December 22, 2014

RSS ‘expert’ trains DU students in Northeast’s Hindu past as part of orientation for Gyanodaya Express (report in Indian Express

Indian Express

RSS ‘expert’ trains DU students in Northeast’s Hindu past

The train has been to Maharashtra and Rajasthan in the past. (Source: Express archive) The train has been to Maharashtra and Rajasthan in the past. (Source: Express archive)
By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Posted: December 22, 2014 2:21 am

On December 7, two weeks before flagging off of Delhi University’s annual “train of learning”, the Gyanodaya Express, students received orientation from university vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh, dean of colleges Malashri Lal, director of south campus Umesh Rai, a professor from the Northeast and RSS joint general secretary Krishna Gopal.

In the lecture delivered to a packed audience of students, Gopal spoke extensively on the topic of the Indian “motherland” and its links to the Northeast, focusing on Hindu gods and Hindu freedom fighters, one of who “fought against conversion of Hindus to Christianity”.

University officials said the choice of destination — the Northeastern states — was influenced by a letter from the Human Resource Ministry and the prime minister’s message seeking a new connection with the Northeast. But the invitation to RSS’s Gopal was on account of him being an “expert in matters of the Northeast”.

Gopal, who comes from Mathura, oversaw RSS work in Assam and Mizoram as regional organiser for about nine years before being appointed as RSS joint general secretary earlier this year. Sources in the university told Newsline that since his appointment, Gopal has delivered four such lectures in different colleges and institutes.

Confirming that the official did indeed deliver the lectures, a senior university official said, “We invited him because he is an expert in matters of the Northeast. On December 7, he talked about how all Indian states are part of one motherland and how cultural linkages are strengthened by blood relations.”

Students at the pre-trip lectures also spoke about the special emphasis given to visiting temples wherever they go. “We have been asked to visit as many temples as possible,” Rinki Sinha, a second-year student of Kalindi College, said. For example, students visiting Assam will go to Kamakhya temple in Guwahati, Umanand Temple Island, Shiva temple at Barpeta Satra, the student added.

According to the travelling students, RSS’s Gopal spoke extensively on India’s cultural ties to Northeast. “He said Lord Krishna’s wife Rukmani belonged to an Arunachal tribe. And that Brahmaputra was created by Brahma to solve a tiff between Krishna and Shiva,” Santosh, a student from ARSD College who attended the lecture, said.

“Then there was the story of the valiant Naga woman freedom fighter, Rani Gaidinliu, who fought against conversion of Hindus to Christianity,” Gopal is reported to have said in a lecture. The RSS had recently demanded national honour for Gaidinliu on her hundredth birth anniversary this year.

Officials said the decision to go to the Northeast was inspired by the PM’s wishes. “We had received a message from the ministry (of HRD) to focus on the Northeast as part of the PM’s overall policy to connect with the Northeast,” Professor Chandreshekhar, who is responsible for organising the trip, told Newsline.

Around 600 students from different colleges of the university began the train journey on Thursday that will end on December 29. The project selection committee has 56 projects in all. Apart from projects to track roots of the region, study of history, myths and folklore have also been given importance.

The Gyanodaya project is an initiative of Dinesh Singh. In the five years it has been running, the train has travelled to Punjab, Maharashtra-Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

--See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/rss-expert-trains-du-students-in-northeasts-hindu-past/99/

India: Hurt Sentiment invokes by Sikh groups - they seek ban on Gurmeet Ram Rahim's Film Messenger of God

read original here: http://epaper.mailtoday.in/400910/mt/Mail-Today-December-22-2014#page/18/1

India: Communal Tension Grips UP (Mail Today, 22 Dec 2014)

read original at: http://epaper.mailtoday.in/400910/mt/Mail-Today-December-22-2014#page/15/1

December 21, 2014

India: The saffron juggernaut and bulldozing manoeuvres

Daily News and Analysis

The saffron juggernaut and bulldozing manoeuvres
Friday, 19 December 2014 - 5:00am IST Updated: Thursday, 18 December 2014 - 8:35pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

by Gowri Ramnarayan

In a delightful Walt Disney fantasy film, we see a kitchen cluttered and clogged — a monumental mess. The fairy godmother waves her wand nonchalantly. Hey presto, every single thing instantly turns sparkling clean, and zooms back to its allotted place.

Indians are practical. When Narendra Modi assumed charge as Prime Minister, and touched the steps of the Parliament in a grandiloquent gesture, all the hype and euphoria could not dupe us into believing that every wrong would be righted in the blink of an eye. However, mesmerised by Modi’s development mantra, we said, let us give the new government a chance. After all, it has the majority to make things move at last. Even the most sceptical among us felt some stirrings of hope. And those who had raged about Modi’s silence over the post-Godhra massacre, tried to “console” themselves by recalling that opposition parties were equally guilty of turning a blind eye to pogroms.

The new PM has proved himself a flamboyant showman, spellbinding demagogue, nifty sloganeer. But is he really in control? Can he make his incontinent partymen toe the line?

To a lay citizen like me, with little grasp of politics/economics, prices of everyday commodities are a commonsensical means of judging whether things are going right or wrong. But one thing I know for sure. Any real development in a polyglot nation like ours demands some degree of tolerant, stabilised co-existence.

But every day, I see words and actions that divide and discriminate. Since the saffron juggernaut is a stranger to subtlety, these bulldozing manoeuvres are as clumsy as they are obvious.

Take the recent order, “Keep schools open on Christmas day — hold quiz, elocution, essay contests!” and its partial retraction. Before that a Sadhvi somebody declaims in Parliament — gloatingly — that those who are not Ram’s children are bastards. Yogi Adityanath spews venom on non –Hindus. The love jihad nonsense creates its own ruckus. And why unnecessarily antagonise so many by thrusting Sanskrit down everybody’s gullet? I am disquieted by the political intent even as I welcome the move to get the Kashmiri Pandits home.

The conversion programmes don’t bother me. Every religion does it. Anyway, those who convert for material advantages may eventually revert to their creed. But I will certainly ask: since Hinduism is not a proselytising creed, nor accountable to a central regulatory body like the church, or a single holy book like the Koran, how does any politically-driven fringe group have the legitimacy to speak or act for Hinduism? I resent most the Bhagavad Gita being politicised.

And please tell me — if you hail Nathuram Godse as a patriot, are you not supporting terrorism? Are you not trying to silence all that is sane, secular, inclusive, progressive and enlightened? When some hidebound politician insists on a dress code for women, isn’t he opposing individual freedom and constitutional rights?

Well, through this stench and miasma, we saw some wholesome light in the PM’s progressive, pro-peace, pro-development assertions, invoking Mahatma Gandhi’s name along the way. We thought that he would condemn the regressive speeches made by the members of his party, and uphold secularism, if not as an ideology, at least as a governance strategy, a prerequisite for his development plans.

We needed a Subramanian Swamy on a TV channel to set us right. He asked, approvingly, “Why do you say these pro-Hindutva voices are not under his control? Sure, development is on the BJP agenda, but, didn’t Narendra Modi’s ideologies develop in the RSS camp? How can he not share the RSS vision?”

A blinding truth?

The author is a playwright, theatre director, musician and journalist, writing on the performing arts, cinema and literature

India: Some Hindutva groups boycott Aamir Khan’s 'PK'

Daily News and Analysis

Fringe Hindutva groups boycott Aamir Khan’s 'PK'
Sunday, 21 December 2014 | Agency: Bollywoodlife.com

[by] Shrishti Dixit

Some religious groups are blaming Aamir’s film of propagating Love Jihad

Aamir Khan and Anushka Sharma starrer PK is doing well at the Box office. But a controversy surrounding the plot of the film has erupted and it might cost the movie some viewers. Some staunch Hindu groups have come out in protest, asking the Hindu audience to ban PK because it promotes Love Jihad and mocks religious sentiments of Hindus.

The film has a love track between Anushka Sharma and Sushant Singh Rajput. Sushant plays a Pakistani boy while Anushka plays a Hindu girl. At the start, the lovers separate due to misunderstanding and family pressure, but towards they end they get back together. The Hindutva organisations are calling this romantic angle a concealed endorsement of Love Jihad.

Another bone of contention these religious groups have with the film is its portrayal of God men and the Hindu religion as a God-fearing and not a God-loving one. These organisations passed derogatory remarks about how Aamir despite having married a Hindu, never dared to target Islam in the way he has attacked Hinduism.

#BoycottPK has been trending on Twitter for a while. Some fanatics have also tweeted derogatory remarks about Rajkumar Hirani and Aamir Khan.

We think that these accusations made on Aamir’s film are rather ridiculous. The criticism of blind faith and hypocritical God-men spanned across religions and it wasn’t just targeted at Hindus. To be honest, it is quite stupid to say that a Rajkumar Hirani film, could propagate negativity. We mean look at Munnabhai MBBS and 3 Idiots.

We leave it for you guys to decide, tell us if you think boycotting PK is justified.

India: Risk for artwork at American Centre following objections over depiction of Hindu Gods in a artwork


Gerbong Artwork
Artwork Daily

Row over design during American Centre

An art exhibition, patrician “W.A.R (Women, Art, Resistance)”, that was on arrangement for dual weeks during a American Centre here, was on Saturday in risk of being taken down betimes following objections over depiction of Hindu Gods in a artwork.

It is accepted that member from a Union Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) contacted tip officials in a American mission, seeking that a muster be taken down. The exhibition, that went on arrangement on Dec 5, is to finish on Sunday.

Despite several attempts by The Hindu to hit officials, a MEA refused to comment. However, an central in a press bureau of a American Centre pronounced it was “not suitable for them to criticism on a issue”.

“The American Centre supposing space for a exhibit, only like we do for other exhibitions,” pronounced a official.

A design of one of a artworks on display, “HariHara” by Balbir Krishan, was circulated on Twitter on Friday. It sparked a discuss among visitors to a muster and Twitter users, with some labelling it as “insult to Hindu religion” and “denigrating Indian sensibilities”.

Responding to this, WAR muster curator Myna Mukherjee said: “The Twitter sequence unequivocally does expostulate home how distant a nation has come from a physical and plural roots, and how many belligerent fundamentalists and right-wingers have covered. Shameful and definitely sad,” she said.

“Needless to contend — a uncover will not be brought down one notation before a scheduled time.”

Talking to The Hindu about a specific artwork, she pronounced a square paid reverence to a comparison and gender fluidity that exists in Indian mythology. “It is formed on a story of Lord Ayyappa, one of a many renouned deities in South India, and a son of Hari [Vishnu in his Mohini avatar] and Hara [Shiva] called HariHara,” she added.

Interview with First Post: Godse was a 'martyr' and 'patriot' / Mahasabha hits out at BJP for delay in installing Godse busts - report in The Hindu

Hindu Mahasabha head speaks to FP: Godse was a 'martyr' and 'patriot'

New Delhi: Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM), a far-right Hindu nationalist outfit has been at the centre of controversy for raking up the issue of Nathuram Godse, the man who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi. The organisation that claims its origin to Hindu Maha Sabha (1926) wants to resurrect Godse and make present-day India aware of his contribution and "the real cause" that led to Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination on 30 January, 1948. The 45-year old Chander Prakash Kaushik, all-India president of ABHM speaks to Firstpost on Godse, reconversion, Hindu-Rashtra, etc
Does the Hindu Mahasabha want Nathuram Godse to be seen as a national icon?
Yes. We’ve written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh to install the statues of Nathuram Godse. If we can have a road in the name of the atrocious Mughal ruler Aurangazeb, why can’t we have one on Godse? If the government refuses, we’ll install Godse’s busts in all our offices in the state headquarters across the country. We’re also planning to release a film on patriot Nathuram Godse on 30 January, next year.
Don’t you think invoking Gandhi’s assassin is akin to blasphemy in our country?
We’re not speaking against Gandhi. We’re highlighting the sacrifice and contribution of Godse, who was projected as a ‘killer and a villain’ by the Congress, the party that relegated several of our freedom fighters into oblivion. Intentionally, a negative image was created against Godse by the then government. He was a patriot, freedom fighter, an editor, and not a criminal. He’s a martyr and we want the people of this nation to know the truth that compelled Nathuram Godse to assassinate Gandhi. Let me remind, the former Chief Justice of Punjab, GD Khosla, who heard Godse’s appeal and sent him to the gallows, mentioned in his book that the people had a strong sentiment in favour of Godse and if public had been the jury, he would have been a free man.
Nathu Ram Godse (bottom right of the picture) on trial for Gandhiji's murder. Getty Images
Nathu Ram Godse (bottom right of the picture) on trial for Gandhiji's murder. Getty Images
What's your view on the reconversion or ‘Ghar vapsi’ of Muslims and Christians?
The issue of reconversion doesn’t arise. In India, there’s no original Muslim. If one tracks their genealogy, one will find that they have the same ‘gotras’ (clan or patriline) as we Hindus have. It shows they were originally Hindus. Take the case of Congress leader Ahmed Patel. Does an original Muslim suffix ‘Patel’ to his name, which reflects a Hindu caste? Unfortunately, there a few politicians, who have been politicising this issue for quite some time.
Do you agree that reconversions are done forcibly?
This is a rumour spread by the politicians. ABHM never converts anyone forcefully. We give people Gita, Quran and other religious scriptures to read, and they take the final call. Hinduism is a ‘Sanatan Dharma’, an eternal religion’, unlike Islam or Christianity, which is a sect. Hindus never forced anyone to get converted into Hindu fold. And, no one can prevent a Muslim who wants to get reconverted into a Hindu. We explain them the difference between the two religions – the good and the bad. Everywhere, we see in the name of ‘Holy Jihad’, innocents are being killed irrespective of their religion and caste. Even, children are not spared. It’s the Muslims and the Christians who forcefully converted the Hindus in our country.
Have you set any target and deadline to reconvert Muslims and Christians into Hindus in India?
We have no target or mission of any kind. It was Dharm Jagran Samiti that announced a target of making India a Hindu Rashtra by 2021 through reconversion, and we don’t have anything to do with them.
Do you think that those who get reconverted get their due in the mainstream Hindu society?
If it’s not so, it’s due to the government and its policies that reconverted Hindus are denied acceptability. But, during conversion, ‘Shuddhikaran’ (purification) is done and the person is taken into a ‘gotra’.
Why is the intellectual class vehemently opposed to the activities of Hindu groups?
It’s due to the mentality developed over the last 65 years under the Congress regime, which always made a Hindu feel alienated in his own country. It’s the politicians who made it so. As a result, often an Indian shy away from calling India, a ‘Hindu Nation’.
Under the two-nation theory, the Partition took place and Pakistan was formed as a separate country for the Muslims. Don’t you think we are headed the same way?
This will never happen in India, because this country accepted everyone irrespective of religion, caste or origin. So, is with Hinduism, which is an all encompassing religion and has accepted every faith and belief. It’s these politicians who decided everything in the Parliament and thrust upon the people of this country. Has the public ever been asked about its choice? India has always been a Hindu nation, and it continues to be so. No compromise on this issue will be accepted. Let’s not forget it was due to Gandhi that the Partition took place and he asked the then Indian government to pay Rs 55 crore to Pakistan as compensation. Why so? Gandhi’s presence led to several communal riots like in Noakhali, where thousands of Hindus were massacred, but he went on to support Muslims. He recited Quran inside a Dalit temple, but did he recite Bhagwad Gita inside a mosque or church? Why should Gandhi be called – Rashtrapita (Father of the nation)?
Is the Bharatiya Janata Party going to support you on the issues of Godse and reconversion?
Neither we’re a political party, nor contesting any election. We don’t need any support from any political party. The unfortunate part of BJP is that its Lok Sabha MP, Sakshi Maharaj hailed Godse, but after succumbing to pressure from “secularists” took a U-turn. Even, the BJP used Syama Prasad Mookerji as party’s slogan (Jahan hue balidaan Mookerjee, woh Kashmir hamara hai), when it came to Kashmir; but how many in the party know him or recognise his contribution.
Will you take up the issue of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, who is said to have not got his due?
This issue hasn’t come up yet, because Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee was already the president of Hindu Mahasabha, who later moved out and formed a new political party -- Jan Sangh, a predecessor of today’s BJP.

o o o

The Hindu

Mahasabha hits out at BJP for delay in installing Godse busts

Jatin Anand

Centre has forgotten its ideological roots: Kaushik

Chandra Prakash Kaushik, national president of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, with the bust of Nathuram Godse at the office in Central Delhi’s Mandir Marg on Saturday. —Photo: V. Sudershan
Chandra Prakash Kaushik, national president of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, with the bust of Nathuram Godse at the office in Central Delhi’s Mandir Marg on Saturday. —Photo: V. Sudershan
The Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha on Saturday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of ‘dilly-dallying on its nod’ to install busts of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse in public places, and claimed that the Central government had ‘forgotten its ideological roots’.
Chandra Prakash Kaushik, the Mahasabha’s national president, said the stance of several BJP leaders on the issue was ‘far from the basic tenets of the very plank of Hindutva’ that had propelled them to power in the first place, and ‘abandoning the organisation in whose home the first shakha of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh took root’.
“Ever since the issue (of prominently installing busts of Godse in public places) found place in national debates through the media, the BJP has sought to distance itself from both him and us – because it is afraid of losing electoral ground,” Mr. Kaushik told The Hindu .
“They can say whatever they want to, but the truth is that they didn’t win the Lok Sabha elections on the issue of development, but because they claimed they espoused the ideology of Hindutva. Now, they are abandoning the same ideology because they want to project a ‘good public image’. So, essentially, there seems to be no difference between the BJP and the Indian National Congress,” Mr. Kaushik said. BJP MP from Unnao Sakshi Maharaj had earlier sparked a controversy by calling Mr. Godse ‘a patriot’ but had later detracted.
According to Mr. Kaushik, the Sabha would seek the installation of porcelain Godse busts at public parks, markets and prominent junctions at ‘five to six metropolitan Indian cities’ failing which these would be installed at the Sabha’s offices in these cities.
The Mahasabha is yet to formally write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his nod to install busts of Godse – one of which has already been procured and is on display at their office in Central Delhi’s Mandir Marg.
Mr. Kaushik attributed the delay to ‘technical issues’ but promised that they would do so by Monday. “We are in the process of procuring a very important judgment, delivered to lift a ban on Godse’s prolific work on the reasons detailing his decision to assassinate Gandhi in 1971, which we will refer to in our letter. This will prove that the law of the land had, several decades ago, permitted the propagation of his ideas in the interests of the public; everyone deserves to know the truth,” Mr. Kaushik said.