An Outline on Dharmanomics

India is at cross roads. There is rising debate and discussion on development. There is lot of talk and hype about aspirations and the virtues of Entrepreneurship. In the last two decades the global exposure of average Indian increased, people are getting increasingly impatient about the state of affairs in India vis-a-vis other countries, particularly west. The neo-enlightened globe-trotting Indians are fascinated by glitz of modern economies, particularly of western variety.  They strongly believe India should follow them. Some more enlightened among them armed with their ivy league degrees tend to sermon their lesser economically enlightened countrymen on the virtues of Capitalism, free markets, Economic right philosophies, Libertarianism.  Some, like this writer, disagree with this standard rhetoric, mostly borrowed from west, put forth by neo economically enlightened class as panacea for India’s poverty.

Most of these neo-enlightened are sincere, they want India to prosper and end misery of impoverished millions. But they are borrowing models that already failed. Capitalism as practiced in the so called advanced economies is in crisis. It has turned into imperialism and tyranny of fiat money backed by military might. It steals others resources by deception and any protests are silenced with brute force. Majority citizens of these advanced economies also suffer from this systemic deception and tyranny though in a different way. They are forced into wage slavery to either state or corporation. The model dislikes interference of any other institution between state, corporation and citizen.  Laws are made to discourage any strong family or community bonding, they tend to increase mistrust among citizens and professions. Though the standard of life is made high with borrowed prosperity insecurity is all pervasive. The system won’t let people save or live independent. The giant corporation is omnipotent and omnipresent with limited space left for self employment. The farm, the city, the house, the work space is directly or indirectly at the mercy of corporation.

In the last few years glaring holes surfaced in the corporate capitalist model that could no longer be hidden. The lifeline of this model is material innovation to create new markets for business and growth.  The model managed to flourish for little over a century with new product innovation. It began with mechanical gadgets followed by revolution in electrical & electronics engineering. Currently, the pace of innovation is coming down and is limited by current knowledge. It seems humanity has not progressed much in core physical knowledge for over half a century and any further progress is unlikely to create big markets. The unlimited product innovation and market creation to satisfy perennial hunger of corporation is no longer guaranteed. So, the big corporation has turned its eye on appropriating nature, its flora and fauna. Nature has created and evolved the most inert elements for the life to flourish and progress, the big corporation wants to muddle the equilibrium to appropriate in the name of intellectual property rights. They want to engineer the seed of life in the name of genetic modification. They can’t bear to see anything on planet as a free gift of nature to life. They are addicted to measure everything with money. The fiat money they have created now dictates as a tyrant.

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This is the brief summary of capitalistic model that enamours neo-enlightened India. Then how can India prosper, Shouldn’t India rise to world standards? India have to prosper and can prosper without compromising its existing priceless institutions like family, community and its age-old dharma. It has to evolve a system from the roots of Dharma and natural justice. The model is not new, India lived with real prosperity for millennia following the natural justice of Dharma. It worshipped all the elements of its prosperity from rivers, mountains to flora and fauna. The secret of its perennial prosperity was its love for the divine nature. The Indic civilization begged Mother Nature for milk, never tried to draw blood.  Its innovation was to facilitate and nourish life, it was more concerned about how to innovate and cause more rain for life than manufacturing Intercontinental ballistic missile.

How to adopt this model of Dharma to the present scenario, Does Dharmanomics means going back into time and shunning modernity?  The answer is no. Many enthusiasts of neo-economic right in India try to project any alternatives to their borrowed economic models as statist and regressive. Dharmanomics is about blending natural economy, natural justice to modern situation.

India can’t live in an isolated economic and cultural existence from the rest of the world.  It has to engage contemporary world on its own terms. For that it needs to be on par with rest of the world in technology and military strength. Military strength is linked with best technology and high end manufacturing. Research and innovation in these areas have to be encouraged. If private and foreign investment can best help such innovation it should be facilitated. High end manufacturing clusters can be established on waste lands along the coast. Over time few of these clusters could emerge into mega cities.

But can these urban manufacturing centers be allowed to dominate whole economy?  If India is successful in high-tech manufacturing, will that ensure prosperity? The real prosperity means good food, clean water and air, a comfortable home, a profession, good health, good family and social life. If the land gives enough food then rest can be achieved with proper organization of the society. Food economy is the root of prosperity.  In other words balancing food economy and high-end manufacturing is critical for prosperity and to defend that prosperity from external threats.

India’s food economy and manufacturing should complement each other. City-states can be centers of modern manufacturing and economic organization while decentralized Panchayat structure could support life with all its diversity.  The city capitalist or corporation shouldn’t be allowed to monopolize the food and rural economy. The farmland shouldn’t become an instrument of investment for profit. Only professional farmer have to be allowed ownership of farmland and the community Panchayat has to certify him as farmer. This gives an incentive and dignity to farming as a profession, as a consequence the rural life would boom around him with addition of small manufacturing and services.  This model would optimize employment generation.

The farm economy has to be self organized to optimize food production and allowed to fix own prices to their produce. He can be taxed like any other profession. This kind of restriction on farm land ownership by non-farmers is there in Gujarat and it is also the best state where rural economy is self-organized.

Modern India needs its own plan for prosperity. Borrowed models can’t fit its numbers, geography, social and spiritual temperament. Fortunately India population is so huge that it can support diverse economic models. The traditional system can co-exist in harmony with modern organization without one preying on other. Harmony of self and environment is the essence of Dharma and to see the possibility of such harmony in economy is Dharmanomics.

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How can India defeat terror?

      The recurring instances of terror, the latest in Hyderabad, are a grave matter of concern for public safety in India. Terror adds an extra dimension to the already insecure life of common man, particularly in busy metros and other terror hotspots. While political class assures its security with money lavishly spent from public exchequer, common man is left on his own fate, worse he can’t even defend against any potential threats. Random terror strikes against innocent public are increasingly becoming tools of foreign policy for heartless malefic governments, it’s cheap and enemy can be bled continuously with festering wounds compared to conventional wars.

Primarily, two types of ideological terrorism are being actively promoted by high and mighty 1) Religious 2) Left-wing  They have perfected the art of using real or imaginary grievances across the globe to their advantage by all means. This game is not new but modern centres of power are equipped with far more sophisticated physical, economic and psychological tools to play the game than any time in known history.

Digressing from global machinations behind terrorism, the main thing is how can India effectively counter terrorism of both leftist and religious variety?  What measures are required beyond intelligence and effective policing to counter terror?

The first and foremost measure to counter terror is cutting the inflow of foreign funds to all types of ideological NGOs, think-tanks, and religious organizations inside the country. The seeds of terror and sedition are nurtured by these poisonous funds. They are conduits to the agendas of forces inimical to the country.

The second important step is to ban organized religious conversions. Organized religious conversions are psychological and demographic aggressions driven by agendas of power. If somebody is voluntarily convinced about a particular faith he has right to convert, but corporate style organized efforts to brainwash people have to be discouraged and banned. The southern states, particularly Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu, are witnessing huge changes in religious demographics with evangelical dons running their empires financed by foreign evangelical funds.

The third and the most important long term step is to assimilate religions born outside, came into India by force and refuse to assimilate.  To begin with every citizen irrespective of his religion and creed has to be brought under common legal framework. The role of religious bureaucracy has to be limited to prayer and worship.  Passages in religious books that promote hatred with an objective to achieve universal dominance in the name of God shouldn’t be allowed to be part of religious education.

A Godless insipid secular state can only create vacuum in society that could be exploited by different groups with agendas to usurp power. The state should represent the culture, history and ethos of land. In the Indian context the state has to act as a representative of God in the form of Dharma-the eternal source of justice and righteousness. It shouldn’t shy away from being representative of the history and legends of the land. The symbols and essence of civilization should reflect in statecraft.  The state shouldn’t force, but it has to conduct in such a way that enables assimilation of different groups into broader cultural roots of the nation. Multiculturalism or composite culture is a non-starter. Like split personality disorder, it only creates schism in national psyche, can never inspire or create strong bonds in society. Assimilation of religious identity into national cultural roots is critical for fixing the religious fault lines haunting this nation for over a millennium. Everything else can only prolong pain and strife leading to final destruction.

Coming to Left wing terrorism, the core of it is power mongering in the name of ideology, idealism. The ideology motivates adventurism to usurp power using rhetoric and symbols of oppression. It offers centralized power to party bureaucracy as an alternative to capitalistic and feudal oppression. All they want is power transfer to party hierarchy from the established power centres  History is witness to the hypocrisy, cruelty and bitterness this ideology unleashed.

The most effective way to deal with this monster is empowering grass roots, decentralization of political and economic power is crucial to prevent situations fertile to the growth of these weeds. The age old empowered panchayat system and cooperative economic structures at grass roots with people participation are perfect anti-dotes to this poison. The left extremism in India is actively financed by enemies of this country. India mired in internal struggles keeps them dominant and strong.

India has to overcome these twin menaces for its wounded soul to recover, the solution lies in its history, roots and ethos. Any superficial fancy ideas imposed from the top can only aggravate pain and confusion.

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Modi and the Rural Manifesto

Recent talk by Narendra Modi at SriRam College in Delhi was well received and created lot of buzz across India, particularly among youth and middle class, the speech was carried by over a dozen popular news channels to wider audience. The central theme of the speech was optimism and great hope for India’s bright future. Many leaders give speeches, create false hopes, run elections campaigns promising so many things, but very few can articulate an original vision and even fewer could convince masses on that vision. Narendra Modi is one such rare leader, the fact that his vision has a running model in Gujarat makes it even more credible and attractive.

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Modi talk is interesting, he goes to a premier elite commerce college in the heart of Delhi and primarily talks about agriculture, animal husbandry, salt and zero defect manufacturing, not about any economic ideologies, investments or intricacies of financial markets. While the entire media focus on Modi is about investments in Vibrant Gujarat, the man himself doesn’t explicitly highlight them in his public interactions; rather he chooses to focus more on his achievements in agriculture, water infrastructure, education, urban infrastructure. He knows governance and economy is less about corporate investments but more about empowering people and creating opportunities for livelihood. When was the last time a popular leader talked about rural issues addressing an elite youth? Even His party being principle opposition for the last 8 years never felt important to highlight these issues in Delhi. Though not an Oxford/Cambridge economist, his earthy genius and experience on the ground knows what is important and strikes chord with the people of this country.

English Media in this country tried hard to limit the discourse around Modi to investments. The image of Modi as a corporate poster boy suits their agenda to demolish him. Modi recognized this game plan early, the congress malicious campaign in Gujarat painting him as pro-corporate alerted him. In the Gujarat election campaign he exhaustively focused on issues of agriculture, woman, rural and urban infrastructure development.

The battle for 2014 not yet started officially, but it seems Modi has identified his message and agenda, a message of hope to aspiring urban India and a promise of economic rejuvenation in rural hinterland. The challenge for Modi comes more from rural masses, they are keen watchers of politics with strong sense of identity, and politics directly impacts their daily life. In a sense it’s both easy and difficult to convince them depending on the credibility of message and messenger. The easiest way to convince them is to reach out to them physically.  This is not new for Modi, he has done it in Gujarat, the challenge is to replicate at a national level. The talk about rural issues in colleges or media can only take him to their minds not hearts.

Winning rural hearts is critical for Modi. He needs to reach out to them.  Traditionally, Bjp was never able to win this constituency. There is not much time left for the decisive war and the task before is enormous. Only Modi in Bjp has a chance to achieve it. The sooner the Bjp decides on leadership issue more the time available for rural reach out.  A separate rural manifesto on the back of Modi’s agrarian achievements in Gujarat can set the agenda for rural campaign. The treacherous media will make all out efforts to paint him as pro-rich and anti-rural, only physical reach out like in Gujarat can defeat the poison media will unleash.

The battle for the future of this country can’t be won just fighting in social media and internet. It has to be fought in every nook and corner of this country. So far the efforts have yielded positive results among urban middle classes and educated.  Legions of Modi fans are successful in creating interest in their leader across the country, but they cannot afford complacency in this final step to take him to rural hinterland. That’s where the evil in Delhi will focus its might and charms.

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Vijayawada – The City of Victory

Vijayawada, located on the banks of mighty Krishna is an important centre of culture and commerce in Andhra Pradesh. Historically, Krishna delta played an important role in the evolution of Andhra consciousness starting from the legend of Srikakula Andhra Maha Vishnu followed by the Satavahana rule from Amaravathi close to Vijayawada. The region is influenced by vedic religion, budhism, Jainism at different times.  Many famous centres of Budhist culture and learning developed on the banks of Krishna in the region. Famous Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna lived in the region. Vijayawada was the capital of Raja raja narendra chola before he moved his capital to Rajamahendravaram (Rajamundhry) on the banks of godavari. The city of Vijayawada combined with its twin city Guntur is the second largest urban conglomeration after Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh.

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Vijayawada-Guntur region has heavily influenced the evolution of modern Andhra Pradesh. It has provided a critical mass for vibrant cultural, political, and entrepreneurial growth in Andhra Pradesh. It’s considered the political and cultural capital of Andhra.  The region was politically heavily influenced by communism in the first half of 20th century. All sorts of progressive reformist ideas found resonance in the region during that period, from communism, atheism to feminism. Communists from Vijayawada region participated and logistically supported communist armed struggle against Nizam. After independence congress gradually regained influence in the region though influence of communists, socialists remained until NTR came up with TDP.

Though Vijayawada was under communist influence politically there was another stream in the region that promoted the spirit of enterprise.  After anicut on river Krishna in second half of 19th century, the Krishna delta region witnessed a boom in commerce and trade in commodities. In 1941, Velagapudi Ramakrishna, a former ICS officer pioneered industrialization in the area with his KCP group. The agriculture surpluses from the region found their way into cinema, transportation and agri based industries.  The influence of the region on telugu cinema and modern telugu literature is hugely disproportionate. Pioneers of telugu cinema like producers, directors, actors, writers, singers came from this region.

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The region is also an example of private initiative in education, though heavily discriminated by the regimes for being on the politically wrong side, the people of the region always valued education.  With private initiative they brought Loyola academy to Vijayawada and gave them land, donations to establish Andhra Loyala College in 1953, then few more colleges came up in the following decades.  It was Siddartha Academy that pioneered professional education in the city, they established first private engineering college in the state in 1977. From there Vijayawada-Guntur region has pioneered professional and private education in the state with individual and community efforts.  Each year more than one lakh students from across AP come to Vijayawada for college and pre-college education. Education became one of the biggest contributors to Vijayawada economy.

Being centrally located the city is also a hub of transportation, small and medium automobile component manufacturing, metal works. The city has vibrant culture of business and enterprise; many big business enterprises in AP have their roots in Vijayawada.  The entrepreneur from Vijayawada-Guntur region, always on search for opportunities, migrated to all important cities in the south like Chennai, Banglore and Coimbatore. In AP they have huge business stakes in Hyderabad and Vishakapatnam. Also, the region has huge NRI population and their contribution to regional economy is no less.

Vijayawada is a rebellious city. After independence the city lost out to Kurnool as capital inspite of being an economic and cultural hub for pure political reasons.  In a sense it is the most discriminated city of its league for political reasons despite having enormous potential to tap.  The city was nerve centre for Jai Andhra agitation for separate Andhra state that followed telangana agitation in late 60’s. The agitation was so severe that no government writ ran for months. Finally, AP govt under P.V.Narsimha Rao shot some 400 agitators to bring it down, the following day leader of the movement Kakani Venkatratnam died of heart attack. After jai Andhra the city fell into the grip of gangs. Gang wars between communists and other sponsored gangs to wrest control of city became regular feature. In two decades these gang wars acquired caste dimensions after a series of murders culminating in caste riots in 1988.

In 90s Vijayawada came out of gangster culture, it’s a peaceful and vibrant city now with residents much more focussed on economic development than ever before. It has everything in place except the will of the government to do something for the city that has contributed so much for evolution and progress of AP. The city badly needs an up gradation to existing airport and a port in Machilipatnam. The city has achieved so far on its own with enterprise and private initiative. Now it needs some initiative in infrastructure from government to jump into next league, when it happens Vijayawada-Guntur region will be unstoppable. The region has already acquired pan-andhra colors with migration from all across Andhra.

The city of victory deserves to be capital of Andhra if at all the state is bifurcated. It has everything, the history, culture, motivation, majesty, beauty, nativity, resources, energy and the unexplained X-factor. May Goddess Kanakadurga and mighty Krishnaveni bless the city to achieve new heights.

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Swamy Dayananda and Arya Samaj

Established in 1875 by Dayananda, Arya Samaj during his life time had branches in all main centres of North India, particularly Punjab and United provinces. It was established with a charter of ten basic rules, membership was open to all those irrespective of caste, religion, race who agreed upon these ten core principles

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1.       God is the primary cause of all true knowledge and of everything known by its means.

2.       God is All-truth, All-knowledge, All-beatitude, Incorporeal, Almighty, Just, Merciful, Unbegotten, Infinite, Unchangeable, without a beginning. Incomparable, the Support and the Lord of All, All pervading, Omniscient, Imperishable, Immortal, Exempt from fear, Eternal, Holy and the Cause of the Universe. To Him alone worship is due.

3.       The Vedas are the Books of true knowledge, and it is the paramount duty of every Arya to read or hear them read, to teach and read them to others.

4.       An Arya should always be ready to accept truth and to renounce untruth.

5.       All actions must conform to virtue, i.e., should be performed after a thorough consideration of right and wrong.

6.       The primary object of the Samaj is to benefit the whole world, viz., by improving the physical, spiritual, and social condition of mankind.

7.       All ought to be treated with love, justice and with due regard to their merits.

8.       Ignorance must be dispelled and knowledge diffused.

9.        No one should be contented with his own good alone, but everyone should regard his or her prosperity as included in that of others.

10.   In matters which affect the general social well-being of our race, no one should allow his or her Individuality to interfere with the general good, but in strictly personal affairs everyone may act with freedom.

According to Mulraj, first president of Arya samaj in Lahore, Dayananda had consciously chosen a charter with broader principles to give more personal liberty, without compromising the basic core and to accomadate all sections of hindu society.

Arya Samaj had a three tier organisational structure- a local branch, a provincial assembly and an all-india assembly at the top to oversee its affairs with leadership elected democratically at all levels. British govt had apprehensions on Arya Samaj, they looked at its goals and ideology with suspicion, a deadly mix of religious inspiration and organisation that could stoke nationalistic feelings among its followers against their rule.

Arya samaj as an organisation didn’t participated in politics, but members participated in nationalist struggle against british rule in their individual capacity. The Samaj was open about its agenda, its motivation was to restore vedic way of life in an open democratic manner.  It had a universal agenda to restore vedic way of life which was prevalent across the planet in the past, the agenda was not limited to hindus, Indians but to entire humanity, so there was no reason to participate in politics against British. They had no qualms to admit that inspiration from samaj could most likely stimulate political consciousness among followers, but that was not their agenda, they claimed all their activities were open and transparent.

Arya samaj emerged as an important socio-cultural organisation for hindus in a short period. In Punjab and united provinces it grew in strength, particularly very influential in centres like Lahore. Among its members were influential persons, businessmen, govt employees, lawyers and other well qualified established persons. Samaj gave a liberal socio-religious identity to the hindus from their own roots.

Arya samaj was the first socio-cultural hindu organisation that took up the task of addressing the challenges before hindu society with a well organized modern approach. Samaj was involved in social reform, education, service activities and reconversion to vedic religion.

The inspiration for samaj was to reform hindu religion and follow vedic way of life, apart from that samaj did commendable work in spreading education among masses. From community efforts they tried to impart indigenous as well as vocational modern education with primary, secondary schools across Punjab and United provinces. The Dayanand Anglo Vedic college, established in 1885 in Lahore, and the Gurukul at kangri near Haridwar, established in 1902 were considered model institutions for their aims in education.

The DAV college in Lahore, headed by Lala Hans Raj, a brilliant university graduate who gave up bright career to serve the cause as honorary principal for decades, became a model indigenous institution in a short period without taking any assistance from british govt. For a nominal fee it had provided quality education bereft of colonial prejudices, it’s curriculum included exposure to traditional classics as well as modern scientific knowledge and vocational training.

Another experiment to revive the vedic Gurukul education system was the Gurukul established in Kangri, close to Haridwar. It was founded by Munshi Ram, a lawyer who gave up his profession and invested all his resources in bringing up this institution. It was run as a residential institution, students had to spend their life of “Brahmacharya” away from parents studying both traditional and modern subjects while practicing vedic life style. Education and maintenance of student was free of cost. The remarkable feature of these experiments by Samaj was the recognition of the importance of modern secular and scientific education along with traditional education. This approach equipped students to face contemporary world and compete with others trained in british education with confidence. British govt was uneasy with this self-reliant indigenous approach of Samaj, tried to create hurdles with their power, but couldn’t defeat the spirit of people like Lala Hans Raj and Munshi Ram.  Arya samaj became a pioneer in the field of education with increased number of such institutions.

 

Social Service

       Hindu society as it was structured had an inbuilt mechanism for service at the level of family and community, it served the purpose in the past, with changing economic, social and administrative setup, an explicit organized approach to social service was needed. Arya samaj realized this necessity, undertook service activities competing with well organized and resourceful Christian missionaries.

Under British rule famines and starvation deaths were a regular feature in the country. When the harvest was good the surpluses were taken out of the country, during droughts and famines country was left to starve. Arya Samaj did commendable service in famine affected areas of Rajasthan, central provinces, Bombay state, parts of Punjab during famine years of 1897-98 and 1899-1900. They formed Hindu orphan relief movement to rescue orphaned children in famine areas, established number of hindu orphanages, provided sustenance and education for boys and girls.

Samaj’s service activities were not just limited to famine relief, also provided medical help during pestilences, nursing the sick and took up disposal of dead bodies.  During earthquake in Kangra valley in 1904 samaj organized massive relief measures and won the admiration of people and government, they were the first to reach the afflicted area.

Though their resources were limited compared to Christian missionaries, they had set a model before hindu society on the need for organized social service to serve each other, also gave confidence to hindus that they can organize and stand on their own as a society.

Shudhi – Reconversion

        The most important contribution of Arya Samaj towards long term hindu interests along with its reformist agenda was its attempt to reconvert people back to vedic religion from other religions with “Shudhi” programmes. In these events a person or group who intended to return back to vedic religion had to maintain himself with milk diet for 15 days, after that a yagna would be organized to solemnize their re-entry into native faith. This was nothing short of a revolutionary move given the fact that Hindu punditry for centuries foolishly refused to accept requests from people for re-entry to native traditions even if they never left on their own. This smugness and foolish attitude resulted in serious damages to hindu society, the damaging consequences continue to this day. Samaj organized these “shudhi” events wherever feasible, an organization to reconvert muslim rajputs was also formed.

Arya Samaj recognized the importance of numbers for the survival and sustenance of Hindus. It had worked to strengthen the weakest links of hindu society. They made efforts to uplift the weaker sections of society socially and spiritually, provided for their education and welfare, fought for their social status on par with others in hindu society.

Arya samaj pioneered hindu reform and rejuvenation at a time when its confidence was all time low. They blended hindu core to modernity. One may not have to agree with Dayananda or Arya samaj on everything but it’s important to see their immeasurable contribution in the context of historical process, external challenges and evolution of hindu society. It may not be exaggeration to say Samaj stands first in original thinking and intellectual honesty among Hindu inclined socio-cultural organizations even to this day. This speech by Lala Hans Raj at the anniversary of Lahore Arya Samaj makes the point clear on the quality of intellectual debates in Samaj

       “… During the palmiest days of Mahomedan rule, the Hindus had never acknowledged themselves beaten by their masters in intellectual and moral progress. A Mahomedan Babar might defeat a Hindu Sanga and dispossess him of a portion of his territory, but even he had to bend before a Hindu Nanak. Akbar, Faizi, Jehangir, and Dara Shikoh had to bear testimony to the learning and saintliness of Hindu devotees. But with the advent of the English the case has become different. Hardly a day passes when we are not reminded of our inferiority. The railway, the telegraph and the factory speak in unmistakeable terms both to the educated and the uneducated that Englishmen are far superior to them in the knowledge of natural laws and their application to the conveniences of human life. The wonderfully complex machine of administration which regulates our affairs displays to us high powers of organization in the nation that bears rule over us. The dramas of Shakespeare, the poems of Milton, and the writings of Bacon attest the intellectual eminence of the ruling people. The perseverance, truthfulness, courage, patriotism, and self-sacrifice of Englishmen excite feelings of respect and admiration in our minds. What wonder is then that in their company we feel ourselves conquered and humiliated?

    

    Just at this moment of weakness, the missionary comes to us and whispers that the superiority of the European over the Indian is the gift of the Son of God whom he has acknowledged as his King and Saviour, and that your countrymen can really become great if they come under His banner. The idea thus insinuated is daily fed and strengthened by the education that he imparts to us through a large number of Mission Schools and Colleges that cover the country with their network. The missionary criticizes the evils that have of late corrupted our society, and proudly points to his own community as entirely free from those curses. He compares our sacred books with Christian Scriptures, and proves to the satisfaction of many misguided people that the latter are infinitely superior to the former. He is also encouraged in his proselytizing work by the apathy of the Hindus towards religious instruction. They send their children to schools for secular education without making any provision for religious training at home or at school, with the result that our boys grow up utterly ignorant of the religious principles of their Shastras. No Christian father will ever entrust his sons to the care of him whom he believes inimical to his faith, but we do it daily, only to bewail the result of our folly when some mishap befalls us. The godless education of Government Schools and Colleges has increased our indifference to religion, and we have been so completely won over to the world that we are ready to sacrifice our highest religious interests for the slightest worldly advantage to ourselves.

  The labours of the Sanskrit scholars of Europe have also facilitated, though unconsciously, the path of the missionary. Accustomed to receive secular truths from the West without the slightest hesitation, our young men, unacquainted with the sublime truths of their Scriptures, are led to put implicit faith in the opinions of Western scholars on the subject of Hindu religion. … I do not mean to blame such distinguished savants as Professors Max Muller and Monier Williams, or cast a slur on the world-wide reputation which they have deservedly won after years of toil in the sacred field of Sanskrit literature. European savants . . . have been misled by the commentaries of native Sanskrit scholars whom they have closely followed, and it is no fault of theirs if they have failed in fields where men more favourably situated than themselves had shared the same fate. . . .

 

” The Hindu religion, which could well withstand the steel of Mahomedan bigotry for hundreds of years, has been brought face to face with European science and criticism, wielded by the hands of men who are either indifferent to our interests or interested in converting us to their faith. Our situation demands that we brace our nerves to defend our religion, if we believe it to be true, against the attacks of its assailants ; but, alas ! we ourselves have misgivings in our hearts. The vast and insensate majority of our conservative countrymen is so much steeped in idolatry and superstition, that it is well-nigh unconscious of its own wretchedness. It is, moreover, divided into rival sects giving nominal allegiance to the Vedas but passionately clinging to the various books composed by their founders for the benefit of their followers. Whenever any section of the community has kept itself aloof from contending factions , it has, with an inconsistency characteristic of our race, outwardly recognized the sovereignty of all, but, inwardly ignoring the claims of religion altogether, yielded its heart to none.

 

A few meaningless ceremonies excepted, there is no common tie that unites the Hindu masses, no common link that fastens them to each other, no one principle which all of them may be moved to defend. As for the people who call themselves educated, they are beset with greater difficulties and less provided for against danger. Education has deprived them of the ignorant pride which, in the case of common people, is the source of dogged pertinacity and tenacious adherence to their own views. Light has reached them only to reveal the hideous situation they are in. The godless education of our Schools and Colleges has sapped the foundations of faith in God and His revealed Will; our boys are taught to despise their own religious books and prize those of the foreigner ; above all, the conviction has been brought home to us by the writings of European savants that, although we possess some philosophical works of inestimable value, our religious books contain a great deal of rubbish and nonsense along with a few gems of truth that lie embedded in it. We are told that the Vedas, which are the basis of our religion and science, embody the child-like utterances of the primeval man, that they teach the worship of the elements, and enjoin the practice of foolish rites that could please children but are disgusting to civilized man. Some of these opinions derive countenance even from the opinions of our priests, the natural guides of our people, who, devoting themselves exclusively to the study of works composed in the mythological period, remain ignorant of the knowledge of Divine Revelation and, in their zeal to defend the present corruptions of society, lend a helping hand to the enemies of their faith. Thus the ancient religion of the Hindus, deserted by those who ought to have proved its best defenders, seems doomed to destruction by the blows dealt to it by its young adversaries. It seeks safety in concealment ; it is afraid to come out and measure swords with its opponents in the field of debate and discussion ; it confesses itself humbled and beaten by its enemies. It seems impossible to defend, without a blush on the face, the faith of the Rishis who at one time gave law and learning to the whole civilized world.

 

Thus the Hindu faith, assailed on all sides by its vigorous opponents, had put forward one defender, but he also deserted it in time of need. The faith of the Rishis was in danger of being swept out of the land where it had flourished from immemorial times. Even the Vedas, the expression of the Divine Will, entrusted to the care of the Brahmins, were threatened with oblivion. Men had despaired of finding unity in the chaos of conflicting opinions which the Hindus erroneously believed to be their religion, and had given up the task as hopeless.

Everything portended utter confusion and dire destruction to our faith when Swami Dayananda

Saraswati, the great Seer of the age, appeared among us.

 

” I have called Swami Dayananda the great Seer because, like Rishis of yore, he saw the Truth face

to face. . . . There are some who call Swami Dayananda an impostor, a liar, a false interpreter

of the Vedas. I do not quarrel with them, because,in the search after truth, these slanderers have never wandered in the mazes of Hindu Shastras, never felt the difficulties that lie in the way of Vedic students,and never realized the importance of the discovery made by Swami Dayananda. The great Swami stands on a pedestal so high that the eyes of those who look at him from below are dazed, and they find nothing substantial in his place. … I admit that the truth discovered by him is the only bond which can unite us as a nation and that the movement inaugurated by him will, like the famous cow of the Hindu mythology, yield us all that is desirable in social and religious matters ; but these collateral benefits should not weigh in our minds as proofs of the ulterior motives of the Swami. They are rather an index of the importance of his discovery and work. The brightness of the truth, discovered by him, would have been the same without these additional lights. Nor should we be swayed in our judgment against him by what has been miscalled the unanimous voice of the pandits. Had truth been judged by numbers, no reform would have ever succeeded. Weigh him not by the votes of those who are the devoted followers of the mythological school, but by the evidence which he can bring forward to establish the existence of the school which he has followed.”

      Arya Samaj had a vibrant intellectual culture of debate, though at times it had caused ideological divisions. It’s important to discuss and differ than to stagnate, new vital currents of thought and action could emerge from such debates.

Arya samaj had enriched the spiritual, social, intellectual, cultural, and political life of hindu society, from its spring of inspiration emerged many personalities who made their mark on Indian society including its struggle for national independence.

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Andhra Politics: Pathological insecurity of CBN

If there is ranking for cynically insecure politicians in India, CBN should top the rankings by huge margin.  The fact that he lacks basic leadership skills aggravates his insecurity. A poor communicator with no charisma, so far he failed to convince people of Andhra Pradesh that he represents an alternative even when there is all pervasive political gloom in the state across regions. People at large are not enthused about his leadership even after 8 years of disastrous congress government. Even TDP supporters are not convinced about his ability to bring party to power.

BOB

As a party TDP had glorious history of decimating congress in the state when national parties of all ideological hues failed to even challenge congress in the state for a very long time after independence.  TDP also became a pole of anti-congress politics at national level when it was principal opposition in parliament during Rajiv era. NTR took the initiative to bring all anti-congress forces across the board on a common platform as national front chairman in 1989. All that is glorious history for TDP, as soon as CBN took over TDP and CM of AP in a coup he started politics of convenience, calculations and cronyism.

Politics needs calculations, strategies but they are not substitutes for credible leadership. In 1996 parliament elections TDP went into elections under CBN for the first time, it got 38% of votes, a massive 14% drop from 52% votes in 1994 assembly elections under NTR in seats contested. TDP won 16 MP seats and took the support of its rival in state congress to form the United Front government. CBN played key role in UF government formation. Media hailed him as the modern Chanakya who even turned down PM offer to serve his dear state of AP.

The people of Andhra were not convinced about CBN’s chanakya niti, they saw the UF govt for what it is, a rag-tag combination of pigmies surviving on congress ventilator support. In 1998 elections TDP won just 12 seats. There was massive swing towards Bjp, it won 4 seats on its own and an unprecedented 18% vote share. People rejected CBN Chanakya strategies even after his massive PR overdrive presenting himself as a moderniser and visionary. CBN politics is communist-cong combo in political strategy and neo crony-capitalist in vision, infact he was baptized and schooled in congress before he switched over to TDP after NTR’s historic 1983 victory.

Bowing before the pressure of people CBN supported NDA from outside while getting his party man as speaker to avoid any prospective shift in TDP MPs loyalty, another example of his extreme caution and insecurity. In 1999 Bjp-TDP alliance secured massive mandate in MP seats but couldn’t manage same level of success in assembly tally. Some argue that CBN benefited from Bjp alliance, it was a mutually beneficial tie-up though after winning CBN made all efforts to eat into Bjp base forgetting congress still had huge base waiting to be squeezed

After 2004 rout of TDP-BJP in AP, CBN was devastated and moaned that people of AP failed his vision. He hastily snapped ties with “communal” Bjp blaming it for the rout. After 9yrs as CM he donned the role of opposition leader, YSR made mince-meat of his opposition at each step. YSR aggressively focussed on squeezing the TDP space with carrot and stick policy. CBN was no match to the aggressiveness of YSR in power. He was ridiculed, lampooned for his insecurity, backstabbing history by rank and file of congress party with active cheer leading by YSR.

In 2009 elections CBN managed to form a grand alliance with left and TRS, parties that joined YSR in 2004 now joined him against YSR. In a three cornered race between TDP alliance, congress and chiranjeevi party, YSR won with simple majority. TDP improved its tally mostly because of its performance in telangana.

After YSR’s death and telangana fiasco there is massive shift in political equations in telangana. In coastal Andhra Jagan became rallying point to Christian, muslim minority and his caste. Chiranjeevi merged his party and is rewarded with a central ministry. Recent assembly by-polls suggest jagan has achieved traction among voters. It’s going to be a 3-way fight and each percent vote is precious for all parties.

Bjp, as a party has no credible leadership in the state, but andhrites responded to national trends and rewarded bjp more than what they deserve. In 1991 at the peak of Rama Janmabhoomi movement 10% andhrites voted to Bjp.  In 1996, 1998 parliament elections 6%, 18% andhrites voted for bjp respectively without any major alliance. In 2009 even in a multi-cornered contest bjp got 4% votes for parliament election. So there is huge vote vacillation for bjp in Andhra between 4-18%.

In coastal Andhra right thinking andhrites are concerned about rise of Jagan, they would either prefer TDP or congress. This vote is the natural constituency of TDP, but TDP needs a national party to reassure this constituency about its capacity to challenge congress, jagan. An alliance with Bjp with a leader like modi at helm could add huge X factor and bring incremental vote to the alliance. In telangana Bjp could easily get 10-15% votes on its own in the changed scenario. General consensus among political circles is TDP badly needs incremental votes and a credible message to boost its campaign and Modi-CBN alliance could just do that.

It seems Modi has realised this ground reality and extended his hand of friendship inviting CBN and Balakrishna to swearing ceremony, recognizing Balakrishna’s popularity among TDP base. He has done that despite CBN’s unilateral snatching of ties with Bjp.  CBN could have used this occasion to again build bridges with Bjp. Even if he is not interested at this time as a party president, he could have let Balakrishna to attend the ceremony when he received invitation in the name of NTR. Infact many supporters of TDP were jubilant over the invitation. But CBN shamelessly interfered in a personal invitation, had Balakrishna decided not to attend on his own, nobody would have questioned his personal choice.  After this episode questions will be raised on whether sons of legendary NTR have any individuality of their own.

What explains this behaviour of CBN? It’s just pathological insecurity. He is ready to get humiliated by his enemies, but would never let anybody from his party to gain importance.  He would rather take TDP down than letting somebody else to share limelight both within his party or in an alliance, that too modi who succeeded where he failed.

CBN would rather like to win no parliament seats at all if he can’t make up to a majority in assembly in the fear of creating alternative power centres in Delhi within party. What if Balakrishna becomes an MP and decides to become a minister in Modi government, the thought itself most likely would send shivers in his spine. With this kind of insecurity, lack of leadership it’s not surprising that many political watchers predict doom for TDP under CBN.

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Moditva arrives in Delhi

The spectacular victory of Narendra Modi for the fourth consecutive term has finally opened up possibilities of his emergence as top contender for premiership in Delhi. Though his party has to take call on his candidature it would be extreme foolishness on their part not to project him as PM, without him there is no chance for them to even come close to power in Delhi. On every parameter Modi stands tall compared to any other leader not only in his party but across political spectrum. He is extremely popular not only in Gujarat but across India, each passing day the curiosity of average Indian on Modi phenomenon is only increasing.

narendra_modi

Why is average Indian interested in Modi? Looking beyond his success in governance and economic growth what might have brought him closer to masses is his style of leadership; he not only leads them politically but also educates them. Modi is a great communicator of ideas, not only communication he gives ideas a form on the ground, this makes his message credible to the masses, they have seen him walk the talk, an extremely rare quality in Indian politics.

He communicates a message of hope, confidence and a sense of purpose. From his roots as an RSS pracharak he articulates a vison that combines individual aspirations to the larger civilizational impulses and patriotic instincts of society. He wouldn’t have been successful had he just talked about cultural nationalism without making any contribution to the economic well being of people and the converse is also true.

Modi is also sociologically better suited to lead this country than any other politician of today.  He represents hindu sociological mean, he is neither a product of elitism nor a leader who capitalizes on misery of masses and perpetual victimhood. He is sociologically neutral within hindu society. All classes, castes can listen to him.His conduct in power emphasized that his approach is beyond any caste or class.

Coming to the practical aspects of his ascendance to the power in Delhi, it’s not impossible for him to capture Delhi but he needs an unconventional approach. He has to focus on two different sections of Indian society at the same time 1) The Urban middle class 2) The Rural middle class. If modi could become spokesperson for these two classes, they will resonate to his vision and the momentum generated charges up major sections of society. He has already experimented this in Gujarat and India just needs a replication of this strategy with some fine tuning to the local conditions.

Also, Modi has to run a very unconventional campaign to reach out to masses, the key for his national success depends on the level of his message penetration. His enemies will make all efforts to confuse voters and unlike Gujarat the bjp machinery is not robust in most of south and even in states like UP.  So, an approach that takes his campaign direct to masses with minimum effort is required, his NaMo TV and 3-D campaign are excellent initiatives in that direction. Imagine the impact of 50 3-D meetings by Modi in urban, semi-urban centres in a state like Andhra where bjp has little presence. It’s a great idea if 3-D logistics and costs can be handled outside Gujarat also.

If Modi is serious about his national role for 2014 he should come out of Gujarat in coming few months, the best route is to claim for president of Bjp in January and lead the party from the front in Delhi. He could both be a president and a Bjp PM candidate for next general elections. Gangrene has infected critical parts of bjp unless it is cleaned bjp can’t be ready for the war ahead.

Modi presents an alternative leadership to this country not only for economic prosperity but also a socio-cultural vision; he offers a different paradigm of leadership that India has not seen for a very long time. Will Bjp, RSS respond to the surge from ground for Moditva and let him occupy centrestage?

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