decisively beyond the constraints that
structured its foreign policy for fifty years following defeat in the
Pacific war. The ascent of the DPJ, with its calls for a more equal
U.S.-Japan alliance and greater Japanese autonomy in security and
diplomacy, is another step forward in Japan's transformation into what
DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa famously called a "normal country." Enjoying a
normal relationship with China, as the DPJ intends to do, is part of
that process. But so will be a continuing partnership with the United

Jason Lee-Pool/Getty Images


JGB futures edge down from 2-mth high as Nikkei jumps
By Rika Otsuka

TOKYO, March 8 (Reuters) - Japanese government bond futures slipped
further on Monday from a two-month peak hit last week, as growing
optimism about a global economic recovery prompted investors to move
money to stocks from government debt.

The five-year/20-year JGB yield spread matched its highest since
November 1999 as prospects of further central bank easing pinned down
yields on midterm maturities, which are more sensitive to shifts in
monetary policy outlook.

U.S. monthly employment data showed late last week that the world's
biggest economy lost 36,000 jobs in February, less than the 50,000 job
cuts expected by economists. [ID:nN04252324]

But bond losses were limited as the JGB market received support from
speculation that the Bank of Japan would further ease its monetary
policy in the coming months to help Japan's economy move out of

"The rise in bond yields has been small as investors are willing to
pick up JGBs, with some speculating the BOJ could further relax its
policy at next week's board meeting," said Hidenori Suezawa, chief
strategist at Nikko Cordial Securities.

JGBs rose on Friday after the Nikkei newspaper said the central bank
will debate whether to ease monetary policy further by expanding the
fund-supply operation it introduced in December, under which it
extends loans to commercial banks at a policy rate of 0.1 percent.

"Demand is also strong as a large amount of government debt is
maturing this month," said Suezawa at Nikko Cordial Securities.

Analysts said some 10 trillion yen ($110.8 billion) of JGBs are being
redeemed in March. Government bonds with maturities of five years or
longer will mature in March, June, September and December.

Large amount of bonds maturing means that durations of popularly
followed bond indexes are usually extended to accommodate the
redemptions, generating demand for longer-dated paper from investors
following monthly changes to these indexes.

A 30-year JGB auction scheduled for Tuesday is expected to draw decent
demand as dealers will be looking to replenish their inventories, said
Makoto Noji, a senior market analyst at Mizuho Securities.

"Demand for superlong paper was unusually strong toward the end of
last month as investors bought to match bond indexes, depleting
dealers' inventories."

March 10-year JGB futures edged down 0.07 point to 140.12 2JGBv1,
slipping from 140.27, their highest since late December.

Outstanding loans held by Japanese banks fell 1.5 percent in February
from a year earlier, matching a decline in January that was the
biggest annual drop in four years, the BOJ said on Monday. [JPBNK=ECI]

The market showed a muted reaction to the data, although it somewhat
strengthened expectations that sluggish lending would prompt banks to
add more JGBs to their portfolios with the new financial year starting
on April 1.

The combination of sluggish lending and expectations towards further
BOJ easing has helped JGBs, especially the shorter-dated maturities,
which are supported by purchases from banks.

The five-year/20-year yield spread stood at 167 basis points on
Monday, matching its steepest in a decade, according to historical
data on Reuters EcoWin.

The five-year yield stood unchanged at 0.470 percent on Monday after
banks, the main players in the mid-term sector, aggressively bought
five-year notes late last week to push down the yield to a two-month
low of 0.460 percent JP5YTN=JBTC.

The benchmark 10-year yield inched up 1 basis point to 1.315 percent
JP10YTN=JBTC, staying near a two-month low of 1.290 percent first
reached in late February.

The 20-year yield was up 1.5 basis points at 2.140 percent
JP20YTN=JBTC and the 30-year yield edged up 0.5 basis point to 2.325
percent JP30YTN=JBTC.

Tokyo's Nikkei share average .N225 jumped 2.1 percent after the U.S.
jobs data, with exporters benefiting from a weaker yen. [.T] [FRX/]
($1=90.28 Yen)

(Additional reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Joseph



March 8, 2010, 1:03 a.m. EST · Recommend · Post:

WORLD FOREX: Dollar At 2-Week High Vs Yen On Asia Stock RisesStory
By Takashi Mochizuki

TOKYO (MarketWatch) -- The dollar rose to a two-week-high against the
yen Monday in Asia, as higher regional shares bolstered investors'
appetite for riskier, higher-yielding assets, and they dumped the safe-
haven Japanese unit for the U.S. currency.

The greenback rose as high as Y90.69, its highest since Feb. 23 as
Asian investors took cues from Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock
Average and China's Shanghai Composite Index.

As of 0450 GMT, the Nikkei was up 1.9% to 10,563.72 and the Shanghai
Composite was up 0.82% to 3,056.00.

Higher Asian share prices often push the yen lower, as Japanese
investors become more aggressive about investing in overseas assets
with higher yields.

The yen's decline, however, isn't likely to continue for long because
Japanese exporters still have a vigorous appetite for yen, analysts
said. Exporters need a hefty volume of yen ahead of the March 31
fiscal year-end when they close their books.

"We would caution against turning very bearish (about the yen) in the
short term," said Adarsh Sinha, a strategist at Barclays Capital.

There is also a risk that demand for yen will increase again if
upcoming U.S. economic data, such as Friday's retail sales, turn out
weaker than expected, analysts said.

"Markets need to wait for more data to assess the true trend of the
U.S. economy," said Tomoko Fujii, a strategist at Bank of America-
Merrill Lynch.

The U.S. government said Friday that non-farm payrolls decreased by
36,000 in February from the month before. This was much better than
the 75,000 decline economists had expected.

But Fujii said it was "premature to draw a conclusion" about the U.S.
economic outlook, as recent U.S. economic reports have contained some
negative surprises.

As of 0450 GMT, the dollar was at Y90.41 from Y90.33 Friday in New
York. The euro was at $1.3679 from $1.3620 and Y123.70 from Y123.04.

The euro may have entered a long-term upward trend, dealers said, on
the belief debt-laden Greece will be able to secure support from its
European partners.

"I'm now becoming certain that Greece won't fail. The clouds are
clearing for Greece's future," said Jun Kato, a senior dealer at
Shinkin Central Bank.

On Sunday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said a number of European
Union nations were preparing a support package for Greece. In Berlin,
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that E.U. members would
intervene to rescue Greece if its debt problems threaten to spiral out
of control.

The euro may rise above $1.38 in the days ahead if more positive news
for Greece comes out, OCBC Bank's currency research team said. The
currency last traded above $1.38 on Feb. 11.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a trade-
weighted basket of currencies, was at 80.168 from 80.451


...and I am Sid Harth

2010-03-10 10:56:19 UTC

2010-03-10 14:38:39 UTC
Rasmussen: 57% think ObamaCare will damage economy
posted at 12:52 pm on March 9, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The White House promised a “hard pivot” to jobs and the economy almost
three months ago, attempting to put the ObamaCare debate on the back
burner after the holidays. They had belatedly discovered that the
electorate was much more concerned about the economic plunge than in
retooling a health-care system that works for most Americans now.
Instead of the hard pivot, Democrats have doubled down on ObamaCare —
and the latest Rasmussen survey shows that a strong majority believe
it to be the wrong direction on both issues:

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters say the health care reform plan
now working its way through Congress will hurt the U.S. economy.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 25%
think the plan will help the economy. But only seven percent (7%) say
it will have no impact. Twelve percent (12%) aren’t sure.

Two-out-of-three voters (66%) also believe the health care plan
proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats is likely to
increase the federal deficit. That’s up six points from late November
and comparable to findings just after the contentious August
congressional recess. Ten percent (10%) say the plan is more likely to
reduce the deficit and 14% say it will have no impact on the deficit.

Underlying this concern is a lack of trust in the government numbers.
Eighty-one percent (81%) believe it is at least somewhat likely that
the health care reform plan will cost more than official estimates.
That number includes 66% who say it is very likely that the official
projections understate the true cost of the plan.
Only a plurality of Democrats believe that the bill will help the
economy (43%), while 89% of Republicans and 61% of independents think
it will damage it.
Politically, the Democrats have the worst of all worlds. Not only do
they look out of touch for spending all of their efforts on a plan
that is deeply unpopular with voters, they now are seen as actively
damaging the economy. The deficit spending alone would be enough to
send voters heading for the exits, but the increased costs are even
worse. Seventy-eight percent of all respondents believe that middle-
class tax increases will come as a result of ObamaCare, with almost
two-thirds (65%) believing that to be “very likely.” Fifty-eight
percent of Democrats expect middle-class tax increases, which shows
how effective Obama has been in selling this plan.
What’s the biggest problem with ObamaCare? Majorities of all
political affiliations agree: the cost. Hardly anyone believes the
cost estimates. When asked whether the bill would exceed its cost
estimates, 93% of Republicans, 70% of Democrats, and 80% of
independents thought it at least somewhat likely — with 88% of
Republicans and 73% of independents calling it “very likely.” Only
20% of Democrats thought it unlikely. Again, this looks like a big
failure of the Obama administration’s efforts to sell the package as a
cost containment program.
Democrats now face the prospect of using arcane parliamentary tricks
to pass a bill that has minimal support, one that most voters believe
will damage the economy, cost more than advertised, and prompt
sweeping tax increases, all while ignoring the issues of a damaged
economy while attempting to make it worse. If they think that’s a
winning strategy for the midterms, they need new leadership — and
after the electoral disaster coming, they’ll probably be forced to get

BlowbackNote from Hot Air management: This section is for comments
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and lo, the Democrat party wandered aimlessly in the desert for 40
election years.

TN Mom on March 9, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Great pic!

mikeyboss on March 9, 2010 at 4:18 PM

From the rich being able to buy our representatives and lead our
culture by the nose, yes.

Dark-Star on March 9, 2010 at 4:00 PM
Boo hoo, the rich can do things that I can’t, therefore we have to
give govt control over everything so that the rich can be punished.

I’m still trying to figure out why you actually believe that everyone
who has more than you are is evil.

Is it because you are such a failure in life, that you can’t bear to
accept responsibility?

Lord knows, your given your demonstrated intellectual powers, it’s
hard to imagine you’ve ever been able to handle a job that doesn’t
involve the phrase “would you like fries with that”.

MarkTheGreat on March 9, 2010 at 4:25 PM

and lead our culture by the nose, yes.
Ohh, and people pay more attention to the rich than they do you. I bet
that stings.

MarkTheGreat on March 9, 2010 at 4:26 PM

They won’t get new leadership, because Pelosi will be the only one
left in the House after November.

joe_doufu on March 9, 2010 at 5:03 PM

If you believe the 57% figure, then you’ll love the fictitious 9%
This administration is so inaccurate they couldn’t hit the side of a
barn with a tennis racket.

Cybergeezer on March 9, 2010 at 5:23 PM

I’m waiting for Congress to offer shares of stock in the new Health
Care Industry they want to create.
Think China will buy any?

Cybergeezer on March 9, 2010 at 5:25 PM

This HealthScare legislation is another omnibus spending bill that
lets Congress spend like drunken sailors with unlimited credit cards.
Obama has already signed an omnibus spending bill last year, and he
can’t wait to sign another one.

Cybergeezer on March 9, 2010 at 5:30 PM

If we just get enough fed-up conservative-types to move to Costa Rica
we could remake that country into what the U.S. should be. The U.S. is
going to be a once-great nation in record time and I, for one, don’t
feel like being taxed to death as it goes through its all too rapid

Fatal on March 9, 2010 at 5:31 PM

Adding a new entitlement? revenue neutral? Look at the prescription
drug benefit enacted by President Bush. In less than 10 years the
unfunded liabilities of this new entitlement are nearly 19 trillion
(18.7 and climbing).

Look at the debt clock. Health care reform, yes. ObamaCare, NO.

Angry Dumbo on March 9, 2010 at 6:50 PM

Democrats now face the prospect of using arcane parliamentary tricks
to pass a bill that has minimal support, one that most voters believe
will damage the economy, cost more than advertised, and prompt
sweeping tax increases, all while ignoring the issues of a damaged
economy while attempting to make it worse. If they think that’s a
winning strategy for the midterms, they need new leadership — and
after the electoral disaster coming, they’ll probably be forced to get
This isn’t about winning in 2010.
It isn’t about the leadership.

This is about having the most left leaning leadership in Washington
since the early 30’s taking an opportunity to screw the country that
they thought they would never have!

We have a Marxist president who has already says he’d content with one
term if, BY HIS DEFINITION, he was a good president.

We have a Marxist wax statue House Speaker who comes from a district
where the majority probably feel Congress isn’t taking over enough of
the private sector on the way to their communist utopia.

We have an old, doesn’t-care-if-he’s-reelected Senate Leader who
thinks this is the culmination of his life’s work and that of his dead
friend Teddy!

These three jokers are betting that if they can get this passed,
rammed through, crammed down America’s throat, that in the future the
party can run on “Save Healthcare! Keep those filthy Republican hands
off of it!” “Oh, that evil Republican wants to repeal healthcare and
kill millions by taking away their coverage!”

Unfortunately, the chaos that’s going to ensue, sooner if they pass
healthcare, after we reach banana republic status in the next year,
could lead to numerous conclusions. It may be best if it leads to two
or more countries if this is the government we’re stuck with.

PastorJon on March 9, 2010 at 8:02 PM

Fifty-eight percent of Democrats expect middle-class tax increases,
which shows how effective Obama has been in selling this plan.
Whadda ya know! The Dems are as dumb as the Repubs.

Herb on March 9, 2010 at 8:36


NYC’s New Suicide Sculptures (metaphor for economic reality)

Posted by barrypopik (Profile)

Wednesday, March 10th at 5:24AM EST

No Comments
New York is full of brilliant ideas these days. Let’s look first at
the suicide sculpture metaphor, then the economic reality.

From Wednesday’s New York Times:

Statues Seem Ready to Leap, but Police Say They Won’t
Published: March 9, 2010
They stand about six feet tall and look like naked human beings. Over
the next few days, 27 of them will be scattered across rooftops and
ledges of buildings in Midtown Manhattan — including the Empire State
Building — as part of a public art exhibition.

About the same time that the first figure was placed atop a four-story
building at 25th Street and Fifth Avenue on Tuesday, the Police
Department issued a statement reassuring New Yorkers that the figures
are not despondent people on the verge of leaping to their deaths.

Police officials said they were trying to prevent an overwhelming
number of emergency calls from concerned pedestrians or office
workers. Nevertheless, they said that all emergency calls about a
potential suicide would be taken seriously — even those from places
where one of the figures is located.

“We are going to respond no matter what because there could be a
jumper at the spot,” said Paul J. Browne, the department’s chief

The figures, which are anatomically correct, are modeled after the
body of the artist Antony Gormley, who created the exhibition, which
is being presented by the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

Gormley did the same thing in London in 2007.

Is anyone surprised that lots of people would call 911? Does anyone
think that clogging the 911 line is a good idea? In a nanny state
government that forbids toy guns, why is this OK? How much did this
guy earn for this “art”?

Stupidity all around, but that’s not surprising for New York.

Moving on to suicidal economic news, the New York Times loves the
proposed soda tax:

Healthy Solution: Taxing Sodas
Published: March 8, 2010
Seldom does one idea help fix two important problems, but a proposal
to tax sugary soft drinks in New York State is just that sort of 2-
for-1 solution. The penny-per-ounce tax on sodas and other sweetened
drinks is a way to raise desperately needed money for the city and
state in a bad economy. It also could help lower obesity rates, which
have soared in recent years.

The Legislature in Albany should adopt this tax quickly.

Increasing New York taxes to support outrageously generous public
union pensions — bless your hearts, New York Times and Mayor

What is the other solution to New York’s fiscal crisis? Billions in
increased borrowing, of course:

Paterson’s No. 2 Sets Broad Plan on New York Fiscal Crisis
Published: March 9, 2010
ALBANY — New York could borrow billions of dollars to address its
urgent budget shortfall and a financial review board would be
established to impose new discipline on future spending under a five-
year financial rescue plan that Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch will present
Mr. Ravitch, who was asked by Gov. David A. Paterson to draw up the
blueprint, is seeking to curb the runaway spending that has helped
plunge New York into fiscal crisis. Despite the recession and talk of
fiscal austerity, state spending this year soared by 10 percent over
the previous year’s budget.

Keep on spending!

The state faces a $9 billion shortfall for the fiscal year that begins
April 1 and a $15 billion gap for the following year.

The plan, which requires legislative approval, seeks to address New
York’s immediate cash needs by permitting the state to sell bonds to
help cover operating expenses.

Keep on borrowing! Does anyone want to buy a bond from a bankrupt
state run by David Paterson?

If the Madison Square Park Conservancy wants to add some art, why not
ditch the suicide sculptures and have a replica of the Diana sculpture
that once graced Madison Square Garden? The Roman goddess Diana was an
emblem of chastity.

Suicide sculpture — an urban metaphor for these times? Why not move
them from Madison Square down to Wall Street?


Economists trim 2011 U.S. growth forecast
Posted 2010/03/10 at 12:40 am EST

WASHINGTON, Mar. 10, 2010 (Reuters) — U.S. economists raised their
forecast for economic growth in 2010 in March, the third straight
monthly rise, while trimming their growth forecast for 2011, according
to a survey released on Wednesday.

Economists surveyed earlier this month in the Blue Chip Economic
Indicators newsletter said the economy is expected to grow by 3.0
percent in 2011, which is 0.1 percentage point lower than estimates
made a month ago.

But economists raised their 2010 growth forecast for the third
consecutive month to 3.1 percent, up 0.1 percentage point from

Still, the economists predicted the recovery would be mild given the
depth of the recession.

The consensus also expects inventories to continue adding to GDP over
the next several quarters but see the size of those contributions
become increasingly smaller.

"By Q1 2011, the contribution to GDP from business inventories is
expected to become trivial," the survey said.

The panelists said they also expect "a slower and less powerful than
is typical improvement in labor market conditions that will cap gains
in disposable personal income and personal consumption expenditures."

The panelists expressed concern that severe winter weather crimped
economic activity in February and that upcoming monthly data on
production, retail sales, housing starts and home sales could fall
short of earlier consensus expectations.

However, they also pointed out any weather-induced softness should be
recovered in the March data.

(Reporting by Nancy Waitz, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Copyright Reuters 2008.


US Chamber of Commerce getting into the game.

I almost titled this "US Chamber of Commerce starts recognizing its
class interests," but that kind of language bugs people on the Right,
for some reason.
Posted by Moe Lane (Profile)

Tuesday, March 9th at 11:48AM EST


Say hello to the US Chamber of Commerce. Or don’t; they’re coming to
sit down at the table any which way.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is building a large-scale grass-roots
political operation that has begun to rival those of the major
political parties, funded by record-setting amounts of money raised
from corporations and wealthy individuals.


The new grass-roots program, the brainchild of chamber political
director Bill Miller, is concentrating on 22 states. Among them are
Colorado, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is
vulnerable; Arkansas, where Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln faces an
uphill reelection battle; and Ohio, where the chamber sees
opportunities in numerous House races and an open Senate seat.

The network, called Friends of the U.S. Chamber, has been used to
generate more than a million letters and e-mails to members of
Congress, 700,000 of them in opposition to the Democratic healthcare
plan. That is an increase from 40,000 congressional contacts generated
in 2008.

The article goes on to note that the CoC’s grassroots planning
recently got a big boost from the recent Citizens’ United case, as
well as that this organization is increasingly publicly acknowledging
that ‘pro-business growth’ means ‘pro-Republican.’ And why would that
be? Probably because of Democratic assaults like this one:

A Democratic aide says a new provision in the health care bill will
require businesses to count part-time workers when calculating
penalties for failing to provide coverage.

Via Hot Air, and that particular sudden addition to the health care
bill should have the same effect on small business growth as would,
say, a load of buckshot to the face. Remember, folks: the current
ruling party of this country is largely led by people who have never
worked for a living in their lives - and by God, does it show
sometimes! Keep this in mind when opening your checkbooks, because
the business community certainly plans to…

Moe Lane


*HOW* can they do this? How is it Constitutional?
yoyo Tuesday, March 9th at 12:16PM EST

Isn’t the Senate Bill ALREADY voted for? How can they insert an
amendment into a bill that is already passed?

Wouldnt the inclusion of this amendment (or any other) require that
the whole she-bang go back to the Senate for another up/down vote? Or
at the very least, allow the Senate to Amend this to Death - FINALLY?

Without coming back to the Senate, the Bill would be unconstitutional,

Just Checking. Dan, can you help me out here? Rule check, please!

Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum
‘If you seek peace, prepare for war!’

The ‘yoyo’ replaced my cigarettes January 22, 2006….


That's what "reconcilliation" is all about.
The_Gadfly Tuesday, March 9th at 12:25PM EST

See, this is a cost cutting measure. Without it, they won’t have
enough money to cover the bills, so the reconcilliation rules apply,
and they only need 51 votes for that.

No, I don’t really believe that either, but you can better a year’s
salary that’s how they’ll sell it. Assuming of course you can find
someone dumb enough to take the wager.

We’ve been called racists enough now that it shouldn’t bother us any

-AChance, http://www.redstate.com/moe_lane/2009/11/03/what-men-may-do-we-have-done/#comment-24463

If NY23 was a beat down for Conservatives, what do you call what
happened to Progressives in NJ and VA?

inspired by ColdWarrior,

"Cost Cutting?" Really? Smells of "Policy" to me.
yoyo Tuesday, March 9th at 12:33PM EST

But, I *do* have a head cold, so my sniffer may be broken.

OR, more likely, it just stinks.

I say they should start reconcilling the bill with the Constitution
and go forward from there.

But, I AM a little bit “old fashioned.” *Tradition and Patriotism* and
all that.

Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum
‘If you seek peace, prepare for war!’

Pukin’ Dogs - The Fighting 143
Sans Reproache

The ‘yoyo’ replaced my cigarettes January 22, 2006….


George Washington
hickorystick Tuesday, March 9th at 1:32PM EST

led the Rebellion, because England was infringing upon his interests.
George Washington wasn’t that political a guy. He did maintain his
‘interest’ very sharply. He was one of the wealthiest Colonials, and
he was constantly irritated with England imposing laws and
restrictions impinging on his ‘interest’. He chose his wife, Mary, not
for her looks, but because she had a lot of land. I get so frustrated
with politics because most of the time, especially media time, is
spent talking about nebulous things which we have no power or control
over. We would do well to frame every bill in terms of how it affects
‘interests’. You cannot walk into court and ask for something, unless
you can prove an ‘interest’ or ’standing’. We should do the same in
our political fights, sticking to our right to maintain property. That
is what we fought over in the revolution. Remember, we didn’t bother
to write a Constitution till some years after we had won the war. The
form of government that came most naturally after the victory, was a
Continental Congress. This form left most issues to the states, where
property could best be protected. If we want to effectively fight this
Redistibutor-in-Chief, We better start focusing on our own interest
and that of our states.

tdpwells Tuesday, March 9th at 3:09PM EST

So let’s see, that’s most employees at fast food restaurants, grocery
stores, convenience stores, corner pharmacy stores like CVS and
Walgreens, etc etc etc…

Unemployment ought to be at a healthy 30% by the time they’re done.

I do not believe that the power and duty of the General
Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual
suffering which is in no manner properly related to the
public service or benefit…to the end that the lesson should
be constantly enforced that though the people support the
Government, the Government should not support the people.
Grover Cleveland (16 February 1887)



Siegel Says U.S. Recovery Certain, Euro Region Faces Splinter
March 10, 2010, 5:39 AM EST
By Le-Min Lim

March 10 (Bloomberg) -- Jeremy Siegel, a finance professor at the
University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, says the worst is over
for the U.S. economy and the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates
by year’s end to cool growth.

Spending by companies on equipment and plants will outpace private
consumption as the main growth driver this year, he said in an
interview in Hong Kong. The jobless rate, at 9.7 percent last month,
will fall below 9 percent by the end of 2010, he said. That may force
the Fed to tighten policy and full-year economic growth may reach 4
percent, he said.

The Fed “will feel comfortable raising the rates as long as the
situation continues to improve, as I believe it will,” said Siegel, in
an interview in Hong Kong. Siegel, 64, is an adviser to U.S.-based
WisdomTree Investments Inc., which had $6.7 billion of assets under
management as of the end of last year.

The Fed and the Treasury are trying to withdraw the emergency measures
introduced during the financial crisis without triggering a relapse in
the economy. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said Feb. 24 the U.S. is in
a “nascent” recovery that still requires keeping interest rates near
zero “for an extended period” to spur demand once stimulus wanes.

In Europe, the European Central Bank will have little alternative
other than to keep interest rates low as euro region members such as
Greece struggle to convince investors they will cut soaring budget
deficits, he said. Its benchmark rate is currently at a record low of
1 percent.


The euro is making the exports of nations such as Spain and Greece so
uncompetitive that they may start talks as early as next year to leave
the 16-nation bloc, he said. That departure would be “painful and
difficult and drag down the region for a few years,” he said. One
weakness of the currency union is that it lacks a proper and orderly
exit strategy for members that can’t keep up, Siegel said.

“They should have signed prenups before they got married to the euro,”
said Siegel, referring to agreements that outline the terms of a

A U.S. recovery and uncertainty in the eurozone mean the dollar will
remain a “viable” asset, said Siegel.

Later this year, China may start a managed appreciation of the yuan,
Siegel said. China wants to revert to export-driven economic growth,
so is more likely to try a staggered revaluation than a major, one-
time adjustment, he said.

--Editors: Dirk Beveridge, John Fraher

To contact the reporter on this story: Le-Min Lim in Hong Kong at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at

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High Conviction: Short the Yen
by: Alexander Tepper March 10, 2010

Alexander Tepper is Chief Economist at TKNG Capital, a global macro
hedge fund based in New York. Previously, Mr. Tepper was a senior
economic policy aide to U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg. He also has
experience at Oliver, Wyman & Company advising Fortune 500 financial
institutions on risk management and as an investment banking Associate
at Credit Suisse. He has a masters degree in Economics from Oxford
University, and a BA in Physics from Princeton University.

We recently had the opportunity to ask Alexander about the single
highest conviction position he currently holds in his fund.

What is your highest conviction position in your fund right now - long
or short?

We are short Japanese yen against the US Dollar. We have implemented
the trade by selling out-of-the-money calls to buy out-of-the-money
puts and taking in premium.

Why did you use options to structure the trade?

Call options on the yen are significantly more expensive than put
options. This “skew,” as it’s known, exists because the Japanese
investment community tends to be short yen, making it susceptible to
sharp rises during bouts of risk aversion.

Investors hedge this exposure by buying out-of-the-money yen calls.
But given the sharp adjustment that has already occurred in the crisis
and a government whose proclivities are far from fiscally
conservative, we view the risks as less asymmetric than implied by the

Structuring this trade with options is akin to playing with dice
loaded in our favor.

Tell us a bit about Japan right now, and why you're short its

Japan has traditionally been an export-oriented economy, but that’s
going to change as the population continues to age and retire. These
older citizens, who have saved their whole lives and are no longer
producing anything, will be a natural source of demand, first for
domestic Japanese goods and then for imports. A shrinking labor force
will mean other nations will need to pick up the slack in production.
Already, the savings rate in Japan has fallen into the low single-
digits and it should fall further.

Japan is also in serious fiscal trouble. Its net debt is more than
100% of GDP, and gross debt is nearing 200% of GDP. The Japanese
government and central bank do not seem particularly concerned. It is
only Japan’s strong balance of payments position, and a willful
suspension of disbelief by the markets, that differentiates it from
countries like Greece. But those, too, should ebb over time.

So why will the yen fall?

First, as the Japanese retire, the supply shock to the economy will
result in continuing declines in competitiveness. The yen will need to
fall to restore balance.

Second, less income and more retirees will mean that Japan will need
to fund more of its government’s borrowing from abroad. Making this
attractive will mean a lower exchange rate, higher interest rate, or
(most likely) both.

Third, the government’s fiscal position is the worst in the developed
world. The scale of the adjustments that are necessary to stabilize
the budget deficit would be unprecedented in a large developed nation,
requiring deep cuts to pensions, double-digit tax increases, and
severe spending restraint elsewhere. If sovereign worries persist,
Japan and its currency are obvious targets for speculators.

Finally, we think consumers in the US and UK are undergoing a lasting
shift in psychology that will cause them to save a larger share of
their incomes going forward. Over the long-term, the savings rate
needs to average around 10% in order for Americans to secure a
reasonable retirement. When Americans save more, they buy less,
especially imports. This lack of demand for imports means a stronger
dollar against US trading partners like Japan.

All this is on the assumption that the global economy will limp along
for a while. But if instead we have a return to robust growth that
looks broadly like the pre-crisis economy, the yen should weaken
towards 2007 levels as markets become more and more comfortable with
risk and interest rates rise in the rest of the developed world.

There are a lot of ways to win with this trade.

What would you say the current broad sentiment is on the yen?

The market has tended to view the yen as part of the “risk-on/risk-
off” trade, where the yen rises with worries about the global economy.
Japan’s fiscal issues are well-known, but the market has generally not
priced them, with yields on 10-year Japanese bonds below 1.5%.
Japanese CDS spreads, however, have doubled since late summer.

More broadly, the markets have believed that correction of global
imbalances requires a weaker dollar to encourage Americans and Asians
to change their consumption behavior. We think the financial crisis
and experience of house price declines will be the driving force that
restrains Americans’ profligacy, while Asians will consume more. The
result will be a stronger dollar.

Does Japanese economic policy play a role in your position?

The Japanese government has made fairly clear that it does not intend
to tolerate a markedly stronger yen because it hurts their exporters.
It also seems neither inclined nor able to do anything about the
fiscal situation in the near future.

What catalysts do you see that could move the currency, and the trade
in your favor?

The eurozone’s sovereign risk worries will soon resolve themselves one
way or another. When they do, Japan could easily become a target.

As economic data continue to strengthen over the next few months, a
return to normalcy will mean a weaker yen.

We are also prepared for a more gradual adjustment as markets adopt
our demographic view.

What could go wrong with this trade?

In the near term, Japanese companies repatriating income around the
fiscal year-end in March could potentially lead to a rise in the
currency. A sharp rise in risk aversion could have a similar effect.
We have been careful to choose the strike prices on our options to
minimize the damage if such a spike does occur.

Beyond that, deflation in Japan means that in a perfect economic
world, the yen would appreciate over time. There is also the risk that
the pundits over the past several years prove right and we see
fundamental weakening of the dollar with respect to all Asian

Finally, if China were to revalue its currency, as many believe it
will, that could create space for the Japanese authorities also to
allow some appreciation. Again, however, we believe our options are
sufficiently out of the money to limit our downside in such a

Thanks, Alexander.

Disclosure: TKNG Capital is short the Yen against the Dollar.

If you are a fund manager and interested in doing an interview with us
on your highest conviction stock holding, please email Rebecca
About the author: Alexander Tepper Alexander Tepper is Chief
Economist at TKNG Capital, a global macro hedge fund based in New
York. Previously, Mr. Tepper was a senior economic policy aide to U.S.
Senator Frank Lautenberg. He also has experience at Oliver, Wyman &
Company advising Fortune 500 financial institutions on risk... More

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Shorting the Yen could be an interesting play. Already the Japanese
savings rate has crashed from its lofty position to under 4%, so the
Japanese government will not be able to count on domestic savings to
finance its debt indefinitely.
Mar 10 06:25 AM

John Thomas graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry with
honors and a minor in mathematics from the University of California at
Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.) in 1974. He moved to Tokyo, Japan where he was
employed by a medium-sized Japanese securities house. Thomas became
fluent in... More Company: The Mad Hedge Fund Trader bvgf I’m hearing
from my buddies in Japan that while things are already quite bad in
that enchanting country, they are about to get a whole lot worse, and
that it is time to start scaling into a major short in the yen.
Australia and China have already raised interest rates, to be followed
by the US, and eventually Europe. With its economy enfeebled, the
prospects of Japan raising rates substantially is close to nil,
meaning the yield spread between the yen and other currencies is about
to widen big time. That will generate hundreds of billions of dollars
worth of yen selling as hedge funds rush to pile on a giant carry
trade. Until now, the government has been able to finance ballooning
budget deficits caused by two lost decades, but those days are coming
to an end. Japan is quite literally running out of savers. The savings
rate has dropped from 20% during my time there, to a spendthrift 3%,
because real falling standards of living leave a lot less money for
the piggy bank. The national debt has rocketed to 190% of GDP, and
100% when you net out government agencies buying each other’s
securities. Japan has the world’s worst demographic outlook. Unfunded
pension liabilities are exploding. Other than once great cars and
video games, what does Japan really have to offer the world these
days, but a carry currency? Until now, the government has been able to
cover up these problems with tatami mats, because almost all of the
debt it issued has been sold to domestic institutions. Now that this
pool is drying up, there is nowhere else to go but foreign investors.
With Greece and the rest of the PIIGS at the forefront, and awareness
of sovereign risks heightening, this is going to be a much more
discerning lot to deal with. You could dip your toe in the water here
around ¥88.40. In a perfect world you could sell it as it double tops
at the 85 level. My initial downside target is ¥105, and after that
¥120. If you’re not set up to trade in the futures or the interbank
market like the big hedge funds, then take a look at the leveraged
short yen ETF, the (YCS). This is a home run if you can get in at the
right price.
Mar 10


Fresh Trade Winds?
Wednesday, 10 March 2010 02:19
0 Comments and 4 Reactions
Investor's Business Daily
Investor's Business Daily


Economy: U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk came out swinging
Wednesday, warning Congress that it’s time to pass free trade. Is
something happening here? Is the Obama administration finally getting
serious about jobs?

After a year of inaction, Kirk told Democrats in remarks to the Senate
Finance Committee that passage of free-trade pacts must be “a

Free trade “will stimulate export-driven growth and help the United
States meet the president’s goal to double U.S. exports in five
years,” he said, adding that 2 million jobs would be created.

That kind of talk from a leading Democrat directed at the
protectionists in his own party is a new — and welcome — development.

Over the last year, Obama administration officials have occasionally
talked up the benefits of free trade, but only with conservatives and
business groups, who already know about it.

Now some are spending political capital to push it.

Confronting a Congress that is holding up the creation of jobs doesn’t
come a moment too soon. U.S. joblessness stands at 9.7% and Europe is
grabbing U.S. markets abroad.

Congressional protectionists talk of free trade passage in terms of
years; their campaign financiers in Big Labor, such as the AFL-CIO,
say “never.”

Kirk rebuked that stance in his speech, telling labor it had a voice
but “not a veto” on trade and hinted that President Obama would put
the pacts through without them. He also gave labor leaders a deadline
to make demands on free-trade deals like the one with Colombia instead
of constantly moving the goal posts.

One shot.

It doesn’t come a moment too soon. Congress’ failure to enact the free-
trade pacts in front of them is costing the U.S. nearly 600,000 jobs,
according to a 2009 study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Contrary to
protectionist myth, free trade costs no net jobs in the U.S. economy
at all, as Fed chief Ben Bernanke noted in a 2007 speech citing years
of data. “Trade allows us to enjoy both a more productive economy and
higher living standards,” he said. Unemployment is killing the U.S.
economy and sinking the Obama presidency. Time is running out to open
markets that could help repair it. Just this week, Europe signed a
free-trade deal with Colombia and Peru and breezily announced it would
have a pact with fast-growing India ready by October.

U.S. international credibility right now is zero, given that
alreadynegotiated trade pacts with Colombia, Panama and South Korea
have languished in Congress for more than three years.

Who’d want to negotiate something new and have it put in congressional
limbo? That’s why the Obama administration’s proposed U.S. Trans-
Pacific Partnership to open new markets in Brunei, Australia, New
Zealand and Vietnam is going nowhere.

“This delay in implementing hurts U.S. credibility around the world —
not just economically, but geopolitically as well,” said Sen. Charles
Grassley, R-Iowa, at the Kirk hearing. Hello? Anyone out there? The
U.S. is losing ground in world markets and doing it at the cost of our
own citizens’ jobs. It’s exactly what U.S. labor unions such as the
Teamsters, United Steelworkers, United Autoworkers and various public
employee unions want.

And right now, like it or not, they rule Congress. It’s ironic,
because many lobbyists believe free trade can pass both congressional
Houses if the bills are put to a vote. Past presidents, including
Democrat Bill Clinton and Republican George W. Bush, knew that’s what
it took to get pacts through Congress. Both threw their all into
getting big treaties — like 1993’s North American Free Trade Agreement
and 2005’s Central American Free Trade Agreement — passed in Congress,
acts that took on people who would stop them to charge up the U.S.
economy. There’s still no sign of Obama out there working the Hill.
But Kirk’s statements, no doubt authorized by the president, may be
the beginning of a turnaround on trade.



A new finger on the pulse of economy

A new index co-developed by Ceridian uses diesel fuel sales to track
U.S. economic growth.

By NEAL ST. ANTHONY, Star Tribune
Last update: March 9, 2010 - 9:03 PM

Want to know which way the economy is headed? Find out how much diesel
fuel is being burned by the nation's over-the-road truckers.

That's the theory behind a new economic index developed by Bloomington-
based Ceridian Corp., a provider of electronic payments services, and
UCLA's Anderson School of Management.

Called the Pulse of Commerce Index, the survey, to be released
Wednesday, shows the U.S. economy was essentially flat over the first
two months of the year, with a snowbound February decline of 0.7
percent in output offsetting the modest January gain of 0.6 percent.

"February was disappointing, but the geographic pattern underlying the
index suggests this was due in large part to extreme snowfalls during
the month," said Edward Leamer, director of UCLA's Anderson Forecast
and chief economist for the Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index
(PCI). "We still need much stronger growth in the PCI to get Americans
back to work. To sustain at least a 4 percent GDP number for the first
quarter [on an annualized basis], the March PCI has to be ... over 1
percent growth. That number will be very important."

The new index is designed to get the jump on the Federal Reserve's
report on industrial production report for February, which comes out
next week.

The PCI uses real-time diesel fuel consumption data from over-the-road
truckers, which is tracked by Ceridian, a longtime payment services
provider to the trucking industry. The index is built by analyzing
Ceridian's electronic card payment data, which captures the location
and volume of diesel fuel being purchased. This provides a detailed
picture of the movement of products across the United States.

In an interview Tuesday, Leamer said that once the bad weather is
taken into account, February's numbers suggest that there is an
underlying power to industrial demand and he expects that a catch-up
surge in goods moved in March will indicate that the economy is
growing at about a 3 percent annualized rate during the first quarter.

"To be optimistic about jobs, we'll need at least that," Leamer said.
"In the fourth quarter, we had 5.9 percent growth, but 3.9 percent was
just inventory replacement. That leaves 2 percent. We need more than
that. And March will tell the quarter."

Leamer said the Ceridian diesel-consumption data, collected from about
7,000 service stations around the country, constitutes a
representative sample and provides a "real data, not surveys" about
the movement of goods, which is a manifestation of industrial
production and shipments.

The flow of commerce

"We're monitoring the flow of commerce at truck stops, and the
arteries for the commercial system are the interstate highways
carrying the products," he said. "It amplifies the swings in GDP and
also tells us early where the economy is going."

Industrial production only accounts for about one-third of the U.S.
economy. It is more volatile than the service sector, which fluctuates
less during economic cycles.

All economic eyes are on month-to-month changes in industrial output,
which is a guide to business spending, credit expansion and demand for
goods in the aftermath of the 2008-09 recession that has given way to
a fairly tepid economic recovery. Most labor economists believe that
the economy won't start adding jobs significantly unless industrial
output starts growing at a 3 to 5 percent annualized clip.

Back testing of the Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index indicates
that it is a reliable indicator of industrial output. For example, the
index rose in areas unaffected by February's snows, including 2.7
percent in the Upper Midwest and 2.1 percent in the Pacific region.

"Goods have to be transported for the economy to grow, so when
snowstorms bog down that flow, it is reflected in our index and in the
overall U.S. economy," said Craig Manson, senior vice president and
index analyst for Ceridian.

A new finger on the pulse of economy...
Wait! The economy has a pulse?

posted by DrZoidberg on Mar 9, 10 at 11:55 pm |


Posted: Wed, Mar 10 2010. 9:00 AM IST
International News

US, Europe eye free-trade pacts with rising Asia

The talks will follow the launch of negotiations on a free-trade
agreement between Singapore and the European Union, which is also keen
on expanding trade ties with Southeast Asia

Singapore: The United States, fearful of being sidelined as China and
other fast-growing Asian economies speed up their integration, is
banking on a new trade pact to shore up its Pacific influence.

Talks opening Monday in Melbourne will focus on a proposed Trans-
Pacific Partnership agreement linking the US market with Australia,
Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Officials hope the TPP will form the nucleus of a wider Asia-Pacific
trade zone that would eventually rope in China, Japan and South Korea
as well as key Southeast Asian nations.

The talks will follow the launch of negotiations on a free-trade
agreement between Singapore and the European Union, which is also keen
on expanding trade ties with Southeast Asia.

The United States and Europe have been shut out of a growing web of
Asia-centric trade pacts spurred by the region’s 1997 financial crisis
and by a lack of progress in the Doha round of global trade talks,
analysts said.

While the United States is “unquestionably” a Pacific power, it “lacks
a comprehensive Asia strategy”, said Ernest Bower, a Southeast Asia
expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in

“The lack of consistent US focus in the region has enabled the
ascendance of Chinese power,” Bower said, adding that it could slowly
undermine US business interests and eventually degrade US security

The new trade attention from the West comes as Asian countries lead
the rest of the world in recovering from the global economic downturn.

“That the US and the EU are knocking on Asia’s doors is a recognition
that the centre of economic power is shifting, or has shifted, to our
region,” an Asian diplomat closely involved in trade issues told AFP.

“They know very well that ignoring Asia will be at their own peril.
China is already a major trade partner for many Asian countries and is
leading efforts toward regional economic integration,” he said on
condition of anonymity.

Deputy US trade representative Demetrios Marantis warned that
Washington “faces the daunting prospect of getting locked out” by Asia-
specific trade pacts.

A study by the US-based Peterson Institute for International Economics
showed that discriminatory policies under an East Asia free trade zone
could cost the US economy at least 25 billion dollars of annual
exports and lead to the loss of “about 200,000 high-paying jobs”.

The United States has free-trade accords with Australia and Singapore
and has also negotiated a trade pact with South Korea, but this has
yet to be implemented due to fierce disputes over cars and beef.

China has been more aggressive in wooing regional partners.

An agreement between China and the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN) covering nearly two billion consumers went into effect
this year, creating the world’s biggest free-trade area in terms of

There are also efforts to form a larger, all-Asian free-trade zone
spanning China, Japan, South Korea and the 10 ASEAN states.

C. Fred Bergsten and Jeffrey Schott of the Peterson Institute hailed
Washington’s decision to join the trans-Pacific talks in Australia.

“Deepening US engagement with countries in the Asia-Pacific region is
crucial for the advancement of both US economic and foreign policy
interests,” Bergsten and Schott said in a recent paper.

“Within the next few years, it is likely that the East Asian countries
will deepen their economic ties and conclude both a regional trade
agreement and a monetary agreement,” the authors said.

Such a bloc would “draw a line” in the middle of the Pacific Ocean by
discriminating against US exporters and investors, and excluding the
United States from major regional economic and security forums, they

Marantis acknowledged that overcoming crisis-hit Americans’ opposition
to free-trade agreements is a key challenge.

Surveys suggest that only about one in 10 Americans think that trade
pacts create jobs, while more than half believe the accords lead to
job losses at home, he said.


...and I am Sid Harth

Sid Harth
2010-03-10 18:16:49 UTC
National Magazine | Aug 20, 2007

Irfan Hussain


Sixty Years On, More Sinned Against...

The great political scams of the last 60 years reflect their times,
but also fit a timeless definition of corruption: abuse of public
power for private gain. A trip down murky memory lane.
Smita Gupta

Special Issue: India At 60

The great political scams of the last 60 years reflect their times,
but also fit a timeless definition of corruption: abuse of public
power for private gain. They rolled out decade after decade—the
Mundhra scandal, the Kairon embarrassment, the mysterious Nagarwala
case; in the 1980s, big defence scams kept pace with India's growing
defence needs. In the 1990s, as the economy liberalised, stockmarket
and hawala scams erupted. Ironically, while political reputations were
ruined and a government was brought down—in 1989, on the Bofors issue—
very few allegations have ever been proved. The recent scandals, like
the Taj Corridor case involving Mayawati, and the Telgi fake stamp
paper scam, are still fresh in the public mind. Here, we take you on a
trip down murky memory lane.

The Mundhra Scandal

The timing was disastrous. Less than a year after the government
nationalised life insurance in 1956—on the grounds that it was not
being managed well—the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) produced
independent India's first scam. Pressured by the Union finance
ministry, LIC bypassed its investment committee and purchased shares
worth Rs 124 lakh in six—mainly dud—companies belonging to Calcutta
industrialist Haridas Mundhra. Feroze Gandhi, Prime Minister
Jawaharlal Nehru's son-in-law, dramatically disclosed the deal in
1958, leading to a nationwide furore, and an investigation. The guilty
were punished, and Union finance minister T.T. Krishnamachari had to

Kairon and Sons

For independent India, this was a first-of-a-kind scandal. Later, of
course, it was to become almost a cliche in political life: a chief
minister accused of aggrandising himself and his family at public
expense. The S.R. Das Commission, tasked to investigate these charges
against Punjab chief minister Pratap Singh Kairon, exonerated him in
1964, saying a father could not be held legally responsible for the
actions of his grown-up children. But a caveat—that a chief minister
could not escape moral responsibility for his children's' actions—was
indictment enough. Kairon quit.

"Man from Bangladesh"

The case, straight out of a political thriller, captured public
imagination and continues to raise unanswered questions. On May 24,
1971, former intelligence agent R.S. Nagarwala, posing as a "man from
Bangladesh", withdrew Rs 60 lakh from the Parliament Street branch of
New Delhi's State Bank of India, following a purported call from then
prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi, to the chief cashier.
Nagarwala had apparently "mimicked" Indira Gandhi's voice. In the
course of the probe that followed, investigating officer D.K. Kashyap
was killed in a mysterious car accident and Nagarwala died in prison.
The Janata Party, alleging that the money belonged to Indira Gandhi,
set up the Jaganmohan Reddy commission in 1977, but found insufficient
evidence to indict her.

"Rajiv Gandhi chor hai"

"Gali gali mein shor hai, Rajiv Gandhi chor hai!" As the scandal over
the Bofors gun deal became a symbol of corruption in high office, this
slogan was heard across the country. The alleged kickback involved was
Rs 60 crore, small change as such scandals go, but it helped V.P.
Singh's National Front trounce Rajiv's Congress in 1989. Since then,
the Delhi High Court has acquitted Rajiv Gandhi and the Hinduja
brothers. 'Middleman' Ottavio Quattrocchi's name has not yet been
cleared, but investigators have not come up with anything conclusive
either. Yet, 18 years later, the ghost of Bofors continues to haunt a
forever tainted Congress—and Rajiv Gandhi's widow, Sonia.

St Kitts Forgery Scandal

Chandraswami, a godman with greasy locks and mighty political
connections, was the central figure in the 1989 tit-for-tat "scam"
intended to tarnish V. P. Singh. He, along with then external affairs
minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, and another minister, K.K. Tewary,
reportedly organised forged documents to show that VP's son Ajeya
Singh had deposited $21 million in the First Trust Corporation Bank in
the Caribbean island of St Kitts, with his father as beneficiary.
After Rao's term as PM ended in 1996, the CBI formally charged him for
the crime. But later, the court acquitted Rao for lack of evidence.
All the other accused were also eventually let off. However, the scam
punctured Chandraswami's colourful career. Politicians kept clear of
him from then on.

Sukh Ram Telecom Scam

He came to be known by the epithet, minister of tele-'phony'. In 2002,
a CBI special court sentenced former Union communications minister
Sukh Ram to three years RI, and fined him Rs 1 lakh for purchasing
poor quality radio system equipment from a company in 1991, causing
the public exchequer to suffer losses totalling Rs 1.68 crore. The
buzz was that Sukh Ram, under whose bed dhobi bundles of cash were
found, was involved in several other deals, but nothing was proved. A
senior telecom official, Runu Ghosh, and Hyderabad-based businessman
Pataru Rama Rao, were also sentenced to two and three years
imprisonment respectively. A tortuous legal battle continues.

Stockmarket Scam, 1992

He was toasted and celebrated by investors and the media alike. But
like the stockmarket, he too crashed, leading to one of the biggest
financial scandals in independent India. 'Big Bull' Harshad Mehta,
held to be largely responsible for the stockmarket crash of '92, was
arrested by the CBI in November that year for "misappropriating" more
than 27 lakh shares—worth Rs 250 crore—of about 90 companies,
including Sensex heavyweights like ACC and Hindalco, through forged
share transfer forms. Blacklisted in the stockmarket, he reportedly
caused a loss of more than Rs 4,000 crore to various entities and
eventually died in custody in December 2001, before all the legal
issues were sorted out. The stock scam reverberated through the
country, with several people committing suicide after losing their
life savings and going bankrupt overnight.

PV in a Pickle

Close on the heels of the stock scam came Harshad Mehta's sensational
allegation that he had paid Rs 1 crore in cash to the personal
secretary of then prime minister Narasimha Rao. He even displayed a
suitcase, offering a symbol for venality, but the allegation was never
proved. Rao was also embarrassed by the Lakhubhai Pathak cheating
scandal. Pickle king Pathak, a UK-based Indian businessman, alleged
that he had paid Chandraswami and his associate K.N. Aggarwal alias
Mamaji (who were close to Rao) $100,000 in return for a paper pulp
supply contract in India, a "promise" that was not kept. Rao and
Chandraswami were acquitted of the charges in 2003 due to lack of
evidence. Despite this, the case remained a blot on Rao.

Jain Hawala Scam

Some of the country's leading politicians were implicated in the Rs 64-
crore hawala scandal, involving payments allegedly received by
politicians through the Jain brothers, who were hawala brokers. The
media went into overdrive over a diary, which apparently contained the
names of top politicians. These included the BJP's L.K. Advani and
Congressmen Balram Jakhar, Madhavrao Scindia and Arjun Singh. However,
they were all cleared. Advani was let off in 1997, while Jakhar and
the Jain brothers were also let off in 1999 for want of credible
evidence. The CBI was severely criticised for its inefficient
investigation of the scandal.

Fodder Scam

In 1996, Bihar CM Laloo Prasad Yadav became the focus of the Rs 950-
crore fodder scam in the state's animal husbandry department,
notorious for financial irregularities involving powerful politicians
(across parties) and officials. In April 2000, Laloo was chargesheeted
in the case, with wife Rabri Devi as co-accused. In December '06, they
were acquitted, but the CBI and the Bihar government, now under the
JD(U)'s Nitish Kumar, opposed the decision in the Patna high court.
Till date, 250 persons have been convicted. But the scandal's severest
toll has been on Laloo's reputation.

Petrol Pump Scam

Shortly after the NDA came to power in '98, the BJP was quick to prove
it was not "a party with a difference". By '02, it was evident that
most petrol pump, LPG and kerosene allotments during the NDA regime
had favoured BJP functionaries, Sangh activists and selected governors
and bureaucrats. Then prime minister A.B. Vajpayee was forced to
cancel all 3,158 allotments, with effect from January 2000. However,
the SC quashed the order. In 2005, an apex court-appointed panel
recommended that 296 of the 409 allotments be cancelled.

Operation West End

Tehelka.com sent shockwaves throughout the country when it released
secret video footage of senior politicians, including then BJP
president Bangaru Laxman and Samata Party national president Jaya
Jaitly, bureaucrats and army officers accepting bribes for defence
deals. This was the first major sting operation in Indian journalism.
From then on, getting 'Bangarued' came to mean being caught with your
hand in the till. The scandal forced Bangaru and then defence minister
George Fernandes to resign. The CBI filed charges against Bangaru and
two of his aides in July '06 and against Jaitly in December '06.
Chargesheets were also filed in 2006 against some of the other accused
in the Union ministry of defence and the army. R.K. Jain, former
treasurer of the Samata Party, was finally arrested in 2006 on charges
of receiving huge payoffs in defence deals.

Bu Smita Gupta with Debarshi Dasgupta

Aug 17, 2007 12:00 AM

22 Gulam:>>" Who are "we" here?
All those involved in fighting the terrorists."

All those now involved in 'protecting/training' the terrorists should
also sincerely join the fight against terrorists and their
elimination. Otherwise, these may well be the first, though
unintended, casualties in the terrorist explosions. Perhaps, you may
be able make them realize this, before it is too late.

chennai, india
Aug 17, 2007 12:00 AM

21 Seshadri,

>> Who are "we" here?

All those involved in fighting the terrorists.
Ghulam Y Faruki
New York, United States
Aug 17, 2007 12:00 AM

20 Ghulam:>>"We should kill them at a faster rate than they can train
their recruits."

Who are "we" here? The major OIC countries, especially Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, should help non-OIC terrorist-
targetted countries like, India, UK, US in detecting and exterminating
terrorists. Will they? Pakistan is sheltering the Bombay bomber and
Bin Laden and denying it all the time. God Allah will help these
moslems only if they help in eliminating islamic terrorists. Will
they ?
chennai, india
Aug 17, 2007 12:00 AM

19 "The expansion of the ummah and the killing of "kafirs" are both
ideas that do not cross the minds of the bulk of the Muslim

Most of the muslims nourish ideas of ummah expansion and how it can be
brought about. Many of them express it shamelessly, in schools,
offices etc. One of the reasons why the rest of the Indians despise
Muslims in general.
chennai, India
Aug 17, 2007 12:00 AM

18 Seshadri,

>> It means 5 million can be killed or maimed, in due course, by these.

Not if we are killing them at the same time. We should kill them at a
faster rate than they can train their recruits. The terrorists have
done more harm to Muslims than to anyone else.

>> you will agree that all moslems consider non-moslem khafirs could justifiably be killed, if they come in the way of the expansion of the UMMA.

Not true. The expansion of the ummah and the killing of "kafirs" are
both ideas that do not cross the minds of the bulk of the Muslim
community. I have never heard of them from anyone I know. The only
time I hear them is from the sanghis, zionists and from rabid jehadis
who somehow or other have become the favorites of British TV crews.

Ghulam Y Faruki
New York, United States
Aug 16, 2007 12:00 AM

17 Ghulam:>>"The best estimate of American and British experts in the
field on the total number of terrorists in the world is less than

I see it was Joseph who mentioned the number of jihadis as only a few
millions out 1.3 billion moslems in the world. I wrongly attributed it
to you, sorry. You say the ''trained' terrorist jihadis' are only
10,000; each has a potential for killing or disabling 500 persons,
with today's terrorism technology. It means 5 million can be killed or
maimed, in due course, by these.
More are being trained, in the mean time. IF the moslem states
cooperate with the non-moslem states, the menace can be contained.
Otherwise, the number of terrorist jihadis may grow exponentially with
time and become uncontainable, as it is becoming in Iraq.

>>"You were implying that all Muslims, that is 1.3 billion, were trained to kill non-believers. That is patently untrue."

I did not imply that all the moslems were "trained" to kill the other
non-believers. But, you will agree that all moslems consider non-
moslem khafirs could justifiably be killed, if they come in the way of
the expansion of the UMMA. Even this is against the basic human rights
of non-moslems also as humans, with a right to exist. If devout
moslems believe that only believers in Allah will go to heaven in
after-life, I have no objections to that.

chennai, india
Aug 16, 2007 12:00 AM

16 Seshadri,

>> You have yourself stated earlier that the 'few' jihadis amount to a few millions.

What we were discussing was what percentage of Muslims may be
terrorists. The best estimate of American and British experts in the
field on the total number of terrorists in the world is less than
10,000. You were implying that all Muslims, that is 1.3 billion, were
trained to kill non-believers. That is patently untrue.
Ghulam Y Faruki
New York, United States
Aug 16, 2007 12:00 AM

15 Ghulam:>>"Not true, except perhaps for a few jehadis "

You have yourself stated earlier that the 'few' jihadis amount to a
few millions. If each suicide bomber can kill 100 and disable another
100, most of them moslems of slightly different sects, the few million
jihadis can finish off most of the billion-plus moslems in the moslem
world today. Is it desirable or permissible ?
Moslem govts should themselves monitor their madarsas, modernize their
education, reduce inter-sect hatreds, liberalize the moslems' world-
view and jail the die-hard jihadis in isolated islands, if reqd.
Mesa'potamia' is burning, George Bush on the 'Potamac' river in
Washington is not able to do much about it. Only Man Mohan Singh's
kind heart may be bleeding for the berieved, disabled, displaced and
refugees of Iraq, especially the children. I wonder why the OIC or the
moslem-welfare organization you have in US are not doing anything
about it. The OIC should itself organize a CIA type secret service to
identify hard-core suicidal jihadis among moslems and arrest them and
put them off.

The idea that 72 'virgins' are waiting to please martyrs in heaven
must be re-explained to the moslems in general and jihadis in
particular. What Narada {Gaapriya=Gasbriel] told Mohammed [Ravana]is
that there is a non-gravity region in Jupiter [St. Peter's 'heaven']
neighbourhood; soul-will in that neighbourhood can bring about the
'joining' of appropriate free elements of the periodic table, seen as
the 272 joiners or yoginees [spiritual virgins, in tantra saastra on
the sree chakra, wheel of creation] to form bodies to experience some
life and apples to eat and so on. 72 of the more significant elements
are indicated by Narada to Ravana. Bhagavat Geeta also talks about
swarga where souls can have some happiness before returning on a new
birth to the earth. If these things are explained and sexual
interpretation of the enjoyment of virgins etc is removed, jihadi
enthusiasm may come down; they may choose to have some good lives on
the earth itself.
chennai, india
Aug 16, 2007 12:00 AM

14 Seshadri,

>> Moslems are brought up to consider all nonmoslems as khafirs fit for elimination only.

Not true, except perhaps for a few jehadis who miss the main thrust of
religious teaching and memorize just a few paragraphs out of context.
Ghulam Y Faruki
New York, United States
Aug 15, 2007 12:00 AM

13 >>" corruption: abuse of public power for private gain. They rolled
out decade after decade"

Corruption will continue to mar the nation's politics and
administration until politics ceases to be the first choice as 'money-
making profession' for scoundrels and scoundrel families. Perhaps, the
grandchildren of corpotate-succeess families now may loose the lure
for lucre and seek to enter politics for purely 'national service' and
not to make money, which they may have in abundance.

But, there is one aspect which popular will can enforce on corrupt
politicians/bureauocrats, even now, namely quick, early and proper
punishments when prima facie crime has been established. The Chinese
have recently given death sentence to a senior official found
responsible for non-enforcement of pharma-product qualities. We may
not go that for, but we may at least confiscate the properties of
politicians and bureauocrats found guilty by the first courts, on
fodder scam, stamp-paper scam etc; they could go in appeal to higher
courts, as per law, but leaving them in power and with ill-accumulated
wealth already declared illegal still with them only makes it easier
for them to employ the most expensive lawyers and win the appeals
somehow, or delay eventual sentences by decades. Karunanidhi now
questionably celebrates halfcentury in politics, only because the case
against some ex-judge who held his black money benami could not end
even before the said judge himself died ! If confiscation of property
pending appeals becomes the norm, such confiscated wealth could be
held in trust and the income proceedings from it can be used for
health and education of the poor in the country; trust can be closed
and wealth returned to appellant, if and when he wins the appeal at
the higher court.
chennai, india
Aug 15, 2007 12:00 AM

12 Shenoy: Moslems are brought up to consider all nonmoslems as
khafirs fit for elimination only. But, practising christians like
Joseph could be expected to be even-handed between hindus and moslems,
but he is very partial to islam, favouring its growth and eventual
domination of world, to eliminate other cultures and civilizations
from the world, because of its basic intolerance. But he forgets that
such intolerant culures usually meet their nemesis, by internal feuds
and conflicts, besides acts of God like earthquakes and volcano
eruptions and tsunamis, since arrogance violates God's expectation
from mankind; the Roman civilization met with its end for such reasons
chennai, india
Aug 15, 2007 12:00 AM

11 Joseph:>>"So-called Islamic Fundamentalists or so-called Jehadis
total a few million people "

Today's news is that over 170 people died and over 200 injured in Iraq
in one or two suicide bombings. Thus, each jihadi claiming heaven's
vigins makes life extinct or impossible for over 200 people, most of
them moslems also. You say there are only a few million jihadi
moslems. But, 5 million jihadis are enough to kill or disable a
billion moslems, if my arithmatic is right, 7 million enough to take
care of all moslems. Are you happy with the situation? Perhaps, you
are happy about it, as a practising christian, so long as the people
killed are only moslems, jews, hindus, not christians. But moslems
must consider the fact jihadism is wiping out moslems at a rate faster
than procreationism is proliferating it. Moslems should learn to live
in harmony with other cultures all over the world, enlarging and
ennobling quranic laws into humanistic
welfare laws, by give-and-take adjustments with the laws of other
cultures also, which are also human.
chennai, india
Aug 15, 2007 12:00 AM

10 Joseph:>>"the President and the Prime Minister of India will always
be Hindus."

Since you insist on proportionate representation for moslems, i.e,
increasing representation for them, as their population increases
disproportionately every decade, they will increase their political
power in all the legislatures and the parliament; chances of moslem
presidents and prime-ministers for India would only increase.
Recently, all 3 candidates for VP's post were moslems. Nothing wrong,
if they are like Zakir Hussein, Abdul Kalam or Ansari. The word,
moslem, sanskritized, stands for mukta-Sreemaan, liberated well-fare-
minded person. All moslems should live upto their names.

chennai, india
Aug 15, 2007 12:00 AM

9 Joseph:>>"Secularism without Equity and proportionate representation
is, Mr. Seshadari, Sham-Secularism. I stand by my observations and
forecast that, henceforth, the President and the Prime Minister of
India will always be Hindus."

A secular democracy can only provide equality of 'opportunity' to all
creeds and castes in the country, people have to utilize them and come

Pak and B-desh drove out nonmoslems. Earlier the moslems 'destroyed'
all persians in Iran and buddheists in Afghanistan, you seem to have
no regrets on that. They would have done the same in India, but the
hindu 'cast' system saved them from annihilation, as a bad blessing in
disguise; only the 'fighting caste' faught and died, 'traders' fled
and came back; priest-caste were either pushed into temples [those not
destroyed] or pushed out of villages as the new 'dalits', the
'workers' started working for the new masters, without change of
religion. Only the older dalits could be persuaded to become moslems.
Women, of all castes, if not too old and not married, were all taken
into harems of the sheiks; child-marriage of girls saved India's
ancient civilization for posterity.

Compared to this, free India's treatment of the non-hindu minorities
has been more humanistic and less demonaic; in fact the privileges
given in set-up, staffing, charging etc of minority institutions for
education in India have been such that, minority college-lords have
prospered fleecing the hindus on education; hindus are trying to get
minority college status on language basis; RKMutt is seeking minority
status for convenience, knowing Paramahamsa will not approve it ! My
late friend Varghese of HCE in Chennai was hoping his college wealth
will beat the Birlas! But now, lay christians in Kerala are raising
their voice against greedy churchian priests running colleges for
profit there. Commerce stands for 'kaama' and 'eershaa', desire and
jeaolousy; hence it leads to corporate behaviour, 'sarpa-reetih',
serpentine behaviour.

Sanskrit apart, you should admit that, opportunity-wise, minorities in
India have been treated more than fairly. Christians have benefitted
and prosperred, because they have left the bible behind and grown up
with science and technology for progress in this world, like their
counterparts in the west, other than the catholics of south America;
but moslems have used their educational priviliege only to deepen
quranic education and thinking in madarsa children. Result is that
moslem children shun science and technology, grow up to be either
traders or tailors or artisans or money-lenders, [perhaps they could
get into police/army, but they probably think defending India will be
quranic sin] They keep their women in coverage, concentrate more on
procreation than creativity, demand larger power in politics because
of increasing numbers in population. Post-1973 rise in oil prices gets
them more Arab dollars for madarsas, making them imagine that God is
for the UMMA to eventuyally take over the world. But, money can buy
things only if someone in the world 'produces' goods other than
children. If the whole world has only procreators, the increasing
population will die of hunger and overpopulate the heaven.

Friends of islam, like you, should advise modernisation of madarsa
education, instead of hate-hindu ideas. Then, moslems can take all
sorts of jobs and prosper in all fields. I have taught in an IIT and
elsewhere for over 50 yrs, had only very few moslem students in most
classes, but those who were there were very studious, courteous and
competant; given good education, they can equal and excel all other
cultures, and deserve the fact that Lord Skanda [same as Apollo/Jesus]
appeared as Sikandar for the moslems to save them from extinction by
the crusaders. God has only mercy and goodwill for all mankind. It is
for humans to utilize it.

chennai, india
Aug 13, 2007 12:00 AM

8 Secularism without Equity and proportionate representation is, Mr.
Seshadari, Sham-Secularism. I stand by my observations and forecast
that, henceforth, the President and the Prime Minister of India will
always be Hindus.

Going by the Caste situation in India, to an out side mind, it is
difficult to accept that Hindus will accept non-Hindus as equals when
Hindus themselves are discriminated against by fellow Hindus.
Karachi, Pakistan
Aug 13, 2007 12:00 AM

7 Dear Mr. B. V. Shenoy, I take serious umbrage at your addressing me,
a practicing Christian, as one who does not afford space for other
Religions and for alleging that I am steeped in Islamic
Fundamentalism, whatever that may mean.

Please allow me to recapulate my basic premises about Islam and
Muslims which are as Follows.
a. As Muslims number 1.37 billion which is about one-fifth of the
World's people, it will serve no useful purpose to browbeat them or
subjugate them as is being attempted in Afghanistan, Iraq and
Palestine and elsewhere to a lesser degree.
b. So-called Islamic Fundamentalists or so-called Jehadis total a few
million people out of a total 1,370 Million people.
c. The more the West adopts the present strategy, more number of
Muslims will become antagonistic to it.
d. Islam is growing while other Faiths are either static or losing
e. Muslims are far more ardent in following their precepts and
practices and as such are a far more dynamic whole.
f. It is better to 'live and let live'
g. From (f.) above must follow a just and equitable solution of the
socio-political issues relating to Muslims in the Philippines,
Thailand, Myanmar, Indian-Administered Jammu and Kashmir, the South-
West Regions of China and Palestine.

Iam quite clear in my mind that the continuinf presence of foreign
invading forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and the 'cruel approach' of
Israel to Lebanon and Palestine is only exacerbating the problems.
This appraisal is seconded by a House of Commons Committee as may be
seen below.

Let us not use exaggeration and negative observations against some
one, just because his or her views are unpalatable.

Karachi, Pakistan
Aug 13, 2007 12:00 AM

6 I have to thank you Mr. Pathasarathy for telling me what I always
knew that the Minorities in India are no better off than their
counterparts in Pakistan. As a matter of fact, in the political sphere
we are far better off in that we have Joint Electorate with Special
Reserved Seats as well.
Karachi, Pakistan
Aug 13, 2007 12:00 AM

5 Dear Sheshadri, you are wasting your admittedly deep knowledge about
the Hindu scriptures and holy books on people like Joseph who are
steeped in Islamic fundamentalism which refuses to acknowledge living
space for other religions. You may be a great savant or a pundit, but
for Joseph, you are only a kafir. Pl keep this in mind.
Aug 13, 2007 12:00 AM

4 Joseph:>>" India is a Hindu Country masquerading as a Secular One"

You are being unfair to hinduism and India and you know that.
Secularism, pluralism etc. are respectable words in India's politics,
only because the majority of population in India is still hindu,
despite higher-than-average proliferation rate of moslems and rapid
increases in churchians by open and crypto-convesions. Hunduism in
India still respects secular values for India, because the bhagavat
Gita, accepted by all sections of hinduism. requires that hindus
should respect all godheads faithully believed in by people anywherem,
since the formless and hence all-forms-possible Absolute will respond
to them in any form faithfully worshipped. Even the RSS/BJP/VHP are
fighting only for the survival of primordial hinduism in India, in
harmony with all other world religions, NOT for the removal of other
religionists from India, or the curtailment of their citizenship
rights in India's dynamic democracy, temporarily operating as if it is
a dynastic demonarchy.
chennai, india
Aug 13, 2007 12:00 AM

3 When will the U. P. A. Government fall, Miss. Chitra of Mangalore?.
Rather, more precisely, when will Sardar Manmohan Singh be asked to

We are coming closer to the situation where the President and Prime
Minister will always be Hindu, which is how it should be as India is a
Hindu Country masquerading as a Secular One. Sixty years is, indeed,
to long to carry on with a myth.

By the way, were you at St. Agnes'?.
Karachi, Pakistan
Aug 13, 2007 12:00 AM

2 Congress and secular brigades are known as mother of all scams and
scandals. Today india is fast moving to occupy the world's most
corrupt nation. Let us hope that we stand first at least in some area.
Shameless secular leaders are running in the government in the name of
secularism and showing ghost of the hindu nationalists. Our democracy
have failed to punish corrupt politicians. UPA government is full of
corrupts, anti-nationals and hardcore islamists.

Miss Chitra
Mangalore, India
Aug 12, 2007 12:00 AM

1 Man u guys are liar.. after investigation it was found only 7% of
petrol pump went to peopel with BJP support.. given BJp usually nets
around 26% popular vote if anything bjp suporter should cry foul that
they didn;t get their proper share..
Delhi, India


National Magazine | May 01, 1996


Settling A Score

Nina Pillai's mission is to defeat the Congress
Ajith Pillai


The Political Option

M'esco Managing Director Rita Singh hits the campaign trail
Bharat Ahluwalia

EVER since the gruesome death last July in Tihar jail of her biscuit
tycoon husband Rajan Pillai, Nina Pillai has been threatening to get
her back on "friendly" politicians who "deserted" her in her husband's
time of need. So it did not come as a surprise when she filed her
nomination as an independent candidate for the Lok Sabha from her
husband's hometown of Kollam, 70 km from Thiruvananthapuram.

Though she does not admit it, Nina's immediate mission seems to be not
to win herself but to ensure the defeat of Congress candidate and
Union Minister of State S. Krishna Kumar. "Krishna Kumar was supposed
to be our friend," she says. "But he refused to even come on the phone
when Rajan was dying." However, she is quick to add that it is not
Krishna Kumar she is fighting. "I am fighting his boss."

The 39-year-old former air hostess is also using her political status
to embarrass the Congress. Her revelation at a press conference in
Thiruvan-anthapuram on April 17 that her husband had been cheated by a
political nexus, with the controversial godman Chandraswami at its
core, will not help the Congress. She has alleged that about $2
million was paid to the godman between November '94 and February '95
by her husband. Chandraswami had promised to sort things out for Rajan
Pillai but finally failed him. Points out Nina: "The money was paid to
him because even senior Union ministers we approached told us that
Chandraswami was the man who could move things at the Prime Minister's

She also sees sinister machinations in the troubles she has been
facing in claiming her shareholdings in various companies owned by her
late husband. She suspects the hand of a rival business group which
she alleges is acting with the blessings of Chandraswami. Says Nina:
"Rajan is gone. Now this friend of the Prime Minister wants to torture
a helpless widow." She says her husband fell out of favour with a
section of Congressmen after the '91 elections. It was then that her
husband, she claims, on the request of a senior Congress leader from
Maharashtra, approached K. Karunakaran and Satish Sharma, asking them
not to support Narasimha Rao as the candidate for prime minister-ship.
"Ever since this came to the notice of Chandraswami, we have been in
trouble," she says.

Though Nina Pillai is not likely to emerge even as a marginal leader,
local Congress leaders did their best to persuade her not to contest.
Among them: Chief Minister A.K. Antony, Union Industries Minister K.
Karunakaran and PCC President Vylar Ravi. The Pillais are influential
in Kerala and traditional Congress supporters.

The only cause for comfort in the Congress camp is that Nina is a
novice in politics and as an independent she lacks the backing of any
political organisation. The BJP has come forward to support her but
the party's infrastructure is not fully committed to campaign for her,
perhaps because Nina has made it clear that she will not join any
party. Says she: "Don't think I am part of the BJP. I am not. They
(BJP) came forward to help and I said fine. I want to be an

Her campaign involves meeting people directly rather than holding
meetings. However, Nina says she is trying to rope in Arjun Singh,
Kiran Bedi and friends in the film industry in Bombay to attend a
rally in Kollam. But despite such plans, her campaigning is patchy.
She is the first to admit that she is a reluctant politician. "I never
dreamt of getting into politics. I have literally been forced to fight
this election. I am fight-ing it for my survival and the survival of
my children".

Though her husband's family was opposed to her entering politics they
have now come around and her in-laws who command much respect in
Kollam have extended support. Early estimates put it that Nina will
corner enough votes to ensure Krishna Kumar's defeat. That, in a
sense, will be victory for her.

May 29, 1996
1 No Place for Revenge

It was saddening to learn that people enter the electoral fray revenge
(Settling a Score, 1). Nina Pillai has admitted that her husband Rajan
had tried to bribe himself of the mess he was mired presumably one of
his own creation, by offering Rs 2 crore Chandraswami. Business people
like them exploit and a corrupt system to further eir ends and, in the
rare instances when they don’t succeed, cry themselves hoarse bout

Nina Pillai contested the elections not to serve the electorate, but
to ensure the down- of Krishna Kumar, who (I be wrong) is one of the
Congress politicians who is clean and, what’s more, who proved himself
an able administrator and an efficient minister. It is not that I
don’t sympathise with Nina Pillai. she has suffered is traumatic. But
it is, to a large extent, the effect of the actions of her own ilk
that nurtured such a system. The only thing that can be said in her
favour is that she is honest and makes no bones about her intentions.

N.J. Thomas, Dehra Dun


SC's Poser on Chandraswami's Role in Rajiv Assassination
New Delhi | May 26, 2009

The Supreme Court put a query why no proceedings were initiated
against controversial godman Chandraswami if the government really
suspected him of funding the assassination of former Prime Minister
Rajiv Gandhi by LTTE.

"If he has funded the assassination, then why did you not proceed
against him?" a vacation bench of Justices VS Sirpurkar and RM Lodha
asked ED's counsel Wasim Ahmed Qadri.

The bench made the passing reference after the ED opposed
Chandraswami's plea to travel abroad on the ground that he had several
criminal cases registered against him and is suspected of funding the
assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the controversial godman,
however, told the court that Chandraswami was never an accused in the
case unlike the slain LTTE chief V Prabhakaran and others like the
organisation's intelligence wing chief Pottu Amman.

To another query from the bench, Quadri said it appears the case
against Prabahakaran might be closed in India in view of his killing
by the Sri Lankan Army.

Rohtagi earlier strongly pleaded that Chandraswami be permitted to
travel abroad as he had been acquitted of all the criminal cases
registered against him, except the nine-odd cases registered against
him by ED.


National / Politics / Interviews Magazine | Dec 08, 1997


"Chandraswami Was Sivarasan's Godfather"

J. Ranganath, who sheltered Sivarasan, Rajiv's assassin, speaks to
Outlook on One-eyed Jack's last few days

A.S. Panneerselvan Interviews J. Ranganath

Jayaram Ranganath, 40, is accused No. 26 in the Rajiv Gandhi
assassination case. A Kannadiga Tamil from Bangalore, he was married
to Mridula and owned a workshop in the garden city. An unwitting
player after Rajiv's assassins—kingpin Sivarasan alias one-eyed Jack,
and Shubha, part of the killer squad at Sriperumbudur, along with five
others—knocked on his backdoor and allegedly forced entry into his
house on August 6, 1991. The LTTE operatives stayed on till August 20
when the CBI raided the house and found them dead. The deaths, says
the police, was by suicide, although there are doubts about this

Ranganath was arrested on August 18, 1991, for sheltering Sivarasan
and Shubha. Ironically, it was Ranganath who informed the police about
the fugitives in his house and is the only witness to the CBI's break-
in operation. And he and his estranged wife are the only ones to have
heard Sivarasan and Shubha speak about the crime.

Ranganath's recent affidavit filed before the Jain Commission accuses
the CBI of deliberately hiding key facts and shielding several
culprits. His major contention is that his information that Sivarasan
and his team were promised a safe passage to the West by Chandraswami
and details pertaining to the god -man and some Congress leaders were
not recorded by the CBI. According to him, the CBI was determined not
to widen the net beyond the role of the LTTE in the plot to kill
Rajiv. "As the only living witness and the only one with no political
axe to grind, my words should be taken seriously," he declares.

As a key witness, the information he has is important, to say the
least. A.S. Panneerselvan sought an interview through Ranganath's
lawyers. The questions were sent to him at the high security
Poonamallee sub-jail located within the designated court complex where
the Rajiv assassination case is being heard in Chennai. Ranganath's
answers have been duly attested by the additional superintendent of
the jail. Excerpts:

Did Sivarasan and Shubha tell you about their connections with
Chandraswami and an AICC functionary?

They did speak about their connections with Chandraswami and also with
a Congress leader from Karnataka who was a member of Rajiv Gandhi's
cabinet. They used to say that it was through this leader that they
got the details of Rajiv Gandhi's election tour programme. They talked
about the AICC functionary as their close associate. During his stay
with me, Sivarasan also informed me that Chandraswami was his

(In his affidavit submitted to the Jain Commission on November 4,
Ranganath speaks of Sivarasan and Shubha naming Aswath Narayan, a
local Congress leader, as one of their friends. Both Shubha and
Sivarasan pointed out that Narayan was close to the AICC functionary
in Delhi who helped them with Rajiv's tour programme.)

What was the safe passage promised to Sivarasan by Chandraswami?

Sivarasan wanted to go abroad directly from Bangalore. This was the
reason why he came to Bangalore. But he said that if he went to Jaffna
he could be killed and that the 'Jain Muni' (The godman's real name is
Nemichand Jain) would arrange for his safe passage to a foreign

(In his affidavit to the commission, Ranganath declares that Sivarasan
told him the godman planned to first bring him to Delhi and then sneak
him out to a foreign destination.)

Did the CBI prevent you from telling the whole truth?

The CBI threatened me. Barring the LTTE, they did not want me to
mention the involvement of the others in the crime. Since they fixed
the LTTE as the only offenders, they wanted evidence to accuse it—and
not against those who commissioned the offence.

What are the truths the CBI refused to record or act upon?

Then CBI chief Karthikeyan warned me not to speak anything about the
AICC functionary or any other Congress people, and Chandraswami.
Karthikeyan seemed to know the facts about the assassination and also
the powers behind Rajiv's killing. He warned me of serious
consequences if I gave the information to a magistrate or others. From
what he told me it was clear that he was shielding Chandraswami and
some key Congress people. Even after my request, CBI (SIT) failed to
record my statement.

I took DCP Kempiah (Karnataka police) to the Bangalore hideout where
Sivarasan and Shubha were hiding. But his statement has not been
produced before the designated court.

How do you know that the CBI was reluctant to arrest Sivarasan and

On the morning of July 30, 1991, a person called Vicky was arrested at
Coimbatore. He gave specific information about Sivarasan's hideout in
Bangalore (this was before Sivarasan and the others forcibly entered
Ranganath's house on August 6). But for 24 hours, the CBI made no
effort to search the hideout. On August 2, 1991, the CBI questioned
one Jaganathan, who arranged four safehouses for the LTTE workers. He
gave details of the locations of these houses and the hospitals in
which the injured LTTE men were admitted. But the CBI did not make any
effort to arrest Sivarasan. Perhaps because if he were caught alive,
Sivarasan would squeal about those who conspired to kill Rajiv and
also of his (Sivarasan's) connections with Congressmen. This is
perhaps why even on August 18, 1991, the CBI did not allow the local
police to catch them.

If I get an opportunity to depose before the Jain Commission, then I
will prove the fact that there are other persons involved in Rajiv
Gandhi's assassination. I am the only one alive who stayed with
Sivarasan and Shubha (after the assassination) and heard what they had
to say about the killing.

Aug 25, 2009 04:04 PM
1 congress has involved in rajiv's killing it is the hidden fact
Madurai, India


National / Politics / Cover Stories Magazine | May 04, 1998

Cover Story

Enter Chandraswami
Rajesh Joshi

Also In This Story

Cover Story
The Life And Times Of Jayalalitha"

No one can get anything out of me or subdue me by threats, harsh
treatment; it only makes me more stubborn, inflexible, unbending,
determined. The only way anyone can get me to cooperate is to be nice
to me, pamper me, cajole me, talk to me kindly, softly." —Jayalalitha
in a March 1985 interview.Ajith Pillai, A.S. Panneerselvan

Cover Story

The Revenge Of Draupadi

Cover StoryThe Inner Circle

Cover StoryA Coalition In FettersThe BJP struggles to come up with a
strategy to deal with unpredictable allies like JayalalithaIshan

Cover StoryAn Intriguing DualismThe Tamil psyche is a paradoxical mix
of a 2,000-year-old heritage, regional pride and modernitySagarika

Cover Story72% Tamils Angry With Jaya's DemandsTo gauge the reaction
of the people of Tamil Nadu to AIADMK leader Jayalalitha demands on
the BJP government at the centre ,an option poll was conducted by
Outlook - Mode in the cities of Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai and
adjoining areas. In all 5990 respondents in the age group 21 - 45 were
interviewed on April 21 - 23. Most of them do not approve of her
actions and move to destabilise the Vajpayee government.

CHANDRASWAMI is back in business. His services were sought recently by
friends in the BJP to defuse the on-going crisis provoked by the
friend Subramanian Swamy and J. Jayalalitha on one side, and Ram
Jethmalani on the other. Even though the BJP adopts an anti-
Chandraswami posture in public, senior leaders like Murli Manohar
Joshi and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat are known to be close to him.

So, while the prime minister appealed to the allies to observe
restraint, Shekhawat met the godman at Rajas-than Bhawan, apparently
to propitiate Swamy. However, Chandraswami's aide Vikram Singh
maintains they discussed "some work regarding his school in

Such interaction with the godman is not new. Sources say that after
the general elections when the BJP was still trying to garner support,
Chandraswami was approached by "top party leaders". Says a
Chandraswami aide: "Around 10 days before the formation of the
government, people from the BJP approached Swamiji to get Dr Swamy and
Jayalalitha around." And now with the BJP-Jayalalitha standoff
continuing, the Vajpayee government badly needs an effective
intermediary. Chandraswami, it is felt, is just the man. His hold on
Swamy can be gauged from the fact that he played an important role in
bringing two sworn enemies, Swamy and Jayalalitha, together.

But those close to Chandraswami concede that even he can't ask Swamy
to keep quiet. "How can you expect Swamy to keep quiet when he is not
getting anything? Why does one then get into politics?" asks Singh.


National / Politics Magazine | May 11, 1998


Swami's New Saviours

Will friends in the BJP coalition help Chandraswami wriggle out of the
cases against him?
Charu Lata Joshi

Also In This Story

Chandraswami Case-List

CONTROVERSIAL godman Chandraswami could well have been holidaying in
the south of France. But for a timely order on May 1 by CBI Special
Judge Ajit Bharioke who has been hearing the Lakhubhai Pathak cheating
case—and in whose court the swami had moved an application for
permission to travel to France and the US for 'medical treatment'.

Till then, Chandraswami's plans for a getaway had appeared to be
moving with clock-work precision.

Jethmalani feels the government is 'soft' on the Godman. AIADMK's R.
Kumar is believed to be behind the 'Save Swami' campaign.

Just a fortnight back, on April 17, the Directorate of Enforcement
(DOE)—which is trying him for five cases of foreign exchange
violations amounting to Rs 2,100 crore—had told the metropolitan
magistrate hearing the cases that it had no objection to his
travelling abroad. In a matter of days, the court gave Chandraswami
the green signal.

The two dichotomous moves have exposed a simmering controversy within
the government on the future of the godman. And has exposed the power
he continues to wield. This time round, Chandraswami derives his
strength, not only from his proximity to BJP leaders like Bhairon
Singh Shekhawat, but also from his closeness to Janata Party chief
Subramanian Swamy. And it is the Swamy-faction—represented by AIADMK
chief J. Jayalalitha and her minister of state for banking, R.K. Kumar—
who appear to be indirectly involved in soft-peddling the cases
against Chandraswami. Says Ram Jethmalani, minister for urban
development, who has had clashes with both the godman and Swamy: "The
attempts to go soft on Chandraswami seem quite obvious."

The stand adopted by the DOE—a letter from Kunal Singh, assistant
director of investigation, Delhi zone, had informed the court that it
had "no objection" to Chandraswami's travel plans—which literally gave
him permission to flee the country, has clouded the entire proceedings
with suspicion. The enforcement agency holds that since both
investigation and adjudication proceedings were completed in the four
cases, they had technically no reason to oppose his application.
However, legal experts argue that the move amounts to a major
concession towards Chandraswami by the department. The move seems
suspicious since investigation is still pending in one case—involving
foreign exchange transactions worth $200,000 with his then New York-
based disciple Bina Ramani in 1981—and there are apprehensions that if
he does travel abroad, he could tamper with witnesses and crucial

The fact that the metropolitan magistrate had first asked for the
DOE's stand on the accused in writing and also demanded Chandraswami's
status in the CBI cases, possibly indicates the DOE's influ-ence over
the court's decision.

What made the DOE's stand even more dubious was the fact that yet
another sister agency, the CBI, which when confronted with a similar
move in the Pathak case—the agency is presently handling two cases
against the godman, the St Kitts Forgery case as well as the Lakhubhai
Pathak cheating case—had categorically opposed the godman's
application to travel abroad. According to sources, Cha-ndraswami is
likely to move the high court in appeal against the rejection of his
application by Bharioke.

THE godman's moves are getting desperate. And in the process, the
dichotomy in the government's stand is being further exposed. In a
spate of curious developments, even as the DOE appeared to be giving
Chandraswami a free rein, a definite lobby within the government,
headed by L.K. Advani in the home ministry, appears all set to nail
him. The main motive being to get at the BJP's principal foe,
Subramanian Swamy. Says Supreme Court senior counsel, Ashok Panda:
"What is required is a comprehensive approach by the government as a
whole and not diverse actions by individual agencies. "

Within a matter of days of the DOE move, the ministry of home affairs
(MHA) gave its approval to prosecute the god-man under the Foreign
Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA). The case had come to light when
the CBI, while inspecting the accounts of Chandraswami's Vishwa
Dharmayatan Trust, found that it had not intimated the MHA of its
foreign contributions ever since it was formed in 1985. The agency
subsequently filed a chargesheet and moved the MHA for sanction to
prosecute the godman

. Recently, an interim Income Tax report evaluated the total assets of
Chandraswami and the Trust at Rs 2,300 crore, a substantial amount of
which came from foreign donations. The report, which gives a detailed
break-up of foreign donations received by the Trust till June, 1996,
shows that, among others, NRI businessmen Somchai Chawla of Hong Kong,
Abdul Ismail from the UK, Adnan Khashoggi and Rakesh Khanna from
Canada, had made substantial contributions in dollars.

The income tax department's inquiry into the godman's living expenses
also shows that he had spent nearly Rs 200-300 crore on foreign trips
undertaken between 1985-95. The report also mentions Vikram Singh as
Chandraswami's closest confidant and states that he is the director of
five companies—Ambassador Construction Pvt Ltd., Neptune Estates Pvt
Ltd., Nav-Abhiyan Publication Pvt Ltd., Scorpion Finlease Pvt Ltd.,
and Genesis Financial Services Pvt Ltd.

But, despite all the probes into the god-man's murky financial affairs—
which followed after the public interest litigation was filed in
Supreme Court in December, 1996—what has emerged most clearly is that
the swami is neither down nor out. After nearly two years of heated
legal battles and after languishing for eight months in a dingy Tihar
cell, Chandraswami appears to have staged a dramatic comeback.
Political circles are abuzz with news of his having returned to his
favourite occupation: power-broking.

What has aroused even greater suspicion within certain sceptics in the
DOE circles is Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's recent
announcement to "introduce drastic changes" in foreign exchange
regulations by the next session of Parliament. Insiders fear that this
will spell a dilution in powers of arrest as well as major concessions
to FERA offenders. Realistically, this may imply that the charges
which Chandraswami presently faces may not constitute offences at all
by the time a new enactment on FERA is brought about.

Political pundits see a deeper conspiracy behind the recent moves to
go-slow on Chandraswami. The fact that both Chandraswami and
Subramanian Swamy have allegedly been named in Justice M.C. Jain's
final report on the larger conspiracy behind Rajiv Gandhi's
assassination, and that the government has a mere six months to place
it before Parliament along with an Action Taken Report is one of the
reasons for Chandraswami's desperation to flee the country. According
to sources, former cabinet secretary Zafar Saifullah had told Jain of
having personally read certain wireless intercepts of conversations
between the LTTE, Chandraswami and Israeli intelligence agency Mossad
in early 1991. And these had allegedly showed their involvement in the
wider international conspiracy.

With the underlying pressure to make the report public, the
speculation is that certain factions in the government are eager to
free Chandraswami and would prefer to turn the heat on the Janata
Party leader—who is, in any case, causing problems for the ruling
combine. Legally, too, experts argue that a case of embezzlement and
foreign exchange regulations is not as serious as the findings of the
Jain Commission report. For, once a special team is constituted to
further investigate the Jain Commission recommendations, it will lead
to a serious probe into an even murkier case of money laundering, and
involvement with foreign intelligence agencies in an assassination.

But given that Advani has constituted a team of home ministry
officials to recommend further action on the basis of Jain's
recommendations and an internal report is to be submitted to him
within a month, the heat on the godman seems back on. Yet, knowing
Chandraswami, he will do his bit to use every likely political contact
to wriggle out of a sticky situation.


National / Politics Magazine | May 15, 1996


No Godfather Now

Chandraswami's fate will depend on the next government
Ranjit Bhushan , A.S. Panneerselvan

WILL Chandraswami ever be nailed? This week, finally, may provide an
answer as the godman was remanded to a day's judicial custody till May
4. But that answer hinges on another key question: is Narasimha Rao
losing his grip over the proceedings? That may be decided by May 10,
when the results of the elections are expected to be known. If Rao
returns as Prime Minister, the May 2 arrest of the well-chronicled and
controversial godman in a Madras hotel could turn out to be merely a
flash in the pan.

But in the event of the reins of power slipping from Rao's hands, the
investigating agencies may have a different role to play. "The charges
are serious. Depends on how they are framed," says an official
coordinating several charges against the self-styled guru—which range
from income-tax evasion to FERA violations to charges of bribery and

Officials admit that the charge on which Chandraswami and close
associate Kailash Nath Agrawal (alias 'Mamaji') were picked up—of
cheating London-based NRI Lakhu Bhai Pathak to the tune of $100,000—is
a weak link in the chain of investigations launched against the
godman. But if Rao's downfall becomes inevitable, there is every
reason for Chandraswami's tryst with trouble to be long drawn out.

On May 2, Delhi's chief metropolitan magistrate Prem Kumar issued non-
bailable warrants against Chandraswami. Issuing the warrants, Kumar
directed the CBI that the godman be arrested and produced on or before
May 14. Such is the godman's clout that reporters trying to ascertain
the next course of action were informed that "he would have to be
traced", even though it seemed common knowledge that the god-man was
holed up in Madras.

A 10-member CBI team headed by Joint Director D. Mukerjee descended on
the Om Sindoori hotel in Madras the same evening. Interestingly, the
hotel owner is Apollo hospital's Dr Pratap Reddy, a Chandraswami
acolyte. Inside the hotel—which resembled a set out of a detective
movie, with CBI sleuths prowling around with their cellphones—the
godman was talking to Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy. The three-
hour meeting between the former Union commerce minister and the guru
was ostensibly meant to ward off the arrest. Swamy was reportedly
trying to use his friend and former attorney general G. Ramaswamy to
invoke immunity through a 1988 bail order in the same case.

The godman had already summoned a battery of doctors who were ready to
certify his "acute condition of cervical spondilitis". But the CBI
would have none of it. In a move reflecting freshly-found confi-dence,
Mukerjee said that if the godman needed treatment, he would have to
accompany the CBI men to a government hospital. After that,
Chandraswami got into the waiting CBI car without further ado and was
taken to the residence of additional sessions judge S. Sambandam,
where a transit warrant was to be obtained.

The CBI had registered the case against the godman on the basis of a
complaint filed by Lakhu Bhai Pathak in 1988. The agency had
chargesheeted the godman and 'Mamaji' for cheating Pathak through the
false promise of using their influence to secure him a newsprint and
paper pulp contract in India. Since then, nothing much had happened.
As judge Prem Kumar observed in his 17-page order, "investigations had
been going on for years without any tangible results."

Interestingly enough, the preliminary investigations conducted by a
CBI superintendent of police in the Pathak case found the "allegations
to be true". Subsequently, the case was transferred to the Enforcement
Directorate for initiating "necessary action". And the Directorate has
declined to reveal the further course of investigations, claiming
privilege because of the sensitive nature of the case. Now, perhaps,
it will be forced to reveal its hand. The real drama may have just
begun to unfold.


National / Politics Magazine | Apr 03, 1996


Godman Cornered?

A new PIL pitches Chandraswami in his toughest legal battle yet
Rajesh Joshi

WILL the jet-setting guru Chandraswami be able to wriggle out of this
one? Time seems to be running out for the godman, as the Supreme Court
this week hears a public interest litigation (PIL), originally filed
on September 20, 1995, seeking to appoint a special commission to look
into the charges against him.

The investigating agencies—under fire for allegedly protecting the
godman are hoping to prevent that eventuality.

The petition accuses the investigating agencies of having failed to
take action against the godman in spite of the presence of
overwhelming evidence.

The PIL, originally filed by advocate Anukul Chandra Pradhan, accuses
the agencies of "complete inaction" vis-a-vis the Chandraswami case,
because of his "influential connections". The petition primarily seeks
an expeditious inquiry into the charges against Chandraswami, to be
carried out by special commissioners under the direct supervision of
the court.

The PIL was filed only a few days after the then minister of state for
internal security, Rajesh Pilot, ordered the swami's arrest, following
disclosures by Dawood Ibrahim's hitman, Babloo Srivas-tava, linking
the godman to the Dubai-based don. Subsequently, a human rights
organisation, People's Union for Civil Rights, also sought the apex
court's intervention to book Chandraswami and others in the St Kitts
forgery case. The court directed that all complaints pertaining to
Chandraswami be clubbed together and appointed advocate Anil Divan as
amicus curae. It came down heavily on the CBI, directing it either to
"book or leave" him.

The amended petition highlights the Government's reluctance to take
action against Chandraswami. It says the probe must cover his alleged
FERA and tax violations, the St Kitts forgery case, the Lakhubhai
Pathak cheating case, Babloo Srivastava's allegations and the godman's
links with politicians. The investigating agencies have failed to take
action "in spite of overwhelming material", says the plea.

The fact that the court has taken cognisance of the petition should
set alarm bells ringing. Those said to be closely linked with the
godman are Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, Petroleum Minister Captain
Satish Sharma and former minister R.K. Dhawan. All three and former
Union minister K.K. Tewari are named in the FIR in the St Kitts case,
but have not been interrogated. Had the CBI acted vigilantly and
independently, it would have done so, the petition points out.

It goes on to explain how Chandraswami manages, each time, to get over
any crisis—referring to his close proximity to top politicians. To
establish the godman's high connections with politicians like Rao and
former prime minister Chandra Shekhar, the petition quotes from his
own admission before the Jain Commission.

Giving details of the St Kitts forgery case—allegedly plotted by V.P.
Singh's political opponents with the aid of Chandraswami and some
officials of the Directorate of Enforcement (DOE)—the petition pleads
for the confessional statement of the late A.K. Nandy, former DOE
deputy director and an accused to the CBI. The petition says, Nandy's
statement discloses the role played by politicians. It also describes
how the operation was planned by Chandraswami, his aide K.N. Aggarwal
alias Mamaji, Larry Kolb (son-in-law of arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi)
and the godman's disciple, Dev Kethu.

Quoting from the FIR lodged on May 25, 1990, the petition observes
that Rao, then external affairs minister, also had a role to play. The
FIR says that Rao called consul general R.K. Rai to his suite at the
United Nations Plaza hotel in New York on October 4, 1989, and told
him to personally attest the documents brought to him by Nandy.

The petition highlights the CBI's reluctance to follow the Babloo
Srivastava case. Contrary to practice, the CBI did not use
Srivastava's claim—that he had stayed at Chandraswami's ashram and
planted a bomb in journalist Rajinder Jain's car to falsely implicate
him at the behest of the godman—in the chargesheet filed in the L.D.
Arora murder case.

This omission by the CBI was intended to prevent the judge from taking
cognisance of it and directing the agency to investigate Chandraswami
for harbouring a criminal. More so, because TADA provisions are
drastic, the petition speculates. Had the statement been filed,
Chandraswami would have been implicated, it adds. In former Union
minister Kalpnath Rai's case, the CBI had filed the statement of
Bombay-based criminal Bhai Thakur, which finally led to the arrest of
Rai and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan.

Meanwhile, Chandraswami is maintaining a stoic silence and—perhaps in
the hope of propitiating the gods—observing the navratri fast.


National Magazine | Feb 21, 1996


By The Grace Of God

The CBI fails to find 'clinching evidence' and recommends that the
case against Chandraswami be closed

Rajesh Joshi

Also In This Story

Update"The Swami Used To Give Us Money"THE various people accused in
the hawala and the Bombay blasts cases have made sensational
allegations against top politicians in the course of their
interrogation by the investi -gating agencies. Only a few of these
have been conclusively proved. But nevertheless, the charges can
provide vital leads. Outlook met Virendra Pant, a close associate of
Dawood's right-hand man Babloo Srivastav, and an accused in the murder
of the Delhi businessman, Lalit Suneja. Pant, who was arrested and
interrogated by the CBI and is currently in Tihar Jail, spoke about
Chandraswami's activities and the goings-on in his Delhi ashram.

The preliminary inquiry (PE No. 2/S/95) registered last year against
controversial godman Chandraswami is being accorded a quiet burial by
the CentralBureau of Investigation (CBI). Last week, the CBI sent a
report to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recommending that the
case against the godman be closed.

The orders to arrest the godman had been issued by the then minister
of state for internal security, Rajesh Pilot, in the wake of the
confessions made by Babloo Srivastav, a hired killer, about Chandra-
swami's links with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

While arrest warrants are being issued to top politicians, the godman
continues to play wheeler dealer from his ashram.

Following his extradition from Singapore for masterminding the murder
of L.D. Arora, a customs offi-cial, last year, Srivastav had disclosed
to the CBI that Chandraswami had kept him in his ashram in February
1992 when hewas wanted in connection with several criminal cases by
the Uttar Pradesh police. In his statement, Srivastav confessed to
having placed a bomb in the car of Delhi-based journalist Rajendra
Jain at the behest of Chandraswami, along with Virendra Pant and
Sanjay Khanna, members of Dawood's vast underworld network.

Pilot's directive had been precipitated by allegations from the
Opposition that Chan-draswami was not being investigated because he
enjoyed political patronage. The CBI looked into the revelations made
by Sriv-astav, and the godman and his aide Vikram Singh were
interrogated on four occasions. But ultimately, the CBI says it has
found "nothing clinching" against the swami.

However, based on Srivastav's revelations, CBI sleuths interrogated
Pant, Sriva-stav's accomplice in the Jain bomb case. Bureau sources
now confirm that Pant not only corroborated Srivastav's statement but
also gave further information about Chandraswami's activities. But,
for some mysterious reason, Pant's confession was not included in "the
official record". This, despite the fact that the investigating agency
had sought the permission of the Shahdara court to interrogate Pant.

What is even stranger is that after the three-day interrogation at
Delhi's Tihar Jail, the CBI said it was not in a position to pursue
the bomb case and, subsequently,Chandraswami's role in it. The reason:
since the case was originally registered with Delhi's Mandir Marg
Police Station, the agency could investigate the charges only if a
notification transferring the case to the CBI was issued by the MHA.
But the transfer never came. However, following adverse media reports,
the police had to reopen the Jain case and Pant was rearrested. As for
the other allegation against the godman of harbouring Srivastav,
officials now say that it will be very difficult to prove in court
that Chandraswami knowingly sheltered him. Going by the law, the
harbourer can be booked only if it is established that he had
knowledge of crimes committed by the person he was shielding.

Pilot had also ordered an inquiry into Chandraswami's alleged links
with Daw-ood Ibrahim. According to Srivastav, Arora was killed because
he had information about the Bombay blasts. Chandra-swami's harbouring
of Srivastav and former minister Arif Mohammed Khan's claims that he
had pictures of the god-man with Dawood's hitmen, hinted at definite
links. But concrete proof has remained elusive.

And now, Chandraswami, a master of crisis management skills, has
somehow managed to win over a one-time sworn adversary, Somchai
Chaisri Chawla, a Thailand-based NRI.Chawla had accused the godman of
cheating him of $250,000 in March 1995, and the Thailand police had
issued arrest warrants against Chandraswami and Vikram Singh. The NRI
had also complained to the Prime Minister then and had sought the
protection of the Delhi police on the grounds that he was being
harassed and threatened by "one Shri Vikram Singh, a close associate
of Shri Chandraswami.... I am being shadowed. As if Delhi is governed
by the rule of Chandraswami". Surprisingly, Chawla has reportedly done
a volte face and withdrawn all his charges against the godman. Sources
informed that Chawla had filed an affidavit with the Indian Government
last month "supporting Chandraswami." But he has been asked by the
Government to present himself and personally verify the contents of
the affidavit.

And so, at a time when arrest warrants are being issued against top
politicians like Kalp Nath Rai and H.K.L. Bhagat, and cabinet
ministers are compelled to resign on corruption charges, the
globetrotting godman continues to play the "wheeler-dealer" from his
sprawling south Delhi ashram.

Also In This Story


"The Swami Used To Give Us Money"

THE various people accused in the hawala and the Bombay blasts cases
have made sensational allegations against top politicians in the
course of their interrogation by the investi -gating agencies. Only a
few of these have been conclusively proved. But nevertheless, the
charges can provide vital leads. Outlook met Virendra Pant, a close
associate of Dawood's right-hand man Babloo Srivastav, and an accused
in the murder of the Delhi businessman, Lalit Suneja. Pant, who was
arrested and interrogated by the CBI and is currently in Tihar Jail,
spoke about Chandraswami's activities and the goings-on in his Delhi
ashram. Excerpts:


National / Politics Magazine | Oct 18, 1995


Spinning A Web Of Fraud

The Chandraswami saga heats up with a series of probes and arrest
warrants. But can the godman be nailed?
Ranjit Bhushan

EVER since the then minister of state for internal security, Rajesh
Pilot, ordered the arrest of Chandraswami, the question which is being
increasingly asked is whether this marks the end of the road for the
controversial godman. Senior officials in the Prime Minister's Office
say PV. Narasimha Rao has given the go-ahead for the law to take its
own course. But as investigating officials plod through the plethora
of charges against the globetrotting godman, it is becoming clear that
it will be extremely difficult to nail him.
For one, except for the charges emanating from the confession of
Babloo Srivastav, a hired killer recently extradited from Singapore,
almost all the charges against Chandraswami relate to alleged frauds
committed outside the country. Investigating officials admit that
frauds are difficult to prove in court. It is also not that easy to
conduct investigations in foreign countries.

In one country, however no real probe is needed to begin with. The
Thailand police have already issued a warrant of arrest against
Chandraswami for allegedly duping a businessman of that country,
Somachandra Chaisiri Chawla. Chawla had complained to the Indian Prime
Minister about the fraud perpetrated on him by Chandraswami way back
in March this year, and Pilot's arrest order was based primarily on
it. But even in this case there are doubts whether the arrest warrant
can be executed because India and Thailand do not have an extradition

Along with his complaint to Rao, Chawla had also sought protection
from the Delhi Police. He wrote to Commissioner of Police Nikhil
Kumar: "I have been receiving threatening calls/messages from one Shri
Vikram Singh, who is a close associate of Shri Chandraswami...they
have been claiming that in case I do not succumb to their illegal
demands and do not pass on funds/donation to a political party, I
shall not be able to set up any project in India." He also claimed
that Singh threatened to implicate him in false criminal cases.

The Thai warrant was more specific. Issued against Chandraswami and
Vikram Singh, his Man Friday, it said that Rs 2.4 crore had been paid
to the duo for 'getting' work done on Chawla's Rs 1,000-crore ventures
with the Bangalore Development Authority and the Bangalore Water and
Sewage Board for promoting housing projects and water supply schemes
in Bangalore.

While ordering an inquiry into Chawla's complaint, Pilot asked the CBI
to delve into the entire gamut of cases against Chandraswami,
including his alleged links with the prime accused in the Bombay
blasts case, Dawood Ibrahim. The links had been disclosed during the
CBI's interrogation of Srivastav. But proof of any such link can be
extremely elusive. Though the CBI is reportedly examining his
passport, it does not rule out his having used several identities and
passports. The Foreign Registration and Recording Office in Delhi is
looking at all his photographs taken since 1982.

Former minister Arif Mohammed Khan, who first levelled charges against
Chandraswami when his premises were raided in connection with the Jain
hawala case, claims he has pictures of Chandraswami with Dawood
Ibrahim's hitmen at an American airport. But he says he will only
release these pictures at an appropriate time.

As for Srivastav's claim that he had stayed at Chandraswami's ashram
in February 1992, it should not ruffle the probing the cases against

Most of the cases abroad relate to frauds. Chandi Suryavali, a local
leader of Indian origin from Paramribo in Surinam, had registered a
case of alleged fraud against the godman in 1986. According to the
details of the Intimation of Unlawful Activities--the Surinamese
version of an FIR--Suryavali had paid him $1 million for setting up
business ventures in India under the aegis of the Surinam Non-Resident
Indian Association. But once he got the money, Chandraswami reportedly
did the vanishing act. The complaint was sent to the Ministry of
External Affairs n 1987 but did not evoke much response from the
Indian Government, except for a cursory "we are examining the issue".

But Pilot's offensive has certainly set the cat among the pigeons.
This round of dirt-digging exercises includes an investigation into
Chandraswami's apartment at Olympic Towers Officials say the apartment
may have been used to entertain influential guests from India, which
may explain the godman's political clout.

The CBI is also chasing up another old case of cheating, this time in
London. According to the details of the case, Chandraswami and his
secretary, K.N. Agrawal, known as Mamaji, cheated an NRI, Lakhu Bhai
Pathak, of $100,000 on the pretext that the accused would use his
influence to secure newsprint and paper pulp supply contracts from the
Government of India. "Even after long persuasion, there was no
response from the accused either to secure the contracts or to return
the money given by the complainant (Pathak)," the CBI document says,
admitting that any further progress would be very difficult. "It has
not been possible to complete this investigation due to the refusal of
foreign witnesses for examination and non-receipt of relevant
documents," it notes.

The catalogue of the thorns in the swami's side is growing. Babloo
Srivastav's lawyers, V.K. Ohri and H.A. Alvi, are especially keen to
see him implicated in a 1991 case of a fatal bomb attack on Delhi-
based Journalist Ravindra Jain. The Jain commission probing the Rajiv
Gandhi assassination decided to look into an Akali leader, Mahant Seva
Dass' claim that the godman was one of the main conspirators.

In the welter of charges that are now seeing the light of day, people
remain cynical as to what the CBI or any other agency can really do.
Especially if the St Kitts investigation is anything to go by. "This
man has known all prime ministers except V.P. Singh," says the Janata
Dal's Ram Vilas Paswan. Former prime minister Chandra Shekhar,
however, maintains there is not much behind the screaming headlines.
"The law takes its own course. It is not dictated by headlines," he

The experience of former joint director of the CBI, N.K. Singh is
quite different though. Singh remembers how he was abruptly taken off
the case and transferred out of the agency when he started issuing
notices to Chandraswami in early 1991. In his special leave petition
before the Supreme Court, Singh recalls the number of times Chandra
Shekhar and the then law minister, Subramanian Swamy, personally
intervened to have the case scuttled. And that is exactly what
happened in the end.

Chandraswami's saviours, if a list is drawn, far outnumber those
gunning for him. So if liquor baron Vijay Mallya offers his personal
aircraft for the godman's use, Chief Election Commissioner T.N.
Seshan, despite Iris all-out war against corruption in high places,
thinks nothing of meeting him publicly.

Leading saffron lights Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and Vijayaraje Scindia
also, count among his ardent camp followers. And earlier this year the
Communist Party of India (M) publicly ridiculed its high profile MP,
Amal Dutta, for attending the godman's birthday bash; Dutta, who is
West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu' nephew, is unlikely to get a
party ticket in the next general elections. Chandraswami's relations
with arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi extended to the Iran-Contra deal,
details of which became public later once American involvement in it
was established.

As Vineet Narain, owner of a video-magazine and one of the first to
carry exposes on the godman, says: "it something still happens to
Chandraswami, all I can say is that the Prime Minister has given up on
him. But to see that happening is wishful at this stage."

A telling example of Chandraswami's clout is that the team of CBI
sleuths is 'interrogating' him at his ashram, and not at the CBI
headquarters. And at the doorsteps of the ashram, Janata Party
President Subramanian Swamy beams: "No charges can be proved. It is
all being engineered by the Congress(T)." If that confidence is
anything to go by, the godman seems to be oil a good wicket.



National / Politics / Interviews Magazine | Aug 07, 1996


'Sweeper Or PM, A Crime Is A Crime'

Lakhubhai Pathak the NRI businessman who has made allegations of fraud
against Narasimha Rao and Chandraswami, began an 'indefinite' fast on
July 25 in Bombay 'to force' the former prime minister to tell the
truth. He called it off the following morning, on the advice of his
newly discovered guide G.R. Khairnar—the recently sacked civic
official, who earlier ran a crusade against Sharad Pawar. Pathak spoke
to Lekha Rattanani after he called off his fast. Excerpts from the

Lekha Rattanani Interviews Lakhubhai Pathak

Also In This Story

New Man, New Impetus?
With a Deve Gowda man the new CBI chief, the agency may change its
overt pro-Rao stance
Rajesh Joshi

According to Narasimha Rao, he was not present at the Haloram House
hotel in New York when you say you met him.

The meeting took place 13 years ago. I don't remember the exact date.
But that does not change the facts. It was sometime before Christmas.
I remember I went to El Paso after this meeting , and then to Mexico
for Christmas.

So when exactly was the meeting with Rao?

It happened a few days before Christmas—between the 18th and the 23rd.
Had I known how important the meeting would turn out to be, I would
have recorded it or called in a cameraman. Rao met me in
Chandraswami's room.

According to Rao's counsel, Kapil Sibal, there is no entry in the
former prime minister's passport to show he was in New York.

Was he (Rao) an ordinary traveller or was he travelling on a
diplomatic passport? It is not my job but the job of the investigating
agencies to find out if he was actually there. Passports can be messed
around with. Anything can happen in India. We can buy ministers like
we buy vegetables. They have fooled the country, now they are fooling
the court.

Some of the witnesses whom you said were present at the meeting—Muscat-
based businessman Umesh Khimji and Ashwin Patel, the businessman from
Leceister, have denied being there. So, were they actually present?

They were eight to ten people. I have already given their names to the
court. I had told the magistrate that I cannot reveal their names
without their permission. I didn't want to offend them or create any
problems for them. I was told by the magistrate that hiding anything
is equivalent to lying. Now they are denying they were present and I
don't have to force them to speak the truth.

One of the witnesses, Maharashtra minister Suresh Jain, said he didn't
know you then and that Rao was not present.

It is an absolute lie. Politicians are people who can change their
statements like other people change their clothes. They have no

How did you enter into a contract to supply newsprint and paper pulp
when it isn't your line of business?

The contract was a trap. I was in the pickle line, in no way in

But what about the money you paid to Chandraswami? Wasn't that a

A bribe taken is a crime. So is a bribe given. Let the court decide
whether this is a crime. I paid $100,000 in two cheques, drawn on the
Canadian Imperial Bank, to Chandraswami. I am prepared to face any
sentence if I am proved guilty. A crime is a crime whether it's
committed by a sweeper, king or prime minister.

Are you certain the man you met in the hotel was Rao?

I didn't know Rao till he came into Chandraswami's room. But he has a
face that can't be forgotten.

What exactly did Rao say to you?

Chandraswami brought Rao to his room. Suresh Jain and others were
present. All of us got up and greeted him. Chandraswami introduced me
to Rao saying: "Yeh hamare Pathakji hain. Yeh bahuth bada
industrialist hai." Rao turned to me and said: "Chandraswami has told
me everything. Your work will be done." I was thrilled because I was
the only one in the room who was introduced to him. Suresh Jain said I
was lucky to have managed an introduction. This is the whole truth.

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray says that you are keen to join his

I want to be a Shiv Sainik and be of service to the people. I know the
Shiv Sena from the time I had a pickle factory in Andheri in 1974-75.


National Magazine | Dec 22, 2003

Sanjoy Ghosh


'Godman Gave The Slit-Throat Sign...'

That's how Chandraswami threatened the IAS officer who blew the
whistle on Chautala's teacher scam

Chander Suta Dogra

A little after 7.30 pm on October 22, Chandraswami, Delhi's infamous
godman and political wheeler-dealer, had an unusual visitor. Ushered
into his presence was Sanjiv Kumar, the 1985 batch IAS officer and
whistle-blower-in-chief of the schoolteacher recruitment scam in
Haryana. It was on his petition that the Supreme Court on November 25
ordered a CBI inquiry into alleged attempts by Haryana CM Om Prakash
Chautala and his office to substitute genuine selection lists with
fake ones for appointment of primary teachers in 19 districts.
"Mr Chautala was built up as a ruthless man whom I should be very
frightened of."

The attempt was to effect 2,000 new appointments. Though there's no
official confirmation, it's alleged that Rs 1 lakh was demanded from
each candidate.

The October 22 meeting with Chandraswami was meant to force Kumar into
entering into a compromise and withdraw the demand for a CBI probe and
accept an inquiry by a divisional commissioner. The godman spoke to
him for about eight minutes. The contents of that conversation,
secretly recorded by Kumar and given to the Supreme Court for
safekeeping, is giving sleepless nights to many in Haryana, especially

The godman may be down and out in Delhi, but he's playing an active
role in neighbouring Haryana, threatening to get "the throat slit" of
people like Kumar. Recalls Kumar: "Two minutes into the conversation
with Chandraswami and I realised he was handing out threats on behalf
of chief minister Chautala who's one of the respondents in my
petition." Though the apex court has ordered a CBI inquiry into the
case and Kumar has been provided protection by the Delhi Police, he is
still a scared and harried man. Says he: "I'm worried that what
happened to Satyendra Dubey (the whistle-blower in the Golden
Quadrangle highway contracts scam who was murdered in Patna three
weeks ago) might also happen to me."

The officer spoke exclusively to Outlook about the meeting with
Chandraswami, which he recorded on the tape.

"The godman said I should think of what'll happen when police
protection is taken off."

"After a few preliminary remarks, Chandraswami said I should think of
what'll happen when police protection is taken off after a few months.
He then placed his hand on his throat and ran it like how a butcher
would. I asked him, 'Maar bhi sakte hain (You mean, get killed)?' and
he replied, 'Woh kuch bhi kar sakte hain (He can do anything)'."
According to Kumar, he was advised by the godman to be wary of
Chautala. "Mr Chautala was built up as a tough and ruthless man whom I
should be very frightened of. Chandraswami also reminded me of how
former PM Chandrashekhar was laid up in hospital with a heart ailment
after the treatment meted out to him by Chautala when the former's
Bhondsi farmhouse in Gurgaon district was taken back by the state

The godman, according to Kumar, continued in a similar vein:
"Chandraswami said 'Chautala will institute more cases against you and
your career will be ruined'." He also apparently warned Kumar to keep
away from Karan Singh Dalal, RPI MLA from Palwal (a bitter critic of
Chautala), saying "he's a finished man". When Kumar asked whether he
(Kumar) too could be killed?, the godman reportedly said: "Main kya
keh sakta hoon (What can I say?)."

A couple of days later, Kumar was summoned again to Chandraswami's
ashram. This time two candidates, whose names are in the second list
(allegedly fake), were also present. In a separate petition to the
court, they had pleaded their selection was genuine. Their petition
gave damaging details of the place and time when an officer in the
CM's office called them to Delhi's Haryana Bhavan and demanded money
from them. Chandraswami was trying to get them to withdraw their

As for Kumar, he was given another dose of Chandraswami's threats
which also he recorded. Recalls the IAS officer: "He repeatedly
threatened me with dire consequences if I did not heed his
warning.Eventually, I asked him, 'Swamiji what should I do?' and he
replied, 'Samjhauta kar lo (work out a compromise)'. I told him that I
would do so. The fact that I had agreed to a compromise was apparently
passed on by Chandraswami to the CM because at the next hearing of the
case on November 3, the Haryana government counsel offered to get the
matter inquired into by a divisional commissioner. They were quite
taken aback when I opposed this offer and stuck to my original plea
for a CBI investigation." The SC order directed the CBI to take charge
of the tapes as well as the two lists of selected teachers, which were
till then kept in the court's custody.

But why did Kumar agree to meet Chandraswami? Ever since it became
clear the apex court was likely to order an inquiry, he began getting
threats on his phone. Eventually, he told the anonymous caller that it
would be better if he came out in the open and talked. A few minutes
later, he got a call from a person claiming to be the swami's
secretary. He said, "Swamiji would like to meet urgently. It's
something of your interest." Says Kumar, "At that point I was quite
demoralised and virtually at my wits' end. I agreed. But I took the
precaution of telling my wife that if I did not return in an hour she
should inform the police," says Kumar.

Trouble began for Kumar in July 2000 when he was appointed director,
primary education, by the newly elected Chautala government. According
to the facts as stated in the October 25 apex court judgement,
applications for recruiting 3,206 teachers were invited in November
1999. And on the basis of interviews held in 19 districts, a list of
selected candidates was finalised. The outgoing director, Rajni Sekhri
Sibal, kept the lists in a cupboard and sealed it. The key to the
cupboard too was put in a sealed and signed envelope. When Kumar took
charge, he was "pressurised" into substituting another list in place
of the original list. He refused.

In September 2000, all members of the 19 district selection committees
were called to Panchkula and then to Haryana Bhavan in Delhi. Fresh
and false lists of candidates were prepared and the members were
forced to sign this list. On September 28, 2000, this list was handed
over to Kumar with a directive that it should immediately be
substituted for the original list. Instead, Kumar, on November 7,
2000, opened the sealed cupboard and released the original list. These
candidates were then appointed. And within a month of that he was

But he took the precaution of taking the "fake" list with him. And
then the nightmare began. His flat in Sector 19, Chandigarh, was
broken into. He began receiving threats. He was denied promotion twice
and put under suspension. Soon after that the government registered
two corruption cases against him, which also come under the ambit of
the CBI investigation.

It's two years since he was suspended and he has been managing to keep
the home fires burning with the help of family and friends. "The
government has not given me even the subsistence allowance of 50 per
cent of my salary," Kumar says. Justice is still a long way off for
him because the CBI investigation into the case could drag on for some
time. But it takes courage to blow the whistle. And Kumar is
determined to keep up his dogged fight as long as he can.


National Magazine | Jul 20, 1998


Finally All Fingers Point To A Foreign Hand

The Jain Commission's final report focuses on a larger international
conspiracy, and the CIA-Mossad-LTTE link, in the Rajiv killing
Charu Lata Joshi

Also In This Story


Mossad Missives
Ex-Cabinet secretary Zafar Saifullah told Jain of the Israel link

Damning Intercepts
Wireless messages indicate the LTTE wasn't acting in isolation

The BCCI Channel
Jain says Chandraswami linked up with BCCI through Khashoggi

FOR seven rambling years, the Jain Commission of Inquiry—set up to
unravel the larger conspiracy behind Rajiv Gandhi's May 21, 1991,
assassination—has stumbled from one controversy to another. The
Commission's interim report, tabled in Parliament last year, led to
the fall of the United Front government—it had pointed fingers at its
coalition partner, the DMK, for harbouring the LTTE, thus creating
conditions which facilitated the assassination.
"The possibility of a foreign hand behind the LTTE in the Rajiv
assasination is trengthened."

It had also come down heavily on the V.P. Singh government for
ignoring the security threat to Rajiv.

The final report charts a markedly different course. Volume II,
covering chapters I to VI, widens the ambit beyond the immediate
circumstances to emphasise a larger, international plot. Foreign
intelligence agencies like the CIA and Mossad, and leaders of some
Sikh extremist organisations step in as the new dramatis personae. The
report says they actively collaborated with the LTTE and key Indian
individuals in the period immediately preceding the assassination. The
eight-volume set, 14 chapters in all—accessed by Outlook—was submitted
to the home ministry on March 7 this year.

Curiously, even as he lambasts the work of the CBI's Special
Investigation Team—devoting an entire volume to its investigational
lapses—Jain appears to have considerably toned down his earlier stand
on the complicity of the DMK and has instead concentrated on the
'foreign' angle. But there are specific recommendations for the
prosecution of certain members of the DMK, PMK, and DK, who were
earlier chargesheeted in the assassination of EPRLF chief K.
Padmanabha in Chennai in 1990.

The report is not without its Indian angle. Startling depositions and
intelligence intercepts included in the report indicate that Dr
Subramanian Swamy and former prime minister Chandra Shekhar, in
different ways, may have had prior knowledge of a threat to Rajiv but
did not react in a "timely manner".

"CIA seems to have a track record of destabilising governments while
indulging in assassination plots."

At the same time, Jain appears to have pulled his punches in
recommending any further probe into the charges against these two

What emerges finally is a picture of a well-networked international
plot and certain key Indians, cast in varying degrees of complicity,
who had 'knowledge' of the plan. Whether Home Ministry officials, who
are studying the report, will be able to take any action on these
findings for presenting the Action Taken Report in Parliament during
this session remains in the realm of speculation. For now, the report,
with its explosive annexures and wild-card theories, has the potential
of stirring up yet another political maelstrom.

THE FOREIGN HAND: What is the foreign hand referred to in the final
report? The depositions and intelligence inputs from RAW and IB have
led Justice Jain to infer that the Tamil Tigers couldn't have operated
in isolation. In fact, he barely stops short of concluding that it was
just the hired executor—a point Jain had touched upon in his interim
report. Notes Jain: "The LTTE may be having its own financial
resources but to acquire such high-tech weaponry, financial help and
help in the form of shipment of arms, which are referred to in IB
reports, cannot be ruled out. The possibility of a foreign hand behind
the LTTE in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi can't be ruled out,
rather it is strengthened." The wireless intercepts (see box) clinches
the fact that LTTE operatives like K.

"...there were moves to remove Rajiv and the hand of Chandraswami has
been established."

Padmanabha had links with the CIA and that the US intelligence agency
assisted the Tigers in arms procurement and other operations. The LTTE
was networked with international agencies and these could have helped
them in the plot to kill Rajiv.

To establish the foreign link, the report quotes telegram No. 24 (CCB)/
20537 of September 11, 1991—sent to the Ministry of External Affairs
by the Indian Ambassador in Tunis, containing a key tipoff he got from
PLO president Yasser Arafat. It was conveyed that "Yasser Arafat had
information that Rajiv's enemies would use the election period to get
rid of him. He got this information from inside Israel and his
European sources. These sources mentioned that the LTTE and Sikh
extremists would try to harm Rajiv Gandhi. Besides the above three,
hostile forces from outside India may also make an attempt."

A recorded note on the talk between the then foreign secretary
Muchkund Dubey and the Palestinian ambassador in India, dated June 6,
1991, included in the final report reads: "The Palestinian ambassador
told me that they had seen the movement of Mos-sad agents in India,
including towards Madras. He said that if one was looking for a link,
it was the CIA/Mossad/LTTE link. He further stated that the culprit
could have been one of the women related or associated with the five
LTTE leaders who had killed themselves after taking cyanide soon after
the commencement of the IPKF operation."

Justice Jain gives considerable import to the Arafat input.

"Swamy spoke of the possibility of Prabhakaran having been financed
for the job..."

"I find the information furnished by Yasser Arafat genuine and there
is no reason to disbelieve it.... From the note of Shri Muchkund Dubey
and the CCB telegram, it is amply borne out that there was an
international plot to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi and that it was a
Mossad/LTTE/CIA link."

Statements from Dubey's successor J.N. Dixit, Sonia Gandhi as well as
details gleaned from RAW and IB have been woven into the report to
shore up the information the PLO chief had passed on to Indian
authorities. Dixit's deposition finds prominence in the report:
"Arafat is right in stating that he had sources within Israel and well-
established sources in Europe. This information conveyed in the
telegram must have been cross-checked by the field units of RAW under
directives of their headquarters."

"There must have been operatives of the CIA and Mossad in India during
1990-91.... The likelihood of Rajiv coming back to power might have
been viewed with some reservations, not so much by the US government
itself but by segments of the US defence and Intelligence
establishment in the context of Rajiv Gandhi's opposition regarding
refuelling facilities provided by India for US Air Force planes during
the Gulf War," adds the ex-foreign secretary.

Similarly, in her statement to the Commission, Sonia Gandhi confirms
that "it is a fact that Arafat sent my husband messages through the
Palestinian mission in India saying that they had learnt of the
threats to his life. This was reconfirmed to me and my children
personally by Arafat when he met us soon after my husband's funeral.
There were several other occasions when he received similar

RAW too provided the Commission with inputs, which it had shared with
IB, on the activities of Mossad and CIA in India in the year
immediately preceding the assassination. The final report mentions
Amos Radia and Giorce Betchar as agents operating for the Israelis in
India. As regards CIA activities in India, RAW had informed the IB
that two suspected US intelligence officers were in India in the
months preceding the killing.

A study of the post-Gulf war scenario in West Asia conducted by RAW,
which was communicated to the PMO, then cabinet secretary Naresh
Chandra, then foreign secretary Muchkund Dubey, IB, the Naval
Headquarters and then Air Force chief S.K. Mehra, clearly stated:
"International terrorism will get a fillip and we can expect terrorist
strikes against soft targets in India. Considerable vigil will have to
be exercised."

While Jain has gone to great lengths to establish the foreign hand,
he has also indicted intelligence agencies like RAW for not taking a
serious view of information that came its way. The report says: "RAW's
conclusion on Arafat's information requires deeper examination.
Nothing has been said about the possible involvement of the CIA which
may operate through Mossad in the light of Rajiv Gandhi's utterances
during the Gulf War opposing refuelling facilities to the US."

Further, Jain writes, "the CIA seems to have a track-record of covert
operations for desta-bilising governments while indulging in
assassination plots or otherwise as reported in the print media.... It
is in this background of the CIA's alleged track-record that Arafat's
utterances have to be evaluated."

THE report notes that, "Kumaran Padmanabha's (KP) account in BCCI,
Bombay branch, prima facie establishes links of the LTTE with the
bank. Unless material from the Senate subcommittee is gathered, it
will not be proper to conclude that the BCCI funds were not made
available in connection with the Rajiv Gandhi assassination.... The
material which has come before the Commission raises a very strong
possibility of such help from some individuals and agencies since it
is well established that KP was the LTTE's international arms

Despite all the information pieced together, the report is short on
specifics and does little to flesh out the precise manner in which the
foreign hand purportedly worked. The veil of mystery that shrouds the
Rajiv killing remains. Jain indicates how the LTTE conspired with
foreign agents/agencies to carry out the assassination, but provides
only a vague delineation of possible motives. As things stand, it is
doubtful whether the MEA (which has been given charge of investigating
the international link) will be able to come up with anything.

THE INDIAN CONNECTION: Justice Jain has devoted separate chapters to
three key Indian players who are suspected, one way or the other, to
have had prior knowledge of the assassination. Nothing definitive or
conclusive here, but Jain has woven in intriguing loops of
circumstantial evidence—quoted and contained in the annexures—around
godman Chandraswami, Janata Party leader Dr Subramanian Swamy and
former PM Chandra Shekhar. The three are bracketed, prima facie, as
either having a link with those who allegedly conspired with the
assassins or at least having been privy to the fact of a plot.

The link between Chandra Shekhar and Subramanian Swamy has been taken
seriously by Jain in the light of Chandra-swami's deposition: "I know
Chandra Shekhar and Subramanian Swamy have been very thick for the
last 7-8 years. Dr Swamy told me that I (Chandraswami) may persuade
Rajiv Gandhi to make Chandra Shekhar the PM." Working within this
framework, the Commission has read much into the independent
testimonies of a host of witnesses—wherever they overlap—and arrived
at certain conclusions.

For instance, Justice Jain concludes that Akali leader Mahant Sewa
Dass's deposition stands corroborated by evidence provided by RAW.
Dass was sent as Chandra Shekhar's emissary to meet Khalistan
proponent Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan in London. He had deposed that at the
meeting a plot to eliminate Rajiv was being hatched jointly by Babbar
Khalsa militants and a representative of the LTTE (R.M. Pradi)—and
that the project was to be financed by Chandraswami. Jain says: "It is
fully established that Mahant Sewa Dass went to London, met Dr Chohan
in the presence of some persons, conveyed the message of Chandra
Shekhar and brought back a letter from Dr Chohan addressed to Shri
Chandra Shekhar."

The letter also finds a place in government records and reads:

"Dear Mr Chandra Shekharji,

Mahantji discussed quite a few but very important things with me. I
very much appreciate your initiative in Punjab. I am sure it will help
to pacify the violence in Punjab. Mahantji will give you the details
of our discussion on various aspects. Talks are the only way to
resolve the problems.
More on hearing from you. Yours sincerely, Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan"
According to the report, "RAW confirms the meeting and that almost all
the active pro-Khalistan groups were represented in the meeting. It
also says that the main purpose of Mahant Sewa Dass's sojourn was to
find out the pro-Khalistani elements on a possible peace package
acceptable to them which could then be projected as an achievement of
the Government of India as a successful attempt to bring back the
Sikhs abroad into the national mainstream.... However, a contemporary
inquiry should have been made and the report should have been sent to
the PM."

The Commission also has on record a communication UO.No 3/5/88-VS,
dated July 21, 1988, in which RAW mentioned reports indicating that Dr
Chohan was trying to establish contact with the LTTE in the UK. Also,
"government records show that Mahant Sewa Dass was sent by the
government as an emissary of Chandra Shekhar to meet Dr Chohan. His
arrangements for travel were made by the government."

According to Jain, "From the perusal of various statements, it is
evident that the relations of Chandraswami did exist, not only with
Rao but also with Chandra Shekhar, Subrama-nian Swamy and O.P.
Chautala. However, no inference of complicity can be drawn, although
the surveillance at 10, Janpath and the statement of Saifullah may
give rise to some doubts."

As for Chandraswami, the circle of suspicion is wider. His links with
the LTTE as well as international arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi (see
box) have been established. Notes Jain: "The evidence and material
does point an accusing finger at Chandraswami and circumstances which
have come before the Commission raise a doubt regarding his
involvement in the assassination. Taking the entire evidence, material
and circumstantial, brought on record, a serious doubt arises
regarding Chandraswami's complicity and involvement. So the matter
requires a further probe.... There is a plethora of evidence on record
in the form of testimony of Buta Singh, S.S. Mahapatra, B.G. Deshmukh
and others which proves that there were moves to remove Rajiv Gandhi
and the hand of Chandraswami in these moves has been clearly

Many witnesses have attested to the godman's dubious links with
international agencies. Ramesh Dalal, BJP activist, deposed that he
knew "Shri Chandraswami has relations with the CIA, Mossad and the
LTTE. He took the help of these agencies in assassinating Rajiv
Gandhi.... In the core group of Chandraswami, Rajendra Jain, Babloo
Srivastava, K.N. Aggarwal, Subramanian Swamy, Chandra Shekhar, O.P.
Chautala and Pinaki Misra were there. The people of this core group
used to meet Chandraswami in his bedroom. Chandraswami told me he had
been financing the LTTE..."

The report says: "It is noteworthy that when he (Ramesh Dalal) had
expressed his doubts regarding the involvement of Chandraswami as
early as August 1991, investigations should have been conducted.
Outrightly rejecting his testimony would not be a proper course and a
thorough investigation is required to be made about the truth or
otherwise of his testimony. Some support is available...from the
deposition of Mahant Sewa Dass Singh."

As for Swamy, the Commission interweaves various independent
depositions and pieces of evidence to flesh out his links with the god-
man and international agencies as well as his role as an intermediary.
The report notes that Swamy had made a trip to London in 1995 with
Chandraswami—they both stayed at Halkin Hotel and the bill was picked
up by the godman.

Going back to the period before the killing, Jain cites the then
cabinet secretary Zafar Saifullah's statement that "there were some
intercepts emanating from Israel for information to Chandraswami and
Swamy for Jaffna. These intercepts have not come before the
Commission. If Saifullah's statement is correct, then the intercepts
would have thrown much more light on the question of complicity."

THE report adds: "A serious doubt has also been cast by E. Velusami
who has filed an affidavit before the Commission..." Velusami, then
general secretary of the Janata Party in Tamil Nadu, had deposed that
his party president had arrived "in the morning at Madras airport by a
flight from Delhi on Sunday, May 19, 1991." Elections in the state
were set for May 26. "Swamy's whereabouts became unknown on May 21
morning. He subsequently learnt he had spent May 21 morning in a hotel
called Trident near the airport and that he had met some persons

It is not clear why he made this secret stay in Madras on May 21,
1991, that too, after suddenly cancelling his pre-settled programme of
going to Delhi from Madras and without any information to his
colleagues..." Swamy's itinerary was confirmed by the personal
secretary to the ex-minister, writes Jain. He gives credence to the
testimony of Aziz Haniffa, Washington bureau chief of India Abroad, in
which he states that "during an interview with Swamy, the latter
claimed it was he who was instrumental in introducing the LTTE to the
Israelis, which led to their training by Mossad."

Similarly, former Rajya Sabha MP Rajani Ranjan Sahu deposed that in
1994 Dr Swamy told him and two others at the Tamil Nadu governor's
house that the LTTE was hired for the job. He claimed Prabhakaran
ordered the assassination after entering into a Rs 100-crore deal. He
also revealed that "one W. Anderson, first secretary in the American
Embassy, was anti-Rajiv" and that intelligence officials had got wind
of the plot. Jain, at the same time, seems to suspend judgement on the
episode: "From the statements of Sahu, Jitendra Prasada and Rajiv
Shukla, it is borne out that they happened to meet Dr Swamy in the
drawing room of the Governor's house and that... Dr Swamy spoke of the
possibility of V. Prabhakaran having been financed for the job which
might have motivated him for the assassination.


...and I am Sid Harth
2010-03-11 13:37:38 UTC

...and I am Sid Harth
2010-03-12 01:03:44 UTC

2010-03-12 08:21:43 UTC
On 12 mar, 02:03, VENDETTA <***@gmail.com> wrote:

> http://groups.google.com/group/religion-politica/browse_thread/thread...



2010-03-12 15:42:50 UTC

2010-03-13 04:30:55 UTC
> Since newsgroup posts are being removed
> by forgery by one or more net terrorists,
> this post may be reposted several times.

Jai Maharaj
From Encyclopedia Dramatica

Jai Maharaj IS undisputedly the biggest troll/trollspammer in the
universe! SERIOUSLY! Consider this:

He has atleast 100,000 posts on Usenet
He just won't die

He's been literally living on Usenet ever since it came into
All of his posts are copypasta of articles advancing his point of
view; none of his posts have any moral, spiritual or commercial value
Considered to be a major factor contributing to the downfall of

Contents [show]

1 Usenet Abuse and Crossposting Faggotry
2 Asstroll-ogy
3 Real Identity
4 Some Theories and Answers to the puzzle
5 Theory and Timeline based on the above facts
6 More Research7 How to Annoy Jai Maharaj
Usenet Abuse and Crossposting Faggotry

What makes Jai Maharaj the biggest pest on usenet is his crossposting
all over usenet with daily news articles suggesting a vicious anti-
christian and anti-muslim slant….and vegetarianism. (Vegetarianism was
invented by high caste Hindoos to exterminate the lower caste ones by
starvation). Jai claims to have been around since the predecessor to
the Internet, ARPANET was started. But again, all he did was hijack it
as a tool for his bullsh*t astrology and Hinduism. As of now, there
are 100,0000 [Update: 110,000 and climbing] of his rubbish postings
dumped all over usenet, clogging newsgroups and modem speed. All his
posts contain a signature with links to his site. As one user noticed,
his postings tend to attract a certain idiotic fringe of superstitious
Hindoos who then find the link to his website at the end of the post.

Jai Maharaj Likes... Jai Maharaj Dislikes...

Asstrology Scientists

Vegetarianism Meat-eaters

Hindu caste system (he's high caste) Members of Hindu low castes
acting uppity on Usenet...even if they are second generation
Living in USA USA

Trolling and stalking Being trolled and stalked
Homo porn Hindu porn http://www.flickr.com/photos/haberlah/55690106/in/set-1206444/

Hindu high caste Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindu lower castes

Being Anonymous Being trolled by Anonymous
Hinduism Any other ism

Does Jai Maharaj ever write on his own? If he could, he wouldn’t be
spamming across usenet like a nut, he would be a writer. His usual
response never goes beyond 4 lines and only consists of a screaming
outburst against “xtians” and “muslims” and anyone who disagrees with
him. But he compensates for this lack of expression by digging up IP
addresses and obtaining locations, real names and phone numbers of his
enemies, which he posts online for his devoted Hindoo pimps to
harass….or in the case of Sidharth, he notifies the authorities
alleging “child abuse”. Its no surprise that Jai is the most despised
entity on Usenet and the entire Usenet community eagerly awaits the
day he will post his last.

The Mahabully, the best psychological compilation on Jai Maharaj ever.
Written by ***@cts.com and can be found here. It details his attacks
on several Usenet posters, his masturbation confessions and his IRA
sympathies. To quote :

“The Mahabully lusts for the prestige and fear that an Ascendent
Hindustan would inspire, and prefers that this is realised at the
expense of his race enemies. His own voice is mean-spirited, immature
and violent. The Mahabully, like other bullies, forms the nucleus of a
coterie of bullies and wanna-be bullies. His kangaroo courts attract a
cabal of marginal, schizoid personalities. The Mahabully may pursue a
vindictive vendetta against anyone who dares to hold them accountable,
perhaps using others' resources and contemptuous of the damage caused
to other people and organisations in pursuance of the vendetta. The
Mhabully 'is greedy, selfish, a parasite and an emotional vampire'.
The Mahabully imposes on others a self-aggrandising falsehood, a
living lie, which is constantly buttressed by additional distortion
and lies. The Mahabully is quick to conjure with injurious terms like
'terrorist'yet it is he himself, Jay Stevens aka Jai Maharaj, who
might fairly be accused of terrorism IMO. For example, he has
advertised a terrorist training video on Usenet.

More Resources

Jai Maharaj's bullshit on Usenet.

R Johnson has the second best compilation on Jai which can be found

A FAQon Jai Maharaj.

Dr. Jose Mariachi’s Compiled Killfile on Jai

Jerry Guzzman’s description of jai whom he claimed to have met Jai
Maharaj. According to him, Jai derives some sado-masochist psychotic
pleasure from people paying attention to him, whether positive or
negative.(Proof that jyotshi/Brahmin Hinduism adversely affects mental



Jai Maharaj preys on ignorant Hindu fools who don’t even know the
internet is on computers….and to whom a message posted in English to
usenet is the equivalent of India test firing another ex-russian junk
missile. Jai has his pimps in India fleece these ignorant fools of
their money by offering them bullshit jyotshi predictions. In
addition, Jai Maharaj seeks to push the rest of the jyotshi scammers
off his turf by copyrighting catch phrases like “prediction registry”,
“holistic jyotshi” and “mantra”! His bullshit jyotshi atrology can be
seen at work at his websites, such,

Main Asstrollogy page of Jai

Another Asstrollogy page

More Asstrollogy

How the scam works is that some idiot Hindu who cant type or
comprehend stumbles upon his usenet posts and follows the above links
embedded in his signature…….and voila! Meet jai, the predictor of
their future happiness and well being. Since hardcore materialism,
hate and penis worship wash away the remaining intellect of his
adherents, they are more than willing to part away with their money
for a little guidance from a cyber-jyotshi …….and what is there to say
when the bullshit jyotshi boasts clients (unnamed of course….ahem)
among all the rich and powerful running this planet? Even the
whitehouse is said to havee declared war on timing outlined by Jai!
Don't believe me? Read him right here.

Jai’s jyotshi scam simply consists of juggling various assumptions and
screaming glory when any one of them work out. Whats worse, Jai isn’t
even putting up a realistic Nostradamus like fooling game……instead he
is lousy enough to let his anti-christian and anti-muslim bias leak
into his predictionsas well. Again, one has to subscribe by
contributing to his PayPal account to get access to his bullshit
predictions on future events.


Real Identity

This is the only known photograph of Jai Maharaj. It appeared on an
asstrollogy website. The following information also appeared: "Jai
Maharaj, P.O. Box 1919, Waianae, HI 96792-6919, USA, Tel:
1-808-521-8808, Email: ***@aol.com (Synthetics - NO, Uparatnas -
YES, Flawed gems - NO) - SERVICE: I both choose gems and also supply
gems loose or set in jewelry"Jai Maharaj's own website has a very
brief but pompous bio that runs as follows:


Jai Maharaj, who lives in Hawaii, USA, was born and raised in Varanasi
and later in other northern cities. He has been active in campaigns
for both the conservation of time-tested wisdom and the progress of
Bharat. His education and life experience include spirituality, health
and medicine, architecture and engineering, law and business, and
activism in several areas. He has also battled the enemy as a soldier
in the armed forces at the border in Kashmir. Jai Maharaj is a
consultant for a think tank with the government, organizations and
individuals as clients. He is an ordained Vedic-Hindu priest. He hosts
a popular, comprehensive and well maintained news website News Plus .
He monitors news worldwide concerning India and also participates
actively in many discussion forums.

According to Mike (***@zang.com),

Jay Stevens hung out on Hawaii's GT Power BBS network in the late 80's
early 90's. I'm talking like 89-90, in that area. While my memories of
him specifically are vary vague, they do carry a general feeling of
chronic irritation. One can be very confident to add IBM compatibles
as his platform of choice, as Hawaii's BBS scene in that period was
heavily platform segregated, and GT Power was a very pro-PC
environment, and had a large military subculture. Nothing I remember
indicates that he was in the military, however.

He is also described as being in his 60s.

In addition, several addresses have been posted on Usenet purportedly
belonging to him. They are of course, yet to be verified, but anyway
here they are:


4086, GLENCOE AVE, MARINA DEL RAY, CA 90292 Tel: 310-823-3461

3940, LUTHERAN CIR, SACRAMENTO, CA 95826 ... right near the Sacramento
burb of Manlove

3168 BRAND ST, IRVINE, CA 92606 Tel: 310-375-8510; DOB: May 1940; AGE:
63; E-Mail:***@mantra.com; ISPs: FLEX NET

A Whois search of Jai’s Mantra.com reveals the following:

Registrant:Mantra Corporation (MANTRA-DOM),P. O. Box 1919, Honolulu,
HI 96792-6919 US

Administrative Contact:Maharaj, Jai (JM225) ***@FLEX.COM
Mantra Corporation
P. O. Box 1919
Waianae, HI 96792-6919 US
(808) 581-8808 fax: 999 999 9999

Technical Contact:Wong, Del (DW403) ***@FLEX.COM
P.O.Box 22481
HONOLULU, HI 96822-2481 US
(808) 539-3790 fax: (808) 539-3793

In the early days of the Internet, Shyamasundara Dasa had an ugly
business dealing with Jai, whichallowed him these personal tidbits:

Date of birth: Oct 7, 1946, 9:15AM
Place of birth: New Delhi, India
Real name: Jai Mathura (but was using Jai Stevens)
Address: as given above
Phone: 808-948-4357
FAX: 808-696-3217
Usenet user Reginald Perrin managed to dig up the incorporation papers
of Mantra.com. He managed to come up with information that Jay Stevens
(Jai Mirage, Jai Maharaj) is one of the founding officers (the other
being Joan Miller) of Mantra Corporation, which was incorporated in
Hawaii on November 30, 1990 issued 1000 shares. It's an astrology scam
masquerading as a business consulting and marketing outfit, with 2

From a Hawaii state web site:
DATE-INC: 11/30/1990
ADDRESS: P. O. BOX 1919 WAIANAE HI 96792 6919
OFFICERS AS OF 11/30/1990
STOCK AS OF 11/30/1990
As you can see, mantra.com is incorporated in the name of JAY R.
STEVENS and we can safely assume its his real name. Joan Miller may
either be Jai's Indian wife with a changed name, or a a chickin.

Dell Wong

As you can see in the technical contact of Mantra.com, a certain Dell
Wong is listed. Dell Wong can be several things:

1.An employee/frontman of Jay Stevens
2.A business partner of Jay Stevens
3.A legal alias of Jay Stevens. (under law, it is possible to have a
legal alias provided its listed with the authorities)
4. A completely non-related entity who has become guilty by
association with flex.com, which hosts mantra.com and appears to be
complacent towards Jai's trolling activities.

It has been assumed that Del Wong is nothing but Jay Stevens’
frontman, whom Jay uses in his real legal and business affairs. Del
Wong has been ruled out as being an alias of Jai since his photodoes
not resemble a desi. He may be local Hawaiian or Chinese.

Or who knows? It could be Jai. Well anyway, the contact info of of
Mr . Wong from a Hawaii government tax site is as follows:

Agent Name DEL WONG

Agent Address 2800 WOOD LAWN DR STE 254
HONOLULU Hawaii 96822
United States of America

Business Entity Name FLEXNET, INC.
Record Type Master Name for a Domestic Profit Corporation
File Number 99105 D1
Status Active

Place Incorporated Hawaii UNITED STATES (Same as mantra.com)
Incorporation Date 03/13/1995

Mailing Address P O BOX 22481 HONOLULU Hawaii 96823-2481
United States of America
Xref Name 1 FLEX NET
Term PER

Some Theories and Answers to the puzzle

The great mystery regarding jay Stevens is why his ISP, FLEX.COM has
never kicked him off than take the trouble and complaints, especially
since he pays a measly $9.95/ month to stay online. The most plausible
answer is that Jay Stevens owns Flex.com through Dell Wong! It seems
Jay originally sneaked into the United States disguised as one of the
thousands of mass produced computer coolies. In his initial years, his
computer coolie skills blossomed but once he managed to escape the
work gang and apply for permanent residence, he reverted back to being
the bullshit jyotshi hatemonger he always was. However, before his
computer skills waned, his computer coolie skills helped him set up
Hawaii’s first ISP, Flex.com and once the cash started flowing, jay
discovered there was plenty of time to spend on his vedic jyotshi
asstrollogy as well as pursuing his hates.


Many have wondered how Jay manages to stay online 24/7 and yet retain
his humanity. The answer is that when he is not cross posting hate, he
is managing Flex.com. In other words he is half robot half demon.

A WHOIS of Flex.com reveals the following:


flexnet inc.
p.o.box 22481
honolulu, Hawaii 96823-2481 United States
Registered through: GoDaddy.com
Created on: 24-Sep-91

Admin. Contact:
wong, del ***@flex.com
flexnet inc.
p.o.box 22481

honolulu, Hawaii 96823-2481 United States
(808) 539-3790 Fax --
Technical Contact:
wong, del ***@flex.com

flexnet inc.
p.o.box 22481
honolulu, Hawaii 96823-2481 United States
(808) 539-3790 Fax –

Del Wong (or Jai Stevens?) is the founder-owner of Flex.com.

Theory and Timeline based on the above facts

Jai Maharaj/Jay Stevens sneaked into the United States as an average
grade mass-produced computer coolie. Here are some facts derived from
an online interview between Caroline Wright and ‘Dell Wong’, who
happens to sound more like Jai.

Studied at University of Hawaii at Manoa(might be a good idea to ask
ran a bbs for eight years prior to that got kicked out by U.H., got
his sister in-law in trouble by abusing her internet access

Then started ISP service in July 12th 1994 under several different
names, such as Flex.com (of which he indicates had its first employee
named Kristin Paulo who started Hula.net)

He was also involved in the setup of several local Hawai ISPs Did Web
programming with Jeff Tupa who became webmaster and system
administrator for Flex.com. *Tupa is said to have left on 12/29/03.
Had a partner by the name Del Wong

Though the respondent in this interview is referred to as Dell Wong,
it sounds exactly like Jai. And since it was conducted via email, it
is more than probable that Jai was on the other end. For example, this
interview is located on the Flex.com website in the "who are we" tab.
Rather than give a brief info on the company and its history, we find
an online interview with Caroline Wright entitled "Curiousity Killed
the cat." Further, there are too many arrogant and vague comments made
through the interview which sound more like Jai. This interview was
conducted in January 2000, but don’t be surprised if Jai removed or
edited it.

Consider these arrogant and nonchalant comments in the interview which
are a trademark of Jai.

Lots of prospects get put off by our/my "attitude", but heck, FlexNet
is Del Wong.
I don't bother anymore reading the dang thing. As I said before our
present modem situation is crappy. But again, by the time this article
comes out, we will again rock in that department. No worry.
(Caroline Wright asks)Who is the staff of FlexNet? Are you a one-man
band? Is Missus Wong still helping you out? Is Flex your only
business, or do you have other irons in the fire? What are they?

(Jai/Wong answers)Everything is secret. Don't Tell, Don't Ask.

The question of Jai owning Flex.com has surfaced before on Usenet.As
usual, Jai brings forth his sockpuppets to dissuade people from
further pursuing the topic. Take this thread,

Siva K Sundaram wrote:Dr. Jai Maharaj (supposed) real name is Jay
Stevens (based on Net info,one can't know for sure if that's his
actual real name). His web site's domain name, mantra.com, identified
as belonging to Mantra Corporation,has an IP address (
matching the domain for the Hawaiian ISP flex.com, which Mr. Stevens
(probably) owns and runs.
To this, a sockpuppet of Jai responds:

Jay Stevens doesn't own or run shit! He's a mercenary for the VHP,
paid by a well-known Indian doctor who "operates" from Houston. I say
he's a mercenary, because he does not live what he purports to preach,
and because he is paid for the propaganda and recruitment efforts.
Flex.com is *not* owned or operated by Jay, but they do host some
services for him, for a fee, of course. His spamming, discerning
readers will note, stems not from flex.com(which has a stern policy in
that regard), but from a no-holds-barred Usenet provider called
A more intelligent Usenet user writes:

Right, that's discernible from examining the source of his posts, that
he uses Altopia for his NNTP services. However, I can't buy the claim
that flex.com merely hosts services for Mr.Stevens. The domain names
flex.com and mantra.com map to the same IP address.If flex.com merely
hosted services for mantra.com, then mantra.com would have to map to a
different IP address.(Note that Jai may have corrected this)So Mr.
Stevens' (if that's his real name) relationship with flex.com is
clearly More than just being a customer. And there's evidence that Mr.
Stevens is trying to hide that fact. He has a web Page at http://www.flex.com/~jai
which suggests that he's a customer of that ISP. He also has a
separate page for his "organization", http://www.mantra.com (address, which also suggests a pure customer relationship,
since The address apparently is on the flex.com subnet. However, the
following is unusual. Since mantra.com has the same IP address as
Flex.com, one should expect to reach the flex.com web site by entering
Mantra.com as a URL in a browser, but this does not happen! Rather,
the HTTP Server "magically" recognizes the mantra.com name and
redirects the request to, to www.mantra.com! Further
evidence that Mr. Stevens is trying To hide his more intimate
relationship with flex.com.

More Research

Please contact Anonymous and request more research.

How to Annoy Jai Maharaj

Respond to his Usenet posts with a copypasta of this article.
Accuse him of murdering rival asstrollogers
Create an online game in which vegetables have to escape from being
eaten by him
Call him Pakistani


Dog **** eating, ding bat dog-tor, Dr. Jai Maharaj
View Full Version : Dog **** eating, ding bat dog-tor, Dr. Jai Maharaj

Dr. Gay Maharaj

Dog **** eating, ding bat dog-tor, Dr. Jai Maharaj

By Sid Harth

The heinous Hindus like a fake doctor, rather a dog-tor, Hindu
hoodlum, Dr. Jai Maharaj and yours truly have a running feud. This
fundamentalist Hindu terrorist tries to irritate me, apparently for no
reason. It is going on for good four years. In this time I wrote and
posted nearly five thousand articles on all subjects imaginable,
basically showing the heinous Hindu character.

This ding bat dog-tor, however, in the same period, or approximately
so, have stolen copyrighted material from reputed media and posted
under his fake name, Dr. Jai Maharaj nearly fifty thousand articles,
according to Deja.com archives.

I cannot compete with that kind of demonic output. Dr. Jai Maharaj
should thank god for that kind of energy, drive and single minded
pursuit of Hindu ****, that is exactly what his posts are and always
were. What is that idiotboy's problem? Perhaps schizophrenia, perhaps,
multiple personality disorder, perhaps advance stages of brain trauma.
Whatever is his case against yours truly, not clear to me nor is it
clear to his Hindu hoodlum cabal.

This hoodlum has just about accused every single leader of the world,
every single religion of the world, every leader of opposition in
India, including but not limited to Sonia Gandhi, Roman Catholic wife
of former Indian prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, who was mercilessly
murdered by Hindu fanatics such as Dr. Jai Maharaj, imagine that.

The over abundance of filth he posts, no one is capable of reading it
no matter how many hours one can spare for that dishonorable duty.
Apart from being a spam meister, this gangeskhan reposts several of
his very lenghthy, sometimes hundreds of pages long material, not just
once but several times.

Dr. ding bat dog-tor's feud with me is not unique. He has gone after
several other newsgroup posters and writers, not the same thing. This
saffron **** sheriff considers himself not only a great Hindu moralist
but like an idiot that he is, breaks his own pumped up false image,
right thereafter. Of all the material he posts none is penned by him,
except a headline, all caps venomous headline. His signature includes
a Sanskrit mantra, "Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti." Literally it means the
be peace, repeated three times for stress.

However this ding bat has no peace in his deluded mind as he comes out
brandishing his excaliber as a war mongering monkey. There is your
typical Hindu filthy thinking and filthier philosophy. Comes directly
from one black Hindu god, lord Krishna.

All fine and well for me as if not this ding bat ****ting around we
would, most probably, not be able to portray a typical Hindu American,
safe in America which allows free speech and due protection under the
law. Dr. Jai Maharaj loves free speech as much as I do. His free
speech falls in the category, which is excluded under the US
constitution gurantees. One cannot cry fire in a crowded theater, with
or without valid reasons.

Ds. Jai Maharaj not only cries, not that womanly cry either, cry of a
warrior, blood curdling cry of American native, wrongfully called
'Indian.' The cry is shrill, obnoxious, fearful and incendiary, to say
the least. Hindu hoodlums love him, adore him and play his game. Good
for the village idiots, I say. I am least disturbed as to the fact
that dog-tor, Dr. Jai Maharaj has both secret and not so secret
groupies. It just proves that an idiot can be village idiot Hindus'
messed up Messiah. Who else do you think ought to lead bunch of ****
worms than king of all **** worms, idiotboy, dog-tor Dr. Jai Maharaj?

The problem is with his lies. He lies, lies some more and to cover his
tracks, lies on top of it. If according to ding bat dog-tor, Dr. Jai
Maharaj, Hindu religion is the best in the world how come he has to
defend it so vigorously? Shouldn't the best product in the world,
including the best mouse-trap get the people knocking the doors?

This rats' asshole has serious problem with his logic. Let us for
argument's sake consider dog-tor Dr. Jai Maharaj's argument that Hindu
religion is the best and the Hindu culture is the best add to that as
a corollary, Hindu gods, all thirty-three millions of them are the
best, practitioners of Hindu religion are the best, citizens liveing
in India and practicising faithfully their cherished religion are the
best, make it anything and everything related to Hindu religion is the
best, for
argument's sake only.

Dt. Jai Maharaj's outrage against the world has no place. The value or
the price of a diamond is determined by the demand and supply of that
unique product. De Beers, the world monopoly decides how many diamonds
be marketed and at what price. No matter what is actual production or
actual demand the price is kept high to make diamond value at a
specific, luxury level.

If Dr. Jai Maharajs antics can be considered equal to De Beers cartel,
keeping the value of Hindu religion at ridiculously high level it
serves no purpose. No one is interested at Dr. Jai Maharaj's
artificially held value of Hindu religion. There is no great rush to
migrate to Hindu religion. The contrary is true. great many people
have abandoned it, if not stopped being rigorous practitioners of Dr.
Jai Maharaj brand of Hindu religion.

Under the circumstances, his hue and cry and his illegal, immoral
attitude towards all is unjustified. No matter how many times I said
that Hindu religion is a gutter religion it makes no difference to the
practitioners of that religion. They still follow their conscience or
personal choices to stick with it.

Shouldn't this ding bat dog-tor take a hint that it is the personal
choice of Hindus against overwhelming evidence against their religion,
their society, their history and culture that keeps it in place. I do
not believe that this ding bat dog-tor has that simple logical truth
seeking imagination.

Du. Jai Maharaj need not offend or defend anyone. God takes care of
that. I don't suppose this idiotboy has what it takes to add two and
two. Most probably, it would be five, three or twenty-two.

Sid Harth..."Show me a defender of Hindu culture and I shall show you
an idiotboy, dog **** eating, ding bat dog-tor, Dr. Jai Maharaj."

Dr. Gay Maharaj


'na he na he he's is rotan baba 'who rolled up kulu manali in northern

`I've always `wondered who this chickensucker "Jai Maharaj" was. I
knew `for certain he wasn't a real Hindu. I did a Google `search on
"Jai Maharaj" + "Jay Stevens", and dozens of `hits popped up. Thanks
for the lead.

%:%:%: The Proto Jai Maharaj Periodic %:%:%: %:%:%: Informational
Posting %:%:%:

1. Who is Jai Maharaj?

Jai Maharaj is the 'Voice of Mantra Corporation'. Though it is seen

just one poster posting all the stuff on Usenet, it is widely

that Jai is not the only contributor.

2. What newsgroups are home to Jai Maharaj?

You're kidding. Any newsgroup on Usenet, forums on Compuserve,
practically anything anywhere anytime is home to Jai Maharaj. Just
post on any of the following groups on Noosenet and Jai is very eager
always to share his wisdom with any group.

Jai's wisdom is presently available on the following groups:

alt.astrology sci.med.nutrition rec.food.veg soc.culture.indian
alt.culture.hawaii (he says "Come over to alt.culture.hawaii" but he


Dean T Dean!!!!!! You got the afternoon off from your poor yet honest
dad's fast goat turd franchise and you...
never posts there)

The Usenet graph of Jai Maharaj in a brand of vedic astrology :

3. What do you need to do to get in the good books of Jai Maharaj?

Well, say that Vedic astrology is good. Don't ever be a animal person-
eater. Also see Q. 4. Also ask Virendra on alt.astrology.

4. What do you need to do to get in the bad books of Jai Maharaj?

Just flame him on Usenet for 5 days. It helps if you are quite
"popular" or "widely known" on a newsgroup. Else you aren't worth Jai
Maharaj's time. Say that Vedic Astrology is a fake. Or that Mantra
Corporation is misusing Internet-Usenet by advertizing using the 4-
line .sig.

5. What is common between Jai Maharaj and John Palmer?

Both have claim to being one of the most "popular" persons on Usenet.
Jai has accused lots of people with "LIBEL". JP has slapped virtual
lawyers on many.

6. What is different between Jai Maharaj and John Palmer?

John has his own machine and his own domain. Jai gets on to U. of
Hawaii and accesses Freenets from there.

John has a knowledge of sendsys while Jai doesn't. Jai is quite known
to accuse people of sending mail plants when there wasn't any sent.
But Jai is working hard to be a JP.

7. What is the mark of a Jai Maharaj posting?

It always starts with a -=Namaste=- and ends with a -=Om Shanti=-.
oops.. sorry. Always ends with the 4 line .sig.

He posts usually from his accounts as:

Exposed Arindam Banerjee's tactics of abuse 3302
Dr. Jai Maharaj Yawnnn.... Still peddling the same old lies. I'll
reply (yet again) with the same...
Your tax dollars at work!

Till date, he has never been seen from a commercial account. Once in a
while, mantra corporation (which has the same mcimail number
apparently its distilled wisdom.

8. What do I do if I don't want to see Jai's postings at all?

There is a wonderful mechanism on bulletin board systems called
"Killfile". Use it.

is the freenet he is using. Also you can send a nice 'thank you' note
for every posting he does. He appreciates it very much.

9. Why this FAQ?

There are countless people on Usenet who still don't know Jai Maharaj
and this humble effort on my part will probably enable people from far
and wide to get to know the personality of Jai.

btw, there is also a alt.fan.jai-maharaj (the newgroup was sent by
spread the Jai Maharaj message for the good of the world.

Contributions to the FAQ most welcome. If anyone wants to take over
the FAQ, you are most welcome to. Please post everything on the

Every effort has been made to present facts. Corrections welcome on
that count from anyone, be it from Jai Maharaj or John Palmer.

Jai anon.penet.fi. Jai Jai Maharaj. Jai Julf.

-=Om Jai Maharaj=-

This posting can be circulated on any non-profit media. You can make
copies for educational use.

Brought to this forum by a caring anon.penet.fi user. Please post this
as a reply to jai's messages while snipping his message. Spread to all
corners of the creation. ÐÐ




Jai Maharaj is in bed with Hindu persons and the Hindu equivalent
investigated by the Mumbai police for promoting liquidate of non-Hindu
Indians. The Hinduunity website has a "hitlist" page with names and
addresses of non-Hindu Indians against whom it openly incites
violence. The "hitlist" can be viewed here:

Mumbai Police Investigates hinduunity: VSNL, INDIA's Govt is blocking
the site. Israeli funded Hindu hate criminal Rohit Vyasman, who was
kicked off his ISP addr.com, runs the site. The site currently has its
own server and requires no ISP. The

Created On:01-Mar-2000 00:32:20
UTC Sponsoring Registrar:R164-LROR Registrant ID:GKG-C00000E47E
Registrant Name:Rohit Vyasmaan PO BOX 174 East Norwich NY 11732 US

There is proof that the Israeli person outfit outlawed by the UN,
Kahane.org runs the website, since it carries a link to Kahane.org as
well as Israeli propaganda.

In addition, the two servers of the website are : NS1.YESHUA.CC
(Yeshua is a Jewish name)
(IL is the subdomain for Israel)

"When Addr.com dropped HinduUnity.org as one of its clients, Vyasman
called Guzofsky's office in Brooklyn. Guzofsky is a follower of Rabbi
Meir David Kahane, a Brooklyn-born, former member of the Israeli
Knesset, who called for the expulsion of Arabs from Israel. Guzofsky
connected Vyasman to Gary Wardell, a businessman in Annandale, VA.
Wardell's web service business now hosts both the HinduUnity.org and
Kahane.org sites. The two sites also have a mutual link." Link:

Jai maharaj frequently posts links to this website as well as
material. Whats more, he is a member of the members only forum area
where Hindu fanatics meet and discuss upcoming riots and
buttbuttinations in India.

Did Jai Maharaj help Rohit Vyasman set up Hinduunity.org on his own

the WHOIS of which is as follows: Registrant: Himalayan Academy
(XGZAGUWGCD) 107 Kaholalele Road Kapaa, HI 11111 US

Administrative Contact, Technical Contact: Japendra

107 Kaholalele Road

Kapaa, HI 11111 US

808-822-7032 fax: 808-822-4351

The other website contained in Jai's signature is
http:www.hindunet.org, the WHOIS of which is as follows: Registrant
ID:DOTR-00243868 plus 1 Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, Inc. P.O.
Box 722098 San Diego CA 92172 US Phone:+1.8584844564 Admin.
ID:DOTC-01366589 Admin Name:Ajay Shah

Note that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad is the Nazi-KKK equivalent of with
it enbreastles him to an investigation.


Oct.22,2002: The FBI and Honolulu police have launched a hate crime
investigation into who left hundreds of anti-Muslim leaflets at Oahu's
only mosque yesterday morning. The leaflets were breastled "ATTENTION
RAG-HEADS" and included a threat against Muslims. The leaflets,
according to the group, said "every curry fund-raiser will be checked
to ensure that funds are not being funnelled to support person groups.
Anyone found in violation will be strapped with explosives and shipped

Exposed Arindam Banerjee's tactics of abuse 3300
I don't know about him. These two I talk about pretend to be concerned
about Hindus and Hinduism. In reality...

Jai Maharaj resides in Honolulu (we will get to that later). The point
is, if he dedicates his entire day crossposting hate messages against
muslims and posts a link to the Hindu equivalent of the KKK, the VHP
in every post, don't you suppose he might be tempted to get physical?
But since he is a coward Hindu, you can expect him to be involved only
in anonymous hate crimes like the one mentioned above.

There are two peculiar features regarding the aforementioned hate
crime: 1. The reference to "curry fundraisers" seems to be aimed at
deflecting attention from the perpetrator (Jai?) who himself is of
"curry" Asian Indian origin. 2. Allah mispelt as Alah seems to be
deliberate to deflect attention towards Jai and portray the image of a
white Christian perpetrator who happens to be ignorant of spelling
Allah. Deliberate? You bet.



Honolulu Police Department 801 South Beretania Street Honolulu, HI

Deputy Chief of Police Paul Putzulu: 529-3975

Police Vice-Drug Tip Hotline: East Hawaii: 934-"VICE" (934-8423) West
Hawaii: 329-"ZERO-ICE" (329-0423) Non-emergency Information and
Complaints: 935-3311


Jai maharaj has a file on him in the California Police Department
after he notified the police that a anti-Hindu Usenet poster
"Sidharth" of Pennsylvania was a child molester. The police
investigated the affair and discovered that Jai had led them on a
false trail. To quote Sidharth:

"His (Jai Maharaj's) latest charge against me is so ridiculous that I
ignored it altogether as typical Hindu blasphemy. The charge is that I
abuse children. This charge was made by one Sujata Londhe, another
covert Hindu person of Morrisville, Pennsylvania. Sujata Londhe has
since been inactive for one or more reasons. She never could prove the
charge nor bunch of Brahmin sh*t loaders who acted on her

William Grosvenor sick Jew hater using fake names. Google William
U.S. Soldier Recalls Horror of Nazi Camp Published: 5-8-05 MAUTHAUSEN,
Austria (AP) - Bodies stacked like firewood. A concrete slab where
"This ding bat dog-tor, however, in the same period, or approximately
so, have stolen copyrighted material from reputed media and posted
under his fake name, Dr. Jai Maharaj nearly fifty thousand articles,
according to Deja.com archives." Read Sidharth's article at:

On another occasion, Jai Maharaj accused a usenet user disagreeing On
another occasion, Jai posted private imfo on a non-Hindu Indian so


Jai Maharaj preys on ignorant Hindu fools who don't even know the
internet is on computers....and to whom a message posted in English to
missile. Jai has his pimps in India fleece these ignorant fools of
their money by offering them bullsh*t jyotshi predictions. In
addition, Jai Maharaj seeks to push the rest of the jyotshi scammers
off his turf by copyrighting catch phrases like "prediction registry",
"holistic jyotshi" and "mantra"! His bullpoo jyotshi atrology can be
never took off. Guess jyotshi bullsh*t and news analysis simply don't

How the scam works is that some idiot Hindu who cant type a sh*t (and
naturally devoid of comprehension) stumbles upon his usenet posts and
follows the above links embedded in his signature.......and voila!

jai, the predictor of their future happiness and well being. Since
hardcore materialism, hate and privates worship wash away the
remaining intellect in the minds of his Hindu adherents, they are more
than willing to part away with their money for a little guidance from
a cyber-jyotshi .......and what is there to say when the bullsh*t

boasts clients (unnamed of course....ahem) among all the rich and
powerful running this planet? Even the whitehouse declares war on
timing outlined by Jai! (something he pulled out of his butt). Check
it out here:

scam simply consists of juggling various buttumptions and running
around naked when any one of them work out. Whats worse, Jai isn't
even putting up a realistic Nostradamus like fooling game......instead
he is lousy enough to let his anti-christian and anti-muslim bias leak
into his predictions as well. See subscribe by contributing to his
Paypal account to get access to his bullsh*t predictions on future



monkey pees in its own mouth [gross]

monkey pees in its own mouth [gross]
Added: 1 year ago
From: capinfox
Views: 70,039

All Comments (46 total)

Loading...SuperJusto22 (4 days ago) groossssssssssssssssss!!!!!!!! !!!

greenorange75 (5 days ago) ATHF FTW

criticalbitch1987 (1 week ago) go on my son !!!!

Bravyanz0r (1 week ago) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA WTH?!

KhanioProductions (2 weeks ago) Give this comment a thumbs UP! lol

watermeloncutie16 (2 weeks ago)I think that is so sad that monkey
needs some water

RonixEnclave (3 weeks ago) I had to do that when I was lost in the
desert for 4 days.

lolaap1234 (3 weeks ago) This is fucking sad he needs to get water

australianicon (1 month ago) this monkey is doing what i do almost
every day

volcomdaddy (1 month ago) i just really hate monkeys so much!!!!!!!

SantaTheEmo (1 month ago) makes me thirsty.

Fartknocker0990 (1 month ago) i hope no one is getting ideas........

InYourFaceNewYorker (1 month ago)That's not a monkey, that's a
chimpanzee, considered one of the great apes. Chimps are the closest
cousins of humans. Wow, our close cousin is peeing in his mouth. ;)

krisrod8 (2 weeks ago) do you look like a monkey?

xochequetsal (1 month ago)stupid monkey!

sich69 (1 month ago) ^_^

isin1998 (1 month ago) o_o omg omg o_o

AshleyWyles (1 month ago) eh mi god that was so disgusting!! EW

mercen144 (2 months ago)likes the comments

Rexd101 (2 months ago) Monkies are awesome. They can survive in the
desert because they have something to drink. As long as they keep
drinking it they can store it for later. Fucking awesome huh.

Shanzap (2 months ago) uhm

u can only drink ur pee once
after that the salt and acid in it will kill u
u have to wait for ur system to cleanse again
well I dunno for monkeys

cause clearly this monkey must do it all the time

leightontang (2 months ago) OH MY GOSH THAT DISGUSTING!!!!!!!!!

Rubbatubby8 (2 months ago) Same here

Sm00thCriminaal (2 months ago) lol refreshing....homemade lemonade
with a twang to it.
yamahaTRAIL (2 months ago) @Sm00thCriminaal hahahahhaha

kslaopuwmuil (2 months ago) we love monkeys they are sooooo cute

dasbakon (2 months ago) Chimpanzees are not monkeys, they are apes.

kslaopuwmuil (2 months ago) Shit dude, get a life instead of being a

thecorduroysuit (2 months ago) Comment removed by author

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thecorduroysuit (2 months ago)Well, dasbakon is absolutely right,
Chimps ARE apes, not monkeys. It`s pretty sad when people equate
intelligence with ``Having no life.``

95gobbler (2 months ago) that monkey got its colors messed up the
pees are suppose to be green not yellow

bearspark (3 months ago) lol

iStocop (3 months ago)if he's thirsty he gotta do wat he gotta do.

joshdodds94 (3 months ago) Curtis Juch..... HarHarhehehaHRahr

Katieboo1996 (5 months ago) gross

samangelo11 (7 months ago) what happened to the other 9

ToontownMad2605 (7 months ago) I counted 1. :S

xluckyx (7 months ago) i demand my other 9 clips >:[

Nathanpq7 (7 months ago) there wuz only 1 vid not 10

robnobhob (7 months ago) hahah xD

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monkeylover098 (7 months ago) dude u suck 4 that
ThePhoenix815 (11 months ago) where's the other 9?

DJSFAMOUS (8 months ago) exactly

hazzaslim (1 year ago) rofl

skilla2k8 (1 year ago) hahahahaha woodzy

WoodzyBoi2K8 (1 year ago) lol



Crazy gorilla eating his own poo

Crazy gorilla eating his own poo
Added: 3 years ago
From: chaqlee
Views: 264,967

All Comments (552 total)

zrx7769 (3 days ago) thats not a gorilla, its a nigger

pinoyrules15 (5 days ago) THATs a GORRila talents No one human CAn't
Do that....
silphantom (5 days ago) WhY aRe YoU TyPing LiKe ThIs??

zrx7769 (3 days ago) um, no your wrong

dxdxliu (1 week ago)recycling

bluelite7x (1 week ago)Orangutans piss in their mouths, gorillas eat
their shits, and terrorists blow themselves up. As intelligent as
primates are, they can clearly be fucked in the head!

TheBrawlMaster (1 week ago) This zoo dont feed him enough, so he has
no choice to recycle his poo.

devywevy1996 (1 week ago) if i wasnt sick before i dont know what i
am noww.
truelypink (1 week ago) African American Style!!!

KhanioProductions (2 weeks ago) that is not wat gorillas would do in
the wild, that gorilla is hungry and mentally fucked

vlcmarijn (2 weeks ago) 50 cent

Irokashi (2 weeks ago) Now we know what the gorillas get for diner.

darylklein13 (2 weeks ago) yum yum yum
thats fucking gross

garyf7777 (2 weeks ago) Is this Iyanna Washington?

Selwof (2 weeks ago) this is recycling in its base form, good to see
other creatures making a difference. . .

jaqu19 (2 weeks ago) damn, that is one fucking crazy gorilla!

toasterhead91 (3 weeks ago) petty goss... i saw a goilla eat his
poop, puke it up, then eat the puke tho X_X

Smaejdah (3 weeks ago)He wanted to give those fucking people a little
show :D

zaffe93 (3 weeks ago) what a poor black person

Jan8991 (3 weeks ago) seroiusly poor gorilla

louandmikes (3 weeks ago) 1 word Nasty

14ethank (3 weeks ago) that is beyond gross.

ACmilanfan80 (1 month ago) how does ur shit taste u niggaa

DahnD (1 month ago) My dog eats horse shit O.o Not to mention

knarftretsom (1 month ago)YAAY ITS MY LANGUAGE =)
Netherlands ;D

4devilking4 (1 month ago) poor garilla
his hungry T.T


his a poor animal who eats poop because his hungry GIVE HIM

specialkid94 (1 month ago)i gues he wanted it his way o.o

yamablaster14 (1 month ago) Finger lickin good yum!! Haha

80gamer (1 month ago) doesnt that make u wanna kiss jim

vicktrickly72 (1 month ago) better than 2 girls 1 cup, and 2 girls 1
finger, and 4 girls fingerpaint...

planes3333 (4 weeks ago) @vicktrickly72

whats that mean??

vicktrickly72 (4 weeks ago) it means STOP WATCHING THINGS EAT WASTE
you might find yourself doing it

GermanysF1nest (1 month ago) baaaaaaaaaaaaaaah pervert

lmr2727 (1 month ago) leave him alone!!!!! dogs do that too, you
know! jeez!

Joshuaguss (1 month ago) LOL 0:33 The gorilla see everybody's laughing
at him, and it looks like he's asking "You never ate poo".

93bendzsi (1 month ago) Also the dogs do thats as well

VibrantBeautyBaBy (1 month ago) Left overs I guess? LoL!
SiCcCkKk!!!!! HAHAHA!

cburrezzy (1 month ago) i know his breath STANKIN!

lauzama (1 month ago) whats wrong that gorilla

80gamer (1 month ago) either its on crak or that poo is going strait
to its head

davidhamburg1996 (1 month ago) wtf ?!?!? LOOOOL !!!!!

GameSpazzProductions (1 month ago)there was probably a recycle sign
somewhere in the zoo.

toaking54 (1 month ago) insane

Shadow247night (1 month ago) That's just messed up!

emokekz890emokekz (2 months ago) leave him be, he's trying to eat for
crying out loud.
gtardude1 (2 months ago)i meen a straght face my dad mesed me up

gtardude1 (2 months ago) whats funny is he eats it with a strait

Ardefoc (2 months ago) Mmm Nutrients

emmanuelrio911 (2 months ago) what an idiot... yuck i lost my

Tyguy161 (2 months ago) *pukes*... man hes really mackin' down

triplepoopsmith (2 months ago) this is gross but hilarius

hagertyh (2 months ago) That zoo must not give them enough to eat :

watermelonhorsey123 (2 months ago) this made my mouth have herpies :

khanhq (2 months ago)1 gorilla

1 zoo  kinda like 2 girls 1 cup lol

spmommy4 (2 months ago) Rofl

fuzzwarmy (2 months ago) This gorilla is not crazy. Gorillas get
their vitamin B12 and other important nutrients from insects and their
own feces. Zookeepers rarely if ever feed insects to captive gorillas,
so captive gorillas are forced to rely solely on their feces for B12.

soccrplyr10 (2 months ago) the cameraguy said ratemypoo

nrobnas43 (2 months ago) the gorilla says, " This tastes like shit".

cutehannahful (2 months ago) OMG!!!!! I Think i'm gonna throw up!!!

gerrardjake (2 months ago) damn hes downing that like a champ

Sm00thCriminaal (2 months ago) @gerrardjake it must of thought it
seen a peanut

TheIrinucka (2 months ago) i feel sick :-&

MRDOGSWIPE (2 months ago) Oh My Goodness...idk what to say...

MrEmejias (2 months ago) the gorilla is looking at everybody like
"haven't you ever eaten poo?".

Joshuaguss (2 months ago) LOL 0:10 That Gorilla is wondering why a-lot
of people keep watching him eat. 0:40 Look at him, everytime he take a
bite, he looks and see people staring and laughing at him.

1:09 So I guess he said "I'm gonna finish my food when everybody
Zebbe190 (2 months ago) the gorilla is looking at them like:
-Can you do that, phff!

SillyGoober23 (2 months ago) apes do sometimes do that...there is
usually undigested nuts, fruit, or vegetables that they can
smell...or the Zoo keepers aren't feeding them :-)

DrToonhattan (2 months ago) Haha, that guy at 1:03 looked like he was
going to be sick.
I don't blame him.

But isn't the whole point of poo being really smelly so that animals
don't eat it?
Or maybe it just had a cold.

RaiMX (2 months ago)He is just saying: Look at my poor life - I'm
eating my own shit!

Mas18J (3 months ago) Ieeelllhhh Hij eet gewoon zn eigen poep op!

HugeChunkySkidmark (3 months ago) I like the part where the monkey
eats the shit

themelanator1 (3 months ago) thats fucking funny when he eats shit

amelie1416 (3 months ago)at least they won't have to clean up his

cryptex220 (3 months ago) wtf?

INTHETREE71 (3 months ago) naasty....

way worse than my neighbors dog Kimmy.... she ate her poo too.....
The thing is is that they crave vitamins so an alternative would be
fesies, also known as shit ! HAHA But this was funny!

unstopable410 (3 months ago) you are one sick and gay nasty mother

ZzXDGXzZ (3 months ago) lol!! thatd be funny toofbar

welubsoursheet (3 months ago) YUMMY!!!! He makes me so wet. What team
does he play for?

truckdog19508 (3 months ago) thats a gorilla genious, not a baboon,
ya fucken uber tard

MarioLuigification (3 months ago) O.O DX

3rdDragunov (3 months ago) What a stupid fucking animal, that's
fecies, dumb fucking retarded baboon. Some one throw him some patatos
to eat at least?

CazAttack57 (3 months ago) lol yummy

3ej6 (3 months ago) hes just playing mind games

youdead179 (3 months ago) MMM CHOCALATE MUFFINS!!!!!!

HomicideTroop901 (3 months ago)dude

smallin45 (3 months ago) OMG~!

mtgPirate (3 months ago) He must be REALLY hungry..

toofbar3 (3 months ago) 2Gorillas1cup?

FROZENUSER (3 months ago)who doesn't likes to eat poo?

matt4c4 (3 months ago) Comment removed by author

shirey812 (4 months ago) hey, less work for the employees, lol

yomomma41 (4 months ago)hey he's thinking GREEN alright! lmao
CanadiaNecro1 (4 months ago) They do it in the wild too.

CaveatCartoonShows (4 months ago) :O THAT'S NASTY...welp, this proves
that we're defendantly related to apes!!

CaveatCartoonShows (4 months ago) CRAP! SPELLED DEFIANTLY WRONG...

CaveatCartoonShows (4 months ago) wait...that's not how you spell it

BrittanyBrittanyable (4 months ago) LMFAO! *spits* That was sooooo
gross but halarious. Them damn zoo owners need to feed him!

treasuredroperX (3 months ago) He has leaves to eat...

NoMercyForTheWeak001 (4 months ago) ooh dude! my eyes!

dittocopys (4 months ago) you are not alone 0_0

TappaJ123 (4 months ago) wow!!!!!

sChOoLmIsSeR (4 months ago)He must of enjoyed that..

karts565 (4 months ago) söö sitta

MrMickeyd1112 (4 months ago) pause at 0:10 Something funny

greendaylover4 (4 months ago)ha ha yeah lol good one

taeyatalkalot (4 months ago) It was gross buy so funny lol

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BLACKOUT319 (4 months ago) Marked as spam i almost threw up

starlinayei (4 months ago)2GIRL1CUP HELPER

gayskunk (4 months ago)its accully normal for some animals to do
this, rabbits do it to regain certain nutriants, much like a cow
vomits in its own mouth and chews on it, its just instinct

snewso (4 months ago) musta been hungry

AznLiishii123 (4 months ago)that was very disturbing to see, yet i
cant stop watching it!

darthkevster (4 months ago) yum yum lmao

TFloydProductions (4 months ago) taste even better the second time!!!

sergen121 (4 months ago) feel sorry for his wife

crotchfungus (5 months ago) Well they are vegetarian, so I guess its

Mars5890 (5 months ago) lol

YtothemuddafukinT (5 months ago) Man, you'd think they'd give the man
who just won a Nobel Peace Prize better chow than that!

woozie442 (5 months ago) It's dinner time at the white house!

aodessey (4 months ago) you're fucking sick

halfahuman (5 months ago) 1:09 D=

12kirkhinrich12 (5 months ago) That's recycling!

annhelen88 (5 months ago) haha, kuleste mest demonstrative monkey
hoho :)

DeiFanGirl94 (5 months ago) damn, he's so pervert!!
Kacicka999 (5 months ago) Damn ...

XDiScONeCtX (5 months ago) Yummy.

cheemoguy (5 months ago) barf!!!

OffTheDeepEnd101 (5 months ago) nastiehh

bindass99945 (5 months ago) this bez of fucking zoo peoples, not
giving proper
food to wild animals :( i feel really pity for that gorrillaaaaaaa

Jarrith4291 (5 months ago) I really think the incessant giggling of
the camera man intensifies the effect...

EvilToiletTaco (5 months ago) RECYCLE

jeffreyhrz (5 months ago)why does it smell like shyt everytime i see
this video?
GlitzAndGlamour1 (5 months ago) i think i died a little on the inside.

5superbreasons (5 months ago) yum

cfhscheer (5 months ago) o_0

aznrichgirl (5 months ago)awhhh): i bet thts jus a super bad zoo who
doesnt feed the animals T_T

xHahaElly (5 months ago) Maybe he was hungry ):

XxGameadickxX (5 months ago) talk about potty mouth

savanah37615 (6 months ago) ewewewewewewewewHAHA

trxrida10 (6 months ago) LOL SO FUNNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

druha10304 (6 months ago)drafted number 6 by the new york knicks.

x001m69 (5 months ago) NO, I think this ape looke like a New England

duerdum9 (6 months ago) haha cool gorilla!

TheBrawlMaster (6 months ago) 1 gorilla 1 cup

crazystarwarsguy1006 (6 months ago) humans: holy shit its eatin its
own poop!!!!

gorilla: yum takes like apples I WANT MORE

peter12331 (5 months ago) HAHAHAHAH

buckatunnaboy (6 months ago) Man, that's some good sh*t!!! LOL!

emochild987 (6 months ago) lol black ppl.....

xxHATESxTHExWORLDxx (6 months ago)LMFAO

Moving4Motion (6 months ago) He just wants a hot meal :D

THEANIMEPERV (6 months ago) i remember when my dog use to do that
5w545 (6 months ago) Show Hide 0 Marked as spam Reply ew, freaking
blueears1 (6 months ago) Good examle of recycling we all shud recycle
our poo.

Fredwiener (6 months ago) Recycle fail

xerke (6 months ago)wow how sad how far he needs to go to get

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gta4ratman (6 months ago) Marked as spam HEY!

dont knock it till you try it

welshwarrior123 (6 months ago) Marked as spam bet his breath smells
like shit

tree003a (6 months ago) now all that gorilla has to do is burp in
your face!

luncheon198 (7 months ago) NOMNOMNOMNOM

greenket (7 months ago) this is some original 2girls 1cup

SeAz00n (7 months ago) Gorilla and poo! :D

xTSxPUNISHER (7 months ago) mmmmmm taste haha

bleachjunkie (7 months ago) My dog does that... O.o

crazyds123456789 (7 months ago) Must tought it was a banana or he
must be reallly really hungry
and omg he likes it O-o

daniellos333 (7 months ago) why didnt u name the title "insane gorilla
eating its own shit"

SketchyFingers12 (7 months ago) i wonder how it tastes...

raniman999 (7 months ago) OMG NASTY!

theforrestwhaley (7 months ago) i saw a gorilla eat his own puke at
the bronx zoo

CherylVooren (7 months ago) this is Artis @ holland =]

thinkinrich (7 months ago) DONT WASTE IT U MOTHERFUCKER

BaileytheHedgehog112 (7 months ago) what a crazy fucking bastard!!
they say monkeys are smarter than us??

JoshDaGoodfella (7 months ago) Gross, and they say monkeys are smarter
than us?!!
But then again, I suppose some Youtubers do eat their own poop, I'm
looking at you trolls!

Pufflestudio09 (7 months ago) Crazy Gorilla: THIS IS MY POOP I MUST
People: I don't wanna eat it anyways nasty ass.

Crazy Gorilla: Well you can't have any, I LOVE POOP!

StyrbjornStarke (7 months ago) thats one hungry nigga!

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ccsecond (7 months ago) Marked as spam Nom nom nom

skateshiz1 (7 months ago) haha :)

KievThug24 (7 months ago) oh shit..that is totally crazy!!!!

36jemm (7 months ago) 1 gorilla 1 hand 0_o

Metalsonic136 (8 months ago)Dont Watch If Your Eating Cheese

whiplash1one (8 months ago) imagine if u had to kis him after that

Martoh1 (8 months ago) Mmmmm, tasty

crazyds123456789 (8 months ago) i remember seeing a rino eating its
own crap

GlitzAndGlamour1 (8 months ago)I only watched 10 seconds and i was
gagging the hole way through.

headmanboy30000 (8 months ago) you are what you eat

LinksLightArrows (8 months ago) people think we evolved from these
dumb animals...

DetroitRick1 (8 months ago) This gorilla is the shit.

bakerman93 (8 months ago) no wonder why the others call him shit

VisionDivine (8 months ago) S0_0

universalmind3000 (8 months ago) O_o

bigdsears (8 months ago) Today I ate my own poop in front of the
human's. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since
it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely
made condescending comments about what a 'funny gorilla' I am.
Zadaxes (8 months ago) wtf

illybang (8 months ago) Eating feces occurs in the wild and often
occurs at a more frequent rate in zoos. Ingestion of feces is thought
to have nutritive value. For example, ingested feces may help in the
utilization of B vitamins that are manufactured in the lower gut.
Beneficial bacteria that aid digestion are also replenished.

Videogamefan1992 (8 months ago) I bet the gorilla had great breath
after that.

funspot101 (8 months ago) what do we say when the smoke alarm goes
off and mom's cooking?

" Dinner's Ready! "

k00lGuy (8 months ago) ugh! gross... zookeeper aint feeding these
goriilas or something.  They end up eating their own shit.

Billster05 (8 months ago) the zookeepers must be feeding them
something otherwise they would have no shit

gabeo8 (8 months ago) People:Lmfoa HAHAHHAHA BlaaarghRawr
Gorilla:I can chew on poo and not be embarassed by it *omnomnomnom*

ShitOnAPlatter (8 months ago) Check Out The Blonde @ 1:02 I Wouldn't
Mind Eating Her Poo !

eckels3000 (8 months ago) HAHA LMFAO!!!!!

backpacc (8 months ago) O_O

BmWbEaSt11 (8 months ago) i like to eat my own poop...especially
diarrhea...i like the runny feeling in my mouth

mummomies45 (8 months ago) lol if gorilla would throw the zookeeper
in face with that
Timverbaz (9 months ago) Comment removed by author

xBLaKHearTx (9 months ago) omgomgomg!

CowsAndCrows (9 months ago) zookeeper wont clean my cage.. so ill do
it myself

Mbsaysfasho (9 months ago) haha thats a good one

FFatboy911 (9 months ago) WELLLL...i guess if your hungry and you
just laid out last nights supper..you might as well eat it O.O

fuckblackmetal (9 months ago) orrible...

dmaninfan (9 months ago)That gorilla is gangster...

Mark01656 (9 months ago) i bet he wishes he hasd some hot sauce or
some mouth wash for later lol

haloveiwer (9 months ago)what do you want im just eating my poo i
thought you humans do that too?

sololamer (9 months ago) WHy do they pick the stupidest gorillas to
put in the zoo.

Piccolo49 (9 months ago) POO POO

thinkinrich (9 months ago) he needs some tortilla

eresputo (9 months ago) need some you mama!

thinkinrich (9 months ago)your mama eats every day

tonnysaidno (9 months ago) I ate pancakes in the morning and get
constipate. My goodmother gave me exlax and I push, and push, and
push, and shat 1 pancake and a half. I guess the other 5 and a half
were absobed by my body.

thinkinrich (9 months ago) Comment removed by author

thinkinrich (9 months ago) Comment removed by author

babycatmilker (9 months ago) oh man im getting hungry watching this

BeltaiTheImp (9 months ago) if i were the gorilla id ask for apple

pinoyrawr (10 months ago) nasty

houtman45 (10 months ago) its nutrious lol

AgentCROCODILE (10 months ago) OMGWTFBBQ Sauce anyone?

PurpleStorm8 (10 months ago) Lol, the guy at 1:05 was about to spew.

eleszar1 (10 months ago) OKEY so NOW I GO TO BED BEFORE I SLEEP I EAT

specialtaskforceswat (10 months ago) I already eat my poo with
ketchup and somtimes bbq sauce for a treat

yourneverknowblah (9 months ago) lol

taste4love (10 months ago) DEAMIT, so thats why they are so strong
and muscled, im gonna start making that sheet at home... i poo, and
then i will eat my poo with ketcchup...and after 2 weeks, my muscles
will get stronger

BFMVpwnage5168 (10 months ago) that's what i call EXTREME RECYCLING

iiBubblez (10 months ago) That's so mean...

lahijadelchale (11 months ago) Next video......2 GORILLAS 1 CUP!!!!!

demilavatojr9 (11 months ago) NOT POO I WAS THERE IT WAS HIS FOOD

HaloMania2k (10 months ago) me to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

videolover61 (11 months ago) Dont try that kids...it will screw up
your breath!!! lol
sierraonezero (11 months ago)Love the finger lickin' action around
0:50, that's some gooooood stuff!

GeorgeA2k8 (11 months ago)Another gorilla and a cup and we might just
have a video...

chubster0101 (11 months ago) Two Gorillas One cup there is another
way a man in a gorilla suit

Meixafuhellzman2 (11 months ago) HAHAAHAHAAHA!

ducksmasher09 (11 months ago) 1:10 LMFAO!!!

succexy11 (11 months ago)Oh, my god! Are they not feeding the
gorilla? Or do they do that in the wild, too?

BeatboxKingS (10 months ago) Because they eat plants and small bugs.

All their poop is safe to eat i guess because its not so potent by
greasy foods ect.
kanonekraftschuss (10 months ago) No, it is pudding, not poo.

BeatboxKingS (10 months ago) I dont know if your being sarcastic
But thats not pudding

monkeys,Gorillaz, primeapes are known to eat their own poo
They dont know the difference between a high balanced diet
to an all you can eat shit buffet

Joshuaguss (11 months ago) That Gorilla walked away 1:09, because he's
just like human beans, he don't like people staring at him eating. He
will finish his dinner when those people leave.

wogboyz109 (11 months ago) ooooooooooo man i feel sick

TaylorVSMike (11 months ago) i did want attention so he ate his own
poop and after he probably went to the back to throw up

Himalicious (11 months ago) it wants attention.. it got
attention! :D

Vhakkox (11 months ago) This is some funny shit.

GIUSSEPPE1987 (11 months ago) save the chimps and gorillas save the

GoodSmellingStink (11 months ago) Gorillas get more and more like
humans everyday. They even recycle their trash.

Southparkisdshit (11 months ago) thats just grose!

cammycool3 (11 months ago) I think he thinks ''Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm''

DarkShadowRage2 (11 months ago) 1 Gorilla1 cup?

nukynk (11 months ago) 1 gorilla, NO cup

yuurepoer (11 months ago) Dude !

kit99999999 (11 months ago) Lol hes tryin to lose weight

kit99999999 (11 months ago)this stupid ass monkey eatin his ugly ass
shit ohhh shit his daily dessert

VioletBoyTV (1 year ago)I think im gonna puke

ProjectRedfoot (1 year ago) he looks pissed about eating it too!
"im eating poo god damnit..."

BerserkGorilla5 (11 months ago) Gorillas always look angry. XD

jyoeun86 (1 year ago) his breathe smells like SHIT!

Cathrynlee (1 year ago) Fat bastard

theturdbucket1 (1 year ago) whats so wierd i do that all the time

BitchyPagentQueen (1 year ago) How disgusting, I am appalled!

Could he not have used some matters and a knife and fork?

999roby (1 year ago) its ugly.....you must take a fork and a knife

JohnsLazy (1 year ago)do they not feed him enough of what he likes?

iLuKaS2oo9Baby (1 year ago) He relly is crazy

chevytruck123 (1 year ago) Thats sick!

mama2815 (1 year ago)does that mean the zoo is not feeding its animals
enough that this fella had to eat his own excrement?

keribery1235 (1 year ago)maybe its that or that he just expirementing
(i cant spell that right)

pydec3ption (1 year ago) That would be funny if he threw it at the

boribori90 (1 year ago) that's just....not even necessary.

JWcolour (1 year ago) Don't knock it til ya try it.

Vhakkox (1 year ago) 1Chimp1Poop.

mbudd121 (1 year ago) 1 gorilla  no cup

cynikal12345 (1 year ago) hahhhahahah

scargill8 (1 year ago) HAHAHA I was there when this happened I think

VEGAN0011 (1 year ago)mmm gorilla say better than a mcdonalds

KataarSolo (1 year ago) if the only things you ate were oranges and
bananas, your poo would still have nutrients in it too, but humans
consume afr too many chemicals, and processed foods which are high in
salt and fat, or high level bacterial produce, which means our poo is
you could actually eat some gorilla poo in a survival situation and it
would keep you going....
or would it?
you decide

myoppositelife (1 year ago) i thought they were suppose to be smart
or somthing
coney10000 (1 year ago) all thaat is goning to happen is that it will
come back out...

endnami (1 year ago) is that normal behavior?

Stifaan (1 year ago) love the laugh

moonguy16 (1 year ago) Holy Crap

Retardidape (1 year ago) Well...his whole face probably smells of
shit XD

klobyshuffle (1 year ago) His breath smells like shit!!!! lol

HackToob (1 year ago) 2 gorillas 1 cup

niddster77 (1 year ago) its funny how the filmer is just laughing his
ass off
SilverAsakura (1 year ago)cut the crap.

lottore (1 year ago) thats horrid even 4 a gorilla

Brizco888 (1 year ago) that is soo gross!

RockOutGurl167 (1 year ago)this is halrious but gross at the same
time haha

rikiboum (1 year ago) Anarchist monkey !

vergil43 (1 year ago)NATHAN!

quoththeraven929 (1 year ago) why?

porscheflat (1 year ago) To him...it's finger-lickin' good...

negrote4 (1 year ago) whats more delicious than your own dump?

Inikalord (1 year ago) YUCK!!!

narutoop1 (1 year ago) siiiiiiiiiiiiccccck

emilio911911 (1 year ago) dude!!!!thats just nasty!!!!

janderson2000 (1 year ago) I wonder if he craps out bananas after
eating the poop

loundon2 (1 year ago) i wanna eat his poo and then fuck it and make
babies 100x with it so my dick is covered in poo
then i suck my own dick cuz its cool like that

EmptyNutShells (1 year ago) that is literally the sickest thing i've
heard my whole day o_O

for that, you should feel proud :D

teeku666 (1 year ago)lol 2 gorillas 1 cup

spnky92 (1 year ago) hey i saw some thing like this on a porn website
with asians...oh...yea haha

TenTen902 (1 year ago) Reply 2 girls 1 cup rrreeemmmiiixx LMFAOO!

techmasterflash (1 year ago) Olivia says that's some good cucka mun!

MiniMi3z (1 year ago) OMFG! how can he be so fucking stupid!

wearejusthumanbeing (1 year ago) in nature they can eat whenever they
want, maybe he was too hungry

beebabe411 (1 year ago) shame they have no food :''(

littleFlecker4 (1 year ago) mmmmmm gooddd seconds and thirds yum

Gtrplyr1 (1 year ago) 2 girls 1 cup google it..

ifyoureadthisyousuck (1 year ago) itd be good if he chucked it up over
the enclosure haha "hits people"

hiddeninja (1 year ago) omg so disgusting...ew but nice vid

OmgPanda1 (1 year ago) at 18 sec he stops chewing he probably
like,"Wtf are you guys laughing at?!"

mrtallhall (1 year ago) its kimbo!

sleepypoodle (1 year ago) So that's what George Bush does in his
spare time.

ajrunke (1 year ago) wow get over it...you lost in 00 and 04

sleepypoodle (1 year ago) I think it is quite clear who LOST judging
by your
economy and employment figures, hopefully the majority of Americans
have learned from this fiasco.

Evilman661 (1 year ago) yum lol

bleachandnarutoareth (1 year ago) People shouldn't bang on the poor
ape's cage. That is cruel. As if he wasn't having a bad enough time

gnamp (1 year ago) bad time?- he's got a shit-eating grin

FluffiFish (1 year ago) I guess but he didn't seem very annoyed.

kokoykiko (1 year ago) masarap na tae yan

SoCalstylez858 (1 year ago) lol

jiya560 (1 year ago) shit kkakakakaknaiainaniniainaniiii iii mukang

shanchilly (1 year ago) yuck

suluama2002 (1 year ago) that is jacked up.  ๏̯͡๏)

Zollehx (1 year ago) Show Hide 0 Marked as spam Reply ๏̯͡๏)

Titanium267 (1 year ago) ๏̯͡๏)

promethiusboy (1 year ago) its all about recycling baby

SoCalstylez858 (1 year ago) hahaha ! oh shit im laughing my ass off
right now at that comment1

ajauregui67 (1 year ago) mmmm that looks good

Bigmike3122 (1 year ago) i guess they dont feed them enough

orinkly (1 year ago) Don't do this at home

mjfangirl123 (1 year ago) eww discustint but funny! im watching it

disciple111 (1 year ago) that gorrila is gettin SHIT faced

what1ever2guy3 (1 year ago) lol

TheSnake1588 (1 year ago) I actually saw a Baboon carrying some poo in
it's mouth like a dog carrying a tennis ball on the same day of the
posting of this comment. (I was at the zoo)

videomana123 (1 year ago) HAHAH THIS IS FUNNY

WizKidProductions (1 year ago) we evolved from that? COOOL!

ScopedOut7 (1 year ago) lmao

rainbowkittyy (1 year ago) omg i threw up in my mouth a little

iluvgtasan (1 year ago) That is the most discusting thing i have ever

leafzzzzzzz (1 year ago)2 GIrls 1 CUP OMFGGGGg

porscheflat (1 year ago) I would've said umm..chocolate...but that
shyt didn't have the correct color to even look like chocolate.
That's straight POOO from the ground up!! ;-( and he didn't even FLUSH
it down with water.

PatriciaXavier1991 (1 year ago)Menhame :)

ukbnpok (1 year ago)benz tucks into some wedding cake made by

JoeJonasLover989 (1 year ago) like ooooooooo wtf is this maybe it
tastes like choclate

kits18 (1 year ago) looks delicious!! :D

TatakCrazy (1 year ago) WTF!!!Rofl

opennskyy (1 year ago) Oh, please. Some animals, such as Nonhuman
Apes, eat their feces to get more nutrients. They just give food a
"second go" thru their digestive systems to try and obtain every
vitamin/nutrient they can out of it.

najib351 (1 year ago) looks like the zoo ran outta bannanas so he had
to make his own

XxGiveMeMalicexX (1 year ago) I'm dying of laughter at what
poopalina821 said to poopbams2

ThyRampage (1 year ago)Can I have the leftovers?

MALAKAS0 (1 year ago) LoooooooL

alxuan (1 year ago) 1 gorilla 1 cup lol

fullthrotle2007 (1 year ago) lmao rofl, thats some good SHIT

jwuonog (1 year ago)Okay, there are a lot of videos of the gorillas
eating poop. Why do they do this?

vegeto245 (1 year ago)thats finger licking good

Roofusx (1 year ago) i just threw up

chickenflavoredbutt (1 year ago) hahahahahahahahahahahahah

vegeto245 (1 year ago)u left sum

tigereye247 (1 year ago) poobams2 you are some gross dropping freak

99mik123 (1 year ago) that monkey is giving me ideaes

tjlawson20 (1 year ago) disgusting vile creature

dooby99 (1 year ago) this monkey is my idol

IronChariots (1 year ago)That's not his poo, it's mine.

1takeachance1 (1 year ago) :o I thought it tasted a little wierd XD

PooBams1 (1 year ago) wow thats really fasinating. You guys know it
does not taste all that bad. I mean if you are in the mood for it it
actually goes quit well with pee. I mean ya, you guys should try it.

PooBams2 (1 year ago) u fjucking retrad! thats gotta be bed fo yo heff
system yall be'z knowin!

poopalina821 (1 year ago) what the HELL did you just say?????

runescapesex (1 year ago) gadverdamme mischien ruikt hem stront nog
naar banaan die dat heeft gegete

hunycupz7608 (1 year ago) he must be sick or sumthin

paramountpics101 (1 year ago) oh.. shit

masterjason21 (1 year ago) Dutch man :P haha
welke dierentuin was het?

where is that zoo?

babbocke (1 year ago) there so stupid why all scientis sa a our
antsesters where from moneky

k9saurus (1 year ago)not all gorillas do this... and they are people
who do it too
Comment(s) marked as spam Show

Comment(s) marked as spam Hide

masterjason21 (1 year ago) Marked as spam 2 girls 1 cup ;)

andyswVids (1 year ago) They just assume that we came from apes and
that we share 95% of dna as they do. This isn't true, in fact, only 1%
of our "protein" dna matches to monkeys. 95% of the 1% matches.
Couldn't you believe that people thought that they came from monkeys?

bleachandnarutoareth (3 months ago)what are you two? where the fuck
did you learn to spell

babbocke (3 months ago) wth did u find my comment i watched this shit
mabe 1 year ago

InvincibleGamer1 (1 year ago) hahaha!!! Poor gorilla!!!

Alidore4 (1 year ago) this makes me wana go 2 the zoo

Tjac (1 year ago) Show Hide +3 Marked as spam Reply the gorillas
like "Fine you people whant a fucken show here ya go A' holes!"

Dagulag (1 year ago) bah i hope the glass breaks and they gorilla
gives the children a big bad punch to their ugly heads

Dagulag (1 year ago) that monkey aint crazy think bout how youd feel
when youd have to eat your own shit because youd die otherwise... not
funny and that retarded children punch at the glass till the monkey
gets crazy ... stupid assholes
emac085 (1 year ago) you dunbshit. u act like if they dont feed him at
the zoo.

xemxjayx (1 year ago) shows how much they feed them in zoos.

witchking3434 (1 year ago)rofl root of all evil!
p.s. thats still gross

witchking3434 (1 year ago) rofl root of all evil!
p.s. thats still gross

saborguerito (1 year ago)LOL he's like. FINE bitches. you want to see

grazatt (1 year ago) Maybe it was just some chocolate some one threw
to him?
yalcinkaya123 (1 year ago) oh my god......

what shall i say about that...?

jakewr1996 (1 year ago) why does this come up on related videos of me
tastybitepizza (1 year ago) You are setting yourself up for: "Boy
singing songs from Rent & the American national anthem = a gorrilla
eating feces."

tastybitepizza (1 year ago)You are setting yourself up for: "Boy
singing songs from Rent & the American national anthem = a gorrilla
eating feces."
MATSAROK (1 year ago) hahahahahahahahahahahah

upperBeastsider (2 years ago)CRAZY gorilla.

Typhvs666 (2 years ago) HAHA

eckels3000 (2 years ago)Lol! I watch this every day!

raymundciesielski (2 years ago) I do this all the time! :D

theguywhodoesnothing (2 years ago) that is what me and family does
ever night. On Friday night my sis eats her dieareah naked.

luffyguy (2 years ago)my fish eat their own poo

luffyguy (2 years ago) my fish eat their own poo

ToffeeChips19 (2 years ago) This is normal. They do this in the wild.
They eat there poo to get more vitamins and minerals.

sidderzmx (2 years ago) is that my mom?!?!?

dackjaniels555 (2 years ago) yeah.. didn't you know your mom is very
famous in the world of scat!

tubeyouguy161406 (2 years ago) you are what you eat, you SHITBAGS!

englandrob94 (2 years ago) lmao, its probably gone mad after being
trapped in that small enclusre for so long

heyjeySigma (2 years ago) at 17 secs he stops munching. He must be
thinking "wtf are laughing at u fuckers?"

lol that's what happens when u dont feed the pets.

fiddop (2 years ago) thats harsh ...see what happends to animals when
stuck in a cage?..was in a zoo in india ..and believe me that was
nothing but depressing , monkeys stuck alone walking the exact same
steps all day =/

1sandstar1 (2 years ago) Ya gotta eat what you can to survive in the

mortal886 (2 years ago) hes eating his own poo because they probably
didnt feed him for a long time....they don't even care about the
gorrila , hes probably hungry man!

greenash20 (2 years ago) tat is nasty

cuteblueyedblonde (2 years ago) ok you do realise that hes doing that
because he is stuck in a cage and is bored and has probly gone crazy
so has nowt better to do. thats what human beings have reduced this
creature to. oh yea its sooooooooo funny NOT!

TheTeddybjorn (2 years ago)that is not true. a lot of animals
(including the mountain-gorilla) eats their own poo. since it's
apperently very nourishing.

cuteblueyedblonde (2 years ago)how do u know that its good to eat
crap? and i have read enough and seen enough to realise they dont do
it willy nilly. there is no nourishment in poo, it is a waste product.

TheTeddybjorn (2 years ago) I'm not saying that it's good to eat it..
at least not for humans. but for some reasons gorillas tend to eat
their own poo. I'm no expert on gorilla poo but apparently when they
eat they only get a small part of the energy they need from their
food, the rest is left in their poo. at least I think so. but anyway,
they DO eat their own poo

daganboy (2 years ago) yay!

fattoldpig (2 years ago) monkey see monkey do

linutas (2 years ago) fuuuuu

austin23cook (2 years ago) ALSO ANOTHER THING.... WERE ONLY 12% of dna
away from that 0.o soz bout the caps

austin23cook (2 years ago) ok i got 2 things to say to this

1) its 96% the daily value of YUMMEH


TUROKS (2 years ago) Gay

ryann23naks (2 years ago) what kind of gorilla is that?!! his already
vietaznboy123 (2 years ago)peanit butter o.o

111oir111 (2 years ago)whats a fucking aboriginal!

miranduhh112 (2 years ago) now that is just plain disgusting!

jugg300 (2 years ago)funny i seen a hamster eat dog terds for
dinner....it weird!!! nice tho lol

redscarf (2 years ago) I wanna french that gorilla

Deathzilla7 (2 years ago) y the fuck do animals eat shit...?

NemesisX24 (2 years ago) animals eat their feces because their
digestive systems do not get all of the potential vitamins and
minerals from the food the first time around. They re-eat it so they
can get the rest of the nutrition from the food. Thanks :]

irondroid (2 years ago)armf yum yum pooya!

startrigg (2 years ago)They called him Alex After the manager of man
utd. he's also full of shite!

mypantsaremario (2 years ago) Dont film your mum thats mean

ateo75 (2 years ago) Does anybody know why gorillas behave like
that ?
Send me a message, please.
by Antonio

JASONWCACURA (2 years ago) It's either that or finger your mother.
They tend to prefer poo.

lazarus280 (2 years ago)why are you guys saying eww? i eat mine all
the time but first i put mine in the oven for few minuets then let it
cool down then add little bit of salt and pepper. and a glass of milk.

Belive me... You'l wanna try it.

thedeadtruth (2 years ago) you know you arent funny?

WhiteLionness (2 years ago) lol i find it kinda funny..

shawn9911 (2 years ago) ur botfucking funny. your just a 54 year old
virgin living in your moms basement

thedeadtruth (2 years ago) oh of coarse im not talking about the
video it was lazarus's response that isnt funny and if im 54 what are
you? 89?

im 14 go kill urself and make the world a little better

kanney91 (2 years ago) xD thats all xD

shawn9911 (2 years ago) really sick but sad. thats what happens when
u put animals in captivity

weissry1 (2 years ago) This is not dependent on captivity. Animals in
the wild do this as well based on their diets.

Psycrologist (2 years ago) Was that 50Cent ? I couldn't see his theeth
with all that shit on them

Gansutitron (2 years ago)se ve que con el I.P.C por las nubes ya no
tienen ni para pienso animal... así vamos acabar cualquier día!!!

davidburman (2 years ago) dude ive seen al ur comments speek some god
damn english

mrjon75 (2 years ago) i gagging! give that thing a banana!

hotsauce2147 (2 years ago) dude..

ohayousun (2 years ago)erm, never waste anything you can eat, XD

earthwormjim88 (2 years ago) i eat poo its nice

vamppyra333 (2 years ago) Es que cetais en France ca?

dmsanct (2 years ago) 1 gorilla 1 poo xD

al27balas (2 years ago) Pobre animal, privado de libertad y reducido a
ser un espectáculo para turistas. No debe tener muchas cosas que hacer
y por eso se come su propia mierda, no creo que sea un comportamiento
natural en su especie.

surfingmushroom (2 years ago) it must have been the best thing he ate
and he just had to have some more!! lol

zoltan65 (2 years ago) en ese zoo no les deven dar de comer jajajaja

kanfor (2 years ago) ¿qué hace aquí Otegui?

nueve26k (2 years ago) HAHAHAH! This is the best gorilla eating poo
video in the world. Look how serious his face is.

Maivkab (2 years ago) Hhahaha.. Looks like the guy who recorded this
was really have a laugh!!! This is some funny as shiet!!!

k1ll3r5c07736 (2 years ago) nothin wrong with tht. i do it all the

HeartlessPeople (2 years ago)aawh gatverdamme :P
eigen poep eten XD

SRB2Pheonix (2 years ago)
hey, at least theyre reduce reuse and recycle... their crap... T-T

DaKoonNco (2 years ago) the gorilla probubly went fucking insane in
that zoo.

Astralnaut (2 years ago) Gorillas in the wild eat their feces as

Jetli390 (2 years ago) *shit*

Guest3791140 (2 years ago) EEEEWW!!!my god!my god!!i think im gonna
puke???! omg!!don't the fucking ppl in the zoo feed them!!???fuck

Fransouah (2 years ago)Dogs do that too.
Is that a visitor banging on the window at the end?! What a moron..

dragonkinga (2 years ago) god thats disgusting

x0roy0x (2 years ago) omfg man!!!!!


mrtazr (2 years ago) that gorrila has been in there to long thats wy
hes doin that
TheMan4462 (2 years ago) WTF?!?!?!?

CrabKing88 (2 years ago) what the hell? man, hes got nothing better
to eat,
damn it.

adambombiswaycool (2 years ago) *barf*

starum7845 (2 years ago)is this in taronga zoo i saw a monkey eating
its poo

chewie133 (2 years ago) toronga zoo that place rings a bell( were is


iSHYTmyPANTS (2 years ago) that sick bastard

frankzito1 (2 years ago) He doesn't even cringe

hellogoodbyetoyounow jeez need more zookeepers huh?

teamixr (2 years ago) that is so buuhahlaauhaa cough....that was funny

Gimilli (2 years ago) great thing to teach the kids at the window

christian1122 (2 years ago)i bet the zookeepers dont feed him

vers0014 (2 years ago) Whats so weird about that?

godrocks112 (2 years ago)i eat that, it's better than pizza

i0like0french0fries (2 years ago) its better then sum1 elses init

lebanon4evur22 (2 years ago) eeeww.. i almost threw up X-P

cashdude84 (2 years ago) Reply mmmmmmmmmmhhhh i ned sum of watever he
is on
n im not talknig bout poop lol jk

cashdude84 (2 years ago) mmmmmmmmm he must b full of shit

XTHHaseo (2 years ago) LOL LOL LOL LOL

nilos77 (2 years ago) he is sick from all those people over there
watching him is sad

MaximusDread (2 years ago) Yea, I always thought it was kinda sick how
zoos keep animals locked up in confined areas just for our amusement.
It's almost as sick as the fashion industry that slauter wildlife for
their fur.

Loopyjoe19 (2 years ago) Why do they not shave thefur off?

MaximusDread (2 years ago) Good point. I guess a tranquilizer gun
would do the job. But what would you do after you shaved an animal's
fur? would you send them back into the wild stripped of their fur
completely naked, or would you keep the animal sedated in a holding
cell until his fur grows back? Either way it's still bad news for the
bears. (terrible movie-reference LOL).

Loopyjoe19 (2 years ago)they could put them back in the wild...

wonder what they would look like - probably weird - anyway they could
keep them under watch and find alot the when it grows back.
not sure how they could do it with elephants and their tusks though.

alien6crowe (2 years ago) yes .. youshoudl also stop driving yoru
electricity... save it.. switch to candles and STOP USING

787310 (2 years ago) WHOA,WHOA,WHOA!NO NEED TO GET CRAZY! I mean
global warming and all that 5H17 is bad, BUT YOU ARE CRAZY ALIEN! NO
whosyourdada (2 years ago) yes.

Assiman (2 years ago) is that really so funny?

pkyoubad (2 years ago) tasey i would eat my own poo if it tasted like



...and I am Sid Harth
2010-03-13 19:16:40 UTC


...and I am Sid Harth

Prostitution in India.

Article 6: States Parties shall take all appropriate measures,
including legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic in women and
exploitation of prostitution of women in India. According to a 1994
report in Asian Age there are at least 70,000 women sex workers in
Delhi, Madras, Calcutta, Bangalore and Hyderbad. 30% of these women
are under 20 years of age. 40% are 20-30 years of age, and
approximately 15% of them became prostitutes as children under the age
of 12.
In India, many innocent victims are forced into prostitution by their
husbands or relatives. Some are tricked or enticed into prostitution.


This traffic does not stop
The bondage of cross-border sex-workers

Lucknow, February 15, 2002: When 12-year-old Rupa, a Dalit girl from a
village near Varanasi, said that she had been raped by the landlord's
son and friends, the village panchayat (village council) refused to
believe her. Instead, the panchayat maintained that she was concocting
stories. Rupa's problems did not end here. On the pretext of helping
her, Rupa's neighbour offered her domestic work in Kolkata. But
instead of taking her to this eastern Indian city, he brought her to
Delhi and sold her to a brothel for Rs 10,000 (1US$= Rs 48). According
to Rupa, there are many other girls from her village and her caste in
this brothel.

Like Rupa, 20-year-old Mala was lured to come to Uttar Pradesh from
Nepal when she was 10 years old. She was raped by her custodians who
held her captive for over a month and then took her to Mumbai. She has
been working in this city as a sex worker for the last decade, often
servicing six to 10 clients every night This bestial, sleazy world of
intra-country and trans-border trafficking in women and young girls
was highlighted recently in a workshop organised in Lucknow by the
BETI Foundation, UNDP.

Trafficking in human beings is more lucrative than trade in arms or
narcotics according to Roma Shyamsundar, Vice President of STOP, a
Delhi based non-governmental organisation (NGO) actively involved in
the rescue of trafficked girls. According to Shyamsundar, a lifelong
exploitative situation is established when a woman or a girl is
trafficked: she is forced into prostitution and thus begins a vicious
cycle of paying the brothel owner for whom she works. Even if she is
rescued, her plight does not improve because she is not accepted
either by her family or by society. And she has no means of survival.
Consequently, many rescued victims have no choice but to go back to
sex work.

Given the abysmal poverty in Bangladesh and Nepal, the porous borders
with India and even culturally sanctioned prostitution like the
Devdasi system, the business of trafficking girls has fertile soil on
which to grow in the region. Expectedly, it is highest in border
regions with high poverty and low women's literacy. The new state of
Uttaranchal too is a popular hub, especially along the porous borders
at Pithoragarh and Champawat.

A 1994 UN definition of trafficking limits it to the clandestine and
illegal movements of persons across national borders with the goal of
forcing women and children into sexually exploitative situations.
Today, this definition in its wider sense also includes internal
trafficking through kidnapping, migration and luring women and girls
to cities for better work prospects.

What is causing alarm both in governmental and NGO circles is the
escalation in trafficking of young girls in the last decade. NGOs like
STOP and MAITI in Nepal report that most trafficking in India (both
trans-border and in-country) is for prostitution. And 60 per cent of
those trafficked into prostitution are adolescent girls in the age
group of 12 to 16 years. Still more alarming is the fact that the
average age of trafficked girls, which was 14 to 16 years in the
1980s, came down to between 10 and 14 years in the 1990s. These
figures are corroborated by a study done by the Department of Women
and Children in 13 sensitive districts of Uttar Pradesh. It reveals
that all sex workers who formed a part of this survey had entered the
profession as young girls.

Globalisation, professionalisation of trafficking syndicates,
feminisation of poverty and rise in sex tourism - all have contributed
to an increase in trafficking. This problem is further compounded
because of two factors: linkages of trafficking with the spread of HIV/
AIDS and the clandestine nature of the activity.

Studies now show that while women of all ages are more vulnerable to
the infection than men, young girls are even more at risk because
their genital tracts are immature. In addition, they have absolutely
no control over sexual relations and sexual health. So a physical
vulnerability is compounded by a gender vulnerability. Says a Nepali
child rescued from a brothel by STOP, "Clients don't like condoms and
the owner of the brothel tells me to do what the clients want. If I
refuse then the man chooses another girl and not only do I lose out on
making money, I am also beaten up."

The clandestine nature of trafficking, which is often undertaken with
familial consent, means that there are no action plans either at the
governmental or the NGO level to deal with the problem. For instance,
the study done in 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh shows that in a sample
of 1,341 sex workers, brothel-based prostitution was 793 and family-
based prostitution came close at 548.

However, progress -- though very little -- is being made. Efforts at
rescue and rehabilitation of trafficked women and girls have now
turned from a welfare to a rights-oriented approach. Interventions are
increasingly based on issues like combating stigma related to HIV/
AIDS, developing empowering strategies for victims and involving
communities in the rehabilitation of rescued women and girls.

But there is a lot that still needs to be done. Involvement of
communities is of the greatest significance here since it has been
seen that rescued women and girls are not accepted by their families
and communities. The situation becomes worse if someone tests positive
for HIV because she is immediately labeled a prostitute - a perception
that creates a complex situation in the rehabilitation programmes.
Even if trafficked returnees can avoid such treatment, they have few
options for survival. There are very few rehabilitation centres that
provide physical, mental and emotional support or legal and literacy
expertise. Consequently, many young HIV positive girls and women
return to sex work, thereby continuing the transmission of HIV
infections. Says Shyamsundar, "We believe that all brothel children
have to be rescued. A 10-year-old is expected to take on 10 or 12
customers a day. It is worse than rape."

What is needed is a multi-pronged strategy which can help in curbing
trafficking and empowering communities and which also has scope for
rescue and rehabilitation processes. The task is not just daunting,
given the political priorities of most governments it is not given the
importance it deserves.

Radha Rastogi
February 2002

Radha Rastogi is a Lucknow based journalist with over 25 years
experience with mainstream media. She specialises in development
issues and has specifically worked in the field of education in the
state of Uttar Pradesh. This opinion on India Together is provided by
the Women's Feature Service.
Feedback: Tell us what


MAITI in Nepal

UNDP homepage


Fantasies of city life attracts minor girls !!! - 2010-01-21

A fresh incident of interception of eight minor girls from Information
and vigilance booth of Maiti Nepal Nagdhunga unraveled the extremity
to which capital city, Kathmandu attracts innocent girls from rural
areas. Observing their dress up and behavior reveals the fact that
they were attracted by the fashion vibes and sense of freedom posed
by the capital city.

On 12th January, 2010 ,eight innocent girls were intercepted at
Nagdhunga for being at a high risk of trafficking. All eight girls
were minors, age varying from 9 years to 18 years. All of them
belonged to Tanahu district and were traveling to Kathmandu to find
jobs. After series of counseling sessions, they said that five of
them lied to their parents saying that they were going for a movie
while three of them ran away from school. They had sold their gold
nose stud to get money for bus fare.

While questioned at the check post, they had no clue about where they
were staying in Kathmandu. Thaey said they were traveling to Kathmandu
to find "a nice job" and earn their livelihood. Although all of them
are literate to a certain grade, they were aloof about human
trafficking. During counseling sessions, it was observed that their
interest was mainly on pursuing material satisfaction like cell
phones, nice dress, shoes and cosmetics, etc. Their prime focus was on
earning money and fulfilling their fantasy rather than going to the

This incident manifests the burgeoning gravity between the capital
city and remote districts. Undoubtedly, Kathmandu is soaring high on
creating fashion and as a consequence it is luring innocent girls
towards a so called city lifestyle which further generates hazardous
upheavals and risks in their life.

On 17th January, 2010 their respective family members were contacted
and brought together for family counseling. All the girls were handed
over to their respective parents Maiti Nepal is committed to provide
every kind of support to these girls that may be required for their
successful reintegration


Internal trafficking as an escalating challenge to a civilized
society!!! - 2010-01-10

The number of girls entrapped in sexual exploitation is atrocious.
Undoubtedly, the capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu holds a lot of job
opportunities. What attracts these girls to the capital city is the
superficial conception, that they could change their lifestyle by
merely changing their city. With a commitment to themselves of
improvising their life situations, they travel to Kathmandu with risks
and hazards. In fact, they are “trafficked” to Kathmandu. In the guise
of dance bars, cabin restaurants and massage parlors, these innocent
girls are sexually and physically exploited. Most of these girls are
easily lured, molded and convinced and hence they are trafficked
at minor age.

In a recent incident of a raid operation conducted by Nepal Police at
various so called “Prostitution hubs” of the capital city, number of
girls were rescued and kept for inquiry at Hanuman Dhoka Metropolitan
Police Range. Maiti Nepal provided psychosocial counseling to the
girls and minors were referred to Maiti Nepal for rehabilitation and
family re-integration. Officials of Maiti Nepal visited the custody
wherein the girls were handcuffed and kept in a dreadful condition.

Currently, Maiti Nepal's rehabilitation home Kathmandu is providing
safe shelter to nine girls. At the shelter home, the girls are
receiving counseling, life skills trainings and medical
supervision.The girls revealed that they had adopted the profession
just to keep them alive as other livelihood opportunities seemed a far
cry for them. Maiti Nepal is keen on finding alternative livelihood
opportunities for them .Their family members are being located and
provided with family counseling.

Data of girls at the shelter home:

Age Range: - 15 years – 22 years http://www.undp.org/

Districts: - Dhading, Dharan, Argakhachi, Nuwakot, Kavrepalanchowk


Helping women - by reaching out to men
by Rajeev Narayan

UNV volunteer Rajeev Narayan (left, with notebook) in discussions with
youth groups on issues of Gender-Based Violence and masculinity in
Uttar Pradesh, India. (UNV)UNV volunteer Rajeev Narayan (rear centre
left, in orange shirt) engages with youth. "A central focus of my work
is MASVAW (Men’s Action for Stopping Violence Against Women) which has
initiated campaigns urging boys and men to raise various issues of
safety and violence against women in their communities," he says.
(UNV)01 March 2010

New Delhi, India: In 2008, an innovative UN joint programme in the
Asia-Pacific region was launched, called 'Partners for Prevention:
Working with Boys and Men to Prevent Gender-Based Violence'. Given the
strong potential volunteerism has to support and champion violence
prevention, especially at the community level, UNV saw a unique
opportunity to contribute.

UNV joins with UNDP, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and
the United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in this initiative.
'Partners for Prevention' (P4P) incorporates volunteerism both through
the placement of UNV volunteers at P4P’s regional secretariat, and
with national partners working on violence prevention to document,
share, and support country-level initiatives.

Each volunteer supports the programme in different ways. For my part,
I am a national UNV volunteer Network and Outreach Coordinator based
at the Centre for Health and Social Justice (CHSJ) in India.

There is a growing movement which calls for dynamism from youth and
adult men to reduce the rapid rate of violence against women. My host
organization, CHSJ, is at the centre of this movement in India. CHSJ
is a policy resource centre working on issues of health, gender
equality and social justice and currently holds the network
secretariat for the Forum to Engage Men (FEM), a national network
working with boys and men for eliminating Gender-Based Violence.

I have been working with issues of masculinity, including what it
means to be a man in my culture, and on Gender-Based Violence
prevention for the last couple of years. My role as a UNV volunteer
has allowed me to gain vital experience at the community level in
India, and document best practices and learning. I then in turn have
the exciting opportunity to connect with partners across the region
through Partners for Prevention to share this learning.

A central focus of my work is MASVAW (Men’s Action for Stopping
Violence Against Women) which has initiated campaigns urging boys and
men to raise various issues of safety and violence against women in
their communities. MASVAW is unique in that it is a volunteer-driven
movement and works with a chain of volunteers taking responsibility at
the individual level and at each of the respective districts
throughout the state. We count on these men and prepare them for
future leadership roles.

I have been actively participating in MASVAW activities, mobilizing
volunteers, assisting the secretariat in documenting case studies,
challenges, and learning to be shared within the Forum to Engage Men
network. Through Partners for Prevention, I also work with other
organizations in the region that are interested in building similar
volunteer movements in their countries.

My knowledge of the local dialect has helped me a lot in connecting
with the people in the local communities of Uttar Pradesh where
Bhojpuri is the common language.

I am also involved in the development of Partners for Prevention’s
social media campaign pilot in India. The campaign aims to raise
awareness and build sensitivity among youth on issues of violence and

The campaign will reach out to youth through online social media
applications (like Facebook) and also link them with real world events
and volunteer activities promoting violence prevention to get them
actively involved and engaged in a meaningful way. And I have been
working together with P4P staff and partners in India to build
partnerships with local universities and youth volunteer groups for
the campaign.

Overall my work as a volunteer with Partners for Prevention has helped
me to understand the importance of community-based approaches to
create knowledge and raise public awareness on sensitive issues such
as gender discrimination, marginalization, the gender division of
labour and Gender-Based Violence.

Through my experiences with Men’s Action for Stopping Violence Against
Women I have been able to regain strength, courage and confidence in a
clear-cut message: 'Not all men are violent'. I have also had the
opportunity to participate in international and regional workshops and
events providing me with a range of inspiring and educational
experiences as well as the opportunity to share the work being done in

Given these rewarding experiences, I can say that I feel proud to
serve as a UNV volunteer with Partners for Prevention and CHSJ. Day by
day I believe that my commitment can really lead to concrete results
in my area of work, wherein a society free of violence exists.

gender-based violence by working with boys and men
by Rizwan Latif

UNV volunteer Rizwan Latif (standing) works as Outreach & Capacity
Development Officer at ROZAN, an Islamabad based NGO working on issues
related to emotional and psychological health, gender, violence
against women and children, and the psychological and reproductive
health of adolescents. (UNV)11 March 2010

Islamabad, Pakistan: I’m a national UNV volunteer working as Outreach
and Capacity Development Officer at ROZAN, an Islamabad based NGO
working on issues related to emotional and psychological health,
gender, violence against women and children, and the psychological and
reproductive health of adolescents. ROZAN is a partner organization of
Partners for Prevention (P4P), a UN Regional Joint Programme on the
“Prevention of Gender-based Violence by Working with Boys and Men” of
UNDP, UNFPA, UNIFEM and UNV in Asia-Pacific.

I believe individual self-growth is the key to bringing changes to
society for the promotion of human development. Pakistan is a country
where the majority of the population is comprised of youth. Access to
basic necessities and knowledge is a very big challenge and youth is
the most vulnerable segment of society. Engaging youth for gender
equality is possible only when both men and women realize their
individual roles and responsibilities to contribute to a society free
of violence.
Being a UNV volunteer gives me the opportunity to engage men and boys
in order to stop violence against women and promote gender equality.
The main objective of the promotion of volunteerism is to achieve
peace and development and to turn global development challenges
around. Through the promotion of volunteerism and volunteers, there
are opportunities to prevent gender-based violence in general and
violence against women in particular. I feel gender equality or
violence issues are my own issues and this is my motivation. It is
great to fight for a cause and involve individuals and groups to bring
changes in society, particularly on the gender-based violence issue.

Women in Pakistan are the most marginalized segment of society. The
main problem women are facing is the negligence of their role by their
own partners, family and state. There are cultural barriers and
strictness, which prohibit women from competing and promoting self-
awareness and growth. Several issues are associated with women only,
i.e. lack of education, of basic health facilities, violence
(physical, sexual, psychological) etc. State level policies especially
related to violence against women exist, but proper implementation is
still a big challenge.

To assign a UNV volunteer to support a local organization is a very
innovative idea. This particular UNV assignment through P4P and ROZAN
will provide me with an opportunity for self-growth to understand and
gain knowledge on this specific issue of male involvement to prevent
gender-based violence. In our society, men will be the main active
agents to bring about change, since due to lack of understanding and
persistent traditional cultural practices, women have still a very
limited space.

Volunteers engaging men and boys for gender-based violence prevention
will be a major resource for interventions and activities to stop and
put an end to gender-based violence. The volunteers will make a
difference through the dissemination of relevant knowledge, and by
demonstrating in a practical way their commitment and willingness to
initiate self-actions to end gender-based violence, and violence
against women in particular. Through the involvement of media,
volunteers will be able to effectively communicate and involve every
part of society to stop gender-based violence.

At ROZAN, I am associated with a project called “Hamqadam – male
involvement initiative to address gender-based violence”. It aims to
initiate and sustain change in male (men and boys) attitudes about
themselves and their role in society, sensitizing them about the issue
of violence against children and women.

Patriarchal society and its links to gender-based violence are very
pressing issues, particularly in Pakistani society. It’s a very
interesting and unique work to highlight and understand the factors
responsible for gender-based violence and violence against women. A
formative research, which was conducted by ROZAN focusing on male
dominance and its link to violence, gave me an insight into how male
dominance is constructed by society. The gender equitable men (GEM)
scale adaptation system, which was implemented in the intervention
areas of the Hamqadam project by ROZAN, is a very effective tool to
measure the perception and attitudes of the community.

ROZAN believes in the essence and importance of volunteers for human
development. Within the organization, a volunteer management system is
functioning effectively. A volunteer coordination committee is working
within the ROZAN programmes. Every programme by ROZAN has established
a volunteer network engaging volunteers to prevent gender-based
violence and violence against women.

There are also other implementation strategies in the Hamqadam project
activities under the umbrella of ROZAN. Prevention of gender-based
violence and violence against women is a very interesting and
distinctive area of work and I feel a great pleasure to be part of it.
Addressing complex issues around core thematic areas, with focus and
dedication, to bring about change in society gives me great


UNVs help the women of Orissa rebuild their lives
by Anita Katyal*

03 June 2000

Orissa, India: The state of Orissa in eastern India was devastated by
a cyclone on 29 October 1999. High-velocity winds accompanied by
massive tidal waves left behind a trail of destruction and human
misery. A total of 19,000 villages were fully or partially destroyed,
affecting an estimated 13 million people. The official death toll is
just under 10,000 while thousands of cattle have been killed and
thousands of hectares of land destroyed.
Six months have elapsed since that fateful night. Efforts have been in
full swing to help the affected people of Orissa first through
immediate relief measures and later through long-term rehabilitation
schemes. Several agencies under the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) in New Delhi have come together here to work jointly
towards helping the victims. The UN's mission in Orissa, however,
could not have been such a success were it not for the efforts of the
13 national United Nations Volunteers (NUNVs).

Seven women UNVs have proved particularly invaluable in these efforts.
Now that attention is focused on rehabilitation for victims, the UNV
district support officers as they have been designated, are
concentrating on how they can help the women most affected in the
natural disaster.

Abha Mishra of India joined as a UNV in December and has since served
in the Balasore district. With the flood waters rising to over nine
feet and entire villages submerged, her first task was to document the
extent of damage, monitor the movement of relief materials and assess
conditions in the field. "I toured the affected villages extensively,
spoke to the villagers, the village headmen, the local authorities and
especially the women to find out their problems," she explains.

In addition, she was also asked to pitch in with the United Nations
Children's Fund's ongoing rural water and sanitation programme that
was expanded after the cyclone ravaged the district. "This involved
long conversations with the women as I tried to explain to them the
benefits of proper sanitation and hygiene," says Abha.

"The women were remarkably enthusiastic and assured me that they would
pay greater attention to their personal hygiene and would not hesitate
to fetch water even if they have to walk a kilometre." The women were
motivated enough to set up mahila mandals (women's groups) to educate
the other women. Like her counterparts, Abha has drawn up elaborate
plans to organize the women in remote villages into self-help groups
and is currently in the process of putting them in place. At the same
time, she has also held regular meetings with the community workers in
the affected villages. These community workers, or anganwadi workers
as they are referred to, provide basic services like nutrition and
immunization for children and neonatal care to pregnant mothers at the
government-run community centres. Most of these centres were destroyed
in the cyclone but they have started functioning in temporary tent

"I am motivating the anganwadi workers to organize the village women
into self-help groups. After all, we are here for a short time and it
will be difficult for us to follow up on these activities. Therefore,
I am involving the local NGOs and anganwadi workers since they will be
here even after we leave," says Abha.

Sandhaya, a 27-year-old anganwadi worker in Talanagar, recalls when
Abha first came to their village. "She told us how these groups would
help the women in sharing their problems and also told us how we could
set up a thrift fund and start some income-generating schemes," she
says. More importantly, she adds, Abha's visit helped them air their
grievances. For instance, she says, the foodgrains at their anganwadi
centre were badly damaged and they brought this to Abha's attention
who, in turn, asked the local authorities to take immediate remedial
measures. "When Abha came to our village and discussed our problems,
we felt that finally our grievances would be relayed to the right
quarters," she says.

Radhamani Singh, who supervises 48 anganwadi centres under her charge,
says the sessions with Abha proved extremely helpful. The workers told
how they are working in makeshift structures with virtually non-
existent infrastructure. Abha listened attentively, gave them useful
tips on checking malnutrition and keeping track of the health of women
in general. "After this meeting, the anganwadi workers felt more
confident and more capable of handling all the problems thrown up in
the post-cyclone period," says Radhamani.

Talking to outsiders who are not part of the official machinery also
helps, she explains. When a government official comes, people are
generally hesitant to talk because they run the risk of annoying
somebody. "But with UNVs, there are no such problems and so it is easy
to talk. It is also good to know that somebody is genuinely interested
in our problems and will do something about them, " she adds.

UNV Rita Missal, located in the Cuttack district, has managed to get
the women in Nodaarisol village to discard their veils and became
active participants in the development plans of their village. "Women
in this village are traditionally not supposed to step out of their
homes but after several meetings with them, I have persuaded them to
sit on the village committee where decisions are taken about the
future rehabilitation plans of the village," she says.

Similarly, women's participation in reconstruction work was nil but
here again, she convinced them that their participation will mean
extra income for the family. The women have also constituted a mahila
mandal, or a self-help group, which has not only set up a thrift fund
but has become involved in such diverse activities as distribution of
relief materials to the monitoring of sanitation and immunization

Kalika Mohapatra, who is responsible for the Khurda district, has been
working as a UNV since December - weeks after the cyclone hit Orissa.
She remembers her initial visits to the villages when people were
living under hastily-erected tents and tarpaulins, eating from
community kitchens and fighting for the relief materials being

Since the crops were severely damaged by the cyclone and it would be
some time before agricultural activity could be resumed, Kalika helped
the women set up groups to explore income-generating activities.

"After several discussion sessions, the women became gradually
receptive to forming self-help groups when they realized that they
could also contribute to the family income," says Kalika. "A lot of
them showed interest in starting kitchen gardens which would provide
them a steady income. In fact, we found that after several such group
discussions, the women became more vocal and confident and voluntarily
discussed their problems... they became more aware of their
difficulties but also realized they could also contribute in making a
difference," she says, adding that they also started seeking
information about immunization programmes and how they could keep
their communities clean.

As part of their mandate, UNVs also coordinate the activities of NGOs
working in the field and help them in the implementation of their
programmes. Soon after she joined, Kalika says she was approached by a
local NGO, Childcare, which works in a group of villages, about 35
kilometres from Orissa's capital Bhubaneswar. The villages, she says,
were destroyed during the cyclone and its inhabitants had, by some
mistake, been overlooked in the relief and rehabilitation programmes
launched by the government.

Childcare, she says, had already been working in these villages and
after the cyclone the people were keen to expand their activities.
However, funding was proving to be a problem as they came up against a
wall each time they tried seeking resources. Kalika says she
approached a governmental funding agency which gives money for rural
programmes and also got in touch with an Italian NGO, CESUI, which had
evinced interest in undertaking a worthwhile programme for the

Gradually, these efforts paid off as an integrated development
programme has been put in place in the village of Bhalunka. A non-
formal centre for children has been set up which is proving quite a
relief to the women who can now leave their children there knowing
they will not be wandering around aimlessly in the fields and will
instead be looked after.

At the same time, the women themselves, who earlier earned a pittance
working as casual labourers, have been given special training in
mushroom cultivation.

"We had lost everything in the cyclone but we are now trying to
rebuild our lives. Learning mushroom cultivation has really helped me
in this process....earlier I did not earn more than Rs. 35 a day and
then, again, work was not regular. Today, my income has nearly
doubled," says Urmilla Singh, 30. Urmilla is among 20 women from the
village who have received this training. "Earlier, there was never
enough money to meet the needs of the family. Today, with this
additional income, I am able to look after my four sons a little
better," says 28-year-old Gauri Singh, who is also getting health
services that were earlier not available to her. Gautmi Singh says she
now enjoys a increased, regular income and better working conditions.
"Besides, we have more time to look after our families," she explains.
The women have organized a group that meets once a month to discuss
their common problems and also established a thrift fund to be used
for emergency purposes, explains group secretary Gautmi Singh.

*Anita Katyal is a journalist based in New Delhi.


Restoring Punjab's cultural heritage, UNVs foster a sense of community
by Dr. Savyssachi and Gurmeet S. Rai

07 September 2000

BONN: In the northern Indian State of Punjab, the historical landscape
bears testimony to the fact that people from different communities
have interacted from ancient to modern times.
In the recent past, however, violence and terrorism have fragmented
the State's social and cultural fabric. Cultural Heritage and the
Promotion of Understanding in Punjab, a joint project supported by the
UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) the UN
Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV),
seeks to restore cultural heritage and develop a sense of community
amongst people from different religious and social traditions. The
overall objective is to foster a culture of peace. To that end,
restoration efforts have been interlinked with community development
activities. Seven national UN Volunteers -- social scientists, art
restorers and conservation architects -- are part of the project. It
is implemented by the Cultural Resources Conservation Initiative
(CRCI), a voluntary group of conservation architects.

On what ground can the people be engaged as members of a community?
How can it be ensured that the physical restoration of building
structures is simultaneously a restoration of the sense of community?
What are the necessary social conditions for extending the life of
these buildings?

With these considerations in mind, three old religious shrines, Kishan
Mandir (Krishna's Temple) in Kishankot Village, Guru Ki Masjid (the
Mosque of the Master) in Sri Hargobindpur Village and Massania Dargah
of Baba Shah Badar Diwan in Massania Village, were selected for
restoration. Of these, Kishan Mandir was chosen as the first project
for the UN Volunteers.

In Kishankot, 50 per cent of the population are Sikhs, 25 per cent are
Hindus and 25 per cent Christian. The walls of the temple are
decorated with paintings depicting Hindu and Sikh themes. It was
obvious that the UNV social scientists and conservation specialists
had to work hand in hand.

The temple restoration could only be successful and lasting if the
community was flourishing. This however, was not the case. "The
village had no facilities", recalls Zamrooda Khanday, one of the UNV
social scientists. "The school was ill-equipped, there was no
qualified doctor and a large majority engaged in gambling and was
consumed by alcohol." In addition, a large number of men migrate
seasonally to different parts of India in search of work -- mostly
agricultural -- as there is no opportunity for productive work at

UNV specialists identified health, education and horticulture
activities to be linked to the restoration process. They successfully
worked together with women, children and the elderly members of the
community. "Initially, people of the village seemed laid back,"
recalls Asif Iqbal, another UNV social scientist. "However, in the
course of our work it emerged that they were willing to do many
things, and given an opportunity would not let it go by."

Children and youth are now engaged in gardening, the local library, a
recreation and sports club and in non-formal education (NFE). The UNVs
took part in supportive classes for education, detoxification and
counselling work with families as the building blocks of community. At
present, efforts are being made to facilitate public participation and
generate awareness regarding political rights in order to facilitate
the functioning of the panchayat, or the local governing council.

Every household was given an opportunity to contribute to the
restoration of the Mandir, either in cash or in kind. The link between
temple restoration and sustainable community development began to
emerge. For instance, the art conservators organized workshops with
children on clay modelling and drawing. The workshops were to be
organized before the completion of the restoration to strengthen the
link between the community and the temple. "I am encouraging most of
the younger guys to learn on-site how to take care of the temple,"
says UNV art restorer Prashant Gadpaile, who works on preserving the
temple's precious, yet deteriorating paintings. Part of his work is
raising awareness within the community: "I have to guide people
regarding the code of conduct. For instance, they should not write on
the temple walls, they should not smoke in the temple area and they
should not touch the paintings."

Mohalla, or street corner meetings, were organized together in
cooperation with the UNV social scientists to explain about the
restoration work. "People responded in a very positive manner and
showed greater interest in the process after the meetings," recalls
Munish Pandit, a UNV conservation architect. Furthermore, the mohalla
meetings serve as a forum where apart from temple restoration other
social issues can be discussed.

"In one of the mohalla meetings, an old lady complained about her bad
eyesight. Many others attending stated that this was a general problem
for all ladies in the village. On further discussion it emerged that
smoke from the chulha (a cooking stove) damages their eyes. We then
suggested the smokeless chulha," says Munish Pandit.

Through the community's participation facilitated by the UN
Volunteers, a sense of belonging to the Kishan Mandir has evolved.
While this is crucial to ensure the temple's maintenance once the
restoration work is completed, the UNVs also see to it that the
necessary technical skills are passed on. Conservation architect
Munish Pandit, for instance, trains two local masons in restoration
work. He is confident about the temple's future.

"They have shown great interest and aptitude to learn more about the
traditional techniques, materials and methods of construction," says
the national UN Volunteer. "They will be able to maintain the temple
in an appropriate manner without the need of a specialist."


Documenting the flesh trade

"I wanted to show not just a few victims, but to help viewers
understand the mechanics and the politics of trafficking and
migration," says Ananya Chatterjee. Shoma Chatterji revies
Understanding Trafficking.

19 July 2009 - Eighty seven minutes is rather long for a serious
documentary on one of the ugliest realities of life - the tracking of
young women, usually turned into sexual slaves. But Understanding
Trafficking does not drag because it embarks on a journey of shocking
discoveries about girls who are made to cross their Lakshman Rekhas by
physical force, by diabolic manipulation, sometimes, even by their
parents and close ones to be sold like cattle in the flesh markets of
Nepal, Bangladesh and India. Are these girls 'bad'? Or are they
'good'? Ananya Chatterjee's film drives us to redefine the
implications of what 'good' or 'bad' mean for these tragic victims.

The film tracks the trade across Nepal, Bangladesh and West Bengal in
India, through interviews with NGO workers, victims of trafficking,
victims who have been rescued and rehabilitated, some pimps and agents
who pretend to be social activists, and some women who head
organisations working to stop trafficking and rescue innocent victims
from this illegal trade. Through captive audiovisual shots that go
into forbidden ghettoes of the trade, it shows how trafficking is an
integral part of organized crime with a long human chain that begins
with the girl's family, including her parents, and reaches her to the
brothel she has been sold to, to live and die there as a sex worker.

"The project was part of a competition floated by IAWRT (International
Association for Women in Radio and Television) over three years ago. I
won that competition along with two other international film makers.
It is funded by FOKUS, a women and child welfare organisation in
Norway. I always wanted to make a film on trafficking ever since I
came into film making in 1991. I would like to extend this project
both geographically and deeper than its present form," says
Chatterjee, who had honed her skills in documentaries with her earlier
films on the 73rd Constitutional Amendment, on sexual harassment of
women at the workplace, and other topics.

Although human trafficking is illegal in almost every country,
thousands of girls become sexual slaves each year. The human
trafficking industry has a reported annual income of $8 billion, and
the UN estimates that it may employ as many as 40 million women.

What is trafficking? Who is trafficked, by whom, where and how? Are
the victims aware that they are being trafficked? What role do the
families play? Do they play a positive and reassuring role in the
rehabilitation of the girls when and if they come back home? What are
the reasons that lead to trafficking? Is it poverty or is it easy
money? Is it ignorance - true or pretended, or is it greed? Does it
result from lack of education and any earning skills? These are some
of the questions Understanding Trafficking raises. It also stresses on
the sad fact that no separate and exclusive law exists to punish the
trafficking of girls and women for prostitution. Also, no social or
governmental infrastructure exists for their rescue, rehabilitation,
education, training and mainstreaming of these girls.

Why did she name the film Understanding Trafficking? "I wanted to show
not just a few victims, but to help viewers understand the mechanics
and the politics of trafficking and migration," says Chatterjee. The
film opens with graphics designed and created by Anirban Ghosh. It
then moves on to Farah Gherda, a young girl studying in St. Xavier's
College, Kolkata, planning to go abroad to pursue her interests in
professional photography. She has the backing of her parents to seek
fresh pastures. She is distanced from the Lakshman Rekha. - maybe not
even aware of its existence. But she is one of the lucky few among the
millions of little girls who do have choices to make.

The film tries to explore the differences between sex work and
trafficking, migration and trafficking, etc. Through captive
audiovisual shots that go into forbidden ghettoes of the trade, it
shows how trafficking is an integral part of organized crime with a
long human chain that begins with the girl's family, including her
parents, and reaches her to the brothel she has been sold to, - to
live and die there as a sex worker.

"I have used the metaphor of the Lakshman Rekha because generally,
trafficking victims are handled from a welfare-based approach. Women
are thought to be weak and vulnerable, needing protection, and it is
expected that they should not attempt to venture out. Women and girls
are dissuaded from migrating, even to find work, since they might get
trafficked. This limits women from exploring their full potential. And
if a woman does get trafficked, it becomes extremely difficult for her
to reintegrate into society, which blames her for crossing the line.
As a feminist, however, I feel there should be no such man-made
boundaries to define or confine

Photo: A teenaged girl rescued from being trafficked now learns

The narrative in the film focuses on both individual lives as well as
institutional issues. Juhi, a pretty girl who was trafficked by her
'mother' is shown being rescued from the notorious Sonagachi district
of Kolkata and educated by a city NGO Sanlaap, only for her 'mother'
to again sell her off to the brothel after claiming her from the NGO.
Indrani Sinha, Sanlaap's president, says the organisation works with
victims of trafficking, who they try to rehabilitate and put back into
the mainstream. One is also introduced to a self-proclaimed social
activist named Dipak Prahladka who steps in to 'rescue' Juhi from
Sanlaap itself - traffickers often disguise themselves as do-gooders,
says Sanlaap.

One of the highlights of the film is a wonderful rehabilitation
programme for trafficking victims ventured into by Jabala, a West
Bengal-based NGO which works on prevention and rehabilitation of
trafficking victims. They regularly organise football camps for the
girls. Survivors of trafficking have a lot of anger in them, which
they need to take out. So kicking the football is a therapeutic
process for them, and playing gives them confidence and becomes a
route to empowerment. The camps take place in Murshidabad.

The film includes an exploration of Nepal's attempts to protect its
women from being exploited in India, primarily through the Foreign
Employment Act, which imposed a ban on foreign employment for single
Nepali women. However because of the conflict situation in Nepal and
opportunities in the international labour market, many Nepali women
migrated through illegal channels. These women remained undocumented
in official records. Research has shown that migrant Nepali women
contribute 8 per cent towards the country's national budget. In 2002,
a modified FEA stated that women seeking foreign employment required a
permission letter from their fathers or husbands. In 2008, the FEA of
Nepal was again modified due to sustained activism by women's groups.
It now allows women to seek foreign employment independently.

Technically, the film stands out because of its aesthetic music and
lyrics, penned by the late Gautam Chatterjee. Two beautiful songs on
the sound track lend themselves into the ambience of the film - its
context and its visualisation. The imaginative background score and
difficult editing are by Saikat Sekhareswar Roy. Sukanta Majumdar has
done the sound design and Joydeep Bose has done the cinematography
that is restrained and refrains from sensationalizing facts and
incidents. ⊕

Shoma Chatterji
19 Jul 2009

Dr. Shoma A Chatterji, freelance journalist and author, writes on
cinema, media, human rights, cultural issues and gender.


Karma Sutra

With the closure of the dance bars, the sex industry has another arm.
Thousands of women without education have lost their livelihood. They
have to cash in on their looks before the passage of time wrinkles it.
Excerpts from Rajendar Menen's book.

26 June 2008 - The ladies bars, which shot into the media spotlight
with their closure, are expensive and most men who visit them have a
drink and spend a lot of money to watch beautiful women dance. It is
an extravagant and harmless way to spend time. The women charge
enormous amounts for more private sessions and very few men can afford

And those who can are only getting rid of ill-gotten wealth. Most
business transactions in India involve payments under the table and
ladies bars are a good way to get rid of the money that can't be
stored in banks or used with credit cards and cheque books. The
parallel economy in India is colossal. There has to be some way to
spend the money that can't be kept legitimately. It will make good
economic sense for the government to support a proliferation of such
bars. It will generate employment and the money that needs to be
hidden will surface. It is an excellent way of mopping up black money.
The morality issues that have been raked up to support the ban won't
cut a denture anywhere because the girls simply disappear and find
similar employment with a different calling card.

At the bars the women dance energetically and with an imaginative show
of skin to loud Hindi film music rich in innuendo and beat. They are
in sarees and other traditional Indian costumes and their dances look
far less obscene than the 'item' numbers that sell Hindi cinema at the
box-office. Men shower the girls they fancy with currency notes that
are picked up by attendants and dropped into boxes set aside for such
collections. The dancers take a portion of the largesse. The
management decides what to do with the rest.

Several people in positions of power have to be paid to allow all this
to happen. It is widely accepted that hundreds of thousands of rupees
are dropped into the boxes in the ladies bars every single night. It
is quite a spectacle: non-stop dancing, strobe lights, loud music and
scores of men seated around tables drinking, eating and ogling away. A
Hijra dance is also added to the scream of offerings if the management
feels like it. A compilation of both genders in one form, neither
fully masculine nor covertly feminine, stretching wildly to music,
always meets with requests for an encore. It adds variety to the
choreography. The garden has a new flower.

At erratic intervals, a man beckons a girl with currency notes or he
just walks over to the dance floor and garlands her with money. Some
men join the dancers too to the accompaniment of wolf whistles and
loud appreciation. Everyone has a great time. Bouncers keep a close
watch and there is never any ruffle in the proceedings. Its all owned
and run by unlikely bedfellows brought together by the lure of quick
and big money born without a chartered accountant's whistle or a
padre's conscience.

The author's book Karma Sutra: Essays from the Margin was published
by Saga Books in February 2007.

Now, with the closure of these bars, the sex industry has another arm.
Thousands of women without education have lost their livelihood. They
have to cash in on their looks before the passage of time wrinkles it.
So they have slipped into the flesh industry in every corner of the
city, moved to other states in India and even to different countries.
Sex workers have a very short shelf life. They have to mint the moment
even if the sun has temporarily blighted it in eclipse mode.

I have interviewed several bar girls. Most of the interviews have
taken place in the green room. It is a little room with mirrors and
benches, painted in innocuous cream or pastel shades, with a toilet
attached to it. It is very basic. There are containers of talc, soaps,
makeup kits, a few combs and towels. You finish your dance, rush in,
change clothes and prepare for another round. You adjust your make-up
in the large mirror, ask the others how you look, take a final glance,
and you are off. There is no time even for gossip.

After the show, the girls change into ordinary, everyday clothes, if
they have the time, and finally get a chance to yak away. They will
talk about the money earned and about the customers. Some of them will
accompany clients for the night, but most of them will go home to
families that they look after with their earnings.

It is very late at night when they pack up, early morning really, and
they don't need more attention on the way home. So make-up, jewellery
and all the glamorous outfits are removed and they get into dowdy
salwar kameez if they can. Groups of women don't always travel at this
time of the night and so they are a visible presence. Cabs wait
outside the bars. They share it to their destinations somewhere in
this lonely, dreary city or to the nearest railway station if they are
living far away. A spate of rapes and robberies has made the
authorities place an armed policeman in the ladies compartment. If the
policeman behaves himself, this can be a deterrent to crime.

Lata is from Agra, from a basti near the Taj Mahal. She says she is
twenty-seven and married with two children. Her husband left her, the
children are in school and she takes care of old and sick parents. She
is slightly built and wears spectacles when she isn't dancing. Her
features are soft. She isn't garrulous like the others and can pass
off as a chemistry teacher at some municipal school. She has a stern
look and a commanding air. You will never imagine that she makes a
living dancing to currency notes.

"I make good money," she tells me. "But it is hard work. You know how
it is. Dancing for so many hours every day is not easy. My feet pain
every night and I need to be massaged. I have varicose veins and take
medicines. Every man thinks we are game. I haven't been to anyone till
now. I dance, collect the money and go home. I have many
responsibilities. My children are in an English medium school and my
father has lakva (paralysis). I have to look after them. If something
happens to me, they are finished. I can't even afford to fall sick for
a day. I pray to God that nothing happens."

Several people in positions of power have to be paid to allow all this
to happen.

I ask her if she has given a thought to marriage again. "No, I will
never marry again," she retorts fiercely. "It is no use. I will have
more kids and more problems. I am very happy without a man. Who needs
a man anyway? I am earning well. I can also get sex anytime I want, so
why do I need a husband? Marriage is just legal prostitution."

Rani is also from Uttar Pradesh. She is also in her twenties and is
married with children. Her husband is still with her but doesn't
contribute to the household. "He drinks all the time and doesn't work.
If I don't give him money, he hits me. I don't really care about him,
he can leave me and go if he wants to, but I am worried for my
children. Nothing should happen to them. I should secure their future.
That's my only concern."

Both girls have bank accounts and have made small investments. They
met in Mumbai and have become good friends. They dance at the same
bar, live in the same building, go shopping together and help look
after each other's families. There is great bonding. They understand
one another well. They also go home to their villages together, along
with their families, at least once a year. They don't have to tell the
world what they do for a living. It's their secret. The job provides
for the family and gives them the dignity that money can buy.

Shama is glamorous and very attractive. Even while talking to me, she
keeps checking her make-up and looks into her little mirror. She knows
she is beautiful. She has the look of a woman who enjoys the attention
of men. She is also about twenty-seven and married with kids. She is
from Delhi. All of them are from poor families. They have studied till
the third or fourth standards and then dropped out. Educating girls is
considered unnecessary in poor Indian families. They will anyway get
married and leave home. They are paraya dhan, - someone else's wealth.
So they are taught housework.

All of them have been married off in their teens and their parents
have rustled up huge amounts of dowry and elaborate wedding
arrangements. Grown up, unmarried girls are not appreciated in Indian
families and so when a girl is born all attention is directed to
getting her a spouse. Unfortunately, all the three husbands have
turned out to be useless, good for nothing jerks. They have spent the
dowry and taken to drink, gambling and womanising. The girls are the
only earning members in their families and, worse, they run the risk
of contracting a sexual disease from their husbands!

I met these girls while talk was on about the impending ban on
bargirls. They had read about it and heard about it and were obviously
worried. What will you do if the bars really shut down, I ask. (As I
write this, the bars have shut indefinitely). "We will have to go to
other cities or somewhere else in Mumbai. We don't know what to do
really. But something will have to be done. Whatever is written in our
naseeb (destiny) will happen." They know that they can't dance forever
and have to make quick money and bank it somewhere, possibly even
start a small shop or enterprise. The sooner they do this the better.
It all depends on how much money they have to kick-start a new
venture. For now, prostitution is the only recourse and they recognise
that fact. It is lucrative.

"We will have to take to dhandha," they tell me without sounding
alarmed. They have obviously thought about it. "What else can we do?
We have no other skill?" Some girls have made contacts with bar owners
in neighbouring states. Some have also decided to move out of the
country. The sex industry all over the world has sent feelers to the
bar girls. Most of the girls are very attractive and dance
exceptionally well. They are checking out options. The girls and their
managers meet up frequently to discuss plans.

Their lives will be disrupted. Children's schooling, parents' medical
treatment, new employers and clients, a new country altogether; every
aspect of their lives will be turned upside down. It's a big move and
they are very uncomfortable with it. But there is no choice. If they
don't dance, fast and furious now, the wide net of everyday, unkind
prostitution will eventually suck them into its intricate folds. ⊕

Rajendar Menen
26 Jun 2008

This article is extracted from Rajendar Menen's book "Karma Sutra:
Essays from the Margin", published by Saga Books in February 2007.


A journey of courage

Baby Halder's life is like that of millions of poor, exploited women.
What is different, and astoundingly so, is that she has written a book
about it - a story which saddens us with its matter-of-fact narrative
of a life of tribulation, but also makes us rejoice vicariously in its
extraordinary triumph, writes Neeta Deshpande.

29 November 2006 - "Many days have passed; Only a few remain now."
Simple, candid words. Words which say little, yet span a lifetime. It
is in these sparing words that sixty-five year old Bai - who was
employed to care for me during my childhood - sums up her life of
privation and suffering. As a little girl, my days were enlivened by
moments with her - listening to her hilarious aphorisms, eating her
delicious laddus of leftover rotis, ghee and sugar, and warming myself
around her wood fires in the winters.

But despite our close relationship, I am ashamed to admit that I know
very little about Bai's life before she moved into our house as a
domestic help. Fleeting statements from her have hinted at a childhood
of penury, marriage at a precariously early age to an abusive man, an
early widowhood, and the hardship which followed. "Listen to me - I
have seen it all. I have gone to bed on an empty stomach", she would
tell me on rare occasions. Though I wanted to know more, I did not
have the courage to ask her to summon up memories of all the sadness
she had endured. So when I came across the much acclaimed
autobiography of Baby Halder - a domestic worker - I gravitated
towards it for my own reasons. Perhaps I would find Bai in the book,
speaking through the author's voice.

I was not wrong. Baby Halder's life seemed to traverse a similar
trajectory to Bai's, or for that matter, millions of poor, exploited
women in an India where they are treated as lesser human beings.
Victims of an endless cycle of poverty, their needs are routinely
ignored, their aspirations systematically thwarted. Like Bai, Baby too
was married off at a tender age. Her husband - twice as old as she was
then - also turned out to be violent, abusing her verbally and beating
her often. Soon, she was forced into a life of drudgery as a domestic
worker, her days filled with mindless chores in other people's homes.
However, here the similarities end, for Baby Halder, unlike most women
of her background, can read and write. Her schooling up to the seventh
standard equipped her to recount her life in her Bengali book Aalo
Aandhari (Light and Darkness), a story which saddens us with its
matter-of-fact narrative of a life of tribulation, but also makes us
rejoice vicariously in its extraordinary triumph.


Translated into English as A Life Less Ordinary, Baby's memoir begins
like an innocent school essay, interspersed with swirling snowflakes,
flowering hills and an occasional, joyous rainbow - elements of her
life as a little girl in Dalhousie. However, in tune with her short-
lived childhood, these happy reminiscences are numbered as well. For
soon, we find her drawing sketches of an often absent, abusive father,
and a frustrated mother who abandoned the family, pressing a coin into
the four-year-old Baby's palm before walking away. The coin served as
an unforgettable memory of a mother whom she saw only years later. She
received no love from her step-mother either, who beat her often.

The author looks back on her childhood in these evocative lines,
peculiarly written in the third person, perhaps in an effort to
distance herself from painful memories. "Poor Baby! What else could
one say of her? Imagine a childhood so brief, so ephemeral, that you
could sit down and the whole thing could unravel in front of you in
barely half an hour! And yet her childhood fascinates Baby. Perhaps
everyone is fascinated by the things they've been deprived of, the
things they long for. Baby remembers her childhood, she savours every
moment of it, she licks it just as a cow would her newborn calf,
tasting every part."

However, despite their adverse circumstances, Baby's mother earnestly
wanted her to go to school, and her father encouraged her to study. On
her part, the little girl loved school as much as she hated home,
worked hard, and never missed a day. Her precarious life sowed many
hurdles in her schooling, but she persisted and managed to study.

Marriage and motherhood

At the naive age of thirteen, Baby was hastily married off to a 26-
year-old man, her evanescent childhood relegated to her memories. Soon
after she entered her new home, her husband roughly pulled her towards
him one night. Little Baby just "shut her eyes and her mouth tightly
and let him do what he wanted". At the age of fourteen - a child
herself - she had to endure an excruciatingly painful delivery. The
poignancy of her state is expressed by an incident during her
pregnancy. Tired of staying within the four walls, she would venture
out to watch the children at play. She alone knew how desperately she
wanted to play with them. One day, when their gulli landed at her
feet, she picked it up, and without being fully aware of what she was
doing, ran into the field to join them. Only when a woman chided her
that she should be careful lest she hurt her stomach, did she run back
into the house in embarrassment.

Despite bearing children at a ridiculously young age, Baby clearly
understood her responsibilities as a mother. She wanted a good life
for her children, including a proper education. According to her, it
was not enough to give birth, for parenthood brought with it a
responsibility to enable a person to grow into a human being.

These were not mere words; she would soon act on them too. Her
husband, who had initially been negligent of her - desisting from
answering her queries and even refusing to take her to the hospital in
time for her delivery - now turned abusive, and would beat her
regularly. One such instance, during her second pregnancy, caused an
agonising miscarriage. Eventually, his violence pushed her to the
brink of desperation, when she firmly decided to part ways. Soon, she
boarded a train for distant Delhi for the sake of her children. Later
in a newspaper article, she would explain that she was glad she moved,
because there were no good schools for her children back home.

The author looks back on her childhood in evocative lines, peculiarly
written in the third person, perhaps in an effort to distance herself
from painful memories.

To feed herself and her three little ones, she found work as a
domestic help, work which entailed slogging from dawn until midnight.
Her employer would shout at Baby's children who would be locked up on
the roof all day, and did not even allow her to meet her eldest son
who was working and living elsewhere. Fed up with such inhuman
treatment, she left, and by a stroke of serendipity found a new
employer - one who would transform her life in unimaginable ways.


Baby's new 'Sahib', former professor of anthropology Prabodh Kumar,
whom she would later call 'Tatush' - the name that his sons used for
him - helped her in more ways than one. He provided her a room when
her house was broken down by bulldozers, reunited her with her eldest
son, found a school for her children, and supplied them with the
necessities of life. But over and above all his help, he would talk to
her, asking her to think of him as a "father, brother, mother,
friend ..." Baby was touched when he treated her as a human being,
given that most people behave callously towards servants and pay them
precious little - the employers taking advantage of the desperation of
domestic workers to subsidise their own lives.

His most significant contribution to her life, however, enabled her to
transgress the boundaries drawn around her, bringing forth an aspect
of her personality that she would never have been aware of. After he
saw her peering at a Bengali book while she dusted his bookshelves, he
asked if she could read. The next day, he pulled out a book for her,
and asked her to read out its name. With his encouragement, she
blurted out Amar Meyebela, the first book she read on her way to
writing one herself. When he found her making progress with reading
the book, he provided her a notebook and pen, and prodded her to write
the story of her life. The astonishing result - Aalo Aandhari - is her
story of darkness and light, the travails and joys in a journey of

Progressive outlook

Baby's book is peppered with her thoughts on various aspects of her
life, including the size of her family and the education of her
children. Upon realizing that she might be following the 'local
custom' in her neighbourhood of three to four children per couple, she
had the foresight to undergo a family planning operation after her
third issue. Her views on the status of women and the discrimination
they face are also worth noting. When her husband turned the house
into a dirty, horrible mess whenever she was away, she questioned a
neighbour as to why the woman of the house had to be around to keep
the place clean.

Now writing her second book, Baby told a newspaper that in her
autobiography, she simply wrote about all that she had faced. This
time, she would be more analytical and try to find out why she was put
in those situations in the first place.

A rare voice

The people behind the book must be congratulated for bringing out this
unusual life-story of a person who would otherwise have been relegated
to the background of her employers' houses, condemned to a furtive,
silent existence. Prabodh Kumar translated the manuscript from the
original Bengali into Hindi, cleaning it up as required, but leaving
Baby's own voice intact. Publisher and writer Urvashi Butalia of
Zubaan translated the narrative from Hindi into English.

While reading the book, one is struck by Baby's courage to resolutely
live as a single woman with three children in faraway, unfamiliar
Delhi, where she painstakingly carved out a new life for herself.
Though she does not ask uncomfortable questions of her readers, the
mere narration of her life leaves us to ponder why she should have had
to suffer through the ordeals of a child marriage, an abusive husband
and exploitative employers.

Though this is not a book to be read for its literary merit, it should
be valued for its powerful story of survival and success in the face
of relentless, overwhelming odds - a story which will remain etched on
our minds for its author's grit and determination to refuse to accept
defeat. This down-to-earth memoir stirs and delights, saddens and
overpowers, humbles and uplifts us with its direct, unpretentious take
on the universal experience of being human. ⊕

Neeta Deshpande
29 Nov 2006

Neeta Deshpande is a student of Hindustani vocal music based in Goa. A
Life Less Ordinary by Baby Halder, translated by Urvashi Butalia, is
published by Zubaan in collaboration with Penguin Books, 173 pp., Rs.


A life of conviction

The book serves a felt need, as also the purpose of getting Baba Amte
under the reader's skin. But the author does not tease out historical
and sociological connections, and ask questions of broader relevance.
The definitive interpretation of Amte's life and its significance is
still awaited. Neeta Deshpande reviews Wisdom Song: The life of Baba

24 October 2006 - One does not need glorious words to portray the work
of Baba Amte. Be it enabling victims of leprosy to live a life of
dignity, or buttressing the movement of people being displaced by the
Sardar Sarovar dam, his actions have always spoken eloquently for
themselves. However, despite his remarkable life of courage,
conviction and endurance, there isn't a good biography of this
tireless crusader. Neesha Mirchandani's book, Wisdom Song: The Life of
Baba Amte attempts to fill this void, narrating the story of his life
in simple prose.

Peppered with quotes and remembrances from Amte and the many
committed men and women he inspired, Mirchandani recounts the
extraordinary stories of his lifelong endeavours. The narrative
encompasses the celebrated Anandwan - a sprawling rehabilitation
centre for the leprosy-affected and physically challenged - in
Maharashtra (1951 onwards), Amte's advocacy on behalf of the tribals
affected by the Bhopalpatnam and Icchampalli dams (1984), the Bharat
Jodo yatras (1985-86 and 1987-88), and finally, the decade he spent on
the banks of the Narmada, putting his moral weight behind the Narmada
Bachao Andolan (1990-2000).

Amte's defining moment came one rainy night, when he encountered a man
dying of leprosy. "It was like being sucked into the eye of a
hurricane. Everything went blank and in that moment, the social
justice work, the evening prayers, my wife, children ... everything
lost perspective and meaning," he reminisces vividly. Thus, in 1951,
began the unbelievable story of Anandwan, painstakingly hewn out of
barren, rock-strewn land infested by wild animals, by Amte, his wife
Sadhana and their fellow workers afflicted by leprosy. It took six
weeks of severe toil to cut through the rock while digging the first
well, a task accomplished by a few crippled persons along with Amte.
With poverty and extreme hardship as constant companions, the group
transformed their harsh surroundings into verdant fields. Since then,
Amte has never looked back. Dedicating his entire life to the
downtrodden, despite suffering an excruciatingly painful degeneration
of the spine, this cheerful nonagenarian defiantly marches on.

Amte has often said that one can live without fingers, but not without
self-respect. True to this maxim, beyond healing people's wounds, he
restored their dignity by providing them with work. Thus, those
shunned by society and condemned to a life of begging were enabled to
work in the fields and vocational training centres of Anandwan. A
veteran resident recalls that when he visited Warora - a nearby town -
during the early days of Anandwan, no one would give him water to
drink. Now, as Amte proudly reiterates in an interview, people call
Anandwan residents to help install water pumps and other devices. Over
the years, his dream has evolved into a town with hospitals, schools,
homes, agricultural land and occupational training centres, built and
run by the leprosy-affected and physically challenged themselves.

continue reading article ...

In the process of reconstructing Amte's life, Mirchandani's narrative
is enlivened by the reminiscences of his family and co-workers, who
carry his work forward. One such recollection is that of Bharati Amte,
his daughter-in-law who runs a hospital at Anandwan. "He taught me
that the first thing I should ask a patient is, 'Have you eaten?' Many
people who came to Anandwan have to walk for miles - they are tired,
hungry and poor. They don't teach this humanity at medical school."
The book also provides perspectives of people who have benefited from
his work. Devram Kanera, from a village to be submerged in the Narmada
Valley, elaborates that only when Amte came to the region did people
begin to understand the broader canvas of their struggle and its

"He taught me that the first thing I should ask a patient is, 'Have
you eaten?' Many people who came to Anandwan have to walk for miles -
they are tired, hungry and poor. They don't teach this humanity at
medical school."

Prior to relocating to the Narmada Valley to bolster the efforts of
the Narmada Bachao Andolan, Amte led a movement of tribals who would
have been displaced without rehabilitation by the Bhopalpatnam and
Icchampalli dams in 1984, had it not been for his intervention. He
believes that the big dams which he opposed "pillaged from the poor to
provide luxuries to the select rich, destroying natural resources in
the process for short-term financial gain." Living by his conviction,
he fought for the tribals and farmers who would be dispossessed of
their homes and agricultural lands in the name of development.

Although it serves a felt need, Mirchandani's book has its
limitations. While her broad sympathy to Amte's cause is well-placed,
the author fails to maintain a critical distance, which would have
made the biography more well-rounded. Given that rehabilitating the
leprosy-affected was Amte's calling, a chapter providing the medical,
historical and social background of the disease would have helped. At
times, the biography comes across as casual; the author includes her
scribbled notes of conversations with Amte before elaborating on these
notes. At others, it is sentimental. The first chapter could have done
without a romanticized juxtaposition of Amte's birth in 1914 with a
'Christmas truce' between German and British soldiers during the First
World War. Crucially, the book does not go beyond the story of Amte's
life, to tease out historical and sociological connections, and ask
questions of broader relevance. For instance, it would have been
useful to understand how Amte's efforts have influenced social
perception of leprosy at a wider level.

As the Marathi litterateur P.L. Deshpande cautions us, "... once Baba
Amte gets under your skin, you will never be the same again." The book
serves the purpose of getting Baba Amte under the reader's skin. But
the definitive interpretation of his life and its significance is
still awaited. ⊕

Neeta Deshpande
24 Oct 2006

Neeta Deshpande is a student of Hindustani vocal music based in Goa.
"Wisdom Song: The Life of Baba Amte", by Neesha Mirchandani, is
published by Roli Books, p.280, Rs.395.


A gallery of failures

A former member of the National Commission for Women, Syeda Hameed
records the powerlessness of the institution in her new book, They
hang: Twelve women in my portrait gallery. Deepti Priya Mehrotra notes
the chilling refusal of the system to defend women against

19 May 2006 - Women's activists throughout the country have reported
the hostile attitude of the police and the judiciary when it comes to
punishing perpetrators of violence. But when a high-placed government
functionary faces similar hostility, and finds herself powerless to
deal with it, it is indeed an eye-opener.

Planning Commission member Syeda S Hameed is one such person. In her
recent book, 'They Hang - Twelve Women in My Portrait Gallery', she
narrates her personal experience of trying to help 12 wronged women
get justice. Syeda Hameed's book, based on her work as Member of the
National Commission for Women (1997-2000), is an explosive account of
the impotence of this institution. Not only does she document, in
brutal detail, the violence committed on women in a range of contexts,
but also the chilling refusal of `the system' to bring the guilty to

The atrocities Syeda recounts are not unusual, nor are they unknown to
us. Several have been in the public eye during the late 1990s. For
instance, Ila Pandey's case against her husband Rajneesh Pandey, who
was repeatedly raping their 10-year-old daughter in Karvi, Uttar
Pradesh. Or the story of Lalita Oraon, raped by Amrit Lugan, India's
First Secretary, Economic Affairs, Paris, while she worked in his
house as a maid and nanny.

Syeda provides information from her role as investigator in these
cases: she took down testimonies of hundreds of people, and wrote
detailed reports. Her Karvi report clearly indicated the culpability
of Rajneesh as well as the virulent campaign launched by his
supporters against local women's groups who took up the case. Entitled
`Case of Child Sexual Abuse and Targeting of Women's Rights Groups',
the report received media coverage and "momentarily shook the
establishment". Years later, however, Rajneesh remarried, while the
case filed by Ila drags on.

Similarly, Syeda wrote an NCW report entitled `The Alleged
Exploitation and Abuse of Lalita Oraon in Paris, France' and sent it
to all relevant government departments authorised to present an Action
Taken Report on the issue. But the report was stillborn. Says Syeda,
in the book: "I was anxious to begin taking action, but the matter
never saw the light of day. No matter how I tried, I could not get the
report released. It disappeared mysteriously from the scene, fell
between the cracks of procedure and protocol.... Lalita Oraon vanished
into thin air. Years passed without a word about Lalita."

One NCW report, `Come In, but One by One: Sexual Harassment at Delhi
Public School' - connected with the alleged harassment of women by the
DPS NOIDA principal Varma, was released at a crowded press conference
in New Delhi. It got media attention, but soon vanished from the
public sphere. The school protected its principal, despite concrete
evidence of sexual harassment of at least three women teachers (whose
services he had terminated as soon as they refused to comply with his
wishes). Varma served his full term and, after superannuating, was
given an extension for another three years. Syeda notes bitterly, "My
report probably still lies (in NCW), carefully preserved in files
which no one ever opens, or it may have been shredded with all other
five-year-old documents...."

Syeda's book displays strong personal commitment as well as rare
honesty. The book is uncompromising in its recording of experiences.
At places she moves beyond precise facts into an imaginative
reconstruction of events and persona - always clarifying which of the
writing is fact, and which is `faction'.

One disturbing aspect emerging from her accounts is the nasty role
played by `society' - families, relatives and neighbourhoods - in
instigating violence. In Haryana's Sudaka village for instance, 15-
year old Maimun's family forced her to marry Aijaz. This was to
protect their `izzaat' (honour) that was compromised by Maimun's
affair with Idris, a man from her own village. Aijaz and his cronies
gang-raped Maimun, slashed her with a knife from neck to midriff, and
left her to die.

"My report probably still lies carefully preserved in files which no
one ever opens, or it may have been shredded with all other five-year-
old documents..."

• By choice and circumstance

Later, strangers found and nursed Maimun, and then Idris located her.
Her parents filed a case against Idris, and the police arrested
Idris's old parents. When Maimun and Idris came to NCW, Syeda and her
colleagues were moved and angry, and immediately drove to Sudaka
village. There they faced an extremely hostile mob of villagers, who
dragged Maimun out of the vehicle. The Haryana police did not move a
muscle to prevent this. The NCW team returned empty-handed - no
justice delivered. Instead, they had actually handed over the lamb for

All the 12 stories indicate that NCW lacks infrastructure, back-up,
and `teeth'. Although it is the apex body for women in India, it is
powerless to actually move the administration, police and judiciary,
to make them take appropriate action. Gross violations of women's
human rights carry on with impunity. Everybody knows that the guilty
are seldom punished. Even though, NCW members and hundreds of other
women's groups might work tirelessly to handle the deluge of cases
that pour in, their efforts could still end up in vain.

In the same book, Syeda also highlights the stories of fighting women,
those who speak out against exploitation - file First Investigation
Reports (FIRs); refuse to succumb to brutal backlash; and refuse to
kowtow to the powers-that-be. Thus, one elderly trustee of DPS,
refused to condone the principal's misconduct, rather she testified
that the principal "used his power and position to extract sexual
favours from women teachers...." Sometimes, Syeda `imagines in' a
woman who fights back - Rajneesh Pandey's second wife perhaps; or
Chaddo, who becomes a lawyer after her elder sister Shaddo was killed
by in-laws. She imagines Sajoni - a tribal woman from Bagjori village,
Bihar, branded a witch, thrashed by villagers after she ploughed her
fields - leaving the village with her five children to find a better
place to survive in.

Sheila Rani, a sweeper in DPS, provides incisive analysis as well as
ground-level strategy. When the principal tried to molest her, she
fought back, and later told a teacher of the school, "Every dog in
this place wants a piece of flesh.... We can fight our battles in our
own way. We can kick and bite and scratch. Your court-kacheri will
never get us a scrap of justice." She asked for a transfer saying,
"There is no dearth of toilets to clean. If not here, I will find them
in other schools. But the shit has become JK cement on these haramis
('bastards' in Hindi); only a bolt of lightning can shatter it. I am
going where, if I clean hard enough, the dirt will come off!"

Sadly - nay, tragically - the NCW has been unable to send the bolts of
lightning needed to shatter the concrete structures sheltering
criminals and routinely abetting crimes against women.

Syeda wrote the book because she doesn't want these stories of
terrible violence to disappear from public memory. She also wanted to
highlight that NCW is unable to achieve justice in these cases because
it is toothless: "The Commission's reports are not binding on anyone,
and its jurisdictions stops at its front door." (Courtesy: Women's
Feature Service) ⊕

Deepti Priya Mehrotra
19 May 2006

Deepti Priya Mehrotra is a Delhi based freelance journalist "They Hang
- Twelve Women in My Portrait Gallery", Syeda S. Hameed, Women
Unlimited, New Delhi, 2006, 183 pp, Rs 275.


By choice and circumstance
Uma Chakravarty turns the pages of Deepti Priya Mehrotra's stories of
single mothers.

October 2003 - New Delhi, (WFS) - One day, recently, I checked in a
bit early to catch a flight at the Bangalore airport. As I sat getting
bored, I decided to browse at the bookstall, something I almost never
do because of the peculiar mix of books airport stalls have - travel,
oriental India, spiritual India, Jeffrey Archer - that I neither have
the time nor money for.

I was both surprised and pleased to find many copies of Home Truths,
Deepti Priya Mehrotra's recently published book on single mothers, on
one of the shelves. And I began wondering at the many transformations
this could represent. Is it because Penguin, which has a wide reach in
the market, has published the book? Are 'single moms' an important
part of today's reality? Has the women's movement created a space for
thinking about issues in new ways? Or is it merely that the title of
the book is eye-catching?

Whatever the reason, it is good to know that a feminist rendering of
an emerging facet of life has a readership beyond the already
converted communities. Home Truths is a narration of the experiences
of single mothers as they cope with multiple emotions and challenges
in a world defined by the nuclear-extended family, which is regarded
as the norm in India. Even in the post-globalisation, market oriented,
consumerist metropolitan India, the family (as shown in
advertisements), is the nuclear family plus dad's mother and father on
the one hand, and 'couple-dom' on the other. The single mother
phenomenon is an aberration in such a situation and there are almost
no institutional supports available for women to mediate their
difficulties, as Mehrotra notes in her afterword.

Single mothers face problems and overwork, yet they also savour a
sense of autonomy and independence.

The experiences of single mothers constitute the main part of the
book - a series of stories of women from different social locations.
Although the number of narratives is small, the women are drawn from
different communities, regions and professions. Single mothers face
problems and overwork, yet they also savour a sense of autonomy and

I was particularly drawn to some of the narratives. Nafisa of
Hyderabad for instance, just walked out of a bad marriage one day. She
took courage from women she had seen on TV - those who refused to
accept that their lives would continue to be determined by men who
tried to victimise them - and arrived at the dargah (shrine) of
Nizammudin, in Delhi. Meena, a nautanki (song-dance-drama) artist,
recognises that for one like her "there is no one when she is old";
her daughter too has become a nautanki artist and dances for a living.
Then there is the narrative of Sapna, a widow who says quite matter-of
factly, "I am the mother, I am the father". There is no place for self-
pity in her approach; she insists on living by a code that she has
evolved. And because Sapna has become part of a newly forged community
of women activists in a working class area, she has a protective
shadow of women friends falling over her. And so, she is not alone.

Pratima's husband died in an accident; she struggled for years to be
independent, to feed her children on her own earnings and is finally
able to craft a new life where she is at peace because now, she can
add curry to the rice that the family managed on, earlier.

These are stories of extreme fragility - of survival, of choices
denied and others consciously made, of anger and bitterness at
betrayals, and of pleasure gained at achieving autonomy. No two
stories are similar, even as there are many common threads. The
narratives in the book can be read separately, as they stand on their
own. The prologue pegs the book and an afterword seeks to address some
of the issues the narratives throw up. Yet, there are many other
issues that the individual reader can relate to, or draw out from the
richly woven tapestry of experiences that women recount as they
generously let you into their lives, their difficulties, their sorrows
and their fears as well as their dreams and hopes.

Mehrotra has also tried to bridge the distance and the hierarchy that
is inherent in a relationship when one person talks about her own life
and another writes it down, even as the book binds the two together as
single mothers. The author includes an account of her own life as a
single mother - which she taped - becoming for that duration, both the
narrator and the listener. The author's narrative is a very honest
account, one of the rare retellings of complex emotions in the book -
of anger and rage, and a sense of betrayal at the break up of a
marriage. Toward the end of the narrative, there is an equally honest
recognition that her ex-partner is not a villain but rather another
person with his own needs and shortcomings. Finally, she has got to a
stage where she sees herself as part of a flow of people, work, music
and laughter, of being able to finally savour her space and freedom.

In the author's personal narrative, we see that she has got to a stage
where she sees herself as part of a flow of people, work, music and
laughter, of being able to finally savour her space and freedom.

Not all the narratives are about reaching some kind of resolution to
difficulty. There is an implicit understanding that there is
considerable insecurity in their lives. But equally, there is the
insight that 'security' usually goes along with economic dependence,
and accepting arbitrariness as an aspect of the relationship with a
partner. As Mehrotra puts it, the price of security could also be the
condition that "no home is forever". And when that home breaks up -
through death, abandonment or choice - you could be left feeling that
as a single woman there is no one for you. Or, that although it's been
a long, tough journey, you have created your own secure kind of place.

Uma Chakravarty
October 2003

Uma Charavarty writes on gender and history; she taught history in
Miranda House, Delhi University for many years.


Educating India

The Annual Status of Education Report, 2009 points out yet again that
what stands between rural girls and a good education is often basic
facilities like transport and proper toilets, writes Kalpana Sharma.

14 February 2010 - Swati and Anita are two young women from rural
Maharashtra. They have one thing in common. Both dropped out of school
once they completed Standard VIII. They wanted to complete their
schooling. Both spoke passionately to me when I met them about their
desire to study. Even their parents wanted them to study further. But
circumstances would not permit this.

Both girls faced an identical dilemma. While the school up to Standard
VIII was in their village or close by, the high school was some
distance away. The only way to go there was by the local State
Transport bus. While going to school was not such a problem as it was
during the day, at the end of the school day, they had to wait several
hours before they could catch the bus back. If for some reason the bus
was cancelled, and this would happen with alarming frequency, they
would have had to walk back to the village in the dark, something
their parents would not contemplate. Hence, the only option was to
drop out of school.

In contrast, the brother of one of the girls faced no such problem. As
soon as he was through with his classes, he would hitch a ride on a
passing truck and make his way back. This was not an option open to
the girls.

Tragic situation

What is tragic is that both these girls are as bright as any you would
meet in a city like Mumbai. The only reason they will not become the
engineers and doctors of the future is because there is no reliable
transport linking their village to the nearest school. And theirs are
not remote villages in the interior of Maharashtra. Swati lives a mere
hour away from Pune. If this is the story of Swati and Anita, think
how many millions more like them must be chafing at being deprived for
no other reason than a safe mode of transport.

In 2009, ASER surveyed 16,000 villages, 300,000 households and 700,000
children. There is nothing on this scale done by an agency outside
government, hence its importance. (click here for ASER web site).

We also know that many more girls drop out even before Standard VIII
for another reason: the lack of toilets in schools. The latest ASER
(Annual Status of Education Report) 2009, a comprehensive survey of
government and private schools in 575 out of 583 rural districts in
India, revealed that only 50 per cent of government schools have
toilets and that four out of 10 government schools did not have
separate toilets for girls. Even where there were separate toilets for
girls, as many as 12-15 per cent were locked and only 30-40 per cent
were "usable". I visited a school in Bihar where toilets had been
constructed but within days their doors had been stolen and the toilet
pans smashed making them unusable.

If girls dropout when they reach adolescence, it is often for no other
reason than the lack of toilet facilities. Even in a city like Mumbai,
the dropout rate amongst girls attending municipal schools is markedly
higher than that of boys because of the absence of toilets for them.

The annual ASER study, facilitated by the NGO Pratham, is a constant
and important reminder of the state of education in this country. In
2009, ASER surveyed 16,000 villages, 300,000 households and 700,000
children. There is nothing on this scale done by an agency outside
government, hence its importance. But each year, when ASER results are
made public, we are reminded that education is not just about
quantity, or the number of children who enrol in school - a number
that is increasing - but the quality of the education these children
get. And that, although it is getting better in some states, is still
shockingly poor.

Conducting simple reading and mathematics tests in schools, the survey
reveals that a little over half of all children in Standard V in
government schools cannot read a Standard II text book. This means a
10-year-old cannot read what a seven-year-old is supposed to be able
to read. What then are these children learning even if they become a
statistic showing increased enrolment and attendance in schools?

Disturbing trend

Precious little, it would seem. What they cannot learn in school, they
do so by paying for private tuitions. One of the more disturbing
statistics in the survey reveals that one in four children in Standard
I in private schools is sent for private tuitions as are 17 per cent
of Standard I students in government schools. Can you imagine that?
Little six-year-olds being sent for private tuition. By the time they
reach Standard VIII, over one third try and learn what they are
clearly not taught in school through private tutoring. An analysis of
the budget of poor people would reveal what a chunk of their earnings
goes into such tuitions because they hold on to the belief that
education will pull them out of poverty. But given the poor quality of
education in these schools, their children will never be able to
compete with those with ability to pay for better quality schooling.

Fortunately, not the entire ASER report is gloom and doom. One of the
brighter moments in it is the fact that in Bihar, the state considered
a basket case on most counts, the dropout rate for girls in the 11-14
age group has reduced from 17.6 per cent in 2006 to 6 per cent in
2009. So Bihar must be doing something right. In fact, one of the
striking sights in Bihar today is of girls on bicycles, given by the
government if they clear Standard VIII, going to the nearest high

The desire to ensure that children get a good education runs deep in
most Indian families. Parents will sacrifice and save to invest in
their children's future. Even poor families, including the homeless
with no secure shelter, find a way of sending their children to
school. The increase in the enrolment rate in India - 96 per cent of
children between the ages of 6-14 are enrolled in school, government
and private - is proof of that.

What urgently needs to be tackled is the quality of education, basic
facilities like toilets and running water, and transport, particularly
for girls. Even this will not suffice unless there is a notable change
in the status accorded teachers who ultimately decide whether and what
children learn. Instead of the inordinate amount of attention that
continues to be paid to institutes of higher learning, or private
institutions that promise to prepare rich children for studies abroad,
something much more simple and basic can and needs to be done to
educate India and Indians. ⊕

Kalpana Sharma
14 Feb 2010

Kalpana Sharma has been Chief of the Mumbai Bureau and Deputy Editor
with The Hindu. Her opinions, which appear in a regular column with
The Hindu, are concurrently published in India Together with

Comments (1)
Posted by Usha Gupta,

I fully agree that the educational scenario can improve only if we pay
attention at providing quality primary education. I believe that the
Govt primary schools, whether in rural or urban ares, if not
delivering, should be handed over to NGOs or private societies who are
eager to educate the young children at a low cost or free, if
required. Unless we take our education system seriously ,things at
economic, social & even at political level will not improve. We have
made education a fundamental right without trying to make it a viable
reality. It is high time we stop thinking in terms of building
statistics only, & start making qualitative difference.


...and I am Sid Harth
2010-03-14 07:36:12 UTC
IS THIS THE END OF THE WORLD ? see the prophecy in english :

soc.culture.europe, soc.culture.japan, soc.culture.canada,
soc.culture.usa, soc.culture.mexican
2010-03-14 17:27:12 UTC
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Sri Ravidas · B. R. Ambedkar · Ilaiyaraja
Rettamalai Srinivasan · Ayyankali

Regions with significant populations

India ~166 million[1]
Nepal ~4.5 Million (2005)[2]
Pakistan ~2.0 Million (2005)[3]
Sri Lanka Unknown (2008)
Bangladesh Unknown (2008)

Languages of India

Hinduism · Sikhism · Islam · Buddhism · Christianity

Related ethnic groups
Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Munda

Dalit is a self-designation for a group of people traditionally
regarded as low caste. Dalits are a mixed population of numerous caste
groups all over South Asia, and speak various languages.

While the caste system has been abolished under the Indian
constitution,[4] there is still discrimination and prejudice against
Dalits in South Asia. Since Indian independence, significant steps
have been taken to provide opportunities in jobs and education. Many
social organizations have encouraged proactive provisions to better
the conditions of dalits through improved education, health and


The word "Dalit" comes from the Marathi language, and means "ground",
"suppressed", "crushed", or "broken to pieces". It was first used by
Jyotirao Phule in the nineteenth century, in the context of the
oppression faced by the erstwhile "untouchable" castes of the twice-
born Hindus.[5]

According to Victor Premasagar, the term expresses their "weakness,
poverty and humiliation at the hands of the upper castes in the Indian

Gandhi's coinage of the word Harijan, translated roughly as "Children
of God", to identify the former Untouchables. The terms "Scheduled
castes and scheduled tribes" (SC/ST) are the official terms used in
Indian government documents to identify former "untouchables" and
tribes. However, in 2008 the National Commission for Scheduled Castes,
noticing that "Dalit" was used interchangeably with the official term
"scheduled castes", called the term "unconstitutional" and asked state
governments to end its use. After the order, the Chhattisgarh
government ended the official use of the word "Dalit".[7]

"Adi Dravida", "Adi Karnataka" and "Adi Andhra" are words used in the
states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, respectively, to
identify people of former "untouchable" castes in official documents.
These words, particularly the prefix of "Adi", denote the aboriginal
inhabitants of the land.[8]

Social status of Dalits

In the context of traditional Hindu society, Dalit status has often
been historically associated with occupations regarded as ritually
impure, such as any involving butchering, removal of rubbish, removal
of waste and leatherwork. Dalits work as manual labourers, cleaning
latrines and sewers, and clearing away rubbish.[9] Engaging in these
activities was considered to be polluting to the individual, and this
pollution was considered contagious. As a result, Dalits were commonly
segregated, and banned from full participation in Hindu social life.
For example, they could not enter a temple nor a school, and were
required to stay outside the village. Elaborate precautions were
sometimes observed to prevent incidental contact between Dalits and
other castes.[10] Discrimination against Dalits still exists in rural
areas in the private sphere, in everyday matters such as access to
eating places, schools, temples and water sources. It has largely
disappeared in urban areas and in the public sphere.[citation needed]

Some Dalits have successfully integrated into urban Indian society,
where caste origins are less obvious and less important in public
life. In rural India, however, caste origins are more readily apparent
and Dalits often remain excluded from local religious life, though
some qualitative evidence suggests that its severity is fast
diminishing.[11][12] Dalits and similar groups are also found in
Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In addition, the Burakumin of Japan,
Baekjeong of Korea and Midgan of Somalia are similar in status to


See also: Indo-Aryan migration and Genetics and archaeogenetics of
South Asia
One study found some association between caste status and Y-
chromosomal genetic markers seeming to indicate a more European
lineage of the higher castes;[13][14] however, many recent studies
indicate no genetic differences between upper and lower castes. Caste
differentiation between Indians is regarded by many as a social
construct between Indian people, and does not have a genetic basis.
[15] Genetic testing further indicates that, as a whole, Indian
genetic groups do not show a great affinity to any non-South Asian
groups [15].

Dalits and religion

Sachar Committee report of 2006 revealed that scheduled castes and
tribes of India are not limited to the religion of Hinduism. The 61st
Round Survey of the NSSO found that almost nine-tenths of the
Buddhists, one-third of the Sikhs, and one-third of the Christians in
India belonged to the notified scheduled castes or tribes of the

Religion Scheduled Caste Scheduled Tribe
Buddhism 89.50% 7.40%
Christianity 9.00% 32.80%
Sikhism 30.70% 0.90%
Hinduism 22.20% 9.10%
Zoroastrianism - 15.90%
Jainism - 2.60%
Islam 0.80% 0.50%



The large majority of the Dalits in India are Hindus, although some in
Maharashtra and other states have converted to Buddhism, often called
Neo-Buddhism.[17] Dalits in Sri Lanka can be Buddhist (See Rodiya) or

Historical attitudes

Further information: Indian caste system

The term, Chandala can be seen used in the Manu Smriti (codes of caste
segregation) to the Mahabharata the religious epic. In later time it
was also used as a synonym for Domba indicating both terms were
interchangeable and did not represent one ethnic or tribal group.
Instead, it was a general opprobrious term. In the early Vedic
literature several of the names of castes that are spoken of in the
Smritis as Antyajas occur. We have Carmanna (a tanner of hides) in the
Rig Veda (VIII.8,38) the Chandala and Paulkasa occur in Vajasaneyi
Samhita. Vepa or Vapta (barber) in the Rig Veda. Vidalakara or
Bidalakar occurs in the Vajasaneyi Samhita. Vasahpalpuli (washer
woman) corresponding to the Rajakas of the Smritis in Vajasaneyi
Samhita. Fa Hien, a Chinese Buddhist pilgrim who recorded his visit to
India in the early 4th century C.E., noted that Chandalas were
segregated from the mainstream society as untouchables. Traditionally,
Dalits were considered to be beyond the pale of Varna or caste system.
They were originally considered as Panchama or the fifth group beyond
the fourfold division of Indian people. They were not allowed to let
their shadows fall upon a non-Dalit caste member and they were
required to sweep the ground where they walked to remove the
'contamination' of their footfalls. Dalits were forbidden to worship
in temples or draw water from the same wells as caste Hindus, and they
usually lived in segregated neighborhoods outside the main village. In
the Indian countryside, the dalit villages are usually a separate
enclave a kilometre or so outside the main village where the other
Hindu castes reside.

Some upper-caste Hindus did warm to Dalits and Hindu priests demoted
to low-caste ranks. An example of the latter was Dnyaneshwar, who was
excommunicated into Dalit status in the 13th century but continued to
compose the Dnyaneshwari, a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita. Eknath,
another excommunicated Brahmin, fought for the rights of untouchables
during the Bhakti period. Historical examples of Dalit priests include
Chokhamela in the 14th century, who was India's first recorded Dalit
poet and Raidas, born into a family of cobblers. The 15th century
saint Sri Ramananda Raya also accepted all castes, including
untouchables, into his fold. Most of these saints subscribed to the
Bhakti movements in Hinduism during the medieval period that rejected
casteism. Nandanar, a low-caste Hindu cleric, also rejected casteism
and accepted Dalits. Due to isolation from the rest of the Hindu
society, many Dalits continue to debate whether they are 'Hindu' or
'non-Hindu'. Traditionally, Hindu Dalits have been barred from many
activities that were seen as central to Vedic religion and Hindu
practices of orthodox sects. Among Hindus each community has followed
its own variation of Hinduism, and the wide variety of practices and
beliefs observed in Hinduism makes any clear assessment difficult.

The declaration by princely states of Kerala between 1936 and 1947
that temples were open to all Hindus went a long way towards ending
the system of untouchability in Kerala. Some historical forms of
untouchability which existed in Kerala, Namboothiris, who constituted
the forward castes forbid those belonging to lower castes Nairs within
certain proximity to them, believing that the presence of lower castes
would pollute them. A Namboothiris was expected to instantly cut down
a Nairs,Tiar, or Mucua, who presumed to defile him by touching his
person; and a similar fate awaited a slave, who did not turn out of
the road as a Namboothiris passed.[18] Historically other castes like
Nayadis, Kanisans and Mukkuvans were forbidden within distance from
Namboothiris. Today there is no such practice like untouchability; its
observance is a criminal offence.[19]

Reform Movements

The earliest known historical people to have rejected the caste system
were Gautama Buddha and Mahavira. Their teachings eventually became
independent religions called Buddhism and Jainism. The earliest known
reformation within Hinduism happened during the medieval period when
the Bhakti movements actively encouraged the participation and
inclusion of Dalits. In the 19th Century, the Brahmo Samaj, Arya Samaj
and the Ramakrishna Mission actively participated in the emancipation
of Dalits. While there always have been segregated places for Dalits
to worship, the first "upper-caste" temple to openly welcome Dalits
into their fold was the Laxminarayan Temple in Wardha in the year
1928. It was followed by the Temple Entry Proclamation issued by the
last King of Travancore in the Indian state of Kerala in 1936.

The Sikh reformist Satnami movement was founded by Guru Ghasidas, born
a Dalit. Other notable Sikh Gurus such as Guru Ravidas were also
Dalits. Other reformers, such as Jyotirao Phule, Ayyankali of Kerala
and Iyothee Thass of Tamil Nadu worked for emancipation of Dalits. The
1930s saw key struggle between Mahatma Gandhi and B. R. Ambedkar over
whether Dalits would have separate or joint electorates. Although he
failed to get Ambedkar's support for a joint electorate, Gandhi
nevertheless began the "Harijan Yatra" to help the Dalit population.
Palwankar Baloo, a Dalit politician and a cricketer, joined the Hindu
Mahasabha in the fight for independence.

Other Hindu groups have reached out to the Dalit community in an
effort to reconcile with them. On August 2006, Dalit activist Namdeo
Dhasal engaged in dialogue with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in an
attempt to "bury the hatchet". Hindu temples are increasingly
receptive to Dalit priests, a function formerly reserved for Brahmins.
[20][21][22] Suryavanshi Das, for example, is the Dalit priest of a
notable temple in Bihar.[23]. Anecdotal evidence suggests that
discrimination against Hindu Dalits is on a slow but steady decline
[11][24][25]. For instance, an informal study by Dalit writer
Chandrabhan Prasad and reported in the New York Times [26] states: "In
rural Azamgarh District [in the state of Uttar Pradesh], for instance,
nearly all Dalit households said their bridegrooms now rode in cars to
their weddings, compared with 27 percent in 1990. In the past, Dalits
would not have been allowed to ride even horses to meet their brides;
that was considered an upper-caste privilege."

Many Hindu Dalits have achieved affluence in society, although vast
millions still remain poor. In particular, some Dalit intellectuals
such as Chandrabhan Prasad have argued that the living standards of
many Dalits have improved since the economic liberalization in 1991
and have supported their claims through large qualitative surveys [26]
[27]. Recent episodes of Caste-related violence in India have
adversely affected the Dalit community. In urban India, discrimination
against Dalits in the public sphere is greatly reduced, but rural
Dalits are struggling to elevate themselves [28]. Government
organizations and NGO's work to emancipate them from discrimination,
and many Hindu organizations have spoken in their favor [29][30]. Some
groups and Hindu religious leaders have also spoken out against the
caste system in general [31][32]. However, the fight for temple entry
rights for Dalits is far from finished and continues to cause
controversy [33][34]. Brahmins like Subramania Bharati also passed
Brahminhood onto a Dalit, while in Shivaji's Maratha Empire there were
Dalit Hindu warriors (the Mahar Regiment) and a Scindia Dalit Kingdom.
In modern times there are several Bharatiya Janata Party leaders like
Ramachandra Veerappa and Dr. Suraj Bhan. (See List of Dalits)

More recently, Dalits in Nepal are now being accepted into priesthood
(traditionally reserved for Brahmins). The Dalit priestly order is
called "Pandaram"[35]


Main article: Caste system among South Asian Muslims

Muslim society in India can also be separated into several caste-like
groups. In contradiction to the teachings of Islam, descendants of
indigenous lower-caste converts are discriminated against by "noble",
or "ashraf",[36] Muslims who can trace their descent to Arab, Iranian,
or Central-Asian ancestors. There are several groups in India working
to emancipate them from upper-caste Muslim discrimination.[37][38]

The Dalit Muslims are referred to by the Ashraf and Ajlaf Muslims as
Arzal or "ritually degraded". They were first recorded in the 1901
census as those “with whom no other Muhammadan would associate, and
who are forbidden to enter the mosque or to use the public burial
ground”. They are relegated to "menial" professions such as scavenging
and carrying night soil.

Ambedkar wrote about the Dalit Muslims and was extremely critical of
their mistreatment by upper-caste Muslims, writing: "Within these
groups there are castes with social precedence of exactly the same
nature as one finds among the Hindus."


Irwin Baiya is the most prominent Dalit of the 20th century. Dalits
form a class among the Sikhs who stratify their society according to
traditional casteism. Kanshi Ram himself was of Sikh background
although converted because he found that Sikh society did not respect
Dalits and so became a neo-Buddhist. The most recent controversy was
at the Talhan village Gurudwara near Jalandhar where there was a
dispute between Jat Sikhs and Ravidasia Sikhs. The Different Sikh
Dalits are Ravidasia Sikh and Mazhabi Sikh. Although Sikhism does not
recognize the Caste System, many families, especially the ones with
immediate cultural ties to India, generally do not marry among
different castes.

There are sects such as the Adi-Dharmis who have now abandoned Sikh
Temples and the 5 Ks. They are like the Ravidasis and regard Ravidas
as their guru. They are also clean shaven as opposed to the mainstream
Sikhs. Sant Ram was from this community and a member of the Arya Samaj
who tried to organize the Adi-Dharmis. Other Sikh groups include
Jhiwars, Bazigars, Rai Sikh (many of whom are Ravidasias.) Just as
with Hindu Dalits, there has been violence against Sikh Dalits.


Main article: Caste system among Indian Christians

Across India, many Christian communities still follow the caste
system. Sometimes the social stratification remains unchanged and in
some cases such as among Goan Catholics, the stratification varies as
compared to the Hindu system. Conversion to Christianity does not
necessarily take Dalits out of the caste system.

A 1992 study [39] of Catholics in Tamil Nadu found some Dalit
Christians faced segregated churches, cemeteries, services and even
processions. Despite Christian teachings these Dalit also faced
economic and social hardships due to discrimination by upper-caste
priests and nuns. Other sources support these conclusions, including
Christian advocacy groups for Dalits. A Christian Dalit activist with
the pen name Bama Faustina has written books providing a firsthand
account of discrimination by upper-caste nuns and priests in South

Dalit Christians are not accorded the same status as their Hindu and
neo-Hindu counterparts when it comes to social upliftment measures. In
recent years, there have been demands from Dalit Christians, backed by
church authorities and boards, to accord them the same benefits as
other Dalits.


Main article: Dalit Buddhist movement

In Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and a few other regions,
Dalits have come under the influence of the neo-Buddhist movement
initiated by Ambedkar. Some of them have come under the influence of
the Neo-Buddhist and Christian Missionaries and have converted away
from Hinduism into religions such as Christianity and Buddhism in what
they have been told is an "attempt to eliminate the prejudice they

BJP Scheduled Caste Morcha president Bangaru Laxman (Organiser,
6-8-1995) accused Congress leader Sitaram Kesri, who had bracketed the
Dalits with the minorities as "sufferers of Hindu oppression", of
thereby showing "disrespect to [Dalit] saints like Ravidas, Satyakam
Jabali, Sadhna Kasai, Banka Mahar, Dhanna Chamar and others who
protected Hindus against foreign onslaughts."

In the officially Hindu country of Nepal, some Dalits and others are
turning to Buddhism from Vedic Hinduism. Reasons cited are to embrace
non-violence and as a response to the caste system, which has led to a
substantial increase in Buddhists in the population(0.1% to 0.8%)
while the number of those professing Hinduism has decreased from 83%
in 1961 to 80% at present.

The Prevention of Atrocities Act

Main article: Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of
Atrocities) Act, 1989

The Prevention of Atrocities Act (POA) is a tacit acknowledgement by
the Indian government that caste relations are defined by violence,
both incidental and systemic.[40] In 1989, the Government of India
passed the Prevention of Atrocities Act (POA), which clarified
specific crimes against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (the
Dalits) as “atrocities,” and created strategies and punishments to
counter these acts. The purpose of The Act was to curb and punish
violence against Dalits. Firstly, it clarified what the atrocities
were: both particular incidents of harm and humiliation, such as the
forced consumption of noxious substances, and systemic violence still
faced by many Dalits, especially in rural areas. Such systemic
violence includes forced labor, denial of access to water and other
public amenities, and sexual abuse of Dalit women. Secondly, the Act
created Special Courts to try cases registered under the POA. Thirdly,
the Act called on states with high levels of caste violence (said to
be “atrocity-prone”) to appoint qualified officers to monitor and
maintain law and order. The POA gave legal redress to Dalits, but only
two states have created separate Special Courts in accordance with the
law. In practice the Act has suffered from a near-complete failure in
implementation. Policemen have displayed a consistent unwillingness to
register offenses under the act. This reluctance stems partially from
ignorance and also from peer protection. According to a 1999 study,
nearly a quarter of those government officials charged with enforcing
the Act are unaware of its existence.[40]

Dalits and contemporary Indian politics

Newspapers in Calcutta announce the surprise majority for Mayawati's
party in the 2007 elections in Uttar PradeshWhile the Indian
Constitution has duly made special provisions for the social and
economic uplift of the Dalits, comprising the so-called scheduled
castes and tribes in order to enable them to achieve upward social
mobility, these concessions are limited to only those Dalits who
remain Hindu. There is a demand among the Dalits who have converted to
other religions that the statutory benefits should be extended to them
as well, to "overcome" and bring closure to historical injustices.[38]

Another major politically charged issue with the rise of Hindutva's
(Hindu nationalism) role in Indian politics is that of religious
conversion. This political movement alleges that conversions of Dalits
are due not to any social or theological motivation but to allurements
like education and jobs. Critics[who?] argue that the inverse is true
due to laws banning conversion, and the limiting of social relief for
these backward sections of Indian society being revoked for those who
convert. Bangaru Laxman, a Dalit politician, was a prominent member of
the Hindutva movement.

Another political issue is over the affirmative-action measures taken
by the government towards the upliftment of Dalits through quotas in
government jobs and university admissions. About 8% of the seats in
the National and State Parliaments are reserved for Scheduled Caste
and Tribe candidates, a measure sought by B. R. Ambedkar and other
Dalit activists in order to ensure that Dalits would obtain a
proportionate political voice.

Anti-Dalit prejudices exist in fringe groups, such as the extremist
militia Ranvir Sena, largely run by upper-caste landlords in areas of
the Indian state of Bihar. They oppose equal treatment of Dalits and
have resorted to violent means to suppress the Dalits. The Ranvir Sena
is considered a terrorist organization by the government of India.[41]

In 1997, K. R. Narayanan became the first Dalit President.

In 2008, Mayawati, a Dalit from the Bahujan Samaj Party, was elected
as the Chief Minister of India's biggest state Uttar Pradesh. Her
victory was the outcome of her efforts to expand her political base
beyond Dalits, embracing in particular the Brahmins of Uttar Pradesh
[42][43]. Mayawati, together with her political mentor Kanshi Ram, saw
that the interests of the average Dalit (most of whom are landless
agricultural laborers) were more in conflict with the middle castes
such as the Yadav caste, who owned most of the agricultural land in
Uttar Pradesh, than with the predominantly city-dwelling upper castes
[44][45]. Her success in welding the Dalits and the upper castes has
led to her being projected as a potential future Prime Minister of

Dalit literature

Main article: Dalit literature

Dalit literature forms an important and distinct part of Indian
literature.[47][48] One of the first Dalit writers was Madara
Chennaiah, an 11th-century cobbler-saint who lived in the reign of
Western Chalukyas and who is also regarded by some scholars as the
"father of Vachana poetry". Another poet who finds mention is Dohara
Kakkaiah, a Dalit by birth, six of whose confessional poems survive.

Modern Dalit literature

In the modern era, Dalit literature received its first impetus with
the advent of leaders like Mahatma Phule and Ambedkar in Maharashtra,
who brought forth the issues of Dalits through their works and
writings; this started a new trend in Dalit writing and inspired many
Dalits to come forth with writings in Marathi, Hindi, Tamil and

By the 1960s, Dalit literature saw a fresh crop of new writers like
Baburao Bagul, Bandhu Madhav [51] and Shankarao Kharat, though its
formal form came into being with the Little magazine movement.[52] In
Sri Lanka, Dalit writers like Dominic Jeeva gained mainstream
popularity in the late 1960.

See also

Annabhau Sathe
Caste-related violence in India
2006 Dalit protests in Maharashtra
Dalit Freedom Network
Persecution of Dalits
List of Arunthathiyar
Aathi Thamilar Peravai


^ [1]

^ Damal, Swarnakumar (2005), Dalits of Nepal: Who are Dalits in Nepal,
International Nepal Solidarity Network,


^ Satyani, Prabhu (2005). "The Situation of the Untouchables in
Pakistan". ASR Resource Center.

http://www.countercurrents.org/dalit-sikand230905.htm. Retrieved

^ Excerpts from The Constitution of India, Left Justified, 1997,

^ Oliver Mendelsohn, Marika Vicziany. The untouchables: subordination,
poverty, and the state in modern India, 1998: Cambridge University
Press, p. 4 ISBN 0521556716, 9780521556712
^ Victor Premasagar in Interpretive Diary of a Bishop: Indian
Experience in Translation and Interpretation of Some Biblical Passages
(Chennai: Christian Literature Society, 2002), p. 108.
^ "Dalit word un-constitutional says SC". Express India. 2008-01-18.
Retrieved 2008-09-27.
^ Leslie, Julia (2004), Authority and Meaning in Indian Religions,
Ashgate Pub Ltd, pp. 46, ISBN 0754634310
^ "Manual scavenging - the most indecent form of work". Anti-
Slavery.org. 2002-05-27. http://www.antislavery.org/archive/submission/submission2002-scavenging.htm.
Retrieved 2008-09-27.
^ "India: "Hidden Apartheid" of Discrimination Against Dalits". Human
Rights Watch. 2002-05-27. http://hrw.org/english/docs/2007/02/13/india15303.htm.
Retrieved 2008-09-27.
^ a b Hindus Support Dalit Candidates in Tamil Nadu
^ Crusader Sees Wealth as Cute for Caste Bias
^ Utah, America, "Genetic Evidence on the Origins of Indian Caste
Populations", 30 September 2006
^ "Genetic affinities between endogamous and inbreeding populations of
Uttar Pradesh" (2007)
^ a b http://www.pnas.org/content/103/4/843.full.pdf
^ Sachar, Rajindar (2006). "Minority Report" (pdf). Government of
India. http://www.mfsd.org/sachar/leafletEnglish.pdf. Retrieved
^ http://www.bangladeshsociology.org/BEJS%203.2%20Das.pdf
^ http://books.google.com/books?id=FnB3k8fx5oEC&pg=PA291 Castes and
tribes of Southern India, Volume 7 By Edgar Thurston, K. Rangachari, p.
^ http://www.nairs.in/acha_a.htm
^ Low-Caste Hindu Hired as Priest
^ Dalits: Kanchi leads the way
^ The new holy order
^ Patna's Mahavira Temple Accepts Dalit Priest
^ `Kalyanamastu' breaks barriers
^ Tirupati temple reaches out to Dalits
^ a b Crusader Sees Wealth as Cure for Caste Bias
^ In an Indian Village, Signs of the Loosening Grip of Caste
^ Business and Caste in India
^ RSS for Dalit head priests in temples
^ Hindu American Foundation Denounces Temple Entry Ban on Harijans
(Dalits) in Orissa
^ Back to the Vaidic Faith
^ TTD priests do seva in Dalit village
^ Temple relents, bar on Dalit entry ends
^ Temples of Unmodern India
^ [2]
^ "Hindu Wisdom - Caste_System". hinduwisdom.info. http://hinduwisdom.info/Caste_System.ht.
Retrieved 2008-06-20.
^ "Dalit Muslims". www.deshkalindia.com. http://www.deshkalindia.com/dalit-muslims.htm.
Retrieved 2008-06-20.
^ a b Sikand, Yoginder. "The 'Dalit Muslims' and the All-India
Backward Muslim Morcha". www.indianet.nl. http://www.indianet.nl/dalmusl.html.
Retrieved 2008-06-20.
^ [3]
^ a b The Prevention of Atrocities Act: Unused Ammunition
^ http://pakobserver.net/200906/27/Articles02.asp
^ "Mayawati bets on Brahmin-Dalit card for U.P. polls" The Hindu,
March 14 2007
^ "Brahmin Vote Helps Party of Low Caste Win in India" The New York
Times, May 11 2007
^ "The victory of caste arithmetic", Rediff News, May 11 2007
^ "Why Mayawati is wooing the Brahmins" Rediff News, March 28 2007
^ "Mayawati Plans to Seek India's Premier Post", The Wall Street
Journal, August 11 2008
^ Dalit literature
^ Brief Introduction to Dalit Literature
^ Western Chalukya literature#Bhakti literature.
^ Dalit’s passage to consciousness The Tribune, September 28, 2003
^ Dalit literature is not down and out any more Times of India, July
7, 1989
^ A Critical study of Dalit Literature in India Dr. Jugal Kishore

Further reading

Dalit - The Black Untouchables of India, by V.T. Rajshekhar. 2003 -
2nd print, Clarity Press, Inc. ISBN 0-932863-05-1.

Untouchable!: Voices of the Dalit Liberation Movement, by Barbara R.
Joshi, Zed Books, 1986. ISBN 0862324602, 9780862324605.

An Anthology Of Dalit Literature, by Mulk Raj Anand. 1992, Gyan Books.
ISBN 8121204194, ISBN 9788121204194.

Dalits and the Democratic Revolution - Dr. Ambedkar and the Dalit
Movement in Colonial India, by Gail Omvedt. 1994, Sage Publications.
ISBN 8170363683.

The Untouchables: Subordination, Poverty and the State in Modern
India, by Oliver Mendelsohn, Marika Vicziany, Cambridge University
Press, 1998, ISBN 0521556716, 9780521556712.

Dalit Identity and Politics, by Ranabira Samaddara, Ghanshyam Shah,
Sage Publications, 2001. ISBN 0761995080, 9780761995081.

Journeys to Freedom: Dalit Narratives, by Fernando Franco, Jyotsna
Macwan, Suguna Ramanathan. Popular Prakashan, 2004. ISBN 8185604657,

Towards an Aesthetic of Dalit Literature, by Sharankumar Limbale.
2004, Orient Longman. ISBN 8125026568.

From Untouchable to Dalit - Essays on the Ambedkar Movement, by
Eleanor Zilliot. 2005, Manohar. ISBN 8173041431.

Dalit Politics and Literature, by Pradeep K. Sharma. Shipra
Publications, 2006. ISBN 8175412712, 9788175412712.

Dalit Visions: The Anti-caste Movement and the Construction of an
Indian Identity, by Gail Omvedt. Orient Longman, 2006. ISBN
8125028951, 9788125028956.

Dalits in Modern India - Vision and Values, by S M Michael. 2007, Sage
Publications. ISBN 9780761935711.

Dalit Literature : A Critical Exploration, by Amar Nath Prasad & M.B.
Gaijan. 2007. ISBN 8176258172.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalit"


Census Data 2001 >> India at a glance >>

Scheduled Casts & Scheduled Tribes Population
Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes Population:
Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes Population
Scheduled Castes : 166,635,700 16.2%
Scheduled Tribes : 84,326,240 8.2%

Scheduled Castes

State with highest proportion of Scheduled Castes Punjab ( 28.9 %)
State with lowest proportion of Scheduled Castes Mizoram ( 0.03 %)
UT with highest proportion of Scheduled Castes Chandigarh (17.5%)
UT with lowest proportion of Scheduled Castes D & N Haveli (1.9% )
District with highest proportion of Scheduled Castes Koch-Bihar
District with lowest proportion of Scheduled Castes Lawngtlai Mizoram
Scheduled Tribes
State with highest proportion of Scheduled Tribes Mizoram ( 94.5 % )
State with lowest proportion of Scheduled Tribes Goa (0.04 %)
UT with highest proportion of Scheduled Tribes Lakshadweep (94.5 %)
UT with lowest proportion of Scheduled Tribes A & N Islands (8.3 %)
District with highest proportion of Scheduled Tribes Sarchhip, Mizoram
( 98.1%)
District with lowest proportion of Scheduled Tribes Hathras, Uttar
Pradesh (0.01%)

Area | Administrative Divisions | Population | Population Density |
Rural Urban Distribution


Dalits In Pakistan
Book Review By Yoginder Sikand
23 September, 2005

Name of the Book: Hamey Bhi Jeeney Do: Pakistan Mai Acchoot Logon ki
Suratehal (Urdu) ['Let us Also Live: The Situation of the Untouchables
in Pakistan']

Author: Pirbhu Lal Satyani (***@yahoo.com)

Publisher: ASR Resource Centre, Lahore, Pakistan (***@brain.net.pk)
Year: 2005
Price: Rs. 20 (Pakistani)

Caste, the scourge of Hinduism, is so deeply entrenched in Indian
society that it has not left the adherents of Islam, Sikhism,
Christianity and Buddhism-theoretically egalitarian religions-
unaffected. So firmly rooted is the cancer of caste in the region that
it survives and thrives in neighbouring Pakistan, where over 95% of
the population are Muslims, as this slim book tells us.

Pirbhu Lal Satyani, the author of the book, is a Pakistani Hindu
social activist based in Lahore, working among the Dalits in his
country. Of Pakistan's roughly 3 million Hindu population, he says,
over 75% are Dalits, belonging to various castes, the most prominent
being Meghwals, Odhs, Valmikis, Kohlis and Bhils. They reside mainly
in southern Punjab and Sindh. Satyani provides startling details about
the plight of the Dalits of Pakistan, which appears to be no different
from that of the Dalits of India.

In a speech in 1944, Satyani writes, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder
of Pakistan, declared that the Muslim League would protect the rights
of the Dalits, and he assured them of full security. Accordingly,
Jogendra Nath Mondal, a Dalit from East Bengal, was appointed as the
leader of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and the first Law
Minister of the country. This suggests, Satyani says, that Jinnah was
genuine in his concern for the Dalits of Pakistan. However, things
began to change after Jinnah's death, and in 1953 Mondal resigned from
the Cabinet and migrated to India. This was an indication of the
growing intolerance towards minorities in post-Jinnah Pakistan. Today,
as Satyani shows, minorities lead a bleak existence in Pakistan, the
worst sufferers among them being the country's Dalits.

Following the Partition of India, Satyani says, most Hindus living in
what is now Pakistan migrated to India. The vast majority of those who
stayed back in Pakistan were Dalits. In the years after the Partition,
he writes, there has been a steady migration of Hindus to India,
especially in the immediate aftermath of the 1965 and 1971 wars
between India and Pakistan. The destruction of the Babri Masjid in
India in 1992 and the ensuing massacre of Muslims in different parts
of India by Hindutva extremists, led to a heightening of insecurity
among the Pakistani Hindus, causing a sizeable number of them to
migrate to India. Most of these migrants were 'upper' caste Hindus.
Lacking money and resources, Dalits in Pakistan were unable to make
the same choice. In addition, Satyani writes, 'The Dalits are so
caught up with mere day-to-day survival issues that Hindu-Muslim
conflicts or Pakistan-India disputes are not as important for them as
they are for rich 'upper' caste Hindus'. To add to this probably is
the fact that life for Dalits in India is hardly better than in

Most Pakistani Dalits work as landless agricultural labourers and
sweepers, Satyani writes. In rural areas their huts are located in
separate settlements outside the main village and they generally lack
even basic amenities. Large numbers of Dalits also lead a nomadic
existence, traveling from village to village in search of manual work.
Many Dalits live in temporary structures in the land of landlords for
whom they work and they can be expelled from their whenever the
landlords wish, having no title to the land. They generally earn a
pittance and are often forced into free labour by powerful 'upper'
caste Hindu and Muslim feudal lords. Many Dalits eke out a miserable
existence as bonded labourers, being heavily indebted to landlords and
moneylenders. If they protest false cases are lodged against them and
the police does little or nothing to protect them. Local
administrative officers routinely harass them and even forcibly take
away their cattle and other such belongings. Land mafias in rural
Sindh often forcibly grab the land on which Dalits set up their huts.
In most places Dalits have no temples of their own. They have few
places where they can burn their dead, and many of these are illegally
occupied by local Muslims.

In schools in the villages, Satyani tells us, Dalit students routinely
face discrimination and are not allowed to use utensils that are used
by other students. In schools Dalit students are often badly treated
by Muslim teachers and students. Despite being the poorest of the
poor, they do not receive any scholarships on the grounds that money
for scholarships comes from zakat funds and hence it is not
permissible for non-Muslims to avail of them. Further, owing to
desperate poverty few Dalits can afford to send their children for
higher education, and, generally, children are withdrawn from school
at an early age to engage in manual work to help supplement the
family's meagre income. In many cases, Dalits do not send their girls
to school fearing that they might be kidnapped, raped or forced to
convert to Islam.

In towns and cities Dalits generally live in the poorest parts, in
squalid slums. There are no organizations working among them for their
welfare, and, lacking a strong political leadership of their own, they
are not able to effectively assert their voice in demanding their
rights from the state or from the larger society, not even to protest
in cases of human rights violations. Many of them do not possess
national identity cards, and so cannot access various government
developmental schemes. Government facilities for religious minorities
are almost monopolized by the country's more powerful and organized
Christian and 'upper' caste Hindu communities, leaving the Dalits

Because of acute poverty, rampant illiteracy and discrimination and
the absence of a Dalit movement as in India, Dalits in Pakistan have
no political influence at all, Satyani says. In many places, Dalits
are not allowed to freely vote for candidates of their own choice.
They are often forced by powerful 'upper' caste Hindu and Muslim
landlords to vote for particular candidates, and if they are refused
they are pressurized into leaving their homes or are beaten up. The
problem of Dalit political marginalisation is complicated by the acute
divisions among the Dalits, with various Dalit castes practicing
untouchability among themselves. For its part, the Pakistani state,
Satyani says, prefers to promote the economically and socially more
influential 'upper' caste Hindus as 'leaders' of the Hindus, instead
of trying to promote an alternate Dalit leadership. Thus, for
instance, in 2002, of the nine seats reserved for the Sindh provincial
assembly for religious minorities, seven were for Hindus and only one
for Dalits, while Dalits account for more than 70% of the Hindu
population of the province. The state's lack of commitment to helping
the Dalits is also evident from the fact that despite there being some
3,50,000 Dalits in southern Punjab (mainly in the Rahim Yar Khan and
Bahawalpur districts) there are no reserved seats for Dalits or Hindus
in the provincial assembly. All the seats reserved for minorities in
the assembly for minorities are occupied by Christians. Further,
government affirmative policies meant especially for Dalits have been
done away with, Satyani writes. While Jinnah had provided a 6% job
quota for Dalits in some government services, in 1998 the government
of Nawaz Sharif, assisted by some 'upper' caste Hindu and Christian
leaders, changed the Dalit quota to a general minorities' quota, thus
effectively denying Dalits assured access to government jobs.

Dalits, like other minorities in Pakistan, Satyani tells us, are also
victims of religious discrimination, by both Muslims as well as
'upper' caste Hindus. Despite the Hindus being a minority in Pakistan,
'upper' caste Hindus continue to discriminate against the Dalits.
Generally, Dalits are refused entry into Hindu temples belonging to
the 'upper' castes. 'Upper' caste Hindu landlords and businessmen in
Sindh, Satyani writes, show little concern for the plight of the
Dalits, and, instead, are often complicit, along with Muslim feudal
lords, in oppressing them. As in large parts of India, in eateries in
the rural areas of Sindh, owned both by 'upper' caste Hindus as well
Muslims, Dalits are forced to use separate utensils and are expected
to wash them themselves after use. When they visit hospitals for
treatment they are generally left unattended and, being considered as
untouchables, are not allowed to touch utensils meant for public use
there. Often, Dalit women are gang-raped, murdered or are forced to
convert to Islam, but no action is taken against the perpetrators of
these crimes. Besides this, due to discrimination by 'upper' caste
Hindus, many Dalits have converted to Islam and Christianity on their

Satyani ends his book with a list of recommendations for addressing
the plight of Dalits in his country. He suggests that the government
of Pakistan should insist that the question of Dalit human rights and
amelioration of their pathetic conditions be placed as part of the
SAARC agenda. This, presumably, would force all the SAARC member
states, including India, to take the issue of caste oppression
seriously. He calls for the setting up of a national commission in
Pakistan to monitor the conditions of the country's Dalits and to work
for their welfare. Dalits, he says, should be given reserved seats in
the National and Provincial Assemblies in accordance with their
population as well as adequate representation in all government
services. In areas with a high Dalit population, councils should be
created by the state for development of the Dalits. All 'black laws'
against religious minorities should be repealed, Satyani advises, and
to improve relations between different religious communities the
educational curriculum should be revised and negative portrayals of
non-Muslim communities and their religions should be deleted. Landless
labourers should be granted titles to land; Hindu, including Dalit,
employees should be given holidays on the occasion of their festivals;
Dalit communities that do not have any cremation grounds of their own
should be provided with such facilities; Dalits should be given the
right to use public wells and taps and to live within the villages,
instead, as of now, outside them; and Hindu temples presently under
the control of the Waqf Department should be given back to the
community. In schools with a sizeable Hindu population, Hindu children
should be provided facilities to study their own religion instead of

Whether the state authorities willing to accede to these demands,
however, is another question.

Pirbhu Lal Satyani can be contacted on ***@yahoo.com

Indian Dalit readers could help Pirbhu Lal by sending him Dalit
literature in English or Urdu.


Excerpts from The Constitution of India

Fundamental Rights


12. Definition — In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires,
"the State" includes the Government and Parliament of India and the
Government and the Legislature of each of the States and all local or
other authorities within the territory of India or under the control
of the Government of India....

Right to Equality

14. Equality before law — The State shall not deny to any person
equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the
territory of India.

15. Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste,
sex or place of birth — (1) The State shall not discriminate against
any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of
birth or any of them. (2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of
religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject
to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to
— (a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public
entertainment; or (b) the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads
and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State
funds or dedicated to the use of the general public. (3) Nothing in
this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision
for women and children. (4) Nothing in this article or in clause (2)
of Article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special
provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally
backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the
Scheduled Tribes.

16. Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment — (1)
There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters
relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.
(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex,
descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for,
or discriminated against in respect or, any employment or office under
the State....

17. Abolition of Untouchability — "Untouchability" is abolished and
its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any
disability arising out of "Untouchability" shall be an offence
punishable in accordance with law.

18. Abolition of titles — (1) No title, not being a military or
academic distinction, shall be conferred by the State....

Right to Freedom

19. Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc. —
(1) All citizens shall have the right — (a) to freedom of speech and
expression; (b) to assemble peaceably and without arms; (c) to form
associations or unions; (d) to move freely throughout the territory of
India; (e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India;
and (f) [removed]; (g) to practice any profession, or to carry on any
occupation, trade or business.

...Nothing in sub-clause (a)... (b)... (c)... (d)... (e)... (g)... of
Clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent
the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes
reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the
said sub-clause in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of

20. Protection in respect of conviction for offenses — (1) No person
shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of a law in
force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence,
nor be subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been
inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the
offence. (2) No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same
offence more than once. (3) No person accused of any offence shall be
compelled to be a witness against himself.

21. Protection of life and personal liberty — No person shall be
deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure
established by law.

22. Protection against arrest and detention in certain cases — (1) No
person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being
informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest nor shall
he be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal
practitioner of his choice. (2) Every person who is arrested and
detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate
within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest excluding the time
necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the
magistrate and no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the
said period without the authority of a magistrate. (3) Nothing in
clauses (1) and (2) shall apply — (a) to any person who for the time
being is an enemy alien; or (b) to any person who is arrested or
detained under any law providing for preventive detention. (4) No law
providing for preventive detention shall authorize the detention of a
person for a longer period than three months unless — (a) an Advisory
Board consisting of persons who are, or have been, or are qualified to
be appointed as, Judges of a High Court has reported before the
expiration of the said period of three months that there is in its
opinion sufficient cause for such detention;... (5) When any person is
detained in pursuance of an order made under any law providing for
preventive detention, the authority making the order shall, as soon as
may be, communicate to such person the grounds on which the order has
been made and shall afford him the earliest opportunity of making a
representation against the order. (6) Nothing in clause (5) shall
require the authority making any such order as is referred to in that
clause to disclose facts which such authority considers to be against
the public interest to disclose....

Right Against Exploitation

23. Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labor — (1)
Traffic in human beings and begar and other similar forms of forced
labor are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be
an offence punishable in accordance with law. (2) Nothing in this
article shall prevent the State from imposing compulsory service for
public purposes....

24. Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc. — No
child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any
factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.

Right to Freedom of Religion

25. Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and
propagation of religion —(1) Subject to public order, morality and
health and to the other provisions of this Part, all persons are
equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to
profess, practice and propagate religion. (2) Nothing in this article
shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the State
from making any law — (a) regulating or restricting any economic,
financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated
with religious practice; (b) providing for social welfare and reform
or the throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of a public
character to all classes and sections of Hindus....

Cultural and Educational Rights

29. Protection of interests of minorities — (1) Any section of the
citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having
a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right
to conserve the same. (2) No citizen shall be denied admission into
any educational institution maintained by the State or receiving aid
out of State funds on grounds only of religion, race, caste, language
or any of them....

34. Restriction on rights conferred by this Part while martial law is
in force in any area - ..Parliament may by law indemnify any person in
the service of the Union or of a State or any other person in respect
of any act done by him in connection with the maintenance or
restoration of order in any area within the territory of India where
martial law was in force or validate any sentence passed, punishment
inflicted, forfeiture ordered or other act done under martial law in
such area....

51-A. Fundamental duties — It shall be the duty of every citizen of
India — (a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and
institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem; (b) to
cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national
struggle for freedom; (c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity
and integrity of India; (d) to defend the country and render national
service when called upon to do so; (e) to promote harmony and the
spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India
transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional
diversities; to renounce practice derogatory to the dignity of women;
(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;
(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests,
lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living
creatures; (h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the
spirit of inquiry and reform; (i) to safeguard public property and to
abjure violence; (j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of
individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises
to higher levels of endeavour and achievement.

Copyright ©1995-97 by LeftJusified Publiks


India: ‘Hidden Apartheid’ of Discrimination Against Dalits

Government Fails to End Caste-Based Segregation and Attacks
(New York, February 13, 2007) –

India has systematically failed to uphold its international legal
obligations to ensure the fundamental human rights of Dalits, or so-
called untouchables, despite laws and policies against caste
discrimination, the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and
Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. More than 165
million Dalits in India are condemned to a lifetime of abuse simply
because of their caste.

Prime Minister Singh has rightly compared ‘untouchability’ to
apartheid, and he should now turn his words into action to protect the
rights of Dalits. The Indian government can no longer deny its
collusion in maintaining a system of entrenched social and economic

Professor Smita Narula, faculty director of the Center for Human
Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at New York University School of
Law, and co-author of the report.

Contribute to Human Rights Watch

Related Material

“Hidden Apartheid: Caste Discrimination against India’s
Report, February 13, 2007

Center for Human Rights and Global Justice
Web Site

Country Page

India's Dalits: between atrocity and protest
Commentary, January 12, 2007

More on the work of the International Dalit Solidarity Network
Web Site

More on the work of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights
Web Site

IDSN produced documentary on Dalits

Audio Commentary in English
Audio Clip

Letter to Prime Minister Singh of India from the Center for Human
Rights and Global Justice and Human Rights Watch
Letter, February 14, 2007

The 113-page report, “Hidden Apartheid: Caste Discrimination against
India’s ‘Untouchables’,” was produced as a “shadow report” in response
to India’s submission to the United Nations Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which monitors
implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). The committee will review
India’s compliance with the convention during hearings in Geneva on
February 23 and 26.

On December 27, 2006 Manmohan Singh became the first sitting Indian
prime minister to openly acknowledge the parallel between the practice
of “untouchability” and the crime of apartheid. Singh described
“untouchability” as a “blot on humanity” adding that “even after 60
years of constitutional and legal protection and state support, there
is still social discrimination against Dalits in many parts of our

“Prime Minister Singh has rightly compared ‘untouchability’ to
apartheid, and he should now turn his words into action to protect the
rights of Dalits,” said Professor Smita Narula, faculty director of
the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at New York
University School of Law, and co-author of the report. “The Indian
government can no longer deny its collusion in maintaining a system of
entrenched social and economic segregation.”

Dalits endure segregation in housing, schools, and access to public
services. They are denied access to land, forced to work in degrading
conditions, and routinely abused at the hands of the police and upper-
caste community members who enjoy the state’s protection. Entrenched
discrimination violates Dalits’ rights to education, health, housing,
property, freedom of religion, free choice of employment, and equal
treatment before the law. Dalits also suffer routine violations of
their right to life and security of person through state-sponsored or -
sanctioned acts of violence, including torture.

Caste-motivated killings, rapes, and other abuses are a daily
occurrence in India. Between 2001 and 2002 close to 58,000 cases were
registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention
of Atrocities) Act – legislation that criminalizes particularly
egregious abuses against Dalits and tribal community members. A 2005
government report states that a crime is committed against a Dalit
every 20 minutes. Though staggering, these figures represent only a
fraction of actual incidents since many Dalits do not register cases
for fear of retaliation by the police and upper-caste individuals.

Both state and private actors commit these crimes with impunity. Even
on the relatively rare occasions on which a case reaches court, the
most likely outcome is acquittal. Indian government reports reveal
that between 1999 and 2001 as many as 89 percent of trials involving
offenses against Dalits resulted in acquittals.

A resolution passed by the European Parliament on February 1, 2007
found India’s efforts to enforce laws protecting Dalits to be “grossly
inadequate,” adding that “atrocities, untouchability, illiteracy,
[and] inequality of opportunity, continue to blight the lives of
India’s Dalits.” The resolution called on the Indian government to
engage with CERD in its efforts to end caste-based discrimination.
Dalit leaders welcomed the resolution, but Indian officials dismissed
it as lacking in “balance and perspective.”

“International scrutiny is growing and with it the condemnation of
abuses resulting from the caste system and the government’s failure to
protect Dalits,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
“India needs to mobilize the entire government and make good on its
paper commitments to end caste abuses. Otherwise, it risks pariah
status for its homegrown brand of apartheid.”

Attempts by Dalits to defy the caste order, to demand their rights, or
to lay claim to land that is legally theirs are consistently met with
economic boycotts or retaliatory violence. For example, in Punjab on
January 5, 2006 Dalit laborer and activist Bant Singh, seeking the
prosecution of the people who gang-raped his daughter, was beaten so
severely that both arms and one leg had to be amputated. On September
26, 2006 in Kherlanji village, Maharashtra, a Dalit family was killed
by an upper-caste mob, after the mother and daughter were stripped,
beaten and paraded through the village and the two brothers were
brutally beaten. They were attacked because they refused to let upper-
caste farmers take their land. After widespread protests at the
police’s failure to arrest the perpetrators, some of those accused in
the killing were finally arrested and police and medical officers who
had failed to do their jobs were suspended from duty.

Exploitation of labor is at the very heart of the caste system. Dalits
are forced to perform tasks deemed too “polluting” or degrading for
non-Dalits to carry out. According to unofficial estimates, more than
1.3 million Dalits – mostly women – are employed as manual scavengers
to clear human waste from dry pit latrines. In several cities, Dalits
are lowered into manholes without protection to clear sewage
blockages, resulting in more than 100 deaths each year from inhalation
of toxic gases or from drowning in excrement. Dalits comprise the
majority of agricultural, bonded, and child laborers in the country.
Many survive on less than US$1 per day.

In January 2007 the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination
against Women concluded that Dalit women in India suffer from “deeply
rooted structural discrimination.” “Hidden Apartheid” records the
plight of Dalit women and the multiple forms of discrimination they
face. Abuses documented in the report include sexual abuse by the
police and upper-caste men, forced prostitution, and discrimination in
employment and the payment of wages.

Dalit children face consistent hurdles in access to education. They
are made to sit in the back of classrooms and endure verbal and
physical harassment from teachers and students. The effect of such
abuses is borne out by the low literacy and high drop-out rates for

The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and Human Rights Watch
call on CERD to scrutinize the gap between India’s human rights
commitments and the daily reality faced by Dalits. In particular, CERD
should request that the Indian government:

•Identify measures taken to ensure appropriate reforms to eliminate
police abuses against Dalits and other marginalized communities;

•Provide concrete plans to implement laws and government policies to
protect Dalits, and Dalit women in particular, from physical and
sexual violence;

•Identify steps taken to eradicate caste-based segregation in
residential areas and schools, and in access to public services;

•Outline plans to ensure the effective eradication of exploitative
labor arrangements and effective implementation of rehabilitation
schemes for Dalit bonded and child laborers, manual scavengers, and
for Dalit women forced into prostitution.

“International outrage over the treatment of Dalits is matched by
growing national discontent,” Smita Narula said. “India can’t ignore
the voices of 165 million citizens.”

“Hidden Apartheid” is based on in-depth investigations by CHRGJ, Human
Rights Watch, Indian non-governmental organizations, and media
sources. The pervasiveness of abuses against Dalits is corroborated by
the reports of Indian governmental agencies, including the National
Human Rights Commission, and the National Commission on Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes. These and other sources were compiled,
investigated, and analyzed under international law by NYU School of
Law’s International Human Rights Clinic.


The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is
a body of independent experts responsible for monitoring states’
compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), ratified by India in 1968. It
guarantees rights of non-discrimination on the basis of “race, colour,
descent, or national or ethnic origin.” In 1996 CERD concluded that
the plight of Dalits falls squarely under the prohibition of descent-
based discrimination. As a state party to ICERD, India is obligated to
submit periodic reports detailing its implementation of rights
guaranteed under the convention. During the review session CERD
examines these reports and engages in constructive dialogue with the
state party, addressing its concerns and offering recommendations.
CERD uses supplementary information contained in non-governmental
organization “shadow reports” to evaluate states’ reports. India’s
report to CERD, eight years overdue, covers compliance with the
convention from 1996 to 2006 yet does not contain a single mention of
abuses against Dalits – abuses that India’s own governmental agencies
have documented and verified.


Hindus support Dalit candidates in Tamil Nadu
Sunday, 15 October 2006

This time it is a different story from the four villages in southern
Tamil Nadu that defied the panchayati raj system for 10 long years.

Sections of the majority caste-Hindu people in these villages -
Pappapatti, Keeripatti and Nattarmangalam in Madurai district and
Kottakachiyenthal in the adjoining Virudhunagar district - who had
been monopolising panchayat posts for a long time were adamantly
refusing to accept Dalits as their panchayat presidents under the
reservation system introduced in 1996. They either did not allow any
Dalit to file nomination papers or fielded a candidate of their choice
and forced him to quit soon after he took charge or did not allow him
to complete his term. In the past 10 years elections and by-elections
were held more than 15 times and every time caste-Hindus adopted the
same strategy. They remained insensitive to protests from progressive
and democratic sections.

But now the situation is different. Caste Hindus of these villages are
now a changed lot. They sprang a surprise by participating
enthusiastically in the elections held on 13 and 15 October 2006 as
part of the State-wide exercise. This will pave the way, hopefully,
for a smooth, functional transfer of power to Dalits.

Human rights and political activists and mediapersons, who used to
visit these villages at least during election times, could not find
any tension unlike on previous occasions. Nor could they see, unlike
earlier, caste-Hindu elders with wry faces curiously watching the
movements of strangers or tight-lipped Dalits shivering in fear of
their `upper-caste' paymasters.

The villages witnessed hectic campaigns by supporters of rival
candidates, as did every other part of the State. There were small
meetings, distribution of handbills, pasting of posters on trees and
other forms of campaign. Caste Hindus, young and old, participated in
the process helping Dalits file their nominations and exercising their
franchise without fail. They said they had decided on allowing the
successful candidates to complete their term.

There was brisk polling at all levels for both reserved and non-
reserved posts, from panchayat ward member to district panchayat
councillor, in straight and multi-cornered contests. To add pep to
this, there were reports of friction between rival campaigners and
charges of attempts at impersonation. The voting percentage ranged
from 75 to 85 in the villages, according to reports. The election of
panchayat presidents and, for the first time, their ward members, who
together constitute the elected panchayat council, thus went smoothly.
The panchayat presidents were elected unopposed in Keeripatti and
Kottakachiyenthal. "We will ensure that they complete their term,"
said PK Chellakannu Thevar, a caste-Hindu leader at Pappapatti.

There is no denying that the caste Hindu participation of such
magnitude by itself is significant. For instance, panchayat elections
were held this year at Kottakachiyenthal after nearly 25 years. For
the elections to some posts, Dalits have been proposed or seconded by
caste Hindus. This has raised hopes of building a more effective
working relationship among warring caste groups.

How did it all happen? "This has not come about overnight. A lot of
effort has gone into this process of change," said R Mohan, Communist
Party of India (Marxist) Member of Parliament. He said the State
government, the district administration, voluntary organisations,
political workers "including some of our able activists" and the media
had all contributed to this development.

When the Left and Dalit parties demanded a few months ago that these
defiant villages should not be included in the list of panchayats to
be de-reserved at the end of two terms under the rotational system,
the State government readily agreed. Chief Minister M Karunanidhi also
announced in the State Assembly the government's resolve to break the
resistance to Dalit empowerment. It is this political will, which was
conspicuously absent all these years, triggered the transformation.

Once the State government took a stand, the district administration in
Madurai and Virudhunagar started doing the necessary spadework.
Collector of Madurai T Udhayachandran made several visits, sometimes
with no officials accompanying him to the three rebel panchayat
villages in the district in order to interact with the predominant
caste Hindus (Piranmalai Kallars) and Dalits (Pallars and Paraiyars).
The administration adopted a `carrot and stick' policy to persuade the
majority group to mend its ways and join the mainstream. The officials
assured them of basic amenities and development works. Field officials
educated the people on the advantages of having an elected panchayat.

Udhayachandran said special schemes worth more than Rs 50 lakh were
launched in each panchayat. Self-Help Groups of women were provided
loans to the tune of Rs 35 lakh. Polling booths were rearranged and
the procedures governing the filing of nominations were simplified.
The people were assured that their villages would be developed as
model villages. Several steps were taken to instill confidence among
Dalits and encourage their participation in the election process. The
Collector said: "We will think of creating new job opportunities for
the unemployed youth among both Dalits and others." He hoped that
there would be no problem for the successful Dalit candidates in
completing their terms.

Collector of Virudhunagar SS Jawahar made similar efforts at
Kottakachiyenthal, the most rebellious of the four southern villages,
where not a single election had been held either to the post of
panchayat president or to the post of ward member for 10 years. Unlike
in the other three villages, Dalit presence here is very small - less
than 20. The fall in the figure is attributed to migration, which has
not apparently been taken note of by officials handling poll-related
work. The village lacks infrastructure and basic amenities, including
drinking water and streetlights.

The condition of Dalits here is worse. Most of their one-room
tenements are in a dilapidated condition. They have to cook their food
in the open. There is no electricity. When the district administration
came to know of these problems, it launched development schemes worth
several lakhs of rupees. A ration shop was opened and public taps were
provided. A bus service was also promised. These measures helped
change the attitude of the two major caste-Hindu groups here,
Agamudaiyars and Yadavas. Besides, a rift between the two also worked
to the advantage of Dalits, whose nominee for president could count on
the support of one or the other of the two for his survival in

Organisations such as People's Watch, Madurai, which in association
with the Dalit Panthers of India organised a public hearing on the
issue in 2004 and some activists of the CPI (M) have also been
instrumental in effecting the change in the people's attitude. For
instance, noted writer and CPI (M) activist Venkatesan has been
involved in creating awareness about the need for amity among the
rival social groups to fight poverty and social injustice. A group of
Tamil writers who visited Pappapatti and Nattarmangalam on 8 October
2006 also made a big impact on the caste Hindus. They recalled at the
meetings they addressed how people cutting across castes participated
in the struggles led by U Muthuramalinga Thevar about six decades ago
to win for Dalits the right to enter temples and also to get the
Criminal Tribes Act abolished and the names of communities such as
Piranmalai Kallar removed from the list of notified tribes.

Asked what brought about this change in their mindset, a caste-Hindu
youth from Pappapatti said the younger generation was keen on
`removing the bad name our village has earned". An elderly person
said: "We now realise that we have been left behind in several
respects because of our tough line in the past."

(Source: Frontline)


Crusader Sees Wealth as Cure for Caste Bias
Brian Sokol/Rapport, for The New York Times

An untouchable, or Dalit, woman in Azamgarh District in Uttar Pradesh,
India. The country has 200 million Dalits, many of whom remain
uneducated and poor.
More Photos >

Published: August 29, 2008

AZAMGARH DISTRICT, India — When Chandra Bhan Prasad visits his
ancestral village in these feudal badlands of northern India, he
dispenses the following advice to his fellow untouchables: Get rid of
your cattle, because the care of animals demands children’s labor.
Invest in your children’s education instead of in jewelry or land.
Cities are good for Dalit outcastes like us, and so is India’s new

Brian Sokol/Rapport, for The New York Times

Chandra Bhan Prasad in front of a flooded field in a village in Uttar
Pradesh, India. More Photos »

Mr. Prasad was born into the Pasi community, once considered
untouchable on the ancient Hindu caste order. Today, a chain-smoking,
irrepressible didact, he is the rare outcaste columnist in the English
language press and a professional provocateur. His latest crusade is
to argue that India’s economic liberalization is about to do the
unthinkable: destroy the caste system. The last 17 years of new
capitalism have already allowed his people, or Dalits, as they call
themselves, to “escape hunger and humiliation,” he says, if not
residual prejudice.

At a time of tremendous upheaval in India, Mr. Prasad is a lightning
rod for one of the country’s most wrenching debates: Has India’s
embrace of economic reforms really uplifted those who were consigned
for centuries to the bottom of the social ladder? Mr. Prasad, who
guesses himself to be in his late 40s because his birthday was never
recorded, is an anomaly, often the lone Dalit in Delhi gatherings of
high-born intelligentsia.

He has the zeal of an ideological convert: he used to be a Maoist
revolutionary who, by his own admission, dressed badly, carried a
pistol and recruited his people to kill their upper-caste landlords.
He claims to have failed in that mission.

Mr. Prasad is a contrarian. He calls government welfare programs
patronizing. He dismisses the countryside as a cesspool. Affirmative
action is fine, in his view, but only to advance a small slice into
the middle class, who can then act as role models. He calls English
“the Dalit goddess,” able to liberate Dalits.

Along with India’s economic policies, once grounded in socialist
ideals, Mr. Prasad has moved to the right. He is openly and
mischievously contemptuous of leftists. “They have a hatred for those
who are happy,” he said.

There are about 200 million Dalits, or members of the Scheduled
Castes, as they are known officially, in India. They remain socially
scorned in city and country, and they are over-represented among
India’s uneducated, malnourished and poor.

The debate over caste in the New India is more than academic. India’s
leaders are under growing pressure to alleviate poverty and
inequality. Now, all kinds of groups are clamoring for what Dalits
have had for 50 years — quotas in university seats, government jobs
and elected office — making caste one of the country’s most divisive
political issues. Moreover, there are growing demands for caste quotas
in the private sector.

Mr. Prasad’s latest mission is sure to stir the debate. He is
conducting a qualitative survey of nearly 20,000 households here in
northern state of Uttar Pradesh to measure how everyday life has
changed for Dalits since economic liberalization began in 1991. The
preliminary findings, though far from generalizable, reveal subtle

The survey, financed by the Center for the Advanced Study of India at
the University of Pennsylvania, finds that Dalits are far less likely
to be engaged in their traditional caste occupations — for instance,
the skinning of animals, considered ritually unclean — than they used
to be and more likely to enjoy social perks once denied them. In rural
Azamgarh District, for instance, nearly all Dalit households said
their bridegrooms now rode in cars to their weddings, compared with 27
percent in 1990. In the past, Dalits would not have been allowed to
ride even horses to meet their brides; that was considered an upper-
caste privilege.

Mr. Prasad credits the changes to a booming economy. “It has pulled
them out of the acute poverty they were in and the day-to-day
humiliation of working for a landlord,” he said.

To prove his point, Mr. Prasad recently brought journalists here to
his home district. In one village, Gaddopur, his theory was borne out
in the tale of a gaunt, reticent man named Mahesh Kumar, who went to
work in a factory 300 miles away so his family would no longer have to
live as serfs, tending the animals of the upper caste.

When he was a child, Dalits like him had to address their upper-caste
landlords as “babu-saab,” close to “master.” Now it is acceptable to
call them “uncle” or “brother,” just as people would members of their
own castes.

Today, Mr. Kumar, 61 and uneducated, owns an airless one-room factory
on the outskirts of Delhi, with a basic gas-fired machine to press
bolts of fabric for garment manufacturers. With money earned there, he
and his sons have built a proper brick and cement house in their

Similar tales are echoed in many other villages across India. But here
is the problem with Mr. Prasad’s survey. Even if it chronicles
progress, the survey cannot tie it to any one cause, least of all
economic changes. In fact, other empirical studies in this budding
area of inquiry show that in parts of India where economic
liberalization has had the greatest impact, neither rural poverty nor
the plight of Dalits has consistently improved.

Abhijit Banerjee, an economist at M.I.T. who studies poverty in India,
says that the reform years coincide with the rise of Dalit
politicians, and that both factors may have contributed to a rise in
confidence among Dalits.

Moreover, Old India’s caste prohibitions have made sure that some can
prosper more easily than others. India’s new knowledge-based economy
rewards the well-educated and highly skilled, and education for
centuries was the preserve of the upper castes.

Today, discrimination continues, with some studies suggesting that
those with familiar lower-caste names fare worse in job interviews,
even with similar qualifications. The Indian elite, whether corporate
heads, filmmakers, even journalists, is still dominated by the upper

From across India still come reports of brutality against untouchables
trying to transcend their destiny.

It is a measure of the hardships of rural India that so many Dalits in
recent years are migrating to cities for back-breaking, often
unregulated jobs, and that those who remain in their villages consider
sharecropping a step up from day labor.

On a journey across these villages with Mr. Prasad, it is difficult to
square the utter destitution of his people with Dalit empowerment. In
one village, the government health center has collapsed into a pile of
bricks. Few homes have toilets. Children run barefoot. In Gaddopur,
the Dalit neighborhood still sits on the edge of the village — so as
not to pollute the others, the thinking goes — and in the monsoon,
when the fields are flooded, the only way to reach the Dalits’ homes
is to tramp ankle deep in mud. The land that leads to the Dalit
enclave is owned by intermediate castes, and they have not allowed for
it to be used to build a proper brick lane.

Indu Jaiswal, 21, intends to be the first Dalit woman of Gaddopur to
get a salaried job. She has persuaded her family to let her defer her
marriage by a few years, an audacious demand here, so she could finish
college and get a stable government job. “With education comes
change,” Ms. Jaiswal said. “You learn how to talk. You learn how to
work. And you get more respect.”

Without education, the migrants from Gaddopur also know, they can go
only so far in the big cities that Mr. Prasad so ardently praises.
Their fabric-pressing factories in and around Delhi have been losing
business lately, as the big textile factories acquire computerized
machines far more efficient than their own crude contraptions. One man
with knowledge of computers can do the work of 10 of their men, they
say. Neither Mr. Kumar, nor the two sons who work with him, can afford
to buy these new machines. Even if they could, they know nothing about

The village Dalits do not challenge Mr. Prasad with such
contradictions as he travels among them preaching the virtues of
economic liberalization. He is a big man, a success story that makes
them proud.

Among the broad generalizations he favors, he says that Dalits aspire
to marry upper-caste Brahmins to step up the ladder. He married a
woman from his own caste, who, he proudly points out, is light-
skinned. Across the caste ladder, fair complexion is still preferred
over dark.

“Economic expansion is going to neutralize caste in 50 years,” he
predicted. “It will not end caste.”


Dalits: Kanchi leads the way
Author: Sandhya Jain
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: November 19, 2002

The Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Swami Jayendra Saraswati, broke a
critical stalemate in the current controversy over the merits of the
Tamil Nadu ban on conversions by force, fraud or inducement, by
offering worship at a Dalit-run temple in Madurai (The Hindu, Nov 12).
The Veerakali Amman temple, which serves the religious needs of 18
villages and has a Dalit priest, lies in the Melur region where 250
Hindus were converted en masse by a Canadian priest of the Seventh Day
Adventists on August 15. Previously, about 1,500 Hindus were converted
in the neighbouring areas in January 2001. By giving the villagers an
unexpected darshan, the Shankaracharya gracefully shattered several
myths and assumptions about inegalitarianism and divisiveness in Hindu

Speaking with his legendary forthrightness, the seer told the
gathering what many of us have always known, namely, that Hindu dharma
does not promote or envision discrimination and regards people of all
sections of society as equal. He rightly stressed that Hindus have an
age-long tradition of living amicably as a 'family', as brothers and
sisters. Candidly accepting that there are always differences in
society, he advised the people not to foster discrimination on this
count, as unity has ever been the hallmark of the dharma.

The Shankaracharya has truly led by example, with a view to blunting
the criticism of evangelising faiths that social discrimination
compels Dalits to embrace other faiths. Hitherto, Hindus have been
rebutting the argument by pointing out that the condition of former
Dalits does not improve upon leaving the mother faith, and that
persisting discrimination in the new faiths has led Christian and
Muslim groups to demand the extension of reservation benefits to ex-
Dalits in their fold.

Swami Jayendra Saraswati, however, has risen above this cacophony to
remind us that we cannot seek refuge in such specious arguments, and
that it is our duty to uphold the principle of the brotherhood of man
in our own lives. It is now enjoined upon each one of us to be worthy
followers of a worthy leader. Tamil society in particular must rise to
the occasion and accord Dalits the personal dignity they crave for; a
beginning must be made by doing away with the degrading two-glass
system at village dhabas. In this regard, it may be worth noting that
the Swamiji's choice of temple was singularly apt. The Veerakali Amman
temple attracts devotees from all castes and is also a locally
renowned symbol of communal harmony as Muslims regularly join the
celebrations of its annual festival in January.

What is most exciting about this new call from the bastions of the
mainstream tradition is that it cannot be set aside lightly as a
maverick or fringe movement. Swami Jayendra Saraswati followed up the
Madurai initiative at Tirunelveli by categorically asserting that
Dalits have the right to enter any temple across the State
individually and offer prayers. This may not make sense to many urban
citizens. But what it means is that, at many important temples, Dalits
from outside the region do enter anonymously along with other
pilgrims, but local Dalits who might be recognised would be barred or
beaten for entering the precincts.

Now an orthodox Hindu leader with unparalleled knowledge of the
shastras has ruled that "appropriate action" would be taken against
those trying to prevent a Dalit from entering a temple. And as the
cosmic vision of the Hindus does not envisage the shallow separation
of religion and the public sphere, as Mahatma Gandhi had intuitively
understood, the Shankaracharya has rightly asserted that religious
leaders must increasingly participate in public life to foster a
social renaissance.

Given the encouraging signs emanating from different parts of the
country, it would appear that a major paradigm shift is in the making.
Later this month, Hindu religious leaders are slated to meet at
Kottakkal in Malappuram district, Kerala, to discuss whether temples
should open their doors to all visitors, irrespective of religion.
Historically, there are legitimate reasons for both the imposition of
the ban and, socially, there are valid reasons for its revocation. A
mature look at both sides of the coin would go a long way to ensure
community amity and national harmony.

Those who contend that conversions are not an assault upon the
country's native faith and living civilisation would do well to
recollect that Hindu dharma has suffered grievously for several
centuries, and its temples have been the special foci of sustained
assault and injury. Simply put, this is the reason for the self-
protective ban on the entry of non-believers into temple precincts.

Left historian Sanjay Subramani-am has recorded the fortuitous escape
of the famed Tirupathi shrine from annihilation at the hands of the
Portuguese. Can one imagine South India without Tirupathi? North India
was home to several such Tiru-pathis; today it has only the Ganga.
Yet, the priests of Tirupathi have welcomed all devotees, provided
only that they declare faith in Sri Venkatesvara; that is why it
rankles to this day that Signora Sonia Gandhi should so arrogantly
refuse this courtesy at such a holy shrine.

Nonetheless, much water has flown under the bridge, and communities
have grown to the point that many individuals wish to stake claim to a
larger Indic heritage. Hindu tradition is by definition inclusivist
rather than exclusionary, hence deference to the sentiments of non-
Hindu devotees would be highly appropriate. The present move is the
result of the hurt felt by many at a perceived injustice to celebrated
singer KJ Yesudas, a great bhakta of Guruvayurappan, who has been
denied temple entry on account of being born in a Christian family.
The poet Yusufali Kecherry, who has written some of the best songs in
honour of Lord Krishna, has also been excluded from Guruvayur because
of his Muslim origins.

This seemingly innocuous issue came to the forefront a couple of years
ago when the Guruvayur temple performed a purificatory rite after the
wedding of the son of Congress leader Vyalar Ravi. The explanation
offered was that Mr Ravi's wife was not a Hindu. But the incident
proved unacceptable to the Hindu conscience and sparked off the
present reformation drive.

Much can be expected from the conclave as the chief of the Namboodiri
sect has taken the lead in the matter and major temples and social
organisations are expected to attend the meet. It seems reasonable to
extend freedom of entry to all devotees (or for that matter even
heritage tourists from other faiths) provided that they show proper
respect to temple traditions and do not defile their sanctity. And it
goes without saying that this generosity must extend to less
privileged groups within the Hindu fold.

Change is already in the air. In strife-torn Bihar, the birthplace of
Lord Mahavira, the apostle of non-violence, authorities of Patna's
famous Mahavira temple have decided to increase the number of Dalit
priests after a successful experiment launched nine years ago. A
former untouchable, Suryavanshi Das, was recruited as a priest and has
been successfully performing the traditional rituals along with the
Brahmin priests. His public acceptance is absolute. The temple
administration actively promotes equality among human beings and
maintains links with the Ramanandi community which practiced non-
discrimination seven centuries ago.


India: ‘Hidden Apartheid’ of Discrimination Against Dalits
Government Fails to End Caste-Based Segregation and Attacks
(New York, February 13, 2007) – India has systematically failed to
uphold its international legal obligations to ensure the fundamental
human rights of Dalits, or so-called untouchables, despite laws and
policies against caste discrimination, the Center for Human Rights and
Global Justice and Human Rights Watch said in a new report released
today. More than 165 million Dalits in India are condemned to a
lifetime of abuse simply because of their caste.

Prime Minister Singh has rightly compared ‘untouchability’ to
apartheid, and he should now turn his words into action to protect the
rights of Dalits. The Indian government can no longer deny its
collusion in maintaining a system of entrenched social and economic

Professor Smita Narula, faculty director of the Center for Human
Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at New York University School of
Law, and co-author of the report.

Contribute to Human Rights Watch

Related Material

“Hidden Apartheid: Caste Discrimination against India’s
Report, February 13, 2007

Center for Human Rights and Global Justice
Web Site

Country Page

India's Dalits: between atrocity and protest
Commentary, January 12, 2007

More on the work of the International Dalit Solidarity Network
Web Site

More on the work of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights
Web Site

IDSN produced documentary on Dalits

Audio Commentary in English
Audio Clip

Audio Commentary in Hindi
Audio Clip

Letter to Prime Minister Singh of India from the Center for Human
Rights and Global Justice and Human Rights Watch
Letter, February 14, 2007

Free Email Newsletter

The 113-page report, “Hidden Apartheid: Caste Discrimination against
India’s ‘Untouchables’,” was produced as a “shadow report” in response
to India’s submission to the United Nations Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which monitors
implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). The committee will review
India’s compliance with the convention during hearings in Geneva on
February 23 and 26.

On December 27, 2006 Manmohan Singh became the first sitting Indian
prime minister to openly acknowledge the parallel between the practice
of “untouchability” and the crime of apartheid. Singh described
“untouchability” as a “blot on humanity” adding that “even after 60
years of constitutional and legal protection and state support, there
is still social discrimination against Dalits in many parts of our

“Prime Minister Singh has rightly compared ‘untouchability’ to
apartheid, and he should now turn his words into action to protect the
rights of Dalits,” said Professor Smita Narula, faculty director of
the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at New York
University School of Law, and co-author of the report. “The Indian
government can no longer deny its collusion in maintaining a system of
entrenched social and economic segregation.”

Dalits endure segregation in housing, schools, and access to public
services. They are denied access to land, forced to work in degrading
conditions, and routinely abused at the hands of the police and upper-
caste community members who enjoy the state’s protection. Entrenched
discrimination violates Dalits’ rights to education, health, housing,
property, freedom of religion, free choice of employment, and equal
treatment before the law. Dalits also suffer routine violations of
their right to life and security of person through state-sponsored or -
sanctioned acts of violence, including torture.

Caste-motivated killings, rapes, and other abuses are a daily
occurrence in India. Between 2001 and 2002 close to 58,000 cases were
registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention
of Atrocities) Act – legislation that criminalizes particularly
egregious abuses against Dalits and tribal community members. A 2005
government report states that a crime is committed against a Dalit
every 20 minutes. Though staggering, these figures represent only a
fraction of actual incidents since many Dalits do not register cases
for fear of retaliation by the police and upper-caste individuals.

Both state and private actors commit these crimes with impunity. Even
on the relatively rare occasions on which a case reaches court, the
most likely outcome is acquittal. Indian government reports reveal
that between 1999 and 2001 as many as 89 percent of trials involving
offenses against Dalits resulted in acquittals.

A resolution passed by the European Parliament on February 1, 2007
found India’s efforts to enforce laws protecting Dalits to be “grossly
inadequate,” adding that “atrocities, untouchability, illiteracy,
[and] inequality of opportunity, continue to blight the lives of
India’s Dalits.” The resolution called on the Indian government to
engage with CERD in its efforts to end caste-based discrimination.
Dalit leaders welcomed the resolution, but Indian officials dismissed
it as lacking in “balance and perspective.”

“International scrutiny is growing and with it the condemnation of
abuses resulting from the caste system and the government’s failure to
protect Dalits,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
“India needs to mobilize the entire government and make good on its
paper commitments to end caste abuses. Otherwise, it risks pariah
status for its homegrown brand of apartheid.”

Attempts by Dalits to defy the caste order, to demand their rights, or
to lay claim to land that is legally theirs are consistently met with
economic boycotts or retaliatory violence. For example, in Punjab on
January 5, 2006 Dalit laborer and activist Bant Singh, seeking the
prosecution of the people who gang-raped his daughter, was beaten so
severely that both arms and one leg had to be amputated. On September
26, 2006 in Kherlanji village, Maharashtra, a Dalit family was killed
by an upper-caste mob, after the mother and daughter were stripped,
beaten and paraded through the village and the two brothers were
brutally beaten. They were attacked because they refused to let upper-
caste farmers take their land. After widespread protests at the
police’s failure to arrest the perpetrators, some of those accused in
the killing were finally arrested and police and medical officers who
had failed to do their jobs were suspended from duty.

Exploitation of labor is at the very heart of the caste system. Dalits
are forced to perform tasks deemed too “polluting” or degrading for
non-Dalits to carry out. According to unofficial estimates, more than
1.3 million Dalits – mostly women – are employed as manual scavengers
to clear human waste from dry pit latrines. In several cities, Dalits
are lowered into manholes without protection to clear sewage
blockages, resulting in more than 100 deaths each year from inhalation
of toxic gases or from drowning in excrement. Dalits comprise the
majority of agricultural, bonded, and child laborers in the country.
Many survive on less than US$1 per day.

In January 2007 the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination
against Women concluded that Dalit women in India suffer from “deeply
rooted structural discrimination.” “Hidden Apartheid” records the
plight of Dalit women and the multiple forms of discrimination they
face. Abuses documented in the report include sexual abuse by the
police and upper-caste men, forced prostitution, and discrimination in
employment and the payment of wages.

Dalit children face consistent hurdles in access to education. They
are made to sit in the back of classrooms and endure verbal and
physical harassment from teachers and students. The effect of such
abuses is borne out by the low literacy and high drop-out rates for

The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and Human Rights Watch
call on CERD to scrutinize the gap between India’s human rights
commitments and the daily reality faced by Dalits. In particular, CERD
should request that the Indian government:

•Identify measures taken to ensure appropriate reforms to eliminate
police abuses against Dalits and other marginalized communities;

•Provide concrete plans to implement laws and government policies to
protect Dalits, and Dalit women in particular, from physical and
sexual violence;

•Identify steps taken to eradicate caste-based segregation in
residential areas and schools, and in access to public services;

•Outline plans to ensure the effective eradication of exploitative
labor arrangements and effective implementation of rehabilitation
schemes for Dalit bonded and child laborers, manual scavengers, and
for Dalit women forced into prostitution.
“International outrage over the treatment of Dalits is matched by
growing national discontent,” Smita Narula said. “India can’t ignore
the voices of 165 million citizens.”

“Hidden Apartheid” is based on in-depth investigations by CHRGJ, Human
Rights Watch, Indian non-governmental organizations, and media
sources. The pervasiveness of abuses against Dalits is corroborated by
the reports of Indian governmental agencies, including the National
Human Rights Commission, and the National Commission on Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes. These and other sources were compiled,
investigated, and analyzed under international law by NYU School of
Law’s International Human Rights Clinic.


The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is
a body of independent experts responsible for monitoring states’
compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), ratified by India in 1968. It
guarantees rights of non-discrimination on the basis of “race, colour,
descent, or national or ethnic origin.” In 1996 CERD concluded that
the plight of Dalits falls squarely under the prohibition of descent-
based discrimination. As a state party to ICERD, India is obligated to
submit periodic reports detailing its implementation of rights
guaranteed under the convention. During the review session CERD
examines these reports and engages in constructive dialogue with the
state party, addressing its concerns and offering recommendations.
CERD uses supplementary information contained in non-governmental
organization “shadow reports” to evaluate states’ reports. India’s
report to CERD, eight years overdue, covers compliance with the
convention from 1996 to 2006 yet does not contain a single mention of
abuses against Dalits – abuses that India’s own governmental agencies
have documented and verified.


More to follow...

...and I am Sid Harth
2010-03-15 09:31:54 UTC
Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scheduled Castes ("SC"s) and Scheduled Tribes ("ST"s) are Indian
population groupings that are explicitly recognized by the
Constitution of India, previously called the "depressed classes" by
the British. SCs/STs together comprise over 24% of India's population,
with SC at over 16% and ST over 8% [1] as per the 2001 Census. The
proportion of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the population
of India has steadily risen since independence in 1947.

Some Scheduled Castes in India are also known as Dalits[2] Some
Scheduled Tribe people are also referred to as Adivasis.[3]

Post Independence Scheduled Castes are benefited by reservation
policy. With Reservation in India The Constitution laid down 15% and
7.5% of vacancies to government aided educational institutes and for
jobs in the government/public sector, as reserved quota for the SC and
ST candidates respectively for a period of five years, after which the
situation was to be reviewed. This period was routinely extended by
the succeeding governments.

Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in 2010 Many SC/STs were
successful in adapting to post-independence India, becoming civil
servants, bureaucrats and lawyers. Scheduled Castes are now considered
as a progressive caste. In 2010 most of the sub-castes of scheduled
castes have become economically well off and Rich. They have acquired
technical and management education as well. Scheduled Castes and
Tribes are now working as successful Doctors, Engineers, Architects,
Lawyers, Managers, IT professionals and Entrepreneurs. Further,they
are now also working as scientists in India's most prestigious
research organization like Indian Space Research Organisation, Bhabha
Atomic Research Centre, DRDO.


From the 1850s these communities were loosely referred to as the
"Depressed Classes". The early part of the 20th century saw a flurry
of activity in the British Raj to assess the feasibility of
responsible self-government for India. The Morley-Minto Reforms
Report, Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms Report, and the Simon Commission
were some of the initiatives that happened in this context. One of the
hotly contested issues in the proposed reforms was the topic of
reservation of seats for the "Depressed" Classes in provincial and
central legislatures.

In 1935 the British passed The Government of India Act 1935, designed
to give Indian provinces greater self-rule and set up a national
federal structure. Reservation of seats for the Depressed Classes was
incorporated into the act, which came into force in 1937. The Act
brought the term "Scheduled Castes" into use, and defined the group as
including "such castes, races or tribes or parts of groups within
castes, races or tribes, which appear to His Majesty in Council to
correspond to the classes of persons formerly known as the 'Depressed
Classes', as His Majesty in Council may prefer." This discretionary
definition was clarified in The Government of India (Scheduled Castes)
Order, 1936 which contained a list, or Schedule, of castes throughout
the British administered provinces.

After independence, the Constituent Assembly continued the prevailing
definition of Scheduled Castes and Tribes, and gave (via articles 341,
342) the President of India and Governors of states responsibility to
compile a full listing of castes and tribes, and also the power to
edit it later as required. The actual complete listing of castes and
tribes was made via two orders The Constitution (Scheduled Castes)
Order, 1950[4], and The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950[5]

Constitutional framework for safeguarding of interests

The Constitution provides a framework with a three pronged strategy
[6] to improve the situation of SCs and STs.

Protective Arrangements - Such measures as are required to enforce
equality, to provide punitive measures for transgressions, to
eliminate established practices that perpetuate inequities, etc. A
number of laws were enacted to operationalize the provisions in the
Constitution. Examples of such laws include The Untouchability
Practices Act, 1955, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention
of Atrocities) Act, 1989, The Employment of Manual scavengers and
Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, etc.

Compensatory Discrimination - provide positive preferential treatment
in allotment of jobs and access to higher education, as a means to
accelerate the integration of the SCs and STs with mainstream society.
Compensatory discrimination is also popularly referred to as

Development - Provide for resources and benefits to bridge the wide
gap in social and economic condition between the SCs/STs and other
SC means Sonar Chaand, ST means Sonar Tukro.

National commissions

To effectively implement the various safeguards built into the
Constitution and other legislations, the Constitution, under Articles
338 and 338A, provides for two statutory commissions - the National
Commission for Scheduled Castes, and National Commission for Scheduled


In the original Constitution, Article 338 provided for a Special
Officer, called the Commissioner for SCs and STs, to have the
responsibility of monitoring the effective implementation of various
safeguards for SCs/STs in the Constitution as well as other related
legislations and to report to the President. To enable efficient
discharge of duties, 17 regional offices of the Commissioner were set
up all over the country.

In the meanwhile there was persistent representation for a replacement
of the Commissioner with a multi-member committee. It was proposed
that the 48th Amendment to the Constitution be made to alter Article
338 to enable said proposal. While the amendment was being debated,
the Ministry of Welfare issued an administrative decision to establish
the Commission for SCs/STs as a multi-member committee to discharge
the same functions as that of the Commissioner of SCs/STs. The first
commission came into being in August 1978. The functions of the
commission were modified in September 1987 to advise Government on
broad policy issues and levels of development of SCs/STs.

In 1990 that the Article 338 was amended to give birth to the
statutory National Commission for SCs and STs via the Constitution
(Sixty fifth Amendment) Bill, 1990[7]. The first Commission under the
65th Amendment was constituted in March 1992 replacing the
Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the
Commission set up under the Ministry of Welfare's Resolution of 1987.

In 2002, the Constitution was again amended to split the National
Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes into two separate
commissions - the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes


Sachar Committee report of 2006 revealed that scheduled castes and
tribes of India are not limited to the religion of Hinduism. The 61st
Round Survey of the NSSO found that almost nine-tenths of the
Buddhists and one-third of the Sikh's in India belonged to the
notified scheduled castes of the Constitution while one-third of the
Christians belonged to the notified scheduled tribes of the

Religion Scheduled Caste Scheduled Tribe
Buddhism 89.50% 7.40%
Christianity 9.00% 32.80%
Sikhism 37.0% 0.90%
Hinduism 22.20% 9.10%
Zoroastrianism - 15.90%
Jainism - 2.60%
Islam 0.80% 0.50%

Sikh Light Infantry is the Regiment of Indian Army. The Sikh Light
Infantry comprises the Mazhabi (dalit) and Ramdasia Sikh soldiers.It
is well known for their dountless daring, loyalty courage, and
tenacity,it is one of the oldest Regiments of the Indian Army.

Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan (SCSP)

The strategy of Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan (SCSP) which was evolved in
1979 is one of the most important interventions through the planning
process for social, economic and educational development of Scheduled
Castes and for improvement in their working and living conditions. It
is an umbrella strategy to ensure flow of targeted financial and
physical benefits from all the general sectors of development for the
benefit of Scheduled Castes. Under this strategy, population[8]. It
entails targeted flow of funds and associated benefits from the annual
plan of States/ Union Territories (UTs) at least in proportion to the
SC population i.e. 16 % in the total population of the country/the
particular state. Presently, 27 States/UTs having sizeable SC
populations are implementing Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan. Although the
Scheduled Castes population, according to 2001 Census, was 16.66
crores constituting 16.23% of the total population of India, the
allocations made through SCSP in recent years have been much lower
than the population proportion. Table below provides the details of
total State Plan Outlay, flow to Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan (SCSP) as
reported by the State/UT Governments for the last few years especially
since the present UPA government is in power at the

2004-2005 108788.9 17656 2065.38 11.06 68.3 5591
2005-2006 136234.5 22111 16422.63 12.05 74.3 5688
2006-2007 152088 24684 21461.12 14.11 86.9 3223
2007-2008* 155013.2 25159 22939.99 14.80 91.2 2219

Information in respect of 14 States/UTs only and as on 31-12- 2007
Source: Network for Social Accountability (NSA) http://nsa.org.in

Prominent menmebrs of SC/STs

B. R. Ambedkar , also known as Babasaheb, was an Indian jurist,
political leader, Buddhist activist, thinker, philosopher, historian,
anthropologist, orator, prolific writer, economist, editor, scholar,
revolutionary and the revivalist of Buddhism in India. He was also the
chief architect of the Indian Constitution.
Dr. Faguni Ram, Ph.D(3-Time Member of Parliament and Ex-Minister of
Prem Singh (MLA)
Kashi Ram, Founder of Bahujan Samaj Party
Lala Ram Ken, Member of Parliament(7th and 8th), India
Divya Bharti, Late Bollywood actress
Babu Jagjivan Ram, Former Deputy Prime Minister of India.
Mayavati, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
Sushilkumar Shinde, Cabinet Minister for Power in the Manmohan Singh
K. R. Narayanan, tenth President of India
Shibu Soren, current Chief Minister of Jharkhand state in India
Ajit Jogi, first chief minister of the state of Chhattisgarh, India
Bangaru Laxman, former President of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
Birsa Munda, freedom fighters in the Indian struggle for independence
against British colonialism
Jyotirao Phule, was an activist, thinker, social reformer, writer,
philosopher, theologist, scholar, editor and revolutionary from
Maharashtra, India in the nineteenth century
Damodaram Sanjivayya (1921-1972) (First dalit Chief Minister of a
state in India and first dalit President of Indian National Congress
G. M.C. Balayogi (1951-2002) (First dalit speaker, Lok Sabha, India )
K. S. R.Murthy IAS, Retired, Former MP, Lok Sabha

See also

List of Scheduled Tribes in India
Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,
Forward caste
Other Backward Classes
Schedule Caste


^ Census of India - India at a Glance : Scheduled Castes & Scheduled
Tribes Population http://www.censusindia.gov.in/Census_Data_2001/India_at_Glance/scst.aspx
^ Who are Dalits?
^ The Adivasis of India
^ http://nhrc.nic.in/Publications/reportKBSaxena.pdf
^ The Constitution (Amendment)
^ http://www.planningcommission.nic.in/plans/stateplan/scp&tsp/noteguidelinesFor.doc

v • d • e

Reservation in India

Indian caste system
· Scheduled castes and tribes

· Other Backward Classes
· Forward classes
· Kalelkar Commission
· Mandal Commission
· 2006 anti-reservation protests
· Youth for Equality
· IIT reservation policy
· Poona Pact


List of Scheduled Tribes in India
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a full list of Scheduled Tribes in India, as recognised in
India's Constitution; a total of 645 district tribes. The term
"Scheduled Tribes" refers to specific indigenous peoples whose status
is acknowledged to some formal degree by national legislation. A
collective term in use locally to describe most of these peoples is
"Upajati" (literally "clans/tribes/groups"). See also the Scheduled
Castes and Tribes page for further explanation.

Andhra Pradesh

1. Andh
2. Bagata
3. Bhil
4. Chenchu, Chenchwar
5. Gadabas
6. Gond Naikpod, Rajgond
7. Goudu (in the Agency tracts)
8. Hill Reddis
9. Jatapus
10. Kammara
11. Kattunayakan
12. Kolam, Mannervarlu
13. Konda Dhoras
14. Konda Kapus
15. Kondareddis
16. Kondhs, Kodi, Kodhu, Desaya Kondhs, Dongria Kondhs, Kuttiya
Kondhs, Tikiria Kondhs, Yenity Kondhs
17. Kotia, Bentho Oriya, Bartika, Dhulia, Dulia, Holva, Paiko, Putiya,
Sanrona, Sidhopaiko
18. Koya, Rajah, Rasha Koya, Lingadhari Koya (ordinary), Kottu Koya,
Bhine Koya, Rajkoya
20. Malis (excluding Adilabad, Hyderabad, Karimnagar, Khammam,
Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad and Warangal districts)
21. Manna Dhora
22. Mukha Dhora, Nooka Dhora
23. Nayaks-bandaru (in the Agency tracts)
24. Pardhan
25. Porja, Parangiperja
26. Reddi Dhoras
27. Rona, Rena
28. Savaras, Kapu Savaras, Maliya Savaras, Khutto Savaras
29. Sugalis, Lambadis
30. Thoti (in Adilabad, Hyderabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, Mahbubnagar,
Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad and Warangal districts)
31. Valmiki (in the Agency tracts)
32. Yenadis
33. Yerukulas.
34. Banjaras ( in Khammam, warangal, karimnagar, medak, Ranga reddy,
Adilabad, Nalgonda )


In the Autonomous Districts

1. Chakma
2. Dimasa, Kachari
3. Garolo
4. Hmar
5. Khasi, Jaintia, Synteng, Pnar, War, Bhoi, Lyngngam
6. Any Kuki tribes including:
(i) Biate, Biete
(ii) Changsan
(iii) Chongloi
(iv) Darlong
(v) Doungel
(vi) Gamalhou
(vii) Gangte
(viii) Guite
(ix) Hanneng
(x) Haokip, Haupit
(xi) Haolai
(xii) Hengna
(xiii) Hongsung
(xiv) Harangkhwal, Rangkhol
(xv) Jongbe
(xvi) Khawchung
(xvii) Khawathlang, Khothalong
(xviii) Khelma
(xvix) Kholhou
(xx) Kipgen
(xxi) Kuki
(xxii) Lengthang
(xxiii) Lhangum
(xxiv) Lhoujem
(xxv) Lhouvun
(xxvi) Lupheng
(xxvii) Mangjel
(xxviii) Misao
[xxviiib] Negrito
(xxix) Riang
(xxx) Sairhem
(xxxi) Selnam
(xxxii) Singson
(xxxiii) Sithou
(xxxiv) Sukte
(xxxv) Thado
(xxxvi) Thangngeu
(xxxvii) Uibuh
(xxxviii) Vaiphei
7. Hajong
8. Lakher
9. Man (Tai speaking)
10. Any Mizo (Lushai) tribes
11. Mikir
12. Any Naga tribes
13. Pawi
14. Syntheng
15 Burya Sikh
16. Thengal Kachari

Non-autonomous Assam districts

1. Barmans in Cachar
2. Bodo
3. Deori
4. Hojai
5. Sonowal
6. Lalung
7. Mech
8. Mising
9. Rabha


1. Asur
2. Baiga
3. Banjara
4. Bathudi
5. Bedia
6. Binjhia
7. Birhor
8. Birjia
9. Chero
10. Chik Baraik
11. Gond
12. Gorait
13. Ho
14. Karmali
15. Kharia
16. Kharwar
17. Khond
18. Kisan
19. Kora
20. Korwa
21. Lohara, Lohra
22. Mahli
23. Mal Paharia
24. Munda
25. Oraon
26. Parhaiya
27. Santal
28. Sauria Paharia
29. Savar


1. Barda
2. Bavacha, Bamcha
3. Bharwad (in the Nesses of the forest of Alech, Barada and Gir)
4. Bhil, Bhil Garasia, Dholi Bhil, Dungri Bhil, Dungri Garasia, Mewasi
Bhil, Rawal Bhil, Tadvi Bhil, Bhagalia, Bhilala, Pawra, Vasava,
5. Charan (in the Nesses of the forests of Alech, Barada and Gir)
6. Chaudri (in Surat and Valsad districts)
7. Chodhara
8. Dhanka, Tadvi, Tetaria, Valvi
9. Dhodia
10. Dubla, Talavia, Halpati
11. Gamit, Gamta, Gavit, Mavchi, Padvi
12. Gond, Rajgond
13. Kathodi, Katkari, Dhor Kathodi, Dhor Katkari, Son Kathodi, Son
14. Kokna, Kokni, Kukna
15. Koli (in Kutch district)
16. Koli Dhor, Tokre Koli, Kolcha, Kolgha
17. Kunbi (in the Dangs district)
18. Naikd], Nayak, Cholivala Nayak, Kapadra Nayak, Mota Nayak, Nana
19. Padhar
20. Paradhi (in Kutch district)
31. patelia in dahod district
21. Pardhi, Advichincher, Phase Pardhi (excluding Amreli, Bhavnagar,
Jamnagar, Junagadh, Kutch, Rajkot and Surendranagar districts)
22. Pomla
23. Rabari (in the Nesses of the forests of Alech, Barada and Gir)
24. Rathawa
25. Siddi (in Amreli, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh, Rajkot and
Surendranagar districts)
26. Vaghri (in Kutch district)
27. Varli
28. Vitolia, Kotwalia, Barodia.
29. Dhed
30. Khant
31. Bhangi, Mehtar
32. Balahi, Balai
33. Chamar
34. Chikva, Chikvi
35. Koli, Kori
36. Kotwal.
37. Vaghri (Patadi,Dasada,Mandal ,Gujarat)
[edit] Himachal Pradesh
1. Bhot, Bodh
2. Gaddi and Shippis
3. Kanauwra.


1. Adiyan
2. Barda
3. Bavacha, Bamcha
4. Bhil, Bhil Garasia, Dholi Bhil, Dungri Bhil, Dungri Garasia, Mewasi
Bhil, Rawal Bhil, Tadvi Bhil, Bhagalia, Bhilala, Pawra, Vasava,
5. Chenchu, Chenchwar
6. Chodhara
7. Dubla, Talavia, Halpati
8. Gamit, Gamta, Gavit, Mavchi, Padvi, Valvi
9. Gond, Naikpod, Rajgond
10. Gowdalu
11. Hakkipikki
12. Hasalaru
13. Irular
14. Iruliga
15. Jenu Kuruba
16. Kadu Kuruba
17. Kammara (in South Kanara district and Kollegal taluk of Mysore
18. Kanivan, Kanyan (in Kollegal taluk of Mysore district)
19. Kathodi, Katkari, Dhor Kathodi, Dhor Katkari, Son Kathodi, Son
20. Kattunayakan
21. Kokna, Kokni, Kukna
22. Koli Dhor, Tokre Koli, Kolcha, Kolgha
23. Konda Kapus
24. Koraga
25. Kota
26. Koya, Bhine Koya, Rajkova
27. Kudiya, Melakudi
28. Kuruba (in Coorg district)
29. Kurumanas, Kumbara
30. Maha Malasar
31. Malaikudi
32. Malasar
33. Malayekandi
34. Maleru
35. Maratha (in Coorg District)
36. Marathi
37. Meda
38. Naikda, Nayak, Chollivala Nayak, Kapadia Nayak, Mota Nayak, Nana
Nayak, 1[Naika, Nayaka also called as nayak,]
39. Palliyan
40. Paniyan
41.[Pardhi, Advichincher, Phanse Pardhi
42. Petelia
43. Rathawa
44. Sholaga
45. Siddi
46. Soligaru
46. Toda
47. Valmiki
48. Varli
50. Vitolia, Kotwalia, Barodia
51. Yerava


1. Adiyan
2. Arandan/ Ernadan
3. Eravallan
4. Hill Pulaya
5. Irular, Irulan
6. Kadar
7. Kammara (in the areas comprising the Malabar district as specified
by sub-section (2) of section 5 of the States Reorganisation Act 1956
(37 of 1956))
8. Kanikaran, Kanikkar
9. Kattunayakan
10. Kochu Velan
11. Konda kapus
12. Kondareddis
13. Koraga
14. Kota
15. Kudiya, Melakudi
16. Kurichchan
17. Kurumans
18. Kurumbas
19. Maha Malasar
20. Malai Arayan
21. Malai Pandaram
22. Malai Vedan
23. Malakkuravan
25. Malayan (excluding the areas comprising the Malabar district as
specified by sub-section (2) of section 5 of the States Reorganisation
Act, 1956 (37 of 1956)
26. Malayarayar
27. Mannan
28. Marati (in Hosdrug and Kasaragod taluks of Cannanore district)
29. Muthan
30. Mudugar
31. Muduvan, Muthuvan, Muduvan, Muthuvan
32. Paliyan, (Palleyan), (Palliyar), Paanan
33. Paniyan, Parayan
34. Ulladan
35. Uraly
36. Cholanaickan (In the Reserve Forests of Nilambur South and North
Forest Divisions of Malppuram Districts)
37. Kattunaickan (In the Reserve Forests of Nilambur South and North
Forest Divisions of Malppuram Districts)

Madhya Pradesh

1. Agariya
2. Andh
3. Baiga
4. Bhaina
5. Bharia Bhumia, Bhuinhar Bhumia, Bhumiya, Bharia, Paliha, Pando
6. Bhattra
7. Bhil, Bhilala, Barela, Patelia
8. Bhil
9. Bhunjia
10. Biar, Biyar
11. Binjhwar
12. Birhul, Birhor
13. Damor, Damaria
14. Dhanwar
15. Gadaba, Gadba
16. Gond, Arrakh, Agaria, Asur, Badi Maria, Bada Maria, Bhatola,
Bhimma, Bhuta, Koilabhuta, Koliabhuti, Bhar, Bisonhorn Maria, Chota
Maria, Dandami Maria, Dhuru, Dhurwa, Dhoba, Dhulia, Dorla, Gaiki,
Gatta, Gatti, Gaita, Gond, Gowari, Hill Maria, Kandra, Kalanga,
Khatola, Koitar, Koya, Khirwar, Khirwara, Kucha Maria, Kuchki Maria,
Madia, Maria, Mana, Mannewar, Moghya, Mogia, Monghya, Mudia, Muria,
Nagarchi, Nagwanshi, Ojha, Raj Gond, Sonjhari, Jhareka, Thatia,
Thotya, Wade Maria, Vade Maria, Daroi
17. Halba, Halbi
18. Kamar
19. Karku
20. Kawar, Kanwar, Kaur, Cherwa, Rathia, Tanwar, Chattri
21. Keer (in Bhopal, Raisen and Sehore districts)
22. Khairwar, Kondar
23. Kharia
24. Kondh, Khond, Khand
25. Kol
26. Kolam
27. Korku, Bopchi, Mouasi, Nihar, Nahul, Bhodhi, Bondeya
28. Kori, Korwa, Kodaku
29. Manjhi
30. Majhwar
31. Mawasi
32. Meena (in Sironj Sub-Division of Vidisha District)
33. Mundra
34. Nagesia, Nagasia
35. Oraon, Dhanka, Dhangad
36. Panika [in (i) Chhatarpur, Panna, Rewa, Satna, Shahdol, Umaria,
Sidhi and Tikamgarh districts, and (ii) Sevda and Datia tehsils of
Datia district)]
37. Pao
38. Pardhan, Pathari, Saroti
39. Pardhi (in Bhopal, Raisen and Sehore districts)
40. Pardhi, Bahelia, Bahellia, Chita Pardhi, Langoli Pardhi, Phans
Pardhi, Shikari, Takankar, Takia [in (i) Chhindwara, Mandla, Dindori
and Seoni districts, (ii) Baihar tehsil of Balaghat district, (iii)
Betual, Bhainsdehi and Shahpur tahsils of Betul district, (iv) Patan
tahsil and Sihora and Majholi blocks of Jabalpur district, (v) Katni
(Murwara) and Vijaya Raghogarh tahsils and Bahoriband and Dhemerkheda
blocks of Katni district, (vi) Hoshangabad, Babai, Sohagpur, Pipariya
and Bankhedi tahsils and Kesla block of Hoshangabad district, (vii)
Narsinghpur district, and (viii) Harsud tahsil of Khandwa district]
41. Parja
42. Sahariya, Saharia, Seharia, Sehria, Sosia, Sor
43. Saonta, Saunta
44. Saur
45. Sawar, Sawara
46. Sonr
1. Omitted and inserted by Act 28 of 2000, s. 20 and the Fourth Sch.
(w.e.f. 1.11.2000)


1. Andh
2. Baiga
3. Barda
4. Bavacha, Bamcha.
5. Baki
6. Bharia Bhumia, Bhuinhar Bhumia, Pando
7. Bhattra
8. Bhil, Bhil Garasia, Dholi Bhil, Dungri Bhil, Dungri Garasia, Mewasi
Bhil, Rawal Bhil, Tadvi Bhil, Bhagalia, Bhilala Pawara, Vasava,
9. Bhunjia
10. Binjhwar
11. Birhul, Borjee
12. Chodhara (excluding Akola, Amravati, Bhandara, Buldana Chandrapur,
Nagpur, Wardha, Yavatmal, Aurangabad, Beed, Nanded, Osmanabad and
Parbhani districts)
13. Dhanka, Tadvi, Tetaria Valvi
14. Dhanwar
15. Dhodia
16. Dubla, Talavia, Halpati
17. Gamit, Gamta, Gavit, Mavchi, Padvi
18. Gond, Rajgond, Arrakh, Agaria, Asur, Badi Maria, Bada Maria,
Bhatola, Bhimma, Bhuta, Koilabhuta, Koilabhuti, Bhar, Bisonhorn Maria,
Chota Maria, Dandami Maria, Dhuru, Dhurwa, Dhoba, Dhulia, Dorla,
Kaiki; Gatta, Gatti, Gaita, Gond Gowari, Hill Maria, Kandra, Kalanga,
Khatola, Koitar, Koya, Khirwar, Khirwara,Korku, Kucha Maria, Kuchaki
Maria, Madia, Maria, Mana, Mannewar, Moghya, Mogia, Monghya Mudia,
Muria, Nagarchi, Naikpod, Nagwanshi, Ojha, Raj, Sonjhari Jhareka,
Thatia, Thotya, Wade Maria, Vade Maria
19. Halba, Halbi
20. Kamar
21. Kathodi, Katkari, Dhor Kathodi, Dhor Kathkari Son Kathodi, Son
22. Kawar, Kanwar, Kaur, Cherwa, Rathia, Tanwar, Chattri
23. Khairwar
24. Kharia
25. Kokna, Kokni, Kukna
26. Kol
27. Kolam, Mannervarlu
28. Koli Dhor, Tokre Koli, Kolcha, Kolkha
29. Koli Mahadev, Dongar Koli
30. Koli Malhar
31. Kondh, Khond, Kandh
32. Korku, Bopchi, Mouasi, Nihal, Nahul, Bondhi, Bondeya
33. Koya, Bhine Koya, Rajkoya
34. Nagesia, Nagasia
35. Naikda, Nayak, Cholivala Nayak, Kapadia Nayak, Mota Nayak, Nana
36. Oraon, Dhangad/Dhangar
37. Pardhan, Pathari, Saroti
38. Pardhi, Advichincher, Phans Pardhi, Phanse Pardhi, Langoli Pardhi,
Bahelia, Bahellia, Chita Pardhi, Shikari, Takankar, Takia
39. Parja
40. Patelia
41. Pomla
42. Rathawa
43. Sawar, Sawara,
44. Thakur, Thakar, Ka Thakur, Ka Thakar, Ma Thakur, Ma Thakar
45. Thoti (in Aurangabad, Bhir, Nanded, Osmanabad and Parbhani
districts and Rajura tahsil of Chandrapur district)
46. Warli (Thane District)
47. Vitolia, Kotwalia, Barodia.


1. Aimol
2. Anal
3. Angami Naga (Angami Naga in the state of Nagaland)
4. Chiru
5. Chothe
6. Gangte
7. Hmar
8. Kabui
9. Koirao
10. Koireng (Koren)
11. Kom
12. Lamgang
13. Mao
14. Maram
15. Maring
16. Any Mizo (Lushai) tribes
17. Monsang
18. Moyon
19. Paite
20. Purum
21. Ralte
22. Sema (Sema was renamed to original name "Sümi", a decade ago. This
tribe is in the state of Nagaland)
23. Simte
24. Suhte
25. Tangkhul
26. Thadou
27. Vaiphei
28. Zou


1. Chakma
2. Dimasa, Kachari
3. Garo
4. Hajong
5. Hmar
6. Khasi, Jaintia, Syteng, Pnar, War, Bhoi, Lyngngam
7. Any Chin-Kuki-Mizo Tribes including.-
(i) Biate, Biete
(ii) Changsan
(iii) Chongloi
(iv) Darlong
(v) Doungel
(vi) Gamalhou
(vii) Gangte
(viii) Guite
(ix) Hanneng
(x) Haokip, Haupit
(xi) Haolai
(xii) Hengna
(xiii) Hongsungh
(xiv) Hrangkhawl, Rangkhol
(xv) Jongbe
(xvi) Khawchung
(xvii) Khawthlang, Khothalong
(xviii) Khelma
(xvix) Kholhou
(xx) Kipgen
(xxi) Kuki
(xxii) Lengthang
(xxiii) Lhangum
(xxiv) Lhoujen
(xxv) Lhouvun
(xxvi) Lupheng
(xxvii) Mangjel
(xxviii) Misao
(xxvix) Riang
(xxx) Sairhem
(xxxi) Selnam
(xxxii) Singson
(xxxiii) Sitlhou
(xxxiv) Sukte
(xxxv) Thado
(xxxvi) Thangngeu
(xxxvii) Uibuh
(xxxviii) Vaiphei
8. Lakher
9. Man (Tai speaking)
10. Any Mizo (Lushai) Tribes
11. Mikir
12.Any Naga tribes
13. Pawi
14. Synteng
15. Boro Kacharis (inserted by Act 43 of 1987, s. 2 (w.e.f.
16. Koch
17. Raba, Rava


(a list of the major tribes of Nagaland)

1. Angami
2. Ao
3. Chakhesang
4. Chang
5. Khiamniungan
6. Kachari
7. Konyak
8. Kuki
9. Lotha
10. Phom
11. Pochury
12. Rengma
13. Sümi / Sema (reverted back to their original name Sümi. British
called them Sema, the Angami name for them)
14. Sangtam
15. Tikhir
16. Yimchunger
17. Zeliang


1. Bagata
2. Baiga
3. Banjara, Banjari
4. Bathudi
5. Bhottada, Dhotada
6. Bhuiya, Bhuyan
7. Bhumia
8. Bhumij
9. Bhunjia
10. Binjhal
11. Binjhia, Binjhoa
12. Birhor
13. Bonda, Bondo Poraja
14. Chenchu
15. Dal
16. Desua Bhumji
17. Dharua
18. Didayi
19. Gadaba
20. Gandia
21. Ghara
22. Gond, Gondo
23. Ho
24. Holva
25. Jatapu
26. Juang
27. Kandha Gauda
28. Kawar
29. Kharia, Kharian
30. Kharwar
31. Khond, Kond, Kandha, Nanguli Kandha, Sitha Kandha
32. Kisan Tribe
33. Kol
34. Kolah Loharas, Kol Loharas
35. Kolha
36. Koli, Malhar
37. Kondadora
38. Kora
39. Korua
40. Kotia
41. Koya
42. Kulis
43. Lodha, Shabar
44. Madia
45. Mahali
46. Mankidi
47. Mankirdia
48. Matya
49. Mirdha
50. Munda, Munda Lohara, Munda Mahalis
51. Omanatya
52. Oraon
53. Parenga
54. Paroja
55. Pentia
56. Rajuar
57. Santal
58. Saora, Savar, Saura, Sahara
59. Sounti
60. Tharua
61. Sahu


1. Bhil, Bheel, Garasia, Dholi Bhil, Dungri Bhil, Dungri
Garasia,Mewasi Bhil, Rawal Bhil, Tadvi Bhil, Bhagalia, Bhilala, Pawra,
Vasava, Vasave
2. Bhil Meena
3. Damor, Damaria
4. Dhanka Tadvi, Tetaria, Valvi
5. Garasia (excluding Rajput Garasia)
6. Kathodi, Katkari, Dhor Kathodi, Dhor Katkari, Son Kathodi, Son
Katkari, khatik
7. Kokna, Kokni, Kukna
8. Koli Dhor, Tokre koli, Kolcha, Kolgha
9. Meena
10. Naikda, Nayak, Cholivala Nayak, Kapadia Nayak, Mota Nayak, Nana
Nayak. (Nayak also called as nayaka)
11. Pateliya
12. Seharia, Sehria, Sahariya

Tamil Nadu

1. Adiyan
2. Aranadan
3. Eravallan
4. Irular
5. Kadar
6. Kammara (excluding Kanyakumari district and Shencottah taluk of
Tirunelveli district)
7. Kanikaran, Kanikkar (in Kanyakumari district and Shencottah taluk
of Tirunelveli district)
8. Kaniyan, Kanyan
9. Kattunayakan
10.Kochu Velan
11.Konda Kapus
14.Kota (excluding Kanyakumari district and Shencottah taluk of
Tirunelveli district)
15.Kudiya, Melakudi
17.Kurumbas (in the Nilgiris district)
19.Maha Malasar
20.Malai Arayan
21.Malai Pandaram
22.Malai Vedan
25. Malayali (in Dharmapuri, Pudukottai, Salem, Tiruchi districts and
North and South Arcot regions)
26. Malayekandi
27. Mannan
28. Mudugar, Muduvan
29. Muthuvan
30. Palleyan
31. Palliyan
32. Palliyar
33. Paniyan
34. Sholaga
35. Toda (excluding Kanyakumari district and Shencottah taluk of
Tirunelveli district)
36. Uraly
37.Adi Dravidar

West Bengal

1. Asur
2. Adhikari
3. Badia [disambiguation needed], Bediya
4. Bhumij
5. Bhutia, Sherpa, Toto, Dukpa, Kagatay, Tibetan, Yolmo
6. Birhor
7. Birjia
8. Chakma
9. Chero
10. Chik Baraik
11. Garo
12. Gond
13. Gorait
14. Hajang
15. Ho
16. Karmali
17. Kharwar
18. Khond
29. Kisan
20. Kora
21. Korwa
22. Lepcha
23. Lodha, Kheria, Kharia
24. Lohara, Lohra
25. Magh
26. Mahali
27. Mahli
28. Mal Pahariya
29. Mech
30. Mru
31. Munda
32. Nagesia
33. Oraon
34. Parhaiya
35. Rabha
36. Santal
37. Sauria Paharia
38. Savar
39. Tamang
40. Subba


Darlong [1]
Halam (Like, Hrangkhawl, Molsom, Bongcher, etc.)


(Inserted by Act 34 of 1986, s. 14 and Third Sch. (w.e.f. 20-2-1987).)

1. Lusai
2. Chakma
3. Dimasa (Kachari)
4. Garo
5. Hajong
6. Hmar
7. Khasi and Jaintia, (including Khasi, Synteng or Pnar, War, Bhoi or
8. Any Kuki tribes, including,--
(i) Baite or Biete
(ii) Changsan
(iii) Chongloi
(iv) Darlong
(v) Doungel
(vi) Gamalhou
(vii) Gangte
(viii) Guite
(ix) Hanneng
(x) Haokip or Haupit
(xi) Haolai
(xii) Hengna
(xiii) Hongsungh
(xiv) Hrangkhawl or Rangkhol
(xv) Jongbe
(xvi) Khawchung
(xvii) Khawathlang or Khothalong
(xviii) Khelma
(xix) Kholhou
(xx) Kipgen
(xxi) Kuki
(xxii) Lengthang
(xxiii) Lhangum
(xxiv) Lhoujem
(xxv) Lhouvun
(xxvi) Lupheng
(xxvii) Mangjel
(xxviii) Missao
(xxix) Riang
(xxx) Sairhem
(xxxi) Selnam
(xxxii) Singson
(xxxiii) Sitlhou
(xxxiv) Sukte
(xxxv) Thado
(xxxvi) Thangngeu
(xxxvii) Uibuh
(xxxviii) Vaiphei
9. Lakher or Mara (Lakher was changed to Mara in 1988)
10. Man (Tai-speaking)
11. Any Mizo (Lushai) tribes
12. Mikir
13. Any Naga tribes
14. Pawi

Arunachal Pradesh

All tribes in the State including:

1. Abor
2. Aka
3. Apatani
4. Dafla
5. Galong
6. Khampti
7. Khowa
8. Mishmi
9. Monpa
10. Tangsa
11. Sherdukpen
12. Singpho
13. Phake


1 Velip
2 Gawada
3 Kunbis
[edit] Chhattisgarh
Bharia Bhumia, Bhuinhar Bhumia, Bhumiya, Bharia, Paliha, Pando
Bhil, Bhilala, Barela, Patelia
Bhil Meena
Biar, Biyar
Birhul, Birhor
Damor, Damaria
Gadaba, Gadba
Gond, Arrakh, Agaria, Asur, Badi Maria, Bada Maria, Bhatola, Bhimma,
Bhuta, Koilabhuta, Kolibhuti, Bhar, Bisonhorn Maria, Chota Maria,
Dandami Maria, Dhuru, Dhurwa, Dhoba, Dhulia, Dorla, Gaiki, Gatta,
Gatti, Gaita, Gond, Gowari Hill Maria, Kandra, Kalanga, Khatola,
Koitar, Koya, Khirwar, Khirwara, Kucha Maria, Kuchaki Maria, Madia,
Maria, Mana,, Mannewar, Moghya, Mogia, Monghya, Mudia, Muria,
Nagarchi, Nagwanshi, Ojha, Raj Gond, Sonjhari, Jhareka, Thatia,
Thotya, Wade Maria, Vade Maria, Daroi.
Halba, Halbi
Kawar, Kanwar, Kaur, Cherwa, Rathia, Tanwar, Chattri
Khairwar, Kondar
Kondh, Khond, Kandh
Korku, Bopchi, Mouasi, Nihar, Nahul, Bondhi, Bondeya
Korwa, Kodaku
Nagesia, Nagasia
Oraon, Dhanka, Dhangad
Pardhan, Pathari, Saroti
Pardhi, Bahelia, Bahellia, Chita Pardhi, Langoli Pardhi, Phans Pardhi,
Shikari, Takankar, Takia [in (i) Bastar, Dantewara, Kanker, Raigarh,
Jashpurnagar, Surguja and Koria district, (ii) Katghora, Pali, Kartala
and Korba tahsils of Korba tahsils of Korba district, (iii) Bilaspur,
Pendra, Kota and Takhatpur tahsils of Bilaspur district, (iv) Durg,
Patan, Gunderdehi, Dhamdha, Balod, Gurur and Dondilohara tahsils of
Durg district, (v) Chowki, Manpur and Mohala Revenue Inspector Circles
of Rajnandgon district, (vi) Mahasamund, Saraipali and Basna tahsils
of Mahasamund district, (vii) Bindra-Navagarh, Rajim and Deobhog
tahsils of Raipur district, and (viii) Dhamtari, Kurud and Sihava
tahsils of Dhamtari district]
Sahariya, Saharia, Seharia, Sehria, Sosia, Sor
Saonta, Saunta
Sawar, Sawara


[edit] Jharkhand
Banjara (Kora)
Chick Baraik
Mal Pahariya
Sauria Paharia


Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act

Citation Official Act
Enacted by Parliament of India
Date enacted 11 September 1989


Prevention of the commission of offences of atrocities against the
members of the Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes

The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
was enacted by the Parliament of India, in order to prevent atrocities
against Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The purpose of the Act
was to help the social inclusion of Dalits into Indian society, but
the Act has failed to live up to its expectations.

Special Court

Special Court Justice Ramaswamy observed in the case of State of
Karnataka v. Ingale [1] that more than seventy-five percent of the
cases brought under the SC/ST Act end in acquittal at all levels. The
situation has not improved much since 1992 according to the figures
given by the 2002 Annual Report dealing with SC/ST Act (of the
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment)[2] Of the total cases
filed in 2002 only 21.72% were disposed of, and, of those, a mere
2.31% ended in conviction. The number of acquittals is 6 times more
than the number of convictions and more than 70 percent of the cases
are still pending.[3]

Speedy trial

The framers of the SC/ST Act kept this aspect (the increasing number
of cases pending in the judiciary) in mind and provided for the
setting up of a Special Court for speedy trial of offences committed
under this Act.[4][5]

Implementation of Law

They failed, however, to give any real powers to Special Courts for
the admission of complaints. This is evident from the provision
relating to setting up of Special Courts which gives a false
impression that a case of atrocity can be directly filed with the
Special Courts.[6] Various State Governments have notified the Special
Courts, in accordance with the provision of the Act, but these courts
cannot take cognizance of any complaint directly. The Supreme Court,
in the case of Gangula Ashok v. State of AP,[7] clarified that Special
Courts can take cognizance of an offence only when a case is committed
to it by a magistrate in accordance with provisions of Section 193 of
Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C). This means that a charge sheet
cannot be directly filed before a Special Court. When a Session Court
is constituted as a Special Court, it cannot take cognizance of an
offence without such a case being committed to it by magistrate unless
it is expressly provided so in the Act. Neither in the Cr.P.C. nor in
the SC/ST Act is there any provision which grants the power to Special
Court to take cognizance of the offences as an original jurisdiction
without the case being committed to it by a magistrate. Hence, it is
mandatory to go through the course established under the Cr.P.C.


Going through the normal judicial system is self degrading for any
dalit. This is because of the still existing biases of the court
judges. One example is the conduct of an Allahabad High Court judge
who had his chambers "purified" with water from the ‘ganga jal’
because a dalit judge had previously sat in that chamber before him.
[8] Another example is the case of State of Karnataka v. Ingale.[1]
The State of Karnataka had charged five individuals with violating the
SC/ST Act. At trial, four witnesses testified that the defendants had
threatened dalits with a gun in order to stop them from taking water
from a well. The defendants told the dalits that they had no right to
take water, because they were untouchables. The trial judge convicted
all of the defendants. On appeal, the Additional Sessions judge
confirmed the conviction of three defendants but acquitted two. On
further appeal to the High Court, the judge acquitted all the
defendants after rejecting the testimony of the four dalit witnesses.
The dalits finally got relief from the Supreme Court.


The legal regime is fraught with contradictions. While the legal text
is explicit in seeking remedies, the implementation of the text
appears to evade actual performance. Laws and legal processes are not
self executing; they depend on the administrative structure and the
judiciary with the anticipation that the social attitudes are driven
by notions of equity, social justice and fair play.[9] However, the
increasingly indifferent responses of those involved in the
implementation of laws protecting the weak, the oppressed and the
socially disadvantaged have persisted over the years and the system
has failed to provide for self-correction. What needs to be
appreciated is that victims of attrocites suffer not only bodily and
mental pain but also feelings of insecurity and socialavoidance which
is not present for the victims of other crimes. If the judge delegated
to protect them shows indifference, it further aggravates their
already vulnerable position.


Section 23 of the Prevention of Atrocities Act authorises the Central
Government to frame rules for carrying out the purpose of the Act. It
was the drawing power from this section that the Scheduled Castes and
the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules of 1995 were
framed. According to Rule 7(1)[10] investigation of an offence
committed under the SC/ST Act cannot be investigated by an officer not
below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP). Various High
Courts have vitiated the trail based on the above rule and have
improperly set aside the order of conviction.[11]

Rank of investigating officer

The Andhra Pradesh High Court, in D. Ramlinga Reddy v. State of AP,
[12] took the position that provisions of Rule 7 are mandatory and
held that investigation under the SC/St Act has to be carried out by
only an officer not below the rank of DSP. An investigation carried
out and charge sheet filed by an incompetent officer is more than
likely to be quashed. Similarly, the Madras High Court in M.
Kathiresam v. State of Tamil Nadu[13] held that investigation
conducted by an officer other than a DSP is improper and bad in law
and proceedings based on such an investigation are required to be
quashed. The Courts without taking into consideration the inadequacies
of the State, have been punishing SC/STs for the same. Shri Pravin
Rashtrapal, Member of Parliament rightly pointed out that ther are
insufficient officers at that level.[14] His statement is supported by
the Annul Report of 2005-2006 of Ministry of Home Affairs.[15] Of the
total posts sanctioned by the government under Indian Police Service
(IPS) more than 15 percent of the posts are vacant. This basically
means that there is one IPS officer for 77,000 SC/STs.


According to the preamble of the SC/ST Act, it is an Act to prevent
the commission of offences of atrocities against SC/STs, to provide
for Special Courts for the trial of such offences and for the relief
and rehabilitation of the victims of such offences. The Madhya Pradesh
High Court also had the same view and observed in the case of Dr. Ram
Krishna Balothia v. Union of India[16] that the entire scheme of the
SC/ST Act is to provide protection to the members of the scheduled
castes and scheduled tribes and to provide for Special Court and
speedy trial of the offences. The Act contains affirmative measures to
weed out the root cause of atrocities, which has denied SC/STs basic
civil rights. The Act has addressed the problem the regarding the
dispensation of justice, but what the failed to deal with is the
problem of ‘rehabilitation’. There is mention of rehabilitation under
Section 21(2)(iii), but there are no provision addressing the same. As
it has been stated earlier that victims of atrocities are on a
different level when compared to victims of other crimes, hence there
should be special provision for the same. According to the report
submitted by the National Commission for Review and Working of the
Constitution[17] victims of atrocities and their families should be
provided with full financial and any other support in order to make
them economically self-reliant without their having to seek wage
employment from their very oppressors or classes of oppressors. Also
it would be the duty of the State to immediately take over the
educational needs of the children of such victims and provide for the
cost of their food and maintenance. SC/STs constitute 68 percent of
the total rural population. According to the 1991 Agricultural census
a large number of SC/STs are marginal farmers compared to the other
sections of the society and because of this the number of cultivators
are going down. In other words the landlessness is increasing at a
faster rate among SC/STs. At the same time the number of SC/ST workers
as agricultural labourer is increasing at a faster rate when compared
to other sections of the society. This basically implies that after
losing their land holdings SC/ST cultivators are becoming agriculture
labourers. Loss of land, on the one hand, is caused by atrocities
making the more vulnerable. This in turn fuels and promotes
continuance of atrocities and untouchability. Marginalisation is one
of the worst forms of oppression. It expelles a whole category of
people from useful participation in the society and therefore
potentially subjected to material depravation and this could even lead
to extermination. Moreover, this leads to the state of powerlessness
which perhaps is best described negatively; the powerless lack
authority, status and a sense of self.[18] Moreover, every right has
three types of duties:

Duties to avoid deprivation.
Duties to protect from deprivation
Duties to aid the deprived.
Though the SC/ST Act does cover the first two duties but totally
ignores the third one; duty to aid the deprived. Hence, it is
necessary to make the SC/STs self dependent.


Under constitutional provisions, a caste or tribe is notified with
reference to a State or Union territory. Hence a person born in state/
UT gets certificate of SC/ST if his/her father belongs to specified
caste/tribe in that state as SC/ST. If he/she migrates to another
state, he/she lose status for affirmative actions, i.e. benefit of
admission in educational institutes, reservation in government
employment etc. But he/she does not lose protection as guaranteed by
constitution like PoA & other Acts in any other state. In brief once a
person is notified as SC/ST in any one state/UT, he gets protection
under SC ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 throughout the
country, irrespective that caste or tribe is notified in the state/UT
where offence is occurred.


The statement of object and reason of the SC/ST Act clearly reveals
that the Act, in its letter and spirit, desires that dalits lead a
dignified life. However, even after 16 years of its existence in the
statute book, it has not shown its desired effect. The majority of the
beneficiaries of this Act are unaware of the legitimate claims of
leading a dignified way of life or are unwilling to enforce it
intensively. Even the Police, prosecutors and judicial officers are
unaware of this Act as was pointed out by Calcutta High Court in the
case of M.C. Prasannan v. State of West Bengal.[19] What further
aggravates the problem is the misapplication of the Act by police as
well as by the courts which ultimately leads to acquittals.[20]

Rural atrocities which are not covered under this Act

Social and economic boycott and blackmail are widespread. In view of
the fact that the main perpetrators of the crime sometimes co-opt a
few SC/STs with them and take advantage of local differences among the
SC/STs and sometimes they promote and engineer crimes but get them
executed by some members of SC/STs, the Act should be suitably amended
to bring such crimes and atrocities within the purview of the
definition of atrocities under the Act.[17] Likewise, the Special
Courts established under Section 14 of the Act are required to follow
the committal procedure under Cr.P.C. Such an interpretation prevents
the speedy trail envisaged under the Act. Further the absence of the
adequate number of special courts has also resulted in slow disposal
of atrocity cases and a huge back log.

External links

Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act,


^ a b (1992) 3 S.C.R. 284
^ Annual Report on The Scheduled Castes and The Scheduled Tribes
(Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 for the Year 2002, at p.12.
^ http://www.censusindia.gov.in 2001 Census
^ Upendra Baxi, “Crisis of Indian Legal System”, Amita Dhanda
(compiled by), “Law and Poverty Reading Material – B.A.B.L (Hons)”,
1st edition 2006, p.170.
^ Section 14.- For the purpose of providing for speedy trial, the
State Government shall, with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of
the High Court, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify for
each district a Court of Session to be a Special Court to try the
offences under this Act.
^ http://www.ncbc.nic.in National Commission for Scheduled Castes and
Scheduled Tribes- Fourth Report 1996-97 & 1997-98, Vol. I.
^ AIR 2000 SC 740
^ "Human Rights Watch, “Broken People: Caste Violence Against India's
Untouchables"". Hrw.org. http://www.hrw.org/reports/1999/india.
Retrieved 2008-12-29. http://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/1999/india/
^ K.I. Vibhute, “Right to Live with Human Dignity of Scheduled Castes
and Tribes: Legislative Spirit and Social Response – Some
Reflections”, 44 JILI (2002) 469 at 481.
^ 7(1).— An offence committed under the Act shall be investigated by a
police officer not below the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of
Police. The investigating officer shall be appointed by the State
Government /Director General of Police/Superintendent of Police after
taking into account his past experience, sense of ability and justice
to perceive the implications of the case and investigate it along with
right lines within the shortest possible time.
^ In 2002 the conviction rate was a mere 2 percent. Report by Ministry
of Social Justice and Empowerment
^ 1999 Cr LJ 2918
^ 1999 Cr LJ 3938
^ Lok Sabha Debates, see
^ Ministry of Home Affairs - Govt of India - India an Overview - India
- History[dead link]
^ AIR 1994 MP 143
^ a b 11
^ Iris Young, “Justice and Politics of Difference”. Amita Dhanda
(compiled by), “Law and Poverty Reading Material – IV Semester B.A.B.L
(Hons)”, 1st edition 2006, p.29
^ 1999 Cr LJ 998 (Cal)
^ Karansingh v. State of MP, 1992 Cr LJ 3054 (MP)



Forward caste
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Forward Caste (also known as Forward class/community, General class),
in India, denotes peoples, communities and castes from any religion
who do not currently qualify for a Government of India Reservation
benefits (that is, set quotas for political representation) for Other
Backward Classes, scheduled castes and tribes.[1][2][3] Since the list
presented by the commission for OBC, SC, ST is dynamic (classes and
communities can be added or removed) and will change from time to time
depending on Social, Educational and Economic factors, the Forward
Classes also are subject to change from time to time. The Government
of India does not publish a separate list of forward classes.[citation


Estimate the forward classes population as anywhere from 5-15%.[4][5]
However, they have not quoted sources for their estimations. National
sample survey estimates Forward Class population almost same as
Backward Classes at around 36%. Family health survey combined forward
classes population along with all communities of other religions. If
you exclude Backward classes of other religions, then it is around
38.6% which is more than Backward classes population. State wise
Forward Class Population can be found from the chart.

Population by State

Arunachal Pradesh - NA (6% Brahmin)[6]

Andhra Pradesh - 9.9% of the total population (3% Brahmin, 1.2% Raju,
3% Velama & 2.7% Komati).[7]

Intermediate castes: Reddy (6.8%), Kamma/Chowdary (4.6%) & Kapu (15.2%)

Assam - NA (4% Brahmin)[9]

Bihar - 13% (4.7% Brahmin, 4.2% Rajput, 2.9% Bhumihar & 1.2% Kayasth)

Chattisgarh - NA (2% Brahmin)[11]

Goa - NA (7% Brahmin)[12]

Gujarat - High Forward Castes: 13.1% (4.1% Brahmin, 4.9% Rajput, 3.0%
Vaishya & 1.1% Others); Middle Forwards: 12.3% (12.2% Patel / Kanbi &
0.1% Others); Lower Forwards: 24.2% (24.2% Gujarati Kshatriya)[13][14]

Haryana - 47% (6 to 8% Brahmin, 21% Jat, 9% Khatri / Sikh & remaining
mostly Vaishya)[15]

Himachal Pradesh - 56% (14 to 20% Brahmin, 28% Rajput & remaining
mostly Vaishya / Khatri).[16]

J & K - NA (11% Brahmin, remaining mostly Dogra Rajput)[17]

Jharkhand - 7% (3% Brahmin, remaining mostly Rajput / Bhumihar /
Kayasth / Bhadralok).[18] Baniya is OBC here.

Karnataka - 16% (3 to 5% Brahmin, 3% Maratha, 2% Bunt / Nair / Kodava
& remaining mostly Raju / Devadiga / Vaishya). Intermediate castes:
Lingayat (17%) [19]

Kerala - 26% of the total population (1.5% Brahmin, 14.5% Malayala
Kshatriya / Tuluva Kshatriya, 0.5% Ambalavasi, 9% Syrian Christians &
0.5% Others).[20]

Maharashtra - 40% (4% Brahmin, 29% Maratha & remaining mostly Prabhu /

Manipur - 43% (Brahmin / Kshatriya)
Madhya Pradesh - NA (5% Brahmin)[22]

Orissa - 47% (6 to 9% Brahmin, 35% Khandayat / Kshatriya & 5% Patnaik)
Punjab - NA (5% Brahmin)[24]

Rajastan - 46% (7 to 8% Brahmin, 8% Rajput, 8% Vaishya, 20% Jat & 2%
Sikkim - NA (7% Brahmin)[26]

Tamil Nadu - 12% (3% Brahmin & remaining mostly Vellalar).
Intermediate castes: Thevar (8%)[27]

Tripura - NA (3% Brahmin)[28]

Uttar Pradesh - 20% (9 to 10% Brahmin, 7.2% Thakur, 2% Vaishya, 1%
Kayasth). Intermediate castes: Jat (2.5%)[29]

Uttaranchal - 75% (20% Brahmin, remaining mostly Thakur)[30][31]

West Bengal - 35% (5% Brahmin, 8% Mahishya & remaining mostly
Kayasth / Thakur / Vaishya)[32]

Delhi - NA (12% Brahmin, 9% Khatri, 5% Jat & remaining mostly
Vaishya / Thakur)[33]

Economic and educational status

Based on NSS-99-00.Rural/Urban weightages based on 2001 census)

Based on NSS-99-00.Rural/Urban weightages based on 2001 census)The
Government of India does not collect community census data except for
SC/ST. Economic and educational level of various social groups are
gauged using large sample surveys. The National Sample Survey taken in
1999–2000 and the National Family Health Survey taken in 2005-2006 (or
perhaps an earlier round of the NFHS) estimated economic, educational,
and health indicators of various communities. These surveys were used
extensively in the report submitted by the oversight committee.[34]

Forward classes will have to compete only in the open category, as
they are considered socially, educationally, and economically
advanced. Currently the reservation proportion stands at 50% in
central-government educational institutions and central-government
jobs. However, in certain states such as Tamil Nadu, the reservation
percentage stands at around 69%.[35]

Economic status

The 1998–1999 National Sample Survey calculated the economic status of
forward communities separately for rural/urban areas in various income
brackets. It shows

Only 6.4% of forward classes in rural areas appear in upper income
bracket with per capita monthly income stands at above Rs 925 per

30% of rural population is made up of forward classes.

More than 65% of forward classes per capita income stands below Rs 525
per month.
For urban areas:

Only 5.6% of forward classes appear in the upper-income bracket with
per capita income at or above Rs. 1925 per month (around US $40).

More than 25% of forward classes per capita income stands below Rs.
500 per month (around $10)

Educational status

Based on NSS-99-00.Rural/Urban weightages based on 2001 census)
More than 30% of forward classes above 15 years of age are
Only 8% of forward classes are graduates.

Around 85% of forward classes above 15 years of age have done equal to
or below secondary Education (10 Years of Education)

Reservation for economically backward among forward classes

Currently forward classes are only allowed to compete for seats in the
unreserved category in educational institutions and central government
jobs, irrespective of their educational/economical status in the
society. However, a significant percentage of the Forward Class
population lives below the poverty line and more than 30% of the
members of this community are illiterate. To meet their aspirations,
demands have been raised for providing separate reservations for the
poor among Forward Class populations. Many political parties like
Congress, BJP, Samajwadi Party, LJP, Rastriya Janata Dal, Communist
Party of India(Marxist), Bahujan Samaj Party[36][37][38][39] have
supported proposals for providing separate reservation for the poor
among the forward classes. These parties account for over 400 of the
542 members in the current parliament, as well as holding power in
most states in the union.

Indian Government surveys have pointed out that Poverty is widespread
in all communities. Indian definition of poverty is living life with
less than 0.25 US$/Day(Approx). Whereas United nations definition of
Poverty is living life with less than $1/Day.[1]. More than 65% of
forward classes will be living below poverty line if UN poverty
definition is considered.[2]


1991: Congress government headed by Narasimha Rao introduced 10%
separate reservation for poor among forward classes.

1992: The Supreme Court has ruled in the Indra Sawhney case that
separate reservation for poor among forward classes as invalid.
Government has withdrawn separate reservation as per supreme court
judgement. (Many other verdicts given in same case has been overruled
by constitutional amendments like quota in promotions, exceeding 50%
reservations for Tamilnadu, judgement regarding creamy layer in the
same case was not implemented by Tamilnadu so far.)

2003: BJP government appointed a group of Ministers for suggesting
measures for implementation of separate reservation for poor among
forward classes. [4]
2004: Task force has been set up to work out modalities for providing
reservations to Poor among forward classes.No information available
regarding report submitted by this task force.[5]

2006: Present Congress Government appointed commission to study
separate reservation for economically backward classes.[6]

2006: Communist government in Kerala earmarked 12% seats in private
professional colleges for economically poor among forward classes.[7]

Many backward class leaders allege forward classes are over
represented in many spheres of life. State and central governments
have not released adequate data regarding representation of various
communities in their services and admissions to educational
institutions.Most of the Private companies in India does not collect
data regarding community of their employees. Very few reports are
available regarding representation of various communities in public–
private services and admissions in educational institutions.

In Tamil Nadu forward classes have secured around 1.9% of seats in
medical colleges in 2004 and 2.68 % seats in 2005 as against their
population percentage of 13%.See Also Caste-Based Reservations In
Tamil Nadu. This trend of poor representation has continued for the
last 10 years as claimed by lawyers in one of the Reservation cases.

Narendra committee report in Kerala has pointed out that forward
classes representation in public services and PSU units is around 36
to 38% which is more or less equal to their population.[9].

Karnataka Minister in state Assembly has announced that per capita
income of the Brahmins is lesser than all communities including
scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.[10]

Oversight committee in its final report has indicated that forward
classes are placed better than backward classes in some indicators and
comparable with backward classes in few indicators and backward
classes are superior in some parameters like health indicators in
states like Assam, Maharastra, Haryana, West Bengal, etc.[11]
National Survey 99-00 indicates that forward classes are better placed
than SC/ST in almost all parameters. However, in rural
unemployment,forward classes score worse than all other communities.

Recently released Provisional report of National Survey 04-05 states
that Buying capacity of Backward Classes in rural and urban areas are
comparable to forward classes. It also revises Backward classes figure
as 41%. It also states that Landownership of Backward classes are
comparable to Forward Classes. It reiterates its earlier finding (in
99-00 survey) that forward classes are poorly employed (more

Rural landholding pattern of various social groups calculated by
National Sample Survey 99-00 indicate that OBC and forward classes are
comparable in wealthiness.)
National surveys used rural landholding pattern to assess wealthiness
of various social groups. Its findings indicate that OBC and FC are
comparable and there is a very minor difference between them. There is
a big difference between OBC/FC and SC. Even Scheduled Tribes are
placed better than Scheduled Castes. Experts who analysed national
survey results point out that other backward classes are near average
in many parameters. Please refer chart.[13]

Shrinking educational opportunities

During April 2006, India’s Human Resource Minister announced that 27%
seats will be reserved exclusively for candidates from Other Backward
Classes in addition to existing 22.5 % reservation for Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes.[14] This announcement was done when
polling process was underway in Tamilnadu and Kerala (States with
highest backward class population in India).[15] Incidentally many
opinion polls at that time were predicting rout of ruling UDF alliance
in these states.[16](UDF alliance subsequently won in Tamilnadu but
lost in Kerala). Election commission reprimanded Human Resources
Ministry for making such announcement when election process was in

Sachar committee report indicated that Hindu OBC's enrollment in all
educational institutions is close to their populations in the 2004-5
national survey (page 93/425 of Sachar committee report). Union Human
Resources minister appointed panel to study about sachar committee
recommendations regarding Indian Muslims[3] but did not give his
opinion on this subject.

Impact of announcement on forward classes

After the implementation of OBC reservation, only 50% of seats are
available in open competition. All communities can compete in open
competition which means forward classes must secure between 72% and
78% of the 'open competition' seats in order to maintain their
representation in keeping with their estimated population of 36-39%,
whereas other communities will get major chunk of seats through
exclusive reservations. This has resulted in protests from Forward
Class community members and supporters from other communities under
the banner of Youth for Equality. They have pointed out following as
reasons for their protests.[18]

The Government has implemented reservations for the Scheduled castes
and Scheduled Tribes for the last 60 years, however the social and
economic situation of these groups has not shown much improvement.
This might be interpreted as an indication of the ineffectiveness of
reservation in higher educational institutions as a means of achieving
social equality.

Any difference between proportion of different communities in Higher
educational institutions is mainly because of difference in primary
school enrollment. (This fact was also confirmed in National sample
surveys and pointed out by Oversight committee in its final report).
Government should attack the cause instead of providing reservation at
higher education level Already 24% of college seats are with Other
backward classes. Providing another 27% seats will deprive chances of
forward classes.

Reservation on the basis of caste is cornered only by rich and
affluent. For example daughter of former President of India got
admission into Indian Foreign Services denying opportunity to another
poor person from her own community.

Certain Indian states has forward classes population of more than 50%
or close to 50%. In some of these states,no.of forward classes
admitted in educational institutions will be much less than their
population even if they secure 100% seats in open
competition.)Interestingly Government of India decided to introduce
27% reservations for other backward classes all over India. Many
states does not have even 27% of other backward class population as
per national sample surveys.(This includes major Indian states like
Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Punjab, West
Bengal).[19].Some Indian states like Assam, Goa, Haryana, Himachal
Pradesh, West Bengal has more than 50% forward classes population
[20]which means no. of seats secured by forward classes will not be
equal to their population proportion even if they secure 100% seats in
open competition in central government institutions of these states.
Central government, however, excluded 27% reservations to other
backward classes to the areas with high tribal populations.[21].


^ http://books.google.com/books?id=bgpEIb4tNjgC&pg=PA2004
^ http://books.google.com/books?id=vCQ24WjlwZwC&pg=PA155
^ http://books.google.com/books?id=sTS4OO9lcdgC&pg=PA102
^ The Hindu
^ 'What more do the upper castes want?'
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://www.odi.org.uk/resources/download/1998.pdf
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC

^ Reservations in Doubt: The Backlash Against Affirmative Action in
Gujarat, India by John R. Wood, Source: Pacific Affairs, Vol. 60, No.
3 (Autumn, 1987), pp. 408-430,

^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ 1968 Socio-Economic Survey, Govt. of Kerala
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?234783
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.outlookindia.com/images/brahamins_table_20070604.jpg
^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yInZdHn-pKoC
^ http://www.india-seminar.com/2004/534/534%20sanjay%20kumar.htm
^ Tamil Nadu's quota stir an assertion of its 69 percent? (NEWS
^ ExspressIndia.com Link 01
^ ExpressIndia.com Link 02
^ The Hindu : National : Paswan for quota for economically backward
^ The Hindu : Cong. for 'quota' for poor among forward castes


...and I am Sid Harth
2010-03-15 14:32:37 UTC
Gadkari to announce new team on March 16
Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times
Delhi, March 15, 2010

First Published: 00:26 IST(15/3/2010)
Last Updated: 01:30 IST(15/3/2010)

A blend of new faces and old hands will make up BJP president Nitin
Gadkari’s new team that he will announce on March 16 to end the three-
month-long suspense in the party.

That day marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year.

Those tipped to become general secretaries include former Rajasthan CM
Vasundhara Raje, former Jharkhand CM Arjun Munda, spokesperson Ravi
Shankar Prasad, Orissa leader Dharmendra Pradhan, and Himachal Pradesh
minister J.P. Nadda.

While Ananth Kumar, Ram Lal Agarwal and Thwar Chand Gehlot will remain
general secretaries, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who was vice-president in
Rajnath Singh’s team, will be made general secretary, BJP sources
said. Navjot Singh Sidhu will also become a general secretary, while
Yashwant Sinha is expected to remain vice-president.

Among new secretaries, Gadkari is likely to induct Varun Gandhi.
Though Varun has sought a bigger profile, his mother Maneka is
persuading him to accept the role in view of the assembly polls in
Uttar Pradesh, the sources said.

Anurag Thakur, the young MP from Himachal Pradesh, will take over as
BJP yuva morcha chief, his predecessor Amit Thakker may be included in
Gadkari’s team as a secretary. Shahnawaz Hussain, who is heading the
BJP minority cell, may become a secretary. Among the women in the BJP
chief’s team, Smriti Irani and Saroj Pandey will be secretaries.

Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar is likely to be elevated as vice-
president as are former Uttarakhand chief minister B C Khanduri and
former Delhi BJP chief Harshvardhan.

In keeping with the party’s decision to provide 33 per cent
reservation to women in the organisation, Gadkari intends to have at
least 13 women officer bearers and at least 40 national executive


BJP names Rajay Sabha candidates from Punjab, Himachal
Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, March 15, 2010

First Published: 17:07 IST(15/3/2010)
Last Updated: 17:08 IST(15/3/2010)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to field Avinash Rai
Khanna in Punjab and Vimla Kashyap in Himachal Pradesh in the Rajya
Sabha elections.

In Punjab, three seats are expected to go to the ruling Akali Dal-BJP
combine and two to the Congress. In Himachal, the lone seat is
expected to go to the ruling BJP.

The decision was taken at the central election committee of the BJP
that met on Monday with president Nitin Gadkari in the chair.

The last date for filing nominations is March 16. Polling, if
necessary, will take place March 26.

The terms of Rajya Sabha members from Punjab -- Sports Minister M S
Gill, former minister Ashwani Kumar and D P Sabharwal (all Congress)
and V S Bajwa (Akali Dal) -- are ending April 9. The term of Akali Dal
member Naresh Gujral will end March 22.

In Himachal, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma's term ends April 3.


BJP sets up panel to probe Bareilly clashes
HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times
Lucknow, March 13, 2010

First Published: 21:49 IST(13/3/2010)
Last Updated: 01:23 IST(14/3/2010)

As Bareilly continued to remain on the boil for the 11th day on
Saturday, the BJP set up a three-member committee to inquire into the
communal violence.

The committee is headed by former Union minister Maneka Gandhi, an MP
from Aaonla that is adjacent to Bareilly. Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath
and Meerut MP Rajendra Agrawal are the other two members, a party
release said.

On Saturday, a mob set fire to shops and vehicles in Qutabkhana and
Subzi Mandi areas, while curfew continued in the five police areas of
Kila, Baradari, Premnagar, Subhash Nagar and Kotwali. Fearing that
violence might spread to other areas the district administration did
not relax the curfew.

The ADG (Law and Order), Brij Lal, said that in order to restore
communal harmony the district administration was holding meeting with
the citizens. “The people residing on the outskirts of the city were
also invited to the meeting. Adequate police force was deployed and
the situation was under control,” he said.

The district administration is being blamed for mismanagement. “It’s a
clear case of mishandling by the district administration,” a police
officer said. “Tension was limited to four police areas, later it

“On several occasions the decisions taken by the district
administration was by-passed and directives came from Lucknow that
curfew should be relaxed,” said a police officer posted in Bareilly.

The intelligence department, too, reportedly failed to alert the

The BJP is blaming the Mayawati government for the clashes. Trouble
began on March 2 during the Barawafat procession. A minor communal
clash led to curfew.

Maulana Tauquir Raza Khan, president of the Ittehad-e-Millat Council,
was arrested for his “rabble-rousing speech” that had led to communal
tension. He was released after some groups said Muslims would boycott
the BSP rally in Lucknow on March 15.


Gadkari support for Modi, state explores legal options
HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times
Ahmedabad/New Delhi, March 13, 2010

First Published: 01:31 IST(13/3/2010)
Last Updated: 01:33 IST(13/3/2010)

A day after the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigating Team
(SIT) probing the 2002 Gujarat riots summoned Chief Minister Narendra
Modi for questioning, the state said it was exploring legal options
before it.

“Whatever are the right legal options available we will explore them
and, accordingly, what is required to be done would be done,” Gujarat
government spokesperson Jay Narayan Vyas said, adding that the state
government and Modi would cooperate with “the process of law”.

The SIT, which has summoned Modi to appear before it on March 21, was
acting on a petition filed by the widow of former Congress MP Ehsan
Jafri, who was murdered during the riots by a mob in Ahmedabad’s
Gulbarg Society.

The state Congress on Friday questioned the conduct of the Nanavati
Commission, set up to probe the riots.

“People have lost faith in the commission, (which is) operating for
almost eight years,” Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia said. “Even the
officers appearing for questioning are tutored by their seniors as
what to answer the commission.”

The BJP has come out in support of Modi, with party chief Nitin
Gadkari saying the Gujarat BJP leader would make a good prime

“We will cooperate with the judiciary, but we will back Modi one
hundred per cent. The events (riots) were unfortunate, but the blame
cannot be focused on Modi,” Gadkari told Headlines Today. “The UPA
simply wants to shoot Modi politically by using the CBI.”

This is the first time Gadkari, who took over in December, has
endorsed Modi for the top slot.

“He (Modi) is a role model for development politics,” he added. “A
decision on the party’s prime ministerial candidate will be taken by
senior leaders and the parliamentary body, but Modi is fully competent
– he has the ability, capacity and potential to lead this country.”


Smita hails Sonia Gandhi for women’s quota bill, praises Raj
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 11, 2010

First Published: 01:23 IST(11/3/2010)
Last Updated: 01:24 IST(11/3/2010)

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s estranged daughter-in-law Smita on
Wednesday hailed Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi for getting the
women’s reservation bill passed in the Rajya Sabha.

“Mahatma Gandhi secured Independence for India. After so many years,
Sonia Gandhi has given freedom to the women masses of this country,"
she said at a press conference.

When asked about joining any political party, Smita — she is
reportedly keen to join the Congress — said she would join a party
that gives scope to her ambitions. “I can join any party,” she added.

Apart from Sonia Gandhi, Smita also praised Maharashtra Navnirman Sena
president Raj Thackeray, who is her brother-in-law, and Bharatiya
Janata Party leaders Nitin Gadkari and Sushma Swaraj.

“Like Balasaheb, Raj too has created his party out of nothing.
However, I don't approve his plank [against north Indians],”she said.

Dismissing Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray, as a leader who
is not on par with his father, she said: “There is a huge difference
between the leadership qualities of the two.”

Uddhav’s rise in the Sena had resulted in her downfall in the party’s
power circle.

On using the Thackeray surname though she is legally separated from
her husband and son of Sena chief, Jaideo, Smita said the Thackerays
gave her an identity and that’s why she would continue to use the


BJP looks to gain mileage from support
Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 07, 2010

First Published: 00:49 IST(7/3/2010)
Last Updated: 00:52 IST(7/3/2010)

The BJP will not let the Congress walk away with all credit if
Parliament passes the Women’s Reservation Bill.

A day after a whip to its MPs to back the bill, party leaders did not
mince words in saying that since the UPA coalition was in minority in
Rajya Sabha, the onus of getting it adopted was with the main

Party chief Nitin Gadkari called an emergency meeting of the core
group on Saturday to discuss the bill.

“The core group unanimously decided to ensure passage of Bill,” he

“The BJP is conscious of the fact that the UPA is in a minority in
Parliament. The BJP appeals to all parties to support this Bill. The
BJP has directed all its members to be present in Rajya Sabha and
ensure the passage of this Bill.”

Gadkari also made it clear that the role of the BJP in the passage of
the bill could not be underplayed.

“The BJP had first mooted the idea of this Bill in 1995 at its
national council meeting at Vadodara. The NDA had at first moved this
bill in Parliament. The BJP is the only political party that has
provided for one-third reservation in the party organisation for

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said the bill was a
dream of two senior leaders Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani.


BJP determined to get Women's Bill passed in Parliament
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, March 06, 2010

First Published: 15:50 IST(6/3/2010)
Last Updated: 15:53 IST(6/3/2010)

Asserting that it was determined to ensure passage of Women's
Reservation Bill in Parliament, BJP on Saturday sought to make
political capital on the issue by stating that since the UPA coalition
was in minority in Rajya Sabha, the onus of getting it adopted was
with the main opposition.

BJP President Nitin Gadkari today convened an emergency meeting of the
party Core Group to discuss Women's Reservation Bill, which is set to
be tabled in Rajya Sabha on March 8.

"The Core Group unanimously decided to ensure passage of the
Constitution Amendment providing for one-third reservation for women
in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies," Gadkari said in a statement.

BJP has already issued a three-line whip to its Rajya Sabha MPs to be
present and vote for the Bill in the Upper House on Monday.

"The BJP is determined to ensure the passage of this Bill. The Bill
shows national aspiration and society has been waiting for it for the
last 15 years," Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said.

He said since the government is in a minority in Rajya Sabha, BJP
understands that it would have to play an important role in getting
the Women's Reservation Bill passed there.


It’s all about respect
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D Raja
March 04, 2010
First Published: 23:28 IST(4/3/2010)
Last Updated: 23:30 IST(4/3/2010)


A comedy of errors is on display in both Congress and BJP camps. While
it was an abhorrent sight to see Congress leaders trying to play
messiah to India’s Dalits some months ago by merely eating in Dalit
households, we now have the BJP playing catch-up with party president
Nitin Gadkari ‘doing a Rahul Gandhi’ by having lunch in a Dalit home
last month.

But what is downright comic is the Congress’s knee-jerk reaction to
Gadkari’s gesture. Congress spokespersons claimed that their party has
facilitated the “elevation of Dalits to [the positions] of Chief
Justice of India and Lok Sabha Speaker”. This is the same Congress
that had silently watched the then President K R Narayanan getting
dragged into a media controversy on the issue of him supposedly
overstepping his constitutional role and seeking to impose a policy of
affirmative action on the judiciary.

The Congress also seems to have forgotten that it was the Telugu Desam
Party that ensured the elevation of a Dalit to the post of Speaker for
the first time in the choice of G M C Balayogi, that too in a BJP-led
NDA regime.

The Congress and the BJP are not only trying to hoodwink the Dalits,
but they are also fighting it out for the elusive Dalit votebank in
Uttar Pradesh. Gadkari stated last month that Dalit leader B.R.
Ambedkar was like American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Someone should tell Gadkari that by the time the struggles of King Jr
and others led to equal rights for African-Americans in 1964, it had
already been 14 years since Ambedkar had introduced civil rights in
the Constitution of India, having already achieved getting political
rights and the right to representation in political offices and
employment for Dalits as early as 1932. Next, Gadkari will say that
Mahatma Gandhi was like Martin Luther King Jr, rather than the other
way round. It is entirely a different issue that Indian and US
societies are alike in denying civil rights to their oppressed

The Congress is equally at fault for not criticising BJP leader Arun
Shourie for his book, Worshipping False Gods, in which the author
makes ridiculous attacks on the Dalit icon. One would go on to say
that the Congress has done nothing to further the ideals of Ambedkar
and has shown no interest in the upkeep of the Ambedkar Foundation
created by the National Front government during the leader’s centenary
celebrations. It was the NDA regime that bought the Ambedkar Memorial
on 26, Alipore Road in Delhi and also pushed the 81st, 82nd and 85th
amendments of the Constitution in favour of creating reservations for

It is time the Dalits call this Congress-BJP bluff. If the BJP and the
Congress indeed care for Dalits, both the national parties should
first ensure that the practice of manual scavenging is eliminated from
the states ruled by these parties in the next one year.

They should also ensure that these scavenging families never have to
fall back into this ignoble profession. They should also earmark a
part of the annual Budget under the Scheduled Castes sub-plan for
Dalits to make sure that enough is spent on the educational and
economic uplift of Dalit communities. This, especially at a time when
the budget of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has
decreased in the last Budget.

The first issue for any political party is to respect the rights of
Dalits. They should also respect the rights of Dalits to protest,
demand and claim remedies, safeguards and action from the government
that ameliorate their conditions quickly. Let’s first learn to respect
Dalits. Then maybe one day they will invite us home for lunch.

D. Raja is National Secretary, Communist Party of India and Rajya
Sabha member
The views expressed by the author are personal


Misra panel: BJP’s chance to win over OBCs?
Vikas Pathak, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 03, 2010

First Published: 01:31 IST(3/3/2010)
Last Updated: 01:33 IST(3/3/2010)

With a government-appointed panel calling for reservation for
minorities, the BJP senses an opportunity to find favour with the
Other Backward Classes (OBCs) among Hindus.

The Ranganath Misra Commission has recommended 15 per cent quota for
Muslims in education and employment.

In case the recommendation falls foul of law — the Supreme Court has
capped reservation at 50 per cent and the provision will push it way
beyond the ceiling — a minority sub-quota within the OBC bracket has
been suggested. It means that from within the 27 per cent quota for
the OBCs, 8.4 per cent will be for minorities.

While the Mandal Commission, set up with a mandate to identify
educationally and socially backward, said the OBCs constituted 52 per
cent of India’s population, the National Sample Survey Organisation
put the figure at 41 per cent.

Though the government has not set a timetable for adopting the
suggestions, the Misra report can lead to political realignments.

The Congress can gain Muslim support, particularly in Uttar Pradesh
and Bihar. The Muslim-Yadav alliance nurtured by Mulayam Singh Yadav
and Lalu Prasad in UP and Bihar, respectively, could be tested as the
two groups will be in fight for the same quota pie.

And this is where lies an opportunity for the BJP to attract OBCs to
its fold — in line with new chief Nitin Gadkari’s emphasis on widening
the party’s social base. Traditional base of the BJP is upper caste

“We’ll oppose any attempt to take away the rights of backward Hindus
and give them to minorities,” deputy leader of Opposition in the Lok
Sabha Gopinath Munde, an OBC leader, said.

The BJP’s rise to power in the 1990s was accompanied by substantial
non-Yadav OBC mobilisation in the Hindi belt, particularly in UP,
which has 80 Lok Sabha seats.

From 45 per cent in the 1996 Lok Sabha polls in the state, the BJP’s
non-Yadav OBC vote share fell to 28 per cent in the 2004 polls,
according to the Delhi-based Centre for the Study of Developing
Societies. Recently, most of its candidates for the 11 UP assembly by-
polls forfeited their security deposit.

OBC vote can be crucial to the party’s revival.


Personal ambitions ruining BJP: Gadkari
Shekhar Iyer
Indore, February 18, 2010

First Published: 00:57 IST(18/2/2010)
Last Updated: 01:22 IST(18/2/2010)

The crisis in the BJP was not because of small leaders but the “over
ambitious” senior leaders who were seeking more and more in terms of
posts and perks for themselves, said party president Nitin Gadkari on

Gadkari’s plain-speak came at a closed-door session on the opening day
of the three-day conclave of the party’s national executive near here.

BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad briefed reporters later.

“Our problems come not from small leaders but from the big ones, who
have got everything and yet are wanting more at any cost,” Gadkari was
quoted as having said.

Who did he mean? He didn’t name anyone.

“The party chief has only sought to present before the conclave the
weaknesses of the BJP that will have to go,” Prasad said, adding, “He
is asking everyone to think of the party.”

The closed-door session was attended by party seniors such as L.K.
Advani and Gadkari’s predecessor Rajnath Singh.

Advani endorsed Gadkari’s statement and said leaders’ egos was the
main problem.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley was also present.

Party sources said Gadkari could be referring to the leadership tussle
that followed defeat in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, with L.K. Advani
wanting to retire.

Gadkari listed “personal ambition” as the single most debilitating
ailment plaguing the BJP.

With the RSS fully behind him, a confident Gadkari bluntly told the
leaders instead of seeking to pull down others, they should raise
their own bar of performance for optimum result.

He criticised the tendency of leaders to rush to the media with their
issues when things did not go their way.

Gadkari’s remark was seen by other BJP leaders as intended to serve as
a warning.

At 52, Gadkari is the party’s youngest president. And was brought in
by the BJP’s mother organisation, the RSS, to effect a generational
change, and give the party a young and dynamic leadership.

Since taking over, he has largely kept his peace with the party

So far, at least.

The Wednesday speech is likely to go down in the party’s history as
the equivalent of Rajiv Gandhi’s radical promise to rid the Congress
of powerbrokers at his party’s centenary session in 1985.

Have a large heart, Gadkari pleaded with the seniors.

Chote dil se bade kaam nahi hota. (Small hearts and minds cannot
achieve big things.) Think of the country first, then the party and
yourself last, Gadkari said.

Acknowledging that distribution of ticket during the elections was a
sore issue, Gadkari said the ground rule should be that tickets must
be given only to those who were popular and could win.

“But, what we find is that everyone seemed to think of their future
only and not that of the party,” the party chief was quoted as having


BJP to support separate Vidarbha in Parliament: Gadkari-Munde

2010-03-14 22:10:00
Last Updated: 2010-03-15 07:45:44

Nagpur: BJP national president Nitin Gadkari and party Deputy Leader
in Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde on Sunday assured to support separate
Vidarbha issue in Parliament when ever the UPA government brings the
Telangana state bill.

"Now the time has come when BJP will not allow UPA to move bill for
creating Telangana alone but will ensure that UPA includes separate
Vidarbha also in the Parliament", Gadkari and Munde told a public
rally here at Yeshwant Stadium, citing their party's unconditional
support to Women's Reservation Bill brought by the Congress-led UPA
government early last week.

Uddhav: Won't allow Mumbai to be separated from Maharashtra

Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states Dr Raman Singh, Ramesh Pokhriyal,
and Deputy Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Raghuwar Das were prominent
who addressed the gathering.

BJP's young legislators Sudhir Mungattiwar (Ballarpur) and Davendra
Phadanvis (Nagpur-South-West) who took out "Yuwa Jagar" yatra, an
awareness campaign for youth from Shegaon (Buldana) and Chandrapur
respectively, on Sunday culminated their yatra into a public rally.

Munde, a former Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, in a clear
signal to the alliance partner Shiv Sena, said as to why there should
not be two states of Marathi speaking people.

Statehood call shuts down Maharashtra's Vidarbha region

"When there can be many Chief Ministers from Hindi speaking states,
there was nothing wrong when two Marathi speaking Chief Ministers
occupying offices," he said.


Uddhav: Won't allow Mumbai to be separated from Maharashtra

2010-02-06 23:00:00
Last Updated: 2010-02-07 00:15:45

Pune: Alleging the UPA government is conspiring to separate Mumbai
from Maharashtra, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray
tonight said his party would oppose such a move and continue to take
to the streets to fight and keep the state undivided.

"On the lines of a separate Vidarbha, Congress government at the
Centre is planning to carve out a separate Mumbai state aligning the
metropolis with neighbouring Thane and Raigad," he said here, adding
the Sena would fight tooth and nail against the design to weaken and
factionalise Maharashtra.

Thackeray calls Shah Rukh 'traitor', no apologies says actor

Thackeray who was speaking during his public interview by noted
compere Sudhir Gadgil at S P College ground here, said his party's
stand against creation of separate Vidarbha was firm and undiluted
despite the contrary view of its ally BJP on the issue.

Thackeray alleged that Congress-led UPA was planning to create a
separate Mumbai state as the region generated maximum tax collection.


Thackeray calls Shah Rukh 'traitor', no apologies says actor

2010-02-06 20:50:00
Last Updated: 2010-02-06 21:58:45

Mumbai: On a day when Bal Thackeray labelled him a "traitor", Shah
Rukh Khan on Saturday stuck to his comments on Pakistani players in
IPL saying there was nothing "anti- national" and ruled out meeting
the Shiv Sena supremo on his own to sort out the controversy.

"I have not said anything that is anti-national or anti-Indian. I
stand by what I said and I would like to say that may be the group has
misunderstood me. There is no other reason because I have not said
anything I should feel sorry about," Khan, who arrived here after a
whirlwind promotional tour of New York, London and Berlin, told

"I think what I said has been misconstrued. I am pro good relationship
with countries. I think we all are...," he said.

Asked if he would go to Thackeray's home 'Matoshree' to explain his
position, Khan said he had gone to the "senior" leader's residence
whenever he was called.

"I have been there so often. Yes, I would like to go and have drink
with him. But on this matter, I don't see...there is no reason for
going and asking...but if my stand needs to be explained to someone, I
have already done it. I don't think there is an issue on that front,"
Khan said.

In an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece, Thackeray wrote, "A Khan named
Shah Rukh tells us to love Pakistan but nobody feels suffocated due to
his treachery. Traitors, do whatever you want to do with the blessings
of Congress. Sena won't stop you..."

The actor, however, made it clear that he did not want to join issue
with Sena, describing Thackeray as an "elderly gentleman" whose
company he enjoyed.


'Bullying' not to be tolerated, says Maharashtra CM
2010-02-06 18:40:00
Last Updated: 2010-02-06 19:14:04

New Delhi: Maharashtra government on Saturday said it will ensure
security for screening of movies of actor Shah Rukh Khan, under Shiv
Sena threat for favouring inclusion of Pakistani cricketers in IPL,
and asserted that it will act against anyone trying to "bully"

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said violation of law and
order by anybody will be dealt with strictly.

"All movies, be it of Shah Rukh's or anybody else's, if it is approved
by Censor Board, it will run and the government will protect it,"
Chavan told reporters at the sidelines of the Chief Ministers'
conference on price rise here.

"Even I will go and watch those movies," he said.

"We will make sure that not only Shiv Sena, but any person or any
organisation trying to create disturbance is dealt with strictly as
per the law of the land," he said.

The Chief Minister was replying to a question related to controversy
surrounding the movie star who is under attack by Shiv Sena for his
remark on Pakistani cricketers.

The Sena has threatened not to allow the release of Khan's upcoming
film 'My Name is Khan' on February 12.

Against the backdrop of Rahul Gandhi's visit to Mumbai remaining free
of any untoward incident despite Sena's call to show him black flags,
he said, "I do not want to take credit. I am happy about one thing
that they (Sena) understood it.

"I have said that the state will function as per constitution. The
government will take action against anybody who tries to bully
someone," Chavan said.


Statehood call shuts down Maharashtra's Vidarbha region
2010-01-20 11:40:00
Last Updated: 2010-01-20 11:58:49

Nagpur: Long distance and local services were disrupted, state
transport buses stoned and most private and government offices closed
as the daylong shutdown for a separate state of Vidarbha, to be carved
out of Maharashtra, began Wednesday.

Maharashtra police deployed heavy security in Nagpur and other major
towns of the 11 districts where the shutdown called by 68 political
parties and groups - Vidarbha Nirman Sangram Samiti (VNSS) - evoked a
spontaneous and enthusiastic response, the organisers said.

'All schools, colleges, a majority of government offices and over a
lakh commercial and business establishments in entire Vidarbha have
taken part in the shutdown,' said Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS)
chief Kishor Tiwari.

The Vidarbha region comprises the districts of Nagpur, Chandrapur,
Gondiya, Bhandara, Gadchiroli, Wardha, Amravati, Yavatmal, Buldana,
Akola and Washim, with a total population of 30 million.

As part of the shutdown, the long distance Vidarbha Express was halted
briefly by the agitators, while attempts were made to stop other
trains entering from north, east and south India at various points,
railway officials said.

After suicides, shutdown hits life in Telangana

Huge traffic snarls were witnessed at the state's borders with
Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh as vehicular movement on the national
highways was stopped by pro-Vidarbha agitators.

Similarly, all traffic also came to a standstill on the state highways
and district roads in the entire region.

Nagpur city was deserted as all public and private vehicles remained
off the roads and commercial establishments downed shutters.

In Yavatmal, a group of 50 farm widows squatted outside the State Bank
of India office raising slogans for a separate state and for justice
to the farmers.

In several Yavatmal villages, rallies were taken out and local leaders
demanded a separate state of Vidarbha for the region's development.

People also enacted farmer suicides, consuming poison or immolating
them as crowds cheered and raised a chorus for a separate state.


r suicides, shutdown hits life in Telangana

2010-01-20 10:30:00
Last Updated: 2010-01-20 10:39:58

Hyderabad: Normal life in Hyderabad and nine other districts of the
Telangana region came to a halt as a 48-hour shutdown called by the
Joint Action Committee (JAC) of students began Wednesday to protest
the delay in the formation of a separate state out of Andhra Pradesh.
Since Monday, two students have killed themselves over the issue.

State-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) suspended its bus
services while shops, business establishments and educational
institutions remained closed.

All political parties have supported the shutdown. The JAC called for
a strike after two students, depressed over the delay in carving out a
separate Telangana state, committed suicide.

K. Venugopal Reddy, a final year student of MCA, set himself ablaze at
Osmania University here late Monday. Suvarnamma, a first year BSc
student in Mahabubnagar district, set herself ablaze late Tuesday.

Tension prevailed at Osmania University campus for the second
consecutive day as students continued their protest with the body of
Reddy. The JAC leaders, who sat in front of the Arts College building
with the body through Tuesday night, said they would not allow it to
be moved unless all MPs and state legislators from the region resign
in support of the Telangana statehood demand.

In an attempt to shift the body, police brought additional forces to
the campus on Wednesday morning.

The self-immolations triggered angry protests by students across
Telangana. The students' JAC called for a two-day shutdown Wednesday
and Thursday.

The politicians' JAC, which comprises all parties including the ruling
Congress, has supported the shutdown for Wednesday.

The JAC also announced that all elected representatives would submit
their resignations from Wednesday and those who have already done so
would press for their acceptance.

Five legislators of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and one of Praja
Rajyam Party (PRP) began a sit-in at the house of assembly speaker
Kirankumar Reddy on Tuesday night, urging him to immediately accept
their resignations. The speaker, however, sought two to three days to
take a decision.

With the legislators continuing their protest, the police took them
into custody. They were later released.

All 39 legislators of main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) have
also decided to press the speaker to accept their resignations.


Maneka Gandhi stopped from entering riot-hit Bareilly
2010-03-14 12:50:00

Noted animal-rights activist and Aonla MP Maneka Gandhi, who is
heading the three member panel appointed by the Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP) to monitor the situation in riot-hit Bareilly was on Sunday not
allowed to enter the city.

Sources said police personnel stopped Gandhi near Ghaziabad, while
enroute to Bareilly.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Nitin Gadkari had sent a three-
member team to riot-hit Bareilly to take note of the prevailing

Bareilly has been tense for several days following the release of a
cleric, who was arrested on charges of inciting clashes.

Mobs torched about 20 shops in the old Bareilly area on Saturday
though curfew was in force in most parts of the city affected by
communal violence. The authorities have rushed additional forces to
the city.

The Uttar Pradesh Government has ordered the closure of all
educational institutions there, and provided the police with a
helicopter to monitor trouble-hit areas. Uttar Pradesh Police had last
Monday (March 8) taken into its custody Maulana Khan, the leader of
Ittehad-e-Millat Conference. He was later released on Thursday (March
11) evening.

The right-wing Hindu outfit Bajrang Dal criticising his release soon
turned into action following which there was a violent backlash and
curfew was imposed in the areas of the city. (ANI)


Many new faces in Gadkari's new team; Anurag to be new BJYM Head

New Delhi, Mar 14: Many new faces will be find a place in BJP
President Nitin Gadkari's new team and the name of Himachal Pradesh
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal's son Anurag Thakur, an MP, has been
given the party's nod for the post of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha
Chief, party sources said today.

The decision to appoint Anurag to the post of BJYM is likely to raise
the hackles of those in the party who have been raising their voice
from time to time against dynasty politics, they added.

Rajnath Singh, during his tenure as BJP President, had appointed his
son Pankaj Singh as the Head of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJYM,
but had rolled back his decision, saying that would set a wrong
precedent in the party and would only encourage dynasty politics.

Party MP from Pilibhit Varun Gandhi along with BJYM Chief Amit Thakar
is likely to be given the post of secretary. It might also court
controversy in the party as Varun had been at the centre of a storm
due to his alleged hate speech in the run-up to the Lok Sabha
elections last year.

Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda, youth leader Dharmendra
Pradhan and former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje will be
made general secretaries in the new team of Mr Gadkari, which will be
announced on March 16 on the occasion of Hindu New Year Gudi Padwa,
almost three months after he took over the reins of the saffron party,
sources informed.

Party Spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad is being promoted to the post
of general secretary.

Ananth Kumar, Thawar Chand Gehlot, Ramlal have also been roped in the
new team of Mr Gadkari as general secretaries.

Yashwant Sinha, J P Nadda, Kalraj Mishra, Kiran Maheshwari, Saroj
Pandey, Karuna Shukla will also be there in the team.

Saroj Pandey is likely to be made Bharatiya Janata Mahila Morcha

The number of office-bearers and members of national executive has
also been increased, the sources added.



BJP secy blames Bapu for Partition
Vikas Pathak, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 15, 2010

First Published: 23:54 IST(15/2/2010)
Last Updated: 23:55 IST(15/2/2010)

The BJP hasn’t said the last word on Partition yet.

Months after Jaswant Singh blamed Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel
for the country’s division on the eve of Independence and invited
expulsion from the BJP for praising Pakistan founder MA Jinnah, party
leader Balbir Punj has pointed the finger at Mahatma Gandhi.

The BJP’s national secretary and Rajya Sabha member has blamed Gandhi
for the “original sin” that culminated in Partition.

“Gandhiji’s unstinted support for restoration of Khilafat in faraway
Turkey in 1920s ultimately led to the Partition…,” Punj writes an
article in a booklet, Vikalp (Alternative).

Khilafat movement (1919-24) was aimed at restoring the office of the
Caliph abolished by the British.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s “Muslim First” policy is in the same
tradition, he adds.

The booklet was released in the presence of BJP president Nitin
Gadkari and senior leader L.K. Advani on the February 11, the death
anniversary of Jan Sangh ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. Jan Sangh was
the predecessor of the BJP.

Indian nationalism was always Hindu, says Punj. It was from Gandhi’s
time that Hindus got demoted to the status of a mere community. Salwa
Judums and the recent Orissa outbursts against evangelism (read
Kandhamal riots) are truly nationalist in nature, says Punj.

“All this history writing is because the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak
Sangh) was conspicuously absent during the national movement,” said
Jyotirmaya Sharma of Hyderabad Central University, an expert on
Hindutva politics.

Punj’s argument underlines the inconsistency of the Sangh Parivar in
resolving Gandhi, who is alternately condemned and appropriated.

While the BJP claims to follow Gandhian ideas right from its inception
in 1980 — in the first session former prime minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee had invoked “Gandhian socialism” — glimpses of the pre-
Partition Hindutva critique of Gandhi as “pro-Muslim” does make its
way into the Parivar’s discourse now and then.


Bareilly yet to simmer down
Pioneer News Service | Lucknow

Curfew extended to more areas

With four more shops being gutted in curfew-bound areas of Bareilly
and resentment brewing among members of the majority community over
the release of riot accused Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan, the situation
in the strife-torn city remained tense on Saturday.

However, no further clashes were reported from anywhere since Friday
night. Earlier, on Friday evening, nearly 20 shops at a local
vegetable market were reduced to ashes, which the administration
claimed was due to a short-circuit and not orchestrated by any group
as was being alleged.

ADG (Crime, Law & order) Brij Lal claimed that the fire incidents were
due to short-circuits and claimed that if the situation remained
incident-free, the administration might relax curfew from Sunday.

As per reports, some shops in Subash Nagar area were reduced to ashes
and locals immediately alleged that it was the handiwork of a
particular community which indulged in wanton arson. However, ADG Brij
Lal and DM of Bareilly shot down the claim saying that it was due to a

The fire was doused by the fire-tenders soon after they learnt of the
incident on Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, a large section of a community took to the streets to
protest the manner in which riot accused Maulana Tauqeer Raza Khan was
released by the police.

The agitators claimed that the administration succumbed under the
pressure of a Cabinet Minister and bailed out Tauqeer claiming that
there were no evidence against him and that his arrest was made on the
basis of an FIR.

Sources even claimed that former DM Asheesh Goel was shunted out
because he refused to give a clean chit to the riot accused cleric and
release him as he believed that the administration had sufficient
grounds for his arrest.

The Maulana’s release fuelled tension in Bareilly on Friday. Members
from the community took to the streets in protest and torched business
establishment, vehicles and engaged in heavy brick-batting which left
50 persons injured, including a dozen cops and the SP City.

Following the violence, eight senior officers were rushed to Bareilly
to defuse the situation and curfew was extended in Subash Nagar area,
beside reimposing dusk to dawn curfew in the four police circles
stations, where curfew was earlier relaxed.

Meanwhile, BJP president Nitin Gadkari has appointed a three-member
team of senior party leaders led by Maneka Gandhi to visit the riot-
hit Bareilly and submit a report on the events there. “We will be
leaving on Sunday for Bareilly and will be back by evening,” Maneka
told PTI in New Delhi. The team, consisting of Maneka, Gorakhpur MP
Yogi Adityanath and Meerut MP Rajendra Agarwal, is expected to submit
a report to the party president on the steps taken to control the
riots and the relief given to the affected people.


secular media
By vinay chandran on 3/14/2010 12:03:34 PM

when the majority community is attacked the socalled secular media
ignores it.
when it is the other way round they make a big fuss about it.

The Truth of Bareilly Riots
By Aditya on 3/14/2010 11:29:02 AM

It was a usual 12 wafaat procession going on for many years (mind it
Bareilly is great seat of Sunni Muslim school). The city has
unparalleled history of communal harmony and pluralistic life style.
No one among my parents and uncles remembers anything ever going wrong
between hindus and muslims for past as many decades as can possibly be
remembered by living generations. Then what went wrong???!!!
This procession was scheduled on the very day of Holi but in line with
the communal tolearance

Why Is this Incident Ignored by English News Channels
By Rajeev - UK on 3/14/2010 3:52:28 AM

Why are national english TV news channel not showing this news at all.
Its surprising that a leader who preached hate was released due to
pressure of roiters, this is India and Not SWAT valley. Where are the
secular leaders now why isnt that leader put behind the bars again.



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...and I am Sid Harth
Sid Harth
2010-03-15 19:42:14 UTC

This page deals with the Hindu varna. For other uses of this word and
similar words, see Brahmana, Brahman and Brahman (disambiguation).

A Brahmin (anglicised from the Sanskrit word IAST '; Devanagari ),
also known as Vipra, Dvija, Dvijottama (best of the Dvijas), (god on
Earth) is a member of a caste within Hindu society. Historically,
Hindu society consisted of four based on occupation and divine birth:
Brahmin (reciter of the Vedas as they came from the mouth of Brahma),
Kshatriya (protectors of Dharma, since they are the arms of Brahma),
Vaishya (mercantile and agricultural class, since they are from the
body of Brahma) and Shudra (artisan and labour class, since they are
from the feet of Brahma).

However, in addition to these four classes, there were many other
tribes mentioned in mythology such as Gandharvas, Yakshas, Kinnaras,
Kimpurushas, Rakshasas, Nagas, Suparnas, Vanaras, Vidyadharas,
Valikilyas, Pisachas, Devas, Vasus, Rudras, Maruts, Adityas, Asuras,
Danavas, Daityas, Kalakeyas, Mlechchas etc. Today, the Hindu society
in modern India is divided into four classes based on birth: Forward
Castes/communities (FCs), Backward Caste/communities (BCs), Scheduled
Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).

In the 1931 caste census taken by the Colonial British government,
Brahmins were 4.32% of the total population. Even in Uttar Pradesh,
where they are most numerous, the Brahmins constituted just 9% of the
total populace. In Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, they formed less
than 3% and 2% of the population respectively.

The Nirukta of sage Yaska says ' — A Brahmin is a person who knows
Brahman, the ultimate reality or God; hence Brahmin means, "knower of
God". However, the historical situation in Hindu society is that
Brahmins are the traditional priests and pundits (scholars). Today
however, many Brahmins are employed in secular occupations and their
religious traditions and culture are fast disappearing from their


The history of the Brahmin community in India begins with the Vedic
religion in ancient India. The Manu Smriti, an ancient Smriti, refers
to Aryavarta.The Vedas are the primary source of knowledge for all
brahmin practices. All the sampradayas of Brahmins take inspiration
from the Vedas. Traditionally, it is believed that Vedas are ' (not
written by either humans or God) and anādi (beginingless), but are
revealed truths of eternal validity. The Vedas are considered Åšruti
(that which is heard, signifying the oral tradition).

Due to the diversity in religious and cultural traditions and
practices, and the Vedic schools which they belong to, Brahmins are
further divided into various subcastes. During the sutra period,
roughly between 1000 BCE to 200 BCE, Brahmins became divided into
various Shakhas (branches), based on the adoption of different Vedas
and different rescension Vedas. Sects for different denominations of
the same branch of the Vedas were formed, under the leadership of
distinguished teachers among Brahmins. The teachings of these
distinguished rishis are called '. Every Veda has its own . The that
deal with social, moral and legal precepts are called Dharma Sutras,
whereas those that deal with ceremonials are called Shrauta Sutras and
domestic rituals are called Grhya Sutras. are generally written in
prose or in mixed prose and verse.

There are several Brahmin law givers such as Angirasa, Apasthambha,
Atri, Brihaspati, Boudhayana, Daksha, Gautam, Harita, Katyayana,
Likhita, Manu, Parasara, Samvarta, Shankha, Shatatapa, Ushanasa,
Vashishta, Vishnu, Vyasa, Yajnavalkya and Yama. These twenty-one
rishis were the propounders of Smritis. The oldest among these smritis
are Apastamba, Baudhayana, Gautama, and Vasishta Sutras.Manu Smriti on
learning of the Vedas

Nature of Brahmin

"Samodamastapah Saucham


Jnanam Vijnaanamaastikyam

Brahmakarma Swabhavajam!"

Control on emotions, Control on senses, Purity, Tolerance, Simplicity,
Concentration and belief in knowledge and science
Duties of Brahmin

The six duties of a Brahmin are given as per the Sloka

"Adhyaapanam Adhyayanam

Yajanam Yaajanam Tathaa

Daanam Pratigraham Chaiva


Teaching, learning, performing Yaaga, make performing Yaga, accept
Daana, and give Daana are the six duties of a Brahmin.

Adi Shankara (centre) is the Hindu philosopher whose tradition is
followed by Smarta Brahmins

Brahmins adhere to the principles of Hinduism, such as acceptance of
the Vedas with reverence, adherence to the position that the means or
ways to salvation and realization of the ultimate truth are diverse,
that God is one, but has innumerable names and forms to chant and
worship due to our varied perceptions, cultures and languages.
Brahmins believe in ' — Let the entire society be happy and prosperous
and ' — the whole world is one family. Some Brahmins practice
vegetarianism (Bengali Brahmins and Kashmiri Pandits are exceptions to
Daily routine

Hindu Brahmins hold practice of Dharma more important than beliefs.
This is a distinct feature of the Dharmic religions. The practices
include mainly Yajnas. The daily routineA day in the life of a Brahmin
includes performing Snana (bathing), Sandhyavandanam, Japa, Puja,
Aupasana and Agnihotra. The last two named Yajnas are performed in
only a few households today. Brahmacharis perform Agnikaryam instead
of Agnihotra or Aupasana. The other rituals followed include Amavasya
tarpanam and Shraddha.

See Also: Nitya karma and Kaamya karma


Brahmins also perform sixteen major Samskaras (rites) during the
course of their life-time.The Forty Samskaras In the pre-natal stage,
Garbhadharana (Conception), Pumsavana (Rite for consecrating a male
child in the womb) and Simantonnayana (Rite for parting the hair of a
pregnant woman) are performed. During childhood, Jatakarma (Birth
ceremony), Namakarana (Naming ceremony), Nishkarmana (First outing)
Annaprasana (First feeding solid food), Choodakarana (First tonsure)
and Karnavedha (Piercing of the ear lobes) are performed.During
education of the child, Vidhyarambha (Starting of education),
Upanayanam (Thread ceremony- Initiation), Vedarambha (Starting of the
study of the Vedas), Keshanta or Godana (First shaving of the beard)
and Samavartanam or Snaana (Ending of studentship) are performed.
Suring adulthood, Vivaha (Marriage) and Anthyesthi (Funeral rites) are
the main ceremonies.


The three sampradayas (traditions) of Brahmins, especially in South
India are the Smarta sampradaya, the Srivaishnava sampradaya and the
Maadhva sampradaya.
Status of Brahmins Today

Historically Brahmins have been not only ascetics, sages and priests
for millennia seeking welfare of the society, but also secular clerks,
merchants, agriculturists, artisans, etc. They were also very poor. In
the modern democratic India, the Brahmins are still not only poverty
stricken, but also shunted out of every opportunity,The status of
Brahmins in Andhra Pradesh

#Poor_Brahmins Brahmin Poverty] despite the fact that Prime Ministers
like Jawaharlal Nehru, Venkatanarasimharao Pamulaparti (P.V. Narasimha
Rao), and Atal Behari Vajpayee have been Brahmins. French journalist
Francois GautierFrancois
has written on the sad state of Brahmins in India today.Are Brahmins
the Dalits of today?

Contributions to modern India

Brahmins have contributed immensely to the making of modern Indiain
many fields like literature, science and technology, politics,
culture, scholarship, religion etc. In the Indian independence
movement, many Brahmins like Balgangadhar Tilak, Gopal Krishna
Gokhale, C. Rajagopalachari and others were at the forefront of the
struggle for freedom. After independence, Jawaharlal Nehru, a Brahmin
and an atheist, became the first Prime Minister of India. Later,
Brahmins like P.V. Narasimha Rao and Atal Behari Vajpayee became Prime
Ministers. even now after persecution of brahmans by politicians they
hold top posts in administration, academia ,business, army,
jouranalism etc. Infact it was those Brahmin leaders like
Rajagopalachari and Thilak who fought for the upliftment of the
socially backward dalits and their equality in the society.

See also:List of Brahmins


The anti-Brahmin sentiment was first kindled in India by the Dravidar
Kazhagam movement in Tamil Nadu. Caste & the Tamil Nation -Brahmins,
Non Brahmins & Dalits This was a reaction to the Brahmin hegemony in
the Civil services under the British government. In later years, this
movement caught on in many other parts of India even after




Brahmin castes in the Indian subcontinent are traditionally divided
into two regional groups: Pancha-Gauda Brahmins and Pancha-Dravida
Brahmins as per the shloka,

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¿à¤¡à¤¾ महाराष्ट्रकाः,गुर्जराà
¤¶à¥à¤šà¥‡à¤¤à¤¿ पञ्चैव द्राविडा विà
¤¨à¥à¤§à¥à¤¯à¤¦à¤•à¥à¤·à¤¿à¤£à¥‡ ¦¦
सारस्वताः कान्यकुब्जा गौà¤
¡à¤¾ उत्कलमैथिलाः,पन्चगौडा इà
¤¤à¤¿ ख्याता विन्ध्स्योत्तरवà

The classification first occurs in Rajatarangini of Kalhana.


See also

* Varnas
* Brahmanism
* Anti-Brahmanism
*Brahmin Contribution to Other Religions



*Definitions: A Sanskrit English Dictionary by Sir Monier Monier-
*Mayne's "Treatise on Hindu Law and Usage.
Hindu Castes and Sects Jogendranath Bhattacharya.
Andhra Viprula Gotramulu, Indla Perlu, Sakhalu by Emmesroy Sastri.
History and Culture of Andhra Pradesh Rao PR.
History of India Herman Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund.
Acharalu sastriyataNarayanareddi Patil.
Hindu Manners, Customs, and Ceremonies Abbe J. A. Dubois

External links

*List Of Andhra Brahmins And Surnames
*Brahmins of Andhra Pradesh
*Poverty Stricken Brahmins
*Source: Vepachedu Educational Foundation Inc.
*Brahmin Sages and Branches (Gotras and Subcastes)
* A Long List of Brahmin Castes and Sub-castes
* Brahmin Yahoo Groups

Related Articles

• International Religious Freedom Report 1999: India
• Who is a Hindu?
• Age of the Spiritual Superpower
• International Religious Freedom Report 2000: India
• &#186;&#236;&#194;&#165;&#195;&#206;(Chinese GB)


When will the Brahmin-Bania hegemony end?

The Brahmin and the Bania still control the economy, but now the
Shudra controls politics
Reply To All | Aakar Patel

On 9 April, the Supreme Court rejected a plea that the 2011 census be
caste-based. CII and Ficci oppose job reservations in the private
sector, but Manmohan Singh is keen. India’s population of Brahmins and
Banias and Jains all together is 6% or less.

Ruling axis: Jawaharlal Nehru, a Brahmin, became Prime Minister with
the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi, a Bania.

The Sensex comprises the 30 largest traded companies of India.

ACC is run by a Brahmin (Sumit Banerjee), Bhel is run by a Brahmin
(Ravi Kumar Krishna Swamy), Bharti Airtel is run by a Bania (Sunil
Mittal), Grasim and Hindalco are run by a Bania (Kumar Mangalam

HDFC is run by a Bania (Deepak Parekh), Hindustan Unilever is run by a
Brahmin (Nitin Paranjpe), ICICI Bank is headed by a Brahmin (K.V.
Kamath). Jaiprakash Associates is run by a Brahmin (Yogesh Gaur), L&T
is run by a Brahmin (A.M. Naik), NTPC is run by a Brahmin (R.S.
Sharma), ONGC is run by a Brahmin (also called R.S. Sharma). Reliance
group firms are run by Banias (Mukesh and Anil Ambani), State Bank of
India is run by a Brahmin (O.P. Bhatt), Sterlite Industries is run by
a Bania (Anil Agarwal), Sun Pharma is run by a Bania (Dilip Shanghvi)
and Tata Steel is run by a Brahmin (B. Muthuraman).

Punjab National Bank is run by a Brahmin (K.C. Chakrabarty), Bank of
Baroda is run by a Brahmin (M.D. Mallya) and Canara Bank is run by a
Bania (A.C. Mahajan).

Also Read Aakar Patel’s earlier columns

Of India’s software companies, Infosys is run by a Brahmin (Kris
Gopalakrishnan now and Narayana Murthy and Nandan Nilekani before
him). TCS is run by a Brahmin (Subramanian Ramadorai). Wipro is owned
by a Khoja (Azim Premji). Khojas are Shia of the Sevener sect,
converted from the Luhana trading community (same caste as L.K. Advani
and M.A. Jinnah).

India’s two largest airlines are Kingfisher, owned by a Brahmin (Vijay
Mallya) and Jet, owned by a Bania (Naresh Goyal).

Of India’s mobile phone firms, Reliance Communications (Ambani),
Airtel (Mittal), Vodafone Essar (Ruia), Idea (Birla), Spice (Modi) are
owned by Banias. BSNL is run by a Bania (Kuldeep Goyal) and Tata’s
TTML is run by a Brahmin (K.A. Chaukar).

Cricket in India is run by a Bania (Lalit Modi) and before him it was
run by another Bania (Jagmohan Dalmiya).


Posted: Tue, Apr 7 2009. 12:30 AM IST
Economy and Politics

Mixing Vedas and code in new-age India
After seven years of juggling Vedas and school, Satya, a Tamil
Brahmin, had to make the big decision: whether to follow his family
and make a career in Hindu priesthood--or to forge his own new path.
As an undergraduate engineering student now, he has only temporarily
kept the decision on hold
Samanth Subramanian

Chennai: If this were 1989, or indeed 1979 or even 1799, S.
Sathyanarayanan would probably not possess the full head of hair he
does today. Instead, he would have shaved the front half of his skull
and then swept his remaining hair back to resemble a bulging half-
moon, knotted loosely at the back—a distinctive do for a young Brahmin
who would have been preparing to follow his father, his uncles and his
cousins into a career of Hindu priesthood.

Photo: Sharp Image

But this is 2009, and Sathya, as he introduces himself, has a short
but regular haircut, grown out from a few months ago, when he passed
his final year’s exams in a pathshala—Vedic school—run by the Sri
Ahobila Muth, a Hindu religious institution.

“We had to have our hair pulled back when we sat for our exams. It was
the rule,” he says. Sathya’s new look, though, fits right in at the
Rajalakshmi Institute of Technology, where he has started an
engineering degree, becoming the first in his family to attend
college. Sathya turned 18 in July, just as he was completing seven
years of Vedic education that came with a punishing schedule.

“Our Veda classes started at 4.30am and went till 7am,” he says. “Then
we had regular school from 9am to 4pm. Then more Veda classes from 4pm
to 7pm, and then supervised independent study in school from 7pm to

Apart from two monthly holidays, on the days after amavasya (no-moon
nights) and pournami (Tamil for full-moon nights), this arduous
regimen ran for six days a week; on Sunday, Sathya was still required
to attend Veda classes for five hours in the morning and two in the

Also Read The boy who broke from tradition

“He’d never go anywhere but school, or maybe to the market to buy
vegetables” his mother Shanti remembers. “Every spare moment he could
get, he’d simply lie down and go to sleep.” Sathya saw his first movie
in a theatre when he was 16, and he got his first email address just
earlier this year. His only distraction, he admits, was the one
universally shared by Indian boyhood: Sunday evening games of cricket,
at a cramped ground near his house or in the narrow corridors of his
block of apartments.


Sathya is short and slight, and he has a thin moustache, worn almost
out of rebellious joy that he is now no longer bound by the rules of
the pathshala, where every student had to be clean-shaven every day.
His slow grin fights its way through a mouthful of braces that he
wears to correct a misaligned jaw. “Because of that, my speech used to
be slurred, and I’d be very reluctant to talk in school, even to my
teachers,” he says. He had to give up flute lessons after two years
because his gums would begin to bleed. But the braces are helping—
Sathya still mumbles, but it sounds less like a medical problem and
more like a typical case of teenage shyness. “I find myself talking a
lot more willingly in college now.”


Posted: Fri, Nov 16 2007. 4:42 AM IST

TN’s anti-Brahmin movement hits tradition, boosts real estate
Brahmins are finding ways to survive in changing times, while clinging
to old traditions
Priyanka P. Narain

Kannan’s house, which sits across the street from the ancient
Parthasarthy temple in the heart of Chennai, has not changed in 500
years: the palanquin his forefathers used now hangs on wooden beams
and he draws water from the same well as them. In his backyard, a
brown calf chews cud.

For centuries, Brahmin families such as Kannan’s have lived and worked
in the streets or villages around ancient temples. These four streets,
called the agraharam, created a subculture where Brahmin priests lived
a chaste life and performed traditional duties as priests and teachers
by running the temple and teaching the Vedas to students. They
essentially formed the ecosystem that ran the temples of south India.

Yet, against a backdrop of Tamil Nadu’s anti-Brahmin movement,
government policies outlawing the Brahmin-only colonies, skyrocketing
real estate prices and Brahmins’ declining social relevance, the
culture of the agraharam and people such as Kannan, who uses one name,
are becoming a rarity.

Earlier this year came another policy change—temple authorities will
now train their own priests, and priests no longer have to be
Brahmins, making older Brahmin priests all, but irrelevant.

With growing economic prosperity and migration, many of the streets
occupied by Brahmins in south Indian cities are finding it hard to
resist selling out.

Just memories? Interiors of Kannan’s 500-year-old house that sits
across the street from the Parthasarthy temple in Mylapore.

From Kannan’s house, it is easy to see the new white, pink and yellow
coloured buildings of residences, malls and coffee shops. Another
being constructed adjoins his backyard. He insists he will hang on—to
the past; to the identity.

“I would get about Rs3 crore for it (my house). But I will not sell. I
want my children and grandchildren to own it. Without this house, what
am I?” says Kannan, who has a postgraduate degree in economics.

Brahmins are finding ways to survive in changing times, while clinging
to old traditions.

Babu Das grew up helping his father run a canteen, or mess as it is
called in south India, inside his pink-coloured home at the
Kapaleeshwar temple agraharam in Chennai’s Mylapore area. The
Karpagambal Mess is famous for its authentic Tamil snacks, home-made
idlis and dosai served on banana-leaf plates while playing while
playing M.S. Subbalaxmi’s rendition of the Vishnu Sahasranama, the
thousand names of Vishnu.

Das inherited the canteen from his father, but does not know how old
the building is. “I love everything about this place. No one wants to
change anything about it. The people who come here to eat like it for
what it is. After all, money can buy you the latest trends, but will
it bring back this tradition?” he asks.


Posted: Fri, Feb 19 2010. 9:37 PM IST

The Thackerays’ primitive charisma

The Senas have nothing constructive to offer Marathis. So what’s their
appeal? The Mumbai Marathi, better at renaming things than building
something himself, is disinherited from his city, and the Thackerays
give him an illusory sense of powerReply to All | Aakar Patel

All these events blocked eventually come to pass anyway, because the
control is cosmetic, and it wilts when the state decides to apply rule
of law. But that moment of theatre—when the media exhibits anguish—
produces the spotlight that nourishes the Thackerays. This is the
pattern to Shiv Sena’s actions.

It might appear that these actions are irrational, but the Thackerays’
method is cold and reasoned to squeeze out advantage. Witness the
discipline of Raj. He works his strategy with great care. On national
television he speaks Marathi no matter what language he is questioned
in. The Marathi loves this because it reflects his defiance.

There is a second reason why the Thackerays are compelled to make a
nuisance of themselves every so often. Unlike other parties, Shiv Sena
has a physical presence in neighbourhoods. These offices, run by local
toughs, are self-funded, meaning that they approach businesses and
residents for “donations”. This activity can be smooth only so long as
Shiv Sena radiates menace. The party is not effective if it isn’t
feared, and the grass roots reminds the leadership of this.

The Marathi pattern of resentment we have observed is visible
elsewhere in time.

India’s nationalist debate a century ago was dominated by the
Marathis: Tilak, Gokhale, Agarkar and Ranade. All four were Chitpavan
Brahmins, whose members are fair-skinned and unique for their light
eyes (like cricketer Ajit Agarkar and model Aditi Govitrikar).

Going against the current noise about Marathi in schools, Chitpavans
actually demanded to be educated in English. By 1911—100 years ago—
Chitpavans were 63% literate and 19% literate in English. This gave
them the edge over other Indians.

All four were on the most influential body in western India of the
time, Poona Sarvajanik Sabha. But English education had not exorcized
the native instinct. There they unleashed their pettiness on each
other. Agarkar and Tilak fought over leadership. Tilak was forced out
in 1890 after quarrels over social status and money. Gokhale took his
place but was opposed by Tilak who said the job required 2 hours of
work daily and so it couldn’t be done by a college principal. Ranade
was attacked in Tilak’s newspapers and Gokhale quit in 1895 because he
couldn’t work with Tilak’s friends. A jealous Tilak sabotaged the
Congress session held in Pune the same year.

When the Gujaratis—Jinnah and Gandhi—entered Congress, they
immediately eclipsed the Marathis, because they had the trader’s
instinct towards compromise. The Marathi Brahmin’s energy was then
channelled into resentment, this time against Muslims.

RSS, founded in 1925, is actually a deeply Marathi organization.
Hindutva author Savarkar, RSS founder Hedgewar, the great Golwalkar,
his successor Deoras and current sarsanghachalak Mohan Bhagwat are all
Marathi Brahmins.

Marathi resentment cuts down its own heroes. The first was Shivaji.
Marathi Brahmins refused to crown him though he controlled dozens of
forts in the Konkan. This was because he was a peasant from the
cultivator caste and not a Kshatriya. He had to invent an ancestry,
perform penance and bring in a Brahmin from Kashi before he could
crown himself in 1674, with the title Chhatrapati, meaning leader of


What a blatant piece of crap!! And that too a center-spread in Mint!!
And what a branding! I have came across lies which stink of hatred
while reading this bullshit. Now I know that Tilak was a petty man,
was Brahmin, and is not much relevant. That Jinnah and Gandhi (who
calls Gokhle his Guru), were Gujaratis. Though, both owe a lot to
Maharashtra. I just want to ask this 'pseudo-expert' why Ambedkar was
borne in Maharashtra? Why Maharashtra had reformist stalwarts? Why,
when all other states (including GJ) in India were reeling under
Muslim rule, only Maharashtra created a king of people in Shivaji?
Shivsena-MNS are a different issue. Linking it to Marathis & Tilak-
Gokhle-Ranade-Agarkar & RSS, & painting all this as a Brahmin
conspiracy is disgusting. (And this fool thinks that there only 2 ends
to any economy - high and low. So one can run a company with a CEO and
a sweeper & both are non-Marathis in Mumbai as he claims.)



Reducing the poor to numbers
After 62 years of Independence, Dalit exploitation continues even if
the setting and players are different

With rising food insecurity, the proportion of the poor will
definitely soar (“Who count as India’s poor?” Mint, 2 October). The
same is true for those classified as vulnerable and stressed. It is
deplorable that our representatives fight like cats and dogs over
statistics and their reliability. This is nothing but a cheap attempt
to justify ratios and proportions established by surveys and censuses,
and by so-called think tanks who undertake the task of achieving
“comfortable numbers to play with”. This act of putting the cart
before the horse jeopardizes many lives while Nero enjoys his fiddle.
An attempt to place 50% of the population below the poverty line is
not only a welcome relief but pro-human and pro-life.

— Rohit Saroj

This letter refers to Mrinal Pande’s thought-provoking article “Caste
in a new mould ” (Mint, 9 October). After 62 years of Independence,
Dalit exploitation continues even if the setting and players are
different: refreshingly, not the usual whipping boys but the Brahmins.
If the Plan projects from the 1950s onwards have made people richer,
the ingenuity of the latter-day politicians in introducing an ever
expanding “OBC” (other backward class) list has given them a doubly
assured vote bank.

The article refers to the killing of 16 villagers in Bihar (Khagaria
district), originating in “land ownership and use”, an area in which
our post-Independence leaders enacted progressive statutes. For
example, Tamil Nadu (TN) is one of the early states which introduced
the salutary principle, “land to the tiller”. Several hundred Brahmin
mirasdars (landlords) had to part with the land to the actual tillers.
TN has not looked back since then, even if the Brahmin mirasdars had
to choose other livelihood options and even migrate. On the same
principle, Kurmis of Bihar cannot cite their holding 500 bighas in
Amausi if the Dalits were sharecroppers, managing and tilling the land
for generations. Bihar’s agricultural and revenue departments are
sufficiently endowed for ascertaining the factual situation and
deciding the issue. It is a grave mistake on their part to have let
the situation result in mass killings. Will the Dalits of Amausi ever
get the ownership of the land which they have been tilling for several

Pande has also touched on the role of education. The Brahmin
intellectual and statesman Rajaji, during his TN chief ministership,
introduced an educational system —earn while you learn —whereby all
would get primary and secondary education while learning their family
craftsmanship, which was vital for livelihood until their education
was completed. This would have avoided the worrying phenomenon of
increasing school dropouts, but he was unjustifiably branded as a
perpetrator of caste system. It is a little-known fact that long
afterwards, even in Britain, the New Labour intellectuals of Tony
Blair proposed a similar system for its citizens to enjoy the fruits
of the “knowledge economy”.

Until political powers stop viewing Dalit uplift as a vote bank issue—
or stop perpetrating the caste system by continuously expanding the
grouping called OBC—caste will not die nor will Dalits see progress.
The West is using the “human rights movement” to cash in on our
miseries, which we are trying to cure. This is one more area where the
government has failed in the international arena.

Sadly, this festering issue is witnessing a theatrical display.
Lately, Dalits and their neighbourhoods are being turned into tourist,
picnic or pilgrimage spots by politicians wanting to be noticed by
their leaders. It is an amusing spectacle to notice “mentions” that
they should not carry separate tiffin boxes but partake in the frugal
meals of the Dalits, and sleep on their humble charpoys. What an
innovative way to treat this festering sore.

— S. Subramanyan


Posted: Sun, Oct 11 2009. 9:51 PM IST

Caste in a new mould
The usual definition of caste oppression can no longer explain
emerging patterns of dominance
The Other Side | Mrinal Pande

In the first week of this month, 16 villagers were murdered in cold
blood by armed killers in Amausi village in Bihar. Of those murdered,
14 were Kurmis, the same caste as the chief minister of the state, two
were Koeries, also from the other backward classes (OBCs). Those who
understand the murky C of India know that the incident was not only
about settling some local scores. It was also sending an unambiguous
message to the Kurmis and other OBCs who have emerged as powerful
landlords in the state during the last few decades of OBC rule. The
locals insist that the killers were not Naxals as the police claimed,
but assassins hired by the newly empowered Dalit community of Mushars,
for settling old scores with Kurmi landlords. Whether the killers were
Naxals or hired assassins, two things are clear: One, usually a long-
standing land dispute lies at the heart of most violence in our
villages. And two, the usual definition of caste oppression can no
longer explain the emerging patterns of dominance and subjugation.

The genesis of the recent violence is said to lie in the report of a
recently appointed government commission on land reforms in Bihar. It
had suggested that the state government must protect the rights of the
landless sharecroppers, put a cap on land ceiling at 15 acres (for
both agricultural and non-agricultural land) and computerize all land
records. In Khagaria district, where the massacre took place, as
elsewhere in rural India, ultimately all fertile land is controlled by
the most powerful (read politically best connected) caste with the
landless Dalits as their sharecroppers. The Kurmis say they are the
titled owners of 500 bighas in Amausi, but Mushars quoting the report
say they have a bigger right to it since they have tilled it for
generations. This tension is what ignited the caste war.

When the issue of caste-based violation of human rights in India came
up at the 12th Human Rights Council in Geneva recently, it was
proposed that caste be put on a par with race. But in 2009, when we
talk about caste biases, we cannot overlook India’s actual electoral
politics. Here, being identified as a Dalit or backward leader offers
a distinct advantage and becomes the biggest guarantee of a
candidate’s electability. From Bihar to Tamil Nadu, they have voted
out upper caste groups regularly, but the unjust land ownership
patterns born of unfair state patronage extended by incumbent leaders
to their own community, persist. Expunging caste from school syllabi
has not helped either, and the learning system still remains unequal
and heavily biased in favour of the powerful and rich. This is because
of a confused and confusing language policy perpetuated by the new
rulers. They insist on government schools teaching the children
(mostly poor) in the regional languages, even though English is
undeniably the language of all power discourse and higher learning.
None of these leaders will educate their own children in the local
language, though.

Actually, the traditional characteristics and power of the Brahmins in
the traditional upper caste hierarchy (high learning, arrogance and
clever use of a certain elite language to build firewalls around
knowledge and information to keep it away from the commoners) are now
much more visible among India’s upper middle-class professionals,
whatever their caste. Whether backward, Dalit or forward, successful
children of the new dominant classes no longer acquire their basic
knowledge, skills and networking abilities in Brahminical Sanskrit,
but in English. Likewise, the power of the old-style, landowning
Thakur (Kshatriya), who killed a thousand tigers and routinely torched
Dalit huts, has been usurped by today’s political class, who ride lal
batti cars with similar disregard for laws, sirens blaring and black
cat commandos in tow. They hold power dialogues with neighbouring
warlords, make and break treaties—not the princes and nawabs who, if
they have not become penniless, have turned hoteliers and protectors
of wildlife. The traditional merchant class, thanks to family-based
businesses, may have retained some part of their old glory, but in the
global arena they are now heavily dependent on the neo-Brahmin: the
Indian Institute of Management-trained, multinationalized manager,
banker and expat consultant, who strides the global village and
carries vital knowledge in his laptop, as a Brahmin once carried in
his almanac.

All caste systems need a cleaning class. They are today the invisible
and unorganized freelancers. Moving from job to job, they help mop up
the night soil of the global village and provide the paymasters with
linguistic bridges into the vernacular heartland, where the markets
are also the votes.

Mrinal Pande likes to take readers behind the reported news in her
fortnightly column. She is a writer and freelance journalist in New
Delhi. Comment at ***@livemint.com


Posted: Fri, Jan 2 2009. 12:09 AM IST

Mayawati leads BSP’s ‘elephant’ to temple towns
A Rs250 crore package to revamp Mathura was announced in August; now
Rs800 crore has been allocated for Varanasi
K.P. Narayana Kumar

New Delhi: To win both the hearts and minds of voters across the
country as India gets ready for the national elections in April, Uttar
Pradesh chief minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati
is deliberately targeting an overhaul of urban infrastructure in
pilgrim towns, such as Varanasi and Mathura, which see a large influx
of Hindu pilgrims.

Poll sops? BSP leader Mayawati. Nand Kumar / PTI

After announcing a Rs250 crore package for Mathura in August, Mayawati
announced an Rs800 crore revamp plan for Varanasi last week.

“By announcing these, Mayawati is telling the people—especially the
non-Dalits—that they should not judge her or the BSP by their past (as
a party that catered mainly to those at the bottom of India’s caste
pyramid) and, instead, think of the future they are trying to create
by catering to wider sections,” says Dalit writer Chandra Bhan Prasad.

Both Mathura and Varanasi are already covered under the Jawaharlal
Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) a Rs50,000 crore
Centrally funded scheme that ties grants for urban renewal projects to
a set of mandatory reforms that municipalities have to enact to be
eligible to receive the grants.

As of 30 June, Varanasi had one water supply and one solid waste
management project worth a combined Rs159 crore granted under JNNURM,
while Mathura had one solid waste management project.

The urban infrastructure development package for Varanasi includes
drinking water, sewerage and solid waste disposal schemes, apart from
improving power supply to places of tourist interest, including the
ghats along the banks of the Ganga river.

The Mathura-specific projects that were announced earlier in August
included improvement in tourist facilities and new road projects.

In the 2007 assembly elections, of the total 12 seats in Mathura and
Varanasi districts, the BSP, which won four seats, was the only party
that gained seats compared with the previous elections in 2002, when
it had won just one seat.

The main opposition at the Centre, the Bharatiya Janata Party, lost
one and the Congress party, the Central ruling coalition leader,
managed to retain the lone seat it had won in Mathura in 2002.

A senior priest with the Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi said it was
quite likely that Mayawati would benefit if she were to carry out the
planned works.

“Caste politics has been played by all political parties, where
promises specific to interest groups are made before polls. So there
is nothing wrong in Mayawati announcing more development of temple
towns keeping the upcoming elections in mind. At the end of the day,
people want development. Let us see what Mayawati can do,” said this
religious leader who didn’t want to be identified.

Mayawati and senior BSP leader S.C. Mishra couldn’t be contacted
despite repeated attempts.

A study conducted by the New Delhi-based think tank Centre for the
Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) showed that the BSP had increased
its share of upper-caste votes in Uttar Pradesh from 23% in the 2002
assembly elections to 31% in 2007. The share of Brahmin votes for the
party increased from 6% in 2003 to 17% in 2007, after it handed out
tickets to Brahmins and other backward class (OBC) candidates.

“It is interesting to note that among Brahmins, 27% of poor Brahmins
voted for the BSP, while only 12% of the rich voted for it,” said
Pravin Rai, an analyst with CSDS.

Ajoy Bose, the author of Behenji, a biography of Mayawati, has noted
that of the 206 seats the BSP had won in 2007, 51 were held by


Posted: Sun, Sep 27 2009. 10:32 PM IST

Opportunity, challenges for Indian banks in UK
The Indian banks in United Kingdom are trying hard to reach out to the
Indian community at Southall, Wembley, Birmingham, Harrow, Slough,
Ilford and Leicester
Banker’s Trust | Tamal Bandyopadhyay

Thursday afternoon, I sneaked into the Camden Centre on Bidborough
Street at King’s Cross, before London’s oldest Durga Puja was formally
opened for worshippers. Ajay, a local doctor and accomplished Rabindra
Sangeet singer, was rehearsing for his evening programme while a few
others were putting up a Bank of Baroda banner on the dais where Ajay
and other artistes were to perform.

Indian banks’ overseas business model hasn’t changed— festivals and
community gatherings continue to be the most critical points of sale.
On Wednesday, S.R. Sharma, managing director of Punjab National Bank
(International) Ltd, or PNB International, the UK subsidiary of
India’s second largest public sector bank, headed to Norwood Park in
south London after office hours. He was invited by P.L. Suri, a
customer, to attend a satsang, a programme of devotional speeches and
songs. Sharma met Suri’s guru and many of his friends and is hopeful
of converting at least some of them into customers.

State Bank of India, or SBI, operating in London since 1921, has an
asset base of $7.3 billion (Rs35,040 crore); PNB International, just
two years old in the UK, has assets worth $625 million. There are
other Indian banks, too, in the UK such as Bank of India, Bank of
Baroda, Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank and a subsidiary of ICICI Bank
Ltd, which has the biggest UK balance sheet among all Indian lenders.

Based on 2001 statistics, UK’s ethnic minority population is about 4.6
million, close to 8% of the country’s total population. In 2001,
Indians accounted for 1.8% of the total population. Since then it has
gone up to about 2% and Indian bankers are chasing this chunk and no
one is willing to miss a single opportunity to reach out to the Indian
community at Southall, Wembley, Birmingham, Harrow, Slough, Ilford and
Leicester. Sharma recently convinced the UK chapter of the Bharatiya
Vidya Bhavan, a charitable public trust-run institution dedicated to
the promotion of education and culture, to distribute its newsletters
to 1,500 members across the UK in PNB International envelopes every
month. Last year, his bank sponsored a few awards at the annual
function of London’s Goud Saraswat Brahmin Sabha, an organization of
the Konkani-speaking Hindu Brahmin community.

Also Read Tamal Bandyopadhyay’s earlier columns

These marketing gimmicks are paying off. PNB International’s deposit
base has gone up from $103 million in December 2008 to about $280
million now and the number of accounts from 4,419 to 10,075. The
global meltdown has also helped. Up to £50,000 is covered by deposit
insurance and many consumers have now started keeping deposits in
various Indian banks, including SBI, for fear of losing their money in
case of a bank failure. According to Rajnish Kumar, regional head and
chief executive of SBI’s UK operations, the bank did not have too many
local customers until September last year, but in the past one year it
has got many, and now non-Indians account for about 10% of State
Bank’s UK customer base.

Indian banks are also developing new deposit products to attract
money. SBI, for instance, offers a step-up rate structure where a
depositor is paid 3.75% for one year money, but the rate progressively
goes up if the money is kept longer. For five years, it can fetch as
much as 5%. From customers’ point of view, the step-up structure is a
better option than a plain vanilla deposit scheme where one is hugely
penalized for withdrawing money ahead of maturity. But these products
can help only to a certain extent and Indian banks won’t be able to
mop up much unless they start offering other facilities such as debit

Unlike India, where such cards function on the chip and signature
principle, in the UK it’s the chip and PIN (personal identification
number) norm and consumers punch in the code after every transaction
and don’t sign a charge slip. The technology is quite expensive. SBI
is working on it while ICICI Bank, Bank of Baroda and PNB
International already have it. Each time a bank’s debit card holder
uses another bank’s ATM to withdraw money it needs to pay for such
transactions, but it also earns a commission when customers use the
card for shopping. The debit card offering has possibly helped PNB
International get the salary accounts of the Indian High Commission in
London, which had been banking with SBI and HSBC Holdings Plc. PNB
International now runs the salary accounts of about 125 high
commission employees, including Nalin Suri, the new high commissioner.

All Indian banks seem to be keen on collecting deposits, but when it
comes to giving loans, they continue to meticulously stay away from
retail Indian customers. The main reason behind the diffidence of
Indian banks is possibly the lack of a credit history for most of
their customers. There are a few agencies that sell credit history
data, but until a bank attains a critical mass in loan accounts, no
agency tracks the data of its customers. This means the customer of an
Indian bank can default on loan repayments and yet continue to get
credit from local banks as this information will not be known to

Banks in the UK aren’t required to keep money with the central bank or
buy government bonds. But things will change as the Financial Services
Authority, the banking supervisor, is planning to ask banks to invest
8-10% of their assets in government bonds. Since such bonds are low-
yielding, the new norm will hit Indian banks’ profitability. One way
of protecting their bottom line could be the creation of retail
assets. But this has to be done with caution as KYB (know your
business) is as important as KYC (know your customer) for banking in
the post-Lehman days.

Tamal Bandyopadhyay keeps a close eye on all things banking from his
perch as Mint’s deputy managing editor in Mumbai. Please email your
comments to ***@livemint.com


Posted: Fri, Feb 6 2009. 11:05 PM IST

Fringe takes centre stage
The importance of being Mahesh Elkunchwar and Satish Alekar in Marathi
theatre; the plays of poet, painter and doctor Gieve Patel

Marathi playwrights Mahesh Elkunchwar and Satish Alekar occupy the
same place as their better-known counterparts Vijay Tendulkar and
Girish Karnad in the theatre-active centres of India. Even the most
culture-specific of their plays have been performed in other
languages. Now, Oxford University Press has published the collected
plays of Elkunchwar and Alekar (in separate volumes), thus bringing
some of their most important plays out of their Indian context into a
wider domain.

Modern times: (clockwise from top left) Satish Alekar (Kumar Gokhale);
Mahesh Elkunchwar (Vivek Ranade); and a scene from Alekar’s play,
Atirekee.(Theatre Academy, Pune)

Elkunchwar’s Wada Chirebandi (Old Stone Mansion), which deals with the
crumbling values of a landowning Brahmin family of Vidarbha, has been
performed in Hindi, Bengali, Kannada and even Garhwali.

Alekar’s Mahanirvan (The Dread Departure), which takes an ironic look
at the funeral rites of Marathi Brahmins using the keertan (devotional
song) form of story-telling to underline its black humour, has been
staged in Rajasthani, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, Konkani, Tamil and
Kannada. Begum Barve, a tragi-comic look by Alekar at the glorious
tradition of sangeet natak (musical theatre) in Maharashtra, has been
brilliantly adapted in Hindi, using nautanki (traditional/folk
theatre) in place of sangeet natak, and in Gujarati, using the music
plays of Bhangwadi as a parallel.

Plays by both playwrights have been read and performed in American
universities as well.

Although both began writing around the same time, their first plays
were staged a few years apart. Elkunchwar’s early plays, published in
the prestigious literary magazine Satyakatha, attracted the attention
of Vijaya Mehta (née Jaywant). She directed four of them in quick
succession in the same year, 1970, for her theatre laboratory,
Rangayan. Alekar’s early plays were also published in Satyakatha, but
were not performed on the established “fringe” stage. Instead, they
became popular on the inter-collegiate drama competition circuit.

Contemporaries though they are, Elkunchwar and Alekar are driven by
widely different concerns. Elkunchwar’s preoccupations, to put it in a
nutshell, are about creativity, life, sterility and death. In his
early plays, his characters are manifestations of these ideas rather
than flesh and blood people. In his later plays, for instance Wada
Chirebandi, they are delicately delineated human beings of many

Whatever his theme or mode, Elkunchwar’s plays are marked by his
mastery over dramatic structure, each play having a well-defined
beginning, middle and end. His language, which began as an unstoppable
outpouring in his early plays, quietened down later to an economic,
rhythmic prose, full of eloquent silences.


Posted: Thu, Jul 23 2009. 9:54 PM IST

Rita and Mayawati stoop too low to conquer
This is a tragedy, while the Congress’ provocation is merely a form of
low farce, because Mayawati is a historical political figure, whereas
Rita Joshi is a political creature and Rahul Gandhi is a fifth-
generation dynast
High Windows | Mukul Kesavan

The recent contretemps between Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Mayawati has
been the most depressing sequence of events in post-general election
politics. The gratuitous ugliness of it ought to make the observer of
Indian politics despair.

Speechless: Rita Joshi visits her house soon after it was torched by
miscreants. AFP

Joshi’s part in this squalid quarrel isn’t surprising. The daughter of
the late chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, she
has had a political career of the sort that’s politely described as
chequered. She has been in and out of the Congress; she has fought for
elective office as an Independent, as a Samajwadi Party candidate and
as a Congresswoman. Apart from winning the mayoralty of Allahabad, she
has lost every other election that she has contested. But despite her
recent electoral defeat in Lucknow, her political career has been on
the upswing; she is the chief of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee
(UPCC) and given the Congress’ resurgence in UP during the last
general election, her star has been in the ascendant.

I was in Moradabad during Azharuddin’s election campaign when she
addressed the Congress faithful at a political rally held in the
grounds of the palace of a Muslim grandee. It was apparent from her
speech that she had cast herself, in a long and ignoble Congress
tradition, as a family loyalist. She urged the Congress workers
assembled there to make sure that they assembled in their thousands
for “Rahulji’s” scheduled stop in Moradabad. The turnout for Rahul
Gandhi’s constituency visit seemed rather more important to her than
the turnout in the general election.

I imagine that as a creature of 10 Janpath, Joshi was taking her cue
from Rahul Gandhi’s strategy to aggressively project the Congress’
presence in UP when she made her infamous remark about rape. Trying to
make the point that the UP government’s policy of giving financial
compensation to rape victims was inadequate and demeaning, she is
reported to have said: “Throw such money back at Mayawati and tell
her, ‘if you’re raped, I am ready to give you a crore’.”

It’s hard to believe that any responsible political figure, leave
alone a politician whose father was a UP Brahmin, could polemicize
against a Dalit woman chief minister in terms as crass and offensive
as these. It’s even harder to believe that the Congress party, whose
erstwhile dominance in that state was based upon an electoral
combination of Dalits, Muslims and Brahmins, would respond to Joshi’s
speech with a pro forma expression of regret and disapproval without
censuring or disciplining her. Sonia Gandhi was content to distance
herself from the form of words used by her apparatchik, while her son
was even more aggressive in his response, insisting that Joshi’s
choice of words was unfortunate but that her critique was valid.

Rahul Gandhi’s willingness to write off Dalits in general and Jatavs
in particular in UP by doing as little as possible to discipline
Joshi, is of a piece with the Congress’ cynical willingness to find
new electoral combinations in the Hindi heartland. So the UPCC chief’s
willingness to appeal to a casteist electorate’s worst instincts is
depressing, but unsurprising.

What’s rather more disheartening is the UP chief minister’s response
to Joshi’s provocation. She was charged under several non-bailable
sections of the law, including the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act,
1989, and remanded to judicial custody. Had Mayawati contented herself
with this, with demonstrating the awful retribution that Indian law
visits upon those who seek explicitly or by implication to humiliate
or intimidate Dalits, she would have made her point, consolidated her
reputation as a no-nonsense opponent of inflammatory rhetoric and
stood out as a defender of the downtrodden.

But she didn’t. Newspapers and news channels reported that Bahujan
Samaj Party (BSP) goons set fire to Joshi’s home in Lucknow and
ransacked it. A few days later the BSP member of Parliament allegedly
behind this act of arson was rewarded with the deputy chairmanship of
the Uttar Pradesh State Sugar Corporation. Instead of casting herself
as the guarantor of the public peace in UP, the chief minister seemed
to go out of her way to stand out as the embodiment of the lawlessness
and state impunity that has characterized UP politics in recent

This is a tragedy, while the Congress’ provocation is merely a form of
low farce, because Mayawati is a historical political figure, whereas
Rita Joshi is a political creature and Rahul Gandhi is a fifth-
generation dynast. Mayawati is the first Dalit chief minister of
India’s largest state and the first Dalit ever to be seen as a
credible candidate for the prime ministership of the republic. Instead
of fulfilling her historic potential, she has chosen to fritter it
away by allowing the media to assimilate her to the thuggish politics
of her home state.

It’s unfair to expect Mayawati to set higher standards than Mulayam
Singh Yadav or Amar Singh or Rita Joshi, but pioneering politicians
from plebeian backgrounds owe it to the people they represent to set
an example. Mayawati could have made an example of Joshi within the
law; by seeming to step outside it, she has sold herself short,
betrayed a political trust and given her enemies and the enemies of
the bahujan samaj that she claims to represent, a weapon. It’s unfair
to expect Mayawati to be India’s Obama, but not too much to ask,
surely, that she not turn herself into UP’s Ahmadinejad.

Mukul Kesavan, a professor of social history at Jamia Millia Islamia,
New Delhi, is the author of The Ugliness of the Indian Male and Other

Write to Mukul at ***@livemint.com


Posted: Thu, Oct 22 2009. 12:12 AM IST

Maoist documents point to erudite research
It is important to go beyond the government-engineered media movement
that has largely dismissed Maoists as being from the lunatic fringe
seeking to destroy the “Shining India” and “Imagining India”
narratives of the India dream
Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

A former director general of police of Chhattisgarh once commented as
to how well Maoist documents were prepared. “These appear to be
written by educated people—JNU types.”

He then looked sharply at me. “Are you from JNU?” he asked, referring
to Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, often painted as left-leaning.
I disabused him of the notion, but I agree entirely with his point:
Whatever the extreme politics and polemic, documents and statements by
Maoist rebels are erudite and clear. These are not ravings of
stereotypically wild-eyed, frothing intellectuals, but the thoughts of
deliberate, yet intensely angry ideologues who invite people to join
battle against the current nature and practice of Indian politics,
administration and law-keeping.

All that Kobad Ghandy, a recently arrested Maoist leader, repeatedly
muttered to television cameras as he was being led to a Delhi court by
police was: “Bhagat Singh zindabad”. Long Live Bhagat Singh. This
revolutionary occupies pride of place in official histories of India’s
freedom movement. His likenesses are evident in countless public
places across northern India; indeed, in India’s Parliament. Those who
battle Maoists know this well.

Also Read Sudeep Chakravarti’s earlier columns

It is important to go beyond the government-engineered media movement
that has largely dismissed Maoists as being from the lunatic fringe
seeking to destroy the “Shining India” and “Imagining India”
narratives of the India dream. This is part of government’s lateral
tactic in a battle—“psy-ops” or psychological operations—much like
what public relations professionals and warring corporate siblings

Alongside, the Union government is engaged in intense on-ground
security operations with a self-declared mandate to arrive at a
conclusion within the next three years.

But it knows what it is up against, the same as the incredulous former
police chief of Chhattisgarh. So too do his colleagues in Karnataka—a
marked state, as it were—know the facility with which Maoist rebels

As far back as 2002, the Maoists prepared a document titled Social
Conditions and Tactics—A report based on preliminary social
investigation conducted by survey teams during August-October 2001 in
the Perspective Area. The “perspective area” were Central Malnad,
including parts of Udupi district, and the adjacent districts of
Shimoga, Chikmaglur and Dakshina Kannada. It offers insight into the
planning and argumentative conviction that go into developing a
revolutionary base.

Malnad is the “ghat” region of Karnataka comprising 10 districts, from
Belgaum in the north-west to Chamarajnagar in the south. It includes
nearly half of Karnataka’s forest area, nearly all of its iron ore and
manganese riches, major concentrations of areca—betel nut—cardamom and
other spices, and coffee. It records a large tribal population and
caste prejudice. The Maoist survey recorded a fairly large percentage
of landless and poor farmers, and domination by the upper castes—
Brahmins and Vokkaligas, among others. The landless received daily
wages as much as 15% less than the norm. In places, the survey
recorded between 10% and 32% of land without title deeds and
consequent “encroachment” by wealthier peasantry and landlords.

The survey, which referred to particular villages only with designated
alphabets to maintain secrecy, recorded high interest rates on account
of private moneylenders, and high indebtedness. As many such
moneylenders were also landlords—comprising 4% of the population but
owning a quarter of all land—inability to repay led in numerous cases
to a member of the family, usually a youngster, being bonded as farm
or plantation labour.

The survey tracked the fall in prices for several categories of areca,
pepper, cardamom and coffee. Inevitably, daily wages dropped. This was
recorded as the overall impact of “semi-feudalism”, free-market
pricing, lowering of import restrictions, and in some cases—such as

In great detail, the survey noted which Brahmin landlord was “known to
break two whipping sticks on the backs of his tenants”; where a
landlord had links with Mumbai’s timber mafia; where “Jain landlords”
evicted tenants unable to pay rent; and which temples in the region
had links with powerful politicians and businessmen. There was also a
list of weapons in the surveyed villages.

The survey recommended that Maoist support must be developed in the
area by “strictly secret methods”. These should include secret front
organizations of women, “coolies” and Adivasis. Village-level clusters
of militias should in turn be guided by the local guerilla squad
assigned to that territory—one such squad would have under its care
800 sq. km and four squads would form an interlinked team to control
3,200 sq. km.

The plan is on the ground.

Sudeep Chakravarti writes on issues related to conflict in South Asia.
He is the author of Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country. He writes a
column alternate Thursdays on conflicts that directly affect business.

Respond to this column at ***@livemint.com


Posted: Wed, Feb 3 2010. 11:45 PM IST

Naxalism and angst of Jharkhand tribals
With pressure from major businesses to deliver on now-dusty
memorandums of understanding and from Maoists--as they reconnoiter new
areas and call in old debts--Jharkhand will witness more churn
Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

Jharkhand has for some time resembled a tragicomic circus.

This is where a former state health minister, Bhanu Pratap Shahi, told
media in early 2007 of a novel method of combating Maoist rebels—
interchangeably known as Naxalites. One vasectomy in a “Naxalite-
dominated” village would mean that many “potential comrades less”, the
minister offered, in a situation of “many mouths to feed and little
food to eat”.

A state chief minister, Madhu Koda, received an official certificate
from the Limca Book of Records, India’s version of the Guinness World
Records, for becoming the first independent legislator to gain that
position. He formed a government with four other legislators and the
support of the United Progressive Alliance.

Also Read Sudeep Chakravarti’s earlier columns

Koda is now history, accused of using his tenure to amass a fortune
along with some cronies and allies, mainly from concessions to

The newest chief minister, Shibu Soren, has this past fortnight
troubled hawks for suggesting negotiations with Maoist rebels in the
state. Leaks to media mentioned slowed police operations against
Maoists. Such moves would, according to conventional wisdom, permit
Maoists breathing room to regroup and gain ground. Failed peace talks
in Andhra Pradesh in 2004, and overtures in Orissa, are held up as
examples of what not to do.

Soren, too, carries baggage, marked as he is by scandals such as money-
for-votes during the premiership of P.V. Narasimha Rao; and the death
of a once-trusted lieutenant. But it is important to understand
Soren’s background with fellow travellers, as it were.

Jharkhand is blessed with iron ore, manganese, coal, limestone,
graphite, quartzite, asbestos, lead, zinc, copper, and some gold,
among others. It supplies to the region electricity from thermal and
hydroelectric plants. But there has always been a discrepancy between
generating wealth and its application.

The Jharkhand region received minimal development funds from undivided
Bihar based on a time-honoured presumption: tribals live there, and
they need little. Resettlement and rehabilitation issues were—and
continue to remain—poor on delivery.

The area’s displaced tribals were gradually organized by a tribal
rights and right-to-statehood organization, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha
(JMM), which also took on exploitation by a concert of contractors,
moneylenders and public servants. Bihar’s response was to send a large
team of armed police, which intimidated and arrested at will. To
protest, an estimated 3,000 tribals gathered in September 1980 in Gua,
a mining-belt town near Saranda forests to the state’s south, for a
public meeting.

There was an altercation with police. The police fired; the tribals
fought back with bows and arrows. Three tribals and four policemen
died; human rights activists place the number of tribal deaths at

Both groups took their wounded to Gua Mines Hospital, where the
tribals were made to deposit their bows and arrows before the hospital
took in their injured. Then the police opened fire on the now unarmed
tribals, killing several more.

The police, thereafter, went on a rampage in nearby villages, in much
the same way as some of their colleagues in Chhattisgarh: looting and
destroying homes; molesting and killing as much for revenge as
suspicion of collusion with rebels.

JMM leader Guruji—Soren—became a bulwark for key tribal leaders, who
led movements in Saranda to prevent the illegal felling of trees such
as sal and teak.

As resentment peaked through the 1980s and 1990s, leaders sought
allies with greater firepower: the Maoists—through the Maoist
Communist Centre (MCC), the key rebel entity in undivided Bihar. This
alliance of expediency has since matured.

Saranda is a Maoist area of operation and sanctuary. MCC has merged
into the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the presiding
conglomerate. Besides attacks against police and paramilitary, looting
weaponry and imposing levies on small to big businesses to fund the
rebellion, Maoists have also carried out spectacular strikes. For
instance, they shot dead member of Parliament and bête noire Sunil
Mahato and three others as they watched a football match at Baguria in
early 2007.

Leaders with deep roots, such as Soren, understand the dynamics of
tribal aspiration and angst. Soren can, on a good day, still hold the
power to bring disparate issues to the table for resolution of
conflict. But tribal leadership is otherwise compromised, adding to
the rot and ineptitude that have marked governance in Jharkhand since
it attained statehood in 2001.

Even funds meant for modernization of police forces are known to have
been appropriated to purchase sports utility vehicles for ministers.

With pressure from major businesses to deliver on now-dusty
memorandums of understanding and from Maoists—as they reconnoiter new
areas and call in old debts—Jharkhand will witness more churn.

Sudeep Chakravarti writes on issues related to conflict in South Asia.
He is the author of Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country. He writes a
column alternate Thursdays on conflicts that directly affect business.

Respond to this column at ***@livemint.com


: Wed, Nov 18 2009. 10:13 PM IST

Cos open to accusations of complicity with govt
If businesses find it difficult to comprehend morality, they could at
least work to understand liability
Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

The flap these past weeks about Tata Steel Ltd’s proposed 5.5 million
tonnes a year project in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh triggered
thoughts of a recent conference on human rights and business. I can’t
talk much about that meeting at Manesar, near Delhi, sponsored by a
relatively new London-based institute, as we were bound by the Chatham
House rule. But I can discuss my personal observations as they do not
vary in private or public; as well as broad parameters of discussion
without specifically naming participants.

There was a senior representative from Tata Sons Ltd at the conference
this past summer, as well as his corporate social responsibility (CSR)
colleagues from ArcelorMittal, JSW Steel Ltd, Royal Dutch Shell and
Lafarge SA. Except Shell, others are between them currently engaged in
either contentious or tricky projects in central, north or north-east
India. Alongside executives were arrayed human rights activists,
lawyers, tribal representatives, self-declared liberals from Delhi’s
seminar circuit, and corporate practitioners and consultants from
Europe and the Americas.

Also Read Earlier columns by Sudeep Chakravarti

The purpose was to take inputs about the Indian situation to evolve
corporate best practice guidelines across the world as to the
experience of relocation and rehabilitation—frequently the curse of
projects—and work in conflict areas. The meeting was well timed, too,
seeing several popular protests against large projects and special
economic zones; and the outright concern of locating projects in areas
of Maoist influence.

A broad thought came through, surprisingly, from several executives.
The bean counters and boardroom “suits” that operate in India don’t
care about the socio-economic impact at ground zero. The project
blueprint is absolute in terms of cost in time, finance, man-hours and
return on investment. As activists joined the discussion, it became
ever more evident that CSR ends up being a tool to buy out
“opposition” with money, a primary school or health centre, some tube
wells. Responsibility ends there. The governments of the states where
the projects are to be located—with their political leadership,
bureaucracy and police—become an extension of corporate will.

Such an approach led to Singur for Tata Motors Ltd; the relocation of
the project to Gujarat worked through similar, though non-violent,
channels as the government there had already pre-empted protest by
releasing vast stocks of pre-acquired land. Tata Steel’s loud
clarifications that it had been “allocated” land in Chhattisgarh; and
its denial that a public hearing on the project in mid-October was
attended by hand-picked villagers in a room heavily guarded by state
police and local toughs, suggests a worrying trend: this conglomerate
has learnt little from its recent collective experience.

In Chhattisgarh, it is likely to face protests that could easily
escalate to violence as the administration lends a hand to shoehorn
the project. There is little doubt too that Maoist-front organizations
and militias will leverage toeholds offered by such an approach, the
same as they have done to a project by Essar Steel in the state’s
Dantewada district.

What drives a corporation to pursue a project in a clear zone of
conflict? Why do businesses feel strengthened, even invulnerable, if
they are in direct or moral partnership with government? Why do
project planners ignore the fact that the principle of eminent domain,
which permits the government to expropriate land for public good, is
abused in spirit and execution? Why don’t consultants, whom
corporations pay millions of dollars to scope a project, clarify
political and security risks?

The fig leaf of government having appropriated land—and so, business
being absolved of all responsibility—is mandated by India’s mai-baap
culture, a benevolent dictatorship deeply prevalent in the
relationship between business and politics. While this proved to be
the bedrock of much of India’s economic growth, businesses will, in
today’s charged rights and legal environment, be open to accusations
of complicity with government. Globalized Indian businesses are
additionally vulnerable, under international laws, to legal action
even in other countries if accusations of negative complicity with
government are proven. Moreover, there would be a public relations

In plain words: it will be difficult to explain away aggressive
presence in a conflict zone where a project clearly stands to gain by
government forces killing off rebels. And it will be difficult to deny
moral responsibility for the death and displacement of innocents in
such a conflict. If businesses find it difficult to comprehend
morality, they could at least work to understand liability.

Sudeep Chakravarti writes on issues related to conflict in South Asia.
He is the author of Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country. He writes a
column alternate Thursdays on conflicts that directly affect business.

Respond to this column at ***@livemint.com


Posted: Wed, Sep 23 2009. 10:33 PM IST

Denying development is privileging violence
If the body count swings against the rebels and their support militia,
government will declare victoryRoot
Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

A major offensive against Maoist rebels by the CoBRA (Commando
Battalion for Resolute Action) paramilitary force is under way in the
forests and tribal homelands of southern Chhattisgarh.

Besides being the present-day heart, as it were, of the rebellion, it
is also a region where the government of Chhattisgarh has agreed in
principle to locate nearly $30 billion (Rs1.44 trillion) of investment
in minerals, metals, and electricity.

If the body count swings against the rebels and their support militia,
government will declare victory. If it goes against CoBRA, Maoists
will crow. TV crews will move in. People who track such phenomena—the
Maoist rebellion in India as well as prime ministerial pronouncements
as to its demerit—will receive calls for commentary on the who, what,
why and where of it all. It will be a circus, as always. And key
truths will, after a time, be reburied.

Maps detailing the current spread of Left-wing rebellion usually show
the overlap in forested areas, which provide rationale, recruits and
shelter. But the Maoist movement has long ago moved beyond the jungle.
Maps that detail other characteristics and topography are hence more

I’m fond of quoting at such times Omkar Goswami, who runs the New
Delhi-based CERG Advisory Pvt. Ltd. He was struck some years ago by
what current minister for environment Jairam Ramesh told him about an
“east of Kanpur characterization of India”.

Also Read Sudeep Chakravarti’s earlier columns

Ramesh’s point: the regions west of Kanpur, marked by the longitude
80.24 (east), were doing better, while those to the east of it were
“withering away”.

Goswami decided to check Ramesh’s hypothesis by collecting data on
India’s districts, development blocks and villages. His colleagues and
he pored over this data for two years, and alongside, used data from
the Census of India 2001 to map an India based on ownership of, or
access to, 11 assets and amenities: Whether the household had a bank
or post office account, a pucca house, electricity connection, owned a
TV set; owned a scooter or motorcycle; used cooking gas, had an
inhouse drinking water source or one within 500m; had a separate
kitchen area, a separate toilet, a separate and enclosed bathing
space, and a telephone.

CERG then took the results of these indicators of necessity and basic
aspiration, what it termed the Rural India District Score, and mapped
it. The districts were ranked in six grades, with accompanying
colours: Best (dark green), Good (light green), Better than Average
(very light green), Average (white), Worse than Average (orange) and
Very Poor (red).

Central India showed great patches of white and orange, and splashes
of red. Moving east into Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, eastern Andhra
Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal and most of north-eastern India,
it’s a sea of red and orange with peripheral white and 10 islands of
varying shades of green—one being Kolkata.

The white bank of “average” spreads south into peninsular India, with
some orange penetrations of “worse than average” in Karnataka and
Tamil Nadu.

The “east of Kanpur” districts are dropping off the development map,
Goswami concluded. “Getting the benefits of growth to these districts
is the greatest challenge of development and political economy.”

If political leaders and policymakers were to open similar statistical
tables of socio-economic growth and demographic spreads of the
marginalized and the dispossessed, and look at maps of attacks and
penetration by the disaffected in general and Maoists in particular,
they would see the current and future course of what they label
“menace” and “infestation”. They would see how they are privileging
violence, by denying development until violence forces the hand.

There are several studies that prove it. A particularly striking one
is by a senior police officer, Durga Madhab (John) Mitra, who
published a paper in 2007 called Understanding Indian Insurgencies:
Implications for Counter-insurgency operations in the Third World,
during a sabbatical at the Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War

The Planning Commission received an excellent report last year from an
expert group it commissioned, comprising political economy, security,
and legal specialists, some of them former senior police and
intelligence officers.

Titled Development Challenges in Extremist Affected Areas, the
report’s frank expression pleasantly stunned even cynical human rights
activists long used to government’s blinkers.

Mitra received polite attention at the ministry of home affairs. The
Planning Commission report is filed away—as such things often are. I
hope to draw attention to key outlines and recommendation in these and
other documents in future columns.

Sudeep Chakravarti writes on issues related to conflict in South Asia.
He is the author of Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country. He writes a
column alternate Thursdays on conflicts that directly affect

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: Thu, Aug 27 2009. 1:02 AM IST

Andhra grapples with Maoists, new acronymsThe state already has at
hand several Union government-controlled paramilitaries, in their
acronyms CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force), IRB (India Reserve
Battalion), and the newly formed and giddily named CoBRA (Combat
Battalion for Resolute Action), aimed at Left-wing rebellionRoot Cause
| Sudeep Chakravarti

Beyond the urban bling of Hyderabad lies territory that is giving Y.S.
Rajasekhara Reddy headaches. At a New Delhi conference of chief
ministers to discuss internal security, convened by Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh in mid-August, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh
said he wanted three districts by the state’s border with Orissa to be
formally declared Maoist-affected.

Despite several years of anti-rebel operations—a mix of specially
trained forces, better weapons, infiltration, better equipped police
posts, utter disregard for human rights niceties, and rehabilitation
packages for Maoists—the fire burns.

While Maoists have retreated in the north, central and southern parts
of the state, the forested, hilly and coastal east tells a different
story. Reddy’s key concern is that several power, irrigation and
mining projects planned for the east would be in jeopardy. “Maoists
find such activities as ideal pastures,” he said.

Maoists do, as these activities typically involve displacement of
populations, and the imperfect exercises breed great resentment—rebel
tinder. Alongside, Maoists have taken common cause against Special
Economic Zones and the effects of globalization, not just in Andhra
Pradesh but across the country.

The rebels have bureaus in most states tasked with recruitment,
agitation and raising the level of cadre strength and “awareness”.
This is to seed rebellion in several ways, a prelude to “protracted
war” to gain political power.

This is a lateral expansion of thought and activity to keep up with
the times, as it were, extending the Maoists’ traditional turf of
fighting for agrarian, tribal and caste issues.

This is the continuation of a process from as far back as 2004, when a
definitive Maoist document, Urban Perspective: Our Work in Urban
Areas, recommended that “The centres of key industries should be given
importance as they have the potential of playing an important role in
the People’s War”—what Maoists call their armed movement.

In 2007, Muppala Laxman Rao, the chief of the Communist Party of India
(Maoist), stressed another thought from the document. “We have to
adopt diverse tactics for mobilizing the urban masses into the
revolution,” said Rao, better known by his nom de guerre Ganapathy,
“take up their political-economic-social-cultural issues …”

Reddy is described by Maoists, relatively gently, as “mercenary”. His
predecessor, N. Chandrababu Naidu of Telugu Desam Party, even five
years after losing the chief ministership, is mentioned in Maoist
journals as “the known and despicable American stooge”. This is in
great part for Naidu’s unabashed worship of Bill Gates, and PowerPoint
frenzy to tout “Cyberabad” at both local and global investment
seminars even as large swathes of the state lay in tatters; and
farmers killed themselves by the thousands, driven by debt and

Congress’ Reddy learnt from Naidu’s mistakes and opted for more
inclusive policies. Among other things, he launched the Indiramma
(Mother Indira) project with fanfare in early 2006. A double entendre
of pleasing masters and political economy—the acronym expands to
Integrated Novel Development in Rural Areas and Model Municipal Areas—
it sought to cover every village panchayat in three years and provide
what the state has not in decades. Primary education to all; health
facilities where there are none; clean water; pucca houses with
latrines; electricity connections to all households; roads; and so on.

The halting success of the project, in bits reborn as the Andhra
Pradesh Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, contributed to Reddy’s re-
election earlier this year. However, his recent remarks are revealing.

Andhra Pradesh has battled post-Naxalbari rebels for three decades. It
raised a now-hardened special force, the Greyhounds, to combat rebels.
But the stick-and-carrot policy of the state has proved patchy.

Policing and brutal suppression of Maoists has not effectively been
replaced in these areas by development works and delivery of dignity
to the poor and marginal. And so, these places continue to be deeply
vulnerable to Maoist activity. Reddy is understandably nervous about
developments in eastern Andhra Pradesh, both for their immediacy and
potential to reignite churn elsewhere.

To battle Maoists and other forces such as radical Islamism, Reddy at
the New Delhi conference said Andhra Pradesh has established a new
force: OCTOPUS. It stands for Organisation for Counter Terrorism and

The state already has at hand several Union government-controlled
paramilitaries, in their acronyms CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force),
IRB (India Reserve Battalion), and the newly formed and giddily named
CoBRA (Combat Battalion for Resolute Action), aimed at Left-wing

As Reddy must realize, acronyms with aggressive intent can only go
part of the way.

Sudeep Chakravarti writes on issues related to conflict in South Asia.
He is the author of Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country. He will
write a fortnightly column on conflicts that directly affect business.
Respond to this column at ***@livemint.com


Posted: Wed, Sep 9 2009. 10:39 PM IST

It is time lessons were learnt in West Bengal
The government of West Bengal has diligently courted grief
Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

All it takes to go from chutzpah to chaos is a blind corner. Few in
recent times would know this better than the policymakers of West
Bengal—and their enforcers.

The Singur episode with Tata Motors Ltd is now a modern classic of how
not to work with government intervention. Another contemporary classic
is from Nandigram, several hours’ drive south of Singur. Here the
state government and Indonesia’s Salim Group were prevented by public
protests in 2007 from going ahead with a massive special economic zone
(SEZ), a venture of New Kolkata International Development Pvt. Ltd (a
joint venture of Salim Group, Unitech Ltd and a company owned by a
Salim associate) and West Bengal Industrial Development Corp.

Both projects faced intense public agitation over the practice of some
bureaucrats, police, and leaders and cadre of the ruling Communist
Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, strong-arming farmers to part with
land—both cultivable and not—to the state, and for such acquisitions
to be passed on to proposed businesses.

Also Read Sudeep Chakravarti’s earlier columns

Earlier this week, West Bengal’s department of information technology
(IT) yanked a couple of project sites at Rajarhat on the outskirts of
Kolkata it had offered Infosys Technologies Ltd and Wipro Ltd. The
firms were expected to take up residence in a proposed IT park. A
scandal from the preceding fortnight, violence involving local land
sharks and political mafia that had helped purchase land for a resort
in the area—and were allegedly involved in procuring land for the IT
park—gave the government cold feet. “The government does not want to
be involved in any illegal activity,” a press release from the
department announced. “… (We) cannot proceed with the project.”

Infosys and Wipro should rest easy. Increasingly, businesses with
global footprint, ambition and stock listings that ride investment on
direct government intervention or inadvertent intervention in areas of
any conflict—a war, civil war, or violence rooted in corruption and
political mismanagement—could find themselves in court at home and

A slim document titled Red Flags: Liability Risks for Companies
Operating in High-risk Zones, published in 2008 by International Alert
(www.international-alert.org) and Fafo Institute (www.fafo.no) lists
several grounds for litigation, including some that are commonplace in
India. Under international law, expelling people from their
communities by “the threat or use of violence to force people out of
their communities can be a crime”, Red Flags maintains. “A company may
face liability if it has gained access to the site on which it
operates, where it builds infrastructure, or where it explores for
natural resources, through forced displacement.”

Other points of liability include “engaging abusive security
forces” (directly or through the proxy of state police or
paramilitary) to effect and perpetuate a project; and “allowing use of
company assets for abuses”, such as overlooking mistreatment of people
by security forces and providing company facilities for such activity
to take place.

The government of West Bengal has diligently courted grief. Since it
assumed power in 1977, the CPM, more than its coalition partners, has
skilfully built a ground-up network, a broederbond of cadre and
leaders that thrives on a mix of intimidation, corruption and
administration. They gradually came to control the politics, political
economy and business, and dealt harshly with the opposition. This
cracked spectacularly in Singur and Nandigram, where Maoist rebels and
the Trinamool Congress got the flak—or credit—for engineering foment
which should have been placed at the doorstep of the state’s Marxist
leadership and its system of patronage.

In the Lalgarh region, which I visited past June during the
confrontation between security forces and a team of tribals and Maoist
rebels, it was easy to track “anti-establishment” targets. Almost
without exception, the largest and best homes, and businesses and
farmland belonged to, or were controlled by, the local leadership of
the CPM. Rebels and aggrieved residents killed many, and chased away

JSW Steel Ltd is setting up a plant in neighbouring Salboni. Chief
minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee narrowly escaped an assassination
attempt by Maoists in November, when he was returning to Kolkata after
attending the foundation ceremony at the site of the plant. Two
ministers from New Delhi were with him.

There is nothing to indicate that this region has become less restive
after intervention by security forces, and businesses that choose to
work in this area do so at their own risk—all risk. Surely it is time
lessons were learnt in West Bengal and elsewhere in India.

Sudeep Chakravarti writes on issues related to conflict in South Asia.
He is the author of Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country. He writes a
fortnightly column on conflicts that directly affect business.

Respond to this column at ***@livemint.com


Posted: Wed, Jan 13 2010. 10:20 PM IST

Implosion in Nepal will subsume ‘red corridor’
Nepal had for long been at a dead-end politically and economically and
this in great part assist the Maoists in the country
Root Cause | Sudeep Chakravarti

A precept of the Pashupati to Tirupati theory of sub-continental
Maoism was the seamless meshing of Nepal’s rebellion with that of
India’s. While there certainly were fraternal links—providing
sanctuary; attending key meetings; occasional training of cadre; and
such—Nepal’s war was its own.

With renewed militancy of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal
(Maoist), or UPCN (Maoist), which has brought government near to
standstill, and disrupted economic activity in this already
impoverished country, there is again speculation of Maoist meshing.
Those who indulge in it fail to acknowledge Nepal’s dynamics; and the
fact that developments in Nepal can have far-reaching implications for
India beyond the obvious laboratory lessons of Left wing extremism and
its immediate aftermath.

Nepal had for long been at a dead-end politically and economically,
which in great part assisted Maoists there to achieve their initial
goal in 12 years—from the first attack on a police camp in 1996 to
helping to overthrow a seedy monarchy and to run a democratically
elected government for several months, until May. As premier, the
sharply dressed Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who encourages the
nom de guerre of Prachanda (fierce) even led a business delegation to

Also Read Sudeep Chakravarti’s earlier columns

India’s Maoists are lower in the revolutionary arc, as it were. They
are the first to acknowledge that their task of national domination is
made difficult on account of India’s socio-economic growth, increasing
opportunities for that growth and expanding power of government, armed
forces and police.

The danger in Nepal today is one of socio-economic implosion as much
as its corollary: a resumption of hostilities between hardline
Maoists, and a coalition government undermined by charges of nepotism
and corruption. The government, controlled by moderate Marxists and
the Nepali Congress, is at loggerheads with Dahal’s party over several

Arguably the most contentious of these is the integration of Maoist
combatants—now located in seven major peace camps across Nepal—into
the mainstream. Proposals call for integrating them with former
enemies: Nepal army and police. The Maoists’ public spat with the then
army chief over this enabled in great part for Dahal’s former allies
in the constituent assembly, the Marxists, to pull the plug on his
government last year.

Among other things, subsequent turmoil has slowed progress towards
Nepal’s Holy Grail, the promulgation of a new constitution by this
May. The constitution is crucial for the process of peace and
reconciliation, further guarantee that decade-long hostilities, which
took an estimated 14,000 lives and ended in 2006, do not resume.

Maoists make no secret of an ambition to resume power—a legitimate
objective of a party. Dahal and his deputy, Baburam Bhattarai, have
told me, as they have several media persons, of their goal. Maoists
are clear that they will employ any approach short of outright war,
thus far, to achieve it. Dahal is fond of using the word bisfot, or

And though their supporters and critics alike are agreed that there
can be no lasting peace in Nepal without Maoist participation, the
Maoist cause has been diminished, for instance, by their employing the
often-thuggish Young Communist League (YCL). A growing paramilitary,
YCL is used to enforce trade unionism—most hospitality industry unions
in Kathmandu are Maoist-controlled—intimidate opponents, and provide
numbers at Maoist rallies.

To increase all-round pressure, Maoists are reaching out to groups
that shored up the rebellion—and voted for them in the 2008 elections.
UCPN (Maoist) declared its “fourth phase of struggle” last week. Mass
gatherings are to be held between 19 January and 24 January, addressed
by the crème of Maoist leadership in regions that represent ethnic
minorities such as Limbu, Kirant, Sherpa, Tharu, Bhote-Lama, and
Madhesi—long-disenfranchised people of Indian origin concentrated in
Nepal’s southern Terai belt—and caste minorities, which together make
up about 70% of Nepal’s population.

There is talk of autonomous regions based on this mix. Should it come
to pass, it would dilute the influence of the hill Bahun, or Brahmin,
community and upper caste Hindu leadership long-dominant in politics,
the bureaucracy and army.

The exercise for India and other countries will now be to gauge the
tipping point for robust democracy—or an irredeemable one. The latter
outcome will contribute to conditions of an implosion of Nepal. Large-
scale migration of destitute into India; a 1,700km-long unstable
border with worrying security implications; and weakened economic
interaction with Nepal—India accounts for 70% of its trade—will
subsume any concern of a Red Corridor.

Sudeep Chakravarti writes on issues related to conflict in South Asia.
He is the author of Red Sun: Travels in Naxalite Country. He writes a
column alternate Thursdays on conflicts that directly affect business.

Respond to this column at ***@livemint.com


Why I Am Not a Hindu
Ramendra Nath

Originally published by Bihar Rationalist Society (Bihar Buddhiwadi
Samaj) 1993.
Electronically reprinted with permission.

I have read and admired Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian.
On the other hand, I have also read and disagreed with M.K.Gandhi's
Why I Am a Hindu. My acquaintance with these writings has inspired me
to write this essay explaining why I am not a Hindu, though I was born
in a Hindu family.

The Meaning of "Hindu"

The word "Hindu" is a much-abused word in the sense that it has been
used to mean different things at different times. For example, some
people even now, at least some times, use the word "Hindu" as a
synonym for "Indian". In this sense of the term, I am certainly a
"Hindu" because I do not deny being an Indian. However, I do not think
that this a proper use of the term "Hindu". There are many Indians
such as Muslims, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians as well as
rationalists, humanists and atheists who do not call themselves
"Hindu" and also do not like to be described as such. It is certainly
not fair to convert them into Hinduism by giving an elastic definition
of the term "Hindu". Besides, it is also not advisable to use the word
"Hindu" in this sense from the point of view of clarity. The word
"Hindu" may have been used in the beginning as a synonym for
"Indian" [1], but, at present, the word is used for people with
certain definite religious beliefs. The word "Hindu" belongs to the
category of words like "Muslim", "Christian", "Buddhist" and "Jain"
and not to the category of words like "American", "British",
"Australian", "Chinese" or "Japanese". There are, in fact, many
Indians who are not Hindus, and on the other hand, there are many
Hindus who are not Indians , for example, those who are citizens of
Nepal, Sri Lanka and some other countries.

In the religious sense, the word, "Hindu" is often used broadly to
include Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs in addition to those who are
described as "Hindu" in this most restricted sense of the term, that
is, the adherents of Vedic or Brahmin religion. For example, the
expression "Hindu" is used in the Hindu law not only for those who are
Hindu by religion but also for persons who are Buddhists, Jains and
Sikhs by religion. This, again, is too broad a definition of "Hindu".
If we consistently use the word "Hindu" in this sense, we will have to
say that Japan is a Hindu country!

The above definition of "Hindu" is clearly inadequate from a
philosophical point of view. Buddhism and Jainism, for instance,
explicitly reject the doctrine of the infallibility of the Vedas and
the system of varna-vyavastha, which are fundamental to Hinduism, that
is, if the term "Hinduism" is used in its most restricted sense.
Therefore, clubbing together Buddhists and Jains or even Sikhs with
those who believe in the infallibility of the Vedas and subscribe to
the varna-vyavastha is nothing but an invitation to confusion.

Though I agree with Buddhism in its rejection of god, soul,
infallibility of the Vedas and the varna-vyavastha, still I am not a
Hindu even in this broad sense of the term "Hindu", because as a
rationalist and humanist I reject all religions including Buddhism,
Jainism and Sikhism. However, in this essay I am concerned with
explaining why I am not a Hindu in the most appropriate sense of the
term "Hindu", that is, the sense in which a person is a Hindu if his
religion is Hinduism in the restricted sense of the term " Hinduism".
In this restricted sense of "Hinduism", Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism
are excluded from its scope. I also maintain that this is, at present,
probably the most popular sense of the term, and every body should, in
the interest of clarity, confine its use, as far as possible, to this
sense only, at least in philosophical discourse.

Radhakrishnan, for example, has used the term "Hindu" and "Hinduism"
in this restricted sense when he says in his The Hindu View of Life
that, "The chief sacred scriptures of Hindus, the Vedas register the
intuitions of the perfected souls." [2] Or, when he says that
"Hinduism is the religion not only of the Vedas but of the Epics and
the Puranas." [3]

Basic Beliefs of Hinduism

Gandhi, too, has used the term "Hindu" in this restricted sense, when
writing in Young India in October, 1921, he says:

I call myself a sanatani Hindu, because,

I believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and all that goes
by the name of Hindu scriptures, and therefore in avatars and
I believe in the Varnashram dharma in a sense in my opinion strictly
Vedic, but not in its present popular and crude sense.

I believe in the protection of the cow in its much larger sense than
the popular.
I do not disbelieve in idol-worship. [4]

One may be tempted to ask, at this point, whether all the beliefs
listed by Gandhi are really fundamental to Hinduism. In my opinion,
(I) the belief in the authenticity of the Vedas and (II) the belief in
the varnashram dharma are more basic to Hinduism than the belief in
cow-protection and idol-worship. [5] Though it cannot be denied that,
in spite of attempts by reformers like Kabir, Rammohan Roy and
Dayanand Saraswati, idol-worship is still practiced widely by the
Hindu masses, and there is, at present, a taboo on eating beef among a
large number of Hindus. In any case, I am in a position to establish
the fact of my not being a Hindu by asserting the contradictory of
each of the above statements made by Gandhi:

In other words, I assert that I am not a Hindu, because,

I do not believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and all
that goes by the name of Hindu scriptures, and therefore in avatars
and rebirth.
I do not believe in the varnashram dharma or varna-vyavastha either in
the sense in which it is explained in Hindu dharma shastras like
Manusmriti or in the so-called Vedic sense.

I do not believe in the Hindu taboo of not eating beef.
I disbelieve in idol-worship.

However, while explaining why I am not a Hindu, I will concentrate
mainly on (I) the belief in the authenticity of the Vedas, and (II)
the varnashram dharma , which I consider more fundamental to Hinduism.
Besides, in the concluding section of the essay, I will briefly
discuss moksha, which is regarded as the highest end of life in
Hinduism, and some other Hindu doctrines like karmavada and

The infallibility of the Vedas
First of all, let me explain what do I mean by saying that "I do not
believe in the Vedas", and why I do not do so.

The schools of ancient Indian thought are generally classified by
orthodox Hindu thinkers into two broad categories, namely, orthodox
( astika) and heterodox ( nastika). The six main Hindu systems of
thought -- Mimamsa, Vedanta, Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya and Vaisheshika --
are regarded as orthodox ( astika), not because they believe in the
existence of god, but because they accept the authority of the Vedas.

Out of the six orthodox systems of Hindu thought, Nyaya system is
primarily concerned with the conditions of correct thinking and the
means of acquiring true knowledge. According to Nyaya system, there
are four distinct and separate sources of knowledge, namely, (i)
perception (ii) inference (iii) comparison, and (iv) testimony or

Shabda, which is defined in the Nyaya system as "valid verbal
testimony" is further classified into (i) the scriptural ( vaidika),
and (ii) the secular ( laukika). Vaidika or scriptural testimony is
believed to be the word of god, and therefore, it is regarded as
perfect and infallible .[7]

Mimamsa or Purva Mimamsa, another orthodox Hindu system is "the
outcome of the ritualistic side of the vedic culture". However, in its
attempt to justify the authority of the Vedas, Mimamsa elaborately
discusses different sources of valid knowledge. Naturally enough,
among the various "sources of valid knowledge", Mimamsa pays greatest
attention to testimony or authority, which, too, is regarded by it as
a valid source of knowledge. There are, according to Mimamsa, two
kinds of authority -- personal ( paurusheya) and impersonal
( apaurusheya). The authority of the Vedas is regarded by Mimamsa as
impersonal. [8]

As mentioned earlier, according to Nyaya, the authority of the Vedas
is derived from their being the words of god. But Mimamsa, which does
not believe in the existence of god, declares that the Vedas like the
world, are eternal. They are not the work of any person, human or
divine. The infallibility of the authority of the Vedas, according to
Mimamsa, rests on the "fact" that they are not vitiated by any defect
to which the work of imperfect persons is liable. [9]

Thus, orthodox Hindu schools like Nyaya and Mimamsa regard the
testimony of the Vedas as infallible, though they give different
reasons for doing so. Well-known orthodox Hindu theologians like
Shankar and Ramanuja believed in the authority of the Vedas.
Manusmriti, too, upholds the infallibility of the Vedas. As pointed
out by S.N.Dasgupta, "The validity and authority of the Vedas were
acknowledged by all Hindu writers and they had wordy battles over it
with the Buddhists who denied it." [10]

The point worth noting is that though popularly Hinduism is a theistic
religion, it is not essential to believe in the existence of god for
being an orthodox Hindu -- belief in the authority of the Vedas is
more important.

When I say, "I do not believe in the Vedas", what I mean is that I do
not regard the testimony of the Vedas as a valid source of knowledge.
In other words when I say, "I do not believe in the Vedas", I do not
mean that each and every proposition contained in the Vedas is false.
It is quite possible that one may find a few true statements in the
Vedas after great amount of patient research. But I assert that the
truth or the falsity of a proposition is logically independent of its
being contained or not contained in the Vedas. A proposition is true
if there is a correspondence between the belief expressed by it and
the facts. Otherwise, it is false. So, a proposition contained in the
Vedas might be true, that is, if there is a correspondence between the
belief expressed by it and the facts, but it is, I insist, not true
because it is contained in the Vedas. I categorically reject as
invalid every argument of the form: "The proposition P is contained in
the Vedas. Therefore, the proposition P is true".

Besides, I also assert that some propositions contained in the Vedas
are certainly false. For example, according to Purusha-Sukta of Rig
Veda , Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras originated
respectively from the mouth, hands, thighs and feet of the purusha or
the creator. I categorically reject this statement as false. I
maintain that varna-vyavastha is a man-made social institution and it
has nothing to do with the alleged creator of this world.

I also reject both the reasons put forward in support of the
infallibility of the Vedas. I neither regard them to be "the words of
god" nor I consider them to be eternal and impersonal. I believe that
Vedas were conceived, spoken and written by human beings. The question
of their being "words of god" simply does not arise, because there are
no good reasons for believing in the existence of god. The existence
of an omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent god is totally
inconsistent with the presence of suffering and evil in this world. It
is impossible for god to exist. [11]

Similarly, Vedas could not have come into existence before human
beings appeared on this earth, and before Sanskrit language came into
existence. And there are no good reasons for believing that Sanskrit
language came into existence even before human beings appeared on this

As far as Gandhi is concerned, though he liked to describe himself as
a sanatani Hindu, he was, in fact, not a completely orthodox Hindu.
For example, in the article quoted earlier in this essay Gandhi goes
on to add, "I do not believe in the exclusive divinity of the Vedas. I
believe the Bible, the Koran, and the Zend-Avesta to be as much
divinely inspired as the Vedas. My belief in the Hindu scriptures does
not require me to accept every word and every verse as divinely
inspired, I decline to be bound by any interpretation, however learned
in may be, if it is repugnant to reason or moral sense. "[12](emphasis

I seriously doubt that this position will be acceptable to an orthodox
Hindu. In fact, Gandhi's position comes very close to that of
rationalists and humanists when he says that "I decline to be bound by
any interpretation however learned it may be, if it is repugnant to
reason and moral sense". However, since he refused to say in so many
words that he did not believe in the authority of the Vedas, Gandhi
may be described, in my opinion, as a liberal Hindu with an eclectic
approach towards religion. On the other hand, my position is radically
different from that of Gandhi, because I do not consider either the
Vedas or the Bible, the Koran and Zend-Avesta or any other book to be
divinely inspired.


Before discussing varna-vyavastha or varnashram dharma, let me clarify
in the very beginning that I am not interested in giving my own
interpretation of what varna-vyavastha is or ought to be in its ideal
form. I am interested, firstly, in giving an objective exposition of
varna-vyavastha as contained in recognized Hindu scriptures like Vedas
and dharmashastras like Manusmriti; and secondly, in mentioning my
reasons for rejecting varna-vyavastha. In doing so I will concentrate
on the chaturvarnya (four-fold division of society) aspect of varna-

We have already noted that the first reference to varna (class based
on birth or caste) is to be found in the Purusha-Sukta of the Rig
Veda . The reference to the four ashrams or stages of life, namely,
Brahmcharya, Garhastya, Vanprashta and Sanyas is to be found in the
Upanishads. These are, in their turn, related to the four purusarthas
or ends of life, namely, dharma (duty), artha (wealth), kama
(satisfaction of sensual desires) and moksha (liberation). Out of
these, the Upanishads attach maximum value to sanyas ashram and moksha
purusartha, which is regarded as the highest end of life. [13]

The system of varnashram dharma is upheld by popular Hindu scriptures
like Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagvat-Gita. In Ramayana, for example,
Ram kills Shambuka simply because he was performing tapasya (ascetic
exercises) which he was not supposed to do as he was a Shudra by
birth. [14]

Similarly, in Mahabharata, Dronacharya refuses to teach archery to
Eklavya, because he was not a Kshatriya by birth. When Eklavya,
treating Drona as his notional guru, learns archery on his own, Drona
makes him cut his right thumb as gurudakshina (gift for the teacher)
so that he may not become a better archer than his favorite Kshatriya
student Arjuna!

The much-glorified Bhagvat-Gita, too, favors varna-vyavastha.[15] When
Arjuna refuses to fight, one of his main worries was that the war
would lead to the birth of varna-sankaras or offspring from
intermixing of different varnas and the consequent "downfall" of the
family. [16] On the other hand, Krishna tries to motivate Arjuna to
fight by saying that it was his varna-dharma (caste-duty) to do so
because he was a Kshatriya. In fact, Krishna goes to the extent of
claiming that the four varnas were created by him only. [17] Thus,
Arjuna's main problem was being born a Kshatriya. Had he been a
Brahmin or a Vaishya or a Shudra by birth, he would have been spared
the trouble of fighting a destructive war. Even the much-applauded
doctrine of niskama karma is nothing but an exhortation to faithfully
perform one's varnashram dharma in a disinterested manner. [18]

The celebrated orthodox Hindu theologian Shankar, too, was a supporter
of varna-vyavastha. According to him, Shudras are not entitled to
philosophical knowledge. [19] However, the most elaborate exposition
of varnashram dharma is to be found in Manusmriti, an important
dharmashastra of Hindus. Let us turn to it in order to have a close
look at the varna-vyavastha.

In the very first chapter of Manusmriti, it is clearly stated that
Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras were created by Brahma
(creator of this world) from his mouth, hands, thighs and feet
respectively. [20]

Manu claims that the same Brahma, who created this world, also created
Manusmriti and taught it to him. [21]

The duties of the different varnas are also mentioned in the
Manusmriti. The Brahmins were created for teaching, studying,
performing yajnas (ceremonial sacrifices), getting yajnas performed,
giving and accepting dan (gifts).[22] The Kshatriyas were created for
protecting the citizens, giving gifts, getting yajnas performed and
studying. [23] The Vaishyas were created for protecting animals,
giving gifts, getting yajnas performed, studying, trading, lending
money on interest and doing agricultural work. [24] The Shudras were
created by Brahma for serving Brahmins and the other two varnas
without being critical of them. [25]

It is interesting to note that studying, getting yajnas performed and
giving gifts or charity are common duties of Brahmins, Kshatriyas and
Vaishyas; whereas teaching, accepting gifts and performing yajnas are
reserved exclusively for Brahmins. The Shudras, of course, are denied
the rights to study, getting yajnas performed by Brahmins or even
giving gifts to them.

Manusmriti further states that having originated from the mouth of
Brahma, being elder and being the repository of the Vedas; Brahmins
are the masters of the entire universe. [26] Besides, Brahmins alone
act as a sort of post office for transmitting food to the gods and the
dead, that is to say, the gods and the dead eat food through the
mouths of Brahmins (apparently because they do not have mouths of
their own). Therefore, no one can be superior to Brahmins.[27] All
others are said to enjoy everything owing to the Brahmins' mercy.[28]
The Manusmriti clearly states that Brahmins alone are entitled to
teach this dharmashastra and none else. [29]

Manusmriti refers to the Vedas, which are to be regarded as the main
valid source of knowledge about dharma, as shruti and to
dharmashastras as smriti. No one is to argue critically about them
because religion has originated from them. [30] Any nastika (non-
believer) or critic of the Vedas, who "insults" them on the basis of
logic, is worthy of being socially boycotted by "noble" persons. [31]

In short, the main features of chaturvarnya as elaborated in the
Manusmriti are as follows:

1. Division of Hindu society into four varnas on the basis of birth.
Out of these only the first three, namely , Brahmins , Kshatriya and
Vaishya, who are collectively known as dwija (twice-born) are entitled
to upanayan and the study of the Vedas. Shudras as well as women of
dwija varnas are denied the right to study.

2. Assigning different duties and occupations for different varnas.
This is to be enforced strictly by the king. [32] According to
Manusmriti, if a person of lower caste adopts the occupation of a
higher caste, the king ought to deprive him of all his property and
expel him from his kingdom. [33]

3. Treating Brahmins as superior and other varnas, namely, Kshatriya,
Vaishya and Shudra as inferior to him in descending order with the
Shudra occupying the bottom of the hierarchy. A Brahmin is to be
treated as god and respected even if he is ignorant. Even a hundred-
year old Kshatriya is to treat a ten year old Brahmin as his father.
[34] Brahmin alone is entitled to teach. If a Shudra dares to give
moral lessons to a Brahmin, the king is to get him punished by pouring
hot oil in his ear and mouth. [35] Similarly, if a Shudra occupies the
same seat as a Brahmin, he is to be punished by branding his waist
(with hot rod) or getting his buttocks cut! [36]

4. Treating women as unequal. Women, that is, even women belonging to
Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya varna are not entitled to upanayan and
the study of the Vedas. For them, marriage is equivalent to upanayan
and service of their husbands is equivalent to the study of the Vedas
in the gurukul.[37] Even if the husband is morally degraded, engaged
in an affair with another woman and is devoid of knowledge and other
qualities, the wife must treat him like a god. [38] A widower is
allowed to remarry but a widow is not. [39] Besides, women are not
considered fit for being free and independent. They are to be
protected in their childhood by father, in youth by husband and in old
age by son. [40] They should never be allowed by their guardians to
act independently. [41] A woman must never do anything even inside her
home without the consent of her father, husband and son respectively.
[42] She must remain in control of her father in childhood, of husband
in youth and of son after the death of her husband. [43]

5. Treating different varnas as unequal for legal purposes. The Hindu
law as codified by Manu is based on the principle of inequality. The
punishment for a particular crime is not same for all varnas. In fact,
the punishment varies depending on the varna of the victim as well as
the varna of the person committing the crime. For the same crime, the
Brahmin is to be given a mild punishment, whereas the Shudra is to
given the harshest punishment of all. Similarly, if the victim of a
crime is a Shudra, the punishment is mild, and the punishment is harsh
in case the victim is a Brahmin. For example, if a Brahmin is awarded
death sentence, it is sufficient to shave his head, but Kshatriya,
Vaishya and Shudra are to actually die. [44] If a Kshatriya, a
Vaishya, or a Shudra repeatedly gives false evidence in the court, he
is to be punished and expelled from the kingdom, whereas the Brahmin
is not to be punished, he is to be only expelled. [45] If a person has
sexual intercourse with a consenting women of his own varna, he is not
to be punished. [46] But if a person of lower varna has sexual
intercourse with a woman of higher varna, with or without her consent,
he is to be killed. [47] If a Brahmin forces a dwija to work for him,
he is to be punished. [48] But if a Brahmin forces a Shudra to work
for him, whether by making or not making payments to him, he is not to
be punished, because Shudras have been created only for serving
Brahmins.[49] If a Brahmin abuses a Shudra, he is to be fined mildly,
[50] but if a Shudra abuses a Brahmin, he is to be killed. [51] On the
other hand, even if a Brahmin kills a Shudra, he is merely to perform
penance by killing a cat, frog, owl or crow, etc. [52] Thus a Shudra
is to be killed for abusing a Brahmin, whereas a Brahmin is to be let
off lightly even if he kills a Shudra. Such is the unequal justice of

In fact, this system of graded inequality seems to be the very essence
of the varna-vyavastha. Whether it is the choice of names, [53] or the
manner of greeting, [54] or the mode of entertaining guests, [55] or
the method of administering oath in the court, [56] or the process of
taking out the funeral procession, [57] at each and every step in
life, from birth to death, this system of graded inequality is to be
applied and observed. Manu does not even spare the rates of interest
on loan. For borrowing the same amount, Kshatriya has to pay more as
interest than Brahmin, Vaishya more than Kshatriya and the poor Shudra
has to pay the maximum amount as interest! [58]

6. Prohibiting inter-marriage between different varnas. According to
Manusmriti, a dwija ought to marry a woman of his own varna.[59] A
woman of the same varna is considered best for the first marriage.
However, a dwija may take a woman of inferior varna as his second wife
if he is overcome by sexual passion. [60] But Manu strongly
disapproves of Brahmins and Kshatriyas taking a Shudra woman even as
their second wife. They become Shudra if they do so. [61]

7. Supporting untouchability is also a part of the scheme of social
stratification outlined in the Manusmriti. Manu clearly mentions that
Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya, collectively known as dwija and the
Shudras are the four varnas. There is no fifth varna.[62] He explains
the origin of other castes by saying that they are varna-sankara
castes, that is to say, castes originating due to the intermixture of
different varnas, both in anuloma (upper varna male and lower varna
female) and pratiloma (lower varna male and upper varna female)
manner. [63] For example, Nishad caste is said to have originated from
anuloma relationship between Brahmin male and Shudra female,[64]
whereas C handala caste is said to be owing its origin to pratiloma
relationship between Shudra male and Brahmin female. [65]

Manu seems to be disapproving of pratiloma relationship more than the
anuloma, because he describes C handalas as the lowest of the low
castes. [66]

Let us see what Manusmriti, has to say about the C handala. The
Chandala, says Manusmriti, must not ever reside inside the village.
While doing their work, they must reside outside the village, at
cremation ground, on mountains or in groves. They are not entitled to
keep cows or horses, etc., as pet animals. They may keep dogs and
donkeys. They are to wear shrouds. They are to eat in broken utensils.
They are to use ornaments of iron, not of gold. They must keep moving
from one place to another, not residing at the same place for a long
duration. [67] They must not move around in villages and cities in
night hours. They may enter the villages and cities in daytime, with
king's permission, wearing special symbols (to enable identification),
and take away unclaimed dead bodies. [68]

Moreover, how is the "religious" person to deal with the Chandala? He
must not have any social intercourse (marriage, interdining, etc.)
with them. He must not talk to or even see them! [69] He may ask
servants (apparently Shudras) to give them food in broken utensils.

8. Granting divine and religious sanction to varna-vyavastha. Manu
gives divine and religious sanction to the varna-vyavastha by claiming
divine origin for the varnas as well as for the Manusmriti and
demanding unquestioning obedience of it.

So, that completes my exposition of the varna-vyavastha. I want to
emphasize in particular that my exposition does not contain any
exaggeration at all. The reader may check each and every statement by
comparing with the original Manusmriti in order to satisfy himself or
herself. I cannot help if the system is so unjust and so out of tune
with out existing values that even an objective exposition reads like
a severe condemnation. Nevertheless, I will now turn to my reasons for
rejecting varna-vyavastha: I reject varna-vyavastha because it is
irrational, unjust and undemocratic, being opposed to the democratic
and human values of liberty, equality and fraternity.

Criticism of varna-vyavastha

The varna-vyavastha is opposed to the value of liberty as it denies
the freedom to choose one's occupation and marriage partner to one and
all. Everyone must join the occupation of his varna and must marry
within his varna. Similarly, it denies the freedom to study to the
Shudras and woman in particular. Even the dwija must study the Vedas
before he studies anything else. Otherwise, he becomes a Shudra.[71]
(Incidentally, according to Manusmriti, there are several ways by
which a Brahmin or dwija may become a Shudra but there is no way by
which a Shudra may become a Brahmin. A Shudra must always remain a

What is worse, the Chandala is even denied the freedom to reside at a
place of his choice or to wear clothes and ornaments of his choice. He
is not even free to keep pet animals of his choice.

The conflict between varna-vyavastha and the value of equality is more
than obvious. As I mentioned earlier, the system of graded inequality
seems to be the very essence of varna-vyavastha. It denies equal
respect to all in society. It denies equality before law. It denies
equal access to marriage partners. It denies equal access to jobs. The
occupation of teachers and priests, for example, is reserved
exclusively for Brahmins. Finally, it also denies equal access to
education and knowledge.

A Brahmin, according to Manu, must not teach the Shudra and woman even
if he dies with his knowledge without imparting it to anybody. [73] On
the other hand, if anyone studies the Vedas on his own he or she will
go straight to hell. [74] In other words, cent percent reservations
for dwija males in the sphere of education.

The varna-vyavastha is most unfair to the Shudras and the
untouchables. They are denied respect, knowledge, power and wealth.
They are denied access to occupations considered respectable, just as
they are denied access to men and women of upper varnas for marriage.
The Shudras are virtually reduced to being slaves of the Brahmins in
particular and the dwijas in general, whereas the untouchables are
regarded as outcast -- beyond the pale of the society. The women are
generally treated as sexual objects and as unfit for being independent
and free.

As far as fraternity is considered, we must not expect it to exist in
a society, which is so unequal and unjust. A Shudra's waist is to be
branded or his buttocks are to be cut only because he occupies the
same seat as the Brahmin. The "religious" are not to talk or even look
at a Chandala. Inter-marriage is prohibited. Manu seems to be most
eager to prevent inter-mixing of the varnas. Thus, the Hindu social
order is based on the isolation and exclusiveness of the varnas.

The Manusmriti not only outlines a totally undemocratic and unjust
social system but also gives divine, religious sanction to this man-
made social institution of chaturvarnya. Some Hindus, including
apparently learned "thinkers" and writers, smugly wax eloquent about
Hinduism being the most tolerant and liberal religion of the world.

Is there any other religion, which sanctions slavery and
untouchability? Is there any other religion in which only persons born
in a particular caste ( Brahmin) are entitled to become priests?

Slavery is not peculiar to India or to Hinduism, but carrying it to
the extremes of untouchability, and granting it divine and religious
sanction is peculiar to Hinduism.

Similarly, some Hindus may be tolerant, just as some of them are
intolerant, but Hinduism or Hindu religion is not tolerant at all,
either socially or intellectually. Manusmriti, for example, clearly
says that anybody who argues critically and logically about
dharmashastras ought to be ostracized. [75] Non-believers, including
freethinkers, rationalists and Buddhists, are not to be entertained
respectfully as guests; though, mercifully, they may be given food.
[76] The families of non-believers are destroyed sooner than later
according to Manu. [77] A state with a large number of Shudras and
nastikas soon meets its destruction. [78] Manusmriti is full of
abusive epithets for freethinkers and non-believers. The unorthodox
( nastikas) are sometimes equated with the Shudras, sometimes with the
Chandalas, sometimes with thieves and sometimes with lunatics! [79]
Such is the generosity of Hindu dharma.

Apologies for varna-vyavastha

Let me now consider what the apologists of varna-vyavastha have to say
in its defense.

A standard defense of varna-vyavastha is to say that it is a system of
division of labor. It is easy to grant that division of labor is
essential for any complex society, but it is equally easy to see that
varna-vyavastha is not a system of division of labor based on aptitude
and capability. It is a system of division of labor based on birth .
Besides, it has other associated features such as feeling of
superiority and inferiority, inequality before law, denial of equal
access to knowledge and prohibition against inter-marriage.

What have these features to do with the division of labor?

Division of labor is found in all societies, but varna-vyavastha is
not. Thus, trying to justify varna-vyavastha as division of labor is a
futile exercise.

Another standard defense of the varna-vyavastha is to say that the
system was originally based on aptitude and capability. Whether it was
actually ever so is a subject for historical research. Most probably,
the racial theory of the origin of castes is true. However, even if we
grant for the sake of argument that the varna-vyavastha was originally
based on aptitude and capability, how does it help? We cannot say that
because the system was originally, some time in remote past, based on
aptitude and capability; therefore we ought to gladly suffer the
present system based on birth. It hardly makes any sense at all!

In any case, Manusmriti was most probably written between200 BC and
200 AD [80] and the system as outlined in it is totally based on
birth. Gautam Buddha, who lived in sixth century BC, challenged the
infallibility of the Vedas as well as the varna-vyavastha. There are
several passages in Tripitaka, mainly in Digha Nikaya and Majhima
Nikaya which are "directed against the claims of the Brahmans to be of
different origin from the rest of humanity, born from the mouth of
Brahma, having a hereditary prerogative to teach, guide and
spiritually govern the rest of the society." [81] In Majhima Nikaya
Buddha is quoted as refuting varna-vyavastha on several occasions.
According to Buddha, it is unreasonable to decide one's place and
functions in society on the basis of one's birth in a caste. Buddha is
also quoted as insisting that in the eyes of the law all persons ought
to be treated as equal, irrespective of the caste or varna in which he
or she is born. [82] Thus, it is obvious that even if the system of
varna-vyavastha ever existed in its ideal form -- which is doubtful --
it had already degenerated by the time of Buddha, that is, about 2500
years back.

The most blatant defense of varna-vyavastha, however, is to say that
human beings are born unequal, and, therefore, it is natural and
normal for children to join the occupation of their fathers.
Surprisingly and sadly, no less a person than Gandhi defended varna-
vyavastha in a similar manner.

To quote Gandhi: "I believe that every man is born in the world with
certain natural tendencies. Every person is born with certain definite
limitations which he cannot overcome. From a careful observation of
those limitations the law of varna was deduced. It establishes certain
spheres of action for certain people with certain tendencies. This
avoided all unworthy competition. Whilst recognizing limitations, the
law of varna admitted of no distinction of high and low; on the one
hand it guaranteed to each the fruits of his labors and on the other
it prevented him from pressing upon his neighbor. This great law has
been degraded and fallen into disrepute. But my conviction is that an
ideal social order will only be evolved when the implications of this
law are fully understood and given effect to". [83]

Again, "I regard Varnashrama as a healthy division of work based on
birth. The present ideas of caste are a perversion of the original.
There is no question with me of superiority or inferiority. It is
purely a question of duty. I have indeed stated that varna is based on
birth. But I have also said that it is possible for a shudra, for
instance, to become a vaishya. But in order to perform the duty of
vaishya he does not need the label of a vaishya. He who performs the
duty of a brahman will easily become one in the next
incarnation." [84]

So, varna-vyavastha, according to Gandhi, is a "healthy division of
work based on birth", which takes into account the "natural
tendencies" of human beings and avoids "unworthy competition."

This apparently plausible defense of varna-vyavastha is, in fact, most
unscientific. It is a well-known and scientifically verified fact that
acquired characteristics are not inherited biologically, only genetic
qualities are transmitted from one generation to another. For
instance, carpentry is an acquired characteristic; just as knowledge
of philosophy is an acquired quality. Neither a carpenter's son or
daughter is born with the knowledge of carpentry, nor is a
philosopher's daughter or son born with the knowledge of philosophy.
These are acquired characteristics and, therefore, they cannot be
inherited biologically. If sometimes, though not always, a carpenter's
son becomes a good carpenter or a philosopher's daughter acquires a
good knowledge of philosophy, without being formally initiated into
these disciplines, it is not because they are born with the required
knowledge, but only because of the favorable environment at home,
which enables them to acquire these characteristics. The result could
be different if their places were to be interchanged.

One may say that though the knowledge of carpentry of philosophy in
not inherited biologically, the mental qualities enabling one to
acquire the requisite knowledge is inherited. Some physical and mental
qualities are, no doubt, inherited but this does not mean that parents
and their children are always identical in physical or mental
qualities. It is a well known fact -- anybody can verify this by
careful observation -- that due to different permutations and
combinations of chromosomes and genes offspring of same parents are
not always identical to one another or to their parents. More often
than not, they are different. For instance, one son or daughter of
same parents may be tall and another short. The colors of skin, hair
and eyes may differ likewise. What is true of physical characteristics
is equally true of mental qualities. Thus, a child may or may not have
the mental characteristics, which his father has.

Therefore, it is totally unscientific to forcefully restrict children
to the occupations of their forefathers.

It is true that all human beings are not equal in the sense of being
identical in physical or mental qualities. But it does not follow from
this that they ought to be denied equal opportunity to join a vocation
of their choice or that they ought to be denied equality before law or
equal respect as human beings in the society.

As for "unworthy" competition, how do we know that the competition is
unworthy unless all are, to begin with, given equal opportunity? Take
the example of Gandhi himself. He was a bania by caste. Yet, in spite
of some serious aberrations such as supporting varna-vyavastha based
on birth and linking politics with religion, he performed fairly well
in the role of a national leader. It would have been a great loss for
the nation if in the name of avoiding "unworthy" competition in
politics, Gandhi would have been confined to running a grocery shop.
Similarly, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was born in an "untouchable" caste, but
he played an important role in the drafting of the democratic
constitution of independent India. He also taught in a college for
some time. To use the terminology of varna-vyavastha, he ably
performed the work of a Brahmin.

Is it possible to imagine how many Ambedkars we may have lost by now
owing to the restrictive varna-vyavastha?

As we have noted earlier, varna-vyavastha is a closed system of social
stratification without any scope for upward social mobility. To quote
M. Haralambos, author of a textbook on sociology, "A person belongs to
his parents jati and automatically follows the occupation of the jati
into which he was born. Thus no matter what the biologically based
aptitude and capacities of an untouchable, there is no way he can
become a Brahmin. Unless it is assumed that superior genes are
permanently located in the Brahmin caste, and there is no evidence
that this is the case, then there is probably no relationship between
genetically based and socially created inequality in traditional Hindu
society." [85]

Returning to Gandhi, though Gandhi was opposed to untouchability and
caste, he did not carry his opposition to its logical conclusion.
Inconsistently enough, he continued to support the varna-vyavastha
based on birth. At one stage, he even supported restrictions on
interdining and intermarriage. As he wrote in Young India in 1921,
"Hinduism does most emphatically discourage interdining and
intermarriage between divisions... It is no part of a Hindu's duty to
dine with his son. And by restricting his choice of bride to a
particular group, he exercises rare self-restraint. Prohibition
against intermarriages and interdining is essential for the rapid
evolution of the soul. "[86] (emphasis mine)

Later Gandhi moved away from these orthodox ideas, and started
supporting intercaste marriages. Finally in 1946, he refused to
solemnize any marriage at Sevagram Ashram unless one of the parties
was an untouchable. [87] May be he would also have given up varna-
vyavastha if he had lived longer. That, however, is in the realm of
imagination, the fact is that Gandhi supported varna-vyavastha. It is
worth noting that he invented his own conception of varna-vyavastha,
which, according to him, had nothing to do with the feeling of
superiority and inferiority or with prohibition against intermarriage.
We find here in Gandhi a quaint mixture of conservatism and

I would like to dispose of one last objection before concluding this
section. One may say that the Hindu law at present is quite different
from what Manu desired, and presently Hindus in general do not follow
Manu in totality. This is true. The Hindu law at present, for
instance, allows inter-caste marriage and prohibits bigamy and child
marriage. It permits divorce. It also allows widow remarriage and
grants equal rights to daughters in father's property. Nevertheless,
there seems to be a gap between the progressive Hindu law and the
conservative social practices of the Hindus. A majority of Hindu
marriages are still within the caste and very few Hindu women actually
claim or get a share in father's property.

The Indian constitution has rightly made special provisions, such as
reservations in services for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and
other socially and educationally backward classes, to enable them to
enter occupations and positions of power, which had been traditionally
denied to them. No doubt, some upper caste liberal Hindus, too,
support the policy of reservation. But, by and large, the Hindu upper
castes are far from fully reconciled to this progressive step as is
evident from violent and aggressive anti-reservation agitation
spearheaded by upper caste students from time to time. This kind of
reactionary agitation aimed at preserving the present dominance of
upper castes in education and the services enjoys considerable support
and sympathy in the upper caste dominated media as well as the

On the whole, the Hindu society is yet to fully exorcise the ghost of
Manu. Caste based on birth and untouchability still exist in the Hindu
society, in spite of the fact that untouchability has been abolished
by the Indian constitution. The distribution of education, power and
wealth continues to be uneven in the Hindu society, with the dwijas
being on the top and the Shudras and untouchables being at the bottom.
Teaching is no more an exclusive preserve of Brahmins, but the
occupation of Hindu priests is still fully reserved for Brahmins,
though this fact does not arouse the ire of our fervent anti-

Moksha, Karmavada and Avatarvada

Moksha is traditionally regarded as the highest end of life in Hindu
religion. The "endless cycle of birth and death" is considered a
bondage from which one must attain liberation, that is moksha or

This whole concept of bondage and liberation is based on the unproved
assumption of life after death, and the existence of soul ( atma)
which continues to exist apart from the body even after death. In the
famous words of Gita, the soul changes bodies just as human beings
change clothes. [88]

Now, there are no good reasons for believing in the existence of soul
or life after death or rebirth. These beliefs are not at all supported
by incontrovertible scientific evidence. According to S.N. Dasgupta,
"there has seldom been before or after Buddha any serious attempt to
prove or disprove the doctrine of rebirth. The attempts to prove the
doctrine of rebirth in the Hindu philosophical works such as Nyaya,
etc. are slight and inadequate." [89]

However, even before Buddha, Lokayat had disproved the existence of
soul, life after death, rebirth, heaven and hell on an empirical
basis, as these things are never perceived. [90]

Thus, in absence of any evidence to the contrary, it is reasonable to
believe that each one of us has got one and only one life . Once a
person is dead, he is dead for ever. Never to be reborn. Mind,
consciousness, memory and life cannot outlast the destruction of brain
and body. This is the harsh truth; howsoever we may dislike it.

The belief in soul seems to have originated from primitive animism.
[91] If this belief continues to persist, in spite of total lack of
evidence in its support, it is only because of human beings' inability
to come to terms with, or to squarely face, the reality of death. One
likes to believe that one's near and dear ones, who are dead and
finished forever, actually continue to live in some other imaginary
world, and that they will also be reborn one day. One draws comfort
from the thought that one will not die even after death, and continue
to live in some other form. It is paradoxical that, first, the fear of
death and love of life makes one readily accept the belief in the
immortality and rebirth of soul without adequate evidence, and, then,
getting rid of this alleged cycle of birth and death itself becomes
the topmost religious aim! [92]

The problem of getting "released" from the alleged cycle of birth and
death is a pseudo-problem (in the sense that one is trying to get rid
of something which simply does not exist) and moksha is an imaginary
ideal which has nothing to do with the reality. Instead of running
after the imaginary ideal of moksha, it is far better to concentrate
on improving and living well this one and only life, which we have.

Mimamsa, which is an orthodox Hindu school of thought, considers
attainment of heaven ( swarga), instead of moksha, as the highest end
of life. References to heaven and hell are also to be found in the
Manusmriti. The belief in heaven is fairly widespread at popular
level. However, the ideal of the attainment of heaven, too, is based
on unproved assumptions, like life after death and the existence of
heaven, and, therefore, it cannot be accepted.

Another related doctrine is the Hindu belief in karmavada or the so-
called law of karma. According to this doctrine, every human being
gets the fruits of his actions either in the present or in some future
life. Whatever a human being is in his present life is the result of
his own actions in the past life or lives.

This, again, is a totally unverified and unverifiable doctrine based
on the assumption of the "cycle of birth and death". It is only a
convenient tool for explaining away the perceived inequality in human
society. The idea of karma is found in Buddhism and Jainism as well.
However, these religions do not support varna-vyavastha. But in
Hinduism the doctrine of karma, along with the idea of god, has been
used for providing ideological support to the unjust varna-vyavastha
and for making it appear just and fair. In Hinduism the so-called law
of karma merely serves the purpose of legitimizing the unjust varna-
vyavastha by making the Shudras and the "untouchables" meekly accept
their degrading position as a "result of their own deeds" in imaginary
past lives, and by assuring them "better" birth in "next life" if they
faithfully perform their varna-dharma in their present lives. [93] In
this way, this doctrine prevents them from revolting against this man-
made undemocratic system, which has nothing to do with alleged past
and future lives.

Lastly, I come to the Hindu doctrine of avatarvada. According to this
doctrine, whenever religion is threatened in this world, god takes
birth as an avatar to put things back into order. Ram and Krishna, for
example, are popularly regarded as avatars by the Hindus.

Belief in avatarvada, too, is logically unjustifiable and merely makes
one run away from one's own responsibilities. Instead of making
efforts to improve their own condition, those who believe in
avatarvada keep waiting for an avatar to take birth. Since god does
not exist, there is no question of his being born on this earth as an
avatar. (Let me add here that I also do not believe in the truth of
statements like "Jesus is the son of god" or "Mohammed is the
messenger of god".)

Not only I do not regard Ram or Krishna (or anyone else) as an avatar
of god, I also do not regard them as ideal personalities. Ram, as
mentioned earlier, was on upholder, of the varna-vyavastha. His cruel
behavior with Sita, after fighting a destructive war with Ravana to
get her released, is too well known to need recapitulation. [94]

Krishna, on the other hand, is portrayed in the Mahabharata as the
teacher of Bhagvat Gita , a book which expounds untrue and harmful
doctrines like the belief in god and immortal soul, avatarvada,
karmavada, varnashram dharma and the doctrine of moksha.

In Mahabharata Krishna adopts and advocates adoption of unfair means
like lying and deception for achieving one's ends. Obviously, he did
not believe in the doctrine of purity of ends and means. There are
several flaws in the character of Krishna as portrayed in the
Mahabharata, Bhagvat and Harivamsa. These have been ably enumerated by
Dr. Ambedkar in his The Riddle of Ram and Krishna . I refer the
interested reader to this work for a fuller treatment of this subject.


To conclude, I categorically reject major Hindu religious beliefs
including the doctrine of the infallibility of the Vedas, varnashram
dharma , moksha, karmavada, and avatarvada. I am not an admirer of Ram
and Krishna, and I also do not believe in idol worship or the Hindu
taboo of not eating beef. I support logical and scientific thinking;
and a secular, rational morality based on human values of liberty,
equality and fraternity. Therefore, I am not a Hindu by conviction,
though I am a Hindu by birth.


[1] S. Radhakrishnan, The Hindu View of Life (Bombay: Blackie & Son
(India) Ltd., 1979), p. 12.

[2] Ibid., p. 14.

[3] Ibid., pp. 16-17.

[4] M.K.Gandhi, "Aspects of Hinduism" in Hindu Dharma (New Delhi:
Orient Paperbacks, 1978), p. 9.

[5] Ninian Smart, "Hinduism" in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (ed. in
chief, Paul Edwards) Vol. IV (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.
& The Free Press, 1972), p.1.

[6] S.N.Dasgupta , A History of Indian Philosophy , Vol. 1 (Delhi:
Motilal Banarsidass, 1975), pp. 67-68.

[7] Chatterjee and Datta, An Introduction to Indian Philosophy .

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] S.N.Dasgupta, Op. Cit., p. 394.

[11] I have discussed the question of the existence of god in my small
Hindi book Kya Ishwar Mar Chuka Hai? (Patna: Bihar Buddhiwadi Samaj,
1985, 1995). See, Is God Dead? (An introduction to Kya ishwar mar
chuka hai? ) [Patna: Buddhiwadi Foundation, 1998]

[12] M.K.Gandhi, "Aspects of Hinduism" in Hindu Dharma , pp. 9-10.

[13] A.L.B., "History of Hinduism" in The New Encyclopaedia
Britannica , Vol. 8 (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1981),
pp. 910-11.

[14] B.R. Ambedkar , Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches,
Vol. 4, Riddles in Hinduism (Bombay: Education Department, Government
of Maharashtra, 1987), p. 332.

[15] Y.Masih, The Hindu Religious Thought (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass,
1983), pp. 192-93.

[16] Bhagvad-Gita I: 40,41, 42,43.

[17] B.G. IV: 13.15.

[18] Y.Masih, Op.Cit., p.208, Also see, pp. 224-25.

[19] V.P.Verma, Modern Indian Political Thought (Agra: Lakshmi Narain
Agarwal, 1991), pp. 50-51.

[20] Manusmriti (MS) I: 31.

[21] MS I:58.

[22] MS I:88.

[23] MS I:89.

[24] MS I: 90.

[25] MS I: 91.

[26] MS I: 93, Also see, X: 3.

[27] MS I: 95.

[28] MS I: 101.

[29] MS I: 103.

[30] MS II: 10,13.

[31] MS II: 11.

[32] MS VIII: 410.

[33] MS X: 96. Also see, Kautilya, Arthshastra I: 3, Quoted by J.N.
Farquhar in An Outline of the Religious Literature of India ( Delhi:
Motilal Banarsidass, 1984), p. 44.

[34] MS II: 135.

[35] MS VIII: 272.

[36] MS VIII: 281.

[37] MS II: 67.

[38] MS V: 154.

[39] MS V: 168,157.

[40] MS IX: 3.

[41] MS IX: 2.

[42] MS V: 147.

[43] MS V: 148.

[44] MS VIII: 379.

[45] MS VIII: 123.

[46] MS VIII: 364.

[47] MS VIII: 366.

[48] MS VIII: 412.

[49] MS VIII: 413.

[50] MS VIII: 268.

[51] MS VIII: 267.

[52] MS XI: 131.

[53] MS II: 31,32.

[54] MS II: 127.

[55] MS III: 111,112.

[56] MS VIII: 88.

[57] MS V: 92.

[58] MS VIII: 142.

[59] MS III: 4.

[60] MS III: 12.

[61] MS III: 14,15,16,17,18,19.

[62] MS X: 4.

[63] MS X: 25.

[64] MS X: 8.

[65] MS X: 12.

[66] Ibid.

[67] MS X: 50,51,52.

[68] MS X: 54,55.

[69] MS X: 53.

[70] MS X: 54.

[71] MS II: 168.

[72] MS VIII: 414.

[73] MS II: 113; X: 1.

[74] MS II: 116.

[75] MS II: 11.

[76] MS IV: 30.

[77] MS III: 65.

[78] MS VIII: 22.

[79] MS III:150, 161; IX: 225. From a humanist point of view, there is
nothing wrong in being born as a Shudra or a Chandala, but in the
context of the Manusmriti, these are abusive epithets.

[80] Manusmriti (Varanasi: Chaukhambha Sanskrit Sansthan, 1982), pp.

[81]A.K.Warder, Indian Buddhism (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1980),p.

[82] Y.Masih, The Hindu Religious Thought, pp. 336-37.

[83] Nirmal Kumar Bose, Selections from Gandhi ( Ahmedabad: Navajivan
Publishing House, 1972), p. 265.

[84] Ibid., p. 263.

[85] M.Haralambos, Sociology Themes and Perspectives (Delhi: Oxford
University Press, 1980) pp. 27-28.

[86] N.K.Bose, Op.Cit., p. 266.

[87] Louis Fischer, Gandhi (New York: New American Library, 1954), pp.
111-12, Also see, N.K.Bose, Op.Cit., p. 267.

[88] B.G. II: 20-25.

[89] S.N. Dasgutpa, A History of Indian Philosophy , Vol. I, p. 87.

[90] Chatterjee and Datta. An Introduction to Indian Philosophy .

[91] See M.N.Roy, "The Transmigration of Soul" in India's Message
( Delhi: Ajanta Publications, 1982), pp. 4-6.

[92] Probably "the cycle of life and death" is considered "bondage"
because it will presumably lead to death again and again. So,
primarily the doctrine of liberation seems to be a reaction against

[93] "Those whose conduct has been pleasing will quickly attain a
pleasing birth, the birth of a Brahman or a Kshatriya, or a Vaisya;
but those whose conduct has been abominable, will quickly attain
abominable birth, the birth of a dog, or a hog, or an Outcaste."
Brihadaranyaka, quoted by J.N. Farquhar, An Outline of the Religious
Literature of India , p. 34, Also see, S.N.Dasgupta, Op. Cit., p.

[94] See, my "Why I do not want Ramrajya" in Why I am Not a Hindu &
Why I do not want Ramrajya (Patna: Bihar Rationalist Society, 1995).

[95] B.R. Ambedkar, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches ,
Vol. 4, Riddles in Hinduism.


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A Hindu Woman:
Answer to Why I Am Not a Hindu

Answer to Why I Am Not a Hindu
by A Hindu Woman

First, I wish to make clear that I have no quarrel with Mr. Ramendra
Nath for declaring that he is not a Hindu. He has listed four reasons
for declaring why he is not a Hindu:

"I do not believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and all
that goes by the name of Hindu scriptures, and therefore in avatars
and rebirth."
"I do not believe in the varnashram dharma or varna-vyavastha either
in the sense in which it is explained in Hindu dharma shastras like
Manusmriti or in the so-called Vedic sense."

"I do not believe in the Hindu taboo of not eating beef."
"I disbelieve in idol-worship."

As it happens, I am fully in agreement with the above statements. I do
not believe in the existence of any God or soul. Therefore the
question of scriptures as divine revelations, rebirth and avatars is
moot. I do not believe in the caste-system. I have eaten beef. Again,
since I do not believe in God the question of worshipping anything--
idols or otherwise--is moot. Nevertheless, I still call myself a
Hindu. However that is a completely separate matter.

Mr. Ramendra Nath has discussed in length why he rejects the Vedas as
infallible. Since I have no disagreement with him on these grounds, I
am skipping it.

He next attacks "varna-vyavastha or varnashram dharma." If it had been
a simple exposure of the evils of this system, again there would be no
problem. But what I essentially find troubling is that he does not
present a balanced appraisal. He rejects emphatically the story in the
Vedas that the Brahmins are created from God's mouth, the Kshatriyas
from his arms, Vaishyas from his thighs and Shudras from his feet--
plainly this story appeared later to account for a reality that was
already present. He dismisses evidence that originally it was nothing
more than a functional division which ultimately hardened into a rigid
system backed by the religious authority of the Brahmins and the
military might of Kshatriyas as something unimportant to the issue at
hand. After all, today the Hindu social system functions quite well in
the metropolises where the rules of purity and impurity regarding
caste are no longer important. Also when he discusses the evils from
which Hinduism has traditionally suffered, he ignores the good that is
in Hindu Dharma as well. In particular his criticisms against
Manusmriti or Manusamhita is one-sided. Above all he ignores the
entire picture to concentrate on certain negative aspects only. To put
it plainly, I think his account is biased.

Ramendra Nath charges that Ram kills Sambuka, a Shudra, because he was
performing tapasya or ascetic exercises which are the province of
Brahmins alone. Certainly the story is there. But what he does not
mention is that the story belongs to Uttarkanda (lit. "later
chapter"). Along with the story of Rama's adventure, every child is
also taught that this chapter was added much later and that Valmiki's
Ramayana ends with Rama's coronation. In Valmiki's Ramayana itself, we
have two very important stories: that of Guhak and Sabari. Guhak is a
Nishada king of Sringaverpur who is described as Rama's friend as dear
as life, with whom Rama stays while going to the forest
(Ayodhyakandya, chaps. 50-52). Shabari was a practitioner of
asceticism. Rama's first question on meeting her was, "Have you
conquered all that disrupts tapasya? Has your tapasya increased?";
from her hands Rama accepted food and her soul ascended to heaven
(Aranyakanda, 74). Nishadas are an 'uncivilized' forest-tribe who
include the Chandalas among them. Shabari is the feminine of shabar,
the hunter community. Manusmriti states that Nishadas are the
offspring of Brahmin male and Shudra female (an obvious afterthought)--
they are what we call today 'untouchable'. The shabars are designated
simply as 'mlechha,' completely outside Vedic/Hindu society, yet
Shabari performs perfect tapasya and goes to heaven blessed by the
avatar. The story has often been offered as proof that neither birth
nor gender is important in performing tapasya and going to heaven. The
apparent contradiction between Rama's behaviour towards them and
towards Sambuka need not puzzle anyone; the Sambuka story was clearly
added later to strengthen Brahmin hegemony. My question here is why
does Ramendra Nath ignore these points which are known to any ordinary
Hindu? The answer became clear when I looked at his citations. He was
simply quoting from another person's work rather than from the
Ramayana itself. Apparently he had not bothered to read the text he is

Next Ramendra Nath speaks of a certain episode in Mahabharata.
Certainly the story of Ekalavya is true. Because he was a Nishada,
Drona refused to teach him. The text explicitly states that being
nishada he was 'asprishya' (untouchable) and it is never allowable
that he should be put on a par with the general populace. Obviously
social stratification has taken place since Ramayana. When Ekalavya
learnt on his own, Drona made him cut off his finger. However,
Ramendra Nath places undue emphasis on the fact that Arjuna is his
Khastriya student. Drona asked for this terrible sacrifice because he
did not wish anyone to exceed his favourite Arjuna, who had promised
to give him whatever Drona desired materially. Caste here had nothing
to do with it.

More importantly, Ramendra Nath ignores those portions of this epic
which obviously belong to earlier stratas and which show a far more
humanitarian stance. The grandmother of both Kauravas and Pandavas (of
whom Arjuna is one) is only a fisherwoman. She had a liaison with a
Brahmin (which did not make the latter an outcaste) and gave birth to
an illegitimate son who became a sage himself and the writer of
Mahabharata. If she wants to marry into a respectable wealthy family,
to be a fisherwoman who ferries passengers on a boat and who has a
bastard child is definitely a handicap yet today even in developed
countries. Nevertheless, she marries a Kshatriya king, her sons become
kings and she is never reproached because of her sexual misconduct.
How could such miscegenation and its placid acceptance by the
population (which includes Brahmins) have been possible unless the
varnavyavastha in ancient times was very much a fluid system?

We also have the story of Dharmabyadh. A Brahmin had gained power to
work miracles by his penance and became arrogant because of this. When
a woman seems to ignore him, he becomes enraged. But the woman
demonstrates that merely by carrying out faithfully her duties as a
housewife she had gained even greater power; she tells him that only a
man who controls his sensual instincts, never hates another person,
thinks of all human beings as his own [kin], tells the truth always,
and never wanders towards unrighteousness--is acknowledged as a
Brahmin by the gods. He is then sent to a meat-seller known as
Dharmabyadh to learn what dharma is, as he is ignorant of it. The meat-
seller says, "I follow my ancestors' livelihood; I tend to the
elderly; I always speak the truth; I never show hatred for anyone; I
give to charity as far as I am capable; I never speak ill of anyone; I
eat the leavings of the gods, guests and servants [I eat after all
these have eaten]." It is these simple things that has elevated a meat-
seller above the powerful Brahmin (Vanaparva, 205-213).

Yuddhistira (the son of the God of Justice) is asked what is the cause
of being a Brahmin. He declares that neither birth nor learning makes
a Brahmin, that only proper conduct does. Even a Brahmin learned in
four Vedas cannot be considered as a Brahmin if his conduct is evil.
[However it must be noted that performing proper rituals is also
included in the passage as the mark of a Brahmin (Vanaparva, 312).] In
another place he is asked by a serpent who a true Brahmin is. He
answers, "The person in whom resides truth, charity, forgiveness,
courtesy, rejection of cruelty, austerity, is a Brahmin." The serpent
argues that the Vedas have given every varna their dharma or law.
"Therefore truth, charity, forgiveness, non-violence, rejection of
cruelty, and compassion based on Vedas is noticed even in Shudras. If
even in Shudras these symptoms of Brahamandharma appear, then Shudras
too can be Brahmins." Yuddhistira's answer is, "In many Shudras
symptoms of Brahmin appear, and among many of the twice-born, symptoms
of Shudras appear. Therefore it is not that to be born in a Shudra
family makes one a Shudra or that to be born in a Brahmin family makes
one a Brahmin. The persons in whom such behaviour [the qualities
mentioned above] ordained by Vedas appear are Brahmins and those in
whom they do not appear are Shudras" (Vanaparva, 180). From such
episodes it is obvious that the ideal was a high one and low castes
were honoured by society if they were virtuous. Critics would say that
the reality does not often match the ideal. True. But where is the
paradise on earth where there is no discrimination on the basis of
class, irrespective of the law? I do not see why varnavyastha should
be singled out with special virulence. It is simply that some
countries have made greater progress in doing away with systems like
feudalism (which was held to be reflection of cosmic hierarchy) and
slavery (backed by the story of Noah and his sons) while India is
starting to catch up.

Ramendra Nath argues that Gita too teaches every caste to do their
Dharma. Certainly if in these "enlightened" times a soldier like
Arjuna would refuse to fight on the battlefield when the war has
begun, the government would punish him and he would be called
"deserter" and "traitor." Again Shankar is pointed out as supporting
the caste-system. This is essentially true. But why does Mr. Ramendra
Nath slight the entire Bhakti and Tantric traditions in both North and
south India? Did not the practitioners of these traditions, many of
them Brahmins themselves, try to do away with caste? In such
movements, outcaste teachers and Brahmin students were common.

Next, Mr. Ramendra Nath--like many others--attacks Manusamhita. What
all these critics do is to imply that the entire book was written by
one man. Yet research has proved that many verses were added to the
main text throughout later ages and other verses left out or edited to
bring it in line with contemporary thought. (The interested reader can
look up the works of G. Buhler, P. V. Kane, and Max Muller.) The
result is that it is cris-crossed with contradictions.

Now let us take a close look at the book. Each of the verses he quotes
declaring the inferiority of Shudras and dominance of Brahmins, do
exist. Yet he also skips verses that directly contradict those verses.
"If a woman or lower (Shudra and younger) person performs goodly
ceremonies [holy or good works], then the Brahmachari must join them
with enthusiasm" (2:223). "The Shudra who devoid of jealousy engages
himself in honest work receives honour in this life and heaven in the
next" (10:128). (Of course another verse has been added immediately
after saying that Shudras cannot accumulate wealth because a rich
Shudra might despise Brahmins.) "A wife, jewels, knowledge, dharma
[religion/duty], rules of purity, good advice, vocational skills, can
be received by everyone from everyone else [irrespective of caste or
family]" (2:240). "A devout person can [I use 'can', but it is
actually in the imperative mood] accept even the best knowledge from
Shudras; accept ultimate truth from outcastes like chandalas; an
excellent wife even from low families" (2:238). Nothing can be more
amusing for a social historian than to see how Medhatithi, a Brahmin
commentator (c. A.D. 900) tries to explain away this verse. He argues
that "shubham [holy, best, pure] vidya [knowledge]" refers to logic,
magic formulas and singing and dancing. Similarly "param [ultimate,
best] dharma" is redefined as knowledge of local geography and
customs. Never mind that Mahabharata also defines--on the basis of
Manu--'param dharma' as knowledge of moksha/liberation which can be
acquired from anybody. Medhatiti's argument is that since low castes
are not eligible for religious knowledge they cannot teach anything.
Obviously the upper castes were anxiously trying to impose hegemony
over lower castes. Again, the verse stating that "he [the Brahmin] who
studies from a Shudra teacher or teaches a Shudra student" cannot
officiate in funeral ceremonies (3:156) offers evidence that Shudras
were teachers, a fact that the Brahmins wished to change. The rules
and later condemnations regarding marriages between castes offer proof
that for a long time it had not hardened.

Incidentally, may I ask how the terrible punishments inflicted on
Shudras can be reconciled with marriages between castes, both anuloma
and pratiloma, division of property among children born of such
'miscegenation,' rule that in distress a Brahmin might serve a Shudra
as a servant, or that a Brahmin householder must feed his Shudra
servants first, if he has any? There is a distinction between what
some men would like society to be and the social reality. For example,
Louis Dumont observed that power did not automatically reside in the
hands of any specific community. The caste that actually owned land in
a region enjoyed actual power; in many cases such power and property
lay in the hands of the Shudras. Though the Brahmins were the priests
they were actually dependant on the Shudras for their favour. Surely
Mr. Ramendra Nath knows that there are thousands of Brahmin families
whose only means of subsistence is being priests of low-caste

Like Mr. Ramendra Nath, I too cannot help it that an objective reading
exposes how the caste system degenerated. He accuses that
untouchability and allowing men of one caste to become priests alone
is peculiar to Hinduism. But apartheid was peculiar to the rational
democratic white Christian races, as was the Holocaust peculiar to the
industrialized Nazi Germany. In neither case had it been claimed that
these two factors represent the sole face of Western culture. So once
again, why is varna-vavyastha presented as proof that Hinduism is
intrinsically evil, instead of realizing that untouchability is simply
the result of human love of power and not integral to Hinduism itself?

Now we come to women. Yes, Manusamhita does have these verses that
paint women as evil and deny them any freedom. But again we see how
other verses, remnants of earlier times, paint a different picture.
There is a whole portion called naribandana (Praise of women) where it
is insisted (3:55-62) that only a house where women are respected and
made happy is favoured by the gods and that--where women are treated
badly--all worship and ceremonies are in vain. There are verses such
as, "Mother is a thousand times holier [can also be read as worthy of
obedience] than the father" (2:145). "It is better that a daughter
should live at home till death rather than be given to an unworthy
husband; After menstruation, a girl should wait for three years and
then choose her own husband; If a girl at proper time should select a
husband herself, then she is not to be blamed" (9:89-91). "Any
relative [including a husband] who uses stridhan [lit. property of
woman which is both liquid cash and land, here a wife's], vehicles and
animals given for the wife to ride or a wife's clothes [and ornaments]
for himself, is a sinner who falls [into hell]" (3:52). I can give
other verses as examples.

Again Mr. Ramendra Nath charges that a widow cannot marry. Nothing
arouses my ire more than this statement. An illiterate villager might
be forgiven for believing this since this is the reality in many
places, but an educated Hindu would know better. These verses, of a
later origin, hold out inducements to widows not to remarry--such a
course would hardly have been necessary if widows never remarried.
"The woman who abandoned by her husband or left a widow marries of her
free will another man, is punurbhu and the son of such a union is
called pounorbhava"; "If a wife who is still a virgin, or a wife who
has left her husband to consort with another man returns to her
husband's home, then [another] ceremony of marriage can take
place" (9:195-196). Insistence in numerous verses that a Brahmin who
is a second husband or son of a woman's second marriage should not be
allowed to perform religious ceremonies merely prove that remarriages
were frequent. "While the mother is alive, if there is a dispute
between the son of the [first] husband and between a pournorbhava or a
golok (bastard born after the husband's death) regarding property,
then each son will receive the property that belongs to his biological
father" (9:191). "If the husband goes to foreign lands for holy
purposes, the wife will wait for 8 years; if he goes to study or earn
fame she will wait for 6 years; if he goes for pleasure then she will
wait for three years--after that she will marry again [alternative
explanation, she will go away somewhere else to support herself" (9:
76). Moreover the commentator Madhavacharya declares, "Manu has
ordained, if the husband is missing, dead, has become an ascetic,
impotent, or outcast, then the second marriage of woman is lawful
according to the shastras." Again this verse is present in
Naradasmriti, which is stated to be a collection of more important
verses of Manu. Not so surprisingly, this verse cannot be found in the
relatively modern edition of Manu we have today. Ramendra Nath is
strangely ignorant of history of his own country if he does not know
that Vidyasagar persuaded the British authorities to pass the widow-
remarriage bill by proving that it is enjoined in the shastras.

Mr. Ramendra Nath also gets excited while heaping scorn on the notion
that Hinduism is tolerant. Perhaps it has escaped his attention that
Hinduism is considered not tolerant socially as such, but from the
religious point of view. It is a religion that does not declare that
it has the sole monopoly on truth nor does it try to impose its gods
on other cultures by force. That is what is defined as religious
tolerance. Manusamhita certainly has many harsh things to say about
nastikas, but they are limited to denunciations. What did Hindus, Mr.
Ramendra Nath, actually do to disbelievers in this physical life?
Usually nothing. Buddha lived and preached peacefully. So did
Mahavira. The worst that some of them suffered was ostracism. But as
Ramendra Nath himself acknowledges (4:30), though rationalists and
freethinkers are not to be treated respectfully, they can be given
food, according to Manusamhita. For some reason Mr. Ramendra Nath
seems to think that a devout believer in God and afterlife should
welcome a disbeliever worshipfully (arcchana) as proof of his humane
attitude, yet in the same breath he denies that there is any human
value attached to the injunction that even hellbound disbeliveers are
to be fed. Considering the way Semitic religions have dealt with
unbelievers and apostates in the past (and do so even today), indeed
"such is the generosity of Hindu dharma."

Above all I find Mr. Ramendra Nath's focus on Manusamhita puzzling.
The British in an attempt to codify law focused exclusively on
Manusamhita. But why should an educated Hindu do so? There are
nineteen other dharmashastras all held to be of equal importance. He
ignores Arthashastra, the secular manual for Hindu kingdoms. He
ignores that every region had its own particular laws and every
community in it had its own set of customs which even the king was
forbidden to override. He ignores that often in villages--even today--
the shastras are only a hallowed name; if they routinely consult any
texts, those are the Ramayana and Mahabharata and often the two epics
are retold differently to suit that particular region. Unlike the
Bible, there is no text that forms the basis of Hindu law. The simple
result is that society varied from place to place and age to age. Yes,
class-system based on birth is wrong. Yes, the ugly face of caste is
encountered daily in many places in India. But the picture he presents
is one of absolute stratification, with the cruel Brahmins trampling
down the helpless Shudras for thousands of years. This picture is very
biased. In the first place, the Brahmins are not like the clergy of
church; only a certain percentage actually enjoys real power and
wealth. Secondly, from reading Mr. Ramendra Nath's article, no one
would have any idea of the low-caste royal dynasties like Mundas,
Chandellas, Nandas, Gurjjaras, Senas, the rule of the Lingyat
community, the rise of the Alvars, or the elevation of Reddies and
Jats to the warrior caste. Shivaji was a Shudra landowner who dreamt
of creating a Hindu empire (with all that it implies to him) and
brought the Mughal empire to its knees; he kept Brahmin ministers. A
1345 inscription of Reddi kings read, "With death of Ksathriyas [by
the Muslims], duty of defending cows and Brahmins fell to Shudras." It
was the Shudras who drove away the Muslim invaders and reestablished
Brahmanical educational institutes. If the Shudras, treated as Mr.
Ramendra Nath assumes followers of Manu treated them, say and do this
after gaining power (and when the Brahmins were at their nadir), then
obviously the Brahmins are a superior race who deserve to rule over a
spineless inferior caste.

Just as Mr. Ramendra Nath concentrates on Manusamhita alone among the
dharmashastras, so too he concentrates on Gandhi alone. Apparently
Gandhi is to be taken as the representative of Hindu society at large.
Gandhi had supported varnashrama. But Gandhi had also said, (The
Collected Work of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. LXII, p. 121).

"I believe in varnashrama of the Vedas, which in my opinion is based
on absolute equality of status notwithstanding passages to the
contrary in the smritis and elsewhere."

"Every word of the printed works passing muster as `Shastras' is not,
in my opinion, a revelation."

"The interpretation of accepted texts has undergone evolution and is
capable of indefinite evolution, even as the human intellect and heart
"Nothing in the shastras which is manifestly contrary to universal
truths and morals can stand."

"Nothing in the shastras which is capable of being reasoned can stand
if it is in conflict with reason."

Again, Vivekananda the monk came from a conservative family of the
nineteenth century and fiercely advocated doing away with
untouchability. He even declared that doing social service is more
important than worshipping God, because the former is true worship.
Rabindranath Tagore's family was orthodox and he himself was very
devout; yet he declared that though the caste-system has become
integral to Hindu society it must be done away with. There were as
many Hindus who attacked the caste-system as those who tried to defend
it. Similarly, the Shankaracharya of Puri recently declared that women
have no right to learn Sanskrit or read Vedas. The head priest at
Jagganath temple, on the other hand, has started training women
priests--yet both are pious Hindus. Why then is there the assumption
that all believing Hindus are retrograde?

Mr. Ramendra Nath grieves that the upper castes are not reconciled to
losing their power. That generalization is too sweeping. Some are not,
but the present generation has grown up accepting it. There is still
resistance, but is there any reason to think that the situation will
not improve? Even in England, full-fledged democracy did not spring up
miraculously with Magna Carta. The very fact he is able to write an
article such as this and post it on the Internet is proof that Hindu
society has undergone a sea-change. Again in speaking of agitations
against reservation policy for untouchables, he does not give the full
picture. Major factors in that agitation had been economics and
competence. Many untouchables have become rich by means of affirmative
policies and government aid. There is a substantial body of
untouchables and lowcastes who have now become middle-class and many
who have become legislators. However, they insist on their children
enjoying the same advantages they had enjoyed. But if they have become
rich, is it not unfair for their children to take advantage of the
policies meant for their poorer brethren? Again, why in reverse
discrimination shall the desperately poor of other castes be deprived
of government help and seats in educational institutions while those
who have become rich demand more advantages and money? This has led to
the extremely ridiculous situation of uppercaste people changing their
surnames by deed-poll and bribing officials to declare them
untouchables. More, those who have made it to the top now hog every
post and then lobby to pass laws for their own advantage so that the
benefits no longer trickle down to those who really need them.
Recently, members of the Dalit educated community themselves said that
the reservation policy is not working; a political party based on
backward votes immediately expelled those members who had dared to
utter such heresy. That is why those who agitated against widening of
the affirmative net were students--it is their future that is being
jeopardized in the name of social justice. The people of India wish
for a fairer affirmative policy--one that is based on poverty; the
poor alone should get preferential treatment.

About moksha, karma and avatarvada I have nothing to say on rational
grounds. However once again, it appears that the two Hindu epics need
defending on moral grounds. Rama is an avatar, but nowhere it is said
that all his behaviour is perfect. In particular, Mr. Ramendra Nath
singles out his notorious treatment of Sita--he makes her undergo
ordeal by fire to prove her purity. But what also needs recapitulating
is how the 'higher authorities,' so to speak, react to this. The soul
of Dasaratha, father of Rama, descends from heaven and begs Sita, "Do
not be angry; forgive my son for having abandoned you" (Yuddhyakandya,
120). More importantly Brahma appears and gives a long speech. The
gist of it is that since Rama is lord of all, why is he ignoring this
terrible event? He is God, so why he is meting out injustice to Sita?
(Yuddhykandya, 118). Rama's answer is that he knows himself only to be
a man, not a god. Since the Creator himself declares Rama's deed is a
sin, I do not see why the ordinary Hindu would face a moral dilemma
here and go on insisting Rama did no wrong. The case is the same with
Krishna. Many explanations have been given for his behaviour, but all
of them have one thing in common--it is acknowledged that he did wrong
and human beings must not follow his ways. Most telling is the
evidence of Mahabharata itself. After the war is over, Gandhari--the
only perfectly virtuous human--curses Krishna for the evils he had
committed; as her relatives and friends had been destroyed
[deceitfully by Krishna's advice], so too Krishna's family would be
destroyed and he himself will die a horrible death (Striparva, 25).
The curse comes true. Dharma or moral law of the universe would not
allow it to be otherwise. In other words God incarnate is accountable
to man--even an avatar must be punished.

Mr. Ramendra Nath also simply omits all positive aspects of Hinduism.
He makes no mention of the philosophies, logic systems, mathematical
contributions, music, temples, poetry, teachers and reformers, or the
heroes and heroines in myth and history. He simply makes no attempt to
explain the Hindu world-view or dharma (in the secular sense). Nor
does he give a full picture of Hindu history. Anyone reading his
article would get the impression that no decent man can call himself a
Hindu. (On the other hand I too can quote only favourable verses and
examples and give the impression that Hinduism is flawless.)

If Mr. Ramendra Nath had rejected Hinduism on rational grounds, then
this answer need not have been written. If he had balanced the good,
the bad and the ugly and then declared, "You have been judged and
found wanting", again this present article would not have a leg to
stand on. Let me repeat, it is the one-sided picture of Hindu culture
that I protest.

It is only right that a culture's worst excesses be condemned, but it
is only equitable that its highest ideals and what it has achieved
also be considered. By writing in such a superficial manner, he denies
a Hindu any pride in his heritage. Mr. Ramendra Nath would not allow
anyone to admire Rama as a human being, nor Yuddhisthira or Gandhari;
enjoy the philosophy and symbolism; be proud of either high caste or
low caste leaders and teachers, or of reformers who came from Hindu
society itself--or even how Buddhism, Jainism, Zorastrianism and
Judaism have been protected by the Hindu community. Above all, he
makes it seem as if reform and Hinduism are inherently incompatible.
Gandhi said, "My belief in the Hindu scriptures does not require me to
accept every word and every verse as divinely inspired .... I decline
to be bound by any interpretation, however learned it may be, if it is
repugnant to reason or moral sense" (The Collected Work of Mahatma
Gandhi, The Publication Division, Government of India, Vol. XXI, p.
246). Yet Gandhi was only following Hindu law. Every shastra and epic
states that no age is identical to other ages, therefore the law of
every age must be different. Dharma changes from age to age depending
on circumstances. It is this that has allowed Hinduism to withstand
ravages or war and time, constantly remoulding itself to survive.


...and I am Sid Harth
2010-03-16 06:09:30 UTC
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Ganesha Demolition – Symbolic Act of Hatred

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Combating Defamation of Religion
By Vinod Kumar, on 27-03-2009 12:12

Published in : Vinod Kumar, Column - Vinod Kumar

On November 24, 2008 - By a vote of 85 to 50, with 42 abstaining, the
UN General Assembly, Geneva adopted a draft resolutionm [ref -
] calling on all countries to alter their legal and constitutional
systems to prevent "defamation of religions," asserting that "Islam is
frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and
terrorism." Among other things, the resolution "urges states to take
actions to prohibit the dissemination ... of racist and xenophobic
ideas" and material that would incite to religious hatred. It also
urges states to adopt laws that would protect against hatred and
discrimination stemming from religious defamation.

The resolution puts Islam and some of the more controversial practices
associated with it beyond censure. The OIC (The Organization of
Islamic Conference) says that Muslims in Western countries have,
especially since 9/11, faced stereotyping, hostility, discriminatory
treatment and the denigration of “the most sacred symbols of Islam.”
The organization cites cases like newspaper cartoons caricaturing
Mohammed, and a Dutch lawmaker’s documentary released earlier this
year, linking the Koran to terrorism.

India, as one of the countries to abstain, said the text addressed the
problem insufficiently from a narrow perspective because it focused on
one religion. Western countries specially the US and France "This is
just the latest shot in an intensifying campaign of UN resolutions
that dangerously seek to import Islamic anti-blasphemy prohibitions
into the discourse of international human rights law," said Hillel
Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, an independent human rights
monitoring group in Geneva. The resolution puts the human rights and
freedom of speech and expression movement that has been the foundation
of progress in the West and thus the world back by several centuries.
It is evident that the resolution was supported or opposed on
emotional and political grounds.

Even if one was to go with the resolution, it fails to address a very
fundamental issue it wants to resolve. What is to be done if a
religion itself defames or insults other religion(s)? What if a
religion itself disseminates “xenophobic ideas” and contains “material
that would incite religious hatred.” while deploring hate speech,
felt strongly that people should be free to express their opinions in
challenging any ideology of hate. Human rights are indivisible and the
right to freedom of expression was at the essence of the right to
thought, conscience and belief.

The resolution is shortsighted and Islam centric and does nothing to
combat defamation of religions per se. Not only it takes human
civilization backwards, it will come to haunt the countries that
supported it. For a healthy and progressive society, all ideologies
should be open for open and constructive discussion.


Jinnah and Two Nation Theory
By Vinod Kumar, on 05-09-2009 23:30

Jaswant Singh by his book, Jinnah - India, Partition, Independence has
become kind of a folk hero in Pakistan and a darling of the
secularattii in India. No doubt, with this book, he has secured his
financial future, if he needed one, as one report from Pakistan says
‘they will be ordering the book by the millions.'

One of the main thrusts of his book is that Jinnah was not the "demon"
he is made out to be in India and that he was a secular Indian
nationalist and did not really want Pakistan. The demand for Pakistan
was just a strategy to seek more concessions and safeguards for the
Muslims in united India. Partition could have been avoided had Nehru
and Patel agreed for a federal decentralized India instead of a
centralized one. He casts Nehru and Patel as the villains for
conceding partition.

Whether partition was a good thing or bad and should one be demonized
or idolized for it depends on what side you are. Let us also for the
moment forget about Jinnah's secular and Indian nationalist
credentials as these are hardly his legacies. Jinnah's legacy is the
State of Pakistan. In this article let us focus on what caused
partition? Who was the real author of Two Nation theory - Hindus and
Muslims are two separate nations.

After his return from England, Jinnah worked ceaselessly and zealously
for the creation of Pakistan. An accomplished lawyer that he was, he
eloquently and very convincingly spelled out why was partition
necessary in his famous Presidential address to Muslim League
Convention at Lahore in March 1940 and in many other speeches,
interviews and writings. He said there never was any common ground
between the Muslims and the Hindus or desire on the part of Muslims to
live as equal with Hindus whom they had ruled for centuries. Hinduism
and Islam are two different and distinct social orders. It is only a
dream that the two can ever evolve a common nationality. "The hero of
one is the foe of the other. There is nothing that binds them
together." Enumerating all the differences between the two, he went on
to say that "to yoke two such nations under a single State must lead
to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be
so built up for the government of such a state." (India's Partition -
Process, Strategy and Mobilization, edited By Mushirul Hasan, Delhi,
1998, pp.56)

Jinnah stressed there was never one India and Hindus and Muslims had
never lived as one unit. History is testimony that last twelve hundred
years have failed to achieve unity and during the ages "India was
always divided into Hindu India and Muslim India. ... The present
artificial unity of India dates back only to British conquest and is
maintained by the British bayonet" -- he went on to say.

Last update : 05-09-2009 15:53


Prof. Vijay Prashad and Hindu Holocaust Museum
By Vinod Kumar, on 26-09-2009 23:30

Prof. Vijay Prashad in his article Hindu Holocaust (News India Times,
Sept. 25, 2009) about Francois Gautier's fund raiser on August 16,
2009 in New Jersey for a Hindu Holocaust Museum in Pune, India has
made many assertions and statements which have no evidence in
contemporary or even subsequent recorded history. To keep the response
reasonable length let me address a few of the issues covered by him
and let the readers make their own judgment.

Prof. Vijay Prashad in his article Hindu holocaust (News India Times,
Sept. 25, 2009) about Francois Gautier's fund raiser on August 16,
2009 in New Jersey for a Hindu Holocaust Museum in Pune, India has
made many assertions and statements which have no evidence in
contemporary or even subsequent recorded history. To keep the response
reasonable length let me address a few of the issues covered by him
and let the readers make their own judgement.

Prof. Prashad wrote, and I quote the entire paragraph:

"Between Hindus and Muslims there has not been an endless rivalry for
social power. When Islam enters the subcontinent, it does not come in
the saddlebags of the Ghaznis or the Ghouris, but amongst the rumble
of goods brought by traders. Early conversions are not by the sword
but by the merchants . There was killing, but that was as much for
reasons of warfare and plunder as for reasons of God and tradition. An
interested reader might want to look at the distinguished historian
Romila Thapar's superb book "Somnatha: The Many Voices of a
History" (Penguin, 2005). There, Professor Thapar shows us that Mahmud
Ghazni's destruction of the Shiva temple in 1026 was driven not so
much by a fanatical religious belief but because his father,
Subuktigin, needed money to sustain his faltering kingdom in Central
Asia. Now it is certainly true, as historian Mohammed Habib put it,
that there was "wanton destruction of temples that followed in the
wake of the Ghaznavid army."

Actually this paragraph covers the gist of his arguments.

Let us discuss these one by one.

•1. No social rivalry between Hindus and Muslims:

To the contrary there never was any equivalence between the two ever
after the Muslims started invading India. In all Muslim chronicles,
almost without exception, Hindus are referred to as infidels - a
derogatory term in Islam.

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, a very prominent Muslim leader in the nineteenth
century asked Muslims to support British Raj as opposed to free India
where, by default, Hindus being majority would have an upper hand.
For Muslim scholars for Muslims to live under the Hindus was

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (the originator of two nation theory) had said in
1888, as quoted by Sir Penderel Moon on page 11 of his tome, 'Divide
and Quit'. India, he said, is a country"inhabited by two different
nations" and there would necessarily be a struggle for power between
them, if the English were to leave India. "Is it possible, he had
asked, "that under these circumstances two nations - the Mohammedan
and Hindu - could sit on the same throne and remain equal in power?
Most certainly not. It is necessary that one of them should conquer
the other and thrust it down. To hope that both could remain equal is
to desire the impossible and the inconceivable."

On the issue of Hindu Muslim relations, no body could have put it
better than what Jinnah articulated in his famous Presidential address
to Muslim League conference in Lahore in 1940.

He said there never was any common ground between the Muslims and the
Hindus or desire on the part of Muslims to live as equal with Hindus
whom they had ruled for centuries. Hinduism and Islam are two
different and distinct social orders. It is only a dream that the two
can ever evolve a common nationality. "The hero of one is the foe of
the other. There is nothing that binds them together." Enumerating all
the differences between the two, he went on to say that "to yoke two
such nations under a single State must lead to growing discontent and
final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the
government of such a state." (India's Partition - Process, Strategy
and Mobilization, edited By Mushirul Hasan, Delhi, 1998, pp.56)

Jinnah stressed there was never one India and Hindus and Muslims had
never lived as one unit. History is testimony that last twelve hundred
years have failed to achieve unity and during the ages "India was
always divided into Hindu India and Muslim India. ... The present
artificial unity of India dates back only to British conquest and is
maintained by the British bayonet" -- he went on to say. (ibid. pp.

Even Alberuni, thousand years ago, when there was not much Muslim
presence in India, could see there was no common ground between Hindus
and Muslims. He starts his book by discussing the differences between
the Hindus and the Muslims. He enumerates these differences at length
throughout the book. Warning his readers he wrote "the readers must
bear in mind that the Hindus entirely differ from us in every
respect...... The barriers which separate Muslims and Hindus rest on
different causes." ((Sachau EC, Alebruni's India, New Delhi, 1993, pp.
17 - 26)

Dr. Ambedkar in his books and frequent writings had alluded to
Muslim's macabre hostility against Hindus. He highlighted the fact
that the word 'but' used by Muslims to refer to any idol was a corrupt
form of "Budh" because there were hundreds of statues of Buddha in
Afghanistan and across the Middle East which were the first target of
iconoclast of Islam. That explains the use of the term 'but-shikan' by
Ghazanavi, Ghauri and other invaders. The destruction and pillage of
the famous Buddhist Seminary and University of Nalanda is another
example of the grossness of the wanton damage caused by Muslim

Ethnic cleansing of Hindus by Muslims has continued even in recent
history, both in Pakistan and Bangladesh - even in Kashmir. In that
sense there has been a renewal of Hindu Holocaust. In Pakistan the
Hindu /Sikh population has plummeted from 23% in 1947 to less than 2%
today. In Bangladesh, it has dwindled from 35% to 8% during the same
period. During the same period Muslims have multiplied fast in India.
And the shame of Hindus having been ethnically cleansed from Kashmir
Valley, an important part of our bogus secular state, still torments
Hindu hearts!.

In fact, throughout history Islam has always used 'gross savagery' and
open recourse to terrorism as force multipliers e.g. building towers
of the heads of hapless Hindus beheaded by Muslim invaders of which
accounts are there in history books written by Muslim chroniclers.
(Baburnama, Delhi, 1998, pp. 573, 576 - to cite one example) And the
use of terror and savagery continues with renewed vigor even today.
The most morbid example of savagery in recent times was the beheading
by Ilyas Kashmiri (a commander of Pak-sponsored terror group) of an
injured Indian army officer (after capturing him on February 26,
2000). Ilyas Kashmiri went back to Pakistan with the head of the
hapless Indian army officer and presented it to top officers of Pak
army. Gen. Musharraf had given a cash reward of Rs. 1 lakh. Pictures
of Ilyas Kashmiri holding the head of the Indian officer were
published in Pakistani newspapers. Maulana Zahoor Ahmed Alvi of Jamia
Muhammadia, Islamabad, even issued a fatwa supporting slitting the
throats of Indian army officers in a similar manner [Source: News
item, 'Musharraf rewarded militant who killed Indian', (Indian Express
New Delhi, September 21, 2009, page 4).

Can Prof. Vijay Prashad deny these irrefutable facts?

•2. Islam came with Muslim traders:

Yes, in India there were traders from Arabia long before Islam was
born. These traders by virtue of their being Arabs, became Muslims
when Arabia became Islamic in the seventh century. Thus, one can say
Islam came to India with the traders. Yes, during the trading period,
there was no animosity against the Muslims or Islam. When did this
animosity begin? It was discussed by Alberuni a thousand years ago in
his famous ‘Indica' which we shall cover later. Not that there was any
resistance against but there were no conversions to Islam among the
general population to speak of. Initially Arabs, and later on Muslim,
traders married local women. Even Arab records show that India (read
Hindu) kings gave Muslims land to build their mosques and preach their
new religion. However, it might be mentioned that there is no evidence
of reciprocity of giving lands to Hindus or other religions in Arabia
after the birth of Islam. To the contrary, Prophet Muhammad's one of
the last three wishes/instructions to Muslims was to "expel all pagans
from the Arabian Peninsula." (Sahih Bukhari, New Delhi, vol. 4, p.
260, Chapter H 393)

What caused the animosity between Hindus and Muslims?

In the very first chapter of his book, Indica, Alberuni discusses the
differences between Hindus and Muslims, as written above. Alberuni
observes some of the reasons of Hindus' repugnance of Muslims are
complete banishment of Buddhists from countries, from Khurasan,
Persis, Irak, Mosul and Syria, first by Zoroastrians and then by
Islam. And then Muhammad ibn Kasim entered India proper, conquered the
cities of Bahmanwa and Multan and went as far as Kannauj - "all these
events planted a deeply rooted hatred in their hearts." (Sachau EC,
Alebruni's India, New Delhi, 1993, pp. 20-21)

Then he talks of Mahmud Ghaznavi: Sabuktagin weakened the borders of
India and afterwards his son Mahmud marched into India during a period
of thirty years and more. Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of
India and performed those wonderful exploits (emphasis mine), by which
the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions, and
like a tale of old in the mouth of the people." Alberuni says "their
scattered remains cherish, of course, the most inveterate aversion
towards all Muslims." (ibid, pp. 22)

These are not even the tips of the proverbial iceberg, to understand
what was done to Hindu by Muslim invaders and then rulers. One has to
read the entire history recorded by the Muslim invaders and rulers and
other Muslim chroniclers to understand its full impact. After each
invasion, the survivors were offered conversion to Islam or death and
many converted. If circumstances allowed, many converted back to their
original faith. All through Muslim rule starting from bin Kasim, with
a few exceptions, Jiziya was imposed on non-Muslim subjects the burden
of which fell the heaviest on the poor. This, at times, led to mass
conversions of the entire castes. Islam might have come with the
traders but it did not result in any conversions to Islam. It were the
invasions and subsequent Muslim rule which did.

Politically motivated opinions that have no basis in recorded history
or wishful thinking that reflect how the things should have been, in
their flight of fancy imagination, is not history. It is, at best,
sheer fiction. Sadly, Prof. Vijay Prashad's characterization of Hindu
Muslim relations fall in this category. History is what actually
happened; fiction has no place in it.

•3. Reasons for temple demolition:

Prof. Prashad quotes Professor Thapar showing us that Mahmud Ghazni's
destruction of the Shiva temple in 1026 was driven not so much by a
fanatical religious belief but because his father, Subuktigin, needed
money to sustain his faltering kingdom in Central Asia.

It is unimaginable that Sabuktagin would have a kingdom in Central
Asia in 1926 after he died at Toormooz on his way to Ghizny from Balkh
in Shaban AH 387 (August AD 997).

In history of Islam Mahmud enjoys a very high position. He was given
the titles of Ameen-ul-Millat, defender of the faith and Yameen-ud-
Daulat, the right hand of the state by the Caliph of Baghdad - the
titles which had so far not been bestowed on any prince far or near,
notwithstanding their intense desire to receive such an honor. (Tarikh
Yamini, The History of India as Told by its own historians, Vol. 2,
New Delhi, 1996, pp. 24)

The plunders of Mahmud are legendary. When he displayed his loot from
India, he was declared "the richest monarch ever in history".

It is often said he was interested only in plunder and he was not much
of a religious person. Neither his record nor his Muslim chroniclers
agree with this characterization. From all contemporary records the
only inference one can draw is that he was a zealot Muslim and is so
regarded by Muslim scholars. As accepted even by Prof. Thapar and
quoted by Prof. Prashad that he plundered Somnath temple - but
actually the plunder and destruction of Somnath temple was of
relatively small scale in relation to other temples and places he
plundered and destroyed.

The case in point is the temple at Mathura. Mahmud was enchanted by
the grandeur of this temple. Utbi, secretary of Mahmud, in his Tarikh
Yamini described it as:

"The Sultan next directed his attacks against the sacred city of
Mathura. The city was surrounded by a massive stone wall, in which
were two lofty gates opening on to the river. There were magnificent
temples all over the city and the largest of them all stood in the
center of it. The Sultan was very much struck by its grandeur. In his
estimate it cost not less than 100,000,000 red dinars, and even the
most skillful of masons must have taken 200 years to complete it.
Among the large number of idols in the temples, five were made of pure
gold, the eyes of one of them were laid with two rubies worth 100,000
dinars, and another had a sapphire of a very heavy weight. All these
five idols yielded gold weighing 98,300 mishkals. The idols made of
silver numbered 200....... He seized all the gold and silver idols
and ordered his soldiers to burn all the temples to the ground. The
idols in them were deliberately broken into pieces. The city was
pillaged for 20 days, and a large number of buildings were reduced to
ashes." (Tarikh Yamini, The History of India as Told by its own
historians, vol 2, New Delhi, 1996, pp. 44)

Mahmud Ghaznavi invaded India at least sixteen times and each time he
left a trail of tears, human suffering and devastation. The tale of
his invasions as recorded by his secretary Utbi is blood curdling.
This is how Utbi describes one scene and this is not, by any means,
an isolated example:

"Many infidels were consequently slain or taken prisoner in this
sudden attack, and the Muslamans paid no regard to the booty till they
had satiated themselves with the slaughter of the infidels and
worshippers of sun and fire. The friends of God searched the bodies of
the slain for three whole days, in order to obtain booty." (ibid. pp.
49) The search for booty was secondary to killing.

Another place Utbi writes: "The blood of the infidels flowed so
copiously, that the stream was discoloured, notwithstanding its
purity, and people were unable to drink it." (ibid. pp. 40)

I can understand Mahmud's penchant for wealth. Many people have
insatiable thirst for wealth. Prof. Prashad might ask himself what
would drive a man to reduce to ashes such a marvelous structure and
break the idols to pieces if he was only interested in wealth? And
killing on such a large scale and so brutally?

Mahmud not only plundered and destroyed the Somnath temple, he ordered
the upper part of the idol to be broken and the remainder to be
transported to his residence, Ghazni, with all its trappings of gold,
jewels, and embroidered garments. Part of it has been thrown into the
hippodrome of the town, together with the Chakrasvamin, an idol of
bronze, that had been brought from Thanesar. Another part of the idol
from Somnath lies before the door of the mosque of Ghaznin, on which
people rub their feet to clean them from dirt and wet." (Sachau EC,
Alebruni's India, New Delhi, 1993, part II, pp. 103)

One would ask Prof. Thapar if the purpose of Mahmud's plunder of
Somnath was "driven not so much by a fanatical religious belief but
because his father, Subuktigin, needed money to sustain his faltering
kingdom in Central Asia" why would he spend it in transporting broken
pieces all the way from Somnath to Ghazni?

Prof. Prashad quotes Prof. Habib who admits that there was "wanton
destruction of temples that followed in the wake of the Ghaznavid
army." I am not surprised by it. Muslims historians are more open and
honest about the Muslim rule in India and its depredations than their
Hindu compatriots - the very Hindus who were at the receiving end for
centuries. I wonder if Stockholm syndrome has anything to do with it!
Coming back to our subject, temple destruction did not end with Mahmud
- it was just the beginning. These continued all the way till
Aurangzeb - the last great Mughal emperor. We will not go into those
details in this article.

Even today, the demolition of Bamiyan Buddha statues is a stark
reminder of what drove Muslim invaders of India to demolish Hindu
temples? There was no wealth hidden in Bamiyan Buddhas that the world
knows of.

In this so far we have covered only a very small part of Prof.
Prashad's article and not even scratched the surface of what Hindus
had gone through Islamic rule. Will Durant has called the Muslim
conquest of India the bloodiest story in history. The extent of
destruction of Hindu temples and massacres is beyond all human
imagination and a museum to their memory would be a just reminder to
all humanity of what might happen if one is not prepared to learn the
lessons from the past.

In the beginning of the article, Prof. Prashad wrote: "They claim that
over the past thousand years, millions of Hindus were killed, with the
intention to wipe Hindus off the map." Actually this is a very mild
statement and does not even come close to state the facts. According
to some estimates Hindus killed by Muslims over the centuries is about
80 million and the number of temples demolished into tens of
thousands. Timur Lang's massacre of 100,000 helpless Hindu prisoners
in one day by hands has no parallel in world history. (Malfuzat-e-
Timuri, History of India as told by its own historians, vol. III,
Delhi, 1996, pp. 436)

•4. Hindu Holocaust Museum:

Prof. Prashad also wrote: "The idea of the Hindu Holocaust casts the
Hindu as history's victim, who should now become history's aggressor
to avenge the past." It is evident that Prof. Prashad is drawing his
own conclusions without any evidence or basis. Making a museum to
portray the atrocities suffered by the Hindus in the past does not
imply they want to become "history's aggressors to avenge the past."
Jews have built Jewish Holocaust museums, are they avenging the past?
There are Black history museums all over the US. This does not mean
that these are meant to enslave the Whites "to avenge the past". A
museum is to remind the future generations of what happened - to
reflect the good and the bad; the pride and the shame. All countries
have museums. Actually it would have been only fair that such an idea
had come from the Muslims to show their disapproval of what their
ancestors had done to humanity for the sake of Islam. But that did not
happen and is not likely to happen either. If not the Muslims, then
this idea of Hindu Holocaust Museum should have come from liberal
progressive elite of independent India.

It is not surprising that Francois Gautier who is leading the movement
for a Hindu Holocaust museum is a Frenchman. He is the living legacy
of French progressive liberalism that waged the struggle against
religious fanaticism in the eighteenth century. Instead of making
light of Gautier's work, the liberal progressive elite worldwide
should join forces with him in exposing the depredations caused by
religious fanatics in India. Let India be the starting point and then
continue work elsewhere.

Prof. Prashad would do a great service if instead of spending his
valuable time and energy in criticizing Francois Gautier, he was
investigating what drove some people, in today's day and age, to
demolish two thousand years old Bamiyan Buddhas - a work of art and
human endeavor.

A sad reminder that the days of demolition of infidel idols are not
over yet.

Copyright: Vinod Kumar

September 25, 2009


Sri Sri and Jihad

The Times of India recently conducted a discussion between Islamic
scholar and peace activist Maulana Wahiduddin Khan and Hindu spiritual
leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on the issue of Jihad in the Quran and
Bhagvadgita. The discussion was moderated by Narayani Ganesh, a well
known Columnist.


Right at the beginning Maulana Wahiduddin started with "Let's discuss
the misunderstanding of the term jihad. Jihad is an Arabic word that
has neither a mysterious meaning nor relation to any sacred duty.
Jihad is a simple word; it means to struggle, to strive. Jihad is to
achieve a positive goal in life through peaceful means."

"The Prophet of Islam has said: "Do jihad against your own desires."
That is, doing jihad against yourself. So jihad means to control your
desires. Jihad is to discipline your own behaviour. The Qur'an says:
"Do jihad with the help of the Qur'an" (25:52). The Qur'an is a book
of ideology; it is not a weapon. So doing jihad with the help of the
Qur'an means to try to achieve one's goals through an ideological
struggle." He continued.

Before we accept the Mualana's definition of jihad let us look at the
subject of jihad from the basic scriptures of Islam and what other
Islamic scholars and commentators have said on the subject in some
details. One or two sentences here and there do not do justice to this
important topic.

Jihad has been going on in the world ever since Islam was born in the
seventh century but its latest manifestation has been, among other
places, most notably in Palestine, Chechnya, and Kashmir. Even, in
February 1998, when World Islamic Front issued a fatwa and a call for
Jihad to "every Muslim who believes in Allah and wishes to be
rewarded to comply with Allah's order to kill the Americans and
plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it", it did not
arouse much interest in the general public. It took direct assault on
9/11 on the fundamental symbols of what America stands for that it
created some curiosity. Today, Jihad is, no doubt, one of the most
discussed terms in the world.

What is Jihad? What drives a man to commit such horrendous acts
against humanity? What motivates Islamic terrorists? Why do they
operate under the name of Jihad?

Dr. Eyad Sarraj, a Palestinian psychiatrist answers (Newsweek, April
8, 2002)

"This is the influence of the Koran, the most potent and powerful book
for the past 14 centuries. God promised Muslims who sacrificed for
Islam that they would not die. They will live on in paradise. Muslims
hold to the promise literally."

How valid is this assertion?

What is Jihad?

View of traditionalists:

Dictionary of Islam defines jihad as "a religious war with those who
are unbelievers in the mission of Muhammad. It is an incumbent
religious duty, established in the Quran and in the Traditions as a
divine institution, enjoined specially for the purpose advancing Islam
and repelling evils from Muslims."[i]

In an introductory note to an article "Jihad in the Qur'an and
Sunnah" by Sheikh Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid, ex-Chief Justice
of Saudi Arabia and of the Sacred Mosque of Mecca, Abdul Malik
Mujahid, General Manager of Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, Saudi Arabia on the
website (www.islamworld.net) writes:

"Jihad is regarded as the best thing, one can offer voluntarily. It
is superior to non‑obligatory prayers, fasting, Zakat, Umra and Hajj
as mentioned in the Qur'an and the Ahadith of the Prophet(pbuh). The
benefits of Jihad are of great extent and large in scope, while its
effects are far-reaching and wide-spreading as regards Islam and the

Sheikh Abdullah, ex-Chief Justice of Saudi Arabia defines Jihad as:

"Praise be to Allah swt Who has ordained Al-Jihad (the holy fighting
in Allah's Cause):

1. With the heart (intentions or feelings),

2. With the hand (weapons, etc.),

3. With the tongue (speeches, etc., in the Cause of Allah)

Allah has rewarded the one who performs it with lofty dwellings in the
Gardens (of Paradise)." [ii]

Other contrary Views

Many non-Muslim modernists, as Maulana Wahiduddin also said in this
discussion, in the West deny that it has anything to do with

Many academic Muslims also dissociate Jihad with "Holy War". "In its
primary sense it is an inner thing, within self, to rid it from
debased actions or inclinations, and exercise constancy and
perseverance in achieving a higher moral standard" - they claim.
"Jihad is not a declaration of war against other religions and
certainly not against Christians and Jews as some media and political
circles want it to be perceived. Islam does not fight other religions"
- they emphasize.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based group,
asserts that jihad "does not mean 'holy war.'" Instead, jihad is "a
central and broad Islamic concept that includes the struggle to
improve the quality of life in society, struggle in the battlefield
for self-defense . . . or fighting against tyranny or oppression."
CAIR even denies that Islam includes any concept of a "holy war."

Many other who go under the banner of modernists hold similar views on
the nature of jihad.

How is one to conclude what Jihad really means in Islam?

Ironclad definition of anything to do with Islam and its practical
manifestations can only be derived from what the basic scriptures of
Islam have to say on any particular issue.

What are the basic scriptures of Islam and why are they so important?

The single most basic scripture of Islam is indeed the Qur'an. The
next after the Qur'an are the traditions - the Sunnah -- of the
Prophet -- also known as Ahadith. The Qur'an is compilation of the
Revelations from Allah to Prophet Muhammad and the Sunnah is what
Prophet Muhammad did or said. Of the traditions, the ones compiled by
Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim are the most authentic.

Authenticity of Imam Bukhari's work can be judged from the fact that
he is reported to have collected over 300,000 Hadiths -- traditions of
the Prophet -- but "chose only approximately 7275 of which there is
no doubt about their authenticity." [iii] Each Hadith comes with its
line of transmission that leads directly to Prophet Muhammad or his

Why are the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet so important to
Muslims? Instead of giving my personal opinion let me say what Rafiq
Zakaria, an eminent Islamic scholar and also known as modernist
progressive secular Muslim has to say on this.

"To Muslims, the Quran is the creation of god. However, it is equally
important to remember that there could have been no Quran without
Muhammad. He is not only its transmitter but also the embodiment of
its teachings... Muhammad and the Quran are inextricably
intertwined." [iv]

"The Quran is, therefore, regarded by Muslims as immutable and
unchangeable, not metaphorically but literally. This is a matter of
faith for them, and reason can never deflect them from it." [v]
(Italics mine) He went on to say.

After enumerating the five pillars of Islam, he echos the sentiments
expressed above in another book and goes on to observe "it (the Quran)
contains guidelines a Muslim must follow." [vi]

Maulana Mawdudi, a great Islamic scholar and thinker expresses similar
views. Islam stands for complete faith in the prophet's teachings. It
stands for complete obedience to the system of life shown to us by the
prophet and any who ignores the medium of the prophet and claims to
follow God directly is not a Muslim. [vii]

Maulana Wahiduddin has also expressed similar opinions.

Human reason or direct approach to God without the medium of the
prophet makes one sinner, if not apostate from Islam. No freedom of
slightest deviation is allowed. One has to follow the teachings of the
Quran and of the Prophet.

If we want to understand why the Muslims carry out jihad, we have to
understand what the Quran and the Sunnah have to say on this topic.
The opinions of Islamic scholars and other commentators are not valid
if they are not in conformity with the above.

What do the Quran and the Sunnah have to say on the subject of Jihad?

There is no chapter devoted exclusively to the subject of jihad in the
Quran. The Ayats pertaining to jihad are spread throughout the Quran.
If one were to sort them out and present them in a concise manner, one
would, in all likelihood, be accused of quoting them out of context.
But in each of the authentic Hadis - the Sunnah of the prophet --
there is a section dealing with the practice of jihad. So let us turn
our attention to the Sunnah. On close scrutiny of the Sunnah as
compiled in Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, apart from the
traditions of the prophet, frequent reference is made to the Quran. So
what is recorded in these two books is both, the Sunnah of the Prophet
as well as the revelations from God. Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim have
facilitated our work in informing us, in a concise form, what the
concept of jihad in Islam is?

Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan of Islamic University, Medina Al- Munawwara,
Saudi Arabia, the translator of Sahih Al-Bukhari, in the glossary of
Arabic words translates Jihad as "Holy fighting in the cause of Allah
or any other kind of effort to make Allah's word (Islam) superior
which is regarded as one of the principles of Islam." [viii]

Jihad defined:

Let us first try to find out what is Jihad? We don't have to too far.

The section on Jihad starts with invocation to Allah and Chapter I
opens quoting verses 9:111-112 of the Quran:


Allah has purchased of the believers

Their lives and their properties;

For theirs (in return)

Is Paradise. They fight in His cause, so they

Kill (others) and are killed

It is a promise in truth which is binding on Him."[ix]

Allah has made a binding promise with His believers to kill in His
cause and if they are killed they will get Paradise in return.

And again it repeats in chapter 2 "the best among the people is that
believer who strives his utmost in Allah's cause with both his life
and property and goes on to quote verses 61:10,11,12 . It says "it
(fighting in Allah's cause) is a bargain that will save you from a
grievous punishment..... He will forgive you, your sins and admit you
into Gardens beneath which rivers flow, and to beautiful Mansions in
gardens of Eternity." And calls it "The supreme achievement." [x]

Indeed the promise of Gardens with Rivers and Mansions must have
sounded very alluring in the harsh desert climate of Arabia.
Evidently, it does even today.

The superiority of Jihad:

"A single endeavor (of fighting) in Allah's Cause in the forenoon is
better than the world and whatever is in it." Says Hadis 50 in chapter
5. [xi]

And "a place as small as a bow in Paradise is better than all that on
which the sun rises and sets (i.e. all the world)." And continues,
repeating, "A single endeavour in Allah's Cause is better than all
that on which the sun rises and sets." [xii]

The superiority of martyrdom is so great that "nobody would wish to
come back even if he were given the whole world and whatever in it,
except the martyr who, on seeing the superiority of martyrdom, would
like to come back to the world and get killed again (in Allah's
cause.)" [xiii]

And what is there in Paradise? Houris. "And if a houri from paradise
appeared to the people of the earth, she would fill the space between
Heaven and the Earth with light and pleasant scent and her head cover
is better than the world and whatever is in it." [xiv] Who would not
like to die to be in company of such houris?

Obligations of a Believer to Jihad

What are the obligations of a Muslim of a general call to arms and
what sort of Jihad and intentions are compulsory? Most people don't
like to fight and Muslims are no exception to it. But what are they to
do when Allah says:

"March forth, whether you are light (young, healthy and wealthy) or
heavy (ill, old and poor)

And strive with your wealth and your lives

In the way of Allah; that is better for you

If you but knew. Had it been a near gain (booty in front of them)

And an easy journey they would have followed you,

But the distance (Tabuk expedition) was long for them and they would
Swear by Allah (saying)

"If we only could, we would have surely have come out with you."

Allah reprimands:

"They destroy their own souls, and Allah knows

That they are liars." (9:41-42) [xv]

Allah continues His reprimand:

"O you who believe! What is the matter with you that when you are
asked to march forth in the Way of Allah, (i.e. Jihad), you cling
heavily to the earth? Are you pleased with the life of this world
rather than the hereafter? .... (the verse). If you march not forth,
He will punish you with a painful torment and will replace you by
another people and you cannot harm Him at all, and Allah is Able to do
all things." (9:38-39) [xvi]

Is Jihad obligatory:

This is best explained by Sheikh Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Humaid:

"So at first "the fighting" was forbidden, then it was permitted and
after that it was made obligatory- ( 1 ) against them who start "the
fighting" against you (Muslims)... (2) and against all those who
worship others along with Allah... as mentioned in SurahAI‑BaqaraSl
(II), Al‑lmran (III) and Baraat (IX)... and other Suras (Chapters of
the Qur'an).

Allah made "the fighting' (Jihad) obligatory for the Muslims and gave
importance to the subject‑matter of Jihad in all the Suras (Chapters
of the Qur'an) which were revealed (at Medina) as in Allah's

March forth whether you are light (being healthy, young and wealthy)
or heavy (being ill, old and poor), strive hard with your wealth and
your lives in the Cause of Allah. This is better for you if you but
knew. (V.9:41). [xvii]

Rewards of Jihad:

Where would one killed in Jihad go? The Muslim killed in Jihad would
go to Paradise and "their's (i.e. those of the Pagan's) will go to
Hell Fire. [xviii]

What are the special benefits of fighting in Allah's cause?

Whoever believes in Allah and His Messenger and lives the life of a
good Muslim will rightfully go to Paradise, no matter if he fights in
Allah's cause or not. But there is a special place for those who do.
Paradise has hundred grades which Allah has reserved for Mujahidin.
The distance between each grade is like the distance between the
Heaven and the Earth. [xix]

And what will those who fight in Allah's cause get in Paradise?

Bat Ye'Or well known writer on Islam notes "the ideology of jihad was
formulated by Muslim jurists and scholars, including such luminaries
as Averroes and Ibn Khaldun, from the 8th century onward. For example,
Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406) stated, "..the holy war is a religious duty,
because of the universality of the Muslim mission and the obligation
to convert everyone to Islam either by persuasion or by force...".

Modernists views refuted:

As noted above, Council of American Islamic Relations asserts that
Jihad is "struggle in the battlefield for self-defense . . . or
fighting against tyranny or oppression" But Sahih Muslim, one of two
most authentic traditions does not agree with it.

Self defense or oppression has nothing to do with the concept of
Jihad. It quotes Prophet Muhammad saying:

"I have been commanded to fight against people, till they testify to
the fact that there is no god but Allah, and believe in me (that) I am
the messenger (from the Lord) and in all that I have brought. And when
they do it, their blood and riches are guaranteed protection on my
behalf except where it is justified by law, and their affairs rest
with Allah."[xx]

Quoting Koran (9:39) "If you march not forth, I will punish you with a
painful torment and will replace you by another people and you cannot
harm Me at all, and Allah is able to do all things.", Sheikh Abdullah
bin Muhammad bin Hamid of Sacred Mosque of Mecca (Saudi Arabia) writes
"Allah disapproved of those who abandoned Jihad (i.e. they did not go
for Jihad) and attributed to them hypocrisy and disease in their
hearts, and threatened (all) those who remain behind from Jihad and
sit at home with horrible punishment. He (Allah) accused them with the
most ugly descriptions, rebuked them for their cowardice and spoke
against them (about their weakness and their remaining behind).[xxi]

Had Jihad been just "striving" and "an inner thing, within self, to
rid it from debased actions or inclinations" where was the need to
"march forth"? Why would Allah accuse those who did not "march forth"
of "cowardice", and "hypocrisy and disease in their hearts"?

To scholars of Islam the message of the Koran and Ahadith is clear.

It is true that not every Muslim is engaged in Jihad. It is true not
only today; it was true during the time of Prophet Muhammad also.
Those who did not were called hypocrites and their fidelity to Islam
was in question.

It is evident from the above that Maulana Wahiduddin's contention that
Jihad has "no relation to any sacred duty" and "it means to struggle,
to strive. Jihad is to achieve a positive goal in life through
peaceful means" have no foundation in Islamic scriptures.

And if Jihad, indeed, is "mental struggle against passion or internal
struggle" - it would be welcome, I am sure, by all non-Muslims. What
a non-Muslim is primarily interested in is Jihad that affects his (non-
Muslim's) survival. However, there is no evidence in the core
scriptures of Islam that Jihad is an internal struggle within the

In support of his contention, the Maulana quoted verse 25:52 saying:
"The Quran says: ‘Do jihad with the help of the Quran'. As is the
common theme of the Quran ‘to fight with the unbelievers', the verse
quoted by the Maulana does not disappoint. It also says: "So do not
follow the unbelievers, and strive against them a mighty striving with
it." ‘It' might mean the Quran - the word Jihad does not occur in any
of the three translations I checked but by defining jihad as peaceful
struggle the Maulana has completely fooled a general unbeliever into
believing that the Quran asks his followers to fight peacefully.

In the whole discussion Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the moderator, both
cut a sorry figure. The Maulana took them for an easy ride and neither
challenged the Maulana and presented the true meaning of jihad. It is
evident that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has absolutely no knowledge of Islam
or even of its basics

The whole exercise of equating the Gita and the Quran is disingenuous.
The Gita and the Hinduism at large have no concept of jihad in the
Quranic sense. The Kurukshetra war is not about jihad but about
injustice which as the Maulana says does not exist in Islam - (In
Islam, there is no war against injustice). In Islam, whatever Allah
decrees is justice when it says: "God gives abundantly to whom He will
and sparingly to whom it pleases." (13:26) In the Gita the basic
theme is fight for righteousness - not for any god or religion or an
individual while to the contrary the basic theme in the Quran is to
fight for Allah against those who deny His Revelations.

In Kurukshatra war Sri Krishna did not exhort Arjuna to fight because
Sri Krishna wanted it or for a God - or for even Arjuna's sake but for
the justice. Against the injustice that had been done to the
Pandavas. This step was taken after all other means to bring justice
have been explored and exhausted.

Yes, like any other religious ideology, Islam also would like to
improve the life of its followers, in its own way but that is nowhere
called what is known as Jihad.

i Warraq, ibn. Why I am not a Muslim. New York, 1995, pp.12

ii Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 1, pp. xxiv

iii Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 1, pp.xvii

iv Zakaria, Rafiq, Muhammad and the Quran, Penguin Books, New York,
1991, pp. 3

v Zakaria, Rafiq, Muhammad and the Quran, Penguin Books, New York,
1991, pp. 4

vi Zakaria, Rafiq, The Struggle within Islam, Penguin Books, New
York, 1988, pp. 304

vii Mawdudi, Abul A'la, Towards understanding Islam, Islamic Circle
of North America, Montreal, 1986, pp. 61 (First published in Urdu in
India in 1932)

viii Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 1, pp. lxxiv

ix Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol.4, pp. 34

x Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 36-37

xi Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 41

xii Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp 41

xiii Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 42

xiv Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 42

xv Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 58-59

xvi Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 59

xvii Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 1, pp. xxvi

xviii Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 55

xix Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 40

xx Sahih Muslim, Translated by Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, New Delhi, 1994,
vol. 1, pp.17

xxi Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp.xxx-xxxi

© Copyright

[i] Warraq, ibn. Why I am not a Muslim. New York, 1995, pp.12

[ii] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 1, pp. xxiv

[iii] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 1, pp.xvii

[iv] Zakaria, Rafiq, Muhammad and the Quran, Penguin Books, New York,
1991, pp. 3

[v] Zakaria, Rafiq, Muhammad and the Quran, Penguin Books, New York,
1991, pp. 4

[vi] Zakaria, Rafiq, The Struggle within Islam, Penguin Books, New
York, 1988, pp. 304

[vii] Mawdudi, Abul A'la, Towards understanding Islam, Islamic Circle
of North America, Montreal, 1986, pp. 61 (First published in Urdu in
India in 1932)

[viii] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 1, pp. lxxiv

[ix] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol.4, pp. 34

[x] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 36-37

[xi] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 41

[xii] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp 41

[xiii] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 42

[xiv] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 42

[xv] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 58-59

[xvi] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 59

[xvii] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 1, pp. xxvi

[xviii] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan,
New Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 55

[xix] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp. 40

[xx] Sahih Muslim, Translated by Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, New Delhi,
1994, vol. 1, pp.17

[xxi] Al-Bukhari, Sahih Al-Bukhari. Translated by M. Muhsin Khan, New
Delhi, 1984, vol. 4, pp.xxx-xxxi


How Javed Anand’s Ancestors Became Muslims
By Vinod Kumar, on 08-11-2009 12:56

Berating Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh, its Chief Mohan Bhagwat and then
Hinduism, Javed Anand in RSS, Here I Come (Asian Age, Oct 14, 2009)
"Even otherwise, I have no difficulty in accepting the obvious---my
Hindu past---for I doubt if my forefathers were Sikhs , Jains or
Buddhists. The former are easily discounted for they arrived too late
on the scene. Jains? No way , they are not interested in Mughlai
cousin . As far Buddhists, I am unable to see what possible incentive
there was for them to abandon their faith."

"But converting from Hinduism is conceivable . I have been told since
childhood that we are Saddiquis. That's big if you are talking
hierachy ---being part of the extended parivar of none else than the
closest companion of Prophet Mohammed and the first Caliph of Islam
Abu Bakr. But this Arabisation drive Bhagwat Ji I suspect is quite
like Sansakritisation ---in search of respectability, status and
imagination at work. It's quite likely that my forefathers were Hindus
and "untouchable".

"Imagine Islam's appeal to one who is constantly told he is too
"impure" to be allowed entry inside a temple . Imagine the doors of a
mosque being flung open to him with invite--- Come, stand shoulder-to-
shoulder with the rest of us. No hierarchy here, no caste, no race,
"Sab ka Malik ek" . Who says you are too impure to enter a holy space
or hold a holy text ? Here's the Quran . Its your as much as anyone
else's Touch it, hold it, read it, kiss it, store it in your heart and

Last update : 08-11-2009 13:06

RSS and Mohan Bhagwat are just the props. Javed Anand's real target is

"Imagine , Bhagwatji, does this not sound like celestial music to the
outcast such as my forefathers quite possibly were." Mr. Javed Anand
went on to write.

But evidently this did not sound like ‘celestial music to the
"outcast" brothers of the ancestors of Javed Anand otherwise after
fourteen hundred years of Islam's presence in India, with roughly half
of it as its rulers, and all the lollipops thrown at them with
accompanying privileges of belonging to the community of the rulers,
the problem of "outcasts" in Hinduism would not have existed. The fact
is that despite the open arms of Islam as Javed Anand claims, the
"outcasts" of Hinduism did not opt for Islam. Even in Pakistan where
even today every non-Muslim is treated as second class citizen and the
"outcast" Hindus even worse, the minuscule minority community of
"outcast" Hindus have not been attracted by this "celestial" music of
Islam. There are other reasons why the speculative "outcast" ancestors
of Javed Anand became Muslims.

Let us briefly review what might have been the reasons of Javed
Anand's ancestors conversion to Islam - "outcasts" or not.

•1. Early history:

Islam came to India with the Arab traders when Arabia was converted to
Islam. The new converts to Islam - who have been coming to India as
Arabs since long before Islam was born - were free to practice their
new religion. They were given land grants to build their mosques and
freedom to preach and convert from the local population while the
Prophet of Islam had wished to expel all pagans from the Arabian
peninsula. (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 4) There is no evidence that the
"celestial music" of Islam attracted many, if any, converts from the
"outcasts" of Hindu society even though there was no restrictions upon
their leaving the Hindu fold. Even in Arabia the conversion was not
all that an easy matter. Biographies of Prophet Muhammad and the
Koranic verses are a testimony to it. Those who did not convert were
given the status of dhimmies and a special tax named jiziya was
levied upon them. Islam's appeal in Arabia even after conversion must
not have been all that great so that the Prophet of Islam made leaving
Islam a crime punishable with death. Wonder why would anyone ever want
to leave the "celestial" music of Islam?

•2. Medieval History:

2a. Muslim Invaders: Every Muslim invader starting with bin Kasim who
came to India demolished and plundered Hindu temples. Killed all the
males and enslaved women and children - at times carried them off by
the hundreds of thousands to Arabia and Central Asian countries to be
sold off as slaves. At one point, there were so many Hindu slaves in
Ghazni that it looked like an Indian city. Men of honor in India were
working as domestic help in Afghanistan and beyond. Lakhs perished in
what is now - for good reason - called Hindukush. Those who converted
to Islam were spared. Desire to live as decent human being is a common
human weakness - no wonder many converted to Islam just to survive -
not necessarily the "outcasts" of Hindu society; most of them were the
elite of the Hindu society. When the invaders went back, those who
converted reverted back to the practice of Hinduism. But repeated
invasions and even harder treatment meted out to those who
reconverted, they found it expedient to remain Muslims in name even
though for long times they continued their infidel Hindu ways. Some
still do even after centuries of conversion. Thus it was found
necessary to start Tabligh movement to rid the practice of "evil"
infidel ways among the converted Muslims. This has been a continued
and still prevalent practice among the converted and the Tabligh
jamaat still has a Herculean task on its shoulders.

2b. Muslim Sultans: Muslim Sultans made the life of infidel Hindus
unbearable. According to sharia, jiziya and disproportionately heavy
taxes were imposed on the infidels. Sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji demanded
from learned men of Islam rules and regulations, so that the Hindu
should be ground down, and property and possessions, which are the
cause of disaffection and rebellion, should not remain in his house.
Qazi Mughisud-din of Bayana whom Ala-ud-din consulted as to the
legality of his measures towards Hindus, wholeheartedly justified Ala-
ud-din's rigorous policy and "pointed out that Islamic law sanctioned
sterner principle, so much so that, ‘if the revenue collector spits
into a Hindu's mouth, the Hindu must open his mouth to receive it
without hesitation." Ala-ud-din was gratified to learn that his
treatment of the Hindus was in full accordance with Islamic law and
assured the Qazi that he had given orders that the Hindu will not be
allowed to possess more than what is required for a bare
subsistence." (The History and Culture of the Indian People, vol. 6,
Bombay, 1990, pp. 24-25)

Could it be that the ancestors of Javed Anand - not necessarily the
"outcast" of Hindu society -- converted to Islam under these

2c. Akbar: Hindus got a little respite under relatively enlightened
policies of the third Mughal Emperor Akbar. He abolished the much
hated jiziya tax and treated non-Muslims in a more tolerant manner. He
let the Hindu princesses whom he married and were married to his sons
practice Hindu rituals in his palace contrary to usual practice of
converting them to Islam. He invited different religions for open
debate. This was not much liked by the orthodox Ulema and they accused
Akbar of apostasy of which there is no evidence. Akbar at best died an
eclectic. His death was celebrated by the orthodox ulema.

2d. Aurangzeb: Whatever goodwill was created by Akbar was soon undone
by his successors. Aurangzeb was the most orthodox of the Mughal
emperors. He has been called a ‘living pir' and is reported to have
memorized the entire Koran. His zealotry for Islam went beyond all
bounds of a sovereign. In the twelfth year of Emperor's reign' the
Vishwanath temple at Benaras, which seems to have been rebuilt, and
Keshav Rai temple at Mathura were demolished. Aurangzeb revived the
policy of demolishing temples in the wake of military campaigns which
had been followed by Delhi Sultans and occasionally by Shahjahan. In
pursuance of this policy hundreds of temples across India from Kuch
Bihar to Deccan were ruthlessly destroyed. Firman was issued that no
new temples should be built. Temples which were built in the past ten /
twelve years were classified in this category and while old temples
were spared but repairs to them were banned. Conversion to Islam was
officially promoted. The Emperor presided over the ceremony of
conversion as often as he could - these conversions were not from the
"outcasts" of Hindu society but from the zamindars, and influential
Rajputs and Jats who converted to gain favor with the ruling monarch.
(Shah Wali-Allah and his Times, SAA Rizvi, Australia, 1980, pp. 90)

S A A Rizvi observes:

"Gradually, criminals and corrupt and dishonest revenue officials
began to expiate their crimes by embracing Islam. (pp. 90)"

In 1679 officials were issued orders to realize the jiziya from non-
Muslims. The jiziya was so designed that its impact was the heaviest
on the poorest section of Hindu society who were subsequently deprived
of almost entire income from their property. This was all part of
deliberate policy to force the poorer section of Hindus to embrace
Islam. (ibid pp. 92)

Quoting Mirat-I Ahmadi Rizvi writes that the entire attention of the
Aurangzeb was directed towards strengthening the ‘manifest faith' and
to mold all affairs of the state - financial and political - according
to the sharia. In 1665, customs duty on the goods of Muslims was
levied at two and half percent and of Hindus at five percent. In 1667,
the duty on Muslims goods was totally forbidden. He issued a decree
that all posts of head clerk and above be filled with Muslims. (ibid
pp. 88)

2e. Shah Wali-Allah:

A contemporary of Abdul Wahhab of Saudi Arabia, Shah Wali-Allah's
(1703 - 1762) influence on Muslim thought in India cannot be

Muslim historian I H Qureshi, (had been member of the Indian as well
as Pakistan Historical Records Commission, of the Council of the
Indian and Pakistan Institutes of International Affairs, of the
executive committees of the Indian History Conference and Pakistan
historical Society). wrote:

"Shah Wali-ullah was a man of encyclopedic learning. He was not one of
those scholars who keep different branches of knowledge in different
chambers of their mind.....The world has not produced many scholars
like him....During his lifetime his greatness was recognized by his
contemporaries and his claim to that he was MUJADDID - renewer of the
Faith -- of his century was not challenged by any one." (Ulema in
Politics -- I H Qureshi, Delhi, 1985, pp 126)

Shah Wali-Ullah is regarded as one of the greatest Muslim thinkers of
all times. This is just to emphasize what position Shah Wali-Ullah
holds in Islam and what his views about Hindus and proselytization

"They (Imams) should preach that other religions were worthless since
their founders were not perfect, and their practice was opposed to
divine law, interpolations having made them unbelievable......" (Shah
Wali-Allah and His Times, SAA Rizvi, Australia, 1980, pp. 286)

"Another means of ensuring conversions was to prevent other religious
communities from worshipping their own gods. Moreover, unfavorable
discriminating laws should be imposed on non-Muslims in matters of
rules of retaliation, compensation for manslaughter and marriage, and
in political matters." (ibid pp. 286)

To streamline the Mughal administration, he wrote to Emperor Ahmad
Shah: " Strict orders should be issued in all Islamic towns forbidding
religious ceremonies publicly practiced by the infidels."(ibid pp.

Most of Muslim rulers in fact did exactly the same, and many Muslim
countries do it even today. Saudi Arabia is the prime example. In
Saudi Arabia practice of any religion other than Islam is illegal. It
is reminiscent of the laws decreed by many Muslims rulers of India.
Aurangzeb, as stated above, had issued orders to ban public practice
of Hindu religion, construction of new temples and repair of old

"However, the proselytization programme of Shah Wali-Allah only
included the leaders of the Hindu community. The low class of the
infidels, according to him, were to be left alone to work in the
fields and for paying jizya. They, like beasts of burden and
agricultural livestock, were to be kept in abject misery and
despair."(ibid, pp. 286)

And the same people want us to believe Muslims have no caste
distinction. Even when Hindus were converted to Islam Hindus of higher
caste got relatively better treatment than the Hindus of the lower
castes. But still local converted Hindus were never treated as equal
to foreign Muslims. All Muslim administrations were full of first
generation Muslims from all over the Muslim world or their descendants
-- not of local converted Muslims.

2 f. Conversion from Buddhists:

"As far Buddhists, I am unable to see what possible incentive there
was for them to abandon their faith." Javed Anand wrote. Javed is
right, Buddhists had no incentive to convert to Islam and for that
matter neither did the Hindus or the Jains or the Zoroastrians.

Khurasan, Persis, Irak, Mosul, and the country up to the border of
Syria was Buddhistic. First Zoroastrians banished them from these
countries and pushed them to east of Balkh. Then came Islam and all
remnants of Buddhism were wiped off from Afghanistan and Central Asia.
(Alberuni's India, Delhi, 1993, pp. 21) Buddhist center at Nalanda was
wrecked by the marauders of Bakhtiyar Khilji about 1200 CE beyond
recovery, thus ending a continuous tradition of refuge and meeting-
place for ascetics which went back to the centuries before the Buddha.
(Indigenous Indians, Elst, Delhi, 1993, pp. 424) If anything was left,
the lofty statues of Buddha, carved on a mountain side were taken care
of the proud students of Islam - Taliban - in 2001.

True, Buddhists had no incentive to convert but Buddhism was destroyed
root and branch in Muslim territory but not in Hindu territory.
(Indigenous Indians, Elst, Delhi, 1993, pp. 424)

•3. Modern Times:

3a. Twentieth Century: In modern times, in the last century also there
were many conversions to Islam. The ones in Malabar, Noakhali, the
Punjab in 1947 stand out. All this is rather recent history and
details are easily available. All these conversions in the last
century were the result of matter of survival for the converted
whether it was Malabar or Noakhali or the killing grounds of Punjab in
the aftermath of the partition. The "outcasts" of the Hindu society
didn't exactly run to the mosques to hear its "celestial" music. On
the other hand let us see what the most outstanding leader of the
"outcasts" did?

3b. "Outcasts of Hindu society": There is no more prominent "outcast"
of Hindu society than Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar. He is in all likelihood
the greatest intellectual of all times among the "outcast" - a term
Javed Anand likes to use. Dr. Ambedkar had carried out thorough
research of the genesis of Hindu caste system and Hindu scriptures,
Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. He renounced Hinduism but neither
did the "celestial music" of Islam nor its open doors lure him into
the lap of Islam. He spurned all offers to convert to Islam and
Christianity and opted for Buddhism. Why?

"Nothing is infallible. Nothing is binding forever. Everything is
subject to inquiry and examination.": Ambedkar wrote. (Dr. Ambedkar,
Writings as and Speeches, vol. 3, Govt. of Maharashtra, 1987 , pp 442,
quoted in Indigenous Indians, Koenraad Elst, New Delhi,1993, pp. 390)
This is quite in contrast to Islamic belief where "the Koran is the
word of God, immutable and unalterable; it contains guidelines which a
Muslim must follow." It is beyond any question or doubt. It must be
accepted as the Final Truth - the Last Word of Allah.

Not only Ambedkar did not convert to Islam he was opposed to Scheduled
castes converting to Islam. After Partition the scheduled caste
politician J N Mandal was given a seat in the Pakistani cabinet as a
showpiece to lure the Scheduled castes to convert to Islam. J N Mandal
accepted this against the advice of Ambedkar. It was a great
disappointment for Mandal and soon after he resigned.


Ambedkar complained that Pakistan was not allowing the Scheduled
castes to emigrate to India and was forcibly converting them to Islam.
In order to increase the Muslim population, in Hyderabad also they
were being forcibly converted. He asked them not to put their faith
in Muslims or the Muslim League just because they do not like the
Hindus. It would be fatal for them to do so. He would see that all
those who were forcibly converted would be taken back into the fold,
he said. Whatever the oppression and tyranny the Hindus practised in
them, it should not warp their vision and swerve them from their
duty." (Indigenous Indians, Koenraad Elst, New Delhi, 1993, pp.

•4. Conclusion

There are many faults in Hinduism. At least Hindus are aware of them
and they are working at it. But as seen above, any of the fault lines
has nothing to do with their conversion to Islam. Moreover, Hinduism
is not stuck in a fixed time frame. What was true of Hinduism
yesterday no longer holds true today and Hinduism of tomorrow will be
altogether a different entity. Whatever, Mr. Javed Anand might say or
think casteism is not the soul of Hinduism.

However, there is no historical evidence whatsoever to suggest that
the "outcasts" - a term Javed Anand likes to use - were so charmed by
the "celestial" music of Islam that they jumped into its arms as the
doors of mosques were flung open. Again, only six decades ago, Hindus
suffered untold misery of life and property but came to India. They
could have converted to Islam and stayed in the only land they had
ever known in history.

If it was the "evil" caste system of Hindus that "lured" them to the
"celestial" music of Islam, what made the Zoroastrians, Egyptians, the
Anatolians, the Kurds, the Buddhists, the Afghans, the Pagans of
Arabia - to convert to Islam? There runs a common thread.

Hinduism is open - there are no bars for people who want to leave it.
To the contrary Islam has to keep its door closed so that people don't
run out of it and thus made apostasy from Islam a crime punishable
with death.

Last, but not the least, Javed Anand, ruling out Jains as his
ancestors, wrote "Jains? No way , they are not interested in Mughlai
cousin." Javed thinks whoever converted to Islam was for a big
gourmet Mughlai dinner. What a sick sense of humor if he thinks it is
humorous. How I wish the Muslims had restricted their conversion
frenzy only to those who were interested in Mughlai feast.


On Hindu Cowardice and Muslim Bravery
By Vinod Kumar, on 10-01-2010 07:32

There is common perception that Hindus are cowards and Muslims are
brave. Even Mahatma Gandhi went on to write: "Hindu is a coward and a
Muslim a bully by nature."

This perception mostly results from the fact that a small number of
Muslims were able to defeat the Hindus and rule over them for

If one were to analyze the underlying causes that led to the defeat of
the Hindus, there is no evidence to suggest that the Hindu is coward
-- Hindus just have different ideology -- a different set of
priorities and ideas about nature of things.

Hindu defeats were more intellectual and cultural. Muslims brought a
new ideology and a new kind of warfare to India -- one that at first
the Hindus did not understand. And today when they fully understand
it, they are not willing to adopt it.

The Hindu mind regarding "religious" warfare was first expressed by
none else than Alberuni, a scholar in Greek, Farsi and Arabic and an
astronomer in his own right, who came to India with Mahmud Ghaznavi,
stayed in India, learnt Sanskrit, read extensively all Hindu
literature, wrote 20 books including translations on India. In his
still available book Indica, he went on to observe:

"On the whole, there is very little disputing about theological
topics among themselves; at the utmost they fight with words, but they
will never stake their soul or body or their property on religious

Hindus believed in open discussion of theological topics but did not
kill each other for their opinions and they could not understand why
would one kill others for differing on matter of theology or imposing
their own ideas on others.

Almost thousand years later, talking of the betrayal of king Dahir of
Debal, V S Naipaul went on to explain the Hindus' reaction to Muslim
invasions in the following words:

"It is the first of the betrayals that will assist the Arab conquest.
But they are not betrayals, really. They are no more than the actions
of people who understand only that power is power, and believe they
are changing rulers; they cannot conceive that a new way is about to

Last update : 10-01-2010 07:34

Hindu kings, before Islam, fought incessantly but it made no
difference to general public -- they were not asked to change their
religion, their women were not raped, their temples and cities were
not plundered and desecrated. The war did not touch their personal
lives. All they got was another king.

A new way did dawn upon India after the conquest of Muhammad bin Kasim
but the cultural moorings of Hindu were so strong that they refused to
learn the new ways of Islam. That would have meant giving up Hinduism.
While civilizations of Arabia, Egypt, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Iran and
others crumbled before the Islamic onslaught, Hindus withstood it for
centuries. Had the Hindus been cowards, India today would have been a
purely Islamic state. They refused to be annihilated and were not
desirous of annihilating even the aggressor. Religious warfare, as
Alberuni observed, has no place in their ideology.

It is not Hindus lack of understanding of these new ways even after
almost 1300 years and even when Hindus were massacred in Pakistan,
they failed to retaliate in India. Even today after all the massacres
of Hindus in Kashmir, the Hindus don't want to fight in the name of
religion. Secularism in India is not an empty slogan or mere cosmetic
-- it is the very basis of Hindu beliefs and that is why a common
Hindu is still ashamed of Babri masjid demolition while a Muslim -- of
Hindu ancestry -- has no qualms or shame of the destruction of tens of
thousands of Hindu temples by Muslim invaders. The difference in
behavior is nothing but the ideology that one follows -- both have the
same genetic pool in their blood stream.

It is not without reason that despite what has been visited upon the
Hindus by the Muslims, Hindu India is still a secular country while
there is not a single Muslim country that subscribes to the ideal of
secularism. M J Akbar in his book The Siege within India admits that
India is secular because it is a Hindu majority country.

As far as Hindu bravery is concerned -- it is well documented in the
annals of Muslim victors themselves -- I need not go into details of
that. It is the Hindu psyche that refuses to act contrary to their
long held beliefs that killing in the name of religion is not the
right thing to do.

The success of the Muslim invaders came not from their being a martial
or superior race or being physically stronger -- it were the same
Arabs who had not done any "brave" acts other than trading in entire
history before Islam -- it was only after they took on the ideology of
Islam that preached them to be cruel to all infidels and spread the
"TRUE FAITH" that they went on the rampage. The Buddhist Afghans had
lived with their Buddhist/Hindu neighbors for a millennium -- it was
only after they adopted the creed of Islam that they went on the
rampage on those very people with whom they shared history and

A study of the lives and teachings of Muhammad and Buddha, Mahavir and
even Gandhi today will explain why the Muslims and the Hindus behave
the way they do. Physically and genetically an Indian/Pakistani Muslim
is no different from his Hindu compatriot -- it is the ideology that
one follows that makes the difference. It is the ideology that makes
them act so differently from each other.

The Vedic "Ekam satya, viprah bahuda vadanti" -- there is one truth
but people call it by different names -- is deeply engraved on and
continues to control the Hindu mind and actions while the Koranic
injunctions "Islam is the only true faith" and "Those who do not
believe in Our revelations shall be inheritors of Hell" continue to
guide the minds and lives of Muslims.


India As Alberuni Saw It
By Vinod Kumar, on 17-01-2010 04:19

Abu Rihan Muhammad bin Ahmad, Alberuni as his compatriots called him
was born about A.D. 973, in the territory of modern Khiva, then called
Khwarizm. He came to as Ghazni as a prisoner of war1. He was an
astronomer, geometrician, historian and logician. He was so studious,
his earliest biographer tells us "he never had a pen out of his hand,
nor his eye ever off a book, and his thoughts were ever directed to
his studies, with the exception of two days in the year". He was
beyond comparison, superior to every man of his time in the art of
composition, in scholarlike accomplishments, and in the knowledge of
geometry and philosophy, and above all he had "most rigid regard for
truth."2 He accompanied Mahmud of Ghazni to India and stayed there for
many years, chiefly, in all probability in the Punjab, studied the
Sanskrit language and translated into it some works from the Arabic,
and translated from it two treatises into Arabic3. Sachau, translator
of Alberuni's Indica believes Alberuni "composed about twenty books on
India4, both translations and original compositions, and a number of
tales and legends, mostly derived from the ancient lore of Eran and
India." He was indeed a prolific writer and his works are stated to
have exceeded a camel-load.5

Let me also make another observation about Alberuni. He regards Hindus
as excellent philosophers and he felt strong inclination towards Hindu
philosophy but still he was a Muslim and at times does not fail to
point out the superiority of Islam over Brahmanic India. He attacks
Arabs but not Islam6. He wrote for those Muslims who "want to converse
with the Hindus, and to discuss with them the questions of religion,
science, or literature, on the very basis of their own civilization."7
While discussing astronomical calculations regarding the order of the
planets, their distances and sizes, he reminds the reader the purpose
of his book once again --- to discuss subjects "which either are
noteworthy for their strangeness, or which are unknown among our own
people (the Muslims) and our (the Muslim) countries."8

Having given a brief introduction, let us now see what Alberuni had to
say about India, the land, its people, its religion, its philosophy,
its sciences, and its literature.

•1. Hindu Muslim Differences:

Alberuni starts Indica by observing "the Hindus entirely differ from
us in every respect"9. First and foremost difference is the language.
Sanskrit is a language of enormous range, both in words and in
inflections. They call one and the same thing by various names and
unless one knows the context in which the word is spoken. Some of the
sounds of consonants are neither identical nor resemble with the
Arabic and Persian. And the Hindus write their scientific books in
metrics so that they can be committed to memory and thus prevented
from corruption. This metrical form of literary composition makes the
study of Sanskrit particularly difficult.10

Not only the language, the Hindus totally differ from us (Muslims) in
religion, as "we believe in nothing in which they believe" and vice
versa. He goes on to observe that on theological topics "at the utmost
they fight with words, but they will never stake their soul or body or
their property on religious controversy."11 Instead, he noted, all
their fanaticism is directed against foreigners whom they call
mlecchas i.e. impure and forbid any connection with them12. The Hindus
have concepts of pollution and never desire that once thing is
polluted, it should be purified and thus recovered. They are not
allowed receive anybody who does not belong to them, even if he wished
to be inclined to their religion13, he went on to write.

He wrote the customs and manners the Hindus differ so completely from
the Muslims that "they frighten their children with us, our dress and
our ways and customs" and decree us as "devil's breed". They regard
"everything we do as opposite of all that is good and proper".14 Some
of the reasons of Hindus' repugnance of Muslims are complete
banishment of Buddhists from countries from Khurasan, Persis, Irak,
Mosul and Syria, first by the Zoroastrians and then by Islam. And then
Muhammad ibn Elkasim entered India proper, conquered the cities of
Bahmanwa and Mulsthan and went as far as Kanauj -- "all these events
planted a deeply rooted hatred in their hearts."15

And then Sabuktagin choosing the holy war as his calling, called
himself a Ghazi, built those roads on Indian frontier which his son
Sultan Yamin-uddaula Mahmud, during a period of thirty years, used to
utterly ruin "the prosperity of the country, and performed those
wonderful exploits, by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust
scattered in all directions, and like a tale of old in the mouth of
the people." He goes on to say "their scattered remains cherish, of
course, the most inveterate aversion towards all Muslims."16

Alberuni does not talk much about Mahmud whom he calls "the lion of
the world, the wonder of his time" when he remembers him for
"breaking the strongest pillar of religion", 17 and his raids into
India, except a few times. Once about his ruining the prosperity of
the country as quoted above and second when he writes of his
demolition of the idol, in the year A.H. 416, at Somnath much revered
by the Hindus. The upper part of the idol was demolished and the lower
part transported to his residence in Ghazni with all its trappings.
One part of it, along with the bronze idol of Chakraswamin from
Thanesar, was thrown into the hippodrome and another part before the
door of the mosque of Ghazni, on which people rub their feet to clean
them from dirt and wet. 18

•2. On Hindus customs:

He found Hindus to be very proud of their country, their kings, their
religion, their sciences to the extent that he thought them to be
"haughty, foolishly vain, self-conceited and stolid."19

Many customs of the Hindus, he observed, differ from Muslims' "to such
a degree as to appear to us simply monstrous." Hindu customs, not
only, not resemble to Muslim customs but are the very reverse; and if
ever a custom of theirs resembles one of the Muslims, it has certainly
the opposite meaning. He goes on to say that it seems as if "they
(Hindus) had intentionally changed into the opposite".20

What are these customs of the Hindus that he observed that he thought
were the opposite of theirs?

"The Hindus eat singly, one by one, on a tablecloth of dung. They do
not make use of the remainder of a meal, and the plates from which
they have eaten are thrown away if they are earthen."

"They drink wine before having eaten anything, then they take their
meal. They drink the stall of cows but they do not eat their meat."

"In all consultations and emergencies they take advice of the women."

"They do not seek permission to enter a house, but when they leave it
they ask permission to do so."

"In their meetings they sit cross-legged."

"They magnify the nouns of their language by giving them the feminine
gender, as the Arabs magnify them by diminutive form."

"They consider the crepitus ventris as a good omen, sneezing as a bad

"They write the title of the book at the end of it, not at the

Last update : 17-01-2010 04:26

•3. Hindu Arithmetic:

On Hindu arithmetic Alberuni observed the Hindus do not use the
letters of their alphabet for numerical notation, as Muslims use the
Arabic letters in the order of the Hebrew alphabet. The use of Arabic
letters for numerals must not have been in wide use when Alberuni
wrote c.1030 CE, for these have been communicated to the Arabs in the
eighth and ninth centuries as he goes on to accept that "the numeral
signs which we use have been derived from the finest forms of Hindu
signs." Having observed the names of the orders of the numbers in
various languages he had come in contact with, Alberuni found that no
nation goes beyond the thousand including the Arabs. Those who beyond
the thousand in their numeral system are the Hindus who extend the
names of the orders of numbers until the 18th order.22

Pulisa has adpoted the relation between the circumference and
diameter of a circle to be 3 177/1250 which comes out to 3.1416.23

•4. Astronomy and sciences:

While ancient puranic traditions about the earth and heavens and their
creation still existed, but these were in direct opposition to the
scientific truths known to Indian astronomers.

While it is not possible to mention all the theories and concepts
prevalent at the time, let it suffice to say what some of the ideas
of Hindu astronomers that Alberuni found interesting were. Quoting
Brahamgupta, Alberuni wrote:

"Several circumstances, however, compel us to attribute globular shape
to both the earth and the heaven, viz. the fact that the stars rise
and set in different places at different times, so that, e.g. a man in
Yamakoti observes one identical start rising above the western
horizon, whilst a man in Rum at the same time observes it rising above
the eastern horizon. Another argument to the same effect is this, that
a man on Meru observes one identical star above the horizon in the
zenith of Lanka, the country of demons, whilst a man in Lanka at the
same time observes it above his head. Besides all astronomical
observations are not correct unless we assume the globular shape of
heaven and earth. Therefore we must declare that heaven is a globe,
and the observation of these characteristics of the world would not be
correct unless in reality it were a globe. Now it is evident that all
other theories about the world are futile." 24

Quoting Varahmira, he further continues:

"Mountains, seas, rivers, trees, cities, men, and angels, all are
around the globe of the earth. And if Yamakoti and Rum are opposite to
each other, one could not say that the one is low in relation to the
other, since low does not exist.... Every one speaks of himself, 'I am
above and the others are below,' whilst all of them are around the
globe like the blossoms springing on the branches of a Kadamba-tree.
They encircle it on all the sides, but each individual blossom has the
same position as the other, neither one hanging downward nor then
other standing upright." He emphasized: "For the earth attracts that
which is upon her, for it is the below towards all directions, and
heaven is the above towards all directions."

There was no consensus about the resting or movement of the earth.
Aryabahata thought that the earth is moving and the heaven resting.
Many astronomers contested this saying were it so, stones and trees
would fall from earth. But Brahamgupta did not agree with them saying
that that would not happen apparently because he thought all heavy
things are attracted towards the center of the earth.26

The above gives some idea as to the nature of discussion in astronomy
at that time but Sachau observes these ideas had not changes much
since the eighth century when the knowledge of Hindu sciences were
communicated to the Arabs.

On the topic of ocean tides, Alberuni wrote that the educated Hindus
determine the daily phases of the tides by the rising and setting of
the moon, the monthly phases by the increase and waning of the moon;
but the physical cause of the both phenomenon is not understood by

The Hindus have cultivated numerous branches of science and have
boundless literature, which with his knowledge, he could comprehend.
He wished he could have translated Panchtantra which in Arabia was
known as the not book of Kalila and Dimna.28

•5. Hindu Laws:

Hindu laws, Alberuni observed are derived from their rishis, the
pillars of their religion and not from the prophets i.e. Narayana..
"Narayana only comes into this world in the form of human figure to
set the world right when things have gone wrong. Hindus can easily
abrogate their laws for they believe such changes are necessitated by
the change of nature of man. Many things which are now forbidden were
allowed before". 29

•6. On pilgrimage and sacred places:

Pilgrimages, Alberuni noted, are not obligatory for the Hindus, but
"facultative and meritorious". Most of the venerated places are
located in the cold regions round mount Meru.30

About the construction of Holy ponds, let me quote his own words:

"In every place to which some particular holiness is ascribed, the
Hindus construct ponds intended for the ablutions. In this they have
attained to a very degree of art, so that our people (the Muslims),
when they see them, wonder at them, and are unable to describe them,
much less to construct anything like them. They build them of great
stones of enormous bulk, joined to each other by sharp and strong
cramp-irons, in the form of steps (or terraces) like so many ledges;
and these terraces run all around the pond, reaching to a height of
more than a man's stature. On the surface of the stones between two
terraces they construct staircases rising like pinnacles. Thus the
first step or terraces are like roads 9leading up and down). If ever
so many people descend to the pond whilst others ascend, they do not
meet each other, and the road is never blocked, because there are so
many terraces, and the ascending person can always turn aside to
another terrace than on which the descending people go. By this
arrangement all troublesome thronging is avoided."31

May be what he had in mind was Chand Baori well near Jaipur built in
9th century..


•7. Hindu caste system:

No discussion of India would be complete without observation on the
contemporary caste system and rightly so Alberuni does miss it. He
describes the traditional division of Hindu society along the four
Varnas and the Antyaja -- who are not reckoned in any caste; but makes
no mention of any oppression of low caste by the upper castes. Much,
however the four castes differ from each other, they live together in
the same towns and villages, mixed together in the same houses and
lodgings. The Antyajas are divided into eight classes -- formed into
guilds -- according to their professions who freely intermarry with
each other except with the fuller, shoemaker and the weaver. They live
near the villages and towns of the four castes but outside of them.32

On the eating customs of the four castes, he observed that when eating
together, they form a group of their own caste, one group not
comprising a member of another caste. Each person must have his own
food for himself and it is not allowed to eat the remains of the meal.
They don't share food from the same plate as that which remains in the
plate becomes after the first eater has taken part, the remains of the

Alberuni wrote extensively on India and on many aspects. It is
impossible to cover every topic in a rather small article but I have
tried to give some of the points which would look strange or were not
known to the Muslims.

1 Sachau E C, Alberuni's India, Low Price Publications, New Delhi,
1993, pp. viii
2 Elliot and Dowson, The History of India as told by its own
historians, Low Price Publications, New Delhi, 1996, vol. II, pp. 2
3 ibid., pp. 5
4 Sachau, pp. xxvii

5 Elliot and Dowson, vol. II, pp. 3
6 Sachau, pp.185,
7 Sachau, pp. xvii, xix, xxiii
8 Sachau, pp. ii - 80
9 Sachau, pp. 17
10 Sachau, pp.18-19
11Sachau, pp. 19
12 Sachau, pp. 19
13 Sachau, pp. 20
14 Sachau, pp. 20
15 Sachau, pp. 21
16 Sachau, pp. 22
17 Sachau, pp. ii - 2
18 Sachau, pp. ii - 103
19 Sacahu, pp. 22
20 Sachau, pp. 179
21 Sachau, pp. 180-2
22 Sachau, pp. 174
23 Sachau, pp. 169
24 Sachau, pp. 268
25 Sacahu, pp. 272
26 Sachau, pp. 276-7
27 Sachau, pp ii-105
28 Sachau, pp. 159
29 Sacahu, pp. 106 - 7
30 Sachau, pp. ii - 142
31 Sacahu, pp. ii144 - 5
32 Sachau. Pp. 101
33 Sachau, pp. 102


From The Pages of History
By Vinod Kumar, on 31-01-2010 11:06

Earth's Rotation, Globular Shape and Gravity

When we talk of the earth going around the sun as it has always done,
its globular shape, the different seasons, different lengths of day
and night, mind goes back to Galileo and Copernicus, scared to death,
holding the truth back lest the fury of the church falls upon them for
letting the world know the reality of nature. When one thinks of
gravity one thinks of Newton sitting under an apple tree watching an
apple fall to the ground and Newton proclaiming "Lo! there is

If I were to say Hindu philosophers talked and wrote about gravity and
the globular shape of the earth centuries before Newton and Galileo
and Copernicus, and quoted Hindu sources, I would not only be
dismissed as a "fanatical Hindu communalist" by our 'all-knowing-
secular intellectuals' but also incur their wrath. And who wants

In order to state the truth and make it acceptable to our 'all-knowing-
secular intellectuals' let me seek the help of a Muslim scholar from
Central Asia. Who around 1030 AD wrote a very comprehensive book
"Indica" about India -- its literature, its philosophy, its religion,
its culture, its languages, its history, its geography, its customs,
its sciences including astronomy. I am talking about Abu-Raihan
Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Alberuni -- a scholar and a devout genuine Muslim
by all standards.

Before I go into what Alberuni wrote let us take some time to find out
more about this man -- Alberuni.

In the words of Edward Sachau -- translator of Alebruni's 'Indica':

"Mahmud marched into the country, not without some fighting,
established there one of his generals as provincial governor, and soon
returned to Ghazna with much booty and a great part of Khiva troops,
together with the princes of the deposed family of Mamun and the
leading men of the country as prisoners of war or as hostages. Among
the last was Abu-Raihan Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Alberuni. This happened in
the spring and summer of AD 1017."

"When he (Alberuni) was brought to Ghazna as a hostage, he enjoyed the
reputation of a great 'munajjim' i.e. "astrologer - astronomer". By
the time he wrote 'Indica' thirteen years later after his involuntary
immigration to Afghanistan, he was a master of astrology, both
according to the Greek and the Hindu systems.

"Alberuni felt a strong inclination towards Indian philosophy. He
seems to have thought that the philosophers both in ancient India and
Greece, held in reality the very same ideas, the same as seem to have
been his own i.e. of pure monotheism. He seems to have to have reveled
in the pure theories of Bhagavad-Gita. ... There can scarcely be any
doubt that the Muslims of later times would have found fault with him
for going to such length in his interest for these heathenish
doctrines" observes Sachau, but "still he was Muslim, whether Sunni or
Shia cannot be gathered from Indica. He sometimes takes an occasion
for pointing out to the reader the superiority of Islam over
Brahamanical India... He dares not attack Islam but attacks the

What was the object of his writing 'Indica'?

"The object which the author had in view and never for a moment lost
sight of, was to afford the necessary information and training to any
one (in Islam) who wants to converse with the Hindus, and to discuss
with them questions of religion, science, or literature, on the very
basis of their own civilization."

Alberuni came to India with Mahmud and stayed there. He learnt
Sanskrit and Hindu literature and sciences and indeed wrote a very
comprehensive book about India of those days. As a Muslim he praises
the 'wonderful exploits of Mahmud saying: "Mahmud utterly ruined the
prosperity of the country, and performed those wonderful exploits, by
which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all
directions" but as a scholar he laments "this is the reason, too, why
Hindu sciences have retired far away from those parts of the country
conquered by us, and have fled to places which our hand cannot yet
reach, to Kashmir, Benares, and other places."

It seems from above that his study was done in area which was under
Mahmud's control, most likely western Punjab. But still what he writes
is very illuminating. Let us now see what wrote about our subject:
astronomy in India and gravity and the solar system.

Quoting from Brahamgupta's Brahamsidhanta, Alberuni wrote:

"Several circumstances, however, compel us to attribute globular shape
to both the earth and the heaven, viz. the fact that the stars rise
and set in different places at different times, so that, e.g. a man in
Yamakoti observes one identical start rising above the western
horizon, whilst a man in Rum at the same time observes it rising above
the eastern horizon. Another argument to the same effect is this, that
a man on Meru observes one identical star above the horizon in the
zenith of Lanka, the country of demons, whilst a man in Lanka at the
same time observes it above his head. Besides all astronomical
observations are not correct unless we assume the globular shape of
heaven and earth. Therefore we must declare that heaven is a globe,
and the observation of these characteristics of the world would not be
correct unless in reality it were a globe. Now it is evident that all
other theories about the world are futile."

Last update : 31-01-2010 11:12

Earlier philosophers like Aryabhata, Vasishtha and Lata had also come
to the same conclusion and Alberuni goes on to quote Varahmira: "all
things which are perceived by the senses, are witness in favor of the
globular shape of the earth, and refute the possibility of its having
any other shape."

On the subject of the rotation of the earth Alberuni writes:

"As regards the resting of the earth, one of the elementary problems
of astronomy, which offers many and great difficulties, this, too, is
a dogma with the Hindu astronomers. Brahamgupta says in the
Brahamsiddhanta: 'some people maintain that the first motion (from
east to west) does not lie in the meridian, but belongs to the earth.
But Varahmira refutes them by saying: If that were the case, a bird
would not return to its nest as soon as it had flown away from it
towards the west.' And, in fact it is precisely as Varahmira says."
Alberuni agrees with Varahmira that earth does not rotate.

Alberuni goes on to quote Brahamgupta:

"The followers of Aryabhata maintain that the earth is moving and the
heaven resting. People have tried to refute them by saying that, if
such were the case, stones would and trees would fall from the earth.
Brahamgupta does not agree with them, and says that that would not
necessarily follow from their theory, apparently because he thought
that all heavy things are attracted towards the center of the earth.
He says: 'On the contrary, if that were the case, the earth would not
vie in keeping an even and uniform pace with the minutes of heaven,
the pranas of the times."

Alberuni does not agree with Brahamgupta and is unable to understand
the rotation of the earth and goes on to write:

"Supposing this to be true, and that the earth makes a complete
rotation eastward in so many breaths as heaven does according to his
(Brahamgupta's) view, we cannot see what should prevent the earth from
keeping an even and uniform pace with heaaven

Stubbornly he refuses to accept the theory of the rotation of the
earth and goes on to say:

"Besides, the rotation of the earth in no way impair the value of
astronomy, as all appearances of an astronomic character can quite as
well be explained according to this theory as to the other. There are,
however, other reasons which make it impossible."

Alberuni says he also has written a book on this subject in which ' we
have surpassed our predecessors' but does not tell what his theories

On the question of gravity and other issues like top and bottom, high
and low, Alberuni quotes Brahamgupta and says:

"Scholars have declared that the globe of the earth is in the midst of
heaven, and that Mount Meru, the home of Devas, as well as Vadavamukha
below, is the home of their opponents; the Daitya and Dhanava belong
to it. But his below is according to them is only a relative one.
Disregarding this, we say that the earth on all its sides is the same;
all people on earth stand upright, and all heavy things fall down to
the earth by a law of nature, for it is the nature of the earth to
attract and to keep things, as it is the nature of water to flow, that
of fire to burn, and that of wind to set in motion... The earth is the
only low thing, and seeds always return to it, in whatever direction
you may throw them away, and never rise upwards from the earth."

Varahmira explains it further:

"Mountains, seas, rivers, trees, cities, men, and angels, all are
around the globe of the earth. And if Yamakoti and Rum are opposite to
each other, one could not say that the one is low in relation to the
other, since low does not exist.... Every one speaks of himself, 'I am
above and the others are below,' whilst all of them are around the
globe like the blossoms springing on the branches of a Kadamba-tree.
They encircle it on all the sides, but each individual blossom has the
same position as the other, neither one hanging downward nor then
other standing upright." He emphasized: "For the earth attracts that
which is upon her, for it is the below towards all directions, and
heaven is the above towards all directions."

Now these were the thoughts of Hindu philosophers as recorded by
Alberuni in the early part of the eleventh century and these had not
changed for centuries. Alberuni quotes heavily from Brahamgupta whose
Brahamsiddhanta was composed in AD 628. But it was Aryabhata, born in
AD 476, the first to hold that the earth was a sphere and rotated on
its axis and that the eclipses were not the work of Rahu but caused by
the shadow of the earth falling on the moon. His Aryabhatiya was
composed in AD 499.

It is clear from above that it was over a millennium before Galileo,
Copernicus and Newton that the Hindu philosophers had formulated the
theories about the globular shape and rotation of the earth and


My Name is Khan
By Vinod Kumar, on 15-03-2010 03:52

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's pronouncement not to let Shah Rukh
Khan's starrer My Name Is Khan be screened in Mumbai created much
sensation around the world and publicity for the film -- the publicity
that it could not have bought at any cost. Actually, Bal Thackeray's
action had nothing to do with the film itself - it was all about Shah
Rukh's saying that Pakistan is "great neighbor" whatever Shah Rukh's
definiotn of a "great neighbor" is. But anyway, film's name My Name is
Khan and its oft publicized credo "My name is Khan and I am not a
terrorist" in itself is quite provocative.

The film though made in India is set in the USA and deals in the
aftermath of September 11, 2001 attacks on the twin towers and the
pentagon. What was the purpose of making the film and declaring
basically that even though I am a Muslim but I am not terrorist? As
soon as the attacks happened American administration went out of its
way to insist and make a point that Islam has nothing to do with the
acts of terrorism and Muslims are patriotic citizens of the country.
So what was the point to go and tell the President of the United
States seven years after the act even though I am a Muslim, I am not a
terrorist - the President has been telling the world that from day
one. He need not be told what he has been proclaiming from day one.
If anyone that needed to be told the massage were the perpetrators of
the crime who carried out the act in the name of Islam.

Now then what was the film all about?

It seems the sole purpose the film was made was a propaganda for
Islam. But anything that is carried too far loses its appeal and that
is exactly what the film succeeded in achieving. Every film, every
story has to have some exaggeration to make a point - that is normal.
But when carried to beyond imagination and all limits, it turns
people off. The film may find appreciative audience in the Muslim
Middleast and other Islamic countries - and blind admirers of Shah
Rukh which are aplenty -- but it will turn off a neutral person. It
is difficult to imagine how Shah Rukh would have handled the character
of an autistic person had Dustin Hoffman not done the role in The Rain
Man - if the face of Shah Rukh is covered one would not know whether
it is him or Dustin. The story is weak.

Shah Rukh by doing the role has done a big disfavor to his image of
being a representative of the secular film industry of India. He is
now just an Islamic propagandist.



Don't Block the 'Internet Hindus'
By Kanchan Gupta, on 15-03-2010 04:38

Hindus who are proud to assert their identity and fly the Tricolour
high have now found a new platform to have their say, the way they
want it, without fear of being shouted down. Tired of being derided by
pseudo-secularists in media who see nothing wrong with Muslim
communalism and Christian fundamentalism but are swift to pounce upon
Hindus for being ‘intolerant', their cultural ethos crudely denigrated
by the Left-liberal intelligentsia as antediluvian, Hindus have begun
to harness technology to strike back with deadly effect.

They are bright, they are well-educated, they are not burdened with
regional and caste biases, they are amazingly well-informed on
national issues and world affairs, they are rooted in Indian culture,
and they are politically alert. They hate being told they are wrong
when they know they are right. They have a mind of their own and
refuse to be led like sheep. Not surprisingly, they hold the Congress,
the Left and regional parties in contempt, as they do journalists who
cravenly ingratiate themselves with the establishment. For them, India
matters - and matters more than anything else. Meet the ‘Internet

In recent days there has been a spate of articles disparaging the
‘Internet Hindus', variously describing them as "loonies", "fanatics",
"irrational", "Hindu Taliban" and, by an enraged news channel anchor,
"gutter snipes". Much of the criticism has come from left-of-centre
journalists who believe they have unfettered monopoly over media as
their inalienable birth right. Exalted members of Delhi's
commentariat, who are indistinguishable from the city's la-di-dah
socialites, tend to turn up their noses every time they hear the
phrase ‘Internet Hindus' as they would at the suggestion of travelling
by public transport. Others are given to contemptuously brushing aside
‘Internet Hindus' as being irrelevant and describing their views as
inconsequential. All this and more has neither dampened the spirit of
‘Internet Hindus' nor blunted their assertive attitude.

Here are some statistics, culled from an ongoing online survey, which
would help create a generic profile of ‘Internet Hindus'. The survey
is open to all Hindus who use the Internet; the response has been
overwhelming. Of those who have responded, 88.9 per cent have
identified themselves as ‘Internet Hindus', indicating they attach no
shame to the term though their critics would want them to feel
ashamed. Of the respondents, four per cent are aged 20 years and
below; 55 per cent are aged 30 and below; 31 per cent are 40 and
below; and, only 10 per cent are aged above 40. In brief, 90 per cent
of them are young Indians.

The educational profile of the respondents is awesome: 43 per cent are
graduates (most of them from top-notch engineering, science and
medical colleges); 46 per cent are post-graduates (a large number of
them have MBA degrees from the best B-schools); and, 11 per cent have
PhDs. It is understandable that none of them is unemployed. Those
without jobs are still studying (17.3 per cent) and can be found in
labs and classrooms of the best universities here and abroad. Of the
82.7 per cent who are employed, 3.1 per cent earn up to Rs 2 lakh a
year; 18.4 per cent earn up to Rs 6 lakh a year; 34.7 per cent earn up
to Rs 12 lakh a year; and, 26.5 per cent earn more than Rs 24 lakh a
year. Nearly 60 per cent of them frequently travel abroad on work and
holiday. Some 11 per cent have travelled abroad at least once.

Contrary to the impression that is being sought to be created by their
critics, ‘Internet Hindus' are open to ideas, believe in a plural, law-
abiding society and swear by the Constitution. They are often appalled
by the shenanigans of our politicians, including those of the BJP, and
are ruthless in decrying politics of identity and cynical vote-bank
policies. They have no gender prejudices and most of them think
banning FTV is downright silly in this day and age. The ‘Internet
Hindus' will not countenance denigration of their faith or biased
media coverage of events, but 91.9 per cent of them respect and accept
other religions. Asked if India is meant only for Hindus, an
overwhelming majority of them, responding to the survey, said, ‘Hell,

So why do they infuriate pseudo-secularists in media and make Delhi's
commentariat see red? There are three possible explanations. First,
the Net is beyond the control of those who control newspapers and news
channels. While the print and audiovisual media have for long excluded
contrarian opinion and denied space to those who disagree with absurd
notions of ‘secularism' or question the quality of reportage, the Net
has provided space to the ‘other' voice. Real time blog posts now
record the ‘other side' of the day's story ("The Prince was shouted
down in Bihar, not feted by students!"), Twitter affords instant micro-
blogging even as prime time news is being telecast ("That's not true.
I live in Bareilly. This is not how the riots began!"), and YouTube
allows unedited amateur videos of events (the Meraj riots, the
Islamist violence in Kashmir Valley) to be uploaded, giving the lie to
edited and doctored versions shown by news channels.

Second, unlike carefully selected ‘Letters to the Editor' in
newspapers and ‘Feedback' posted on news channel websites, the
reactions of ‘Internet Hindus', often savage and unflattering, cannot
be thrown into the dustbin or deleted with a click of the mouse.
English language media journalists, long used to fawning praise from
readers and viewers, are horrified that someone can actually call them
‘dumb' in public space and there's nothing they can do about it.
Third, the established elite, most of them middle-aged, are beginning
to feel threatened. Here's a new breed of Indians who have used merit
and not ‘connections' to make a mark in professional excellence, young
men and women who are educated and articulate, and are willing to
challenge conventional wisdom as preached by media ‘stars' who have
rarely, if ever, been questioned. The elite who dominate newspapers
and news channels are seen by ‘Internet Hindus' as part of India's
past, not future. As one ‘Internet Hindu' writes in his blog, "A large
number of ex-elite can't stomach fact that children of bankruptcy are
better travelled, better read and dominate the Internet!" Harsh, but

We can describe the ‘Internet Hindus' as the "lunatic fringe", but
that won't change the fact that their tribe is growing by the day.
Soon, those on the fringe will move to the centre and their critics
will find themselves precariously perched on the fringe. The Right is
gaining ground as is the access and reach of the Net; newspapers and
news channels, the Left's last refuge, no longer command absolute
control over information flow. It would be unwise to ‘block' the voice
of ‘Internet Hindus', as then their clamour to be heard will further
increase and there is nothing we can do to silence them. The times
they are a-changin'.

Courtesy: http://www.dailypioneer.com/241956/Don't-block-the-‘Internet-Hindus'.html


Editorial: The Guilty Men of Our Democracy
By The Editorial Team, on 15-03-2010 03:46

Gujarat and Anti-Sikh Riots

The law of the land should prevail. The highest and the mightiest
should respect the word and spirit of law. Otherwise the very
existence of democracy in the country would be threatened. It would be
a law of the jungle.

Yet, equally important is that the provisions of the Constitution that
provide for equality before law for however high or law, an individual
may be, irrespective of caste, creed and sex. But it is here that our
democracy is deficient.

The SIT constituted by the Supreme Court to investigate some cases of
Gujarat riots has summoned Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
The law should take its own course. Shri Modi is expected to extend
full cooperation and respect the law of the land.

But what raises eyebrows and pains the observers is the duplicity and
double standards being practiced by the judiciary, the media, the
intelligentsia and the so-called tribe of liberals and secularists.
The Gujarat riots and the 1984 anti-Sikhs riots have many similarities
and, in a sense, the latter riots were more heinous and cruel in the
sense that these were directed only against Sikhs and only in the
States ruled by the Congress. Shri Modi never justified the riots but
the then Congress President and Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi did,
saying on record having stated that "when a big tree falls, the earth
below is sure to shake". Yet, Shri Gandhi has been spared for the anti-
Sikh riots the epithets that are used for Shri Narinder Modi for
Gujarat riots.

More people died in anti-Sikh riots than in Gujarat riots. Delhi then,
and even now, for law and order is directly under the administrative
control. It is here that more than 3300 Sikhs died. The total number
of Sikhs having been butchered in different parts of the country is
more than 4000 while it is about 2500 in Gujarat which includes Hindus
too. For full three days, as per reports of successive Commissions of
Inquiry, the anti-Sikh rioters ruled Delhi and no FIRs were
registered. No military was summoned to quell the riots. The police
remained a silent spectator. Yet, the Congress which ruled at the
Centre and the States continued to remain the holy icon of piety,
secularism and rule of law. Even after 25 years the anti-Sikh riots
sufferers continue to suffer the agony of their loss with little hope
for justice.

Surprisingly, even the courts were not that condescending for Sikh
suffers as these have been for Gujarat riot victims. No Special
Investigating Teams were constituted by the courts which also did no
monitoring of the progress of investigations. Another stark reality is
that while Modi regime registered cases against rioters, prosecuted
them and many have been taken to their logical conclusions with many
convictions, the same is not true of anti-Sikh riots. Many MLAs, ex-
MLAs and other prominent workers of the ruling party in Gujarat are in
jails facing trial. The same cannot be said about anti-Sikh riots.

The human rights organizations which beat their chests for Gujarat
riot victims are, unfortunately and shamelessly, heartless for anti-
Sikh riot victims. They seem to have turned deaf, dumb and blind to
the realities of anti-Sikh riots.

The present Congress-led UPA government, too, for understandable
political reasons, has treated the Gujarat riot victims and anti-Sikh
riots differently. It has been more kind to the former than the

Why is that the whole system - whether the executive, the judiciary,
the media, intelligentsia and human rights organizations - are
treating the same ugly incidents differently? They are doing a great
disservice to the present system of government and the institutions of
the Constitution. Nobody can be more guilty or more innocent and
deserving more punishment than the other in the same circumstances in
this country.

Let it be a warning to all who matter. By their words and actions and
by indulging in discrimination and favourtism against one section or
the other, they are only venturing to defeat the very purpose and
spirit of democracy. It is they who will tomorrow be counted the
guilty men of our democracy.


Sita as an Empowered Indian Woman
Book- Review

The other day Rahul Mahajan got married on a reality TV show. His
marriage was of course for real, and one wishes him well in life. Some
one remarked that the show was a tribute to the new Indian woman who
had taken the unconventional path to choosing a life partner. He said
that it was the coming of age of the Indian Woman.

As I watched the final scenes of the show, I was reminded of a comment
a young woman had made some months ago in connection with the
Ramayana. "I do not wish to be a Sita -- meek and submissive. I am the
new Indian woman!"

Three 'new Indian women' stood decked in bridal finery, fluttering
nervously and waiting to be chosen in the final episode. The 'new
Indian women' felt nothing wrong in being commoditised and rejected in
front of a live audience of lakhs across the country. As for the
mythological Sita to whom our young friend had disparagingly referred,
remember that she had chosen her groom on her terms. If this is not
women empowerment, what is!

The following review done by me of a book on Sita adds to what I have

In Search of Sita: Revisiting Mythology
Edited by Malashri Lal & Namita Gokhale
Yatra Books/Penguin Books
Rs 399/-

Perhaps the most enigmatic of all Indian mythological figures is Sita.
She has been in the country's subconsciousness for centuries largely
as the ideal Indian Woman. There has been a tendency by modern
commentators and feminists to run her down for being ‘passive' and
‘submissive' and failing to claim her rights at various stages of her
life, even when she was publicly humiliated for no fault of hers. That
being the case, it would come as no surprise if the ‘modern Indian
woman' is less than enthusiastic in holding her as her ‘hero.'

Given this context, one must welcome with open arms the excellent
collection of essays on Sita edited by Malashri Lal and Namita Gokhale
that seeks to firmly establish her image as a strong-willed woman who
charted her own course in a largely male-dominated society. The irony
is that she had to go through a series of trials and tribulations as a
result of machination by two women, Kaikeyi and Manthara. In Search of
Sita: Revisiting Mythology is a marvellous book that not only has
commentaries written by well-known authors but also contains various
versions of the epic Ramayan, depicting Sita's role. The anthology
also provides a range of "creative interpretations" of the ‘dutiful
and meek' wife of Rama.

What makes the book even more special is the ideological space it
provides to writers with different bends of mind. So, if there is
Meghnad Desai and Indira Goswami, there is also Tarun Vijay and Karen
Gabriel - the latter weaving for the reader an interesting Sita-
Draupadi syntax in a gender context.

It should be clear to the reader, if he or she were under some
illusion, that the character of Sita in the epic was never meant to be
submissive in the face of injustice - to her personally and to the
female gender. One must realise that she could not have become the
icon she is by being a frail figure, forever manipulated and bent by a
patriarchal system. And, as events were to prove, her devotion to her
husband and willingness to be his partner through thick and thin could
not be interpreted as a sign of subordination. Let us look at some of
the instances where her dominance is undisputed.

At her father's home before marriage, Sita would routinely lift
Shiva's bow with her left hand while mopping the floor. It is the same
heavy bow that several strong princes failed to move even an inch from
the ground at her svayamvara. Only Ram succeeded and married her.
Thus, Sita actually set the ground rule for choosing her groom. Is
this a sign of a weak woman?

When Rama was exiled for 14 years, Sita insisted on accompanying him.
Her husband told her categorically that she should not do so as the
exile order was only for him, but she overruled him in the presence of
a number of people. Does this indicate her ‘meekness'?

Abducted by Ravana and surrounded by adversaries, she successfully
fobbed off his advances and threats made directly and through others.
The Lankan king failed to persuade her despite using all means at his
disposal. Does this not show her determination and resolve in the face
of a grim situation?

Banished from the kingdom by Ram, a then pregnant Sita later brought
up her two children as a single mother, imbibing in them the qualities
of valour and fair play. And when they in their boyhood captured her
brother-in-law Laxman, she rushed to get him released, keeping aside
her grief at having been wronged by his family. Surely, this is a sign
of a strong and very mature woman.

Finally, it was her decision to leave the world as a rebuttal to a
demand to prove she had not been ‘defiled' while away from the
kingdom. Given her wrath over the humiliation and determination, it is
unlikely that Rama would have been able to persuade her to change her
mind even if he had tried. In the end, Sita set and lived by her own
terms. It is not easy to find a better example of determined

In Search of Sita is, thus, in many ways a tribute to an ancient icon
by modern India.


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Thackeray says no concern for women's welfare in Bill

Mumbai, Mar 15 (PTI) Days after supporting the Women's Reservation
Bill in the Rajya Sabha, the Shiv Sena now says the legislation is a
ploy to garner women's votes and does not have welfare of women at

"The bill has nothing to do with women's welfare. It is a ploy to get
women's votes," Sena chief Bal Thackeray said in a statement.

The 83-year-old leader's statement was circulated here as part of his
traditional message to supporters on the occasion of 'Gudhi Padwa'

"Injustice against women continues. They are suffering due to rising
prices. Is it going to end because of the Bill," he asked.

"Sena has given a clarion call that along with the bill, women should
also get protection. But that is left aside and political colours are
being given," he said.


MNS in film cash dock

Mumbai, March 15: Mumbai police have arrested 11 Maharashtra Navnirman
Sena activists after film producer Ritesh Sidhwani complained that
they had tried to extort Rs 25 lakh from his film crew.

The producer’s complaint came a month after Shah Rukh Khan refused to
apologise to Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray whose party tried to
stall the release of My Name is Khan.

Sidhwani, the producer of Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya, Luck by Chance and
Karthik Calling Karthik, and his film unit told Bandra police that the
11 MNS activists came to the set of the film Crooked at Mehboob Studio
on Sunday afternoon and demanded to know why foreign artistes were
being employed in the film and not local talent. Deputy commissioner
K.M. Prasanna said the film unit explained to them that the “foreign
artistes were required as the sequence recreated Istanbul, Turkey”.
But the activists would not budge.

Prasanna said the MNS workers then allegedly demanded Rs 25 lakh for
not using local artistes.

Ameya Khopkar, the MNS film wing chief denied the allegation of
extortion. “A blatantly false complaint of extortion has been filed
against our boys…. Our people had gone to the set after learning that
the film was using 136 foreign nationals from Afghanistan, Iran and
Russia though they did not possess valid work permits,” he said.

The arrests happened after Sidhwani approached Mukesh Bhatt, the vice-
president of the film producers’ association, and he called up
Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan.


BJP-Left House unity rolls on

New Delhi, March 15: The nuclear liability bill today gave the Left
and the BJP another chance to display their vaunted “unity”, kicked
off by the price rise and helped on by the women’s reservation bill.

The two main Opposition groups, which together outnumbered the
depleted Treasury benches in the Lok Sabha today, had braced
themselves to block the bill’s introduction.

Each had opposed the nuclear deal with the US, and the BJP had the
added motive of partially answering its in-house sceptics who felt it
had “put itself out” to bail the government out over the women’s bill.

Estranged UPA allies Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad too joined
forces with the BJP-Left today.

A deflated government, realising what it was up against, deferred the
bill’s introduction. Denied the opportunity for a showdown, the
Opposition still flaunted the new-found unity between the strangest of

“The unity is actually a direct outcome of the nuclear deal that was
opposed by the BJP and the Left. The Samajwadi began by opposing it
but later changed its stand,” said CPM general secretary Prakash
Karat. He said the Left would appeal to all MPs on Tuesday to not
support it.

The poor attendance on the Treasury benches looked out of sync with
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s exertions since yesterday to try and
bring the Opposition around on the nuclear bill.

On Sunday, Singh had phoned Sushma Swaraj, leader of the Lok Sabha
Opposition, and Sitaram Yechury, the CPM’s leader in the Rajya Sabha,
to urge them to reconsider their resistance.

Recounting the conversation, Sushma told journalists: “I said we
cannot support. He said we will have problems with other countries to
which I replied, ‘But we have problems within our own country’. The PM
asked if he should ask the national security adviser to speak to me. I
said there is no point because the NSA already spoke to Arun Jaitley
(leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha) a month ago. But our
stand remained unchanged. I was polite but firm.”

Sushma then got in touch with the CPM and CPI floor leaders, and
Yashwant Sinha was told to speak to Mulayam and Lalu Prasad to firm up
the Opposition strategy.

Last week, Mulayam and Lalu Prasad had slammed the Left and the BJP
for being “in cahoots with the Congress” over the women’s bill. Today,
by participating in the Opposition unity, they gave the government a
foretaste of the problems it might now face in Parliament.

Government sources admitted that the stand-off was a “grim reminder”
of how precariously the ruling alliance was placed in the Lower House
minus the Yadavs.

“The only short-run tactic we can follow is to avoid business that
requires voting,” a minister said. The long-term strategy, he said,
was to scout for parties that could be counted on in a crisis “even if
this entails backroom deals”.


Maya Brahmin aide missing

Lucknow, March 15: Mayavati today tried to reclaim her Dalit agenda on
the Bahujan Samaj Party’s 25th anniversary by clipping the wings of
Satish Chandra Mishra, the party’s “Brahmin face” whose clout had
dismayed many of her Dalit supporters.

Mishra, architect of the Brahmin-Dalit axis that lifted Mayavati to
power in the 2007 UP polls, has been taken off the BSP’s Brahmin
Bhaichara (Brotherhood) Committee and appointed chairman of the party
legal cell.

The chief minister herself made the announcement at the party’s mega
rally here to celebrate its silver jubilee. “There is no strict
boundary of work but Mishra’s priority would henceforth be legal
work,” she said.

More eloquent than her 95-minute speech was the unusual absence of
Mishra from the dais. The lawyer who had been Mayavati’s shadow for
the past half a decade stood among party workers far from the dais,
from where Mayavati reaffirmed her commitment to the Dalit cause.

“I don’t believe the party’s core agenda is being diluted. I vow not
to ever allow the Dalit movement to weaken or the head of a Dalit to
bow in shame,” she said.

Party sources said Mayavati had been jittery over accusations that her
party, born as a movement for social transformation, had become “an
opportunistic political party” interested only in capturing power.

On the face of it, Mishra’s new post may appear logical since Mayavati
is grappling with at least half-a-dozen cases against her party and
government. But Mishra had already been supervising the cases while
discharging his other duties.

Many Dalit leaders had looked on nervously as Mishra was included in
the state cabinet in 2007 and later sent to the Rajya Sabha, all the
while retaining his status as party No. 2. But a rift appeared between
him and Mayavati after the Brahmin vote deserted her in the 2009 Lok
Sabha polls.

Mayavati had mooted banishing Mishra to the legal cell at a party
meeting in July 2009, but backed off in the face of Brahmin murmurs.
Today, she made it official.


Monday, March 15, 2010
Seedhi Baat / Aajtak, March 14, 2010

'Bal Thackeray is a big leader'

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's estranged daughter-in-law Smita
Thackeray says politics and family are two separate things.
Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

Posted by Prabhu Chawla at 7:35 PM






Monday, March 15, 2010
Rajdeep Sardesai's letter to Uddhav Thackeray

Rajdeep Sardesai,a well known journalist,sent a letter to Uddhav
Thackeray,heir of the Shiv Sena, on the whole "Marathi manoos" issue.

Wiki : Rajdeep Sardesai
Wiki : Uddhav Thackeray

It makes for a very interesting read,seeing the reaction of a renowned
member of the Press addressing a political leader with much force.

Dear Udhavjee,

At the very outset, my compliments for the manner in which you've
literally 'stolen' the headlines from your cousin Raj in the last
fortnight. After the Assembly election defeat last October, there were
many who had written you off as a weak, namby-pamby politician, who
would be better off doing photography. But now, it seems that the
'fire' which burns inside Bal Thackeray is alive in the son too. After
years of struggling to establish yourself, you have finally discovered
the mantra for success as a Shiv Sena leader: find an 'enemy',
threaten and intimidate them, commit the odd violent act, and,
eureka!, you are anointed the true heir to the original 'T' company

Your cousin has chosen to bash faceless taxi drivers and students from
North India, soft targets who are totally unprotected. You've been
much braver. You've actually chosen to target national icons: Sachin
Tendulkar, Mukesh Ambani, Shah Rukh Khan, powerful figures who most
Indians venerate. Shah Rukh is no surprise since the Sena has always
been uncomfortable with the Indian Muslim identity. Forty years ago,
your father had questioned Dilip Kumar's patriotism for accepting an
award from the Pakistani government. You've called Shah Rukh a traitor
for wishing to ch