Monday, September 16, 2013

Congress Launches Jihad to Loot Hindu Temples

One of the distinctive features of the protracted Muslim rule in medieval India was the manner in which it impoverished Hindus spiritually, morally, culturally, and economically. This impoverishment wasn’t an accident. It was by design, and it was pretty much faithful to the tenets of Islamic statecraft and polity, which mandated zimmi(or dhimmi)status to non-Muslims living under Islamic rule. The zimmi status among other things meant that Hindus had absolutely no rights: they couldn’t practise their faith openly, couldn’t build or renovate temples, had to pay all sorts of extortionate taxes, had no legal redress even if they were wronged, and their women were fair game for a sufficiently powerful Muslim man.

Something similar is happening today in an ostensibly Hindu majority India, which professes a curious brand of secularism, which is practiced at the expense of Hindus.

Hindu-Baiting Legislations

Almost every major legislation in independent India has resulted in a successive weakening of the Hindu society. Reservations while noble when envisaged first were eventually used to foment fissures between castes which in turn weakened Hindu society. The Hindu Marriage Act similarly served to break up Hindu families. The so-called land reforms similarly ended up impoverishing Hindus apart from promoting a culture of sloth. The Hindu Temples Act greatly diminished one of the signal glories of Hinduism—the temple culture.

Despite all this, it is a measure of the resilience of what I call the Hindu spirit that Hindus are still functioning as a nearly cohesive society bound by millennia of cultural unity. Sadly, this cohesion and this cultural unity continues to face the most brutal and relentless attack not by any Muslim or colonial invader but at the hands of Hindus themselves. More specifically, the Congress party which has ruled India for the longest duration since 1947.

The latest attack emanates once again, from the Congress party in the form of a move to take over the gold held by major temples in India—from Tirupati to Shirdi to Siddhivinayak to Padmanabhaswamy. The mind set and the politics at work behind this sinister cabal comes straight from the horse’s mouth, from a gentleman named Jamal Mecklai, an advisor to the RBI:

“The finance minister and RBI governor should jointly — and immediately — approach the trustees of TirumalaTirupatiDevasthanams (TTD),” said Jamal Mecklai, chief executive of Mecklai Financial. “Three of these (trustees) are state government appointees, and given the current political dispensation this is a distinct advantage.(Emphasis added)

This is as direct an admission as it can get. Translated in plain speak, it means this: the Congress party has a record of shafting Hindus, their religious institutions and beliefs and therefore I urge it to shaft them one more round because it doesn’t really make a difference.

Jamal Mecklai’s statement only underscores the urgency of the need to liberate Hindu temples from the stranglehold of state control. It is one thing that most state-controlled Hindu temples are in appalling shape. Indeed,both individuals and organizations have been tirelessly campaigning for temple liberation for decades. Now their worst fears have horribly come true—that the state can and will loot or otherwise tread roughshod on Hindu temples. One wonders why Jamal—who is a Muslim—doesn’t recommend the state to approach mosques and churches for the purpose. After all, the Church is one of the biggest landowners in India, and Waqf boards own enormous expanses of land.

Yet others have argued that all idle gold is useless and that “true wealth is made every day by men getting up out of bed and going to work. By school children doing their lessons, improving their minds.” And based on this reasoning, recommended the PadmanabhaSwamy temple trustees to “use their vaults as a reserve to back a new, well-managed currency.” This sounds like a perfectly sensible argument except that it misses two crucial points: one, it lacks both the historical and cultural sense of what temple gold/wealth actually implies, and two, ignores the venality of the Congress party and the governments it has led so far.

There’s certainly no dearth of such arguments and all of them only take a limited if not a one-sided view of the issue.

Hindu Temple Management

Historically, temples used to be built by kings or communities or guilds or individuals. Temples that were built by kings were managed directly by the king. In case of pre-existing temples, the king would allow the management to run as before and in some cases, would make land grants and donations. Almost every temple of known and unknown antiquity has elaborate inscriptions that describe how the management of the temple was structured.

Temples that were built by private people were managed by a group of people—akin to a board of trustees in today’s parlance—known as sthanikas. These sthanikas were typically locals (hence the name sthanikas, meaning people from a sthana or locality) and were drawn from all the four varnas. Decisions on major and minor matters were taken collectively.

Temple management was further subdivided into two vargasor classes:
  • The Archakavarga—the body of priests who performed pujas and other rituals.
  • The Paricharikavarga—the staff who were in charge of cleaning the temple, supplying essential commodities, maintaining the temple, and such other tasks.
Both these classes were accountable to the sthanikasand stood the risk of punishment for any wrongdoing. While the Archakavarga received a salary and some emoluments in kind, the paricharikavargawas provided with arable land, clothes, food grain, a part of the collection of temple funds, and an annual sum of cash (like a bonus).

In fact, a temple was not just a place of worship but was a force that sustained an intricate economic system. Every temple had—apart from its daily puja—specific pujas unique to it. Every such puja mandated the use of prescribed amounts dravya or material—for example, specific quantities of camphor, incense, flowers, milk, sugar, jaggery, spices, prasadam (offering), artwork like rangoli, and so on.The same applied to more elaborate rituals like havans and yagnas. This system directly helped sustain the livelihood of hundreds of people engaged in various occupations, businesses, and skills.

We can also discern this temple economy in two other ways:
  • graamashritaaalaya: This literally means “a temple which is sustained by the village/town.”In this case, the entire village or town contributed to the protection, maintenance and preservation of the temple.

  • aalyaashritagrama: This means “a village/town which is sustained by the temple.” Classic examples of this include most temple towns in South India, where the entire village/town is sustained by the temple.
Wealth Management of Hindu Temples

The wealth of Hindu temples was divided into sthirastiand devasva. Sthirasti means all the lands and physical structures like temple buildings, wedding halls, tanks and so on that belong to the temple.

Devasva literally means that which “belongs to God.” And it is this which concerns us in this context. Devasva includes things like jewellery, gold, diamonds, and other precious metals which are offered to the God of a particular temple.This forms part of what I term the dharma of daana (charity or offering) about which a wealth of treatises exists.All those millions of Hindus who make such offerings to temples even today unconsciously follow this dharma. And once this offering is made, nobody has the right to touch it much less alter or sell it for whatever reason—nobody, not even the temple to which the offering has been made can touch it. At best these temples are merely custodians of the offering.

Perhaps the best illustration of this principle can be had in the very temple whose gold the venal Congress Government is now eyeing—Tirupati. The Venkateshwara temple at Tirumala continues to abide by a timeless tradition, which says that once any offering goes into its hundi, it belongs to the Lord and cannot be reclaimed by the donor himself. There is in Tirumala, another deity named “KoluvuSrinivasa,”regarded as the presiding officer of the entire temple and all affairs associated with it.

At the close of every night, the temple priests and staff give an account of the offerings they have collected that day and close the accounts for the day in his presence. More importantly, this ritual has remained intact till date, even after the lapse of several centuries.Indeed, the same or similar ritual applies in varying degrees for example, to Kashi where Kala Bhairava (Shiva) is known as the Kotwal of the city. Indeed, the word “kotwal” is a corruption of the Sanskrit Kshetrapala, meaning the policeman of the city. I leave it to your imagination to discern what such kinds of rituals symbolize.

The Real Theft of the Congress Government

The role of Hindu temples as mere custodians of the gold and jewelry made as offerings has deeper roots. As custodians, they do not have the right to alter or sell this because it does not belong to them. In another sense, temples also act as the trustees of the devotion of the people who make these offerings to God.The offering is merely an outward symbol. The devotion is real. And it is of this that temples are the trustees.

And so, the planned temple heist emanating from the rotten core of the depraved Congress Government is actually the theft of the devotion and trust of nearly a billion Hindus. Temples like Tirumala remain the custodians of offerings dating back to hundreds of years. Almost every major and minor king has made offerings to such shrines—an act indicating that his wealth and kingdom are subordinate at the altar of pure devotion.Thus, there is something deeply troubling and infinitely evil about a mind-set that wants to grab the money of such people, of the devout that are long dead. This then is the real theft planned by the Congress Government.

Arresting the fall of the Rupee is merely a pretext that fools none. The actual reason for the fall of the Rupee is the nine-year-long, merciless mauling of the economy. Gargantuan scam upon scam, zero governance, flight of capital, failure to tackle inflation, zero job creation, inaction even after repeated downgrading of India’s economy by rating agencies…these are the real reasons why the Rupee has fallen.

The Congress Government’s lust for Hindu temple gold also has other sinister implications. It aims to kill two birds with one stone: grabbing temple wealth will automatically stop Hindus from donating to temples, which in turn will eventually lead to the destruction of the temple culture. And by implication, this destruction will also lead to the death of one of the defining hallmarks of Hindu culture and society.

Besides, the Congress party has always been both the originator and the loudest drumbeater of secularism. And so the question remains: who or what gives the moral right to a secular Government to interfere in the affairs of a religious institution? And if it is somehow endowed with this moral right, why doesn’t it extend its interference to other religions?

Two Warnings

In the end, two things should serve as a warning to the Congress Government that has embarked on this dangerous adventure.

The first is history. Sri Harsha who ruled Kashmir in the 11th Century CE was infamous for looting temple wealth. The 7th Taranga of Kalhana’sRajatarangini describes how the people of Kashmir reached the end of their tolerance with Harsha and beat him to death. And Harsha ruled for 22 years.
The second concerns a warning in verse concerning charity.


He who usurps or snatches the charity (grant, gift, donation, land) whether that charity was made by himself or by others, will suffer for 60000 years as a worm in the gutter.

This verse was compulsorily inscribed on every daanashasana (inscription found on land/temple grants), and can still be found on the walls or stone inscriptions of old Hindu temples and similar structures of antiquity.

I shall leave you with a poignant conversation in SL Bhyrappa’s classic, Tanthu. One of the characters speaking to the protagonist about Indira Gandhi’s wretched Land Ceiling Act, says: “for as long as I can remember, none of the kings or chieftains or even the British who ruled us took away the land which was given as a grant to us by others. Our own people have forcibly snatched the land given to us by others.”

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Series of Rapes Behind Muzaffarnagar Riots?: INDIA WIRES analysis

 An Analysis by INDIAWIRES
Is a series of rape incidents and support of politicians to the accused a reason behind communal riots happening in Muzaffarnagar? If you go through recent incidents happened in the town, such a question definitely arises. Before concluding that an eve-teasing or a youtube video caused the violence, we need to go back to these incidents happened in last one year.

Here is a list of such incidents reported.
  • Dec 21 2012: Muzaffarnagar panchayat offers rape victim Rs 1.5 lakh to keep quiet (Source)
  • Dec 24  2012: Minor girl gang-raped by three youths in Muzaffarnagar (Source)
  • Dec 29, 2012: Girl, school teacher sexually assaulted (Source)
  • Dec 30, 2012: Two women injured in acid attack in Muzaffarnagar (Source)
  • Feb 18, 2013: Woman gang-raped by four men, filmed in Muzaffarnagar (Source)
  • Apr 3, 2013 Acid attack on three teachers, student in Muzaffarnagar in UP (Source)
  • June 03, 2013: Minor girl raped Muzaffarnagar (Source)
  • July 8, 2013: Man shot dead for demanding arrest of gangrape accused  (Source)
  • July 29 2013: Woman forcibly married and gang-raped as ‘honour’ punishment after her brother eloped with village girl  (Source)
  • Aug 24, 2013: Class IX student raped by youth in Muzaffarnagar (Source) 
  • Aug 23 2012: Schoolgirl gangraped by 5 youths in Muzaffarnagar (Source) 
  • Aug 30, 2013: Muslim cleric arrested for abducting 11-year-old girl (Source) 
  • August 27, 2013: In Kawal village, an eve-teasing incident led to clash, burning bikes and the murders of three youths
  • Aug 28, 2013: A mob returning from the cremation ground indulges in arson.
  • Aug 29, 2013: Stoning between both sides. Women devotees molested near a place of worship.
  • Aug 30, 2013: Huge mob assembles at a mosque in Shaheed Chowk after Friday prayers.
  • Aug 31, 2013: Nearly 40,000 people assemble at Nangla Mandoud  Panchayat. Mob attacks a family going in a car on Khatima road, sets fire to their car.
  • Sept 1, 2013: Police files FIRs against leaders who had spoken at meetings in Shahid Chowk and Nangla Mandoud. Affected family in Malikpura threatens self-immolation.
  • Sept 2, 2013: Walls of places of atemple broken in Sanjhak and Titavi. BJP calls Muzaffarnagar bandh.
  • Sept 3, 2013: Case filed for circulating fake video of Kawal incident. Violence in Shamli town.
  • Sept 4, 2013: Sporadic violence in Muzaffarnagar.
  • Sept 5, 2013: Mahabandh call given across Muzaffarnagar district. The Khap panchayat then announced to organize a ‘Bahu Beti Samaan Bachaoi Mahapanchyat‘ on September 7, at Nagla Mandaur
  • Sept 7, 2013:  The panchayat was organized by the Jat community at Nagla Mandaur, 20 km from Muzaffarnagar city, where over 1.2 lakh people participated. People going to panchayat attacked.
  • Firing  in Muzaffarnagar town as stoning, arson go unabated. Army called in and town put under indefinite curfew.  21 killed, more than a score injured in violence.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Anatomy of Muzaffarnagar communal riots

 By Shashi Shekhar

The Muzaffarnagar Riots have in a macabre way shattered every known “social science theory” on the “anatomy of communal riots”. In the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat Riots and subsequent elections we have had this farcical spectacle of social scientists from Ashis Nandy to Ashutosh Varshney peddling their own prejudices and biases as sound theses to explain away the unfortunate violence of 2002. If Ashis Nandy had described Gujarat as “structurally polarized” while spewing venom at the middle mlass, Ashutosh Varshney went on to advance deep theory on how to understand the riots by reducing it to an urban only phenomenon rooted in politics of Hindu identity consciousness.

The problem with the Muzaffarnagar riots in Uttar Pradesh is that every one of these ‘social science theory’ will have to now be thrown out of the window as a hapless administration struggles to control riots across villages even as it stares at a refugee situation with families fleeing conflict ridden villages in bullock carts.
It would be facile to reduce the conflict in Muzaffarnagar to one between two religious communities or to locate it within a Mahapanchayat of a single caste. A cursory look at the news emanating from the Muzaffarnagar region through much of August paints a very disturbing picture of violent incidents on the rise.
On August 14 multiple media outlets reported an incident of gangrape of a 30-year-old woman at gunpoint allegedly by policemen in a village of Shamli district. A couple of days later on August 16 came news of the eve teasing incident in another village resulting in the death of a Dalit youth bringing out the casteist faultlines. The socially conservative atmosphere in this part of Uttar Pradesh is best appreciated from this news story dated August 16 on how a girls wrestling team was prohibited from competitive participation by a local panchayat. On August 17 came news of yet another clash that saw a person killed in a different village, this time though the clash was between two groups from the same Muslim community. On August 21 came news of a large scale clash from Soram village with 14 arrests and 150 booked. On August 24 we read the horrific news of yet another gangrape in Shamli district, this time a Class IX student. The same day,  August 24 also saw a clash in Miranpur over objectionable content posted on Facebook with a clear communal angle to it. On August 30 we see the spiral of violence between youth of two communities in Kawal Nagar village.

It is important to note that well before the current wave of insidious theorising started on the root cause of the spiral of violence, on August 31 one already saw arrests of several people including a former of Minister of Uttar Pradesh belonging to the Ajit Singh-led RLD. Random communal incidents such as this one on a train about an attack on students and this one on the shooting of a Dalit shows the general state of lawlessness in the region.

It is also important to note that contrary to much of the shallow and insidious theorising by the media elite on the causes of the spiral of violence, on September 1 we witnessed a BSP MP and 2 BSP MLAs, all 3 Muslims, being booked for making provocative speeches over the violence in Kawal Village, following the arrest of the RLD leader.

It is not until September 5 that one sees the first references to the alleged fake video finding its way into the spiral of violence by when much political water had already flown on account of multiple political parties. Meanwhile on September 4 a different incident this time over garbage disposal flared up into a clash with both religious and casteist dimensions to it, leaving one person dead.

While Muzaffarnagar made national news on September 7 after the unfortunate deaths of a reporter of the Hindi news channel IBN7 and a photo-journalist the reality is the region was already on the precipice of a spiral of violence well before that caste Mahapanchayat and the attacks on it.

Before getting into shallow root cause theories on what underlies Muzaffarnagar’s spiral of violence it would be in order to pay attention to these two news reports from 2012. In November of 2012, Iftikhar Gilani writing in the DNA had chronicled how Uttar Pradesh was in the grip of communal violence ever since the new Samajwadi Party Government led by Akhilesh Yadav had been voted in. A couple of months earlier writing in the Times of India Subodh Ghildiyal reported on how repeated incidents of communal violence in Uttar Pradesh went unchallenged politically.

Perhaps underlying this spiralling violence is an unstated power struggle within the extended political ecosystem of the Samajwadi Party that remains unreconciled to the coronation of the relatively young and inexperienced Akhilesh Yadav. Perhaps even deeper reasons are to be found in the demographic transformation of Uttar Pradesh with a relatively younger and restive population. Either way, the Muzaffarnagar riots expose how shallow much of the commentary and analysis of riots has been.

With villages and communities torn apart over relatively trivial incidents that have been blown out of proportion by political players who can hardly be labelled the ‘usual suspects’ by an Ashis Nandy or an Ashutosh Varshney, it perhaps is time for a whole new theory on the anatomy of a communal riot.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Muzaffarnagar Story

Muslim Appeasement reaches whole new levels

First the sequence. On being told of the daily harassment his 14 year old sister had been facing at the hands of one Shanawaz of neighbouring village Kawal, Sachin decided to escort her to school. Unmindful of brother’s presence Shahnawaz still passed lewd comments. A scuffle broke out between Sachin and Shanawaz but Sachin went back to his home. After dropping his sister home, he returned back to Kawal with his cousin Gaurav and attacked Shahnawaz with a knife. A bleeding Shahnawaz was taken to hospital where he succumbed to his wounds. Meanwhile Sachin and Gaurav were caught by friends, relatives and neighbours of Shahnawaz. Both were dragged in a drain, beaten with rods, stoned and had their throats slit to end their ordeal which lasted a whole twenty five minutes. Policemen from the beat which was just a few minutes distance did not intervene.

This incident which led to Kawal violence was one of the sickeningly long list of incidents of rape, molestation and harassments in Muzaffarnagar district. (For a representative list check out @Del_Alpha ‘s TL) In all these episodes the template was standard- Hindu girls as victims and Muslim youth as perpetrators. What followed was a Panchayat at Kawal on 31st August and another one at Shahpur on 7th September and an orgy of organised violence targeting Hindus returning from Shahpur Mahapanchayat.

The causes that led to the tragic deaths in the aftermath on Saturday and Sunday were best found in the words of Additional Director General law and order, UP Police, Arun Kumar. Kumar who reached Kawal village in Muzaffarnagar, the centre of violence, on 28th of August while replying to a query admitted that the triple murders a day before could have been averted had the Police been responsive to frequent incidents of eve teasing and molestations resulting in communal flare ups in the recent past in district. Kumar essentially emphasised two things in his statement- Muslim belligerence and patent Police inaction in case the perpetrators of crimes or violence were Muslims. The former has found a new vigour under the Samajwadi Party rule and the later is a hallmark of tribal governance practised by casteist and communal Parties.

What Kumar would not say was the fear which has either prevented Police officers from taking action against the perpetrators or book the wrong people- as in Shamli ( The markets in Shamli have remained closed for five consecutive days demanding removal of SP Abdul Hamid for his perceived partisan role). Whether it was the molestation of Jain monks by hooligans at Etmadpur near Agra or the three rapes of Dalit girls in Pratapgarh in a span of two weeks, UP Police, owing to the religion of perpetrators, has been conspicuously inactive in the 50 odd cases of communal violence in the state in last one year. In a rare case when District Magistrate Surendra Singh and Senior Superintendent of Police Manzil Saini snooped down on killers of Sachin and Gaurav in the Muzaffarnagar case, the duo was transferred within 48 hours. One of the main grudges in Kawal panchayat was the transfer of these two officers under pressure of Muslim leaders. No wonder then that both DIG and IG of Muzaffarnagar range fled the station after getting a whiff of possible violence on Saturday.

The communally partial behaviour of UP government is no secret. As if the policies of communal reservations and scholarships based on religion were not enough, the blatant bias of Police and administration in day to day affairs has taken the idea of appeasement to whole new levels. Muslim representation in appointments of District Magistrates, Superintendents of Police, Station Police officers and Beat Officers is disproportionately high. This obsession with “Muslims first” policy of Akhilesh Government was witnessed in all crudity in the drama preceding the appointment of present chief secretary Javed Usmani. Usmani who was on deputation to Central govt was recalled against his wishes to facilitate the appointment of a Muslim to the post.
The impunity with which the Muslim mobs lynched two brothers in Muzaffarnagar on 27th of August, ambushed people returning from Shahpur Mahapanchayat on 7th of September and fired at Army personnel is an unmistakable sign of growing Islamofascism in West UP that is being nurtured by appeasement politics. In a half decent democracy political leaders who have created this Frankenstein monster would have been nipped in the bud and severely punished but in the perversion we live, they are celebrity secularists.