Book Review: An Era of Darkness by Dr Shashi Tharoor

An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India, is a fantastic new book by Dr Shashi Tharoor that outlines the destructive presence of the British in India from the 17th Century until India gained her independence in 1947. It has long been understood that England had brought infrastructure, social reform, democracy and the rule of law to a continent, which in their opinion, was otherwise ravaged by wars, disease, civil distress and famine.

Prior to the publication of this book, Dr Tharoor had provide a fantastic and at times humorous account at the Oxford Union Debate of just how malevolent the British presence was in India upon which, this particular segment went viral over the internet. Subsequent to the debate, Dr Tharoor was inspired to write a detailed account of British rule in India, premised on the fact that many of the current generation of Indians were genuinely unaware Britain’s past atrocities.

Dr Tharoor has successfully provided a clear cut and concise overview on the humble beginnings of the East Indian Company and how through deceit, treachery, bribery and corruption, were able to establish a reign of terror over the regions of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The first chapter sets out to provide the reader with an overview of how the wealth was drained from these regions followed by the deindustrialisation and destruction of the ship building, steel and textile industries. Subsequent chapters aim to discuss and effectively refute the notions that British established political unity, democracy and the free press.

In addition, much information is provided on the concept of divide and rule that precipitated into dissention between people of different so called castes, religions and race which continue to haunt the Indian subcontinent to this day. For those seeking to gain a true perspective on the real history of British rule in India will certainly not be disappointed. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book from cover to cover and highly recommend it to those seeking to gain a true perspective on the presence of the British in India and for Indians and people of Indian origin to develop a sense of self respect.

Best Wishes,

Janardhan

 

[VIDEO] JFH join Bangladeshi Hindu demonstration at White House

Dec 11th, 2017 – Justice For Hindus joined with many other Bangladeshi Hindu and minority  rights groups and nearly 100 demonstrators outside the White House to protest the latest pogroms against non-Muslims in the Islamic State of Bangladesh.  Since late October, Islamic radicals have either vandalized or destroyed nearly 20 Hindu temples along with hundreds of Hindu homes and businesses. The current spate of violence is being blamed on an alleged facebook comment which was said to be insulting to Islam. The event outside the White House was organized by Sitangshu Guha of the Bangladeshi Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, USA.

The aim of the demonstration was to push the current administration under Obama and the incoming Trump administration to voice for the minority non-Muslims in Bangladesh who are suffering ongoing and intensifying deadly persecution at the hands of radical Islamic extremists. The movement also hopes to encourage the Bangladeshi government to not only protect it’s minority population but also return to a state of secularism, dropping Islam as the state religion.

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“We believe you are a person of great sensitivity and resolve, and would find the situation in Bangladesh with respect to the minority communities deplorable. We would like to request you, if it is possible, to convey our anxiety regarding Bangladesh to the next administration,” said a memorandum submitted by protesters to Mr. Obama on Sunday.

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“The destruction of Hindu households and temples, the usurping of Hindu lands and occasional killing and rape have become a norm in the present day Bangladesh. In fact, in recent weeks, the news of two more premeditated attacks were documented during which the party in power was complicit, and no actions were taken by the authorities to assist or support the victims and their families,” the memorandum continued.

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Protecting Bangladesh from falling into the lap of ISIS is the “most pressing priorities”, said Jay Kansara of the Hindu American Foundation. “Because if Bengal falls to extremism, then there would be no recourse to that,” he said in his brief address to the protesters, which included women and children.

In response to news of the upcoming protest, the Bangladesh ruling party Awami League representative in the US, Dr Siddiqur Rahman, sent a threatening email (Dec 1oth, 2016) to the event organizer Sitangshu Guha for taking a stand with the persecuted Hindus and other minorities. Senior Hindu activist Sitangshu Guha had also organized a similar rally in front of United Nations in November.

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The nation of Bangladesh (BD) is a Muslim majority state which borders India to the Northeast, Islam is the state religion of Bangladesh.  While the minority Hindus of Bangladesh have been experiencing intense and deadly persecution for decades, the intensity of violent crimes against non-Muslims and secularists has escalated recently with the influx of ISIS elements into the state. In the past months, several Hindus and other non-Muslims have been either murdered, injured or humiliated by Muslim citizens with Islamist motives, and many of these crimes have been claimed by ISIS. Here are some examples of recent attacks on minorities in Bangladesh:

Hindu Priest Slaughtered In Bangladesh, ISIS claims responsibility – A 70-year-old Hindu priest was hacked to death in Bangladesh by three suspected Islamic State jihadists who nearly severed his head, the second priest from the community to be killed this year in the Muslim-majority nation which has seen a string of brutal attacks by Islamists on minorities and secular activists. – DNA INDIA

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Hindu Tailor hacked to death in Bangladesh; ISIS claims responsibility – Police in Bangladesh say they have detained three people in relation to the killing of a Hindu tailor, who was hacked to death in the central Bangladeshi district of Tangail. Those detained for questioning include two party members, one from the opposition BNP party and a local leader of the Jamaat e Islami Islamist. – CNN

Hindu teacher in Bangladesh beaten up, made to do sit-ups by holding ears for ‘insulting’ Islam – – Dhaka: In yet another incident of mob justice against minorities in Bangladesh, a Hindu headmaster of a school in Narayanganj was on Friday punished by locals for allegedly insulting Islam. Shyamal was being punished and made to do sit-ups holding ears, said that the punishment was the only way to save the latter from the mob. – Zee News

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Bangladesh killings: Hindu teacher attacked at home – A Hindu college teacher in Bangladesh has been attacked on his doorstep by three men armed with knives, according to local police. He is critically ill in hospital. The assault, in the town of Madaripur, is the latest in a series of recent attacks on religious minorities, secular writers and academics. – BBC

Christian hacked to death in latest Bangladesh attack, claimed by ISIS – Dhaka (AFP) – A Christian was hacked to death after Sunday prayers near a church in northwest Bangladesh in an attack — the latest in a series on religious minorities — claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group. – Yahoo

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Elderly Buddhist monk HACKED to death amid surge of violence in Muslim-majority country – The body of 75-year-old Mongsowe U Chak was discovered today at the isolated place of worship in the Naikkhangchhari village, about 211 miles southeast of Dhaka, where he lived alone. The past few months have seen a huge rise in the number of violent attacks in Bangladesh, where the majority of the population is Muslim. – Express

Two gay rights activists hacked to death in Bangladesh; Al-Qaeda affiliate claims responsibility for attack – Two people, including the editor of a magazine for the transgender community, have been hacked to death in the capital of Bangladesh. A third person, a security guard at the apartment building where the killings took place, was seriously wounded in Monday’s attack in Dhaka, in which six attackers murdered Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Tonoy. Mannan was the editor of Rupban, the only LGBT magazine in the country. – Aljazeera

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In the United States, Hindu congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has started a video and petition campaign to help fight the rise of violent Jihad within the Islamic State of Bangladesh. Her video and petition highlights the ongoing religious cleansing of Hindus from Bangladesh, the decimation of the Hindu population from 18% in 1971 to less than 10% today, expulsions and land grabs, the rape and forced conversions of young Hindu women, and the ongoing attacks on Hindu places of worship. Please support Tulsi’s campaign to end Islamist violence in Bangladesh.

Transcript:

Aloha and Namaste. While we here in the United States may sometimes take our freedoms for granted, Hindus and other religious minorities in Bangladesh are living in perpetual terror. Forced conversions to Islam, rapes and abductions, extortions and land grabbing and forced expulsion, desecration and destruction of places of worship, are just a few of the types of violence that are currently being unleashed. The population of Hindus in Bangladesh has dwindled from 18% in 1971 to a meager 9.7% today. Accounting for the overall population growth during this time this is a net loss of about 53 million Hindus from Bangladesh. That’s close to the total population of a dozen European Union countries or that of more than fifteen U.S. States that has simply vanished from a tiny country about the size of Greece or the State of New York.

Compounding the problem is the rapid rise of violent jihadists in Bangladesh. We’ve seen in the news recently word of terrorist attacks, machete attacks and beheadings of Hindu priests, secularists, bloggers, and intellectuals. Yet there has been no real action taken by the Bangladesh government to quell this festering crisis.

We must stand together with the people of Bangladesh. Please sign this petition as we call on the Bangladesh government to take urgent action against the horrific oppression and terror that plagues religious minorities in Bangladesh every day.

 

 

[VIDEO] JFH interviews Ramesh Jaipal at White House – Pak Hindu Activist

Dec 11th, 2017 – Ramesh Jaipal is a very special Hindu youth activist living in Pakistan.  Despite dealing with overwhelming discrimination and social pressure, Jaipal runs a Hindu and minority rights organization in Pakistan called the Hare Rama Foundation (HRF). HRF’s mission is to mobilize the Pakistani Hindu and minority community on a common platform and to support them to carry out sustainable development and to work with poor and excluded people to eradicate poverty and injustice. Due to his involvement in many Hindu and minority rights causes in Pakistan, Jaipal was invited to America to take a nationwide tour of the Hindu communities here and to garner support for his cause. During this 2017 tour he has spoken before Hindu groups in New York, Dallas, Chicago, Washington DC and Atlanta.  Some of Jaipal’s initiatives in Pakistan have been to advocate for legal recognition of Hindu marriages, the delivery of Hindu land rights, and the abolition of divisive caste laws which unnecessary label certain Hindu communities as “Dalits”, a division which most Hindus do not recognize.

HINDU MARRIAGE BILL

For Hindu families, lack of a legal marriage registration mechanism is a matter of serious concern. Lack of legal recognition of Hindu marriages has resulted in many domestic, social and psychological problems for the Hindu families, especially women and girls. Hindu married couples face numerous problems in travelling and lodging outside of their place of residence. Due to an absence of any marriage registration mechanism, Hindu women do not get any share in their husbands’ property, and their access to health facilities and participation in social, economic and political processes is also minimal. For years Hindu women (already married to Hindu men and having children) have been abducted or forcibly converted to Islam and re-married to Muslim men without their consent. Since there is no documentation to prove the earlier marriage, their husbands or other family members are unable to take up the issue on legal grounds.

Due to the work of the Hare Rama Foundation, In 2016 Provincial Assembly of Sindh passed the Hindu Marriage Bill and Provincial of Punjab and KPK passed the resolution on Hindu Marriage Bill, The National Assembly also passed the Hindu Marriage Bill in September 2016. We hope that soon the Hindu Marriage Bill become a law for Pakistani Hindus.

RESIDENTIAL LAND RIGHTS 

Since the creation of Pakistan, Hindus have been deprived of the rights to land. The Hindus in southern Punjab are currently living in slum houses which are in the ownership of the government or landlords of that area. Hare Rama Foundation (HRF) started a campaign on the land rights issues in 2008. HRF conducted several survey’s on land ownership and found almost 95% of the Hindu community is living in slum areas with no land rights. HRF started lobbying and advocacy for residential land rights for the underprivileged community of Punjab and has organized several consultations, seminars, press conference and rallies to sensitize the media and civil society on the residential land rights issue.

WE ARE ALL HINDUS

Ramesh Jaipal and his Hare Rama Foundation believe that there is no such thing as a “Dalit” (untouchable).  We are all one religion, one people, we are all Hindus.  Jaipal and HRF take issue with the fact that the government of Pakistan divides up Hindus along outdated and unrecognized “caste” lines which don’t exist. Jaipal works to unite all Hindus together under one banner and does not allow himself or others to be labeled as “Dalit” by non-Hindus who are seeking to create rifts in Hindu society.

Bengali Hindus protest at UN on Veterans Day

November 11th, Veterans Day, Bengali Hindus took their well protected freedom of speech to the United Nations headquarters to protest the recent surge in anti-Hindu violence in the Islamic nation of Bangladesh. Since late October, Islamic radicals have either vandalized or destroyed nearly 20 Hindu temples along with hundreds of Hindu homes and businesses. The current spate of violence is being blamed on an alleged facebook comment which was said to be insulting to Islam.  The event was attended by the Bangladesh Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Unity Council, USA; the Bangladesh Minority Rights Movement; Justice for Hindus; Bangladesh Puja Samity; Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad; and many others.

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The protest focused on the Brahminbaria district of Bangladesh where the majority of the attacks occurred, which also included looting and the sexual harassment of Hindu women. The demonstrators demanded the immediate resignation of the Livestock Minister, Mohammad Sayedul Haque, believing that he was involved in instigating riots in Nasirnagar, Brahmanbaria. The meeting also demanded a statement from the Prime Minister of Bangladesh on the issue as well as a formal return to state secularism over Islam. It was announced that, if minister Sayedul Haque does not resign, the organizers will hold a rally in front of the White House in early December and a rally in front of Trump tower, subject to permission.

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The nation of Bangladesh (BD) is a Muslim majority state which borders India to the Northeast, Islam is the state religion of Bangladesh.  While the minority Hindus of Bangladesh have been experiencing intense and deadly persecution for decades, the intensity of violent crimes against non-Muslims and secularists has escalated recently with the influx of ISIS elements into the state. In the past months, several Hindus and other non-Muslims have been either murdered, injured or humiliated by Muslim citizens with Islamist motives, and many of these crimes have been claimed by ISIS. Here are some examples of recent attacks on minorities in Bangladesh:

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Hindu Priest Slaughtered In Bangladesh, ISIS claims responsibility – A 70-year-old Hindu priest was hacked to death in Bangladesh by three suspected Islamic State jihadists who nearly severed his head, the second priest from the community to be killed this year in the Muslim-majority nation which has seen a string of brutal attacks by Islamists on minorities and secular activists. – DNA INDIA

Hindu Tailor hacked to death in Bangladesh; ISIS claims responsibility – Police in Bangladesh say they have detained three people in relation to the killing of a Hindu tailor, who was hacked to death in the central Bangladeshi district of Tangail. Those detained for questioning include two party members, one from the opposition BNP party and a local leader of the Jamaat e Islami Islamist. – CNN

Hindu teacher in Bangladesh beaten up, made to do sit-ups by holding ears for ‘insulting’ Islam – – Dhaka: In yet another incident of mob justice against minorities in Bangladesh, a Hindu headmaster of a school in Narayanganj was on Friday punished by locals for allegedly insulting Islam. Shyamal was being punished and made to do sit-ups holding ears, said that the punishment was the only way to save the latter from the mob. – Zee News

Bangladesh killings: Hindu teacher attacked at home – A Hindu college teacher in Bangladesh has been attacked on his doorstep by three men armed with knives, according to local police. He is critically ill in hospital. The assault, in the town of Madaripur, is the latest in a series of recent attacks on religious minorities, secular writers and academics. – BBC

Christian hacked to death in latest Bangladesh attack, claimed by ISIS – Dhaka (AFP) – A Christian was hacked to death after Sunday prayers near a church in northwest Bangladesh in an attack — the latest in a series on religious minorities — claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group. – Yahoo

Elderly Buddhist monk HACKED to death amid surge of violence in Muslim-majority country – The body of 75-year-old Mongsowe U Chak was discovered today at the isolated place of worship in the Naikkhangchhari village, about 211 miles southeast of Dhaka, where he lived alone. The past few months have seen a huge rise in the number of violent attacks in Bangladesh, where the majority of the population is Muslim. – Express

Two gay rights activists hacked to death in Bangladesh; Al-Qaeda affiliate claims responsibility for attack – Two people, including the editor of a magazine for the transgender community, have been hacked to death in the capital of Bangladesh. A third person, a security guard at the apartment building where the killings took place, was seriously wounded in Monday’s attack in Dhaka, in which six attackers murdered Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Tonoy. Mannan was the editor of Rupban, the only LGBT magazine in the country. – Aljazeera

In the United States, Hindu congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has started a video and petition campaign to help fight the rise of violent Jihad within the Islamic State of Bangladesh. Her video and petition highlights the ongoing religious cleansing of Hindus from Bangladesh, the decimation of the Hindu population from 18% in 1971 to less than 10% today, expulsions and land grabs, the rape and forced conversions of young Hindu women, and the ongoing attacks on Hindu places of worship. Please support Tulsi’s campaign to end Islamist violence in Bangladesh.

Transcript:

Aloha and Namaste. While we here in the United States may sometimes take our freedoms for granted, Hindus and other religious minorities in Bangladesh are living in perpetual terror. Forced conversions to Islam, rapes and abductions, extortions and land grabbing and forced expulsion, desecration and destruction of places of worship, are just a few of the types of violence that are currently being unleashed. The population of Hindus in Bangladesh has dwindled from 18% in 1971 to a meager 9.7% today. Accounting for the overall population growth during this time this is a net loss of about 53 million Hindus from Bangladesh. That’s close to the total population of a dozen European Union countries or that of more than fifteen U.S. States that has simply vanished from a tiny country about the size of Greece or the State of New York.

Compounding the problem is the rapid rise of violent jihadists in Bangladesh. We’ve seen in the news recently word of terrorist attacks, machete attacks and beheadings of Hindu priests, secularists, bloggers, and intellectuals. Yet there has been no real action taken by the Bangladesh government to quell this festering crisis.

We must stand together with the people of Bangladesh. Please sign this petition as we call on the Bangladesh government to take urgent action against the horrific oppression and terror that plagues religious minorities in Bangladesh every day.

NYC Bengali Hindus protest new violence against Hindus in Bangladesh

Fresh anti-Hindu violence has erupted in Bangladesh, this only a week after 15 Hindu Temples and 100’s of Hindu homes were set on fire by Islamic radicals. This week two more temples have been set ablaze along with several Hindu dwellings, causing Hindu families to flee their residences. The pogroms were sparked by a supposed facebook post which was described as being offensive to Islam.

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Despite often touting itself as a “secular democracy”, the state religion of Bangladesh is Islam and until relatively recently it was state policy to seize Hindu lands under a series of “Enemy Property Acts”, a policy which has only been partially rectified. Additionally, in the past year Bangladesh has become a growing haven for ISIS which has claimed responsibility for several terror attacks against non-Muslims within the nation.

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Due to the ongoing and prolonged violence against non-Muslims, many Bengali Hindus have immigrated to the United States, particularly to NYC. In light of the fact that their family members live under such difficult circumstances, the Bengali Hindus are known for being particularly vocal, bringing their grievances to the streets with large demonstrations.

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This week dozens of Bengali Hindu organizations, headed by the Hindu Council of North America, demonstrated in Jackson Heights, Queens to bring attention to the plight of Hindus in Bangladesh. The demonstrations coincide with the launch of a video and petition campaign put out by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, calling for the protection of Hindus and other non-Muslims within Bangladesh.

JFH brings Hindu Holidays Campaign to NYC Comptroller

Wednesday, Nov 2nd: JFH attended the NYC Comptroller, Scott Stringer’s Diwali party near City Hall. The opening prayer ceremony was conducted by Dr. Krishna Pratap Dixit, head priest at the Hindu Center in Flushing Queens. The function honored several other Desi organization such as the India Home, the Indo-Caribbean Alliance and the Sikh Coalition. The function was also attended by Dr. Neeta Jain who is the Democratic district leader for Assembly District 25 (Queens). 

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After the event, JFH members were able to briefly meet with both the Comptroller and Assembly woman Neeta Jain to advocate for the ongoing Hindu Holidays Campaign which seeks to ad Diwali and Holi to NYC and NJ school calendars. Comptroller Stringer said he agreed with the proposal and Dr. Neeta Jain said she would look into the question; they both took a flier regarding the issue.

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The Comptroller’s Diwali party comes on the heels of the Long Island Syosset school board’s decision to add Diwali to its school calendar. Last year, several Hindu organization petitioned the Mayor’s office to add Diwali to the NYC school calendars with large protests at City Hall.

De Blasio’s refusal to add Hindu holidays, while incorporating Muslim and Chinese holidays into school calendars, has raised contention with NYC Hindu voters. State Senator Leroy Comrie however has made it clear that he supports the addition of Hindu Holidays. The addition of Diwali and Holi into school calendars is certainly possible, Hindus simply need to keep up the pressure and continue to perk the ears of elected officials who are interested in keeping our vote.

USA congresswoman calls for protection of Bangladeshi Hindus

Saturday, Nov 5th, 2016

Anti-Hindu violence has reignited once again in the Islamic nation of Bangladesh. Over the past week, some 15 Hindu temples and over 100 Hindu homes were vandalized by crowds of radical Islamists; the attacks are supposedly in retaliation for an alleged facebook comment posted by a village Hindu, the comment was said to be insulting to Islam.


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These attacks are ending off a particularly violent year for the anti-Hindu elements of Bangladesh. Over the past year, there has been an ever increasing ISIS element within Bangladesh which has claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks on non-Muslims, including the murder of elderly Hindu and Buddhist priests, the hacking to death of a Hindu tailor and a Hindu teacher, the murder of two Christians outside a prayer meeting, and the targeted slaughter of two gay rights activists.

These most recent attacks have sparked protests both within and outside the nation of Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, Hindu youth activists have brought their message to the street with large demonstrations demanding that the Bangladeshi government take action to protect the religious minorities of the state. In Queens, New York, members of the Bangladeshi Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC) staged awareness demonstrations to highlight the plight of Hindus living in their homeland. Could it be possible that Bangladesh cannot uphold its secular values because Islam is the state religion

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In the United States, Hindu congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has started a video and petition campaign to help fight the rise of violent Jihad within the Islamic State of Bangladesh. Her video and petition highlights the ongoing religious cleansing of Hindus from Bangladesh, the decimation of the Hindu population from 18% in 1971 to less than 10% today, expulsions and land grabs, the rape and forced conversions of young Hindu women, and the ongoing attacks on Hindu places of worship. Please support Tulsi’s campaign to end Islamist violence in Bangladesh.

 

Transcript:

Aloha and Namaste. While we here in the United States may sometimes take our freedoms for granted, Hindus and other religious minorities in Bangladesh are living in perpetual terror. Forced conversions to Islam, rapes and abductions, extortions and land grabbing and forced expulsion, desecration and destruction of places of worship, are just a few of the types of violence that are currently being unleashed. The population of Hindus in Bangladesh has dwindled from 18% in 1971 to a meager 9.7% today. Accounting for the overall population growth during this time this is a net loss of about 53 million Hindus from Bangladesh. That’s close to the total population of a dozen European Union countries or that of more than fifteen U.S. States that has simply vanished from a tiny country about the size of Greece or the State of New York.

Compounding the problem is the rapid rise of violent jihadists in Bangladesh. We’ve seen in the news recently word of terrorist attacks, machete attacks and beheadings of Hindu priests, secularists, bloggers, and intellectuals. Yet there has been no real action taken by the Bangladesh government to quell this festering crisis.

We must stand together with the people of Bangladesh. Please sign this petition as we call on the Bangladesh government to take urgent action against the horrific oppression and terror that plagues religious minorities in Bangladesh every day.

Is Doniger’s student laying a trap for Hindus with “Uttara”?

Wendy Doniger is a controversial Professor of Religion at the University of Chicago; her area of focus is on Hinduism. Doniger’s greatest claim to fame is that in 2014 her book “The Hindus, An Alternative History” was taken out of circulation in India by the publisher (Penguin) after it was revealed that the book contained gross mistranslations of Sanskrit as well and many factual and historical errors.  She was also accused of overemphasizing the sex-positive aspects of Hinduism in what appeared to be a lewd and sullying manner. The book was not BANNED in India as many tried to imply; Penguin voluntarily withdrew the book from Indian markets, likely because they knew ensuing litigation would reveal the shoddy intellectual quality of the work and tarnish their brand. However, Doniger did gain international sympathy from the mainstream media who focused on some of the more emotional and volatile reactions to the book’s inaccuracies which Doniger’s proponents tried to paint as being fundamentalist.

Western academics of the ilk of Doniger are very much aware of the fact that due to centuries of cruel oppression and social demonization that there is a reactive streak in many Hindus, they know Hindus have a tendency to jump at the slightest provocation, and Doniger’s team may very well be looking to use that to their advantage.  The last time Doniger tried to use the reflexes of Hindus by insulting their injuries it blew up in her face, she became the subject of academic criticism and her reputation was tarnished.  Many aligned academics watched as this drama unfolded and perhaps realized that this time they needed to be a little more careful before provoking the wounded tiger of Hinduism for their own gains. One such person could be Arshia Sattar, Wendy Doniger’s PhD student.

Arshia Sattar
PhD in South Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago

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Arshia Sattar obtained her PhD in South Asian Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago in 1990, Wendy Doniger was her doctoral advisor. Sattar has recently published her new book “Uttara: The Book Of Answers” which seeks to give a feminist, anti-patriarchal perspective on a controversial addendum to the famous Ramayana of Valmiki. The cover of Sattar’s work could easily lead one to believe that she is seeking to raise ire rather than discussion. The artwork of the cover shows Sita (wife of Rama) being consumed by flames while accusatory hands point down at her. The infamous Doniger herself is quoted on the cover: “A terrific read and a revolutionary contribution to our understanding of the Valmiki Ramayana”. Sattar and Doniger know that not everyone in the world is a PhD, and we don’t all have the time to read their works, but what they do likely know is that to the casual observer this looks like an accusation against Hinduism. Namely, that the Ramayana encouraged the burning of women whose chastity was in question and so Hinduism encapsulates barbaric misogyny in its so-called “book of answers”. But maybe Sattar wants Hindus to react, maybe she wants us to lose our cool so that she can surreptitiously prove a point.

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A review of the book on Vagabomb states that Sattar turns the Uttara Kanda, the so-called last and seventh book of the Ramayana, on its head by providing a new and feminist ending. The Ramayana is a Hindu epic which follows the trials and tribulations of a hero named Rama as he travels to vanquish an evil king named Ravana who has kidnapped his wife Sita.  Left without any further explanation, the book review posted on Vagabomb would leave the naive reader to believe that the Ramayana undisputedly ends with the banishment of Rama’s wife Sita because the kingdom is gossiping that perhaps she could have lost her chastity while kidnapped. This is an inflammatory accusation which many nominal Hindus may not be able to quickly challenge on an intellectual level, and so it is possible some could resort to emotionalism in trying to defend their religion. Should some well meaning but unprepared Hindus try to defame the accusers without addressing the accusations, this could play into stereotypes and make it look like Hindus approve of or are trying to cover up for practices which would be viewed as extremely backward to the modern world, and maybe this is exactly what Sattar and her allies want.

Doniger and her like may have learned something from their affair in India with the retracting of Doniger’s book “The Hindus”… if you are going to garner public outrage, you better make sure you have your facts straight. It would seem that despite the incendiary cover art and snarky book reviews, Sattar has made sure that she presents a historically accurate analysis of the Uttara Kanda. In an article published by Sattar in the online zine Scroll India entitled “Why the Uttara Kanda changes the way the Ramayana should be read“, Sattar very concisely conveys the fact that the Uttara kanda where Sita is banished to the forest for presumed impurity is an ideological addition which was inserted some time later by completely different authors. According to Sattar’s analysis, Sita’s banishment was likely introduced by Vishnu sectarians trying to reduce Hindu pluralism into a more manageable and austere semi-monotheism. So even Sattar herself admits that the original Ramayana of Valmiki ended with the lasting love of Rama and Sita and that originally Sita was never banished as the later additions state.

But Sattar’s nuanced approach to the Uttara Kanda leads to many questions, such as if she knows that this version of the story is a later addition, why not make this the obvious topic of the book? Sattar had the option of showing her unbiased intellectual capacity, she could have used her privilege to bring Hinduism’s diversity and ideological fluidity to the forefront, but instead she chose to highlight what could be perceived by outsiders to be misogynistic caricatures of the extremely pluralistic and obviously changeable faith of Hinduism. Her writings would lead non-Hindus to believe that Hinduism needs some kind of feminist re-writing, that it cannot be accepted as it stands.  This is not only inaccurate but it is also malicious on the part of Sattar. Rather than react in any irate fashion to her depictions, perhaps it would be best to spread Sattar’s article as it makes all our points on the issue of the Uttara Kanda for us, that is was a sectarian and ideologically driven addition to the original text which was introduced a great time later from the original writing and by different authors. (SEE: “Why the Uttara Kanda changes the way the Ramayana should be read“).  And if Sattar is looking for a feminist interpretation of Hinduism, she need not invent one herself, she can kindly refer to Indrani’s hymn in the Rig Veda where the Queen of Heaven boldly proclaims herself the be the master of her husband and the ruler of the universe!
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RIG VEDA 10.159
Saci Paulomi.

1. YON Sun hath mounted up, and this my happy fate hath mounted high.
I knowing this, as conqueror have won my husband for mine own.
2 I am the banner and the head, a mighty arbitress am I:
I am victorious, and my Lord shall be submissive to my will.
3 My Sons are slayers of the foe, my Daughter is a ruling Queen:
I am victorious: o’er my Lord my song of triumph is supreme.
4 Oblation, that which Indra gave and thus grew glorious and most high,—
This have I offered, O ye Gods, and rid me of each rival wife.
5 Destroyer of the rival wife, Sole Spouse, victorious, conqueror,
The others’ glory have I seized as ’twere the wealth of weaker Dames.
6 I have subdued as conqueror these rivals, these my fellow-wives,
That I may hold imperial sway over this Hero and the folk.

USA Hindus protest murder of Pakistani Hindu teen at U.N.

SEE ALSO:
Hindu Refugee Camps & Pak Hindus Protest at UN

Aug 1st, 2016 – JFH along with the “Sindhi Academic & Cultural Society of North America” protested the latest targeted murder of a Hindu teen by Islamist mobs in Sindh province, Pakistan.

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In late July, Dewan Sateesh Kumar, 17, was shot dead and his friend Avinas was critically injured when a Muslim mob attacked the youths in a tea stall in the Gothki district. The murder was followed by attacks on Hindu owned shops.

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The anti-Hindu murder and accompanying violence was in response to a supposed desecration of a Quran.  Local Muslims accused a drug addict, Amar Lal, who had recently converted to Islam and was living in a Mosque, of burning pages of the Quran and leaving the book outdoors for others to observe.

SEE: Gulf News – Hindu youth killed, another injured in mob attack in Pakistan

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Pakistan is by its own constitutional definition an Islamic state.  According to the 2nd article of the Pakistani constitution, Islam is the state religion, further provisions state that the President of Pakistan must be a Muslim, and so the theocratic bias in favor of Islam and Muslims in Pakistan is obvious.

For the past 60+ years, Hindus have been experiencing a slow genocide and forced migration within Pakistan, religious cleansing along with exodus of the Hindu population has reduced the Hindu population from 22% in 1947 (time of partition) to less than 2% today.

SEE: Hudson Institute: Cleansing Pakistan of Minorities

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Every year, 100’s of young underage Hindu girls are kidnapped at gunpoint by Islamic gangs, forcibly converted to Islam, and married to Muslim men many times their age. These activities are sanctioned by the Islamic courts within Pakistan who refuse to return these kidnapping victims even when they are found and their underage status is verified.

SEE: Dawn: 1,000 minority girls forced in marriage every year: report

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Hindu youth who oppose Pakistan’s enforced state religion all to often go “missing” and are never seen again. Pakistan’s Islamic blasphemy laws make all religious minorities in Pakistan soft targets for the state’s wanton death penalty.

SEE: Guardian: Pakistan court sentences Christian man to death for blasphemy

The United Nations and the United States must take notice of the ongoing human rights violations against non-Muslims living in Pakistan and reconsider their support and aid to the Islamic Republic.

Big thanks to Subhash Chander for organizing the event! 

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Reinforcing and Fortifying Caribbean Hinduism

 While the entire world may see India as the cradle of Hinduism and a good share of what publicizes itself as Hinduism comes from whatever the media says about India, we in the Caribbean/West Indies especially Guyana, Trinidad and Suriname have forged our own direction for Hinduism. Our ancestors came from India, but every action taken by India Hindus no longer pertains to us. Yes it is true some traditions, ideas and off course the roots of the religion itself remains with us, but we have created our own path. To say we take all our cues from India is to underestimate the achievements and the progress the Indo-Caribbean diaspora has made in the past two centuries. There are many cultures, countries and their diaspora in the West who differ completely from their mother culture in the East. Can we say that Muslims in the West Indies are an exact replica of the ones in the Middle East?

      To say that the receding issues of the caste system, dowry and other social problems that had once crept into India ever pertained to us in the Caribbean is a joke at best. When was the last time people asked for a huge dowry to marry their sons and daughters in the Caribbean? When was the last time parents refused a marriage taking place over caste problems? Do any of us even know which caste we belong too? There are over 3000 so-called “castes” in India most of us are only aware of the Brahmins and it is a common joke in the temples/mandirs whether a pundit is a Brahmin or that you are a Brahmin because you’re a Maharaj. The idea that all of India’s fading social problems exist within our Caribbean Hindu society or that it is the norm is one being propagated by some of our Hindu “intellectuals”. Perhaps they can tell us when was the last time they attended a child marriage in Trinidad or Guyana. These things are not the norm!

      Now we do have other problems that can be addressed, however, other than that, to spread the idea that child abuse, rape and incest pertains to the Indian race in the West Indies is to misinform the entire world about who we are. These things again are not the norm. There is child marriage in America, is this the norm? There is incest in America, is this the norm? Now marrying your cousin in some countries, that is the norm, but not for us. Hindus would consider that disgusting. If one is referring to reforming how Hinduism is taught in the West Indies in general, yes it should be done, but it has to be about reforms that are relevant to us and our social issues. We cannot correct our problems by using a sensationalized version of India’s data sheet.

     I do believe Hindus do not have a proper education in Hinduism. Not only do they not understand the Shastras, they do not have a sound education in our history and our social issues. Hindu children are not properly educated form young on the basics, at least, the principles, core beliefs, rituals, scriptures and their meaning. I believe deep inside of every Hindu they may “understand” on some subconscious level what their ancestors conveyed to them, they may understand the liberal, all-encompassing and non-exclusive nature of Hinduism, but if they are not able to articulate these ideas properly missionaries, politics and other tactics will leave us in shambles eventually.

    Since other religions practically have a two thousand year head start on us and we need to catch up and we need to do it fast. This means we have to stretch our hands and resources far and wide, and we must do them all at once. Simply educating Hindus is not going to work. We need our voices and our issues to be heard. We need to come together and hold many conferences. We need to challenge missionary work and the right of Hinduism to exist. Hindus are like a school of fish, even if we are educated we can maneuver and swim in the other direction, but if we don’t learn to stand and defend our position sooner or later another net will be cast and it is we who will suffer. When the historic Temple by the Sea was vandalized in Trinidad did we come out in numbers to protest? No. When Dr. Ravi Maharaj, a Hindu, was murdered in Trinidad and his killers plainly mentioned they did it because he was an “Idol Worshipper” and it was their duty to do so, did anyone make the slightest reaction? No. But every Hindu on Facebook had something to condemn Sat Maharaj on his recent comments about letting Hindus work their own issues without outside intervention. Therefore the world continues to see us as easy prey and cowards! This is what I mean by politicizing Hinduism. We need to be loud or any struggle for change will be a farce. However, Hindus feel that by raising their voices they will be called racists and bigots. Yes, Hindus are afraid of any type of confrontation. We think that by keeping quiet we will be left alone, but we are wrong. This is the easiest way to go, silently! Others say Hinduism is all-encompassing and within it “politics is already subsumed” However, so is knowledge itself, but do Hindus display it? No. Just because something is assumed to be there does not mean it is being practiced. The Dhanurveda is our Veda based on the art of war and politics, how many of us have read it or are aware of it? Astrophysics exists, are we all aware of its basic principles? Their logic does not hold.

      Hindus are afraid, we have been taught to be afraid and we are continuously being preached to about peace and understanding. This “peace” is always at the expense of Hindus. Why is it Hindus cannot speak up when we were denied a TV station in Trinidad? I will say it loud and plain, this is racism towards Indians and Hindus since Hinduism is seen as the ultimate “Indianism.” Today Muslims have more rights than anyone else in the West because of their continuous involvement in politics. Where are the Hindu politicians of America? Are they meditating about the politics subsumed in Hinduism? How Hindus appear to the world and the fate of this religion will depend on their political development whether in the West Indies or India. Case in point, as Hindus and Indians gained political power in Trinidad suddenly Hindu schools began to spring up in masses from mud huts to concrete buildings. Hindu issues are a product of their lack of political progress and strong mentality to control their own destiny. We are always depending on others or waiting for someone to give us the thumbs up. Muslims, Christians and converted Hindus are more likely to proudly speak on behalf of their religion than Hindus. That comes from fear of being victimized as a Hindu.

     Trying to eradicate Hindu social issues is not the only problem. Many of these problems do not even stem from Hinduism itself, but from Western and Islamic colonial subjugation and deliberate manipulation of the Hindu systems in order to wipe out the religion. According to Thomas Babington Macaulay, he wanted to make Hindus feel their religion was inferior and they did this by giving them a British education, filled with false histories and commentary about Hinduism from its inception to its heroes, all fabricated in a way so they will become, “a truly dominated nation,” as he clearly stated to British Parliament. Hinduism is not wiped out yet, but the other sides have succeeded many times over. Even the educated Hindu who wants to reform Hinduism thinks that caste, dowry and child marriage are products of Hinduism. Our original system called varna was manipulated to mimic the backward peasant-surf system of the Europeans. Where was the child marriage before Hinduism was adulterated? Hinduism speaks of Rama going into the forest for his period of education and recommends marriage after 25 years of age. Child marriage came into the equation when desperate Hindus found the only way to save their daughters and keep Hinduism intact was to marry them off young before they were abducted during Islamic rule. Ask the suffering Hindu Pakistanis today, history is repeating itself in front of our eyes. They say they have no choice, but to marry their children young because this means less of a chance they will be abducted and forcefully converted.

    Anyone, even with the best intentions, preaching that caste, child marriage and certain other issues stem from Hinduism is repeating a well-constructed Western version of Hinduism. It is the blame and shame game. These persons are also a product of the Western biased colonial version of Hinduism still being taught in the west and even to Hindus in India. They are charvaka Hindus (foreign-educated) even if they do not know it. The idea that our religion is so damaged and flawed was purposefully put there to shame us when it was willfully manipulated. However, yoga, karma, dharma, Ayurveda, basically all the good things are conveniently not Hindu, but some invading “Aryans”, if such a thing existed, gave it to us. Our pundits repeatedly tell the young congregation these practices belong to the world even if it is Hindu. They are sending our future generations out to battle with no weapons for self-defense when they keep preaching this poison. Apparently nothing except negativity is Hindu which leaves the concept in the Hindu mind, why be Hindu? While I do believe West Indians are generally not so educated in Hinduism in the sense they cannot articulate, give definitions or provide a formal discourse on it, there are many who can. Again, those who are educated need to speak up, they need to come forward and not be afraid. We are looking down the barrel of a gun.

     Before we take up any kind of action to protect and propagate our Dharma we need deep self-introspection into our priorities and our course of action. We need to ask who are our enemies? What do we need to do to bring respect to Dharma and protect the Hindu community? What is the exact course of action? What has worked for others that we can utilize? Fortunately, unlike India we are not weighed down by centuries of maladapted and foreign manipulated social customs. Hinduism does not need any reformation, but Hindus need reformation in their thinking. What Hinduism does need is a little fortifying and reinforcement. I am not limited to simply my writing. My protests, clubs, the organizations I support and my very mannerisms reflect my Indianisms and my commitment to Hinduism.

Satya Sanatan Dharma ki Jai!

Vassan Ramracha.