Posts Tagged ‘VHP’

Pity the Brahmins

January 18, 2008

A signal achievement of the Indian elite in recent years has been to take caste, give it a fresh coat of paint, and repackage it as a struggle for equality.

The agitations in the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and other such institutions were fine examples of this. Casteism is no longer in defensive denial the way it once was. (”Oh, caste? That was 50 years ago, now it barely exists.”) Today, it asserts that caste is killing the nation–but its victims are the upper castes. And the villains are the lower orders who crowd them out of the seats and jobs long held by those with merit in their genes.

This allows for a happy situation. You can practise casteism of a visceral kind–and feel noble about it. You are, after all, standing up for equal rights, calling for a caste-free society. Truth and justice are on your side. More importantly, so are the media.

Remember how the AIIMS agitation was covered?

(more…)

Advertisements

An open letter to Malaysian Indians

December 6, 2007

A family mourning death of a child on the street in Triplicane area in Chennai. The family is homeless, the live on the sidewalk. There were heavy rains for several days, it was relatively cold, the child got serious fever and died soon © Maciej Dakowicz www.flickr.comTo begin with, this picture is not from Malaysia. It is from Chennai, the capital city of southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. According to flickr, this photo is part of their most interesting 50 sets. It says a lot about the pain, and struggle of Dalit community in India, above all in Tamil Nadu.

Died the night before: A family mourning death of a child on the street in Triplicane area in Chennai. The family is homeless, the live on the sidewalk. There were heavy rains for several days, it was relatively cold, the child got serious fever and died soon. You can see it @ flickr.com © Maciej Dakowicz.

I stand against any discrimination of any human being in any parts of the world. But when it comes to HINDRAF outrage in Malaysia there are some questions one should ask to Hindu Rights Action Force officials. As an Indian, I believe ethnic Indians in Malaysia; still enjoy more rights than Indian citizens who is living in their own country. Since the living standards of Malaysia are far higher than India, I also agree that Hindus in Malaysia need a better deal. As a community with migrant history, majority of Malaysian Indians are Hindus while it also include a minuscule of Muslim, Christian and Sikh presence. The so called “Indian” heritage in Malaysia cannot be limited with Hindu minority in Malaysia.

Unlike Malaysia, discrimination against Indian citizens in India has a multitude of factors. One is the religion and the other is caste factor.

In India, religious discrimination is worst against Muslims followed by Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, and Jainism. The traces of Hindu caste system can be visible among India’s minority communities too. Due to Hindutva’s burgeoning alliance with Zionism, Jews are not attacked or either they are helped to migrate to their dreamland, Israel. Hindutva patriots will never question patriotism of Indian Jews. In 2005, Business Week reported that India became Israel’s largest importer of weapons, accounting for about half of the $3.6 billion worth of weapons exported by the Jewish state.

But in terms of Caste discrimination, it totally alienate lower caste Hindus, Dalits and Tribal or aborigines, who together contribute the largest segment of Hindu religion. Caste system is a part of a Hindu belief that people inherit their stations in life based on the sins and good deeds of past lives.

For the past 60 years the higher caste Hindu elite, effectively ruling this nation under the false cover of democratically elected government. Since majority of Indians are illiterate, it is easy to manipulate their votes offering food kits, liquor, subsidies, and even free Television!

Crime-politics nexus also influences the democracy in India. Most of the ministers in elected democratic governments are from criminal background. They are entering into the political arena, influencing the decision-making at the highest level in their own favor and thereby increasing corruption through patron-client relationship. The reason for this pervasive political corruption, in spite of six decades of democracy, is because we, in India, do not elect representatives but patrons. The rich and the avaricious as well as the poor and the stricken, vote on this principle. Lack of transparency within the bureaucracy is also another important factor responsible for promoting public corruption.

Any attempts from the state to introduce an affirmative action plan to help the down trodden of India, primarily defeated by upper caste student agitations in the campus. In a country where more than 92 % children cannot progress beyond secondary school, a support base for the backward communities in campus is beyond imagination. Furthermore, Indian judiciary is loaded with upper caste judges and they will spoils any affirmative action of the state by restricting reservation quota.

On the other hand, India contributed about $14.5 billion to the US economy through the expenditure on tuition and living expenses by sending the students to US. As a country, it dominated with one in seven (14.4 percent) of the total of 582,984 international students. [The Open Doors 2007, US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Report] In the same period, Australia earned about 500 million Australian dollars from the export of educational services to India. Please note that Government of India’s spending on education is lesser than one-fifth of its defense budget!

The dominant group of Hindu nationalists come from the three upper castes ( Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Vaishyas ) that constitute only 10 per cent of the total Indian population. But, they claim perhaps 80 % of the jobs in the new economy, in sectors such as software, biotechnology, and hotel management. Thus, Hindutva storm troopers promote enormous blogs, web campaigns and forums to control the media to implement their own political will. India’s fake super power status is also something created by this elite group of Hindu caste who don’t want to care the alienated Hindu classes and minorities.

Let us begin with the educational statistics from Tamil Nadu State itself.

Out of 427 faculties available in Chennai IITs (Tamil Nadu) 400 are from Brahmin caste and only 4 of them are Dalit. Every year, Government of India spend a whopping amount of $ 2000 million for the expenses of IITs (Bombay, Delhi, Gawhati, Kanpur, Kharaghpur, and Madras). But, Indian IITs function as a free educational institute dedicated to the upper class Hindus. Even though IITs are proclaimed as institutions with national importance, 96% of the IIT graduates usually migrate to west or find a job with a multinational corporate company.

According to the Indian census of 2001, the total population was 1.028 billion. Hindus numbered 827 million or 80.5 %. About 25 per cent (24 million) of those Hindus are belonging to Scheduled Castes and Tribes. About 40 per cent (400 million) are “Other Backward Castes”.Even though, 15 per cent are belonging to Hindu upper castes, they inherited civil service, economy and active politics. And thus the caste system virtually leaves lower caste Hindus in India to an oppressed minority.

Udit Raj, the prominent Dalit intellectual from India, recalls caste issues in Malaysia in his book,

“Caste Hindus can give up anything, including their life, but caste attitude. In 1998, when I was invited to attend the first Dalit International Convention at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, it was unbelievable at first sight, but became a reality, when I attended. About 150 years back, British took Indians to Malaysia as labourers and assistants and eventually Indians made their homes there. More than one million Hindus are living there, but are still maintaining their caste identity. Dalits living in Malaysia have lots of grievances, which is not a contribution of the concerned soil, but virus went with them. So far, no medicine has been manufactured that can kill the caste virus” Dalit & Religious Freedom, 2005“, chapter 38.

Considering the media manipulation techniques, time line and nature of the Hindu outrage in Malaysia, there are many reasons to believe that HINDRAF and Uthay Kumar is closely associated with RSS, a Hindu Taliban who already spoiled India’s social fabric with fascist propaganda and communal riots. Watch utube.pngHindutva role in Communal Riots

Mr. P. Waytha Moorthy, the Chairman of Hindu Right Action Force, in fact is the Malaysian representative of global ‘Hindutva’ brother hood called Vishva Hindu Parishat. He also work with Hindu charity institutions like Hindu America Foundation and UK based SEWA International , both of them are in control of their parent demon, RSS . Both of these charity organizations were involved in funding anti minority riots in India. Hiring such a hate monger and ardent admirer of Aryan Hindu supremacy to solve issues of Malaysian Tamils will back fire soon. Tamil values are much closer to Dravidian culture and it will never tolerate the Aryan ideas of racial purity and dictatorship of Brahmins.

Instead, tamil Hindus should find ways for peaceful dialogue with Malay organizations and concentrate more of their energy for caste and poverty eradication. The thoughts of Thanthai Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy should be their guide light, than the false propaganda war initiated by Hindutva and its militant mafia gang, RSS.

Do you know why? RSS is the Hindu-supremacist organization that has fueled a rise in anti-Dalit, anti-Muslim, anti-Christian and anti-Sikh violence. The former ruling party, the BJP is the political arm of the RSS and helped fascism to spread across civil, judiciary, defence and educational streams of the society. According to National Crime Records Bureau, there was 1822602 riots in 2005 alone. [ Incidence Of Cognizable Crimes (IPC) Under Different Crime Heads, concluded, Page 2] NCRB website

Under India’s notorious caste system, upper caste Hindus inherited key positions and controls all the governmental branches. Violence against victims largely goes unpunished due to the support of this upper caste crooks.

The man, who killed Mahatma Gandhi in January 1948 for seeking conciliation with Minorities Nathuram Vinayak Godse, was a Brahmin and at one time belonged to the RSS. That’s part of the Sangh’s legacy. And it has not only spawned the VHP, but numerous other radical organizations backing the RSS, notably the Shiv Sena (Shiva’s Army) party of Bal Thackeray, a self-declared Hitler fan.”

Since Indian community issues in Malaysia is considered as a ‘Minority vs majority‘ issue, let us also compare the statistics of Indian Muslims, in India it self. Unlike Malaysian Hindus, Indian Muslims have not arrived from outside.

Recently, Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee report admitted that 138 Million Muslims across India are severely under-represented in government employment, including Public Sector Units. Ironically, West Bengal, a communist ruled state reported 0 (zero) percent of Muslims in higher positions in its PSUs! It has found that the share of Muslims in government jobs and in the lower judiciary in any state simply does not come anywhere close to their population share. The only place where Muslims can claim a share in proportion to their population is in prison! (Muslims convicts in India is 19.1%, while the number of under trials is 22.5%, which exceed their population ratio) . A note sent on January 9 by the army to the defence ministry in 2004 says that only 29,093 Muslims among a total of 1.1 million personnel — a ratio of 2.6 %, which compares poorly with the Muslims’ 13 % share in the Indian population. Officially, Indian Army don’t allow head count based on religion.

A Muslim child attends school for three years and four months, compared to the national average of four years. Less than two percent of the students at the elite Indian Institutes of Technology comprise of the Muslim community.

Please note that, Malaysian Indians are not the original inhabitants of the country; but Indian Muslims are from the same racial and ethnic groups as their compatriots. And still they face discrimination in the world’s largest democracy called India. (Ref. Indian Express, The Missing Muslims)

81 % Malaysia’s ethnic Indians are mostly from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, an impoverished land lagging with illiteracy and feudalism fueled by Delhi’s north favored rule. The traditional Hindu caste system compelled caste minorities including Dalits to move even to Sri Lanka. But unfortunately, this Tamils are currently in extreme war with their own hosts, Sinhalese!

Does Tamil community in Malaysia want to do the same rebellion to their own host, the Malays?

The Tribune News paper has a story about Malaysia’s care to India. “In 1971, Malaysia sent a team to enquire about the welfare of its pensioners residing in Punjab. Further, pensions paid in that country are free of income tax,” The Tribune, February 20, 2003, Chandigarh, India.

Do HINDRAF want to trouble the interests of Malaysian Indians by misleading Tamil Hindu community against such generous government like of Malaysia? Can we expect proper pension from India Government?

The Human Development Report for 2007-08 released by the UNDP ranked India 128 out of 177 countries, working it out through measures of life expectancy, education and income. Malaysia ranked 63 and listed at under High Human Development category. The report found that India’s GDP per capita (purchasing power parity) is $3,452, far below Malaysia’s $10,882. Read the statistics from UNDP website

Indian workers form the third largest foreign work force in Malaysia, with 140,000 of them seeking out a living there. Most of these migrant workers are the relatives of ethnic Indians who comprise 7% of Malaysia’s population of around 24 million.

Every year, more than 1 million Indian citizens are forced to leave their country in search of better life.

Indians form about half of the 2.6 million expatriate workers in the United Arab Emirates’ private sector which includes Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Christians. In 2006, India received the highest amount of remittance globally from migrants, 27 $Billion. The large part of it came from the Gulf expatriate workforce.

Further, Indian government expects overseas Indians to pump in about US$500 billion into the FOREX reserves of the country in the next 10 years, making them the single largest source of foreign receipts. Do Indian Government want to hurt their own economy by interfering in Malaysian affairs?

Migrated Hindus from India constitutes 1 million or 0.4 per cent of US population now. With the approval of U.S authorities, they built around 1,000 Hindu temples throughout the US. The generosity of the American administration did n’t stop Hindutva idiots from bashing Christian around the globe.

In Tamil Nadu, last year, 250 temples were brought down to earth following High Court orders in Madurai. The reason was those temples were built on public property. There were no protests. Tamil Hindus there thought such a drive was carried out in the interest of people at large.

Like India, thousands of smaller Hindu temples, often originating in the placement of a deity under a tree, should have mushroomed across Malaysian rubber plantations and the rural countryside. As the Hindu community grew, some of them may be converted to larger structures and government should have brought down in public interest. But why so much huge and cry in Malaysia alone?

By falsely claiming of “Ethnic cleansing against Hindus in Malaysia”, HINDRAF officials are working against the interests of India’s peaceful migrant community around the world. While Dalits, Lower castes, Sikhs, Chrisitans and Muslims are the daily victims of Hindutva’s communal riots in India, Tamil Hindus in Malaysia haven’t faced any single riots orchestrated by Malay Muslims.

Remember that India, as a country cannot offer you food or job. Tamil politicians are engaged in lip service. Leaders with Dravidian origin have limited say in India’s central government which is ruled by majority north Indian Aryans. They consider TamilNadu as the bastion of opposing imposition of north Indian rule and its Hindi language in its territories. South Indians mostly consider English as their national language than Hindi. This north and south division has a long history in India and will continue to go on for ages, as long as people in India continue to remain emotionally myopic, narrow minded and accepting of propaganda and social myths. Govt. of Tamil Nadu website has something to say about Politics of Dravidian thoughts.

Hindutva vs Tamil culture

Before the invasion of Aryans, Tamils have practiced a dual spirituality called Saivism and Thirumalism . But Brahmins enslaved Tamils with cultural and spiritual corruption.

The Hindu nationalist movement headed by Brahmin chiefs grew up in the 1920s with the establishment of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS ) The RSS gradually established a network of local branches that met daily for training sessions on martial arts. With ideological sermons making Indian identity synonymous with Brahmin culture it floated new motto even to the south, “Hindu, Hindi, Hindustan” (one people, one language, one country).

In 1965, after a 15 year gap, Hindi was declared as the solitary national language of India. This led to violent protests in Tamil Nadu and so many deaths of tamilians.

In 1996, Inspired by Hindu myths, a Marathi Hindu mafia leader called Bal Thackeray floated ‘Shiv Sena‘ a political party to drive out south Indians from the industrial city of Bombay. Shiv Sena means Army of Shiva, (referring to Hindu King, Shivaji) succeeded in its aim with the help of Hindu militants who unleashed several communal riots in the city.

In 1991, a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber killed India’s Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi ( A north Indian brahmin with aryan heritage) at an election rally outside Chennai. Those scars against Tamils are still run deep in north India, especially in a government dominated by Gandhi’s Italian-born widow Sonia.

When it comes to recording Indian history, the north of the country often ignores or overlooks events in the south. Tamils consider Vellore revolt as the first organized revolt against British in India, while Delhi officially consider it started with Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Unlike north Indian Hindus, Tamils consider Lord Rama as the villain and Ravana as the hero. In such many ways, Tamil history and politics are in contradiction with India’s official version, which is in fact authored and promoted by Aryan north. The division within India’s caste maniacs is so deep and it cannot overcome to help anyone outside their circle.

Do the ethnic Indians in Malaysia want to come back to India? I bet none of them will come back to this sinking ship called, India. Instead of asking for more rights they should come out of their caste system and narrowness. Let them learn to respect their hosts, the Malaysian people who provided better opportunities than their caste maniac“Mother India”. Only such an attitude and kindness will bring them prosperity. Let them not forget the millions of impoverished Indian citizens living in their own country. Read more about Our Shining India at here

What make people move to out of India? Read the Real Indian facts

What if you come to Tamil Nadu and join with 1,60,000 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees ? Read this Report from Asian Centre of Human Rights

Global Hindutva in support of Gujarat’s super hindu leader

December 3, 2007

A large number of Gujarati NRIs have landed in their native state to lend support to political parties they are backing in the upcoming assembly election, due on December 11 and 16.

Many are supporters of incumbent Narendra Modi, who feel the state has developed under the stewardship of the BJP leader. Opposing them are a considerable number of Congress
supporters, who say Modi has divided the state.

Although they cannot vote in the state assembly polls, the NRIs who have come from places like the UK and US are pumping in huge amounts of money in campaigning, besides trying to woo voters for the party of their choice.

”Though I can’t vote, still I would like to see to it that the right people are voted to power. Even if I can’t vote I would like to make sure that other 100 people at least go and vote. It’s very important,” says 42-year-old Rajen Patel from London, an ardent supporter of Modi.

Patel, who claims he campaigned for former US vice president Al Gore when he was in the presidential race, says about 100 like-minded NRIs in the UK have decided to come to Gujarat to support Modi as they believe he is ushering in growth and development.

”We would like to invest in Gujarat as things have improved a lot here. There is less of corruption now and action is taken on complaints made even over phones,” he says.

Rejecting the claims of development under Modi’s government are Congress supporters, who have also come together based on their political affiliation.

”What development are they talking about? Everything is a hogwash. No state can develop where people are divided. And that’s what BJP has done here,” says Deepak Amin, who has come all the way from Seattle (US) to support Congress.

”To be number one you have to be united first. When you talk about Hindu rastra, you ignore the rest of the people in the country. What about them?” Amin laments.

He says he is in touch with at least 15 other like-minded NRIs from various countries.

”We have held several rounds of meetings in Seattle, New York, New Jersey etc to discuss our agenda before coming to India. We will be reaching out to people to pass on our message,” Amin says.

He said his ‘group’ was opposed to the way BJP is bragging about development in Gujarat, adding ”It’s just like their ‘India Shining’ campaign”.

But the Modi camp would like to differ. ”There’s discipline, peace and harmony now unlike earlier,” says Patel.

On his group’s strategy, Patel says, ”We will place ourselves in different regions of the state. Like five-six people in Vadodara, 10 in Ahmedabad and four in Surat, while one of us will be travelling to meet people and help the party in the electoral process.”

He claims Modi has many fans in the UK and US who want to know what can they do to help their state.

India, Where paradoxes reign supreme

November 26, 2007

It has become a cliché to speak of India as a land of paradoxes. The old joke about our country is that anything you say about India, the opposite is also true. We like to think of ourselves as an ancient civilisation but we are also a young republic; our IT experts stride confidently into the 21st century but much of our population seems to live in each of the other 20 centuries. Quite often the opposites co-exist quite cheerfully.

One of my favourite images of India is from the last Kumbha mela, of a naked sadhu, with matted hair, ash-smeared forehead and scraggly beard, for all the world a picture of timeless other-worldliness, chatting away on a cellphone. I even suggested it to the publishers of my newest book of essays on India as a perfect cover image, but they assured me it was so well-known that it had become a cliché in itself.

And yet, clichés are clichés because they are true, and the paradoxes of India say something painfully real about our society.

How does one come to terms with a country whose population is still nearly 40% illiterate but which has educated the world’s second-largest pool of trained scientists and engineers, many of whom are making a flourishing living in Silicon Valley? How does one explain a land where peasant organisations and suspicious officials once attempted to close down Kentucky Fried Chicken as a threat to the nation, where a former prime minister bitterly criticised the sale of Pepsi-Cola since 250 million of our countrymen and women don’t have access to clean drinking water, and which yet invents more sophisticated software for the world’s computer manufacturers than any other country on the planet? A place where bullock carts are still an indispensable mode of transportation for millions, but whose rocket and satellite programmes are amongst the most advanced on earth?

The paradoxes go well beyond the nature of our entry into the 21st century. Our teeming cities overflow while two out of three Indians still scratch a living from the soil. We have been recognised, for all practical purposes, as a leading nuclear power, but 600 million Indians still have no access to electricity and there are daily power cuts even in the nation’s capital.

Ours is a culture which elevated non-violence to an effective moral principle, but whose freedom was born in blood and whose independence still soaks in it. We are the world’s leading manufacturers of generic medication for illnesses such as AIDS, but we have three million of our own citizens without access to AIDS medication, another two million with TB, and tens of millions with no health centre or clinic within 10 kilometres of their places of residence.

Bollywood makes four times as many movies as Hollywood, but 150 million Indians cannot see them, because they are blind. India holds the world record for the number of cellphones sold (8.5 million last month), but also for the number of farmer suicides (4000 in the Vidarbha district of Maharashtra alone last year).

This month, in mid-November, the prestigious Forbes magazine list of the world’s top billionaires made room for 10 new Indian names. The four richest Indians in the world are collectively worth a staggering $180 billion, greater than the GDP of a majority of member states of the United Nations. Indian papers have reported with undisguised glee that these four (Lakshmi Mittal, the two Ambani brothers, and DLF chief K P Singh) are worth more than the 40 richest Chinese combined.

We seem to find less space in our papers to note that though we have more dollar billionaires than in any country in Asia – even more than Japan, which has been richer longer – we also have 260 million people living below the poverty line. And it’s not the World Bank’s poverty line of $1 a day, but the Indian poverty line of Rs 360 a month, or 30 cents a day – in other words, a line that’s been drawn just this side of the funeral pyre.

Last month, the Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensex crossed 20,000, just 20 months after it had first hit 10,000; but on the same day, some 25,000 landless people marched to Parliament, clamouring for land reform and justice. We have trained world-class scientists and engineers, but 400 million of our compatriots are illiterate, and we also have more children who have not seen the inside of a school than any other country in the world does.

We have a great demographic advantage in 540 million young people under 25 (which means we should have a dynamic, youthful and productive workforce for the next 40 years when the rest of the world, including China, is ageing) but we also have 60 million child labourers, and 72% of the children in our government schools drop out by the eighth standard. We celebrate India’s IT triumphs, but information technology has employed a grand total of 1 million people in the last five years, while 10 million are entering the workforce each year and we don’t have jobs for them.

Many of our urban youth rightly say with confidence that their future will be better than their parents’ past, but there are Maoist insurgencies violently disturbing the peace in 165 of India’s 602 districts, and these are largely made up of unemployed young men.

So yes, we are a land of paradoxes, and amongst those paradoxes is that so many of us speak about India as a great power of the 21st century when we are not yet able to feed, educate and employ our people. And yet, India is more than the sum of its contradictions. It may be a country rife with despair and disrepair, but it nonetheless moved a Mughal Emperor to declaim, ‘‘if on earth there be paradise of bliss, it is this, it is this, it is this…’’ We just have a lot more to do before it can be anything like paradise for the vast majority of our fellow citizens.

25 Nov 2007, 0000 hrs IST,Shashi Tharoor, Times of India

967 Cases of Atrocities against Dalits in Gujarat

July 5, 2007

Dalits in Gujarat eclipsed under Modi: Meira

Claiming that the Dalits were “eclipsed” under the present dispensation in Gujarat, Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar on Monday criticised the Narendra Modi-led government for the “atrocities” meted out against Dalits and other backward sections of the society.

“The present government in Gujarat has a poor track record in tackling crimes against the backward sections of the society,” Kumar said addressing the day-long ‘jan-mitra shibir’ (conference of party workers) organised by the scheduled caste cell of Congress.

She claimed that Dalits were “eclipsed” in Gujarat at present.

“In the year 2005, there were a total of 967 cases of atrocities against Dalits in Gujarat where many were murdered, raped, burnt and seriously injured,” Kumar told the gathering of party workers who had assembled from different parts of the state.

“This year in just six months, there were a total of 412 cases of atrocities registered against backward classes including Dalits,” she said adding the figures she was quoting were sourced from the Social Justice department of Gujarat.

“In many of these cases FIRs are yet to be registered,” Kumar added

Press Trust of India, Gandhinagar, July 3, 2006

Betis As Bombs – Exploding The Borders Of Caste And Community

April 14, 2007

In every house there is a live bomb that can erupt at any time. Do you know who that is? Daughters are the honour of the family and the community, and to protect that is our Hindu duty and Hindu culture… . Come, and let’s unite to save bombs… I don’t believe in love marriage. We have to marry within our own community. These girls go to college, make friends with some lafanga [loafer], roam with them on their bikes, fall in love, and then run off and get married…We bring them back and convince them that they are ruining their future. They stay with me for a while and then return to their parents.” – Babu Bajrangi, Frontline, Dec 16-29 2006

Bajrangi is the VHP leader who gained notoriety recently for being the unofficial censor for the film Parzania in Ahmedabad. Less known in the fact that he boasts of having ‘rescued’ (kidnapped) no less than 918 women from his Kadwa Patel community who eloped to marry men outside the community – 70% of whom were Muslim or Christian men, and the rest were from other sub-castes.

The Gujarat genocide was marked by the rape of Muslim women and mutilation of their bodies by the Sangh Parivar. Such rapes were celebrated as acts of nationalism. Bajrangi’s acts of ‘rescue’ of Hindu women from marriages with ‘other’ men are also projected as acts of nationalism. The borders of caste and (religious) community need to be policed for infiltration from the enemy with as much vigilant surveillance as the borders of the nation. In fact, the border of each community (and family within it) is the border of nation in microcosm. The difference is that the borders of the family and community are lined with explosive from within. They are forever vulnerable because the sexuality of their own daughters has the potential to explode those boundaries and call into question the very foundation of racial purity on which the cultural nationalism of the Hindu Rashtra rests.

There are many who hold Hindutva’s violent codes to be a kind of Talibanic aberration and appeal to Hindus to distinguish it from the essentially liberal soul of Hinduism. See for instance Sitaram Yechury’s piece written in the wake of the Babri Masjid demolition, titled Pseudo-Hinduism Exposed: The Reality of the Saffron Brigade’s Myths. This piece explicitly contrasts liberal Hinduism to the impostor – ‘pseudo-Hinduism’ or Hindutva. Typically, this piece attributes India’s democracy to the choice in favour of secular democracy made by its Hindu majority and contrasts it with intolerant Islamic theocracies (implying that those theocracies are attributable to the choice made by intolerant Islamic majority?). As an extension of this thesis, Yechury observes, “The rabid intolerance of other religions (in Islamic theocracies) is matched by ruthlessly suppressive laws that deny elementary democratic rights especially to women.” The implication is that India in contrast assures those democratic rights to its women.

But it would be a mistake to imagine that this aspect of Hindutva – Bajrangi’s brand of violent policing of women, or the Bajrang Dal’s threat issued a few years back, that Hindu women who married Muslims would have their noses cut off, or its periodic threats against women wearing jeans or couples celebrating Valentine’s Day – marks a rupture with a gentler and more benign Hinduism. Communal fascism of the Hindutva variety draws sustenance from the widely prevailing anxiety of Hindu caste communities about breaching of patriarchal codes, caste and community boundaries – and the resultant threat to property relations and status. These anxieties are not the unique preserve of ‘backward’ rural communities; Prem Chowdhry shows us how modern phenomena like granting of legal inheritance rights to women and the social consequences of urbanisation in Haryana intensify these anxieties and the resultant violence against those who disobey marriage codes. (‘Enforcing Cultural Codes: Gender and Violence in Northern India’, A Question of Silence: The Sexual Economies of Modern India, ed. Mary John and Janaki Nair, 1998)

Uma Chakravarti has remarked how brahminical patriarchy has for long regarded women of upper castes as ‘gateways’ or points of breach into the caste system – requiring careful surveillance to preserve upper caste purity – and this “obsessive concern with policing female sexuality” has become a stubborn feature across caste groups (Uma Chakravarti, Gendering Caste: Through a Feminist Lens, 2003, pp 35-36). She notes that there is “widespread ‘consent’, in the sense that Gramsci outlines it, within civil society to regard choice, particularly when articulated by a woman as disruptive of the whole social order…and ‘with free choice of partners involving women, the whole social fabric seems to suffer a terrible tear’.” (Chakravarti, pp152-53) It is the existence of such consent for obsessive control of women’s sexual choice, such widespread fear of a ‘terrible’ tear inflicted by women’s free choice, that sustains and ‘naturalises’ Bajrangi’s mass abduction spree as a patriotic act. Bajrangi’s mass abductions are able to masquerade as a grotesque version of a more common ideology and practice of ‘guardianship’ (brother as guardian of sister’s honour) celebrated by popular cinema and serials and normalised by the festival of Raksha Bandhan. Adult women are legally beyond the scope and control of ‘guardianship’. Yet the ideology of guardianship (closely tied up with control of female sexuality, reproduction and labour) and its twin, the ideology that makes women the repositories of izzat or honour of the community/nation is perpetuated. The ‘honour’ killings decreed by caste panchayats for lovers who transgress codes of caste and community and Bajrangi’s abductions thus breathe the same ideological oxygen.

This leads us to ask: can Left movements and women’s movements challenge communal fascist violence against women without also challenging the ideology of guardianship and izzat? In the case of agrarian labour communities, usually dalit or extremely backward, there is tremendous resistance to the sexual exploitation of women by upper caste men, and Chakravarti notes that the “issue of izzat is central to peasant movements in Bihar under various Marxist-Leninist formations and in dalit movements” (Chakravarti, p 169). While resistance to sexual violence will continue to be a powerful mobilisational issue, these movements need to be alert to the dangers of the connotations and implications of izzat. These movements must guard against bearing the baggage of resentment against the upper caste taunts that lower caste women have no izzat to begin with or that lower caste men are ‘unable’ to ‘protect’ ‘their’ women. In other words, such radical political mobilisation must assert the autonomy and freedom of women who are dalit agrarian labourers – and must guard against framing the struggle in terms of asserting the ‘ability’ of lower caste men to ‘protect’ the ‘izzat’ of women and of their community. This means asserting the sexual freedom and autonomy of women within the community as much as against the oppressor without.

We need to recognise the links between Babu Bajrangi’s assaults on women’s freedom, and those structures and practices that we tend to take as normative, natural and acceptable – such as the practice of arranging marriages within one’s caste and community, disapproving of independent relationships forged by one’s sisters or daughters, holding oneself to be the ‘guardian’ of one’s sisters or daughters, and so on. Often, as long as overt coercion or violence is not involved, we tend to view anxiety about controlling sexual behaviour of daughters, as quite natural. Women’s movements and Left movements must confront and challenge the ideology of guardianship and izzat even where overt coercion is not flaunted – as part of their struggle against the structures of class and caste, and against communal fascism.

By Kavita Krishnan, 12 April, 2007, Countercurrents.org

Justice Rare for Victims of Minority Persecution in India

April 3, 2007

NEW DELHI, INDIA — For the first time an all-India picture has emerged of anti-Christian violence from a people’s tribunal.

Victims of Christian persecution from across India shared their horrific stories and highlighted the denial of justice to them before an independent people’s jury.

According to International Christian Concern (ICC), the depositions were part of « The Independent People’s Tribunal against the Rise of Fascist Forces in India and the Attack on the Secular State, » a three-day program which concluded here on March 22.

In its report, ICC said the independent jury was organized by non-profit organizations Anhad and Human Rights Law Network, and supported and attended by a plethora of rights groups, including Christian organizations, like the All India Christian Council (AICC) and the Christian Legal Association.

Of the 100 victims who submitted their statements, about 40 were Christian. The rest were mainly were from Gujarat state, which witnessed a wide-scale killing of members of the Muslim minority community in 2002.

Impunity of perpetrators of gang-rape

« I was gang-raped by my fellow tribal villagers, including the brother and father of the local legislator in January 2004, and I named everyone in my police complaint, but no one has been arrested till today, » lamented Taramani, a school teacher from Madhya Pradesh state’s Jhabua district.

Taramani’s village, Alirajpur, was one of the worst affected villages during the spate of anti-Christian violence that followed the infamous January 11 incident, in which a young girl was found dead in the compound of a Catholic school in Jhabua district. Hindu fundamentalist Hindu Jagran Manch (Forum for Revival of Hindus) blamed the murder on the church, and instigated a series of attacks on Christian individuals and their institutions. This was despite the fact that a non-Christian admitted to the crime.

« A crowd of about 250 people first launched an attack on my house and set it on fire and then some of them took me to a jungle and outraged my modesty, » said, Taramani, a widow.

With tears in her eyes, she added that when she returned she found the house completely gutted. “Even the police initially refused to register my complaint which they did only later and reluctantly.

« All that I have received from the government is Rs.30,000 ($700 USD), but no arrests. The perpetrators still tell me that nothing will happen to them, as they are very powerful, » she said.

Attackers remain at large

Another victim, Shobha Onkar, also from Alirajpur, could not help crying as she narrated how she was attacked by a mob in the aftermath of the January 11 incident. « About 300 people surrounded our house in the presence of the local police inspector and started breaking in. I thought I should open the door before they vandalized my house, but when they entered into the house, one of them hit me with a stick on my head. I started bleeding profusely, » she said.

« My son ran to the police and bent on his knees to plead them to rescue me, saying, ’They will kill my mother,’ but they did not budge, » she added.

Onkar also said that relatives of the local legislator belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were among the crowd.

Onkar’s house was badly damaged and completely looted. « The government gave me only Rs.6,000 ($140 USD) as compensation. And justice, which matters the most, was denied, as the perpetrators were not brought to justice, » she added.

There were also victims from the states of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir.

Lessons for the church

Dr. John Dayal, secretary general of the AICC who was one of the jury members, told ICC, « From the Christian perspective, the hearings were memorable and important. Christians of all denominations, and both men and women, came forward to depose for the first time in a major way. In my experience this is also the first time that an all-India picture has emerged of anti-Christian violence from a people’s tribunal. »

The all-India pattern of violence has lessons for everyone, and particularly for the church whether it is Catholic, Protestant or Evangelical, he said, adding that urgent steps needed to be taken. « Clergy and church workers have to be trained in human rights and basic law. »

Another memorable witness, said Dayal, was the compilation by the Rev. Madhu Chandra of AICC to prove the massive activity of Hindu extremists in the north-eastern Hindu majority states of Manipur and Assam.

« For me, the most heartening testimonies were of women — Muslim and Christian. »

Madhya Pradesh a daylight church

He also said it was obvious that « Hindutva pressure » was working. « The church in Madhya Pradesh is fast becoming a ’daylight church’ with mission activity in the evening and after sun down — which is how outreach programs can work in forest villages when people return home after sunset — has stopped. Only in full daylight can some work be done. And yet, the church hierarchy seems not too worried. »

In other areas, church activity is now confined to tribals alone, who constitute just a third of the population even in the so-called tribal belt of central India, he said. « This has serious ramifications. »

Dayal thanked the civil society, including « well-meaning Hindu Activists, » for their « unstinted support » to the Christian community.

No help from the State

Based on the statements of the victims and presentations by human rights activists, the tribunal noted that « demonization of minorities, both Muslims and Christians, and their consequent marginalization and physical attacks have been noticed all over the country, particularly in the states where the BJP is in power, like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. »

In these cases, the victims have failed to get any help from the State. The role of the police is particularly dubious, as in most cases, the victims were not even able to file an FIR (first information report). It is often noticed that the victims are turned into perpetrators of crime. As a result, there is a sense of helplessness that the minorities feel.”

Rights activists also deplored the role of the media, mainly local newspapers in vernacular languages, in inciting anti-minority violence.

The tribunal was an initiative of Shabnam Hashmi of Anhad and attorney Colin Gonsalves of the Human Rights Law Network.

By Michael Ireland, Journal Cheiritan  , Sunday, 01 April 2007