Sunday, October 12, 2014


Kailash Satyarthi’s Nobel Prize decoded

Kailash Satyarthi seems deeply involved in Western evengelical institutional structures.

The announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize for Kailash Satyarthi was somewhat of a shock. Firstly he was practically unknown within India with journalists and others all shaking their heads and asking “Satyarthi who?” Secondly, the announcement from the Norwegian Nobel Committee was both politically charged and condescending:
The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism. Many other individuals and institutions in the international community have also contributed. It has been calculated that there are 168 million child labourers around the world today. In 2000 the figure was 78 million higher. The world has come closer to the goal of eliminating child labour.

The announcement draws on the old theme of Western “parity” between India and Pakistan, and then calls out the purportedly “Hindu” and “Muslim” affiliations of the awardees. Now, going back at least 10 years we did not find the religion of the awardees mentioned in the Nobel Peace Prize announcement. Barack Obama is not called out as a Christian, nor are the affiliations of Marti Ahtisaari, Al Gore, Mohammad Yunus, or any of the other awardees called out. Why the necessity to call out Satyarthi as a Hindu?

Not that Satyarthi is, by any stretch, a Hindu leader. In fact, Ellen Barry, writing in the New York Times, explicitly points out that he is a Marxist. Here is my exchange with her:

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The long-standing friend and colleague that Barry cites is Simon Steyne. Simon Steyne, according to a report in the Telegraph was a Marxist and “A former militant schoolboy who was once considered so dangerous that his activities were investigated by MI5 is working as a senior official for the Trades Union Congress.” Steyne was vice-chairman of the Schools Action Union, an organisation of militants, “An extreme Maoist group” that Steyne himself described as a “”Marxist-Leninist-Liberal broad front”. In any case, all this Steyne says, is in the past.

Would the Nobel Prize Committee call out a Marxist in the West as a “Christian” just as it calls Satyarthi as a “Hindu.” It appears on the lines of “thou protesteth too much”, unusually calling out a religious affiliation of someone who is clearly not properly identified with that label. What exactly are they trying to hide?

Speaking of religious affiliation, it looks like there is another nexus at play.  Of the congratulations Satyarthi got, one came from World Vision who identified him as a “partner.”

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World Vision is powerful evangelical organisation that makes no secret of its Christian affiliation and agenda. Satyarthi partnering with World Vision brings the classic Breaking India nexus into play—using Indian Leftists to pave the way for evangelism mission in India. World Vision declined to provide additional details of their relationship. “Project Rescue:” that aims to bring trafficked children “to Jesus” is another potential link. Other Christian evangelical websites such as “Rivers of Hope”, referenced Satyarthi’s  Bachpan Bachao Andolan rescues, though their exact relationship remained unclear.

Jaya Jaitley, in an NDTV interview after the Nobel was announced, also gave a less-than-glowing review of Satyarthi. Apparently she was quite familiar with his work from the 1980s before he got the Nobel, but she “found the selection of awards rather strange.”

She also mentioned that “we hadn’t heard much about his work lately. He has gotten a lot of international awards and there are some cynical comments on how these awards are selected.” There were many people working on the issue of child labour and Satyarthi’s work was not particularly notable. She called out Swami Agnivesh, who Satyarthi“trained with” as the one who brought this issue to the fore and was the prime mover. It is unlikely a saffron-clad “Hindu” would be given the Nobel, however.

If we take a look at the list of awards that Satyarthi has received, Jaitley’s contention is certainly borne out.

– Defenders of Democracy Award (2009-USA)

– Alfonso Comin International Award (2008-Spain)

– Medal of the Italian Senate (2007-Italy)

– Heroes Acting to End Modern Day Slavey by US State Department (2007-USA)

– Freedom Award (2006-USA)

– In October 2002, Satyarthi was awarded the Wallenberg Medal from the University of Michigan in recognition of his courageous humanitarian work against the exploitation of child labor.

– Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Award (1999-Germany)

– La Hospitalet Award (1999-Spain)

– De Gouden Wimpel Award (1998-Netherlands)

– Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award (1995-USA)

– The Trumpeter Award (1995-USA)

– The Aachener International Peace Award (1994-Germany)

Germany, USA, Spain and Italy are certainly prominent among the countries from which these awards originate. Also the US State Deparment has both awarded Satyarthi and funded his Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) during the Bush era.

Finally, Megha Bahree writes in Forbes that her experience with Satyarthi’s Bachpan Bachao Andolan was “Anything But Nobel-Worthy.”  She mentions being taken by a BBA representative on a “tour” to show her child labour for a story she was doing. But none of the places she took her had child labor, till he finally asked her to wait and presented a situation with looked fake to her journalistic eyes. As she pointed out “the problem is that the more children you show “rescued”, the more funds you get from foreign donors.” On that account BBA appeared to be doing rather well. According to Madhu Kishwar, as far back as 12 years ago, he was funded $2 million dollars by US and German foundations.

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Kailash Satyarthi has no doubt done some good work.  At the same time he also appears to be deeply embedded in Western institutional structures and sources of funding for a long time. Given that, the pattern of funds, the less than stellar endorsement from peers, Marxist leanings with a “Hindu” tag and relationships with evangelical organisations such as World Vision, we should take our newly minted hero with a grain of salt.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article are the author's personal opinions. Information, facts or opinions shared by the Author do not reflect the views of Niti Central and Niti Central is not responsible or liable for the same. The Author is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

Thursday, October 09, 2014



Wednesday, October 08, 2014

HINDUPHOBIA :Bigotry & Hate against Hindus

Swaminathan Gurumurthy
Why Does Hinduphobia and Bigotry Against Hindus Get a Free Pass?
On a daily basis, if you take a look at any of the largest India-based media giants like NDTV, CNN-IBN, Times of India, you’ll notice an overt and asymmetric negative bias towards Hindus and Hinduism when compared to the treatment of other major religions such as Islam and Christianity. The trend of Hinduphobia has become so widespread in India that over the years it has even become a transnational phenomenon, with some US and UK Media outlets participating in the same game of bigotry. The true problem is how these writers and Media giants only target Hinduism and Hindus while conveniently ignoring similar political and religious issues within the Christian and Muslim communities. The Hinduphobia phenomena is even stranger due to Hinduism having a well known history of pluralism, tolerance and acceptance of various opinions.

India is a country composed of approximately 75% Hindus and 20% Muslims – so why all the hostility and ill-treatment towards Hinduism? There are a number of reasons to explain this. Every reader should keep in mind the checklist below to identify whether the content they are reading is in fact Hinduphobic and biased against Hinduism:

1. Ownership of the Hinduphobic Media houses (there have been reports identifying select Media giants being owned by people engaged in Communist, Maoist, Evangelist and Islamist activities)

2. History of the Hinduphobe writers (some writers have a clear bias and this is shown when the last 9 out of 10 articles are focused on Hinduism under a negative light)

3. Political bias and influence (many writers are married to or hail from a particular political party such as the Indian National Congress)

4. Editorial bribery (there have been cases where ex-anchors say they were approached by members of parliament to write on a topic)

5. Sensationalism and ratings (some media giants only care for ratings and will sensationalize whatever gets them more views, even at the expense of a religious group’s sentiments)

6. Class-wars among India’s elite (anchors have been caught calling villagers as classless)

7. Fear and appeasement of some religious groups (some writers are afraid to cover stories on specific topics due to fatwas and violent backlash from certain religious and terrorist groups)

Just this past week there was an article in the well-known Washington Post titled ‘Narendra Modi was speaking in code when he visited America. Here’s what he was really saying to his Hindu nationalist base‘, by popular film producer and writer Mira Nair, who is also the wife of well-respected Mahmood Mamdani. The article can be seen as anti-Hindu and an unbiased reader could easily identify the attempt to find any reason to show Hindus and the PM in bad light – even going as far as suggesting that the newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wore ‘a shade of orange’ during his speech to signal support for Hindu terrorism. Can you say ‘ridiculous’, I know my mother, who is an American surgeon volunteered 20% of her time volunteering in war-torn countries and wears shades of orange because it’s her favorite color. I also have an aunt that wears orange more than often because she was raised under the belief that orange (or Saffron) is auspicious and brings good blessings if worn. It is more than probable that PM Modi wore orange because of the latter, and if not, then likely it may have been just a coincidence. At the least, one cannot conclude that it was likely worn to signal support for elements of Hindu terrorism (whose existence is very debatable). It is this type of bigotry that fosters and influences bullying of Hindu children for such little things like wearing orange. I actually first came across this article when my American co-worker (and friend) who has a keen interest in geopolitics made a joke about my orange shirt and jokingly implied that I am a Hindu terrorist, after reading Mrs. Nair’s article.

Just recently, there has been a viral video where famous Hollywood actor Ben Affleck called comedian and academic/author Sam Harris racist for saying that homophobia is a problem under the ‘Muslim world’. Can you imagine how liberals such as Ben Affleck would yell ‘racism and bigot’ on people such as Mira Nair if they were to suggest that a leader supports Islamic terror because they wore black like ISIS or green, which happens to be the holy color of Islam (similar to orange/saffron is for Hinduism)?

I’d also like to make note of how author Mira Nair (who is neither an authority on politics or religion) conveniently left out (ahem, ahem) the symbolic gifts PM Modi gave to US President Barack Obama, and just focused on one – Modi giving Obama a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. “Hello! Where is the context Mrs. Nair?” For people that don’t know what the Bhagavad Gita is, it is one among dozens of major religious books of thought and spirituality that guide Hindus in their journey within Hinduism. Mira Nair went on to imply that giving a book from the majority religion of India ignores representation of minority religions such as Sikhism, Islam and Christianity, that make up 20% of India. Well, here comes the bad news to Mira Nair and just another proof of how her article yells communalism and Hinduphobia: PM Modi did not just give a plain copy of the Gita to Obama, but rather gave ‘Mahatma Gandhi’s version of the Gita’. It is a well known fact that Barack Obama highly respects Mahatma Gandhi, and giving a version of the Gita in Gandhi’s perspective shows it as a relevant and thoughtful gift from the Modi-led BJP Government. But, that’s not it, Modi actually gave a few Islamic paintings based on a historic Persian painting art form to President Barack Obama. The Modi goverment said that the Islamic paintings symbolized the large Muslim population in his home state of Gujarat, where this historic Islamic art form is being preserved. So yeah, looks like Mira Nair either should not have spoken so soon, or validated her arguments before writing for such a large publication as the Washington Post. Such convenient mistakes or accidents usually cause major loss in credibility of writers. Perhaps the pull of Hinduphobia is so strong that people may just let it go one more time. After all, to many Hinduphobic writers around the world, Hindus and Hinduism are just an idol-worshipping, or monkey-worshipping religion that only poor people in villages follow.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Letters which 'prove national hero Gandhi was gay'

Letters between Mahatma Gandhi and Hermann Kallenbach are said to shed light on their 'loving relationship' They are among archive of documents which cover Gandhi's time in South Africa, his return to India and his contentious relationship with his family Papers were due to have been auctioned at Sotheby's in London this week

A year after a controversial biography of Mahatma Gandhi claimed he was bisexual and left his wife to live with a German-Jewish bodybuilder, the Indian government has bought a collection of letters between the two men days before they were to be auctioned. India paid around £700,000 (60million rupees) for the papers, which cover Gandhi's time in South Africa, his return to India and his contentious relationship with his family. The auction was to be held at Sotheby's in London on Tuesday but was called off at the last minute

Lovers? Mahatma Gandhi and Hermann Kallenbach sit either side of a female companion. The Indian government has bought a collection of letters between the two men days before they were to be auctioned

The documents will now be placed with the National Archives of India in New Delhi.
They previously belonged to relatives of Hermann Kallenbach, a German-born Jewish architect who met Gandhi in South Africa in 1904 and was impressed by his ideas.
Last year, a Gandhi biography by author Joseph Lelyveld called Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi And His Struggle With India detailed the extent of his relationship with Kallenbach.
It claimed that the leader of the Indian independence movement was deeply in love with Kallenbach.

Mr Lelyveld denied that his book said Gandhi was bisexual. But Gandhi's home state of Gujarat banned it as an 'insult' to the father of the nation.
Most of the correspondence, which spans five decades from 1905 to 1945, is from family, friends and followers of Gandhi, but there are also 13 letters written by him to Kallenbach.
They reference Gandhi's early political campaigns and the illness of his wife Kasturba.
He wrote in one letter: 'I no longer want to be angry with her so she is sweet... She had a few grapes today but she is suffering again. It seems to be me she is gradually sinking.'
In another, written before his return to India from South Africa, Gandhi wrote: 'I do all my writing squatting on the ground and eat invariably with my fingers. I don't want to look awkward in India.'Indian historian Ramchandra Guha discovered the letters at the home of Kallenbach's grand-niece, Isa Sarid.

Almost auctioned: The documents previously belonged to relatives of Kallenbach, a German-born Jewish architect who met Gandhi in South Africa in 1904 and was impressed by his ideas 

Gandhi and Kallenbach became constant companions after they met in Johannesburg in 1904.Among the most illuminating of the documents are dozens of letters written by Gandhi's sons which provide details of his life in India, particularly in the period immediately after his return, when he lived in relative obscurity.'Father is becoming more and more awful,' read one incomplete letter probably written by Harilal, his eldest son.
'It would not be strange if a time may come one of these days when either those who are living with Father might have to go or he might leave us all not being able to stand our life.'
India has in the past complained bitterly about private auctions of Gandhi's belongings, saying they insulted the memory of a man who rejected material wealth.
A senior official at the ministry of culture in New Delhi said: 'These papers are of huge importance to India to carry out research on the Gandhian view on various things, that is why we decided to purchase them.'
Sotheby's had put a pre-sale estimate of between £500,000 and £700,000 on the collection.
But the sale was pulled after Indian authorities agreed to purchase the entire archive for around £700,000 (60million rupees).Sotheby's said in a statement: 'The Gandhi-Kallenbach archive... has been sold in a private transaction to the Indian government.'Mr Lelyvel's book caused much controversy when it was published last year.

Gandhi and Kallenbach (middle row, centre) pose for a picture at Tolstoy Farm, South Africa in 1910. They became constant companions after they met in Johannesburg in 1904

Gandhi (left) and Kallenbach lived together for two years in a house in South Africa. Joseph Lelyveld's controversial biography Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi And His Struggle With India (right) was published last year.
According to the book, Gandhi allegedly told Kallenbach: ‘How completely you have taken possession of my body. This is slavery with a vengeance.’Kallenbach was born in Germany but emigrated to South Africa where he became a wealthy architect. Gandhi was working there and Kallenbach became one of his closest disciples.The pair lived together for two years in a house Kallenbach built in South Africa and pledged to give one another ‘more love, and yet more love... such love as they hope the world has not yet seen'.At the age of 13 Gandhi had been married to 14-year-old Kasturbai Makhanji, but after four children together they split in 1908 so he could be with Kallenbach, the book says.At one point he wrote to the German: ‘Your portrait (the only one) stands on my mantelpiece in my bedroom. The mantelpiece is opposite to the bed.’
Although it is not clear why, Gandhi wrote that vaseline and cotton wool were a ‘constant reminder’ of Kallenbach.He nicknamed himself ‘Upper House’ and his lover ‘Lower House’ and he vowed to make Kallenbach promise not to ‘look lustfully upon any woman’.
'I cannot imagine a thing as ugly as the intercourse of men and women,’ he later told him.
They were separated in 1914 when Gandhi went back to India – Kallenbach was not allowed into India because of the First World War, after which they stayed in touch by letter.
As late as 1933 he wrote a letter telling of his unending desire and branding his ex-wife ‘the most venomous woman I have met’.

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Friday, October 03, 2014