Tag Archives: Resources

English language – Views from India

“The English language has caused a great loss to the country. We are losing our language, our culture as there are hardly any people who speak Sanskrit now. There are only 14,000 people left in this country speaking in [the ancient language of] Sanskrit. Knowledge acquired out of English is not harmful but the anglicization penetrated into youths in this country is dangerous.”BJP president Rajnath Singh on 19th July 2013.

“Paradox-BJP outsources vision document to anglicised policy wonks while ranting English caused great loss to India. This attempt to create a dispute over language or saying that one language is better or worse that another, doesn’t strengthen the country and is not expected from a responsible political party,” Information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari.

“They are trying to reach out to the Hindi belt, where the Hindi elite has an ambiguous relation with English, with which it isn’t comfortable. They are trying to create a Hindi psyche to replenish their Hindi-Hindu-Hindustan constituency.”Badri Narayan, an Allahabad-based academic

“For most Indians, English is an additional language, and it does not insulate or separate people from their identities. Knowing English will only help Indians to advance and develop further.”CPM leader Sitaram Yechury

“All things Indian by tradition, be it caste, be it social structure, political structure, have stopped India from growing into a modern society. If English is eliminating tradition, it is also eliminating a culture that is caste-driven. I am not surprised that BJP is upset. The party cannot succeed in a caste-neutral India. It is opposing English because of its opposition to modernity itself.” Dalit ideologue Chandrabhan Prasad

“A nybody who thinks that the growth of English has been a bane for India is seriously out of touch with reality. In the era of globalization, it is one of the critical advantages India has vis-a-vis countries like China. Indeed, China has itself recognized this and is seeking to catch up in a hurry. In any case, to blame one language or culture for the sorry state of another language is to miss the point. There is no contradiction between the growth of English and the thriving of native cultures. English represents, for most Indians, the language of opportunity, while their mother tongues are often the language of expression. The BJP chief should see English as cause for celebration rather than mourning.” – Times View

English will be a weapon in the hands of the poor and the oppressed to question the ways of the exploiters; it will be an armour for women subjected to male domination in this nation and for men who want to come out of a decadent culture, English shows the way. We need to break the caste system and we need to see that the benefits of progress to percolate to the lowest rungs of the poocr and for this the affected people should have access to English. – MPK Kutty

“Every country has the right to protect its culture and customs” BJP spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

“Sanskrit had helped the priestly class to deny knowledge to the lower castes and  keep them oppressed. For thousands of years the higher castes kept exploiting the weaker sections and English enabled those classes to open their eyes to the Truth. Without English millions of Indians would not have had an opportunity to prosper in countries like the US, UK, Australia and the Gulf region. The benefits of human civilisation have percolated to this nation through the study of English. It is this language which brought light to an otherwise backward and dark regions of the world. There is a verse in the Bible which says: “Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19) Why are people afraid of English?” From an article in Speaking Tree       

“This is an illusion that English is the only means of progress…this is not true. True education is to develop feeling and dedication for the country. “Earning money is not everything. Children should have sanskar (culture) and they should know relationship and love.” – Mohan Bhagwat, Chief of Rashtreeya Swayamsevak Sangh

“Rajnath Singh’s deliberate yet bizarre, regressive statement on English confirms that the BJP lives in the Jurassic Age”  Sanjay Jha, a political analyst (published by Foxnews, article title “Indian politician sparks outrange with anti English remarks”)

In my view people should learn Hindi, English, Sanskrit and their mother tongue. You cannot be parochial in these things. Knowing any language is not a bad thing. The problem is that the entire thought process of the BJP leadership is very narrow-minded” – Rajeev Shukla-Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs

“English has been an asset for India. It is perhaps the only worthwhile thing we gained from the colonial experience. And in a country that is as vast and diverse as ours, it is very good to have a language like English to link us together, to link all parts of the country together where no part feels disadvantaged,”  – Shashi Tharoor, HRD Minister 

 

 

Varna – Resource Page

Varna of Sanatana Dharma is misinterpreted as a concept and as practice.   This page clarifies confusions around Varna through an FAQ.

Frequently Asked Questions about Varna

Who created Varna?

Varna was created by God – Sri Krishna, incarnation of Lord Vishnu, confirms this in Geetha.   Varnas are created based on Guna and Karma

How many Varnas are there?

There are four Varnas.  There is no fifth Varna.

What are the names of Varnas?

Brhmana, Kshatriya, Vyshya and Shudra.   Dvija refers to Brhamana, Kshatriya and Vyshya.  Dvija means “twice born”.  First birth refers to biological birth and the second birth to the initiation to Brahmacharya through Upanayana Samskaara.

What is Karma?  What is Guna?

Karma means action.  Karma is sum total of all actions of an individual.   Guna is Quality of the individual due to mental modifications of the individual due to all previous actions of the individual.   Quality, referred herein, is of Satva, Rajas and Tamas categories.  An action may result in positive result or negative result.  Positive result will create an impression on the intellect and purifies the mind.  Negative result will create another impression on the intellect contaminating the mind.  

How Karma and Guna are related rebirth?

Karma and Guna are not limited to present life of an individual.  At the time of birth, mental modifications created by past Karma manifests as the Guna – composition of Satva, Rajas, and Tamas – embeded in the child.   The place and the context of the birth is determined by the past Karma

What is Guna at a given point of time?

In principle, at a given point of time, Guna of an individual is based on the impressions created on the mind of the individual at that point of time due to previous actions performed by the individual.  

What is the Varna at the time of birth?

Varna at the time of birth is determined by the Varna of the parents.   More precisely, the Guna and the Karma decides the context of the child. 

Is Varna birth based?

If Guna and Karma changes with every action,  the Varna may also be based on the Guna and Karma at any given point of time. But since there are only four Varnas, the Varna may not vary too frequently.   Some people think that Varna to be decided on Guna and Karma independent of the Varna at birth.   Fixing the Varna of a person based on the Varna at the time of birth is not acceptable to these people.  Some others point out to the impossibility of determining Varna independently at any given point of time.  It may be possible to detect Guna of a person by means of various carefully designed tests. But, the past Karma is unknowable in nature.  So, the impossibility of determining Varna. Moreover,  duties of Varna Dharma can not be performed by an individual alone.   Cooperation from other family members is required in many situations.  If the members of a family are assigned different Varnas, performance of duties enjoined to Varnas can not be performed.  Since Varna need not change frequently, one Varna for one life is reasonable, according to traditionalists. 

What are lifestyle of different Varnas?

Duties of Brahmana is to study Vedas and teach Vedas to other two Dvija Varnas.   Performing sacrifies, priesthood, are also duties of Brahmana.   Ruling the subjects, study of Veda are duties of Kshatriya.   Study of Vedas, Trade, and agriculture are duties of Vyshya.  sustaining Varnadharma through serving other Varnas is the duty of a  Shudra.  

What is the Varna of a Family?

Varna of a Family is the Varna of individuals belonging to that family.  The assumption here is that the Varna of all of the family members are same.  If family members of a family, for some reason, belong to different Varnas, the family may not be in a position to unambiguously follow any one of the Varnas.   

What is the effect of Marriage on Varna?

Marriage among bride and bridegroom belonging to two different Varnas leads to Varnasankara (mixing of Varnas).  The Varnas of the parents under specified circumstances may be lost (or changed).  The offspring of couple belonging to different Varnas, are not necessarily identified with one of the Varna.  Some person may not have a Varna identity.  Although there is no fifth Varna, those who does not have a Varna identity are termed as Panchamas, by unofficial and/or untraditional sources.  

Jaati

Jaati is that which comes along with birth.   Jaati is Varna for those who have Varna.  Thus, Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra are also jaatis. Offspring of a couple belonging to two different Varnas will get a new Jaati.  Similarly, offspring of a couple belonging to two different Jaatis would create another Jaati.  Thus, with respect to time, the total number of Jaatis will continue to increase. 

What is the difference between Dharma, Aaachaara, and rituals?

Dharma is that which sustains – that which is always right.  The conduct that upholds Dharma is called Aachaara.  Rituals are those procedures that sustain Aaachara / Dharma.  Rituals have the potential of delineating the boundaries of Jaatis.  

What is mata – religion?

An opinion, not necessarily perfect, about the reality is mata (or religion).  Mata aims at following Dharma  in letter and spirit.  Religion strives to provide a context for  individuals, families,  and society at large to adhere to the path of Dharma.    But, the religion may not be sufficient to adhere to the path of Dharma.  

Is Untouchability a part of Hinduism? 

Untouchability is not an inherent practice of Hinduism.  At best, it may be described as a distortion introduced into the Hindu way of life.  Aachaara prohibits unrestrained eating patterns, guides choices in marriage, dress, and other aspects of life.  Cleanliness practices necessitates separation.  There is separation among men and women, among Varnas and among various Jaatis.  But, sense of exploitation,  inequality,  hurting attitudes, were not present within the Hindu society.  Shudras practiced separation as willingly as Brahmins as part of Aachaara.  Shudra supported a Brahmin to faithfully uphold Varna dharma and Aachhara necessary to uphold Varnadharma.  But, with the superimposition of English education on the Hindu society suddenly introduced new kind of interactions alien to the Hindus, creating ill will among various jaatis and Varnaas.   The ill will is untouchability – a distorted interpetation of aachaara. 

What is sustaining social disharmony today?

Deviation from Varna dharma leads to dilution of aachaara among Brahmins as well as among other Varnas and Jaatis.  Dilution of aachaara creates contradictions.   When there is an attempt to live with contradictions and assert Varna/Jaati identities,  social harmony would be affected.  In the context of deteriorating social harmony, suspicion among groups of people grows.   The suspicion leads to denial of individual freedom, which is very much essential for adhering to the aachaara.  The vicisous cycle continues and the trend of deteriorating social harmony gets strengthened.  In summary, misinterpretation of Aachaara  and   denial of individual freedom is sustaining social tensions among various castes today. 

Indian Communism – resource page

Communism is a precognitive hypothesis about a classless, moneyless, stateless society which includes a social order structured upon common ownership of material resources, and an ideology pervading social, political and economic spheres that aims at the establishment of this social order.

Communism denies God, religion, and tradition.  Accepts culture selectively, experiments with family system and strives towards revolution leading to establishment of a communist government.

Mao substituted the the peasantry (discounted by traditional Marxists) for the urban proletariat that China largely lacked. This substitution brought Mr. Mao Zedong to power in China through violent insurgency by Chinese agrarian peasants. Maoism was embraced by insurgent guerrilla groups worldwide; under the Khmer Rouge it became Cambodia’s national ideology.

Naxalites and Maoists of India are insurgent groups inspired by Marxist-Lenist-Maoist ideas and adopting violent confrontation approach towards the government and society.  Left Extremism in India is steadily gaining strength and Maoists are able to establish their presence along a strip across the country called Red Corridor.

The Red Corridor is a region in the east of India that experiences considerable Naxalite–Maoist insurgency. The axalites group mainly consist of the armed cadres of Communist Party of India (Maoist) (CPI (Maoist)).  These are also areas that suffer from the greatest illiteracy, poverty and overpopulation in modern India, and span parts of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar,Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengalstates.

Objective of Insurgency

A manual titled “Strategy and Tactics of the Indian Revolution” prepared by Leftist extremists states the goal explicitly. The aim is to overthrow the Indian State. The plan is not to take up this objective tomorrow or day after. The strategy is to prepare the ground and make preparations to overthrow the State around 2050. There are some documents talking of 2060. The objective for 2010-2020 is not to initiate a decisive war against the armed forces. It is a long steady progress.

(From an article by G. K. Pillai, Former Home Secretary, Indian Government – The article was reproduced by Rediff from the Journal of Defence Studies, of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses)

Response to the Maoist attrocities

In Chhattisgarh, local tribals facing the brutality of Maoists, responded with a resistance movement equipped with arms. The resistance movement  (called Salwa Judum) was very effective and the state government extended its support to the movement and provided formal training to the members of the resistance movement.

Christianity – Resource Page

Christianity is a faith aligned to the teachings of Jesus Christ – as presented in canonical gospels, in old testament and in new testament.  There are various versions of Christianity based on the authority that interpret the gospels and the teachings of the Jesus Christ.  Christianity began as a Jewish sect and soon witnessed a rapid expansion.  In the 11th century, a schism within the Christian following created Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.  In 16th century, another schism created a reformist movement within the Roman Catholic Church and Protestantism came into existence. In India, Christianity and its various denominations were introduced with Colonialism.  Today,  about 5% of the population in India are officially Christians.  Christian institutions play a dominant role in Indian public affaris.  This page provides

 1. Updates about Christianity, especially relevant to India.

2.  Discuss proselytization in the context of a multicultural society.

3.  Provides an understanding of colonialization and its effects on Indian society.

 

This page is a first landing on the web on Christianity from Indian perspective

 

Christianity – Wikipedia

Christianity – BBC Religions

 

 

 

Islam – Resource Page

Islam is a synonym for peace for many of its followers and is being used as a synonym for violence by Western powers USA and European countries.   This resource – page is an effort to syndicate and explore resources related to the theme Islam.  In India, more than 15% of the population follow Islam – Shia, Sunni, and Sufi among many other versions.  Discussion about secularism and social harmony revolves around Islamic communiy.  Kashmir, and Communal violence and other security discussions have sustained controversies around Islam and Muslim community.  This page strives towards

 1. Provide clearer understanding of followers of Islam and their critics.

2.  Promote peace, and social harmony in Indian subcontinent.

3. Provide pointers to quality web sources related to Islam.

 

This page is a first landing on the web on Islam from Indian perspective

 

ISLAM – Wikipedia

ISLAM – BBC Religions

ISLAM – list of websites

ISLAM – Watch

QURAN – Explorer

 Rational Islam

 

 

Ramadan  Oath for promoting peace

Kashmir – Resource Page

In India, discussion about Kashmir almost always ends in a confusion due to lack of consensus on every single issue related to the crisis situation. This is due to the illogical arguments floating in the public domain, sustained misinformation campaign by vested interests and lack of awareness about reality.   The objective of any Kashmir related activity should be

 1. Set out clear objectives for a debate, or for an initiative.

2. Provide valid information, arguments and insights leading to the realization of objectives.

3. Provide pointers to  web sources to help sustaining meaningful perspectives.

 

       This page is a first landing on the web in an urgent effort to reduce confusions regarding Kashmir

Kashmir is a long standing security concern for India. Pakistan is waiting for a suitable opportunity to annex Kashmir. Unrealistic assessment of Pakistani establishment has been exposed in previous wars – but Pakistani society as a whole has not learnt any lessons so far.

China and other global powers are responsible for complicating the Kashmir problems for India. Lack of awareness about the problem, lack of consensus on various issues of Kashmir among Indians can be cited as main problems faced by India. This page provides  lists resources to address these problems

What is Happening in Kashmir – NOW

AGITATIONAL TERRORISM – is adopted by separatist forces and expressed through exploting Islamic religious sentiments in Kishtwar district.  On the day of Ramzan, a communal riot broke out in which shops and houses of minority Hindus were targetted by anti Indian Muslims who were carrying Pakistani flags for the Id prayers.   Two relevant reports in this regard – by Samvada.org  and by South Asia Intelligence review

kashmir-medsyn : a blog on Kashmir by media.syndicate. Intended to individuals who would like to take a sensible stance on History of Kashmir, disputes around the region and proposed newer arrangements.

Panun Kashmir is an organisation of displaced Kashmiri Pandits (Kashmiri Hindus) founded in December 1990, in order to demand that a separate homeland for Kashmir’s Hindu population be carved out of the overwhelmingly Muslim Valley of Kashmir. Panun means “our own” in Kashmir. Panun Kashmir is an imaginary region north and east of river Zhelum demanded to protect Hindus from onslaught of Muslim/Islam.   Panun Kashmir Website

Kashmiri Shaivism – Vaideeka philosophy taught by teachers from Kashmir – Abhinavagupta, and Jayaratha.